Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Scene Two

Second rehearsal tonight - why am I already so tired? I've got two and ahalf months of this!

I think I'm going to need to take a break from critique group until after the play. Don't kill me, guys! I'll see how things go, but at this rate I'm not going to have any time to look at submissions to critique, much less have anything of value to contribute. Something I really need to think about.

Scene two was a little more involved, but we got to experience our first scene with the crew portraying the radio actors doing a rendition of the Lone Ranger. Oh my gosh - absolutely hilarious. There's three of them and they have to do all the character voices and special effects sounds for the scenes. One says something about riding away on the horse, then two horses, three, four and five. The poor radio crew is trying to keep up at break-neck speed to sound like more and more horses until they collapse. It had us all practically rolling across the stage from laughing so hard.

I sure hope we get used to the scene so we don't laugh during performances. That would be bad!

Next week we do scene three. That contains a very poignant moment for my character. Maybe I'll have time this weekend to work on my lines.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Opening Scene

Once again, this is going to have to be a quick post. We had our first rehearsal tonight for the big Christmas program at church. It was so much fun! We blocked and ran through the opening scene several times and it just came back to me so naturally.

Okay, okay - I guess it is like riding a bike.

The opening scene is the chaos of a family getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving in the days leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor. My character became the family matriarch at a young age and has had to juggle responsibilities of life, family, and holding it all together just when the world is getting ready to fall apart.

The director talked with us after we'd had a chance to play around in the characters a little bit. She wanted to see how we were reading the characters. I told her my character rather resonated with me on a personal level, the enormous responsibility, the independent spirit, the vulnerability she hides - then seeing the world she knew crumble into dust around her.

Wow, some Christmas play you say. Ah, but it has what sounds like a rather beautiful ending. Her husband is off as a pilot and airplane mechanic for the planes being sent off to the European front. Pearl Harbor comes and he's called off into the war. But the director added a final scene to bring closure to this part of the story. As a surprise he comes home for a couple of days before shipping off. Ruth felt it more uplifting this way and so added this scene to the end of the play.

There are some absolutely hilarious moments in the opening scene that set the family dynamics around the Thanksgiving table. Makes me think of my own Thanksgiving undertaking this year. I certainly hope it goes off without as many hitches as the play.

Better run - my fluffy bed is waiting and my eyes are drooping. We're doing Scene 2 tomorrow, so be sure and tune in to find out what happens!

Wait, didn't I say this was going to be a quick post?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Party Pictures

Since tomorrow is the beginning of two and half months of craziness (play), just wanted to do a quick post tonight to share a few pictures from the party with you, my family, friends, and readers.
The second picture is a little grainy, as it was a Polaroid the restaurant took of us. The other is from my camera. I realized when I got the pictures developed that I hadn't had a single picture taken with me in it. Thank goodness then for the Polaroid.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Party, Party, Party!

Short and sweet tonight. The birthday party has gone great. First time we did coed. Had a great time. Now the boys are spending the night and getting prepared for their evening festivities.

I just hope they keep it down in there.

Nine of us went out to eat at Kyoto's Japanese Steakhouse. We'd been there once before last winter/spring and my son has been begging to go back since. When I asked him what he wanted to do for his birthday the first thing out of his mouth was - KYOTO'S!

My pocketbook hurts, but it was well worth it.

Just returned from taking the girls home. They were really fun - one of them reminded me of myself a little bit when I was younger. I can see why my son is friends with her. :-)

Anyhoo, it's been a long day. Am getting ready to retire and get a little bit of sleep (I hope). The guys will probably be up for several hours yet.

It's been a great day and he had a great party.

Sleep tight!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sweet Sixteen

I can't believe it - my baby boy is sixteen today.

The years have gone by so fast. I still remember celebrating his first birthday at our family reunion at the Bristow campgrounds in Oklahoma. Now here he is sporting a beard (or trying to grow it back), driving, and working out like a man!

Tomorrow is his big party. It's coed this year. We're going to Kyoto's, a Japanese steakhouse that we visited one other time. First time that kid ever ate shrimp. And he actually enjoyed it!

Yep, he's definitely growing up now that he'll try real food.

