Sometimes Spontaneous is Good

Last night both kids ended up staying at friends’ houses so at 1030pm the hubs and I looked at each other and said, “let’s go to the casino!” We drove an hour to OK and hit up WinStar.  I wasn’t having the best of luck but as usual my husband could make a $20 last  hours.  On the way out around 245am, I saw my favorite machine and lost my last $20.  I told my husband to take a shot at it and this is what happened:

I’ve been trying so hard to finally see a full screen of unicorns in person instead of watching others hit it on YouTube. It took 60 spins to get this so you can either lose your ass at these machines or make out pretty good.  It was nice to walk out with a $70 profit and a “free” tank of gas and also got us off the couch for once!

 

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Let’s Not Call Them Resolutions

2011-year-resolution-400x400I’ve been lurking around WordPress and have seen so many blogs with posts regarding New Years resolutions.  I don’t believe in resolutions.  We make these up on the first day of every year just to be forgotten quickly afterwards as one settles back into the humdrum or daily life.  I mean, we rattle these off while still on holiday vacation from work, drunk off champagne and high from sugar cookies and hot chocolate.  Why wouldn’t we think we could rule the world in the upcoming year?  The second week of January arrives, we get busy and complacent and most of us are like “Aw, F-it….at least it was a good idea!”

What is the actual meaning of the word “Resolution”?  This is what google told me:

res·o·lu·tion

ˌrezəˈlo͞oSHən/
noun
  1. a firm decision to do or not to do something.
    “she kept her resolution not to see Anne any more”
  2. the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter.
    “the peaceful resolution of all disputes”

If you notice – the definition actually has a negative connotation.  It has to do with deciding to not do something or resolves around the basis of problems.  .

So, let’s not call them resolutions.  Let’s call them accomplishments….let’s call them goals. What’s the difference?  Goals and accomplishments are positive things.  They don’t have to be about solving a problem or resolving not to do something.  Goals and accomplishments are about doing something new, something worthy….something fulfilling.  They don’t have to be world-changing.  Hell, they don’t even have to be life changing but if I can reach at least one realistic goal that I set for myself in 2014, no matter how small or insignificant, then it will be a good year.

After all of this thought, I actually only have a couple of goals I would like to reach this year.  There’s no need to have a long list and the fewer I have, the more time and effort I can dedicate to reaching each one. I’ll share my list with you and at this time in 2015 you can ask me how I did.

1. Start and maintain a food blog.  I’m always telling my mother she has so many recipes that it would take years and years to possibly make everything she is an expert at making.  She makes a lot of things from scratch and even the things she uses recipes for – she changes and tweaks into something of her own.  Why let these jewels go without sharing?  When I was young, we didn’t have internet, blogs, Facebook, twitter etc. She would write the recipes down and hand them to people.  Now there’s a new world out there for letting everyone else know what a great cook and baker she is and I intend on doing it.  So, after a bit of research and time – this year, I will launch a food only blog and make it official.

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2. Move the family into a bigger house.  We’ve been renting a really nice home for going on 6 years now and we have the world’s best landlords.  They never bug us, never raised the rent, never pop up unannounced, fix anything that breaks and even send us a Christmas gift every year without fail.  But with two kids that were only 10 and 8 when we moved in – who are now teenagers – we’ve outgrown it three times over.  Since the kids have made several friends who live in the area,  the front door mimics the madness of Grand Central at times and it would be really nice to have some extra room where my husband and I can retreat to and actually watch a full length movie or our favorite TV show without being interrupted.  Our lease isn’t up until the fall and I say this every year, but we will move this year.  

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3. Take a “different” summer vacation. This is one is already in motion.  We have been visiting some area of Florida for every single year except for 2012 when we went to Hawaii.  Even then, it was the same type of vacation…we hung out on the beach for a week.  This is what we do.  Beach, theme park, beach, theme park, beach, theme park on and on…  We wanted to do something different in 2014.  Go somewhere we have never been and do something we have never done.  So California is on the agenda this year thanks to my social media loving children who asked to attend VidCon, the annual convention for YouTube-ers.  We will combine the 3 day convention with a four day driving tour of Los Angeles, Malibu, Hollywood and wherever the road leads us.  It should definitely be an adventure and we are really looking forward to it.

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That is it for now.  Three goals, three very realistic and tangible goals for my 2014.  I knew way before Dec 31 what my plans were and this is a big reason why I started blogging here again.  It’s always fun to share the ride with others and have a way to document it along the way.  Maybe several will go along with me on this journey, maybe nobody will but sharing it makes me accountable.  I hope you will visit often and see where it goes.  I look forward to good things coming in 2014!

