Saturday, February 25, 2012


Pictures of the cruise are up here! (press Ctrl while clicking to open in a new window) Finally. There were a few moments that were only captured on video that I needed to get screen shots, such as me playing with turtles. Wouldn't want you all to miss out on that. Here's the account of our trip. Sorry if you get lost. Its a lot to get down. If you want a more comprehensive account, you can check out Heath's story.

As we've all learned from The Sound Of Music, the beginning is a very good place to start, so I'll start there. Our friends, Bryan (the best-man at Heath's wedding) and Cindy (someone we have come to know and love in the last few years) invited all of their friends on a cruise, on which they were getting married! (About time, Bryan.) After having a rough surgery in January, we weren't sure we would be able to attend, but finally received the ok 6 days before we were scheduled to leave. That was a relief.

My first plane ride that didn't involve me jumping out of it was pretty uneventful. Though the landing was a little rougher than I expected, there is not much to say about the rest of the flight. I still find it strange that you don't actually feel the plane tipping while it turns as anything more than a slight disorientation that if you don't see the plane tipping, you would have no idea why you felt that way. Having never flown myself, and Heath not having flown since he was 13, we really didn't know what to expect at the airport, but things went pretty smoothly. The airline broke the handle off of Heath's luggage, but thankfully everything else was still intact. We arrived in Florida to near 80 degree temperatures and sunny skies. We figured out the hotel shuttle service and arrived in time to go to lunch with the soon to be bride and groom, and the bride's family (her parents, 1 brother and his wife, 3 sisters, and a neice). They were pretty down-to-earth, amazing people. I soon found out that both of Cindy's parents were ordained ministers. After lunch we headed back to the hotel where we both fell into a coma-like sleep. We missed dinner with everyone that night, but were well rested for a day in Florida!

After hearing that most of the people in our party were planning on heading to the beach that day, Heath and I decided to head out on our own. Without a car, that left us with limited options. We learned of a Bass Pro Shop within 10 minutes walking distance, which housed a restaurant, and decided to head over there to kill some time, and to eat. It was gorgeous out, and I enjoyed the walk, until about 7 minutes later when I realized we could see our hotel through a hedge, on the other side of a busy street. We'd walked East, slightly South, then West all to get around a hedge. While I'm not terribly lazy, the thought that we could have walked across the street and through the "path" in the hedge, which appeared to be heavily used, and been at the store in approximately 3 minutes, rather than the 10 minutes it took, was a bit upsetting. We walked around the store, than sat down to lunch. (MmmMm Shrimp) As we were finishing lunch (during which I actually ate a bite of Heath's meal - alligator), we received a text from friends who apparently didn't go to the beach and were looking for something to do. After divulging our secret short-cut to them, we hung out with them while they ate lunch, then headed back to the hotel for a short nap before that evenings festivities. A pre-cruise, pre-wedding dinner/party. Complete with karaoke. It was a pretty fun night, despite the email everyone received indicating that the CDC had finished cleaning our ship, but listed symptoms of the Norovirus, and ways to keep ourselves germ-free.

Saturday morning we headed on the first shuttle to the loading dock, which I now know I would not do again. Apparently, waiting until after 2:00 is the way to go to ensure a faster boarding time. The shuttle made its way to all the boarding places for each of the different ships, but as our ship, Crown Princess, had been brought in early from its last voyage, and then through a thorough 3-day washing, we had to board elsewhere and were the last ones dropped off. We watched as baggage handlers, whom we learned were actually not employees of the cruise lines and did this purely for tips, outright fought over luggage and potential clients. We asked some of the veterans in our shuttle if we were able to keep our luggage with us, and were relieved when we were told yes. After getting off the shuttle, fighting with one of these luggage guys for our luggage, we then proceeded to the boarding line, where we stood for a very long time, in a building with "No Cell Phones, No Cameras" signs posted. Our shuttle left the hotel at 11:30, but boarding didn't begin until 12:30, and then it was "important people first" boarding. By the time our line opened, I was bored out of my mind (no cell phone, after all) Heath's back was spasming, and we were both already exhausted. Every turn after that point seemed like an (almost) unnecessary obstacle, aside from getting our "cards" for the ship. An unending line of people was stopped at every couple to take a souvenir photo, and if you didn't want the photo, you had to be pretty aggressive in getting past them. The room cards that unlock your stateroom also serve as a credit card, and a sort of tracker. This way, you don't have to carry your credit card around with you - any purchases you make are charged to your room and you're billed at the end of the trip. You have to sign for any of these purchases, so you can keep track of what you're spending, which is probably a good thing. Also, while boarding the ship, they take a picture of you, scan your card, and the picture becomes attached to the card in their system. Whenever you get on or off the boat, they scan your card, your picture shows on their handheld device and it registers you as either being on or off the boat.

