Friday, November 23, 2012
Friday, October 26, 2012
The iPad Mini is going to have a 7.9 inch screen, the A5 dual core chip, and much thinner.
We all know I'm a bit of a technology junkie. Originally I wanted the iPhone 5, in 64GB. Okay, I still do, and if I were rich I'd already own one. However, now that we are getting the iPad mini, I'm really considering putting the money I would have spent on the 64GB iPhone 5 towards a 32GB iPad Mini. I won't have to use my upgrade, It'll be only an extra $30 to get the mini, with a larger screen, all the features of the iPad, but not as big as the iPad (or my Galaxy 10.1 in tablet). Realistically, my 4S is working fine, my only complaint is against myself and wishing I went with the 64GB phone instead. But hey, this one still works great, so maybe I can compromise and go with the iPad mini, put all my massive amounts of apps on there, and leave the 16GB for mostly photos and music.
Of course, knowing me, Apple will come out with something else in two months and I'll be salivating over that too.
Who know one year ago I was die-hard Android junkie, and now I've converted to Apple... I never saw it coming. ;) Ahh the joys of working in the technology field. I love it!
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
I know when I go to the store after work, in my Sprint uniform, I make a conscious effort to act kind and courteous because face it - when you wear something with your "brand" on it, you are representing that company. Say I went to Target after work, and something didn't go right and I made a huge stink about it... what are they going to remember? They aren't going to remember "that person who had a fit," no no, they will remember "That person who works at Sprint who had a fit." Suddenly, their impression of Sprint may be tainted because of my actions. Maybe I don't have a fit, but perhaps I just have a downright lousy attitude. What if I was short with someone who was helping me and just acting "holier than thou" - I still think this is a representation of who I work for if I'm wearing my work clothes. If I showed up there with my shirt on and a bad attitude, they probably think "Man, what got into that person. Sprint must be awful if she shows up here acting in such a foul mood." I make a very conscious effort, however, not to act like my above mentioned scenarios. Especially in my work clothes. I don't want to deter someone away that could possibly come and buy from me! In fact, I want them to receive a good impression from me so they want to come see me again. I just used myself and Sprint as an example, but I believe the same goes with other parties as well.
On this same line of thought... how does it appear when someone shows up wearing their religious symbol? What got me thinking about this more in recent days were a few encounters with customers at work. I understand we are all humans, and not all of us are perfect, not of all us have good days. Some of us may have really bad days - but if you are going to announce to the world "I'm a Christian," by wearing a cross, or a t-shirt, then one should represent Christ. After all, proclaiming your faith through a symbol for others to see is coming off as a representation of Christ. Over the weekend I had not just one, but two sets of customers come in obviously of the Christian faith. Both had quite miserable attitudes with me. Each customer acted "holier than thou," neither were very friendly (despite my friendly efforts), and just left a bit of a bad/bitter taste in my mouth. I couldn't help but think: hey Mister, if you are going to wear that Christian t-shirt, you need to consider your attitude. Luckily I know my faith, and I know better than to take someone's bad attitude as a representation of the "company" of Christ - however, someone weak in their faith, or with little to no faith, may evaluate that encounter and think "Yeah, look at that hypocritical Christian. Saying how good they are, yet acting like a jerk to me." If I am shopping for cell phones, and have a bad experience with someone wearing a T-Mobile shirt, why would I want to go to T-Mobile? If one is a bit lost in their faith, and has a poor experience with someone wearing a cross necklace, would they have enough sense to be able to move past that? Unfortunately not, in most cases. The next day I had a lady customer who came through and was acting quite snobby towards me, with her cross right in front of me. The truth is, most people judge off first impressions. Whether you like it or not, it's the truth. I'd love to see people holding themselves more accountable. If one is going to wear a symbol (cross, company logo), that represents who they work for, then one should act in a way that represents the company!
I think we all need to remember this next time we are out somewhere wearing a symbol that represents who we are, or what we believe in. Next time before you put on that cross necklace and start interacting with people, perhaps one can ask themselves, "How does this make me look, and my belief system look?" Turn thins around... look at how YOU would feel if you were on the other side looking at YOU.
