Friday, January 30, 2009

The test results are in - early.

And it is cancer. Obviously I pretty much knew this.

But, I was mistaken on the treatment. I thought, since it didn't show up in the lung x-rays, that we would just amputate his leg and go on with life.

Well, this bone cancer is a weird thing. Dr. said that there was a 95% chance that a cancer cell was in the lung. And that as long as the cancer is on the leg, it doesn't manifest in the lung. But, somehow once the cancer is gone from the leg, it grows in the lungs. Very strange.

So, amputation right now it not what needs to be done.

Obviously we still need to think about this, but I think we have our 'plan of attack'.

We need to just let him be. When he starts having pain, we control it with drugs. This will last about 4-8 months. When the drugs stop managing the pain, we do a course of radiation on the leg. That will give us another few months. When that no longer works, we amputate the leg. Within 4-6 months, the cancer will overtake the lungs, causing decreased appetite and other issues.

Here is when the choices start. Do we then put him down? Or do we do chemotherapy? Chemo can add another 10-18 months. And chemo in dogs does not affect them like it does humans, they don't have the bad side effects. Well, we don't have to make a decision now. We have approximately a year before that happens.

And honestly, for his age, once this process is over it will be his time to go.

In all, we are just going to let Sebastian make all the decisions. We will watch him and love him. When he becomes too uncomfortable, we will do the humane thing. I won't let a dog suffer for selfish reasons.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Another update on Sebastian

I really should be doing my homework. I haven't done homework all week because I've been reading about bone cancer in dogs. So, here's a short update.

The vet was awesome, I'm so glad we drove up there. They ended up doing a chest x-ray first. This was assuming that is was cancer and to check to see if it spread. Bone cancer in dogs spreads quickly and usually straight to the lungs. If it had spread to the lungs, there would have been no point in doing a biopsy, because it would have been too late for anything. And the x-ray was cheaper.

The x-ray was clear of cancer. But, there was a small bullet fragment!!! Someone shot my dog! This had to have been before we got him. It could explain why the shelter had no history on him, as some random person picked him up and took him there. If I ever find out who did that.................

So, since the lungs were clear of cancer, we proceeded with the biopsy. The vet was a bit miffed, but that's ok. The biopsy results will be in by next Tuesday. And we discovered something else.................that leads us to think it's not even cancer.

When we got home last night, we thought our other dog looked like she's lost weight too. Our son is the one responsible for feeding them. It seems that he forgets sometimes. So, that explains the weight loss. He is no longer feeding them, we are.

It was the weight loss that had me convinced that the mass in his leg was cancer. Now that we can pretty much rule that out.........................of course, I have no idea what it could be if it's not cancer.

Oh and here is a breakdown of our day yesterday:
Drive to Kansas City: $40
Trip to the vet: $815
Watching a huge dog on morphine? Priceless.

I've got some pictures, wish I had a video camera. I can't take the time to post them now, but I will try this weekend. He was frickin' hilarious!!

Ok, off to do homework.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Small update on Sebastian

We called the vet with some questions this morning. You know, the ones you think of AFTER you've left?

Anyways, he averages about 1-2 biopsy's (or is that biopsies?) per YEAR! I don not feel comfortable with that. They will actually be taking part of his bone. That is huge, invasive and painful.

There are 2 oncology vets in Kansas, both about 3 hours from us. We have family in Kansas City, so we have decided to go there. That way if we ever need to stay overnight, it won't be an additional cost.

They were able to fit us in tomorrow! So, as soon as I get out of classes in the morning, I will be headed to KC. Here is the place we are going. I was very pleased with the website, the receptionist, and things we have heard already about Dr. Heeb.

We will also get the results much quicker this way. Which means we can start treatment much sooner! Since this type of cancer spreads so fast, we are hopeful that we caught it early. If it has not spread, the amputation is all we will need to do. Which is good, because I already have my mind made up about that. It's the rest that I can't decide on.

Amputation? That does not bother me at all. I've known a few 3-legged dogs in my time, and they all seem to do great. My friend has a 3-legged Great Dane. We don't have any steps in our house that Sebastian uses. He refuses to go in the basement.

You should have been there when we had the tornado warnings going off one time! I was the only human home. I threw the cat in the carrier and put him in the basement. I grabbed Angel (our Akita) and took her down. Then it was time for Sebastian. He is big. He is stubborn. He is strong. This may sound very mean, but when you have a tornado headed your way, you don't have time for much else. I put him on the leash and I started to go down the stairs. He got down about 2 steps and just planted himself there. I pulled and pulled. He just stared at me. I finally won because he couldn't breathe anymore and gave in. I know, mean. But what else could I do? By the time we were all down there, I was sweating. Then I turned the radio on and the warning was canceled!

Anyways, we'll be meeting the new vet tomorrow and doing the biopsy. I'll let you know how it goes soon.

Thank you all for your kind words.

