hot bliggity blog 267

Monday, January 30, 2012

restrooms for 3

The view from my new desk!!!
Today was the first day in our new office!  It turned out to be a great day and a relatively smooth transition but not until after what I call a rough start.

The new space is in an office complex.  Not an office building; an office complex.  'Complex' being the key word here, in every sense of the word.  The path from the complex entrance to my desk was in fact complex.  Starting with my first trip into the parking garage.

**a little bit o'ellen history**  I have a strong dislike for parking garages; coming close to hyperventilation every time I enter one, especially if it is new, uncharted territory.  I don't know why nor do I know when it started.  Probably about the time I started driving if I had to guess.  I don't understand them, can never seem to navigate correctly through them, & do not enjoy the feeling of helplessness amongst the cage of concrete and/or steel columns.
This probably seems odd to you, especially if you know my education & career backgrounds: architecture.  Having gone through seven rigorous years of higher education you would assume that parking garages have no hold over me; thinking that, after all, I am bigger [figuratively speaking] and smarter than these structures.  This is a common misconception.
During my internship I was assigned the seemingly simple & non-to-thrilling job of designing a parking garage.  This didn't last long.  I tried, though.  I really did try.  About four days into the task my Project Manager sat down at my desk with me and said, 'We are going to get you started on something else; you've done a fine job here but we are going to let Ming take over from here. do you say...she's being a little more creative and....she gets it.'  True story.
So it should come as no surprise you that it took me four trips in and out of the parking garage and one desperate phone call before success was mine.  I would be embarrassed except for the fact that it took several of the others multiple trips as well with one even asking our Office Manager to go down & get in the car with her.

This thing is tricky.  I discovered that there is only one way up; only one way down.  Once you get off on a floor, you can go neither up nor down a floor without going all the way down, out, and around.  My fourth trip was a success, albeit a frustrated one, and set out on my next task: finding my building tower.

There are at least five towers in this complex [and four parking garages], all connected on several different levels and all with a minimum of two names.  On my tour I found the food court/cafeteria but please don't ask me where it is; that was one building, two floors, and three elevator rides ago.

The bathrooms have just been updated & refinished;
there are partitions separating the three!
If I were to stop here you would think that I hate the new place.  Please don't be fooled:  I love it!  Sure there are some things that we will all have to get used to but overall it's going to be great and there are several immediate rewards.  Like that bathroomS.  The 'S' is bolded, underlined, & italicized for a reason: there are multiple restrooms.  And not just multiple stalls, multiple restrooms.  As in Boys & Girls.  Mentally I had gotten so used to the single, shared bathroom at the old office that I nearly fell off my toilet when I heard someone else flush a toilet next to me.  I think I scared the woman in there [of course she was not one of my co-workers and did not share in my alarm] as I screamed pretty loud.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

packing boxes: last day at my new job

Life as I know it is currently residing in stacks of clearly labeled cardboard boxes & plastic bins:  my 'apartment' & 'unneeded' things have been boxed up in storage since May 2010; I moved myself and about 14 packed bags & plastic bins into an extended stay 3 weeks ago; my room at Mom & Dad's is slowly but surely being sorted through and boxed up in preparation for my move; and, as of yesterday, our entire office is packed and ready to be moved into our new space.  I have not yet embarrassed myself by showing up anywhere sans any important pieces of my wardrobe.

When I was hired 9 weeks ago I was asked if I could stand on one foot while working on a computer.  Things have been cramped in that office since way before I got there.  Adding me to the payroll meant pushing someone out of his or her seat or placing me on the back side of someones desk without any knee space.

I went in to the office a few days before my first day to sign paperwork and meet everyone.  It just so happened that they were going to visit their future new space that day so I got to go with them to see where we would soon be operating from.

That days has finally come!  After 9 weeks (and 4 weeks delay-what can you expect from a group of architects?! Ha!) we are packed and ready to go.  Needless to say things have been a little crazy at work as we have continued to hold meetings, send out drawings, & draft away all while packing things up.

