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Freedom

Happy Independence Day!

And Happy Birthday to my mom, who always claims the fireworks are in her honor.

It’s been a heck of a couple of weeks.  My front office manager went on vacation for 10 days, leaving me alone to run a hotel full of obnoxious baseball kids.  The parents were busy drinking, so I finally stepped in and began disciplining the unruly bast…., *deep breath*, the adventurous, unmonitored, teens, and was able to keep some semblance of peace through the weekends.

As soon as she returned, I fled the hotel and didn’t look back. I was ready for a much needed break.

Hubby and I took great advantage of my time off, and the beautiful weather, and the wonderful outdoors that I never realized this area has.

We loaded the bikes up in his new car, and traveled just across the border into Arkansas.  The bike paths there are phenomenal.

At least 30 miles of paved bike trails lead from Bella Vista to Fayetteville, Arkansas.  While we didn’t ride it all, what we saw rivaled what I’ve always imagined Colorado’s bike baths are like.

We grabbed lunch at the Mello Mushroom in Rogers, AR, and then made our way back – stopping more often to enjoy the sites.

 

And if this weren’t enough, we rode down to the Grand Falls yesterday to take in the beautiful scenery.

While Joplin, at first glance, wasn’t quite where we were hoping to settle after St. Louis, we have been pleasantly surprised.  The area is definitely fulfilling my desire for physical outdoor activities, while still being close to shopping and restaurants galore.

Not to mention the hotel has had an extremely successul first half, and I’m getting all the credit.  I’m feeling like a pretty lucky girl these days.

 

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Posted by on July 4, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Not totally wasted if I blogged. Right?

Had an unexpected day off today.  I’m not made for unexpected days off.  Spontaneity is not usually my friend,  so I’ve done nothing.

Well actually, I spent hours working on my latest puzzle.  And I DO mean hours.  But look at it!

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At 2000 pieces, it’s double the size of any that I’ve done. Very fun!

I peeled myself away for a bit to shoot pool with my hubby.  And I really wanna go back and work on it some more, but my blog needs some attention too.

This month marks the 25th anniversary of my hubby and me.   To celebrate we’re driving down to Florida for some spring training Cardinals baseball.

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\We leave in a few weeks, and I totally should have been using today to prepare, but like I said, spontaneity and I don’t mix.

In other news, Mario almost has her groove back.  It’s been a long haul, but after a few more tweaks to her ball, she’s doing much better.

And dare I say Chip and Amp are liking their classes?  For the first time in, like, EVER, Amp was excited about a school project.  We may actually get through this!  (Fingers crossed!)

We’re still down an elevator at the hotel.  After two months, we thought we were going to finally have the first one finished, but the inspectors crashed it during the inspection.  Seriously.  Ran it right into the ceiling.  (Or whatever is above it.) So we’re looking at another week or so of repairs before they can test again.  Sigh.  Our guests can only keep patient for so long.

But we made it through a weekend of three bus groups and many individuals.  With some ingenuity, (thanks to yours truly), we managed to unload all the luggage from the buses and get everyone upstairs in a pretty quick manner, despite only having one elevator.  I was proud of my idea and received many kudos.  And proud of the team for making it work.

So things are going well.  It’s beginning to look and feel and sound like spring around here.  Perhaps winter is on its way out the door?  I’m not feeling too hopeful yet, but I must say, I’m getting quite used to this.

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Posted by on March 8, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Going through the change

I don’t know how he did it.  Probably the constant nagging and bragging about Apple products mixed in with the total frustration of my Samsung laptop.  But I am now the proud owner of an iPad pro.  And I’m loving it.

I bought the keyboard attachment to help me keep the feel of a laptop, and I’ve had no regrets.  It’s just so intuitive and so easy to work with.  And I can’t believe I waited this long to make the change.

Chip will be taking over the Samsung.  Hopefully he’ll have a little more patience with it than I did.  He plans to restore it to factory mode, so I worked endlessly to transfer all my pictures to my iPad.  If you know of an easier way, don’t share it with me now.  The only way I could figure it out was to transfer each one individually, a very painstaking feat.

Doing so further proved to me that I work so much easier with the iPad.  I found myself touching the screen on the laptop and getting frustrated that it wasn’t reacting to my touch… Until I remembered I was supposed to use the mouse.  Once all my pics were transferred, I pulled them up on my iPad and was shocked.  They were all categorized by date, and labeled with the time and PLACE where I took them.  It’s a little freaky, in fact.  Any pics taken inside my house were labeled with my street address and city.  And graduation pics were labeled with the high school name and address.  Saved me a lot of time, but I was freaked out.

Anyway, it’s been a good move and I would strongly recommend it.

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And as promised,  I have some pics from a few puzzles that I’ve finished this winter.  Working on these while sipping on a glass of Brandy to keep my insides warm has been a great way  to get me through the long winter days I have off from work.  Very therapeutic.

 

This was a Christmas gift from Mario.  She’s so good about finding gifts that are spot on but still within her high school budget.  Love it!

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This kitty puzzle was one of my favorites.

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The Jesus puzzle came to me as a joke.  Hubby had gone Christmas shopping in our basement, which was funny in itself (and proof we are still storing way too much stuff) and came across this Jesus puzzle – likely handed down to us by one of our parents or grandparents.  He didn’t think I’d really put it together.  It was probably the most challenging puzzle so far, so I really enjoyed it.

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So hard to be aggravated with Gracie when she picks on Tiger or wakes us up early with her crying.  Look at her.  She enjoys my puzzles as much as I do.  This one is a pic of the United States.  A 2000 piece puzzle.  My biggest one yet and will likely get me through the rest of winter.

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Posted by on February 25, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

One For the Team

I  took one for the team this morning.  The rest of the family, well Mario and Hubby, are sleeping peacefully.  I’m sipping coffee with a well-fed cat on my lap at 5:20 AM.

This on the day I was going to skip my workout and sleep in a little.

Oh well.  I’m still skipping my workout.

Gracie, don’t let the name fool you, is our force-adopted cat that Chip left behind when he went to school.  Maybe you remember, she’s the one who cries so pathetically when Chip isn’t around.  Now that it’s been a few months, she cries pathetically when my hubby is not around.  Or when he’s in our bedroom behind closed doors. Sleeping.  In fact, she just hopped off my lap and is now crying in front of our bedroom door again.  What am I? Chopped liver?!  Excuse me while I go get her….

We don’t let her in our bedroom because it’s Tiger’s only safe place.  Tiger, don’t let the name fool you, is bullied by Gracie who chases him through the house and occasionally catches him.  Tiger will run to our bedroom and cower in the corner until we realize what is happening.  We scold Gracie who looks at us innocently and pretends she doesn’t know what we’re talking about.

Anyway, when Gracie started crying a little after 5 this morning, I tried to get back to sleep.  No such luck.  And since my hubby was up even later than I last night, I gave in to her crying, fed her some breakfast, and started the coffee.

Now here I sit, trying to keep her quiet, while my family sleeps. Tomorrow, it’s back to being Hubby’s job.  This time of day is for the birds….  and cats.

Gracie

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Like Mother, (not) Like Daughter

Growing up, I was extremely shy and very self conscious.  I had little self esteem and worked quite diligently to “hide” from people.  Speech class in school was the worst.

The days leading up to my speeches were excruciating.  My stomach was in knots, and I could think of little else except how I was going to be a failure in everyone’s eyes.  I proved myself right with my 7th grade speech.  My words came out shaky and all askew.  My not so sympathetic teacher didn’t help.  “We couldn’t understand anything you were saying,” she said to me, with the whole class listening attentively . Or at least I assumed they were.  They were 7th graders after all, so now that I think about it, it was quite unlikely they heard anything I said.

Anyway, with proof under my belt that I was worthless, I continued to stay out of the spotlight as much as possible.

So I am in complete admiration of my daughter’s confidence.  From the time she was little, she loved to be in the spotlight.  At three, she hopped up on stage with a friend and sang “You Are My Sunshine” in front of hundreds of people.  She came down, full of smiles, and exclaimed, “I love being on stage!”

And she’s kept that up throughout the years.  She’s auditioned for many plays, and has acted, sang, and played piano in front of people all her life.

Her social skills are a hundred times better than mine ever were, and I have to say, I am SO relieved.  There are times when I think she may be too self absorbed, but I’d much rather her be that way, than grow up meek and timid like I did.

Last week, she had to deliver a how-to speech to her Junior class.  She baked cupcakes to bring in so she could teach them different ways to frost a cupcake.  Her teacher recorded the speech and let her bring it home to critique herself for extra points.

When I asked her how it went, she answered,  “When I watched my video, I thought “I’m adorable!” I mean, there were places I repeated myself, but overall I was good!”

I had to laugh.  There is NO WAY I would have watched a video of myself when I was 17.  Even now, though I’m more confident than I’ve ever been (which doesn’t say much), I would NOT want to watch myself on TV.  I don’t even like pictures of myself.

And here, she says she’s adorable.

Love it.

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Posted by on October 28, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

You did what?

I threw away her shoes, okay?

I’ve already been berated by Mario over and over again, and anyone who hears the story is happy to remind me how wrong I was.

But here’s the deal.  Maybe you’ll understand?

Mario, as you know, is a mess.  And for the past few months I’ve asked her to clean up her room, and with each passing month it’s gotten more and more cluttered.

She’s been busy.  I get it.  In fact, I might even say she’s busier than I.  Between school and work and band and plays and bowling and homecoming, she’s got a lot going on.

So I was going to help her.  I didn’t mean to be vengeful.

As I began decluttering her room, I dedicated a pile to what I knew was trash, and one that I hoped would be trash, but wanted her to go through first.  When I came across a pair of shoes in her closet that I knew were too small, I put them in the known trash pile.  Then I came across a pair of shoes with the soles hanging off.  I put them in the known trash pile.

What I didn’t know, was that particular day was pajama day at school.  She had worn slippers, leaving her only pair(s) of tennis shoes at home.  Before the trash guy came, I ran the “definitely trash” pile out to the curb, and completed straightening and vacuuming her room.

After school that day, Mario and I were going shopping for jeans and a new pair of shoes.  At this point, neither of us realized I’d thrown her only tennis shoes away.  She changed from slippers to flip flops, thanked me for cleaning her room, and off we went.

As with anything we shop for, it wasn’t easy.  Finding “cute” jeans and “cute” shoes is almost impossible when you’re 5’10 and wear size 11 shoes.

In the end, we skipped the jeans and ordered the shoes to be delivered to our house. They were due to arrive in 7-10 business days.

The next morning I received a call while I was mingling with our guests during breakfast.

“MOM! I don’t have any shoes!”

And so began the berating.  From her.  From my coworkers.  From my hubby.  And from her again.

I couldn’t express how sorry I was.   As I pitched the shoes, I didn’t realize they were her only ones.  And part of me knew we were shopping for shoes that night, although I didn’t count on NOT finding any for her.  And even then, it didn’t click that she had none at all now.

She bawled while she was on the phone with me.  Because she’s not allowed to wear flip flops to school, she was forced to wear her boots.  And it was jeans day, and now she wouldn’t look cute.  And for a 17 year old, it was the worst thing ever.

Luckily, a friend of hers had a size 9 in her locker that Mario could squeeze her feet into.

Her shoes have since arrived, and all is good now.  I think she has finally forgiven me, but I still hear about it at work.  I guess I didn’t realize how wrong it is to throw your daughter’s things away  Even if you’re just trying to help.

Her room is a mess once again, but you can bet I won’t be going in there anytime soon.

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Posted by on October 14, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Who’ll Rule?

When Chip made up his mind to go back to school, he moved back home.  To save money, he said.  I’m sure the fact we have running water was a draw as well.

Along with all his *stuff*, he brought his cat, Gracie.  Because we weren’t sure how Tiger would react, Gracie was banned to the basement where Chip set up camp.  But whenever Chip would come upstairs or go to work, she would cry the most pitiful cry I have ever heard.

When we couldn’t bear to listen to her heart break any longer, we let her come upstairs for a while.  To our surprise, it was she who stalked Tiger.  She would chase after him so often, that he would hide under our bed all day.  We got into the habit of keeping our door closed so he would feel safe.   Even still, the two of them would meet up at some point.  We put up with her chasing him for a while, but when Gracie swiped Tiger and drew blood, we put our foot down.  She would have to be declawed or she couldn’t be upstairs.

Declawing helped calm her down, and most times the two can be in the same room.  Until Gracie’s mood changes.  Then Tiger needs to watch out.

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She’s a tough one.  There are times we’re so upset with her for being mean to Tiger, and there are times we feel so sorry for her because she can’t find Chip.

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My heart melts when I see her waiting outside the bathroom door while Chip showers.  And to see him take care of her is heartwarming as well.  But then she’ll run after Tiger, and suddenly our warm fuzzies disappear.

In a few weeks, both Chip and Amp will head off to school.  I’m a wee bit excited to have more room in our itty bitty home, and a wee bit sad that they’re leaving.  The school is only an hour away, so I’ll see them enough to satisfy my mom needs.  But Gracie’s gonna take it hard.  When Chip left to visit Link, she cried every night.  Even if we were in the same room.  That was only for a few nights.  This’ll seem like forever for her.

Not sure what Chip’s absence will do to Gracie.  Perhaps she’ll start to love another, as is Mario’s hope.  Tiger’s hope is she’ll be overcome with grief and never come upstairs again.

And he can go back to ruling the roost.

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Posted by on August 7, 2015 in Uncategorized