Sunday, November 9, 2008

Let Freedom Ring

In joining with A Modern Matriarch for the Let Freedom Ring posts. Here is my contribution:


No one should be denied the right to marry the one they love! No One!

If you want to add your picture to the post go visit Let Freedom Ring

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Califonian Schizophrenia

Once again, I am shocked by the California voters’ seemingly multiple personalities. We’re clearly seen and act as a liberal state. Our state was called for Obama without any data, because it’s just obvious that we would vote Democratic. But when it comes to our own propositions, California cannot seem to make up its collective mind!

While I seemed to vote opposite to the results of nearly every proposition, the one that just kills me is Proposition 8. For those of you who live out of state, or for those that had their head under a rock for the last year, let me explain Proposition 8 to you.

Prop 8 was designed to add an amendment to the State Constitution that states that marriage must be between a man and a woman. If that doesn’t sound preposterous to you, please go read another blog, because the rest of this one will probably piss you off!!

The fact that this passed only shows one clear thing…too many people are voting their religion. This is ONLY a religious issue. There is no group of people that should be denied the most basic human right of marriage. The people who were involved in the Yes on 8 campaign were mostly Catholic (specifically the Knights of Columbus – FROM MINNESOTA by the way) and they fought an evil campaign filled with vicious lies in their ads. They continually stated that if the proposition was denied that children would be taught about gay marriages in school. What??? Let’s be really clear about this, a NO vote means nothing changes….nothing! We don’t teach that now, why would we suddenly start! They wrapped these lies in comments about “saving the children” like there was some dangerous psychopath on the loose by the name of Homosexuality….oh dear. Oh my, if we don’t protect the children, they’ll be turned GAY!!! What are these people smoking???

If you think homosexuality is a sin, that’s your prerogative. I would like to point out that there are A LOT of other mentions of things that are sins in the bible that I’m sure you partake in, but hey, if you want to be a hypocrite, that’s your choice. See, I try to keep an open mind to even those with closed minds, but sometimes, on some topics, it is nearly impossible. I was substituting at my old high school this week and the kids were really involved in the election. Since it was clear that absolutely nothing was to be accomplished on Tuesday, most of the teachers turned on CNN in the classrooms and made it all about open discussions. We ended up focusing on the Presidential election and Prop 8 because they were all concerned about those issues. I was thrilled that so many students had been really listening to the information and positioning themselves based on an intellectual choice. However, when asked why they wanted Yes on 8 – most gave one of two responses, “Being gay is against my religion” or “They’ll start teaching about gay marriage in school” – UGH!! I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs for them to give me a reasoned opinion rather than rhetoric. But they couldn’t!

So this was clear to me, I asked both sides to give me reasons why to vote a certain direction on this issue:

Yes on 8 – why? Because my pastor told me so. Because being gay is against God. Because they’ll change what we learn in school if they have their way.
No on 8 – why? Because no group of people should have their rights refused by anyone, especially the government. Because it’s their life, they should be able to do what they want as long as it doesn’t impose on someone else’s rights. Because they should have the same rights as anyone else in this state.

Hmmm…..see the difference? Look, I’ll clearly state, I do not identify myself as a Christian. In my most basic, I’m a deist. I believe in a higher power and call it “God” for simplicity. I would never, ever, never decide that others should believe like me. That is a deeply personal decision and something that all people should wrestle with in their time. At the same time, don’t you dare put your Christian ‘family values’ on a damn ballot!! I hate it when people state that we’re a country formed on Christianity. NO! Read your history book, we are a country formed on “freedom of and freedom from religion!.” Granted, many of the Pilgrims actually came over to escape taxes or bad financial situations and not seeking freedom at all. But generally, they came over to get away from the overwhelming presence of the Church of England. Why? Because they believed it wasn’t right for a church to make the rules for the people! Hmmmm….that sounds like good advice!!

