Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Classic Success!

Today's events were all successes! We have a full house for Jenn's performance at the Classic. There were sixteen bands and ours played last as we were the host. My niece is the drum major along with Austin and they were dressed in a tuxedo and sassy red and white dress complete with a red rose in Ashley's hair. They were a handsome couple indeed! Our color guard were all very much in character in their red and black fringed one shoulder outfits ... muy bonita!

Though there were lots of things to do at the day's event to help out with we found that most every station had more than enough help. We brought in our contribution to the baked goods with Lisa's chocolate chip cookies and our famous chili. We ended up in the dressing area with Jennifer and helped out as much as we could before heading out to find more ways to help. It seemed like there were too many volunteers, so we often found ourselves simply watching the students file in and out of the dressing rooms and on and of the practice fields and competition field.

As the evening progressed most everyone finished up their jobs in order to watch our kids perform. There had been some excellent bands and since our band had not seen the others it left them fresh and ready for their presentation of "Carmen." I have to admit, they were really good! The band has really come a long way since this summer ranking right up there with the largest band and the color guard was the best performance of the evening. I can hardly wait until next weekend!

Friday, September 28, 2007

A Change Of Climates: Arizona Anyone?

For years my ex-mother-in-law has suffered from both asthma and seasonal allergies. Her sister who lives in Arizona has tried her best to get Jackie and her husband to move to their neck of the woods? Nothing against Arizona but I don't remember ever seeing photo shots of forests. There are some amazing Arizona luxury real estate photos; perhaps I'll send her some. It's always nice to keep in touch with your exes, even the ex-in-laws.

Just moments before our guests arrive ...

As Jenn prepares for her first half-time performance with the color guard in full dress, her sister and her husband are on their way to the game to watch the show. This will be a busy weekend and already I'm bushed. There is still a lot to do in order to volunteer at the school during the band classic tomorrow. Lisa has baked cookies and I'll be making chili for hamburgers, hot dogs and chili cheese fries (6 lbs of "Southern Style" chili). I'm glad that Lisa and Steve will get to see Jenn's performance as she is really excited. "Mr.D" and I can hardly wait to see her tomorrow, she's been practicing really hard and I have every confidence that she will be wonderful! Bias? No, not me, never! ;)

Could Miracle Burn Deliver Heavenly Results?

Tonight we watched a special on TV about an elderly gentleman who says that he has a new diet program inspired by a higher power. I wonder if there is a Miracle burn included in his program? Whether or not, eating a healthier diet is always a plus to losing weight and promoting healing within one's system. Let's face it, eating food is ideal but learning how to minimize the bad foods is equally important. It's also important to remember that with a balanced diet you still need to exercise. Speaking of exercising we need to step up our current routine; Jenn and I have begun to show a marked level of success with added activity.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Blogging Against Abuse: Stop the Abuse 09-27-07

Today I join in support of an important cause with hundreds, perhaps thousands of bloggers who will "Blog Against Abuse." Hopefully the information and experiences that we contribute will inspire and move others to a better state of mind concerning abuse. As a victim of child abuse myself, I made a vow to stop the cycle in my lifetime, and for the most part have succeeded. What I failed to recognize was how the abuse I suffered as a child would effect my choice of partners in life.

So try as I might, I could only protect my children as much as I was aware of what was going on around us. Mental abuse is so much harder to see than physical or sexual abuse. It starts out slowly and eventually leads to the others if not confronted early on. Once reality set in though every effort was made to correct the situation to include counseling and eventually divorce. It was the only logical decision in order to give our children a better quality of life.

If you or someone you know is being abused, in any manner, please seek professional help. Each of us deserves to have the best in life, so don't settle for less. You can make a difference by choosing to stop the cycle of abuse in your life. Remember we are all ultimately responsible for our actions; may we choose the right thing to do in any given situation. Patience, compassion, forgiveness, and love, use them often and wisely.

Helpful sites:
Personal Safety, Self Defense, Confidence: KidPower TeenPower FullPower International
Child Advocates, Inc.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Relocating in Florida? "Save Our Homes"

We have several friends who live in Miami, Florida and its surrounding cities. While some have just moved to the area, there are more that have been long time residents. Lately, one of them mentioned they were looking into relocating back to North Carolina if they couldn't find a better home in Florida. They would really rather stay in Miami as they truly love the warm weather and beach life. Sometimes your past just sticks with you; images of life in Miami brings back memories of high school and weekends at the "Officer's" beach.

After talking with my boyfriend, he suggested they consider looking into a Miami flat fee mls to help them decide what is best for them. Mind you, we'd love to see them back in our area but when you see how much they love being in Florida it's hard to push for a move back here. We're hoping that whatever they do that they can safeguard their investments with the help of a current petition to save homes in Florida. We offer our best wishes to all for a well educated move and successful relocation inside the "Sunshine State."

save our homes

Is it a good thing or a bad thing?

