Thursday, September 25, 2008

Rain.

We needed it desperately.

And today we got it.

Our weather has been rainy since about 10:00 this morning, and I love it! We needed this so much, although it's too little too late for most of the area farms. Could be good news for our 40 acres of lima beans though!

Thank you, rain.

I just wish I didn't need to go grocery shopping. No fun in the rain.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

the other sister

I have written a little bit about my (littlest most little?) youngest sister (age 17), but not too much about my younger (in the middle) sister(age 21). I am remedying that problem today.

Photobucket

I know, she looks so innocent.

She's currently a few hours from home, studying to be a CSI (no, really) at a small college that she loves. I wish I had some cute little story to tell about her as an introduction, but nothing is coming to mind that has happened recently. So I thought I'd do a quick list.

Twenty random quirks/personality traits/things that make her tick:

She has the best dry humor.

Never afraid to let anyone know where she stands.

Truly does not care what anyone else thinks.

Super smart. Bio-major smart, people.

Does not share well. OK, maybe I don't LOVE this about her, but it makes me laugh and is definitely a part of her personality.

Would do anything for her friends. I am always so impressed with how tight she and her friends are. I have a few close friends, but she has friends coming out the wazoo.

Timid until you get to know her.

Never calls me. I always have to call her.

Likes hugs.

Hasn't drank any soda in over five years. Clearly she has never felt the addictive power of Coca-Cola. (I'm barely hanging in there, by the way.)

She has gorgeous curly hair. No one else in our family does. I'm so envious.

Was a college cheerleader.

Photobucket

Photobucket
Note: I have no idea where she is in these pictures.

She and my youngest sister still fight like they are ten years old. It cracks me up. And drives my mom crazy because they both still live with her, although middle sister is only there during the summer and some weekends.

She met her boyfriend while working at a seafood restaurant.

Completely unorganized, a trait she clearly inherited from our mother. Youngest sister and I are more the type to arrange our closets by color (and actually, I do).

Definitely not a morning person.

Great with kids. She's also great with people her own age. I cannot recall ever knowing someone who didn't like her. If the CSI thing doesn't work out, she would make a fabulous kindergarten teacher. (Totally off-topic, but it amazes me how many people spell kindergarten incorrectly - you grow things in a garden, kids go to kindergarten. Same thing with "congratulations." I especially love seeing "Congradulations Graduate!" Oddly enough, you hardly ever see it shortened to "congrads." Hmm. . .)

Back to my sister -

When I got married, she put pictures up on her Facebook page. Including the one of me in my underwear, getting reading to step into my dress. When I asked her to take it down, she says, "Oh, I didn't think about it." Uh, thanks. Glad everyone got to see my panties.

She loves to read.

Like me, she loves to shop and get a bargain. She must have over 50 pairs of shoes that cost her $10 or less. Pretty impressive.


So that's the 411 (wow, haven't used that term in a while) on my middle sister.
I am definitely thankful for her. She rocks.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Love online shopping.



I love that there are so many options available to me with the click of a mouse, and I can literally order anything I can dream of over the web. There are items I would never be able to find in my relatively rural area that are suddenly easily obtainable.

My favorite thing about shopping online is the online reviews that other customers leave. Since I usually base most of my buying decisions on "touchable" quality, it is reassuring to find out what other customers liked/disliked about a product and how well it is represented in the online store. Many times, it has been the customer reviews that have convinced me to buy one product over another.

I dislike shipping costs. This is probably pretty universal, and while I totally understand that companies have to charge shipping, if I can avoid it, I will. A lot of my favorite stamping/scrapbooking sites offer free shipping with a certain dollar amount of merchandise, which I try to take advantage of when I can. I also like Wal-mart's "Ship to Store" policy. You can order online (great for items that they don't carry in the stores), and then pick it up in the store 7-10 days later, with no charge for shipping! I realize this is a way for them to get people into the store to buy more stuff, but it works great for me! I go to Wal-mart at least every two weeks for groceries, so I can combine trips, actually saving money.

Right now I'm thinking of buying these stools from walmart.com:

Photobucket

I have a small area behind my kitchen counter where we have always planned to put stools, but I just haven't gotten around to it. I love high backed stools like these but space is pretty limited, so I think my choice will be a better fit. I like that they aren't the plain round stools that I have seen over and over again. I wanted something a little different, but not something that would instantly draw my eye. I don't want my stools to be the focus of my entire kitchen.

