Congrats to the winners of the Let's Make a Deal drawing:
1. Mom
2. Alison
3. San

Yay---I love you all and you are all winners. Sorry that not everyone can be a prize winner though. Maybe next time!

(I have pictures of my lovely assistant picking names, but I can't find my camera cord thingy and my built in memory card reader isn't working and my plug in memory card isn't working!!)

BUT the fun is not over---The confusion continues... Now we need to decide who gets what....

Here are the prizes:

A lovely paper pack from Target!!
A $25 gift prepaid Visa!!
A lovely gag gift - to be disclosed at a future date.

Ready, boys and girls? It's time to vote.

Pick a door for each person - Only vote for each door once, of course.
- don't get it? sigh...this is a mess, isn't it?
- comment like so: Alison, door blah; Mom, door blah, San, door blah (or something similar)
This is the interactive part!! Let's give these lovely readers a prize
Please vote in the comments below (unfortunately, I can not get a poll to work because all of my electronics have ganged up against me).
(and really-I'm bored of this contest already---so please vote)

Random Thoughts on a Lazy Sunday

**Don't miss out on commenting for the giveaway!!**

  • Sometimes I don't want to do anything at all. So I sit on the couch with the laptop and read blogs for two hours. And then I get a cramp in my booty and I have to do some kind of movement or I think I might just melt into the couch. How long does it take to get bed sores from sitting? Hopefully more than two hours.
  • I've started packing a little bit, though I haven't come close to finding any houses to buy. To say I'm discouraged is putting it mildly. I am going to consider moving outside the school zone and having the kid drive to school-the houses here are ridiculously priced and I'm highly irritated about this city and everyone and everything in it.
  • I love love love Act II Microwave Kettle Corn. LOVE it. And that is probably a big contributor to me gaining 15 pounds the year I moved back from Korea. LOVE it. I especially love it with peanut m&m's. Take about 3 or 4 pieces of the kettle corn, add one peanut m&m-chew and enjoy. It's the best.
  • I think it's incredibly rude when you text a friend: Hey and the response you get back is: Yes?
    Am I wrong here? Doesn't this response make it seem like you have to have a reason to text them? And it's someone I text frequently about anything/everything.
  • I visited my friend and her new little baby yesterday. I adore her. She's just a super-cute little baby and I want to hug her and squeeze her forever. She is just under four months old, but she smiled and smiled and smiled, and then the smiling exhausted her and she did this (which was just as cute) the entire time her mom and I had lunch:
  • I wish I had one of those bit trees in the corner of the room in a big planter. When I move to my new house (if this ever happens), one of the first things I'm buying is a big planted tree. And I'm going to name it and love it and it's not going to die like all the other plants I bring home. It's not. It will be the happiest planted tree ever.
  • I'm still slightly irritated with the texting conversation above.
  • I found five ants in my bathroom this morning. Five. All spread out, like they were doing a recon mission. In the bathroom?? Really?? Did you take a wrong turn somewhere, little guys? You are probably looking for the syrup that I hid from you all and I can assure you-there is NOTHING for you in the bathroom. However, if you make a left outside the bathroom and go down the hall, I bet there's some food products in the kids carpet (though we have a no food in the bedroom rule, I suspect someone hasn't followed it 100%). I sprayed them with hair spray and they all withered and went on to ant spirit world, which is full of big bowls of syrup. You're welcome little guys.
  • I must get off this couch.
  • My contest has so few comments - is it really a contest if I end up just giving away prizes to the only three people who have commented? Seriously---where are all my commenting blogger friends? I had a very complex giveaway planned!!!

Let's Make A Deal Giveaway!!!

It's a Let’s Make A Deal themed giveaway!

Remember how Monty Hall used to go up to random people and say, I’ll give you $100 if you show me a red sock in your purse right now! Well, I haven’t figured out a way to make this work (for this contest) and I don't have $100, but I will give away more chances to win if you have something specific…

Ultimately, there will be three winners names. And sorry to my int'l friends but this one is only open to U.S. folk.

There are three prizes…to be announced next Tuesday evening when I announce the winners. It’s like entering a contest for a mystery prize!! I’ve already said that the prizes are from Target, cause everyone loves the store…a little more hint is that one of them involves the word “paper.”

Wait, maybe I already said that already too.

Regardless – prizes to be listed on Tuesday evening. Just to give you a heads up, so you don’t expect a 1979 green Pinto, the value of the prizes are about $20-40 each prize.

And just like in the real Let’s Make a Deal game, there is always a gag gift (maybe not valued at $25).
And just like in the real Let’s Make a Deal game, you don’t know what you will get until the door opens.
And just like in the real Let’s Make a Deal game, you will be chosen at random to be a winner.
And just like in the real Let's Make a Deal game, you can only win one time.

This is where things start to go a little different.

We’re going to make it interesting….you have a chance to be entered into the drawing 15 times maximum!

If by some chance, there are only three people that enter, and you have 15 entries of your own---that’s great odds for you!! (I’m sure there’s some way to mathematically calculate your odds, but it’s been a long week and I’m not up for math problems)

So how do I get my name entered 15 times, you ask?

