Friday, December 28, 2007

Long time no see!

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I've been busy. Of course, now I'm sick and staying home, but that's a recent development.

Of course, every year, at least one of us is sick on either Thanksgiving or Christmas. This year, Thanksgiving was fine, but we had quite a few of us sick on Christmas. R and little E stayed in FW, although R did make it down for the weekend before. She had to go home on Sunday, and was already feeling bad. Then, both M&M were sick, but managed to make a lunch for us (Dad and me) on Christmas day. It was simple, just some tamales from HEB, which were made in their kitchen and not the storebought kind. So they were really good. And sis M made some rice. Really the tamales were so huge, we didn't need anything else. I ate 2 of them and was sorry. They're about the size of 2 or 3 regular tamales, so I felt like I ate a ton. But it was nice, and we stayed a little while, while BIL M showed my dad some tricks with the Playstation 2 as they'd gotten him one and he was stuck in a couple of the games. We also got a sample of what the PS 3 looks like and it's pretty awesome. I don't really play games enough to get one myself, but it looked good.

Then, Dad and I left as M&M wanted to take naps as they still weren't feeling too well. So we went hiking at a local park and it was a beautiful day, not too cool and not too hot. Actually, as we started walking it was cool, but got warmer the longer we were there and we had to take our jackets off. By then, the people that were arriving were only wearing T-shirts, so it wasn't just because we'd been walking a while. But we saw a part of the park we hadn't been to before.

The next day, I had dinner with N, the guy I've been seeing. It was supposed to be something he cooked, but he got home too late and we went to this Vietnamese restaurant we'd been to before, but they turned out to be closed, and we went to a second restaurant that ended up being closed as well. We ended up going to Blanco Cafe, which I'd been to before, but at a different location. It's this Mexican restaurant and it was packed (probably because nothing else was open). The food was fine, but I had trouble eating it because I'd seen a roach on the wall and couldn't get past that. I mean, what are the chances they're only in the outside part where the customers are and not in the kitchen? I was just really grossed out and creeped out. But anyway. Now I'm not feeling well either and slept most of the day yesterday. I'm still tired today and the congestion is worse, but I hope I get better soon. I'm taking zinc and green tea to help.

Anyway, I have a job interview next week. I'm not really qualified, but I hope they'll be good enough to show me how to do the things I don't know how to do. We'll see. I'm not too optimistic about it as I've been interviewed for these things before. I just have to keep looking, of course. Hopefully I'll be feeling better by then, too.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Lamest Christmas Party...

Okay, this is a big employer here in SA. Thought their Christmas party would be fun. It's usually a really big deal. They book a huge venue for the thing and have several rooms with different entertainment in each one, along with lots of food to choose from, dancing, etc. But in the car on the way over there, Mom breaks the news to me that there will be no booze! What? At a Christmas party? Sure they're an insurance company and all and they know about risk, but that's pretty sad. But we get there and they're busing everyone to the event. It took forever to get on the bus, but they were more like motorcoaches and had comfortable seats and TVs (which they never turned on--WTF?). Traffic is always horrible downtown, so it took forever to get to the event. It actually took an hour and doesn't normally take quite that long. But we get there and I'm looking forward to it. And they've only booked 2 rooms. So EVERYONE was crammed into just these two rooms. You could hardly move around. There was no space to mingle or anything. There's only one band booked. That's it. And there were so few buffet tables that the lines were longer than the ones at DisneyWorld. Really. The food didn't look that great to begin with. Mom says they had a different caterer this year. I think it must have been a cheaper bid, rather than a choice to get us better food for the event. THEN, as if this wasn't lame enough already, there were hardly any tables for people to eat at. People were walking around with food with nowhere to go. It was so bad, people were leaving the event in droves to go to the hotel across the street that had a bar, and then taking the next bus back to their cars. In fact, we just skipped the hotel bar thing and went straight to the bus. We were extremely disappointed at how little they cared about the party and how little they actually spent on it this year, when they've always gone all-out for it. Then, we went to a restaurant and had a dinner and a margarita, just because we were so p-o-ed. Not sure if we want to go to the party next year. : ( What a let-down.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A DATE!!!

I went to a Meetup event recently. It was a coffee singles group, which I wasn't too excited about, but I thought I could at least make friends and enjoy a cup of coffee. Turns out I met a few people and had some good conversations. One guy even wanted to see me again. Another guy wanted to e-mail me, so that's good, too. I think the second guy wants to be friends, which is okay with me.

The date turned out fine. We went for coffee last night and then to dinner. It was a pleasant evening, although we're still in the getting-to-know-each-other phase. Too early to get really excited, but he seems like a nice guy. I did read his profile, though, and he's a Republican, so that could be a problem, but we'll see. I don't expect us to have everything in common, you know? But he wants to see me again, although we couldn't arrange anything for this week as he's busy on the days that I'm not. And he's going to Austin this weekend, so that's out. Maybe next week.

Also, this past weekend, R and E came down from FW and we had a nice visit. It was busy as we were visiting family and friends the whole time. So I was tired yesterday, but it's okay. It was fun. R got her Tex-Mex fix, which she was happy about. I didn't mind it either, of course. : ) I also got another cranberry bliss bar, which was really yummy. I know they'll be gone soon, so I want to have as many as possible. It's a shame they're 8 points for one, so I can only have a little at a time, but it's worth it. R and I were also naughty in that we had pizza from HEB, but I still have a few flex points left. Not many, but a few. I will get more tomorrow, so it's okay, I suppose.

Anyway, I've got a Meetup on Thursday evening that I want to go to, although it's at a restaurant I've heard isn't that good. But 2 previous Meetups were at places where there would be smoking, which I can't do. This one is the atheist Meetup, which I enjoyed when I went to a past one. That's pretty much it, as my life is pretty dull at the moment. Hopefully there will be some job interviews soon, but I'm not holding my breath.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Turkey Day and eBay

Well, Turkey Day was actually two days as I have two parents who don't get along. I suppose that even if they did manage to be on speaking terms, they probably wouldn't want to have Thanksgiving together anyway. So, sis M, who graciously offered to cook as Grandma is still out for a few more weeks, cooked 2 dinners! One for each parent. I, of course, attended both. R couldn't make it down, unfortunately. But day 1, actually on Thanksgiving Day, was turkey with Dad. M got a free turkey with the purchase of a ham at our local HEB (they rock, BTW), so she made that. BIL M made his famous mashed potatoes. He's pretty much been cooking since he was 5 years old. Amazing, but true. I didn't start until I was 8 or 9. And there were veggies and dinner rolls. All traditional fare, of course. No dessert as we couldn't eat any more. I was good and stuck to my daily allotment of WW points, as opposed to having more than one plate. So that worked out fine, and we had a good time.

Then, day 2, sis M made ham for Mom as Mom doesn't like turkey that much (fine because Dad doesn't like ham, so it worked out). She also made some mac and cheese and BIL M made his mashed potatoes again. Really, a very carb-ful dinner, but it was tasty. I managed to keep my portions down and stick to my daily points again. Woohoo! I'm so proud of myself for managing that! So, no seconds for me, as hard as that was. Then, on Saturday, Dad and I went to this Chinese restaurant we hadn't been to in years since Bei Fang is still renovating. Actually, the other place, Mencius, turned out to be really good, so now we have an alternative until Bei Fang (our favorite one) opens back up. The place looked someone upscale with marble walls and waiters dressed up like waiters in Paris, but the prices were very similar to Bei Fang. So, yippee!

Not much going on now, of course, as the holidays are over, at least until Christmas. The jury's still out on weather R's fam will make it down for that, but we'll see what happens.

The only thing I've noticed is that eBay isn't very secure. Someone broke into my account and used it to send spam. So they suspended my account and got me to change my password. Great. Fine, I don't use the site very much. Then, just recently, the sent me an e-mail saying my account had been closed, again for unauthorized use or something. I mean, that's twice! I don't even know if I want to get it reinstated as I don't trust them right now. Are they secure? I've bought stuff on there before and hadn't had a problem until just recently. Maybe it's safer for me to leave it closed for now as that means no one can access the account, right? I HOPE. I mean, at least eBay notified me of the problem, but I'd feel better if I didn't have these problems to begin with, you know? These two incidents didn't happen very far apart, either. Why all at once? I mean, I could always get a new account, but then I'd lose what little feedback I already had. I just don't know. Plus, I thought my password was pretty hard to guess, but someone still broke into it, so I don't know that if I changed it that no one could break into it again. Anyway...

I think I'm gonna get going now. Maybe I'll go to the library. I'm almost finished with my last book.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

BIL's B-day present

Brother-in-law M's birthday is tomorrow, but my sis M wanted to get him a present early. I don't know the details, but I'm thinking there was some sort of trade involved with the computer as BIL M's parents gave him money for his computer and then bought him a new computer. So sis M had the money for the computer, plus some money from something else recent (don't remember). The Playstation 3s had gone down in price to $399 and she thought she'd surprise him. All leading up to this, BIL M is saying how much he wants the PS3, and sis M is saying it costs too much, etc. and coming up with excuses not to buy it. So BIL is thinking he's not getting one. Then, while he's at work, sis goes with Mom and buys one, then tells BIL on the phone that she got him something at HEB and left it on the bed for him. Well, she's afraid he won't go in the bedroom. Then she goes to work. So BIL is probably thinking it's one of the collectibles he's into or something and looking forward to that. Wish I could have seen his face when he walked into the bedroom!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I think Dad is jealous...

