Monday, January 30, 2012

MOOSE MUNCH AND OTHER FUN TREATS AT CHRISTMAS

With all the fabulous treats during the holidays, why my mother decided on Moose Munch is beyond me.  Not that there is anything wrong with Moose Munch but the way she "eats" it there is. 

Let me explain.  During a post Christmas shopping trip we stopped by a Home Goods store around lunch time.  We were all a little hungry from hunting for after Christmas sales items when we stumbled upon a featured display of all kinds of fun candies.  After perusing the wares my mother selected a bag of Moose Munch to satisfy her sweet tooth.

We finished our shopping trip and with bags in hand returned home.  It is always "show and tell" for the husbands when we get home and while we were displaying our booty, my mother was saddling up to the kitchen counter to treat herself to her chocolate carmel popcorn mixture known as Moose Munch.

In the mean time, the San Diego sunshine beckoned me to the back patio to soak up the afternoon sun.  On my way out I did glance over at my mother and noticed she had taken her hearing aid out of her ear and was trying to adjust it.  She frequently tweaks it, hits it, pulls things out of it, knocks it on the counter and uses some sort of brush device on it.  In all fairness it had been whistling and giving her problems for awhile.

I started out the door and noticed she had her bowl of carmel corn mix next to her as she "worked" on her hearing aid.  I went to the patio and was enjoying the fantastic weather when I hear the words that always turn me to ice - "OH NO CHRIS IS GOING TO KILL ME"!  I immediately jumped up from my lounge chair and my neck and shoulders went directly into spasm.  Seems mom mistook her hearing aid for a piece of Moose Munch. 

The good news is she didn't swallow it or break any teeth, the bad news is she chomped down so hard on it, it broke in several pieces rendering it "totalled".  Initially I was in panic mode but soon calmed when I realized that we wouldn't have to go to the ER to retrieve the battery - that would be a whole other blog.

We all have had many laughs over her misfortune and she took it in stride, but the aftermath of her being virtually deaf for the rest of her visit was hard on all of us. 

POST SCRIPT:  Today the new hearing aid arrived.  She got one of those fancy behind the ear digital ones that she can leave in while using the telephone.  What will they think of next?  She is like a little kid with a new toy, calling me every 30 minutes to tell me what new sounds she can hear.

There is just one new rule in the house now - NO HEARING DEVICES WILL BE REMOVED WITHIN 3 YARDS OF ANY FOOD STUFFS! 

Monday, November 7, 2011

60 IS NOT JUST A SPEED LIMIT ANYMORE :(

In just a few short days another decade will come to an end for me.  Don't get me wrong turning 60 is always better than the alternative.

Turning 40 and 50 weren't such a big deal, seems I was busier in life and hardly noticed it happened.  In my twenties we were raising two children and moving every two to three years.  A challenge on every level.  My hair began turning grey in my twenties but being the clever cosmetologist that I am, no one really knew.

Turning 30 was actually kind of fun.  I would now feel like a grown-up even though I had been a mother for ten years.  People take you more serious when you're not a twenty something and will listen to your opinion.  I still felt young and looked young but began noticing there were a few creaks and cracks in my knees.

Moving on to 40.  The grey hair has consumed all parts of my body.  Again Miss Clairol and I are best friends.  My weight crept up to an unacceptable point on the scale and I was powerless to to counteract it.  I wore mom jeans but had no idea that they weren't cool.  I knew I was losing the cool factor because I couldn't name the artist singing on the radio and was wondering how my daughter turned twenty!

50 came in quietly, we were living in Pennsylvania in an old historical farmhouse on the Naval Reserve Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove where my husband was the commanding officer.   We were so busy with the demands of his job that I temporarily forgot that my 50th was a big one.  My husband was even out of town for it and I remember our good friends Kathy and Robyn took me out to a special Italian dinner for my birthday.  It was around this time that I lost my father to cancer so birthdays weren't very important.  It was during the last half of my fifties that I discovered I no longer knew any of the guest musical artists on SNL and knew only about 1 in 4 of the guest hosts.

During the last nine years since my 50th, we moved back to San Diego, my husband retired from the Navy and we moved to Seattle for his new job with Boeing.  Six months after moving back into our home in San Diego I had a ruptured appendix for which I spent eight days in the hospital.  After moving to Seattle I had a pulmonary embolism.  Strike two.  Both health issues could have done me in.  Not my time yet but my fifties were adding up to be a challenge.  A joyous break from stress and strain was when I became a mother-in-law to the most wonder girl that I have known since she was two.  She and our son make the most wonderful couple, loving, smart, generous and fun.  To add to the blessing was having our long time friends be our in-laws. 

Just when I thought fifty something wasn't so bad I decided to take on the challenge of adding-on and remodeling our home in San Diego by myself,  while living in one small bedroom and one bathroom (no kitchen).  All while my husband worked and lived in Seattle.  Nine months of construction was almost strike three for me and finishing the project almost put me in the looney bin.  Now we have our dream home and have been able to share it with our family and friends ever since. 

The best part was yet to come when my husband figured out a way with Boeing to be able to work out of our home in San Diego.  We then made, which was our last move, from our apartment in Seattle back into our newly renovated home in San Diego.  In the 33 years that we have been married, we have moved somewhere around 15 times (you lose count after ten).  The only way he will be able to move me from our home in San Diego now will be FEET FIRST! 

Which brings me back to turning 60.  Here are the pros and cons.  I was able to cash in a small 401k and go to Las Vegas.  I get 10% off at Ross on Tuesday and can get a senior discount at many other places.  I no longer care that I can't wear high heels, cause sneakers are the cushions of the Gods.  I don't feel compelled to change the world, work at a job to feel productive, lose weight to be competitive (just healthy), cook, or wear a bra (while in the house, of course).  I enjoy just sitting watching a sunset on our patio, sleeping til whenever in the morning and playing poker every chance I get. 

Cons, of course, include aches and pains - every day, memory loss, no will-power, feeling inadequate while caring for elderly parents, and understanding that time left is getting precious.

So knowing that - I will continue to live life to the fullest, appreciate the time I have left (a lesson learned after the appendix/blod clot thing) and try to be the best that I can. 

I am raising a glass of Talbott Chardonnay to all my family and friends and asking you to join me on Mrs. Bee's Wild Ride for the next few decades.   Sixty, here I come - to be truthful I usual travel between 70-80mph anyway.  So 60 may be a speed limit but it's too slow.

THANK YOU FOR MAKING MY FIRST SIXTY YEARS SO SPECTACULAR!

Friday, September 23, 2011

"WINNING"

Maybe Charlie Sheen had it right, winning is more fun than losing.  I play poker and there are precious few times that you actually make the final table and win a tournament.  When you do it makes all the pain, grief, frustration, etc. worth it.  After "losing", usually because of a bad beat or suckout, you promise yourself that you are "giving up the game"... "it's stupid... and there is too much luck involved".  I have personally given up the game at least 50 times.  It lasts until someone calls to invite me to play.

There is no poker player alive that will tell you that winning a poker tournament is all about skill.  You have to have big moments of luck to win a tournament.  The bigger the tournament - the more luck involved.  You also need for your best hands to hold up and not get beaten by stupid/worse hands.  This is usually where I get wronged.  Almost every tournament I've been knocked out of came when I was beaten holding the best hand.

