Thursday, March 22, 2012

WW: Hotel Hell

Spending an hour or maybe two a week should never be used to gauge whether or not you and some one can be compatible. Not necessarily compatible, but get along without thinking what in the hell was I thinking? 

Back in February, Miss K attended a Dance Competition that was held in Coral Springs, FL. It was pretty much mandatory to attend and to have a better experience it was encouraged to stay at the resort where the competition was being held. I checked the hotel price online and said hell no are they crazy?! I really wanted my daughter to attend and volunteered my paycheck to pay for the competition fees and classes but didn't know how I would pay for the hotel.

The hubs wasn't going to be able to go so it was going to be a girls weekend, just Miss K and I. I thought maybe if any of the other moms were going without husbands, one of them might want to share a room. I have befriended a few of the moms and thought I wouldn't mind sharing a room with one of them. I assumed figured that based on the price of the rooms, that they would be large and that if it was uncomfortable, we would have enough "space". Never assume.

The only mom that was willing to room together was mean girl's mom. Before going to competition I never knew that her little girl was like that. Or I would have never agreed to room with her or offered to share the bill on a room. I booked the room in my name and she was to pay me half once we got there. 

The Friday afternoon we left for Coral Springs, I got a later start than I wanted to. I left Miss K's medicine at home and it was of utmost importance that I made the trip back home to get it. So we were an hour behind schedule which put the other mom getting there before us. She texted me when she arrived and said they would just wait in the lobby. Fifteen minutes later she texts me "we checked in and we're in the room". I was like WTH? I had to control my anger at that very moment. If she had been any real friend of mine, I would have been fine with that. But to just go ahead and take it upon herself to do that, really set the tone for the weekend.

I was also very surprised that hotel staff would allow some one to check into some one elses room just because they knew the check in name. I never confronted the staff about it, but I should have. I was already mad about it and I'm sure she knew and I didn't need to make the weekend anymore uncomfortable than it had already become. 

After Miss K and I arrived I wasn't surprised to find that she had picked the bed closest to the window and the air conditioning. Something that drove me crazy all weekend. She "controlled" the air and I was sweating like a pig somewhat sticky when it was bedtime. I slept in a sheet to stay cool. I like to have a radio on or watch television to go to sleep, as does Miss K. We had to turn the tv off when it was lights out, because mean girl her daughter wouldn't fall asleep. It was one thing after another. 

I looked forward to the daytime when the girls had classes. I spent most of my time hanging out with a few other moms, reading my Kindle, hustling around to get lunch for the kids, preparing for competition or just being busy. It kept me from being closed in a hotel room with some one that really was different than I.

The day we left to come home should have been relaxing. The route that the mom used to drive into Coral Springs was different than mine and she wanted to know which way I used. I have GPS in my Odyssey and she does not. She asked if she could follow me home. Of course I told her no way yes.

Have you ever had some one follow you and not keep up the same speed as you? Seriously?!  The best part, I have a SunPass ( a transponder that lets you pass through tolls and electronically charges you) and she did not. So she had to pull through toll booths while I sailed through the auto lane. The first one I thought I would pull over and pause for her. After about getting killed by another driver when I did that,  I called her and told her she would just need to catch up to me after each toll.

When we reached the point where she would continue down the last toll and I would head towards another interstate (we live in different cities) I called her to say goodbye. She actually sort of complained that I never stopped for a potty break. SERIOUSLY?! I actually felt bad. for a moment. She very well could have called me and said her daughter needed to use the bathroom. We could have used a break too, but I didn't need rudeness if we stopped. 

So I will suggest, don't share a room with an almost stranger. It's better to swallow your lumps and fork out the money. For sanity. Well, I wouldn't have had a post to write though. I'll chalk it up as another learning experience.

This post was written for Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop. This week I chose prompt 5) What was the occasion? Write about the last time you stayed in a hotel.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

PYHO: Facebook Fan Page

Holy Batman! I am so over whelmed right now, my head is swimming and I'm not sure if I did everything right. It's 11:30pm and after a mad dash at 9:30pm to get into the chat room for Content Brew I tried my best to keep up. The page was lagging quite a bit and like a four year old high on smarties candies subject hopping gal like I am, I ran down another rabbit trail checking into creating a Facebook fan page.

Apparently some time ago I created one and never maintained it. Unfortunately the damn thing has to be linked to your personal FB page even if you try not to. I created a new account with my blog email address and the stupid thing somehow figured out that I was the other email address and linked the two together. I even logged out of my regular page. VERY annoying to say the least.

I had already deactivated the first page I created. Which takes 14 days, mind you. Stupid if you ask me. But who's asking me? I guess there's a delay, just in case you made a mistake. I'm not backing out. The page has 6 likes. Just 6! That is my fault. Really. But it's still sad. Very, very sad.

So I created a new one. Had a lot of difficulty with the photo for the page. I guess when my blog revamp happened over a year ago I was using a different computer. The image files are somewhere else now so I had to click and save from my blog to have a profile pic.  What a hassle that was! The files wanted to save as png's and basic Facebook doesn't accept those files, then I had to change the saving files. This is all more than I can handle on a six hour nights sleep. Especially after working an eight and half hour shift today. With both kids with me.

Torture? Close to it. If you ask me, I wouldn't mind joining Little E with some sobbing and crying that he blessed me with this afternoon and through the evening. Bedtime couldn't have come fast enough for him. But here I sit, sharing my frustrations with you on my blog Facebook Fan page.
So tomorrow I get more torture the pleasure of figuring out how to upload my RSS feed to my Facebook fan page. I know there are blogs out there that do make overs on your page. Are there blogs out there that create your FB page, get all the bugs worked out. Link everything the way it needs to be and set up the links on your blog? Because seriously, I'm not sure if I can handle the pressure. I really don't want to start all over again if I do it wrong.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Content Brew-Coffee is Brewing

Content Brew CourseDay One of Content Brew was a success for me. Our first assignment was to work on our spreadsheets, virtual of course, tentatively where we want our blog posts to be. Being able to visually see where certain topics are each day; even every week, it makes it easy to see where you might want to adjust patterns of subjects you write about. With the awesome spreadsheet that Melissa designed it was almost a breeze to copy, click and paste each color coordinated tab into place.

The spreadsheet is set up for the entire year, but for now I've filled mine up for just a month. Melissa set us up with a suggested minimum amount of topic colors to use but I added a few more for myself without going overboard. It was suggested that less is more and if you have more than one blog that you're writing content for, it might be easier to use two sheets.

I'm using my spreadsheet in Google Docs after reading that my sheet can be accessed anywhere, from any computer, since it's online. So there is no reason for me to forget what posts should be written and posted. I'm loving this! Having lists online, instead of in my head or on a random post it note lost in the shuffle placed safely on my desk is a dream for me. It's a dream come true!

I'm waiting impatiently  with anticipation to get home this evening to start on Day Two! Today we're working on generating content for our Topics. We're even having another Twitter class to discuss what has been covered these first two days.  If you haven't looked into getting a spot in the class, I suggest you head over to momcomm to see if you can get a seat.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Content Brew

Content Brew CourseSchedules couldn't have worked out more perfectly for me this week. A few weeks ago when Melissa from momcomm announced that the was going to be leading a content planning course for bloggers I was dreaming like a little child who wants to see Mickey Mouse. I signed up for her newsletter and waited patiently like a four year old for information to hit her blog. Of course like any great blogger would do, Melissa promoted it through Twitter and had a party. I attended with many other great ladies and as my luck would have it, I won a spot on the class for March. I couldn't believe that I, little ol me, won a spot.

So after waiting, chewing at the bit the time has come and the class starts this week. My luck couldn;t have been much better either. Little E and Miss K are on Spring Break this week also. Which is a good thing because that means there are no dance classes either! So no late nights this week for this family. Even with my trips planned for the kids I should still have plenty of time in the morning or evening to sit down and do my class work.

If you're looking for a great way to plan out content for your blog. I suggest you look into momcomm's Content Brew course. I know that for myself who is like a butterfly, a happy puppy in the pet store window,  busy mom who works part time outside the house who wears many hats, it makes sense to organize and pre plan my blogging content. Not that I still won't be spontaneous some days. 


Friday, March 16, 2012

5QF: Spring has Sprung

 Time for a little bit of Five Question Friday y'all! Today is the unofficial first day of Spring Break for us in this county. The school board actually planned a teacher workday the Friday before Spring Break week starts. So we're starting today by having Little E miss today since his VPK does not follow school teacher workdays. I don't have much fun stuff planned for the kids today tho, since the hubs is working. Miss K and I are planning on pedicures though. Maybe Little E can stand it long enough while watching the iPad. Let's hope so!
Now for some questions and answers.

1. Will you run to the store or to pick up a kid looking a mess? I would run to the store looking like a hot mess, for sure. Been there, done that. I'm less likely to run into some one at the local grocery store wearing my cotton bed shorts, tee shirt and no make up. Have you met me? I rarely, if ever leave the house without makeup and fresh deodorant on. But I have on occasion, had to make that run, looking like I just crawled off the couch.

2. Do you finish a book if it's boring or you don't like it? Not usually. Which explains the shelves of books with bookmarks hanging out of them. I can't bear to part with them either. I know, I feel like a hoarder too.

3. Beach or mountain vacations? Seriously?? Is this a trick question.? Living only 30 minutes from the nearest beach you would think I wouldn't like a beach vacation. But this I cannot choose one over the other. If you know me well enough and have read my blog for any length of time, you will know that I LOVE the Rocky Mountains and can't wait to head back. I kid you not, I left a part of my heart in those mountains and I plan on going back. So until then, the beach vacations will have to satisfy me and the family. I love sitting by the pool, which is adjacent to the ocean watching my kids enjoy the sunshine.

4. What thing/event says "winter will end and spring is right around the corner" to you? Bike Week in Daytona Beach. Many of you do not know, but my parents own a motorcycle shop. They have owned it for over 27 years and I have worked for them since 1999. Hearing the roar of motorcycles, driving down the highway all day, reminds me that the hot, sticky weather is back. Note: I do not ride a motorcycle, never have, probably never will. It's not that I wouldn't like to, just too many idiots on the road in cars that prevents me from getting on a bike.
5. Would you prefer couples or family vacation? Couples, as in my husband, myself and other couples? Then I would say no. I like my space. I enjoy my friends immensely, but not enough to vacation with them without the kids. I look forward to family vacations. I never got to experience many of them myself while growing up, which makes them that more important for my kids.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Writers Workshop-03/15/12

Gazing through an invisible barrier
 My fingers curled around the soft leather
Thoughts dancing through my head
A smile slowly creeps on me

The wind curling through the open top
The smell of salt arousing my senses
Coconuts, sweat, and the balmy smell of water

My window rolls down with ease
with only the flick of a finger
Arm stretched out wide, reaching
Catching air with my fingers

 Feeling the warmth from our radiant star
The sun kissing my bare flesh
I have arrived

I am linking up with Mama Kat for this weeks Writers Workshop. I chose prompt 3.) Indorporate the following line into a poem of your own: “Catching air with my fingers” (inspired by Buttered Toast Rocks). 

I haven't written poems in a long time. Oh how I've missed doing them.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Phone Panic

How safe are you about your personal information on your phone? I never let my phone out of my sight, unless one of the kids are playing a game on it or listening to music. Other than that, it's in my pocket or my purse. But accidents happen. You're busy with the kids, you can get easily distracted. Or maybe the pocket in the pants you're wearing are shallow and you're in the mall trying on new clothes. It accidentally slips out of your pants pocket and you don't realize that it's gone until you need it. You feel naked.

Your heart drops into your stomach and you have that empty pit feeling. Where is my phone?! Oh my gosh. I can't even call anyone to help me find it. You're not even thinking about the ramifications of losing it. Your first thought might be that you're going to have to replace it. You think about all the photos you took on it and that they're gone. GONE!

The bad part of it all hasn't hit you ...yet. Is your phone secure? Is it protected?

I really never put much thought into it until I heard on the Today Show about a study that Symantec Corp recently performed and released the results of their study. They fake lost 50 Smart Phones in five major cities in the US and Canada with tracking devices on them and to up the ante they loaded the phones with software that would entice some one to snoop, like "Passwords or HR Files". The news is not shocking, but an eye opener for me and maybe many others.

The worst part, even if your phone gets returned to you, more than likely the person who found it has already attempted to access your personal banking information, looked at your emails and photos. That's pretty creepy to me. "Some 43 percent of finders clicked on an app labeled "online banking." And 53 percent clicked on a filed named "HR salaries." A file named "saved passwords" was opened by 57 percent of finders. Social networking tools and personal e-mail were checked by 60 percent. And a folder labeled "private photos" tempted 72 percent. Collectively, 89 percent of finders clicked on something they probably shouldn't have."- Symantec Corp.

I decided this morning that locking my phone was going to be the best option to keep out anyone from accessing my personal info. I don't care if it keeps me from getting my phone back. A lost phone can be replaced, but if some one gets into your finances, or even worse steals your identity. The process of rectifying that problem can take months if not years.

So there will be an obvious inconvenience when the kids want to use my phone. But it's all good. Some sacrifices have to be made when protecting your private information. You never know if it could happen to you.

Symantec Corp did not contact me to do this post for them. This post is my own and original content and my opinions are all my own.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

PYHO: Dance Mom

Life as a dance mom has it's moments. The mundane trips back on forth to the studio. Sitting for hours in the viewing room watching your child through the glass. Dressing your child for class, getting the perfect bun. Competition weekends, the stress of accomplishing make up, hair, costume and lunch in less than an hour. Watching your child get criticized because she screwed up her step more than five times in a row. Then listening to the stories from the dance moms you have befriended.

There is so much more in between but I've given you a brief idea of what goes in in our dance life. Mine as the mom. Miss K as the dancer. You'd think I'd throw up my hands in defeat and walk out of the studio and not look back. But there's always a silver lining. 

She loves to dance and I sacrifice my time to make that happen for her.

Our first year at this studio I only knew two other moms and the underlying drama never affected me. I kept to myself and watched my daughter practice. Now that this is our third year and Miss K is on the competition/ performance team we know a lot of the moms. 

Miss K has made friends with her classmates and team mates, naturally. I've become friends and acquaintances  with several of the moms of her team mates. The one thing I've learned in life, from my own mistakes, you keep your mouth shut. You can be a better friend to some one if you don't gossip. 

Yesterday one of the moms told me that her daughter was criticized by of one the team mates about her technique on a tap step. I was surprised and looked in on the class and didn't have a clue about which girl would do that. She asked me if Miss K would do that. I know my daughter and she is a friend to everyone. She does not discriminate. I told her no way, K is a type A leader personality, but she is not mean.

Today in the competition class, during practice for this weekend's performance, the same mom was sitting next to me watching the girls run through the dance. The instructor had changed part of their dance and her daughter messed up something. The girl next to her, stops in the middle of tapping and walks over to the instructor. I was like what the heck?

The mom says to me "she's calling her out. I can't believe that. she's tattling on L". I looked at the mom and we shared the look.  I knew right then that the girl that just tattled on her daughter was the same one who made fun of her the day before. I was shocked. 


I was very shocked since we spent the weekend with that girl and her mom two weekends ago at the FDM Competition in Coral Springs. We shared a hotel room with them and I would have never guessed her to be so mean. 

That meanness can drive a wedge between girls who should be team mates.  

This realization makes me look at this girl in a different light. Sadly. I will not breathe a word of this to any of the other moms or my daughter, but it's one of those things that will be filed in my brain. You have to watch out for your back and your child. 

But I don't want to remove the sparkles from my little girls world. She LOVES to dance and enjoys it.   
Life as a dance mom for us is nothing like you see on tv. At least not our studio.

A Gift from the Heart

Yesterday I decided that I was going to make a new bow for Miss K. I haven't made my own in quite some time because I just couldn't get them the way I wanted. I'm such a perfectionist so if it wasn't "perfect" I wasn't satisfied. I had retired my box of bow making equipment and have been buying bows from the store, my friend and most recently from a vendor at a community business event. I got this wild idea that I would google how to make bows and then follow along.

I will siggest that you watch the video in it's entirety before starting your bow. I followed along while the video was going and did not like bow #1. I tried to use the same bow in the next video I watched, but her bow had a twist in the fabric. So I attempted to salvage the bow and hated it.

I found an awesome tutorial on bows and was more than satisfied with the finished project on the video. I was really excited that the lady suggested using "scraps" of ribbon in various colors. Was she reading my mind?!

I took the "quiet time" I had while the kids were playing down the road to start my bows. My "time" didn't last long enough to get it done uninterrupted. I'm surprised I got it finished with Little E sitting next to me munching on S'mores Goldfish and Miss K sitting behind me trying to work on her homework. With her occasionally stopping me to ask a question about her math. Then Little E starting digging through my scraps of ribbon and snooping through my container of new ribbon.

He decided he wanted to make a bow for his friend Sydney at preschool. She is all he talks about most days. She is the tiniest 4 year old in the preschool and she is so stinking cute. He said she likes bows and he wanted to make her one. So I had to make Miss K's bow and try to help him with his gift bow. And I was running out of time. By the time he decided to do his project, we had 15 minutes before departure for dance classes.

Talk about stress. But it was ALL WORTH IT.

We finished both bows except for a clip on Sydney's. Which I had to pull out my glue gun for this morning. He wanted her to be able to put it on after he gave it to her.

Little E packed her bow safely into his backpack and raced into class, not even stopping for my goodbye kiss. He was so proud. And the sweetest part, her boy cousin (that goes to preschool there too) put it in her hair. It was not the cutest bow, it was mismatched and had ribbon tied over a bow and was not perfection at all. But it was special.

It WAS ALL WORTH IT. He was so happy that she liked it. I was somewhat broken hearted, my little boy has some one else in his heart. Even if he is only four and half.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

WW: Knitting for Dummies

I purchased a "how to" book before I had the idea to take up this new hobby. I found the book at a close out store and thought to myself I can do this. How hard can it be to knit? Flashes of cute scarves, baby knit hats and multi-colored mittens ran through my mind. I bought the book and couldn't wait to start reading and get my supplies.

I read the the beginner section within a week of buying the book. I couldn't wait to get into the yarn section at Michael's and pick my favorite colors. I bought two rolls of yarn by following the instructions in the book on size and softness for a beginner. I bought a semi expensive assortment of needles and got started right away.

Knitting is supposed to be calming. Or so they say. I'm not sure who "they" are, but knitting for me was not calming. I was so stressed out.

I could get so far and when it came to turn the other way and connect my end loop, I couldn't get it right.  Yeah. Frustrating!! I grabbed my book and tried like hell to follow the photos, read the instructions and I couldn't get it right.

So I tried YouTube. I watched a video more times than I can count. Pausing it while I tried the steps. Starting the video over again. Watching the video and trying to retain the steps. I was at a loss. I couldn't get it right.

Then I asked my husband to watch the video and see if he could do it. Of course, the first try he had it and tried to show me. I finally was able to get the loop and continue down the row and loop back again. But the "calming effect" never happened.

I carried my knitting supplies with me to my daughter's dance classes, to work for my break, pretty much anywhere I would have some "free time" to sit and try my knitting. But it was more frustrating than anything. And I hung my bag up in the "craft room". Where it still hangs.

I have glanced at it a few times and thought, maybe I should try it again. Maybe.