Saturday, December 1, 2012

Polar Express recap (Pic Heavy)


On Nov. 29 I took my Hail, Raph, Amber, and Brooklyn to ride the Polar Express train at Mt. Hood Railroad. For the price of the tickets, it wasn't really that fantastic. It was overall a fun experience but not something that I would repeat.

The train ride itself was very short. A total of 45 minutes from start to finish, the train went straight forward then backed up to the depot. The dancing chefs in the movie all seemed to be wisened old cooks singing, dancing, and serving up some creamy, delicious hot chocolate, instead they were mostly teenagers in stained uniforms. The hot chocolate that was served to guests was lukewarm and far from creamy as it was made with water.

The train was decorated nicely and smelled of Christmas with its fresh garlands, bells, red velvet bows and lights. The lights inside were rather bright, however, so it was nearly impossible to see outside when we pulled up to the "North Pole" where the toy factory, Santa's house, and the caribou supposedly were. Hobo Jo, the hobo that lives on top of the Polar express was funny and engaging with the kids attempting to get them to trade him cookies for odds and ends that a vagabond would have. 
 The best part of the whole tour was Santa. His elves were cute and dressed appropriately although some where rather tall. His suit was a nice red and had no odd smells like some mall Santas do. His beard was real which is always a nice surprise over the overly fake snow white beard that is common. Santa was very cheery and nice and didn't attempt to make my scared two-year-old sit on his lap but instead simply gave him his "magic" sleigh bell, pat him on the back, tell him "Merry Christmas" and walked away. As a mom, that is always greatly appreciated.


The souvenir station wasn't that expensive overall. I purchased my son a color book with the Polar Express for $1 and a giant coffee mug that holds 1/3 of the pot in each cup for only $10. It's the best coffee mug any caffeine needing parent can have.

Overall, the experience was fun, but not something that I would pay to do again. The price of the tickets were not worth a two hour drive to sit on a train for a 45 minutes.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Polar Express is coming to Mt. Hood Railroads in Portland



All Aboard! The Polar Express comes to life this holiday season as the Mount Hood Railroad rolls out of the station bound for the "North Pole!" Come early and climb aboard with your family to cozy-up and enjoy our festively-decorated vintage train cars. Dancing chefs deliver hot chocolate and a cookie to each guest to savor while music from the Polar Express movie plays en route to the North Pole. Make sure to have your tickets handy, because your conductor will be by shortly to punch each child's ticket. Before arriving at the North Pole, the iconic book, The Polar Express is read as your Chef turns the pages to share the beautiful illustrations in the original book. With the station far away, The Polar Express magically arrives at the outskirts of Santa's North Pole village, where Santa Claus himself and his elves joyously welcome the train! As you stay comfortably settled and warm in your seat, Santa and his helper elf board the train! During the return trip, Santa will greet each child with his signature holiday spirit and the first gift of Christmas: a bell cut from his sleigh. It is said that only children and those who still believe can actually hear the bell ring. Join in the singing as your Chef or Conductor lead Christmas caroling on the 30-minute return trip. For those wanting the magic to last or to do a little Christmas shopping, visit our gift shop in the station for special Polar Express gifts and merchandise. Oh, one last thing, children are encouraged to wear their PJ's; adults who still believe have been known to wear them, too! So, are you coming? All Aboard!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=54qaBMUF1TI

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Adios Portland!

Well, things are about to get crazy here. I probably won't be around near as much as I usually am. Our little family is going to make a big change-- and I think that it will be for the better. We are going to be moving to New Orleans in September. Raph has accepted a position working on the oil rigs down there and we are all moving. I think this is going to be the fresh start that our little family has needed for a long time. Not only are there job opportunities down there that we simply don't have in Portland, but educational opportunities for Hail and a cheaper lifestyle. Everything is incredibly cheap down there. We have found beautiful houses that are hundreds of square feet larger than the apartment we rent for the same price. Absolutely crazy. Wish us luck! it will be a journey.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

50 Book Challenge- Book 14- Water for Elephants

For those that haven't read this book, you need to. I thought this book was absolutely amazing. After Jacob's parents are killed in a car accident, he finds out that his dad's veterinary practice he has been going to school to join is so broke that the bank owns it and the house. Left with nothing, Jacob joins the Benzini Brother's Most Spectacular Show in the World circus train and begins traveling the country.

At first, nobody is sure of his place until they find out that he has vet experience. His first job is to kill one of the show horses that has gone lame. From there, he treats the lion with no teeth, Bobo the chimp, and then a bull elephant is purchased when another circus collapses. Everyone thinks that Rosie, the elephant is stupid until they find out that she only speaks Polish.

There is a tangled love affair between the vet, the lead performer, and the equestrian director, also her husband. There are midgets, rowdy old men, cooch girls, and a handful of other characters that are brilliant in their telling.

I loved this story, throughout the entire read, I could easily picture myself traveling on the train, in the menagerie, or eating in the grease tent. This is a fantastic tale about love, compassion, and being free. It is a fairly quick read but it will leave you wanting more. After looking it up, most of the details are based in truth and really did happen on a traveling circus in America. I won't tell you the details, but it is some fascinating stuff.

Monday, April 16, 2012

50 book challenge-Book 13- The Invisible Ring

This is the 13th book I have read for my challenge, and it is also the 4th Anne Bishop book that I have read. It is the 4th book of the Black Jewels series and I have to say, this has been my least favorite. It took me FOREVER to get through because none of the characters are the same, it was difficult to get into because it is actually a prequel that should have been the first book. The book is called the Invisible Ring and doesn't have much to do with a ring at all.

While the plot of the story was decent,it took forever to get to. It started as a story of a journey to buy slaves, then you find out that the person purchasing the slaves isn't whom she is supposed to be, and they have a spy amongst them. Unfortunately, the story isn't as exciting as I just made it sound. I hope that the next book is going to be much better. I feel that had this story started as the first in the series as I feel that it should have been, the story would have flowed better. There are suck rich characters in the main series that I missed them throughout the whole series.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Irritated

My dentist appointment went better than expected yesterday. I was hoping to get some of the dental work done that I need but they simply just did x-rays to tell me what is wrong with my teeth. I nearly laughed when they said I need braces. There is no way that I can afford that!For 10 years of not having any dental insurance, I feel that I fared pretty well. I have 13 cavities, which I expected, and I have to have one tooth (a wisdom tooth) removed because it is pushing against the rest of my lower teeth. The only problem with this is that they are going to have to take a piece of my jaw with it. Also, I have to have a deep cleaning which will be done in 4 parts because they have to numb me to scrape the calcium deposits from under my gums that are starting to solidify and swelling my gums. Overall, it's going to be 9 visits in total to have all the work done that I need. And unfortunately, the first appointment that I could get to get the work started isn't until the 20th.
Grandma's funeral is irritating me. There was a private burial for her yesterday that not even the entire family was invited to. Then her memorial service is Saturday which everyone is invited to. Why would you hold a burial and only allow a handful of people to attend, and not even the whole family? People have made this far more difficult than it needed to be.
My mom has sold her house and will be moving to Minnesota in a few short weeks. Sunday, we will be saying our goodbyes. I fell like I am having a personal funeral myself. While my mother and I may never have been super close, besides my sister and brother, she is the only family that I have left. My sister will be following her because she is attached to the hip of my mother. My little brother and I have never been close; he is 7 years younger than I am and he is autistic, so his needs have always seemingly distanced us because of the education he needed, and health problems. We are going Easter to clear out what we want from her house and hopefully have a decent visit. I feel so overwhelmed with the whole situation that, frankly, I want to curl up under a blanket and stay there until it's over. I don't like the helpless/hopeless alone feeling I have. while I really am not alone-- I have Hail and Raph (whom, since we are not married could leave whenever he chooses)I still feel it. Not to mention, I have a million things going on this month which has prompted me to be in high gear consistently, but not really have any time to do anything or feel anything I'm consistently on "go" mode.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Dreading this day

Today is the dreaded dentist. I am not looking forward to this at all. I am scared of the dentist and have been since I was a little girl. When I was 8 the dentist tried to remove my double Eye teeth and I wouldn't let him because he wasn't clear as to what he was planning on doing. Then the last time I had dental insurance, I was 15 years ago, and I found out I was allergic to Novocaine. I had to have 4 cavities filled with no medicinal help to ease the pain. I will never do that again. I am told that they do things differently now,and I hope that is true because the drilling was always something I liked least of all. That movie, The Dentist, from the mid 80s early 90s scared the crap out of me. I know that I have cavities that need to be filled and more than likely 1-2 teeth that need to be pulled. If they don't do some of the work today, then I can't honestly say the likeliness of my going back to get it does is very high. I also am not looking forward to the lecture I know I will receive. I know I shouldn't drink dark soda, and coffee but I am addicted to them. I quit smoking so I don't need that lecture but I do not floss nearly as often as I should and I haven't had insurance in so long that I am sure my teeth aren't that great. I AM RIDDLED WITH ANXIETY!!!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Happy Dance

