one of my new favorite artists… Nidhi Chanani

I was so lucky to get to go to Emerald City Comic Con this year and for me, Comic Con is all about art.  I don’t read comic books so I was just excited to see all the “stuff” for sale.  I thought I had a method to my madness but it ended up messing me up a bit.  At first I thought I would take a look at everything then I would buy what I felt was completely necessary, but I ended up buying stuff as soon as I saw it (and don’t get me wrong.. everything I bought is AMAZING… I really wish I had known further ahead that I would be going to Comic Con and I wish I had saved a LOT of money so I could have bought a LOT more art).  As I walked around I bought a few prints I felt were MUST HAVE’s.  Then I ran out of my budgeted money.. and I went over budget a little but had to stop myself before I went too crazy.  I collected business cards from all the artists that I wanted to see more of and I kept them all organized and together… so I can go back and shop online for art that I couldn’t afford to buy at the convention. One of the artists I fell in love with was nidhi chanani.   While I was looking at her art, I was called away and never got the chance to go back and look through everything she had there, but I was pretty obsessed so it’s probably for the better.  I’m going to post her site below for your viewing pleasure:

everydayloveart.com

on a very RANDOM side note, one of my friends sent me an article saying that someone with measles was in the Pike Place Market area on the first day of Comic Con (Friday) and given the super contagious nature of measles, they urged anyone who has not had the vaccination to go see a doctor.  I’ve never head measles but I would imagine it would be completely miserable.  There was a whole itinerary posted in the article that this contaminated person went on.. I’m pretty shocked and I really hope that no one gets sick!

…and one last super important highlight of Comic Con I have to share… a couple dressed up as the older couple from UP.  Hands down, BEST costume in my book! I took a picture with them but it didn’t come out very good and “somehow” the person taking the picture missed the balloons the guy was holding and the little tennis ball tips of his cane… so they did not appear in the picture.  Fail!

 

-M

 

New Job Update

I’ve given up on trying to blog about my vacation from January.   I have been at my new job about a month and I still love it.  I finally got the hang of things and I really enjoy what I do.  I genuinely like every person at my job and I enjoy seeing them every day.  I’ve been running more than I used to and I’m enjoying that.  The Festival of Books at USC is coming up in two weeks and I’ll be back in California for that weekend, volunteering.

When I visited New Orleans, I heard about the show Treme.  I had never seen or heard of it before.  It just finished it’s fourth and final season fairly recently.  I’ve been watching it and I’m currently on season 3.  I’m really enjoying it and all though I’m more than half way through, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the end of the final season.

Last weekend I was beyond fortunate to have the opportunity to go to Emerald City ComicCon and I LOVED it.  (I had been to the one in San Diego once before but I really didn’t buy anything).  I bought some lowbrow art this weekend and I’m currently in the process of framing it.  I will hopefully post some pictures once I get it framed and hung.  I will also try to post a list of my favorite artists from ComicCon with some links to their sites at a later time.

I was inspired at ComicCon to sew more and to make things to sell both at future conventions and also online.  Hopefully soon I will be sewing again for fun.  I’m currently in the process of making something I’m frustrated with and the fun has been lost in the project so I’m struggling to sit down to sew.  Once I finish this project I can move on to more fun things.  I’m excited for that!

I joined a book club and I’ve been reading a lot more lately. I’ve had a lot of things going on lately! The book for this month’s book club is Columbine by Dave Cullen.  I thought it was well written and just a great read.  Our group meeting is on Saturday. I can’t wait to hear what everyone has to say!

I hope next time I will have more interesting things to say.  This is just more of a general update. Things are going good!

-M

 

 

I got a new job!

I have to interrupt my poorly organized effort of blogging about my vacation (from which I have been back for almost a month already!) to announce:

I GOT A NEW JOB!!!!

I work through a temp agency.  I’ve actually been through three agencies in the last year (long story).  Anyway, they sent me on a job interview on Thursday.  Wednesday night I drove to the place so I could find it and not be freaked out on Thursday morning, looking for the place.  I got there early on Thursday and sat in the car, talking on the phone and staring in the windows, just watching to see if there was anything to see that would tell me about this job.  Before my interview I thought, “I got this.”  I figured it would be me and some lady that was going to interview me and I would not be nervous.  No need to be nervous, what would be the reason for that!?

