Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009: Year in Photos

I say goodbye to another year, and look forward to the next.

Wishing you health, love and laughter in 2010.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sunday, December 27, 2009

What Christmas Means To Me

Christmas seems to change for me over the years.

When I was little, there was magic in the air. From the lights on the christmas tree, to the sounds of spanish christmas music to the anticipation of listening for the reindeer on the roof.

During my tween and teen years it was about what cool gift was waiting under the tree.

College was about meeting up with your friends after all the family obligations were over.

Now Christmas is about none of that -- yet all of that.

Its about the magic of having my extended family all under the same roof.

About the cool gifts of laughter we share.

And about getting together with my family after all the work obligations are over.

I love Christmas.



Caro Christmas 2009 from Claudine Caro on Vimeo.

Friday, December 18, 2009

2009, ready to see you go

Looks like I'll be job hunting again in a few weeks. My horoscope knows the deal and has send timely advice:
If you remain calm, cool and collected right now, your performance rating will soar. You may be paying a price for your independence and uncompromising attitude. You might have joined the wrong team, but it's too late for regrets. Jump overboard at the first sign of trouble, but think fast once you start swimming. Nobody wants to be at the wheel when the ship goes down. Prove to others that you can be counted on during a crisis.
So you know that huge project I was hired for in July? Well, it was continually pushed back and pushed back, so now it won't actually begin until January.

However, the company that I'm contracting for has just signed an exclusive contract with a training developer vendor that begins January 1. What that means is that independent contractors who are currently with this company will not get their contracts renewed.

I've been working on smaller, pick-up projects at this company since I got here, so that's been keeping me busy... and paid. But my current two projects will last through the end of January and once they're over, my contract is officially over.

Let the job hunt begin again.

The good news is that I've had some good experience here and I've received excellent recommendations from the clients I worked with. I was even recommended to the new vendor as a new hire to aid with the transition.

I'm not freaking out yet about being unemployed in a few weeks. Ask me again at the end of January.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I <3 Wil Wheaton


I have been having this completely ridiculous, irrational crush on Wil Wheaton these past few months. I've been listening to his Memories of the Futurecast religiously and am truly saddened that they're over for a while (although I will be listing to Radio Free Burrito). I obsess over watching The Guild and I've rented Star Trek:TNG on Netflix just so I can watch the episodes as he narrates them on the podcast. I've even spent hours just reading his blog and articles that he's written all over the InterWebs.

I love his snarkiness and the sound of his voice. I love the way he has conversations with himself and imaginary things.

But most of all I love that he's a complete geek and revels in it. Actually, with his beard, to me he's kind of a sexy geek... but I digress.

He has this great writing style where I imagine it's just him and me, sitting in his living room with his dogs while his lovely wife is in the kitchen making nachos.

This is the fundamental difference between what JJ Abrams did with Star Trek, and what George Lucas did with Star Wars. Lucas told us, "Hey, you know all that stuff you love so much? That stuff that's been a huge part of your life? Well, you're stupid for liking it because I didn't mean it. These are my toys, always have been, and now I'm taking them back. Ha. Ha. Ha. Fuck you, now give me more of your money."
I wish there was a Teen Beat or a Bop magazine for adults about famous adults. Sure there's People and other TMZ-worthy trash, but that's not what I want. I want articles and photos of the innocent sillyness of Wil's favorite ice cream flavor or highest score on Centipede. I would totally be in his fan club, hell, I might even be Treasurer.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Stupid insightful quotes

If you want to know what we think is important, look at how we spend our time. If you want to know what we value, look at how we spend our money. If you want to know what we believe, look at how we live.

Hmm... if this is the case then I must think the mundane lives of others is important, take-out food is something I value and solitude is what I believe.

That sucks. Time for a change in 2010!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

things I like: Best Songs of 2009

I love it when the Universe delivers exactly what I was looking for.

I've had this soulful need for some more music. I've been reading this book, "Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time" by Rob Sheffield. This biography tells the story of this Rolling Stone writer's life through the mix tape he's created and received over the years. Much of the music is new to me and has started this treasure hunt into locating and listening to the tunes.

Then today I came across the Said the Gramophone which had a listing of the Best Songs of 2009. None of these songs are played on mainstream radio and for a limited time, they're all free downloads.

I can't wait to go home, download them, and become intimate with my new friends.

things I like: Website Stencil Kit



I wish I had a need for this because I love it. A website stencil that can help you create wireframes for online stuff.

Website Stencil Kit, $17.95

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Good Intentions

The alarm on my iPhone went off at 6:00 am. I had every intention on doing some exercise in the morning. I only hit snooze once.

Then my dog woke up and I let him out. But instead of getting dressed for the gym or even popping in an exercise DVD, I powered up the Mac and just started surfing.

I just couldn't do it.

And this pains me because I NEED to do something a little more vigorous than walking the dog for an hour. The weather is getting colder and soon I'm not even going to want to step outside for fear of my snots freezing in my nose.

Every morning I keep telling myself that I'll do exercise after work. Then after work I tell myself that I'll do something when I wake up tomorrow. It's a never ending cycle of laziness.

Eh. I'll worry about it tomorrow.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Wish 2009

The floats are lining up on Central Park West and the turkey is in the oven. It's quiet now, but soon the voices will pick up, the laughter will get louder and glasses will be raised. As soon as the first bite of that drumstick is taken, the holiday season will have officially begun and it will be full steam ahead until the new year.

But before you brave those Black Friday sales, remember that life isn't about what you will get, it's about appreciating what you already have.

2009 has had its ups and downs.

The global economy is in crisis and there are so many who we love who have been affected. Swine flu has ravaged the world and with it raised other concerns about our overall healthcare and how we will be able to afford to keep our families healthy. The seas have become as dangerous as the mountains of the Middle East. And Kanye made poor Taylor Swift feel bad.


But there has also been an overabundance of hope.

We have an intelligent and respected leader who will lead us in the charge to "pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America." We have witnessed miracles in the Hudson and fellow Boriqua, Sonya Sotomayor now sits on the Supreme Court. And the most hopeful of all, Glee now provides smiles and sing-along moments to millions!


There is so much to be thankful for.

For me, this has been an amazing year. I have been able to reconnect with friends from years past, I've completed my graduate degree, and I was actually blessed with losing my job! That one change allowed me to explore my country coast-to-coast and share it with you online and on TV. Then finally to return home to a new job doing something that I actually like.

This Thanksgiving, I ask that you remember all that you have right now. If you have someone to love, a place to call home, a full belly and the belief that you will wake up tomorrow, then you have more than enough. Everything else is just gravy.

Speaking of gravy, can you please pass some along with the mashed potatoes?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Saturn Kitteh



Planets don't have ears apparently.

Today's Horoscope

The positive cosmic energy is flowing your way at a rate that would be alarming if it weren't so good. You'll encounter great opportunities to turn big ideas and beautiful dreams into reality, so make a list of what you want this season to bring. The gifts you're looking for are definitely within your grasp, and your powers of communication will help you take the all-important next step.
This has been a fantastic couple of days, especially at work where I'm finally feeling purposeful and intelligent. Everything seems to be going in the right direction. I hope I don't lose my way.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Getting woken up for sex is one thing...

...but this is ridiculous!


Every morning, I'm woken up by the same thing. A furry pounding against an arm or a leg by my horny dog.

He starts off innocently enough: a nuzzle, a lick. But then he nonchalantly straddles the exposed appendage and just sits. Then his hips start rocking back and forth, slowly at first, until he's in full thrusting mode and I hear the tags on his collar jingling away.

This will continue until he get's a flick in his wiener or a kick in the side of his head. He is from the school of 'no means yes'.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Today's Horoscope

A nagging problem at work or school deserves all your attention as early as possible today -- even if you'd rather be chatting with your friends. This problem involves some time-sensitive elements -- and left unchecked, it could create substantially bigger problems later on. So don't put off dealing with this until tomorrow. You've been battling procrastination for a while, and it's time to get the job done, once and for all.

This is fantastic because I need a kick in the ass right about now.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Morning ritual


Flickr: cameosteph

You know that time in the morning after a cup or two of coffee? Around 10:00?

So you go to the ladies room and revel in the fact that its empty. Yeay! Then as you are just about to relax and get comfortable, you hear the door open and the click, click, click of heels as they walk into the stall two down from you. So you sit.

And wait.

You might give a light cough or rustle of the toilet paper roll just to let your presence known. Because there is a code.

You might lightly tap your foot just to give your body something other to do than the inevitable release it so wants to do. Not yet anyway.

Many things might cross your mind: why don't the stall wall and doors go all the way to the ceiling and floor? Ooh, I like those shoes. Hmm, I didn't have asparagus last night.

Finally you hear the whirl of the toilet paper roll and a plastic creak as the weight shifts off the toilet seat. Now's your chance.

As soon as the flush starts you can continue on your quest.

Divine Guidance

Finally, a way to determine my spiritual path!

Favorite part of my day

He waits

...is coming home to see my furry guy waiting for me.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Met

I was looking for inspiration this weekend. I found it at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

I love going to the museum and wandering around. I tend to loiter in the same places: the sculpture gardens, Renaissance paintings and Impressionist paintings.

The Artist

In the sculpture gardens, I enjoyed watching the artists sketch the works as much as the art itself. I brought along my own sketchbook and pencils but was intimidated by the other artists. Their sketches were so real it was hard to believe that it was only paper.

I found corners where I could hide where I could quickly sketch a piece of architecture. Mostly I took pictures of statues so I could sketch them later on my own.



Make your own comparisons.

What I realized that I was most drawn to works of art that had a distinct range of color values from dark to light.

I loved how the shadows fell across the sculptures. The realism of paintings where you could almost touch the wetness of the eyes. How your eyes could fool the mind into seeing beyond the brush strokes towards the bigger picture.





This post is no where as near as complete or my thoughts as composed as I would like them to be, but that's ok. Its only the stirrings of a creative force that is finding a way to emerge.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cocooning

I've put myself in a self-imposed exile lately. I've closed myself off from people and stayed holed away at home reading a book or walking outside. And even though its lonely, I think I need it.

I feel like I'm in a cocoon. Waiting.

For what, I'm not quite sure. But there is something inside changing. I don't know what to feed it. The daily monotony is slowly starving it to death.

Writing helps, but sometimes it's excruciating to pick up a pen or type on the keyboard. I can hear the watercolor paints whispering to me from the other room, but I'm easily distracted.

My car just waits knowing that eventually the need to escape will be too strong to ignore and soon I will be sitting in the front seat with nothing more than an idea for a destination. The journey seduces me; makes me feel alive.

I can't stop thinking about the open road. Adventure is calling.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hiking in Princeton


A three hour hike along the Delaware and Raritan Canal Towpath in Princeton, NJ.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Finding my path


Garden path
Originally uploaded by slack12
Standing still doesn't really appeal to me. I need to be constantly moving in order to feel alive. But since my road trip ended this summer I've been feeling pretty stagnant.

I need to get back on the road somehow. That road has changed from a 4 lane highway to a gravel path.

For the last two months I've been sitting at an office desk in front of my computer. I've been stifled of creativity and just haven't really felt involved in anything. It's been pretty lonely. I realized its because I don't have any adventure in my life right now.

I don't have the luxury to hop in my car and drive cross country again, or run away to a foreign country. Not yet. So instead I have to think local.

Little did I know, but there are a bunch of hiking trails near me. Some a few miles away, some a few hours. But all close enough for me to feel like I'm somewhere new.

I bought a pair of hiking boots this week. I've been trying to break them in, but they're tearing the skin off the back of my ankle. It's too late to return them so I'm hoping that in time it will get better. Because I need this. I need this escape from the everyday monotony into the introspective zone that I can only get from nature.

But as my boots show, it's not easy. It takes time. If I just throw myself into it, I will only have pain and blisters to show for it. But if I take it a little bit at a time, take it slow and appreciate the moment, then the breaking in period will be less painful.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

In search of Faith

Religion is such a controversial topic to discuss because it is such a personal belief that reason often has no place in a discussion. In many cases the impasse occurs because the response "this is what I believe, therefore it is true" would prevent a discussion from moving further.

And really, that's fine. That's what you would call Faith, "firm belief in something for which there is no proof" (Merrium Webster dictionary).

I approach this subject today because it is something that has been on my mind for the last 15 years or so. What is it that I believe?

I was born and raised Catholic. I wouldn't say that I had a devout household, but we (grudgingly) went to church on Sundays, I attended religious instruction on Saturday mornings and received my Holy Sacraments. I was scolded for my bad behavior "you made Papa Dios cry" (that's my Puertorican heritage coming through) but never remember being praised in God's eyes by something I did well.

So Catholicism was something I never really believed in. It was just something offered to me much like the morality stories of Aesop's Fables or Grimm's fairy tales.

As I got older and started to reflect on this more, I realized how much I disagreed with the Church and eventually all organized religion. Specifically the exclusivity of it. The 'my God is better than your God' or if you don't believe what I believe then you will not receive the rewards that await the faithful. To me, God was not angry or vengeful and I couldn't agree with any doctrine that taught that.

To be clear, I want to separate Religion from Faith. I found fault with the oppressive doctrines of Religion, but I never faltered in my Faith that there is something greater than myself that connects me with all humanity and nature.

What I'm sure will be scoffed at by many, I started giving my unformed ideas into a more tangible shape by reading and watching fiction.

The first that comes to mind is the 1999 Kevin Smith film, Dogma.



Yes, the movie is silly and fun, but with one line at the end, it encapsulated all my vague ideas into something real; "It doesn't matter what you believe, as long as you believe."

So this got me to thinking, what else is there?

My search had taken me in different directions and again fiction stories were the spark of further exploration. Dan Brown's 2003 book The DaVinci Code is a thriller having to do with the Catholic church and the secret of the Holy Grail.

I had my doubts on the celibacy of Jesus. He was a man so why shouldn't he have had a family?

But the one aspect that drew me was the patriarchal ways of the Church. Why were the women second class? Why were women not allowed to hold positions of influence?

I became very interested in Mary Magdalene and her representation as the "sacred feminine". I read Woman with the Alabaster Jar by Margaret Starbird and Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd and it really began to awaken a deeper sense of spirituality.

Nature is all about balance. Pre-Christian and Eastern religions understood this and celebrated the God and the Goddess.

The Goddess. This appealed to me. It made sense to me. Women bear children. Women create life. So with that logic, The Creator is a woman. Mother Earth, Mother Nature.

That then lead me to explore more of the ancient Goddesses of all cultures and geographies. Isis, Briget, Kuan Yin, Gaea, Tara and Chalchiuhtlicue.

Spanning time and great distances, many goddess stories are similar long before people had ways of mass communication. So how did these similar stories come about? Could it be that Man created these stories, these myths to help explain what couldn't be explained? Have these stories morphed into one another through the ages? Maybe. (See Religion Comes from Ancient Astrology and Sun Worship: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.)

Or maybe it's something else.

Dan Brown again uses his fiction to expose another interesting idea. The Lost Symbol talks about Noetic Science, which brings objective scientific methods together with the deep wisdom of inner knowing to explore the mysteries of consciousness. Cassandra Vieten, Author of Mindful Motherhood, Director of Research at the Institute of Noetic Sciences could better explain:

In other words, there are several ways we can know the world around us. Science focuses on external observation and is grounded in objective evaluation, measurement, and experimentation. This is useful in increasing objectivity and reducing bias and inaccuracy as we interpret what we observe.

But another way of knowing is subjective -- or internal -- including gut feelings, intuition, hunches -- the way you know you love your children, for example, or experiences you have that cannot be explained or proven, but feel absolutely real nonetheless. This way of knowing is what we call noetic.

Humans are born knowing. It's just a matter of paying attention and listening. Intuition, instinct. Call it what you will. But that such diverse civilizations from diverse times have come up with similar stories to explain their existence could have stemmed from an embedded knowledge within us.

Common thought can have profound results on the physical world. This is The Secret, the Law of Attraction, or the power or prayer.

So this is where I am now. Contemplating this idea. Albert Einstein said:

A human being is a part of a whole, called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
Now this is something that I can believe in. If we are all born with an engrained knowledge of something greater than us, if that same 'something greater' connects us all, and if a collected thought can alter the world we live in, then why do we define ourselves more by our differences than what we have in common?

I believe that the root of all faiths is to be good to yourself, be good to others and be good to the earth. It's that simple.

My search of Faith is not over. I don't think it ever will be, But I think that right now I'm the closest that I've ever been before.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Ravenclau, mighty warrior


I don't think its wrong to say that I've become obsessed. I have that type of personality.

It all started when I found The Guild web episodes. They were cute and funny, but it wasn't' enough for me ti find them entertaining. I had to understand everything that they were talking about. The game World of Warcraft wasn't mentioned specifically, but you knew what they meant.

WoW has a 10 day free trial of the game.

I didn't think I'd get hooked.

I'm now on day 8 of my 10 day trial and I am currently a Level 11 Human Warrior, leatherworking apprentice. My fingers are sore from all the keyboard crunching. I've stayed awake for hours trying to complete quests. I don't know if I'll be able to stop when my free trial is up.

I need help. Or a boyfriend.
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Monday, September 28, 2009

No autographs, please.

My interview on PBS

Oh how I cringed and screamed when I first saw myself on the screen.

"OH MY GOD!"

Is that what I really look like?

Thankfully, I didn't make too much of a fool of myself. During the interview I forced myself to speak slowly and clearly because when I get excited, I have a strong tendency to stumble over my words. Like my brain works faster than my mouth can handle.

Of the 60 minutes or so that I spent talking with the filming crew, my portion got culled down to about 15 seconds. I talked about the reason why I took my road trip and how my friends and family were able to follow me through my blog, Twitter and Facebook. Then they cut to my enlightening lunch in Joshua Tree among the rock formations.

When I was being interviewed, I was asked what kinds of feelings did I experience while I was in the parks. My answer was no where as near profound and I would have liked it to be. I think I was worried about taking time to formulate a real thought because I knew they were running out of tape, so I blurted out the first thing that popped into my head.

But now that I've taken the time to think about it, this is what I would have said:

Being out in nature, especially in Arches, something primal happens to you. In the stillness and silence of the red rock canyon you feel incredibly small. In the millions of years it took for these canyons and arches, my life is just one fleeting wink of an eye. But my existence is significant. Standing there I felt a connection to all those who stood here before me in awe of the grandeur of nature. I wondered if everyone was able to experience this 'knowing', that there is something bigger than all of us that binds us together, if this world would be a different place.

This idea of connectedness is something stirring and growing inside me. I know I will have to explore this further and find an outlet to express it. The idea has been there for a while slowly forming until it became something I am finally aware of.

Maybe it is enlightenment. Maybe it will point me in the direction I've been looking for.

My spiritual GPS.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My Premiere - National Parks: NY's Memories




Ha! It aired.

I watched anxiously for my debut. You can find me at 9:34. I feel ridiculous.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Excitement rising



I'm getting excited! The day is quickly arriving when I'll be on tv.

National Parks: New Yorkers’ Memories

Sunday, September 27th at 10PM

Shot primarily by CUNY students and featuring narratives and videos sent directly to THIRTEEN from members and viewers, National Parks: New Yorkers’ Memories is a unique collaboration with film students seeking a real-life, hands-on experience in television production. This is one of THIRTEEN’s first on-air and online projects shot by students.

Tell friends to tune-in
NATIONAL PARKS:
New Yorkers' Memories
Sunday, Sept. 27 at 10 PM on THIRTEEN

Visit thirteen.org to watch clips
Get CDs, DVDs & more

Program will be rebroadcast Mon., Sept. 28 at 12:00AM on WLIW21 and 3AM on THIRTEEN; Sat., Oct. 3 at 5:30AM and 7:30PM on THIRTEEN; Mon., Oct. 5 at 5:00AM on THIRTEEN; and Thurs., Oct. 22 at 8PM on THIRTEEN.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The seeker

I now have a name to call myself: Seeker.

I recently connected with one of my teachers from high school. She was one of those people who went beyond 'teacher' and turned into a trusted friend. And I know that I wasn't the only student of hers to feel this way.

In our email conversations back and forth, I mentioned that I wasn't living the life I imagined for myself 20 years ago, but that I'm probably the better for it because of all the cool things I've done instead.

She replied with this:
It is important to you to learn about yourself and the world. You didn't see this in yourself maybe when you were 16, but most people don't. But the seeker comes to respect her own curiosity, her own hunger, as she goes along. Look at all you've done! You just wanted to find it all out for YOURSELF, and not be confined to a syllabus in the process.

I wish I could have had my teacher around these past 20 years because I know she could have helped me 'right my rudder' whenever I felt off course. But I'm thankful to have found that now.

I still feel the pangs of restlessness. I don't think it will ever go away. But the trick is to turn that restlessness into curiosity and from there into making new experiences. I will never stop learning, never stop seeking.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The saddest day

World Trade Center

I took this photo Labor Day weekend 2001. Little did I know the skyline would change just a few days later.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My 15 minutes

When my road trip this summer was over, I didn't think anything more would come of it. But when I saw an invitation from my local PBS station to share memories of the National Parks, I thought that it was speaking directly to me. I mean, I just came back from two and had the videos and photos to prove it. I sent an email with my story, a link to my blog and to the photos and videos I took along the way. That was a few weeks ago and didn't think too much about it since.

Last week, I was reminded of my submission when I got a phone call from a journalist from Channel Thirteen wanting to talk to me about my post. Wow!

Dan, the journalist had read my blog and was interested in my story. He liked how I took my job loss as an opportunity and recorded my experience of traveling across the country and stopping in a few National parks along the way. "Do you think you would be able to come into Manhattan for an on camera interview for the segment they were creating?" he asked.

Um, duh. Of course.

So I waited to hear back from him.

The date was finally set for my interview and I cleared my calendar for my fifteen minutes of fame.




Yesterday afternoon, I arrived in Penn Station from NJ Transit and since it was such a nice day, I walked north to W. 57th street where I was supposed to meet Dan. I made it there with 30 minutes to spare, which is good because I hated being late. I checked my iPhone again just to confirm the location when CRAP. I wasn't supposed to be at W. 57th St, I was supposed to be at W. 67th St. I checked the map to see if I could still make it in time, it was only 10 blocks, right?

No. I had to walk to the west side of Central Park, then walk up 10 blocks. And I was already sweaty. Cab? I need you now.

Finally I made it to my destination, the right one this time.

I met Dan and his colleague Cathy as the interview before me was finishing up. They were telling me about the cute couple who had gotten married in 1970 and went traveling around the National Parks out west for their honeymoon. Then 25 years later they recreated their honeymoon, even recreating the photos that they had taken the first time around. They were naturals in telling their story. They knew when to pause in the story to allow the other one to finish a thought or to elaborate. After years of marriage, they had their storytelling down to an art.

Dan also told me about other people they had interviewed: one woman who traveled to the Redwood Forrest to scatter her father's ashes; another man who went rockclimbing in the parks and was sponsored by Red Bull.

These stories seemed so amazing to me. And that got me nervous. What did I do? I just drove to California and back. It suddenly seemed so pale in comparison.

Soon it was my time to go on. I sat in the hot seat and waited as they adjusted the lighting, put on my lavilear microphones and I touched up my makeup. Then Dan took his seat off camera and told me to relax.


DSCN4802

I talked about the reason for my road trip; my blog, tweets and the virtual company I had from my friends' comments; my impressions of the parks; what was going through my mind as I was on the road.

I also talked about my parents and how they we would always take road trips for our vacations. I remembered sitting in the back of our station wagon, waving to truckers and playing those road trip games where you had to find words on signs starting with each letter of the alphabet. I inherited their spirit of adventure and now love to just get in the car and drive.

I think I did pretty good. I answered Dan's questions succinctly. I was animated. For the most part, I was pretty relaxed. But in the back of my mind I kept thinking "Please God, don't make me look or sound like an idiot."

After the interview was over, I gave Dan copies of my videos of Arches and Joshua Tree and my link to all the photos I took. I signed my release forms and said my goodbyes.

So that's it. Now I wait until it airs on Channel Thirteen, Sunday, September 27 after the Ken Burns documentary "National Parks: America's Best Idea". Check your New York TV schedule. Set your DVRs.

Hope that I don't wind up on the cutting room floor.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Today's Horoscope

Don't even try not to purr. This is one of those days -- the kind that have been specially designed to make all your romantic fantasies come true. The best part is that the person you've been dreaming of sharing this kind of day with is either ready to join you (and one well-placed comment will convince them) or already in the vicinity, making a mental list of activities. See? The perfect day.


This is a ridiculously spot-on horoscope today. Sometimes I think the Universe is laughing at me.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

INTJ

I took that Myers-Briggs personality test that's been making its way around Facebook. I didn't take the Facebook version because I didn't want it to pull all my data, so I went and found another one online.

My results indicate that I am INTJ - Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking and Judging.

What this means is that I'm a mastermind. (Ha! That should scare you.)

Monday, August 10, 2009

shhhh

I haven't been blogging a lot lately. I think its in direct correlation to the fact that I don't have a lot to complain about.

I guess that's a good thing.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Back on the Grid

It's been ages...

For the first half of the summer, I was supremely lucky to be out of a job. Sounds strange, I know, but that freedom allowed me to travel like I never have before.

The first adventure was a cross country road trip. For 16 days I traversed the United States, stopping when I wanted, visiting friends and just...exploring. It was liberating. It was exciting. It was amazing!

The next adventure was vacationing in Greece. For 9 more days I explored ancient ruins, sailed in the Mediterranean Sea in awe of sunsets and witnessed the hedonism of the beaches of Mykonos.

It's hard for me to believe that all this happened only 6 weeks ago. It seems like a dream -- a very good dream.

I'm now working again and so far I'm enjoying it. It's the next adventure.

Right now it's a little slow starting, but I see the potential. I will finally be able to do work that I'm passionate about. My ideas are being heard and they're not being resisted; they're being considered. Do you know how refreshing that is?

I'm feeling pretty good about everything right now. It's a good time to be me.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Today's Horoscope

This is only fitting since I'm in the middle of my road trip right now.

Give yourself a break. A brief one, anyway, because if anyone deserves some downtime, it's you. You've been trying to get away from it all -- or perhaps from 'them' all -- for some time now, but your fans (aka your family and friends) haven't been willing to let it happen. It's time for you to take matters into your own hands and let them all know only one thing: you'll go where you want to, when you want to. It's called personal freedom, and you insist upon it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Doofus & Darling

Another book that I found in Barnes & Noble.

Too many Doofuses in the world and not enough Darlings.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Here comes the sun

I have never felt so hopeful in my entire life.

Last week I was laid off from my job. It was one that I had outgrown and no longer found challenging, but it allowed me to pay my bills. I was not upset that I would no longer be employed there. I was more bothered that the position I had interviewed for several weeks ago and which had given me a verbal job offer had not followed up with me on the specifics. I had started to wonder if I had heard wrong or if I had just made it all up. I was getting nervous.

Today the clouds have finally cleared -- literally. (After a week of rain, today is a beautiful Friday afternoon where the dog and I can lounge lazily in the backyard.) I received the phone call I was waiting for. The job is officially mine. Now I just need to go through the paperwork end of the process with the technology vendor who will be sponsoring me.

So with the employment issue resolved, I can move forward with my newest adventure, my cross country road trip. Oh, it is so on!

I planned on doing this trip exactly like my last one: bring laptop and camera and record the entire trip for friends and family back home. But to improve on that, I'd also be updating via Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube. I love technology.

I mentioned this to Steve and he came up with an idea that takes this trip to an entirely new level. Pitch it to the TV networks. Let them follow me on my hopeful journey of taking a crappy situation and as Steve put it "venturing out into a cross-country drive to renew her sense of focus and adventure." I can talk to people on the road, hear their stories. Take my readers to beautiful parts of the country. He's already trying to make contacts to find sponsors for this trip. He thinks its a shoe-in because I've done it before and it was picked up by CNN. It a hopeful story and can serve as inspiration to others who are down on their luck to see opportunity to start again.

So now he's got me all excited about this angle. I want to go out right now and get the Flip UltraHD video camera right now. And waiting until Wednesday for the iPhone 3Gs is torture.

As much as I want to prepare for this trip, I know the most excitement comes from the spontaneity of it. The basic plan is set, but the details will come on the fly.

I can't wait!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Recommended reading

This is the greatest book ever.
Creating Cursing
Just flip the cards until you find the perfect curse for any occasion.
Slut Waffle

Becomg an extrovert

I'm not shy, but I don't really like to initiate 'hey, look at me' moments. That's going to need to change.

Yesterday I went to my local ASTD Chapter meeting to watch a presentation on using simulation software for online training. I'm always interested in different software and how people use it. But the real reason for me for going is to network.

Now that I'm not working, I need to find ways to do some meaningful interactions. I can only be on the computer for so long until my fingers start to bleed and my eyes fall out of my head. Although, this time around I'm keeping much more engaged with Facebook, Twitter, Second Life, webinars and blogs than when I was laid off 4 summers ago.

Anyway, at last night's meeting after I found a seat and unpacked my laptop, I got up and went over to a group of people talking to each other and introduced myself. I know it gets easier the more you do it, but it was still a small hurdle to get over.

The good part is that I wasn't alone in feeling this way. The conversation I interrupted was how they have been coping with being 'in transition'. (That's a nice way of saying "I ain't got no job".) Attending these meetings were their way of networking. Collect a business card, add them to your LinnkedIn profile, move on. They have been collecting contacts like they were baseball cards.

Which is exactly what I've started to do as well.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Today's Horoscope

Think about it: Exactly how long has it been that you've been thinking, wishing, hoping and actually dreaming about taking off for parts unknown? (Unknown to only you and possibly one lucky companion, that is.) If you can't remember not feeling that way, it's definitely time to stop dreaming and start making plans. Get together with your sweetheart and firm up some dates. Do your homework on flights, hotels and travel plans in the meantime.

This is awesome! Not only did I book my July vacation to Greece yesterday but I think I'll wind up doing my cross-country road trip at the end of the month.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Time for another road trip?

It was like any other Friday. Quiet. Boring.

Then I got called into the office. "Claudine, do you have a minute?"

I got laid off. Maybe I'll go into it in another post, but don't feel bad for me. I have something else lined up.

But my first thought is Road Trip. Here's my idea...

View Road Trip in a larger map

For now, it's just a thought in my head. Still have some logistics to figure out, mainly where to keep the dog since my parents are on vacation until next weekend. Then there are some other things that are planned. The earliest I could take off would be June 24th-ish -- still about 2.5 weeks away.

So much to think about. But for now, I think I'll take a nap.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

web 2.0


Find more videos like this on Innovations in e-Learning Workshops

This is a thought-inducing video about how the internet has changed the way people view communication, collaboration and connectivity.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Mush fest

I don't know what has been up with me lately and my inclination to cry at the drop of a hat.

I watched the movie UP. I had tears streaming down my face during the preview cartoon.

I watched Susan Boyle sing for her Britan's Got Talent audition. Crying mess.

I was with my mom and dad, a US Marine and Vietnam vet, in NYC on Memorial Day. People thanked my dad for his service. Good thing I was wearing sunglasses. My eyes were teary all day.

Today, Jane Bozarth tweeted:
At airport-announcement that plane carrying WWII vets is arriving; invitation everyone to come over to gate to welcome them. How great!
Then again:
http://twitpic.com/6j41p - WWII vets arriving Wah. DC for tour of memorials Arlington Natl Cemetery


WWII vets arriving Wah. DC for tour of memorials Arlington Na... on Twitpic

Complete mush all over again.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Today's Horoscope

While other people may be looking forward to getting new material things, you have your eye on a prize more suited to your curious, exploratory nature -- something more experiential. Perhaps it's time to start setting some money aside for your next globetrotting tour or those scuba diving lessons. And if you're on the lookout for a gift for someone else, think about a fun activity -- dancing lessons, a restaurant gift certificate -- rather than another bauble.

I love when my horoscope hits the mark. How did they know about the scuba diving??

Monday, June 01, 2009

Passing the torch

I love playing softball. I started playing ball when I was in first grade and played all the way through my high school senior year. I've played on a work team here and there, but it was never the same as playing in high school.

Yesterday my cousin's daughter asked me to help her practice sliding. She's 11 and has only been playing softball for 2 years. I was so excited to show her because 1) I miss playing ball and 2) that she asked me in the first place.

We drove to a softball field near her house. This was also one of the fields I played at when I was her age. Nostalgia took over.

I was wearing a jean skirt and sandals, but that didn't stop me from showing her how it was done. I can still do it after so many years. Being in a skirt didn't change anything. But to me, sliding was so natural, I had to do it a few times so I could think about what my body was actually doing so I could explain it correctly.

I tried several things. First she just tried to copy what I did. That didn't work. Her legs and hips weren't going in the right direction and if she kept it up she would only get hurt. Then I had her concentrate on how she would position her left leg under her right. I had her just lay on the ground in the final 'slide position' so she can feel how her body should wind up. That didn't work so well either. Finally, I had her fall backwards into my arms simulating the moment that she slid into the base. She was supposed to practice bring her left leg up and shifting her hips at the same time. Nope.

I was frustrated because I didn't know what else to do have the sliding motion click into place for her. She was getting frustrated with herself, too. After about 45 minutes, it was getting late and she was getting tired. And I didn't want her to get hurt.

So we called it a night. I was bummed because she didn't get it. But I was happy that she didn't give up on herself and was genuinely interested in practicing so she could get it right. I hope she finds her groove and that she learns to love the sport as much as I do.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A welcome addition

It's pretty rare when you hear that something you said or did actually had an effect on a person.

My friend Naomi has just started a new adventure, leaving New York City after 10 years to start a new life in a new city. She was contemplating starting a blog to share her experiences but seemed to be on the fence about it. It took a Twitter nudge and a Facebook word of encouragement (gotta love that social networking) to get her writing.

Join me in welcoming Naomi to the bloggersphere.

Naomi's Adventures: From "Big Apple" to "Southern Peach"

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Little Tenderness


Where are the guys who will go to any lengths to be noticed by the one they love?

I <3 Duckie!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Calvin the Explorer



The last cartoon for Calvin & Hobbes was special to me. While it was sad that my favorite 6 year old kid and his imaginary tiger friend were leaving, it reminded me that with every end is a new beginning. One that is full of magic, mystery and something exciting.

I feel it's about that time for some exploring.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

10 Reasons Why Being Alone Sucks

  1. No one to talk to (that will answer you back). Dogs don't count.
  2. I never get any pictures taken of me.
  3. Single supplement fees when traveling.
  4. When something cool/funny/sad/scary happens, there's no one to share it with.
  5. Beds always seem much too large.
  6. Can't reach that itch in the middle of my back.
  7. I can have shit stuck in my teeth / fly unzipped and no one to warn me.
  8. If I fall and can't get up, who'll get help? I'm too young for LifeAlert.
  9. Having to kill my own bugs.
  10. No one else's dessert to take a bite of to sample.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

On dreams

I have recurring dreams of being swept over by a huge tidal wave. Sometimes they're nightmares, other times they're just...dreams.

Last night I had another one.

I was on the top deck of a cruise ship. It was still in harbor and was shielded by the ocean beyond by a sea wall that put the ship below sea level. It was almost as if the ship was docked in a lock.

I was amazed by the sight of the dorsal fin of a killer whale swimming just on the other side of the sea wall. I called all my friends to witness the beauty of the orca as it swam by and breached.

But with that breach brought the wave. A wall of turquoise rose above the ship and the shadow of the killer whale was inside. I knew what was to come (from all my other tidal wave dreams), so I took a deep breath and dove into the wave.

Inside the water was calm, no violent currents. Just the water surrounding me. I knew I had to get to the surface before I ran out of breath, but I couldn't swim up because all around me were the killer whales and great white sharks gobbling everything up in sight. I saw the huge jaws of a shark swallow a person whole.

What was crazy about this dream was how calm I was. I felt the air in my lungs giving out and I desperately wanted to take a gasp in, but I knew that I would drown. Looking up at the surface, I knew I was a good 40 feet underwater and wasn't sure if I would even make it. I knew from my scuba lessons that air expands in my lungs as I ascend and there's a slight chance that I would have enough air to reach the surface, but those damn sharks and killer whales were in my way.

So I stayed there standing on the top deck of the cruise ship, 4o feet underwater, watching the terrors swim above my head and my only hope to survive beyond that. And with full awareness of my demise, I calmly waited for the air to run out...

...and I woke up.

What is your recurring dream?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Man of the house

I'm getting quotes for a patio install. I've been in my place 5 years and I think its about time to get rid of the scraggly grass and have a nice paved entertaining space. Thank God for Home Depot.

Today I got a call from the contractor's scheduler to arrange for an appointment. She took some initial information, like the dimensions of the patio, and gave me a ballpark estimate. $4500 - $4900. Yikes.

I humed and hawed for a second.

"Well, maybe you can talk it over with your husband?"

What. The. Fuck.

I hate it when people assume that I'm the 'little woman' who needs her big, strong husband to make all the decisions for me.

I didn't say anything. I let it go, because there's no use pissing off the people who you're trying to get to help you. But really, F her.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Beach, beers and big mouths


Saturday night was our third annual Pre-Summer Girls Night Out at my friend's house down the shore. We went out to Jenkinson's, a club in Point Pleasant, NJ. The riduculous part was that we all used to party there 15 years ago. And now we showed up with coupons for free admission while the now 22-year-olds were laughing at us.

Whatever. F them.

But the real question is, what the hell am I doing?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My New Favorite Thing

I get worked up over stupid things lately, so when something so meaningless can make me feel better, I want the world to know.

This little makeup set is from the NP Set line called Bon Voyage Baby. I love it because it's so compact, the neutral colors and it has everything I need to feel pretty. It comes with 3 eye shadows, 2 lip glosses and a little applicator. And the mirror on the lid completes the package.

Now that summer is right around the corner, I don't want to be weighed down with heavy makeup. With Bon Voyage Baby, it provides the perfect polish to go from drab to dazzling.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Alone in a crowd

I'm at that moment in my life where I don't want to stay home, but I don't necessarily feel like being social. So instead, I've opted for being alone in a crowd.

It's a beautiful Friday night, 70 degrees, clear, calm night. It would be perfect to take a walk hand-in-hand along the bustling city streets with a special someone. But there is no special someone. That doesn't mean that I still can't take myself out on a date.

Not too far away from me is a cute little town square, with wide sidewalks, outdoor seats and a coffee shop with a guy playing acoustic guitar. Perfect.

Armed with my journal, book and laptop I took the ride 10 miles away just to be lost in a small crowd. I have my caramel macchiato, raspberry cheesecake tart, good live music and free wi-fi. I couldn't be more contempt right now.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Random thoughts

"It's not that I think everyone else is an idiot, I just think that I'm better than them."

"At what age is it just stupid to have every comment you utter reference getting drunk?"

"It's nice to know that I have over $35,000 in student loan debt to be a copy/paster."

In a meeting, a coworker said "How do I get an overpaid job where I can be arrogant and not really know what I'm talking about?"
It took all of my willpower not to reply with "You already do."

The future awaits

I was told by a psychic reader that April will be a big month for me; a month of change and regeneration. At the time, I didn't pay much attention to it. But since yesterday I felt this kind of electric energy coursing through my veins. And if it's true that you can make your own reality, than I have to believe that April is the start of something good for me.

Yesterday I officially started the inquiries into a job search. I was also in touch with an old friend. And today's horoscope is encouraging:
You will be at the top of your game today! You'll come up with the perfect answer at the perfect time. You'll toss out the sassiest comeback to a flirtatious comment. You'll be in the right place at the right time. In short, everything you need will be at either the tip of your tongue or your fingertips. This will naturally put you in a great mood, which will go a long way toward putting a blue friend into a better mood. Spread your luck around -- it is contagious.
So, here's to Spring and a new cycle of my life.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

No respect

There's this unsaid joke among a few (ex)co-workers about a particular manager who always seems to find excuses to duck out of work early.

Today's email from my manager:
I am headed out just after 3pm to be home for the bus – I will be available via phone (home or cell) after 3:30pm and online.

Samantha has her first Tee Ball practice this afternoon as well - so if the rainy weather does not force cancellation of the practice I am will be available after 5pm via my cell phone and email.
So I replied:
I have to go home at 2:54pm today because my dog lets lonely and likes to sit on my lap. I’ll be available using mental telepathy. Barry has obedience school this afternoon as well, so if he doesn’t maul the Great Dane in his class, I am available after 5pm via my iPod.
But Steve beat us all...
Thank you for your email. Unfortunately I am out of the office. My imaginary friend is having dental surgery and while I am not helping that friend in any way, I am mentioning it here for sympathy. If I am sober, you should be able to contact me after the day is already formally over and you will likely want to go home to have your own life. If you still must contact me, feel free to use passenger pigeon and allow 3 to 8 weeks for reply.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I Twitter therefore I am



I'm too lazy and uninspired to write a proper blog entry, so I'll resort to finding comics that translate my life.

This one cracks me up because just yesterday Mike asked me what I did this weekend.

"If you read my Tweets you'd already know."