I will also admit that you probably learn more from the times you lose than the times you win.  Same in life, we learn more from our mistakes than our achievements.

My family will tell you that I have gone through many "hobbies" in my life like crafting, jewelry making, antiquing, but they soon died out leaving us with a garage full of craft stuff, furniture and what nots.  Poker has kept my interest for over seven years, which is an all time record.  As most of you know I have played poker/cards since I was a child some 50+ years.  My mom and dad were good players, my dad may have even been great player if Texas Hold 'em had been around when he was.  My mother, however, has the luck factor.  She is totally unbeatable when she has her mojo working. 

I recently spent two months with her in Sacramento while she recuperated from the new hip she received.  While it was tough going in the beginning she was looking forward to our annual gambling trip to Reno at the six week mark.  At the beginning of week five she was still using her walker.  We talked about the fact that she may not be ready for Reno the following week.  Lo and behold the walker was put away.  She was ready to go the day we left for Reno almost running to her favorite video poker machine when we got there.

Anyway I digress, the inspiration for winning comes in many forms.  The love I share with my husband, children, family, friends and home can in no way be displaced by anything else... but WINNING a poker tournament comes close (temporarily).

True WINNING and WINNERS are my husband, children, family, and friends and they are everlasting.  This is the winning I truly cherish.  Who needs to win poker tournaments?  I Do :)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

"BEE-ING" IN THE MOB

I'm sure by now most all of you have seen a video or two (YouTube) or otherwise of a "Flash Mob".  I have admired many of them myself and have been astounded by the groups of people of all ages and capabilities who come together in all environments and perform a beautifully chorographed dance to the surprise and pleasure of unsuspecting onlookers. 

I like to preface the next sentence with the following:  I AM IN NO WAY, SHAPE OR FORM A DANCER.  The next statement is:  I along with my daughter-in-law and about 100 poker ladies recently participated in a Flash Mob at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 1st.  I initially thought when I received the invitation "oh this will be fun".   Then I started receiving the video tapes with the choreography for practice.  It lasted 3 1/2 minutes but it seemed like 3 1/2 hours.  It was very cleverly done by dividing up dance routines by songs.  It contained four songs which included:  "Y'all Ready For This", "All The Single Ladies", "Poker Face", and "It's Raining Men".  I started haphazardly and realized quickly I needed professional help if I really wanted not to look too inept.  My son and daughter-in-law were coming to visit so I coerced my daughter-in-law, Jen, who has taken dance and is a natural talent, into training me and participating with me in the "mob".

We trained at home and laughed more than danced but had great fun and workouts with the videos.  The rest of the group had live rehearsals in Las Vegas and in Los Angeles.  We couldn't go to either one.  So we practiced at home and left for Las Vegas the day before the event with high expectations of fun and frivolity. 

I was really going to Las Vegas to play in the World Series of Poker (Ladies Event) as I have done the four years prior.  My husband, son and daughter-in-law came to support me and have some fun in Las Vegas as well. 

The day before the "Flash Mob" I played in a tournament at the Golden Nugget where I picked up our official "red scarfs" to be used in the mob the next day.  During a bathroom break I heard  music in the casino playing "All the Single Ladies" and my body automatically went into the routine as I danced my way into the bathroom - almost giving away the secret mission.

The next morning we started with a healthy breakfast before making our way down to the World Series of Poker (WSOP) convention center floor.   The Ladies event began with a beautiful tribute to the Ladies of Poker.  While the tribute was going on we noticed ladies walking by with their red scarfs ever so slightly showing from under their shirts and we smiled slyly at each other knowing we were soon going to be part of this memorable day.

We weren't quite sure where we were supposed to stand in relation to the other participants but knew from other flash mobs that it is supposed among people who are not participating.  So we positioned ourselves on the corner where our husbands could hold our purses and videotape our dance.  We heard the music cue and started our dance.  I realized that we were by ourselves and the rest of the crowd was up front together in a group by the stage.  Somewhere I missed that memo.  But in true "show must go on" spirit we danced our little hearts out in the corner giving the people in the back of the room a chance to see a piece of the "flash mob". 

I remembered most of the routine and looked to my partner to see what to do but gave it my all and had fun.  We danced our little hearts out and had great fun doing it.  The video (see here) is the "Secret Mission" ladies flash mob (just imagine us in the back in the corner doing the same thing - only better haha).

At the finish there were lots of cheers all around.  That's the good news.  The bad news is I went to my table to start the tournament after that all sweaty and shaky.  I sat down to play some poker but within 3 hours I was eliminated.  Seems this was my year to dance just outside of the group. 

Congratulations to all the ladies that put it together and made it happen.  For me a big thank-you to Jen my dance instructor and partner in crime.  It was a blast!

Thinking maybe next year I will skip the poker and just join the mob.  After all I am Italian.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

CRAIGS LIST - BRILLIANT OR SCHIZOPHRENIC?

I recently decided to use social networking and specifically Craigs List to try to sell some furniture.  The friends I talked to about doing this all encouraged me to use Craigs List as they were very successful in selling their items in this way without making the nightly news or becoming the picture on a milk carton. 

I began by doing my homework and researched current like listings  for comparison pricing.  It really is amazing what people are selling these days....the following are actual items I took from today's list:

1.  Dog house - $150 - must have been built by Donald Trump


2.  Queen bed mattress and boxsprings - $25 - its obviously a dogs life.


3.  Cool Bob Marley Lamp/guitar stand - $5 - how cool can it be for five dollars?


4.  Empty baby food jars...what the heck?


5.  29 food items - $8 ...guess you could fill the empty baby food jars with this mystery .34cent food


6.  Perfect brownie pan - $15 - if it's so perfect why sell it?


7.  Shower curtain bright - $3 - gonna cost more than three bucks to drive over and get it - guaranteed.


8.  Mini boombox - $8 - this is a oxymoron right?


9.  Yard sale - $2  - could be a great deal if the yard includes a house.


and finally:

10.  Award Winning Handyman - no price - some wife is MAD!

People will sell anything.

I took my pictures and uploaded them into my laptop (a job that nearly ended my Craigs List experiment).  The next step was to write an eyecatching listing and determine the price.  I'm not sure how clever you can be when selling a 33 year old bedroom set, but I did my best.

The next day I was so excited when I saw in my spam account a reply for "SOLID OAK 5 PIECE BEDROOM SET".  The inquiry went something like this:

I am very interested in your set.  Please to have check sent if you give name, address, and phone.  Please to take advert off craigslist.  I am deaf please don't try call.  Will send my men to pick up. 

At first  I thought "oh this poor deaf person"  and second I thought I am being punked.  I called my son to confer and he said " delete it right away it is a scam". 

Second response was almost as bad, but high in the ick factor, when it said "when do you use it"?

Those two aside I finally got some real inquiries and one actual visit.

As of this date, I have not sold anything but have learned some valuable lessons.  One is you have to post your items 2 to 3 times per day and under different categories so your posts don't get lost after 30 minutes in the barrage of posts that come after yours.  It is amazing that after virtually five minutes your post is down the list by over 100.  Each time you repost in the same day, you have to change the wording so that Craig (of Craigs List) doesn't block your new post for trying to keep your item at the top of the list.  This is simply gamemanship and a challenge.  I now don't care if I actually sell anything  - the game has changed to keeping my item(s) at the top of the list.

