Thursday, September 30, 2010

(43-65) A Little PRINCE

My house is less than a one minute drive to my kid's school; but because it's still so hot out; I've been dropping them off in the morning and picking them up in the afternoon.  So while I was on my way to pick up my kids I was thinking about what I might blog about today and while I was having this brief thought, I was also scanning the radio; and in the 15 second spans of time that it took me to  get from my house to the first stop sign, I heard not 1 but 2 different Prince songs.  Now if that's not a sign of longevity,  I don't know what is.
I've always enjoyed Prince.  I remember the first time that I saw him, when he performed "Wanna be your lover" on Saturday Night Live; and I recall not knowing if he was a guy or a girl; but why wouldn't one be confused with the lyrics "I wanna be your brother; I wanna be your mother and your sister too."  OK, I was confused; and I think that I thought that he was too; but nonetheless; I LOVED the song and I recall that performance to this day; so make an impression he did. 
A couple of years later "Purple Rain" came out and I was a Big fan, "Huge!"  I can't even count how many times I saw that movie in the theater.  I had the soundtrack (of course;) and the day the video (OK, date myself much) came out; I had a "Purple Rain" viewing party.  There were so many fantastic songs in that movie / album; I'd be hard pressed to find one that I didn't like.  Let's face it; the man is a hit machine no matter what his name is.

Funny how just scanning the radio in a couple of seconds, can lead to a post for the night; but there you have it.  Hearing those 2 songs, reminded me of how much I like Prince and I always have; so I'm going to share my top 5 Prince songs with you; and bid you happy listening.
Till next time...
Wanna Be Your Lover
Little Red Corvette
I would Die For You / Baby I'm A Star
Paisley Park

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

(43-64) Take 2...

I wouldn't dare say that I was the Queen of IRONY; however, I do enjoy it very much, and tonight I've been served a healthy dose.  Earlier this week, I wrote "So HAPPY To Be Wrong;" and I explained that as I am the Queen of MISHAPS, I frequently make mistakes; but I don't have a problem admitting when I'm wrong.  And then JUST the next day, I go and prove my own point by writing "Name That Team;" and quoting the name that Kelsie recommended (for her soccer team;) as the Tornadoes, but it turns out that it WASN'T the Tornadoes at all.

What can I say?  You say Torpedos, I say Tornadoes.  And, it actually was The Torpedos that Kelsie suggested; which I like that even more; despite the fact that I couldn't remember it. In my defense (because of course, I always have one;) I think that I was so deliriously tired when I wrote the post that I fixated on the wrong name. Word to the wise, for (say it with me;) "The Greater Good;"  DON'T sleep and blog.  I believe that I had caught myself dozing off as I was typing the email address where you may send your suggestions; and as soon as I woke myself up; I concluded the blog and edited, edited, edited. I read Tornadoes over and over but it never dawned on me that I was writing the wrong name; until tonight.

As the soccer season draws closer day by day; we're running out of time to name the team; so our conversations have been predominantly about soccer; ESPECIALLY the name of Kelsie's team; and Luis had even commented "Who would have thought that it would have been so hard to name a soccer team?" 
Tonight we ran the gamut from calling them Circle K, to The Thingamajigs, to The Simpsons, The Osbournes, The Cure, The Whatchamacallits, The Dolphins, The Asteroids, The Meteorites and the Electric Eels; just to name a few. When all was said and done Luis and Kelsie agreed, beyond a shadow of a doubt that their team would be The Torpedos and no tornado will be able to stop them.  It's now time to go out and kick some grass.
Till next time...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

(43-63) Name That Team...

The soccer season is rapidly approaching and I for one am giddy with excitement.  Although soccer season is extremely taxing on our schedule, I enjoy everything about it; and this year there will be even more to love as Luis has agreed to coach Kelsie's team.
Luis was an assistant coach for Lyndzi and Kelsie's team last year and he was Nicky's assistant coach for the past 2 years; but now he's agreed to take center stage and coach his own team; and I think that he's going to be fantastic.
We already know 3 of the girls and 1 of the boys that's going to be on the team; and I'm sure that they're going to have a sensational, season; if only Luis can decide on a name for his team.  I must admit, the team name has already brought us hours of entertainment.  When I was helping my friend, Jenny with her garage sale on Friday and Saturday, we discussed possible names all morning.  I know that I haven't mentioned this particular garage sale since it occurred; but I will tell you that the highlight was when one of the men who stopped by the sale, asked me if I'd like to go rabbit hunting with him.  ME, rabbit hunting??  Need I say more?  I politely declined his invitation but couldn't resist the opportunity to throw him for a loop, when he asked if David (Jenny's husband;) was Jenny's husband or mine; and I replied "both!"  Don't ask me why; it was just one of those kinds of days, but BOY was it a good laugh!

Heading around the turn now.  So names, names, my kingdom for a name.  We've looked at names of Mexican soccer teams, worldwide soccer teams, and popular team names.  I myself was partial to SWAT (Soccer with Attitude;) but I thought it would sound strange for Luis to call a player's home and say "Hi, this is Coach Luis with The Swat."  See, it just doesn't sound right.  Nor does "Go SWAT." 
We mulled over, The Diablos, The Heat, The Hurricanes (but with Luis' accent he has to work a little too hard to say that one, so we decided to pass it over.)  Kelsie suggested the Hammers, which we all thought was cute; but I think I had the best name of all when I suggested "The Situation."  Tina's daughter Kristin, proposed that we could all do a fist pump when someone scored a goal; and I thought this was just fabulous; but alas as much fun as it is to joke about; I don't think we should really be "The Situation."  Now K-Woww; maybe...

The name search continued and Kelsie came up with "The Tornadoes;" which I actually like and Luis is considering.  I think Luis has narrowed it down between The Tornadoes and The Dragons.  Or maybe we could be the Dragon Tornadoes.  Nonetheless, no matter what their name is going to be; I KNOW Luis is going to do a phenomenal  job.  You couldn't ask for a more slendiferous coach; and the kids are going to have an amazing time;  BUT, if you do have a suggestion for our team name, I welcome you to leave a comment or email AsktheQOE@ with your suggestions.

When I sat down to write tonight's post, I noticed that I'd already done 199; which makes this my Bicentennial.  "The Bumpy Ride" began on March 4, 2007 when I wrote "The Queen of EVERYTHING and the Bumpy Ride (or Vice Versa);" and I cannot believe that tonight's post is my 200th.   I'd like to think that I've remained true to my original mission.  I re-read my first post and I don't think that I've strayed very far at all.  Surely the fact that I've been writing my blog, every day for the past 63 days, has something to do with the expeditiously, increasing number of posts; but regardless; 200 is 200 and as quick as I am to put myself down, I will be equally swift to talk myself up.  I am VERY proud of myself; my commitment , and my pursuit of my dream.  I thank each and everyone of you who take the time to read "The Bumpy Ride."  I thank you for your patience and your understanding and your dedication.
Till next time...

Monday, September 27, 2010

(43-62) So HAPPY To Be Wrong!!

There was a part in "Dirty Dancing," when Dr. Houseman told Johnny that he knew that he wasn't the one who had gotten Penny in trouble; and he said "When I'm wrong I say I'm wrong."   And just like Dr. Houseman; so do I.  Now even though I didn't get anyone pregnant; I did have an equally troubling situation recently.  For those of you who are familiar with "The Bumpy Ride;" you know that being vague is NOT my strong suit;  but for proprieties sake, (now there's a new one for me;) I can't elaborate on what the problem was; however, I can tell you that this issue had NOTHING to do with another person; but with some documents.

Now in my particular case, since it was a matter of documentation and not communication, it was just that I misunderstood the situation and then the people who should have explained it to me; perpetuated the misunderstanding. But today someone finally explained the matter very clearly and precisely and the hugest weight was lifted off of my shoulders; and the birds chirped and the sun shine (or was it shone)and ALL was right with the world.  I can sincerely say that I have never been this happy nor has it ever felt this good to be wrong before.

I know that it's difficult for some people to admit when they're wrong; just as I wrote in "The Dirty Word," that some individuals have trouble saying "no."  But since none of us are perfect; should it really be that tough to just admit it when we've made a mistake?   EVERYONE gets confused from time to time.  Anyone can make a blunder, slip up, or err once in a while; so for (say it with me) "The greater good;"  wouldn't it just be that much less stressful and that much more pleasant if people could just own up to being incorrect if they are?  I know that pride often stands in people's way; but I for one, want to live harmoniously and with as little stress as possible, so I will gladly acknowledge being inaccurate or misinformed, if I know I am / was.

It's true that the way I was wrong about my documentation, harmed no one but Luis and I.  It caused us stress, and worry, in a different way than what I'm referring to in my advice for the greater good; but I think my point is that sometimes it feels good to know that you were wrong about something.  I can say that  we definitely would have not been this happy if I was "RIGHT" about the records in question.  Just as if I suspected I was ill, I wouldn't want to be "Right" about that.  Sometimes being wrong can be a good thing.  And sometimes admitting when you're wrong can be a great thing.
Till next time...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

(43-61) Calling All Scrappers!

So after the stressful day that I'd mentioned yesterday, in "MISS Interpretations;"  I tried to relax and scrapbook with my friends Jenny and Tina.  The ladies came over just after six and both of my friends immediately pulled out fixins for a layout, while I jabbered away.
At 730 Tina needed to leave to go pick up her daughter from work, but she planned to return by 9; so I thought that during her absence I'd write my blog and then finally sit down to try and make a layout.

Once my blog was completed, I took out 2 photos of Kelsie from our trip to Grand Junction, CO in 2005; as last week, when Julie and Joni came over, I had completed a lay out for Lyndzi from the very same trip.  As much as I wanted to replicate Lyndzi's layout; I didn't have the exact amount of each of the papers that I had used; so I had to come up with a variation of the same.

I was very pleased with the layout; but it was gettiing very late and I still needed to put on the title.
I probably should have quit while I was ahead; because I used rub-on letters for the title and once they were applied; I absolutely hated it.  I immediately decided to remove the rub-ons; but they didn't want to cooperate.  I tried to use Scotch tape, but the rub-ons were being very stubborn; and I must say that I found it extremely, ironic that I had such a difficult time trying to take them off, since when as I was cutting them off of the sheet, letters that I didn't need, were coming off of the backing, left and right. 

I took as much of the rub-ons off as possible, by using Scotch tape; but you can still see a great deal of it; so I figured that I would use some other type of letters to cover it up.  I was hoping to post my completed lay out tonight.  I tired no less than 4 kinds of letters and even tried putting a piece of paper over the remnant rub-ons, and adhering my new letters to the paper; but nothing seemed to look right.  So I decided that I'm going to share my lay out with you AS IS, thus far; and then I would appreciate it if  all of you scrapbookers who read "The Bumpy Ride," can tell me how in the world I'm supposed to remove this rub-on.

Now for all of you scrapbookers who are not very familiar with me or my blog; let me say this.  I rarely scrapbook, hence the amateur photo of my layout.  So again, if someone would like to tell me where and how to photograph my layout; I would most be most grateful. Once my title problem has been solved, I can post the completed lay out with a proper picture; but for now; here's the lay out in question. 
Thanks ALL!
Till next time..

Saturday, September 25, 2010

(43-60) MISS Interpretations

I am the Queen of COMMITMENT; The Queen of KEEPING MY WORD, and sadly, The Queen of  GETTING BIT IN THE ASS.  Suffice it to say that the last 24 plus hours have NOT been my happiest.  I'm not going to regale you with the gory details; but trust me when I tell you that once again my good intentions have been misconstrued, misrepresented and miscommunicated. 

I have learned that as fond as I am of words; I am going to have to pay much closer attention to the ones that come out of my mouth; because even though I may mean something in a certain way, that might not be the way that the person I'm speaking to interprets what I've said.
Perhaps you're surprised that I'm only coming to this realization now; but I have to say; that even though I haven't lived on the east coast in 13 1/2 years; I WAS born and raised there and thus have developed my communication style in such a manner.  People on the east coast seem to speak more directly, and speak their mind more than people in the west. Some may say that people from the east coast are rude for doing so; but being direct and speaking your mind doesn't necessarily mean that one has to be rude or insensitive. I'm NOT saying that I think either is better or worse.  I'm NOT saying that either is good or bad; I'm just saying that sometimes when people with different styles of talking have a conversation; one may need to be more particular about what they say and how they say it; and it seems that I for one, need to pay more attention to this.    I have no intention of changing who I am entirely, but I will be monitoring myself a lot more closely, because I've found that although someone speaks a certain way to you; they're not always OK with you speaking the same way to them.  Although you may have kid around with people in the past; if they're not in the mindset to kid around (which really, how could you know;) then anything and everything that you say in a joking manner can be misunderstood; and quite honestly it's not worth the drama.  So, I suppose that I'll have to put this on my list of things to work on changing; and quick.
Truth be told, I LIKE who I am and I don't really want to change (much;) but if it will decrease my stress; then it's worth a try.  If not, I may just have to stick to the written word and find myself a nice cave.
Till next time...

Friday, September 24, 2010

(43-59) Mistaken Identity

Tonight's topic was chosen from Mari's "Thoughts and Memories" jar.  The question was "What are your most embarrassing moments?"  Now being that I AM the Queen of MISHAPS; you'd have to imagine that I've had SEVERAL embarrassing moments; and you'd be right.  I alluded to my MOST embarrassing moment when I wrote "A Cure for the Hiccups;" although I wasn't able to share the exact incident given it's provocative nature.  And as I have had many embarrassing moments and am bound to have several more; tonight I'll share the most recent one; which occurred a couple of months ago.

Kelsie and I were standing on line at Subway, and a woman walked in, and she who looked very familiar to me.  The woman got on line behind me and we both said "Hi;" which confirmed to me that I knew the woman.  Kelsie then asked me who she was, and I quietly, said "She's the mom of a girl in Nicky's class."  Kelsie then went on to ask "which girl?"  I told Kelsie that she didn't know the girl (mostly because I couldn't think of her name; but also because I knew that Kelsie DIDN'T know the girl;) but being Kelsie; she persisted.  Kelsie continued to ask me "Which girl?  Which girl?"   And finally I raised my voice a bit and said emphatically, "Kelsie, she is the mom of a girl in Nicky's class and YOU don't know the girl!!"  And the mom awkwardly, replied "Um, I'm Carlos' mom from soccer."  OMG!  I was SO embarrassed.  I am usually so good about remembering people; and clearly this was a case of mistaken identity.
In my defense, soccer had been over for months and Carlos had been on Lyndzi's team 2 seasons ago; but I'd just seen and spoken to the mom of the girl in Nicky's class, a few weeks prior on a field trip.  I apologized profusely and she couldn't have been nicer about it; but of course, I was EXTREMELY embarrassed.
So a couple of weeks ago I happened to get a call from Carlos' much older brother, and he was asking about soccer registration.  I told him when it was and he said that he'd see me there; but instead of the brother, it was Carlos' mom who came to sign him up.  I greeted her and assured her that I knew exactly who she was this time; and she laughed good naturedly.
Now of course I know that nobody's perfect, and that we all make mistakes, and that stuff happens;  it's just a lil uncomfortable when we do it right to someones face and yours turns bright red.
Till next time...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

(43-58) Happy Birthday Hershey!

Today is Hershey's birthday.  My wuffie is now 2 years old; and the kids wanted to give her a proper celebration.  We bought party hats; and gave her lots of love and attetnion; just like we do for any family member's birthday.

