Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Barcelona



Barcelona: where the winds all blew
The churches don't have windows
But the graveyards do
Me and my shadow are wrestling again
Look out stranger, there's a dark cloud moving in

But if you could hear
The voice in my heart
It would tell you
I'm too far from home
Won't somebody please
Hold me release me show me
The meaning of mercy
Let me loose

Fly...
Let me fly
Let me fly

Super paranoid
I'm blending I'm blurring, I am bleeding
Into the scenery
Loving someone else is always so much easier
I hold nyself hostage in the mirror

If you could hear the voice in my heart
It would tell you
I'm afraid I'm alone
Won't somebody please
Hold me, release me, show me
The meaning of mercy
Let me loose

Fly...
Let me fly

And I won't be held down
No, I won't be held back
I will lead with my faith

The red light is following me
But don't worry mother
It's no longer my gravity
Won't somebody please
Hold me, release me, show me
The meaning of mercy
Let me loose

Fly...
Let me fly
Let me fly
Let me fly

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Nighmares

Why do we have nightmares?

They can make you feel extremely scared and frightened.

Characterized by vivid imagery and extreme feelings such as anxiety, fear, sadness or guilt they are powerful enough to wake you up.

In adults, about 50% report experiencing nightmares occasionally and of these, they occur more often in women than men.

There are certain factors that contribute to frightening dreams occurring in adults:

Stress and anxiety in adults is the main reason that causes bad dreams. If there are some stressful events or huge changes in your life this can definitely lead to frightening dreams.

Traumatic events such as deaths, serious injuries or being attacked can bring on a severe form called Post Traumatic Nightmares and these are more severe than regular bad dreams and are usually recurring dreams. Treatment can be sought for these forms of dreams as they are usually more disturbing and persistent in nature.

For me personally, I often have bad dreams with a re-occurring theme. I have been dealing with this for around 5 years now. The dreams become so real that I often have dreams about these bad dreams.

Do you ever dream in your sleep about trying to wake up from a bad dream? At least once a week, I have the same dream in which I am lying in bed and attempting to wake up from one of these re-occuring dreams. I will go as far as pinching my arms and holding my breath in these dreams to try to see if I am actually awake. The dream seems to exist in layers. Over and over again (often as many as 25ish times) I will try to wake myself up, walk around, even pinch myself or hold my breath to try to realize actual life again. When I finally do wake up, I am usually sweating, and my arms and chest hurt from these attempts. The weird part is that I can remember everything that I tried in order to wake myself up, so it almost feels like I have just pulled back the very bottom layer to unearth myself from these attempts.

I will have these waking up dreams right after my normal re-occuring nightmares. These nightmares are so real that I will often wake up and function for the first few hours of the day believing that the dream happened yesterday and I am experiencing my first day in post-nightmare theme mode. When I finally realize that I had been dreaming, I often experience anxiety or extreme depression.

This happens a lot. More often than I would like to admit.

I grow tired of being angry at people in my life for things my brain makes up. I grow tired of trying to throw myself out of sleep just to escape these stupid dreams. Because I mentally cannot escape sleep at night, I cannot escape the dreams. I have tried listening to positive hypnotherapy and thinking positive thoughts as I drift off.

Sometimes my husband asks me why I wake up 2, 3 or 4 hours before I have to get ready for the day. I tell him it's because I need enough time to wake up. But the truth is, the longer I sleep, the more upsetting the dreams become. Sometimes, if I wake up before my brain has a chance to finish these dreams, I can avoid the "trying to wake up" dreams.

Does anyone have any suggestions or has anyone ever experienced these types of dreams?

There is only one simple verbal quote that I was once told. I do not like the person who told me this quote, and we don't get along. I believe their only useful contribution to my entire life would be this one quote.

"We experience these dreams so we can appreciate the fact that life is not really like that for us. When we wake up, we can see that life is not really that bad, and that everything is really ok."

This quote has helped me move forward so many times. I have to keep telling myself this nearly every day after one of these dreams. It is helpful, but it is only a temporary salve until the next dream comes and stops me dead in my sleep.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving

It's interesting how I often forget about my blog and don't post for days and even weeks at a time. It is not intentional for me to forget about my blog, because I tend to avoid certain things if I'm feeling like I'm not doing a good enough job. I can't really vow to try and do better, because unless blogging more often is a major goal of mine, it will always be bobbing in the sea of my "I'll try to get to it".

I celebrated Thanksgiving today with my family in Boise, Idaho. I have been coming up here for as long as I can remember to eat Thanksgiving dinner with all of my mom's side relatives. My grandparents are getting so old, and it's tough to watch them moving slower and physically deteriorating. For example, my Grandpa gave the family prayer for dinner, and it was like he was in a loop. He kept saying the same things over and over again... and my uncle had to stop him after he'd been going for what seemed like forever. I couldn't believe how his mind has started to slow down. He is the one of the smartest people I know, and if his mind goes - there won't be much left of him. I love my Grandpa.

My Grandpa has had a pretty awesome life. He has some really interesting stories. He likes to tell them anytime he can. For example, he had the first radio station in the entire state of Idaho. He also established the first hamburger stand in all of the continent of Africa. He sold the first hamburger in South Africa. He is a major reason why I feel I have such a strong work ethic. He has always pushed me to work hard, and has reinforced the fact that "hard work pays off".

Every family has troubles, and often doesn't get along, but I feel like my family works hard to be friends. We have a few hiccups with a few people, but who doesn't? I think for the size of our family, we do really well with making sure we all get along. I love that all of my cousins and I can still hug each other.

Here are some things I am thankful for:
1. My husband, Arthur
2. My family
3. The relationship I have with my family
4. My job
5. Our home
6. Good food
7. My cats
8. Friends
9. My country
10. My health

It's late, and I wanted to get up to go shopping in the morning, but I think my husband and I are going to sleep in a little and then go to IHOP for breakfast. I love IHOP. Butter Pecan syrup, here I come!!! Happy Thanksgiving to you!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Samson... Who or What is Your Delilah?