Okay, all day today he seems to be wanting me to talk him into buying himself a car. That's not to say we didn't already have this discussion a few weeks ago, and he talked himself out of it and into buying me a car instead. He said that was what he really wanted to do because he didn't trust his car to be very good for my out of town forays, etc. He didn't think it was reliable with all the miles he has on it. Well, fine. He said he'd fix it up and keep it as it's decent enough for his work. That's what he SAID. Now, he sees all the nice features my car has and I think he's getting car envy. I keep trying to talk him out of it as he just bought a car and I'm not employed yet to take the payment off of him. I said "why don't you wait until I get a job, then?" and he doesn't want to wait. I said that all his car needed was regular maintenance stuff done on it anyway. It just needs new struts. That's something that needs to be replaced eventually. Not something that really went wrong with the car, you know? But now he's acting like it's too much trouble and too much money (?!) to fix it up. WTF? I mean, I may be mistaken, but isn't it more expensive to buy a brand new car, as he wants to do? Unless there's some cheap-y car out there that I don't know about that only costs $240 (the cost of the parts and labor for new struts). He might as well admit that he just wants a new one. He just wants me to say it's a good idea, too. Really, if he was going to do that, why didn't he fix up his car and give it to me, and then buy himself a new car? We discussed it. He rejected the plan. But really, if he wants the new car, it would have made more sense. I tried for a while to convince him that was the better plan, because I knew this would happen. I knew that he'd see the new car and get jealous. It always happens. Ugh. Dad. He's just a big kid.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Not a TOTAL waste of time...

I drove all the way from the west side of San Antonio to the east side of San Antonio to get to the dealership so they could look at the seat belt, only to find out that there was nothing wrong with the seat belt whatsoever. My dad was just doing it wrong. He tried to put the right belt clip thingie into the center buckle, which doesn't work. It only works if you put them in the right buckles, which he should have been able to figure out, but I think he must have been sitting on one of the buckles. Then, I leave and I'm on the way home and the salesman calls me to see if I'm coming over and I say I'm on my way home that I just left. And he says to come back and he'll top off my gas tank. Well, that sounds good to me, so I head back and get a full tank of gas (although I'd only used a quarter tank at that point). He let me know what was going on with the user manual search and said he'd probably have to order one, which is fine by me. Oh well. At least I got to drive my nice car for a while...

And I got a prime parking place when I got back home. : )

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Seat Belt repair

As of Saturday, I own a burgundy 2002 Nissan Altima. It's a beautiful car and near spotless. I just discovered that it has keyless entry and an alarm on it, too. I keep discovering new features all the time, like if you push the trip odometer it tells you the gas mileage and the outside temperature, too. Neat-o. I tested the cruise control as the one on the rental car didn't work and I was paranoid, but it worked fine. That's a feature I wish I'd had on the Mercury. I just really love the new car.

One thing about it is that one of the seat belts in the back seat didn't lock when you clicked the silver part into it. So, the dealership promised to fix it. But that means I have to drive over there (we're on opposite sides of town, too, so it's a long drive) for them to look at it. I thought I could just call them with the VIN and the salesman seemed to think so, too, but the service department insists on seeing the car. I'll admit it's gorgeous, but surely they got to look at it already. Well, I'm joking. I know they mean they want to look at the seat belt. Anyway, I guess I'll be doing that today. I meant to be cooking dinner, so we'll see how long it takes. They may have to special order a new one.

We did get the duplicate title and Dad signed it and I signed it and I mailed it off yesterday. Hopefully the rest of the settlement will come soon. It might take a couple of days to process, but hopefully soon. Also, my prescription shipped from the second Canadian pharmacy. I hope they're more reliable than the first one I tried. They'd told me my prescription hadn't arrived because of a postal strike in the UK, and I really didn't believe them because it seemed illogical to ship my prescription from the UK if they knew there was a strike. But Sarah confirmed the story. Still, it was only for a few days and they told me when the package would arrive and it didn't arrive. It STILL hasn't arrived, so I don't think I was going to get it at all. The new one had free shipping, so it turned out to be a little cheaper than the first one, so I'm really hoping this works out as it would save us some money and money will be tight for a while with the car payment.

Recent book recommendation would be Nefertiti by Michelle Moran. I don't know how accurate it is, but it's pretty entertaining and fun to read. If you're at all interested in ancient Egypt, it would be a more detailed look into daily life there, especially for people connected to the royal family as the story isn't told from the perspective of Nefertiti, but from her sister's perspective.

Well, that's it for today. Will probably give an update on the seat belt story as I don't really know what's involved in fixing it. It will probably have to be replaced, but we'll see.

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Car Title was "Altered"

Okay, I always thought that "altering" the title meant trying to change something on the front of the thing and trying to make it look like it said something it didn't. But apparently, they say that if you write on it, that's altering it, even if it's on the back and you just signed it like you were told to. So now that we "voided" the title by "altering" it, we need to get a release of lien, even though it was plain as day on the now-voided title. Of course, the lien was with Security Service CU, which we couldn't find anywhere. We must have passed by 10 or more banks, none of which were a Security Service. Luckily for us, Dad knows where they are as, for some reason, he has a memory for that sort of thing. He has a map in his head and remembers just about every place he ever goes to fix a fax machine. He knew right off the top of his head. I wish I could do that, but usually I'm watching the road and not paying attention to what businesses are around there. Oh well.

So, despite my feeling under-the-weather, we have to go over there and get the paperwork from the bank before we get the duplicate title paperwork over to the DPS. And by the DPS, I don't mean the driver's license office. It's another whole separate building. Could they make this more confusing and complicated? I'm sure this isn't the end of it. I still have to get Dad's signature on the duplicate title form, even though it shouldn't matter because you can't do anything with the title unless you get both of our signatures on it. It's just an extra unnecessary step. But for some reason, everything we've ever done involving a car title has been a big hassle and they're so picky that nothing is ever filled out right. We did it exactly the way they told us to once, and then they said that was wrong. Every time you get a different person, you get a different story. Really, I don't think they're very organized.

Anyway, should you be anxiously awaiting those book recommendations, I have a couple of them. First off, I finally read Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner. I meant to read it much sooner, but couldn't find it at the library. I finally had to have it reserved for myself or else I'd probably have to wait much longer to read it. Needless to say, it was really good, although parts of it were sad. But I'd certainly recommend it. Next up, in a completely different genre, is John Scalzi's The Last Colony. Even if you don't read science-fiction, you should find it entertaining. The writing alone makes it extremely entertaining and beyond that the story is more complicated as it goes along. When you think you get what's going on, there's always something that happens to change that. I'm not done with that one, but it's fun to read and I thought I'd recommend that one, anyway.

Well, that's it for now. Again, I'm not feeling well, so my attention span is a little shorter than usual. It's hard to concentrate and I'm really tired. Hope I'll feel better by tomorrow. Don't worry I'm loading up on antioxidants and taking zinc and drinking lots of water.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The latest on the car story

Right now, nothing is going right. Apparently, we filled out the title wrong when we sent it to the insurance company. So now I have to get a new title. But I have to wait for the old title to be mailed back to me because it's our proof that the lien was signed off, then I can take that to the "title place" (wherever that is) to get a new one that we can then sign correctly and send back to the insurance company. This promises to be very time-consuming as most of it is waiting. Waiting for the old title. Waiting for the new title to come (unless they really can print them on the spot as the insurance guy said--dad said he had to wait for another one recently to come by mail, though). Then, after we send the new title off to the insurance company, it takes a couple of days of processing before we'll get the rest of the settlement money.

The one thing the guy did do was give me a partial payment for the car. Like he gave me the money as if I was keeping the car and getting it fixed, but I'll get more when they get the title, which is what I mean by the rest of the money.

The other ordeal right now is waiting for my Trileptal. Obviously, this is the one that causes the most problems anyway, as it's $233 at my local pharmacy. But then, I found out I could get it for less if I ordered it from Canada. For one thing, they have a generic one there that's not available here (why it can't be available everywhere is beyond me) and that was $85. So I'd been ordering it from this Canadian pharmacy. However, over two and a half months ago, I placed an order and didn't receive it. They wouldn't run a trace on it unless I checked for sure (even though I could already tell them the answer to this question without checking) with the post office that they weren't holding a package for me. Well, we're getting all our other mail and even have gotten packages since then, so it's not the mail. So I called the post office that I thought was my post office to see if they were holding a package for me and they said that for security reasons they couldn't tell me over the phone. So I drove over there only to find out that that wasn't my post office anymore. Great. So, in the end I checked 3 different post offices before I found out which one was mine. Mind you, they're not very close together either. The one that's mine is actually the farthest away of the 3, too. Weird. Anyway, all of that just to find out what I already knew, no, they weren't holding a package for me. So I called the pharmacy back and said so, and they ran a trace on the package and said it was at a sorting facility and would be here the next week. The next week came and went and I didn't get the prescription. So I called back and told them. So now, they say they'll re-ship the package. Great. Whatever. Again, I have to wait the regular 3 weeks before I found out that that package didn't arrive either. So I called them back and she said, there had been a postal strike and it would be delayed, but would be here by last Friday. Again, Friday, nothing happened. So I called again today (Monday) and she ran a trace on it and said it would be here tomorrow. Well, I've heard all of this before and I don't believe that it will really come, but they won't issue a refund until then, because that's when her computer system is telling her it will be here now. Well, nevermind that, before, she said it would be here last Friday, right? She went on about the postal strike in the UK causing delays. Well, if there was a strike, why did they send my package from the UK then? Either way, they're not making sense to me. I don't believe them. I have already decided not to use them again, so no need to say that to me. There are plenty of other Canadian pharmacies out there.

