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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

An Attitude of Gratitude

Prelude:
A few months ago a very close friend of my oldest daughter (Tracy-not her real name) lost her home to a foreclosure. Consequently, they (her single mom, and three siblings) had to move in with a relative who had several children of his own. From what I hear via my daughter, Tracy is very unhappy in their “overcrowded” living arrangement and wishes that one day (soon) her mom would find them a place of their own, where she would not have to share a room with three other family members. In the meantime, Tracy continues to rotate between crashing at our house or at the home of some other friend(s).

A couple days after Christmas, I overhear Kidsid chatting on the phone with another close friend of hers:

“You’re lucky, you got everything you asked for,” she blurts in a dejected tone of voice.
“What’s the matter with you?” I interrupt. “You got a lot of stuff that were on your list.”
“Not really.” She replies in a pretentious tone of voice. “I asked for jewelry and shoes, no one gave me shoes or jewelry. I asked for gift cards to Kohl’s, Hollister’s, Wet Seal, and American Eagle. Almost everyone gave me iTunes gift cards.”
“Are you hungry?” I ask.
“No.”
“Are you cold?”
“No, the heater is blowing fine in my room.” She says.
“Do you like having your own room?” I continue.
“Yeah. Why?”
“When was the last time you to talked to Tracy?”
“I don’t know. She doesn’t have a cell phone anymore.”
“Would it kill you to be thankful for all the things you have rather than focusing on what you didn’t get or don’t have?” I ask.

All I get from her as far as a response goes, is a lame shrug.


To all who continue to pester me with, “What’s your new year’s resolution,” pay close attention...

I have zero plans to join Gold’s Gym. I have nada desire to meet Jenny Craig. In fact, I have zilch intention of discontinuing my year long campaign against neighbors who continue to park their vehicles on the road rather than in their driveway. The only resolution that I have for the upcoming year 2009 (and beyond) nonetheless, is simple. I intend to live each day with an attitude of gratitude for all things great and small. How about you?

Happy New Year!

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Death Wish for the Ages

P r e l u d e
Lately, Furrball’s fascination with death and dying…or should I say curiosity is a bit mind boggling. See, she’ll ask questions like:

-Does it hurt when we die?
-Do we get to keep the same body?
-Will there be enough room for everyone in heaven?

Other questions in my opinion are downright hilarious, especially when they revolve around her desire to evolve into Piplup-her favorite Pokémon after death.

F i n a l e
As I am tucking her in bed two nights ago, she says, “I love you mommy.”
“I love you more.” I reply.
“That’s not possible. I love you forever and infinity.” She continues in a proud tone of voice.
“I love you even when I am dead and not around anymore.” I say.

Pause, pause, pause…

“So, if you die, who’s gonna take care of me…Daddy?”
“Sure.” I reply. “I think he will do a great job.”

Pause, pause, pause…

“Well, if you die, can you take me with you?”

And what do you say to that, other than, “Go to sleep Dear,” with the biggest smooch on the forehead?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dreaming of a PlayStation 3

Yesterday while I was doing some cleaning and tidying, I found a wish list that was tucked away inside one of Scrawny’s drawers. A wish list -neatly addressed to Santa Clause- that reminded me that the season of giving was right around the corner. I am not quite sure why PlayStation 3 would be at the top of that list when dadoo just recently surprised the family with a Wii. I do not even want to know why she would want another Mario and Luigi Super Star Saga… unless of course she had carelessly misplaced the one she had and the only way to get to the bottom of things would be through torturing the dog-;)

But I do know one thing. ..

This holiday season, I have no intention of driving from store to store (looking for last minute close out bargains) for that family member who loves Nitendo DS Games or gift ideas for that hard to please friend who seems to have everything. This year, I plan on doing most of my shopping with a simple click of the mouse…from the convenience of my home. And that is a no brainer when you have access to an online one stop shop where there is practically something for every "techno gadget junkie" in your family, at a price that will not eat a huge hole through your wallet!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

To Vote or not to Vote?

Typically, there are three types of topics that have the ability to send me snoozing faster than a cup of warm milk or a generous glass of merlot. They are, in order of potency, all discussions pertaining to:

-Politics
-Budgeting
-Get Rich Quick schemes

However, as an African immigrant with zero interest in politics (with the exception of maybe some kick-ass political action flicks), Barack’s nomination, did manage to tickle my fancy at some point…to some degree. To date, I still run into an occasional die hard Obama fan who would love nothing more than to pick me up by both feet; dangle me from side to side to try and figure out why my Obama enthusiasm falls short by their measure...READ MORE

Thursday, August 14, 2008

An Appetite for Destruction

Thinking about getting a puppy? Think again!

A Dog may be man's best friend; but, a puppy? Be warned! Its potential and abilities for destructive behaviour when not supervised is mind boggling!
Anyway, several months ago, Daddoo in his infinite wisdom (and against my better judgement... of course), decided to get the girls an Australian Shepherd with the dispositon of a psychotic Dingo.
So far, so good, here's what we have to show for it...


HOLES

ON OUR DECK FLOORING



SHREDDED WINDOW MOLDING


(From chewing)
****************

DITCHES


MINI CAVES

(From digging)
*************


HER RECLINER BED

Before



And After...


(From chewing, clawing, or digging???)


************************************



So, still thinking about getting a puppy?


Don't say I didn't warn you-;)


Monday, August 4, 2008

Kiddie Rationale

After a short…I mean (really short) and hasty bedtime prayer while tucking Furr-ball in last night, below is the conversation that followed:

FURR-BALL
(excitedly)
Mom, I like God
ME
(yawning)
Me too
FURR-BALL
I think he is a really smart boy
ME
I think so too.
FURR-BALL
Mom, do you think he is smarter than daddy?
ME
(smiling)
What do you think?
FURR-BALL
Well, he made TVs, and vacuum cleaners and fun games...he must be smarter than daddy.
ME
(puzzled-frowning and yawning)
Really?
FURR-BALL
Uh-huh. But don’t tell dad I said that-okay?
ME
(grinning)
Okay

I wanted to explain the facts of life regarding techno gadgets and God’s true creations… but it was late and I was tired-;)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sibling Rivalry

I am giving my younger two a bath and as usual, they begin to squabble over something of zero significance, like, who has more bubbles on their side of the bath tub.
"I hate you!" Exclaim Furr-ball.
"That's not a nice thing to say to your sister," I caution.
"But Mom, I really, really, hate her. She is mean!"
"Oh really?"
"Uh-huh"
"If you hate her that much," I begin, "Why then do you always ask me where she is when you first wake up in the morning?"
"That doesn't mean I like her." She replies. "I just want to know where the heck she is."

Kids. You can't live without them. You can't trade them in -;)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Call of the Wild...

Lately, I’ve had this nagging hunger
A craving to see Alaska or what’s up yonder
Out there, the air is refreshing and intoxicating they say
In their domain, grizzly bears and other wildlife roam freely all day

To the port of Seattle, we must go
To drive or not to drive-that-we did not know
With tom, tom, to the rescue, what a piece of cake
One week of driving was all it would take

A road trip from our home in the Southeast Atlantic
Across mountainous terrain of the old west to the Pacific
Along the way, were Mt. Rushmore, and other monumental sites
At Yellowstone, old faithful erupted; its steam floating away like kites

Cruising through the inside passage aboard the Golden Princess
Chunks of blue icebergs floated by in excess
A mile or two down Tracy Arm Fijord, north of Canada’s Victoria
A glimpse of the North Sawyer Glacier had us floored with euphoria

Back at home, a paradigm shift is now in motion
To move out west; to answer the call of the wild, a daily notion
Leave or stay, a part of me will always remain
In all those places I belong... forever flowing through my veins

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Birthday, America...


And
Thank

You

That's all-:)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Little Miss "Smarty Pants"

So, we are cruising along-mile by mile-heading home from our visit to the pacific northwest. And somewhere between the City of Lights and the Grand Canyon; or perhaps it was between the Land of Enchantment and the Lone Star state...who cares? I don’t remember. Anyhow, I hear Furr-ball sighing…for the third or fourth time and decide to turn around to find out why. Below is the conversation that ensued:

“What’s the matter?” I ask. “Are you bored?”
“Yes,” She replies. “There’s nothing to do.”
“Why don’t you take a nap?”
“Sleeping is not something to do.”

(Ouch! That hurt!! And of course Daddoo had to give it a try).

“ Why don’t you play one of your Nitendo DS games then?
“Dad,that’s a great idea!" She replies. "But, I don’t want to.”

Well, what more can I say? We pretty much had to bite our tongues and keep our opinions and suggestions to ourselves for the next 1,800 miles or so. Miss “Smarty Pants” did not leave us much of a recourse-;)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Hershey's Kisses Kiss

For mother’s day, Scrawny brings me a handful of Hershey’s Kisses from school in addition to a hand made card and instructs me not to share it with anyone. And despite the massive amount of begging and pleading that Furr-ball could muster up, the answer from me to her, was still a firm, “Sorry, Charlie, I have my orders.”

Yesterday, while packing Furr-ball’s school lunch, I found a morsel of the chocolate that I had put away especially for her-(yes, I had every intention of sharing!). I tossed it into a zip lock bag and wrote,
“From me to you, here’s a very special kiss. Love, Mom.”

Hours later as I stand by the office of our local elementary school, waiting to pick up my girls, Furr-ball comes running out , waving that same old zip lock bag.

“That was so sweet of you, Mom,” she says.
“Why didn’t you eat it?” I ask.
“Because I wanted to share it with you.” She replies. She then tears off the wrapping; asks me to take a bite and quickly tosses the rest inside her mouth. Holding back the tears is tough…but, I try as I give her a tight squeeze.

Is there a point to this rambling of an obviously proud and mushy Mama? You bet! If you know of a kindergartner or any other child for that matter that could give my Furr-ball a run for her money when it comes to being totally Sweeeeeeeeeeeeet, I’d say...BRING IT-;)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Introspectively Speaking...

...Here are some Words of Wisdom that I have been chewing on. Feel free to share your favorites:

There are no shortcuts to any place worth going -Beverly Sills

The best way to knock the chip off your neighbor’s shoulder is to pat him on the back -Unknown

We can do no great things…only small things with great love-Mother Teresa

Courage is not the towering oak that sees storms come and go; it is the fragile blossom that opens in the snow -Alice Mackenzie Swaim

A real friend never gets in your way - unless you happen to be on the way down. -Dr. Wayne Dyer

Tough times never last, tough people do -Robert Schuller

Adversity causes some men to break; Others to break records - William A. Ward

Life isn't a matter of milestones, but moments-Rose Kennedy

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity: an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty – Winston Churchill

If it’s not a labor of love, the money better be darn good- BD-;)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Eggs Phobia

Furr-ball is causing a bit of commotion this morning over breakfast(as usual). See, whenever anyone sitting next to her or across from her is having a meal that consists of scrambled eggs, you can count on her unsolicited; somewhat uncivil commentary, which typically begins with, “Pheeeewwwwwwwww, your food stinks!” To restore some order, I explain to her that her sisters did not even care for eggs until they were older.

Later, as I am driving her and Scrawny to school , she asks, “Mom, will I still be 6-years-old when I go to first grade?”
“Yes,” I reply. “But then, it'll be your birthday and you’ll turn 7!”
“I’m afraid to turn 7!” She exclaims.
“Why?” I ask
“Because I might have to eat eggs.”
“What?”
Never mind, I thought. It took me awhile to figure out the logic behind where she was coming from and it all made perfect sense-;)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Tax refund (Message ID K82737-L15)‏...


...Is yet another one of several email messages I've been receiving from the IRS or someone that claims to be the IRS. It generally starts off with:

"After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of $873.20. Please submit the tax refund request and allow us 3-9 days in order to process it. A refund can be delayed for a variety of reasons. For example submitting invalid records or applying after the deadline...

Regards, Internal Revenue Service."

But see, there's one problem. Last year, I worked as a stay-at-home mom without pay! Come to think of it, I may have actually earned $37.50 for test piloting a calandering software for FamilyFun Magazine. That's all! So, if you've been getting this email as well, I hope you've been putting your "delete button" to good use. After all, we all know that Uncle Sam does not give it away. ..at least not that easily-;)

Friday, February 15, 2008

English is my Second Language

I consider myself level headed, thoughtful, somewhat intelligent…in fact, I consider myself totally awesome, in general. Yep, and let’s not forget modest too! However, on occasion, particularly during the ragweed season, when I’m fighting that "foggy fog" feeling, even a clever cookie like yours truly can somehow manage to not get the point of a conversation, a riddle, an anecdote or a popular cliché.

While tidying up my desktop this morning, I stumbled upon a document I had previously posted on one of those online “anything goes” message boards, titled, "About Forrest Gump."

“Anyone who'd seen ‘Forrest Gump’ is more than likely familiar with this line:
'My momma always said, Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get.' (or something like that).

Well, here I am several years later, thinking, what genius wrote that line? I don't know about you, but if I'm at the store and happen to pull out some dinero from my wallet to pay for a box of chocolatte, there better be nothing other than chocolate in that box when I get home! I expect no more or less. Woman wants chocolate. Woman pays for a box of chocolate. Woman should know that she is definitely getting some chocolate in that box of chocolate that she’d just paid for. Full stop!

A handful of the board members quickly responded with one variation of "you missed the point, or another. While others teased that I had a lot to learn about chocolates or American clichés. "

The following morning, Daddoo of course, says to me, “I read that thing you wrote about Forrest Gump…blah, blah, blah…lecture…blah…I think you missed the point…blah blah." And all I had to say in my defense, was, "Hey, English is my second language."

That my fellow legal aliens, is a seriously legal excuse you could always take to the bank-;)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sub Zero


NOTE: The "Embrace the Wonder" series features excerpts from a collaborative book/music project in progress. John Droese is the main author. However, there are other contributors whose stories would also be featured in this category...

I have always wanted to write a book but the fear of failure keeps me out of the game. Every time I show someone one of my stories, the slightest, not-so-favorable, comment can send me running to the backyard to bury my work… far out of the world’s view. Anyway, I have a good job that pays the bills. If I save my money wisely, I think I can retire early and then really start living. Who says 55 or 60 is too late to start enjoying life? Well, I guess maybe those people who only live to be 54. There is no time for thinking about this stuff now. There is a more pressing issue at hand.

I’m going camping. My friend Tony and I drive to (Flagstaff, Arizona) from (Miami, Florida), hoping to escape the routine of life for a little while. As we make our way through route 517, we see deep secluded woods on both sides of the road. I tell Tony to pull off so that we could try and find a place to set up camp. Pointing to patches of snow on the ground, Tony asks, “John, you think it gets cold around here at night?”
“No way Man!” I reply. It’s like 75 degrees.” Seeing the look of concern on his face, I add, “Don’t worry about it.”
“I don’t know about this John,” he complains.
“Look, it’s March, winter is over!” I state. (Spoken like a true Miami boy where to me, winter was officially from December 25th to January 2nd or something like that.“)
John we are pretty far out here in the woods,” says Tony. “You mean you’re not afraid of some wild animal dragging you off into the dark?”
“Don’t be a wuss, we are men! We fear nothing” I reply. (Now, I don’t really know if my words actually eased his mind; but, we set up the tent anyway and get ready for nightfall).
As darkness creeps in, I feel a chill in the air; but I’m not worried about it. I roll out my sleeping bag. I had bought it at the Salvation Army for two dollars just for this trip. It has definitely seen better days! I look over at Tony and he is busy fluffing up a pillow and spreading out a thin blanket.

“Tony, what are you doing? Where is your sleeping bag?”
“Aw John, I don’t have one.” He replies. “I think this blanket will do the trick.”

Outside, the tent is now smothered in a black veil. Growing up in the city, I never knew it could ever get this dark. I take a moment to look up at the sky and comment loudly to Tony, “Man, there sure are a lot of stars.” But this moment is short lived as Tony yells from inside the tent.
“John! It’s kind of getting cold, don’t you think?” (He was right. It was cold and seemed to be getting colder by the second).“Tony” I say, trying to sound unfazed by the situation. “Let’s just sleep in our clothes. I don’t think it will be a problem.” To me, this is a good, so I climb into my sleeping bag and Tony tucks himself into his blanket, wearing (jeans, a shirt, a sweat shirt a leather jacket with his socks and shoes on). Soon, it starts to get really cold. We grab our denim jackets and wrap them around our heads.

From my corner of our tent, I could hear Tony shivering. “Hey, let’s try and get some sleep. Just close your eyes; next thing you know we’ll wake up and this will all be over.”
Under his breath, I hear him say “Yeah right.” I must have drifted off, because suddenly, a rustling in the tent startles me. I open my eyes(not quite sure if I’m awake or still asleep and dreaming). Then I hear the zip, zip, zip, of the tent’s zipper opening, followed by Tony, who is heading for the exit.

“Tony where are you going?”
“Screw this! I’m getting in the car and turning on the friggin’ heat.”
“Come on man, don’t leave me here alone to be dragged off by some crazy animal” I plead jokingly.
“John, I thought you were not afraid of anything” he snaps. Now I wish I hadn’t been so smug earlier. Tony disappears into the night and moments later, I hear his car engine roaring to life. I attempt to get up and realize that my body is numb. Without even trying to get out of my sleeping bag, I get on my feet and hop out of the tent all the way into the car. It takes a couple minutes for the heat to start blowing.

“I’m only going to keep it on for about 15 minutes; just to warm up and then I’ll turn it off” says Tony. I nod. Next thing I know, I’m waking up; the sun is shinning, Tony is sleeping; the car is still running!

Well, we survived! We went camping to experience the wonders of the great outdoors and ended up sleeping in the car. However, I learned a valuable lesson…

Our greatest achievements can make for great stories, but our failures can make for even better ones. And as far as I’m concerned, it’s okay to fail as long as you never stop trying.

When I get home, I think I’ll go out back to dig up a few of my stories and show them around. I’ll just have to make sure that there’s a car with a good heater near by just in case I get a chilly response-;)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Scrawny's Words of Wisdom

Our school board has kept me busy as a substitute teacher throughtout this past couple weeks. I can't complain. Why should I? Not only did it come with a title upgrade from "stay-at-home-mom(sahm), to "sub teacher," I've been enjoying making a difference(hopefully) to some child, somewhere. However, I must ask...why didn't anyone warn me that working with varying sets of young children could also place your health at risk?

So, here I am home today, sick as sick can be; down and out with some wicked virus or a flu bug that's got a bigger bug up it's rear end. My head's been throbbing. My stomach's been churning with nausea; my entire body, aching like it's been driven over, and over again by a tractor trailer. I had to keep my younger two at home too. Daddoo is up, up, and away on some business trip and this morning, I could not pick myself off my bathroom floor, let alone drive anyone, anywhere.

Anyhow, I say to Scrawny, who had the same symptoms (sore throat and stuffy nose) just like yours truly, the day before...

"So, how come you're feeling better already and I'm getting sicker and sicker?"
"Mom, you're old," was exactly those uplifting words of wisdom that I needed to hear-;)

Friday, February 1, 2008

Previously on 24...

Last year, the 2-hour premiere of ‘24’ a high octane, hair raising, bone chilling, adrenaline driven, 007ish, hit TV show kicked off the season with a big bang. As usual. Jack is back and we (the fans) can thank President Wayne Palmer for that. However, within the first few scenes as the plotline unfolds, we realize that Jack’s release from a Shanghai dungeon and the claws of the Chinese government came with a hefty price tag. He is to become the proverbial sacrificial lamb. The plan is to deliver Jack to a man named Abu Fayed in exchange for information regarding the whereabouts of an infamous terrorist -Hamri Al-Assad, who is allegedly responsible for a wave of suicide bombings across America within the past 11 weeks. Over 900 people have been killed thus far; Jack is fully aware of this grave situation and could have tried to make a run for it. But, he didn’t. His life is on the line. But the stakes are higher. For many to live, he must die. As he’s been handcuffed to a metal grate in some deserted alley by one of his co-agents to await his grim fate, he says, “The only reason I fought so hard to stay alive in China was because I didn’t want to die for nothing. Today, I can die for something. My way, my choice.”

That scene. That dialogue, gave me goosebumps. How about you?

Anyhow, while I'm busy counting backward(yes, I've started counting already in anticipation of this season's opening), I find myself wondering about how the mastermind of 24 plans to reel us Jack Bauer junkies in this time around. Who's with me-;)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Chalet Village Cabins: Home away from home

Each year, the routine is exactly the same as the previous years’. While most people scurry in and out of stores to find that last minute present, my family loads up the minivan with suitcases and wrapped gifts, ready to head out of town.

A couple years ago we rented a cabin up in the mountains to celebrate Christmas with extended family members. A smoky mountain chalet or cabin is not exactly like a ...Read More

Friday, January 25, 2008

HOT ROD to The Rescue?

I think not!

Yes, it's the weekend. At some point, you're probably going to run along to blockbuster to rent a movie or two. And if you've never seen Hot Rod, consider yourself blessed! Here's why...

Fifteen minutes into watching this movie, I found myself getting a bit irritated. Each time I glanced at daddoo, he too had this “what the @uck” look on his face. Every single one of its “intended to be funny” dialogue seemed out of sync with its stale storyline. Guys, I’m talking ... major, Lame-o! Even the proverbial running into stationary objects type of physical humor that’s often incorporated into movies of this genre, failed. Miserably so, if I may add. What a relief it was, when daddoo finally asked, “have you had enough of this crap yet?” And let me tell ya, right then and there, I was more than ready to implement a strategy that I was never able to follow through on in my glory days of daytrading. Cut your losses short!

Hot rod, at its best, was a Poor and annoying immitation of Napoleon Dynamite. Yep, it felt good to finally pull the trigger on something-;)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

So Long, Farewell: I'm Moving On!

"I've dealt with my ghosts and I've faced all my demons
Finally content with a past I regret
I've found you find strength in your moments of weakness
For once I'm at peace with myself
I've been burdened with blame, trapped in the past for too long
I'm movin' on..."




Listening to this awesome song by Rascal flatts, never fails to inspire me to revisit what I’m currently doing with my life. It never fails to challenge me to re-evaluate my pet projects and decide whether they are worth carrying on with or if it’s time to move on to other undertakings that would actually provide some value to others. Almost six months ago, I launched myfamilyscene to test pilot self publishing. I wanted to learn about google adsense, affiliate marketing and the correlation between writing with keywords and search engine optimization . Most importantly, I needed a creative outlet where I could vent about issues that are of concern to me and also offer my readers a glimpse into some moments that make family life worth every strand of hair that most parents with young children loose over the years. That mission has been accomplished. Now, the fun part. Should I stay or should I go? Is this a good time to lock the double doors to Myfamilyscene and toss the keys forever?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Legend of the Lavender Sweat Pants

Tucked away somewhere on the top shelf of my walk in closet, you’ll find a pair of sweat pants(with matching sweat shirt) that’s been collecting dust for the past 24 months. A comfy looking outfit that no one wants. Really. The logical thing for me to do, is to toss it in that pile of clothes I’ve been meaning to donate to the salvation army. But I just can’t get myself to do it. You see, there’s a story behind that lovely attire. A story that makes me chuckle silently. A story I’d like to treat like a valuable family heirloom that must be passed down from generation to generation. Don’t you think it’s a great idea to preserve the source of every legend for as long as humanly possible? I do!

Some time Between Y E A R 2 0 0 5 - 2007
I was busy with my Christmas shopping when I came across it. Thinking that it would make a great present for Kid Sid, from Santa , I bought it. Over the years, I often wondered what happened to it, but never really got around to asking her. One day, while she was away during spring break, I decided to clean out her closet. It was then that I found the elusive lavender apparel buried among the rest of her junk. The frugal light bulb inside my head came on. My rationale? She had probably forgotten about it…so, why not wrap it up again and pass it off as another truly thoughtful Christmas gift from one of her siblings! And when she made no sarcastic reference to it, I thought…home run! However, a few days later, I walked into my closet to find that lavender wear. To this day, it's still there and will most likely remain so because someday, I am positive that it would make an excellent present from Santa, to either one of my younger two daughters.

P.S Right here, right now…

We’ve all been cleaning all day. At the moment, I am watching Daddoo, who is staring at a lovely picture frame that one of the girls had given him as a Christmas present this year.
“Nice huh?” I say.
“Yeah, it’s pretty cool.”
(Silence. Silence. Silence.)
“It looks familiar.”
(Silence. Silence. Silence)

Turning to me with a puzzled look on his face, he asks, “Didn’t someone give me this last year?”
"I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I reply-;)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Why 100% is the Most Important Percentage

Imagine this…

A 99.9% quality commitment in the following work situations would translate to:
• 50 newborn babies dropped at birth by doctors Every Day
• 20,000 incorrectly filled drug prescriptions Every Year
• 22,000 checks deducted from the wrong account Each Hour
• Your heart failing to beat 32,000 times Each Year
• 500 incorrect surgical operations performed Each Week
• One hour of unsafe drinking water Every Month
• Two unsafe landings at O’Hare International Airport Each Day
• 16,000 lost pieces of mail Per Hour!

Wow! My jaw dropped after reading about such statistics in Jack Canfields “The Success Principles.” Each year, many of us make resolutions for the upcoming New Year - Spend more time with our loved ones. Learn a new language. Pray more. Reach out. Listen more. Talk less. Do 50 sit-ups 3xweek. Take ballroom dancing- Whatever those goals may be (personal or universal) just imagine how much better life and the entire world would be, if we were committed to 100% excellence in all we do.

Btw, I wonder if we would all become Shiny Happy People-;)
Any REM Fans out there?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

"Because You are Black"

Once upon a time, Daddoo and I(with the children)were on our way back home to Florida from a funeral in West Virginia. Approximately 15 minutes after crossing the Kentucky state line, a state trooper pulled us over. (Mind you, on and on for the past several hours I've asked, nagged and even pleaded with him to slow down).

After the usual license and registration scrutiny, the cop asked, "Do you know why I stopped you Sir?"
“No Sir” replied Daddoo.
“The speed limit is 65 mph and by manual observation, you’ve been going 82 mph. Were you aware of this?”
“No Sir, I didn’t think I was going that fast.”
Subsequently, the trooper handed him a citation for speeding; cautioned, “y'all drive safely” and took off. So did we. I expected minutes of really awkward silence, because I wasn’t about to say, "I told you so." I expected his face to turn red with embarrasment or anger. But what I didn’t expect, was the verbal outburst that followed…

“That Mother****ing, Sonofabi**h, C**ksucking, Jacka** were the first batch of many really weird sounding word combos that flew from his mouth. Then he turned to me and said, “I honestly believe that the only reason he pulled us over, was because you are black!”

Silence. Silence. Silence

I wanted to laugh, but I was too irritated. I wanted to pick a spot...anywhere on his upper torso and give him a good whacking; but that would make matters worse. “You were speeding dear.” I mumbled under my breath. ‘Why don’t you just admit it you macho bonehead’ I thought.

Anyhow to this day, methinks he still holds firm to his belief. And I to mine with reasons of course. But sometimes one has to wonder…was he on to something? I’d like to hear what you think;-)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Day to Remember

The date has been set. It is going to be a day to remember. A day that her father had dreamed about but never lived long enough to see. His baby, my 33-year-old niece was finally going to walk down the aisle. I remember the day she called to share the news...

"Auntie," she began. "It's so nice to be the one sending out elegant wedding invitations." In my moment of excitement, I volunteered to handle the wedding logistics. However, her husband to be, an aspiring graphic artist, had other plans. He was not interested in shopping for discount wedding invitations online. In fact, he wanted to design and print them all by himself. He said, "I want our invites to be the talk of the town."

So, here I sit, at a coffee house directly across from the only wedding boutique in town... rehearsing my sales pitch. My mission ? Get them to commit to using a wedding planner that could shop around to find them that personalized, unique wedding invitations that they want. Wish me luck-;)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Rhyme Tyme

Looking for a simple, hassle free, after dinner activity for the whole family? Rhyme Tyme is a fun and exciting way to mentally stimulate or challenge every family member from ages 5 and above. Next time your kindergartner comes home with a new set of vocabulary or flash words that she needs help practicing, do not discard after use. Instead, cut up those words individually, fold and toss into a container. You could also come up with your own set of words.

To play this game, you’ll need:

-An egg timer or hour glass
-Note pads
-Pens or Pencils
-Plastic bowl or container

Directions:

Gather everyone around. Sit in front of the fireplace if you like. From the youngest to the oldest(one at a time), each player should pull out a piece of paper from the container; reveal or announce the secret word. After Mom or Dad sets the timer, everyone has one minute to jot down words that rhyme with the selected word. At the end of each round, the player with the highest number of correct rhyme words would become the winner. Play as many rounds as you like and be sure to double check for spelling and accuracy. Wrap up with some home made Frozen Juice Treats-:)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Back to my Motherland

Note:This is an excerpt from Home: A Trip Down Memory Lane(2); a sequel to Home.

I spent the first couple days entertaining family members who had come to see me. We mused over the past and they fired a bunch of questions at me “Is the electricity on all the time in America?” asked my niece. “Pretty much” I replied. My elderly uncle was so intrigued that we had nonstop access to running water.

A few days before Christmas, I visited the homes of some of my childhood friends, hoping that I’d at least run into a few who had returned to celebrate the holidays. The ones I really wanted to see were not around. Those that were at home asked if I had brought them presents. One in particular asked me for cigarettes. I grew tired of being harassed for one favor or another and decided to spend the rest of my visit indoors. I was stunned beyond words about all the changes that had taken place! What was I thinking? I should have realized that time (or people for that matter) waits for no man! Suddenly, I felt like I was swimming around in a future that had completely drowned my past. And like a child without his mother, I wanted to return to my home away from home. I longed for my children. I longed for my husband.

As the plane flew higher up into the clouds away from the west coast of Africa, a momentary feeling of sadness and nostalgia overwhelmed me. I wondered if I'd ever see my mother alive again. I wondered if I would ever set foot on my native soil. I wondered if my children would someday want to trace the roots of my family tree back to Nigeria. And somewhere in time between my last teardrop and the majestic view of the sun fading to a thin red line, I had an epiphany...Read full story here

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Why I'll Never be a 'Girlie' Woman

What’s with children these days? It appears that no matter how much stuff you give or buy them; parental efforts are never fully appreciated! Daddoo and I thought taking Kid Sid on a 5-day carnival cruise to celebrate her 13th birthday would totally blow her away…yep, hello! We were obviously wrong! Did she hold her horses until we’ve at least had a chance to cross the Georgia state line from Jacksonville Ports Authority, before bombarding me with, “Mom, can I have a sleepover party to celebrate my birthday with my friends?” Heck, No!
“Maybe next year” I replied.
“I think we’ve spent enough money already,” added Daddoo.
She pouted. She pleaded. Our answer was still a stern NO! Then she tried to negotiate. “I’ll do more chores. You don’t even have to pay me for babysitting for the next six months!”
My eyes widened. My lips curled into a roguish grin. I flashed Daddoo a look and he understood the signal. I had to cave in. After all, it was going to be one hell of a win-win-win arrangement for all of us. Half a year of babysitting services was worth several sleepovers in my opinion. But, there was one teeny weenie problem...Read Full Story

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Freeze the Cheese Please

That’s right. Cheddar cheese. Mozzarella cheese. Monterey Jack cheese. Colby cheese. Block, Chunk, or Grated; once exposed, most have a life span of approximately 5-7days before turning rancid.

If your family has a history of flushing unused cheese dollars down the drain, and such wastes make you wince, I’ve got great news. (No, this has nothing to do with that annoying Geico commercial.) After opening a block of cheese, if you do not foresee a short term purpose for any leftover:

1. Cut Up into single serving chunks

2. Wrap individually in aluminum foil

3. Transfer into a Zip lock Freezer bag

4. Label with “use by date” (stamped on wrapper)

5. Freeze for future use

Note: Let thaw at room temperature on counter top (15-20 minutes)before serving. Makes a great after school or road trip snack! Can also be used as an additional source of calcium for home made school lunches-:)

*For shredded cheese, follow steps 3-5. Sprinkle on salads, omelets, home-made pizzas etc.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Tale of the Biohazard Stink Bomb

There are times when we hear a story that makes our sides hurt from laughing. And while we’re busy “rotf” laughing our backsides off, we’re thinking, “thank goodness it didn’t happen to me.”

Recently, I received an email link to such a story. Not only did I rush to the nearest urgent care facility to get stitches for my split sides(just kidding); I learned that one must find the grace or humor in circumstances that are beyond one’s control.

If there were an award for "Most Embarrassing Moments", equivalent to the Grammy’s, this story-in my opinion- is definitely destined to snag a trophy…

“I just got back from a trip to Puerto Rico. Yes, the pristine beaches and abundant local 'delicacies', provided temporary succor for me, from the crazy rat race of Corporate America. But, this short piece is not about my 5-day vacation. It's about something quite humiliating that occurred to me, on that journey. The first leg of my trip from Los Angeles, to Tampa, Florida, was quite uneventful, and proceeded smoothly. However, the second leg was a tale of ha, ha, ha, horror. One that I’d probably never forget…

You see, as a chronic bachelor, I'm forced to eat what I cook - regardless of how terrible it may turn out to be. I had prepared some major amount of beans. What can I say, I love eating beans! Nonetheless, the mistake I made, was to eat copious quantities of it; washed down with two glasses of chilled, non-fat milk, the night before my travel.

When the first wave of gas threatened to explode from my you-know-where, I sat upright; bolt stiff. I tightened my sphincter muscles. Beads of sweat formed on my forehead (inspite of the fact that the plane’s interior was quite cool) until they coalesced into tiny rivulets that ran down my face. For some strange reason, there were about six passengers queued up to use the Loo that was closest to my assigned seat. And I just could not trust myself to take the 'long walk' down the aisle, to the next toilet. In my discomfort, I made the mistake of shifting my sitting posture. It was at that moment that all hell broke loose!

It wasn’t even a silent one. I heard the sound, and I'm sure most of the passengers seated across the aisle heard it too. It was a loud, short, "BAAAAAARP!" Now, ordinarily, if a loud one does not have the same aftermath of an SBD( silent but deadly), then, it’s not that big of a deal. But, guys, the only way to describe the smell that emanated … toss many rotten eggs in a bowl, mix with decaying fish and the funk of forty thousand years!

The stench almost brought tears to my eyes. As we all know, if the aroma of your own fart is unbearable even to you, then you can only wonder about its effect on other poor souls. Especially in an enclosed space! I looked around to see how others were taking it. My worst fears were confirmed. At first they tried to brave the smell, by pretending that it didn’t exist. Eventually they succumbed to the over -powering stench. They held their noses. Some fanned away frantically with the in-flight magazines. The middle-aged man, sitting across from me, glared at me menacingly, while he cupped his nose with one hand. A kid (about 5 years old) sitting behind me, who could take it no more, blurted out to her mother: " Mom, what's that awful smell?" I wanted to die. The shame and embarrassment of it all. Not to mention that they heard the sound coming from me. I buried my face in the novel I was reading. The smell hung around for what seemed like eternity. Then…the gas started building up…again. This time around, I was determined not to let it rip through. I made up my mind that I was going to get up and jump the queue, acting like it was a life or death emergency. Alas, to my eternal horror and damnation, in the process of getting up to walk to the toilet, I let out another one. A true SBD! I shoved, pushed and jumped the queue (with apologies) to get to the bathroom. I sat there for a while to let things settle back down. As I walked back to my seat-twenty minutes later-a flowery aroma filled the air. My guess? One of the flight attendants must have been trying to clear the air while I was away. It was then that I knew that it was quite clear to most of the passengers that I was the source of the evil smell. Needless to say, I spent the remainder of the flight in quiet shame and extreme embarrassment. I avoided eye contact with everyone, even up to the time of disembarkation.”

Is there a point to this story other than the obvious illustration that man is never really a worthy adversary for mother nature? You bet! Beans with milk is a deadly combo. A biohazard to the human race. Don’t do it! -;)

If you enjoyed this post, you'll probably like this blog entry

NOTE: This Story was slightly edited for brevity and clarity.

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