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Karen Bingle

Girls get new do’s

by on Jun.04, 2016, under Alyssa Bingle, Amber Bingle, Ashley Bingle, Karen Bingle

Most people who know our family know how we tend to eschew haircuts and grow our hair long. I cut my hair for the first time when I was 14, Amber waited until just before she went off to college at 17 and so it made sense for Alyssa to want to cut her hair too. After all, she has the thickest hair in the family and it was getting to the point she kept it up in a bun (a bun almost as big as her head) for most of the time.


Because her first haircut is somewhat of a special event she made sure that we would all be home for the excitement, and cut it off between Christmas and New Years. Mom wanted to shorten her hair up too, and with them both getting their hair cut I decided that 9 years was long enough between trims that maybe I was due to shorten mine up as well.


Shorten for me turned out to be whacking 19 inches off, which was nowhere near Alyssa’s 29 inch donation. Mom shortened her hair by 16 inches and after all of that Amber ended up joining the trend and was able to take off 13 inches to donate as well.

We sent all of our hair to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program, which makes free wigs for cancer patients.


I am still getting used to my shorter hair, it has taken different people a while to notice the change, but I mostly notice how much shorter it takes to dry. Alyssa really enjoys swishing her hair around her shoulders, and how she can brush it back from her face and not have to reach to put it behind her back. She says it’s much nicer not to worry about it getting caught on a doorknob. Amber managed to surprise some of her friends at school with her new ‘do, and I got comments from the little girls at my church, but Alyssa got the best surprised reaction of all. (Makes sense since hers was the most drastic change.) We went to visit our cousins and one of them was admiring her new hair, had Alyssa turn around so she could see the back, and her mother thought she was reading the back of Alyssa’s shirt, until she suddenly realized, “Your hair! It’s gone!” And it is gone, an entire 6 ounces of hair is missing from her head, but everybody agrees that her short hair is adorable. She has even been able to replicate the pigtails she used to wear all the time when she was little.

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by on Feb.17, 2016, under Karen Bingle, Richard Bingle Family

Pretty much anybody who would visit this website already knows, but figured I should post something here as well…

Karen was diagnosed with Stage III Pancreatic Cancer on December 10th.

The cancer is currently inoperable and she has begun aggressive chemotherapy treatments in an attempt to shrink the tumor to the point that surgery is possible, as surgery is the only long term hope.

We would appreciate your thoughts and prayers as we battle this disease.

To get the full story and keep up-to-date on her progress you can follow her fight at her PostHope site. You can even sign up on that site to get notified of any updates she posts.

— Rich

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Halloween 2014

by on Jan.31, 2015, under Alyssa Bingle, Amber Bingle, Ashley Peters, Karen Bingle, Richard Bingle, Richard Bingle Family

Years ago we figured out that a certain number of days after Halloween Target would have their 90% off sale and we would go and pick up some costumes for “dress-up” clothes to play with at home. This was helpful as the kids got older as we used them to supplement their ideas for costumes (which were needed to be out of the house somewhere else if people decided to ring our doorbell).

As time progressed, and Target changed their sale policies, the family has still been able to be creative with their costumes, involving various amounts of time in preparation and thrifty use of materials in their construction. This fascination my family has nurtured these many years has amused me, as it has now expanded to include dressing like a pirate (rewarded by Krispy Kreme’s free dozen “golden rings” for doing so) on Talk Like A Pirate Day (as mentioned in a previous post), and I get to maintain my support, encouragement and “only dress up if I have to” position. So I am pleased to share the efforts of my family for Halloween 2014.

Rich has now established a reputation for wearing Halloween costumes to work and tries to encourage others to participate by figuring out what exactly he is even if they are not willing to dress up themselves. Can you guess what he is?


Ashley, now that she has graduated and entered the employment world, crafted a costume that required less guessing than her father’s.


Amber acquired a wonderful stick early in the semester, which inspired her creation. She found out later it only made sense to certain age groups who were familiar with the Lion King, but she enjoyed spouting off movie quotes which may have been relevant even if they didn’t know who she was.


Alyssa and Kirsten (her cousin) attended our church’s youth group’s party as ninja’s!


