Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Teenager Truism #6

I had a scheduling snafu last week so if you think you've already seen this post, you'd be right. I pulled it and rescheduled it for the intended day, today.

I believe that this:

 Is one slippery step away from this:
Which is one nightmarish night away from this:
 Agree or disagree, that's my opinion.

My kids like to tell me that the Mister and I (me more than him) are more strict than their friends' parents. Considering the things that I've seen their friends get into (sneaking out of our house at 4 am, breaking into the elementary school and stealing, getting mixed up in drugs, etc. Just three things off the top of my head) I'll take the label of Strict and wear it proudly. If being strict keeps my kids out of jail and holds off on my becoming a grandparent a few years longer, then so be it. Ya know??

One thing that the Mister and I are strict and inflexible about it piercings. Ears are fine, body and face are not. The Mister and I paid for each of the girls to get their first holes in their ears and after that, they have to pay for any more ear piercings they'd like to have. The end. Non negotiable.

Another thing is tattoos. They have to wait until they're 18. That's it. The end. Non negotiable.

Hair, on the other hand, we give the girls free reign. The Youngest gets her hair colored naturally by the sun. I'm not kidding. She has highlights in her hair that women pay hundreds of dollars for and all she does is play outside to get hers. Free, blonde highlights courtesy of the sun. The Oldest has played around with coloring her hair for the last two years. She's used everything on her hair from Splat in a ghoulish red, to the water flavor packets from Crystal Light and Ocean Spray (you know the little packets that you put into a bottle of water? Yeah. Those.) to professional coloring, to dye in a box from Clairol. It's been an...interesting hair journey. I admit, I really hated the red. It was ugly. AND FREAKING MESSY! She ruined towels, clothes, sheets, and stained walls, the tub, and skin with that crap. She can use that stuff until the cows come home as long as she doesn't use it under my roof. EVER AGAIN. She also learned her own lesson when it came to the flavor packets. It seriously dried out her hair and caused it to have massive breakages. I had to take her to my stylist just to fix her hair. Of course, she didn't listen to me when I told her using that stuff was a mistake. My stylist had to tell her and then make her swear to the stylist, that she wouldn't use it again. Nowadays, she just colors her hair a bleach blonde out of a box. Again, it's pretty much ruining her hair and she has naturally curly hair that frizzes and the coloring is only making it worse, but there's no talking to her about it. I'm just her mom who used Sun In and lemons on her hair and has had numerous hair coloring disasters over the years. But what do I know.

Teenager truism:  It's just hair. It may break off, fall out, get chemically burned off, or look like it's out of a low-budget, B movie vampire flick, but it's just hair and will grow out and/or grow back. This comes out of my best piece of parenting advice. If you pay attention to nothing else I say, have ever said, or will ever say, if you're a parent of human children, listen to this:  Pick your battles.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Quest of Heroes: In the Sorcerers Ring by Morgan Price

morgan price, books, reading, literature

Title:  A Quest of Heroes:  In the Sorcerers Ring
Publisher:  I couldn't find it in my e-copy and didn't care to look elsewhere.
Pages:  480
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
Setting:  Some Tolkien knock-off world.
Where did you get it?  It was free from Google's Play Store
Why did you read it? Well, it was free, wasn't it? The reviews sounded promising. I also liked that this wasn't Price's first book and I was hoping that this could be a new author that I liked that had several books I could read.
From the publisher:  Ok. So I was going to copy and paste that part here, but it was too long and full of fluff. Blah blah. It's a book with a 14 year old kid in it trying to prove himself to his father and brothers. When he's rejected by some sort of elite band of soldiers, he goes off crying into the forbidden forest OOOOHHHH!! and meets a sorcerer who tells him he's destined for greater things AHHHHH!! Blah freaking blah. I can't tell you anymore than that because I gave up on this book in the third chapter.

It's touted as being a "Breathtaking new epic fantasy" in the same league as J.K. Rowling and Rick Riordan. And hey, it was free from Google's Play Store as they were celebrating their first birthday. I also wanted to try out the Play Books app on my new phone. It just wasn't good. I plodded through as far as I did hoping that it would get better, pick up the pace, have a likeable character in it, drop a few of the cliches, break out of the mold that way better authors have forged, but I'm not punishing myself by pushing through anymore of a free book. Harry Potter and Percy Jackson it is NOT. Not even close.