The last couple of weeks I have been crocheting my little heart away. I have finally reached the big payout that I have always been hoping for. I don't want to hold my breath in case things don't pan out, but I was just offered the deal of a life time. A children's book author contacted me and asked if I could crochet a hat sample of his character. He is going to pay me $40 for the sample and if he likes it, he wants to make a contract to make 300 more to sell along with his book. I may be Hiring crocheters soon, I don't know. I will get my full price that I request and he will simply sell them for a little more. I AM EXCITED!!!! This is a deal of a life time to have my work accompany a book. I'm on Cloud 9 right now!
The author was shown a picture of my son wearing his Elmo hat that I finished a short while ago and thought it would be perfect and similar to the one he is wanting. I will make the hat look like anything he wants for this chance of a lifetime. This is the picture he was shown, and the Elmo hat I made my son-- don't mind the messy face, he was eating goldfish :)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I met myself yesterday

I have always known that there was another Nicole Ramage somewhere in Portland. Never in my wildest dreams would I ever think that I would meet her, until yesterday. I was in my literature class and we were asked to interview our table mate and share something interesting about them so that our instructor would be able to remember all 36 of us. It turns out that my table mate, of all the people in the world was also named Nicole Ramage, she was also 26, and had a sun that is 1.5 years old. I was blown away. We didn't look anything alike but apparently, we are doppelgangers nonetheless.
This whole week, as well as next week is over flowing with a million things I need to get done. Today it is work and grocery shopping. I really want some food in my house so that is going to be my number one mission for the day. I also really need to get some work done so that I can have money to do what I like and pay the bills. Surprisingly my page views have been phenomenal for not having worked in 3 days. I really need to get print some coloring pages for my boys to put in their Easter baskets. I helped my sister out this year with picking up Easter for my nephews. I would feel bad if they got nothing-- especially knowing the reason is because someone stole one of their cars and they paid a lot of money to have it repaired-- money that would have gone to their Easter baskets and paying rent. Luckily for them, they don't have to worry about late rent and things like that because their landlord is my sister's brother in law. Their apartment is a complete shit hole and he does nothing to care for the property or the place but they don't seem to mind.
I don't know if my sister is going to be able to bring up the boys to do Easter eggs this year, or where we would do them since I don't have a table of any kind and I'm debating on whether I want to do eggs with Hail this year if they don't come. We don't eat that many hard boiled eggs and he hates eggs and won't even touch them. While egg coloring is fun, it seems like a waste if they won't be eaten afterwards. That, and I think he might be a bit too young to really enjoy it. Who knows. I have a few more days to decide on that one. My biggest concern, worry for this week is going to do the damn dentist. I am going to be terrified and worry over it until it's done and over with. I am allergic to Novocaine so if I have to have any work done they will have to gas me or something. I'm not sure. I just know that I will need a lot of work done and I'm not sure how long it's going to take but I want to get it done. My teeth haven't been hurting so I don't imagine that I have any that are completely rotted, but I know I have a lot of cavities-- after all, I am a baker. I drink far too much caffeine and I don't floss a million times a day.
I finally cleaned out my filing cabinet yesterday too. Man, that was long over due. I had stuff in there from 2005 that I had just been packing around. I also had ex-husband's stuff in there that I no longer see fit to keep. I felt a huge pressure lift when I saw it go in the garbage-- all of it, including the old printer that apparently won't work now cuz I can't get ink for it. It's no matter, the new one that I got is also an HP so it streams with my laptop. It also is very fast and efficient, unlike the last one. Speaking of computers, I need to find a new fan for mine. It seems to be going out and it sounds like a tiny helicopter spinning around in there. I have no idea how to fix something like and whether or not it would be easy but it needs to be done. That is an annoying noise. It has been doing it far less than it was before, but I still don't like to listen to it while I work.

Monday, April 2, 2012

First day of the quarter

Today is the first day of the quarter. It has been an overwhelming day too. I finally got a printer that works. I was going to simply buy ink for the printer but I found that that wasn't possible as they discontinued the kind that I need. Go figure. I had no other choice but to get a new printer. Admittedly, when I got home, I went a little print happy. Hail wanted to see what it did so I printed him a coloring page with Elmo. Then I printed off all the patterns I had found online that I wanted to try. That was satisfying--- not having to write them all down by hand. All of my classes seem to be decent so far; however, I failed to see when I made my schedule that an English class and a writing course were going to equal a LOT OF HOMEWORK. By Wednesday alone, I have nearly 100 pages to read, and I have a paper to write and a discussion post to do.
I found out that Hail's sperm donor is in jail. I don't have any idea what I saw in him. He never treated me that great and I divorced within two years. He was already waiting on 4 felonies, and now, he's in jail for domestic violence and harassment. Good Grief!It's not my problem now. I am debating whether I should terminate his visitation as he has technically abandoned Hail since that's the way in Washington. Also, I refuse to take him to jail EVER to see his father. It's such a hard decision. Ultimately, I feel that the best for Hail would be to not allow his father to see him as his current charges are stories I know all to well.
I haven't done any work today as I have been all kinds of busy trying to get things figured out. It's gonna keep me busy these 3 classes. And to keep up with work as well, and be able to do my crafty stuff I want, I am really going to push myself to get it done. My schedule is so full this week, I have something going on every day for nearly the next two weeks. The most dreaded thing on my list is the dentist... I AM TERRIFIED OF THE DENTIST. I haven't had dental insurance since I was 15- over 11 years ago and just from looking in my own mouth, I can tell you that at minimum, I have a ton of cavities to take care of. On top of that, I am pretty sure I have at least 2 teeth that need to be removed, possibly one root canal, and in general, I don't want to listen to the lecture that I know I'm going to receive.
I really think, as it is so late that I need to take the rest of the day off, regroup and pick it up tomorrow when I don't have school. I can do this, I will do this, and I will do it well, no matter how difficult it becomes.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Say a little prayer

Well, it has been a long hard road, but Raph's grandma passed on last night. Please say a prayer for their family. I find the whole ordeal to be quite unnecessary in many aspects. She was being cared for by his aunt-- she lived in their home. When she felt that it was getting to be too much she simply stopped giving her proper care. She paid no mind to the fact that she needed a low sodium diet, which caused fluid to build up in her lungs. She wasn't eating because she knew it was going to make her sick and because she wasn't eating she was becoming delusional and wasn't sleeping. Each time this would happen, she would be placed in hospice for a week at a time where they were release her once she was doing better.
The doctors would say,"well there isn't anything we can do," instead of trying to put her on an IV and give her nourishment that way. They wanted to turn off her pace maker and let her go when her heart would stop. The woman had the worst care. Unfortunately, Raph and I couldn't care for her with a 1.5 years old and living on the 3rd story, she'd never make it up and down the stairs, she could barely walk as it was she was so frail. The overall care and treatment that she received makes me want to hurt somebody, honestly. I feel she suffered far more than was necessary. Raph's sister and mom couldn't care for as they care for their ailing grandpa who lives with them. His sisters are still in high school and his mom works 12 hour shifts. The care she needed round the clock and she wasn't getting it. She should have been put in a nursing home instead of a hospice. Had she have gotten the care she needed, she would have lived longer.
I am really surprised that Raph isn't grieving the way I would have thought. His grandma and he were really close when he was younger. Until the last couple of years he saw her daily and would go to church with her every Sunday. His theory is that there is no use getting upset about people passing on because it happens every day. While I do agree and find this to be true, I know when my grandpa died, I bawled like a baby for days. He didn't see his grandma in her final hours, but he did shed a few tears when he got the call. Then went back to playing video games and killing zombies. I suppose that we all grieve differently, and it's an important thing tool to have.
For today, my prayers go out to the Whitfield family and those that knew Emma Whitfield.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Life update

