Friday, February 27, 2009

Calgon....Take Me Away

So, it's noon and I'm about ready to poke my own eyes out with a fork.

It's a "snow day" here today and the girls are home. Normally, this isn't such a bad thing. We craft, we bake, we generally partake in merrymaking.

But today, by 9am, the fights were on. The teeth were bared, the gloves laid down, the warrior cries a flyin'. And that was just me!

I don't know what happens some days. It's like they wake up and the moon is full in the sky or their female hormones are running rampant. Maybe they just have their Dad's "evil" genes as opposed to my inherent goodness. THAT must be it.

So, it's midday. We've made it through some crafts which resulted in tears and stomping up to bedrooms. We've played a few rounds of gameboy which led to tears and stomping up to bedrooms. We've had a delicious lunch which........let's say it all together now......led to tears and stomping up to bedrooms.

The doors in my home must be stripped of their hinges by this point.

I don't know how I'll get through another five hours of this, if it continues in this vein. At least then, that glorious time will come when I can hand them off to their father and run for my life!!! Or at least a hot bath, a glass of wine, and a good book. Alternately, maybe just the wine and a Prozac will do.

I'm now going to attempt to pick out a movie, make some popcorn and propose a fun, girly chick flick afternoon. There will be a debate over which movie, over who ate more popcorn, over who has the comfortable spot on the couch. Seriously.

Pray for me.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Winter Blahs

When the heck is spring coming???

Seriously, I can't take much more. Today is a balmy +2C, but they are issuing a winter storm warning for tonight into tomorrow. Tomorrow's temp? A nice and cozy -22C. UUUUGH.

My girls have winter electives tomorrow, which has been every Friday of this month. My eldest alternates weeks between cross-country skiing or outdoor education which features Inuit games and quinzhee building. My youngest does outdoor games and fort building at the school. THAT should be a lot of fun in the proposed winter wonderland.

I read a startling statistic a few years back that the largest number of suicides take place in February. The theory was that depression worsened with the long winter months and the lack of Vitamin D derived from sunshine. I can totally see that.

I think when it first snows, it's a bit fun. Exciting. Maybe even beautiful. And then Christmas comes with all of it's flurry and joy and carousing to sustain us another month. Once January hits we are all starting to feel a little over the magic of Jack Frost. By mid February we are praying and hoping that spring is around the corner-no matter WHAT that little rodent groundhog told us was going to happen.

A lot of my friends have mentioned that they just feel "blah" right now. And I concur. I keep telling myself that there is really only a month and a bit left. What's a month after we've gone through so many months?? But the wait seems interminable and the next occasion seems out of reach.

Even doing all of the right things doesn't seem to help. I exercise, eat foods with Vitamin D and plenty of Vitamin C. Okay, I don't sleep much. I get outside every day for a little bit at least. Still, blah.

So for now, I'll be counting down the days until the sun once again warms my face and heart. I'll read magazines and books about spring gardens and planting and dream about Easter and the Bunny. At least in my head, I can envision a day so full of the sun's glory it can't help but erase the doldrums that I see outside my window.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Chronic Fatigue

As I've expressed before, I'm not a very good sleeper. In fact, I'd go as far as to say, I've NEVER been a very good sleeper. In general, I'm a "go to bed late" kind of gal. I don't need many hours of sleep. I think napping during the day is a waste of time. If there is the slightest noise, I'm awake.

Add on top of that, again as I've mentioned, that my daughters are light sleepers as well. Many of our nights are spent with various people wandering around. So, because I tend to go to bed late, and then am up several times, I'd say my actual hours of sleep are pretty slim.

Lately however, it all seems to be catching up with me. I've been exhausted the last week or so. I find myself falling asleep around nine every night. Of course then I wake up around an hour later and stay up till midnight. But still, I'm finding I'm struggling to stay awake. Last night, I decided that I would just "go with it." I was falling asleep reading my book and decided to just turn the lights off, put the book down and go to sleep. I was asleep by 10pm. Of course, I was still up twice in the night, and pretty much up for good by 530am. (How DO you people sleep more then 7 hours at night? I can't even imagine being in bed that long!) I typically sleep around six hours a night, so seven was a pure luxury.

