Thursday, March 31, 2011
I also visited my niece, Kristin in the hospital late this afternoon after her back surgery. It is hard to imagine at 21 years old this is her second back surgery. The joys of cheerleading and what it does to your body. I feel bad she is facing such pain at such a young age and pray this surgery helps.
I waited with my sister Rachel at the hospital while Kristin was in surgery. My sister always amazes me with her strength, love and devotion for her children. She is so much like my Mom, when it comes to her love for her children. My Mother would have done anything for my sister and I. I truly believe my Mom was unstoppable when it came to protecting my sister and I. Sitting there today, I saw that same quality in my sister, Rachel. She is so selfless and protecting of her children. She always puts them first. It would make my Mom so proud to see the mother my sister has grown to become. It makes me proud. She is truly inspiring. She is meant to be a Mom and I know her kids never doubt for a moment how much she loves them. I know how special of a feeling that can be, as I knew my Mom loved me each and every day we shared. She used to joke I was a total pain in her ass, but she still loved me. I always felt her love and I still feel it today with me in my heart.
It was also interesting today to see the qualities my sister gained from my Dad. When things got chaotic, my sister remained so calm and so focused. That is my Dad. In a crisis, I realize I would want my sister there as she truly is able to demonstrate grace under fire.
So there you have my day - lots of thinking, overwhelming emotions, a few years and even a few laughs thanks to Dale, my nieces and my nephew. Tomorrow will be here before I know and who knows what that may bring. All we can do is our best and push forward, right?
She goes on to tell me she will be going with her husband to Boston next Monday for surgery on Tuesday, but sadly states in the email the doctors do not speculate a very good outcome. She wanted to tell me in her own worlds and just felt being on the phone right now would be too difficult with the crying. As you can imagine, it was a very difficult email to read and has stuck with me throughout the day. I will not go into too much further detail as I want to respect her privacy....but I hope you will all send her positive energy, good thoughts and love...as she is an incredible woman, mother, wife and friend.
I have thought about my friend a lot today and just people and life in general. I could not imagine my college experience without her and so many of my favorite college memories involve her. She means the world to me and although we do not talk often and have only seen each other a handful of times since graduating...she is forever in my heart. I know it sounds strange, but sometimes we meet people in this world who we just connect. She is one of those people. I know if we were together tomorrow, it would be as if a single day has not passed. It is rare to find people like that in this world. All day, I could hear her voice in my head, hear her laugh and see her smile. I cannot imagine what she must be facing right now. She has small children and I know she is more concerned about them right now than her own well-being. But that is the type of person she is...always putting others before herself. In her email to me later today, she wrote this:
I am going in with a fight and absolute determination that I am returning to my beautiful children healthy and for a lifetime. I am praying everyday that the tumor isn't as bad as the doctors fear. It's the anxiety, fear and absolute sadness about missing my children that gets me the most....I will beat this!!She is a very stubborn person...one of her qualities I adore...and I pray she is right. I pray she is able to fight this and win...as she deserves so many more days on this Earth with her family. Again, she send all the love you can.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Bridget Hallock is wondering how other parents manage car rides without chaos, fighting & shouting among kids in the back seat? Seriously! Should I just pull over & kick them out of the car?
Tom Whittaker - I place one of my kids in the trunk, usually whichever one I hate most that day. This morning Tyra cried a bit and said the tire jack hurts her back when she is in the trunk, but I said tough titty and shoved her in. Mason got the back seat all to himself, but he tends to be a bit of a talker, which I do not need to hear before my Starbucks, so I turn the music real load to drown out his chatter about what he learned in school yesterday.I feel like I am the only one really trying to help Bridget. Look at the lame advice her other friends gave her.
Come on people...this is not support. I am the only one offering practically advice to help Bridget have a better day. However, it does beg the question why do people let me watch their children, huh?
Cook Market recently opened a coffee bar and has the best chai tea in all of Denver and believe me, I am a chai snob. They have several to pick from and I highly recommend the powdered mix...it is pure heaven.
I know it is hard to see from my crappy and quick iPhone camera photo, but this pickup has a Batman logo on the back window. Okay, nothing that extraordinary right?
The guy driving the pickup is also wearing a Batman t-shirt and he has a bumper sticker that reads, "The Batmobile is in the shop". I personally like a person committed to their obsession. Funny.
