Weekend Wrap-Up: Four Days Late!

Last weekend was a doozie. I think I'm still slightly recovering. It was a busy weekend, and so I have a lot to say, and now you have a lot to read. I can't even condense it down so bear with me.

Friday night, I volunteered at a program called Operation Nightwatch. Here's the description but it's long so I bolded the key points for those of you who skim (shout out to the Skimmers!):

Operation Nightwatch is an ecumenical night ministry of friendship and community for the street population of downtown Portland. The Nightwatch Hospitality Center is a sanctuary for the lonely, mentally ill, homeless and impoverished in downtown Portland. Serving coffee, lemonade and sandwiches to up to 150 guests, we provide a comfortable atmosphere for guests to socialize, play games, develop friendships and for our volunteers to be able to reach out to people who are disenfranchised from others. Our Hospitality Center offers our guests a safe, warm place to go when nothing else is open, and know they can find a welcoming, respectful environment.

Whereas other agencies exist to provide services such as housing, food, and clothing to the homeless, low-income, and mentally ill, ONW’s unique vision is that these populations also suffer from simple social isolation. Our simple mission is to reach out to them, nurturing relationship. We welcome each person who comes to us, just as they are. No one is required to conform to any particular belief or faith practice in order to receive our services.

So from 6:30-11pm on Friday night, I played games and just hung out with a bunch of folks who are living in a parallel world of mine. And then I got into my little SUV and drove back to the suburbs where my warm and wonderful home was waiting for me. It was actually a really fun night. I met some very interesting people and I felt really good about my time there. And I am going back in a few weeks and then again a few weeks after that. It was a really great project and I'm very proud to be a part of it.

Saturday morning I had another volunteer event-one of the biggest of the year, and one of my favorites. Comcast Cares Day, where over 1500 Comcast employees volunteer on the same day in their communities, making a difference, doing good things.

My project had 130 people attend, including some bigwigs who flew out from Philly, and some local famous people. My team of 20 tackled the painting of the auditorium at the 90-yr old school. We painted this super pale (dirty) yellow auditorium 8-feet up on all walls with their school color, bright orange. We were all a bit leery at first of the super bright color, but it looked amazing after we finished! We were amazing!!

comcast caresComcast Cares Day was meant to end at 1:30, but (for the first time in as long as I can remember), I had to leave a little early because Andrew and I were invited as guests to go to the Portland Trailblazers basketball game - ahem, it's the PLAYOFFS!!!

Remember that little volunteer award we won a couple months ago? The award ceremony was sponsored by the Trailblazers and so they invited us to a game with some wonderful seats, which included an all-we-can-eat buffet (which we took full advantage of). They also wanted to do a PA announcement and flash some photos and then pan the camera to our wonderful seats so we could give a little wave. Exciting stuff! My friends son was at the game and got a picture of the jumbotron when it flashed one of our volunteer photos:
we are famous(Andrew with long hair, circa 2008 I think)
Here's a view from our seats (which look like we are far away, but we were in the middle of the 200 level and it felt much closer than this):
Trailblazers basketball game (Did I mention we were ON that jumbotron??? We were.)

It was a great game. It was really close the whole time, but I'm pretty sure it was our good karma that helped the team win. Here's an intense moment when I wasn't as into the game as I should have been and thought it would be fun to take pictures of ourselves, and I swear this is not a posed photo - this is Andrews genuine I'm-Serious-You-Get-That-Ball-And-Score look.
Trailblazers basketball gameAnd then Sunday....Sunday was a day of doing a whole lot of nothing. I can't possibly maintain that busy lifestyle every day.

Random Thoughts Tuesday - Rainy Day Edition

These are my random thoughts. As opposed to other days when they are so organized and well-thought out. For more random thoughts from random bloggers, click here:


I used to have an eyebrow plucking obsession. They weren’t like trim and styled or anything, but I would just constantly be plucking random hairs. Then I totally stopped and I somehow came to have these caterpillar type things across my head. Lately I have been obsessed again. I am totally messing them up. I went to get them waxed a few months ago and the lady must have misunderstood what I was doing there because she did clean up some random hairs but she didn’t really do any shaping or noticeable waxing. Whatever, I don’t need her. I have my own tweezers.