Daily Prompt: Enchantment

When I saw the daily prompt today I thought, that will be easy! What expresses the meaning of “Enchantment” more than a beautiful night picture of the illuminated Cinderella’s castle from Disney World?  And, since we have been there so many times I have a plethora of pictures to choose from on my computer.

However, as I was going through my pictures I came accross this picture.  Taken over the summer, it is basic, not enhanced and just not very beautiful.  Even so, this is the one that expresses the meaning of “Enchantment” to me.  Why?

Because as soon as you walk through the gates of the Magic Kingdom and start making your way down Main Street USA in the early morning hours with hundreds of other families….a midst all the excitement and smiles…you are transported to a magical land.  One where the cares and struggles of the “real” world are tossed away and your only reason for being there is FUN.  My two kids…now in their early teen years, hormone ridden where every day is an emotional crap shoot…suddenly changed back to their childlike, carefree and happy selves.  My daughter skipped her way towards the castle.  I caught my son singing “Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah” and actually walking close to his sister.  I was overcome with emotion and had to snap this picture.  It embodies the true meaning of “Enchantment” to me.  Thank you Walt.

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What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

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Who has exciting plans tonight?

I remember the days my parents would watch the kids (they were just babies then), we would go out for the night, get dressed up and drink ourselves silly (well maybe that was just me) and ring in the new year with STYLE.

This is more of what our New Year’s Eve shennanigans look like now:

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We’ll be ringing it in with Ryan Seacrest and his menagerie of celebrities.  Let’s hope Miley doesn’t make an appearance, I don’t need that visual leading me into the new year.

Whatever you are doing and wherever you are going tonight…be safe, don’t drink and drive.

Have loads of fun and Happy 20144!

Lazy Sunday

Happy Sunday friends!  Hope you are getting some relaxation in today.  I woke up late and found myself addicted to this show “The Haunted” on the Destination America channel.  That’s some creepy stuff!  The lady on the show said “then the voice said…you are all gonna die…” and at that exact moment my dogs leaped up and started barking crazy while running around the house.  I thought to myself….that’s it, I better find something constructive to do!  So instead of tackling this mountain of laundry I need to do, here I am writing a blog post.

I wasn’t sure what to write about today because not much has been going on but I thought I might tell you about the couple of “adventures” we have planned for the fam within the next upcoming months.  My husband and I couldn’t go to long without our Vegas fix so we have another trip planned in May too celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary.  We scored a great deal on a room at the Mirage with our players club benefits.  I’m sure I’ll have a fun trip report to post when we get back.  Could this possibly be the trip where we win the BIG ONE?  I guess we shall see….

Then, in June we are spending our family vacation at Disney World once again.  This will make our 7th or 8th trip since 2003. It could possibly be our last for a while since the kids are getting older and I see visions of exuberant expenses due to having two teenagers so I seriously doubt we will be able to afford it after this year.  Not to mention, Disney’s prices have gone up and their discounts have gone down.  A sign of the times I guess.

I just recently started working for an upscale hotel chain.  We have an awesome hotel in downtown Boston.  Because of my son’s love for the Xbox game Assassin’s Creed where the setting is in the old Paul Revere days of Boston’s history, we are planning a weekend in August to show him the sights.  I’m most looking forward to eating at Faneuil Hall and staying at this hotel that is supposedly haunted….

Lastly (so far) In September, Mumford and Sons are coming to a city in Oklahoma about 3 hours from here for a stopover on their “Gentlemen of the Road” tour.  I will be attending this 1.5 day music festival with my niece and I will be camping for the first time in my life.  I would camp out in the middle of the arctic tundra with no clothes on for a chance to see Mumford and Sons live but I won’t lie and say I’m looking forward to that part of it….it will be an experience.  I’m still trying to find out how I can keep my electronics charged the whole time so I can have pictures and video to share when we get back.

So there you have it.  The Dockfam travel schedule for this year.  I’ll be sure to take lots of pics and if you go ahead and add me on Instagram and YouTube, you will see my pics and videos there.  I put all of our vacation videos on YouTube and I’m trying to be better about Instagram sharing.  And if you add me, I will follow you back.

Have a great lazy Sunday and I’ll be back soon!

Memories of Time Gone By

Well it is Saturday and a horrible migraine woke me up during the night.  I tried really hard to stay in bed and not get up (in fear of the pain that would hit me when I did) but it was going to hurt either way so I decided to just make my way from the bed to the couch.  I get these damn headaches at least once a week (most recently last Sunday) and more often than not they hit me on weekend.  This in a way is both good and bad.  Good because at least I’m not getting one when I have to work and bad because the weekends are when I try to get everything done.  Shopping, cleaning, laundry…you name it.  When I can hardly hold my head up, these tasks can prove to be pretty impossible.  So here I sit writing a blog post and watching my weeks’ recordings of “The Chew” — which seems to be one of the few things I can do without hurting too much at the moment.  I hate this.

I had a pretty cool experience last Saturday night…I visited my high school to see their spring musical performance.  My cousin’s daughter was starring as the Wicked Witch in their performance of “The Wizard of Oz” (she did a fabulous job by the way….Margaret Hamilton eat your heart out!)  Back in the day, I was a theater nerd.  Most of my free time in high school was spent in that auditorium, on that stage and in the dance hall.  The only year I didn’t participate in the shows was my sophomore year, when I went through a bit of a rebellious stage and when my grades started to slip a bit — my mom wouldn’t “allow” me to participate.  That sobered me up real quick and I got back into it the next year.

I went to a private, Catholic jr high / high school.  At the time, the school was from grades 7 to 12…so a greater part of my adolescence was spent at that school and I can’t tell you how many memories….both good and bad….were made at that place.  It would only seem true that when I walked through the doors last week for the first time in 18 years…..it was nearly and emotional moment.  I say nearly because I was with my daughter, my niece and my sister-in-law and I didn’t want to embarrass them by becoming a wimpy, blubbering mess.

The school was built in 1961 and although I’m sure there have been major changes since then…not much of the main building had really changed in the last 18 years, give or take a few mew pictures in the hallway.  God forbid they spend any money fixing up that auditorium; it still stands as it did when it was built in 1961. The gym and football areas have been given a major overhaul since I graduated…there are those tuition dollars going to work.

school entrance looking exactly how it did in the early 90's

school entrance looking exactly how it did in the early 90’s

As I stood in line for a soda at intermission, I saw the wall statue of the Virgin Mary….whose feet got stuck in my pants when I was in 7th grade…and it made me giggle.  No really crazy story there, I was just sitting underneath her waiting to go into the auditorium for our musical performance that year and when I stood up, the holy mother’s feet got caught in my jean’s waist band and proceeded to come completely off of the wall…laying squarely on my back.  All I could do was stand there petrified while balancing the statue carefully as to not drop her until someone heard my cries for help and put her back in her place.  Needless to say there was a huge gap in the line and I was late getting on stage.

I glanced around the auditorium and noticed that pictures adorned both walls, forever immortalizing our years of musical mayhem at the Catholic school.  Well, maybe not forever…but at least for the next few years until they run out of room and start retiring some of them.  The show picture from our freshman year “The Sound of Music” (in which I played a nun) was already taken down.  However, I did try to get a few shots of the ones still hanging (pardon the glare…they are pictures of pictures):

Junior Year musical, "Bye Bye Birdie" in which I was in the chorus one weekend and the role of "Kim MacAfee" the other weekend.  This pic was taken on my chorus weekend :(

Junior Year musical, “Bye Bye Birdie” in which I was in the chorus one weekend and the role of “Kim MacAfee” the other weekend. This pic was taken on my chorus weekend 😦

Senior Year fall play "The Man who Came to Dinner" in which I played "June" the daughter.

Senior Year fall play “The Man who Came to Dinner” in which I played “June” the daughter.

By far my favorite, senior year spring musical "Annie Get Your Gun" in which I was an indian, a townsperson and the affluent "Mrs. Adams" during the ballroom scene

By far my favorite, senior year spring musical “Annie Get Your Gun” in which I was an Indian, a towns person and the affluent “Mrs. Adams” during the ballroom scene

Along with these shows, I had been on that stage for numerous dance programs, choir programs and drama and speech competitions.  Hours of hard work, rehearsals, building sets, sweat and tears.  So many memories made there and it hadn’t changed a bit.  For a fleeting moment I felt as if I were 17 again and all the reminders of adulthood were gone. I saw myself on stage again…thought about my friends and all of the fun we had.  As I was skipping down memory lane during the show I noticed that the kids’ voices were coming out loud and clear, I leaned over to my sister-in-law and said “they have microphones now!!” to which she replied….”Yes Jenn, and we have cell phones now too!”. Geesh.  My youthful spirit went back into hiding as I was reminded of exactly how long it had been and how old I was now.  18 years is a very long time!

Muppet Friday?

No not exactly but I just found something on one of my favorite blogs “The Muppet Mindset” that brought the fondest of memories to mind.  It is a post about the 1996 Christmas special – “The Christmas Toy”.  Read the post here.

I don’t know about you, but as a kid I truly and honestly believed that my stuffed animals came “alive” at night or whenever I was not in the room.  I often wondered about the kinds of games they played and the fun that they had during their special time.  Call me crazy, but that was one of the wonders of childhood!

If you haven’t had the chance to see this…. if you have kids — or not — do yourself a favor and watch it.  It will warm your heart and brighten any bad day this Christmas season.  Amazon has it for just over $6.50.  Just one more gem from Jim Henson….it’s definitely worth it!