Saturday, March 29, 2008
Okay, so where was I. Toronto. Oh yeah...
So after our adventure up to the tippy top of the CN Tower, we hopped back on the subway and made our way up to what was supposed to be an awesome H&M. I was so psyched about this little journey to clothing nirvana that I'd literally brought a suitcase that was 3 times larger than what I needed so that I could carry all my loot back with me. But we got there, and...meh. Wasn't really loving the spring stuff, and although the coats/jackets were awesome, I couldn't really convince myself to shell out $69 (Canadian) for something that I wouldn't be able to enjoy for at least another 10 mos. And also? The prices weren't as "reasonable" as I remember them being in past H&M shopping experiences. And they're doing that thing that The Gap did a few years ago when they decided to make all their size 10 thru 14 sizes fit like size 6 thru 10 sizes. So H&M? Before you decide to conquer America? You'd better figure shit out so you don't end up in the crap heap like The Gap.
After the disappointing trip to H&M, we went back to the hotel to refresh and try and figure out what we wanted to do for dinner. Toronto is an AMAZING city for all types of ethnic cuisine: Greek, Italian, Chinese, Portuguese, etc., so we wanted to try out something that would be memorable. We went to China Town and were not disappointed. I wish I could remember the name of the place we went to (Jaye? Help me?), but it had been recommended to us, and suffice it to say, we were the only Anglos in the joint. We ordered the best salt and pepper shrimp I've ever had, some AWESOME Chinese broccoli in garlic sauce, and this great sliced chicken with ginger and green onion. Accompanied by a couple of Tsing Taos and the unbelievably cute 5 month old Asian baby sitting next to us, it was a fine experience.
Of course, when you're in Chinatown, you have to endure scenes like this, but hey...when in Rome.
Next day, woke up and it was cloudy, colder, and looking like it would snow at any moment. After an early morning pre-presentation work session in my hotel room, Jaye and I headed north, back to the H&M so I could return 3/4 of the stuff that I'd purchased but failed to try on the day before, then we headed to the area where we were going to be doing our presentation, near the University of Toronto.
It was lunch time, so we looked for a place to grab a quick bite. A block away from the university building we were presenting in, we found Bar Mercurio. Wow. What a pleasant surprise THAT was. They had counter service (order at the counter, you're served at the table...but apparently at night they have table service), but this lovely and bustling eatery is what Enoteca in Austin is trying to be. Tons of character, great food, and (what Enoteca and Cippolina lack), utterly authentic. I had a smoked salmon/portabella/goat cheese pizza and Jaye had this mixed seafood linguine. They were both wonderful and hearty.
We scooted to our presentation space and did our thing. During the presentation, it started snowing outside. Lightly at first, then like crazy. By the time we wrapped it up, the locals were telling us to haul ass so we would be able to catch our 6pm flight (it was 3pm). So we hopped on the subway (the wrong line, which we figured out and corrected within one stop), went back to the hotel where our luggage was waiting, and hopped in a car we'd reserved for our trip to the airport.
Now, it was REALLY snowing. Hard. Big, wet snow. Traffic was screwed. We got to the airport after about 1.25 hour in the car. Found out our flight was delayed. Breezed through customs, and finally boarded our plane close to 7pm, EST. Got to Atlanta and found out our flight to Austin was delayed by about an hour. Had dinner in a "Chili's for Desperate Air Travelers" restaurant, and boarded the plane. Jaye watched her Battlestar Gallactica DVD while I tried desperately to get some shut eye. But of course there was this DRUNK chick who thought she was way cuter than she actually was, walking the aisle, and loudly hitting on anything that had a penis. I swear, I was about to CLOCK her. But it was kind of worth the pain when she walked off, and we got to watch the guys near us make fun of her and talk about how bad her breath smelled.
Got back to Austin and had to wait an unusually long time for our luggage. Dropped Jaye off and rolled into my garage at like 12:40am. Took a shower and collapsed in bed at about 1:20. Woke the next day to muggy temperatures that eventually hit the mid-80s.
Toronto: Great city. Deserves more than a 36 hour visit.
Me: Thrown back in to work. Sort of zombie-like. Future stepson and in-laws visiting this weekend. Heading back out of town on Tuesday.
But you know what? My puny azalea bush--that has NEVER done anything that produce more than a couple of pitiful blooms in the previous 2 springs that I've lived in this house--is exploding with blooms. If you grow up behind the Pine Curtain, spring to you means blooming dogwoods and azaleas--two things that aren't really found here in Central Texas. So having this little slice of east Texas right outside my front door is a really nice treat.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Okay, so when we last left Karla May, she was looking forward to an insanely early wake up time for bit of whirlwind travel up to our neighbors to the north. So yeah...Monday, I go get Jaye at 5:00am. We get to ABIA at 5:20. Get onboard (pretty much) on time, and head to Cincinatti. Yeah, I've never been there either. Anyway, everything's on time and okay but, for some reason, we're on these little regional jets. And what does that mean to me? Time for Xanax!! Yay!! I actually managed to sleep for part of the flight, which is like HUGE for me. Anyhoo, we get there, have some breakfast, then board the next little regional jet to Toronto.