As much as we all love Hershey, and as big a part of our family as she is; I can't believe that there was ever a time that Luis, Nicky and I weren't interested in having a dog; and now we couldn't live without her.  The latter part of that comment pertains to me and Nicky for sure; but don't ask Luis about his feelings for Hershey  Though, because just "as I told you in "To Camp or Not To Camp;"  he likes her very much; he just doesn't love her.  Now don't get me wrong; Nicky and I were never opposed to having a dog; although Nicky didn't seem to care if he had one or not; we just never could have imagined how much we would love this pup.

There's something about Hershey that just relaxes and comforts me; (well, us.)  She is sweet and she is smart; just like my other kids.  In additon to Hersh being fashion forward and answeing difficult questions with a nodf of her head; she is very intelligent; and we are so fortunate to have this sweet pup in our lives.  She is protective and loving and her mere presence makes me /us  happy.

I could go on and on writing about how much we love her; but I think I'm going to share some pictures of her instead.
(To the left) This is Hershey's impression of Arnold  (Gary Coleman) from "Different Strokes;"   "whatchyou  talkin bout  Willis?   (On the right;)  "Please stop singing!"
(On the left,) "SO tired after all the pictures."  A VERY loved Chihuahua indeed.

I hope that if you have a pet, it brings you as much joy as Hershey brings to us.  If you are not the receipient of an animal's love; I highly recommend adopting a pet, for (say it with me;) "You're GREATER GOOD!"
Till next time...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

(43-57) Light and Simple

Tonight I felt the need to write about something light and simple; and custard immediately came to mind.  The truth is, I've actually been thinking about writing about custard for a while; under the "Best Thing I Ever Ate" category; but Queen of INDECISION that I am; I couldn't choose which custard like dessert I thought was best; and so I've held off.  But now, under the heading of light and simple; I can write about as many custard desserts as I choose and not have to commit to declaring which one I think is best. YUM!

I thought about calling this post "Custard, Custard, Custard;" because it's so nice, you have to say it thrice (punny, I know;) but also because there are SO many desserts that I am  putting under this umbrella.  When I say custard; I am using that word in the broadest of terms.  I am classifying everything from the filling of a Dunkin Donuts, Boston Kreme Donut, to Entenmann's Coconut Custard Pie, to Marie Callender's Coconut Cream Pie to the filling of a Napolean, (and any other Italian pastry.)  From  Tiramisu (which unbelievably, I almost forgot about until I was Googling pictures for this post;) the ice cream kind of custard, flan (of course,) Creme Brulee and a Cannoli.    Whew, my mouth is watering just thinking about the deliciousness of it all. 

Who would have thunk that I would  actually be able to type an entire blog on custard alone?  And yet, the information is endless.  I wanted to make sure that I was spelling Entenmann's correctly and that I was calling the amazing dessert that I remembered from childhood by the right name, so I Googled Entenmanns etc. and found people clammoring for the coconut custard pie.  There were more posts than I ever would have imagined ABOUT THIS PIE; so clearly I'm not the only one who recalled it fondly.  Entenmann's custard pie varies greatly from Marie Callendar's Coconut Cream Pie as Marie's is more of a thick, luscious pudding and Entenmann's is more of an egg custard (kind of like a sweet quiche;) and so now that I've gone ahead and mentioned it; I suppose that I have to add quiche to my litany of custard cravings.

The diversity of the things that I am clumping into the custard family are ceaseless. The custard in the Dunkin Donuts, Boston kreme donut is more of a thin, runny custard; but in a pinch for a custard fix and sandwiched between the pillowy donut with chocolate frosting; it will do the trick; whereas the custard filling of a Napoleon is thicker, allowing it to cling to the multiple layers of millefoglie, or mille-feuille, most likely a descendant of phyllo.   I've seen Napoleons that have a creamy filling; while others are definitely what I'd call custard; so naturally the "custard" filled are my preference.  In addition to the Napoleon, a good Italian bakery will also offer a myriad of pastries with a similar custard filling; and I'd be hard pressed to decline any of them; accept maybe an eclair.  I'd gladly eat the filling, but I don't care for the dry pastry itself.
The fact that I almost left Tiramisu off of this list is shocking to me because this typically is my dessert of choice.  Tiramisu combines so many of my favorite things; cake, coffee flavoring and custard.   OK, I know that the filling isn't really a custard, it's more of a cream; but it's all the same in my book, smoothe, and sweet and velvety.  Along with Tiramisu my other top dessert picks are Creme Brulee and Cannoli.  I only had Creme Brulee for the first time about 3 years ago, and I was immediately taken under it's spell.  If it was custard alone; I'd still be interested, but the fact that it has this sweet, syrupy coating along with crystallized sugar; what more can I say; HEAVEN!  Now the Cannoli is a conundrum to me, because one of my all time, I will not eat it foods,
is Ricotta cheese and yet, the scrumptiousness that is a Cannoli, is made from none other than Ricotta.  Go figure...  I absolutely adore the contrast of the crunchy shell with the "custard" cream; the chocolate chips and the powdered sugar; all blended together to make a delectable, dessert (or breakfast.)
While on the topic of the Cannoli, I would be remiss if I did not mention its counterpart; the Cannoli Cake.  Now I ask you, what could be better than this... Several layers of cake with cannoli cream in between the layers - Amen!!  As many of you know; Luis and I got married at Disneyworld; and in the years since that wonderful day, I've asked myself; "why didn't we have some type of cake with a custardy filling;" and then I remember that it was because it was Florida, in July and it was outdoors.  So instead we opted for German Chocolate cake; although I'm not really sure why.  I think that I thought that Luis would like it since it had coconut, and I am a Peacan fan; so it all seemed good; and it was.  But 2 weeks after we got back from our honeymoon, we held a brunch at a Mexican restaurant for all the friends that were unable to make it to the wedding; and there we served the BEST  Cannoli cake ever.

I actually found an Italian style bakery just a few minutes away from my home; and since they sell a Cannoli cake I purchased it for Luis' birthday one year.  Now I don't know about you, but I don't like to drink my cake; so the ridiculous amount of rum flavor that they put in the cake, absolutely killed it.  So I guess I'll have to hold out for this tremendous treat, until I go back to New York.

With my vivid dessert descriptions, I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I  have quite a bit of weight to lose;.  But seriously, I don't eat these things very often at all; AND, I have had 43 years to gather impressions and form opinions which is why I've been able to share the wonderful world of custard with you.
Till next time...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

(43-56) Dirty Dancing ??

The Queen of EVERYTHING P.I. is at it again.  I don't enjoy being a cynic or a killjoy; in fact I like to think that I am typically the antithesis of these things; however, I DON'T like being duped; and something happened on "Dancing with the Stars" last night that had me feeling uneasy.
For those of you who don't watch "DWTS,"  my apologies; but please stay with me, because you don't have to have knowledge of the show to read this post.

Now, I LOVE "Dirty Dancing,"  it's one of my all time favorite movies, and I know that I've mentioned it at least twice before on "The Bumpy Ride."  The first time (briefly) in "Camping In Style," and then later in "What a Man."  I was actually quite surprised to see that I had only written about it twice and also that I didn't have it listed in my profile as one of my favorite movies; so I may just have to rectify that.  Anywho, I think that we've now established that I'm a Big (say it with me) "HUGE" "Dirty Dancing" fan; and as such I really don't want to tarnish any one's memory of it or call out one of its stars; but then again, I am The Queen of FAIRNESS; so I HAVE to.

Jennifer Grey is on this season's "Dancing With The Stars."  I for one am very happy that she's there, because since she got her new nose, we just don't see that much of her; or maybe we do and we just don't recognize her - SORRY.  Just kidding; REALLY.  Anyway, Lucky Jennifer got paired up with dance pro Derek Hough who just happened to have won "DWTS" two times already; and before even dancing a step they were already being pegged as the couple to beat.

