Sunday, May 29, 2011

Yabba Dabbo Doo!




In a previous career, I used to work for an answering service. It kind of sucked. I worked for a scrooge that never cared what your problem was, you didn't call out. I had walking pneumonia with no voice and she still refused to let me call out. It took a doctor's orders that I do not go in to work or go in to the hospital to finally get a day off. And I had to cover another operators shift in order to get that time off.

We had some interesting clients. We had doctors that were so unbelievably rude it always shocked us to hear how the patients loved them. We answered for a cable company that never seemed to have service. We answered for a large air conditioning company that routinely ignored the complaints of a/c being out. (And in Arizona, it is pretty miserable without a/c.) We answered phones for the ATF and I will never forget during the Waco standoff how crazy the phones were. And we answered the phones for the devil himself. Actually I never knew WHAT exactly Nick did, but he did send us a goat's head for Christmas and he was creepy when he would call in for something.

And we worked in the "Flintstones Building". It was actually a former 900 number sex line operation's building that was bought out and we were moved in. It swayed when it was windy and it creaked non-stop. I worked there for four years and I think my sister, Liz, worked there for one year. (Or was it two, Liz?) I had to drive by the old building today to see what was up with it. The answering service moved out and it was a consulting firm, but it is abandoned now and up for sale. Still looks unstable and still makes me hum the Flintstones theme song when I drive by it.



Saturday, May 28, 2011

YES!!



I won!!
My blog is back!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What the heck, Blogger!!



I am about to go form a protest at Blogger!

I can't log in to my blog if I am using Firefox. It just takes me to the log in screen over and over. And I hate using Internet Explorer.

It isn't like I have anything earth shattering to blog about, but you never know.

I could meet Mr. Right and elope to Vegas and only have two minutes to blog to you all about it.

I could decide to run away and study penguins in the South Pole. (Yes, I know there are not penguins in the South Pole. However, I fear clowns so I can't join the circus. My running away story, my rules!)

I could win the lottery and want to share with you, but would have to pull up IE in order to blog.

In other words, big news could happen and I am being denied from happily telling you!

Hurry up, Blogger, fix the issue!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mirror Balls, Dancing Shoes, and Terrible Towels

What do those three have in common?

HINES WARD WON “DANCING WITH THE STARS”!!!



This girl is happy!

It was an interesting season of DWTS. I personally favored Hines from the get go and rooted for him to win the entire contest. He was the only contestant this season to have never been in the bottom two and was the odds on favorite to win. Hines and Kym Johnson came out each week with determination to do the dance justice and they took the constructive criticism with grace. Kym’s injury (which made me ill to see) really drew more fans to their side, but they did not keep harping on it. Hines wanted to not see it aired as it made him just as sick to realize he could have crippled Kym and Kym just wanted to dance.

They were rightfully crowned champions last night.

I did feel bad for Maks as it was his tenth season and still he hasn’t won. And I do think that Kirstie Alley did an AMAZING job! She lost 38 inches off of her waist and at 60 years old; she went out there and danced her butt off each week. (And let’s be shallow for a moment, Maks with no shirt on was not a shabby sight to see.)



Chelsea Kane, who came in third, maybe should have been in second place. I think that the theatrics of her partner Mark Ballas did her more harm than good. Oh Mark’s hips are a thing of beauty, but his sullen attitude when judged was too souring for me to cheer for them.


(More shallowness because seriously check out Mark's hip action!)

Last night Kendra Wilkinson and Chris Jericho came back to dance and they both looked so relaxed and danced so wonderfully it is sad that they didn’t have that to show during the competition. (I still think Kendra is a crybaby.)

And Ralph Macchio…he has seriously found the fountain of youth! I can’t believe he is 50 years old. I think he should have been in the finals! I wanted to see him do the crane, dangit!! (Yup, “The Karate Kid’s” finest moment.)

It was a great season. Now what am I going to watch for the summer?

(And let me say how bummed I am that I am having to post via IE instead of Firefox since there is some stinkin' issue going on with Blogger and Firefox!)

What's your blogging style?



I frequently look at my blog and think about what kind of presence I want to have on the internet through it. Originally when I started this blog, I ran out of steam after the first couple of posts. Then I picked it back up and updated more frequently. The goal was to provide updates to family and friends and it was light and fluffy. I tried to put a theme to my posting so I would have something on topic to post about each day; however I am not a daily posting type of gal. I’m trying to figure out the balance of how much of me to put into my sweet blog. I have a very private blog as well that I use for my “diary” of sorts so I have no intention of bringing all those kinds of posts over here, but I question if light and fluffy is a little too mindless? Does the real me shine through or are you just seeing glimpses? For me, writing is like therapy, it solves problems and issues.

