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Friday, August 31, 2007

Grow big, baby
You're starting to stir
to fill my heart with longing and trepidation
equal parts
how can I bear it
you need to stay put
snuggle down
make yourself a nest where you can grow big
dream of us, dream of days in the sun
with laughing
I wait for you

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Vickie Milazzo was a RN when she came to conclusion that despite her education she was not happy. She didn't feel like she had accomplished anything, or that she could as long as things stayed the same. That's when she came across the 5 promises to unleash the 10 forces within every woman. Inside Every Woman is the book that sprang from her vision. The promises include living a passionate life, being true to yourself, and getting off the fence (otherwise known as accept or reject it outright). I've spent a lot of time in my personal life dealing with those things. Part of my anxieties stem from the inability to make up my mind on a subject while putting the alternatives to bed. I don't want to tell you everything so you don't have a reason to check out the first chapter of her book, available at www.InsideEveryWoman.com.

And while you're there reading the chapter, pick up a free "Inside Every Woman" bookmark by emailing your request to Vickie@InsideEveryWoman.com.
PT this morning worked better than I had a right to expect, with the Toddler bubbly and bright-eyed and willing to make eye contact with everyone. Even with the brand new therapist that she's not laid eyes on before this day. And she used her words! So wonderful. I was super-proud. Proud enough that I let her splash in the mud puddles in the parking lot before we left.

Because there was thunder. There was lightning. There were spots of torrential rain and lots of mud and some traffic tie ups. The outside of my car is very, very clean. And the humidity is now resembling a day on the East Coast.
The Boy started participating in some weekend activities with the guys from his department, and the one that they all seem to like the best is paintball. He's consistantly come home from these things with bumps, scrapes, the occasional bruise and the trace of deeply ingrained paint on his head. On the other hand it's terrific fun. He's even started asking about getting paintball gear for himself so he "can save the rental fee" for his vest and supplies. So far this sounds like a perfect present for Christmas, or for the occasional one that I like to spring on him at odd moments.

I think I've found a great company to order his present from. Ultimate Paintball offers Tippman, Spyder, Smart Pants, Dye, Draxxus paintball gear, and lots of other high quality stuff on the website. As you all know I'm highly in favor of anything that can be ordered online, because it's avoiding a trip out of my fuzzy bunny slippers. Ultimate Paintball has the best prices I can find on these things, plus free shipping, and I know that I can trust a company that's been doing such a big business that they've expanded from the original specialty store to a site with a large warehouse- enabling them to buy in bulk from top brands and pass savings on to us?

Oddly enough (for me, who regularly loses my husband to computer strategy games) I'm looking forward to having the chance to give him this gift. Fresh air, exercise, male-bonding with the people he works with... Cool!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Day One of the rest of this pregnancy has gone fairly well. This morning's fasting sugar was good and I "treated" myself with a few bites of cantalope. When I say cantalope I do not mean that it was fresh from the produce section, although I did indeed buy it in that section. I mean rather that fun semi-dried and preserved fruit. Coated with sugar.

I know, I know, it's not good for me. But I only had a little bite, and I have been so hungry for something sweet ever since I got the results of the glucose monitoring. So very, very hungry. I'm also, this morning, very, very tired. I suspect this is partially due to having gotten up early to deal with the Toddler, and that the rest can be laid at the feet of the non-caffiene I've been consuming for the past two days. I need more Caffiene pills. Because, well, I can't drink coffee without gagging and I've come to really like the jolt from a small pill delivering the caffeine kick of 2 cups of coffee. That's like 4 cups of strong tea delivered instantly.
Have you ever wanted to try a new sport, or brush up on skills outside of a paid lesson, and found that instructional books are difficult to learn from (at best)? Now there's a new opportunity for you. PlaySportsTV is a website devoted to providing video clips of the techniques you need to improve your game. Designed for youth sports programs and coaches, as well as for parents wanting to have an upclose view of the technique properly demonstrated, this site is fabulous. The coaches who provide the instruction and appear on the clips are all certified in their fields -check out the coach listings which show their qualifications. Also offered are sport-specific blogs by coaches and professionals, featured photos of the week, and free email newsletters to help you stay current with the field. Don't rely on ink sketches in a book to tell you how to play a sport. See it done. While many skills can be learned from the book method, sports is one of the few that I would say can only be safely learned from a combination of hands on practice and visual demonstration.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Donuts? Donuts? Did someone just say the word "donut"??

I'm dreaming of pastry tonight. In a brave new world where I can no longer have the sugary pastries that I enjoy so much on occasion, this has been the saddest part of the day. I have been slapped with the gestational diabetes label. Oh joy.

At least I'm sorta prepared for it. The things I can't eat, the things I generally won't miss. But it still grates a little to realize that I can't have them now. Otherwise the doctor visit went really well. Except that I'm losing a little more weight. I'm now officially lower than I was when I got pregnant.

That part just makes me want to cry.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Three hours of naptime this morning, and the Toddler was happy the rest of the day. Yay us. She handled bedtime with barely a fuss; let's just hope that it lasts through the night.