I'm trying to think of at least one thing I liked about it and I liked the sheep. Sheep are cool. They're all wooly and they go baaaah. Yeah. I liked the sheep. Ok. And the cover looks cool too but you all know what they say about judging a book by its cover.

Oh. And I don't think I like the Play Books app either. The Nook and Kindle apps are nicer.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Worst Side of Politics

I'd like to welcome my first guest poster to my blog who just happens to be my husband, The Mister. The only thing I do with politics is get a hothead and angry. So, I asked The Mister to be the person to cover some current events on my blog. He thanks me at the end of his post but he's actually doing me a large favor and he deserves the thanks. I hope you enjoy this different perspective.

Marines, Harry Reid, Senate, Sequestration
On March 20, 2013, Senate majority leader Harry Reid made the following statement on the floor of the Senate:

Late last night, seven of our Marines were killed in Hawthorne, and many others were injured in an explosion during a training exercise near the ammunition depot in Hawthorne, Nevada. We don't know exactly what happened, but it was a violent explosion, we know that. My thoughts are with those who are injured and of course the families of those who lost loved ones, and Marines all over the world are now focusing on the loss of their fellow Marines. They are grieving this loss. Details are emerging. We really don't know, the area has been blocked off. As I indicated, it was quite a big explosion. ... It's very important we continue training our military, so important. But one of the things in sequester is we cut back in training and maintenance. That's the way sequester was written. Now, the bill that’s on the floor, we hope to pass today helps that a little bit. ... This sequester should go away. We have cut already huge amounts of money in deficit reduction. It's just not appropriate, Mr. President, that our military can't train and do the maintenance necessary. These men and women, our Marines were training there in Hawthorne. With this sequester, it's going to cut this stuff back. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/19/harry-reid-sequestration_n_2909706.html).

Republicans and at least one Marine official have jumped on the anti-Reid bandwagon over these comments. Was Mr. Reid politicizing the death of seven Marines? Let's look at the history of the sequestration to determine if he is trying to score political points on the backs of dead Marines.

This is a tweet from Mr. Reid:
@SenatorReid 28 Feb
It’s not too late to avert the damaging #sequester budget cuts, for which an overwhelming majority of Republicans voted

The following is a story from when the sequester was implemented that clearly shows that there was support for the Budget Control Act of 2011 that implemented the sequester but guess who else voted for it…. Times up…It was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid while his republican counterpart from Nevada voted against it. (http://politics.nytimes.com/congress/votes/112/senate/1/123)

While the White House and the Democrats have tried to paint the sequester as a Republican tool to force the Democrats to negotiate on the budget, the sequester was actually brought to the table by the President and his staff as a way to scare the Republicans into cutting defense spending. (See Politifact) However, after the 2012 elections, the Republicans call the bluff and here we are now, less than a month after the sequestration started and Harry Reid is talking about the evils of the budget cuts and via the tweet from February 28th, pointing the finger to the other side.

Yesterday’s actions by Mr. Reid may not rise to the level of actually tying the deaths of these Marines to the sequestration, as many news outlets have reported, they are very disingenuous and I do believe he is using the death of these Marines to move the discussion of sequestration fixes forward. He, however, is just as responsible for these budget cuts as every other senator and representative that allowed the Budget Control Act of 2011 to go into effect.  And I will not mention the debate that led to the BCA that is a discussion for another day.

I would like to thank Trisha for allowing me to be a guest poster for this week.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Teenager Truism #5

I'm sure I'm going to put a lot of people out of joint with this one and piss off some people but when has that ever stopped me. Check out the title of this blog.

My parents, and parents of my generation, didn't have to deal with the same things that I, and other parents currently raising teens, have to deal with. Sexting wasn't even a term let alone something we could do. Nor was cyber bullying. Online porn. Television that has programming so questionable that it needs a rating. Umm. Two and a Half Men. Hello! I have to make decisions, with the Mister of course, that my parents could never have dreamed of when I was a teen.

  • Do I get my teen a cell phone? If so, how do I monitor it? 
  • Is my teen allowed to have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, etc.? If so, how much privacy do they get and when do I cross the line into invading their privacy?
  • How do I make sure my teen isn't sexting or taking/sending inappropriate photos of themselves to others or receiving these things??
Monitoring TV, music, and movies is almost impossible anymore. It may be rated TV-14 or R, but that hardly even means anything anymore. Some things just get a "not rated" warning like XM channel 36. That's our favorite channel on XM and it's not even the music that I find questionable but it's the DJs, specifically, Madison. We had to turn the channel the other day because she was talking about "ball sack piercings". Geez. Really? Is that necessary? And I apologize for putting that in your head.

Things that are said and done out loud and in public nowadays would have been considered terribly inappropriate when I was growing up. And on top of all the new stuff out and about, I still have to worry about all the traditional crap like sex, eating disorders, drugs and alcohol, bullying, grades, bad friends, teen driving, etc etc. At least these things are pretty cut and dry:  No sex, drugs, alcohol, bullying, puking up your dinner, bad friends. Yes to good grades. And California has taken all the fun out of being a teen driver and neither of mine have their driver's licenses yet.

Teenager truism:  It was easier, I'm sorry but it was, raising a teen 15-20+ years ago than it is in the new millennium. Like I said, I know that'll piss some people off, but until you've raised a teen in this day and age, you don't know.

You know, neither of my kids' schools have lockers because of rampant drug use. The Oldest Child's school has a contract with a drug sniffing dog company that comes in periodically to search for drugs. And you can stuff your "big city crimes" argument up your butt. It doesn't apply. What would your argument be if I told you that 75% of the kids at her high school are military brats from all over the world? It's just plain harder to raise teens these days and I'm sure it will only get harder. Maybe this post was more about the downfall of society that it was about parenting teens, lmao.

Monday, March 18, 2013

DIY Budget

family, budgeting, money

This isn't 100% Do It Yourself because I had help. I spent an hour and a half on the phone on Friday with a financial advisor. Mark. He was excellent. It occurred to me during our conversation, that finacial advisors for couples could also be considered a couple's therapist, lol.

Anyway, now that the Mister's reenlistment has been approved, it has really hit home that he only has four years and six months (give or take a few days) left in the Marine Corps. Getting married young and almost directly out of high school the way that we did, we went straight from our parent's house to having the military take care of us. This means that financially, we still behave like idiots. We have very little in savings and a LOT of debt. Student loans are going to be the death of me. And four years is not that long.

Mark gave me a lot of info concerning the Mister's retirement, life insurance, and budgeting. We are on a budget. A strict budget in which we now have to account for every penny of income and every penny spent. I admit, with the advent of mobile banking, I have stopped keeping a checkbook register. I check the bank account several times a month to make sure that there are no transactions that I don't recognize and to make sure there's enough in there to pay the bills. Those days of leisure are over. Mark says that if you want to save for retirement and you want to get out of debt, you have to make that decision, both members of the couple need to be on the same page about it, then you have to account for all of your spending. You can't expect to save if you're not going to stop indiscriminately spending.

Step One:  Figure out your monthly total income. That's take home pay.
Step Two:  List all your bills, when they're due, and how much is due. This includes all the auto-payments you have like Netflix. It may only be $7.99 a month, but it's still outgoing and still a bill. This also includes money for gas and groceries. Everything you pay out on a regular basis.
Step Three:  Take your income minus your outgoing which equals your surplus.
Step Four:  Determine how much money you need/want in your emergency fund. This is your savings account. Some people say it should be three times your monthly expenses. So, if you spend $1000/month paying bills, buying gas, and groceries, then your emergency fund should have $3000 in it. But, this is personal and should be what you and your SO (significant other) consider to be sufficient. All of your surplus goes into the emergency account until you have reached your goal.
Step Five:  Now you attack debt and start building a retirement fund. Ideally, you have started a retirement fund way before you're 35. We have a little, but it's not nearly what it should be because we have a problem with instant gratification. Anyway, once your emergency fund is built, you take 80% of your surplus and attack debt with it. Mark's philosophy is to start paying off whatever gets you "more bang for your buck". This is about ratios and math and confused me but the Mister knows this part. It all has to do with the amount of the debt to the interest rate to the minimum monthly payment. Once you pay off one source of debt, you take that monthly payment, add it to the 80% and attack your next piece of debt, continuing on until you are out of debt.
Step Six:  Take 10% of your surplus and put that into your retirement fund.
Step Seven:  Take that last 10% of your surplus and put it in your emergency fund. Why? Because say your car needs new tires and you need to pay for that out of your emergency fund. Well, now it's short that money, right? Your emergency fund should never go under the original threshold that you set which means that you continually need to add to it. If you have to make a withdrawal that puts you under your original threshold, then you have to go back to putting 100% of your surplus into that account until you get it back up where it should be.

If you get a pay raise, 1/2 of that monthly increase in pay goes to retirement, the other 1/2 goes to your surplus to be divided up as determined above.

Your monthly budget should be as detailed as you can make it. We have ours set up to include not only bills, but the girls' allowances, eating out (something we're trying to cut back on), spending for the Mister and I (I have an Ulta addiction and he's been golfing like a fiend) etc. etc. Be realistic and don't set yourself up for failure. This is why we've included a monthly spending allowance for ourselves. We're not delusional and think that we'll sit at home staring at four walls until we're completely out of debt and have millions in retirement.

I'm sleeping better at night knowing that our emergency fund is already seeded, that we can concentrate on whittling away at debt, and that we have a plan. I'm telling you what, our emergency fund is what makes me feel okay about our upcoming move, having an elderly dog, and having three vehicles. I wish we had done this years ago. I also admit that this is stuff I already knew. I needed to hear from an unbiased professional that we need to get our act together though. Hello!! Act your age!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

To Miss or Not to Miss: Episode 1

Since 1998, we've made the following moves:

Ohio to Florida
Florida to Ohio
Ohio to California
California to Vermont
Vermont to North Carolina
North Caroling to California

And now we're getting ready to move from California to Florida. Never in all those years have I had such conflicting feelings about moving. Usually, I'm just plain excited for the change, to go somewhere new, or to leave behind a bad situation. This time, I'm extremely sad to be leaving San Diego. I love this city. Sure, there are things about it I could do without, namely the traffic and rude/idiot drivers, but for the most part, it's a fabulous city. Fantastic, fabulous, FANTABULOUS! I'm convinced that people that don't like it either:

A) Have Mommy Syndrome - The inability to live far away from their mommies.
B) They just didn't give it enough of a chance.
C) They came here with preconceived notions of what California is like and held onto their close-minded, judgmental attitudes.
D) Plain dumb - Just couldn't deal with living in a city with hundreds of things to do, places to go, people to see, and nearly perfect weather.

On the other hand, living in a trailer park base housing has been nothing but Suckville. To the point where the thought of actually being able to live off base, in a real house, in a real neighborhood, balances out the sadness of leaving. So, for the next few weeks, I'm going to highlight something that I'm going to miss versus something that I'm not going to miss about living in San Diego.

Episode One:

Miss:  Balboa Park. It's the nation's largest urban cultural park. It's full of museums and gardens, a play house, hiking trails...You name it. It has gorgeous architecture too. I know. The San Diego Zoo is also part of the park but I never think of it that way. The zoo is the zoo, the park is the park.

Not Miss:  At least once a week, I nearly run over a little kid, and I'm talking two years old or younger, playing in the street (not exaggerating) while their parents sit on the front porch and watch. I'm not sure when the street became an acceptable playground. I missed that memo. Next time it happens, I'm going to get pictures so you can see I'm not making it up.

Friday, March 15, 2013

On Having a Good Week


I had a really decent week this week. Well, other than being a bit bored. Being a student takes up a lot of time and a lot of my focus. After finishing my classes on Sunday, I was aimless on Monday. The Youngest child was home sick with a fever and sore throat so I had pseudo company but not really since she couldn't talk and she slept most of the day, lol.

Tuesday on though, I kept myself busy. I decided that my blog is going to have more structure and more focus. This means that I am going to start scheduling posts with certain topics on certain days of the week. Some topics may have alternating weeks though. Some of the things I plan on being regular features are as follows:

Monday:  Craft, DIY, crochet, knitting, Pinterest Project day
Tuesday:  Teenager truism day
Wednesday:  Current events day
Thursday:  Books, reading, authors, writing day
Friday:  Things I love day
Saturday:  To Miss or Not to Miss (in San Diego)
Sunday:  Undecided

Mondays are pretty self-explanatory right?

Tuesdays though, I might expand that day to general parenting and/or posts about family. Frankly, I'm running out of teen-specific ideas. I was thinking that maybe I'd ask for topic suggestions for teen posts and/or have guest posters. I'd really appreciate feedback on this one.

Wednesdays will be special. The Mister has agreed to guest post on these days. Topics may include but are not limited to general politics and the military. He'll also be pulling things from the news. My aim here is to present current events fairly and to analyze and provide explanation thereof from both the left and the right. I'm sick of seeing purely biased opinions in the media and would like more balanced information.

Thursdays are self-explanatory.

Fridays will cover things I love like TV, music, makeup and beauty, technology, and maybe cooking and recipes. Those last two things sort of deserve their own day and they might end up being Sundays.

Saturday will be my continuing theme of writing about something I'll miss about San Diego versus something I won't miss.

Sundays, as I've said, are undecided.

What do you think? Pretty ambitious, right? In for a penny, in for a pound.


I am still off of Facebook. I don't miss it...AT ALL, lol. I didn't realize how much drama and negativity it was adding to my day until it stopped being. I've replaced it with Google+ where I get to choose my content. More or less. I've joined several communities on there and am thoroughly enjoying myself. That being said, I'll be back on Facebook on Wednesday as planned. I know I'm missing out on positive things from friends and family and shamefully, if I don't read it on Facebook, I don't find out about stuff at all because I don't call anybody and they don't call me. Sad but true. I can also tell, from my absence on Facebook, how many of my Facebook "friends" and "family" don't bother to read my blog. You suck and I wish a pimple on your butt for you.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Laramie Project by Moises Kaufman

Title:  The Laramie Project

Publisher:  Vintage Books

Pages:  112

Genre:  Non fiction drama

Setting:  Laramie, Wyoming

Where did you get it? My school's bookstore.

Why did you read it? It was required upper level, undergrad reading for my drama class.

From the publisher:  On October 7, 1998, a young gay man was discovered bound to a fence in the hills outside Laramie, Wyoming, savagely beaten and left to die in an act of hate that shocked the nation. Matthew Shepard’s death became a national symbol of intolerance, but for the people of Laramie the event was deeply personal, and it’s they we hear in this stunningly effective theater piece, a deeply complex portrait of a community.

What did you think?  We were required to read five plays this semester and The Laramie Project was, by far, my favorite. It was the most evocative, thought provoking, and poignant piece of literature I've read and not just for this class.

It reads like a docudrama. The members of the Tectonic Theater Group conducted something like 200+ interviews with the people of Laramie and those that were involved in the case. The theater group then transcribed the interviews and composed them into dialogue for the play. They also related their own experiences and reactions to the events and people of Laramie, thus, becoming an integral part of the play themselves. Eight actors of the theater group were used to act out the parts for the 60 different people interviewed.

The play was also divided up into "moments" and not scenes. These moments were snapshots into the minds and lives of the people of Laramie. These moments served to make the drama more memorable and brings the audience into the play by making it seem like these moments were being shared the same way as if you were the one sitting down with each individual and having a conversation.

Moises Kaufman's method and vision brings the play to life and the horrible tragedy of Matthew Shepard's death in such a unique way. It left an indelible impression on me and I count myself lucky that this was required reading.

Final Notes:  I am embarrassed to admit that I have absolutely no memory of this happening and didn't know anything about it until I read the play last week, 15 years after the fact. The Mister and I were talking about it and thinking back, all the drama happened when I was pregnant with the Youngest child, moving back to Ohio after running from a hurricane in Florida, and dealing with all that change. I was also staying with my mom in Ohio who refuses to watch the news. Still, considering the vigils and demonstrations that were held nationwide in honor of Matthew and the incident in New York that led to civil disobedience and hundreds of arrests, you would think that I would have heard something.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I Fought the Pillow and the Pillow Won

Brace yourselves for a post of randomness.

The Mister and I gave up on the new pillows last night. We tried to like them. We really did. My face is broken out from where I slept with my hands next to my face trying to get comfortable. The Mister had a sore neck from the pillow. Prior to last night, I don't remember the last time I had gotten a good night's sleep. The dumb things had to go.

I'm taking a week off from Facebook. My blog posts, tweets, and a few other things may post to my timeline, but I won't actually be checking Facebook until next Wednesday, March 20th. Constantly biting my tongue, reading hypocritical posts by a bunch of drama queens was getting to me. When a website is getting to you, it's time to step back and get some perspective. Ya know? Even now, I want to make a list of all the dumb things people post on Facebook that annoy the crap out of me but I'm exercising restraint and not adding more drama to the drama pie.

AND!!!!! I completed my final two classes of my bachelor's degree on Sunday. If you've known me a while or been with my blog from the beginning, you know that this has been a long road with many obstacles. Between moving (I've lived in five different houses in three different states since I started classes), recruiting duty, working, and raising teenagers, it's been a challenge. All that just makes the final result all the sweeter though. I've earned this degree and I'm proud of myself. If I can do it, anybody can. Your excuses for not going back to school no longer apply. ;)

What's next...Because of the current limbo we're in, I have to hold off on making plans for the future. The Mister has submitted his last reenlistment package but because of all the budget cuts, drawbacks, and the fact that his MOS (his job withing the Marine Corps) is already overpopulated, getting it approved isn't guaranteed. If it gets approved, we'll be moving to Florida in June. I may apply to grad school. I will definitely be looking to get a job there. If it doesn't get approved, I will definitely be getting a job, grad school won't be an option, and we have no idea where we'll be living. Not in San Diego though. I have no desire to be "California poor". So you see? Until we know one way or the other, my hands are pretty much tied. We'll know in less than 30 days. Our government is abysmal. Just saying.

Lastly, are you aware of Ulta's 21 days of Beauty?  I LOVE this. There are some really good deals to get in on. Well, if you're into makeup and such. You can also get a coupon for $3.50 off $10 or more.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Teenager Truism #4

Being Grounded

I remember being grounded when I was a teen. I was sent to my room for whatever reason...With my TV, my radio, my SNES (heheh), my books, and my phone. It wasn't that big a deal. My freshman year, I willingly spent most of my life in my room anyway getting through 14-year-old-angst. I always used to think that I was getting one over on my parents. Why ground me to my room when I had all kinds of things to keep myself entertained? As a parent, I have a different perspective.

First of all, my teenaged daughters are very different individuals. What works for one, doesn't work for the other. When the Oldest child is being punished, first thing, she loses her phone privileges. She claims that we are taking her life away. Her words more or less. She also has to come straight home after school. Depending on the severity of the infraction, she might also lose her iPad which she considers a severe punishment because she can't watch Netflix on it, lol. Grounding her to her room doesn't work because she vegges out in there all the time anyway. Sometimes, she gets grounded to the kitchen table. She really hates that.

The Youngest child, however, is a whole other story. Her goal, each and every day of her life, is to get her homework and/or chores done as fast as humanly possible so that she can go outside. She loves to ride her bike and scooter and hang out with the kids in the neighborhood. Her punishment is being grounded to her room. Just the mere threat of this keeps her out of most trouble. I can probably count on one hand how many times she's been grounded to her room. She considers it torture, not a punishment.

When kids are little, toddler to elementary school aged, disciplining your kids often seems like more of a punishment to the parent than to the child. Now, for teenager truism #4, at least when my kids are grounded, I don't have to worry about what they're doing when I can't see them.

Friday, March 08, 2013

The Perfect Husband

This week, my husband has been on the ball. Earlier this week, I tell him that I treated myself to Starbucks on the way to pick the youngest up from school. He looks at me and says, "Please tell me you didn't go out in public dressed like that." Yeah. Open mouth, insert foot. For the record, I was wearing Marine Corps track pants, a matching t-shirt, flip flops, and I had my hair and makeup done. I'm not saying that I was dressed for the runway, but it's not like I was wearing a house robe and slippers.

Another day this week, we meet up for an appointment. Again, he looks at me and says, "What's up with your hair?" It's been rainy and drizzly all week!! I've been having a bad hair week!! Geez! In my defense, I was going to try and do something with my hair but the Oldest child swiped my hair dryer and in the natural disaster that is her room, I couldn't find it. I left my hair to dry au natural and it didn't dry in time to take a straightener to it. Sue me.

He did redeem himself yesterday though. The highlight of my day yesterday was to violate Bailey's privacy so that I could collect a poo sample to take to the vet. So yeah. I got to dig in poo, put it in a baggie, and troop it to the vet's office. One of three visits this week...JUSTSOYAKNOW! My day and then my night went down hill from there. The Mister surprised me with a bunch of tulips, my favorite flower, and a big box of Godiva truffles, my favorite chocolate. He can be a real sweetheart when he's not walking around, chewing on his enormous feet.

Thursday, March 07, 2013


This one's too soft. This one's too hard. This one's too scratchy. This one's too fluffy. 

I sound like the girl from the fable when it comes to pillows and sheets. I need a very specific amount of pillow or I can't get comfortable and I wake up with neck and/or shoulder pain. This makes me very reluctant to buy new pillows but let's face it, pillows need to be replaced every so often cuz, eew. Between sloughed off skin, dirt and oil from your face, and drool, pillows definitely have a limited shelf life.

We were shopping at Bed Bath & Beyond for a pizza stone and sheets last weekend when I saw a bin of pillows on sale. What really caught my eye was that they have some sort of gel fiber filling. To make it even more difficult to buy new pillows, the Mister and I both have an allergy to feather pillows. Probably the Oldest child does too but since I don't buy them, she doesn't sleep on them. Gel fiber was new to me and they had a really good price, so I bought enough for the entire family.

Next comes new sheets. Ugh. My absolutely most favorite sheets I've ever had were made out of eucalyptus. They felt almost like satin and were so soft but cool on the skin which made them very comfortable to sleep on at night. HOWEVER!! They wore out and ripped after having them for less than a year. I'm thinking it was about six to eight months before they ripped. They weren't $2000 Egyptian cotton, celebrity sheets, but they weren't cheap either. I expect sheets to last longer than several months, ya know? So, after feeling all the little sheet samples hanging about the bedding section of the store, and then feeling an intense need for some hand sanitizer, I gave up and picked a set of sheets that had a decent thread count, decent price, and were in the color I needed. Ugh, again.

Less than a week later and I'm dissatisfied with the sheets. They're not as luxurious feeling as I'd prefer. They're not terrible and they have really deep pockets to fit my mattress nicely, but they're only so so. The jury is still out on the pillows. I'm the only one still having issues with the new pillow. It literally keeps me up at night because I haven't figured out how to get comfortable with it. Frankly, it's not fluffy enough. I need another pillow that is about 1/3 of the fluffiness of the new pillow and then I'd have the perfect mix of pillows. Two pillows would be too fluffy and give me a crick in the neck.

Being in a mild insomnia cycle doesn't help. I'm getting about four hours of sleep a night which is better than some of my more severe insomnia cycles, but laying awake in the middle of the night trying to ignore the sheets and get comfortable with the pillow isn't helping matters.

Am I the only one this picky about sheets and pillows?

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Calculated in Death by J.D. Robb

Title:  Calculated in Death

Publisher:  Penguin Group (USA)

Pages:  400

Genre:  Futuristic Mystery and Crime

Setting:  New York City in the year 2060

Where did you get it?  I downloaded it for the Nook app.

Why did you read it? This is one of my favorite series and I read them all.

From the publisher: 

On Manhattan's Upper East Side a woman lies dead at the bottom of the stairs, stripped of all her valuables. Most cops might call it a mugging gone wrong, but Lieutenant Eve Dallas knows better.
A well-off accountant and a beloved wife and mother, Marta Dickenson doesn’t seem the type to be on anyone's hit list. But when Eve and her partner, Peabody, find blood inside the building, the lieutenant knows Marta's murder was the work of a killer who's trained, but not professional or smart enough to remove all the evidence.
But when someone steals the files out of Marta's office, Eve must immerse herself in her billionaire husband Roarke's world of big business to figure out who's cruel and callous enough to hire a hit on an innocent woman. And as the killer's violent streak begins to escalate, Eve knows she has to draw him out, even if it means using herself as bait. . . .

What did you think? The Good:  In Death books are always good for giving the reader a good and complicated crime to solve. Not all of the books are a whodunit but this one was. I was guessing who the killer(s) was clear up until the reveal. Then again, I never figure that out in books, TV, or movies for that matter.  Robb is good at giving the reader more than just a crime story to read. She weaves the character's personalities and relationships with each other throughout the story.

The Bad:  I didn't like the ending. Why can't Robb let us celebrate a party or holiday or birthday with the characters of the story instead of writing, writing, writing about the event throughout and then ending the book before the event? Grrr! This is a serious pet peeve of mine about this series and this author. Honestly, I Googled, "Does Nora Roberts use a ghost writer" after reading this book because it just wasn't up to par. I felt like the parts that were the "isms" of the characters, i.e. character quirks and traditions of this series and the people in it, were put into the story for form. This is the 36th installment of the series and I suppose after that many books, it becomes mindless routine. I wish I could have loved this installment more.
Oh. And from what I could find, J.D. Robb a.k.a. Nora Roberts does write all of the In Death books. Of course, she has enough money and clout she could probably keep it a secret if she did use a ghost writer. I like to think she doesn't.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Teenager Truism #3

The first two were downers so I thought I'd try to find the positive this week.

As I've discussed before, the Mister and I are originally from Ohio. We moved to California when the girls were ages two months and 2 1/2 years. From then on, we had very little help raising our kids. We didn't have babysitters or daycare. In essence, unless we had family visiting from Ohio, we never got time alone.

Teenager Truism:  Teens are old enough to stay home by themselves while the parents go out shopping or to dinner and a movie. YES!!! After so many years of having to lug two kids everywhere you go, these times are golden.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Helloooo!! March 1st!!

This has been one of those weeks where I've felt like I was on a roller coaster. Exactly. First of all, it had many ups and downs and secondly, it seemed to last about as long as a roller coaster ride. The Oldest child has been at the controls for the most part.

Monday:  Nothing of interest happened that I can recall.

Tuesday:  I had to get the Oldest child out of school early for an appointment. I tried getting this appointment clear back in September. It's a really long story. Suffice it to say, people dropped balls which caused the delay. Finally, we get to the appointment on Tuesday to find out that this isn't even the place that we need. Ball droppers referred us to the wrong freaking place. Now, this place might be able to be somewhat helpful in the end, but considering that we're moving in June, it isn't helpful, in this moment, to have wasted the last five months.

Wednesday:  The Mister gets an email from the Oldest child's history teacher telling us that she's missing assignments. Again. ::sigh:: How helpful is it to find out, after the fact, that she's missing assignments? All students at the Oldest child's high school are given weekly planners at the beginning of the school year. These planners are very nice and probably cost the school a good amount of money but they give them out for free. And they don't make the students actually use them. If they are used, assignments aren't signed off by the respective teachers. I suppose that there just isn't enough time in the day for teachers to do that for a couple thousand students. The school also has Parent Connect which is web portal where parents can log on and see their student's grades, assignments, and attendance. Again, we can only find out after the fact if assignments are missing using Parent Connect. But wait! There's more! Teachers also have their own websites where they can upload, well, whatever they want. One, ONE of her teachers uses their website to post upcoming assignments. One out of eight. How very helpful.

This e-mail arrives after I've already had an incredibly crappy day. By the time I learn of this e-mail, I am ready to explode. I want to slam doors and throw things. I literally had to make myself put down the glass from which I was drinking because I kept picturing myself throwing it against a wall. I hate cleaning up broken glass and I inevitably step on a missed shard and get it stuck in my foot.

After dinner, the Mister and I decided to get out of the house and leave the miscreants home to do chores and their homework in the relative safety of not being in my company. We went to Verizon to get my new phone. Staples to get school supplies. To Macy's to buy the Mister some of his favorite Calvin Klein boxers. To Godiva's to buy me a box of their dessert truffles. To Petsmart to buy the cat food. By the time we got home and I had treated myself to a strawberry creme dessert truffle, I was felling better. 

Thursday:  The Mister wakes me up before he goes to work to ask me, "Would you rather be mad now or later?" Geez. So I ask him what's up and he tells me that Bailey has eaten my entire box of Godiva chocolate. Well, all except for the truffle I ate the night before and the duplicate strawberry creme truffle that I guess wasn't to her taste. I was livid. That was a freaking $30 box of chocolate. Luckily, the dessert variety box doesn't have a lot of dark chocolate and it wasn't enough to be toxic to her. I gave her a stern talking to when I got up for the day and she hid upstairs for the entire rest of the day. She knew she'd screwed up royal. Then she apologized to me after dinner and we're friends again.

Friday:  It is such an unbelievable gorgeous day today in San Diego. Truly, you should be jealous. It's 81 degrees with a gentle breeze and a clear, blue sky. I have my doors and windows open to let in the day. I was also in the mood to cook and made myself huevos rancheros for breakfast. Then the Mister called while I was eating to say he was coming home to change his uniform so I made him some too. I've never made them before and I improvised my own version and they were YUMMY! So good. The Mister said he wanted them again for dinner they were so good but I've had my allotment of eggs. I was going to post a pic but they kinda look like slop on a plate. I need some cilantro for garnishment or something. I also need to modify my recipe because I used monterey jack cheese and it doesn't melt nicely at all. Still, it tasted just fine.

I also was semi-productive and cleaned the interior of my car. Windex, dust, clean, and vacuum. My windshield was so scummy that I could barely see out of it in the mornings with the sun shining in. I don't smoke. I don't touch my windshield. Why does the inside of it get so dirty? Oh. And I paid all of our bills for the entire month of March today. Yuppers!!

The weekend:  We don't have anything planned because the Oldest child is dog sitting for the neighbors until Monday morning. Next weekend however...