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

Friday, January 30, 2009

Pleasant surprise

I was surprised and pleased when I discovered the award that DeeBee (Rain or Shine) gave me, and I just had to play along because I enjoyed her post so much. The rules are: Share seven things about yourself and then pass it on to seven people.

As you know my memory is often sketchy so I am not even going to waste time looking for a post that I already did about seven things about me. However, I do believe I did one. You should be a dear and search my blog to see if you can find it. Why? Because then you can randomly read other posts that I wrote without me just giving you a link. And because I am feeling a little lazy.

Let's see... Here are my seven things:

1. I adore flowers, dolphins, heart-shaped items and, of course, chocolate.
2. Not only do all of my children's names start with the letter A, but all of the girls have similar middle names. All of the children's birthdays are the 20 something of their birth month and my birthday is the 20th as well.
3. I had my gall bladder removed when I was only about 24 years old and almost died. (They discovered it was gangrened. I know, Ewwww, right?)
4. I almost drowned three times. (Hey! There's a bad theme going on here. LOL)
5. Surprisingly, I really love the ocean and most water stuff, but - not surprising: I get scared being in the water. Even still I've been banana boating in Jamaica, parasailing in Florida, I love swimming under the water in a pool and I want to go jet skiing.
6. For four years I was called Airman Lloyd (my maiden name). Yup, I was in the Air Force.
7. While in Panama City Beach, Florida, (in 2002) I had the wonderful opportunity of swimming with dolphins. I don't swim that well so I didn't do that part, but a dolphin kissed me at the Gulf World Marine Park and I keep the postcard pic of it on a bulletin board on my desk.

I am pressed for time tonight so I am going to be lazy (AGAIN!) and pass this on to the first seven bloggers on my list. I say bloggers because my #1 reader is my BFF Frankie and he doesn't have a blog. He does, however, have to IM me or email me his seven things AND they have to be things I don't know about him.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A first for my teen

My teenage daughter, Amber, received her first W-2 in the mail yesterday. I didn't think about it much, but when she came home from school and opened it she had a few questions about it.

Today, she asked about it again and we talked about filing taxes, why she had three copies of the same thing and what everything meant. I remembered that I saw a television commercial about filing for free at so I went there to check it out.

Since she is filing using a 1040EZ she was able to file the federal for free and we'll do the state one another day. To me, filing using the seemed to take longer (although it was very easy). We joked about how I preferred using the paper version and the words "old fashioned" floated around a little.

Once we were finished and she was about to walk away it dawned on me that my mother taught me how to do my taxes more than 25 years ago. It seemed so difficult and foreign to me then, but with her guidance I eventually started filing my taxes on my own.

It's like I passed the baton... another milestone has been reached. As each day passes I realize more and more that my little baby is a young adult who will be managing her own life very soon. I am proud that I am able to teach her like my mom taught me.

TV for teen girls

As the parent of a teenage daughter it has always been a dilemma with finding appropriate, fun and interesting television programming for her. Now that she is 17, I don't have as many of the same concerns, but I still wish the Cosmo TV Network had been around when she was in her early teens. Luckily, it is here now because I still have two more girls to raise.

Amy Poehler, Meredith Walker and Amy Miles celebrate girls who are changing the world by just being themselves. There are different segments of each show that feature young ladies doing what they love to do. For instance, there is Ruby who is a feminist, Kenaudra a dancer as well as Cameron who's a writer. What a great way to inspire other girls by featuring girls like them.

The best part about it?

Anyone can get the Cosmo TV widget "Smart Girls at the Party" and put it on their social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook. Talk about spreading the word.

The widget is fun and positive... If you want to get the widget to share with your teenager or post it to share with everyone else all you have to do is click to get your own widget here.


Watch it for yourself, click around and share it with someone in your life. It's a fun, relaxing way to bond.

College tour #3

In just a few short months my teenager will be graduating from high school. This is a time that most people would say came quickly. It's not that time moved quickly; it's that I can still remember when she was born, her first day of school and, for that matter, I can remember her first day of daycare. The years have passed slowly, but her childhood has passed quickly and she's ready to move on to the next chapter in her life.

During the end of this chapter we are preparing for college. One of the biggest things is deciding where she wants to go. She's set on going to a college in state, which is good, and we have travelled to three campuses thus far. The first one we really like and she's already applied there. (Keep your fingers crossed that she gets in!)

The second one we liked okay, but where disappointed by the tour. How in the world can one make a good decision about a college when you don't go inside of any of the buildings? Hmmm... we still haven't figured that one out.

The third one, which we visited this pass Sunday, we didn't like at all. We really weren't in the mood for college touring, but the college is only an hour away from the house and we looked at it as a girl's day out. We enjoyed our ride there (well, I really enjoyed it because Amber drove!).

I tried to be sneaky and get a picture... Doesn't Amber looked thrilled by my need to record the moment for blogging history. Oh, I mean for her scrapbook!

When we arrived we liked how friendly the ambassadors were and were sort of impressed with their new building, the coliseum, which still smelled like paint. There was a large crowd of us sitting in the back-less bleachers. We were surprised by the crowd because the other tours we'd been on were smaller groups. We found out later that it was mostly a self-guided tour.

Their ensemble of xylophones entertained us while we waited and the music was awesome. The ambassadors led games before the presentation, but when the college's president got up to speak it was downhill from there.

It wasn't that his speech was bad, but it was more geared toward students who had already decided that the particular college was where they want to go. He spoke for at least 25 minutes about the college's achievements, the professors' achievements and so forth, but it was information I would have preferred to learn about once I am leaning toward the college. His speech did not give us an idea of if it was an institution that my daughter wants to spend four years attending.

Once we were released from the coliseum, there were different sessions to attend such as financial aid and campus housing as well as some others. We went to the financial aid session and I was hoping to learn some information I didn't know, but that wasn't the case. We also went to the campus housing session and then walked through the campus to a dorm, which was really, uh, not to our liking.

Amber was really ready to go by this time. Although I know everyone gets bored by their college class at some point, I figured this is what she would like like all the time if she attended this college.

Near the end of the tour we decided to use my $25 Applebee's gift card and stopped to eat at one near our home. We were pleased at the end of our meal when the bill totalled about $23 so we left the rest for the waitress. Not a great tip, but better than nothing. Then we stopped at Barnes and Noble to chat, peruse magazines and enjoy a beverage.

Even though I really enjoyed that time; the best part of the trip was this:

We saw that beautiful horse standing in the woods over a black colt. I don't know if you can see the baby. It looked like she was just standing in the middle of nowhere, but as we looked closer there were two other horses nearby so there must have been a fence separating her/them from the road. And, as we were pulling away, we saw a man lugging hay toward the horses.

That was so worth the outing.

It's cold out there!

I am not even going to complain about the weather here. Although it's colder than I'd like I heard that the North Texas area had snow the other day, and my best friend said his home state of Mississippi had snow that shut down everything. They didn't know what to do! Then there's my home in Maryland where my BFF said they had ice, rain and snow. ... So a little chilly Georgia weather shouldn't get to me, right?

Well, uh, I don't know. Wherever you are you want to be sure to stay warm. Stock up on blankets; fill your pantry with soup, tea, coffee and hot chocolate; and make sure to layer those clothes. One of my dilemmas is to make sure the tossing and turning pre-schoolers and toddler stay covered and warm during the middle of the night. My teenager is always wrapped up like she's camping outside, but the little ones kick off their covers, remove their socks before they go to sleep and in general cause me night-time worries.

If that happens to you too then you want to make sure you get a contractor HVAC to help you stay warm. Didn't see that coming, did you? LOL

Uninvited guest

My home office used to be a garage, but the previous owners made it into a room. So, in the winter time it's drafty and I can feel the cold cement floor under the carpet, which has no carpet pad. In the summer, it's a bit toasty -- that's much better than being cold -- and critters often get in. Like those gigantic water bugs that I absolutely hate, crickets, the occasional spider, and, of course, mosquitoes.

During the cold months I don't have to worry about those giant water bugs, which look like mutated roaches and I stroll in and out of the office without a care in the world. In the summer, I usually enter warily glancing from ceiling to floor before I even put my big toe in the room. And, if I'm in here alone late at night I am jumpy because I thinkt one will creep over my foot or drop on my head.

Yesterday when I came into the office I was carefree as usual. Then I saw something on the floor. I have to go all the way into the room to turn on the lights so I kept my eye on the thing on the floor while I went in.

And this is what I saw...

I finally got down on the floor to get that last shot and watched the critter move across the floor. It is rather amazing how all of those legs work to propel the thing forward and it moves faster than one would expect. But sitting down to watch it move gave me the willies. (Just looking at the photos gives me the willies!)

Instead of destroying it because it violated my sanctuary. My personal space. The human world. I let it crawl onto a piece of paper so I could deposit it outside... I had the thought that maybe I was sealing its fate because a bird would probably swoop down to consume it, but that's the way of the world. And better for it to be outside then milling about on my carpet.

I took the paper to the backdoor trying to move swiftly before it fell off or decided to crawl onto my hand. I carefully opened the door, held the paper out and the thing slid into my hand.

Eeekk! I screamed and threw the thing to the deck.

The feel of its legs was on my hand and I tried to wipe the feeling off on my jeans.

Yuck! I exclaimed.

Then I felt bad because it was curled up on the deck. I watched while it uncurled itself and sauntered off. My face still had the yuck look, but all was right with the inside world.

Maybe he'll spread the word to the critter world and the rest of them will stay outside where they belong!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rack 'em up

It never fails that when you can't have something you want it even more. I have not been a big drinker over the past 10 years or so (we're not going to talk about the time before that), but I have enjoyed a nice glass of wine on occasion. However, since I started taking so many medications I am not supposed to drink alcohol.

Now, for some reason, I keep seeing wine that I like in the store or wine accessories like those little cute wine gems (wine charms), fancy and colored wine glasses and some really nice Wine Racks. I don't really have the type of house that looks like I would have a nice wine rack, but I have noticed that there are all sorts of interesting ones available these days.

Instead of just the standard wooden box, wine racks are a lot more stylish and creative nowadays. They have wrought iron racks that look like artwork instead of a place to store spirits. There are vertical wine racks, wine rack furniture, hanging ones and even shelves. Maybe you knew about the plethora of wine whatchamacallits, but I was a little ignorant in that area.

Since I really do not need one for myself, I am going to keep them in mind to give someone as a present for their wedding, anniversary or even a birthday. What do you think? Do you own a wine rack and, if so, what kind?

Enter here to win MONEY GAMES

I have been a little behind this week (okay, who am I kidding, this month), but I didn't want to miss the opportunity to participate in this month's Bloggy Giveaway Carnival. The author of "Money Games" - Randy Petrick - has been so kind as to offer a couple of his books to giveaway. So I have two of "Money Games: 85 Fun Ways to Save Money and Attract Abundance."

Recently, I included Money Games in my second Book Round-Up and Petrick contacted me after it was posted. He's passionate about helping people especially in times like this. Here's a quick thought from him that came from the 10-10-10 game in the book:

Question: "What's the biggest difference between poor people and rich people?"

Answer: "Poor people spend first and save what's left. Rich people save first and spend what's left. ... True wealth builders rarely live on more than 70 percent of their take-home pay."

To win your copy of "Money Games: 85 Fun Ways to Save Money and Attract Abundance," leave comment on this post. The giveaway will close on JANUARY 31 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Contest is open to US only (sorry!).

1. Leave a comment on this post. (It's that easy!)
2. If you're not a blogger be sure to leave an email address.
3. Two winners will be randomly drawn on February 2nd.
4. Winners will be sent an email before Friday of next week.
5. Contest is open to those with US addresses only (sorry again!).

Good luck!

Can't wait to see if you're a winner or want a copy for a friend, click here to purchase MONEY GAMES: 85 Fun Ways To Save Money And Attract Abundance.


Wordless Wednesday - Knocked out!

For more Wordless Wednesday check out 5 Minutes for Mom.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Coping with curls

It's been quite a long time (years in fact) since I've looked in the mirror and been pleased with my hair and/or hairstyle. After three babies within five years, the hormones of the late 30s and early 40s along with medications, weather and pollution, my hair has taken a beating.

So it's not surprising that I am always looking for a hair product to test. That's why I am excited to enter A Wrestling Addicted Mommy's giveaway for Curl-Gel-les’c (pronounced Curl Jealousy). I checked out their products and I really hope I win this one: She's giving away "a full size bottle of Curl-Gel-Les'C packaged in a limited edition bottle as well as a T-Shirt that says on the front "Are You Envious?" and on the back "...of my CURLS?"

If you're interested in entering then you better get over there now because the giveaway ends on February 5th. Good luck.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I see it all

When I pull into my driveway I always wish that I had a flood light and an outdoor security camera on the left side of my house next to the garage. There is a spot there that gets pretty dark and being the big chicken that I am I always take an extra hard look in that area when I pull up. I can't even say that I do that only at night because for some reason I don't like that side of the house. It just seems a little scary.

When I first moved into the house I used to keep the brush and weeds cut back pretty nicely. Now the next door neighbor's bushes and stuff grow over the fence right there and there are some vines that I just don't like. And, to make matters worse, my neighbor erected a solid white fence on that side of the house so it's blocking whatever light used to come from the street on that side.

Luckily I have a street light in front of my house on the other side and the porch light is working right now, but it sure would be cool to have a Home Security Camera. I know that's an extreme expensive right now and even somewhat of an extravagance, but sometimes you can never be too safe.

When I think about getting a setup like that it reminds me of movies where they have security cameras, but are scared half to death by people lurking about or the electricity suddenly going out.

In reality I would not mind having a security camera right now to spy on my next door neighbors because they are always up to something, people are always coming and going, and there is always some type of noise coming from over there. It would have really come in handy not too long after I first moved in here when their teenager at the time was throwing soda cans onto my roof from an upstairs window. We were never able to get any proof or catch him in the act so getting something on a security camera would have been perfect.

How would you like to upgrade your home security system?

Monday's Muse - Can it happen to me?

I am not feeling particularly positive today, but I love to participate in Monday's Muse so I am going with an idea that I had a couple of weeks ago. The original title of the post was supposed to be "It could happen to me," but because I am in a mood I am being a little pessimistic. (Forgive me!) The good thing is: that doesn't necessarily change the possibility of the muse or creative moment.

Below my vision board, which I told you about a little while ago, is a bookcase. On top of that bookcase are, of course, some books. What's special about these books is the fact that I've been trying to begin some type of organization with them and it started with this shelf. I placed a group of books on this shelf that are by people who I know.

The picture above is of all the books (minus one all the way on the right) on that top shelf. (I've also begun putting all the books by the same author together, which is why you see books by Eric Jerome Dickey and Carl Weber - two of my favorite authors.)

The picture below more closely shows the books by individuals that I know. On the far left are two books by the bishop of the church I used to attend... Dale C. Bronner. Next to his books are two books by Brian Egeston who I originally met through an old friend, Brandon Massey, who's books are next to his. I also know Brian from Atlanta Good Life magazine, which we both used to write for.

Brandon originally self-published the book Thunderland, which was later picked up by a publisher and he has since written... I think five books in that series, edit some anthologies and some other highly acclaimed literary stuff. The next two books - one poetry and one motivational - are self-published ones that I edit for the authors. Actions Speak Louder, a novel, was written by Shandra Hill who I worked with at another publication when I first moved to Atlanta. And there's a small book called Simply Ridiculous by Millicent St. Claire who I met through a speaker's organization I used to write and edit for.

I put all of those books there where I can see them so I can remember that regular people wrote them. People who I actually know. If they can do it then I can do it, right? Well, I hope so.

This is not necessarily what is inspiring me this week (the week has already been rough) but it is one of the things I am trying to do to visually keep more positive things in front of me. And, right now, I could use all the positive I can get.

Want more Monday's Muse? Click here for more of mine and here for Maternal Spark, the originator of Monday's Muse.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Remember when...

On Thursday I had some errands to run, but put them off because the baby wasn't feeling well. Then on Friday, even though she was still under the weather, I had to at least get to the post office. Having to go to the post office at the last minute, with no time to order them off the Internet, I remembered that when I was growing up you could put your mail in your mailbox, put the money in their for stamps, raise the flag and the postman would take care of it for you.
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