Monday, July 30, 2007

I Am Contestant # 756

I've come close to giving up on entering online contests. A lot of times, I don't want to give out my address if I DO win, so that keeps me from entering. On the (still many) contests that I do enter, I just don't win. But when these impossibly easy contests come up, sometimes they just so happen to be giving away something that is apparently *needed* in my house - I can't help myself - even if the odds are getting close to those of the Powerball (which, I never win, either). The Man has been bugging me for a new TV for some time and doesn't seem to understand that they cost money. Money we don't have. Enter the ladies from 5 Minutes for Mom.

5 Minutes for Mom is having a contest sponsored by Best Buy and are giving away an Insignia® 37″ Flat-Panel LCD HDTV.

Entering is really easy. Just leave them a comment and tell your blog friends about it.

5 Minutes for Mom is a great site, for they are the girls who started the Ultimate Blog Party – which is how I met Kelly, Sugar Kane, Chesca and Mrs. Lady (and maybe other people, my memory sucks).

So if your guy won’t shut the hell up about buying a new flat-panel regardless of your financial status…or you just want to win something, head on over there and comment. But hurry! The contest ends August 17th.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Stars of the Butrfly Garden

Could I have thought of a lamer title? I think not.

I took the advice of many a while back and switched to Google Reader from bloglines. Google won’t pick up some of the feeds that Bloglines does, so I still use it, just not as much. I’m really loving the Google dashboard. My mail, my blogs, my wikipedia search. My favorite feature so far is the Google Docs. I can write a post at home, upload it to google docs, and post it from work. It lessons the hassle of emailing the document, anyway. And also lets me transfer work docs (like my Paid Time Off spread) so I can see them at home.

I also really like the Google reader. I wish there were a way to save the posts as “new” because sometimes I don’t get the chance to finish them and I end up forgetting to find them and read the rest. (Like this great one from Brillig that I just found!) That bums me out because I usually don’t realize it for a week or so (or two). Google is easier to use than Bloglines for me because it presents it every time I open explorer. I don’t even have to LEAVE igoogle to get my stuff done! That looks a lot better in IT’s eyes. The other thing that makes it superior is the “Star” system they have. Because when a post really grabs me, or I want to share it, I just click the star. Then, on days when I have to get A LOT of work done in a very little time, I can tell my friends:

“Yo, check this:” (Just like that, too!)

Kelly blew me away with two posts this month. The first was an almost enigmatic thought on memories and the second was a little gift for her friends who like to judge.

Worker Mommy said what all us BlogHer-Less girls were really thinking.

Europulp found one of the greatest Craigslist ads I’ve seen in a while. Since the Engineer Robson thing, anyway! (Thanks for that link, Kristina!)

Beth made giggle insanely during a very quiet moment at work with this post.

And Casey has taken to beating old ladies. (Don’t worry, she’s still cool with me.)

I also failed to mention the new extension blog I created! I named it Meme Land. It’s like a retirement home for memes. But we’ll call it “Senior Housing” so they don’t get all crabby about it. To tell you the truth, I just really wanted to make a new design but didn’t want to mess with this one. So go read it. Casey tagged with a meme like ten years ago and that’s on there. Mona tagged me as well and I will get that one on as soon as I can!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Watching Church

One lazy Sunday afternoon, The Man yelled down to Sunshine, “What are you doing?”

“Just watching church, daddy!” She yelled back.

How great is that? Taking her own precious childhood time to watch church and learn about God on her little Dora TV!

But when he actually went downstairs a short time later, he found her watching Cristina’s Court. “What’s this?” he asked, “I thought you were watching church.”

“I am.” She said.

Lord, I am sorry.

I will take her to a REAL church soon…I will!

**Blog post inspired by Cherann’s Princess-isms**

Wednesday, July 18, 2007



Man! This *work* thing is starting to get to me again. Here I thought they were paying me to blog - turns out, this computer was meant for OTHER things. Who Knew?

As a means to entertain you (in a small amount of time), I followed Shauna's lead and got my bliggety blog rated...

Free Online Dating

Guess that's kind of what I expected. Not too clean, but not to dirty, either. (Like that dirty girl, Shauna, anyway!)

(Did anyone else notice that's a DATING site?)

Monday, July 16, 2007

“This is his wife.”

“This is his wife.”

That’s a statement I have made way more times than a girl who has never been married should.

See, The Man does not like doing things like, calling people, or writing letters or basically doing anything that requires him to take his own time to speak to someone about something important. Really, it doesn’t even matter how important it is. Electricity? They’ll turn it back on when they get the check, right? Health insurance? Eh, those things don’t show up on your credit report anyway! (LIES.)

The Man and the kids had just moved in with me when Sunshine got sick. Really sick. I don’t remember details, but I know it was bad enough that we had to get her IN to the doctor. The problem we had was that Scari had insurance on Sunshine - because The Man hadn’t added her to his yet (ahem) - through the county. Because she got FREE health care. (And food stamps. And “living” money. Smoke crack, people, it’s the way to the easy life!!) However, Scari was no where to be found - nor was any information about her health insurance.

“Can we just get her in to see the doctor and deal with finding the insurance company LATER, like, when the bill comes?” I asked the receptionist at my clinic of five years.

“You’ll need a deposit if the patient doesn’t have insurance.”

“Oh, but she DOES have insurance, I just can’t find her cards, I think her mom has them.”

“Her MOM? Who is THIS?”

In this moment, I remembered something. They’re not going to tell me ANYTHING. I’d been in this situation before. It gets to the part where they say “And who am I speaking with?” - I say ’girlfriend’ and they tell me to have him call back. Girlfriends hold absolutely no credibility. You can be together for 25 years and know every last freckle on that person’s body - but if you aren’t married, you aren’t important enough to hear their private details.

“Her father’s wife.” I said.

“Oh! Oh, well, here’s what you need to do…”

There was also the time when we got a letter in the mail saying he had written - out of his own, personal account - a bad check to Denny’s. For starters, he hadn’t owned a check book for that account in years. Also, we don’t write checks…especially at restaurants. Denny’s is also not a normal stop for us.

When the thirty days to dispute the bill was nearly over, I finally said, “I’m calling about this! I’m not going to pay out the next time we need a loan because you don’t want to argue!”

So I called.

“Aaaand, who am I speaking with?” asked the cheery southern collection rep.

“Amy H.”

“Oops. We have this account under The Man‘s name.”

“Yes, that’s my husband.” I said confidently.

“But….your name…”

“It’s 2006 and it’s still ‘weird’ for me to keep my last name?” I laughed.

“Oh, no, hahahahaha, I suppose you’re right! Okay, let’s look and see what’s going on here.”

It has gotten much more use over time. On the net, ‘dh’ holds much more credibility with the other wives than ‘bf.’

“Oh! Wu-ell, he’s only, like, my BOYfriend, so, like, I dunno, like, all that stuff. (Heehee.)”

I know that’s what they hear.

Sometimes, it backfires. At work, I often confuse who knows me well enough to know that’s a big fat lie. “My husband said…” “Oh. My. GOOOOOSH! When did you get married!?!??!?” “Oh, well, we didn’t yet….it’s just, uh, easier, you know?”

I get by with it. My wedding will be coming soon enough (is a decade soon?) and I can stop living this horrible lie. I will actually be able to call and use my name and nobody will ever question WHO I am or WHY I would be calling.

While this problem has a solution for me, there are still a lot of people in my situation who’s problems will never be remedied. Loving, caring couples who want to be able to sort out legal documents, health insurance, credit problems - but can’t.

I consider myself a conservative person. I am a Christian. I still can’t - for the LIFE of me - figure out why two men marrying each other would have anything to do with anyone but them. (Although, upon searching for reasons, I found this funny list of reasons why.)

But I’m not really here to push that issue…I want to know, have you ever experienced this? Married women, have you ever felt out of the loop because you WERE married?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Kaizen Crazy

Have you missed me? Huh? Yeah, I knew you would!

So where have I been? What have I been up to? What could possibly keep me from visiting my dear bloggy friends?

We call it Kaizen and it was…um…fun. Oh, wait, management doesn’t read this! It was long, stressful and frustrating. A whole week of hashing out our current processes to see where we are wasting time and eliminate that waste. I definitely won’t be boring you with those details.

