Educate Me Thursday: Riding a Ferry is Fun!

Last weekend I visited the beautiful city of Seattle.


seattle ferryI drove around the Olympic peninsula to Bainbridge Island, known for the gazillion dollar home of king of the world, Bill Gates. From Bainbridge, there is a 30 minute ferry that takes you to Seattle. As I was sitting on the ferry, I was thinking about how amazing it is and I think we take it for granted that we have the option to ride the ferry.

This thought occured to me the other day when I was watching a movie -filmed on the peninsula- and there was a scene on the ferry. It was beautiful, and very familiar. From 1989-1996 I lived in a city on the Puget Sound that has a direct ferry route to Seattle. I've been on the ferry a million times. Or at least 40. It really is as beautiful as you imagine it might be. And it's peaceful (unless it's in the middle of a huge storm-then it's just ridiculously scary).
I haven't personally seen any of our world's special creatures, but there is a whale pod that chills in those waters every now and again. And my nephew saw dolphins swimming alongside the ferry before. And I think it's awesome how seagulls pace the boat, waiting for someone to throw some food into the air.
Back in my day when I lived there, I believe the price was about $3.50 to ride one way. And it's free to ride TO Seattle but you have to pay to come back. The current ticket price is $6.90. That seems pricy, but I guess inflation is just our reality, right?
For the price of a ferry ticket, you can get any of these other things I have recently spent $7 on:
  • A grande peppermint white chocoloate mocha and a marshmallow square from Starbucks.
  • 2 lbs of fresh asparagus
  • A large bag of organic potting soil for growing vegetables
  • A magic 8 ball
  • 2.7 gallons of unleaded gasoline
But none of that will be as wonderful as riding a ferry (though if you cook the asparagus correctly, it's pretty close).


So for those poor souls who have never been on a ferry - this one is for you. Please hold your questions til the end.


A fair amount of the Washington State Ferries are car-carryin kind. The cost for the car and the driver is $11.85. Which is probably about what you'd pay in gas if you want to drive around the peninsula to get to Seattle from the Bainbridge Island area.
There are a ton of ferries:seattle ferryI know some people commute by ferry. They are what we call "crazy."


Preparing to get on the ferry, this is the parking lot of cars (from the Seattle side). seattle ferry

We have all been forced to make that decision to wait for the next ferry, sometimes a 30 min wait, sometimes a 90 min wait, or to "drive around." It's never a fun decision. And it usually comes after a long day in the city and even the non-Star Trek Trekkies are dreaming of tele-transportation machines because that wait or that drive is the longest time ever at that point.

seattle ferryPreparing to leave the dock.



At some point, you'll be on a ferry passing another ferry and you'll see how amazing it looks from the outside.

seattle ferry

photo by Michael Jaradine

So when you get on the ferry, a couple things will happen. Some people will be RUSHING to get a bench seat by a window. The bench seats with tables are the best. Those fill up quick, so be prepared to push others if you must.

Other people will head directly towards the front of the boat where there is a large bay window and a few rows of padded chairs. These are also really popular. Some people choose not to sit at all and will stand out on the deck the entire time. It's usually very windy, but on a really nice day, it's totally worth the wind.

seattle ferry

As the ferry starts to get closer, people will very casually stroll towards the front of the boat (or head downstairs to their car). This is another opportunity to work on your pushing skills, because for some reason, it's very important to get off that boat as soon as it docks.

Everyone must take this type of photo:

seattle ferry


It's like a law or something.

This guy actually saw me take a picture of him and the view and he and his friend talked a moment, looked at me and then immediately left the area. You'd think they would thank me for making him famous on the internet. Whatever.

If you ever are in the Seattle area, I highly recommend you take the time and the $7 to ride the ferry. It doesn't matter which one...it's just a nice, relaxing ride.

I have a couple stories from my Seattle trip - meeting up with a college friend who we haven't seen for ten years. Andrew was 7 last time my friend and I were together. A lot has changed. I also met up with a blogger friend! That's the second blogger person I've met in real life and neither have been crazy! Lucky so far...

Canvas Print Giveaway Winner

We have another winner! Thanks to UPrinting.com for sponsoring another great giveaway (and for providing free shipping again).

Some people have very scientific ways of picking winners.

Some people use the random number generator.

My very first giveaway was my most creative-if you haven't seen it, you should. Go here and check out the video. It's great fun, but I just can't live up to that creative-level standard all the time. So I go a much easier route.

Sometimes I pick my winners by doing this:

I walk into the room where Andrew is and say, pick a number 1 - 35 (or however many entries I have).

Andrew picks a number.

A winner is born!

A couple of times I have had family members win back-to-back contests so then I actually have Andrew pick a new number, because it's just not fair, right? Even by Andrew-the-teen-random-number-generator who has NO idea who is what number or for what contest, it just doesn't seem right if my family and friends win a lot. Sorry family and friends. Think of all the blogger people out there who deserve it....

