Friday, May 27, 2011

An Exercise

Allie tossed her head back and laughed loudly. Her grandmother would be ashamed at her lack of protocol. "A lady ___, " she could hear her grandmothers voice in her head, even as she continued to laugh. Sometimes you just have to let it out, Grandma.

Her thick brown hair bounced and shook in waves as she tried to regain her composure. Her black designer sunglasses which had been doubling as a headband slipped off her head and tumbled to the floor beneath the over sized table. She didn't even notice. Tears were already forming in her eyes as she gasped for air.

Her usually pale complexion began to turn pink as she realized she was the only one laughing. Still the guffaws came. Stop it! Stop it! Her subconscious warned her to no avail. Her muscles were protesting. Her cheeks hurt, and her abdominals were beginning to cramp. She had to work to stay upright in her chair.

"Excuse me," she managed to gasp out between convulsions. Somehow she was finally able to look around her. Ten serious faces stared her down. A mixture of disdain, disaproval and, disbelief showed on each of them. An eleventh could not meet her eye. This one stared casually at the laptop opened in front of him.

As her eyes came to rest on his studied nonchalance, she burst out again. She had to get out. The meeting was already a train wreck. She slapped her laptop closed and spun in her chair. As she wheeled just far enough from the table to rise, there came a sickening crunch.

Although it was not enough to stop the fit, it distracted her enough for her to leave the room a bit more quietly. The sunglasses were a loss, she didn't dare stop to pick them up now. As soon as the door closed behind her she burst out again.

Boring meeting or no, she would get him back someday.


I'm reading the book "Quitter" by Jon Acuff. So far I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I bought it on Amazon in the Kindle format. I'm not finished with it yet, but I have been inspired to work a little more fervently on my blog.

With that in mind, you might see some odd posts now and then. I'm using my blog as a practice ground for becoming a better writer. I haven't officially said this in the past. Now you're thinking "ooooh. now I get it." Just be forewarned.

Since I'm really interested in becoming a fiction author, some of my posts might be experiments in dialogue, or bits of narrative. These won't have anything to do with a given project, just practicing my craft.

I would appreciate any comments you have about my experiments. I especially appreciate editing notes, or how to trim unnecessary fluff to make a more concise piece. I don't care if you've never been published yourself. I value your opinions. A writer is only successful if she has an audience, and if I can't write things anyone would be willing to read, then perhaps it is an indication that I should look into other ways of spending my time.

Thanks for your patience with me.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Saving Money

So I'm on this whole money saving kick. It's fun and challenging.

I posted a few pictures on my facebook page of some of the deals I've gotten.

This week we took the kids out to a local ice cream shop and I was looking for coupons before we left. My son reminded me that I bought gift certificates a while ago and intended to use them as incentives for doing a good job. Well, we had enough of those to get each of the kids an ice cream cone for free. Joel bought a cookie with some ice cream and our total bill came to about $5.50. Not bad if you ask me.

Today I went to a few stores and was able to purchase about 42 items for $80 and change. Some of these items were pretty expensive, normally. For instance, Advil PM and Thermacare wraps. are normally upwards of $6 a piece. I used $6 worth of coupons on 4 items which were on sale for $5 each. I also got $5 in register rewards to be used on any item in the future.

Another fun things I saved money on today was movie tickets. I don't have a problem going to movie theaters, although I'm sure a few of my readers wouldn't approve. Regardless, I purchased a Living Social voucher a couple months ago for movie tickets. Two tickets for $9. I will be taking my son to see Pirates of the Caribbean tonight. The tickets would normally have cost us $14 each. I bought them with my voucher and only had to pay $.50 extra. Now I'll have money leftover for popcorn...

Then again, I bought 2 Wonka bars for $1.50 today. Talk about a cheap mother/son date. If we bring water bottles from home, the total I would have spent (only counting today's purchases) would be $2. I can handle that.

Time to go make dinner with Buy One Get One Free salad, pasta, and sauce. I'll throw in some frozen garlic bread I bought with a coupon, for a dinner that's about a dollar per person.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tomorrow's Trip

Tomorrow morning I am leaving for a Women's Conference. I am so excited about the experience, but for the first time, I am stressed about the flight up there.

I have never had a fear of flying. I am, admittedly, a bit afraid of heights, and would never voluntarily take a plane up into the sky with the intention of jumping out of it. But as far as flying from one place to another, I have no qualms.

I have never been stopped in the airport, I have a clean record. I've never had issues checking in. I have always looked forward to taking an airplane somewhere. The excitement and romance (yes, romance) of walking down the jetway and boarding the plane is something I have always enjoyed.

Even traveling alone is an adventure for me. I like to be surrounded by friends, but I've also enjoyed people watching. I like to make up stories for the strangers I see. I especially like watching children. Not in a creepy, stalker way, of course. I like seeing the excitement in their eyes. I like their curiosity.

Since I have no problem meeting new people, I always enjoy discovering the person I'm seated next to. I usually bring a book, thinking I need something to do, but end up ignoring it in favor of conversation.

I'm very easily entertained. I enjoy looking at everything around me, and I've even been known to read the in-flight instructions... ok, maybe I'm sharing a bit too much.

This trip is different. This is the first time I have flown since the TSA has become the KGB of our country. The porn scans, and the alternative groping have me in a cloud of worry. The thought that I may be selected randomly to be assaulted so that some terrorist supposedly won't be offended has me seething.