You are my sweetest downfall
I loved you first, I loved you first
Beneath the sheets of paper lies my truth
I have to go, I have to go
Your hair was long when we first met

Samson went back to bed
Not much hair left on his head
He ate a slice of wonder bread and went right back to bed
And history books forgot about us and the bible didn't mention us
And the bible didn't mention us, not even once

You are my sweetest downfall
I loved you first, I loved you first
Beneath the stars came fallin' on our heads
But they're just old light, they're just old light
Your hair was long when we first met

Samson came to my bed
Told me that my hair was red
Told me I was beautiful and came into my bed
Oh I cut his hair myself one night
A pair of dull scissors in the yellow light
And he told me that I'd done alright
and kissed me 'til the mornin' light, the mornin' light
and he kissed me 'til the mornin' light

Samson went back to bed
not much hair left on his head
Ate a slice of wonderbread and went right back to bed
Oh, we couldn't bring the columns down
Yeah we couldn't destroy a single one
And history books forgot about us
And the bible didn't mention us, not even once

You are my sweetest downfall
I loved you first

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Top 10 Blogs I Follow

I follow a few blogs on Blogger, and I really enjoy reading them. I promised my friend Jordan that I would write about all of the Blogs I like to follow and tell a bit more about the people and how I know them.

Here is a list of the blogs I follow listed in alphabetical order on my follow list, I hope you can follow them too!

1. Ashley Mae's Blog - I met Ashley back when I first moved to Bountiful when I was 8. She and I grew up in the same ward together and we were friends for a long time. I like to read her blog because it keeps me up to date on how she is doing.

2. Derekiscool.com - I met Derek through eBay. I actually first saw him when I trained him to take calls for my department when we needed some help due to high call volumes. One of the first things he told me was that he was going through kidney stones. He went on about how he had to pass it, and I thought I would die from laughing so hard. Derek is a great friend, and he is probably one of the funniest people I know. You will enjoy reading his entries because of how awesome he is.

3. Erin Fuller - I'm not sure if her blog is private, but you can try to check it out if you would like. Erin was in one of our new hire classes at eBay and I trained her in the department we used to both work in. Erin loves the movie Anastasia and everything that has to do with that time period. She's got a great dry sense of humor.

4. Nate, Danette and Sebastian - I grew up in Bountiful and the Ariotti family lived across the road from us. Nate is one of like 7 or 8 children in the family, and this is he and his wife's blog. They are a cute little family and I love reading about Danette's job.

5. Norm's Blog - Norm and I have been friends for a long time. Norm and I met back when I was just out of high school. He was friends with two people I associated with around the time I was 18 and 19 years old. I tried to date him and I ended up dating his best friend. Norm loves education and has been through more college than anyone I know. He is a teacher now, and he is one of the smartest people I know.

6. Positive Incite - Mark D. Mark and I used to work together for eBay. Mark lives in Vancouver, British Columbia Canada. He and I met once when I was there in 2007 and I didn't really remember him. We didn't become better friends until we worked together on a training project in 2008. We were very good friends he helped me through some very tough times at work. I appreciate his positivity and kindness. He is my favorite Canadian!

7. The Lenablog - Jordan is someone who I trained in a new hire eBay class back in 2008. I enjoyed his intelligent humor and his quick wit. Normally, I don't remember new hires because of all of the new faces and names, but Jordan was hard to forget. Jordan moved quickly into one of the higher departments at eBay and he is very good at programming. He likes to sell on eBay and is a Top Seller. He loves good music and he and his wife are cute together. His blog is very interesting, you should check it out.

8.Whitney and Leo - My sister in law and my big brother. Whitney's blog is one of my most favorite to read because she can blog about anything and I love reading it. She could blog about cleaning blinds, and I would probably laugh, cry and feel hungry. I love Whitney so much! She is the best person my brother could have married. My brother doesn't blog here, but he is mentioned in it a lot. I love my brother too!

9. Melissa and Eric - I knew Melissa back when I lived in Bountiful. We were very close friends during and after high school. She also got me through some tough times, and I really enjoyed being her friend. She and her cute husband are fun to spend time with, and I love Melissa's family very much.

10. Tyson and Aimee "Waters World" - I mentioned this family back at the beginning of November when I first started NaBloPoMo. I love reading Aimee's blog because she updates practically every day now! One of my favorite couples to hang out with, for sure.

I hoped you enjoyed reading about the Top Ten blogs I follow. Check them out! Thanks to Jordan for this great idea!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Short Story: The Golden Flower

My wristwatch says 9:11 PM. I am here late. I have been working for almost 15 hours, but only because Christmas is almost here. As I reach up to stretch my burning arms, I realize my pointer finger has developed a large blood blister. I softly tap it with my thumb as I let my arms fall back to my sides. My eyes stop focusing and I allow the panes of the large dirty window in front of me blur together.

As I stand to gather my things to leave, I look to the right at the pile of purses I’ve been working on all day. My boss has put me on a special project to hand-stitch a very detailed flower on one of the new handbag designs that our warehouse received. I wince as I glance at the center of one of the large gold flowers I hand-stitched with golden thread. The middle of the bloom was extremely intricate and required me to make extremely small stitches. As I finish picking up my materials, I decide to blame my throbbing blister on all of the flowers I had sewn that day.

I am proud of my work, I like what I do. Some of the girls my age that work around our neighborhood make more than me, but also have to stand on their feet all day selling jewelry. I wrinkle my nose as I think of the market where our handbags are sold. I often stroll through the rows and rows of stands and see other bags that our warehouse produces, and usually I can spot my work hanging in front. I’m not sure why tourists are so drawn to the handbags. They are just pieces of cloth and leather stitched together. All I know is that I work really hard to make sure my stitches match the pictures my boss puts at my station at the beginning of every week.

I shut the lights off and step out the back door. My friends are all waiting for me, and they are smoking. Paulo offers me a cigarette and I refuse. My arms hurt so much; I don’t think I can raise my hand to my mouth.

“Corilly, you worked a long shift. You are going to be the Queen of Manila! How many bags did you do today?” Paulo stuffed his cigarette box back into his shirt pocket.

“I got 16 bags done, but I think I’m getting better at those gold flowers. I might get even more done tomorrow.” I say as I gingerly rub my blister.

“Good! Now you can buy us dinner!” Paulo and Veronika laugh as my cheeks burn with embarrassment from not having enough money to do this.

