Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
The first thing we did was go to Pechanga Indian Casino. It started off as a typical trip with Derek and I trading off spending time with Ashley in the food court and "helping" Craig out at the machines. Then, when it was my turn to "help" Craig out, Craig had to leave to go back to the car to get his cell phone. That's when the magic began. The machine he left me at went into the bonus round twice with three coins in and continued paying for 30 rounds in a row! I cashed out with 4658 credits (in pennies, not dollars, darn it!) and went back to the food court to wait for Craig with Derek and Ashley. You can see in the picture above that Ashley was having a party of her own with a giant piece of cake! When Craig got back, we headed back out to the machines and burned through some more cash for about another hour. We ended up leaving $10 ahead and with enough comps on our Player's Club card to fill the gas tank. Yay!
After that, we went to the opening day of minor league baseball at the Lake Elsinore Storm game. We got free tickets in reserved seats and free parking, so we were happy. It was a good game, too! They played the farm team from Arizona and both teams were pretty well matched, so the plays were really good!
Around the second inning, Derek bought tickets for a post-game concert. Mike Peters from The Alarm, who Derek and Craig have idolized for 26 years was playing at the Diamond Club and the tickets were only $5.00! On the way back to his seat, Derek literally bumped shoulders with Mike Peters because it was so crowded at the stadium. Derek noticed that he was headed over to the kids play area with his two sons, so he came and got Craig, found Mike Peters, and they introduced themselves as big fans. When they returned, Derek asked Ashley and I if we wanted to go over to the kids area to play with his kids. I jumped up, with dinner in my lap, and Ashley and I excitedly said, "YES!" So, we made our way through the crowd and played around in the kids area for awhile. Then, after that, we watched the rest of the game. Lake Elsinore lost 6-5.
During the last pitch of the game, something wonderful happened. Ashley lost another tooth! You can see it in her hand in the picture above. This is the eighth tooth she's lost so far and only two adult teeth have come in on the bottom. Now, she has this big smile with almost no teeth in front, top or bottom, whatsoever! It does look like the top two in the front are about to break through, but for now she only has her canines and molars to chew with. She's excited about getting her big girl teeth in, so losing this baby tooth was a big deal.
Now, to get to the really good part of the story - the concert! It was a small crowd of only about 50 people, which was depressing for Craig and Derek because he used to sell out huge venues in Southern California and in the UK, where he's from. But it turned out to be a fantastic experience! It was like we had a private concert with an icon - their idol! He played some obscure and popular songs from The Alarm and told us stories about how he came to write them. Half-way through he took a break from the stage and we got a chance to get to have wonderful conversations with him and we got to know each other a little. I took a picture of Mike, Craig and Derek (above) with my cell phone. (All the pictures turned out poorly because of the dim lighting and lack of flash - sorry!) Mike is a really great guy from Wales who is now in remission with lymphatic leukemia. He's playing all over the world with other big-named bands from the 80's speading the message of "hope, love, strengt
h," which is just what the world needs to hear right now, especially in these hard economic times. After the break, he auctioned off his acoustic guitar for his charity and Craig got it! The picture of Craig with the guitar is above. He paid $450.00 and the last guitar he auctioned went for $3,000! What a deal! Mike Peters autographed and personalized it for Craig and posed for pictures with him. (The production company is going to put it on their web site, but I don't have the URL yet.) That experience made Craig so happy that he was over the moon! I have NEVER seen Craig so happy before! He needed this boost especially since losing his mother to cancer on Christmas. Derek and I were ecstatic too because, OMG, we're hanging out with Mike Peters and Craig just bought his guitar! It was kind of funny watching Craig get all this attention from pretty girls after he paid for his prize. He was one happy man, let me tell you!
Mike played for over two hours for us and did an encore of three songs that people requested. He also played every song that Derek and Craig requested during the concert, too!
The concert ended about 12:30 and we had smiles on our faces that lasted through the next day. We talked excitedly until 3:30 in the morning about what an amazing experience that was. We'll never forget April 9, 2009 and we decided to celebrate this day every year to remind us of one of the very happiest days of our lives.
Thursday, April 09, 2009
Monday, April 06, 2009
Anyway, there is really only one point to this post: To tell you how to wager your hard earned money today. It has always been my tradition to bet AGAINST the Dodgers on Opening Day, namely because they almost never fail me -- that is, fail to make money for me on Opening Day. Today is no exception. The Dodgers are away, playing the hated Giants. It sickens me to have to put my cash on the Evil Ones, but this is business. As good as I think the Dodgers will do this season, and I do think they will do VERY well (mainly later in the season), today will not be their day.
Take the Giants and give the -124, today only.
Bank on it.
UPDATE: Yes, I'm an idiot. I was looking at the wrong schedule. That shows how completely out of touch I am this year. Ok, substitute Padres for Giants and "win" for "lose" and flip the rest of the stuff around and it will be ok. Let's just forget this post ever happened.
Saturday, April 04, 2009
Here it is, in its entirety:
It is my opinion, based on my personal experience as Cookie Manager for our Daisy Troop, the cookie sale event this year was disappointing to say the least. What was most troubling was not the sales, but the management of our Service Area Council.
First, the information and instructions were unclear, confusing, and hastily organized. Everything was handed to us in a paper bag and instructions for handling it were given to us like machine gun fire, making it overwhelming, confusing, and impossible to follow without independent research.
Second, the demands that were placed on us were unmanageable. The time it took to meet all of the demands of accounting, sales, deadlines, forms, and reporting cost us a great deal of time and lost income. We were told at the beginning of these cookie sales that the job of managing cookies was not that big of a deal, not to worry, and it could be done without taking too much time away from our lives. Obviously, that was misleading and, had the truth been more transparent and straight forward, we would have not volunteered to do this job.
Third, the communication lines were unprofessional and less than what I anticipated from an organization that most people are proud to be a part of. At first, it was not so bad. Help was available when it was needed and we returned the favor gladly whenever possible. However, as time wore on, the rules, deadlines, requirements, and the dissemination of information effectively diminished. It began with more and revised requirements given to us inconsistently and at a rapid fire pace. Then, confusion began to mount as misunderstandings became insurmountable. Trying to get clarification became a daunting task and, as a result, frustrations continued to grow. Specifically, our Service Area Manager, Linda, extended cookie sales from March 29 to April 4, but our Service Area Cookie Manager, Barbara, later, made it clear that she would not honor the new date due to her upcoming vacation. In an email to me on April 3, Barbara stated, "Bottom line is the decision is mine. I WILL NOT accept any payments or paperwork after noon on Saturday the 4th" and "Yes, Council extended the sale but I upped my deadline by 1 day." Then, unexpectedly, she moved the submission date and time up again, with only about three hours notice, to no later than Friday night at 9 pm. What a surprise that was! As a result, all troops in this service area are paying for Barbara's unfortunately planned vacation.
In all, my family is glad this experience is over. This was a job that we did out of love for the families in our troop and it cost us dearly. In the future we will not be participating in cookie sales with this troop or any other troop as our daughter progresses through the ranks of Girl Scouts. In fact, our daughter said that she doesn't want to do cookie sales ever again and that she doesn't care about the patches and incentives because she only cared about having fun and this wasn't fun. Isn't this what cookie sales are supposed to be about, though? Having fun, gaining self confidence, working together as a team, and being supportive of your Girl Scout sisters? In summary, our Service Area Council failed us, it came down through the ranks and, as a result, we were all let down by our leaders.