Monday, January 26, 2009

How do you put a price tag on a life?

This is my dog, Sebastian.
Poor guy had a paw injury and wouldn't stop licking it. I'll let you imagine all the damage he did to the house with this thing on.
Patiently letting me snap away with the camera.
Playtime with his sister.
A visit to a girl scout troop to teach them about dog manners and what therapy dogs do.

On Sunday morning I noticed my big ol' dog limping. Then I noticed he had a fever. Then I noticed a lump on his front leg, where what a human would call, the knee. There really wasn't much we could do, it didn't seem like an emergency, so we waited it out. He didn't seem in pain, but he's a tough and stubborn guy, so who knows.

I had class this morning, so DH took the morning off and took Sebastian into the vet. I may as well missed both classes, as I don't think I really heard the teachers. I called DH after my first class and he had just left the vets. My favorite vet had the day off, so he saw another one. She kept Sebastian to do blood work and x-rays.

The blood work was ok. The x-rays were inconclusive. There is something wrong, but they could not tell what. It may be an infection or it may be bone cancer.

He also has lost 12 pounds in the last 4 months. They actually weighed him 3 times and tested the scale with another dog.

He's a very big dog, with lots of hair, so it's hard to tell if he has a weight change.

This is a dog who used to be a therapy dog. He would go to schools and visit nursing homes and cancer patients. He is so sweet.

We rescued him from our local Humane Society. He was an adult, but nobody know how old he was. Everyone guessed around 3. That was 5 1/2 years ago. So, he's around 8 1/2, which is pretty old for a Great Pyrenees.

Gosh, I'm rambling.

Anyways, after spending all day googling Osteosarcoma, it really looks like it's very possible that he has it. Bone Cancer.

The treatment? You start by amputating the leg, then doing chemotherapy. You might get another year of life by doing this.

The question is, is that worth it? Chemo isn't exactly fun. Do we put him through all that, just to spend a few more months to a year with him????

Then we have to consider the cost. Obviously we are willing to spend money on him. And if there was a guarantee on the time we would get with him, it wouldn't be so hard. But we don't even know if it will work. Bone cancer spreads very quickly, it may be too late already. We can make the finances work, without using credit cards. Our cards won't get paid off in the time frame we have. We would use the money that we are currently using for extra credit card payments for his treatment. Our emergency fund will already be depleted by the end of this month. We bought the new TV, I sent $500 to my mom to help with medical expenses, today's vet trip was $272 and Fridays vet trip will be $360.

I will have more answers on Friday. They are doing the biopsy then. A bone biopsy. A very painful process with lots of healing time.
Of course we won't have the results yet, but I will have a huge list of questions for the vet. We weren't exactly prepared for cancer questions this morning.

I'm supposed to be doing homework right now. I don't think it's going to get done.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Looking for people who do not live in the U.S.

I have my first assignment for my International Business class. I have to find 10 people, in at least 5 other countries to answer 3 basic questions for me.

If you can help me, or know someone who can, please let me know! This project isn't due until May, so there is no rush!

I will need your name, the country you live in, and your email address.

Thanks so much!!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Review - Chapter 2: Find More Time


Most people do what they do, because that is what they do. Why do they do it? Who knows. You need to know why you do things, and those things need to fit into your list of priorities.
Those are my words from what I got out of this chapter, not the authors.

Here are the authors words: This chapter explores your priorities and helps you determine where you want to spend your time in support of your plans. What are you committed to changing in your life?

Spend time with people who are dear to you.

-communicate your plans
----we have a "mom" calender in our kitchen. It has a column for each of us, and a blank column. I list everyone's activities each month, and family activities in the blank column. It takes a bit of time, but it well worth it. Everyone knows where they are supposed to be and when.

-Combine Activities
-------examples include taking walks as a family. You combine family time and exercise.

-Make get togethers a habit
--------make time for your friends. We do this. We go out with friends once or twice a month, and I have my bookclub once a month. I also try a girls' only night once a month. I think my friendships are my sanity.

----Do it as a family and combine activities! I used to do this with my daughter at the Humane Society. I really need to get back into that.

-Eliminate time-zapping activities. These include surfing the Internet and watching TV.
----One suggestion is to have one night a week that these activities are not allowed. I'm thinking of doing this. The night will probably change from week to week..........but I think I will choose the night that we are all home to do strictly family stuff, i.e. board games, Wii, reading together, etc...(we have TiVo, so missing a show won't happen, we'll just watch it in a more convenient time)

-Manage your children's activities.
----- they don't have to do every activity that comes their way.
-------we are not guilty of this.

-Make your health a priority.
----------We are working on this.
---Stop making excuses.
-----I am good at that, it will be hard to stop.

-Enjoy what you do
----It makes a world of difference.

-Continue to work your brain
----Take a class, do a workshop, read a book, learn a new hobby, go to conferences, etc...

My favorites?
Combining activities. I'm a pretty good multi-tasker, but I'm sure I can come up with some new stuff
Make a family night. This will begin soon. I need to spend more time with my family. And I don't mean time sitting on the couch blogging. Although I will blog about whatever we do!!
Take care of your health. I really do feel better when I do this.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Books I recieved last week

So, I made a big oops in Amazon last week. We've been trying to get Mario Kart for the Wii. It's been sold out. Amazon had it, for a very limited time. I threw it in the cart and did the one click checkout. I forgot that the night before the kids and I were looking at new books. They were in the cart, then we were going to go through and move most of them to our wishlists. Well, we ran out of time for that last step. So, all the books were in the cart. I bought them all.

Yes, I know I could have cancelled the order, but I figured I was going to buy them all at some point anyway and I didn't want to miss out on the game.

That's the last of the one I got from Amazon. The kids have their books in there rooms, so I'll post those later.

I won this one from somewhere, sorry I don't remember where.

And this one, Bree sent me. Thanks Bree!!! It is on the top of my pile, so I'll get to it soon!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Audio book update

Wow! I really enjoyed everyone's comments. At this time I don't think audio books are for me though. I rarely spend more than 15 minutes driving anywhere, and it seems that this is when most people listen to them. I would be the one driving to work and miss my exit, or sit in the parking lot, just to listen for one more minute, and end up being 30 minutes late.

I don't really have any other time that I think I could listen to one. My house is noisy and I'm easily distracted. And I fall asleep alot. At least when I fall asleep reading, I can find the page again. I think it would hard to figure out where I dozed off during an audio!

Anyways, thanks for the comments! I'm not completely ruling them out.

Maybe some day I will have what one would consider a commute to work. I dream of that. Living somewhere big. But then again, I hate traffic. Maybe it will be NYC and I can take the subway, or a cab. But only in the summertime, as I hate the cold.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

My week ahead............

Work all day, 8-5.
Son has boyscouts
Pay bills
get stuff ready for classes to start
download pictures, maybe blog some
finish W-2's and mail out
organize garden stuff and start planning
finish reading Be Happy or I will Scream (loving it so far)
work on confirmation stuff with daughter

work all day, 8-5
Class 7-9:45
Read one chapter of Club Dumas

Class, 8-10:45
work, 11-6
confirmation with daughter 7-8:45
Read another chapter of Club Dumas

work, 8-5
Jenny Craig weigh in
read with kids

class 9-12
work 1230-630

do any homework I may have
balance checking accounts/pay bills
blog (read and write)
clean basement and make space to start growing seeds
church/bible study (We're going to try doing this on Saturday evenings, I'm selfish and want to sleep in on Sunday)
Read something

read with the kids
help daughter with confirmation work
read my own books

I also want to workout everyday. Not sure when I'll have the time, but I really got off track this week, so I need to catch up.


I'm watching the Baltimore and Pittsburgh game. Ok, my husbands watching it.

There is a guy down right now. There are several players that are kneeling and praying. I almost want to cry for him, I just think about how he is someone's son. If it was my son, I would have knocked out all the security and would be on the field by now.......or in jail for trying.

Gosh, he's been down for awhile. It was a bad hit. He's going out on a stretcher now. I pray that he is ok.

How my week went.........

It was super busy!! I'm glad I did a bunch of posts last Sunday and scheduled them to post throughout the week.

I'm pretty sure we had some kids' activity every night. And we had to buy another new TV. Remember in December when I needed a new TV for the Wii we were getting? And I decided 32" ones were too expensive just to be put in the basement for the Wii? So we ended up getting a new 42" for the upstairs and moved the one we had to the downstairs?

Well, after I got done working out on Monday, my daughter went down to play the Wii. Pretty soon she's yelling that the TV is broke. I thought she threw one of the remotes into it, like people have been know to do. Nope, she didn't do anything. It just died.

So, we were on the search for a 32" again. And again I decided they were too expensive. Why spend more on a 32" than a 42"?? Yes, I found another great deal. And we bought a 42" for the Wii. This was 5 days AFTER all my friends came over for some rockband action! Guess it's time for another get-together!

I also bought my books for school. $460 for 3 frickin classes!!! INSANE!! Luckily the 4th class doesn't require a book.

Classes start on Tuesday:
International Business
Cost Accounting

Don't expect to hear from me much! I will try to keep up with ya'll though.

I was honored to be mentioned in Sheri's blog. I'm doing one of her challenges. I'll be putting my books on the site soon, it's on my to-do list!
And Sheri, I don't think you will be my neighbor. You see, I'm a city girl. I don't do farms anymore. Maybe I'll talk about my days of living on a farm as a young girl sometime. I hated it. I will never go back. But, if you can change that dream around a little and move to the city, that would be awesome!!
Be sure to check out her post and all the other blogs she mentioned!!