“I wish I could, friends. I have to go home. I want to get up early so I can get some more bags done tomorrow. The boss is paying me more for these bags than normal. I need to be ready for Christmas.” I bounce my shoulders as I think to the day ahead.

My friends and I walk together towards our neighborhood. We all live near the freeway overpass. My family rents the apartment at the top of a large abandoned warehouse. Many families here share the buildings on the block.

The next morning I wake up to the sound of trash being dumped next to the freeway. I hate the smells that drift through the open window. I stand and run my fingers through my hair. I look around for my work pants and pull them on quickly. I am not sure what time it is, I have to make my way downstairs to check.

I step out into the morning air and breathe in. The humid air fills my lungs and I cough a little as I see the food stand nearby is grilling rice patties for breakfast. Before I put my hand in my pocket to feel for some Pesos, I look at my blister. It has gone down a bit, and it makes me happy. I pull out some money and hand it to the man selling the patties.

“Can I get two?” I ask as I stand on my tip-toes to see the fire under the grill lapping at the patties.

“Yes, you can. How is your job, Corilly?” The man selling patties knows my name because I come here every morning.

“Good, we are getting more designs every day. I think our bags sell better than any other warehouse that is offering them at the market.” He smiles as he wraps my patties in plastic and places them in a paper envelope.

“Good! Good! Now, you must donate to our rice fund!” He laughs and points at a jar for tips. I drop in a few Pesos and put my rice patties in my side pack. “I’ll see you tomorrow!” I wave at him as I step across the street and walk towards work.

As I get closer to the warehouse, I see a group of white people standing at the entrance. I shy away from them and duck behind one of the overpass columns. The white people are arguing with my boss. There are three women and one man.

“Will you just allow us to look around?” The tall woman with bright yellow hair talks as if she is plugging her nose.

“No! You are not allowed in here. This is my business, and my property. I will call the police!” My boss stands with her arms and legs pushed up against the frame of the door.

“We promise not to take anything. We may even buy something!” The man seems nicer than the blonde lady. The other two women are shorter and stand behind the man and blonde. They are both looking back and forth between each other and my boss. They seem younger than the other two in front.

My boss seems interested at their offer to buy merchandise. She tilts her head and looks beyond the group of white people. She seems to be looking right at me. I spin around and push my back against the side of the column, hoping she didn’t see me.

“Only you can come in, but the other three must stay out here. I don’t trust all of you tramping through my building. I don’t trust them standing out here alone, either. How do I know they won’t sneak in while I am showing you around?”

“We aren’t interested in stealing your property. We would just like to see how you are replicating some of these designs so well.” The blond woman’s voice sounds even more nasally when she speaks louder.

“No, I don’t trust you.” My boss sounds very angry. “Corilly! Come out from behind there!” I jump three feet in the air as I realize she’s called for me. I spin around as if I’ve been thrown from a dance partner in a tango.

“Yes?” My voice sounds so small. I am looking at the ground.

“Come over here. You are to walk with this man through the warehouse. You are to show him only the showroom, and nothing more.” She points at the man who is wearing a brown suit and holding a backpack.

I scurry over to the group and do not look at any of them. My boss steps aside and points to the hallway leading to the showroom. I step inside the doorway and turn back to see if he man is following me. His skin is so white, and his eyes are a piercing color of blue. I feel a jolt of electricity shoot down my spine and come out my feet as I quickly look back to the floor. I have never seen eyes that color before.

As we venture deeper into the hallway, I can hear my boss arguing with the blonde woman again. I slow as I approach the entryway to the showroom. I slowly turn back to see if he is still behind me. He smiles and steps into the doorway. I point at the piles and boxes of bags. “There.”

“My goodness, there are so many of them.” I nod and keep my head down. “Do you work here too?”

“Yes.” I shift my weight back and forth between my feet and glance up carefully. He is not looking at me. He is strolling around the room looking at the bags.

“These are incredible. You manufacture these all in house?” He stops to pick up one of the gold flower purses I have been working on for the past week.

“Yes.” I rub my blister as he rubs the center of the gold flower. A burst of pain from my blister causes me to jump.

“I am just amazed at how perfectly these match our pieces. I have never seen a better replica. Does the woman at the door do all of this herself?” He is now peering inside at the lining of the purse.

“No, she is the manager. I work on these bags, with a few other people. We sew them.” I am looking at the side of his face, and can’t see his eyes. I feel a bit braver without him staring at me.

He turns to me. “You did this needlework? It’s incredible. We spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a machine to stitch the original handbags.” He squints back down at the center of the gold flower. “How the…” He trails off and I look back at the floor.

“It’s not that hard, I just follow the picture.” I pull the picture from my boss out of my pocket and hold it out to him. He steps over a small pile of purses and takes it from me.

“This is simply incredible. The detail work is amazing.” He is tracing one of the petals as he squints back at the picture. I step back as I hear my boss calling to me.

“Corilly! Get back out here!” I nervously take the picture from him and stuff it back in my pocket. He moves around me and calls down the hallway to my boss.

“We’re on our way outside, just picking one to buy!” He seems to know how to calm her down, because you can hear her grumble and continue to bark at the blonde woman. “I want to buy this.” He holds out the gold flower purse to me. I look at it and then up to him.

“You can’t pay me.” I push the purse back to him.

“I see. Well, I’ll pay her. I would just like to take a picture of your work, is that ok?” He pulls a digital camera out of his suit pocket. I look at him and then back at the hallway. I am worried my boss will hear him. As I glance back, I see the flash. He has already taken a picture without warning me.

“You probably should delete that,” I say to him softly. “She will take your camera.”

“I won’t let her. It’ll be our little secret.” He smiles and winks at me. “What is your name again?”

“Corilly!” My boss screams. “Get out here, now!” I turn from him and hurry out. He follows me and places his camera back in his pocket. As we get closer to the door, he touches my shoulder softly. An electric shock once again travels to my feet. I stop.

"Corilly, listen. I want you to stop working here. Come back with us." I breathe in slowly and close my eyes. I turn around and look at him.

"I can't, I don't want to leave. I am happy here." He holds the purse out in front of him.

"This is amazing work. I've never seen anyone do something like this by hand. You obviously are gifted. Come work for me, I will get you set up with your own place." I can tell he is taking a risk by asking me to join him. I feel excited and scared. I think of my family across the road.

