Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Week Nightmare

Last week, things started to look up a little when I received a call from a temp job agency AND a photo studio with interviews. The temp job agency, Adecco, had a real last minute 3 day data entry job which pays $12 an hour. I was super excited but had to convince the J-man to drive me down to Charlotte to meet the hirers and do a drug test screening, typing competency tests and so on. All i had to do then, was to wait for the test results to come in, and for them to contact my references.

The next day, however, the tests results still hadn't come in. It was company policy that I had to pass all tests and screenings before I got hired. So without that, I couldn't go to work that day. On top of that, the references I gave were not good enough, they needed references of people they could call, i.e. people who are in the US. So after a few hours of scrambling around looking for the contacts of some parents I knew who are currently in the country, I finally managed to scrape up 2 moms and a grandma who (bless their hearts) gave glowing testimonials about me. To cut a long story short, I was short of one background check so I wasn't able to land the temp job. On the bright side, I hope all the results came in after, because then I can give them a call on Monday in hopes of getting other temp jobs.

The other interview I had was with this photography studio called Olan Mills. The marketing manager K, called me one evening to arrange for an interview on Wednesday. It was for a sales promoter position and although I wasn't that interested, I was glad to finally get a call. Wednesday came, I arrived fifteen minutes before the scheduled time. The interviewer L wasn't there, so I waited. But when the scheduled time came and went, I still didn't hear from her. So the photographer D at the studio offered to contact her. While he was on his cell, L called the studio and apologized. Something cropped up at the last minute and she wasn't able to make the interview that day. I was a little bummed but hey, I understand sometimes things do crop up at the last minute, so I rescheduled with K for an interview the very next day with her.

I arrived early for my interview the next day, and again, K wasn't at the studio. Instead, D came out to meet me saying that K had tried to contact me earlier but couldn't reach me. She wanted to cancel the interview again because she couldn't make it. I checked my cellphone, no missed calls. Maybe she tried calling me at home. I thanked D and drove home. I checked my missed calls to find out that K had called me FIVE minutes before my scheduled interview. Like hello? Of course I wouldn't be home already, and why hadn't she called me on my cell?

Quietly seething, I called K to re-schedule for the the 3rd time and the next interview was set to be on Saturday noon. Before leaving for that interview, I debated on calling K just to check to see if she was there at the studio. I decided against it, because it might look like I didn't trust them. Well I didn't, but they didn't need to know that. I should have, because my gut told me I was going to be stood up yet again. I arrived at 11:45am to find the studio really busy. D couldn't talk to me because he was busy with customers, but he gave me a knowing shake of his head to indicate that she wasn't here and didn't call. I stood in a corner and decided to wait. At the same time I decided to call K every 10minutes, after she didn't pick up my first call. I waited till 12:30pm and was about to leave when D got done with his customers. He took me aside and apologized when I told him there was no news of K. He then offered to set up a working interview with a senior sales lady the next day, with a promise that if I did well on the job, she will provide a positive evaluation, possibly landing me the job. I declined, on the account that the management staff had showed such an extent of un-professionalism. As much as I needed a job, I do not deserve to be treated so shabbily. There is a bottom line.

So my uneventful week went by, and I am still without a job. I guess that job wasn't meant for me and something better will come along...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sew Exciting!

Have been shopping online for a neat little sewing machine for myself. Couldn't take just reading crafting blogs and sites and not doing anything about it. And what with holiday seasons around the corner, I gotta get me one!

Found this site that helps compare basic features at a glance.

Sewing Machines for Beginners

And boiled down my choices to 2:

Singer 7442
$168.95 with Free Shipping (on Ebay)

Brother XL2600i
$86.54 Free Shipping (Amazon)

Does anybody know anything about these 2 babies? I'm more inclined to go with the cheaper one of course. They both have great reviews and a few negative ones (of course, you can't please everyone). Will read some more about it before I place my order. The money is already in PayPal, so it's just a click away...


Friday, October 22, 2010

Dream a little dream of tulle...

and chiffon and silk and whatever else...

Who says you can't dream about wedding gowns even after your wedding?

verawang tulle
Tulle in wedding gowns can NEVER go wrong! I ♥ Vera Wang!

gianfranco ferre


This is for all my favourite-ladies-potential-brides out there. Elisa!! Priscilla you're next! wheee whee wheee!!! Gilt Groupe is currently doing Wedding specials! Makes me happy just looking at pretty dresses and shoes!

All pictures via Gilt Groupe

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Road trip, road trip!

petrified 1

We're back from a 5000mile road trip!
Our first stop was to the Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico. However, to get there, we first had to drive through Tennessee (400+ miles), Arkansas (280miles), Oklahoma (330miles), Texas(177miles) before we reached our destination. We drove on Interstate 40 which is pretty neat because it was ONE straight road through these states (duh, that's why they call it the INTERstate), so it made driving really easy for me. I averaged about 75mph and sometimes even driving through the night. Once, i drove for 6 hours at a stretch so J could get a decent rest.

Bandelier is located in the Frijoles canyon area and was populated by Ancentral Pueblo people. These people created a settlement by carving out volcanic material called tuff and used them as building blocks for their homes. Near the base of the canyon walls, the soft rock that were subjected to erosion also created holes. The people then dug out these holes to construct a series of dwellings/caves. We climbed up ladders to get into those caves to get a glimpse of the insides. The caves were so small because the Ancestral Pueblo people were only about 5 ft! That's my size!


Our next pit stop was the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, which fortunately was the next adjacent state, a mere 7hours drive away. Before, i had always thought it was a forest of tall trees filled with rocks and fossils and stuff. Actually, the forest of "trees" existed millions of years ago, and because of the process of permineralization, the original structure of the wood is kept, but the rest of the tree has turned into stone. The process occurs underground when the wood is covered in sediment, usually due to flooding, or in areas where the water is laden with minerals. Cool isn't it? I love the pretty colours of the crystals. My favourite trail is the Crystal Forest, an open area strewn with petrified logs that show off some of the most beautiful colours.

petrified log

We spent only about 2 hours in the Petrified Forest because we needed to rush down to the Grand Canyon before it closed. We were afraid we wouldn't be able to get a campsite even though it wasn't really peak season. However, as it is such a popular tourist spot, there is no telling what could happen. The Grand Canyon is also in Arizona, of an even shorter 3 hours drive. When we arrived, the long traffic queues put an initial damper on our spirits, but we perked up when we saw the Express Lane. We had bought an Annual National Parks Pass at the beginning of the trip that gave us free entry into all National Parks in the States. This pass would now let us skip the long lines and breeze through the gates! Such an important and wise investment on my part *pat on the back*

We found out we needn't have worried because there were plentiful campsites for rent. Our main problem was that the J-man forgot our tent! Well, he didn't actually forget. He just took the WRONG bag that held Dad's hunting tent/shield (not for sleeping in). In our anxiety to open it and to check out sleeping possibilities before sundown, we accidentally broke the frame. Uh-oh. I was so mad at that point I almost wanted to go home. Luckily, we weren't that far away from civilisation. There was a General Store about a 10minutes walk away, and we decided to see if it carried any tents for sale. Crossing our fingers and toes, we made our way to the store, me, fuming and him, tail between his legs.

We had to thank our lucky stars, for not only do they sell REALLY expensive tents, they offered rental services too. We were going to camp out on Yosemite and Canyonlands later so we probably needed to buy one. But after checking out the prices, it was wiser to rent now, and buy a cheaper tent from a Walmart later, on our way to our next destination. The previous lovely campers at our campsite also left us some firestarters and half a bag of coal. So now we had a place to sleep and a fire to keep us warm!

After settling our camping issues, we headed to the rim of the Canyon to watch the sunset. It was amazing to see the colours change over the canyon. You know for sure that someone up there really knows what he's doing, a painter and sculptor all rolled into one. No words or pictures could ever do it justice, or least mine won't. Better to just go check it out yourself!

grand canyon

The next day, we took the Bright Angel Trail that went all the way down to the Colorado river which snaked through the Canyon. That would have been a 12miles round trip, and although my heart was willing, my knees were weak. So we stopped at the midway point, 3 miles down and 3 miles up. The view was breathtaking and my favourite bits were to see the different layers of the canyon up close. I should have studied geology when I was in school, but then again, it would never have taken me on this path up till now.

Our second night in the tent was beyond miserable. The temperatures dipped below 40deg F (below 10degC ) and even zipping up inside our own shell of a sleeping bag couldn't keep my feet warm. We didn't get a very good sleep that night and was very much looking forward to luxurious accommodations in Las Vegas in a few hours' time.

Lonely Planet gives really good recommendations, so we rely on it time after time when planning our travels. This time, we followed its recommendation to the Platinum Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Every room comes equipped with a jacuzzi bath, a living room and a kitchenette! The room is even bigger than the size of our Shanghai apartment! I ran the bath and spent a long time soaking in the hot steamy waters before we headed out to MGM Grand to watch the Cirque de Soleil production, Ka. A really good show, by the way. Made me yearn to be in a production once again. We were not really in the mood to gamble, so after a few half-hearted spins at the slot machines, we decided to call it a night. Vegas is a vibrant and bustling city, but it was my least favourite stop.

Our next two stops were going to be Yosemite in California, and Canyonlands in Utah. But thank goodness we did a weather check again before heading there. It forecasted rain with a possibility of snow. What with the weather in Grand Canyon, I didn't think we were prepared for snow. With a tinge of disappointment, we set out on our return journey the next day, but not before watching a game of Sunday football and checking player status on our fantasy leagues. *chuckles* Hooray for civilisation!

It was going to be a 36hour drive, long and weary, but we made it and lived to tell the story. :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

We ♥ Elephants!

To celebrate our wedding anniversary, we took a day trip to...


the Asheboro ZOO! which was about a 90mins drive away. *whew*


and picked up a (to my standard) humungous pinecone! Shall keep it for christmas!

pinecone 2

And i've recently discovered
Picnik, so all photos are heavily edited! FUN!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Love at first sight!


Via Strictly Vintage

Can you believe it?

We will be married TWO years tomorrow!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Make more out of life

Say YES.

I feel like I'm becoming the YES man (remember the Jim Carrey movie?) So in a bid to live up to my promise to  to plan my day productively, I agreed to go watch John and Jackie's soccer matches at 8am on a Saturday morning. Which was just as well, knowing that the J-man would still be away at the campsite till late afternoon. 

I was glad I went because it was fun to be outdoors under the morning sun! The weather has started to cool and that morning, it went down to about 18 deg C. Jackie was in the U-8 division and it was good to see petite little girls with their shining blond hair run after a soccer ball, without contempt for the grass mildly wet with dew. Some of them were so small their jerseys hung oversized on their tiny frames. In another game, a little boy by the name of James was relegated to the position of goalie. The 4 year old (looking more like a 2.5yo) covered such an inconsequential spot in front of the goal post, he couldn't stop his opponents from scoring. Even so, the way he kept trying made me go "Awww" and all soft inside.

John's team in the U-10 division, was unbeatable. They scored a total of 9 goals against the opponent, who only managed one. It was a more exciting game as the players were older and quicker on their feet. But what really made my day was when John and Jackie's dad came up to me and said that the children were really glad to see me at their games. 


the Merrill champion soccer duo!

In the late afternoon, while I was all cosy on the couch on my computer, J, his brother and dad decided to go golfing. J tried to get to me come along but I wasn't quite keen on the sport. But again, I agreed just so I could check it out, and maybe decide I would like it after all! For don't they say, "Don't knock it till you've tried it?" The day was fabulous with blue blue skies, and because it was late afternoon, it was much warmer and not at all humid! We drove to Fox Den Country Club which was just 5minutes away(!!) and while the boys were registering to play, I decided I was just going to be part-observer-part-caddie today. The best part was actually driving the golf cart around the course. I was gunning the cart around like a maniac (although they do have a speed limit on their carts) and even daydreamed about getting a job as a caddie. J wasn't as good as he was on his PS3 Hot Shot Golf game but he got the hang of it at the 7th hole. We couldn't finish all 9 holes because there was a pile-up at the 8th and since Jeremy had to leave for Charlotte in an hour, we turned around and headed for home. It was a bummer especially when I was having so much fun. Who would've thought?!!!


Some golf-karting fun!

So the lesson of the day (and perhaps for life) is to say YES, with a sensible dosage of discretion, and maybe life can just be a little more wonderful.
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