Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Last night, we opened a gift we received at the last slot tournament at the Beau Rivage.  It was a wax heater that you plug in and melt wax to make your house smell good.  We decided to put it in the bathroom.  Later on, Benjamin, aged 12, was in there with the door shut...for longer than normal.  I found out why very quickly.  Apparently, there was a hair in the wax, so he decided to BLOW on the hot, melted wax to remove the hair.  This was after PLAYING in the wax with his fingers, making fake "gloves" for his fingers.  Remember, he is 12, not 5. 

So now we had wax on our wall, on the mirror, on the vanity, on THE RUG, on the scale...pretty much everywhere.  Little waxy beads that had dried. 

I showed Benjamin how to use the hair dryer to melt the wax again and wipe up with a tissue.  He did a pretty good job.

Later, we were getting ready for dinner and Jim said for us to get whatever we wanted out of the fridge to dip our chicken in.  Benjamin looked at me and mouthed the word, "WAX!" 

I had to leave the room, I was laughing so hard. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I got a Barbie Doll for Christmas!

This year for Christmas, our family drew names to see who we would get a gift for.  We were supposed to get something for $5 or less and make it funny or a gag gift.  We were not supposed to tell whose name we drew until we exchanged gifts on Christmas.  My father drew my name.  I'm not sure how the decision for my gift came about, but I can bet you it was almost as funny as watching me open the present. 

I suppose I should give you all some background on the humor involved. 

When I was a child, I did not like the way Barbie's clothes fit her.  Her shirts were too tight, in my opinion, and difficult to put on and take off when I wanted to change her clothes.  I decided I would fix this situation and proceeded to rub my Barbie Dolls' boobs on the cement sidewalk to make them smaller and flatter.  Definitely flatter.  I didn't rub them all the way off, just gave her a nice adjustment. Well, it was a good solution!  It was much easier for me to put her tops on and take them off when I wanted to change her clothes. 

Of course, this story has given me and my family plenty of laughter over the years.  My sister, Jill, told this story at my rehearsal dinner before my 1st wedding.  She was supposed to give a toast, but this was WAY better and everyone really enjoyed laughing rather than listening to her tell what a great sister I am.  HE HE! 

So when I opened my present, here is what I saw:

 And here is the beautiful Barbie Doll...still intact and wearing a top that fits and cannot be removed.

Thank you, Dad, for one of the best Christmas presents I've ever had and for the continued giggles over the note and gift. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Oh, I know a guy....

Yesterday evening, Jim, Benjamin (age 11) and I were hanging out talking and goofing around on FaceBook.  Somehow, we got on the topic of Benjamin driving to school.  Here was the short, but hilarious conversation:

Benjamin:  "I'm gonna drive to school when I get into high school."
Jim: "What are you gonna drive?"
B: "A Pontiac"
Me in my mind: "WHAT THE HELL?!?!?  A Pontiac?  Where did he get this?"
J: "Where you gonna get this Pontiac?"
B: "Oh, I know a guy." "Grandad."

I really don't know where B came up with this, but it certainly was a funny conversation!

Thursday, June 7, 2012


6 weeks ago, I quit smoking.  About 8 week ago, I started exercising on a regular basis.  I realized when I would smoke after exercising (not right away, but later on), the cigarette tasted nasty.  Okay, I know that cigarettes are nasty, but if you are or have ever been a smoker, they CAN taste "good".  I also realized that I was not smoking as much or craving a cigarette as much when I exercised.  I was also feeling better; I had more energy and I didn't ache as much.  I began thinking about really quitting smoking for good.  A week or so later, my father and I had a conversation.  After this conversation, I decided that I would finish smoking the cigarettes in the last 2 packs I had.  I knew I needed time to wean myself off of the smokes, so 2 packs was a good time frame for me. 

On April 26th, around 12:30pm Central Time, I had my last cigarette.  Oooohhhh, I miss it. I miss the rush, the release, the relief, the "high".  I know that if I took a drag, it would taste SO gross and I wouldn't even take a second puff.  THAT is a big reason I don't take that first drag.  Of course, all the health reasons are important, but anyone who has smoked knows what I mean.  We all know smoking is bad for us, yet we still do (did) it. 

I did not quit without help.  The day I quit, I began chewing nicotine gum.  I was chewing about 4 pieces a day, usually at work.  The funny thing I found is that I didn't really miss smoking when I was in the car.  I thought that would be the hardest habit to break, but it's really not even an issue.  I miss having a cigarette when I am at work.  But I have found that if I need a break, I can go downstairs with the smokers and it really doesn't make me want one - strangely, it doesn't affect me.  I can stand there, watch them smoke, and not crave it.  I know I am lucky!

I've noticed a change in my stress level as well.  I still have the same amount of stress, but when things get tough or I have to deal with the EX, I don't just get all worked up and need a smoke.  I get mildly pissed and move on. I don't have the smoking crutch to use and somehow, my attitude has gotten better. 

I think I was really ready this time.  I had noticed some issues with my health and I know that as I get older, these issues won't get better like good wine or cheese; smoking will only make health issues worse. 

On June 4th, I accidentally didn't have a piece of nicotine gum.  I guess I was just too busy or not stressed enough to chew a piece.  It was late afternoon when I realized this and thought, "Hey, let's try to go all day without a piece."   Now, I had done this before on the weekends - I would not have any nicotine gum on the weekends, then once I got to work, I felt I needed some "help".  So I actually went all day on the 4th without a piece of nicotine gum.  June 5th, I decided to see if I could do it again.  Around 4pm, I felt the urge, so I asked a co-worker for a piece of regular gum.  Not the same, but it took my mind off my craving.  June 6th I bought my own packs of gum and did really well until late afternoon.  I chewed 3 pieces of regular gum between 4pm and 6pm, but I did it!  Here I am on day 4 of being nicotine-free.  I know I can do this.  It's good for me and I know I'm saving money every week I don't smoke.   Just don't ask me to give up coffee or wine. 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Summer Reading Program

Benjamin didn't do too well in his Reading class this year.  It's not because he doesn't know how to read - he's a great reader and when he reads out loud, he uses inflection and really does a great job.  He has the same problem I do...my mind wanders when I am reading.  I can be reading a book that is fascinating and I'll just start thinking about other things and realize I need to go back and re-read the pages I just "read".  You should have seen the surprised look on his face when I asked Benjamin if his mind wandered when he was reading.  His eyes got big and he said, "Yes!  Even when I read the Percy Jackson books!"  (Percy Jackson books are his favorite right now.)  So I explained that he will need to learn to adjust, meaning that he's going to have to take notes and probably re-read pages and chapters that he's already read.  Not the best news for a kid to hear, but at least he knows he's not alone.

So this summer, we've instituted a reading program for Benjamin after talking to a couple of friends of mine who are teachers and reading specialists. 

This past weekend, we went to the library and picked out a bunch of books for B to read.  I kind of pushed him to take a book that was written for young readers by an author I really like.  The book is called Chomp and the author is Carl Hiaasen.  Benjamin wasn't too thrilled about it at first - he read the back cover and also the inside cover - and while it sounded "sorta interesting", he wasn't really sure it would be.  I have tried to explain to him that this information isn't always a good indicator of whether the book is interesting and sometimes you have to read a couple of chapters before "getting into the book". 

I decided we'd read aloud.  I took the first chapter and read it to him.  We then sat down with a notebook and wrote out the characters in this chapter, who they were, what they did and then discussed and wrote about what happened in the first chapter.  Okay, one down....many more to go.  Benjamin read the 2nd chapter out loud to me.  Yes, it was good and funny and the storyline was developing.  We discussed words he didn't understand and even laughed about things that happened in this chapter.  Writing about the 2nd chapter was a bit easier.  We did more discussing and he wrote more in his own words.  Progress!  3rd chapter - he began reading it out loud and got to a place where the name of a classmate of the main character was mentioned.  This classmate's name was "Tingley" of all things!  How cool is that?!?!?! 

I think this summer reading will be good for all of us. I like to share these stories with B and while he may not ever love reading like I do, he can at least appreciate the fact that some books tell some neat stories.  I can't wait to see what happens in these next chapters of Chomp

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wonderful Family

This morning, I was awakened by a text message from my network stating that our server room had surpassed a critical temperature threshold of 80 degrees.  When I got up and checked, it was NOT a false alarm, so I brushed my teeth, put on some deodorant, and headed into the office.  Wait, I did wake Jim up to tell him he'd need to take Benjamin to school before I left and kissed Jim goodbye.  Okay, all bases were covered. It's a nice drive at 4:30am in Nashville...hardly any traffic.  I arrived at the office in 35 minutes.  Not bad for a 36 mile drive!

Later on, while the HVAC technician was working on the unit, Jim called me to tell me he had packed my lunch and was almost to my office.  I almost cried.  He is such an incredibly thoughtful man. 

The day went on, the AC unit was fixed (or so we thought) and I left here at 2:30, picked up Benjamin and headed home.  I had just changed clothes and was starting to relax when my phone "blew up" with text messages from the system again.  "ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?!?" was what I said....not really, but I can't type what I said on a "family friendly" blog.  Those of you who know me can fill in the blanks here!  ;)

So, I logged in to the system, talked to some folks in the office, called our technician and waited a bit more.  I wanted to let traffic die down (it was 4:30pm....no sense in getting out in that mess) and get a little bit of dinner.  I said, "I'm going to shower" to no one in particular, but Benjamin heard me.  Pretty soon, I got up to go shower and he said, "I have your towel all ready....and it's a clean one."  This sweet boy had pulled the shower curtain back for me and hung a clean towel over the rod like I do for him in the mornings.  I nearly cried again!

What did I do to deserve such wonderful guys in my life?  They are both so thoughtful and really make my life so wonderful. 

I love you, Jim and Benjamin!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Missed Opportunities

I want to preface this entry by saying that I'm not looking for any type of sympathy and I'm not writing this to make anyone feel guilty or start regretting things they have or have not done.  I'm writing this because it's on my mind and I hope that I can take my own advice for once in my life. 

Yesterday, I came across something that I received when I was 15 years old.  I sat down to play the piano for a bit and saw the evaluation sheet that had been filled out by 3 judges during a recital/contest I played in.  I played two of my favorite pieces - one by Bach and one by Khachaturian.  I received 2 "superior" marks and 1 "excellent" mark.  What really got to me, though, was the fact that I do not recall ever reading the comments on these pages.  It's possible I did read them, but the response I had yesterday to the last comment makes me think I just looked at the "grades" and when I saw that I had received high marks, I was happy.  I'll get to the comment in a minute, but I want to expound on the fact that I don't think I really read those comments.  They were insightful and while I don't think they would have been life-changing, I wonder what I would have done with my life had I really read that last comment and taken it to heart.  I've missed out on a lot of things in life because I wasn't paying attention.  This is something I've always done.  I skim over things I read and I don't always pay attention to someone when they are talking to me. It's hurt me in many ways, I'm sure. I know that my self-confidence has always been lower than it should be.  I believe that if I had more self-confidence as a teenager, I might have played volleyball (or at least tried out) in college.  I would have loved to have tried out for the Olympic Team too...but I didn't have the confidence.  Oh, I had the tape to send to recruiters and it was a really GOOD one.  I actually served almost an entire game.  That is really impressive, I think.  It showed I had the skill and the concentration to focus on the game and not let the other team try to break me.  In a way I regret that I didn't pursue volleyball further than high school, but as I get older, the regret I feel lessens.  I do have a good life and I enjoy what I do.  I'm proud of my degree from college.  It was in a subject I loved and was pretty good at.  I'm no genius, but I am smart, I know that. 

Now, what about that comment on the piano recital sheet?  I wonder if I'd have chosen the same path if I had really read it closely.  It was a comment about the Khachaturian piece I played, "...polish it...and major in music."

Major in Music.  WOW!  That, along with the comment made by my piano teacher at the time, should have hit home with me.  The comment made by my piano teacher was, "You should become a concert pianist."  Double WOW!  Why didn't I listen to these people?  Who knows.  I was 15 years old.  I don't think I'd have become a concert pianist, truthfully, but when I look back and think about these things, I feel proud and sad and glad.  Glad I had the opportunity to learn how to play the piano.  Glad that I love playing the piano.  Glad that I still HAVE the piano I grew up with, even though it is SORELY out of tune!  Poor thing.  And glad that I can still play the piano.  Maybe I will start playing more often and might even consider taking another lesson or two?  Who knows, maybe I can still be a concert pianist some day.