Now, you'd think I would have sprung out of bed with a renewed sense of energy after such a sleep. But, no. I am sitting here, a few hours into my day, with such fatigue it's incomprehensible. I do think I'm fighting off a cold, which could explain some of it. My throat is a bit scratchy and my body a bit achy. It could be that I'm battling years upon years of lack of sleep and it's just all catching up with me now, in my advanced (ahem) years. I don't know. But I'm STILL exhausted.

I can see it now. I'm starting a new life of going to bed at 930 at night and napping during the day. Ya, I know. It's called turning into an old lady. Middle aged. Gross. Not for me. My late nights and wild days are not yet behind me. I'll fight it tooth and nail!!!!

After my afternoon nap.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

About Last Night

I went to see "He's Just Not That Into You" last night with some girlfriends. We went for a quick drink first and then headed to the movie theatre. There was literally NOBODY in there. It was kind of spooky. The movie was pretty good. A nice chick flick with lots of laughs and lots of poignant moments as well. I wouldn't say it was fantastic, but not bad either. It was nice to get out though and have some girl time.

While I was there, my husband pinned me to say we had a little "tooth pulling" competition going on at home. My eldest was working on a molar, and my youngest her front tooth. Both of them are extremely loose but I guess my eldest's was more loose. She managed to get it out and was ecstatic. My youngest on the other hand was not so thrilled by this development. She's now been bending her front tooth back and forth to try and get it to fall out as well. I suspect it'll be a few days yet, but you never know. She certainly has determination and stubbornness on her side!

I had trouble falling asleep afterwards-I guess the novelty of getting out of the house was too much for me. I finally fell into a light slumber around midnight. Then, I was woken up by my youngest. I took her to the bathroom and then back to bed. A short while later, she magically appeared again and got into bed with my husband and I. I fell back to sleep, but woke up sandwiched between the two of them and my daughter practically lying on top of me. So went the next little while of me moving her back over to her side, and trying to carve some space out for myself. Finally, at 5am and now in a huff, I left MY bed and went and slept in HER bed. I was asleep for about an hour when who magically appears again??? I'll save you from the expletives here. I was beyond exhausted at this point. She again got in with me. By 630am I couldn't take it any longer and just got up.

As I sit, I'm extremely exhausted. My eyes feel like slits and are doing the twitching that happens with lack of sleep. I should go lie down, I know. I just feel so lazy and useless when I need to nap during the day. Or maybe I feel old. I don't know. I DO know that I'm tired. And that it's only going to get worse.

I have some before/after school kids today so I need to get them at the bus by 3pm. Then, I have to get my kids. After the daycare kids go, it's a quick dinner and we are off to the gym. The girls to a fitness for kids class, and me to work out. My neighbour has lent me the "Twilight" series which I had vowed I wouldn't read (I hate doing what "everybody" is doing) and I was also fairly certain I wouldn't like teen vampire novels. My neighbour said she felt the same way, until she read them. Sooooo, being the open minded gal that I am, and voracious reader, I'll give them a try.

If anything, maybe they'll help me sleep. ZZZZZZZ

Monday, February 23, 2009

And the Oscar goes to......

Yep, I stayed up till oh...midnight-ish watching the Oscars last night. I have to admit, I think it's one of the only years I've stayed up to watch the whole thing. And stayed up enjoying the whole thing.

I liked the way it was set up this year in terms of going from "beginning to end" of how a movie is made. We all know the "boring" awards are going to go out first, so this way it's not like they are trying to pull the wool over our eyes or pretend otherwise.

I thought Hugh Jackman did a good job as well. I think he's supremely talented, for sure, but I still found many of the moments with the song and dance stuff a little....awkward. There seemed to be pauses in there that just didn't seem right. I dunno. Maybe I'm too critical.

Speaking of critical, that outfit Beyonce was wearing in the musical number? YIKES. I usually think Beyonce is quite beautiful but I did NOT think that little one piece bathing suit thing suited her at all. In fact, I wasn't even sure it was her at first.