So prior to their Viennese Waltz; they showed some clips from their rehearsals, and when Jennifer found out that they were dancing to a song from "Dirty Dancing," she had a little break down, cried, and left the room.  When she came back she explained that she was remembering dancing with Patrick and she spoke of him VERY fondly and very lovingly; which moved the audience tremendously; me included.  BUT, me being the Queen of USELESS KNOWLEDGE and the QUEEN of REMEMBERING THINGS, I recalled hearing that Ms. Grey and Mr. Swayze actually did NOT get along well during the filming of "DD" nor afterwards; and, I hate to say it, but this recollection made me feel manipulated.  I felt as if it was a stunt on Jen's behalf to pull our heartstrings and get votes based on our love for "Dirty Dancing" and our adoration of "Mr. Swayze," and that didn't feel honest to me.  The irony is, that Jennifer danced BEAUTIFULLY.  Had she not played the Patrick Swayze card, people would have voted for her based on her performance and for their love of Baby; but now she'll never know exactly why she got the votes.  Was it Dirty Dancing??

Do I enjoy being suspicious?  No way!  And, I am definitely not judging Ms. Grey's feelings about her "DD" co-star.  Perhaps if she was not fond of him in the past; that changed when he got ill.  It's not for me to say (or judge,)  BUT, my curiosity did get the better of me; so when Michelle K came over for dinner and I told her my theory; we got to work.
Every good PI needs a sidekick, and Michelle has helped me on more than one caper; so while I finished preparing dinner, she Googled "Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze's relationship during filming Dirty Dancing," and found:  Jennifer Grey Hated Working With Patrick Swayze Fearing they wouldn't have the right chemistry for Dirty Dancing...
By: Harjeet Mander on May 21, 2008  To quote Harjeet's article  "Jennifer Grey was distraught when she found out she was to star opposite Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing, because the actress hated working with him in a previous film.

The co-stars first worked together on Red Dawn, an experience Grey strongly disliked, and when she discovered she was to work with the Hollywood hunk again in the cult 1987 film, she threw a hissy fit.
Producer Linda Gottlieb recalls: "When Jennifer heard that Patrick was playing the part she was not a happy camper.  "They had performed together in Red Dawn and I gather that was not a wonderful working relationship.  "They had very different temperaments  - Jennifer is a kind of spontaneous girl and she'd be very emotional; she would cry easily. Patrick is the exact opposite."

Now in doing my research (YES, research;) before boldly, writing this blog; I did find articles about Jennifer Grey's RECENT claims that Patrick Swayze inspired her to do "DWTS," and yet; I can't help but feel that this was all very calculated.  Certainly I don't want to taint any one's memory of "Dirty Dancing" or cause anyone to question the chemistry between Johnny and Baby, because there is no denying that it was there; but I guess that's what has me so distracted.  I can live with knowing that they were "acting," but I don't want to believe that Ms. Grey is using Patrick's passing to garner votes and sympathy; because she's BETTER than that.

Now, there's no need to comment and tell me that I'm being skeptical or rude; because I'm truly not trying to be.   Perhaps as Jen got older, she learned to value Patrick and the experience that they had together.  Maybe Ms. Grey and Mr. Swayze had a reconciliation at some point and we weren't privy to this information; however, I think that it's fair to say that if we don't have all of the information, we can only go on what was put out there for us; and that's exactly what this post has been based on.  I'll still vote for Jennifer Grey if she DANCES for my vote.  I'll continue to watch "Dirty Dancing" EVERY time I get the opportunity to; and it will still bring me the same joy that it always has. I'm merely presenting an idea, because afterall; although it might not be humorous, it is an observation and it's what has been on my mind today.
Till next time...

Monday, September 20, 2010

(43-55) Mi Familia

When I wrote "The Importance Of Friends,"  and I mentioned how my lack of family caused me to adopt my friends as my family; I NEVER meant to slight the FAMILY that I married into.  I'm sure that none of them took offense to my statement; but since I am The Queen of FAIRNESS and SENSITIVITY, I felt the need to justify that comment and explain that in no way, shape or form was it meant to downplay the importance of Mi Familia (my family.)

When I was growing up I was always envious of kids who came from big, extended families.  Although  my Mom's side of the family was sizeable; throughout the better part of my childhood, most of  her siblings were estranged; so they did not present a cohesive family unit.  My Mom was the youngest of 4 children and by the time I was 7; The oldest son lived in California, My Uncle Bubby, (and you know that's a story in and of itself;) lived a couple of towns away from us, and my mother's only sister, moved to Maryland.  My Mom's parents lived in Co-op City, in the Bronx; which was only about a 45 minute drive from where I grew up; and then there was Richie Howell, who was an only child.  As we all know Richie Howell's dad passed away at the age of 43, and Richie Howell was just 13. When I was about 5 years old, his Mom moved back to Germany.

My grandparents had 8 grandchildren, 3 girls ( 2 of whom lived in California)  and 5 boys; and I was undeniably their favorite and everyone knew it.  Now being the favorite, the only thing that  I got more of (than the other grandkids) was love and affection but I think that's also because I was the only one who seemed interested in giving the same.  I loved spending time with my Nana and Papa and somehow because the feeling was mutual; this made me undesirable to the rest of my "family."  I can't begin to explain how sad and dysfunctional this family was; all I can say is I suppose it's no great loss not to be a part of it; and I guess that explains why I value my family so much.

After I lost my parents, people would try to comfort me by saying "One day you'll have a family of your own."  I knew in my heart that this would be true, and I was fortunate enough to marry into a family where my husband is one of 6 children; and as I previously mentioned in "To Do..." his dad is the oldest of 13 and his mom is one of 10.  I couldn't have asked for a bigger family; however, the irony is that I can count on one hand the number of relatives that speak English.  Sadly as I also mentioned in "To DO," I don't speak fluent Spanish; so this does pose a bit of a glitch; but we make it work.
I am very blessed to have 5 brothers-in-law and 5 sisters-in-laws; and even with the language barriers, some how we all seem to understand each other.  I'm the only American that has married into our immediate family; (and truth be told, Luis and I have been married longer than any of his other siblings.)  Not surprisingly, I'm the only Jew in the bunch; but even with these factors, no one has EVER made me feel like an outsider.  Everyone has always gone out of their way to make me and the kids feel welcome and comfortable; and it delights me no end to say that through Facebook; I've been able to be in more constant touch with my sister-in-law Maricela and my sister-in-law Karen; who I love dearly.
Within the past week I've come to find out that both Maricela and Karen have been reading and enjoying "The Bumpy Ride;" and this really touches me.  I think it's a fabulous way for them to get to know me even better and get caught up on what goes on in my family's day to day life.  Both Karen and Maricela speak English, so I find that I gravitate towards them when we're in Vallarta; even though I try to speak Spanish to them as well.  Luis' 3 sisters don't speak any English, although my youngest sister-in-law, Erica does understand quite a bit.

For 26 years I longed for a family; and I am SO proud and happy to say that for the past 16 years I have been a member of  La Familia Ramos and for me there is no better family.
Till next time...
La Reina de Todo

Sunday, September 19, 2010

(43-54) The Importance of Friends

This has been a friend filled weekend and that delights me no end.
On Friday night, Michelle M and I got together with our kids. We had an inexpensive meal at "Ass Burrito;" which I'm sure you'll find shocking if you ever read my post "A Lil Bit about Arizona;" but there is actually one place (OK maybe two) that I'll occasionally patronize.  Now I'm certainly NOT the Queen of ASS BURRITO, but I know what I like; so I'll share the 2 locales that I find enjoyable.  Roliberto's on 83rd Ave across the street from the Challenger Space Center, and  Federico's at 8777 W Grand Ave in Peoria.  I've only ever tried the carne asada nachos, the carne asada burrito and the  breakfast burrito; but I've liked what I've had.
After dinner, Michelle and I got coffee and then took the kids to Sonic for sundaes, because Michelle was owed 4 FREE sundaes from a mishap that occurred a number of weeks ago.  It was SO good to get together with Michelle, because we hadn't seen each other since before I went to Las Vegas.  We watched the "Top Chef" finale; and for those of you who watch it; I for one am very pleased that Kevin won.  We then watched the season finale of "Entourage;" which was nothing to write home about; in my opinion.  It was a very relaxing and well needed evening and a wonderful way to start my weekend.

