Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Chick Bunco

There is a dice game that has been a favorite for many years. It's called Bunco. I started playing this game with 11 other women when I was living in California. We played once a month and each month the hostess would provide appetizers and snacks as well as shopping for the prizes. We always had a theme, for instance, one month might be houseplants, the next might be kitchenware. In order to do this, we paid for the next month's Bunco so the hostess could purchase all the gifts.

When I moved to the Midwest I introduced the game to my neighbors and we started out playing as couples and played for cash versus prizes because with kids in school, after school schedules and extremely busy lives, not to mention the men didn't want to play for prizes, it was just easier. We soon found the men were more interested in eating than playing, so quickly went to "females only". At that time we became known as "Chick Bunco". We've had people come and go due to moving out of state, can't commit to once a month girls night out or whatever.

We've had some pretty wild Bunco parties. The hostesses have gotten into making a themed evening through the drinks, appetizers and of course the table ware and decorations.

The group is such a success that when we have substitutes, they ask us to consider them when we have an opening. We've become really great friends, seeing our kids through school, graduating from college, getting married and now having kids. Recently, two of our members found out they are becoming grandparents. We've been playing this game for approximately 18 years. We only play nine months now instead of twelve. Instead, we have a holiday party in December and the ones that would've had July, August and December come together and plan the holiday party which includes a sit-down dinner and a gift exchange where we steal from each other, making it a loud and crazy night.

We all have our favorite dice jewelry which is our lucky charm. Here is a dice bracelet that any Bunco player would love! Get yours by going to my website.

Every Bunco group has different rules and those rules may change over time. The site I've listed comes closest to our groups rules.
For Bunco rules go to

Monday, April 28, 2008

Can You Make Money on FaceBook?

Recently I joined Facebook, much to my sons chagrin. Let me explain: He's in college and feels this is just for young people. Well, here's a news blast: It's for anyone that has a business and wants their business to get noticed. I have been finding people with all kinds of talents, such as authors, entrepreneurs, marketing experts, advertising experts, social bookmarking experts, back link experts, anyone with a retail business, and on and on it goes. Facebook is a phenomenal way to network and meet new people globally!

I've been joining groups to learn more as well as to just socialize. One group I just joined is Brian Campbell's on Internet Marketing University on Facebook. I think I'll stick around and see how things develop. If you haven't joined a group on Facebook, you should try it. Go to Brian to see what Brian Campbell $10,000 in 37 days is all about.

Here's a few tidbits of posts from other bloggers:

From Nancy P. Redfords, Practical Marketing Tips: "FaceBook is a place to NETWORK and BUILD RELATIONSHIPS. I must admit that I am still quite new to Facebook and how to maximize it for my own benefit so I will be eager to learn more about Brian’s teachings. Just call me an observer for now."

If you are interested in following Brian Campbell then you need to register at Facebook for a free account and then join Brian’s Group, Internet Marketing University on Facebook.

From John Chow dot Com: "Brian Campbell of the Internet Marketing University wants to show the power of Facebook but using it to make $10,000 in 37 days. Why he needs 37 days and not 30, I have no idea. If you want to find out how you can make some big money from Facebook, you can follow Brian’s progress at his Facebook page."

If you get on Facebook, or are already on Facebook, look for me you'll find me listed as a Fan of Brian's. And while you're at it, check out my website for the latest in Murano glass jewelry.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Always in My Heart

Mother's Day is just around the corner and last night I was thinking about someone who is very near and dear to me and always in my heart. She is not my mother, but has been more than a mother to me. She is actually my mother's cousin, making us 2nd cousins. I call her Aunt, but consider her to be much more than that. She has been my best friend, my confidante, and I would gladly call her mom. I think about her all the time and I love it when we talk for hours on the phone. She tells me everything that is going on in her life, and believe me she is a very busy lady! In our conversations she will tell me what shoes she is wearing with what outfit. What jewelry she will wear to a particular occasion and she describes in great detail the occasion. She is all about fashion and this is one of the many things I love about her. Age has not stopped her from being a fashionista, therefore, she is my idol!

When I was a young girl I really did idolize her. I thought she was a movie star and looked like Katherine Hepburn. I would love to spend the night at her home because she had rootbeer for breakfast. In the 50's I think only movie stars even thought about drinking rootbeer or coke for breakfast!

In later years I've come to know how generous a person she is. She gives her heart and friendship fully to everyone around her. She has a giving spirit and asks nothing in return. I tell her all the time that there is a special place in heaven for her.

I've been really lucky to have such a wonderful and special person in my life and I will be letting her know this Mother's Day.

Let someone special know how much you think of them with my "Always in My Heart" locket with special floating charms at

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day - Gotta Love It!

