Remember how anxious I would get when I would go on a business trip to a new city because my sense of direction is so bad I can't find my way out of a paper bag?
That's never going to happen again :-). Well, not about my sense of direction, about my being anxious when driving in a new city :-).
Steve and I got a GPS for the truck :-). It's a Garmin C330, and we just absolutely LOVE it :-). It's normally sold for $450, but Walmart had it on sale for $330.
Things we love about it:
Touch screen display
The maps are already pre-loaded into the unit (some models need external memory cards)
Voice prompts: For example,"In .3 miles, turn left." Then when you get closer to the turn, "Turn left." Then after you turn, it'll say something like, "Drive for 1.2 miles then turn right." I like it when it says that because I know ahead of time if I should stay on the left or right lane
If you miss your turn, the computer finds a different way for you to get back on track. It'll say, "Recalculating..." then 1-2 seconds later it'll give you a new route. I've been having a lot of fun taking wrong turns on purpose :-).
You can save where you currently are in your Favorites so you don't have to type the address if you need to get to this location again in the future
You can customize the settings to avoid highways (useful when you don't want to deal with rush hour traffic), toll roads, U-turns (useful when you're on a non-divided highway), and unpaved roads
It's portable. We can move it from car to car if we need to, like if we're riding with someone else on a trip
The display colors change depending on whether it's daytime or nighttime so you can see the screen better
The only negative (and it's not even really that bad) thing I can say about it is that there's a limit to how detailed the maps are. But then, I expected that. It would be unrealistic to expect the unit to know EVERY teeny tiny two-lane road :-).
I could go on and on :-). If you'd like to see a flash demo, click here.
I like Garmin's holiday commercial :-). Creative use of the Carol of the Bells song :-).
I change the Mucha artwork on my blog every week. This week it's Flirt. It kind of reminds me of myself and Steve :-). Sometimes I like to think that we would've looked like that if we were born in that era :-).
On early weekend mornings I like to sit by the window with a cup of coffee and watch the apartment complex wake up.
This morning I had the urge to do the same thing. I guess it's because it's raining outside and the sound of rain kind of beckoned me to the window.
So I got a hot cup of coffee, parked myself onto our big comfy office chair, propped my feet up on the windowsill and watched rain fall on the still quiet neighborhood. Work can wait for a little bit.
I watch people scurrying to their cars to rush to the office and start the workday, and a part of me inside smiles smugly because while everything around me seems to moving in fast forward, I made a conscious decision, even for just a little while, to move in slow motion.
It felt REALLY good to have that kind of solitude in the middle of the work week.
Tomorrow is Veteran's Day. It's a day that honors everyone in the armed services, whether active or inactive. It used to be called Armistice Day, because it falls on November 11, the anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended World War I. All major hostilities of World War 1 were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in1918.
In the past 2 years living here I've experienced several instances that left me impressed by how Americans honor the ones in the armed services--and these events didn't even happen on Veterans Day:
One time Steve and I were having dinner at a country restaurant and were in line to pay for our meal (in many American restaurants the bill is placed on your table then you take it to the cashier to pay for it).
There were two other groups ahead of us: an elderly couple and a younger couple in front of them. The younger man was wearing an armed forces t-shirt (I think it was Marines, I can't remember), and he had the military haircut. The older man asked him, "Are you in the military?" and the younger man said, "Yes, sir."
Then the older man took the bill out of the young man's hand. "I'm paying for your dinner."
I could tell the younger couple was surprised. Then the soldier smiled and gratefully replied, "Thank you, sir."
"It's the least I can do, son."
A civilian pays for another couple's dinner simply because the man was in the military. That kind of thing NEVER happens in Manila.
The other thing that happened was when I was in Omaha for a business trip. I was waiting at the airport for other colleagues that were arriving that day. I was sitting in one of the chairs when I started to hear some cheering and applause.
I stood up and looked down the ramp to see what was going on, and it was a group of soldiers coming home.
Most of the people cheering were family and friends--they had balloons and signs and were jumping up and down. But you could see other passengers putting their bags down so they could clap too. Before long I found myself clapping as well. It seems weird because I'm not an American citizen, but the feeling of pride was so palpable you had to be heartless not to feel it.
Watch the video on my blog's sidebar. It was exactly like that.
Read an account of how a soldier felt by clicking here
You guys know the Mayans, right? Real calendar and time experts. Scientists are still marveling at how the Mayans were so accurate with their calculations.