As I walked to catch my bus my mood improved as I listened to the birds in my neighborhood. There was a lot of activity from the birds, which to me is a nice reminder that although chilly this morning...Spring is here. It was great to hear all the chirping and tweeting (remember when tweeting was something dedicated to birds?) from the birds and it actually made me smile. As I waited for the bus, the sun broke through the clouds, which was a nice change from yesterday, which was slightly gloomy. It is amazing how a few birds and some sunshine can change your whole perspective, huh?
Monday, March 28, 2011
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Life As We Know It starring Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel. Basically chaos erupts when a single playboy and a single uptight woman inherit a baby when their mutual friends die. This is a good romantic comedy that is a little predictable but we really do not expect twists in a romantic comedy, right? Think every Katherine Heigl movie, well except Knocked Up.
Unstoppable starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pine and Rosario Dawson. A runaway train in Pennsylvania that is full of a toxic chemical. I liked this movie a lot. I saw it on a plane a month ago and liked it just as much the 2nd time. A good, solid buddy action film. Think Lethal Weapons meets Speed, but with a train.
The Fighter starring Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale and Amy Adams. Follows Irish boxer Micky Ward in the mid-80s. This movie did not thrill me. I expected so much more. It just felt like 2 hours of everyone using the f-word. I just could not get into it. Think Rocky with lots of swearing.
Today, the movie club met and saw the movie, Lincoln Lawyer starring Matthew McConaughey as criminal attorney, Mickey Haller who operates out of the back of his Lincoln sedan. The movie was very good and it seemed like everyone in the movie club was genuinely surprised and pleased with the movie. I personally have to say I thought it was an excellent flick and McConaughey gave a hell of a performance. This was probably the best I have ever seen him acting wise. The plot centers on Haller defending Louis Roulet, played by Ryan Phillippe, as a Beverly Hills playboy accused of rape and attempted murder. What seems like a straightforward case is full of twists and turns. The supporting cast in the movie is suburb with Marisa Tomei, William H. Macy, Josh Lucas, John Leguizamo, Frances Fisher, Bryan Cranston & Trace Adkins. It is also filmed in a very gritty fashion, which I thought brought a lot to the film. So if you like a good dramatic thriller, check out this movie…I do not think you will be disappointed.
No, don’t get too excited. This post does not feature me singing. That would definitely scare off all my readers. Have you ever come across a song, whose lyrics just say everything you wish you can say? I recently discovered the song Lucky by Marc Broussard and this songs says exactly how I feel about Dale. I feel so happy to be with him and lucky I found him, that I am grateful each and every day. I have it on my iPod and figured I would share this version I found on YouTube.
It is odd how this need to protect and defend always seems to be our destiny in countries sitting on lots of oil. Weird, huh? What does everyone else think? Is the United States in Libya because we care about the people or we are worried who will control the oil?
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Yes, day 2 proved to be a lot of fun for Dale and I with our friends the Stubbendicks.
Dale and I were looking for fish, while Elle & Shannon enjoyed the beach.
Steve was trying to take a photo of Dale and I when Shannon & Elle jumped into the background. They are such hams.
Zoe found white-faced monkeys on the beach. Yes, we brought Zoe with us.
For those of you just reading this, Dale and I are not really in Costa Rica, but we are hijacking all of the photos our friend Steve Stubbendick is posting on Facebook and inserting ourselves.
And when I say them, I really mean me. For Dale’s birthday I went fancy and got him this beautiful cake from Das Meyer’s Fine Pastry Chalet. I personally hate all things berries, but since Dale loves them, I told them to create a cake full of berries. They sure delivered as this cake is berry-tastic. It is a chocolate cake with a raspberry filling and vanilla frosting surrounded with shaved chocolate and fresh berries.
It is Dale’s birthday and I love to surprise Dale with something special for his birthday. Since Spring is in the air and Dale loves gardening, I went with a garden theme for his gift this year.
Wow, look at that impressive wrapping!
Wait for it, wait for it (Dale opens his gifts very slowly).
It’s tissue paper…Dale’s favorite!
Dale always reads the card first (I go straight to the gift).
Look work gloves for the garden. Who doesn’t love work gloves?
Hand Rakes…cool. For those unfamiliar of the hand rake, they turn your hand into rakes. A sort of Edward Rakehands. Here is a link to buy your own.
Bulbs for the yard. Dale loves flowers and plants. I got him two peonies and a one liatris. Bulbs are a fun gift as the real gift comes a few months from now and keeps coming year after year after year.
But wait, I love surprises…and their has to be something more, right? Right! Look inside the gloves!
A $100 gift card to Tokyo Joe’s, which is Dale’s favorite restaurant. This will mean lots of lunches for Dale.
But wait, there are two gloves, so does that mean two two surprises? Yes.
Four $25 gift cards to Little Man Ice Cream. That means a summer of Little Man’s for Dale!
Hi, honey. I love you. Happy birthday!
Our friends the Studdendicks are in Costa Rica on vacation. At first Dale and I were said we are not in the sand and surf, but this morning I realized you don’t need to go to Costa Rica to have memories of Costa Rica. I can just hijack all of Steve Stubbendick’s photos on Facebook and insert Dale and I into the photos.
Here we are at the airport waiting for our flight to Costa Rica.
Here we are after landing in Costa Rica. Look at that ocean!
Here are Dale, Shannon and Elle enjoying the pool.
There I am posing in front of the beautiful sunset.
Dale is the most incredible, loving and caring individual person I have ever met and I am blessed to be able to call him my best friend, partner and love. He is the best thing in my life and is the best gift I have ever received.
I came across this birthday blessing and it reminded me of Dale because he is truly blessed with wonderful people who love and care for him each and every day.
Instead of counting candles,
Or tallying the years,
Contemplate your blessings now,
As your birthday nears.
Consider special people
Who love you, and who care,
And others who’ve enriched your life
Just by being there.
Think about the memories
Passing years can never mar,
Experiences great and small
That have made you who you are.
Another year is a happy gift,
So cut your cake, and say,
"Instead of counting birthdays,
I count blessings every day!"
By Joanna Fuchs
Friday, March 25, 2011
The book dives into the dark side of the fast food industry with chapters dedicated to the marketing tactics geared at kids, e coli outbreaks in meat and the artificial flavoring used in most fast food products. The saddest fact presented is there is a direct correlation between the increase in fast food in America and obesity. This trend followed in England, Japan and China. Basically as fast food spreads worldwide, so will obesity. The correlation is frightening as is our dependence on processed meals.
Scary! So who wants a Big Mac? Fries with that?
Thursday, March 24, 2011
My friend Toby took this photo of Dale at his birthday party this past weekend. I changed it to black and white, plus threw in a little shadowing. I feel it gives it a little something special and just makes you want to drop off your kids, huh?
And don't worry, the baby is not real. It is one of those computerized babies used to teach teens to not get knocked up. My niece Jillian brought it to the party and probably failed the assignment since everyone passed it around and Brent Dilworth treated it like a football spiked in the end-zone (hey look at me with the football reference). But let's be honest...that is probably how a baby birthed by a teen would be treated anyone, so I think she deserves an "A" for realism.
They say sexy blog titles sell. Let’s see how this post ranks for views.
For Dale’s birthday cake, I did a Toy Story theme and purchased some Woody and Buzz Lightyear toys to adorn the cake. I figured Dale would not really care about them much, but he actually wanted to keep them as a memory of his birthday party, which made me smile. Just another reason why I love Dale so much.
Currently, the two Woody’s and Buzz Lightyear are living on our kitchen windowsill, but since they come to life when we are not around, I expect they will settle in somewhere else in the house that they like more. To infinity and beyond!
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
To save you a click, I also recopied the text from the post here titled I got out smarted-assed this morning, by a bible beater of all people, which was orignally posted Sunday, June 7, 2009:
This morning I ran out for some Starbucks. Yum - chai tea. Anyhow, I stopped for gas. While at the gas station I saw a man and a women approach two other customers and ask them, "Have you found Jesus?" Of course, being the smart-ass I am I was all ready with a clever comment for when they found their way to me.
When the woman finally approached me and said, "Have you found Jesus?", I quickly replied, "I didn't even know he was missing." Well, she must of heard that one before because she immediately replied, "If you had Christ in your heart, you would not have room for all that sarcasm." and walked away.
Wow! I was totally schooled by the Church Lady. Damn. Sadly it got me thinking too. Am I too sarcastic? Yes, but I think Christ probably appreciates it. I decided he does and bought myself a muffin to go with my chai tea.
Here is the recipe if you want to make it too:
- 1 bunch of parsley
- 8 cloves of garlic
- 1 green pepper
- 1 red pepper
- 1 yellow pepper
- 1 onion
- 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef
- 4 cans of crushed tomatoes (16 oz)
- 2 cans of kidney beans (16 oz)
- 1 jar of spaghetti sauce (32 oz)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of crushed red pepper flakes
- 4 tablespoons of chili powder
- 1 package of shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 box of saltine crackers
Dice parsley, garlic, onion, peppers and add to slow cooker. Brown ground beef, drain excess grease and add to slow cooker. Add crushed tomatoes, kidney beans and spaghetti sauce to slow cooker. Add crushed red pepper flakes and chili powder. Cook in slow cooker or 4 1/2 hours on high. Serve in bowl with shredded mozzarella cheese sprinkled over top and saltine crackers on the side.
I am sad that Dale and I will not be heading to Costa Rica for vacation (although I know part of Dale is convinced I am surprising him with a trip tomorrow, but I am not - sorry Dale). All I can do is do what any good friend would do - hope for beautiful weather here in Denver for the next 7 to 10 days and clouds and rain in Costa Rica for the next 7 to 10 days (just kidding, I would never do that).
Besides I bet it completely sucks there. I mean how can it be any good, I could not find one nice photo online of Costa Rica. All I found was horrible photo after photo like these:
The socials are those people who sit in the front of the bus, know all their fellow socials by first name, share stories of their lives, compare crocheting techniques and gab the whole ride.
The non-socials are those people who sit. Okay, that is not 100% true. The non-socials also sleep, read, listen to their iPods or tool away on their smart-phones. The separator is they do not talk. They are there for the ride.
Guess which I am? No, I said guess. Do it now!
Good guess. Yes, I am a non-social as I listen to music on my iPhone while checking Facebook, Twitter, blogs or USA Today online or read my book. Some days like today, I even write blog posts like this. It is not that I don't like people (although I tend to not like people) but more that I like the 45 minutes of downtime each way. It is nice to have 90 minutes a day where it is just about me and is mindless.
This morning, I am currently experiencing the rare third category of commuters (who is hated by all other commuters) - the non-social social. Who are these people you ask? They are the scum of public transportation. These are the people who sit alone but talk loudly on their cell phone the entire ride. Non-socials hate them because they usually sit in our area and interrupt our solitude. Socials hate them because they are loud and prefer to talk to people they know on the phone instead of have small talk about the weather with other socials on the bus.
Now I get the occasional call on the bus. The kids call to ask a quick question. You call someone to say you are on you way. That to me is acceptable. However, people who just chat on their phone, just to chat, are annoying as hell. Since a bus is fundamentally noisy, you have to yell on your phone for the other person on the line to hear you, so it quickly moves from annoying as hell to just plain hell.
The women in front of me has been on the phone this entire ride chatting to her friend about nonsense including the need to buy more dog food, a trip to California next month and her husband's inability to move his car from blocking hers car on a daily basis. She is so loud I can still hear her with my headphones in and volume on maximum. I hate her. The thought has gone through my head that hopefully her husband does not just block her car but drives over her with it (repeatedly) or she forgets to buy dog food and her dog (who I now know is named Molly) attacks her. I know these are not the thoughts of a good person, but I can't help it. I am trying to listen to my music downloads by the cast of Glee and not hear about her life.
There should be signs on the bus that read:
"If you are talking on the phone right now and it is not an emergency, you are the SCUM of PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION and everyone here hates you (a lot). Please hang up your phone and try something called texting! P.S. - the guy behind you is thinking of ways for you to die."Too harsh? I don't think so. In my opinion the bus driver should pull over and drag them off the bus.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
For the most part today it felt like I had on my fireman hat and was constantly putting out all these little work fires. This role does not thrill me. Does anyone else feel like this some days?
I try to learn from each day, so i repeat the good and fix the bad. Today I learned I have to do a better job managing my calendar. Allowing back to back to back (yes, to back) meetings is never a good thing and means I cannot be successful. I had 7 meetings and/or conference calls today, which is just too many for one day. 4 of these were back to back, which just puts me behind on emails and other work. There are 5 days in the week and Mondays/Tuesdays are consistently overbooked with meetings. I need to fix this.
So how was your day at work? What did you learn?
It is full of mints, chocolates, crackers, jam, cookies and nuts from Trader Joe's. Hopefully he will share a little (if so, thanks Dean!)
This raises the question: Why is there no Trader Joe's in Colorado?
Stacie is a person full of joy and smiles. Her postcard was no different and you could tell she was smiling when she wrote it, which made me smile. It was the perfect way to end the day. Thanks Stacie!
It also reminds me that people do not send enough postcards anymore (Dale and I included). They are so fun.
Oh and for you of you wondering Dale and I are like Madonna and we just go by our first names (see postcard photo).
It has been five days since I had my two impacted wisdom teeth removed and a deep cleaning on my entire mouth. I would like to report my mouth feels great, but it still hurts. It is not horrible pain...just a consistent ache and then a fair amount of pain by the end of the day. I try to not do the pain pills, except at bedtimet, but it is tough.
I feel like all my teeth were filed down. Is this a normal feeling after a deep cleaning? Should I call my dentist or just keep hoping for the best. Maybe my dentist should read my blog and then she could just answer my questions here. It would be much easier for me.
Am I just being a baby?
My dream started with several Facebook messages from friends asking if I heard Mike Flynn was arrested (he's my friend from junior high/high school and lives back in NY).
In my dream, I called his wife, Heather to find out what happened and see if she and the kids are okay. She tells me to stay away. She is crying horribly. She tells me whatever I do, do not come see her or Mike. I ask her why and ask her if I can help. Again, she tells me Mike said I need to stay away.
On the call Heather eventually tells me Mike will be in prison for 5 years, but will not say why. She tells me Mike does not want me to know and begs me not to seek out why he is going to prison. She makes me promise to not look online or ask anyone on Facebook why Mike was sent to jail. I ask her why and all she says is, "Because it involves you too and Mike does not want this to happen to you too." She says I can never know. She makes me promise. She keeps begging me to promise because it is what Mike wants.
That is where I woke up. Weird, huh? It is like something right out of a Stephen King book. Did I kill some kid back in Junior High with Mike and block the memory? What sent Mike to prison that involves me? What is the secret?
What the hell does this dream mean? I will tell you what though...if Mike does get arrested, I am grabbing Dale and heading for South America. Why can't I have dreams where I am flying like everyone else?
I know I end up taking a lot of flower pictures this time of year and for the readers of my blog, I apologize, but I really love flowers in the Spring. I cannot help but be excited to see them as it represents the start of good things. Before we know it all the neighborhood will be in full bloom again. I am very excited.
Monday, March 21, 2011
I read the book a few weeks back on my plane ride home from Baltimore, MD. It is an unique and amazing story about a mother and her five year old son, Jack' day-to-day experience living in a small, windowless room. The 11' x 11' space between the walls of the room are actually all the boy knows because he was born there and has never left. To him, the only world he knows is what he sees in his room.
I was surprised by the emotions Room brought out in me. One chapter I was sad and the next delighted, while others left me completely horrified. I will not give too much of the plot away as this book is all about the reveal of the why, who and when. I personally think it is the reveal that made the book a bit addictive. I did not not want to put it down. I needed to know how it would end.
The book is told through the first person narrative of five year old Jack, which I felt gave the story warmth and an innocence; however I imagine this may grow tiresome for some readers. I also felt this book would be ideal for book club. It is an easy read, tough to put down and I think it would create a ton of discussion. I may do it for my next book club selection in 2012.
Give it a read. Good book.
With these donations Dale and I create baskets for Thanksgiving meals for cancer patients and their families, who are under-going treatment at the clinic Dale received his treatment in 2009. All these patients are not only facing cancer, but they are doing so with the financial burden caused by little or no insurance. These burdens cause patients and their families to have to choose between food and medication or paying their mortgage versus receiving chemotherapy. These are decisions that people should not have to make. This is why Dale and I work to raise money each year to try to make their holidays a little brighter.
Since we know this does not just happen around the holiday, Dale will be reaching out to the clinic today or tomorrow, to see if there are any patients in need today. If so, we will create some food baskets this weekend. All extra money left from the $300 will go into a savings account dedicated to donations for this group.
My thanks to everyone who donated. Not only did you show such incredible love for Dale, but you will be helping a lot of local families struggling. It is $300 of love and greatly appreciated.
If anyone ever wants to donate to this cause, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.