Monday, August 31, 2009

We are currently even

Yesterday in my email I found a notice from Zillow, stating that my house was now worth what I paid for it.  That was very comforting.  So, I decided to see what homes Zillow was using for comps, doing this I learned that one of my neighbors is in pre-foreclosure.

Pre-foreclosure, is when the owner lists the house for sale and trys to sell it before the foreclosure proceedings start.  There is one house on the street that Zillow says it is on that is for sale.  It has been for sale since before I moved in here.  Almost 3 years.  I wonder if it is that house.  I wonder if pre-foreclosure homes would have a sign in front of them, or if there is some special market of homes that are in this situation.

Needless to say, our current situation sort of stresses me out a little.  We are ok, right now, but by the grace of God go I, as we could find ourselves in that same boat.  I like to think that it is pretty unlikely, that Bob not will find a job before the money runs out.  That if it does run out, my mother will save us.  I like to think we have a safety net.

The houses we live in are the type that people were buying and sinking tons of money into back in the day.  There are people in this neighborhood who drive fancy cars and spend like there is no tomorrow.  I tell myself, it is one of those over-leveraged types that is in this situation.  But, the reality is that the family that this is happening to it probably really nice, and super stressed about it.

While I ask God everyday to help us solve our problem, to help us find peace.  I think I will also start asking him to help the family, who ever they are, in pre-foreclosure.  I imagine he has access to the foreclosure list and can figure out who to send the good thoughts.  If you have a moment, we would appreciate any prayers you have for our situation, we hope that we land in the right place, quickly.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Black Card

 In the mail today, I received, and invitation for a Black Card.  It comes in a nifty all black envelope, with gold lettering.  It was printed on very nice paper.  I was very curious to see what sort of advert I had gotten.  My money was that it was something from Black & White.  For some reason they think I should shop there.  Lo and behold, it was for a Black Card.

This is a very fancy credit card, for those of you not in the know.  I shall share with you the text from the website and the invitation:
For those who demand only the best of what life has to offer, the exclusive Visa Black Card is for you. The Black Card is not just another piece of plastic. Made with carbon, it is the ultimate buying tool. 

The Black Card is not for everyone. In fact, it is limited to only 1% of U.S. residents to ensure the highest caliber of personal service is provided to every Cardmember.
Become a Black Card member today and enjoy our 24-hour world class Concierge Service ready to assist you with all your business, travel and leisure needs.
--Copied from
You read it correctly, plastic is no longer plastic, it is carbon.  That is correct, you can have a credit card made of charcoal.  I can hear it now, Santa, please put coal in my stocking this year.  I want a Black Card.

I am in so many groups, but none so exclusive as this one... I am in the group of 10% unemployed, and now am in the 1% of Americans important enough to have a Black Card.  We may be unemployed, receiving charity and unemployment benefits, but we can have access to 24 hour a day concierge services.

I checked into this concierge service situation.  You never know what you might learn!  My conversation, when something like this:

"Hello, is this the concierge service?"

"Yes ma'am it is," replies concierge on the other end.

"Great, according to this ad I got in the mail for the Black Card, it says that you will help me with all my needs," I state.

"Yes, that is correct."

"Lovely, my husband has been unemployed for 3 months, I really need you to get him a job."

"We don't do that."

"But it says here that you will help me with all of my business needs, and this would seem to me to be a pretty big business need."

"I am sorry ma'am, I can't help you with that.  Is this some kind of joke?"

"No, I want help with my business needs."

All I hear is silence, followed by a dial tone.  So, I guess the concierge service isn't so great after all.  Or at least they can not help me with my business needs.

The ad states that this card is the ultimate buying tool.  I never thought there was any problem with my traditional cards, they seem to work ok.  I had them to the clerk, they scan them and hand me my stuff, I get a bill.  I don't know that having a Black Card will impact the transaction one way or another.  Seriously, I think I can charge my purchases at the Goodwill just as well on my Chase Platinum Card, as I can on a Black Card.

Oh, did I mention there is the small $495 fee for having this card, another $195 if I want to get one for Bob.  He is not one of the 1%.  I haven't had a job in 7 years, my husband who has, isn't one of the 1%.  I am honored to be asked, but I think I will have to pass on this one.  I think including me in the 1%, might be an insult to the 1%.

I sure to appreciate the thought.  Now, I will haul my 1% self to the grocery to pick up free food, without the use of my Black Card.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

On the needles

I have been knitting like crazy, but haven't finished anything in a while.  I think it is because I have too much on my needles.  I really need to finish some stuff and start to focus on one project at a time.  Perhaps I can keep my sock blanket, a pair of socks and ONE other project going at a time.  Rather than 6 or 7.

I really want to make a cabled afghan (the one right there in the tiny picture).  Something about snuggling under a thick wooly blanket seems very appealing to me right now (it could have something to do with the fact that it is 65 degrees and rainy... feels like fall).  I keep looking at yarn, drooling over patterns and planning my blanket.  But, it seems very irresponsible to start this project, when I am already working on a massive blanket.  I really need to finish the one I am currently doing before I start another one.  It has nothing to do with my feelings about the current project.  I love it, and would love to work on it exclusively, BUT, all these other projects need to be finished.

I am forcing myself to NOT purchase the yarn until I am ready to knit the blanket.  This blanket will take about $150 worth of wool, so I am not really interested in investing until I am ready to start.  That said, I have picked the yarn a million times!

My list of UFOs and DLK (DeadLine Knitting) is large.  I need to make a baby doll for Hannah's birthday. I have 3 babies coming shortly that need presents.  The December holiday's loom as well.  I am making a pair of socks for my SIL, coasters for the other adults, perhaps a couple of knitted toys for some of the kids... it will all depend on my time.

I also, so very stupidly, signed up to teach kids to knit at temple.  This will suck my Sunday's right away from me.  I will get to knit for a while, and I wonder if I can incorporate them into the larger knitting group or not.  I will have to see.  I felt like I should do something for the religious school program because they are not charging us this year, due to our financial situation.