We've been cleaning this evening, and boy I'm pooped. Picked up his cake this afternoon (I'm NOT going to have time tomorrow with everything else going on), and as soon as he goes to bed I've got to get the wrapping paper out and wrap his present. Even his gift is non-kid'ish and I just know he's going to like it. Kinda goes with his new-found workout routine.

So far this has been a really good year for him. I certainly hope it continues. He deserves it.

Happy 16th, hon!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Oh No She Didn't

Audition results are in for the church Christmas program.

Ruth gave me the lead.

Part of me wanted it really bad and the other part knew I'd be in a bit of trouble if this be the case. The verdict is in - this be the case.

After being completely out of that arena for so many years, I'm stunned she went ahead and cast me in such an important role. Ruth didn't cast the role yet of my character's husband, so I have no idea who I will be play opposite. Hope she ends up picking someone who can put up with me having a tendency to make suggestions and take the lead. No pun intended.

That's at least how I used to be. Not sure how I will be this time around. My confidence level isn't really up there, if you know what I mean. And no, don't go telling me it's like riding a bike. I feel a little rusty in the acting department and yes, you can lose your edge.

Oh gosh, I'm just not sure how to feel about all of this at the moment. Perhaps when rehearsals begin it will all begin to come back to me.

Oh no! What if there's a kissing scene???

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Beard Brigade

Well I was planning to write about the outcome of my son's facial hair last night, but I had a panic attack instead. Sorry!

The mustache and beard have officially been dismissed. For now, anyway. On the drive home Sunday, my son explained that the reason he did it is because it bothered his half-sister. Then he proceeded to tell me that after he shaved it off, she didn't even notice it until he mentioned it to her. He was a bit ticked.

I told him it was kind of him to be considerate of his sister's feelings, but to next time also consider that it is his face and his beard. Isn't how he feels about it important too? Obviously it didn't bother his sister that much, and something so personal as whether or not to grow facial hair is up to the person who chooses to grow it (as long as they take care of it!). It is okay to respectfully decline to conform to what others think we should look like.

Don't get me wrong. I do think it is important for authority to be respected (this in regard to his father, not his sister). But as our kids get older, it is important for them to make some decisions for themselves. Choosing to grow facial hair is not comparable to choosing to damage ones body or mind by doing drugs or something destructive, so don't misunderstand my meaning. Our kids need to know that we accept at least some of their decisions and respect their boundaries, commiserate with their age. It's how they grow into responsible adults who won't back down next time based on principal rather than pricklies.

He's already looking forward to growing back the beard . The five o'clock shadow is inching out and he's wondering how much more it will grow before his party on Friday. He's excited about having the opportunity to use his expected birthday present from Grandma. Several kids at school commented about how much younger he looked without the beard.

It seems like it can't grow back fast enough for him. He was right - it will grow back. My hope is that it will be fuller and make him look even more manly.

Go get'em, honey!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Oh My Gosh!

Oh my gosh! I've just done something so ridiculous.

I tried out this evening for a role in our big church Christmas production.

My church is very large and puts on Christmas and/or Easter pageants every year. They're huge affairs with live animals, enormous casts, beautiful songs, etc. This year they're putting on a different type of production. It is going to be more of a play with songs thrown in. It will be set during the 1940's - the day after Pearl Harbor. One half of the stage will be a radio station while the other half will be a home setting listening to the radio for updates.

I love that era. I've spent so many years studying so many aspects of the various theatres of WWII, the lead-up to the war, the holocaust, how a man like Hitler could gain power and keep it. The music during that time was incredible, the big bands, swing dancing, crooners, etc. When I heard about it, I wanted so badly to try out.

Only problem - my voice is still so unreliable. I never know from one day to the next what capacity I'll have. Heck, sometimes it goes from bad to worse all in one day, even a matter of a few hours. And I even thought about doing a speaking AND singing part?

Yeah, right.

My heart was aching to be a part of this. Before the difficulties, I was so heavily involved in theatrical and musical productions. It's where my heart truly lies, truth be told. But I knew it was ridiculous to even think about, much less actually try out. Even on a good day, my voice just isn't strong, can run down and wear out so quickly. How in the world could I deal with rehearsals, speaking and musical numbers after talking all day at work.