To those of you thinking about Craigslist...do your homework, pray for guidance and safety and above all keep your expectations low.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

POCKET QUEENS

I was playing in a large poker tournament last Saturday night when I encountered a player from another planet.  One of the unspoken rules while playing poker is to stay focussed and don't let bonehead players, bonehead plays, trash talk, bad hands, etc. get you rattled.  Unfortunately, a player was moved to my table that would eventually make my ears bleed. 

When he sat down he began talking way too much.  He talked during hands, stood up after he folded and made reference to the hand being played indicating what card he folded (a big no no), took too long to make decisions, never knew what the blinds were...in other words a real amateur who had watched alot of poker on television. 

This normally would be the perfect person to have at your table because they will lose all their chips to you.  Unfortunately, he was not only a big mouth, but the luckiest big mouth ever.  He played hands he shouldn't have and got lucky over and over.  His head and bravado grew with each winning hand.  It was disgusting.  I had a bad run of cards and couldn't do battle.  What I did do is learn from the experience, watch how the other players played and moved on.

The biggest prize during the night was a line this guy spoke during one of his diatribes.  He was constantly guessing what everyone had and had the worst ability to do so.  Those of you who play poker will understand the absurdity of this declaration from him:  he said to another player "Did you have pocket queens?"  the other player responded:  "Yes" the poker savant then said "what was your kicker?".

Enough said, my evening was complete.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

WASHING OUT IN DC

Recently my husband and I took our annual trip to Washington D.C.  He went for Boeing work to the "Sea, Air & Space" convention and I went for....shopping, eating, cherry blossoms, sightseeing, etc. 


We knew our trip was in trouble when we got to the airport and found out we weren't sitting together.  The flight was oversold so we were left to beg someone to give up their seat - which they ultimately did.  Okay - not bad.


We get to DC, pick up the rental car which came equipped with an "EZ Pass" which automatically pays for all toll roads so you can drive through the fast toll booth.   Uh huh.  I'll get back to you on that one.   We then go and eat at one of our favorite restaurants before driving to our hotel.  This is where you add one of three pounds I gained during the trip.


The GPS on my phone got us to our hotel but it was not helpful in finding a parking place underneath it.  The parking is always challenging in DC but this underground garage was particularly difficult.  Unless you are driving  a smart car, bicycle or mini cooper you can forget trying to get between the two massive pillars that give you two inches on each side.  Luckily we made it into a spot after driving in circles for 20 minutes.  By this time we began our day at 4:00am San Diego time and it is now 10pm EST. 


We drag our suitcases to the lobby and begin the check-in.  The first clue something was wrong was when the desk clerk repeatedly asked our name while furiously clicking keys on the computer and simultaneously shaking his head.  He finally said "could you wait just a moment please....and went into the back room.  When he came back I offered him our confirmation number and after a few more clicks on the computer we were informed that we were in the wrong hotel.

We schlep our bags back down to the dungeon parking lot, get into the rental car and punch the coordinates into the GPS.

 
My GPS to our next hotel has us driving in circles - stupid GPS.  We finally stop and ask a security guard in a parking lot if he could help us find the Embassy Suites Hotel.  He gives us a funny look and points ---wait for it ---ACROSS THE STREET.


This time we pull in the front of the hotel, check-in and then drive into the underground garage before unloading the luggage.  Finally happy that we have a room key in our hands we take the elevator up to the lobby where you have to then transfer to the hotel elevator.  Our first stop from the garage elevator has the manager standing waiting for us, saying "so sorry Mr. & Mrs. B. we made a mistake....my heart palpations begin....we gave you the wrong keys to the wrong room.   He then runs off to get us new keys.  We finally get in our room and collapse.


Sunday morning we wake up at 11am and decide to go to breakfast at another favorite.  The weather is cold and windy outside.  We wait about 30 minutes to be seated...and then we are seated in front of the door between patio and restaurant seating.  The door opens every 5 seconds and the wind takes my breath away.  Can't enjoy breakfast because I am trying to keep my circulation going so as not to get frostbite or hypothermia.  Some people are dining outside - without coats on!  I am so San Diego spoiled.


After breakfast we move on to shopping (ahhh my favorite) now I will warm up.  We stop at one mall where my husband had seen some shirts he wanted so we went back to get them.  Mission accomplished - no incidents.  We then planned to drive to "the Plains".  The Plains is in the beautiful countryside in Virginia, west of DC where they have a quaint town with some little shops we like.  Their most famous resident, Robert Duvall, lives there.  We get to our destination and realize it's Sunday and everything closes early.  We now have 30 minutes until all the shops close.  I go into hyper-supersonic shopping mode and believe it or not, I make every store and find a cute jacket to boot. 


Back at the hotel I can't get used to the time change and get to sleep around 3am.


Monday morning - 6am (3am San Diego time) spring break kids are outside our window waiting on their bus for their tour of Washington DC.  Very loud and very annoying.  I am not destined to get anymore sleep.


So off to work for the husband I decide to walk to the Pentagon City Mall.  Nice little walk, nice weather, what could go wrong?  Did some shopping and was getting into the groove, when the bus pulls in and unloads another group of rowdy springbreak kids.  Shouldn't they be at the Smithonian?  Shouldn't I?  Time to go.


Tuesday we decide to go to dinner.  We have to drive where there are toll roads.  Oh good we have an EZ Pass.  As we go through the toll booth the electronic eye shows red for "Toll Not Paid".  Okay, you probably could see that coming.  We then proceed to go through all the tolls and pay cash knowing a big ticket is already in the mail. 


We return to our hotel and are riding the elevator up from the garage when...it gets stuck.  We are trapped with Michael Correlone from New York who is busy cursing our bad luck while I am ringing the bell to tell people we are trapped.  Finally the hotel staff releases us from our unfortunate circumstance.  Michael gives the management a piece of his New York mind.  We just laugh and are glad we are in the right hotel.  Forget about it.

 
Wednesday is a big day.  We have dinner reservations at our all time favorite restaurant in the U.S.  - The Inn At Little Washington.  Everything goes as planned, wonderful dinner, wonderful night.  There must be a price to be paid for this.


Thursday is going back home day.   Going to the airport, early as usual, the husband must be in the gate area no later than two hours prior to the flight.  So we start out leisurely enough, have lunch, then go to gas up the car before returning it - BIG traffic accident stops traffic to a grinding halt.  We slowly get through that, and make it to the airport and the gate with only one hour to spare - WHEW!!


Again not sitting together, have to bribe someone, it works but...crying baby in the row in front and a crying baby in the row behind.  Pass me the headphones - I'll watch the movie.  Oh God - It's the new Tron - decide after a few minutes its easier to listen to babies cry.  What was Jeff Bridges thinking?


Back on the ground in San Diego - I kiss the ground and then everything starts to go right.  Our luggage comes off first, our shuttle to the parking lot pulls up just as we get there and our drive home is a breeze.

To quote a famous little girl from Kansas "there's no place like home".

HAP"BEE" EASTER

Monday, March 7, 2011

DOING DUTY - (Jury Duty)

Sometimes the call to do one's duty is simply a pain-in-the-ass, but SOMETIMES you hit the jackpot and get the best free, riproaring entertainment day that you can have while still being legal.