Now, this fight is FAR from over! Yesterday papers were filed by the ACLU to block the amendment. These suits stated that this is a revision, not an amendment, so it must first pass with a 2/3 majority in the congress. Finally, there is always the challenge that a state constitution can not deny rights that the Federal Constitution does not restrict. So there are many legal battles up ahead. I just wish it had been resoundingly defeated instead, as it should have been. I don’t want this decision made by judges and courts – I want Californians to scream at the top of their lungs that this is ludicrous and we will not stand by while people are denied this basic right.

So once again, I’m disappointed by the Californians. I was born in this state and have lived here for most of my life. I was raised to treat all people equally and thought that most Californians felt the same. I was sadly mistaken.

So to all you who voted No, well, it’s not over yet damnit! And if anyone who voted Yes is still reading at this point. Think, really examine yourself, and decide whether your choice is being made on a logical or purely religious level? I am married to a wonderful man and I feel truly blessed that we are allowed to marry, to be joined in a state recognized marriage, to obtain those rights granted to all married people in California and in the Country. I just cry at the fact that others are keeping that right from so many incredible couples who just happen to be same-sex. I really thought you were better than that California, apparently, I was wrong.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

WFMW: Google Street View


Today is Works for Me Wednesday over at Rocks in My Dryer. I have been quite lax in my posting lately, but this is a tip I simply MUST share.

Did you know that Google Street View has uses OTHER than spying on your neighbors, amusing yourself with people passed out on the roadside in Australia, or houses on fire? Yes my friends, I have found a fabulous new use for it.

How many times have you been thinking of a restaurant or store - you know where it is located, but the name simply escapes you? Ugh - you know the feeling. Well, now that Google Street View is nearly everywhere, you can use it. I'll give you an example...

I was trying to remember the name of this fabulous restaurant in Palm Desert. I knew it was on Cook and Country Club - but the name.....aaackkkk....not a clue. So I opened Google Maps and typed in "Cook Street 92260" (the name of the street and the local zip code). Once it popped up, I clicked on the button "streetview". At that point it shows a little orange outline of a man that you can move anywhere on the map. I moved him in front of where I thought the restaurant was and clicked. Sure enough - the street view came up, I shifted the view to the location exactly, zoomed in and:

Cork Tree Restaurant

I've already used this tip for restaurants, grocery stores and even gas stations. I absolutely LOVE it!

For more fabulous ideas, head on over to Rocks in My Dryer...you don't need a map for that one! (wow, that was a really lame joke....sorry)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Resumes speak volumes

While none of us prefer to be judged by our resume, we really can't argue that it is a good starting point when beginning a candidate search. So maybe we should look at the resumes of the current candidates for president:

Looking at these four educational resumes*, without knowing their race or their gender, who would you give an interview to?

Obama

Occidental College (Los Angeles) - 2 years studying Politics and Public Policy.
Columbia University (New York) - B.A. Political Science with a specialization in International Relations. Harvard Law School - Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude, Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Law Review

Biden

University of Delaware - B.A. in History and a B.A. in Political Science.
Syracuse University College of Law - Juris Doctor (J.D.)

McCain

United States Naval Academy - Class rank 894 of 899

Palin

Hawaii Pacific University - 1 semester - Business Administration.
North Idaho College - 2 semesters - General Studies.
University of Idaho - 2 semesters - Journalism.
Matanuska-Susitna College - 1 semester.
University of Idaho - 3 semesters - B.A. in Journalism

Hmmm......well, I know who'd I'd interview!! How about you?

**Information gained from Momocrats - go check them out! **

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Some interesting links about Sarah Palin


I have to say, as a woman, I was actually quite insulted by the choice of Sarah Palin as McCain's running mate. There are so many more qualified Republicans that would have been valid choices. However, this choice seemed to be pandering. A woman with little experience? It seems to me that this choice is made as a token and an insult. Assuming that a woman will vote for a ticket simply because of a woman vice presidential candidate is just condescending (we're all just such weak willed creatures)! And who knows, maybe it'll work. Actuary tables show that the chances of McCain (well any 72 year old) surviving to the age of 76 is approximately 85%. Are Americans really willing to risk someone so inexperienced as President, particularly at this dangerous time?

