Wednesday, June 28, 2006

thwarted travels

I requested vacation time from July 18th to 25th because we'd been invited to Miami for a baby shower. As it turns out, we can't afford to go, and so we've turned down the invitation. Then my family sent me a $500 check, which still wouldn't have been enough for us to stay in Florida for a week, but is enough for a plane ticket for me to visit the folks for the first time in six years.

We deposited the check yesterday, which is a bit of a big deal for me. My mom sends me a check every year on my birthday, usually for around half the amount. I never cash the checks. But this time around, since in a way I'd be spending it on my parents, I thought it would be okay.

Patrick and I reviewed our finances again today and it looks like the money's already spoken for. We had a bit of car trouble over the past couple of weeks, which threw our payment schedule off.

We saw "Cars" this afternoon with Dean and their cousin Myka. I cried...a lot. For the scenic byways and panoramic views, for things taken for granted and bypassed, for myself and my half-baked, shelved dreams.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Clickable, searchable Earth -- by Google

I've spent the morning spinning the globe around till I got dizzy. Now you can unleash your own godlike power. Or just geek out.

Google Earth uses maps, satellite imagery and Google's capabilities to create a phenomenal new geographic resource. Download the free version and you start off with a cartoonish picture of the Earth:

Then key a location in the search box in the upper left corner: say, Pensacola, Florida. You'll be treated to a Superman perspective, flying into the bay city from outer space. After such a long journey, you might be in need of food, lodging or local information. Specify layers by checking the corresponding boxes in the lower lefthand corner to locate nearby banks, hotels, shopping malls, or posts left by other Google Earthers. You can reduce altitude to as low as 0 ft, and even tilt your view and gain a 3D perspective of terrain and buildings.

It's a work in progress. Images were gathered over the last 3 years, and if you're unlucky, the spot you wanted to peep in on may have been under cloud cover at the time the satellite passed by. In time we can expect to see greater detail, including building textures and enhanced topography.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The backpacks tell me.

When back-to-school season begins, and a new cast of characters appears on childrens' schoolbags -- last year, Spiderman and the Fantastic Four; this year, Superman and Cars -- I know another year has passed me by at Wal-Mart.

When I first arrived in Dallas, I papered the Metroplex with my resumé. Diligently, I faxed daily and waited in vain for an interview request. Eventually I applied at the Wal-Mart nearby, because the phone never rang.

During my first days on the job I counted out my till and wiped down the rubber conveyor belt, while the thought "I am a Wal-Mart cashier" rang in my head. Disbelief and nausea and despair, to the tune of a thousand checkout beeps.


You tell yourself it's okay. It's okay, it's okay, it's okay. Five years pass and the feeling that your intelligence is dribbling out your ears trickles down and eventually dries up completely. You've reached some sort of equilibrium point, you think. Input equals outflow in a dynamic system.

And then you strike up a conversation over lunch one day. Topics leapfrog from Guild Wars to hybrid vehicles to Google to day trading. Before you know it, you've overstayed your lunch hour by half. A third party observes dryly, "You find him fascinating, don't you?"

You wouldn't have put it that way.

On the way home you try to tell Patrick how you feel. You were running out of English, barely keeping pace with the flow of ideas. That never happens. That's not supposed to happen.

For the first time in recent memory you felt stupid.

Friday, June 23, 2006


It's all falling apart around me, and I am too exhausted, too indifferent to do anything about it. My usual interests have lost their appeal. Dried-up, dull, desiccated. Another losing lotto ticket on my desk. More dirty dishes in the sink, more mail stacked on unopened mail.

296 new emails every day, not a single one a winning notification. No wonder I don't feel like going through my inbox.

I don't really feel like exchanging hi-hello-how-are-you's. My too-quick, tight-lipped smile reins in a snappish "Do you care?"


It may be Christian Louboutin now.
Before him, it was Manolo Blahnik.
But in the beginning, there was only Prada.

Please let the movie be good.
The Devil Wears Prada

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Tom Leykis

Not my cup of tea.

At a coworker's suggestion, I looked up Tom Leykis and downloaded a couple of his podcasts. I am of the opinion that they screen the callers and only patch through the illogical women who reinforce the stance that women are idiotic, needy and/or manipulative.

