Monday, June 30, 2008

Sassy Questions

One of the blogs I subscribe to posted some questions for her readers and instead of answering them in her comment section I thought I'd share them with you as well. =) Because some are funny questions.

Kodiak smells something funny.

As a child did you ever want to change your name? If yes, what did you want to change it to. If no, why did you enjoy your name so much?

Not that I can memory sucks. I like my first name and my middle name actually. If I had the choice I'd probably pick my middle name - Elizabeth. I think it sounds classy. :)

What is the most embarrassing thing you have ever said ?

Do I have to pick just one thing? I'm very good at putting my foot in my mouth. On and off line. In fact there are so many that they all start to blend together. One I remember most recently was at Agility. I use the word "retard" a lot. Habit. Been doing it for a good 25 years now you know. When I was in school the PC thing was in full force but I didn't really pay attention.

So I'm at agility and Trooper is acting like a dork. I talk to my dog, as all normal people do, and ask him (in my typically loud voice) why he's acting like such a retard. Of course he responds ... oh wait, no he doesn't. He's a dog! But then I remember that there's a young girl there who is, actually retarded. I can't remember what she it Downs Syndrome? I have a cousin who has Downs. I'm sure she could have cared less and I doubt she even heard me but I felt pretty stupid. She's a real sweet girl (who is terrified of Trooper because he's so big but intrigued by him because he's so pretty) and while I doubt I hurt her feelings, I'm sure her mom or relative was around somewhere. *sigh*

3.)What is your favorite song?

I don't really have one because I like all sorts of music...maybe the theme song from Harry Potter. *grin*

4.) Would you like me to respond to your comment via email or the comments section? or do you even care?

Um...leave a comment here will ya? =)

5.) A turtle and a frog are in a fight, who will win? (Best Question Ever!)

The turtle of course. What the heck is a frog going to do? Hop on it to death? Unless it's a poisonous frog...but you didn't specify. A turtle has a shell and a sharp beak thing. I'd hate to see either get hurt though. I kind of like turtles and frogs. :)

6.) What is your guilty pleasure?

Ice Cream. It tastes sooooooo good and perfect and yummy but afterward I always feel guilty. I'm trying to lose weight and have changed my eating habits (though have slacked lately) to include more fruits and veggies. But ice cream...oh my goodness.

7.) Does your spouse know about your blog? If so, do they read? Do they make fun of you for blogging? Do you want to poke their eyes out when and if they do?

I think he "knows" about it but I doubt he understands just what a blog is actually. He's never read it and I doubt he even knows the address. He did get mad at me once for posting his photo and made me remove it. :( I'm just so proud of him but he values his privacy a LOT. Being a cop makes you a little paranoid sometimes. =)

8.) What is your best feature, personality wise?

Hmmm...I don't know. My sarcasm? My inability to lie? Both get me in trouble more often than not. My sarcasm got me in trouble a lot in my last position here...not directly in "trouble trouble" but because people got the wrong impression of me. I am a hard worker and love to work but my sarcastic responses to "Can you do something for me?" led some to believe I didn't want to work. So I've worked on that. :)

9.) Favorite Tv Show as a Kid? Why?

I have to pick just one? I have always been a TV junkie. I watched Save by the Bell religiously. And as an older kid I watched Seinfeld and Friends.

10.) If you could bring back one canceled television show, which would it be and why?

Off the top of my head a few stand out...Seinfeld, Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond. But in retrospect those ended and should stay ended.

Ones that I would LOVE to have back...Alias (I don't know why they took this off the soon as they changed the time/day I lost track of it) because it just kicked so much butt. Also Dark Angel (I'm such a geek and LOVED Jessica Alba in this show). Hmmm...two girl kicking butt shows. I wonder what that says...

11.) Have you ever felt snubbed by a blogger? If so, did you quit reading? Did you email or did you just laugh?

Not that I can recall, but I have a short memory and don't take most things personally.

12.) Is there any subject you would like to see me write about in the future (don’t be scared, all ?

I don't know...I just read because it's interesting regardless of subject. :)

What Do You Want? A Cookie?

I love bumper stickers. I have at least 5 (if I'm remembering correctly) on my car, which hubby absolutely hates. But even as a kid I loved them. I remember sitting in the car and reading them as we drove on trips or just running errands.

Some I love and think are hilarious even if I don't agree with their message. Like "Republicans for Voldemort" ... Get it? Republicans are EEEEVEEEEL. bwa ha ha ha ha The first time I saw that I was almost crying with laughter because I'm such a Harry Potter geek. Of course, those not familiar with the series won't get it, but that's part of it's charm.

There are a few bumper stickers that bug me though. Most of course are messages I don't agree with but it's the way they do it that I find annoying. Some I hate because so many people have them so I'm tired of seeing them.

The one that gets on my nerves most lately is "I Don't Shop at Walmart."

I want to talk to one of these people (but would never actually do that!) and ask them...So what? What's your point? You think you're better than me? Are you trying to brag that you have more money and can afford to shop elsewhere?

Oh, trust me. I get their message. Walmart is an evil corporation that does nothing but harm to the world. Yeah yeah yeah...heard it all and bought the t-shirt.

You know what I see when I go in to Wally World (which I don't particularly *love* doing but do occasionally)? I see people with jobs they might not be able to have otherwise. Some of the associates there are top notch and have chosen to work there and others probably have no choice because they're just lucky to have a job (like the guy who checked me out yesterday ... he didn't seem too bright).

I also see a lot of families. Families who can afford to buy a few extra goodies for their brats...I mean kids. :) I see little old ladies (and a few gents) strolling up the aisle with their small cart of items. I see savings! Especially if you use coupons on top of roll back prices.

My neighbor actually has one of those bumper stickers. They just bought a huge RV. Must be nice I guess. It's not like they're snobs, which is why the sticker bugs me even more for them. They're nice folks but that sticker screams elitist snob looking down on the "little people."

If you don't like Walmart, don't shop there. I don't have a bumper sticker that says "I Don't Shop at QFC."

Funniest thing I saw though...someone with that bumper sticker IN a Walmart parking lot. Ha!!!

What do my bumper stickers say? :) Wouldn't you like to know? I get mostly thumbs up from other motorists and a few funny looks. During the 2004 election season I got flipped off and screamed at by some nut. I don't take bumper stickers nearly that serious. The most I do is roll my eyes. :)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Hot Hot Hot and More Hot

It is way too hot here today and looks like it will be as hot tomorrow. When we ran an errand in the truck and the thermostat said 93. Some of you may laugh and not think that is so hot, but for us in the Pacific Northwest it is hot as Hades.

And for my poor sweet puppies it is a miserable and coma inducing hot. :(

All in all though it's been a great day. We finally decided on the new couch we want and I am SO excited about it. The only problem is that it exceeds our current budgeted savings for it so we need to save a little more...well, about twice as much as we have now. Hubby was SO disappointed. He was hoping we'd order it today. I had to remind him that we aren't those people anymore.

You know? Those people who charge something so they can get instant gratification even if they don't have the cash to pay it off in full later. We don't do that anymore. We still use our credit cards but only if we already have the funds saved up.

It is going to feel SO good to pay cash up front for a gorgeous new couch (it's actually going to be a sectional and it's going to ROCK) and know that we worked really hard to save up for it. Hubby has been working a lot of overtime lately (has another 11 hour shift tomorrow) and every time he sits on the new couch he'll be proud of how hard he worked to buy it.

And to help save I'm clipping coupons! I have been clipping and couponing for about two months now and am really having way too much fun. Today I stopped by Walgreens real quick and bought $21.95 worth of items for $3.18 out of pocket ($1.14 of which was tax). :) I cannot explain the high I get from that kind of savings. It's totally addicting.

Of course my hubby thinks I'm completely bonkers. So does most of my family. Until they tell them how much I'm saving. And on things that we actually use or will use in the future. Yesterday I saved over $60 at Walgreens and more than $50 at Albertsons. Some items we don't need right now but when you find something on sale and you have a coupon it's better to buy it, as long as it won't go bad, and save it for later. Not only won't you have to pay full price later when you will need it, but you're hedging against inflation. Because we know that prices just keep going up.

So as hot as it is today it's still a great day. I've been feeling really good for the last couple of days. Tomorrow is agility with Trooper and my mom is going with me for the first time. I'm so excited! :)

Have a fabulous weekend!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Please Stop Me!

I feel ill. I just finished my second donut. I think I'm going to throw up. But first I'll feel sick and get a headache. I KNOW better than to eat this crap. Sugar is NOT my friend.

The good news is that I've also already had two bananas today. So that's something.

Yesterday was pizza for breakfast and lunch. My last couple of weeks of eating have not been healthy. :( And I've been feeling crummy.

I need to hop back on the healthy food train. Hubby isn't very helpful. He never wants to eat healthy food. He's eaten out for every lunch this week. *grrrr* That drives me bonkers money wise too.

Hey look...three posts in one day. I'm on a roll! :) Thank goodness it's Friday. I'm ready for the weekend.

How Republican Am I?

Okay...this quiz must be messed up...but the questions or selections themselves are kind of dumb. I think it obviously shows the bias of the designer.

You Are 44% Republican

You aren't a full fledged Republican yet, but it's probably the party that fits you best.

You probably consider yourself an independent Republican. You usually support the party, but you also think for yourself!

44%? That's IT? Yeah right.

What is with Gas Prices?

Okay...I try really hard not to complain about the price of gas. Mainly because I don't think it's some grand conspiracy between the oil companies but mostly a market issue and perhaps a problem with speculators. But honestly I don't know. I'm no expert on the matter.

What I really don't get though is how Costco can charge $4.09 when all the other stations are up to $4.36 or higher. I get lectured by my oil change guys for using Costco (they say that the quality of Costco gas is bad) but it's just hard to justify paying more.

So they recommended going to Arco, part of BP, saying that their quality was better and it's the same price as Costco. Something about the mix of gasoline and additives - less water or something. I have no idea.

Why is that? Why is BP gasoline $0.27 a gallon cheaper than Exxon or Phillips Connoco?

Anyway, I got up really early this morning and ended up leaving the house 30 minutes earlier than normal. So I decided to swing by the bank ATM and then the Arco. And now I remember why I NEVER get gas at Arco. It is a royal pain in the arse.

First, they don't take credit cards. Seriously. No credit cards. I understand that credit costs more but it sure is a pain not to be able to use a card.

Second, you can use a debit card but you're charged $0.45. So it still makes it cheaper to use their gas (I'm saving $2.70 for 10 gallons so even with the charge I'm saving). The charge is to cover their expenses and reward folks who use cash. I get that. It sucks for me, but I get it.

Not only that, but their pumps are freaking old and hard to use.

How do you pay cash for gasoline? What if you want to fill up the tank but don't know exactly how much gas you need? Do you estimate high and give them $50 and hope that you get close? Then go back in and get your change? Seriously?

I'm so spoiled. To me that is all such a waste of time and I'm not used to so many steps being involved in my gas purchase. Go in and give cash, go back out and pump gas, go back in to get change. And what if the tank doesn't fill all the way? Do I have to go back in and pay more???

I won't be hitting the local Arco again anytime soon. Even though it'll cost me an extra $3, when it's time to fill up with the "good" gas I'll just stick with the local Texaco or Chevron.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Don't Be Annoying

I'm a member of MyPoints - you get a bunch of e-mails and when you 'read' them (by opening a link) you get points. Those points add up and you can earn all kinds of things like gift cards to Target, Macy's, and other great stores. Oh and you can shop through their website and earn even more points. I've earned several hundred dollars in rewards over the last few years.

It's usually not a problem. I click on a link and close it and get my points. Every once in awhile there's an interesting offer that I may linger awhile longer, but usually I have no interest.

And if I have no interest I just want to leave the site. Should be simple right?

One site this morning, instead of letting me leave by closing the page actually had a pop up "chat" screen inviting me to stick around. Even closing out the initial pop up didn't work because they gave (har) me one more chance to stick around and chat with someone.

Um...NO! Leave me the heck alone please. I don't want your stupid product and I want to leave NOW.

What is wrong with these people? If I wanted to stay on the site I wouldn't close the window. A popup is not going to convince me to stick around. "Oh gee, look I get another chance. Maybe I should stick around and see what's so good if it's worth a pop up." Jeez-a-lou. The fastest way to get me to hate your product is to force me to stay on your site. And music...I hate music that just starts playing. It's annoying.

I try very hard not to be annoying on my website. If you don't want to stick around you are free to leave. No music. No sparkly flashing words. Simplicity is the name of the game. I wish all sites were so considerate.

Christmas Is Coming

It's less than 185 days away!!!

Thanks a lot Frugal Dad for reminding me. Sheesh. Last Christmas was so busy - I was overwhelmed with orders. I'd like to prepare ahead of time.

We can check one thing off our list though - our Christmas lights are STILL up!!! HAHAHAHAHA! Yes, I am that white trash.

My mom is beyond humiliated. Every time she visits she looks up and just shakes her head. And they aren't the subtle lights either - they are icicles on white wires! So they really, really stand out.

So we can mark that off our to-do list. I'd like to get the house clean enough to take photos and share our cheerful Christmas celebration. I'd also like to finally have some of my co-workers and hubby's co-workers over for a small party. We'll see if that actually happens.

Have you started your Christmas wish list yet? :) I hope all the ladies will forward my jewelry site to their hubby. If you start now they might just remember in time for Christmas or Hanukkah! *grin* I know that there are bunches of Etsy shops on my wish list already.

Have you started thinking about special Christmas gifts for others? It doesn't have to be something material. What about planning a trip to a nursing home to visit with the folks or sing Christmas carols?

I love Frugal Dad's idea...
This year, we are planning to go out for breakfast on the morning of Christmas Eve and leave a $100 tip to our server.
How cool is that?!?!? I would get such a thrill from doing that. And we typically go out to eat on Christmas day at one of those Denny's like places. We have a couple great local ones. I might start tucking away extra cash into our ING account just for a special Christmas surprise. :) [Want to start an ING account...e-mail me and I'll send you a referral. You'll get some free cash if you open an account and I'll get a small reward as well.]

Part of what makes the Thanksgiving and Christmas season so special to me is doing things for others - random acts of kindness. Especially when the people I try to help have no idea who did it. :) I like to be sneaky that way.

What's your favorite part of Christmas? Do you have a special savings account (or jar) for gifts? If you start now it won't be so hard on your credit card and it will be a much less stressful event.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I'm an Old Fart

I don't know when it happened but somewhere along the road I became that relative. The one who doesn't have cereal in bright colors. The one who has weird sounding juice instead of regular orange juice. The one who likes to listen to talk radio instead of music.

OH DEAR LORD! I got old!!!

My sweet little cousin is 9 3/4 years old (yes, she specified the 3/4) and came to visit us this weekend. Not too long ago I would have Lucky Charms or some such sweet cereal for her to eat in the morning. Now I have Kashi. No orange juice. We have Blueberry Pomegranate. No Ranch dressing for her to dip carrots in. I made her eat a banana at dinner with her hot dog and baked beans.

I automatically switched to the news channel as I always do in the mornings before realizing that the TV should be on cartoons! And in the car, if I'm not listening to Harry Potter on CD, I'm listening to Michael Medved or Rush Limbaugh (though Medved is by far my favorite).

If I were her I'd never want to come back!!! Except for the dogs...the dogs will draw her back in to our old fogie house. :)

She did have an absolute blast at Agility training with Trooper and I on Sunday. One of the trainers let her work with Oreo - an adorable small dog who follows direction from anyone with a hot dog. So she got to run Oreo around the obstacles and didn't want to leave when class was over. =)

So, it's official. I'm lame.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Busy Weekend - and Some Surveys

It has been a crazy busy weekend so far and doesn't look like it will stop yet. We're getting ready to go to agility with all three dogs and my little cousin. I'm so excited. She's such a sweetie and she loves dogs so this is going to be a treat.

And I discovered that I am truly a grown up. *sigh* We have NO kid friendly food in the house. Seriously! No orange or apple juice. No white bread. No good cereal. We have Blueberry Pomegranate juice. Ha! You should have seen this little 10 year old's face. Blueberry Pomegranate!?!?! hahahahaha

I'm old!!! Thankfully she's okay with fat free milk and a whole wheat english muffin with butter. She'll get IHOP after agility. =)

Okay...time for some surveys...

Okay...this one confuses me. Is this an issue? People wanting to sell their citizenship? How would that work and why would anyone do that?

Have a Happy Sunday!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Security Guard

Last night I had a class at the local bead store where I've been taking classes for ... oh gosh ... at least 3 years but probably longer.

I know they've had some issues in the past. A couple of robberies - armed. But the area seemed more cleaned up and safe. I know that I'm super paranoid where ever I go, especially in the "city" (okay, don't's not city like New York but it's bigger than my town). I try to park right in front of the building and I pay careful attention to who is around at all times. Apparently they just recently had another "armed" (guy said he had a gun but they didn't actually see one) robbery and several large shop lifters.

So I walk in last night and there's a guy in a uniform standing there watching ... watching. And I admit it made me feel weird and actually LESS safe.

For one thing I think I could've taken the guy down. For another he didn't even have a gun. What good is he going to be against an armed robber? Not much. I think I'm going to recommend to them that they look into an actual armed guard. Hubby works on his off days for a company that employees actual police officers. They get duties guarding private companies and even residences. Hubby has done guard duty (mostly in uniform) at a Starbucks and a liquor store. It's probably more expensive than the unarmed security guard but the impact would pack a bigger punch.

Not only that, a truly uniformed police officer, even without a gun, gives more of a presence of security than a shabbily dressed guy in matching blue pants and shirt with a flash light. Baggy clothes do not say "obey me" in my mind.

Plus the guy kept smiling! HAHAHAHA He seemed like a really nice guy ... but definitely did not make me feel safer.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Back into the Swing of Things

Well, it's not much. But I did manage to create something last weekend. I have these stunning peacock freshwater pearls burning a hole in my pocket (so to speak) and these lovely amethyst rondelles that are cut in a really different way than most. So I put them together. Nothing fancy. I think it's pretty classy thought.

What do you think? Oooooo? Ahhhhhh? :) Or Blech and boring? I didn't use a torch or a hammer. Just some simple stringing. Sometimes simple is good. And I'm only going to make 3 of them total. So if you want one it's posted in my Etsy store. I won't be posting it on my main site. Or maybe I will. I don't know. I haven't decided yet.

Oh, and Scoutie Girl featured me today!!! Having been in a funk for so long it's nice to see my name out there. It gives me more inspiration to get back on the horse and start riding. =) I have 4 days off starting Friday and I plan to create!

We Lost the Remote

I am a TV addict. I think I've mentioned that before.

But since it's (supposedly) summer there isn't much on. Thankfully I signed up for Netflix a few weeks ago, via EBates so I got a free month. Woohoo!

So the first CD for the first season of Criminal Minds came and I was psyched to watch it...the problem is that the DVD remote control is nowhere to be found. We searched everywhere. Under cushions, under the couch, under the coffee table, in the garbage...everywhere. The last time I had it was when I watched that horrible movie last week (something about a Dangerous Mind...I'm trying to block the whole thing out). So it hasn't been that long. I have NO idea where it went.

And did you know that when you're trying to select different episodes of a show on a DVD you must have the remote. We were able to push play (we had to get up and do it manually on the DVD player!!!) for the first episode but after that we were out of luck.

Luckily we are one of those families...we have TWO DVD players! Ha! So as we went to bed I watched another episode in bed.

Can you order spare remotes? What I'd really like is to program one giant it is, with the DVD remote, we have four remotes. One for the TV (which we only use to switch modes). One for the cable box. One for the DVD (MIA). And one for this huge box thingy that I'm not really sure of the function. I think it has something to do with the surround sound system. We practically have to have a masters degree to run our TV system. And I LOVE it!

But I want my DVD Remote back.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pre School Valedictorian?


In the elevator this morning at work a couple of folks were talking about their kid's graduation ceremonies. I assumed high school or college ... nuh uh.

Elementary school. Which is where one of my coworkers is right now - her son's elementary school graduation.

But that isn't as bad as what one of the folks in the elevator told me. There are pre-schools who have these ceremonies (robes, hats, and all) and they have a valedictorian!!! In PRE-SCHOOL!!!

Really? Is that really necessary?

Plus I think having all these graduation ceremonies is dumb. To my mind it makes the graduation ceremonies that really matter mean less. High school graduation ceremony? Big deal if you've already had 4 ceremonies in your life. Pre-School, Kindergarten, Elementary School, Middle School ... who cares about yet another ceremony?

Not to mention the money it must cost these parents to buy all these robes and hats and the time off of work. It seems ridiculous to me.

However...there is an exception in my heart for a special young man who graduated from kindergarten this year.

For him it's more important and special than for the average kid. A few years ago, one week before Christmas, Cole was diagnosed with Leukemia. :( He was only 3 1/2 years old. In February 2009 he will complete his treatment and five years after that he will be considered cured. This year he is the South Sound Light the Night Walk for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's honored hero!!!! Way to go Cole!!!

His mother is the strongest woman I know. They've had so many stumbles since his diagnosis that we at work would just shake our head in amazement - how can anything else go wrong? Going through this with her little boy while still working and doing her amazing scrap-booking and card work. She's an inspiration (not to mention extremely talented!). I want to be like her when I grow up!!!

Cole deserves to graduate in a special ceremony every single year because each year is a gift. Please consider donating or participating in your local Light the Night Walk for Leukemia & Lymphoma. No mother should have to watch her son go through what Cole has.

Monday, June 16, 2008

More Good News

I feel as if my hold to a moderately happy feeling is tenuous so more good news for all.

Leatherback turtle returns to Texas - first since the 1930s! I love turtles. :)

Bugs Making Oil? - I hate bugs but could learn to love them. lol

It can't be denied, Iraq is doing better!

Oh and Rite Aid has several items that will be FREE after their Single Check Rebate program. Woohoo! I love free. I'm stopping there tonight. =) I've started keeping my eye open for things I can send to my little cousins in college and my Mother in Law. Free is good.

Oh look...another Survey!

