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

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dear...

I've been thinking a lot about what I want to tell friends and family as the old year leaves and the new year arrives, but I can't seem to get it articulated. What? You think, a writer can't think of something to say? It's not the something; it's the feelings. I often have a difficult time expressing - or putting into words - my feelings. That seems to be a deeper part of me that I'm not always willing to tap into. The good thing is that as the year ends I have at least been touching those feelings within myself even though I may not express them.


This post is one of the ways I hope to express how much you all mean to me. It'll be specific and vague, it may be funny and corny, and it even may be sentimental. The most important thing to remember is it's not all encompassing. I also hope to write some actual personal letters and email them or mail them. But given the significance of this day, as an ending and the beginning being only hours away, I wanted to get this accomplished.

Dear Munchkin,
Having you as a daughter has been amazing. You have made me so proud and I love you with the very essence of my heart. As you merge into your adult life, go out on your own and explore everything the world has to offer you, I hope you reach your goals, embrace love, find peace and comfort as well as relax and enjoy your life. You've become more than my daughter; you are a true friend. Always remember my "lectures" and learn from mistakes; respect yourself; do your best, but don't be too hard on yourself; say no when you need to without guilt and live your life to the fullest. Here's to a wonderful new year of growth, opportunity, happiness, joy and all the silliness we're able to conjure up together and apart. I'm always here. For you. Forever. More love than you can imagine, Mommy!

Well Franklin... JFG,
What is there to say? Actually what isn't there to say? Twenty-three years is a long time. That's more than half of our lives and I must say I am glad you "bugged" me in our English class when I kept falling asleep. Thank you for always being there. For flying in to save us from rats. For helping me to celebrate birthdays when no one else was there. For listening to me yell about him, me, them... just for listening. For the flowers no one ever sends; for reminding me not to give up and even for getting on my nerves. LOL... couldn't resist that one. Thank you for saving me from myself and for believing in me when even I have given up. You deserve more love, happiness, joy, peace, compassion, giving, living, fun and non-dairy ice cream than you can ever know. May the new year bring you that and so much  more. Believe. Signed: Dear. :)

To the Scarecrow:
Since you are the most non-mushy person that I know this will be short. It was 22 years ago that I walked into your room in the barracks just because I saw someone in there that I knew and I haven't stopped bugging you yet. Thanks for putting up with me. :) Thanks for being a great dad to Amber. You are lifeline that I never want to lose and that I can never replace. From Guam to Alaska, Rome to Georgia and all around the world through Arizona and Mississippi, you have never forgotten about us. My wish for you is that you'll get your island so people can really leave you alone. ROFL! Smooches, just Pet.

Kell Bell,
You're the sister I've always wanted. It's funny how we're so much alike and so different, and I totally believe it was karma, God, the universe, kismet... whatever you want to call it, that brought us together. You're the aunt my children have never had, the family I always wished was near, you're a shoulder and an ear. We may not always agree, but that does not a relationship make. My heart goes out to you every time you're hurt, scared, angry and miserable... I hope in the new year you'll find the path you're supposed to follow and embrace it with joy, peace and happiness. May prosperity and love overflow in your life. Love and smooches, your sister. 

Ahhh MAH!
I am hopeful about the new, about ready to let go of the old, respecting your thoughts and ready to take hold. One day at a time, is all I need; here's to a New Year and planting new seeds.

Lin, PJ, Stacey, Liss, Shaunalynn, Heather, Valerie, Tammy, Tina, Renee, Don ... and everyone who slips my mind:
I have no idea what life would be like without my blogging buddies. You guys have kicked me in the pants, loved me, encouraged me, checked on me and been there for me virtually and IRL. You've made me laugh and cry... Two years ago, honestly, I felt a little hopeless. Not only has this blog fulfilled something that I love doing, but it's been a gathering place, a community and a family I never thought I would have. No matter where I am or where I go, I know I can click around and find you guys here. I see you at different sites, commenting on different blogs and read what goes on in your world. I'm thankful and pleased to have known you all. You're an inspiration to me. Thank you for your time, words and love! ~Petula

Happy New Year to my friends & family. Let's bring in the year with hope, love, peace, joy and prosperity. Here's to beginning anew, letting go of the old and feeling good while doing it.
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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mental and physical health

I'm feeling a little tense and I have been for a few days now. Despite the immensely satisfying relaxation, goofing off and time spent with my oldest daughter, a few things have been lurking around in my mind. Plaguing my subconscious. Maybe getting them off of my chest will help.

  • Money issues including budget and bills.
  • Money issues including income.
  • Relationship thoughts including liking and not liking.
  • Relationship thoughts including wanting...
  • Home maintenance concerns.
  • Vehicle dilemmas.
  • Changes in the new year.
  • Self improvements.
  • Organizing, minimizing and efficiency of my home and processes.
  • Medical stuff.
Ahhh... medical stuff. Yes, this is my health and weight loss journal.

I normally post my health and weight loss journal on Tuesdays and if I don't get a chance to do it I save it for the next week. I'm not going to do that this time. I figure it's my blog (and my world: Check the name!) and I can do what I want to, right? Yup.

Today I had a follow up appointment with the GI, which I fondly call the tummy doctor (elementary, but effective), and my blood tests have not revealed anything new. One would say that is good news, right? Well, kind of. You see for quite a few years now they've been trying to figure out why my liver enzymes are elevated. Every once in awhile the levels go down some, but not to normal and then they rise again.

I've always posed the question, "What does this mean long term? I mean, I only have one liver."


No one has had an answer. The key may be in the lupus strain... uh, you know, the sjogren's disease, but they just aren't sure. So, today I had more blood work taken - a ton - and the request was put in for me to get a liver biopsy.

That.does.not.sound.like.fun.

I actually said that to the doctor. Her response? It isn't.

The worse part, she said, was the actual numbing process. She explained the possible risks, which aren't pretty at all: Possible piercing of lung, excessive bleeding, extreme pain and accidental biopsy of gall bladder. Luckily, I don't have a gall bladder! It's an outpatient procedure and afterward I'll have to be monitored for four to six hours before I can be released. I consented to do it.

I think if it was a kidney or something, I may have passed. But this is such an unknown. The problem - so to speak - is this is somewhat of a last resort. If they don't find anything then I have a condition of an undetermined nature. I've had ultrasounds, tons and tons of blood work and a variety of other tests. It would be nice to have a reason, an explanation.

Maybe my chronic pain has something to do with my liver. Maybe the sjogren's is the problem. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe... Maybe one day I'll feel normal. More like be normal. Yes, that's it. Maybe one day I'll be normal. I'll wake up one day, fix myself breakfast and go about my day without popping five pills. I'll get through the rest of the day without the next three and before I go to bed I won't need the last four or so.

I won't have to worry what I'll feel like if I sit too long or stand too long or walk too long. There will be no looming threat of "attacks" or days of forced inactivity. There won't be any concern about whether I sleep well. I won't wonder if I'll fall asleep on my own or if my mood is because I forgot to take a pill. I won't have to think about what type of damage my stomach is enduring, or any of my other organs, as a result of all the medications. The mysterious pain in my thigh won't come and go, and I won't feel like I have to explain when I don't feel well just because I look just fine. I won't think that every twinge, every jab, every hurt has something to do with my liver, my fibro, my sjogren's.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not necessarily upset. I'm just... pensive? Frustrated? Concerned? I don't know what I am. I'd like to not have one other thing rolling around in my head that I have to think about, consider, schedule, concern myself with. Being a single mother of four children and a self-employed freelancer is enough to take up the majority of my brain power.


It's brain power I could be using to finish my books. Develop my inventions. Learn more effective marketing techniques. Work toward another degree. Get my feminine powers to work more effectively.

Yea, you read that correctly.

It's power that I can be using to come up with the ultimate and complete organization system for my home office that doesn't involve spending one thin dime. I know, wishful thinking.

Somehow something good has to come of this, right? Uh... right? Somehow this experience, my experiences, will make me a better person, help someone else, teach me something... I really want to think this is okay. Instead of the thought that this problem has already been determined the cause of my demise. Maybe not today. Tomorrow. Ten years. 50 years. But with it hanging over my head - looming high above - it's a knowledge I could do without.

So, yea, I'm getting it off of my chest. Sharing it with you here and hoping you understand where I'm coming from. Hoping that this release will lift the weight off my shoulders. Just for now. Today... Tonight, I can be normal.
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Wordless Wednesday: What is it?





There's more Wordless Wednesday participants at 5 Minutes for Mom. Oh, and here's one of my most recent WW posts.
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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Stopping Male Hair Loss Early is Key

This is a sponsored guest post written by Louis Dobbs on behalf of Procerin for Men. Post powered by Sponzai.

    For many men, hair loss in an unfortunate fact of life. Whether you are going completely bald, or have just started to notice some thinning of your hairline, odds are good that you will be one of the nearly 65% of men that experience some loss of hair in their lives. For those of us with prematurely bald fathers or grandfathers, the future is even more bleak. Genetics plays a powerful role in a man’s susceptibility to hair loss, so if you have a family history of male pattern baldness early action is essential to keeping your hair.
     Scientists have known for over a decade that male hair loss is the result of a combination of genetics and the effects of di-hydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is a byproduct of the male hormone testosterone. It is created when a chemical reaction mutates testosterone, and converts it into DHT. DHT latches on to receptors in the hair follicle, eventually killing it off and causing the hair to fall out. The higher the levels of DHT in the scalp, the more “under attack” your hair follicles are every day.
     If you want to save your hair, stopping the effects of DHT is your top priority. The active ingredients in Procerin for men work with your body chemistry to block the formation of DHT in the first place. Procerin provides a powerful 2-part approach to battling DHT-related hair loss with a daily capsule and a convenient topical foam. If you are concerned about losing your hair, you owe it to yourself to try out Procerin before it is too late. Procerin is available without a prescription and backed by a 90 day money back guarantee.
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Rip up the checkbook!

Overall, I think I am a pretty bright individual. Above average intelligence. Mostly rational. Sort of level headed. Skilled in tricking small children. And seducing grown men. Uh, ahem!, did I say that? Able to leap tall words in a single bound.

But when it comes to balancing my checkbook, I feel like a complete idiot. I mean how hard is it to write down all of the transactions, pull out the little calculator and tally everything? Not hard, right? Then why does the calculator, the check registry and the bank statement ALWAYS say something different? Three different totals. Each.and.every.time. Okay, that's just a slight exaggeration.

This hasn't been a problem my entire life. When I opened up my first checking account at the tender age of 14 (when I got my first job in a library, of course), my checkbook always balanced effortlessly. Okay, well not so effortlessly. But my mommy would help me and all would be right with the world. In my late teens, I took on the task of figuring it out myself each month and it always totalled out. On the off chance it didn't, I drove to the local bank, sat down with the bank person and reviewed what I assumed was their error. Sometimes it was - well, one time - and sometimes (uh, mostly) it was mine.

This was back in the day when customer service really meant customer service. As a matter of fact, I remember the first time I went into a bank in the mid to late 90s and requested that type of assistance and the lady politely said, "We don't help you balance your checkbook or go over your statement."

Uh... okay. What if I think it's a bank error? Well, never mind. Not important. I digress.

If I were kidnapped and tortured to garner information from my overfilled brain, all the terrorist/kidnapper/bad guys would have to do is make me do math - with or without a calculator - and I would totally spill my guts. I would fall to the floor with snot dripping outta my nose, tears streaming down my face and scream the secrets at the top of my lungs ending with, "Please, please don't make me look at another calculation. I'll tell you everything!"

Deep breath.

None of this helps me get my checkbook balanced, does it? It wouldn't be so bad if there weren't so many transactions that I've let get behind over the course of this crazy month. Normally there are very few transactions, which makes it easy to keep up. I guess the multitude of transactions is a good thing, but I think I need a different approach to keeping track of my money.


Withdraw cash at the beginning of the month and insert in appropriate envelopes? Use a spreadsheet, some type of software, marry a millionaire?

I like that last one.

An-t-way, guess I better stop complaining about it and get to calculating. Eventually someone is going to want me to pay a bill and I refuse to rely on the bank's calculation 'cause they steal pennies. What? You didn't know?

Better keep a close eye on your account.

Luckily, everything is still in the green so I don't have to get too worried as of yet... I'm off to plan my next undercover mission. You know, children to trick and a man to seduce... damn, did I say that aloud again!?
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Monday, December 28, 2009

Discount Jamaica vacation packages

One of my favorite places to travel to is Jamaica. I've been to Negril, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios and, of course, breezed through the towns getting from one place to another. I would not mind taking several more Jamaica vacations because I enjoyed it so much. There's something about the culture, the climate and the people that I can't get enough of.

Years ago I did quite a bit of travel writing, which afforded me the opportunity to see a variety of places, and I learned that the best - and most convenient - way to travel is to book all inclusive. When you choose an all-inclusive vacation package you don't have to worry about budgeting your food money from your souvenirs and activities money. You can decide everything up front before you arrive at your destination. With an all-inclusive package, you can choose the number of meals, activities and tours so the only thing you have to do when you arrive is participate and relax.



Choosing all inclusive family vacations is especially convenient when traveling as a family because there's no last-minute decisions about where you're going to eat and how you're going to pay for it. Most parents know that eating "off the cuff," or without planning, can result in going over your vacation budget by quite a bit of mullah.

An ideal, and highly popular, location to visit while in Jamaica is one of the Breezes resorts, which have several discount vacation packages available for travelers. It's a great deal for a magical location. For instance, the Breezes Grand Resort & Spa in Negril all-inclusive package includes: meals, late night snacks, drinks, entertainment, tips and gratuities, lots of land and water sport activities and much more.

Consider an all-inclusive vacation in Jamaica the next time you're planning a trip.


LoudLaunch - Compensating bloggers for their unbiased opinions, reviews, and analysis.

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Being good...

Did I ever mention to you that my three younger children went with their dad on Christmas Eve and won't return until this Thursday? Ahhh... well, let me tell you I have enjoyed the semi quiet. I say semi because I've parked my booty in the living room in front of the television for so many days. Now, I'm in the office, but I'm still managing to stay relaxed. No rushing before someone yells or wants something. No forgetting what I'm doing. Just a constant stream of activity (including my morning of watching a little boob tube) and getting the house in order for the New Year.

