Why, Earth, Why???

Why are you so hot? I have central air conditioning in my new house--but do I want to have to run it all day, every day? No, Earth, I don't.

Could we keep it to a nice 79 degrees? Is that so bad? I love that temperature. Lots of people do. It's warm enough you don't need a sweater, but not so warm that you sweat buckets.

I can't afford to cool the house all day and have to take two showers because I wanted to put my new patio table together and it happened to take 90 minutes (I have no idea why...there were 3 of us working on it) and it was 3,000 degrees in the sun on the deck.

SEVENTY-NINE please.
seventy....nine....

What Else Am I Missing...

As some of you (anyone who knows me) may know, I am not a chef by any stretch of the word.


I made chicken enchiladas last night and they are deeffinglicious. It's a very basic recipe of shredded chicken and cheese, using canned enchilada sauce. Originally, I tried making this with dried diced onions. And then one time I had an onion left over and made enchiladas with a fresh onion and WHOA, stand back my friends--it makes a HUGE difference.


And then I start to wonder---what if there are other really simple changes to make to easy recipes that will make a big zinger of a difference?


A foodie friend of mine is always disturbed when we talk food and he is reminded that I never use fresh herbs. My herbs come in a glass jar and last about a year or two in my cupboard...but maybe, just MAYBE, I need to branch away from the glass jars.

Maybe.

I have some kind of herb growing in my new garden in my new backyard at my new wonderful house, but I haven't determined what kind it is yet, much less what to do with it. I'm investigating this situation this weekend...stay tuned for the exciting results.

Random Thoughts Tuesday

randomtuesday

If you're in love with reading the random thoughts of others like I am-there are a TON over at Keely's blog. Click the pic above and go check some out!

  • Someone mentioned having watermelon the other day and I stopped at the store first chance I could and bought one. But that was two days ago and the melon is just sitting in the fridge. It sounds really good even now…but if I was home with it, I’m not convinced I would cut it open. Maybe it’s dealing with the juices everywhere and then having to scoop it out and deal with the seeds that I’m avoiding. It’s not laziness—cause I got up from where I was sitting on the floor about 6 times in a 30 min period to go get something or other that I needed to do what I was doing. I just don’t like to be sticky. I wonder if this is related to some sticky childhood trauma of mine.
  • My cat woke me up at 5am crying and crying. Once I woke up, I had to sneeze 82 times and blow my nose 47 times and then I had to try to prevent drainage from going into my ear canal by very carefully switching which side I was laying on every 12 minutes. So I never got back to sleep! I hate 5am. Why would anyone be awake at 5am?? Oh, because they have cats and allergies? Yes. (but not allergies to cats).
  • Sometimes I really really miss the people I used to work with. I’ve only seen any of them a few times since I left 8 months ago. Why is everyone so busy all the time?? How come no one can make plans anymore??
  • Lately, my friend Nancy and I have been going to bingo about once a week. I typically spend about $20 there, and that includes a meal and a soda. I don’t think that’s really that spendy. We talk the entire time, so it’s not like we’re just gambling away our money with our heads down in isolation. I am confused as to why people react oddly when we say we are going to bingo, but they would never think to react at all if we went to happy hour once, or even twice, a week. Yes, gambling can ruin your life, but can’t alcohol ruin your life even MORE?? For example, after a busy night at bingo—I never have to worry about whether I’m okay to drive or worse, “how did I get home last night??” And after a busy night at bingo, I never go to after-parties at strangers houses. And after a busy night at bingo, I don’t feel physically ill. I’m not saying that bingo is a better addiction to have then drinking, but I hate how drinking is SO accepted and encouraged.
  • I have just figured out how to send a personal email reply to people when they comment on my blog. I’ve always gotten the email notifications when I get a comment, but I thought there was some secret way that people respond directly. It’s VERY secret…you hit the button marked “reply.” Sigh…thanks to green jello for helping me through this big mystery. I'm an embarrassment to bloggers everywhere.
  • I brush my hair just once a day. I think this is 3X less than normal females. I also do not necessarily care about shoes. When I was in Korea, shoes were very cheap there and being a bigger girl-it was hard to find clothes my size, but I could almost always find shoes. So during one shopping trip, I got very excited about shoes for some reason and bought four or five pair. That’s usually how many I buy in a two-year period, so you can tell it was really a crazy time in my life. I was out of control. When I came home from Korea for Presents Day, I remember being excited and unpacking them at my sisters house and I told her how crazy it was that I bought so many and blahblah crazy fun blahblah and as she watched me pulling them out, her comment was “are they all ugly?” I can still hear her voice and sometimes when I go to buy shoes, I hear that and just walk away. It’s helped me not buy a LOT of shoes, but I really could use a pair!! I wish the other voices in my head would drown her out more.
  • I don’t really like the colors on the walls of three rooms in my new house. I want bold and bright and Terra cotta and mauve. What I have is pale salmon, super light palest of pale green and then just pale green. I think painting will have to wait til after summer though. Or when I find a place to easily sell my plasma cause I’m poor now!
  • I did go to the store and buy a couple new towels because I could not find mine, it was getting late, I was tired of unpacking/searching/moving boxes and I just wanted to get in my new Jacuzzi bathtub in my new house. And I don’t buy new towels any more frequently than I buy new shoes.
  • I’m sleepy. I should have gone out into my nice warm car and taken a nap at lunch instead of reading and commenting on random blogs. Why do I sacrifice myself for other bloggers???

