Thursday, June 30, 2011

(43-338) Scary Pain

On Monday, I bit into a chip and experienced the most unpleasant shooting pain in my tooth.  In my life, I had never felt such a bizarre and terrifying pain in my mouth; but thankfully it did not persist.  Then
last night I was eating a salad, and I experienced a similar pain - though not quite as brutal.  Since twice I'd felt the pain in the same part of my mouth, I started to panic.  Huge Dentalphobic that I am, I feared that the pain meant that something was going wrong with one of my teeth; and I got scared.

Now when I get scared about a tooth pain, what typically happens is that I obsess about it, and I manifest the pain that I fear so much.  I took some Ibuprofen, and an Alprazolam (for anxiety) because I didn't want my fear to make the pain worse.  I slept through the night (which was a great sign that nothing was wrong;) but when I got up, I was sure that my tooth hurt (even though I couldn't tell you which one it was.)  I took some more medicine and went to work.  I IM'd Luis and told him that I was nervous about my tooth; especially because we were going out of town on Saturday and he suggested that I go to the dentist.

The old me would have waited till the last possible minute to go to the dentist; but despite my fear I scheduled an appointment for today at 2 because I wanted to ensure that I'd be pain free for our trip.  I was REALLY proud of myself, because not only did I go to the dentist promptly, but I didn't take any Alprazolam prior to my appointment.  I kept telling myself "If there is something wrong with the tooth, it will feel better after that appointment, so there was nothing to be afraid of."   I told the receptionist, the dentist and his assistant that I was really hoping that it was a sinus problem or even nothing at all.  I said that if they couldn't find anything wrong then I knew I'd look crazy, but that was a chance I was willing to take, because I'd rather be safe than sorry.  They took x-rays, tested hot and cold, tapped on teeth picked at teeth and thankfully, nothing caused me any pain.  The Dentist explained that I may have bit into the chip the wrong way (and for me biting into a chip at all, is THE WRONG WAY.)  And even though you can't bruise a tooth, he explained that what he thinks happened to my tooth was the equivalent of bruising it.

When all was said and done the dentist assured me that he didn't see any sign of infection or abscess, and said that I should go to California, relax and have fun because nothing should go wrong with my tooth this weekend.  I thanked everyone profusely and left with a great sense of relief.   I was and am so proud of myself for not procrastinating, and I am hopeful that I won't ever feel that pain again.
Till next time...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

(43-337) Back To Normal

Hip Hip Hooray! My air has been repaired and life as we know it, is getting back to normal. What a big (yes) HUGE difference a day makes. With power cord in hand I was able to put in a full day of work; inclusive of an hour long conference call with the reunion group that I'd attempted to speak with on Tuesday night. The kids got to swim again, and although I wasn't able to join them, I could see them splashing around, from where I sat in the clubhouse; and that was lovely.

Around noon, Luis informed me that he had spoken with our AC guy and the fan and capacitor were both under warranty. Woohoo! Luis finished work, and went back to our house to meet the AC fairy, and by 5pm, he said that the kids and I could come home. We wasted no time packing up, and by 615 we were in our home HOT home but Luis assured us that it would cool down shortly; and it has.

When all was said and done; the AC repairs only cost us $160 so we are considering ourselves VERY fortunate. We were blessed during this inconvenience in SO many ways. From the graciousness and generosity of Luis' boss, to my cousin Becky's consideration and hospitality and certainly by our AC serviceman, who was honest, helpful and extremely affordable. We are all very happy to be home; at least until the 2nd - when we leave for California.
Till next time...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

(43-336) AC Update

Shortly after publishing my blog last night, the battery on my laptop was just about exhausted.  I asked Luis to grab my power cord out of my bag, only to realize that in my heat exhausted state, I hadn't packed it.  This changed the game big time.  Without the power cord, I wasn't going to be able to work and there was no way I was driving 45 minutes back to Peoria last night, so I had to take the day off today.

Now most would think that a day at a resort in Scottsdale would be a good thing.  And typically I'd agree, except for the fact that in addition to leaving my power cord at home; I also forgot my swim suit, so I wasn't able to join my kids in the pool.  I didn't want to run home for the power cord and swim suit in the morning, because the AC guy told Luis that he'd come over some time after 12, and I figured that depending on what time we had to meet him, I could get my things then.  My next order of business was to try and re-schedule Nicky's orthodontist appointment.  I called around 830, but was told that he was scheduled for a 40 minute appointment today, and there would be no way that they could fit him in for that when they see Lyndzi next week, so I agreed to keep my appointment for today at 4.

So here's what I knew about today: 1.  I couldn't work, write my blog, do the music play list for SFTIO, or most importantly, swim with my kids.  2.  I had to be in Peoria for a 4pm orthodontist appointment and 3. I had a reunion conference call that I had to make at 630pm.

With all of these things in mind, I had to figure out how to occupy myself while my kids were swimming.  I went to the gift shop to get a magazine, and much to my surprise, they had the worst selection EVER.  I mean there was not one article from "O" to "Cosmo" to "People" to "Good Housekeeping" that looked like it was worth reading.  So I borrowed a fashion magazine and headed back to the pool.  I watched my kids swim and flipped through the  magazine, which was a big (yes) HUGE waste of time.  When I returned it, Luis' friend Yolanda (that works in the gift shop) said "You don't like to just sit still, do you?"  And she meant it in a nice way, of course.  I explained that I felt like I was wasting time because there were so many things that I coulda and shoulda been doing - including swimming with my kids; so I was feeling frustrated.  And she got it.

By the time Luis got off work at 230, we still hadn't heard from the AC guy, and I needed to head back to Peoria for Nicky's appointment.  Luis took Hershey and I took the kids; and I made it to the orthodontist with five minutes to spare.  The visit took all of 15 minutes; so I wasn't thrilled; but what could I do.  I had told Luis to take Hershey to Petsmart because we needed to get her some food, and she was allowed in that store.  He hung out with her there, until I met up with him.