The other thing I always find weird is when they show the little slide show of the people we've lost the past year. I think it's rude that a videographer is shown to little or no response, and then they show Paul Newman and there are cheers and loud clapping. I mean, well deserved to Paul Newman and all, but I feel badly for the videographer guy. And his family.

All in all, I liked the flow this year. I liked the musical numbers to keep us on our toes, and I LOVED the way they had the five past Oscar winners do the supporting and lead presenting. That was pretty cool. That Sophia Loren is still a huge diva. What was with Cuba Gooding Jr though?? I honestly felt like someone should tell him to see a doctor. He does not look healthy.

The bad news about watching the Oscars is the fact that now I have to go out and watch some of the movies since, this year, I hadn't seen any of them. Obviously SlumDog Millionaire is right up there and I'd love to see The Reader. I was thrilled Kate Winslet won. I think she's the next Meryl Streep-who is my other fav. (and no, not just because I look like her!)

So, today I am keeping the whole movie appreciation thing going. I'm seeing "He's Just Not That Into You" tonight with some girlfriends and going out for a drink beforehand. I'm sure it'll be an Oscar worthy evening.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Recession Recession

The bad news keeps pouring in from friends and neighbours with people being laid off left and right. Everybody seems unsure, stressed and poised to lose everything they have, which obviously isn't conducive to a positive world state.

My friends' company has announced a major "reorganization" which involves much re-alignment of districts and such, as well as many layoffs. It's shocking to get the news that somebody they worked with for many years now is suddenly.......gone. On top of which, one of their good friends and mentor of sorts was also let go. Sigh.

The gloom and darkness settles over us all.

I'm obviously thrilled that my husband's job is still there. I'm happy we are still "okay." But it makes you realize that at any moment, that "poor" family could be you. The rug can be pulled out from underneath you at any time. It's not a great feeling.

On top of which nowadays, where are you supposed to find ANOTHER job? People are scrambling left and right to find something, anything!

We had this happen to us once before, just after my eldest daughter was born. It was truly frightening with a new baby. We scrambled and cashed in RRSP's and my husband took the first job that came up until he found something better. Every day and every night was stress filled. But at least there WAS another job to be found.

The whole thing is so depressing and heart wrenching. I feel for all of those struggling to make it anew. All the while, hoping we don't find ourselves amongst them.

And so, I consider our options and how I can help out to have a little extra to put aside, or to pay something down. In that vein, I'm considering opening the home daycare again. I'm not sure when that would happen because the next two months for me are packed with travel and events. It's also a very weird time of year to open a daycare. It's always better to start in September. I'd like to just do a before and after school situation for those that need that care. That way, I can still have PD days and holidays with my family and not be open with a daycare. So, do I wait until September then? There are so many thoughts and questions.

For today, I am thankful for my husband working hard for our family and providing for us. I'm thankful I get to stay home and keep house and take care of our children. I'm thankful we have good meals and warmth. I'm thankful for good friends and good health.

While the world spins around me in chaos and chagrin, for today, I feel thankful.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Crazy Chicken

Well, today's blog post is going to be something a liiiitttle different. I'm going to post a recipe. For chicken.

Yep. You read that right. But let me tell you this, as way of explanation. This chicken is crazy good. I mean, crazy!!! My friend Alison made this chicken for my birthday celebration with my girls! I don't know if it was the white wine making us ravenous, or the chicken. But we ate, and we ate, and we ate.

After the gluttonous shovelling of that evening, I asked Alison for the recipe. This chicken recipe is by no means "low fat" (which is probably why it tastes so darn good) and by no means in any way, shape or form "healthy." (again...enough said) But man, it is GOOD.

I'm not sure where the recipe came from, or where Alison got it from. So, I can't give credit to whomever the mastermind genius is behind the chicken.

I made it for Valentine's day dinner. You half chicken breasts, but even still, my husband had five. My nine year old daughter had three. That's a lot of chicken and a very good response to my hard work. At one point, my husband actually begged me to take the chicken off of the table because he couldn't stop eating it.

So, here it is. Be careful. You've been forewarned. It's possibly the most addictive chicken I've ever eaten. The weird thing is, it's a simple recipe with nothing fancy in it. But again, it's soooo good. I can't stress that enough.


