Friday, May 30, 2008

What's not in your wallet?

I had to look at my keys to answer yesterday's questionnaire and it occurred to me that in addition to keys, pepper spray and keychains (fobs, but who says that anymore?!) I have amassed a collection of key cards; those little tags from a store or organisation that show you're a member or serve as coupons and are supposed to be more easily accessible on your keyring than a wallet card would be, which for me is true, since I don't usually use a wallet and when I do it's a men's tri-fold.

I currently have 8 of these little buggers! Eight?! It's like a miniature personalized statement of who I am all on it's own.

Here's my list:

1. CVS (drugstore)
2. Best Buy
3. Olgas kitchen
4. Kroger (grocery store)
5. DSW
6. Office Depot
7. Detroit Zoological Society
8. PetSmart

So - what do you think my eight key cards say about me?
How many do you have and what do yours say about you???

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Change of pace! If you do this, add a comment to this post so everyone can go see your answers. These are mine...

1. What is your occupation? Retail Sales Assoc.
2. What color are your socks right now? Not wearing any
3. What are you listening to right now? Ahh, coffee brewing!
4. What was the last thing that you ate? A cookie, last night
5. Can you drive a stick shift? Nope
6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Magenta
7. Who is the last person you talked to? Tim
8. Do you like the person who sent this to you? Yes - Hi Sue!
9. How old are you today? 47 & 166/365
10. Favorite drink? Jamisons & Ginger Ale
11. What is your favorite sport to watch? Red Wings Hockey!
12. Have you ever dyed your hair? Yes
13. Pets? Mooch, V's cat
14. Favorite food? Mom's stuffed cabbage
15. Last movie you watched? Disturbia - I don't recommend it
16. Favorite Day of the year? MidWinter
17. What do you do to vent anger? Write, talk or garden
18. What was your favorite toy as a child? Tupperware and wooden spoons!
19. What is your favorite season? Autumn
20. Hugs or kisses? Yep!
21. Cherry or Blueberry? Cherry
22. Do you want your friends to email you back? n/a
23. Who is most likely to respond? I TAG: Deb and Tonjia!
24. Who is least likely to respond? Um, anyone who's not them. LoL
25. What ever happened to parents who gave a care? One. Present and accounted for!
26. When was the last time you cried? Friday night at 'Wicked'
27. What is on the floor of your closet? Hardwood
28. Favorite smells? Coffee, Amber Oil, Leather, Turkey roasting
29. Who inspires you? Deedra, Starhawk, Lynne
30. What are you afraid of? Clowns, Bats and... other things
31. Plain, cheese or spicy hamburgers? Cheeburger
32. Favorite Car? Dream Car: 1965 Ford Mustang, black with a white rag top/interior. Hey, I'm from the Motor City. Gimme a break!
33. Favorite cat breed? Scottish Fold or Canadian/Mexican Hairless
34. Number of keys on your key ring? 5 keys, 4 key rings and a pepper spray
35. Years at your current job? 8 mos
36. Favorite day of the week? Monday
37. How many states have you live in? 2
38. Do you think you're funny? Heck yes!
39. Favorite sounds? My kids laughing, bonfires crackling
40. Last book you read? Harlequin, by Laurell K. Hamilton

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

She really said it

Turn off the playlist first.

This is one reason, albeit a damn good one, why Hillary should not be president. I agree with Olberman entirely.

(Sorry SC)

hee hee

Today I share my inner warped, twisted-puppyness with the blog-world.
My all-time favorite webcomic finally featured my favorite character this week!!

Meet Cholera (Yep, like the disease.)

Check out OrneryBoy for yourself. :)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service.

While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it's difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860's tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, each contributed to the growing movement that culminated in an official proclamation on 5 May 1868, by General John Logan.

It was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead.

Memorial Day inspired the poem "In Flanders Fields," by: Moina Michael. (excerpt):

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

In Flanders Fields has been set to music and I've heard it, and my family members have sung it, many times. It moves me nearly to tears each and every time.

I know I'm a day late, but I didn't want the meaning of the day to be lost. It's not about celebrating the Veterans who walk among us; though there's never a wrong time to thank or honor a Veteran, that would be Veterans Day.

Memorial Day is about those who made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their only life here on earth to defend and protect the ideals of our nation and to follow the orders of its leaders, right or wrong, to the end of their days. It is a noble, selfless thing to do ~ but it should never be thankless.

I can wish and pray that this day was unnecessary, that we had no war and no war-dead but I would be fooling myself. I'm glad that we have a day to remember, to reflect and to stand witness to the inhumanities that cause such tragic ends and I vow to do what I can to promote peace in my time.

To the spirits of those who have fought and fell in the line of duty... I honor you and your memory. Thank you.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Wicked thoughts

Got your attention??? :)

We arrived in Chicago for a little souvenir shopping around 4pm. Now dressed in our theatre clothes, and it was chilly outside, the chaperones weren't really up for much wandering around. Instead, we ducked in to the Rainforest Cafe long before the kids were to arrive there for dinner and enjoyed some sinful beverages. My drink was called the Margarilla and was the most delicious frozen orange margarita ever. Dare I say...Yummo!

Soon the kids came in and we shared a family style meal together. Shhh... It was a good thing too... four of us had been drinking on empty stomachs!!

From dinner it was off to the theater. I just had to tell y'all about the production of Wicked that we saw that night.

I have yet to be truly astounded by a musical theatre production since the first time T and I saw Le Miserable; in Phoenix at the ASU GammageCenter. It remains my all time favorite musical.

Sure, Wicked was much lighter fare, but the voices and the staging were just marvelous. The story development is clear and not difficult to follow even if you've never read the book (and I hadn't, but I will now!).

I can't express how beautifully the characters and voices of Elphaba and Galinda blended together. The sound just soared through the stunning rafters of the Ford Center Oriental Theatre. Which was good because we were in the not-quite-nosebleed section smushed like canned sardines! But we were HAPPY sardines!!!

