Monday, July 30, 2012

Bay Area Get-Away

Happy Monday - Happy Summer!
I finished summer school and I'm sad to share that I got my first surprise it is in statistics. It's a funny thing, the way I felt when I saw my grade, "C," Shock! I really believed I could have pulled off a "A" but thought at the worst it would be a "B." Reality check: I don't have a career on the line, acceptance to an ivy league college that my stellar GPA will play a pivotal part, I am just a 45 year old woman who has been given the gift to go back to school. Yes, in this economy I need my degree to land a good job, but holding on to this idea that I need to earn straight As is just unnecessary pressure. What is real to me, is though I am absolutely capable of earning them, clearly, I am not committing myself to the time it takes to earn straight As. With that said, I am moving on and going to enjoy every last drop of summer!

Right after school let out, Mason and I packed up the car and headed to the bay area. We met Tim in San Francisco to talk taxes and have lunch. After lunch, Mason and I spent a few hours wandering the shops in China Town. What fun! Mason has never been to China Town so it was all kinds of fun for him. We bought some rice candy (Mason loves that he can eat the paper!), a really cool head massager for Dave and we took lots of pictures. Before we left the city, we stopped at Mel's and shared a milkshake, two straws but only one cherry - you can guess who got to eat that! After San Francisco, we made our way to Alameda where we settled in for the weekend. Dave met us on Saturday and we had all kinds of fun. We went to the Art & Wine Fair, Mason did a Rock Star photo shoot with Al and he had a voice evaluation (that boy can sing!), we ate mass amounts of amazing food, Mason got to kayak and we went to the beach. On our way home, we stopped in Woodland and ate some incredible barbecue at Ludy's - if you have not eaten there, make the trip!! SO GOOD! Be sure to pop over to my blog to see all kinds of fun photos from our weekend and heck, while you're there, "subscribe" to my Monday Motivator blog. If you do, you will get this same post in your e-mail, except the photos will be included!
For now, Mason and I are off to the river. Have a great week, before you know it school will be back in session and the days will be short, short, short!! Have you started Christmas shopping? Yep, it's almost August, so either stay plugged into summer or start planning for the holidays! Happy Monday!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Last Week of Summer School!

This is my last week of school! I have been consumed by these two classes this summer and just when I started visualizing some down time, I received a letter from the IRS advising me that I need to pull my records together for an audit. This sucks, but the good news is that I have great records for 2010 and a super guy representing me to the IRS. I initially freaked out but like I do, I settled in to get the work done and know it will be what it will be. Frankly, the work is tedious but having to go back through the ZipperBack journey is bittersweet. I had just reached a place of content resolution and this just brings back the sadness of the loss (I try not to think of it as a failure - but it is). As I sigh, exhausted sorting through paper I can hear my granny in my ear, "Ah Kahty, Kahty...this too shall pass."
This was, hands down Mason's favorite ride!

Even though school has been challenging, Mason and I have been having lots of little summertime adventures. We went to the state fair with Katey (my statistics angel!) and her two boys and had a great time. This is the first year Mason was able to ride all the rides, the weather was perfect and there were no crowds. We've been swimming at both the pool and the river, we've painted rocks, made a little money, camped out on the front deck, danced on the back deck under the colored lights, enjoyed a few campfires in the backyard, and so much more. This weekend we will be in Alameda for the Park Street Art and Wine Fair and Mason is totally excited to go to the beach and swim. I'm looking forward to having lunch on Friday with Tim (Mason and I are making a side trip into San Francisco - China Town!) and spending the weekend with David, Lisa, Al and the rest of the Alameda crew! After all, on Thursday I can officially shout, School's Out For Summer!
My favorite part of the fair is watching the midway lights come on.
Have a great week and enjoy these long days as it won't be long and the savory smells of fall and changing weather will be knocking at our doors. Lots of love!

Monday, July 16, 2012

California is on Fire!

It's summertime and California is on fire! I know it happens every year, but it's never easy to watch families go through the loss of their homes and life as they know it. Heck, Colorado and Utah are experiencing much of the same.
Dave has been away for training and Mason and I have been making the most of our time together. We've camped out on the deck, made ice cream, had a dinner or two out, been to the river, and watched a number of movies. Tonight is the night Mason has been waiting for, football training starts. He is so excited, but between you and me, I'm not sure he has what it takes to play football. I think he likes the idea of the game more than he may actually like suiting up and taking the hits! We'll see. This morning as he was dressing and getting ready to go to Boys and Girls Club, he asked me, "Mom, do you try to not be stylish?" Ouch! I suppose since I don't wear black skinny jeans, and paint my Mohawk gold (oh yeah, I don't have a Mohawk either!), I'm not stylish in the eyes of my eight year old son. I suppose it's the way it goes, but hey, do I really look that bad?! I guess the more important question is, do I care? Not so much. 
I hope you are having a great week and making the most of the long days of summer. I have two more weeks of school and then a little down time. Mason and I leave for our vacation on August 14 and when we get home on the 20th, it will be right back to school for both of us! Happy Monday!

Monday, July 9, 2012

CrAzY Hot Temps!

100, 103, 104, 103, 101, 101, 98...Welcome to summer! This is what our week is looking like and that means I must not put off getting the AC in the Subaru fixed! Don't get me wrong, I like it hot, but what I don't like is having to have my windows down on the freeway (the noise bugs me), while my hair whips and stings my sweating face. Yes, there is certainly a time for air conditioning.
We had an unusual July 4th. It started on the 3rd when I got Mason up and he had what appeared to be poison oak from his knees down. Panic ran through my body as I thought, "How the heck do I help him when I am so deathly allergic to the stuff myself?" We jumped through all the hoops; benedryl, calamine lotion and an appointment with the doctor. When it was time to make our appointment, I washed the calamine lotion off and there was nothing under it! Not a single red bump or spot. What the heck? I called the doctors office back and they said it's clearly not poison oak, he has no fever, seems to feel fine, it must have been an allergic reaction to something...but what? In any case, we canceled the appointment and headed out to run a few errands. Not an hour into our trip, the rash started back, bright red, but not bumpy, just red, like sunburn in splotches. Back to the doctor we go and in no time, Mason is diagnosed with Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease. It's a virus, not serious, no treatment, and apparently it is going through the grade school kids like the CO wildfires! All we could do was keep the benedryl going and pain reliever for the sores that we were told would be breaking out in his mouth. UGH! Really? On July 3rd? Oh, and highly contagious! Mason couldn't be around people, especially kids or pregnant ladies. Armed with lots of Gatorade and ice pops, we planned for the worst. We sores, no fever, rash went away - didn't come back, another day, no symptoms...what the heck? Ultimately, Mason's doctor (who I have to tell you, is the BEST!) called me and said as long as there are no sores and no fever, he is not contagious and it's possible we have misdiagnosed him. With that, we had 3 days of Mason in the house making forts out of every blanket and stick of furniture, cooking food not fit to eat (he thought it was the best ever!), and ultimately driving Dave and I bananas!  
Mason and I got right to catching up on summer fun on Friday, we went to the river and had the best time riding the little rapids where we like to swim. We slept outside and watched the moon rise. Saturday we had some neighbor kids come over for root beer floats and then we did the double-whammy, we made s'mores! And yesterday was not one bit less exciting, we went to Loomis for a pool party that went well into twilight when Miss Deb came out with 50 or more glow sticks and tossed them in the pool. The kids went crazy diving for them and playing games until 10 PM. I would go out on a limb and say this summer is shaping up to be one of Mason's most memorable! What are some of the things you remember loving about summer vacation as a kid?
I hope you all had a lovely mid-week July 4th holiday and be sure to make some fun this summer, kids or not, enjoy some of the things that you remember fondly from your childhood summers. Happy Monday!

Oh, and thank those of you who bought a RiverLights photo from Mason. He was over the moon with your questions and orders. He is trying to figure out where we are going and he noticed that I have MN written on the calendar. He asked Dave what that meant and Dave told him it was an abbreviation for MasoN. Doh! I'm betting he will figure it out before we go. He still has 20 pictures to sell so if you didn't get around to ordering one, there is still time! $1.00 each, or $2.00 signed. Smiles

Monday, July 2, 2012

Happy 4th of July!!

Happy Monday and 4th of July!
It's a short (work) week so I figured I best not be late!
I am half way through summer school and I almost can't believe I am surviving statistics. I have to share this with you because I feel it is one of the best Monday Motivator messages ever. I have a friend from school, Katey who I met when I first started back in Jan, 2011. Katey is a veteran herself as is her hubby. You can see the immediate connection we made. Since we are both pursuing a communications degree we are taking many of the same classes and wouldn't you know, Katey took this same stats class, on-line, with the same professor just last semester. That's cool, but the news gets even better, this girl printed out all of her homework and took impeccable instructional notes! She has given me her entire folder. Now before you start thinking this sounds a little like cheating, it's not, though the problems are the same, every single number in the problems are different so I have to work through them, each and every one of them on my own (but with her notes and steps to using the calculator). As if this isn't enough, Katey has spent a minimum of one day a week with me after school (we are in the same on ground class this summer), working on helping me understand the processes and mostly the calculator - she even sat with me for over 3 hours while I took my midterm - just in case I got stuck! When was the last time you gave of yourself like this? I don't know that I ever have, but I can assure you I will pay this forward! Here's what she has to say about it, "Friends help each other selflessly. A night with you at the end of the semester with a good margarita is thanks enough ;-)" Seriously!! With that, think of someone who helped you when you really needed a friend and send them a thank you, whether it's been a month, a year, or 10 years, thank them again!
On another note, Mason and I are taking a trip in August, a surprise trip! All I have told him is that he needs to earn and save his money so he will have some to spend. We have been brainstorming what he can do and one of the things he came up with was to make a RiverLights image of his own. He asked me if I would photograph it and get some prints that he could sell for a dollar each. What a great idea! He made the rock and I am photographing it today. He will be writing a bit to sell it so keep your eyes peeled for his image and pitch! As it is with Mason, after we discussed this idea and I said yes, he came back and asked, "How much do you think I can get if I sign it?" Laughing!
Have a great week and Happy 4th of July! It may initially seem like a drag that the holiday falls in the middle of the week, but maybe it's good - stay home, see your local sights and festivities and enjoy the day without lots of packing, travel and unpacking. Lots of love to you and yours!