Anyway, that's it for now. Feel free to drop a line and cheer me up. Been kinda bored, despite all the endless phone calls trying to sort everything out. I should have some book recommendations coming for anyone interested. I'll probably be reading a lot this week since I have to give the rental car back. Reading is fine, still didn't want to give up the rental car, though. : (

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Need to look for a new car : (

Found out on Friday that my car was a total loss. I'm not happy about that at all as the car was in good condition with no mechanical problems at all. It also sucks that it wasn't even a mistake I made that caused this, but some woman who was stupid enough not to pay attention to her driving. Still, what else can I do?

So, Dad and I discussed options and we're going to see some cars and decide from there what the plan is going to be. Will probably need financing of some sort. I'm not looking forward to it. I mean, car shopping can be fun, like the looking part. The buying part is not fun because there's no way to do it without talking to the salespeople. That part I hate. I'm going to see if my bank can do something about it, maybe I can co-sign on a loan to rebuild my credit. But we'll see how it actually works out.

Had a good time in FW. Mostly we went shopping as Mom wanted me to buy some clothes to interview in. The suits I had were pretty huge on me, so I guess it was time to replace them. It's a shame as I really liked them a lot, but the new ones are nice, too. The hardest part was finding a skirt in a size 2. In the end, we got a couple at Old Navy, although at Old Navy I needed a size 0 as their 2s are fairly big. I wish I could have bought a lot more clothes as most of my stuff is too big, but I have to get a job first. I hope I get the one I interviewed for on Monday, even though the office was kind-of creepy. It was just dark and depressing, but the guy insisted that they were just remodeling. I don't know. I didn't see any additional light fixtures anywhere.

Anyway, I guess I don't have much to blog about. I'm just wanting to get all of this resolved and over-with. I don't know when I will get the settlement from the insurance company but I hope it's soon. I really don't want to mess with this anymore. : (

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Invisible car strikes again

Not the best time in the world for my car to turn invisible again, but it happened. Dad and I were leaving Starbucks and we're out on the street now, driving, minding our own business. I'm in the left lane and there's a truck in the right lane trying to turn into a driveway. So I slow down, because I can't see around this giant truck and I don't know if there's someone going to come out of one of those driveways or not. Apparently there was. As I decided I was past the truck, this woman guns her truck (another truck, coming OUT of the driveway as the first truck was waiting for her to move before he turned in) and smashes into the side of my car. Basically she was trying to make a left there and go down the opposite way I was going, and she ended up making a "T" with my car being the top of the T. How she couldn't see me, I don't know as I was right in front of her. Hard to miss, but she did it. I call 911 to get a police officer over there to take the report, and she calls her insurance company first. She's extremely apologetic and knows it's her fault, but that doesn't make it any less of a pain in the ass to deal with, you know? Eventually, I'm taking down her information and then I talk to her insurance company, and they say they won't do anything about my damages, getting me a rental car, or anything at all until they do an investigation. Great. What am I going to do about a vehicle? I was extremely mad by that point, at the insurance company dragging their feet about this, when it's obviously the other woman's fault. I wasn't speeding or anything as I'd slowed down considerably, when I was only going 35 in a 40mph zone anyway. I don't know. After we were done with all of that, we were waiting for the cop, and he still hadn't arrived. Finally I decided to call 911 again, but the cop arrived right as I was doing that. He took the report quickly and that was that.

I got home somehow, even though my car was making all kinds of funny noises because o9f the damage. I told my mom about the accident and that the other woman's insurance sucked (it's a county mutual--insurance for high risk drivers). Well, my mom said county mutuals are like that. They drag their feet about everything and it's really hard to get a hold of them on the phone and it always takes forever to resolve the claim. Great. So, I called MY insurance company (USAA) and they scheduled my car in the shop right away and arranged for a rental car. They'll just get the money back from the other insurance company later. Fantastic! I love them. Hopefully it will be arranged before I have to pay my deductible, but we'll see. I'm just mad about the timing as I have a job interview on Monday and that's the same day I've got to get my car in the shop and get the rental car, so I can (hopefully) go to FW. R's husband C is in LA right now doing a freelance job and they've already informally discussed hiring him permanently, so this might be my last chance to visit R if they end up moving to LA. But C is there designing the package for the Country Music Awards, so it will be cool for him to do some national spots as opposed to the local stuff he's done. Anyway, busy, busy, busy. I'm going to have to get up early tomorrow. Hope everything works out.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Looks like I'm going to FW...

Woohoo. Yes, not that exciting. A boring place to go with nothing to do, but my sis is there. So I will be visiting her mainly. I doubt we'll find all kinds of fun things to do, but we'll probably go to Starbucks a lot. Hopefully she has this ice cream I've been obsessed with. It's Blue Bunny No Sugar Added, Reduced-fat Bunny Tracks. This stuff is heavenly and doesn't taste light at all. Normally, I'm not one for peanut butter, but put it with chocolate and I'm all over it. However, this ice cream is 3 points for a half-cup. I wish I could have lots more, but I usually don't have more than 3 points left over after my meals. The first time I had it, it seemed really rich and I didn't think I could eat more than a half-cup, but the more I eat it, the more I want it. I wish I could feasibly eat it all day long, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The stuff is delicious.

I made a version of tortilla soup from a recipe I got online. I had to alter it a bit as they seemed to think there were bell peppers in tortilla soup. Well, you can tell when someone is not from here when they put weird ingredients like that in Mexican food. Still, it made some good soup (my altered version), although it didn't really taste like tortilla soup. I think that's the recipe's fault, though. In real tortilla soup, there just aren't that many ingredients and they seemed to think they needed a whole bunch. But at least it was good, and there's some left over in the fridge.

Anyway, I'll be back on Thursday as there's another meetup group I want to go to that night. Then, the organizer for the atheists meetup wanted to have a Halloween party, so that sounds like it might be fun. He said he hired a 12 member folk band to play loud music directly behind us all night, but I think he was joking. So, hopefully I'll make some friends out of this and have some fun.

Besides all that, not much going on. No job interviews, nothing. I'm getting so sick of it. I NEED a JOB!!! I'm getting impatient here. It can't last forever, can it? I mean, someone will hire me eventually, right? I mean, I'm not mean or awful to live with, am I? I think I'm a decent photographer. I know the graphic design software and I can learn quickly. I have customer service skills. I have a college degree. Really, what is it about me that turns employers off? Really, someone tell me.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Atheists Meetup

I had a great time at the Atheists meetup last night. One guy was in the same area as I am, so he carpooled with me. So I had company on the way over there, and he and I shared an interest in photography. So that was cool. He does mostly landscapes, which I also enjoy. He said he didn't become an atheist until he was 55, so it was fairly recent for him, whereas I think I was always an atheist. I just didn't figure it out for sure until college.

We got to the restaurant and met a few people. At first I had a table with a couple of guys who weren't very talkative, so I tried to ply them with questions to get them to talk a little more. Then, some more people arrived and they moved to another table. One guy stayed with me since I was alone at the table. He and I got into a debate about what an agnostic really is, then he went over to the other table with his friends and I joined another discussion at another table. There we had some lively debates and some really enlightened, deep, philosophical conversations, which were really fun. I think our table was the last table left in the whole restaurant after a while as everyone left and we ended up staying really late, but it was fun. The only thing was the food was only so-so and kind-of fast-food-like and not very good. AND there was a band playing right behind us, like not even a foot away. My chair was right against one of the musician's chair. So the music was really loud and it was hard to talk. We had to yell to hear each other. So, I enjoyed the group, but I don't think I want to go to that restaurant again.

I have a paranormal group meetup tomorrow morning before I meet my dad. That should be fun, too, but it will be a smaller group of only 9 people. The guy arranged it at this tiny Starbucks with only two tables, so we'll have to sit outside, probably. There's not even that much room on the patio, so I don't know. I don't know why he picked that one when there's a larger one right across on the other side of the highway. But, what can I say? I won't get to meet everyone, though, because they had to make another meeting the next day since the place was so small. I wish I could meet more of them, though. Oh well. Still, I look forward to meeting more people and maybe making some friends.

Anyway, lunch is almost ready, so that'll be it for this post. But at least I did something fun for once instead of being bored at home. Nothing new on the job front, though, but I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A little bummed...

I may have had a post on my other blog with a similar or exactly the same title. I don't know. But every so often, when I think there's a job that I will get, it sucks when I don't get a call back. Really, the last interview, it seemed like they were desperate. Why didn't I get that one? Am I really that awful? Was it something I said in the interview? I thought it went really well. I can't think of anything that would make them not want to hire me, except maybe that there was still someone better out there. But that makes me pretty bummed, like maybe I'm not that great a photographer or something. Obviously, I'll keep trying, but it's hard not to let it get to me. It does get to me. Why wouldn't it get to me? I just feel like no one's ever going to want to hire me if I didn't get that one. Who could possibly want to hire me more than those people? No one.

Well, I can't give up, of course. I've got to keep trying. I just wish I'd get a job soon so I don't have to worry any more. I'm sick of job-hunting. I'm sick of looking at listings, I'm sick of interviews, I'm sick of getting turned down. Really. There's only so much of this I can take, you know?

