Pixie Dust

End of the Road 2004
December 31, 2004, 7:04 am
Filed under: life | Tags: , ,

Looking back at 2004, I realize that it wasn’t such a bad year for me after all. I always tell people that nothing exciting is going on in my life, but I had some good times this year.

Over the summer, I started to get back to the singing (just a little, though) and recorded a demo for my friend, One, who is trying to sell a song she just wrote. It turned out really nice…we’ll see what happens.

I also filmed a commercial for Wal-Mart with my friend ‘Oh.’ It’s already played nationwide, and has been spotted during the Alias premiere, Good Morning America, the Today Show, and Oprah! Tune in to Good Morning America on 1/20 to see it, or maybe you’ll catch one of the other placements in January and February.

Vacations were close to home this year, with a fabulous week in Mexico and short weekend getaways to San Francisco (to visit Kleep-Ton), Los Angeles (to visit Sharona), and a birthday trip to Vegas (including a stay at the Bellagio!). Plus, Elvis and I both made the trek up I-35 to Dallas for Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family (not that I really count that as a vacation due to the stress). I think I’ve been out of town about half of the weekends of every month since October…

As far as work goes, things have really picked up at the end of the year. I’ve taken a new position at my company that has me traveling to several exotic destinations to meet with our marketing teams across the globe. In December, I spent 2 days in Beijing and was able to take a little stroll through Tian’Anmen Square and the first few gates of the Forbidden City. [While it sounds a little glamorous, it’s actually exhausting work…spend two days on a plane to get there and then spend 1-2 days working for 16 hours at a time while trying to remain sharp and focused. By the time you start to acclimate to the new time zone, you’re on a plane headed home to be jet-lagged for two weeks. But I love it.]

New Year’s Eve itself was enjoyable, but we felt as stressed out about attending all of the friend parties as we did the family holiday meals. Next year, we’re heading out of town for a real vacation!
New Year’s Resolutions:

  • Elvis: Learn to play guitar.
  • Me: Meditate once a day, and learn one Tarot card per week.
  • Together: Spend more time with couple friends and less time in front of the TV.

Santa’s Joint
December 25, 2004, 10:49 am
Filed under: family | Tags: , , , , , ,

Christmas this year was all about change, with a mixture of laughter and tears that left me slightly unsatisfied, yet happy and fat.

For the first time in at least a decade, we didn’t spend Christmas Eve at my dad & stepmom’s house opening Santa gifts. In Christmases of old, we sisters would make the trek to our parents’ house in the burbs to indulge in a feast of cold cut sandwiches and open the crazy gifts delivered early by the jolly fat man.

Every year, Santa brings us little individual packages containing the same gifts for each of us that have to be unwrapped by all at the same time. The ritual goes something like this:

“Let’s open the Kleenex!” calls out Disney, my step-sister who interns for Mickey in Orlando. We all dig through the stack of gifts to find the little rectangular package and tear it open to confirm that yes, indeed, it is Kleenex. Next come the calendars, then socks, then underwear…of course, we get great gifts too, but it’s the Santa gifts that provide entertainment for the whole family.

This year, Elvis (my boyfriend) got to participate for the first time…and brought his own brand of entertainment to the family. Early into the Santa process, I realized that Elvis needed to experience Santa before he could ever truly be part of the family. So I dug a small item out of the pile and handed it to him. He examined the tiny tissue-wrapped trinket with confusion, laughed and asked, “What is it? A joint?”

Leave it to my boyfriend to make a drug reference about the Santa Chapstick at his first Christmas with my family. No, really Dad, he’s not a pothead…just a drunk.Another big change–Mom and Dad celebrated the holidays with us at the same gathering for the first time since they divorced almost 20 years ago. My sister hosted us at her new house out in the boonies north of Frisco (who knew there were any homesteads that far north). It wasn’t too bad…just a little competition between the moms to see who could tell more stories about Dad and boss everyone around the most.
For the most part, it was a relatively bloodless holiday.

It also happens that Disney shares her birthday with Jesus Cristo, so the evening portions of our holiday celebrations are typically spent devouring strawberry cake (yes, pink cake and pink frosting) despite the 4 helpings of holiday potluck and samplings of all 6 pies just a few hours before.