"Um, I have a family here." I say to him.

"I know. We can work that out. They can come visit you anytime you want. Maybe just try it out?" The black part of his eyes are big, and he is smiling. I feel a rush of energy when I think about saying yes.

"I want to think about it, but it might work." My heart is racing, but I know deep down I could never do it.

"Yes, think about it. Listen, do you work today?"

"I do. I have to work until past dark."

"Ok. I will meet you outside here by that column you were standing by after dark. I will bring the girls so you don't feel uncomfortable. We can talk this all out. Can you stitch other designs?"

"Yes, I can stitch anything." I look back to the door, I hear my boss stomp her foot. She might be coming this way. "We have to hurry."

He glances at the blonde as he whispers to me. "I know, I know. Maybe tonight while you are working you can stitch some other examples. We can show them to Portia. She is my boss, and she won't be able to say no. Please think about it."

"Ok." I let him walk past me, and I follow him to the door.

“Thank you for allowing me to look at your merchandise, Ma’am,” the man says grandly to my boss. He hands her the gold flower purse and asks to buy it.

“It is Nineteen Thousand Pesos.” My boss puts her nose in the air as he pulls out his wallet. The blonde woman places her hand on his wallet.

“We are not paying over four hundred dollars for a filthy fake.” She growls at my boss as she glances down at the purse. "The stitching is nice, but the material is second-rate."

“This is not a filthy fake, this is a very high-quality replica with leather and gold thread. I must pay employees to do this by hand.”

“I will pay the money.” The man pulls out a thick stack of Pesos and counts out twenty bills. I have never seen so much money in my life. He glances at me as he hands the money to my boss. “This fine work deserves more. I hope you pay your employees well.”

“That is none of your business. Be on your way, I must take a load to the market.” My boss grabs my wrist and pulls me inside. She shuts the door on the four white people and rushes me into the production room where I normally work.

I sit down, thread my needle and begin to sew.

35 Odd Things

Hi Friends! I haven't forgotten about this blog... I've just been feeling kind of out of touch with life ever since I got back from Manila. I am feeling good today, for my first whole day off. I'm still in my pajamas and it's almost 4:30 PM. Awesome.

I owe my friend Jordan a blog post about my favorite blogs... and I plan to do that one tomorrow. I wanted to do this post because on a whim it made me want to post again. I obviously will not qualify for a successful NaBloMoPo... but I did say I gave it my old College Try... and if you know me, that's about all it turned out to be.

Here's my 35 Odd Things post. I hope you learn something new! :)

1. Do you like blue cheese?
Nah, it tastes funny.

2. Have you ever smoked?
No... I don't really like the smell of it.

3. Do you own a gun?
Nope. But my father-in-law does!

4. What flavor Kool-Aid was your favorite when you were a kid?
I didn't get Kool-Aid as a kid. I get it as an adult, though! I love the Tropical Punch flavor! I usually use two packets. Extra flavor!

5. Do you ever wish you could click undo in your life like on a CPU?
Yes, and I will often say the phrase "Control Z!" when I realize I've done something stupid.

6. What do you think of hot dogs?
I think they are delicious. My husband hates them. When we first met, I told him I didn't like pork of any kind. I kept it up for about 3 years. Then I broke down and had to eat one. He won't kiss me if I've eaten a hot dog until a few hours have passed and I've brushed my teeth.

7. Favorite Christmas movie?
I liked Prancer... but my favorite one of all time is Mr. Kruger's Christmas. Every time I hear Jimmy Stewart say "Won't you come in for some Chocolate?!" it makes me cry a little.

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
Orange juice or Diet Coke.

9. Can you do push ups?
I don't think so. I hated that stupid army video we had to follow in Junior High... aerobics day. Ugh.

10. What's your favorite piece of jewelry?
My wedding ring.

11. Favorite hobby?
I used to love making and posting YouTube movies, but I don't do that much anymore. Too much pressure to make good stuff without using copyright songs. Ugh. My hobby now is probably working and spending time with my husband.

12. Do you have A. D. D.?
Yes, because when... wanna go get some ice cream?

13. Do you wear glasses/contacts?
I have glasses now that I wear when I get tired of squinting. I don't wear them all of the time. I don't like contacts because it feels like I'm having a Tupperware party on my eyes.

14. Middle name?
Your mom

15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment:
- I need to go clean my office
- My Brown Christmas tree is amazing
- I am hungry.

16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink?
- Water by way of ice
- Diet Coke
- Sprite

17. Current worry?
Having to go back to work on Monday. I love it, but it takes a lot out of me.

18. Current hate right now?
How the agents at my job don't understand our outsourcing partners.

19. How did you bring in the new year?
Last year? We had a party at my house, and my parents came. It was so funny. This year, probably the same... but maybe I won't have to work on New Years day. I had to work all three holidays last year. Fail.

21. Name three people who will complete this?
- Jordan
- Aimee
- Derek

22. Do you own slippers?
Not ACTUAL slippers, but I wear a lot of really warm thick socks. Happy feet!

23. What color shirt are you wearing?
My favorite tee-shirt, the gray Broken Yolk Cafe shirt from San Diego. :)

24. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?
Nah, they are too hot.

25. Can you whistle?
Only when I suck in. Stupid. My husband, however, is a Wizard at whistling. He can even do a trill. Whenever we play Puzzle Quest, he whistles the song playing, and usually I'm losing. It drives me crazy mad.

26. Where are you now?
At home, waiting for Arthur to get back with Christmas tree hooks, some more Target ornaments, and some delicious dinner.

27. Would you be a pirate?
It depends if your mom is on the ship.

28. What songs do you sing in the shower?
I don't usually listen to songs with lyrics in the shower. Usually techno so I go faster.

29. Favorite Girl's Name?
Jewel

30. Favorite boy's name?
Phineas... but I might call him Fin for short.

31. What is in your pocket right now?
No pockets in this crushed velor pair of pants!

32. Something that really made you laugh?
Arthur is always making me laugh - but it would have to be the text conversation between my little brother Mike and me.
Me: Mike! What is the story behind this donut on the counter?
Mike: It is for eatings.
Me: Why must it sit here and taunt me?
Mike: You may eat it.
Me: It has a blemish.
Mike: Lo siento.
Me: Is that Spanish for "eat around it"?
Mike: Close. "I'm sorry."
Me: Miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiike carry me to wooooooooooooork. (After I'd eaten the donut, I was about ready to die.)