The only decision I have left is whether to buy 2 or 3. I think I will probably start with 2 and see how it looks. I can always order another, because I won't feel bad about the shipping!


Goal notes: I am doing really well. The only item that trips me up is taking a multi-vitamin. I can remember at work, but I forget to take it at home. The soda thing is still really hard, but I am getting a little better. Wearing my little sister's jeans on Saturday really motivated me. If we start wearing the same size, that opens up a whole world of wardrobe choices for me!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Company Car

So thankful to have a job that includes a company car. No gas bill for me!

I had to take my car to the shop for an oil change today, and I was thinking about how lucky I am to not have this expense right now. No gas, no car payments, and no maintenance responsibility. The only thing I pay for is a car wash, though I really think my company is willing to pay for that too.

But that would just be greedy.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Today I was thankful that I could relax. Things have been going pretty smoothly here lately. Today, I really didn't have anything to do! I worked on some cards, vacuumed, and did laundry. Oh, and took a nap (which was quite lovely until Middle Sister called and interrupted).

We had a lot of fun last night at my little cousin's b-day party. Got to roast marshmallows, which is one of my favorite fall treats. I love to light them on fire until they are crispy and black. Delicious.

Had dinner tonight with my mother-in-law and brother-in-law. Homemade chili, another fall favorite, made with peppers from our garden this year.

She loved the card. Interview is on Wednesday, so wish her luck!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Diets & Exercise

Grateful:

Tonight I fit into my 17-year-old sister's jeans. Something must be working! (I sincerely hope it's not the "no soda" thing, because that is killing me. But I did go the entire week!!).

Friday, September 19, 2008

When opportunity knocks . . .

. . . kick the door down.

My mother-in-law has an interview next week for a full-time job with a great organization. Although she has been working almost full-time for well over a year now (30+ hours a week), this will be the first full-time job she has had in a long time. She's been waiting for this particular job to open for about a year now, and I want to wish her the best of luck. This would be a great position for her, and I have a really good feeling about it. I'm going to leave this in her mailbox Monday morning:

Photobucket

(I totally CASED this from stampztoomuch on SCS)

I'm thankful for new opportunities today. As I mentioned yesterday, I was offered the opportunity to work with a wonderful company last year. At the time, I was pretty happy with my current position. I had just been promoted, and things were looking up for me. When a friend of the family called last June, I wasn't sure if I was interested or not. My husband and I talked about all the pros & cons, and we decided I should send a resume in, "just in case."

Well, within a few months, I was frustrated, stress, and not seeing anywhere near the earning potential in my current job that I was expecting. I was actually making less than I did before the promotion, and we were very worried that the spiral would continue downward.

So when I was called in August for an interview for the new position, I was super excited. I ended up with the job (obviously), and learned a great lesson. Even though I was content at the time, it was important to look at the big picture and take a chance on a new opportunity. Instead of being in an incredibly stressful environment, working long hours for little reward, I am in a position where I am able to help others and really have a potential to learn and grow.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Financial Stability

I'm often grateful that my husband and I are financially stable. We both have good jobs with very secure companies in secure industries. We have a mortgage, but it's reasonable (and fixed for the full term). We have a car payment and other bills, but we both have good money sense and stay on top of and ahead of our current liabilities.


We also live within our means, and have no desire to do otherwise. So many people get into financial trouble because they live for the instant gratification that a new car or a bigger house can bring, but we are satisfied with what we have, and I am thankful that we share that mindset.

With the current economic conditions, I think it's important to recognize that individuals need to take a little more responsibility for their own finances, and not expect someone to fix their problems for them. I have never felt entitled to anything, and for me the true satisfaction comes when I have earned something.


I'm thankful that I can look at the stock market and think, wow, that sucks, but know that my investments (what few there are so far) are diversified enough to give me a sense of security.


I'm extremely thankful that I no longer work in the housing industry selling new homes! Our situation would be totally different if that were the case, so I suppose I am also grateful that a family friend thought of me when a job opened in her company last fall.






On a lighter note, I have not had a Coke for 5 days and it is driving me up the wall. Seriously, I can taste that bubbly, carbonated goodness on the tip of my tongue. Every time I go into the break room, I have to tell myself that surely I am stronger than that little red can. To keep myself distracted, I must have drank 10 full glasses of water today. I have to pee about once every 45 minutes.