When it came time for the song "For Good", sung by Elphaba and G'linda, I heard the first three notes and my mind was transported elsewhere.

This was the song that Avivah and one of her very closest friends, Drew, sang the duet in... backed by a full choir, directed by V's dad, in front of a crowd of 3,000 at their High School graduation last June.

Here I was in Chicago, almost a year later and I lost it completely. Tears streamed down my face as I fell prey to the attack of those sneaky villains - music, lyrics and memory.

And Gods, I miss my girl, who has definitely changed my life for the better.

For Good

GLINDA: I've heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason, bringing something we must learn and we are led to those who help us most to grow, if we let them and we help them in return. Well, I don't know if I believe that's true but I know I'm who I am today because I knew you.
Like a comet pulled from orbit as it passes a sun. Like a stream that meets a boulder halfway through the wood. Who can say if I've been changed for the better? But because I knew you I have been changed for good
ELPHABA: It well may be that we will never meet again in this lifetime, so let me say before we part, so much of me is made of what I learned from you. You'll be with me like a handprint on my heart and now whatever way our stories end I know you have re-written mine by being my friend.
Like a ship blown from its mooring By a wind off the sea Like a seed dropped by a skybird In a distant wood Who can say if I've been changed for the better? But, because I knew you,
GLINDA: Because I knew you,
BOTH: I have been changed for good.
ELPHABA: And just to clear the air, I ask forgiveness for the things I've done you blame me for,
GLINDA: But then, I guess we know there's blame to share,
BOTH: And none of it seems to matter anymore.
GLINDA/ELPHABA: Like a comet pulled Like a ship blown From orbit as it Off it's mooring Passes a sun, like By a wind off the A stream that meets Sea, like a seed A boulder, half-way Dropped by a Through the wood Bird in the wood.
BOTH: Who can say if I've been changed for the better? I do believe I have been changed for the better.
GLINDA: And because I knew you,
ELPHABA: Because I knew you,
BOTH: Because I knew you... I have been changed for good.

7 Pennies Later

Fair warning: This is going to be a more-than-one-entry kind of day.

Ok, the truth is out. I collect squished pennies from everywhere I go that has squished penny machines. The trip to Chicago was no exception! L to R: Chicago Skyline, Rainforest Cafe Chicago, Chicago Cubs, 2 from Navy Pier, Museum of Science and Industry and U-505 Submarine.

Here is the FABULOUS group of kids and their talented director, posing in front of the big purple "Barney Bus".

Saturday, after warm ups and performing for the judges, it was a quick change of clothes and off to Six Flags Great America for the day. Here's Marvin the Martian in a very lame theme park parade...Awards were given out at a ceremony in the park. Yes, we came home with a trophy!

Sunday found us at the Field Museum seeing SUE, among other things. Now that was very cool.

We hopped over to the Navy Pier for lunch and shopping and then reboarded the bus for our last windy city stop, the Museum of Science and Industry.

One highlight there, for me, was seeing the U-505 Submarine. Really... the WHOLE THING!

All in all, as a chaperone, it was an enjoyable experience.

Stay tuned for "the story inside the story" and... more.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Off we go... (on a bus) **updated**

Every year our High School choir, the GrovesEvergreenSingers, plans a performance tour in a different place as part of the curriculum, usually in conjunction with some kind of vocal experience whether it's a competition or a clinic and usually with some type of performance to attend, too.

The kids hold fundraisers all year to offset the costs of the annual trip and they also put in a lot of extra time in rehearsal to make their performances as polished as they possibly can be.

Tim directs this choir, as well as its madrigal group and several other choirs, and I am lucky enough to have the flexibility and know-how to be an effective chaperone and all-round group mom. Both of my kids were 'raised' in this choir. V has graduated, obviously, and J is currently a Junior and tenor section co-leader.

We've been to Disney's Magic Music Days clinics and performed in the Magic Kingdom. If you go to the home page of the choir, above, you'll see a pic of this trip. V is two to the left of Mickey and J is right over his head. We've been to Toronto, West Virginia, New York and even as far as England and Wales. Now THAT was an incredible experience!

We've seen Ragtime, Phantom, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - IN England!, Jeckyl & Hyde and even the world premier of The Lord of the Rings (Toronto), a three hour long musical that never made it to Broadway (probably because it was too expensive to put on!)

Today I'm off again, this time to the windy city ~ Chicago!

This evening is the first time I will see WICKED on stage, though I've heard it from V's room countless times! LoL I'm really excited about it. For more info on the musical, look here.

Tomorrow will be the vocal competition, Music in the Parks, then some time at Six Flags Great America, which is where the Awards ceremony for the competition will take place. We'll stay at the park as long as the kids have energy. Notice I said kids. The adult contingent will undoubtedly peter out before them!

Then Sunday will see us at the Field Museum, the Navy Pier and the Museum of Science and Industry and coming back home. Every day is packed full, mostly to tucker out 23 teenagers!

I'm planning on bringing my FitFlops with me. I've adjusted really well to wearing them but I don't get the chance to wear them often enough to see any differences in my muscle tone. I'm taking other shoes but this will be a good chance to walk for a long time in the 'flops'.

Speaking of walking... I've started wearing a pedometer to see how much walking I do in a normal day. They say 10,000 steps is optimal. On a normal work day I now know I walk 5,800 steps, give or take, in a 5 hour shift.

Adding the rest of the day of errands and running around town still finds me short of optimal, but still, not too bad ~ and better than I had originally thought. I need to think about adding a daily trek around the park or something, but all in all I've been pleasantly surprised that my crazy work environment actually has me up and around!

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend, and don't forget to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Thank a surviving Veteran, visit a military cemetery, attend a community memorial service, comfort a soldier's greiving widow or widower, or go to AF Mom Deb's site "RememberingTheFallen" and read or even leave a comment.

