Browsing articles in "life news"
Jan
17

Life Never Quits and Neither Do I

By april.holle  //  life news  //  1 Comment

Lots going on in my world these days.

The new job is going splendidly! Working over at Santy has helped with the whole “paying your bills all the time” thing. Besides being a regular paycheck it’s really letting me strech my toes into information architecture, assisting in creating usable designs, and web strategies for larger companies. I have lots of great co-workers again and really great projects to sink my teeth into.

For those of you who keep tabs on my relationship status on Facebook, you may have noticed it was changed briefly to “in a relationship” and then back to “single”. Just to clear the record, I was, for four weeks, “going steady” with someone, but we’ve since gone our seperate ways after he couldn’t keep his lips, hands, and other body parts away from another woman. (I know, boo!) Don’t worry, I’m ok! Just make sure to buy me a drink the next time you see me and we’ll call it even. ;)

My brother is a father and I’m an aunt again, before I could get the baby gifts in the mail, my sister turns up preggers again! They’re definately making up for all those babies I’m not making right now, eh? ;) So I suppose a trip to Kansas is in order sometime soon, but before that can happen, I have to go to SXSW!

Yep, it’s that time again! Here in March I’ll be flying my butt out to Austin, TX to attend SXSW, the largest interactive conference in the United States. Well, if it’s not the largest, it’s definitely the best. ;) Only difference is that this time I’ll be single, watch out! ;) lol Nah, but it should be fun none the less.

Besides that I’m sure I’ll have a ton more traveling to do, the first being a trek up to the slot/antelope canyon area. Then perhaps a weekend trip to the Grand Canyon, since it’s ridiculous that I have lived in AZ for almost five years and haven’t been yet!

Anyways, thanks for listening and feel free to suggest something else I should try in 2009, totally my year, I feel it!

Nov
6

America the Brave or America the Backwards?

By april.holle  //  general observation, life news, self-reflection  //  3 Comments

Before I start this rant, I just want to make a small disclaimer. I’m not a political analyst, I don’t know all the facts. However, I am an American and I do have the first amendment to back up what I’m about to say.

Some things transpired this weekend that have brought myself to question the my American sense of pride and justice. When I think of America, I think of a country that embraces differences, allows for a variety of opinions, and above all the freedom to be whom ever you would like to be. However, we’re also a country that believes in justice, doing the right thing, and holding those accountable for their actions.

This weekend, as the election drew nearer each day, Republicans were becoming more and more defensive of their position, as were Democrats, I know I said some very shrewd things about Palin in the last few days. In any rate, this sets the stage for what I’m about to share with you.

I am sitting at a table of new acquaintances, all good hard working, delightful people, celebrating a birthday, a definitely enjoyable occasion. As I sit there, comments about the election are discussed, and soon I realize I’m the only Democrat at the table. But why should I be concerned about that? They have a right to their own opinion, especially considering some of them have considered way more factors than I have regarding their decisions. Initially I was intrigued, I wanted to know what had changed their viewpoint to the other side, did they feel differently about some hot topic? But then a experience happened that I thought was below everything I know about good Americans.

The man of the hour pulls out a card that he’s received for this birthday, as he looks at the front he chuckles slightly. I’m a fan of humorous birthday cards, so I’m excited to see what has him grinning. He holds it up for everyone to see. It’s a card with Obama’s face on it, someone has drawn a noose around his neck, devil horns on his forehead, fire behind him, and a large, red swastika on his forehead.

The table roars in laughter. He hands the card around the table and each person gets a chance to have their own private chuckle as they review the handy work.

I’m simply stunned. I sit at the table, quiet, just watching the macabre of laughing faces. How could this be funny? How can I live in a country, so beautiful, so embracing of different opinions, and so just and honorable to be seeing this? Sure, they’re entitled to think that Obama isn’t the best choice for President, I can respect that. But to equate a man who wants to help and serve this country to the devil, to make a racist statement that he should be hung with a swastika carved in his forehead, how is this right and just? Sure this country has it’s problems, it’s dark side, it was not long ago that racism was a way of the public and not in hiding corners. Perhaps it was simply a joke, meant to be funny. But I would think in this day in age, these good, hard working, people would know in their hearts they had gone too far. It saddens me to see that mainstream society still accepts these items as acceptable ways of voicing their disagreement.