We had chosen to pay for a stateroom suite with a balcony, and I am so grateful we did. It was a bit pricier, but to me, it was worth it. The bathroom and closet were not too small, queen size bed, the center of our room had a bar area, which housed two tv's, a mini fridge, and quite a bit of counter and shelf space. The other portion of the room housed a couch with a fold-out bed, a chair and table, then a sliding door to the balcony. We were on the lowest deck with balconies (the 9th deck - Room 609 on the starboard side) and our row of balconies stuck out further than the rest. There were two deck chairs with ottomans and a small table. It was amazing! Especially since there was a clear shot from the bed out past the balcony to the ocean. Waking up to that view every morning was great.

The ship had 15 decks that went from bow to stern, and both the bow and stern had an additional 4 decks. There were buffets on deck 15, as well as swimming pools, lounge chairs, outdoor eateries (burgers, pizza and ice cream joints), and a giant screen for their Movies Under The Stars. After boarding, we met up with friends whom we would spend most of our time with, Mandy and her husband Greg. We had only met Greg at their wedding, and didn't really get to talk with him then, so this was a nice opportunity to get to know him (and a chance to learn that he went to school with my sister). We ate in the buffet, explored the ship a little, then went to the higher decks to prepare to set sail. The music was loud, but the bride-and-groom-to-be surprised us all with goody bags. They had tote bags made with a logo created by Digital Ninjas Media's graphic designer, Jim Gade, as well as towels with the same logo, and numerous other items (everything from a mini first aide and sewing kit to pens, thank you notes, Off bug spray, a cruise journal and many other things I'm forgetting), and at some point during the week door magnets had been placed on everyone's door in our party (the ship supplied magnets to people who had birthdays or anniversaries while on board, and these were designed to be the same size) We set sail, then went to our rooms to change for dinner. We had opted for the anytime dining, which allowed us to eat in the buffets or outdoor eateries, or a choice of two dining rooms (Michelangelo or Da Vinci) or one of the two cover charge restaurants. These were $20 or $25 cover charges, but provided the more expensive meals such as steaks, lobster, etc. The other option was a specific dining time, wherein you would always have the same waiter/waitress who would get to know you, and what you liked. For instance, if you liked Shrimp Cocktail as an appetizer, it would be waiting for you when you sat down. This sounds nice, but I'm glad we opted for anytime dining as it allowed much more freedom. We ate our first meal in the Michelangelo dining room. The food on the boat was not the best I had ever had, but it was pretty good. The only exception was the fettuccine alfredo. This is one of my all time favorite foods. Alfredo sauce is my catnip. So, of course, I ordered this. The meals provided in these dining rooms were prepared by a professional chef, complete with plating and decoration. 4 to 5 course meals. My fettuccine arrived on a plate, inside of a baked cheese cup. This was the single most amazing fettuccine alfredo I have ever had. Heath had chosen a crayfish dish which arrived looking like a pot pie. Having an allergy to scallops (which he indicated on his form we had to fill out for the cruise) he closely read the ingredients before deciding this was a safe dish. About 2 bites in, he realized he was eating scallops. He had only eaten a few small bites and was hoping all would be well, so after dinner we explored the ship some more. Sometime just before dinner the boat had begun rocking quite a bit, and walking proved a little challenging by this point, which amused Greg, who had been in the Navy, and in submarines, and thought nothing of it. We headed to bed, but half-way through the night, Heath was in immeasurable pain and there was nothing I could do. I gave him some Benadryl and tried to stay awake in case he needed anything, but the rocking boat provided for wonderful sleeping, and as hard as I tried, I kept falling asleep. By morning, the captain was announcing that many people had reported in sick, but that it all appeared to be sea-sickness. Feeling awful for Heath, who had announced he didn't think he would be able to attend the wedding due to the pain from the scallops, I headed out in search of something for him to drink. The cost of the food is included in the cost of the cruise, but drinks are not. We had purchased a drink-sticker for our cards on the first day, which allowed us all the soda and juice we wanted without having to purchase and sign for them whenever we wanted something, and also came with tumblers, so we could fill those instead of their glasses. So, I brought him back a couple of cranberry juices, which proved more challenging then you would think. First off, I had to talk the waiter into bringing me two, then I learned that they could not fill the tumblers themselves. Instead, he had to bring the drinks in the glasses and then I could poor them into the tumblers. Thankfully, he did this for me as the boat was still rocking like crazy and I would have made a terrible mess. As a side note, we learned that the ships filtering system ran through to our bathroom sinks in our rooms, so that water there was drinkable.

Heath drank his juice and decided he was going to try heading up to the wedding. The captain had come on announcing that there were 35 to 40 foot swells, which accounted for the rocking and things should calm down by 3:00 pm or so. He also announced "If you do vomit, please do not walk away and leave it. Let us know so we can clean it up." Wow. What is wrong with people. We had already heard several times from his announcements to "wash your hands" and to report any illness immediately to the medical staff. These would become catch phrases and many jokes followed. Of course, the wedding was on the 16th deck, and when you're on a boat, the higher you are, the worse the rocking. I decided to take some Dramamine.

The wedding was beautiful. The Captain, who performed the ceremony attempted to be funny, and he wasn't terrible. The maid-of-honor had apparently been sick 3 times that morning, and the grooms mother was unable to make it out of her room to attend the wedding. Afterward, we hung around for a specific photograph the bride wanted, which included everyone at the wedding (there were about 30 something of us) After that we headed back to the room for Heath to rest before our first formal night and the wedding reception.

The ships dress code for the dinners depended on the night and where you were dining. The buffet and outdoor eateries were laid back with a casual dress code, but the dining rooms were business casual. Pretty much no-jeans, though we found they tended to be pretty lenient. There were two formal nights, which required everyone to dress up, tuxs and suits, and formal evening gowns. Though on the second formal night, we spotted a Hawaiian shirt and khaki shorts.

So we fancied ourselves up and headed out.

The bride and groom had arranged for us all to eat at one of the cover charge restaurants this night; they paid the cover. The food was fine, everybody seemed to enjoy it. Then we headed up to Skywalkers Lounge for the reception. It was a fun night.

Monday morning was our first stop in Grand Cayman. The huge swells, however, had flooded the pier we were scheduled to dock at, which meant we had to drop anchor on the other side of the island and take tender boats to a "rinky dinky pier" at Spotts Head (the Captain's words) and ride across the island for our scheduled excursion, which took quite a bit of time and our tours were rushed. We visited Hell, the Tortuga Rum Cake factory, and the Turtle Farm. Our tour guide, Berry (spelled B-e-r-r-y as in Strawberry [he made sure we knew this]) had a bit of a sense of humor, and also made sure we knew that they did not drive on the wrong side of the road, they drove on the "correct side". Seriously, they drive on the wrong side. The Governor of Grand Cayman is pretty much like everyone else. He does not have body guards, he is escorted to work by the police only because he is usually busy working or reading en route. For those of you interested, Grand Cayman's elevation is 60' above sea level.

After returning to the ship, we allowed ourselves to be talked into booking an excursion for the next day, in Roatan, the only day we hadn't booked one, as most of the people in our "party" were going to play with monkeys and it sounded like fun.

Tuesday we arrived in Roatan, Honduras, and rode a chair lift to the beach, where we walked around for a while before returning to the boat for more sunscreen. This proved a good idea, as by the time we were gathering for our monkey adventure, I was red. Very red. We rode by bus to the monkey place and learned from our tour guide that there are no speed limit signs there. There are a few Stop signs, but they are suggestions; they did drive on the right side of the road. Schools there run from February through November, and run in 3 shifts: morning, afternoon and evening. The evening classes are for the older kids so they can work during the day. All schools wear uniforms, but the 3 Christian private schools allowed the students to choose the color of their uniform.

We proceeded to an animal sanctuary. I took my turn getting my picture taken with a Macaw Parrot on my shoulder, while he tried to eat my shirt (I should have been more prepared for that then I was: bird + shiny buttons = bird trying to eat shiny buttons.) Then we went to play with the monkeys. Their hands and feet are surprisingly soft. The monkey had been sitting on the branch when I made my way to it and I thought he was simply putting his hands on my head, but soon found out he had actually jumped on my head. He moved to my shoulder and wrapped his tail around my neck. I went to reach for it, but was quickly told not to touch the tail, so I waited and he eventually moved it. We did quite a bit more walking, looked at an exhibit of dead bugs, and eventually made it back to the bus. By this time I knew I was in trouble from the sunburn as I was feeling very ill and hurty. We unloaded from the bus and made our way to the boat. Luckily, our path to our ship led through a souvenier shop, which sold aloe sunburn gel. We quickly purchased a bottle and I began applying before the receipt was in hand. I sat through a painful dinner that night and ended up sleeping on our stateroom couch, propped up with pillows and using our gift towels as a blanket for my upper body and lower legs. I kept a couple damp cloths nearby to switch out over the worst part of my legs. The pain from my legs was so bad, I barely noticed the severe sunburn on my forehead, and arms as well, not to mention the blisters on my feet.

Around 2:30 or 3:00 am, a page came through the entire boat for a Ruby Jackson to call the Services desk. A few minutes later, the Captain got on the intercom to repeat the page. Over the next couple days, everyone seemed to know exactly what happened and shared their story. However, it seems the true story was something like this (though, I'm not 100% positive it is correct) Ruby is an elderly lady who had gotten into an argument with her family during the early morning hours and stormed out of her stateroom. After looking all over for her with no luck, her family finally called services. The ship had to formally file a missing persons and wake the Captain, in preparation of the possibility of a man-overboard situation. They eventually found her asleep in one of the dining rooms. The next day during his daily announcement, he did apologize for having to wake everyone up stating that "we had lost one of our flock." Throughout the remainder of the cruise, the Captain found several opportunities to latch on to the now rampant joking of the incident by often throwing her name in wherever he could "Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, and Ruby Jackson.", etc.

Wednesday we stopped in Belize. Here we had planned the longest shore excursion of any stop on this cruise - a visit to the Lamanai Mayan Ruins. This included a 30 minute tender-boat ride from the ship to Belize, a 90+minute bus ride to a scenic boat ride (another 60 minutes) then a hike to the ruins. I, however, could not move. I was in so much pain I knew there was no way I would make it. I finally convinced Heath to go without me. This was one of the two ruins we were scheduled to visit on this trip and these were the excursions he was looking forward to the most. I couldn't let him miss it. So, I hung out on the ship all day, which proved to be rather fun, despite the pain. Heath was one of the first groups off the boat. After he left, I slowly started moving about the room. My legs throbbed and hurt, but I was getting hungry and wanted to make it up to get some breakfast from the buffet. I headed up to the buffet, praying I wouldn't get sick (yeah, the pain was that bad). Thankfully, there was no line for the buffet so I grabbed some food and headed to one of the outdoor tables in the shade. Here I sat for a couple hours, and had a conversation with a waiter from Peru who said I should place tomato slices on the sunburn. He worked in tourism back at home before working on the cruise ship, so he had seen a lot of sunburn and said it was a proven remedy. I didn't have the wherewithal or the nerve to stop a chef and ask for a tomato, though, so I don't know if its true. After he left another guy stopped to chat, thinking he was just being friendly, I answered his questions and responded in kind, not remembering that I had taken my wedding ring off the night before in case my hands swelled from the sunburn on my arms and not remembered to put it back on. At least, not until he mentioned he was headed down to take a tender to Belize and asked if I would like to join him. I quickly informed him that my husband was there now, but I was in too much pain from the sunburn to join him. I felt terrible; immediately went back to my room and got my ring. The steward had not yet made it to our room yet, so I headed back out to walk around the ship some more. I made it down to deck 7, stopping every so often to find a place to sit, then walked around the outside of the ship to see all the different islands around Belize. I made it back to the room in time for the balcony to be shaded from the sun, I got comfy in one of the chairs and enjoyed the warmth. Around 4:00 I received a call from Greg, who had run into Heath that morning and upon returning to the ship decided to check in on me. About 10 minutes later, the anchor rose, and we prepared to leave. Heath was still not back. I was more than a little concerned; let me explain: The day prior he had fallen way behind our group as he stopped for pictures. Several times. One of the times, he actually fell so far behind, the group behind us passed him. Fearing this had happened again and that maybe he had missed the last tender to the ship, I called Greg asking "At what point do I worry that the ship is moving and my husband is not back yet." After spouting a couple of ideas as to where he could be (maybe he went to the buffet to get something to eat, etc.) and my informing him that I knew my husband well enough to know he would not do anything without checking in with me and taking a shower, he convinced me to wait 10 more minutes before calling the front desk. Exactly 9 minutes later, Heath walked in the door. Not only was he the first group off, he was the last group on. A little nerve-wracking for me.

Every day, as the boat left each dock, there were always at least two names that had been paged. If you check off the boat, but don't check back on, they page you to find out if they are leaving you behind. I later heard this story about one of these couples: The wife had returned to the ship before her husband. As the boat was leaving, they didn't show his card had been scanned in for re-boarding. They paged both couples. The wife responded and was told "We don't see your husband checked back on the ship. We need any medication he has so we can give it to the tender boat so we can leave it with him, and you need to decide, now, if you are staying on board, or getting off. They paged him one more time, while she gathered his things. Turns out, he was on the ship, but when they scanned his card, it didn't take. He had stopped to get something to eat and sat down for a Movie Under The Stars so he didn't hear the first page. In the panic of the moment, I don't know what I would have done, but after thinking about it, it would make more sense to stay on board, as it would be cheaper for one person to pay for transport to the boat then two.

Heath had eaten a small lunch, but with all the hiking was still pretty hungry so we headed up for some food. While there, we watched as a tender boat brought a passenger to the Carnival Cruise ship, which had already set sail. The bride and groom had handed out scavenger hunt cards - photos to be taken on the trip. The winner would receive $100. This included things like getting a photo with a man in a speedo, with you in it-the picture, not the speedo, or a picture of a human pyramid. The more creative the photo, the more points. One of the items was of someone running for the ship as it was ready to take off, extra points if they had to take a tender boat after it had started moving. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera, and I hadn't been taking pictures of anything from the list, anyway, but it would have made a great picture to go with a great story.

We ate dinner a little later that night, then went to the Princess Theater for a show. This was a juggling group (Root Berry), followed by a comedian impressionist. All-in-all it was pretty entertaining and I'm glad we went, despite the intense pain. Advil barely touched it and I was wondering if I would manage our excursion the next day.

Thursday was our last stop, Cozumel, Mexico, and was also another stop we had to take a tender boat to land. This was a 35 minute ride, and was rough. By the last 10 minutes, I wasn't sure I wasn't going to be sick. We got off the boat, and shakily stood in line, while my stomach turned and my legs ached. My body finally calmed down and I began to look at the amazing beach around me. It was equally as beautiful as Roatan. A pelican was resting on the deck and sat amazingly still as people walked right next to it.

We boarded a bus with just about everyone in our party and headed to the Coba Mayan Ruins. We stopped at a Mayan Co-op on the way, where Heath found and purchased a Jade Mayan Mask. Apparently, they make $15.00 a day, so you can tell how long an item took for them to make by how much it is. I'll just say that it took a while to make this mask.

The ruins were amazing. And tall. We were forewarned that if we were afraid of heights we should not climb up as there was no other way down but to climb. It took a while, and a few stops along the way, but we made it to the top. The steps were uneven, slanted and slippery and no two were the same height or thickness. Coming down was a bit precarious and there were spots that just about everyone sat on their butts to navigate. The rope in the middle proved a must-use for me on the downward journey, and I'm not afraid of heights. I'm glad I did it though.

That evening was our second formal night. We went with Mandy and Greg to the second cover-charge restaurant. Here I ordered lobster, that I couldn't eat because I decided upon returning to the ship that I was hungry and I must eat a cheeseburger and a slice of pizza. I don't know what I was thinking. Mandy and Greg had chosen to spend their day swimming with dolphins. I'm glad we had scheduled the Mayan Ruins as I was not cleared to be in the water until a couple days after our cruise, but I am jealous that I didn't get to play with the dolphins, especially after seeing their pictures.

