Monday, November 26, 2007

Dog Parenting for Dummies

Oh my, tonight I'm feeling like the bad parent. Earlier this evening, Charles and I snuck around the back side of the garage with Charles growling like a mean, gnarling dog and jumped out frightening our sweet little General. All in good fun. I grabbed him up immediately and hugged and kissed on him as he realized we weren't the big dog.

But earlier today I found a slew of cherry tomatoes on the vine and after I picked a few I gave one to General and then another and then another. He must have eaten 4-5. He seems to really like them. I realized this a few weeks ago when he found one that had fallen to the ground. He found it and devoured it immediately.

As I went to pick one more this evening and give it to General so that Charles could watch, Charles asked, "Aren't tomatoes poisonous to dogs." I said, "Nah." He's eaten them before.

Well low and behold I do a quick Google search with the keywords Dogs and Tomatoes and wouldn't you know the first 4 searches tell me what I now fear - Yes! They're poisonous. Okay, I didn't actually open the pages, because denial can save us somewhat, yes? Why the heck open them to find all the problems with feeding tomatoes to my precious General.

I'd prefer to live the Scarlett O'Hara quote: "I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow."

Oh, but didn't he look cute with that t'mater?

And since we're talking about tomatoes I thought I'd leave you with the lines of one of my favorite veggie tunes by the Blue Dogs.

There's nothin' in the world that I like better than
Bacon, lettuce and home grown tomatoes
Up in the morning and out in the garden
Lord get you a ripe one, don't get a hard 'un.
Plant 'em in the spring eat 'em in the summer,
All winter without 'em's a culinary bummer.
I forget all about the sweatin and the diggin
Every time I go out and pick me a big'un.
Home grown tomatoes, home grown tomatoes,
What'd life be without home grown Tomatoes,
There's only two things that money can't buy:
That's true love and home grown tomatoes . . .

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Wedded Bliss

Charles and I trekked up to North Louisiana for Thanksgiving and his brother Mike's wedding.

Charles had me up and out of the house at 4:30 AM. Goodness what a crazy hour! But I think it really did help shave off a lot of the Thanksgiving traffic. About an hour of so after we arrived we dug into the huge spread that Charles' mom, Marsha, and step dad, Alton, fixed for us. It included a roasted turkey, a fried turkey, a fried pork tenderloin, a Honey-Baked ham, gumbo, green beans, corn casserole (my fav), broccoli casserole, rolls and pies. I'm sure I forgot something.

After the trip and the huge meal it sent me to Thanksgiving Day Nap Land. My own personal tradition.

Friday was the big day for Mike, April, Hagen and Will. Marsha and I headed out, picked up Aunt Jean, stopped by Nannie's house to apply her make up, drove by the Sonic for some liquid caffeine and finally made it to Creekwood Gardens to help with final decorations. Photographs for the bridal party and family members began an hour or so before the ceremony.

It was a beautiful event in the conservatory, which was surrounded by lush foliage and wonderfully warm heaters. Outside it was between 30-40 degrees. Burrrr.

After the event the reception began in the same area and included crackers with cream cheese and jalapeno jelly, boiled shrimp with cocktail sauce, veggies and gumbo. It was funny for me, this girl from Texas. I expect the fajitas and Tex-Mex to roll out, but we weren't in Texas anymore and those Louisianans like their shrimp and gumbo! We finished off the spread with bridal cake and a groom's chocolate cake.

April was so thoughtful that she even had a kiddie table with a big cookie cake, a lollipop tree and boxed spiderman treats with tattoos. A neat touch considering this was the melding of their two boys Hagen and Will as well.

Nineteen years after their first date, Mike and April's event was absolutely lovely deep in the piney woods of Louisiana.

