Thursday, January 31, 2013

Zombie Mom

Hi, my name is Stacy and it has been 3 days since my last cup of coffee.

For some, this may not sound like it is that big of a deal. But for the past couple of years I have grown accustomed to my cup of java a day habit. There is rarely a day I go without it. So, you can imagine, when my coffee pot committed suicide on Monday, I was devastated. What was I going to do?

This could have been a simple solution. I could have just went down the street to Wally World and invested in a $10 coffee pot. But I am picky and I have standards. My last coffee pot was a Hamilton Beach BrewStation. Carafes need not apply. I hate those leaky things. They are such a pain. In fact, I haven't had a normal coffee pot since 2003 when I invested in my first Brewstation. I refused to downgrade.

So I did some research and I looked around. I have been eyeballing those Keurig machines but I will admit, the cost had me against it for awhile now. So when I found something similar, but at a better price, I thought my problem had been solved. It offered the same concept without the huge investment.

So, like anytime I am getting ready to spend a bunch of money, I started doing research. My best bet was to order online because I could get rewards by ordering at Walmart.... dot... com. through Swagbucks. The problem - that also meant that I would have to wait almost a full week by the time it got shipped to my house.

I was pretty sure the wait was going to kill me.

Yet today, just as I was finally ambling up to my bedroom as zombie mom to get dressed (just short of noon!), the doorbell rang. Irritated by the distraction, I went to the door wondering who could be disturbing my lazy day.

It was my Keurig!

Tomorrow should be back to normal. Zombie mom has left the building!

And as for the better deal, I ended up to go with the more expensive product. Why? Simply because you get what you pay for!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: The Rose

Can you believe it is already that time of week again. It is Wordless Wednesday!

Today is a picture I took right in my back yard. To me this picture speaks volumes. A symbol of getting past the thorns of life to see the beauty. And while I could go on about what a rose means to me, I will let you find your own meaning. So what does this picture say to you?

The Rose - my favorite flower. 
Now I probably have the blackest thumb of anyone I know, so when it comes to flowers, I can't make them grow. In fact, I am pretty sure I could even kill a plastic plant. However, it isn't my responsibility to keep the yard looking good. We have a gardener courtesy of the homeonwners. Which means I have a backyard full of beautiful roses... my favorite flower!

If you too would like to participate in Wordless Wednesday, check out Pictimilitude for information on how to submit!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I am a Writer

Today I had an epiphany! 

I was lazily sitting around not really in the mood to do anything this morning. I am going to blame it on my lack of coffee. But I knew I needed to get moving. So I set off to go for a walk with my boy and right as we started out, I ran into my neighbor.

They just moved in. And I am pretty giddy about this because they seem to have a lot in common with us. Since I am married, I no longer have to worry about being on the dating scene, which means I spend time scoping out the scene for new friends. So we started talking.

As the conversation ended and I continued on my walk, something struck me. When I explained what I did, I changed something.

It was easy to call myself a barber. Calling myself a writer
was a bit of a battle because I have made it out to be a
hobby. But the reality is, I am a writer!
Normally when people ask me what I do, I promptly answer that I stay home and raise the kids, but I am a trained cosmetologist/barber. Today, I didn't do that. While it naturally came across that I stay home with the kids, I actually introduced myself as a writer. I didn't even mention that I cut hair.

I have always said writers are a special breed of people. We think differently and with everything we do, we wonder how we could wrap that into some sort of story. I have always been like that in some way, more so now that I have actively been writing online for the last few years. And while I have always referred to myself as a writer, I have never really introduced myself as a writer.

So what is the change? I think I finally believe it. I finally believe in myself enough to call myself a writer.


Yes, that is right. I said it! Now let me explain.

I have always been a bit of an independent person. I don't want to have to depend on anyone else to take care of me. I want to be able to do it myself. So when I went from being a working mom to a stay at home mom, I fell into a bit of a slump. Why? Because I felt I wasn't doing anything to support myself.

Now my husband wouldn't agree with this. I was taking care of the kids. They need me and therefore his money was actually my money. Not to mention the cost of a babysitter would almost eat up my entire check. But a big part of me, while I would use his money to buy stuff for the kids and necessities for the family, would not use it to buy myself anything that could be considered extra or a luxury. I still felt this wasn't my money. My life was dependent on him!

But recently, I have started seeing that I am actually making money with my writing. And that is just the beginning. Soon, I will have my book published as well. So on top of my blog and my freelance writing, I will be a published author. Now I have wrote for newspapers before and I have had work put in magazines, so seeing my name in print is not new. But writing a book is.

So this is what I realized today. As I have spent the last couple of weeks stressing over what I could do to earn money, I realized all I was doing was stressing. And the more I stressed, the more I didn't want to do. Why? Because I felt that I wasn't good enough.

Today I realized I was. I said it out loud. I told someone that I am a writer.

And guess what.... I think I finally believed it!

Maybe that is what has been holding me back all this time. The fear that I wasn't good enough to move forward. I guess the first step to believing is admitting it to yourself. So if you have been having doubts on everything you have been doing online as a writer... say it with me...


Now the only thing you have left to do is believe!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Music Monday: Goodbye To You

Today I had to say goodbye to a dear friend. I knew this day was coming, so on Saturday I spent some extra quality time with my dear friend. I thought maybe the extra attention would help extend its life. I was wrong.

This morning at about 9:18 a.m., my Hamilton Beach BrewStation took its last breath.

A moment of silence please....


Alright, I have collected myself. 

I was the first one on the scene, and there was coffee everywhere. It was a site. I will probably be having nightmares for months. I tried to resuscitate it, but my attempts didn't work. The on/off switch had obviously been shorted out from the coffee that had leaked out. I fear that the extra attention to it on Saturday, might have actually done more harm than good. Cleaning it out might have actually dislodged what was holding everything together.

