Tuesday, May 31, 2011

(43-308) Yogurtology

I usually consider myself to be someone who's in the know,.  I'm attune to new trends and stores and all things pop culture-ish.  But I swear, I must have been under a rock for a hot minute, because it seems like I just blinked my eyes and all of a sudden there were frozen yogurt shops EVERYWHERE.  I liken it to the coffeehouse boom that Arizona enjoyed, prior to Starbucks arrival.  And I say this because even though people flocked to the independent, coffee houses, and everyone had their own personal favorite;  AND the private coffee houses products were typically better than Starbucks; they still managed to put em all outta b'ness.  But that's not really here or there.

Last Sunday I had taken my kids to a birthday party, and while I was there, my friend Lesa G told me about this new frozen yogurt store that she's in love with.  We were in the process of making plans to get together before she leaves for Michigan for the summer and she suggested that we go to Yogurtology.  I figured that if Lesa thought it was fabulous, I should try it out, and we scheduled a time to go.  THEN, on Friday night when I went to the movies, I noticed that Maggie Moos (which had been across the street from the theater,) had closed down, and in its place, there was now (YUP,) a frozen yogurt shop.  Additionally, Lisa B mentioned that a friend of hers was opening a frozen yogurt shop not far from her house.  On Saturday night when my friend Arlene came over, she too started talking about this new frozen yogurt place that she'd been going to; and I realized very quickly that although frozen yogurt is not a new thing; the self-serve frozen yogurt shop with a toppings bar,  IS the new craze.

Anxious to see what all the fuss was about, I met Lesa at Yogurtology yesterday, and after a couple of samples; I was a convert.  Now ya know I love my Culver's frozen custard (probably a lil too much,) but the frozen yogurt was a totally different story.  It was cold and refreshing and although they offered everything from cream puffs, to Baklava, to giant marshmallows and every kinda chocolate candy, and Ghiradelli sauces,  it was the fresh fruit that I was interested in, and I just can't say that at Culver's.

Yogurtology offers twelve flavors a day.  According to Lesa they have a few standard flavors and then they alternate the others.  They always give you one size cup, and you decide how much you want, and then pay by the ounce.  Per Lesa's recommendation I tasted the Berry Bliss (which is a blackberry berry for anyone who may have been concerned about my strawberry allergy.)  I also tried the Lemon (Meringue, I think it was) and the Golden cupcake batter.  I decided that the three tasted great together, so I added a lil bit of each to my cup.  For a topping I chose fresh blueberries (because I LOVE blueberries and lemon together) and I threw in (OK not threw in, but gently placed) a couple of blackberries to go along with the berry bliss.  In a word, it was heavenly.  Darn that devil, Lesa G for introducing me to Yogurtology.  I actually couldn't get it off my mind today, and longed for the cool, fruity flavors; but alas, it's not that close to my house - which is probably really, a good thing.

I'm now interested in trying the shop that Arlene's been to, but I'm also hesitant to try something else since Yogurtology was SO good.  I popped onto the Yogurtology website to see if they had any info that I might share with you.  Yogurtology uses three words to describe their concept, "Simple, Clean, and Delicious."  They claim to be yogurt for yogurt connoisseurs, and even though I certainly wouldn't qualify as a connoisseur at this point, I certainly did enjoy it; and honestly, I can't wait to have it again.
Till next time...
Queen of Everything

Monday, May 30, 2011

(43-307) Memorial Day Memory

I had a great day with my kids today.  We went to swim team practice, which was a treat for me, since (due to my work schedule)  I haven't actually stayed at practice with them since last Monday.  We then went to several stores.  I had an exchange and a return at Old Navy and I lucked out, as it happened that a shirt that I had purchased for only $5, had a small tear on the seam, and when I went to exchange it, I found it on sale for $3; so I was able to return the $5 shirt and buy a new one for just $3 - SCORE!  In addition to that, I found a sundress for Lyndzi, for $6 and another for Kelsie, that rang up for only $4.54.

Our day o deals continued, when we went to Michaels armed with several 40% off one item coupons, and 20% off your entire purchase (even sale items) coupons.  The girl's wanted to buy Nicky a motor for a rocket that he was building, since they hadn't given him a birthday present.  I gave Lyndzi a 40% off coupon and she and Kelsie were then able to purchase the motor for $6 plus tax instead of $10.  I gave Nicky a 40% off coupon and $2 to purchase some yarn that he wanted to make can telephones with; and then I used the 20% off coupon to buy lap tables for the girls (which were already on sale for $4.99), and a variety of inexpensive crafts; like felt that they wanted to use to make Barbie doll clothes, a little porcelain figure that Lyndzi wanted to paint, and a wood picture frame, that could be painted and decorated.  We had a big (yes) HUGE savings at Michael's and happily drove on to our next stop.

As we drove, I considered what I might blog about today.  I recalled Memorial Days from when I was a kid, and conjured up the memory of me, when I was in 6th grade, and the drum majorette in our town's Memorial Day Parade.  A picture truly is worth a thousand words; and the sad thing is that I KNOW I have a picture of me in my uniform with that humongous hat, but unfortunately I couldn't find it this evening.  I do promise, that once I turn up the picture, I will use it in a future post; and I am gonna make it my urgent business to find the picture before my 44th birthday.

Anyway, since I don't have the picture, I'll just have to do my best to share this memory with you.  I attended Woodglen Elementary School in New City, New York; and every year the marching bands from the schools in Clarkstown would participate in the Memorial day parade.  I remember that when I was in 5th grade we were told that they were holding try outs for baton twirlers for the parade.  I liked to twirl the baton, so I went to the try out where majorettes from Clarkstown North high school came to teach us a routine.  After a couple of days of practice, we had our auditions, and I didn't get a spot. I was disappointed, but once they announced that anyone in 5th or 6th grade could be a pom pom girl, I quickly got over it.  I remember making my pine green and white pom poms out of crate paper, and marching through the streets, while the green dye from the crate paper stained my fingers.

In 1979 I was in 6th grade,  and once again as Memorial day approached; they announced that there were going to be try outs for baton twirlers.  I thought I'd give it another shot, and after several days of practice, the audition was  held and I got a spot.  They then announced that any of the baton twirlers were eligible to try out to be the drum majorette.  I'm not sure that I even knew what the drum majorette did, but I decided to give it a go; and I was selected.  Thankfully my mom sewed, so she had no trouble making me a cute, little uniform to accompany the enormous hat that I had to wear.  I remember practicing with the band, and proudly marching with the long baton, but I don't think that our music teacher ever told me that my real purpose was to tell the band where to march or what time to keep.  I had a great time being the drum majorette, even though I had no idea what I was doing.

Oh how I wish that I could find the picture of my mouth full of metal, my short hair flipping out under the big, Q-tip hat, and my cute uniform.  Fingers crossed that it will turn up soon.  In the meantime, I  send my gratitude to the men and women of our military, (past and present) who so bravely serve our country and keep us safe.
Till next time...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

(43-306) Optimism

If you've ever read "The Bumpy Ride" before, then you know that I'm a big (yes) HUGE fan of OPTIMISM!  You know that I'm all about the greater good, and positivity, and all that shiny, happy stuff.  So it should come as no surprise that I am OVER THE MOON for next month's kit from Scrapbooking from the Inside Out - OPTIMISM.

A couple of days ago, Rachel K emailed me and her staff, a sneak peak of the June kit, and it's so sensational, that I HAVE to share it with you.  My apologies to all my non-scrapbooking riders, but this kit is too good to be missed; so I really wanna help spread the word. 

I'm busy, working on the song, play list that will go along with this kit.  If you visit Scrapbooking from the Inside Out, next month, you'll be able to listen to it, as well as gain inspiration from quotes and images that are also provided.  By the way, there are several monthly challenges, so you might actually win a prize for doing something that you love.  Not to mention the opportunity to chat with a wonderful community of women.

If you're a scrapbooker and you haven't checked out Scrapbooking from the Inside Out, there's never been a better time to do so.  I have to say that when I got this sneak peak, I thought that it was the BEST kit that I'd ever seen.  And with the current prices of scrapbooking supplies; it's a phenomenal value.  If you want to do something nice for yourself (or a fellow scrapbooker,) consider The OPTIMISM kit.  It's all about your (say it with me) "Greater Good". 
Till next time...


Saturday, May 28, 2011

(43-305) "The Hangover 2"

Luis and I are big (yes,)  HUGE fans of "The Hangover," so as soon as I learned the release date for "The Hangover 2," I got busy making plans to go and see it on the 27th.  We chose to go to the 620pm show, and Luis and I got to the theater around 5, in the hopes of getting really good seats.  Our willingness to wait for a while paid off and we got seven seats in the row in front of the railing, so we'd be able to put our feet up. (Heaven!)

Lisa B and Eric arrived while we were still on line, so we were able to avoid any patrons who might be disgruntled about two people holding seven seats in such a prime row.  Tina arrived shortly after we sat down, and then Jenny and (SMF) David followed.  We all had our $1 drink cups (and Lisa supplied extras for those who didn't.   She also shared her popcorn shirt so that whoever wanted to could get a medium popcorn for free.  Luis paid $1 and upgraded ours to a large (since we both LOVE movie popcorn) and we all settled in, to laugh our asses off.

Just before the previews were about to start, a young, guy in a suit, who introduced himself as Mr. Something that I can't remember, started talking to the audience over a hand held microphone.  He thanked us for coming to Harkins, and babbled a bit about how we could have gone somewhere else etc.etc.and it was apparent that he amused himself (though no one else.)  He then gave us a sermon on texting, and went on to say that if you were to text during the movie, a light would be shining off of you for a 12 mile radius.  Yes, he said 12 miles, but then corrected himself and said 12 feet.  He then told us that people would be very upset with us if we texted. I dunnon, maybe he was expecting a younger audience for this film.
Lastly he told us that "The Hangover 2" was hysterical, and I quote, "It has a lot of hang, a lot of over and a lot of 2."  I think he thought himself quite clever; but again, I don't think that anyone agreed.  After he departed, Lisa asked if I'd ever seen anything like that before. And I said "No."  I can't remember if it was Lisa or Tina who asked "Why do you think he did that?"  To which I replied "To give me something to blog about."  And we all laughed.

Earlier in the day I told Shannon that I was going to see "The Hangover 2" and she told me that it hadn't gotten good reviews, because it was just more of the same.  I told her that I never pay attention to reviews anyway, and that it was absolutely fine with me if it was more of the same.  In my opinion the first one was so good, it would be really difficult to top it; but as long as I got some laughs, I'd be satisfied.

Well, I was satisfied!  It was crude, it was vulgar, it was raunchier than the first; and I loved it.  I screamed, I laughed, and I had a really good time.  I won't tell you anything more about it at all.  I'll just say that if you go to see it not expecting the best story and just wanting to laugh - you won't be disappointed.  Will I be going back to see it in the theater a second time, like I did with the first?  No; but I will definitely watch it again when it comes out on DVD.

All and all, it was a great night.  We laughed from the time we sat down with our friends, through the movie, and at dinner.  It was so much fun to get out together; and I look forward to the next time.  Hopefully sooner than later.
Till next time...

Friday, May 27, 2011

(43-304) What I Love About Sushi

I've mentioned Sushi in at least two posts that I could find in my archive.  "The Haunting", where I described the first time that I got hooked on Sushi, and in "100 Random Things About Me," where #11 was "I could eat Sushi every day."  Now Sushi in Arizona is not an every day kinda food (at least not for me), but I sure wish it was.

Since "The Haunting" gives a pretty vivid description of Sushi's attributes, I don't want to be redundant; so instead I'll tell you what I love about Sushi from a different standpoint. 

If you know a reputable place in Arizona to get Sushi; it will be very fresh.  I'm hard pressed to think of anything that tastes AS GOOD and is as good for you, as FRESH fish.  So that's definitely something that I love about Sushi.  It's a far different feeling than consuming a burger and fries, or even a salad for that matter, because there are typically diverse flavors and textures involved, and you don't have something laying in your stomach, unless you had the Moby Dick roll.

Another thing that I really love about Sushi is that it's always eaten with a friend who enjoys it as much as I do.  Sushi can be the great divider.  You either like it a lot or you won't eat it.  So if you're getting together with a non-Sushi lovin friend, they're not going to appreciate eating at a Sushi restaurant; whereas you can pretty much always find a friend to go out for Chinese or Italian with you.  I mention this because I think that having a meal with someone who shares your enthusiasm for the food, will only enhance your dining experience; and as Luis doesn't care for Sushi, whenever I go out for it, I'm always accompanied by a friend.