Perhaps it's my penchant for historical novels that has me in a tizzy. I have read books about World War 2 and I can't help noticing the similarities between the romanticized accounts I've read and our current times.

I've read about people trying to leave Germany after Hitler came to power. About being strip searched and having baggage dumped and searched. I'd like to think that it's logical to believe those kinds of things didn't happen overnight. People didn't just get up one morning and suddenly they couldn't travel without being assaulted. I believe it was a gradual shifting of authority under the guise of protection. Suddenly the people who were supposed to be protected from monsters became the ones assaulted and imprisoned.

A long time ago, it became illegal to travel via air with a weapon. I understand the concept of banning firearms from airplanes. A stray bullet fired in self defense could pierce a fuel tank and the whole plane could go down. (Of course, I laugh at the odds of this actually occurring.) But the idea that an innocent passenger cannot bring a knife on a plane with which to take down a would be sky-jacker, is ludicrous and only serves to embolden those with nefarious intent.

When the regulations began to change more rapidly, we had to take off our shoes or put toiletries in a separate bag, I didn't really think anything of it. I didn't fly often enough to find it inconvenient. I didn't like the fact that my loved ones could no longer walk me to my gate, or meet me as I came off the plane. The movies had to change a bit then.

It's a bit frustrating to know that if I have a two or three hour stopover in a city where a loved one lives, that it would be nearly impossible to use that time chatting with them over coffee at an airport cafe. It's just not worth the hassle of having to go back through security in time.

Now things have shifted even further. Now we are on complete lock down. Either I give up my constitutional rights and allow the TSA to have their way with me, or I have to give up the convenience of air travel.

As a busy mom with four children, I would not be able to go on this trip at all without the convenience of air travel. It would just be impossible to drive 14 hours there and back. I even thought about taking a train, but that would take even longer with all the stops and finding stations close enough to my destination. So I'm stuck.

I'm very frustrated, but I'm excited to see what God will do for me this weekend. I'm praying for God to make me invisible. I kind of wish that He would just translate me there, as He did with Philip. I'm sure all those innocent folks fleeing Germany wished for translation as well. It goes against my grain to willingly submit to this, but I know I must. Of course, I did read up on all my rights (believe it or not, I actually do have them). I'm stressed out, but ready to go.

Friday, May 13, 2011


Ok, so I spent about 3 hours working on a blog post about my May Day party.

I meticulously added photos and tweaked the layout until everything looked nice.

I then posted the blog and shared a link on Facebook.

I had two people say they liked the post and one even left a comment.

Now that post is GONE!!!

All my effort is GONE!!!!

I am sooooo angry right now.


Monday, May 2, 2011

Character building sometimes costs money

Don't worry, I will post more about May Day, but first:

Tonight I spent a lot more money than I probably could have, but a lot less money than I would have. Let me explain.

We have a long hedge dividing our property line from our three neighbors. Unfortunately, since it's a hedge and not a fence, it must be maintained via trimming. We got a notice from the HOA that we needed to trim our hedges or we would be fined. This is all fine and good. Neither hubby nor I enjoy yard work, and so we had definitely put it off too long.

Hubby decided he was going to pay our lawn maintenance company to trim the hedges and haul away all the clippings. Well, that's what he intended to do, but life got in the way and as the weeks passed, and it got closer to the deadline, he realized that he needed to just get out there and trim them himself. Let me just say I'm so glad I married a man who is willing to do things he doesn't like because he knows it's what is necessary. In this day and age it's hard to find a man who shows that kind of maturity.

I decided to use the hedge trimming as a lesson in character for our children. I've told my children in the past when the hedges were trimmed that I would pay them $5 for each trash bag they filled with clippings. These are not standard trash bags mind you, they're the largest size lawn and leaf bags available, and they must be filled to my specifications. I do not force them to do it. I keep it optional, and I've been pleasantly pleased with the initiative it brings out in them. It's been interesting to see which children are excited about the prospect to earn some extra cash, and which ones take things for granted and would rather not "get their hands dirty."

Tonight my best friend's children were also here. We were watching them while she and her husband went on a date. (It's hard to find a cheap sitter for four kids these days.) To be fair, I put the offer out to everyone. I got an overwhelming positive response. Keep in mind, I've known these kids for the past 8 years. My friend and I are comfortable enough that I knew she would not mind if I put them to work. In fact, I'm pretty sure if I had told them they had to pick up branches without pay, she would have backed me up. I was pleased that all of the kids were willing to work.

It took a couple of hours, and in the end we filled 15 bags. If we had hired the lawn company to do the work it would have cost $100. We didn't really save much by paying the children, but I believe the character they will learn from working for their money is worth every cent I paid them. To top it off, I witnessed such great attitudes and willingness to work together, that I would have paid them more if I'd had it in my budget. Several times the older children willingly helped the younger ones fill their bags, knowing they would not be paid extra for doing so. I can't stop smiling when I think of how great they all did tonight.

Oh, and just to break it down. The three oldest boys filled three bags each. The oldest girl filled one bag, but went on to help the younger two girls fill all of their bags. The two younger girls filled 2 bags each, and the youngest boy filled one bag and started on a second before giving up. The youngest girl is only two and ran around the yard the whole time looking cute. I'm thinking I can squeeze in an extra dollar for the oldest girl since she essentially filled two bags, knowing she would only get paid for one. I am so proud of her willingness to help others.