I'm going to be changing my internet provider and my phone company, which means I'll be changing my phone number AND my e-mail address. It also means when this switch happens, I may be off of here for a little while. So, I'm giving the heads up to all the bloggers out there who probably won't miss me at all, but there it is ... hanging out at you like a sweaty, dead puppy.
Still, the switch means instead of paying $95.00 for phone and internet, I'll be only paying $20.00. (yes, for BOTH phone and internet) I can't pass up $75.00. AND I found out my cable company offers "tiers" of service. It seems they've illegally been raising the cable bill without letting customers know there were choices available. I pay $48.00 for what is called "basic" cable. Turns out the true "basic" cable, which has 21 channels instead of the 70 my family doesn't even need or watch, is only $14.00. Tsk, tsk, tsk.
Come gather 'round people Wherever you roam And admit that the waters Around you have grown And accept it that soon You'll be drenched to the bone. If your time to you Is worth savin' Then you better start swimmin' Or you'll sink like a stone For the times they are a-changin'. ~ Bob Dylan, of course.
I keep seeing this in so many blogs. Telling a little about yourself using the alphabet. I have some down time here so thought I'd give it a shot.
A is for Alexandria, the name of my daughter's best friend. B is for Bif, the nickname my brother gave me years ago and coincidentally is what children under the age of 5 call me instead of Beth. C is for Cafe Mocha, my favorite Starbuck's drink I get probably twice a year. =/ D is for Dad who passed away September 12, 2005. =( E is for elegant, something I am definitely NOT. I'm anti-elegant. F is for friendship. I don't have any actual friends who aren't related by blood. My best friend is my husband, but my daughter is my best bud. G is for gonorrhea ... something I've thankfully never had and am not quite sure of how to spell. H is for hot ... we're up to 91 degrees today in upstate NY. Phew! I is for Irving. John Irving, my favorite living author. J is for John, the name of my husband and high school best friend. K is for Klein. Anne Klein, my first high end designer outfit at 13 ... faded jean vest with matching jeans ... fitted to a :::gasp::: 24" waist. L is for Little People, Big World ... easily my favorite show. M is for Mary Magdalene, who I believe was the wife of Jesus Christ. N is for Nips candy, the only candy I bought on my last grocery shipping trip. O is for my German maiden name meaning from the East beach. P is for Peter, my oldest brother and major caregiver during my young life. Q is for queue, a word that never looks right to me. R is for rose bushes. The three I planted last year are dying and I can't seem to fix them. =( S is for Stormy, the name of my older sister. Yes, her real name. T is for trees ... I'm surrounded by 7 acres of them. U is for uterus ... mine is actually tilted. =/ V is for varigated privet hedges, which I'm growing in the backyard. W is for wedding, which I didn't have (we were married by a justice of the peace in his home) and can't stand to see others spend a fortune for, BUT all bets are off when it comes to my own kids. X is for xylophone, which I saw Jack White play live! Y is for yellow, my favorite color to see in any flower bed. Z is for Zellwegger, Rene ... who played Ruby from "Cold Mountain" to perfection.
I'm not one for wallowing in the muck, therefore hubby and I are working on landscaping the front today and making due with what we have, which is what we always have done, which has turned out pretty okay.
So, I will not have to whore myself out to rich old man for a few peonies after all. Yippee! And I even had enough in my budget to purchase a couple flowering pear trees. Flowers and fruit -- what's not to love?
Hope everyone is having a great Memorial Day! I don't know the proper etiquette for Memorial Day ... if one should be happy or sad, but Memorial Day to me means cook outs and families. =)
I don't get into labels, jewelry, $500 haircuts, perfume, or the latest "must haves". In fact, I think the pursuit of stuff is really quite ridiculous. The new teen queens, Paris Hiltons, Sweet 16 Nightmares need counselors, not television shows.
Yet, my heart does leap for two things -- beautiful home, beautiful yard. Not biggest or best, just beautiful.
Yes, my heart leaps for my children. It leaps for my husband, but I'm talking totally selfish thoughts here. Thou shalt not covet and all that jazz.
Well, I DO covet. I covet my neighbor's yard and the yard next to that. I covet the guy's house two streets over ... and the one on the main highway with the arches, the manicured pond, the bridge, the lions .... oh, the lion statues. ::drool::
I have a Gardener's Bible. That's what I call it ... Better Homes and Gardens Garden Book. It's masterful. I started my own book from it and take notes every single day creating my own pared down version. Dreaming about all those plants, trees, shrubs, and grasses.
Dreaming because here's the glitch, we're broke. We exhausted our funds when we moved here. Things became good again. We bought the stupid truck, then my husband's hours were reduced (the next day), and we've been paying catch up ever since. So, now we're getting rid of the truck and I'm fine with that and don't feel bad. We can't afford to get anything from the home improvement center anyhow. I'll be relieved when it's gone.
I just hate not being able to order a truck full of top soil because I can't afford it. I hate not being able to buy potted plants because again, can't afford it therefore I do it all from seeds. I can't afford to finish the outside of my house, the lumber to put the old windows (we recycle other people's stuff) in, and all the rest of it. I hate that my two children are embarrassed of the outside of their home. I hate that they're teenagers so it really DOES matter to their friends. I hate that I feel ashamed of where I live even when I see the UPS guy coming down the driveway. I'll admit it, I hide.
My husband has worked long and hard inside and I have worked long and hard outside. Still, there's only so much you can do without money. We salvage other people's wares from houses being condemned or torn down, but still ... some things you have to buy.
I'm sick of crying because Oprah Winfrey's rose garden in Santa Barbara is the stuff dreams are made of. I know she's a billionaire, I know she had someone else do it, but it kills me someone who doesn't even know the names of the roses has something that beautiful. My daughter's best friend's mother moved in with some old man (who had money) and he's now having professionals renovate his whole home, build additions, and I can't help it ... I'm jealous. This whore of a woman ends up hitting the proverbial jackpot. I needed to let it out.
I apologize for the length of this post. (especially to Mr. Schprock) Although most people only read the first two paragraphs so I don't feel that bad. =)
There are certain foods, which absolutely kill me. No, I'm not poisoned, writhing in pain on the floor while spouting off Shakespearean phrases, but they just disagree with me.
Example: Anything Greasy + Me = Diarrhea & Cramps
Yet, I do not stay away from this food. If I am hungry and want something cheap while out shopping, I'll buy a 60 cent lard and sugar filled donut. After two bites, my stomach is already churning, my teeth feel like a sugar missile hit them, and my face actually gets hot from the sugar rush. After fifteen minutes, it sits like lead in my stomach. I frantically chew Dentyne to get the sugar sludge from my chompers.
I don't like greasy food at all. Big Macs, fries, meaty pizzas, etc. I'm not even a fan of the taste, yet I still eat it. Not a lot mind you, but I'm still a user. As I get older, my stomach is surely not the same stomach I had in my youth. Let's face it, neither are my thighs and hips.
Here's the dilemma ... my brain tells me, "Yes, you DO want those greasy, salty fries." My body says, "No, you don't. Do you want to be sitting on the can the rest of the night?" My mouth says, "Yeah, I'll have a Happy Meal with the boy toy," into the drive thru intercom. Boy toy meaning whatever they have for a boy child, not an actual plaything, which in itself is just bait and switch. That's a whole other blog though.
Basically, I'm asking the masses ... have you changed your diet significantly and stuck with it? Did you grow up eating down home food and now eat macrobiotics? Were you a carnivore turned herbivore? If so, how did you change it? How did you make the switch? Were there withdrawals?
Seriously asking so all responses relating to above questions appreciated.
I was discussing organizing with my mother (a legitimate pack rat) who said, "It isn't how to do it, but where to start." If I haven't inspired anyone who isn't organized to organize, just remember, a chaotic home equals a chaotic life. You don't need that so let's just start with one room.
The Kitchen --
Do one task every day for a week (7 days). If you're super busy, pick break it up even further ... even one day a week for 7 weeks. Whatever works for you.
Task #1 -- Clean the refrigerator and freezer. This means remove all the food and throw away all you haven't used, won't use, or that is past expiration. Remove drawers and racks, clean inside and out. Remember, don't use ammonia or bleach in a food storage space. Mild soapy water will do the job. (Maintenance tip: once this is done, purge weekly EVERY time you grocery shop. Throw out what you're not using and just wipe down inside with a damp rag. Takes 5 minutes.)
Task #2 -- Take everything out of food cabinets. Wipe shelves down. Put food back in, likes with likes. Baking goods together, canned food together, spices together. Do it in a way that makes sense to you, but that makes everything easy to see and obtain. Remember, throw away what you're not using.
Task #3 -- Buy heavy strength Ziploc bags (quart-size). Take everything out of the drawers. Yes, everything. Some organizational gurus suggest doing one drawer at a time, but I disagree. It's easier dividing the stuff up now. Create "piles" -- throwaway pile, donate pile, kitchen utensils, husband's stuff, kid's craft items/pencils/pens, etc. Wipe out drawers. Clean utensil carrier. Now, put things back in according to likes with likes. Top drawer could be just your utensil carrier (nothing on sides or in back). Another drawer could be large utensils (spatulas, large spoons, etc.). Third drawer could be your pot holders, cloth napkins, etc. Junk drawer is now being "bagged" and tagged. Divide up husband's items, kid's craft items, cards ... things that go together, go in the same bag. If you have the money, mini-plastic totes work well for this and look better than Ziploc bags, but I'm suggesting things on the cheap. Remember to purge. This isn't about keeping what you have, but organizing what you NEED.
Task #4 -- Microwave clean-up. The best way to clean a microwave for myself is to used warm water mixed with a little bit of baking soda and a clean rag. To keep it this way, keep everything covered when microwave and wipe out as spills occur. This goes for every member of the family.
Task #5 - Clean the oven. I have a self-cleaning oven with a ceramic top so cleaning is not hard for me. If you have a different type, the best cleaner on the market to me is Easy-Off. It is quite a chore though so let the cleaner do the work. Easy-Off works well for racks and drip pans as well, but there is a natural cleanser -- 1/4 cup salt, 3/4 baking soda, and 1/4 cup water. Letting this sit overnight is the best method, then removing the next morning with a rubber or wood spatula. Follow up with warm, baking soda water. Make sure the "natural" mixture doesn't touch bare metal as salt can corrode.
Task #6 - Pots and pans cabinet. Remove them all. Put them into the cabinet again using a method that works. I stack all soup pans together in one section, fry pans in another, glass with another, baking pans together, etc. Biggest always on bottom.
Task #7 - Ceiling and walls. Hey, it's not fun, but it needs to be done. Ammonia (about 1/4 cup in a bucket) with warm water works the best for me. This is an elbow grease kind of job. Use a rag and go to town.
And there you have it. An organized kitchen in about a week. Now you just maintain and do the normal cleaning. Remember, tell your family about the new system and how you've set things up. I even label my shelves so the kids can see exactly where things should go and have no excuse for not putting them there.
As the old saying goes -- if you don't work, nothing will! Happy organizing.
My mother was a busy woman; working the night shift in an infirmary, making all my father's meals, our snacks, including a hot dinner with many different courses every night of the week. I was very surprised one Sunday when my mother and I found ourselves alone. "Take a seat, Beth, watch this with me." One of many Bette Davis films that would be playing that day was on television. A Bette Davis marathon.
It took one film and I was hooked. The way Bette moved and commanded each frame. The way she spoke, so definitively and with such meaning. The graceful way she held her cigarette, ladylike, yet with power. It was quite different from watching my own parents smoke. It seemed almost magical.
Thus began my love of Bette Davis and my minor obsession with smoking. My mother kept a pack of Parliaments on top of the fridge. Every night while she was getting ready for work, with the smell of smoke and Final Net wafting out of the bathroom, I would sneak a cigarette out of her pack and head upstairs to my room. I was eleven years old.
In my room, I would stand in front of the mirror, arm extended like Bette's, smoke drifting around my head. I would puff, bat my lashes, turn green, and run for the nearest place to vomit. After a month, smoking no longer made me sick. I wasn't yet inhaling, but I had adjusted to the poisons within the narrow white tube.
At thirteen, I was sharing cigarettes out of my best friend's pack. Marlboro Reds in the box. Toni was the first one to point out to me that I wasn't inhaling. Even with all my flair for the dramatics, I was missing the point of smoking completely and she righted my wrongs. I now inhaled!
By fourteen, I was addicted. I couldn't make it through a day of school without smoking. I would shake, run to the bathroom, huddle over a toilet, suck the smoke deeply and fast into my lungs, holding the cigarette in my right hand, while waving the smoke away as fast as a hummingbird with my left. I believe "hotboxing" is the correct terminology. The days of smoking with Bette Davis panache were over.
I met my future husband, a non-smoker, when I was 15. At 16, when I had quit smoking for two weeks, he started. He "missed" the smell from my cigarette. If you can't beat them, join 'em ... and I did.
We married, we still smoked. I had a career to worry about so I smoked less. Then a pregnancy where I didn't smoke at all and wouldn't allow it inside my home. I'd love to say I had the will power of a saint, but truth be told, the minute I conceived, the smell of smoke made me hurl uncontrollably. Thankfully it was the same for both pregnancies, but a few months after the babies were born, I started smoking again, yet never lifted the ban of smoking in my home or around my kids.
I quit once on my own back in 1997 for 3 1/2 years. I was taking care of my body, running long distances, even racing and well, smoking a cigarette after a 5K is rather absurd although does draw quite a bit of attention. Then we moved to Iowa, my lifestyle changed, we lost everything, and smoking was there waiting for me ... like a good Bette Davis film during a depression. Inhale, hold, release ... freebasing at its best.
I'm now 35 years old. My husband quit smoking with one slip-up over a week ago. I tried and only managed to be smoke free a bit over two days. He smoked a pack a day. I smoked 5 cigarettes a day. Why would it be logically harder for me than for him? Why? Because he does not have Bette Davis lungs!
Seriously, I keep telling myself that my mother died in the hospital due to smoking. She was brought back to life with intubation and a breathing machine, she was told life would never be the same for her again. She would need to wear oxygen the rest of her life, which wasn't guaranteed to be long. If she smoked, she might as well say good-bye right before lighting up. My father died with emphysema. Granted, obesity was his body's biggest ravager, but smoking took its toll. Hell, even my favorite grandfather died in a chair possessing only one half of a lung. No, not in his hawk-like grip, but inside his chest, you silly fool. He had one half of one lung, which functioned. The others were restricted with, you guessed it, emphysema.
In my life I come across 4 types of people on this subject:
- the understanding ex-smoker - the reformed ex-smoker (these are the worse) - the pious non-smoker - the non-smoker who doesn't pretend to know your battles
The understanding ex-smoker is my mother. "I understand, Beth. I know it's hard. When you're ready, you'll do it. You just need to pick a time that's good for you."
The reformed ex-smokers love to lecture. "I did it, you can do it," and, "It's a disgusting habit. Smokers shouldn't be allowed to smoke in their cars. Smokers shouldn't be able to smoke outside. Smokers who smoke inside their home around their children should be shot (even I'll agree with that one)." Still, reformed ex-smokers don't give smokers any real help ... just a whole lot of holier than thou rants we really don't even want to here. You make us smoke more. Believe me on this point.
The pious non-smoker should just join hands with reformed ex-smokers so they can gather rocks together to stone vile smokers as a tag team event. They could form clubs for stoning or have "stone the smokers outside office buildings day." It would be a big hit, no pun intended, I'm sure.
Then you have the smallest of the group (not in stature, but in amount) -- the non-smoker who has no real opinion and won't bother to make one up to lecture you with. Ah, these are blessed folks. As rare as saints, they are.
I've decided to become a non-smoker, but on my own terms. When I pick a day, no one will know about it -- not even the people who share my humble abode. After I'm through sweating, shaking, and screaming internally, I'll say, "Hello World, I am a non-smoker!" Not before. I'll still do Bette Davis impersonations ... I'll just use a Bic pen instead of a fag. Just you wait and see. I still know how to draw a crowd with the best of them.
So, fasten your seatbelts, bloggers. It's going to be a bumpy ... well, it'll be bumpy, but the when is my little secret. =)
Time to put tips and tidbits aside for a moment. There's a show on Saturday evenings starting at 7pm EST and running for two hours that I just adore -- "Little People, Big World." At first, I caught it as a fluke. I'm not a TV person by any means, but now this is the one show I try to never miss.
It's reality TV without the idiocy. The premise is a real family who happen to be little people parents, 3 average-sized kids, and one little-sized son. They live on this amazing 34-acre ranch that I absolutely covet. =)
The dad is a dreamer, the mom is a realist and being little people don't stop them from doing anything. (except house cleaning and organization ... I'd love to help them out there ... LOL) But, if you're looking for a show void of sex, violence, and stupidity, check it out. If you're already watching it, let me know what you think.