However, there is another problem with picking a candidate that people know little about ... people go looking for information. With only about 2 months until the election, this leaves little time for damage control and correction.


So here are some of the interesting reddit postings today ...

Is Todd Palin a shadow governor?
It doesn't look like she'll pull the evangelical vote either
She was in support of the 'bridge to nowhere' when she ran for Governor in 2006
Some odd behavior of hers with regard to a Dairy
She seems to have some misunderstandings about history
She doesn't want Polar Bears listed as endangered
She has five children - why is she only holding her youngest in this People pic (This pic just creeps me out - McCain looks so uncomfortable and even Sarah looks odd holding her own child) She may have used her power to (try to) fire someone other than her brother-in-law
A nice summation of what many reporters are finding
And of course, the tabloid-esque question: Is her youngest son actually her grandson?


I know that many of these tales could be false or merely misleading. But it does beg the question, did the RNC really look into Mrs. Palin's background prior to the nomination? Or is that the intent? Are all of these distractions in the campaign to take the focus off of the issues?
Either way - the next two months should be VERY interesting...

Disclaimer: Let it be known that I would not have voted for McCain. Let it also be noted that if the Democrats had nominated someone with the issues of Sarah Palin as VP - I wouldn't be voting for them either.

It's Blog Day 2008 !!!


So it is, in fact, blog day 2008 . . .
The general concept is to find five blogs you love reading and to share them with others (with a short intro of course)! I think that is just wonderful, though I've decided to go a step farther and also share five web-comics I adore. Why? you ask. Well, because in so many ways these web comics are like illustrated blogs - and they make me laugh on a daily basis. What could be better than that? So I'll be letting my favorite bloggers and artists know I'm posting them here so they know they're loved!

Bloggers (in no particular order)
** Friday Playdate - Susan is IMHO one of the funniest and most honest people that I've ever read. I follow her tribulations with her 2 boys (one of which has the croup right now) and her adventures over to China for the Olympics. I enjoy her pithy comments so much I even follow her on twitter! Her blog is simple, honest and a whole bucket load of funny - so go check her out....NOW!!

** Stop Screaming I'm Driving - Yes I actually enjoy her blog for more than the LOVELY sprinkles at the top of her page (mmmm...sprinkles....mmmmm)! She is funny and entertaining on a daily basis and I anxiously await each new post.

** Shalee's Diner - Shalee has been going through some tough times of late but has shown her lovely light through it all. The blog focuses on her love of her family, her faith, and how she brings it all together!

** WWdN: In Exile - This is Wil Wheaton's blog...remember him? Yes, the gray jump-suit wearing adorable teen on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Well, boy has he come a long way since then. An accomplished author in both fiction and non-fiction. He has published three books with anecdotes about his life, numerous manga and Star Trek storylines. He now does voice-overs and occassional acting (when the part really moves him). He has two grown sons that are the joy of his life and he wraps all this up into his amazing blog. Plus, if you're a geek, link to the propeller geek group he admins.

** Neil Gaimian's Journal - This is a personal favorite for me. I absolutely love, Love, LOVE Neil's writing and try to absorb every book he's ever written. He's currently travelling around in China researching another book. In his absence, his two lovely daughter and many other of his friends and webhelpers are keeping us up to date on the exitement.

And now for the comics
**
Real Life Comics - Possibly the funniest comic on the internet. Though at times Glen and I do believe they've equipped the crickets in our house with mini cams. I can not tell you how many times we have a had a bizarre conversation on one day, only to see it echoed in the strip a few days later.

** Questional Content - A great daily dose for my geekdom. The story of a group of friends, some more unusual than others, and the very real 'foot in mouth' situations we all get ourselves into. Plus, Hanner is one of the funniest characters I've ever followed.

** Penny Arcade - A classic gamer's cartoon that has spawned a sensation currently invading Seattle (PAX). If you play RPGs, video games or are a geek in any way . . . you MUST follow this comic!