So why is Sushi on my mind?  Well today I had a thank you / goodbye lunch with my friend Shannon.  Shannon and I have been friends for years and she just so happened to be Kelsie's teacher this past year.  Shannon is also pregnant and moving to Florida next week, so I told her that I hadn't gotten her an end of the year gift, so that she would have to go to Starbucks with me instead.  Shannon had asked if we could go out to lunch at Fresh Wasabi, and I gladly, agreed.  It was about two years ago that I went to Fresh Wasabi for the first time, with Shannon.  They offer a vast assortment of Sushi, and everything is served promptly.  I've never had anything there that I didn't care for, and I definitely can't say that at all restaurants; so let's just suffice it to say, "me likey!"

Shannon got to Fresh Wasabi a few minutes before me, so upon my arrival she called my attention to a special that they were having.  Three rolls (from a limited menu) for $11.95  We  chose a Philly roll - just like bagels and lox, but bite sized and with a lil rice.  We had the shrimp tempura roll, which was sweet and savory.  Yum!  And we tried the Spicy, Tuna roll, which I hadn't ordered before, but enjoyed.  We also splurged and ordered our favorite roll that was not on the special.  The "First Love" had a crab mixture and a thin slice of salmon and a thin, thin, slice of lemon on top. So good, and indeed SO fresh!

I'm so glad that I got to have a farewell lunch with Shannon at the Sushi place that she introduced me to.  I wish her and her family a successful move, a short and complication free birth, and a lifetime of love and happiness.  My family and I will all miss her.
Till next time...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

(43-303) The Wonderful World of Braces

I'm writing today's post while I sit in the cafe area of our Orthodontist's office.  Today is a big day for Lyndzi because after 16 months of wearing an expander in the roof of her mouth; it's being removed so that she can get her first four top braces.

Lyndzi is extremely excited about the removal of the expander; and I don't even have the words to describe how proud I am of her, for enduring the treatment for as long as she did.  If you're not familiar with modern day Orthodonture, lemme give ya a lil crash course.  A top expander is attached on a semi-permanent basis by adhering brackets to the top, back teeth and attaching a contraption that will be calibrated during regular appointments at the Orthodontist, for the purpose of expanding your jaw.  Sounds like fun, huh?  The bottom expander (which Lyndzi also had), looks more like a heavy duty retainer, except that it comes with a little key and twice a week I would have to turn the key (while the piece was out of her mouth), in order to tighten the appliance.  When Lyndzi first got the expanders she was told that she should have them for 9 to 12 months; but as I mentioned before, she's now had it for 16 and she is READY to get it out.  Since Lyndzi had to take the bottom expander out when she ate, there was a lot of opportunity for it to get lost; but she always acted very responsibly; and for this I am very proud and truly grateful.

I'm hoping that since Lyndzi's now had experience with the discomfort that Orthodonture can cause; that the transition to the braces will be a smoothe one.  Lyndzi was a little nervous about getting her braces on and Nicky privately, shared with me that he was nervous for her too.  I distracted Lyndzi a bit by taking her picture with my phone.  I had forgotten to get a before shot of Nicky and I didn't want to make the same mistake with Lyndzi.

Lyndzi's technician, Gina came by and she said that she too would take a few before pics for us, and she took Lyndzi outside. 
When Lyndzi returned she told me that Gina wanted to speak to me.  Gina showed me the pictures, and then said "so we're doing the plain silver braces; no stars or hearts or anything, right?"  I was thrown for a moment, and said "I thought she was getting the clear braces on top."  I then told her that we didn't know anything about the stars or hearts. Gina explained that if Lyndzi was going to choose to put colors on her braces, getting the clear was kind of pointless.  Now before I go further, I HAVE to share the color situation with you.  The colors are little, plastic rings that the patient can choose to put around the bands.  And if you haven't already seen them,  you would not believe how many colors there are to choose from.

Gina said that she thought that Lyndzi should have as much fun with her braces as possible; and I told Lyndzi that I would leave it up to her.  I asked about the stars and hearts and she told me that she'd show them to us.  She then brought over a mold of a mouth, with different shaped braces on the teeth.  There was a star, a heart, a flower, and a music note.
I told Lyndzi that she could choose whatever she liked; and she opted for the flower. 

It's just amazing how many choices there are in the wonderful world of braces now.
I remember getting my retainer after many LONG years of braces; and I thought it was so cool that I could choose a color other than the standard pink. I chose purple, OF COURSE; and I can honestly say that choosing the color did make me feel better about the retainer, and using it. I have a feeling that these flower braces will do the same for Lyndzi.
When all was said and done, Lyndzi chose Lilac and Aqua for her colors, and I think that you can tell form this picture, that she was very pleased with her choice. 

I absolutely love Affiliated Orthodontics and I can't sing their praises loud enough. Dr's Womack and Davis (as well as their staff) have all been incredible during our courses of treatment; and I highly recommend them if you live in the area.  If you decide to pay them a visit, please let them know that you heard about them from me.
Till next time...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

(43-302) The Best Mother In Law EVER

I think I've mentioned before that my husband, Luis is one of six children; and the only one in his family who speaks fluent English.  Now when I say that he's the only one who speaks fluent English, what I mean is that he has a brother who speaks English (though not fluently) and one younger, sister who understands some English but doesn't speak it; and that's it.  His mom and dad don't speak one word of English, nor do his older brother, older sister or younger sister.  With that being said, you can probably imagine that there is a bit of a communication barrier when my kids and I visit, as we don't speak fluent Spanish.  Nonetheless, we all manage to convey love, respect and appreciation for each other.

I have never met a more faithful woman than my mother in law, and  I find her to be remarkable.  Luis' mom goes to church every day.  She studies the bible daily, and people in their community know her to be a woman who is close to God.  I've been at my mother in laws home at times when people have come to see her in the middle of the night, to ask her to come and sit by the bed of someone who's very ill and pray for them.  No matter the hour or how tired she is; she invariably goes.  People come to both my mother and father in law for counsel of all kinds and they are regularly take the time to help.  What I've  found astonishing about my mother in laws faith, is that she was always accepting of Luis marrying a Jewish girl.  At no point in time did she ever try to convert me or preach the bible to me.  It was enough for her that I believed in God and had faith.

I don't know that if one of my children came to me and said that they had fallen in love with someone who lived in another country and they wanted to leave their family to move there, that I would be as understanding and agreeable, as my mother in law was.  But again, she is a highly evolved woman.  

Now I've told you that I do speak Spanish, and I do so with a pretty good accent, ( or so I've been told),  so I am able to communicate with my mother in law, we just don't have the kinds of conversations that we'd be able to have if we were both fluent in the same language.  We do both speak the language of love though, and through body language, eye contact and embraces, I can tell that we understand each other.  And then of course there's her kindness...

When Luis came home last night, he brought me a big bag of Tamales.  Luis' mom knows this woman who makes the best Tamales EVER!  She makes the most delicious, sweet corn Tamales, and she used to make a shredded beef  Tamale that was to die for.  But as the cost of meet went up, she stopped making shredded beef and opted for ground beef instead.  I tried the ground beef Tamale last year and I didn't enjoy it as much as the others; so I asked Luis to bring home a couple of sweet corn Tamales only.  When we were driving home from the airport, Luis had mentioned something about his mom having made Tamales, and when I questioned him about this; he told me that his mom cooked up some shredded beef and then brought it to the woman who made the Tamales, so that she could make me some shredded beef Tamales.  How sweet is that?  I'm telling you, I have the best mother in law EVER, and certainly not just because of the Tamales.  Her kindness truly transcends language.

I know that one day my kids and I will speak fluent Spanish and we'll be able to communicate with everyone in a much more familiar way.  I can never thank my in laws enough, for giving me the gift of their son.  My in laws did such a wonderful job raising all of their children.   They are truly selfless and extraordinary people and I am so fortunate to have married into such a loving and supportive family. 
Till next time...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


We've all heard the expression, "If you look up (blank) in the dictionary, you'll see a picture of (blank's) face."  Well, I have to tell you that if you looked up THOUGHTFUL in the dictionary, you would see a picture of my dear friend, Rachel S' face.  I've written about Rachel S a couple of times during the course of the 43 series; but I really sang her praises (and deservingly so), in "The Care Package."  Just to refresh your memory, (or if your a new rider)  Rachel and her mom, Penny had sent me a very generous care package of some comfort foods that I'd casually mentioned missing.  It was entirely unexpected and incredibly appreciated, and the words that I wrote really didn't do them justice.
I told you about Rachel again, when I shared my plans to go to New York this summer, and then again when I told you last week about how Rachel told her mom that I liked to shop at Kohl's and her mom sent me $20 worth of gift cards.  What I didn't tell you was that a couple of months after I posted "The Truth About Ladybugs,"  I received a little package in the mail.  The return address was Rachel's and I had no idea what or why she would be sending me something.  When I opened the package, I found the most adorable little case that was shaped like a strawberry, and inside the case was a ring with a ladybug on it.  Once again I was blown away by Rachel's thoughtfulness.  I couldn't believe that she thought of me when she saw that ladybug ring; and the fact that she bought it for me, touched me deeply.
Well, on Monday morning I logged on to my work computer, and Rachel had sent me an email.  It didn't say anything; it just had this picture...  
And that meant the world to me.  How many people would see a picture in the newspaper and take the time to email it to a friend just because they thought that they might like it.  Sometimes it's just the little things that a friend does for you that makes you realize just how thoughtful they are; and lets you know how much you mean to them.  Rachel is the epitome of THOUGHTFUL.  It runs in her family; and I feel so blessed that it does. 
Sometimes saying "Thank you" just doesn't seem like enough.  So I'd like to share these sentiments:
"Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves."
~James Matthew Barrie

"A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses."
 ~Chinese Proverb

"Because that's what kindness is. It's not doing something for someone else because they can't, but because you can."

 ~Andrew Iskander

"In about the same degree as you are helpful, you will be happy." ~Karl Reiland

"It's not that successful people are givers; it is that givers are successful people." ~Patti Thor

All of these quotes exemplify how Rachel lives her life.  She is wise and fair, and generous and understanding; and her friendship is a precious gift.
Till next time...

Monday, May 23, 2011

(43-300) Homestretch

I can hardly believe that this is my 300th consecutive post of "The Bumpy Ride."  It just doesn't seem possible.  I think I've exhausted the whole SNL cheerleader / milestone bit; but I'm gonna give myself a good ole pat on the back for this one.

I remember struggling to get to post 266, and thinking, "I'll only have 100 to go from there, and I can do this"; but quite honestly, I really doubted myself.  And now 34 posts past that, and I only have 66 to go, so just like the little engine that could, I actually "think I can, I think I can!" 

300 posts; I'm in the homestretch and that feels like something to celebrate.  Since no celebration of mine would be complete without dancing, I'm gonna share my new favorite song "Price Tag", with the hope that you'll listen and get yer groove on with me... (Go ahead, play it now, and then you can finish reading.)

Now that you've caught your breath; in the interest of (say it with me), "The Greater Good", I have one more song to share.  It's not a dance song, but one that I heard at my kid's school talent show of all places.  I found the message to be poignant and I hope that you will too. Even if you've never listened to any of the other songs that I've posted in previous blogs, PLEASE take a listen to  "Who says" by Selena Gomez; and celebrate who YOU are.
Till next time...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

(43-299) Messages For Luis

Try as we may, we didn't get to speak with Luis yesterday.  I sent him a couple of emails with our schedule, and he left us a voicemail when we were out.  But given the time difference we were never able to connect.  I know the kid's miss him very much, but they've been handling his absence really well. 

Even though it's just a couple of days until Luis comes home; tonight I suggested that they could dictate messages to me and I'd include them in my blog.  So verbatim, these are their messages for Luis:

Kelsie: "Hi Daddy, I miss you very much.  I hope you come home soon.  I want to show you these little bears that I made out of clay.  I hope that you're having a good time in Mexico.  Tell Abuelito and Abuelita that I said hi.  And tell all of our cousins that I said hi, too.  We all miss you.  Love, Ball Ball"

Lyndzi:  "Hi Dad,  I miss you.  I hope that you're having a great time at home.  Please tell Abuelito and Abuelita and the cousins that I love them.  Please give my Nina a hug for me.  I can't wait until you come home so that I can hug you and be with you.  Are you going to be sick of Mexican food by the time you get home?   I love you with all my heart. - Cococita"

Nicky:  "Hey Dad, I hope you're enjoying Puerto Vallarta.  I miss you and when you get home I have tons of things to tell you, show you, and do with you.  Today I found these cool rockets at Michael's and mom's going to give me a coupon so that I can buy one tomorrow,  I also can't wait to do laser tag with you.  Love Trooper"

I had the good fortune to chat with Luis via Facebook instant messenger, so I don't really have much to say to him now, other than,  I love him and miss him and I can't wait to have him back here with us; because he completes us. 
Till next time...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

(43-298) Chat

Luis has now been on vacation for five days and I'm happy to say that he's having a great time and the kids and I are handling his absence, perhaps better than we'd expected.  I have been so touched by my kind, friends who've been calling to check on me and the kids.  THANK YOU all!