**For anyone wondering what they can do to observe Memorial Day from home, it can be as simple and as powerful as this website linked to the Wall in DC.

Another military mom writes: "It's a powerful site, in terms of functionality and emotionally. I didn't really have a name to search so I clicked on View and then zoomed in using the tools above the picture. Once you zoom in close enough to see the names and click on a name, details will load in a pop-up window. Not all names are clickable but most are. You can search by name, military branch, enlistment type or hometown... and dozens of other options. On the home page that you access by clicking above, scroll down just a little to the Browse By section and click on All names by any category."**

I'm not sure yet what I'll be able to do, but it will be on my mind and I will be back home on Monday in plenty of time to honor the day and our fallen heroes.

Back to packing and I'm outta here!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


In the early morning hours in California, a Minuteman III missle was successfully launched. V was a part of the launch prep team! wahoo!

This launch was also a successful coordination between the Air Force and the Navy. Read all about it by clicking this link.

And this morning in my pre-caffeine, sinus headache fog, all I could think about was that some day in the future, Breanna and Avivah might be working together on a coordinated project just like this. GO GIRLS!!

V, I am soooo proud of you. OXOXO!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

You're Needed

I got an e-mail from V, who is having a rough go of it right now.
Won't you please send Avivah a note that says...

'Cause lately she feels...

And really squished by the daily pressures...

Please be a friend and love her up with some super-encouraging snail mail!

Send her some love?! She needs you!

Addy to the left!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Berry Red

Wow, what a dull weekend.

I worked Friday and Saturday and both days were truly as unexciting as they get.

I did get to go to dinner with my BFF on Friday and we gabbed for a long time, which was wonderful.

Saturday evening both Tim and Joshua bugged out for some time with their friends. I wish I could say I slept well but that didn't happen.

Sunday morning saw J off in uniform to a Troy Police Explorer function. He directed traffic for an event. He had fun and he gets Police Duty service hours. Plus they fed him. So other than a teenager waking up early on a chilly spring weekend, the event was just about perfect for him. LoL

I'm off work today so, unexpectedly, I can make it to the HS Choir rehearsal this afternoon. I did the shopping and T and I are hosting munchies for this afternoon's performance tour choir rehearsal. My pruny fingers just finished washing 6 pounds of the most gorgeous strawberries. I also got cookies and bottled water.

We (23 students a few chaperones and the director) leave this Friday for a 3 day trip to Chicago. T directs the group, Joshua sings tenor and is co-section leader and I'm chaperoning. My girlfriend Vicki has a very important role too. She's Mooch-sitting! The choir will be participating in a performance and competition and we'll also have a little bit of time to see the city and an amusement park. Biggest highlight? We're seeing WICKED at the theatre! I can't wait.

I spoke to V last night. She had a tiring and very fulfilling weekend doing community service at local fairs. Saturday found her working with horses and other animals... and a zebra! Sunday she was running games out in the California sunshine.

Last night's call? "Mom, I am SO SUNBURNED!"

I'm betting she looks as red as one of the strawberries in the pic above!

I gave her all the good advice about hydrating like mad and staying out of more sun, keeping her clothing light and cotton, looking for aloe plants or gel to put on it, cool compresses, etc, but of course she has to be in uniform today and probably in a harness to go down a silo too ~ so I'm not sure she won't just be a writhing mass of "Owie!" no matter what I say, or she does. Live and learn, eh?

Hope y'all are enjoying your day!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Quirky Garden and "Blog Home!"

Yesterday morning before work I planted 25 coleus in a very cool color... or... bunch of colors. This morning they seem to be doing well. Yay.

Aside from having a rather odd-looking and currently occupied bird house (pic to come, promise) in the back garden I also have the most unique weather vane. Yes, I have a weather vane "planted" in my garden. Ok, I'm big into whimsy! LoL

When we moved into our house this lovely pooch, with its missing directions, graced the cupola on the garage roof. It was soon replaced with a new weather vane, sans pooch but with the needed additions of E and S. Suddenly I had no idea what to do with our retired puppy. I didn't have the heart to trash him. That seemed cruel!

Uncle Steve to the rescue! (About 5 years ago) He found a way to anchor the new garden ornament securely into the earth and it's been there ever since. Rain, snow or shine, I smile just seeing it there.

Yes Hallie, I have a weiner dog in my garden.


In other news: V has a new phone. I know this because I was a part of the whole "V's new phone" debacle. I'll let her tell the whole story as I'm positive it's infinitely more interesting in her own words, but I got the honor of briefly blogging for her today. Feel free to check it out.

Friday, May 16, 2008


Told ya I'd be a gone a couple of days!

A friend of mine and I took off on a spur of the moment mini vacation to Cleveland. The agenda was the Cleveland Zoo, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, a nice dinner out and maybe sight seeing on the way home.

If you're a zoo fan like I am, I recommend the Cleveland Zoo and Rain Forest for a day trip. Yes. I said Rain Forest. In a 2 acre 2 story building. Very cool.

Here are a couple of pics from the zoo...

Finding Nemo...

Prettty kitty! Ok, Snow Leopard. It was a pity he was too CLOSE to get a clearer pic as he looked into the sunshine... NOT!

Another close-up kitty (Cheetah)

The next day was cloudy, chilly and rained on and off all day. So it was perfect for the RockandRoll Hall of Fame and Museum!

You're not permitted to take pics inside the exhibits but you can in the lobbies. I sent these next two pics to my favorite Guitar Hero fan back in MI, Joshua.

Four of Jerry Garcia's guitars...

The blue one in the center is Kurt Cobain's guitar!

Me and the Rock Hall

Outside the Rock Hall sits the U.S.S. Cod, a decomissioned Navy submarine that is a museum. It was closed but I had to take a pic. (This one's for you, Bre!)

Dinner that night was in Cleveland's Warehouse District at a funky place called FatFishBlue . We got to hear a really good blues and jazz group called JD and the All Stars and had a fantastic meal including a beer I'd never heard of and am now practically stalking! It's called Dixie Blackened Voodoo Lager. (Pic below) If you know where I can get it here in MI, I expect a comment with directions!

Yesterday found us driving through downtown once again to find that the Market Square in Ohio City wasn't open on Thursdays. We still enjoyed the area and seeing the growth of the city, with plenty of new loft apartments, boutiques and coffee houses.

Bummed that the Market wasn't open we headed to NASA's Glenn Research Center, an active research facility and museum that also conducts free tours... Only to find that you have to be a US citizen to get in ~ and one of us wasn't. I did get to hear and learn a new phrase though as my friend exclaimed: "That Frosts My Drawers!" It was all I could do not to crack up.

This is as close as we got.

No matter. We were tired and needed to get back in time for me to attend the end of year banquet for the Troy Police Explorers. It was a relaxing and talkative drive home.

Joshua and Tim got home from school and rehearsal to turn around and leave for the banquet. After dinner was served and cleared the ceremony started. Lovely, eh?

Joshua's friend Ryan B., with whom he joined the Explorers group back in January.

Joshua and Ryan were recognized for their Police Duty and Community Service hours and awarded a pin.

Moms got to take home a centerpiece that is nestled in a Troy Police Officer coffee mug!

I also talked to V last night. She's ok but is going through a series of frustrations. We had a good chat.

So... from Tuesday through Friday morning, that's all the news!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Green thumbs and a big truck

Well, I was right. It rained ALL of Mother's Day here. LoL
No worries though. Tim, Joshua and I spent 5 glorious hours together in the garden... on Saturday!

Tim and I picked up four bags of mulch ~ making a dent in the 12-15 bags I think we'll need ~ a gallon of weed killer and a flat of coleus in the coolest flame-like colors. Grabbed a dozen bagels, called Joshua to 'be ready!' and we were home bound. Unloaded the car, ate brekkie and out we went!

Joshua took on the job of cutting down the invasive parasite buckthorn we have all over the place. He actually needed my new Bear Saw to do some of it! Through a tube, so as not to damage the surrounding plants, he sprayed killer on the stumps. He did the same with some HUGE weeds that had taken hold throughout the yard, wood pile and gardens. He's our (don your Schwartzenagger accents, people!) "Exterminator".

Tim and I focused on weeding the "back strip" ~ a high section in the back corner that we've kind of made separate from the rest of the yard. That project started 6 years ago when we borrowed a roto-tiller and created a berm to plant. Next we built a trellis for an entry way. Ever since then we've been adding plants, trees and borders to section it off more definitively. And boy, had the grass come in and the weeds tried to take hold.
Tim and Joshua also did the he-man work of moving our heavy cedar swing out of the encroaching woods and into the clearing. It looks nice.

I know it's early in the Spring in Michigan, so it doesn't look very filled in yet, but here are a couple pictures of our day's work:

The boys are giving me a storage bench for the patio for Mother's Day ~ which I will love and we will all use ~ but 5 hours of gardening with them was a wonderful gift. Thanks guys!

Around front... My pink lilly of the valleys are blooming!

In other news... Avivah updated her blog! This time with pictures from her new digital camera. Not many of them have her in them, (she's behind the camera for the most part, duh) but I snitched two because she looks soooo petite in that HUGE truck! Go check them all out for yourself.

If ya hadn't guessed yet... This young woman totally rocks my world.


Might be away for a couple of days, but you know I'll be back.

Now... is that a promise or a threat?!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mean Moms Day

Of all the mushy things I've read about mothers and Mother's Day I have always liked this one better. I can't remember who sent it to me or even how long ago, though I think it's been about 10 years. It has transferred computers and homes many times and still, it remains my favorite.

This Mother's Day I share with you a writing that has bolstered my mom-strength countless times... Mean Moms

Mean Moms

Someday, when they are old enough to understand the logic that motivates a parent, I will tell my children:

I loved you enough... to ask where you were going, with whom and what time you would be home.

I loved you enough... to insist that you save your money and buy a bike for yourself even though we could afford to buy one for you.

I loved you enough... to be silent and let you discover that your new best friend was a creep.

I loved you enough... to make you go pay for the bubble gum you had taken and tell the clerk, "I stole this yesterday and want to pay for it."

I loved you enough... to stand over you for six hours while you cleaned your room, a job that should have taken 15 minutes.

I loved you enough... to let you see anger, disappointment and tears in my eyes. Children must learn that their parents aren't perfect.

I loved you enough... to let you assume the responsibility for your actions, even when the penalties were so harsh they almost broke my heart.

But most of all, I loved you enough... to say NO when I knew you would hate me for it.

Those were the most difficult battles of all. I'm glad I won them, because in the end you won, too.
And someday when your children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates parents, you will tell them.............

We had the meanest mother in the whole world!

While other kids ate candy for breakfast, we had to have cereal, eggs and toast. When others had a Pepsi and a Twinkie for lunch, we had to eat sandwiches. And you can guess our mother fixed us a dinner that was different from what other kids had - and we sat down together to eat it, too.

Mother insisted on knowing where we were at all times. You'd think we were convicts in a prison.

She had to know who our friends were and what we were doing with them. She insisted that if we said we would be gone for an hour, we would be gone for an hour or less.

We were ashamed to admit it, but she had the nerve to break the Child Labor Laws by making us work. We had to wash the dishes, make the beds, learn to cook, vacuum the floor, do laundry, empty the trash and all sorts of cruel jobs. I think she would lie awake at night thinking of more things for us to do.

She always insisted on us telling the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth. By the time we were teenagers mom could read our minds.

Then, life was really tough! Mother wouldn't let our friends just honk the horn when they drove up. They had to come up to the door so she could meet them.

While everyone else could date when they were 12 or 13, we had to wait until we were 16.

Because of our mother we missed out on lots of things other kids experienced. None of us have ever been caught shoplifting, vandalizing other's property or ever arrested for any crime. It was all her fault.

Now that we have left home, we are educated, honest adults. We will do our best to be mean parents just like our Mom. I think that is what's wrong with the world today. It just doesn't have enough really mean moms.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Newsy Bits

The week that started with an overnight at work (9a-2p) and felt like it would never be over, has ended. And not a minute too soon. I know it's only a couple of days worth of 'bits', but this may be long!

Thursday night I took Joshua to Police Explorers to shoot Police Issue Gloks. He'd passed his training a couple weeks ago so he was all set for this. Talk about a happy camper! We'll find out how he did at the banquet on Thursday evening.

That evening's book signing went well. 16ish people showed up and spent time chattering, drinking coffee concoctions, buying books and getting them signed by the author (who blushed as she signed each one. Talk about adorable!).

Yesterday (Friday) after my work and his school I took Joshua around to see who was hiring and get applications for a job. On top of taking a summer class and attending Special Days Camp for a week, he needs to be working this summer (and throughout the school year) to support the movie-going, gym and text messaging habits he has. :) He picked up two paper applications and has two or three more to do on-line. Wish him luck.

For the past week, on my off hours, I've been helping my friend Mark study for his Project Management certification exam. I'd think of an interesting project and he'd go through his whole process while I asked questions and threw in monkey wrenches that made him think through changes and made him laugh too. Like any good teacher, and just as he did in helping Avivah study for the math section of her ASVAB, hard work and good fun made studying easier. Last night's news? He Passed!

Yesterday while at work I met our District Manager for the first time. She's a very knit-picky woman who is not afraid to tell it like it is. We all know just how anal-retentive she can be too. And me with almost no make-up on, yikes. So while talking with her she starts asking me more questions about how I relate to other managers, customers, what it is in particular I like about working there, if I've gotten positive performance reviews and feedback... that type of thing. Then she showed her 'hand'. "Have you ever thought about being trained as a Manager?" Eeek! But "Yes, yes I have." It turned into an unexpected job interview. She sent me with her card to think about it for a day or two and call her.

I'm thinking.

Yesterday mid-evening I spoke with V who said that there's still no response/answer from the medical center about getting a Dr. to look at her knee. There aren't a lot of slots for appointments to begin with. Add to that that she's a Tech School student (less appts) and that she's an MMT and can't have an appointment until 1430 or later because they cannot miss class, and you have a pretty frustrating situation. Oh - and pile on that her MTL decided to pull what I now call an "AF Special" on her and her roommate and phased them back to Ph. I for 2 weeks. I swear it's just to see how they respond to stress. The reasons given were so lame they couldn't possibly be the reason by any stretch of the imagination. So she has to deal with that. *sigh* Good news is that now V seems to be taking it in stride, which wasn't the case when I spoke to her when it first happened. Good for V!

For the first time in 31 years I am not working mandatory Sundays (Sunday school teacher, duh) AND for the first time since I've been a mother, I have Mother's Day off. For Real! There had to be SOME benefit to working retail, right?! My luck it'll rain and I won't be able to garden, but I'll have the day to see my mom (if she's around) and to relax. Huzzah!

Speaking of Mother's Day: My girlfriend Deedra shared with me the most lovely note about mothers I think I've ever been sent. Thank you, my friend, for the blessing you bestow upon me by being a part of my life.

Last evening, as the running of the week finally slowed down, I came home to find Tim and Avivah on the phone chattering away. I sat down and polished my nails.

Happy Saturday!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Dreams, drains, books and more

Wow, I just had a night filled with weird dreams!

I dreamed that Avivah came home for a day (I don't remember her arriving, she was just here) and knowing that she had to be back at Vandenberg by the next morning (0530). She didn't seem to have a return ticket (not that I knew she flew here) so her brother and I drove her to the airport to check out the flights and get on one. She could make it from DTW to LAX by 11:30pm - LA time, but didn't think about getting to Santa Barbara. And she didn't seem worried about it at all. Meanwhile I was freaking out about her being AWOL!

After her flight to LA took off I went around the corner and got a ticket to go see her in June (all my thoughts were on June 17 & 18 ~ she should graduate on the 25th. WTH?!). I was happy that my ticket - routed all the way through to Santa Barbara - was only $36. LOL ~~~ I wish!!

Later I dreamed something about sleeping really fitfully in my mom's bed in our old house and worrying about nothing else other than my alarm clock was in another room. I assumed Tim and J would wake me or someone would call me and I'd hear my phone and drifted contentedly off. I actually woke this morning thinking I was still there.

Like I said ~ WEIRD dreams!

In other happenings ~ since I can't call my dreams 'news'...
I talked to V who said she had a relatively easy day yesterday so she was ok. She has a Drs appt set up for later today.

She plans on having the knee in much better shape soon as she and a wingman have signed up to work a kids fair on the 17th and she's really looking forward to it. All I know is that they're helping with horses. I like the fact that she has a date by which the knee needs to be under control.

Here in MI, the Oakland County Drain Comission has made a mess of the land at the end of my driveway. They're replacing the drain cover support with these big cement rings, raising and leveling them I think. In the meantime there is a big backhoe parked at the end of my driveway. Fun fun.

Today holds more studying assistance and later this evening a book signing and author's meet & greet at Caribou Coffee in downtown Royal Oak. It's an event that I helped organize and advertise with my dear friend Stefani (the author) and another friend.

Now I just hope people attend! If nothing else, I get to have coffee with a couple of my favorite people so life is good.

Those 'needing love and light' today are those parents from my list whose children are deploying very soon, and their Airmen of course. There seem to be a lot of them lately and the whole list is reeling with prayers and support for these dear families. There seem to be a few very nice homecomings too! Yay! Also on the list is AF dad John who is home recovering, John's son Airman Shmoops who is going through a rough time, AF moms Hallie, Lolly and Corinne, my co-worker Sandra, to Avivah, and to my dearest friend Sharon whose recent mysterious health issues have taken a very serious downturn. I send you all thoughts of divine light wrapping around you, holding you safely and in renewed health.

And now I am ready for my morning cuppa joe. Enjoy your day my friends. Mine's kicking into full gear!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Roller Coaster Continues

Meh, things here are pretty dull... in comparison...

I got a call from Avivah early in the day but couldn't talk because I was at work. The reason for her call?

"Hey mom. You remember back when I started BMT and that first phone call when I told you how scared I was of my TI?"

"Yeah, all the other AF Moms and Dads told me that lots of first calls are that bad and not to worry; that they have awful scare tactics to freak the trainees out. Why?"

(V laughing) "I was dead serious! My TI, who I said broke someone's foot and threw desks, etc... was found guilty/responsible and is no longer a TI! She may not even be AF for much longer."

"Oh holy wow. You really weren't just hearing stories - they were true. Dang I'm glad you behaved yourself!"

"No kidding!" (and I had to go)

So that was that. Ssgt. DLA is no longer an MTI at BMT. Funny thing is, V had come to respect her tremendously. Then again, fear is not really respect.

Later in the day, during dinner in fact, Avivah called again. This time it wasn't just information to impart, she needed her mommy.

While running yesterday her MTL (same as an MTI but in Tech School) was calling cadence behind her and her right knee gave out. She said it "slipped". He's ordered her to the medical facility today to have it evaluated. Meanwhile it hurts a lot and is tender and swollen.

She's completely freaked out and worried, which of course freaked and worried me too. I did my best to be the calming/loving/tough mom she needed me to be. She is terrified of Drs. and has known others who have had this happen only to face knee surgery (major freak out). Of course she is worried that this will delay her completion and graduation from Tech school. (major worries)

I gave her advice about Advil, ice, elevation, rest, nutrition and sleep. If nothing else it will help her coping mechanisms as she sees this injury through to healing.

I'm going to call her during class today and sing her voicemail one of favorite calming chants:

Everything will be all right
Day is day and follows night
Everything will be all right
Darkness flows into the light

So the roller coaster continues, and lately all I really want is to hug my girl in my arms again. Been too long.

Please add V to your prayers today. Maybe pop her a card or letter? I'll keep you all posted with anything I hear.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The FitFlop Test and 1, 2, 3...

So I stuck to my word and wore my new FitFlops twice yesterday. Both times were hours long so if this were a real test I would say I got a good 'sample'.

Once out of the house I wore them to lunch and then to the library where I helped a friend study for an upcoming certification exam. This was not at all in my field of expertise but, after being a teacher for some 31 years, I do know a few very effective study techniques!

While at the library Avivah called! She sounded upbeat and ... healthy! We chatted about her new digital camera and the strikingly beautiful birds in California and one bird in particular out her window that was definitely trying to eat a piece of paper. LoL

Then we discussed the 32 wheel 60' long truck she's being taught to drive... backwards too! My kid?! Whoa. The ribbon grass at the end of my driveway shudders in fear, but I have faith that when it really counts, like backing up and lining up with a missle silo, she'll do just fine. She told me all about starting up the truck and diverting power to the hydraulic lift so that her instructor could retrieve his lost pen, of all things. She really does <3 her job.

So, study session complete I came home to rest up for the evening and take the FitFlops off for a while. It's still Spring and I know my feet are still adjusting to having shoe parts between my toes. That's probably the biggest part of the sore little muscles in my feet and one of the biggest reasons flip-flops aren't a very healthy shoe choice for long term wear.

What you do to hold plain flip-flops on is to grip with your toes. Do that too much and you can end up with plantar faciitis (a tight and very painful plantar ligament) or permanent hammer-toes, also a painful and debilitating condition.

Never you worry... FitFlops wrap high around your foot supporting a natural gait and fit more shoe-like than flip-flops. Still the weight of the shoe and the newness of the style (Spring) means sore toes for a bit.

Waking at 8:15pm, I was off for 5+ hours of store inventory. Oh joy, Oh rapture. Oh rapture, Oh bliss. Or not.

Now if you remember back, I told you that the store's cooling system had failed and that we were at the mercy of the outdoor temperature to regulate the indoor temp as well. Of course this was after hours, so no door opening was possible. Poo. Yes, they had a heating and cooling person out and he tweaked and prodded and he now knows what the problem is. Big Whoop! He didn't FIX IT! So on top of a late long night ahead, the store was very warm. Ick.

I put my things away and started in. The job of the 5 of us store employees who worked last night was to count behind an outside inventory company. The company brought 12 people, each with little hand held computerized scanners to grab all the sku numbers/size/price point/count. The 5 of us followed behind them counting pieces and verifying the count.

You would think that a company that does nothing but supply people who count things would hire people who knew how to count?! Oui??? But non, dear reader. We started in the stock room. I pulled out a bin of nylons to verify the count ~ Lo and behold she says there were 50 pieces in the bin. I already knew we were in trouble ~ there were easily 100 or more. Turns out there were 112. I counted and counted again, then called "Recount!".

Now when you call for a 'recount' here's what happens: You have another store employee verify my count and agree. Then you flag the bin, take down the bin number and tell their supervisor to recount it and confirm our count so it goes in to the inventory computers accurately.
Oy! What a process!

After 5 bins like this in a row... Houston, we have a problem.

All of the bins I was attempting to verify were counted by the same inventory company person. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!? We were wasting our time triple and quadruple counting because a dunderhead ~ whose job it is to count things ~ can't count! Sheesh.

After those 5 bins were squared away the young lady in question got moved to the floor to supposedly easier counts (bins are confusing to count).