Even though I already wrote about getting together with Julie and Joni, I'll say again how nice it was to spend time getting to know my new friends; and the same is true for Jenifer.  I for one don't think that you can ever have TOO many friends and I always welcome the opportunity to make a new one.  It's fun to hear people's stories and find commonalities between you.  Life can be so difficult sometimes, that I think it is really important to know that other people share similar experiences or views and also to hear about contrasting viewpoints, because it helps to expand your mind.  We're all individuals with our own set of experiences and beliefs; so we're never going to ALL get a long; but sometimes speaking to a friend with a contrary view point may help you to clarify your beliefs and understand others.  Don't get me wrong; thus far I haven't discovered any notable differences between me and my new friends; I was just talking in generalities and extolling the virtues of making new friends; no matter your age.

Tonight we had dinner with our friend's Kara and Casey and their five kids.  We've known Kara and fam since Nicky was about 10 months old and we met at Gymboree.  Although Kara lives less than 5 minutes from me, we only get together once every couple of months, because "Life happens." And between us and our 8 kids combined; we're kinda busy.  But, I must say that whenever we do get together, we always have a splendid time and chat very cathartically; and tonight was no different.

After we got home from Kara's  I found that I had two emails.  One was a Facebook notification that my old roommate, Tammy had written on my wall.  Tam sent some unexpected Love my way; and my heart smiled.  Tammy and I had lived together in Tarrytown, New York and then we moved to an apartment in Yonkers.  It seems like a lifetime ago since we were roommates but my fondness for Tammy has never dissipated.
The second email was from my high school friend, Cindy; who's the person that had told me about the "Glamour" essay contest.  I had emailed Cindy after I had submitted my essay and she asked if she could read it.  I emailed it to her and she gave it a glowing review and encouraged me to keep going.  I have very high regard for Cindy and I value her opinion; so the fact that she was impressed by my essay, was remarkable to me.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again.  I feel SO blessed to have the friends that I do. Since I've lost my parents and I'm estranged from my brother; I think Edna Buchanan's quote sums my feelings on the matter best.  “Friends are the family we choose for ourselves.”  Of course we're not THAT close to each and every friend; some may be more like the equivalent of a Great Aunt or Uncle or a long lost cousin; but family nonetheless.
I've enjoyed all of my weekend, friend moments one and all; and I am extremely grateful for all of my friends and all of the time that we're given.
Till next time...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

(43-53) Full day, Full heart...

Whew!  Today was a BUSY one; but a VERY good one at that.  I asked Lyndzi to run some errands with me, but she wasn't really that interested until I sweetened the deal with an offer of pumpkin loaf from Starbucks.  Lyndzi had a change of heart and shortly after we were on our way, she told me that she was glad that she decided to join me; regardless of the pumpkin loaf, and that was music to my ears.   We adjusted our To DO list slightly, and decided to take some time to enjoy each others company.

From Starbucks we went to the mall so that I could have my diamond re-set.  We dropped the ring off, and ran back home, because I had forgotten my cell.  Just as we were getting ready to go back to the mall, Kelsie started screaming from the bathroom, "ANTS!"  OY!  I HATE ants!!  AND for some reasonwe always seem to get an out break of them at a time that Luis isn't  home.  I tried spraying the ants with some Lysol - all purpose cleaner; just to try and immobilize them, and while I was trying to find their outlet, Nicky informed me that their were a ton of ants in his bathroom as well.  OH DEAR GOD!  Nicky and I both combatted the ants to the best of our ability; and then I called in the big guns!  Luis advised me that we had a really strong ant spray in our back yard and that once I'd spray it, the problem would be solved instantaneously.  Thankfully Luis was right.

Once the ant situation was under control, I went back to the mall to pick up my ring; and it was BEAUTIFUL!  Exactly what I wanted!  And so I decided to get the bonus, diamond ring sized as well.
After the mall I stopped at Trader Joe's because I was expecting company at 2.  I picked up some cheeses and grapes and headed back home.

While I was on vacation in Puerto Vallarta this past May, I happened to receive comments on my blog from 2 ladies who both lived in the Phoenix area, and had both found me through "Scrapbooking from the Inside Out."  It seemed that I had a lot in common with both ladies and so I emailed them privately to introduce myself and thank them for their comments.  Julie and I had the opportunity to get together a few months ago; and I think we clicked immediately.  Joni and I were going to be meeting for the first time today, but with all of the parallels in our lives; right down to the name of our dogs; I feel like she's an old friend; and Julie and Joni know each other, but were going to be meeting for the first time today.

It  definitely didn't seem like this was the first time that Joni and I or Julie and Joni had met.  Both ladies quickly got to work on lays out and although I felt like a fish out of water, I pulled out a photo and some paper and got to work.  The ladies were only here for 4 hours and I actually got 2 lay outs done, which (if you know me;) is monumental.
It felt really good to be creative in a means other than writing; and I think I may need to try scrapbooking again more regularly.

Once my friends left, my entire family headed back to the mall to pick up the bonus ring, and I must say that  Capri Jewelers was 2 for 2.  The ring was stunning!!
We grabbed some dinner, went to Kohl's to get Kelsie new sneakers; came back home, I finished my 2nd lay out; and HERE I AM.

Well, no one will ever be able to accuse me of wasting a minute.  My day was full and so is my heart.  I had some special time with my oldest daughter, I got my long awaited ring, I enjoyed the company of some amazing, new friends, preserved some memories, spent time with my family; and wrote.  Life is GOOD!
Till next time...

Friday, September 17, 2010

(43-52) WOOHOO!!! Part 2

I've got reason to SMILE!!
I assure you that "The Bumpy Ride" is not becoming an all gold selling, jewelry buying, blog.  BUT, it is the story of my life,( amongst other things;) and as I'm in constant pursuit of, (say it with me,) "The Greater Good," in these regards; I still have more to share.

In my blog, "Diamond Daze," I explained that Steve (at Capri Jewelers,) had offered me $100 for my old, engagement ring setting.  I thought that this was fair; but after seeing Phyllis at The Gold Guy yesterday, Luis suggested that we stop back in to see how much she could offer me for the setting.  I scoured my jewelry boxes since we were going to pay The Gold Guy a visit; and I found some broken pieces that I'd forgotten about, my college ring (which is already too small for my girls) and a silver ring, which was another one of Luis', Puerto Vallarta metal detector finds.  The silver ring was not in great shape, but it had 4 small "diamonds;" so we wanted to see if it was worth anything.

Upon walking through the door we were greeted, enthusiastically by Larry.  I asked if Phyllis was in, but she had the day off.  Larry assured us that he would take just as good care of us,as Phyllis had and asked how he could help.  I told Larry that I had sold some gold the day before.  I went on to tell him that I was in the process of getting my diamond re-set and I was curious to see how much he would buy my old setting for.  Larry asked me what I'd been offered, and I kindly said "I'd rather not say."  Larry offered us $50 and I politely declined; explaining that the jewelry store where I was buying my ring had offered me more.  We discussed the fact that Steve's offer was contingent on my purchase, and I assured him that I understood that and I though that it was fair; because after all, Capri is a business and I certainly expect them to make money on my sale. 