Though one time there was a contest where I had names printed on little paper pieces in a paper bag and Andrew drew my mom. So I said, not fair, pull another. And then he pulled her name AGAIN! And there was another time where my sister was the number he picked from across the room, and I said, no fair-forget it, I'll use the random number generator online. So I did---and it pulled HER NUMBER. You can't fake these things people, it really happened!

And so today a new person deserves it and it happens to be someone I know, but there weren't many entries and it's not a family member so we are going with the first random number selected by Sir Andrew which was:

Lucky #12

TQ said...
I want to win this one!!! My favorite winter memory always includes Smokey and snow - he loves loves loves loves loves snow and nothing makes me happier than seeing him eating and playing in it...

Congrats to TQ, akaTori!!!
Tori is a fairly new blogger who would love if ya'll stop by and say hi to her, I'm sure. Especially if you are a dog-lover. Even more especially if you have a black lab. And most especially if you have a tri-pawd dog (a 3-legged pooch), as she does.

This is a photo from her blog header (which makes it a public picture that I can steal and post here, right?) of her and Smokey, her 3-legged puppy-pal.

And that ends the last giveaway I have going on for the next week or two.

FYI-for those of you who are keeping track, the winner of my last drawing didn't respond, not just in 48 hrs like some bloggers command, but not in an entire week. So I gave the prize to the first person who commented on the Giveaway Winner post, the delightful and poetic Brian Miller. Congrats to Brian for being a great commenter and a caring human. I think he has good karma and now he gets free cereal. Proof that good things come around, right? Right.

Murderous Games We Play

I am totally addicted to the National Public Radio show, This American Life. I listen to the podcast while I'm on the treadmill about five times a week (when I'm being good about the treadmill). I'm eventually going to be at the point where I have no more new podcasts, since they only make one new one a week and I've already gone through all of 2008 and most of 2009. It'll be a sad day when I have no more new episodes.

The show interviews people for various topics, or has someone just talk with someone else in a conversational way that's quite easy to listen to. The show is an hour long but is broken into segments, sometimes just 15 min each person, sometimes 30 minutes. Ira introduces the segments and narrates pieces to connect them, sometimes he is the interviewer of segments, sometimes not. His voice is soothing and his laugh is adorable.

This show from November, 2007, was one of the shows I listened to a couple weeks ago:


There are umpteen TV shows about solving murders, endless whodunits in
bookstores. But what happens to the people left behind after the detectives
close the case? Three stories about children trying to figure out how to live
normally after their parents have died.

One of the segments really stuck with me. Here's the info on that one:


PROLOGUE.Host Ira Glass talks to Rachel Howard, whose father, Stan, was murdered when she was 10 years old. His case was never solved. And like a lot of
people whose family members have been killed, she tried for a long time to find
the killer. But after a while, she gave up. And she's comfortable with that—which sometimes makes fellow survivors decidedly uncomfortable.Rachel wrote a book, The Lost Night, about her father's murder. (7 1/2 minutes)
During this short segment, Rachel talks about how murder is somewhat accepted in our society and people don't always consider how those impacted by murder are affected by this. An example was....games. We play innocent and fun games that involve murdering each other and never think about it.


For example----the game I wrote about the other day: Mafia. We killed each other. It was a fun game. I really enjoy it. But we killed each other without a single thought.


I don't know all the people really well who attended games night that night....I have no way of knowing if someone at that party did not have their entire life altered by a murder of someone close to them. I have no way of knowing if our fun game of Mafia led them to have a very uncomfortable evening. It's probably pretty unlikely...but it's possible. Possible with any group I suppose. There are about 6 homicides per 100,000 people in the U.S. And for each of those murders-there are friends, siblings, parents, spouses, life partners who are directly impacted.

In Rachel's This American Life segment, she talked about how people would never play a game that involves someone being raped. Another heinous crime in our society, but one that we don't focus our entertainment on. Yet it's somehow acceptable for us to do this with the crime of murder.

I'm not saying that I won't ever play mafia again-just something to think about is all....

Killing The Townspeople, One At A Time

Has anyone heard of this party game called Mafia?

I have played it a few times, it's really quite fun with the right crowd of people.

Here's how you play:
One person is the narrator. They never get killed.
You need a good-size group of people, maybe 10-20, who are playing.
You need a deck of cards. If you have over 12 people, you need 4 face cards. If you have under 12, probably just 3 face cards. You'll need one ace and then you'll need one card under 10 for the rest of the players.
With me so far?
We haven't killed anyone yet. (typically) But we will.

You mix up all the cards and keep them face down. Pass them around so everybody playing gets one card. Nobody knows what other people have.

The people with the face cards (jack, queen or king) are considered The Mafia. Or if you're from Canada - it's apparently pronounced Maf-ia, as we found out from our Canuk friend Saturday.

The one person who gets the Ace card is the Cop.

Everyone else is a Townsperson.

The Narrator starts the game by letting everyone know that it's night time. Everyone playing closes their eyes. Then he (or she but for the purpose of saving words, we'll say he) will say -Mafia only, open your eyes and wake up and select someone to kill.