Tomorrow is school. More doctors, more teachers, more moreness. It makes my head hurt sometimes. But tonight? Tonight is gold. Tonight I sleep in my bed, by the Boy, and even though he's still coughing horribly he's feeling better. Even though I'm getting all snuffly again, I'm feeling pretty good. Ready for the challenges and joys that will be two children.
Artificial landscaping sounds pretty nice from where I'm sitting. If I wanted to put a rock garden in my yard, for example, I'd have to find a supplier of boulders and pay through the nose to get them in the yard. Plus, I'd have no ability to rearrange any of it after the initial placement. Those suckers are heavy! Look to Artificial Rocks Factory for all your artificial rock needs.

One benefit of having a custom made artificial rock for your yard is that you can choose color, shape, and texture. The rocks are hollow, with walls about one inch thick to retain the rugged durability of a real rock. Plus, they are made from construction grade real cast stone, and not plastic.

Visitors to this site can see the rocks offered from all angles. It's hard to tell that the rocks are fake, and many customers enjoy fooling their friends with this. The appearance is so natural that only your pocket can tell the difference. Natural landscaping is a very big deal these days. Dry gardens and rock gardens are especially prevalent in this area of the country. Personally, I like me a low-water landscape. It doesn't have to be a concrete slab and a few areas of raked gravel. Have some fun, be creative.
I just heard that the school supply building for a neighboring town burned down early this morning. Thankfully no one was hurt -yet. Most of the initial school start-up supplies had gone out to the classrooms already, but not the Big Ticket Stuff and the yearly supply of paper that had been laid in. A year's worth of paper for a school, that's a lot of paper. They lost 60 laptops about to go out, 20k of musical equipment, and the new printing press that they had bought in the spring to serve the school. It had been intended for use over the next several years.

So I say no one has been hurt yet. This is not the way for anyone to be starting the year. All the forward planning, all the satisfaction in knowing that they had laid in the necessary things, that's gone in the same smoke that consumed all that paper. Sure, there's insurance, but that's going to take some time and it still won't make up for what's been lost. Like school records, old ones, that are gone.

Makes me stop and think, and then be very grateful for what I still have.
I am starting to think ahead to Christmas. Why, you may well ask? Well... last year we didn't do a whole lot for Christmas, and the year before we didn't, and now Tiff's old enough to finally get something out of it memory-wise. I don't want it to be about how many presents she can get. I want to instill some family togetherness into this. But still, it does involve some presents. Is it the media that tells me that I'm a bad mother if there aren't a bunch of presents under the tree? I know the Boy will also feel this way, if not more so- he never had a lot of toys at the holiday and feels the money crunch harder than I do when it comes to gift giving events. While I remind him that it's not all about the loot, it's about providing the roof over her head and the food on the table and the little things like having Tubbies on demand... it doesn't help.

When I was younger and on the East Coast I knew all about Black Friday. It was the highlight of my year. The Sales! The Crowds! The Stuff! (The Headaches, the Aching Feet!) And then I was feeling bored so I went and nosed around and found black friday which is a great way to plan your Black Friday shopping both in store and online way ahead of time. As in, far enough in advance to start putting the money away for it? Not having to put the holiday on plastic? Overstock Specials! ToysRUs sales for limited hours (like the ever-popular 9-11 time frames, designed to snarl traffic and tempers)

The site offers email alerts as well. I'm thrilled at the thought of seeing the Black Friday sales and specials before the date. I can plan my strategy. I can figure out which stores are going to let me do this from the comfort of my kitchen table, and then let me go back to sleep (shh, don't tell the Toddler!)
I can budget, plan ahead, make my lists and start daydreaming now about the look on her face when she sees a Tree. And Presents! Maybe this year she'll be able to open her own gifts.
Battle of the Nap, revisited.

For those of you following the eternal struggle of a Toddler not to nap, she struggled her way awake through the night and greeted us with a cheerful burbling around 0500 this morning. So what are two sleep deprived parents to do? We changed her, dressed her, gave her a blankie and a book and popped her in the car for the morning commute. She laughed a lot. After the commute, Mommy took her to Walmart for a brief cruise by the discount baked goods counter. We picked up a lovely bag of hamburger rolls with which to make pulled pork sandwiches with real pan-dripping gravy for dinner tonight. We came home, had breakfast and Tubbies, played a bit, and then the Gram woke up. Second breakfast was consumed. Shortly thereafter the Toddler crawled into my lap and suffered herself to be rocked and sung to, at which point her eyes finally closed.

Currently there is peaceful slumber from the nursery. It's 0910 and we're all tired.

Mommy 503, Toddler 0

Not that I'm keeping track or anything...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

It rained. I woke up in the middle of the night to hear thunder clapping and see the flash of lightning, and all of a sudden I was a little kid again on Christmas morning. I ran from window to window for the whole fifteen minutes or so that it lasted, and lay in bed afterwards giddy with the excitement.