It's crazy. No way. Not going to happen.

And yet on Sunday, who came up behind me but Ruth, a dear woman who has managed the drama department almost as long as I'd been previously singing and involved in the productions. She just "non-chalantly" mentioned that they were having tryouts the next few days. They needed singers and people who could act - and of course I could act.

Sucker me - I went ahead and said I'd think about it. Figured there would be no audition slots open anyway since it had been up for two weeks. I work just down the street from the church, so running by right after work would be the most ideal, but no way a slot would be available in that time frame and I certainly wasn't going to drive all the way home to turn around and drive all the way back for a tryout that would be almost certain disaster.

No slots were open for Tuesday night. That left only Monday night. The only slot available was 5:15.

I wrote in my name.

Crazy, I know. Insane even, but I did it anyway.

I had to have a song prepared. Something festive and croony to fit the era. Oh gee, about the only thing I came across that sounded even halfway decent was "Home for the Holidays" from my old Christmas piano book. Decided to do it acappella.

Not bad - not great but not bad. I can still croon a little bit in my chest voice.

Then Ruth had me read a piece of the lead role. What, is she nuts??? She explained the setting, the day after Pearl Harbor and the family was gathered around the radio, unable to tear themselves away. The character knew her husband would be called up into battle shortly. Then Ruth told me to think of how it felt right after 9/11, the shellshocked feeling, the sense of unreality as the towers fell.

I took a moment to read through it, to absorb - to remember.

I didn't even make it all the way through the reading before I broke down in tears. Had to compose myself for a moment and then start again. I'd recently started a new book specifically dealing with Pearl Harbor. It seemed all too real to me in that moment.

Of course I felt like a blooming idiot too. But then Ruth scared me - she couldn't possibly be considering me for such a role. I mean, I've been out of the limelight and sitting in the background for eight years. Eight long years. Then she asked if I would be available Mondays and Tuesdays starting next week. I left there a little more than shellshocked.

I'm scared.

I just keep thinking of all the responsibility for such a role. My lack of a solid and reliable singing voice. Can I really do this?

God help me!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ready To Rumble

Well, I got my results from the endocrinologist back. Everything's normal.

He recommends no more testing.

Funny though - all of the trials I've read in regard to thyroid issues all say that they throw out certain results if a test subject is on estrogen. Hmmm - makes me wonder if that somehow skews the results. Up front I told the doctor I was taking estrogen. You'd think he would have perhaps recommended doing a baseline test and then have me go off of the estrogen (something I wasn't really looking forward to going through again) and test at least every month to see what happens with the thyroid hormone levels.

Guess he didn't want to be bothered. First doctor in 2000 told me I was just getting older (at 31?). This one blamed it on my "sex hormones" and alluded to the possibility that it was all in my mind.

Gosh, sometimes I wish it was.

In 2000, I let that idiot convince me that everything must be the result of peri-menopause. I lived for three years without sleep. Didn't realize that was a symptom of menopause. My family doctor finally took pity on me in 2003 and suggested perhaps seeing if a round of estrogen might help. It did for some of the symptoms and after being on it for several years finally started sleeping more regularly. However, I still continue to deal with other symptoms that have never gone away, and every single one of them in on the thyroid hormone list, NOT the adrenal or sex hormone list.

One symptom I continue to live with is the hoarse voice. I'm a singer - I live to sing and haven't been able to very well since 2000. I've realized that I want that ability back more than anything, and I'm going to fight to get it back if at all possible.

I've come across some infomation on additional doctors, doctors who listen AND hear their patients. Doctors who don't just use a test as their only litmus for diagnosis. In my research, apparently there's quite a bit of controvery surrounding what actually constitutes a "normal" thyroid reading anyway. These doctors I come across treat the symptoms and not just if you get a positive reading on a test.

That's all I've been asking - for someone to just hear what I'm saying and at least TRY something to see if it will help. The fight is on. I'm not giving up. I did that in 2000 essentially, but not now.

Let's get ready to rumble!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Going, Going - Gone!

I’m terribly disappointed this evening.