I headed back up to Scottsdale with my kids, Hershey and my power cord.  I didn't have time to grab my swim suit, so Luis said he'd bring it back to the hotel for me.  I contemplated stopping by the Cheesecake Factory to see my cousin Becky, and get carry out for dinner.  I thought that Hershey and I could stay in the car for my conference call and my kids might wait in the restaurant; but as I was passing the turn off, I realized that it would be 20 minutes until the conference call plus call time and I didn't want to put Becky out, so I took a chance that I'd make it back to the hotel in time; and I did.  Funny thing is, the reunion chairperson missed the call; and ultimately we're going to have to re-schedule.  BUT, that's just par for the course today.

After concluding my call, Luis called to say that the AC guy was doing a diagnostic on the unit - it was just after 7pm.  My kids and I went to see Becky for dinner; and we had a great time.  After sitting outside in 118 degree weather, I wanted to order something on the light side, and I opted for the Luau Salad.  The salad had a lot of different ingredients, like macadamia nuts, sesame seeds, red peppers, yellow peppers, green beans, chicken, cucumber and crispy wontons, in a vinaigrette.  I didn't tell you ALL of the ingredients, but I can tell you that it was the best salad EVER!  We got some cheesecake to go, and now here I sit. 

Luis reported that it seems like the fan went out on our AC unit and our serviceman will be checking tomorrow to see if it's still under warranty.  He told Luis to call him at noon; so I'm hoping that by tomorrow evening, we'll be back in our house.  Fingers crossed.

Even though I wasn't as productive as I could have been today; I am always thankful for uninterrupted time with my kids; and a chance to see my cousin.  The AC saga continues; but I'm optimistic that there will be a happy ending.
Till next time...

Monday, June 27, 2011

(43-335) 95!

95 !- I wish I could say that's the number of pounds that I've lost this year, or the amount of money that I won at a casino, or the number of new "Bumpy Ride" followers; but in reality, it's the temperature that my house was, when we vacated for the evening.

Yesterday, my kids and I spent the afternoon swimming at Michelle M's; so when we got home for the evening we were well cooked.  We turned down the air, to a lovely 79 and slept in delightful chilliness.  When I awoke this morning, I actually had to raise the temp because it was downright cold; and the house was very comfortable until around 1:30.

Out of the blue, the house felt particularly warm, so I asked Nicky to go upstairs and tell me what the temperature was.  I was alarmed when he told me that it was 88 because during the day in the summer, we usually keep it at 82.  I asked Nicky to lower the temp to 80, but within a half hour the house didn't seem any cooler, so I called Luis and asked him to call the  AC guy.  Luis left a message for him, and by the time he arrived home, the inside of our house was a toasty, 91 degrees.

Luis tried to figure out what was wrong, but it wasn't as easy a fix as our fridge had been.  He called one of the AC guys from his hotel, for some advice, and he spoke to our AC guy, but he said he couldn't make it to our house until some time on Tuesday; so we knew we needed to evacuate for the evening.

I contacted the Drury Inn and Suites, because Mari and Julie had just spent the weekend there, and when I stopped by to see them, I was impressed with their accommodations and the price.  The clerk couldn't have been nicer, and hooked me up with a travel agent rate for a suite; but as I was packing up, I realized that if my AC wasn't fixed before checkout, the kids, Hershey and I might have no place to go; AND I'd have to work.  With that in mind, Luis called his boss.  When Luis told him that our AC had gone out, he immediately told him that we should go to the hotel.  I was embarrassed to call the Drury back; so I asked Luis to cancel that reservation, and he gladly did so.

By 715 we arrived at the hotel and were finally able to relax and cool down.  We have no idea if the AC will be fixed tomorrow, or the next day; and we are very grateful that we have a beautiful place to stay in the meantime.  We're hopeful that the AC will be easily and inexpensively fixed, but as long as we're all together, we know that everything will be fine.
Till next time...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

(43-334) Wanna Laugh?

How many times a day do you laugh?  I'm not even sure what my answer to that question is.   I just know that I like to do so as much and as often as possible; and I am very blessed to know some pretty funny people.  Heck, we all know that I even laugh at myself on a very regular basis.

A couple of days ago Nicky said something that I found very amusing, and there goes that memory again, because I can't even remember what is was; but nonetheless, I commented that he was my funny child and he was VERY happy to hear this.  (More so than I ever would have expected actually.)  As a matter of fact, he's brought it up to me a number of times since then.  He'd say "blah, blah, blah, because I'm your funny child, right Mama?"   And of course I'd agree.  Truth be told, all three of my kids are very funny in their own way.  Lyndzi is a riot; and she too gets great satisfaction out of the fact that I think she's funny.  And Kelsie, well she's just such an all around character, that she can't help but be funny.

So last night we went out to dinner, and Kelsie was reminding me of this charming thing that she'd said about Nicky a few days ago.  She had made the comment that "Nicky is a shy guy so he's like a butterfly in his cocoon and one day he's gonna come out and be a really beautiful butterfly."  And I have to say that when she first told me this she just reinforced my belief that she is utterly brilliant; and so amazing; but nonetheless, Luis hadn't been privy to her analogy so I asked her to share it with him; and when she did, she gave the performance of her life.  After listening to her I said "Kelsie you're such an actress."  To which she replied "Well, I have no interest in being on TV. I have no interest in being in movies. I have no interest in being in commercials. I have no interest in being in a commercial about a movie. The only thing that I'm interested in showing, is my ears."  And I laughed like I have not laughed in I don't know when.  I had no idea why she said that. So I asked and she said something about liking her ears because they're soft.  OK, they can't all be profound, she is only seven ya know.