Honestly, I’m a bit upset by myself. For not standing up, for not saying something. I feel as if I’ve done my own dishonor to my homeland to sit there idle and not say anything to my fellow Americans. So, instead of letting this occurance go silently into the darkest corners of my memory without notice, I’m sharing it all with you. I hope that it shocks your system as much as it did mine, regardless of party, regardless of race. If it doesn’t, God help this nation.

May
13

New Family Member – Meet Edward!

By april.holle  //  life news  //  No Comments

Edward Puppy Picture Meet our newest family member, Eddie (formally known as Jelly Belly). Kaleb and I have been talking for a while now about getting another dog to keep Anniezilla happy. It’s been a long process, but we’ve finally found her a man!

Kaleb and I have had Annie for a little less than a year (her birthday was May 10th) and we love her soo much, she’s always full of energy and has a real personality. Since we moved to the new house we’ve been thinking that she was spending a little too much time harassing the cats, and maybe she needed her own doggie companion. So the search began! We originally discussed a Maltese since we absolutely love little Cocoa every time we visit Baker’s (a co-worker of Kaleb’s) place, but there aren’t a whole lot of them around and buying one from a breeder can be really pricey. Other breeds that made it onto our short list were Italian Greyhound and Papillon. I’ve always loved the look of the Italian Greyhound, but I was worried about the match up between Annie’s short stature (being a doxie and all) and the tall lanky Greyhound. Papillons are also one of my favorites, but they were in the same boat as the Maltese.

While we bought Annie from a breeder, I really didn’t want to do that again. It’s expensive, you have all that work of training a baby puppy, the cost of the puppy shots, the new microchip, the spay/neuter, etc, etc. Not to mention there are so many homeless pups that are just in need of a wonderful loving home. So we started looking at adoptable pets in the Maricopa area. We found a wonderful tool to really help us, and I’m so glad there’s a website out there for this! It’s called PetFinder.com and it basically is a network where shelters and rescues can list adoptable animals. You can search by breed, age, size, etc which made it really easy for us to find possible matches for Annie really quickly. That’s where we found Edward, we contacted AJ’s Best Friends (his rescue agency) and scheduled a meetup as quickly as we could! Eddie is half Chihuahua and half Dachshund which makes him the perfect size for Annie. We love his pointy ears too!

When Annie and Eddie first met, Edward was quite shy and just wanted to curl up in Sherri’s (Edward’s foster mom) lap and bury his little head. But Annie seemed really interested in this new dog friend and tried to get him to play, he did a bit, but just really didn’t know if he could come out of his puppy shell. After a while Kaleb and I decided that Eddie was a really sweet pup and we were sure the two would warm up to each other eventually.  So after some quick paperwork, Eddie came home with us!

We renamed Edward from his original name (Jelly Belly) because we feel that our dogs are our babies, and they deserve human names and to be treated with equal rights as humans. Plus, there’s a story! When we went to meet Edward he had just had his nails trimmed, and I was wearing shorts since it was hot out. Since he was so excited to meet us he was jumping up and scratching my legs with his newly trimmed nails. Pretty soon my legs looked horribly scratched and red, Kaleb exclaimed, “It looks like Edward Scissor Paws got you you!”  So the name Edward stuck. :D It’s a good nickname and goes well with Anniezilla!

He’s been with us two days now, and LOVING every minute of it! Annie and Eddie are like two peas in a pod now, they’re never more than a few feet away from each other at any given time and play together like they’re littermates. Edward has had a few accidents in the house, but we pretty much expected that with him still being a puppy and all, but overall he’s been a great sport learning the puppy pads quickly and when we go outside he doesn’t fool around! Kaleb kids him, “Annie has ears the size of Jupiter and Eddie has a bladder the size of Pluto.”

If you are a dog lover or if you’ve had the pleasure of meeting Annie or Eddie, feel free to follow their twitter feed. They’re always up to something, and they have a particularly interesting view of the world!

If you’d like to know more about rescuing animals in Phoenix, becoming a foster family for rescued or abused animals, or how you can help animals in need by donating time or money, please contact AJ’s Best Friends or the Maricopa County Animal Care and Control. While on our hunt for the perfect pooch companion we learned that several rescue agencies in the Valley received over 100 dogs and puppies from puppy mills in Missouri over the course of this weekend, so they really can use your help right now as much as ever.