I have dreaded my Jury Duty for weeks now.  Getting up early is not even close to being my thing, unless there is a poker tournament involved.  Of course the one rainy day we've had in weeks was today.  My alarm went off at 5:30 AM for a 7:45 AM show in the downtown San Diego Courthouse.  Luckily I had a ride and didn't have to take public transportation which would have added at least another hour to my already absurb early morning.  I avoid downtown at all costs because the traffic and parking situations are unbearable.  The court does not provide parking only complimentary rides on public transportation.  I was sure I wouldn't be selected to be a jurist so I made arrangements for today only.

After arriving on time, you have to go through the metal detectors just like at the airport, so I began taking off 3 of my 4 layers of clothing, jewelry, etc.  Took another 15 minutes to put myself back together.  There were at least 300 jury pool people so I thought "piece of cake", no way I'll get selected.  Then they roll out the film telling you how important your duty is, and yadda, yadda, yadda.  20 minutes.  Then Judge somebody comes in and gives you another pep talk and spirited discussion as to what to expect and thank you for your service.  30 minutes.  Why can't I just read my book now, drink my diet coke and veg for the rest of the day? 

Not to be, they begin calling groups of names and just when I think I'm safe I hear my name called.  I follow the rest of the sheep up the escalators, take the catwalk across to the other building and report to a bench just outside my courtroom.  Last time this happened to me they sent us home before even seating us.  I fully expected this to happen again.  Shortly after opening my book, the bailiff comes out and opens the courtroom doors.  He explains when your name is called come to the door take your number and this will be your new name/number.  Guess who was Juror #1?  Now, generally I like being number one, but today I was hoping for - just go home.

About 45 potential jurors were assigned to my courtroom of which 12 will be selected with 3 alternates.  Okay my odds are roughly 25%.  Still feeling lucky.  The bailiff tells us a few things and then the judge enters.  All standard stuff.  At the defendants table I notice there is only one person.  I think where is the defendant and/or the lawyer?  Turns out this is going to be a criminal trial with the defendant defending himself.  Oh SNAP!  this could get interesting.  To further make the roller-coaster ride hands-free, the defendant, a legal immigrant, has a huge chip on his shoulder, not to mention doesn't speak english all that well.

For the next four hours the judge asks general questions of all of us.  Do you know anyone in the room?  Two people worked for the same company and knew each other, One person knew the judges father very well, then the gun questions started.  Seems our case has to do with illegal assault weapons.  There were several retired military people and other citizens with gun holdings.  The questions were endless.  This is where I almost fell asleep, except they really stressed for us not to.  Then the stories about have you ever been around or involved in a shooting started.  Two drive-bys, suicides, murder, muggings, carjackings, etc.  I have led a blissfully sheltered life.  It is unnerving to see this cross-section of society and how violence has touched so many of them.  There were a few "I don't believe in guns people", several that didn't believe anyone should own assault weapons and more legal gun owners who had to list all of their guns and what training they had with them.  So much info.

After gettting through the general questions, each potential juror is given a list of questions to which you must under oath answer all them publicly.  The first couple - what do you do and what does your husband/partner and children do.  I was truthful and said I don't do anything, but the judge wouldn't let that go.  Have you ever worked?  How much time to do we have?  I ended by saying I play poker, it got a few snickers.  The questioning then moved on to have you ever been arrested AND you have to say what for and what happened.  Lots of DUIs and one guy who asked to tell the judge privately.  My mind raced with that one automatically going toward PeeWee Herman.  Then they ask if you had/have any dealings with anyone in law enforcement, if you have ever been on a jury and what was the outcome and can you be fair and unbiased in this case.  I answered everything truthfully and was asked a few questions by the judge but got through it quickly.  The next 45 people not so much, however, it was very interesting.  There were a lot of professional people, (doctors, ex-military, paralegals, computer techs, corporate executives, and one poker player :)

After getting through 3/4 of the field the judge stops us for time and instructs the lawyers to asks the jurors any questions they may have.  This is where the real funs begins.  The defendant acting as his own lawyer, picks out several jurors to ask questions.  He really never asks a question but lays out a scenerario where the police and the "system" has done him wrong". His tirade lists the intolerance of our country, legal system, religious affiliations, race and on and on.  The judge sustains every objection the People make which sends him into a tailspin.  The bailiff stands ready.  I am fully awake now, thinking oh no, I might be on this jury.  This case is going to be news worthy.

Just when I am sweating with anticipation the judge dismisses three people, the People dismiss three and the Defendant/lawyer begins.  Guess who was retired first - number one again!!!  I was sooooo relieved and although I got what I wanted, you can't help feeling that little bit of rejection as to why I'm not good enough.  In my mind I think a middle-age white lady who doesn't own any guns probably in the defendants mind might not be sympathetic to a rabble rousing, illegal gun-toting, anti-American whirling dervish who for me has given new meaning to the metal detectors downstairs.

Let me just end by saying this, I will participate in my civic duty again and I believe that our justice system, while not perfect, is the greatest system in the world.  You only have to get a taste like I did today to see to what lengths the judge went to make sure no stone was unturned to make sure this man got a fair trial and a fair jury.  Her patience was tested time and again and she remained undeterred.  While I selfishly feel happy I don't have to get up early, find parking or transportation, give up my free time or any of the thousand of little things that make jury duty painful I did get a glimpse into the greatness of our country and why maybe next time, I won't whine about my civic duty but rather embrace the opportunity to do just a little something for the country that has given me so much. 

Besides....the entertainment is PRICELESS.

BEE A GOOD CITIZEN 

Monday, February 14, 2011

BEE-ING AT THE FINAL TABLE




Yesterday was a fabulous moment for me.  I played in and won (we chopped/six equal payments for the last six players) a tournament that was comprised of 123 ladies (albeit 6 were men)(I use the term lightly) in the LIPS (Ladies International Poker Series) in San Diego, CA.  I love playing tournament poker.  I am getting some good results doing it.  It takes an enormous amount of patience and focus for long strenuous hours. 


We started at 11am and played until reaching our agreement at 8:30pm.  We had a 10 minute break every two hours, but no lunch or dinner break.  I subsisted on oatmeal eaten at 8am that morning and a few pretzel sticks until I got home at 11pm last night.  I cannot eat while I am playing in a tournament.  It was pretty grueling but I have played for longer periods of time.  The World Series of Poker is 12 hour stints with an hour break for dinner.


There were alot of familiar faces and they are recognizing me and giving me hugs before we start.  I have made some new "poker" friends but these would not be the friends I go shopping with or to the movies with.  Of course none of them are friends when you are at the table trying to get their chips.  These are friends you can tell your bad beat stories to or, gain insight on a new player or figure out where the next big tournament is going to be.


The men who played were a novelty and some were dressed in drag.  I get asked all the time what I think about men playing in a ladies tournament and my disdain has changed over the years from being mad about it to thank you for the donation to our prize pool because they never win.  What would be the point if they did win?  Would they have their picture taken with the caption of being the Ladies Champion?  Most think it's easy money, but like I said they almost never win.  I say almost now because there has been a couple instances where they did win but we immediately had their hormone levels tested and they passed:  high levels of estrogen.


I won $1600 and that will keep me in poker money for little while.  I am very happy with my hobby, and for the most part, it is self sustaining.  I am playing in a big one next Sunday, with a pro from Las Vegas who won one bracelet (Poker Player's Champion) and came in fifth in the main event at the 2010 WSOP  last year (Michael Mizrachi).  Mike the Mouth Matasow may also be there.  I'm pumped.  I am not nervous or intimidated anymore and feel I can play anywhere and with anyone.  Going to Las Vegas on Feb. 27th and will be playing in tournaments at the Venetian where I have had my biggest success.