Here’s how you can increase your odds of winning:

1 entry for commenting on how much you love me and/or my blog. – Easy.
2 entries for following – this is really easy to do, just look to the right sidebar and find where it says “follow.” – Easy.
3 entries for posting a blog about the contest – sorry, you must have a blog for this one.
4 entries if you have met me in real life.
5 entries if you’ve ever blogged about Kirk Cameron – see above apology. You must have posted the blog prior to March 20th – and don’t postdate your posts, cheaters!
6 entries if you’ve blogged in the past (prior to March 20th) and included a link to my blog, for any reason. – see above comment where I call you a cheater!!
7 entries if you’ve got a picture of you playing "real" bingo, no kids version, real bingo. – you can email it to me. Address is in my profile. But note that I will publish them later (unless you really beg me not to).
8 entries if you are a single mom of a 16 yr old. (single mom love!!!) - showin some single mom love, but not just any single mom love - Sympathy sixteen-yr old-having-single mom love.
**Yes, you can possibly have more than 15 entries, but that’s not really fair and that’s too much work on my side.

For each entry possible above, please list as a separate comment so there’s no chance of me missing any. So make one comment for blogging about Kirk, another for having met me. Please include your link if you get extra entries for one.

FUN!!! This is like a scavenger hunt!!!

I can’t wait to see how many entries we have. I’m sure it will be thousands and I’ll probably have to take a day off work and invite three friends over to help me cut the entries up and put them all in a big hat.

Oh, and that’s just the beginning!!!
THEN----next Tuesday night, winners are drawn and the reader participation portion begins!!!

On Tuesday night, I’ll send an email out to the winners and let them know.
THEN, the poll will go up on Wednesday morning, the readers - YOU- will get to vote on which person receives which prize.

BUT, Monty Hall doesn’t tell you what the prizes are, and neither does Kaylen. I’ll have pictures of the prizes, but you won’t know what is behind each door and you will just vote for each person to get a specific “door.” And THEN….(still with me?)….then, next Friday night – we’ll have the big unveiling of prizes!!!

READY TO PLAY …… Let’s Make a Deal!!!

Comments close to entries on Tuesday at 7:30pm PST.

Guuuuuuuh - REAT!

Today has been a super-busy day at work. One of those days when you sit down to do something and then you look up and realize it's been three hours. That was me today.

I worked on a stupid f*ing (censored for Aunt Jean) report two nights ago-that would be my SUNDAY night----the day of rest night!!!----- and could NOT make it work. Then tried again on Monday. Then again on Tuesday. Nothing. Same blank computer stare, that's all I got.

But today.
TODAY the bluebirds sang.

The mystery was solved, the report is working and now I can move on to the next.

It's like Groundhog Day at work since our teammate had to "leave" us. I just feel like we spin in circles a lot of times.

But today.
Bluebirds sang, and we stopped spinning for a good 30 minutes.

Get ready to sing again tomorrow little birdies!!!

Some of the girls at work sang this Hall and Oates classic throughout the day today and now the bluebirds won't stop whistling this tune:

(does anyone ever watch videos that people embed in their blogs??? Besides me, I mean)

Interactive Giveaway Coming...Prizes Galore!!!

I have some lovely gifts, purchased from Target for those of you who LOVE Target as much as me, that I am ready to put into a giveaway!!

However, I don't "do" the normal giveaways, if you remember the last one....we don't pull numbers from a hat in my house. Nope, we are a house of special, creative people (all two of us).

This giveaway actually comes from an idea sparked by Tim the Mortgage Guy, who was a winner in the last drawing.

Tim would like the drawing to be similar to the old game show "Let's Make a Deal." LOVE that show.

I haven't quite figured out all the logistics, but there will be three options, all sealed and secured and confidential about what prize is in what "door."

And there will be three winners - but they won't know what they win....
And I haven't figured out beyond that.

Contest starts on Friday evening, runs through Wednesday night.

Get ready to play!!! Tell all your friends!!!!

Dance Dance Revolution-ize Your Dancing

As part of my initial plan for the year 2009, I am exercising more. I have a treadmill that I have bonded with fairly well over the last 4 months, though it's not getting the mileage it should-it's not fully neglected and it's nowhere near coat-hanger-status (exercise equipment isn't for holding coats anyway---that's what the kitchen chairs are for!!).

SO - my latest excursion for staying motivated and keeping things fun: Dance Dance Revolution for the Wii!! I LOVE to dance and can do so for hours, love it. I might not be that great, but I can let loose and have fun and I don't think I fully embarrass myself (maybe just a little). Dancing is FUN - the energy from the crowd, the lights, the loud bass from the non-stop's just FUN. And everyone on the dance floor is suddenly really great friends! It's totally acceptable for strangers to dance with strangers. It's sometimes acceptable for strangers to slightly rub up against a stranger, in public, with little concern about whether it is acceptable...because you're DANCING!!! I love it.

And so this new game is great, right?

For those of you who don't know (who are you?? how do you not know???) - it comes with a mat and it tells you to move your foot left right forward backward at a certain time. Easy, right? NO! It's really NOT easy.