My new found freedom, one would think, would free up a lot of time for knitting.  I just feel like I should be doing something more productive like laundry.  A brief word on laundry... it multiplies more rapidly than rabbits. If only my money compounded as fast as laundry, I would be rolling in green backs.  Seriously, you leave one pair of dirty underwear on the floor and suddenly you can't walk in the room anymore because of all the dirty clothes.  How does this work?

So, I hope to get over the need to clean the house and take more time to knit.  Until then, knitting is like a sock monkey on my back.  I have so much of it to do and so little time.  So, I must stop blogging and start knitting.  I wonder if I could figure out how to do both at the same time.

Friday, August 28, 2009


Silence is golden, so it is said.  When all three kids are screaming at me, at each other and generally making a fuss, I dream about silence.  I actually leave the house and spend weekends away from them, basking in the cool glow of silence.  Until recently, I would have rhapsodized about silence.  It's milky whiteness, the way it softly and warmly embraces you and steals away all the anxiety.

Certainly there are some folks that equate silence with loneliness.  Being alone with their thoughts is too horrible for many to contemplate.  They leave the tv or radio on, so that there is noise and company.  I am not one of them.  I can understand where they live, as until I had children, I lived there too.  Now, I am firmly not in that camp anymore.

Last year, I asked to use the bathroom, while pooping, by myself.  I wanted to poop in peace, for a whole week.  I really didn't think that this was an outlandish period of time, and it was all I wanted for my birthday.  The kids could not deliver on this wish. 

As of Wednesday, I have had both boys in school for 6 hours a day.  My house is so quiet, it is eerie.  It is like no one is home.  To go from the racous, ear blasting noise of the summer to total silence is almost deafening.  I am not alone.  Hannah is here with me.  She still has her various needs and wants that have to be tended to, but for the most part she plays happily by herself in the play room.

I have the entire expanse of the day to do what I want to do, for the most part.  It is like a taste of when they will all be in school all day long.  What will I do with myself?  Hannah is a willing participant in most activities,  if I want to go out to lunch with the ladies, shopping, out for coffee, Hannah is game.  She is very well behaved and will sit and color or look at her ponies for a long enough period of time that I really can take her anywhere.  It will be an interesting year, as I decide what to do with my new found freedom.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Well, it happened.  Bob took my phone.  He got over the fact that is was pink.  He changed my ring tone, he changed my voice message.  This was supposed to be my "reward" for moving here, justified by the fact that the school might need me.  Now, it is his.  My pink phone.

I realize that the only thing I can control is my attitude, so I am trying very hard not to be angry about this.  He needs a phone so that he can contact people when he is out networking.  I understand that we can not afford to buy another phone.

So, for the next five minutes, or how ever long it takes me to write this entry, I am going to wallow in the fact that in the last 18 months, I have had to give up pretty much everything in my life.  I lost my lovely kitchen in my lovely house.  I left my friends.  I lost my life, where I was so entrenched, that I had people calling me and offering me jobs.  I have now lost my computer and my phone.  I gave up all of this, so that Bob could have the job he really wanted, only once he had it he realized he didn't really want it.  I lost my gym membership, so now I am stressed (I eat when stressed) and I can not work out anymore.

Most likely, once the dust settles and we are in a more peaceful place, he will be making less, so I may not get much of what I gave up back.  I realize it is for the most part stuff and things, with a small sprinkle of relationships.  I realize that the relationship aspect will replicate itself here.  But for right now, for today, I want my old life back.  I want to be pissed at B because she is a bitch.  I want to be annoyed by the stupid MOMS club.  I want to be concerned about the quality of the education my kids are getting.  I want to cook in my kitchen.  I want to go to the gym.  I want to go visit M, T, K, G, E, or C because I love them and want to hang with them.

So, just for today, I want my old life back.  Tomorrow, I will resume my regularly scheduled programing and go back to being positive and making the best of things.  Tomorrow, I will believe that everything is gonna be alright, so don't worry.  Tomorrow, or maybe even a little bit later today.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mac's Birthday

Today is Mac's Birthday.  I don't really have anything wonderful, inspirational, insightful or even funny to say about that.  After being in labor for a month, being in hard labor for a week, being induced for 2 days, he was finally ripped from my body by force.  I believe after they cut me open they used thoose jaws of life, you know the things they used cut people out of car crashes with, to force him out of my womb.  You can say a lot about Mac, but one thing is for certain, that kid wanted no part of being born.

This makes me think about being born.  There you are, all snug and toasty in this dark place.  There are muffled sounds and everything is good.  All of a sudden you are asked to follow the bright light and enter this big world, with all these sounds and other people.  They poke you, prod you, put clothes on you.  I imagine it is pretty scary and well, yucky.  Perhaps Mac was just on to something, being born isn't such a great thing.  Needless to say, I had some other feelings about it, and I wanted that 9 lb 2 oz, thing out of my body.

One last thought on the topic, perhaps on some level, being born is like dieing.  It sure is a radical change in your life and environment.  So, who is to say that when we die we don't go some where else.

So, welcome to the world Mac.  We hope your next 9 years are better than the last 9 years.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The First Day of School

So it begins... The first day of school.  We took the traditional first day of school in the bushes pictures.  Mac wanted to start a new tradition of taking a picture in the office, so we did that too.  The kids both had a great day, and were bubbling over with stories about their teachers, classmates, and what they did.  So much better than a year ago, when both were nervous and scared.  This year, they each had a friend in their classes, and they are excited to see their other friends from last year who have different teachers.  I had fun seeing all the parents and going to the neighborhood champagne brunch.  Such a difference a year makes.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Out of the Swimming Pool and into the Car Pool

Well, it has happened. I for one would like to offer up a trade. We will trade this week for a week to be named later. Can I place this week on the DL list? For which I might have to call up a week from the farm team. I keep hearing, sung softly in the background... the party is over. You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here.

