Friday, June 30, 2006

Overheard at the mall...and a long overdue book review!

So, yesterday I'm shopping at the local moneyhole (aka the mall) when I had the following two experiences.

1. Conversation between two teenagers (maybe 16-17 years old) viewing the Armani store windows:

T1: "Like, that dress is so totally cute."

T2: "Totally."


T1: "Like, do you think that store is, like, expensive or something?"

2. I was wandering the makeup counters at Macy's while the store music system was playing a song by The Pussycat Dolls (and btw...when did PCD songs become appropriate mall music?) when I hear someone singing along to the words loudly and with abandon. I turn around to see a rather pudgy, 50+ woman in stretch pants and gold flats rocking out and singing at the top of her lungs "Don'tcha wish your girlfriend was hot like me? Don'tcha, baby? Don'tcha?"

I have no comment to make (except maybe "like, when did the word "like" become, like, the only word in like the whole English language because, like, I totally thought the only word left was like, "dude." like, ya know?) I just report 'em as they happen and I'll leave the comments to you, my audience (and apologies for the long time, no write and all that).

***warning*** - the following paragraph contains some "R" rated language!

In dating news - coffee guy seems to have fallen off the planet after a trip to San Francisco although we did have a pretty lively e-mail discussion going for a while there. It could be because he wanted to shift our first ever meet from coffee to boogie boarding and I pushed back for coffee because, even with all the weight loss (50 lbs. gone and I bought a size 12 dress yesterday! That's right, people! I just wasn't prepared to handle first date stress AND bathing suit stress simultaneously. However, in the meantime, I've struck up a nice conversation with someone I'll call Literate Guy (as in his e-mails are actually funny and literate as opposed to the one sentence "Me man. You woman. We go cave now. Ugh." e-mails that have been showing up). Now, I know that guys are not all that big into communicating, but geez! Some of these things are so unintelligible that I can't tell if they guy is saying "you're a hot piece of ass" or "I'm eating a pizza so I'll pass." Whatever...

And now, on to the books.

I'm still strolling my way through the Amber Chronicles re-read and have slipped in a couple of dating and romance advice books, but those are no fun to review so I'll just stick to the fiction as usual.

"The King's Own" by Lorna Freeman is the sequel to "Covenants" that I reviewed a little while ago. The author picks up the story of Rabbit and his developing magical abilities as he returns to the garrison town of Freston in Iversterre at the king's command. King Jusson has take up residence in the town and his presence along with Rabbit's starts bringing the age-old conflict between "humans" and "magicals" to a head once more. Through in a murder, a hidden necromancer, and Rabbit's conflicting bindings to his elven relatives and the Faena Laurel and "The King's Own" is another page-turning, wild ride that keeps the reader's attention to the very end. Freeman really knows how to keep the action and suspense going so that you arrive at the conclusion of the novel almost as hungry and exhausted as the protagonist is. She's one of the few authors I've ever read to whom I can honestly say "a little break in the action now and then to catch my breath could be a good thing." I'm so pleased to have discovered this author and can't wait for the next installment in this series.

And, just because I have to be fashionable and trendy, I stretched outside my normal sci-fi and fantasy bounds to read "The Devil Wears Prada" by Lauren Weisberger. Although I found the constant dropping of brand names to be a little wearing, the book is quite funny and the main character is as likeable as her boss is hateable. It's definitely a must-read for anyone who's ever had a "boss from hell" and has had the daily debate with themselves about whether to keep slogging away for certain professional and career goal reasons (and maybe salary, too) or tell the asshole where they can stick it and walk out. I still remember my first boss from hell - her name was Hilary and she was the manager of a clothing store that I worked at in Newport Beach. It was my first job out of college. I was the assistant manager and was determined to work my way up in the company to eventually being a buyer and having a fabulous career in fashion. Then Hilary came along. On my first day, I was reprimanded because I failed to re-fill the staples in the stapler while I was at the cash register alone and had a line of about 15 people (some with returns to do) and I chose to take care of them and wait to deal with the stapler until after the rush had cleared up. The reprimand was given in front of customers and when I turned to immediately go take care of the stapler issue, I was reprimanded for worrying about silly details such as staplers when there were customers waiting. On my second day, I was reprimanded because I had not said "good night" to Hilary the evening before when my shift was over. To put this in perspective, two days before I started the job, I had broken the little toe on my right foot. Then I worked an entire shift standing in a retail store for eight hours on said broken toe. By the time my shift was over, my foot was in agony and all I could think about was getting the heck out of there, taking my shoes off and maybe icing my foot down. When my shift ended, Hilary was on her dinner break and had told me before she left that if she wasn't back when it came time for me to leave to go ahead and go. The next morning when I came in, a very nasty note about my "unfriendliness" and how I needed to "improve my attitude" was waiting for me. This was the same girl who, a few months later when one of our sales associates poured scalding hot water from the steamer over my arm by accident, followed me into the bathroom where I ran to put cold water on my burned and blistered! arm to yell at me for leaving the floor without permission (did I mention the store was closed at the time?) and telling me to suck it up and quit being such a baby. Needless to say, I gave my notice not too long after that and that was the end of my big fashion career. Will Andy, the heroine of "Devil," do the same? Or will she stick it out and become the next Anna Wintour? Check the book out to see (or just go to the movie which opens this weekend).

That's it for now. If I don't have time to write again until after the holiday, Happy 4th of July, everyone!


Monday, June 12, 2006

Book Review (finally)!

Okay, not much to talk about this go-around as I have been a bit busy with other things (see previous posts about suddenly finding myself unemployed). I can't believe I'm actually busier now than I was when I had a full-time job! It's weird. Anyway, what with that and the trip to Vegas and the re-reading of the entire Amber series (I'm only halfway through - heck, there are something like nine or ten of them!) I only have one book to talk about here.

