Wednesday, March 14, 2018

This Is What You Raised Them For...

Saying time flies is a frequently used idiom; but there's a reason for that - it truly does!  In fact, the older my kids get the quicker time seems to pass; which is why those Riders who I don't know personally, may be surprised to hear that my son, Nicky is now almost 19 years old and a Freshman in college.  For those who are my Facebook friends, this should be less surprising, though probably not less believable.  As his Momma, it feels like just yesterday that he was born.  For years I both dreamed about. yet dreaded the day that I would move him to college; but I'm here to tell ya, it's a fulfilling experience and one that gave me great satisfaction and joy.  If I cried at all, they were happy tears, FOR my son; and not tears of sadness for me.

Nicky and I have always been very close, so the expectation (both mine and my clan's) was that I would fall apart upon his departure; but amazingly enough, the opposite was true.  
We moved Nicky down to the University of Arizona on a Saturday, because he was going to participate in Bear Down Camp a week before the other students arrived.  Since UA is only two hours from our home, our plan was to move him in and come home; and then go back with our girls the next day, since we had to attend a brunch with Nicky as part of the camp. 
I thought that I'd be very emotional when I left him that first night; but I think that knowing I'd see him the next day, made it easier to leave without incident.  We went back Sunday morning and although I got teary a few times during the brunch, I can honestly say that it wasn't because I thought it would be difficult to be apart; but because I was so happy to see what Nicky was going to be a part of.  I was so proud of all that he had accomplished to get him to this point and I was very excited for him.  Don't get me wrong, I must have hugged him a million times, (and not little short hugs) because part of me didn't think I could let go; but I managed to say goodbye without crying, and as much as I miss having him home, I haven't shed a tear.

My close friends were good to check on me often during Nicky's first few days at school.  They asked how I was doing, and while I'm not sure that my response surprised them, it pleasantly surprised me. You see, Nicky was able to text me while he was at camp (in Prescott), but I didn't talk to him until 4 days later, when he was back on campus.  The first time that we spoke on the phone, it was if my son had come alive.  He was talkative and animated.  I could hear the smile on his face in the way that he spoke.  He asked me questions and told me about his experiences, and I felt incredibly gratified.  As the week went on, and he participated in welcome activities and went to his first classes, it was obvious that he was exactly where he was meant to be and that he was doing all that we had raised him to do.  So how could I be sad about that? 

It's so hard to believe that Nicky will be done with his first year of college in just two months.  He had a fantastic first semester, earning a 4.0 at the College of Engineering.  He's taking his first computer programming class this semester and will be declaring his major as Electrical / Computer Engineering, with a concentration in Computer Engineering.  He DJ's a weekly radio show, and he attends shabbat services at Hillel.  He's made some good friends and he's actively looking for additional clubs to join; so what more could a Momma want?

I couldn't be more thrilled for Nicky.  I enjoy hearing from him daily. I always look forward to the next time that I'm going to see him; and I guarantee that all of you Momma's who will be sending kids off to college soon, will feel the same.  Just remember my words "THIS is what you raised them for."   You raised them to go out into the world and make it a better place.  You raised them to go out into the world and make their dreams come true. To go out into the world and learn who they are, apart from you; and then one day they'll come back and while they'll still be your baby, they'll be their own person.

Till next time,

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Oops I Did It Again, And Again...

Today is Oscar Sunday, so I'm tickled by the poetic justice of having some thing to write about; (since after all, it was the Oscar's that first inspired me to start blogging.)

So re the title of this post, I'm a klutz from way back.  I've been tripping over my feet, air and any and every little thing, for as long as I can remember; hence the "Oops I did it again".  Now the "And Again" - here we go...

It's been way too long since I last wrote, but I'm delighted to say that Lyndzi's been receiving great acclaim for her art work and she's been entering several contests.  She had been awaiting the announcement of the Valley Metro, Design a Transit Rap Contest, but only found out on Feb 13th that the entry deadline was Feb. 16th.  Lyndzi quickly got to work and created her entry in one day; so our real challenge was how to get her submission downtown in time.  

Before "The Ride" really begins, here are a few background things that you need to know:
1.  Lyndzi entered this same contest last year.  We physically dropped her entry off on the last day of the deadline, but the person that she was supposed to deliver her submission to wasn't in the office.  We left her piece with the desk assistant, but Lyndzi always doubted that her artwork was actually considered; so this year she wanted to have her entry received by 2/15, to give her a little cushion.
2.  I hate driving in any downtown area AND I hate driving places that I'm not familiar with.  For the purpose of this story, let's take hate to mean, it causes me great anxiety.
3.  I had a pedicure appointment scheduled for 4:15 on 2/14. OK, I heard your sigh, but consider this - I hadn't had a pedicure since early November (and yes, the toes in the photo, really are early November pedicure remnants.) ALSO I have such a great pedicurist, it takes weeks for me to get an appointment with her, so cancelling wasn't really an option.