I have a couple of things to do this week, though. I signed up for some groups on Meetup.com. So, there's a meeting tomorrow night at dinner at a restaurant I've never been to before. It's a pizza place, so it will be a challenge to stay on my diet that night, but I think I can do it. Then, I have another one Saturday morning. We'll see how they go. Obviously, I don't have to go to any more group meetings if I don't like that particular group, but maybe I'll at least make friends. It gets lonely without R bugging me all the time. I don't get to see H very often either. So, it will be nice to meet some new people.

I haven't been wanting to update this blog for a while, I guess. Most of it's just being down all the time. Plus, I don't feel like I have much going on. I don't have that many interviews and when I do there's not much to say about them. So, we'll see how things go. It's hard to be optimistic when I keep applying for jobs and nothing ever happens, not even an interview.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Another interview in the map-impaired city

For those of you who haven't read my earlier post about an interview in Austin, I'll tell you one thing. There are no decent maps of Austin. I have no idea how this happens, but every single map I've ever gotten of Austin was wrong and I always get lost. So, why did I apply for a job in this crazy city? I don't know. Can't find anything closer to home maybe. But it's hard to find my way around over there because of the problem with the maps. The good thing was that they had directions posted on their website. The problem was that they were worded confusingly, so I wasn't sure if I'd find it. I printed a map, fully aware that it might not help.

Luckily, this time I made the correct guesses where the directions lacked clarity, as opposed to last time in Austin when I didn't and got lost. So just lucky, I suppose. The interview was fine, nothing major. Really short after a long drive to get up there, though. But it was a relief to get it over with. I was majorly anxious the day before. I don't know if it was an anxiety attack or what, but it made me extremely nauseous and I felt really ill all day. That evening, however, I somehow managed to relax, trying to convince myself that the reason for my anxiety is that I haven't gotten my Trileptal yet. It's late arriving and I'm out. I've been out for several days and I have no idea what's taking the shipment so long. That's something I have to try to find out today if I can. So that's one thing a job will be good for. Insurance. No more ordering drugs from Canada. Dear old Canada, what would I do without you right now? Go crazy I suppose as that's what's happening without my meds. Ahhh! Hurry! Hopefully today, but we'll see.

Today I feel fine, although I still have little twinges of anxiety here and there. I manage to relax after, but I try to keep my mind on something else and it hasn't escalated to the point of a full-on attack like Sunday. I just didn't expect that to be a symptom I'd get from lack of a mood stabilizer. It seems more like something that would happen if I was out of Zoloft or something instead. It's not like I'm a doctor or anything, though. Anyway, maybe I'd better get off the computer and figure out where my meds are and maybe get out of the house. I need to get something to read at the library and go to the post office to mail my "thank you" card to the guy who interviewed me yesterday. Then, I can come home and look through job listings again.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Back to job-hunting

Wouldn't it be great if job-hunting meant I just had to go out into the woods with a shotgun? Really, if that's all it took to snag one, I think I could do it. I mean, I hate guns, but if I really need medical insurance, I might suck it up and manage it for a while. I might not bag a really beautiful 10-prong photography job, but I'm sure I could get something. Instead, this piling through listings over and over again hurts my eyes and puts me to sleep. This daily tedium is a little much for me. I try to act on leads, but it only goes so far. I'm either under-qualified or over-qualified. It sucks to be stuck in the middle. When I find one of those jobs that I think I'd be perfect for, there always someone out there who's more perfect than me. So I won't bore you with a listing of every job I've applied for. But once in a while there's one I'm really excited about and I hope I get called for an interview. That job of the moment is Texas State University. It's in San Marcos, TX and they need a photographer. Really, I'm in Texas and I'm a photographer. How great is that? I'm sure they want more, but I not only do I have experience in photography, but I have a degree. I can do film or digital. I can do processing. And really, how often is it that there's a photographer out there who loves working in the darkroom? Many out there are thrilled with the advent of digital photography because it means they get out of the darkroom. Personally, I miss it. I enjoy the wonders of Photoshop as much as the next person. It's a fun program after all. But nothing is really like that experience in the darkroom when you're waiting for a print to develop and it finally darkens in the developer and you see it's the perfect image you were waiting for. Nothing beats poring over contact sheets with a loupe and a Sharpie. I miss all of that. It's silly, I know. Plus, I just got addicted to that stink of the chemicals and the perfect control of your image (unlike when you send it to a lab to be finished) in the enlarger. But, I digress...I just think that it would be nice to work for a university and be connected with education somehow. Maybe it would help me to get my masters degree like I've wanted to do. That would be great, too.

The problem is that I tend to get all excited about the possibilities and probably end up jinxing myself out of the job. I'm sure there are other qualified applicants out there. I'm not fooling myself into thinking my portfolio is so stupefyingly amazing that they can't wait to hire me, either. I wish that were so, but then again, maybe that would put me into the over-qualified category again. I don't know. Technically, they did say they wanted someone with 3 years experience, but I'm hoping my combination of experience and education will count for something. We'll see. Usually I hope for these things, but they don't come true. But I remember when there was the time I got hired for the photography job at Clear Channel and that was the job I really wanted at the time. (That job did come available recently, but they didn't hire me back--super-discouraging).

I do have a couple of book recommendations, though. I recently read
Red River by Lalita Tademy. I may have mentioned this book earlier in my blog, but maybe not. It's really her family history, but it involves the famous massacre in Colfax, Louisiana that Louisiana history dubs as a race riot. Even other newspapers of the day called it a massacre. Either way, the story is riveting and continues on to tell the aftermath and what it was like for former slaves trying to make better lives for themselves. I'm sure I had other recommendations after that, but that's the book that sticks out in my memory. And recently, I read Jo Bannister's The Tinderbox that tells of the homeless communities in London, England. The story was interesting, about a man whose daughter went missing 6 years earlier and who now believes his daughter is living homeless in London. There is a commentary near the beginning about the shortfalls of community programs and aid there are for the homeless, but most of the story involves this man's dedication and love for his daughter, no matter what she has done in the interim. Of course, I'm still convinced that the lack of programs and funding to help the mentally ill probably contributes to the rate of homeless in the world, but that's beside the point. Obviously there is a lot to be done to help if enough people would just commit to making some very fundamental changes to policy. It should be simple to fix, but it's not and it will take a coordination of efforts. But it's possible. Anyway, read the book. It's a good story, full of danger and suspense.

Well, that's it for this post. Check back later for more job-hunt progress reports (I'm trying to stay optimistic) and hopefully some good news.

Monday, September 10, 2007

NJ

Well, this is long overdue. I've been back a week already and I have yet to mention a thing about my trip. It was really fantastic. I had a great time and hated to leave. It was great seeing IP and the fam. I wish we lived closer to each other. My first day was exhausting, although I did sneak some Wheat Thins on the plane so that I wouldn't starve to death. Security in SA was a breeze. Really, I expected worse. The thing that took forever was that they had to hand-search my bag of 35mm film. I wish I had a digital camera, but maybe someday I'll have the money. I looked into selling off my old cameras to buy a new digital SLR, but I wouldn't have made enough money out of all of them to compensate for a new camera. Oh well. Anyway, the flights went about as smoothly as you can expect. The commuter jet from St. Louis wasn't as small as the last one I'd been on, although my carry-on bag still didn't fit in the overhead bin (but at least the plane had an overhead bin--I've been on one that didn't) but we didn't have to descend from the jetway and climb on the plane via the door, so it was markedly better. I arrived in Philadelphia and tried to navigate to where I thought IP would be waiting for me, but I got there and so no familiar faces and I started to get nervous. Did I take a wrong turn? Luckily, I'd been smart enough to program her number into my phone, so I called her and she just said she'd been stuck in traffic and she was about 10 minutes out. Whew!

So I went down to baggage claim because that was where the exit was and waited down there on a bench and read. It didn't seem nearly 10 minutes before IP called and said she was outside, so I went out and found her. She gave me a big hug, and I waved to the kids, who were smiling big as well. I was really relieved to have made it and to have been found. IP was really apologetic, but I assured her it was okay. I was surprised at how big the kids were now. Natalie had been 4 when I saw her at R's wedding, but she was now 9 years old. And the little baby Ryan is now 6 because he just had a birthday! Wow. Before we did anything, we just wanted to get back into NJ, so we left Philadelphia and crossed the river. Then we thought we'd try to find something to eat that wouldn't be too unhealthy for me. First we tried Applebee's and followed the exit signs off the highway before IP remembered that it had burned down recently. So we tried to find something else and IP saw a sign for this place called Panera Bread, which is a chain, but we don't have one here in SA. But it was all soups and sandwiches, so I chose a bowl of French onion soup and an apple for a side. Poor IP had to run out and make a phone call, though, because she said her mom's friend passed away about 20 minutes earlier and she needed to talk to the medical examiner. This ended up taking forever as arrangements hadn't been made. I felt sorry for IP dealing with this, and it ended up taking up the next day with phone calls, too.

But that evening we were just talking and talking and it ended up being after midnight when we went to bed! Luckily that week she was on vacation. The next day we went to Grounds for Sculpture. It's really hard to describe. But it's this large park area where there are lots of outdoor sculpture that the kids could touch. Plus, there were indoor galleries there, too, which were housing glass exhibits at the time we were there. And the grounds were landscaped and there were hidden alcoves with sculptures and places to explore, so the kids loved it. There were other sculptures that were 3-D renditions of famous paintings like Manet's Dejeuner sur l'Herbe. There was a pretty water garden there, too, which was near the beginning.