"Covenants" by Lorna Freeman is one of the best "first" novels I've ever read. Following the (mis)adventures of a runaway mage apprentice turend soldier named Rabbit, the book introduces us to a magical world in which an uneasy truce exists between the magical Border Kingdom and the non-magical Kingdom of Iversterre. In contrast to a lot of disappointing books I've read lately, this work actually has MORE than enough plot! In fact, there's a natural break point about two thirds of the way through that I'm shocked didn't become the "end" of book one with the rest of the novel split off into a second book. There's more than enough magic and interesting fantastic creatures to keep the reader interested and poor Rabbit is as bewildered as the audience as the plot thickens and twists back on itself. This is one of the few books that has kept me on my toes all the way through and where I didn't figure out the villain and his plans by about page ten. Hurrah for Lorna Freeman!

But what's that you say? You hate to buy the first book of a series without all of them being published so you can get the whole thing at one time? Well, never fear. The second book of this series, "The King's Own," is already out and available.

In other news...the interview went well on Friday so I should hear something back by the end of this week. In the meantime, I've gotten a few hits from headhunters on so we'll see if anything comes from that. I'm not sure what's going on with my potential date - we've exchanged a few e-mails, but I'm not sure if he's really into it or not. Or, it could just be that he's an example of my long-proposed theory that guys are lame at written communication (and okay, most of 'em are lame at verbal communication as well, but the written is even worse).

Gawd! It's been SO LONG since I had to think about this crap - I'm sure I have NO game left at all and if I do have it, I'm not sure where it is or how much dust it's hidden under.

Okay, c'est tout pour maintenant, mes amis! A la prochaine...


Thursday, June 08, 2006


I have a job interview at 3 PM today so I hope everyone will keep a good thought in their hearts for me and wish me luck.

Also...I got asked out on a date ;-) Wish me luck with that, too.

More news later!


P.S. In late breaking news...job interview re-scheduled by the company until 3 PM on Friday. Ryan has stomach flu and I've been up all night mucking out the crib and the bathroom repeatedly. Ah...the glamorous side of being a mom. Sigh.

Guess it's good the interview got postponed because I am now officially a zombie.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Vegas, baby!

Ooops...sorry for the delay in posting. I've been out of town and then busy with job-hunting! I was lucky enough to get to go on a fabulous trip to Vegas over Memorial Day weekend and boy, was it a blast!

For some strange reason that I have yet to figure out...I got comp'd a mini-suite at the Paris! The view from my front window was incredible and the bathroom had a whirlpool and a walk-in shower. Gee, a girl could get used to this kind of life LOL!

The nightlife was great, too. We saw comedian Kevin James (he plays the husband on the tv show "King of Queens") at the Mirage and his act was wonderful! I always appreciate a comic who can be outrageously funny and yet relatively "clean" at the same time. I figure anyone can make people laugh with the dirty stuff, but it takes actual talent to be funny without it.

The next night, we had dinner at Emeril's restaurant at the MGM Grande and I was able to do the six course tasting menu WITH the wine package so I got to taste six different wines as well. The Riesling and the Moscato were my favorites. Yeah, I know, so I'm a sucker for sweet wines. So sue me. Oh, and did I mention the dessert? A flourless chocolate cake with a Godiva chocolate "milkshake" that gets poured over the top and OH MY GOD it was SO GOOD!

And yeah, it totally blew my diet for one night, but sometimes you've just gotta enjoy life! I made up for it by eating as lightly as possible for most of the rest of my meals (er...everyone ignore that lovely pastry I had at the French bakery in the Paris) and doing a LOT of walking so at the end of the trip I'd only gained 1 lb. (which I've since lost!) so I figure that was pretty good. It helps that my personal trainer at 24 Hour Fitness is continuing to kick my ass every week! Since I've been going to her, I've lost another 7.5 lbs., 2" off my hips and 1.25" off my waist and have gone down another dress size. And that's on top of the 45 lbs. I lost on my own before I started at the gym. Pretty darned impressive if I do say so myself. In fact, if it wouldn't blow my diet again, I'd say I deserve another piece of that dessert!

But, back to the trip.

We had lunch at Commander's Palace at the Aladdin one day - would you believe they have twenty-five cent martinis?! And there's a menu of like 100 different kinds you can get, too. But, I was good and only had 1 Cosmo and a seafood salad. I wanted those crab cakes and turtle soup big time, though!

The last night there, we went to go see "Ka" (a Cirque du Soleil show) at the MGM Grand. I hadn't been that up to see it as I've never been a big fan of Cirque du Soleil, but wow, this show was unbelievable! It was funny, beautiful, intense at times and just totally entertaining.

Umm...and did I mention there was shopping? This whole weight loss thing has proven to be VERY dangerous in that it has opened up an entire WORLD of shopping that was previously closed to me. Bad. Very, very bad. I got some really cute things at Ann Taylor Loft and Eddie Bauer as well as a great deal on a Jacqueline Jarrot handbag that I totally do NOT need, but it was so cute I couldn't pass it up. Besides, when something is 50% off I think it's kind of the law that you MUST get it.

I got some new Laura Mercier makeup at Sephora, too. I decided my regular foundation was too heavy for summertime and wanted to try one of her new tinted moisturizers as well as her lip gloss. Fun.

Sadly, it was then time to come home and delve more deeply into the job search. My resume is done and I've submitted it to one place and am working on getting it out to some others and taking some interviewing and negotiating classes in the next few days.

Busy, busy, busy...and trying to ignore the fact that this Sunday would have been my 12th wedding anniversary. I think perhaps a day at the spa is in order? Or maybe tea with the girls...we'll have to see.

Ta ta for now (and I promise a book review this week!)