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Monday, August 31, 2009

It IS a Manic Monday...I think

Okay, so let's re-cap a couple of things. First off, my brain never shuts down and so I take Melatonin to help me sleep at night. Here's a note to self...when you take said Melatonin and wake up two hours later coughing up a lung, do NOT take a shot of Nyquil. The result is that you will be in a coma for at least another 12-16 hours. NOT a good feeling.

I'm still unemployed. I'm trying not to get too down about this because so is a large portion of the population. I am not alone. Although, it is sort of a kick in the rear when I have 20 years of retail management experience and cannot get a job bagging groceries!! But it's okay. It's all in God's hands and when the time is right for me to work, He will provide.

I'm in homeschool mom mode this morning and was all set to pull out a can of whup-ass on my boy for being in his room playing his guitar when I had asked him to do his consumer math and wouldn't you know it, he was done with the whole daggone chapter already!! Go Nick!

Speaking of him playing the guitar, I'm sitting here kind of feeling like that dad in the old Twisted Sister video to "We're Not Gonna Take It" where he just yells at his son "You sit around here all day playing that sick, repulsive, electric twanger!! What do you want to DO with your life????" That can't be a good thing.

I did another explosive food shopping yesterday and saved $111 in coupons and store sales. You know, some people want to get their same amount of food for less, I want to spend the same amount of money and get more. When we're trying to save money, I'm not so sure that's the way to go. But my cabinets are very full - there's even lobster tails in the freezer because they were dirt cheap and...well, I like lobster and never get to have it. Again, probably not the smartest choice when trying to save money.

Frank and I went out to dinner alone Friday night because the kids were both sleeping out - miracle of miracles. We went to a steakhouse here in town that we both really enjoy and while the food was awesome, the service was not. So I wrote a letter to the company via their web-site and guess what? We get dinner on the house one night this week! See? It pays to speak up sometimes! Now, had it just been one thing about the service that we didn't like, I would have done nothing. But repeatedly throughout our meal, things went wrong and our waiter was never around! So we'll get to go out again this week. I'm unsure if we'll take the kids or not. Hee, hee.

It's raining.

I miss hanging out with my friends. We need a girls night out soon, ladies!!

All this planning for the Disney talk in October makes me want to go right now!

Now I have to go and beat someone with an electric guitar...have a good day!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Computer Craziness!!!!

It has been well-established that I am not very tech-savvy. I know just enough to be dangerous. Yesterday my computer was just being annoying. It was slow beyond belief, it kept whirring at some high pitch that would slow it down even more, I mean, it was just plain crazy.

Now, I may not know a lot, but I know that there are some things I can do to try and help. First, I do a disc clean up. A basic one. While doing this, I realize that you can do a more in-depth clean by getting rid of programs that you do not use. Okay, great. I do that. Then I use the Advanced Windows Care to optimize my system and then did a disc defragmenting. I am advised to restart the computer from all of the adjustments I made so that they can take effect. All in all, I've been at it almost an hour. I start up the computer again and things are running beautifully. Until...

There is only one real program that Frank uses on the computer other than the internet, and that is Spider Solitaire. Well, it's gone. I mean G-O-N-E. I did a file/disc search and it's gone. Somehow when I did the more in-depth disc cleanup, that went bye-bye. Okay, I can fix this. I know I can. I do a System Restore and get the computer back to where it was TWO days ago (just to play it safe) and sit back with my fingers crossed. I wait, I sign back in, wait for everything to load and...

It's gone.

G-O-N-E

I'm freaking out more than Frank is at this point. I don't understand how this can be and I don't know enough to do anything about it. AND on top of all that, the computer is running like crap again because I put it back the way it was. So NOW I have to do it all AGAIN!! Feeling cocky, I decide to do a security sweep too and get rid of any viruses or spyware that's lingering around and that took two hours to do!

And in the end...still no Spider Solitaire. If anyone cares to come over and find it and get it back on my computer, I would LOVE to cook you a meal. Call me!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

"Hi!"




You Are "Hi"



You are laid back, happy, and cheerful. You are casual, and you stay away from stuffy environments.

You tend to be witty and sharp. You keep other people on their toes.



Energetic and hyper, you tend to be a person of action not of words.

Whenever you have something to say, you communicate it quickly and clearly.

What Greeting Are You?

I got this from Stacie over at Stacie's Madness.

Friday, August 28, 2009

And They All Lived Together On...

My sister totally cracks me up sometimes. She has a theory that most dead celebrities are not really dead, they are merely on what she has dubbed "Elvis Island". Although we've never really discussed this, it would seem that this idea had to originate with Elvis' death and those celebrities of huge stature that have passed on since then.

Now, when Elvis died, the whole world was in shock in disbelief. There was no way that someone larger than life like Elvis could die like the rest of us. Then of course there were all those Elvis sightings. The impersonator's did NOTHING to help this theory along! So who else is on Elvis Island? Well, there's Elvis, Princess Diana, John Lennon, Heath Ledger, River Phoenix, Tupac Shakur, Kurt Cobain (although, I saw the crime scene photo from his death and it would be amazing if he truly were alive on the Island). You'll note that I am only using celebrities that have "died" since Elvis - otherwise the Island would be hugely over-populated.

Who else, who else...John Kennedy Jr. and his wife Caroline, John Belushi, Sam Kinison, and now of course, Michael Jackson. There is a video out there on the internet that supposedly shows Michael getting out of the Coroner's van! I had to check this out for myself and I have to admit, I raised an eyebrow. For about a second.

While yes, this is rather morbid humor and just plain wrong, I guess sometimes we like to think that our movie idols or music idols really are bigger than life and can overcome anything. We don't look at them as human because they don't live like the rest of us do! Surely with all that fame, power and wealth there has to be more. It has to be better. You simply can't DIE!

But sadly, they do. I like the theory of Elvis Island. I would find it truly amazing if one of those celebrities actually pulled it off and disappeared when the rest of the world and the papparazzi would not leave them alone, only to have them reappear some twenty years later. Remember the movie "Eddie and the Cruisers"?

It could happen...

Pyzam Glitter Text Maker



Thursday, August 27, 2009

"Chicken Pot, Chicken Pot, Chicken Pot Pie..."

Sorry, but that title is a quote from a very funny episode of "Just Shoot Me". Nick reminded me of it yesterday while I cooked a couple of meals for a friend. Actually, I used to do a little catering on the side and this gal approached me about making meals for her family while she was going to be out of the country for two weeks. I readily agreed and yesterday found me chained to the kitchen - but in a good way.

I pretty much got right to it as soon as the alarm went off in the morning. I had to make sauce because I was going to be making baked ziti and I was also making chicken pot pie. Both of these meals had to feed 8 people. Now, being Italian, I make Italian food a lot, so there was no way that I was going to make extra of that for us for dinner. That left the pot pie.

OH...
MY...
GOD...

It was so darn good!! I had completely forgotten how much I LOVE a pot pie. I used part of the pot pie recipe that I had gotten off of a Bisquick box years ago - just for the crust. The filling is all mine and it was so good. Seriously, so good that it healed Frank's persistent headache and made my PMS symptom's leave for a while. So it's magical, too!

What makes it so yummy? What can I possibly do that makes it magical? No, I'm not going to say the secret ingredient is love (even though it is), but I will give you the recipe.

1 1/2 pounds of boneless chicken breast
1 Bag of frozen mixed vegetables
1 Cup of shredded Monterey Jack & Colby Cheese
2 Cans of cream of mushroom soup
1 small onion finely minced (use the food processor)
1 Heaping tablespoon of minced or chopped garlic
1 Cup of flour seasoned to taste with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and ground red pepper
2 Cups of Bisquick Mix
1 Cup of Milk
2 eggs
1/2 stick of butter

Okay, cut your chicken in to 1-2 inch squares and coat with the seasoned flour. Melt the butter in a deep skillet with the minced garlic and onion until they start to brown, then add the chicken. Cook chicken until all pieces are browned and cooked almost completely through.

In a large bowl, put the mixed vegetables, cheddar cheese and cream of mushroom soup. When the chicken is done, add it to the bowl and mix together well so that the cream of mushroom soup has coated everything. Pour mixture in to a well greased 9x13 baking dish.

In another bowl mix together the Bisquick, milk and eggs and pour over the chicken and vegetable mixture. Bake on 350 for 30-40 minutes or until the crust is firm and browned.

Serve and enjoy. This is actually even better in the winter time but I'll tell you what, I hate left overs and I ate this today for lunch too! So, so good...

Pyzam Glitter Text Maker



Tuesday, August 25, 2009

And Now for the News...

I have a ritual on weekday mornings. The alarm goes off at 6:15, I groan, I mumble, I swear that I am going to start homeschooling Michael so that I won't have to get up at such and un-Godly hour, stumble out of bed and shut off the alarm. As I collapse back on to the bed, I click on the TV with the remote and start watching the early morning local news.

Early morning news seems a little less formal than any other newscast and for that reason alone, I enjoy it. I'm not a political person, I'm not one to get in to great debates about what is going on in the world but there are few things happening out there right now that I just ...well, I just cannot believe.

Here's the top five news stories that have me riled up:
1. Michael Jackson Homicide. You know, it's all very, very sad. The world has lost a great musical icon. But this just shows you that no matter how much money you have, you are no better off. I mean, it took tons of medication just for this man to be able to sleep and just because of who he was, doctors were willing to risk their careers, their licenses, to give him what he wanted. "He demanded the medication" someone said. Um, excuse me, the man weighed like 100 pounds fully clothed, I don't think he was a real threat to anyone who said no. So who's to blame? I think there are a slew of doctors to blame and I think each and every one of them should be held accountable. For murder? No. For homicide? I'm not sure. But they sure need to answer to an ethics committee of some sort and have their licenses taken away.

2. The President's on vacation. Um, it must be nice after putting us in even greater debt as a country than we already were to go on vacation to a house that cost $30,000 a WEEK!! Yes, a week. So while I'm sitting here unable to find a damn job and my husband is out of work and I'm watching friends in the same position and some of them LOSING their homes, our leader is jetting off to the Vineyard. Oh, but wait...the $30,000? Well, he's paying for their share of the house. What exactly does that even mean?? I'm sorry but if you are so concerned for our country and for leading us, how about leading by example and not flaunting the extravagant lifestyle? On Saturday when that hurricane was barreling the coast, people were DYING! And you know what the real hurricane story was? The president's vacation had to be delayed. Boo-freakin-hoo.

3. Lockerbie bomber set free. I will never, ever, ever understand the judicial system. It is not set up, it seems, anywhere to protect the VICTIMS. It is set up to protect and coddle the criminals. This person served a total of what? Eight years? Wouldn't it be nice if all of those people who got blown up on that Pan Am flight got to come back and join their families after eight years? No one seems to take that in to consideration. This man is dying of cancer and got a compassionate release/transfer, whatever. Where was the compassion for those people on that plane? Oh, wait, there was none.

4. Jon and Kate. Oh-My-Gosh...if I have to hear yet another story about Jon and Kate and how he is out partying, dating, lying, cheating, I mean really? Who cares?

5. The Fiore/Jenkins case. This is just absolutely horrible. I mean, disgustingly horrible. Two lives completely wasted; each ended in horrible circumstances and quite possibly by the same hand - his. I was reading out there on another blog - and I'm sorry I can't remember whose - but basically she was saying that you have to be pretty darn angry and psychotic to not only kill your spouse but do rip out their teeth!! I mean, CRAZY. But I think what really bothers me the most about these two people and this case is that they were brought together because of completely shallow and superficial reasons! She wanted a millionaire and he wanted a model. Yikes! I can understand this marriage heading for a quickie divorce but it just seems bizarre that it had to end this heinously. Very, very sad.

I'm hoping to try and focus on some good news for the remainder of the week. Or perhaps I'll just skip the morning news and move on to something more productive...like checking my e-mails. There hasn't been anything bizarre there for at least a couple of weeks!

Pyzam Glitter Text Maker



Really???

There is a weird phenomenon that keeps reoccurring in life around here. If I am shopping somewhere, I could be in a line of 100 people, the cashier will be nasty to ME. No one else, just me. It happens mostly in mall-type stores. I can deal with the Target or Walmart cashiers and for the most part, they're friendly.

If there are 100 cars driving down the road with multiple violations happening, Frank will be the one pulled over. It's almost unreal how it happens. He's even been pulled over while parked!! I think some cop at some point must have put a tracking device on his car that sends out signals for when cops need to hit their ticket quota for the month - Frank is the go-to guy! What I find weird about that is that it is never for anything major! Seriously, it's the no inspection thing, or tail light is out, you swerved to miss a squirrel...it's endless.

Today's "Cops" moment came in the form of the drive to school. Michael is in year-round school and has been back in session for 7 weeks now. Today was back to school day for the masses in traditional calendar schools. We have a route that we drive that doesn't put us on any main roads and for the most part it is a quick and uneventful drive.

Until today.

They opened up a new high school today. This is taking place of the old high school that is right around the corner from us that is undergoing renovations. So basically what this has done is shifted traffic from one side of town to the other. My husband was not aware of this. So off he goes on his cranky...I mean, merry way, and I was starting to get alarmed when 45 minutes went by and he wasn't home. The trip takes 30 minutes TOPS. Well, I finally hear the car door - SLAM! Then came the front door - SLAM!! I was actually curled back up in the bed with a backache but I figured all hope of rest just ended.

"What's the matter?" I asked. Sometimes I need to remember to just play dead and hope that the danger goes away! He starts pacing and waving his arms and goes in to detail about how the traffic was backed up for three miles on that quiet little back road and how they were only going like ten miles an hour, bumper to bumper, he needs to find a new route. Oh, and did I mention the cop that was in front of him? So, in bumper to bumper traffic, this cop, a female cop no less, puts her car in park, flips on the lights and gets out to confront my husband!

"Do you think you're going to move me along any faster?" she asked.

???

I'm sorry, but if all of the cars are driving BUMPER TO BUMPER what exactly would you recommend he do? Our son was fifteen minutes late for school, traffic was moving at a snails pace and she gets out of the car to confront Frank? So Frank explains that he's just moving along with the flow of traffic and she says "This is your final warning. Next time you'll get a ticket!"

Um, Final Warning? Wouldn't that constitute that there were previous warnings? Now I know my husband. I know that in these types of traffic scenarios he's borderline obnoxious with the tailgating. But for this woman to put the car in park and get out when there is a CLEAR delay all around them, to me, was a bit ridiculous. Frank said that he witnessed her waving her arms around in the cop car during most of the ride like she was as frustrated as the rest of them. But should this person who is so clearly easily agitated be allowed to ride around - with a gun - if a traffic jam gets her this worked up?

Yet another banner morning in Stace's world.

Pyzam Glitter Text Maker



Monday, August 24, 2009

Have You Ever Noticed That...

You know, there are certain TV shows or movies that I can watch over and over and over again and never get tired of. In the movie category, my top 5-never-gets -old are:
1. When Harry Met Sally (the cab scene cracks me up every time!)
2. Scrooged (Bill Murray wandering the streets talking to himself? Priceless!)
3. Young Frankenstein (Wasn't that hump...?)
4. Galaxy Quest (Oh, that's not right!)
5. Murder by Death (Two-two-Twain's House!)

If I could, I'd be staying up all night right now watching them all in marathon form. In the television department, I am a sitcom girl. The top 5 there are:
1. Friends
2. Just Shoot Me
3. The Nanny
4. The Odd Couple
5. Wings

You'll notice that none of these are on the air anymore so when I find them in re-runs, it's very exciting. To be honest, we own all ten seasons of Friends on DVD and it's nice to just pop them in once in a while and get my "fix".

My teenage son has found a show that he now can watch over and over and over and he is slowly sucking my will to live. We normally agree on all things TV. We can plop down together and laugh ourselves silly to anything together. But his latest obsession is "Seinfeld". Don't get me wrong, it is a funny show. It just that...well, it just kind of grates on my nerves after a very short time. It was funny-okay to me when it was on the air, and there are maybe a handful of episodes that I still crack up over, but for the most part, I'm done with it. Nick is borrowing a season or two at a time from a friend and every time I turn around, there it is. I'll be in the kitchen and BAM! there's the theme song. I'm walking through the dining room and BAM! "Have you ever noticed that...?" On and on and on it goes!

I can't wait for him to get through all of the seasons and be done with it. Just another reason why being at home sucks!

Pyzam Glitter Text Maker



Sunday, August 23, 2009

Super Sunday Savings...

So it's Sunday and it was food shopping day. I mentioned not too long ago that I'm getting all back in to couponing and all that and so after four hours of work yesterday, my coupons are sorted and organized in a big binder. Who knew that it was going to be such a production!!

I went through all of the sales fliers, went on line to the two stores I would be going to and made the list of all of the things that they had that I wanted, I checked with Instasave and E-Vic to get my extra saving. For those of you who are big on discounting and all of that, brace yourselves. I quit the Grocery Game. I know, I know. I may regret it somewhere down the line. But I was three weeks in to my four week trial and not once did I find anything that I use on there that I hadn't already found myself. So I'm saving the $5-$10 a month and doing the legwork myself.

I left home with my binder, lists and calculator. I felt like such a nerd! I hit store number one - Harris Teeter. They had a TON of BOGO's on stuff that I actually use so this was a great time to stock up. Keep in mind, we are a family of four - essencially three adults and one child who eats as much as, if not more than the adults. On weeks that I purchase cleaning products and everything along with the food, I spend close to $200 and I STILL end up back in the store at some point during the week!

I get through HT in about 35 minutes and paid a total of $106 BUT I had SAVED $127!!! I was so psyched!! On to store number two - Lowes Foods. Not as many BOGO's but still some great sales plus I get my gas points there. So I go and breeze through the store in 30 minutes, fill up my cart and paid a total of $101 and saved $66!!

When I got home I had to rearrange the ENTIRE kitchen because I now essentially have two weeks worth of food for the same amount of money I spend on one week!! How cool is that?

I wonder if there's anything to eat?

Pyzam Glitter Text Maker



Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Quest for Disney Continues

I think I've mentioned that a good friend and I are doing a Disney-talk at our church's annual Women's Day in October. The theme is how to plan a great Disney vacation for less. We are both absolute fanatics about The World and so this is right up our alley.

So we started plotting and planning a little over a month ago and split the topics up between us and got the whole shebang under way. That was where my map dilemma came in and the Disney Company saved the day by offering us some free lithographs. They are adorable.

So feeling spunky and successful in that quest, I contacted my friend Ric over at the Magic for Less Travel (he ALWAYS gets me the best vacation deals) and asked if they would be willing to send us some promotional stuff for the talk. And they are. Thank you, Ric!

Okay, so now I'm just about bursting at the seams at all of the information we will be able to give these ladies and how we might now have to invest in gift bags, we decide to take a field trip to the Disney Store. I know, weird to think of it that way but we brought the kids along and so it made it seem like a little adventure. So we go, we look around and see what kinds of brochures and pamphlets they have to offer and we finally get to speak to a manager who was very, very nice. He gave us a bundle of brochures and told us that there was a planning guide that was coming in in three weeks and that he would put 50 aside for us. Bless you, kind little Disney man!!

Now I'm feeling out and out bold and ask it they have any old posters or displays that were getting ready to be thrown away that we could have. Hey, at this point in the planning process our motto has become "You have not, because you ask not". So I asked. It turns out (and this is just BIZARRE to me!) that he - as the manager of the store - is contractually obligated to DESTROY any and all promotional displays when they are done with them. Not even the employees get to have them. Two people have to go to the dumpster/compactor and DESTROY these things!!! I'm sorry, but I think that Disney would make a FORTUNE on selling these items. I know I would have bought a thing or two! If that spinning Mickey Mouse or Peter Pan sitting up there near the ceiling were for sale, they would SO be in my house right now! I just thought it was all a little extreme.

We meet again on Monday to plot, plan and discuss all-things-Disney. It's going to be the BEST day.

Pyzam Glitter Text Maker



Friday, August 21, 2009

Maybe If David Cassidy Were There...

You know, it has been a ROUGH week for me. I mean seriously. There have been sleepless nights, early mornings, crazy random thoughts screaming in my brain, bug bombings...I mean, rough. But yesterday pretty much topped it all and this morning I feel as if I have been dragged behind a bus.

Yesterday Nick had to take his college entrance exam. Yes, he's still a senior homeschooler, but he can now be dual enrolled at the community college. We left the house at 7:55, drove to the college in the morning rush hour traffic, found place to park, walked around the campus a little and at 8:45 he was whisked off. I was told that this test would take anywhere from 2-3 hours. Oh, but let me stop there for a minute...

You see, to most people, I am an encourager. I enjoy encouraging people. I enjoy talking with people who are struggling and encourage them. When it comes to my son? It's like I'm waving pom-poms covered in poo. The boy just makes me CRAZY! I mean, he didn't prep for this test the way I wanted him to because he knows it all. Why didn't he prep? Because (and I quote) "it's okay to fail - because you really can't fail a placement test." Um, great logic except that you CAN fail by not being smart enough to take even remedial college courses!! So he's arguing with me that I have to tell him that it's okay to fail. Um, no. Sorry, but this option of being okay with failing is not an option to me. There comes a time in life where you just have to put in the effort and NOT FAIL. I do not want another DMV incident, you know? So we argue, he's mad that I won't say that it's okay to fail and as we're walking in to the administration building, I feel bad but there's nothing I can say because I refuse to lie to him. Was that a bad mom moment? I'm not sure...

But back to the story...they whisk him away and now I am unsure what I am supposed to do. So I look at the receptionist and she gives me a big smile and says that I can go...I can leave...I don't have to sit and wait...OMG!!! I have free time on my hands for at least two hours!!! This is even more glorious than you can imagine because Frank has had NO work this week and has been around me every second of every day and I'm ready to start tearing the skin off of my body. Ick.

So I'm in the car, all giddy with possibilities - the Partridge Family Theme is playing in my head for some unknown reason - and I make my first stop the Super Target. Do you have any idea how peaceful the Super Target is at 9:00 in the morning? It is GLORIOUS! I strolled. I browsed. I got lots of little items on clearance. Life was good. After an hour there I headed across the street to the mall and did the tour of Archiver's (my favorite scrapbook supply store) and then hit Barnes and Noble - always a favorite. Now it's about 10:40 and I figure I should start heading back to the school just in case he's done early. By this time, I've done about 2 miles of walking between the campus, the Target and the mall and I'm feeling a bit tired. I stop for gas on the way back to the school and while I am finishing pumping, my phone rings. I'm torn between the phone and the pump so I decide to put the pump away quick and get a gasoline bath on my hand! I don't normally mind the smell of gasoline but I didn't want to go and meet wtih a college advisor smelling like a gas pump! It was Nick, he was done, come get him. He gave me no clue as to how the test went.

HE PASSED!!! Everything except part of the math. Sigh. He is SO my son. Go ahead, Cathleen, and laugh. Yes, my son can't do the math either.

But we chose to celebrate the victory and went to lunch and had the biggest Bison burgers I had ever seen! They were delicious! Next we headed over to another one of the college campus' where he'd be taking a bulk of his classes to meet with an advisor. She did not advise very much. It was a 30 minute drive, a 15 minute walk...I'm exhausted now - particularly after the yummy and filling lunch. We leave there and try to think of someplace to go. Why? Because Frank was bug-bombing the living room ONE MORE TIME in hopes of getting the last of the bugs. Sigh. So we go to the library to try and get some books to help prepare the boy for next semester (we were too late to get him in for this semester). We kill around 30 minutes there after the 30 minute drive to GET there. Still more time needed to kill. Now we go to the dentist to make him an appointment because his wisdom teeth are hurting. Check. Done. Still need more time to kill. Okay, we go and get his hair cut. Check. Done. At this point, he's got to get to work so he was a few minutes early but I did not care. GET OUT OF THE CAR!!! I AM SO DONE!!!