Oh, and even with the expenses above, happy to say that there has not been any credit card use!!!!! Gotta love the emergency savings fund! I also was able to send some money to my mom this month. She had some unexpected medical bills that she was having problems with. I hate my ex step-dad.

Oh, he had nothing to do with the medical bills. That just came out as I was typing. I should probably delete it, but I don't feel like it. Maybe someday I'll do into his story. He was a great dad while I was growing up, but he changed a few years ago. 'Nough said for now.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Audio Books??

I don't understand this. I've seen lots of posts and giveaways for audio books lately. Does that really count as reading?

How long does an audio book last? Is it faster than reading?

Doesn't your attention get distracted while your driving? I would think you would pay more attention to a story than some random stories/songs on the radio.

There are times when I'm reading that I reread a section, to let my imagination digest it more. Does your imagination work as well when you listen to an audio book?

I'm not dissing audio books in anyway, just saying I don't understand them.

Maybe I need to enter some of those giveaways and try it out for myself.

Is there anyone out there who doesn't like them? Why not?

For those that do like them, why?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


My son has taken an interest in growing our own vegetables. How can a mother say no to that?

We spent last summer buying books and tools, preparing the area, digging up little trees, weeds, tilling, fencing, etc....

I've joined this online gardening club. I get magazines, books, seeds, and tools from them (for a very low price!).

I'm following gardening blogs.

I have no idea what I'm doing. You will have the pleasure 0f following our progress, or lack of, in a few months. If you have any tips, please share!!

Here is what we have done so far:
Prepped the area
picked the veggies we want
started reading on how to plant said veggies
started buying the tools
sketched a picture of where we will plant said veggies.

I had no idea that you had to start growing things inside before winter is over!! It looks like for our area, we are going to begin this process in March.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Review - Chapter 1: Find more time

I've decided to read one chapter a week. I will review each chapter as I go.

To stay in line with my other reviews, here is the Amazon:
You have a sink full of dishes to wash, three loads of laundry to do, seventeen bills to pay, thirty-six e-mails to answer, a big stack of novels on the nightstand you’d love to read, and zero minutes of free time. You can’t add more hours to the day, but Laura Stack, The Productivity Pro®, will help you make the most of the time you have and get things done.

The Productivity Pro® helps you determine what you have under control and where you need to improve. Are you good at managing your bills but can’t find time to exercise? Do you get your kids to all their activities but end up constantly behind on laundry? Laura Stack shows you how to improve every area of your life.

Whether you need help on just a few things or feel like your life is totally out of control, Find More Time will help you organize your space, time, and information to reduce your stress and create and sustain a productive home environment, so you’ll have more time to enjoy your life.

Ok, now for the Introduction:
Laura summarizes how she is going to help us find more time in our lives. She has based her system on 8 Pillars. With strong pillars supporting your life, you can handle anything. They are Plans, Priorities, Personality, Pests, Possessions, Paper, Post, and Play. And I just realized they all start with P!

She has a quiz for each one of these Pillars to determine which ones need work. She also notes you do not have to follow the chapters in order, and each chapter is devoted to a Pillar. (I haven't taken the quizzes yet) I'm going in order, cuz that's just the kind of person I am.

Chapter 1 - Mastering the first Pillar - Plans:
I'm doing pretty good in this area. It's all about lists. A master list, daily to-do lists, number lists, goal lists, lists for your kids to follow, etc...
I am a list maniac. But as I read what Laura does, I realize I'm not such a maniac, she has me beat!

I do need to work on my long-term goals. I have the short-term down, but nothing for long-term.

I also need to write my own mission statement. An essential written document that helps you make decisions about the way you spend your time and evaluate your choices. I've got nothing. At first I was going to ignore this bit of advice, but when I read her reasoning, I decided I need to think about it.

She also talks about breaking down your goals into simple tasks. I thought that I did do this, but I realize now that I could do it better.

I loved the part about making lists for your kids. It's a wonderful idea! I've been doing it since my kids started school. Back then the lists were just pictures of what they needed to do, now it's all words.

I really like it when I read a book that tells me how to make my life better, and I go through most of it saying "I already do that!" I like it even more when I learn how to do it better.

Along with the lists, she talks about how these lists make your day go more smoothly and help you to deal with the unexpected. It didn't take very long to read the chapter and make notes on it. I really think it is doable to read a chapter a week (breaking the goal of reading this book down into manageable steps!)