The Mayan calendar is scheduled to end on December 21, 2012. Astronomically, what's going to happen is that the sun will align with the center of the Milky Way and that the Earth is going to complete its wobble on its axis (it takes 26,000 years to complete a wobble). To the Mayans this event is marked "as if the Giant Odometer of Humanity on Earth hits 100,000 miles and all the cycles big and small turn over to begin anew. The present world age will end and a new world age will begin."
Could be a good thing, but most people interpret it as a very bad thing.
That's like, 6 years from now. Well THAT kind of sucks...
Then again, this was also a culture that believed in human sacrifice...
Bath and Body Works released a new line recently called "Temptations." It intrigued me because it was an all-in-one body wash-bubble bath-shampoo.
I picked up this one, unscrewed the cap and smelled it.
Oh my GAWD. I could've chugged the bottle, it smelled so good. The product description is amazingly accurate: it's got "the decadent scent of melted dark chocolate, rich hazelnut liqueur and freshly whipped cream."
I also bought the lip gloss :-). Everytime I put it on I spend at least ten minutes smacking my lips :-).
The line also came in other scents: Twisted Peppermint, Spicy Gingerbread, and Crazy Caramel Corn. I like Wickedly Hot Chocolate the best, though :-).
Whenever I feel like I have to reduce my caloric intake and don't want to worry about eating a teeny tiny meal and ending up feeling hungry later, I get a can of these:
Depending on the brand you get, you only consume like 40-50 calories when you eat the whole 15-oz. can. That may not seem impressive until you remember that a can of regular Coke is about 140 calories. That sure seems illogical on an eating level, doesn't it--that a softdrink can have 3 times the calories as a can of food.
And you feel FULL after eating it too, or at least I did. I guess it's because I eat them one at a time--my brain thinks since I've put food in my mouth as many times as I would a regular meal, I must have eaten a regular meal.
Other good points about straw mushrooms:
Low in saturated fat
Very high in dietary fiber
Very high in iron
High in pantothenic acid
High in phosphorus
Very high in protein
High in riboflavin
Very high in selenium
High in zinc
Bad points about straw mushrooms:
Very high in sodium
With the low calorie content, I can afford to stir fry them in a little margarine and make them taste even better :-).
"Now you got me crying too. Reba, you know what it is? Maybe it's not what you dreamt about. It's not what you thought would ever happen when they first hand them to you after they're born. You know? "Sometimes things work out different than you want for your kids. But you know what...? It is what I wanted, because she's happy. That's it, and that's all, as long as they're happy, and they're so happy, I mean, who's hurting who here? Who's hurting who?"
It reminded me of the conversation that my mom and I had when I was in Manila. I'm pretty sure my parents never thought I'd be living half a world away, married to an American. I think my marriage is the first interracial one on both my mom and dad's sides, so it's bound to raise some eyebrows simply because it goes against what's considered traditional.
My mom was doing the dishes and I was sitting on the kitchen steps talking to her when she looked at me and asked, "Are you happy?"
The question kind of took me aback for a second. My mind goes, "Gosh mom, it's pretty obvious that I am. Can't you tell?" But then I realized that my parents never really got many chances to see me and Steve together. So no, she can't tell. I replied, "Mom, I'm very happy." And she smiled and said, "That's good. That's all parents ever want for their children."
So I read this excerpt from Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays and my eyes welled up with tears. It seems strange that a book excerpt about a family belonging to a culture that's entirely different from mine verifies what my mother said, but it does.
Alphonse Mucha (MOO-ka), very well known for his Art Nouveau style, is one of my favorite artists. I saw some of his paintings in an art catalog when I was a little girl and I remember being fascinated by the the way he drew, particularly with how he drew women's hair and the folds in their clothes. It was all so... flowy and graceful. And THEN he surrounds them with more curved shapes. What I also like is that he's able to portray beauty using realistically-shaped women :-).
I like his panel works. He made several 4-set panels that featured women around a cohesive theme. Some of his panel works include:
The Arts: Dance, Painting, Poetry and Music
The Flowers: Rose, Iris, Carnation, and Lily
The Times of the Day: Morning Awakening, Brightness of Day, Evening Contemplation and Night's Rest
The Precious Stones: Topaz, Ruby, Amethyst and Emerald
The Stars: Polar Star, Evening Star, Morning Star, and North Star
The Seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter (He made a few sets of the seasons. The pictures you see were made in 1900.)
Judy sent me a wonderful Mucha book a few months back, and I often flip through it just to look at his artwork :-).
I figured it would be a good idea to showcase some of his works for a little while as background pictures on my blog--that way I'll get to show you some of the things he's done :-). Who knows--you may become as fond of his art as I am :-).