Three weeks ago I started working part-time at a company that has a great team of people. There are drawbacks though, from no benefits for health insurance, dental, or vision, no pension or retirement plan, pays only once a month and for the better part of the year you only work 28 hours per week. Today I found out that the only way to increase one's hourly rate is to increase the amount of sets of books we complete each month. In order to get a raise you need to successfully manage TEN sets of books. There is one woman there that has been there for five years and is still making the same amount of money as when she started. My boss said it all depends on how hard you want to work for your money. If we want to make a dollar more per hour then we need to get our skills honed to take on those ten sets and soon ... sigh ... wish me success! There are benefits that tend to make this job a desirable one, like a great cast of characters to work with, a Spanish class on Mondays and Thursdays, and three day weekends. I hear tell there are paid holidays, a holiday bonus and a tax season full of hours to stock up on the months with less pay. So, for now we work.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Football, Basketball & March Madness!

Who would imagine that football and basketball could have so many things in common? They are both sports, both occur during the calendar school year (though football ends before basketball), and they often share the same fans. Another thing they share is March Madness! That's right! If you've ever had a student in high school then you know that with football season comes the "Marching Band" season! Even though new students are given weeks to practice before their first performance you'll often find them experiencing march madness. It's tougher than you think having to learn three to four complete routines in just 6 weeks. This month we'll be hosting our annual band classic, so wish us much success!

As for basketball, we'll be watching our favorite college teams in the spring as UNC and NC State beat out their competitors in the challenge to make the "Final Four" and become the champions! We look forward to our band making it to the top during our season and hopefully celebrate "Grand Champion" status at an event!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Pirates of the Sand Hills?

All right, so there isn't any ocean near the foothills in NC but there will certainly be lots of pirates running about this weekend as we celebrate the birthday of a friend who will host a "Pirate Treasure Hunt." We received our invitations in a bottle complete with scrolled invite, skull ring, gold and silver coins, and a pirate's eye patch. Our host will not only have us searching for treasure, we'll assemble our clues to determine who "done it" in a murder mystery twist. We'll all come dressed to pillage and plunder (more like fumble and blunder) to resolve an untimely demise of a beloved maiden.

More details after the event. ;)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Root Canals ... Ouch!

Today Ryan had a dental appointment to see why his tooth was bothering him. The dentist says he needs to have a root canal performed followed by a crown. I had hope never to hear those words for any of my children but figured it might happen with Ryan and Jennifer. Their grandmother on their father's side had to have all of her teeth pulled when she was 18 years old, apparently there was something wrong with her gums as they wouldn't support her teeth. Their father is the same way only he managed to keep his teeth. However the condition of his teeth is horrible. He feared dental visits and so he paid for that with pain and embarrassment. My hope is that this injury to Ryan's teeth will be his last major one. I would hate for him to suffer through his life like his father. One thing that will set them apart is that Ryan does not fear doctors or dentists. This event will definitely cause us to keep a closer eye on his and Jennifer's dental health!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Collectibles: Stuffed Animals

When it comes to collecting things my children each have their favorites. My oldest, Lisa loved her Winnie the Pooh, next was Pamela who loved her Mickey Mouse, followed by Ryan who loves his Puppy, and last but not least Jennifer who still sleeps with her two favorite teddy bears. So, who’s had the most stuffed animals of all my children? Hands down, it has got to be Jennifer! She has a corner hammock that is packed full and running over, monkeys hanging from her dresser mirror, animals on the bookcase, TV, nightstand, and a handful on her bed. Honestly, I’ve got nearly as many stuffed bears, my bad?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Need new eyes, bulbs, or light fixtures!

My kitchen is in dire need of a couple of new light fixtures; one over the sink for properly washing dishes and another over the stove to avoid burning a meal. I've tried getting brighter bulbs for the stove but for some reason they dim after a day or two. My house was built sometime in the 40's so there are some creature comforts that were not built into it as they may have been deemed luxuries. One of those is lighting for the kitchen sink. I think its safe to say, that there is nothing more frustrating than trying to wash dishes with improper lighting. Of course when it comes to my teens, they can only use that excuse when they wash dishes at night. During the day, they have no excuse as the sun shines in the kitchen windows illuminating everything.

Friday, September 14, 2007

"Cabin 8" Set to Make Its Debut Performance

This week "Cabin 8" auditioned for a spot to open for a star band that will perform at their high school next weekend. Apparently, a former high school student is trying her hand at putting bands together and decided to give back to her alma mater. So she lined up several acts to audition for a chance to open the evenings event on September 22nd, 2007. "Cabin 8" will be one of the opening acts!!!

