Saturday, November 29, 2008

Tis "The" Season be what? Jolly?

Many of us out there are barely leaving paycheck to paycheck. And if not for my wonderful in-laws, would have be out on the street months ago. Inasmuch as it pains my husband to ask for help with the mortgage, my friend told me to be thankful they are here to at least be able to help us. If not for them we would be on the street or crammed into a 2 bedroom apartment.

But we are getting to roll into the busiest shopping times of the year. And for what? So you can out spend your friend, neighbor? Max out your credit cards? Why? And what is the real meaning of Christmas. For me it is a time to b with family, for I follow no religion, you could technically take Christmas and tell the retailers where to place it. I prefer to be with people, not have a nagging feeling that if I don't get them gift they won't be my friend any longer. That is not how it should go.

And if there is a God/Jesus, would he approve of how his followers are handling this new-found holiday that is supposed to celebrate his birth. IT has become so far removed from the celebration of the birth of Christ that it should scare some Christians, and yet it does not. They too, stand in line when Wally World opens it doors at 5 a.m. to a collection of spending floozies. They purchase a gift that junior will play with for what...2 maybe 3 days, then he will lose interest and let it fall by the wayside.

We have, out of necessity, gone to baked goods for our gifts. I purchase a few baskets from yard sales or Goodwill and fill them with breads and cookies. No one has complained to date...would you turn away homemade bread for a Yankee Candle? I say bring on the homemade gifts.

And why do we have to wait until December 25th to show our friends and family how much we love and or appreciate them. Why not have them over for dinner once a month. Make it a pot luck. Help someone with house cleaning who may not be able to do for themselves. Let someone use your washing machine if theirs is broken. Take someone to work if you are able. the list is endless as to how you can let your friends and family know how much you enjoy having them around. What better way to enjoy someone company then over a good table of food and some wine. Let the conversation flow and before you know it, it is time to kick your company out the door.

I am over all this Christmas buying. I may even boycott Christmas.

Have you ever watched A Charlie Brown Christmas? It's A Wonderful Life? now those are true holiday, good feeling movies. It's not about how much you give, but how you give. If you feel the need to give, give from the heart, not your pocket. Make something. People can cook, knit, paint, write, craft, you name it, it is out there. Find something you are good at and do it. And learn to plan ahead. Start after the holidays. Put a little bit away each time you get a chance, or start buying tidbits at a time. That way you are not running out on Black Friday trampling people to death (literally) for that Tickle Me Elmo. This years hot seller will be in next years garage sale.

Sit back and rethinking what Christmas is to you. Why do you celebrate this misconstrued holiday. I for one will be changing how I approach this holiday. The spirit of Christmas should be all year long, not for 1 day.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Buddy Can You Spare A Dime

Well I am glad I vented about things I could not find to write about, for now I have one. The Bailout that the U.S. is considering for the automakers of this great nation of ours and the bigger picture...should we?

I am by no means a political analyst and wish to the stars above I was more versed in our governments political structure and its inner workings. That aside, I am not sure I want my money to go and help out a company where its top dogs are by no means hurting.

Are these CEO's taking a calculator to the grocery store so they do not go over their $75 a week budget for a family of 4? I think not. Are they having meatless meals (Not that that is a bad thing, for if you a vegetarian, that is a way of life *plug completely intended)? I think not. Are they letting go of the Hummer that may be sitting in their 4 car garage? I think not. Do they plan their day trips so that all errands are done in one day as not to help the gas gauge stay as far away from the "E" as possible? I think not. And yet they came to Washington on huge company jets with a tin cup in their hands. What is wrong with this picture?

So why are we bailing these people out when you know their spending practices, whether it be for business or personal will not change. Should not their practices reflect as if they were dealing with someone else's money...oh yeah they are, their employees pensions. Step away from the pension funds, nice and slow like.

But how can we expect the government and or these big corporations get their spending under control when we as Americans are a society that is charged to the max. Take a moment and think about your own personal lifestyle and see what you could lose, get rid of, let go or give away and live without. I am guessing lots. But we have spouses, and children who would pitch a fit if we say, let go of cable, cell phones (blackberries, and such forth and do I really want to read my Email on a 2 inch screen?), gas guzzling SUV's, 78 music CD's that only about 17 really get listened to. The list goes on. There is a fine line between what we need and what we want and many people have blurred that line.

We have recently let go of our credit cards and not by choice. But I will tell you this. I will never have a credit card as long as I live. And if you one of the skeptics who thinks you cannot live without a thin piece of plastic, then you have not been introduced to Dave Ramsey. If you have not listened to or heard of him, may I make a suggestion? Do so. He speaks truths you would not believe. And I am unable to implement much of what he says to for we are a single income family right now, struggling to keep our home. But as soon as I am able to get back to work, I will be working on gaining my financial freedom.

But who is to be thee example, the general population or our government. Credit cards is a big business. And if the American public begins to see the light and realizes what a scam they are then what would we do, what would they do, they referring to the credit card giants? I am guessing there are enough unsuspecting folks out there who still feel that living on borrowed cash is just fine and dandy...well I don't. At least not any longer. And I am spreading the word of Dave Ramsey. He does not say you will be out of debt in one or even two paychecks. He also says it will be a difficult road. We did not get in debt over night, we will not get out of debt overnight.

Take the time if you have it. And if not rent his audio books from the library, and if the library does not carry them, then request it. I have listened to his entire book via the audio books and am now listening to The China Study the same way. I am in my car quite a bit, why not utilize that time. Why not educate yourself anyway you possibly can. Take what you like and leave the rest.

