Wednesday, June 30, 2010

This Old House

Da da dum....

Our "old" house went on the market yesterday. FINALLY!

Our realtor had an open house yesterday for other realtors, and one of them is bringing a client over tonight to look at the house. So, just like that - we're off and running!

Our old house is a great house...we built it 10 years ago, and its seen its share of children, pets, love and laughter. Good times.

It's harbored us from's kept us cozy from the cold...and it's been bursting at the seams when we've had family parties and reunions...

As sad as it is to see the "For Sale" sign in the front yard, I know that it's time to let another family move in and begin their own memories and good times in the house.

Here's hoping that new family finds the house. Quickly. :)

The awesome back yard...I loved those trees and privacy....



Tuesday, June 29, 2010

THIS...Just Creeps Me Out

This is just creepy.

The other day I received a "friend request" on Facebook from someone who I didn't recognize....

I sometimes get friend requests from fellow Red Crossers that I haven't seen in a year or two - so I thought, "Perhaps this guy is someone I've worked a disaster with...I'll check it out."

I went to his home page, and what I saw there - well, it was just creepy.

The guy has 25 friends...and EVERY SINGLE ONE of them is named Sherri. (In case you hadn't figured it out, my first name is Sherri.)

I'll repeat that, in case you missed it the first time. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF HIS 25 friends is named Sherri. And they all spell it the same way, too...with an "i" instead of a "y".

You won't believe me, so I took a screen print of his page....

Is this guy obsessed with women named "Sherri"????!!! What would possess (obsess?) a guy to ONLY have friends named Sherri? Is he collecting Sherri's???!!?

Needless to say, I did not accept his friend request. I mean, what's one less Sherri in your collection?




Monday, June 28, 2010

Weekend in Review: Saying No to Tim

You know your weekend was somethin' else when you're relieved that it's Monday and it's over...

Not that my weekend was bad or anything - oh no! Far from it! It was just...busy. As usual.

Friday night, I took daughter to Starlight Theater to see "Little House on the Prairie - the Musical." Now, Starlight Theater is an outdoor theater in the heart of Kansas's been there forever (since 1950), and Hubby and I have had season tickets forever. Through the years, we've managed to move closer and closer to the stage, and our seats are so awesome right now that I wouldn't give them up if you paid me. I've worked too hard and long to get those seats where they are!

There's an onsite restaurant at the theater, so daughter and I went and had a delicious dinner of turkey, mashed potatoes and dressing (I guess this ties into the theme of "Little House"????). For dessert, daughter had chocolate ice cream, followed by a taste of brain freeze....

Did I mention the theater is outdoors? Have I mentioned before how hot it gets in the summer in Kansas City? And humid? Friday night, it was HOT. I mean, the rubber on my sandals was melting as I stood on the pavement. My butt was melting as it sat in the plastic seat. I was melting as I sat through 2 hours of a musical featuring Laura Ingalls Wilder...certainly not a favorite of mine, but daughter loved it. Loved it. And that made it all worthwhile. The good news is, I probably sweated off about 15 pounds.

Saturday, I was a little lazy and sat down to catch up on my TIVO list...I watched "Bethenny Getting Married?" - which was somewhat of a snoozer - and then watched two episodes of "Top Chef" - which are always exciting. I LOVE "Top Chef" - and this season is brand new and taking place in Washington, DC. It's on Wednesday nights on Bravo - it's a must-see!

Saturday evening, Hubby and I went out for dinner at a Japanese steakhouse, "Kabuki". I had the tempura shrimp - which was awesome - and a chocolate martini (or two) as a compliment to the meal. Delicious. I am such a sucker for chocolate martinis. We then went to another local theater in town where we have season tickets at, the American Heartland Theater. Thank God this theater is indoors and air-conditioned! Although I could have stood to sweat off the poundage I gained from eating that fried shrimp. Oh well.

We watched a performance of "The Dixie Swim Club", a surprisingly good play covering a span of 33 years of 5 women. That doesn't sound good when you type it and look at it - but it was sweet, poignant, and extremely acerbic and funny. Hubby was laughing at one point, so hard, I thought he would need CPR or something. He was rolling. It was a great evening.

That night, though, I had major, major insomnia. It was at least 2:00 a.m. before I managed to fall asleep - and wouldn't you know it, a thunderstorm rolled through around 6:30 a.m., waking me up. ARGH!!!! Curses!!!!

Sunday, I wearily headed to my "old" church - the church we attended before we moved several months ago. The church is heading to Russia in November for a mission trip, and I'm onboard. I had a meeting to attend at 11:15 to discuss the upcoming trip - an orientation, so to speak. It will be very cold, but I've heard the children at the orphanage we work at will warm our hearts, so I'm excited about going.

At 12:15, I switched gears and presented a cultural presentation on Guatemala to our team that's headed there in two weeks. Before speaking, though, the church had cooked up some delicious tacos and chicken enchiladas for lunch - delish. Between my 1-hour talk, lunch, and then some last-minute Q&A about Guatemala, I didn't get home until 3:00 p.m. I was pooped!

One of my favorite pics in Guatemala - taken in 2007

I was so pooped, that when my buddy JoAnn offered me FREE tickets to see Tim McGraw in concert last night, I turned them down. WHA?!!??!! Did I just DO that??! I can't believe I turned down free tickets to see my King of Country, Tim. I've seen him several times in concert, and he's just as yummy in person as he is on the radio...Faith Hill is one lucky woman. But...I was tired. And I wanted to head to bed. Early. Even Hubby looked at me like I was crazy. Not crazy, though. Just...exhausted.

Sunday evening, we headed to dinner at Chili's Restaurant...where I had some safe, but bland, chicken quesadillas. I say "safe" because they didn't hurt my stomach, which is a good thing...but they were rather bland. I'm not a huge Chili's fan, but its close, convenient - and we had a gift card to use.

I finished a great book last night before falling asleep... "Alone" by Lisa Gardner.

It's a thriller, and I propped my eyelids open with toothpicks last night so I could finish it.

And then...blessed sleep. Aaaaahhhhh. The things we take for granted sometimes.

That's it - my weekend in review. So, how was YOUR weekend?



Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Snow Cone Shower

I had a date with my daughter last night...the two of us went to a local outdoor theater, where we had dinner and then watched a play....

The play was, "Little House on the Prairie - the Musical" - starring - you guessed it - Melissa Gilbert, of "Laura" fame from the original TV series. My daughter is a HUGE "Little House" fan - so this was a special treat for her to go.

I'll confess - I never read the books, nor did I ever watch the TV series. Ever. And before you berate me, or call me evil names, just back off...! I LOVED to read - but I didn't want to read about families in log cabins on the prairie. Give me a book about Mickey Mantle or Babe Ruth any day, and I was a happy girl. Or a Judy Blume novel - those were awesome.

So, any who, daughter and I went and had dinner, and then watched the show. And it was outside. And it was hot. And humid. Even in the evening - it did not cool off. At all. And I felt like my internal oven was at 400 degrees or something, as I was dying. Seriously.

But daughter really enjoyed it, which made it all worthwhile. As well as the play, she enjoyed ice cream at dinner and a snow cone during the play.

She's lucky I didn't grab that damn snow cone and dump it over my head to cool off. I was considering it.

This will be one of those times that she'll always remember because it was fun, and she got to eat cool things, and she got to see one of her favorite books come to life. I'll always remember it, as well, as the night that I just about spontaneously combusted due to the heat and came THIS CLOSE to dumping a snow cone over my head.



Friday, June 25, 2010

Bit By a Vampire?

“You have melanoma.”

Those were the words I heard from my doctor back in July 2005. I had previously been treated for basal cell carcinoma, which is a slow-growing skin cancer, on my back. That treatment consisted of applying a cream to the affected area every day for six months – and that cream HURT. It always felt like a bee stinging my back…but it worked…after six months, I had been declared cured of the basal cell.

So imagine my shock when the doctor gave me this ominous diagnosis at a later follow-up visit. He then went on to say, “I’ll send it to the lab to see what stage it is – but I can tell from just looking, that it’s beyond Stage I. We’re probably looking at least Stage II…”

I was speechless…I was supposed to leave for a mission trip to Guatemala the next day. I eventually managed to sputter that out, asking the doctor, “What do I do? Do I go? Should I cancel my trip?”

The doctor said that it would take several days for the lab to process the specimen, so his advice was to go…have a good time…because there was “nothing” I could do in the meantime. He said we’d deal with whatever we had to deal with when I got back in 10 days.

I left the office in a state of shock…and then made two calls – one to Hubby, the second to my mother – sobbing into the telephone….Scared, helpless, apprehensive.

I decided to go on to Guatemala – perhaps spending time with the people & children there would take my mind off my health issues – and it did, for the most part. Most days, I was too busy to even eat, let alone dwell on what I was facing when I got back to the States. Nights, however, gave me all-too-much time to ruminate on the future.

Although the doctor had said that there was nothing I could do until I returned, I realized he was wrong. There WAS something I could do – and that was to pray.

I prayed. A lot. My prayers weren’t asking for healing…but rather, I asked for strength and courage to face whatever it was I would be dealing with upon my return. I knew, that with God by my side, I could handle whatever was thrown at me. I prayed for God’s presence so that I would go through treatment with dignity.

I returned from Guatemala late Sunday night; the first thing Monday morning, my telephone rang – and it was my doctor.

“You’re not going to believe this,“ he began...”I sent the specimen off to the lab as at LEAST Stage II – and it came back totally clean. It’s not melanoma. It’s nothing.”

I tried to absorb this, wanting to believe it, but hesitant…and so I asked, “Are you sure the lab didn’t make a mistake?”

The doctor replied, “That’s what I thought, too – so I had them retest it. No mistake. You’re fine. I don’t know how to explain it; I’ve never seen anything like that in all of my years of practice.”

I knew how to explain it. It was the power of prayer.

And so today’s photo challenge was to take a photo of some place you went today. Well, I visited the I took a photo of the office I visited this morning.

It’s a ritual for me – every six months, I go in for skin cancer checks. It’s just something I have to do for the rest of my life.

Today’s visit was a mixed bag – I had three suspicious moles removed, including one on my neck that the doctor said is “probable basal cell”. I have a cool bandaid on my neck for the next 24 hours – I’ve told my daughter that I was bit by Edward Cullen (and if you’re not a Twilight fan, you’ll have no idea what that means…so for you non-Twilight fans, think Dracula - only young and hot.) I'll find out the lab results in a week or's hoping they turn out okay.

I encourage everyone to have regular visits with a dermatologist – you just never know.



Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Greek Mystery is Solved!

The Greek mystery is solved!

If you remember last week, I blogged about receiving an email from a tour guide we used a year ago while in Corfu, Greece - and he said in the email that he had met tourists on the street who had a copy of my European blog...which just shocked the heck out of me! If you don't remember, click HERE and read that entry.

It's been intriguing to wonder who those tourists were...and today? The mystery is solved!

I received the following email today from "Drama Queen Jackie" - who had found my blog last year on just returned from her Western Mediterranean cruise, and sent this to me:

"We just got back from our Med cruise and you were so right! It does go by way toooooo quickly. I hope you can make sense out of this email because I am still very jet lagged.

Just wanted to let you know that we used the same tour company as you while in Corfu, Greece. Our driver was Spirious. As we were driving by another taxi tour I noticed your driver, Dimitris. I said very casually........"Oh look! It's Dimitris!"

Our driver looked very surprised. I guess he was wondering how in the world does this American from Louisiana know Dimitris. We all had a good laugh after I explained to Spirious that I had read your blog & that was how I recognized the tall redhead.

At the next stop, Spirious told Dimitris that I recognized him from a past client's blog. My husband thought it was a good idea to show them the pages of the blog (yes, sometimes I carried parts of your blog with me when we toured) where Dimitris was in the picture.

Dimitris seemed very pleased and sentimental. He said he remembered you & was going to send you an email. He also kept a couple of the pages of the blog that referred to him and the one with the picture.

I sure hope you don't mind; I thought I would give you a heads up that he might send you an email. It's a small world sometimes.

Thanks so much again for your blog and all the great info. Maybe you should write travel guides. Anyway we all enjoyed reading it! I'll have to check your blog from time to time to see what your travel adventures may bring in the future. Who knows? It may come in very handy again!"

So now we know the rest of the story...of how my blog ended up in the streets of Corfu...

It IS a small world, after all! Props to Jackie for clearing up the mystery - and Jackie, you're welcome to visit here anytime for future travel adventures....I have trips to Guatemala, Florida and Russia scheduled in the next few months - and who knows where I may be if hurricanes start hitting the Gulf....(yikes - I hope not. Now that I'm a Florida property owner.)



Day 3: Photo of My Street

A photo of my street?

Who the heck cares what my street looks like?

I'm doing the Summer Photo Challenge, and this is what today's "challenge" is...perhaps the challenge is trying to figure out why anyone would be interested in what my street looks like.

My house is a log cabin - rather unusual for the suburbs of Kansas City - but I like it, as it reminds me of Jackson Hole, one of my most favorite places on earth.

I live at the lake...I have woods across the street from me:

Lake roads are somewhat curvy, as they follow the outline of the lake...we live on a "curve", so to speak....this is what it looks like looking to the left of my house....

...and this is what it looks like looking to the right side of my house....

...and then I attempted to do a panoramic of the street, and I got this very weird picture that is very distorted, to say the least. The curve we live on is NOT that curvy.

I like my street. It's quiet, having the woods across the road from us. It's peaceful. We get a lot of wildlife on my street. There's not a day that goes by that I don't see SOMETHING as I drive down my street: deer, raccoon, squirrels, bluebirds, hawks, buzzards, possum, fox, skunks, turtles,'s a smorgasboard of wildlife as I navigate the road to my house. I don't mind seeing LIVE animals - it's the dead ones I mind. Yuk.

Today is a peaceful day...I've been crazy busy all week, and today is a rare day when I have nothing on my calendar. I like those types of days every now and then - they allow me to relax and rest and restore my soul.

Have a great one, everyone.



Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day 2: Photo of a Beach

It's Day 2 of our Summer time Photo Challenge - and today's theme is the beach.

Living in the Midwest - the heartland of the country - I am not exactly close to the beach. Going to the beach necessitates a 2-day drive, or a several-hour flight - not exactly an easy venture. This will soon change, of course, when we move permanently to Florida - but that won't be for another year. Darn it.

Anywho, today's photo challenge is posting a picture taken at the beach. I had lots of photos to choose from, as the beach is a place that I've always liked to visit.

My love for the beach began when I was 17 years old, and spent the summer with my grandpa in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. He lived there (lucky him!), and I was privileged enough to spend some time with him in one of the most beautiful places on earth. We'd spend every day at the beach - Megan's Bay, Brewer's Beach, Trunk Bay in St. John - it was a smorgasboard of beaches.

Through the years, I've visited different beaches in different countries, and although the personalities may be different, they were all beautiful and relaxing and calming...the waves of the ocean can lull me to sleep faster than an Ambien - and that's a wonderful thing!

Taken on a mission trip to Belize 2010

Taken on a cruise in 2007 - a beach in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Me - on the beach on Captiva Island, Florida - Memorial Day 2010.

On the beach in Galveston, TX in 2009 - a "self-portrait". This was a mission trip where we helped rebuild after Hurricane Ike.

Me on the beach in Monterrico, Guatemala in 2007 - after completing another mission trip...this beach consists of black, volcanic sand.

I'm in Hawaii...visiting the beach during a mission trip - 2008

Another mission trip - Jamaica - another beach photo...this time in 2010

I could use a beach today - it's going to be a scorcher here in the Midwest - but no ocean waves for me today....



Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 1: Photo of Yourself

Are you up for a challenge?

Krystal, over at The Village, posted this photo challenge days ago and I am finally jumping on board!! (scroll down to the end of this post to view the challenge).

Here is my first photo...a photo of MYSELF! I did a self-portrait on Sunday, so its the most recent, up-to-date photo I have of me...

I used to hate pics of myself...I never liked my teeth; I was self-conscious about my smile; and my hair - always a mess... As I've gotten older, I've realized that I am my own worst critic - and my family isn't looking at the photos as critically as I am, and they're happy with photos of me - regardless of the squirrely hair....

So, we'll see if I'm up to the 20-day photo challenge...are you?

The Photo Challenge

Day 01 - A picture of yourself
Day 02 - A beach picture that you have taken
Day 03 - A picture of your street
Day 04 - A picture of where you went today
Day 05 - A picture from your morning
Day 06 - A picture that inspires you
Day 07 - Post a picture from a recent vacation
Day 08 - Post a picture from your commute
Day 09 - Take a picture today that showcases motion
Day 10 - A picture that you took at one time that you love
Day 11 - Post one of the oldest pictures you have in your Picture folders
Day 12 - A black and white photo
Day 13 - A picture from last summer
Day 14 - A picture taken with your cell phone
Day 15 - A picture that you edited
Day 16 - A picture of you more than 10 years ago
Day 17 - A picture of what you wore today
Day 18 - A picture of you and a best friend
Day 19 - A favorite picture of yours
Day 20 - Any picture that you want!


10 on Tuesday: Guilty Pleasures

I haven't done a "10 on Tuesday" in forever - and in the interest of time - because I, as usual, am crazy-busy and doing good to find time to just breathe - decided its quick and easy to do a 10 on Tuesday - and isn't this the longest damn sentence you've just about ever seen? Whew. Glad its over.

Anywho, today's 10 on Tuesday is all about guilty know we all have them...but are we brave enough to share them with others? These are the things that I know I probably SHOULDN'T indulge in - for money, calories, whatever reasons - but I just can't help it. Every now and then, I just HAVE TO.

1. Chocolate Martinis....
Mix up some Grey Goose with a little chocolate & cream...Delish.

2. Ethel M Chocolates
Speaking of chocolate, these are some of my most favorite candies - especially the lemon and raspberry creams. Hubby will sometimes indulge me and order some online to be delivered. Smooth, sweet with a bit of tang.

3. Flying 1st Class
I don't do this very often - but it IS really nice to be a little pampered on a flight...the pre-flight champagne, the food, the drink, the pillows, the comfort kits...Bliss.

4. Theater Season Tickets
Hubby and I have season tickets to three area venues - I LOVE live theater....I keep thinking of all of the money we're spending, and it brings on a little bit of guilt - but I guess I can look at it that I'm helping the theater companies stay in business, right?!

5. Fast, Hot Cars
I have a bit of a passion for cars that are sexy, fast and minivan for me - I want something that will attract attention when I'm driving down the road. But not the attention of the cops, of course....!

6. Housecleaners
I like to have someone else come in and do some of the cleaning - especially the bathrooms. I don't mind dusting or vacuuming - but I HATE cleaning bathrooms - and so I indulge. I like to think it keeps my sanity.

7. Gadgets
If there's a new gadget out there - I probably have it. I have an addition for gadgets - perhaps more of a sickness - and I like to be on the cutting edge of technology by trying all of them out.

8. Handbags
Whether its a Coach bag, D&B bag, or even just a simple Mishe bag - I have a passion for purses. At some point, I have to ask myself - how many purses does one person really need?

9. The Real Housewives on Bravo TV
I watch them all...Atlanta, Orange County, New York...and yes, even New Jersey. Its pure trash TV, for the most part, but I get a guilty pleasure in indulging myself by watching the ladies and their antics.

10. Sleeping In
I love, love, love to sleep in...I would, if I could, sleep until 11:00 am every morning - but that ain't happening...darn it. Not enough hours in the day if I indulged in that. But I can dream, right?!

So, there's my guilty pleasures...what are yours?



Monday, June 21, 2010

Weekend in Review

What a weekend!

Friday was my birthday, so I spent the day doing what any birthday girl should do - cleaning the house. Actually, I rather enjoy cleaning (does that make me weird?) and I love a clean house for the weekend, so I did what I enjoyed. My boys and I had Chipotle for lunch - my favorite - and it was a great day.

That evening, Hubby took me to dinner to J. Gilbert's, where I had a delicious sea bass in lemon sauce for dinner...yummo! I LOVE seafood!

After dinner, we headed to the Glenwood Arts Theater, where we watched Winter's Bone, a film that is a gripping, bleak look at the meth world in the Ozarks.

It won a Sundance Film Festival award - and well deservedly - especially the 17-year old star. She was amazing.

Saturday was spent preparing for the big party we were having on Sunday...I drove to a nearby Honeybaked Ham store and got caught in a torrential downpour that knocked power out to areas of the city - including the ham store. I got there just before they were closing - and luckily, my meat trays were still cold and edible. Yikes.

That evening, we went to church, where we heard a fantastic sermon on what it takes to be a parent - mom OR was very thought-provoking, as well as uplifting. If you want to listen to it, click here.

After church, we headed to a pool party being thrown by Hubby's former boss - who retired about 2 years ago. "John" and his wife have spent the last 2 years building a multi-million dollar house - and it was. to. die. for. OMG. It's next door to the guy who started, so that tells you a little bit about the neighborhood we were in. The backyard pool area was something out of "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous"...actually, the entire house could have been on an episode of "Cribs"! We enjoyed chatting with some of Hubby's co-workers, including a guy who bought a house a year ago in Ft Myers (he's the one who talked us into looking there).

Sunday was all about Father's was our first Father's Day/Birthday we've been in town for in five years - so we had a bang-up celebration. The party began at 3:00 p.m. and the last guest didn't leave until 9:30 p.m. Yikes!

My dad with my brother, me and my sister...

We ate...drank...boated...tubed...swam in the lake...chatted...took pictures...ate some more....drank some more...and partied until we couldn't drop anymore. It was great to have most of the family here...the only one missing was our daughter, Maggie, who's stationed in the Army in Japan right now....

What a weekend! I collapsed last night after picking up after the party. And for good reason.

I hope YOUR weekend was awesome!



Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Dad, the Pusher

Dad and I - November 1963

If I had to use one word to describe my Dad, it would be "pusher."

No, not THAT kind of a pusher - as in drugs!!! Gosh, no!

I mean, "pusher" - in the sense that he was always, always, always pushing me to do something that I really didn't want to do.

All through school, he was the one pushing me to get good grades...and pushing me to take more and more Math classes, although I'd rather have boiled my tongue into a fine jelly and served it up bare-handed to hand and jelly eating sharks than take Math class. Push. Push. Push. I did it - took math all the way through school, to the point that I now somewhat love numbers and balancing checkbooks - and having an accounting job for many, many years at a major hospital here in town.

He was my softball coach for many, many years - and he'd push me to learn the complex strategy of the game. He insisted that I learn how to switch hit; he demanded that I learn how to slide when coming into a base; and he wisely pointed out that statistics are very important when managing a team. Push. Push. Push. I did it - to the point that I ended up having dreams of playing major league baseball - as a GIRL, no less. And our team won a few city championships in its day.

He declared at an early age that there would never be an argument - I WAS going to college. Period. Any daughter of his would have a good education - and I was to complete my four years of college before even thinking of getting married. Push. Push. Push. I did it - went through college and wisely held off getting engaged until my senior year - knowing dad would flip if I did it any sooner. The wedding was held a year after graduation - plenty of time to get that good job before settling down.

During college, he would engage me in early-morning debates....the topic didn't matter - it was normally about politics or current events - but he would demand that I hold my ground and argue my point logically and consistently, while he played devil's advocate and argue the other side. It would sometimes drive me NUTS - what he was arguing - but he pushed me to prove my point. Push. Push. Push. I now argue and debate with a stubbornness that could drive a saint insane - but I will hold my position until proven with irrefutable facts or evidence that I am wrong.

My dad is pretty awesome...he's a quiet, solid rock in the chaos that sometimes surrounds him with my energetic, dynamic family - he keeps us firmly grounded. He's a man of deep, quiet faith that loves deeply, as well...and is not afraid of showing that love by sending mushy cards for no reason.

I love my Dad.

Happy Father's Day, Dad.

You rock.