This year, the excitement was not so much the number of candles on her cake, but more about the tiny little matchbook used to light the candles. At first glance, it seemed innocent enough…but the slogan “Any jail, any bail” really caught my eye. We opened the matchbook (because you have to open a matchbook with a slogan like that) and found a poem on the inside that detailed the journey of needles, pills and booze on “THE ROAD TO HELL.” Not bad for a family gathering…makes you kinda wonder who brought that one into the house and why they had it in the first place.

And Thus It Begins
December 23, 2004, 5:01 pm
Filed under: travel | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Here we are at the end of the year…Christmas just around the corner and another year of laugh lines on their way. I’ve noticed that my brain has finally begun the rapid destruction of memories, so maybe this will help me keep track of what’s going on in my own life.

I’ve just returned from a quickie trip to China for work, where we accomplished a lot but saw very little and returned before the jet lag ever hit us. It did finally catch up with me, however, and now I get to suffer Cedar Fever while my body tries to remember which time zone we’re in.

So China…It was actually warmer there than it was at home in Austin on the first day that we arrived. Gotta love that. But the snow came the next morning, stopping just in time for me to take an afternoon walk through Tian’AnMen Square and the outer courtyard of Forbidden City. It seems a shame to go all that way and not get to see the Great Wall, which is on my list of things to see. Maybe next time.

Some interesting experiences in Beijing:

  • Haggling at the marketplace for cashmere scarves… The first price I told the girl was too high. She gave me another price, and I started to walk away. She grabbed me by the arm, “Lady, I give you a good price.” The girls always called me “lady” when they were trying to sell me something. Ten minutes into the negotiation, she still had a tight grip on my right arm and had no intention of letting me go until I started reaching for my wallet. Still, the price was no good. At this point, the sales girl who was working my co-worker, “Red”, left her side to grab my left arm. There was no way that my companions could even attempt a rescue – I was the hostage of two shop girls intent on taking my money. In the end, I got four items at 14% of their original asking price, and even then, my co-workers from China thought it was only a “reasonable” deal. Geez.
  • Walking through Tian’AnMen Square… Visitors from other regions of China were fascinated by our group: a tall, blonde, blue-eyed man with three short women – a red-head (which is why I nickname her “Red”), an African-American, and a brunette who might be Asian but no one could be sure (this, of course, is me). They would have a friend from their group walk directly in front of us while another would try to take a picture without our knowledge…it would have been so much easier if they would have asked us to stop and pose. They finally did ask our blonde to pose for a picture (why ask the man? why not the beautiful women?). It’s so interesting to think of how diverse Americans look from each other – there really isn’t much that could surprise us anymore because we’re so mixed – and then go to a country where most individuals look very similar. I still think they should have posed with the girls instead.
  • Massage… So very different from what I expected, but still so relaxing. The massage hours at the hotel were from 2pm to 2am, which I thought was odd. But I suppose it makes sense if you have a lot of visitors from opposite time zones (such as myself) who would have difficulty sleeping at night (this wasn’t actually a problem for me). Red and I scheduled our massages at the same time, and when we arrived we were escorted by two Chinese men dressed like doctors (white lab coat, tie and all) into one room with side-by-side massage tables. Now I like Red, but I really wasn’t prepared to strip down and get a massage next to her. Then, I realized that the doctors had no intention of letting us strip down at all – we were to plunge face down onto our massage tables fully dressed. I certainly wasn’t prepared for this – I would have changed into much more comfortable clothes had I known it was going to work this way. The doctor got started on me, working pressure points all over my back and head, rocking me back and forth as I drifted in and out of sleep. It was a wonderful 45 minutes, and then he asked if I wanted a 45 minute foot massage. I *love* foot rubs, so I was definitely ready for a 45 minute one! I have no idea how long I was asleep, but I startled myself with my own snoring at the end of the session. I wish I knew how great the foot massage felt…but I’m even more curious about how I made such strange snoring sounds.

Now I’m back in the States preparing for the long trek up I-35 to Dallas for Christmas…

Next up: Christmas with the family…mine, his, and my sister’s in-laws.