Took my son down to stay with his dad for the weekend. Got quite a shock when they started talking about him shaving off his beard.

Say what????

They must have been discussing this on the phone the last couple of weeks, because it came as quite the surprise to me. My son hadn’t mentioned a word. When I asked him about it this evening, he just shrugged and said it would grow back.

What about how manly it made him feel? What about all the positive comments and compliments he’d received from his fellow students? He’d created a bit of a stir the first few days of the new school year, being one of a handful of high school students even able to sport a full mustache and beard.

I left there stark raving mad. Somewhere along the way, he’d allowed his dad to talk him into doing this. If it was truly what my son wanted then that was understandable. From his body language and just a gut feeling, I get the impression this isn’t really what he wanted.

With my son’s knowledge, my mom bought him a very nice electric mustache and beard trimmer for his upcoming birthday. He was really looking forward to getting it next week. When I arrived home after dropping off my son, I had to call my mother to vent. She was almost as shocked as I.

When I’d left for Chicago, my mother came up here to stay with my son and feed him in my absence. They talked about how his beard made him feel. They went shopping together (something my son tries to avoid) so he could pick out the trimmer he wanted. My mother almost went ahead and gave it to him early because he was so excited.

Yes, my son is correct. His beard will grow back, but that isn’t the point. In several sessions with his counselor, they’ve talked about him being more forthcoming with who he is inside and what he really thinks instead of just telling people what he believes they want to hear. Now I’m afraid he may have agreed to something to placate his dad instead of because it’s what he wants.

For the sake of disclosure, I realize this just brings to the surface my own issues with what I think of his father (or lack thereof). But I want my son to decide to wear a beard or shave it based upon what he likes for himself, not what I or his father think is best. He’s old enough to make this decision (it’s only hair anyway). Must admit, I wasn’t really keen on the whole beard thing when he first started growing it, but I also saw how it made him feel good about himself and how others responded to him because of it.

Hmmm – maybe, just maybe he might be feeling the need for a fresh start on the beard. Maybe he just wants to see how people will treat him when he goes back to being baby-faced again. Maybe he’s feeling secure enough about himself that he doesn’t need the beard to feel manly. Gosh I hope it is something more positive.

All I can say is that I can hardly wait for the drive home Sunday so I can hear the reasons behind why he chose to do this and why now. Maybe he has a good reason. If not, I will attest to the prior thought processes. For now I’ll just keep my feelings at bay.

It is his face and his hair. And again, he’s right. He can always grow it back again. Maybe this time it will be even fuller and thicker. As long as there is a positive here for him, it's good.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Skit Guys

My son has introduced me to the "Skit Guys". He found them at IYC this past summer in San Antonio. They're hilarious!

My son pulled up several videos of their skits on You Tube or God Tube or one of those (I lost track). There's one about the Beanie Weenies, Jesus in a Box (soooo funny), The Newscasters, I lost track eventually.

Several in particular really struck me. You know what they say about good comedy, don't you? In order for it to be good, it must have an element of truth to it. The Jesus in a Box skit was very telling, so was the one about the Bible Basher. I asked my son if he saw the element of truth in those skits. He basically said he enjoyed them for the laugh and didn't want to get all serious with the logic.

Okay - fine. But I think the seed was still planted even if he just wanted a good laugh. I'll let it be for now. However I got it. I think alot of other adults will too.

It's good to laugh. It's also good to think about. As Christians, the worst thing we could do is keep Jesus in a box or be Bible bashers. I've known a few. I've been it a few times during my life. Never again if I can at all help it.

I've seen what it's like on the other side of the spectrum. Not a pretty picture. We need to laugh. We need to smile. We need to be Jesus with skin on, and that means sometimes we need to huddle down where it hurts, see ourselves from their perspective. Be a friend.

Isn't that why we're here?

I'm pretty sure I'm well on my way to being a Skit-head now.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

An Appointment with the Road

It's been awhile since my son has driven.

We'd been waiting to renew his permit until I had time to take him (have to deal with the work schedule). Then he missed the mark on the first attempt but two weeks later - SUCCESS!