Monday, September 17, 2012
I admit... I'm a technology junkie. I'm giddy beyond belief. I truly didn't think I would love my iPhone 4S as much as I do. Every day I'm amazed how it runs just so smoothly. I kid you not, I have it nearly maxed out in memory -- and yet it works! Whenever I did this on my other devices (or PC!) if I get even close to maxing out the memory and the whole thing falls apart on me. If I didn't work in the cell phone industry, I don't think I would be so eager to rush out and get it the minute I can. However, since I do, I'm so eager to get it. What is funny, is the thing I am most excited about is to upgrade to 64GB. Seriously, that was my biggest regret with the iPhone 4S. I didn't know just how much I was going to love it, so I went with the 16GB. At a $400 price tag though, it is probably a blessing in disguise that Sprint makes us wait until the customer demand is met first. This gives me time to save! If I had the 64GB in the 4S, I may very well be sticking with that! But, since I didn't... I guess I'll just have to upgrade! Those sticking with the 4S, no need to fear! After all, a lot of the new features on the 5 will be the iOS 6 update (coming this Wednesday! whoohoo!) I do believe a lot of the new features on the iPhone 5 are just things us techie junkies are thrilled about.
Picking apart some of the new features I am thrilled about though... bigger screen, yet not ginormous, and still thinner? Yes, please! I love being able to hold my phone and text in one hand. The new LTE features have my itching to try. Not like we have LTE where I live, but I see all our LTE android phones and how you can surf the web and talk on the phone at the same time... that's pretty cool! I don't need that feature all that often, but there are times that would really come in handy, such as:
Hubby: "Hey babe, how many cups of water does the rice cooker need again?"
Moi: "You know, I can't remember, let me check on that."
On CDMA & Wimax, oh wait, you can't! On LTE, oh yes, yes you can!
Camera junkies - they say the camera is souped up a bit too. I saw on the feed from the announcement about having panorama features now. Plus, improved front facing camera. Now my "facebook" pose will look even better! Aren't you all so happy?! And you can take snap shots from your videos? YAY! I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to do that, especially while recording Elijah at dance.
So, I pretty much have myself sold on it. Thank goodness I saved my upgrade!
Now the BIGGEST question... WHITE OR BLACK?!
Monday, September 10, 2012
I have experienced such great joy watching Elijah's love of music and performing grow with him. Ever since he was a baby, he has had this inclination towards music. He hums or sings, he moves his feet, bobs his head, the works. When he hears music he just can't help but move! When he sees instruments, he can't help but play. When he sees a stage, he is drawn to it, like a moth to a light!
Last weekend we got to go hang out at our friend's house, Michael & Stephanie, where Elijah and Michael proceeded to have a little "jam session." It felt like further proof to me that Elijah really does have this love and knack for performing. He has the ear for music. I wonder if it is just in his blood, if it is nature, or nurture, or both? Is it because I sit around and listen to classical music? Or perhaps because I danced most of my life? It could be a bit of both, maybe the dancer/musical genes passed along to him, and then raising him in an environment surrounded by the arts just fuels him on more.
I will say, the most amazing thing is watching your own flesh and blood discover his talents, especially ones that you share the same passion about. Call me a sissy, but I see Elijah's ear for music, or his head bobbing up and down, his natural instinct to start dancing when he hears music and it brings joyful tears to my eyes!
As for AJ, he says he wants to start dance like Elijah next season (which starts next month, in October), and I am thrilled to see how he takes to the stage. Is he going to follow like the rest of us and discover a love of the stage? Performing, music, dance, etc? He already seems to like it... I can't wait to see how he does!
Elijah had dress rehearsal today for his dance performances... but I'll save that update for later.
I caught a few videos of Elijah & Michael having their musical session. Enjoy!
Excuse my thumb getting in the way for a few moments of this video! I couldn't see the screen very well!
Monday, September 3, 2012
Friday, August 31, 2012
This may sound completely cheesy, but I have to admit, one of the fun parts of working in a retail/sales job is seeing the excitement you can bring to someone's face. Sometimes people say to us who work in sales, "Oh my gosh, how do you do it? How can you handle upset customers all day?" It is always upset customers... Although at times that may feel like a big portion of it! However, some days you just get those customers you really enjoyed working with, and when I get the moment of handing over their new phone, the look on their face is priceless. The first customer I helped today purchased an iPhone, and when all was said and done, the minute I handed him his new phone, his eyes lit up. I mean, I can't blame him... Going from a crummy Android to an iPhone, who wouldn't be excited?! Haha, sorry Android lovers. In moments like that, you can't help but smile and feel proud of yourself for assisting someone and making their day. Those moments help me get through the crummy, frustrating moments. After working in sales for so long, I think we can get a bit jaded by helping customers, but seeing that moment of excitement in someones face can really light up my own day.
One thing in retail I've noticed, nothing is ever really the same. Each person who comes through your store is different and has their own story. Each day you get a glimpse at the world outside yourself. We hear stories of sadness, excitement, craziness, and of course the unfortunate anger. While the angry people may just completely throw your day for a loop, the good ones (usually) outweigh the bad. Maybe it is that social interaction you see with everyone day in and day out. You have a product they need, and they chose to come to your store instead of using some online robot. Despite all the technology out there, even in a cell phone store, there is that moment you have to reach out and rely on each other to communicate your needs. Putting aside the occasional crazies that pass through, when you just think about the positive interaction you just experienced with someone one may realize how much we all still need each other to survive. Granted buying a cell phone isn't survival, but that precious moment of exchange between humans, the laughter you each enjoyed, the smiles shared, there is a deep human need for those things. If we just step back for a moment and think of those little things we experience in our jobs, those smiles of satisfaction, it makes a seemingly typical job suddenly a bit more important.
I know, some people are probably looking over this going, "Are you kidding me? It's sales, get over yourself!" Shoot, I know I even have my days that I may reread this and think "Oh shut up," but come on, in order to keep things interesting in your life and in work, you have to think outside the box, outside the negative, and look beyond the basic interaction. At times we all need to take a step back and reflect upon our seemingly mundane day.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
It's so interesting to see how two children, from the same parents, same gene pool, are so different! Of course they have some similarities between them, but also some great differences too. Elijah has a tendency to be more serious and so much more focused, whereas AJ just loves to make people laugh and will do anything goofy to get the laugh out of you.
As for his birthday, we had a wonderful weekend. He had a blast and of course got spoiled rotten with toys! He loved his dino theme... And brag moment, I'm so proud of the way the dinosaur cake turned out. I made a chocolate cake and icing, followed by crushing Chips Ahoy cookies in the food processor to make "dirt." Then I placed some dinosaur skeletons/fossils under the dirt and dinosaurs on top. Whoohoo for a successful party!
AJ put on his own four.. that's why it is backwards. We fixed it before we sang to him. Haha!
Thursday, August 23, 2012
I've started a sort of game with myself lately... Test the gender stereotypes is what I like to call it. The more I tell people my son is in dance, the more I get the question, "What does your husband think of that?"
Perhaps because I have grown up with dance and more of the fine arts, it never phased me to question what men think of dancers. Of course I've seen Billy Elliot and figured there are still some "cave men" out there living under a rock, but do people really question males in dance? Yesterday I told a couple people about my son in dance, and how he just loves it. Patrick doesn't think anything of it. In fact, he loves that his son dances. Maybe it is that both he and I are more in touch with the arts. He used to break dance, he is in artist; I danced, did some theatre, and lived for the stage. Also, we both had some time of playing musical instruments. It's fairly obvious we are both more inclined to the fine arts. So in January this year when Elijah expressed his interest in dance after seeing his mama do a little living room performance on new laminate floors, we were both thrilled.
