Wednesday, April 29, 2009

31 Flavors

Today was $0.31 ice cream day. I have had it on my calendar for about a month now. Apparently I am not the only one.

In anticipation of ice cream with the family tonight I drove by 31 Flavors at 5:05 because the promotion started at 5:00 and I wanted to see how busy it was. There were about 15 people there. I thought to myself, "Good. Not too busy."

We had dinner and all those who ate their dinner were entitled to a scoop of ice cream. Coulter and Kees didn't eat and daddy decided they didn't need to go so he stayed home and Sophia and I went. We got there at about 6:45 and there were about 15 people in line. It was busier than earlier but not too bad. By the time we got back outside (about 10 minutes later) the line was out the door and across the whole parking lot. It's amazing what $0.31 ice cream can bring out in people. I guess we all like a deal. Man, am I glad our timing was good.

So remember in Haiku...................

Go get there early
Ice cream is thirty one cents
Yum, it tastes so good

Famous People

There is a thing going around on Facebook where you say 5 famous people you have met. I put Bob Hope, Shirly Temple Black, Steven Tyler, Aretha Franklin and Roger Staubach. You wouldn't believe how many famous people I have met. I can't believe it sometimes. If I was smart I would have kept a list but I didn't. The following is an email that I sent to one of my buddies because she wanted to know who I met where.

I met all those people working in hotels. I was an operations manager for almost 15 years with Starwood and met hundreds of famous people. Whenever anyone famous came in it was usually my responsibility to find out their needs / wants, then meet them as they arrived or go get them and then escourt them in (with or without security depending on who it was) and make sure that their stay went well.

Bob Hope was one of my favorites. I met him a few years before he died. He must have been 95 or so. He arrived late at night with his wife and was meeting and greeting everyone. He was very gracious. Then he decided he was going to go on a walk in down town Atlanta by himself at midnight. All I could think was, "You aren't getting killed on my watch." Downtown Atlanta at that time was not a very safe place. So I let him go and had security shadow him the whole time. Can you imagine him out there on his own?

Shirley Temple Black - I met her about 25 years ago in Seattle. She was coming into town for an actors convention. She was great and really friendly.

Steven Tyler - Spokane 1997. He was really funny. Tiny guy. Maybe 130 lbs soaking wet. I could totally take him.....;-) He flew commercial, called the hotel for a shuttle with his whole band and then stood in the lobby, signed autographs and had his picture taken until everyone had their fill.

Aretha Franklin was Atlanta 1995. She came in with her whole entourage unannounced. We had to scramble to set up billing and 60 rooms. Then when it didn't turn out exactly right she was pissed. There were about 100 people and maybe 30 different sets of billing instructions. Some had meals, calls and all incidentals expensed. Some only calls and there was everything inbetween. Upon getting the bill she came in and started ripping me. I sat back and took it for a while and then I tried to explain that if we had it in writing and in advance it would have been much easier. She was still mad and yelled. I then said, "You are good at what you do and I am good at what I do. All I am asking for is a little respect." Honestly, that is what I said. I thought it was pretty funny. She didn't. Then she stepped out and her brother and I had a good laugh. He was her traveling secretary.

Roger Staubach was in my bar when I was doing that. It was Houston about 1991. Really nice, very humble and easy going.

I could go on and on.... Tracy Chapman, Bob Costas (Actually really got to know him), Sinbad, Amy Tan, Donny Osmond, Michelle Kwan, Ed Asner, Tommy Lasorta, Harry Caray, Francois Mitterrand (I loved his business card. It said Francois Mitterrand, President of France), Tommy Lasorda (I have some funny stories about him), Marilyn Manson, The Backstreet Boys, too many sports figures to mention, many political figures and media types, blah, blah, blah..... My hotels were always one of the bigest in the areas I lived and therefore we had all the big conferences, teams and media events. Crazy but fun.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pirate Conversation

Today the boys and I were in the van. While driving down the street I saw a pirate flag hanging in front of someone's house.

I said, "Hey boys check it out! We should get one of those."

Coulter informed me that daddy already bought one.

"Alright! We should hang that out right away. Then we can get our pirate on." Oh those boys laughed.

And then I said, "Then we can be pirates."

Coulter said, "I just want to feel like a pirate. I don't want to be one."

I said, "Alright, we don't need to be pirates, we can just feel like pirates."

Coulter, "We will brush our teeth because we don't want our teeth to fall out."

Me, "Yeah, that's a good idea."

Coulter, "Yeah because that would REALLY hurt."

A Funny Cat Story

This is a story that my friend Shannon Shannon shared with me. Yes, her name really is Shannon Shannon. SS tells some pretty hilarious stories and many of them include her cat.

I had a cat incident last week though that made me laugh. I arrived home from work to find a group of neighbors in the street in front of my house. By the look in their eyes – I could tell that they had a mission on their minds. I smiled weakly and parked my car and walked to them to see what was going on.

Seems that two of my retired neighbors decided to get their carpets cleaned the same day that my husband decided it was warm enough to leave the cat outside for the day. Guess Sarah did not feel like hanging outside by herself and decided that the open doors (the carpet cleaner had to leave the door cracked open in order to snake the hoses into the house) across the street from our house was an open invitation to her. Of course she had to first roll in the flower bed as it had been a long time since she had seen dirt instead of snow. The cleaner tried to catch her – but she darted by him and proceeded to run across my neighbors white, newly cleaned and still wet carpet. A chase ensued and after many attempts and a lot of dirt – Sarah the Cat decided that she was not welcome in that house and strolled out of the house. My neighbors set up a blockade using treats and milk to entice her to stay outside while the cleaner – re-cleaned their carpets. He then moved on to the next house.

Guess what? Sarah decided that since she was so well rewarded by her first run in with the cleaner (plus she is part dog and LOVES to be chased) that she would check out the next house also. A second chase and many unmentionable words ensued. She was never caught – but did stop and take a break outside when presented with milk and treats again.

I tried really hard to look serious when they relayed their day to me. I am very clear that it was not pleasant and very frustrating. But as they ranted to me about their day – Sarah came and stood in the middle of the group, laid down, stretched out and presented her belly to anyone that wanted to give her a pet. Man was she happy. Full tummy, lots of attention and a very full day for her. I apologized and gave them my cell and offered to come home and lock her up if it ever happened again. Sarah strolled home and turned down dinner (dried cat food) as she had eaten well that day.

Monday, April 27, 2009

What To Do, What To Do?

I love to snuggle with my kids. Some of the finest time is that time early in the morning when my kids come in, I wake up and we all just snuggle and chat. I love it. We have no adgenda just a love fest. That being said....

Our boys climbed in bed with us this morning. When I say this morning I mean some time after mid night. I know when we went to bed around 11:00 there were no kids there. Bob got up at 5:30 to get ready for the day. That was his plan all along. As soon as I heard the shower turn off I went in to start my day. I had been awake since 5:15 why lay there and prolong the agony?

When I went into the bathroom Bob and I chatted. We have tried reasoning with the kids but that has not worked. So we need to come up with better alternatives. Here are a few of the options we came up with to keep the kids out of our bed room.

#1 - Barbed wire. This would definately challenge the kids. If they didn't have good wire cutters I think we would be "safe."

#2 - A mine field. This was Bob's suggestion but I think it's too harsh so that is out! They need to be able to see the danger.

#3 - An invisible fence. This has real promise. I think a couple of good shocks could keep them away with out causing permanenet damage.

But then I laid back down for a moment and felt their warm little bodies, their soft hair and warm sweet breath and thought do I really want them out for good? No. They will stay away soon enough and I know when that happens I will really miss having small people in bed with me. So for the time being I will lose sleep because I am being kicked or just pushed out of bed. I may be tired but I am going to try and savor this time so I can really remember it with my soul.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sick Mommy

My boys are lucky they are cute because they are the culprits. They got me sick. And why is it when they are sick they can just run around and play. When I am sick I still have to take care of everyone, do some laundry, maybe some cleaning and cook.

I could feel it coming on Friday and was in denial. By Monday it was full fledged. I still managed to have dinner with some friends on Monday but I wasn't much for energy. I went to bed at 7:30 on Tuesday. I can't remember the last time I did that. Today I still have the sinus thing but I am on the mend. I don't hurt all over and I cleaned the basement. Let me tell you that was no small task.

So I haven't been blogging but I have been resting. Bob will have the house to himself this weekend and he's hosting a Poker Party on Saturday Night. The kids and I are going to Steilacoom to spend the weekend with Dad and Sally and will stop by Mom and Ed's on the way home Sunday Morning. If that doesn't give me good blog matterial NOTHING WILL! More soon....

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mother of the Year....

I have had a banner week for being a great mother. Not good....great! And I have 3 prime examples to prove it.

#1 - Last Sunday (after church) we went to an Easter Party. It was really fun. The kids had an Easter Egg Hunt and then were running around in packs. The parents were eating, drinking and being merry. Bob, not really being a party person, had enough after about 3 hours. He came to me and said, "Let's take the kids to a movie." I said, "Why don't you take the kids to a movie? I am having a great time." He said, "Alright, I'll go talk to the kids. See you later." He leaves with the kids.

I stayed for about 2 hours longer. I was having a fabulous time. I caught up with people that I hadn't seen for a long time and was enjoying my time as an adult with out kids. I can't remember the last time I was at a party with out my kids. After a couple hours I was ready to go. I said my good byes and was practically out the door. Before I left I thought that I should call Bob and find out where my family was and maybe I could hook up with them. As I was talking to Bob, Sophia comes running out of the house. I almost dropped. And then I started laughing because I was going to leave with out her. I could hardly talk because I was laughing so hard. I was seriously going to leave with out her. "Mother of the Year"...but wait, there's more... Next comes Coulter....AND KEES! They had been there all along and I was going to leave my babies at the party. Yes, yes...someone give me an award.

#2 - If you have met my boys you know THEY LIKE MONSTER TRUCKS!!! They like all things monster truck. They like the music, they like actual trucks, they like the noise, they like it ALL. Well being "Mother of the Year" I made a CD of Monster Truck Music. The first song is The 3 Little Pigs by Green Jelly. You have to click this's hilarious. The boys and I heard this by chance one day and we had to have it.

So after deciding that would be the first song I clicked Genius on ITunes and quickly burned them a CD. If you don't know Genius it is an awesome feature. It picks out songs that are similar to your original choice and creates a kind of party mix. The boys love their CD. They play it loud all the time. I figure I better get used to it because in their teen years I probably won't have a choice.

On Tuesday night Bob went upstairs with the boys to help them clean their room. They jump up on their bed and turn on their new favorite Monster Truck CD. They're cleaning away. And when song #3 came on Bob decided it was time to turn the CD off. He later brought me the CD and said, "Listen to song #3" I did and once again "Mother of the Year" comes to mind. The 3rd song was Limp Bizkit's Break Stuff. You should click on that one but make sure there are no little ears around. When I heard it I laughed so hard. Let me say that at best it is TOTALLY INAPPROPRIATE for anyone one under 18. Actually it is inappropriate for anyone as far as I am concerned. Yes the "Mother of the Year" made a lovely CD for her children. Bob and I laughed for 10 minutes. He was describing how Coulter said, "Oh, this is my favorite song." And how he sang along. It took Bob 2 minutes to determine that "Yes, the F word is what they said." and then to turn it off. Now I am wondering how it got on my ITunes. I can guarantee that I didn't buy that CD.

#3 - On Thursday we had a glorious day. It was in the mid 60's, the sun was shining and the neighborhood was coming alive. On the way home from school Kees fell asleep in the van. I pulled the van way up the driveway, opened all the doors, the sun roof and all the windows. I unbuckled his seat belt so he could get out when he woke up. He slept for an hour or so and then woke up happy. Great. Now comes the problem.

I left the van open. I left the van open all night.....and it rained. It rained pretty hard. Friday morning we went out to the van to go to school and you can only imagine my surprise at my soaking wet van. The cup holders were full, the maps were soaked, the seats and carpet was a total disaster. The carpet was so wet that later when I parked the van on an incline there was a pool in the front of the van. It's a good thing that it was me and not the kids....oh man. Coulter wasn't sure if he should laugh or be nervous. We all laughed. What are you going to do? Yes again, "Mother of the Year" comes to mind.

So those were my great moments this week. May next week be full of great parenting moments as well. I hope my kids survive me....

Coulter Said

Last night when Bob went to put the boys to bed Coulter asked Bob, "Dad, what does succeed mean?" Bob explains that it means to do something really well or to have a goal and then to do it. Coulter says, "Oh, I thought it was a SICK SEED." He then thinks for a moment and says to Bob, "Daddy. Will you build us a race car track in the basement?" Bob says, "Yes." And then Coulter says, "Build a good race car track daddy.....SUCCEED!"

The other day I was listening to NPR while taking the boys to school. The reporter said that Obama had said or done something that was remenicent of Teddy Rosevelt. Coulter asked, "Mom, who is TeddY?" I said, "You know who that is. Think." He thought for a moment and then said excitedly, "Oh yeah. He's that guy from Night at the Museum. He was a president" I said, "Very good Coulter. That's exactly right!" I was really impressed he knew that. Then he said, "Yeah, he was the president but now he's just a statue." That made me laugh.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fleeting Sleep

For some reason I have had a hard time sleeping lately. I woke up at 3:30 all of the past 3 nights. I am not worried about anything that I can think of I am just waking up. This blows! I love sleep. If I do get back to sleep I have either been woken up at 6 am or have just opened my eyes then.

My small people have taken to having a bit of snuggle time in the morning. This is all well and good but I only have 2 sides and I have 3 kids. They seem to have started a competition to see who can get up first and claim a side. Last week one of them came in at 4:30 trying to claim a side. I was, shall we say, pissed!

Not only do they come in early in the morning but they seem to have gotten back in the habit of climbing in bed with us during the night. Kees is particularly sneaky, maybe because he's small. Bob is always shocked when he wakes up with Kees next to him.

Last night I decided to get back in the habit of going to bed at 9:30 or 10, spend a little time reading and hopefully fall asleep shortly after that. I did and it went pretty well. Then at midnight or so, Kees arrived. I had to make the decision to let him stay or get up and take him back to bed. If I really wake up it is very hard to get back to sleep....alright, he can stay. Next Sophia came in. She just crawled onto the "Chair Bed" and went to sleep. Fine....try to sleep, try to sleep....ahhh.. sleeping.

But then at 3:30 I awoke to the smell of dog poop. "Please be a fart, please be a fart." (I wish big don't I?) After 10 minutes I knew this was not fart. I turned on my bed side light and there was a bunch of poops by my dresser. Iva, our dog, usually wakes me up if she needs to go. I am not sure what was going on there but she obviously needed to go.

I get out of bed and start to clean up the dog poop. "Oh good. It's really solid so it's easy to pick up." (Again, BIG expectations) But there are lots of pieces. "I better flush these in two batches so the toilet doesn't get clogged." Good plan but it didn't work. The toilet plugs up. "Damn it." I go down stairs to get the plunger and the dog follows me and wants to go out. She goes out and poops more and then seems to wander around aimlessly for 10 minutes. I finally convince her to come in. I have to clean her feet, get the plunger and head back up.

The stupid toilet is really plugged. Push, pull, push, pull....nothing. Push, pull, push, pull....nothing. "Man this is really getting frustrating." Meanwhile I have poop waiting to still be disposed of. It's sitting neatly wrapped in TP. Push, pull, push, pull....still stuck. This goes on for 5 minutes or more and finally, it goes down. I finish the job. Squirt the offending area with pet odor stuff, wash my hands and go lay in bed. Of course I have now been out of bed for more then 20 minutes and Kees has taken over my spot. He's like a jell that fills the gaps. "Shove over dude."

Again, sleep alludes me. But I know I did go to sleep because Coulter woke me up at 6 to snuggle. Ah, a night in the life......

So today I am a bit tired. I need some coffee ASAP. Maybe that will get me out of this funk. And tonight, everyone better stay in their beds and the dog better behave her self. Mommy is tired. And when mommy is tired it effects everyone.

Wish us luck....

Friday, April 10, 2009

Grass in my Polish

It is that time of year where I need to start painting my toes. Especially since Sunday is Easter. My Easter outfit is simple....I wear whatever I want and then go barefoot (we go to a party after church where this is totally acceptable). I paint my toes in 5 different colors, Easter type colors and then I put dots and stripes on them with white paint. It's always a big hit and it gets me in the Spring mood. Even when the weather is rainy, my toes are bright and shiny. And my kids think it's the coolest. They often get the same treatment, including the boys. Kees particularly likes pink.

I pulled out my polish today and there was a ton of grass in the bag. We also paint our toes a lot when we go up to Decatur Island in August. When we paint our toes there it is really a production. There are 8 kids and 2 babysitters and everyone is painting everyone else's toes. The babysitters and kids often set up a "spa" and soak their feet in any kind of bucket they can find. It is really cute and something I look forward to every year.

So something that would ordinarily annoy me has given me great joy. I love that there is grass in my polish bag and I won't take it out. I love that reminder of our Decatur trip and look forward to more grass this year and maybe even a little sand or shells.

Happy Easter.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Fuzz, Fur Whatever....

This morning Coulter asked me, "Mom, do people sometimes call police "fur"?" Of course he meant "the FUZZ."

Monday, April 6, 2009

Horray!!!! Spring!!!!

It was such a nice weekend. The sun was out and the park sprang to life. On Saturday there was a soccer tournament across the street. Before, after and all day on Sunday there were dogs galore all over the park. Iva was all a twitter.

Bob worked in the yard all day both days. He re-did our French Drains, installed a fountain in front and fixed the ground below our barbeque and garbage cans. He was a dirt and rock hauling machine! I think he has been waiting for the sun to shine so he could just get out there and do it. It is all a great improvement and the fountain is beautiful!

The kids ran all over our yard and our neighbors yard all Saturday with our neighbors son, Max. They all had a great time. And on Saturday evening Deb, our neighbor, graciously brought over hors d'oeuvres and a bottle of wine. The kids watched a movie and we all sat out on the deck, sitting under the heater, listening to the fountain and having a fine time.

Sunday Sophia had the first lemonaid stand of the year. There are sure to be many more. The the boys went over to the Stewarts for the day and played all day. Sophia ran errands with me and I really enjoyed her company. She is getting to be such a big girl. Later we had dinner on the deck for the first time this year.

And today I went on a bike ride. It wasn't too long and I am not sure that I would have been cleared by my occupational thereapist but I couldn't stand it any longer. I have been restricted since November! Please....enough is enough. It was fabulous. I rode up and down the neighborhood and ran some of errands. I hope that it is the first of many bike rides to come this year.

I hope your weekend was as wonderful as ours was. We're looking forward to many more fab weekends to come!!!! Happy SPRING!!!!

Our Economy..... Cheers!!!

Thanks to my friend Mireya for sending this one along....

Derivitive Market layman's terms

At last, what we've all been waiting for, an understandable explanation of derivative
markets ....

Heidi is the proprietor of a bar in Detroit . In order to increase sales, she decides to allow her loyal customers - most of whom are unemployed alcoholics - to drink now but pay later. She keeps track of the drinks consumed on a ledger (thereby granting the customers loans).

Word gets around about Heidi's drink now pay later marketing strategy and as a result, increasing numbers of customers flood into Heidi's bar and soon she
has the largest sale volume for any bar in Detroit .

By providing her customers' freedom from immediate payment demands, Heidi gets no resistance when she substantially increases her prices for wine and beer, the most consumed beverages. Her sales volume increases massively.

A young and dynamic vice-president at the local bank recognizes these customer debts as valuable future assets and increases Heidi's borrowing limit. He sees no reason for undue concern since he has the debts of the alcoholics as collateral.

At the bank's corporate headquarters, expert traders transform these customer loans into DRINKBONDS, ALKIBONDS and PUKEBONDS. These securities are then traded on security markets worldwide.

Naive investors don't really understand the securities being sold to them as AAA secured bonds are really the debts of unemployed alcoholics. Nevertheless, their prices continuously climb, and the securities become the top-selling items for some of the nation's leading brokerage houses who collect enormous fees on their sales, pay extravagant bonuses to their sales force, and who in turn purchase exotic sports cars and multimillion dollar condominiums.

One day, although the bond prices are still climbing, a risk manager at the bank (subsequently fired due to his negativity), decides that the time has come to demand payment on the debts incurred by the drinkers at Heidi's bar.

Heidi demands payment from her alcoholic patrons, but being unemployed they cannot pay back their drinking debts. Therefore, Heidi cannot fulfill her loan obligations and claims bankruptcy. DRINKBOND and ALKIBOND drop in price by 90%. PUKEBOND performs better, stabilizing in price after dropping by 80 %. The decreased bond asset value destroys the banks liquidity and prevents it from issuing new loans.

The suppliers of Heidi's bar, having granted her generous payment extensions and having invested in the securities are faced with writing off her debt and losing over 80% on her bonds. Her wine supplier claims bankruptcy, her beer supplier is taken over by a competitor, who immediately closes the local plant and lays off 50 workers.

The bank and brokerage houses are saved by the Government following dramatic round-the-clock negotiations by leaders from both political parties. The funds required for this bailout are obtained by a tax levied on employed middle-class non-drinkers.

Finally an explanation we can all understand......