Thursday, February 26, 2009

howdy howie

While in Las Vegas this last week, I had a close encounter with Howie... Howie Mandel. You know him... he's the host of Deal or No Deal. I've actually followed his career since the 1970s, when he was a young stand-up comedienne. That probably helped me recognize him even though he was in disguise and as hundreds of people passed him not realizing who he was or what was going on.

Let me start at the beginning. As Don and I walked down to the MGM Grand to see the lion exhibit, we came to an open area in front of the hotel where there were a couple of camera men and a few others that looked busy doing nothing that we could figure out. We had nothing better to do so we sat down next to the area; we watched and waited.

There was one guy that seemed to be getting a lot of attention by the busy looking people, but he wasn't anyone I recognized. He had wild orange hair, but I still didn't think he was anyone famous. It seemed like he was being prepped... for something. We kept watching. In one area there were the cameramen. In another there was this ordinary guy with the flaming orange hair surrounded by 3 "preppers." There were a few people on the cell phones hanging out around two vans. And there were three women walking the perimeter holding clipboards. But not a lot of activity. It was like they were waiting for something... or somebody.

We were just about to walk away, thinking that we could wait all day for something to happen, when I noticed the cameramen had their cameras on their shoulders and focused on one guy (not flaming orange hair dude - he came over later). The guy mostly had his back to anyone walking by, but as I stood there watching and studying this one guy, I realized who he was. It was Howie Mandel, but he was in disguise. He was wearing a wig of long dark hair, as well as a baseball cap and sunglasses. I then remembered he hosts another show called Howie Do It , a hidden camera reality comedy where he dons different disguises.

About this time, we were shooed away by the ladies with the clipboards. There was really nothing to see so we went on into the MGM and enjoyed watching the lions. Before returning back to our hotel, we stopped in at the Starbucks inside the MGM. And who was sitting right there talking with a couple of guys from his crew? Yep, Howie - still in disguise and as if he was a normal person hanging out in Starbucks.

So my instant dilemma was; do I say something to him (remember my experience and afterthoughts on crossing paths with Eddie McCaffrey?). It was obvious that no one else recognized him, or if they did, they weren't saying anything. I would have loved to have asked if I could have my picture taken with him, but it just didn't seem appropriate.

So as I walked passed him, I leaned into his table space to where he had to look at me. I simply said, "I love your show." He smiled up at me and said thank you. As I started walking away, I turned back and added, "both of them." He thanked me again and turned back to his companions as I went on to find a table.

I sat down across the room from him and his group. I was amazed how many people walked right pass him, not giving him a second glance, or if they did, not recognizing who he really was. Therefore, my satisfaction was two-fold. I not only said something to him, letting him know I recognized him, but I recognized him in the first place.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

viva las vegas!

Well, the gig is up. Two of you successfully guessed where Don and I are vacationing. We are enjoying our mini-vacation in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Las Vegas isn't our usual vacation destination. We're not gamblers. We're not drinkers. We're not the type that enjoys staying in a high rise hotel for any great length of time and we'd rather be out in nature than the bright lights of the Vegas strip.

But.... we needed to get away for a few days, wanted to go some place warmer than it was at home, and wanted to do it as cheap as possible. Las Vegas was the answer. We've dropped a few coins in the slot machines, done some people-watching and sight-seeing up and down the strip, seen some attractions and a couple of shows, eaten some nice meals, and went on a tour of the Hoover Dam. We've made the best of our time here and have enjoyed our mini-vacation.

My dad was the first one who guessed where we were and I quickly deleted his comment as I didn't anyone to cry foul that a family member would win the prize. Only one of my family members knew where I was (my mom) so his guess was a legitimate winner. I decided that I'd also take the next correct guess, which was from Just Mom. Congratulations to the you both and I have a prize for both of you.

Here's a breakdown of my clues:

post I

A picture of the planes; we took a plane and didn't drive and I told you I didn't need a passport; we stayed in the country.

post II

I wanted to sit by the pool and read
but it's not as warm as I would like it to be...; tells you we were in warmer climate
So instead we went to see...

the lions; MGM Grand has a lion exhibit
and tigers; Circus Circus has a tiger exhibit (Siegfreid and Roy)
bears sharks...; Mandalay Bay has a shark exhibit
oh my!

post III

I'm in a valley, where I can see the low mountains to the east and west; geographically correct. Our hotel lies in the meadows; Las Vegas, in spanish, means the meadows, but we are not shaded by trees; we're shaded by tall buildings. As we sit and eat our strip; as in the Vegas strip steak and cocktail in a fancy glass; that's the hip thing to do... walk down the strip sipping your drink out of some long fancy glass (we haven't actually done this), we enjoy the beauty of the fountains; we are right across the street from the Belagio where there is a fountain show that goes off every half hour - it really is beautiful and one of my favorite attractions here.

Thanks everyone for playing along.

Monday, February 23, 2009

clue for you III

I'm in a valley, where I can see the low mountains to the east and west. Our hotel lies in the meadows, but we are not shaded by trees. As we sit and eat our strip steak and cocktail in a fancy glass, we enjoy the beauty of the fountains.

If you haven't visited since Friday, please read through the previous posts. They may help you figure out where Don and I are on our mini-vacation. The first person who guesses correctly will win a prize hand selected our location. Please be specific in your guesses, as in a city and not just a state.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

clue for you II

I wanted to sit by the pool and read
but it's not as warm as I would like it to be...
So instead we went to see...

the lions
and tigers
bears sharks...
oh my!

(in case you haven't visited my blog since Friday, please read previous posts)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

clues for you (part I)

If you read my previous post, you now know that I've left the Denver area for a destination unknown to you. I will post clues periodically and if you are the first one to comment with the correct answer, there will be a prize coming your way. Feel free to also guess.

The above two pics are clues, but I put the passport picture in there to tell you I did NOT need to use my brand new passport.

This picture is here just because it was my first time in a taxi. Yes, my very first time. I had to make sure you couldn't see any of the license plates on the cars ahead of us. Sorry.

This isn't much of a clue but now you know there's a Ben & Jerry's wherever I am. Don had ice cream, I had an iced coffee from the coffee shop next door. Another clue - probably not.

where in the world is....

Diana and Don

Today, around 11:30 am my time, I'll be leaving (or have already left) for.... well, I think I'll keep that a secret for right now. Don and I are getting away for a mini-vacation and we'll be back on Wednesday.

I'm not sure what the internet situation will be at our destination so I may not be writing again until Thursday. But I think I'll get a chance to sit down to a computer once I'm there and I plan to write a post or two.

I had the idea of giving clues each day - possibly pictorial clues and possibly more than one a day - with a prize going to the first one that is able to guess where I am. But I can't promise that until I get there and figure out the computer and internet access.

So stay tuned.....

Friday, February 20, 2009

tickle the ivories


Here's my Aloha Friday question for this week...

Do you play any kind of instrument or did you ever play one?
If so, what?

I used to play the piano. I took a few years worth of lessons when I was young, like somewhere around 4th and 5th grade and then again in 7th grade. I didn't have any real talent at it (like my sister did) and I didn't practice as much as I should have. But I did enjoy playing the little bit that I did.

And then when I was a young married adult, we were given an old upright piano (nearly an antique). I found myself sitting down every once in a while and plucking out a few tunes. I then went out and bought some piano music. The more I played, the more I wanted to play. It became my therapy and I'd come home on my lunch hour and play to my heart's content, with no one around to hear me. I never felt very comfortable playing in front of anyone, and that meant Don, too.

We brought the piano with us to Colorado but there was no where to put it in our first home here. It stayed covered out in the garage. And then one day our neighbor offered to buy it from us and it made sense to sell it. The last time I played the piano in any capacity was back in California. I think about it every once in a while and wish I had the opportunity to tickle the ivories again.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Whether you voted for Barack Obama or not... whether you agree with the stimulus package that was just signed or not... I think we should find favor with the new website,, that has been set up by President Obama's administration that will track where the money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is going.

I know this act is a touchy subject and I don't mean to rile up any volatile emotions. I just wanted to say that I think this website is a great idea and I applaud the President for his desire to be transparent and accountable and make this information public and available. I encourage you to check out the site. It's user friendly and very straight forward. I know I plan to visit it frequently so I can personally watch the progress of this act and how the economy is being affected - either good or bad.

I also find it fascinating that this is where technology has brought us. We have to admit that the internet has changed our lives in so many ways. I love seeing new ways in which it's being used and this site is a good example of that. I think it's great that the government is using this tool to communicate with us, as taxpayers and citizens of this great country. Thank you President Obama.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

nancy drew... my hero!

Kel, from Girl in the Glasses, was answering some questions on her post today and one of them was, "What book do you remember reading as a child that literally sparked your lifelong love of books?" That gave me reason to reflect upon my childhood and the books I read.

There was a book - no, make that a series of books - that sparked my love of books. That would be the Nancy Drew series. Seeing one of the covers transports me back in time; I can nearly smell the book and remember how I felt while reading one of the books. I always felt like I was right there with Nancy, trying to figure out her latest mystery. I remember reading two books in one day on more than one occasion. Not only did it spark my love for books, but, to this day, I'd love to be a detective.

But there were other books, too. I can't remember most of the names, but there was one that left a lasting impression - The Velvet Room. I went over to Amazon and typed the name in the search field. Up popped the cover of the book that I hadn't seen in over 40 years. Wow!, talk about memories. I loved this book. It was about a girl who escaped her world into a round room that was furnished with a round velvet sofa and draped in velvet. The only visual was the cover of the book and I could imagine myself in such a room. As a kid, I would often escape to somewhere private and even if it was only a dirt patch behind the garage, it was my velvet room.

I wish I could remember the names of some of the other books. I can remember story lines, but not names. I can remember characters, even their names, but not the names of the books. I wish I had written down all the books I read as a child. Never even thought about it back then.

How about you? Do you remember some of the books from your childhood? Was there one (or more) that sparked your love for books?

Monday, February 16, 2009

i enjoy learning

Some have asked how my job's been going (thanks to those of you who have asked). I realized I haven't written about my job since those first couple of weeks where I wasn't sure if the schedule was going to work or if I was going to enjoy the job.

Quick recap: I took a job in October working for the school district as a tutor/mentor for a program called AVID. I only work two days a week which is perfect for me and my desire to have time to pursue other interests. I've now been doing this job for four months and have really come to enjoy the job and love the kids.

I'm also learning a lot about myself.

I was always a good student in school. Academics came easy for me and I really didn't have to work hard to get good grades - and I didn't. Therefore, I only did what I needed to to get by. Now I sit in these tutorial groups and listen to the students question what they're learning in their core subjects and find myself fascinated with what's being taught. Some of it I remember, other stuff is totally new to me.

What I'm enjoying is the process of learning. I enjoy learning!

Whether I know it or not, I tell the kids I don't remember "whatever" and to teach it to me. And they do (or at least try very hard to do so). There's been times when I actually wanted to ask them to ask me to work through a complex math problem - just because I love math. This makes me wonder how much smarter I could have been or where life would have taken me if I had been a more serious student .

Or I'm on the other end where I really enjoy working through a question or problem as a teacher, explaining it or getting the students to think it through so they can come to their own conclusions. I love it when you can practically see the light bulb going on as the kid "gets" it. It makes me wonder if I would have made a good teacher as I had once wanted to be.

I also have learned a lot more about middle school students than I had previously known from being a youth worker, but I'll save that for another post. I'm glad my time in a classroom isn't just about the students. I'm glad to know that I'm still teachable and I like learning new things about myself and the world around me.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

flowers and cookies

This is what I found when I came downstairs after my shower today. What a sweet husband I have.

Both Dani and Jake came home this weekend. Jake and Hollee spent Valentine's Day on the slopes snow boarding while Dani decided to bake cookies. It was fun helping her decorate them.

As I type this, Don has steaks on the barbecue which will accompany baked potatoes, salad, and garlic bread for dinner.

We've had a nice Valentine's Day. I hope you have, too.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

found on the internet...

I came across this article about a new technology that is being developed that will help with the problem of talking on the phone while driving. This technology will be embedded in the car key. Once the key is put into the car's ignition, it will activate a "driving mode" in the driver's cell phone to where it is rendered unusable except for outgoing emergency calls. It will even answer any incoming calls with a message saying something like, "I am driving right now and will return your calls when I arrive at my destination safely."

"The recent stats show that texting on the phone has overtaken drunk driving fatalities on public roads."

"Driving while talking on a cell phone makes you four times more likely to have an accident. Using a hands-free headset does nothing to off set that risk. Texting increases the odds of an accident another 50 percent."

After reading these quotes from the article, I'm thinking that this may be a very good thing, and not just for teenagers, which is the initial target of said technology. Yes, teenagers may not have as much driving experience as an older driver, but even an experienced driver can't give 100% of his or her attention to driving if they're talking on the phone, or even worse, texting while driving. So I look forward to every state mandating "no cell phone" laws and to having something like this new technology in place.


And here's something fun and challenging. How well do you think you know where all 50 states are within the U.S. border? Know Your States is an addicting site where you can test your geographical knowledge. The best I did was 86% with an average error of 20 miles in 433 seconds. You would think after playing it quite a few times, my score would be better. But each time you do it, the order they give you the states is different, making some games harder than others.

Give it a try. You might want your kids to try it too, just to see if they're more knowledgeable than you. Let me know what your score is.

Monday, February 9, 2009

every day...

Karen, from Over the Backyard Fence, posted a meme last week and I thought it would be a fun one to play along with. After I typed it all out though, it seems like my days are pretty boring, but I'll leave it up. It's the real me.

Ten Things I Do Every Day

1. Eat a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats for breakfast. Some times I have it for dinner or a snack, too.

2. Take my diabetes medication.

3. Check my email, Facebook, and blog comments.

4. Normal hygiene stuff like take a shower, brush my teeth, get dressed, and put on make-up. Boring, but I can't imagine doing it each and every day =)

5. Try to read my Bible. Even though I try to make this a priority, it doesn't always happen. I'm getting better, though. This includes my quiet time when I also spend time in prayer.

6. Watch the news and/or a news program. This may be one of the morning shows, the evening news, or late night news. I like to know what's happening locally and nationally.

7. Read and comment at least one blog, but it's rare that I don't read all the blogs on my reader. It just wouldn't be a normal day if I didn't read a blog, or two, or three..... well, you get the picture.

8. Talk to one or both of my children. Okay, it's mostly my daughter. My son doesn't have a need to talk to his mother all that often. But Danielle and I talk to each other, in some form (texting, IM, Facebook, or phone) or another nearly every day.

9. Interact with our dog in some way. He usually gets scolded in some way because that's the kind of dog he is. Some days I'm the one that feeds him. And every day I spend time talking to him, petting him, and playing with him. There is no way you can ignore this dog.

10. Watch late night TV. Some nights it's Dave Letterman and then Craig Ferguson. Some nights it's Nightline. And other nights it's reruns of whatever syndicated show that catches my fancy. During this time, I have my laptop on my lap but the TV is on and most of the time it gives me comic relief.

Of course, there is so much more that comprises my days, but those other activities, like going to work, exercising, reading, time with friends, etc, aren't every day activities. I invite anyone who would like to play along to do so.

Friday, February 6, 2009

she asked...

I usually ask a question on Fridays (Aloha Friday) but today I'm answering a few. A week or so ago, Susan from Penless Writer extended the invitation to interview anyone who wished to be interviewed. Here are her questions and my answers:

1. What is your greatest accomplishment so far in your life? I would have to say my children. They are good kids but they're not perfect. They give us joy and grief and in both cases, I am very proud of them and see them as my greatest accomplishment. In my humble opinion, giving life and nurturing that life should be seen as every parent's greatest accomplishment.

2. What one thing do you still desire to accomplish? I'd like to accomplish greater health and physical ability. I'd like to be able to manage my Diabetes through diet and exercise. I'd like to be physically fit so I can enjoy every aspect of life as I grow older.

3. Who, or what, has had the greatest impact on your life? I'm going to have to give a few answers for this one.

My parents divorce when I was a pre-teen impacted me in a way that I could ask the question, "what would my life have looked like if they had stayed together?" I went to live with my mom, stayed in California, met Don, married, etc.

My mother's attempted suicide had a tremendous emotional impact on me, then as a teenager and now as an adult. But more in a positive way. I was able to hear what she was going through at the time and understand what emotional turmoil does to a person. I also could use this experience not only in my own life, buy to help teens (back then and now) understand that suicide is not the answer and that God has given each of us a life worth living. My mom is a beautiful example of this. She has had so many blessings, and blessed so many others, in the years since that day when she thought ending her life was the only answer.

And the third thing that has impacted me most is working with teenagers. They have opened my eyes and my heart to a different world, one not seen my most adults. One major impact is that it helped me understand and relate to my own children better. But it goes beyond this. They have allowed me to walk along side of them during times of hardship and of joy. They have accepted me, appreciated me, and loved me. The impact on me is immeasurable and I can't imagine what my life would have looked like had I not got involved in youth ministry.

4. If money were no object what would you do? I would like to own a camp or retreat center, ideally in the mountains somewhere. This would give me the opportunity to enjoy my surroundings as well as interact with kids, young adults, or even other adults.

5. If you could change one thing in your past what would it be? I'm not really one that believes in regrets. I believe we learn from every experience we encounter and that we are who we are from our past experiences.

But after saying that, there is one regret I have and so if I could change it, I probably would. That regret is, in high school, being a mean girl at times. I know there was one girl that my friends and I were very mean to and you could even say that we emotionally tortured her. I think of her often and wonder how life for the both of us might have been different if I could have shown kindness to her. Yes, I really do regret how I acted back then.

Thank you Susan for such wonderful questions. This was actually part of a meme in which a commenter could ask to be "interviewed" and I poster would forward on the questions they wanted to ask each person. Instead, I encourage you to think about the questions Susan asked me and post your own answers. Let me know if you do so I can read them.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

eight is more than enough

Something has been bothering me for a little over a week now and as I've done in the past, if something is on my mind, I bring it here. I mostly do this to get it off my chest, but it also helps me to get different perspectives and insight by the comments that are left. So let me know what you think.

I know this will sound judgemental. Even though I try very hard not to judge others, I'm having a hard time not judging in this situation. I'm talking about the mother who had octuplets last week.

My first thoughts must have been what most people hearing the news would have thought; eight babies.... what a handful, or glad it's not me or that's incredible. I kept waiting for the pictures; of the babies, of the happy mother and father. I wanted to hear how this extraordinary event was going to change the lives of those involved - in challenging and wonderful ways.

As one day turned into the next and information about the mother started emerging, I became even more intrigued, and disturbed. It ends up that the mother is a single unemployed mom who already has six kids, all under the age of eight. She lives with her mom in a small (probably a two bedroom) house. Not ideal circumstances.

I can't help but wonder how she's going to manage giving the necessary care to fourteen children, eight of them infants. I want to know what kind of fertility clinic would help to impregnate a woman with her particular set of circumstances. I can only speculate why this woman would want another child and take the chance of having more than one.

I can't be the only one that thinks she acted irresponsibly and that those eight precious babies may be in trouble. I've heard she wants a TV deal, something like Jon & Kate plus 8. I guess if that happened, it would change her financial situation, but little else. I truly hope that it all works out some how. I really don't want to judge this woman. I just want what's best for those babies, as well as her other children.

Monday, February 2, 2009

that little blue book

This is hard to believe, but I'm 49 years old and do not have a passport. I've never had any reason to need a passport. The only places I've visited outside of the U.S. were Tijuana and Ensenada, Mexico and Vancouver, Canada. You probably need a passport if you were to visit these places today, but back when I crossed over the borders, one was not needed.

So today was a noteworthy day because I turned in my application for a passport. In about a month, hopefully, I will be the proud owner of my own passport book and can travel to the far reaches of the world - which I probably won't. But who knows. Don and I might take a trip to somewhere exotic or full of history. The only place he has stamped in his passport is Winnipeg. I know he'd like to go anywhere else. Someday, maybe.

Danielle also applied for a passport today, but she has a good reason to need one. She has been accepted to be part of missions team that will be traveling to Nepal this summer. She is very excited, as she should be. She'll be working hard to raise the funds she needs as well as preparing herself mentally, physically, and spiritually for such a momentous event. If you feel so inclined, you can join me in praying for her, her team, and this trip.

I would love to have a Nepal stamp in my passport book. Heck, I'd settle for Vancouver again.