Great Memories

Every time I have seen a double rainbow, everything has worked out right.

Every time I have seen a double rainbow, everything has worked out right.

Thanks for the picture!

Thanks for the picture!

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I have reached the conclusion that language teachers are the most fun if you just want to hang out.

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Changes Are Coming

In spite of the weather outside (It just started sleeting!), I feel better today than I have in weeks. 🙂 I had enough motivation to visit Laura and her adorable bunch. It’s been a while since I felt like getting out of my jammies long enough to drive out there. Today Ysabela and I decided there was gas in the car, and we had the time and energy. We called ahead, gathered movies, dolls and hair pretties for the girls and went out. Laura is always full of cool ideas, so it was nice to be in good company. We discussed kids, school, homeschooling and life in general. She commented that I seemed happy. Honestly, I feel as if a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. In the last few weeks I have made some tough decisions, but I am at peace about them all. Changes are coming!

Bela took this of me with "my" two babies.  Laura did all the work!

Bela took this of me with “my” two babies. Laura did all the work!

I feel that the changes for my tiny family will be positive. I’ll be busy at work while Bela will be busy at home. We are both quite excited. With that happening, I need to keep the household running efficiently. If you have been keeping up with the blog, you know I have been cooking more lately, but now I would like to take our kitchen to the next level.

I am already thinking about how to cook meals in advance to keep things running smoothly. My friends post links on Facebook all the time about making meals and freezing extra portions. Maybe I could combine forces (and resources) with a friend or two and have a baking day so we could swap some meals for variety. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time brainstorming other ways to make and save more money. My dear friend, Lisa, sends coupons on a regular basis, and I am thrilled to use them! If you have other great ideas, please feel free to leave a comment!

YUMMY!

So I hauled my big carcass out of my chair and went to make egg rolls today. Was it ever worth it! I came home with the lion’s share of egg rolls because Stacey and her family don’t eat as many as we do. This time around we added more sugar to the mix, so this batch was even better than the first we made. It was time well spent with good friends and good food.

We again used pork and chicken.

We again used pork and chicken.

This is what the paper looks like before it is soaked in hot water.

This is what the paper looks like before it is soaked in hot water.

The wrappers become pliable after being dipped in hot water.

The wrappers become pliable after being dipped in hot water.

Stacey can wrap them much neater than I can!

Stacey can wrap them much neater than I can!

A few examples of the finished product....

A few examples of the finished product….

Rodeo Saturday

Saturday rodeo and my day off…..it was a miraculous sort of day! I got up a bit earlier than my body wanted, but after a pep talk and a cup of coffee (not in that order), I managed to shower and get out the door by 7:40. Hyannis is about 45 minutes from home, and I wanted to be there early enough to get a good parking space. I also knew that Deb and Scout had to be ready by 9. It was a bonus seeing other people from my (adopted) town once I got there.

I love taking pictures, and horses are always fun to photograph. I figured out how to take video with Bela’s camera, so it was a fun day.

Crow's nest

Crow’s nest


Bernice is ready to roll.

Bernice is ready to roll.


I've never seen an ugly horse.  :)

I’ve never seen an ugly horse. 🙂


Another beautiful equine specimen

Another beautiful equine specimen


Warm up time in the ring

Warm up time in the ring

Ruins

My friends, Rosario and Judith, took us to see some ruins near Tekax (Yucatan, Mexico) a few years ago. I had a lot of fun, but Ysabela and I were sure tired when we got finished! It was awesome to meet their families and enjoy some great cooking!

Victory!

Victory!

Beautiful scenery near Tekax!

Beautiful scenery near Tekax!

Sinister, isn't it?

Sinister, isn’t it?

Rosario and her dad

Rosario and her dad

Rosario and her mom

Rosario and her mom

Judith and her mom

Judith and her mom

The Chicken Chick

Tanking

Last week, our friends, Glenn and Stacey, invited me and Bela to go tanking with them Sunday. I remember the boss, Dawn, telling me that everyone should go once, so I accepted. Glenn has his own tank, so we didn’t have to worry about renting one. Tanking in Nebraska is a big deal. Everyone had told me the water isn’t that deep, but Bela and I can’t swim or float, so I was a bit apprehensive. It was about 87 degrees, but it didn’t feel that hot. Nonetheless, Stacey and I got scorched! I swear even my eyelids are burned! We might as well have been dipped in butter. Biggest lesson of the day—SUNSCREEN!

Let me start at the beginning….for those who do not know, Nebraska has some neat rivers. We tanked down the Middle Loup for a couple of miles. To get there, we had to go three or four miles out of town and through some cow country. Once there, I watched them unload the tank and get it partially into the water. I wasn’t much help. You know me by now…acting like a tourist!

Loading up!

Loading up!

Cow Country....

Cow Country….


Glenn had brought some chairs to use in the tank, but Stacey sat on the cooler, and Bela and I sat flat on the tank bottom. I wanted a low center of gravity so I wouldn’t fall out! We stopped after about an hour and a half, and Gen spent some time swimming while Bela and I waded in the water. We got a bit bogged down in mud, but the water under it was quite refreshing! My feet were happy.

Glenn and Stacey paddled to avoid sand bars and trees. There were three fences we had to dodge, but nobody toppled out! Glenn did almost end up on my lap a few times when we bumped a tree or the bank!

Yikes!

Yikes!


Dodging trees is very important!

Dodging trees is very important!

It took maybe three hours to get to the vehicle, but once there, the girls chased frogs or tried to grab tiny fish. I waded around while Stacey took Glenn for his truck. Bela took time to write her name in the mud.

You can barely read her name.

You can barely read her name.


Looking for frogs or fishies

Looking for frogs or fishies


The water may wash away the writing and the foot prints, but I will remember the fun we had for a long time to come! When we got out of the tank, Bela’s first question to Stacey and Glenn was, “When can we go again?” We topped off the day with burgers on the grill. They helped me remember how to relax!
Foot prints

Foot prints


After this sunburn, I may go POLAR tanking instead!

Audition Day!

I wanted to leave around 10, but the ladies in the room beside ours said we could follow them to Magness Arena. Colleen and Charlene were leaving close to 1. I decided we’d follow them, so we waited. According to Masha, the receptionist, many of the guests had already gone for early auditions.

Ysabela was happy to wait since she could spend time chatting with Mohammad. The funniest thing was that they were sitting in the same hotel room not five feet from each other having a Facebook conversation. That cracked me up! Before you get the wrong idea, Kemila and little brother Azume were also present, and the door was open. In between frequent smoke breaks, I told Kemila if Bela was bothering her, kick her out. Kemila responded, “She’s my daughter.”

Colleen (Charlene’s hypnotist) told me they had an extra room we could have if we needed it since we checked out at 1. I told them I’d pay for it, but Colleen said it wasn’t necessary. I told her to get her money back if we didn’t come back to La Quinta. My plan was to let Bela audition and drive straight home.

We met some really cool people on this little adventure. The open call did bring out the good, the bad and the ugly! There had to have been at least 1000 people waiting for a chance to sing.

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I was following Colleen and Charlene as planned when a black Escalade pulled between us. The girls made the turn, we had traffic and lost them! OH, NO! I can get lost in a paper bag! NOOOOOOOOOOO! So I took a deep breath, made the turn and saw a pay-per-hour parking lot. The Escalade turned in, and I followed. (Are you seeing a pattern in my travels?) I took the space right beside the Escalade. Out of the vehicle came three people. I knew right away someone was there to sing. Melissa was the one auditioning. Her husband and her mother were there for moral support. We waited in line together. As we chatted, one of the security people made an announcement that we needed to make sure we didn’t have matches, lighters, knives or any other “dangerous” things. It suddenly dawned on me that I had a knife in my purse. I was not about to walk back to the car and leave my knife there. I was afraid the line would start moving, and Bela would go in without me! I turned to Melissa’s husband and asked if he would stick my knife in his pocket since he couldn’t go in with his wife. He was such a kind person! He laughed and took it. Melissa’s mom was sitting in the shade holding a sign that said, “Missy J. All the Way!”

An announcement was also made that, once in line, the wait time was from two to four hours. That proved true. Outside there were four roped off lanes with three lines in each. Identification and audition passes were checked, purses were searched and everyone was “wanded.” I had expected to accompany Bela up to the door for her audition, but I was allowed to go in with her and her group! WHOOHOO! She sang with Taylor, Julia, Angelina and a few others. Some hopefuls had made the rounds from X Factor, American Idol and The Voice. There were a lot of awesome singers, and Bela, inexperienced but hopeful, did as well as anyone else. She represented well.

There is a major confidentiality clause in the contract everyone had to sign, but I can tell you I can’t break it because I don’t know anything beyond our experience. It was absolutely positive, and Ysabela hopes to go again.

The wait was almost over to sing!

The wait was almost over to sing!

Melissa ended up in another group, and when we got back to the car, their Escalade was gone. I looked on my windshield, and there was my knife. Pretty cool people….

Leaving

Swapping toys....

Swapping toys….

The kids were both crying when it was time for us to leave. They swapped stuffed toys for a tangible reminder of the visit. The longer we stayed, the harder it was to think about heading back to Nebraska. We spent part of the day packing the car. There were tubs of books and pictures that had to be crammed in the car. Luckily, Mom knows how to pack! Dad helped a bit as well.

I tried to take a nap, but it was hard to get any sleep. After an hour and a half, I gave up. We had originally planned to leave around 11 p. m., but since I was up and alert, we pulled out around 8 instead. I knew the drive home would be brutal. Bela and I amused ourselves playing Banana! and Punch Bug! again. If you happened to be driving a yellow car and saw strange people pointing at you, it was probably us!

I will treasure all the memories we brought back with us. Every picture reminds me of something or someone special. There was mention made of us returning in the summer…….not too sure about that yet!

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Thanks, Judy, for taking this one!  C. J., Bela, me and Lisa

Thanks, Judy, for taking this one! C. J., Bela, me and Lisa


Seeing Aunt Ottie was nice!  It had been YEARS!

Seeing Aunt Ottie was nice! It had been YEARS!


I was tired of driving, so Judy took over.
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Judy’s Place

When I was thinking about driving more to see my friend, Judy, I wasn’t sure I could get back in the car! Yes, I wanted to see her, but I was flat out tired of driving! I also know her work schedule, and I didn’t want her to be exhausted if I stayed too long. She’s the kind of friend everyone needs—I know I’m always welcome at her place for however long I need to be there. She’s been at my side during some hard times as well as good times. Everybody needs a Judy! After thinking hard about it, I felt like

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TD_pSeNelU&feature=player_embedded

The view from her place is fabulous.

Great view from Judy's house

Great view from Judy’s house

The water bed is the most comfortable I’ve ever slept in!

Best water bed ever!

Best water bed ever!

This was the same day we went to Lisa’s. Again, there was a kid with a camera handy!

Sneaky kid took our pic!

Sneaky kid took our pic!