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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sorry, but this is just too dang cute!!

I know that this has been all over the internet today but seriously, how cute are these two???

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sorry, but that kid is a dealbreaker...

A couple of weeks ago Frank and I went out to dinner and then over to a friend's house afterwards.  It was easily 9:30 when we got there and their five year old was still up.  The first thirty minutes were quite pleasant and then they (the other couple) decided to call their little darling in to the room.

Now, let me just stop and say that I grew up babysitting.  LOVED to babysit.  I worked as a mother's helper one summer, I adore my nieces and nephews.  I have worked for years in the church nursery, I was in charge of the children's ministry portion of MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and even worked as a childcare worker for them.  I like kids.  


I do, however, have an issue when people refuse to discipline their children in any way, shape or form and believe that the whole world must love their child like they do.  As a parent, I have been accused of being the opposite of that - I love my boys but don't feel the need to inflict them on everyone that I know and when we have company over and the adults are hanging out, my children are not to be seen.  It sounds harsh to some but that is what we do.  When I was growing up, my sister and I stayed upstairs and out of sight when our parents had company.  We did not accompany them on every outing and when we went to other people's homes, we actually were put to BED there - so that we weren't a nuisance to anyone.


My in-laws did the same thing, apparently.  There is a time and place for parents and children to be together and then there are times when it is GROWN UP time and little people should go to bed.  


This would be a completely new concept to the couple whose house we were at.  


After making Frank and I play some sort of fishing game with their child AND watching her sing and dance (did I mention that we were on a kid-free night?), we tried to get the grown up conversation back on track but now the child wanted to continue being the center of the universe and turned on the TV (loudly) and expected us to all shut up while she watched Hannah Montana.  Seriously?  


Frank and his buddy went upstairs to check out some music so that left us gals in the living room with this holy terror.  She alternated between kicking a step stool around the kitchen to pulling her mother's hair while NOT speaking.  When her mother asked her what was the matter, the child replied (in her best pouty Shirley Temple-esque voice) "You don't wanna play with your baby!"


I only wish that I was joking.


So her mother told her that they had company and she needed to behave and the child said "Well when are they leaving?  They've been here all night!"  At this point it is well after eleven and I'm thinking "Why is this FIVE YEAR OLD still awake??"


I finally rounded Frank up and we were walking out the door around midnight - and yes, the child was STILL up - and when we got in the car I turned to him and was like "Never again!  That kid is a deal breaker!"  I mean, I like this couple but I will never hang out with them at their home or with their kid again.


It's a shame, really, because I really do like them.  But on a night out without our own kids, I don't want to play with somebody else's!  And bad manners, parents, to keep your little brat up that late!  Sadly, this is not the first time we've had issues with friends about their kids and we've let some relationships go because of children's bad behavior which is really bad manners on the parents part.  If your child is throwing things at your guests, or shoving them or sitting in on conversations that don't pertain to them...then you have done a poor parenting job.  I'm sorry, that's the way I see it.


My kids are not perfect and I know that.  They misbehave plenty.  But they know the boundaries and when Frank and I are sitting with another adult couple, my children have been taught that you say "excuse me" when you have something to say and that they need to find something else to do during that time.  I mean, they have toys, TV's, movies and video games to play, why do they need to horn in on the rare times that we are hanging out with other adults.


I'm actually okay with not hanging out with these people...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesday....

First, let me apologize to my Entrecard followers because I have not been very diligent with my dropping these last couple of days.  Time has just gotten away from me.  Sorry!!  I promise to get back on track.

Yesterday, we took the boys room apart and repaired the walls where it was needed and then Frank painted.  It actually looks really good and I can't wait for this whole process to be over.  I mean, I'm not TRYING to push Nick out the door but I am anxious to get the room done.

Today, Frank is going to finish building Michael's platform for his bed.  That is going to be exciting, too.  So why does Frank have so much time on his hands to get all of this done?  Well, the job he was scheduled to do this week got canceled due to some unexpected repairs that the homeowner needed to do so he will have to start next week.  I'm not freaking out though (see how I'm growing?) because that just means that we will actually get stuff done around here and he will be home to help Nick move on Friday morning.

AND...it is really starting to hit me.  Nick has been annoyed because I haven't been sad yet about his moving but this morning I was getting ready to do some stuff and it hit me...my boy is moving out.  When we bring his stuff over to the house on Friday, when we leave, he will not.  Part of me is like "I will have no say in how he does his room" but that's just a small part of it.  It's more like, he's not going to be part of THIS house anymore and I'm seriously starting to struggle with that.

I know that this is all a natural part of life and believe me, I don't want him to be THAT guy who lives with his mom until he's 30.  That's just sad.  But he is my first born...and from that very first night that he was home with me and I knew that I would never be alone for the next 18 years (and it went to 19) it still went by way too fast.  