That took a good portion of the day there, but it was fun and it was pleasant weather and not too hot.

The next day we had to go to Philadelphia to help IP's mom fill out some paperwork for the funeral home to do the cremation. IP's mom speaks English fine, but she's always afraid she's not understanding something right. So, we decided we'd go over there and help her out in the morning, then do something else while we were there. So the morning was spent at IP's mom's store, where we ended up helping a few customers in addition to the paperwork as Mom ran to fax the paperwork when it was finished. Then, we went to the U Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. The garage was expensive, so we parked by meter and paid for 2 hours. The museum was really cool with a lot of Egyptian artifacts, but we realized it was going to take longer than 2 hours. So, we got something to eat and IP ran out to pay the meter. She could only pay for another hour as it was only 3 hour parking, though. So we had to skip a lot of stuff, including the Polynesian exhibit and some cool artifacts from Ur, which is one of the oldest cities. We ran briefly through China and Japan, then ran upstairs to where the mummies were, which is what the kids wanted to see. Overall, it was a nice museum. I just wish we could have seen everything. Then, IP drove me by the Rocky steps at the Museum of Fine Art (again, something else I would have loved to see, but it was getting toward rush hour and it was $7 to park, plus whatever the museum admission would have been--and the museum was HUGE--I doubt we could have seen much of it). I took some pictures of the steps for Dad, though, as I'm sure he'd wish he'd seen them, although I couldn't get any shots of the statue as it was hidden behind parked cars and pedestrians.

The next day was Ryan's belated birthday party. He didn't get to have his party on his actual birthday because he and Natalie were in Illinois visiting family. So he had his party that day and a few of his friends made it for a wading pool and sprinkler sort of water party. Plus there was pizza, a pinata, and cake and ice cream. So the kids loved it. One of the favors IP had picked were these temporary tattoos, so the kids put those on as soon as they got them. IP and I ran out later and got groceries at one point, and we stayed up talking a little more. I thought the kids would pass out, but they were excited because the next day we planned to go to New York. Natalie kept telling me about the cool Toy's 'R Us that's there and she hoped we'd see it. It was actually hard to get the kids to sleep at night. They were sharing a room so that I could have Natalie's room. Apparently, the only way they could do this was by putting a camp cot in Ryan's room for one of them to sleep on as Ryan only had a twin bed. I felt horrible that Natalie was supposed to sleep in the cot the whole week and a half that I'd be there, but the kids would actually fight over who "gets to sleep in the cot". So, I felt bad for nothing.

The next day, I was as jazzed as could be. We had to stop first at IP's hubby Travis' work. Poor guy had been fighting with this one air conditioner all week as it kept shutting down. As he's a manager it was sort-of his responsibility to take care of it. So we went over there on a Sunday and checked it, and it wasn't working. But there was a ping pong table in one corner of the warehouse, along with a badminton net. So IP and I played badminton a while and the kids played ping pong. Then we switched around until everyone got to play everything. We were thoroughly exhausted by the time Travis said it was time to go. I was hoping we weren't too tired to walk around Manhattan. But a cool sip of water was all we needed to perk up and the drive over wasn't too bad. We drove to Staten Island first. Then, we took the passenger ferry across to Manhattan. It was a great view, actually, and I took a few photos.


It's not actually 1998, of course. It's the stupid camera malfunctioning. I'd actually SET it to NO DATE.

We took the shuttle bus to the train station, passing by the WTC site. It's mostly blocked off, but you could see through rips in the plastic sheeting of the construction being done there. It's just sad that they have to do anything like that at all, though. All the buildings are so close together there, too. I mean, it must have been awful that day.

Anyway, Travis was the only one who could figure out the subway maps, so he took us to the right spot and told us to go up to 53rd street then turn right to get to MoMA. He was taking the kids to Central Park. I think we were on 8th Ave, but I could be wrong. No we were on Broadway, I think because we met there later and walked to Times Square. Well, whatever. We walked up to 53rd Street, then turned right and kept going and going and going past block after block after block. We finally came to the end of 53rd Street and we were in a questionable neighborhood. IP called Travis and he said the equivalent of "Oops, I meant turn left", so we turned around and walked all the way back, stopping to get something to eat. IP got a sandwich and I got a chicken pita. To save time, we ate as we walked. The great thing about Manhattan is that there are trash cans every so often, so we could discard our litter before we got to the museum. And the museum was this huge site with buildings across the street, too. But it had been blocked off from view because of this work being done next door and this huge wooden awning type thing to protect pedestrians. Anyway, we got in and we knew ahead of time that admission was $20 because we'd looked online. We also knew they closed at 4:30, so we wanted to be sure to see what we wanted to see. For me that was the paintings. The rest of it was stuff I don't really find all that interesting, like architecture and set design. So we went up and saw the painting and sculpture. There were some really famous paintings there, which I'd been hoping to see, including Van Gogh's Starry Night and some of Jackson Pollock's drip paintings. They had lots of Rothko, Stella, Judd, etc., too. But mostly, if you're a huge Picasso fan, that's the place to go. There are tons and tons of his paintings there. Really, I was never a huge Picasso fan. I can appreciate his work, but it doesn't really get to me the way other paintings can. But we saw what we came to see, then browsed the museum store. They had some cool things, but it was all expensive. I mean, I guess they're assuming only rich people go to museums or something, I don't know. I saw a cool keychain, but it was $12, whereas I wanted to spend about $7 or less. So I didn't buy it, but there was a sign saying there was more in the store across the street. We walked over there and looked around. It was stuff that was more expensive than we'd just seen, including some furniture and housewares. I'll admit, it was cool and all with unique styling and sometimes ingenious features. Really, if I could have afforded it, I'd have gone crazy in that store. But I finally splurged and bought the $12 keychain (one of the cheaper souvenirs). It's really cool, though, because it's designed in a ring and other smaller rings attach to it, but can easily be removed if you need to.

After that, we met up with the rest of the fam, and we walked to Times Square.


Along the way we saw MTV Studios and a group of fans waving to a band as they were leaving the studio. I have no idea who the band was, but we saw them through the window. IP took this shot with me and the kids:
It was tons of fun, and we saw the Toys 'R Us that Natalie was raving about. It was HUGE. 4 stories! There was this ferris wheel inside that people were riding and lots of demonstrations in-store, plus the displays were cool. There was a huge mechanical dinosaur by a section of Jurassic Park toys. There were other sections, including some imported stuff from Germany or Japan or whatever (Diddles and Hello Kitty). We were tired by then as it was almost dinner. Before we got to the store the kids had been complaining about how tired they were. Of course, they had boundless energy when they saw the toy store. We literally had to drag them screaming out of the store, which I'm sure is a common occurrence to the employees there. Of course, upon leaving the kids resumed their complaining. Then, we reached the subway and got on a train and suddenly the kids perk up, wanting to stand up in the car. Then, they see someone cross from our car and walk through to the next car. Now they want to do that, too. Of course, we adults could barely move. Luckily it wasn't long in between trains when we had to change, and we were coming out of the station and IP was hanging back with the kids, who resumed being tired. Now they want water. Travis and I were at the top of the stairs already, though. Travis said he saw a place and we were going to stop. IP said there was water right down there. But Travis insisted. So they came up and we crossed the street right to my favorite place, Starbucks. I got an iced nf sfv caramel macchiato and Natalie wanted one, too. She'd tasted one that IP had gotten me on the way to Philadelphia. So Travis got her one, too. Ryan got little E's favorite vanilla milk. IP and Travis got Ethos water. Natalie raved about her drink. I think Ryan was cheered when I told him the vanilla milk was my nephew's favorite drink, too. Now the kids are happy. We get on the shuttle bus and have plenty of room to sit down (as opposed to the adults having to stand when we first arrived--I guess that's what made the kids want to stand on the train because they thought it was cool). When we arrived by the ferry, I saw people selling cheap t-shirts 2 for $5. I wanted to get some. The first stand wasn't really anything. So we crossed the street and I got one that said I Love NY and another that was cool. Natalie and Ryan both got the I Love NY ones and wanted to wear them immediately. The ferry ride was really pleasant. We got to stand at the front of the boat again and got the most perfect view of the Statue of Liberty, but my camera malfunctions wouldn't allow me to take a picture. I wasn't too happy about that, of course. But the weather was great and the kids had a blast.

The next day, Travis had to go to work, but IP was still off, so she took us all to the beach. The weather was beautiful. It was 72F, the water was 70F, which seems cold but really wasn't. We meant to stay there a couple of hours. This was at Ocean City Beach Park or something like that. I can't remember the name. But it was a park, and the beach was beautiful, with waves almost as high as the ones in Hawai'i, but not quite. The water was beautiful. Natalie and I collected shells. Ryan was looking for crabs because he used to have some as pets. Then, IP saw what looked like a shallow place in the water and wanted to take the kids over. I rested with my sunglasses to take a break and hoped to not get a migraine from all the sunshine. But it was relaxing just to be there. IP came back after a while and said it was actually a sandbar out there and it was really pretty. So I went back with Natalie (the water was too deep for me to take Ryan as I'm not tall enough to carry him). It wasn't too steep of a drop, but then, as soon as you were down it was time to go back up. I guess it was low-tide because IP said she's been there lots of times and the sandbar was never there. But the sand was firm and the waves were lower there. On top of the sandbar it was only about ankle deep water. But it was nice and Natalie and I found a lot more shells. After that, IP and I took turns resting and going out to the sandbar. Before we knew it, we'd been there 4 1/2 hours! So we went to the bathhouse and showered and changed so we could get something to eat. On the way out of the park, we saw a sign advertising "Kids Eat Free", but the sign didn't say the name of the restaurant. So we went to the one that looked closest to the sign, only to see the menu by the door and the prices indicated that kids did not actually eat free. And everything was $20 and UP! I don't think I've ever paid that much for a meal in my life (of course, I'm poor--maybe that isn't that much to other people, but it is to me). I told IP to go somewhere else, but she said it was okay. I argued a little, but she insisted, so we went in. The restaurant was upstairs. Luckily when we got the menus there were some less expensive options, but all the healthy dishes were the expensive ones. I wasn't about to let IP pay that much for a meal for me, so I picked a fried fish sandwich, thinking it wouldn't be that much. It was. It was a big sandwich, with 4 fillets of fish. Of course, that doesn't excuse me because I still could have saved some of it, but I didn't. I was starving. I ate the whole thing. It used up every flex point I had that day and I never use all my flex points. Usually I use about half of them tops. Oh well. I was on vacation. So then we got back home and talked and relaxed. It was just a really beautiful day. We all ended up with sunburn, though, especially IP. Her back was beet red. We were all slathering ourselves in aloe that night.

The next few days, IP worked and I stayed and watched the kids. They didn't require a lot of supervision, just making sure they didn't fight too much or bother the dogs too much as Ryan has a tendency not to let them go when they're tired of him. He's been bitten before, but that doesn't stop him for some reason. Wednesday, IP and I went to pick up IP's delivery of vegetables from the organic farm. They deliver to one person's house as she went in threesies with two of her friends for a CSA membership. Then, they divide up the delivery between themselves. So IP went to her friend's house to get her share, which included some heirloom vegetables and an heirloom watermelon, which IP said wasn't enough for 3 people to share and she got one last week. So she let her friend keep it. Her friend let us taste it and it was super-juicy and delicious, though. IP was hoping there would be others so she'd get one to herself. Then, Thursday night was supposed to be the mother-daughter book club meeting, but when we got to the woman's house for the meeting, she had canceled it as her toddler had fallen in the bathroom and was bleeding from his privates. She wanted to rush him to the emergency room as she didn't know how bad it was and the bleeding wouldn't stop. Of course, IP said that was fine and she'd watch the kids for her as the woman had 3 other kids. The woman didn't want IP to do that and said her husband could take the little one, but IP said that wasn't good. She knew they'd both rather be there. So when the husband got home they both rushed out with him and took him to the ER (where there was supposed to be quick admittance for children's injuries). Her kids were no trouble at all to watch, although the baby cried for about 45 minutes instead of the promised 5 minutes at bedtime. The other two kids were older and went to bed exactly at their bedtimes with no fuss whatsoever. When the parents got home, it was thankfully not too late and they were relieved that there wasn't any serious injury and all he needed was bandages. He was happy because he had a hospital bracelet and thought of the whole thing as an adventure once he found out he was going to the hospital. That made him forget about everything else, actually.

The next day, IP only worked a half day, so we went to the organic farm to pick our own produce (you can go once a week to pick your own in addition to the delivery with a CSA membership). The kids loved it as they were snacking on raspberries and blackberries while we were picking. It took a fairly long time as it was near dinner time when we finished and IP wanted to take me to dinner to thank me for babysitting. When we got home, though, we'd found a thank you card and a couple of bottles of wine from the mother of the injured toddler. She said she appreciated us helping her out the night before. Really sweet of her, but of course IP can have all the wine. We had to put the berries in a container as they were mashing in the bag we were carrying them home in. Then we went out to Applebee's for dinner so I could stick to the WW plan. The kids liked it, and I got to thank IP and Travis for everything as they'd paid for all my food, transportation, museum admissions, etc. while I'd been there and I said it didn't feel like anything more than a vacation and I had a lot of fun. They said they'd enjoyed it, too, but they did appreciate me helping them out. Really, I didn't feel like I did them that big a favor, but it was sweet of them.

The next day, I flew home. The Philadelphia airport is confusing as hell. There's no clear signs saying where the terminals are. Really, it actually pointed to the right, when the entrance was on the left. Makes no sense at all. AND, not only did they need to hand search my film, but they needed to search my bag. So I waited in a little glass-enclosed room while they checked my film in this little machine. It took longer than hand-searching really, because the machine had to do whatever it needed to do for each roll of film when they could easily have just looked themselves and seen what was in there. Then she had to look in my bag, and she saw all my little bottles of pills and realized that was what had shown up in the x-ray. The x-ray couldn't tell if it was liquid or not, and I guess they thought I'd be smuggling tons of itty bitty bottles of liquids to San Antonio. It took forever and seemed to really be overkill. But anyway, the flight from Philly to Dallas was long, but nothing awful. The only thing was that I was hungry and I planned to get something in Dallas when we landed as the pilot said we'd arrive early. Not so. We arrived late. I had no layover at all. We landed as my other flight was supposed to be boarding. AND I had to run through 3 terminals to get to the one my flight was leaving from. There was a tram, but it was slow. Really, I expected to hear the last boarding call as I ran to the gate (if they held the flight for me), but they were late departing as the plane hadn't arrived yet. Okay, so there was a little relief. I looked around to see if there was something quick I could grab to eat, but there were nothing but stores and sit-down restaurants, which I doubted I had time for. Great. So I'm holding on to my suitcase for dear life as I'm so light-headed I feel like I'm going to pass out. That's what happens when you don't have time for breakfast and planes don't serve free food anymore. So I'm changing my mind about the paying for food and deciding I'm desperate to pay too much for a tiny bag of peanuts or whatever the plane is serving. By the time we board, I'm exhausted and can barely stand. Then, I find out there's no snack on this flight. I took another dose of dramamine and ordered a diet Sprite. But instead of giving me the can as the flight attendants had done on ALL the other flights I'd been on, she filled this little thimble-sized plastic cup and moved on. Great. The day I need some energy, I get the tiny cup only. So then, I'm waiting until San Antonio. I arrived and ran out of the plane as fast as I could. The San Antonio airport is small, so I didn't expect trouble finding Mom, but there was this huge party waiting for a soldier coming home from Iraq and I couldn't see anyone else. Of course, I wasn't thinking clearly and I missed her completely. Then, we go outside and it's sprinkling, but stuffy and hot and nothing like the beautiful weather in NJ. Still, I couldn't wait to get home. Mom promised Sonic, but I didn't want to be that bad. She reminded me I'd had nothing to eat, and I remembered that a chicken strip dinner is 17 points and I had 18 points to use. So yes, Mom go to Sonic. It was delicious, but I ate it way to fast and made myself sick. Still, I hadn't been bad like that in a long time. Plus, Bucky missed me tremendously and it felt so good to hug him after so long. He felt tiny after petting IP's dogs, though! But I missed his sweet little face. But if he'd been with me up there I wouldn't have wanted to come home. Maybe he and I will move to New York someday. Who knows? : )

Friday, August 17, 2007

Tropical Storm Erin and the ceiling hole

Normally, a tropical storm heading right for Texas doesn't scare me. Usually, we just have some rain and that's about it. But this one seemed to be moving unusually slowly and the eye passed right over Bexar county. Really, by the time it got to Bexar county, I didn't expect it to have an eye anymore, but there you go. And for anyone not in this area, it's pronounced like "Bayer", not the actual Bex-Ahr, like it's spelled. Like you didn't already think Texans are weird. Anyway, so I manage to make it to the pharmacy to drop off my prescriptions, but the way to the pharmacy isn't a route that floods. I had no idea how bad it was in the rest of the city until I turned on the news later. Apparently, there was heavy flooding all over town, including some normally dry creeks that overflowed and covered the roadways, washing away cars and SUVs. Many of the highways also flooded and had to be closed, making traffic an absolute nightmare. Causing accidents all over town, including some with fatalities and serious injuries. Causing high-water rescues to be so frequent that the emergency crews couldn't keep up. The winds were so high that some tornadoes were spawned north of here and west, too, I believe.

So, you'd think we're safe living on the 3rd floor and on a hill, right? Well, I'll admit there were no injuries. But Mom heard some water and thought it was her imagination until she heard a gush and some deb
ris falling and...


Crash. This pic doesn't include the debris on the floor, of course, but it's a mess. Mom called the apartment office right away and they said they'd send someone, but no one came. You can tell how seriously they take us. You'd think that for $1000 a month we'd get some better service. AND they still haven't fixed the floodlights that are on our building. All of them are out and it's been a few weeks now. They even sent out a memo telling us how seriously they take the residents safety and security. It's DARK out there at night. I just hate to walk the dog out there, but what can I do? He's gotta go sometime. He can't hold it all night.