** Ctrl+Alt+Del - I don't even know how to describe this comic - part blog, part gamer's log, part insanity -- just a whole lot of fun!!!

** xkcd - I cannot describe this any better than the 'warning label' placed on the comic itself:
"Warning: this comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)."
So - there are my contributions to the world of blogging . . . what are yours??



Thursday, August 28, 2008

Something to believe in


Along with millions of Americans, I watched the Democratic National Convention this week. I sat each night watching people I admired, people I doubted and people I knew little about give speeches about the state of our nation and the hope for a new future. I wanted to believe them and I wanted to know that change was coming. Tonight Obama delivered that faith to me.

As a teacher, I cheered when he spoke of guaranteeing quality teachers for students, ensuring that standards are met and that any child willing to give time to their country should be awarded with a college education. As a woman, I rejoiced at his admiration of Hillary Clinton and his desire to ensure equal pay for equal work. As an American I believed him when he promised to bring us out of the recession, to help us all keep our homes, save our jobs and make ends meet.

The last few months have been difficult on our family. My husband lost his job to the real estate shakeup (and some bad management) shortly after I had chosen to leave my accounting job for a restaurant and return to teaching. This left us living on unemployment and my substitute teaching (and tutoring) salary. All while we're trying to pay bills accrued while caring for ailing grandparents. Luckily we cut expenses and have wonderful parents that helped out when my car's thermostat decided to die. But still, it's a constant stress and a constant pressure. The job prospects in the valley are drier than the landscape and nearly everyone I know who lost their job are averaging 9-10 months before finding another. We decided to send my hubby back to school while I'm doing my credential online. This means a tight budget and probably very little time together. But we both believe in teaching and want to move forward in that direction. However, now I'm facing the possibility of losing my student loan. This isn't due to credit ratings or anything we have done - it's because of the subprime mortgage situation. This has made companies nervous about loans and many companies are pulling student loans - with a week left before classes start.

I have been absolutely ripped apart by all of this - the stress, the fear, the hopelessness. However, for one hour tonight I saw a light ahead and saw promises that could be fulfilled. I saw hope in the eyes of an honest man, a father, a husband, a son and a man of faith. There are no words for how much I needed to see that tonight and how much we all need to see a future that benefits more than the rich.

I will not attack McCain, nor will I attack his supporters. We all make the choices in the privacy of our home and we have curtained voting booths for a reason. I just know that this year, for the first time since I've been voting, I'll actually be voting FOR a candidate rather than against his opponent. And this gives me the most solid and real feel of patriotism that I have ever experienced.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Fishnets for Vigoda


If you are curious why I have this pic, just blame Whitechapel...a little experiment in IntarWeb Culture Jamming.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

WFMW: Offbeat Bride


I've been quite absent from the blog for about a month. Why? you ask. Well, it's a little thing called my wedding! It is now 11 days away (eeeekkkkk!!!) and I'm running like crazy. Actually, I've calmed substantially over the last few weeks because I just feel we've got enough done and everything else is just bonus!

My Works for me Wednesday posting is for Offbeat Bride.
This site has numerous pictures, suggestions, advice and even vendors to suit the specific needs of the a wedding that is far from common. Whether you're a tattoo sleeved piercing enthusiast who wants to wear a bright red leather minidress or just (like me) looking to add your own personal touches (read: Geeky Nerdiness) to make your wedding unique, this site has tons of recommendations. I love all the wedding photos and stories as well. It makes me realize that when the wedding truly reflects the bride and groom, the whole event is happier for all involved!

So if you're getting married soon, or just really wanting to look at some fabulous wedding pics, go check out Offbeat bride! And for other tips and hints, check out the other postings on Rocks in my Dryer's Works for me Wednesday!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Get your party on....

It is a blog party going on over at Five Minutes for Mom, so get over there and check out the incredible blogs (over 1000 now!!). In the meantime, I'll share some of my favorite party pics with all of you...forgive me, I have some very wonderful and bizarre friends:

My dearest Michael - the hostess with the mostest!! All parties begin and end with him!