Before he left for his trip, Luis set up Windows Live Messenger so that we could video chat, and I believe that this has eased our separation, although it hasn't been working quite as well as we'd expected.  Since I'm NOT The Queen of TECHNOLOGY, you might assume that I was the cause of our technical difficulties, but in fact I was not.  On Wednesday night, Luis had sent me an email via Facebook, telling me what time he could chat.  We got online at the stipulated time.  I sat on the couch, and we IM'd a bit.  He then attempted to call; and although my exhausted, face appeared on the computer, we couldn't see him.   I was a little relieved because I took this to mean that he couldn't see us either and since I wasn't lookin my best, I was a lil relieved.  I thought "tomorrow night I'd better do my make up and sit in a flattering position, so that I give Luis something to want to come home to."  We attempted a couple of phone calls, but it wasn't working.  Luis continued to type his IM's but his English and spelling were not what they typically are.  I commented to the girls, that it had only been 24 hours, but Dad seemed to forget how to speak English; and Luis' next IM read "I can hear you."  Whoops!  My bad!  He then wrote "I do too speak English."  To which I replied, "Well you don't type like it."  He said that he could see and hear us, but we couldn't say the same.  Luis told me to keep talking and he'd type.  I agreed, and then his next comment was "Any gossip?"  Well at least that hadn't changed.   It felt odd to talk  to the computer screen and read Luis' typed responses.
Perhaps if  I could have seen his face while I was talking, it wouldn't have felt so peculiar.  But nonetheless, I was very happy to talk to him.

On Thursday night, Luis was able to get his camera working, so we could see him too; but his audio was still a problem.  Luis took us on a tour of the new bathroom that his dad had built and that was terrific.  We felt like we were right there with him.  Technology is just amazing.  I mean the last time I was in the States and Luis was in Vallarta, we were only able to communicate by phone and letters.  But in the past seventeen years, the Internet, email, Instant messaging, and video chat have all been invented.  I could only imagine that I would have saved a lot of money had this been the case back then.  Not that I'd change a thing.

Only three more days till Luis comes home, and the kids and I are fine.  Besides, this really has been good practice for when Lyndzi and I go to New York in 68 days.  Time is just flying by and I plan to enjoy it all.
Till next time...

Friday, May 20, 2011

(43-297) Fabulous Friday!

Oh Friday, how I love you!  Whether I'm having a date with Luis, or spending the evening with my kids and friends -Friday is usually my favorite day of the week.

This morning  Jenny and I took the kids out for brunch to celebrate the end of the school year.  After that I had a couple of errands to run. I exchanged a pair of flip flops at Payless; then our next stop was Kohl's.  Let me tell you why...  The other day I received the sweetest card from my friend Penny.  Penny is the mom of Rachel S. and I told you about her when I wrote "The Care Package."  Well getting the card was such an unexpected treat, and it really made me feel good.  But as if the card wasn't enough, Penny also included 2 $10 gift cards for Kohl's.  Penny wrote that she had received the gift cards and Rachel had mentioned that I like to shop at Kohl's so she hoped that I would be able to use them.  How kind and generous was that?  Since the cards had a 5/21 expiration date, I wanted to hurry over there so that I could put them to good use.  Now the cards did say "one per customer."  They also said "non-transferable," so I wasn't even sure if I'd be able to use them; but since I knew that I'd have to make two separate transactions, I gave the gift card and  $5 to Jenny and asked her to try and buy this $16 necklace for me.  (It was on sale for 35% off.)  Jenny returned and handed me my change.  She said that the necklace cost me just  .44  How great is that?  Knowing that I'd have no problem using the other card, I purchased a sundress and top for Lyndzi.  Both were on sale, PLUS I had a 15% discount card as well as Penny's gift card, so it was just $10 out of pocket for this purchase.  I couldn't have asked for a better shopping experience.  Thank you so much Penny AND Kohl's!!!

After some shopping, we headed for the park.   The weather was beautiful and a terrific time was had by all.  The kids enjoyed playing, while Jenny and I chatted away.  We left the park a few hours later, and I went home to get ready for Mari's, surprise, birthday dinner at  The Cheesecake Factory.  There were eight of us there including Mari, who would have been surprised had she not seen my minivan in the parking lot - arrghh!  We joked and laughed A LOT!  We had a very attentive waiter, delicious food, OK,and dessert (though I shared with Lisa B.)  Not wanting the night to end with dinner, five of us decided to go to Charming Charlie,  (the MOST phenomenal accessory store that I've ever seen.)  Huge fan of color that Iam, I was in heaven when I saw all of the different sections of the store, arranged by color.  It was like a rainbow had exploded and dropped all of the brilliant, purple jewels in one area, all of the green in another, all of the aqua to the left and the orange to the right. etc. etc. etc.   Oh my goodness, it was just glorious.

I'd been wanting to go to Charming Charlie for a while, and even though they had some very reasonable prices; there was no way that I was going to be getting a necklace for just .44 so I convinced myself that if I purchased anything it would have to be either a very special ,piece OR an irresistible price.  Well the special piece won out, and I must say that for as artful as it was, the price was very fair. ( Just under $15.)  I can't it and do it justice, so I'll just have to take a picture of it when I wear it. 

What an absolutely, fabulous Friday.  I couldn't have asked for a more perfect day.  From start to finish it was just exceptional.  It's days like today that make the more mundane days seem worth it.  Days when I can just realx with my family and friends.  When we can eat and chat and shop.  It just doesn't get much better than this.
I am so grateful to have had another day.  And not just ANY day, but a delectable  day.  Thanks to everyone who was a part of it.
Till next time...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

(43-296) School's Out!