Congratulations and many happy years ahead, Mike, April, Hagen and Will!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tried and True and Crazy Simple Dessert

Looking for something incredibly yummy to bring to your Thanksgiving dinner? This is one of those recipes that makes me thing of the Rice Krispie commercial. You know the one where the mom is in the kitchen whipping up a batch of super simple Rice Krispie Treats and dusts flour on her face to make it look like she was slaving? With this recipe you're sure to be the hit of the day. Who really needs another Pumpkin or Pecan pie?

Dump Cake

1 (21 ounce) can cherry pie filling (can be lite version)
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple
1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix (most inexpensive brand works fine)
8 ounces chopped walnuts or pecans
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter sliced into pats

Prep Time 10 Min
Cook Time 40 Min
Ready In 50 Min

In a 9x13 inch pan mix cherries and pineapple. Sprinkle dry cake mix over pineapple, and cherry mixture stir until just combined. Then sprinkle nuts over top. Place the pats of butter across the top of the cake mix and let the oven melt it.

Bake in a 350 degree F (175 degree C) oven for 35 or 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Skip Day

Just can't seem to must up the energy or creativity to post anything useful today. But wanted to make sure I posted something for NaBloPoMo. I know. Loser. ;-)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Simply Daunting

Just way too many things I'd like to get done and by the time the weekend rolls around, I'm usually plum tuckered out.

This weekend was no different. By the time I left my office on Friday evening I felt like my shoulders were touching my ears and my lower back was throbbing. Apparently those are two of the places where I "carry" my stress. Hmmm. Note to self: Make an appointment with Dr. Mark the Chiropractor.

I had really hoped that this weekend I'd get everything I needed together for a craft show I'll be attending in Angleton. I have Northridge Gardens product ordered and it should be here the first part of next week, which is plenty of time. But here at the house over the weekend I had thought I'd be able to dust off all the displays and decide what other pieces I'd take to sell at the show.

No such luck. I goofed off Saturday and today wasn't much better. In fact, today was the typical Sunday when I finally find my energy at 2 pm or so. I'm psyched that I managed to really clean the kitchen and even figured out how to turn the oven onto self clean. That was amazing. Who knew.

And just prior to jotting down this post I managed to pay a multitude of bills.

Accomplishments were made I guess, now that I see it here, but really not as much as I'd like.

Does that at times hold the same for you? Do you set out tasks for your days off only to find that you simply need those days off to recoup and renergize? If you're one of those that is able to get a ton of things done, I'd love to hear your success strategy. Do share.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Your World or Mine? Exploring the Metaverse

I attended my first Austin Social Media Club meeting tonight. What a cool group of people.

Tonight's session focused around Second Life and how Dell and the American Cancer Society are using it. Dell seems to be focused more on brand building, while the American Cancer Society is actually raising funds through things like virtual Relay for Life events (which is one of their most financially successful events in real life) and garage sales.

I've dabbled around in Second Life a bit and quickly realized it would need to be a weekend project for me to acclimate myself to that metaverse. Plus, I admit, it kept crashing my computer which made it incredibly frustrating.

One of the things that Laura Thomas spoke about when she was trying to sell the idea to her higher ups at Dell, was the importance of getting buy-in from management. Okay, got that. My VP of Marketing, Koen De Witte, is encouraging a couple of us to look into it.

And in looking into it we'll need to answer the simple question of WHY? And that one word has so many connotations to it like:
  • WHY spend the time building a virtual universe when we should probably focus on our real universe of marketing and lead generation?
  • WHY become a part of this world if we aren't even sure that this is where our customer base is located?
  • WHY step out of the box, when the box we're in is so darn comfy?
All valid questions as are the others that are certain to ensue. But the reality is and Connie Reece really hit the nail on the head with this one, is that this metaverse is here and if it's not the one that lasts long term then another world will pop up. Would we as an organization rather be part of this now or miss the boat entirely. And mind you, I totally get that Bulldog would not be an early adopter at this juncture as SL has been around for several years now.

