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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas 2009 Roundup

Okay, so Christmas 2009 was really low-key but wonderful. We were just so thankful to even be able to HAVE Christmas this year after all of the work and employment issues - we were blessed. We have a tradition every year when we go to get our tree. We either go to a Lowes or Home Depot because they have the lowest prices and then it's every man for himself as we each vie to be the one to pick the family tree. Nick takes this VERY seriously and hates when he doesn't win. It's kind of comical to watch us all run around hauling out trees. Poor Frank has the job of displaying it properly for all of us to ooh and aah over as we decide if it's a good fit for us. But this year was Frank's year - he found the winning tree. It was a bit smaller than we thought it would be when we got it home but it still smells wonderful and we loved it!

Then we set up our little Christmas village that used to
belong to my step-mother, Collette. She gave it to us many, many years ago when she re-did hers. The pieces are a bit mis-matched but it looks so pretty when it's all lit up. I have to admit, I had a hard time setting it up this year. It made me sad. After a few days of it looking pitiful, Frank took pity on me and set it up with Michael. Isn't it pretty? Thank you, Collette!

We did the holiday picture card thing which is always good for a laugh because it is so hard to get one that is just right. Nick is very photogenic and is comfortable in front of the camera. Michael looks at picture taking as a form of torture and is visibly uncomfortable. This was this year's. Cute, right? I took this picture at 11:30 at night because it was the only time that I could get both boys together and clean! Why do boys make things so difficult?

So
Christmas Eve was festive. I made the traditional seafood sauce and we ate an early dinner and it was wonderful! Very yummy, if I do say so myself. We were doing out dessert open house and the first guests arrived at 7:00. We visited and chatted, the kids played and the next family didn't show up until 8:00 and by that time the 7:00 family had to leave! It was a revolving door there for a little while! All in all we had about 25 people come through over the course of the night and I cannot explain how much I enjoyed it. It is so amazing to have the kinds of friends like I do who are truly family to me. I love you guys!

T
he last of the guests left somewhere near 11:00 and then we let the boys open two gifts - one of which was new pajamas because that is tradition. Nick hates it but TOO BAD!! I like everyone to be in new pj's for the pictures. Christmas morning's tradition is that they are not allowed to wake us up until 8:00 and then Frank and I go out to the living room first and then call them out so that we are sitting there and can see their faces when they see their gifts. I love that! Nick got Rock Band 2 for the Xbox and Michael got a Star Wars ship. After that it was a free-for-all. All of the relatives send gifts and so Christmas morning finds a LOT of gifts under the tree.

The remainder of the day was spent in our jammies. I have to admit, I kind of liked being a slug this year. Frank got me a pair of slipper-booties that look a little like Eskimo boots and I wore them all day. I read, we ate, I did make our traditional breakfast of pepperoni omelets and then made a big dinner, but in between? Slug-fest (and of the lazy kind, not fighting kind).

It truly was a great holiday and I hope that all of yours was wonderful too!

*Today's Examiner.com article is on New Year's Eve around the World. You can read about it HERE. Thanks!*

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I am SO blaming E-card for This!

So life was a bit busy today and I didn't get to do my dropping until after dinner. I'm dropping and I'm dropping and I'm using the toolbar on Favorites and while I was waiting for the ten pages to load, I got up and walked away from the computer. When I got back? BAM! Weird program on my computer!

It gave itself a spot on my desktop with a nice little icon, it gave itself another little icon down on the right hand corner of my screen - right next to the time and to make extra-sure that I knew it was there? It had a pop up window that came up ever two and a half minutes! WTH???

It was called Spy Eraser. I did not download it. I did not click on it. I DID have to do a System Restore to get RID of it! I was able to delete it from my desktop but shockingly, it did not appear on my program list so I could not fully REMOVE it - hence the system restore. MAN! I hate that!!

So whichever of you sneaky E-card sites dished this up, I'm here to let you know that I am NOT amused! This is like the virus that had to keep being removed when I was dropping like a month ago. E-card, if you are listening: Your service is really becoming more of a nuisance than it is worth. Do you THINK someone can get a grip on this?

I hate when this happens...

*Today's Examiner.com article is on creating your own curriculum. You can read about it HERE. Thanks!*

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Spirit of Christmas was Killed by...Me

Because I wasn't enough of an emotional wreck with Nick kicking me to the curb this Christmas, my younger son decided to get in on the act. A couple of days before Christmas we were sitting down to dinner and talking about our plans for Christmas Eve and laughing and having a good time. Nick turns to Michael and is like "You still believe in Santa don't you?"

Let me stop here a minute. We played up Santa BIG time when Nick was little but by the time Michael came around, Nick was 8 and by the time Michael could understand it all, Nick had outgrown it. So while we did talk about Santa, we didn't make a huge deal out of him. He had his picture taken with Santa for the first time when he was 7. Do we suck or what?

Anyway, so Nick asks him if he still believes and Nick is a HUGE lover of all things Christmas. You know the movie "Elf" with Will Farrell? THAT is Nick. He has enjoyed keeping the Santa myth alive and so he asks Michael about it and Michael put his fork down and said (get this): "Well I did until MOM took me shopping with her to buy people's gifts!"

Twenty years from now he'll be on some shrink's couch recounting the time in his life when mom killed Santa for him. Great.

So I look at him and I'm like "What are you talking about?" He says "You know what you did, mom. You took me shopping with you all around Target to buy gifts." So I'm like "Um...Yeah, gifts for dad and Nick from OTHER people, not SANTA!" I am devastated at this point. I mean, we all had that moment in our lives where we stopped believing but to actually be sitting there with the finger pointing at you is a pretty rough thing. I remember the year I figured it out: I got a bike for Christmas and my dad was up until after midnight putting it together in our living room, cursing the entire time. Ah, good times.

Frank, sensing that I am about to cry, tries talking to Michael and then Nick chimes in to encourage Michael to still believe. And Michael's like "I don't know...Joe doesn't believe and neither does Ben (his two best friends) so I just don't know!" Okay, now we're getting somewhere but the bottom line is he blames ME.

Later that night he gets his PJ's on and kisses us goodnight and goes to bed. He shuts his door and then I hear something - he has slipped a folded up note of paper out from under the door. On it it says "I believe".

Could you just cry or what???

Monday, December 28, 2009

Computer Craziness - Part 2

Okay, I know this was supposed to be the Christmas post, but it's not. Sort of. Sorry. Anyway, the day before Christmas Eve Frank told me that he really wanted to buy me a laptop. He knew, though, that I would have to pick it out for myself because I was the only one who was going to be using it. This job that he is doing was going to pay well and so it was decided that we would get the laptop after Christmas. Yea!

On Christmas Eve he worked. When he dropped his friend who works with him off, the guy's wife came out to wish him a Merry Christmas and asked if he wanted to take my laptop home with him. He was stumped - and had no idea what she was talking about. It turns out like six months ago, she had gotten a really, really, REALLY good deal on a used laptop. I was envious, I admit. Well, for Christmas she got a new laptop and so was passing on her used one to me! Yea, again!

So Frank came home not knowing what to do. He sits me down and is like "Look, I have no idea if this thing can do what you want it to do and I know I promised you a new one and I don't know what to do!" I felt bad for him, I really did. So I told him to wrap it up and put it under the tree and I'll play around with it in the morning. It is old. It's VERY basic and after talking to two tech guys (one at Staples and one at CompUSA) it seems that even if I upgraded this laptop as far as it can go, it is still going to be slow and not capable of doing a lot of stuff. Now, I don't NEED it to do a lot of stuff but I would like to be able to do what I need to efficiently.

And honestly, I really, really, really, REALLY want a new shiny one! How horrible am I??? I have new laptop envy and it makes me feel like crap! Now I don't know what to do.

I'm so confused!!!

*Today's Examiner.com article is on Getting your teen to read. You can read about it HERE. Thanks!*

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I Said I Wouldn't But I Did...

Okay so Christmas is over. There are still far too many cakes, cookies and pies lying around the house but we are doing our best to put a dent in them. All in all it was a wonderful Christmas; one that I will write about tomorrow. For now, here's a Christmas story that really, really, REALLY bummed me out.

So you all know that Frank was out of work for a while. Things got VERY tight around here. Nick ran up his cell phone bill AGAIN and I'm still unemployed. Festive times, right? Anyway, with the last bout of cell phone drama with the teen, he announced that he does not want anything for Christmas; we should take any money that he gets and pay off his debts and whatever else we might need the money for. I was VERY tempted to do just that but, being a sucker for a pair of big brown eyes, I could not imagine sitting here Christmas morning and having him NOT open any presents.

Frank got work, the burden eased a bit and I went and shopped for my boy. A few days before Christmas he announces to me that my present will not be here in time for Christmas. Is it back-ordered? No. Are we not confident with the postal service? No. Is he too broke to actually buy it right now? Yes. Okay, fine. I'm not thrilled and I tell him that he should not be spending too much (or anything) if he cannot afford it. This should have been the end of this story but like most teenagers, they don't know when to shut their mouths. Was he too broke to buy his mother a present to open on Christmas? Yes. Was he too broke to buy his girlfriend over $100 worth of gifts? Apparently not.

Now he tells his dad that my gift will not be here in time and Frank has the first assumption that I did - it's back ordered. So we talk about it briefly and when I tell him that no, it has nothing to do with mail and orders but solely because the boy did NOT order it because he spent all of his money elsewhere. This did not go over well at all with my husband. The thing that made it worse was that, okay, he has a limited income but he bought gifts for EVERYONE else - his brother, his father, his girlfriend, HER parents, AND her sister and brother in law. For all I know HER dog probably got a gift from him too! But mom? No, apparently NOT important enough to budget for.

Am I greedy? No. Am I hurt? Yes. Why? Well, why was it so important that everyone else have a gift and not me? No one knows. So we TELL him how disappointed we are and how hurt I am and there is no remorse. Nothing. Just a lame "sorry" and he thinks we're done. I let it go but Frank cannot. Then to make matters even WORSE (if you can believe it), on Christmas Day we are all just lounging around the house and I'm lying in bed reading a good book and the phone rings. It's my father in law calling us because he was still asleep when we had called him earlier. So Nick gets on the phone with him and is asked "So, what did you get your girlfriend?" He has no idea the Pandora's Box that he has once-again opened. Nick is walking around the house with the phone but decides to STOP and stand in MY doorway and replies "What DIDN'T I get her? Oh, I got her EVERYTHING".

Son of a....

Frank pretty much lunged up from the couch and practically tackled him. When he got off the phone, Frank was like "What is the matter with you???" The boy's response? "What? What did I do?"

The list is endless at this point, son. The list is endless....

*Today's Examiner.com article is on making your own homeschool yearbook. You can read about it HERE. Thanks!*

Saturday, December 26, 2009

An Update for those who are interested...

Okay, so many of you have expressed your opinion on how you wish my dad and I would make up. So in an earlier post I mentioned that he sent the boys Christmas gifts. Yes, yes, it was considerate of him. The day after we received the box, I had the boys call him to thank him.

Nick made the call. He talked to my dad and although I did not allow them to watch the memorial DVD, I did have to tell them about it because I knew that dad would ask if they watched it. And he did. So Nick talked to him and thanked him for the gifts - even though he had not opened them yet. They talked about how Nick and his girlfriend are doing and dad asked if Nick was planning on proposing any time soon. Nick said he'd like to and dad says (get this) "Gee, I'd like to help you with a ring and all, but I sold all of grandma's stuff".

???

Was that necessary? No. Not even a little bit. Maybe I am being overly picky but I just thought it was a stupid comment to make. Then Michael got on the phone and talked for a minute. He is not my conversationalist. So he talked and then when he was saying good-bye, he looked to me and said "I don't know what to do". Awkward. So I said "Hand me the phone" and you know what happened?

CLICK.

He hung up. I was willing to get on the phone. I was willing to wish a Merry Christmas. But once again, I was denied. I keep trying, people. This is now like the 5th attempt that I have been turned away. No one can say that I have not tried, because I have. I'm not seeing this changing any time soon.

Sorry.

Kind of Random, Kind of Funny

I was over at Stacie's Madness and saw her post about this and decided to click over to Urban Dictionary and checked it out. Go on over and look up your name and see what it says.

I spell my name Stacey. Yes, with an "e". So here is Urban Dictionary's definition of Stacey: The correct way to spell Stacy;
A name for the most awesome girl ever. A girl who is constantly thinking about others and never herself. Good looking, kind, selfless, and funny. Loves surrounding herself with close friends and always enjoys life. Stacey is the epitome of class and good taste.

Not too shabby for Stace...

Hee, hee, hee!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve!!

You know, weird as this may sound, I have come to enjoy the holidays so much more since moving away from family. Quick Nancy, hit the "print" key! Anyway, we have started our own family traditions that we otherwise would not have done because there was always some place to be. When you get married and have kids and live near family, everyone wants to see you (when you're single? Not so much.). As a child of divorce, I always had two sets of grandparents to take Nick to and then there were my in-laws. Holidays were exhausting.

Once we moved it was like, okay, we have all of this free time to do with what we want! Our first Christmas in North Carolina, my grandmother came to visit me because she didn't want me to be alone. I just miss her so much! We had a lovely Christmas that year and it was so simple - no fuss, no muss, just time together. After that year we invited friends over and Frank has some cousins and relatives that live 90 minutes away so it was all still very nice.

A couple of years ago I took a cue from my sister. She always has people in her home. I don't know how she stands it sometimes but she does. One year she told me that she was doing an open house and whoever came, came. So we decided to try that. On Christmas Eve we had a dessert open house for our friends. The first year it was kind of small - maybe less than ten people. But last year was like our fifth year (maybe 6th year) and we had over 30 people! I put out the invites this year and it's going to be a bit smaller than last year but I am loving it. I think that it is just wonderful to surround yourself with people that you enjoy.

Everyone brings a dessert to share, we have music playing, the kids run around - last year it was warm out so the teens all went outside. This year it's not going to work out that well. There's always the shed! But for 3 hours my home is filled to the rafters with love, laughter and fellowship. I love it!

What are you doing this Christmas Eve? Whatever it is, enjoy and be merry. Have a little chocolate for me!

*Today's Examiner.com article is on the Twelve Days of Homeschooling. You can read it HERE. Enjoy and thank you!!*

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Another "Gotcha" Moment...

Christmas cards have been arriving, money from relatives for the kids has been arriving, on-line purchases have been arriving. Today there was a knock at the door from the UPS guy and there was a box on my front porch. It was addressed to Nick - the label was the typed out UPS kind.

I knew that Nick hadn't ordered anything and then I noticed the return address. My dad. My sister told me that he had shopped for the kids and that I should expect something. So it arrived today. It was very nice of him to remember his grandchildren and not take his feelings for me out on them. First, let me say that it was kind of childish to not even address it to me - as the parent. So okay, I open it up and it has several wrapped boxes in it and a card on top that says "Nick & Mike". Secondly, NO ONE calls my son Mike. No one. Ever. His name is Michael. A grandparent should know that. But...I'm being petty, right? I can feel something large in the card so I open it to make sure that it's not some kind of long letter telling my kids what a jackass of a mother I am or something awful about my husband. Inside was a DVD in memory of my step-mother. I put it aside because I'm not sure I am able to watch it and I notice the inside of the card - addressed to Nick, Mike and family.

???

Really? And family??

Okay, putting it aside, I put the gifts under the tree and contemplate calling him to thank him. But Nick wasn't home and I felt that if we were going to call, the boys should both be there to thank him. So I decide to watch the DVD before showing it to the kids. He said in the card that it was something for them to remember their grandmother by. Sweet, right? This DVD is a slide show of pictures of Collette's life. It was beautiful, the music was touching and lovely. There were pictures of her that I had never seen before. There were pictures of her with everyone except...

MY children.

Oh, here's something to remember your grandmother by, but you were left out of it! ARE YOU FREAKIN KIDDING ME??? REALLY??? If he did not want to put me in there, FINE, but don't you DARE make this like you care about my children's memory of their grandmother when you deliberately EXCLUDED them from it!!!

So to recap...sending Christmas gifts? Nice. Almost deserving of a phone call. Excluding the grandchildren who loved her from her memorial? Shitty. Take note, Nancy...tell dad to NOT expect a call on Christmas until HE apologizes to MY children.

*Today's Examiner.com is on some updated homeschool studies and how homeschooled adults are doing. You can read it HERE. Thanks!*

Monday, December 21, 2009

What it Takes to be a Hero...

As a mom of two boys I've heard a lot about Super Heroes. I know the basics and am forever being told of different ones with super powers and how cool they are. I've seen movies that have showcased these characters.

In the real world, we hear about heroes on the news: the firefighters from 9-11. Heroes. Our military fighting for our country. Heroes. A good Samaritan stopping to help someone in need. Hero.

Do you know who is NOT a hero? Tiger Woods' wife.

Yes, I seriously heard that the other day that this woman is a HERO in her home country. A HERO!?! Really?? So basically, you categorize someone who was cheated on, lied to, oblivious to what was going on around her and will now reap MILLIONS of dollars in a divorce settlement because of her husbands infidelity and THIS is a hero??

I think anyone and everyone who has ever been TRULY honored for doing something heroic should get to go and slap this woman! She is not a hero! She did nothing heroic! She sat back in her mansion, counting money that SHE did not earn while her husband cheated on her. That doesn't make her a hero unless the people judging that are shallow and disgusting and think it is heroic to marry a billionaire celebrity and then get to walk away with millions for it when the marriage ends.

Honestly, the media makes me sick.

*Today's Examiner.com article is on Getting Organized in the New Year. You can read about it HERE. Thanks!*

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's Your Money to NOT do as You Wish With...

Back when Frank and I first started dating, he did not have a car. He lived on his own but without transportation. It was a little weird but those were the circumstances. He asked his dad to co-sign a loan for him to get a vehicle with and his dad agreed IF Frank bought a vehicle that his dad picked. This caused great strife because it was Frank who was going to be paying the loan AND having to drive and maintain the car! Frank eventually won but I am amazed that as life has progressed how that attitude has now come in to play in many other areas.

I shop at Staples. I have a rewards card. I got a certificate in the mail for $30. Yeah, me, right? No. I went to Staples to purchase a gift card and was told that I could not use the certificate for gift cards. Um, it's MY money that I earned, why can't I? Okay, on to store number two. I went to a used book store today to trade in some old books. I opted for store credit. This place was huge and sold not only books but movies, CD's, DVD's, VHS', vinyl records, video games, video game systems, and iPods. I was loving it. So they go through my books and give me my store credit and then are like "But you can't use it on video games, game systems, game hardware or general 'stuff'". So basically I can use it on Books. That's it.

FINE.

Years ago we went to purchase Nick a Playstation 2 for Christmas. We went to a small store that only did video games and they refused to sell us the system unless we purchased TWO additional games. When did this become the norm? What happened to making a sale? What happened to giving the customer what they wanted? In a time where all we hear about is how bad the economy is and how people are not spending, here are places that are turning away sales because of what? NO ONE KNOWS!

I'm still confused.

*Today's Examiner.com article is on no snow days while homeschooling. You can read about it HERE. Thanks!*

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Medical Lesson Learned: Ladies Only!

You know, I never thought I'd say it, but at this point I'd almost WELCOME menopause (or, the "pause", as I like to refer to it). Why? Because I am so tired of painful periods and cramps. Nothing works for me anymore. There is no over-the-counter medicine that works. My doctor doesn't seem to be phased by it and kind of looks at me like I am a big baby. Sometimes I am.

So with Frank being in his migraine mode and seeing that the Excedrin Migraine works wonders for him, I saw that Excedrin makes a Menstrual Complete medicine. In my line of thinking I figure that if this stuff is strong enough to tackle his migraines and succeed where no other medicine can, then surely this stuff - in the menstrual formula - can possibly help me.

I went, I bought, I took. The first two certainly took care of the cramps but I felt a little buzzy. I had just gotten home from going out for dessert with a friend and while I know this medicine has caffeine in it, I thought it was just a combination of that and the sweet dessert. Six hours later I wake at 4 a.m. with heinous cramps - the kind where I can barely unravel from the ball I'm in to walk to the kitchen to take something. But I do - two more. The bottle says that you can take up to 8 of these in a 24 hour time span so I feel okay in taking these two. Well, this began a horrific experience that I will not soon forget.

I took them at 4:16 a.m. I went back to bed and within 15 minutes my cramps were almost gone but my heart was beating erratically - I could FEEL it. I tried for over two hours to go back to sleep but could not. I got up and went about my morning but felt really weird, very shaky, kind of queasy and still my heart rate was not right. I had a bowl of oatmeal, hoping that food would level things out but it didn't. Five hours later my cramps are almost unbearable but I am afraid to take anything at this point.

We had a small Christmas party to deal with and so I stayed away from the sweets and chose some chips, popcorn, water, etc. to eat and while my stomach felt a little better, my heart did not. We ate a late, protein-laden lunch, still didn't feel better. At 4:00 p.m. I took a nap. I woke up at 5:00 p.m and STILL did not feel right. Frank got home at 5:30 and wanted to take me to the ER because he is convinced that this cannot be from the Excedrin. I told him I had gone on-line and researched this and all of these side effects are what can happen with this stuff but no time frame was given. I was still very weak and shaky and my heart was still beating weird and so he made me just sit quietly and rest. I did and by 8:00 pm I was tired but didn't feel quite so shaky.

I'm writing this on Wednesday morning, more than 31 hours after taking the last dose of this stuff and I am STILL not feeling right. I may have to call a doctor. I don't want to, but I may have to. The lesson here, be very, very, VERY careful when you take this stuff. Seriously, it scares the heck out of me right now.

*Today's Examiner.com article is on Christmas Cookie Math. You can read it HERE. Thanks!*

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What Do You Want To Do With Your Life?

Okay, so now I am a tier 1 in my unemployment journey. Fun times. This is so NOT what I wanted to be but at the same time, this time of life has afforded me the opportunity to really look at what I want to do with my life.

Back in July, that drunken witch that my dad is married to said to me in one of her ridiculous rambling e-mails that basically I am a loser who is wasting my life. I took GREAT offense to that because really, I was okay with my life. I have a great marriage, two wonderful kids who are healthy, I have friends...I mean, we are by no means living the perfect life but we're happy. But that stupid comment in her e-mail just stuck in my craw, you know?

As I look forward to a new year (as most of us are at this time), I think that I am still doing what I want to do with my life. I'm working hard at a career as a writer and my marriage is still strong, my kids are still great, I mean...God has blessed me abundantly. I know I use this phrase a lot but I'll use it again - God did not choose to bless me with great wealth, but he blessed me with a great marriage and THAT is worth far more.

So as you are looking forward to the new year, what are your goals? Are you doing what you want to with your life? Is anyone out there living the dream? I'm just curious.

*Today's Examiner.com article is on the Life and Science Museum. You can read about it HERE. Thanks!*

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Blessings and the Power of Prayer

Since becoming a Christian in early 1996, I have seen God do some pretty amazing things in my life. Have all of my prayers been answered? Yes. How can that be? Am I rich? Am I thin? No, I'm not but then again, sometimes God's answer is no. A very wise woman once taught me that and I have to remind myself of that point at times. God is not a genie in a bottle who grants wishes. Sometimes things have to happen a certain way and it's not for us to understand why - but someday we might.

As you all know, we have been struggling financially this year. Frank has not had a lot of work but, praise God, we had some money in savings that carried us through until this last month. Christmas was looking bleak and I was looking at ways to cut our already limited lifestyle back even more. It's not easy to do when you already don't have much.

A couple of weeks ago, actually it was the Sunday right after Thanksgiving, my church had their annual special service where it is all about thankfulness. Everyone is invited to get up and speak and share (briefly) something that they are thankful for that God has done in their life. I don't mind public speaking but I wasn't sure if I was supposed to get up and speak. I love to talk so I have to learn to differentiate between WANTING to talk and being led by God to talk - especially in this type of situation.

As the service went on, my heart started to race and I felt very anxious and it suddenly became very clear what I was supposed to get up and share. A little background for you: I am back at the church that I first went to upon moving to NC. It was where I became a Christian and stayed for 8 years. I left for personal (albeit selfish) reasons and after being away for 6 years, I am back. So I stood up at the mike and told how I was thankful to be back amongst family. That the people of this church have meant more to me over the years than I could ever imagine. How if it hadn't been for the love of my dear friend A.D. who made it her personal campaign to get me back in the church, I don't know how I would be handling life right now. I shared how I had lost two amazing women from my life this year who I miss terribly and with being unemployed for six months and Frank not having work, well, it was good to be among my Christian family who remind me always of God's provisions. That said, I sat down.

After the service, someone came up to me and offered Frank a job. A large job. A job that he's been at now for over a week and will (weather permitting) take him through the next two weeks. I had another friend offer him a similar job. And on top of that, the guy that he works with just got word on a job that will start up in early January.

Can I just say how big of a sigh of relief I am breathing right now? I don't always understand God's timing. But what I have noticed in my own personal experience is that when I acknowledge all that HE has done for me and how I trust in HIM, he gives us what we need.

My mom has a favorite song by the Rolling Stones - "You Can't Always Get What You Want". We always laugh because it is so true. The thing that makes life more tolerable, and to be able to truly see the blessings that come your way is when you realize the difference between wants and needs. I want Frank to have work - is a selfish statement. I might as well be saying I want a million dollars. But the reality is that we NEED Frank to work to provide for our family.

God heard of our need, and he met that need - by blessing us with friends who we love, who are now our family. I love you all so much and there aren't enough words to convey my thanks to you. I thank God for all of you.

*Today's Examiner.com article is on the Morehead Planetarium and the Star of Bethlehem show. You can read about it HERE. Thanks!*

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

To Those We Lost in 2009...

Last week my mom and her siblings buried my grandmother's remains. It was a small, graveside service. Later that night, the church that my mom and aunt attend had a service for those who had passed away in 2009. This poem was handed out to everyone as they entered the church. It was written by John Wm. Mooney, Jr. It was copyrighted in 1989 but it was just so beautiful that I wanted to share it here with all of you for perhaps those you lost this year.

Merry Christmas From Heaven

I Still Hear the Songs,
I Still See the Lights,
I still feel your love on cold wintery nights

I Still shares your hopes and all of your cares
I'll even remind you to please say your prayers

I just want to tell you, you still make me proud
You stand head and shoulders above all the crowd

Keep trying each moment, to stay in His grace
I came here before you to help set your place

You don't have to be perfect all of the time
He forgives you the slip, if you continue the climb

To my family and friends,
Please be Thankful today,
I'm still close beside you,
In a new special way

I love you all dearly,
Now don't shed a tear,
Cause I'm spending my Christmas
with Jesus this year


*Today's Examiner.com article is on Christmas traditions from around the world. You can read about it HERE. Thanks!*

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Enough of it Already!

Unless you've been living on Mars in a cave with cotton in your ears, you may have heard the news about Tiger Woods. I mean, haven't we heard enough? Every day the "girlfriend" number goes up. And how many of these women are actually legit? You know, just because he bought you a drink, doesn't make you his girlfriend!

I know that the world looked at him like some sort of Messiah, but guess what? He's just a man! A man with 750 jillion dollars at his disposal to do whatever he wants. NOT that I am agreeing with what he did in any way, shape or form, I just think that it is pretty much a proven fact that people with that kind of money do stupid things - thinking that they are above reproach - and then get caught with their pants down.

Literally.

I'm not a sports fan; I don't follow golf. I know who he is and I was fine with just knowing he was a golfer. I don't care to see 89 images of his Escalade all banged up or the fire hydrant that it hit. I'm sorry that his mother in law went to the hospital, I don't need to hear the 911 call. There are people in the world with REAL problems. He cheated on his wife? Sure. Did she beat the crap out of him with a golf club? I can only hope.

But in the end, I'm tired of seeing it everywhere. It's unnecessary and irrelevant to what is really going on in the world.

So stop it!

*Today's Examiner.com article is on homeschool websites. You can read about it HERE. Thanks!*

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cluster Migraines

My husband suffers from cluster migraines. When I first met him over 20 years ago, they scared the hell out of me. I would have to sit back and watch this strong man being brought to tears by the pain. He's suffered from them since he was 15 years old. He's been to doctors, the ER, he's had all of the tests. No one can figure out what triggers them and no prescription medication has ever helped him.

The cycles don't really have a rhyme or reason, either. He used to get them, several times a year but for a very short time - like 2-3 migraines a cycle. Well, then he'd get less cycles, but more headaches. The way that the cycle is now, we can go up to 18 months between them, but the headaches come sometimes 2-3 times a DAY!

About ten years ago, he went in to a cycle right before our first trip to Disney. I was like "There is no way you can survive one of these headaches in Disney!" I mean, when one would strike, he needed complete silence and darkness for HOURS. There was no way that he could be in the middle of a park and walk to the exit, wait for a bus, ride the noisy bus back to the hotel, walk to the room... I mean, he'd be dead by then. On a fluke, we tried Excedrin Migraine and if he takes it at the very first twinge of a headache, he will be fine within 15 minutes. The problem? He is male. He tries to fight these damn things.

This cycle started up about a week ago. He had two that first day. What I noticed within the first three days was that they hit more over night. He fell asleep on the couch one night and did NOT get one. Solution? Sleep on the couch if you don't want a headache in the middle of the night! I don't know why, but it works. Our house is weird and I know that I wake up with a headache almost every morning so I can only imagine what his head feels like if it brings on a migraine. By the time he wakes up in the bed with a headache, it's too late; the Excedrin will not work.

We were on a good roll for about 5 nights when at 3 a.m. this morning, guess who came to bed? Besides waking me up by coming in the room, within an hour he was moaning in pain and trying to fight it at 5:00 he finally got up and went to take a hot shower (they help too). But by now I am WIDE awake and not feeling at all kind towards him because he brought this on himself! I mean, WHY would you deliberately put yourself in a situation that has been PROVEN during a cycle to cause a headache! I mean, I know the couch isn't the most comfortable place in the world but now, he's suffered with a headache, I've had like three house of sleep and I'm pissed.

I had to get out of the bed before he got out of the shower because there was no way I could be nice. When he gets one of these headaches, normally I am like Florence Nightingale - I'm getting his pills, I'm making him tea, I help him get comfortable...blah, blah, blah. But I just cannot find it in me to do that this morning when he purposely and SELFISHLY did this to himself.

I guess a career in nursing is out...

Here's a Question...

Okay, did y'all watch the finale Tuesday night of "The Biggest Loser"? I know I did! Okay, so I'm watching and I'm watching...little bit of frustration when Tracy almost won the $100,000 take home prize...watching, watching... and then a commercial for the Jay Leno show.

Do you know where I'm going with this?

I did not think that Jay was done live and yet there was a promo for him having the WINNER of the Biggest Loser right after the finale. WORSE - they showed a clip and although the face was blocked it was clearly DAN! How is that possible? I mean, if we watched a LIVE finale where the winner is just then finding out if they won, how then could Jay have had them on his show earlier for a taping?

Anyone out there know anything because I am stumped!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Holiday Meme!

Holiday Meme

Ok, there's tons of memes out there. I found this one over at Lola's Diner (I love her!) who decided to create her own holiday meme. Here goes: 1. What is your favorite holiday show/animated show?
My all-time favorite movie is "Scrooged" with Bill Murray and my favorite animated holiday show is "A Charlie Brown Christmas".

2. What holiday character do you think you're most like?
Mary from "It's a Wonderful Life"

3.
What holiday character does your spouse think you're most like?
Mrs. Claus from "The Year Without a Santa Claus"

4.
Favorite Christmas/holiday song?
If I'm in a silly mood, it's the Chipmunk Christmas song. But normally, I get really cheery to Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You" - not traditional, I know.

5. Most hated Christmas/holiday song?
Blue Christmas - especially the Elvis version

6. If you have an all holiday music radio station when do you start listening to it? I don't have one and I wish to all that is Holy that they wouldn't start playing holiday music in November!

7.
If you have an all holiday music radio station do you love it or hate it?
Hate it!

8. Have you ever wrapped yourself as a Christmas present? Come on...you can tell!
Um...no

9.
Who is Rudolf The Red Nosed Reindeer's father?
I found two different answers to this one. Anyone know for sure?
10. Do you drive your neighborhood or one near you at night to look at other people's holiday decorations?
Yes, I do. Not as often as I'd like, but I do it.
11. When you see a heavily decorated house do you think, 'oh that's lovely'? Or do you think, 'oh criminy, that looks like Christmas threw up all over their lawn'?
Oh, I get all giddy and excited at first and then I think "Don't these people have anything else better to do with their time? and "I wonder what their electric bill must be like!


12. Are you counting the days to Christmas with excited anticipation or dread?
Dread. I'm too poor this year to really get excited.


13. When was the last time you had your photo taken with Santa? Did you sit on his lap? It was 1993 and I was selling Tupperware and I sat on Santa's lap at our holiday Christmas party. There's a Poloroid of it somewhere!

14.
Do you make a Christmas list for your spouse or significant other or do you rely on them to pick your gift(s) without a clue from you?
It varies from year to year. Sometimes I just shop for myself and let Frank put his name on the package but most years he goes out himself and shops.

15.
When do you put up your tree?
The second week of December.

16. Real or fake?
Real - every since our first Christmas together. I had a fake one growing up but when Frank and I moved in together we decided that we wanted a real tree.

17. When do you take your tree down?
After January 4th because that's Nick's birthday and we used to keep it up to keep it festive in the house for company - now he still enjoys having the tree up for his birthday.

18. Do you shop the day after Christmas sales? What do you shop for?
Not if I can help it. If the kids get gift cards, we'll go, but other than that, I am usually shopped out by then.

19. Is your work/office having a holiday party this year? Will you attend?
Being that I am unemployed (except for my penny-a-page-view gig at Examiner.com) the answer would have to be no.

20. Do you have your New Year's Eve Plans set yet?
No. We really don't ever do anything on New Year's anymore because whenever we try to plan something, things go horribly wrong. It's just safer to stay home and make our favorite snacks and chill out.

*Today's Examiner.com article is on How to Pay for College Seminar. You can read about it HERE. Thanks!*



Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I Finally Got New Glasses!

Okay, the last time I got glasses was around 11 years ago. I had no choice, my last ones looked like something from the Sally Jesse Raphael show! Mine were green whereas hers were red but they were both HUGE!

So I got my glasses and they were fine. When I was pregnant with Michael and had to stop wearing my contacts (just another "perk" of pregnancy), I was fine with them.
I went for four years without contacts and was fine with my glasses. Well, now I really am not comfortable wearing them for anything except walking from the bed to the bathroom to put my contacts back in! Remember my eye doctor appointment back in June where they kept trying to sell me glasses even though I kept reminding them that I was unemployed with no insurance? Then they told me how they were "affraid" to even TOUCH my glasses because they were so old? Well to them I say HA-HA!!

Zenni Optical has $8 glasses and I went and ordered my some glass
es. I was not expecting quality glasses for that amount but at least I would be able to see. Always a good thing! So they finally came in the mail and I was just about giddy. They arrived a little over two weeks after my order was placed and when they came they each had their own hard-covered case and Zenni Optical cloth with it. They fit perfectly, they look great and best of all, I really can see in them! I am very pleased.

I ordered two pairs because at that low price, why not? Plus, without trying them on, I wasn't sure which style I was going to prefer. They are almost identical and the funny thing is that I like one pair and Frank likes the other. Go figure. But now I have a pair and a back up and with the shipping it cost less than $21.

Now that's a deal!

*Today's Examiner.com article is on virtual field trips. You can read about it HERE. Thanks!*


Monday, December 7, 2009

A Tiny Rant...sort of...

You know, for an unemployed chick I'm quite busy. I've gotten involved not only in several writing projects but I also joined about a half a dozen different little small groups/activities/clubs/etc. It's good to get out and see people and be productive but I am telling you... people can be really annoying.

There, I said it.

Okay, why? you ask? Well, I'll tell you. For starters, If you are in the middle of an emotional crisis with life in general, PLEASE don't take on the task of leading any kind of a group. We don't need to ride the roller coaster with you, okay? I have enough problems of my own without having to deal with yours too. Next, when someone takes the time to research something and gets a really, really, REALLY great deal for the entire group, don't nit-pick it apart and try to nickel and dime it to see if you can get even MORE free stuff. How about saying "thank you"?

I realize that I've said it often that I don't miss working with the public in retail but I have been shocked, amazed and appalled at the behavior of some adults. If you are unwilling to step up to lead something, then don't criticize the person who stepped up to do it! If you think you can do it better, GO AHEAD! Oh, and my personal favorite that I recently encountered...if a rule is set and agreed upon by the entire group do not expect to be the EXCEPTION to it! You are no more important than anyone else! Quit your whining and complaining for crying out loud! Rules aren't made by one person in these types of organizations. There are committees, sub-committees, etc. and so anything that gets made in to a rule, is voted on by many. Take it up with them if you don't like it, but please don't sit an pout about it. And finally, along those same lines, when something is voted upon, agreed upon and SETTLED upon by the group, please do not take it upon yourself to start a campaign to change everyone's mind because YOU are the only one who did not agree. That's what happens in group organizations, not everyone gets their way.

Whew. I feel so much better. Thanks for listening.

*Today's Examiner.com article is on the Secret Keeper Girl Tour. You can read about it HERE. It's a great thing for moms of 8-12 year old girls. Thanks!*

Saturday, December 5, 2009

What Can You Do?

As many of you remember, my grandmother passed away in January. She had donated her body to the program at a local university. She was excited to do it and it was something that we all respected.

Upon entering this agreement, you (The family) are told that you will receive your loved ones cremated remains in approximately one year. Okay, fine. My mom comes home from work the other day to find a "Final Delivery Notice" in her mailbox from the post office. She had never received any other notifications so was unsure what this was in regards to. Well after a trip to the post office, it turns out that it is Grandma's remains!! What the hell???

The post office claims that it's first delivery attempt was September 12th. Yes, SEPTEMBER!! It is now DECEMBER!! Where were these other notifications? No one knows! So along those lines, I am curious as to how this whole program of sorts is even run. I mean, shouldn't the University follow up with this sort of thing? Shouldn't the crematorium follow up with the family or at least notify them that they are releasing (mailing) the ashes out and to be looking for them? At this point, I'm like "Is this even Grandma?" I mean, how can I trust a program that is run so poorly? Plus, where is the post office's responsibility in all of this? How can you claim "Final Notice" when there is no record of a first or second notice?

Mom was pretty upset and I can't say that I blame her! This is her mother! I think that it is a disgrace that my sweet little grandma wanted to do something good to help the field of science and that her remains were treated with such disregard.

So what do you do? Do you have any recourse? I suggested going to one of the local TV stations that have a "Troubleshooter" type thing and getting the story out there. As of right now, I don't know what is going to happen but I will keep you posted.

*Today's Examiner.com article is on holiday events at the library. You can read about it HERE. Thanks!*

Thursday, December 3, 2009

41 - Day Two

Okay, so I did, in fact, survive turning 41. It wasn't all that exciting but was filled with some wonderful surprises.

First, I was woken up at 5 a.m. by my husband who was in the throws of a migraine. I had to help him from the bed and in to a steamy shower because that is one of the only things that helps him. At 6:45 I got to walk out of the house and in to the pouring rain to drive Nick to work. But when I opened the door I was surprised by a bouquet of balloons and an incredibly sweet card from my friend Danette. That was so sweet that I almost didn't mind having to be up and out of the house that early.

I worked at MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) today in the toddler room. I spent three hours getting animal cracker drool on me but it was totally worth it because all of the kids must have sensed that it was my birthday and were extra snuggly with me. I love that.

I picked Nick up from work after running some errands and when we got home, there was a bouquet of flowers waiting for me and MORE balloons! I LOVE balloons! The flowers were from two brothers from my middle school writing class (Thank you Calvin, Dave and Dena!!) and the balloons were from my girl, Nani. Thank you! We went inside where we all (me, Nick & Michael) had lunch together and watched a couple of episodes of "How I Met Your Mother". I baked myself cupcakes (devils food with chocolate icing) and talked on the phone with friends, my great-aunt, my mom, and my sister.

Did anyone pick up on what family member did NOT call me today?

Frank and the boys took me out to dinner to the Outback and it was delicious! It's really one of my favorite places to go and the food is always good. I love me some steak for dinner that I don't have to cook! Yummy! We also stopped at Barnes and Noble because there were a couple of writer's magazines that I had wanted and they are a bit on the pricey side for such thin reading but Frank got them both for me.

I got over 100 birthday wishes on Facebook and all in all, I am feeling blessed. So far, I'm kind of loving being 41!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I Don't LIke Getting Older...

Okay, so I'm 41 today. It's not as fun or as magical as last year's birthday hooplah. I just feel older. Sigh. Remember when you were a kid and birthday's were a HUGE deal? That's what I want. I want to just play and be silly and have people around me doing the same thing. I don't think it's going to happen. So in honor of it being my birthday and wanting to be a kid again, I hereby quit being an adult and I thank you, Beeg, for sharing this one with me!

To Whom It May Concern:
I hereby officially tender my resignation as an adult.
I have decided I would like to accept the responsibilities of a 6 year old again.
I want to go to McDonald's and think it's a four star restaurant.
I want to think M & M's are better than money, because you can eat them.

I want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make ripples with rocks.
I want to play kickball during recess and paint with watercolors in art.
I want to lie under a big oak tree and run a lemonade stand with my friends on a hot summer day.

I want to return to a time when life was simple.
When all you knew were colors, addition and simple nursery rhymes,
but that didn't bother you, because you didn't know what you didn't know and you didn't care.
When all you knew was to be happy because you didn't know all the things that should make you worried and upset.
I want to think that the world is fair.
That everyone in it is honest and good.

I want to believe that anything is possible.
Somewhere along the way I learned too much.
I learned of nuclear weapons, war, prejudice, starvation and abused children.
I learned of lies, unhappy marriages, suffering, illness, pain and death.
I learned of a world where children knew how to kill...and did.

What happened to the time when we thought that everyone would live forever, because we didn't grasp the concept of death?
When we thought the worst thing in the world was if someone took the jump rope from us or picked us last for kickball?
I want to be oblivious to the complexity of life and be overly excited by little things once again.
I want to return to the days when reading was fun and music was clean.
When television was used to report the news or for family entertainment and not to promote sex, violence and deceit.

I would spend my afternoons climbing trees and riding my bike.
I didn't worry about time, bills or where I was going to find the money to fix my car.
I used to wonder what I was going to do or be when I grew up, not worry about what I would do if it didn't work out.
I want to live simple again.

I don't want my day to consist of:
computer crashes, mountains of paperwork, depressing news, how to survive more days in the month than there is money in the bank, doctor bills, gossip, illness and the loss of loved ones.

I want to believe in the power of:
smiles, hugs, a kind word, truth, justice, peace, dreams, the imagination, mankind and making angels in the snow.

So...here's my checkbook and my car-keys, my credit card bills and my 401K statements.
I am officially resigning from adulthood. And if you want to discuss this further, you'll have to catch me first, 'cause,

"Tag! You're it."

*Today's Examiner.com article is on the Raleigh City Museum. You can read about it HERE. Thanks!*

Monday, November 30, 2009

Yup, I finished this one too!


I was a writing DEMON in November, my friends! I completed a 50,000 word novel, I blogged every single day (sometimes twice a day) AND I wrote every day for the Examiner with the exception of one (dang it!).

So here's to me...and my writing...and to hopefully, someday, having a laptop of my very own where I can sit in comfort any place that I want to, when I want to and actually get some REAL writing done where I will actually MAKE money!

Now I'm off to write some more!

Thank God, It's Almost Over!

Can I just say how glad I am that this month is just about over?? I mean, seriously, this has been like the WORST month ever!

Why, you ask?

Okay, first there was the sinus infection. That wasn't pleasant. Then it was the strep throat. I am having some major neck and shoulder issues from being at the computer all day long, too. It's all making me feel very, very old. Then there was the three-day-car-repair extravaganza. Did I not blog about that one? Frank's van broke down two weeks ago and we thought it was merely a broken belt which would have been a quick fix. But this is us that we are dealing with and so of course it wasn't just that. We have AAA which we could have used to get the car towed to our house but the registration wasn't up to date and so we had to take care of that BEFORE we could tow the car. Once that got resolved, it was the next day, and we find out that it is not just the belt but also the water pump. Poor Frank worked like a fiend for a total of three days because numerous obstacles kept coming up.

Now add to all of that that as of this posting, he has been out of work for a little over two weeks. The savings are all gone. I'm still unemployed, my birthday is in two days and Christmas is around the corner. How much is my birthday going to suck? A WHOLE LOT!! I don't ever want to do much to begin with, but I do appreciate not having to cook on my special day (or at least have something better than Burger King!). I haven't begun to Christmas shop because there is no money and I am just ready to be done.

Then there was losing Collette. I was sitting at church today and I just sobbed the entire time that the music played because she was on my mind and all I could think was that she was up in heaven now, hopefully watching over us, and know how much we miss her. I lost two amazing women this year and I just can't seem to wrap my heart around it and not be so sad.

And then there was the computer crashing. Oh, it's up and running and all that but it's still not quite right. I'm going to try and get some more work done on it again this week to tweak all of the programs that are still acting a little floopy and it's made my life a little more complicated.

Oh, and did I mention that I heard Nick calling his girlfriend's mom "mom"? I mean, why not just get a rusty carving knife that just cut up some raw chicken and stab me in the heart!! Honestly, I died a little bit when I heard him say it!

So be GONE November! I am so done with you!! I just want, no NEED some good news!

*Today's Examiner.com article is on educational programs at the park. You can read it HERE. Thanks!*

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Back from the mountains!


So we survived our Thanksgiving in the mountains. It got off to a rough start - mixed/crossed communications on arrival time - we arrived and no one was there. It was pitch black for the last 90 minutes of the drive which was a bit scary because that was where we were actually going UP the mountain; very narrow and winding roads. Scary!

Everyone arrived around ten p.m. and luckily we had a key to get in so we were already settled. When we woke up the next morning, I was blown away by the view. I don't think I could ever tire of looking at it! The house that we were staying at was high up on a mountain and had a small, man-made lake that Frank and Michael fished, we drove over to Chimney Rock with the intention of going to the park and climbing the mountain but they were closed. We ended up walking along their River Walk which was pretty breathtaking, too.

Thanksgiving
night the winds whipped up something fierce and in all of my life I had never heard wind howl like that. It was pretty intense and creepy, but I seemed to be the only one bothered by it. Dinner was wonderful (and healthy!) and we left Friday afternoon with the hopes of visiting with some other friends who live in the area. Unfortunately, the hostess was deathly ill and so rather than head back over to the mountain retreat, we headed home. I'm not going to lie to you, we stopped at a Cracker Barrel on the way and feasted on a lot of unhealthy foods - I had chicken fried chicken with mashed potatoes, gravy and biscuits! And a Coke!

All in all it was a nice change of pace but I really am just too
much of a food control freak (especially on the holiday's) to do something like that again. Any other time of the year would be spectacular - there was mention of how on the Fourth of July you can see more than a half dozen fireworks displays around the mountain in her back yard - now THAT I can do!

I hope that all of you had a fabulous Thanksgiving!!

*Today's Examiner.com article is on homeschooling the only child. You can read it HERE. Thanks!*

Saturday, November 28, 2009

What is the fascination with trash?

Do you ever want to get your husband or your children to pay attention to anything?

Simply throw it in the trash!

Yes, I'm serious. In my house, I can have papers on every surface of our home - you can be walking on it, eating on it, sleeping on it, heck, even eating on it and no one will think to look at it to see if it is important or for them. But once it goes in the trash? "Why is THIS in the trash?" "How did THIS get in the trash?" "Why are you throwing THIS out?"

Um...why did you not notice it sitting on the couch for the last week? I mean, it had YOUR name on it. Why could you not read that until it landed in the big heaping pile of trash in the pail?? And you know the sad thing here? I'm not making this up!

My boys share a room. It is piled high with crap. Today I asked them to please clean it up a little. I even offered a shovel. The declined. So Nick threw out a bunch of stuff that had been scattered about the room and not five minutes later Michael comes up to me and asked "Why is that envelope with Nick's name on it in the garbage?"

Sigh. It didn't even make it in to his range of vision while on the floor in his room when he stepped on it and over it a dozen times. Covered in garbage, NOW he's drawn to it. Frank does it to me too. He NEVER looks at the mail. Ever. Until it is in the trash. "Hey? What's this?" "Garbage," I answer. "Why?"

REALLY???

*Today's Examiner.com article is on A Beka Books. You can read it HERE. Thanks!*

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Scam or Confusion?

Okay, so we're sitting here having dinner one night and the phone rings. We have caller ID and so if we don't know the name or number, we let the answering machine get it. It was a California call and we did not recognize it so we let the machine have at it.

This woman starts talking about looking for some relatives of someone who she has some possessions of and she's been researching and researching and if we knew of this person (who is now deceased) could we please contact her so that their belongings could go to their rightful family. Well, I convinced Frank to answer the phone and talk to this woman because it was just too odd not to! So he talks to her for like ten minutes and agrees that he will speak to his parents and IF we are related we will get back to her. Long story short, we're not. End of story.

Or is it?

Today I come home to find a FedEx envelope by my front door. So I open it and in it is two DVD's plus a letter from this woman telling us that we ARE related to this deceased person and as such she is mailing us FIVE BOXES of ... get this...
SCIENTOLOGY books, CD's and transcripts! But wait, that's not all...she encourages US to start using the program ourselves!! I mean REALLY?? Now, I believe I have mentioned this before, but I am a Christian. I got to a Baptist church. I was actually raised Catholic but now go to a Baptist church where I am very, very happy.

So I call this woman (because all of her contact information is on this very businesslike letter on Scientology stationary) and I get her secretary. I'm told that this woman is not available and to call back later. Luckily I have unlimited long distance calling otherwise I'd really be ticked off at having to field this expense! I call back later and got the woman I needed to on the phone and explained to her that we are of NO relation to the deceased and do NOT want these boxes. Her response? "I had it on very good authority that you were related." A statement that she repeated THREE TIMES.

I have a feeling that these boxes are going to show up here anyway and if they do? They will go directly in to my trunk and take a very quick drive to the local Goodwill. So is there really confusion on who this guy was related to or is Scientology just looking for a way to get their stuff out there? Is Tom Cruise (who I DESPISE, btw) going to come-a-calling?

I hope not...

*Today's Examiner.com article is on The Woodcock-Johnson standardized test. You can read it HERE. Thanks!*

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Some People Just WANT to be Mad: aka: Bratty Adults

You know how it's really annoying when you're out somewhere and a child is throwing a temper tantrum somewhere near you? You know, the yelling, the whining, the crying and just how painfully annoying it is to listen to? So you tell yourself "Why doesn't someone shut that child up?" (or maybe something a little more sensitive).

We've all been there. Either it's YOUR child being a brat or someone else's but we've all dealt with this kind of a situation. Let me just say that it is like, oh, I don't know maybe seventy-freakin'-bajillion times more annoying when it is an adult acting like this. In the last month I have had to deal with more bratty adults than I have ever wanted to! Do we not spend a large portion of our time as parents telling our kids that life isn't fair and that they can't always have things their way? Why then, do we, AS THE ADULTS not get this?

The day that we were awaiting word on my stepmom (dad's second wife) who was in a nursing home, on hospice and how they believed she will not make it through the day was the worst. The people who were down there with her (dad and stepbrother) were not really focused on HER they were focused on an on-going argument between the two of them. REALLY?? For ONE day you cannot let that go and maybe GRIEVE together?? I can't really blame my brother on this one, this was his mom that he was dealing with and I knew it was going to be DEVASTATING for him when she passed. But dad? BE THE PARENT HERE!!! Be a nice man and maybe offer this man/child comfort! OOOHHH it just makes me so mad! There were phone calls being made to me and my sister with "he did this" and "he said that" and lucky for me, I'm only getting that from my brother, poor Karen was getting it from brother AND dad! Oh, and Nancy if you're reading, go ahead and hit "print" and be sure to get this to dad over a nice glass of wine for more fun for you.

Then, in the midst of all of that, WHILE they were arguing, dad throws out there to brother to NOT trust ME!!! I've left this miserable man alone since JULY. JULY!!! Not one word to him in all that time - and believe me, I tried to make peace but he is too spiteful to hear it. And you know what my big crime is that I am being crucified for? I blog. That's right, I wrote the TRUTH about things that upset ME. It's amazing I'm even allowed out in society so hateful am I. So instead of maybe hearing and listening to what my brother's issues are with HIM, this miserable human being had to throw the blame on to someone else. "Oh, date hate me, hate Stace!" There is not a hot enough place in hell for you, sir, but I can only hope the devil is preparing one.

And just one more note on that one: So you're mad now that I didn't send a mass card to you? Really? Has no one reminded you that you were NOT married to Collette anymore? You are not the grieving spouse! Or maybe you are, I mean, you are married to a crazy woman and hopefully regretting it. But I digress...no, I did not send a mass card. I don't do that. Ever. You know, I held a memorial service here and YOU did not send ME a card. So I guess I'm mad at you too. Also, you're mad that I didn't call you? Why should I when you've REFUSED my calls for the last five months? Make up your mind, man. Either you want to talk to me or you don't. But for crying out loud, stop changing the reason why you're mad because really, no one cares and I don't care to try to keep up with your crazy list.

It's not just them, there just seems to be a lot of stress and pressure lately that is bringing out the brattiness in a lot of people. We all do it so don't sit there thinking that you don't ever get bratty or anything like that. It's human nature. We get mad when we don't get our way. What I find annoying is when seemingly mature adults resort to childish behavior when they don't get their way - snubbing someone as you walk by, refusing to acknowledge them, refusing to answer your phone when someone is calling to mend a relationship...I mean, com ON!

I'm not perfect. I can be down-right bratty too. I'm being bratty right now with all my complaining but I keep it limited (for the most part) here to the blog. I would hope, however, that I don't do that on someone's DEATH BED! Please, I hope I have learned a little something in this life!

*Today's Examiner.com article is on Thanksgiving books for children. You can read it HERE. Thanks!*

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Small Crash, but We're Back...

Hello, friends! Just wanted to let you know that my computer crashed this weekend in a BIG way. It seemed to stem from my using Mozilla but I can't be 100% sure.

I am EXTREMELY blessed with some wonderful friends. The type of friends that don't mind if you call after 10 pm crying that your computer crashed and are in need of assistance. After trying unsuccessfully for several hours to fix the problem myself (and we know how uneducated I am!) I called my dear friend Cathleen because I know that her husband is a tech-genius. So there we were, late Saturday night on the phone trying to diagnose my problem. Steve talked me through some things but the bottom line was that he would need to be seeing all of these things himself. Even though they were getting ready to go out of state for Thanksgiving, he offered to come by on Sunday to help me. I baked him a cake to show my love and appreciation.

After three hours of intensive fighting with the computer, he got it up and running for me and there aren't enough words (or cake!) for me to thank him. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU, STEVE!! YOU TOTALLY ROCK!!

I just wanted to let my e-card buddies know that I am sorry that I have not been around for a couple of days dropping and commenting, I will be back to all of that tomorrow. It's just so good to even be back on-line! Yeah!!!

*Today's Examiner.com article is on homeschool magazines. You can read about it HERE. Thanks!*

Don't Hate Me But...

I don't like "Twilight".

There, I've said it.

I cannot even begin to tell you how all of this publicity and hooplah has annoyed the snot out of me - and has been for a long, long time. Nick read the whole series and kept trying to get me to do it. Now I'll admit that I jumped on board the Harry Potter train back in the day but stopped reading after book four (or was it five?) because it got too dark and too confusing for me and I just lost interest. I DID, however, read the last two chapters of the last book - just so that I could know how it all ended. That made Nick CRAZY!

So when all of the Twilight mania started, he asked me to read it. I declined. He asked again and again and again until it just became the principle of the thing - I said no, and I'm not going to do it. When the first movie came out, I was asked to see the movie, at least. No. Okay, then the subject of the book came up again. No. I had to stop sending flairs on Facebook because all there seemed to be were Twilight flairs! I'm not on Team Edward or Team Jacob. I don't like vampires.

You know, there was a time when that was a GOOD thing. Now if you say that, you are looked at as if you are some sort of freak. It's blasphemy! Give me a break. It's a teen story - a teen LOVE story - and I am a 40 year old woman who finds no joy in it. Sorry. I know that there are many women my age who LOVE this stuff. Good for you. Read and be well. It is JUST. NOT. MY. THING. Get over it.

So I will NOT be going to the movie. I will NOT be reading the books. There will be no TEAM gear to be found anywhere near me. Personally, I don't find the lead actor guy so unbelievably handsome or the chick to be beautiful - although in her case, it could be the Joan Jett mullett she's sporting right now for a movie. Either way, I'm not impressed with any of it. The coverage on it is almost as obnoxious as the Michael Jackson dying coverage. Were you aware tha Michael Jackson died? Five months ago?

Crazy...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

An Unflattering Observation...

So I've come to a point in my life where I am taking a good look at myself. Some things I am pleased with - I am married to a man that I love that loves me, my children are happy and healthy, I'm writing like I always wanted to. Then there are the things that I am not pleased with - my weight, our finances, some family relationships that are forever ruined because of a deranged woman. But all that is really nothing new.

Recently, however, something new DID occur to me: I am an idiot. No, seriously, I am an idiot. Not in the sense that I do idiotic things (at least not often and really, I don't care about that). No, I'm talking about the fact that apparently EVERYONE around me is smarter than me. Sure, I play a mean game of Scrabble and am good at word games but education wise? I am a complete loser. I graduated high school, I know, but I was a middle-of-the-road-student. I wasn't near the top of my class but I certainly wasn't at the bottom. I didn't finish college because of family issues and finances. I really didn't regret it at the time.

But now? I mean, I hang out with a lot of great people and they all have degrees and talents and skills and knowledge that is so far beyond me that it is scary!! I'm starting to not mind not having a job and just doing my piddly little freelance-writing-for-a-penny thing because clearly that is all that I am worth and why should I be out there for the world to mock??

I have found that a lot of my friends are not only college graduates but they graduated as scientists or have doctorates or PhD's! Sure, they're all stay at home mom's like me but it was their CHOICE! I'm a stay at home mom because I am too unskilled to actually get hired for anything! I have to tell you, it is NOT a good feeling.

Good thing my computer desk is in a corner because now I can wear my "Dunce" cap in the proper location.

*Today's Examiner.com article is on standardized testing and the Iowa test. It goes well with today's blog, don't you think? You can read it HERE. Thanks!*

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Craigslist...

Okay, so do you guys know about Craigslist? It's like a local e-bay only with no bidding. Kind of. You can go to the site, click on the city closest to you and then either post stuff that you want to sell or look for stuff that you want to buy. Posting is FREE!!

We have been kind of successful with both things on Craigslist. We've sold some stuff, we've bought some stuff. Recently, Nick decided that he wanted to get rid of some stuff and so we posted it on the list. I was amazed at how fast some things moved (a BROKEN iPod for $30) while he has some XBOX 360 games sitting here unclaimed. It just seems weird to me. We've posted books, movies, games and on his first day, he made $65. Not too shabby.

Then there's me. Anything that I try to sell does not move at ALL! I mean, ever. I've got a metal, two-door cabinet FILLED with books and curriculum that I can't seem to get rid of. They're all like new. I have posted them everywhere and not one person is interested in them. There are consignment shops that might take them but having worked in one, I know that you don't get a lot of money and you certainly don't get it fast so that's not appealling to me right now. I'm looking to clear away some clutter and make some money for Christmas.

It's not going well. However, back to Craigslist. I was impressed that a majority of the people showed up when they said they would and pretty much handed us the money and left. There were a few who either never showed or showed up hours after they said they would and I'm like "Really?" I just think that's bad manners and it totally ticked me off. I mean, I TOLD these people when we would be available and they agreed to come then. There were no calls saying they weren't coming or that they were coming late. Manners, people!!! Try having good manners!!! I guess that's the downside to picking things up in person rather than shipping them out. Sure you save money but you have to deal with this sort of nonsense.

I'm off to try and find some more stuff that nobody wants.

*Today's Examiner.com article is so ME!! It's on Homeschool Days at Walt Disney World!!! You can read it HERE. Thanks!*

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Oh, It's ON!

For you long-time readers of this blog (and Yes, this is a blog, NOT Facebook), you know that I stopped any family stories because of some issues that came up. I never went in to details because I was trying to make some peace but apparently, there is no making peace with some people so here it all is.

Dad's wife, Crazy Nancy, found this blog. It wasn't hard to do, I had sent her an e-mail over something and at that time, my blog address was part of my signature. Well, she went and read it and then e-mailed me about how DEVASTATED and HEART BROKEN my dad would be if he knew I wrote such things about him. She then went on to encourage me to confide in her if I ever needed to vent. Sounds nice, right? Well, what she wasn't saying was that she had gone and PRINTED OUT each and every blog that had a mention of family in it! Not the workings of a normal mind, if you know what I mean.

When we went to Florida in July for dad's birthday, which she INSISTED that I go to even though I originally declined because we really couldn't afford to (she offered to pay for our hotel, gas, food, whatever, just as long as we came), I finally met her for the first time. Well, it didn't take long to realize that this woman is in desperate need of a padded room. She heard voices, she heard things that people never said, she demanded to know why me, my sister and step-brother would say that dad would kill himself if she left him...none of which EVER happened. When she left dad in the middle of his party - class act, Nancy - we all looked at dad like "Well, you always said she was crazy, you just never said that she was clinically insane!"

During her three-day e-mail/text/phone message escapade, besides telling the whole family every sick and disgusting thing my dad had ever done in his life, how much she hated all of us and everything that we did that offended her (the woman has NO sense of humor and apparently gets offended easily) she tells dad that I write all sorts of heinous things about him on Facebook. She is OBSESSED with Facebook. Again, note to Nancy, this is a BLOG...spell it for me...B...L...O...G, not Facebook. She then proceeds to SHOW my dad all that I wrote on here, because she's got pages and pages and pages of it printed out!!!

So dad stops speaking to me (we haven't spoken since July), he takes her crazy ass back and after all she said and did - insulted him, his family, his friends, his GRANDCHILDREN (she said my born-again Christian son is a drug addict), he took her back and I am the enemy! Oh, and did I mention that during their brief separation she did everything humanly possible to get my sister's boyfriend to sleep with her? But really, hate me. Another point of interest that I think needs to be cleared up, all of my information about her and what a crazy, empty-headed bimbo she was that I got BEFORE meeting her? That all came from my dad and my sister. But because I said it and wrote it, I'm the bad one.

Now, because all that wasn't enough, she continued to cyber-stalk me and my blog. Because it's not enough that she already had dad not speaking to me, it apparently was best to keep it going. She then printed out anything and everything that I wrote about anyone in the family - particularly the boyfriend she was trying to sleep with - and sent THEM copies of the blog. She taunted my step-brother via text messaging whenever she could, and told him that I wrote terrible things about him...again, on Facebook. She told him that dad hates both me and him and that Karen is the favorite and soon our family will be obsolete because he has her. LUCKY HIM!! DING, DING, DING!!! What a prize!!

So I did my apology here on the blog, I tried to be nice and if my being in their lives was so offensive, I kept away. When Nick got accepted to college, I tried to call and dad refused to answer. I had a friend who was going down to Florida and would be in the area stop in to say hello for me (she said she was bringing him a hug) and he never acknowledged it. When my step-mother died last week, he never called to tell me.

And here we are. Why now am I letting loose? Why now, am I pouring it all out? Because that crazy bitch had the AUDACITY first, to even GO to my step-mother's funeral where she had NO RIGHT to be, but while there, STILL felt the need to tell everyone who WAS there about all that I write on...you guessed it...Facebook. WHY am I even still an issue? I've left you all alone. I live 700 miles away. And really, is a FUNERAL a place to be spewing your craziness?

GET A LIFE, NANCY!!! Oh, and get lots and lots of ink for your printer, crazy one, because family stories, are BACK.

*Today's Examiner.com article is on BooksFree.com. You can read it HERE. Thanks and enjoy!*