It rained. Actual rain. I saw it fall from the sky, there were puddles this morning. And the most important of all... I'm still pregnant and hormonal and intermittantly irrational. But I was happy to be proved wrong in that it would never rain again. It was amazing.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I'm constantly amazed at the choices out there for organized shopping. RapidSearch has combined all the media and related gadget offerings from Amazon and put them into a much easier search pattern. To test this out I looked for a few oddball choices that would appeal to my family. For the Toddler, her beloved Tubbies.
For the Boy, Civ. For me? Well, I've always been attracted to the odder, less well-known stuff (or at least the odd stuff that I can't find at Borders Express)

Price wise, this site is comparable. You're certainly not going to find the hard markups that some places like to charge. When you add items to the cart, it will quickly scoot you over the main Amazon.com site to confirm that you wish to purchase through them. All in all, I find that narrowing down that zillion-item list that amazon is so fond of producing you to sort through... those billion and one items that may (or more often may not) have anything to do with what you're actually looking for. If media is your goal, go to RapidSearch.org and find what you're looking for fast.
oh, and don't forget to add to the goldfish cracker fund, if you're so minded to do. Everybody have a good weekend!
Trip to the store for diapers, bread, and a helper mix for dinner. Then I wanted to have a fried chicken/salad/fruit/chip lunch. So we picked up the crab and shrimp salad, the potato chips, some fruit. And then I made a Momentous Decision. Even though money's tight this weekend, I sprung for a bucket of KFC to go with lunch. Because while the chicken at the deli is cheaper, it's not as good. I've had a real problem with supermarket chicken lately- it's either dry as a bone or over-cooked. Or greasy enough to give me problems.

KFC surprisingly does not seem greasy to me. That may just be me.

Tiff liked it a lot though, and sat on my lap happily to eat her share. Now she's in bed and I'm hoping like anything she'll settle down and take her nap soon. Mommy is just not in so much of a mood right now to be able to sit and rock her as long as it takes. Mommy is tired, and kinda sick, and looking forward to getting some serious downtime maybe with her knitting this afternoon.

Or, possibly, with the counted cross-stitch that I've started specifically for this sort of day/feeling sick enough not to move but well enough to sit upright supported by lots of pillows? I hope so. I have it sitting by the bed ready for me to jump back into it. Now I've just got to get down to working on it again.
This morning I was out of bed early to make the Toddler breakfast before I went back to bed, and got all shocky while standing at the counter. I had to go sit down several times, cold sweats, you name it... Scary. But I was so proud of myself for sitting down before I fell down, and that I had finished making breakfast. How's that for a twisted sense of priorities? Most women would have just stayed in bed and trusted their husbands to provide the child with breakfast.

Friday, August 24, 2007

I've seen a lot of event websites over the last couple of days. They have dealt with everything from fundraising walks to wedding planning- one of my favorite forums to read has lots of examples of what to do and what NOT to do when making an event website. Some of the things you want to avoid are lousy layouts and catastrophic color choices. If you're planning a wedding for attendees from all over the country, as so many people are these days, why not take advantage of RegOnline's services? It's nice to see a place that will provide the forms, templates, and even a Conference Registration Form so that your guests can rsvp, book their lodgings, and get every other little bit of needed information in a format that's both easy to navigate and a snap to use.

The same arguments could be made for professional conferences. Who will take your company seriously without a professional-looking website? In today's world we need to make it look just so- this is as vital as proofreading! You wouldn't send a formal letter to a customer without checking for spelling and grammar, right? So why not make your job easier by using whatever services you can access? This post has been brought to you today by RegOnline.com, a leader in online event registration and planning.
Like a lot of people, I obsess over my weight. Unlike a lot of people, I often obsess that I can't keep weight on to save my life. This, despite the doctor telling me that I'm overweight (um, yeah, but have you looked at the size of my boobs? Those extra twenty/thirty pounds you want me to lose- that's where it is. And how is making the rest of me skin and bones going to make it better?)

The last time I was pregnant I gained a total of three pounds- from first appt to the admitting weight the day before I gave birth. This time, the six pounds I gained in the first month was lost by the beginning of the third. I'm maintaining ever since, I think. I also think I should get a scale to help track this, but how will that keep the anxiety down?

In the meantime, Her Highness demands the full and undivided attention of the two adults in the house this morning. My 'Net work is going very slowly; usually I can get it all done by this point. But today? Noooo. I'm still not done all that I need to do- visit blogs to find new material, leave comments, increase the general Blog presence which will in turn fuel more traffic to this site which will mean more people clicking the Ads as well as more paid opps, more paid opps meaning more bills get paid and dry goods stockpiled for the new baby, more paid surveys to do the same, and etc so on so forth yadda yadda bing bong...

I guess this means I'm more of a self-employed WAHM than a SAHM. I'm taking what I can in a manner that lets me earn some money for the household while meeting my other responsibilities. This also puts me more into the Mommy Wars than I really want to be. Can we call off the war yet? More thoughts on that later...
One of the many ways to spruce up your home is to change your window treatments. Often they can set a whole new tone- bring out the background colors of your furniture, a few extra throw pillows... You don't have to change the carpet or paint the walls or hire a designer. Terry's Fabrics in the UK specializes in designer fabrics and window treatments (including curtain poles). They can afford to let you buy them at the deep discounts normally available only to professional decorators. Why not take advantage of ready made curtains, which save you both time and money while creating the room you want?

This has been a sponsored post.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

It's not a usual occurance to get the Toddler up from her nap, feed her dinner, and then have her screaming and crying and running back into the nursery to try and climb back into her bed. This is seriously not usual for her. I'd give in and send her to bed except: she won't sleep, if she does sleep she will be awake and demanding Tubbies at midnight, and I'm just not willing to give her that.

And so we go, around and around on the great hamster wheel of motherhood. When did this get so complicated? When did my life start happening again to such a point that I resent being called away from a meal to tend/catch/prevent my toddler from destroying inanimate objects? My head hurts. It's been one of those days.

