30 June, 2006

Let's Lunch

Today's schedule included waking up early (ok, 10am) so that I could get dressed and go over to the Magic Kingdom for lunch with Professor Tom. Tom and I have been friends since freshman year of high school when I swooped in and starting "dating" his best friend. (is it still called "dating" if you never really went anywhere??) He still lives up in Marlton, on the street where I used to live! Anyway, I went over to his hotel to drop off some tickets yesterday, because that's the kind of friend I am, and it was so good to see him. It was unexplainably good. I guess it's because I'm so far from where I grew up and he's a link to all that's good and simple and wholesome about my past.

He hasn't changed a bit... although he's shaved off the goofy beard he was sporting last time he was in town. The one that made him look a little like Bob Denver back in the Dobie Gillis days. I guess we'll have to take a new picture today.

29 June, 2006


I need to have this checked out at a doctor - I think I'm allergic to stupid people. Really. How else would you explain the 15 minute call with frustrated lost people followed by the hives that broke out on my neck??

OK, maybe they weren't hives. And it's much more likely that the blotchy redness was caused by the Coke I had with dinner. Every time I have a coke at work it makes my cheeks all red. My frustration with the stupid lady probably raised my blood pressure, which in turn blotched my neck.

At any rate, my co-workers were amused by my new allergy. Good thing I'm getting the heck out, huh?

On a completely new topic, my friend Tom T from high school is in town. I'm going to hook up with him this afternoon before work to drop off some park tickets for him and two friends. Then tomorrow we're going to have lunch. His treat. :o) Last time he was in town, I paid. We have a floating lunch. It works out.

And let's change directions one more time. Check out this picture from the Pirates premiere at Disneyland. No, it's not Johnny Depp. Oh... you wanted to him? OK. But seriously, that first picture... woah... it just makes me want to sing that Sesame Street song, "one of these things is not like the other..."

28 June, 2006

There's Something You Don't See Every Day!

Picture it: you're driving down the road in the most intense lightning storm you've seen in years. All of a sudden, a bolt comes down out of the greenish-yellow sky and makes contact somewhere in the distance. Immediately after that, two fireworks go off from the same area. After another minute, another bolt touches down somewhere close to the first. And another single firework goes off.

I was very close to my destination when I saw all of this, and since there was lightning striking everything around me, I figured when I got to Scott (I was bringing dinner and fresh-baked banana bread) I'd call him and tell him I was there but not leaving the car until the lightning let up. But when I pulled into the parking lot he was standing out there with an umbrella. Yep, that's two storms in a row where I went out into the elements because of peer pressure.

Thanks, honey! I'm not really as ungrateful as that paragraph makes me sound!

Anyway, we made it into the building without being hit by lightning. No one else was hurt either. But I bet that some of the fireworks people had to change pants after all that excitement!

I'm hoping that today's excitement won't be quite as exciting! At least I'll be indoors for 8 hours!

27 June, 2006


Today is my one day off this week. Since Scott is working straight through, I figured I'd pick up a shift too. Although one of the managers cancelled last night's OT shift, so far no one has told me not to come in tomorrow.

So I'm the only one with a day off. Today's secret word is laundry. I'm also going to watch one of my NetFlix rentals and bring Scott something fabulous for dinner (sadly, he scoffed when I suggested Taco Bell).

Is this really a day off?
(no, I'm not complaining)

26 June, 2006

It's a *good* thing!

So I re-read my last two posts and I think perhaps I have made my current situation sound negative. And I just want to remember this as a fun, happy time where my friends make my life hell in a good way. That's exactly what it is. Today from an operational standpoint was crap. Our service level was down as low as 51% (which means that almost half of the people who called hung up before we answered... we strive for 90%). It made for an interesting few hours. Everyone was on the phones, including our managers.

Managers should not take calls... especially when they don't remember how to use the switchboard software!

And afterward, when things calmed down a bit, we had LOTS of paperwork to catch up on. And you know what? It was fun. I love my team. And knowing that I'm leaving makes me love them more. And hey - I'm still on their hurricane ride-out crew. If there's a "big one," I'll be back.

