Monday, March 31, 2008

The Weekend that was...

Another Sweatshoppe weekend retreat is over - BOOHOO!! :(

That's the bad news. The good news is that it was a wonderful weekend and not only did we accomplish a lot of scrapping and pages done (over 100!), we had a dam* good time!

It was also very, very educational. We seem to learn new things every retreat. My challenge is now in describing what we learned in an acceptable manner for all readers. Yes, we tend to get a little risk-A! with our discussions, but what the heck, sometimes you've just gotta say, what you've gotta say! So here is a sample of the topics discussed and learned about this retreat.

Mixology 101 - for some of us this was an entry level class taught by several of our senior mixologists - Suzanne, Colleen and Lynn, with visiting professors, Kelly, Jess and Amy. Topics covered, Titicaca Cocktails, Lemonello Cosmos, and variations on your classic White Russian. Yes, we took notes and some minor taste testing was involved.

Genus Sylvilagus - or variations on the bunny rabbit. Unfortunately, we did not have a real rabbit to play with. Nor did we have the original text that initiated our conversation and extensive discussion. Hopefully, we will be better prepared next time with visual and tactile aids.

Linguistics 401 - this was an advanced course for many of us in terminology and uses of the dictionary, urban. We would like to thank Lynn's daughter for the technical assistance she provided us in the early stages of our discussion. The guest band, Dirty Sanchez, playing Saturday night at Cooper's Plain fine dining establishment, CPII was our inspiration.

Now, lest you think we were all work and no play, au contraire! Although, we did accomplish a first this weekend. No one went out Saturday night! We were all tucked in by 1:00 a.m., most of us earlier! What's up with that!

Several of our members went walking when the weather permitted, and Chris actually brought and used her cross-country skis! You go girl!! Also, the cuisine for the weekend was yummy! Many, many thanks to all the cooks who brought everything from breakfast casseroles to buffalo wing dip (personal fave) to lasagna with these really good garlic cheese rounds. To top it off, we had an ice cream cake made by Laurie. We did not go home hungry in any way, except...for wanting to do this all again very, very soon. But, for now, it looks like Veterans Day will be the next meeting for the Sweatshoppe.

Thanks again for a wonderful weekend, and we'll see you all again in November!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I'm outa here!

Sorry gang, but I'm gone. Gone to spend a quiet, ahem, restful, ahem, relaxing, AMEN! weekend with my gal pals. Sweatshoppe, here I come!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I've been Tagged!

My first official Tag! I've been tagged by Laura
I'm supposed list 7 random facts about me that you are all dying to know! Girls, there aren't enough facts let alone random facts that you all don't know about me left! OK, I'll give it a try and then I'll tag 7 more 'random' people and you'll be it!

1. My junior year in high school I belong the Bisonettes, our dance/kick line that performed at football and basketball games. - I was very, very, bad! Two left feet, NO rythm - no "Dancing with the Hasbeens" for me!

2. I love superhero cartoons. I'll watch Batman. Justice League, X-men if I can find them.

3. I hate Ferris Wheels - that swinging seat, way up. I know I'm going to fall out.

4. I'm a slob - 'nuf said...

5. 'Jon & Kate Plus 8' is my new favorite reality show. I can't handle one (old fact) I can't imagine how they do it with eight, which is why I watch.

6. I filled button orders at a button distribution company one summer (one of the worst jobs I've ever had).

7. I failed my driver's test first time around. Wemt the wrong way on a one way street!

Now I'm going to tag 7 people Joanne,Jess,Lynn, Tracy, Elizabeth, Chiara, and because you need to get into the swing of this stuff Dimitra. Hope this works, have fun!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

My criminal life...

I'm a law abiding citizen, 99% of the time. This morning I found out what happens when I drift into that 1%. A month or so ago I was taking Miss Alexa to school because she missed the bus again (another story, we have the bus driver from you know where). I'm going down Maple Rd.* Not speeding as I have plenty of time get Alexa to school and I'm even contemplating a stop at Starbucks.

* For those who don't know Maple, here in Williamsville, it is 5 lanes wide, 2 eastbound, 2 westbound with a solid/dash turning, merging lane in the middle.

I was traveling in the far right lane, eastbound and there was a school bus in the far right lane traveling westbound. The bus stopped at a house on Maple (I even know who's because they have a daughter that is a friend of Alexa's) and I thought, "Do I stop? Yes, No, it's five lanes! No crossing indicated, No child would ever be crossing from my side of Maple, there's a median in between (even if it's a turning median) So...I kept going - mistake, BIG MISTAKE!!

The bus driver gave me a dirty look and honked her horn. I slouched in my seat, properly contrite and then I saw the lights behind me and the siren. Directly behind me was an unmarked police car and a cop in civvies. I turned the corner to get off the street and he pulled in behind me. In his best no nonsense, put the fear of "Law and Order" look, he gives me a ticket. No muss, no fuss, no asking me for explanations. Just my quick apology and I'm done.

Of course, I've got Alexa in the back seat. Not that she would admit it, but I think she was just as scared as I was because she didn't say a word! Those that know Lex know that is almost impossible for her to keep quiet! So as I drive away and head for her school I give her a civics lesson for the day. I admit I was wrong, I committed the violation, my ignorance of the law is no excuse, I'm going to take my punishment, yada, yada, yada!

The next day I go the courthouse with my ticket to find out what my punishment is and to pay my fine. After going through the metal detector, and finding where to go I'm asked by the clerk, "How do you plead?" well, I did it didn't I so I say, "Guilty". I'm so civic minded and quick to fess up that they don't even have the ticket from the cop yet and tell me I'll get my fine amount in the mail.

Later that day I go to work and I tell my sad, criminal story to Sharon and Dimitra at the store and they both look at me and almost in unison say "You never plead guilty! What were you thinking?" Now I'm really confused! "I did it!" I tell them, "What was I supposed to do?"

Come to find out that I should have pleaded "not guilty" and taken driver's school or whatever to avoid getting points on my license, plus my fine money would stay in Amherst instead of going to Albany. But I'm so torn, because I knew I was guilty, I gave Alexa this wonderful lesson in civic and personal responsibility by fessing up. Now I come to find out I did the wrong thing? Where's Sam Waterston when I need him, Perry Mason even?

I call the courthouse, ask if I can change my plea, they say yes, just send my notice back asking for a court date and a change of plea. I do all this, sweat out getting another notice telling me that March 13 (what a number) is my court date.

Well, I practically speed getting there, afraid I'm going to be late looking for a cop around every corner, wondering if I'm going to be able to pick my husband up at the airport tonight or will I be searching for someone to post bail because the judge is going to laugh in my face and throw me into jail to set an example - I'm thinking I'm going to be the Paris Hilton of middle aged women in Williamsville. Sent to jail for a first offense to teach everyone else a lesson! Who am I going to call? - (hint - those two at the store who told me to plead not guilty).

Well, I get in line, speak to the prosecutor (with no voice, as I lost it last night and am croaking, like a frog). He looks at "my jacket", God, I've got a jacket! and says "I'll knock it down to parking and we'll see if the judge agrees". I croak my, "thank you" and go into the courtroom.

After an enlightening half hour listening to every imaginable traffic violation and one slightly scary drug defendant in handcuffs, the judge calls my name, I stand-up, he looks at my jacket and says, "not stopping for school bus, reduced to parking, fine amount" done. I croak my "thank you", and go pay my fine, get in my car, crawl home at 20 mph, stopping at almost every corner and signalling even if I just turn my head.

I'm so happy, relieved, and embarrassed that this is over. Although, I have to admit, I was almost looking forward to calling this guy, if my case went south...

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Grand Canyon...

Since I can't seem to keep a coherent thought in my head, I thought I'd let them all spill loose and inflict them on whoever is reading today.

I just came from a friend's blog and she was very cryptic about making changes, new decisions, directions, etc. without really saying anything. Feel like that today. As I have a number of nowhere similar things going on, I thought I'd do the same!

First, I've had a number of people tell me two things, one, they read my blog - how scary is that! I'm actually taken back when someone I don't know, (usually a customer at the store whom I should know - apologies forthcoming*) says something innocent in passing that just knocks me for a loop! I know people I know read the blog every once in awhile, but that someone who either doesn't know me, or who I don't know reads it, I find slightly spooky!

*Apology - This is a universal apology to all those wonderful people I've met in the course of my daily life - those people I've met through my daughter, my husband, the store, the dentist - whatever! I'm so sorry I never remember you :( Less you think this intentional - or onset Alzheimer's, let me reassure you all that I NEVER remember ANYONE! I'm so lousy with names, faces, wheres, and whens I've just given up and come right out most of the time and say "Do I know you - help me out here?"

(Apology cont.) Not only do I do not remember anyone I meet, once I do have a handle on you - I don't remember your name. You know that trick everyone tells you to use where you associate a name with something about the person? Well, if I'm lucky, really lucky, I might remember what the 'something' was, but never the name. So for everyone out there whose names and faces I'm constantly forgetting, please forgive me. It's never you, it's always me -- what's her face!

Back to ramblings...where was I, oh, yeah, my friend's blog. That part is over so I'm moving on. I am in a rut, not in a Monday morning rut, not a winter rut, not a 'I've gained all the weight I lost, 2 years ago rut' but a big, honkin', call the highway department rut! No, wait, even the highway dept. can't help this. Can you all say Grand Canyon rut???

I've been 'straightening, cleaning, organizing, etc. and so on' my craft room for the past, at least, 8 months - that's right 8 months! I could be one month away from having a baby! I could have finished a full college semester! I could have lost the weight I was complaining about above!

I have pictures, but I'm too embarrassed to show them. I've got the number of 'Clutter Control' sitting on my desk (under at least four other scraps of paper I've been holding on to for over a month). I've made lists. I've bought shelves (can't bring myself to put them up). I've come into this room every morning and just stared at it all, powerless to do anything substantial, except...wait for it...BRING IN MORE STUFF!

Now that I've confessed I'm sitting back and thinking, "Did it help? Do I feel better now that I've barred my soul, in writing, for the world wide web to read?"

My answer is...."NOPE!" Still in rut, still waiting for the epiphany of energy and inspiration to kick me in the butt and get me going.

I digress. I scrolled up and mentioned that there were two things that surprised me when people read my blog. The second things is, in comments and in person I've been told that I'm funny. Who knew?

These comments strike me as so bizarre, because I'm terrible with people! I'm awful at parties, I'm never the one people want to talk to. I'm a lousy conversationalist. As my DH has told me since almost Day 1, "Babe, tact will never be your strong suit". Boy is he right, but that's another rambling entry...

I'm rarely, if ever, funny in person. I thought I spoke like I wrote. Apparently not because it's not translating the same. It also doesn't help when I don't know who I'm talking to or who I was introduced to 30 seconds ago either. When someone tells me my blog is funny, I have visions of being Erma Bombeck, reincarnated (no offense to Erma - I really admired her sense of humor). I have visions of grandeur. Maybe I missed my calling all together. I could be a writer! Have a daily column, be the new, old, Erma Bombeck...break out of my rut!!!

Wait, I see a big series of pot holes coming up...Did I mention my grammar is awful, that I'm not a people person, that my sense of tact is non-existent, that I'm living in the Grand Canyon...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

CHA - Slide Show

I'm hoping this works! Thanks to Kelly for the link... If you put your cursor on the bottom of the photos it will give you a caption for most photos. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

No Camera!

My camera is away on a business trip - to China! Norman left for a 2 week trip to China with another member of the Medaille community. Needless to say we haven't heard from him yet...what else is new! But, he took my camera, not always a good thing. Norm isn't exactly techno driven. In fact he's solidly techno disabled! Challenged doesn't even come into it. Changing lightbulbs is about the extent of his around the house-repair-technological abilities.

The good news is he's traveled in China before and is a very good traveler. Nothing much phases him. I'm very anxious to hear how China has changed since we were both there together in 1998. Norm spent his 50 birthday in China and now he will be spending his 55th!

We are both notorious for not calling home when we go away. Norman is much worse than I am. Here in the US it's not big deal, (although he doesn't have a cell phone) usually... But I'd just like to know he's where he's suppposed to be when he leaves the country!

Norm - CALL HOME! (at least send an-mail!)