We've been having the most unusual weather for this time of year in Phoenix.  It's been cool and windy, and despite the havoc that it's wreaking on my allergies, I find it delightful.  However, it makes it all the more difficult to believe that schools out now; and summer vacation has begun.

You know I've been looking forward to my kids being done with school; so today is a VERY happy day for us.  I'm proud to say that my kids all brought home beautiful, report cards.  Nicky had a 3.89 and given the level of difficulty of his schoolwork, I'm quite pleased with that.  Lyndzi had a 4.0, and Kelsie was only in first grade, so her report card consisted of a lot of plus signs rather than grades. Nicely done Ramos kids!!

The kids kinda took it easy today once they got home from school.  I made one of Nicky and Lyndzi's favorite dinners (Italian sausage and linguine), and then I went to a soccer board meeting.

When I came home and sat down to write my blog, I did what I always do.  Scrolled down the page to see if I had any new followers, reviewed the live feed to see who's read what and where they're from, and checked out what new blogs were posted by the Scrapbooking from the Inside Out team.  The title of Kai's post caught my eye, so I hopped over to "Enjoy The Ride Today!" to see "A Laugh..."  and indeed I got one from The Ultimate Dog Tease video that she posted.  I actually laughed out loud; so I called my kids over so that I could show it to them.  They thought it was a riot, and made me play it a couple of times.  So in honor of the beginning of our summer and the first good laugh that we've had.  Not to mention (say it with me), "The Greater good"  of course.  I'm going to share  it with you.

I know that we're going to have the best summer EVER.  And I sure hope that you do too.  I've been waiting for this day to come, and now that it's here I'm going to look forward to my next milestone, which is just four days away...The 300th consecutive post of the 43 series of "The Bumpy Ride," and then you know what comes after that...just 66 days, and 66 posts until I'll be 44!  So much to look forward to, so many things to appreciate  and so many more lessons to learn.  I'd better get busy...
Till next time...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

(43-295) Famous Friends

As I started getting busier with my blog, there were two things that I found I had less time for. One as you know (especially if you've seen me), is the gym and the other was spending time at the Scrapbooking from the Inside Out website.  I missed both (REALLY.  BOTH!)  But I found my way back to SFTIO a few weeks ago and I'm so glad that I did.  (I'll be making my way back to the gym next week, now that the kids will be out of school and my schedule will be different.)
Anyway, since I began working with Rachel on the "CRAFT Beach Retreat"  and creating the song playlist for this month's "FRIENDSHIP Kit" it seemed like an opportune time to reacquaint myself with the SFTIO online community. I don't spend a lot of time there, but I do try to check in a couple of times a day to see new posts.  I'll play the word association game, or look at the new lay outs that people submit for the monthly challenges; and yesterday when I stopped by I was delighted to see that my friend Kai had resurrected a lil game that I enjoy; called Gimme Five.

The name of the game basically says it all.  Whatever the topic is; you list five.  This time Kai posted, Gimme Five Favorite Famous Friends.  Her list included, well, the cast of "Friends," as well as Sully & Mike (from "Monsters Inc." Will & Grace (and Karen & Jack), Lavinia & Suzette (from "The Banger Sisters"), and Pooh & Piglet.  Others posted everything from Oscar and Felix ("The Odd Couple") to Dora & Boots.   Of course they mentioned Lucy & Ethel, and Thelma and Louise.

I added my two cents; OK, five cents and  wrote the following: "How bout Laverne & Shirley?  And while we're in our time machine, I'll go with Richie Cunningham & The Fonz. There's Mary & Rhoda, And for a lil Comic Relief (Billy Crystal, Robin Williams & Whoppi Goldberg) Lastly, they're the 3 best friends that anyone ever had; the wolf pack, the men of "The Hangover"!!! "    OK, I'll admit it; I crack myself up sometimes, and this was definitely one of them.

I came up with that list in no time at all; and if you think about it, most TV shows or movies revolve around friendships one way or another.  Friendship is such a crucial part of life. A friend lends an ear and a shoulder.  A friend has your back and will save your ass.  A friend is someone that you can laugh and cry with.  They help you through your struggles and celebrate your successes.  How empty life would be without our friends. 
I've said it before (many times); but I'll say it again.  I am SO grateful for all of my AMAZING friends. I could just go on and on (you KNOW I could), but instead, i'll just say, if you feel like weighing in, I'd love for you to Gimme Five.  You can post your five favorite, famous friends as a comment here, or even on Facebook.  Getcha Game on.  Play a little.  C'mon friends, let's have some fun! 
Till next time...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

(43-294) Luis' Big Trip

In May 1994 Luis moved from Puerto Vallarta to New York, so that we could get married.  And in the seventeen years that he's been here, we've never spent more than three nights apart; until now.  We'd been married for four years, the first time that Luis went away over night without me.  And the only reason that I was amenable to it, was because he was going treasure hunting.  YES, you read that right.  I said treasure hunting.  We were at home in Puerto Vallarta, and Luis and his brother's drove out to the town where Luis was born (about three hours away), and they took Luis' metal detector so that they could look for gold that their grandfather had buried on his property a long, long, time ago.  Yep, the prospect of finding gold felt like a good enough reason to be separated for an evening.  Alas, no treasure was found that night; but one returned to me.

Two years later, Luis had to go to Northern California for his Aunt's funeral; so we apart for a couple of nights. (Two or three I think.  I can't exactly remember.)  And then of course there were the SMF trips to Laughlin and Vegas; but if I'm not mistaken, I think those were only two night stays. I've had a few nights away from home myself.  There was my 40th birthday Scraptacular weekend, CHA with Rachel for Scrapbooking from the Inside Out; as well as Rachel's 40th birthday party weekend.

Truth be told, I don't like to be away from my family.  I prefer to travel with them; but given this economy and the fact that we didn't feel safe planning a road trip to Puerto Vallarta this year; it seemed only fair that Luis should go home without us. 

I dropped Luis at the airport this morning and although I was nervous about him being gone for a week, I was sincerely happy that he was going to see his family and spend quality time with them. When I picked my kids up from school, they told me that they already missed Luis.  I assured them that they would speak to him every day, and that we would keep very busy this week so that the time would pass quickly.  Luis called tonight and spoke to everyone, even Hershey who barked when I said that Daddy was on the phone.  He sounded very happy and relaxed and he truly deserves to be. 