There’s this spot during the song Knockin on Heaven’s Door by Guns N Roses where they make a phone call-you hear the boop-boop-beep-boop of the dialing and then you hear some garbled man on the phone. Apparently this is what they are saying: "You just better start sniffin your own rank subjugation Jack, 'cause it's just you and your tattered libido, the bank and the mortician, forever man and it wouldn't be luck if you could get out of life alive."

I have no idea what this means or why it’s in the song. None. It just doesn’t make any sense to have a random phone call during the song. And the words are garbled and they make no sense.

Sometimes I wake up, roll over and read the headline stories on CNN.com or MSNBC.com via my wonderful phone (thank you Samsung for making the Omnia). This morning I saw a headline about South Korea and it struck me that every time I see any news about South Korea, I make a point to read it and verify that I don’t know the person involved. I lived in South Korea for 14 months. I probably had about 60 students total, mostly kids, but a handful of adults.

The population of Korea is about 49,000,000. That means that the odds of one of the people I know being in the news is about 1 in 817,000 (I think). Someday it might happen though!! It wouldn’t surprise me if a trouble maker comes up with the name of Kim Han Gu, cause he was a whole mess of anger. There was also that one boy I threw a pencil at that one time-he was a total out-of-control human, but I can’t remember his name because we only ever called him Monkey. Or there was that really super-smart kid: Yi Gi-Ho. He is probably doing something great. And Yun Byul. Smart boy!!!

Um, wtf Pandora?? Why would you email me this: We wanted to let you know that you are approaching your monthly free listening limit. Pandora gives you 40 hours of free listening per month.
I thought we were friends!!! Friends don’t put limits on friends listening hours per month!!! 40 hours per MONTH?? I need about 40 hours every week!!!! I feel totally let down. And saddened. And disappointed. And saddened.

I love our backyard and all the birds and the squirrels…however, I do not approve of this:

squirrelsBirdseed is for birds.
Stale chips thrown out the back door are for squirrels.

San Diego Story of the Day

We decided to take the trolley around San Diego so we could hop on and off whenever, or just to get around a large part of the city without the pain-in-the-assness of having to find parking everywhere we go.

The idea of a trolley system is great. And I’m sure once you get used to the city and where you are going and what trolley goes where, it’s probably a very efficient service.

Those words do not describe us though. We were unsure of the trolley system most of the way. There’s a spot in the city where all the lines come together. It’s up to you reading a map and paying good attention to the trolley as it pulls into the station-which is the only place you see where it is going. If you miss the reader at the front of the trolley, you have just moments to figure it out once you get inside whether you are on the right one.
san diego trolley
The first time we got to the station, we knew what color we were looking for. Easy enough, right?

No-because all the trollies are the same color on the outside. The color refers to the line on the map. That’s it. So we knew we wanted a certain color line to get to our destination, but the trolley itself was not helpful in us getting there. I found it fairly confusing, and we have a similar system in my city and I have no problem with ours...but between four of us, we were still confused.san diego trolley

Another thing that was not helpful: the nice San Diego man standing at the station with us who attempted to guide us.

When our trolley pulled in, we were right near the last car. My niece turned from the trolley car in front of us and instead started walking towards the front car. We all yelled-where are you going and heard back something like: we need the front car. So we start walking toward the front. Nice San Diego man tells us: you’re going to Old Town? Yeah, you want the front car. So we start trotting that way, he’s trotting alongside us-then he says, wait, no—that’s wrong! You want the last car!!! So we turn back and now we are running. And he’s running with us towards the back car….and just as we get to the back car, the doors close.

I’m the first one there and the others, including nice San Diego man are yelling at me: PUSH THE BUTTON (to open the door). I’m frantically pushing the button, it’s not opening. People are staring. Then the trolley leaves, and we are stranded on the sideline watching it leave. Nice San Diego man apologizes for the confusion and walks away.
san diego trolley

And we stand there in a daze wondering what just happened….all the other people just walked on like it was no big thang. Nobody was running for a particular car. Oh-and by the way—all the cars are connected, so it’s not like we needed a certain car. But in the heat of battle, we didn’t catch that.

My niece told us later that she was just trying to get us a seat and she saw the last car was full. But then the guy started directing us and we were all at a loss. And the people on the trolley got a great show of us tourists (carrying cameras and non-stop checking the map) as we were running like crazy people up and down the side of the trolley. Nice.
san diego trolley

And the nice San Diego man? He just walked away. He never even got on the trolley himself! We’re not sure what he was doing…we assume he’s unemployed and that’s what he does for entertainment. Or we may have been on hidden camera and you may see us on some show someday.

Stick It To You Giveaway

A new giveaway: Stickers!!! (or labels)

But stickers!!! Remember when you were little and you had a HUGE sticker collection and sometimes you traded with your friends and you would get mad at them if you saw them doing something so stupid as putting them on actual PAPER, thus ruining them forever (hello??? You can't remove them from paper!!!). And you had a binder full of different types and they were like stamp collecting but WaaaaaaaaY cooler? Remember that??

Sigh...the good ole days.
Here's a throwback to those good times. A giveaway of stickers!!! Or labels if you wish...

Stickers are a great way to promote your blog or your business. Use them as address labels, event stickers, campaign giveaways, the list could go on! Channel your creativity and come up with unique sticker designs! The kids would love to have their own pic on a sticker-that's just good wholesome fun times for kids! Oooh---how about a gift for their teacher? Yes! Great idea! Or labels...but I have no fun and fond memories of labels, so you're on your own with that one.

This giveaway is sponsored by Digital Room.
Prize: 250 Stickers/Labels 2x3.5; 2x4; 3x3
Specifications: 70 lb Label Matte coating, Full
Color Front and Blank back
Shipping: 6 Business Days Turnaround, FREE UPS Ground Shipping
Eligibility: Limited to US Residents only (sorry Canada)

To enter: Leave a comment sharing what you collected as a child.

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 May 7th 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!!

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

Facebook Groups Should Not Promote Hatred

This really outraged my friend and I today:

It reads: Dear lord, this year you took my favorite actor, Patrick Swayzie. You took my favorite actress, Farah Fawcett. You took my favorite singer, Michael Jackson. I just wanted to let you know, my favorite president is Barack Obama. Amen.

I just feel like it's crossing a line to wish death upon someone, and that's what this group is saying.

I sometimes have a sense of humor that borderlines on mean (some of us call it sarcastic, but sometimes you cross a line). And sometimes I make fun of people who probably don't deserve it (but never the disabled or ill). And sometimes I laugh when someone falls down (but only after I know they are okay, because falling can REALLY hurt).

But to wish death upon someone?? That seems a bit harsh. There is no one in this entire world I would ever say that about. And there are people who think this is okay apparently. It's really sad. I was not a fan of the last president and I admit that I shared a lot of jokes about that man and how he speaks ,and how he had trouble exiting rooms sometimes, and how he led us into a war we shouldn't have been in (wait, that wasn't a joke-it was a bad dream that became reality)...but I don't recall ever wishing the man was dead.

That just doesn't seem funny....

Shopping is for Everyone

Ya'll know how I love free stuff? I really do. I love trying new things and I love sharing with my friends. In this case, you, faithful reader, you-are my friend. (it's not optional if you're reading this, sorry).

I was contacted by CSN Stores about doing a review and how can I pass that up, right? Well, if I really hated the site (like Walmart) or if it was too much work (like getting into shape apparently is) then I wouldn't do it - but neither of those apply here. I like the CSN site and it was easy to do.

Well, fairly easy...actually the hardest part was finding something I wanted. There are a million and forty-two (a rough estimate) things to choose from on this site, the selection is HUGE, anything from corner TV stands, cookware, dinnerware, pillows-you name it and CSN will have it. It's a collection of over 200 stores. In one website. Genius.

Anyway...just to confirm: free stuff=good. CSN=good. Stay tuned for the review...

Welcome Back, Kaylen: San Diego Vacation Wrap-Up

I'm home!! Sometimes it doesn't even matter how great your vacation is, coming home is just the sweetest feeling.

Andrew and I spent four days in sunny San Diego visiting my sister Jenny, niece Alyssa and bro-in-law, Jason. We were pretty content to just hang out with the family, but we made sure to do some touristy things.
(you can click on the pics if you really want to enjoy them full-size)
Like the wildlife portion of the zoo, with a special photo caravan tour so we could do things like this:san diego zoo wildlife park safari

We visited the Historic Town area, where they have the original San Diego all set up in this lovely recreation of an actual town from the 1800's. It was interesting! I like a bit of history to make me feel connected to a city.
historic san diego historic san diego
And we visited Little Italy for the farmers market where we had some delicious samples:
little italy farmers market
And an even more delicious lunch:italian food
italian food

We hung out at my sisters house and played a lot of games:
games night We also wandered around the Gaslamp District:san diego gaslampsan diego gaslampI literally have 800 photos to sort through. I know you probably want to see each and every one, however, it will take me at least a month to find the time to organize them.

The fun was had while on the ground. I nearly died trying to get there....

I had a horrifying flight experience. Read this at your own risk..if you are already afraid of flying, this won't help you.

I flew down on some kind of commuter type plane, with about 50 seats. It looked like this:small airplaneIt felt like a toy plane. I actually paid an extra $25 to have the extra leg room, because I knew it was a small plane, and plane seats are already small, and honestly-I am not small, so none of that equals out to a comfortable 2 hr ride. Extra leg room is a great luxury and totally worth $25.

However...at some point in the plane ride, our plane did this:

deadly airplaneWell, maybe not fully like that, but it was definitely a very deep dip and not just normal turbulence. It was like when you are in a car and you find you are dozing off a little and you are driving off the roadway a bit so you swerve really quick to get back on the road.

And people screamed.

And then it very quickly did this:

deadly airplaneAnd more people screamed.
And it was like when you are nearly dozing while driving and you swerve to get back on the road and then you swerve again real fast the other direction as you overcompensate trying to get control....

And the lady across the aisle from me yelled at a very loud level: HOLY SHIT!!!!
And nobody laughed or anything at her, because honestly, we all felt like yelling that. It was horrifying. And then we hit some little turbulence that is the normal bump-bump-bump in the air, like your plane is bouncing on a cloud. And then we waited silently, all of us holding our breath, preparing to die. And waiting for our captain to come on the intercom to assure us that we were okay and we were indeed not going to die....but he never did!! He didn't say one word.

So we all just continued to believe we were going to die. Or at least I did. And I'm sure the Holy Shit Lady felt it too. Most horrifying flight in my entire life. Actually, probably the most horrifying experience of my entire life. And before I fly next time, I will most definitely be getting some kind of anxiety medication and will most definitely double the dose before I step onto another plane.

oh-and no more toy planes for me!! Bigger is better!!!

Green Giant Earth Day Giveaway

Woohoo another giveaway!! This is a great one for the upcoming Earth Day on Thursday (which I'm sure is on all of your calendars). I'm volunteering at a huge volunteer event on Saturday and I hope to figure out how to set up a compost bin.

Green Giant has worked to reduce its environmental footprint through many measures including:

  • Reducing the amount of land and water needed to grow vegetables
  • Packing vegetables in smaller, lighter cans, so it takes less fuel to deliver them to supermarket shelves
  • Utilizing traditional seed breeding methods over the last 35 years to double the amount of sweet corn grown on an acre of land

  • Teaming up with growers to install a more efficient irrigation system that can reduce water use by more than a million gallons a year

  • Switching to more earth-friendly paperboard to package frozen vegetables, saving approximately 54,000 trees annually in the process.

Green Giant is now celebrating the 40th anniversary of Earth Day by giving $200,000 to The Nature Conservancy to help fund an innovative project that will encourage greener farming practices to repair and protect a natural treasure - the Root River, one of Minnesota´s (home to Green Giant) best trout streams. To learn more about Green Giant´s sustainability program or make a donation to The Nature Conservancy, visit http://www.GreenGiant.com/sustainability during the month of April.

One random winner will receive:
One VIP coupon valid for a free package of Green Giant frozen vegetables, in addition to a mini herb garden, an eco-friendly bamboo utensil set, and a 100% recyclable grocery tote (not in the pic but I used it this morning!).

To enter:
Just leave a comment sharing what you are doing to acknowledge Earth Day or what changes you have made to decrease your carbon footprint.

Extra entries:
Leave an extra comment if you follow/subscribe to my blog.

Giveaway closes on May 2nd 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!!

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

Book Review: Baby by Joseph Stirt

Once upon a time, I wrote a book review about a book. A few weeks later, I saw the same book reviewed on a much more popular and wonderful blog and so I took the time to let that blogger know that his blog is amazing and introduces me to new "stuff" all the time, but on this piece-for this one book-I won. I actually blogged about it first. It was quite an accomplishment. That blogger than emailed me and said something like-you do win! Send me your address, I'll send you some books.

And so he did. A full box full of random books. And in that box, was this book:

And the author of that book is my blogger friend who sent me the box of books.