Chicken By Alizen (that's what she calls it. Just deal)

Chicken breasts halved - 6 breasts
Sour cream - 2 cups
Lemon juice - 1 tablespoon
Worcestershire sauce - 1 tablespoon
Salt - 1 1/2 tsp
Paprika - 1 tsp

Fine Bread crumbs- 1 3/4 cup
Butter melted- 12 tablespoons

Make sure skin and bones removed from chicken.(I just used boneless/skinless) Wash under cool water and pat dry with paper towel.

Mix next 5 ingredients together in large bowl. Add chicken being sure to coat every piece. Cover and chill overnight.

Remove chicken from sour cream mixture.

Roll in crumbs, covering completely. Place on foil lined or greased pan large enough to hold single layer. Chill at least 2 hours before cooking.

When ready to cook, drizzle 1 tablespoon of butter on each chicken breast. Cook uncovered in 350 oven for about 45 minutes to an hour.

*don't forget to drizzle the butter. It's key! Also, I think these would freeze well.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Unconditional Love

I was watching the "Oprah" show a few weeks back, and she had a father on whose son had murdered his wife (and the son's mom) and had tried to kill him as well. The son was now in jail, obviously, but the father had written a book about it all, and about forgiveness.

It was interesting to me that the Dad said he still loved his son, unconditionally. He didn't condone what he did and he certainly felt many emotions surrounding the whole tragedy, but in the end, he forgave his son and still loved him.

My head was in a tailspin.

We all talk about unconditional love in our lives. The love that we have for our children is "unconditional". The love our pets give us is "unconditional." And the love we have for our spouse is "unconditional."

And while I don't necessarily need to test that theory in ANY way, I just wonder how much we truly DO love "unconditionally" and what that means. How many of us, if put to the test, would still claim to love that wholeheartedly and without condition?

What if our children grew up to be liars or thieves or worse?? Would we still love them as unconditionally as we do when they are young and cute and their worst crime is talking back or making a mess?

Would our pets love us unconditionally if we never walked or fed them? If we scolded and hit them?

What if our spouse betrayed us in an unspeakable, unconscionable way? Could we accept their remorse and guilt and forgive them? Could we continue to love them without condition, despite their acts?

Or really, is the only true person we love "unconditionally" our self? We forgive ourselves of many sins. We make excuses for our own shortcomings. We continue to love ourselves even though we mess up. So, is THAT really the only unconditional love we truly have in our lives?

It's hard to know really. Unless you are crossed with a situation where that theory, that statement of "love," is put to the test. Where you can come out of it and look the person in the eye and say, "I don't like what you did. I don't and won't ever condone it. I can't forget it. But I can forgive. And I still love you, despite it."

I saw that father speaking on "Oprah" about his son, and my head was in a tailspin.

We all throw the term 'unconditional love" around freely. We all WANT to believe we love in that manner. We all WANT to believe we ARE loved in that manner.

And I pray that none of us ever, like that father, has to truly test that hypothesis.

It's just food for thought.

Do you TRULY love unconditionally? Could YOU?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Family Day Fun

It was "Family Day" yesterday and so the whole fam damily was home together to frolic and revel in our family togetherness.

We started the day with me going for a workout, while my husband took my daughters to the Inflatable Play Land that the gym had set up. They jumped, I pumped. I guess the line-ups were quite long, and really, how long can one person jump, so my husband left and went to McD's Play Land instead. (which I'm sure was just my daughters' ruse to get some salty fries!!!)

We convened for lunch and board games. My youngest is at the age where she wants to play games, but hates to lose. Or maybe that's my age too. She's quite competitive, but not the best "loser" either. So, it was a roller coaster ride of emotions for her. "I don't want to play. I never win!!!" to "I'm winning haha! Nananabooboo!" In the end, she did win. All's well that ends well I guess.

After all that intellectual stimulation, (Max and Ruby "Trouble" is very taxing on the brain!) we decided to get some more physical activity and went for a nice walk around the neighbourhood. It was crisp out, but the sun felt heavenly on our faces. I could also smell spring. I definitely feel it in the air. It just needs to hurry itself up!!! We took some pictures, watched a little creek trickle along, and came home once more.