When people started asking me, "What does your husand think? My husband would not go for it!" I tell them he loves that his son dances. It's a beautifull art, a wonderful skill, hard work, much discipline, and a wonderful form of expression. What surprises me more is when some women tell me their husbands would never go for that. I wonder, how is it okay that a young girl can play soccer and that is perfectly acceptable, but if a young boy wants to dance ballet, suddenly it is strange? You know, back in the day it was primarily men who performed anyway. During Shakespeare's plays, it was unheard of for women to act in the plays, even for the women's roles!! Yet somehow this gender shift took place where men can only dance hip hop/pop? Who is going to play Romeo or Prince Siegfried or Prince Charming for the classic ballet performances? Who has ever looked at Gregory Hines or Sammy Davis Jr and thought they were somehow less of a man because they dance? Does anyone hear the name Balanchine and think, "What a fool." Heck no! You probably hear these names and think of great success.
Yesterday I told Patrick about my new "game," and he found it so comical. He asked me, "Are some men still thinking it is the 19th century?" Gosh even back then, ballet was probably more acceptable for men than some guys think now! To me, anyone who has to question the manhood of a male dancer has obviously never danced themselves. I can guarantee you the male dancers you find on stage are twice as strong as Joe-Schmo on the street. I find it amazing, how far society can come with gender stereotypes, and yet how stagnant some are. Is it acceptable for girls to pick up a baseball bat but unacceptable for a boy to pick up a doll? Some embrace the girl who can play sports, they give her the high fives and the "Girl power!" roar, but where are the props for the boy who helps cook, or feeds the baby doll? Really, as far as gender stereotypes have come for women, where is the progress for men?
I'm just incredibly grateful I have a man to help raise my sons without these silly gender stereotypes. I see no problem with a boy who has the passion for dance, just like his parents. I think the problem lies in other men who are insecure with their own manhood, and they are the ones who need to be questioning their masculinity.
P.S. On a side note, this is my first time trying a blog post on my tablet with a bluetooth keyboard... So if this post is full of errors, please forgive me! ;)
Friday, August 17, 2012
Seriously, I have got to get better at this whole time management thing. OK, I'm not horrible with it, but I'm not great. The things that are crucial I can handle, you know, like getting to work or appointments on time! The rest of life though... I'm sort of clueless. Where does a working mom find time to do other things? Where do you find time to work out, or to write, or to craft? I haven't blogged since May. MAY! That's just unheard of for me. I'm struggling to find this balance of work, family, friends, fun, life.
Perhaps I should be more specific. I find time to do a lot of things. Thank goodness for supportive family next door, it is easy for Patrick and I to head out with friends for happy hour or just to hang out (thanks Mom & Dad!). I have my days off so I can take Elijah to dance class, which I love. What I am constantly struggling is finding time to write, exercise, or cook! I go in waves with my little menu planning. I'll be good about it for a week or two, then something comes up and I completely run out of time! I suppose this is the story of our lives, right? I need to set some goals and a plan of action to get these things done when I'm not exhausted. For instance, I found out a gym right up the street from my work is opening up in October. If you sign up now, you get discounted prices. I can get an unlimited gym membership for $9 and an extra $5 will get me unlimited classes. $14 for unlimited membership? Yes, please! I realized a huge struggle of finding time to work out at home is by the time I drive the 30-40 minutes home, I'm already relaxed and exhausted. Come on, after you have been sitting in a car for 30+ minutes after being at work for 9 hours, do you really want to work out at 9:30 at night? Not really. My body is all relaxed by that point! So, gym membership it is. I'm pretty excited about it!
Oh and of course my great dilemma of finding the balance to write... here is my (hopeful) solution: invest in a Bluetooth keyboard. Carrying my laptop back and forth is cumbersome. However, if I can carry my tablet and Bluetooth keyboard, that should work. My other idea is to start taking some time at Starbucks before or after work, or even during my lunch. What is it about coffee shops and creative inspiration? Maybe it's all the java that gets our minds working.
Maybe there's an app that will remind me or help me schedule times for all these things? You know, there seems to be an app for everything!
Now I have my alarm clock app telling me it's time to get ready for work!