Lately, it seems that everything has been a little crazy surrounding my business ventures as well as work in general. I have changed my schedule around, work wise, so that I can spend my weekends doing something fun without being overwhelmed. This gives me time to hang out with my kiddo and perhaps do something fun, crochet, and work on other fun projects as well as spend time with my Raph. We have been doing good, although this spring weather has really put a damper on being able to go out and do anything. All the changes with work and now my blogger interface have gotten me all kinds of fuzzled. Yes, I made that up. Work is becoming more of a popularity contest than journalism. Apparently, it is the industry standard to earn barges such as "Read 5 articles," "wrote 5 articles," "logged on." Woopty Do! If you were doing your job, all those things apply anyway. Eventually, all these things are going to mean something, so I simply have to go with the flow whether I like it or not. My page views are doing phenomenal and I will have a great pay check this upcoming payday. I started using twitter this month to promote my work and now I'm being followed by Rachel Ray, Food Network, Martha Stewart, and Parenting Magazine. These are huge successes to me as they have millions of readers and my work is being shared with all those millions. I am nearly done with my first character hat. Hail will love it because it's Elmo, or Memo as he calls him. I posted the question on my FaceBook as to how much someone would be willing to pay for a hat such as this and I only got one response. I feel that I may have to do some research and find out how much others similar to it are selling for. I was thinking of selling the fuzzy ones (like this Elmo Hat) for $20 because the yarn is expensive and I can't guarantee that I will always be able to get it on sale like I did this time. So I had to estimate the cost at full price. With that being said it cost me $7.75 just to make the toddler size hat. Most all other hats are not going to be that expensive because they are not made with furry, expensive yarn. Obviously I want my price to reflect that I am not a factory and I made this from hand. I made a dentist appointment for myself and Hail. I am terrified. I haven't had dental insurance in over 10 years and I know I need work done. the extent of the work is what scares me. Ever since I was a kid, I have been scared of the dentist. When I was 12 and had to have my double canine teeth pulled, those fears were justified when I found out I was allergic to the Novocaine. NOT FUN. This will be Hail's first dentist visit and I hope that it goes well. I have a few concerns that I am hoping I will be able to be relieved of or have fixed at an early age so it doesn't become a problem. It seems, but I can't say for sure because I'm not a dentist, that Hail has a narrow upper jar like my brother and his father have. Both had to have their jaw widened and I know it was significantly more painful as adults. If possible, I would like to have it done sooner so that his teeth grow normally instead of needing to pull those and get braces too. All things I know I can't afford. School starts up again on Monday and I am excited yet not about my classes for this quarter. Classes start at 8 in the morning so Raph will have Hail until nearly 3PM Monday and Wednesday. I have almost three hours between two of my classes, but can't go home to hang out because by the time I got there, it would be time to come back to school which is simply senseless. I am taking an Intro to Fiction course, Writing 121 and a basic sociology course. I know I am going to have a lot of papers to write, so work may be limited, which is also going to severely limit my pay.I know that I will somehow be able to make it work, I am just not happy over the prospect of limiting my funds, as most people are not fans of. I'm still working on my book challenge, although the book I am reading now seems to be dragging on. It is part of a series and like most series in recent years, I read the first three books, then the fourth one is a prequel. Shouldn't that technically be the first book? I don't need back story now after I've already slogged through 3 books and figured it out just fine on my own. Most all my favorite characters are missing that I was hoping would be in those installment. Such is life I guess. I will have to punch through it and move on.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ole' Ball and Skein

Yesterday, I got to go yarn shopping and it was the most fantastic retail therapy I have had in a long time. I spent $110 on yarn. Yep, the old ball and skein. I absolutely love my local Joann store. That was the first time that I have ever walked into a store and found everything I wanted, and then some. It was so well stocked, even their sale items were fully stocked. I bought about 8 Caron one pound skeins, 4 Fun Fur, 7 Vanna White, and 25-ish super saver size of Red Heart. I use those colors more than anything and it seemed logical that I would need more of them. Most of the yarn I purchased was Red Heart-- not my favorite, but for money saving purposes, and because they have awesome colors, it was the smartest choice. I was surprised that I saved over $12 on my purchase, especially since I had no coupons, discounts or anything else. Most of what I purchased wasn't even on sale. I found some of the prettiest variegated colors that are perfect for quick hats and scarves, because Lord knows we still need them here in Portland. Like always, I left telling myself that I was absolutely, under no circumstances, not get something for Hail, but he ended up getting a small thing of diapers (lol, not from Joann's) and a couple of sweet Elmo and Cookie Monster bibs that actually cover his clothing. It seems to never fail, every time Hail and I go to Wal-Mart together, he poops. I always change him right before we leave and he still poops. There is something about the place that must make him feel at home. I usually keep a couple diapers in the car but had none left so I had to get a small pack to keep in there. Really, it wasn't a bad price-- $5.27 for 30 diapers. It is a "trial" pack but is perfect for the car. Really, what I need to do is make a little box or bag that I can keep in there that contains nothing but extra clothes, diapers, wipes, and a couple of snacks. That way I will always be prepared no matter what event is going on or where we are. Here's the new stash :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I hate my neighbors

Yesterday, Hail and Raph went and rode around on the max train for awhile so that I could clean up the house. I spent 4 hours extensively cleaning everything in my house, I even scrubbed out my bathtub, one chore I can't stand. I fished out cars from under the fridge, and I took out all the garbage and recycling that I found throughout the house. Surprisingly, when you go on a cleaning frenzy, more garbage comes around that you thought was in your house.

When I went to carry out the garbage, I found that someone had threw up on the landing between mine and the neighbor's house. I live on the third story, it is highly unlikely that a bum or some random person would be up on my level unless they were visiting me or the neighbor since they are the only two condos up here. There is also a bunch of garbage in front of the neighbor's house-- phone books, food wrappers, the tobacco from cigars, and someone wrote, in bright red, on the building. It is some sort of graffiti that I can't read but it's offensive and I don't care to look at it every time I look out my front door. I have contacted the HOA and my complaints have gone unheard. I am beyond frustrated and I really don't know what to do about it any longer.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Getting Crafty

Yesterday I decided to make the executive decision that I am no longer going to work on weekends any more. While I love my job and the topics I write about, I feel that I spend far too much time working and not enough time doing anything else. My two channels that do exceptionally well are crafts and food. While my family eats a home-cooked meal at least twice a day, I feel as if I am not getting to do enough "testing" and playing around with my crafts and food as I would like. The thing that I really miss is getting to crochet and work on my clay jewelry.

I used to have a booming business on Etsy selling my handmade items, them the arthritis set in in my wrists. For a long while I had to stop production and stop crocheting because it was too much to handle after a couple of rows. Now, I feel that I am at a point that I can manage with some Excedrin before and my wrist braces, if needed. I really want to make more hats and scarves, seeing as how, in this crappy weather they may be needed all throughout the summer months.

Yesterday, I spent my day on a pattern hunt and found exactly what I was looking for-- I was so excited, I sat down, copied the patterns all down on paper (because I still don't have any ink) and went digging in my box of colors. Unfortunately, I found that I didn't have all the colors of yarn I needed to make a single project. That was a huge bummer. Raph and I talked about it yesterday, because he knows that this is something I really wanna do and I know could make me great money, and we have decided that when we get our Oregon State taxes back, I get to spend $100 on yarn. YAY HAPPY DANCE!!!! I plan on buying one of every color I can get my hands on. I have a wide array of projects I wanna do, so I was thinking the one pounder yarn skeins would be awesome, but it's too bad they don't make them in every color. :(

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Have a case of the Sundays

Yes, you heard that right. A case of the Sundays. I think I need to quit working on weekends so that I have a time to regroup for the week. I am all caught up on my work and only have 4 articles to do this morning but I still feel rather lazy and would prefer to hang out with my little man and watch Doc McStuffins. We like to color and I also need to organize my week for spring break and what my plan of attack is going to be.

I have found that Pintrest, after all my complaining about it, has become my favorite time waster ever. I have also found it to be very useful as well. I have found several projects to do for my column which kind of makes it worth poking around. They have so many food and craft projects that I won't run out of ideas for a long while. I could literally spend hours and hours on there looking for new ideas.

On a second note, I have been trying to talk myself out of getting some plants for the back deck when I get money for school. I want something bright and colorful to cover up my view of the hoarder house. The bad thing about getting some plants is that I kill them. I have no growing prowess at all. I killed a tomato plant that I received for mother's day last year. I also killed all my herbs that I had growing last spring. Each year, my grandma gives me a fuchsia for my deck-- last spring, I killed that too. The only plant that I ever remember keeping alive is a bamboo shoot that I got for my 16th birthday. I kept it alive for 2 years until I went off to college and gave it to my brother to care for. It died then.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bummin'

Today I completely have no motivation to do any work. While it it is officially the start of my spring break, a time that I really need to sit down and work AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, I chose to do some spring cleaning instead. I cleaned out my sons toy box and man, had I have known before I started buying him toys that garbage would be more exciting I would have saved my recycling. In his toy box was a huge stockpile of straws, empty containers, pieces of paper and strings.

I got all my things ready for school so that when I starts again, all I have to do is grab my backpack and go since everything is already inside. My laundry is folded now, my dishes are clean and I was thinking of vacuuming but I can't do that until Hail is asleep. He's terrified of the vacuum.

Last night, I made spaghetti for dinner knowing full well that Hail wasn't going to eat it. His pediatrician keeps telling me that I need to continue to give him things to try, but I have had about 20 failed attempts with sketti until last night. He didn't eat the meat but he did soak up as much sauce as he could and ate all the noodles. This is the face that I ended up with when he was close to done.

Friday, March 23, 2012

50 Book challenge- Book 12- Cupcake

I can't believe I have been doing as well as I have on this book challenge. I love to read but I'm not a strong reader. Currently I am actively reading book 13 which seems super hard to believe in the end of March.

