Thursday, February 28, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
I just heard from Tom - I'm on the cruise!!!Yea!! We leave out of t. Lauderdale 5 pm Sun. nite.
He did add "there's 1 glitch - Olivia had some bladder bleeding this a.m. - hopefully, it doesn't amt to anything, because if so we have to cancel" RATS - if we cancel, I'll still go to Barry's Wed & Thurs and on to Michael's on Fri - Dan comes in on Sat. and he said to stick around and visit with him till Mon. Nothing like living on the edge!! We come back Mar 12 and I'll wing it with Delta.
Waiting for Bar to let me know if I'm flying Tues or Wed to Atlanta - but for now, I gotta go pack.
Tom said it's more expensive than last time and much nicer ship - Holland American "Volandam" - I'd rather pay more and really enjoy the ship. Not sure of all the ports - I know 4 days at sea - then Aruba, curisal , Panama city, Limon (wherever that is) and a few other places.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Patrick, Mom and Chris got here to Auburn around 11 this morning. They met me at my house and then I took them downtown to Toomers Drug store for their world famous lemonade. Then we went to the basketball game against University of Alabama. As soon as that was over we went right next door to the baseball game where Kurt met us, Patch was pretty excited to see him. Patrick was pretty happy spending his birthday watching Auburn sports! For dinner we went to his favorite restaurant and then came back to my house. I had the whole house decorated and I made him an oreo pie so we all sang happy birthday.
We had a fabulous day and I hope Steph has just as much fun!!! I'll put pictures up later this week!
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Hello, not much to report down here... just the normal routine... Gerdie has gone back to her owner for a while, and both Karen and I are busy working. Was sorting through some photos and found this blast from the past. Bob Foard brought his Triumph TR-7 to Moorestown for me to buy. I fell in love instantly... think I ended up paying $1,700.00 for it and fell behind on the loan payments only after a few months, and the faulty head on the engine finally blew. Dad had to bail me out and I sold it for $1,300.00. No wonder I'm not really a "car guy."
My 1999 Toyota Camry drives like a dream, and it's been paid for since 2005. Has 117,00 miles, and I hope to take it over 200,000. Karen on the other hand is a "car girl" and needs to have the flashy wheels. Her BMW lease is up in March so she needs to "scale down." Dan told her she should buy the car outright, and then turn around and sell it for a couple thousand profit. We're looking at all options. That tiny "Smart Car" she test drove is cute, but she wouldn't feel safe in it driving at 70 mpg.
I'm off on Sunday. We were invited by a couple at Lago Mar Club, Dan and Cynthia Niles, to go to their condo for cocktails at 3 p.m. and watch the parade of 10 Cruise Ships sail out of Port Everglades. Remember those condos that blare the air horns and blink the lights when we went out on the Millenium Cruise? That will be us on Sunday!
Off to work 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Got the MRI of my knee and back -- nothing much -- mostly arthritis. Have been going to P.T. for 1 month now - back is no longer feeling strained - just usual low back pain. Haven't talked to knee dr., but from MRI report - I know a knee replacement is not nec. - don't know if anything can be done thru arthroscopy yet -or I just live with my pain.
Anyway, since I see no surgery in site, I called Tom and Olivia to see if I could join them on their Carribean cruise - Mar 2 - 12.(
they had already invited me) The ship is Holland Am. - it is completely booked. T & O are being upgraded to 4 levels (Tom wrote a letter re Olivia's care getting off the ship when she had her emergency ayr. ago). Travel agent said they have not assigned rooms - usually do that the week before - and if their room can accomodate 3 - then, they can put me on. I'm hanging loose till next week - hoping to go -- most of my friends are away and it's cold here.
I had planned to go to Jackie's cabaret show in Roswell - next Wed. If I get on the cruise, I will go there with cruise suitcase - stay at Bar's till Fri and then go to Michaels (surprise, surprise)- to hang out till Sun when I get on the cruise ship. That way, I don't have to worry about my "standby" chances Dan will be there (Ft Lauderdale) the same weekend.
Cancelled my app with knee Dr. in Maryland, so I can go to Steph's birthday dinner on Sun.
If I hear that I am on -- I'll call you Barry & Mike.