Apr
14

Stronger, Fitter, Happier

By april.holle  //  life news, things to do  //  1 Comment

I could write some lame excuse post about why I haven’t been writing, like “oh I bought a house, I celebrated my 25th birthday, etc” but I’ll spare you the bits and if you’re interested let me know and I’ll fill you in.

In the meantime, I’m starting to wonder about what to do next. I’m 25, I just bought my first house, due to get marred in Sept., financially sound and have everything I ever dreamed of having when I was a little girl. So…. what’s next?

My entire life I’ve had a goal, that next stepping stone to leap for without looking. Now, I’m standing at the green pasture I was traveling to and looking around to wonder where I go from here.

Upon further evaluation of my current situation, the only thing I see I want to change is my… weight.  Oh yea, you know it, it’s that time for my self image to come rearing its ugly head. I’m not obese by any means, you won’t ever hear me talk about “OMG I am SOOO fat!” but there are some lumps and bumps that weren’t attached to me before that I definitely wouldn’t mind loosing. So course of action?

Well we’re going to attack this beast from two flanks. I’m going to eat right and exercise, because I hear… all of one and none of the other doesn’t really do it. ;) So lets break down the plan here a bit further.

Eating Right

We all tell ourselves we’re going to eat better, we may end up crash salading for a while and then give up and dive head first into the chocolate cake. I have tried cooking at home and eating out less, cutting soda out of my lifestyle, etc. But, I began to wonder, am I really eating right or just torturing myself and filling up somewhere else? Weight Watchers has these commercials on right now, showcasing a free week of their online tool that helps you measure your progress, so I looked up the cost. I was pleased to see that my monthly subscription to Weight Watchers isn’t any more expensive than a monthly subscription to World of Warcraft, and perhaps much better for myself. So here’s where the fun begins, because I started to think of it like a GAME! :D

I log in, fill out my little height, weight, age and find out that I’m ten pounds over the “healthy maximum” for my height and age. What a shocker! I knew I wasn’t “fit” but really? I’m overwieght? So come to find out my range is 115-135, I’m sitting at 145lbs. Yes, I did, I broadcast my weight online for everyone to see, but you can track my progress too!  The next step you get to set your “goal”, so I kept it easy, 130lbs.

After you set up your target, then you can choose your meal plan, there is the FLEX plan that gives you a certain number of points and you can eat whatever you want as long as you stay within a certain number of points a day/week. Then there’s the core plan that seemed more strict. So for me, just starting, FLEX was the way for me. So using the FLEX plan I get 21 points per day (this is based on how much weight I want to loose, etc), and then I get 35 points to spend however I want through the week (that slice of chocolate cake after dinner out, etc).

Now here’s where the strange stuff starts, now I have to track everything, I mean EVERYTHING I eat or drink. I decided to practice a bit and put in everything I had eaten yesterday (mind you I’m signing up around 5 pm).  After I got done I realized no wonder I’m overwieght, yesterday I consumed 49.5 points! That’s more than DOUBLE what I’m suppose to be eating!

After I found this out, I started really analysing where those points came from, and after looking through my entries, it all made sense. Those little times through out the day, I say.. oh, it’s just a slice of cheese pizza, just a grilled cheese sandwich, its really not doing me any favors at all. All these items come into my life because I don’t know what to make, I just pull something quick and easy out of the fridge and make it happen. So I hit up the recipe area to start doing some meal planing. A quick dash to the grocery store for some new awesome fruit and veggie choices and I’m ready to rock and roll today. I’ll let you know how I’m doing!

Getting Off Your Bum

Thankfully exercise isn’t going to be hard part here. In the recent past I’ve been exercising on a semi-regular basis, so I just need to conjure up a real schedule and stick to it. Going to pull up the LA Fitness (my gym I’m already a member of) and look into some of the classes they have, I love Yoga and Pilates a ton, so going to those classes will be easy for me. The motivation is really good here because I love the feeling I get after I work out, I feel better, I breathe better (ex-smoker ya know) and I actually feel like I have more energy.

The hard part here, is Kaleb. He has a crappy commute from work to home at night, so when he gets home, he’s a lounge bug. I love to just relax after a hard day with him, but once we get into that mode it’s hard for either of us to want to be physically active. He bought a treadmill, but we still haven’t set it up since we moved in, so our chances of really getting on the thing are slim. Perhaps, as I go he’ll start hopping on the band wagon, he doesn’t have to do my classes per say, but he could run or do weights while I’m in class too. :)

Anyhow, that’s my new goal, and it will be lifelong once I start getting it together. :) Wish me luck and I’ll keep you updated on my success!

Feb
18

Changing Gears: Career Move

I’ve left my position at Terralever as a front end architect to explore other opportunities within the Phoenix area. Over the last few months I’ve developed an interest in other aspects of the web industry, not just xhtml/css. I’d like to expand my abilities in areas such as web marketing strategy, seo/sem, design and other areas in web design and development. Terralever is a great company that provided me with spectacular opportunities to work with big name brands and cutting edge technology. However, each employee is very specialized and a very T shaped professional, while this position allowed me to become very specialized in XHTML/CSS, I didn’t find the flexibility I required to delve into other areas I was interested in.

I have accepted a short term contract with Drawbackwards, a smaller strategic design and interactive marketing agency. I will be filling several roles at Drawbackwards that will enable me to have the flexibility to explore the other areas of the web industry that I’m interested in. Over the last week I’ve been able to create information architecture, SEO/SEM suggestions, project plans, etc. I’m sure this is just the beginning.

I’ve realized that I’m interested in more than just how the web is created. I want to know how people make the web great. Focusing on strategic approaches to connect great companies and services with customers and users whose lives will be enriched by these products, services and relationships.

Look for the tone of my website to change a bit, perhaps less technical and more theoretical. With the career change I’ll have more mobility, working from home three days a week, so I hope to be able to post more often. Also, in early March I’ll be attending the South by Southwest Interactive Conference, so I look forward to posting regarding all the exciting ideas I get from there. :)

Jan
28

Walking on the Ceiling

I was in a meeting with one of my co-workers today when she mentioned that as a child she would lay on her back with her feet up in the air, as if she could walk on the ceiling. It brought me back to that time in my life, remembering how life would be if you had to step through door ways and your head would bump on bookcases and chairs hanging from the ceiling.

Remember playing that the floor was lava? Jumping from one piece of furniture to the next, trying not to scald your feet on the red hot bubbles below? Your mom screaming at you to get off the entertainment center or the refrigerator?

The days in life, where you could make rabbits and dragons out of clouds, where ants crawling on the ground still made you point and stare.  Those days when rain drops and bubbles made you laugh and when that soft blanket made the worlds troubles go away.

Stop when the 9 to 5 starts to grind on you, when your love life seems not so lovely, or when you have to rush groceries in between the post office and the vet. Then remember, laying on your back, pretending that you’re walking on the ceiling and smile.

Jan
13

New Year, New Me?

Sorry I’ve been in hiatus the past three weeks or so… I was all on track to get some serious blogging done over the break and instead found myself in a mess of personal life crisis that made me wonder if Doctor Phil needs me to fill in some days.

In the last three weeks I’ve hatched an awesome Christmas plot to give Kaleb an HD TV, purposed to, had my dad visit from Kansas, took my father to San Diego to meet Kaleb’s parents, built a website for my father’s dream, landscaped my backyard with dad, drove straight through to Kansas to say good bye to my grandmother on her death bed, kicked out my brother’s girlfriend and some of her friends who were living off my dad in his house, enrolled my brother in college, realized how much my grandmother sacrificed her entire life to provide for her family in the time of her death, held confession for past love and realized crossroads in my life, flew back to Arizona the same day as my grandmother’s funeral, found good in restructuring our department for the second time in the past year, sent home from work for poorly executed light-hearted comment, became unsure of my employment for twelve hours, went back to work, met with co-worker to find our friendship completely intact, had life realization.

I touch so many lives, trying to right wrongs, trying to make life easier for people to cope with. Sometimes people need to see it for themselves, sometimes people will never be able to see through the haze, regardless, I need to realize that I cannot force people to see at all. As much as I want to open the eyes of the world to have people see what’s really important, they slam shut. I need to learn to open my own and remember the gift that has been given, free will.