My husband, son, daughter, friends and mother are my biggest cheerleaders and fans.  Thank you for all of your love and support.  Thank you especially to my son who talked me into going to the poker room for the first time where I made $50 profit and then talking me into going to my first tournament, where I made the final table.  Been hooked ever since.  He has given me the nerve, guidance. and game strategies that started it all. 


The most precious memories of all my poker games though will never compare to the many hours my son and I  have spent playing together heads-up on the dinner table playing for a dollar a game.


Thank you Ryan.


Love,
Mom


http://lipstour.com/NewsDetails.php?newsId=57
This is the link of the picture of the tournament I just won.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

AWARDS SEASON

No I don't mean the Super Bowl or the Heisman or even the Pulitzer.  I mean the greatest of all awards - The Golden Globes, The People's Choice, The SAGS and of course the diamond supreme - the Academy Awards.

The people who are close to me know that it is a very special day for me.  I make sure my chores are done by 3pm so I can begin the award night rituals.  I begin by putting on my pajamas, put the channel on "E" for the "pregame" show and settle into my couch. 

From the moment they arrive - let's hope the weather is good - this viewing is the best part.  I love, love, love seeing all the gowns, hairdos/don'ts and the sparkling accessories.  My dream as a child was to be a hairdresser in Hollywood.  I would have loved to have been on movie sets doing period hair.  To this day I most admire the hairdo's from the 1940s.  (I also wanted to be a cowgirl and ride horses in the movies, but that didn't happen either.)  The first dream came partially true when I got my Cosmetologists license in 1969.  Just didn't make it to Hollywood.  Only Oklahoma.

At 4:30pm the channel that is showing the award show will have their own version of the pregame.  The array of red carpet host/interviewers have been traditionally the Entertainment Tonight/Access Hollywood/Ryan Seacrest teams.  Some of them are pretty good, some not-so-much.  Of course the uber critic, Joan Rivers, (and her sidekick daughter) were fired from their red carpet job because they couldn't maintain even a semi-nice sense of decorum.  Stepped on one too many important hollywood toes I suspect.  They were later hired by the TV Guide channel, which flopped.  They are back at "E" doing the Fashion Police wrap up show the day after the awards.  I won't even mention Issac Mizrachi's stint as a red carpet interviewer.

Just prior to kickoff at 5pm, I pop two buckets of popcorn.  Real popcorn - real butter - real salt.  Nothing better.  A must have.

My husband knows this is my night, do not even try to take control of the remote or switch the station "for just a minute".  This action is punishable by... oh you don't even want to know.

We are pretty avid moviegoers and I am an avid televison purveyor.  My selections for picking winners are quite remarkable.  I preview most of the new television series and am quite adept at picking series that will do well.  During the awards as they are about to announce the winner of each category - I make my prediction.  I really should  have my own show, or be in a focus group.  I need to be getting paid for my talent in some way.  I'm being wasted in my flannel pjs and soft wubby bathrobe.

In my opionion, the best Oscar host - ever - was Billy Crystal.  He is funny, entertaining and not mean spirited.  The opposite which was true of Ricky Gervais this year at the Golden Globes.  I am usually bored by the acceptance speeches, which run too long or are self serving.  Usually the English have the classiest acceptances.

So Sunday, February 27th is the big night.  Now here is my dilemma, little did I know when I made air and hotel reservations for Las Vegas that it was falling on that night of all nights.  What do I do, stay in my room and watch them?.....NO - that's what DVRs are for.  Even my devotion has limitations.

My prediction for Best Picture: "The Kings Speech" - absolutely the best movie we've seen in a long time.  Loved "The Fighter" and "The Social Network".  Really feel good there were three outstanding movies this year, all worthy.

Best ActorColin Firth - "The Kings Speech" -have loved him since "The Pride and Prejudice"  One of the most memorable performances ever.  Right up there with George C. Scott as Patton.

Best Actress:  Natalie Portman -"Black Swan" - predicted her stardom after her inital movie in "The Professional" 1994

Best Supporting Actor:  Christian Bale "The Fighter"  Totally transforms himself.  Jeffrey Rush close second, but Christian's role was meatier.

Best Supporting Actress:  Melissa Leo "The Fighter"  I came out of the movie going "I don't even know who she is or what else she has done but she will get an Oscar for that".

So, pop your corn, put on your pjs and turn on the tv and enjoy. 

Two thumbs up.

NOW YOU'VE BEEN BUZZED

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

WW III

Yes it's that time of year again.  New Years resolutions and everything.  Once again it's "I'm going to lose weight this year".  So... once again we are doing WEIGHT WATCHERS. 

This is the third time in my life that I have seriously used Weight Watchers as my diet of choice.  It is always successful if you follow it.  My problem is I never incorporate the "for the rest of my life lifestyle changes" required to keep it off.

If you go back to the eightys when I successfully lost all my goal weight and became a "Key Holder", the diet was pretty basic and regimented.  My son will tell you horror stories of eating dried up baked chicken and steamed vegetables with no flavor for months.  Of course as a good mother he also got to eat bread, chips, hotdogs and other kid things that we didn't. 

We are through our first week and, of course, my husband lost twice a much weight as me, but to be fair he exercises every day.  I on the other hand really only exercise if the walking includes shopping, buying, or walking through a casino to the poker room.  Last walk we took I earned a sweater and a sweatshirt from the Ralph Lauren store in La Jolla, a ring from White House Black Market, and a  bracelet and earrings from a boutique.  This was in my view, the perfect workout.

Seriously, the new point system from WW is easy and I joined online for 3 months.  No horrific public weigh-ins or listening to boring counselers.   In the old days for weigh-in I started the first day wearing every heavy piece of clothing, jewelry, boots and accessories I could manage.  Each week I would wear basically the same thing but take one piece off.  This worked well until I got down to the core elements so at the end it was taking off mascara, lipstick, wedding ring...etc.

I like this at home version much better and their recipes are much updated and easy to prepare and follow.

My hopes are high, the next weigh-in is Wednesday morning (stripped down - before eating or drinking anything and after going to the bathroom).  My first week was 3 pounds but we all know that that is water weight and the hard stuff starts week two. 

I am hoping for 2 pounds a week - FOR THE REST OF MY FRICKING LIFE!!!!

I will keep you posted in the mean time BEE FULL.

Friday, December 10, 2010

THE BLAKE FAMILY CHRISTMAS



Move over Griswold's the Blake's are getting ready for Christmas. 