Gypsy only likes dressing up for a moment at a time. In other words, she likes to figure out the appropriate way to remove her costume as quickly as possible!


And finally, Alyssa, Rich and I continued the tradition of avoiding being home (and my other favorite tradition of receiving discounts) by dressing up for Booritos at Chipotle.



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Halloween 2013

by on Nov.24, 2013, under Alyssa Bingle, Karen Bingle, Richard Bingle, Richard Bingle Family

This Halloween was my first as an only child! This year, instead of putting on an ordinary costume at the last minute because my whole family has been so busy helping my sisters make theirs, I spent four or five hours on my own costume. For Halloween this year I went to a party at my church for the kids who go to the youth group weekly. The idea was to dress up as a character from your favorite movie or TV show. So after finding out about it at the last minute I decided on dressing as Indiana Jones.


I already had the hat, shirt, boots and satchel. So I went shopping and bought brown pants, but I couldn’t find a good whip so I decided to make one. Problem is we couldn’t find anything to make a whip out of. Monday morning (the day of the party) I began work on a Gaffer’s tape whip.


It took about five hours to finish and you could argue that I wasted the whole day on it but I am proud of my first hand made Halloween costume. Sadly my bull whip was too realistic because everyone I talked to at the party thought it was real and were therefore less impressed than I was hoping they would be. I lost the contest to Snow White’s evil stepmother but the prize wasn’t that important.


Then on Halloween night we went out to Chipotle and had three dollar burrito bowls because we were in costume (dad had gone to work as the Farmer in the Dell so mom dressed as the farmer’s wife).


All in all it was a very interesting Halloween.

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Ashley, Amber and Alyssa naughty!? No presents under the tree?!

by on Dec.20, 2009, under Karen Bingle, Richard Bingle Family

Okay, so maybe that isn’t why there weren’t presents under the tree for them. This year the girls (and Rich and I too) received a Christmas surprise. It was a surprise for the girls because it happened exactly a week before Christmas and they didn’t know about it and hadn’t really figured it out as we meandered aimlessly around Downtown Disney looking for “dinner.” I received the surprise the week before when Rich called the house planning his scheme, having found a Florida resident discount and wanting to know when we might fit it into our December schedule. And Rich received the surprise because it was a family thing to do together, even if he knew about it already. So the surprise was…front row seats to see a performance of Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba at Downtown Disney!


Ashley suspected that we were doing something at Downtown Disney, being aware of our surroundings as we drove there. Amber thought that we might be going to Cirque du Soleil when she saw it as we parked in the parking lot, even though Rich passed it as we walked from the van, heading on towards House of Blues and some semblance of “dinner,” then doubling back to the real destination. Alyssa nicely stayed oblivious and non-assuming, she said it was because we were in a crowd of people and she really couldn’t see, until the gentleman letting down the chain barring the entrance announced “Welcome to Cirque du Soleil!”

Rich was pleased that we were able to get front row seats on the right side of the stage in the lowest section, eliminating the concern that Alyssa, or any of us for that matter, would have someone in front of us obstructing our view. After arriving and taking in our surroundings he was relieved to discover that the stage itself, which most of us could reach with an extended foot, would not make it difficult to see. We were also pleased with the added leg-room. It did present us with a few unique experiences, which I plan to mention when I explain the particular parts of the show. Since you are not allowed to take pictures (something that the usher had to tell the people behind us a couple of times) I found some pictures from the web to illustrate.

The pre-show began at 5:42 when two clowns came out into the walkway, where people were trying to find their seats, carrying a pile of medium sized colored boxes on top of something the size of a large door stretcher fashion between them as the one who made noises to communicate, while the other relied strictly on gestures and facial expressions, whistled like a truck beeping when it backs up. They played with the audience in usual clown fashion: giving someone’s glasses to someone else to protect their eyes from the glare of a bald head; borrowing a camera to take a picture of the camera owner and their friend and continuing to use the camera to take pictures of strangers, a very close-up of the hair on someone’s head, and oops the clowns feet before returning it; piling boxes high upon someone’s lap (much to the alarm of the toddler and toddler’s parents sitting directly in front of the precarious pile); trying to help a couple find their seats, which apparently were on the stage; and finally going back stage with the boxes that got dumped on the stage and needed restacking.