Now you may recall that when I wrote "43" I said "I believe this needs to be a year of recollection, reflection, observation, appreciation, and change..." So, let me say how very much I appreciate and am thankful for LAUGHTER.  A good laugh can make anything better; and I am so grateful for all those who bring laughter into my life, and to all those who permit me to bring laughter into theirs.
Till next time...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

(43-333) The Meaning of 333

As you can see, today's post is number 333 in the 43 series. Besides for that number being astounding to me - since it represents the number of consecutive blogs that I've written - I thought that I'd do a little research (YES research), and try to find out if the number 333 had any special meaning.

According to Lightworkers,"333 means DECISION: You have a decision to make. The decision will lead to either 666, which means you must repeat the lesson again in some other way, or it will lead to 999, which is completion and you have learned the lesson."

According to "333 indicates that your Spirit Guides agree with your thoughts and feelings and could be interpreted as a Cosmic 'Yes!' to questions you have asked or ideas you may have."

I also read that in numerology 3 means Communication/interaction and neutrality. AND that when you add 333 it totals nine, which in numerology means the highest level of change.

While doing my research , someone in one of the forums that I perused, mentioned that 333 meant "Past, Present, and Future", which I kinda like considering the entire 43 series focused on my past, present and future. BUT, when it comes right down to it; (for me) 333 means that I have 33 blogs to go until the daily ride is concluded. How bout that for a repetitive number? Should I EVEN go there...
Now don't let me mislead you. "The Bumpy Ride" will not be coming to an end on my birthday; it will just return to it's weekly or bi-weekly format. (I haven't decided which yet.) I'm open to your suggestions of course, unless your suggestion is to give up the blog, in which case I'll thank you to keep your thoughts to yourself. But if you'd like to see "The Ride" continue, please tell me how often you'd prefer to read it. As always, you can comment (positively) here, on Facebook or you can email me. Queen of SENSITIVITY that I am, I might just mistake your silence to mean that my birthday blog should be my last; so if ever there was a time to share your feelings; I would really appreciate it if you do so now - for my (say it with me) "GREATER GOOD" of course.
Till next time...

Friday, June 24, 2011

(43-332) A GREAT Staycation Rate

Today's blog is being written while I'm poolside at Chaparral Suites Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona.  I'm not sure that I ever mentioned the name of Luis' hotel before, but there you have it.  Luis is the Front Office Manager and Manager on Duty at the lovely, Chaparral Suites Resort.

We've been fortunate it enough to stay at Chaparral on a number of occasions and we always have a terrific experience.  Once upon a time, The Chaparral was an Embassy Suites, and they still follow their model by offering a Manager's cocktail reception from 530 to 730 every evening and a cooked to order breakfast.  Breakfast is all you can eat and they'll prepare whatever you choose from eggs, to breakfast burritos, pancakes, french toast, bacon, sausage, hashbrowns, etc. etc.  They have a selection of cereals and fruit, danish and muffins, coffee, tea and juices.  All of the rooms are suites; hence the name; and they all come equipped with either two double beds or a king in the bedroom, and a pullout sleeper sofa in the living room.  There is a door that closes between the bedroom and the living room, and each suite also has a microwave and refrigerator. (Not a full size of course, but not quite a mini.)

The Chaparral Suites Resort occupies more than two acres of  beautifully landscaped property, with two large fountains situated throughout.  Although I'm only 45 minutes from home; whenever I'm here I always feel as if I'm on vacation because of the ambiance.

The Fourth Floor Grille is Chaparral's restaurant and I highly recommend it any day of the week.  They have amazing burgers, delicious pizza and scrumptious salads.  They have an extensive menu with everything from salmon to ribs and they even make their own salad dressings.  You can't go wrong with anything that you order; and as if the quality of their food wasn't enough, the portions are always very generous.  By the way, if you wanna check them out and NOT stay overnight, you can purchase a gift certificate and have a fabulous meal at the fraction of the regular cost.

Chaparral Suites Resort has been offering a reasonable summer rate for several years, but this year they have a deal that can't be beat.  $109 (plus tax) for a night and you receive a $50 food credit which can be used towards food or drinks.  Now is that a GREAT Staycation rate or what?

The Chaparral has two refreshing, pools, a gym, and tennis courts.  They offer a complimentary airport shuttle, free Wi-Fi,  and dogs (under 50 lbs) are welcome to stay for just a $25 non-refundable deposit.

Being the Queen of  LOOKING OUT FOR YOUR (say it with me) "GREATER GOOD", I'd be remiss if I didn't share this outrageous opportunity with you.  And because I'm always curious to know who takes me up on my tips, please leave me a comment (here or on Facebook) or email me and let me know how your stay was.   For now, I'm going to go enjoy my complimentary margarita.
Till next time...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

(43-331) First Place

A couple of months ago I wrote a blog called "Love Gives You Courage", and I told you about this girl (who I called Brenda for the sake of the blog.)  I explained that Brenda had been very rude to Nicky and that Lyndzi had stuck up for him.  I also told you that I wasn't a fan of  Brenda's, partly because she's mean and has a phony smile, but also because she's inconsiderate and obnoxious.  I know that those are strong words to say about a child and I apologize if I seem harsh; but I don't know what other words to use to describe her behavior.  This isn't exactly something that I can consult my Thesaurus about, and when I tell you what I'm about to tell you; it may be apparent why.

I've mentioned on more than one occasion that during home swim meets, Luis and I (along with my friend Kailene) sit at the judges table and figure out what place all the swimmers come in.  Although this position can be a little stressful, we do get a front row seat for all the action and there's something to be said for that.

If you're not familiar with swim team procedure, I can tell you that we swim two different strokes and one relay, during each swim meet.  Also the kids are divided into three age groups during Lyndzi and Kelsie's meets, as well as three groups at Nicky's  meets.  We will run as many heats (races) as necessary, in order to assure that all swimmers are given the opportunity to swim.  Typically the coach will put his/her fastest swimmers in the earliest heats; so imagine my surprise when Brenda chose to swim in the fifth (out of six) heats.  I noticed that she was doing this a number of weeks ago, because Brenda is a very good swimmer and she is particularly fast; but I can't help believing that she does this so that she can come in first all the time.