Be prepared readers...weeping ahead.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Carfellas...

So my little cousin Michael got his own reality TV show.  I kid you not.  And I guess he's not so little - I mean, I'm 42 and if memory serves, he's only a year or two behind me!  Here is the promo for his new show, "Carfellas" that will be premiering on the Discovery network sometime soon.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Thank you, Peter Criss...

So here we are in the midst of room make-overs and moving and Frank has been in the studio all day today with the band working on their demo.  Apparently this is the oh-so-important editing and mixing phase.

I'm not impressed.

I talked to Frank about three hours ago, when he should have been on his way home, and he was not happy.  At all.  Not even a little bit.  It seems that the staff was late, they lost some of his tracks (and no one else's) and so he was having a bit of a fit.  

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...I'm flipping mattresses, cleaning out closets, filling more bags for Goodwill and all the while I've got Peter Criss's "Beth" playing in my head.  Remember that one?

"Beth I hear you calling
But I can't come home right now.
Me and the boys are playing
and we just can't find the sound..."

Damn Kiss song!  And you know what?  I HAVE been calling!  A lot!  And you know what else?  My middle name is BETH!!  

Oh, the irony!

Friday, March 25, 2011

All good things must...be thrown away

Okay, so here we are at Friday.  One week to go until Nick moves out.  His side of the room is just about packed up but there is just a giant pile of boxes that take up more room than the stuff that used to be out and about in the room.  So today we started to tackle Michael's side of the room.

Why?

Am I in that much of a rush to get the boy out?

No, not really.  Michael goes back to school on April 4th and I would really, really love it if his room was completely done and put back together before school started back so that once he is back on a regular routine, there is no more chaos around him.  That boy does NOT do well with a disrupted routine!

So we started with all of the bins under his bed.  There were three of them - all filled with miscellaneous Legos and action figures.  Man oh MAN!  I am ashamed at how many action figures we have allowed to come in to this house and all of the Legos are now in a 20 gallon tote that will go in the closet.  The other bins have been sorted through and I would say that about 90% of what was left after the Legos has been thrown out.  I am so proud of Michael!

Next came the toy box.  He is eleven years old and the toy box phase of life - in my mind - is officially over.  Nick did not have a toy box at age eleven and really, it has just become a junk collection site.  So he sorted through all of that and we found, surprise, surprise, more Legos and action figures.  Whatever was left after THAT got thrown out or put in a bag to Goodwill.  Now I am selling the toy box and that makes me a little bit sad because really, it's been a good little toy box to us.  Nick got it for his first Christmas and it is in amazingly good shape.  If we had more storage space I would save it for when we have grandchildren but really, we are trying to make more space around here.

THEN...because it's a non-stop-fun-house around here, Frank started to build Michael a platform bed.  The purpose of this is two-fold.  First, Nick's box spring broke a while ago and he needs one so we are going to give him Michael's box spring and frame.  Why?  Because we would prefer Michael to have a platform bed so that nothing ELSE will go under his bed ever again!  That boy used to burrow himself under the bed!  So we decided that THAT phase of life is now over, too.  

Once the bed is built we will do some quick repairs to the walls and then paint the room a lovely shade of light gray.  Right now it is baby blue.  Nick will be taking the navy blue curtains that are up on their windows and one set of shelves up their walls and what is all shades of blue will become black, white, gray and red.  Total boy territory.

I'm having a hard time holding on to the vision right now because there is way too much crap around me.  In the middle of all of this I went outside to help Frank with the cutting of the wood for the bed and ended up with a four-inch welt/bruise on my leg due to him no paying attention to how I was holding something and then whipping it out of my hands - the clamp then cut across my leg.  Thank you, Captain Attentive.

So for now while Michael is scooping up odd pieces of toys to throw out and Frank is out in the shed cutting more wood, I am sitting safely in a corner, out of harms way.

It will all look wonderful when it's done, right???

Thursday, March 24, 2011

So basically she's just not a good teacher...

So my new class on how to write a query letter started this week.  I almost didn't take it because of the instructor.  I took a synopsis class with her and she sucked.  I was assured by the people who oversee the classes that it really was just a fluke.

So far I am not impressed.

The class started on Monday and her lesson was VERY brief.  Her assignment was for all of us to introduce ourselves.  Okay, fine, done.  The next day was another really brief lesson and she asked us for our pitch - without really giving a very good explanation of what that was.  Yesterday was just a list of do's and don't's along with an assignment of writing a little bit longer of a pitch even though she never critiques the ones that were written.  Annoyed yet?

Today was just a posting of examples of query letters and now she wants us to write one.  Are you kidding me???  How about interacting with your students and telling us how the first freakin part that we wrote was or even the second before making us write the whole dang thing??

What makes me crazy is that this woman has a great website with a ton of information for writers and she is published!  I mean, she clearly sucks as a teacher and yet she has a job and here I still am, and don't.  

I'm going to finish this class and when the survey comes around again, I am going to be just as truthful as I was the last time and then vow to never, EVER take a class that this woman is teaching again.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Who are your celebrity friends?

Hi, my name is Stace and I am a celebrity stalker.

Kind of.

Sort of.

Maybe.

Okay, so something fun that I have discovered on Facebook (the possibilities, apparently, are endless!) is that you can be "friends" with celebrities.  No, they don't actually accept your "Friend Requests" BUT you join their fan page and they do, in fact, interact with you.

Remember my favorite author Susan Mallery?  See her new book on my sidebar to the right!  Well, it kind of started with her.  She is great with her fans and really takes the time to answer any comments that you post and she even puts a lot of questions out there herself to get feedback from her fans.  Just one of the many reasons that I love her!  Well, that and she has read this blog and commented on it. 



So after that, I joined the fan pages of a lot of other authors whose work I love.  They're not as fun as Susan, but I enjoy talking with them and seeing what they have going on.  I get to hear about the books that they're working on and find out where they are having on-line forums and that sort of thing. Also, a lot of them - including Susan - do a lot of giveaways that I might not know about if it weren't for their fan pages.  Check out Susan's site HERE.   Another great author, Emilie Rose, I've actually gone for coffee with her (long before Facebook) because she lives here in Raleigh and so we chat from time to time on Facebook.  She's awesome, too, so check her out.

Well, then I branched out a bit and found out that some musicians who are part of a group actually have individual pages and not just "band" ones.  So, in my 80's phase a couple of months back, I looked up my Duran Duran men and found both John and Roger Taylor had individual pages.  John Taylor posts a LOT!  And with pictures!  And while they have not responded to me, personally, I've enjoyed the general interaction.


I need a hobby, right?

I need to get a life and get off of Facebook, right?


I need to have Roger Taylor say hello just ONCE and I'll cut back, I promise!!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Daylight Savings Time Madness!

Other than the missing an hour of sleep during our "Spring Forward" time, Daylight Savings Time never bothered me.  It was a nuisance, sure, to have to change all of the clocks but it never messed with me.

It's messing with me in a BIG way this time.

I am telling you, I can't go to sleep, I can't seem to eat right - and no I don't mean things like wanting to eat cupcakes for dinner - I mean I can't seem to make dinner at the right time.  I am a MESS!  

We eat dinner every night at 7:00.  I start cooking at 6:30 all the time.  Now?  I'll look up and see that it is well after seven and think "I'm not even ready to eat!"  How weird is that?  And normally, I go to bed at 11:30.  Seriously, you can set your watch by it and most of my friends and family make fun of me because of it.  Now?  I haven't gone to bed before one a.m. in over a week.  

I am so NOT liking this!

What in the world is going on in the world that my system is so messed up by this change?  I don't think it's normal and I think we shouldn't do it anymore!

Anyone else feeling funky after springing forward? 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Extreme Makeover - Eleven Year Old Edition...

Okay, so with Nick getting ready to move out, amazingly enough, another phenomenon is getting ready to take place in our home.

Michael will finally have a room to himself.

Because this is a two bedroom home, the boys have always shared a room.  Nick was eight when Michael was born so he knows the joy of being a single occupant.  Michael has never known such bliss.  So now that we are getting Nick's things cleared out, I sat Michael down and told him that I want to do a room makeover for him (inexpensively) and wanted to know what sort of things he wanted.

First, he wants a desk.  

To do his homework at.

Can you hear the crickets?

What makes that request HILARIOUS to me is that this is my child who we find working in all kinds of weird placed - the couch, the floor, the bed, the kitchen floor, the bathtub...you name it, he's done his homework there so the fact that he really wants a desk just threw me for a loop!  I am now looking around frantically for a cheap student desk for him.

Then we go to Walmart because his other request was that we get rid of the Sponge Bob sheets and get him "real" sheets.  Well, if we are going to go that far, we might as well get a new "bed in a bag" deal and freshen up the place.  

He picked out a black and gray set.  

With a giant electric guitar on it.

Did I mention that the walls in his room are baby blue and the curtains are navy?

This is not going to be as easy as I thought OR as inexpensive...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Countdown to the big change...

So we finally went to see this place that Nick is going to be sharing/renting with his friends.  It's an old house.  It needs a lot of work.  

It is perfect for three 19 year old boys.