"Cabin 8" consists of seven young men that banded together at this summer's FFA Leadership Camp are committed to making their band a reality. As you can see they are having too much fun! My son Ryan and two of his best friends are joined by five other young men from their high school. They describe their music as Rock. We've yet to hear the band perform together; we'll let you know how it goes after the show!

Diamond Rings: Some Do & Some Don't

Why is it that some women are fortunate enough to receive diamond rings while others are not so fortunate? Is there some magic to getting the man of their dreams to surprise them with such a lovely gift? Perhaps there's a magic spell, that's it! It has to be!

I don't recall any of my friends or other women I know having to kiss a myriad of frogs, toads, or duds to warrant such a show of affection and devotion. As time goes on I've noticed that some of the women, who receive that all "illusive" ring, are women that tend to treat their men with disdain. Is that the proposed formula for romance and commitment these days?

Who knows? For those women that have been less fortunate, stop kissing frogs! There is no prince behind that green mouth and besides it stinks! LOL! Well, from what I remember it did ... of course that was yeeeeeaaaaarrrrssss ago!

To those women whose "Knight in shining ... cough ... armor" does ride in, we'll believe for the best, that he'll know your heart and you'll not have to resort to behavior that is beneath you! Seriously though, I hope that those women who have never received such a gift will not be second to any who were before them.

A hint to you men out there ... REMEMBER a gift so personal which reflects such affection and devotion should never be "re-gifted", that's just WRONG!

Cheers ;)

PS Ladies, you can always buy your own rings if you'd like ... you deserve to feel good about yourself and let it show! Personally, I prefer yellow gold settings!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Nuestra prueba en español!

Hoy después de trabajo tomamos la parte que escuchaba de nuestra prueba en español.

There are four of us in an ongoing Spanish class at work and we have the best time learning; today after work we took the listening part of our test in Spanish.

If you had seen us earlier you would have rolled laughing as we scrambled to learn our directions by flash cards!

I am really excited about relearning the language since it's been a while for me. So as soon as I've refreshed enough I will attempt to write a complete post in "español" and the translate it for everyone. Deal?

Now, it's back to "el estudiar para mí!" :)

PS The words in italics above are the English words for the first sentence written in Spanish in this post.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Successfully Bridging the Distance

It was four years ago today that "Mr.D" and I met online. We were both on the same dating site and he asked if I'd like to meet him. His profile was both clever and intriguing, so I said yes. His invitation was followed by an email to which I replied and then, within days we had our first phone call. It lasted a little over five hours and we had stayed up all night ... bad, I know! That phone call was followed by many more emails and phone calls. Our following discussions helped us to get to know more about each other and within five weeks of our first contact online, we decided to schedule a face to face meeting.

Having followed all of the safety guidelines for meeting potential dates online, we agreed to meet in a public place for the afternoon and maybe get some lunch. When I drove up to our meeting spot he was already parked waiting for me to arrive. I was so excited that my stomach was in knots. As we approached each other the excitement heightened and I wasn't sure whether to shake his hand or go for a hug. His voice eased my anticipation as he said hello, and as I responded we embraced in a hug that felt like one experienced when saying hello to a dear friend from high school. The weeks of communicating had begun to lay the foundation for a friendship that would soon blossom into more.

Since the day we met face to face (or 3D as I affectionately call it), we have maintained a very strong, successful long distance relationship. Even though this success is due in part to maturity, experience, and a desire to make our lives better together; I suspect our passion for each other, love and laughter lead the way. We share a special love for our family and friends. All our children enhance our joy in life and we enjoy time spent together with each of them.

Though there are geographical miles between us, there is no distance between our hearts. Together we are building our "cake" and the "icing" is oh, so sweet!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Repairing Kitchen Faucets

In about six months I'll begin some home improvements that are becoming more necessary as my home ages. Why is it that today's kitchen faucets don't seem to be as solid as they once were years ago? We had noticed a leak at the base of the handle when too much pressure was used to turn the water on or off. Thinking the problem was there we started looking around for a replacement fixture. Upon closer examination the problem turns out to be more the resting place for the sink than the faucet. Over the course of time the water which splashes to the back of the sink began compromising its seal. This continued process caused deterioration to the composition of the counter top in that area, thus causing instability of the faucet handle. I might have attempted to fix the sink with my son's help but replacing a counter top may prove to be too much for our expertise. Where's a handyman when you need one?

This morning Jenn said the bathroom sink was emptying a bit slowly; now that I can fix!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

What do Astronauts & Race Car Drivers Have in Common?

You guessed it, protective underwear! Oh, you didn't guess that? Well, think about it for a minute. I know, most people think of babies or the elderly when they think of having to wear such a garment, but there are other reasons for using such protection. Imagine not wearing something similar while racing around a track for hours or floating around in space for weeks on end, the very thought sends shivers through my veins. All right, so this doesn’t add any attraction factor to those sexy race car drivers ... sigh ... like Bobby LaBonte and Tony Stuart! Whereas some Nascar fans might not agree with my picks for sexiest drivers, they might agree that certain drivers (who shall remain nameless) really need to be in diapers! ;)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Holidays, Luggage & Heroes

After getting everything ready for this past holiday weekend, it was here and gone far too quickly! "Mr.D" had come to visit and spend time relaxing with all of us. When he first arrived, he brought in his luggage and winked as he passed through the entryway. He had brought along a surprise; but that would be revealed later on in the weekend. Next we headed into town to pick up dinner, stop by the laundry mat, and then hop into the grocery store for supplies for the weekend. While we were at the laundry mat one of Ryan's friends stopped in to pick him up and head back to the house. He was spending the night as they had band practice the following morning. When we arrived home from shopping, we got settle in for the night, relaxed a bit and then turned in early.

Next morning we got up, fixed breakfast, cleaned up and relaxed for the better part of the day. As the evening approached we fixed dinner for the three of us; Ryan and his friend were still at band practice and had plans of their own for dinner. After we ate Jennifer wanted to show off her skills as the newest color guard squad member. She was so excited to show us all she had learned and how well she was able to move since recovering from her injury. Shortly after that Ryan returned, arriving at the same time his friend's ride showed up. Finally, we were all ready to snuggle in for an evening at the movies ... but wait, who has a movie? "Mr.D" disappeared and when he returned, he held in his hands the first three discs to season one in the "Heroes" television series. Boy, is that show addicting! We are hoping to see the remainder of season one before the new season starts later this month.

Though our visit this past holiday weekend was short, it was sweet! Who knows, perhaps "Mr.D" will be back soon to join us while we catch up on the series! ;)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Technology: How it Effects Our Lives

There is no doubt that technology has effected all of our lives. Whether it is positive or negative will be determined by the success of our ability to communicate with those around us (most importantly those closest to us). While modern technology has provided us with great new inventions to improve both the quality of our lives as well as the longevity of our lives; the abuse of such can leave one with a gaping hole in one's life.

Let's look at a few:

Cell Phones - They offer ability to communicate with someone else with a like device nearly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. And if you cannot talk directly to that person, you can with the same device, leave a voice, text, or email message, email a photo, video or audio file.

Computers - They offer ability to perform the same tasks as a cell phone to include printing, scanning and faxing documents and graphics as well as possessing a large capacity to store files. But it is limited to where you can perform these tasks, unless of course you have a laptop device.

Gaming Stations - They're not just for kids anymore! They offer the ability to entertain the user for hours, perhaps days, weeks, or months with a single or multi-player game. Not only do you play games on them, but you can also watch DVD's and listen to CD's on most of the newer systems.

While technology has added to our lives in great ways, the abuse has taken it's toll as well. For example, the lives that are lost when someone abuses a cell phone while driving, or lives that are lost when someone improperly operates an electrical device, or lives that are lost to neglect from countless hours in front of a gaming station. How many hours are any of us spending plugged in and tuned out of our lives and the lives of our loved ones? Everything in moderation is KEY!

The author of Words are the voice of the Heart" has written a powerful and thought provoking post titled "Plugged In". It's definitely food for thought!

Is it time we get plugged back into life and tune into those we love most?

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Labor Day Weekend: Do we work or play?

Isn't this a holiday weekend, where we rest, relax, or just have fun at play? So why do we call it Labor Day? What was the reason for this national holiday celebration? Well, if my great-grandfather were living today he could have shared his experiences from that time in history. You see he worked on the railroads in Virgina back in the early part of the 20th century.

George Alexander Allen was born in Virgina in March of 1880. He would work 10 hour days on the railroad when he was old enough to work. Back then wages for a day were considered adequate to the times, yet a dollar for ten hours of hard labor sounds absurd. In 1919 as he turned twenty-nine, he married my great-grandmother Agnes Day Shaw who was seventeen years old. Together they raised a family which included one boy and three girls. Not only did my great-grandfather celebrate the first Labor Day holiday, he continued continued until he retired in his eighties.

Yes, he was in his eighties when he retired. I remember him as the gentleman behind the counter at the cash register in my grandfather's bait and tackle shop. I was about 8 years old. That's another story in itself. For now, I'd like to thank him and all of the other American's who worked so hard for us to have the things we have today. It took a lot of "blood, sweat, and tears," no doubt to work as some of our ancestors did before the many advancements in modern technology.

So why do we celebrate the first Monday in September as Labor Day? In recognition and honor of all those early Americans whose hard labor helped build our country. There are hundreds of thousands of people today that also labor for our country, they too are seldom recognized and appreciated, for all of you ... past and present ... thank you.