The 3 or 4 Mafia members try really really hard not to move much and just point to someone they want to kill. They can only kill one person a night. Once they all agree, via pointing, blinking and/or grimaces and smiles, then the Narrator says, Mafia-close your eyes. Cop only, open your eyes and wake up and select one person. Then the Cop points to someone (don't move) and the Narrator nods if the person the Cop pointed at is part of the Mafia. The Cop gets to have a sneak peak and get some clues this way. He needs them.

Then we all wake up and the Narrator says, Kaylen, You were killed last night by the mafia. Then Kaylen is out of the game and it's no longer fun.

I suppose he could say someone else, but as it was this last weekend, he seemed to say my name almost immediately. Why would anyone want to kill me??!!!

What is supposed to happen is someone else is killed and then we all discuss who we think is in the mafia. Everyone, mafia and cop included, will talk and then vote on who they want to be revealed. People will fight for someone they believe is it based on their expression, or if they felt movement next to them, or how someone voted last time, and then the nominees will plead their case and try to steer people to not vote for them. Then the group votes and kills off someone they think is Mafia.

Lots of killing going on.

The person killed during the day will reveal their card and if it's Mafia, people cheer. If it's not, everyone groans and some yell out "I told you so!" Then the Narrator says, it's night time, everyone close your eyes, and you repeat the process until the Mafia have an equal number of people in the town or until the townspeople kill off the Mafia.

The Cop is meant to help steer the voting until people vote off Mafia members, but has to do so without exposing himself as the Cop because once the Mafia knows, they will kill him that night. So he might jump in during the nominating and try to convince people it was someone based off of seeing a wink or sensing movement (if he's close to them). He is important. Sometimes you get a lame Cop and then they get killed and it doesn't matter cause he was lame anyway.

Make sense? It's a lot of fun....when played correctly.

And when Kaylen isn't killed off first.

5-5-5 My First MeMe Tag Thingy

I don't think I have ever done a meme before.

For those of you who are non-blogger (not geeks), the word meme is a mystery I'm sure. I just found out I've been pronouncing it wrong - it actually rhymes with cream. I thought you read it like Me - Me....since you typically write about yourself...learn something new every day I guess!!
The term "Internet meme" refers to a catchphrase or concept that spreads
rapidly from person to person via the Internet, largely through Internet-based
email, blogs, forums, social networking sites and instant messaging.

Educational portion - complete.

I was tagged by my blogger friend Lorie for the 5-5-5 Tag.
Photobucket

I am to answer the five questions with five answers and tag 5 more bloggers, here we go:

Wait - On a side note, I went to get my oil changed today and the funny little guy helping me check out had a tattoo on his forearm that said:

Things to Do Today:
1. ___________________
2. ___________________
3. ___________________
4. ___________________
5. ___________________

With the blanks by the numbers. Ha - I really did laugh about it. Every morning he can just wake up and fill in the blanks! Or better still-his wife can write down things for him!! LOVE it! Would never get it or want to look on it on my bf every day - but for someone else, LOVE it!

Anyway back to me - me, the meme.

Question 1: Where were you five years ago?

  1. In a cramped little apartment 1.3 miles from where I currently live in my wonderful house.
  2. Wondering what I was going to do at mynearly-entry-level job to keep me challenged and happy and busy daily.
  3. Dating a really fun guy who just wasn't right for me.
  4. Eating too much Act II Microwave Kettle Corn with peanut M&M's.
  5. Reading a LOT more than I am now.

Question 2: What is (was) on your to-do list today?

  1. Import files into our database (need to do after-hours).
  2. Sit outside at lunch and read my book in the beautiful, perfect weather (only slightly tarnished by the crying of the brat cat at the screen door who isnt allowed outside but almost became a homeless cat today at lunch).
  3. Get my oil changed.
  4. Walk three miles - not done yet, but will be in 80 minutes from now.
  5. Finish the book I'm reading - Michael Crichton's "Pirate Latitudes".

Question 3: What five snacks do you enjoy?

  1. From above - Act II Microwave Kettle Corn with peanut M&M's.
  2. Satsuma, mandarin, orange things that we still call by the korean name - kewl, which is pronounced kew-hl. (can you pronounce an h + l together? it's a hard word to spell phonetically).
  3. Sweet potato potato chips -YUM. Once the bag is open, there's NO going back.
  4. Peanut butter on saltine crackers. A great mid-afternoon snack filled with protein. Totally justifiable.
  5. Did I mention peanut M&M's?
Question 5: What five things would you do if you were a billionaire?


  1. Pay off my house and buy houses for my parents and sisters.
  2. Take a trip around the world with Andrew, and maybe a friend or two.
  3. Donate donate donate - I have a TON of places I'd love to help out with much more than the small amount I give each year.
  4. College funds for my son and my sisters kids.
  5. Invest the rest and always have my money grow so I never have less than 5 million in the bank. Just in case of a rainy day, I wouldn't want to come up short!
And 5 bloggers to pass it on to...
  1. Natalie - My Boring Life
  2. Heather - Welch Happenings
  3. Aunt Juicebox - Bacon is my Lover
  4. Flea - Bits n Bytes of a Geeky Blogger
  5. Carma - Carma Sez

That's my first me-me cream meme. Thanks Lorie for giving me an easy blogging day!