And one more shortie from the world of work:

I pulled into our parking lot today about 5 minutes after the skies had opened up. (of course, 'tis the season for the 3:00 thunderstorm!) My plan was to sit in the car, call Scott, and see if the weather cleared a little before I had to bother with my big umbrella. That plan changed when Jim (who has lately become like "the big brother I never wanted") got out of his car and walked back two rows to where I was parked to make sure I got in the building ok. So I pointed to my umbrella and he waved and took off. I figured maybe I should go ahead in the building, and when I did I told everyone what he did. *I* really don't think I would have done that for anyone... although I guess now I owe Jim one!

25 June, 2006

10 Work Day Countdown

As of today, I have 10 work days left. Why the sudden countdown? After the night from HELL last night, I can't wait to get out! I was on the desk answering calls, which is my least favorite job. I had two people ask for my manager (which is just about my monthly quota... usually I pretend I am the manager). I was yelled at. I was stressed. It was almost non-stop my entire shift. And THEN I stayed an hour of O.T.

My favorite co-workers told me that they were going to make my life a living hell for the next two weeks. It's fine. I know that after I go, they're going to be short at night, and even if John is able to hire two people (to fill the existing hole and the one I'm causing), it'll be a month or more before they are both trained and competant. Whatever they dish out, I can take it. And I welcome it. I deserve it. long as they don't put me back on the damn desk!

24 June, 2006


So... my last day at the call center is July 8. Imaging my surprise when I got a call from Administrative Recruiting today, a full week before I thought I'd hear anything, offering me the position. What about the "4 or 5 others" they had to interview in the next week??

So here's some of what I know (and can share) about my new job: I'll be confirming and booking reservations for one restaurant, I'll be located at the restaurant, reporting to both the front of house managers and the chef (dietary restrictions, special requests, etc.). I'll also be doing some billing and some other odds and ends.

Why the change? Well, this is about as different from my current job as I could find without going out and shoveling popcorn for $7/hour. The pay is about the same, but the atmosphere is completely different. Instead of babysitting other people, I'll be by myself probably half of my shift or more. Instead of fixing problems for angry guests, I'll be (hopefully) keeping them happy. Instead of knowing a little bit about 10 dozen different topics, I'll be an expert on one area. And instead of being one small cog in a large machine, I'll be a bigger cog in a smaller machine. Besides, as long as I'm in the hospitality industry, working in a 5-star restaurant looks pretty good on a resume.

Work was fun today. I accepted the position around 3:30, and by 4 it felt like the entire world knew. It was fun getting people's reactions...

* "Lost another one to Ditech!" (Marilyn)
* "You can't go - you're the blonde. Why are all the blondes leaving?" from Lydia, to which I replied, "we feel oppressed here."
* "Will you be able to hook me up with some steak?" (Jim)
* "Is it a small call center?" (Kay) Answer: "Well, yes, if by 'small' you mean just me."
* "They're going to yell at you over there." (Beth) "They yell at me here. I'll probably get yelled at much less."

It's a little scary completely switching gears like this, but I'm really looking forward to stretching another part of my brain. And I'm happy to be leaving the Call Center while I still like the job and most of the people who work there. It's always best to leave on good terms.

22 June, 2006

I'm here...

...I just don't have much to say.

I hear there's a big fluffernutter controversy in Massachusetts. I guess that's what happens to a state (ok, commonwealth) when they don't have Teri Schiavo to fight over and they've already made up their minds on gay marriage. Frankly, if MA is the home of fluff, then I think the fluffernutter should be the state sandwich... but maybe it still doesn't deserve a place in school cafeterias.

Closer to home, I interviewed for a new position yesterday. I don't really like interviews where they ask you three questions based on your resume and that's mostly it. It's hard to say how it's gone when they don't ask you any of those awful "what are your strengths and weaknesses?" interview questions. Anyway, if they were to offer me the position, I'd take it. Even though it's an 8am job. And if they don't offer me the position... I guess I'll still be where I am currently. Either way life will go on.

19 June, 2006

Rainbows of Fun

I was a little bored during my lunch break today. Bored with two variables to keep me occupied:
1) I just put new batteries in my camera, and
2) one of my co-workers gave me a 3" cheapie plastic kaleidoscope a few days ago.

So I took pictures through the kaleidoscope. I think they came out rather well.

Other than that, the only other excitement of the day was coming back from lunch only to find that my practical joke nemesis had replaced my beautiful desktop image of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow with an awful image of some schmuck dressed as Captain Jack (I can't find the original... you'll just have to believe me that it's worse than this one!). I laughed so hard I needed two tissues to mop up my tears.