I've seen all the top movies -- There will be blood, Atonement, Juno, No country for old men, The debators, Kite Runner, Charlie Wilson's War, and Michael Clayton. So when I watch the awards on Sun - I'll have some opinions.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Not a whole lot new going on right now, just busy as ever! Two weekends ago I was up in Rome and did a fundraiser for Children's Miracle Network. I hosted a tea with about ten girls from the Rome area and presented a program based on the four points of the crown: scholarship, service, style, and success. Raised $250!!! Then the following day I spoke about teenage driving to 200 8th graders at one of the local middle schools....TOUGH CROWD! Definately the one of the hardest speaking audiences I've ever experienced. It was so hard to keep them interested and not sound like I was preaching. Dad went and said I did a very good job with what I had. I was praying beforehand and told myself that as long as I walked away with just one person remembering to be safe or wear their seatbelt than the pain of standing in front of middle schoolers and driving all that way was completely worth it. I truly believe God is calling me to spread my message and I know I will get better with each time I speak.
Yesterday (Sunday) I went to the Governor's mansion for my job (The Alabama Community Healthy Marriage Initiative www.alabamamarriage.org ). February is Alabama Marriage Month and the Governor and his wife hosted a celebration at his house. All couples in the state who have been married 25+ years were invited and so were the winners of an 8th grade essay contest. The students were asked to write about the best marriage they know of and the winning essays can be read at the website above. Pretty great stuff!
This upcoming weekend I am heading to the University of Alabama for the Southeastern Conference swimming/diving championships. Hopefully Auburn will walk away with the title for the 12th year in a row!!!!
Thats about all I've got for now. I have to write in a blog once a week for my style and design class so feel free to check it out! Its just some ranting and raving that I usually write an hour before its due, lol. www.jackieau.prblogs.org
Love you all and have a great week!
I leave this Friday for my Caribbean cruise on Holland America. If you need to make and emergency call, here is how to do it.
listen to announcement
I will visit with Mike and Karen when I get back March 1,2,3. Have a great week. Welcome home Karen Carag. How was Cancun?
Karen and I went to see Donna Summer last night. Here's a quick snippet from the concert. The show was just "ok" but we were glad to say we saw her. The voice sounds pretty good, but she's the size of a house and constantly kept telling the audience how much she "needs us and loves everyone of us." A little over the top. Kind of like... "you're all I have left in my once booming career, don't leave!."
Working today 11 a.m. to 8 .m. Karen did a new mailer of 200 letters and already has 2 calls. One scheduled immediately for weekly service, which is great. Big home close by.
Miami Boat Show and Coconut Grove Arts Festival were in town this weekend. Supposed to get to sweater weather the next few days.... brrrrr.... hate those 65 degree days.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Hi, a quick picture from Valentine's Day. Karen and I went to Pelican Beach Resort (our honeymoon spot) for drinks and appetizers on the ocean. Karen had a dental mishap... one of her two front teeth cracked and fell completely off in her nachos. How's that for Valentine's Day romance? She looked like the farmer's daughter from West Virginia, but laughed it off, figuring we wouldn't see anyone we knew. With that in walked a couple who belong to Lago Mar and I had to introduce Karen and "explain" the mishap. They ended up hiring her for her cleaning biz, so the embarrassment paid off. Anyhow, she's been to the dentist and all is well now.
We still have the dog, and everything okay there too. Tomorrow night we go see Donna Summer in concert. Should be fun. What's everyone else doing for President's Day Weekend. You'll have to help me out with the blog this week as my co-writer is in Cancun.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Here's a quick movie of Karen with Gerdie in Gator Run Park, just outside our Hammocks neighborhood.
Still photos are at:
To make matters worse, we're having bad rain and thunderstorms outside, so when I got up at 7 a.m. to take the dog for a walk, it was pouring rain and she wanted nothing to do with that, but there was no way I was going to leave her in the house "on a full tank." I finally braved the rain in the backyard with her and she did her business.
I feel like I've been up all night with a crying baby. I'm exhausted! LOL To Gerdie's credit, she loves attention, is very playful, and when I really get serious at the computer, she lays patiently on the floor playing with a stuffed animal...oh wait, that's Karen's good satin couch pillow from Nordsdrom! Whatever!