Things I Love Today

MY NEW HOUSE!!!!!!!

I love it, I love it, I love it!!!
I need to get a fair amount of stuff put away still, I have one room with no furniture, and there is almost nothing on the walls yet, but it's perfect just the way it is so far.
I love waking up in my bed and having natural light available if I want to read in bed (which I would have done if I knew which box holds my book).
I love that I can't just turn in one position and reach my closet, my dresser, my bed and my door. I actually have to walk from the closet to the bed - this is a great exercise plan!! I have to walk more than ten feet to get from one end of the house to the other! It's wonderful.
I love that I don't hear someone walking above me.
I love that I have natural light in almost every single room in the house.
I love my new fridge.
I love having a garage.

I LOVE it.
I could go on for about 72 more reasons I love it....just take my word for it, it's WONDERFUL.

And the move could not have gone better. My moving crew of friends and family were magical. The family had half the truck loaded by themselves before my friends and I even got there, then when we went back for a second load, they unloaded my entire kitchen!!! How amazing is that?? I moved in and the kitchen was fully unloaded! Someone even lined up all the canned and boxed goods along the front of each cupboard, "Sleeping with the Enemy" style...I had to change that immediately cause that part of the movie is no joke-it's fairly creepy, but it was SO nice to have everything put away for me!

It was an awesome move - and then the best part was when we were all done and we all just hung out and had pizza and chatted....on the deck of my NEW HOUSE!!!

The family got us a new lawn mower for a gift and it looks like Andrew will be using it tomorrow or Wednesday. We are pretty excited to have it, though I imagine it will be a struggle to get in the habit of having to use it weekly or so.

The seller of the house left this note:


Very sweet..kinda sad.

LOVE my new house!!!!

Moving Day!!!!

It's here!! It's time!!! We are moving into a house that is all ours!!!

And it is a lovely house!! Come on by sometime. Please take your shoes off at the door. And please consider every day a potluck...you bring the food, I will provide the kool-aid. Cherry okay? Great, see you soon!

Happy Assuversary!!!

Here's my personal story of the week (since the rest of my blog is never personal):

One year ago TODAY, I had surgery on my rear. I'm going to spare you all the details (though my sister is always happy to share a somewhat fictional story that has literally made small children cry but still makes her laugh to tell it), but I had a fistula. If you know what it is, you know what an absolute disaster it is and how it consumes you and can really put a huge drain on your life.
Seriously---if you don't know, well, honestly-you do not want to and just hope you never have to.

So one year ago today, I had a little surgical procedure to fix my issue. It had a 50% success rate and I have never been luckier than I was one year ago today because I was one of the success stories. There are a gazillion people out there who suffer and live with this for decades sometimes, and I feel sorry for each and every one of them. It's humiliating, it's embarrassing and it's painful. I'm very very fortunate that I've managed to be a success story.