Has anyone seen my husband recently? He was gone when I woke up this morning, and still isn't home. I hear I should see him for a little while tomorrow. That'll be nice.

16 June, 2006

Pillow Talk

Following is an actual after-the-lights-went-out conversation between myself and my darling Mr. ParkHopper:

MPH: You already took your glasses off?
ME: I've had my contacts in all day.
MPH: Oh.

I tormented him for a while after that. I think he deserved it. After all, it's not every day that I'm not the "flaky, unobservant one."

14 June, 2006

A Long and Winding Entry

I have multiple topics to cover, and am just too scatter-brained to take the time to make multiple entries. So you're just going to have to bear with me while I canoe down my stream of consciousness.

Parkhopper's Charity of the Month

I found the Dewey Donation System through a link on one of my daily reads, By The Way...(the entry includes an interview with the founder of the DDS, author Pamela Ribon). Says Pamie of her annual book drives:

The Dewey Donation System came to be because I'm an accidental activist. My high school years were spent sending money to several charity organizations, but being stuck outside Houston without a car (and pre-Internet -- you kids have it so lucky!) made it so that I was limited to expressing myself through underground newspapers. Once my website caught on (pre-blogs, back when we were called "Internet diaries" or "online journals"), I was able to start making a living off of my writing. One day, while waiting for my first novel to come out, I read an article on the Oakland Public Library, and how they'd lost their acquisition funds, and had resorted to Amazon wish lists to ask complete strangers to send new books to their shelves. I wrote an entry about the importance of libraries -- how everybody from tweens to crackheads need a book -- and asked everybody to send a book Oakland's way. Within a few weeks, hundreds of books arrived at their doorsteps, and the librarians (being good Bay Area activists) were able to get the nation looking their way.

That kind of response was overwhelmingly rewarding, and so I did it again the next year with San Diego after their libraries were hit by wildfires, and the year after that we sponsored a village in India post-Tsunami. This year, when Katrina hit, I was horrified with the devastation, and it hit even closer to home, as I'd spent a number of years in Mississippi. I love New Orleans as much as the next semi-Southern gal, but I knew Mississippi was getting lost in the media
attention. I hoped I'd be able to send some help their way.

The drive is actually supporting eight Mississippi libraries - some have been decimated, some have lost their entire Childrens' section, and some have lost funding (and with it the ability to buy new materials). And it couldn't be easier to help out. Each library has a wish list on You log in, pick some books (any order over $25 gets free shipping...), and buy them. Amazon sends them to the library, and the library puts the book on the shelf.

I sent three books to the Biloxi Public Library: Frankenstein, The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide, and Time and Again (for you, mom). If you can't make a donation, please pimp the cause to anyone you know.


Sometimes, going into a movie with absolutely no expectations is the best way to go. I'll admit it - the only reason I wanted to see Cars is because it's a Pixar movie. And I love Pixar movies. I even loves A Bug's Life. I don't dig the NASCAR scene, I don't really enjoy Larry the Cable Guy, and I wasn't sure how cars were going to come off as emotional characters.

Forgive me, Mr. Lasseter, for ever doubting you.

Cars was everything I wasn't expecting it to be. It was a great story. I loved all the characters (even Mater, the redneck tow truck). And I really loved the backdrops. I totally want to drive down Route 66, see mountains, and go places tourists don't usually go.

I'll give cars JJJJ out of JJJJJ, and highly recommend that when you go, you stay through the credits... although the movie peaks at the drive-in.

Fire Damage

Now that 192 is open again, we've gotten to take a look at the fire damage. No wonder they had to close the road -- the fire was almost right up against it, and the trees for a good 1/4 mile have either been burned up to black sticks or sucked up so much smoke their leaves have turned brown. It's sad, but I'm glad it wasn't much worse. Oh yeah - it's still smoking. I guess we didn't get quite as much rain as they were hoping. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn't start up again.

Veggies for Dinner

Corn on the cob, bakes sweet potato fries, and curried cous cous. Two days in a row. Life is sweet. (of course, there's also grilled beer-soaked brats... but if you just eat one, it's considered a side dish, right?)

13 June, 2006

Bad Pictures

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Find a picture in your files that is technically bad, but is still interesting to look at. By "technically bad," I mean things like people are partly out of frame, your subject is out of focus, everyone has red eye, people's heads are cut off, there are in appropriate blurs, so on an so forth. But even so, it's still an interesting picture to look at.