I have been preparing my mind and body for month's for the celebration that is Christmas in our house.  You have the biggest kid (my husband) who loves to have every inch decorated in preparation for the big day.  We begin by downloading the many boxes, and when I say many, I mean back up the moving van because there are literally 50-100 boxes to open, unwrap, repair, hang, string or set somewhere.  The collections begin with the nutcrackers.  Not just any nutcrackers, the German Steinbock nutcrackers for which we are the proud owners of 50+.  They line the television console, the kitchen garden window, and tables around the living room.  Next is the fairy collection.  This is a new collection but has grown exponetially since last year.  It has it's own dresser and window shutters for display.  The Leo Smith collection are carved Santas and other characters that have been collected throughout the years.  We have Santa's of all kinds, (two favorites "the gambler Santa holding four aces and the wine Santa holding what else...).  There are bear, snowman, and a Dept. 56 monk collection.  A new addition last year is a handmade sculpted Santa, reindeer, sleigh and elves from an artist in Seattle, very beautiful and one-of-a-kind.  There are three nativites for which my mother steals baby Jesus out of the mangers and hides him until Christmas Eve because "he's not born yet".   Our son's rocking horse from childhood has been converted to be a large Christmas accessory and his wooden train set has been repainted and decorated for the holidays.  There are a pair of antique wooden ski's that grace the family room wall.  The bathrooms, kitchen, hallways, and bedrooms all have decorations too.  The Christmas tree is nine feet tall and is chocked full of ornaments that have been collected for 33 years.   Time to unload, decorate and put empty boxes back on shelves - 2 people @20 hours - satisfaction and Christmas spirit - PRICELESS.



The pinnacle of our Christmas "stuff" are the gnomes.  They are four feet tall, soft stuffed and lifelike.  Over the years we have used them in many creative ways in fact, when our daughter was coming in too late during her teen years we set them up in the doorway so when she tried to sneak in she was greeted with a large pointy headed creature with a stick in his hand.  Remembering her shreak has been good for laughs for the last 15 years.  My mother will tell you she was ordered up at the crack of dawn on a black Friday so many years ago to stand in line so we could buy Mr. & Mrs. Gnome.  They were well worth it and I have never seen anything like them again.




Outside the house there are lights, not overdone, just right, but... we have a six foot tall toy drum soldier that is lit up with colored lights.  He is the crown jewel of the yard.  Our patio has a lighted palm tree, wreath, and grape lights hung on an arbor.


Now that the decorations are in place the table service (holiday tartan plaid) comes out to grace the dining room table.  Matching glasses, tablecloths, serviceware, etc.

Christmas Eve is traditionally our open presents to one another and Christmas day are presents from Santa.  On Christmas Eve we have the traditional Italian fare with many dishes made from some form of fish.  Grandma make shrimp scampi, stuffed muscles and antipasta.  I make linguine with clam sauce and our son and daughter-in-law make several gourmet delights.  The wine and champagne has been flowing throughout the day complements of our head sommelier - my husband.


We usually have anywhere from 7- 10 people for dinner.  After dinner is clean-up and once that is done the presents get passed out.  When our son was little he literally couldn't eat his dinner and only on this night did he willingly participate in kitchen cleanup.  Anything to get to the presents faster. 

All kinds of cookies, Chex Mix (made by grandma, anticipated by her grandson), bread pudding and other treats are made ahead of time.



We usually exchange treats or homemade goods with several of the neighbors.  This tradition started many years ago when we bought our home in 1985 in our brand new neighborhood and we all moved in at the same time.  The cool part about this is we still have many of our same original neighbors.  We left for 12 years when the Navy moved us but came home to roost in our home and neighborhood that means so much to us.


Christmas Day is lowkey and "the kids" still wake up to see what Santa has left in the stockings.  All of us have stockings and little extra treasures are stuffed into each.  We have a breakfast casserole and pizza fritta in the morning.  There will be cider from Julian and coffees spiked with holiday flavors.  We have a Christmas meal with whatever the chefs feel like preparing, this year will be a Harrington's ham and other yummy stuff.  Most of all we eat, drink and play fun games throughout the day and evening.  We play bingo and Pablo (fun card game) and there is a bag with prizes for the winners of the games. 

Most years we can spill out to the patio to enjoy the warm sun and relax.  Thank you San Diego. 

Family and Fun - everything Christmas is supposed to be. 

BLAKE FAMILY CHRISTMAS

BEE MERRY 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

FREE BEE'S



Aloha everyone just got back from an incredible trip to Maui.  We have talked about going there for years but never really found the time.  Then the stars and moon seemed to align.  My husband, because of his extensive travel had enough points to stay at the Marriott Ocean Club Maui for four nights free, free executive rental car and upgrade to first class on Alaska Airlines which now flies non-stop from San Diego to Maui.  So on November 11th, we climbed aboard, relaxed in our large leather seats (no babies kicking and crying behind us) and strapped in for a beautiful flight.  They brought us water before we even became airborne, served us a gourmet meal, gave us free digiplayers (with which I finally watched Leonardo DiCaprio in "Inception"), free alcoholic drinks with fresh pineapples and umbrellas, macadamia nuts instead of peanuts, warm handtowels and best of all a first class toilet that only 10 people could use.  When I sit in coach I stare and hate the people in first class for the petty, elitist, shallow, panty wastes that they are.  I must now admit that I have been easily swayed to the dark side and I loved it so much that I would do it again if I ever get the chance.


Once we landed we got off first and sashayed down to the baggage area in the beautifully native open air airport.  The warm breezes blew through our hair, we felt refreshed, rested, pampered and ready to play.  We got our bags and even though I forgot to make our car reservation my husband did what he does best and got our original deal and we walked out to get in our Chrysler 300. 


Our first stop was Costco, because we heard that the islands are very expensive so we stocked up on water, soda, Maui potato chips, Maui vegetable chips, macadamia nuts, wine, sliced cured meats, cheeses, crackers and pumpkin muffins.  It was so crowded in there and after checking out it was about 20 deep before the door checkers did their once over on our cart.  Little did we know that Veterans Day is a big Costco party on the island and EVERYONE goes there.


We drove along the coast to our hotel for about 40 minutes and enjoyed the beautiful coastline and unimproved mountainsides.  Then all of a sudden like a scene out of the "Wizard of Oz" the towering hotels appeared.  One after another more beautiful than the next.  We pulled into our hotel and let the bellman load up the luggage and Costco supplies for which they had a large plastic container ready for the occasion.  We were pleased to find out that valet parking was only $12 per day (my husband had just paid $23 a day to self park in Washington DC the day before). 


Our room wasn't ready so we hung out at one of the 3 very large elaborate pools and had pinacolatas until our oceanfront room on the 8th floor was ready.  The room was equipped with a frig, microwave, dishes, king bed, couch, desk, flatscreen tv and a lanai.  I must say the room was adequate but the view was priceless.


Our next three days we explored, walked along the beach, shopped, ate, relaxed under the palm trees and read, reveled in the beautiful sunsets as the waves crashed. We didn't set an alarm and slept until we wanted.   Heaven. 


The air was so clean, and to my surprise the ocean didn't have that awful fishy, salty smelly aroma.  So when the last day arrived I reluctantly packed and tried to drink all the rest of the sodas and water before we checked out at 10 am.  Our flight was at 2:30 pm and as everyone in our family knows my husband must be at the airport at least two hours prior to departure.  All of a sudden we weren't looking at each other with "island eyes" and we had our first tiff on the way to the airport.  We dropped off the car, went through security and I looked at my watch to reveal it was 11:15 am.  Only three hours til takeoff.  We ate at Burger King and that took up 15 minutes and gave me heartburn.  Got out our books and read for the next 3 hours.


Our plane was on time and I began looking forward to the first class treatment again.  The signs were there for this day but I was ignoring them - tifs, Burger King, and once on board the food was not real good and the ride was bumpy.  We began to approach our desinated arrival time when the pilot made an announcement.  "We are sorry folks, we have been watching the weather for the last 45 minutes but it looks as though San Diego is socked in with dense fog and we are going to be diverted to LAX (Los Angeles)".  


