Monday, March 30, 2009

10 Things I Cannot Do Without

I've been reading other blogs more lately, and I've come across a few things I like here and there. Thanks to Heidi over at Sacred and Profane, I found All That is Good, which has what she calls Friend Makin' Mondays. It's a pretty cool concept, so I thought I'd try to participate every week. This week's topic is 10 Things You Can't Live Without.

Here's my list:

1. My MacBook ~ Ever since my desktop PC died, my MacBook has been IT. I hooked it up to an external keyboard, the large monitor I was using with my PC, the speakers, etc. My one complaint is that I miss the portability I used to have. I would like to one day - hopefully sooner rather than later - I can get either an iMac or a Mac Mini.

2. Dr Pepper ~ It's my coffee. 'Nuff said! ;-)

3. Kraft Bagelfuls ~ When I don't have much time for breakfast, these are awesome. I keep a box in the fridge, plus a backup box in the freezer. I pop one in the toaster, and it's delish!

4. A good book ~ I read so many books and so quickly that I couldn't pick a specific one. So long as I have something to read that doesn't put me to sleep, I'm happy.

5. Toilet paper ~ I'm not sure what I'd do without it! LOL

6. Chocolate & peanut butter ~ Do I really need to explain this one? (For the record, I couldn't find any chocolate dipping in peanut butter pics, so I opted for this. These are the candy bars of preference ...)

7. Deodorant ~ I don't like being stinky and sweaty.

8. Gumdrop pacifiers ~ These little suckers are awesome! (Pardon the pun, hee hee!) We received one at the hospital after Natalie was born, and she was able to hold onto it as a newborn! They're cheaper than the Avent ones we were using for the other two.

9. Cinnamint Orbit Gum ~ Instead of breath mints.

10. Music ~ Like with a good book, I can't pick a specific song or a specific artist. There's way too much out there that I love.

So, how about you? What can't you live without? If you decide to participate, please let me know so I can check you out! :-)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Oh, the drama!

I hate drama - IRL, online, wherever. Well, except on TV - but then I'm actually expecting it and wanting to get lost in it. Any drama other than that which was made for the purpose of entertainment is unwelcome. I. don't. want. it.

Some of you likely will remember that I had some drama going on with my Web site somewhat recently. In some ways, it feels like it was just yesterday; in others, it feels like it was months ago. Funny how that works.

Anyway, the result of that whole stupid ordeal was that one of our members - a staff member, nonetheless - decided to take her leave of the board. I knew she'd be a big loss, but I also understood (and still understand) where she's coming from. But, in her announcement to the rest of Staff that she's leaving, she basically told my co-admin to go ahead and kill the site. She's gone - or something like that. It appears she's getting her wish. She's a sweet individual and a true friend, so I know she didn't actually mean that she wanted to see the site fail. I also know that she hasn't done anything to sabotage to site. I think it was just the fallout from the crap that happened before. Now, the site is extremely inactive and I'm starting to wonder if we'll ever recover. Apparently this individual was the heart and soul of the site - for her absence is what brought this lull in activity to pass.

So, now the question becomes simple: What do I do? Do I watch it die a slow, miserable death? Do I perform e-CPR and do what I can to revive the site? Do I beg the former staffer to return to the site? Do I pull the plug and walk away? Or do I hand the site over to someone else, then walk away? I dunno. Even staff members aren't posting much, which can't be good. I think the whole incident from before had a much bigger impact on them than it originally looked like it had. And I just don't know what to do.

Add to all of this that I've been just overtired. Not sure why. Plus, my wonderful (and I mean it - no sarcasm) husband has decided to work for FEMA again. No, he's not getting a new job. He's still with the Army Corps of Engineers. But, they'll send him to North Dakota to help with all the flooding and stuff going on there. Just like what he's done in the past in New Orleans and Texas - except for once he's going farther north. I get to be the one to brag about better weather! LOL I'm sharing this to say it's just going to get worse. I'll temporarily be a single mom, having to do it all 100% by myself. Sure, I could attempt to ask my family for help, but they're useless. My mom always has a million and one excuses for why she couldn't possibly help me out. (But she's going to try to see my other sister - who is several states away - soon because she thinks my sister needs her right now!) One sister is too far away. The other is VERY, very busy - especially this time of year. And my in-laws? Forget them. They can't make their way up here under normal circumstances. They couldn't be bothered to come up here when our youngest was born. Don't get me started.

Despite all of that, I decided to take on a challenge. It's 31 Days to Build a Better Blog by ProBlogger. I have found that I really enjoy blogging and I have been thinking of ways to make this a better blog. Now I'll have not only a ton of great ideas, but also big-time motivation! I only hope that I'll find a way to really be faithful in this while my husband's away! I am excited about this, and hope that in the coming weeks you'll find this blog an even better place! (Many thanks to My Friend Amy for her Weekly Review post that included this little tidbit!)

Well, that's it for now. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

If I could go back

Before I start my intended post, I must clarify something simple. The post below this one isn't really a mistake. I started it, and Natalie (my 17-month-old) sneaked in and submitted it! I originally was going to delete it and start over, but decided to keep it. For sentimental reasons. And now, I bring you the post for which you've been waiting - I hope!

Whenever people want to get to know someone, many questions are routinely asked. One of them is "If you could go back in time, what would you change?" My answer is usually one of the following (or some combination thereof):
  • I would change nothing, because every bit of it has made me who I am today and brought me here.
  • I would avoid getting into debt - excepting the standard student loans, auto loans, and mortgage.
  • I would have chosen a different major.
  • I would use another similar thing as my answer.
Those are mostly true - generally speaking. But, tonight, I was thinking. And there are actually a bunch of (mostly) smaller things I would change, if given a chance. And, since this is the place to unload my mind, I'm gonna subject you all to it.

So, if I was able to go back and change things, there are some things I'd do differently.
  • I would not have moved before my family did. The summer before I started high school, my parents decided it was time to move to a different suburb. It would put me into a completely different school district in which I knew no one. The house was put up for sale in July. We figured it'd take at least a few months, as often is the case. But, well, that wasn't how it worked out. The house sold in FIVE days. That's less than a week! My parents found a house, etc. The Big Move was going to be toward the end of September - after school had started. I was given the choice of either transferring after starting school or staying with a friend and starting school in my new district. I opted for the latter. I didn't want to be The New Kid that everyone wonders about mid-year. I didn't want all of that attention. I didn't want to have to struggle in my classes as I figured out where I was academically. I thought starting school in my new school would be best. Well, that worked out OK. Staying with my friend was cool, and I suppose there's something to be said for not transferring about a month into the school year your freshman year of high school. But, there were things I never saw coming.
    For one, I wasn't able to get into the right classes. I registered about a week before school was starting, and the guidance counselor didn't have my transcripts. He gave me the choice of physical science (I think that's what it was) or biology. I chose biology. I ended up in a class full of sophomores, rather than in the advanced biology classes with the other freshmen! (Interestingly, I didn't figure this out until my senior year, when my resulting GPA was just a smidgen too low for the National Honor Society, of which I desperately wanted to be a part.) This was one of many classes in which this happened. Not only did it happen freshman year, it did the following year, too. My first semester I was in a class full of juniors - intermediate level. My second semester, they finally figured out their mistake, and I was put into the advanced level with my peers. But, by that point it was too late. I was confused as hell and didn't do so well.
    The other thing was that socially it was rough. I had grown up with most of my classmates, and been through the toughest years - known as junior high - with them, and never got closure. With the exception of my closest friends, I never got to say good-bye to anyone. I just disappeared off the face of the planet, so far as many of them were concerned. In fact, ironically, during college I actually ran into one of my junior high classmates at a concert. He was sitting next to me - I didn't recognize him at all, but he was able to place me. (This strikes me as particularly ironic, given the fact that I had a big crush on him in junior high and he didn't seem to notice me at all. LOL) He said hi, then asked "What happened to you? You just disappeared." So, I explained the situation and he understood. But, that was one of the first times I really thought about the social side of my move.
    Recently, thanks to facebook, I have been able to re-connect with some of these people. It's been so neat, but at the same time it raised my awareness of what I've missed out on. Perhaps I could have remained in touch with many of these people if I had attended the first few weeks of school with them.
  • I would have majored in something different. Don't get me wrong, I love my English degree. I enjoyed studying it. And, well, it was easy! LOL But, it wasn't necessarily what I wanted to study. I had considered studying in something music related, but my mom wouldn't let me. She told me she wouldn't help me pay for school if I did, so I went with English. Turns out, I should've followed my heart - my parents hardly helped me with my education anyway. They took out one small loan my freshman year, then I was on my own. I had loans up the wazoo, and a very generous gift from my mom's uncle at the beginning of the school year. (And, yes, I'm still paying off my loans.) If I could go back, I'd major in music engineering so I could produce music. I think that would be awesome!
  • I would have left Shadow at my parents' house when Dan and I first got married and moved into our apartment. She was a very, very sweet cat, but she wasn't a fan of the litterbox. She'd pee outside it, but never inside it. After having taking a couple of animal sciences classes about pets, I thought I could fix her. Generally, cats who do that do so because of FLUTD - Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease. Not Shadow. It was behavioral. Nothing we did helped her get it right. It probably didn't help that she was an indoor/outdoor cat when she lived at my parents' house. Finally, shortly before Grant was born, we got rid of her. But, by that point, the damage had been done.
  • I never would've suggested we get the dog. He's a nice dog, and he's not all bad, but if I could change things we'd have stopped with the cats. I definitely am NOT a dog person. I prefer my cats. One thing is that dogs are so friggin' gross. There are things he does that just about make me sick. The other thing is the back yard isn't the haven it used to be for Abby. Before we got the dog, I'd take her out back and we'd play and sit on a blanket and blow bubbles, etc. Not anymore. Our yard's not big enough for us to section off part of it for the dog. So, he gets free run of the yard - which means there's dog pee and dog shit everywhere. Yes, we scoop occasionally - I mean Dan scoops occasionally. I don't do dog shit. He doesn't have time to scoop it every single day, so the kids and I generally play out front or go to the park. I miss playing out back with them.
  • I would not have joined a sorority. Don't get me wrong, I made some good friends. Two of them stood up for me at my wedding. But, I am hardly in touch with anyone from it anymore. And, really, I think the sorority is why I ended up with so much debt coming out of school. Yes, living in house is cheaper than the dorms - until you factor in the general costs of being in a sorority: dues, social events, etc. It was so friggin' expensive, and not the amazing thing I was hoping it would be. The kicker for me is that they ("they" being the national offices of said sorority) wouldn't let me use my deceased grandmother's badge (really, it's a PIN). She died a horrible, painful death from cancer when I was in the third grade. I'm sure she had other things on her mind than her stupid pin. They wouldn't let me use it (nevermind she's the main reason I chose that particular sorority in the first place) because she didn't do what she was supposed to do with it when she died - either be buried with it or send it back to them. Whatever. I still have it, and they are NOT getting it back. Anyway, my pissed off self wanted to refuse to initiate at that point, but I didn't. I had already moved into the house and I felt stuck, so I initiated. If I could go back, I'd have chosen not to initiate when they refused to let me honor my grandmother.
And now my mind is mush. I'm spent. I know there are more things, but apparently I've tired myself out writing what I have. So, until the next time I feel like playing the could've/should've/would've game, I'll just say regret sucks. I'm trying not to sweat this stuff, as nothing can change any of it - it's in the past. I just need to master the art of self-forgiveness, something I've never done well at all.

If I cou

Book Review: Speak

Speak: 10th Anniversary Edition Speak: 10th Anniversary Edition by Laurie Halse Anderson

rating: 5 of 5 stars
I won this book through GoodReads' firstreads program. I probably never would've picked this up otherwise, but I'm so glad I did. I really enjoyed it. I loved Melinda's persona. I cracked up a few times because of some comment she made. While the subject is sad and disturbing, I think it was handled wonderfully. The characters are believable and well developed. I will be honest, though, and say that I wasn't blown away by this book. I would prefer to give it 4.5 stars, but Goodreads still doesn't allow for half stars. (They so gotta fix that!) So, because I really enjoyed the story and the characters, I chose to round up.

I did really like the extra material in this 10th Anniversary Edition. "Listen," the poem at the beginning, is amazing. It's clear that Laurie Halse Anderson has really helped reach people who might not have been reached otherwise. There's an essay at the back about whether she's going to write a sequel. I hope she does - I'd love to see what happens next. She mentioned an idea from some guy to call it "Spoke" - I love it! Genius! ;-) There also is a bit about censorship, and what is wrong with it. That little essay was amazing - and so right on. I promise that when my kids are old enough to be reading stories like this, we will read them together and discuss.

Overall, this was a very good book. I might have to look into more of Laurie Halse Anderson's books, as I really like her style.

View all my reviews.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Now I Remember

Not that I really forgot, but now I really remember why I HATE Walmart. HATE it. My husband is out of town for a couple of days, so it's me and the kiddos. We're doing fine, but last night I found out we have hardly any cat food, as in what I fed them last night was it. No more. My wonderful husband usually feeds them, so I don't generally know when we need food unless I'm told. See where I'm going?

While DH is gone, I have to drop Abby off at school. That's fine, we've got a good routine down now. Yesterday we needed groceries, so we just went straight to Jewel before heading home after dropping Abby off. I wanted to go to Target, b/c I generally prefer it over Walmart, but they didn't open for another 15 minutes. It takes about 5 minutes to get there from Abby's school. I didn't want to sit in the parking lot for 10 minutes. So, I headed to our 24-hour Walmart. Dumb move. Really dumb move.

Firstly, it's like a black hole of time. I never, ever can get in and out of there quickly. For one, it takes me forever to find what I need - they keep moving the damn store around. And, well, there often are things I wanna check while I'm there. I go there so rarely that there's almost always a good-size list of what I want to check out there. That part, I'll admit, is not Walmart's fault - well, at least not my having a list! ;-)

Secondly - and finally - they never, ever, ever have enough checkout lanes open. NEVER. Today was the worst I've ever experienced. Some stupid buyer three people ahead of me was causing all sorts of trouble. I waited in that line for half an hour - that's THIRTY MINUTES, folks - before finally getting checked out! If I was at Target, the second I lined up (three deep), they would've opened a new lane and taken me right away. But, it wasn't. So, the kids (minus Abby) and I sat - er, I guess stood. And stood. And stood. They did remarkably well, although Natalie got tired of being strapped in the cart after about 10 minutes. Poor kid.

So, this just reaffirms my hatred of that stupid store called Walmart. Ironically, I probably would've gotten in and out of Target faster - and home earlier, despite the fact that they weren't open yet! Teach me to make that choice again!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Politics in The Lion King

I have to take Grant and Natalie with me to pick Abby up at school every afternoon. On cold and/or wet days, we wait in the car for her to come to us. (On warmer/dry days, we meet her at the door.) Regardless of which we have, it is imperative that we arrive at the school as early as possible so that we can park nearby - and in a legal parking spot. I have gotten there as much as 25-ish minutes prior to school's release, and there are ALWAYS at least 4 cars there - with people inside! I don't get it - do these people have nothing better to do than sit by the school waiting for class to get out? Anyway, the waiting can be difficult with two little ones in the back seat. They get bored - and who can blame them? It took me more than half of the school year to figure a good way to handle that. (Why it took me so long, I'm not quite sure. I have a couple of theories, but I'll spare you. Suffice it to say, I wish I'd figured this out at the beginning of winter, rather than the end of winter.) We have a factory-installed DVD player in the van, so now I play a movie while we wait. It keeps Natalie and Grant occupied, and my sanity in check! Added benefit: I can read while we wait for Abby. The current movie is - you guessed it - Disney's The Lion King. And, finally, I get to the point of this post! LOL

Today's "segment" (we generally get through about 30-45 minutes most days) started just after Mufasa rescues the lion cubs from the elephant graveyard. I don't know when it ended, but the beginning was shortly before Scar sings "Be Prepared." DH and I have always noted the dripping references to the USSR (man, haven't seen those letters together in who knows how long) and even Nazi Germany in this part of the movie. But, well, today, it hit closer to home for me.

It's no surprise to anyone who knows me that I'm a strong Republican. While I generally avoid too much talk of politics - simply because I'm not a fan of the conflict - the current state of our country worries me, to say the least. The USA is a republic - not a democracy, not a socialist nation. At least not at its birth. I hate seeing where we're headed. I hate seeing the big government we have headed our way. I hate seeing the class warfare that is being brought into our country. I hate that there's so much negative press about the corrupt, GREEDY people who make loads of cash. For every one of those, there are several hard-working Americans who also make loads of cash, but no one hears their stories. We'd rather hear about the CEOs who abuse their position for personal gain. I think it's criminal that those who make more pay a majority of the income tax in this country. Income tax should be flat and fair. Why should people be punished for making more than some "magic" amount of money? Just not right. Talk about killing productivity and discouraging those who would otherwise be driven. But, alas, I'm on a tangent. Sorry.

That said, there's a part of the aforementioned song, "Be Prepared," in which Scar and the hyenas are speaking between verses. And it goes like this:
Scar: Be prepared!

Hyena: Yeah! Be prepared. We'll be prepared! For what?

Scar: For the death of the king

Hyena: Is he sick?

Scar: No, fool! We're going to kill him. And Simba, too

Hyenas: Great idea! Who needs a king? No king, no king! La la la la la!

Scar: Idiots! There will be a king!

Hyena: But you said...

Scar: I will be king! Stick with me and you'll never go hungry again!

That last line is what struck me as so ... America right now! Sorry, but I hate Obama. I know I shouldn't, but I do. For many, many reasons. But, that's not my purpose in writing right now. It just sounds to me like what he's saying between the lines of his speeches: "I'm king of America. Stick with me - back me up - and you'll never go hungry again. We'll take what we want from the Haves and give it to the Have-nots ..." Yes, this is me simplifying my thoughts on this - and what I think Obama is doing. (It's getting late; I'm exhausted; and we have an early morning tomorrow.) People totally miss the point. The Declaration of Independence says everyone has the right to the pursuit of happiness. To me, that means we have the right to do what we can to make the most of our lives - but that does (or at least so far as I'm concerned, SHOULD) NOT include taking what belongs to someone else, even if that someone else has plenty to spare.

"But, you're a Christian. Doesn't God say to give, give, give. Not to hold onto your money and things?" Well, yes. But, God gives us free will. He tells us what we should do, but we can choose our own actions. If we choose to do as He says, He will reward us. If not, well, we're on our own. But, they key here is free will, something that doesn't apply to taxes and other ways of taking what belongs to the Haves. Christian or not, these people aren't given a choice - their hard-earned (in most cases) cash is taken out from under them, without their consent. Like it or not, you have to pay taxes based on your income. As a Christian, I'm happy to give - so long as I'm able to choose if, when, how, and to whom I give.

OK, wow, this is one long rant about something I'm not very qualified to argue. Sorry. These are my thoughts and feelings on this subject. No, I don't have all of the facts. But, know this: I am not in the class of the Haves, so I am not arguing this as one who wants to keep what is hers. I'm arguing this as one who sees big-time unfairness. Yes, people argue about it being unfair that these people have what they have when there are others starving to death or barely able to make ends meet. But, if these people are honestly working hard for what they have, how is it unfair for them to have it? You're not entitled to it simply for being American - and even in some cases merely for being in America, whether legally or not. (And that is a whole other ball of wax I'm just going to avoid, as I have even stronger feelings about that.) Let's not forget that these Haves are also the people with the money to employ others. When we tax the hell out of these people, there's less for them to share with others - whether it's by gifting, hiring, or something else! I'm sorry, but Reagan was right. Trickle-down economics does work. It did work. It would work again, if we went back to it. Alas, Obama is going the opposite way. Except, it's not going to work.

Finally, has anyone else thought how ridiculous these stimulus plans are? Wanna get the country back on its feet? Spend, spend, spend! You don't have the money? Borrow, then spend. Nevermind that's what's got us into this mess in the first place: spending money we DON'T have! And printing more money. REALLY? Do you really think that'll help? I did HORRIBLY in my economics class in college, but even I know that'll just cause recession. That means higher prices for everything. More money floating around means it is worth less than it was before the newly printed money was released. That means it'll take more money to buy EVERYTHING! How do people not see this? *sigh*

This totally ended up being something I never intended it to be. But, since this is my place to share my mind, here you go.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Book Review: The Gnostic Mystery ***SPOILERS***

The Gnostic Mystery The Gnostic Mystery by Randy Davila

rating: 2 of 5 stars
This book wasn't much of a story, but more of a preaching. It's clear that the author believes what is being preached in this book. There is very little action in the book - most of it is just people explaining why Christianity is a farce. Or at least why some people think that. The characters weren't very believable. For Jack to be such an intelligent businessman you'd think he'd be a better conversationalist and you'd think he'd not be such a simpleton.

To be honest, this book has instilled a little bit of questioning into my head. I'm a born-again Christian, and won't take something like this at face value. However, I'm also educated and somewhat interested in possibly doing my own research into this subject. I'm not going to take what one man writes about this and accept it as fact - I don't care how many sources are cited. Where am I starting? Mere Christianity is my starting point. So, stay tuned to my reviews if you'd like to see the impression I get from that.

One thing I wanted to say about a specific plot point. And that's about the differences in the disciples from the main Gospels to the Book of Acts. I believe Chloe and Punjeeh called it a "transformation" and as though the Disciples were re-born. Despite the author's intentions, this does not prove that these are fabricated stories. On the contrary, it shows the change that happens once someone becomes a Christian. There's a radical transformation, and the individual becomes a new creation. So, despite the author's best effort to use that to show another reason to believe the New Testament is just a bunch of stories, this actually was a comfort to me. Because that's what being a Christian is: it's becoming a new person who (hopefully) bears little resemblance to the original.

View all my reviews.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Product Review: Rosemary Orange Shampoo and Conditioner

My back is doing much better, I am finally able to get to another product review! My humblest apologies to anyone who's been waiting - especially to the folks at EcostoreUSA, who were kind enough to send me these products in exchange for my reviews.

Tonight I'm going to share the Rosemary Orange Shampoo and Rosemary Orange Conditioner. I'm doing them together because, well, I use them together. My hair is such that I cannot go without conditioner, so using them separately isn't gonna happen! The shampoo's description on the Web site says:
Combining nature's best products and aromatherapy Ecostore USA has created a wonderful shampoo that will bring volume and life back to your hair. (6.8 fluid ounces)
The description of the conditioner on the Web site says:
Use the Rosemary Orange Conditioner to give body to oily, lifeless hair. This gentle formulation is made with NO NASTY CHEMICALS that could possibly strip hair of essential oils. (6.8 fluid ounces)
And both bottles say the following:
Extra body for fine/oily hair
I am big on scented shampoos and conditioners, and one of the first things I did was smell them. And, I'll be honest, initially I wasn't too sure. The rosemary seems to be the dominant scent, and usually I go for flowery stuff. This is a far cry from what I usually go for - and I couldn't help but think I should've asked for the Vanilla Shampoo and Conditioner instead. But, that is for chemically treated hair, which mine is not. At least not at the present time. Perhaps when I get back into coloring it, I'll give the Vanilla a try.