Photobucket



I miss you Coca-Cola. But I gotta be strong.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I love a good bargain.

Today I am thankful for coupons, sales, and bargains. Whenever I get a good deal on an item, I feel like I've won the jackpot.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hobbies

Grateful for hobbies.

My husband has insisted for years that I needed a hobby. I was always super-involved in school - cheerleading and FFA in high school, coaching and sorority in college - and to be honest, I was relieved to lighten up a little when I finished school and we got married.

He has tons of hobbies - farming, hunting, fishing, etc. He believes that doing something you enjoy is a great way to relieve stress. I agree, but couldn't really find something on which to focus my energies.

In steps my MIL, who introduces me to the world of stamping and cardmaking. I was extrememly reluctant at first, believing that I lacked the creative gene. She convinced me to come to a holiday card-making party with some other in-laws last October. I came, announcing that I was just there to be helpful to whoever needed it. Before I knew it, I was going home with over 15 cards to send out, thinking, "What just happened here?" I had so much fun that I attending two more "stamping parties" and was hooked. I have since been immersed in the world of scrapbooking and stamping, joining some awesome online communities. I am just in awe of the creative genious that exists right at my fingertips, via the internet.

I love all the possibilities this hobby has opened up for me. I feel like I can view myself as a semi-creative person, which is a huge deal for me. I also love that it is allowed (and even encouraged) in the stamping/scrapping world to steal and build on other ideas. Here's a scrapbook layout I recently completed that I completely "borrowed" from another scrapper ( who is much more talented than me) on Coordinates Collections. I love not having to reinvent the wheel everytime, and being able to learn from others.

Photobucket

In other news, I completed all but one of my daily goals yesterday. I forgot my multivitamin, so I need to come up with a system to remember to take it. I might put a few vitamins in a small case to carry in my purse. My "bag" is so full and heavy already, one more thing shouldn't hurt!

Also, the dentist went fairly well yesterday. My regular dentist really does quite a bit to try and alleviate my anxiety, which makes the whole experience less nerve-wracking for me. He's also pretty quick, which helps a lot!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Mocha half-caff skim with no whip

Well, not exactly.

Today I am super thankful for coffee. More specifically, Dunkin' Donuts Hazelnut coffee. There is really no other coffee that can compare. (I love you, Dunkin' Donuts.)

And it has to be bought in the bag at Dunkin' Donuts, but made at home. When you buy a cup at the store (restaurant?) they use regular coffee and add a flavor syrup. It's just not the same.

Photobucket
Also, it tastes better at the office than at home. Interesting.

Regardless, two cups of DD Hazelnut coffee with Splenda and fat-free French Vanilla creamer really makes my day. I feel like I need that little burst in order to focus in the morning. Seriously, ask anyone who has called me at 8:15 on a Monday.

I need it the most on Mondays, when I am super tired from the weekend. Sometimes two cups is just not enough, and I need a third. Actually, it's kind of scary how much caffeine I put into my body on a weekly basis. Writing this down has made me feel a little bit like a junkie. Good thing I'm cutting out soda.

Speaking of my challenge, I have been doing well so far. I completed all five of my goals yesterday, and am already one down for today. Off to a good start, I guess.

My extra special goal for today is to get through my dentist visit with out any new catastrophes. I have a cavity filling today with my regular dentist, but don't worry, I have some meds for the appointment to keep me nice and relaxed. Plus Novacaine, which makes my entire face numb for about five hours. Totally fine, because my pain tolerance is about the same as my tolerance for talking about needles.
Pretty minimal.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Grateful...

Today I am grateful that my husband let me sleep in.

Living in the now.

I've been doing some thinking about my worries and concerns and stress, and I think I've come to an important conclusion. Some bad things have happened, but I can't change them. Nothing I do will change the past, and I can't affect other people's presents. I need to learn to let go and focus on my life and what I can do in my own life.



I also want to stop worrying so much about my future and what part my father will or will not play in it. I need to stop comparing what I thought my future would be like to what it realistically will be like. Again, there are things I can't change.



Letting go is going to be hard for me. I like to be in control and I like to have solutions for problems. But there are some things too big for me to fix. And there are other things that can't be fixed, period. No amount of wishing or worrying will change the situation.



So I am focusing on me and my life. Learning to appreciate what is good right now, and realizing that I have a lot to be grateful for. I live a good life.



I want to let go of the negative. I feel that there are some chapters in my life that I am finally ready to close, or at least begin closing. It will take some time, but I know I need to move forward. I want to move forward.



I am living in the now, focusing on all the good parts of my life. Not breaking down over events in the past, or driving myself crazy worrying about the future. All I can do is live my life the best way I can, right now. In the now.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

September 13, 2008

Photobucket

Today I'm grateful for my sisters and little surprises.



My youngest sister is currently on a school trip in Massachusetts. I normally don't hear from her unless I call her, mostly because she's 17 and has more important things to do than call her big sis.







But today, out of the blue, she calls to find out if I would like her to pick up something for me on her trip. So sweet, right? She is at the age where she can be thoughtless, selfish, and completely unbearable. But then she does something like call because she was thinking about me, and I know that she's going to turn out alright. We're all three going to be alright, despite some trying times right now. We are slowly learning to play the hand we have been dealt and living our lives for ourselves.







Makes me feel good about family.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I like a challenge.

I am participating in a goal challenge with my fitness club. We each picked five small goals that could be reached daily. The program runs for three weeks, the average time it takes to make something a habit. The official start is Sunday, but I want to psyche myself up a little first! I think that this might be just the kick I need, as I have been feeling kind of blah lately about some things in my life.

My five goals are:

1-No soda! I love Coke, so this one is going to be tricky, but I know I can do it! One of the suggestions at the club was to limit caffeine, but there is just no way I am getting through the workday without at least one cup of coffee. So for now, just no soda.

2-Walk or run half a mile daily. This one should be easy. My driveway is just over a quarter mile long, so I will start walking to get the mail everyday instead of stopping in my car on my way home from work. I am in no way a runner, so I am going to have to build up to this part of the goal.

3-Straighten my kitchen and living room. I’m fairly neat, but sometimes I let things pile up on the counter or couch. I will make sure that all the blankets are folded, pillows are on the couch, and folded clothes are taken to the bedroom to keep the living room neat. In the kitchen, I will clear the counters every night and make sure the floor stays swept.

4-Take a multi-vitamin. Easy-peasy.

5-Find something new everyday for which I am thankful. I really want to appreciate all the good in my life, and this is definitely my favorite goal. To keep me honest, I am going to try and post everyday regarding my appreciation for something in my little world. I have decided it can be something serious or silly, just anything that gets me through my day, especially those items I normally take for granted.

Might as well start today!

Today I am grateful for soap operas. Watching The Young & The Restless during my lunch break provides me with a great escape from my own problems. I look at some of the fictional issues the writers dream up, and the stories make my own life seem incredibly manageable in comparison. Plus, they’re fun to watch.

OK, wish me luck on the rest of my goals!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Dazed & Confused: A Story of Perpetual Lateness

I am habitually late.

This might be hereditary, as my mother never seems to be anywhere on time, either. It just seems that no matter how hard I try, I cannot get to places on time (or, Lord forbid, early).

I was thinking the other day about all the reasons I am punctually-challenged, and I came up with a plethora of factors for my lateness:

I tend to think it takes less time to drive somewhere than it actually does. If it really takes half an hour to drive to my hair appointment, I am sure that last time I got there in twenty-five minutes.

I forget that "grabbing stuff as I run out the door" takes time. I need to pack my lunch, can't find my shoes/purse/sunglasses, or really need to throw a load of laundry in the washer. How can it possibly be 7:25 in my bedroom and 7:33 by the time I get in the car?

I love to sleep. Five more minutes will most assuredly turn into twenty.

I also have a deep-seated fear of being the first person to arrive. Being early and having to make small talk with strangers at an event makes me nervous. I prefer to slip in right as the presentation or dinner starts. I'm beginning to think I'm a little anti-social.

Today, I was able to add one more item to my "ways to justify my tardiness" list.

I apparently do not always pay attention when I'm driving.

Now, I do pay attention to the road. If a deer ran out in front of me, I would be able to slam on my brakes in time. No, my issue is that I get into a zone, and I just drive.

This morning, as I was driving to work, I slipped out of my zone and thought, "Where the heck am I?"

Nothing on the side of the road looked familiar. I wasn't sure when I had turned (or hadn't turned) or what street I was currently driving down, but I knew with absolute certainty that this was not my usual route. I kept driving for a few minutes to find a road sign, figuring that I could just find an alternate course.