I hope that Luis and my in-laws have a wonderful visit, and that the kids and I aren't too stressed by his absence.  I'm going to encourage everyone (myself included), to use this week to realize how much Luis does for us and how much we love, respect and value him. 
Till next time...

Monday, May 16, 2011

(43-293) HAPPY Birthday Nicky!!

The one thing that I've always been sure of was that I wanted to have children.  When I was single, I had promised myself that if I wasn't married by a certain age, I would find a way to have a child on my own, because it was just that important to me.  Since Luis and I had such a whirlwind romance, and got married after only knowing each other for a few months; we agreed that we would be married for a few years before we started a family, so that we would have a strong foundation to build upon.

I didn't necessarily want to be an older mom, but between relocating, and the early detection of some pre-cancerous cells; we wound up waiting four years before we attempted to have a baby.  We were very fortunate, because as soon as we made the decision to try and conceive, I got pregnant right away.  Luis and I were thrilled to find out that we were expecting and despite having morning sickness round the clock for twelve weeks; I was ecstatic.

Early on, I believed that I was having a boy and the ultrasound proved me right.  I wanted to name my son after my maternal grandfather Nathan, and since Luis assured me that his family would not pronounce the name Noah properly, we opted for Nicolas.  I would talk to Nicky every day and refer to him by name.  Even after getting sick, I would rub my stomach and tell him "That's OK Nicky, we're going to be alright;" and I felt a love like none that I'd ever known before. 

I remember talking myself through my contractions and saying "just a little while longer and I'm going to see Nicky.  Just a little while longer and I'm going to hold Nicky."  I was not concerned about the pain or discomfort, because I was so excited about getting to meet my son.  And when the nurse placed him in my arms, I cried tears of joy, and I rocked him and said "My Nicky, MY Nicky."  And I felt blessed.  I felt grateful.  I was utterly blissful; as I basked in the warmth of an overwhelming love. What a precious gift from God. 

It seems like just yesterday that I gave birth to my beautiful, baby boy; and yet it's now been twelve years. For twelve years I've been privileged to raise the most exceptional boy.  A boy that any mom would be so proud to call her own.  A boy who is thoughtful and compassionate, sensitive, trustworthy, intelligent, hard working, cooperative, kind, insightful, funny, mature and loving.  A boy who is a great big brother, and a wonderful son.

As always, Nicky didn't ask for much for his birthday.  He wanted to take a treat to school to share with his class, so I bought him cookies at Sam's Club.  He asked to go to PoPo's Fiesta Del Sol for dinner and he requested Red velvet cheesecake (from The Cheesecake Factory), for dessert.  And we were more than happy to comply.

Twelve years ago today, I began to fulfill my destiny. From the moment that Nicky was placed in my arms, I knew that I had been right all along and that I was meant to be a mom.  Holding Nicky I felt complete for the first time in my life.  Oh how Nicky was well worth the wait.

On this his twelfth birthday, I wish Nicky a lifetime of love and happiness.  A life filled with joy and fulfillment.  I hope that he becomes everything that he wants to be and that he has the courage to follow his every dream.  I hope that Nicky will find his passion and lives his life with intention and purpose.  I hope that Nicky will be true to himself and respectful of others.  I wish Nicky the happiest twelfth birthday ever; and I look forward to watching him grow and develop into the person that he is meant to be.
Till next time...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

(43-292) Two New Finds

Tonight, in the interest of (say it with me) "The Greater good," I'm going to share two new finds that thrilled me no end this weekend.  If you already know about either or both of these items, I apologize for my tardiness; but if this is the first that you're hearing about them, then I'm pleased as punch to introduce them to you.

First, I went absolutely nuts over Bath & Body Works Vanilla Pistachio, Anti-bacterial, deep cleansing hand soap.  I was at an outlet mall and was delighted to find a Bath & Body works store.  They had their anti-bacterial soaps (which I adore), on sale for just $2.50  I was immediately drawn to the Vanilla Pistachio as I'd never seen it before, and the sales woman told me that it was only just introduced as a special, around Mother's day.  It's rich, it's luxurious, it's scrumptious!!  So, if you haven't had the pleasure of smelling it for yourself; put it on your list of things to do SOON, because I think that you're going to find it hard to resist.

My second find was at Sam's Club.  I came across the cutest sample display.  The woman had what appeared to be lollipops but in all actuality they were Nature Sweet, Sunbursts, sweet golden snacking tomatoes, on lollipop sticks.  They looked extraordinarily enticing, and after I ate one,, I did something that I NEVER do.  I asked if I could have another... I ate the second, and then I took one for Luis because I was so impressed.  Although I thought the 32 oz. of tomatoes were a lil pricey at just under $6.00; I couldn't resist, and I bought them.  I ate a couple as soon as I got home, and then I put some in my salad.  Truth be told I am not a tomatoe lover; but I am just wild about these. 

If you try either of my great finds, please dropsend me a quick email  or leave me a comment and let me know what you think..

Now honestly, where else but "The Bumpy Ride," would you read about a new, hand soap and tomatoes, in the same blog?  I know it's a lil odd, but since I found them both to be so fabulous, it made perfect sense to me.  And since I'm such a firm believer in delighting in the little things, and taking your happiness where you find it; I had to share these great new finds with you.  As always, I hope that you're all taking the time to enjoy the simple pleasures that make life so great.
Till next time...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

(43-291) Smitty

There's been a question in Mari's "Memories and Thoughts" jar, that I've been avoiding. It's "Write about someone that you would like to see again."  Well I'm sure that you know it goes without saying, that my mom is the person that I would most want to see.  So I'm not gonna take the easy way out. Instead I'm going to tell you about the person that I most want to see, who is still living; to the best of my knowledge.

Tonight I saw someone who was a dead ringer for an old friend of mine; and my mind immediately went back to the question from Mari's jar. It's been twelve years since I've spoken to my friend Smitty and I really miss him. So if I could see someone again, I would have to say Robert "Smitty" Smith, would be my choice.

My senior year of high school, I went on a Criminal Justice seminar to London. The trip was sponsored by Rockland Community College, and students from my high school as well as two others, were able to attend. We went to London, visited different courts and police stations, and when we returned to the states, we had to write a paper that was worth four college credits.

My friend Melissa and I had signed up for the trip, and despite the fact that we both got sick as dogs; we had THE MOST amazing time. I could go on and on about our antics; but that's not my focus tonight. What I really want to tell you about is Smitty. Smitty was a large, African-American guy that went to Ossining High School. By large I mean that he stood at least 6'3'' and he had a football player's build. At first I thought that Smitty was a mean guy because of something that this other boy had said about him; so when he tried to talk to me, I kinda gave him the cold shoulder. I think he took that as a challenge, so he didn't shy away; and by the end of the trip we had gotten to be very friendly.

Smitty and I kept in touch when we got back to New York; and I saw him every so often. Over time our friendship grew and he became a friend that I really relied on. A confidant, a ride to and from the airport, a bodyguard, a safe haven. He was attentive, kind, thoughtful, funny, protective.  He was like a big brother to me; so it only seemed natural that when I was going to get married that I would want Smitty to be there. At first Smitty said that he'd come to the wedding, but his work (as a very successful paralegal) got in the way; and ultimately he wasn't able to make it.

I don't think that I saw Smitty before Luis and I left New York to move to Florida, and I know that we went about two years without talking; but then I decided to try and track him down, and once I did, we picked right up where we'd left off.  Smitty told me that he'd been to Arizona a couple of times on business, so once we moved here, I was optimistic that we'd see him more; but we didn't. Then when I was pregnant with Nicky, I asked Smitty if he would be Nicky's Godfather. He happily accepted, and promised that he'd come out to see us right after Nicky was born. Smitty had to put his trip off for a while due to work; but we'd scheduled an early August visit and I was so excited for him to see my beautiful son.

Luis, Nicky and I went to California for a couple of days, and came home just in time for Smitty to visit; but when I got a voice message saying that he had to postpone again, I was devastated. I called Smitty and he explained that his cousin had AIDS and was dying; or maybe he'd actually just passed away; I honestly can't remember.  And I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I wasn't as good a friend as I should have been. I truly can't remember exactly what I said, but whatever it was, it made Smitty very angry. I certainly didn't mean any disrespect; I was just very disappointed and apparently very self centered. I felt terrible that he was so upset with me, and I let several weeks go by before trying to call him; but I did. I reached out and tried to apologize, but he didn't want to hear it. I tried email, and voice messages from time to time; but he was still angry. Angry enough to never speak to me again.

Smitty had gone in and out of my life for 14 years; and losing him completely was an awful blow. Unfortunately for me, Smitty and I didn't really have any mutual friends, so I don't think that there's anyone that I can ask to help me get in touch with him at this point. Since I'm a firm believer that if something is meant to happen it will; all I can do is send this message out into the universe and hope that one day I will see Smitty again . 
Till next time...

Friday, May 13, 2011

(43-290) Help Me, Help You

I've received some absolutely fabulous gifts in my lifetime, and I'm grateful for all of them; but I also find that it often really does feel better to give rather than to receive. If you’re familiar with me and “The Bumpy Ride,” then you know, I LOVE helping. I've mentioned before that I volunteer for everything from my kid's school classes to our soccer league board; and yet, I myself have a very difficult time asking friends for help or accepting assistance from others. Well the other day I had a bit of an epiphany, and I realized that sometimes we HAVE to let other people do things for us when they offer because if we don't, we are depriving them of the happy feeling that you get when you do something nice for someone else.

So there you have it, my lesson for the day; if you're someone who often offers to help others then you need to permit others the opportunity to go out of their way for you too. Here’s an example: Typically when my family goes home to Puerto Vallarta, we stay at my in-laws house and we give my mother-in-law money for groceries as she cooks our meals. Since Luis will be going to Vallarta on his own next Tuesday, we were discussing how much money he should give his mom for food. We settled on an amount, and I told Luis that if his mom declined the money, he should insist; however, if she still didn’t want to take the money then he should just thank her and accept her generosity, since I’m sure that it makes her feel good to take care of him when he’s there. We discussed how we think nothing of offering to help others but we typically don’t feel comfortable when people try to reciprocate. We usually try to decline friend’s offers of favors because we don’t want to put anyone out or seem like we’re taking advantage but the truth is, we always offer with the best intentions and the fullest hearts; so we should believe that our friends are doing the same.

I know so many people who are natural helpers, and who feel more comfortable doing for others than letting others do for them; but we ALL need to give and accept help or a random act of kindness from time to time. So maybe think of it this way; you're HELPING your friend feel good, when you allow them to help you.
I hoped that help!
Till next time...

(43-289) Harshing My Gig

So here's some more irony for you. The first line of tonight's post was going to be "So now that Blogger's up and running, I'm free to quote previous posts and provide links until my heart’s content." I was then going to refresh your memory about "Food Tidings," and bring you up to date on the meal that I brought to Mari and her family. However, for the second night in a row, Blogger is harshing my gig; only this time it's worse than before.

I sat down to write my post tonight, and found that once again Blogger was in read only mode due to maintenance; but this time, they didn't provide any time line as to when the problem might be solved, or when we'd be able to do more than read posts. Given this situation, the only thing that I could do to remain true to my promise to write a post a day; is WRITE my post for Thursday, May 12, 2011 and publish it as soon as Blogger would allow.

If you’ve been following “The Bumpy Ride,” then you may recall that a couple of weeks ago I told you that Mari's 18 year old daughter had been in the hospital and that I signed up (through Foodtidings.com) to bring a meal to her family. Well, tonight was finally my night and I am delighted to announce that Mari herself was able to enjoy the dinner that I'd prepared; as her daughter was discharged from the hospital this afternoon and they went home.
Although her daughter's road to recovery will be a long one; we are all thrilled that she has returned home to recuperate. Thank you so much to all of you who said a prayer for Mari and her family.

Now if you’re anything like me, then I know that you’ll want to know what I made for dinner; and since I aim to please, I’ll tell you. I thought I’d keep it simple and I went for one of my kid’s faves since I was going to be serving them the same thing. I prepared baked rigatoni with ground beef and mozzarella cheese. I brought them fixings for a salad, inclusive of a garlic Caesar salad kit, an extra bag of Romaine lettuce, a bag of shredded carrots and a can of black olives. I also brought a warm loaf of French bread; and it was a hit with both families.

Prior to visiting Mari and her daughter in the hospital, I felt helpless. I felt like I was failing my friend because there was nothing that I could do to comfort her or make things easier for her. Once I got myself to the hospital for a visit, I felt a little more useful; but finally preparing dinner for them really made me feel like I had made a difference; even if just in a small way.
Till next time...