Winner Winner, It's Cereal For Dinner!!

Time for a winner!!! The General Mills Cares About Your Heart giveaway is closed.

Everyone offered up great ideas on how they keep their heart healthy. If you feel like your heart isn't as happy and healthy as it could be, go read the comments and learn more about what other people do (people who care about their hearts).

Are you feeling lucky???

I have the winner picked out!

Ready....


The winner....


Posted a comment.....


And didn't follow the rules (but it's my blog and I'm really nice and I'm going to let it slide this ONE time) and didn't post advice about keeping his/her heart healthy.


Think it's you?



Here's another hint....


The winner...



Did not capitalize their first name in their comment.

AHA! Was that you??



The winner.....




Has a name that starts with a B!!!!

Is it YOU???

The winner...............is FEMALE.




AND - The winner does not appear to have a blogger profile and so I couldn't steal their picture to post it here so I just drew one in Microsoft Paint for her:

She may or may not look like this, but congratulations to BARBARA who posted at 6:45 pm on the night the contest ended, as a great example to kids everywhere to never give up, it's never too late and people who arrive late still have a chance to party with the rest of us.

Congrats Barbara!

And thanks again to General Mills and MyBlogSpark for hosting the giveaway and providing a prize to myself and Barbara. We luv ya!

And if anyone would like to hire me out for my superior Microsoft Paint skills, please drop me an email and we'll see about my availability.

Thanks for playing along everyone - I have another giveaway going (see sidebar) and will post another one at the end of this week.

Cat Cat Boy - Lazy Saturday Blogging

Wow, another post about my cats. Shocker. I think it's been at least 2 wks since I've talked about them (maybe not).

I'm not a crazy cat lady! I just love them. I love them and want to squeeze them and hold them forever and ever and never let go. Ever.

And Andrew has declared that crazy cat people have 3 or more cats. And I only have two... so....it's not possible for me to be a crazy cat lady. Yet.

Though sometimes I like to dress them up.
And wrestle with them.
And give them pedicures.
And make photo stories about them.
And make sure their smiles are bright.

None of that makes me cat-lady crazy, right?

I just LOVE my four-legged friends. That's all. LOVE them.


cutest cat everIt's rare that both cats are on the climby-thingy at the same time. And even more rare that we would happen upon them. And even rarer than rare that I would happen to be able to get a picture of the two of them together.
cutest cat everWhiskers is the "baby" of the family. He cries if a door is closed, no matter what side he is on. He just doesn't want the door closed. He's a brat. He definitely loves Andrew best and is more tolerant than any animal should ever be for anyone.

cutest cat ever
Ginger is the big chubby cat. She can be mean, but never to me. I'm definitely her favorite human, but lately she's been warming up to Andrew more. Which means that she doesn't hiss when he enters the room anymore. After Andrew and Whiskers head off to bed, Ginger likes to jump up the wall, like a spiderman-wannabe.
cutest catThis is just Andrew proving his strength. He's so strong.
Please have your pets spayed or neutered.

A Not So Bad Singer For You All To Enjoy

So there's this one funny little kid that hangs out at my house frequently.

I call him Laundry, ever since we played poker one night and he folded his hand a lot.

Ha- I just made myself laugh out loud! Laundry - folds a lot - ha! Get it? HA! Laughed out loud just explaining that.

Laughed out loud again, thinking about how I laughed out loud.

Anyway, he has this fanpage thing on this thing called The Facebook. I became a fan of his page, as I like to support the little people in the world. I'm nice like that.

He makes these little videos in his spare time where he lip syncs songs we've probably all heard before. The key here is that he is lip syncing.

I sent my sister a link to this video (below) via The Facebook Chat and this is how she responded:

Jenny 11:17pm
interesting dude
good voice


Ha - right, yeah, okay, he sounds okay. He's got a "good" voice....Ha. Hilarious.

Check him out. You can become a fan of his page here. Remember the little people...at one point we were little fish in a big pond and we needed people to be our fans. Let's go be this little fishie's fan, ya'll.

Slow Down, Little Earth...Just Slow Down!

Sometimes you are in such a hurry, you just walk out of your shoes.


Just like sometimes you are in a hurry and you can't be bothered to put your granola bar wrapper into the garbage which is two feet from you.

I'm not pointing any fingers...I'm just saying...sometimes life moves fast.


It's almost April. Did you realize that?? I just can't believe it.

Today at work someone said something about cutting a check for someone in April and I thought to myself-she wants to wait until APRIL to pay him?? As if she was insane for making him wait all the way til April. And thankfully I didn't say anything because - and maybe you weren't aware of this either--but April is in FOURTEEN DAYS!!!