All in all, I’m satisfied – mostly with being DONE with the whole thing – but also because I was actually HEARD. I said, “Well, what about this?” and people actually said, “Yeah, that’s a great idea! Let’s do it!” Instead of the usual, “Yeah, sure, whatever, we’ll see.” It feels SO great to have your ideas not only recognized, but implemented as well.

And now that it’s all over – I don’t even hate the facilitator anymore. She’s an energetic Canadian girl – probably my age. She didn’t really start getting on my nerves until Day 2. When she not only made us stay 12 hours but was a bitch to boot. I declared Tuesday night I wouldn’t be back. I did go back, of course, and got an apology AND was not made to do any of the ridiculous consequences any of the times I was late. Yay for me. I teetered on kind of liking her and wanting to bitch slap her all week. But now, I just want her to go home to Canadia (where we teased her from being from – “What alphabet do you use in Canadia?”) and have a happy life far, far away from our meeting room.

Random notes taken out of my notebook…

“The cologne is overwhelming.” Besides me, there were 14 other people in this meeting. All men - who apparently have no control over how much cologne they use.

“I AM DEAF!” I spent AT LEAST 3 out of the 6 hours we spent walking the manufacturing floor completely oblivious to what was going on because I have a hard time hearing around machines.

“Someone should tell her.” This was written when the facilitator pulled a mini-Janet and nearly exposed her whole boob. For at least twenty minutes, she walked around the room talking – and flashing the goods waiting to finish busting out. I tried to catch her eye and signal her (I WAS the only other woman) – but once she went over the time she said we could go to break, I just let it go. Yeah, I’m a bitch like that. This statement was circled to remind me of the giant rat’s nest in the back of her head. I thought about telling her about that, too. But let it go because it was Tuesday and I hated her. She noticed it YESTERDAY (thanks for coming, don’t bother showering, though!).

As you may be able to tell, it’s been a long week. My work is backed up. My family misses me (aww!). And I am extremely grateful to be done with the whole she-bang.

Next week we will return with our regularly scheduled blogging.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Green Challenge

Time again for the Green Butrfly Award!

I’ve gotten some great suggestions from you guys! I’m working on checking them all out. But in the meantime, here’s what I’ve found.

The award goes to…

Nestle’s Pure Life water is the water I normally buy. It’s fairly cheap ($3.88/case at Wal-Mart) and they have a “Save the Label” program for schools. I mentioned in the first Green Challenge that getting rid of my water bottle habit is going to be the hardest thing for me. Kelly sent a GREAT suggestion for a water bottle - which I will totally try next time I have something to order from Amazon - but I haven’t gotten it yet. Until I have the opportunity to try that out, Pure Life has found a way to ease my guilt just a little more. They started using 30% less plastic! How do they do it? I don’t know! But that means I’m saving almost a whole bottle a day! It may not change the world, but it’s definitely innovative and a lot more eco-friendly.

The runner up is Annie Chun’s Express Noodle Bowls. This suggestion came from Cherann. The great thing about them is that the bowls are made from biodegradable material. So I wasn’t guilted into washing out the container to recycle (try doing it with lasagna, it’s Fuuuuun!). However, the seasoning, noodles and sauce all came in their own wrappers, and the package itself was wrapped in plastic wrap. That seems kind of counter-productive to me to use that much packaging when your main package is so friendly.

The noodles themselves were alright. I wasn’t fond of the Szechuan kind - but I may not have let it cook long enough. The chow mein would have been a lot better with some veggies thrown in and less sauce (the instructions tell you to add to taste - I used a little with the first kind and a lot with the second - next time, I’ll try to go medium).

They are definitely worth a try - especially for something you can just leave at the office or something.

An honorable mention - because it’s not really eco-friendly but I really want to share it with you - is Peanut Butter & Co’s Dark Chocolate Dreams Natural Peanut Butter. (Hey! It’s ‘natural’ and recyclable!) This stuff is just heavenly. It has LESS calories than JIF (my normal brand) - but costs much more. At my Wal-Mart, it was about $3.00 for a small sized jar (much cheaper than their webstore sells it for!). Try it. But don’t blame me when you eat the whole jar by itself.