Did I mention the cardiologist? He says I'm not cleared to have the baby. Which makes me scratch my head and wonder what he was going to say otherwise- stock up on my sandwich making abilities and be prepared to shove them into my uterus for the next 40 years?
Alzheimer's is something I have strong feelings about. I will not personally be at risk for this as I have been at risk for other things. My grandmother's sister's husband, a man who worked in finance and accounting, who did his advanced crosswords in ink "for fun", was reduced by this disease. We saw him go from full mentality to none, and it was more heartbreaking than many of the physical diseases that have also come through our family. When I was offered the chance to blog about Memory Walk 2007 (so yes, this is a sponsored post) I took it because I feel so very strongly that nobody should have to watch their loved ones go through this. There are Memory Walks all over the country; if you don't have one near you why don't you consider starting a team? It's easy, and the Alzheimer's Association will help you reach your goals.

Alzheimer's Association


It is so important to get funds raised for research into this disease. 1 in 10 people in this country have a family member with Alzheimer's, and 1 in 3 know someone affected by it. We raise funds for leukemia, for AIDS, for cancer... why not walk for a cure for Alzheimer's? Please God we'll not know it's pain for ourselves. Let's do what we can in order to support those who are not given the choice of memory. Sign up early for local walks; encourage family and friends to sign up. If there are no walks local to you, start one of your own.
We will need a larger couch.

I realize that's not the first thing a lot of mothers think about as they're approaching 16wks; more common things are diapers, clothes (handmedowns if the new child shares the same sex as the older), nursery furniture... Do you move the toddler to a toddler-sized transitional bed and give the crib to the new baby? Do you just get a new crib? What about toys? What will change in my everyday housework routines in an attempt to make this go smoothly?

Generally not, in other words, that we need a larger couch.

Right now our couch is a two cushion stuffed loveseat. It sits two people if they're reasonably friendly. Two and a toddler for those wonderful family dinners or snuggles. Perhaps even two adults, a toddler, and an infant. But sooner rather than later we're going to run out of room. That's just all there is to it- we'll run out of room. When we go to upgrade... I don't know. What do you look for in a couch, besides cheap? I chose this one because it was affordable and would qualify for delivery to our second floor apartment. Now I don't necessarily have those restrictions on couch selection. Who knows? But one thing is certain.

We need a larger couch.

In bible study at church this month we've begun discussing the ways in which the American church is falling away from the original ideals of christianity. Through ends, means, and the endless commercialization of simply everything we are learning the chinese menu approach to spiritual fulfillment. Another book, The Way of the Christian Samurai, further explores how we can learn from the japanese traditions of samurai. This book draws on primary sources to explore the samurai tradition of service and obedience.


A great deal of personal satisfaction can be found when you live your life to what you know is right. As a not-very-religious person I do have my own personal beliefs and I try not to push them often on others. This book falls somewhere between what I have come personally to believe and what I would like to see more of in today's society. Find out more about 'The Way of the Christian Samurai' and order it directly from the website or through Amazon.com

this post has been sponsored by The Way of the Christian Samurai

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Today has been heavy on the sponsored posts, I know. And while part of me wants to sit back and apologize to the readership for this, the part of me that has to balance the budget around here wants to jump up and down and then feel mildly sad that the fees for these are "only" five dollars or so a piece. But still... that's five dollars that wasn't there before. Usually the higher-priced opps get taken while I'm away from the screen tending to the family. Or sleeping.

Last night was a battle with the toddler who screams and likes to scream and does not stop with the screaming (not even to accept the item she's screaming for). Finally I sat here in the dark rocking her and rubbing her back and singing softly to her, secure in the knowledge that the Boy and my mom were sleeping through the whole thing. We sat in the dark for almost an hour until she exhausted herself. Upon tucking her back into bed I once again offered her the item she had wanted, and finally she took it. This is hard to accept. Harder to internalize. I have hope that tonight will be different, that she won't be quite so upset. I have all sorts of hopes and dreams. Someday one or two of them will come close to being true.
Every year thousands of people all over the country start a business. Among the many issues to consider when doing this are taxes. Nobody wants to be caught without the right paperwork or licenses when the IRS comes calling- a good portion of all small business can fail for these reasons. Either you didn't set up the business properly according to all the fine print the state demands, or you didn't withhold or estimate enough taxes to cover everything the state wants.

Why not save yourself the trouble of this headache? Check out the services provided by IncParadise. They offer a full business solution in the states of Nevada, Florida, Arizona, and Texas. If you set up a Nevada corporation, for instance, there is no sales tax to plan for and IncParadise will help to file all the paperwork you need. They'll even go over your filing to ensure that you're compliant with all the laws (none of those nasty surprises). It is not necessary to be a resident of the state of Nevada to use this service; as an added bonus you can use their conference rooms if you need to meet clients there! Why settle for meeting someone at a location offsite that may not be professional when you can reserve a fully equipped conference room with phones and internet?