While we were talking, Christine came in to work.  Larry had gotten a phone call, so Christine proceeded to weigh our other gold.  When Larry got off the phone, Luis asked him about the silver, "diamond" ring and Larry confirmed that the "diamonds" were real and went on to say that he'd like to buy the ring.  Larry asked Luis how much he wanted for the ring, and I interjected.  I said "We really don't know how much the ring is worth, to be able to ask a certain price, so why don't you make us an offer?"  Larry nicely said "$250 - $300."  Luis said "I'll sell it for $300," and Larry said "OK."  When all was said and done, Christine wrote us a check for $460 and once again we were more than satisfied!!

We spoke with Larry and Christine for a while, and I told them that I had mentioned them in my "WOOHOO!!!" blog, because I was so impressed with their service and I wanted others to benefit from it as well; and they were truly grateful. 

In less than 24 hours we made $960 selling jewelry that was of no use to us; and I have to say that it feels MUCH better having the money in our wallets, than the jewelry in our boxes.  Tomorrow we will go to Capri for our appointment with Steve and my diamond will at last be back on my finger, serving as a shining example of the love and commitment that Luis and I share.  WOOHOO!!!
Till next time...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

(43-51) WOOHOO!!!

Tonight I am a happy girl, an overjoyed girl, an I CAN'T BELIEVE IT girl!!!  With the essay now behind me; I was able to focus on other matters today.  So this afternoon Kelsie and I went to The Gold Guy, to see how much they would pay for the stash that I wrote about in "Diamond Daze."  During that blog I mentioned that two stores in the mall had offered me $280 for the jewelry; and I wanted to see if I could make more than that.  Kelsie and I were warmly, greeted by Phyllis and I explained that I wanted to see how much she could offer me for my gold.  Phyllis asked if she was trying to beat a price, and I said yes; but I did not disclose what the price was.  Now typically I don't have a good poker face; but today I would have made Lady Gaga proud.

Phyllis weighed my jewelry and asked me if $485.00 would do it.   Oh Boy!  I contained myself on the outside, but inside I was doing the dance of joy.  And as composed as could be, I replied "That could do it, but could you make it $500?"  Oh yes I DID!!  Seriously, what did I have to lose; the worst that she could say was no, but as I wrote in "The Dirty Word;  even if she had said "NO," I'd be fine.  BUT, she didn't say no.  Instead she said, "let me call my boss."  Phyllis made the call and told him how much my gold weighed.  She asked if she could give me the dealer price and he said "It sounds like you already did.  But alright, if she wants $500, make her happy and give it to her."  Make me happy, indeed!!  I called Luis to see if he was OK with me accepting the $500 rather than shopping around, and he was just fine with it.
I told Phyllis that we had a deal and she wrote me a check for $500.  Phyllis told me that they do parties and I thought this was fantastic.  How nice would it be to invite friends over to a party that actually made them money rather than asking them to spend some; and all they'd have to do is sell a broken chain or an orphan earring.  She also said that they do fundraisers, and I immediately thought that this might be a super, soccer event.
Phyllis told me that I could deposit my check or go to the Wells Fargo in the Fry's down the street and they would cash it.  Kelsie and I promptly went to Fry's and walked out with 5 crisp, hundred dollar bills.  I was SO HAPPY!  The $500 is going to be enough money to mount my diamond in the new setting, get the ring appraised for my insurance,  AND get the extra ring sized.  Woohoo!!!!!  I told Phyllis that I was so pleased with her service that I was going to mention her in my blog.  So if your local and you're interested in selling gold; I highly recommend paying Phyllis a visit at THE GOLD GUY - 9827 W. Grand Ave. Suite A Sun City, AZ 85351 623-251-5664; and if you go please tell her that you read about her in Paige's blog.  Not becasue I'll get anything in return; just becasue I want her to know that I kept my word.

I am SO delighted that gold that was just sitting in my jewelry box doing nothing; has now helped to put my diamond back on my finger;  and in a setting that I will enjoy for years to come.  To quote Mike Myers as Dieter in Sprockets from "Saturday Night Live;" "Now's the time on Sprockets when we dance."  Enjoy my new fave tune!!
Till next time...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

(43-50) One Step At A Time

I considered a lot of different titles for this milestone post.  "One Foot In Front Of The Other,"  "Step by Step," "Small Victories," and "I'm On My Way," just to name a few.  I think that any of these titles would have been appropriate, because they all convey that ANY effort and EACH  accomplishment, will bring you that much closer to achieving your goal.  To quote Richard Dreyfuss as Dr. Leo Marvin in "What About Bob," "Baby steps, baby steps;"  and even if you haven't seen that hysterical movie; I'm sure that you know what I mean. 

When I decided that I was going to write my blog, everyday during my 43rd year; I knew that it was going to be a huge undertaking; especially if I wanted to maintain "The Bumpy Ride" as a storytelling blog, an observational humor blog, an advice for the (say it with me,) "Greater Good" blog, and not just a journal of my daily activities.  Now surely  I know that some of my posts have been better than others, but in the long run, it's all about the journey.  In addition to this being writing practice for me; it's also on its way to becoming a book of memories.  A book that will tell my children and the world EXACTLY who I was and what I did during the year that possibly could have been my last.  So will I share music that I like; you betcha, because how else will my kids know what put a smile on my face and made me want to shake my groove thing.  I still remember songs that were my mom's faves; and every time that I hear one, I am happily reminded of her.  I think that it's important for me to write about the people in my life that make it special.  The triumphs and the failures, my hopes and my fears; my mistakes and my successes.   And speaking of, tonight I have 2 reasons to celebrate.   First, this post is now the fiftieth in my "43" endeavor.  It's hard to believe that I've already got 50 posts under my belt. Time is already flying by; and honestly, I'm looking forward to seeing what I create in the next 50 days.  When I break it down like that, 316 more doesn't sound quite as intimidating.

I am very happy to report that my second cause for celebration is my submission in the "Glamour magazine" essay contest.  At approximately 530 this afternoon; my fine tuned essay (thanks to the help of Michelle M and Lesa G,) was entered into the contest that could award me $5000 and an opportunity to meet with an agent; and I'll modestly say, that I believe that I submitted a fine piece of work.

I have set many goals for myself in the past 50 days, and I believe that I am ready for all of the challenges that I am presenting to myself this year; because to quote Gandhi, I am going to "be the change that I want to see in the world."
Change is most often accomplished "One Step At A Time."  Each step puts you closer to your goal, closer to the changes that you want to effect and although it can be scary; CHANGE can be a VERY good thing and each one, a cause for celebration.
Till next time...

What About Bob?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

(43-49) Down To The Wire

Why, Why, Why do I procrastinate??  In my August 8th post "My Something Special," I mentioned the "Glamour Magazine" essay contest; which I've known about for at least a month and a half, and yet with a September 15th 11:59pm deadline looming; I still haven't subnitted my essay.

The topic is "My Real Life Story" and so I'm finally penning the saga of how Luis and I met.  I have to say that I find it ironic that I haven't been able to complete the essay when I'm writing a story that I've told a million times; but I suppose that's just it ~  it's a story that I've TOLD a million times and not one that I've written before.   And it's such a wonderful and important story, that I just want it to be perfect.

A couple of weeks ago I started writing the essay in my head and I WAS ON A ROLL; but I was in bed, and it was late; so I didn't get up to write it down; and to quote Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman," (say it with me;) "BIG Mistake; HUGE!!"  I should have gotten up right then and there and I would have been done weeks ago.  Instead I waited and when I sat down to write last week, I just didn't haven't it goin on.  A few days later, my kids all had dental check ups, so I took a notebook with me, so that I could write while I was waiting.  I was able to write a better intro than I had in my first attempt but it wasn't until tonight that I was able to sit down and work on it again. 

Well, I'm very happy to say that I'm ALMOST done.  The story is written, now I just need to edit; but Queen of OVER ANALYZING that I am; editing can take as long as writing the submission did; if not longer; and I'm running out of time. 
I am REALLY determined NOT to let this opportunity pass me by.  Even if I don't win, at least I'll know that I tried; because one thing's for sure, if I DON'T enter, then it would be impossible for me to win and like these odds better.