Finally about ten minutes early, I went in, filled out an application and waited.  Then a lady came to greet me and brought me into a conference room and two other women came in and sat down also.  I freaked out.  They introduced themselves and I forgot their names immediately and they told me the interview would be short and that they would know by Monday what their decision was and they said they had one more interview after mine.

They started by asking me what kind of business is my current job.  I froze.  It took me a few seconds to even process the question then I started stammering and finally got out some sort of answer.

As the questions went on,  I did a lot better (I’d like to think!).  They asked me the usual, where do you see yourself in three years and what is my learning style. my biggest frustrations and my biggest accomplishments at my current job.  I think when they asked about my greatest weakness I said that I get so nervous and stammer and I get visibly shaken but that it all gets better for me eventually.  I have no idea why I said that but apparently it worked.

I left the interview not knowing even how it went.  I was thinking it was a little rough but it was over and either they loved me or hated me.  I was so confused and all I could think about was the fact that they asked me that first question and I almost couldn’t answer it.  I could not believe I got so nervous! I keep reliving it in my head STILL.

Thirteen minutes after I left the interview, I got a call from my temp agency.  I was thinking they were calling to see how it went since I didn’t call them and tell them yet.  Then too, I thought it was a little early for them to be calling… What if I was still in that interview and my phone started ringing and that blew it for me!?  I was pretty nervous about it all (and really hoping I wasn’t about to hear bad news) so I finished my phone call then called my agency back.  The lady I spoke with said they LOVED me and they cancelled their other interviews before I even accepted saying that if I didn’t accept, they wouldn’t be in the right mind to interview anyone else.  How AWESOME is that!?  She also said that they want me as soon as possible and they will wait for me if they have to but they would love it if I could start right away.  I figured Monday would work.  I went in, talked to my boss and everything worked out pretty perfectly.  He was happy it all worked out for me and I was happy to be starting a new job so quickly after the search started!

So I start tomorrow and I have the highest hopes for this job.  I’m so excited and I really hope it all works out well.  I’m hoping that I can stay there forever and be happy! :) A girl can dream, right!? I’m beyond stoked at the prospects!

Day 6- Costa Maya, Mexico – January 24th

Costa Maya 2 Costa Maya 6 Costa Maya 5

We got off the ship in Costa Maya  and it was WINDY and we were “welcomed” by armed military! There was a long dock that they actually had an open trolly-shuttle people could take.  We walked the long dock and into the small shopping area.  We walked around the shops a little to find that the prices were much higher for everything than they were in Cozumel. We watched a dolphin excursion where the dolphins were in these pools that were way too small for them… I hope they didn’t actually live there but my guess is that they do.  The people on the excursion got to swim and interact with them.  We found our group there and they told us they had booked an excursion to go to the beach.  We decided to go walking to find the town.  About a mile later we came to a light house and we saw the “town” on the beach (maybe we didn’t go far enough but we passed lots of shops and restaurants…  There were restaurants that had tables and chairs and also sun chairs out on the beach.  Each restaurant had people trying to get us to go sit in their chairs and relax and drink for super cheap or even free.  I think where they made their money was on the food because I felt it was a little pricey.  Either way, we had just had breakfast on the ship so we were not hungry and we were not interested in sitting on the beach all day.  I bought a silver bracelet and my hubby bought a carved chess set.  We walked around for a while then we ended up taking a taxi back to the ship for $4.  It was a nice day but really windy.

That night on the ship we went to Le Cirque Bijou.  That show was awesome! On the first night they told everyone not to miss it and I think they were right.  It really was a great show.  After that show they brought out a LOT of the staff that is not entertainment staff, who never really get the recognition that the entertainers get. I was so glad to see all the staff up on stage but also just to see everyone clapping and cheering for them.  It was really a fun way to close the show.