And then the Wii can't be normal, of course, so they make you hold their little corded handles and actually make hand motions at certain times too. It seems very particular about when you have to do it, whereas I feel the foot movements are easier to get exact, I tended to just swing my hands around a lot, which is not the most effective way to win the game.

(not me)

This game is a great workout--just like real dancing. You can do super-beginner level and it goes at a snails pace..which I tried and hated, because it's toooooooooo slow.
Then the normal beginner level is fun - it involves faster movement and jumping - jumping! I don't remember doing a lot of jumping on the dance floor - maybe to the obligatory Beastie Boys song at the end of the night, but this game really likes jumping. Jumping is great cardio, as I came to find out.

I like the game - it's truly a workout, especially if you are not fit already (which I am not, for sure), but I am most definitely not good at this game.
This is why:
It's NOT DANCING!!!! It's an aerobic workout, it's set to music, and the characters on the screen are dancing, but it's NOT DANCING!!!
I am not good at this because I go from thinking: Left, Left, Left & Right, Up, Down, Down, Down, Left, Right, Up & Down thinking: I love this part,, I'm dancing, Oh yeah!
And then I'm spinning in a circle and I'm doing a little shudder shake and I'm maybe attempting a little running man (which I can't do) and a little bus driver (which I can do)...and oops, suddenly, my character on the screen is not dancing and just staring agape at me with her mouth open and the pretend audience is booing me.

Booing ME??? sigh. I can't take this pressure.

I kept at it for 40 minutes though - it's a fun game and a great workout. It will be even more fun when I move into my house, have a game room, have one extra dance party mat and have three friends over.

Hopefully by then I will be able to get through four songs without drenching myself in sweat and being booed through all three of the songs.

Where Did We Go Wrong, Kirk?

Oh, Kirk....what happened to us?

Remember back when I took this photo of you with your fedora hat and your fun little smile? I think we were joking around about which one of us should wear the hat in the picture. I wish I had the picture I had of me in the hat to go with this one...I'll have to see if my mom has it in a family album...

I used to love this sweater. I remember when we picked it out together at Target. You used to LOVE wandering the aisles of Target, remember? You always marvelled at all the little travel sizes of everything and we would pick up one of each and then line them up on a table in the housewares section. Ha - those were good times. Target always reminds me of you.

Then, remember you got on that one tv show....Growing Pains. did cause us growing pains. Being apart was hard, wasn't it? I missed you SO much - my wall was covered with pictures of you. We lost touch and then one day, in response to the long, teen-angst filled letter I sent you about our marriage plans, I got THIS in the mail:
A standard-issue stock autographed picture of you that you probably didn't sign yourself at ALL!!! What happened to us Kirk??

We were going to be Kirk and Kaylen. K&K4EVER - sound familiar???

What happened to 4 EVER, Kirk?? Did you forget??? How could you forget???

I didn't forget Kirk! Girls don't forget when boys make hearts on paper and write this and then fold it in that secret teenager way (that I no longer remember how to do) that makes a full 8.5x11 piece of paper into a small triangle that fits unnoticed in your front pocket.

And I even had to lie to my parents about the $8.50 phone call to information to try and get your phone number. This is how that went:

Operator: What city please?
Me: Panorama City, California

Operator: What listing please?
Me: Robert Cameron

Operator: One moment please....
Me: (secretly celebrating that I have out-smarted the telephone company and
4 million fans)

3 minutes later (at $2.99 a minute)

Operator: You are looking for a Robert Cameron located in Panorama City,
Me: Yes, thank you.

Operator: I'm sorry, miss, but the listing for Robert Cameron, father of
KIRK CAMERON the actor, is unlisted. Do you have any other names you would like
us to look up?
Me: thank you.

I really, really missed you and all of our future plans Kirk.
***Another giveaway coming up!!! Stay tuned! ***

It's the Ultimate Blog Party 2009!!!

Ultimate Blog Party 2009

Look, I'm being blog-social!!

Sometimes I feel like I'm not social enough. I do something with friends about once a week, I work in an office with lots of chatty women, I have a teen at home to be around (when he isn't cooped up in his room) - but sometimes I feel a little anti-social. But I'm happy with the way things are so it's not like I feel lonely or sad or anything. I am really happy just hanging out at home, doing a puzzle, chillin with the kitties a lot of the time. And sometimes I go out and have a lot of fun, but sometimes-I don't wanna.

And it's the same in the blogosphere. Sometimes I don't comment or read very many blogs (most especially when I'm super-busy at work). But sometimes I will spend HOURS and HOURS getting caught up and reading all about what my fabulous bloggger-friends have been up to.

But this is a PAAAAR-Tay!!!

Come check it out - explore with me. Don't be afraid. I've never been to one either, but I hear all the cool kids will be there.

And there are prizes!!!

For those of you in the party mix, I'm hoping to win prize numbers 58!!! It's an electric mixer!!! This is totally going to help me be a great baker! I want it, I want it, I need it, I want it!!
However, I would totally not feel like I'm settling if I were to win: 19, 21, 22, 26, 24, 91, 103, USC32, or 49.

There are a TON of people participating. If you click on the banner up top, it takes you to a nice organized listing of links. You can spend ten minutes exploring other random blogs or ten hours.