Recycled Wednesday - Geeky People Are Weird

I just can't be bothered to blog today. It's already 7:30pm - I've got about 30 min of work to do (something that has to be done in off-hours), I've got to clean up from dinner, I've got to get on the treadmill and then I have to shower and then I have to put 10 pieces of my puzzle together (it's 1000 pieces, so if I do ten pieces a night, that's 100 nights-making the most of the money I spent on it!), and I've got to read at least 20 blogs and I have to read my book before bed. I have TONS to do. I can't be bothered with my own blog at this time....so I'm plagiarizing. MYSELF. It makes the crime a little more acceptable. Here's a post from 2007 when I only had 4 readers:


The database guy I just came out of a meeting with told me that he only works part-time (.85 or so) because he has a young daughter. He was explaining, in his mysterious Soviet block accent, that he has so much fun with databases at work, but he has a small child..and so I added, "oh, and she's probably more fun for you." And he says quite strongly, "No-no, she's not more fun. She's not. But she's a better investment of my time."

**did he just tell me his daughter is less fun than a database??**

hmmmm...what to say to that...


So he explained that he enjoys the database work he does, and working with the network and the server and all that, it's enjoyable and he finds it a fun way of passing time. However, in a few years, his databases and all the hard work he's put into them and all the network/server stuff will probably be obsolete. There is always bigger and better upcoming software programs and solutions. "My time that I dedicate now has a short-term investment, whereas with my daughter, the investment-hopefully-will be long-term and the time I spend with her now will be more long-lasting as far as gains returned."

Well, um, I guess that makes sense...in geek logic maybe.



Database people are like that. The ones I know anyway are WAY far out there and not "normal" in some ways. I have to admit that database work DOES excite me, however, I like to think that I'm still normal in most ways. When I talk to a database fanatic, like the man today, I get excited to do more and more and I start thinking of all the things that I would like to put in a database and how so many things could be better and more efficient, etc.....but then I hang out with normal people, and I start feeling like there are so many different aspects to life and you can not just put them all in a database (though right now I am ready to try!!!).

Print Your Life Away - Canvas Print Giveaway

Another great giveaway from Uprinting.com - who has thankfully changed their giveaways now to include free shipping.

From UPrinting: Turn your most precious moments into masterpieces! Get that artist’s feel and transform your favorite photos or work into canvas art. These thick and high-quality canvases are ultra durable and will a long time.

This giveaway is for a canvas print - I'm excited to get one of these and see what it's like. I think it might be something I let my son pick out, which means it will probably be a guitar-themed picture of some sort.

Prize: 16 x 20 Rolled Canvas
Specifications: 1 Business Day Turnaround
Shipping: FREE UPS Ground Shipping
Eligibility: Limited to US Residents only (sorry Canuks, it's not personal)





To enter:
Leave a comment sharing what your favorite winter memory has been.

Extra entries:
Leave an extra comment if you follow/subscribe to my blog.
Leave an extra comment if you entered any of my other current giveaways (check the sidebar).
Leave an extra comment if you blog about this giveaway (and leave the link to the giveaway post).

Giveaway closes on March 28th at midnight.
Winner will have 48 ours to respond to my email.

Please make sure you have a public profile or leave your email address in your comment. If I can't contact you-you can't win!!

Uprinting.com provided this giveaway and I will receive the same prize. In complying with the FCC, FDA, PETA, and the mafia guidelines-I must disclose that I received this as well. Thanks ya'll!

Fiber One Giveaway...Who Gets the Goods?

Congrats to our latest winner: Cookiert

Cookiert will receive the Fiber One Chewy Bars (I just bought two more boxes myself today!) and the fitness pack.
She looks so happy to win!!!
And I'm actually going to copy her move and start taking a multivitamin daily because I am certain I am low in every letter vitamin possible. Except whatever letter it is that comes in yams, because we have had yam fries at least three times a week.
Anyway.....thanks to everyone for entering. I love me some giveaways.

The IRS Can Suck It

My taxes are in the mail!!!

Some of you (anyone who reads my blog or has spent more than 13 minutes with me) may know that I'm a single mom, and one of the best things about that (other than not having to deal with a drunken louse) is that I get a wee bit of a tax break. Thank you, Uncle Sam.

And this year, my friend President Obama, gave me a wonderful gift of a fat tax credit for being a first time homeowner. Thanks Big O!!!

So there is money coming my way - WOOHOO!!!! I love when there is money coming my way.

I have a thousand things I could do with it, but I think my man Obama wants me to use it for my house. Which means I'm saving most of it until something goes wrong. More on how I will spend my riches another day...

How about you all?
Taxes filed?
Do you wait til the last second?
Do you get money back normally?
Do you evade the taxman altogether?
Are you Canadian and have to give 30% of your income to the government out of your paycheck? (I heard that is true!)