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Introducing "Gerdie," a 9-month old female miniature Schnauzer who will be living with us for 3 weeks. Gerdie's real parents are Ken and Susan Landon from the club. They have a very busy next few weeks getting ready for a son's wedding, so Gerdie needed to go away for a while. Tonight's her first night, and she's "wild" in the house, but starting to settle now that it's close to her bedtime. Following around Karen and leaving me alone. Perfect! :-)
Don't forget to vote on Gerdy. Look to the right.
Our impatients are blooming at the Holmes residence in Weston!
Also, Karen has been asked by one of the members at Lago Mar to watch their dog for the next 3 weeks... at our house. This is the same one she was going to watch for a week back in the Fall, but plans fell apart when they cancelled their cruise. Anyhow, "Gerdy" is, I think a little Schnauzer or Terrier, and very small and "low maintenance" according to them. We'll see, but Karen agreed to $20 per day for the next 21 days, so she's happy for the extra income. We'll send a photo. I think we take delivery today!
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Not much to say this week, sort of deadsville around here....work is interesting..
I told you all about the girl who got fired because she looked into our "wierdo" typist's medical record? Well, the wierdo typist handed me her resignation as I was counciling her about all the wierdo things she does...anyone know a good transcriptionist, looking for a job in Havre de Grace?
We went to a fund raising event last night for our hospital.. "The Red Pump Society Ball"..semiformal..we didn't know too many people other than the ones at our table and about 10 others..but great live entertainment/dancing/drinks/appetizers...
While we were dancing..the song HOT HOT HOT came on.....I starting thinking about all the fun we had in Nagshead at the pool..dancing around in a Conga line singing.."I'm hot, you're hot, he's NOT!!!!"
We had such fun vacations down there..it makes me wonder...can we ever go back? Would it ever be the same? The kids are all older, they have girlfriends/boyfriends/...
OR Is is just fun memories?
I know it's so hard for everyone to commit to a certain date....wouldn't it be fun to finally have Mike there with a date/mate? Would he still serve us drinks on the beach at 5pm? LOL...and Mar could finally relax a bit more that her kids won't fall in the pool .....
Anyhow, just reminising....
That's it from here....Jun and I are going to Cancun for a week starting this Thursday, Valentine's Day...just the 2 of us..should be fun. Not sure how well my Verizon cell phone will work there..so my friend lent me his extra phone that is international..if you need me...call 443-791-0515
the phone belongs to Ronald Lopez, I won't be able to check messages, so if you miss me..call again, soon! I'll keep that phone with me. Try my cell first...
I'll call someone when I ge there and let you know how my service is..I'll be checking in with Jess and Jon frequently.
See ya..have a good week!
Saturday, February 9, 2008
A rainy Saturday here in S. Fla. Of course, I worked the pool bar, so that didn't work out in my favor. Anyhow, Lago Mar is getting a bit more crowded, and we will be jammed full next weekend for President's weekend.
I've been working on a few photo restorations and some signs for our annual golf tournament in early May. Karen is keeping busy with the cleaning biz, but just can't seem to get completely booked! Gain some, lose some is the nature of the biz, but every time we think she's booked, someone drops off or cancels because of someone home sick, vacation, etc.
I met with a printing company on Friday and instead of her sending out letters in envelopes that are hand addressed, hand signed, personalized, hand stamped etc., we are going to have 1000 preprinted postcards made, and just throw a mailing label on it. Too much time and effort is being spent on the former method, even though we thought we'd get a better response with all the extra personalized touches. I guess the reality is, if someone really is need of a home cleaner, and the piece arrives in the mail that day, it doesn't matter how personalized it is, they just need the phone number. We're learning as we go through the process... She has a 200-piece mailer going out this week, and I'm saving all the addresses on the computer so we can print out labels next time once the postcards arrive.
Also, I need to work on her "reference cards" whereby she offers a client 50% off if they find her a referral, and offer that referral 50% off their first cleaning as well.
As you know, the photo book I did for the Lago Mar couple was a big hit, and they ordered 4 extra copies at $125.00 each. Everybody who saw it raved about it. I took the same book with all the great postcard perfect shots of Lago Mar and turned it into a mock up of a convention book as if a company held a meeting at Lago Mar, and sprinkled pictures of a business meeting and all the fun business-social events throughout the conference in among the beautiful Lago Mar pictures.