So now it is up to me to make a point of ensuring we get out and actually drive. He's got about eight hours left of night driving, so this evening about 8:00 we popped into the car and drove around town and out on the highway briefly. We were out for about thirty minutes, but it's a totally different picture when driving at night. He did good though.

Told him it was something you never forgot and not to be worried. After about the first five minutes, he was driving like an old pro.

Maybe not an old pro - or even a young pro - but he was finally back on the road nonetheless. Eventually he relaxed.

He probably needs an update on his contact prescription though. I'll need to make an appointment.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Passport Please

Well we're one step closer to the big European trip next summer.

Too bad I'm not going (waaaah!), but I'm still so thrilled for my son with having such an incredible opportunity. Really hope he enjoys it.

Part of the preparations are securing him his very first, very own, United States Grade-A passport. Over the weekend I filled out the form, then we ran to Walgreens to get his passport photos taken (another cool bearded photo-op). Tomorrow we'll run to the acceptance facility and get it off and running.

They take up to three months to get, you know. We're not taking any chances.

It's amazing how quickly the new school year came on. Less than two more weeks and my baby turns 16. June will get here before you know it. I don't want there to be any last minute hangups.

Well, I may get a little hung up...or wrung out. But that shouldn't be my son's problem. I just need to make sure he's got all his ducks in a row early on so he has nothing to worry about by the time next summer rolls around.

Then I'll watch him fly off into the sunset, bound for an adventure of a lifetime.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I'm taking a break to start my blog entry. We're watching a movie about the life and rise of fashion designer, Coco Chanel.

Did you know her name was Gabrielle? She obtained her nickname "Coco" from a little French song. Of course this being a movie, it is hard to know where artistic license has been taken and reality collide. However, that part had a rather authentic ring to it. Maybe I'll research it later. I love researching subjects that entice and intrigue me.

One thing they are focusing on at present is the aspect of the free-spiritedness she possessed - of being unwilling to be a mere ornament fashioned of the same fabric as the rest of society. There is a line in her latter years that resonates in my soul - strength is not built by ones successes but by ones failures. How true that is.

She leaves comfort to pursue her dreams. She is unwilling to decline risk even after she is highly successful. In fact, one of her statements is "risk is what life is all about". Even in her 70's she continued to risk obsolesence because she still retained a vision.

I wish I could be more like that. At one time in my life I was a similar free-spirit - uncontained and untamed. Now I seem to do what is expected because I have responsibilities. Don't get me wrong, recognizing and living up to ones responsibilities is very important - something our society would do better to remember more often. But there is a part of me that desires to take a risk to do something more.

And in time I just may do so.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Going For A Swim?

This has been one heck of an interesting day.

Woke up about 5:40 this morning to the melodious sounds of a torrential downpour. By the time we left the house, my front yard was a lake. It had rained mildly off and on yesterday, but nothing bad. Must have rained alot during the night. Before eight o'clock the radio was reporting unofficial rainfall totals exceeding five inches.

Dropped my son safely at school. I'm so glad he wasn't in the car with me when I started swimming upstream. Have any of you ever felt that most frightening of moments when your car wheels actually leave the pavement? I never had either.

The west side of town is the worst when it floods. I've driven through swollen roads on the way to work several times. Always made it through with no problem. What's several inches of water flowing across the road, eh?

Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid - that was basically my mantra for the first five minutes when I realized it was getting deeper and deeper, we're talking FEET this time. Then it became a desperate cry of "help me Jesus!" for the next fifteen. Cars were in front and cars were behind. I didn't dare try to turn off the main road because the water was even deeper along the sides and at the roadway intersections. I didn't have a chance of making it into a parking lot.

I drove as close to the middle of the road as possible until other cars came down from the opposite direction. It started to get better. I breathed a sigh of relief. Then it got deep again. Did that to me four or five times.

You know that saying - it usually gets worse before it gets better? I hate it when that happens.

Just when I was at the deepest part of the water, an industrial truck came from the opposite direction. His leading wave swamped over my car. That's when it happened.

It only lasted for a split second, but my car wheels left the pavement and I floated. Freakiest and most scariest moment in a LONG time. I just knew my car was going to stall any second.

