Sunday, May 30, 2010

~ Graduation Day~

by Tina~in_ut

I can't believe this day has arrived.  I truthfully thought it never would.  I never pictured my sweet little boy graduating from High School and going off to college.  I'm not ready.  I never prepared for it.  I thank God for every day I have with him, but I'm kind of in denial.

Thursday night was his Baccalaureate Mass at the Cathedral.  That is him with the black collar processing out of the church in the video.  And yes, he did wink at me.  We weren't supposed to take pictures or video....but I couldn't help it.  We can purchase the DVD of that and the graduation, but I wanted a little something NOW!!!!

After the main part of the mass, the Principal stood up and gave out the academic awards.  My friend and I laughed and consoled each other because our boys didn't get any.  Then they called all the names of the kids who were on the high Honor Roll.  They were called in alphabetical order.  When we got past my friends' last name, I'm sorry to say, I was glad that we'd still be in the same boat!  But then, miracle of miracles, Ryan's name was called.  I can't tell you how proud that made me.  I only cried a little bit.  I think I'm saving it all up for the actual graduation. 

I'll leave you with what I wrote to him in his yearbook:

Class of 2010

Congratulations Ryan!  It has been a joy to watch you grow into the incredible young man you have become.  Eighteen years has gone by so fast.  You have worked hard, but still managed to keep your sense of humor.  Wherever life takes you, always remember that we love you!

-Mom, Dad, Sis*, & Bro*
*names changed to protect the innocent   

Saturday, May 29, 2010


by Bonachichi

I have a friend I’ve known since childhood and I’ve been spending a lot of time with her lately. She has a brother I’ve known just as long, and that whole family lives within minutes of each other. Her brother is one of those Don Juan guys. Macho and a real ladies’ man. My girlfriend and I were working on her computer and here comes Mr. Don Juan… face contorted in pain, labored breathing, hunched over and limping. “Your daughter just hit me in the nut sac with a shoe!”

We knew we shouldn’t, but we just couldn’t help ourselves. We were laughing so hysterically that my girlfriend’s husband came to see what the hell was going on. Between snorts, I asked Don Juan if I could get him a bag of frozen peas or something. He declined, and then claimed that “it” wasn’t going to work for at least two weeks. It may as well be a lifetime for him.

I really like this guy. He’s incredibly fun, funny and the sort of person people like to be around. Which is why I wonder what makes me want to terrorize him and enjoy his pain. We got on to a crowded elevator yesterday and for no reason whatsoever, I said to him, “It smells like someone farted. Did you fart?” Instead of being embarrassed, he told the rest of the elevator, “She ripped a big one just before we got on and it probably came in with her”.

I fear I have met my match. I borrowed a shirt from him and wore it for hours (in Hollywood) before I realized the back of it said, “I’m not a doctor, but I’ll take a look.”

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Importance of Walking

by Mary

Walking can add minutes to your life. This enables you at 85 years old to spend an additional 5 months in a nursing home at $7000 per month.

My grandpa started walking five miles a day when he was 60. Now he's 97 years old and we don't know where the hell he is.

I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.

The only reason I would take up walking is so that I could hear heavy breathing again.

I have to walk early in the morning, before my brain figures out what I'm doing.

I joined a health club last year, spent about 400 bucks. Haven't lost a pound. Apparently you have to go there.

Every time I hear the dirty word 'exercise', I wash my mouth out with chocolate...(I really love this one)

I do have flabby thighs, but fortunately my stomach covers them.

The advantage of exercising every day is so when you die, they'll say, 'Well, she looks good doesn't she.'

If you are going to try cross-country skiing, start with a small country.

I know I got a lot of exercise the last few years ...... just getting over the hill.

We all get heavier as we get older, because there's a lot more information in our heads. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


Every time I start thinking too much about how I look, I just find a Happy Hour and by the time I leave, I look just fine.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


there is so many thank you's that i feel inside
but where does one start

this blog does have have a life of its own
it continues on no matter the circumstances
i have been so preoccupied with the life given to me
the blog for me as been neglected
you all have held it up
allowed it to flourish daily

tina in her ~sweetpea~ way always making sure
blogs are there for everyday publish
when i check the blog each night she has them all
scheduled and ready to go
so for me not to worry
all in her ~sweetpea~ way

and all of you writing away and sending them
off to her and all just to keep us together

there were so many who doubted us
thought we would never make it
took this blog as a joke
dismissed it as just a bunch of crazies
writing about sweet nothings

a group is so hard to sustain the personalities are many
some good days and some bad days
our group survives
we each pick up where one has left off
we group together

we proved to all the doubters
that we are real

so very many thank you's
just so many

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The powers that be...

and so it seems life changes is a moment
just when you think you have everything under control
life unravels
and you must hold on tight

as they say everything happens for a reason
however one must wait to find the reason
the wait can be long and daunting
but it will show
with time everything does

it's the demeanor that changes and
at times not for the good
you have to wonder where the hateful
words come from
perhaps it's the bitterness built up inside
it is let loose like a lion let out of a cage
the roar is frightening

the wonder of the person and who it becomes
the life that should have been
so fragile life is one should never forget
to give up is useless the fight is worth it
life is worth it

i can't understand one giving up
it's not in my nature
i refuse to change
so be it
i am me you see what you get
never underestimate what my possibilities can be
i will continue
you will see

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Kush Support - A Natural Rest For The Breast

by Shirley

A boob separator for women who like to sleep on their sides but don't like their breasts touching.

Monday, May 24, 2010

I Didn't Know I Was Dead

by Bonachichi

I have a girlfriend I’ve known since 9th grade. She was the best friend I’ve ever had.  She left school and we went on with our lives. Some time ago, I heard a hysterical woman screaming, “You’re alive!!” Then I found myself in a bear hug with a woman who seemed familiar to me, but I couldn’t quite place her. It was Cassie (name altered to protect her), and I hadn’t seen her since I was in the 10th grade.
There was a lot of crying on her part, a lot of reassurance on my part that yes, I was most definitely alive as far as I knew. She said she’d seen my sister about 20 years ago and asked after me. Good ol’ sis told Cassie that I was dead. I never knew this. Over the years, Cassie drove her kids to my childhood home to show her kids where the best friend she ever had had once lived. Cassie is an emotional sort, and I can only imagine the turmoil she must have gone through.
So now that I was officially alive again, we rekindled our friendship. I adored her brother and mother. I don’t remember her dad from back then; only that he’d won some award for a movie with a shark and it intimidated me somewhat. We now spend a lot of time together. Cassie’s Mum used to carry around a can of Lysol and spray people she didn’t like. I never got sprayed and considered that an honor. That woman always made me laugh.
I spend a lot of time with Cassie, her brother and her Mum now. There was just one thing missing and I couldn’t put my finger on it. Not until Mum Cassie sprayed me with Lysol and said, “That’s for making us think you were dead all these years!” That was it. I’m now part of the family. As for my sister, they’ve agreed to pay to have that broomstick surgically removed from her arse if she ever sets foot in California again.
Two questions pop into my mind about this blog. First, is it normal to have a friend who means the world to you? Like the other half of you? And second why would my sister tell people I’m dead? I’ve seen people who don’t get along with their siblings, but not to the point where they tell people their sister is dead. It just seems beyond hurtful, spiteful and frankly, crazy.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

~ Lee's Hallelujah ~

by Tina~in_ut

I love this song anyway, and yes, I know you've heard it now for the third time!  lol....I DON"T CARE!  I loved Lee's performance.  When they went back to his hometown of Arlington Heights and I saw all the kids in their school uniforms waiting for him, hubby and I were excited!  A Catholic school!  I looked up their website, which hubby, with his critical eye, decided was well done, and I saw this:

A Time to BeLEEive!

We are in a busy and exciting season at St. James School!  We are so proud of our 2nd graders as they made their First Holy Communion this month and we are proud of our 8th graders, who have grown into amazing young adults, and will soon leave SJS to become part of the great group of SJS alum!  We are all excited and certainly BeLEEiving in one SJS alumnus these past several weeks, Lee DeWyze, and wish him luck on American Idol!

The power of believing in our faith, ourselves, and one another makes us strong, compassionate, and supportive.  Thanks for all the believing you do at St. James!

And there was a link which led to this:

Whether he wins or comes in second, it doesn't matter!  This nice young man will succeed~ YAY Lee~

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Rejuvenique Electric Facial Mask

by Shirley

It's like doing sit-ups for your face, only instead of doing something healthy, you're electrocuting yourself while dressed as a serial killer.

Friday, May 21, 2010

~ Loofah! Loofah! Loofah! ~

by Tina~in_ut

Hollie from work asked me if I had seen the scrubbing bubbles video.  I had no idea what she was talking about.  She found it on youtube and Janice and I watched it.  We cracked up.  Now at work, when we just want a laugh, or the stress is getting to us, we all chant, "Loofah!  Loofah!  Loofah!"  I hope you get a chuckle out of this, too!~

Update 5:19am MT:

I just saw this video....and I had to share~  omg!!!~

And I really don't think this guy has EVER seen anything like this!~  lol~

Thursday, May 20, 2010

~ Handmade with Love ~

 by Bebbi

Things that my daughter made mean a lot to me.  She has always made cute handmade mementos.  In the picture above are three of them.  The middle one is the latest thing she made.  She made it for Mother's Day and it says, "Mothers hold their child's hands for a short while but their hearts forever."  She did this one with her "Little" in Big Brothers/Big Sisters.  Her "Little" made one for her Mom, too.

The one on the right is one she made for me when she was probably ten or eleven.  I still use it!  It is well worn but the "Mommy" has held up well over the years.  It also has stars and hearts around it too.  :D

The one on the left is one she made to commemorate her first trip as an adult.  She and her girlfriend drove to Cocoa Beach and they each made one to remember their trip.  The souvenir reminds me of the anxiety I had worrying about her during that trip...haha.

I have quilts from when I was a baby and I have crocheted blankets my grandmother made for me and for my kids.  I have lots of clothes my mom made.  I have a cross stitched bird I made for my grandmother.  I got it back after she died and it hangs in my kitchen.

My Mom makes Memory Bears.  She takes an item of clothing from the person that has passed and makes it into a bear.  This can be treasured for years by the loved one.  She has even made one in flannel to represent my grandfather.  She puts a picture of the loved one on the front in a handmade frame.  The saddest one she did was of a baby boy.  The Mom had her made a bear out of his baby blanket.

Do you have handmade things that you have had for years?  If so, who made them and what makes them important to you?  Are there any handmade things that you like to make and give to people?  What is your one most treasured homemade item...whether you made it or you got it?  I can't wait to hear your stories. :D

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

~ Architectural Tour of Chicago ~

by Tina~in_ut

Di and I went on an Architecture Tour when we were in Chicago.  We cruised up and down the river and got to see a lot of the different styles of buildings in the city.  It was very interesting and we both enjoyed it, for the most part.  Chicago has one of the most recognizable skylines in the world.  I cracked up when we passed the NBC building.  There is so much going on in the city and so much to see....and what was I doing?  I was recognizing all the spots where ER filmed it's outside shots.  
We went past the old Sears Tower and the "corn cob buildings!"  (see pics)  The person who designed the "corn cobs" must have been on something when he thought up these weird looking things~  There is one spot on the tour where all modes of transportation intersect.  It's on the flight path for the airport, the bridge over the river holds cars, bikes, pedestrians, and buses, boats travel under the bridge, and the subway is underneath it all.  I thought that was cool!
What really strikes me as funny, though, is the fact that, although we sat right next to each other, we had two very different experiences.  We sat down in the middle of the boat and were followed by a family of two parents, a set of grandparents, and two children (one infant and one 2 yr old).  They sat in the row behind us to the left.  They were from India and didn't speak any English, so while the tour guide was giving his spiel, they talked amongst themselves....VERY LOUDLY!!!  I'm pretty okay with that.  I've learned to be in a room with my children and husband and won't hear a word any of them say.  I'm really good at tuning them out, so I just tuned out the family. 

What I couldn't tune out was the husband's cough.  It was constant and LOUD!  And, of course, he couldn't cover his mouth.  Thank God he sat on the side of the boat for most of the time, but when he moved to sit behind me, I about died.  I kept picturing all these germs flying into my hair!  ewwwwww~  It so grossed me out.  When I said something to Di afterward, she looked at me like I was on crack and said she didn't even know the man was coughing.

What really bothered her was the grandfather playing with the toddler.  He kept making her giggle and "coochie coochie cooing" her!  I looked at her like SHE was on crack!  I didn't hear him at all.  I thought the grandparents were pretty quiet compared to the parents!

We laugh now about it, but at the time, we both wanted to throttle those people!  Especially since the rest of the boat was pretty much empty~  One other thing worth mentioning......after the cruise, we both had some questions that we were going to ask the tour guide, but instead, Di stopped this YOUNG, CUTE boy who was helping dock the boat.  I couldn't stop laughing afterward.   I was scared that I would have to find another room for the night with the way she was all over that kid!!!  Just kidding~ :D .....maybe~

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Dumb Laws

by Shirley

You may not drive a black car on Sundays.
It is unlawful to lend your vacuum cleaner to your next-door neighbor.
It is illegal to mistreat rats in Denver, Colorado.

New Jersey Crazy Law

It is against the law for a man to knit during the fishing season.
You may not slurp your soup.
Automobiles are not to pass horse drawn carriages on the street.
It is illegal to delay or detain a homing pigeon.

Utah Crazy Law

It is illegal to detonate any nuclear weapon. You can have them, but you just can't detonate them.
Birds have the right of way on all highways.
It is against the law to fish from horseback.
When a person reaches the age of 50, he/she can then marry their cousin.
It is considered an offense to hunt whales.

California Crazy Law

Animals are banned from mating publicly within 1,500 feet of a tavern, school, or place of worship.
Many animals are illegal to own as pets, including snails, sloths, and elephants.
Bathhouses are against the law.
No vehicle without a driver may exceed 60 miles per hour.
Women may not drive in a house coat.
It is a misdemeanor to shoot at any kind of game from a moving vehicle, unless the target is a whale.

Arizona Crazy Law

You may not have more than two dildos in a house.
Hunting camels is prohibited.
Donkeys cannot sleep in bathtubs.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Crackers And Diet Coke

by Bebbi

So, it's a Saturday night and Mr. B doesn't want to go out.  I have had a busy day, but I am BORED!  I mentioned this on FB and Ms. Tina suggested I write a blog.  Okay, good suggestion, and I have been meaning to write about this anyway.  My topic: Diet Coke and Crackers!

I personally could live on these two items alone.  Of course, since I have lost weight and made healthy choices, a lot of people ask me why I don't give up the diet sodas.  Well, I really like them!  Also, I don't drink coffee so I always have a diet coke in the morning to get my caffeine fix.  Really, do I have to give up everything!!?!!...

As far as crackers, I just love saltines.  I buy the "hint of salt" Premium Carckers or the unsalted tops Kroger brand.  I like the Hint of Salt a lot better, but only a couple of stores carry them so when I go to a store that doesn't, I have to buy the lowest sodium ones possible.  My mom has high blood pressure and I never want to have it, so hence the low salt diet.

I don't know why I love these two foods, but they are important in my life.  I NEED them.  They are my comfort foods and they taste so good together!!  What comfort foods are a must in your life?  Is there any food combinations that are really a must for you?  Do you have any foods you feel for sure that you could live off of if you had to?

So, if I ever had an emergency like Carol, I wouldn't want chocolate.  I would want a diet coke and a sleeve of crackers!  Haha....

Thanks Tina for suggesting I do something really productive with my Saturday night. :D

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Embrace Your Wrinkles?

Chosen by Bebbi

I saw this on Rosie’s Radio Recap Blog is so perfect.  I LOVE It.  I am embracing myself..from now on out! Hahaha…perfect. Of course for  me, but not anyone else on the nest.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


more chocolate goodness
delivered yesterday from my postman
all the way from utah
how great is this
which should i eat first
such a sweet surprise
from my friend
thank you!

next time i think i will blog about
craving a new car!


Friday, May 14, 2010

~ It Can Always Be Worse ~

by Tina~in_ut

As usual, on the way to the doctor, Dad did what he always does.  He talked.  Nonstop!  I still can't get used to it because he was always such a quiet man.  He usually talks about what's worrying him the most, and it's usually a family member.  This time, he talked about the side effects of the chemo.  His hands and feet are pealing and hurt like no tomorrow, his feet and ankles are way swollen, and he has a bad rash.  I didn't want to seem insensitive because I've never had to go thru what he is, but I couldn't help but think, "Dang, could be worse!"

I asked him how he was sleeping.  He said that he was back sleeping in his own bed, and actually sleeping rather well.  Before, on the chemo pills, he hardly slept at all unless he slept on the couch.  I asked him if he had any pain in his bones.  He said that all that had gone away.  Before, he was constantly telling us about this pain or that his ribs, shoulder, or back.  Of course we all took that very seriously because of the kind of cancer he has. 

After his doc appointment, he had to go for his chemo.  I waited for him and, hours later, when he came out, he was his usual self, raring to go and wanting out of there.  Even before we got to the car, he was telling me that he has it so good and it could be so much worse.  He told me about this very thin woman and how they had so much trouble finding a vein to give her the chemo.  There was another woman in her 80's who had heart problems and diabetes on top of cancer.  In his words, "She was a mess!  They didn't even want to give her the meds because they were worried about her heart.  They should just take her out back and......"  I asked him, ".....and?"  He didn't answer me, but I knew what he meant.  This was my in to tell him what I thought.  I told him that yes, it could be so much worse and as weird as it is to say, he's lucky.  It's a very strange thing to say to someone with cancer and a broken neck, but had my dad become paralyzed, I don't think he'd ever consider chemo.  He wouldn't be able to stand not being able to get around.  It would have killed him.

So now when I wake up with a back ache, or remember that I have seizures, I think, "My God!  That's nothing!"  There are people with broken backs or those that wear helmets because their seizures aren't under control.  I have to remind myself that it can always be worse and thank God for what I do have!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Are there really ever any “Missed Connections”?

by Bebbi

Connections change our world. With Facebook I am able to be in contact with people that were at one time just a fond memory. It is so nice to connect with people that have helped build who I am or I have help build part of their history. Also “Missed Connections”, like on Craig’s list or other sites make it easy to reconnect again today than it ever was before. Is there such a thing as two ships passing in the night anymore?

There is a commercial on television right now that shows a president being inaugurated and it flashes back in time to a man on a train platform and he sees a girl and changes his ticket on his quick wonderful phone to get a seat beside her. That caused me to reflect about how one connection leads to another which can ultimately be the person you spend your life with.

This mental journey leads me to one of my favorite poems:

Reason, Season, or Lifetime
People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you figure out which one it is,
you will know what to do for each person.
When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.
Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.
Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.
— Unknown

My favorite line besides the “Reason, Season & Life” is this: “friendship is clairvoyant”. Clairvoyance is defined as the power or faculty of discerning objects not present to the senses and ability to perceive matters beyond the range of ordinary perception. What makes me realize that someone is important? What makes us want to make it a “Lifetime” rather than a reason or a season? Is it something within us or is it something more? Are some people more predisposed to want one of the three – Reason, Season or Life? Do we need all three?

When writing this blog, I thought to myself there are really three blogs here…one about making connections, one about keeping connections and one about missed connections.. I would love to hear y our stories of your connections… Have you missed any and then found them? Have you had people come back into your life again and been very happy for it? Do you think that it should be “it is what it is”.. and people should move on? I always have hope for more, not sure why, but I do. Do you mind being two ships passing in the night?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Peeking into the chocolate goodness

Ahhhh and there you have it
ready, set, go!

OMG.. this was delievered to me about 1hr ago!!!

How great is this..

I did not even open it yet..

but of course I will..

Best idea ever..

So fun!

I found my smile..



Yikes! Not in the best of moods, and its by turn to write a blog. If I write about what is in my head, this blog would be the worst blog ever written. The mean side of me would totally show, and to keep up my image of being the nicest person ever (lol) I will have to pass.

However.....I can say....

I am overworked, I am tired, I am angry, I am bloated, I need chocolate every minute of every day and my stash is gone and I don't have time to get to the store since I am working 12 hr days. To top it all off, its freezing here in NJ, the weather is awful.

In keeping with having a daily blog, this will have to do.

And on I go....

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

~ Where in the Hell is Matt? ~

by Tina~in_ut

A friend at work told me about Matt's video.  I thought she meant Matt Lauer, so I looked for the video online and was disappointed at first when I found out it wasn't the same Matt.  After watching it, I couldn't help but smile and even gasp at some of the shots.  This is Matt's second dancing video.  He was traveling in Asia when his friend gave him the idea to dance while he video taped it.  He ended up filming at several different spots and put it on youtube.  It came to the attention of Stride gum who asked him to travel once more around the world and film himself dancing that horrible dance.  Who wouldn't say yes to a request like that?  There is a third video on his website and he's got an idea for a fourth in the works.  I hope you like it as much as I did.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Center for Women & Families Pegasus Parade 2010!

by Bebbi

As many of you know, I walked the Pegasus Parade for the Center for Women & Families on Thursday before coming to Chicago to meet all of you.  The Pegasus Parade is the official parade of the Kentucky Derby Festival. The Kentucky Derby Festival is the two weeks of activities that precede the Kentucky Derby on the First Saturday in May.  The Center decided this year to participate for the first time and I was fortunate enough to be able to volunteer!

The Center for Women and Families is Louisville’s shelter for anyone who may need an escape or safe haven from a domestic situation. Also, they help any victims of sexual violence.  They do so much good for the community.  I work as a hospital advocacy volunteer. I go to the hospital when someone needs to have a representative from the center to coordinate assistance and be a general support to the victim.

It was a really long day in the hot sun. I arrived at the Center at 1:00 and we didn’t hit the parade route until after 6 p.m.!  We were through by 7:30 or so. While we were waiting for our spot in the parade I was able to pet the dogs from the Humane Society and talk to a lot of people.

We had to do a short routine and I will admit I was not very good at it. We all had trouble though when we got in front of the cameras. The music started unexpectedly and we were all over the place..but not a single person cared. We all laughed about it on the way back to the Center.

While we were walking that parade almost all of us had a touching moment. – by either  a child pointing to us and telling their Mom..”look there’s the Center!”,   Or women holding up a fist and saying thank you, or whole sections of the crowd bursting out in a small roar when we went by.  This really made you realize how many lives the Center has touched. It was to say the least, inspiring!

The group consisted of a group of cheerleaders, volunteers and Center employees. Many of the Center employees said they saw people that had been through the Center. After the parade, the Center Director said thank you and we basked in the true happiness we felt.  I am so glad I did it and would do it again in a minute!

Have you or any of your family ever walked in a parade?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

A mother's love determines how
We love ourselves and others.
There is no sky we'll ever see
Not lit by that first love.

Stripped of love, the universe
Would drive us mad with pain;
But we are born into a world
That greets our cries with joy.

How much I owe you for the kiss
That told me who I was!
The greatest gift--a love of life--
Lay laughing in your eyes.

Because of you my world still has
The soft grace of your smile;
And every wind of fortune bears
The scent of your caress.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Care Takers

 by Lynnd

I spent this morning unpacking my suitcase from the trip to Chicago. As I pulled out the clothes to sort into piles and unpacked the toiletries and other items, I also unpacked the gifts that made it home with me. There was the wonderful glass with the Mint Julep recipe that Bebbi brought us and then out came the Mingo pen from the real Mary. The newspaper wrapped owl from Dianne, the owl book marker from J/L and I kept thinking about all of the wonderful people I met on this trip. The leap of faith to fly half way across the country wondering what I was getting into.

Turns out I had unfounded worries. I met a group of fantastic people who welcomed me warmly with big hugs, kisses and smiles. As the first day turned into two and then three and everyone arrived I was struck by how caring these people were. Dianne who would scan the room and make sure she acknowledged everyone there, Mary with her Mingos and chocolate chip cookies she baked and carried on the plane. Jodi dragged Spotted Cow beer and homemade potato salad for all of us to enjoy and made it to Chicago with it still chilled even with all of her car misadventures.

Just/Lin and Sacbarb taking care of me by being my back up memory and excusing my travel burps and butt. Sacbarb with her never ending suitcase full of things we might need. She packs everything and guess what it all came in handy. Whabby taking his time with all of these excited crazy women, showing up and surprising us all and giving us his gentle welcoming smile.

Goldie and Mr. Goldie playing host and host-est with the most-est in their room with no hesitation. Mr. Goldie our charming bartender and food server always checking to see if we were allright or needed a refill. He also warned us to travel together and take care of each other. Goldie laughing and teasing, with her the conversation never flagged. Bebbi jumping in to organize our food orders keeping us on track and double checking that she had the list right. I say thank goodness for that because I am the worst at this task ever and usually end up with something missing.

Carol took the care in finding a Hotel that we could all meet setting up the reservations for dinner and when she arrived worried that we were happy with it all. Her smile that made you feel wrapped in a hug and above all worried about our comfort. Mo showed up bearing food too! Divine cheese and summer sausage with her laugh and quick wit so sensitive to others.

Tina, our quiet one. Not sure really what is running through your mind most of the time, but you were there in a pinch picking up many at the airport shuttling them to the hotel, including me. Being there when I called in a semi panic from Ohare when my flight was delayed you went into care mode and called Janice and tried to find a way to avoid my missing my connection in Minneapolis.  It didn't work, but it was comforting that you were on the other end of the line trying to make things easier.

Even when I talked to Zona and Shirley on the phone they were excited and wanted to know about everyone but I kept hearing are you having fun? Are you comfortable? Are you enjoying yourself?

Care takers everyone of you. Always looking out for the other and taking the time to worry about someones feelings and comfort. To me this is what keeps floating in my mind and made this trip so memorable. How lucky am I that I met you?

Friday, May 7, 2010

When Am I?

by Bonachichi

I am writing this whilst in a strange city, in a strange country. The official language here is Dutch. I don't speak Dutch. I've been here exactly one time before, for a few hours in 2001. This isn't about adventures traipsing round Europe. It's about stripping oneself of everything familiar and the effects this has on your ability to cope.
Our destination was Amsterdam from London and I was truly surprised when it looked as if everyone would arrive when we thought they might. The countries between are a sea of vague memories. I remember eurotunnel because of my apprehension about crossing into Calais. There was some sort of party for the drivers once in Amsterdam, then we were supposed to be off to Copenhagen the next day. Germany was refusing entry to all rally participants. If you look at a map, you'll see Germany, conveniently located smack between Amsterdam and Copenhagen. There's just no reasonable way between the two cities without going through Germany.
The answer to this was to ship all the cars across Germany. The cars themselves were deemed illegal to be driven, but nothing said they couldn't be carried. We thought the cars would be loaded and shipped as soon as they arrived in Amsterdam. The drivers would be at a party, so trying to be sneaky, we decided to get to where we thought the cars would be transported and have them ready to go for the drivers. We were able to arrange a small plane to fly us to a Copenhagen-ish destination.
We landed in the middle of the night. The "airport" was an office-type building in the middle of nowhere. I felt a pit form in my stomach. We'd made a mistake. We had no transportation, we'd left our vehicles in Amsterdam. Our equipment was literally, piled up against a wall. And it was raining. We hadn't had sleep for days. We were running on hunches and didn't know for sure if we'd intercept the actual rally cars at all. I didn't know where I was, I never know where I am so I'm fine with that. But I didn't know what time zone I was in. Knowing "when" I am is important to me.  I cracked and split wide open.
It is a singular sense of desperation you feel, alone in a strange place in the dark of night. There seems to be no hope. All is lost. You feel that you'll never get out of the predicament you're in. This happens each and every time I take this sort of job. I know something will throw our plans into a tailspin. In the back of my mind, I also know that I'll get out of whatever it is. There's a solution, it just hasn't been found yet. Still, I can't roll with it. I don't break down and cry... I get sarcastic whilst trying to hammer out solutions.
"See Europe through my eyes" Tina had told me. At first I thought, "I WISH these were your eyes! You'd be here and I wouldn't!"  "See Europe through my eyes." Tina. Carol, DeeDee, Bebbi, Jodi, Shirley, Whab. Everyone, really. Mostly though, Tina. See Europe through my eyes. Yes. Thinking this, I laid down on my bench, like a homeless person, and fell asleep. A short while later, I woke to the sound of... helicopters. Fellow Gumballers were coming! If others were coming to where we already were, we had to be on to something! When the sun came up, the lonely office building was full of ex-patriots of Amsterdam. We caught a ride to eurocar in a SmartCar that had come off a Chinook helicopter, which had been "borrowed" from the Dutch army. The only thing I thought strange about that was, "There's a Dutch army?"
We had some time before the cars got here, so we took in some sights near Tivoli something-or-other. Square, gardens, I wasn't paying attention. Trying to see Europe through Tina's eyes, I see a need for some Lysol and maybe some Scrubbing Bubbles if they have any. Okay, so maybe I've not mastered it, but thanks to Tina and all my Owl friends, I can come round to it. Our next stop is Stockholm and now I've dealt with the break away from familiarity that comes with each of these events, I'm ready for whatever comes next.
This got me wondering... how do others handle situations when everything has fallen apart? Do you use humor? Tears? I think about when Just_Lin & SacBarb missed their flight to Chicago. The eyes of Lin's avatar. Both surprise and terror at the same time. What do you all do when something goes completely wrong?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Strange Flight Home

by Bebbi

I got to the airport really early. I had a nice salad for lunch and the plane arrived twenty five minutes early so they did pre-boarding early too. When I got on I sat down in the front row on the left. I wanted to be able to get out fast when I got home because Mr. B was coming to pick me up and I didn’t want to make him wait too long.

When I sat down there was an older man at the window and a younger man in the aisle seat. I know that people are always disappointed when someone takes their “extra” middle seat so I felt a little guilty. I didn’t realize the seats in the front row had no under storage so I had my bags under my legs. The flight attendant had me put them up in the overheard which was fine. I was really glad that we were going to get off on time and then the last minute this girl comes on….

The first thing I hear is, “I need a bloody mary”, and around the corner she appears, this girl who was young and very pretty but definitely disheveled. She was small and cute and had what looked like mascara running down her face. She smelled of alcohol and went to the back of the plane. Everyone in the front really took notice and eyebrows went up and there were a few comments about how she really needed her bloody mary. We laughed because we all thought she was a drunk flier. So the flight attendant is preparing us to depart and guess who holds up the show??...yep, you guessed it..

“Bloody Mary Girl” was in the restroom and the flight attendant had to get on the speaker and tell her to find her seat. It was one of those situations when you just shake your head and really wonder about people. So, the younger man beside me was really nice and we started talking. We joked about bloody mary girl and he was very kind and flirting with me. He told me I looked 35 and that really made me laugh. But we had a good laugh over Bloody Mary Woman.., he would look back and see what was going on. So, after our delay we got up in the air fine and we went through the 58 minute flight, it went by fast with Mr. Flirty Thirty Something. He was so cute! Right after we landed I grabbed my bags quickly. I hurried downstairs and put my purse and carry on in my car I told Mr. B I had to go in and get my luggage. I went back in and the turnstile that had our flight on wasn’t working any longer. After a few minutes they said over the speakers that another turnstile was the only one working and had us go one over to it. I walked to the far end away from the cute thirty something flirty guy…and was standing at the other end. Well, I noticed someone crouching on the floor. Sure enough, it was “Bloody Mary Girl”. She was on the floor and almost in tears with pain! The “mascara” was actually a black EYE and her arm was hurting and she couldn’t get her large checked bag off the turnstile. I told her not to worry and I would grab it. Her bag was a large taped up broken bag. She told me her boyfriend had beaten her up and her mom was picking her up to take her to the emergency room.

I got the bag off the turnstile and then realized that I couldn’t carry her bag and pull my own. So, I looked across the turnstile and 30 something’s eyes and mine met and I motioned to ask him to come over. He didn’t hesitate and came right over. I told him the situation and asked him to help carry out her bag. He was so funny and kind. He carried the bag outside for her and I stood with her until her mom came. I really could have given him a big hug and kiss for jumping in and helping like that. When we were walking over to go outside he was asking the girl what happened and she said it was a “long story”..well, while we were on the flight he was asking me things and I told him they were a long story too. While we were walking he said, ‘Well, I guess I am never going to get to hear the long story!” He sounded so downhearted and It made me laugh and realize that a lot of women (and men too) have, “Long stories”. I waited with her while her Mom drove down to us. “Blood Mary Girl” gave me a hug and thanked me several times and so did her mom as I put her big bag in the back of their truck for her. So, from this I really learned that I shouldn’t judge people so quickly. I had no idea that this poor girl was beat up and not just a drunk woman on a flight. I did give her information about the Women’s Center and felt like a real bad person for judging her when these are the people that I volunteer to help!

Have you ever judged something too hastily and then realized your mistake later? I thought this was also a good thing to ask because of all of us meeting too. We all think about how we “think” someone is and then when you meet, it may be different. Or, you meet someone and after getting to know them realize that there is so much more. I am excited to hear your comments on this one.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


by Maureen

OMG, what an amazing weekend I had. I am so blessed to have been able to spend my first vacation with such an awesome group of people. And especially blessed to have it extend a day with one more awesome friend.
I knew that I would like you all, even as different and diverse as we all are, there are 2 common threads. One is each of you (and I say this about even those of you that couldn't attend) have a GIGANTIC heart. (I don't mean an enlarged heart...not a good thing!!) When you type a hug, I know it is for real and heartfelt.
And the second is the wit that you each hilarious! I laughed so hard! I am surprised there were no leaky moments!
Even though you didn't ask, I am going to give my take on my friends...
CAROL...Is incredible. I know that this was out of her regular comfort zone and for her to organize this and be there showed the strength and dedication she has to her friends. (we already knew that about her and her family) She has the most generous spirit and her kindness is not lost on me. And her pictures don't do justice to her eyes! Oh and I didn't notice any Joisey accent!! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.
TINA...Is so much taller then I imagined her to be! I imagined her to be teeny and petite and she is tall and THIN. And I found her to be quieter then I imagined, but still slinging the zingers! So funny. And so sweet. She made numerous runs to the airport so people didn't have to take the shuttle. And I got her to admit which of her kids she dislikes the least ;)~  Tina also gave me a new perspective on a matter and I thank her for that. I rolled over and mentioned that to JON this morning :)~
LYNN D...You can see her compassion in her posts and I was honored to meet her and witness her compassion and passion in person. I was surprised that she is not as tall as I imagined her to be. I guess I always thought of the green M&M as the tallest one, so I imagined her tall...5'8" or 5'9"!! The fact that she gives so much to so many is no surprise, especially after meeting her. And despite what you may have heard, she doesn't make people cry!
MARY... (the real one!) is a little spitfire! Mary is funny as hell and to cute for words. I wish she could have stayed a little longer so I could have conversed with her more. Oh, and she asks people very personal sexual questions! And makes a hell of a delish cookie!! My mouth is still watering!
BARB...(the fake Mary) is so kind and caring. If she was older, I would think of her as my mom! And another funny lady. I figured it out...she missed her plane because she was listening for them to announce MARY not BARB! Hmmm, what is LINDA'S excuse! It is an honor sharing my JBJ with her! cute as a button! And the most contagious laugh. It was so sweet of her to come to the hotel and visit and then again so we could have lunch today. She is a bit of a stubborn bird, but it is only because she is so caring. Did I mention she is hilarious?
I put both MARY'S and BIRDEE together because it is true what they say about the best things come in small packages!!
LINDA...can you say younger and even more beautiful Elizabeth Taylor? When I read her posts, I can imagine her typing them. They are as soft spoken yet powerful as she is. The voice of reason. And have you seen her eyes? OMG!
JODI...what a cook! She always said she makes the best potato salad and SHE DOES! So kind to bring it for us to indulge in. Jodi is funny and sensitive and wears her heart on her sleeve. If she says it, she means it. I know every tear came from deep within her heart.
GOLDIE...I felt like I knew her my whole life. She and Mr. GOLDIE are the perfect couple. Both so nice, funny, smart and sweet as all hell. We def had the best table at dinner!! The conversation NEVER suffered a lag. compassionate and nurturing. Funny and a younger and thinner Nia Vardalis. Generous and kind. And much more quiet then I imagined her to be! I got a little anxious Friday night and her IM's put me at ease. Such a mom!!
DIANNE...What can I say about DIANNE that we don't already know. She can sling a zinger with a perfectly straight face! And if you ever need someone to have your back, it would be DIANNE. She is so proud of her grandchildren and I believe she would protect anyone of us from hurt as she would her grandchildren. If only we could convert her to become a Brown's fan ;)~
WHABBY...I was afraid of WHABBY! His intelligence has intimidated me more then once! But, he is much more then just smarter then the average bear! Years ago, whenever I ventured into the chat room at that other blog, he was usually the first to acknowledge and talk to me. I now know why...he is a real GENTLE MAN.
It must be a reflection of my time with you all, because last night I had a dream. I don't remember the dream but I was laughing. I was laughing so hard in my sleep I woke myself up!! I woke up and continued to laugh! As I tried to get back to sleep I kept laughing...OUT LOUD! You all must have made me have residual laughter...and if felt GOOD!
I mentioned much earlier in this blog that I knew I would like you. Now I can say...I LOVE YOU ALL!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Time To Remember

A Toast!

On Saturday, upon arrival at the airport, I felt myself getting nervous, I pushed back the feelings and read till we boarded the flight. The only flights out of Newark to Chicago (on Saturday's) on Continental are smaller shuttle flights, which I have never been on.

I must say when I entered the plane I froze, in my eyes it was a 2 by 4. It was def a miniature plane, almost like a toy one, just so very small. As I continued down the aisle, I kept telling myself "you can do it" you can do it".
When I sat in my seat, I felt it hard to breath. I immediately took out my ipod and turned my tunes on very loud. As the music played in my ears. I felt the tears, I allowed them to flow. I put my sunglasses on, and continued with my music. My breathing got better with each song, I truly think it was the familiarity of the songs that allowed me to reach out of this panic attack.
Thank goodness it was a short flight, and once I landed into Tina's arms, I felt safe, and knew all would be alright, and it surely was.

Jodi, Tina, Whabby, Mo, Goldie and Dianne's nose!

There is so much to be said about all who attended the MWMAG. I am so very pleased to have met them all. Tina's blog said it all, and Maureen has one I will post tomorrow.

Whabby talking to Shirley!

Sacbarb, Mary and Dianne or Mary, Mary and Dianne!

For today, we have a short vid and some pictures. Thinking back I should have gotten more vid, but we were so engrossed on getting to know each other face to face, at times I forgot to use the flip.

Lynnd and Mr. Goldie

Bebbi and Jodi

Tina taking a picture of me as I take a picture of her

I want to thank all of you who attended and made it so very special. Many owls brought gifts to share with all the owls.. Bebbi, Lynnd, Sacbarb, Just_Lin, Dianne, Mo and Goldie.. Mary brought home made cookies and Jodi made her famous potato salad, both were delish. It was so good to taste Jodi's potato salad, I had waited so long. It was so special to meet Mr. Goldie, what a wonderful man he is. Goldie and Mr. Goldie make a fantastic couple, you can truly see the love in their eyes. Whabby was a pleasant surprise, if not a naughty one, cause I'll tell ya, you just never know what our dear Whabby is going to say. And we got to meet Annie (from Rossland) I remember Annie well as she was on Rossland when I was back in 2006. We had lost touch, but when I saw her and her family it was like we had spoken yesterday. Her family was amazing, from her husband to her children, and most of all her precious Piper, who was practically born on Rossland .

Piper and Logan, two cuties!

Making funny faces as instructed by Mr. Annie

It was a total success, we did it as a group, and it went without a hitch. I wonder how we pulled it off. So many times you hear stories about groups trying to plan a Meet and Greet, and there is so much confusion. Yet with us, it all fell into place. Our group of owls made it happen, it was certainly meant to be. Kudos to all of you.
Me and Just_Lin

Saying goodbye to Whabby!

Its Just_Lin's birthday next week, so in owl fashion we sang to her. The beginning of the vid is dark, as the restaurant was dark. But the rest of the vid is fine


Monday, May 3, 2010

~ My Take on Chicago ~

by Tina~in_ut

This is just my take on the weekend in Chicago~  (in order of arrival)

LynnD~ so amazing.....I thought so anyway, but you're also funny and sweet and oh so innocent~ (don't let Di blame you for anything!!!)

Di~ the perfect roommate~  I don't even think I want to kill you anymore~ :)~  Want to go for a walk?  and btw......India is NOT on the other side of Lake Michigan~

SacBarb~ You are the perfect Mary!!!  Thanks for going to church with me~

JustLin~ OMG!!!  So quiet, but in those eyes, I see you laughing and you make me laugh my stinkin' butt off~

Jodi~ I could have killed you for licking my face.....but I'm over it now......well, as soon as I have that chemical peal on Wednesday!!!  I'm so glad I finally got to meet you and your laugh is so infectious~

Mary~ So sorry I got carried away with your boobs!  ....but dang they're hot!  I wish you could have stayed longer!!!  Oh.....and huh?~

Goldie~ You and Mr Goldie were such gracious hosts that first night!  You're perfect together~

Bebbi~  Shhhhhhhh......don't tell're my favorite~  I'm so glad you came~

Mo~ Whether on the blog or in person........your one-liners make me laugh my butt off!  I'm so glad you were able to come!!!~

Carol~ Absolutely beautiful!!!  I want you to remember that!  I hate to admit this, but I think you should be first on the blog every day!~  ijs~ Oh....and you're perfect!~ 

Bear~ I was nervous to meet you, but you were so gracious, very funny, so sweet and genuinely kind........and not a bad kisser, either~  (just kidding everyone.......that was Mary!)

Shirley~  I know you weren't there, but I feel like I got to meet you too~  I'm honored that you felt I should be squirted with that dang super-soaker first!  NOT!!!!  It was nice to finally "meet" funny and sweet~

For those who weren't in Chicago, I have to tell this one story!  O M G!!!!!  At dinner on Saturday night, we tried to sit at one long table, but it was hard to get in and out, so we were sort of separated into three different tables, but still close together.  At the middle table were bear and I and across from us were SacBarb, Mary, and Dianne.  When the food came, Dianne looked over and asked, "Mary, what did you get?"  Mary turned to her with a "huh?" look on her face.  Dianne was staring at SacBarb but talking to Mary and it didn't make sense to Mary.  Dianne leaned forward a little and asked again.  Mary looked from her to SacBarb, where Di was looking, and back.  SacBarb continued eating.  I could tell from the look on Di's face that she was a little embarrassed that "Mary" was ignoring her.  Mary had this look of absolute confusion.  SacBarb was still eating.  I couldn't help it and started laughing.  That's when Di turned to me with her sad face, and it dawned on her, she had called SacBarb Mary..........AGAIN!!!!!  She had been calling SacBarb Mary since we arrived, but when Mary finally got into town, she thought she had everything straightened out!  I guess not~  

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Chicago, def my kind of town!

Carol wanted me to write something....I told her NO! I don't like Snotra~ But, Carol being Carol, I couldn't really say no~ So here it is~ (that was it!) :)~

Saturday, May 1, 2010

On my way....

on my way to the windy city
nervous butterflies are flying around
fear is not far behind
its the loneliness of the travel
that is frightening me
the fear of my friends does not exist

excitement is what my body feels
not hesitation
2006 began my internet adventure
4 yrs later, the windy city awaits me

i will miss who cannot be with us
they will be there in words
as words are what we know
words are what brought us together
i will think back of all the bloggers
who once where here and gave us smiles
i wonder what could have been

from state to state we arrive
all for the same reason
to see, to feel, to touch

life goes in full circles
where we began
a apology appeared
and there it was in black and white
and off i go
the windy city awaits