Anyway, back to the products at hand. I really like both products. I have used both several times now - I wanted to get a really good amount of experience with them. I used them exclusively for a couple of weeks to make sure I was seeing results strictly from these products, rather than something else I'd normally use. The shampoo really gets my hair clean - I'm talking squeaky clean. It's really cool - and probably cleaner than my usual shampoo gets it. It lathers very nicely - and without using a ton of the product! That means more bang for your buck - you can use less of the product to get your desired result. The conditioner works very well, too. The best part is that, used together, these products have done wonders for my naturally curly, but VERY fine hair! My hair is so fine that it doesn't hold its natural curls well without a LOT of help. But, this product actually enhances my natural curls! I'm guessing it is significantly better at NOT leaving any residue or build-up on my hair, making it lighter and more apt to curl - and KEEP the curl! It's awesome!

Outside the bottles, the scent is actually very nice. It's natural-smelling and pleasant. And after my hair is dry it smells nice. My husband says he likes the scent, too - and that's always a bonus! ;-)

In summary: EcostoreUSA's Rosemary Orange Shampoo and Rosemary Orange Conditioner are wonderful products. They clean and condition my hair better than my usual product; they smell great; and, big-time bonus, they are safe for our environment! It doesn't get much better than that! For those of you in the Midwest, if you have a Meijer store nearby keep an eye out for EcostoreUSA products, as they're coming soon - if not there already! For those of us without Meijer, their products can be purchased via the company's Web site.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Crisis of Credit Visualized

My husband shared a very informative (and even a bit entertaining, IMO) video with me. So, I thought I'd share it with you all. Basically, it very well explains exactly what happened to bring down our nation's economy.

The Crisis of Credit Visualized

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

God Bless Miss Rosa

As the parent of an unreasonably picky eater I can't accurately express just how frustrating it can be to feed my children. Interestingly, my girls are my good eaters - it's my son who is a PITA to feed. (I thought boys eat their parents out of house and home, but apparently either that's coming later or he'll be the exception to the rule.) Some days, I will try almost anything to get him to eat something other than cheese as the main part of his lunch and/or dinner. I have even mixed peanut butter and honey, hoping he'll like it extra sweet. Nope.

Somewhat recently I participated in a BzzCampaign with BzzAgent for Smucker's Uncrustables. I was skeptical - they sounded kinda gross to me! But, I gave them a try. (For free, I'll try almost - key word here is "almost" - anything!) I was pleasantly surprised. They are VERY good - and I actually bought a stash for me to eat! LOL Anyway, I knew Abby would love them - she's all about PB&J. Natalie doesn't have PB yet, and Grant won't touch it. Although, he would eat just jelly - like almost any kid! LOL But, they have a Cheese variety - kinda like grilled cheese. I tried it back then when I was doing the BzzCampaign. Grant kinda nibbled at it.

Enter Miss Rosa! Who is Miss Rosa? She's one of the hosts on PBS Kids mornings. Grant seems to think she's cool, as do my other kids. But, there's one segment she does that apparently inspired him. Unfortunately, I can't find a clip online anywhere, so we'll have to go with my (probably not entirely accurate) description, but I think you'll get the idea. Between shows, she sits there with a sandwich. She says she's going to try a new sandwich: cheese and pickles. She takes a bite (or pretends to, it's hard to tell), and says "mmm. It's actually pretty good. I like it." Then she says how good it is to try new things, etc.

Well, today at lunch, I was feeding Grant some of the aforementioned cheese sandwiches by Smucker's. He started acting out this little clip with Miss Rosa, and ate more of that sandwich than I'd ever seen him eat before! More than half! Knock me over with a feather! I kept thinking "God bless Miss Rosa!" LOL So, I decided to share. It's amazing what these seemingly insignificant things can help with!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Oh! My aching back!

It occurred to me that I've been pretty quiet around here. With the exception of a few reviews (more of which are coming - I still have a couple of EcoStoreUSA things to write up), I haven't said much. I'm not meaning to be negligent or anything like that. I have a valid excuse, I swear.