Packages start at $45 a month, and they do accept Paypal for the convenience of those who like that service. If incorporating is the best solution for your business take advantage of this company -they make it as easy as possible to help reduce the small startup headache. This post has been sponsored by the people at IncParadise.com

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Am I the only one who finds this disturbing? I know this is not typical for my family. I can't count how many books I've read in the past month, not counting re-reads. The Boy doesn't read as much; but he has a job to do during the day in addition to his work around the house and playing with the Toddler. Our families read; I know my mother-in-law reads lots of books and certainly has more than the average. My mother reads maybe a book every ten days (or at least she sure does when I'm in control of her reading list). My daughter loves her books and has started to try to read them herself, despite not knowing how to read beyond remembering the words. Books are such an integral part of our lives that it boggles my mind that there are people in the world who don't read to their kids, that don't have a stack of books next to the bed, under the bed, and mixed up hopelessly in the pile of clean laundry that's not really clean anymore, but it's not "dirty" enough to go into the wash again.

Books, people. Read something, if you don't read a book. Read a newspaper. Read blogs. Read the online news if you're too tech-cool to be seen with a paperback. Read in public, read behind closed doors. The more you do it the easier it will become, I promise! And there's enough out there that something, somewhere will relate to you. A book is the perfect date, the perfect friend. Yes, there are bad choices; there are bad choices in every aspect of living. There are good ones too.

I just want people to enjoy this like I do. Is that such a hard thing?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Waiting, waiting. Waiting for the Toddler to come home from her walk. Waiting for my sanity to return because it's obviously deserted me in the night. I can spend whole mornings or afternoons praying for the Toddler's attention to be taken somewhere else- for her to adopt the thrill that is independant play. For her, in other words, to stop hanging on Mommy so she can either find the time to blog or find some ppp-opportunity to bring in the gas money. And once this Toddler leaves I spend a whole twenty minutes running around trying to get all that stuff done. Leaving the rest of the hour or two to sit around staring morosely at the door and wondering if she'll come back soon.

It sucks, to have your self-esteem caught up in the chubby fingers of your two-year old. Used to be my heart was only twisted like this from the Boy. Or my best friends. Now they don't seem to have the power to twist me in knots. That power has been completely usurped by a small blond child who doesn't even know the power she has.

The cold that swept through here was not of the chilly-air variety, unfortunately. We've almost run out of cold medicine, we did run out of tissues at one point, and I'm pleased to report that for the most part the Toddler is up and into everything again. A good sign of recovery. I got a few projects off the knitting needles and have started more. Because it's a sin or something to let the needles lay around empty. Right? Let's keep looking forward. We've done the summer cold, the knocks and bumps and scrapes of childhood, the pricking of my fingers every few hours all day long. There can only be a calmness in our future.
I'm dreaming of vacations again. The temperatures here are starting to shoot up again; and the thoughts of taking flights to Toronto or Vancouver are seeming more and more attractive. DialAFlight is a great UK-based travel agency that specializes in holiday packages. You can create your own dream vacation by speaking to one of their customer service specialists- they want to help you make this a memory that will last.

I wonder how delightfully cool the weather is in Calgary, or Niagara... I don't care if it rains every day or if it's cloudy- I'm just about baked out in the desert. Flights to Canada are featured right now. Wouldn't it be lovely to go to Canada right now? A last summer flight before we're all pushed back to school, back to longer and harder office days. Holidays in Canada, where you feel the climate to be both cooler and full of less stress both politically and socially. Cause you're on vacation, right? So if you've got the ability, think about it. Get some cool air and some time by the pool for me- temporarily stuck in the desert where it's hot and dusty.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Toddler Misconception #2: If you dump a baggie's worth of Special K over your head, this will be enough to completely cover your body and thus enable mommy and daddy to think you're no longer sitting buckled into the car seat.

Friday, August 17, 2007

When obesity is such a large problem for so many people, it's only natural that they turn to the least invasive method (when surgery is the only option they feel they have left). One surgical procedure is the lap-band. Journey Lite is a fast-growing group of physicians who will work with you to determine the best route. Currently they have offices in Tampa, Houston, and LA; but are in the process of expanding to more states. The procedure is done through several smaller incisions rather than a large one, minimizing scarring and some of the risk- although risk is a fact of every surgical procedure and as always should be carefully considered before undertaking.

This post has been sponsored by JourneyLite.com, a network of surgicial facilities that specialize in the Lapband procedure.
I was wondering as I drove home this morning, how long has this been here? I mean, the roads, the power lines, the farms... the buildings. The touch of "civilization". When I got out of college I was able to visit Ireland for a short tour. It was wonderful; beautiful. I could really feel the landscape had been there for a very long time. Hundreds and thousands of years; there had been people living there, one people (and yes, I know that Ireland went through the same cultural and ethnic changes over a thousand years that every other geographical region has been through. That's not my point here.)

And the community where I grew up- my "people" had been there four hundred years. I always knew that the buildings had been there, the cultural footprint. I had been born to know that land, those hills, those sounds and smells. The corn in the summer. The chill in the winter. The crispness of early winter days that steals your breath and makes your nose burn. I grew up three or four streets over from the house where my grandmother was born. In the front bedroom, overlooking the street. She grew up there. Her brother lived in that house until the day he died, smoking smelly cigars and making wisecracks.

I live in a town where there is a sense of history, but that history seems overlaid on the landscape somehow. I sit in a church with old wood pews, with plain brickwork made beautiful from the masonry that curved it into all those glorious arches, all the way up to the open rafters. Old pictures, old buildings, those are familiar like the old buildings in my hometown. But I wonder... if I walked in the graveyards would I find the same sense of history and continuance? I am afraid to go and miss the red fieldstone markers, their carvings all but undetectable. Limestone worn away. 1600s. 1700s. The first Gehman ancestor to come to these shores and settle is buried within walking distance of the house I grew up in.