I really am not feeling real wordy in the last few days. So here's another survey while I think of something else to write about. I actually made a new piece of jewelry this weekend!!! Nothing stunningly fancy or spectacular, but pretty. I need to edit the photos and I'll show it off. =)

And the survey...

I actually love Best Buy's Geek Squad. Have you used them? We had them come out to our house once to work on my laptop but the last time I needed help I took the laptop to them. It was great. $30 for several hours of cleanup and I was thrilled. Apparently I had duplicate anti-spyware / firewall software. I don't understand how any of it works so they took care of it and have me set up with one service that covers everything. The guys at my local BB are fabulous! =)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Are You Loyal to Brands?

I hope some folks are loyal to "my" brand. LOL

But do you feel about brands? There are probably millions of dollars (probably more) spent to gain our loyalty. Are you influenced by their attempts?

How do you feel when you see brand placement in movies or TV? I saw a Mastercard placement in my husband's video game! I was disgusted. It's annoying and kind of pathetic. But younger kids who play this game probably won't notice and may possibly be influenced by seeing the brand in their favorite game. I definitely get annoyed by overt product placement and it actually makes me less likely to want to use a brand.

See how other folks answered...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Maybe This Explains It...

I think my depressing mood this week is caused by a couple of factors.

The first is that I've been eating WAY too much sugar. Seriously. Comatose levels. And I just ate a donut. *sigh* I need to hop back on the sugar-free wagon and do it soon. Another donut is calling my name.

The second is that I've been listening and watching the news a little too much. It is all out depressing!

The relentlessly negative impressions of American life presented by the media, including the entertainment media, explain something otherwise puzzling that shows up in psychological data. When asked about the country's economy, schools, health care or community spirit, Americans tell pollsters the situation is dreadful. But when asked about their own jobs, schools, doctors and communities, people tell pollsters the situation is good. Our impressions of ourselves and our neighbors come from personal experience. Our impressions of the nation as a whole come from the media and from political blather, which both exaggerate the negative.

Life really is NOT all that bad and my pessimistic side needs to go take a holiday and get over it. I live in the best country in the world at one of the best times in history. I truly believe this. Opportunities are limitless. I can literally do anything I want. The company where I work has sustained some major changes this week that were shocking and threw me off - but in reality probably provide great opportunities for growth and change.

I'm starting to feel more inspired and want to sit down at my jewelry table to play and create. I have several pendant ideas.

The sun finally came out yesterday and should be out sometime today - or at least it shouldn't rain. It *almost* felt like summer yesterday afternoon.

Reading this editorial from the Wall Street Journal also made me feel a little better. Yes, things can be rough and everyone has different situations but in general things are not so bad - they could be much, much, much worse and we should be happy for our lives as they are now.

Unemployment is 5.5%, low by historical standards; income is rising slightly ahead of inflation; housing prices are down, but the typical house is still worth a third more than in 2000; 94% of Americans do not have threatened mortgages, and of those who do, most will keep their homes.

Inflation was up in 2007, but this stands out because the 16 previous years were close to inflation-free; living standards are the highest they have ever been, including living standards for the middle class and for the poor.

All forms of pollution other than greenhouse gases are in decline; cancer, heart disease and stroke incidence are declining; crime is in a long-term cycle of significant decline; education levels are at all-time highs

Converted to today's dollars, per-capita income in the Keystone State is 23% higher than in 1990. People may think Pennsylvania was more prosperous in the past, but the state is better off today. The same can be said for most (needless to say, not all) parts of the country and most demographics. Most are, right now, the best-off they have ever been.
And while it may *feel* like things are worse today, even while paying more for gas, my family and everyone in it are better off financially.

It is extremely important for my health that I maintain a positive outlook. Severe depressive downswings can be stimulated and prolonged with too much negativity. It's partially why old friends who were such Negative Nellies are no longer friends. My health couldn't take it.

So today is a new day. No more funk! No hiding in bed under my pillow. Tomorrow we travel down to see grandpa for Father's Day and it will be great. I'm taking Trooper and my Mother in Law (hubby has to work) and we are going to have a grand time.

Think positively and you can achieve anything!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sick and Sad

My week has not gone so well emotionally. And it hasn't gotten better yet. This morning has been tough. Not only did Trooper Bear wake me up an hour early (so I just stayed up) but I found out that someone who I *thought* was a friend, or at least a good acquaintance, has copied one of my designs. :(

I understand that there are really very few "original" designs out there and this particular design isn't stunningly original or creative but it was one that I hadn't seen anyone else doing so far. And the fact that someone I KNOW has decided it is okay to make and sell an EXACT same design makes me sick to my stomach.

I would never in a million years create and sell something that someone else made even if I didn't know the person. The fact that she KNOWS me makes me it even more painful - I wouldn't be nearly as upset if it were someone I didn't know any which way from Sunday.

And I'm not talking about a plain silver band ring...everyone makes those. Everyone makes hoop earrings and wire wrapped bird's nest rings. I'm not talking about those. I'm talking about a design that was simple but different. And something I've been doing for over a year.

You just can never know someone truly online I guess. I'm just sick about it and haven't decided whether I'll e-mail her or not. :(

THEN my mother in law e-mails me about a Trooper in Federal Way who tried pulling someone over this morning and had a shot gun pointed in his face!!!!!! And the suspect hasn't been caught yet.

Seriously...I want to go throw up! =( This stuff is not what I need in order to recover from this funk. I hope hubby wakes up in a good mood today because I don't think we can handle having us both be in bad moods. I *was* feeling a little better this morning...not anymore.