A little cartoon that was found in my grandmothers old papers ages ago: (click to enlarge)
I think it's cute she kept this. I wonder if it was hanging on her fridge, or just in a stack of papers. Or maybe someone sent it to her and she meant to share it with others. And so I will share it with all of you, cause that's what grandma would have wanted. (she died when I was still in a nappy)

I Will Touch You, Howie Mandel

So there's this show called America's Got Talent.
I've never watched it, but I've heard of it. Mostly because David Hasselhoff was a big part of it, for eating the most cheeseburgers off the floor hands-free or something? It's a talent show that has all kinds of weird talent like that.

But now David is in rehab or something and Howie Mandel is the new judge!

howie mandel
Howie's talent is something about being the biggest germaphobe in the world and having an alter-ego in the form of a 5-year old named Bobby. He's Canadian, eh. I'm not sure if that has something to do with the germ thing, but it might-Canadians just aren't like us normal people, you know (Pamela Anderson-a hot mess; Keanu Reaves-speaks strangely; Tommy Chong-permanently stoned; Barenaked Ladies-all of the previous explanations work here).

Anyway, the tickets to go to the taping of the show were free, so I have a few and we are going next week! And I hope to accidentally ruin Howie's world by purposely trying to touch him.

Someone I will not be trying to touch is another judge: Sharon Osborne. sharon osborne

You do NOT want to cross that lady. She's like a black cat in a permanent dark alley.

But if I get the chance, I will invite her home with me so we can stay up all night and become the best of friends and then she will invite me to her castle in London and Andrew and Ozzy will stay up all night jamming.

There are no cameras allowed of course, but if I find that I'm within the realm of touching Howie, I will risk us being kicked out to get a picture of me petting his hair-free, little arm.

Stay tuned for that.

Make New Friends, But Keep The Old

I just watched a movie on BET. It was a primarily black cast...and I didn't really notice at first, but then I was thinking--89% of the movies and tv shows I watch have primarily all white casts. I think it was Chris Rock who said something about all my white friends have just one black friend. But all his black friends have a ton of white friends.

I wish my life was more diverse.

There was some GQ article about how Oprah is making into a movie where some reporter set about making his friend circle more diverse and how the real lesson came to be not making new friends of different backgrounds and/or races, but how difficult it is to make friends in general, as an adult.

And this is so true....it really is hard.

Meeting people isn't that hard sometimes, like through work, or kids sports events, but actually crossing the bridge from "I know that person" to "I am her friend!"

So what makes someone want to be your friend? Same interests, but just because I love to play board games and you love to play board games, doesn't mean that you're going to love to play board games with me, or vice versa.
And once you find that you have a connection with someone, how long do you have to wait before they are calling you just to talk, or suggesting dinner on a lazy Saturday, or planning parties with you?
At my age, I feel like one of the hindrances is that I'm single. A lot of people my age are part of a couple, so this is difficult sometimes, as there is no spouse to hang with their spouse. We aren't doing couples things because it's just me and them. It is a bit of a third-wheel atmosphere.
Another smaller hindrance is that I have a child. A child with no spouse-two whammies against me. I don't' want to go to happy hour after work- I want to have dinner with my son. I am not going to go away on a weekend getaway with the girls (well, maybe a couple times a year), because I know there is a teenage party just waiting to have me leave town. And yes, he is older now, and he doesn't need me, but he is older-he's leaving my house in 16 months for college. He's flying the nest soon---I have a strong desire to be around as much as possible for the next 16 months.
So how do you make friends?
How do you move from knowing someone to hanging out with them?
How do you find people who don't irritate you to no end, who actually feel the same about you, who live close enough to hang out, who are either single or fairly independent, who don't have small kids but have kids, who have the same interests as you, and who aren't clingy but who make an effort to hang out with you?

Notes from Korea - Feb 23rd - My Bday Trip to Seoul

Once upon a time (in 2002), I took a year long teaching job in Korea. I packed up my 9 yr son, his little white cat and 4 huge bags of "stuff" and we got on a plane and flew from Washington state to South Korea. We lived there for a year, came home for Xmas and then my son stayed in the states for 8 weeks while I flew back over the big pond to finish my contract(the first time I've ever been away from him for more than 2 wks). We lived in a small town, with no native English speakers, no familiar food, and no real clue of what we were going to do. It was a great adventure!

I wrote long, sometimes boring, letters home. These are them, unedited except for the removal of the whining and begging to my parents to please send this or that. You can click on the pictures to enlarge.



Andrew and I are settled into our new home in the tiny town of Munmak (also spelled Moonmuk). The population of the town is about 20,000 and we are the only foreigners that we've seen, though rumor has it that there is another native English speaker who recently moved here. We are trying to scout her out, but no luck yet.

Our apartment is not as tiny as I thought it was. We were provided with two beds (it's a 2-bedroom apartment) and the bedding for both-Korean sheets are a quilt type blanket to cover the mattress-there are straps that hold it in place. The pillows were big oval-shaped types that look like they should be decoration and sleeping on them proved to be dangerous...so I got out my sewing kit and removed half the stuffing from each! We have a two-burner range, a microwave [actually an electric oven, which I found out the hard way], a table for two with chairs, a tv, vcr, a small couch, a wardrobe closet (in Andrews room) and a hanging stand for my clothes. We had plates, cups, silverware for two as well as some nice pans to cook i. I think we got a really great deal and we love our apartment. [most teachers have to share an apartment with another, or stay with a Korean family. They are typically responsible to buy their own house stuff].It is on the 4th floor in a 15 story apartment building. The elevator doesn't have a four - just an F, as four is an unlucky number. The heating is amazing, but there isn't much hot water-ever. I'm sure we'll get used to it eventually. We were really spoiled in the states!


