Oh yeah….

I posted photos on my Picasa photo site of my family in Italy and my niece. Check out the “Photos” page on my blog for small versions, and a link to the Picasa album.

Oh, and one more thing. I may have mentioned here, or not, that I’m addicted to Scrabble. I have it on my cell phone. I play it with my kids and grandkids the old-fashioned way – on a board with wooden tiles – when they’re visiting. I also have it on my iPod Touch, and play as much as I can on Facebook. I love Scrabble. On Facebook, I’ve pretty much kicked the butt of everyone I’ve played – with one notable, frustrating exception. Remember Dan of Dan’s Blah Blah Bog? He is a Scrabble prodigy! I hate him. I started off beating him. Then, in short order, I lost to him, not once, but twice in a row. And I’m working on my third consecutive loss. I don’t lose by a lot usually – 20 or 30 points or less. But I lose. I HATE losing at anything, but I really hate losing at Scrabble. We both have stellar plays, but Dan has amazing luck. In our current game, he has gotten, not one, not two, but THREE bingos (when you play all 7 letters in one turn). THREE!!!! Who DOES that? I did it once on my iPod against the computer, but in real life??? He’s really killing my win/loss record. I want to hate him, but how can I? He’s such a nice guy who just happens to be as good as I am at Scrabble but with even better luck. Grrrrr!

A New Year = A New Start, Yes?

Oh I try not to make New Year’s resolutions because, well, who ever keeps them, really?  But I can’t help but do so subconsciously.  I think it’s just human nature to look at the start of a new year as an opportunity to break bad habits, start new good ones, and simply start with a clean slate.  In fact, I suspect it’s human nature to do that at the beginning of a new month, let alone a new year.  So, in the back of my mind, of course, I’m thinking of all the things I plan to do differently – eat better, lose weight, exercise, get organized, be tidier, be more productive at work, spend more time reading the Bible and in prayer, and so on…..  I don’t want to acknowledge them as “resolutions” because I’ll feel like a total loser when I don’t stick to them, but they’re there, lurking in my subconscious, regardless of my decision to acknowledge them or not.  I figure by about mid-February I’ll be posting about what a loser I am, having failed to stick to even one of these subconscious resolutions.  Sigh….

I AM going to try very hard to squeeze in some exercise time, but with the endless snow we seem to be getting, it’s going to be hard. I can’t really go walking with Riley.  I hate to leave him alone for an additional two hours each day so that I can go to gym – it just seems cruel.  I could probably get my cross country skis down and do some skiing, and will probably attempt that this weekend, but that could prove disastrous – I haven’t xc skied in 30 years, so who knows how I’ll do?  Maybe my best bet is doing a bunch of stair climbing at work.  Yeah, that’s the ticket!  I’ll try to make multiple trips up and down the stairs every day.  That should help, right?  I’ve got to do SOMETHING!  I’m sick of being trapped in this body.  It’s so not me!

If you’re wondering where I’m hiding these days, you should join Facebook. I pretty much hang out there most of the time.  I can play Scrabble, chat with my family and friends very quickly, play Scrabble, share photos with family and friends, make very quick updates to my status (as opposed to posting on a blog), play Scrabble….  yeah, my latest addiction is Scrabble.  I play with various Facebook friends and family, I play on my new iPod Touch, I play on my LG Dare cell phone… I love Scrabble, but I am not a very strategic player.  I need to learn Scrabble strategy.  I win far more often than I lose – I have only lost twice out of 12 games – but I cant’ stand losing at all, ever.  Oh sure, it’s not JUST skill.  It’s partly the luck of the letters you draw.  But I found a site with some strategic tips about how to manage your tiles to maximize your scoring options.  Most of the tips I’ve never really considered, so it was enlightening.  Maybe I can dominate Scrabble if I can put these tips into action.  I’m not competitive at all.  🙂

My niece, the daughter of my youngest sister, is going to Italy for a two week study abroad trip through her college (Biola).  She leaves on the 8th and will spend 5 days in Rome and 10 in Florence.  I am so envious!  I am going to hook her up with our family in Rome.  My cousin, Pino, has a daughter Brittnee’s age who speaks pretty good English.  I’m sure she’ll love showing Britt around.  Britt is excited to meet them.  Apparently, dinners are not included in their trip (?) so she’s hoping they invite her for a meal or two.  🙂  It’s weird that dinners aren’t included.  When YS went to France, only lunches were their responsibility.  Breakfast and dinner were included.