Oh...and then on the same news site that has the Trooper story...there's a hideous story about a Marine throwing a puppy off a cliff in Iraq. OMG! Please tell me it was a sick joke?!? I KNOW that they aren't supposed to keep dogs over there, but the way they were joking about the "cute little puppy" and then toss it is just so sick and wrong I seriously feel dizzy with sick. I love our military and I support their mission ... things like this make those who hate the military paint all members as monsters. I hope, if this is a true event as it appears to be, that the Marine will be discharged - dishonorably.

I know that many dogs must be killed over there - it is more humane than letting them starve or suffer in the desert - but to joke and throw a puppy over a cliff (AND video tape it!) is sick. And shows a certain mindset that is intolerable. I expect more from professional military members.

Is it Friday yet? PLEASE!!!

To Be So Lucky at 90

This article just makes me tear up. I love old people falling in love. It's so romantic.

I'm a total prude when it comes to physical relationships ... before marriage and during. But if you've lived a full life and it is coming to its sunset you deserve to do as you wish and make your own decisions. Even people with dementia deserve to find happiness with another soul.

This was a 21st-century Romeo and Juliet.

As our life expectancy increases every year this may become an issue more and more. Do you want your children to someday tell you who you can or can't see or be physical with?

This story just breaks my heart - Bob's son should be ashamed of himself for butting in and forcing his discomfort to break up a sweet couple finding happiness together.

The photo above is my grandfather and grandmother celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. She is gone and he is lonely. I would never deny him happiness if he found another woman who made him happy.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Why Am I Here?

I came to work today. I don't know why. My head hurts even worse than yesterday. I just hate staying home - even though I WANT to stay home.

Plus I've been super depressed lately. And it seems to be picking up steam. Of course, last night's movie viewing experience did not help matters. Have you seen Confessions of a Dangerous Mind? Hideously depressing. No point. One of those movies that is supposed to be 'artful' and 'deep' but ends up being soul sucking and annoying. A few funny moments that made me laugh out loud but otherwise not worth my time. I want my two hours back!

I'm very affected by movies and books. If I'm in a so-so mood to begin with, watching a sad movie will certainly bum me out. Sure enough, I went to bed bummed and woke up still bummed. I need to pull out of it and get back on track. I haven't made jewelry in ... weeks. I have a few ideas and I'd like to sit down and create but I just don't. What I feel like doing right now is laying in bed and staring at the wall.

That's always healthy.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Migraines Suck and a Massage Won't Help

I'm home today. :( Woke up with a headache and a sore throat. Both have been just on the verge of surfacing for two days.

Got another survey ... about massages. I hate massages. I actually tense up and feel worse afterwards. I got one several years ago and was in SO much pain afterwards. The poor lady. I just hate being touched and so I get really tense and stressed out.

Do you like massages? I don't mind if hubby gives me a back rub or foot rub but even then I'm not super comfortable.

I think I'm going to go back to bed now.

Monday, June 9, 2008

I am Going to Get Shot

Good grief. One of these days someone is going to pull out their gun and pop me one. I swear I just react when I'm in a certain today. It's "that" time of the month and I'm feeling a little ornery.

So I stop by the Liquor store (which I did NOT want to do but hubby has been working really hard and he loves this one drink so what's a good wife to do) and they have this stupid little sign that says something about saving the planet by not using a bag. WTH? I think it's stupid.

So I say, "I don't want a bag but I'm not trying to save the planet." The look she gave me ... like I was speaking Japanese. Then she asked me, "If you don't mind me asking, why?" So I told her what I thought - no one is going to "save the planet" unless they're the ones in the space ship shooting the astroids heading toward earth. We could chop down every single tree on the entire planet and still not "destroy" it. Granted, it would suck for us, but we are not so all powerful that we can actually destroy the planet. We could set off nukes all over everywhere and not actually destroy it. Again, it would suck, but the earth would still be here...we wouldn't.

I just hate the line "save the planet" as if humans are so all powerful as to have this ability. *sigh* But the teller of course didn't care ... and thought I was bonkers. :) I'm driving home I see some punk kid toss a drink cup over a fence into someone's yard. Oh for Pete sake! I couldn't stop myself and I honked! Not only that, I wagged my finger like some little old lady. For Pete sake! I'm lucky they were just punks and not seriously violent. I hate liter bugs but it was stupid to honk...not to mention wagging my finger.

I have so many issues. I need a nap! No...Ice Cream!

If You Pray ...

I am just now reading about this but wanted to share it with you as well.

One of my very favorite bloggers, Rachel Lucas, has a request that we pray (or whatever) for her future father-in-law who was injured in a very bad motorcycle accident. I hate motorcycles - it wasn't his fault and it could be due to a drunk. :( I hate drunks more.

Seriously? Why is this a Good Idea?

My local papers both had stories this weekend about earmarks - aka Pork Projects that congress members sneak into bills, usually unrelated to the bill itself.

I don't know why (well, yes I do) but both papers were touting the great things about all this Pork for our community.

Excuse me?!?!

I just shook my head because I know the Olympian is a total rag of useless tree wasting paper. But I still have a hard time believing that anyone can believe that earmarks are a good thing.

Let's see ... how logical is it for the federal government to take tax money from us and then return it to us...less a "minor" processing fee?

" of budget earmarks provided by the 2007 Congress — which funneled $1.38 billion in special budget awards to Washington state..."

Hello! Just keep that money here locally in the first place and let us do what needs to be done! The federal government doesn't know local needs and all that earmarks do is encourage waste and fraud. Not to mention lobbyists earning huge salaries - for what? Just for taking politicians out to lunch to persuade them to funnel tax payer money to their particular cause?

"One other earmark — for $446,500 — helps pay for a gym and culture center for Nisqually tribal youth. ... Yet another gives Intercity Transit $343,000 to design a bus station — for lease to Greyhound — next to IT's transfer station in downtown Olympia."
Seriously? SERIOUSLY!?! Do you really want to help pay for the Nisqually tribal youth's gym? Really? Do you even know where the Nisqually tribe is? I live very near it and trust me when I tell you that they do NOT need the federal dollars. Their casino is going gangbusters and they can afford to build their own freaking gym.

Not to mention the fact that no one living in Kansas should be taxed to pay for these things here in Washington State. The people of Washington should be the ones to decide what their taxes should be used for here. Let the people of Kansas use their tax money for themselves! (I just picked Kansas at random...feel free to insert your own state!)

The ONLY thing the federal government SHOULD be taxing and spending on is the military and national infrastructure like highways/freeways. That's it. Everything else should be left to local and state government. Oh and national parks. Those are good too.

Our government is so freaking inefficient it blows my mind and yet our local papers say its a good thing to have earmarks? Ridiculous!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Some New Surveys for Saturday

I've snuck inside to check e-mail and I had a couple of conversations waiting for me. It's a very cold day and threatening to rain but I'm stuck outside working at my mother's garage sale. *sigh* At least I've sold a couple of items...mostly old beads I no longer need. But my fingers are freezing!

Oooo...I like this survey. =)

Click This's for Charity - I picked Pet Smart Charities...

And one more...

Friday, June 6, 2008

National Donut Day

Did you know that today is National Donut day? I had no idea. Something tells me that Krispy Kreme made this one up.

I love donuts but avoid them quite easily. They make me sick to my stomach and leave that weird thick taste in my mouth. All that fat. But I do love Maple glazed Krispy Kremes....*drool*

Contrary to popular belief, cops do not necessarily love donuts. However when hubby is being naughty I say "Bad Cop, No Donut!" He thinks it's funny. And yes, he loves donuts.

What's your favorite donut?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Quinn Goes to the Vet - and a Survey

My poor little girl. :( I think it's my fault but she has a hole in two of her top teeth. I'm so worried about her and we are going to the vet this morning. I may have to leave her there while they put her under anesthesia (which I don't think is good for an older dog) and clean her teeth. I'm just praying that they won't have to pull those two teeth.

The reason I think it's my fault is because I started feeding all three dogs a softer's sort of stew like. I mix some kibble with it and they love it. It's very healthy food but it didn't occur to me that being a softer food it would get stuck in their teeth. At least it seems to have done this with Quinn - right at the gum line. We'll see what the verdict is but I think I'll need to start checking all 3 dogs teeth after they eat. Oh joy.

I'll have an update after I get back from the Vet on my pet blog Home Zookeeper. And please visit me there as often as you can. I get paid to write there (there are various rules and things and I won't get rich anytime soon) and I've decided to donate all my earnings from that blog to Saving Shelter Pets.

And now...two surveys! Click on them and see how your answers compare. :)

Mac vs PC

Should Hillary Concede? (Does she really have a choice?)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - I'm Really Tired Today

(Not My Cat - I didn't take the photo - it's from one of those e-mails that goes out all the time of cute animal pics.)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Glad to Know My Breaks Work

Last night's drive home seemed normal and uneventful. Traffic was flowing well for once and I was headed toward my mom's work to pick up more coupons (I am now addicted to coupons). I had just hung up my cell phone after telling her I was only a few minutes away. Traffic had slowed down but was starting to pick up again. I was traveling 60 mph in a 60 mph zone on I-5.

An SUV behind me had been tail gating me severely - I could not even see their headlights. But I hadn't slowed down and was using my cruise control. I did not tap my breaks at all.

The driver swerved to the right, nearly rear ended a car in the right lane (I was in the middle lane) and jerked his SUV in front of me, nearly side swiping my front end. I honked...because...duh. He nearly caused a 3 car accident.

At which point the psycho SLAMMED on his breaks.

In the space of 2 seconds I reacted - slamming on my breaks, gripping the steering wheel, getting tunnel vision - all I saw was the rear end of his car, him wagging his finger at me, as I felt my wheels skid and squeal. I didn't swerve - I had no idea where the other cars were.

If there had been a car behind me they would have rear ended me and I firmly believe it was only a miracle of God's hand and quick instincts that saved my life. If I had hit this Psycho I think that I may not be here today. I was going 60 mph when he slammed his breaks and would have hit him full speed. And his car was bigger - a Toyota Highlander - gold in color with an Oregon license plate that had a 5, an X, and an H in it. That's all I remember.

I called 911 and by the time the operator was on I was sobbing. I couldn't think. I could hardly see the road for all the tears in my eyes. Breathing was difficult as I tried to explain what happened. The excellent man on the phone told me to take deep breaths and understandingly said he knew this kind of thing was scary. I seriously think that I was on the verge of losing it.

Somehow I pulled my act together, got all the details to the operator and prayed that the police would be able to catch him - though realistically I know the odds were slim. There are only a few Troopers for the entire county at any one time.

When I called hubby, still sobbing, I immediately said "I'm okay" because I knew a sobbing wife is not what a hubby wants to hear while traveling. I told him what happened and his first comment was that he was glad I was okay but I shouldn't have honked.

LOL That is such a Trooper-ish thing to say. A normal person A) wouldn't have tail gated me so closely and then passed me on the right (also illegal) and nearly take out two cars; and B) wouldn't have slammed on their breaks no matter what I did!

As if this moron will teach me a lesson by causing a horrible accident!!! Who does that?!?! If I had hit him he would have been at fault (I confirmed this with hubby) and I would have sued his ass. I'm not normally in favor of suing but if I knew who this Arse-Hole was I'd be tempted to sue him for emotional distress. :(

As I continued on to my mom's work I was crying so hard I could hardly see the road. I could not calm down - my breathing was labored and short and I felt like I'd been shaken up and beat up. Then I felt a sharp pain in my side and noticed that my back was starting to hurt.

And do you know how exhausting it is to the time I got home my head was pounding and I was exhausted. I'm still tired today because I couldn't get to sleep. *sigh*

What is wrong with people?!?!?! That guy was clearly unbalanced. This is just one more negative of working so far away from home - the commute nearly kills me!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Rare Bird Finds Hits the Motherload

Okay, I get the Rare Bird Finds daily finds e-mail every day and I couldn't enjoy it more. Except on days like today when they just find the neatest things ever! My paycheck is not large enough to cover all the cool stuff they found!

Did you play Super Mario as a child? My brother and I did all the time. I still long to play the old versions. It doesn't surprise me that these adorable plush pillows are sold out at Japan LA.

I know my doggy blogging on this site has been lax - that's because I have a new pet focused blog called Home Zookeeper (please visit me there sometime too). But I can't resist talking doggy today.

I love spoiling my mutts with treats - though I'm super careful lately about how many they get because two are seriously overweight. With goodies like these Apple Blueberry Biscuits by Little Pies I'd be hard pressed not to share with the pups!

And would I not be the MOST fashionable doggy mama on the Agility field in one of these hilarious shirts by the Fleas Knees Tees???

What's a girl on a coupon cutting budget to do?!?! Rare Bird Finds - you're killing me here!!!

But seriously...if you love finding cute, quirky, unusual, funky, and wonderful things - for you or for gifts - I highly recommend RBF. I've found some fantastic gift items and fun things for myself. =)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Marriage Isn't Easy

I told my husband, before we were even engaged, that I do not believe in divorce. At the time he was hesitating and resisting marriage. His parents got divorced and he is still hurt and affected by the pain it brought the whole family. He feared marriage and especially divorce if there were kids involved.

That's me, 50 pounds lighter!!!

And I don't believe in divorce (with some exceptions that I will address below). I believe divorces are too easy to obtain and that most are done out of convenience, boredom, or selfishness.

Marriage is NOT easy!

It takes work, dedication, patience, understanding, and lots of communication. Hollywood starlets get married and divorced several times a season, making it look like so much fun to get married. It's like Prom. Get dressed up, have a party, say the vows, hang out for awhile. Bored? Get a divorce.

This post that I found via Freaky Frugality shows the power of working at marriage and True Love.

If you don't cry, or at least tear up, you are a true cynic. A couple of quotes...

When I got home that night as my wife served dinner, I held her hand and said, I’ve got something to tell you. She sat down and ate quietly. Again I observed the hurt in her eyes.

Suddenly I didn’t know how to open my mouth. But I had to let her know what I was thinking. I want a divorce. I raised the topic calmly.

This smart wife did not accept this. Marriage is a partnership and partners need to work to keep their relationship healthy. When partners in a business fail to talk, fail to plan, fail to work together the business fails.
On the last day, when I held her in my arms I could hardly move a step. Our son had gone to school. I held her tightly and said, I hadn’t noticed that our life
lacked intimacy.

I drove to office… jumped out of the car swiftly without locking the door. I was afraid any delay would make me change my mind…I walked upstairs. Dew opened the door and I said to her, Sorry, Dew, I do not want the divorce anymore.

Read the whole thing.

My grandparents were married for 60+ years before my grandmother died. Their life was not easy, raising 4 kids and running their own business (two businesses actually). And they did NOT always get along. When I was little I remember some big blow ups between them. But even more I remember more their laughter and joking around. We'd all roll our eyes when grandpa patted her on the rump and called her sexy. Ew! But so important for marriage.

Hubby and I have issues in this everyday kind of intimacy. It's hard when you go for days on end without even seeing each other (due to his rotating shift schedule). We've been married 5 1/2 years and in the last year we've talked about how we don't hold hands, or sit next to each other in the living room, or kiss when we say goodbye. And we've started doing those things again.

It makes a difference.

I refuse to get divorced out of boredom or because I *think* I've fallen out of love (not that I think this...I don't!). Falling out of "love" is not an excuse for divorce in my book. Love is something that must be a plant. Without fertilizer, attention, and light it will die.

Now...I do think divorce is a necessary function for some people. Abuse (physical AND mental) is never okay and no one should be forced to stay in that situation.

I'm torn on the idea of getting a divorce due to infidelity. Hopefully, if the two people work together and work continually on their marriage this wouldn't even become an issue. But I know that things happen. Situations come up that no one would expect.

I told hubby that even if he cheated on me I would not divorce him. As if I'd let him off the hook so easily! Of course I don't think he'd ever do such a horrible thing so it's easy for me to say that. I did say that if this event happened that he would be required to move out and we would start counseling.

Marriages go through ups and downs. Infidelity would be a major "down" moment but if both parties are willing I believe that it can be overcome. With time, I believe that trust can be regained.

Those are the only two situations where I think divorce is acceptable. One of my coworkers and I were talking about this the other day. She is divorced and remarried. I told her my views and she agreed with me. She says that she got divorced because it was easy and he was annoying. She was bored. If she had it to do over again she wouldn't. Not that she would trade her current life...she's very happy and has two more children with her new hubby. But looking back on it she sees that getting that divorce wasn't the right thing.

My aunt on the other hand divorced twice and both were for good reason - physical abuse. Her third husband is a prince in comparison and their two daughters are angels (as are her two children from her second marriage).

So divorce has its place. But that place should be in the back row, far corner. Seldom addressed and rarely invited up.

What do you think? Do you agree that marriage is hard work and too many are given up because work isn't fun?