I added some neat touches like the company's logo on the front, and on the back it says "Thank You Key Bank" written on the sand near the ocean. The premise is, the books 30 or so Lago Mar pictures stay the same no matter who the convention is for, and all I have to do is drop in the new photos from the new meeting on the computer, change the logo on the cover, and change the "Thank You" message written in the sand on the computer.
I have no idea what the response will be, but I'm asking for a meeting with the owner this week, and I've already had the book printed and ready to show. The book can be used as part of a "package" too woo corporate meetings, used as a "thank you" if they have the meeting at our place, or just flat out offer the company the opportunity to buy the book to take back to the office up North or wherever they come from. If I owned Lago Mar, this is the type of book you would want people showing to other people because the photos are so perfect. Otherwise, they only have the website or a brochure to reference the place, and I think those photos are so commercial and so overdone they're almost fake looking.
I already showed the member book to the meeting planner at Lago Mar, and hinted that I could do the same for her conventions and she was so excited for me to produce something so she could show her bosses and use as a sales tool to attract more business. But I know how that place works... everything is top down management, so the only thing that really matters is if Mr. Banks likes it. The odds are against me in that he doesn't do anything new to market that hotel, and he never even speaks to the service staff other than "hi" "bye." However, I've got a great looking product with a good idea that it's worth a shot to see what he thinks.
I also think we should offer tourists the same opportunity to have such books done, but I figured I better pitch the idea for conventions first, since that's where the big dollars are in the resort business.
Regardless of the response, I now have a solid sample in hand to pitch to 10 or so other area Resorts to see if the concept has any legs. If they all pass on it, I'll put it away and move on, but for now I'm excited to see what happens.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
I have the Grammy's this Sunday with about 18 ladies booked for makeup. I have 3 girls working for me to help get everyone done. I hired a girl yesterday to take Muriels place for 3 months. She just moved here, has no clients and is an "ok" makeup artist. She wanted 60% on her services and 40% on her retail sales. After I almost choked on my water, I explained how it would almost cost me money to have her working there. I use to take whatever commision was offered in a job but these kids come in with no experience and want to be paid big bucks.
I'm off to take my morning walk and get some needed coffee. It's 6:23 am here. Am I the only one up this early?
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Tax time tonight... in my home office with all the receipts and forms spread out all over. I'm due a healthy refund lately since I have lots of things to write off. Soon as I get my refund, I have to write a check for, you guessed it, 2006 property taxes on the Coral Ridge condo. One hand washes the other.
Don't forget Barry's birthday coming up... oh never mind, you all have your family calendars hanging to remind you.
Karen and I went to a fun Superbowl party at a friend of Rob's, and most of the crowd were ex-New Yorkers so you can imagine the last minute excitement! When the Giants scored at the end, everyone was screaming and hugging and high-fiving and I ended up swinging some frumpy middle age housewife around like a windmill! I had just met her about two hours prior to this. Might have been the drinks talking more than the Manning magic!
I'm jealous seeing all the travel plans for LBI, Vegas, cruises, Cancun, etc. I have two things I like to do each year, and they're both about a month apart from each other. One is the annual Photoshop convention in early April (Orlando) and the other is the Swingfest golf tournament in early May (Naples.) I will try to do both, but Lago Mar does not approve vacation days off until June 1, so it's always a panic trying to schedule even two or three days off in a row for anything fun. Such is life in the hotel biz. Karen and I haven't been on a cruise in two years, so we're thinking we'd like to do that again this year. We'll see...
Back to taxes!
Monday, February 4, 2008
I had Muriels baby shower here yesterday. Had about 18 in my small house but it worked out fine. Everyone had a great time, plenty to eat/drink and Muriel got some great gifts.
Have not excepted an offer on the other house yet. The buyers are trying to low ball their offers to see if sellers are desperate or not. I don't want to just give the house away for little to no profit and I think we are fair with the asking price. Mom has told me in the passed and I'm just starting to see it, my real estate agent/partner is lazy. He has done little to nothing to advertise this house. I have so many ideas of how to promote a prime west hollywood location but he is not interested in any of them. He went away to Las Vegas this weekend because he needed rest. He only has 2 listings right now. What the hell does he need rest from? We have 2 writen low offers and he is ready to agree to their price with little to no negotiations. Mom told me to say "no way." Someone will come along that will love it and have the money to spend.