Today, I've stripped the linens in the children's room and threw them in the wash. I've begun getting all the boxes and things in order, and I am trying to regain control over my desk. I am organizing my errand to-do list and my oldest daughter and I will branch on into the cold, windy world before it gets too late. Off to the bank, searching for a laptop (still!), exchanging some jeans, stopping by a friend's then returning to continue the at-home work and freelance work.

Gotta keep the wheels turning, right?

See... I've been good.

I even did 30 minutes of yoga today. I know. I rock, right? LOL

Once I get a little more organized and get back in the swing of things I'll share some pictures of the holidays with you. We didn't take many, but I think what we did take are pretty cute.

For now, I'll let you enjoy the photographic skills of my 4-year-old daughter Amareah who received a VTech Kidizoom Camera for Christmas. Now I don't have to see her pouty face when I say she can't use mine.

She loves taking pictures and has quickly learned how to use a lot of the functions on the camera including adding design elements and playing the games. I've been talking to her about making sure it's clear and that she's not too close or if it doesn't look quite right then she can zoom in or zoom out. At one point she was trying to take a picture of me when I was sitting in front of a window. I said, "Can you see me?" At first she said yes then she said no. I told her, "Try standing over there. When you take a picture of someone in front of the window the light behind them shadows their face."


She took the picture from where I stated and smiled when she looked at the screen. "I did it."

A little while later I noticed her return to her original spot to take another picture of me. I think she snapped it then she says, "Oh, I have to stand over here." Off she went to find a spot where she could get a better shot. I've definitely got a budding artist on my hands. She also draws really well so I'm hoping that by encouraging her creativity... and not telling her to stop taking pictures of dolls (LOL)... that it's something she'll continue to enjoy. I think I may have to teach her a little "protocol;" I didn't realize the Barbie was half naked until I posted the picture and I also realize she needs some male dolls like Ken 'cause that picture looks weird to me. ROFL... When I said that my teenager just gave me a look -- to wish I still laughed.

Stay tuned for more stories and photos of the other children. Look out for Anna's photos 'cause she won't leave Amareah's camera alone and pictures of Andre transforming and fighting little good and bad guys.

Don't forget to leave a comment telling me about something fun or interesting that happened to you over the Christmas holiday. Have a great week.
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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Too much relaxing? ... Happy New Year!

This is the first time I've been on the computer in about two days! Can you believe it? I'm pretty proud of myself and only a bit behind, but at least I'm relaxed. Is there ever such a thing as too much relaxing? I don't think so... Especially since it's something I hardly ever do.

I stopped by here to wish you Happy Holidays and, if I forget, Happy New Year. May the end of your year be productive and the beginning of the New Year exciting, filled with hope and positive beyond your wildest imagination.

Smooches!
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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve... a random review of the day

My children and I began our Christmas celebration today. I keep getting a little confused thinking it's Christmas Day, but it's my Christmas Day with the smaller children who will be spending this Christmas Day (and the next week or so) with their dad. I think it's wonderful that they have two Christmases and I don't see it as an inconvenience or anything. The children are blessed and I hope they realize it. They happily thanked their big sister and I, and each other, for the gifts they received.

Andre and Anna had a couple (well, quite a few fits), but besides that it's been enjoyable. I'm really tired because I didn't sleep well, I'm on my second cup of coffee and I've snuck some sugar cookies the kids made with their big sister, her boyfriend and his twin sisters last night.

Sometime over the weekend I'll share pictures of everything with you. Tomorrow Amber and I will celebrate Christmas Day together by opening the gifts from each other, spending time together and just enjoying the day. Well, it looks like we all are having to Christmases, huh? How cool is that!?

Before I conclude, let me express something to you - my wonderful friends: My intention was to send those whose addresses I have thoughtful cards and expressions of my love, it was to mail closer friends their gifts, write letters and mail everything in a timely manner. That SO didn't happen. Please know that it wasn't intentional. I didn't forget; I just didn't plan well. If you get a gift, card or letter late - or not at all - I still thought of you, I still love you and I still wish you the happiest of Christmas and an extremely joyous New Year.

Take care, my friends, and have a Merry Christmas Eve.
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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Not just me...

I was over at Velveteen Mind and she was saying how it's a little chaotic around her place. Laundry needing to be done, housecleaning getting backed up. You know, that kind of thing.

 
And I thought it was just me.

 
About 30 minutes ago I sat here staring at the television while guzzling a cup of coffee... (Now I have to have another one 'cause I didn't get to savor that one! LOL) ... and I was feeling a bit overwhelmed because I don't know what to do first. There is so much to do.

 

Since my oldest and I are celebrating Christmas with the children in the morning (yup, Christmas eve morning!), I have to get the gifts wrapped. Said gifts are in my closet. Said closet is in my room. Said room is extremely messy. So once I do a few more things on the computer I'll commence to straightening and cleaning my room, wrapping presents and moving on to the next part of the house.

 
Sounds like a plan, right?

 
After that here's a list of the other things I need to get accomplished:
  • Clean bathroom
  • Vacuum house
  • Sweep and mop bare floors
  • Clean out kids' closet
  • Wash and put away dishes
  • Put away laundry
  • Remove boxes, etc. from office
  • Start another box for friend's baby

I'd like to get everything accomplished by tomorrow night. Of course, I probably won't do anything on that list before the children leave for their dad's tomorrow so I hope I get finished with the majority tonight. Then I can goof off all day Christmas Day.

 
There are a few things I need for around the house - some grocery and household items, but I refuse to go to the store between now and Friday. I'm hoping I can hold out. Luckily, I have toilet paper.

Once the holidays are over I hope that things get back to the way they were. You know, mildly chaotic.

How are you making out these last couple of days before Christmas morning? Finished shopping? Wrapping?
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Undermount kitchen sinks

MR Direct Sinks and Faucets sells stainless steel undermount kitchen sinks that are made of heavy 16-gauge stainless steel, which is 25 percent thicker than name brand sinks. A lot of customers who are considering home improvement projects are choosing a stainless steel sink or a smart divide sink to update the look of their kitchen.

MrDirectInt.com also stocks decorative bowl sinks and a variety of faucets and accessories. The online retailer is accredited by the Better Business Bureau, offers same day shipping and wholesale prices.
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What will the new year bring?

This is a plaque that hangs in my kitchen.


"One day at a time..." That's been my motto for the last two years. Not too long ago, a woman I have high respect for asked me about my goal(?), plan(?) or expectations(?) for the next year. I can't think of the exact word she used and I was stumped for an answer. I just take one day at a time.
I guess my life-long goal has been to create a comfortable living with my writing and skills for myself and my children. And, to be happy, of course.                                                                                                

After 15 years of being a writer, I can't give up now. I've worked as a reporter for a daily newspaper and as an editor and writer for monthly magazines. I've written web content and, of course, this blog.

Writing is my passion and I hope in the process I will not only succeed, but bring enlightenment, education, joy and entertainment to those who read my words.
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Buy any It Cosmetics get FREE Lash Primer

There are a lot of hot deals rolling around this holiday season to not only purchase for those on our list, but to stock up on some things we may need (or want!) for ourselves. Even in these frugal times we sometimes use products that are a little costly, but saving money on those splurges can make it all worth it. Here's a deal from Beauty.com that I thought would interest you:

Buy any It Cosmetics product and receive a free Lash Primer ($19.50 value)! Offer good while supplies last.