I can't say that things have been perfect since the surgery - I did gain 25 lbs and anytime I get a little stomach bug, I question whether the fistula is back...but it's been a year without any signs of it returning, so YAY for me and my booty.

Happy Assuversary to us!!!

C'mon Baby Light My Fire

No Really...someone light a fire under me cause I sat down to check what time the liquor store closes (I found that they have heaps and heaps of boxes under a big sign in the corner of the store that says "FREE BOXES") but,40 minutes later, I'm reading other blogs and commenting here and there. I like commenting - it's like leaving a little note on someones desk. If I could leave a little piece of chocolate with my comment, I would. Cause it would be the nice thing to do. It would be dark chocolate cause dark chocolate is healthy, ya know.

I have a cleaning service coming to my new house tomorrow - I'm not allowed to have the house key even one hour early so the realtor is going to let the maid in. Whatever.

Then Friday morning I have a carpet cleaner coming.

The kid helped me pack tonight FINALLY. He did a lot of his own room a couple weeks ago, but he spent a good forty minutes helping pack up the rest of the kitchen and made four trips to the garbage. Sometimes he's so wonderful. Sometimes he's just a teenager.

If anyone lives in the Portland area and has no plans Saturday morning, please take this as your personal invitation to come help move. The more the merrier. I'll buy pizza when we're done (with a one piece per person limit of course).

Email me for the address. Bring your friends - it'll be like a party!!!

Random Thoughts Tuesday - Special Shopping Edition

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Went shopping today.
Spent $260,899.00.
(not a typo!!!)

I bought this:


and this:

Add that to the $400 vacuum I bought this week and it has been a really busy week for my bank account!!!

I bought the above fridge used. It has a small indent in the freezer and a slight scratched area on the left side. It was $1000 cheaper than you might buy it new at Sears. And it comes with a 6-month warranty, from a family business that has been in the area for 25 years. I will have to take out the small, useless cupboard above the current fridge space, but really--that cupboard is USELESS.

SOME people (you know who you are!) were very vocal about me buying a used fridge and how it was the wrong decision....I'm not really sure I understand that thinking. My couch is used - I bought it from strangers...and I didn't really feel disturbed about THAT, and I rest my weary head on it all the time. A fridge can be 100% sterilized with some wonderful toxic cleaners - so really, that used fridge might be the cleanest thing I own.

I love my new vacuum and my new fridge and my new house equally. They are all SO wonderful!

I finished one project at work today and now I'm on to the next. It's been a really stressful week at work and to top it off, my laptop died on Monday. The reason it died was because I needed to get something sent to someone in the UK first thing. My laptop can sense things like that and acts against me when possible.

I need to pack. For some reason, I get more energized about organizing my son's room than any other room in the house. It's always been this way. I don't really understand it. I stay out of there except about once or twice a year when I demand he really do a deep clean, but otherwise it's a pig sty. The rest of the house might be a pig sty as well, but I really just want to start in his room. Maybe because it seems easier to fix. Maybe because I really LOVE a challenge.

My nails are VERY brittle. I don't like it. They have ridges and one of them has a permanent crack in the middle. No matter how long or short it is, the nail always has a little crack directly in the middle. It's my middle finger - I think that it might be a karma thing, due to the many times I have used that finger in a manner that was maybe a little shameful. Mostly when driving. Mostly in my younger years.

I think I've finally convinced my teenager that he MUST get a job. This was a huge success as he's been so against the idea for so long. When I bring it up to him, he usually starts talking as if I am discussing a plan to send him to an asian sweatshop to make Kathy Lee Gifford dresses. A slight over-reaction. Teens are funny like that.

I think I'm going to put a big sign in every window in my apartment that says "This unit for rent, available June 1st!! Inquire in the managers office."

Off to pack....

Welcome Home, Little Animal

SO - I brought home a new animal today.....
Remember that dream vacuum I wanted?

Welcome home: Dyson DC25 Animal Ball-Technology Upright Vacuum Cleaner.
It's just aw-maz-ing.
I love it. Can you love a home cleaning tool? YES-you can!!!
I do!!! I love this vacuum!! It's super light and cleans SO well.

We cleaned over the floor rug that is in the middle of the room and pulled up a good inch of ickiness.
The ball works GREAT to maneuver and I don't know why vacuums didn't always comes this way! It's so much easier to roll around the carpet. It just makes sense.

And one of my absolute favorite parts of the Dyson DC25 Animal, aka the best vacuum ever, is that when I need to clean out all of the gathered ickiness - it's the push of a button to pull out the canister and then another push of the button and a little shake of my hand and then all the stuff just DROPS out the bottom!!! GENIUS.

I will not miss having to clean the roller out every time I vacuum a 500 sq ft area. I will not miss the enormous amount of dust that flies from not just the canister, but also the stupid filter that sits within the canister of my old vacuum. I will not miss the amount of energy it takes to push it across the carpet. I will not miss having to hand pick out things from the carpet after I spend a fair amount of time vacuuming. I will not miss having to disassemble the damn thing every 4th use to clear the way for it to do a half-ass job of vacuuming. Nope, not gonna miss my old vacuum.

I highly recommend everyone splurge and get this vacuum! It might seem expensive, but in the last 8 years, I have had three vacuums, all of which are about $100. This vacuum has a 5 year warranty and there's a local Dyson store and supposedly all I have to do is walk it in there, let them look at it and then if they can't fix it right then, they will give me a new one.

So how did this lovely Dyson DC25 Animal come to be the newest pet of the household?

Today I found it was on sale at Best Buy for almost a full $100 off!!!
That's a lot to save!

But---it was more than that!

I did a little research online and found that Bed, Bath & Beyond will price match. So I printed out my Best Buy info on the sale price. Then I went online, signed up for the BB&B newsletter to my email and instantly got a coupon for 20% off one item.

Then I went to BB&B, found my beloved Dyson DC25 Animal and headed up front. The girl at the counter wasn't sure about the price match. The original price of the vacuum is $550.00. The Best Buy price was $439.00. That's quite a savings!! She called the manager over, he approved it, walked away. Then I gave her my 20% off coupon. She called the manager back over and they discussed that price-matching is a deal in itself and I had to choose the 20% or the price match. I told them, if your deal is only as great as Best Buy, I would have just gone to Best Buy. And the manager says, well, this is quite a good deal already....and I said, how about if you meet me in the middle and give me 10% and he said-Done! And walked away and the girl did some math and I walked out with my new Dyson D25 Animal for just $395.00!!!!

That's $155.00 savings!!! That's about 28% off the original price!! LOVE it!!!!

And the kicker on that is that the coupon very clearly states that the discount does not apply to certain products, and Dyson is listed as one of them. I guess they don't take that verbiage too seriously. I've also heard many times before that they do not care if you use an expired coupon.

SEVEN DAYS TO GO!!!

S E V E N !!!!



I'm moving into my first house EVER in just SEVEN days!!!!


  • Seven, the number of dwarves Snow White adopted.
  • Seven, the super-great movie where Brad Pitt cries like a 7-year old, "What's in the box????"
  • Seven, the only number less than 15 which cannot be represented as the sum of the squares of three integers. (Yeah, I have no idea)
  • Seven, the number of spots on a ladybug.
  • Seven, the number of holes in most mammals heads.
  • Seven, the number of wonders of the world (supposedly - but it's eight if you count my new house!).
  • Seven, the number of lives a cat has, except my big girl Ginger, who was stuck flailing between the folded card table and the wall the other day while I sat nearby and barely wondered what the noise was.






SEVEN days!!!

Where Do I Even Begin....

The mission:
Determine if my apartment manager has any intention of renting my apartment when I leave a month before my lease expires.

The cast:
Apartment Manager, we'll call her MAM (Mean Apt Manager)
Nancy, my cubicle mate/bingo partner

The plan:
Nancy calls MAM and pretends to be looking for a 2-bedroom apartment sometime around the first week of June or so.


Nancy is a total closet-actress. She dialed the number and suddenly became a real apartment-hunter, she even took notes as she talked, like she was really considering it. She improvised and asked her own questions and our mission was accomplished---but not in my favor.