So, given all of the factors above, Lyndzi and I agreed to overnight her art work after school on 2/14, so that it would arrive with time to spare on 2/15.  My plan was to pick Lyndzi up at 220, stop by Fed Ex, pick up Kelsie, stop at the post office (if Fed Ex was too expensive), pick up $5 sushi and cake slices from Fry's (for our Valentine's Day celebration), drop the girls at home and go for my pedicure.  Well, I picked up Lyndzi's drawing and saw that it was drizzling outside.  It had rained earlier, but I didn't have time to spare, so I couldn't look for something to protect the drawing.  In my infinite wisdom, I placed it flat underneath my shirt.  I chose a pair of flip flops to wear (only because I had the pedi appointment coming up) and I walked outside. The ground was wet, I was holding my hand on my stomach to protect the art work, I took the shortest route possible to get into my car, slipped and fell on the cement between my car and the rocks on my driveway.  The pain set in immediately and I screamed out loud (Don't ask what - lol).  I managed to get up, still trying to keep the drawing flat, and made it into my car.  I was crying (and I'm NOT a crier) and I think I said "ow" repeatedly, on the drive to Lyndzi's school.  There were leaves on my shirt, my jeans had torn a bit, and I had mascara running down my face; so needless to say, Lyndzi was quite taken aback when I picked her up.  I explained what happened, and through my sobs, I asked her to text my pedicurist to let her know that I'd just fallen and had to cancel the appointment. Oh the irony!
We picked up Kels, and stopped at Fed Ex. The girls went in without me, and decided that we might be better off mailing the entry from the post office.  On to the post office I drove and waited in the car while the girls went in.  They mailed the submission, so at least that goal was accomplished; and we then drove to Fry's because  I didn't want to disappoint the girls and they agreed that they could go in without me.

I sat in the car, in a good deal of pain and twenty minutes later, I got a text from Lyndzi.  She told me that they had gotten the cake slices, but the kiosk had just run out of sushi and they were going to make more.  I asked if they wanted to wait or come up with a plan B?  Lyndz said that Kelsie said they could wait; so I agreed.  Another hour went by before I heard from them again.  At this point Lyndzi called and explained that the sushi lady was helping other customers before them, even though they'd been waiting longer and ultimately she had made them the wrong thing and they were going to have to keep waiting in order to get part of the order.  I told them to just buy what they had, stop at customer service to tell them about the problem they'd had with the sushi lady and call it a day; because at this point it had been three hours since I had fallen and I was in a lot of pain.

The girls came out of the store crying.  They were upset that they'd made me wait that long, and that everything had gone so badly.  I thought that it was just my sushi that hadn't gotten made, but it turned out that it was Lyndzi's as well; so with that, I told them that I was going to go into the store.  Did you just say "oh no?"  lol  Well, yes I did.  I got out of the car and started limping through the parking lot.  It was raining again, and the ground was slick, so do I really have to say it?  Yup, I slipped AGAIN, and fell in the Fry's parking lot.  3 kind people came to my rescue, and I have to say I feel really badly for the gentleman who helped me up, because I weigh A LOT, AND  I couldn't put any pressure on my ankle.  Hercules managed to get me up and I hobbled into the store.  I texted Kels and asked her to come in because I knew that there was no way that I could make it back to the car on my own.  I went to customer service, and suffice it to say that after talking to the manager and waiting another 25 minutes, I left the store with 2 free sushi rolls and a $25 gift card. (NO, it wasn't worth it.)

I drove home and I don't think I've ever been so happy to get there.  My ankle was terribly swollen and my knee was scraped up, but other than that I wasn't injured, so I considered myself lucky.  I iced it, and elevated it, but I couldn't put any pressure on it, so I used the crutches that Lyndzi had gotten last year, after a soccer injury.  Within 24 hours I thought I could get around without the crutches.  I continued to limp for 13 more days, and since the pain hadn't subsided I decided it was time to go to the doctor.