When we entered the house, we were hit with the wonderful aromas of my husbands crockpot dinner simmering away. He had taken the reins on the cooking. What was even MORE glorious to me was the fact that he did it in one pot. No fuss, no muss! Usually when he cooks there is sauce on the ceiling and fifteen pots and bowls and plates out. This time, clean up was easy peasy.

The night ended with snacks galore and a family movie.

If that doesn't spell out pure bliss, then I don't know what does.

Hope you all had a wonderful family day with YOUR families.

Friday, February 13, 2009

'Fo Shizzle in da Hizzle

So, when I started this blog, I was very aware of what I wanted to write about and how I put it all down on the page. Err, computer screen. I would type it up and go back and check and recheck for spelling errors or grammatical errors. I would rephrase sentences and double check everything I wrote.

One day, I just decided that I'm supposed to be writing this blog for ME. It's supposed to be for enjoyment and to express myself with the written word. It's supposed to allow a glimpse into my life and the real me.

It's not supposed to be one of my university English papers.

So, I'm just going to write. Write, write, write. Since I'm a bit of a keener, it's not like I'm suddenly going to have horrific grammar and spelling errors that make it impossible TO read the blog. I'm not going to start typing in Pig Latin or Ebonics or something.

It's just that being so worried about the "how" it comes out on the screen isn't as fun as the "why" or the "what." And some days, I just want to get it all out there for you all to see and read. And without having to worry that my sentence structure is off. (yes, I have a tendency to run on sentences, that's how I speak as well!) Or that I put a comma where I should have put a semi colon. Or that I wrote a partial sentence and ended with a preposition. I KNOW these things.....I just don't always catch them or want to worry about them all the time.

So, read on. Avert your eyes when you see a glaring error calling out to you. One day, when I'm a famous published author, I'll have my copy editor Cathie catch and correct all of those things for me. For now, the grammazizzle and spellizzle will not be my bizzle. 'Fo shizzle. Peace out!

PS (Spell check is having a FIELD DAY today!)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

My Dad

I'm a little stressed out today because my 73 year old father is having surgery in his abdomen to remove an aneurysm that has plagued him for years.

The aneurysm has been there forever, but it's grown enough that it's time for it to come out. Unfortunately, they usually like to do the surgery by going in through the groin. They aren't able to do that with my Dad, so apparently, and I just found this out today, they are going to go in THROUGH HIS NECK. What the? Why they can't just go in directly through his abdomen I don't know.

I spoke to him last night and he was a mess of nerves. In fact, at the end of the conversation he said, "say a FINAL goodbye to my grand-daughters." Gee, that's optimism at it's best. One of the hard aspects of this is, my Dad now lives in North Carolina with his new wife. He's having surgery a long, long way from his children. We have to rely on updates from his wife. She's been very good about keeping us in the loop, don't get me wrong. It just makes me sad that we are here, and he is there. We can't visit or offer physical support. That however, was his choice. So, I should hear this afternoon via cellphone.

The surgery itself is four hours long. They have to clamp off each side and then drain or take out or whatever they do, the aneurysm. If it bursts, well.....let's not think about that. It's not going to burst. He'll then be moved to ICU for two to three days, and then to a regular room for another seven to ten days. Hopefully.

My Dad smokes so he had to stop smoking and won't be while in the hospital. I joked with him last night that with the aneurysm out, he won't have to live in worry. And with the smoking stopped, he'll be a new man! Another twenty years of health! I actually don't doubt he'll live another twenty years.

So today I'm trying to stay busy and hoping to hear he came through with flying colours. I KNOW he will. Like the rest of my family members, he's too stubborn not to!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Wretch Like Me

As you probably noticed, I didn't manage to write my blog yesterday. I just didn't have the energy or the creative juices flowing enough to do so and hold your interest in any way. In fact, the way I felt, the blog might have looked like a hallucinogenic trip on the good 'ol LSD. Today, I've managed to crawl myself to the kitchen to get my girls out the door to school, and to drag myself to the laptop, sweating profusely, to write this blog. Just for you. Feel special.