Some of the bloggers are getting together in real time - if I come across any from my area, I will totally stalk them until they agree to meet in real life! See how fun this is??

Did you come from the party and this is your first time here?

Feel free to stay awhile.

Condoms are our Friends

Are Catholics everywhere proud of their pope this week? Is it possible that there is a huge number of people who support this man and his crazy comments?? That scares me more than 98% of any wild animal attacks.

If you haven't heard yet, this is the comment I'm talking about (from the BBC):

HIV/Aids was, he argued, "a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which can even increase the problem".

The solution lay, he said, in a "spiritual and human awakening" and "friendship for those who suffer".


Distribution of condoms can increase the problem of HIV? How is that possible? It is spread because of the LACK of condoms.

Did he really just say that we need an awakening and friendship to solve the HIV crisis?? It's a MEDICAL issue--spread by stupidity (and not using condoms). You may not be able to educate everyone, but you CAN at the very least give them a condom. That's the easy way to start---THEN you can move to the next step, which is education.

I have read many times in many places that there are large numbers of people in Africa who blame the women for HIV. That's just not logical. Women aren't raping men 99% of the time (a made up statistic, but probably fairly close to true).

Condoms prevent the spread of HIV in 98-100% of the time (when used properly). How can the dear sweet little pope not know this? Doesn't he have an advisor or two?

Religious beliefs frustrate me when they go against logic and scientific proof.

I need to go have a spiritual and human awakening myself. Maybe it will take 50lbs off my large body today. Or maybe it will clean my car for me. Or maybe it will help me find that perfect house.

The Biggest Loser Has Lost Me

I used to love this show.

And then that demon-like crazy lady, Jillian Michaels, creeped me out one too many times. She just has a mean mean face and I don't feel motivated by her meanness. And she has supposedly lost a TON of weight in the past and that's part of the reason she's such a *fabulous* trainer on the show, because she can really relate to the fatties (that's not an insult!) - but why can't I find those fat pictures of Jillian Michaels anywhere??? Shouldn't they be promoting the before and after pictures of this very athletic, inspirational mean trainer? I think they should. I hear her workout video is great...for people who respond well to mean voices. Also, I hear it's a really intense video but made supposedly for all training levels....I don't know how this is possible. As an overweight person myself, I can not just jump into an intense, high-level training program. I will last about 12 minutes before one of my knees gives out. They just aren't made to support my weight while doing intense workouts. Sorry mean Jillian Michaels - I won't be the latest fatty you take under your wing to try and make cry (and I know you would like that!).

Another reason this show is bothersome lately - and by lately, I mean the last 2 years or so - the not-so-subtle advertisements for particular products. Such as, they will show the fatty blue team sitting down to eat and they have a plate with some yummy grilled chicken (my favorite) and some kind of rice or something. They are chatting quietly amongst themselves. Cue sweet, cute, gay trainer Bob. Lovely Bob....he's wonderful....but he walks in the door and makes a comment about their dinner missing something important and walks to the freezer, pulls out a steamer bag of veggies of some sort and then does a 30 second commercial for this GREAT and AMAZING product that is soooooo convenient and healthy and easy and he holds it up to everyone and you can almost see this little sparkle on his teeth as he smiles at the camera. It's disgusting. Why do you agree to this, Bob??

Ugh, and the gum commercials?? Give me a breeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaak! Does anyone believe that these casual conversations are real? They are so fake and I feel like I have lost brain cells by them pretending that it's not a blatant product placement ad. Ugh. Thanks anyway, Biggest Loser. We're smarter than that. I'm not chewing gum anymore EVER just because of YOU!!! (well, and my little tmj issue which prevents me fr ever having gum again)

I really like the competitions though. They are usually pretty fun and entertaining and I find THOSE nice to watch while I'm walking with my poor fat knees on the treadmill (which I'm not doing tonight - we actually just had an ice cream bar-lame!).

Oh - and someone reminded me of my 52-week challenge of photos..which I am slightly failing at....the problem is that sometimes I don't DO anything where I would take a photo. The kid was busy with friends and tons of homework and I have been working at night and then worked a good share of the weekend as well. What is the point of a picture of me on the couch with my laptop? But here's one that I took of myself in my mirror...boring.

This looks like I have a hairy chest....gross. See the hair?? You'd think I would fix my hair first, right? Nope - this is REAL LIFE, baby. Sometimes, when you have long hair, it doesn't always lay just perfectly in the right spot. Well, mine doesn't anyway. I know some people who can say theirs does, but mine has proven to be fairly untameable. And I didn't edit out that double-chin, but I'll point it out so ya'll know that I know about it.

Here's a little better one:

Look how happy I am that my double-chin is gone! Unfortunately, this one makes me realize how very caterpillar-like my eyebrows are! I don't think this is really the point of me taking pictures.....

Silly Kids Games!

I totally forgot about St. Patrick's Day!

No green beer for me.
No corned beef and cabbage.
No hash.
No lamb stew.
I remember back in the day when people would make a HUGE deal about pinching people who didn't wear green on this very special day. Whatever happened to that fun idea?

Pinching is stupid. Why were we so stupid?

I think we should continue on these lines.

You know how back in the day, it was funny on sitcoms when you saw someone cuff someone on the back of their head? Let's do that if someone doesn't wear red on valentines day.

Or you know how sometimes you go to kick a ball and accidentally kick someone in the shin? Let's do that on 4th of July if someone doesn't have a sparkler.
And here's a good one, how about a noogie for people who don't wish you a happy new year? That'll be fun.

I just don't get why we ever thought this was acceptable as a cultural thing. Eight thousand years ago (or thereabouts), some naughty Irish children started this tradition (supposedly) and we went along with it. Naughty children should not be rewarded. Let's stop this tradition!!

This reminds me of the naughty little kids game I was introduced to very soon after moving to Korea.
This is how it goes:

Put your hands together and point your index fingers, like so:

(wow, someone has freakishly long index fingers....)

K, now you have your hands in the proper - find a victim. Typically this is best done on a new-to-the-country English teacher. Even better if they are innocently doing something, such as making copies. And this is BEST done if there is a large crowd of students and other children.

Under these optimum conditions, you then take your hand-as-weapon, and slowly sneak up behind your victim and very quickly and quietly aim your pointer fingers at the center, lower area of the buttocks and JAB them as quickly as possible into your victims rear end. The best part is if you actually can get your fingers in just the right spot that might cause your new-to-the-country English teacher to squeal and turn at a lightning fast speed with a shocked and horrified look on their face. I'm not going to say that this game happened to me on multiple occasions by various children, but I will say that if it did happen to me-no child dared try to repeat it.

Other adults tolerate it and think it's funny and I have seen grown men in suits IN SUITS chasing young children around with the dreaded pointer finger hand pose.

There's a name for it in Korea, which I'm sure I will spell wrong, but when you speak it, it is pronounced like: Duh Dong Chong (or something very similar).

Go ahead, try it with your friends.

What's That Beeping Noise?

Oh, it's my happy-meter going off....because my happiness has dropped a wee bit.

One of my coworkers has been let go. It's someone I have worked quite a bit with in the last six months I've been in my current position. It's so sad - we were JUST talking about how nervous we both are about losing our jobs and we both reassured each other that we are necessary and valued...and then he was let go the next morning.

I definitely have a touch of survivors guilt - I still have my job. He does not. It's hard to accept that he is no longer there. He was also the only male on our team at our location - how he coped with that is beyond me. He was fun, he was funny, he was a good guy, and now I won't be working with him.

And to make matters worse, it looks like I'll be taking on part of his position. More guilt. My job is shifting and now I have the fear of the unknown as my job is no longer the same job I started (I have to remind myself that I didn't seek out this job so it's not like I even applied for the job I have out of love for the position - they came to me with the job and I magically loved it).

I'm accepting of the fact that my career is moving in another direction slightly, but a little anxious about what will come of it. And all I really keep telling myself is "at least I have a job, at least I have a job, at least I have a job."

How Happy Can You Be?

Everything in the world is crashing down around us!!!

Okay, maybe not...but our government has some serious issues. Our economy is an effing mess. The people living in poverty have never been worse off. It's just a sad and depressing mess. I feel horrible for all the tragedy going on in the world right now.

HOWEVER - do you still have a job? Do you have your family and friends? Do you have a comfy pair of pants to lounge in? Do you watch the Office? Do you get to sleep in a warm, comfy bed tonight? Did you get to eat a really great meal this week?

Then you should be happy!!! Go ahead - think of all the happy things you have in your life that you never think of....and answer the poll at the top of the page. It's my first attempt at a poll and though I can't really position it how I would like to right now (no time to play with it and would it really make me happy to spend time on it??), it's a new little gadget I'm trying out. Go ahead- click your happiness level! Join the fun. It's only there for four days of happiness, so have a happy click soon and I'll share the results.

The year is 1/4 of the way done....isn't it great to be so happy??

Do You Love Tetris??

And do you have 10 spare hours?

If so, you will LOVE this website!! It's what they play in Russia (with a big bottle of vodka and a furry hat)- check it out HERE. It's hilarious.
Here's a screen shot, but it's really hard to tell how enormous your playing field is...
See the little rectangle? That's one of your pieces. It has a LOOOOOOOOOOONG way to go. I'm not zoomed out!! That's what it really looks like.

I can't personally play it because I don't have 10 hrs to wait while I make a line. Maybe if you have this in the background while you work, this would be fun. You could type an email, read an email, get a coffee and discuss American Idol (which I don't watch) while you wait for one piece to slowly drop. You can hold the space bar to make them drop faster, but even in doing that - it takes FOOOOORRRRREEEEVVVVVEEEERRRRR.
I really do love the game of tetris, especially in the old arcade game where you're standing next to someone and playing on a split screen and you can see out of the corner of your eye that they are getting closer and closer to the top and you only have to hold out for a *little* while longer. LOVE it.
I love a LOT of games really. One of the things I'm most excited about with having a new house is having a better opportunity to invite people over for games nights. Yes, I can do this in my apartment, but it's different walking into someones house as opposed to a tiny apartment. And don't even get me started on the parking situation!!
I'm not saying I'm super-mad-competitive, but if you step up to my game, I am most likely going to talk smack and I am going to try REALLY hard and will most likely whine or blame the machine if I don't win (but why would I not win???).