Our last lunch in the 'Conference Room'
On Friday we closed the office at noon in order to get everything ready for the movers.  Right at noon they brought in Subway sandwiches & drinks to fuel us up before getting back to packing.  I was impressed that after only 9 weeks I already needed two boxes to hold all my stuff!

Our new office is 'so' big that we were assigned desk numbers &
given labels for our things to be properly dispersed.
This week has also felt a little like Christmas.  There were a lot of things that we are not taking to the new office like snacks and other supplies; it seems like something from the back room was handed out and given away everyday.  My favorite and proudest take-away was 8 GIANT rolls of toilet paper [and it is Charmin like Mom always buys!].  I must be a true adult now. Ha!

The sign outside was one of the last things to come down.
While talking to Stacy, my next desk neighbor, something came up about Battleship and how we had the perfect place & opportunity to play a game of battleship but we never did :(  So on Friday I surprised Stacy with two Battle Pin boards.  After hanging them up and each taking one turn we got back to work, calling out letters & numbers every once and a while.  Although fun we were pretty unsuccessful as we both kept making mistakes and telling the other 'Hit' when it as actually a 'Miss' and vice-versa.  Conclusion: Battle Pins should be played only when using maximum concentrations.

The Aggies are slowly taking over the office. Ha!  We actually have a pretty good mix of different school represented and Texas A&M is actually a minority.  However, three of the seven females in the office are Aggie graduates thus making us a Majority-Minority.

Aggie [Girl] Power!  Ha!
I met Lori at an Aggie networking event a little over a year ago.  We emailed back and forth a few times sharing tips and knowledge of architecture firms that were potentially hiring.  Until I walked in the door on my first day at work, we had not spoken in at least eight or nine months and it cracks us up that we have both ended up working at the same firm!  What's even a little stranger is our birthdays are only two days [and two years!] apart.  When we got to the point where we the females were no longer needed in the office we left and headed over to Dave & Buster's for a girl's night to celebrate our birthdays.  We had a lot of fun and were amazed at how tired we were when we left even though it was only seven o'clock and it had only just gotten dark outside.

Ellen & Lori, birthday girls
I brought 30 cupcakes [Lori is turning 30] that had cute ladybug &
monkey rings that we proudly wore for the rest of the day :)
I'm looking forward to Monday morning and pray that I am awake enough in the morning to remember to drive to the new office.  Maybe I should set my GPS just in case!!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

things I make: blocks & blankets

***For more homemade gifts check out Kelly's Korner where Kelly hosts a 'Show Us Your Life' every Friday!!!
I love making things.  I love imagining things, developing ideas, designing the minute details, creating the process, scouring the aisles of Hobby Lobby& Home Depot, and completing the final project.  Yes, I do love to make all things.  All things, that is, except for cooking.

I once told Emily that all of my creativity & confidence ends at the kitchen sink to which she replied, 'Mine doesn't even darken the door of the kitchen.'  Unless you can call washing dishes creative this is probably a more accurate statement.  Although I am very confident in my dish washing; I always have very clean dishes.  [This could be in direct correlation with the amount I use them in the first place. Ha!]


'Merry Christmas' for Liz

Anyways, I really do enjoy creating things; homemade gifts are my favorite.  The problem with this, though, is that I am always working on a project/gift for someone.  Or 2.  Or 9.  In fact, as soon as I hit 'PUBLISH POST' at the end of this post I will move immediately over to working on a Christmas gift for my parents.  Yes, you read that right.  Christmas.  It's the thought that counts, right?

This is the first year that I have had a significant other to give gifts to for Christmas.  Let alone a significant others family.  I racked my brain for something to get for his Mom and SIL.  When I saw a picture of the blocks that inspired my holiday blocks my mind started racing at an insane & exciting rate.  Since I had been to visit both of their houses, I was able to match the colors & styles with each of their homes & decor.  I was so pleased with how they turned out.