Monday, May 21, 2012
When did my little Elijah Anthony go from this...
On Saturday I had a little "photo shoot" with him to get a nice photo for his fifth birthday invitations. Every year, I stare at the photos in awe wondering... where'd my baby go?! I know it isn't going to get any better.
My young noble sire has requested a knights theme birthday party. We are going to do knights and princesses. I'm totally giddy over the party. Not only does five seem like such a huge deal, but this is going to be so much fun to plan. I'm already having a ball. Patrick is designing the invitations, and I'm putting all my ideas on one board on the wonderful Pinterest. (Thank you, Pinterest!)
Saturday, May 19, 2012
It really is inspiring to see those higher-ups give their fancy speeches. Maybe now that we are educated people, we can sit and appreciate what these people are saying to us. Maybe it's because we just spent the last 2-4 years of our lives working towards this degree, and we sit there and think "You darn well have something good to say to me!" Perhaps they realize this is a huge milestone in our lives, and as anyone crossing that threshold in our life's journey realizes it may be terrifying and therefore are trying to give us some words to encourage us on our next steps. I felt the pride when our President explained how great of a school National University really is: second best non profit school in California, twelfth in the nation. I found comfort hearing Ben Stein, our guest speaker, tell us how important it is to never stop learning, and that it is our own hard work and determination, all of which we just displayed, that will get us through the hard times our society faces now. Now that we have our degrees, nobody can take away what we learned -- EVER! Better yet, we have this amazing knowledge and can share that with the world. Whether it is in our own personal world, or if we become world leaders one day, we have this amazing gift of knowledge to share. It makes me realize, I don't want to stop learning, and just because I have my degree doesn't mean I need to stop learning either. The world is filled with opportunities for us to grow and learn, and to share that with others. We don't have to go back to college to learn, necessarily, there are plenty of ways we can learn each day. This may sound cliche, but we really are the future!
The world needs us. When I look around and see so many people who have just thrown their hands up, while, at times, I can't blame them, I also realize that's not what our society needs right now. What we need is a hero, and we are all heroes. Each and every once of us faces a challenge every day; we face big challenges many times in our lives. Every time we conquer that challenge, we learn something; we cross the threshold and have new knowledge, a boon, to share the with the world (or at least those around us). That makes us a hero in our own right! You are probably looking at me like I'm crazy now, thinking, "Marlana, I am not some super hero who saved the world." Yet, you are! Any accomplishment you celebrate is something big to you, and conquering that changes you. In Campbell's theory, that makes you a hero. You cross a threshold, you conquer what needed to be conquered, you return a hero, and now, most importantly, it is time for you to share that with those around you.
Who knew how much that first class in my English program would transform me? As hesitant as I was, I stepped back into the world of school. I was excited and nervous all in the same breath. This Myth, Metaphor, and Symbol class really taught me not just about myths, but about life. I am sure God has his ways of knowing how to teach us, and by learning about The Hero's Adventure in my first class, it opened my eyes to understanding the importance of our struggles, how we must fight those things that hold us back, and when we do, we emerge a transformed person. Step by step, those triumphs make us who we are. When facing challenges during my classes, I could think back to Joseph Campbell's teachings and know this is just one challenge in my adventure. If I can just get to my inner strength, my physical strength, my mental strength, and pull all my resources, it will pay off.
I'm proud to say, it did. I'm here. I'm proof. I made it through!
Basically, we have crossed that threshold, we need to take pride in our accomplishments, and from Campbell's perspective, it is time to step up and be the heroes we have become.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Writing (or blogging) on a regular basis
I can't figure out if I'm being lazy or if I'm truly realizing time constraints. Last time I wrote was a month ago, I finally finished a book a few days ago, and just tonight was the first time in a while I really took time to make some food.
What I need to do is set up a schedule. Perhaps if I mark on my calendar days to write, days to reading, day to plan my meals, days to exercise, then maybe I won't feel so overwhelmed with the idea of accomplishing ALL these tasks in one night?