After dinner, we all decided to call it a night.

Friday was our last full day at sea. We spent the day hanging out on the balcony, then with friends, we got to see a beautiful sunset, ate dinner at the outdoor eatery, then watched a Movie Under The Stars. They set up all the beach chairs with padding and a blanket, and we got middle seats 3 levels up, which put us at a perfect viewing angle. The stars were out and it was a gorgeous evening. I don't know that I would have ever chosen to watch Cowboys vs. Aliens, but it wasn't a bad movie, and it was such a great atmosphere I didn't care.

We woke Saturday morning to a view of buildings rather than the ocean, and headed up to the buffet area. We didn't eat, but sat with Cindy's sister and her husband and helped them come up with creative ideas for scavenger-hunt pictures they hadn't gotten yet. For instance, we let her borrow our rain umbrella and emptied a cup for her to use so she could sit by the pool with an umbrella in her drink (they didn't actually have umbrellas for drinks on the boat - they said they flew away and littered the boat and ocean). We also took a picture of the human pyramid. She had talked a father into letting his 3 kids be the top of this pyramid, which drew a lot of attention in the dining area.

We left the ship and headed for the airport, where we spent roughly 8 hours waiting for our flight to leave. A very turbulent flight. The seat-belt sign stayed on through almost the entire flight, but the view from the air at night was amazing. And I don't think anyone will ever realize how big Chicago is until they see it lit up at night from above. Its all you can see on either side, and its bright.

I miss the buffet, and our steward, Apolonio, whom we didn't get to know as well as we would have liked. We did learn that he is a draftsman, but can only make $200 per week at home; not enough to support his family, so he chooses to clean rooms 10 months out of the year and only see his family via internet so he can provide for them. Apolonio, I pray the best for you and your family.

I'm grateful I was able to make this cruise, and grateful I was able to be there for my friends wedding. When's the next cruise, guys?

Monday, January 02, 2012

Happy New Year

I've been working on a website for Hair Color Etc. Its just a shell right now; I'm waiting for more information from the owner, but I was actually able to learn a lot from working on this site. Turns out, watching tutorials can be pretty helpful. I'm looking forward to redoing the Digital Ninjas Media website with all my new knowledge.

In other news, Christmas and New Years were uneventful, which gave me time to read just for the fun of it. It was a nice change. I read The Hunger Games books (there are 3). They were quick reads, each one took less than a day, which was nice, since I didn't really have time to read. I highly suggest the books, though.

Tuesday I start my new part time job with the Winnebago County Republican Central Committee. I will be there for 3 hours on Tuesdays and doing some work from home aside from that. Hopefully, this will open other doors for us at Digital Ninjas Media, as well.

Today, I will enjoy my last day off. I plan on spending it doing some organization, working on websites, and working on a small sewing project.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Why can't I ever spell brochure correctly?

Seriously. I never spell this word correctly on the first try. I always realize its wrong when I do it, and correct it, but its never correct the first time.

I've noticed this, but never really realized it until working on one for a client. That's right. Digital Ninjas Media, Inc. has another client (the first was Stateline Chimney Sweeps). Steve's Auto Repair requested that we make him a brochure. This was originally going to be a job for Ninja Partner Jim, but... well... Husband and I ended up having to cancel some plans to get it done last minute. We had to purchase software (the reason Jim was going to do it is because he had the software), and spent around 6 hours getting it done, but we were pretty happy with it. The client liked 1 of the 2 versions he was presented and got them printed right away. It may have been stressful, but it was fun working at home, with Husband, and growing our business.

This past weekend we met with a potential client who owns a hair salon. She's rated one of the top 5 colorists in the nation. We sent her a quote and will hopefully hear from her soon.

Still waiting for the go-ahead to prepare a website for the Souls Harbor Food Pantry, which will be done pro-bono, but will allow us another site for our portfolio. Since we've decided to offer discounts for agencies such as this, hopefully it will open up doors to other non-profits for the area.