The flu virus struck me yesterday, yet not with the vengeance it had attacked my youngest daughter. I had the chills, the fever, the umm "ridding of substances." But mostly I was just exhausted and lying in bed.

The good news is my husband took the day off. The school buses were cancelled so the girls would be here with me all day. I knew I'd manage, but luckily I didn't have to do so! Woohoo! I got to sleep and rest and drink ginger ale all day. He took them to get their haircut, he took them to McDonald's and to play land. My eldest went to a friends to play for the afternoon, while my husband and youngest made chocolate chip cookies and watched a movie and did a little shopping. They brought me a magazine, the aforementioned ginger ale and gravol. (Praise Be!) They did laundry and folded it. My husband hates folding laundry. He even made dinner for all the gang and did their baths. It was a truly odd feeling to lie in bed and NOT DO ANYTHING. I felt lazy. Indulgent. I felt like I should get up and contribute SOMETHING.

But I didn't. I lay there. I napped for a long, long time.

And today, I feel much better. ALMOST back to my old self. But maybe I should milk it a little longer. It's not every day I get to lounge around!

I think I feel a tummy ache coming on. The Vapours!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Peaceful Slumber

There is nothing as terrifying as being woken up out of a deep sleep with the piercing cry of, "I'm gonna barf!!!" Well, maybe one other thing. Actually waking up to the panicked noise of retching beside you. In your bed. On you as you struggle from sleep. That was my night.

For whatever reason this year, we missed getting our flu shots. We usually get them every single year, and we fare pretty well. We end up with maybe one significant cold or flu and it's only a day or two in its' visit. This year, the flu date clinics seemed to fall at the weirdest times for our schedule, and as we don't have a doctor here since we moved here, that wasn't really an option either. So we just missed. Never, ever again.

It seems the last few months have been a cycle of one person getting a fever and then whatever other symptoms, followed piggyback by the next person and so on and so on and so on. We just get better for a week or two, heck maybe even THREE, and then it's baacccck.

My youngest daughter started a high fever on Saturday night. No amount of Tylenol seemed to be touching it though. Every two hours or so it would spike again. She said her tummy ached a little, she wasn't very hungry, and she seemed fatigued. Last night, I kept her in my bed so that I could keep a closer eye on her, as well as monitoring medication times and all of that good stuff. She seemed okay until about midnight. Then, the vomit started. And kept on coming and coming. She stopped at about 730am. It was, and is, so painful to watch her little face get all red and contorted. Since she hadn't eaten much, her little body would wretch with nothing really to bring up. Silent tears slipped down her cheeks. I washed off her face, put up her hair, offered sips of water and brought up a bowl to put on the bed in case we didn't quite make it in time.

At one point, she turned to me and said, "Mommy! You shouldn't be so close to me when I'm sick. You're going to get it!!! And who will take care of you??? You're the Mommy! You take care of everyone else."

I said that I didn't mind taking care of her, that I'd take my chance of getting sick, and that I was a grown up and I could take care of myself if I got what she has. She looked over at me again and said, "I'd take care of you Mommy, because you do such a good job taking care of me."

All of the barf, laundry loads ahead of me and moments of worry were all erased in that slice of time.

Well, okay. Maybe not ALL of the barf. Gag.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Where We've Gone Wrong, and What We Did Right

So, we're a month in to our little "saving money" experiment and it's been pretty good, overall, but we have slipped up a few times or not quite been on plan.

Let's discuss.

We've done well at the grocery shopping end. Every Thursday when the flyers come, I sit down and go through them meticulously. I write down each store and what deals they are offering. Then I cross-reference when I'm done and scratch off an item if another store is offering it cheaper. I don't write down EVERY deal, just the ones that are things that my family would eat. Then, on Sunday, we drive around to the stores and stock up. I think initially, our output was more than I'm used to spending. But it's saved us on subsequent visits because my freezer now has extras in it, and my toilet paper has lasted all month! So, I think the groceries are a success story. I plan on refining and tweaking it a little, but all in all, I think we'll continue with this path.

Alcohol wise I'd say we've done just okay. Mediocre success. I had said that we'd buy only the one case of beer and that would last for the month. Once it was gone, it was gone. Well, then the Superbowl happened and that required some "extra." Now that we have no events this month, I'm hoping to see an increase in our success rate for the next few weeks. And a downshift in drunken escapades. Just joking. We're not THAT out of control!

That brings us to eating out. I would say this is where we are struggling the most. Well, here and one other area that I'll get to in a moment. We had that Superbowl party, and that cost a little for take out wings that everyone chipped in on. We also had some pizza one night when everyone was just exhausted and not feeling up to making anything. I think we've eaten out once. So, not "horrible" but not great by any means. We'll have to work really hard on this one for the following months to come.

Lastly, we have been looking at our "wants" versus our "needs". I would say I do pretty well with this one. My husband however......he sees a deal and he'll pin me asking if we should grab it. My answer is always NO. Sometimes he'll bring something home and say, "it was just....X amount of dollars." I'm still working on him. Trying to wean him off of the deal. Even if it's a deal, if it's something we don't "need" it's no deal to us.

We also looked at trading in our vehicle for something more fuel efficient and a little smaller. We didn't want to go down to a car, yet. I don't think we are ready for that size difference yet. In the end, though the gas output might be less, we'd be paying slightly more per month to get out of our lease early. So, we'll revisit that next year maybe. It just doesn't make sense for us currently.

So, we continue on our path. I'm reading mommy tips on different websites for freezing foods and recipes to stretch your dollar. I'm on frugal websites and penny pinching websites. I actually find the whole thing kind of fun and almost like a game. I'm a nerd of epic proportions, I know. I'm not saying it's coming easy to us. Nor that we've met all of our ideals. But we're getting there. Slowly but surely we're making changes and working as a team. Everybody is on board and that feels good.

I'll keep updating as the process goes along and let you know where the path is taking us. I'm hoping "Month Two" is even stronger.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Reality TV Junkie

My husband questions my reality tv viewing on a regular basis. It frankly drives me kinda batty, when every week, at the same time, he enters our bedroom and sees "The Bachelor" on the screen. It always elicits the same response, which is "why do you watch this stupid show." He could say that about a myriad of shows I watch, actually.

Last night I was watching "The Real Housewives of Orange County" while he read beside me. Every now and then I'd comment passionately about the vapid women on the screen. A child's backyard swimming party was full of adult women in tiny bikinis with their fake DD breasts pushed up and out, talking about totally inappropriate topics and shaking their bootay's in front of one of the mom's sons. (not one of the little kids! Though I wouldn't put that past them! No, her older son. He's 20 something) They were discussing how attractive they are, how they all had breast implants and "how old they were" (their boobs, not their actual chronological age) and how the one "housewife" without implants should get them. After that scintillating scene, it showed some of the housewives out to lunch and perfume making. When exactly are these "housewives" ummm.....housewives? They were lambasting Gretchen, the younger housewife whose fifty something year old fiancee is dying of leukemia, to get him to basically set her up for life. They advised her to go in and get him to sign her off as a beneficiary. You know, because at like 27, if he died, she'd have NO OTHER OPTIONS and wouldn't be able to work or make it on her own. When Lynne, a housewife who they consider doesn't really have a career, spoke up gently and said that Gretchen would be fine and that she shouldn't ask someone on his deathbed about money, they totally lost it on her. They called her rude and confrontational. This woman seems the LEAST confrontational of the bunch. But, she broke the housewife code. She didn't care mostly about money. And she went against Vicki, who apparently is the "boss" of the housewives. Again, all of this is going on with me commenting and muttering as I watch.

Picture much of the same scenario while I'm watching "The Bachelor." I spend most of my time changing the channel while watching that show, because what is on the screen embarrasses ME so much that it's painful to watch. The other half of the time, I'm commenting about how I just don't understand these women. And I don't. They are sobbing because he didn't "pick" them. It's not team picking in a baseball league! Why get so upset if you just don't "click" with someone? Obviously it's not meant to be. The scarier part of that is how attached they become in a day, a week, heck even a month! What?? Then, there are the girls that never answer a question directly. The answer is always, "well I think you are so perfect and handsome and I just like being with you" followed by giggle, giggle. Some of the girls ONLY seem to giggle. At everything he says, and everything they say. It's enough to drive me crazy. And makes me happy I'm not a man. I'd hate to have to pick a partner out of the crop of women I'm seeing out there nowadays.