'Give Thanks' for Liz

As I mentioned, I saw a picture of blocks stacked like these so I can't take credit for the basic idea.  I did, however, embellish & accessorize them a little bit, ahem, a lot!  Between Michael's & Hobby Lobby I probably spent 7 hours looking through papers & accessories.  Fortunately I was working on completing them after Christmas and all of the Christmas decorations were on sale.  All of the beads, flowers, & glitter sticks are tree picks that I spliced, pulled apart, & restrung to my liking.  This of course led to piles of glitter, wire trimmings, & flower remnants in the game room floor that due to time, my poor Dad had to clean up for me.

The 2x4 pieces were all cut up from scraps that Dad always seem to have an infinite amount of lying around.  The blocks can be turned around and re-embellished for fall decoration.  I love the colors on this one! 

'Merry Christmas' for Sue
Sue's home is decorated in a lot of greens, browns, & ambers so I went with a more traditional design & color palette.  I loved the final product.  [Mom did too and pointed out how well it would go in her house.  ha!  Thankfully I have a lot of paper & tree picks left over as well as 10 months to complete it!!!]

You could do so much with this idea: Birthdays, Halloween, any holiday really.  The possibilities are endless!

'Give Thanks' for Sue

I've reached the age where all of my friends are having babies.  I mean it: there are some busy storks [and doctor's] out there!

My Grandmother taught me how to crochet many moons ago; I think I was in the 1st grade, actually.  I had just finished reading Charlotte's Web and was writing a book report.  We created a 'web' out of a cut up basic chain that I crocheted and attached it to the 'barn' Dad built out of a fence board for my visual presentation.  It's the only book report that I remember what book I did the report on, let alone what I created!

Over the years Grandmother taught me some more as I remained interested in the dying art.  Until this year I have stuck to scarves & snowflake Christmas ornaments.  All of my family & close friends can be spotted during the cold months wearing one of their many scarves just as their trees are covered with snowflakes.

But will all of the babies arriving this year I decided to tackle baby blankets.  Babies are small.  They require only a small blanket.  Small blankets should be easy & quick enough, right?!  Wrong!  They are not easy nor quick but well worth it.  I love being able to give something that can't be bought in the store.

This was my first blanket!  It took a while as I designed the pattern & implementation of said pattern but I was excited when I got to the completed product. 

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This is the same blanket but due to wonky lighting & my reliable camera phone the colors look very different.  I took this close-up to A) remember how I did it and B) show my grandmother.  She very impressed & couldn't wait to get on the phone and talk about my stitching methods!

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Baby Boy Blanket #2.  This one is for a very good friend of mine who just had her first baby.  I can't say her name because I don't think she has it in her possession yet.  I mailed it earlier this week but doubt that it has had time to reach it's final destination: Alaska.  Oops!  Well, if she happens to read this before she gets the package the surprise will be ruined by process of elimination.  I don't know too many people who live in Alaska!

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COMING SOON: A Baby GIRL Blanket for another sweet [blogger] friend :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

[drm] new year's, fireworks, & rooftops

We headed to Dallas to be with Jeff's family and ring in the New Year.  His older brother, wife, & 8-week-old nephew were in for the weekend as well.  His younger brother—whose toothbrush I mistakenly commandeered—was home for winter break & probably couldn't wait for all of us to leave!  [Especially after the stolen toothbrush incident.]

We spent the first part of New Year's Eve with Liz's sisters & their men at a DeLiCiouS steak house called Bob's Steak & Chop House.  Very well worth every $pent!  The portions were HUGE!!!  I wasn't even able to touch half of my plate.  They serve a single carrot on every plate & were hands down the largest carrots I've ever seen!   Of course I had to take a panorama & wished that it had a 360 setting!  But for now we'll have to work with two 180's :)

After dinner we were invited to Katie's [Liz's sister] townhouse to hang out and watch the fireworks show from her rooftop terrace.  I now want a rooftop terrace; will have to add that in my rental search criteria.

Kevin & Jeff
Some of my second family/cousins and sister stopped by for a little bit.  I wish they had gotten to stay longer but I was able to snap a few pictures of a few of them before they left.

