Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Working Late

I cannot complain. I have not worked nearly the long hours this year that I did last year. In part due to the fact that this is my "second rodeo" aka my second year here and I'm an ol' pro at this point. I volunteered to work late tonight, as I had no real plans and the extra cash can't hurt.

So what have I been doing? Babysitting clients of course. The rules state that if a client is in the Conference Center, someone from my staff has to be here. I think I have done 1 hour of actual work and the rest of the time have been doing you see, I've posted 8 blog entries in the last 12 hours. Feel free to take it in stride. Break it up for ongoing entertainment, as you know I may not post anything for another month. I've decided I'm a blog binger. I think all the time "oh, I need to blog about that" ... and then I don't... and then I have a day like today where there is absolutely nothing for me to do and so I binge.

I've also been applying for jobs all over- the Ritz, Four Seasons and Country Clubs--mainly in St. Louis, Denver, New Orleans and Dubai. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, I need to get out of here.

Let's see, I caught up on a bunch of phone calls--like to my parents, cousin, a couple of friends. I left messages on a whole bunch of people's Facebook pages and looked at everyone's recently uploaded photos. I bought a plane ticket to go to Michigan for Ayyam-i-Ha in February. Read everyone's blogs. Paid bills. Chatted with J!

In response to Steph's entry-- here are all of the divine White Elephant Gifts I have received this holiday season:

(From the left- ceramic moose luminary, which heats up to unreasonable temperatures that may burn your hands, a travel alarm clock circa 1968 and a change jar which says "Retirement Fund")

It is now almost midnight and I'm still here. Call this blog entry #10 for the day.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Texting your way to love

If you have not seen this video and you are single and on the dating scene you will appreciate it. If you are not, you may think it's funny, but you may not be able to relate.

A truly phenomenal lady

I received this text message late last night:

"Kathy's condition has become more serious. Andy is coming home from changing times. please keep her in your prayers."

I was devastated. This lady saved my life.

I was told by her dear friend 3 years ago that I had 2 choices for my marriage. One- I could stick it out for the next three years and leave with nothing of myself, or two- get out now and save what was left of me.

It was Kathy who gave me the strength to stand up and say that I will no longer live as I was living and would no longer be taken for granted, or accused of cheating or be cursed for taking a pay cut, or work and take care of the household and nurture our relationships and every other aspect of our life together. It was she who gave me the tools to survive what could have been a potentially traumatic event.

I owe you my life.

Monday, December 29, 2008

A voicemail saved is a voicemail loved

I save voice mails on a regular basis. Sometimes because they make me happy or because they let me hear the voices of the people I love the most. Here are the ones currently saved that I listen to almost daily.

Marabeth left a voicemail after my birthday singing her classic happy birthday song, not the traditional birthday song, but her own. She has the voice of an angel, which literally makes me cry each and every time I hear it. I save it so that if I need to hear her sweet voice I can at any time.

Golriz left a message for me back in June, which I still listen to with regularity. It goes like this: "Jen, I want you to save this message and listen to it whenever you are having doubts about your future line of action. Life on the other side is so beautiful. Life with a person who treats you right and nurtures you and respects you and knows you and cares about who the person is to the core of their being is just the most beautiful thing ever."

I save every voicemail that Double B's leaves me, which are far and few between. They basically say "Hello, just calling to say hi. I'll give you a call another day. I hope everything is going well." But hearing his voice melts me every time. And so I continue to save and re-listen. I only hope he saved the message I left him just days ago when it was snowing here.

Speaking of the day it was snowing...Cherie left me a message that day so filled with excitement that I don't even think a page of exclamation points would do it justice. "Freaky can you even believe how fun this is?! OMG I'm so excited!! This is so fun!!!!" Cherie and I have a mad love for snow and the fact that it was snowing in Houston last week was a miracle for the both of us.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The first sighting

It was no coincidence that you were there. You acted as if it was, but I know you were expecting the call any day with sighting of me. I didn't feel awkward at all, but I did not know what to say. I have been fully removed from you for 8 months now. I felt almost no emotion, just as if I was seeing an old acquaintance. I was actually glad to see you, but not enough to linger all night long. I have, of course, thought of you almost every moment since then--evaluating if I could do it again, if I wanted to be with you again, if I could let you back in. And I realized two things. The first is that the changes which would have to occur are quite monumental and beyond what you are capable of at this time. The second is that I am truly happy.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

J is for Tattoo

This time of my life is marked forever

*Disclaimer- photo taken with camera phone + tattoo still healing = fuzzy blurry photo

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

And in the end.

Sunday came and went almost in silence. I'm not sure what I thought would happen, but nothing did. I got up, went running, grabbed some lunch with a friend, hung out, watched TV...nothing monumental. You didn't call, I didn't call. I'm not sure you even realized what day it was.

I have not thought of you much over the last year, but I thought of you today. I hope you are well and happy. I hope you are at peace. And I want nothing but the very best for the rest of your life.

Monday, December 15, 2008

New obsession

Here are the specs that I want:

1. Hard top with sun roof (a must, I drive with the sun roof open whether it's 90 degrees or 13 degrees)
2. Oxygen Blue with black trim
3. Heated seats
4. Blue tooth
5. IPod adapter
6. 18 inch double spoke wheels

Depending on my next move...I might have to do it!

Friday, December 12, 2008

My work

I haven't written anything in general, in quite some time, but work, over the last month, has been sheer entertainment. The holiday season brings out the crazies. Luckily I've been doing my job long enough that I am little effected by any request, any feedback or any level of neuroses.

1. The party planning lady who has never planned a party before- calls in July to book her conference room and plan her menu for her law section's holiday party. Then proceeds to contact me at least once a week for the next 6 months to see how the logistics on my end are going. What I refrained from saying: Look lady, your 25 person luncheon is nothing. I will do it in my sleep the day before. It's like those bride's who are engaged for 2 years, just so that they can torture themselves for an extended period of time. Example phone call "Jen, can we go over the menu one more time?" After the fifth of these phone calls, I referred her back to an email I had sent back in July. "Well, I just wanted to make sure nothing had changed." No, nothing has changed because I haven't even thought about your holiday party ONE SINGLE TIME since I booked it and planned the menu 4 months ago.

2. The needy non-client- Calls and says I am booking my holiday potluck luncheon at the exact same time as a 400 person luncheon that you are hosting. To which I problem, but please note that my entire staff will be unavailable to bring you anything you may need and we will have absolutely no equipment to lend you. Who do you think calls the day of for a gravy ladle? Who do you think laughed in her face? Tactfully of course.

3. The last minute Christmas Parties- so this year the Firm decided to throw one huge party for everyone employed, instead of having each individual department throw their own outrageously expensive party and charge it back to the firm's accounts. So I figure I'm going to plan this one big party and be done with it. Oh no...people attend the all firm party, which I might add was brilliant...and then proceed to have their own section parties, only deciding to do such a thing at the very.last.second. Like calling me on Monday the week of Christmas requesting a holiday party the next day for 40 of their closest colleagues. People, it's the catering business, and it's the holiday season-- no you are not going to get your favorite beef tenderloin from your favorite caterer for a majorly discounted rate. Get a grip. In one day, I threw 4 holiday luncheons, 2 retirement receptions and a cocktail party. Planning all but 1 the day before.


Besides all of the crazies, my biggest accomplishment this year, as far as work goes, was the holiday party I mentioned earlier. I came up with the concept, planned all of the food, paired the beverages and bought the decor. The theme was Christmas Around the World. I had 8 food stations set up all over the Conference Center, each featuring a different cuisine.

I featured cheeses and breads paired with white wine from France

All sorts of pastas and pizza with red wine from Italy

Paella and empanadas with homemade Sangria from Spain

And I also had classic turkey and dressing with cranberry sauce for American cuisine

I had a slue of other items featured from Asia, Germany, Britain and on and on. This party was so fun to plan and execute. My staff was awesome as I often think creatively on the fly and to keep up with the changes can be challenging sometimes.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Iron Chef V & E 2009

I was asked by a co-worker to participate in my Firm's Annual Iron Chef Competition, which kicks off the food drive we support during the holiday season. We put together a crew from all different backgrounds and departments. We met, brainstormed and planned out the perfect menu. We strategized about how to cheat and win.

Oh did I mention that the secret ingredient was Vienna Sausage? And because this kick off was benefiting our local food bank, we could only use items which would typically be donated to a food other words only canned and dry goods. We were given one microwave and were allowed to bring a skillet, knives and cutting boards. I embellished our cookware by bringing everything from the Conference Center down to the competition. The other teams were so ill prepared it was embarrassing. But that was our intent. At one point in the competition the team of attorneys resorted to throwing cash at the judges because he just couldn't compete anymore.

Our menu was far superior:

Vienna Bruschetta- tomato tartar topped with Vienna Sausage served on Toast Points
Translation- Crushed tomatoes with a slice of Vienna Sausage on a Ritz Cracker

Main Course
"Our Genuine, Authentic, One of a Kind, Vienna Holiday Dinner"
Braised Vienna "The other other white meat"
Mashed Potatoes served over Mushroom and Vienna Giblet Gravy
Green beans aux Vienna (I made Vienna Sausage bacon)
Butter carrots
Almost homemade Cranberry Relish


Fresh Imported Vienna Fruit Cups
Translation- we cleaned out the cans of Vienna Sausage and filled them with canned fruit salad

The cheating started with a hot towel treatment for the judges:

Then the Cranberry Spritzers:

Here we are cooking.

We were ultimately victorious in the end: