Saturday, December 20, 2008

Feeling the Crush

So, is it just me, or is everyone feeling The Crush right now?
The clock is ticking. There are always still presents yet to buy.
Family members are moody. Extended Family is leaning on me for things completely out of my control. I'm expected to bake a sh1t load of something yummy for the people I work with and have it all ready to go by Monday. I need to try to keep the house clean all week with a child home from school. Have a ton of gifts to wrap and no good place to do it. And if I hear one more awful version of O Holy Night I may have to murder somebody.

For some reason, this Christmas Season has taken on a different texture than those of the past.
There's the same old stresses, compounding like dominoes. That same feeling of aloneness.
The same listlessness that always appears weeks before Christmas and tries to linger. Thoughts of loved ones lost, Christmases Past playing through my mind in full technicolour.
Stress. Stress. Stress.

But I do have to say that the rewards have been greater this year as well.
We actually started a Christmas Club Bank Account this last year, so we're not going to have to spend our entire December paychecks to finance presents this year instead of paying bills like we ought to.

And my coworkers have really helped to keep my spirits up by doing something unusual.
We had a "Decorating Competition" amongst the Family Practice Department. Each of our suites had a day this week where we had to decorate our Nursing Area (back behind the scenes where patients never dwell) for Christmas. Everyone in each suite had to come up with a theme and plan how the decorating will be done. It sounds like an extremely lame idea when I put it into writing. Especially when you consider that the decorations could only stay up for 1 hour so that everyone could come and take a look. But - Holy Smackers! Each suite did a gorgeous job of totally transforming their suite into a Winter Wonder Land. It was absolutely amazing. I'll have to ask Dr. House to forward me her pictures of it so that I can post them. That's the only way you'd get the gist. And I now have a mental snap shot of all of the doctors wearing Reindeer Antlers and funny Santa Hats. Who'da Thunk?

I think that next year we ought to do this in the Clinic Lobby and actually leave it up for an entire day so that the patients can see it as well. Seriously. It was like a Macy's Department Store Window in each suite. Each was a labour of love and it showed.

And speaking of labour - - this week, I got to witness a profound miracle. Our friend Berni has for many years cried that she'll never find a man she'll want to marry, and never have a baby of her own. And coming from a family of 12 siblings, these things are very important to her. And I'm happy to say, this week, Berni and her new Husband Bill became the proud parents of Beautiful Baby Sarah. All 6 pounds, one ounce of her is pure angelic. I am so happy for them. I know things will not be easy, especially since this is a "Late-in-life Baby". But I can say from experience with our Jerry, that they will be so much more attentive of all the little moments, and savour the beauty of this amazing gift.

Yeah. This is a tough time of year. But I suppose it's nothing that a few extra hugs can't get us through.And if that doesn't work, there's always Eggnog to look forward to!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hooray! My Hero Won!!

I watched the Biggest Loser Finale tonight.
Yeah, I know. A reality show. And a cruel one at that.
I don't know how these people are able to lose so much weight each week and still be considered healthy. But I still find it fascinating as well as inspiring.

Only a few weeks ago, there were 5 members of the Blue Team and two members of the black team left. They were all in the gym performing their last chance work out before that week's weigh in. The comments coming from the Blue Team were just appalling! Each of them was saying that they deserved to be there more than the two people on the Black team. They were acting as though those two ladies were garbage and they were the La Ti Da Queens of Weight Loss. It was then that I decided that I wanted Michelle on the Black team to win. I wanted her to totally wipe them off the map! And guess what! She DID wipe them off the map! She lost a total of 110 pounds to win the big money, and she earned every penny that she won. And she did it with total class.

So if this gal can drop 110 pounds in however long they really took to film the series, then surely I can drop 50 pounds in 4 or 5 months.

December is a tough month to lose weight. My diet went on hiatus on December 2. And so far, I'm up and down 3 pounds since then. My goal is to coast through December, and then come January, I'm gonna kick some Cellulite Booty.

I would love to get friends and family in the running as well. Competition always helps me reach my goal better. And it's a good competition, because win or lose, everybody wins by gaining a longer life span and more energy and renewed good habits.

Of course, when you're talking about doing this in a healthy manner, we also have to be realistic. Just as I had those two pieces of pie on Thanksgiving and still beat my co-workers in the challenge, there will always be temptations along the way that I won't pass up and will not feel guilty about. After all, we only get one life. The core idea is that if one watches portions and nutrition in the long run, a few indulgences along the way can't ruin the chances of achieving a goal.

I'm in the zone. It took me a year to get back to this point. I'm ready to focus and get it done. But for now, I think I'm gonna go browse through the Biggest Loser web site and let myself be amazed at the before and after pictures.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Oprah, I feel your pain!

I just finished reading an interview with Oprah where she admits to weighing 200 pounds.
In the interview, it says that since 1988 she's gone up and down from a size 10 to a size 20.
I feel her pain.

Of course, she has the extravagance of tons of money to throw at this problem.
And even so, her methods have not always been the most healthy.
She got down to a size 10 by going on a total liquid diet. And right after filming the show where she celebrated reaching that goal, she had a party with food and never got back there.

I owe a lot of my own re-gained weight to stress eating. Something Oprah doesn't need to
face often. But, like her, I know better. I know there are alternatives. I just need to choose them.

My goal for 2009 is to get back to that size 10. It felt good to be that weight. I didn't ache in the morning when I first woke up. I didn't fret over my wardrobe. It was fun opening my closet each day.

It's my birthday today. I'm yet another year older. And I totally hate feeling old.
Inside, I'm still 29. Inside, I still believe that the world is a wonderful place and that I
can still do anything if I really put my mind to it. In my mind, I wear that Wonder Woman uniform beneath my wardrobe and I am able to tackle anything that comes my way.
If only I could remember where I parked that damn invisible air plane!

I guess I really shouldn't complain so much about getting older, though. I know some very fabulous old people who have helped change my views on life as I grow. And it's been a wonderful adventure getting this far.

The irony of it is that I hate seeing my youth fade away, and yet I am able to consider deep beauty in people far older than I am. And it's the same thing with weight. I know that I am the most critical person about my weight. I know a lot of people who likely weigh more than me. But I certainly don't focus on their weight. I focus on their true beauty that radiates about them.
Zona Schuh comes to mind as I'm writing this. The woman is pushing into her mid 70's and she is as beautiful and vibrant as ever. She's cavalier about her weight. The woman could weigh 300 pounds and still look as if she's about to break into a dance and song with a simple ease. She has such a wonderful grip on the joy that life brings, that you just feel like a better person just knowing her.

So there's a goal to strive for. No matter what my age, I hope I can always give off that same type of energy. Good Karma. Love. Hugs. That's what it's all about, right?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Thanksmas never lets me down!

We held our Second Annual Thanksmas Party this past Friday Night.
We actually fit 20 people into our home somewhat comfortably and had a great time doing it.

Unfortunately, Hubby's menu got a bit out of his control, so we were left serving a ton of munchies and Hors Derves, but I don't think it was a great loss. We had plenty of alcohol and great music to go around.

And I'm still giggling about Son Andy and the "Thespians". The jokes for that are endless, and we continued with them all day Saturday. Andy of course insists that James and Amy's friend Rachel is not a full blown Thespian. But in my opinion, you either Really Love the Theatre or you don't. :-)

I only wish every one would have mingled a bit more. After all, these are all of our loved ones. Surely they all have much more in common than just us. But I hope everyone had as great of a time as I did.

Amazingly, I really wasn't all that hung over on Saturday. I think I owe that to not smoking two packs of cigarettes while drinking all evening. It really does make a difference. I was tired, but not dehydrated and headachy. Which is good, because we had yet another party to attend the next day!

I got to snuggle my grand nieces, and re-name the youngest, Sierra - who at 5 months old is already as big as her older sister. Her new name is POUNDCAKE!!!

I'll be going to work tomorrow, and I know Robin is going to ask how the party went. She was invited, but for some reason didn't make it over, which is okay. But she'll be sorry to know she missed her opportunity to finally meat Rich, whom we've been hoping to introduce her to. I'm wondering just how I'll re-cap the evening's events. I suppose a good place to start would be to say that I caught Rachel's cold. But that's nothing a lot of Dayquil can't get me through.

Just before the party, I strung Christmas Lights all around the house. It makes the whole place so warm and cozy that I think I'm going to leave them up for some time to come. Maybe I'll take the time to string them a little better and just leave them up year round. Which leads me to wondering where the heck we're going to put a Christmas Tree this year. We have to fit a family of 20 into this house again in a few weeks. A tree will take up precious table space which is needed for the spread of food we'll be serving then! What I wouldn't give to have just a simple fake table- top tree. But Hubby won't hear of it. Call me scrooge, but I'm tired of sweeping up needles in June.

But I'm getting ahead of myself! Before the tree can enter our home, we must first honor the passage of my day of birth. I'm old. I want red meat while I can still chew it. I have Tuesday off work, and I think I'm gonna force Hubby to take me to The Roxy for lunch so I can have a Cajun Steak. That's the stuff!

Thanks again to all who came. It means a lot to us!
Next year, there will be a simpler menu and more booze! \0/

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Winner Takes All

Today was they day. The Big Weigh In. The End of the Weight Loss Challenge.
The day that separates the strong from the weak, the seasoned from the green.

As you'll recall, Miss Robin and I had a side bet going that we would out-do each other.
I had said that I planned to drop 10 pounds in 4 weeks.
She had said that if I was gonna lose ten, then she was gonna lose 11.

She's been walking around with 5 pound weights on her ankles and eating salads every time I see her. And then, she took last week off work to go hunting, and I had visions of her doing chin-up on branches in the woods, doing step aerobics on tree stumps, and walking great distances to burn extra calories.

Because of these visions, I was extra tough with myself this week, being sure to eat a good breakfast and a healthy low cal lunch, and a salad for dinner, and I just kept moving all week instead of sitting dormant like I normally do.

This morning, I stepped on the scale and it told me that I not only lost the 10 I had hoped for, but I also got that bonus extra pound as well! 11 pounds, my friends! Eleven! W00t!
That's 5.2% of my total weight!
The others were in the 3% category.

I am the proud winner of $80!

So to celebrate today, I had a big mac for lunch, and we went to Taco John's for dinner! Ha ha!
The rest of my winnings will go towards our Thanksmas Party. After all, we've got Whiskey to procure for the Eggnog, and Wine to procure for the Mulled Wine! Oh, I can't wait! Yum yum!
We are gonna Pah-TAY!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I stepped into a time machine!

So Hubby and I were talking the other day.
I love the way the dining room looks now, except that there is no door for the closet in there.
I asked him if he had any ideas. Me, I woulda just bought a curtain rod and a bed sheet to sew into a curtain (much cheaper than curtains!) and left it at that.

Hubby's suggestion was hanging beads.

"You know? That would be cool! But where does one find hanging door beads in 2008?"
"I'll bet Satori has them."

So, I wake up this morning and see that it is snowing. One of my favouritest things in the world to do is to walk outside while it is snowing. It is so gorgeous and peaceful!
I brought along the digital camera, but just as I found something picture-worthy, I turned it on and got nothing. No energy. Hmmm.

I wandered down town on my walk, and hoped to stop in to Satori to see of they did indeed have said bead door thingies. But, alas, they were closed until noon. So I had to wander back home with no door beads and no groovy pictures of the gorgeous snowfall.

I changed the batteries in the camera, and still no power. Which really makes me want to sob. I LOVE that old camera! Jim has a new one that is supposed to do everything but wipe your ass, but I can't even get the freakin thing to turn on! And the pictures I have taken with it never turn out good. This ancient dinosaur, however, has always been trusty and easy to use. I'll never find another one like it. Wah!

But, back to the door beads. So, after lunch, I say to Hubby, "Want come with me to buy the bead door thingie?"
He sighs and asks "Do I have a choice?"
Well, no, not really.
"Come on! It'll be fun!"

So, we jump in the van and head down town to Satori Imports.
I've only been in there once or twice since high school, and both Hubby and I immediately turn into teenagers when we step through the doors. They have the coolest stuff!

I was going to just wander about, hoping to run into the door beads, but Hubby suggested I ask the clerk. Sure enough, they had a huge display of them. And I instantly burst into laughter.
"Should we buy the one with the giant pot leaf on it?"
"Whatever." Hubby rolled his eyes.
"Well, does any one of them catch your eye?" I asked him, as I browsed through them all.
"I dunno." he was so helpful.
Of course, the one I liked was on the more expensive shelf of them. But, hey! I bought it with my Quit Smoking Money, so I'm worth it!

We got it home, and I got it hung up, and we stood back to admire it. The Kitten of course got up close to admire it. She thinks it's awesome!

"I love it." I declared. "And it makes me giggle. Buying it made me giggle, and having it in our house makes me giggle. Fuck decor. If it makes you giggle, buy it!"

I just may have to return for some of those Peacock Feathers they had there. Way retro!

By the way, I'd post a picture of the new beaded door thingie, but, well, you know...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I really gotta have one of these!

Check this out!

From the website:

    Emergency Yodel Button

    Nothing lifts the spirits like a good yodel, but most of us don’t have the skill to yodel on cue.

    That’s where the Emergency Yodel Button comes in.

    Keep this 4" x 3" x 5/8" plastic device with you at all times and when the need arises, press the button to hear the sweet mellifluous warbling of an alpine yodel.

    Also includes a hole in the back so you can easily hang it on a wall.

    Requires two AAA batteries (not included).


Bonus: you can hear what it sounds like by pushing a button on the website.


Thanks to bookofjoe for turning me on to such a Must Have Item!

Will Hubby buy it for me for Christmas?

Thanksmas is just around the corner!

The evidence is clear. I'm stocking up on extra glass ware, Hubby has at least 2 opened cook books in every room - all open to interesting chicken recipes, and the cleaning is being tackled by all. That can only mean that Thanksmas is next weekend!

The part that is fun is that we invite so many diverse people. We have friends who do drink, friends who don't drink, friends who shouldn't be allowed to drink, and friends that are a blast when they drink.

The food menu is still not set in stone. It turns out we have invited a guest who cannot eat red meat, which is no big deal to me. I LOVE chicken. If I were cooking the main dish, I'd say we do chicken sandwiches and beef or ham sandwiches and keep it simple. But Hubby is the one cooking the main dish. He likes to explore new territory when it comes to feeding large groups. So I am sure this will be a chicken recipe that none of us has ever had before. Of course we'll have other items on the menu too. And let me tell you, after being on this diet all month (which ends this Tuesday), I am going to be grazing like crazy! I haven't made peanut brittle since I was in Junior High Home Ec class, and I have been just craving some like crazy! So I'm going to try making that as well as some other yummy treats. But I think, just to please the other end of the spectrum, we'll have a nice tempting salad as well.

I really need to shop for a table cloth. I dread going out to The Marts this time of year. Hubby and I went out today with a short list and ended up at Walmart. Ugh! That was the only store that had what we needed (still didn't find a tablecloth, I got too stressed with the crowds!) . But I had to laugh when we entered. The greeter had jet black hair, black nail polish, black make-up on, and she's reluctantly welcoming everybody to the store. My first comment was "Check it out! They hired a Dead Chick for the Holidays! Sweet!"

Maybe we ought to have invited her to Thanksmas just to see how she acts after a few cups of mulled wine!? Dang! I can't wait for next Friday!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Hero!

Hubby scrubbed the wall behind the stove! I didn't even say a word!

Now the big question: can we get it back in order before we have to start with the Thanksgiving Preparations?

I can't wait to start making pies.

I've been extra good with my diet this week so that I can splurge on Thursday.
I don't think I'm going to meet my goal by next Tuesday, but I do have a good dent into my goal.

Much as I would love to win this challenge, I'm not going to starve myself to do it.
My health comes first. But, hey! We'll see what the outcome is next week Tuesday.
I may not lose 11 pounds, but I still may be the Biggest Loser.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Hunting We Will Go

I'm a little disappointed in myself.
Normally when Hubby goes off on Hunting Weekend, I have some big project planned around the house that I get started on that Friday Night and have completed just as he pulls in the drive way.

That's how our Orange Living Room came about.

That's how my Faux Snake Skin Rocker came about.

That's how my custom made spice rack came about.

But this year, I have so darn many projects already in the works that I'm like a Merry Maid with A.D.H.D!

I didn't get a darned thing accomplished last night other than all the dishes in the sink - including dishes that Hubby had in his Hunting Box which were still dirty since last year. Ahem. Gross!

But my #1 son came to visit last night as well. That was nice. I don't get to see him often. We had a lot of catching up to do. He and his Lady of 5 years have decided to call it quits, which is a big adjustment in itself, but he has also taken it a step further and quit his job where they worked together, so that he could make a clean break. Very smart, my boy!

So this morning, I've been trying to finish scrubbing my kitchen walls and am just feeling discouraged. That room just looks like hell no matter how much I scrub. It needs painting. But why paint the walls if the ceiling and floor look so damaged and disgusting?

And the deeper I dive into it, I know that I really ought to just be focusing on Jerry's ceiling.
The main reason I decided to start on that one to begin with was to challenge myself. I want to see just how difficult it is going to be to actually remove that fake ceiling and repair the original ceiling. If I can hack it, then, we'll tackle the kitchen ceiling - which I know is in so much worse condition. But the Betty Crocker in me just won't leave it be. The walls in there need washing.
And I want it done before the Thanksmas party. And I'm making progress. All the walls are washed except the worst one. Behind the stove. Cue Horror theme music.

A few years ago, my darling Hubby decided that he wanted a rack above the stove where he could store the pots and pans he uses most often. It is really more of a haven for grease. Blech! Reality is far more disgusting than imagination could ever be when it comes to kitchen grease. I don't really want to go there. It would be awesome if Hubby were to get up on a chair and scrub down that rack, wall and all the pots and pans. My hair is still grubby from last weekend's scrubbing session.

I'm sure I'll shift gears this afternoon and get back into Jerry's room. A trip to the hardware store is necessary for that task as well. But it's a whopping 17 degrees outside today. I don't relish going out in the cold.

I would have loved to already be at the painting stages in Jerry's room by now. I'm sort of looking forward to that. There's nothing like a fresh coat of paint to make a room sparkle. Maybe by Christmas? We'll see how this Merry Maid with A.D.H.D. progresses.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hello, Cruel World!

So, I'm winding down on week 2 of my diet.
And I must say I am doing super great at it so far.
But I've run into a snag.

You see, last Friday, I bought a bunch of bananas to munch on for breakfasts.

I looked at them on Monday, and they were still quite yellow. So, at work, I bought a more ripe banana at the cafeteria. Except we were so busy on Monday, I never got to eat the dang thing.

On Tuesday, I looked at the banana on my desk and ignored it. Instead, I ate my single serving of Kelloggs Frosted Flakes and said "They're Grrrrreat!"

On Wednesday, I looked at our bananas here at home, and they were getting nice and ripe. I sliced one up and mixed it with some watermelon slices and that was a very tasty breakfast.
And at work, I also finally ate that lone banana.

But, alas, tonight, the entire bunch of bananas is getting too ripe. So, Banana Bread, they must become.

I found a great recipe and altered it to suit my own needs - 4 giant bananas.

So now, in 10 minutes, I will have not one, but 4 loaves of evil Banana Bread.
Do you have any idea how many calories are in a slice of banana bread?
And the recipe I just used asked for 2 sticks of butter and a package of cream cheese.
Oh yeah. Tons of sugar, tons of fat. Not to mention nuts. And in one loaf, I added chocolate chips.

Tomorrow, I'm bringing most of it to work to let all the other gals enjoy it. And, of course, Hubby can bring some hunting with him. It's got to get out of my house!

But first, I think I need to sample at least one piece. Gawd! How I love Banana Bread!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I woke up just before midnight last night because I was having the oddest nightmare.
I was babysitting for someone's toddler, and all seemed to be going well, except they had some very unusual pets to care for as well.

So in this dream, I'm in the kitchen, heating up a bottle for the baby, when I suddenly remember that the owners of the house warned me about a snake in the kitchen that they hadn't been able to locate to remove it from the house. They said it was highly poisonous and I need to be careful because if it were to bite their pet grizzly bear, the bear would probably go crazy and eat the whole household full of people before it succumbed to the poison.

You guessed it. I'm heating the bottle and it is just about done, when all of the sudden, my cat Octavia jumps up on the counter and warns me there is something behind me. What Octavia was doing at somebody else's house, I don't know. Suddenly, I am trying to woo a snake away from everyone else in the kitchen - the Toddler, my son, a giant bear, my kitten, and for good measure, a dog! I'm urging them all back to the living room with my legs so that I can immobilize the snake with my free hands, and I'm searching for something, anything to smack the snake with.

It's rearing up and ready to strike, but I whack it with a broom handle and flatten its head.
Meanwhile, I'm thinking how soft and fluffy the bear feels as I am pushing it back away from the kitchen with my feet so that it is safe.

When I woke up, I realized two things. 1, if a snake was gonna strike, there is no way in hell I would be a good enough aim if I was whacking it with a broom pole. I only get one out of 3 flies with a swatter, let alone a pole! And 2, my Cat Fijhonna REALLY needs to go on a diet. She's the fluffy bear I was protecting with my feet!

So, I went to one of those Dream Analysis Sites to see what it means:
To see a boar in your dream, signifies that you need to look inside to find the answers and secrets about yourself and the people around you.

To see a snake or be bitten by one in your dream, signifies hidden fears and worries that are threatening you. Your dream may be alerting you to something in your waking life that you are not aware of or that has not yet surfaced. The snake may also be seen as phallic and thus symbolize dangerous and forbidden sexuality. The snake may also refer to a person around you who is callous, ruthless, and can't be trusted. As a positive symbol, snakes represent transformation, knowledge and wisdom. It is indicative of self-renewal and positive changes.

To see a kitchen in your dream, signifies your need for warmth and spiritual nourishment. It may also be symbolic of the nurturing mother. Alternatively the kitchen, represents a transformation.

To see a baby in your dream, signifies innocence, warmth and new beginnings. A love affair may be blooming for you in your near future. You will also make new and fun friends. Babies may symbolize something in your own inner nature which is pure, vulnerable, and/or uncorrupted.

To dream of a crying baby, is indicative of a part of yourself that is deprived of attention and needs some nurturing.

If a woman dreams she is nursing a baby, she will be deceived by the one she trusts the most.

Okay, so that's pretty far off in left field. I'm gonna have to go with my own analysis first. Our stupid cats pretend to hate each other all day long. Then, after everyone goes to bed, they have a blast racing through the house until they are totally spent. Then, Big Fijhonna jumps up on the bed and tries to take over my spot. Stupid Alpha Cat. She needs her butt smacked.

Monday, November 17, 2008

It's On Like Donkey Kong

I have to laugh.
Mondays are our most stressful day at work. The phones ring non-stop, and every one needs help NOW!
And in amidst the chaos, Robin and I are talking about the diet challenge we are entered into.
Neither one of us will disclose our beginning weight. But we're both arguing that we weigh more than the other.
She says she is 5' 8" so she feels she definitely weigh more than me.
I'm 5' 6" (formerly 5' 7" sob! I'm getting shorter already!) and I still believe I weigh more.

My goal is to lose 10 pounds this month.
Robin says if I'm gonna lose 10, then she's gonna lose 11!

Little does she know, I secretly really really hope to lose 12. Muwahahaha!

Our other coworker, Candy said "So it doesn't really matter if any of the rest of us in this challenge lose any weight? It's really between you two?"

I said "Oh, no! The point is, even if I don't win the challenge, I at least have to beat Robin."
And of course Robin said "And I need to beat Brenda!"

And almost in unison, we both cheered "It's On Like Donkey Kong!"

I really like that the two of us are able to have such a competitive nature and still think the world of each other. But I'm still gonna win. ;-)

Sunday, November 16, 2008


This just melted me into a giant puddle...

And then, of course, there is the translation:

Sweet Baby Jesus. I'm gonna grow old and become that Cat Lady every one fears becoming! I'll have 30 cats and I'll live on cat food because feeding them would be more important to me than my own nutrition. Although my cats would have much cooler names than any other old Cat Lady's collection of felines.

But, hey! I thought I'd share this with you since it's been sort of a quiet weekend here at KuhrsVille. No one really wants to hear how many calories are in Dirk's Country Fried Steak Lunch (EEK!) or how I am becoming a master plasterer in my son's room. Although you might be interested to hear that I walked over the newly opened bridge yesterday. I don't know why Oshkosh felt the need to spend that much money on a bridge. And I find it quite amusing that there are sidewalks leading to the tunnels beneath it where our city's finest homeless can reside, while on the top side of the bridge, they've built two sniper towers for when those homeless get unruly! Surely those towers aren't for watching the waterways. They're up far too high for that. The look much more like the ones on our fair prison. Walking over that bridge, I felt very SanFranCiscoey!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Crack Crack

Why! Why? Why would anybody want to purchase anything that likely spent time up some dude's asshole?

You see, people, THIS is why I drink Whiskey! I can be assured it has not spent even a moment in someone's nether-regions and yet it still has that earthy flavour. Yum.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I ought to be in politics

Jerry's teacher has been raising a special dog and training it to help the handicapped and sight impaired. After a year of training, she sent him back to where she got him and they gave him a go.
Unfortunately, the verdict was that Dezi the Dog did not work out as a handicapped helper and he missed his Teacher Family terribly.

So now, Jerry's teacher has a new idea. She wants to teach Dezi to be a Reading Dog. She wants to have him in her class room and have the kids read to him every day. The edge to this is that dogs don't judge. They just lay there and look sweet while you read to them.

The other morning, I had Jerry read me his book from school because we ran out of time the night before (it is astounding the amount of homework they dump on these poor second graders!). He was nearing the end, but I had to race out the door. So, I told him to finish reading the story to the kitten who was laying right beside him looking like she was actually enjoying his story.

The next night, he was again reading to me, and again, the kitten was all snuggled across both of us, looking adoringly at Jerry as he read. I commented on how she likes it when he reads. Jerry got all excited and suggested "Maybe Occie could be a Reading Kitty!"

"Absolutely!" I agreed, knowing how difficult it is to get Jerry to read lately. "But she'll need lots of practice, though. If you read to her every day, she'll be a very good reading kitty!"

This evil plot seems to be working because he's been reading to the kitty and me every night since then!

And what's even better is that Jerry finally discovered in the school library the Captain Underpants Book Series. They're hilarious little stories that are written in such a way that kids think they're really getting away with something by reading them. He actually spent over an hour reading it to himself, giggling madly.

Both Jim and I badly want Jerry to be a reader. Andy was never big on books. And he's missing out on so much by not being a reader. Life is full of so much more texture when you are a reader.
And I love that Jerry gets the concept of transporting yourself into a story. As we did with Andy, we've read nightly to Jerry since infancy. Somehow he caught on. When he started learning how to read, he was the first in his class to actually read with inflection. I love that. Our work is transcending.

Hmmmm. Maybe once we have Occie trained as a Reading Kitty, we can encourage Jerry's friend Michael to read to her as well. We may have to put fish in his pockets though. :-)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Change, it is a comin!

See what I did there? Heh!
So, I'm on to a new challenge.
Robin, my work pal has been trying to drum up a group to do a pseudo Biggest Loser challenge.
I had only 2 stipulations were I to join. The first, they totally had to up the ante. They had a group diet challenge from January through May this year where everyone kicked in $5. I told them the tale of the last diet challenge I was in. Every contestant kicked in $20 and the pool was up to $700. I cam e in second place. I made $100. Not bad
There's no way I'm killing myself for just a few bucks.

Stipulation #2 was that I will not do it through December. When they asked why, I said "Cuz I drink in December and you can't diet and drink at the same time."
They then said "Well how about if we go until mid December?"
I gave them a wicked grin and said "Sorry, no can do! I drink ALL THROUGH December!"

So, everyone is kicking in $20 and the challenge ends December 3. So I'll have some spare cash for Thanksmas - cuz I am SO gonna win this challenge!

I hadn't stepped on a scale since January. And I know I've been gaining weight in the last year, but OUCH! I'm at my heaviest ever right now! I've definitely got to turn that around.

I am still going to party through December. That's what December is for, after all!
But beforehand, I am going to make a dent. And come January, I'm gonna drop the rest. Yeah, it won't happen just in January, but that's the launch date. By June, I will be back at my "Fighting Weight" again. And when I get there, no body better die, and my job better still be intact, and stress better stay at livable levels. Cuz I don't want to bounce back to this weight ever again.

Since I quit smoking, one would expect to feel better. Nope. I know my BP is up, and I'm sure my blood sugar is up as well because that's what happens when you quit. Your body doesn't know how to release sugars because smoking has been making your body do that instead of your body doing it naturally. And until the body learns how to do that, you crave sugar. You crave it like a fomo! So I know I really need to drop the weight to lower the blood sugars and cholesterol levels. THEN I'll feel better.

The cool thing is, that Robin and I are both VERY competitive. She wants to beat me, and I want to beat her. We're just that way. Left to our own devices, we'd both cave and not lose as much as we want. But because it is a competition, we will try harder, and lose a respectible amount of weight. But I'm still gonna win. ;-)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I wish I were an Ostrich

Well, the Presidential election went about as I thought that it would.
Obviously, after having a Republican in the house for 8 years, it is time for a Democrat.
I knew that from the get go. But WHY OBAMA!!!?????

It has nothing to do with his race. I simply do not like the man. I see right through the lies and it
makes me amazingly angry to see anybody lie the way he does with no conscience or fear of
being caught out!

I though John McCain's concession speech was wonderful. I have come to truly respect the man
through this race for office. He could have chewed up Obama and spit him out a million times. But instead, he held tact. He refused to let it become a vicious battle. He kept the rules close to heart.
His followers were emotionally crushed, but he will live to tell another tale.

I survived the Clinton years (ick!). So I suppose I can muttle through the Obama Years without vomiting all over myself every time he addresses the nation.

The fun part is because I did get out and vote, and I did not vote for this shifty character that's going to drive our country into the ground, I have the right to point out every wrong turn this presidency takes. I have the right to complain as loudly as I wish about every thing he does that I disagree with. I get to laugh in amusement when he learns that he doesn't have enough ill-gotten money to pay his way through all of the troubles that await him in the hot seat. When he fucks up Iraq and wrestles his way through the Wallstreet Debachle he'll be wishing he hadn't bought his way into that office.

No, I won't be an ostrich. I'll be a bull dog. A watch dog. After all, someone's gotta keep an eye on someone that shifty!

Monday, November 3, 2008

If I end up on CakeWrecks.Com, I'll cry!

So, I did spend my Sunday making cookies for the election day. And while I was at it, I also made some to bring to work for Snack Day today - which is a good thing because Hubby reminded me that anything that could possibly sway a voter to vote one way or the other is not permitted on Official Voting District Grounds. So my cookies would be a no-no were I to make them all Smiling McCain Cookies and all Frowning Obama Cookies. So I shook it up a bit...

And, Look! They even play nice together on the same plate!
Although they did look much happier before I added the Obama Cookies...
I'm very glad we decided to have a snack day at work on a Monday. Mondays are tough - The harshest day of the entire week. A bit of comic relief and party food is a fabulous thing when you're facing the most stressful day of the week. In fact, I pointed out to everyone before we turned our phones on that today, we were actually like a living, breathing Mullet! Business in front, Party in Back! (If that doesn't make you giggle, then you totally do not get me!).

I over- ate today, of course. But at least I did get outside to take a quick walk around the grounds at lunch. What a gorgeous day is was! If I was smart, I'd pack a sandwich for lunch tomorrow and eat it outside while making two laps on the grounds path! Um. Yeah. I know I won't do that. But I do know I will be sure to get outside to stroll the path at least once.

Hopefully the beautiful weather will bring people to the polls tomorrow as well! I'm glad tomorrow is my early day at work! W00t!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween Weekend!

Just want to wish everyone a Happy Halloween Weekend!
Hub and I had a good time Trick-or -Treating with Jerry last night.
I came home from work to find out that the latest plan was that we were going in a group with Michael's family.

It turns out that Michael's family doesn't put a lot of heart into Halloween. I guess his grandparents wouldn't let his dad Trick-or-treat because it was considered an evil holiday or something. Or maybe they were just old Ultra-Conservatives and didn't understand the concept of wandering from house to house with a pillow case begging for candy?

But I now understand why Michael and Enoch are always so fascinated with Jerry's Halloween costumes. It's because their own parents refuse to participate in the fun of getting one together.
Enoch and his older sis P.J. were both Brett Favre (Yeah! I KNOW, Right?!), and Michael borrowed Jerry's vampire cape from last year because he happened to have a set of vampire teeth. That was his whole costume. Teeth and a cape. Last year when Jerry ws a vampire, Hubby spent an hour doing his makeup and he looked frighteningly awesome!

This year, Jerry was a Zombie. He of course finally narrowed it down to this choice in the past week. But I think half the fun of Halloween is dreaming of the possibilities of who you could be for that one day. I'm just glad I didn't run out and buy fabric and start working on idea #1 because the very next week he was on to idea #2! But the Zombie costume was quite easy. We went to Good Will, bought over-sized clothes to cut up and smear fake blood all over, and then he found a scary mask and gloves as well. Total prep time = 2 minutes. Total effect? Priceless!

So does this mean that Michael will be a Zombie next year? I guess I'd best pack it away with care!

We also decided that next year we would go to Omro for Trick-or-treating. We'll likely take along Michael's family. McKinley Street is the best place in Wisconsin to Trick-or-Treat. Everyone on the street participates and has a great time!

And speaking of participation, There was a great Halloween Fright to be found over at the Malchow Abode last night. It's been a few years since they were able to put it together, but they had ghoulish fun happening!

Kim was the Grim Reaper, directing the kids toward the candy bowl.
Herrrrrman of course, was the headless monster in a chair just behind the candy bowl.
Marty was hiding in the van with a michrophone, making scary noises and beakoning the kids forth. And there was friends and family dressed in costume as well, helping to keep things in order.

You could hear them from blocks around! I think they were the hit of the neighbourhood!

In keeping with the spirit, I actually dressed up myself last night!
All day at work, I just wore a Silly Hat. But when I got home, I traded it in for my house coat, a shower cap, and white makeup on my face. Quick, simple, but festive! Ha ha!

So, what did you all do for Halloween?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

By the way....

I do apologize to those who find my smoking cessation to be a boring subject.
It's new to me and I'm really trying to succeed.
And although it is boring, it will lead to better things than remaining a smoker would for me.
And by no means will I ever become an Anti-Smoking Cigarette Nazi. Smokers will always be allowed to do so in our home, and there will always be an ashtray handy.

But on the subject of boring blogs: If I EVER post a blog strictly about my pets complete with pictures, affectionate nick names and their adorable antics, please feel free to tie me to a stake and start me on fire. Oh.My.Gawd! I am strolling through blogs here at blogspot and I could literally choke at the number of bloggers whom it seems need to ramble on about their pets in every other post!

I wouldn't mind an occasional "Yeah, here's the doggie. He's my bud." But NO! They go on to post 10 pictures of the same animal sleeping, eating, sleeping, eating, giving their owner a dirty look for disturbing them, and oh yes, another pic of them eating, and why not just one more of them napping. Argh! Get a life, people!!!!!!

But while we're on the subject, here's a shamefully gratuitous pic of Octavia. Muwahha haahaahaa

I am one tough biatch

It's been in the works for months now. The long awaited wedding of two very sweet people.
The big day finally came yesterday!
Hubby stood up as best man.

This was one of the factors that I really had to consider when I had made my decision to quit smoking. I would really have liked a little more distance between quitting smoking and facing this stressful social situation that I knew was looming in the future. I know my Hubby. I knew he would spend the majority of the reception standing out in the parking lot chain smoking, and when he would be in doors, he would be doing Wedding Party stuff. And me, no longer being a smoker would be left inside in a room full of people that I really don't know, standing alone looking snobby. I can't help it. I make friends slowly. I can't just jump into a room full of strangers and be best pals by night's end. That's just not me. I end up trying way too hard to come up with interesting conversation topics and focusing on asking open ended questions to that I would get more than a yes or no response. Eek! Stress!

Luckily, the Bride has a really wonderful family. One of her many brothers and his wife came and sat at my and Jerry's table during the dinner portion of the reception and had both Jerry and me in stitches.

But back to the point of it all. As I was getting ready for the wedding I was suddenly over come with the Mother-of-All Cigarette cravings. I'm having an internal melt down because the night before, I thought "Okay, we need to leave at noon. That means I need to be in the shower by 10AM so that Hubby can have at least an hour in the bathroom to get ready before we go and so that my hair will dry properly and not look like total shit. Well, guess what. At 9:55, Hubby gets up, grabs his clothes and heads to the shower. And proceeds to hog the bathroom for the next hour! The neighbour kids decide to come over and play in the living room, and I'm just feeling the stress mounting. So I get in the shower, get out and try blow drying my hair. I NEVER blow dry my hair. I despise hair driers. Plus, they blow our electrical circuits if you use them on high. And what good is a hair drier used on low? So, yes, the hair is looking like crap no matter how much product I squirt onto it. And I'm looking in the mirror thinking that I really hate the clothes I bought for the wedding, which is naturally followed by "Dang, woman! You are so Fing FAT!" (My saying to myself, of course). So next thing I know, I'm up stairs digging in my closets for something - anything to make the wardrobe work. And I run back down, shoo Hubby out of the bathroom again (Sheesh! Quit primping, ya Nancy!) and that slow nag of a nicotine fit starts growing into a full-out fiend. I told myself "Give it three minutes and it will pass." Um, no. After three minutes, the feeling only grew even stronger. Another three passed and I was taking deep breaths. And in the mean time, Jerry is playing loudly with his friends in the living room, Hubby is cussing because he's popped a button on his suit jacket, and although the wardrobe is coming together, my hair looks like absolute crap no matter how I try to style it.

Hubby comes into the bathroom once his Button Crisis is amended and says "What's that look for?" Ooh! It was THAT noticeable! I told him I was really wishing we had some Orange Juice in the house because that is supposed to thwart cravings to smoke and I was having a major fit at that moment.

Hubby went out and jumped in the van and ran to the nearest gas station and came back with not one but two bottles of Orange Juice for me. How sweet and supportive! Major kudos go to that man! And amazingly, the orange juice really did help to curb it a bit. It didn't leave entirely, but it did take the edge off.

My hair still looked like crap. I still sat alone in the church. I still ended up standing alone looking dopey several times at the reception. But I faced all of that stress and I made it through smoke-free. Not bad for it still being less than two weeks of being a non-smoker. Go Me!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Flu Shots and other random topics

I really need to poll other people who received the flu shot. I got mine a few days ago and man! Am I WINDY! WTF!?!? It isn't anything I've eaten, so it absolutely has to be the flu shot. And let me tell you, I don't appreciate waking up smelling like a dirty fart! That's just not who I want to be!

I received an E-mail from Cousin Terri last night. They're moving back to Wisconsin next month! I am so happy to hear this! They moved to Florida last year in an effort to be closer to her boys when they got to come home on leave from Iraq. But it's been quite an eventful year for them, and it's time to load up the wagons and head north once again! Hey! Maybe they'll come to our Thanksmas party!!!!!!!!!! W00t!

I have the day off work today. I'm being a lazy sot and I don't care either. I mainly took the day off to irritate someone. And it did irritate that someone. So my work is accomplished! However, I do have to go in for a mandatory meeting at noon today. Yay. If I were smart, I'd have jumped in the shower already and have my hair drying so that I could go in all gorgeous and well coiffed and have everybody be saying "Wow! You really look fantastic today!" and I'd be all "Oh, really? Must be cuz I had a little extra mirror time than normal, being a vacation day and all. If you all let me come in an hour late every day but still paid me for that hour, you could have me beautiful every day instead of only on my days off. Think about this offer. It may be worth it in the long run."
Yeah. I'm not in the shower. My hair will likely end up in a pony tail. Not happening.

What I would really like to know is how do I always manage to pick rainy days for vacation days? Does God not like it when I stay home? Or is he telling me that I ought to be ripping the rest of Jerry's ceiling out this morning and slathering some mud on those cracks so it looks pretty. I would like to, but we have a wedding to attend tomorrow and that will keep me from further diving into the ceiling venture uninterrupted. So it probably doesn't pay for me to invest a lot of time on it. But on the other hand, since it IS a vacation day, I really WOULD be getting paid by the hour for whatever I do accomplish today, whether it be Ripping a Ceiling or just Ripping Wind!

Perhaps I'll spend my day photoshopping the heads of Smiling Water Buffalo on to Obama's body! Woo hoo! I'm off to Google to collect images! Have a great day, my loved ones!

P.S. 11 days and no smoking. I shoulda had people place bets on me so I could collect!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Thanks, Shayla!

We received a note from our son's school the other day.
His school is actually where we go to vote in our district.
The school wants to hold a bake sale and they want all the parents to donate some
cookies for them to sell.

Shayla just gave me the most awesomest idea ever....

Vote for my guy or you get a grumpy cookie!

Oh, yeah! I made a promise!

Better late than never.
I did promise to post progress pictures of the Porch Step Project.

Well, you remember the old steps...
The Landlord decided it would be a brilliant idea to put carpet on them to seal in all of the moisture so that they could rot at an advanced rate and always look like crap.
Well, I said GO! And Go! I meant! So those crappy old steps, they got up and went!

Now, this is still a work in progress. I'm still waiting for railings, which the Hubby did purchase, we just haven't had time to assemble them.
Hubby has also finished staining the bottom step as well as the vertical boards since this pic was taken. It's been too cold and rainy for me to want to go out and take a new pic.

Stay tuned for the final picture! It will appear some time before the first snow fall!

Water Buffalo

I know most of you are wondering where the fascination with Water Buffalo comes from.
A few weeks ago, Jerry and I were bored, so I dug through our collection of old vhs movies and found Veggie Tales Silly Songs.
And one of these silly songs is The Water Buffalo Song.

Yes, it gets stuck in your head.

Then, at work, the boss asked Robin to do a survey with our patients. She was to ask them 5 questions, they were to answer her and she was to write down the responses.
After they'd walk away, I'd tell her "You forgot question number 6!"
And she'd say "There is no number 6."
"Have you ever owned a Water Buffalo?"

And it's grown from there. Another coworker was on the phone one day and hung up saying "Dang! That person just ripped my face off for no good reason!"
My immediate response was "Did you ask if they've ever owned a Water Buffalo? It coulda been a totally different conversation if you'd have asked that."

Then, the other morning, I saw that Jenny over at The Bloggess had a video (a faster loading link) about Water Buffalo! And how some people in the USA actually found some people in China who were willing to go out and find a Water Buffalo and purchase it with the money provided by the Americans and deliver the Water Buffalo to a needy Chinese family. It sounds like something so very simple. And actually, it really is! A family could use a Water Buffalo to till and plow their fields for 15 years, and then they could butcher it and eat for 6 months or more. In essence, providing a water buffalo to a needy family in their eyes makes them very rich.

So, I'm thinking maybe I ought to take some of the money I'll be saving from not smoking and use it to buy a water buffalo for a needy family in China! Would that be the coolest or what?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Yet another Perk...

For those of you reading my blog and have no interest in my trying to shake the monkey off my back, I apologize. Feel free to skip this entry entirely. I promise I'll try to think of something else to blog about next time. It's just that it is day #5 and it has been a tough one. I'm not sure if the cravings are physical or mental today, but I've been arguing with myself all day saying "Quit bargaining with yourself! An alcoholic cannot have just one drink. You cannot have just one puff! You've come this far and if you had a down slide now, the whole thing starts over from point A, so don't even bother trying to bargain with yourself.".

Jim, for the most part is trying to be supportive. He's been trying not to smoke around me if possible. But that really doesn't bother me so much. Actually, smelling the smoke sort of soothes the cravings a bit. But, it is the weekend. During the week, I am able to keep busy. I can't smoke at work, so days are not a problem. But the weekends are a different story.

I'm supposed to go to a wedding shower tomorrow. The Bride-to-be called and asked if I was planning to go. I was perfectly honest with her. I said "Well, I don't think I'm going to make it to the shower. We have a list of stuff to get done before your wedding, plus I am trying to quit smoking right now. Attending a wedding shower where I know only one other person in the room is not a good thing to do when you're trying to quit smoking. I need a calm environment with no stress and that would cause me stress."

She obviously didn't understand. She started saying "Well you met everybody a few weeks ago, so you'd actually know everybody there. How could that be stressful?" No, I may have met them, but that doesn't mean I want to hang out with them on a regular basis or that we have anything to carry on a conversation about. No. I'm not going and I'll be damned if I'll feel guilty about it. Wedding showers are supposed to be for immediate family or for those who cannot attend the wedding itself. And besides, they just made us attend an "Engagement Party" which was in actuality a wedding shower. So we got to feel like a couple of asses for showing up without a gift because we weren't told it was a shower!

Any way, on to the Perk portion I was aiming for ... our new kitten is very sweet. But if she was on my lap and I lit up a cigarette, she would get up and run away. She doesn't like cigarette smoke. Since I've quit smoking, she has become the loviest little kitty ever toward me! I've become her lap of choice! And after all, that's really why I adopted her to begin with. Our other cat has always been less than affectionate and I had hoped this one would be a cuddler. So that's a bonus for the non-smoking side.

I keep making lists. Reasons why I am quitting. Reasons why I should not take even a single drag of a cigarette. It's a lot of mental wrestling because I've been smoking off and on since I was 12! Being a non-smoker is not natural to me. And I tend to trust people who smoke over people who do not smoke. It's a personality thing as well. So in quitting, I need to find my non-smoking personality and hope that I actually like that person. I know I'm doing this mostly for health reasons. I know that I need to do this. But, damn it's hard!

And I know I'm doing this so that I'm not putting such a financial drain on our budget. But that doesn't really hold a lot of sand with me right now. Cigarettes are pretty much the only thing I actually buy for myself with my pay checks. There's not a whole lot that I WANT for myself. I could buy a new wardrobe, but I hate the size I am right now and refuse to commit to that size by purchasing expensive clothing. However, it is nice to know I have cash set aside for when the bottom falls out. And it often does. Emergency dental visits, Jerry getting strep... stuff happens.
In this household, "stuff happens" far too often.

I know the first two weeks are the hardest. Once I get beyond these first two weeks, the physical addiction go to the background and it's all mental from there. I need to be more positive. I can do this.

Say! I know what I can do! I'm gonna put my recent Water Buffalo Fetish to good use!
Stay tuned for further details!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

So, I'm $15 to the good!

It is officially Day 3 of not smoking.
It took me 3 tries this month to get this far.
I had planned to quit October 1. Well, October 1 was filled with stress. No way it was gonna happen that day!
So then I tried again last Tuesday. You see, it had to be on a Tuesday. Mondays are far too out of control at work and at home. An absolute stress-fest. And it couldn't be on a Wednesday because Jim is home Wednesday nights...still smoking. But, Last Tuesday didn't go so well either. But I wouldn't let myself slide on this resolution. I know I have to do it.

One thing I had forgotten about myself as a Non-Smoker - I have no idea what to do with my anger (and believe it or not, I have a LOT of anger inside me). The Smoking Me would just go off and have a smoke and calm myself down. The Non-Smoking me goes from Zero to 60 in 3 seconds and wants to see some actual blood for the most minor of offenses.

But, hey! On the bright side, I've earned myself $15 so far. TOTALLY EARNED that money. The cravings are so gripping it's unbelievable. I actually get muscle tremours! WTF!?!?! I don't remember feeling that the last time I quit. But then again, the last time, I was on Chantix. This time, I'm cold turkey, save for half a Lorazepam at bed time so that I can actually sleep. Mainly because I know it is a major priority to be able to get a real night's sleep while putting my body (and brain) through something like this.

Rewards.... I can head off to the hardware store and buy a gallon of paint for Jerry's room this weekend without the Hubby saying "We can't afford that." We CAN if I decide to use my No Smokie Bucks toward paint. And I do believe I will. After all, the busier I keep myself, the less withdrawl cravings I have to endure. But the best rewards by far... I told Jerry I'm trying to quit smoking and that I need him to help keep a calm environment while I go through this so that I will be successful. And he has been so wonderful and supportive! What a great kid!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

There's a Sex Offender on Our Street

We had heard earlier this week that there is a registered Sex Offender moving to our street.
He will live directly across the street from Jerry's Buddy.

My Sis-in Law was kind enough to shoot me a link to the article in the Gannet about this guy.
And as I'm reading it, I'm saying 'Why does this guy's name sound so familiar?" He's 26. Hmmm.

Well, I got on that Lovely State Of Wisconsin web site and looked him up because the Sex Offender web site, although it shows a picture of him, did nothing to jog my memory. But The State of Wisconsin Web Site lists every offense this individual has ever orchestrated. And lo and behold, in scrolling through, I see a name we all knowlocally is listed as a plaintiff suing him. Turns out he's the baby daddy of her first grand child. THAT's where I know that name.

I also see several counts of drug possession and theft listed in his "carreer". Yay. We just get rid of some dealers on our street and now they give us one with a sex offender record as well.
Lucky us! But at least this one is originally from our fair city and not a transplant. I have no proof, but I've heard that our city gets certain "perks" for agreeing to house said stereotypes.
I'm just getting really tired of them all ending up on my street!

Ouch! It's just a little obvious I'm going through nicotine withdrawl. Go ahead. Cross me. I double dawg dare ya! Ha ha! I am strong. I can do this. I am strong. I can do this. I am a Nicotine Kicking Ninja MoFo. And I've got GUM! Oy!

Note: My friend Robin's Mom says FoMo instead of MoFo. I kinda like that!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Where the heck did the weekend go?

Jim and I have been talking about repairing our front steps before the snow starts flying.
They were in such bad shape that we've been starting to live in fear of everyone slipping on them this winter. And it's a real fear because some of our friends HAVE taken a ride down those steps in the winter! So has Jim for that matter. Ouch.

As usual, what looked like a simple task has turned into a huge ordeal.
After Jim removed the old warped and badly cracked treads, he saw that the risers also had to be replaced thanks to carpenter ants having a great meal. So, it was yet another trip to Lowes for some ready cut risers. One problem with the new risers was that they were made to be a 5 step and ours was a 4 step.

Our Mr. Fix- It pal Doug came over Sunday morning to help get the construction under way.
I hadn't even finished my first cup of coffee and he there, was all ready to get to work on those steps!

Jim and Doug decided it would be easier to go with 5 steps instead of trimming off a step on the risers and attaching them to an apron like it was. This of course meant Jim had to run back to Lowes for a 5th tread and a bunch of hardware.

Meanwhile, Marty scootered over to provide moral support... and to have a cup of coffee.
The two of us got out lawn chairs and cheered on Jim and Doug.

Then came the decision "Do you want a vertical board between each step or do you want to leave them open?" Well, of course I want it closed to keep out the leaves and critters. So that meant another trip to Lowes for vertical boards.

They made great progress, and the steps are looking really pretty. Except now, since they went with 5 steps, we can't use the old railings because they won't match up!

Even though we're going to submit the entire bill to the land lady, it is frustrating that it went from being a $50 project to a $150 project.

The railings will have to wait until Thursday when Jim gets paid. As will the before and after pictures. Can you believe it? I actually remembered to take Before Pictures of a project!

Stay tuned Thursday for the latest update on that. They really are looking quite pretty!

On a related note, I was sitting in Jerry's room the other night watching television while he and Daddy were watching something I didn't want to watch on the Living Room Television. As my mind wandered, I looked up at his ceiling and got to thinking. It's a dropped ceiling. That fake foam insulated type. And it looks like hell. And I got to wondering just how bad does that ceiling look underneath? So I started pulling out ceiling tiles, and seriously, it's not as bad as I had feared! That's real plaster and lath on his ceiling - as are all the rooms in our house. It's mind boggling that the old land lord felt it was easier to put up an entire false ceiling instead of repairing two bad stretches of broken plaster. I don't know what a dropped ceiling cost in the 90's, but I'm sure the cost of one sheet of dry wall was a mere $10. And that ought to be all it will take to fix that ceiling. That, and a few tubs of plaster. But first, I need Jim to move the light fixture and reattach it to the real ceiling so that I can start taking down all the metal parts of the dropped ceiling.

I'm sure this will be yet another one of those tasks that starts out simple but ends up costing more than I bargained. I know I'll need another gallon of paint as well, because the yellow walls end at the false ceiling. But, Jerry's room needs a little love any way. And I really like doing this sort of thing!

I'll have to remember to take some... well.... almost before pictures (I've already torn out the tiles! Ha ha!). And I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

We've got a Little Black Box!

We've all seen the little ticker tape flashing along the bottom of our television screen saying "In February 2009 all analog television signals will be turned off..."

Well, we've never been ones to buy cable or a dish network, so we had to go out and buy The Box. We've only had it for just a few days, but I am already seeing pros and cons to the whole ordeal.

First off, hooking up the boxes was quite simple. Although when we did a scan on our living room television, at first, it would only receive the 3 stations from Channel 2. That's because the box still relies on your television rabbit ear antenna to receive the signals and our antenna was old, and WFRV has the strongest signal. So even though we saved $80 on the two boxes, we still had to invest in a new antenna for our living room in order to get in 9+ channels. And the salesman said they have a special roof antenna we may want to consider buying so that we can receive even more channels. Why does something so simple have to become a big financial ordeal?

Secondly, the picture quality is amazing! It's not a wonder our friends would come over and NOT want to watch our television before. The image was was grainy and would occasionally fade in and out. HOWEVER... with the box, we STILL get poor signals, usually right at pivotal points in a show we're watching, and I STILL have to get up and adjust the antenna to get it to come in clearly again. And sometimes, I just give up and go in Jerry's room to watch my shows, which is sort of a kick in the pants. We bought two different boxes. The one for Jerry's room cost $10 less than the one in the living room but it works better! Although that may just be because his television is newer. Our livingroom television is older than Jerry.

One more advantage Jerry's television has over ours is that his is a built-in DVD/VCR type television. He doesn't need to make any adjustments to watch a movie when he wants to. In the livingroom, it's a different story. We already had a little adaptor box for the DVD player. And the new black box doesn't like the DVD adaptor box. So watching a movie will become a pain in the ass.

I also noticed the other night when an airplane flew over our house that the signal crashed for a good five minutes. So I know EAA is going to TOTALLY suck this year. We live too close to the airport!

I do like the idea of being able to watch my favourite shows on T.V. now, though. I've been watching most of them on line for the past year because we couldn't get in ABC or CBS. We do get them with the new box. But I am still probably going to be catching a lot of them on line simply for the fact that I really hate watching sucky shows while waiting for the show that I DO like to come on. Most of the shows I like don't come on until 9PM anyway. I suppose I really ought to be getting some housework done while I'm waiting for those shows to come on instead of numbly watching something irritating like Heroes.

Jim is liking the classic TV channel, though. It's amusing for him to watch Black Sheep Squadron and Kojak and other shows from our childhood. I do get a kick out of watching Emergency. The clothing styles and home decor is just as amusing as the way they practice medicine!

So I guess buying the box was sort of a step forward. But it's definitely not all it is cracked up to be. And, I suppose when the T.V. in the livingroom dies and we go shopping for a new television, we'll be looking for one with a built in DVD / VCR. But that is years away. Until then, we'll just have to deal.

Monday, October 6, 2008

I'm on that fence again...

So, I've been telling myself that I must quit smoking before the snow flies.
The top two reasons being 1) we simply cannot afford cigarettes AND the heat bill this winter.
and 2) I REFUSE to trudge through a mountain of snow just for a smoke!

At work, we are not allowed to smoke on campus for obvious reasons. So if we want one, we are expected to go over to the Grocery store across the street to smoke. That's fine and good for 3 seasons of the year. But come winter, the Maintenance guys run out of places to dump all of the snow. And there is no clear path to quickly cross over and back. It sucks! And it's not worth it!

Of course there are many other reasons why I need to quit smoking. My family health history is a blatant reminder that I just can't keep doing this. Especially if I want to see my youngest son grow up.

It's a costly habit. Drinking is much cheaper! (Joke!)

I also hate going to work wondering if I smell like a stale cigarette. And I'm sure I do.

And of course there's the health aspect. It really isn't fair to subject my son to second-hand smoke. And HE smells like a stale cigarette too!

The last time I quit, I tried Chantex. It worked somewhat. But it gave me horrible gas and digestive issues.

My doctor then gave me a sample of nicotine gum. YUCK! That is the most foul tasting crap ever!

So this time, I am going to try it cold turkey. And I know it won't be easy. But I have done it before. The difference this time will be that I will hopefully never go back to it.

So... I need to put stoppers in place to ensure that I do not go back to it.

I need to save the money I would otherwise have spent on cigarettes.
To the average person this sounds simple. Oh, but in my house, NOTHING is simple!
The last time I quit, I had started saving the cash I would have spend on smokes and my husband protested to no end. Maybe he saw it as a threat to his own smoking habit? I just don't know. But I know it caused so much stress that I gave in and put all of that money toward bills instead of saving it for something special.

THIS TIME, I'm not budging. I'm going to take out $35 a week from our checking account for the next year and sit on it. The most I would be wiling to sacrifice toward bills and household expenses is $15 of that $35. This is not going to be an easy journey, and damn it! I DESERVE a reward for it! I'm going to spend $1200 on myself come next September. Maybe I'll use it on a trip to Florida to see my cousin. Maybe I'll buy new kitchen cabinets. Who knows. I have a whole year to decide.

In the mean time, this blog will be a constant reminder of my goal. I MUST achieve my goal! I WILL achieve my goal!

I tell my nieces that they can do anything if they set their minds to it. It's time I live up to that belief.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What The Money Crisis Means To The Average Joe

I find it a bit frightening that out of all of my co-workers, I was the only one who actually took time on Monday to see how congress voted on the Bail-Out Bill.

Surely I can't be the only one who is concerned about this!

I have a 401K tied up in Wachovia. And it deeply concerns me that CitiBank is wanting to absorb Wachovia. Just when did CitiBank get big and strong enough to absorb a bank as large as Wachovia? What's going on in the financial world?

The part I found most interesting is a quote I read saying that the folks trading at the stock market exchange were holding off to see how the vote went because many had plans to quickly dump the bad stocks in their portfolios so that the Government would purchase them and keep them afloat.

The key words being Bad Stocks. Meaning poorly earning companies that are publicly owned.
The dogs that slow down a portfolio from producing top dollars.

I have to scratch my head at this. Shouldn't a company that is not living up to its earning prospectus be expected to fold? Why keep doing CPR to a dead dog? Let it die and move on!

Didn't that used to be the American Way? Isn't America supposed to be a place where anyone is allowed the opportunity to try to achieve their dreams? And isn't America also the place where people who aren't properly prepared for success are allowed to fail, lick their wounds and then come up with an even better idea due to the things they learn after they have failed?

And it just appals me that there were so many riders tacked on to a bill of such magnitude of importance. Even though I know it is just standard operation for those proposing bills to congress to try to tack on little stipulations that have nothing to do with the initial bill... but on one with so much at stake - for them to tack on such things... well, I'm just glad congress voted this one down.

I know this bill will be re-worked and re-submitted. And it will be interesting to see what happens next. Congress doesn't reconvene until Thursday. Meanwhile, the stock exchange is still open for business. The sky is still blue. I still have my birthday.

So what does this mean to the average person? Why should my co-workers be paying attention?
Well, first off, our aises will be smaller. Everyone is going to have to pay higher taxes and because our employers are paying those higher taxes, they will be less willing to reward the little guy. Please note that this is regardless of what sort of bill gets passed, or if no bill gets passed. Times will be tight for the next 8 years at least.

Here at my house, times are already tight. We don't have a mortgage or a car loan to pay on. But our rent will likely go up. Or our landlady may finally decide it is time to sell the place. Are we prepared to make an offer in such an unstable financial market? But then again, maybe the market value of this house will FINALLY go down to meet the TRUE value of this house. And THEN it would actually be WORTH buying. As it stands, the price is inflated $30,000 over what it is truely worth. I look at the valu of the houses on my block and try to hold back tears. I cannot believe my neighbours would sink so much money into a house in this neighbourhood.
This is NOT a prime spot in my fair city!

There will be more company layoffs. More hiring freezes. Our college students will have a tough time finding jobs in their area of study. In that respect, at my house, we are fortunate there as well. With Hubby working in the service industry, and me working in a health care environment, I think we're fairly safe at the moment. Of course, that could change. At this point, it's all in the air waiting to land.

I'm most curious to see what my 3rd quarter statement for my 401K is going to say. I've never made a killing with it. It's just been a steady growing little nest egg. If it is lost, I don't think I'll cry. But I know others who have portfolios in that 401K who have been putting the maximum allowed amount into their 401K for years. THOSE people will be crying if it is lost. And I do feel for them, especially knowing that they are close to retirement and are really counting on that money.

Another thing I wonder about is, will we be allowed to open a Christmas Savings Account again next year? This year it was more than worth it. Our return will be double our initial investment.
What will the interest rate be next year? Will it be worth it?

How can you not be curious about such things? Wake up, People! The entire world is watching this unfold, and here on our own soil there is just so much ignorance happening! I just don't get it!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Planning Ahead

So my sister called me last week all in a panic.
She's already worrying about Family Christmas.
"Should we rent a Hall? Where would we rent one if we do that?"

I calmly told her that I was under the impression that Family Christmas would be held at our house this year. And she pauses and says "Really". Not "REALLY?" as in "Oh my goodness! You'd actually take on this responsibility so we don't have to worry?" Or "REALLY" as in "Oh that is such a load off my mind! I was hoping you'd say that!"

It was more like "Really? But your house is such a mess!" But of course she didn't come out and say that. She would never say that. I know my House will never be as clean as hers is. Hell, it's not even ever as clean as I want it! But the point is, we have the space (kind of) and it will actually be so much easier to have everybody here rather than load up the van and head off somewhere else.

And, of course, this will allow Hubby the opportunity to cook for the masses. He loves doing that.
As long as everybody doesn't show up with a crock pot to plug in, we'll do just fine. Our Electrics in this house are a bit iffy. And... we can have Glorious EGGNOG!!!!!! Be still my heart!

Can we fit 20+ family members into our small abode?

Last year we held our First Annual Thanksmas Party at our house. We managed to fit 13 people in here comfortably, and we all had a great time! So what's 22 people? And not one our Thanksmas Guests said "My GAWD! This place is a MESS!" Right now, this house is 10 times cleaner than it was that night. And let me tell you, I did a bit of crisis cleaning the week before that party.

Since then, we've stripped and refinished our living room floor - which lead to painting the ceiling, and woodwork, and lead to having to wash all the walls, and remove all art work and scrub them all down before re-hanging.

And our dining room has also undergone total renovation. It's not perfect, but it looks good enough to make me really happy when I enter this room.

The only room that is in total chaos is our kitchen. But the world will have to forgive us for not sinking a lot of money into that room right now. We're too busy bailing out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

But speaking of Thanksmas, we WILL be holding yet another one this year. The date is still pending. It turns out the folks I work with are thinking of planning a Christmas Party either the first or second weekend of December. So I guess the date that DOESN'T fall on, will be our Second Annual Thanksmas Party.

As for Family Christmas, we're thinking the 27th of December. Hopefully by then, I'll have come up with some solutions to my awful kitchen and my darling sister won't run screaming in terror. We'll get through it. Isn't that what Lorazepam is made for? Mmmm. Lorazepam! Shiny!

Okay, So I Lied

I've become a bit obsessed lately with Blogs.
It started with me finding Home Improvement Blogs and Home Renovation Blogs. Then I started clicking on their links to see what blogs bloggers like to read.
I somehow stumbled onto The Blogess - and I SO want to MEET this gal! Too bad she's way down in Texas because I can totally see the two of us getting into all sorts of Thelma and Louiseish mayhem. Okay, more like LaVerne and Shirleyish Mayhem. The great thing is that she is a warped individual with the ability to articulate that warpedness into writing for all the world to read and appreciate. Yup! She is awesome!

And I've been thinking "Well, I do have a Blog Spot. I COULD start using it." But then, what would I talk about? Do I share with the world my frustrations in trying to keep my house clean? Because it's a daily battle for sure. I clean a spot, and 10 minutes later, some other family member feels they need to clutter it up.

Do I share our financial battle with the world? Um. No. That could get ugly.

Do I share our latest home improvement projects with the world? Sure! Why not? They're small scale compared to many of those out there, but we're making progress.

Do I share the trials and tribulations of my work days? Nah, it's best not to do that. I hear that employers now do searches and can use that against a person. However, at the moment, I must say that work is quite rewarding. I even received a STAR this week - which is quite an accomplishment. I feel good that I was recognised for the work I do above and beyond the standard job description. Now, I need to find that in my fellow coworkers and nominate them as well so that there is no contention amongst the troops!

The thing is, I don't want some average blog that gets ho hum reviews. I want a blog that people will want to read. One that will make them tune in each week just to see what I have to say.
But has it all been said before? Who knows! Probably!

Any way, I'm gonna try. If only to keep up my excellent writing skills. Look Out World, cuz Aunt Bren is going public! Muwaaaahaaaahaaaaa!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Em, yeah!

I only signed up so as I can make comments to Shayla's blogs.
That is all.