They appeared throughout the rest of the show and had three more acts in which they were the main focus: as astronauts walking on moon with pick axes; as a cowboy and indian; and a mother with and infant in an over-sized baby carriage.

A set of four other performers come out and pretend they are going to play some kind of music. Not receiving enough acknowledgement they leave pretending to be offended, returning with their own entertainment throughout the show as the feature of attention and elsewhere like all the “clown” acts.


After that came our problem of not knowing where to look or when…

The show started with a parade of some of the performers. They came out of a door behind our section spaced a few feet and a few seconds apart, but then they would all be doing their own unique things as they proceeded around the walkway to the door opposite us and disappear. It required a bit of twisting in your seat and the musicians were in the side pillars of the stage which you could occasionally catch a glimpse of. The vocalists changed their location with each act of the show. There were also performers traveling above the ground along the back wall on bicycles, benches, ropes or floating.

Next a cleaning lady, clown, came out followed by what Rich called “mass chaos,” which included most of the performers in the show marching around which chased her off the front of the stage to watch for a while with the crowd (her most memorable part later was when she had to revive the so small as to be invisible frog prince after stepping on him in her excitement and anticipation of kissing him). There was rapid precision marching, synchronized dancing and things to look at all over. They came close to the edge of the stage and gave us our first glimpse of how close we really were.

The first act were some tight-rope walkers. The tight-rope walkers started with a climb up a slanted rope by the man. Then the female walked the length of the horizontal rope (which we almost missed because she started before he had finished). Followed by the male crossing on a bicycle, then returning with the female standing on the male’s shoulders as he walked, the male walked backwards quickly far enough out so that there was room for him to do a flip while still holding his balancing pole and ending with him walking across while she did a one-handed handstand on his head.


The “German wheels” came close to the edge of the stage too and I kept thinking how easy it would be to have the wheels roll where you might not want them to.


The crowd’s obvious favorite was the “Diabolo Girls” cute and never appearing to make any kind of mistake. Though smiling they seemed not really happy, but that was probably due to intense concentration.


The BMX trick bicyclists used a combination of squeaking of the brakes, speed, bright spotlights and surprise to scare us all as they came to a sudden stop right in front of us, most directly in front of Alyssa. We checked the skid marks in the light after the show, though we did not measure how close to the edge it was, I estimate it now to be not more than 2 inches from the edge.


Another main clown was what we called the bird lady. We were not sure about her but it seemed as if she would imitate many of the acts in her own way. She also seems to be a main point of advertisement as I looked for Cirque du Soleil pictures.


Next, two people performed hanging from bars and each other in various ways in an oversized picture type frame that rose up in the air, while ballerinas danced below to give them a chance for a brief rest.


The next act was a main silk scarf aerialist with four sidekicks. Near the beginning of her act she flies in a circle and swoops over the crowd in a breathtaking moment, since this is the only act that there is no safety wires or net, the end of the scarf billows out behind her as she has twisted herself far from the very end. It is at this point that I am concerned that one of us is going to get swapped in the head or something since we are so close. The spotlight shines in our eyes as she goes by and it appears to me, that we are all in the clear and what I was worried about was not allowed to happen. I found out after the show that, though everyone’s head had been alright like I thought, Rich’s shoe had been momentarily caught by the “scarf,” which is actually weighted or at least pretty heavy. He had had his foot up in a comfortable position in our luxury legroom and had been caught, thankfully only briefly. He hoped he had not impeded her progress in anyway and was very careful with his feet for the remainder of that act.

The next act was a guy trying to light a chandelier that was always out of his reach as he balanced on items higher and higher in the air on the table on the platform that also rose up out of the stage.


Then there was the trapeze act that had the performers and their platform directly above us, on the other side of the safety net.

The last act was the trampoline people. Most of the trampolines were located within the stage, others were located near the “building” that they walked up, climbed in and out of the windows of and reached and landed on top of by what seemed like the slimmest margin with very precisely calculated bouncing.


The performers all appeared for the final parade and final applause and it was done at 7:37. A nice time was had by all, even with the scary moments included.

I hope as we all enjoy our undeserved surprises that we are thankful for the best one ever, Jesus!


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