Answer me this: Every leg of this trip we took, the planes were (surprisingly) full. So why the little pipsqueak planes? Eh? What, Austin ain't good enough for a "real" plane? And also: Why isn't the word "pipsqueak" a more frequently-used word?! I mean, it's AWESOME!!
We land in Toronto around 12:45pm EST. Get to the hotel, check in, etc. I BEG Jaye for a Disco Nap. She allows. So 45 mins. (and VERY refreshed) later, we venture out. Get on the TTC and head to the area near the CN Tower. It's about 2:30 now, so we're hungry, and we stop off at a pub for some grub. And a couple of ciders.
Is it just me, or is this sign for the men's room both counter-intuitive and funny at the same time?
It was cold and clear in Toronto. The kind of cold where you're fine if you're in the sun, but the minute you step into the shade and that wind hits you, damn, you're COLD.
One thing about Toronto that reminded me of Austin: building and cranes EVERYWHERE.
Anyway, we get to the tower, and it costs $26 fookin' dollars (Canadian, of course...which means it was more in Amerikhun dollars, because ours is running about $.95 to $1.00 of theirs). So yeah. But then we decide to pay the extra $9 to go to the "Sky Pod"--the extra super special high part of the tower that's another 33 stories (or "storeys" if you want to go all Canadian with your spelling) up. We're suckers. But you know what? It was pretty damn cool, and we lucked out on the crystal clear day. But hey, CN tower folks: Maybe if you didn't charge so damn much for the tickets to go up, people could actually afford to enjoy and buy food and drinks in your nice, swanky, EMPTY bar/restaurant.Just a suggestion...
Let's get to the million dollar views, shall we?
Downtown, to the north and a bit east-ish of the tower.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
You see that teeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeny pinkish speck in the upper left center of this photo? That's the Geej, running her peaches off at Commons Ford Ranch Park. I can't WAIT to see this place when the trees are fully covered in leaves and there's lots of spotty shade.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Monday sort of sucked.
Yesterday, it rained like hell AND it also sort of sucked. Let me put it this way: My team was in interviews for our open position from 12:30 until 5:15pm, which was then followed by nearly TWO HOURS of passionate deliberation about the candidates. The choice wasn't just difficult; it was excruciating. It came down to an extremely talented external candidate who really wants and is excited about the position and an extremely talented internal candidate who--although we've worked with him in the past and he interviewed for the job--never convinced us that he really, really wanted it. Plus, I think the work style of our team drives him slightly nuts and I truly believe that there are bigger and better things on the horizon for him at our company. It was rough, but we ended up going with the external candidate. Tomorrow, I get to call the third candidate we interviewed and tell him we've gone with someone else. Not fun.
I am simply swamped at work. I feel like I'm mere seconds from drowning. If I had the ability to work until 6:30 every night, I would be able to get a lot more done. But I can't do that (due to my Geej-fetching deadline), and I really don't want to have to work at home at night. I am trying to clarify the line between work life and home life, and working at home only blurs that. But really, it's the only way to keep myself from complete burial.
Next week, I go to Toronto for work. The week after that, Boulder. A couple of weeks after that, BH and I head to the beach (hallelujah!) and then I head to Chicago for work. In other words, April's gonna be a bitch.
Meanwhile, The Geej has become very taken with her Little People. She takes them in the bathtub with her, and there is all sorts of drama and adventure. Tonight, she lined them all up on the side of the tub, and I asked her what all of their names were. They were, from left to right: Lisa, Batman, Teddy Bear, My Love, a different Lisa, Nabel, Wonderpet, The Other Wonderpet, Spiderman, and Louie.
The girl has the most wonderful imagination.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Friday, March 14, 2008
We couldn't help but get up and sing and dance during their set, but after getting told to sit down 3 times by AMH security, it sort of deflated our balloons a bit.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
Don't believe me? Just check out this clip of me dancing with my Muse sisters. (This clip's for you, Mags.)
I didn't mean to imply--by not posting for days after my last "Yuck" post--that I had kicked the bucket. I am still very much alive. Instead, after that last post, I got to feeling humanish on Friday, just in time to send BH off to Colorado and to see GJ "perform" in her Friday afternoon dance class. After that, I headed back down town to the kick off event for my company's big bi-annual Corporate Event. Then, after that, went to our headquarters for a big party/cook off thing (a la "Iron Chef"), and lasted just long enough to have 2 glasses of wine and some finger food. Then went home, showered, got in my PJs, popped some popcorn, and watch La Vie En Rose on Pay-Per-View. Meh.