33. Worst injury you've ever had?
Broken bones usually hurt pretty bad. Broken toe, probably.

34. Do you love where you live?
Yes!

35. How many TVs do you have in your house?
2. One in the bedroom and one downstairs.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Bukowski's Widow

Once the neon is gone
There's still that golden splinter at your side
His manners are charming
But who are you fooling
You're still nobody's bride
And Bukowski's widow
Haunts each empty seat on the ferris wheel
As ghoulish lovers collide in a collage
Of kisses that they steal

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Manila Pictures

I'm home! Hurray! I got some great pictures. I want to share them with you. They tell the story pretty well. You can click on any of them to see them large size.

We'll start with introducing the girl I traveled with. Her name is Karly. She is about my same age, and she and I are a lot alike. She works for the same department as me and she and I both stayed at the same hotel. She worked at one center in Manila, and I worked at another. Here is a picture of us in front of the hotel we stayed at. It's called the Makati Shangri-La.

On our only weekend off, we went shopping around Manila to see the city. Here are some city shots. The city is big, with lots of tall buildings.

After walking around a bit, we went to some of the Malls. There are SO MANY malls in the business district of Makati. One of the highest class malls in Asia is there, and it's known as Greenbelt. They have Gucci, Prada and other high class stores. This woman is from one of the malls. They have these crazy life-size cutouts of people everywhere. She made me smile.

Here is me in front of one of their Fast Food restaurants. I thought the bee was really cute.

After we went to the Mall, Karly said she was craving a salad with real iceberg lettuce. We decided to go American and eat at the Hard Rock Makati. It was pretty good! Here are some pictures of our drinks and the bar staff. Don't worry, everything was non-alcoholic! ;)

During the rest of the weekend I had a wonderful massage and a relaxing day of doing nothing but sitting around in my hotel room. I ended up not leaving my room for almost an entire day. Because of this, the cleaning staff didn't get a chance to come into my room and do the daily housekeeping. They were so happy when I finally let them clean my room that they left me chocolates!

One day after work, Karly and I went to the pool to relax and have a drink. I worked a little and called my husband. You will be able to spot my work laptop by my feet. It was a beautiful morning!


There was a delicious breakfast buffet in the hotel called Circles. Usually we ate dinner when we were headed to work and then ate breakfast after work because of our flip-flop schedule. I would wake up at 6:00 PM, get ready, and then meet Karly for dinner around 8:30 PM. We would leave around 9:45 and then work until 8:00 AM. When we got back, we ate breakfast together. I had Salmon and jasmine rice for every meal! Delicious!

I worked at a location in Manila called ePerformax. They are a 3rd party outsourcer who takes phone calls for eBay and PayPal. Here are a couple of pictures from there. The first is with one of the agents. He immediately called me his "BFF". He was so sweet.

Here is the sign you see when you enter the floor that the call center is located on:

Here is my name on a sign to welcome me. It was there for the whole 2 weeks I was in Manila! I felt pretty special.

The last few days we were in the Shangri-La, they put the Christmas decorations up. In the lobby, they set up this amazing display with a gold chair. I couldn't wait to sit in it and have my picture taken. Check out my fancy face!

The very last day we were in Manila, we went to the Manila Temple. It was a very pretty Temple and the grounds were gorgeous. Here are some pictures from the Temple. This first one is of Karly and me in front of the Temple.

Some of the most beautiful palm trees I saw in Manila were on the Temple grounds. Here are some of the palm trees.

Here is me with some sister missionaries.

This is a side shot of the Temple.

Here is the other side!

These Philippino men were sitting outside of the Temple. I thought they were cute and so I took a picture of them.

There were a lot of Jeepneys parked in the Temple parking lot. The Jeepneys are popular in Manila because people use them for public transportation. Karly and I were so excited to be in a picture with them! Here we are in front of a Jeepney!

I have a few more pictures that I will be getting from Karly from our trip. She will be posting them and I will get them uploaded here as soon as I can.

I had such a wonderful time and I can't wait to go back sometime soon. I am pretty tired, and will be taking tomorrow and maybe Tuesday off to start feeling normal again. The flight home was pretty intense, and so a few days to recenter and feel like I can work hard again will be good for me. Sorry I didn't blog the few days I was traveling, but I figured a big post was better than 2-3 little boring posts. :) Thanks to all of you who commented on my posts so far this month! See you tomorrow for another NaBloPoMo!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Am I allowed to cheat?

I feel awful. I almost didn't post today. What happens if I cheat on NaBloPoMo? I will feel disgusting inside. I am so tired. I have so much to tell you about in this blog. Can I please promise a huge celebratory post when I get back?

Please don't be mad... This is all I have...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

2 Shifts Remaining...

I am now counting down the days left in Manila by shifts.

I am really really tired, and want to blog about so many things... but I am so exhausted. I can't even keep my eyes open to try to call Arthur tonight. I want to talk to him, but I can't wait any longer.

I have to go to a different center here in Manila tonight to work for a new group. I will be there until 3:00 AM and then transfer back to the main location in Manila to finish off my 12 hour shift.

So tired... but just two work shifts left... then a wonderful 17 hour flight back home. *Sigh* I promise to blog a bit more when I wake up. Miss everyone!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Philippino Phood Phun

I always hear these great stories from returned missionaries about their food experiences on their missions. I always laugh when they talk about the crazy food that they were "forced" to eat while they were visiting a member's house. I experienced this today.

I work with some of the most fun and sweetest people I have ever met. They are all so genuine and kind. They all treat me so well and make me feel important. I really enjoy working with the team here in Manila. They usually have one person who is "assigned" to me to make sure I eat lunch and make sure I have someone to walk me out at night. Usually for lunch we grab something fast and easy.

Yesterday, a group of us went out to eat at this Chinese spot in an area of Manila known as the Red Light District. I saw some pretty crazy things while we were driving down the main road of the Red Light District. I've been to Amsterdam and seen that Red Light District... but this one was pretty different. The restaurant they originally wanted to take me to was closed... so we ended up going to this other Chinese spot.