Those are just my morning musings. I don't know why it seems so meaningful today...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

New fun around here. I finally took a nap. I didn't expect the napping to be this intense; I went down at 0930 and came up for air around 1300. We're all still sick; by "we" I mean, of course, "me", who never took the rest that everybody else was forced to take earlier this week. I just wanted the other adults to hurry up and get better so that I could have a turn at being sick- is there anything wrong with that? I don't think so. At least I don't feel as guilty about sleeping today as I would have had I tried to nap earlier this week. I slept and slept and slept some more.

I did manage to score another sponsored post, as you can see. Bringing another few bucks to the budget, and myself feeling calmer about money. A calm me= a happier me. A me who does not burst into hormonal teary wrecks while driving the Boy to work this morning. I feel bad for the crying, but not bad enough to apoligize endlessly. I'm just feeling overwrought right now, right? Right? It'll get better when I'm fully rested. It's got to get better.
It's nice to see that British Gas is now making this available to the public. Using green energy is a great way to reduce our impact on the environment. Let's all try to reduce our eco-footprint by using more renewable resources, so that we continue to have resources down the line.


I think we can all agree at this point that whenever we can reduce our waste, reuse our resources currently available, or turn waste into a new resource, we should do it. Sometimes a company comes along to make it easier for us to do so.

Press Release:

BRITISH GAS LAUNCHES GREENEST ENERGY TARIFF

9 August 2007: British Gas has announced it is launching two new green energy tariffs, Zero Carbon, which will be the greenest tariff available on the domestic market and Future Energy. British Gas has launched the tariffs, in response to the increasing demand for green energy products.

Householders signing up to the Zero Carbon tariff will:
• reduce their household energy carbon emissions to zero through Kyoto compliant offset schemes which will meet the new Defra requirements
• help fund a direct increase in investment in renewable energy generated in the UK
• contribute to the new British Gas green fund which will:
o invest in developing new renewable technologies such as wave power
o oversee a programme to help schools in the UK reduce their CO2 emissions

GearĂ³id Lane, Managing Director British Gas New Energy said,”Our new tariff responds to consumer demand for truly green energy solutions. It is essential that customers have confidence in green energy tariffs and that their credibility is not damaged by tariffs that claim to be green but in reality do not deliver any incremental environmental benefits. Green tariffs are moving from niche to mainstream products and we’re leading the industry by offering a tariff that will do more for the environment than any other product currently available.”

Under the government’s Renewables Obligation (RO), electricity suppliers in the UK are already required to produce an increasing percentage of their electricity through methods such as wind farms which, unlike traditional power plants, produce zero carbon emissions. For 2007/2008 this figure is set at 7.9%.

In a recent report, the National Consumer Council (NCC) raised concerns that some energy suppliers are packaging electricity which is produced under the RO scheme as “green”, yet it delivers no additional environmental benefits. The NCC called on energy suppliers to take steps beyond their legal requirements and offer green energy tariffs that provide genuine additional environmental benefits, in particular CO2 emissions reduction.

British Gas worked with Global Action Plan and The Climate Group’s “We’re in this Together” campaign to develop Zero Carbon which goes further than any other green tariff in meeting these requirements offering consumers the only zero carbon option on the market.

The tariff carries a premium of £84 per year, reflecting the higher cost of producing energy through lower carbon emission schemes.

Virginia Graham, Chair of Global Action Plan, said, “The British Gas Zero Carbon tariff delivers on all three of the essential requirements of a green tariff which are: additionality, transparency and verifiability. As such it is a very welcome new offering in the market. Consumers signing up to the tariff can be confident that they are getting 12 per cent more renewable energy than they would otherwise have got. The carbon emissions from their electricity and gas will also be offset with emissions reductions from projects accredited by the United Nations.”

Zero Carbon is one of the first initiatives launched through the ‘We’re in this Together’ campaign, which was launched in April 07 as an alliance of some of the UK’s biggest brands who are all working to help their customers reduce their impact on the climate.

Dr Steve Howard, CEO of The Climate Group and founder of ‘We’re in this Together’ said, “We’re committed to offering people ways to make a real impact on climate change through Together.com. We’ve worked with British Gas to ensure that Zero Carbon is a genuine step forward in delivering more environmental benefits than any other tariff currently available.”

British Gas’s second green energy tariff, Future Energy, offers an alternative green electricity tariff at a premium of just £20 per year. Customers signing up to this tariff will contribute to a green fund which will provide solar panels and other renewable energy technologies to UK schools. Money from the fund will also be invested in development of future renewable technologies and sources.

To sign up customers can call British Gas on 0845 604 0055 or visit www.britishgas.co.uk

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Finally, a non-sponsored post. Aren't you getting tired of this? But it's putting some money back into the bank. I am counting on this money to get us caught up on summer bills. And maybe (cross my fingers and wish real, real, hard) put some money aside ahead of time for the new baby. I'd like to be able to take a few weeks off from focusing on the money side of things when the baby is born. I'd also like to buy Christmas presents for the family, and get the car paid off early, and my last student loan... and while the money so far has been there I start worrying about next July's electric bill. This summer was a nasty shock. Let's not do that again.