What kind of blogging style do you have? Do you use your blog for a specific reason? Is there anything in particular you want to see me incorporate into the blogging on this blog?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

So the world was supposed to end yesterday. I had my rapture quote ready to go and then nada. Sheesh!! (And I am only joking! I didn't believe in the rapture business as one of my friends did text me to find out if I was serious in my posting of the world ending. Sarcasm, my friends, is a staple of my life.)

But I have to share my quote anyway because it is one of my favorites.

I'm glad to be with you, Samwise Gamgee, here at the end of all things.
Frodo Baggins, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

And I am also very geektastically (that is so a word) excited that I have my tickets to the Lord of the Rings extended edition showings for June! So the quote is even more fitting.

On Tuesday, I met my mom across town after work for dinner and the Jen Lancaster "If you were here" book signing. If you ever have the chance to see Jen in person, you must go! We saw her for the first time three years ago and she was a tad bit nervous. This year, she was in high spirits, laughing and joking, telling stories and 100% in her element.


*Me and Jen Lancaster, Barnes & Noble 5/17/11*

On Thursday I was very sad to hear about the passing of wrestling legend, "Macho Man" Randy Savage. I used to be really in to the wrestling scene and it was the whole relationship of Macho Man and his manager, Miss Elizabeth, that sucked me in. It was a beauty and the beast/bad boy that can't be tamed thing for me and I was reeled in hook, line, and sinker. I had the pleasure of meeting them both a couple times over the years of my wrestling travels and Macho Man was always a class act.

RIP, Macho!



Yesterday I took in a showing of "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides". I am a big fan of Johnny Depp, I am a big fan of Captain Jack Sparrow. While I did enjoy the movie, I am not sure how I would feel about another one being made unless they brought back Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly. Orlando's Will was the perfect sidekick/antagonist for Johnny's Jack. But I did like the movie, was entertained and did not regret spending my money on it. I do wish they had done more with the mermaid.



(Oh and stay through the end of the credits, there is an additional scene. That has become the norm with movies anymore, you have to stay through for bonus scenes.)

And in closing...how stinkin' cute are these cupcakes? I want some Beaker cupcakes!!


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ahoy matey, I needs this!



I need my own Captain Jack to play with...take that any way you want. Johnny Depp as Cap'n Jack is sexy to me. I don't know why because you know that he must smell horrible and his teeth are ghastly. But the swagger...hello pirate!!

Barbie presents Captain Jack Sparrow

And if you need it, there is an accompanying Angelica doll as well.

Book Review: Love Struck by Chantel Simmons



Finding out your husband of three years is cheating on you is shock enough, but before you have time to react to that devastating news, you find out he has been in a freak accident. That is the way Poppy Ross finds her day going. Rushing to the hospital, while still reeling from the affair news, Poppy finds out that her husband, Parker, has not only been hit by lightening while in the company of his mistress, but he has lost his short term memory. With it unclear as to how long before Parker regains his memory, Poppy goes about reinventing herself. The model for her reinvention? Sienna Somers, who just happens to be the woman her husband was cheating on her with.

Chantel Simmon's latest book, "Love Struck" is a definitive "what would you do" as Poppy frantically tries to make herself over into what she imagines is the woman that Parker wants. Her career as an image consultant starts to suffer and her relationship with her best friend is strained as Poppy struggles with her makeover. Add ex-boyfriend, Colin, to the fray and Poppy's life is spinning out of control. As I read the book I went from feeling sympathy for Poppy to needing to see her get knocked down a few pegs to cheering for her to come out on top again. What I really enjoyed about this book was the fact that all the characters, though definitely flawed, were extremely likable. Even Sienna, knowing she was the other woman, was interesting. I loved the book and have added Chantel Simmons to my list of must reads.

I was also lucky enough, thanks to the gracious Samantha Robey of CLP Blog tours, to get to interview Chantel. I hope you enjoy it! She is a lot of fun.

Who inspired you to become a writer? And who continues to inspire you to this day?

In the first grade, I wrote a mashup story in which the Care Bears and My Little Pony meet up and save the world. I illustrated it, made a cardboard cover for it, bound the spine and even splatter-painted the endsheets inside the cover. I learned three things in the process.

A) I'm a terrible artist.

B) Writing about famous bears and ponies is probably considered plagiarism and grounds for being sued.

C) I loved to write.

So I started making up original stories, and that was that.

My parents were (and still are) hugely supportive of following my dreams. Both of them are not really that artsy at all (my mom was a pharmacist and my dad in business) so it meant even more to me that they would fully support a not-exactly-stable career.