MAM tells Nancy that she does have a unit available first week of June, a nice 2-bdrm, 2-bath apartment. Nancy the Actress takes some notes and asks some questions, one of which is "do you have any 2-bdrm, 1-bath available?" and the answer she gets from MAM is "no."

Huh? Say what? really???

Cause MINE is available in the first week of June!!!

Then Nancy the Actress says she is really interested in a ground floor unit - are there any of those available?

MAM says she will have one on June 19th, but nothing until then and that's a 2-bdrm, 2-bath.

Wait---stop---MINE is a ground floor unit!!!! AND it's available WAY before June 19th!!!

So, dear bloggy friends, this is the point where I think I have to call the apartment company. It's very obvious that even if she rents out all the other apartments, MAM really is not going to rent my apartment until July 1st at the earliest.

sigh, this makes me SO unhappy.

Advice anyone??

Anyone know of a loophole to get out of a lease early? I've been here five years, so I can't really pull something out of my hat to complain about the place, like the constant mold problem (which they told me to fix by leaving a window cracked open ALL YEAR).

Ideas??

Random Thoughts Tuesday

randomtuesday



I almost forgot to write about my random thoughts today. I had a lot - I should have taken notes throughout the day so I could capture all my wonderful randomness, but instead, you get the dregs of what I remember...

I always sleep with the radio on. Sometimes it's tuned in to Loveline, which is entertaining, but not something I really enjoy on a regular basis. Otherwise it's on NPR, which I love. Last night I worked on a samurai sudoku for about an hour and listened to this long sad story about the one-year anniversary of the earthquake in China and more specifically, the schools that collapsed in the midst of a ton of government buildings that survived intact.

The report was about how the families of the children who died are not allowed to visit the school sites to hold a memorial or even just to visit the site where they last saw their child. A non-government researcher reported that about 5,400 children died in schools during the earthquake. Why were the gov't buildings intact and the schools crumbled like card houses? Hmm...it's no secret that the Chinese gov't doesn't always think logically. Right? No, it's not.

The NPR report followed a family whose child died in a school and as they tried to approach the site to lay flowers, the officers guarding the site told the parents that they need to leave and it's been a year and they need to move on. Nice job Government of China. In a country where you put restrictions on the number of children each family can have, it's not fair to expect a middle-aged couple to just "move on" when their only allotted child has been killed due to negligence in following building codes. Thumbs down for China today.

We went to the Lazy Boy store today and I am totally in love with the Roland set. They have it in a creamy beige that would go well in any room. This is the big comfy recliner that would almost fit two small-sized humans or me and my two cats. I love it. It's only $800.00. But they do have financing with 0% down, no payments and no interest for 12 months. It's like they are just giving it away for a full year!!!! Ha, suckers. I am totally considering taking them up on it. It's a Lazyboy---they last a good 20 years so it's like an investment right??


My teen has informed me that nothing about his life is my business anymore. Except apparently meals and providing funds for entertainment. I'm sure all you parents know how there's this trick in life where you can love someone more than anything in life but just not like them very much...it's a mean trick that life plays on you. It's called: The Teenage Years.

One of the boys in his grade committed suicide last week. I really didn't know him and I'm not sure that my boy knew him well, but it's so hard on the whole community. You just ache for the family. Is there anything worse in the entire world? No, there's definitely not.

I am not cleaning house today or tomorrow and maybe not on Thursday. Mom on strike, anyone? We're moving soon anyway so the house already looks like we survived a tornado. I am taking a break, that's all. And if we get ants or mice or whatever, who cares---in 9.2 days, I will not have to live here anymore and mice will be a nice treat for the manager to deal with since she won't let me break my lease 30 days early. After FIVE years of being a great tenant!! Yes, mice are a nice going away present.

Volunteering is at its all-time high since WWII. Have you all signed up for something lately? You should.

Sometimes my clock radio randomly goes static. If I move it 1/2 an inch in any direction-totally fine for a short bit. I have repeated this process for the last hour.

Tomorrow is Wednesday, which is a busy day at work but it's hump day which means I'm halfway to the weekend. And next weekend is a heavy-duty packing and cleaning weekend and I can not wait. I wonder if the mice will start chewing into my boxes...

Free Soda Rocks!

I think I've mentioned before that my office provides free soda, about 7 kinds, including sparkling water. It's a really nice benefit and I greatly appreciate it. I have one soda a day, though if they had Cherry Coke, I would most definitely have about 7. In the morning. And 9 in the afternoon.


They talked about discontinuing this with the hard economy when they were studying ways to be economical (we most recently got real silverware and are phasing out the plastic, which will save an estimate of $6000 in our office alone)....but the free soda looks to be staying-thankfully, cause our matching 401K was already cut and I can only take so much loss.


The thing about this is that no one ever questions whether we should cut the coffee budget. Why is coffee such a standard?? Because we want our people to be awake at work--but isn't that responsibility on the employee? There are a few of us out there who don't drink coffee (other than the weekly peppermint white chocolate mocha-but I have to buy that!). The way I see it, the soda is for those of us who don't suck down 20 cups of coffee a day.

It was in the news this morning that prisoners in the state of Oregon have had access to free soda. Whoa, wait.....not acceptable!!!!!! Apparently it's on the tax payers bill to provide this. It was like $50,000 a year, or maybe $500,000 a year...hmmm...prob not just $5,000 a year....but it was a LOT of money that taxpayers pay (and it definitely had a 5 in it). It makes sense for an employer to choose to pay for this benefit, but as a taxpayer, I should not be paying for hardened criminals to get their sugar-water fix!!

Happy Mothers Day!


Happy Mothers Day
to all the mommies out there!

But most especially to this one:



Thirteen Days to Go!!!



Only thirteen days until we move!!! Where did the time go??
Thirteen days is not very long, however, since I am going to have to pay for rent here for June, I am definitely not being forced to rush to get everything out of here and clean up the apartment.

Thirteen days is really not very long before I get to live in my own house! Thirteen days??? That's less than two weeks!!

Whoa, Random Thoughts Tuesday Already!!

I almost missed my favorite blogging night!
Random Tuesdays rock for those of us who think random thoughts ALL the time.

randomtuesday



  • I have seven new plants in my house tonight!! I bought them off Craigslist - 11 plants for 10 bucks from someone who was moving and couldn't take them. I had to replant most of them, which sucks, but whatever-I'm hoping that at least 5 of the 7 make it. I only have 7 new ones cause I gave Nat two little ones and I took one to work. I'm sure you math majors noticed that 7 + 2 + 1 equals 10. One of them isn't going to make it. It's a little thing that might have had an orchid at one time but is about 4 leaves and wasn't really planted in the dirt when I got it. The roots don't look well so it doesn't really count. I don't bring plants back from the dead....I walk them there slowly.
  • My apartment lease is not up until the end of June. I am moving into my new wonderful house at the end of May. For those lawyerly like people out there, you'll note that I am leaving before my lease ends. After five and a half years in this apartment complex, causing nearly NO trouble, barely calling the maintenance guy, participating in the yearly apartment activities (pool party and garage sale), and being an overall good citizen of the apartment life.....they will not let me out of my lease ONE month early because "it's a binding contract." Yes, lawyerly-types, I understand this is true. However, it's not like I'm moving into another apartment complex. I'm not getting kicked out. I'm not a menace to this place and they have no reason to be happy that I'm gone. I have been a good model tenant. So what is one month between friends? So, dear blogger friends--should I go above my managers head and call the management company to try and get a break on it? My biggest worry on doing this is that it will highly upset the manager, who is the one who controls whether I get my $700 deposit back. Ideas???
  • In my head, I'm a runner. In real life, I'm a slow walker. After I move, I want to start the Couch to 5K program. Anyone want to join me?
  • I need a new vacuum for my new carpets in my new home. I really really want the Dyson Animal, but I really really want a vacuum that doesn't cost over $400. Seriously---it's $550. Does anyone fully LOVE their vacuum? Do you have to clean the roller brush after every use? Do you have to clean the filter if you vacuum more than two rooms? Do you have to take the entire hose apart every 4 weeks or so? Cause that's about where I am with my current vacuum. Really---give me some ideas!!
  • I love leg warmers. I see them on some girls and I totally envy them.
  • Is it wrong that I want all of my invites to my housewarming party to bring very particular items? Like I want three people to bring family packs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. And two others can bring different types of household items, like detergent and kitty litter. See the theme here? I want to stock up on various household stuff so I don't have to worry about buying them for a long time and then I can use my extra $12 a month to splurge and go crazy on such things like eating at Panda King once a month. I'm not getting married, but I think this is bigger---this is a THIRTY-year commitment. Most marriages don't last that long!!
  • I woke up today and was 85% certain that my brain as imploding. I might have had a small aneurysm. The boy was sick the last two days, so maybe I'm getting that, or maybe my allergies were just out of control, or maybe I had a migraine, but it's possible my brain got bigger this morning.
  • Why don't I know anyone famous?? There are a lot of famous people out there. Why have I not went to school with any, or am related to any? The closest I come to fame is by knowing one of the original contestants on Big Brother. She was roommates of my close friend in college. And remember Julie, the innocent country girl, from the original Mtv Real World? A good friend from high school lived on Julie's family farm one summer. That's about it. Oh, a guy I worked with almost a decade ago had a brother in law in Counting Crows and one year they came through town and four of us got backstage passes and free tickets to their concert.