Since having children in school, the end of Summer Vacation, had usually evoked such joyous feelings that it is almost frightening. For the end this year to be so sad, is remarkable. Usually there is parties, with champagne, to celebrate the passing of vacation to school. The kids are out of my hair, life is good.

This year as I step from the swimming pool and jump back into the car pool, I am sad. Could it be that my baby is starting preschool and well, is no longer a baby? I put that transition off for as long as I could, I even moved to a different state so she could stay home for a year longer.

Could it be that we actually had a fantabulous summer? California was awesome, such a good time. Connecticut was the bomb freakin' diggidy. I was so nice to see cousins, friends and family. The pool was super great. The kids, for the most part, were really good, and we all had so much fun just hanging out. No schedules, no need to be a this place by this time. If you don't want to get dressed don't.

Could it be that if summer is over, time has passed and my husband is still unemployed? I do not look forward to a winter with him unemployed. Last winter was not so good. It makes me nervous to over-winter with him unemployed.

Could it be that if summer is over, the winter is coming?

Perhaps as in all good multipule choice tests, it is all of the above. We have had a wonderful summer, and I am sorry to see it end. But with every ending there is a new beginning, we will have new teachers, which we know nothing about. There will be new kids in the classes, does this mean new friends? There is a lot of possibility. With possibility comes uncertainty, and that uncertainty makes me nervous.

For today, we will party like it is the last day of summer. We will save you a shady seat deck side.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Report

A retraction: It is entirely possible that I implied that Bob did not put the brick on the laundry basket protecting our baby rabbits. That was incorrect, Wiley managed to push the brick off the basket in order to get at the babies. He accepted my apologies.

The Rabbit Report: The mother rabbit did not come to feed her babies last night. Two of them died. So, we have one rabbit left. We are not optimistic that it will survive. It is sad to dispose of the dead bodies, but in a way, I am relieved. It is such a pain to keep the rabbits and the dog separate. It is Wiley's yard after all. Like they say, they will make more.

The Spending Report: So far so good. I did buy some underwear from WalMart, I broke down. It isn't as nice as the department store underwear, but I hope it will get me through. I might pick up a few more pairs. Otherwise, I have been a good girl. I even turned down a trip to the yarn store, which was hard.

The Blanket Report: Up to 95 squares. The 100th square will be quite a milestone. I dyed some special yarn for the occasion. Bob gave me lillies for our anniversary and I took the seeds and steeped them in hot vinegar water and dyed some yarn with it. The yarn is a lovely buttery yellow color. It will be a fun square to knit, and since it is anniversary yarn, it should be used for a mile-stone square!

The Soup Report: I think everyone is up to speed on that. We are testing a Santa Fe soup this week, if it is good, I will post the recipe.

The Kid Report: Mac had is 9th birthday party. We had a sleep over. I allowed him to invite 2 kids. At one point someone asked why he didn't invite more people, and Mac said it was because that way he could play with the kids that where there. Good answer, but it was really because 10 kids would have killed me.

When I was a kid, I regularly got invited to huge slumber parties. 10 maybe 15 kids. God bless those parents. I just do not think I could do it. My mom recognized her limitations and I never had a party like that.

Tuesday, school starts!

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Rabbit Died

This afternoon we found that we have a rabbit nest in the middle of our backyard. Bob found it when, what appeared to be dog poop, moved. Upon further investigation he found that it was actually a baby rabbit. He looked more closely and found that we had a nest of 4 babies.

This nest is in the middle of our backyard. It is not hidden anywhere. It is smack dab in the middle of the lawn. The rabbit had been digging there for a couple days. Now we have babies.

I am of two minds on this, they are incredibly cute. But they are rabbits. We have a million gillion rabbits in our neighborhood. I don't really want anymore. They eat my flowers. They eat my invisible fence. They are a pain in the neck.

Bob can't bring himself to kill them. Killing animals is definitely a man job. I an man enough to deal with already dead baby rabbits, but not to kill them. So for now, we have a nest of rabbits, under a laundry basket so that Wiley, our dog, does not bother them. We will pull the basket up at night, when the mother rabbit comes to see them, and Wiley is in the house. I am told we are to do this for 4 weeks. I am not sure how the babies will like being captive for 4 weeks.

I went outside to show the kids the babies, and we noticed that one was dead. So, we are now down to 3 rabbits. Part of me hopes that being sniffed by Wiley will scare them all and they will die, then I won't have to kill them. I am not a mean person, but really, does the world need 3 more wild rabbits? Especially rabbits with a stupid mother. The middle of my lawn? I mean really how safe is that. They are lucky we didn't mow over them. We will see if the mother comes for them. If she does not, then we will call animal control.

I had a string (read yarn) across the nest, so I could tell if the mother can to visit. Well, when Bob put the laundry basket back on them, he didn't put the brick back on it. So, Wiley dug all the babies out of their nest and scattered them all over the yard. 2 look ok, but 1 looks like he might not make it... so we may have 2 tomorrow. While we are not trying to kill them, I think we may have a hard time keeping them away from the dog for 4 weeks.

Random Thoughts on a Friday

1. We had asian soup for dinner this week. It was marginal. Won't make that again.

2. I wish for an anti-drama dryer sheet. Seems drama is following me lately. Think a restraining order would work?

3. Maybe it is the moon.

4. So many posts about having the kids go to bed early in prep for school. If my kids were to get up 1 hour prior to school starting they would need to go to bed later.

5. Still, I want them to go to bed earlier, because I like the peace.

6. I haven't had to talk to Dee in 3 days, maybe those dryer sheets work. I love Dee, she isn't a source of drama, just one that has to get pulled into it.

7. Mac got a huge package of pokemon cards, as an RAK, he is so happy. So is Sam.

8. I am tired of waiting, of being patient. I want Bob to find a job now.

9. It is not more cloudy in Portland than Chicago. Maybe we should move there.

10. Boundaries, it is all about boundaries.

11. You can not have it both ways.

12. I have to make another baby blanket. I am so excited. This is good news!! If the blanket was for me, I would not be excited.