Our 19 year old, however, is making sure that we are so happy that he is leaving that April 1st can't get here fast enough.  He has been belligerent and nasty and just a general pain to everyone here.  I have been trying to find him furniture and things that he'll need to get settled in and he has picked apart everything that I've done and argued everything I've said.

Everyone keeps asking "Aren't you going to miss him?"  Honestly?  He's moving four minutes up the road - two miles - not cross county, not even to another state.  He will be right up the road and by the time he is fully moved out of the house, I am going to be so busy doing a freakin jig, that I won't have time to miss him!

I'm planning a room make-over for Michael since the boys have always shared a room.  Now that he is 11 I think it's time to make it more of a big-boy's room and get rid of some of the more "kiddie" stuff - like the toy box.  I'm kind of really looking forward to that.

Come on April 1st...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Progress...

Okay, so I THINK I'm making some progress around here in our lives.  Yesterday, I went on line and filed for the FAFSA grants for both myself AND Nick to try and go to school.  Clearly, finding work is not happening for me right now and so I have no choice but to try and go back to school to get some training for something.  With our taxes being done, I was able to go on line and do the entire application process and from what I understand, we could get not only enough to cover our tuition and books but some of our living expenses.  

Which leads to progression number two:  Nick is moving out.  His best friend just got a great deal on a rental house and it's three bedrooms and he has a room mate but needs a third one so....that's Nick!  So we're working on finding him furniture and getting his finances in order and whatnot.  I think this is going to be a GREAT thing for him and I'm excited that he's taking a chance and doing it.

I've made a web page for Frank's business and getting him listed on both Google and Yahoo.  That was interesting.  It's still in the baby stages but if you want to check out some of his work you can click HERE

I have found out that you do not need a teaching certificate if you teach electives at private or charter schools.  So I am working on my resume to submit to several local school about either subbing or maybe offering my creative writing classes there.  You never know if it will work out unless you try.

I will be finishing my one on-line class today on how to teach a class on-line and then Monday start up with another new one on how to write a query letter.  And my Microsoft Word class keeps going through the end of the month.  I'm a little behind right now because life has kept me busy but I have learned SO MUCH in these classes and am loving it.

So we keep moving forward...hoping for something to fall in to place and get us out of this slump that we've been in.  I have hope...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I'd take that deal...

So I have been feeling like I need eight extra hands to get work done that is getting me nowhere.  Ever feel like that?  I am doing my on-line classes (which I am loving), trying to get Frank's business out there on the internet and find him work, I'm helping a friend de-clutter and get her house ready to sell while looking for work myself.

It's damn-near exhausting.

Since the job search is so important, I had to really look at what I want to do and what I really want, besides getting published, is to teach.  I do teach writing classes to homeschoolers and I LOVE it but it's getting harder to get students because there are so many people out there who have caught on to this market and are offering them as well.  I cannot be a "real" teacher because that would require much time and money to go back to school and as I've stated in other posts, the thought of taking PE and Biology at my age is just not something that I want to do.  Plus, it would be a MAJOR waste of my time.  

As opposed to the hours a day I spend on Facebook playing Solitaire...but I digress...

We have a friend up North who was struggling financially just like we are and someone offered them a house to live in for FREE for one year - they still paid the utilities and whatnot - but the house was essentially rent free for a year.  This allowed them to get caught up on other bills and expenses and not go any further in to debt and that year helped them to get back on their feet without damaging their credit.

Um...yes, I would DEFINITELY take that deal.  Not only would it get me out of this stupid house (with a landlord who has been MIA since October - probably so that we can't ask him to fix anything else) and have a little breathing space for a little while.  

Anyone know a millionaire of some sort that wants to help us out with this???  I guess it's a good deal if you can find it...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Taxes...blech!

We finally went and got our taxes done today.  It was a bit weird because in the past we always went in with friends on the Turbo Tax and the wife would do all of our taxes.  It was sort of a win-win; we split the cost of the program, I cooked dinner, we made a night of it.

Well, we are no longer "close" to those friends and had to fend for ourselves this year.  I was a bit nervous because being that Frank hasn't been working, we certainly didn't have any extra money to PAY anyone or even buy the damn program ourselves.  And don't even get me started on how much I cannot understand the whole Turbo Tax program and do it myself.  That wasn't going to happen.

So about a month ago, I was in the Human Services office dropping off our application for Medicaid and I saw a flier for free tax preparation.  Seriously.  I grabbed it, brought it in the house, and promptly forgot about it.  Not smart, I know.  Well, I finally found it again and there were two locations here in town that were offering the service so Frank and I, along with Nick, went to location number one - it was at the local Senior Citizens center.  We walk in, this woman with a HEAVY New Jersey accent asked us what we wanted and when I said we were there to get our taxes done, she was like "When's your appointment?"  Well, we didn't have an appointment because both the flier AND the website said that no appointment was necessary.

