Wednesday, February 29, 2012

More New York Fun

The adventures continued in New York City with our first Subway ride. I bought my very own Metrocard. Each ride costs $2.25. I was very excited about my first subway ride. I was proud of myself for getting directions at the hotel for how to get to where we wanted to go.

And then we got on the wrong train.

I felt just dreadful, because it was pretty much all my fault that we got on the subway headed to Queens. We realized we were on the wrong subway right before we went under the river. There is no reason for it to stop under the river, of course, so the delay was a long one! A nice man told as at the first stop to get off, go across to the other platform and get on the train headed back where we came from. We definitely got our $2.25 worth!

My first subway ride, with one of my new friends, Stacia, from Weiser, Idaho. (Actually, she lives in Ontario, Oregon, but it's right over the border!)

Getting lost on the subway was really part of my plan as an exciting detour for our trip. Because, be delaying our arrival at the Staten Island Ferry, the timing was perfect for the sun to be setting! See how clever I am? No, really. I loved the way these columns reflected the light from the setting sun.

And this view of the shoreline was enhanced by the light from the sunset.

I did still feel bad that I got us turned around, but I felt the tiniest bit redeemed that it all worked out fine in the end! Next subway ride, was someone else's to figure out, though! It's not as easy as it seems like it should be!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Date Night, February 2012

Okay, maybe it was "Date Day," but February has been so crazy that a girl's gotta take what she can get! My hubby just got home late Sunday night (early Monday morning, is more like it) from Denver, Colorado. We're quite the jet setting pair which is strange for two people who never stray much past Spokane, Washington!

We met for lunch yesterday at a burger joint in Cottonwood, called The Hangout. It's that place in town with all the funny signs on the wall. I wanted to take a picture, but there were people sitting right by it and I didn't feel like explaining why I was taking a picture near their table. I'm sure I could've convinced them I wasn't a freak taking pictures of their little girl, but I didn't have it in me.

The sign said:

Love may be blind,

But marriage is a real eye opener!

Too true.

That's all I have to say about that.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Volleyball Galore!

Nicole played in an epic volleyball tournament on Saturday.  Her team played against 6 teams and her team ended up in 2nd place.  They played a total of seventeen games from 8am to 3:30 pm.  I was exhausted after watching it all day.  I can't imagine how tired she must've been!!  She was one of only two setters on the team, so she never sat out any of the games!  
Our favorite Setter ready for action!

Volleyball season is almost over.  It's been a lot of fun to watch their games and see their improvement over the season.  Her dad would like her to participate in track this year, but she's skeptical.  I think her next sport this year will be horseback riding!!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mamma Mia!

The highlight of my New York trip was the Broadway musical I went to with a few of my new friends! We managed to walk to Times Square and buy tickets at 4pm on Sunday for a show at 7 pm that night.

The tickets were half off. A bargain at seventy dollars! It was worth every penny.

We had great seats and really enjoyed the show. Who can resist singing along to those great ABBA songs?!!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Street Signs

Near a busy intersection of Times Square, we saw this sign. . . . .

I didn't understand it. We had to wait at the crosswalk. Were we supposed to jog in place?

I got home and Googled it and it means that you can stop and unload passengers, but you can't park there. That's about as clear as mud.

Another perplexing sign that we spotted while driving to our hotel was--

"No honking. $350 Fine."

Honking seems to be the state pasttime. We actually heard someone honk while we were driving throught that particular intersection. How in the world can they possibly enforce that sign?! How would they know exactly which car emitted the offensive honk?

These are the things I lose sleep over.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Buddy and Me

My girls and I are big fans of the Cake Boss show on TLC. In case you're not familiar with it, it's all about this bakery owner and the crazy cakes he makes in Hoboken, New Jersey. Sadly, it was not on the itenerary to go to Hoboken, but I was excited when a fellow traveler told me there was a "Cake Boss Cafe" in Times Square. It's very hidden in a building along a side street. Upstairs, downstairs, around a couple corners..... until find this tiny little cafe with one smallish chocolate chip cookie ($3.50??), some brownies ($4) and a few cannolis.

Really, it wasn't much. But I did have my picture taken by this cut out of Buddy himself! Woohoo!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Run Forest, Run!

Our first dinner in New York was at the "Bubba Gump Shrimp Company!" I had--what else?--shrimp. Shrimp Scampi. It was fabulous food and a fun atmosphere. We had a fun waiter who quizzed us on Forrest Gump movie trivia. I failed, but the movie buffs at our table aced it! He said he's a struggling actor. He also said all the waiters and waitresses there probably were!

I seriously considered getting Glenn something from the gift shop because he's a big fan of the movie, but I didn't think he'd wear a "Mama says I'm special" shirt more than once or twice!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Our Boise weekend wasn't quite over after the basketball games and outing to Dairy Queen. We also attended Mass together on Saturday night. After Mass, they handed out the trophies for the Sportsmanship award. This being a Catholic basketball tournament, they really emphasize that this award is the true focus of the weekend. Glenn told his team from the start that they should aim to win that trophy. It must've paid off, because they won for the girls' division! It is a beautiful trophy, and after Mass we took lots of team pictures, but I don't typically think to bring my camera to Church, so I don't have any great photos of the pround team and their coach!

If I get a better picture from someone, I'll post it, but until then, if you squint, you can see the trophy sitting in the middle of this table and to the right. We went out to dinner at the Macaroni Grill after church to celebrate!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

More Hallissey

The Hallissey Basketball Tournament was a fabulous time. As I said in yesterday's post, we lost game one, but we won games two and three on Saturday morning. Game three was a major nail-biter. We were ahead by one point for the first half and then behind by one point for most of the second half. At the final buzzer, the score was tied at 28. The ref called a foul on the other team at the buzzer giving one of our players the chance to win the game with a free throw. No pressure there!!! Our Prairie crowd erupted in screams when she made the shot with nothing but net!! Phew! Game four was hard fought, but the girls were just out of steam and that was the end of the road for us.

One of the dads suggested we head over to Dairy Queen to celebrate our great tournament. Two of the dads split the bill which came to almost $100 for all of the team and their parents! It was a great ending to a great weekend. Gotta love those Blizzards (especially the chocolate ones!)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Home again, home again, jiggety jig

I had about 19 hours at home after my New York trip and then it was off on another adventure! Glenn decided a few months ago to put together a 7th and 8th grade girls team to go to a Catholic basketball tournament in Boise.

Now, Boise is a four hour drive from Cottonwood, and driving is not my favorite hobby. I was still running on Eastern Time when we left, so I was grateful for my finely tuned napping-in-the-car skills. And incredibly grateful that the kids could watch a movie with headphones making the car blissfully quiet. Not so much fun for Glenn, but that's the kind of great guy that he is.

The tournament was great fun. The motel we stayed at was very nice. Much nicer than the New York Hilton, and a fraction of the price! In the front row of this picture you can see the "Littles" that were on the team. (Ellea's to the left of the girl holding the ball.) That's what the older girls named the 5th and 6th grade sisters that were on the team for emergencies (injuries, fouled out players, etc). They got to play a little bit.

They lost their first game. The other team was all 8th graders and very tall (according to the program, two of them were 5' 11''!). With just a couple minutes left, Glenn put the Littles in the game since we were so far behind. They played very well and even made a couple of baskets. Ellea had a clear path to the basket at one point, but she stumbled and looked like she was going to land on the floor. She managed to right herself and continued to the basket and made the shot!! It was the best part of the whole tournament for me! She typically acts like it's no big deal when she makes a basket, but not this time. She loved all the attention and congratulations she got after the game!!

Needless, to say, we'll be going to this tournament for the next few years. Nicole isn't a big fan of basketball, but she enjoys doing the stats and Ellea will be able to play until she's in the 8th grade, so we're in it for at least three more years. Probably longer, if Glenn has his way!

I'm okay with that. I'm just happy to be home again. Although, I wish my house came with maid service! That part of being gone for 9 days was truly delightful!

Central Park

My first outing in New York City was to Central Park with a few colleagues from Idaho who I'd never met before, but got to know very well over the next few days! It was a brisk 35 degrees, so I felt right at home!

This is a famous pond that's in lots of movies. Just looked like a pond to me!

I thought this bridge looked very cool and my companions said they recognized it from movies also. The park was beautiful for it being the middle of winter. I'd love to see it in summer when everything is green.

There were lots of horse-drawn carriages, and I was tempted to take a ride but they wanted $50 for a 20 minute ride, so I was happy with just a picture!

I loved this guy's feather! He was trying to eat my hand while I stood there. He must get lots of treats from people! You'll notice the scarf on my head. I thought to pack gloves and a neck scarf, but my ears were freezing so I bought a $5 scarf from a street vendor in an attempt to thaw out my ears!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Hilton

The conference I went to this week was in the New York Hilton. I figured the rooms would be very posh and fabulous, because this is The Hilton!! I was even more excited about what my room might be like when I was upgraded to a room on the "Executive Level." I was on the 44th floor--the top floor!

The exterior and the lobby were impressive, as expected.

The room? Not so much. What you see is here is, literally, the entire room. Six inches to the right of the bed is a wall. I'm guessing a hotel this size has janitor's closets bigger than this! There were stains on the carpet and the drapes looked like there were overdue for a cleaning.

I was floored to enter the (small) bathroom and see no toilet paper! Seriously? And one of the sconce light fixtures over the mirror was missing its glass cover. Just a couple of bare fluorescent bulbs.

I've stayed in plenty of Super 8's that were as nice or nicer. And they weren't $250 per night!

Friday, February 17, 2012

World Traveler

Not really. But, somehow "country traveler," just doesn't have the same ring to it!! I never in my wildest dreams, ever imagined I'd ever get to visit New York City. My new job as the Site Coordinator of a federal grant called GEAR UP took me there for a conference all this week.

My flight landed at Newark airport at 11pm last Saturday night and we got to the motel at about 2am. When the driver finally showed up to pick us up, he took us seriously when someone suggested that he could drive us around to see the sights!! He showed us the Manhattan bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge, Ground Zero and the new World Trade Center, China town and probably a bunch of other stuff that I missed!!

I tried to take pictures of some of the sights, as I wasn't sure how much sight-seeing we'd manage to get in with the conference keeping us busy until 5pm most nights.

I knew pictures at dark, in a crazy-fast cab, through a window would be a stretch with my little point-and shoot, but all a girl can do is try!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Home Sweet Home, Almost

Phew!!  What a week!  I flew into Spokane late last night from my whirlwind trip to New York City!  I stayed in a motel since my flight didn't land until 10:30 pm, which felt like 1:30 am Eastern time.  I wasn't too excited about a 3 hour drive at that point!

So, I'm looking forward to getting home and hugging my hubby and kids!  And taking a nap.

I have lots of pictures (of course!) to share from my trip, so stay tuned. . . .

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"P" Words

I missed one of Nicole's games when I was in Coeur d'Alene getting excited about cheesecakes and Kindles. They won one game and lost two. They've really improved since game one, though.

I was tickled with some of the shots I got at last Thursdays game. And with my little-girl camera even!

They won two of the three games this time. It's so exciting having a child out there playing. It just makes you all proud, possessive, protective and many other "p" words that I can't think of right now.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy V Day

Happy Valentine's Day to all.

My poor hubby doesn't get to see his wife today. He hasn't seen me since last week, as a matter-of-fact, because I'm in New York City!

God bless you for holding down the fort, Glenn. Hang in there; I'll be home soon.

Happy Valentine's Day, my love.

Monday, February 13, 2012

You Heard it Here First

This is what Wikipedia has to say about the Kindle Fire:

"The Kindle Fire is a tablet computer version of's Kindle e-book reader. It has a color 7" multi-touch dislplay with IPS technology and runs a forked version of Google's Android operating system. The device--which runs streaming movies and TV shows, and kindles e-books--was released in November, 2011."

This is what Loretta has to say about the Kindle Fire:

"Cool beans."

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Kindle Fire

The highlight of the Idaho Leads meetings that I attended last week was very unexpected. I knew right away what was happening at one point when the speaker said they were going to be "like Oprah." Free giveaway!! And not just any giveaway. A Kindle Fire. These things are like mini iPads. They can check email, go online, play angry birds. Yup. Angry Birds is the most addicting game on the planet. It gives me anxiety playing that silly game because I get so frustrated when I can't pass a level, but I keep right on a-playin'!!

I'm a little unsure why it was necessary to give each and every one of us a Kindle Fire, but I'm not one to complain about freebies, so I accepted graciously. I'm polite like that.

And, there was a competition (tied into Angry Birds) where the team that knocked the most pigs off a stack of boxes by throwing these stuffed birds (that sounds crazy if you aren't familiar with the game--sorry 'bout that!) won a prize. We had no idea what the prize was, but being a pretty competitive bunch, we wanted it!! We (my teammates--I have zero throwing ability) knocked off 9 pigs out of 10.

Turned out the prize was a $25 gift card for each person on our team! Again, I was polite and accepted graciously.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Words of Wisdom with Chocolate

I copied down some great quotes from the different speakers at the Idaho Leads meeting I went to at the Coeur d'Alene Resort. I thought I'd share.

In a relationship, you can be right, or you can be in it.
(Isn't that just too true?!!)

You can’t wait for success, you have to kick-start it.

The future arrives too soon and in the wrong order.

Failure is okay. Get over it.

If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure,
you fail above everyone else’s successes.

I'll also share the super-duper yummylicious cheesecake they fed us after dinner........

I wish you could taste it, but until that come up with that technology (mark my words!), you'll just have to admire it on your computer.

Now wipe the drool from your chin. It's embarrassing.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Coeur d'Alene

The day after I got home from the Youth Rally in Coeur d'Alene, I was back on Highway 95 to a meeting in--you guessed it, Coeur d'Alene!! I was invited to join a "team" from Cottonwood going through a 15 month process call The Idaho Leads Project which is going to teach us ways to make our school district better. The team is made up mostly of teachers and administrators and one student and one parent (me!!). This whole process is being paid for by an Idaho non-profit group called the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson foundation which is a big supporter of education.

They have deep pockets because we were well treated at the beautiful resort hotel called "The Coeur d'Alene." Very posh. Very luxurious. Very expensive!

They put us up in these gorgeous rooms overlooking Lake Coeur d'Alene. I had that beautiful (quite comfortable) king size bed all to myself! A few of us shared rooms, but some of us had luxurious alone time!

Unfortunately, I only spent about 45 minutes in this beautiful space when I wasn't sleeping! We arrived very late because we watched a girls' district basketball game on the way there. Then up and ready for breakfast at 7:30 am and heading for home at 6:30 p.m. Yup, you read that right. 11 hours of meetings! And there are three more meetings scheduled over the next 9 months! Luckily, it was very educational and I think it will be a worthwhile process. But, next time, I'm definitely getting there earlier, so I can enjoy the amazing room!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cotton Eyed Joe

After the Youth Rally last weekend, we crashed at one of the local churches. We ate pizza and hung out playing games and listening to music. Nicole was thrilled when the "Cotton Eyed Joe" song came on. That girl is an expert at that line dance! It didn't bother her one bit that the song was played three times in 15 minutes.

Nicole is on the left.

I joined in a couple of times, but I got winded much quicker than those young things did! That's when my photography became a good excuse to take a break!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


The keynote speaker at the Catholic Youth Rallly last weekend was Sr. Miriam James.  She showed a few fabulous videos to the kids.  This one is about the excuses people make about not participating in sports, but could easily be applied to all the excuses we make for everything in life.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Heart Full

We had a big group go to the Youth Rally over the weekend. There were THIRTY of us! Not bad for small-town Cottonwood! Twenty-four kids (mostly junior high and a few high schoolers) and 6 adults.

There was lots of singing, skits, great speakers, games and fun! It was even fun for us adults, except that the temperature in the room felt like 58 degrees. I was wearing every shirt I brought, and I had on my winter coat and was still chillled!!

They played this crazy "Human Foosball" game where the kids were all lined up in chairs and were throwing beach balls around the room! It was fun.

The crew. These kids were so well behaved and wonderful. Especially mine, of course!

I'm still tired, though!!!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Van Full

Nicole attended a Catholic Youth Rally in Coeur d'Alene over the weekend. I was a driver and chaperone. Didn't get a lot of sleep, but it was fun.

I drove our new van. There were 7 of us in it. Boy, could those girls talk.

And sing.

And text.

It makes me tired just thinking about it.

I need a nap.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Leaky Faucet

The faucet at the utility sink in the laundry room dripped for months. It drove me crazy, but I kept waiting for "someone else" to fix it. Finally, I realize that it wasn't annoying anyone else quite like it was me, so I stopped by the hardware store, thinking they'd be able to tell me exactly what part I needed. Turns out they needed more information than it's got two handles and it drips.

Thank goodness for Google. I was able to look up Delta faucets and figure out which model it was and what part I needed. Almost. It took two trips to the hardware store, but I did eventually fix it. All. By. Myself. Didn't even ask the hardware guy for help, just marched into that store and bought the part (twice). Yeah, me.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Funny Stuff

Morgan: "Mom? I bet I know what A Hundred o'clock is!!"

Me: "Oh, really? What?"

Morgan: "Midnight!"

Me: "Hmm. Not quite, but good guess."

Friday, February 3, 2012

Volleyball, Game Two

Morgan and I drove to nearby Kamiah to see Nicole's second volleyball game.

My favorite part was when the ball made it over the net on her service!! She immediately looked at me in the stands with a grin! Wahoo!!

And, by the way, her team won all three games! That was nice too!

Thursday, February 2, 2012


My hubby commented last night that I sure do have a lot to talk about ever since I went to back work!

The poor guy probably doesn't know what to do with me. What did I really have to talk about when I kept the house clean (sort of) and changed diapers all day (fun times!)? Don't get me wrong. I loved having that opportunity to be with my kids every day. I just didn't have much for stimulating topics of conversation! "You should've seen the contents of the baby's diaper this morning!" Yep, good stuff! I probably did have that conversation (poor Glenn!), but how long can you go on about a diaper?!

But, now, do I ever have something to say! Just the other night, I rattled on and on and on about all the exciting things that had happened that day. I don't think he was allowed to say much for about 45 minutes!

I'm really enjoying my job. I'm really enjoying feeling like a grown up who uses her brain and has responsibilities that have nothing to do with diapers. And I'm really enjoying having more topics of conversation. Not sure how Glenn feels about it, but he's going to have a wife with more to say!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Volleyball, Game One

Nicole did very well at her first volleyball game last night! There are 18 (!!!) girls on the 7th grade team and Nicole is one of 4 setters.

They won their first match, but lost the next two. They have games every Tuesday and Thursday in February.

Nicole serving. The coach requires them to serve overhanded so they can learn how. The coach said Nicole has "perfect form," but not enough strength to make it over the net. Guess we'll have to do some curls while watching TV!

Nicole was ready to pitch in if needed, but luckily the ball made it over the net!

I know nothing about volleyball. Her first game was very educational. I bet I'll know even more after I watch 8 games over the next month!!