Friday, October 31, 2008

31 on the 31st

Today is H's 31st birthday. Some folks would say it's his "golden" birthday because he's turning 31 on the 31st. It's the oldest golden birthday you can have, which is good because when I mentioned it he had no idea what I was talking about. It would have been sad if it passed him by and he never had the chance to cover himself in confetti or learn the hula or whatever it is people do to mark golden birthdays. Who knows what he's going to want to do to celebrate. But to kick it off right, here's a list of 31 reasons why I think H is supercool.
1. He keeps a beard because I like it, even though it's sometimes itchy for him.

2. He's one of the most loyal people I know—how many Angelenos (is that the proper term for people from Los Angeles?) continue to root for the Rams?

3. He's funny AND pretty.

4. He keeps the most random things within reach at all times (hello, Rubik's Cube tipsheet in his wallet?), but they do come in handy.

5. His favorite color is orange—not because of Halloween as most people suspect, but because of The General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard.

6. He moved to Chicago, 2000 miles away from his home, family and friends.

7. He loves driving and he loves his car, and he's given up both to be with me.

8. He always listens to both sides of the story carefully before making judgments.

9. He's the best explainer I've ever met. I wish he could make a career out of explaining, because then he could make millions and retire at age 45.

10. He's rescued more stray kittens than I can remember names of, even though he's allergic.

11. He has a great sense of direction.

12. He puts in the effort to try and pronounce things correctly, no matter how tricky it is.

13. He has color-change eyes (which is a novelty to me).

14. He never threatens to throw the alarm clock at me, even if I've hit snooze 14 times.

15. He's become adventurous with new foods and will try most anything at least once.

16. He's makes a killer homemade pizza.

17. He's a quick study, especially when it comes to gadgets.

18. He won't take my side if I'm wrong, but he won't be a jerk about it.

19. He will hold onto nearly anything if someone gave it to him.

20. He's amazingly calm in disastrous situations—just as long as they don't involve one of his favorite sports teams.

21. He doesn't lose stuff.

22. He hates to have his shoes or socks off, but compromised on my shoes-in-the-house thing and has a pair of slippers at both the condo and my parents' house.

23. He can say nearly anything with a straight face.

24. He's come up with new and interesting things to talk about every single day for more than three years, and I don't see that slowing down anytime soon.

25. He never, ever fights dirty. Even when the other party resorts to it.

26. He's one of those people who actually absorbs what he reads.

27. He has really soft hair.

28. He loves this restaurant as much as I do, and doesn't mind driving an hour out of the way to take me to it.

29. He says he doesn't dance, but I think I caught him—once.

30. He's pals with my mom.

31. He doesn't mind washing dishes.

I'm sure I'm forgetting the biggies, but you get the idea.
Happy birthday, darling.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

there's gotta be a support group for this

Apparently H did not realize the NBA season kicked off tonight and missed almost half of the Lakers game. I guess I do cut into his full-time job of keeping up with what's going on with the NBA, NFL and in MLB, which is especially tricky when all three are going on at once.

If you do not know what those acronyms stand for, count yourself BLESSED.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

bottle of hope

This weekend my mom volunteered at the annual event held at her hospital's cancer center. Basically it's an expo of sorts for people fighting cancer--a resource for goods and services that can make their suffering just a tiny bit more bearable.

My mom was decked out in a pretty scarf with pink "ribbons" on it, and the organizers were giving people tiny hot pink "hair extensions" so they could get into the spirit of the event. There were so many helpful gadgets and innovations showcased there that my mom was a little sad she'd never heard of some of them last year while a good friend of hers was battling breast cancer. (Her friend is in remission, by the way.)

My Favorite Mami's dad is battling cancer right now, and I had told my mom about it (I believe she has a direct line to the almighty, so I always ask her to put in a good word about especially important matters like that). My mome came home from the fair with a little something for him.

"This Bottle of Hope is a gift to you. It symbolizes a wish and a hope for health."

Basically, it's a small medicine bottle (I believe this one used to have Heparin in it) that would have been thrown away at a chemotherapy center. It's been covered in polymer clay and topped with a polymer-clay stopper. The project was started in 1999 by a Rhode Island cancer survivor. There aren't too many rules about the bottles, except that they're never to be sold. Giving and getting them is said to make people feel a little better, and that's always a nice thing when you're dealing with something as annoying as cancer. My mom picked out the "most manly looking one" for MFM's papi.

I'll take this moment to remind you all to get yourselves checked out regularly. SO much suffering can be avoided for you and all who love you if cancer can be detected early.

Friday, October 24, 2008

the end is near

So the business trip has come and gone.

Normally the other folks on the team would get to go to Connecticut and schmooze with clients and work 16 hours a day while I stayed back at the ranch to man the email/phones and generally be available to get them anything they might need. But as we only have two people now, I was able to make the trip.

I don't know what I had been expecting—maybe we'd have some opportunities for the good times they'd always talked about?—but it was extremely busy and pretty somber. The boss made one last-ditch effort to convince them to hold onto the account, but I guess the client's financial arm had already flexed its company-crushing biceps and doesn't look like they'll reconsider anytime soon.

So the boss and I did what any self-respecting dynamic duo would when faced with shutting down and hitting the road. We knocked back a few drinks.

First we enjoyed some DELICIOUS spaghetti pizza at this tiny pizzeria called "Voc's Westside Pizza," which I had always imagined to be spelled "Vox." I also learned that East Coasters use the word "grinder" to describe what some of the rest of us call "sub sandwiches." That pizza was really really good, though. Then we met up with some of our favorite clients (whom we haven't worked with in quite some time) at a cute little Irish Pub called the Harp and Dragon, where all the people gathered around the bar would randomly start singing along with the music. "I will survive" and that "pina coladas and getting caught in the rain" song were two I recall. That was a little bizarre, but sort of sweet at the same time.

On the way home, we stopped at this fancy-looking Oyster Bar at the Providence airport. The food was fancy, but they were running a special where if you bought a beer, you could have a shot of any liquor for three dollars. My boss got that. I had two Cuba Libres.

Our flight had a grand total of 23 people, so we each had a row to ourselves. The flight attendant, Bryan, took a liking to us and was joking around. I think it was his last flight and he was on his way home to Chicago as well. He kept bringing us drinks and for some reason gave my boss a huge bag of those little single-serving Cheese Nips to take home. The alcohol started to take effect and I was sniffling and telling Ingrid Bergman's character she was making some stupid moves while watching Goodbye Again on the flight.

For some reason two Cuba Libres and two glasses of airplane red wine were too much for me to handle, and by the time the cab got me home I was pretty tipsy (what can I say, I'm a lightweight these days). H was watching the World Series so I called cc and asked if she had seen Saturday Night Live (even though it was Wednesday) for old time's sake: It's an inane ritual I had years ago when I'd occasionally kick it at the clubs and come home late; I never really watch the show but for some reason when I'm drunk it's comforting to know she continues to watch it no matter how much it may suck. She's loyal like that. I also managed to hit send on some drunken emails and made a few incoherent comments on people's blogs (sorry, Omar). I blame H for not supervising me properly.

Of course, in the middle of the night that stupid airplane wine (or maybe the rum) exacted its revenge. While standing over the commode I decided that the purging of the alcohol would also be my purging of bad feelings associated with losing the account and essentially our entire company. I'm going to try and be positive from here on out and put on a happy face. Because, as I've learned in the past, nobody likes to be around a cranky Cadiz.

The boss and I have to do the same work with half as many people in 1/3 of the time. And everyone associated knows the account isn't going to continue, so getting them to cooperate and call us back is going to be like pulling molars instead the way it has been (pulling incisors). The next few weeks are going to be interesting, to say the least.

We'll see how long that little no-negativity resolution lasts.

Friday, October 17, 2008

that time of the afternoon, week, year

It's 4:12 p.m. and I am starting to mentally check out for the day, watching YouTube videos and shoving urgent papers to the back corner of my desk where they will become no less important. But at least they're out of sight. For now.

Next week I'll be in Connecticut for three days on business and flying by the seat of my pants. I sincerely hope that after years of being in the same room with genius minds, I have managed to absorb some of the smarts it's going to take to pull off this little endeavor.

It's getting chilly outside. Which makes me feel like curling up with a really long list of recorded episodes of Jon & Kate Plus 8 and a pizza. And not work.

With this state of mind, I'm thinking I'm going to have a real productive weekend.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day: Poverty

Months ago I signed up for Blog Action Day, not realizing how busy life would be when the time actually came around to write the post. Basically, thousands of bloggers are posting about a topic (last year it was the environment) today, October 15, to raise awareness. This year the topic is poverty.

I grew up in a very sheltered town—I hadn't seen a homeless person there until the day of my high school graduation; as I held my diploma cover in my lap in the car, I saw him walking in the grass next to the road and was taken aback. But both of my parents came from a country where it's impossible to avert your eyes from how many people are in need all around you. I grew up hearing stories of my own family's tough times, some nights making do with just one chapati to share among seven kids, with my nani pretending she wasn't hungry after working three jobs that day. My parents came here to give us the best in opportunities so we may never see hardship like that, and it breaks my heart to know that such wonderful people that I love so much had to suffer—and that there are millions more like them everywhere, even today.

Please take two minutes and check out some of the other posts from Blog Action day. There are so many worthy causes out there, and it's not only about giving money. I haven't had a lot of time to look, but here are a few "Featured Posts" that caught my eye:

Donate your piracy savings

"The Internet is the key to combating poverty"

handwritten thank you letters

Eradicating Poverty Through Human Ingenuity—microlending

17 images of poverty

The children's charity in the Dominican Republic where my good friend Alexandra volunteers.

A list of resources Blog Action Day is putting together.

Monday, October 13, 2008

if you really break down the semantics, I'm an "American Indian"

Those of you who follow my twitters may have seen references to my most recent gaffe a few weeks ago. One of our clients is a Native American group on the East Coast, and I had been trying to get schedules in order to prepare for the insanity of the coming months. I must have been frazzled, what with my immediate boss leaving and my being left on my own to pick up the slack, when I emailed our client contact and asked, "Do you guys get Columbus Day off over there?"

The big boss overheard me saying I sent that email to confirm dates and smirked. "Um, do you honestly think they celebrate the guy who basically got the ball rolling on all that ethnic cleansing?" (From what I understand, his wife is part Native American.)

I was mortified.

Thank goodness our client contact was gracious about it. She wrote back: "Nope...But we do have Native American Day off (September 26th)."

I'm pretty sure I didn't offend her—and I do think being overly politically correct is annoying—but I usually try to keep people's feelings in mind before speaking. On top of that, it's particularly ridiculous that this foot-in-mouth incident was about Columbus Day, because I'm not the world's biggest fan of the holiday.

Let me be clear: Italian people are awesome. My distaste for Columbus Day has nothing to do with the majority of Italians or their traditions. Moreover, that country has produced some of the greatest accomplishments in history. Why can't we have a holiday to honor Leonardo da Vinci or Michelangelo or hell, Tiziano Ferro (what, I like some of his songs!)? I'd make layered Jell-O and parade around all day for people like that.

My beef with Chris is that:
a) He's STILL celebrated for making an arrogant mistake. (What really makes him better than Vasco da Gama* or any of the others? And what makes any of them better than the people whom they "found?")

It's because of him that there's still semantic confusion here about my people (hello, Jay-Z: "Asked her what tribe she with, red dot or feather") who really had nothing to do with the entire matter—it's not our fault ole boy couldn't find us!
And let's not forget about the serious issues about this such as mascots, reservation conditions and centuries of injustice that can be debated for decades. Trust me, I know: I spent years at the University of Illinois and have very strong feelings about the flimsy arguments supporting the "tradition" of Chief Illiniwek.

You're not going to find many people who respect tradition more than I do—though I was born and raised in the U.S., I hold my ancestral culture very dear; but at the end of the day, I'm about as "American" as we come. It's just that we all have to take a hard look at just what we're honoring, decide if it's really something we can be proud of, and if it isn't, we should do something about it—no matter how long it's been a part of "the tradition."

Just because it's "the way we've always done it" doesn't mean it's right.

*Partial disclosure: I, too, have conflicted feelings about the ties in my own lineage to 15th-century European explorers.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

"oh, we're going back all right."

H and I had a lovely evening/morning catching up with MFM, her husband, Al, and Adriana, but I was pretty tuckered out when we got home. So H let me nap because, despite the coffee-high I had from breakfast (anyone else dance around singing "Coff-ee keeps me awake/Coff-ee gives me the shakes" before passing out face-first on the couch? No?) I was pretty incoherent. There's a reason I save caffeine for days on which I really need to get a lot of work done.

He slipped out to investigate WIRED NEXTFEST, which is taking place nearly next door to the condo. That's our favorite magazine: his for all the gadgetry and mine for the overall awesomeness of making gadgetry interesting (believe it or not, I loved it even before I met him). It's been going on for a week, but we haven't had the time to make it over there, what with silly things like work getting in the way.

He got back with a sparkle in his eye, as I was sitting here all fresh-faced and energized and catching up on the blogs (coffee's properly kicked in now). I have a pretty good idea of what I'll be doing on my break tomorrow afternoon. And I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Monday, October 06, 2008

three for three

Last night H and I had the fortune of meeting a certain upstate-New York blogger, his lovely wife and their two beautiful children.

The family squeezed in a meeting with the Chicago contingent of our little blogging community during their whirlwind trip to the Midwest, and though they warned us of some impending too-much-time-in-the-car, nap-deprived, two-hours-past-bedtime meltdown, no such thing occurred. Within the first thirty seconds, we were chatting as though we'd known each other for years—which, if you think about it, we actually have. After three years of reading his posts, we knew a lot about Omar as well as a bit about their son and daughter, but The Wife has always sort of been a mystery. (She's even cooler than we had hoped.) But the highlight of the evening for me was when The Boy told his mom he'd like a hug from me, and was too shy to ask. I was delighted to oblige.

On the way home, H remarked that I'm pretty lucky when it comes to meeting blog friends: Both Jon and Jazz were great to hang out with in real life, and I try to see them whenever I can. Hopefully we can get more face time with Omar and family, but he's vowed not to attempt a second road trip out this way for another ten years. I can't say I blame him, so H and I will have to make our way into their neck of the woods sometime very soon.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

when i get around to having kids, i guess i'll have to keep them on a leash

"Yeah, remember that seminar I signed up for weeks ago? It was supposed to be last night. And I was so frazzled with getting back to the city from the doctor, catching up with work and also squeezing in time for side work that I just FORGOT TO GO."


"Yeah, and H and I passed out at 10 p.m. last night with the lights, the tv and the computer on, and dinner was just sitting out—I don't think he ever got around to eating. I woke up and remembered the seminar at like 5 a.m."

"Oh Cadiz, I'm so sorry."

"I'm a mess. And this morning when I called you on the walk to work and said I had to go back home because I forgot the bag with my files in it? Yeah, when I got into the house and looked around, I found it on my shoulder—it was flipped behind me and my purse was over it, so I hadn't realized it was there."

"[laughs] I'm sorry, beta."

"I'm a moron!"

"Well, it's all OK, as long as you don't lose one thing."

"What's that, my mind?"

"No. My grandchildren."

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

you're my friends, right?

I've never had video on here before. But I think this one's worth it.