I'm shopping today for art work for my house. I sell everything when I sell the other houses so I have very few nick nack and pictures to hang. I leave for my cruise is 3 weeks and can't wait. That's it from LA.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Eric had cornea transplant surgery (on one eye) this week and it went really well. Due to a misshapen cornea, he has been in pain with his eye for years and has really terrible vision. Glasses just don't work for him. Anyway, he was able to get the cornea of a 19-year old, so hopefully his vision will be much improved. He won't be able to wear a contact in that eye for a year. He was awake through the whole procedure and tells me there wasn't any pain. His only problem right now is dealing with sunlight. He is back to work next week and heads to Denver on a business trip. For those who are wondering...no, it doesn't affect your eye color!
I just completed 4 weeks of rehab on my leg and have another 4 weeks to go. My hideous bruise is almost gone and my pain is minimal...I'm just working on flexiblility and strength training at this point. My friend's husband is a doctor of sports medicine at University of Delaware. He said that picture of my leg is "Top 5" and asked me if he can use it in his class! Chris, congrats on making the tennis team! I have one word for you fella...STRETCH!
Steph is wrapping up her last year in elementary school and is "freaking out" about middle school. Jackie is going to offer her some counseling this summer! She is enjoying her first year of Girl Scouts. Feb 1 marked the start of cookie month. We won't be hitting you up for any, since it isn't worth the cost to ship them, but thanks for participating in the magazine sale! Steph is also playing CYO basketball this year, but Eric and I don't see that as being her sport since she isn't aggressive enough. You should see these girls knocking each other over and wrestling on the floor for the ball! I think softball will remain her favorite.
Poor Michael continues to get worse with his asthma every year. He has been home sick from school the past week with a bad flare-up and they finally started him on oral steroids. His breathing numbers were the worst I've ever seen (50-75% lung capacity). He should return to school on Monday, but no recess or gym for a week or two. His basketball team is undefeated, so he's disappointed about missing a bunch of games.
We have some good trips to look forward to in 2008. We are heading to Vegas for spring break and will make day trips to Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon. Eric booked us a room at Mandalay Bay so the kids can enjoy the "beach" and wave pool. I think our agenda will be a lot less exciting than Jackie's! Something tells me we would be at the BACK of the line if we went to a nightclub! In May, we are all coming to Chris' graduation and will make a side trip to Nashville. And, as I've mentioned to most of you, I am renting in LBI for 2 weeks in June. The first week I have a friend coming from 6/14-6/21, but the second week will be open for family from 6/21/-6/28.
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Hi Bloggers. Like the new look of the blog? Nothing much happening down here... photos are from a Lobster joint Karen and I went to a few weeks ago. It's a Chinese restaurant, and I kept seeing an ad that read "5lb lobsters for $39 w/ coupon" so we finally checked it out. The place was in a strip shopping center and they had huge lobster tanks when you walked in, and, yes, they did server you 5 lb. lobster for the price... It just didn't taste like fresh lobster. It was just "ok" if that's possible with lobster. They certainly don't fly them in from Maine each day like some of the fine dining establishments in town. These lobsters must have flown on Delta and arrived late! Sorry for the cheap shot, Bar!
My friend Rob and I are going to the new U2 movie in 3D at an IMAX theater here in town. He loves the group, and the sound and visuals are supposed to give you that "you are at the concert feel." Should be fun.
Lago Mar is really feeling the impact of the economy. We should be practically sold out each day by this time of year, but the occupancy rate has been around 70 percent during the week and around 90 percent on weekends. This will be my 4th "season" there, but it looks like it's not going to be as profitable as in years past.
Went to the Florida Panthers game last night... we won in an overtime shootout.
Have a few side projects going on... just your garden variety of photo restorations, enlargements, etc.
Karen and I are going to Rob's friends house in Coral Springs for a Super Bowl party Sunday night. I work till about 4 p.m. Sunday. Don't really care who wins, but would like to see the '72 Dolphins retain their "perfect season" as we have little to crow about when it comes to sports down here. All are professional teams are pathetic lately!
Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow... sorry about that extra 6 weeks of winter.
Have a great weekend!