Emily, Ellen, & Sandy on the rooftop!  Slightly windy :)
Just before midnight.  We enjoyed several different fireworks shows
in neighboring suburbs.  I heart fireworks
Sue prepared a huge meal for us on New Year's Day.  She & Tom had purchased a 42 pound [seemed like it!] prime rib.  I have always admired Jeff's cooking skills—some might say that's why we started dating in the first place— so I didn't know what to make of everyone looking on as he sliced & diced.  Does he require supervision?!  Or are their mouths just drooling?!

Chef Jeff in his new Dez Bryant jersey :)
We exchanged Christmas gifts on New Year's Day, too.  I was very excited to receive a new charm for my charm bracelet: a 2012 Heart symbolizing our New Year's together.

Kevin & Liz, new momma & daddy!
And this is what I did about 50% of the time that we were at the house:

Baby nap time; look at his little leg warmers!!!!
Part of me didn't even want to go to dinner Saturday night as I would have much preferred to sit peacefully and hold Jeff's brand new nephew.  He is so precious!!!  This was Jeff's first time to meet baby Cameron [mine, too].  

All of the Men; the girls are slightly outnumbered :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

[drm] 'twas the weekend of Christmas

The family gathered...
the food prepared...
the table set...
the candles lit...
the gifts wrapped...
the tree adorned...
the manger nestled...
the stockings hung...
the carols sung...
the cards sent...
the Story read...
May His name be praised and we not forget...
That Jesus came to pay our debts.

Where's Waldo, ahem, Jeff?!  Taking in the kitchen & living room
Dad taking a break & watching everyone open their gifts
My gift to Andrew: a coffee table :)
The action as it happened.  [***Please note that Andrew is not bored but in a lot of pain.]
My mess: I loved all of my gifts!!!  3 small zippered pouches to match my purse,
several glass serving dishes, scarves, several cook books, a Chick-Fil-A 50 cent refill mug,
and Starbucks goodies were among the bunch and pictured here.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

[drm] jeep riders' disease

En route to Hobby Lobby one night during the week before Christmas Andrew asked Emily & I if our tail bones ever bothered us.  Now there are several things out of the ordinary in that sentence: 1) Andrew-who had asked to join us BTW-was willfully going shopping with us, let alone Hobby Lobby!  2) Our younger, seemingly spry brother was describing & complaining about a pain that I nor Emily had ever experienced.  I forgot he had even asked the question once we pulled into the parking lot; we all had short yet highly diverse items on our lists.  I was there to get photo storage boxes & modge podge, Emily for ornaments, and Andrew for fabric & foam pads for the ottoman he was planning on building over the Christmas break.

**a little bit o'ellen history**  Since birth I have been sick over at least 2 major holidays per year; starting with my First Christmas when I had a stomach bug.  It's a wonder my mom kept me around after that.  I've been reminded [on numerous occasions] of that first Christmas: 'You were 11 months old and couldn't tell me you didn't feel good.  But you knew something was wrong--you would toddle all around the house until you felt sick, come and find me, & throw up on my feet!'  Lovely.  I'm amazed that I got any brothers & sisters.  Little did we know that would foreshadow the rest of my life!

This year, however, I dodged the bullet.  Or so I thought--I woke up with a full fledged cold on Tuesday morning after Christmas and proceeded to blow through-literally-one full box of Kleenex, two bottles of Day/NyQuil, & BreatheRights over the course of the next 4 days.  But nonetheless, on Christmas Day, I was fine and dandy.  As I sat by the tree and boasted about how I wasn't sick Andrew and his tailbone proceeded to get worse...and worse...and worse.  Worse to the point he could barely walk; he barely even made it out to open presents! :(

On Monday [the day after Christmas] they were able to get an appointment at Andrew's doctor.  By this point Andrew was barely walking, showering was impossible [ick!], & he had eaten nothing for 2+ days.  Any movement or physical activity-like rolling from one side to the other-was only accomplished with the aid of Mr. Big Strong Man [Dad].

As I was not at the doctor's appointment I cannot tell you exactly what was said or discussed; apparently they were given some wrong facts anyways [about procedures, recovery, & post-procedure procedures] but I can tell you what all happened as well as the diagnosis.

Bottom line, Andrew had fallen victim to Pilonidal Disease or Cyst; something that began to form before he was even born.  This is a problem that apparently occurs in 1 of 8 people and is more common in guys than girls.  It usually will rupture or become inflamed sometime between the ages of 15 & 24.  That fits Andrew like a glove :(

Having determined the problem they began to discuss treatment: it had to come out.  Being that it was the day after Christmas, surgeons were very had to contact so poor Andrew had to sit like a ticking time bomb waiting for a surgeon with an opening.  That opening came on Wednesday, praise the Lord!  I believe it was about a 45 minute procedure where they went in to drain & clean out the cyst.  His doctor said that it was one of the largest ones he'd ever seen!  They also left a tube in the incision that would continue to pump junk out for the next week.

He could do very little for the next 6 days; essentially he was on bed rest.  I always dream of the day that I can just lay in bed and do nothing but watch TV, nap, & be served all my meals in bed.  Andrew does not dream this anymore.  After sleeping, watching TV, internet surfing, & having pills shoved down his throat every 2.5-3 hours for 2 weeks he knows that bed rest is no fun!

The poor guy was on 9 medications!!!  I wish I had a copy of the spreadsheet that Dad the Engineer created to keep track of them all.  It was nuts: data & circles [where the pills were to be placed] started to look Arabic to me.  But they were able to keep it all straight and I was only on pill duty for one, 12:30 am popping.

On Day 6, the pump stopped working and an alarm started to go off every 5 minutes.  Of course it stopped after normal doctor's hours and of course the instruction manual had zero information on what to do if this happened.  [Dad the Engineer read through all 72 pages in 3 languages to make sure.]  When they finally got hold of the doctor Dad was able to go through what needed to be done to turn the thing off.  Andrew heard Dad ask, 'You mean I just need to pull it out?' and turned two shades paler than a ghost.  [Dad's instructions were to pull the tube out of the machine that Andrew had to carry around like a purse anytime he left the bed.  Ha!]

The tube was taken out the following day.  I understand this was an extremely painful process, one that he would have taken Vicodin for had he been informed as they were supposed to.  Now he will have to go to a dressing/wound doctor 3 days a week for the next 2 months to have it properly packed & re-packed.  This will not be easy as school started back this past Tuesday.  I don't know what he will do so far as sitting in classes as it is still hard for him to sit.  Perhaps he will take & use the foam pads [that he bought at Hobby Lobby] for the ottoman [that didn't get built].

One interesting thing about this disease is in it's original name: 'Jeep Riders' Disease'.

The condition was widespread in the United States Army during World War II. More than eighty thousand soldiers having the condition required hospitalization  It was termed "jeep seat or "Jeep Riders' Disease", because a large portion of people who were being hospitalized for it rode in jeeps, and prolonged rides in the bumpy vehicles were believed to have caused the condition due to irritation and pressure on the coccyx.  [Taken from Wikipedia.]
 Andrew drives a Jeep.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

[drm] emily's a master!!!

Welp, folks, Emily graduated for the 3rd & final time about a month ago.  She has officially caught up with me.  [I have way-hey more hours than her but who's counting?!]  This post mainly consists of pictures; I think they do a great job of taking you through the day and emotions.

At my High School graduation [about 3 years ago :)] the three of us took a picture that has forever remained one of our favorites.  Since then, we pose for a re-make at each and every graduation.  While the places & positions stay the same the cap & gown float around amongst the three of us.  So in case you are wondering--No, I do not normally pose for pictures with my arm 'casually' thrown around Andrew's shoulders nor does Emily wear a cape that requires my support.  This is just what we do.  Maybe one day I will collect and post all of the pictures in a post.  We've had so many graduations, though, that it will probably be longer than this true Picture Post!