No such luck. I recognized the road I was on, but had no idea which direction I was travelling. In hindsight, I realize I was heading east, toward the sun, but that thought really did not cross my mind even once in my state of stupidity.

I turned around, drove for four miles (yes, it actually took me four miles before I realized that I wasn't driving to work) and finally figured out where I made my error.

I made a left turn instead of a right. Why? No clue. Especially as this was a side of the road I had never turned down, and would have no reason to. It's not as if I started to go one place and my muscle memory took me somewhere else.

Sometimes I am actually embarrassed for myself. I frequently tell people that my brain doesn't really work until after nine o'clock or a cup of coffee, and clearly I know myself pretty well.

The ironic part? If not for my detour, I would have been on time this morning. Figures.

Sometimes the road less traveled should remain so.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

September 9, 2008

Yesterday was sort of traumatic.

I am extremely squeamish when it comes to the dentist, needles, and (apparently) the prospect of surgery. I frequently feel dizzy and anxious when it comes to these topics. My dentist even has to prescribe an anti-anxiety medicine for me when I have a cleaning.

On to the trauma . . .

Yesterday I had a “consultation” with an oral surgeon to talk about having my wisdom teeth removed. I am very nervous about the prospect of surgery, as I have never had to have anesthesia, and am, in general, skittish about the idea. I knew this going in to the office, and explained as much to the hygienist and the doctor. I did not realize how anxious I actually was until later.

The hygienist gave me some information to read about the surgery while I waited for my doctor to come speak with me. I started feeling a little queasy right around this point. The room felt a little warm, my mouth was dry, and I wanted a can of Coke so badly I could taste the carbonation. I stopped reading, turned the paper face down, and tried to think of something else. Of course, I couldn’t, because I’m in a dentist chair, looking at pictures of teeth on the wall.

Still, I persevered! When the dentist/oral surgeon spoke with me about the surgery, I tried my best to remain calm. Even when he explained how they would give me an IV, and how I would probably be “in & out” and could possibly wake up during the surgery, I truly tried my best to focus and look him in the eyes. I fought my dizziness and ignored the fact that he seemed to be just a little out of focus.

Next, the hygienist came back in to take me for a panoramic x-ray of my teeth. Still dizzy, but extremely glad to be out of that tiny room full of instruments, I followed her down the hall to the x-ray room. For a panoramic x-ray, you stand up and bite down on a little piece of plastic while the machine actually circles your head. I have had this done before, with absolutely no problem whatsoever.

So I bit down and she started this machine. All of a sudden, my dizziness was back full force. I remember thinking to myself, “OK, almost done, then I can sit down. Almost over. Hang on.”

Next thing I know, I’m waking up, and I feel carpet beneath my hands. Huh, I don’t remember lying down on the floor. My first thought was, “What the hell?” Actually, those were my first words, too. Obviously my internal brain-to-mouth censor needs a reboot period after I faint. Yep, I fainted. This is a historic first for me. I’ve come close before, but have never actually fallen and hit the ground.

This is a good time to point out that the hygienist helping me was about 5 feet tall and all of 115 pounds soaking wet. How she managed to catch me, I have no idea. After telling me what happened, she says, “Good thing you weren’t 6’3” and 185 pounds, or we would have both gone down!” She’s super cheerful too, as if it’s totally ok that I just blacked out during an x-ray.

She slowly sits me up, and asks how I feel. My answer?

“Uh, kind of stupid.”

Still waiting on that censor.

Truly, I felt a little better after “the incident,” as I plan to call it. I was embarrassed, but apparently, this is a weekly occurrence at the oral surgeon’s office. That’s right, once a week, someone faints/blacks out at this office. FYI to the hygienist, this information does nothing to make me feel better about my situation. Neither did the dentist telling me, “It’s just all in your head.”

Really? I wasn’t aware. So all this time I’ve just been playing some mind game with myself? Funny, the physical signs of dizziness, sweating, and, uh, FAINTING say otherwise. Yes, I realize that the anxiety is based on a mental perception of the dentist, but don’t you think I would stop it if I could? I tried not to think about the needles, and the anesthesia, and the surgery, but I failed. Miserably, apparently.

Long story short, I was totally embarrassed.

But my surgeon prescribed some really good meds for next month, when I actually have the surgery.