I truly wish that I had my family's "European Vacation" album, because I took a picture of the Loch Ness Monster in 1988. Truth be told, it's an orange sunbeam reflected on the water, but it really looks like there's something large right under the surface. But since I don't have that photo to share, I present this one instead.

It's from our cruise in March, and you can tell it was a lame attempt to take a picture of us in the mirror of our stateroom. (I sometimes forget that my camera has a timer). Because of the glare, it wasn't even worth posting or printing out for the album. But I rather enjoy the heavenly glare coming from my armpit. Or maybe I should just say "no, I didn't take the picture in the mirror... that's the glare from my wedding set."

On a completely unrelated programming note, the plan for the next 24 hours is do absolutely nothing. We plan to watch Ocean's 11 and Ocean's 12 and some other random movies. That's it. Don't call... don't write... we're cut off. See you Wednesday!

12 June, 2006

Where's the Locusts?

So... the past few days in Jamie World have seen my primary route to work (192) still closed due to a smoky brush fire, a car-fire-turned-brush-fire that closed down my favorite route home for a night (not that I would've gone that way anyway... it leads to 192), a downpour that hit right before I got to work yesterday and caused me to have soggy ankles for a few hours, and now...

...get ready for it...'s big and ugly... you know where I'm going with this???

It's Tropical Storm Alberto!!!!

All but one of the projected paths show the worst of the storm hitting far north of here in the armpit of the state, but it's raining today and they say it'll be raining tomorrow too. On the bright side, maybe two days of soaking rain will end brush fire season, raise the lake levels (send them there gators back away from us civilized folk), green up the lawns, and leave us to fret about flooding.

It's the circle of life,
And it moves us all,
Through the smoke and fog,
The rain will fall.

11 June, 2006

From the "Too Much Free Time" Files

Sometimes at work we have a lot of free time. It makes up for the days when we don't even have time to look up from the computer for 8 hours. We relish our free time and we spend it wisely.

OK, by "spend it wisely," I don't mean that we read books or balance our bank accounts or anything practical. We spend our time bonding as a group, torturing anyone foolish enough to walk away and leave their computer unlocked (Mary's desktop is an image that says "Jim is Great"), and finding other ways of amusing ourselves.

Today, we were insanely busy... for about 6 hours of our shift. In the other two hours, we discovered that if you call the call box attached to the entrance to our building, it answers automatically. And you can yell things at people as they are going home. It confused some, startled some, and amused the heck out of us. I even sang "So Long, Farewell" to the gals who left at 11:00.

I also got inspired to start an art project for John - create an image for him that combines his two favorite actors: Bette Davis and Pepe the King Prawn (he's a muppet... okay?). Of course, I couldn't start such a project at work, but he and I got to talking, and we decided it would be fun to do a whole line of images with an old-time movie star and a muppet. Such non-sequitor is bound to amuse. Well what could be better as a first project than a movie poster combining the Rat Pack with Rizzo the Rat?

10 June, 2006

Florida Burning

Brush fires have been popping up around our area for the past two months. It's an annual occurrence - right before the rainy season, everything catches on fire. This year, it's been a little worse. They've had to close various stretches of I-95 and some toll roads down on the coast. But this time it's personal:

Due to smoke, the Osceola County Sheriff's Office have closed a stretch of U.S. 192 between West Orange Lake and East Black Lake Roads.
Actually, after the Sentinel put out that article, the road closures went all the way from 429 to 27, and they closed a whole stretch of 429 as well. This, of course, is my way home from work. So I had to take I-4 all the way to Haines City and double back. And, wouldn't you know it, when I got to the 192/27 area, the FHP guys were gone. They reopened the road some time between 11:30 when I last looked at the website and midnight when I drove by. Grrr!

Right now the road is open. Hopefully it will stay that way and I'll be able to get to work today without going 15 miles out of my way.

09 June, 2006

Traffic Woes

Weekend Assignment #115: You'll find an online highway sign generator here. Go there, write your own highway sign, and post it in your Journal or Blog.

Extra Credit: What was the worst traffic jam you've ever been in?

I'm not sure if this was the worst traffic jam I've ever been in, but it's got to be the most memorable. The year: 2000. My dad had driven up from Florida in his 1988 Buick to pick me up from college in Pennsylvania. We made it as far as Virginia (I'm not sure if it was I-95 or the turnpike. Does VA even have a turnpike?) and traffic just stopped. Well, after a half hour or so of barely moving, the car started to overheat. So Dad turned on the heater. In May. In Virginia. After another couple of minutes, officially angry at the world and HOT under the collar, my father turned to his newest gadget: the cell phone.

Did my dad call the highway patrol to find out what the traffic problem was? no.

To my horror, he called the Office of the Governor and screamed at some poor secretary/switchboard person about what poor planning it was to know that they were doing road construction and to still allow people to travel on that road.

Eventually we made it through Virginia, and I think my dad may have vowed to never go back.

07 June, 2006

mmm...that's a good picture!

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Take a picture of something that starts with an "M". From marshmallows to muscilage, it's all good.

I was tempted to take a picture of the jar of marshmallow fluff that came home with Scott the other night (did I mention I rarely let him go shopping alone?), or of the mess on our computer desk, but then inspiration struck: how many M's could I get into one picture? I got three - Milo and his Monkey on the Man-Chair.

Milo has had his monkey almost his entire life. My then-roommate Helen (it was her idea to get Milo and another kitten) was obsessed with monkeys and had 2 dozen or more all over our apartment, and when tiny kitten Milo found this one, it was love at first sight. He was barely bigger than the monkey, and he'd grab it by the head and drag it between his legs wherever he went. And everywhere that Milo has lived, the monkey has been there to keep him company.

Of course, now the monkey is losing its facial features. I've been tempted in recent days to cut out the dangling nose and eye and sew up the hole, so that Milo doesn't end up with monkey plastic embedded in his large intestine. But the stuffing in the body of the monkey is all plastic pellets anyway. Eventually, the monkey is going to spring a leak. I've also tried to tempt Milo with other tiny monkeys, a little cat that has his coloring, and a bean-bag frog, but he won't touch them. The monkey, however, tends to sleep with him at night. Aren't they just the cutest pair?

06 June, 2006

I'm a "Winner"

I think I need to put a parental control on ebay so that I'll stop buying things! I won my aqua scarf last week, and last night I won my other two outstanding auctions - a white dress (could the search be over? I'll let you know once I get it) and a white pashmina.

My email in box is full of receipts, confirmations, shipping notifications... In short, it's a mess! And thus ends this chapter of Jamie's ebay obsession!

Speaking of e-mail (we were? yes! see paragraph 2 sentence 1), I'm seriously about ready to kick AOL out of my life. I opened up my e-mail this morning, and every time I open a message, there's a different banner ad across the bottom of the window. I pay WAY too much money every month for them to claim they need to bombard their own members this way. What's next? Ads at the bottom of all of my outgoing messages?

And thus ends today's anti-AOhelL rant.

05 June, 2006

Gravity Gone Bad

Scott and I had a "bad gravity" day the other day.

First, he let the cats out on the balcony (no... they didn't jump off... although that too would've been bad) and one of them knocked off a bud vase he had outside getting some sun. Sadly, it pretty much shattered and made a big fat mess.

Later, as I was trying to get out the door for work, my travel mug leapt off of the counter straight onto the tile floor in our entryway. Did I mention the mug was full of kool-aid? Did I mention that the kool aid was red? Well the top of the mug popped off upon impact (so much for spill-proof!) and there was red everywhere! I did what I could to clean it up, but I was late for work and I left the floor a sticky mess.

Come to think about it, bad gravity day was the day I had the 8-hour headache. It was one of those days when I should've just stayed in bed!
EBAY Update: My blue scarf is on its way from Memphis, and I'm now bidding on a white dress.

03 June, 2006


I've been a fool for Ebay recently. I've been clothes shopping, accessory shopping, jewelery shopping... No, I haven't been buying everything in sight. But I did win a scarf/shawl last night that I'm SO excited about. It's "light turquoise," which in my world means it's aqua, and it's got sequins for about 4" on both ends. It'll look gorgeous with my brown halter dress. I also have a bid in for a white pashmina to go with the same dress.

I haven't bought anything on Ebay since right after I got married when I found a copy of 20,000 Leagues on DVD for Scott. And I miss it. After all, I got my special fortune cookies from Ebay, my wedding dress, petticoat, veil, and lots of other stupid crap.

If they sold groceries, I might never leave the house...