We walked in and got a table. I looked up on the wall, and there was this huge poster. In cursive in huge letters, it said "Chicken's Feet". The picture showed a plate with three fried things on it. I was not quite sure if it was for real.... but then they ordered it.

They brought lots of food to the table... there were shrimp wontons, fried rice, lemon chicken, chicken's feet, shark's fin and fried squid.

I tried the shark's fin and the fried squid, but NOT the chicken feet. I just couldn't bring myself to it.

The shark's fin was ok, it didn't really taste weird or gross... it just tasted like some kind of meat in a wonton.

I didn't like the fried squid, mostly because of the texture. The lemon chicken was the best and the shrimp wontons and the fried rice were good too.

I'm not sure I can try their duck egg... they keep talking about getting me one to try. I think they like my reaction to the food. It's not that I'm disgusted by it... it's that I'm not used to these types of foods. I can appreciate their culture and that they've come to enjoy these foods because they wanted to make the most of their resources. I hoped I came across in a way that was not disrespectful, and tried to show them this by trying most of everything.

Work is going well for me, I am working very hard. I am averaging 12.5 hours per night and so I get off of work and usually am pretty tired. Last night Karly and I went to breakfast and then out to the pool to relax. We had some non-alcoholic beverages and I chatted with Arthur in the sun. It was pretty fun... but we both got tired pretty fast.

I am excited for after work, we are going to Green Hills, which is the shopping market here where you can buy knock-offs of all of the best handbags and other brands. I plan on buying some nice things for my family for Christmas as well. I am excited! There is a girl at work named Ice who will be bartering for us in Tagalog. I can't barter worth crap, I end up just saying ok to the price they want. This is why Ice is coming with us! We are also going with a few other people from work, Laia, Glenn and Wency. I love them!

Ok, I am going to get ready for work now. Another day, another dollar. :) More blogging tomorrow!

Monday, November 2, 2009

New to NaBloPoMo

One of the main reasons I started blogging here was due to the fact that I read a few NaBloPoMo posts by my friend Aimee. NaBloPoMo is a shortened version of the actual phrase, which means National Blog Posting Month. During the month of November, bloggers everywhere try hard to blog every day of the month. For my first NaBloPoMo post, I will step away from my current trend of Manila and blog about my friends Tyson and Aimee.

I met Tyson in October of 2008. He was in the very last Top Buyer New Hire class that ever existed at eBay. I was the trainer for his class, and I first met him on the day he first came into Department Specific Training. He introduced himself and I was pretty intimidated by his phrase "I like to be a knowledgebase". I knew people like this usually were incredibly smart and I was worried he might not like the way eBay was always changing. I figured I would get to know him before I let this one phrase determine how I would see him. He definitely was very good at retaining information, but he also could quickly replace old information with new and recall it. I was impressed! Most new hires have a real problem with doing this.

He mentioned that he loved to laugh loudly. His laugh got that whole class through the 4 weeks of hell that is Top Buyer Training. I believe the entire class really appreciated his perspective and helped them trudge through to the finish line known as "Production".

Tyson mentioned his wife's blog to me one day in class after I had added him and a few others from class to Facebook. I went home and read over Aimee's blog. It was the first few days of NaBloPoMo... and I was intrigued that someone had the ability to stick with blogging for a whole month. I read it every day, and really enjoyed it.

Aimee is very creative and fun. Her writing style is very much like someone would talk to you. I read over most of her posts and really enjoyed every one. I thought she called out some of the funny quirks about life that most people miss. I enjoyed reading about her beautiful cat Chloe the most.

I got to meet Aimee when they both came over to our house for a dinner party. We ate seafood and played games. I wrote about that in a previous post. I had so much fun with them, and I believe we are planning on going on a double date with me and my husband when I get back from the Philippines.

I don't really have many outside-of-family friends, but I believe this couple is way fun and interesting, and I can't wait to spend more time with them!

Here is a picture that I think captures both of their personalities very well:

So begins my entry into NaBloPoMo! See you tomorrow!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Good Evening, Miss Genevieve!

Every time I go downstairs to begin my work shift, it is around 10:00 PM. I have just woken up and done all of my morning get ready for work things. I feel like it's morning. Everyone at the hotel will usher me around and open doors for me while they say "Good Evening, Miss Genevieve!" It makes me feel weird, because I am not used to being told Good Evening when it is in the morning for my body. Weird...

So today is my last weekend day. I have had a long and fun weekend... it was Halloween last night and I missed out on all of the fun parties and candy. I did, however, eat some 3 Musketeers bars before drifiting off. That helped me feel a little more connected with the holiday.

Today in Manila is "All Souls Day" where they go visit the gravesites of their dead relatives. It's like our Memorial Day. Cool, huh? I thought so.

So for my weekend... I did alot of fun things. Here is a short list:

1. Ate Pancakes at a Philippino breakfast restaurant
2. Left my debit card and room key at the Philippino breakfast restaurant
3. Went shopping at Philippino mall
4. Walked back past the Philippino breakfast restaurant and had the waitress recognize me from inside, come running out to give me my debit card and room key.
5. Bought two Jesus calendars at the Philippino mall
6. Found the biggest Harajuku Lovers shrine I've ever seen
7. Shopped at the very high end mall in Manila
8. Bought my husband a prize at the very high end mall in Manila
9. Avoided a Signal 3 Typhoon
10. Slept a lot
11. Had 3 breakfasts in 2 days
12. Went to the Pool and laid out
13. Had a 2 hour massage and facial
14. Had a pedicure
15. Had a neck and shoulder massage during my pedicure
16. Went to Hard Rock Cafe Makati Philippines
17. Enjoyed lettuce because I've missed it
18. Made some videos

The last one is good, because you get to see the videos. The first video is a tribute to our amazing buffet breakfast that we get every day after work.
video

The second video is at the pool. I hope you enjoy it.

video

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jet Lagged and Day ??? in Manila

Hello Far Away Friends!

It is Day ??? here in the Philippines. I think it's Thursdsay, if I'm correct. It does feel like a Thursday, I know that I have one day left before the weekend. I have spent a full 24 hours in Manila and so far the trip is going well.