Three weeks ago, I injured my back. Big-time. How? I have no idea. I think I somehow aggravated an old injury. Anyway, it was quite painful, and my third day of serious pain was enough. I decided to call a chiropractor. Fortunately, we live in the Land of Chiropractic - aka, in the same area as Palmer College of Chiropractic. For those who don't know, this is where what we now know as Chiropractic was born. So, I decided to take advantage of their clinic. My husband has been there off and on over the past few years now, so I was confident that their interns wouldn't cause any damage other than what I'd done.

We'll call my doctor Dr. B. and my intern J. I will say that they are great. The doctor is very personable, and clearly knows his stuff. And J. is pretty cool, too. He is friendly, funny, and compassionate. I brought Abby with to most of my appointments, and he does great with her. Talks to her and doesn't seem uncomfortable around her. (You know how these mid-20 guys can be sometimes. I was glad he's not like that.) She seems to like him, too, as she plans to attend my next appointment! LOL Anyway, that first appointment was not fun. I couldn't move very well at all. Fortunately, it was just an evaluation. I went back the next day, and man was that bad. It was an extremely painful adjustment. I actually felt bad for J.! Every time he did something that resulted in me somehow responding to the pain (reflexes cannot be helped LOL), he'd apologize up and down. I kept telling him he didn't have to apologize - he's doing what he needs to for me to get better. But, I was in a decent - or is it indecent? - amount of pain. But, I'm in my third week of treatment (I seem to be going twice a week now) and doing amazingly well. I still get stiff and sore, but nothing like I had been. I go back tomorrow, with Abby in tow!

OK, wow, that was more detail than I'd intended. My purpose was just to say I've been quiet because my back injury has forced me to spend less time on the computer. There was awhile there when sitting at the computer at all was EXTREMELY painful. Then there was time when short bursts were bearable, but left me in pain upon getting up. Now, I'm just trying to keep from sitting too long. Did you know that sitting is actually harder on your back than standing? It really is - even a healthy back. So, I'm trying to move more.

Anyway, all that to say I've been quiet not because I have nothing to say, but because saying it would bring me to tears - or close to. I hope to get the last of my product reviews for ecostoreUSA done soon. But, I'm still waiting to be able to sit and not feel rushed. (Feeling rushed is because I want to get up before the pain and/or stiffness returns.)

Book Review: Vanishing Acts ***SPOILERS***

Vanishing Acts: A Novel Vanishing Acts: A Novel by Jodi Picoult

rating: 5 of 5 stars
I wish we could do half-star ratings, as I would prefer to give this four and a half stars. It was a VERY good book, but there are things that make me want to mark it down. But, I think it deserves more than four stars, which is why I decided to just go up rather than down from 4.5 stars.

So, what are my problems. Well, for one, there are too many loose ends. I was VERY happy to see how things played out, but one more chapter with what was next would've been nice. I want to know a few things:

What happens with Eric? Does he stay in Arizona? Does he sober up and stay sobered up?
What happens with Fitz? Where does he get a new job? Does he get the girl?
What about Delia? Who does she choose?
What happens to Andrew? Is he able to get back to his life in New Hampshire, or does his legal trouble cause him to fall in his standing?

In short, I loved the story. Very well-written, and great curves thrown in there. I didn't see the sexual-abuse angle coming at all. Shocked me as much as it shocked the courtroom. But, I will say that Victor wasn't someone I liked at all. I couldn't figure it out at first. But, when Sophie disappeared and she's found getting ice cream with him. He took Sophie without asking - I couldn't believe Delia was OK. I understand she was relieved that Sophie was OK, but seriously? She hardly knew the man - had only met him a couple of weeks prior. As a mother, I would have been PISSED! My reaction would've been something to the effect of "Who the hell do you think you are? Don't you EVER take my daughter anywhere without my consent - EVER!" And then when the sexual-abuse thing came to light, I cringed. Scary, scary stuff. I really think this (aside from the questions I want answers to) was my main problem with the book. Overall, a great read that I highly recommend.

View all my reviews.
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