Mrs. Poopy, Dominique and my honey Glen on Halloween



Tyr - Michael's better (really??) half...

My honey and I on New Year's Eve 2006/2007 (at Tyr's house of course)








And finally, the day on which I decided the potatoes REALLY needed hats (don't ask me why...no, really, don't ask)




(In case you can't read the hats - they say Happy Potato Day)

So what are you doing still here...go check out the PARTY!!!

Spring Cleaning

Many of my favorite sites are focusing on Spring Cleaning 2008. They are challenging all of us to get our spring cleaning done and post pics of the progress. This may be insane, but I want to be a part of this.

Yes, I'm generally a neat freak. Yes, I am aware that I live with 2 men, a dog and a cat. Yes, I'm aware that I work a minimum of 10 hours a day. But in one week (yep, one week!!), I have Spring Break. So what better to do than make a nice, clean home for all of us?

So yes, I'm challenging myself to get some spring cleaning mojo going and start the cleaning. The best part is with a little tweak of my FlyLady routine, I can do this in a reasonable manner instead of my usual 'clean all day until I'm exhausted and can't do anything for the rest of my vacation' plan. Yay!

I'll be posting updates to the blog as they come! Wish me luck!!!

Update: Developed pneumonia on the last school day and spent the entire Spring Break in bed with extreme fevers, labored breathing and exhaustion. So yeah, no real cleaning got done!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

WFMW - Wedding advice

So, for this edition of works for me wednesday: backwards edition we are asking questions of our readers and awaiting responses! So please, please dear readers....guide me, advise me, lend me your knowledge in this matter....


My question is:







What are some great frugal ideas for a backyard wedding?

I'm looking for anything about the wedding or reception. We're marrying on May 3rd in Palm Springs, California (my hometown) at my Grandmother's house. We're 33 and 39 years old so didn't feel the full blowout of a wedding was appropriate. We'd rather use our money elsewhere. So we're seeking great ideas to cut costs without sacrificing taste or style.

So please post any ideas below and I will be eternally grateful!!

Thank you for your help. If you feel the desire to guide others in their quest for answers - go on over to Rocks In My Dryer.






Sunday, March 2, 2008

Keeping control in a difficult classroom


I promised I would speak of teaching and education on this blog and I do believe the time has come at last.

First of all, I'm a long-term substitute at a local Middle School teaching 6th grade earth science. That's 6 classes a day, 45 minutes each, with about 32-38 students. So 200 children walk through my classroom everyday and I have to reach ALL of them!! That's a challenge!!

I will begin to address the many challenges of teaching in this blog, but the first should come as no surprise to any instructor - Classroom Management! It is impossible to get them to learn anything if you can't get them to be quiet, sit still, stop stabbing each other with pencils, etc. (Beware ye readers - this is a LONG one)

My students are quite difficult; not all of them, just a few select individuals that required a bit more time than others. I will summarize some of them here:

1. The distractor, aka: "Turtle Boy" - this is the child in class who, bored with the work, decided to repeatedly say the word turtle in my class, over and over, until I sent him outside for 10 minutes. He has continued to be an issue, but I moved him to the front of the classroom - in a bench seat so he can stand if bored - and spoke to his mother. The problems have been limited. But the most important thing I did was sit down with him after class and talk about his behavior and the affect he was having on other students. He's a deeply sensitive kid and so when I mentioned that his behavior might keep OTHER kids from being able to work and result in them getting kept behind - that's when I saw it click!! Since then, he's been quite helpful and as long as he finishes his work, I give him a certain amount of lenience in his busy work.

2. The sloth, aka: "Whatever boy" - this particular student tests exceptionally well on standardized tests but refuses to raise a pencil in class or turn in a single sheet of homework. I'll admit, this one had me frustrated, baffled and angry. He didn't disturb the rest of the class, but seeing a child with potential choosing to waste it is heartbreaking. So one day, on one of his many lunch detentions with me, I started asking questions that had nothing to do with school. Through the 12 year old grapevine I knew he was dating one of my best students so we chatted about her. Slowly we developed a friendly relationship rather than battling. Then one day when we had the room to ourselves again, I simply asked, "So, what's up with the not turning anything in?" I had fully expected the traditional, "I don't know" but instead got a thoughtful statement about him realizing that the elementary school couldn't hold him back (he'd been held back once already - maximum in california) and so he just didn't want to try anymore since there was nothing the school could do to him. Wow! I was floored!!! So we began discussing how he's in a new school now with new opportunities. We finally worked out a system of work for him (he'd rather work at lunch or before school than take things home) and let him help others to demonstrate his intelligence. So far it's working and I've become an adult he can share things with now.

Well, this post is longer than I thought so I'll summarize with these two categories of students. You will notice one distinct commonality between these very different students...they both needed to be heard!!

Sometimes as teachers, we tend to look as kids as numbers (test scores, absences, tardies) and not for the very unique individuals that they are. I am learning now how to move past that and take the time to connect with EVERY student. It must be working since I have 7-10 kids before school and another 7-10 kids at lunch in my room. We sit and talk and they know they can talk to me privately at anytime. They also know that I have a duty to talk to counselors and CPS about worrisome things, but that doesn't stop them.

I love being a teacher but it took the difficult students to remind me why I like it so much! Funny how that works!

(I'll continue the list of students in the future - maybe some new teacher will benefit from the concept and another student will benefit from the approach)

Losing a source of income

Well my bloggy friends - the last month has been difficult. For reasons of pride, or privacy, or....well, whatever, I have yet to share with you that we are now living off of a single income. Yes, a single, substitute teacher income, in one of the most expensive parts of California.

How did that happen you ask? Well, remember that gigantic bubble that seemed to grow without end over the housing market in California...yeah? Well it went BOOM. My fiance's job as support personnel at a real estate agency went with it! Luckily that qualified for EDD (unemployment) but due to a tremendous glitch at the EDD office, we've been battling for over a month to get any money. So since January 8th, we've been living off of my sub salary ($95/day) and my tutoring money ($30/hour).

But here is the surprising part -- we're doing quite well!!! The first week or two were tension-making, but we've cut silly costs. We've been using gift cards for anything extravagant (we received quite a few of those at Christmas time) and have had some lovely dinners and seen a few movies (sans popcorn and snacks). I'm actually very proud of the ways we've managed to
pick ourselves up and cut those budgets down without a single argument!

So...what have we been doing????

  • As avid readers we have fully taken advantage of paperbackswap and are just beginning to use their sister company DVDswap as an alternative to Netflix.
  • I've begun doing FLY lady which keeps my mind and hands busy at night and helps us from deciding to go out to dinner when I've already had a meal planned
  • I've discovered the joys of frugality with Target, Walgreen's, CVS and Rite-aid. This works well since Glen has more free time and can take advantage of those offers while I'm working my 10 hour days.
  • We've realized that fast food is not a necessity anymore and our waistlines are definitely benefiting.
  • But most of all, we've worked together to decide where to cut the budget and where to keep more money allotted. By both of us making the decisions, no one feels upset or controlled by the other.

In fact, his birthday was this week so I started with the free things I could do. I printed 16 little versions of happy birthday notes and taped them up all over the house so he would discover them throughout his day. Then I put up the "family" happy birthday sign (a special gift from my Mom). I made sure all of his sodas were in the frig and that everything was ready for him to make his daily breakfast. I had the towels washed and a fresh one on his towel rack, along with his pills laid out for the day.

Then I took advantage of a $10 Best Buy coupon, a great sale and a left over gift card to get him 2 Justice League movies he has been jonesing for!






Finally, I took our bag of coins to our local coinstar and was able to get him two of the star wars figures he wanted so badly.


And the funny thing is, I think we actually had a better day because of it! We had a nice steak dinner (at home) that evening and watched some shows on the DVR that we just never seem to make time for.

What I find most amazing is that we are doing this TOGETHER. No arguments, no blaming, nothing! He grew up getting everything he wanted. I grew up in a home where it was necessary to count coins to make sure we could get bread that week. But somehow we have found a very happy medium that hasn't stressed us to the point of breaking. I think that gives us a good prognosis for the future.

BTW - the EDD thing is finally sorted and we'll be getting the makeup check this week. I think I'm going to put the whole thing in savings since we've been managing so well without it!

So here is my question to you....what ways have you found to save money???

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

WFMW - Paperback swap


Yet again, I find myself writing about something many others have discussed at length for this Works for Me Wednesday. However, I have found a wonderful use for paperbackswap if you have kids!!!

I have been tutoring the same young man for the last 6 years, since his first week of 6th grade. He's like my little brother now and I call myself a 'rent-a-parent'. By the time his parents get home each evening, the homework and projects are done, his grades checked and communication with the teachers is complete! It makes for a much less stressful family dinner time.

Well over the last 6 years he has accumulated a lot (and I mean A LOT) of reading books on the district list. Each of those has been an expense his parents have had to bear, but not this year! We listed all the old books on paperbackswap and have been able to obtain most of his reading books for this quarter in exchange. It has saved his parents money AND he was able to find some 'fun reading' books as well!

So for those of you have stacks of Bronte, Hemingway and Shakespeare from your children's English lit classes - fear not! They no longer need to take up precious bookcase or storage space - just recycle them! And the same goes for those seeking the lengthy list of AP and Honors summer reading - this is a great resource and it sure works for me!

So boogy on over to Shannon's Rocks in my dryer and tell us what works for you?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

WFMW: FLYLady



So every week Shannon over at Rocks in My Dryer hosts the Works For Me Wednesday Blog Carnival. This week I feel somewhat silly sharing because I learned about this site and program by seeing references in SO many of your blogs!

I am a FLYLady convert!! I've been reading about her lovely little program for quite some time now and decided to go over to the site and check it out. After a week of reading about it and psyching myself up....I did my first sink shine on Saturday. Now, let me digress for a moment to say that I have been called a neat freak numerous times. I like my house a certain way and believe that doorjambs and baseboards should be dusted on a regular basis. However, my lovely fiance is a bit...well....messy. So between us now sharing an abode and trying to combine 2 homes, the large assortment of pets in our home (including our roommate Tony), the small space in which we live and my insane work schedule, the house has become ... gasp ... a total mess! There, I've said it....you can all shame me if you will now! I can take it! ;-)

Anyway....There just seemed to be SO much to do that I felt overwhelmed and couldn't drive myself to get anything done. And that is where FLYLady stepped in. OMGoodness - what a divine concept. So now I shine my sink every time I use it, spend 15 minutes decluttering, go through 27 things...etc. The amazing part is that in the 5 days since I've begun this plan I've already noticed a tremendous difference! The house is looking (and staying) cleaner, my stress has nearly dissipated and Tony and Glen are pitching in even more!

So I have to say, FLYLady works for me - go check her out. And for more great ideas, check out Works for me Wednesday over at Rocks in My Dryer

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

WFMW - Cleaning up a big mess


For this week's works for me Wednesday, I introduce you to my favorite little machine!!!"

Yep - that's right - the Bissell Little Green Clean machine. Now, why is it my favorite machine? Because it's a miracle at getting out those wonderful ketchup blobs on the carpet? Well, yes, but that's not the best part. It is, by far, the best wet vac a girl in a small place could hope for!

Just last night (at 10pm - of course) I walked into our bathroom into a big puddle! I turned on the lights to discover that the toilet had overflowed! Now while this is not, in itself, unusual, normally we catch it rising and turn off the water pipe before it's an issue. For whatever reason, we didn't hear or see this one - thank Goodness it had turned off and luckily for me - it was clean water - apparently it'd blocked up after washing the nasty stuff away. Phew! But of course, I now had a restroom filled with about an inch of water. I yelled at the fiance to get the green machine and started pumping away! After 2 empties of the reserve tank, the water was gone and all I had to do was clean the floor (and tub and toilet and cabinets) with bleach water. So -once again, my little green machine saved the day.

I know some people may have those lovely things called 'garages' to put an actual wet vac in, but we live in a 1000 square foot condo with 1 dog, 1 cat and a roommate (our 3rd pet) so having a tool that can serve multiple purposes is WONDERFUL.

Here is another time it came in handy....

"Ahhh..that's because as I was putting clothes in the washer, about to do a load of laundry, I noticed the pitch of the water sound change...hmmm, I said, something sounds odd. Let me see what's wrong. Suddenly I saw that the drainage hose had kindly removed itself from its pipe and all the water going into the washer was just as quickly exiting the machine and filling the floor! Luckily, I had to sense to slam the dial on the washer and stop more water from going through the beautiful cycle known as "make Jules life miserable". So for the next hour, I used towels, and the green machine (I have never loved that machine more) and pure adrenaline to pull up all of the liquid and reattach the hose. Of course, since we only have that lovely little cubby hole for a laundry area, to do all of this I had to remove the washer and the dryer! Woo and hoo! So we have a REALLY clean floor in our laundry cubby and I now have an extra load of laundry to do since now I have a rather large laundry basket filled with soaking, wet, dirty towels."

So, if you have one of these little monsters or are thinking of getting one - this is the best money I think I've EVER spent!!! And well, it works for me!!! (And for whatever reason, my fiance thinks the pic of the machine above looks like a meditating mutant samurai bunny - hmmmm...I wonder what a psychologist would say about that one)

To see other ideas, go to Works for Me Wednesday, which this week is being hosted by

Thursday, January 31, 2008

The humor of us

I should probably preface this blog with the information that my fiance and I are a very humorous couple in all of our dealings. No matter how bad things get, we can always find something or someway to laugh about it. We are very similar to Lois and Peter on Family Guy and find great humor in each other.....
So the other night I was having a terrible headache bordering on migraine. He asked what he could do and I asked him to get some Naproxen, which he graciously did. I looked at him in all seriousness and said, "With the way things have been going, I'm having an aneurysm and you'll be stuck taking care of me for the rest of my life" (It's been a bad week). He gave me the most sincere look with the deepest concern in his eyes and responded, "Oh honey, taking care of you would never bother me - it's the money it would cost to pay people to care for you that I worry about." followed by his most wry grin. I laughed so hard at that comment - it defines our relationship - when one of us is down or having troubles, the other will find the lightness and lift the spirit! Maybe that's why 3 years into our relationship we've never even had a fight!
I know that relationships always take work, but like I've said many times to my friends - there is a difference between work and 'working in a coal mine' work in a relationship - and I've finally learned that!!!

Bloggy Giveaway - Starbucks Card


So, I started with WFMW and thought I'd end the day with a bloggy giveaway. I've only recently found this wonderful carnival and thought I'd join in this week. So I'm giving away a $10.00 gift cards for Starbucks.

So leave a comment with the following info:
1. Name (and e-mail if you're not signed in to blogger)
2. What is the biggest obstacle you encounter in your daily life (ie: messy kids, messy husband, small home)

I'll be using a random number generator on Sunday, February 3rd to choose the winner and will be sending out the card on Monday!

I look forward to hearing from you!

UPDATE: The contest is over and the card has been won by "Seven"! Thanks for playing!!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

WFMW: Skunk Smell










So this is the beginning of my blog and my first WFMW. It may be a very odd intro tip but one that may come in extremely handy for some. And it only takes once!!! ;-)
Many years ago I was living on a farm and a particular male skunk decided to mark our house as his own! There are really no words to describe the smell of a male skunk spraying your crawl space - but burning tires comes close. Everyone knows that tomato sauce is a fabulous for getting the smell off of animals but you can't go around soaking a home in tomato sauce.

So the solution -- we found every tomato product in the house, put it in a very large dutch oven and kept it at a simmer all day. By the end of the day - the smell was gone!

For more great tips - head over to Rocks In My Dryer