Anyway, if I have to I'll call them again. I don't want to be the "bitchy resident", but it isn't safe out there or in here either. Leaking water can be a health hazard, you know? It can lead to mold and even further damage, and if we get any more rain...I don't want to think about it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Our Wonderful Vet

Really, he must be the best vet in town. He has an encyclopedic memory. Every time I see him he remembers all kinds of stuff I told him from ages ago, and I know it's not in my file. It would be a book if it covered everything. Plus, he just instinctually knows stuff. I don't know how he does it, but often he doesn't need to do tests or anything because he knows what it is already. He's always right, too. So, I take Bucky in, and Bucky takes an immediate dislike to this Westie that's in the waiting room. I don't know what it was about the dog, but Bucky didn't like him. Other people came in later with other pets and he was fine with them. He just didn't like the Westie. Anyway, we get called in and Bucky is absolutely perfect. He doesn't growl or bite or even cry out when they give him his shots. Really, that's not what I expected after his last vet trip. He let them draw his blood for the heartworm test. He let the vet look at his teeth. He let them weigh him (4.14 pounds). He was just wonderfully well-behaved. I mentioned his teeth because I was concerned that I'd seen some brown stuff on them and I didn't want that to lead to any health problems. He hasn't been chewing on anything and he doesn't let me brush his teeth (really, he's as slippery as an eel---you try restraining him). So the vet thought immediately of this stuff that we can add to his water. It acts as a dental rinse, but it's safe for the dogs to drink. It cleans their teeth and will even help break down the stuff that's already there over time. GREAT! Perfect. Thank you! Although he did say that papillons are the poster dogs for periodontal disease, so Bucky is lucky his teeth aren't worse than they are. The vet thought they looked pretty good, but it's always good to do preventative care. I don't want it to lead to heart disease or anything. And the Heartguard stuff made him throw up, so they suggested this other thing called Iverheart that's a chewable pill, but it should be easier to take. He got his Advantage. He's all set.

I gave him the Iverheart the next day, because I didn't know if it would upset his stomach and I didn't want to give it to him the same day he had the nervous experience of the vet's office and shots. Still, he took it just fine. He even seemed to like the flavor. Great. The water additive seems to have no flavor or scent at all. They drink the water normally and didn't even sniff it like it smelled funny or anything. Great. Great.

Today it's just chore day. I started off with a mammoth laundry experience. Pretty much everything I own got thrown in there. Then, I vacuumed at that seemed to wear my shoulders out. Mom got this old-type vacuum that's the kind you roll around on the ground, but doesn't need attachments. While the not needing attachments part sounds great, the problem is that you have to hold the tube part out at a specific angle to get it to roll forward and now my shoulders are killing me from hunching over. Yes, even I, at 4'9", had to hunch over. I miss our old upright vacuum, even if I had to use attachments. It's a small price to pay for no sore shoulders, you know? I was going to clean the bathroom, but maybe I'll do that tomorrow. I don't think my back can take any more punishment today.

Anyway, that's about it. I'm glad Mocha Momma got her blog back up and running. I don't have a link to her site, but I'll have to add it on my list. For a while she was saying she wasn't going to blog anymore, so I thought I didn't need it, but now, if she's back, I'll have to add the link. She's pretty cool. : )

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Getting sick of Hotmail!

Okay, on top of it being always down or not available, today I couldn't print an e-mail. Sounds simple enough, right. I've done it before plenty of times. But today IP forwarded a copy of the airline itinerary and confirmation to me. I wanted to print it so I could give a copy to whomever takes me to the airport and picks me up. It will probably be Mom, but we'll see. Plus, I want the confirmation number so that I can do the online check-in. Really cool. Anyway, so I'm trying to print it, and it fits on 2 pages, but only one page will print. So I had 2 sheets of paper with page 1 on it. Page 2 would not print. So I try hitting "print" again and just selecting page 2 to print and not page 1. This despite the fact that "all" had been clicked to begin with and it still only printed page 1. Well, that froze up the browser. So I tried not using Hotmail's print feature and just using the one on the browser. That didn't work either, because Hotmail kept saying I had to wait until the page finished loading and it wouldn't finish loading. It just kept saying it was transferring data. I had the e-mail in front of me and it was all loaded! It froze up the browser again. I tried a few more times and that didn't work. It froze up the browser each time I tried something different. So, I gave up on Hotmail and just copied the e-mail and pasted it into a Word document. That printed. So, this just seems like the last straw with Hotmail. I'm so sick of them. I'm sick of the delays. I'm sick of it being down. I'm sick of it never working right. I haven't had this many problems with an e-mail address since I had dial-up internet. I just don't know if I go somewhere else, will it be the same? I mean, are there any good ones out there? I've had problems when I tried to get a Yahoo account. It never let me log in. I mean, I might even still have the account if they didn't cancel it. I never used it because I was never able to log in. Anyway, I don't know where to go. If anyone has any recommendations for a good, trouble-free e-mail provider, I'd appreciate it.

I don't know if I ever mentioned this on this blog. I probably didn't. Sometimes I think I blogged about something and I actually only wrote about it in my journal. But I like to collect foreign currency. No rare coins or anything, although I'm sure that would be cool. I just can't afford it. But occasionally foreign currency ends up mixed in our own currency and I keep the foreign coins. I used to have one from China, but sis M kept stealing it when she was little and it got lost. Anyway, I just recently pulled out a coin, thinking it was a dime and it turns out it was an Arabic coin. I'm sure it came from one of our many military personnel living here, but I think it's pretty cool-looking. I obviously can't read Arabic, so I don't know where it's from exactly. But the script is really pretty and it has flowery lines all around and pretty pictures, too. It's just a really pretty coin. Most of my coins aren't really from very far away, usually Canada or Mexico. I don't do enough traveling to collect very many on my own, although I do have some French Francs from a trip to Paris a long time ago. I just like it when I get one that's from somewhere far away. I think I got some from Norway from my pen pal in high school, but those got lost, too. I mean, I thought I had them safe, but I haven't been able to find them, so obviously I'm not as good at keeping stuff as I thought I was.

I had my psychiatrist appointment today. He apparently didn't think my symptoms from a couple of months ago warranted changing the dosage of my Trileptal. Oh well. I thought so, but maybe not. He just said I will get an episode every once in a while and no medication can prevent them altogether. I guess I knew that, but I was hoping he could do something about it since it was a particularly long episode for me. AND I've been feeling a little off, but maybe not off enough to change the dosage. I don't know. Anyway, I guess it's better that way, because I doubt I could afford to take 4 of those 300 mg pills, or even to buy the more expensive 600 mg pills and take 2 of those instead. It's more expensive either way, and I didn't notice much difference in price if I did one rather than the other. It's expensive enough on the dose I'm on now. As it is, I buy the generic from Canada and that's not cheap either.

Poor Bucky has a vet's appointment on Monday. He's overdue for some shots and I was trying to get the money. S sent me $40 from England just so that I could get the exam with his rabies shot, but Mom says he needs more than that because he'll need the heartworm test, too. I mean, that would be more expensive if he ended up with heartworms, so I guess the test is cheaper. Plus, he'll need probably a parvo shot in addition to the rabies on and maybe something else, too. Living in apartments, I kind of need to keep his shots up-to-date in case he bites someone. Knowing my dog, he would if he could, too. But, I don't want them to take him away because he doesn't have his shots and Mom doesn't want that to happen either. So, she's going to charge the rest on her credit card. I mean, it's sweet of her. I just wish she didn't have to put it on the credit card, but she doesn't have the money to do it otherwise. How spoiled we are having dogs. I just can't imagine life without him.

Anyway, I guess I'm getting ready to go to NJ. Getting more excited about it all the time and I know IP can't wait to see me. I will hate all the airport security mess, etc., and I will hate being away from Bucky that long. I know I'll cry myself to sleep every night not having him with me. But I should still have a good time and it will be great to hang out with IP as we haven't been able to do that in years. And I always wanted her kids to know me, but it's been ages since I've seen them, too. Her little boy was an infant the last time I saw him and I think he's 5 years old now. Well, I guess that's it for now.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Interview at Jim's

The interview wasn't FOR Jim's, but that's where the interview was because the store isn't finished out yet. So, I got to the Jim's and it's one of those weird, retro type restaurants down near downtown. Nothing fancy, but there was a coffee bar near the entrance that I wouldn't have minded trying except no one was standing there to take my order. I waited, but no one came. Oh well...

I got to the restaurant and went inside, thinking the man who was going to meet me would check to see if I arrived, but he didn't. So, I looked at my phone and there was a call from him around 2 pm when I'd been in the shower and I'd missed it. OMG! I was afraid he was calling to cancel, so I called him back, even though it was now almost 4 and time for my interview. He didn't answer his cell, so I was afraid something had happened and I'd blown my chances somehow. But he called back almost immediately and said he was in the back of the restaurant. Okay. Deep breath. I go back there and he was really good-natured about it, saying it was just a call to confirm the appointment anyway and not to worry. The interview went well, I think. He seemed genuinely interested, although I'd rather not get my hopes up too high. But I think part of the reason they're interested is that I don't have any experience really and they wouldn't have to pay me as much. That might have something to do with it. Anyway, the listing didn't say experience was required.

The drive home went fine, even though it was fairly long. It wasn't yet 5:00, so there wasn't much traffic. I don't know where to send the "Thank You" card, but maybe the store in Austin. Don't know if he'll get it or not. I can try.

I guess I don't have anything else to report. If I did get the job, I probably wouldn't start until I got back from NJ, which is good. The store won't open until the beginning of September. Hopefully they wouldn't need anything from me before then, but you never know. Right now, I'd really rather get the job and worry about anything else later. I just need a job. That's pretty much all I can think about at the moment, although I am getting more and more excited about going to NJ and seeing IP and the fam. I haven't seen them in ages and the last time I saw them I didn't really get to talk to them very much because I was shooting pictures for R's wedding and generally being distracted. It will be good to take some time away from job hunting and maybe blow off some steam. Wish I could take Bucky with me, but I know he'd hate being around the other dogs. Oh well. : (

Well, I guess that's it for now. Wish I had better blog entries to write, but I'm sort of in a block right now and can't think of much else.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Waaaay too easy...