I've reviewed "eyelash technology" before and I wonder if Beauty.com's Lash Primer works like the neuLash. If you get one then let me know, okay?
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Lots of random lately

Health and weight loss journal?
Random musings?
Vent?
All of the above, except maybe the venting, and more!

I'm sitting on the couch enjoying the last minutes or so of quiet. None of the children are home and I'm trying to maximize on my quiet computer time in order to complete some work. But, you know how it is when you're trying to finish something and you begin to feel anxious? It's like there's something lurking around the corner.

Well, this time it's lurking around the corner of my brain.

I mean really, can I get a little focus here?

Deep ooohmmm-ing breath. Closing of the eyes. Breathing from the stomach...

Okay. Let's get to it.

Today is Tuesday and here at It's a woman's world that usually means it's time to talk about health and weight loss. Problem is I don't really feel like talking about that. I will tell you, however, that I had a really bad "attack" over the weekend and I'm feeling much better. Sore. But I feel somewhat human again. The regular aches and pains are hanging around (like old smelly friends) and the tiredness is keeping me company (like a blanket that smells like mothballs...). Other than that: It's all peaches and roses. No, strawberries and chocolate. Wait! I've got it: It's all strawberries, rose petals & chocolate. Deep dark chocolate.

Oops... more digression.

I've been busy clicking away trying to keep the dollars rolling in to replace the mullah I spent on Christmas gifts. It's great to be able to get my children some of the things they want, but it's almost like I can hear the money falling from my pockets. No complaints. I actually feel only a smidgen of anxiety compared to the overwhelming suffocation I felt last year. I can't find the anxiety post, but I thought you would like a peek at the children from this time last year. It's amazing how much they've changed in just a year.

Finally, please forgive me if I've been MIA at your blog or site. Everything should get back in order when I get more organized with my own laptop. A laptop I'm being forced to buy because mine died. SIGH... Okay, I'm not going to get anxious about that 'cause if I don't have one (Amber's taking hers back to school with her) then I can't work. If I can't work then I die.

Too dramatic?

If I can't work then I don't make money. So, let me get back to it. Wish me luck and if you're feeling in the Christmas spirit and want to express your love by purchasing me a laptop (a Toshiba or an HP... ooohhhh, a Dell!) then feel free to do so. I don't want to hold you back from the true meaning of Christmas. ;)
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Attention: Parents of December 09 Babies

Did you know the typical family spends more than $221,000 raising a child through age 17? I would open my mouth in shock, but I'm too shocked to move. Guess that means I've spent that much and more for my 18 year old and still have $663,000 to go.

Sorry. I digress.

Thanks to TurboTax®, one "last-minute" baby will help his or her parents save a bundle. TurboTax®, tax preparation software from Intuit Inc., is conducting its third annual nationwide search for America's Cutest Last-Minute Tax Deduction. The parents of one lucky baby, born in December 2009, will win $5,000.

To enter parents or legal guardians should submit a photo of their baby - born between December 1 and December 31 - to www.cutesttaxdeduction.com. The deadline for submissions is January 7, 2010. Judges will select 10 finalists, and America will determine America's Cutest Last-Minute Tax Deduction and the $5,000 grand prize winner!

Further details, rules and eligibility information is available at CutestTaxDeduction.com. You can follow @TurboTax on Twitter (#TTbaby) or visit TaxBreak, the new TurboTax blog for updates.


This post is provided on a purely informational basis. No compensation was exchanged for the writing of this post; however, my including this post is an entry in a contest. Information is provided on behalf of MomSelect and TurboTax.
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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Weekend whatchamacallits...

This has been one of those random weekends where a lot was done - not by me - and a lot wasn't done - by me. But the good part (and you'll be happy to hear this) is that I took a lot of naps. I'm hoping it's just one of the meds that I'm taking that's wiping me out, stealing my energy and strength. I think I have about three more days of taking it then I will know for sure.

My daughter, Amber, her boyfriend and the younger children have been in and out, 'round about while I fall asleep in my bed, on the couch, eat, stumble around, get on the computer and do some work or just click randomly around... Another thing (which should also make you happy) is that I got out of the house for about an hour or two yesterday. It was a chore showering and dressing, but I briefly enjoyed some good conversation and salad. So, see, I do relax. Ahem.

Oh, the real reason for this post was to tell you about forgetting to give my children dinner tonight. It's almost 8 p.m. and their big sister is giving them a bath. I am trying to finish up some work and be finished with my daugher's laptop by the time she's ready to use it. I went to the bathroom and was thinking, "Why am I so hungry?" Then it dawned on me that we had eaten a late lunch. I fed the children at about 4 p.m. Well, the two middle children ate around 2 originally then they came in from outside and ate again with Anna would had been taking a nap. That was at 4.

So I'm wracking my brain to some up with something for them to eat. You should see the look my oldest daughter gave me when she realized we didn't eat dinner. She, of course, was out. I, of course, was in the bed.

Hmmm?? Maybe I should nap some more. Think that'll work?

How's your weekend going? Did you get any rest? Are you getting busier as the holiday gets closer or not?

DISCLAIMER: Yes, I know this post is random and I also realize there may be misspellings or inaccurate word usage. I hope this isn't the moment someone considering me for an assignment is reading and decides against hiring me 'cause I sound like a lazy, clueless, neglectful nut. I assure you (I'm saying in my best, most professional voice), I am only like that off duty. LOL... Okay, that didn't help my case any. An-t-ways, have a good night.
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Mead Johnson, Maker of Enfamil, Loses Multi-Million Dollar False Advertising Case Against Store-Bran

This is a sponsored guest post written by a Press Release on behalf of PBM Products. Post powered by Sponzai.

GORDONSVILLE, VA., December  2 , 2009PBM Products, LLC, a leading infant formula company that supplies store-brand infant formulas to Walmart, Sam's Club, Target, Kroger, Walgreens, and other retailers, has received a favorable jury verdict and a $13.5 million damages award in its false advertising lawsuit against Mead Johnson & Co., the operating subsidiary of   Mead Johnson Nutrition Company (NYSE: MJN) (“Mead Johnson”), the makers of the national-brand Enfamil® LIPIL® Infant Formula.  Mead Johnson is 83 percent-owned by Bristol-Myers Squibb.

 

PBM’s lawsuit claimed that Mead Johnson engaged in false and misleading campaigns against PBM’s competing store-brand of infant formulas, suggesting they do not provide the same nutrition as Mead Johnson’s brands.  PBM’s store-brand infant formulas cost up to 50 percent less than Enfamil® LIPIL®.  The $13.5 million in damages awarded by the jury in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia is one of the largest damages awards ever for a false advertising case.

 

“This decision by a jury of the people confirms that Mead Johnson’s ads have been false in suggesting that there is a nutritional difference between our store-brand formula products and their products, when in fact the only major difference is price,” said PBM CEO Paul B. Manning.  “Despite Mead Johnson’s scare tactics, parents are assured that PBM’s formula products are as high quality and nutritious as Mead Johnson’s.”