They also had the “signature” White Hot party that night.  Guess who didn’t go.  :) I had a friend who had taken a Norwegian cruise and she told me all about the white hot party and how fun it was and everything.  I didn’t know that was something that all Norwegian cruises do.  I never got an email or anything that told me about the party until I got on the ship.  Anyway, it was late at night and we were tired (really.. from being on vacation!) but at any rate, we didn’t go and I’m sure we missed out on a LOT of fun.

Day 5 – January 23rd – Roatan, Honduras

Honduras 1

We docked in Honduras and it looked really beautiful and promising.  We got off the ship to see if we might be interested in any excursions or shopping and walked down one street.  We were so bombarded by people trying to get us to go on an excursion that we walked away to try to do some shopping.  We were followed by children who asked for money for “school books” and we really didn’t find anything we really wanted to buy so it was a very short stay for us in Honduras.  I almost wish we had booked an excursion because we would have been able to get out and see more especially since there was no shopping to be missed out on and Honduras looks so beautiful!  Honestly though, all of the people hounding us for excursions were kind of creepy and I didn’t want to get in the car with any of them so I was really happy to go back to the ship early.  I did buy some coffee in a cool burlap coffee bag and I have been enjoying it since I have been back home.

I was really pumped to go to the thriller dance class on the ship that night but I didn’t make it because we ended up going out to dinner with one of the other couples from our group and when we got to the dining room we were asked if we minded sitting with anyone else and we said we didn’t mind at all so we were sat at a table for 8 and had a really great 2 hour conversation with some really interesting people!

One of the couples we went with had taken a Celebrity cruise to Alaska and they said it was nice and they had purchased a package that included all the alcohol they wanted and they enjoyed that.  There were two sisters who came together and they had been out on a beer tasting the day before in Belize and they had nothing but good things to say about that.  One of those women lived in Buloxi, Mississippi and the other one had moved somewhere else not too far so I asked them about visiting the lower 9th ward and both of the sisters gave me a lot of information about the things that happened after Hurricane Katrina and told us all some crazy stories.  All in all, we had a great conversation and although I didn’t want the dinner to end, we all left the dining room feeling great about the food and conversation.

I was OK with missing the Thriller dance class since we had such an awesome dinner so next on my agenda was the Amy Winehouse Tribute.  I had no idea this entertainer was going to dress like her and try to kind of mimic her until we got there and once it started I kept thinking to myself that it might be inappropriate because it still is only a few years ago she died… I thought the girl sang great but didn’t have nearly the range that Amy did and she did an impression of her accent that was ok to me.  My personal opinion was that the show was good overall, but it’s one thing to do a tribute and sing her songs, but another to actually sing her songs and dress like her and fake an accent like hers… It haunted me a little and we left early.

I don’t want to be a Debbie downer but so I’ll just say that we went to the Kenny Byrd ventriloquist show and also the Chocoholic Buffet and although I wasn’t WOW-ed by either, I had a great night and I had some dessert!

 

Day 4 – Belize City, Belize- January 22nd

Belize Belize 4 Belize 2

We had to tender in Belize and we took a long ride to the shore.  On the shore we did not go far at all.  There were plenty of shops right off the tender, but if you went in further, there were these big black gates with attendants opening and closing them for the tour buses to go in and out of.  There was a place pedestrians could enter and exit from also but it appeared to me that you had to go through some sort of inspection or interview to come back in.  I didn’t bother with it.  I stayed inside the gates and I shopped.  In Belize it was all about fake purses.  They had so many different stores with so many different fake purses – for me at least.  They were good fakes to me but it seemed they were around $40 and sometimes up.  I did have my eye on one of the purses but I ended up not getting it because I felt it was too much to pay for a fake.  I got really lucky and the weekend after I got home I went to the the mall and happened to find the purse I wanted for $52 at Macy’s.  I bought it! I had to!

We also went to a chocolate shop and bought chocolate shakes that were amazing! There was a window there where you could make your own chocolate bar.  What a great idea! I really should have bought some chocolate bars to bring home but I figured if I did, they would not have made it home.  There was so much food on the ship that I figured I didn’t need to add chocolate bars into the mix.