I had to call the bank because I hadn't gotten my new bank card and the old one was just about to expire. So I call and they say they sent it, but I never got it. So since it was so close to being the end of the month, they were going to overnight one to me. I never got the overnighted one either. So I called again. Turns out, they did send the overnighted one and someone activated it. I was shocked, first of all, that that was even possible. I mean, don't you have to give out information to verify your identity? Shouldn't calling from the home phone number mean that you can't activate the card if you call from a different phone number? Apparently not. I just received the second overnighted card and activated it a moment ago. All I had to do was enter the card number (easy enough, it was right in front of me) then enter a new PIN. That's it. No verification procedures, nothing. I can't help but to think this isn't very secure. Normally, I love my bank. They're fantastic. But I can't believe it was that easy for someone to take my card and activate it. The good thing was that I was waiting for the card and called the bank right away when I didn't get it. They were able to cancel that card before any charges had been made on it. But really, there should be some way of making sure no one can use it but me. I'm shocked and disappointed.

Anyway, in other news, I had to get a haircut. I hated that my hair was so long and it was getting tangled all the time. It was nearly impossible to brush it out. I just ended up with wads of hair being pulled out. I've been to places and had really good haircuts and been to them when I had a really awful haircut. So I didn't want to go to a really cheap place figuring the people that work there aren't as experienced. So I went and got a $30 haircut. Not too expensive (except for me, because that was all the money I had--but I'm sure employed people could swing it fairly easily), but not too cheap either. Normally I'd want a senior stylist or a master stylist to do my hair, but $30 was about all I could afford. They saw me right away and the woman who cut my hair seemed to be distracted or something. The way she cut my hair (long layers and just below my shoulders in length) didn't seem to be the way most people cut layers. She just picked at it and cut some parts shorter than other parts. It looked like a mess! I mean, my hair was wet when I left (can't afford a blow-dry, too), so I hoped it would look better when it dried, although I doubted it. But the dryer it got the worse it looked. It didn't look layered at all. It was just chopped up. AND it was way shorter than I wanted it. I did NOT want short hair. I actually cried when I got home it was so awful. So I called the salon to see if I could speak to a manager, but apparently there doesn't need to be a manager on duty at a salon as there has to be in retail because there wasn't going to be a manager in until the next day. Weird. So I'm thinking I'll go in in the morning when the manager gets there and see if they can redo my hair. As it was, I knew there was nothing they could do about the length as it was already too short, which was bad enough. The next day, I wake up and go straight down there. I got there a little after they opened, around 10:30 when they opened at 10:00. They tell me she isn't going to be in until 11:30. Well, on the phone, they'd told me she'd be in at 10:00. I was MAD. But I didn't have anything to do and it would take me too long to get home to wait at home. So I wait there. She didn't get there until noon! I told her what was wrong with my hair and she said she didn't know why I waited because anyone could have helped me. Well, how would I know that I didn't need to see her first, you know? But the guy that cut my hair seemed to know what he was doing. It doesn't look fantastic or anything, but I'll admit it's an improvement. I just wish it had looked as good as it's been in the past when I got the same haircut. I still cried when I got home because I was so mad and it was way too short. I mean, he didn't cut off much to do the layers, but it was already short from when the other lady cut it. I can't help but to be really disappointed in how it came out. It's not what I wanted at all. I mean, it's layered, but it doesn't look really "good", just "okay" or "not too bad". But I don't want to have someone else take a shot at it if it's already as short as it is and have even more cut off. I'm just not happy with it.

Also, I had to buy some jeans. I don't know if it will be cool in NJ or not at the end of August, but it might be. I don't know. So, I wanted to have some jeans, but the only ones I had from last year were size 4. I went all over the place looking for a size 2 with a 27" inseam. It's nearly impossible. I mean, I found these Lauren Jeans ones but they were $70. They looked fantastic on, but they'd better for $70, you know? But really there's no way I could spend that much. I tried on jeans at the Gap, remembering I used to buy jeans there when I was younger, but after I tried them on, they didn't fit great, but they fit. I looked at the price and they were $50! OMG! I remember when I was younger and they were only $35. Crazy. So, I just really didn't want to spend that much. I went to Burlington because they were having a huge sale, but couldn't find any that had the 27" inseam. That's really the hardest part. Then, I went to the mall and went into just about every store there, looking at jeans. Most of the stores there had juniors sizes, which don't fit me (for one thing, I have a butt and it won't fit in an ultra-low rise jean). I went to the department stores, but even then, there weren't any that had a 27" inseam AND the size 2. Really, even in the petite section, most of them were size 14 or else the smallest size they carried was a 4. Eventually, I caved and went to the Gap again. I told the saleswoman what I wanted since she approached me right as I came in and she pulled out the classic fit size 2 ankle-length, and it was too long! What? That's what I'd tried on in the other store that fit. The other styles it fit too long. So this other guy comes over and he says that the new classic fit ankle length is going to be longer than the old stock. So, if I was lucky a store still had the old stock still in and that would fit. But the new stock is going to be longer. Stupid. Luckily they had ONE pair left of the old stock that was a 2, so I got those. Now I don't know where I'll find jeans if I can't even get ripped off at the Gap. There's no way I can afford the $70 Lauren Jeans. $50 was bad enough. Maybe I'll try the factory stores in San Marcos. Don't know.

Well, that's it I suppose. Not much going on. Sorry I haven't been keeping up with the blog. I haven't had much to blog about, though. I have one job interview tomorrow. Hope it goes well. We'll see. The only thing I'm really nervous about is getting home in rush hour traffic because the interview is near downtown at 4pm. The only other slot they had was at 8am, and I'm NOT a morning person. Plus, trying to get there by 8 in rush hour traffic sounded much more difficult than if I went later. Getting home isn't time-sensitive, you know? Anyway, I'll let everyone know how it goes, not that it's all that interesting to blog about, I'm sure. But if I get an offer on the spot I'd be thrilled. Don't think that happens in real life, though. : )

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Greatest Shopping Day Ever!

My day out with Dad was a fun day of bargains. I mean, the lunch (Chinese food was great), then I needed some shorts because my size 4s are too BIG! Believe me, this is really crazy because I haven't been that small in a long time. BTW, I'm only 4'9", so it's not like I'm a stick or anything to get to that size. But, I don't think it really sank in until I was in the dressing room. Anyway, I didn't know where you could buy a size 2 where it wouldn't cost too much, so I was pretty much resigned to it being at least $25, but was hoping I could get them for less. Dad and I decided to try Old Navy. I know they have small sizes there. So, we parked in front of the store and as we were walking in, we saw they were having a HUGE sale, with things marked down to 50% OFF! Wow. It's not like they were hugely expensive to begin with, so we were happy. I was hoping they'd have some shorts on sale.

Sure enough, there were lots. I had my choice. The hardest part was finding a 2, but it was possible, and I found 4 pairs to try on. There were other 2s, but they were either way too short or way too long on me. Won't work. So anyway, I get into the dressing room, and I'm not looking forward to it, because I know I'm flabby. I'm not a model or anything. I don't like trying on clothes. But I didn't realize how bulky wearing a size too large can make you look. As soon as I took them off I was shocked. I hadn't seen myself in a mirror in a long time, not size I was buying clothes that were really big. I mean, I have a mirror at home, but it's not a full-length mirror. I hadn't really seen my body, you know? I was so happy I was literally jumping up and down in the dressing room. Yes, there was flab, but it was such an improvement I was happy anyway. AND, every pair of shorts I tried on fit me. Not like, some of them were tight and some of them fit. No. All of them fit. I just picked the ones I liked the best and went with it. It was just a bonus that they were only $8.49. : )

So then, we did our usual Walmart thing, but didn't get very much because I knew I had coupons that I wanted to use at HEB. Then, we got coffee. It was already about 4:30 by then since the Old Navy trip took a while. It was so hot and stuffy from all the rain we've had (no end in sight either--more on the way) that both of us wanted Frappuccinos. I had to choose between light and decaf, though. They don't have a decaf light Frappuccino. : ( Obviously, in the interest of weight loss, I got the caffeine and chose the light.

Later, at HEB, I knew I had some good coupons, but I didn't know how many of them we'd use. We didn't get our usual amount at Walmart, so that gave us some money to work with on the usual Walmart stuff that we were now going to get at HEB. I had a $5 off coupon for toilet paper. It was only $6.80 or something anyway for a 12 pack. I had a buy one get one free on my shampoo and conditioner. I had $1 off Dad's toothpaste. There was a store coupon by the cereal for $1 off, so I got $1 off my cereal that I didn't have a coupon for. There was more, but I don't remember them all, but it's not like you need an inventory of them anyway. By the time we got to the checkout line, we had $65 worth of stuff. But with the coupons, we had a $25 discount off of that and got it all for not much more than my usual grocery budget, and it will last a while with all the buy one get one free coupons. Won't be needing those for a while. It pretty much paid for my tank of gas, too. I was just shocked that we saved $25 with coupons. I mean, they're just coupons. Don't normally have enough good ones to take that much off the bill, you know?

So, we had a great time and saved a lot of money and we were both really happy. I suppose I shouldn't say it was the best shopping day EVER, because we had a great time one Christmas and got some amazing deals, including a $200 leather jacket for $50 and a shirt and earrings for sis R for only $3 for both with a coupon. Still, it's good to save money when you're broke, so I hope clipping coupons at least helps a little bit next week. We'll see. : )