You gotta love Earth Day. I remember back in the 70's, maybe early 80's that I first became aware of conserving energy and wanting to be part of this mission to save the planet for our children. Of course, living in California, we were so far ahead of the rest of this planet in our lofty goals. In my parent's home the saying was "If it's yellow, let it mellow, if it's brown, flush it down". And, we were encouraged to share a shower! Because to do otherwise was wasting water. Then there was the Christmas that all of our twinkling lights were banned. This of course is a joke today, with blow up thingys and gazillions of lights that are beyond tacky. Somewhere along the way we forgot that we wanted to save the planet for our children.

And, then along comes Al Gore reminding us of how wasteful and spoiled we are, encouraging us to buy carbon offsets to ease our guilt. So, since it is Earth Day I decided I would find out how many carbon offsets I would have to purchase for my family (3 adults) living in a modest 4 bedroom in Illinois. The total came to $2,160. Well, I don't know about you, but with today's economy, there's gotta be a better way. My big question with these so-called carbon offsets, is how do we know what's really being done with this money. Who's getting paid and how much to keep track of this? I can't help but feel this is somewhat of a scam. So what do I do?

I keep doing the things that I know help conserve energy and help the planet. I have less grass than anyone on my block or subdivision. I drive less and plan ahead when I do have to run errands or go somewhere in the car. I don't put up Christmas lights outside, just on my tree inside. I do some recycling and know I could do more. The point I'm trying to make here is why should paying some company or organization for carbon offsets make it alright to leave all your lights on, mow the lawn, drive your car, go on a trip in an airplane, whatever! We're being scammed into paying off our guilt to save the planet. If you really think this is the answer, then by all means pay up.

So now I'll come off my soapbox and just enjoy this day, which is a beautiful Earth Day!

If you want to know how to calculate your carbon offsets go to this link:

To celebrate Earth Day and the warm days ahead why not wear this adorable lady bug bracelet (available in red and green). My price: $13.99 at

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sounds of Spring

We have truly awakened from our winter slumber here in the Midwest. The sounds of Spring were everywhere today; lawnmowers cutting grass that is green and growing, children laughing and playing everywhere, patios being washed down and the sound of neighbors bringing out everything that was stored in a shed or garage for the Winter. And, of course, people out cruising in their "show" cars, motorcycles and bicycles.

We were among the masses trying to do everything in one day and will suffer greatly tomorrow with sore muscles and sunburned necks. The reason for this marathon day is because tomorrow is never predictable in the Midwest. Today 70's, tomorrow could be 30's. But we've had our day in the sun and if we're lucky, and I mean really lucky, we may have more between now and mid May.

One of the hardest seasons for me is Spring. You can look out the window in the morning and see beautiful blue skies, walk outside to have your morning coffee only to have to rush back in because the skies are deceiving and it's really, really cold outside. I'm hoping that we have a pleasant Spring with many days like today. Even the ducks were out enjoying my pond. Hope they didn't nibble on my pond plants!

I don't know about you, but I'm ready to smell the flowers, get a little sore and sunburned, BBQ, have a glass of wine on the patio and re-connect with my neighbors. It's been a long time coming!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Chicago Police shoot a cougar in city neighborhood

I've seen coyote's and red fox, but a cougar is really a shock!

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Thought I'd play around with some different templates today for my blog since I've received a couple of reviews saying they didn't particularly like my "dots". I'm a simple kinda gal so simple is how I will go. I love the colors though and hope that you do as well. It seems easy on the eye and my pictures sort of "pop" against the colored background. Since I'm fairly new to the blogosphere I'm not into really fancy and crazy templates. So it's Spring and I'm into renewed or fresh starts today and hope you enjoy the new look!

In addition, I want to share a portion of an email I received a few weeks ago. So many times I receive long emails that I just don't have the time to read. But every once in awhile one will catch my attention as this one did. But I'm only sharing with you the part that had the biggest impact.

Well I opened this one with beautiful pictures of daffodils and a long but meaningful story about how the daffodils came to be on this large parcel of land. The best part of the story is below and is what I want to pass on to everyone today:

There is no better time than right now to be happy.
Happiness is a journey, not a destination.
So work like you don't need money.
Love like you've never been hurt, and,
Dance like no one's watching.
Wishing you a beautiful, daffodil day!
Don't be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin.

My daffodils started blooming today which reminded me of this email. This is the time of year I feel my soul is being renewed, ready for a fresh start after a long winter.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

My Heart Lies in that City by the Bay

Well, I left my heart once again in San Francisco. What a wonderful visit. The weather couldn't have been more perfect and that golden sun truly did shine on me leaving me with a sunburn! My only regret is that we couldn't stay longer.


I left my heart in San Francisco
High on a hill, it calls to me.
To be where little cable cars
Climb halfway to the stars!
The morning fog may chill the air
I don't care!
My love waits there in San Francisco
Above the blue and windy sea
When I come home to you, San Francisco,
Your golden sun will shine for me!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Sunset + Good Food + Irish Coffee = Bliss!