My kids do swim team for the daily exercise that it provides and because they like competing.  It would be very easy for me to tell Lyndzi (for example) to wait to swim towards the end of the heats because there were weaker swimmers that she could surely beat; but I'm not about that.  Although I like when my kids do well, because it boosts their self esteem; I'm also OK if they come in dead last as long as they tried their best and had a good time.  Coming in first EVERY time is not going to prepare "Brenda" for the reality of life.  And truth be told, it's not the placing that counts; it's actually your times.  My feeling is that 1. Brenda needs to let the girls in the later heats, compete against each other and let some of them enjoy success.
2. Brenda needs to challenge herself and compete against people whose aptitude for swim is more similar to hers.  And lastly, she needs to learn that it's OK not to come in first all of the time. 

There are very few if any, individuals who come in first each and every time they do something; so I think Brenda needs a lil dose of reality.  And she needs to learn what it means to play fair and be a good sport. 

We couldn't help but discuss Brenda during the meet, because it was obvious to every one that she intentionally swam in a less competitive heat, so that she could come in first and even though this is a recreational swim team, it was inappropriate to do so.

I find it very sad that coming in first is so important to Brenda and yet I know that there are a lot of other people out there like that.  It seems to me that Brenda is basing her self-esteem on how well she does in a swim meet, but she's doing herself a great disservice.  And as someone who loves children, I find this disturbing.  Apparently Brenda's parents don't have a problem with what she's doing and if I took a wild guess, that's probably because coming in first is the only thing that matters to them, no matter the means.

I hope that my children know that just like they're not a 4.0 or an award winning painting or a first place ribbon; it's the process that counts, and you should be proud of yourself regardless of your place or time.  If you believe that you tried your best and you enjoyed yourself while trying; that's a greater prize than any ribbon.
Till next time,,,

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

(43-330) "the glee project"

Are you a GLEEk like me and my kids?  Have you somehow missed "GLEE", but enjoy music or musicals?  Do you enjoy a good  competition series?  If you've answered yes to any or all of these questions, then you should be watching "the glee project" Sunday's at 9/8c on Oxygen.

"the glee project" was developed by "GLEE'" creator, Ryan Murphy as a way to search for the next "GLEE" cast member, since most of the current cast should be graduating next year.  The winner of "the glee project" will appear in seven episodes next season; and the competition has been fierce.

Each week the contestants are given "homework"  - an assignment that focuses on a specific theme.  The first week they concentrated on individuality and this past week theatricality was the topic.  Along with the concept they're assigned a song to work on as a group.  Each participant is given a part and they have to demonstrate the theme in their segment of the performance; and all I can say is that both performances could have easily been shown on an episode of "GLEE."    Once the performance is over, one person emerges as the winner of the homework round and they are given a special feature in the video that the group will film that week, as well as a mentoring session with whoever the guest star of the episode is.  So far they've been visited by Darren Criss who plays Blaine on "GLEE", and Tony award winner, Idina Menzel ("RENT" and "Wicked") who played Rachel's birth mother, Shelby.

The second assignment of the week is a group video.  The cast work with a choreographer and music director to make a video for whatever song that the producer's assign.  My kids and I have found both videos to be very entertaining and GLEE-esque; so if you're missing your weekly dose of  "GLEE" no need to go through withdrawal any more; just tune in to "the glee project."

After the conclusion of the video viewing, the producers announce which contestants are called back.  The last three contestants must perform a song of the producer's choice and then one is eliminated.

This series has ABSOLUTELY everything that I love in a show.  Great musical performances, dancing, competition and reality.  The participants are all unique.  They could all be written into the cast of "GLEE" just playing themselves.  They're all different, and unique, and I'm sure that there isn't a person out there who couldn't relate to at least one of  them. 

So even if your busy on Sunday nights or your  DVR is fillin up; make some room for "the glee project".   I think you'll be really glad you did.
Till next time...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

(43-329) Melon Lessons

It's now officially summer; and one of the things that I like best about this season, is it's fruit.  OK, let's face it, I love pretty much everything about summer, but of all the seasons, I have to say I'm most partial to the fruits of summer.

Now fan of fruit that I am; I've never been sure about how to pick them.  Obviously I know that I don't want bruised nectarines, or cherries; but when it comes to the melons, other than givin a Cantaloupe or Honeydew a sniff; up until a few days ago, I had no idea how to tell if they were ripe.  Funny story about sniffin a fruit.  A couple of weeks ago Luis and I were in Sam's Club and I saw some beautiful, Pineapples. I picked one up and went to smell it and man I must have forgotten what I was dealing with because I put that baby so close to my nose that I scratched it up.  The Pineapple had a terrific scent, and the center leaf pulled out easily,  so we put it in our cart, and I promptly wondered why my nose was hurting.  I touched my nose and realized that I had scratched it with the Pineapple and I felt like a first class moron.  BUT, I have to say that the Pineapple that bruised me, was indeed delicious.

On Sunday Kelsie and I went to do some grocery shopping.  While we were in Sam's I saw Cantaloupe for a really good price, and while I was smelling them, a lady turned to the demonstrator that was nearby and asked her to show me how to tell if a Cantaloupe was ripe.  I was anxious to know the real method, and encouraged her to explain.  She told me that I could smell them, as I'd been doing, but you could also push on the little button area and if it had give to it, it was good to purchase.  I chose two (because I told you - the price was really good) and I cut them up tonight and both were perfect. 

After Sam's Kels and I went to Super Wal-mart, where I found watermelon on sale.  I mentioned to Kelsie that I had no idea how to choose a Watermelon as they didn't usually give off a smell.  Kelsie told me that I was supposed to thump it, and when I asked her how she knew that, she told me that she learned that from "Olivia" (the cartoon .)  I asked why I was supposed to thump it, but she didn't know so I took the initiative to locate a produce clerk and ask for help.  The clerk told me that you thump on it (he must watch Olivia too - hahaha); and when I asked why he said that if it had some give to it, as opposed to sounding dense, then it was ready.  It wasn't quite as easy a concept to grasp as the Cantaloupe method, but I chose a Watermelon, and according to Kelsie, (who I couldn't cut it fast enough for); it was fantastic.

I'm always so happy to learn a new domestic trick.  Unfortunately, losing my mom so young, there were a lot of lessons that I missed out on.  Perhaps many of you already knew how to test your fruit; but in case this is news to you too, I'm so happy that I could share my new found knowledge.  If you have additional fruit testing tips for me, please leave me a comment here or on Facebook.
Till next time...
Queen of EVERYTHING   

Monday, June 20, 2011

(43-328) Look Who's Cooking...

To say that my children are picky eaters, would probably be an understatement.  Of the three Nicky is the worst of the bunch; which I guess stands to reason since he's my first child.  Lyndzi will try more things than either Nicky or Kelsie and eats more of a variety of things.  Kelsie will try more than Nicky, but there is many a night that she'd prefer not to eat meat (of any kind) and / or others when she'll request cereal.  Kelsie is the snackiest of the three but most of what she snacks on are healthy things like fat free yogurt, fruit, or a granola bar.

Being that they're kinda choosy, lunch during the school year is a bit of challenge.  They don't care for school lunch, which is fine with me, but they're also not that fond of sandwiches.  This past school year I think that Kelsie took PB&J for all but maybe two weeks total.  Lyndzi would eat a turkey or ham sandwich (dry, with nothing on it) and Nicky would take either a salami sandwich or roast beef and Havarti w/ dill sandwich (dry, with nothing on it.)  I know, you must be wondering how this picky kid came to like Havarti with dill, but all I can say is that he uncharacteristically tried it once at Michelle M's and liked it; so since it's something that he enjoys, I'm more than happy to buy a couple of slices a week for him.

Now that summer's here, the kids would prefer not to eat a sandwich everyday, so I suggested that one day we could make macaroni and cheese and perhaps another, grilled cheese and the kids happily agreed.  The first day that I was going to make mac-n-cheese, Nicky offered to cook it if I instructed him, and I took him up on his proposal.  Nicky carefully followed my directions, and made one gosh darn good batch of mac-n-cheese.  He was SO proud of himself, that I couldn't wait to have him cook again; and I think that he's made it at least one more time since.

I didn't make it to Fry's to buy deli meat yesterday, so I asked the kids if they'd like to have grilled cheese and Lyndzi then asked if I would teach her to make it.  Lyndzi has helped me cook before, so I decided to let her have a go at it; and I have to say that she did a great job.  She followed my instructions, she was careful and only burned one piece of bread, which was probably my fault.  When the piece of toast burnt, she remained calm and went with the flow, which I think is an important requirement in cooking.  Lyndzi made sandwiches for Nicky and Kelsie before cooking her own; and she too was SO proud of herself. 

I think that having my kid's learn to cook is a super, summer activity.  It builds their confidence, it adds to their list of things that they know how to do, they can become more self-sufficient, they can help me AND it's something that we can do together.  Lyndzi felt so good about cooking lunch that she asked if she could help me with dinner, and although I only gave her small jobs, she was a big help. 

It's great to see kids feeling successful, and I think we should give them as many opportunities as possible to do so.
Till next time...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

(43-327) Happy Father's Day!

If you've read "The Bumpy Ride" before, then you probably know that I didn't / don't have a very high opinion of my father; which is why when I refer to him, I call him by his name (Richie Howell) instead of saying my dad.  Richie Howell was (as you may remember) a Private Investigator; and he worked  A LOT.  He travelled often for business, and I never got the feeling that being a father was high on his list of priorities.  In his defense, this could be because he himself didn't have a father for very long.  His parents divorced when he was only three, and his dad passed away at the age of 43, when RH was just 13.  The only thing that his father,Wolf Howell, (YES, you read that correctly - Wolf Howell), left him with was the belief that he too was going to pass away at the age of 43 - and he did.

I suppose that having a father like Richie Howell just makes me that much more appreciative of all the great dads that I'm privileged to know; starting with my husband, Luis.  So on this Father's day, I'm sending out a big (yes) HUGE thank you to all the dads who coach one of their kid's sports teams, change a baby's diaper, cook a meal, mow the lawn, go to the store, fix something that's broken, lend an ear, give someone a hug, tuck someone in, play at the playground, water park or pool.  All those dad's who do homework, go to concerts, banquets, sporting events, dance recitals, kid's movies, watch cartoons, play the Wii, or PlayStation, or Chess, or Monopoly.  All those dad's who take the time to teach their kid's how to fish, or bake, or clean or throw.  Thank you to all those dad's who let their kids have a dog even if they don't want one.  Those who cheer for their kids in hundred degree weather or freezing cold.  Those who love their kids enough to tell them no when need be and those that say yes when feasible.  Thank you to all those dad's who make a child feel loved and safe and confident and happy.
Happy father's day to ALL THOSE DADS; especially my husband, Luis!
Till next time...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

(43-326) BEWARE!

When I wrote "Thank You B.O.A", I explained that my gym had closed down without warning; and that my bank had placed a recurring stop payment block against them.  So imagine my surprise when I logged onto my bank account and found a gym deduction under the name of ANOTHER GYM.  That's right, they managed to deduct my gym fee from my account because it was a different gym name.

I immediately called B.O.A and ultimately reached a customer service associate who provided me with some very frightening information - and in the interest of (say it with me) "The Greater good, I'm going to share it with you.  John (the rep) told me that a lot of companies try charging you under the name of another business, so that they can continue to collect money from you.  He also told me that they have been known to change the amount of the deduction by a penny, so that the charge can still go through.  For example, if my gym deduction was $23.51 and that's the amount that I blocked, but the company charges $23.50 or $23.52 the charge could still go through.  Scary huh?  I disputed the charge, and then John recommended issuing me a new debit card number so that the gym would not be able to get another charge through at all; and I agreed.