We played Bingo again that night on the ship and watched The Perfect Couple Game Show.  That was quite interesting.. there were all these weird physical challenges like a guy standing on a stool and the girl had to take some kind of ball or something and go up one pant leg and down the other pant leg (one girl lost the ball briefly and the guy was not able to help so it was pretty funny to watch) then they had to smash balloons against one another in different positions.. It was really funny to watch but I am beyond glad I did not volunteer to participate in that game!

 

 

 

Day 2 – Day At Sea- January 20

I forgot to add this before the Cozumel day… but it was a pretty uneventful day.  I have my events a little messed up.  I was looking at the wrong freestyle daily when I said we went to the newywed game on the 21st… oh well.. we watched the newlywed game on our day at sea and after we returned from Cozumel, we went to a Rum tasting on the ship, watched a little of bandaoke (karaoke with a live band) and we watched a show with Jean Pierre Parent.

The only comment I have for all of that was the bandaoke was hard to watch.  There was one lady that was pretty good but she only sang one song.

Day 3- Cozumel – January 20th 2014

cozumel 3 cozumel 2

We  decided we were not going to book an excursion or even try to find one on shore, so we did a lot of shopping.  All of the women were enjoying the jewelry shops and I think they all bought some Vanilla to take home.  It was funny to watch $500 silver  rings being bargained down to $100.  Shots of tequila were only a request away from the shop keepers.  Some of the shops also had machines with frozen margaritas that you could serve yourself in small cups.  We wandered up and down the main drag and everyone got some good deals on jewelry.  If they didn’t like the price of what they were looking at, they would just walk out of the jewelry shop and they would promptly be followed by the salesperson who would leave their shop to come out to bargain and hassled until they could come to a reasonable agreement.  I think everyone did well with their bargaining.  I didn’t buy any jewelry myself but I did like a lot of stuff there.  I was not sure what we would find in Belize or Honduras so I waited and saved my money.

When we all got hungry, we ended up eating at a restaurant that had more American food (think chicken fingers and fries and hamburgers) on the menu than they did Mexican food.  I hadn’t really looked at the menu because I was starving and I figured I would find something I liked so I let everyone else look.  I got ceviche which was really overpriced but also really good.  The prices were all listed on the menu in pesos so it was hard to figure out if they were dividing by 12 or 13 because every vendor seemed to say different things when it came to the conversion.  My group was not very adventurous so I figured this restaurant would be a safe bet with them and they all ended up sharing anyway.

I think the only souvenir I got was a bright pink hobo purse that said Cozumel in white all over it.  I had been looking at them all day and I found it cheapest at the first store I found it in right off the ship.  I got it for $6.  You can imagine my disappointment when they were $15-20 at every other stop!  So, I only got the one :)

One of the interesting things I saw in Cozumel was a wall with broken glass bottles on the top of it.  I’m sure it was intended more to keep people out than to invite them to check out the artistic aspect of it.  I enjoyed it though.

We played Bingo on the ship just about every time it was offered.  I was actually really expensive, but we enjoyed it and I actually won it once.  I think the first night we played the $69 package so we could get some raffle tickets for the Win A Cruise drawing at the end of the cruise.  I was really hoping everyone would lose their tickets by the end of the cruise but they didn’t and in the end, we were sitting right behind the couple that won the free cruise.  Watching them win that cruise was so fun.  I wanted to jump up and down with them! They were told to jump up and down and come up to the front screaming “I just won a free cruise” and they did exactly that.  It was so funny.

We also went to the Not So Newlywed game show.  The oldest couple had been married 62 years and the youngest couple had been married two days.  There’s not much to say about that other than the old couple stole the show as  they usually seem to with their funny comments about each other.  I do have to say though that we did have a great cruise director and she was the one involved with most of the games.  She ran that one and she was really funny.