To this woman, it was.

Location number two was right across the street and although Miss New Jersey said that she would help us, there were three people ahead of us.  I told Nick to run across the street and see what their wait was like and within 5 minutes he called and said to come over, we were next.

No lie, within 5 minutes of our arrival someone was working on our taxes and 20 minutes later we were done.  FOR FREE!  FOR REAL!  I was quite giddy about the whole thing.  You know what sucks, though?  My 19 year old son lives with us, doesn't pay rent, while we don't "fully" support him, we still pay a lot to "help" him and we can't claim him on his taxes because he has a job and makes more than $3600 a year.  Dang it!

So we are getting money back, but not as much as last year since we can no longer claim the boy but Nick is getting a LOT back and he is positively ecstatic over it and probably already has the money spent.

But the taxes are done and that is one less thing to worry about.   Praise God!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mystery Science Theater 3000...

Way back when, when Nick was a baby, Frank used to watch this ridiculous cable show called "Mystery Science Theater 3000".  The premise was that this slacker guy gets shot in to space and is forced to watch really bad movies.  He creates some robot friends and during the movies, they pretty much have a running commentary that is just hysterical.

But alas, all good things must come to an end.

Until you get Netflix on your Wii...

Well, now it is being watched here in my house WAY too much and is making me crazy.  Michael is now a huge fan and unfortunately he thinks that everything on the TV should be subject to a running commentary of things that make no sense.  KILLING ME!!

What makes this even funnier to me, in a strange way, is that I mentioned on Facebook the other day how there was way too much of this running on my TV and so many people chimed in saying how much they love this show!!  It seemed pretty obscure at the time but apparently it was wildly popular!  If you've never seen this stupid show and enjoy random talking over really bad movies, check out the website...and re-live a little pop-culture.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Buckling Down...Getting Serious...

Okay, so it is back to work tomorrow and back to my on-line classes and I have decided that if I am ever going to get published, I have to get serious and THINK like an author.  

Having said that, I am going to start prepping my query letter (even though I have a class on that starting up on the 21st) and I am starting to plan and design what will eventually be my author website.  So here's a question for the masses:  Pen names?  Love them?  Hate them?  Think they're silly?  I'm serious, should I stick with my own name (which I will just state for the record that I do not like very much) or do I create one that sounds good but not frilly,flowery, and stupid - you know, like the picture of me with that name would include a heaving bosom, a fan blowing my hair back...maybe a feather boa...think Glamor Shots gone wrong!

I also took the initiative with Frank too and we're doing things to get his business going because seriously, things are not going well here and he HAS to get work NOW.  I am honestly scared and freaking out and we have to get aggressive and get him work of some kind ASAP.

So we're getting serious around here.  I am determined that 2011 is going to be the year Stace gets published and the year that Frank gets steady work and leaves the house for 8 hours at a time...while making money.  

It's good to have goals...

Friday, March 11, 2011

College Degrees...

After I graduated high school, I went to a community college. I was not the type of person who wanted to go away to school and really, the local community college offered what I wanted.

About a semester shy of graduating (It was a 2-year degree) I was forced to drop out due to finances.  At the time this didn't seem like a big deal because I had a career in the very thing that I was going to school for and all was right with the world.  


Fast forward 20-something years and I am screwed.

What I guess I don't understand about the whole college degree thing is that if I had graduated and had my 2-year degree in Fashion Buying and Merchandising, how the heck would that be helpful if I have changed direction and am applying for positions in English/Language Arts teaching? 


I was looking at a position to teach on-line and they want to know if I have a degree.  I mean, clearly I don't but if I did, it would be in a completely unrelated field!  So how is that any different than not having a degree at all?  Does that make sense?  Basically, I'm looking at it as not having a degree in the career that you are looking in to should mean that you don't have a degree no matter what.  I'm taking a ton of on-line classes toward learning all about the degree that I WANT to have, shouldn't that count?

Just another way for me to NOT get a job...Crazy!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Little Bit of This...A Little Bit of That...

Okay, so update on the whole unemployment thing:  In the state of North Carolina (I'm thinking of moving) when you go on to extended benefits, it is a requirement that you be seen IN PERSON, every 4 weeks.  Lucky, lucky me.

I'm taking a class right now on how to create and teach an on-line class.  So far I am LOVING it!  Tonight I had to create a lesson plan/course outline for one of my topics.  I thought it was going to be really, really hard but once I sat down to it, the ideas were just flowing like wild.  We had the choice between a one, two, three or four week class and I thought I would have a hard time creating a one-week class and ended up with enough for a 4-week one!  I am seriously hoping that by the end of next week I will have enough knowledge to actually set this up!


I am struggling with all of the church stuff that I mentioned here the other day and I shared with a friend how I was feeling and how no one listens when I do say that I don't want to do something and so we were talking tonight and the topic of some church event came up and she asked if I was going and I said no and she was like "Why?  I think you should go!  You'll enjoy it..."

REALLY?  Did we just NOT have this conversation???  Again, no listening.


My 30+ years divorced parents are going to a wedding together.  It's a little bizarre to me.

Nick got a promotion at work but no one seems inclined to discuss a raise with him even though the new position requires more responsibilities!


Such is a day in the life around here...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I'm beginning to notice a pattern...

The job search is making me CRAZY.  Honestly, I was not this freaked out about it until unemployment started harassing me with "Eligibility Reviews" in my final tier of extended benefits.  I got another letter in the mail today.

I kid you not.

Next week, for those of you who are keeping track, will make three reviews in three months.  I do not know ANYONE who has had to do this!  I am frantically looking for jobs, I am taking on-line classes...I mean, it is making me lose my freakin mind and I have had enough!

I tried to get in touch with an actual person at the unemployment office to see WHY I am being singled out like this but so far no luck.  I had a phone interview today with one place and I had a good interview with another place last week that we are doing a follow up on Thursday.  I mean, I AM trying.  Believe me, I would like nothing more than to NEVER have to drive all that way for nothing ever again.  Because really, the little bit that I get from them is starting to not seem like such a good thing if I have to be killing myself like this.

Has anyone out there ever been called in three times in three months like this or am I just special?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

So DONE!

Here's the story of my church journey:

When we moved to NC from NY back in November of 1995, my husband and I were not church-goers at all.  We had both been raised Catholic but really did not go to church unless if was for wedding, funerals, etc.  So moving to the Bible belt meant finding a church and the only thing we knew was that we didn't want to go to a Catholic one.


The very first church we went to (we were invited by our neighbors) was a Baptist church and we loved it. I was saved within a month and participated in every women's bible study that was offered and had an amazing mentor who went through the bible with me in a year.  I volunteered in the children's ministry on Sunday mornings, I participated in pretty much every church event that was offered and did a lot of work with the MOPS ministry.

After 8 years, the church made some changes and instituted a new way of doing things that pretty much kept tags on you and where you were during both services and you had to be signed up for something during both services - either you were serving somewhere or you were in Sunday school.  I am not a huge fan of Sunday school mainly because there has never been anything offered that I was interested in or taught in a way that I was able to learn.  

So when I thought I would try serving where I knew my talents were, I was told there were no positions available and I'd have to serve in some other area.  Well, sorry, those other areas were not my strong suit and I believe that if you are going to serve it should be in areas where you are going to bless people and not curse them.  I know that I cannot lead a children's Sunday school class so why would you force me to teach one?  I mean, the kids wouldn't get anything from it and I know that I want someone teaching my children who actually KNOW something about what they are teaching!

I left the church.  I started going elsewhere and while one of my pastor's was shocked by my leaving (because I had been so actively involved) he never once contacted me.  He had OTHER people do it, but never himself.  This is the same guy who did not put out a prayer request when my nephew was diagnosed with cancer because HE had another "announcement" that he felt was more important - it was about a service we were holding a month later!

I went to a small church for about a year until they closed their doors and while there I led a womens bible study.  Then I went to a super-big church but never felt comfortable there and the preacher was really not very good.  And then I spent two years NOT going to church because I didn't know where to go.

During all of this, my relationship with GOD was fine - it was the church establishment that was the problem.  No one seems to get that.  It's like if you don't go to church, people assume that you are angry with God or that you have issues with your faith.  I don't.  I think what leaders in the church do ruin people's desire to want to be a part of the church!


So I end up back at my original church because a lot of my friends go there and really, it was comfortable.  I loved the head pastor and his teaching style and I thought all was well.  

But it's not.


It's the same old thing and it took me almost 2 years to figure it out but there it is.  I seem to continually be under the microscope for stuff that no one else is and believe me, I'm not doing anything that should draw attention to myself!  It's just church politics, man made rules and really, I'm just tired of them.  There are people that want to sit and pray with me to help me deal with this but really, there is nothing to deal with.  Clearly this just isn't the church I am supposed to be at.

So I guess it's time to start church hopping again and dealing with people trying to tell me that I am wrong to leave.  Again.

Good times...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Hands off the radio!

Frank and I have very different tastes in music.  He is a 70's rock fan and I love all things 80's.  There are very few songs in all of music history that we both agree on and like.  What I find funny is that when we get in the car, whether he is driving or not, we end up listening to HIS music because when we put my music on he mocks it continuously.

Enter the children...

Nick was always prone to listen to more of my music until he went all grunge and screemo on me and whatnot so that left Michael.

Who is a pure 70's music AND grunge/screemo music fan.

Really?  Like it's not enough that I'm the only female in the house I have to be alone in my music, too?


So this morning on the way to driving Michael to school (Frank normally does it but he wasn't feeling well) we were just sort of cruising along and talking when he reached over and turned on the radio.  To Steely Dan.  Ugh!  And what was worse was that he knew all the words!


Once he was out of the car I plugged in my iPod and CRANKED my Duran Duran and Def Leppard with a side of Donna Summer!  I guess the only way to hear what I want in the car is to drive alone...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Major Disappointment...

So remember how I mentioned that I had signed up for a couple of on-line writing workshops?  Well, the first one which was "25 Words from Query to Sales Success" was awesome!  The instructor was amazing, she offered immediate feedback and really, really, REALLY taught on exactly what the class was described as.  Money well spent.

The second workshop, "The Synopsis - a Necessary Evil" was such a waste of time that I am in the process of waiting to hear from the people at the site because I lodged a complaint.  The class was $15 for a one-week course.  Well, the teacher did not post lessons in a timely manner, as a matter of fact, she posted only three lessons in 7 days and here we are, two weeks beyond that and she has not posted ANYTHING.  When I wrote her today because access to the class ends tonight at midnight and asked if more lessons were coming, she said no.

Seriously?
 

Really?

During the course of her class, she complained that she could not access the class while at work so she would only be able to do it at night.  Really?  She didn't think of this BEFORE signing up to TEACH the class?  Then she had a cold.  Then she had a big project at work and then, THEN (and this is my personal favorite) she was hosting a CHRISTMAS DINNER for a friend!!  Are you freaking kidding me???  I PAID for this class and you can't teach it or put up a lesson because you are hosting a Christmas dinner in February???  Did you not prepare at ALL for this?

Needless to say I am beyond pissed.  I sent a letter of complaint to the site but I would like to get my hands on this thoughtless idiot and demand that she never offer to teach anything again in her life!

Before this nightmare, I signed up for a month-long class on using Microsoft Word in novel writing and it is great and this week starts a class on teaching an on-line class.  Maybe the synopsis idiot should have taken that class herself.  Lesson one?  BE ABLE TO TEACH THE CLASS!!!  Lesson two?  ACTUALLY PREPARE THE LESSONS IN ADVANCE!!

I don't know if those are actual titles or not but they should be.  So we'll see if the site refunds my money because I am just beyond disappointed.  I don't have a lot of money to spend and that was a class that I was really excited about and really wanted to learn about.  

Thanks for nothing, loser!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

And the theme of the day is...moving

So I have a friend who is currently being forced to sell her home.  Her ex-husband won't pay his child support (claiming he is unemployed but that is debatable) and she can no longer afford to live in the house.  She has maintained it by herself for over 12 years but has finally hit that point where she can't do it.  

I went over there today to help her start decluttering her house.  The Realtor came in and told her that she had to MAJORLY declutter to get the house ready to show.   This was going to be a HUGE task.  So today was the first day.  We went through the first two bedrooms and scratched the surface but we had to start somewhere.

When I got home, it made me look around my own house.  Now I have to admit, I am the QUEEN of decluttering.  I don't get attached to my possessions and once every 2-3 months, I sweep through the house to get rid of things that are just getting in my way.  As a matter of fact, I can't even have a yard sale because I don't have enough stuff!  

Several years ago I helped another friend move.  A bunch of us went over to help her pack and load the moving truck (all being done at the same time)  it amazed me how much "junk" was being packed up and loaded on to the truck because she did not want to part with it.  There was almost 30 boxes of this stuff!  It filled up the garage at her new house!!

I also helped another friend on her moving day with cleaning up behind the moving guys.  I give her credit for letting us in to witness what was hidden behind the washer and dryer and what her bathrooms looked like!  So again, that had me thinking, what the heck does MY house look like?  What's hidden behind my stuff??

Well, last year before Nick's graduation party, we essentially pulled our house apart to clean in it preparation of the family coming in and all of the hooplah that goes with people being in your house.  Since then, I've MOSTLY maintained that and really, with the exception of my kitchen (which is always in a state of disarray), I think that I could have my house packed up in two days and be out of it in three with the cleaning process.  

So what does your house look like?  If you had to put your house on the market today, or move out by the end of the week, how big of a task would this be to get ready?  It's almost Springtime and a good time for Spring cleaning and decluttering!!

Look around you, it is a proven fact that too much clutter in your house can cause stress...so de-stress...de-clutter...it will be DE-lightful!!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

That's okay, Jake Ryan's probably bald too...

Tonight I was sitting here on the computer and Frank was flipping through the TV channels and all of a sudden he stopped and no lie, within ten seconds I KNEW what he was watching without seeing the screen.

Sixteen Candles.


If you are a child of the 80's, you KNOW this movie.  If you are female, you KNOW all about Jake Ryan.  So I was sitting here watching it (because really, that's what you do when Sixteen Candles is on) and it got me thinking about what the cast would look like now.  I mean, Molly Ringwald is now playing the mom on the Secret Life of the American Teen, Anthony Michael HalL (Farmer Ted) shows up from time to time in movies and he clearly does not look geeky anymore but where in the world is the actor who played Jake Ryan?

He retired from show business!

There weren't any pictures of him readily available and I have to tell you, I'm actually kind of glad about that.  Lately, it's been a harsh reality of how the beautiful people of the 80's are not so beautiful anymore.  Yes, yes, we all age, I know that, but it's hard to see some of those looks disappear so harshly.  Sorry, that sounds mean, I know, but a little true. 

I love VH-1 Classics and the "Behind the Music" specials or the "Classic Albums" - especially when they focus on my favorite bands from way back.  Until you see them now.  Again, I KNOW they get old but...I'm going to put on my "mean girl" shirt for a minute and say a few things.  First, I am a huge Def Leppard fan.  Joe Elliott in the "Pyromania" days is absolutely wonderful to look at.  I'd hop on a plane to the Caribbean in an instant with THAT Joe Elliott.  The current Joe Elliott?  At times resembles Elvis right before he died.  
Bummer.

A couple of weeks ago I posted the new Duran Duran video and someone mentioned how old they look.  I didn't think that they looked to terribly old but I follow both John and Roger Taylor on Facebook and they both post a lot of their own personal pictures and without the help of softened camera lenses and photoshop, YES, these guys look very rough around the edges.

Bummer.  

So not my rock and roll fantasy...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Something must be in the air there...

What in the world is going on in Hollywood?  I mean, seriously.  This whole Charlie Sheen thing is just WAY out of control and really, if here, in the REAL world someone was acting that way, their children would be removed from the house and they would be committed.  In Hollywood?  The news media is lined up to interview him!!  Maybe they are all hoping that they will be the ones who will be able to boast about having Charlie Sheen's "Final" interview.  And I honestly and truly believe this man is in great danger of dying because his behavior is so out there, this can't end well.

Then there's Lindsay Lohan.  If you or I walked in to a jewelry store and asked to try on a $2500 necklace, we would have people SURROUNDING us until we took it off - thirty seconds later!  No way would anyone allow a regular person to "wear" something that expensive around the store for 45 minutes.  And really?  No one saw her leave with it still around her neck?  Give me a break!  Put her in jail!  Please!  There are people serving YEARS in prison for stealing less, what makes her so damn special?


Did you watch the Oscars?  I watched maybe five minutes of it - the five minutes where Melissa Leo dropped the F-bomb in that doily-wreck of a dress.  I mean, you are up for an Academy Award and THAT'S what you choose to wear AND you can't watch your mouth for the freakin sixty seconds you're up on the stage!  Shame, shame, SHAME on you!  

I no longer feel the need to dream about being rich and famous because CLEARLY, most of these people are out of their MINDS and they get away with it!  Thank you but I would rather stay in the real world where it is simple and people have morals and try to be decent.  Remember when Hollywood signified glamour and something that people actually wanted to see because this people were talented and gracious?  What we have now is nothing more than a giant freak show.  


I'll stay here in small town NC, thanks...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Now what?

So, Frank is home again for the second week in a row.  I'm not amused.  I have an interview this afternoon for the first time in almost 18 months.  For what?  A tutor.  Not even a REAL job, just something part time with very few hours.

We had this lovely little corner curio cabinet that I got before Michael was born.  It wasn't something that I loved, but it served a purpose but I no longer want it.  I wanted something that matched our living room a little bit more and so Frank built me a corner cabinet to replace it.  Now I have the awkward task of selling it.  I have posted it on Craigslist and to be honest, people just don't want to spend money on these things.  It is too good to just give away or put out at the curb and besides, I can use the money.  Anyone who has responded to the ad wants to haggle with me on the price.  Maybe I will eventually...

And I do love the new cabinet...

Michael's home sick today.  I think.  He seemed pretty miserable at 6:45 a.m. but now, at 9 a.m.?  He seems pretty darn perky.  Now I have Frank AND Michael home and although Nick slept out last night, I'm sure he'll be home at some point too.  Oh, good...more family time.  

I want to get away for a weekend.  

Just me...

No responsibilities...

That can happen, right?