When I got off the phone with BOA, I attempted to call the "New" gym, but the number that was associated with the charge, was not one that could get me to a human being.  I then tried calling the closest gym location to my house and left a message for the manager.  As I had to go out and I hadn't heard from her, I called back to leave my cell phone number.  A few hours went by and I still hadn't received a call; so since I just so happened to be in the vicinity, I stopped in.  The manager was in a meeting, but the receptionist was quite helpful.  I told her what had happened and after providing her with my phone number, she was able to locate my membership in her computer.  Apparently the "new" gym bought the old gym, and Luis and I now have full membership privileges at the "new" gym; which truthfully is much better than the old gym.  I was assured that our membership fee would not be going up; so in the long run, although the situation wasn't handled appropriately; alls well that ends well.

Believe it or not, I'm actually excited that I have a gym to go to.  The "new" gym offers classes in addition to the equipment and the old gym didn't; so I'm already getting a lot more for my money. I called B.O.A and released my dispute as Luis and I are gonna give the "new" gym a try.  I would venture to say that most unauthorized charges don't end this well; and now more than ever, we all need to really beware!
Till next time...

Friday, June 17, 2011

(43-325) Friday Field Trip

Today my kids and I joined Mari, Julie, Lisa B, their respective kids, various nieces and friends; for a tour of The Stuffington Bear Factory.  Mari had arranged this excursion of the oldest stuffed animal factory in the United States; and in the interest of (say it with me) "The Greater good", I have to tell you about it.  Now, when I say in the interest of the Greater good, that would be the greater good of local Arizona residents, who are looking for an inexpensive activity to do with their children.

Stuffington bear factory is NOT Build-A-Bear although they do a lot of the same things.  At Stuffington, they actually make the stuffed animals that the kids then get to stuff, fluff, clean and care for.  The friendly and informative staff offer daily tours of the factory where the kids are taught about the history of the Teddy bear before seeing  how the stuffed animals are made.  They even showed us the custom stuffed dogs that were made for President Obama and Vice-President Biden.

The cost of our outing was just $9 per child and that included a bear of their choice; from their Gummi bear collection.  Now you may think that $9 sounds like a lot, and I might be inclined to agree with you; but after taking the tour and seeing how much fun ALL of the kids had ~ I think it was $9 well spent.

Till next time...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

(43-324) Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon - Challenge #2

Keepin it nice and light tonight with a quick, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon challenge.  Now if that means absolutely nothing to you; let me do some splaining.  When I posted the good ole,  "100 Random Things About Me" ,#18 was "I excel at Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon."  Now again, if that means nothing to you, I'll splain a lil more.  Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is a game that requires a group of players to try to connect any film actor / actress in history to Kevin Bacon as quickly as possible and in as few links as possible.  it was modeled after the theory of "Six degrees of separation" which was popularized by a play written by John Guare.  Six degrees of separation "refers to the idea that everyone is on average approximately six steps away from any other person on Earth, so that a chain of, "a friend of a friend" statements can be made, on average, to connect any two people in six steps or fewer; according to "Wikipedia."

Now with all of that said; I LOVE to challenge myself and play this game.  So tonight I asked Rachel K  to name the person that I would try to link to Kevin Bacon in 6 moves or fewer and she chose Jamie Lee Curtis.  It took me a few minutes to think about it, and I came up with:
Jamie Lee Curtis to Arnold schwarzenegger in "True Lies".
Arnold Schwarzenegger to Sharon Stone in "Total Recall".  And Sharon Stone to Kevin Bacon in "He Said She Said."
Now I think it's impressive to link Mr. Bacon in as few moves as possible, BUT I can also go in reverse and try to draw it out to see how many people I can connect.  So we can go this way too:  Jamie Lee Curtis to Kevin Kline in "A Fish called Wanda".  Kevin Kline to Glenn Close in the "Big Chill".  Glenn Close to Michael Douglas in "Fatal Attraction."  Michael Douglas to Sharon Stone in "Basic Instinct."  And Sharon stone to Kevin Bacon in "He said She said."

That was fun!  Wanna play?  Go ahead and see if you can come up with alternative connections for Jamie Lee Curtis to Kevin Bacon in six moves or less.  Then post your answer either here or on Facebook.  OR if you want to challenge me with a new actor or actress to connect; just comment or email me, and I'll take a stab at it.
Till next time...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

(43-323) Veggies

I think that I could probably be a seafood eating -vegetarian, IF only I didn't enjoy bacon and steak so much; AND if I could manage to work more fruit into my diet.  It's not that I don't like fruit, because I do.  It's just that up until about two weeks ago, I hadn't been eating much of them on a regular basis. 

Ironically enough, my friend Jenny is a seafood eating - vegetarian (and with her permission), I can tell you that she likes far fewer vegetables than most people I know.  I recently found out, (from Jenny) that I enjoy some vegetables that aren't considered very popular; and since I've already done my tribute to "Fruits", being the Queen of FAIRNESS, I'm now gonna dedicate a blog to veggies.  Can you tell I have 43 days left or what? 

I've mentioned before that my mom was a terrific cook and I think I've alluded to the fact that Richie Howell was a pretty demanding fella.  So in order to make him happy she made dinners per his specifications and they typically included at least two vegetables, if not a salad and a vegetable.  My mom was a big fan of broccoli, or at least I think she was because she made it almost every night.  Perhaps that's why, if I never ate a piece of broccoli again, that would be just fine with me.  Now this is not to say that I WON'T eat broccoli.  I actually enjoy it in Chinese food and I'll even eat a few pieces of the broccoli salad thing at Sweet Tomatoes; BUT it is not a veggie that I really like to cook.  Although my kids like it, so I'll make it for them.