The medical practice that I go to, can do an xray in their office, so I  thought this would expedite my diagnosis and I made an appointment on Tuesday.  After speaking with the PA, she sent me for an ultrasound, because she suspected that my ankle was fractured. (They can do ultrasounds there too.) She told me that it would take 1-2 days to get the ultrasound results, but if I wanted to, I could get a boot that day, just in case.  I had the ultrasound, and went to get the boot, but the assistant told me that since I have a high deductible on my insurance, I'd have to pay $80 out of pocket.  I thought, if I have to, I will; but since I don't know if it's actually fractured and I've already been walking around on it for almost 2 weeks, I can wait another day or two.  Welllll,, if you've taken "The Ride" before, then you should know that things rarely go as planned for me, and this time was no different.  I called on Thursday afternoon to see when they might have my results and the very nasty associate had no idea and showed no interest in finding out.  She told me that it typically takes 3- 5 business days to get ultrasound results; so I informed her that's not what I'd been told, and I asked her to please have someone get back to me the next day.  I waited till 2:30 on Friday but since I hadn't heard anything I called again.  Blah, blah, blah no results but the associate was a little more compassionate about it.  By 830 Friday night, the PA had sent an email apologizing profusely.  Apparently the tech who was supposed to enter the results had been out sick for 2 days and no one covered for her.  She told me to continue wearing the boot and she would have the results for me first thing Monday morning.  Well, therein lied the problem.  I didn't have the boot, but she didn't know that.  I emailed back and explained that I hadn't actually gotten the boot yet, and THAT was why I was so anxious to get the ultrasound results.  I asked that she please get back to me ASAP and thankfully I received another very apologetic email on Saturday morning.  She told me that she was able to get the results and as they showed a subtle fracture and inflammation, I could pick up the boot before noon that day and I'd need to wear it for 6-8 weeks.  

Lyndzi and I went to pick up the boot, and the techs were quite amused when they asked the size of my foot and I said "very big."  They kindly got me fitted and taken care of; and although I had to pay the $80, they're going to attempt to get me a refund (supposedly.)  I know I have a bit of a battle left with the doctor's office, because sadly it seems difficult for them to do the right thing; but at least for now, I'm on the road to recovery.  I'm still considering myself lucky AND if nothing else, it finally brought me back to "The Bumpy Ride."

Till next time...

PS - For those of you who are still wondering about the magnetic false eyelashes, I should now have plenty of time to try and figure them out, and blog about that too.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

KEEPing It Real

To quote David Bowie "Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes."  Happy New Year Riders, I am sorely aware that it's been a while; so here I am, sporting a brand new background, striking away at the keys, and excited about what 2016 has in store!!! 

It doesn't seem like it was that long ago, when I first told you about Reunion Coordinator (RC) and the beginning of Luis' DJ career; but alas, it's been five whole years.   Within that time, I had become a Reunion Coordinator, and even went on to manage the company for three years. While RC was doing quite well, the owner's primary business had been skyrocketing, so he decided to sell the company. Thankfully, he offered me a job in the accounting department and sweetened the deal with a raise.  I began assisting the CFO in September and continued to manage RC in my "free time"; until the end of the year when it was sold. Although the reunion business had its challenges, the rewards were greater.  Luis had always talked about wanting to be a DJ and not only was he able to fulfill a dream, it was the catalyst for us to start DJ Louie and Company; which has been doing very well.  We're not making millions by any means, but we LOVE seeing the kids and families in Peoria dance.   We've been very fortunate with the clients that we've worked with and have met some fantastic people, DJing school carnivals, , weddings, vow renewals, Sweet 16's reunions and a variety of other events.  Through RC I met some wonderful people who are now dear friends,  I enhanced my event planning skills, and took part in celebrations that I will remember forever; 
but that chapter has now ended.  Even though I could have continued planning reunions for the new owner, I decided that my time and effort would be best spent growing MY new business KEEP Collective.  

While often welcomed, actually making a change, taking a chance, and starting something new can be scary and risky; but if we don't try to make a difference, we have to be prepared for things to stay as they are and for me that's not an option right now.  Luis and I have always sacrificed higher salaries, for flexibility in our schedules so that we didn't require outside child care; and if you've met my kids, heard me talk about them, or read about them, you KNOW that our decision was the right one for us.  Our kids are phenomenal, they are kind, thoughtful individuals who are excelling in all areas.  I could go on and on about how absolutely incredible they are; but that's not the point of this post.   Suffice it to say that as a family we are rich in so many ways, but the time has come for us to fatten out bank accounts and reap the financial rewards for our hard work.
About a year ago, an acquaintance of mine started selling a new line of jewelry called KEEP Collective.  She explained that KEEP was a sister company to Stella and Dot and they sold jewelry that would let you create one-of-a-kind pieces to tell YOUR story.  The jewelry was stylish and I LOVED the idea of being able to wear something to support my kids; but I wasn't ready to start something new at that time or make a purchase.  In August, I saw my friend make a Facebook post saying that she was looking for two hostesses to have parties, so I decided to volunteer.  The kids were just going back to school and I really wanted a bracelet that said "SWIM Mom."
I hosted the party, which only had two sales, so I didn't earn the potential hostess rewards, and ultimately purchased my bracelet, along with two Pave "M's"
and a volleyball, so that I could make a bracelet that said "Volleyball MOM".  Even before I made my purchase, I could not stop thinking about selling KEEP.   I know many people who work for a variety of direct sales businesses, but none of them ever made sense for ME before.  I never felt that I could sell a product that I couldn't afford in my own budget, nor did I ever feel passionate about a company before; UNTIL I learned about KEEP Collective.  I was all set to talk to my friend about signing up; BUT, she didn't ask me about it; so I didn't ask her.  Silly me!  A few months later we did discuss it and she told me that she thought I would love it, and have great success, but she didn't mention it to me before because she didn't want to be pushy.  We agreed to meet on Dec. 13th to talk about it more in depth; and right then and there, I made the decision that I should have made months before.  That day I signed up, and I am thrilled to say that I am a KEEP Collective Independent designer and before I go on any further, I MUST thank the friends old and new, who made purchases during my first party.  I cannot thank them enough for supporting me and I am so gratified that everyone is delighted with their purchases.