Andrew and I ventured up to Seoul last week for my birthday. We took a bus there from Wonju (15 minutes from Munmark) which took almost two hours. Then we took the subway (our first time) to get to downtown Seoul, where upon climbing out of the subway system, we were greeted by riot police lining the street! It seems President Bush wanted to visit Seoul for my birthday too...

Not everyone was thrilled to see our dear President. We saw this van multiple times, or maybe multiple vans driving-the sign on the left says: USA, empire of evil. BUSH, god of war. Maybe the Korean writing says something like: Just kidding! Welcome to our country.

We hopped on a tour bus from downtown called the Seoul City Tour Bus-highly recommended if you are in Seoul for limited time and want to briefly see lots of places. It rides all around the major points in Seoul-28 in all-and you can hop on and off at any time. Buses run continuously so you can hop off and another will drive by to get you in half an hour. It was a great way to see the city without the stress of figuring out the bus routes.

We picked our main points and headed out. We visited a famous market place, Namdaemun Market, where we got to experience true bargain hunting. Andrew was great at driving prices down! We got a few deals and headed back to our bus stop. Next stop was the Korean War Memorial. We had it in sight, when we were again greeted by the ever-friendly riot police.

Yup, seems that, again, Bush was interested in visiting the same thing for my birthday! We eventually got to walk up there, but the bus wasn't allowed on the street to take us up the hill. By the time we got there, Bush was gone and the inside museum was closed. We got to see some planes and helicopters from the Korean War, however I couldn't convince Andrew they were real! There is even a little submarine there, but he kept believing that it was made out of plastic.

This is the blurriest photo in the world (did I mention I had no digital camera this entire year abroad? Ghetto).
Just outside the Korean War Memorial, we missed the large crowd with signs, but one was left behind...it reads Welcome to Korea President of the USA. It makes you wonder if they recycle this sign and use for all US presidents, they didn't even list his name. Funny.

After the brief tour of the outside, we hopped back on the bus to visit Itaewon, another famous part of Seoul. It's known for it's shopping and western restaurants. It's the place that most foreigners hang out at in the city. We treated ourselves to a Mexican dinner, though the food wasn't that great and was terribly expensive. We met a few basketball players from the states, who are famous here. We also met a secret service agent, who Andrew was excited to talk to. He asked her for Bush's autograph, but surprisingly enough, she doesn't carry them around with her! Andrew got a kick out of talking with her though and we both felt that the events of the day might be the closest we get to any president. We bargain shopped for a bit then headed to the Seoul Tower, which is one of the tallest towers in the world, but only because it sits on a mountain! It was great to see though.

At this point, we were both getting really tired so we headed to the bus terminal where we found we had missed the last bus to Wonju (our neighboring city). We then headed to the train station, where we found that the last train was sold out!! We were able to buy some tickets for "standing only", so just before midnight, we headed off to stand on the train for two hours to take us home! However, once on the train, Andrew sat in the aisle and some wonderful girls offered up one of their seats for him!! They fed us, gave us drinks and let him sit in one of their seats the whole way. They even offered me a seat, but I declined. We had a great time talking to them-Andrew taught them a useful English phrase: "pain in the butt"-and we took pictures with them before leaving. They even dug i their purses and found a couple things to offer up as birthday presents (bright orange lip gloss-but a present is a present!). What a wonderful end to our day! There is so much more to do in Seoul, so we hope to visit once a month or so. It is only about $18 transportation round trip for both of us.

Until next time...

General Mills Cares About Your Heart Giveaway

Another giveaway! Am I boring you all? I just LOVE free stuff and even more so when I can give away free stuff. I know there are people out there who are just total sweeps freaks (no offense of course) and enter them ALL the time. I am not one, but I do enter about 10 a month. So if you see me enter yours, consider yourself a chosen one. Sometimes I enter ones that have prizes that I wouldn't particularly want but that I know would make a great gift to someone else. Like the water purifier I won in January - I didn't need one, we have a built-in filter for our fridge. But my mom had mentioned wanting one and so when I won, it was exciting because I knew she would like it.

I usually don't enter giveaways that have over 300 comments. I just don't think I'm that lucky. But I've won a fair amount of stuff in smaller drawings. A lot of books mostly. One time I won a picture from an Etsy store and never received it. I emailed twice about it...no picture has appeared. Other than that one time, I have had some great experiences with online contests. One of my blogger friends won a laptop a few months ago. And I know another who won a week vacation to some island resort. Whatever-I love books. Who needs an island? Sigh...


ANYWAY, blahblahblah-all anyone cares about right now is WHAT IS THE PRIZE KAYLEN??

Here's the info from my sponsor, General Mills:
Did you know that studies have found that a diet rich in whole grain can be
helpful in maintaining a healthy heart, managing weight and may also reduce the
risk for diabetes and certain types of cancer? Only whole grain gives you the
vital nutrients from the complete grain. In addition to fiber, whole grain
contains antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients important for a
healthy diet.

General Mills makes it easy to find whole grains, just look for the white
check on the top of every Big G cereal box for your whole grain guarantee.
In a national survey, 91 percent of Americans said they want to incorporate
more whole grain foods into their diets. In fact, nine out of 10 people in the
U.S. still do not eat the minimum recommended daily amount of whole grain (at
least three servings, or 48 grams).

General Mills has been reducing sugar in cereals while increasing key nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin D, and providing whole grain.

And here's the prize:
  • 2 VIP coupons for Big G cereal products
  • A breakfast chiller
  • A large cereal mug
  • A tote bag


The chiller is VERY cool - it's a cereal bowl with separate compartments for your cereal and your milk--with an ice pack ring that keeps your milk cold, AND a built-in spoon.

Hellooooo---built-in spoon???? VERY cool idea. And the big mug is nice, though nobody in my house would be satisfied with that size bowl for cereal. We must have a big bowl. But I love this mug for ice cream. (actually I love any container for ice cream)

To enter:
Leave a comment sharing what you do to keep your heart healthy.

Extra entries:
Leave an extra comment if you follow/subscribe to my blog.
Leave an extra comment if you entered any of my other current giveaways (check the sidebar).
Leave an extra comment if you blog about this giveaway (and leave the link to the giveaway post).

Giveaway closes on March 21st at midnight.

Please make sure you have a public profile or leave your email address in your comment.

General Mills provided this gift pack and is sponsoring the giveaway via MyBlogSpark. In complying with the FCC, FDA, IRS, and IRA guidelines-I must disclose that I received this giftpack as well. Thanks ya'll!

Just Call Me The Plant Whisperer

Some of you may know that plants and I have never really been friends.

Andrew used to make fun of me and say that plants who stepped into our house were more apt to commit suicide then let me slowly kill them....however---that is no more.




One day I bought this beautiful little plant on my lunch hour and planned to give it a wonderful home.

Unfortunately, I didn't consider that it would not be good for my plant to stay in the car and wait for me.

And unfortunately, I didn't realize it was going to get so hot that day.

This ended up being the plant I came home with:

Sad.

Sad plant.

Sad Kaylen.

Much to Andrew's amusing, I replanted this dead plant, talked to it, loved it, watered it.

And now....

Look how amazing my little plant is doing seven months later!!!


It doesn't even look like the same plant, but I swear it is!!!
It loves me!! It really does!

We Can't All Be A Winner....

But one of us can!!!


Thanks to all who entered the Yoplait Giveaway , unfortunately I can only have one winner...and it is this lovely lady:




Carolyn G said...
I eat real fruit. I usually try to eat 2 pieces of fruit a day.

She eats REAL fruit. Ha! Love it. None of that fake stuff for her.

Carolyn has a great blog design and she hosts giveaways on her site too, so go check her out if blog designs or giveaways are your thing.

She also just got a new job, so she is a winner all around this week!!!

CONGRATS!

And to the rest of ya'll-I think you are all great too and if I could send each of you a slice of an orange to help you all eat more fruit, I would. But by the time I peel the orange and get all the spiderweb-like-white stuff off, it's just too much effort for me to share.

So go get your own fruit.

And eat some everyday.

Thanks again to MyBlogSpark and Yoplait for the gift for me and for Carolyn.

The Results Are In-Great Shampoo Drive of 2010

For my birthday last month I had a birthday wish to donate 150 bottles of shampoo (or body wash/conditioner/etc) to a local cause. I had a little birthday party and asked my guests to donate too. I also asked people in my building at work to give, cause really, why not let them join in the fun? It'd be rude if I didn't give them the opportunity.

And so here is the end result:

I ended up with 225 bottles!!!!!!! (We combined the smaller bottles into packs of 4 or 5 and counted them as one.)

225!!!!!!

I am so excited and proud that my friends, workmates and I were able to do this. In two short weeks, we have given a little something to 225 local families.

We made a difference!!! Just with a little tiny thing, we made a difference.

A couple months ago, I was in the drive through at Starbucks and the person in the car in front of me purchased my mocha for me. I am certain that I did not know her. But that small little bit of kindness really set my tone for the day. And now, I think that this birthday wish will be setting the tone for 225 peoples days.

We can all do this!!

Go make someones day!!! Give a little extra kindness. Smile at a homeless person-make eye contact and give a genuine smile. Buy a coffee for someone in line at the coffee shop. Go through your cupboards and find some things to donate to the food bank. Mow your neighbors yard for them. Hand write a thank you note. Or host your own shampoo drive!

Go do something. Small things make a big difference!!!! We can all do this. We can make the world a better place with small changes.

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