To where do they move this counting whiz??? To MY department ~ Jewerly! All those little pieces on different level bars and you guessed it... Recount!

After one more section they sent her home for the night. I hope she slept fitfully and is able to return to her job at some point in the future (just not at my store).

And oh yeah! Though my feet were tired and my back ached from standing counting little things on tables and bins on the floor... My feet felt fine!

As 2am rolled around my whole body was tired, so no fault of the shoes there. So far so FitFlop!

I slept in this morning and am heading out to do some weeding before work this afternoon. It's a glorious day out there. Hopefully, if he's not busy, this evening I'll have dinner with my BFF. Some day I have to find time to grocery shop!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Catsup on Random Bits

Texted with V briefly yesterday. We would have talked rather than text, but they had very high winds in her area and the reception was ghastly. She seems to be feeling a little better after having slept a couple of decent stretches and having a relatively low-key Saturday.

Like me, it may take a few days for it to take its toll, but exhaustion has always created a health challenge for her. Besides sleep, as Tonjia said, Advil and hydration are the AF's miracle cure-all! I'm just relieved that V's feeling better. Thanks so much for the prayers.

She's on Blocks 8 and 9 now and every minute needs her full attention. No time to be sick. Next launch is the 25th of May and she's geeked about it already!

Me? I'm geeked to be back in my PT Cruiser. Wow does it look great again. The collision shop guy laughed at me when I saw the car all fixed and was awed by what... The new tailgate? The gleaming glass and perfect rear bumper? Noooo. I had to caress the left tail light!

Do you have ANY idea how stressful it is to worry about getting a citation for a tail light you can't afford to repair?! Not to mention stressing over the red and yellow 'light tape' and its stickiness ~ or LACK of it in wet weather. And I didn't even know til now that I had developed the bad habit of not signaling left! (You're less likely to get a ticket for not signaling than for having a colored light cover off.) Ghaaa! It was driving me nuts. Now I'm just driving. :)

I wore my new FitFlops to drive around and do errands with Joshua on Saturday. It was more than the hour a day I had planned but the darned things are so comfortable that I didn't want to take them off, even at the end of the day! Oh to have shoes, especially sandals, that support my arches and cradle my heels - what a delight for my tootsies! On the other hand, I was getting in and out of the car, strolling and stopping, etc. They did say that the shoes are effective during your normal walking day so I should be fine with this as an experiment day, right?

I didn't notice muscles 'working harder' or soreness or anything different while wearing them. However after I took them off, while walking around the house barefoot, muscles deep in the backs of my thighs started to say 'hello'. And with the FitFlops off ~ tiny muscles in my feet were sore. Good sore, I think.

Today is another chance to wear the oh so comfy FitFlops. I'm planning on wearing them twice today. Once during my regular day off type stuff (dishes, laundry, gardening) and then later tonight at work.

How can I wear them to work, you ask? Especially when I posted that they are not footwear that is allowed nor fashionable enough to be worn there. HA! My work hours tonight START at 9PM when the store closes and run til 2AM. The dreaded inventory night has arrived! Ugh! So if nothing else, my feet can be happy and I can get more exercise than I would otherwise.

Speaking of work... my 15-20 hours a week has jumped to about 25-30. Some of it is by design, my managers like me and the job I do and I recently asked for more hours, but the rest is by default. I got called in two hours early on Sunday to make up for someone who had to tend to another store, then ended up staying an hour later getting the place in order. So 2-6 turned into 12-7!

The only complaints I have is my sore back and feet. Other than that, I'm happy that they're happy. As plebean as it is, I enjoy the work. Heck, last Friday I ended up in the stock room for an hour so I got to listen to the MP3s on my phone! *hee hee*

As for day off type stuff ~ The garden looks pretty good so far ~ for an utterly untended garden. It really needs to warm up and dry out here in SE MI! The trees are leafing out well, the pear and ornamental cherry tree both bloomed, the peony is already 6" tall and the perennial flowers and hostas are all coming back strong ~ especially the daylillies. One exception is my azalea which seems to have gotten too dry over the winter. I'm trying to decide whether to cut it back and nurse it along or take it out and replace it.

My garden "to do" list is growing faster than my garden!

The little Red Maple has found its home in the back yard and is doing well. It has lovely reddish leaves that dwarf its tiny frame but tell of grand days of shade and fall color for years to come.

Next to find a home is a perennial Flame Grass plant and a sunny location for an Elephant Ear tuber. Last year's Elephant Ear was a joy to watch grow. It even bloomed (5x)! It's not supposed to do that in my climate region!

Then again, I get teased about my "nuclear garden" all the time. Things that shouldn't happen, do. My Dusty Millers, supposedly annuals, come back year after year and are enormous. My Shasta Daisies have taken over one whole (3'x3') corner and are typically 4' tall. The Chameleon Plant I inherited with the house and only discovered (uncovered) after two summers here thrives and blooms and is spreading like crazy.

Ok, I could go on and on. Right now it all needs weeding! So...

On with the day!!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

A Loving Tribute *sniff!*

Ok, I was blog-popping just now and came across the sweetest thing ever. Tonjia's daughter Breanna made her mom and step-dad a tribute video complete with her singing "That's The Way It Is", set to pics of Tonjia and Dana. You just gotta see it.

It's not my kid... and I'm in tears!

You rock, Bre!

Sighs and Awwws

Some days you're the bug, other days you're the windshield...

Last night I forgot that I had made dinner plans with my friend Stefani. I was asked to work late and just barely squeeked in the door to pick up my car and drop off the rented Caliber before both offices closed and it just plumb slipped my mind entirely. Grrrr.

This morning I went out to check over my garden to find that my adored baby gingko tree (in its second spring with me now) got bitten by the late frost we had two days ago. My research says that it will be ok later in the season, but it doesn't help my crestfallen heart that delights in seeing its little mini leaves grow into the most stunning fans that I enjoy.