Paranoia, Be Gone!!

Is it me or is everyone a little paranoid about coming to work one day and showing up for a meeting and finding it's your HR representative and you are going to get fired?

Maybe it's because I'm getting ready to take out a loan for an insane amount of money to buy a home.

I have worked really hard to not be in debt....and now I'm making a conscious choice to be in a TON of debt...though I know it's a good investment and it's necessary, it's just a big step to make.

Before I went overseas, just after college, I had EIGHT credit cards. EIGHT!! All of which had a balance on them at all times.

I had my gas credit card - cause I had to drive to work!! Thanks Chevron for charging me 23 cents on every dollar of gas I put in my car. Harsh. At the time, I worked for a nonprofit and had to pay daycare (though I had a court order stating the ex had to pay half, I would have had to take him to court to have it enforced) and I could not afford all the bills AND driving to work every day. Chevron saved me on a number of days, though they were hurting me on a monthly basis.

I also had a Target card. LOVE me some Target. Target is awesome. Do you love Target? You should - Target is a fun place to wander when you have ten bucks in your pocket. Target Target Target, oh how I love thee. They are like Walmart, but WAY better because they treat their employees better, they don't ruin small mom-and-pop businesses, they don't buy up large parcels of land and then abandon it, and you don't feel dirty when you walk inside. Target rocks. And as a new graduate from college with little to no funds, my Target card helped save me on many occasions when I ran out of shampoo or my son needed a new shirt, etc. Thanks Target! I was happy to pay you an extra 18cents to every dollar.

I had a college credit card which I applied for outside the student bookstore in order to get something free. I can't remember what it was - it might have been a shirt. C'mon - when you're in college, you don't pass up ANYTHING free. Unfortunately, I wasn't the smartest with the card - I think a good portion of our Disneyworld trip was on there (dude, don't judge---we had a free place to stay with free meals each day-Thanks Aunt Elsie!- and got a kickass deal on the plane tickets). So for my Disney trip with my 6-yr old, I paid an extra 24 cents on the dollar. YAY for Mickey Mouse.

I had three different mall department store cards. One was JCPenney's, which to this day, I can not get them to take off my credit report. Another was some store that is no longer open and no one seems to know how to take it off my credit report.

And then I had a card I applied for online, back in the day when this was a new and novel idea. Get a credit card within five minutes ONLINE?? Yep. I did it from my home computer late one night while stressing about what I would do when I found myself yet again with no money for food and no credit card to help out. The food bank isn't always easy to access, especially if you are working full-time. I remember taking a morning off work on a few occasions in order to make it to the food bank to get a food kit to last us three days. But I got my online credit card - I was one of "them" and was happy to have an extra credit limit for Emergencies. And I remember the first time I used it - after a very long work day with a crying 8 year old who I just couldn't listen to for ONE MORE MINUTE - I took him to McDonalds. I didn't have any money and that kid needed a lifesaver and McDonalds happened to be it (don't judge! who hasn't taken extreme measures to save their child from sincere CPS warranted activity?? All my single mothers say HEEEEEEYYYYY!).

And those credit cards were with me for what seemed like FOREVER - but was really the bulk of two years. I then signed up for a credit counseling service and they got the companies to give me 0% interest and I made one payment a month and never worried about late payments or juggling who I would pay which month. It was perfect (and no, it's not on my credit report now).

Then I went overseas, made my money tax-free (totally legal!) and paid off 6 of my credit card balances in a 10-month period. YAY me.

I completed paying them off within the next 2 years.

And then....I met the sociopath and he took over all our bills (don't judge - we were going to be married!) and about 6 months into the relationship, I discovered that not only had he not paid my bills, but he had been stealing my mail when I got notices for the bills. SAD me. Interestingly enough, I only discovered this because my mom works for a doctors clinic I had gone to one time and that was one of the bills being secretly not paid and they went to her to find out if I had moved since I was not responding - I think it's illegal for them to talk to her about my bill, but in this case, it somewhat saved me as I was totally clueless to what was going on.

Thanks to a couple of really wonderful people in my life who helped me in some really big ways, and the luck of finding a job within 4 weeks (FOUR WEEKS!!!), I was able to get back on my feet again within five years. FIVE YEARS -that's nothing. And my credit score is great - how did that happen? NO idea. I must be some secret-financial genius and not realize it.

And here I am now. On my feet. With shaky knees. Getting ready to buy a house!

Buy a house? Ha - bring it on, I've certainly survived some ridiculous financial issues, this should be a cake-walk, right??

Daylight Savings Time Sucks!

Or the Spring forward part does anyway! I do love the Fall back part of it...
I want my hour back!!!!!

I didn't get out of bed until 11:00am!!! I hate that-I just missed my entire morning!
I should note that I did wake up at 8 and read for a bit and then, as usual, my eyes got sleepy. I MUST finish my book today!!!