Comcast Cares! They Really Do!!!


If you have Comcast, you have probably felt some frustration with them at some point. Inevitably you have had cable connections issues, or the equipment isn't set up right, or the equipment fails, or you have overpaid for services for years and questioned your sanity for paying $50 for cable service (that's way too high people!!!)....I know I have. However, Comcast is really great in some ways: like giving back.

Every year, they host Comcast Cares Day and encourage all employees to participate. They pick local schools and nonprofits and they plan to spend one morning kicking ass for a good cause. They make it all happen with my beloved Hands On Greater Portland, and with me-their trusty, handy-dandy volunteer manager/leader/diehard.

I was the manager of the project at our local high school and had 118 Comcast volunteers, 6 project leaders, and 2 Runners - Nat and Alison-they help make everything run smoothly, by literally running out to check on things or deliver things or just overall help me.

We mostly did bark dusting and painting - but don't think that it's not a big job. We spent 3.5 hrs doing these two tasks with 124 people and did not finish. To say it's a big school is an understatement. It was a great and productive day and please remember that this happens when you're waiting between 8am and 12:30pm for your cable guy to show up and he's a few minutes late.

The local city council president showed up to lend a hand.


Lots of families working together!


This toddler followed his mom all around the school area, never saying a word, just followed like a little duckling. He is probably only about three or four---and probably too far behind his mom, but we had a lot of fun watching him.





Alison doing real WORK (and then celebrating).




My "runners" at the end of the morning were TIRED. We started at 7:30 and ended just about 12:45pm--on a Saturday!! When normal humans sleep in and relax from work...but nope, not us!



Me, freezing. My hands were numb--gloves? oh, what a novel idea. You mean the ones I have in my car for winter? Yep, those would have worked.

The New Jodi Picoult book

I love Jodi's books - she is an amazing writer and I don't know of her books that I wouldn't recommend.

Her newest book is called, "Handle With Care" and is about a child who has brittle bone disease (osteogenesis imperfecta). It's heart-breaking illness and it's a tragic tale of what families have to go through when they have a child born with this rare, incurable disease.




Did you see the movie Unbreakable with Samuel Jackson and Bruce Willis? You should-it's a GREAT movie. Sammy J's character has brittle bone disease so I have heard of it before, but reading about how much the family goes through is pretty insane---a regular seat belt can fracture a rib, falling down will break multiple bones, playing ball can be devastating...and the crushing blow to your finances to buy the special equipment and pay for the multiple visits to the emergency room...yikes - it's insane. Jodi does a great job, as usual, of showing views from different people, but I just didn't feel as much of a connection with these characters.

I'm not going to ruin the ending of the book for you - but I will say that I didn't really like it as much as her other books. I would still recommend it, but it's not at the top of my list.

I did finish within 36 hours of getting the book from the library, so obviously it's a page-turner (as are all her books). I love love love this author and you should too...but this is not the best story.

Anyone else read it and feel this way?

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