And what's with all the women on these shows? Are women today all really this superficial and shallow and manipulative? Have we regressed so much that we're back to it all being about attracting a man and our looks??

And right there is why I watch these shows. It's like a train wreck where you want to look away, but can't. It's also mind boggling to me, so it's like trying to work out a puzzle in my head. I'm full of questions when I watch, so it's kind of like Jeopardy. "Fake breasts and crocodile tears for 800, Alex."

The fact that I just wrote this blog about tv shows is really going to have my husband shaking his head this time. And frankly even concerns me! Have I really spent this precious time in my life worrying and postulating about Reality Tv?

Oh well. I guess we all are attracted in some way to drama that isn't our own. It's easier to render judgement that way. So, pass the popcorn and the tissues and let the catfights begin! Mreowr!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

One person's junk is another person's.....junk.

My kids are collectors. Oh, not stamps or coins or trading cards. Nope. What they collect is garbage. I kid you not.

You cannot throw a toilet paper roll out in this house without someone pilfering it and making it into "something." A spyscope, an animal, a snowman. Many, many uses for the common toilet paper roll.

Every scrap of fabric or paper becomes something else. Doll clothes. A boat. A card. String? Heavens! Don't throw THAT out. It's tied around a Webkinz neck to lower him from the first level to the second. It's a collar. It's beaded for a bracelet.

Yes, yes. They are ingenious. Creative kids I surely have. They use their imaginations and come up with any odd number of ideas for any random piece of "whatever" that I intend on throwing out.

The problem occurs because these creative geniuses live in MY house. And when you are anal, seeing a toilet paper roll with tape and string stuck to it is not an animal with hair. It's a toilet paper roll with tape and string stuck to it. Oh, I admire their foresight and their inventive natures. But, can't they make it and then promptly throw it out? Does it really have to LIVE in our house for a week?

It's come down to two solutions so that we can all live happily and sanely in our home, without squashing imagination and creativity. Solution number one involves the said article of splendour staying for a week. After that time, I take some pictures of it with our digital camera so that we can see the masterpiece "for life!" and the actual piece goes into the trash. The other solution involves me stealthily hiding toilet paper rolls at the bottom of the garbage. If I have some paper that isn't being used, it goes up high in the cupboard where only I can access it. String is rolled up into my fist like a magician's slight of hand trick. And VOILA, it disappeared into the garbage pail! Magic!

It's a constant struggle between nurturing their love of all things crafty and artistic, and still keeping my anal retentiveness satisfied with a clutter free home. It's an ongoing battle, but one I intend to win! Paper towel rolls be damned!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Some days things in my world seem drama filled. There's some sort of crisis that needs immediate attention and makes me set the table for a pity party for one. Lately, I've been dealing with some family issues and it leaves me totally drained. I feel upset by it, stressed, and just repleted of energy stores. I get upset that it's all going on and wonder how it all got to "this place."

And then I slap myself across the face, metaphorically, and get a little perspective.

It doesn't lessen the pain or hurt I'm feeling, but it certainly demands that I buck up and realize "life ain't that bad."

There are people fighting for their lives, whether it be against cancer or other diseases. There are children starving to death, being raped, or forced to battle in wars not of their making. There are tragic accidents occurring every minute. There are parents beating their children, or being beaten. There are individuals living in their cars in subzero temperatures. There are food banks overrun with the needy and not enough food for them all.

And here I sit, in my warm home, with my great family and access to food, shelter, health care and entertainment. My petty problems seem relatively small in scope compared to any and all of the above issues. And I can remedy mine. I can walk away. I can close the book. I can mend a relationship. I can heal a heart. All of MY problems have a solution and a resolution. Not everyone can say that.

It's often easy to see the world only through our own eyes and in the narrow scope that encompasses are current crisis. In those moments, where I'm feeling down and out and sorry for myself, I think of those who are truly suffering and battling. And it gives me a sense of compassion and empathy for their pain over mine. That helps me move on each day and with each step.