I do think that he has a niche: to serve as a high priest to singletons who want to play. "Alfie" should have taken a few lessons.
i am lost.
i am stumbling.
Luz, come back-

she can't hear me.
She's too far away.

I don't know.
I don't know.
I don't know.

i am fragile glass:
transparent, brittle,

i worry sometimes that the voices in my head, the thoughts that pop into it are
not mine. They are the voices of my unborn brainchildren
the characters I do not create
they cannot break free and so they remain
me. A hundred million voices not mine, with no mouth
dying to speak.

And here I am, with a voice and a mouth
and nothing to say.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


i walked Cocoa at 2 a.m. The crescent moon seemed large and heavy, a cantaloupe slice with a luminescent rind, hovering just above the brick wall that surrounds our apartment complex.

Cocoa is restless and whiny, uneasy that the shedding of her winter coat and her estrus - which usually come one after the other -- coincided this time around. I am doing what I can to make things easy for her, but there really isn't much.

I can't write for shit today.

We stopped by DSW, my favorite haunt. I came looking for something, not knowing what. I left disappointed, not having found it. The store seems flooded with Coach this month: bags and shoes each for a crisp Benjamin.

The three shoes on my mind: fuchsia Coach Sofia loafers, buttery-soft nude Aerosoles ballet flats, and olive-green suede Joan and David pointed flats that remind one of Marc Jacobs' Mouse shoe.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Patrick and I have a deal: he is to minimize his CounterStrike-inspired cursing, and I am never to use such language. Not only because we agree that foul language is particularly unattractive in women, but also because I have long upheld that profanity is most liberally used by those of limited vocabularies, who consequently must restring the same four-letter words in response to various situations.

And yet I find that, without having played the game itself, I have acquired the facility for profanity that regular FPS-ers possess. Granted, it's relegated to my internal dialogue, since I neither blog nor speak that way. Or haven't, until recently.

Make no mistake: I am no wanna-be. I do appreciate that people give me the cleaned-up versions, thinking I would be offended by the way they really talk. The last thing I want is to be mistaken for another immature gamer attempting to sound grown-up by using so-called adult language.

Friday, June 16, 2006

trained little minion

If you remember which ST:TNG the above phrase is from, you're a geek. Long live! Or live long, whatever.

I am so tired. Work is endless, mindless, pointless, and we were called into the office today to address the unnamed something that is wrong with our area: teamwork, cooperation. I think it's me. Personally, I resent that Blanca, Luz and I are referred to as a clique, because really, it's every one for herself. Or, Luz and Blanca for Menswear, and me in my own little area. We just go to breaks and lunch together. I might help them finish up whatever buggy they might be working on, just so we can head to break a little sooner, but I don't help them with their work. Any more than I expect them to help me with mine.

But of course I nodded along and said I understood, and that I had nothing of my own to add.


Some days breaking a beer bottle over my skull seems like a really good idea.


Speaking of vices and bad ideas...

don't you hate those stupid "Truth" commercials? Makes me want to light up, just so I'm not an idiot by association. If people really wanted to make smokers quit they'd make cigarettes $20 a pack and require graphic pictures of diseased lungs in every smoking lounge in the country.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

it feels like friday.

Today was Luz's last day before her one month vacation. We celebrated with strawberry spinach salad, peanut butter-flavored mole, Mexican rice, tortillas and three flavors of Mochi: green tea, mango and red bean.

I am going to miss her so much. I already do.

The troublemaking crones are lying, Co-Manager David is getting married, and Blanca's thinking of adopting little Mikey.

Dean is sleeping over for the first time. It's his belated 10th birthday gift, sort of. Patrick's requested tomorrow off for his fingerprinting appointment, so for him it's like it's the weekend again. The two boys are sitting in the living room, playing Halo 2 co-op. I think they're spending Friday together.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Life List 2006 v 1.0

Whe I was a kid I read about John Goddard, who is known for creating and achieving the goals on the Life List he wrote when he was 17. Here's how it works. You sit down and imagine you had unlimited time, money, resources, ability and opportunity. If you knew you couldn't fail, what would you try?

Yes, this list changes every year. No, you won't be able to complete it in a year, or in a lifetime. You will find later on that some of the things you wrote down are impractical or frivolous. That's okay. For now, just start.

Feeling a little stuck? Peruse the idea lists at Super Viva.