What do I like?  Well there's brussel sprouts.  Which I think get a really bad rap.  But I must say in their defense that if they're cooked well, they can be absolutely delicious.  And I'm happy to say that I now have Lyndzi hooked on them too.
Another one of my faves is Asparagus.  I think that I could eat asparagus with every meal and never tire of it; and I could say the same about cauliflower.  Perhaps most don't like beets; but I for one surely do.  Then there's parsnips - yum-o!    Of course I'll eat corn; but I don't think I've ever met anyone who wouldn't. (Barring a food allergy of course.)  I like Okra, though I'll admit that I've only ever had it fried; and what doesn't taste good fried?  We've previously established that eggplant is one of all time favorite foods in general, as are mushrooms and I enjoy just about everything in the squash family.  Peppers? Sure, but I prefer not to eat the green ones.  Onions?  On just about everything - please! 

So what's that leave?  Spinach?  Ahh, not so much.  I'll eat it raw, and my mom served it creamed; but cooked; I'd rather not ~ thank you.  speaking of rather not, please don't serve me a Lima bean, nor a canned pea; though fresh or frozen are fine by me.  Now I'm rhyming about vegetables and that wasn't even intentional.  My take on carrots is much like Meg Ryan ordering dessert in the dinner in "When Harry Met Sally."  I like carrots raw, or I'll eat them if they're glazed.  But if they're not glazed and they're just warm ~ then I wouldn't want them.  And even though I don't particularly like red radishes, I'm a fan of horseradish and enjoy mixing it into mashed or baked potatoes.

And now's the portion of "The Bumpy Ride" when I sit back, re-read what I just wrote and ask myself, "do you seriously think that people care about what vegetables you like?"  But it's too late to turn back now.  I ask myself, "what can I do to save this post?"  But truth be told, I'm amused by how utterly inane I can be and how much I can find to write about vegetables ~ so I'm just gonna flow.

As always, I'd love to hear back from you; so please feel free to comment here or on Facebook and let me know if there's a less than popular veggie that you enjoy, or even one that you can't stand.  As for me, I'm already thinking about tomorrow's post.
Till next time...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

(43-322) ASPIRE

I've written about my friend Mari on numerous occasions.  So much so, that I'm sure at times "The Bumpy Ride" seems like I'm campaigning to be the President of the Mari fan club.  But if you've ever seen any of Mari's scrapbooking layouts or craft projects, then you KNOW that I have not exaggerated her talents one bit.  And if you haven't had the privilege of viewing any of Mari's masterpieces;let me just say that I can't imagine that it will be long before you do.

If you're not a first time rider, then you know that I frequently mention my interest in the (say it with me) "Greater good."  Usually I refer to the Greater Good of  mankind, but I'm also dedicated to encouraging individuals to strive towards achieving their "personal" Greater good;  which is why I praise Mari so much.  I think that Mari has an incomparable talent and I see how happy her creations make people.  One of Mari's current projects is what I'm going to call, "Inspiration charms";and last night while we were chatting about them, she asked me, what word I would choose if she was to make me a charm.  M first inclination was to say "BELIEVE", but I really wanted think about it and make sure that I chose the most appropriate word for me right now; and then I said "ASPIRE."  

The definition of ASPIRE, per is:
1. to long, aim, or seek ambitiously; be eagerly desirous, especially for something great or of high value (usually followed by to, after, or an infinitive): to aspire after literary immortality; to aspire to be a doctor.
2. Archaic . to rise up; soar; mount; tower.

YES, I think ASPIRE is the perfect word for me right now, as I feel incredibly, inspired, not only by Mari but by another frequently mentioned friend -  Rachel K.  I have been so impressed and influenced by Rachel's achievement with Scrapbooking from the Inside Out and how her dedication and diligence have manifested itself into the CRAFT Beach Retreat.   Registration opens for CRAFT on Saturday, June 18th  at 9am Pacific time and I'm so excited about it, that I added the CRAFT blinkie to my sidebar. 
If you haven't been following the CRAFT blog to date, please check it out.  Not only because you might be interested in attending; but because I want you to see what my remarkable friend has created. (OK, with a little help from me.)  
To quote James Howell, "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle."
Well Rachel truly is a candle.  Rachel has been able to pursue her dream and at the same time promote and encourage others to reach their own potential - myself included.  Rachel's example inspires me to ASPIRE; and I hope that I've done the same for you.
Till next time...
Queen of EVERYTHING   

Monday, June 13, 2011

(43-321) "Gimme Five" - Broadway Musicals

I couldn't have been more than nine (the age Lyndzi is now), when I saw the movie "Funny Girl" with Barbra Streisand for the first time.  I remember watching it on TV with my mom, who was a big Barbra fan, and thinking that it was the best thing that I'd ever seen.  Shortly thereafter, "Grease" was released at the movies, which just affirmed my affinity for musicals.  It wasn't until a few years later that I saw my first, live Broadway show - "Barnum" with Jim Dale and Glenn Close, and I was hooked.  I fell in love live theater, and raved about the show so much, that Richie Howell actually took me back to see it again a few months later.

My fondness for musicals drove me to volunteer for the make-up crew in High School.  By my sophomore year I actually became the make-up director and I thoroughly enjoyed watching all of the rehearsals and contributing to our productions, which is why #15 of my "100 Random Things About Me" post was "I love Broadway Musicals."  # 37 happened to be  "I've always loved award shows. (But now, I keep it down to the Oscars, the Tony's, The Emmy's and The Golden Globes; oops, And SAG and Critics Choice.)"  Now if you know me, or you've taken "The Ride" before, then you know that the Oscar's are a big (yes) HUGE thing for me, but my very, next favorite awards show is in fact "The Tony's," and they were just on this past Sunday night, which is one of the reasons that Broadway is so much on my mind tonight.  The other reason is because Lyndzi and I will be going to see "Mamma Mia" when we're in New York and she herself is becoming more and more enamored with the the theater.  We were talking about our upcoming trip today , and she actually said, "I bet when you walk through the theater door it's just magic."  That's my girl!