Don't get me wrong, I love working. I enjoy my job and I love having full time hours. It feels good to be part of the work force and to help my family. What I'm still learning is how to balance that time with all the other things I want to do. One thing I will say, is I won't necessarily blame it on "no time." That always feels like such a lame excuse. You can make time for anything if you really want, the trick is learning how to make time. Life is this constant balancing act and I'm just trying to find my place in it all!
That being said, I dedicated this afternoon to planning meals for the week. I don't just mean writing down a menu plan. Believe me, I've tried that before and when I hit a day that I'm closing the store and know I won't be home until 9 o'clock, preparing dinner for the family is out of the question. The kids are already in bed! That idea flopped fast for my working-mom-self. In the past I preached about preparing meals in advance. Today was that day! I'm so proud I planned a weeks worth of meals.
Complete with date tags
And instructions for my hubby to cook the meal.
Everything is already made and ready to go. All he has to do is pop it in the oven/crockpot/stove, whatever.
I used the "Food Planner" app for my Android Tablet (you can find it in the Google Play Store, and iPhone users, they have plenty in the App Store as well). I put the meal on the day of the week, put the recipe in there, and then added the items I needed to the grocery list. In case you are wondering, yes, I did carry around my tablet as my grocery list. Only me... I know. Haha.
Once I came home, I got to work and started going meal by meal, stored it, put a label on, badabing badaboom on to the next one.
And if you are curious, here's the menu plan for the next week:
Today: Homemade Pizza
Friday 5/11: Enchiladas
Saturday 5/12: Herb & Butter chicken
Sunday 5/13: Roast beef & gravy
Monday 5/14: My graduation party -- bbq in San Diego! woowoo!
Tuesday 5/15: Homemade spaghetti
Wednesday 5/16: Chicken Parmesan
If I get real savvy, I'll start posting the recipes and photos as well. However, one step at a time, one step at at time. Remember "What About Bob?" -- baby steps!
At this point, I'm dedicating Thursdays to "meal day." Wednesday I'll plan the meal with my food planner app, then Thursday I'll actual prepare the meals. As for the rest of the days... I'll somehow start working in there reading and writing. Maybe I can take some mornings to sit back and read before work, and then evenings to write? We'll see, we'll see!
Now, if you will excuse me, I'm going to collapse into the couch with my feet propped up and enjoy that my meals are done for the next week!
Sunday, April 8, 2012
Last month wasn't overly eventful. On the 31st, Elijah and I went to Valley Performing Arts Center in Northridge to see the Los Angeles Ballet perform Swan Lake. It was beautiful and we had so much fun. I took a PTO day so he and I could leave early enough for dinner and then to go see the show. We went to a very nice Italian restaurant. The food was delicious. Elijah is incredibly picky, but he ordered spaghetti and inhaled the food! I had an amazing lasagna that was cooked to perfection.
Last week, Elijah had to have surgery to get ear tubes again. I'm so proud of how brave he was. I had to get up at 4:45 in the morning and he and I left around 5:15AM for his 6:30 check in time (the place is about an hour away). Luckily, he was the first one for surgery. The doctor is wonderful and the staff at the surgery center couldn't have been better. The nurses made him feel very comfortable and so did the anesthesiologist. After his sedation medicine, his anesthesiologist asked, "Are you drunk off chocolate milk?" It made me laugh! Elijah didn't even cry when the rolled him back. Of course the procedure is quick, barely 15 minutes, and they let me come back to see him before he even woke up from his anesthesia. He was tired a lot of the day and rested a bit, but by the next day he was back to himself.
Finally, I got my hair styled last week. The biggest change was some cute highlights, but I did trim it a bit and got side bangs and more layers. I've never done highlights and I've never done the side bang. I LOVE it. I didn't realize how much I can love my hair!
All that said, I'll post a few pictures, and update more about our Easter day later because I am exhausted.
My diploma came!!!
It was drizzling during the intermission, so what does a young dancer and a former dancer do? Go dancing in the rain of course!
Edit: somehow the links became broken -- here is a link to the P365 album: