Saturday, July 31, 2010

And the "Eagle" has Landed!!! (or at least called...)

I couldn't sleep last night... Marissa (age 5) had a fever throughout most of the day, and was finally asleep. I had sat through (endured, really...) the newest Cats and Dogs movie (more about that one later), and wasn't sleepy. Couldn't sleep, actually. My eyes were tired and burning, but something in my brain wouldn't let me sleep.

I still hadn't heard from Rey (my European-bound 16yo). BUT! It's a good thing I didn't go to sleep, as I wouldn't have heard the phone ring at 3:03am (my time-PST)! I was catching up on my shows (see sidebar... I'm a self-proclaimed addict) and the landline rang! OMG! You've got to be kidding! Yes... it did!

And it was my lovely daughter, that left for Europe on Monday morning. She apologized for not calling sooner. But I knew she was safe and was having a good time. She had just gotten off the night train from Florence (or Assisi... I don't really know, but somewhere in Italy!) and was in Paris. The boys in the tour had already gotten their rooms, and the girls were waiting (I guess "ladies first" isn't in their etiquette...) for theirs.

But she took a minute (3 actually) and gave me a ring. I can breathe, now. I already knew from a post of a chaperone that they were ok, but I really wanted to hear it myself. I consider myself lucky.

Other parents are still waiting for calls. They have only seen their kids post on Facebook that they are ok and/or having a good time. They all have international calling cards and some even have international cell phones. But... those parents are still waiting. I'm sorry that they are. There's something about hearing your child's voice on the other end of the line, knowing they took the time and let you know how they are. It's as close as face-to-face as you can get, without actually getting there. I'm glad she called me, and wish the same for the other parents.

When I heard her voice, all I could think of was the cliche line, "The Eagle has landed..." It fits here. First, her school mascot is the Eagle. AND! her favorite animal is... what? THE EAGLE! AND it happens to represent our country, as well. How totally appropriate on a whole lot of levels. (*snicker* I thought it was cute... anyway...)

As for the fever of Miss Marissa... it's gone today, but yesterday was low-grade for most of it. She still wanted to go to the movies... ick! I usually enjoy kid movies, but this one? Ugh! (The first one was rather cute...) The first one was MUCH better. Marissa had a good time and laughed in all the right places, but me... I couldn't help but see how fake some of the cats and dogs looked. Be consistent, people! It's not just kids you are trying to please; it's the parents, too! And the villain cat of the movie just reminded me too much of "Grandma Wrinkles" from The Real Housewives of New Jersey (sorry, Dina Manzo!) and creeped me out. Hopefully, that movie will end up in streaming format from Netflix, so I won't have to buy it.

Tonight I'm going to bed much earlier. We've been out and about for a good portion of the day (hubs didn't tell me we were gonna be hitting Ontario Mills!), and my feet are now killing me, as I wasn't prepared and wore flip-flops. Time to hit it! Night...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Did You Get a Spammy EMAIL from Me?

Let me tell you...

Around 8:30'ish PST, today, a whole crapload of emails went out from my Yahoo account. They were not pre-meditated and were unknown.

The email was an empty subject email. It contained a link for who knows what. Spam has gotten into many Yahoo group accounts recently and has been making the rounds to anybody on some lists. I don't know if this is where it originated from or not, but this is what I've heard.

I do not open unknown emails, nor do I click on links I am unsure of. So... this was not MY doing.

I am terribly sorry if you received one of these. Please, in the future, if you do not see my signature at the bottom, or if there is no subject and only a link (without an explanation... 'cause I usually say something about everything)... Please, PLEASE, please! Do not open it! It is as simple as that.

Things happen, and short of cancelling out all my emails, this is the only thing I can think of and the simplest. It applies to most emails, not just from one or more of my accounts. But so far... the only account (of mine) this has happened to is the one belonging to Yahoo and signed up with various Yahoo Groups.

I beg your forgiveness... moving on...

Thinking of Sending Your Kid to Europe?

Just make sure you have all the answers and the glitches ironed out... BEFORE he or she leaves. This has been a whirlwind week.

Rey got off to Europe. Yes, there were glitches... like a lot of them. Things just never seemed to go as planned, even when you are dealing with a "professional" group like EF Tours. Changes were constantly made. Questions still remained unanswered. AND... Rey left at 6am Monday morning... Have I heard from her? Uh... no. But, I'm not blaming her, I'm blaming the stupid-a$$ calling cards that seem to be failing to work. They are a "little tricky". And we only know they are safe and busy and having a good time from a teacher/chaperone who left a message on the parent board. Eeek! Oh well... it would've been nice, but again, not possible.

The hugest problem? We found out less than 2 weeks ago that MORE money was needed. What? Yes, everything was already paid for, and they asked for MORE. Apparently, even with all of the professionals involved, the Eiffel Tower was NOT included in their educational tour. Um... yeah... This trip has been planned for well over a year. You'd think that SOMEONE... ANYONE... would have realized and/or offered to add this to the tour.

The trip is for Italy (Rome, Florence, Assisi), France (Paris), and England (London). The Vatican City was automatically included. (Like, duh...) And they offered other mini tours that were optional, most of them got knocked down, because there weren't enough takers.

But... the Eiffel Tower was not offered. Most of us would assume it was included, because, well... It should have been. Who (that is/might be a tourist) would go to Paris for the first time (and possible the only time in their lives) and NOT see the Eiffel Tower? Uh... I don't see any hands raised. That's right! Because we would all go. Afterall, this is an "educational" tour. And what's not educational and enriched with history about the Eiffel Tower? Exactly! It is full of history. It is a monument.

So my point being... Hello, EF Tours! How the heck did this slip past your radar. You people are supposed to be fluent in all things educational-tours.

And a little "other" note... a blanket email to the parents of the kids safe arrival would've been nice...

There were other glitches, and probably still will be. But I sincerely hope my daughter and all of her tour companions are having a GREAT time. I also hope that the "professionals" at EF Tours have learned a little something... to actually go over the whole trip itinerary prior to signing up a group!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Do you like the New Background?

I'm not so sure I do. I was totally happy with what I had before... but... apparently... My design was removed from Photobucket, so I had to choose a new one. And... I (being the lazy blogger that I am with not much patience lately and the inclination to get frustrated SO QUICKLY) decided to go with this one, since I didn't have to change any font colors this way. There were others I liked better, but this one showed everything without change, so... Here ya go! Maybe one day... I'll get back in the groove and seriously do something about it, but this is it... for now.

Thanks to the Cutest Blog on the Block for the awesome choices of layouts and backgrounds for free. I'd be totally lost without you!

I promise you all... there will be an update on all things (well... almost...) very soon. I'm working on it! Toodles! lisa

Ritz Crackerfuls - a $100 VISA giveaway!

Hmm... sounds good. And I seriously can't wait to try them, but in the meantime, check out Busy Mom's great review. She's really honest and open, and she's also offering a $100-Visa card giveaway (just follow the contest rules). Read the entire review - it's not that long - to also find a link for $1.00 off the Ritz Crackerfuls. And tell her I sent ya! And in case you missed the links... Here it is AGAIN: