Friday, February 27, 2009

Call 1-800-CANT-TALK (Part 2)

Back in late September I was SHOCKED when our cell phone came in $200 higher than it should be. It did not take the work of a great detective to figure our WHO caused this increase in our bill.

The teen.

We yelled, we screamed, we took money out of his paycheck every week until MOST of it was paid off. I say most because when we were approaching Christmas, we felt guilty about taking extra money from him and wanted him to be able to buy things for people. After all, it was the first time ever that he expressed the desire to buy things for other people. At the time, when I was done screaming, Frank and I both explained to the boy the rules of the cell phone. We share 700 minutes between the three of us and really, that is plenty. Considering that the boy is homeschooled and therefore, HOME, there is a phone here that he can use. As a matter of fact, there are TWO phones in the house that he can use and they are both cordless. What could be easier, right?

So I'm sitting at the computer today checking e-mails when one pops up from our cell phone provider and guess what? We have a bill that is $200 higher than it should be!!! AGAIN!!! Being that the boy is feeling better (I would never have yelled this much if he were still bed-ridden), I screamed like a deranged lunatic. Seriously, I'm amazed that all of the neighborhood dogs were not circling the house because I had such a high pitch going there for a while. The boy remained eerily calm. "Yes, mom" and "I get it" were said with such a blase attitude that I almost THREW a phone at him! He knows that he has to pay this bill. He's getting a tax refund and guess where it's all going? That to me, is just plain stupid. That was money that was supposed to be put away for car insurance. Did I mention that he is getting a car next month? When my grandmother died, she left him her car! But now, he has no money for said car insurance because he talked it all away!!!

While researching the phone bill, I noticed that here we are four days in to our new billing cycle and he's already used 233 minutes of the 700!!! We're only four days in!! What in the world could he POSSIBLY have to talk about for that length of time?? No one knows!!! He's had mono, what could he possibly have to talk about - "Oh, I had a fever, but it's gone." Or "I was in bed for a few days and went through like, a thousand tissues." This is NOT riveting conversation and did not require 233 minutes.

So he'll pay off this bill. Again. We will have to lay out money that we don't have to cover it until he gets the money. Again. I'm ready to Super Glue his mouth shut. Again. I need to take deep cleansing breaths and remember that I love him.


Weekly roundup...

Okay so it's Friday. My day off. It has been a hellacious week to say the least. I am both mentally and physically exhausted and just a touch cranky. So here's where it's all at:

- Nick is on the mend. After a few days of high fevers and feeling like death, he is doing much, much better. We went to the doctor on Wednesday and it turned out that he had this secondary infection and was put on antibiotics and is now like a new person. He cannot return to work for another week but he's okay with that. His spleen is slightly enlarged and he has to be seen again in two weeks to check it again. All that remains of his former sick self is a little cough and some congestion. Not too bad.

- I walked something like 27 miles last week, while on a strict diet, WHILE I had my period and all I lost was two stinking pounds. This week I was NOT so strict with my diet (Thanks to the Thin Mints in my house), I've walked 13 miles thus far and have lost nothing. I am SO not amused.

- I've been battling a sore throat all week long and today is the first day that I feel better. Praise the LORD!

- We had been relatively pleased that there had been no problems at school for Michael for almost two weeks when it all came to an end yesterday. His teacher sent home a note. Most of you who know me, know that I tend to side with the teacher but this time after talking to Michael about the situation, I really think that this woman is just not ready to have a classroom on her own. This is her first year teaching and, in my opinion, she should have come in as an assistant first. I know that the school was desperate for a third grade teacher but this woman clearly doesn't have realistic expectations of her class nor does she know how to run a class. I'm contemplating a meeting with the principal because I refuse to let my child continually be harassed and that's what I'm beginning to feel like.

- We're starting to see the snowball effect from all those weeks that Frank was out of work. Bills are rolling in with higher balances than I would like. Playing catch-up sucks.

- I ruffled some feathers with my Amateur Psychology blog. It was not directed at any one person. Believe me, if it were just one person that I was dealing with, I would be fine. But it's not. And it's not like I hate helping people or talking to people, it's just that right now I have problems of my own and no body bothers to ask about them or volunteer to sit and listen to me talk about them. Hence, the blog.

- And right now I am totally NOT panicking that they boy has LOST (yes, LOST) his antibiotics. He is frantically searching the house right now but notice how calm I am?

So that's our deal right now. Awful, right? I'm waiting for some good news - ANY good news would do! I hope that someone out there is getting some good news today. Because right now it sure isn't me.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Amatuer Psychology...

This morning I was watching a re-run of the TV show "Wings". It was one of those crossover episodes and Frasier and Lilith from "Cheers" were on. Frasier was on the island of Nantucket to do a psychology seminar on self-esteem. I always liked the Frasier character and he was truly brilliant when paired with his wife, Lilith. But this episode was hysterical because while trying to lead this seminar, he cannot take the constant whining of Helen, Joe and Brian (the "Wings" cast) and he snaps. I mean completely loses it and screams at them all and ends up giving everyone in attendance a full refund.

Oh, how I would love to be Frasier for just a day. I mean, do you have any idea how many issues I have to deal with on a daily basis from people that come in to the store? Now I've said it before and I'll say it again - I am a people person. I am very social. I love to talk and I equally love to listen. But here's the thing - sometimes it is all just TOO MUCH. Seriously, too much. I have dealt with teen dramas: Who likes who, who's not speaking to who. Who thinks that they are better than everyone else, who's stuck up, who's is endless. And while I like the fact that the kids think that I am cool enough to come and confide in, I learned last year after the whole "Circle" nightmare that it really doesn't matter what I say or what I suggest, they will do whatever they want to in the end. They don't want me to settle their problems, they just want to hear their own voice. Teens like to feel that someone is listening and I am glad that I can assist.

What I CANNOT deal with is the adult drama. Seriously, if you want to whine and complain about something, please limit it to five minutes or less and be done with it. AND if I am not directly involved in it, please don't drag me in to it. It makes things awkward. I talk to everyone. I try to be friendly to everyone and I prefer to draw my own conclusions about people. By being badgered with someone else's opinion it makes it very hard for me to function. It's my problem, seriously. There seems to be an endless supply of parent conflicts. But here is my advice on that and please, please, please, pay attention:

Not everyone HAS to parent the same way as you! Your way of parenting is in no way SUPERIOR to anyone else's.

I say this because everyone raises their children differently. One family may not have a problem with a child under the age of 17 watching an R-rated movie, another may find that hideous. No one says that you have to agree on it but it does not give you the right to go out and publicly BASH the other family because they do not agree with you. If you allow your child to date and another family does not, DEAL WITH IT! You know, I think I've stated it often enough in the year that I've had this blog, many people have issues with the way that we do things in our family and they have brought their "displeasure" right to me. Fine, I don't like it but I listen to it. And in return, I have felt obligated (at times) to tell these people how I don't agree with something that they do. It's a bit childish and a lot like going tit-for-tat and so I only do it when absolutely necessary.

God made us all different. We are not supposed to think alike. We are not supposed to all dress alike. Deal with it! Better yet, shut up and deal with it. Not everyone needs to hear your "issues" all the doggone time! I have enough drama in my life just living day to day. Does anyone ever stop to think that maybe I don't WANT to hear your drama too? Apparently not!

I don't have a psychology degree. I don't really want one although I can tell that if I did have one, I'd be a millionaire if I charged for all of the issues people come to "discuss" with me! I know my job has me in a position where I am accessible and all, but seriously, I do have other things to do other than listen to issues that are normally being blown WAY out of proportion.

Oh, and one more note to the adults: Perhaps your children enjoy making mountains out of molehills. We learned the hard way that sometimes our children tell us something was done that offended them when really it is THEIR interpretation of it and it is usually wrong. Not every word issued from your child's mouth is gospel, you know. Maybe THEIR attitude or behavior WAS offensive to someone and that's why something was said or done to them. Teenagers are great for offending people and then blaming others when THEY get offended.

If you want drama, go to the theater. As for me, I'm staying home and watching a comedy. My life is dramatic enough on its own.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Wake Me When It's Over...

Mono - day five. There are many things that stink about having Mono in your house. Many, many things. I've already mentioned how helpless I feel. I mean, there just isn't much that I can do make the boy better, I can make him comfortable but I cannot make him better. There, I've admitted it. It's so hard to just stand by and feel like your hands are tied.

What I've learned here is that for all of the complaining that I do about the boy, he does a LOT around here. I am picking up the slack and you know what? It's exhausting. I'm working, I'm teaching a class once a week, I'm working out 4 to five times a week, food shopping, doing laundry AND all of Nick's chores. He usually does all of the dishes, straightens up around the house, takes out the trash, vacuums, cleans his room, puts laundry away, I mean, the kid really is a power house. Not that he does it cheerfully, but he does it. Well, now I'm doing it and you know what. I don't like it!

He's starting to feel a little bit better and where he was exhausted and whiny over the weekend, he's stronger, whiny and argumentative now. Today I got home from work around 2:30. I had worked from 9-1, taught a creative writing class from 1-2, went to Target to get him more Advil and some food, came home and washed dishes and he announced that he was hungry. I said that I would make him something. He wanted Spaghettios. Gourmet dining at its best. So I open the can and pour it in to a bowl when he comes wandering in to the kitchen and moans "Nooooo....don't do it like that. You have to do it on the stoooove....
in a pot!"


Being a good mom of a sick child, I poured the contents in to a pot and heated it the way my baby boy wanted it. Seriously, it's Spaghettios. I was not attempting to cook Fillet Mignon in the microwave for crying out loud but a can of Franco American Spaghettios!!! He made me feel like a contestant on "Hell's Kitchen"!

I woke up with a sore throat this morning but I had to trudge on and pray that this is all that it is - a sore throat. We go to the doctor tomorrow for a follow up visit to make sure that the boy is okay and that his spleen is not enlarged. Who knew that your spleen could burst from Mono! His fever has gone down and his appetite is returning. For example, besides the gourmet feast I made him for lunch, he also ate three pouches of instant oatmeal, a chicken leg quarter, egg noodles, corn followed by a sausage sandwich. I think we are on the mend.

Please pray that we are on the mend!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Oscar Buzz?

Okay, I have to admit, I enjoy watching award shows. Sort of. I like to watch the red carpet - for a short amount of time. I enjoy the ceremony of it all - for a short amount of time. I want to see what everyone is wearing. Why? I don't know. Fashion is not a hobby of mine. I'm most comfortable in sweats and t-shirts. I'll never be the sequined, bejeweled diva, that is for sure!

So last night I was excited for the Oscars. I saw NONE of the movies being honored. So I went in to it with no expectations. Well, I enjoyed the opening number - which is always cheesy - but it was entertaining. I thought it was cool that for each of the acting categories, previous winners in groups of 5 came out to do the presenting. I enjoyed the scaled-back stage setting. For a large portion of the show I was actually in the other room on the computer. But I could HEAR what was going on.

Now I know that I am no movie-maven or production executive, but I can remember a time when the people at the Oscars were actually relevant to the movies. The people honored (or at least presenting the honor) were talented people. I hardly consider cast members from "High School Musical" or Miley Cyrus for that matter, worthy of even BEING at the Oscars! That is my honest opinion. I mean, in the front row you have acting royalty like Meryl Streep having to sit through a song and dance routine with these annoying teen stars who will all be forgotten in five years. I think that is a crime - not that they're going to be forgotten but the fact that they were even allowed in!

And because I have a sense of the morbid, I do enjoy (maybe that is the wrong word) the "In Memorium" portion of the show. There were some really amazing actors who passed away this year and whoever directed the Oscars this year deserves one big, giant slap in the face. I mean, half the time you couldn't even SEE who they were showing on the screen because the camera man was flying around like he was on a deflating balloon! Note to future directors of the Academy Awards: When you are paying tribute to those who are no longer with us, do you think you can actually FOCUS on the people? I mean, get all flashy and twirly when Miley and the cast of High School Musical are on the stage but when paying respect to the departed, hold the dang camera still! Shame on you!

I was glad that Kate Winslet won. I was glad that Brad Pitt lost. I loved the fact that a little known movie won for best picture. To me, that should be what the awards are all about - not about the movie with the biggest budget because when you have a limitless budget, it's easier to make the movie. How about handing out awards to the poor guys who had to scrape and struggle to get their little known movie that stars people who don't demand $20 million for their part? So yeah! to Slumdog Millionaire. I still have no real desire to see it but good for them!

All in all, it was a decent show. Although it was greatly predicted, I still cried when Heath Ledger won for Best Supporting Actor and his family came up to accept the award. What strong people. Can you imagine how weird and awkward that must have been for them? To have their son honored that way and to have to accept on his behalf and never be able to celebrate that fact with him. I was glad to see many in the audience reacting the same way that I was - with tears.

I've never had dreams of winning an Oscar. Acting isn't my thing. But it is fun to sit and watch and play critic for a night. Strange, right?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Day After...

The men did not return from the ER until around 3:30 a.m. The diagnosis? Mono. The boy is devestated and did not want anyone to know this but I really don't see the big deal. It seems that everyone that I have spoken to today has dealt with it in their families at one time or another.

Here's my main issue: I am helpless. There is NOTHING that I can do to help my child feel better. Michelle asked me if I wanted to take some time off of work. There's no reason to because there is nothing that I can do. His body has to do it all on its own. There are no antibiotics. There are no pills, liquids or sprays that will help him and it is killing me. He's not tired. He's been awake all day. His appetite in non-existent and I had to force him to eat a couple of bites of his dinner tonight. Then I went to DQ and got him a vanilla milkshake. One of his favorites. Hopefully he will drink it.

We've washed all of his bedding, we've Lysoled the bed and the pillows. He showered (praise GOD!) and tried to wash some of the general "yuck" off of himself. I bought him a new toothbrush and new toothpaste. There are multiple bottles of Lysol around the house as well as some extra bottles of hand sanitizer. I think I've done all that I can and yet it still seems insignificant. He'll miss classes this week and most likely a couple of days of work. Although, if the fever is gone for more than 24 hours and he doesn't exert himself, he might want to go just to get out of the house. We have to wait and see.

The thing that sucks most about this virus? It can last a few weeks or a few MONTHS! No one knows! What kind of nonsense is that? I am a planner! I am a list maker! An indefinite illness is SO NOT MY THING!!! I don't know how to work with that!!

On a cheery note, I did NOT get myself a DQ milkshake this evening. I behaved myself. I walked a total of 27 miles since Monday. Well, it made me feel good.

Saturday Night in the ER

Thursday morning both of my boys woke up complaining of head cold-type issues. Michael had a runny nose and was sneezing while Nick was completely stuffed up. Michael has allergies so his complaint was a common one. Nick never gets sick. Truly, even as a baby he was never sick! He didn't have his first ear infection until he was six YEARS old.

So when I left work on Thursday afternoon I went and bought him some Tylenol Severe Head Cold medicine because he had to go to work. We didn't let him call in sick because - as a near adult - there are going to be times when you have to go to work when you don't feel great. And quiet honestly, a stuffy nose is nothing. So he went. He was fine. Friday morning he woke up throwing up. Not a good sign. He said that he was fine and it was just phlegm that came up. He had no fever, we went out, ran errands and he went in to work at 3:00. At 7:00 he called and said that he threw up again and they were sending him home. In the twenty minutes it took to get him and bring him home, he was near delirium. He was sweaty, chilled and had a fever of 103.

Twenty four hours later, he had thrown up about a dozen times and was still running a high fever so we took him to the ER. Now I know there is nothing funny about the ER - EXCEPT when you have a child who has never been sick and you get to watch his reaction to everything around him. You know, most ER's are NOT like the ones on TV. No one is running around, the waiting room is not a dirty, scary place. The Wake Med ER was relatively quiet. They took him in to the Triage and got his vitals and it was near comical. The poor boy had no idea how to get his blood pressure taken and I think it was partly because the fever had him a little coo-coo-for-cocoa-puffs if you know what I mean. By the time they put him in a room, he was convinced he was dying. Surely you wouldn't go to the ER unless he was dying.

We got him in to a hospital gown (now THAT was an experience - "Help me! But don't LOOK at me!) and in to the bed. The nurse came in to give him an IV and the boy squeezed the life out of my hand. He was severely dehydrated and so the IV was necessary. They drew blood, they did a throat culture and a flu culture. Now at this point it's near midnight and we've been there for almost three hours. Michael is with us and we're being told that we're going to be there for another 3-4 hours! NOT. So tucking my boy in we told the nurse that my husband was taking me and our nine year old home and that he would be back in 45 minutes.

Let me just say that I am a HORRIBLE mother when my children are sick because I just want them to be better. I've never really had to deal with Nick sick and so this is all new to me. All day I've been like "Buck up!" "Blow your nose!" "Don't breathe on me!" Horrible, right? Well, when we pulled away from the hospital tonight it was like leaving a piece of my heart behind. My poor boy, who has never been sick or in a hospital is now there all by himself!! I knew we had to get Michael home. I know that I need to be disinfecting everything but I'm telling you, I ache for my child.

Please pray that we've got nothing more than a virus and that he gets well soon. Hug your children a little closer today. I know I will. Well, certainly when he's not so icky and contagious!

Just kidding.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Love Ya! (Not so much)

"Love ya!" Have you ever had a friend say that to you? I know that I have and I've said it back. I usually mean it but the phrase really has no meaning to some people and they really shouldn't say it. It is something to say and means squat.

Nothing. Nada. Zip.

Case in point: I have a friend who I have know now for around three years. We're not best friends but we talk to each other several times a week and whenever I see her, when she is leaving she says "Love ya!" or "Love you!" and will even add on "Really!" Sweet, right? We've shared child-rearing challenges, marriage struggles and just general conversation. We've dined together, cried together and laughed together. That's what friends do, right?

I guess there are things that friends are NOT supposed to do. And that is to confide in one another when something is wrong. No, I shouldn't say that, if you phrase your problem with "Please pray for me because..." THEN it is okay, but if you just come out with something that is bothering you and just need to vent, that is wrong. That is un-Christian and that, apparently, is gossiping. So I guess in some people's minds it is okay to gossip, complain, whine, and generally mooch off of everyone as long as it is worded correctly and you ask for prayer first. But do NOT just be human, do NOT just be a friend because THAT is wrong. Hey, FYI, asking for prayer before you say or do something offensive does not make it LESS offensive. I am so tired of people thinking themselves superior by putting the name of our Lord in front of their bad behavior and thinking that that excuses it! IT DOESN'T.

Here's another news flash - we're all human. None of us are perfect. When someone comes to you and points out something that you've done that is less than perfect, that doesn't give you the right to throw someone else under the bus to take the focus off of YOU and YOUR bad behavior. Nice try, but a bit of a juvenille tactic. My kids do that and it doesn't work.

So save your "Love ya's" and your "Mean it! Really!" because it means not a thing. True colors were shown. I openly admit that I am not perfect. I openly admit that there are people in this world who annoy the snot out of me. And you know why? Because THEY are not perfect either. If you cannot be a friend and talk to someone without throwing it back in their face to cover your own behind, then don't pretend to be a friend.

You know, we've always told our children that we can tolerate anything except lying. Same goes for me with my friends. Don't lie and don't be a phoney. In my opinion, there is nothing worse than that.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Conspiracy Theory #358

You know, I'm a pretty logical person. I don't buy in to a lot of the "conspiracy theories" that float around. I like to believe that people are honest and what is put out there for the world to see is the truth.

I'm delusional, right?

Today, however, I became convinced that something rotten is going on. I'm going to say right now, I am expecting some grief from this blog but I'm writing it anyway. As many of you know, I work for a homeschool bookstore. We have been around for five years. My bosses/friends went in to this business with great hopes and dreams of how this little shop would be a blessing, a ministry, and would provide for their family. The homeschool community did not open its arms to the store right away because there was ANOTHER homeschool bookstore located almost 20 miles away that had been in business for many years. Other homeschool families that I know had wanted to open a similar bookstore and when talking to the owners of the more established store, they were TOLD that they should not do it. They were "advised" against it. The reasons given were many and at this point would be like quoting a game of telephone.

What I have noticed in the three years that I have been with the bookstore is that they (this other bookstore) get things that we simply cannot. I find this odd. I mean, in this economy, who turns away business? There is not a big markup on books and I would think that publishers and the like would be THRILLED that someone wants to sell their stuff. Apparently that is not the case. For example, we had a request for a certain spelling curriculum. Our regular distributor does not carry it so we went directly to the publisher. They openly admitted that they allow this other store to carry it, but they don't do wholesale accounts with anyone.


How is this possible? And you know what? It's not the first time that this has happened. It's not even the second time that it's happened. I'm thinking conspiracy theory at this point because how could it be that all of these fabulous, new books/curriculum that come out ONLY be sold to one store? I'm no marketing whiz but I do shop around and I see workbooks that we sell in our store, also for sale at places like Barnes and Nobles which is like a kabillion times larger than we are. So where's the logic? Why is there such favoritism for this other store? I think there are darker forces at work here. I think that something is truly rotten here.

I'm not happy about any of it. I do not believe that it is fair in these times to have one store horde all of the new merchandise and therefor force another business to not be able to compete. For crying out loud, if you go to any mall or shopping center, each store carries almost IDENTICAL merchandise! You're telling me that two stores twenty miles apart CANNOT do that? I don't want to accuse anyone unfairly but I am just saying that I find it mighty suspicious that this other store is the ONLY store that major publishing houses allow to sell their books.

Very suspicious indeed.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Time of Reflection

As many of you know, my grandmother passed away last month. We all knew it was coming and yet her death was still devestating. A little over a week ago I was on the phone with my sister and the subject of grandma came up and she told me of how she had been dusting her living room that morning and when she came to a picture of grandma it hit her - she's not going to see that face again.

She is not an emotional person - I think I hold the family record on that one - but that one simple statement said so much. For starters, where sis is concerned, it was really the first time I heard her say anything even remotely resembling her feeling the loss of our grandmother. But that one sentence had a very real, very powerful affect on me. I can't put my finger on it, exactly, but I keep hearing that statement in my mind and it saddens me. It's like losing her all over again.

I mean, I KNOW that I can see her face whenever I want - I have pictures from throughout my life. And I believe that we will see each other again in Heaven. Her last words to me were "I'll see you again".

I miss our Sunday phone calls. Even though they normally consisted of the weather, her doctor appointments and nothing of real significance. I just miss them. I have a routine of phone calls that I make on Sunday's and there is a definite hole where our call used to be.

Maybe I am over-emotional. I miss people. I lost my Nana when I was 13. I lost my grandpa when I was 22. I still cry every time I go to the cemetery because I miss them so much. I know it's only been a month. I'm trying to be strong and focus on having happy memories. It's just not easy.

I just miss her.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Three O'Clock Chocolate

Okay, so I've been walking. Still loving it. I lost five pounds. Five pounds. Five stupid-that's-all-there-is pounds. I'm walking like a fiend and all I have to show for it after three weeks if five pounds. To be honest, I have not been all that careful about what I've been eating so I guess I've just been walking off all of the junk I've been eating. I never claimed to be some sort of genius.