Book 12 for me was called Cupcake by Mariah Jones. This was a Kindle edition book I purchased for $0.99. I was intrigued by the title as I love cupcakes. I also really liked that the story was set in Portland, my hometown. Sadly, I quickly came to find that there was no landmark to make the story based in Portland at all.

In the beginning, I was able to easily resonate and become akin to the story as it was about an overweight female living in Portland who was perpetually on a diet to lose weight. Darcy Miller is the owner of Cupcake, a bakery. In a near robbery of her store, she gets shot because she is wearing uncomfortable underwear, the hot guy who opens up an art shop right next to her shop asks her out on a date, and she embarrasses herself at a health club in a way that only a big girl can do.

While she likes the guy that asked her out, she feels uncomfortable with him because of their size differences. Then her ex-priest ex-boyfriend comes back to town to proclaim his undying love to her. Who will Darcy choose? Will she lose the weight she so desperately wants to be rid of? Read the story to find out.

I liked this book because the story was interesting and easy to follow. I really hates that most of the story did not have any in-depth details to really pull me in. The formatting was a little off and chapters would often start at the bottom or middle of the page. The editing didn't seem to be very thorough as there was several words not capitalized that should have been, missing quotes and other issues that were a little off, making the story a little challenging to read. Overall, I give this story a B- more for grammatical issues than a story line.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Motivate me

Lately I have had no motivation for anything. Yesterday I tried to sit down and do some work. I got one article done before I decided that I wanted to test some recipes then make dinner. Because I have been procrastinating at work, I now have 14 articles I need to do which will more than likely not all be getting done today because there is no possible way for me to humanly do that.

I really want that Dragon Naturally Speaking program that will allow me to talk through my article instead of having to write them down. That is part of what trips me up and slows me down. Not only do I not type as fast as my brain thinks of the stuff, but I would much rather be playing with Hail, something I don't get to do when I have to work. I get up early to work before him, but by the time I'm done checking emails and writing my blog post, he's up and I haven't done any work yet. If I wait until he goes to bed, then I have another 2 hours to work before I start getting tired and need to go to bed. Because of school, I miss nap time to work. Although, he has started telling me that he doesn't need a nap. Then, this happens:

It's cute but exhausting. I really need a job that will pay me all day to do nothing. I thought about going into child care so that I could play with my son all day but that would require me to hang out with other people's children all day and I have found since becoming a mom that I don't like a lot of other people's children. They aren't mine, they don't listen well and I can't really discipline them so I just have to deal with bad behavior. No thank you.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I love Easter

I have always loved Easter. I'm not one of those super religious people that insists on church and christenings and things like that on Easter. Our family has always done Easter baskets, the cute bunnies, chicks, and ducks, have fun with eggs and that sort of thing. Yesterday while I was out and about, I stopped at Wal-Mart, something I should have learned a long time ago that I shouldn't be allowed to do, and picked up a few things for Hail's Easter basket.

Last year, he was too young to really care about Easter, but this year, now that he is a little bigger, kind of understands gift giving and can have a little candy, we are going all out. I found a super cute shirt that I couldn't resist picking up since he is growing like a weed and I can't keep clothes on him. Of course, a new Hot Wheel car was necessary since he is a little boy and there is nothing cooler than cars. And I picked up two movies from the $5 bin. I love that $5 bin, there are so many great movies in it that I have seen a million times over but would gladly watch a million more. He will be getting Thomas the Train and a Sesame Street count with me movie. I still have a few more things I have to pick up such as a basket and a few filler items. But then his basket is finished.

We are going to be making Jello eggs this year since nobody really eats hard boiled eggs in our house and they end up going bad. Jello eggs are easy, and they make an awesome sugar free snack. I also wrote this great tutorial about dying Easter eggs with Kool-Aid. I don't know why I never thought of that before. I would much prefer fruity smells to vinegar in the kitchen! Here's the tutorial for anyone that wants to try it at home.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Getting up early is so hard to do

When I was younger, I had absolutely no qualms of getting up at 6 in the morning for school, 5 was even acceptable as long as I had gone to bed before 11. Now, I can't do it to save my life. I set the alarm, I wake up to turn it off but for some reason I have every excuse in the world as to why I can't get up then. This mornings excuse I told myself as I dragged myself out of bed is that it's cold in the living room and Raph was snoring all night so I couldn't possibly get up because I didn't sleep well. Not sleeping well is always the excuse I use. Admittedly, most nights I don't sleep well. I wake up to most every noise, it takes me forever to get to sleep and then when I do I have insomnia and I'm wide awake for hours in the middle of the night.

When I wake up, aside from getting up to use the bathroom, I don't get up and do productive things because I know if I were to get up I will fall back to sleep for a long time and I can't afford to do that since Hail will be up at 8 in the morning. For some reason my child likes to be up early in the morning and not stay up at night. I don't know where he got that from as I am not a morning person and it stays relatively dark here in his room until about 8:30 9 in the morning.

Hopefully, this new Silver Spur cowboy coffee I bought will do the trick. It is STRONG. Seriously, as much coffee as I am used to drinking, I haven't even finished my first cup and it feels like I've been kicked in the teeth by a horse. I think one cup will be fine for now. I do love coffee though. Such a delicious invention....

Monday, March 19, 2012

50 Book challenge- Book 11- English Tea Murder

Admittedly, I have a problem. Once I start reading a book series, I can't stop until there is no more. Leslie Meier's newest book is not an exception to that rule. Admittedly, I should have read this one before chocolate covered murder because it precedes that one, but the story panned out just fine. In this novel, report Lucy Stone goes to England on a once in a lifetime vacation with her friends. While on the plan, the tour guide dies of an asthma attack, but Lucy isn't convinced that it is simply allergies. Her own daughter has asthma so she knows about it and something with the account doesn't sit right with her. Throughout the trip, the other members of their group act oddly; her friend is pushed into a busy London street, a girl jumps off a bridge into the icy, dangerous pier, and it appears that the whole group, excluding herself and her friends, have conspired to kill a man because of a crime that he committed years before and paid his debt in prison for!

The plot thickens when the group returns home and Lucy finds out that the replacement tour guide was engaging in inappropriate conduct with one of the students and now she is pregnant! Will this one end in murder too??? Read this fantastic story to find out.

Friday, March 16, 2012

I Wish I had Some Ink

I really don't know how I have lived as long as I have without ink in my printer. I have a nice Canon color printer sitting in my office area, one I can't use because I have no ink for it. I don't know if the price of ink has skyrocketed, or they have discontinued my printer, but I can't find ink for it anywhere. The one time that I did, it was way too expensive to justify purchasing.

I have seen coupons on line, coloring pages my son would love, and I would love to print off a copy of my taxes for my own records. I could do so at the library, but it would cost me $0.10 a page and that is only if what you are printing is approved by the librarian. I'm nearly positive she wouldn't allow me to print coloring pages and coupons on their printers. Also, you are only allowed to have a total of 10 copies of anything per day. Because I now live in Oregon which has a separate state tax, I would have to print my taxes over 3 days to print off one full copy!

I think it is time to buy a new printer when my financial aid comes in for school. One that is smaller and has cheaper, more widely available ink. In most cases, I believe you can still get a cartridge of ink with your new printer...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Time for carnival!

You know the old saying, "rain, rain, go away, come again some other day?" Well, this weekend would be a perfect time for that. This weekend we are have a carnival down the street that we would love to take Hail to. We are still planning on going even if it rains, because that's what it does here in Portland, but it would be nicer if it wasn't pouring.

When Raph took him past the carnival on the bus he showed a huge interest in getting to ride some of the rides, and perhaps win a few stuffed animals. It's a small carnival and I know we wouldn't be there long but it definitely would get us out of the house, something that we could all benefit from.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How 'bout this weather?

Portland has had the strangest weather lately. Last week, it slushed on us off and on all throughout the week. Thursday and Friday it was in the mid to high 60s. It was so nice out that I wore a tank top to the park! Sunday comes along and it's cloudy and cool, but nothing too noticeable. I start to think, "Spring is finally on its way!" Monday is raining and super windy. Living close to the gorge we get a lot of wind- so nothing unusual. Tuesday comes and IT IS SNOWING!!!!! This morning, it's back to being overcast and rainy again.

A friend told me a weather related funny the other day that seems applicable here:
"Mother Nature is on her period."
"Someone hand her some Midol."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

50 Book challenge- Book 10- Chocolate Covered Murder

I love a good murder mystery as most anyone else does. Leslie Meier is one of my favorite writers for this because she has built a believable character in Lucy Stone, the Tinker's Cove, Maine news reporter turned snoop. Not only does she love to get a good story for her local newspaper that she works at, but she is also a pretty good detective, getting people to answer questions that the police miss or cant get an answer for.

Chocolate Covered Murder was no exception to this rule. It is true that Max may have fell through the ice while ice fishing at night. That doesn't explain why he was wrapped in his own fishing tackle before going in. Tamzin was a floozy that flaunted her overly large chest to every man in town, including Lucy's husband, Bill. That didn't mean that she deserved to be found dead and covered in chocolate. While Lucy struggles to keep up with her reporting job, take care of her family, and bake a fabulous dessert while on a diet, she also really wants to solve this murder.

In the end, not only does she solve the double murder, but she also finds the person responsible for smuggling drugs into her town and distributing them to all the kids in the area.

If you like a good murder mystery with a heroic lead character, Leslie Meier's Lucy Stone series is the perfect one for you. To date, there are over 20 books in the series, I've read every one and they always get better than the last.

Monday, March 12, 2012

My neighbors are hoarders

Since I moved into my condo, I always knew that the neighbors that lived behind my complex were trashy. They always allowed their 4 kids to run around buck naked if they felt, (on a busy street no less!) their yard is full of cigarette butts, and the trash bins that line the side of the house are overflowing. Last week, they moved out, claiming that it was time to get out of the neighborhood because of its declining atmosphere. Perhaps in the 10 years they have destroyed their rental home the neighborhood has declined but it sure hasn't since I moved here.

I knew that something was wrong with their house when the Oregon State health department showed up last week to inspect. Recently, the family has had Aaron's and Rent-A-Center bringing over a lot of furniture and appliances. It is my only guess that one of the delivery people called about the condition of their house. When they moved out, they didn't seemingly take much, probably because there wasn't much left to take except the things they have rented to own.

The day after they left, A very large dumpster showed up in the driveway. A few hours later, people were dressed in painter's clothes and breathing masks and started to shovel. Everything in the house, including tiling, doors, pieces of walls, and other things started piling up in the dumpster. It didn't take long to fill the first two, then a third appeared and is mostly full now. One of the workers told me the other day that the house will more than likely be condemned because of the condition it is in. When walking to the corner store on Friday, I had to walk right passed their house. There were no doors left to hold back the smell and garbage, it was atrocious! The smell emanating from the house was enough to make the strongest stomach turn. The walls were covered half way up in what looked like toxic black mold and dirt.

The saddest part of all of this is that this family has small children. One of them approximately 5 and the other no more than 2 or 3. I honestly don't understand how people can allow their houses to get that bad. Especially a house they are renting and doesn't even belong to someone. While I may not be the cleanest person ever, I am at least pleased to say my house doesn't smell, my floors and everything else is moderately clean and my house is safe for a toddler to be in.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I hate Daylight Savings

I have come to realize in my 26 years of life, that Daylight Savings is stupid. First of all, I get that an extra hour of daylight in the morning once helped farmers get the same amount of work done no matter what time of the year it was. I simply think that now we could go without the change as modern technology has improved our farming and other aspects of life greatly.

my biggest argument with daylight savings is that it messes with my sleep schedule. I get one hour less than I am used to and my sleep is limited as it is. My little one is napping on the couch right now because he got up earlier than he intended. Why? Because there was light outside.

If Arizona can go without changing the time why can't the rest of America?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Avoiding Homework

Today, I have a day off from working since I'm all caught up. I really need to do some homework as I have a final project due tomorrow, and another due soon after. My project due tomorrow is insane. First of all, it took nearly 7 weeks to do the project in the first place. Just Thursday, the instructor whom is a complete homework Nazi has decided she wants an edited version of the entire project due immediately. How is that supposed to happen when it took over a month to complete??? I am ultimately dreading the edits because she is very unclear in her expectations. I also have several odd comments on my returned assignments that don't mesh with the points I've received. It is going to be a long and exhausting day... I am not looking forward to doing this.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Our Play Date at the Park-- Picture Heavy

Today we had a play date at Ed Benedict park. We had lots of fun with our new friends. Here's what our day looked like.

Yay! We're at the park today to play with our new friends.


First, I went down the slide with mommy.


Then I played "chase" with my new friend Adam at the park.


Yay, I can finally run!


When I got tired, I stopped to rest and pick a flower for mommy. Then I ate it.


I got to swing by myself. Weeeeee!


Then I went down the little slide by myself, backwards.


Then I tried to climb back up the slide.

That was my day at the park, I hope that you enjoyed it as much as I did!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Duh Duh Duh Insomnia!

As you may have guessed by the title, I have been suffering from a horrible bout of insomnia again. I had this problem a lot while I was a teenager, often not falling asleep until the wee hours of the morning. Mere hours before having to get up and go to school. Now, falling asleep is not my problem. I can go to sleep as soon as you please, however, I can't stay asleep. I am wide awake by 2 in the morning and it takes hours to fall back to sleep if I'm not just up for the rest of the night. I am tired and cranky most of the day, and I feel lazy and don't want to do much. This is not very productive behavior for working and taking care of homework. Most of the time I don't even want to look at it. I just want to take a nap but I feel that napping will only encourage my insomnia to continue so I try not to give in.

While I can't say I've noticed a huge uptake on article viewership since starting with Pinterest, I have gained more followers. I am going to continue to post my articles as I feel it will eventually be helpful. Also I have seen an increase in Twitter followers. From what I know, there is nobody on my Twitter that I personally know. I don't even really know how to use the site other than posting my articles, which I also do on Facebook. Overall, work has been going well though so here's hoping for continued success.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

50 Book Challenge- Book 9- Cinnamon Roll Murder

This was the newest book released by Joanne Fluke. Throughout the story, there are two mysteries taking place. The first mystery being who killed, Buddy Neiman, the keyboardist of the band Cinnamon Roll Six, and the second mystery being is Norman really Diana's father? Hannah must find the answer before Norman's wedding which is only one week away! With such a challenging deadline, there will be less sleep for everyone and a lot of deception.

This book was fantastic as I believe all of Joanne Fluke's books are. This book is full of delicious recipes and intrigue. I am pleased to say that not only did Hannah discover the killer, but she saved Norman from a marriage that wouldn't have worked out anyway because the two didn't love each other. I highly recommend the whole Hannah Swensen series to anyone that loves a good cookie or a mystery.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Taking Hail to the Dr. Today

We're getting ready to go to Hail's dr. appointment. I made an appointment for him because he seems to always be hungry but isn't eating anything. He stores his food all around the house instead of putting it in his little body. It worries me some but he isn't losing weight. I just need to know for my own peace of mind that he is nutritionally sound. We are also going to get some vaccines today... that's the not fun part.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Finally getting with Pinterest

While talking to some members of my work group, one of them suggested that I post my articles to Pinterest. Most people are looking for craft projects and cooking recipes, and those are my two big money making titles. I could gain a huge following by posting there. So today, I have decided that I am going to give it a go. I am not really sure how to pin my own articles to my boards but I know someone that can help me figure it out. I have close to 1000 food and craft articles, some holiday related, that I could really benefit from the views. I am going to try it and see where it generates good views. I am hoping that this will increase my fan base as well. I will be marking it down and seeing how much it increases.

So far, today, my Examiner views (from yesterday alone) are starting at 30 page views in crafting and 50 page views in food. After I post my articles on Pinterest, I will give you an update as to how it has increased. I'm hoping for best but expecting the worst.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

I have decided that today is my lazy Sunday. While I am still working at doing things, I am doing it at my own leisurely pace. I have done quite a bit of baking, this morning. I made banana pancakes for the family and then I baked some pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. I have my chicken enchilada mix prepared, but haven't done much more with it yet, but it's still early. I only have 4 articles to complete today, so this won't be too difficult.

Watching Hail eat his little nacho lunchable for the first time has been more than entertaining. He ate a fistful of salsa and loved it. I knew that kit was weird but I <3 him. Even though he did throw all of them on the floor.

I spent a lot of the morning reading and coloring with Hail. Well, I should say, I colored and he tried to eat the crayons. Then we built a pillow fort on the couch. He destroyed it in 10 seconds by accidentally stepping in the wrong place but I think he preferred it without the blanket over the top anyway.

My day seems limited. I don't really plan on doing anything else after get I get my work done. I may play around on Pinterest and figure some things out if I can. A fried had a great suggestion that I think I may try. It seems like it would bring in a lot of extra reads to my Examiner articles since so many people are on Pinterest now. I don't really get the appeal of a giant online clip board, but whatever tops your taco I guess.

Well, I'm on my way! I hope everyone enjoys their Sunday!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

50 Book Challenge- Book 8- Wicked Witch Murder

Wow, book 8 of this challenge was a good one. I love Leslie Meier's writing style because it is so simple. It is so easy to read that it doesn't take me nearly as long as it does to read everything else. I have read this entire series, this book being number 20 of the Lucy Stone murder mystery series.