So far I recommend this book for those of you who feel frazzled at times and don't know how you are going to get everything done. It's simple, but not too simple.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Review - A Rare and Curious Gift

Here is the Amazon review:

The quest to possess beauty drives this debut historical novel, which borrows from the life of Artemisia Gentileschi, a gifted painter of the Italian Renaissance who was one of the first women to gain recognition as an artist in her own right. Holdstock's heroine is Sofonisba, daughter of the painter Orazio Fabroni. At 17, Sofonisba is taking on more and more of her father's work, attempting to cultivate her own talent. Her passions are aroused by the scruffy, swashbuckling sculptor Matteo Tassi, whose wandering and carefree ways suit her independent nature. When an exotic slave with freakish, piebald skin enters the lives of these artists, their fascination with the slave as an object of both beauty and repulsion sets off a spiraling chain of events that leads many to believe the girl is a curse upon the town. The book's exploration of passion, jealousy and ambition is underlaid by riveting, macabre descriptions of human dissections witnessed by its artist protagonists. Holdstock's vivid, unflinching tale doesn't sugarcoat the casual brutality of the period, and is punctuated by startling moments of beauty.

The reviews on Amazon equaled 2.5 stars.

I got this book at our bookclub gift exchange. There were some parts that I couldn't stop reading, and other parts that I had to force myself to read..........others that I skipped altogether. There was alot of detail, too much at times.

I mostly enjoyed it though. It is the first book of this type that I have read, and I do want to read more. I liked feeling like I was going back in time and wondering how people lived and how I would have faired in those times.

I did get pretty angry at one point, but I can't talk about it without giving a key part of the story away. It had to do with the court punishment, I just couldn't believe it!!

The end was very abrubt. It was like the author just decided she was done writing.

In all this book did peak my interest in that time period, and I will be finding more books like it.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I just got my butt kicked!!

Thanks Jillian! I think.

It was only a 20 minute workout, but my goodness it was hard!

I guess there are 3 different workouts, and you're supposed to be able to do level 3 by the end of the 30 days. I had to stop a couple times in level 1, so I don't see how I'll be doing level 3 anytime soon. I'm going to try to stick with it and do this for 30 days straight. I'm also doing my Elliptical machine at least 3 times a week, and the Ab Lounger 5 days a week.

So far, since I started Jenny Craig, I have lost 17 pounds! I'm now at my half-way point for my goal!!

I started Jenny Craig in October, and just started exercising in late December. So, I can definitely say the the JC program has helped tremendously. I have a friend doing it also, she has lost 60 pounds in 6 months. She started exercising in the beginning and has kicked some serious butt!! Congrats A!!

The last book challenge!

I'm adding this one, and that is it for this year!! I promise!

Click on the picture to find out all about it!

I haven't created my list yet, but according to the rules, that's ok! And I can change it if I need to!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

In my mailbox today:

These arrived in my mailbox today!!

I've just glanced through "I Like You", and OMG! It is freakin' hilarious! EVERY woman should get this! I may just end up trying some of the recipes! You see, I have this problem with cookbooks. I buy them. I put them in the cabinet with the rest of them. The End. I never look at them again. But this one, I will be looking at!

This is our bookclub book for April.

I don't remember where I saw this, but someone blogged a review and it looked great. I think I'll be reading it soon, as I need something light.

Since we have our exercise room set up, I may just use these!! I kinda have the same problem with workout stuff as I do with cookbooks. But, don't you just love how I keep putting all these but's in everywhere? But, I've been doing alot of working out lately and I plan to continue with it.

Thanks Amazon!!

Last week I recieved this book:

I won it from Luanne over at A Bookworm's world!! Be sure to check her out!

Where have I been all week?

Well, the holidays are over, days off of work are gone, and it's time to get back to the rest of the world. Over my break I found so many new blogs to follow, and I'm struggling to keep up, leaving me no time to blog myself. I'm going to have to figure something out. Maybe I should read that book that I say I'm reading, Find More Time!! ha, ha

Anyways, it has been a busy week. Daughter had two basketball games this week. She has a very good team. They lost the very first game they played this season, and then kicked butt at every other game. (with a15-25 point spread!!) This week they got to play that team that beat them. They were pumped and ready to go. They lost again. That was Thursday. This morning we played them again. We lost again. They have lost a total of 3 games this season, all to the same team!!

Last night we celebrated my friend K's birthday. We went to Firkin and Bull for dinner. Since the kids are here this weekend, we rented them movies, went to dinner with our friends and then planned to come home by 9. Well, somehow we decided to all go to my house. I'm going to have to download my pictures, it was a Wii Rockband blast!! I finally snuck up to bed around 1:30.

Then I got up at 6 for daughter game.

Then I met up for brunch for S's birthday.

Now it's time for a nap!!

I'm supposed to go bowling with friends tonight, but I'm not sure if I have the energy!

Ok, I'm forcing myself off of here and I plan to finish A Rare and Curious Gift, then drift off to sleep. (or try, K left rockband here and the kids are enjoying it!)

When I wake up I'll be catching up on everyone's blogs!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Review - Waiting: the true confessions of a waitress

So, this isn't a real review, since I've never done one and really don't know what I'm doing.

What you will get is the Amazon review:
In a truly just world, everyone would have to wait tables for at least six months, just to know what it's like. Failing that, we have writer-waiter Debra Ginsberg's tasty memoir to remind us about life on the other side of those swinging doors. Horror stories? After 20 years of serving other people's food, she's got 'em--and being handed a drunk's vomit-soaked napkins certainly fits the bill. But even though she expresses the usual frustrations with bad tippers and control freaks, in the long run Ginsberg is anything but bitter. In fact, she recently left her publishing job to return to waiting tables, hooked on the freedom, spare time, and ready cash the lifestyle provides. Of course, there are other perks too. Sex thrives in the close quarters and steamy atmosphere of a typical restaurant (not to mention with the high-drama personalities who work there). Fans of Kitchen Confidential will be relieved to know there's as much bad behavior among the floor staff as there is in the back of the house. As in that book, Ginsberg also relates some eyebrow-raising tales about what can happen before your food gets to your table. (The moral here: "It really does pay to be nice to your server.") But Waiting is far more than just a sexual soap opera or a cautionary guide for dining out; it's also the story of one woman's coming of age, most of which just happens to take place while she's wearing an apron. During her tenure as a waitress, Ginsberg thrives as a single mother and comes into her own as a writer--and waiting (as she suggestively calls it) helps her do both. Most of us (including waiters) think of the profession as a stopgap, not a career, but what happens on the way to somewhere else, Ginsberg writes, is every bit as important as the final destination: "Perhaps the most valuable lesson I'd learned was that the act of waiting itself is an active one. That period of time between the anticipation and the beginning of life's events is when everything really happens--the time when actual living occurs." --Mary Park --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
And my rating: 3 out of 5.

It was a good read, as a waitress in a past life I was able to relate to most of this. But, I only worked in bars, so there is some difference. I totally relate to the 'hating people' phases, and that it's really good money. It is a job that is looked down on, and I've never really understood that. Maybe people are jealous that their waitress makes more than they do and works less hours? Waitresses work their butts off and put up with alot of crap.
The reason for the rating is that is was a slow read. I don't know if I would have stuck to it if I hadn't forced myself.
Whether you've waitressed or not, you should read it. Just know it may take awhile.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Another blog look change

I decided I wanted a three column blog. And I wanted it stretch. And I wanted my widgets with a highlighted title bar.

I guess I just want it all.

I found this. Some guy who has created a 3 column stretch denim template! It took a few HTML changes to my current one, and TA-DA! My newest look!

Thanks Raymond!

2008 Year End Spending.

Here's a break down of where our money went in 2008.


Dining out......................................................$2,459.19

Lunches eaten out/food on the road.........$ 757.59

Dental Care...................................................$5,006.42 (daughter got braces)

Dr./prescriptions/other health care.. .......$4,089.13

Household repairs/upgrades....................$7,418.65

Water/trash................................................$ 963.69
Homeowners insurance.............................$ 906.00


Internet........................................................$ 627.52

Home phone.................................................$ 599.52

Cable.............................................................$ 137.55

Furnishings..................................................$ 115.63

Car Payments..............................................$8,015.46

Auto insurance............................................$1,396.62

Auto maintenance.......................................$ 870.78

Registration..................................................$ 475.47

Kids clothing................................................$1,061.96

Children's school expenses.........................$2,898.24

Food at school..............................................$ 455.00

Other kid expenses.....................................$ 398.92

Daughters cell (special plan)......................$ 187.73

Son's birthday..............................................$ 146.89

Daughter's birthday....................................$ 129.35

Children's fundraisers................................$ 144.91

Childcare......................................................$ 57.00

Gifts (all year)..............................................$2,334.17

Elliptical machine..........................................$ 765.36

My clothing..................................................$ 720.34

Clothing, not sure for who..........................$ 473.66

Personal care...............................................$ 781.54

Entertaining/going out...............................$ 908.58

Books/magazines........................................$ 458.43

Liquor store.................................................$ 446.22

Cash donations..........................................$ 300.00

Movie Rentals.............................................$ 144.57

Games..........................................................$ 99.03

Vet expenses...............................................$ 720.41

Dog food.......................................................$ 538.81

Grooming.....................................................$ 280.57 (I think I'm missing some, this seems low)

Pet supplies.................................................$ 122.83

Cat food/litter.............................................$ 69.60

Student loan payments.............................$1,065.00 (went into deferment when I started school again)

2nd mortgage.............................................$4,000.00

Loan for new windows..............................$1,796.13

Credit card payments can be found here.

Vacation food..............................................$ 422.14

Vacation travel/gas...................................$ 371.48

Souvenirs..................................................$ 165.55

Shows..........................................................$ 64.73

Lodging.......................................................$ 37.15 (stayed with friends on most trips)

Pet sitter....................................................$ 30.00

Wow! After listing it all out like that, there are definitely some changes that need to be made.

Groceries: this amount does include my Jenny Craig food, so it is a little deceiving, but still. WOW! This year, I'm going to make Jenny Craig into a separate category. I think we'll stick to the list a little better and try to cut this cost down.

Dining out is also high, I thought we had cut down on that. This comes to about $200/month and that is way too high! The lunches eaten out are too much too! This is mostly DH, and I think we're going to have a talk about this.

The household repairs/improvements aren't going to change. This house is a work in progress.

Auto payments. We are stuck here. A few years ago I decided to lease a new minivan. Payments are $430/month. As far as I know, we can't get out of the lease without a big penalty, so it may be worth it to just ride it out. I'm going to look into this more and post later. I really want to get a smaller car that is around $250/month.

Auto insurance. We went with a new company a few months ago and are really saving some money on that now.

Kids expenses. We have 2 kids, ages 12 and 9. One started private school this year. So, those expenses look about right.

Pets. We have 2 HUGE dogs and a cat. I don't think we can go down on this any.

Looks like food is our biggest problem! I think I'm going to do a post like this at the end of every month. A good monthly look might help me to curb some of these expenses. I'm also going to look into getting out of that auto lease.

But, on a good note, all of this was paid in cash!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Another reading challenge

I know I said I was only doing two reading challenges, but I think this one will really work for me!

Do we have any Stephen King fans around here? I've been reading him since I was 12. My mom has EVERY SINGLE BOOK he has ever written! I have about 3/4.
Remember way back when, when he started the Dark Tower Series? Well, I read them all when I was a teenager. Then he took a VERY LONG break from them. Now there are more out, and I own all of them. But, I haven't read any of the new ones, because I wanted to reread the first ones (I couldn't remember them)
But, I haven't started on them.

With this challenge, which says I can reread books, I think I can get on it again!

It's the Serial Readers Challenge!! You just have to read 3 books from a series!

Here are the books I might read:
Stephen Kings Dark Towers (not sure how many I will get through)
Maybe the Shopoholic series?
My daughter has a couple series that I wanted to read, but I don't remember which ones.
James Patterson might have some new ones coming out
I have a friend who keeps talking about some potato society series, I'll have to check this one out.
I'm sure I'll think of more later!!

If I would have been smart about these challenges, I would have done some overlapping. Now I have AT LEAST 27 books I have to read this year, plus the ones for my bookclub and school.

And as I'm getting ready to publish this post, I've found another challenge to do. I'll post it when I get it all figured out!!

My currently reading side bar........and other book notes

I've had some of those books on there for a LONG time!

True Confessions of a Waitress: I'm not sure how long ago I started this. It is very good, especially since I used to waitress (only in bars though, I could never carry all that food!). I used to read it in bed, it's on my bedside table. But, now I'm too tired to read at night. So, I don't know when it will be done.

Simple Abundance: This is a daily book to read. But, I don't read it. It's also on my bedside table. I think my plan for this is: After I work out in the mornings and while I'm laying in bed trying to catch my breath, I'm going to read it. This doesn't give me much time to think about it, or journal, but at least it's a start. Maybe after time I'll start getting up earlier and make time for reflection. (yeah, right!)

A Rare and Curious Gift: This one I just started a couple weeks ago, and my goal is to have it done next week.

Digging to America: it's been moved back to my to be read pile. It was for this month's bookclub, but I can't make it, so I never started the book. It will have to wait for another time.

Saturdays with Stella: I won this one. It is also on my nightstand and hasn't been picked up because I've been falling asleep so quick. It's a quick read though, so I want to be done by next week.

Eat, Pray, Love: I started this in the summer. It's a GREAT book, but more of a summer read. I haven't picked it up since. But, it is on our bookclub list for March, so I need to get working on it again. I will do that in February so that some of it is still fresh in my memory for bookclub.

Find More Time: I've read the first page. I just don't have time for this book. (ha, ha). Ok, seriously, I'm going to start on this one as soon as I'm done with the 3 above. This is one I'm going to be journaling about to. I really need to learn to spend my time better. I enjoy laziness way too much, and feel much better when I'm productive!

Next to be read:
Between Mother and Daughter
The Club Dumas
The Red Tent
That's My Son

On another book note:
I have this book that my son and I read together at least two nights a week. We are really enjoying it.
The Story of the World.

My daughter got this book for Christmas and I think we're going to read it together, at least one night a week. With her schedule, this might be tough, but surely we can find one night!

33 Things Every Girl Should Know about Women's History
I've also won the following books, but they haven't shown up yet. I'm guessing due to the holidays.
I wonder what the protocol is for not receiving a book? Should I let the blogger know? How long should I wait?

Here they are:
Matrimony , won Dec. 23rd
Flirting with Forty, won Dec. 20th
Gods Behaving Badly, won November 19. (this is the one I'm worrying about)

If it weren't for these giveaways on blogs, I don't think I would have found so many good new books! Thanks to all who do this!!!
And I will be hosting some giveaways of my own later in the year!!

Blog changes

I've never really liked the look of my blog. It was always to crunched up. I've been playing with templates all day.

I found some 'stretch' ones that I really liked, but everything was still just there. Then I found one that stretched and highlighted!!
It's a little plain, but I don't want it to be too 'busy', so here is a new template, for a new year!

Hope it helps things look a little more organized!

Who knows, maybe later I'll even completely move my blog. I've been playing with wordpress, and I really like it. I've started a new blog over there, but I'm not ready to share it yet. It's not a personal one, completely different than what I have here. It serves a central purpose. When I get more work done on it, I will share!

I'm joining the online reading challenges!

Wow, so there are TONS of these going around. And a lot of people are participating in TONS of them! I'm going to be realistic and carefully pick just a couple. (I don't like to fail!)

The first one I choose:
I'm taking on the #2, buy a book a month and read it. You can click on the picture to get all the details, I'm not very good at details.
Anyways, this challenge will only be 1/2 a challenge for me. I belong to a club that I do buy a book every month. So, that part is not a challenge. Actually reading those books will be the challenge for me!

Here is the second Challenge I'm doing:

Again, click on the picture for all the details. Basically, I need to read 12 books that are in my to be read pile. I have a huge pile, so this one fits great! These are all books that I have, but haven't started reading yet.

1. Digging to America - Anne Tyler
2. Find More Time - Laura Stack
3. Between Mother and Daughter - Judy and Amanda Ford
4. The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd
5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
6. Three Cups of Tea - Mortenson and Relin
7. The Club Dumas - Arturo Perex-Reverte
8. Infidel - Ayaan Hirsi Ali
9. The Space Between Before and After - Jean Reynolds Page
10. Sail - James Patterson
11. That's My Son - Johnson
12. The Red Tent - Anita Diamant

I could also have a alternate list, but I don't think I'll do that.

Ok- there they are! Now, how to keep track? I think I will just start a post and add to it as I go. I'll publish it at the end of the year. (that way it won't get lost and I won't forget anything!)

To those hosting these challenges: I hope it was ok to post them together?

I am happy to say that I have some followers!

Bree started following me a month or so ago. To my knowledge, she is the first! I know other people read my blog, but she was the first to say she regularly follow me. She found me because I commented on one of her posts one day. I believe she was talking about procrastinating and I told her how I do it. Seems that we have a lot in common!

Next up was Sheri. I entered one of her contests and she came over to check me out. Seems she likes my blog too! Sheri does this and this. I'm still checking her out, she's got lots of cool stuff over there!

I need to thank Amanda and Katie Sue for having blogs that have a lot to do with reading. I found lots of cool blogs to follow through them. I've been able to expand my reading genre (or whatever) because of those two! I have gone from only mystery books to almost everything this past year!

I've had this blog for around a year now. It started out as wedding stuff, then a debt blog, then some personal stuff, then books. It has no real theme. Now I go all over the place! Which is why I thought I would never have anyone who keeps up. All those 'successful' blogs have one central idea. Oh well.

A successful blog. How do YOU define that?

Now that I can post again!!

Here's what has been going on:

Unexpected expenses.
1. Our sump pump died when we got back to town. That was $500. Thank goodness we have an emergency fund! We were able to get it fixed immediately and it didn't affect our finances, we just have to refund the account over the next couple months. We'll do that by lowering our extra credit cards payments a bit. No big deal.

2. Yesterday I was trying to print. It wasn't working. I'm married to a computer guy, so our house is set up a little differently than most. We both have laptops (the kids used to, but we took them away and gave them a desktop that is in the living room, we can see what they are doing at anytime) and then there is a networking computer downstairs.

I don't know if it's really called a networking computer, but that is what I call it. All of the other computers are connected to the main one. It does backups on all of our computers, so if something happens, it's no big deal. It is also connected to the printer. Which means that no matter where I am with my laptop, I can print. (then send one of the kids to the printed downstairs to get it for me)

So, since this 'network' computer died.........A) nothing is getting backed up B) i have to take my laptop downstairs and plug it into the printer.
Most people can live with B ( I can't), but A is a bad thing.
So, Mr. IT hubby is coming up with something. I hope we don't have to buy a new one. Our emergency fund is equipped for that!

3. We don't have a 3 yet. But doesn't everything come in 3's?? Please be the dryer. I really want a new dryer!

Next on the list of going ons.............
I think it deserves a separate post. This one is a little depressing and it's time to end it.

Blogger got mad at me

I haven't been able to log onto my blog, or comment on others blogs for a few days now! I was getting pretty upset. Try to contact some help from blogger! It's not possible, or at least not that I could find.

I was sending them my error codes, but then read that they only respond if they get a bunch of the same ones from different people. I could still get on my reader, and it looked like everyone else in the world was still able to blog.

I finally came across this website and was able to fix my problem. I'm not sure what the issue was, but it was small and I am back!