This is one of my favorites of the day.  I titled it 'Whether You find my name or not I'm leaving this place in T-Minus 8 Hours'!!!  Ha!  With her Committee Chair--Josh--peering over her shoulder it might not be too far from the truth!

I am so proud of her!  And not envious at all, at all, at all...I usually experience a shortness of breath & breakout in hives whenever I go back to the halls & dungeons that I called 'home' for three longer-than-long years.

At one of the main entrances of the building hangs a large picture of the first graduating class of the School of Architecture at TAMU [1950 something].  Beneath it hangs an 8 x 10 of the same guys at their 50 year reunion.  Being the Master's that we are [ha!] we thought it would be a great idea to recreate the picture.  So to the steps we trekked but this time with slightly more colorful [and much less formal] clothing, three times as many graduates, 100% more international students, and females.  I then printed out 5 x 7s to hand out to all of our professors lest they forget their most favorite & impressive class yet.  I also made two 8 x 10s and framed them to hang on the other side of the original graduating class.  I didn't ask, I just took a hammer & nail and hung them.  And they are still there :)  I think people just assume they are supposed to be there!  I always go in to check on it.  Cracks me up every time.

If e'er there was an awkward family photo here it is.  I think Jake was playing with the camera and getting accustomed [er, as accustomed as one can get with that giant hunk of lenses] to the lights, zooms, etc.  We were mid seat selections, bathroom runs, & wheelchairs when he said, 'Smile!' and so we did, frozen in our current states.

As I mentioned before, Jeff got me a camera with a sweet panorama feature.  Emily, here is proof that Jake was present and very happy to be there :)

Love this :)  Even though Andrew was a party pooper and refused to mirror me on Emily's other cheek.  How rude!

After graduation we trail-blazed our way over to Abuelo's for our dinner reservations, party of 21!  Emily was very excited that GMother & GDaddy T were able to make it for the special occasion.
Emily & Jake.  Judging by the smiles on their faces, I would say that this is pre-feast as we were all quite miserable post-feast.
The banquet table.  We were so incredibly smushed!  All of the employees must have brought in their own picnic tables from home for extra seating around the perimeter of the restaurant.  Pretty sure a few fire codes were not followed.  Thankfully there was no fire nor were there any life-threatening emergencies while we were there.  [And as far as I am aware there were none afterwards, either.]
Post-feast.  See what I mean?!  We were so miserably full that Kyla couldn't even hold her head up :)

Mom had a friend of hers make this delicious and uber-cute cake for the cake & punch reception that we held for The Graduate.  The ribbon around it said 'Still dressing up and going places'.  There are many hidden/double/inside meanings to the set up at the party.  But you'll have to ask her about it...I wouldn't want to steal her thunder :)
Chillin' at the party.  For some reason I thought that a holding my fork in my mouth for the picture would mask my mouth-full-of-food better than just closing my mouth.  Hind sight says it didn't.
Party decor.  In case you are wondering, the '11' is for Class of '11.  [Please note that I am not undermining your intelligence; Emily suffered a blonde, albeit exhausted, moment earlier that day.  I just wanted to clarify it for her as I know she will be one of the first people to read this post.]

In the event that Awkward Family Photo #1 doesn't take 1st Place in any Awkward Family Photos contests, Awkward Family Photo #2 will definitely secure us a place in the top three.  If this doesn't make you start to think about your actions off the camera I don't know what will.  

Awww, at last we got it all together!  On the Sunday after Emily's graduation [and one week before Christmas] we celebrated Christmas with an appropriate dinner as G & G were headed back home a few days later.  It was delish!

And of course......

CoNGRaTuLaTioNS, EMILY!!!!!  
We can now Master the world together!!!!  
Oh, dear; now there's a scary thought :)

Oh, yes, I forgot about this picture that I uploaded to this post.  This is what I leave you with....a funny picture for your enjoyment.  What do you think Mom was doing/saying?

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