Today's paid posts, if approved and duly paid in the course of time, will pay thirteen dollars. If I get a few more this week, and if I can keep it up, there's my hundred a month in extra income. And every penny helps right now. And... I hate to keep going on and on about money. It sucks. I hate budgeting. I hate living like this, always running just short enough to pinch by payday. Check to check, nothing left. And yet? Unless something changes either in prices or my ability to get out and bring in some more money it will stay exactly the same. Hence, my whoring of the blog to whatever company will pay. Hence the ads that feed the extra pennies created by my readers clicking on them into the Goldfish Cracker Fund.

None of this, mind you, is made easier by the fact that today I'm now firmly in the middle of the cold, with my Boy tied for Most Miserable Family Member, and with the Toddler very snuffly and non-compliant about her naptime. Plus last night while I was out of the room she tripped on her own feet and fell hard on the floor, managing to catch her lip on a tooth (or something) and now she has a fat lip.
Today it's easier than ever to do online stock trading from the comfort of your fuzzy bunny slippers. The hard part is to find the information needed to turn a profit instead of becoming a stereotype. Wizetrade has the tools and information to help make dreams a reality. Community forums help to connect the users of this tool, so you no longer operate solely on your own. Other unique features include free customer support of the software products and free updates so your software remains current as long as your membership in the site and use of the product remains active.

Wizetrade software features the ability to conduct realtime simulations using actual data. They will help track the markets in realtime. They offer tutorials in how to determine a good deal, take advantage of it, and help you achieve your goals.
I posted about Hotel Reservations a couple of months back and since then have heard from a few of my friends who booked with them. (thanks, you know who you are!) And what I said before holds up even more these days. Gas prices are up, airplane tickets are up, hotels are up, leading me to wonder what if anything has gone down? Well, in the past week I've started to see gas come down a bit. I'm not holding my breath anymore. Right now at Hotel Reservations they are running a rebate special, the rebate runs from $20 off a 3 night booking to $100 off a 12 night booking. This is on top of the normal wonderful customer service available, by printing the rebate form, filling it out, and submitting it (through the normal method of rebate submissions) As always, when filling out rebate forms please make sure you read the fine print and follow the instructions. This not only speeds processing time, but if you double check the instructions you can often avoid having it kicked back for "insufficient backup". Which is a nice way to say that you forgot to send the upc or original receipt.

As before the prices remain competitive. It's hard to make sure you get the best bang for your buck these days- there are so many sites that feature flashing banners and lights and generally acting like my two year old. Buy me! Reserve with me! Me, Me, ME!!! It can get annoying. Most of the discount sites all vary- they'll have a few good deals, but I always have to check around just to make sure; and two out of three times I'll end up spending the money on someone else. And with Hotel Reservations? I don't have to check fifteen other places before I know I'm getting a good deal. That's worth a lot.

This post has been sponsored by:

Monday, August 13, 2007

A long weekend filled with blood sugar questions, concerns, and failed attempts to nap. There were several neat things, like seeing just how long noodles in chicken soup will hold up when simmered in a crockpot all day long. There was knitting. There was the inevitable battle over keeping the Naked Toddler clothed.

And then there was tea...

At the end of this weekend comes Monday. A monday morning, such as Garfield hates. A day when you want to pull the blankets back over your head and crawl under the pillow; devoutly wishing and praying that Tuesday will come soon and deliver us all from Monday. My throat hurts. The Boy is coming down with a cold. The Toddler has the sniffles. My mom isn't saying much, but I'm fairly certain that she's starting to get sick too.

It's too hot to be sick. It's too pretty outside to suffer inside. What's a girl to do? Sip on endless cups of hot lemon juice with honey, say a prayer that my sugars start behaving a bit better, and catch a nap before the day comes crashing in on all of us.

Friday, August 10, 2007

One thing that I learned by watching Good Eats, and which was seriously reinforced by the way in which I'd like to run this house, is that a unitasker really has no place in it. It goes for my appliances, my wardrobe (except for the fuzzy pink slippers), and my medicine cabinet -well, there are a few things in the cabinet that are serious unitaskers. Like the Nyquil. And all prescription drugs. But as far as antibiotic/topical salve/burn/bite/etc stuff? I do not want to deal with ten different creams and lotions. I hate having to guess at which I think is going to work. And what if it's a combination injury? One cream warns not to get it into an open wound. Another says do not apply to burns. What if I spent the day at the park, got a massive sunburn on my leg, and skinned my knee? My solution to this is melagel. A nifty little thing that has the tea tree oil, and the petroleum jelly stuff to keep the good stuff in and the bad stuff out of the wound. Because another thing I really can't stand is having to apply a huge bandaid to a minor scrape/scratch/ anything non-seeping that does not require a bandaid as containment. I've found that exposure to air helps most of my wounds heal better. Also, I've got a toddler who immediately gravitates towards anything unusual sticking to me, and who tries to either put it in her mouth or yank it off. Cute when it's jewelry or a new barette. Not so cute when it involves pain and injury.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Going, going, gone! Sometimes I think I'm auctioning off my time to the highest bidder. That would be the one who screams the most. Writing those IOUs to myself for naps, downtime, playtime... It works all the way up until my body fights back. Maybe I should make it into a movie? I'd fill it with small fuzzy animals, handsome young men in uniform, and elephants. A lot of kids like elephants, right? It would sure be better than laying awake hours and hours, until the Boy sends me to bed early with orders to sleep. That's a little frustrating on both our parts. I understand his viewpoint; I really do. He can't just take a random day off work to help out and let me catch up on my personal shit... He can only do so much in the evening to lighten the load. It was one thing when I was pregnant, one thing when it was me and Tiff to worry about getting through another day. Now I'm pregnant again, and a mother to an active two-year-old, and I've got to stop writing those IOUs. For all our sakes.