What happened to "and they lived happily ever after"?   Here's your happily ever after.  We landed at LAX on the south 40 where we had to take a bus to the tarmac, climb two flights of stairs with all our carry-ons (plus one little old lady (Betty) who needed help) walk 1-2 miles through the airport to a baggage claim, get our bags and try to figure out what they were doing with us.  It was determined that Alaska hired buses to take us back to San Diego.  It was now a 13 hour trip and we are staring at another 3-4 hours before we could get in our home. 


We schlepted our bags and  Betty's bags and Betty (84 years old) and made our way to the bus.  It took 45 minutes just to get out of LAX and get on the 405.  Our bus driver must have been a former NASCAR wannabee as he put he foot on the accelerator and never let up - even when we hit the fog  - even when there were cars in front of us.  This took about 10 years off my rapidly declining life.  The island breezes only a distant memory and I wished I had gone to the bathroom (a lesson I should have learned from my last bus ride!) and gotten a bottle of water.  Where were the warm hand towels, the drinks with umbrellas?  Forget that stuff I was concentrating on my prayers as I was convinced that the beautiful trip we just took was our swan song and now came the payment for our FREE trip.


By the grace of someone we found the airport - not before our driver almost missed the exit and swerved 3 lanes to get off.  We told him to follow the other buses in front of him and like a scene out of the Keystone Kops we (all ten buses) drove through the commuter terminal and wound around in a circle and out again to Terminal one next door.  It was now 2am.  We got off the bus, collected our luggage, Betty's luggage, Betty and walked across the bridge to the shuttle pickup place.  No one was there to get Betty so we found her a shuttle, got her settled on a bench and crossed our fingers.  We found our shuttle to the parking lot that stored our car and of course we were the last ones to be dropped off.

The old explorer didn't want to start, but with a little perseverance it starts and we drive home without stopping.  We get in the house, throw our bags down, don't unpack and jump into bed.  3 am.  At 6:45 am the phone rings and my husband is off and running back in the real world.  I call my eye doctor and tell them I can't make my 10 am appointment and go back to sleep.  I wake up at 10 am, start the laundry, go to the eye doctor, unpack, go to the bank, go to the grocery store, go to the drug store and then...

start packing cause tomorrow at 7:50 am I fly to Sacramento.  I have set the alarm for 5am (3am Hawaiian time) cause we have to leave for the airport to meet the two hour window.  YIKES.

BEE AFRAID - If it looks too good to be true...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

GROWING OLD IS NOT FOR SISSY'S



Today is the 10th anniversary since my father passed away.  Seems like yesterday, seems like a hundred years ago.  He was a good man and I loved him very much.  He struggled for seven years with lung cancer but finally lost the fight after a brief stint of relatively good health his last couple years.

Two days ago, my husband's father was taken to the emergency room by ambulance.  He became very ill, dehydrated and virtually passed out.  He remains in the hospital being tested for everything and yet they don't know anything.

Today, my mother-in-law had to go to the doctor because she is severely congested and "coming down with something".

This all happens as we were preparing to go to Oklahoma and celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary this weekend.  We leave tomorrow, and as it turns out is a  blessing that we will be there to help them with this latest, in a long line, of health crisis.

My in-laws have an execeptional ability to withstand and persevere all that is thrown at them and the list is of biblical proportions.  To date they have battled:  breast cancer, colitis, heart surgery, colostomy, illiostomy, diverticulitis, broken bones, infections, pneumonia, gallbladder removal, hysterectomy, prostate surgery,  compartment syndrome (almost lost her leg), pacemaker, pagets disease, severe arthritis, jaw and face reconstruction, bowel obstruction emergency surgery, shingles - not to mention all the regular stuff.

We joke that they have a wing at the hosptial named after them (not really) but they could.  They have looked the devil in the eye on many occasions and spit at him.   If you ask them how they are doing, they will say "fine".  They will be in more agony and sincere pain when the Oklahoma Sooner football team loses a game - or the basketball or baseball teams. 

They are tough, midwestern, hardy people.  Part Indian, and part everything else.  I think the Indian blood, makes the difference.  I have seen it in my son and husband.  High pain tolerance, never complain when sick. 

My hope tomorrow is to get to Oklahoma and go straight to the hospital and cheer up my father-in-law.  At 84 it's not the optimum place to be for your 60th wedding anniversary party.  We will do what we can while we are there but it won't be enough. 

They still live in their own home and between the two of them manage to keep things going.  It's much more difficult for them but they don't complain.

True to their Oklahoma mentality they will not give up, they will pick themselves up, dust themselves off and march forward. 

Seems to me after living so many years it should be the other way around.  You should feel great, be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor and be relaxed and fulfilled.  Instead you have a medicine cabinet full of pills, a walker to help you get around, difficulty sleeping, eating and doing everyday chores. 
Beside your own condition you worry about your children, grandchildren, family members, neighbors and friends. Should be that we only worry about what fun thing you want to do or see that day. 


Many seniors are lonely and fall into the trappings of unscrupulous sales people or scammers who take their money and prey on their weakened conditions.  There should be a special place in hell for those people.

As I near the senior life, I realize how important living everyday like it is your last is really good practice. 

Next time you think about the elder/senior in your life give them a little extra time and care, they have earned it and really appreciate it cause... 

YOUR TURN IS COMING!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

"BEE" WARE OF POCKET KINGS

I played in two major poker tournaments this weekend in San Diego.  The LIPS (Ladies International Poker Series) and the California State Ladies Championship.  I was sponsored for LIPS tournament by River Card Clothing poker wear and appreciated the opportunity they gave me.  This was my first sponsored event, other than my husband, so I was very execited.  I hope to earn more sponsored slots with them in the future.  They are a young company with a great logo which I believe will do very well.  Go see their stuff at http://www.river-card.com/


I made a good showing in each tournament making the final two tables both days.  But both days had something else quite incredibly, agonizingly similar. 


On Friday with the finish line in sight (and having played for over six hours) I had been card dead for two hours when I picked up pocket kings.  Other than pocket aces this is the best starting hand in Texas Hold'em poker.  You wait a lifetime for these hands.  I pushed all-in pre-flop and got one caller.  She turns over pocket nines and I feel giddy knowing I have a much better hand.  The dealer deals the first three cards and I now become an almost certain winner.  The fourth card (the turn) she catches one of only two cards that can beat me (a nine) and beats my pocket kings.  I was crippled to literally one chip - and so with the one chip I keeping pushing all-in til my luck runs out and I finish 18th.  The money was paid to 11.  If my pocket kings hold-up it is almost certain I will cash or better yet go on to win.  I am dejected but know that I played well and did everything I could to put myself in a position to win.  I go home tired and hungry, because I forgot or don't like to eat during play and eat and go to bed.