Day 1 of our cruise- January 19th 2014

Sunday morning we got up early, had breakfast, and got ready to head down to the cruise terminal.  Despite my preparations (and without going in to all the details),  my suitcase was given to the cruise terminal with no tag saying where it needs to go and I ended up pretty mad because it had all been out of my control.  I had forgotten an actual luggage tag on my suitcase but I had put a paper one on when I checked it with the airline so LUCKILY, they were able to identify it without going through it (I have a big issue about people going through my stuff…) and I ended up getting my bag delivered to our room right after we got to the room and had just finished checking it out.  I had already been down to the customer relations desk and described the bag and what was in it (I know they had to ask but what did they expect me to say?…clothes, shoes… just like any other bag!!)

Aside from the baggage situation, it was really a breeze for us to get on the ship.  My  in-laws had previously taken one cruise with Norwegian so they got us all onto the ship as soon as we all checked in and got our key cards.  After that, we walked into the waiting room, took a group picture then pretty much just walked right on to the ship.  It was interesting that we walked on so quickly since so many people were sitting there, having already checked in before us but for whatever reason, they were waiting to board.

We didn’t do much between having lunch while we waited for our rooms to be ready, then checking into our rooms until after the life boat drill.  We considered ourselves HIGH CLASS (we can dream!) because we got to sit in a dining room and be entertained by one of the entertainment guys who did the life boat drill for us.  I guess it was a disruption for many people who wanted to watch the Seahawks vs. 49ers  game so they kept yelling, “FOOTBALL” (stupid Americans is probably what the crew were thinking!).  Eddie Spaghetti assured everyone that although they were missing the first few minutes of the game, they were NOT missing out on any crucial information necessary in the event of an emergency.  He then jokingly asked who was playing in the game and everyone freaked out.  Come on people… first of all he lives and works on a cruise ship.. these people work 10 hours a day, 7 days a week.  They don’t have time to pay attention to football or any other sport for that matter.  The game was listed in the Freestyle Daily (Norwegian’s little daily news pamphlet that is left in the room so you can get an hour by hour description of what’s going on around the ship) so I know he was just kidding when he asked who was playing.

After the life boat drill, we went up on deck and watched the ship leave.  I heard we were going to pass and maybe see some of the lower ninth ward.  I looked and looked and took lots of pictures but I’m not sure exactly where it was.  I did see some docks that were  pretty badly damaged and I was pretty sure that was from Hurriacane Katrina.

If I haven’t said this already, the Mississippi is MUDDY! Some of the pictures I took made it look like it was blue, but if you looked down from the ship, it was pretty scary because it seemed like we were in really shallow, murky water.  I don’t think that was the case though.  I learned in a Q&A session with the captain and the ship’s first officers that it’s not super deep but also not a risk however they do have to dredge out the Mississippi often so the ships can pass.

I’m really happy I saved the Freestyle daily from every day of the cruise so I can remember what we did each night for the most part.  (This was my 5th cruise and I am thinking now that I wish I had saved the programs from all the nights of all the other cruises I have taken!)   The first night we went to the Variety show and a game called Sing It to Win It.  The game sounded like a lot of fun.  I was imagining a game show where the band plays some of a song and you’d have to sing it  with the band to win it, but that was not the way this game was played.  They divided the room in half and they would play a song from an ipod.  Anyone from each side of the room would try to run up to one of the two microphones first and sing the song then people from each side of the room would just have to go on the dance floor with them and dance or sing along or just support the person who ran up and sang the lyrics (hopefully) first.  So there were points for the person who sang it first and points for the size of the group that gathered.  It was interesting but it could have been different in my opinion.  I didn’t participate so I can’t complain.  It was entertainment nonetheless.

My goal for my next cruise is to keep all of the freestyle daily type pamphlets and to take pictures of the menu outside the dining room each night and to take pictures of my actual food.  The food we had was GREAT every night.  I have a few pictures I took but I didn’t take any the first night.  I think the first night was the night they offered surf and turf.  My hubby got that kind of by accident but it was fantastic.  I can’t remember what I got the first night other than a mushroom soup that I wasn’t crazy about.  That was actually the only food item from the dining room the entire cruise that I didn’t care for and it wasn’t even horrible, I just didn’t care for it.  So maybe next year, or whenever we can afford to go to Alaska, I’m on it.  Pictures of menus and food every night!

New Orleans, Louisiana 01/18/2014

After a very long day of traveling, we arrived in New Orleans and took a shuttle to our hotel.  It cost us $40 for both of us to get transportation to our hotel that day and another $40 for our return to the airport at the end of our vacation.  Of course we were the stop before the last one so we were on that shuttle what seemed like forever.  Aside from just wanting to be done traveling for the day in general, we really wanted off the shuttle as our driver was not great at driving and she almost took out a parked taxi at one point.   He first flagged her down to stop then moved his car so she wouldn’t hit it.  While she was parked to let some people off at the hotel, he took the opportunity to drive around her and stared her down as he passed by.  She then followed him with her high beams on then after it appeared she changed her path to follow him, she finally turned off down another street to get back on track.  It was annoying after such a long day and we were just ready to check into our hotel and  see New Orleans for the first time before heading to the cruise terminal in the morning.

We had only been eating Delta’s graham crackers and drinking tiny cups of soda all day so we were beyond starving.  We met up with my in- laws (and their 4 friends) and we were happy to hear they had already scoped out a place for us all to eat.  We all walked down to the chosen restaurant and there was a sign on the door saying they do not split checks.  I think they might only have accepted cash also.  That wouldn’t have been a problem except we had 8 people and it didn’t look like we could all sit together anyway.  So we started walking back down Canal Street in the direction we had come from.  Let me step back a minute and say that my in-laws and their friends drove to New Orleans Thursday night and had arrived on Friday and this was now Saturday night, maybe 7pm.  Because no one could decide on where to go (and I didn’t get the impression anyone was looking because there’s not a whole lot on Canal Street where we were at), they decided to go to IHOP because they had been to McDonald’s three times already.

I’m not sure over what period of time they had been to McDonald’s so many times, but I guess it doesn’t matter, IHOP was not something we would even consider so we took off on our own in search of some N’awlins cuisine.  Because we had no idea where we were or even where to go, we walked further down Canal Street and we found a Big Easy Daquiri shop.  They had a sign saying they had Gumbo.  We could deal with that.  I got a combination plate with red beans & Rice, Gumbo and Jambalaya.  It was fantastic.  I was really happy I had not given in and settled for IHOP.  Once we left the Big Easy shop, we went in search of Café Du Monde for some beignets.  We needed to start the trip off right! The walk seemed kind of long but it was nice and once we turned down one of the streets that ran perpendicular to Canal, we found restaurant after restaurant after restaurant.  I’m not sure why my in-laws didn’t know there were so many options! They had already been there a day and a half!

NO Big easy NO Big easy food NO big easy sign

At Cafe Du Monde, we walked to the take out line which was pretty long but went really quickly.  The beignets were great.  We walked around for a while, stopping every so often to bend over and take bites of our powder sugar coated beignets before heading back in the general direction of our hotel.  Luckily, we met up with the group as they were heading back from IHOP.  We told them we had gone to Café Du Monde for beignets and they explained they were heading to get some too.  After stopping at the drug store, we made it back to the hotel and got ready to head to the cruise terminal the next morning.

-~-~-~-~-~-~NOLA Wedding-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-

While we were on the way to the first dinner destination, we saw a second line parade coming down Canal Street for a wedding.  It was exhilarating.  I had seen pictures of them before so as soon as I heard the band coming down the street and saw a parade of people coming behind it, I was so excited!  We all stopped for a minute and I pulled out my little camera and tried to take pictures but it was too dark for my little camera.  The pictures didn’t come out well.  We happened to see the parade on it’s way back down Canal Street when we passed IHOP the first time.  I took a few more pictures and have one that came out OK.  I really wished I had a bigger and better camera at that moment.  It was so exciting to see the parade and so fun.  If I hadn’t been starving I would have joined in with the parade.  There were so many people in it, I’m guessing that is the custom.

NO7 wedding

 

It seems I’m off to a good blog start! Hopefully I can keep it up and have some fun stuff to share this year.

:)