So today it is back to the dreaded "D" word. Diet. Ick. I found a diet in the last issue of "Woman's World" magazine that looked appealing and like something that I could do. There were no weird foods, nothing crazy, just a pretty basic food plan. You eat a banana (or two) for breakfast. I figured I'd give it a try. Today is day one. I got through breakfast okay - it wasn't very filling but I know that tomorrow I can add to it and be okay. Lunch was good and very filling. According to this plan, I am allowed some dark chocolate after 3 p.m.

3 p.m.

It is 2:39 pm right now and it feels like the clock has not moved in HOURS!! It's not even that I am all that hungry but I just WANT the darn chocolate. Can twenty minutes really make a big difference? I DON'T KNOW but I am unwilling to risk it! Suppose the whole science to this particular meal plan/diet is that you only lose the weight if you wait until after 3 p.m to eat the chocolate? Sure it sounds crazy but what if it's true? Stanger things have been known to happen. I can't take that risk but man-oh-man! I want the chocolate!!!

Maybe the chocolate - if eaten after 3 pm - kills all of the calories consumed before it? What if there is something magical about that dark chocolate (mmm...chocolate!) that when eaten at 3 pm actually MELTS AWAY large amounts of flab, fat and cellulite? Maybe, just maybe by waiting until 3:00 you can magically transport yourself to that time in your life when you WERE the ideal weight! That would be some powerful chocolate and all the more reason so eat it!

I guess that maybe they would have mentioned that in the initial article, but how cool would that be?

I don't plan on writing for the next twenty minutes just to pass the time, I mean, THAT would be crazy. Surely I can find something to do to pass the time. Oh, and did I mention that the Girl Scout cookies that I ordered came in today? And that they are sitting here at the desk with me! THIN MINTS!!! Lots and lots of THIN MINTS!!!

Stupid 3 p.m. chocolate. Killing me! Okay, refocus! I walked a mile this morning when I woke up and did my 10 minute Power 90 Ab routine. I'm feeling good. The girls and I are getting together tonight to walk at least another two miles. I'm looking forward to it. Not as much as the chocolate, but looking forward to it nonetheless.

So for those of you reading this...go and have a piece of chocolate for me!! Enjoy the freedom of eating-chocolate-any-time-you-want. I envy you.

Sixteen minutes to go.


*The above is my entry for Scribbit's March Write-Away Contest. For more information on the contest or to just read a great mom-blog about life in Alaska, go to*

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Amazing Race is Back!!!

I am a HUGE fan of The Amazing Race. I mean, a HUGE fan. It is one of the few reality shows that I watch and to me it is one of the only realistic "reality" shows on TV. I love to learn about geography so I think that is part of the appeal.

So tonight was the season premiere. Let me just state for the record that I do not want to BE on the Amazing Race, I just enjoy watching it. I've gone to the website and seen where you can apply for the show. I have no idea what the whole process entails but I would sincerely HOPE that you are required to have some sort of physical for this thing because some of the tasks are so intense. Tonight's show had contestants bungee jumping from the second highest bungee jumping site in the world. Only one member of each team had to do it and it was pretty wild. The competing couples came in all shapes and sizes - mothers and sons, fathers and sons, dating couples, older married couples, friends, etc. There was one married couple that is from Virginia and honestly, the wife could not walk, let alone RUN for any length of time without saying that she couldn't breathe. Shouldn't they have taken this in to consideration BEFORE applying for this show? Anyone who applies has obviously SEEN the show and should know what will be required of them. For the love of it, if you cannot walk to the mailbox at the end of your driveway without taking a brake then PLEASE DON'T PLAY THE GAME!!

Sure it makes for entertaining moments where you just cannot believe what you're seeing and who doesn't get a kick out of watching a couple fight. With this particular couple it was entertaining for all of thirty seconds and then it just felt wrong. I mean, she fell behind, the husband yelled, she cried, on and on it went and yet they came in like 8th or 9th out of 11 when clearly they should have been the ones to go home. It was just dumb luck that they beat out those other teams. Although, on a snarky note, it was fun to see the blond flight attendants go home. They were a little too dramatic for me.

So my Sunday nights are set now. For at least the next three months. I'll be getting my geography groove on! If you've never checked this show out, I highly recommend it. Very entertaining. I haven't picked a favorite team yet - it's just too early and people haven't really gotten annoying yet. Well, except that husband and wife I mentioned above. I'd like to see them gone next week.

Lesson learned tonight is that a 50 pound wheel of cheese can pretty much FLY down a Swiss hillside and not break. Little known fact.

You're welcome.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day - Part 2: Where is Steve Perry?

Okay, so when you think about Valentine's Day, you think of love. You think of love songs. So imagine my surprise tonight when I was flipping through the TV channels and stumbled upon VH1 Classics "Top 10 Break Up Songs of All Time".


Um, excuse me. We are supposed to be celebrating LOVE not breaking up with someone and wishing hateful, painful things upon them. See my sidebar of top "angry woman" songs. Now THOSE are great break up songs. Oh no, wait, I guess those would really fall in to the category of "post" break up songs where you are truly wishing that your ex-boyfriend would die. Okay, that's a little dramatic. These are the songs you play when you've lost 20 pounds, look fabulous, have a totally hotter new boyfriend and you see the lying, weaselly jacka__ who broke your heart. But I digress. Back to VH1. So I happen to arrive on the channel during the video of Journey's "Separate Ways". FYI, GREAT song. This was when Journey was at it's peak and I clearly remember having that album. Yes, ALBUM. And the cassette. I listened to it often. But this all got me wondering, "What every happened to Steve Perry?" The man had a phenomenal voice! I mean, no one sang like Steve Perry. I remember talk of him having some sort of throat cancer but I wasn't sure if it was true. Then there was talk of him getting hurt and needing hip replacement surgery. Sure all of these things were kind of confirmed on a Wikipedia search but my question still remains - Where is Steve Perry?

You know, there are a LOT of really BAD singers out there. There are singers out there who don't sing, they SCREAM. Badly. There are singers with really weak, whiney voices. But oh, Steve Perry. Now THAT was a voice! Fellow fans of the 80's, you know what I'm talking about. We've all swayed (with lighters lit) to the likes of "Faithfully" and "Open Arms". We've rocked to "Don't Stop Believing", "Be Good to Yourself" and "Separate Ways". I've not heard a voice quite like that since. Now that was good music.

So Steve Perry, should you ever stumble upon this blog, know that there are people out here who really and truly MISS your beautiful voice. Sure, Journey may get new singers who kind of sound like you, but there really is only one you.

Just another reason to miss the 80's.

(Yawn) Happy Valentine's Day...

So it's Valentine's Day. Big, freakin deal. Do you want to know what I'm doing? I'm sitting here in my sweats, feeling comfy, contemplating when I am going to go to the supermarket to pick up something to MAKE for dinner. There are no big boxes of chocolate around nor are there any bouquets of flowers.

Would I like either of those? Perhaps. It's not really our thing. Well, it's not really my HUSBAND'S thing. "We love eachother ALL days. Why do we need a day to TELL us that we love eachother?" And while yes, this is true, I feel a little left out of the Valentine's Day hooplah. We did go out to dinner on Wednesday night so I can't complain about that. He did buy us a new bed. So if you want to get technical I DID get something. It's just that, well...It's Valentine's Day, dammit!! Where's all the red crap that goes with that? We gave each other cards and I'll make a nice dinner but...where's the romance in that? Our nine year old will be "romantically dining" with us! We'll be all like "Oh, I love you so much and I can't wait until later when..." and then we'll be interrupted with a rivetting Star Wars story or a quote from Sponge Bob. Let me tell you, nothing de-romanticizes the night like a quote from Sponge Bob.

So I hope that all of my friends out there have a lovely Valentine's Day. I hope that you are sharing it with someone that you love and having a wildly romantic night. Don't worry about little ole me sitting here laughing about Patrick Star asking "Sponge Boob? Who's Sponge Boob?"