Speaking of YS, he started Jan Term classes yesterday.  He’s taking a Java class, so he’s going to learn to write applications for the web, cell phones, and game consoles. Then he just has two courses to complete this spring and he’ll be done.  Because he withdrew from his courses in the Fall, he forfeited 13,500 in tuition. 🙁  You don’t get financial aid if you’re part-time, so we get to cough up $5,000 to cover Spring tuition costs.  Ugh.  He’s going to have to take out a loan to pay for that.  Let’s hope he can get one with the economy the way it is.  If not, we’ll have to figure out how we’re going to afford it between him and us.  I’m trying not to think about that right now.

Time to get ready for work…  Happy New Year everyone.

Facebook and the butterfly effect

Last night was fun.  My sister got on my RileyCam and spied on The Spouse and me while we ate dinner.  Well, not really spied, since I knew she was watching.  Speaking of Riley, he had/has something in his eye that made him rub it and rub it.  His eye is so red, and he actually cries when he’s rubbing it.  I put some human “tears” stuff in his eye, and some ointment when we went to bed last night.  He’s not rubbing it this morning, but it’s still red.  I hope he’s okay.

I think I mentioned before that I have a cousin in Italy whom I’ve never met.  We used to be pen pals when I was in high school.  I found her via the internet, and we started emailing.  Well, I introduced her to Facebook, and last week she joined.  Two days ago she was online when I was, and we chatted!  It was SO fun!  Additionally, my sister was online as well, so the three of us chatted.  My cousin hadn’t written in English for years, but you’d never know it.  She does a GREAT job, which makes me feel so stupid.  I can barely string three words together in Italian, and here she is chatting away like it’s not big deal.  I really need to get busy with my Italian studies.  I know a lot of vocabulary, just not the proper tense of the verbs, or the idioms, or even how to put them all together in the right order to make a sentence that makes any sense.

In addition to my cousin, her daughter and her niece are now also my Facebook friends!  How cool is that?  And before last week, my cousin, EM, didn’t even know Facebook existed.  Did I mention that she teaches technology to middle school kids?  I guess maybe I just changed all that!  You know….the butterfly effect.  I teach her about Facebook, she teaches her students, they tell their friends…. butterfly effect.

I’m watching Heroes. Boy, is it getting bizarre, but in a good way.  It’s bouncing back and forth between the present and four years into the future.  Interesting.

I am really excited because my good, good friend, and former protege, is coming to visit today with his wife and new baby.  This will be my first time meeting his son, and I am so excited.  He’s practically my grandkid!

Speaking of Facebook, I love that you can play Scrabble on Facebook.  I love word games, and my sister and I play Scrabble all the time.  I’m also playing with my hairdresser, another person I introduced to Facebook (specifically so she could play Scrabble with me).  She went to school with The Daughter, so I wasn’t sure she’d be into Scrabble.  She is and she’s good.  I almost never lose at Scrabble.  My hairdresser actually beat me that first game by about 40 points.  Her first word on the board (she started the game) used all 7 of her letters so she got a 50 point bonus.  Then she was able to spell polarize, for 80 points.  That pretty much killed me.  I beat her the next game, and I’m winning our current game.  My sister and I have played 3 games.  I’ve won them all.  🙂

I’ve also kicked some serious butt in Word Challenge!  When my hairdresser played, she quickly went to over 11,000 points.  I was stunned since my best score had been in the 8,000s.  She admitted to me that she had an unfair advantage.  You see, when you solve the 6 letter word, you unlock a bonus round.  The bonus round consists of unscrambling the name of one of your friends.  Well, my HD had one friend – me.  That meant she could score that extra 450 points every single time.  Aha!  I have several more friends than she has, and at times I draw a complete blank when I see those scrambled letters – usually when the friend’s name is 3 or 4 letters long – because you lose their name among all the other letters.  I can easily figure out the EANENL is Leanne, or that GLANEA is Angela.  But UNEJIL makes me go blank, even though the answer is an easy one – Neil.  I see all sorts of other names but Neil.  Crazy. I have finally gone on a real tear, though, and two days ago, after just three rounds, I got a score over 20,000!  I am several thousand points ahead of both my sister and my HD.  I LOVE that game, and it’s really, really addictive.  BTW, Lorraine plays too, though she hasn’t played in some time.  She does play Word Twist, which is a similar game (both games entail unscrambling 6 letters to form as many 3, 4, 5, and 6 letter words as possible in a set amount of time.  Lorraine has a high score in Word Twist of 141 – 30 points higher than my best score of 111.  Not sure how she did that, because no matter how hard I try, I can’t come close, and believe me, I try.  Did I mention that I’m very competitive?