Saturday, April 29, 2006

4/29 What a day!

I'm tired but happy. We're having such a good time. Started with the complimentary breakfast in the hotel. I had a great veggie omelet. Other than Lisa accidentally breaking her perfume in her bathroom, everyone seemed to have a good morning.

Almost all of us went to toney Franklin TN for their street fair. So many cool and cute items in the tents that lined the street. But the crowds were formidable. All I bought was a Starbuck's Americano.

Then to Victoria's Secret, but neither Suzanne nor I could find what we wanted. Drat!

We had to leave for dinner at 3 because we wanted to be able to have a relaxing meal together at the Opryland Hotel and the Grand Ole Opry started at 6:30. Since it's a radio show as well as a live performance, it definitely started on time.

The hotel was very cool. I just saw a small part of it, but loved it. We ate at Cascades, which lived up to its name, with huge waterfalls. Beautiful.

Dinner was nice. I sat at the end of the table with Bruce, Jan and Dan. It was a seafood restaurant, but I still had a great meal--bruschetta and a huge pear/raisin/pecan/blue cheese salad.

The Grand Ole Opry (GOO) was excellent. Some of the performers are so old I thought they were dead, but they still know how to put on an entertaining show. One young guy I really enjoyed was Rockie Lynne. I may buy a CD. The big show is divided into five smaller shows. And each show is hosted by an "older" star. Fun to see and hear Little Jimmy Dickens and Porter Waggoner.

Back to the suite afterward for dessert and conversation. I got to my room about 11:15 and spent an hour or so on the phone with Russ. (Yes, the posting time on this post is a big fat lie.)

Sunday Bruce performs at the Bluebird Cafe, a very prestigious place to play. Yay, Bruce.

Friday, April 28, 2006

4/28 Too much fun

I did finish my article on Thursday and sent it in. Then we all went to the Commodore to watch Bruce do a set. This isn't his big gig (that's Sunday), but still was wonderful hearing him play again. Afterward I was tired, but hungry. We all ate in the hotel restaurant because we were too tired to go out. It was fun--full of laughter and pretty decent food.

Went to my room and talked to Russ before calling it a night.

Today I got up at 7, worked out in the fitness room for 45 minutes, then met everyone. We went to Sweet 16th, a delightful bakery on 16th Street. They serve some of Debbie's recipes there--the most famous being her blueberry muffins. By the time we got there they were completely sold out. :( But Deb and Lou will pick up a few dozen tomorrow so we all can sample. While at the bakery we all ate LOTS of different things. My favorite was the "grittata." It's a frittata made with grits. I'm not a fan of grits, EXCEPT in this case. Oh, my is that good! The owner met Deb when Deb appeared on the Crook and Chase TV show on CMT. They became fast friends.

Then a bunch of us went shopping. I needed new underwear, and Deb wanted to help Lisa buy some jeans. I decided to look too, but couldn't find any.

NashTrash was next. It's a hilarious tour in a big pink bus. Omigod we laughed so hard. These two sisters, the Juggs, are rip-snortin' fun. And they decided they loved Bruce. He was the object of their affections for two hours.

Throughout the day I spoke to Russ several times. He is in California on business, but not in a fun place--in Barstow. There's really no one there he knows, so he's bored. We texted and called lots. Works for me. :)

For dinner we went to Chili's. Why? Well, all our first choices were totally booked. Tomorrow is the Country Music Marathon and there will be around 22,000 runners, so every place is full. We walked about 1/2 mile there and back, and the food was good.

Our day ended in the big suite where Lisa (from Australia) held a quiz called "All About Me." Brilliant fun! I actually won (by a 1/2 point) and got to choose a prize. All prizes were Aussie. I chose coconut/lime body lotion and body wash. Delicious.

Then I did my comedy routine, unfortunately needed my notes, but the gang seemed to enjoy it anyway. Glo went over some of her poetry that may be set to music, and Deb read the part from her new book about traveling with your mother--which she is doing. All in all a fantastic day. Can't wait for tomorrow.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

4/27 Nashville

Talked to Russ a lot yesterday. They're not going to be doing the "real work" for a few weeks, right now it's just set up, etc. so we get to talk. Then I packed and tried to sleep. Didn't get to sleep until after 12:30 and got up at 3:30 to catch my 6:25 plane. Boy am I tired.

Plenty of excitement on the way from Milwaukee to Memphis. Someone had a medical emergency. I was all ready to stand up, take off my jacket, and in a deep, commanding voice say, "I'm certified in first aid. I can use the AED to start someone's heart. Let me at him." But my dramatic rescue wasn't necessary. Drat.

Had a nervous flyer sitting next to me from Memphis to Nashville. Early in the morning and she smelled of alcohol and cigarettes. She was so alert and in tune with every noise. I knew I could help calm her like a good social worker. Instead I took a nap. Bad Jer.

Lou and Monk were waiting for me and off we drove to our hotel. This Embassy Suites is right by Vanderbilt University and is rather new and very very nice. After setting up my computer they called and said it was lunchtime. Yum. Dave, Monk, and Lou waited in the lobby for me. The glass elevators overlook the lobby. It was performance time for me. I got some laughs, so I was happy.

We walked a few blocks to a micro-brewery--Blackstones. Good grub. And a few minutes later Suzanne and Big Jim joined us. It was great.

Now a crowd went to pick up Gloria at the airport and then in a while they'll pick up Debbie and her mom Evelyn. In the meantime I'm in my suite "working." :)

Actually I am--I have an article due today and I need to get busy. Will meet up with everyone for dinner. More later.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

4/26 Bye-bye Russ (temporarily)

Russ is flying to California right now. He's computerless, so no emails. But that does mean we've been talking on the phone even more than usual. So that's not a bad thing. :) Lucky thing that we have free mobile to mobile calls. Best deal ever. We had breakfast together today. He was in the Dallas airport and I was in my office, but it was cool nonetheless.

Last night I had a blast at Open Improv at Bucketworks. There were lots of people there, but we still got a lot of stage time. Mary Jo and Megan were there with me, and it's always so much fun working with them. There's talk of a few public performances, so we'll see how that goes.

Afterward, Megan and I went to the Harp (an Irish pub) with Ray, Dennis, and Jordan (Ray's son). I really enjoyed myself. Nice guys--and funny. Ray's going to NYC soon to see another son perform off Broadway, and I talked to him about Ali's place in Astoria. He's going to go there to eat, as soon as I can get the info from DF.

DF is traveling today to Nashville, where I'll join him and other friends in our writers' group. Can't wait. I'm a lucky bug. This weekend in Nashville, and next week in LA with Russ.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

4/25 Lots of stuff

Go to this site to see my entry in another flash fiction contest. We had to write a story about the picture of two lamps on a table. It was fun to write.

Yesterday I "had lunch" with Russ. We both went through a drive-thru and then parked our cars and spoke while we ate lunch. A first, and I loved it. We're going to do the same today, except I'll be at home instead of in my car. I'm working from home because my elliptical is being delivered and set up today, and a cleaning service is coming by to give me an estimate. My cleaning person is moving out of town.

Last night's rehearsal went really well with BroadMinded. We worked from a little after 7 until almost 9:30. And when I got home, Russ and I talked for an hour or so.

He's leaving early tomorrow for California for business for two months. He won't be able to talk as much because the building he'll be in doesn't allow cell phone usage, and he can't email from the computer there either. So guess I'll have to be a grown up about this.

Monday, April 24, 2006

4/24 Yesterday was busy

I woke up early and drove to Chicago for an 11 AM meeting. The trip itself was easy because I spoke to Russ all the way there, including when I stopped at a Starbucks for more coffee.

It was a meeting for team leaders and crew for the Avon Breast Cancer Walk. One of my sisters and I have met our goals, but Jan hasn't yet. So if you're inclined to donate, please help out Jan. You can reach our team page here.

The meeting was inspiring and motivating. This year there are 600 crew members and 4100 walkers. That's an increase of about 1500 people. We're thrilled.

After the meeting I talked to Russ on the way back to Milwaukee, making that trip pleasant as well.

Then I went to the semi-finals and championship matches of the Rec League at ComedySportz. It was great seeing my friends play. A team with two of my BroadMinded pals (Anne and Megan) came in 2nd, but I must say Anne and Megan were brilliant. The winning team was Kuribo's Shoe, a hilarious group of young men (high school and college). They take lots of chances. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don't. This time they pretty much worked! I sure enjoyed all the matches (including the semi-final with Melissa in it).

Afterward we played in some scrimmage matches. I played horribly, and was grateful it was just scrimmage and not a real match.

Got home about 8:30 or 9 and talked to Russ some more. Nice.

Oh...complaint here! I got the disc with my headshots on them, and I absolutely hate them. Don't know what else to say except I hate them. I'm going to contact the photographer and see if he made an error. I sure hope so, because these are not usable for their intended purpose. Damn.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

4/22 Self Esteem

You Have Low Self Esteem 4% of the Time

Which can be translated to mean, you have high self-esteem and a healthy sense of self worth.
You believe in yourself, and you know how to be the real you. You love yourself, imperfections and all.

Friday, April 21, 2006

4/21 Sadness too

I knew Gerry had cancer. Myrna (his wife) notified us of that. What I didn't know until today was that it has spread to his spine and that they've changed from trying to stop it to making him comfortable. They are an incredible couple.

Both met after each had already raised a family. Their combined family is huge, boisterous, and loving. Our writers' group loves hearing stories about Cousin Camp and other family occasions. Individually, and as a couple, they are indeed a blessing to the world.

Although I've known them for 11 years, I only met them in person last year in Las Vegas. Our writers' group organized a get-together. It was awesome. Myrna is incredibly kind, Gerry is a sweetie. They parked their RV in the parking lot of Bally's Hotel and Casino. I love that about them.

Now they're concentrating on making Gerry's time as good as it can be. He is determined to live life to the fullest as long as he can. That's a trouper.

I love you, Myrna. I love you, Gerry. God bless you.

4/21 Fun at work

I have four different meetings today. But at 2:30 PM I get to act. Yep. We're having a disaster drill and I get to be a violent person with a weapon. Yay for weapons. So our whole company has to evacuate the building because of me. I'm psyched. Will blog about it later.

Yesterday, I "introduced" Russ to the family. The good news is that he promises he won't let them run him off. The other good news is that he's good natured about all the razzing he's getting, and he's even giving some back. So everything looks good regarding the "curse of the Bozarths." See we have a curse. If you introduce someone to the family, they usually break up with you that day. If they don't, they are obligated by law* to stay with you forever. It's true! Marriage doesn't have to happen immediately, or even at all, (witness Jane/Pete, Jenna/Josh, Craig/Megan, etc.). Normally, it's a good system as it weeds out the losers. My daughter Jill brought two boys to family functions who broke up with her that same day. When she brought Todd P., he didn't get into all the craziness, but he also didn't ditch her. I knew he was a keeper.

Now Russ has only met the family cyberly speaking. The true test will be an in person face to face. (Yeah, for him and me too.)

*Note: Bozarth law supersedes all municipal, county, state, and national laws.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

4/20 Productive day

Am finishing up an online newsletter. That will go around for proofing today. I'll need to have it uploaded by next Wednesday, since I leave Thursday for Nashville. Am looking forward to the trip. I had such a great time with this group in Las Vegas last year. I'll help plan the next one, but it will probably be in two years instead of just one. The trip is expensive for people. But it's always worth it.

Today is kind of boring, and that makes me happy. My life has been hectic lately. It felt good to stay home last night, and I'm sure tonight will feel the same way. It's 70 degrees, the first time we reached that mark this year. But now I read it's supposed to thunderstorm. There goes my after work walk.

Nothing exciting to write about, so it's good that I'm living up to my blog title.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

4/19 More Universal Adventure pics

4/19 All things comedic...

Last night Megan and I went to Open Improv at Bucketworks. If you are a member of BW ($35 per year), Open Improv is free. It was a real experience. Eight of us there, with really different levels of experience. It was the first day for one guy. Some others were new as well. Megan and I have several years of ComedySportz training under our belts, but wanted to learn some long form improv. When we got to that, it wasn't so much instruction as it was just doing it. The leader did give some pointers. And I had fun with it (I think Megan did too...).

The coolest thing (for me) is that for once I wasn't surrounded by comics in their twenties and thirties--making me the oldest one by far. This time the ages went from 20s to 70s (I estimate, anyway). So I wasn't the oldest. And I definitely loved that.

We got a lot of stage time, and we enjoyed that. I'm pretty sure I'll go back next week, and hope that some of our other pals will join us.

AND, I'm actually working box office at ComedySportz this weekend. It's been a few months since I've worked, so I'm looking forward to it. After this weekend, it will be a while until I have a free weekend to work. Will be out of town a lot again.

Talked to Russ three separate times yesterday. It was great. Lots of long-distance on cell phone plans is definitely a good thing. :)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

4/18 Normal life can be fun!

Even though I'm currently working and not traveling, I'm still enjoying my life. Last night was good. Three of us--Megan, Melissa, and I--were sitting in Slim's having dinner and a beer. I noticed my cell phone and there were two messages on it. We hadn't heard it ring because it was right before a Bucks game and the place was PACKED! Slim's has this neat thing where you can park there and ride in their Slimozine to the game. The Slimozine will pick you up after the game too, so it makes for a really nice deal.

Anyway, the messages were from Stacy who said she looked for us at Slim's and where were we... I called her, asked her where she was, and she said, "Upstairs at Slim's." That's where we were rehearsing. Amazing. She walked right by our booth and didn't see us, and we didn't see her. So we joined her upstairs and Maria joined us as well. So there were five of us. Anne had to work, and MJ was in Chicago at a class. And of course Michele is still working in New York until June.

Stacy taught us how to do a montage, which is something she learned in Second City, and IO uses it as well. Quite fun, but it took a while to get the hang of it, since it's different than what we've learned at CSz.

Tonight Megan and I are going to Bucketworks to join and to be involved in the long form improv class. For $35 a year you can attend this class every week, and we can also use the space to rehearse for free. Wonderful. Only downside is they don't have Smithwick's.

I actually had two beers last night. Of course I consumed them in 3 hours, so didn't get tipsy, but they were sure good.

4/18 What Guys Like About Me

Stole the test from my friend Bron's blog.

Guys Like That You're Sensitive

And not in that "cry at a drop of a hat" sort of way
You just get most guys - even if you're not trying to
Guys find it is easy to confide in you and tell you their secrets
No wonder you tend to get close quickly in relationships!

Monday, April 17, 2006

4/17 Back at it

It was great to finally arrive home. And I spoke on the phone to lots of great people--Rob, Beata, Jill, and Russ. Didn't have time to put the rest of the photos online, but will try to do so as soon as possible.

Tonight BroadMinded is rehearsing at Slim's again. Which means I'll be forced to drink another Smithwick's. Last time I had 1 1/2...I think it signifies the apocalypse.

Am looking forward to getting together with the group. It's always fun when we rehearse. And eat. And drink.

Tomorrow night Megan and I plan to go to BucketWorks to their improv class. It's the long form, which I've never tried. Really looking forward to it.

Even though I've just gotten back from NY and LA, I'm eagerly anticipating two more trips coming up. Am going to Nashville to meet with my writers' group, and am going back to LA with Russ. While there we'll see CSz LA, one of my favorite troupes (besides Milwaukee, of course). Lots of good things on the horizon.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

4/16 The adventure continues

Woke up at 2:30 AM and was picked up by the airport shuttle at 3:45 AM. After we got to the airport, I drank some coffee and was summoned to the desk to be told that my flight was cancelled. Apparently there was some damage to planes in Kansas City and they needed the planes there desperately. So I was put on a noon flight and made it to my house by 6:30 PM. Am I tired? You betcha.

Am I sad? You betcha. But not about the flight. As a frequent traveler, I know things happen and there's nothing I can do about it. I'm sad about leaving Jill and the kids. To be constantly hugged and told how much you are loved, and to go from that to nada isn't pleasant. I get very used to living alone and most of the time love it, but after being with my family I never relish returning here. Guess I shouldn't say that. I still love being alone sometimes, but wish my family (all of them) lived across the street. So Rob, Beata, Jill, Todd, Kayla, Hunter, Jan, Tim, Kris, Craig, Megan, John, Paulette, Kelly, Todd, Drew, Noah, Aiden, Matt, Beth, Blake, Tyler, Jane, Pete, Jordan, Sarah, Joe, Cindy, Adam, Cody, Eric, Jay, Andrea, Suzie, Liza, Jeff, Deb, Jessi, Jenna, Josh, Emma, Brandon, Riley Jo, Jim, Karen, and anyone I left out--you must live across the street from me. I have declared it.

Yeah, I didn't think that would work. I'm only the boss in my dreams.

Love you all, and happy Easter.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

4/15 Kayla, Hunter, and Grandma's Universal Adventure, Part III

Another super day. This time without rain. Of course since the weather cooperated, and it was a Saturday, the park was very crowded. We survived however. But not without a little drama, instituted by me. I lost our annual passes. The customer service person gave us tickets to get in free after I said, "One minute they were in my hand and the next minute they were gone." I was sad.

We got into the park and immediately went to the Nickolodeon Splash Zone. We didn't have changes of clothing this time, so we couldn't get wet, but beyond the Splash Zone lay the Wild Thornberry Adventure. It was a HUGE two-story building absolutely covered with foam balls. And there were tons of different guns and other things built in that shot the balls out. Some of them were explosions of foam balls. Need I say that's the only place we went today? I did convince the kids to leave long enough to eat. Then we went right back in. Funny thing. When we went to the bathroom I shook out all three of our jackets and the passes fell out. They must have stuck somewhere in my jacket, because they sure weren't in the pockets. I compulsively checked them over and over again--as well as every inch of my backpack. It was crazy, but we were so happy we found them.

Walking back to Nick after lunch we saw Spiderman again, and Hunter got his picture. He was ecstatic. As he walked away, he thought of something else and ran back to Spidey, who was engrossed with new kids already. Hunter said, "Spiderman, I forgot to tell you." Spidey said, "What, dude? What did you forget?"

Hunter, "I just wanted to tell you I'm going back to play with the balls."

Spiderman, "That's great, dude. Have a wonderful time."

You never saw a happier kid than when he was talking to Spiderman today and the Donkey yesterday.

On the way out of the park at 3 I got them both a toy. H picked out a big Spiderman (of course) and Kayla said, "What I really want, Grandma, is E.T., if it's not too expensive." How sweet. And of course I bought one for her. Both kids were so happy.

On the way home we stopped at Starbucks. I had a cup of coffee and the kids played on the bandstand. A ritual we've done since K was very small.

Jill and Todd got home about 5:30 or so. I was talking to Russ on the phone and we cut the conversation short so I could spend time with my girl.

The only bad thing was we picked up food from Baja Fresh for dinner (my choice). As I bit into my vegetarian Mexicano burrito, I noticed a funny and unfamiliar taste. Damn! It was meat. I had to go spit it out. It was really gross. The kids shared their cheese quesadilla with me, thank heavens.

Now Jill, Todd and I are enjoying coffee, and Kayla is going to read to Hunter and me. I love it!

So much more to say but the kids are waiting, and they win. I'll post the pictures later.

4/15 A few pictures from yesterday

Hunter and Kayla at breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express in Hollywood.

Our messy room.

We're finally there.

The kids and "Babe."

Kayla pretending to be scared of the Incredible Hulk.

Enthralled on the studio tour.

Proof that I really was there. Kayla is pulling her new "sad pose" that she learned from her friend in kindergarten.

And the rains came, from the picture of the same name.

Indescribable joy!

Friday, April 14, 2006

4/14 Kayla, Hunter, and Grandma's Universal Adventure, Part II

Kayla was wonderful in gymnastics. She is fearless--just like Jill was when she was in gymnastics. I really enjoyed watching her learn.

After the class we kissed Jill good-bye, and off we went. The traffic was bad (go figure--5 PM in LA? Bad traffic? Who knew?). So we ate in Santa Clarita before driving to Hollywood. Our usual breakfast spot is CoCo's, so we went there for dinner. As usual the kids love being able to choose from a variety of items on the kids' menu. Kayla ordered pepperoni pizza, and Hunter ordered mac and cheese, which came with french fries. I had grilled cheese and iced tea. Yum.

Then we drove to Hollywood. Traffic was nothing and it just took a half hour. The Holiday Inn Express was a block from Hollywood High and a block from the Roosevelt Hotel where I stayed for the CSz World Championship last August.

The motel wasn't fancy, but it served its purpose. We parked underground and had to take a very VERY steep drive to get there. Of course we loved that. Hunter asked if we could climb out. :)

Our room had two beds--one to pile things on and one to sleep on. The kids enjoyed jumping on the bed while I talked to Russ. It was already after 8 (their usual bedtime), and so I began trying to quiet them down. No such luck. At nine I turned off the TV and said bedtime. Hunter began screaming, "MAMA, MOMMMEEEEE!" over and over again in this rhythmic chant that was quite hypnotic. He screamed for 25 minutes on the dot and then crashed and burned. It was scary, weird, and oddly funny. Of course after hearing that for so long, I had trouble sleeping.

But the dear boy woke me up at 6:30 AM with a sweet, "Grandma, it's time for our adventure..." I never could resist a sweet male.

By the way, Kayla behaved wonderfully. She and I slept in my bed, and H slept in a makeshift pallet on the floor. His choice.

We took turns showering, then went to breakfast at the motel. Everyone got to choose their own food--the kids love that! Me too.

Then we were off! Someone asked us what we wre doing, and H responded, "We're having a 'venture." Gotta love that.

The park opened at 9 but we got there a lot earlier. Because of the weather, I paid for Preferred Parking. Since we were early, we parked in the first row. That was a perfect plan, because we left in a downpour.

The first thing we did after entering the park (besides put on rain gear) was to go to the "annual pass" center. The regular tickets cost $49 each, but I paid $56 each and we can get in the rest of the year without paying. So we had to have IDs made, with our pictures on them. Very cool.

We then went on the studio tour on a big tram. The kids loved it, but the King Kong piece scared them. They loved the JAWS part when the huge shark attacked us. They were crazy about the plane crash too.

After the tour we went to Shrek 4D. After waiting in the rain, and then watching part of a set-up movie inside, Hunter announced, "I have to go potty. Now!" So we had to turn in our 3D glasses, run against the traffic to get out, and missed the show. So we got back in line, and they seemed to like it. I know I did.

After Shrek we had a nurtitious meal of candy, onion rings and lemondade. Yeah, I'm a pushover when it comes to the kids. I bought H a big Spiderman cup and K a big SpongeBob cup, and left them in the bathroom as we walked out of the park. As I told Russ, "There's a reason women my age can't have kids. We'd set them down, then forget where we put them." Ditto with souvenir cups.

Hunter saw Spiderman and ran up to him and gave him a huge hug. It was adorable. I was enjoying it so much that I forgot to take a picture. Spidey said, "Cool outfit, dude." H had on spiderman shirt.

Kayla had on a Dora the Explorer shirt and wanted a picture with Dora. We finally found Dora and K was able to go up by her and I snapped a pic.

H then started talking to Donkey from Shrek and I snapped a picture there. Hope they turn out.

The last major attraction we saw was Animal Movie Stars, and both the kids were delighted. Me too.

At 1 PM we decided we were done for the day. And it started to rain harder. The Preferred Parking really came in handy.

By the time we got on the road, it was a torrential downpour and the 30-40 minute drive took an hour and a half. Lots of wrecks on I-5. But we made it home. Sadie (their dog) was happy to see us. Jill and Todd are in Palm Springs so tonight, pretty much anything goes again.

Yeah, I'm evil.

But I'm so tired, so bedtime is definitely at 8 PM. Maybe for all of us.

More later.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

4/13 Kayla, Hunter, and Grandma's Univeral Adventure, Part I

I arrived in LA on time, about 11:15 AM. Kayla and Hunter came running toward me screaming, "Grandma." That always makes me laugh and cry at the same time. What a glorious feeling to be loved that much. Jill followed behind, and I got a hug and kiss from her too. My beautiful daughter.

We went to Soup Plantation for lunch, and it was good, as always. The kids love that they can pick out their own food. Fortunately they love salads. And desserts. :)

Now I'm on the computer at their house. We'll leave about 3:45 PM (Pacific time) to go to Kayla's gymnastics class. Immediately following, the kids and I will have dinner and will then drive to our motel in Hollywood.

Tomorrow there's a 60-80% chance of thunderstorms. But my tickets to Universal Studios are prepaid. The nice thing is that we get free admission for the rest of the year, so if we get rained out we'll be able to make it up another day. Maybe Saturday? :) I'm more excited than the kids are, I think.

I bought them a few small Easter gifts (the adventure trip cost enough...). They loved the Reese's Pieces in a carrot shaped bag. And Hunter enjoys his Curious George stuffed animal, which he says he'll sleep with tonight in the motel. I got Kayla some hair ribbons and "stuff" because the product name was Kayla Products. Too cute. She's thrilled. And I gave them both "lips." They are crazy about lip balm, and I got H fruit-flavored, and K a princess type.

The kids are especially excited because I'm going to let them have candy and jump on the beds. Plus I'll pay for a movie in our room. Hunter requested popcorn, so I'll see what I can do.

I'm so PSYCHED! Will write tomorrow night when we get back here. (Jill and Todd will be in Palm Springs, so the kids and I will rule the house. Being a Grandma ROCKS!)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

4/12 Games played

We really had fun playing the game MOODS. You have to make a statement from a card you draw. And you have to say it with a certain mood or tone. Using only your voice and facial expressions you need to convince the other players which mood you're exemplifying. There are ten moods on the board, and you roll a die (secretly) to determine which mood you need to show.

Well, I rolled "romantic." All the women voted romantic, and all the guys voted sleazy. That was the laugh of the day.

4/12 Another yesterday

Lots going on at work, but nothing to complain about. It's all interesting. Last night I spoke to Russ on the phone and then started to pick up around my house. The cleaner is coming while I'm in LA, so I have to put stuff away. Otherwise she'd have nowhere to dust.

Today we're playing a game at work over lunchtime. It's the game I won at Glo's in NY with Games Gang. It's so related to what we do here, so we're evaluating it to see if we should put it in our catalog. What fun!

This morning I left my desk about 8:28 to go debrief on American Idol with some pals, and my grandkids called at 8:29 and left a message. They're excited about me coming to visit tomorrow. Me too!

Oh, I almost forgot. I talked to Chester today. If you are a faithful reader you'll know that he is Rob and Beata's realtor in NC. Beata thought that we'd make a perfect couple except for one slight obstacle...he's been married for more than 30 years. Bea is always trying to fix me up, but she promised not to do it anymore, until Russ and I decide if we "click" or not. :)

Anyway, back to Chester--Rob needed my address immediately, so he called me at work for it. He said he was in Chester's office, and without asking me he just handed Chester the phone. So we did have a nice, short, perverted conversation. Everyone should have that every now and then.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

4/11 Yesterday

I went to the Aveda Salon and had my hair sprayed into a semi-permanent structure. Then I had a makeup session. My hair actually looked pretty much like it always does--which says a lot for my stylist. She cuts it so well that I never have to worry about it. The makeup session was fun (almost wrote MakeOut session, wonder where that came from).

Went to get my headshots with Corey, and Maria, another member of BroadMinded, was just finishing. She got her shots for her business, she's a physical therapist in private practice. My session went well. I had shots taken for work, and then some for comedy/acting. The formal ones didn't turn out well. But the ones in jeans and jean jacket turned out great, I think. I'll get the disk on the 23rd and am looking forward to that.

Then I joined my friends at Slim's (Slim McGinn's), which is across the street from CSz. They had all you can eat tacos for less than $4. A great deal! We ate and drank and then went upstairs to practice. There were only four of us, but it was still good. I have so much to learn when it comes to improv, and am always happy to listen to other people's ideas.

Guess that's enough for today. Back to work!

4/11 For Cindy

Cindy, you said you liked Beata's blog better because she mentioned you. Well, I'll do better than that. First of all, did you notice the alliteration in the first sentence? Cool, huh? Secondly, since I wrote about Sarah on the birthday you share, I thought I'd talk about you today. Scared?

Seriously, Cin, I really love you. What a great sister-in-law you are! You and Joe are a good pair, dare I say "made for each other"? You've raised three sons who you have every right to be proud of. Adam is bright and funny, Cody is bright and funny, and Eric is bright and funny. Notice a pattern here? Anyway, you and Joe did a great job with your boys. I know it's hard for you to let go of them, but I can tell you it gets easier. (I can tell you that, but it's a lie. I miss my kids every day--all three of them.)

I think you've changed in recent years. Since you've lost your parents, you seem to be more sentimental. You are so loving and generous, and you're never afraid to say I love you. To me that's an admirable quality.

Want to tell you I love you. Don't know why you're the "star" of my blog today, but I just felt like it.

Monday, April 10, 2006

4/10 Life is so good

Last night Jill IM'd to say that Kayla wrote about me in her journal. It said, "My Grandma is coming in for mor days." She's only in kindergarten and spelled it phonetically. I'm so proud of her. I gave her a journal for Christmas and told her it's never too early to start keeping a diary/journal/blog.

So I got to see the journal over the webcam and also see Jill and Kayla. I love webcams, since I don't get to see them nearly enough in person. But I'll see them all on Thursday.

And I got a nice surprise when a member of BroadMinded sent a donation to support me in the Avon Breast Cancer Walk. Thanks a bunch, Megan.

Spoke to Russ for only about an hour or so yesterday. I had to do some work for CPI, and just needed to get to it. Even though I don't relish working at home, it felt good to get it done.

After I finished working, I played one game of online poker. Paid $3.40 and won $6.

Tonight I'm having headshots taken. And in honor of that, I'm having makeup applied at Aveda. I don't think I've ever done that before--for a picture. It should be kind of fun.

After my photo shoot BroadMinded is having rehearsal. We're meeting at Slim's, a bar that lets us use the upstairs when it's not rented out. So that will certainly be fun. I'll probably order a Smithwick's, my favorite Irish beer. It's pronounced Smitticks, as I found out to my embarrassment in Dublin.

I overslept this morning and missed working out. That really upsets me. I'm on such a roll with going to the gym. And definitely can't go tonight, since I'm booked from 4:30 until 10. Drat.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

4/9 A beautiful day

Last night Russ and I talked for about four hours. Afterward I played poker online with Joe, Jay, and Jim. I played two hands and came in second in one of them. I came out a little bit ahead--spent $6.80 and won $9.

Instead of going to the gym today, I walked outside. It's such a beautiful day and finally seems like Spring might really be here--in the low 50s, but still better than the freezing temps from a few days ago.

Now I need to get busy and get some work done, so I'll be prepared for tomorrow.

For pictures of our trip to Quincy, go to Beata's blog.

4/9 This made me laugh!

A friend sent this to me, and I found it worth reading. Wonder if you will too?

Women are like apples on trees. The best ones are at the top of the

Most men don't want to reach for the good ones because they are afraid
of falling and getting hurt. Instead, they sometimes take the apples
from the ground that aren't as good, but easy. The apples at the top
think something is wrong with them, when in reality,
they're amazing.

They just have to wait for the right man to come along, the one who is
brave enough to climb all the way to the top of the tree.

Now Men...

Men are like a fine wine. They begin as grapes, and it's up to women to
stomp the shit out of them until they turn into something acceptable to
have dinner with.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

4/8 Avon Breast Cancer Walk

It's coming up quickly. The first week in June, my sisters and I will be in Chicago doing the two-day walk. I'm working on the Incident Response Crew and Jan and Jane are walking the 40 miles. If you have the resources, and the inclination to support us, please go to our team home page. Thanks. Love, Jer

4/8 Saturday Gym!

I've been catching up on email and reading others' blogs, and now it's time for the gym. When I work out on the weekend I always feel that it needs to count for more calories burned than during the week. After all, I could just stay home, but have to make an extra effort to go. During the week, you have to get up and get dressed anyway.

Silly philosophy, but it works for me.

Forgot to post that I did 50 minutes on the elliptical. It really felt good.

I changed the picture on the front of my website. It's still Rob and I, but very different from the previous one.

Friday, April 07, 2006

4/7 Home again

My flight was late leaving NY. Heavy plane traffic. The flight itself was uneventful. Since I flew Midwest Airlines I did get to eat freshly baked chocolate chip cookies (baked on board). That is reason enough to fly Midwest. Yum.

Talked to Russ for a while, then needed to unpack some of my "stuff." Opened the suitcase, took out what I needed. That was it.

Since I'm home all weekend, I'll clean up tomorrow. I'm still tired from the trip.

Lots to do at the office, but am a slow starter today. Went to lunch with my friend, Bill, for his birthday. The salad was so big that I have enough for dinner. Yum!

That's all my excitement for the day. Nothing like NYC, is it?

Oh, forgot to say that Beata gave me a Special Forces T-shirt. I can't wait to wear it to the gym. :)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

4/6 Last day in NYC

From snow to spring in one day. Amazing.

Bea and I had a ball yesterday afternoon. She and I went to COA where I turned in materials and met with the COA staff. It was a delightful visit, and so wonderful to finally meet the people f2f who I talk with on the phone.

Then we walked around the seaport, and I wanted to take B to see the Body Museum. She started gagging at the thought so we went to the Body Shop instead. It was cool; we each bought each other a present, unbeknownst to the other. Neat. I got mango body butter. Smelled so good, I licked my own arm. Gross, I know. But true.

We took the train from the lower tip of Manhattan up to 96th and Lexington. As soon as we surfaced from the train, DF pulled up. It was wonderful timing.

Had a nice ride to Astoria over the Triboro Bridge. At first blush, even at second blush, the Kabob Cafe isn't much to look at. But it actually has such beautiful little touches in its tiny space.

The food was superb. We ate way too much. Dave said if he could only choose one restaurant in NYC, it would be this one. I know why. Ali, the owner, is a charmer. He gave us such great attention. He's Dave's friend, but I get the feeling that he's quite solicitous with all customers. I actually can't remember if I've ever had Egyptian food before, but even if I did, it was not as awesome as this.

Then we came back to Manhattan off of 1st Avenue for dessert. Omigod. Another friend of Dave's, and another absolutely smashing round of food.

Dave, I'm going to miss you, but my weight loss program will not.

Kisses and hugs for Dave, with building excitement toward all being together in Nashville at the end of the month, then B and I were up to our room.

That's when the giggling began. It was a hilarious, but I don't know how to delicately talk about what we did. I'll think about it and post more later.

This morning B and I got up at 3:30 and she left for the airport about 4:45 AM. I slept until about 7:30, and then started walking. It was a super morning--including talking to B three times. :) I called her once when I found out the Polish consulate was only two blocks from our hotel.

I spoke to Jill and Hunter from Bryant Park, behind the NY Public Library. A beautiful day and the park was alive with people.

Walked from 37th and Park to 55th and 5th and back. A good morning.

Now will pack, and leave the hotel at 2 PM. I should arrive in Milwaukee by 7 and if all goes well, I'll be home by 7:30. Yay.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

4/5 Still snowing in NYC

Amazing. Snow. Love it.

Monday I worked all day and worked all night. Enough for Monday.

Tuesday I worked all day and worked all night. Enough for Tuesday.

Beata had TONS of fun with Heidi, Heidi's husband Sid, and our friend Dave. But I sadly had to miss out because of work. I knew it would be like this, and am not complaining. I really enjoy doing these site reviews and learn so much.

Forgot to say the other day that Beata's birthday present arrived at Gloria's house in mint condition. And I do believe it was a highlight of the day. At least one of them. My surprise was to have Terry Joseph paint one of her beautiful Italian tiles for Beatka and Rob's new home. It is absolutely perfect.

Okay, back to "all about me." I did have a good time with my colleagues Herman, Betsy, and Terri. We ate dinner together Monday and Tuesday nights, and then worked. It was all worth it, though.

I know I've forgotten so much, but seriously--working those long days is tiring, and I'm forgetful enough as it is.

Who are you? Do I know you?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

4/4 Long day

Started work at 8 AM and just finished. I have so much more to do that I'm getting up at 5 (maybe) or 6 (probably) and will try to get more done. Will blog when I can. Lots to talk about.

Monday, April 03, 2006

4/3 Finally a moment

One bit of excitement after another here. No time to sit and write this. But I'm taking a few moments now.

Yesterday morning Beata and I met Dave, Stephanie, Heather, and Celine at Mumbles for brunch. It was a delight. I only wish I could have eaten more.

I ate a little and then had to split. Beata will have to fill you in on the rest because I had to go to work. Yep, on Sunday.

Work went well, we reviewed case records and then walked back uptown to our hotel. A nice bit of exercise, but wore me out since I hadn't eaten much for three days. When I got to 70 Park Avenue, I met up with Beata and Heidi, and we immediately took a cab to ComedySportz New York. Three of the people I knew were on stage, and another guy I knew from LA spoke to me afterward. It's always fun watching people you know perform. They asked us to join them for a drink afterward, but we weren't able to go. On the way back to the hotel we stopped at Dave's recommendation--an Indian restaurant called Chennai Garden or something similar. It was really for Beata, who was craving Indian dessert. I ate some papadam (lentil bread, and rice pudding.

Was able to keep it down, but my stomach hurt a good part of the night. I'm guessing this was food poisoning instead of a virus. It's just too weird. Well, enough about my bodily functions. :)

The place was great, and we took the subway back to the hotel. So that was yesterday, and more about today later.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Saturday, April 01, 2006

4/1 Fun in NYC

I'm back dating this a few hours. It's actually 3:15 AM on 4/2, but I didn't want to skip a day.

Friday night I got an early April Fool's joke from the universe. I was--there's just no nice way to say this--hurling most of the night. No, not curling--hurling.

I got up for good at 4:15 AM and got to the airport early. The only thing I had in my stomach was a few sips of water, so I wasn't feeling too hot. Don't know if this was food poisoning or the 24-hour bug, but I just wanted to die and couldn't manage it.

Slept on the flight to NYC, and I prayed that I'd packed everything I needed for the six-day trip. The evening before I threw an item in the suitcase, threw up, lay down, threw an item in the suitcase, ad nauseum. (Appropos here.)

Beata missed her flight in NC, but it wasn't her or Robbie's fault. Blame that damn April Fool's universe joke. But she went standby on the next flight at no additional charge. So she was only one hour ahead of me at LaGuardia instead of two.

Beata and her friend Heidi met me at the baggage claim. Heidi is charming, very similar personality to my Beatka.

Instead of taking a cab, Bea and I shared a stretch limo with some other folks. This was Beata's first time in a limo, so we had a good time and she took some photos.

We went to our hotel---70 Park Avenue, also known as the Klimpton. It's lovely, but we couldn't get our room until three. So we went to Starbucks where I had a few sips of tea and a few bites of a rice krispie treat. Was heavenly.

We walked from 39th and Park to Pennsylvania Station, so we got some good exercise. I drank a small bottle of water as we walked. We met Dave in the waiting area. I love seeing him. He's a great guy and a good friend, not to mention handsome and kind. We took the train to Valley Stream on Long Island. Monk, Stephanie, and Ellen were already there visiting with Glo and Larry. Neala got stuck in traffic, but made it there soon afterward.

The food was awesome. Unfortunately I couldn't eat as much as I wanted. But I had a little egg salad, rye bread, and cucumbers. Neala brought "bopka," I think that's the name. It's a Polish cake, but Beata said it's not exactly like the ones in Poland. I ate a few bites of mine, but couldn't finish.

We played tons of games to help Gloria test them for the Wonderful World of Words weekend in November. Such fun. I love playing games.

Afterward, they served ice cream from Itgen's. I didn't have any, but everyone who partook seemed to enjoy it tremendously.

Ellen dropped us off at the station and we went back to the city. As we were walking outsdie of Penn Station Beatka looked up and asked, "What's that building there?" Dave answered, "THat's a little building we like to call the Empire State." Made me giggle.

Beata and I got to our room finally and it's very small, but awesome. This is a "boutique hotel" so it has so many amenities. There's HUGE flat screen TV hanging on one wall.

We only have one queen-sized bed, so we decided we'll have to spoon to be comfortable. (Decided to say that to gross out my son.)

My stomach is bothering me again, so I'm not able to sleep well. Tomorrow we're meeting DF and Stephanie for brunch and then I'm going to work in the afternoon with my team, while Beata goes with Heidi.

Then at six, Heidi and her husband will join us at ComedySportz.