Give these products a try and don’t forget to send me your suggestions!

Monday, July 9, 2007

I just can't hang.

Or so I learned this weekend.

(Note to self: Next time you PLAN to drink, PLAN to drink LESS.)
And because the blogger symbol suddenly disappeared when I was ready to link the slide show, please click HERE to view.

Happy Monday, my peeps.

Friday, July 6, 2007

The Proverbial Glass

How do you look at life? Are you a ‘glass is still half full” kind of person? A “glass is half empty” person? Or are you a “Who the hell drank my water again?” kind of person?

I’ve always considered myself a realist. I don’t look for ways to improve things. I try not to dwell on the bad. I look at What Is and deal with it appropriately.

Or, at least, I used to.

I’ve really been having a tough time lately. I don’t know if I’m MORE depressed now than I have been in the past…or if it just feels less justified now. It has been a year and nine months. I should be getting back to *normal* by now. Not that I’m always sad – I have plenty of good days. But sometimes, it just doesn’t take much to send me into my dark mood. For example, someone who used to read my blog, I’m not sure if she still does, lost her baby. I didn’t know it for a month. When I found out, I cried. And then when I got home, I cried some more. I have to ask myself “Why?” Why do I feel so involved in the sorrow of someone whom I’ve never met? I think a lot of it has to do with knowing how much it hurts. Knowing how she must feel. And the feelings all come flooding back. I can’t work. I can’t interact with my family. I think that I crossed a line somewhere between empathy and just plain unhealthiness. It’s completely normal to feel sorrow for someone – but not to stop your life because the pain seems like it’s too much to bear. It’s not even my pain, but a reminder of it.

I dwell on it. I let it consume me. I let it dictate my life. I let it define me. I let hover over me and take away my happiness. I get wrapped up in the sadness and let it envelope me and smother me. And I don’t want to anymore. I don’t want to be unhappy anymore.

I have to get the sadness out of my life. I have to stop inviting it into my home. Now, I don’t mean that I’m going to ignore when my friends (or acquaintances, co-workers, family) are in pain. I don’t mean that at all. That’s the NORMAL kind of sorrow that we really all need to be able to deal with.

But it’s time for some changes.

I already stopped watching horror movies a long time ago. I have seen so much REAL death in my life – I don’t ever want to see it again – Especially gratuitous death and gore.

But then, every night I watch the news and it makes me cry. Every night someone’s teenager is shot in the city or a baby is found in the river or a teacher is accused of sexual abuse. There’s a war in which people’s children are dying every day. EVERY DAMN DAY. I just can’t take it anymore. So news – as much as I love to yell at your weather people – you’re done for a while. No nightly news at all.

There are the indulgent websites. You know the ones. The addictive, scandalous kind. Where you hear about hundreds – if not thousands – of women hate their husbands. Or husbands who hate their wives. Or the worst – moms who hate their kids. I got involved for a while – but no more. No more entertaining myself with other people’s problems and shortcomings. These sites are fun for some, but they just have too much hate and sadness for my life right now.

Then there are the Internet Throw Downs. What actually spurred these changes (I’m slow) was an argument that ensued at Suburban Turmoil a while back. Lindsay said something to the effect of “I don’t think being a SAHM mom is as hard as being a WOHM mom.” That angered some SAHM’s who don’t think their job is very easy and they said some things. Things which I felt I needed to clarify for them – like the misconception that it’s fun for me to drive two hours a day to spend ten hours with people I really dislike doing a pretty thankless job. But in my “edjumakating” them – I ended up making it very personal and it got into a war of “Who’s life is harder?” Probably three days into it, someone made a comment to the effect of “Is this a contest or something?” And I opened my eyes. I’ve never thought that SAHM’s had it “easy” – I would sure like to be one – but only because I think I would enjoy that job much more than this one. (It does not, however, PAY as well as this one – monetarily, of course.) And there I was, trying to PROVE to these STRANGERS that my life is SOOOO hard. And I felt STUPID, because really, it isn’t. I may not LOVE my job and I may REALLY hate driving here – but that doesn’t mean my life sucks. I spend so much of my free time dwelling on what’s wrong that I don’t get to enjoy the good things.