Joe is a pretty amazing person - he's an anesthesiologist by trade (which was interesting to me because that's the department I last worked at in the hospital), and he blogs about random stuff I don't typically see on other sites. It's like a smaller, easier-to-follow boing boing type of blog. Another interesting Joe fact is that he blogs while walking on his treadmill. I've mentioned it before-it really is a cool idea. His public profile pic:Anyway, the book....

This book was really good. However, it was really sad. It's very well-written and it gives you this interesting perspective of a father who is going through this terrible sickness with his brand new baby girl, but it's also the perspective of someone in the medical world-one who knows what it means when doctors say certain phrases and who knows how easily something can go wrong.

The book is written with the actual medical progress notes (he copied them straight from her medical record) and his thoughts and feelings of what they were going through. It's very easy to get yourself involved in this book. I found myself anxious to read the next nurses journal notes, waiting to hear how the baby did overnight.

At a few different points in the book, the author talks about how he and his wife discussed they didn't want to take life-saving measures if it was going to leave their daughter incapacitated in some form. Such as when she had to have surgery and have part of her intestines removed, they were adament that they didn't want her to have the bag-thing and if it came to that they were ready to let her go. It was the view from a doctor and a nurse who have witnessed parents spend decades watching their child come in and out of the hospital for issue after issue related to this issue or that issue and they just did not want to spend their lives that way. And it's not that they didn't love their child - they did, of course, but they loved her so much and they knew from their extensive medical experience that the quality of life was not what they had dreamed and wished for their baby girl. Well, this is what some parts sounded like to me - I suppose I could be wrong...but I don't think so. And the author gave examples of how/why they were feeling things, it wasn't like they were saying: if she's not perfect, let her die. And she really could have died at any second in the first few weeks of her life. This is sort of a spoiler, but at the end of the book, it did appear that he had changed his mind on this.

Anyway, that was just a small portion of the book, it wasn't the theme. It was just a piece that surprised me as people rarely say things that would indicate they don't hold fast to the "do anything to keep our baby alive" theory. And honestly, that's not always the best theory. Sometimes keeping someone alive at all costs is a selfish thing.

There were also dynamics of how the author had to step back from the doctor role and trust the doctors to actually do their job. And when he felt like he should question something, he had to do it in a non-natural state for him so that he didn't become one of "those parents" who annoy doctors like him by asking them questions like "did you consider the ?"

I liked this book. As a parent, it was interesting to me to consider what would I do in the same situation...I don't know the answer, but I did consider it. As someone who is interested somewhat in the medical field (from having worked at a hospital), it was a good mix of medical records mixed in with real human content. And I don't think I've read a story about this type of issue before-not a true story anyway.

Read this book if:

  1. You have kids or are going to have kids.
  2. You are interested in reading about a real life medical story (with a happy ending).
  3. You work in the medical field, or are going to, and want to see a mix of the two worlds collide (medical field vs non-medical field).

The author told me the book was cathartic for him to write. I imagine it was a good way to process everything.

Just as I will be writing about my horrible near-death experience on the plane ride to San Diego yesterday!

Random Thoughts Tuesday - I Hate Donald Trump

I've missed doing these for a long time now! If you're not part of the cool-kids-club, click on the pic above and go check out other random post by random people.

I remember reading Trump's autobiography in high school and thinking that he was amazing, building his empire like he did. But now I see him on the Apprentice shows and I wish he would just *stop*breathing*....that sounds mean.....I just don't like him. Not at all. I hate his voice. I hate his hairpiece. I hate his facial expressions. I hate his snotty attitude. I hate his piousness. I hate his love of everything gold. And in using the word hate, I don't really mean hate as in the emotion hate, I mean hate as in I just want to puke repeatedly every time I see or hear him. Hate him.

Just to even out the emotional zen of this post: I've been reading this one blog for quite some time now. She has a cockatiel and I used to have a cockatiel (I miss you Charlie). More than just the cockatiel though, she has been trying to adopt a baby from China for... like, maybe, FOREVER. And she just got back from a visit to China....where her and her husband picked up their beautiful baby girl!!! It's been so fun following the trials and tribulations and finally seeing the end result of her family coming together!! VERY exciting-go say congrats! GO!!! Wait...read the rest here and then GO. No, read the rest here, comment to say hello to me, and THEN go say congrats.

I would like to invite Anderson Cooper over to my house for games night. Does anyone have any contact information for him? I've lost his number....

We are going to San Diego!!! My sister lives there and it'll be so great to just get away, but even more great to hang out with the family. And to visit the zoo. And to not have to work.

We made this delicious stir fry last night. When Anderson comes over, I'm going to make it for him.

I haven't really started packing my clothes yet. I leave for the airport less than a day. Plenty of time, right? I am, however, taking the time to download some new podcasts to listen to on the plane. Priorities.

Oops, I have a winner to announce for a giveaway I forgot to post on the side of my blog!!! Ergh, I'll do it in the morning. Plenty of time, right? I also have another giveaway to post. That might have to wait. These posts don't write themselves people.

Book Review: Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton

I think most everyone has heard of Michael Crichton....he wrote this little story about an island of dinosaurs, a little tale that was made into a movie called Jurassic Park. His first book was actually published in 1966. He could write books in a six-week period, sometimes just getting 4 hours of sleep a night.

He also created one of the best tv shows ever, ER (let's not argue about this-it is what it is).

Some might not know, but he was also a doctor, writing his first few books while he was in med school (insane). I worked at a hospital and I had a heated debate with medical students about him and they had very negative feelings towards him because apparently Mr. Crichton took a residency position with a well-known hospital and then left it early, leaving the hospital without someone to fill the hole and taking a spot that was coveted by others. I don't know how much of that is true but it wasn't just one med student who was angry about it.

Anyway, the wonderful Michael Crichton died a couple years ago. Sad.

And after his death, as happens with many busy and wonderful authors, his family published a manuscript they found. That is this book: Pirate Latitudes

And I really liked it.

Rumor has it that it was unpublished because Michael hadn't fully finished it. Some say the characters weren't developed. Some say that it wasn't the normal Michael Crichton quality. Some say it's just not that great.

However, I liked it! I read it in less than two days. It was one that I carried in the car with me and read in the drive-through at Starbucks. It was just a nice book. I'm sure there are other authors who write better pirate stories, and maybe this book is not as high of quality as his others (none of which I've read in the last decade), but honestly- I liked it.

I'm not really a pirate-book-kinda-girl. But for whatever reason, this book kept me captivated.

You should read this book if:

  1. You are a fan of Michael Crichton. If nothing else but to just see what one of his last known pieces of work turned out to be.
  2. You are looking for a captivating and fun read, filled with pirateering, a quest for gold, good vs evil, and all-around debauchery.
  3. You wear an eye patch and/or say Argh just for fun.

Welcome to My World - Blog Party 2010!!

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

So I guess I'm part of this 2010 Ultimate Blog Party. I guess I should have gotten dressed up or something, but had a hard week and am too lazy to do so. I've been meaning to fix up my blog and make it look like someone put some effort into it, but I just haven't had the time. Until then, please forgive my messy blog-home.

For those of you who are new to my world, here's some info about me:

I started blogging in November 2006. I worked at a crappy admin job where I had a TON of free time and it seemed like a good thing to do. Sometimes I think I'm just wasting my time...sometimes I think I am the funniest human alive and as such, it's my obligation to share my humor with the world. And sometimes, I just like to share what I know. Lately, I've started sharing my emails from when we lived in Korea for a year-it's fun to look back.

I've got a wonderful teenager-Andrew-who gives me good fodder for the blog. He's 17 now, but he's still my sweet little punkin-head (he loooooooves to be called that).

When I first started the blog, I thought it would be fun to change the title on my blog every month or so. At some point, I realized that people won't necessarily be able to tell everyone they know about me if I didn't have a consistent name...brilliant learning lesson. So at some point I had written a few serious articles and I happened to have the title It's Serious This Time as my title and someone linked to my page and this big giant lightbulb went off above my head (you might have seen it-unless you live in Alaska where you are constantly blinded by light) and I realized that I couldn't be famous if nobody knew a consistent blog title for me. And that's the magic behind the title. You can tell I put a LOT of thought into it.

I actually don't have a twitter account yet because I can't think of a good name and I don't want to make the same mistake twice. No joke-there's too much pressure in picking a name nowadays.

Anyway, here's some stories for you (I'm sure you will click on every single blessed one. I just mentioned how busy I was, so don't let me feel like my time was wasted here, k? thanks):

Sometimes I like to be serious.

I'm just really starting to enjoy cooking.

I'm a borderline crazy cat lady.

I read a lot. And I'd like to read much, much more but haven't figured out how to stop the space-time continuum.

I like to volunteer. A lot. I like to tell you that you should too.

I used to play bingo often, and won a fat jackpot one time and decided I wasn't going to get to do that often so now I rarely play. (but I want to!)

And I'm happy hosting a couple of giveaways each month too.

That's about it-me in 8,000 words or less (though it felt like a lot more didn't it?).

Please say hello - I try to visit every blogger who leaves a comment and love hearing from new people.

Welcome - and Happy Blog Party everyone!!!

Hugs and kisses!

And at this Ultimate Blog Party, you can win prizes!! These are some great ones I would LOVE:

US40- One winner will receive a 3 day 2 night stay from Holiday Inn Main Gate East in Kissimmee, FL (less than 2 miles from Disney World) a value of $250. Provided by: Holiday Inn Main Gate

US39 -Be My Guest certificate ($250 value) for one lucky winner, (2 night stay for a family of four) at any Hilton Garden Inn. Provided by: Hilton Garden Inn

US101 – One lucky winner will get this $450 Human Touch Foot and Calf Massager that is being given away by Still Blonde after All These Years!, a blog for women over 45. Provided by: Still Blonde After All These Years!

USC 13 – $100 gift certificate to Kay Jewelers Provided by: an unpink life

INTL 3 – The Girl Creative will giveaway one Deluxe Blog Design ($50 value) to one person. Provided by: The Girl Creative

INTL 11 – Custom Blogger Design- valued at $100 Provided by: Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates

INTL 16 – Personalized premade blogger template package- includes 4 templates and comes with custom text and comes customized to you- with your own pictures added and custom text. Provided by: Premades For A Purpose

INTL 14 – Complete custom blog makeover for Blogger.com plus a custom coordinating Twitter background. Valued at up to $150. Provided by: Dawn Farias

TONS of prizes!! I'd also love any of the Amazon or Target gift cards!! I love party gifts!!!

Party on everyone!

John Mayer Rocks Your House Party

My beloved teen Andrew tried out for this very elite choir group at school 3 weeks ago. A year ago, he was too shy to sing in front of me, much less others. As a special "I'm so proud of you I could puke"present, I bought him tickets to one of his absolute favorite singers of all time: John Mayer. No, he's not a good role model, but he's a great artist and my baby loves him and so off he went with a close friend to enjoy his first bigtime concert, with some not-terrible, but-not-spectacular tickets in the 200 level.

And he LOVED it. He was very excited when he came home with almost everything he could have bought from the fan stand.
And then we hear that my dear friend Amy's daughter, Holly (who I LOVE), went with some friends also, and she had some not-so-great tickets but then as her and her friends were walking around the coliseum, some people approached them and somehow, Amy's darling little Holly and her friends ended up in the front row.

How does this happen? No idea...but it did.
You'll notice all the teeny bopper girls in the front row? Not an accident apparently.

Remember the first time you were in the front row of a concert?
Mine was Aerosmith. Steven Tyler came right up to the front and bent down as he was singing something really loud (that might have been screaming) and he stuck his tongue out and leaned forward and .......licked my hand.
I'm not kidding.
Priceless moments in life.

Kellogg's Fiber Plus Samples - Giveaway

We have been eating the Fiber One bars for months now and have enjoyed them, but then we were sent some samples of the Kellogg's Fiber Plus bars...and we have a new favorite in our house.

I do still like the Fiber One bars - they are chunkier and I feel like they might be more filling, however, the Kellogg's bars are REALLY tasty. They have a bit more of a light feel to them, but I didn't notice that I was hungry soon after eating them. I would ask the teenager, but he's always hungry so it wouldn't be accurate information.

These bars come in three flavors:
  • Dark Chocolate Almond
  • Chocolate Chip
  • Chocolatey Peanut Butter

Young Andrew could sense that there was food in the box and tore into it before I could get a picture of what was sent to us. We sampled one of each bar, and I nearly had to tear them out of Andrew's fingers. They really are tasty!!

Andrew's opinion:
We have already bought a few boxes of these, though I'm boycotting all food that comes in a wrapper this month because someone doesn't know how to throw wrappers away.

We are trying to eat healthy lately and getting in enough fiber is important - these snack bars help quite a bit. One bar is 35% of your daily need. Can't beat that.
Kellogg's is offering a sample pack to two lucky listeners. You'll get a taste of each of their three flavors and I think you will enjoy them.
Since it's a small giveaway, it's a small window of opportunity.
To enter:
Just leave a comment. Easy Peasy.
Extra entries:
Leave an extra comment if you follow/subscribe to my blog.
Giveaway closes on April 12th 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!!
Kellogg's provided 3 of their bars for me to review, with no obligation to say anything wonderful. This is fully my opinion for your reading pleasure.

Metallica via Muppets, Like You Never Imagined

Some people are really creative.
Or just have a LOT of free time.

Apparently there is a series of these. For some reason, I think it is highly entertaining to see the Muppets do cover songs. Yellow by Coldplay is also a fun one!

The Muppets were an awesome show. WAY better than anything kids have these days. Snorks---anyone remember them? I loved that show!
Oh - Fraggle Rock!! Another great one.

But the Muppets are the original Masters of Puppets. And so it is fitting that they would sing this song to me just before heading off to bed after a super-busy weekend filled with friends, shopping, friends and then a visit by the family. Hope you all had a good Easter (if that's your thang).

March Visit to Seattle Recap

Once upon a time, back in 1996 (which feels like forever ago), I decided to move away from all my family and friends and take off with my 4-year old and go to college, 4 years after my high school friends had done so. It was...courageous (or stupid) and I really thrived due to a core group of people who helped and loved both Andrew and I.

This is one of them:college friend Courtney is one of the wisest and most kind people I have ever met, and probably ever will. She is so kind and it's amazing to see her "all grown up" now. She was just 18 when I met her and now she's 32. It's so fun to see where she ended up. I feel privileged to be able to call her my friend.

We went our separate ways after college...and every now and again we'd email but it was really much too long since we've been together. She is the reason for the Seattle trip last weekend and I suspect it will not take us another decade to get together.

That was the before picture---here is the after: (you'll note thatAndrew's gotten a bit taller since then)



Courtney and I spent the evening talking about life and love and where we've been. I knew about her current life, and hers mine, thanks to The Facebook, but it's like reading the first chapter (college) and then the last - we had to fill each other in on all our lost loves and places we've lived and jobs we've had. It was so nice to spend the time with her. There are friends who come and go and then there are friends who are like the most comfy sweatshirt ever and you can go without it for awhile, but then you put it on and you wonder why you don't wear it every day and you just l-o-v-e it....Courtney is definitely like that. We might come and go, but I will never feel any less love for her. [End sentimental cheesiness]
The Seattle trip included: a lot of eating, a lot of talking, we got our nails done, went to a craft class, we ate more, a bit of shopping for Andrew, and some wandering around downtown. A good trip overall. One we should make more often.
Seattle cityscape
And on to the pictures...

We ate at P.F. Changs, which I have only done once before and I wasn't really impressed with it that time, but oooohmygod was it good this time. We ate much too much and indulged in a way-fattening dessert (worth it!):

This is some kind of chocolate mound. Filled with chocolate. Nothing but chocolate. And two side shooters to go along with it. Nothing in the world is better than dessert. NOTHING.

pf changs dessertI love creativity. This phone is creative:
This guy rides a stationary bike to support the troops.
seattle man supporting the troopsI'm not entirely certain how it relates to the troops but we all support our causes in our own ways.
I had a short conversation with him and he said that he is a veteran and he feels so much love for those who are serving in the military. He said that when he gets tired and wants to stop, he thinks that the soldiers in war don't get a chance to stop (though while I was talking to him-he did stop spinning-I refrained from pointing it out to him). He's ridden over 4,500 miles so far.
He also told me that he contacted some national cyclists clubs and none-NONE-of them were interested in joining his cause. So he just rides alone.
We dropped some money in his box and bid him well.
seattle man supporting our troops
I made Andrew go through this fountain. There's a little sidewalk through it. Later I complained that his shirt was wet when he needed me to hold it to try on clothes.
seattle fountain
This man yelled at people walking that they going to hell and that god is punishing them and they need to act now to make things better. He was angry, mean and violent. I very shortly considered pushing him off his stand and letting him know that he was being punished for being a mean christian. But my son was with me and I thought that wouldn't be very mother-ly of me. (but next time-watch out mean man!)
some christians are meanI have one more post on the Seattle trip - the one where I meet another blogger! I love how blogging has introduced me to so much, and now it's bringing me a wider circle of friends.
And I have a giveaway I'm posting tomorrow, for those of you who are into that kinda thing.


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