I think it's very important to learn something new everyday and today's lesson has been an extremely, valuable one.  It's never a good idea to wait till it's down to the wire to do something (especially something that's important to you.)   This isn't news to me.  I don't let my kids procrastinate; and I shouldn't either.  I need to walk the walk not just talk the talk.   And I NEED to edit my essay.
Till next time...

Monday, September 13, 2010

(43-48) For the Love of Art

When I wrote "Art Imitates Life" on August 29, 2010 I shared a drawing that my 8 year old daughter, Lyndzi had done and entered in the MIX 96.9 Fridge Art contest.  At first I shared the link to the contest because I thought that you could vote; but I had jumped the gun a bit, because this was not the case.
I edited the blog before you'd even had a chance to see it; so that you wouldn't know that I had NO IDEA what I was talking about.  No offense to MIX 96.9 but the rules of the contest weren't very clear.  The only information that the website provided was:  Round 1 Voting runs from 9/13 - 9/27 @ 8:00am
Top 50 Voting runs from 9/27 - 10/11 @ 8:00am and Top 25 Voting runs from 10/11-10/25 @ 8:00am

There are 3 age categories and in 8-10, where Lyndzi is entered, there are actually ONLY 25 contestants; so really they're already in the top 25 and where exactly they go from there, I have no clue. 
So today we got an email from the radio station and they explained that each child had a link that we could share in social networks and blogs to encourage people to vote.  This process leads me to believe that sadly the contest really isn't about talent but about which child's parent can facilitate the most votes.  OY!!  I'm not really sure what to make of this.  I'm not going to say that Lyndzi's drawing is the best of the bunch; but I would certainly think that she was in the top 5; and yet, unless I can persuade people to vote for her on a daily basis, she might not do well in this contest at all.

Lyndzi is an artist down to her core, and she deserves to win this contest because, just like I know in my soul that I HAVE to write; at the tender age of 8, she KNOWS that that she HAS to create art.  Art is her passion and she takes great pride in her work.  I don't think that Lyndzi should win because her mom was able to solicit the most votes; but then again, if I don't try to secure DAILY votes, then she doesn't stand a chance; so, I HAVE to ask for your help.  Please take a moment to vote for Lyndzi; and then, even though it's difficult for me to ask this; could you PLEASE do so just once EVERY day until September 27th?  Now as if I haven't asked enough already, I'm gonna show some real chutzpah (fearlessness, balls, boldness) and request that you share the link with as many people as possible.  You might send a quick email to friends and ask them to vote for Lyndzi; even if they do so just once.) If you felt so inclined, you could also post the link in your Facebook or Twitter account.  I'm sure that sounds like a lot to do for a little girl that you might not know; but if you KNOW me; then you know that I would do it for you, and also that when it comes to my child I'll stop at nothing to encourage their dreams.

At this point in time, I'm still not sure if the decision making gets turned over to the radio station or to a panel on October 25th or what exactly what will happen at that juncture; but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.  For now I just want to get Lyndzi as far along as possible and I feel really confident that with YOUR help she'll have a great chance.  Our world will be a very dull place without new generations of all kinds of artists; so we owe it to the world to foster creativity in our children.
Till next time...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

(43-47) Diamond Daze

On February 14, 2010 I wrote "Lucky Me", and shared the details of losing the diamond from my engagement ring.  A few weeks after this occurred, Luis and I went to a couple of jewelry stores to look into re-setting my diamond or possibly purchasing a new setting and after gathering some quotes; we decided that we were going to hold off for a while.  I still have my wedding band, and truly that is the more important ring; but as time's passed, I've found that I miss my ring, more than I had anticipated.  WELL... maybe not my ring; but my diamond.  The fact that I miss seeing the brilliant stone on my finger is actually a little surprising to me; because there had been a number of times prior to the ring breaking, when I had considered selling the ring so that we could use the money for various expenses; however, when it comes right down to it, diamonds really are, (well, NOT a girl's best friend;) beautiful to behold.

When we went to Puerto Vallarta in May, I brought my ring and diamond with me, in the hopes that my sister-in-law might know a reputable jeweler who could re-set my ring.  We went to see a friend of hers, but he didn't set real diamonds and didn't feel confident in doing so; and again we decided to hold off for a while. 
So, last week I was in the mall and I noticed a jewelry repair shop.  I made a mental note of this and when Rachel and I were in the mall on Friday, we went in to see how much they would charge to re-mount my ring.  The jeweler quoted me $259 but offered me a $30 discount if I would bring it in before September 28.  I thanked him and we decided to inquire at some other stores.  We stopped in Capri Jewelers and met a stupendous, salesman named Steve.  We started by asking a question about Rachel's wedding ring and then moved on to my situation.  I explained that I wanted to know how much they would charge to re-mount my ring with my setting ($158) and also; how much it would be for me to purchase a new setting.  I informed Steve that I was ONLY interested in a plain yellow gold band; and I was pleasantly surprised that he still maintained the same level of professionalism, courtesy and care.  Steve had a simple setting that I fell in love with, ($450) and he said that he would give me $100 for my old setting; which I thought was very fair.  Understanding that I would need to speak to my husband, we agreed that I would come back the following Saturday.
When we got home, Rachel and I told Luis all about the ring and neither of us seemed to be able to get it off of our minds.  I told Luis that on Sunday I wanted to go to a few more jewelers, because even though I loved Steve's ring; I'm The Queen of COVERING ALL OF MY BASES and I wanted to make sure that the ring at Capri was definitely the one that I wanted, and that $100 was a reasonable exchange for my setting.  Fortunately Luis had a rare, Sunday off; since he had worked on Labor day, so he was going to be able to join me on my fact finding mission.

While I was in the shower last night, I was thinking about the ring; (I know, I know;) and I remembered that we had a number of gold pieces that we could sell, so that we could use the cash towards the price of it.  I had a name plate that was carved out of a chunk of gold, (SERIOUSLY;) a ring with my name on it; (what can I tell you; it WAS the 80's,) and a number of pieces of jewelry that Luis had found with his metal detector.  When I wrote "Ralph Lauren" and described several items that Luis had found; I believe that I failed to mention that Luis owns a metal detector,  and that he likes to use when we go to Puerto Vallarta and other beach destinations.   Well, a few years ago, Luis (using the metal detector,) found a couple of rings on the beach in Vallarta.  One of the rings appeared to be a vintage, engagement ring; but we had no idea if the diamond was real or not.  The ring is quite lovely and I myself would have worn it happily, except for the fact that the ring was ridiculously small.  So today I located the ring and put it with the other jewelry that I was prepared to sell. 
Off we drove in pursuit of cash for our gold; but we found that most of the stores were closed.  There was one store that was open (I won't say that name) and even though we got a quote on a ring, we could tell that the sales"lady" was not interested in assisting us because she wanted to spend her time on a bigger sale.  The "lady" quoted us $500 for a ring that she didn't even have in stock and explained that the ring was $350 and it would cost $150 to set it.  After we exited the store, I suggested that we go back to see Steve at Capri, to confirm that the $450 price included the setting and luckily Steve was in.  I introduced him to Luis and asked to see the ring again.  Luis agreed that the ring was perfect for me; simple and elegant.  Luis asked Steve if he could give us a ball park figure on how much money we might get for the gold that we had to sell.  Steve was happy to help us and so Luis went on to ask about the engagement ring that he'd found.  We showed Steve the ring and he was blown away.  He said that he thought the diamond was genuine and then he tested it for us, and concluded that it absolutely was a diamond.  Luis and I were tickled pink.  Steve offered to trade the vintage ring for the new ring and include the appraisal that I was interested in for the new ring as well.  We were flabbergasted.  We discussed the ring at great length and Steve advised us that he could size the ring to fit me, for just $45.  so we had even more to consider.  Now I have to tell you that as impressed as I was with Steve on our first visit; I was even more impressed today.  After discussing the matter at great length, we concluded (with Steve's help,) that we should hold onto the vintage ring (possibly pass it down to Nicky,) and then try to get as much money as possible for the other gold.  We agreed and tried to go to some stores to obtain a price for our collection.
The two stores that we stopped in, each offered us $280 for the gold and then one of them actually had a ring that was similar to the one at Capri.  The salesman quoted me $275 and when I informed him that Capri would give me $100 for my old setting, he got approval to do so as well.  Luis and I thought we were on a roll, because if the ring was only going to cost $175 after my old setting; and he gave us $280 for the gold, I'd get my ring and cash back; which I could use for an appraisal.  I noticed a slight difference in the two rings but I wasn't sure if it was enough of a difference to halt this transaction.  I asked Luis if we could go back to Steve one more time to see the Capri ring again, and he complied.  I apologized to Steve for returning so soon, and asked to see the ring again.  As soon as I put it on my finger, I KNEW that although  the rings appeared to be the same; there was a significant difference as I smile profusely as I look at the Capri ring on my finger, and the less expensive ring didn't emote the same reaction.  Steve attempted to call his boss to see if he could lower his price but his boss wouldn't let him as he felt confident tht he had a superior product.  Again we talked about it extensively and ultimately concluded that just because we 'd be getting the other ring for free, this WASN'T the reason to choose THAT ring.  This ring is a symbol of our love and commitment and it was originally purchased with money that I had earned from the sale of my mom's solitaire diamond and it deserved to reside in a setting worthy of its splendor; and even if that meant that we had to spend $70 and pay for the appraisal; it was the right thing to do.
Steve suggested that we try to sell our stash for more than $280 and he said that he thought we could do so at a shop that wasn't located in the mall.  Luis and I took leave of Steve and  planned to meet with him again next Saturday; so that I'd have a week to look around and raise some cash.