"Love Struck" was such a fun read, was there any part of yourself in any of the characters?

I think there is always a part of me in my main characters -- what I loved about Poppy was how neurotic she is. I am always letting my imagination cause me to have insomnia, stress and anxiety, so it was nice to actual put my rather unflattering quality to good use by channeling it into creating a fun character!


Since Poppy was all about reinventing herself, if you could reinvent yourself what would you do?


It would be fun to reinvent myself as the complete opposite of who I actually am. Outgoing, sexy, super tall and skinny, with blond hair and big boobs. OK maybe just for a day.


Who would you like to see cast if "Love Struck" was made into a movie?

Poppy: Rachel McAdams
Parker: Josh Duhamel
Colin: Jim Sturgess...swoon!
Sienna: Scarlett Johansson could totally pull it off.


I found Colin to be absolutely charming, any thoughts of telling his story? Or even Sienna's?


Ooh, I love that idea! Can you get started on the synopsis? :)


Can you talk about what you are working on next?

I have a few projects in the works, but I'm too superstitious to talk about any of them...but you can keep checking my blog/website/Facebook/Twitter for updates!


Chantel's website

And a note from Samantha:
Please join me and Chantel on Tuesday, May 31st at 7 pm CST for a TwitParty! Use the hashtag #CLPChantel to ask your questions and participate!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Why I hate doing Customer Service

aka Michelle tries really hard not to tell vendors to kick bricks


I wasn't asked if I was interested in doing customer service at work, I was informed this is what I would be doing. It was a promotion that didn't come with a raise so I am even more cranky about it. But the vendors? They are a special brand of stupid some days. These are my examples from today:

Me: Company, this is Michelle.
Vendor: I'm calling from a collection agency, what was your name?
M: Michelle. And who am I speaking with?
V: A collection agency, I need to have payment made today for a vendor of yours.
M: And who am I speaking with?
V: I told you, a collection agency. The invoice number is 1094930
M: And what company is this for?
V: Are you going to pay by check or credit card?
M: *gritting teeth* Which company is this invoice for? I can not authorize payment, someone from the project will have to get back to you.
V: *snippy tone* I will be calling back tomorrow to collect your payment, have it ready. Good day.

What the Eff was that?!?! And the invoice number she gave was a popular invoice number so the system had 9 different invoices, I have no idea what vendor she was calling on behalf of.

M: Company, this is Michelle.
V: This is Keith with Company X. I talked to you the other day and you gave me an AFT confirmation number. You sent it to the wrong account.
**research the situation, yes we made a mistake**
M: I need to send you a Lost Check/Misapplied Funds Form and have you fill it out.
V: No, I am not.
M: It just covers us both for future reference. I just need you to sign that you did not receive the payment.
V: And I told you no I am not. Why should I fill out a form when you paid the wrong account? I am not taking any responsibility for your failure to do your job.

Oh, great, this is how today is going to go.

Let's go check the emails from the vendors.

First one is actually courtesy of a processor within the company, lecturing me on something I did not do and had no way to access to see what the problem was. He ends his email with "In the future, please correct your actions so we are not having this situation arise again. It is too time consuming for me." Guess what? It was time consuming for me to read your email, decipher what most of it said and then forward it to my manager so she could in return tell you that you were wasting MY time.

Next up is the vendor that informs me she has requested a follow up "at least seventy five times". Uh, once. You have requested a follow up ONCE. And as I was cc'd on the reply I know for a fact you received your follow up.

Then I get the phone call that resulted in an afternoon lost.

V: I need to get payment status on invoice 123.
M: I don't have this invoice in the system, will you please forward to me.

She does, I get it. It is not made out to our company. I call her back.
M: I received invoice 123 but it says Company B, not Company. I don't know who this company is.

She apologizes and fifteen minutes later, I get another email with the same invoice atached. Only this time it says it is billed to Company B care of Company. Seriously? *sighs*

I call her back, explain this is not doable. We are not Company B, I have no idea who Company B is. She is huffy but says fine. Next thing I know another email comes in. Now it says Company B / Company.

I forward it to a processor so they can see what is going on, I am told to tell the vendor that we are not responsible for this invoice, we are NOT Company B. But the processor also says to email it to her manager to see what he thinks. I call the vendor back, she is pissed at this point. "Oh you are responsible, I invoiced it to your company, you have to pay it." That is the calmest part of the phone call.

As I'm leaving this afternoon the manager has emailed her and cc'd all involved inquiring why this invoice is being sent to us, clearly any one can see that we are not Company B. I can hardly wait for the response.