So today, it brewed it's last cup of coffee for me. It will be hard to replace, but I know that my coffee pot would truly love to move on.

The Hamilton Beach BrewStation was survived by: The Teapot, The Toaster, The Crock Pot, The George Foreman Grill, The Quesadilla Maker, and the Blender. Funeral services will be held later this week.

So, without further ado... for Music Monday I dedicate this song to my Hamilton Beach BrewStation.

Michelle Branch - Goodbye to You

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Epic Cup of Coffee

I never used to drink coffee every single day. But a couple years ago when my husband and I decided I was going to stay home to raise the kids, coffee became a part of my morning routine.

Now, mornings just aren't the same 
without my cup of coffee. 

So, about a week ago, when I realized my coffee pot had thrown up black sludge all over my counter top and even drained down the wall, I was concerned. And then when it sounded like a chipmunk coughing up a nut, I knew the end was near.

But I wasn't going to let the coffee pot go without a fight. Mainly because I have expensive taste in coffee pots. In fact, I am pretty particular. If I can't have my coffee without the hassle of the coffee pot, I am not happy. This leaves me with two options... The brew station which allows you to put your cup underneath and it dispenses the coffee... or the Keurig... which is just way out of my budget right now.

Of course, there is always option number 3 - clean the heck out of the coffee pot and hope for the best. This is like using those life paddles in the emergency room. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
This was goign to be an epic cup of coffee!

So I poured my vinegar and water concoction and ran it through. I did this three times. Then I ran plain water through... another 3 times... and then I used a magic eraser to get all the stained coffee off of ever single surface I could reach. As if that wasn't enough, I grabbed the Q-tips to get into all the knock and crannies. It took me almost 3 hours but by the time I was done, it could almost be mistaken for a new coffee pot.

I couldn't wait 
to brew a pot. 

Let me tell you, I don't know if the coffee pot is still leaking or not, but that was the best cup of coffee I have had in a very long time!

Friday, January 25, 2013

This is Why People End Up Robbing Banks...

Crazy! It has only started!
I am not going to lie.... this year started off bad.

It didn't just start off bad, it was the year I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. (Ok - maybe I would. It might be entertaining to see what they would do in my shoes!)

Earlier this year - our truck blew up, leaving us stranded in Missouri. Since we couldn't get a date on when the repairs would be done, we had to leave the vehicle there to be repaired and rent a car to get home. It was a band-aid to a bad situation since now we have to figure out how to get back and pick up our car. But mostly, you don't want to make a bad year even worse by having my husband lose his job because you are stuck in the middle of the United States.

So, we went from having two vehicles, back to one. 

Now, not even one full month from the first gigantic issue (I won't even begin to tell you about all the small ones that intermixed in between - like my coffee pot attempting suicide when I need it most or getting the world's worst tax return ever in my life of working!), we are starting to have issues with our last remaining car.

Yep - that is right. Currently it is sitting in the garage.

Sitting - not out driving like a good car.

Why? Because it doesn't want to drive and honestly, with my luck, I don't want to take the chance of blowing up another car. Because knowing my luck - I would be the only person with that bad of luck, to have two vehicles blow up (that we are still paying on) in less than one month time.

The irony of the situation: We have always been slackers when it comes to vehicle maintenance. With these two vehicles, because of all the problems we had with our previous vehicle, we have been particular about everything. We have been taking it in for regular oil changes and tune ups and doing everything we thought necessary so they would last a really long time. We behaved with our vehicle maintenance - or at least we thought!

So, if you don't hear much from me, it is because I have learned a very important life lesson that I really believe in. I didn't learn it recently, it has something I try to live by since I was much younger.

If you have nothing nice to say - 
Apparently I didn't get the message
that I was supposed to be made
out of money!
don't say anything at all!

The only other thing I can think of - it is times like these which is why people end up robbing banks. I mean seriously - how much more financial downfalls can one family take?

Disclaimer: This is in no way meaning that my husband or I plan on robbing a bank. I would get caught immediately because my guilt would not only get to me, but I am a slow runner! It was just a random thought that came into my mind that when people hit rock bottom and there seems to be no solution, they take drastic measures.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Everyday Is A Blog Post Waiting To Happen

Tuesday night, I got the opportunity to attend a webinar about blogging hosted by Thoughts From Paris. I was pretty excited about this webinar because I am always looking for ways to improve my blogging and because I actually got a way with sitting in uninterrupted almost complete silence for the entire time. That is a miracle considering my kids are never far from being underfoot.

The topic was finding content in everyday life. Now normally I write on the fly so this was something I could relate to. My life, although it can sometimes seem mundane, usually presents something off-the-wall or irritating that I can use for my blog. And then with a splash of humor and sarcasm, I can come up with something that will dull you back to sleep!

Prancing through life is a great way to make a mundane
day exciting. 
So yesterday, as I was prancing through the house doing my normal daily routines, it got me thinking... What has happened today that I could actually write about? After all, nobody wants to know about my making lunches for my kids, kicking them out the door to get to school and spending the entire day brainstorming through my muddy brain waters to come up with an unusual Facebook Status Update or Twitter post and ending it with catching up on some of my shows on DVR while holding my eyelids open with toothpicks because I was having a hard time keeping my eyes open past 9:30 p.m. (Yes - my life is that exciting! And I try to prance around my house as much as possible to entertain myself!)

So here is my list of "blog topics" that I could have (or might still) write about based off of yesterdays normal, dull and gray type of day!

1. Waking up late - Getting out of bed lately seems to be a chore. For Southern California it has been downright cold. I can't seem to really do it. So I hide under my covers until the last possible moment. And at that point it is a rush to get my kids up and ready for the school day. Yesterday - that meant procrastinating an additional 45 minutes which only left my kids roughly half an hour to eat breakfast and get out the door.

2. The Fashionista - My daughter Bella is my fashionista. She is also my middle child so I think she takes fashion to a whole new level just to get some attention. Yet yesterday we were running late (completely my fault - I didn't want to get out of bed!) This is the day that she comes downstairs in dirty clothes, clothes that don't match, clothes that don't fit. Seriously - we are in a rush and she has to change her outfit a million times.

3. Thank goodness for coffee - or maybe not - My coffee pot is on the verge of a mental breakdown. I have abused it daily for the better part of the last year and a half. But suddenly, it decides that it is going to start leaking somewhere. I feel like it is a pet dog that has lost control of its bladder. I hate to part with it. I love my coffee pot. And as it brews, it sounds like it is dying a slow and miserable death. If I was nice, I would put it out of it's misery. Instead, I keep it around hoping that if I show it love and compassion (and the occasional time out) it will last until I can go invest in another one.

My son is obsessed with Mario!
4. Dog Walking - I wanted my kids to learn to play the piano. In return for piano lessons, I walk a friend's dogs. Yesterday, as I am walking the dogs, my son refuses to walk on the sidewalk and insists he walk the curb. Why - because he is in a real life Mario game. If he falls off... he ends up in hot lava.  Occasionally though - you will hear him yell pause so he can step off the curb. It drives me nuts that he insists on walking the curb, but since the street has hardly no cars, I figure it isn't worth trying to drag him and handle two dogs at the same time.

5. Date Stamping - On Wednesdays I have been participating in Wordless Wednesday. (Go check the tap up on top if you want to see some of the pictures I have posted!) I love this concept because it allows me to really get back into photography and even photo editing. Let me tell you, I have always date stamped my photos that way when I look back at them, I know when they were taken. Let me tell you how irritating it is take out that damn date stamp. I will never date stamp again!

My kids spend a lot of time in the corner.
The result is sometimes what I call
chocolate tears. You can actually
see tear streams down the wall!
6. Chores of a housewife - I stay home with the kids. It is my priority job. Writing comes second only because until I start making serious money, I can't afford to hire a nanny or a maid to do the stuff I slack on when I am spending too much time connecting on social networks and writing. Yesterday, I noticed hand prints on our white doors. I started wiping them down. Then I realized my son had been using the walls as a Kleenex substitute. I guess I need to start adding wall washing to my weekly To Do List. I even went so far as to wash the chocolate tears from the corner the kids stand in when they are in time out. It was a sad day.

7. My Windex Problem - Speaking of cleaning, I realized that I have a Windex problem. It isn't that I don't have Windex. I have three bottles. Only one that is useable. The other 2 have very little left so you can't spray anything else out of them. But I find it wasteful to throw the extra away. Now why haven't I just combined all the bottles yet? I guess it hasn't made it to my To Do List!

8. Parenting Swap - I spent a lot of time cleaning yesterday. Right before my husband got home, I was appalled that my kids thought it was ok to leave their backpacks, their shoes and their homework spread throughout the entire house. I was barking orders for them to clean as my husband walked in. He looked at me and said, "This isn't right! It is my job to bark orders when I come home." I told him, "No need now. Everything has been handled!"

This is my partner in crime. Scary that we are allowed to
be parents!
9. Dinner of champions - Last night was leftovers. Normally we don't have much leftovers to feed the entire family. I don't purposefully make leftovers because I hate wasting food. My husband blames me for putting on a few pounds because I purposefully fill his plate so there is nothing left. So yesterday, I filled the counter with choices of what was left in the fridge. I am happy to say - there is still enough left over to make leftovers again tonight. Maybe leftovers aren't so bad. I get out of making a real meal!

10. I am going to hell for laughing - Last night before heading to bed, my husband I cuddled up to watch inappropriate stuff on TV. Not that kind of stuff you sick people. We watched Anthony Jeselnik: Caligula on Comedy Central. Nothing he says is appropriate. We laughed our asses off. Why is it that some of the best jokes are not even repeatable?
So as you can see, I learned a lot from the webinar. This was the makings of a very normal day for me. Yet, what I might have though was mundane and boring, could actually be spun in ways that some might even think is interesting. I could even expand on some of these and write a whole blog post with a little bit of sparkle and flair. Add some pictures and I will be rocking it.

But what it comes down to is every day is full of events that are just blog posts waiting to happen. This is just a tip of the list. I could have come up with even more... like how I doubled my Google Adsense earnings from the previous month. But hey, maybe I want to leave that secret for a whole different blog post. I don't want to exhaust all my ideas!

Happy Blogging and here's to hoping you can find small things in life that can turn into big blog posts! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: On Top Of The World

It's Wordless Wednesday, a day to find a picture that says more than words. Today, I choose a picture I took while heading up to the mountains. I love the way the clouds sit on top of the mountains. It really makes you feel like you are on top of the world.

What does this picture say to you?

The clouds sitting on top of the mountains.
If you too would like to participate in Wordless Wednesday, check out Cyndi from Pictimilitude. On Wednesday, she will post one of her own pictures and then on Sunday, she will feature all the pictures for those who participated.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Gargie Award and the 2013 Versatile Blogger

I woke up this morning feeling cranky. I am going to blame it on my dreams. You see, it was a three day weekend (well, for the working folks - not us writer folks) and I took advantage of not having to get up to get the kids off to school. So I slept - a lot.

Normally I wouldn't complain about getting too much sleep because normally I am always tired because I never seem to get enough. But this meant that I was caught up. So last night I struggled to fall asleep. We went to bed at a decent time because my husband had to get up in the morning. Yet - I was up by 5 a.m. There was no way I was actually getting out of bed at that time. So I fought it.

This meant that I was in and out of dreamland until I finally gave up and rolled out of bed. Needless to say, my dreams were not pleasant. They weren't nightmares... I was just being irritated by my husband and kids. Where is the hunky man dreams when you need them. I woke up pissy.

So today when I started running through the digital world playing catch up, it definitely made my day a little brighter when I was nominated for the 2013 Versatile Blogger by Terrye over at The Adventures of a Misplaced Alaskan. Now a few days ago, I was also awarded The Gargie Award from Melissa over at Mommy Writings by Daughter of MAAT.

So today I am playing catch up and frankly, I can't think of anything I would rather post about after such a milestone (I hit 100 posts here at Ramblings of an Undiagnosed Mad Woman yesterday). So, I am going to nominate some other great bloggers out there as well.

Since I got the Gargie award first... that is where I will start. And naturally, it comes with some rules.

  • Display the award badge on your site.
  • Publish a post to let the world know that you are awesome!
  • Nominate other fellow bloggers
  • Let your nominees know they have been nominated.
First of all, I want to say thank you to Melissa of at Mommy Writings by Daughter of MAAT. I am truly humbled that you would pick me out of all the bloggers out there. I can't thank you enough. So, if you haven't checked her out yet, I highly encourage you to. You won't be disappointed.

Here are my nominations:
Check out these wonderful bloggers. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Now onto the 2013 Versatile Blogger. Thank you so much Terrye from The Adventures of a Misplaced Alaskan. I truly look up to you for all your wit and humor that you bring into my daily digital life. If you wouldn't have already gotten both of these awards, I would have nominated you because you are deserve both of these as well as a Peppergasm Award. You take life at face value and you know just when to come in and make someone smile. If you haven't checked out Terrye yet, you are missing out. So go... check out what she has to say!

Now this award too comes with some rules...
  1. Thank the blogger who bestowed this award. Thanks again Terrye.
  2. Add the Versatile Blogger Award to your post and site.
  3. Nominate other bloggers that are desrving of the award.
  4. Let them know you nominated them.
  5. Tell 7 interesting facts about yourself.
Some of these bloggers have probably already been nominated. But I want to nominate those who truly have an impact on my digital life, whether it is through there support or just there friendships. I wish I could nominate everybody because there are so many great bloggers out there. My nominations are:
And now for 7 interesting things about me.... oh my... this might be a bit of a challenge...
  1. I like Braunschweiger. My husband thinks it is appalling and is shocked that this liver type paste even appeals to me. Especially since I gag at eating hot dogs.
  2. My spelling is horrible. In fact, there are times when I will actually avoid words just so I don't have to look up how they are spelled.
  3. I trust easily. But when people break that trust, it takes me a long time to be able to trust anybody again.
  4. I am obsessed with social networking. Honestly, I am not sure how I made it through the 90s without it.
  5. I am obsessed with board games... but I truly do suck at The Game of Life and Monopoly. I could do without ever playing those again.
  6. I dwell on things. Until I know what happened, how it happened and I get to the bottom of the mystery, I will not be able to put anything aside. I am too curious for my own good.
  7. I am my own worst enemy.  I have the want; I have the drive; and some may even say I have the knowledge. However, there are so many times that I just don't believe that. I fight the feeling all the time and wonder if that will be my ultimate demise. 
Well, now that you have finished reading this book! Go check out some of these other wonderful bloggers and give them some attention.

And as always - thank you for stopping by. I appreciate the support and love letting you into my life and my ramblings.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Music Monday: 100 years

Doesn't hitting 100 of any milestone just make you
want to smile? I know it does for me!
Life is full of seconds, minutes, moments and years. Entwined between all these pieces of time are milestones that make up our lives.

I remember when I was much younger and I couldn't wait to grow up. Now that I am 33, I look at my children and I wonder where all the time I thought I had has suddenly gone. It seems that in a blink of an eye, my babies grew up and suddenly my hair is full of wisdom highlights. I never imagined getting older.

But what I realized is with age comes wisdom. With age comes lessons. With age comes milestones.

Today I am embarking on another milestone which only a year ago... maybe not even that long ago... I never even imagined. This is my 100th blog post on Ramblings of an Undiagnosed Mad Woman. Honestly, I didn't ever imagine myself as the "blog" type person. Maybe it was because the internet was still new when I was growing up.

Yet, I haven't regretted one bit of time that I have spent here in the blogosphere. I have learned so much about myself and others along the journey.

So for today's Music Monday post, I am featuring a song by 
Five For Fighting - 100 years

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Am I going Nuts? Where did this extra kid come from?

I know, I know... I am the undiagnosed mad woman... so asking if I am going nuts seems a little ridiculous. But I am going to ask because obviously I missed something.

Just the other day, I was on Facebook using a very trustworty app program and I just could believe how accurate the results were. But now I just have one question - where did this extra kid come from?

This is actually what I have...

So which one is the imposter? Because obviously this trustworthy Facebook app told me I was only going to have 1 boy and 1 girl.

Well, I guess I have no choice but to keep them all. I only wish Facebook would have told me that I had one too many kids a little earlier. Can you imagine all the money I would have saved!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Flahsback Friday: 800 Miles of Fun

It is the beginning of 2013 and if you have any plans of traveling, usually this is the time that you start planning your vacation.

There are a lot of places to visit in California. But just because
it is in our backyard doesn't mean we go all the time. What
tourist spots are you wanting to check out?
My family is pretty fortunate. We are surrounded by tourist attractions. From museums, to theme parks, to natural interests like the Ocean, there is so many things that we can do right outside our front door.

That being said, I find it horribly ironic that we rarely do these things. We use the excuses that since we are so close, we can do it anytime. And what happens - We don't do any of them. We take these tourist attractions for granted. Last summer, I think we made it to the beach once. Ironic because it isn't like a trip to the beach is going to break the bank.

And yes, some of these places aren't very budget friendly. Just because Disneyland is right around the corner doesn't mean I go there every weekend (or even every single year!)

When my sister came out to visit a couple of years ago, I set up a plan that would show us what we have been missing around California, but what would still keep us within an affordable vacation budget. Whether you are traveling or you live in the area, don't miss out on the attractions because they are right there. You might be missing out on some great memories.

So, as my husband and I decide what kind of places we want to catch this year, I thought it would be a great time to highlight my sister's trip to California and how in one week, we put on more than 800 miles.

Flashback Friday this week highlights...

Attractions in Southern California: 800 Miles of Fun

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Friendship Hurts: Until Our Paths Cross Again

Sometimes, you just find that perfect
person that comes into your life!
My daughter came home yesterday, and the look on her face was indescribable. She was obviously devastated about something that has happened. I know this much, just not what has happened. I can already sense her pain before she even says a word.

When I woke up, I didn't assume that I would need to have the "Friendship Talk" with my daughter. I hate this talk. Not because having friends is a bad thing, but because sometimes having such good friends can lead to so much hurt in life, especially when you have no control over the situation, as is the case when you are a child.

Over the weekend, Abby's best friend moved.

This came as a bit of a surprise. But then again, maybe with everything we had going on with the holiday travel and then the colds, maybe we just didn't notice. And children, well, they are not always well informed on their parent's plans. It isn't necessary to worry your child with stuff that is meant for the adult to worry about.

What does that leave us with... two little girl's whose hearts are breaking.

For anyone who knows my daughter Abby, they will know that she is a kindhearted child. She loves hard and she gets hurt easily. And when it comes to friendships, she finds one really good friend and latches on hard. Therefore, when she is separated from that friend, she becomes devastated. It isn't that she doesn't have other friends, but she has just found that one person who she considers family, not just a friend.

I have to admit, I have been through this as well. When I was a child, my family moved and I lost friends because of it. Some I kept in touch with and others are nothing more than memories. As a child, we can't control these situations.

Some of these old friendships eventually ended up crossing my path again. Now thanks to technology, it is much easier to keep in touch and rekindle these old friendships.

But the thing that remains true... if you are truly meant to be in each others lives, your paths one day will once again cross.

It is a hard lesson to learn. But I truly believe that the people who are meant to be in your life will push through all obstacles to be in your life.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Ocean Sunset

As a writer, I am not going to lie... Wordless Wednesday is a little hard. I like to write and it is hard to keep the writing down to a minimum. But I am going to try. After all, I just want to put up a single photograph and let the photograph tell the story. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.

What does this picture say to you?

This picture was taken in San Diego, California as the
sun set over the ocean. 

If you too would like to participate in Wordless Wednesday, check out my friend Cyndi from Pictimilitude. On Wednesday she will post one of her own pictures and then on Sunday, she will feature pictures from those who participated.

Have fun - Wordless Wednesday is about finding a picture that speaks more than you can possibly say in words!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

It's Like Air Conditioning... For Your Butt!

A fellow blogger asked yesterday how bloggers come up with their ideas. Do you plan ahead or do you just write on a whim? I answered that usually I wait for something to happen that seems blogworthy each and every day and I usually go from their. I think that answer is what doomed me to write today's post!

I am a housewife. What does that mean... in return for my husband working his life away for money to pay bills and support us, I get the opportunity to stay home with my kids. That also means that I have become the sole responsible person for the sucky chores (unless I can pawn them off on my kids!) That being said, sometimes I am too picky for my own good so I would rather do it myself. You know what they say, if you want it done right, do it yourself. That philosophy sometimes sucks the life out of me.

So my son obviously takes after his daddy.
He has no problem running around naked!
That leaves me to today... doing laundry. It isn't that I really hate this chore... ok - so I do. It is the chore that never ever ever gets done. Just when you think it is finished, someone throws another pair of clothes in the laundry hamper. It messes with my perfectionist tendencies and frankly society would frown upon me if I let my kids run around naked, even if it was just for one day so I could say my laundry is completely, without a doubt, done. (I would have said my husband, but I am sure he would be ok with running around naked, even if society frowned down on it!)

I started laundry yesterday. But, because I knew I wouldn't get it entirely finished, I didn't throw in any more loads in the afternoon. Mainly because there is nothing worse then forgetting that you had left the clothes in the wash and you need to do it over. I know - rewashing is easy... but I got a sniffer that works great. And I always seem to be able to smell that "I forgot my clothes in the washer overnight and now they smell musty" smell no matter how many times I rewash. I think it is mental!

So I threw the final load from the washer into the dryer, but I never got to folding it. That was a task I was going to do this morning before I started the task of laundry all over again. Now I got a lot of laundry to fold and because I have three kids, it means folding laundry takes up a whole lot of room. And no matter how hard I want to, I refuse to put clothes away until all the laundry is done. So I got a pile for everything and it has filled up my dining room table.

That is when I came across the underwear. The underwear that should be retired. It has more holes in it than a piece of Swiss cheese. (Sorry - hope you didn't like Swiss cheese that much that you will now never be able to eat Swiss cheese without thinking of underwear!)

If your underwear starts to
look like Swiss cheese, it is time to
retire them!
Now, this underwear belongs to my husband. He is, however, not short on underwear at all. In fact, I think he has so many pairs of boxers that his drawer is overfilling. Yet, these underwear seem to keep making it back in the laundry. Why? Because he keeps wearing them, holes and all. He does the same thing with his socks!

Now for the life of me, I don't understand why, if you notice that these clothes are no longer functioning, why you wouldn't just throw them away, instead of throwing them back into the laundry. So, to push the point, I took a picture of these holes in his underwear and sent the picture to my husband.

"This is your underwear... on crack!"

His response...

"It is like air conditioning... for your butt!"

Yeah - I got nothing! But at least I got a blog post for the day!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Music Monday: Smile

It has been no secret that 2013 has not started off well for me. It has just been filled with bad things happening. From cars blowing up to frozen water pipes, it has made me into a Pessimistic Patty.

But then it dawned on me. Why? Why do I have to be so negative? Bad things happen. They happen to everybody. And eventually they work themselves off.

So it is time to say good bye to the negativity and start thinking in a more positive light. So it doesn't matter what 2013 puts my way, I am just gonna go ahead and Smile.

So for Music Monday's post, here is Lily Allen with Smile.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Flashback Friday: Credit Card Benefits

Credit Cards can be evil... but they can also be a very good tool if you use them correctly.

I remember when I first got a credit card. I was young and I was on my own. I had joined the military and I was miles away from home and any kind of adult guidance. I was excited. Being that I have always been good with money, I didn't think having a credit card would get me in trouble.

I was wrong. One credit card lead to another which lead to another and another and another. Before I knew it, I was rolling in credit cards and rolling in debt. So, I decided to get rid of all of them and never look back.

It has been years since I have had a credit card. I don't want one. Why would I if I can have a debit card with a Visa or Mastercard logo right on it. It would work the same - right? Wrong!

I have learned the hard way that a credit card is a must have. Not only does it help you if you are in a bind, but a lot of times, there are things that are limited without a credit card. For instance, renting a car is out of the question.

So sometimes the benefits far outweigh the negatives... But just in case you can't use them wisely, feel free to hide your card and only bring it out for those times you really need it!

So for today's Flashback Friday....

Credit Card Benefits!

A Million Thanks - Good Friends are Hard To Find

As I stated yesterday, with everything that has gone wrong this year, there are so much things that have gone right. People have hard times, but during those hard times, it is important to have good friends by your side.

I got lucky. Why? Because I found such a good friend.

This post I am going to dedicate to Kelly from The Real Housewife. If you haven't already, you need to check her out. She is filled with wisdom and advice and is probably one of the strongest people I have ever met! She is caring and kind and will tell you like it is. I love her as a whole because I feel I am a better person for having met her.

I owe her a million thanks! Why - because she was a friend when I needed her most. She stood by our side and helped us through a really tough situation. And honestly, I don't know what I would do if I wouldn't have met someone like her. My life is forever changed because she is in my life.

Out of all the things that I have learned from her, one of the things that really hits the hardest is that if you want something, you need to make it happen. So what am I taking from this - it is my move 2013. I am stronger than you and I will make this year great. Thank you Kelly for being such a positive influence.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

It Really Could Have Been Much Worse...

Everybody is probably sick and tired of me whining about my crappy vacation. I mean... a person goes on vacation and you imagine it is going to be epic and fun and memorable and relaxing.

Well, this one was fun and to a certain extent it was relaxing... and it was definitely memorable. I mean, how many people can honestly say they got stranded in the midwest because their car blew up in Missouri. I am betting not too many.

However, among all the whining and the crying about this vacation, I have to say, it really could have been much, much worse. And that is really what I need to focus on... the positives of this vacation.

My husband and I have been traveling across the United States for as long as we have been together. It is something we will never get away from. After all, he is from California and I am from Wisconsin. The heart wants what it wants, and honestly, I don't mind the travel. (Although it would be nice to have a vacation not centered around visiting family!) So it is something we have to deal with... since we have had so many kids... we have decided road trips are the way to go since it seems more affordable. (Unless you count the therapy bills that will be needed in the future. This trip, I threatened to Duck tape my kids to the roof of the car!)

So after I took a couple of xanax and started calming down, I realized our situation could have been much worse.

Sick! That is how it all starts!

Yep, the second we got to my parent's house, my mom was sick. My immune system sucks. You could probably shake hands with your second cousin Ralphie whose aunt has a child who is friends with a kid whose teacher has the flu and I would probably get it. I knew the second I saw my mom walk out of the bedroom looking like the living dead, it was only a matter of time before I got sick! My dad followed shortly after. I fought hard.

But the reality is, I lucked out. While I did get the case of the sniffles and the occasional headache, and I was a little worn down, I really didn't come down with it full blown. And to top it off, because we were all kind of fending it off, we really didn't go out of our way to leave the house and visit too many people.

This is what we call quality time! 
What does that mean? I got to spend a lot of good quality time with the people most important to me. My parents, my sisters, my nephews and nieces... my immediate family members. If it wasn't for the cold going around, we probably would have done a lot more running around visiting others. While I am sad I didn't get to see everybody while I was there, I am grateful because out of all the times we have come home, this has been by far the most relaxing trip since we weren't out running around visiting. Next time I go home - they can come to me. All the running around is just too much.

Stuck in Missouri

As part of the trip, we had planned to stop by and visit our friends Kelly and Dave. Many of you may know Kelly as she is The Realhousewife! (Go check her out!) Kelly and I became friends online and when she went on vacation in 2011 to LasVegas, I jumped at the chance to meet her in person. Since then, we have stopped by their house on the way through to stretch our legs and say hi. This time, we planned on spending a little extra time with them to hang out. However, that didn't go as planned. A little extra time turned into a lot of extra time.

Our kids watching TV in comfort as we waited
to hear the news on our car repairs.
Overall, I understand how having company can get old after a few days. Believe me, my kids can be a handful. (I am sure my husband and I can be as well!) But through it all, if we were going to get stranded somewhere, this was probably one of the best places for it too happen. At least we knew people here. Granted, we weren't expecting to stay a couple extra days, but if you are going to be stuck somewhere, hopefully it is with good people.

The next place I would have wanted to be stranded was near Terrye from The Adventures of a Misplaced Alaskan. After all, I promised her that I would stalk her now that she moved and is a little closer to me. I guess I will save that for the next trip.

For the most part, I can only imagine how horrible of guests we must have been. We were stressed out. My kids were running around wild and eating all of Kelly's food. And we also took over both of their kid's rooms. They were all troopers for putting up with us.

But being stuck in Missouri was the best possible outcome because it meant we didn't have to worry about a tow truck, we didn't get stranded in the middle of nowhere, and we didn't get stuck in a hotel room for days on end. And ultimately, because my husband and I don't have credit cards, they used their credit card so we could rent a car. Luckily paypal is pretty painless to work with so I could pay them back. However I do question the worth of having the Mastercard or Visa logo on debit cards. It obviously doesn't mean much! My cash was not good enough apparently!

But I do thank my lucky stars for having such a good friend available in the area that was willing to open their heart and home to us during such a stressful time. There is honestly no way I can think of to say thank you enough to them! So if anybody has any great and creative ideas... let me know!

Although I am sorry to say, it will probably be a long time before I decide to venture out on another long roadtrip. Next time I go home, I am sucking it up and flying!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - The View Behind You

I would love to say that I had nothing to say on Wednesday and that is why it is wordless, but that isn't really true. You see, this is my second blog post of the day and the reason behind it is because I want to participate in Wordless Wednesday, started up by my friend Cyndi over at Pictimilitude.

This is my own picture. This was not even taken because I was trying for some special effect. But the result is something that I am absolutely in love with.

Wordless Wednesday is about a picture being worth 1000 words. So, what does this picture say to you?

Never Expect Anything....

I finished writing my book... this year was the year my
writing was going to take off.
I was really excited for 2013. I was expecting great things.

First off, I finished my book for NaNoWriMo in November. And by finished, I don't mean I just hit the 50,000 word mark and completed the challenge, I actually completed my manuscript. So what was next? I was going to get it edited and published.

So I had big plans for 2013. It was the year my writing was going to take off. I was going to get my book published, I have the second one in the works and I was even going to take my blog a little further and purchase my domain name. This was the year for my writing to become more of a career and less of a hobby. Not that I haven't made a few dollars from it, but I really wanted it to take off.

The other thing I was expecting... I was expecting financial freedom. Not because my husband got a raise. Not because my writing was going to start bringing in more money. But because we had two bills that were about to be paid off. Any adult knows that this is an exciting feeling. Finally, a bill being paid off gives you the potential to free up a couple hundred dollars. And I had two that were about to free up some money. Suddenly, we were going to have breathing room in our budget! I was excited. Finally we were going to be doing good. Living month to month would be a thing of the past.

Naturally... that didn't happen. Usually when things start looking good, things start quickly rolling downhill. At least for me. After all, my luck fucking sucks! Murphy and I - well, we aren't on talking terms. And someone up there probably hates me!

So then today, I realized something. I realized the root of all my problems. I expect to much. When I expect things to go as planned, they almost never do. And when they don't happen the way I expect them to, then I am disappointed.

So from now on, I am not going to expect anything. 

I did not expect that my car - which has never shown a sign of a problem - would suddenly out of no where blow up in the middle of a road trip! Why would I? Only now, I expect something like that to happen.

I am not expecting that when a company screws up our bill, that we shouldn't be the one to pay for it. After all, we are the customer and they have us by the balls. We need their services. So sure, even though I am down on luck, go ahead and shut off my power, even though the bill isn't even due for another five days and we paid them last month. After all, why wouldn't I expect the company to make it up to us for their mistake. Instead, they tell us to pay a month in advance to get everything straightened out!

It's all about the money - can't say
I blame them!
And why would I expect the people from David's Bridal to have any sympathy for my situation. I had a dress on layaway for my friend's wedding in June. I was supposed to pick it up on Monday, but with our car blowing up, that wasn't possible. When I called them to tell them about our situation, they apologized, said it would get booted from the system. Why would I expect them to be able to manually keep the dress on layaway. After all, what is in it for them? Not that it really matters, the engine blow up put us back financially. Not only can I not drive down to the store to pick up the dress (Hello - my car is in Missouri!)... but I can't pay for it either right now. Naturally, I expected the company to understand this was an extreme situation. Once again, I expected something and was disappointed. Luckily, my friend let me bow out. Now I just hope I can make it to the wedding instead.

And to top it all off, I expected that I could come home and after all the issues we have had, I would be able to relax and put things behind me. But that isn't happening either. So on top of all the stresses we have endured, I have got a sick kid home from school.

But then again, I wasn't expecting that either!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Midwest Is Trying To Kidnap Me!

If you are looking for one of those cutesy, inspiring or nice posts, you might want to close the browser on this one. It isn't going to be cute. It isn't going to be full of inspiration. It won't even be nice.

I gave you a cute puppy... but this is the only cute thing
about this blog post!
So, here is your warning. If you are looking for a cutesy post. Leave now.

It was the best of vacations and it was the worst of vacations.

We left our house on Dec. 20th. We were excited. We had a nice long vacation and we were going back home to spend it with my family. Things were going too smoothly. I should have known then that something was going to happen. The packing went way too well and I was done without stressing at the last minute. Wisconsin was in the middle of what they coined the Snowpocolypse, but because of when we left, we were missing it. In fact, it was nothing but sunshine the entire drive there.

We drove. It is the most cost effective way to do these kinds of trips when you have 3 kids. We don't mind. Our kids have driven through a good portion of the United States because of our road trips and they have seen some great sights. However, the drive is never easy. To save money, we push straight through until we get there. For the most part, from my door in California to our first stop, it usually takes us about 40 hours. That is enough to kill almost anybody. But we do it. Why? Because we feel it is important to try to make it back to visit family at least once every year. Our kids are young and it isn't fair for them to be torn between two families because we met in the military and our families live thousands of miles apart.

So the trip is starting off good. I am all smiles. Except for the time when I threatened to duck tape my kids to the roof of the car if they wouldn't stop fighting in the backseat. But hey, 40 hours in a car is rough on anybody. We made it alive and the kids stayed in the backseat. Score one for us.

Upon getting to my parent's house, my mom was sick. Not much we can do, so we made the most of it. I spent a good portion of the vacation fending off the cold that took out both my parents. Because we were sick, we stuck to immediate family. I figured it was ok to share the germs with them (since they started it), but didn't really chance it by going out to see many friends. But it was a great vacation because we did get to spend a lot of time with family.

So now is the time to bring in the New Year. Unfortunately, when the clock struck midnight, things seemed to take a turn for the worse. As a glass went up for a toast, it shattered as it hit the ceiling fan. No big deal. No one was hurt. I got lucky. Two shards of glass were in my glass of champagne. I caught them before I swallowed.

Raise your glass but watch out how you raise it! If you catch
it in a ceiling fan, it is bound to shatter and spread glass
throughout the entire house!
I should have known by now that this was were things were going to take a turn for the worst. Shortly after arriving at my parent's house, our yellow check engine light went on. We had just had the car in for service, but we figured since it was just an emission light, we were good to go. Probably due to the temperature, we figured. But we aren't mechanics.

By the end of the day on January 1st, I was feeling the full effects of the cold that my mom had and I had been successfully fending off. I sent my husband to the store to get medicine. That was the first time our vehicle died.

It overheated and he coasted it into the Wal-Mart parking lot. Since there was no other option with it being a holiday, we put the car in timeout and hoped that by the following day it will have chilled a little. (The antifreeze blew out of it, we refilled it assuming the specs weren't right for the cold Wisconsin temperatures. The next day, with new antifreeze in it, it started up fine and was running like a champ! We tested the light and we were told it just needed a tune up. Easy fix - right?)

So we didn't let it stress us out. We didn't have the time to fix it there since there was no appointments available before we were heading out, so we figured it can be fixed when we got back to California because it was just routine maintenance... or so we were told!

We headed out on Thursday with plans to stop in St. Louis to visit my friend Kelly - The RealHousewife. This wasn't the first time we stopped by to say Hi on our way through. But, we did plan to crash there Thursday night, spend the day there Friday, crash again and leave early Saturday morning.

I am going to tell you right now.... That DID NOT happen!

We got there late on Thursday night...stayed up chatting and finally headed to bed about 3 a.m. It was a good night. Everybody woke up late the next morning and my youngest Max was burning up with a fever. That put a damper on any plans made to explore since we had a sick kid on our hands. However, he felt fine enough for the adults to head out for a nice dinner and then we headed back to watch a movie.

We were fortunate. Knowing someone in
the area made waiting on the car to be
fixed much less stressful.
Saturday morning we woke up, got everything packed up and said our goodbyes. About 30 minutes into the drive, the yellow check engine light started flashing. I had never seen that before. We turned around and headed back to Kelly's house. That way, we could get the car fixed real quick and we didn't have to worry about entertaining the kids at the mechanics.

With each call, the problems got worse and worse with the vehicle. For something that started out as a $200 dollar fix, quickly came up to $900. We went back to the house to wait it out. The place closed at 7 p.m. and we were thinking we would be on the road by then. That still gave us enough time to get home in time to get my husband to work and my kids to school.

That DID NOT happen!

By the end of Saturday night, the shop had closed and they still couldn't figure out what was wrong with the vehicle. In fact, it couldn't even be started right now.

I slept in late Sunday morning. A big part of me was secretly hoping that by the time I crawled out of bed, the issues would be resolved and we would be ready to hit the road.

That DID NOT happen!

What did happen... the bill jumped up to almost $1700 and they were still not sure whether or not that would fix the issue. So we needed to find an alternate solution. After all, we were starting to be the new fishy pet in Kelly's house! (You know the saying, after three days fish and company are the same... they start to smell!) We had to get home.

To make a long story a little shorter, we ended up renting a car, transferring and jamming every bit of our belongings from one car to the next. We were stuffed like sardines, only I am pretty sure the sardine stress level is usually a little less. We drove straight through... another 31 hours in the car.

I would love to say our luck started turning around after that, but it didn't. Not only is our car still stuck in Missouri, but our house keys were as well. Good thing we had some friends watching the house for us and they were able to let us in.

 Knowing our luck, we probably would have gotten arrested for breaking into our own house!

It just seems to me that the Midwest is trying to kidnap me. We moved to California in December of 2010 and were outrunning a blizzard. Every single time we have gone home and tried to leave, something happens. One time we had to wait out a tornado. This time, it was our car blowing up in Missouri. I have to admit, I prefer the weather setbacks. I am not sure the next time I head back to Wisconsin, we will make it out alive!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Music Monday: Born Under a Bad Sign

We needed to unload the car quickly. Here
is the mess. It looks much worse in person!
Yes - I have been gone for awhile. I was back home in Wisconsin celebrating Christmas with my side of the family. Let's just say - it was the best and worst vacation all wrapped in one.

We celebrated the New Year with family and friends. I thought it was a great start. That quickly changed. Let's just say, since the New Year hit, this is the song that has been running through my head. One line in particular....

"If it wasn't for bad luck, you know, I wouldn't have no luck at all!"

Since I am just now getting home - late on Monday night - a day later than what was planned, I don't have much time to go into details. I will save that for tomorrow. Right now, I am heading off to get my kids tucked into their own beds (they have school tomorrow!) and sort through some of the chaos that has been tossed into my front living room.

So here for Music Monday, I am featuring Homer Simpson with...

Born Under a Bad Sign

Virtual Mirror