Whew!  I know this is quite the story; so let's head back down hill.  Luis and I  felt that today had been a  very productive one.  We were ecstatic to find out that the vintage ring was a 1/2 carat diamond of good quality and to learn that the jewelry that had been sitting in a drawer for years just gathering dust, would now be able to be used toward a ring that was going to give me great pleasure.  We were very pleased with our decision NOT to get the free ring, just because we could; as we felt that this was NOT an appropriate way to make such decisions.  So this week I have my work cut out for me, I want to go see a jeweler that Lesa G had told me about, and check the price of my gold in a few more stores. 

I am VERY HAPPY about all that transpired today.  I think it's time to change my ring and I enjoy the fact that I'd be getting back to basics with the ring that I chose.  I am gratified to have worked with Steve as his sales approach was very refreshing and I believe, fair; and I LOVE how Luis and I worked together on this endeavor.  With all of this being said; I want you to know that there is something in this for you; and that is my recommendation to work with Steve at Capri jewelers in the Arrowhead Mall.  Let me just say that if during my quest this week, I decide to do business at a shop other than Capri (and that could only occur if I found a ring that I liked more AND for less money;) I would still HIGHLY suggest that you go see Steve for all of your jewelry needs.  If you do, please tell him that you heard about him in Paige's blog;  because I did tell him that HE was blogworthy and that I was going to write about him.
Till next time...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

(43-46) What You Choose to Believe

On October 7, 2009 I wrote, in "A Friend In Need;"  "September, someday between the 10th and 12th (I have blocked the day out of my memory) marked the 23rd anniversary of my Mom's passing."   Well, a few weeks ago, when the kids and I were doing our cleaning overhaul; I happened to find the guest book from my mother's funeral, and it confirmed that in fact, my mom had passed away on September 11; which makes today the 24th anniversary of my mom's passing.  After much consideration, I chose not to sit at home and and mourn; but to go out and live life to its fullest, on her behalf; so Rachel, Luis, the kids and I took a drive to Sedona.  Although my family had been to Sedona several on several occasions; today was a day of discovery for us as we went to a part of Sedona that we had never been to before.  We took a picnic to Crescent Moon Ranch and had THE MOST amazing time.
After we got done with our lunch, Luis and the kids were taking pictures and playing by the creek.  Lyndzi told me that Nicky had spotted a dragon fly and that it had been following them around.  Luis then showed me the pictures that he'd taken and I was delighted because I've always admired dragonflies AND butterflies and I've even considered getting each as a tattoo; if ever I was to get one, (which I honestly don't EVER see happening; since I often suffer from buyer's remorse, not to mention my INSANE fear of needles.)  Nonetheless, once I got home I felt compelled to look into the symbolism of dragonflies and I discovered that in almost every part of the world, the dragonfly is a symbol of change.  The dragonfly is synonymous with changes in mental and emotional maturity.  The Dragonfly’s scurrying flight across water represents an act of going beyond what’s on the surface and looking into the deeper implications and aspects of life.
How profound!!   I can honestly say that these are changes that I believe I'm in the process of; but the dragonfly wasn't around me, it was around my family; so I choose to believe that the dragonfly's presence signifies a change in perspective for my entire family.  We are ALL growing, evolving and maturing; and I think it's simply wonderful that we are all doing so at the same time.

The kids wanted to go exploring further and although I'm NOT Queen of the OUTDOORS; I couldn't pass up the opportunity to experience a vortex and enjoy natures beauty.  We walked along a short trail and came to an alluring creek.  None of us had our swimsuits and the water beckoned us to come in; but we resisted.  We were charmed by the view and we all agreed that this was a spot that needed to be revisited soon.  We walked further and even though there was no sign that alerted us to the vortex, once we got there; WE KNEW IT!  The temperature immediately dropped a few degrees, and  although the path had been serene; the stillness of the area was remarkable.  I stepped out onto the vortex and instantly felt as if a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders and my breath came easier.  We all stood in silence taking in the majestic site; and no one spoke of what they had felt at that moment. 
We followed the path further until the red rock met the water and the sight was spectacular.
Luis and the kids took more pictures and put their feet in the water and I just observed and took in the scenery.  I thought of my mom and I didn't cry.  I remembered how lucky I was to have her for a mother; even though it was for a very short time and I hoped that she was in a place that was even more beautiful than the one that I had been appreciating.

After a significant amount of time had passed, we happily walked the trail back to the picnic area and as we left the path we were greeted by a Monarch butterfly, that was fluttering in the grass.
Once I saw the magnificent Monarch, my mother was again very much on my mind.  I somehow felt that the butterfly encounter had something to do
with her; and I asked Luis to take a picture of the splendid creature.  Upon my return home I investigated further; and found (according to Wikipedia) "In different cultures butterflies are symbols of rebirth, regeneration, transition and love. In Native American legend, butterflies also represent grace and the ability to accept change; and some people believe that when you see a butterfly go by (and especially if it hovers around), you are receiving a cosmic message."  HMMM??  I BELIEVE, I BELIEVE!!

Wikepedia went on to say "The butterfly is a reminder to make changes when the opportunity arises. Change and transformation are inevitable for us all, but it does not have to be traumatic. Butterfly symbolism is also closely tied to the idea of spirits and souls. It has been used in many religions and cultures. In the western world, the symbol of the butterfly stands for freedom, fun and joyous times. It is also symbolises a state of naturalness and purity."  WOW!  Did I need this butterfly today or what?  I've quoted Freud's "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar" before;  and so surely I recognize  that sometimes a dragonfly is just a dragonfly and a  butterfly is just a butterfly; but sometimes we CHOOSE to believe whatever brings us peace.  It certainly soothed my soul to conclude that there was some connection between the presence of the dragonfly, the butterfly and the memory of my mother.  I regard these sitings as signs that I shouldn't dwell in sadness; but move forward.  I have faith that it was a sign that I'm on the right path and that my mother approves.  And I take great comfort in believing that my mother is with me ALWAYS.
Till next time...

Photos by Luis Ramos