Kick bricks, vendors, kick bricks. I loathe them all!

Words and New Blog Love!

Amazing, Fantastic, Cool, Astonishing, Incredible, Wonderful, Remarkable, Exceptional, Super, Outstanding, Exceptional Smashing, Groovy, Fantastic, Extraordinary, Cool, Splendid, Tremendous, Awe-inspiring, & Hot.


What do these words have in common? They are all the same meaning as “Fabulous” and “Awesome”, two of the most overused words in my vocabulary. (Though I have a feeling that “like” and “umm” are used in abundance as well, I try to stop myself from using either of those every time I feel them coming out.) Anyway, I digress. I have put a challenge to myself to stop using “fabulous” and “awesome” for a week. I am so quick to reply “awesome” to people, whether in a good way or a bad way. (I tend to throw that word out in a sarcastic, bored way a bit much.) So for one week we are going to see if I can get away from those two words.

Awesome.

Starting now…

- - - - - -

I really need to get my camera out and take pictures more. I didn’t take a single picture in Yuma. That is sad. Why do I bring this up? I discovered author Marika Christian's blog, Miss Quoted and she has such fascinating pictures on there. Her debut novel is called "Phone Kitten" and I think it sounds like a great read.
Anyway, again, I love her pictures (and her sweet puppy) and it inspires me to get my camera out. Yup.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Brain on shuffle!

Just some of the random thoughts that have been on my mind the last few days.

1 - Zombies. Yup, zombies. And the fact that someone made a movie about zombie sheep. Not only did someone make said movie, but people watched it. And then a certain someone *coughcoughRosecoughcough* sent me a link so I could look at the trailer for the movie. Weird. No, seriously...weird.

2 - Crazy Cat Ladies and the fact they think they know all about cats and don't stay out of others business. Every time Rose tells me about her own CCL I want to go find her (CCL, not Rose) and smack her upside the head.

3 - What am I going to wear to meet Jen Lancaster tomorrow night? Aaaah! The pressure!

4 - Karl Urban. He looks so sexy as a vampire in "Priest". I like my vampires to be vampires, not sparkly Twilight fluff. And Black Hat is definitely a demonic vampire. I can't find a good picture to convey this image as the only one is the promo pic and it doesn't work. So I'll just add a picture of the gorgeous cast at Comic Con last year.



What's been on your mind lately?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I went to Yuma and tapped into my super hero potential

Last weekend I met up with Leslie at our "in between" spot of Yuma, Arizona for a girls weekend. We didn't count on it being as hot as it was, which caused some miserable moments of heat and a bit of dehydration. However it was so much fun to see Leslie as we hadn't hung out since last July.

Unfortunately there isn't much to do in Yuma, especially when it is hot. (Though they do have a camel farm that I would like to see when it isn't so warm out.) We went to see some movies - "Thor" (excellent, excellent, I am in love with Chris Hemsworth), "Something Borrowed", and a repeat (for me) viewing of "Fast Five". We had some wings and fried pickles. And a trip to Target, where I got my super hero on!



We left early on Sunday morning to get back to our respective towns for some Mother's Day time with our mothers. Can't wait to plan our next adventure! Thank you, Leslie, for such a fun weekend!! xo

What's on tap for this week?

On Tuesday, Jen Lancaster brings her "If you were here" book tour to town and I'm taking my mom to the signing. I'm excited!

On Thursday, I'm hosting author Chantel Simmons blog tour stop for her book "Love Struck". I did a fun interview with Chantel as well.

And Friday..."Pirates of the Caribbean: On Strange Tides". Captain Jack, I've missed you!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!



Happy Mother's Day to all the mother's out there, especially to my fabulous mother and sister!! Whether you have two-legged or four-legged kids, I hope your day is full of love for all that you do!!


The one where Candace Bushnell is a complete rock star!

Candace Bushnell came through Arizona on her book tour for “Summer and the City” and there was no way that I was going to miss the event.

When I got to the book store I was slightly unsettled to hear that Candace had a list of “rules”, which included only one book signed, no posed pictures, and no memorabilia from the “Sex and the City” TV series would be signed. I had already decided that I was getting a book signed for Leslie for a late birthday present. Our love of “General Hospital” introduced us, but we shared a love all things Carrie Bradshaw and company as well. This was perfect and if I could only get one book signed, that was what I was going to do. I also purchased a book for my sister, the paperback copy of “The Carrie Diaries” since she hadn’t read the book yet.

After wandering the store for over an hour (oh yeah, I was there way early since I came directly from work to save on the gas and driving time) they finally lined us up (still an hour to go before Candace was arriving) and they went down the aisle finding out how many books you had and getting them ready for the autograph signing. And yay, I got a tag for all three books!