Saturday, got up and headed back to the Big Event. Was there from 9:30 to about 5:00pm, attending sessions, trying to be charming, shmoozing, etc. Ran home, changed clothes, fed dog and cat, then headed BACK downtown to the event space in order to attend the big company awards dinner/ceremony. It was scheduled to last from 6:30 to 9:30. It finished up at about 11pm. I was seated between the two Co-Presidents and the CFO, so I behaved. But after dinner was over, I headed down to the bar with the Director of PR for a well-deserved martini. I was so tired though, that it was all I could do to get my ass in my car and head home after that nightcap. Showered and got in bed and, with the time change, it was 2am before I went to sleep.
Next morning--yep--back at The Event for the big keynote speech by the CEO at 9:00am. After that, I had lunch and then headed to Costco and spent about $90 on some Big Bulk Items. Came home, showered, cleaned house, and grabbed an hour-long nap before BH called and told me he was about an hour outside of Austin (driving in with his 2 boys who are moving to College Station this week). So after speaking with him, I realized that I needed to go grocery shopping--have you ever seen how much a 13 year old boy can eat? It's astounding--so then went and spent nearly $200 at the grocery store, including an ice cream birthday cake for the younger son, whose 8th b-day was yesterday. Came home, Dah arrived with The Geej (who was VERY excited by both the arrival of BH's sons and the fact that there was a birthday underway), then I cooked dinner, we had b-day cake, I bathed the Geej, and then endured a world-class sugar-fueled meltdown when it was time for her to go to bed. Finally, I went to bed and practically passed the hell out.
This morning, when the alarm went off at 6-something, it was still dark outside and raining. Hard. GOD I did NOT want to get out of bed. I just wanted to spoon up with BH and snooze all morning. But no: It thundered, and soon a crying Geej was in our room, asking to get into bed. Then I had to get up and get ready to a) take her to Gymnastics Camp (she's going Monday and Friday of this week b/c it's Spring Break) and b) go to the final event of the big Corporate Hoo-Hah, the Annual Shareholders Meeting by 9:00am. I wore this shirt
After the annual meeting, I headed in to the office, worked, met with my boss, had some AMAZING vegetarian pho at lunch, went back to work, worked some more, then went to pick up The Geej.
All of this is to say, I have been pulling my freaking hair out for the last week or so. I know I always say how busy I am, but seriously, this is redonkulous. Sort of like this owl.
Good night. More soon.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
I fucking hate being sick. And this? I have no idea what "this" is. I just feel worn completely down, utterly exhausted. Of course, I have a HUGE, important, work event that starts tomorrow and goes all weekend until Monday. So, yeah...
BH travels to Colorado tomorrow to move his sons to Texas. They're moving close--to College Station--and BH is going to drive them back in their mom's car while she drives the moving van. They'll be with us for spring break/SXSW week next week.
We're excited. It's going to be busy. I need to get well, damnit.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Monday, March 03, 2008
Yeah, the entire U.T. marching band's drum line and brass accompanied Ghostland on "The Band Marches On," and the already-pumped up crowd when insane. I am so pissed that I missed this. I mean really, really mad at my choice of shoewear and decision not to eat before the show.
Saturday we hung out with Lisa and her ADORABLE and utterly charming 10 month old, Henry.
The Geej--who is utterly baby-crazy to begin with--was in heaven all weekend. She got to "help" out with the baby, and kept saying she was the "big sister." Meanwhile, she regressed a bit--getting jealous at having to share the spotlight with such a cherub. But all in all, she was great and we had a lot of fun.
Sunday, Lisa and Henry hit the road back to Dallas while BH, Geej and I went with Jaye to the Kite Festival. It couldn't have been a more perfect day for kite flying--cloudy, fairly cool, and very windy. We enjoyed all of the people watching and looking at the hundreds of dogs and kites. The Geej got to hang with her buddies from gymnastics (who had a booth) and do a little tumbling. Despite the rather terrified look on her face in this photo, I assure you she was having fun.
Oh, and I almost forgot, your brother and your boyfriend were there. They're so cool.
It threatened rain all day on Sunday, but luckily it held off while BH and I went to see Built to Spill at Stubb's. It was a really good show. They're so unassuming and rocking at the same time. And what a DIFFERENCE a crowd makes--I'll take a mildly-stoned crowd of bearded, balding 30-somethings over a packed crowd of 20-something drunk-ass douchebags any day. Much more pleasant all the way around.
Today we were woken up to wicked wind and lots of rain, along with a dropping temperature. Yay Monday! Yesterday it was shorts and t-shirts; Today long sleeves and coats. Such is March in central Texas.
If you're reading this in Ohio or Texas, don't forget to vote on Tuesday. It took me a while to decide who I was going for, but I've finally landed on Hillary. It will definitely be interesting to see how it goes. I can't remember the last time that Texas played such a crucial roll in determining who was going to end up on the democratic ticket.