And Laura made another great point about future generations when she spoke about how her daughter is aleady functioning in a virtual world when she visits Webkinz and purchases virtual items for her Webkinz pet.

Oh, lordy, didn't I write a post earlier about feeling old?

The world, both first life and second life, is changing and evolving. The question now is do I or does my organization jump on board and learn about it or ignore it and hopes it goes away?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Love my girls!

Tonight was the Project Runway season 4 premiere. Oh, goodness, it seems like it's been forever since the last season.

If you know me at all, you know that I am far from being the fashionista. Why I have a jewelry and accessory webstore I'll never know, but I love that part of fashion. I simply don't wear it. You'll mostly find me in Eddie Bauer t-shirts and jeans. I'm a comfy girl.

But Project Runway brings out my favorite girls.

Ms. Amy who is a fashionista and wears the hippest shoes and always has the best things to say about the contestants.

Ms. Kristin who is a fashionista as well and also does her own jewelry designing along with being my social networking and social media buddy.

Ms. Juliet who has been my BFF for going on 20 years now. Yep. We've been friends since we were 2. ;-) Totally kidding. She lives out side of Philly and was supposed to call and chat my ear off tonight, but my phone never rang. Where was she?!

Ms. Connie, pink hair and pink boa wearer who is my Twitter, Facebook, online social networking friend and knows so much about so many things - like the, what was it, Grandmom's Secret Recipe? ;-)
I just adore BravoTV and seem to be addicted to every reality show they create. It's good clean fun and a great way for me to make a connection beyond work and beyond the daily grind with My Girls!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Networking Schmetworking

Network, social network, MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. . . Geesh, where's a person to go?

Is online social networking just as powerful as face-to-face networking?

Where are you spending more of your time - online or face-to-face?

What do you find more valuable?

Before the creation of online social networking were you a good face-to-face networker?

Has online social networking helped you become a better face-to-face networker?

In Austin there are so many groups to network with it simply depends on where you want to network and I have to imagine in larger organizations there's even more networking going on.

All questions on my mind today. Looking forward to seeing YOUR answers.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Yep, every night

At least 2-3 times a night we have ring side seats at Chihuhua vs. Shih Tzu. Let the good times roll . . .

Would You Believe I'm in the Old Category?

(Photo: ABC News)

Okay, maybe not the old category, but definitely in the 30+ category. The reality is I hit the 40s group back in September and goodness I don't feel that old. Even fifty's beginning to look younger.

A few weeks ago, Sarah Lindner of the Austin American Statesman newspaper read one of my blog posts and sent me a note to see if I might be interested in her interviewing me for a story she was writing about Facebook users over the age of 30. I told her that I'd love to be included.

Her story was published today, Facebook for thirtysomethings, it helps those of us that haven't started an online persona gain a better understanding of its uses, benefits and reasons to be on such a site.

It's not that I think everyone of us should be on MySpace and Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter, but for me, especially as the recruiter part of me, being involved on these and other social networking sites is a super advantage to my career. For others it may simply be a way of connecting with people of like interests and learning from their new network of friends. Most of all it's learning how to begin conversations.

Chris Brogan, a friend I connected with first on Facebook, introduced me to Twitter is the King of Conversations. He's a huge proponent of social communities and the benefits of getting to know each other on a personal level - beyond simply wanting to connect with someone that may be of benefit to you on either a personal or professional level.

I like to think that I subscribe to Chris' philosophies on social networking and that beyond my trying to help others with their careers and help me learn from their knowledge of the things that interest me that I am adding to my connections lives in a positive way.

So, get out there, find a site that works for you and begin your own conversations. You'll be amazed at your results.

What a wonderful day off

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Today's Life in the Fast Lane

My dear friend Jamie moved from the Dallas area to our beautiful Austin in July of this year, but she wasn't able to move all of her things and chose to store some of her belongings in a storage unit near her old home. Today we trekked up to her storage facility to bring a few things back down to Austin including a 10x10 tent that we use for craft shows.