Avivah and I text-talked last night during her CQ shift (like night watch she has to monitor who signs in and out of the building) and she's sick.

This is the first time she's been sick far away from me. She has a sore throat that hurts when she swallows, swollen glands, sore joints, a fever, extreme fatigue and mild nausea. I think she's got a virus on top of exhaustion. Poor baby. She will almost undoubtedly drop out of todays hike/climb/swim in favor of sleeping as much as possible.

I told her to push fluids, esp tea and OJ and to take Advil/Tylenol when she needs to. I asked her to please get a strep screen asap. She can't get to a Dr. until Monday. What else can I do? I'm here, she's there. Dang, this is hard.

Yanno, I saw a news bite on horoscopes that said certain astrological signs were in for a chaotic period of time now and it mentioned mine (Scorpio) in particular! Me?! Why me?! I never read the story, just the headline but ~ Sheesh!!

So along with Avivah and me, if you are so inclined, please send love and light to these wonderful people today... AF mom Lolly, Sharon, Sister Nancy, Marta and her roommate, AF mom Corinne, AF dad John, AF mom Hallie, AF mom Deb, Lakshimi and her grandsons, Jeremy, Dana, Vinny, Sheila, Lynne, Aryehn, Rodney, those who serve our country and are about to deploy to parts unknown or who are aready there, those who are far from home, and their parents... and to the spirits of Cora Anderson and furbaby Luna who each passed over recently. May their memories serve for a blessing.

Special love and light goes out to a new friend! Rowan Gee Yeung Ing was welcomed into this world on Monday Apr 21st 2008, to parents Nelson and Beata. Nels has been a friend of mine for several years. He is a dear soul and wicked drummer! Congrats to the new family!

Child, we welcome you to the right and joyful hour of your birth.
Gladly, we welcome you to the circle of the children of the earth.
May it be a dance. May it be a song.
May the days of your life be bright and long
On the good green earth.

Ok everyone... say "awwww!"

Friday, May 2, 2008

A Quickie Post ~ FitFlops

You may remember that this past Monday, April28 I posted that I had ordered a pair of FitFlops from Bath & Body Well they have arrived! And of course as is its wont in Michigan... it's much too chilly for open toed shoes right now. Well rats.

As soon as it's feasible the grand experiment will commence. For the moment I think I'll wear them while I wash the dishes. Exciting, eh?

Promise to keep you posted.

Mama's lil' hearse goes Vroom!

I hadn't mentioned that for the past three weeks I have been driving a rental car because my car has been in the shop on a repair and a recall.

So finally, as much as it's been fun driving this brand new, cute, red Dodge Caliber, whose driver's side door sounds like a pop can being squished when I close it... MY car should be ready later today!

Yes ladies and gents, my beloved black PT Cruiser GT Turbo will be back on the road today!

No more laborious acceleration! No more dirty fingerprinted roof liner! No more bumping my head nearly every time I get in it! No more getting out of my car to open or close the garage door!

Despite having the largest turning radius of any car on the market, which is a pain in the butt, I love driving my PT. It's easy to enter and exit. It's comfortable to sit in. It's flexible seating and cargo capabilities, not to mention the table you can create in the tailgate, is just perfect for me who loves to garden and go to yard sales.

I do really regret that it's on a lease though. That's the one thing that stops me cold when it comes to one of my deepest loves... road tripping! Ok, that and the high cost of gas lately. Poo. Oh how I'd love to just go to Ohio to meet Deb and see Lilly, or DC to visit my sister and nephew and Sharon and Chava, or N. Carolina to see David and Wendy, or Rochester, New York to see Carolyn, NY city to see Shai and always wherever Avivah is.... yeah. That's the one regret. That and not being wealthy enough that I can afford the gas and time off! LoL

Ok, I'll admit there is ONE thing that I'll miss about driving this head bumping glorified pop can... It has Sirius Satellite Radio! I have grown to adore my favorite channel ~ Sirius Disorder 70. They have NO format. Truly. I can hear everything from opera to folk to jazz to techno and anything possibe in between. I love it all.

So other than 4 new tires for the PT, which it needs, what I really want that will satisfy my aural needs completely (you thought a dirty thought just now, I know you did!) would be Sirius Satellite Radio in my car... for Mother's Day?

Ok, I can dream!
In other news, Avivah called me yesterday morning! She sounded good but tired. Ok we'll give her the tired sound - she had just finished running a 5k! I couldn't talk long because I was at work, but gosh it was good to hear her voice. Things continue to be difficult there on many levels but she is doing ok and is very very busy. Yes, she needs the encouragement from her friends and family (AF family too!).
That's all the news that's fit to print for today. I'm off to work.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Back Tracking

Made it through yesterday ok. My lunch plans went just perfectly. I stopped at Chernin's for "cheap shoe therapy" and one of my favorite customers came in the store last night ~ so that brightened my evening tremendously. (Hi Marcia!)

All that combined with good drugs and I don't feel too horrible today.

With work and feeling poorly yesterday morning I never caught everyone up on Tuesday evening...

I got home from work around 5:30, scooped Joshua up to grab some dinner and we went to see Tim sing in a concert celebrating the 60th anniversary of the state of Israel at Congregation Shaarey Tzedek. In the back of my mind I was thinking ho-hum. Not so!

This concert featured their Cantor, Meir Finklestein who is young and extremely talented, not to mention he has one helluva voice! There were also three other cantors, one of whom I knew from CAJE (Hazzan Mizrahi). Wow what fantastic voices... and together? Oy! Plus the choir, a band, a teen quartet, and a solo from an 8 year old that had everyone astounded.

Everyone = an audience of around 2,000. Really.

It was a wonderful Tuesday evening and... Dare I say? Even Joshua enjoyed it!

OH! and V got a 95 on her last Block Test! :)

And now, off to work.