Tonight's dinner is a vegetarian lasagna. When I get the recipe tailored to this family's abilities, I'll post the revisions over Here. Look for it tomorrow. And have a happy midweek, everyone!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Halloween the movie

Of scary movies, my favorite was a little known film called "the Nun". I'm always curious as the the backstory to series, to stories, I want to know what makes these characters do the things they do. On one level it makes it more accessible to me. On another level, it helps distract from the visual.

That's what the majority of horror movies are all about. There's a story, and there's the visual that makes girls jump into their boyfriend's laps. This is a well-accepted part and parcel of courtship... I remember quite a few films in which I turned to the Boy for my snuggles.

Halloween the movie by Rob Zombie is being released very soon. I've just started to see trailers on tv and the Net. This is one of them, in case you've somehow missed it:


What Rob Zombie is bringing to this movie is introducing you to the beginnings of the Halloween mindset. Where did it begin, where did Mike Myers start to terrorize people? And maybe on a more important side, why? Now, I've not seen the Halloween movies. I have only a passing familiarity with the premise; but this one intrigues me and makes me want to find out more. Plus the music will be cool, the visuals and choices of what parts to really emphasize; I'm not sure I can think of anyone else in the genre as able to do it as he is.

I'll be trying to talk the Boy into coming with me, to sit in the back row and hold me hand...

Monday, August 06, 2007

I was starting to get all depressed about thirty minutes ago; did some housework while the "girls" were out, took a shower, etc.; went to lay down across the bed and "rest" while feeling sad.

Then I started feeling the baby kick. Not a lot, but movement. I hadn't felt any for a couple of days, what with being stressed and dizzy and all, and had just started to worry again. And he kicked.

And I couldn't help remember what a miracle Tiff was, and is (duh), back when we would make a baby burrito out of her and nurse her to sleep. The thought that I get to do that again is just so.... much. So I'm not sad now.

Plus, I have chicken broth in a mug, and Tiff's covered in jello -despite the wipe-up after lunch, she's still got the red smears on her hands and on her shirt. And she's laying in bed trying to fight the Nap. So cute.
With the Boy so much into computer gaming, every now and again I have to peek my head into what else is available. Starcraft is one of the RPG's currently out there. With expansion packs, Starcraft 2 on the horizon, and several fan sites, it can be difficult to learn all the ropes without spending hours and hours playing the game. starcraft can be discovered at CreepColony.com, a fan site devoted to bringing together the players.

As far as RPG's go, I would give it a try if I had the time. With the Toddler, my time is at a premium, and I only wish I had more of it.


This post has been brought to you by the fine folks at CreepColony.com

Friday, August 03, 2007

Toddler Misapprehension #1: If you pull the blankie over your face, Mommy doesn't know you're still awake.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

This is my daughter, not taking her nap.This is my daughter, caught at not taking said nap, and doing her best to say "Look, Ma, I'm not sleepy! I'm not sleepy! I should get up and play, right now, because I'm a big girl who does not need a nap!"
Unfortunately for her, I'm smarter than that.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Linoleum was clean but cracked. Dirt of the ages sunk into cracks between the tiles. Women in cape dresses of soft prints wore organza bonnets. Grocery shopping with my mama many years and miles ago. Times change. I'm in an area where prayer bonnets are non-existent, cape dresses likewise. If I want to see them I'd have to make and wear them myself; somehow I doubt my husband would accept me going that far back to my roots.

Pigheaded and stiff necked is what the court papers say of one ancestor in the palatine. The traits breed true down the generations with a certain body type and emotional sensitivity. Nobody will blink at those rare times when once someone stops mid-sentence to look straight in your eyes and deliver some short pronouncement. We don't speak of it. Maybe for fear that outsiders will misunderstand- maybe for distrust that someone will make too much of it. And the body type- as I get older my grandmother says I grow more and more like her mother. My daughter is my thirty-years-younger twin. I was my mother's. So goes a family. We are all parts of one puzzle no matter how many states or mountain ranges separate us. As the aunts and uncles and cousins begin to go their ways apart from one another, as our lives take us away and bind us to new families, it gives me a warm comfort. While we remember this family, while we remember holidays and early things, we're still together.

Traditions are good. Remembrance is good. Just be selective. Don't remember the harsh words, the tears, the family feuds over who did what to whom forty years ago. Remember the laughs. Watermelon at a picnic table while the sun sets and mosquitoes are competing for attention. Learning to spit the seeds at one another. The night you fell asleep talking with a cousin and watching movies. Youth can be a blessing- a going ahead with life.

Let it.
You know you live in a rural area when you're driving through the cul-de-sacs and see chickens roaming freely through the yards.

This makes up for the smell of hot cow in the morning. Although that particular odor has cut back a lot over the past couple of months. Either the cows got moved to a further off field or my nose has adjusted.