I'm the lucky keeper of the tent because I have a craft show that I will be attending the first weekend of December - Angleton's 20th Annual Christmas on the Square.

It's been over a year since I attended my last craft fair as Crimson Threads, which is my online side business. In fact the last show was the same Christmas show back in 2005. In 2006 and apparently in 2007, I was much more focused on directing all of my working energy to becoming the best HR Manager I could for Bulldog Solutions. My niece, Claire, was so sad that we didn't do the Christmas show last year. She's my number one sales girl.

In 2004, at the age of 9, Claire sold around $950 worth of products from 10 am - 9 pm. In 2005, she sold just a little shy of that, but both times I was absolutely amazed at her sales skills at such a young age.

Okay, I have to admit, she's a cute strawberry blonde thing and I have this sweet little apron for her to wear and the main product she hocks for me are Northridge Gardens Lotions in a Bar. The women that attend the craft for simply can't pass her up, when she's standing their with lotions in her hand asking them to try the different fragrances.
I'm anxious to see what happens in a few weeks at the show.

I suspect that Jamie's and my trip wasn't in vain and we made the most of our time in Big D. Just before we started the rearranging of her storage unit and packing up, we thought it best to grab a bite for lunch and stopped at one of our favorite places - Blue Mesa Grill in Frisco, yummy Southwestern cuisine. And the sign out front reads, "Catering Anywhere Anytime". Somehow I think that might not be the case, but if they're serious, I'll take some sweet potato chips, an Adobe pie, the Mesa Sampler, and Passion Fruit Tea please.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Shopping with my Boy

General and I rushed to Petsmart late this afternoon for one of the last walk-in Vet appointments. Whew! Just made it.

Afterwards I thought we should do a little shopping. A good puppy always deserves a treat and the last time we were there we purchased a super squeeky kangaroo, so this time I took General with me down the toy aisle and let me tell you, the squeekier the toy the more perked up he becomes. So, we finally decided on the gorilla that matched the kangaroo.

But before we headed down the toy aisle and just after we got the mammoth bag of Royal Canin for puppies we took a stroll over to look at the doggie beds. I pulled one down that I liked and didn't think was outrageously overpriced. I put it on the floor and sure enough General totally got it and curled up and laid there in it. But it really just fit him. If he grows any more, which I honestly don't think he will, it would be too small. So, I took the next size up and put it on the floor next to the smaller one. Yep, General moved over and that was that. We took the medium blue bed.

Puppies and dogs at Petsmart always, okay for the most part, are so good. It's an unusual experience for me as I've always had cats as an adult and there's no way you'd see me lugging my kitties to this pet haven. But, dogs, they're so much more social. They sniff around and check each other out. General who typically has cowered at the site of larger dogs and come to hide behind me with his tail in between his legs, tonight even stood up straight and proud to a friendly Rottweiler. He's such a good dog.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Who Said Austin Doesn't Have Culture?

So, we may not have the Metropolitan museum, unless we still have one of those wannabe Metropolitan Museum stores in one our malls, Austin still has a great theater community.

Tonight Charles and I had the opportunity to attend Tuna Does Vegas - Jaston Williams and Joe Sears latest addition to the Tuna creations.

I've wanted to see any of the Tuna shows for years and just never got around to making plans to actually go see one. So, when my dear friend Sue sent out a note that she had extra tickets earlier this week, I jumped at the chance and knew Charles would enjoy it too.

Going to the Paramount in Downtown Austin is always a treat. The first time I went to see a performance there it was several well respected guitarists. The second time was to see one of my all time favorite shows - A Chorus Line. I knew it was a special place and thrilled that I was introducing the venue to Charles. It's a beautiful theater and as you enter you can feel its history. It turns 100 in 2015.