Life List 2006 v. 1.0
1. To own a house.
2. To raise happy, successful kids.
3. To have a wonderful, loving marriage.
4. To provide for our parents' retirement needs.
5. To graduate from college.

6. To have better skin, hair, teeth and nails.
7. To schedule monthly pampering sessions.
8. To go to med school.
9. To be a gourmet cook.
10. To be an investment guru like Warren Buffett.

11. To have a beautiful, touching church wedding.
12. To fire a handgun.
13. To ice-skate well, with flips and turns.
14. To sing for a Disney movie.
15. To have a designer collection of clothes and shoes.

16. To have Cocoa trained as a personal protection dog.
17. To earn a black belt.
18. To speak 7 different languages.
19. To not have to work.
20. To be a billionaire.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


an iCan


I'm pining for all-over prints that would overwhelm me visually. I love 'em, i love 'em, i love 'em.
Anthropologie Regatta dress, $148

Dianne von Furstenberg Artichoke-Print Dress, $275 at Neiman Marcus

Pucci Printed Dress, $1,290 at Bergdorf's

end the madness, please

Do me a favor. If you happen to see me at work with my mouth open -- and I'm neither eating nor singing -- please, tell me to shut the fuck up. I got a phone call today from Human Resources on my God-given, labor legislation-enforced, much-needed, day off. Because he had to respond to a complaint someone made about what she'd heard from someone else who had eavesdropped on something I told Luz about a conversation I had with yet another person. Yup, that's right. Fourth-hand.

They say "If it happens once, shame on you; if it happens twice, shame on me." Shame, shame, shame. It's always someone who isn't necessarily my friend, but doesn't exactly hate me. In this particular case, in fact, the central figure in our little drama has told me on more than one occasion that she admires and respects me a good deal for my professionalism and insights I've given her. Apparently, talk is cheaper than ever these days.

This is why I'm a writer and not a public speaker. For the most part, people have imperfect memories and creative impressions of a conversation that help to fill in the gaps. Instead of a verbatim relay you get a skewed story, attributed to me, which gets further diluted with each retelling.

Much good has and may still come out of this. Someone may now be branded a wolf-crier, someone may transfer out, someone is happy to learn that she can trust me and I her, and someone was so steamed she went to the gym for an hour and vented her aggression on a much-too-heavy 70-lb EZ-curl bar. Which I'll definitely be feeling tomorrow.


I tend to speak plainly because those I associate with the most are non-native English speakers. But it occurs to me that when I am angry or tired, only the most precise words will do. But really now, are there any substitutes for "anthropomorphizing", "schadenfreude", or "verbatim"?

things will seem clearer in daylight, i know

but for now it's 4 am and i cannot sleep. I stare about the apartment with dead eyes, and an unsettling thought occurs to me: I see nothing of myself in this place.

With the exception of the red kitchen accessories, these are not my colors, my interests, my things. Though our home is littered with all sorts of clutter, the most visible items are the computers, DVDs, games, and the furniture to store them all.

It's almost as if I don't live here.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

the flat-out truth

It started innocently enough, with a Yahoo link to a minor news blurb about a bunion Victoria Beckham may or may not have. I spent the rest of Saturday night reading about symptoms, treatment and prevention of clawtoes, hammertoes and bunions.

Research links pointed, high-heeled shoes to an increased likelihood of developing one or more of these conditions. My newfound knowledge concerned me enough to reconsider the 3-inch heels I usually wear to work. So I wore flats.

The queasiness began as soon as I stepped into the store. Everything seemed taller and out of reach, and I felt short and small and unfabulous. Halfway through my shift my back began to ache. As the day wore on I found that my walking/lifting/standing/reaching job had become more difficult: things I could get to before were now just 2 or 3 inches beyond my grasp. It seems I really need the high heels I stand or strut around in for 10 to 12 hours most days of the week.

Friday, June 09, 2006

today i

helped unload a GM truck.
drove home.
saw "Along came Polly".


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

the kids at the party

We were the first guests to arrive at Saturday's party, and so first the time in...a while, I found myself in a room where children outnumbered adults 6 to 5. They ranged in age from 4 months to 8 years. It was absolute madness.