So in honor of "The Tony's", I thought I'd play "Gimme Five" -  Broadway Musicals.  Which really should be, "Gimme Five" - Favorite Broadway Musicals, but I didn't like how that title ran into a second line. (Go figure... )  Anyway, as an added bonus, I'm including one number from each show / movie. 

1.  "Funny Girl" 

2.  "Hairspray"

3.  "RENT"

4.  "Wicked"

5. "Hello Dolly"

I could go on and on; but since it's "Gimme Five," I'm gonna stop now and let you have a turn.  I'd love for you to play along, so if ya wanna join in, just leave your comments here or on Facebook.
Till next time...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

(43-320) Playing Games

Our camping trip was a little too short but very sweet.  We spent two and a half days relaxing in the high country. Now we're home, showered, and semi-un-packed;  and believe it or not, I can't wait to go camping again. 

One of the things that I like best about camping is the time it affords us to play games.  I LOVE playing games of all kinds, although it's not something that we've had a lot of time to do lately.  Because I'm such a big (yes) HUGE fan of continuity; in keeping with the short but sweet theme, today I'm going to "Give ya five" of my  All-Time Favorite Games:

1.  Backgammon - I learned to play when I was about eight years old, and as long as I have a willing opponent, I could sit and play for hours.

2.  Scrabble - Lover of words that I am, this must seem like an obvious choice.  But if you're ever played Scrabble, then you know that it's not just about the words, it's about the placement of them as well, and since I'm a big strategist, this game suits several parts of my brain.

3.  Farkle - If you've never played this game, run don't walk and download the free directions.  All you need are six dice and you're in for hours of fun.  This is a game of luck and chance and if you're someone who enjoys games; this one is not to be missed.

4. Rummikub - Another oldie but goodie.  I learned to play Rummikub when I was about ten I think.  I liked the idea of playing the tile game since it reminded me of Mah Jong, which my mom played weekly.  This is a great game to play with other adults or kids.

5.  Poker - I'm not the best poker player by far - mMostly because I have a terrible Poker face.  But I really appreciate the variety of this game.  There are so many different games under the Poker umbrella, I don't think that I could ever tire of it.  

Before we left Payson we were going to stop and get Pizza with our friends; provided that we could dine on the patio, since we had Hershey with us.  The patio was full so we decided to grab fast food instead and get together for Pizza tonight.  I'm gonna bring  my games, so that we can put the perfect finish to a wonderful weekend.
Till next time...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

(43-319) White Feathers

On Thursday morning I was working in my office, and I thought of my Uncle Harry (Jackie's father.)  I wanted to text Jackie to see how he was doing, because he has Leukemia and was recently admitted to the hospital; and all of a sudden I saw white feathers drifting in front of my face.  I'm pretty sure that I said out loud, "What's with all of these feathers," but then I think that I immediately forgot about it.(Almost like it hadn't happened.)  Then, a minute later I saw a single, white feather float in front of my face and I KNOW that this time I said out loud "What's with the feathers?"  I grabbed the feather, because I wanted to have proof of the occurence.  My friend Kathy and I were the only ones in our office at this time, so I asked her if she was seeing feathers; and I probably don't have to tell you that her response included something to the effect of "Are you nuts?"  I told her that I'd seen some feathers and I showed her the one that I grabbed.  Neither one of us knew what to make of it, but I immediately thought ANGEL - and texted Jackie to check on her dad.

I put the feather in my wallet while I anxiously awaited Jackie's response.  All she said was that he was depressed, but that's OK; at least he's still with us.  I didn't tell her anything about the feathers, because quite honestly, I didn't know what to make of it.  Of course I thought that my mom had paid me a visit, and leaving a few feathers was her way of letting me know that she was there.  Interestingly enough, at his swim meet that night, Nicky swam better than he ever had.  He took first place for breast stroke, first place for butterfly and his lane took third place in their medley relay.  Was there an angel watching over him? 

Wanting to know a little bit more about the significance of seeing white feathers, I did a little research.  YES, research; and I found the following "possible" explanations:
KGBabswers states:  "According to spiritualists a white feather falling on you may mean that you have been visited by an angel."  "Some people believe that when you receive a white feather it's actually the angels letting you know that they are with you, surrounding you with love. Be safe!"

According to the " Symbolic meanings blog by Avia Venefica" It is commonly thought in most cultures that feathers are symbols of higher thought, spiritual progression. The line of thought here is that birds were considered divine creatures in primitive/ancient cultures because they are creatures of the sky (heaven) and therefore closer to God.
When you find feathers upon your path it could be taken to mean that you are on a higher spiritual path (whether you accept it or not), and it may be a sign of encouragement as you philosophically travel on this path.
Finding feathers on your path is also symbolic of having a lighter outlook on life or a particularly situation. When we see feathers in our midst it is considered a message that we need to lighten up, not take things too seriously, and try to find the joy in our situation."

Wikipedia states that a white feather can either be "a sign of cowardice,or pacifism and in the United States, of extraordinary bravery and excellence in combat marksmanship. In religion, a white feather has been interpreted as a message card of peace from angels."

If I had seen the feather in my home or some place where there were pillows or blankets, I'm sure that I wouldn't be giving the feathers a second thought. But in my office?  I find that peculiar.  Nonetheless, as Freud said "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."  So what do I think?  I think that people choose to believe whatever they find comforting.  I like the idea of believing that my Mom paid me a visit.  Maybe she was there to  reassure me that now was not my Uncle's time.  Perhaps she was their to look in on me because now is NOT my time.  Maybe she popped by to reassure me that she's always with me; or because she wanted to join me for the kid's swim meet.  Or maybe it was just a fluke, but I don't think so.
Till next time...