We weren't disappointed by Tuna Does Vegas - not a big surprise. Jason and Joe perform as all of the characters throughout this 2+ hour production often cross dressed as women. Tuna is a fictious small Texas town, which Charles and I relate to all too well. In the characters portrayed I could put names of people I knew as I was growing up in West Columbia and I'm certain Charles could do the same from Brazoria. Somehow the small town never really leaves you no matter how many years you've been away.

We laughed and laughed and laughed and gasped at the off colored remarks. If you're in Austin or you have the opportunity to be in a town where a Tuna show is produced, I'd highly recommend that you go see it.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Bulldog Solutions Applauded in New List

A couple of weeks ago Bulldog Solutions found out that we were named to the Best Companies to Work for in Texas. This third annual program was created by the Texas Association of Business (TAB), the Texas State Council of the Society for Human Resource Management (TSC-SHRM), and Best Companies Group.

Bulldog Solutions was one of only 20 in the 25 - 74 employee category and one of but a few from Austin.

Read more about this encouraging news here: Bulldog Solutions One of the Best Companies to Work for in Texas.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Goal accomplished

One of my goals, okay one of my goals last year, was to complete a 5k event and today marked that day. Today was the Susan G. Komen Austin Race for the Cure. And wouldn't you know it, it was also the day that we set our clocks back for Daylight Saving Time. Silly people.

I use my Treo 650 for everything including my alarm clock and I was concerned that although it would change time on its own, what if it didn't change it correctly and I woke up late and missed meeting up with my team mates for the event. Not wanting to take chances I asked Charles, who is off work today, to set his alarm for the normal 5:30 am. No questions asked, he did it. Good man.

I slept okay, but started waking up on my own around 5:00 am probably simply because of the adrenaline. Once awake I dressed quickly and surprisingly for me, I'm not one who is often early or on time, I made it to our groups rendezvous location 20 minutes early. Woohoo!

Shannon was there already waiting with her horse of a dog Otis, then came Kellie, Dan, Lisa, Leon, Isabel, Heather, Kate, Jeff and Mike. We kept looking for Sueann and Michael and Ahmed to join us, but they never did. We ventured from our meeting spot to the start line.

My goodness there were a lot of folks and lots of pink. I overheard estimates of about 25,000 people. That's a lot of bodies. After a couple of crowd waves and watching the first folks from the timed race whiz by, we were off. I was off on my first 5k ever. Oh, lordy, perhaps I should have started an exercise program . . .

Lisa was kind enough to lag behind with me as the last of our pack. I had no idea how hilly downtown Austin was, nor did I realized how many things I've missed visiting, shopping or dining at in our beautiful capital city. Hmm. Note to self: Get out more.

Afterwards, Kellie, Dan, Mike and I went to brunch nearby at Threadgills. Walking back to the car was especially painful. After I got home and woke from my nap and explained my heel pain on Twitter, joec0914, suggested that it might be Plantar fasciitis and I think he might be right. So, I've taken some naproxene sodium (Aleve) and been icing my heel. Fun. Fun.

Overall it was an exhilarating experience and one I would take part in again.

Oh, and can't forget to mention these two cool gals we met at the finish line. Boy, they understand exactly what this is all about - the boobs!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

One for the Cause

Realized this morning that I forgot to post yesterday and just two days ago I signed up for NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). Wow. What a loser!

Nah, really not being that hard on myself, because I actually totally unplugged when I left the office at the end of the day yesterday and didn't open the computer again until around 5 this afternoon. That was about 24 hours offline which hasn't happened in some time.

Most days I suspect I'm online at least a minimum of 12 hours. It's crazy ridiculous. I've truly begun to understand that the fact of the matter is I've become a techno geek. I'm loving this blogging thing. I'm a Twitter addict and as of yesterday I've fallen in love with Co-Working.


Glad you asked. It started in New York and now has locations throughout the world. Austin held it's first Co-Working event yesterday. It's called Jelly Austin. I met some great people there and I suspect several of them will become friends. We're having our next event on November 15 and if you're in Austin and you typically work from home or freelance or consult come Co-Work with us!