I am not perfect. No one is. We all make mistakes, but the beauty of life to to realize those mistakes and become better for them. Don’t waste time wishing you had said this or done that. It’s done, it’s over, look at what’s next. What will tomorrow bring?

Sometimes we get so caught up in the daily grind that we forget there’s a higher purpose for us all. Realize your purpose and live through it every day.

Don’t be scared of change, the ebb and flow of life seldom is stagnate for long. Sometimes you’re at its mercy, but after the storm, you may find yourself washed up on a better shore than the one you left.

Dec
3

I too bought an iPhone

As an early Christmas gift to myself I went ahead and bought an iPhone. I’ve been debating for quite a while about plunking down the change for one, but eh, there just really isn’t a better phone out there right now, and there isn’t going to be for a while. So, why not.

I LOVED the fact that I didn’t have to spend a ton of time in the AT&T store to set it up, I just bought the phone, and left. That’s right… no questions, no paperwork, no signatures, no plan upsale, no blah blah blah. It was nice, since I’m a geek and social interactions are difficult for me to manage sometimes. ;)

I come home, unwrap it, plug it in, and AWAY WE GO! My pro version of Vista didn’t seem to have a hard time shaking hands with the Apple device, and iTunes recognized what I was trying to do RIGHT away. I went through the really simple steps of selecting a plan, transferring my existing Verizon number (waaay easier than I thought it was going to be), and synced up with all my music. DONE!

The only smug thoughts I had were the fact that it doesn’t sync with my Firefox or Thunderbird. :(

After using it during the weekend I noticed the headphone jack flaw that everyone was griping about, but after a quick trip to Best Buy to pick up a headphone adapter for $7 I was back in business with my audio connection in my car and my Sony earbuds I love so much.

I have since handed over my 30GB iPod to Kaleb to use in his new car and I use my iPhone for all my music needs now.

I LOVE the map feature, I can quickly search for businesses, get directions, and all that with a couple of clicks. So I don’t have to call Kaleb asking where the nearest PetSmart is from Rural and Broadway. ;)

The only issue I’m having with the iPhone right now at all really has little to do with the phone itself. AT&T coverage seems to be spotty in the valley, especially in front of my computer in my home office. :| What gives?

I think it’s interesting that AT&T and Cingular’s whole advertising campaign is “More bars in more places” and I can’t even get a good signal in my house in a super urban area. :( BOO!

But besides the coverage, everything is going great, I’ll keep you posted as I use it more and get used to some of the features it offers. :)

Nov
13

Ack! I Missed Some Days!

By april.holle  //  life news  //  No Comments

Alright, alright, I missed some days. I fail.

I’ve been caught up in this silly house thing, but it looks like the timing isn’t right after all. I’m approved for the loan amount, but the mortgage payment would be double my rent payment now… yeaaa not going to go back to eating ramen any time soon. So, maybe later.

Nov
10

The Hunt Is On

By april.holle  //  life news  //  No Comments

Kaleb and I have been thinking about purchasing a house come next year, after all the loans are paid, credit cards cut up… well… I jumped the gun.

I found this super cute patio home over in North West Mesa that is more than what we’re looking for. Three bedrooms, two baths, a good sized backyard for a mini-wiener, an Arizona room, a remodeled kitchen, a fireplace, and… something that’s hard to find on a condo in Arizona, a two car garage!  Not to mention it’s in our price range.

Well, today, we went to go look at it, I was floored and willing to hide out in the huge walk-in closet in the master bedroom. Kaleb wondered around and checked out all the rooms, noticing there weren’t cable drops in two of them. We spent a lot of time just wondering about and making sure there weren’t and deal busters to be found. Needless to say, we were definitely interested in it.

But is the timing right? Is the time ever right? We’ve handed over all of our financial matters to a loan advisor and she’s getting back with us next week, that will be the real hitch. Once we get that all figured out then we’ll really be able to jump in feet first. Wish us luck!

What is this?

This little blog happens to be the personal ramblings of one April Holle - I'm female, outspoken, webbie, a community evangelist, and Principal of Made Better Studio. Check out the about section for more info.

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