This is the story of Lucy Stone and her tiny Maine town of Tinker's Cove. While Lucy has her hands caring for her two tween girls working for the Pennysaver weekly newspaper as a lead journalist, she now has to deal with all the craziness of a religious zealot of a new neighbor and a self proclaimed witch that has moved to town and set up shop. When Lucy discovers the charcoal remains of a human body in the woods behind her house, all order falls apart as everyone scrambles to identify the body, keep the witch and the zealot apart and keep up with daily life. Many obstacles get in the way, such as a hurricane, the death of the zealot's wife, and crazy people all over town.

Will Lucy be able to piece it all together before time runs out? Who was the original killer of the burned body? Read this enticing story to find out.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Super frustrated

*sigh* It never seems to fail that after months of complaining that nobody sees Hail and weeks of promises that grandma or someone would like to take him for the weekend, they call the last minute with an excuse as to why they cannot. It frustrates me to no end that he gets hurt like this because someone has changed their mind, or someone else in the family is more important. Not to mention, it would be nice to have some time to myself every once in awhile.

I hate seeing his face when after being told he gets to go to grandma's for the weekend that now he is not. Luckily he is young enough that he doesn't really understand what is going on and that he isn't super affected by it yet. Luckily I had a backup plan for the weekend since I knew this was going to end up happening. It just frustrates me to no end that everyone complains and makes it sound like it is my fault they aren't getting to visit him when really, they are the ones that have canceled. I feel as if I don't even want to be bothered with asking or making attempts any longer. I feel like it is useless to pack up his stuff or even tell him he gets to go until someone shows up on my doorstep and says, "Is he ready to go?"

I just see a sad pattern beginning to happen that I am all too familiar with from childhood. I don't want that for Hail and I feel so thankful for his other family-- the "family" of Raph that Hail has chosen to adopt and who has adopted him as their own. It seems anytime that we call upon them for a night out to dinner or a few hours to grocery shop that someone is always there to watch him. It just seems so sad to me that his birth family can't do the same. Really, the only ones being hurt by this is them. Hail has already figured out on his own, at 17 months, whom he wants to call family and does.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

RIP Beloved Coffee Pot

My beloved coffee pot has given up the ghost. I now have to get a new one that I can't really afford at the moment. I don't know how I am going to live without it. I have tried instant coffee before and it tastes like crap. :(

Not sure how I will live through this.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

50 Book Challenge- Book 7- Zombie Cinderella

My 7th book of this challenge was a short novel called Zombie Cinderella. It was a featured title on my Kindle for free. I am now a firm believer that every fairy tale should be a zombie story.

Zombie Cinderella was a fantastic story of her fairy dead-mother scratching her in the cemetery after her father's funeral. She walks home after being left by her step-family and notices that the town seems more deserted than ever before. Once home, her step-mother immediately strips her of her fancy things and her dignity and makes her a maid. Her step-sisters make her life as a maid hell on earth before leaving for the ball.

Cinderella dies from the pain and torture she endures during the short time between her father's funeral and her sisters leaving for the ball. After a few hours, she is awoken. Alive and hungry, she goes in search of her stepmother, to eat her brains.

This was an awesome read. I am a firm believer in the zombie apocalypse- what, with all the medications, nuclear damage that can be done, deformities, and ever grown number of harmful contagions in our world it seems entirely likely- and this story is just another prime example of how we can still retain memories after death. Think carefully of how you treat the living, they may come after you when they are dead.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

50 Book Challenge- Book 6- The Help

I just finished reading The Help. It was a phenomenal book! I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in civil rights or stories of the south. It was a little hard to get through at times because many parts of the book are phonetically spelled. But the story was great. I also watched something on HBO that said that many of these events in the book were true events (not just the parts of civil rights events but stories from the maids.)

This was the story of what it was like being a black maid during the height of civil rights during the 1960s. These were stories of maids working with white families and the duties they performed, the lives they led and the overall feel of living in the south during these trying times. It also detailed the life of a white woman, Skeeter, who didn't see those lines of color. She was an outcast for many other reasons than wanting to associate with the help, like the fact that she was too tall, too skinny, not dating anyone, and that she lived a little too far out of town.

I loved this book, nearly as much as I loved the movie. I recommend this book to everyone. I think it carries a powerful message that everyone should not only know, but respect and strongly consider.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Finals are Coming! Finals are Coming!

Well as the title indicates-- my finals are coming. I hate finals because they always seem so daunting. This week alone, I have 2 tests. One today and one tomorrow. I'm more worried about the one tomorrow than I am today's test. the nice thing about test days is that I get out of class early. Once the test is done, I'm out of there. Sometimes it makes things nice.

I finally got registered for my classes for next quarter. They weren't what I wanted, but they are some of the ones I needed. I am taking a writing 121 class, sociology, and an intro to fiction literature. It should be a decent quarter but I'm going to have a lot of papers to write. I may have even less time to work. :( I hope that I will be able to keep up with everything that I want to do. On the sunnier side, I will be going to class only 2 days a week, but I have to be there at 8 am for my first class then I have a 2 hour wait before my next one. I guess that gives me enough time to do my homework...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Getting a Little Worried

I don't know if it is because I haven't gotten much sleep lately, or because I have been trying to do too many things all at once. Whatever the reason, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. Hail has been driving me crazy. I feel bad because he hasn't really done anything out of the usual. I just feel like I want to be left alone to watch True Blood on HBO and work. Thankfully, I am no longer behind in my work which makes me glad, I worked for nearly 12 hours yesterday to get caught up and now I'm on track again.

I am getting a little anxious about CBS pay. I have followed all their instructions, written the articles before the required time, and everything seems kosher. I sent in a message to support, inquiring about the pay and how to get more articles but I haven't heard anything back yet. I am hoping that when their payday comes on the 10th, I am not left empty handed for the work I've done so far. I haven't heard anything about my articles needing editing. In the postings, they all say that CBS isn't going to publish the articles until May or April when they are more applicable. I hope I don't have to wait that long to be paid too. I have searched forums for an answer and nothing.

*Sigh* Hopefully things will find a place soon. I suppose I will just have to wait until the 10th to see if a check comes or not. I hope that it does because I have a pretty significant start already. I don't want to wait until April or May to be paid. That seems more than sketchy to me.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

TV mom Likenesses

I love the show Roseanne. I grew up watching it throughout childhood and even still, when I catch it on one of the cable channels, I still feel compelled to watch it, no matter how many times I have seen the episode. I remember how much my grandma hated Roseanne growing up. She felt that it was inappropriate because she was sometimes rude, yelled,she was working class, showed the struggles of everyday living, and pretty much told the world the true inner workings of a typical family. She thought everything should be Leave it to Beaver style and never detail anything that really goes on.

I hate to break it to grandma, but there are very few people that live a June Cleaver lifestyle. They didn't back in the 50s and they don't today. In a survey that I found online one day, it said that 53% of housewives during the 50s and 60s had drinking problems from holding their tongues and never disobeying their husbands. I feel that Roseanne was more realistic in her show about what life was like. She struggled to pay bills, provide for her kids, make sure they grew up properly, but still had dreams she wanted to accomplish. She was a typical American wife during the 90s.

If I were to have a TV likeness to any TV mom, I would be Roseanne. I live my life in many similar ways as she does, struggling to make ends meet at times, I can be rude, I yell, I drink -- in public, I am not a perfect size 5 like society wants me to be. While my life is far from perfect, I have to say, I am proud to be more of a Roseanne and not a June. At least I speak my mind and be damned with holding it in!

Who is your TV mom likeness??

Friday, February 24, 2012

Busy Bee

I have a bunch of Examiner articles that I need to catch up on today. As part of my contract with CBS through Examiner, I have to have a minimum of five articles on every channel I have with Examiner posted throughout the month. With this school quarter coming to an end and finals slamming into me head on, I haven't had much time to get anything done. Now that Hail is up and walking consistently, I spend all day protecting everything I own, trying to put it higher than he can reach. Do you know how hard it is to put everything you own higher than 4 feet?

Lately, Hail has been really into cows. I don't know where he got this from as we don't live anywhere near cows, he hasn't seen any on the TV, he doesn't have and books about cows, etc. I have been trying to find a place that is not too far away that I can take him to see a real cow. I'm not having too much luck so far.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Unfocused

Lately, I can't seem to focus on much. I am sure that a large part of it has to do with exhaustion. I am so burned out from chasing Hail around all the time, telling him no, homework, attempting to do work, working on my finals that are going to slam into me in no time at all, and trying to keep up with my house. I have a pile of laundry that has needed folding for almost a week. This actually isn't anything unusual-- everyone that knows me knows how much I hate doing laundry. Honestly, I would rather do dishes, scrub toilets, or even chop off my own arm.

Last weekend, I rented the movie The Help. It is a fantastic movie. I liked it so much, that I started reading the book. It is very moving-- so much so, I can't stop reading it or thinking about it. I know that this is a large part of why I am so unfocused. Racial issues are such a hot button issue for me that this book really gets under my skin. Not that I don't love it, but because I hate people's attitudes during the 1960s!

I am so confused as to what my Virtual Assistant teacher is looking for. I really don't like her. I have been in a position of virtual assisting (and never knew it!) for nearly 4 years now. When I do my assignments, she confuses me more than anything when she returns them. She gives me nearly full credit for my assignments then leaves a bunch of comments on my work of how she wants things changed, what I did wrong, something she forgot to explain that she wants added, and so on. She is not a very thorough instructor. For instance, when we send in assignments, everything is sent from our personal school email. She still wants us to format papers with the typical information and was taking points off for not having it done, but that was something that we had to guess at because she never bothered to say that was how she wanted things done until week 3!! Never again will I be taking a class from her again. If she wants to be a teacher, she needs to go to school and take some courses in educating others. I don't feel that any instructor should leave students more confused than they were previously.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

So Frustrated!

Today, I stopped at the advising center to speak to someone about the courses I needed to register for and whether or not they got a copy of my assessment testing scores. He looked all over the office, asked every other person in the advising office if it had come through, and nothing. Finally, a copy of the original fax I sent to my previous school was found, without the test scores.

Looking over the piece of paper, I notice that the adviser that faxed the document to my previous school sent it to the wrong number. My previous school sent it back without saying a word. I find the correct fax number again and attempt to have it sent again so that I will be able to register tomorrow on time. After three attempts it is not going through. More frustration.

Now, I have to drive down to the school tomorrow while I should be in class to physically pick up my testing scores and take them to school with me so that I can register. I am so beyond annoyed, it's not funny. Not to mention, when I signed up to speak to an adviser, they told me it was going to be a 20 minute wait. That didn't seem too bad since I got there early. I don't actually fet seen until nearly an hour and a half after I was told 20 minutes.

*sigh* Tomorrow is going to be a long day.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

50 Book Challenge- Book 5- Devil's Food Cake Murder

Last night, I finished reading book 5 of the 50 book challenge. The book I chose was called Devil's Food Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke. This was book 14 of her Hannah Swensen series. I love this series and have read every book; however, this book dropped a bombshell for an ending that I wasn't expecting!

In this story, Hannah comes across a dead minister in the church office while visiting the pastor's grandmother,Grandma Knudson. At first, Grandma Knudson is skeptical as to whether the substitute minister is the same person she remembers from childhood, thinking that he may be his cousin, a sneaky person that had a rotten core since teenager-hood. After the minister is found dead, the supposedly real Reverend Matthew comes to town to claim the body. Everyone is confused because this new "reverend" that comes to town could be a twin of the one that just passed. While investigating the murder on her own time, Hannah gets to spend time with her long time dentist boyfriend, Norman.

Norman has recently added a new dentist to his clinic, Dr. Bev, his ex-fiance. While spending time more time with her than Hannah would like, Norman reveals that he does still love Hannah and still wants her to marry him. Together, Hannah, her sisters, and Norman work at solving the case. There are several twists and turns that surprise everyone, but not nearly as much as the bombshell that Norman drops on Hannah at the end of the story-- He is marrying Dr. Bev so that he can continue to see Diana. It turns out, when Dr. Bev broke off her and Norman's engagement, she was pregnant with Diana and never told him! Now, Hannah is without a boyfriend, shocked that he has a child nobody but Norman ever knew about, and shocked that Norman would go along with the ultimatum that was placed on him and his visitation.

The next book to this series will be released on February 28, 2012 and you better believe that I will be picking it up to see how this new tale unravels! This story was a great read, as all of Joanne's books are. There are several fantastic recipes available throughout the book for cookies, coffee, and several other great desserts. I can't wait to try them all!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Stupid School!

The one time that I could really use a day off, a national holiday no less, and I still have to go to school! That makes no sense to me that the community colleges in my area are open and holding classes when the post office, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, banks and most daycares are all closed. If Hail went to a traditional daycare I would have to skip school because I wouldn't be able to take him...

I thought of taking the day off from school anyway, but I can't do that because today is my first aid/CPR class. If I miss class, I can't get my certification then I would have taken the course for nothing.. Stupid school!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Misdirected Grouchiness

If there is anything I hate more it is misdirected anger-- specifically toward me. I get it that you are mad, in a bad mood, pissed off, whatever- That does not give you the right to act like a jerk to me,especially when I did nothing to cause or create the situation you feel you are in. This is one of my hugest pet peeves.

For whatever reason, Raph has woken up on the wrong side of the bed and has been a jerk to everything that moves. I suggested a time out, I think it is deserved. When you aren't in a pissy mood any longer, then you can come talk to me.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Limits Testing

Today has been a very trying day for me. Now that Hail can walk, he has decided that testing the limits to EVERYTHING is the way to go. Things he knew he couldn't do last week, he has decided that it is okay to try. I have tried everything from smacking his hand, telling him no, putting him in time out and spanking his bottom. I really wouldn't mind so much if he was only doing things that annoyed me, but he wants to test the limits with things that are dangerous. Like today alone, he tried to crawl over the top of the couch- backwards, he was standing up on his toddler bed and almost fell over backwards and smacked his head on the railing, tried to stick his finger in the fan-while running, and then tried to inhale his fork at dinner time.

My telling him no has no effect on the situation regardless of how I choose to discipline him. He laughs at me, continues what he is doing or moves onto the next dangerous button pushing act. Raph is usually the one that has to finally step in and discipline him before he listens. I don't know if it is the deep voice or what but I don't want this to be a constant issue where he is the only one he will listen to when discipline is concerned. Not only am I afraid that he is going to get hurt from not listening to me and continuing on his way, but I don't want him to be afraid of Raph because all he thinks he does is discipline him. I really don't know where to go with this one or how to resolve it. It is not as if I am shirking the disciplining duty on someone else, he just doesn't listen to me. I really hope that this is not the beginning of bad teenage behavior starting at 16.5 months.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Water, Water, Everywhere, But Never a Drop to Drink

Admittedly, I do not drink a fraction of the amount of water that I should. I give Hail lots of water to drink, most of which he thinks is for spitting out in fountain form. I am beginning to think that he sees water as a play toy instead of a nourishing entity that he needs to consume to stay healthy. That is irrelevant, however, this post isn't about him, it's about me.

Most days I am incredibly tired, and consume large quantities of Coke and coffee to stay awake throughout the day. While I recognize that water is a nourishing entity that my body needs, it is usually the last thing that I go for when I'm thirsty. Many have told me that drinking water will give me more energy, make me feel less hungry and several other healthful benefits. When it comes down to it, I just can't do it. :( Water tastes boring. I think this is my biggest reason for not drinking it. I can use those flavor packets to add to my water but then I feel it is cheating because I'm not really drinking water any longer. I have tried the prepackaged flavor waters (Life Water, Safeway Select waters (the carbonated ones), Vitamin Water) and all of them leave a nasty taste in my mouth.

I realized that I am nearly dehydrated yesterday when I was on my home from school. After dropping Hail off, I have a 3 block walk to the bus stop so that I can go to school. On my way home, there is a slight hill. While walking up the hill my calves started to seize and it became increasingly painful to walk. A huge concern that I am now thinking about it is that my mom has chronic dehydration. She can never reach over 40% hydration no mater how much water she drinks. This worries me and I don't want to end up the same. I am working of forcing myself to drink more water, but I'm finding it very difficult. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Have You Ever Had One of Those Days?

I am having one of those days today where I feel like doing nothing; and that's about how much I've done. I did go to school... and fell asleep in class. I finished my homework after I finally figured out what I was supposed to be doing. Then, Hail and I watched Rio for the 546 time. He loves that movie so much. He loves to shake his booty and dance like nobody's watching. Just this morning he was dancing like nobody's business and smacked his head of the coffee table, giving himself a huge goose egg. He just kept dancing like it didn't matter.

I have been trying to work on a few articles but I keep getting distracted and can't focus on things. I keep thinking that my list of ideas to write about is getting shorter-- I write most all for revenue share, so my articles need to be within topic as well as evergreen or holiday related so that I can make money on them each year. I don't want to work on my other CBS article yet because the first one hasn't been reviewed yet and I would really like the feedback so that I know more about what they are looking for. I didn't do the orientation before they gave me articles and although I have told them this several times they kept handing me articles!

Maybe I'll just take the rest of the night off and work on gaining some ideas so that I can start fresh tomorrow. It's my Friday tonight.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

50 Book Challenge- Book 4- Husk

Recently, I took a chance on a new author that I had never heard of before. His name is Matthew Hults. Husk was his first book.

This is what the publisher had to say about it:
"ONE NIGHTMARE ENDS…
Serial killer Kale Kane has finally died, having survived five years in a coma after a shootout with police. But is his reign of terror truly over? When he died, Kane took the reasons for his atrocities with him, along with the answer to a question police never got to ask: did he work alone?

…AND A NEW HORROR BEGINS.
Mallory Wiess is a typical teenage girl… or so it seems. When she moves to rural Minnesota with her father and younger brother, she quickly discovers her new home won’t be as boring as she’d feared. Who is the dark figure watching her from the house across the street? What is the shape hanging in the shadows of the old barn behind the neighborhood? And why has someone begun digging up graves at the ancient cemetery in the forest? Soon Mallory will learn the truth. For she has attracted the attention of a killer, a ruthless predator who believes only her death will finish the work Kale Kane began, and unleash an evil that has faded into legend. In the end, one night will decide if the dead will rise. "

This book was a great read. I picked it up on my Kindle for $9.99, thinking that this book would be about zombies. I started reading, and immediately, I was hooked. The book is more of a paranormal thriller than a book about zombies, but it was still a good read. Matt has a way with words that leave you on the edge of your seat, always wanting more.

The only complaints I have about this book is that there are several grammatical errors, almost as if the editing job was a little rushed so that the book could be published. The ending kind of gave the same vibe as well. While the story was complete, the ending seemed lame compared to the rest of the phenomenal story. The characters were nicely depicted, and I could see them in my mind's eye.

For anyone that loves a good thrill, this book is definitely worth a try. I am dyslexic and a very slow reader and I was able to finish this book in two days.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Well it's that day again, probably the most undivided day of the year; 25% like Valentine's Day, the other 75% hide in the house and avoid going out if they can. Today is my nephew's 4th birthday. Happy Birthday Anthony!!!!

Personally, I'm a little mixed up about this Valentine's Day. While I have a sweetheart, the older one won't be home from school until 11PM and Hail is grouchy from teething. Also, I suspect that he has been getting up in the middle of the night to play now that he's in his big boy bed. (I woke up in the middle of the night hearing, "weee, weee, weeee!") So my Valentine's Day is coning to consist of homework by myself, watching Teen Mom 2. I have a weird/sick fascination with that show. I know it is all drama and teen issues but I can't stop watching.

On the up side, I got my first two assignments for CBS. I am freaking out about it because one of them is due Thursday and I haven't written to a specific format/deadline in months. I feel like I'm a little rusty!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Walking Dead Marathon

I love Sundays. Even though I usually spend my Sundays doing homework, preparing my work week and hanging out. It's my lazy day. Nobody expects anything of me because they know it is not gonna happen. I don't get out of my PJs and I get to just hang out.

This Sunday, a Walking Dead marathon is on of the first half of the second season. A new episode will be on at 9PM, something I have been dying to see. I love zombies, and feel that the zombie apocalypse is entirely possible. Whether zombies come about from a genetic mutation, a spirit still alive from within, or some modern medicine that changes people, it seems entirely likely. Hail likes zombies too, he laughs when he sees them and he is always entertained when he sees a zombie on TV.

Hope that everyone enjoys their lazy Sunday, I know I will.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Oh! The Pain!

Ever since yesterday, I have been suffering from some severe back pain. First, it simply started out as an annoyance. Then it escalated into being debilitating. I can barely walk on my own right now. I cannot lift Hail, which really pisses him off and makes him nervous at the same time. Advil did not work in keeping the pain at bay, not even a little bit. I took a muscle relaxer when I woke up and it was strong enough to help me shower and get comfortable on the couch. That is where I have posted and that is where I may stay the rest of the day. I kind of feel like a zombie. I shamble around when I get up to do something and the pain medication is not helping to eat through the pain.

But speaking of zombies, There is a marathon starting today leading up to the New episode tomorrow of the Walking Dead. It should be a good one. I have not seen season 2 yet so I am excited to see what is going on. Hail and I have a date to get our marathon on. Until it starts, I guess it is a good thing that I have a lot of books on my Kindle to keep me entertained.

Friday, February 10, 2012

I Love Valentine's Day

The feel of love is in the air in my home, for many reasons more than simply because Valentine's Day is near. My house is most always full of love. Raph and I don't argue, Hail listens most all the time as long as he is kept busy, and everyone is in a happy mood most all the time. I think I just love being in love and having people around me to love. :)

This is going to be Hail's first Valentine's Day that is will be able to remember. While at Winco the other day, he saw Elmo valentines he liked, so we will be filling them out this weekend and giving them out to people. He was so excited to see those cute Elmo cards. I hope that he really enjoys the feeling of people expressing their gratitude toward a simple gesture of a Valentine. It is a wonderful feeling when someone appreciates you and the time you took to think of them. I think he really does understand that. He shows it in simple ways such as never being able to stop at blowing only one kiss. He has to blow everyone several kisses and gives huge smiles between each one. When he gives you a hug, he is never happy with just wrapping his arms around you. He has to pat you on the back too.

This Valentine's Day, I will be spending it with Hail since Raph has his night class to go to. I am excited over the prospect of having someone to love nonetheless. Someone that loves me and appreciates the things I do, even if it is simply cooking dinner, or leaving a light on if I go to bed early. Raph is my sweetheart. I love him and I know that he not only loves me but he loves Hail too and that is what matters most to me.

Here's a picture of my two sweethearts. This was taken in April of last year.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Crazy Days

The last few days have seemingly been super busy even though nothing out of the ordinary has happened to make me feel that way. I have been going to school and attempting to keep up on work so that I can have some kind of cash flowing in, even though that seems to be more difficult than it sounds. While I have a full course load, I actually only spend approximately 5 hours a week doing homework and I am only in class for 2 hours a day, 4 days a week.

I think that my biggest challenge has been Hail. While he has been behaving, his schedule has been so off from because two days a week he goes to Rachael's while I'm in school and the rest of the week he stays home with Raph or I. It can be tough although he loves getting to go and play with the dogs and kitties. Hail has now started walking most all the time. I suspect, however, that most of his walking is because we were bribing him with candy to get up and do it. Now, I cannot get him to sit down and look at his books or play or anything. He just wants to walk. In addition, because he is so tall, I have to constantly chase him around and make sure that EVERYTHING is removed from the counters because he can reach. With his bare feet flat on the ground. So chasing him around gets a little overwhelming.

I hope that once I can develop a schedule that things will start to even out some. I still have yet to come up with a schedule that works for me since I spend most of my time chasing a little one. He does not really take naps any longer either and he does surprisingly well with no nap as long as he is kept busy. Here's for hoping!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

BIG

Hail is getting to be a huge kid. At 16-months old, he is 23 pounds and 9 ounces. He is 3 feet tall, yes I said three feet, and he is getting 6 new teeth as we speak. He has learned a few more words and he is finally starting to walk. Raph and I have to bribe him with candy, but he gets up and is on the move more than ever. It amazes me how quickly a toddler grows, however, mine could stop at any time. By the time he is two, I'm going to be asking him to get me things from the top shelf in the kitchen.

It seems that time flies way too fast, and I can't even keep him in clothes. He is already wearing a 2t-3t because of how tall he is. he is learning to form his own little opinions and what he wants to do. Reading books and playing with his cars and trains is his favorite. Never before would I have thought that my kid was going to end up being so smart at such a young age.

Just yesterday, we were looking at animals on the computer and he was able to tell me what most everyone sounded like. He can't do it if he doesn't see the animal, but the point being, he can do it and knows the information as soon as he sees it. I would love to crawl inside his head and watch his thoughts float around.

Monday, February 6, 2012

50 Book Challenge- Book 3 Queen of Darkness

Admittedly, it has been a a few days since I finished reading my 3rd book of this challenge, but I have been so busy, I haven't had the time to post about it. The third book I read this was Queen of Darkness, the third Anne Bishop book in the Black Jewels trilogy.

From the editor, "It began with the mystery of Daughter of the Blood. It continued with the magic of Heir to the Shadows. Now, the stunning conclusion to The Black Jewels Trilogy.
"Darkly mesmerizing...fascinatingly different...worth checking out." --Locus"

This is the story of Jaenelle and her entourage trying to save the dark realm after war is declared. In this book, Jaenelle goes to great lengths to save the people that she loves as well as her kingdom. I loved this book. It was action packed and had everything that a dark fantasy should consist of.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Busy

This last week has been a hectic one for me. Not only have I been dealing with doctor's appointments but midterms, huge assignments and family drama that has been a little much to take care of all at once. Not only this, but I have family visiting from out of state this week which has made life a lot crazier. When you only get to visit once a year, you feel more than obligated to partake in their activities, regardless of whether you want to or not.

Midterms have been a crazy mess. I had a test in my stress class that was the worst I have ever done. The last question, with the most points available was, "name all the psychologists and what their theory on stress was and how they relate." Now, this seems wildly unfair since we have discussed at least 15 of them so far and remembering which is which is nearly impossible. All week long, we were told that we could not have books or notes for the test. Knowing that, I didn't bring my book to the test because we weren't going to be able to use it. When we walk in, what does the instructor say? Open book test. Gaaah!

I was accepted to write for ACE CBS, so watch for some stuff there!
 

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