On that note... its back to work.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hogs on Ice

This weekend, Husband and I went to our first IceHogs (hockey) game. As they were warming up, I was noticing the angle from my head down to the ice, the fact that the protective plexiglass did not interrupt the path of that angle, and the fact that many of the pucks were going airborne as they all took their practice shots into the goal. I mentioned to Heath that I really did not want to get hit in the head with the puck, then we both blew it off as a very unlikely chance. However, not 10 minutes later, a puck slammed into the seat in front of me. My first hockey game led to my first souvenir. It was pretty great. There was a lot of fighting. Some of it right in front of us. Our team lost (the game and at least one of the fights), but it was still super fun. Thanks to our Digital Ninjas Media partner, Jim, for getting us the tickets. It was definitely something I could get into.

In other news, my attempt to raise ghost shrimp has once again failed. I returned home one evening to find she had dropped about half of her eggs. I quickly set up the other tank to put her in so I could try to save the rest of the eggs, but she never dropped them. Instead, two days later, she died. Perhaps raising ghost shrimp is not one of those things I'm good at.

Now its time for Ranting with Wanda.
Its Monday. I'm not a fan of Monday's. But I show up to work anyway. This particular morning I had a plan to stop at the gas station (I really need gas) and pick up a Pepsi (as receptionist is really bad about letting the guys know when we are low on pop - something she regularly gets in trouble for, yet still never does), but I got stuck in road construction on Route 2. (Been down route 2 lately? WOW, they've torn up the field and taken down trees south of Latham all the way to wear the road opens up to 4 lanes). By the time I get out of there, I realize that if I stop to get gas and a Pepsi I will be late, so I don't. I can always go on lunch, right? So I get to work at 8:28, a mere 2 minutes before I'm supposed to be there. I am, of course, the only one there. I know the receptionist is always late. Every day in fact, except for the once a month when she manages to get here 15 minutes early. No idea what is going on there, but I can't figure out how someone who only lives 7 minutes away can be late EVERY DAY. Today, she was exceptionally late. She had to stop at McDonald's for breakfast (which she does EVERY DAY, as well).
Its just frustrating to me that I can't bring myself to do that. I would have had a fairly viable reason for being late had I stopped, after all, I didn't know they were stopping traffic on Route 2 and I do need gas; I wouldn't have gotten into trouble. Yet, I couldn't. And every day, our receptionist is late, and she still stops at McDonald's. There's even a few times when she's only 5 minutes late and I know that if she wouldn't have stopped, she would have been here on time. (sigh)

Integrity, anyone?

This rant brought to you by the letters M and R and the number 3.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What, now?

I'm pretty sure I got in trouble this morning, but what I got in trouble for is so crazy, I'm not really sure...

One of our new tenants came in the office this morning looking for a phone book. One of the Powers That Be here stepped out of their office as I was telling said tenant that I didn't have one because I don't use them. The tenant simply replied "Yeah, but my internet is so intermittent down there, I can't get on right now to look it up." So, after a while of searching we sent him on his way. I was then asked by the aforementioned Power That IS if I really didn't have one. I replied no, I hadn't in the 3 years I had been there as I just look it up on the internet, its faster and has proven to be more up-to-date. I was then lectured on why I need a phone book (there could be information in there that isn't on the internet, apparently).


Wednesday, October 05, 2011


I have no puppies. I saw an ad for Golden Retriever puppies, though, (which are my all-time favorite dog that I would love to have) and couldn't help it.

The Blanket and Food Drive is moving slow. I ended up putting things aside while dealing with bronchitis and other bacteria-related issues, but it should be back in full swing pretty soon. I may even call my friend at the Rockford Public Library to see about putting up flyers and having a drop box there.

In other news: My ghost shrimp has eggs! I knew that I had purchased male and female (as there is an incredible difference in size) but all of the reading I had done on them indicated that they would not mate unless they were in groups of 6 or more. I know, there are so many inappropriate comments that can be made about that. However, my two are apparently very happy with each other. So, tonight I prepare the other tank so I can separate her until she lays the eggs and I'll give raising ghost shrimp another shot. I'm such a nerd.

I'm also learning how to create a mobile website for a current client of Digital Ninjas Media (check out No comments:

Friday, September 16, 2011


The problem is, I have a ton of ideas. The bigger problem is, I want to do them ALL.

My sister-in-law announced they are in need of more blankets for the homeless. I decided it would be a great idea to have a food and blanket drive to launch Digital Ninjas Media (the official launch date is October 1). I need to stop having ideas or I may never sleep again...