Finally the event got under way as Candace came out and after announcing “Summer and the City” debuted at #2 on the New York Times Bestseller List, read a passage from the book and then did a brief Q&A. (She told a fabulous story about meeting her own Mr. Big and then marrying her own Mr. Bigger.) She has an extremely dry and sarcastic sense of humor, which is something I come equipped with as well so I loved it all.

I was the 4th person in line for the autograph portion. The two ladies in the very front each had 4 books to get signed and Candace was happily signing all books and asked if people were wanting to take pictures with her as well. The gentleman in front of me ruined it for everyone when he sat his BAGS (yes multiple) of books down and wanted them all autographed. Only two were personalized, the rest he just wanted signed. They only let him get a couple signed and then said only the new book was being signed at the moment. If you had other books, you were welcome to get back in line and Candace would sign them at the end. Sorry Liz! That meant your book couldn’t get signed as there were around 120 people in front of me for the second go-round. You will just have to do with getting an autographed book from the Jen Lancaster book signing on the 17th.

I thanked Candace for a fun filled evening with stories of the fabulous Carrie Bradshaw and Candace's own life. She was so incredibly cool and it made me an even bigger fan. (Even if I still don't dig most of the books.)

Book Worm Time: Summer and the City



I am a huge fan of “Sex and the City” as everyone who knows me should know by now. I think that Carrie Bradshaw is probably in my top 5 favorite characters of all time. So I was ecstatic last year when Candace Bushnell dusted off the Carrie character in literary form and took us for a spin with “The Carrie Diaries”. The ending of the book left with Carrie meeting Samantha Jones and I was so impatient waiting for the second book to come out where we would have Carrie’s first bite of the Big Apple and her friendship would become defined with not only Samantha, but Miranda Hobbes as well.

Carrie and New York City are a stylish combo, but reading about how Carrie came to be the icon we fell in love with has been a fascinating journey. From falling for the wrong older guy (definitely no Mr. Big) to developing her fashion sense, this is the story of Carrie’s first summer in the city. It is supposed to only be for the summer as Carrie is planning to attend Brown in the fall, but as Carrie submerges herself in life in the city, she begins to question herself and her future. The back stories for Samantha and Miranda are fascinating and their friendship shines through.

I enjoyed “Summer and the City” a lot more than “The Carrie Diaries” and really hope that we are going to get a third in the series. I think if you are a fan of the show, you are going to enjoy this book.

(What made it all even better was I got to meet CANDACE BUSHNELL!!! More on that in the next post!)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Book Worm Time: A Scottish Ferry Tale by Nancy Volkers



What do you do when you are in a foreign country and your boyfriend dumps you? That is the question that Cassie Wrentham finds herself posed with when her long distance boyfriend, Jason, breaks up with her the night she arrives in Scotland to see him. Instead of turning tail and running home to the states, Cassie decides to venture out on her own, booking a trip to Coll. On the ferry ride over, she meets a charming stranger who suggests a bed-and-breakfast to stay in when she arrives. Cassie takes his suggestion and imagine her surprise when the charming stranger just happens to be the brother of the owner of the bed-and-breakfast. Ralph, dealing with his own problems, may be just what Cassie needs to get over her broken heart. And with that, Nancy Volker's debut novel, "A Scottish Ferry Tale" is off and running.

A whirlwind romance takes place and you will find yourself just as breathless with anticipation as Cassie to see what is going to happen next. Nancy weaves a magical tale with such vivid imagery that you are going to want to dust off your passport (or in my case, get one) and head off to Scotland to find your own Prince Charming. As Ralph and Cassie struggle with the reality of a long distance relationship, I found myself unable to put the book down, needing to know how the issues resolve. Cassie has moments of self sabotage and Ralph has his moments of being unreasonable, but the quirks of both main characters (and the supporting characters) are so true to life and relatable that I loved them all the more. All I can say is read it, read it!

And while I haven't read it yet, there is a sequel "Scotland by Starlight". And if you are available, please join Nancy Volkers on May 10th at 7 pm CST for her own Twitter Party hosted by CLP Blog Tours. Ask Nancy your questions on her books, writing, or more by using the hashtag #CLPNancy.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Happy Star Wars Day!!



May the "Fourth" be with you!

You do realize this is kind of like a national holiday for this Star Wars geek, right? Ha-ha! Today is the day I should be playing hooky from work and watching my beloved trilogy! (I choose to ignore the newer trilogy.)

Maybe talk like Yoda I should today.
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