Life... Health... Reviews...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Road trip!

Today my oldest daughter and myself went on a road trip from Jonesboro (about 15-20 minutes south of Atlanta) to Warner Robins. It's about a two-hour trip, which can be made in about an hour and 15 minutes or so since the speed limit is about 70 MPH in certain areas.

Well, it's pouring down raining and it's one of those places where I don't know which exit to get off of or the names of the roads; I just drive by landmarks. Needless to say, the pouring rain obscured my vision and I missed my first exit then when I (finally) got off of the exit I missed my turn! LOL!

It was all fun though because the teenager and I are always having adventures while we're driving. We talk about the other cars, listen to music, eat snacks, chat and just act a little silly. It's a nice trip especially since we don't have the younger kids with us and don't have to be so... uh, responsible.

We drove down to visit her Daddy Michael (her godfather and my best friend) who is going to give us a t.v. I'm not even going to mention my computer ('cause I don't want to get him started) that I left here two years ago. He fixed it for me, but I never came back to get it. He has made it very clear that I better get the computer before I leave and take it with me.

Also, before we go, we raid his house to see if there are things we think he doesn't need and we take them with us. Right now the teenager is somewhere in the back burning CDs and I've taken over the computer.

Although it's a rainy day, it's nice change from the norm.
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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Patient forms

Before I get off on a little rant, let me first tell you that my daughter's (#3) doctor's visit went well. She doesn't have strep throat and her lungs sound good. Just a little viral infection. So, she'll just need Tylenol or Motrin for pain and a lot of liquids.

Now for a little rant: The children's pediatrician has this form -- a patient registration form -- that has to be filled out for each child. The form is the exact same for each child and each form requires every child's name on it.

So why in the world do I have to fill out the form four times? That seems so ridiculous to me. Just photocopy the daggone form and insert it in each file! All they have to do is change it a little to include space for each insurance number... all the other information is the same. And, if it isn't then generate one form that accommodates!

Sometimes I think certain procedures are put in place just to irritate people!

Okay... end of rant.
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Interest only mortgages

One way that a lot of people are managing to save some money is to only pay the interest on their mortgages. A lot of people did this when interests rates were relatively, which may have been a good strategy at the time.

Research shows that the number of interest only mortgages taken out in 2007 had risen to 49 percent, compared with 42 percent in 2006. However, the percentage dropped to 40 percent this past January.

Now, some experts believe that it's time to reconsider that thinking and method to saving a little money. Since interest rates are falling homeowners need to look into cutting the amount of money they owe on their mortgage.

It seems like that would be a good idea because it will allow homeowners to pay money toward their principle balance thereby decreasing the amount of time to paying off the mortgage and the amount owed on the Mortgage.
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It's a dreary Thursday...

Rainy days are not my favorite unless I'm going to be staying inside and able to snuggle under a cozy blanket with a good book or magazine and my favorite hot drink. Today, although I want to do that, I haven't been able to.

I got up today to take #2 and #3 to daycare (yes, sometimes I refer to my children by their birth order number!). As I was getting them ready to go... ut oh, let me re-phrase that: As the teenager was getting them dressed I noticed that #3 was dragging around. She didn't want to get up, the first thing she asked for was juice when she normally just wants to eat and while eating she laid her head on the table.

After she was dressed she laid on the couch and went to sleep. Hmmm? I asked her a few questions. Yes, for stomach ache. And yes for headache. On the way to the sitter she just kind of stared into space and then said she didn't want to go. She didn't have a fever, vomiting or anything, but she was so out of it that I said okay she could stay with me.

After dropping off #2, I made my way to the next destination while calling the doctor's office. By this time it's raining even more.

My second errand for the day was stopping off to talk to a friend's mom who is going to help me out with #4 two days per week! Yippee!! (More on that later.) While there #3 fell asleep in #1's (the teenager) arms.

So besides the seemingly never-ending rain I have such a pitiful little person on my hands. She -- who has now said yes to a sore throat -- hasn't caused one bit of trouble except to decide she wanted more soup and then got to the table only to decide she didn't want the soup. Oh my, poor thing!

Now, it's time for me to venture back outside to the doctor's office. I hope it isn't one of three strains of flu that I've heard is going around.
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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Extra space

We live in a fairly small home and I’m always trying to rearrange things to make things more comfortable for everyone and to make a little more space. With four children – and one of them being a teenager – the fight for space and quiet are a never-ending battle.

That’s why it would be great to add a workshop or shed to the property that would allow us to take the things that are in the front of the garage-turned-office and store them in a separate building. As well as have a spot for things that keep accumulating in closets, but that aren’t used on a regular basis.

There are boxes of china, computer parts, old movies, seasonal items, boxes of books, tables, sofas and many more things that I would store in a shed or workshop. Or I could even have a writing workshop separate from the house where I could get away and work in peace. Wouldn’t it be nice to stroll out the backdoor, down a little pathway and enter my own personal workshop?

Whatever I chose to do with it; having the option to have Sectional Garages would be a dream come true for me. So, what would you do?
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Jamaican Curry Chicken

Today I tried my hand at curry chicken and I'm starting to figure out that different cultures fix it in different ways. For instance, when I did a search on "curry chicken recipes" I saw recipes that included adding tomatoes and other ingredients that I'm not familiar with in the curry chicken I've enjoyed at Jamaican restaurants.

After I got a good idea of what types of ingredients are included and talked to one of my Jamaican friends, I decided to just go for it. My curry chicken included potatoes, garlic, onions and, of course, chicken and curry powder. But there was something missing.

It tastes very good, but I can't put my finger on what's missing. We ate the chicken with brown rice and broccoli (I don't have any cabbage or anything like that) and two of my children had seconds! Maybe one day I'll figure out what it was missing, but for now I'll keep experimenting.

Do you fix curry chicken? If so, how do you fix yours? If not, what's your favorite recipe?
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Debt management

About nine years ago I had some consumer debt, which I was able to pay off in two years. The strategy I used was to enroll with a consumer credit counseling company and began paying off the highest debt first as well as negotiating interest rate terms. By the time I was finished paying off my debt, my credit score was 750 and I was able to purchase a house.

What a relief it was to only have to worry about living expenses, a mortgage and my student loan. Now, after only five years, I’m in an even worse financial position than I was before. But my hope is that I’ll be able to pull myself out once again by using the same or similar strategy to pay off my debt.

There are resources for Debt Management that are available to consumers. It is not necessary to resort to bankruptcy and a debt management plan can help you negotiate with creditors regarding debt repayment terms.

There are advantages and disadvantages to participating in debt management, but isn’t it time you took control? Having debt can be like a monster looming in your closet. Isn’t it time you tame it, take control and get your financial standing back?
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The joys of a shower

Remember how I was bragging about my five wonderful showers that I was able to enjoy over my weekend in Miami, Florida? Well, the vacation is definitely over.

I tried to hold onto it on Monday and got in two showers that day. Well, Tuesday and today are an entirely different story. I'm lucky that I got one shower on both days so I guess I can't complain. I hate to admit it, but there have been weeks that I may have gotten a shower every other day.

Oh well... at least I don't stink! LOL.
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Couples and money management

I’ve often heard that the number one thing that couples argue about is money. But one financial services firm says that if couples apply a shared approach to financial management then they’re better able to adequately handle their finances.

Well, that makes sense to me because I’ve seen where couples have a problem when just one person is in charge of the finances. Either the person in charge feels like they have to always be the responsible one or the person who isn’t in charge feels like their significant other is being controlling. When each person works together they can divide and conquer for financial rewards.

And experts say that the most effective financial strategy for couples is to divide management duties between both parties. That kind of approach is found to be preferable.

There may come a time when a couple will decide they need help meeting some financial obligations and decide to apply for a Secured Loan. Making the decision together to apply for the loan can be the difference between tension in the marriage and the ease of moving forward to financial freedom.

The best way to stay on top of financial matters and avoid debt is to discuss budgeting and money management as well as consider seeking the help of an independent financial adviser.

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Picture tubes

About a week ago the picture tube on our television died. And we only have one t.v. That's unless you count the nine-inch one that was in my oldest daughter's closet. It's the same one that isn't cable ready and doesn't accommodate the DVR.

When the tube first went out, I watched as the DVR recorded the daily and weekly shows we enjoy and then I noticed it stopped recording. The DVR was full after only about two days because there was already a week's worth of shows that were waiting to be watched.

So, now when I sit down to give the baby a bottle I try to remember to grab a magazine or something. It's actually a shame that I don't have the patience to just sit there and feed her. Sometimes I make a couple of phone calls and other times I just stare out of the window or look longingly at the black t.v.

My oldest daughter took the nine inch out of her closet and hooked up her old VCR so that the two middle children could watch Disney movies on VHS. I'm not even gonna mention the fact that the collection of Disney movies actually belong to her and she's just as excited to watch them as they are.

To make matters worse in my longing for some mind-numbing t.v. time, my daughter received the current issue of TV Guide and told me about the start of and predictions of some of our favorite shows. She admitted to telling me just so she could torture me with the knowledge that I'm missing something.

But I guess the story has a happy ending. As luck would have it, my best friend said he has a television he doesn't use and we're welcome to it. The catch is I have to drive to Warner Robins to get it. That really isn't too bad since he's only about two hours south of us and he's the teenager's godfather who she hasn't seen in a good while.

So it'll be a bonus trip: A reason to get out of town for the day, visit a very good friend and Amber will get to be spoiled and come home with more than she left with.

And maybe, just maybe, I've re-grown all the brain cells I've lost from watching Grey's Anatomy, Dr. Phil, Oprah, Montel, The View, Lost, Biggest Loser and on and on and on...
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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Coupon Giveaway!?

I'm curious. Do you use coupons? Well, not too long ago I wrote about some YoBaby and some YoMommy coupons that I have to give and no one responded. I didn't get any relevant comments or requests for the coupons. Now, I was just giving the coupons away because I like to share and I had extra. I didn't get paid for the post, earn any award or anything like that so why do you think no one responded?

Now I have some Welch's grape juice coupons, but I'm not even gonna offer them. Maybe I'm going about this the wrong way... tell me your thought!
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All About Love

I was going to share this book with you on Valentine's Day, but I didn't want it to get lost among all the other love day messages.

If you're familiar with Essence magazine then you've definitely heard of the editor-in-chief Susan L. Taylor who authors In the Spirit essays. Her new book, "All About Love: Favorite Selections From In the Spirit on Living Fearlessly," is a compilation of her favorite In the Spirit essays as well as the favorites of some of the Essence readers.

Taylor has taken these essays expanded and rewrote most of them to share with us in this book. The themes include finding harmony with ourselves and others; shedding the old skin of anger and bitterness; opening the heart and soul fully to love as well as several others that speak of the lessons Taylor has learned, tries to live each day and pass onto others.

I think one of the things that makes this book -- and particularly this author -- so interesting is how she began writing the In The Spirit column. In the book's introduction she says, "... I didn't come to writing In the Spirit easily. When I first became editor-in-chief of Essence in 1981, I'd barely done any writing at all. ...I tried to convince our then-publisher and cofounder, Ed Lewis, that my writing a column wasn't necessary."

She reveals that Lewis didn't fall for that and she was forced to take the first step in coming from behind a mask to tell the truth. That truth rings forth in her writing, which she has called her public diary.

Reading "All About Love" is like taking a journey through life and learning... well, learning all about love.
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Monday, February 18, 2008

Weekend recap!

If you're just tuning in let me give a quick update: I left on Friday evening for a much-needed trip to Miami that was given to me by a very good friend.


Over the past week or so I've learned a lot about myself (through reading seven years worth of journals) and this weekend trip taught me a couple more things. First of all, I realize that a majority of my pain has been exasperated by stress. Although I still needed to take my medication, my pain was probably more than 65 percent less than it normally is. I had no tension, no stress and no worries.

That being said: Here is a recapitulation of what I did. I arrived in Ft. Lauderdale on Friday evening and went to my friend's apartment in Miami. I took a shower and went to bed.


On Saturday I slept late, got up, took a shower, went to a gun range (my shooting is pretty good. SIDEBAR: I am prior service so I have a little experience with guns.), had the best Japanese food ever and took a nap. Got up later to hit a tourist spot for a souvenir for the teenager, got caught in the rain, took a shower and went to bed.

On Sunday I woke up, watched TV, started watching a movie, got sleepy, went to sleep, woke up, talked, got sleepy, took a nap, woke up, took a shower, ate at IHOP, packed and caught the plane back to Atlanta.


Not very exciting, huh? Well, for me, it was the most exciting trip ever. I know the moms are thinking how lucky I am to have gotten in five showers and how awesome it is to get the chance to take naps and go to sleep when I felt like it.

What's most amazing to me is the fact that I think I finally get it. (This would be the second thing I learned about myself) I think I finally realize that the day-to-day grind of my life and responsibilities are stressing me out to the point of physical ailments. Yes, I may have certain medical problems, but I don't have to feel as bad as I've been feeling. I don't have to suffer.

So, I have a plan for what I want to do to change my life and make myself a little happier, and that plan definitely includes getting away from the daily grind of life more often.

I am very thankful for having such a wonderful weekend and I am even more thankful to have learned so much about myself during that time.

Weekends in Miami rock!
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