After I blogged yesterday, I finished getting ready for work. I went downstairs to the restaurant and Karly and I ate dinner at the buffet. I love being able to eat rice and salmon and sushi for every meal. I also had tempura shrimp last night. They were huge, and so delicious! They had this amazing little round pudding thing in the dessert selection that had was so incredible. The top was like cake and the bottom part was thick chocolate pudding. Normally, I'm not a pudding eater... but this was so good that I almost went for a second. If you know me, you know that I don't do seconds on anything pudding!

After dinner we went back to the lobby and waited for our rides to work. Karly and I are working in two different centers in Manila. Her ride came first, and then a few minutes later my ride came. I got picked up by a big van thing. It looks like the van on John and Kate Plus 8. The only difference is that the ceiling isn't really any higher... since I was expecting a higher ceiling, I didn't worry about ducking my head once I was inside. Nope, didn't matter. The extension on the top must be used for storage or something... because I hit my head all the same. I was ok, I just sat down faster so we could get out of there and go to work. ;)

The drive doesn't take too long - only about 10 minutes... and I got to see a little bit of Manila nightlife from the inside of the van. It was almost 10:00 PM Manila time at this point, so people were starting to fill the streets and bars. Lots of lights and lots of honking. I love the big city.

We got to work and he dropped me off. I went inside, the building is huge, very tall. I took the elevator up to the floor that eBay is on and there was a cool sign on the door it said "English Only Beyond This Point." It was a little comforting that I wouldn't have to worry about not understanding anyone. The security guard checked me in and I was greeted by some of the supervisors. They were both so nice and made me feel comfortable. They took me around and showed me the different workstations.

I spent my day mostly in side-by-sides with the agents. They are so good, so knowledgeable about the site and about what eBay is about. I was extremely impressed with their empathy. One customer that an agent spoke with was so upset about the fact that a rock he purchased on eBay hadn't been shipped yet... and the agent was so nice to him and helped him get what he needed. I'm not sure how I would have dealt with someone like him, who was so angry... but the agent stayed calm and kept giving him options and information. I thought that was so cool.

After some side-by-sides, I had a meeting with Salt Lake. It was weird being on a call with some of the people I work with every day from so far away. I could tell it was like morning for them, 10:30 AM in Utah time and 12:30 AM the day after in Manila. It made me miss my team a bit... but I know there is a need for me here. It is so cool to be able to see what happens before the agents in SLC get the customer transferred from OS. I noticed that the agents to try to do everything they can before transferring. After only 1 day, I am already impressed with how well they do their jobs.

For lunch, a supervisor and a trainer took me to lunch at a Philippino spot. We had chicken potstickers, beef and broccoli, (it was more like mushroom and broccoli, yum) ham fried rice and some lemon chicken. It was so good! I think they ordered items that I would enjoy as an american... but I would be willing to try some other stuff probably. Before we went to lunch, I met the outsourcing manager who was waiting to go have a working lunch outside... and he seemed really nice. He is from the states and he now lives in Manila and works there. He mentioned that one of the things that Philippino people eat is a duck egg. The egg is developed up until a few days before hatching and then they eat the embryo. I guess to most people, it would sound disgusting, but I thought it was interesting that they considered it a delicacy. I am not sure I would try it, but it seemed cool that they have something like that they enjoy.

They also told me about this place called Green Hills that they want to take me to on the weekend. It apparently has all of the knock off shopping... all of the handbags and the watches that are made by counterfeiters. I'm thinking of getting some Christmas shopping done... :P Send me your requests now!

I ended up leaving work about an hour early, and it had already been 9 hours of work for me. I was so jetlagged, and was feeling exhausted. I could barely keep my eyes open in the last meeting. I totally tried, but couldn't. I came back to the hotel and even skipped dinner. I did, however get to call my husband on Skype. I talked to him for a few minutes and he turned on the Mac Webcam. I got to see his face, and my house... and it made me homesick a little. I know I'm here for a very important reason... but I also miss home. It was very nice to see his smile. I was able to go right to sleep knowing we had been able to talk. I slept for a good 8 solid hours, and now I'm feeling much more awake and happy. Today is going to be a good, good day!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Philippines - I made it!

Here I am, and I'm exhausted! I finally made it to the hotel this morning at 6:00 AM Philippine time. Right now in Manila it is 11:30 in the morning on Wednesday. For everyone in Utah, it is 9:30 on Tuesday night. I lost a day! I'm going to make this entry brief, because I am exhausted, and want to sleep. I figured some good old fashioned blogging would make me tired.

I flew to San Francisco on Monday night on United Airlines. The flight was short, and I spent most of it reading a new book I just bought called "Remember Me?" It's by the same lady that wrote "Confessions of a Shopaholic". It's pretty good, but I haven't read a book in so long it was fun to read something again.

We arrived in San Francisco about 2 hours before our flight out to Manila. I had to go to the bathroom so bad! We found a bathroom finally and checked in for our flight. The line for Economy class was so long, probably close to 200 people waiting to check in. Because eBay is awesome, we got to fly Business Class. We didn't have to wait at all. We checked in and went to have dinner.

By the way, the "We" in this conversation is a coworker of mine, her name is Karly. She's close to my age (we're one year apart) and she is super nice. We're a lot alike, which is cool. We ate at this grill and then went to wait for our flight to board. We got to board first, and when we walked in, it was amazing. I've flown first class before and I've flown business class before... but only on the main airlines most people are used to. I've never flown business class like this business class. The seats were amazing! You could recline and lie flat. We were served a 4 course dinner. I got a hot towel to wipe my hands with! It was a pretty posh seat, for sure.

I didn't sleep extremely well on the plane, mostly because it's hard for me to sleep soundly if I'm not in a bed. It was more dozing for me. Karly slept soundly the whole night through, which is awesome. The little TVs we could watch didn't work to play movies or radio, it would only play a few TV shows and games. The games were ok, but I didn't really feel like playing video games when I was so tired.

We had a "technical stop" in Honolulu, Hawaii. I've never been to Hawaii, and it sucked that the first time I could go there I couldn't even get off the plane. We literally sat there for a full hour while they refueled. I did get to check my facebook and email Arthur, which is good. It took us 4 hours to get from San Francisco to Hawaii. It felt like so much more time... and I realized that we still had like 12 hours until we would get to Manila. It was going to be a straight shot to Manila from there. Once we started back in the air, I tried to sleep a little.