In my offline time today, Charles, who happened to have the day off, thought it would be fun to take me to a few garage sales. We must have stopped at close to a dozen houses and you know, I still have the same thought about garage sales, a lot of work goes into them, okay some more than others. But I never really see any transactions being made. Just a lot of junk. We ended our morning driving at IHOP and spurgled on yummy pancakes then came home and took a long nap.

Tomorrow I'm going off line again for a bit to particpate in my first ever Komen event - the Komen Austin Race for the Cure. I'll be walking my 5k, thank you very much, along with thousands of other participants bright and early.

It's been a great weekend so far and I'm really looking forward to the camaraderie I'm sure I'll enjoy tomorrow and meeting some more new friends - offline.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Tricker Treaters at Our Home

Halloween 2007 has come and gone and I had a chance to wear my senorita costume one more time and this time I added my super fancy feather false eyelashes. Okay, it took my about five times to get the first false eyelash on and I think I'm still picking off the glue. Yuck.

C. thought it would be hilarious to dress up in full camo and facepaint and sit out and spook our guests. See? Yep, even General started barking.

We had a few kiddos approach him, 'cause heck, he was holding the huge bowl of candy. I totally bought too much. But it was our first Halloween in our new neighborhood and I wanted to make sure that we made a good impression. So, the few gobblins that approached walked up very slowly and then C. would make some fast jerky movement and they'd jump. It really was a fun sight.

Of course, he made sure not to startle the smaller kiddos. Didn't want no cryin' babies on our street. No siree!

Oh, and if you're wondering, yes, General was dressed as Zorro. Absolutely drove C. nuts. That's what I live for.

Creatively Seeking Candidates

Found this in an e-mail I receive this morning about Deloitte & Touche USA LLP. I was amazed at what a cool and innovative way that they decided to seek out candidates from Gen-Y and tied it in to community giving too. Good job.

Deloitte & Touche USA LLP (Deloitte) recently launched the first-ever Deloitte Film Festival. No, these films aren't intended to get the attention of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Forget Oscar; that is, unless he's a Gen-Y job seeker.

The film festival was aimed at creating films that will appeal to job seekers; its objective was also to drive workforce engagement by getting employees to participate in filmmaking. Thus far, it certainly seems to have tapped into the latter group.

Launching the initiative with "What's Your Deloitte?" as a theme, the company invited its employees to make and submit short films that express the organization's culture and values. To encourage participation, film production kits, which included a high resolution Panasonic PV-GS320 Mini DV camera, were offered to the first 250 registrants. Interest in the film festival surpassed Deloitte's expectations, and the company made an additional 100 cameras available.

More than 370 short films were submitted by teams of Deloitte employees (one to seven individuals per team) from offices throughout the United States. The films were then posted on an internal "You Tube-like" intranet site, where they were viewed and rated by Deloitte employees. The best films will be integrated into campus recruiting programs.

Deloitte indicates it relied on trend data in coming up with the filmmaking program. Among the trends it cites are:

· Generation Y is the fastest-growing population in the workforce, representing 22 percent of all workers. By 2010, approximately 10 million more Gen Yers are expected to join the working world, outnumbering their predecessors.

· Film is a medium used to connect and engage on an emotional level, and Reality TV has shaped the perspectives of young men and women in or entering the workforce.

· Social networking and user-generated content have migrated from a pure social tool to a medium harnessed in the identification and recruitment of talent across many industries.

· The Society for Human Resource Management's 2007 Job Satisfaction Survey reports that overall corporate culture is "very important" to more than one-third (36 percent) of respondents.

Deloitte indicates the winning films will soon be available at its site. It also indicates that, as part of its community involvement initiatives, it will donate cameras and equipment used in the film festival to nonprofit organizations that use the power of film to support displaced people around the world; these organizations include FilmAid International and IFP.