Friday, February 13, 2009

"Walk Away the Pounds"

Okay so we're in to week 3 of this walking thing with the "Walk Away the Pounds" DVD series. I'm still enjoying it and so are my friends. We started out kind of mellow with the one mile walk. It was a little challenging because the instructor - Leslie Sansone - uses 2 pound weights during the routine to give your upper body a workout too. This is, of course, a good thing but you really do feel the burn quickly.

Next we moved on to the two mile walk. There was a LOT more use of the upper body in this one - both with and without the weights - AND she upped the intensity of the walking. It's a great workout and is challenging. You most definitely sweat.

Well because we are a determined bunch, we threw in a small kickboxing routine. Nothing major, just some beginner kickboxing moves. Moves that you feel in every daggone muscle in your body. Now we do this little workout AFTER the two mile walk.

Last night it was just Cathleen and myself working out so we decided to try the three mile walk - but no kickboxing. Now for those of you who have been reading All Stace since the get-go, you know that I did a LOT of time on my treadmill. I upped the speed, used the incline and weights. I was certainly no pushover with that workout. Well this stupid three-mile walk just about kicked my butt. I mean, the sweat was POURING off of me, I was guzzling water like I had been wandering the Sahara for a week and by the time I was done, I seriously could not feel my thighs.

When we first did the two mile walk, it was using the one-mile walking routine, twice. THEN we moved to the actual two-mile routine. Well, I think I would rather do that one-mile routine THREE times than do that three mile walk any time soon! When we get together tonight we are going back to our two mile walk with a kickboxing follow up. I'm good with that. Seriously. I refuse to get on the scale until next week but I have lost a total of 6 pounds without any real dieting. So I'm happy.

So if you are looking for a good workout DVD to get you moving without getting crazy, check out the "Walk Away the Pounds" DVD's with Leslie Sansone. She is a great instructor and the workouts can be done at any pace. If I were doing this alone, I never would have gone on to the three mile walk yet. I learned while treadmilling that you have to move and increase slowly so you don't over-do it and burn out. Particularly if you are not doing it every day. We are not meeting every day - sometimes not even every other day - so in my opinion I would suggest doing each segment for at least two weeks before moving on.

I am certainly no workout instructor. I'm just someone who is trying to get my 40 year old body in to some kind of decent shape and be healthy. Is that an achievable goal? Gosh, I hope so!! I'd hate to think that I am sweating for nothing!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Getting a good night's sleep - in 4-6 weeks

I am a fussy sleeper. Truly, ask my husband. Everything has to be "just so" in order for me to go to sleep. First, I need absolute darkness - but I refuse to wear one of those Felix Unger masks. Not going to happen because something on my face will not let me sleep just like light in the room will not let me sleep. I hate to be cold, but I need a fan blowing on me (just in case I get warm). Plus, I like the sound of the fan. It helps me sleep. I'm not a fan of flannel sheets although my husband loves them but I tolerate them in the winter months. I prefer "cool" sheets. Again, keeps me from being too warm.

I hate to sleep with heavy pajamas on. Again, the warm thing. I prefer to sleep in oversized t-shirts or a tank top - the legs need to be free! I keep a bottle of Tums near the bed in case there is heartburn (and there often is). I keep the TV remote on the night stand so that first thing in the morning I can click on the TV and catch the morning news - so I can see what the weather is. All of these variables have to be in place for me to GET to sleep.

Staying asleep is another story. Since I've been working out with my friends, I tend to drink a lot of water at the end of the day. Now suddenly it's like having an infant in the house - I'm up every two hours! This does not please me. I go to bed before Frank (because he is a night owl) and for the most part, I can handle the momentary wake up as he crawls in to bed. It's when he starts to snore that I have issues. When he is in snoring mode, I am up every 30 minutes trying to move him (or suffocate him - whichever is easier). It makes for a bumpy night's sleep.

Have you noticed that I have said NOTHING about the bed itself? That is because up until this point, I have never had a good mattress. The only time I've ever slept on a really good mattress is when I get to stay at a deluxe resort in Disney World. And FYI, the Grand Floridian resort has the BEST beds. But I digress, we've never had a good mattress. When we got married, Frank already had a bed and well, it sucked. We had to furnish an entire apartment so a mattress was not a priority. A few years later we got an almost new, hand-me-down bed from my aunt. It was okay but still not a favorite. Fast forward a few years and we got ANOTHER hand-me-down bed but this one was a queen size. How we had lived so long with only a full-sized, I'll never know.

Well, last night my wonderful husband surprised me and took me out to buy a new bed. A real, honest-to-goodness NEW bed. I got to choose it. I felt a little bit like Goldilocks -this one is too firm, this one is too soft, but then, suddenly, this one is JUST RIGHT. Seriously, I am almost giddy about this. The only fly in the ointment here is that we have to wait to get out tax refund to get it.


I came home and GLARED at my bed. My eyes full of loathing. Stupid bed. Stupid old, uncomfortable bed. Makes my room look bad it's so awful. I think it knew I was having bad thoughts because I woke up with a backache this morning.

Let the countdown begin.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Square Peg in the Round Hole

So we went back to the doctor yesterday to do some follow up with Michael and his A.D.D. On our last appointment, he sort of refused to talk to the doctor - whether this was on purpose or not, we don't know. On the ride over, I asked Michael what his main problem was in the classroom/at school. I asked if it was the way his teacher ran the room (like did she rush them) or was it the work. He tells me that his main problem is that he does not like to be timed. Well, pretty much that is what school is all about, being timed. You do math from this time to that time, then you move on to reading and read from this time to that time. I mean, pretty much, that would mean that he has a problem with everything about school. So we arrive at the appointment and what do they tell us?

"We're going to do a series of timed tests on the computer today."

Well, you might as well have said "Hey, you're going to walk through a field of land mines. Good luck!" The boy was not happy. But it was presented in a way that there were no right or wrong answers and that it was okay to just take his time. All lies. There were like 12 different tests and they were all timed. You had things like here are 15 words - they will show up on the screen one at a time every two seconds. Memorize them and then we'll show you a much longer list and you have to pick out your words from the previous list. Twenty five minutes later, the boy had a meltdown and started to cry because it seemed as if this test was never going to end and the assignments were getting a bit confusing. I had to have a nurse come over and calm him down because I could not.

Long story short, the boy was above average in most of the categories. Needless to say, we were both pretty darn psyched about it. So we wait for the doctor to call us in and when he did he asked Michael how he did on the test, Michael said proudly "I did above average!" and you know what this guy says?
"Well, there really is no above average on this test."

Mothers, I think you can all agree that your first instinct is to smack this guys face. I resisted the urge, believe me.

Anyway, the thing is, right there in black and white on the report it SAID that he did ABOVE AVERAGE so if there is no above average on this test, then why is it written there? Why even have that as an option? Honestly, I think we took the wind out of his A.D.D. sails. I think that this guy is so full of himself and writing another book on A.D.D. that he doesn't want to see success or see that a kid may actually NOT have it! We do have him on a low dose of medicine because he does have trouble focusing on things and has often said to us that his brain is going to fast. I'm okay with this. I've made my peace with it. The doctor asked us how he is doing in school. I told him that we are tracked out right now (because we are in year-round school, this is his 3 week break). Then he asked Michael if the medicine had helped int he classroom. Again, Michael told him that he is tracked out and has not been in school. Then Dr. Not-Listening-to-what-I'm-Saying asked if the teacher had noticed a difference.


Everyone together now "We're tracked out and have not been in school since we started the medicine!" I don't know how many times I'm supposed to state this fact before he grasps it. Most of the schools in this area are year-round so I am sure he is familiar with the concept of tracking out. Why he was choosing to play dumb now, I don't know. Well, not play dumb but to just not HEAR us.

Well, HE may have chosen to not be impressed with my son's success but I sure as heck was! We have some work ahead of us to get him over his timed test anxiety but I think he's a pretty awesome kid. He doesn't fit the "norm" that this doctor is looking for for his research, I guess, but that's okay with me!

Oh, and on a side note, there was not hair fondling today. So all in all, a good appointment!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I turned down Disney!

Okay, so late last night I get a call from my sister telling me that she received an e-mail from our dad's wife about dad's 65th birthday - which is in July. Now dad has been dropping hints for YEARS about his 65th birthday. Why this one is so important, no one knows. So the idea was tossed out about going to Disney.

In July.

Peak season.

Peak heat.

Most expensive AND most crowded time of the year to go.

So sis and I talked and I was kind of like "Why?" I mean, I understand the fact that he is our dad and that it is his birthday but, seriously, I'm not seeing why we have to go all out. This is a man who told me that it is not cost effective to visit me. A man who - in the almost 14 years that I've lived in North Carolina - has not ONCE come to visit me. A man who has no idea how old my children are or the dates of their birthdays. A man who bought me cookware for my 40th birthday - not because I wanted it (which I didn't) but because he wanted some of the pieces that came with it!!! So now tell me, would you be willing to try and raise $1000 to spend a weekend with him? Even if it was in Disney?

In July.

Peak season.

Peak heat.

Most expensive AND most crowded time of the year to go.


Karen was a little miffed with me I think because I was lacking enthusiasm. But I am not going to be swayed on this. I promised to try and find deals but guess what? THERE ARE NONE. Add to that the fact that at $1000, only I can go. Not Frank. Not the kids. Just me. For a weekend. Frank only heard my end of the conversation and needless to say, he is NOT on board with me going away AGAIN. Alone. And spending all that money on just ME. And you know what? He is absolutely right. So as much as I would love to be in Disney, I cannot do it. I cannot afford it. It is not fair to my family. And I learned many, many years ago that you do not do Disney World in JULY!!!

Now we are tossing around other ideas but somehow they are all going to seem lame. I mean, gee, I can be in the most magical place on earth (aka - Walt Disney World), or I can go and hang out at dad's for a weekend. Or maybe we can rent a place on the coast (here in NC) but again, it's peak time. Your looking at several thousand dollars for a house and there's not much to do for someone flashy like my dad. Seriously, his nick-name is Frank Flash. Does Cape Hatteras, North Carolina sound flashy to you? NO.

So now I'm sucked in to all of this. The last time I had a situation like this it was my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary cruise and we ended up backing out of that one due to the cost and half of the family stopped talking to us. You can imagine how I would be...hey, never mind. There are pros and cons to all of it.

As a Walt Disney World fanatic, I did the unthinkable. I chose to NOT go to the World. I chose to be sensible and be fair to my family. Being responsible sucks. The economy sucks. The fact that my bank account is so small and the cost of a summer vacation is so big sucks.

Suck, suck, suckedee, sucks.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Peace in the Family?

When we were up in New York in October for what was our last visit with my grandmother, she was rather emphatic that there be peace in the family before she died. We're not a feuding family, but we have one particular family member that is just quirky/irritating enough that we tend to exclude him from certain gatherings. He is rude, obnoxious and generally not pleasant to be around. He is, however, my relative and so there are times when you just have to suck it up and deal with him.

So on this last visit, and I think I had told the story before, but my frail little grandma who had to use a walker just the day before, dragged me (sans walker) in to a room to tell me that she had invited this person to join us for dinner and she didn't care if that made me mad or not but she wanted peace in the family before she died! Lots of pep that day!

Well in order to keep peace for grandma's sake, everyone put in an effort to include this person in as much as possible. It was what grandma wanted and I think one of the reasons she held on as much as she did was to be sure that everyone was getting along. I think everyone really and truly tried and for a little while all was well.

With grandma gone now, life is returning to normal - meaning this individual is off his good behavior and basically acting like a brat. A big, old, brat. A big, old, ANNOYING brat. The family is trying to organize a memorial service for grandma and when this ...person (and I use the term loosely) was informed that he would have to contribute to it (financially - because he is a CLOSE relative) he started making a stink! He's starting to make waves because he is cheap. Now before you go all devils advocate on me, I am aware of these tough economic times and all but his man is not poor. Never has been. He is cheap. Big, big difference. He is trying to claim that he is being excluded from getting money that grandma left. She had none. She had no insurance, she lived very simply. If he had bothered to be an active part of her life, he would have known this but instead he wants to sit back and lay claim to money that isn't there so that he can GAIN from grandma's death. I wish stoning people in the streets was still a common practice.

Now the memorial is up in the air because it is unfair for three people to shoulder all of the preparing, hosting and paying for such a thing while the fourth just comes and takes. Shame on him for even thinking that this were acceptable. Shame on him for making all of grandma's wishes be for nothing. But most of all, shame on him for not honoring the life of a woman who gave him all that she had. I wish that we could all honor grandma's last wishes but some people in this world just make it impossible to have peace with.

Six hundred miles away and it's still not far enough!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

What about friends?

Yes, friends. New ones, old ones, ones who have gone M.I.A. from our lives. I was never one for hanging out with a really large group of friends, I preferred to have several close friends and spend time with them. When I was little I had two best friends and that was okay with me. As I grew up in to middle school and the beginning of high school, I think I had five really good friends. By the time we moved in the middle of high school, I was ready to branch out and had a bigger group of friends who I spent a lot of time with. And after graduation I hung out with a group of people that Frank referred to as "The Herd" - we all went everywhere together and everyone dated or "hooked up" with one another at some point. I was the first in the herd to get married and, therefor, had to leave.


It wasn't until after I moved away from New York that I began to realize that as a married couple, Frank and I had very few friends. We were young, married, with a child and most of our friends were still single or childless - we had nothing in common with the people we knew. So when we arrived here in North Carolina and I started getting involved in different groups and we were going to church, all of a sudden I had friends all over town! I couldn't go anywhere without bumping in to someone that I knew and I LOVED that! It still happens everywhere I go but nowadays, I have reverted back to my youth in the fact that I still prefer my little core group of friends - which consists of about 4 gals. We go out to eat together, workout together and just generally have a ball whenever we go places.

Facebook adds another angle to this. I have gotten in touch with people who I haven't seen or spoken to in YEARS! This has been a lot of fun. But my main problem with all of this is people's, I don't know, say...lack of manners. I'm big on the manners and I know it's stupid but it bugs me. I was on the phone with my friend Lori the other night and she was saying the same thing - if you send a message saying hello to someone (who is your friend/has accepted your friend request) why can they NOT just write a quick note back acknowledging you and the fact that you said hello? I mean, really? Is it that difficult to just say hello? I've had people friend request me that I really don't remember all that well or we weren't close friends but if they drop me a note, I'll say hello! I've had some really good friends from childhood - I mean we grew UP together - who hardly ever write back. I'm sorry, but that's just rude. Especially when you see that they are dropping notes to everyone in a 10,000 mile radius.


I don't know, maybe life was better before the age of the internet where you just had to deal with the fact that people were no longer in your life. Maybe they're not there for a reason. To me that's sad. I mean, who doesn't need friends? I'm not clingy (I don't think) and I don't travel much (so I won't be showing up on anyone's door) so what can it hurt to just write? Oh, I know, it CAN'T! It has been fun just seeing where people are at in life , what their kids look like, and all that, I just miss the actual talking to people. I'm very social and I love to talk and laugh with people. Luckily I have my gals near-by to keep my smiling. While the electronic age has it's perks, I'm blessed to be where I'm at and with the people that I'm with.

So here's a challenge for you this week - who are your friends? Have you spoken to them lately? When was the last time you picked up the phone and called someone just to say hello, OR when was the last time you dropped them a note (or e-mail) just to see how they're doing? Take a few minutes this week and touch base with someone who is on your mind. You don't know, you may make their day!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Happy Birthday and May the Force be With You...

So we had the big birthday party today and you know what? It was fun! Sure, it was pure torture GETTING to the party but all in all the party was a HUGE success. Oh, so you want to know why there was torture involved? Let me tell you...

I went to pick up the cake this morning and they could not FIND the cake for like ten minutes.
Why? Because they did not put it under my LAST name as most normal places do, but under my first name. The cake was awesome, though. But while I was shopping and running errands, I called home to remind Frank and the boys to get lunch going and asked that they throw in some pizza for me. So I happily get home and was feeling pretty jazzed that things were running so smoothly. I asked if lunch was ready, and it was, except...there was none for ME! Oh yes. My teenager "forgot" to make lunch for me - even though I called fifteen minutes earlier to ask him too.

After the lunch fiasco we finish getting ready and load up the car with all of our party supplies and head off to the bookstore. Half of the place got set up last night but t
he rest had to be done today. First I realized that I forgot the drinks. So Frank drove home to get them. Nick was supposed to be helping me set up all of the gaming stations but seemed to forget how to use his hands AND his ears. The Playstation was set up in the movie station, the blaster game, apparently, could not be set up at all...I mean, I had planned this party down to the smallest detail and all of a sudden it looked like we would be sitting around in a circle telling ghost stories! So I had to figure out how to connect the blaster game (but made the boy actually do it), I got the movie going and then all that was left was the Playstation which he swore could not be plugged in because the chord was too short - he missed the outlet that was three inches away from the TV. THEN - because clearly I have not had enough - he says that the game system won't work because he is missing a cable. So we make him go home to fetch the cable. Fifteen minutes later he calls and asks us to check all of the connections again. Now Frank is mad, I'm ready to cry and the boy is looking at around another year of punishment. Frank leaves to go home because he cannot understand what Nick is talking about and clearly has to go home to find the necessary cable himself. In the meantime, I get the game going. There was no missing cable - all that needed to be done was someone needed to his the RESET button on the game!!!!

Deep cleansing breaths.

By the time the kids arrived I was ready for a strong drink and a pound of chocolate. I didn't get either one. But boy-oh-boy, the look on Michael's face this afternoon was wonderful. The kids pretty much all took turns on the games, they dueled with Lightsaber's and just seemed to have a great time. One awkward moment - one of the mom's came with her son (who was invited) and a slightly older child (who was not invited). She said that her son was not comfortable with her lea
ving and while I understand that, her older, uninvited son was controlling one of the game stations and refusing to let the actual GUESTS play. I mean, we've all been there where you have parents that stay at your child's party and sometimes have a sibling there but for the love of it, isn't it just a wee-bit RUDE to just assume that your child can have the run of things and not correct him? I thought it was.

So the party was a big success and Michael said that it was the most amazing birthday party ever. I was pleased. He's still giddy now five hours after the party ended. I want to thank all of the kids who came and played and I especially want to thank my dear, dear friend Danette for making the entire place into a party wonderland for my boy. She is far more creative than I am and her generosity of her time (and love of balloons) really made this a special day for Michael. So I thank you and I love you!

Friday, February 6, 2009

This and That...

My brain is all scattered today. I've got a lot on my mind...taxes, bills, birthday parties... I mean, it's a lot. So I'm going to give a very scattered writing today.

First up, an update on what I THOUGHT was going to be a fun thing. Not too long ago I posted about the Paperback Swap site and the SwapaDVD site. I LOVE the paperback swap. I get all of the books that I want, when I want them. The DVD swap, not so much. Actually, not even a little. When you type in the name of a movie that you want, it comes up. BUT you very rarely get the option to ORDER the movie. Normally it comes up as an add to wish list kind of thing. This is all fine and well except for the fact that most of the things that I want (and FYI, 9 out of 10 are not NEW releases) I end up being request number 33 out of 34! Then it tell you where in line you should be in two weeks - 31 in case you were wondering. So my request for season 3 of How I Met Your Mother should get to me some time around mid 2010. NOT what I was looking for at all. If you are looking for an older movie, you might have better luck. Like I love the movie "When Harry Met Sally". I have it on VHS and it's old and I want it on DVD. That I got fast. But some other older movies like Neil Simon's "The Goodbye Girl" I am request number 15 out of 15. I many NEVER get that. Needless to say I am disappointed in the DVD swap thing.

Tomorrow we are finally having a birthday party for Michael. It's only 3 weeks after his birthday. No big deal. He wanted a Star Wars themed party. It's not easy to find party supplies for it - particularly when you have no money - but I did find the basics: table cloths, cups, plates, napkins. Today I have to go out and find party bag gifts. I hate this because basically you are sending kids home with useless crap. But, kids love it and I will do it. We have 10 kids coming and I am using the bookstore to host this shin-dig. We are setting up three TV's - one will have the Playstation 2 set up to play Lego Star Wars, TV number 2 will be set up with Michael's Clone Trooper Blaster Video game and TV number 3 will be playing the new Star Wars Clone Wars movie. Pretty neat, right? We got a clone wars cake and for two hours, I think I can handle it.

Taxes. Need I say more?

I lost five pounds doing the "Walk Away the Pounds" workout with my friends in two weeks time. I'm pretty pleased with that. Yesterday I did the workout twice and walked a total of 4 miles. I feel it a little bit today but when we get together tonight we'll do a different workout. Just to shake things up a little. I'm trying to get back in to some better eating habits but man, it is hard. I have a goal in mind and a date that I need to accomplish that goal by but I just still can't seem to get in the groove. Why must food taste so good???

So that's where I am at today. Now I'm off to finish buying party supplies. Yippee! Did I mention that I am NOT a fan of Star Wars?? I'll post pictures this weekend of the hooplah and try to have on my party face.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Now I feel guilty about the candy bar...

So I have been "Walking Away the Pounds" with some friends. There are four of us doing it and we are only in to week two but we are really getting it together. We have no real schedule because it is very hard to coordinate four busy lives.

Last week I walked 5 days. Four of those days I walked 2 miles. On that fifth day I only did a mile. This is a fabulous DVD and I think just about anyone can do it. We are four women. Four different women with different body types, metabolism, weight goals, and exercise goals. This week I missed our Sunday night walk. There were many reasons for it but the other three went. Some nights there's only two of us, other nights there's three of us, there's yet to be all four of us there at the same time. It all works out because we just really want to support one another. Well tonight there was only going to be two of us. No problem. But then, my buddy, my pal, my BEEG, backed out. Oh, yes you did! So now I was facing the lack of an exercise buddy and was getting ready to pull out the Gazelle when one of my other friends called and had cleared her schedule so that she could walk. I threw on a sweatshirt and sneakers and ran out the door to go and meet her.

But first I had to finish chewing the Dove Dark Chocolate bar that I had eaten in self pity. Dark chocolate's good for you, right?

I did my two mile walk - with weights - and feel fabulous. Let me encourage all of you out there who don't think that there is a workout out there for you to try these "Walk Away the Pounds" DVD's. It is fabulous! You can do a pretty low intensity workout if you want or kick it up with some weights. I feel good and I am already seeing results. In the last two weeks I've lost 4 pounds. One of our ladies lost 3 1/2 pounds last week. As I learned from my Biggest Loser obsession (see earlier post), the key to weight loss is having a partner/buddy to go through it with you.

So to my girls who are walking with me, I love you all (except the one who blew me off tonight!!!). Just kidding, I do love all of you and thank you all for the support and inspiration that you all give to me. You guys rock. I am blessed to have friends like you.

The biggest loser in the real world

I am not a big fan of reality TV but there are a few shows that I do watch: Amazing Race and The Biggest Loser. I love Amazing Race because I love the whole geography aspect and what you learn about different cultures. I don't like when they make contestants eat nasty food and then you have to watch them vomit. That's just uncalled for. And disgusting. The Biggest Loser...well, I just don't know what it is about that show but it does motivate me. I am forever yo-yoing with my weight and have my whole life. I have never gotten to the stage that the show's contestant's are at but just watching people get that pumped up about working out motivates me. I would NOT want some stick-thin trainer yelling in my face, though. I'd have to hit them.

So last night I'm watching the Biggest Loser and got out my Gazelle. I Gazelled for 30 minutes during the show and did about 15 minutes of other exercises. I felt good. The local news here was predicting snow for today. Not much, but a couple of inches and again, here in the South that means that everything will close down. Now while I really did NOT want a snow day, I gave myself a bit of a challenge that I wanted to try should I be at home. The contestants on that show work out for something like 8 hours a day. Who WOULDN'T lose weight that way!! I can't imagine spending a whole day exercising but I was going to try it today. I have a Walk Away the Pounds DVD that has a great 2 mile walk, I have my Gazelle and I have my Power 90 DVD. If I did all of those things, I'd still only get in about 2 hours and 15 minutes worth of exercise. I'd have to repeat them all the live long day and I've got to tell you, I may be around half the size of the average Biggest Loser contestant, but I do NOT have the stamina for that kind of workout! I think the majority of people in America do NOT have the stamina for that kind of workout!

I give those people credit. They are certainly working hard; harder than most of us will ever attempt. It makes me feel whimpy when I can't even get it together for a stupid two mile walk with weights when I'm watching someone who is 300 pounds carry another 300 pound contestant on their back!! I don't even know how I look at myself sometimes!

How motivated are you to move around this week? What do these people do once the show is over and they are back at home, back at work and cannot workout for 8 hours a day? This show is a great tool but for those of us with weight problems, it is a lifelong commitment and rather than teaching rapid weight loss with personal chefs and personal trainers on hand 24/7, maybe they need to make this reality show a little bit more reality based!

That's my soapbox for today. I'm meeting a friend to go walking tonight. We'll see if I make it through the whole thing with a good attitude - or if we try to carry eachother around at any one point!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Grace in extenuating circumstances

Okay so one day last week I had a rather irate mom come in to the store with her son for one of his classes. The class that they were arriving for, however, was not meeting that day. The teacher was away on a vacation that had been on the calendar since BEFORE class began and all of the parents had been made aware of this point since the beginning of the school year. To calm the ruffled feathers, I joke about how others had forgetten about the date as well and apologized that she had to make the drive. This, however, was not sufficient.

"This is the third time this has happened!" she snapped. I was thoroughly confused because I know that she has not shown up for no reason any other time. Then I realize that she is referring to the fact that there is no class. Okay, fine, legitimate complaint except, not really. You see this particular absence was for a long-since planned vacation. Everyone was made aware of it so you cannot complain about it. The last missed class was because of a snow day and everyone in the COUNTY (public, private and most home schools) canceled classes. Not my problem. If you have weather issues, take it up with God or with the Department of Transportation who cannot guarantee clear roads for you to drive on in the snow. The third missed class was because the teacher had a sick child.

For those of you working moms you know the scenario. You have to work, but your child is ill. It is near impossible to get a babysitter - particularly when your nearest relative lives several hundred miles away. No one who is not related to you WILLINGLY will watch your child. Again, particularly if said child is vomiting. It would be cruel to ask it of anyone and really rather heartless for the child who - when sick - would much rather have mom near by and be at home. So who do you blame for the missed day? Do you really get angry for the woman who is just trying to be a good mom or do you, as the student's parent feel rage that your child is missing a class? A class that, in all likelihood, will be made up. Do you show grace or go with a fight?

Scenario number two - a teacher repeatedly asks for a favor. "Can you print these out for me?" "Can you call my students for me?" While the favors themselves aren't a problem, it is the fact that the teacher is constantly unprepared. Every week. Sure, the first time you do the favor because they are running late, it happens. But week after week I should not be responsible for these secretarial duties since the only reason she needs it done is that she is running late! There are no extenuating circumstances, I extended grace in the beginning but now I feel taken advantage of. For crying out loud, set your alarm for 15 minutes earlier and get it together. I get to work on time, millions of people get to work on time. Be one of them!

Scenario number three - Your child is late coming home. Again. They cannot drive themselves and therefor have to rely on others to get them home. You as the parent were not asked to pick them up and bring them home because the child was trying to do you a favor. But...the people who are to bring him home are notoriously late for everything. Do you extend grace to the child or ground him for coming home after curfew?

Last scenario - you have plans with friends. You are friends and your children are friends. Every time you make plans to do something, the friend's kids always seem to get sick. You know, once or twice I can see that. More than that, it seems a little odd that they only get sick when you have plans. Does the friend really NOT want to go out with you or is she, perhaps, a hypochondriac? No one knows! You graciously accept the cancellation the first few times but then do you stop even making plans with this person? How many times do you have to disappoint your own children for the sake of not hurting a friend's feelings?

Each of these scenes have extenuating circumstances but to which one do you HAVE to show grace? Granted, you should probably show grace in all of them but there are times when it is a struggle. Have you ever grown weary of showing grace?

Monday, February 2, 2009


You know, no other day of the week feels like a Monday. Things just don't go well on a Monday. Believe me, I've been documenting this for some time and something always happens on a Monday and it's hardly ever good.

So I got up this morning (as I usually do) and came to work. Now, I was here at 8:35. The store does not open until 9:00. The crying boy was already here. I told him that he had to wait outside until at least 8:50. Sorry but I've got things to do to get the store opened and there is no reason to be here any earlier than ten minutes before class. Seriously, people! I'm getting myself set up for the day and the computer was not working properly. The keyboard would not work. Now I am certainly no computer tech and so after crawling around under the desk checking connections I came to the conclusions that nothing was going to help. I checked in with the boss and we decided to switch keyboards with our back computer and I was in business. Okay, moving right along...not a great way to start the morning but I'm going with it.

Next up was arguing with the teen because crying boy left class after only 45 minutes supposedly because he had to pick up his brother but lo-and-behold, he's at MY house! I told Nick that I did not really want him there and he's like, oh it's no big deal. He's in a good mood and he's helping me fold the laundry.

Sidebar: I may be freakishly over-sensitive here, but how many of you out there are comfortable with some strange kid/person handling your underwear?

Okay, we're back. So I'm telling Nick how I'm not comfortable and he's repeating my every word out loud so this kid can hear! Now I'm ticked. I tell him that he will be dealt with in my low, menacing, ticked-off-mom tone. I felt a little like Darth Vader in that moment. Like I gave him the warning, hung up the phone and felt like I should have flung my black cape behind me and stomped off while menacing music was playing. How cool would that be? Anyway, as if all of that wasn't enough, I brought soup with me for lunch and forgot a spoon!!! NOW my day is ruined.

I want to go home, go straight to bed and pull the covers over my head and wait for Tuesday. It's got to be better than today!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Another tradition bites the dust

We are not a sports oriented family. The kids don't play on any teams. We occasionally watch a hockey game. But for some reason we had gotten in to the habit of watching the Super Bowl. I could not tell you one rule regarding football and I have no idea what is going on at any point during the game BUT I put out a FABULOUS spread of food and we would watch it together as a family as we ate.

So this year I was making my plans about what yummy stuff we were going to eat when Nick tells us that he is going to a Christian concert on Super Bowl Sunday. I'm like "'s Super Bowl Sunday". Maybe if we actually CARED about the sport it would have meant more to him to be home but we don't and so I wasn't going to hold it against him. Go and have fun at your concert. So we're down a man but I can still cook and it's still going to be fun. Well, I started walking with my friends a couple of nights a week and tonight was going to be one of our walking nights. We were meeting at 8:00 and I thought that would be enough time to hang with the family (or what was left of it), eat, watch a little of the game and then be on my way. What I didn't know was that Frank had made plans to see part of the game at a friend's house! And in order for him to go when he had planned and be home in time for me to go and walk so that Michael would not be alone (Oy!), that meant that he would get to be out for like 45 minutes. That was so not going to happen. So I bowed out of the walk.

So here I sit. I've been slow cooking ribs all day long, shrimp is chilling, I've got a Greek Salad just waiting to be tossed and Michael.! Whoever you are that's playing!