 

U.S. District Court Judge James R. Spencer issued his written rulings yesterday following the November 10th jury verdict. Judge Spencer’s written rulings permanently enjoined Mead Johnson from making any false statements concerning PBM's infant formula, including the claims Mead Johnson previously made in Enfamil advertising that "It may be tempting to try a less expensive store brand, but only Enfamil LIPIL is clinically proven to improve brain and eye development," and "there are plenty of other ways to save on baby expenses without cutting back on nutrition."  The Court also ordered Mead Johnson to retrieve from the public domain all advertising or promotional materials containing these or any other false claims about PBM's store brand infant formula.  

The details of the decision and the complaint are posted online in full at:

 

·      http://www.pbmproducts.com/docs/Order_Laches.pdf

·      http://www.pbmproducts.com/docs/PBM_Complaint_MJ_III_LIPIL.pdf

 

The nutritional supplements under examination in the case are two fats, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ARA (arachidonic acid), which Mead Johnson calls “LIPIL®” solely for marketing purposes and touts as promoting infant brain and eye development. PBM’s claim focused on Mead Johnson’s direct mailing to more than 1.6 million parents of an alarming blurry picture of a child’s cartoon duck next to a clear picture of the same image which suggested that anything other than the Enfamil LIPIL® blend of ingredients is inferior and will result in poor eye and brain development.  Other parts of the false advertising campaign consist of statements that only Enfamil LIPIL has been proven to confer visual and mental benefits on infants, and store-brand formulas are a “cut-back in nutrition” compared to Enfamil. 

 

PBM successfully argued that these advertisements were false and misleading especially since PBM store- brand infant formulas have the same nutrients at the same levels as Enfamil.  PBM infant formulas are formulated to contain DHA and ARA, and are sourced from the same supplier in amounts which equal or exceed the DHA and ARA in Mead Johnson’s Enfamil LIPIL®. 

 

This decision marks the third time PBM Products has sued Mead Johnson for false advertising claims. On the prior occasions Mead Johnson admitted that it made false claims about PBM’s products.  It is also the first false advertising case to focus on the issue of DHA and ARA nutritional ingredients in formula, which were introduced into the market in 2003 and have become a staple in recent years by many brands as key components for infant development.

 

“This jury verdict should send a significant and clear message to Mead Johnson about the way it conducts marketing and advertising for its brands,” said Manning.  “This lawsuit also demonstrates our complete commitment to defending our products and the valuable brands of our retail partners.”

 

“As a parent and supporter of children’s medical research, I take a personal responsibility in assuring our customers that the products we produce are healthy and nutritionally equivalent to brand names like Enfamil® LIPIL®.  It is important, especially now, for parents to know that there are lower priced yet highly nutritious store-brand formulas that will provide the same benefit to their children as any national brand name formula product,” Manning added.   

 

The U.S. infant formula market is estimated at $3.4 billion and the global market is estimated at $7.9 billion.

 

All of PBM’s formulas, and for that matter all of U.S. infant formulas, are subject to the exacting standards of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), pursuant to the Infant Formula Act of 1980.  This legislation vested FDA with the authority to ensure that all infant formula products sold in the United States provide the necessary levels of identified nutrients required for the growth of healthy babies. For more information, visit this FDA link.

 

PBM Products was represented by the law firm Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP.  Partners from the firm’s advertising practice, Harold P. Weinberger and Jonathan M. Wagner in New York, led the team.  

 

About PBM

PBM is privately owned and based in Gordonsville, VA.  PBM companies specialize in manufacturing, distributing, and marketing consumer food, nutritional, and pharmaceutical products. For more information, visit www.pbmproducts.com.

 

Enfamil® LIPIL® are registered trademarks of Mead Johnson & Co.


 

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Are you ready?

What holiday do you celebrate? Are you ready for it?

I know those who celebrate Christmas are putting up decorations, purchasing gifts and planning holiday dinners. And I have an idea of what those who celebrate Kwanzaa are doing: they're decorating as well in preparation for lighting the candles and preparing their offerings for loved ones by finalizing handmade gifts or purchasing inexpensive educational ones.

Things are a little unorganized here, but we have erected and decorated our tree. There's a wreath on our door and a jingly doorknob decoration. That's about all I'm going to do. Well, I'm going to wrap presents for the children using whatever materials I have around the house in an effort not to be wasteful and contribute to our overflowing landfills. There are about three more things I have to get for each child including more stocking stuffers, a babydoll for the youngest and some Barbie clothes for Amareah. Hopefully I can do this and spend as little as possible.

I'm hoping to get a little energy* and a lot of rest so I won't be worn out on Wednesday (when my oldest daughter and I celebrate Christmas with the younger children who will be with their father this Christmas) or Thursday when my oldest and I will spend our Christmas together. We're looking forward to it because it's a reminder of the times we've spent together when it was just she and I. It's good to be able to spend individual time with each of my children.

Earlier this week I helped my son Andre wrap the gifts he purchased for everyone from the "store" they had at his school for the children to purchase items. Then yesterday I spent time with Amareah and took her shopping to buy some things for her siblings and her dad. Today it dawned on her that she didn't get anything for me, which I thought was so sweet, and she asked Amber to take her soon to get something. Isn't she sweet?

Although the children love the holiday season I will be glad when it'over... here's to 2010!

*As each day this week has passed I've become more and more exhausted. I even dozed off while standing up and ironing the children's clothes this morning. I slept another three hours (give or take) and I feel like crap. No flu or cold symptoms. I'm sure it's just a fibro, etc., attack. It's been awhile since that's happened so it's a little surprising and disappointing. However, I'm going to be sure to relax as much as I can. In fact I think I'm going to order pizza for the kids. I don't like to do that because I don't want to spend the money, but they love it. I don't need it 'cause I've gained a few pounds. However, it'll work out better since I have been feeling weak and exhausted.
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Kmart news

Time is winding down for holiday shopping. For those still looking for that perfect gift, don't forget Kmart has extended their shopping hours from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m. through December 23rd and 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on December 24th.

Also, don't forget to enter the Kmart Bluelight Special Holiday Sweepstakes by tweeting and using the #KmartBLS hashtag. The sweepstakes ends on December 23rd so use the  hashtag for a chance to win every day.

*No compensation was received for providing this information to you. Thanks to MomFuse and AmericanPop for providing up-to-date and useful information to bloggers and their readers.
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

A week's worth of updates

My blogging and working day has not been going as smoothly as it sometimes does. I told you my laptop has died and I'm using my daughter's. The simple fact of working in a different location and with a different computer has gotten me out of my groove. I'm finding a little of that groove today along with a little frustration. Let's review my week to see what's going on and to talk about the things I've missed.

Monday: Weekly Inspiration

I didn't really have one this week. I didn't feel like wracking my brain or being particularly positive so I was going to skip it this week. BUT I love reading what Heather comes up with at Maternal Spark (she's such a muse) and when I finally got over there I found that she's not feeling too inspired either. And, you know, that's okay. Sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves to do certain things and it stresses us out. Besides, this holiday season has been so busy for me, home & parenting have been a little chaotic and I'm behind on paperwork. Not to mention the days that I haven't been able to work due to picking up or dropping off children as well as attending doctor's appointments.

Tuesday: My health and weight loss journal
Speaking of doctor's appointments. I have so many coming up, which is nothing new, and so much going on that I'm beginning to lose track of exactly what's going on. I went in for a women's wellness appointment this week and everything went fine with that except the pressure for me to get a flu shot. That pressure is increasing because they say that because my immune system is weak then I should get it. I explained that I haven't had the flu (or the flue shot) in about 16 years. My children haven't had it either. The doctor says, "Well, some would say you're due to have it then." I take precautions and I figure if something works for you then why should you mess with it. It came down to her telling me that they (in rheumatology) are not going to be happy when they find out... "Just you wait." I feel like I'm going to be put in time out or something. Quarenteened or strapped to a chair and forced to endure the shot whether I think it's best for me or not.

I also have more blood work coming up, of course, more test results to get and more tests to schedule and get. Nothing that's too big of a deal, as I recall. Well, besides my appointment at hemotology, which I so don't want to attend. All of these extra clinics that the VA doctors have me going to do nothing, but remind me that something is going on inside of my body that has yet to be fully determined. Thinking about that really sucks sometimes.


Tackle It Tuesday & To Do Tuesday

I finished my wreath for the front door. What do you think? I like it. At first I just had silver and red, but someone made a comment that some green would look nice as well. I added some and played with it some more; I have to admit it looks better now then it did at first. Of course, the little kids love it. Anything that indicates Christmas is cool with them.


As far as the to-do list is concerned, I did get a closet straightened and cleaned up. Swapped out one organization, clear drawer thingy and put some of the kids' toys in a larger one. I would go take a picture, but I'm too tired to get up...

I wonder what TO DO is going on at 5 Minutes for Mom and Crazy Adventures in Parenting. I'll have to click over and see what's up.

Wednesday: Wordless Wednesday
Nothing really inspiring... just the beauty of my children. This is my youngest, Anna. I call this photo "Where are you going?"


I haven't managed to check out 5 Minutes for Mom yet to see others' Wordless Wednesday posts.

Thursday: Etc. ...
I have to do some book reviews, get some copies of paperwork I have to turn in, write some web content and clear off my desk... clean the house, finish the laundry, vacuum and all the other things like the nasty bathroom that I wish I could ignore. I also have to remember to go to the opitcal store at the VA to get my lenses replaced and visit a government office that I dread. The one thing that's bugging me the most right now is my checkbook. It.won't.balance. Well, I guess I need to take responsibility for that 'cause I can't get it to balance. I hate balancing my checkbook, when I keep up with it I hardly have any transactions and as soon as I get busy there are millions of transactions and I end up having to do some creative bookkeeping to make it balance. Can you say ignore it and move on?


I want to finish up holiday preparations, get groceries and any other thing that is going to keep me from relaxing next week. I have two deadlines to meet, an invoice to submit, an invoice to follow up on and probably a couple of other things that I forget by the end of the day and remember before the next day. Only to forget again. SIGH

Oh, I did win something from Hybrid Mom, which made my freaking day. She surprised me by calling; I hope I didn't sound too grumpy before I found out I had won an organizing basket. I can't remember if I was going to give it to someone or use it for myself (probably the latter), but I can't wait to get my grumby little hands on it.

Now if I could just keep my eyelids from continually drooping while the youngest, who is home sick and won't stop talking to me, prattles along around my desk. I think it's time to enforce my "mom's right to make you take a nap" rule so I can eat in peace, try to balance my check registry and shake myself awake.

How's your week going?
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Timely gift

Technically, you can't give someone the gift of more time, but you can give them a gift to help them keep time. My oldest daughter is 18 years old and I would love to get her an elegant, name-brand watch like one of the Seiko Kinetic watches. (They make these for females, right?) Now that she's in college she said she needs a watch more than she ever has. It's a little weird though given the fact that she has a cell phone, but I guess it's easier for her to glance at a watch than it is for her to look at her cell phone.

I think kinetic energy, which is still considered revolutionary, is so cool - and green! It means that the watch utilizes the power of the human body to keep it running. There aren't any batteries and no winding necessary. Kinetic watches have oscillating weights that are turned by the constant movement of the wearer's wrist, which turns into magnetic charge and then into electricity. The power it gets is stored until needed and if it ever stops all it takes is for the wearer to put it on for recharging.


BlueDial.com offers a large collection of kinetic watches including Coutura, Sportura, Dive, Premier and Velatura. The kinetic watch was first introduced by Seiko in 1988 and is maintenance free.

That’s a gift that will help the giver, receiver and the environment.
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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

She shoots, she scores!

Know what I feel like doing?

...Opening the lid of my outdoor trashcan, passing my laptop from hand to hand as I race down the driveway and dodge the defense, do an alley-oop and slam my laptop into the can. In.your.face.

Nevertheless, I don't think that will happen. I'm sitting at the kitchen table, (displaced from my desk. No, I don't know why) and trying to focus. I hear my laptop (I'm on my teenager's lappy now) shut down and reboot. No, it's not ghosts of laptops past; it's my best friend working on it remotely.

The last time he called for me to reboot it in safe mode I heard him mumble something like "if this doesn't work then..." I promptly ceased listening and made a point to not ask what he said. My hope upon hope is that he can revive it enough to last until after Christmas. Surely I will have money in the New Year to spend on a new laptop. Or maybe I'll troll the Internet for bloggy contests giving away laptops.

If not, I quit.

Oh wait, I'm not a young single chick living at home with mommy and writing the next Pulitzer Prize winning novel. I'm a single mom with four children, a house, a mortgage, a million bills, expenses and responsibilities. A laptop, or computer, is how I make my dough. Quitting is not an option.

Unless of course you know a tall, dark, rich (semi-rich?) brother who wouldn't mind putting up a hot momma and her four children. Well, three full time and one part time. Whataya think? Anyone willing to pay my dating site membership fee? Maybe you have a cute relative of the male persuasion that you want to recommend.

Not realistic? How about this...

I'll drape myself in my sexiest yet conservative, relaxed yet professional gear and frequent hot spots where the well-to-do businessmen visit. Or the places that often have celebrity sightings. I'm sure I can reel me in a man or two. He'll fall in love and do my bidding. ...

What?! Not realistic either?

Look, I'm running out of options here. Okay, okay... Here's the last one:

Bust my tail (nothing new there), work like I'm crazy to make enough money for my regular stuff and the new expense of a lappy and just buy one. Picture me rolling my eyes here. How boring, regular and stressful. Geez, I so like my other ideas better. Way to shoot down a girl.

That's okay... I'll be in the driveway practicing my layup 'cause I'm sure I'll get a chance to take that shot soon.

DISCLAIMER: Please don't leave any tsk-tsk comments on this post. If you're taking this for anything than it was intended don't blame me for your lack of humor and ability to see a tired, burnt out mommy and woman for the procrastinating person (I should be at least trying to do something productive) she is. Hey, I wouldn't be a true writer if you didn't get some off-the-wall posts while I'm trying to regain my bearings. Now would I?
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Monday, December 14, 2009

Oh what a Monday... week?

I had planned to get up and have a relaxing morning since I didn't have to get the younger kids outta the house. Leisurely breakfast, steady work, a couple of breaks before the duties and responsibilities of parenting kicked in. That all went a little awry after I remembered (read: looked at my calendar) and saw I had a doctor's appointment at 11 a.m.

I woke up late, wolfed down some food, rushed out of the house and made it to my appointment on time. Since I was at the Veteran's hospital I decided to take care of some other business and appointments, which resulted in me leaving there at about 2 p.m. That's 20 minutes before my son gets off the bus. Luckily my oldest daughter was at home to get him off of the bus and I rushed to get the 4 year old. I went home to eat my late lunch, sat for about 10 minutes then went to the bank (the errand I forgot)  and on to pick up my 2-year-old daughter.

On the way back home the sky opened all the way up and people drove like they had absolutely no sense. This is the first time I had the chance to sit down at the computer....

Speaking of computers...

It looks like mine is about to kick the bucket. My laptop has decided to... well, I don't know what it's doing. My computer genius best friend can't get it to do anything (he works on it remotely) and it doesn't respond even to me. Right in the same room.

HUGE GIGANTIC SUPER SIGH! No Windows Live Writer, no saved passwords, no ... well, you get the point. If I don't figure out something before my daughter goes back to college I am going to be up the creek without a paddle. Without a boat.

There are some old computers here and the best friend said he put Windows XP on one so I'll have to check it out and see. But then I think I'll be without FireFox and, once again, Windows Live Writer.

This isn't supposed to be a vent; just a review of what's going on. I'm tired just reading it. I better get to work and figure out what I am doing. It's a little difficult to concentrate right now 'cause my son is whining, my daughter is picking at her food, the other daughter is getting down instead of eating and the teenager is talking to everyone. Talk about a little distracted.

How's your day going?
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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Just a little behind, a little random

I hope everyone is having a good weekend. Besides the rain and cold, along with the lack of heat in my van, the weekend has been fine. Went to pickup the teenager from school yesterday and we went to a ballet, The Nutcracker, on her campus that one of her roommates was in. It was very good.

Now I'm trying to finish up some work (deadline today) while I eat (egg boiling) before I go shopping (in the freaking rain!) with the teenager. Hmmmm? Maybe I should start calling her "the young adult."

An-t-way, please forgive my temporary disappearance here and at your place (you know, my favorite bloggers) after I meet my deadline today/night I'm hoping things will get somewhat back to normal. LOL: My normal is just as crazy as my being behind.

Oh, but I do hope to have a little fun today, which I've tried to incorporate into each day. Maybe a friend will call and take me to dinner (Hint! Hope you're reading today!) or maybe the young adult will clean the house (Double HINT! You reading today?)... if all else fails I guess I'll try to finish my work so I can veg in front of the television. Anything's better than being out in the rain.

Take care... and let me know how your weekend is going, k?
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Friday, December 11, 2009

Kmart Bluelight Specials, Dec. 12-13

You’re running out of weekend shopping days so it’s time to take full advantage of all the excellent deals. Here are the Kmart Bluelight Specials for this weekend:

  • Essential Home Snug Sack 50% off (reg. $19.99)
  • Jaclyn Smith Today Cashmere Blend Throw $12.99 (reg. $29.99)
  • Kodak 7” digital frame $49.99 (reg. $79.99)

All day offers:

Saturday:

  • Mens Boxed Gifts $5 (reg. 16.99-19.99)
  • Die Hard Battery Bank BOGO Free (reg. $9.99)

Sunday:

  • Fisher Price Fashion Separates $4.99 (Infant/Toddler) reg. $10.99-$18.99
  • Hershey Snack size jumbo bags $3.50 (reg. $5.99)

Don’t forget to follow @KmartDealsnNews on Twitter and use the #KmartBLS hashtag for a chance to win every day!. For information and rules: http://tr.im/KmartBLS.

Have any leads on deals you’d like to share?

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Pour me another cup, add some rum

Deep breath.

One more…

Okay. I tried starting a sentence to begin this post about three times. Each time it didn’t make any sense. Why? My brain is mush, my ears hurt and my throat feels like I’ve been yelling for an hour.

I volunteered at my son’s elementary school today.

In the holiday store (can’t even remember what they call it). Those who have children know that during the holiday season a lot of schools, particularly elementary, have fundraisers including a “store” where the children can go to purchase gifts for their family members… or themselves.

For some reason, I keep forgetting what it’s like to be in a room full of elementary-age children. It’s only been about two months since I volunteered the last time so I don’t know what I was thinking this time as I walked into the school, with a little bounce in my step, and enthusiastically signed in to get to work. It’s almost as if it’s like giving birth: It really hurts; you feel joy, satisfaction and some times irritation, and when it’s over you don’t think you want to do it again. Then you forget all of that and get pregnant again.

ROFL

Yea, I couldn’t resist laughing at myself. That was just a little dramatic.

I’m not going to bore you with the details of the two hours I spent there. Let me just say: children are selfish, noisy and rude as well as funny, endearing and special.

I’m glad I can enjoy about an hour of quiet before I have to put up with my youngsters. So, I’m sipping my cup of coffee (nope, I’m not gonna say how many I’ve had today) and wishing I had some rum to spike it with.

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Relief from antidepressant side effects

If you take prescribed medication regularly then you’re familiar with the warnings and information that is included with the prescriptions. It normally cautions patients regarding what side effects to be aware of, which are of concern and when to obtain medical assistance in the event of severe side effects.

Women who take antidepressants are normally aware of potential side effects and the risks involved with taking certain medications. For women who experience sexual problems from antidepressant use there is a study that reveals Viagra may help these women.

“Seventy-two percent of the women on Viagra vs. 27% of the women on placebo got to 'much improved' or 'very much improved' on a scale [of sexual functioning],'' says Harry A. Croft, MD, medical director of the San Antonio Psychiatric Research Center in Texas and a co-author on the study.

In a nutshell, according to Web MD, up to 70 percent of individuals on antidepressants experience sexual dysfunction, which is reportedly the main reason those types of patients discontinue using their medication. Most often linked to and prescribed for erectile dysfunction in men, Viagra also helps women overcome their sexual problems.

Obtaining Viagra from an online retailer is possible, but must be done from a reputable company. Finding out if the medication is right for your needs is just a click away.
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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wordless Wednesday – Oh so cute!

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My Wordless Wednesday posts

5 Minutes for Mom WW participants

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Me & my big mouth

A Christmas Meme

I have been so lucky not to have been tagged with a meme in quite a long time. They’re not exactly my favorite thing to do, but when someone tags me and I really like them I usually play along. That said, please don’t start tagging me just to poke fun at me like Henrietta did! LOL

Henrietta is the sweet blogger from A Hen’s Nest (don’t you just love that name?) and she tagged me with the Christmas Meme because I told her how I am a scrooge. The subject came up in a contest she’s having to win “The Snowman’s Song: A Christmas Story” children’s book. The mandatory entry is “Leave me a comment telling what your favorite Christmas or holiday book is.” I, being the big mouth that I am, had to leave a comment just to tell her I didn’t have one so I can’t enter. I think I also mentioned something about being a scrooge.

It’s all coming together for you, isn’t it?