The boys in particular had me reeling. Every one had something to say, to point out, to perform for whoever might be watching. They were in and out, out and in, with or without a scooter, a ball, or an anecdote about something for which a safe, catchall reply would be “Really? Wow! Amazing!”.

Mia, the infant, is four months old and ready to take on the world. She drank formula voraciously, smiled and laughed and squealed with delight throughout the mariachi hour, munched on a steak strip, and later had some birthday cake. She has a firm grip, and hangs on for dear life to whatever she can grab, but doesn't like it when you tickle her feet.

I tend to think of myself as childish, but one evening in a room full of kids made me realize that I have nothing on their changeable moods. One minute one could be crying a river for candy, then bouncing up and down about something shiny and new the next. There was fussing over name-calling, celebration over cake-cutting time, and whining and bickering simply for lack of sleep, and fanatical chanting of “Spongebob Squarepants!”, all in the course of two hours.

The older girls were our attentive hostesses and servers for the evening, offering beverage choices, fetching plates and utensils, inquiring about our preferences and needs. Cynthia is dark-skinned and long-haired, gregarious and athletic, the apple of her grandmother's eye. But the image I took away with me that night was of a 7-year-old girl with a shy smile and almond eyes that take in everything. Maria is phlegmatic and reticent, and has long since accepted that her older sister is more deserving of love. If only she knew.

She is the daughter I hope to have one day.

Monday, June 05, 2006

time, according to Dean

am babysitting my nine-year-old brother-in-law, who's been attending Sunday school. Conversation turned to tomorrow's date, which some hold to be the Devil's birthday (6/6 at 6, get it?). I enlightened him re the imperfection of the Gregorian calendar, in which Christ was actually born a few years BC. "Dean, did you know that BC means 'Before Christ' ?"

He nods knowledgeably, and contributes, "And AD means 'After Dinosaurs'."
~Love Will Lead You Back~
Taylor Dayne

Saying goodbye is never an easy thing
But you never said, that you'd stay forever
So if you must go
Well, darling, I'll set you free
But I know in time
That we'll be together
Oh, I won't try
To stop you now from leaving
'Cause in my heart I know

Love will lead you back
Someday I just know that
Love will lead you back to my arms
Where you belong
I'm sure, sure as stars are shining
One day you will find me again
It won't be long
One of these days
Our love will lead you back

One of these nights
Well I'll hear your voice again
You're gonna say, oh, how much you miss me
You walked out this door
But someday you'll walk back in
Oh, darling I know
Oh, I know this will be
Sometimes it takes, some time my love, you're old enough
To find your way back home

(repeat chorus)

But I won't try to stop you now from leaving
'Cause in my heart I know...oh yeah

(repeat chorus)

Love will lead you back
Someday I just know that
Love will lead you back to my arms
It won't be long
One of these days
Our love will lead you back
~Just Don't Want to Be Lonely~
Freddie McGregor

I don't mind when you say
that you're going away
I just don't wanna be lonely,
And I don't care if you share
only moments a day,
I just don't wanna be lonely,

I'd rather be loved and needed;
depended on to give the love I can't give
When you're gone, when you're gone,
I just don't want to be lonely.
I'd rather be loved.

I don't mind when the time
sets the sun to the moon,
I just don't wanna be lonely,
Let the stairs find you there,
at the end of the room,
I just don't wanna be lonely,


I just want to be loved
I'd rather be loved


Sunday, June 04, 2006

talking shop

11:30 p.m. on a Sunday and I cannot sleep. Still playing catchup from my so-called vacation, during which time we were short three people: my sales associate, who's been out on medical leave for a while now; infants dept. mgr, a position as yet unfilled; and myself.

Spent most of Saturday scanning the infants bins and restocking the salesfloor. I clocked out that afternoon with a clenched feeling in my lower back. It hasn't gone away. Between that, the unusually warm temperatures in the store, the added workload and irregular sleep, I'm irritable and sleepless, forgetful and clumsy, distracted and sad.

Luz is coming by for me in a few hours; we're both supposed to be at work at 5 tomorrow morning.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

my first-ever mariachi experience

we're still celebrating blanca's birthday. Her daughter Gloria held a surprise party today, and had a mariachi band over for an hour. I didn't get the name of their group, but they perform at La Isla in Arlington on Fridays.

I wish I spoke Spanish, and actually understood what they were singing.