Miracle of miracles - I think my Jesus heard me. The depths finally lessened until it was just a few inches across the road by the time I arrived at my job. My car never stalled. I was safe. Boy, I was shaking like crazy when the adrenaline finally hit. When another of my co-workers made it safely in, she just broke down and cried from the stress release.

Needless to say, it's been raining all day. Flash flood warnings are all over the place. Schools let out. Roads are closed all over town. The radio started screaming that people needed to just stay indoors. When the first let up in the downpour occured, my boss told us to grab some work and get back home via the interstate before the next wave hit.

Didn't have to tell me twice.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It's About Commitment

You know tonight was interesting.

Yes, another critique group meeting. Only thing about it - we didn't have any submissions to critique. Typically in the past that meant we were going to put off meeting until the following regularly scheduled time.

Tonight we decided to meet anyway.

Gary and Tonya just returned from a trip to Montana. Heck, they snuck across the border into Wyoming, those rascally scaliwags. Someone call the Wyoming State Police!

Then we talked about Julie's secret invitation and upcoming trip to an Indian ceremonial preserve in South Dakota. Sounds mysterious. Maybe she'll have a chance to hear the sounds of the breaking of small animal bones on the drive. Sorry - inside joke.

We discussed our writing, or lack thereof, publishing opportunities, an upcoming meeting with an agent next weekend, and contest results. There were a few current job comments thrown about. There was even a discussion that popped up about a local strip club owner.

Don't ask.

Then we started talking about columns and blogging. Blogging takes commitment, a staying kind of attitude. It isn't for everyone. I must admit, there are times when I sit down to write and have no clue what I'm going to mention. Then my son will say something off the wall, my mom will call, or I'll see a news article that gets my blood pumping.

Speaking of news articles, I'm actually excited about the upcoming election - but that's another story.

Blogging helps me have a purpose in my writing. Gee, it's about the only fun writing I'm doing right now, so there's no way I can stop. It's obvious I have no life right now anyway.

I think tonight proved that. Nah, it just proves that instead of a bunch of people meeting to talk about writing, we've become something more.

Friendship - how cool is that?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tomorrow's The Day

Tomorrow's the day. I'm feeling a bit nervous. Well truth be told, ALOT nervous.

When our little family went through the stressful events of 1999, I started having health problems. My doctor sent me to an endocrinologist to have my thyroid checked after a year or so of various symptoms, but the doc said I was in the "normal" range (low, but normal) and was just getting old at the age of 31. I accepted that at the time.

For several years now I've taken estrogen hormone therapy. It's helped me function and lead a bit more of a normal life, but I still miss "me" - the highly energetic, bouncing off the walls, clear singing voice, into everything person I once was. Been to counselors to insure I'm not holding onto residuals from the difficult years, and been told I'm in good mental health (well, some of my friends might deem that incorrect :-), knowing my propensity for orneriness). But my physical health is still not where it should be at this stage in my life. My trip to and from Chicago screamed it loud and clear all over again.

So earlier this year I went off my hormones to see what would happen. First month went fine. Second month all my old symptoms came on in a massive rush. I couldn't get back on my estrogen fast enough.

In reading about thyroid problems, everyone mentions that the problem progresses over a period of years with gradually increasing and worsening symptoms. So after my experiment, I picked up the phone and called my doctor to get in to see a different endocrinoligist. He was backed up for three months.

So finally tomorrow I will get to see him. I hope he listens. I hope he hears me. I hope he doesn't just base his decision on one test result. I hope he's willing to try and help and not write me off as a hypochondriac or just pre-menopausal. I think that's why I'm so nervous. This time I won't accept the pat or easy answer again.

This time I will fight for myself until taken seriously - for myself, for my son, for my life.

It's too precious to waste.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Simple Pleasures

My son had a special choir rehearsal this evening.

Over the years, I've learned to love those extra moments at home alone. Finished up one of the books I was reading. Opened the windows and let in the rush of northern breezes that blew in this afternoon. Listened to the wind rustle the leaves in the trees.

I sense the early onset of autumn. It's welcome relief in this household, as we are cold adventure lovers around here.

When finished with the rehearsal, my son called and said he'd just walk on home. His eyes were bright when he came in the door. The cool weather hit the spot after a sweaty hour of dancing.

A perfect time for ice cream!

Rarely do I offer the extra calories that come with ice cream. It goes straight to my thighs! But tonight was a night of enjoying the simple pleasures life sometimes throws our way.

So I threw calorie worries out the door, and we drove to Sonic to enjoy an Oreo blast and a chocolate/caramel shake. Ah - hit the spot.

Go on - take a moment this week to find pleasure in something simple. It's pure magic.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I'm Baaack!

Look out - I'm baaaack!

Chicago was wet and rainy with the last remnants of Gustav hanging over our heads. Well we were there to work anyway, but I was dying for some good 'ol Chicago deep-dish pizza. After the last morning session, the rain stopped long enough for us to walk to Giordano's a couple of blocks away for an early lunch. Ah, patience does have a purpose.

The pizza was magnifique! We had a sausage, pepperoni, and onion deep-dish stuffed pizza. The cheese was oozing out with every bite. It was SO worth the wait.

We stayed at the Hyatt on Wacker Street along the downtown riverwalk project. I had a great view from my fourteenth floor window. Saw the torrent of rain splashing in the water from on high. It sure would have been nice to have walked during the afternoons when the exhibit hall was closed. Alas, it will have to wait for another time.

Our driver, Mark, had so much fun telling us all about the movies shot in Chicago, about how the scene in "The Dark Knight" where the semi rig was driving down the road was shot just down the street from our hotel at 3:00 am. The CTA trains reminded me of "While You Were Sleeping" and then of course "The Lake House" was shot there as well. Had no idea so many modern movies were placed in Chicago. I think Mark was proud of the fact.

I'm dying to read up on some of the history of the buildings in downtown Chicago, specifically the clock tower building across the street from our hotel. It has a very gothic feel to it. Mark mentioned that some of the architecture reminds him of some beautiful buildings in Jerusalem. My mother would love it!

Maybe I can go back someday - NOT in September though.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Chicago Frolicking

My dear friends and family - I will be out of commission the remainder of the week. Chicago frolicking is calling.

Nah, more like I gotta work early mornings and late nights. I'm attending and displaying for my company at the annual SBDC conference. It's always great to see old friends and make new ones, but it sure gets crazy. Usually by the end of the conference I'm hoarse and can hardly see straight from talking to over a thousand participants.

Really is alot of fun though, because I love interacting with people. Just wish things were going better on the home front, but we'll see where all of that leads.

My mom is coming up to care for my son until my return. Then it is a weekend of Christmas shopping. Yes, my sisters hate me. September is actually very late for me to start my shopping.

Well truth be told I started shopping in June when we went to the Hotel del Coronado. Heck, last year I started my Christmas shopping in January. Bought my son a leather coat at the big inventory clearance sales.

So maybe I'll find some time to check out some stores in Chicago. More likely I'll check out the food.

Have a great week, and as Arnold says it - "I'll be back!"

Monday, September 1, 2008

Preparations Underway

This weekend we went down to visit some of my family in Oklahoma. Got back late this evening and am trying to prepare for a crazy week. It was all my fault.

I was on a mission to find some Thanksgiving decor for my big family event at MY house this year. Takes alot of preparation to host eighteen people. :-) Figured I'd better get things moving right along.

When it comes to decorations, I'm a real nutcase. I needed a bigger house just so I could finally get out and display all of my Christmas stuff collected over the years. That's when I really go ca-razy! I've got quite a few cute Halloween decorations too. But when it comes to Thanksgiving I've been a little remiss on decor because I've never had the space to be family host before.

That's all about to change.

One thing I've always wanted to get was a man and woman pilgrim couple, but then I'm picky on how I want things to look. I like realism and somewhat of an elegance.

So I ended up buying two pilgrim couple sets. Hey, I've got two tables to decorate, not counting the coffee table, the end table, etc., etc., etc. Then I've got these great pumpkin candle holders and leaf imprint pillars. Then I'm ordering a long table centerpiece with silks and candles for the main table lighting. It's going to look so awesome.

Oops - just had a valley girl moment there.

Next item on the agenda is organizing family outings. That will have to wait until next week.