Now, what do I LOVE about KEEP Collective??? EVERYTHING!!!!  It's important to me that the business leaders are women who support and encourage other women and that my earning potential is unlimited.  Storyteller and promoter of the GREATER GOOD that I am, it's rewarding for me to be able to wear my beliefs, my message my causes.  I've coined the phrase "Tell your story, share your passion, wear your pride."
KEEP has partnered with the KIND Campaign whose message you have to know, I promote.
KEEP Collective is a positive company, whose motto's are displayed everywhere from the "life celebrated" cards that you receive with your purchases, to their "All things are possible", "live happy", and "You Can Sit with Us"  bars.  They have gorgeous script letter words, for "Love", "Believe", "Faith" and "Blessed" and I for one, enjoy wearing them as a reminder to myself.  And lastly, all of the "keys" (the letters, symbols, bars) fit all of the "keepers"  (the bracelets, pendants, key fobs) so you can change your look and grow your collection.

Becoming a KEEP designer was an inexpensive start up, compared to other direct sales businesses; just $149 plus tax and $5.95 shipping for $500 worth of jewelry, and the incentives kept rolling in.  Within the first few weeks, I earned $100 in FREE KEEP plus two half price items.  I earned the opportunity to upgrade my original kit for $50 and receive another $250 in jewelry; not to mention, I GOT PAID 25% commission, weekly.  No need to wait for a check; they give you a special debit card and load your pay on every Thursday if you've earned commission.  Of course I'll receive a higher pay rate as I excel and once I build a team, I'll make a percentage of their sales as well.

I feel truly blessed to have joined KEEP Collective during their first year of business.  We currently have 10,000 designers and we're growing.   This is still a ground floor opportunity for anyone who may be curious about joining me.

So here's the thing, THIS is not a sales pitch.  The title of this post is "KEEPing it Real", because I want to catch you up on what I've been up to, and WHY I made the decision to sell KEEP.  I want to spread the word about this amazing line, because it's still so new that most people (that I know), have never heard of it or seen it.  I have no intention of turning the Bumpy Ride into a promotion for KEEP Collective, but as I'm hoping that it will be a big, important part of my life, I'm sure that I'll mention it from time.  This one time though, I will say "Ladies and Gentlemen, PLEASE check out my  website  (Yes, I have a website...) You can take a look at the catalog and  if items interest you, contact me so that I can mock it up for you and you can see what it will look like before you buy (just like the images that I shared above.)  Valentine's day is coming and KEEP would be an ideal gift for your loved ones. (Just sayin...)    If you'd like to host a party, through the magic of Facebook, anyone in any state can have a Facebook Social with me as their designer; which is awesome because it doesn't limit who I am able to work with.  And of course, once you've checked out what we have to offer, if you think that KEEP might be the opportunity that's right for you; I'd be thrilled to have you join my team.

It's important to me that you know that while I may contact you with a design idea or to tell you that there's a piece that I think you might be interested in, it's not because I want to make money (that's a bonus); it's because I think that it's something that you might not know about and you may enjoy.  If you're not interested, my feelings won't be hurt; but they will be hurt if you think that I'm using our friendship to make a sale.  C'mon riders, you KNOW me... I'm all about the (say it with me...) "Greater Good"; and that includes showing you something that I think you'd like.

One thing I can say, I believe that working with KEEP will lead me to my own GREATER GOOD and afford me more time to pursue all of my interests including writing "The Bumpy Ride,"

At this time, I'm going to share a few more photos from the fabulous KEEP Collective collection and simply say...

Till next time,