Anyway, this was my morning:
Woke up, brushed teeth (it's imperative to do this immediately upon waking), read 50 pages, went back to sleep.

Woke up, shocked it was 11am and walked on treadmill for 50 minutes while watching Rock of Love (don't be a hater).

Ate 5 girl scout cookies and gained back all calories just walked off. Lame.

Hopefully my afternoon will go better....stay tuned for the exciting details.

52 Weeks Challenge

As nearly every mother knows, the family albums are full of pictures of vacations and special events, family dinners and just hanging at the house pictures...and one thing is typically missing (unless your husband is a photographer).

My son is 16 now and I've been a single mom for 13 of those years. Our photo albums are (nearly) all Andrew, all the time. We have a variety of photos that I took of us together on a timer - the slightly off-center photos, and some of the two of us that I asked a stranger passing-by to take, but about 87% of the photos in our little family do not include me. I always suspected this was true, and now I am joining in with a group of moms who are in the same situation. It's unfortunate that I didn't start this plan about 10 years (and 75 lbs) ago, but it's never too late, right?

SO - starting this week, I'm joining in the 52 Weeks Challenge with the moms listed at Forever in Blue Jeans blog and will be making a sincere effort to take one photo of me every week for a full year.

Stay tuned for my pic of the week EVERY week!!

Another Contest....Already?!

Not mine - another mom blogger. If you're looking to be a winner, head on over to her blog:
Sanity Check, One Two...

She has a nice prize package for just her 100th posting. Puts my prize package to shame. If you win it after finding her link from me, please come back and share! Cause that makes me a winner by association.

Actually, you can enter her drawing, but I'm a winner all around lately, so I'll probably win. Humor her and enter anyway cause it's fun to get lots of comments! :)

Oh, and if you're looking for some funny reading, try This Site. (but be warned that it has the F-word in its title so if you're looking online from, say, a government job -you might want to not click there! you know who you are). It's a funny site though.

And if you're a fan of bunnies, try this site: A Bunny A Day. Who doesn't like cute fuzzy bunnies?

Meet the Next Bachelor Everyone!

On the plane coming home, the stewardess made an announcement:

"Hi everyone,a quick announcement-one especially for the ladies, I know that the finale of The Bachelor is on tonight and we are trying our best to get you home in time to watch it. And on that note, everyone please take one moment and turn your attention to the young man in seat 18D, and welcome Brandon - who we have learned is going to be the next Bachelor looking for love. Brandon, stand up and give a little wave...."

To which, Brandon reluctantly did a half stand and waved while shaking his head with a sweet little smile on his face.

Brandon wasn't movie-star pretty like this last bachelor, but he was okay I guess.

And then the stewardess came by and said in a cute little southern accent, "I'm sorry - your friend told me and we were all just so excited to have you on board. We all love the show!"

And Brandon shook his head and blushed all adorable-like and said you shouldn't listen to him!

And then five minutes later, another stewardess comes by and leans in to Brandon and says, "is it true Brandon?" And Brandon says, NO, he made that up!

And then five minutes later, the final seat check before we take off and the third stewardess comes by and says, "so it's not true Brandon? You're not really the next bachelor?"

Brandon: NO, he lied...I'm sorry, you shouldn't listen to him.

And then the first one comes back and says she's sorry she didn't mean to embarrass him and he says, no-he does this every time we go anywhere!

Apparently Brandon's friend saw that there were two empty first-class seats available and thought he had a good plan for getting up front! Ha- didn't work.

I love the attempt though, it was pretty funny how it backfired on them.

The Big Vegas Adventure (aka the BIG post about it)

The Adventure begins....

Scheduled for a flight to Los Angeles and then an hour layover and a connection to Las Vegas.
They announced the flight was overbooked and asked if anyone wanted to take a later flight. I nearly knocked over the lady next to me, who was listening to an MP3 player and humming much too loudly for public, and asked if I could be bumped from this flight to a nonstop flight...and they did it!!! So I got booked on a nonstop flight which ended up arriving in Vegas just 50 minutes past my original flight would have, AND I got a free round trip ticket to anywhere in the continental United States! Woohoo----WINNER!!!!

I knew I would be arriving in Vegas first so I found a nice seat directly in front of a beeping machine and set about winning my fortunes. This plan seemed to be working, as I earned some money from the nice young stripper man below and cashed out and had a profit of $65 within twenty minutes. Woohoo----WINNER!!!!

Amy's plane came in right on schedule and we headed off to the Hard Rock.
Keep in mind that I have not seen or talked to Amy for about twenty years. That's two decades! Back when we were friends, there was no email (for normal people). We really have no idea who each other is as an adult. I'm not sure I would have recognized her if I were standing nearby her and not expecting her. How did we get to be so grown up (aka OLD)??

I was pretty exhausted, as I had gotten up at 6:30am and had spent quite some time walking and waiting and walking and waiting at the airport and then getting to Vegas and walking and waiting some more. Travelling is exhausting really....but anyway, Friday night-I was sleepy. Amy was NOT. She wanted to get out and SEE VEGAS.