Saturday, the state championship.  I am tired from the day before but got a good nights sleep.  Believe it or not playing 8+ hours fatigues your body and mind.  I go in determined to win and play my best game.  I play consistent and manage to once again get down to the final two tables.  Then the moon and stars MISalign and I get pocket kings.  This is a crucial make-it or break-it portion of the tournament where chip leaders can go home in two hands and people with small stacks get lucky and become chip leaders.  It is tricky negotiating.  The table folds around to me and I raise to $4,500 with the big blind being $1,500 (a hefty raise).  In the back of my mind I don't know whether I want a call after what happened to me yesterday, or do the right thing and make a bunch of chips with my beautiful hand.  One lady pushes all-in and I have no other option than to call her.  I have her covered (more chips than her), but not by much.  I ask before she turns over her hand if it's aces and she says "no".  Before I can relax and enjoy my good fortune she flips over POCKET NINES!  That sick feeling came over me when you know that even though you should be happy, but instead know that something awful is about to happen, even though you try to push that to the back of your mind and think POSITIVE, it's too late!  The dealer flips over the first three cards (the flop) and there glaring like a freakin beacon of radioactive waste is a NINE! 

My throat closes up, my stomach heaves and a sweat bead trickles lightly from my brow and I think back on my colonoscopy a month ago thinking it wasn't as bad as this.  Lightening strikes me in my nether regions two days in a row.  Are the poker Gods that cruel?  They are.  I lose the hand and once again am crippled to the point where my only option is to push all-in with any semblance of a good hand.  I pick up pocket sixes and get called by Ace, King and lose when a king hits the turn.  Where was that damn king when I had my pocket kings!

So once again, I play many grueling hours, to come up just short of the money but realize that it would be a much different ending if my pockets kings had held up.  It wasn't meant to be,  and any poker player will gladly recount a bad beat story during a critical time in their poker life.  It's part of the game and like Phil Helmuth once said "if it weren't for luck, I would win every hand".  It's times like these where a lot of us say, I'm done with poker, it's too heartbreaking, but the next day or two when the wounds start to scab over you hear the riffle of the chips, or feel the call of poker room after watching High Stakes Poker and you get in the car and before you know it the trip you thought you were taking to Costco ends up at the poker room.

I hate poker today but I know in a couple days I'll be looking at my scab wondering where that came from and head back out. 

Next big tournament for me is in Las Vegas at the Rio for a $75,000 invitational.  My buy-in and rooms for three nights is free and first place wins $10,000 cash and a $10,000 seat to the main event next summer in the World Series of Poker.  This takes place November 3-5.  But just know this, if I get pocket kings -

I AM GOING TO FREAKING FOLD THEM!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

FALL IS IN THE AIR

So is the pollen.  There has been a great deal of sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, headaches, sinus pressure and overall misery.  Along with that there is some sort of viral infection going around which started with my husband, moved to me and then to my mother.  My husband and I are still sputtering stuff up but my mother has had a hard time with it.  It hits a little harder at her age.

The weather has been a factor in San Diego as last Monday, the 4th of October we had record breaking temperature of over 110 degrees.  One week later we are in the midst of another record breaker, this time rain and cool temperatures.  The rain is a welcome relief and everyone knows how scary fire season is here so we are happy to have it.  The problem is along with the rain came lightening which starts the fires.  But we were lucky again, we had three to four days of heavy drizzle and on again off again rain which saturated the area. 

All of this mixed with wind and you've got a perfect recipe for allergies.  It's an ongoing battle here because we never really experience  cold temperatures or snow that kill the allergens.  We have year round plants and pollen.  It's okay, it's the price we pay for living in "America's Finest City".

If you think this is a chink in our armor then call me when you are having your Thanksgiving and Christmas meals wrapped in your Snuggies and we are on our patio in our shorts.  Add that to the fact we never shovel snow, have frozen pipes, barely turn on our furnaces or air conditioners, grill year round and we don't have a mosquito or fly problem. 

If we want some "season" appeal we drive one hour up the mountain to Julian, eat some apple pie, throw a snowball and come home and enjoy the warm sunshine. 

So even though I am aggravated from time to time because of the allergies, I just take a pill and smile knowing this is probably as bad as it is going to get.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

"BEE" LIEVE IT OR NOT

I am back from a recent trip to northern California to visit my mother and go to Reno, NV with my husband and mother.   For my husband it was a working trip, for my mother and I it was a gambling trip.  My mother plays video poker and I, of course, play poker.


We arrived on Thursday, September 9th at the Peppermill in Reno (Sparks) NV.  The Peppermill is always very accomodating with "free" rooms, cash slot play and food comps.  After checking into our rooms, my husband went to work at the Nugget for the Tailhook convention and my mom and I went to work in the casino.  My mother has always been very lucky playing video poker and she keeps a royal flush diary in which she has recorded all of her royal flushes over the years.  She now has 64 entries.  I left her on the machines while I went and played in a poker tournament.  When I returned from the tournament (for which I won chopped 4 ways) feeling very smug about my big win, I knew it would be overshadowed when I walked up to her and she started her sentence with "Chris you're not going to believe..." she had  already gotten a royal flush for $1200 plus several four-of-a-kinds that added up to over $3,000.


That was day one.  Day two, she decided to up the odds, being ahead she decided to play the dollar machines.  She started off by getting the four aces for $800.  She cashed out her ticket and came over to me and said "do you think I should play the dollar machine again".  I said "put another $100 in a see what happens".  As I sat one row behind her playing the quarter machines I look up to see her sitting and staring at her machine not moving.  A closer look at her machine revealed she was dealt a royal flush for $4000.  She was stunned and I just shook my head wishing that the video poker gene would be passed down.


She cashed out, I ran her money upstairs and locked it away in the safe.  She moved back over to the quarter machines while I played poker.  When I came back she said "you're not going to believe this...".  That's right another royal flush!  Three in two days. 


She played and played and played.  If I didn't insist she would not have gotten up to go the bathroom or to eat or drink.  She can sit at a machine for 12 hours or more.  She becomes one with the machine.


The third and final day, no royal flush, just a series of four-of-a-kinds that made her overall for the day up over another $1,000. 


We left the Peppermill on Sunday morning and she was up somewhere around $9,000.  An awesome display. 


You may think this is the end of the story, but you would be mistaken.  My husband flew home on Sunday night.  On Wednesday we ventured to another casino (Indian) in CA called Redhawk.  She was plus another $500 or so.


Done - NO - Thundervalley casino on Friday.  Another royal!!


Sunday, I went to play in a tournament at Thundervalley and she stayed home, I won the tournament (chopped for $500).  It's no royal but it's hard to do.


On Monday we take off for Cache Creek for an overnight.  Check in, start playing and she begins to lose.  What?  She turns in early and watches "Dancing with the Stars" that night.  I had had a big day playing poker and had won over $600 so I was pretty happy.  Next day, she hit it hard again and again, no luck - in the morning- by afternoon she is hitting four-of-a-kinds again and making a little comeback. 


We had already checked out of our room when by 5:00 pm I could tell she wanted to stay.  I called the VIP host over and asked if we could be comp'd another night, which they promptly did.  Check back in.


Finally on Wednesday she is doing well and making back some of the money lost the previous two days.  I held my own.  We went to dinner before driving home and as is our custom we played $20 more  in a machine on our way out.  Well she was doing well and I ran my $20 up to $50 and cashed out.  I was sitting watching her play and couldn't stand it any longer so I put my ticket back in the machine and played slowly trying to wait her out.  Then the unbeliveable happened.  My machine locked up and I looked at it and saw that a ROYAL FLUSH WAS DEALT TO ME!!!!!!!


Thank God I really do have the video poker gene.  Thank you, thank you, thank you - Mom.


She still is the all time video poker queen, there is no dispute, but I now have a little hope that the gene may be kicking in and my future is bright.