13. I have to write Thank You notes for Sam's party. I hate it when people don't say thank you.

14. Knitting makes everything better.

15. Mac liked my list, he applauded, and found some of my typos.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Probably the hardest part about moving has been developing the new relationships. You land in this strange place and know nobody. We moved here without knowing a soul. I have had to meet people, settle my family, and deal with all of the Bob stuff. For a while, I didn't even want to reach out to people because I was such a mess, I was terrified I would put off folks because I was so needy. That said, it was hard to isolate myself, and that would have made it worse. I have filtered through a number of relationships, looking for the ones that stick. Slowly, I am feeling less alone in this place.

But, all these relationships are still new, so some times just when you think some one is your friend, bam something happens and they shut you out. They stop talking to you, they stop telling what is going on in their lives. I have learned to be worried when someone befriends me to quickly or intensely, usually they are the ones that shut you out the fastest.

We have been through a lot this year, and I don't have the time or energy to invest in being sad about it. Perhaps, I have been through so much rejection this year, it is just another notch in the day planner. Either way, it is disappointing. I do not have any idea what I did, but I feel like I have been kicked to the curb. Oh well, tomorrow is another day, and who knows what it will hold.

This is the part about moving that I don't like. The biggest reason I don't want to move again. I don't want to have to start over again. Can I? Yes, but it is very trying to have to develop all thoose relationships all over. I try and remind myself that this isn't about being alone, but about possibilities. You never know how things will turn out, perhaps today is the day.

As my Dad always said: "Today is the day, make it a good one."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Three days out

So, three days into my spending program, and I blew it. I didn't even know I blew until like days later. It dawned on me like the waking of the morning sun, I spent money on something. I was crushed, it was so innocent.

The kids had earned free ice cream cones from a local ice cream shop. Actually I think it might be a shoppe. Anyway, I took them over so they could enjoy their treat. We have been working pretty hard to cram in all the free stuff they got from the reading program. I ordered 4 cones, I had 3 free ones and had to pay for mine. Granted it was only 2.79.

Now who remembers when a cone was less than a buck? I sure do. I remember getting 50 cents from my mom and going in to 31 flavors and getting my cone and change. But I digress.

So, I spent 2.79. It isn't so much the money, but the fact remains that I spent it without even thinking about it and the new plan. I really enjoyed my ice cream. It was really good. It was even worth the 2.79, in spite of the fact that I have 50 cartons of ice cream in my freezer. But the point is that I didn't even think about it.

I am not sure what the punishment is for falling off the wagon. But, I vow to climb back on and try again tomorrow.

Birthday Party -- Take 1

Sam's Party, was only 6 weeks late. The statistical run down:

  • 6 kids
  • 1.5 hours
  • 6 water guns
  • 1 thunderstorm
  • 5 kids in bathing suits, 1 wouldn't change and wore his church clothes
  • 2 wild children, 1 of Sam's friends and 1 of Sam's siblings
  • 30 minutes playing outside with water guns
  • 60 minutes playing inside, without water guns
  • 20 minutes for cake/ice cream and presents
  • 3:00 could not come too soon.
  • 3 tired kids at home
  • 1 happy Birthday boy
We did an old school house party. It was fun, cheap and now is over! YEAH.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Entering #14

13 years ago today, I was married. We got married by a pond at the Gainey estate. It was a gorgeous day, but it was quite a journey getting there.

My mother insisted that it would be too hot for us to get married outside in August in the Santa Ynez valley and she booked us a different location. She then called and told me. I told her NO. We ended up having to move the location anyway, because the winery we were supposed to get married at double booked us, so we got married at the owners private estate, which was way better!

My mother-in-law was beside herself that we were getting married outside in August, without a rain plan. In her defense, she is from Ohio where it rains in August. We insisted that it would not rain on our wedding day. I pulled the weather history for the entire recorded history, and it had only rained 1 time on the 17th. I kept telling her the biggest concern is that it will be too hot. My brother had been sending me the weather everyday, and it was over 100 almost daily. It did not rain that day, and it was not too hot.

My father was very concerned about what he would wear. He didn't want to spend the money to "rent" a tux. He said it seemed like a waste to spend $100 on something he wouldn't use again. So when he read about a tuxedo shop going out of business, he swung by and bought a shiny silver tux. It was horrible. But, less than the cost of renting one. I was out for a visit and noticed a hole in the pants. To bad, so sad, can't wear it. Problem solved. He found another tux, bought more pants, and wore it. No one had the heart to tell me, so I found out when he didn't show up for the final tux fitting. He was happy, and some of my fondest memories are of my dad in his crazy tux.

There are so many other stories from that day, it was so much fun. The best part was that I got to marry my best friend. After 13 years, we are still in love. We have been through some very scary times, actually are still in some very scary times, but one consistent in our lives is that the other one will be there. My husband is the butter to my bread, the breath to my life. I love him.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Pool

We have spent a fair number of days at the pool this summer. It has been a good time, almost every time.

It is heartwarming to watch my kids delight in playing together. There are 3 of them, who needs friends, seems to be the attitude. Mac loves to give Sam and Hannah rides on his back. They love to get them. Mac has been helping Sam learn how to swim, and catching Hannah when she jumps off the edge.

They play the radio at the pool, sort of loudly. Some days it is almost deafening. They play mostly oldies, so, sadly, songs from when I was a teen. The kids have heard many of these songs and love to sing along. We have taken to singing along very loudly. This of course has caused us to discover that more people than you might have guessed, from our neighborhood, frequent the pool. I am already there in my bathing suit, which isn't a real pretty picture to begin with, so at this point, what is a little more humiliation?

The above is more for painting the scene, we are loud, obnoxious and impervious to embarrassment. We arrived on the scene yesterday, in a swimming pool mood. Jukebox Hero was playing on the radio. The kids are all excited, they like this song, they "know" the words. Mac grabs his towel, which is rolled up, and pretending to make it into a microphone and as loud as he can belts out "He is a juice-box hero, he has stars in his eyes..." It was a glorious moment.

Yup, that is right, after all these years of teasing him about it, he still really believes that there is such a thing as a juice-box hero. All is not lost. Of course jukeboxes these days are not so common and they don't play records, and he did have to make sure he knew what one was when I told him it was NOT juice-box, but rather jukebox.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Good Bye Hair

This just in, Hannah has cut her hair. Her beautiful long curly locks have been shorn. She took the kitchen shears and cut her pig-tail off. I learned, that her cousin already cut her hair once. Apparently her cousin did a good job, because I didn't really notice. But, in the spirit of channeling Leah, Hannah cut 5" off. I should have taken a picture of her prior to my cleaning it up, but I was too horrified.

Hannah had long hair down to the middle of her back, and now, it just barely grazes her shoulders. The picture does not show it after a good wash, when the curls are back. Sure she looks cute, with her bob of curly hair. I will miss the pigtails on my baby, she looks like a big girl now.

I will leave you with a picture of the new hair, short. I am sad. I liked the long hair. It will grow. She just came in and asked if she could have another haircut. I guess, it begins.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Great, just great

Great Googly Moogly... Dishrag Tag is starting. I am super excited about this. Teams are assigned, and my team is the only one that has even started posting in the forums. I am thinking we are very enthusiastic. This is so great. (I just realized that we can not see the other teams forums, so that we can strategize. Duh.)

As I was tooling through my teammates, I checked out their blogs to see what they were about and what not. They all seem totally cool. THEN...

I tooled by my blog just to see the public face. It occurred to me that the post that was fairly current was the one where I discuss the state of my underwear. GREAT, just freakin' great. Yeah, I finally get traffic on my blog and I am talking about my underwear falling apart.

So, now all of my teammates must think I am something. I am not even sure what sort of something they might think I am... I want to say, listen, I am not what ever bad thing you are thinking.

I am sort of just a Mom, apparently with bad underwear. I hold a post graduate degree, I used to have a real job and make money. Now I have a pretend job that doesn't pay well.

So, don't be sad about having the crazy one from IL on your team. I am ok, motivated, able to knit AND purl. I will finish my dishrag in one maybe two days, depending on the kids schedule. I live near a postal handling facility.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Soups ON

Last fall, I made a boat load of money when I bought chicken broth. The cartons came with dollar bills taped to them. It was great. That said, I have cases of chicken broth. We are going to eat it all. So, in the spirit of using what we have, we are having soup every week. Since I really only know how to make 3 kinds of soup, this will also be a bit of a cooking experiment too...

I started this 3 weeks ago. The first week we had tortilla soup. This is a fan favorite and I am make it quite a lot during the winter. It has butternut squash in it, so it is also super healthy! The kids love it.

The next week I made garden vegetable soup. We had tons of veggies that were about to turn on me, so rather than waste, I made soup. It also was quite yummy. Feeling very Suzy Homemaker, I also made bread. I cooked it too long, because well, I really didn't have enough time to make it and left it cooking in the oven with the auto-timer going. We had soup for lunch the rest of the week.

This week, I branched out, and made Corn Chowder. I used to make this frequently, before Bob and I were married. Once we got married, it seemed to fall off the rotation. I looked for the recipe, but could not find it. It probably got recycled in the massive throw-stuff-away before we moved. So, going off memory and a couple of other recipes as a guide, I came up with a version that was very close to what I remember it tasting like!

Corn Chowder

Saute 1 sliced jalapeno and 1 diced onion, in oil, until soft.
Then add 1 box of chicken broth, 1 can cream of corn, 1 can corn and puree until smooth. Then add another can of corn. If you want it all smooth, then you can puree the other can too, but I like a little texture
Season with lime juice (a splash), black pepper and red pepper, to taste.
Let it simmer until thickened.
Prior to serving add a diced zucchini (if you want, we just had some from a friends garden!), some chopped cilantro, and about 1 C milk.

We put our soup over some diced chicken, and had crusty bread.

Bob really liked it, the corn is sweet and the jalepano adds just enough spice to give it some zip. We will definitely we doing this again!


Another update on my no spending plan. So far so good! I bought ice cream and cereal at the store today, and I am up 10 bucks. So, I did the inverse of spending. It is a good thing. OH, and we have ice cream and cereal to last for while.


Sock Yarn Blanket up-date

I have done 70 square of the over 700 that I need to do. I am about 10% complete now!! It is starting to get some heft to it and you can see what it is going to look like when it is done. I am thrilled.

Spend nothing

I follow a couple of other blogs. One of my fellow bloggers/knitters was talking about taking a challenge to not spend any money for 3 months. I was thinking about giving that a try. I might not tackle 3 months, maybe just one.

The rules:

1. You can not buy anything other than the necessities. So food, gas, toiletries are ok, but clothing, toys, books, games, yarn, etc. are not.

2. If you want to purchase something, you write it down and then at the end of the month if you still really want it, you can buy it.

I am willing to commit to the rest of August and September. I also am going to take a "day off" for a trip to stitches, where I will buy myself a birthday present. Other than that, we will see how it goes. I am not a big spender anyway, but I might surprise myself.

I am already thinking, underwear. I desperately need new underwear. I solved the bra problem by finding some I bought a while ago that didn't fit very well, that seem to be working fine now. I must be fatter. But the undies, all have holes, and not just the ones for the legs, all are stretched out... Basically, I die, my mother will be horrified, my underwear is not fit for coroner consumption. NOW, is new underwear a necessity or a luxury?

I do not really want to spend money on them, but I desperately need them. Maybe in October when this experiment is over. But, it I do not want to buy them, do they fall into the necessity category? I am not being a typical consumer when replacing my threadbare underwear am I?

As I think about this I might have to go to Kohls and see how much they cost. Perhaps I can find a coupon?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Blogs of Note

I recently noticed that there is a section on blogger called blogs of note. Hmmm. Someone, somewhere picks out these blogs of note. How do they decide that one is more notable than another. Quite honestly some of these blogs have been well, a little less than interesting.

That isn't to say that my blog is interesting. I sort of wonder why folks even read it, but I know from the stat counter that some of you keep on keepin' on. There are people who hit my blog regularly. I think sleeping pills don't work for you?

But, this whole Blog of Note thing got me thinking. How do they sift through the gazillion blogs that are out there and decide which ones are note worthy. The ones I like are mundane details about life, with a funny twist. I suppose I should work on that funny twist thing. It has been a bit of a rant lately.

So, I looked into how one gets one's blog publicized. The most interesting fact, is that adding links in the text of the blog will poke the crawlers. The more words you use, specifically over 200 of them, will elevate you in the google listing on the crawlers. This got me thinking. My posts have been longer, and guess what, the crawler has been hitting my blog. Sometimes if I use the right combination of words, my blog will actually pop up! Amazing. I can actually google my blog.

Now, I know how to get the crawlers to hit the blog. The next thing that makes a blog notable is the number of hits it gets. I get a pretty fair amount of hits. Then the tricky part, have the content be something that is interesting enough that people come back.

I was talking to a friend about it. She asked me if I really want to be a blog of note. You know, I don't. (ok, secretly it might be kinda cool) This is my house, and I want to talk about what I want to talk about. Some people will like it, some won't. I don't really write it so that anyone will read it. I write as a way for me to think about the things that are happening in my life. I usually only start doing these blog posts with any regularity when I am in crisis/chaos. So, I guess this is my way of processing the drama. That said, thanks for reading.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hilton Garden Inn

H is for Happy, because I got to go away with out kids
I is for Ice Cream, because it is free and yummy
L is for Lovely room with a jacuzzi tub
T is for Time alone
O is for One, one person in the room
N is for Noone bugging me

G is for Great time
A is for Alone
R is for Reading a book
D is for Dinner with a friend
E is for Eating breakfast in bed
N is for Nice time knitting

I is for I
N is for Never enough time
N is for No, don't make me leave

Oh, Hilton Garden Inn, how do I love thee, let me count the ways.

For the first time, when I got home from one of these weekends off, my kids were happy to see me, and did not act out! It was a lovely weekend.


My Dad was a great guy. He was not a very out-going person by nature, but once you got to know him, he was pretty loyal. He was always one for the pithy saying. Lately, I have been thinking a lot about him. I am not sure. He died in November, his birthday was in May... so it is not like an anniversary or anything.

So, bullet points about my Dad!

  • He wore a silver tux to my wedding. He thought he was the coolest thing on two feet. My sister specifically told my Dad there would be no tuxes at the wedding so he would not wear it.
  • My Dad had a lot of rules about skiing, don't take your gloves off on the lift, if you drop one you will be cold. Don't marry someone who skis better than you, that is called irreconcilable ski differences and is grounds for divorce. Point your skis towards the lodge and you will end up at the bottom of the mountain. If you roll down, your skis are not pointed the right direction.
  • He left his wallet at home when we were going on a ski trip with the Church youth group. We all had to turn around and go back and get it. It made us about an hour behind schedule. To this day people talk to me about that. "So typical of your Dad to forget his wallet."
  • He always liked to remind me that problems are like waves in the ocean, there is always one coming and once it is gone there will be another one. Some are bigger and some are smaller, and some crush you into the sand.
  • My Dad liked to help people realize their dreams. I learned to always try and do what makes you happy and you will probably be ok. (Just remember to keep you skis pointed in the right direction so you don't roll down the mountain.)
  • My Dad died in his sleep, after he went for a walk with a friend, bought Christmas presents for everyone and a toy for Mac. He played tennis with his friends, came home and went to bed and never woke up. 200 people showed up for his funeral, in spite of the fact that the funeral home ran the wrong date.

I miss my Dad.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Cats in Sweaters

I was bored, Bob was gone, I had computer time on my hands. I was tooling around and found pictures of cats in sweaters. People actually made sweaters for their cats.

Don't cats have fur, hence negating the need for sweaters? Couldn't you make a sweater out of a cat? All and all, it just seems wrong to me on some sort of level. Judging by the looks on the faces of the cats, they agree.

Enjoy... some of these pictures are a riot. Some make me think PETA people should be called in.


Yesterday, was a hard day. Mac was having a very hard time being a good boy. He was just in a bad mood. So I spent a large part of the day trying to remind him to be polite and nice to me. It is exhausting.

It didn't help that I came home from the pool, sat down and read my emails, and was told I was an embarrassment and that I didn't have my act together. I was stunned that someone who wanted me to do something for them would say that.
As I mentioned before, I am somewhat embarrassed to be affiliated with a group that can't seem to get their act together...I know we are all volunteers here but this has been going on since April. If in that time, I can go from being the the AVP, a full time teacher, a full time mother to being the President while having a newborn by c-section, I would think someone can get an answer back to us. If you need me to make any calls, just let me know who to talk to and I'll get it done.

I don't really know what to say to this. The question was already asked and answered, the answer was no. I guess that this chick didn't get the message. I don't know what if anything was communicated to her. It really wasn't something that she needed to know about, so it is entirely possible nothing was communicated to her.

I am from a "flys from honey" school of thought. I want to just tell her no again, because she is a bit difficult. I also now understand why her prior president needed a break after dealing with her for a year. I might need a break after dealing with her for a year.

I am not sure that no is the right answer in this situation, but I so hate to tell her yes, because I hate for her to think that her method of bulling will work. I don't want her to think anytime she wants something she can be mean to me and get it. But, I also do not want to make the wrong decision.

I want to say to her, that since April, I have helped my emotionally unstable husband get stablized, he has taken a pay cut, lost his job, and is now looking for one. I have been to CA, OH, WV, IN, PA, NY, CT. My son has been diagnosed OD with anxiety disorder. I have maintained my role as Big Sister (or area manager), and Activities coordinator. I have dealt with a huge bug infestation in my house. I have negotiated with the bank about my mortgage. I have done a couple of other major life things that I am not ready to share yet, but trust me they are big. All while supporting 3 kids and a husband. So, it isn't like I have been sitting around eating freakin' bon bons. Frankly, what she has been up to has been a cake walk.

Yet, because I am open minded I encouraged the leadership to reconsider. She pushed me aside, trampled on my head to get what she wanted. This is not how you do things. I want to smack her down. Anyway, my nice response is:

I am sorry that you are embarrassed by the leadership of this club, and that you feel we do not have our act together. Please keep in mind that this question, asked in April, was answered and the answer was no. Please also keep in mind that we did not ever get completed paperwork from you. I think that it is pretty open minded of the leadership to reconsider. I also think that people are advocating for you.
I just can not figure out how to tell her that what she said to me so offensive, and that she really needs to temper her anger before speaking with me. Well, I guess we will see!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

They found the Nintendo

When I was first pregnant I acquired a Nintendo 64. Yes, this was MANY moons ago. The kids have known of its existence for sometime. The pieces for the game have never all been in the same place at the same time. Perhaps they could find a game or a controller or the cords, but never all the necessary pieces to actually plug it in and play it. Until yesterday.

When they finally assembled all the parts, which from what I understand they have been hording all their finds for months, they demanded that I set it up. I still laugh about the way they hid the controllers, games and cords so that they could find each part and every time they found another piece they would get so excited. It wasn't like I was trying to make this hard for them to do, but I was too busy to look for it as well. When I would run across parts, I didn't give them to the kids.

I was making dinner when all the parts were finally together and told them they had to wait if they wanted me to plug it in. So, Mac, tired of waiting, figured out how to do it on his own. I was thrilled, my almost 9 year old is FINALLY doing something for himself. He won't pour his own milk, he wants me to cut up his food, and he doesn't like to tie his shoes. He CAN do all these things, he just prefers to be waited on. Yeah, so do I, but that ain't happening. But, apparently he can set up a video game player all by himself. I was pretty amazed, and he did it without crying about it too.

Anyway, once they got it going, the boys evicted their sister from the basement, and they began to play. They played together really well for almost 2 hours. It was pretty amazing. They both came up when asked laughing and strategizing about the next game.

I have some mixed feelings about video games. I think that it is better that they play outside. I think that they already have enough electronic gizmos and do not really require anymore. I have seen kids prefer to play games over playing with other kids. I find that really concerning, fortunately, right now, my kids will choose playing with the neighborhood kids or friends over playing video games or watching tv.

For right now, the boys are enjoying playing the new games, they are excited to play together and are not fighting. Since there are only 5 games that go into the player, I doubt that the excitment will last for too long. I imagine that soon, this will be old hat and they will find something else to do! But, for now, I will enjoy the new found commeradery.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Random Thoughts, because well it is Wednesday

1. Did you know that the melty stuff at the bottom of the ice cream bowl is called ice cream juice?

2. Tom and Jerry is the new Barney.

3. Short is the new long.

4. Why do people call you, ask you to call them back and then refuse to take your call?

5. Is that a power trip?

6. Some people are just massive pooper butts.

7. Only 2 kids this morning, what to do, what to do....

8. Free ice cream is so much better than ice cream you have to pay for.

9. Being paid to take ice cream out of the store, well that is even better.

10. I want to be able to do what I want to do, when I want to do it, and have that not be a bad thing.

11. I want to fix my house so it looks pretty.

12. I wish Mac would talk to me in a regular voice.

13. Last night I was too tired to knit.

14. Knitting makes everything better.

A knitters dozen of thoughts.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


I was at knitting last night and the subject of how we are living on unemployment came up. One word answer, couponing. I get something for nothing, most of the time. I work very hard to follow the deals and get it for free.

Yesterday's excitement: We had lunch at Noodles and Company, FREE! All 3 kids and me... lunch for free. We even had left overs for dinner that night. How awesome is that?

I got 10 cartons of Breyers ice cream and 1 Clorox for colors, and I paid 1.50, and I will get 4.49 back in a rebate. YUP, I made a money on ice cream.

I have also gotten Peanut butter for 25 cents each, cake mixes for 15 cents each. These are brand name products, Skippy and Betty Crocker.

People think I am crazy, but I don't shop like a regular person. I buy what is on sale, with a coupon and I buy a lot of it. When we run out, we shop in our basement, NOT the store. We never pay full price for anything. It is such a change in mindset for so many people. People say to me, I don't need 6 jars of mayo. I look at them and say, how many jars of mayo would you say you eat a month? If they eat one a month, they will use the mayo before it expires, why wouldn't you get it if you could get it for free? Oh, I don't want that much, it is wasteful. My feeling is always, ok, more for me.

It takes a need for someone to come over to our side of the mountain, but once they are there and they see how we live, they stay. Sure, I was lazy for a while there... still might even say that I am. I certainly don't do every deal, I don't work any deal as hard as some, but I get enough for us, and I am happy. I am not trying to sell this stuff like some. Still, I spend less than most single people on food, and I feed 5.

If you are interested, you can learn about it by doing some research. If you live in the Chicago area, check out The link is here: If you live elsewhere, checkout Every region has it's own site out there somewhere. Hotcouponworld is the global group, and usually you can find someone who will point you in the right direction. I know I did.

When I hear people complain about the price of things, I know it is because they don't want to take the time to shop properly. They are not interested in learning how to do it, or trying something different. That is fine, but circumstances may change your opinion on that, and when it does, I will be happy to show you the ropes.

This is why, I generally do not talk about my coupon deals in my blog. I don't think most people are really interested. But, since it seemed the folks at knitting were pretty into it, and a couple of others I have mentioned it to, I will post various deals as I think they warrent posting.

We spend $50 a week on groceries for 5 people. Next time you go to the store and spend $100, $150, $200 bucks, for one weeks worth of groceries, think, you could have more than 1/2 that money in your pocket if you tried something different.

Monday, August 3, 2009

I thought you were broke?

Let's start off by saying I am not broke any more than normal. I think all my parts are working as well as they ever do. Sorry, it is just that phrase gets me. I realize broke is not referring to my physical well being but rather my financial state. I am not sure how not having any money means I am broke... but anyway.

I took the kids to the movies yesterday to see G-Force. We ran into a friend who looked at me sideways, and said, "I thought that your husband was unemployed?" I looked at her and said "Yes, yes he is, do you know of any openings?" She looked at me and said that she thought we were coming from the movies. I said, "Yes, we saw G-Force, it was great. The kids really liked it." Mac started getting antsy so we moved on.

I got to thinking, was she implying that if we shouldn't be spending our money that way. What she didn't know, is that the move was FREE. Yup, FREE. We saw it in 3D, for Free. Hey, that rhymes. At the beginning of the summer I got a bunch of free movie passes for purchasing waffles, which we eat every day. The waffles were on sale, I had coupons, so I paid very little for the waffles AND got the movie tickets. I think I got 10 boxes of waffles and 2 movie tickets for like $7. That seems like a pretty good deal to me, I would have paid that for just the waffles.

In the spirit of full disclosure I will list all the money we spent yesterday:

Barnes and Noble -- got 4 books for boys -- Cost $0 (due to summer reading program)
Movie -- 3 people, movie in 3D -- Cost $0
Meijer -- 4 boxes of waffles, 2 bottles glue, 2 pizzas, 1 Tinkerbell backpack -- $14

I think for $14 bucks, we had a pretty good haul. I had 3 bags of groceries, some books for the kids, school supplies, and a movie?? I know, I could have done better... oh well.

I am pretty frugal. So next time you see me "spending a lot of money," ask yourself, "Do you think she got it for free?" The answer is probably pretty darn close.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


I have learned a lot in the last couple of days about WHY I hate red dye #3. It is pervasive in many food colorings. Red seems to be such a hard color to get to stick and not be some nasty pink. PH is what it is all about.

I had been randomly pouring vinegar into my dye baths... and guess what, red dye #3 is sensitive to ph, get below 6 and it won't set. Well, that sure explains a whole lot. The batches where the red is red, are the ones where I soaked the yarn in vinegar and water, the applied the color. But when I put the color and vinegar together, well, I got browns and other muddy colors.

No Taste Red, is suppose to be red #40, which is all good! We may go get some of that and give it a spin. I also want to try black. When you add the vinegar it is supposed to break the black into all of its component colors and you get pinks, purples and blues. I think that would be so fun for the kids to see happen!

I guess I will need to re-evaluate my opinion that more vinegar is better. I guess in some cases, that isn't true. There are so many tricks, it is sort of amazing to think about how much one has to learn in order to get the colors to look right.

Which brings me to another topic, how could anyone accuse me of trying to sell the yarn I have dyed at home? I didn't even know enough to know about the whole red dye #3 situation... I mean really! There is a lot to know about doing this, and the more I learn the more I think it is highly unlikely that my kitchen will ever turn out anything sale able. BUT that does not mean my kitchen can't turn out squares for my blanket!

BUT NO MORE rainbow yarn. I am so over the kids attempts at making a rainbow. NO more hot pink!! I would like to try some more muted colors. I guess this can be obtained by using less dye, we will be getting right on that.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

May Peace Reign

Since this is technically a parenting blog, I guess it would be fitting for me to talk about some of the trials of parenting.

A couple of days ago, the kids, seemingly jumped out of bed and began to fight. They argued about who owes what pokemon card, who touched who, who breathed who's air. It was a day of generalized whininess. It wasn't even 8:00 am yet. It is this kind of day where I would generally do something so out of the ordinary that it would shock them into a better mood. This is the kind of day you see a movie, have lunch at McDonalds, go shopping, generally speaking, something that costs money. Since we don't have any money, I hunkered down.

I posted on Facebook that I was tired of the kids fighting and wondered when we would have peace. My responses were very interesting. My SIL say "no." Probably the most honest and accruate answer of them all. I appreciated that answer.

A friend of a friend of mine from high school, J, said:
I know how you feel. I have found that giving them an activity to do where working together is rewarded things will tend to claim down at my house. I explain that working together is the most important thing I expect from them. Often giving them something to shoot for each day, then a prize after so many days of working together can work also. They will never be at peace 100% of the time, but you can get close. Don't give up.
I was a little annoyed by that. It is generally good advice. It presumes that I didn't already try that. It makes me wonder how old his kids are. The pictures I have seen would lead me to believe that my kids are older. While this is not all that important, I just think that it was easier to distract them from their bad moods and fights when they were younger. I would also surmise, that their life is a little different than mine. I would guess, that he and his wife have more support than we do, that his wife has more support than I do.

I look at the part where they will be at peace most of the time. I think, really? What sort of drugs are you on, because you ain't sharing and that ain't nice. My kids, as far as kids go, get along pretty well. They have been through a lot last year and have come together as a group. For the most part, when they are together they stay together. As long as Mac is in a good mood, my day will be ok.

Had I been less tired, I might have given them a lesson in co-operation. (Where I make them do a chore, together, without fighting. Should they not do that, they they get to do another. They are smart kids, they figure it out.)

The other response I had, forbid them from playing together, worked when the were smaller. Now, they just look at me like I have lost my mind. My kids are too old for that sort of reverse psychology to work. The last time I tried that Mac said to me: "Mommy, you are trying to trick us into being nice to each other." He was 5.

Mac is a "special" child. Special children require special solutions. That day, the solution would have been to spend money do something abnormal. I was too tired to come up with something that didn't cost money or a way to do something for free that might otherwise cost money. Someday, things will be back to normal, and money will be another resource in my bag of tricks. Until then, I go it mostly alone, without that, and hope that I can figure it out.