Okay - off we went...we found that our hotel, the Hard Rock, is a full mile from the Strip. Okay - we go. Walking miles and having a free drink (while gambling) did NOT wake me up. We didn't really do anything-just walked and walked. We didn't really even talk about much, which I thought was weird. We had 20 years to catch up on...anyway, we eventually went back to the hotel and Kaylen got some much needed sleep!

Let me preface the rest of the trip with saying, I am a PLANNER. I don't need to plan out every bit of my vacation, but I really believe that you should have some inkling of a plan. Amy set me straight weeks ago that she's not a planner and wanted to just live the experience, okay then....this was our non-plan plan:

  1. Talk and catch up and laugh and tell stories
  2. Drink and party like it's 1999.
  3. See Vegas
  4. Catch a show
Perfect. We did two of the four.

Saturday, we took a taxi to Fremont Street, the old downtown area. We walked and shopped a little, visited the older casinos with real nickels - note to self: nickels are disgustingly dirty and as fun as the sound of the clanking coins is, it's not always so fun to cash out $40.00 in nickels. I continued my winning streak and I could not win BIG, but I also was having any trouble losing my money. I would put in $20, then cash out an hour later with $40.00. Then we'd go to the next casino and I would lose ten of that forty. So nothing big but nothing bad. Woohoo----in Vegas, that's almost a miracle.

We left Fremont Street and headed back to the strip where we walked and walked and passed by a number of things, like the Bellagio fountains. Amy wasn't too excited about it so we just kept walking, as I'd seen them before. I love the idea of shooting water taller than a very large hotel, coordinating music to the shooting water. It's pretty. We did some shopping at the Miracle Mile center and then walked a million more miles and I proceeded to grow a fat blister. Not a winner.

We went to see The Price is Right live stage show, which is very similar to the real show-people won things and it was really a fun show. Still not a winner though.We had a less than spectacular meal at Al Dente's (we ended up with three plates of different breads which was weird). After dinner, we headed back to the hotel and took a short break before doing the "where should we go now" routine. And this is where the PLANNING piece is nice. Planning ahead means you don't have to ask everyone you can where you can go wearing a dress shirt and jeans in Vegas. Or trying to determine when to go. Or how to get there. I like planning, can you tell? We decided to head to Studio 54 in the MGM hotel and we went downstairs and within about six minutes, we had met a few people who were also headed that way and we decided to share a taxi. These were our new friends:

1. Chad, who looked like a Chad to me but I think his real name was Justin. Chad was slightly drunk, but this worked out well for us when he decided to rent a small limo instead of wait in the taxi line. Thanks Chad! Chad liked Amy. A lot.

2. Leviticus, whose real name was Bob. Lev was older and we had some kind of very brief discussion about the bible soon upon meeting and he made some smartass remark about me and I said he was the entire Leviticus book. I'm pretty sure he thought of me as a pesky kid.

3. The Mexican. We never actually got his real name. Chad and Leviticus called him the Mexican when we first met and then the Mexican headed off to the atm and well, never came back. We waited for about 20 minutes and then left.

Limo ride 1.5 miles= $80, plus a $10 tip. Thanks Chad!

And so it was the four of us headed to Studio 54, where we danced and drank and drank and danced for about five hours. Blisters? Who has blisters? The music is playing!!! VERY fun.

Sunday morning - well, let's say that Amy and I were not in the best shape. We had to rush and rush to meet my blogger friend Flea for lunch at the Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill, and it was totally absolutely worth it, because in addition to meeting someone whose blog I have been reading for some time, we had the BEST food. It was pricey, but well worth it!!

Then after lunch with Flea and friend, we wandered a bit and then we walked another gazillion miles and met up with one of Amy's college friends who happened to be in town. And then we decided to go back to Fremont Street to see the Fremont Experience light show. It's only at night, but it's every night. We weren't really thrilled to pay for another round-trip taxi ride, but Amy said she wanted to see it and liked the slots over there, so off we went. Before the first song was over, Amy was done with it so we headed into the casinos. Did I mention how much I love planning?? Cause I DO. It's important.

Next morning, we headed home. My flight home was a mess. There were a gatrillion Nascar fans leaving town and planes were late because of the snow on the East Coast and it was a really rough afternoon. Got home at 11pm and was happy to crawl into my own bed with my kitty at my feet!!

Anyway, I am really bummed about not going to see O, the Cirque show that involves water-next time FOR SURE! I had a great time, but I feel like we missed some good chances to do more. Regardless, it was interesting to see Amy again and see the grown-up version of the girl who was most like my sister growing up. It was VERY nice to get away from the real world and just be off on my own (sorta) for a few days. It was REALLY great to go to a gambling city and not lose all my money!! I had a certain amount set aside to gamble with and I came home with $40 of it (which was $60 til I pressed my luck one last time at the airport slots).Winner!

I have a couple more short stories to share, but will have to wait until later this week (most especially because this post is way too long, but also because I am still sleepy and still have stuff to do before I can go to bed).

Here's some more photos:

Here I Am!!!!

Made it go Vegas and back with minor incidents....actually came home with money even! (which is not to mean that I won big cause that is not the case).

Have lots to say but I have to be up in six hours. The Big Vegas Adventure Story will be posted tomorrow night!


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