I did ok, and the rest of the flight went by pretty quickly. I mostly just read my book and dozed. When we were about 3 hours from Manila, they served us breakfast. The food on the flight was so good. The night before, I ordered a Curry Sea Bass with Jasmine Rice. It was the most delicious seafood and curry I'd ever had together. The curry was kind of spicy, but not too spicy for me. I ate it so fast and was tempted to lick the curry from the plate. I figured it wasn't a good idea because I was surrounded by high-class people.

For breakfast, I had a croissant, a bran muffin and some kind of weird omlette. The omlette was served with ham fried rice, which was weird, but it was good. For the most part the food was delicious for airplane food.

When we got to Manila, I was pretty happy to get off the plane. We got our bags with no trouble. We had been told that it was likely that our bags would be lost or left in San Francisco for our layover. It didn't happen, they showed up within the first few minutes. That was a huge relief.

We were told to go outside and look for a man in a red coat that would be there with the hotel we are staying in called the Shangri-La Makati. He said we didn't have a car reserved, but he would get one there for us quickly. It was awesome, they only charged us for a Camry rate, but we got a Mercedes! Wooo! It was pretty sweet. The guy who picked us up spoke really good english and told us a little about the city while we were driving to the hotel. When we got here, we got checked in and went to breakfast.

Here is the lobby that greeted us when we walked into the hotel:


This hotel is famous at eBay for having the most incredible breakfast buffet. The food was amazing! I had like 4 plates. If you know me, you know I don't eat 4 plates at a buffet. I usually have 1 - maybe 2 - at the most. I had french toast, a chocolate croissant, a big chunk of granola, a plate of jasmine rice, salmon on a skewer, a piece of sushi, watermelon, pineapple and more. It was so perfect, since we were hungry and tired. I can't wait until tomorrow so I can eat it again.

Here is the buffet:


After we ate, I came back to my room. My room looks exactly like the room below, except for the TV isn't old and boxy - it's the new flat screen. I stole this picture from the hotel's website. Check it out!


I couldn't figure out how to turn the lights on, though. I figured it out with Karly that we have to put our room key in a little slot in order for the lights to work. It makes sense.

I wasn't extremely tired yet, so I got my clothes that needed to be ironed in a bag and sent them off to be ironed. They will arrive tonight before I go to work.

You're probably wondering what I'm doing here anyway. eBay is rolling out a new dispute resolution process for items not as described, or when items aren't received by buyers. The resolution center will now be on eBay and not on PayPal, and I am here to support the agents as they begin to take calls for buyers who need help with the new process. I am considered a "subject matter expert" otherwise known as a "SME". I will be running around helping agents with questions they have about the new tool and the new process. I'm pretty excited, but scared that I won't be able to get to everyone who needs help. This is an outsourcing center with over 400 agents. I hope I do ok. I will wear comfortable shoes and try to do my best.

I am getting a bit more sleepy and I think I'm tired enough to go to bed. I am happy that I was able to talk to my husband for a few minutes. He told me it snowed there in Utah. Is that true? Insane. Ok, I'll try to write more tomorrow. I want to go to the pool after work in the morning if I can... and I'd like to take a picture or a video. Check back for more Manila Updates! :) Miss you all...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Caramel Apple Night!

Halloween is coming soon! Halloween is one of my favorite holidays because I love to dress up and eat candy. I was pretty excited for this halloween because it will be our first real halloween in our new house. The sad part is that I will not be able to be here to celebrate it with my family and husband. I have been asked to go to Manila in The Philippines for work for two weeks. I leave on Monday and I'm pretty excited. I will miss everyone here very much... and I will miss Halloween! :( I heard that in the Philippines they call it the Day of the Dead and no one dresses up. Everyone goes out to nightclubs and parties. I'm not sure I will party, but I might order an extra slice of pie from room service. ;)

To celebrate a little eary, Arthur's mom invited us over for their annual carmel apple dipping party. I got some great pictures of the event and have posted them for you to see. Enjoy!

Everone helps unrap the caramels and puts them in a big bowl. We usually get the good caramels that you can find in the bulk candy section. Don't forget to wash your hands! Arthur melted the caramel in the microwave and had to stir them until they were almost liquid. We could usually only dip one apple at a time before the caramel started getting hard again... so you had to go fast!
Lili is Arthur's neice. She's attached to him. She loves to sit on his lap whenever he is around. It's cute to hear her yell his name. Arthur! This is her eating a caramel. I think she was alternating unrapping and putting the caramel in the bowl and eating them.

Arthur's family loves to decorate for the holidays. You will always see their house transform into a decorated halloween land. There are scary things hanging everywhere. This is a little witch that Arthur's little sister Sunny made at school. The head is made out of a rotten apple. The kids put the apples on the window ledge in class and let the apples go rotten. By the time halloween comes around, the apples look just like a shrunken witch head. I had a pretty good laugh at this witch. Her face is hilarious!

Here is the bucket of apples! I had one of the big yellow-red ones. Delicious! We stuck a long popsicle stick in the top of the apple for dipping.

It was time to decorate now! Here is little Noah taking candies off of Autumn's apple. Noah is Arthur's nephew.

We spent some time decorating and then everyone showed off their apples! Here are some pictures of the apples eveyone decorated!

Here is Sunny's apple! I like the top of hers. She did a great job!

Here is my apple!

Here is Ka'Lea's apple! She did such a great job with those straight lines of M&Ms!

Here is Arthur's apple! We couldn't get a good picture of Arthur. He kept closing his eyes. This is his "I'm-annoyed-with-you-Genevieve-because-you-won't-tell-me-when-you-are-going-to-take-a-picture" face.

This is Arthur's dad and mom. Arthur's mom didn't want to be in the picture so Arthur's dad tried to make it less awkward for her. Here's Arthur's dad's apple!

A closeup of my apple

Here's Eli's apple! He wins for most candy on an apple.

Here is Ka'Lea's first apple!

Here is Autumn's apple!

This is the apple I made for Mike. He loves KitKat. I was so excited to bring it home to him, excited enough that I texted him a picture of it right after I made it. He was not here when I got home to give it to him. It is in the fridge.

Another shot of our apples together. Brother and sister!

I hope you enjoyed this enty. I had some of my apple this morning for brunch. It is delicious! Have a great weekend!