Let’s see what the heck I can come up with for the answers to these questions:

1.) Have you started your Christmas shopping?
This is probably the first year I’m able to answer yes. Ha! Well, it’s only because I’ve done most of it online and haven’t had to leave the house to do it.

2.) Tell me about one of your special traditions.
My oldest daughter and I have added a new ornament to the tree every year. (I think she already has the one for us this year.) This year we’ll explain the tradition to the youngest kids again. She and I also sometimes open one small gift on Christmas Eve.

Christmas 20083.) When do you put up your tree?
I don’t have a specific time to do it. Normally it’s after my oldest has bugged me for a week or so after Thanksgiving. I am thinking that we should change that and do it a day or two after Thanksgiving because we won’t put up the tree without her. So, we’ll be doing it this Monday when all the children will be home. As she gets older and spends time away from home during the holidays (I’m sure it’ll happen eventually. SNIFF) I’ll resort to waiting until the children bug me to death. (Photo: Amber putting ornaments on the tree last year.)

4.) Are you a Black Friday shopper?
Nope, unless my daughter (boy she comes up a lot during holiday “conversations”) forces me to go. Luckily she drives now so she bribed her best friend to get up at 4:30 a.m. and my excuse was I had the three youngest kids with me so … well, that’s obvious, right?

5.) Do you travel at Christmas or stay home?
I like to stay at home during Christmas, but I wouldn’t mind going to visit my family in MD one year or going on vacation. Oh, there was this one year when I surprised Amber (yup, the oldest one! She was about 10 at the time) with a trip to Jamaica for Christmas. She had to open the “gift,” a brochure about Jamaica, the day before Christmas since we were leaving Christmas day. We opened her other presents after she finished packing. I had packed almost everything that I didn’t think she would miss. That was the most relaxing Christmas ever and it stopped her from complaining that she hadn’t been to Jamaica and I’d been two or three times.

6.) What is your funniest Christmas memory?
Uhhh… Hmmmm? Nope, can’t think of a thing.

7.) What is your favorite Christmas movie of all time?
Christmas movie? Let’s see…. I don’t have a favorite and I don’t really like Christmas movies. Ah, wait! I have one: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, The Enchanted Christmas. Yea me!

8.) Do you do your own Christmas baking, what’s your favorite treat?
Christmas 2007 037 Nope, I can’t remember the last time I baked cookies or something like that. If we do have sweet treats it’s because my daughter Amber (of course!) bakes them. Okay, now I’m beginning to feel bad. LOL. I don’t necessarily have a favorite, but I like most traditional bikes and LOVE anything with chocolate. (Photo: This is the cake Amber made for her class holiday party last year. I think this was her first time doing fondant.)

9.) Fake or real tree?
Christmas 2008 Fake. Never had a real tree, but wouldn’t mind getting one. (Photo: That’s little Miss Anna at 1 year old gazing at the lit tree. She was fascinated.)

10.) What day (as a Mom) does the actual panic set in to get it all done?
Hmmm… let me check last year’s posts. :) I remember panicking about a week before Christmas last year so I’m hoping to not repeat that again.

11.) Are you still wrapping presents on Christmas Eve?
Yup!

12.) What is your favorite family fun time at Christmas?
When I was a child it was visiting with all of my extended family. Now it’s opening gifts with my children and enjoying our traditional gigantic Christmas breakfast. Oh, I forgot about the breakfast tradition.

13.) What Christmas craft do you like the best?
Craft? Are you kidding? I don’t like any craft the best, but this year I am making a wreath. I’m excited about it and hope it turns out like it looks in my  head.

14.) Christmas music. Yes or no. If yes, what is your favorite song?
Kind of. I actually think my favorite is Little Drummer Boy. Is that the right name?

15.) When do you plan to finish all your shopping?
I have no idea. Next Wednesday or Friday, I hope.

Whew! That actually wasn’t so bad and I don’t think I look like a total scrooge, do I?

Any blogger is welcome to participate in this meme, even if you haven’t been tagged yet. Heather over at the Top Ten Christmas Blog will go back and add your blog link to the list if you want to play along. Just simply copy and paste the questions into your blog and then answer them.
Then tag 5 or more of your favorite blogs, and leave them a comment telling them they’ve been tagged.

When you post your blog, please spread some Christmas cheer, and leave a link back to Heather at Top Ten Christmas, and the blog that you were tagged by that would be me It’s a woman’s world.

I’m always a meme rule breaker so I don’t think I’m going to tag five people. If you’re reading and would like to play along then jump right on it and let me know so I can check out your answers. If you’re Lin (from Duck and Wheel with String) then I think you should do it anyway just because you don’t like memes. ROFL… Don’t blame me Lin, Henrietta started it! (Note: Okay, okay… I did get a kick out of it and had fun looking at last year’s pictures. Just don’t tell Henrietta I said that!)

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pretty steady, baby

On the good side of things there isn’t too much to report regarding my health. In my last health and weight loss journal I told you about being electrocuted and stabbed in my ankle with a needle. Yes, I intended to be that dramatic, but it isn’t far from the truth. If you missed that post then click the above link... Here’s a little excerpt from it:

My appointment yesterday was with the nerve center at the VA hospital. It’s the pain management clinic. The last time I went there they electrocuted my wrists/arms and yesterday they were nice enough to do it to my lower legs, ankles and feet. I even had the pleasure of getting a needle stuck into my ankle so they could test a muscle. Oh the joys of modern medicine!

It seems as if my nerves are responding a little slowly for my age and so was my muscle. It’s possible that one of the meds I am on is causing that (oh, the problem is the numbness, tingling and coldness that I feel. It doesn’t seem to be apart of the lupus stuff), but I won’t be able to find out if I can go off of it for awhile and if that’s conclusively the problem until I see the rheumatologist, which doesn’t happen until the end of January.

I have a couple/few appointments over the next two months so hopefully I will have some conclusive results by the end of February. This is such a long process that can be filled with so much uncertainty and worry. I’m not really worried right now, but every once in awhile I think about the mystery going on with my liver (don’t think I’ve mentioned that to you before) and it causes a little anxiety. I mean, I only have one, ya know?

On the weight side of things, I still pretty much fluctuate up and down those five pounds. I need to get my lazy butt to exercising so I can lose about five to 10 then I think (hope) that I won’t bellyache about those five pounds any longer. What was that face? You act like you don’t believe me.

The only problem with the weight issue right now is the fact that I think it is meshing in with the health issue. There is some stomach stuff going on – swelling, irritability and very unladylike happenings. I’m hoping that my meds, which they think one may be affecting my legs, aren’t messing with my stomach.

I won’t even mention the lady issues I need to deal with. The guys may be looking scared right now ‘cause they aren’t sure if they want to keep reading. They probably think I’m going to start talking about smells like I did one other time. No, don’t worry, this time I’ll just say this to the ladies who I know will understand. I can’t wait to get to my GYN. Now, women know when another woman says she can’t wait to get there then she ain’t playing. I’m making light of this because it’s probably nothing, but when you’re someone like me who has to pop a lot of pills without knowing everything that’s going on inside of your body there are times when the little things seem like the ticking time bomb you’ve been thinking will blow at any moment.

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