Now on to home to help clean up the bug-bomb debris, do laundry, generally clean house - all with a migraine at this point. I get to rest for a little while until...wait for it...I have to go to Open House at Michael's school to meet the teacher. The don't let you in until they are good and ready so there was lots of sweating and bug swatting in the meantime. Fun, fun times. We meet the teacher, she speed talks like me, we leave and as we're walking out, we talk with some dear friends. That was a highlight, I love talking to my friends.

I realize at this point that no one has eaten dinner. Michael, being my opinionated eater, did not want the Chinese food that was right next door to the school. Oh, no. He wanted McDonalds. Okay, I can do this. Sort of. I place the order to the Chinese place, drive to the McDonald's behind EVERY slow-ass driver on the planet, get stuck behind the guy who apparently NEVER saw a McDonald's menu and finally, FINALLY got back to get the Chinese food. I sent Michael in and guess what? They could not find my order. OH COME ON!!! After ten minutes, they sort it out, I've got my food and I realize that I have to pick Nick up from work in 20 minutes. What do I do? I mean, I COULD go home, drop Michael off, shovel my Chinese food down my throat before I cry from sheer frustration, OR I can go and just drive to the store and wait.

I chose to go and wait. Michael ate his McDonald's in the car. I went in to the supermarket and found Nick and pretty much threatened him that if he took even an extra SECOND to speak to anyone when his shift was over, I would leave him there. He's like "Did I do something wrong?" I'm like "No, it's just been a long, long day and I just want to go home." I mean, in all fairness, it's almost 8:30 at night and my Partridge Family Theme song is starting to mock me!

We DID finally get home. We DID finally eat dinner. Praise the LORD!!! Where was Frank during all of this merriment? Off playing with the band, the lucky SOB. I'm crying in the Chinese food parking lot and he's off banging the drum and having a grand ol' time!! I sat down at the computer to work on my Disney presentation that I'm doing with a friend in October and at 11:15 I finally dragged my near-lifeless body to bed. This morning...my body is severely protesting any kind of movement.

I have to volunteer at the school at 11:30....what was I thinking????

Pyzam Glitter Text Maker



Thursday, August 20, 2009

Let's Do the Time Warp Again!

You know how every once in a while you're having a conversation and a line from a movie comes to mind that would just go right there perfectly? I had such an instance tonight.

There are the popular movie lines that people use like "I'll be back!" from the Terminator or "ET Phone Home!" from E.T. There are classic lines like "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn" from Gone with the Wind or "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore" from The Wizard of Oz.

But tonight, tonight...I pulled something rather obscure from the air and it fit so totally perfectly in to the conversation that Frank and I laughed heartily while the kids just looked at us like we had gone insane. I love that look!

We're finishing up dinner and talking to Nick about his college entrance exam that he is taking in the morning. We were talking about nerves and how nervous he gets and I compared it to his first day of work. This led to a lengthy discussion of what "technically" was his first day of work. After about ten minutes of tenseness - orientation wasn't the first day, the first day at the register was his first day, according to him - Frank put his fork down and looked at me and said...
"It's Astounding!"

(Hee-hee, here's where my random thought process from Wednesday morning kicked in. Teens of the late 70's and 80's sing along!)

So I then looked him right back in the eyes and in all seriousness said - "Time is fleeting...Madness takes its toll...But listen closely...Not for very much longer...I've got to keep control" and at that point we just broke out laughing!

I mean, the the boy's argument was astounding, time truly WAS fleeting and I wanted to get up! But the discussion wasn't ending any time soon which was when madness was beginning to take it's toll on me, and OH! how I wish he would listen closely!! I knew the conversation couldn't go much longer and that, as the rational adult in the conversation, I had to keep my cool!

So here's to you Rocky Horror Picture Show!! I thank you for 29 years later, STILL bringing laughter and song in to my home!! For those of you still unsure of what I'm referring to, those are the introductory lyrics to "Time Warp" from Rocky Horror.

Ah, good times...

Pyzam Glitter Text Maker



Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Weird Things in my Head at Four in the Morning...

First of all, let me say thank you to all of you who left me comments yesterday about my EC frustrations. They were all greatly appreciated. I found myself dropping a bit differently today and dropping a few more comments. That in itself was kind of nice because I usually just, you know, glance, at other sites, but this morning I actually stopped and read.

The fact that I was wide awake at 4:30 in the morning with nothing but time on my hands didn't hurt either!

So while I was cruising, I came to one of my faves, "Look it's Megryansmom"
and was reading her post when she asked who used to say "really big shoe". Amazingly enough, my brain was working and I said Ed Sullivan. Talk about before my time but I always remember people who imitated Ed Sullivan using that quote. Weird what kind of stuff lingers around in my brain. I can't remember to pay the phone bill but I can remember a tag line from the Ed Sullivan Show! Anyway, if you get a chance, go and check out her blog. She's really quite comical and always makes me smile.

And why was I awake at 4:30 in the morning? No, I don't enjoy getting up before the sun but honestly, there was no fighting it this morning. Remember two months back when we had the whole bed bug thing? Well, we thought it was solved - at least in our room it was. Not too long ago, Nick mentioned getting a bite or two and lately Frank says he's getting bites while on the couch. Okay, let me just stop right there and SCREAM!! We are not dirty people!! Honestly!! This is freaking me out. So we bombed the house with an actual bed bug bomb. It took almost two hours to take apart everything and dismantle to get ready to bomb, we had to be out of the house for two and a half hours and then it took another three hours to put it all back together!! It was a wild day! We took all of the bedding and stuff to the laundromat to wash and dry it while we had to be out of the house.

We came home, did what we had to do and breathed a huge (slightly foggy) sigh of relief. At 4:15 this morning, Frank came to bed. I rolled over, grunted at him for breathing and waking me up, got up to pee and when I crawled back in to bed I asked him if he'd been awake all this time. Yes. Why? I asked.

He had a bug on his arm while on the couch.

Son of a.....!!!

Now I start to itch all over and can't go back to sleep. Okay, deep cleansing breaths. Now I have to sneeze. This makes me realize that in all of the cleaning hooplah, I never dusted our room. This makes me think of the silk flower arrangement not far from the bed and I wonder what is the best way to clean it? Which then leads to me thinking about where I got most of those flowers in the arrangement and remember that they are from my bridal bouquet that a very nice young florist did for me who was referred to me by my step-mother who is on Hospice in a nursing home and not expected to live much longer and then I wonder who will speak at her memorial and I think of some of the things I would share with people - like how she saved Nick's life when he was a baby. This brings me to Nick who has to work early this morning and I'm the one who has to drive him to work and I wonder, did he take a shower before going to bed? Now I'm thinking shower, thinking bathroom, and realize that I need to pee again.

So I'm up and mobile and figure that my brain is just not going to shut down so I come out here to the computer and remember that Ed Sullivan used to say "Really big shoe".

I need a nap...

Pyzam Glitter Text Maker



Tuesday, August 18, 2009

State of Confusion - Entrecard Edition

I have a terrible habit of not reading directions. I mean, I LOOK at the directions, I even SCAN the words on the page. But flat out read them? No. So when I first started this blog, I took the advice of a friend who was like "super-blogger" to me, and put Entrecard on my site. Entrecard is that little square that you see either on the top left corner of the page or over on the right and it says "Drop" on the bottom of it.

So I installed the EC and waited for the magic. The website has a book that you download to explain it all, but I chose not to look at it. What I did not know for the first 6-8 months was that I actually had to actively participate in this. I had to go to other peoples blogs with EC ads and click on them. Okay, I was doing like 25 a day. Then I realized you could do up to 300. Now we're cooking! I have a steady list of 300 blogs that I click on each day to give myself credit so that I can advertise on other people's blogs.

Now here's the problem...I so do NOT understand the "rating" system that EC uses. I mean, each and every blog that participates in EC is put in to a category of your choosing. Check. Mine is under "Trends". The more you click, the more EC credits you get - up to 300 a day for clicking. Then every time someone clicks on one of your ads, you get credit that way too. Okay, on this I am all clear.
What I DON'T get or understand is the popularity rating and how they come up with the pricing. This is a great mystery to me. The logical part of me thinks that the most popular blogs get the highest pricing. This doesn't appear to be so. AND how does one get to BE popular?? I mean, I know that my little blog isn't the most amazing thing out there but I look at some of the others that have higher pricing and popularity than mine and think "REALLY??"

That was mean, and I'm sorry.

But seriously, I don't understand how this all works! I have finally downloaded the darn guide. I might even pick it up and read it. I'm clicking, I'm leaving comments, I'm reading, I post new stuff on my site almost daily - this is a HUGE problem for me because there are some sites out there that have not updated their content in MONTHS and STILL have a high popularity rating! How could that be? Their content wasn't that riveting to begin with so how could it maintain it's popularity for so long?

I am so confused...I'm home all day with nothing to do but laundry, Frank has no work so he's going to be hovering over my every move like "What'cha doin?" all the live-long day and all I want is to know how to make my little blog go up in popularity a bit!!!

Pyzam Glitter Text Maker



Monday, August 17, 2009

Annoying Conversation #822

Okay, so there was a short span of time between annoying conversations but all good things come to an end, I guess.

So tonight we're all just hanging around the house - Michael's in his room playing the X-Box while Frank, Nick and I are in the living room just talking. I remind Frank that Michael needs to shower. This is a big "to-do" in our house because it is yet another thing that Michael does not care about and tends to pitch a fit when asked to take one. So we call him in to the room, let him know what is expected, joke with him for a minute and Frank tells him he's got 15 minutes to finish up his game before he has to get in the shower.

The teenager looks at us as if we had just handed the child a shot of Tequila and sent him on his way. So we're like "What?" He sits up a little straighter and was like "When I was a kid, I NEVER got 15 minutes before I had to do something! I had to do everything RIGHT NOW! You never make him do anything right away."

OY!!

The next few minutes are spent yelling, I mean EXPLAINING (loudly) that A.) It is so not cool to be this petty, B.) It is also ridiculous to be jealous of your nine year old brother, and C.) Um...You are TWO different people, not the same, but DIFFERENT. Deal with it!!

It seems like such a simple concept, right? There are TWO children, not one. We are dealing with TWO very distinct personalities that do not resemble each other at all. Each situation is completely different from one another. He tried telling us that we used to take the video game away from him for a month at a time and we did it TEN TIMES (of this he was most emphatic) by the time he was nine. This is quite hysterical to me because I don't think we even GOT a game system until he was eight. In order for us to punish him this often, he would have been without the game for about 10 months out of the year! You also have to understand that the times that he actually DID get the game taken away it was because he became obsessive about the game and could not live in the real world with the three-dimensional people!

I just did Nick's high school transcripts for him today (remember, we homeschool him) and he's got a GPA of 3.27, so he's not stupid. He IS, however, petty and jealous of his younger brother. It all goes back to him not forgiving us for not letting him stay an only child. Sorry, dude, your brother is NOT going back! I could see if they were closer in age, but this kind of nonsense is just...well, it's nonsense. You cannot punish two different people the exact same way. No two offenses committed by two different people are exactly the same. I am unsure how to get this point across to him but it's just yet another fun-filled, happy day in our house.

Fun freakin times...

Pyzam Glitter Text Maker



Sunday, August 16, 2009

More than you might want to know...well, maybe...

Okay, so I found this over at Fort Thompson and it just made me smile! Check out their site sometime, it's a good one!

Rules:


1. You can ONLY answer Yes or No.
2. You are NOT ALLOWED to explain ANYTHING unless someone comments and asks!

Questions:

Kissed any one of your Facebook friends? yes

Been arrested? no

Been in a fight? yes

Fallen fast for someone? yes

Regretted a relationship? yes

Been in a tornado? no

Fallen asleep at work/school? no

Ran a red light? yes

Experienced love at first sight? yes

Totaled your car/motorbike in an accident? no

Been fired from a job? no

Fired somebody? no

Sang karaoke? no

Pointed a gun at someone? no

Done something you told yourself you wouldn't? yes

Laughed until something you were drinking came out your nose? yes

Caught a snowflake on your tongue? yes

Kissed in the rain? yes

Swam in the ocean? yes

Been to a concert? yes

Laughed till you cried? yes

Sang in the shower? yes

Smoked a cigar? no

Sat on a rooftop? no

Smuggled something into another country? no

Been pushed into a pool with all your clothes? no

Broken a bone? yes

Skipped school? yes

Got a speeding ticket? yes

Eaten a bug? no

Sleepwalked? no

Walked a moonlit beach? yes

Rode a motorcycle / dirt bike? yes

Dumped someone? no

Seen a baby born? yes

Lied to avoid a ticket? yes

Ridden in a helicopter? no

Shaved your head? no

Played a prank on someone? yes

Hit a home run? no

Felt like killing someone? yes

Cross dressed? no

Been falling down drunk? yes

Made your girlfriend/boyfriend cry? no

Marched/Protested? no

Had Mexican jumping beans for pets? yes

Puked on an amusement ride? no

Seriously & intentionally boycotted something? no

Been in a band? no

Knitted or crocheted? no

Been on TV? yes

Shot a gun? yes

Skinny dipped? yes

Gave someone stitches? no

Eaten whole jalapeno pepper? no

Ridden a surfboard? no

Drank straight from a liquor bottle? no

Had surgery? yes

Streaked? no

Taken by ambulance to hospital? no

Tripped on mushrooms? no

Passed out when not drinking? no

Peed outside? yes

Donated blood? yes

Grabbed electric fence? no

Eaten alligator meat? yes

Eaten cheesecake? yes

Eaten a kids' Halloween candy? yes

Killed an animal when not hunting? yes

Peed your pants in public? no

Snuck into a movie without paying? no

Written graffiti? no

Still love someone you shouldn't? no

Think about the future? yes

Been in handcuffs? yes

Believe in love? yes

Sleep on a certain side of the bed? yes


When put this way, there seems to be a lot of things that I have not experienced!! And it's okay!! Have a great weekend, everyone!!

Pyzam Glitter Text Maker



Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Tides They Are A Turnin'!

As you know, I have two sons that are eight years apart. Sometimes it's hard to compare them because there is such an age difference. Nick was always super friendly, very talkative and you could take him anywhere. I GET him.

Michael is not as social, he's more emotional and not so easy to take around with me. There are times that I look at him and just think...??? But Michael, for all of his little quirks, was the snuggler. Oh, how I love the mornings because he would just come in and snuggle and truly want to be there. I knew I should cherish each and every one of those moments because they wouldn't last long. Well, that's what everyone told me but I refused to believe it.

Well I believe it NOW!

Lately, my sweet little snuggler is quite the grouch in the morning - particularly on school mornings. He yells at me and has flat out told me "No" when I asked if he was coming in to snuggle. Now, I know, I know, he's nine and he was bound to outgrow this, but he didn't have to be so nasty about it!

Then there's school. He's never been a big fan of school but he would go and come home and when I would ask how his day was, he's say it was good and that would be it. Now that question is met with a "good...but". Oy. When it's time for homework, it is a MAJOR power struggle with a ton of "I don't CARE about homework!"

Um, where did my sweet little boy go and who let this argumentative little person who resembles my child in?? I have to admit, I'm having a hard time adjusting to this. I know that kids grow up and I remember when Nick went from being a sweet little boy to an argumentative...person, but I thought he was little bit older than nine, like maybe twelve or thirteen.

This is not good...

Pyzam Glitter Text Maker



Friday, August 14, 2009

Blog Awards and All Stace Updates


TGIF, my friends! T-G-I-F!! Grampy from Grampy and You blessed me this week with this wonderful award. Thank you, Grampy!! You know I was in need of a little blog-love. This is the "Loyal Friend and Visitor Award." Way cool, definitely. Okay, so here are the rules:

1. Copy the loyal picture
2. Pass it to who you think is/are deserving.
3. Leave a message to them
4. Pass as many as you want.
5. Message back or leave a comment to the owner.

I am passing this onto: (drumroll please)

1. A. Marie at My Money Mission Online (I do love her so!)
2. PJ over at PJ's Prose
3. Lola over at Lola's Diner
4. Jenn at My Kids Are My World
5. Sherri at Luv a Bargain

You guys always make me smile with your words of encouragement that you send my way.

Also something new going on over here at All Stace is that All Stace is now on Amazon's Kindle! I KNOW!! How cool is that. Check out the link on the right side of my page here to check it out. If you are the lucky owner of a Kindle, you know that you can purchase e-books to read on there, newspapers and whatnot, but now you can also have BLOGS on there! I know, I know, technology is AWESOME!!

So here's my thing, I am trying desperately to get some good reviews of my blog posted on Amazon.com. If you're feeling generous, why not mosey on over there and leave a nice comment and perhaps - only if you really, really love me - clicking on a 5 star rating. I'm giving you all sad puppy dog eyes right now but don't let that sway you. Well, maybe just a little!

I did a five mile walk today. Woo-hoo!! I was feeling the burn - all the way to the box of Krispy Kreme Triple Chocolate Cupcakes. If you have not tried these yet, my friends, and love all things chocolate, well, these bad-boys are for you. They are chocolate cake with a cream filling, chocolate icing and chocolate sprinkles - hence, the "triple chocolate" right in the title. These have the possiblitly of replacing my love of the Hostess Cupcake. I can't be 100% positive, I may have to eat a few more to honestly and truly KNOW if they are the ones for me, but I'm telling you right now, I am looking forward to the sugar coma. But back to the walk...I lost a little of my umph in mile 4 but plodded on to finish AND (get this) I found out that I could still - 20 years later - do a split! How cool is that? And yes, it was an intentional split! My friend's daughter was talking about her dance class and how she cannot do a split because it hurts her hips too much. So I was watching how she was doing it and said "Well, I used to do it like this..." - all the while thinking that I'd get down about half way and, being 40, that would be okay. But I made it!!! I called Frank later and let him know. Oh, the possibilities...

OH! Remember a few weeks ago when I mentioned that I was looking for those Disney maps and no one seemed to know where to get them? Well, it turns out they were promotional and there are no more left. But after a GREAT conversation with Janelle over at Hollywood Studios PR department, I am getting a box of limited edition lithographs from the Disney Company to give out at the Disney seminar my girlfriend A.D. and I are doing in October!! Big hug to the Disney Company. Who - in case we forgot - is still my number one choice to sponsor me for BlogHer 2010 or perhaps thank me for the countless hours I have spent promoting them to the masses with a lovely trip for two to Disney World. I'd say for four but I don't want to come off sounding greedy.

So there you have it, kids. Thank you again, Grampy. You are an angel. I'm still feeling blessed. Life is good. Krispy Kreme donuts ROCK!!



Pyzam Glitter Text Maker



Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dear Family...

Dear Family,

As many of you now know, I have a blog. It started out as my own personal thing but then it grew. As you all also know, writing has forever been my passion. I've written many books, short stories, newsletter articles, etc. - none of which have been published. This blog is my only published work.

As a member of this family for 40 years now, what I have noticed is that we are a rather volatile bunch. We tick each other off repeatedly, talk behind one another's backs, get angry, stop speaking for periods of time and then finally move on. And through it all, I think that we all always knew that we loved one another.

One of the reasons that I started this blog, besides my love of writing, was so that I could vent my frustrations in the moment. Most of the things that I write about here are MY issues - not yours, but MINE. Something happens, I get upset or whatever and then I write. It is therapeutic to ME. My intention was never to hurt anyone. These were my feelings that were put out there. My joys, my sorrows, my disappointment with situations. Not one word that I wrote was false - they may not have been flattering to anyone or pretty, but they were never false. I mean, I KNOW you guys have issues with me, as well, it's not just a one-sided thing. You chose to talk to each other about me, I chose to write.

Thanks to one individual's actions, you are now ALL aware of this blog and my every emotion that I ever had in the last year and a half about every situation. I mean, this site is public knowledge but for the most part, most of you never paid much attention to it. Until recently. So I am sorry if things that I have written here have offended or upset anyone. I'm not going to take any more posts down. None of them were written to be hateful, they were merely written when I was upset about something. The person who is distributing them is the one that is hateful.

I did not want to have things come to this but being that certain situations aren't going away, I thought it best to put this out there. I really do love you all. I don't understand you sometimes, just like you don't understand me. Like I said, most of the time, things are said behind my back. This blog just sort of put it all out there.

Do with this information what you will. Just know that I love you.

Love, Stace

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Thankful Heart I Give...

Fourteen years ago, I moved away from the only life I had ever known for a chance to start over. I had never lived more than fifteen minutes away from my family and didn't realize how dependent I was on their precence until I moved away. But God had a bigger plan for me and has shown me how wonderful life can be.

I am sitting here a thankful woman today. Why? Because A.) I have a God who loves me. B.) I am married to a wonderful man who loves me for who I am, unconditionally. C.) I have the BEST friends ever. D.) I have a roof over my head and food on the table. E.) I have a place to come (here) where I can vent my hopes, fears, dreams, rants, etc. To say that life is good would be an understatement.

I'm focusing on the positive right now because for the past month there has been a lot of negative in my life and I was starting to let it get the best of me. I am doing my best to overcome that because I refuse to give the victory to someone who has no kindness in their heart. I am chosing to focus on love, not hate. I am chosing to build up, not tear down.

I pray that I hold on to this mantra and don't let the bad stuff get me down. Keeping myself this far away from the negative forces just once again shows me how God knew exactly where I needed to be and why I ended up living here where I do now. How cool is that?

Life is good friends.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"Walk Away the Pounds - the Five Mile Walk"


Okay, so I am slowly creeping my way through Leslie Sansone's Walk Away the Pounds series. I started with the DVD that had a 1 mile, a two mile, and a three mile walk. Looking back, these were basic workouts but when I started them, I was like "Dear Lord! Is she trying to kill me??" It was the deluxe edition that boasted "3 Workouts on 1 DVD!" Yippee!! Each workout had the group in different colored outfits and all boasted her famous "walk away weighted balls". They were all good workouts. After a while I would combine two of the workouts for a more intense, thorough workout.

Then I purchased the "Walk Away Your Waistline!" This was a three mile walk featuring the walk belt! Ooohhh...Aahhh...Well, let me just say that I can count on one hand the amount of times I did this one because it was such a huge jump in impact from the first DVD. I mean, it wasn't like a gradual step up, it was HUGE. I found myself sucking wind after the first few minutes. I was not a happy camper. I kind of felt like a wimp but I just could not get my groove on with this workout! I mean, I had mastered the three mile walk on the other DVD but this three mile workout was far superior in it's intensity.

So I returned to using the first one and was happy for a while. But with the half marathon looming, I knew I was going to need to do a bit more. With that in mind, I returned to the walk at home system to see if they had anything that a person in marathon training could use. I decided upon the 5-Mile Walk from Leslie Sansone and it is advanced. I was a little nervous going in to it because I was pretty comfortable at my 15-minute mile. Not too fast, not too slow, just guaranteed to not let that bus come and pick me up on the marathon route because I was going too slow!

I ordered it, it came with a fitness band this time, and I tried it out immediately. And you know what? It's a good workout. On the first try I was able to do the entire 5 miles. I didn't use the weights, belts, bands, etc. on that first time out, but I was able to do the entire walk. At times you are doing a 10 minute mile, others you are doing a 12 minute mile, so I am feeling pretty confident that I can eventually get myself up to that point where I can do them comfortably without getting too out of breath and be able to maintain it for longer periods of time.

The biggest improvement on this DVD? You now have the option of NOT hearing the talking. You can just have the music. You know how it is with ANY workout program on disc, it could be the greatest workout ever but after a little while, you just want to tell the instructor to SHUT IT!! The jokes are no longer funny, the very sound of their voice becomes like nails on a chalk board. After doing the workout a couple of times I tried this option, it was nice. Particularly when I am doing the walk with a friend. Now we can talk without all of the chatty banter on the TV interupting you! It's a beautiful thing!

So that's where I am in the half-marathon training world. I am busy mastering the five mile walk. I'm not there yet but I am making progress. Right now here in North Carolina, it is almost 100 degrees outside. I cannot wait for the summer to be over so I can actually wave goodbye to the DVD walk and actually go outside and have a REAL walk. Hopefully by that time I will have long mastered the five mile and will be able to do it all with a smile and just a healthy glow - not the sweating, someone-get-me-a-cardiologist look I've had at times!