I think about my mom at my age. When she was 25, she had three kids: 11, 9 and 8. She had to leave us home alone so she could work all day. She sometimes got food stamps to feed us. She was battling alcoholism. We rented all the time - she moved us from place to place – maybe because of money, maybe because of her own demons. A couple times, she bought houses only to have them foreclosed on when she could no longer afford them.

Her life must have been HARD. The Man and I make most of our bills on time. Sometimes things are tight. Sometimes we have a little extra cash to blow. The kids are healthy and we have stable jobs. Jobs, which I might add, that let us get away with a lot. I may not consider this job an ‘escape’ – as I often would like to escape from here – but it’s a pretty cushy job. And they leave me an awful lot of room for slack.

The Man is very guilty of missing the silver lining. He spends most of his time dreaming about what we don’t have and moaning about what we do. We had a long conversation last week and I brought it up to him. “What good is the future if you can’t be happy in the present?” And since that conversation, he’s been (just a little) less reluctant to get out of bed in the morning. He’s been trying hard to be happy with the time we get and stopped complaining (mostly) about the time we don’t get.

I realize this post is getting lengthy and losing focus, so let me reiterate: It’s time to get happy. It’s time to work when work needs to be done and play when the opportunity arises. It’s time to love going home instead of hating to come to work. It’s time to live it up on the weekends and work hard during the week. It’s time to get over the martyr syndrome and accept a little help. It’s time to stop inviting the sadness into my life and start spreading happiness to others. It’s time to stop bitching about everyone else drinking my water and just go fill the cup up myself.

It’s going to take practice, not inviting this stuff into my world, but I think I can do it. And I think it will do both my family and me a lot of good.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Monday, July 2, 2007

The Coolest Monday EVER.

I’d love to tell you all about my weekend, what with all the yard work we did, but that will just have to wait (until yard work becomes interesting) - because I have something to tell you!

You know this post? The one I’m ALWAYS talking about? (I know!) Well, it got some more lovin’ today. The Aweseomest Awesome Person EVER, Brillig, gave me a Perfect Post Award for it. I’m so overcome with joy I can’t even pretend like I’m not. Deep, huh?

Thank you, Brillig! Your readership alone means the moon and the stars to me and here you are telling me YOU LOVE ME, too! (Don’t lie, dear, I know you’re thinking it!)

(Psst…Brill also received a PPA for her “Final Chad” post, but you have to read them all, which you should do.)

And did you know that I rock? Yep, I do! Kelly tagged me for the Rockin’ Girl Blogger meme or button or whatever you want to call it. She was very sweet about it! Most of us know that I tend to murder memes, right? Well, it’s taken me nearly a week to complete this, and in that time, most of these girls (or women, as Kelly would prefer) have gotten tagged, done their job and moved on. If you want to play along, then the rules are to nominate ten girls who blog and rock. If you don’t want to play, or already did – just know that I think you totally rock.

Since most of these ladies make a lot of lists here in The Garden, I've linked to specific posts that make me think they rock. You should check them out.

Casey from Moosh in Indy
Worker Mommy
Walking Kateastrophe
Confessions of a Former Bookworm
hello insomnia
Chesca at skindiving

Rock on, mah rocking blogger chicks. For you rock my world more than you’ll ever know.

As for Makeover Monday, we’ll just say I’m keeping the same goals and I’m doing alright with the last ones…better recap next week!

***Tuesday Update: Ninja Boy is sick today, so I have to run him over to my moms...and then I'll be late for work...and won't have time to blog. But, OMG! Guess what!? Yesterday got even better with a hefty raise from the Bossman - AND I was TOTALLY hit on while on my way home. (Totally.) It was a good day. A good day indeed. Now today, I get to play "Will he throw up in my backseat?" then...I get to call Scari and tell her she can't pick the kids up. Whoo-hoo! I'm going to use the good from yesterday and try to spread it around the rest of my week. That should get me through the sucky parts (like Sunshine crying that NB gets to go to grandma's and she HAAAATES going to the park) Ahh...I'm off, my peeps. Hope you have a great day!!