Last night we went to Alioto's for dinner. We had a great spot with a great view and got this sunset picture. The last time I ate at Alioto's was probably in the late 60's when we had relatives visiting from Louisiana. My Uncle Charlie asked if he could have a dozen crabs and the waitress said, "Honey, I don't think you can eat a dozen crabs!" You see, in Louisiana the crabs are small and not much meat, but here in San Francisco the Dungeness crabs have loads of meat in the body as well as the claws. Tonight I had the Petrole sole which is a really mild white fish and I've never been disappointed when ordering this particular fish. After dinner we walked over to Buena Vista for our Irish Coffee. What I love about Buena Vista is not just the Irish Coffee but the atmosphere, the waiters who will talk your ear off and the people that have come in to see what it's all about.

Today, we took the ferry over to Sausalito and back. Did a little window shopping and walking around. The bay was beautiful with sailboats everywhere and I think we actually got sunburned while up on the outside deck. And, I must say, that all the times I've ridden on that ferry I never sit outside because it's too cold - not today!

Tonight we will head on over to North Beach
and see what's going on over there.

Friday, April 11, 2008

How will I ever go home?

Another beautiful day - it sort of makes me wonder why did I ever move away! I hear it's snowing in Chicago - how will I ever go home?

After enjoying a great cup of coffee and a little Boudin sourdough bread we just walked around and I enjoyed all the flowers and sculptures. They give me ideas for my own backyard and what I might be able to combine. For instance, they had curly parsley mixed in with poppies and other annuals. I don't think I ever would've thought of putting parsley with flowers, but the texture was really beautiful!

Around noon we ended up on Bush Street. Near Sam's Grill is a street (actually an alley) called Belden Place that was absolutely charming. Apparently, some entrepreneurial folks came up with this idea about 15 years ago which is why we were so pleasantly surprised by it presence. It was a reminder of the restaurants lined up in Quebec City with the restaurant hawkers out front calling you into their establishment. We decided on a spot that specialized in paella. So we shared a bottle of Sangria and a seafood paella. It was so nice sitting outside enjoying the beautiful day and we discoverd a new exciting spot in the city!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

From Travel Woes to Travel Bliss...

Traveling these days is not easy. With airlines shutting down, cancelled flights due to weather conditions, mechanical or other problems make the traveler weary. Our trip was supposed to start at 11am but at 5:30am we received a call from American Airlines that our flight was cancelled. We were able to rebook a flight for 6:30pm only to leave finally at 9:00pm. It was a very long day when we finally checked in at midnight here in San Francisco and 2:00am
Chicago time.

Ah-h-h, but here we are in my city by the Bay - I love it so! We strolled from our hotel The Tuscan Inn through Fisherman's Wharf over to The Cannery. We enjoyed breakfast at Buena Vista Cafe and then took the cable car to Union Square and walked ending up on Maiden Lane and around the corner to the Galleria where there just happened to be an open Farmer's Market. The produce here is the best! The strawberries have so much natural sugar they are like eating candy. From the Galleria we walked on into the Financial District passed my old offices when I worked for Pacific Bell so many years ago and on over to the Ferry Building for lunch which was a cup of chowder and a glass of great California wine. This area of San Francisco has changed dramatically since the earthquake in the 90's. It is now a vibrant, energetic and of course touristy area everyone should visit.

We then hopped on a trolley (this is fairly new in the last 5-10 years) and took that to the end of the line at Fisherman's Wharf where we got off and walked back to our room for a quick nap. Yes, we were fading fast and just needed a quick few minutes of shut-eye. It was just the ticket to give us that burst of energy to head on over to my favorite restaurant, Scoma's. We enjoyed a bottle of Pouilly Fuisse to celebrate our 40th and had a wonderful meal with a beautiful view. Did I mention how incredibly beautiful the weather is? You know the best time to visit San Francisco is in the Spring (April-May) and in the Fall (September-October). Beautiful warm days with cool evenings. Our last stop tonight was at Ghiradelli Square for you know what -- a hot fudge sundae!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Fellow Bloggers

Recently I added Blog Rush to my blog site. I think it is a more sophisticated way of attracting traffic to your site and the reports are really awesome! If you haven't tried it click on the link below or click on my Blogrush widget where it says "add your blog posts-free.

I'm always looking for ways to attract new people to my blog. What do you use?
And, why?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

And, then there is "Reality"

Wow, it is so hard to come home after a week away, especially when you spent that week doing nothing except relax! At least I didn't come home to snow - that would've been awful! I hate, and I mean hate, flying into Chicago in the Spring. It was the bumpiest ride ever. That much turbulence makes all the stress that went away came back in one fell swoop!

As the flight attendants are telling everyone to sit down and buckle up, and do not under any circumstances hit your call button unless it is a medical emergency, and the Captain comes on and asks the flight attendants to sit and secure themselves - the call button goes off and then they are asking if there is a nurse or doctor aboard. Okay - I want off this flight NOW! Don't know what happened, but the EMT's came aboard when we landed and got the poor lady off the plane. By that time, I felt I needed help off the plane as well! A big thank you to my personal angels for helping me keep my sanity!

So here I am, back in the windy city, laundry piled high and I mean really high because no one did laundry while I was gone - because that's "reality"!

A big thank you to Sue and Jess for a great time of sisterly bonding - it was fun!

Our bungalow for a week!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Farewell to OBX

The time has come to say goodbye to this slice of paradise. We had a wonderful stay and would recommend this as a great place to get away to relax during the off-season. On this last day we actually saw small whales, either pilot or right whales from what we could tell. However, when I googled whales in the Outer Banks, there are several types of beaked whales that pass close to shore. The larger species that pass through here in the Spring are the Sperm, Humpback and Fin Whales. It was really a treat to spot the whales and watch them while we enjoyed the hot tub today.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Adding my Footprints in the Sand

It's a little cool out today, but I had a wonderful walk along the beach finding a lot of fabulous seashells. As I was walking searching the sand for seashells and watching the tide, I was reminded about the time I was at the Bay of Fundy in Novia Scotia with my son back sometime in the 90's. It was really a little scary because the tide goes incredibly far out and you search for all kinds of treasures, including fossils. My son was going into the 4th grade and was fascinated by fossils so wanted to really search the area while the tide was out. The thing with the Bay of Fundy is the tide comes in very fast when it does come in and you could be in a precarious situation if you don't keep an eye on where you are and where the tide is. It's an incredible thing to see as it is one of nature's beautiful wonders!

Check out this blog for more info on how the Bay of Fundy tide works:

The tide here at Southern Shores comes in just below our steps to the beach. Each evening we are amazed at how far it comes in. Tonight I'm going to go sit on the pier and watch to see how high it actually comes. If it's a little stormy tonight we'll search the shore again tomorrow for seashells.

Check out this site for great ideas on what to do with your found seashells:
I love this seashell wreath and think it will be a great project for any age!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Horses and Lighthouses

It seems to me Chicago started this trend with the painted fiberglass animals when they had "Cows on Parade". Since then I have seen so many different painted figures. In Maine we saw bears which I think were in Bristol, ME; lobsters in Rockport, ME; Angel Fish in New Orleans, LA; hearts in San Francisco, CA and my very own town of Naperville has had giraffes, pigs, horses, seahorses, butterflies, turtles and I can't even remember which others. I wonder what we will have this year? In Naperville, they are only up for the summer and then they auction them off for United Way - which is a cool idea! And, here we are on the Outer Banks and they have horses as well as flying horses. We can't decide if they have the horses because of the wild horses in Corolla or if they just liked the horses. And do they keep them up all year? Do you know? If so, leave a comment because our inquiring minds would like to know.

And if you should be wondering the reason we spent the day taking pictures of horses and not walking the beach it would be because it was extremely windy last night and this morning and it was cold too! We started out the morning just being lazy and watching The View. At some point we decided we should pick up a few groceries and maybe a few movies since we thought we would not be going anywhere. However, when we got to the store we realized the weather was changing and it just might be a good day to see the other side of this peninsula. The clouds were completely gone so we thought we might try to see at least one or two light houses and along the way I decided I wanted pictures of the horses as well. And the lighthouses, well we did see two. The first one in Bodie Island we just got out and took a picture and left because it was too cold and windy. I know, we are wimps! Then we went to Currituck and took the picture of the brick lighthouse. On this side of the peninsula it was much warmer so we did get out and walk around a little before driving back to our bungalow by the sea.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Another Day at the Beach

A really relaxing day at the beach....

Took a nice walk along the beach this morning and can tell more tourists are coming in to town as each day there are more people walking along this stretch of beach. There were kite flyers, treasure hunters and joggers. The sand here is brown with lots of small stones and lots of seashells and is actually hard to walk on with or without shoes so I felt like I had a good work out. It was very warm this morning so it was really a pleasant walk. I took a few pictures along the way...

By afternoon it started to storm so was able to finish my book while enjoying the sound of the waves pounding and thinking of all the new seashells just waiting to be found tomorrow.

The storm passed and we decided to go to a steamer shack for steamed shrimp and bring it back to the house for later because we wanted to get into the hot tub tonight. But...the hot tub was gross so we have to wait for the pool boy to come tomorrow and clean it out. He was here today to clean the pool - if we had only known. Oh well, a few glasses of wine and the steamed shrimp made up for our disappointment.

After the storm the waves brought the surfers and it was fun to watch them. Later their was just the one lone surfer and I was able to get this great picture...