For someone who had nothing to say 2 days ago I seemed to have found something to rant about. I hope you all rethink how you/we as a whole handle the money that comes through our hands and what we are doing with it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Stuck In A Loop

It has been nearly 2 weeks since I have posted...about anything. I sit here looking at the screen and I get zip, nada, nothing, zilch. You get my meaning. Now, for those of you who know me, I am hardly if ever at a loss for words. But nothing and I mean nothing has inspired me here of late. What is wrong with me. Life is going as well as can be expected. I am getting better every day. I am eating healthy, feeling good in general, so why can't I think of one blessed thing to put to cyber paper?

I skim my regular blogs, hoping something you people post about will jolt me into something, but I still get a big fat zero. I love writing, this is why I stared my blog in the first place. OK, to be totally hones,t it's all Permissions fault. She is the one who twisted my arm into getting this blog going. And here I am, nearly 8 months later. I love writing, and reading what is going on in other peoples lives.

There are times when I begin to get a little bluesy about my life, then I read about a small tragedy some other blogger is going through and then I put away my pity potty. I just want to be inspired again. I want to stop peeling potatoes for the evenings dinner so I can at least get a draft going. But that is not happening. I know of writers block, and I know it is a very real thing. But to me?! You have got to be kidding. And yet here I am trying to figure out what I am passionate about enough to make it blog worthy.

There is the new President Elect. I will wait to see what he does before bashing or praising him. There is thee economy. I will wait to see if I get a job or not to see if I feel the economy is heading up or spiraling out of control. There are the impending government bailouts. Now there is something I just may be able to sink my teeth into. Don't even get me started on those guys. See, here I go. I am getting fired up just typing now. So I think I have struck a vein and now need to go and see what I can dig up on these poor CEO's who are in need of a dime. Buddy, I can't spare one.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Final Medical Update

I have been given a clean bill of health from my doctor and released to do most things. I am much more mobile than I was 16 weeks ago, Duh! But I still have a long road ahead of me. I do what the doctors tell me to do and I am living proof that if you take care of your body (Save for this accident that got me to surgery) then your body will take care of you.

I have been eating well and taking it a step further and even cutting meat out of my diet. Having my daughter as inspiration helps me to keep going with my vegetarianism. I stopped taking my MS medications as well, for during my first few weeks home, the side effects from thee injection were too much for me and I thought my top priority should be the healing process of my back, I would think about the medication later on.

I am now going back and forth between bike riding (I have a 3 wheeler old lady style bike which is perfect for me and the doctor loves said bike) and walking. I had not been on my big girl tricycle for over four months and it felt good to be back peddling once again. I took it slow and will continue to do so until I am where I need to be to let it loose in the biking world.

The next thing my doctor recommends is Pilates. I know of it, but not 100% sure what it is all about. All I know is that it concentrates on your core, and with your back being your core, then my first from of real exercise, other than walking, will be Pilates. I am going to rent some DVDs from the library to see what this is all about and go from there.

I am off my sleep aid, which is fantastic and I am cutting down my Lyrica and should hopefully be off of that completely in about 1-2 months. I do not like drugs. Do not get me wrong, they serve a purpose, but many people run to drugs...I do not. In this instance, to me, less is better. I took what I had to and hoped I would not ben on anything they gave me for any length of time. I truly believe we are an over-medicated society and people think everything can and should be cured with a popped bill. I think not. Other than major surgeries or injuries, pills can become a crutch. I prefer to stand on my own, unless absolutely necessary.

I am glad this ordeal, for the most part, is behind me, and look forward to the day I no longer have to do things with aids. I look forward to lifting things on my own, without assistance, or asking for help. Judi Dench had this line from the movie Chocolat where she is in need of help from other due to her diabetes, she refuses the help most of the time, and her line that she delivered in true Dench style was, "When I need help I will ask for it." I may not have the quote exactly, but you get the meaning behind it. I asked for help when I needed it, it is not always easy but a necessity in life sometimes. I would live to be someone who never needed to ask for help, but that would be a fantasy world, this is real life.

I am on my way so move aside.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

How Was Your Day?

Well this is a bit out of sequence, but I think it worth the tell. Last Tuesday I had quite a few errands to run and my son was off, and sine one of thee errands revolved around him, he tagged along. When I am out and about with errands, I am on a mission. I have a plan, I get done what I am there to accomplish and get home. I enjoy being in my home. This day we had to get to the bank, library and then grocery shop. I had a plan...or so I thought!

We went to the bank to see where my sons debit card was. We signed in and got called over by a representative lickity split. I explained to the lady we had not received his card. She asked him for his account number and she proceeded to pull up his account. She then proceeded to tell us he was overdrawn. Whoa whoa whoa. All he has done was open the account and deposit rolled coins. How can he be overdrawn? Well there was a great explanation. I had made my sons account overdrawn. Yep...good ole mom.

About a week prior, I had a bank card come in. My husband reminded me to activate it and I did. I had only ran the card 3 times. We try to use cash as much as possible, due to the fact that we have no more credit cards to use. The minute I saw the printout from the bank, my face must have gone white and the expression-a Kodak moment. I knew then that I had activated the card that was mine for my sons account. I told the woman who was helping us exactly what happened. She was gracious enough to wave all fees involved, and all we had to do was replace the monies we had depleted. I thank her, and she told us that my sons card was on its way and so was my card for the old one I had mistakenly cut-up. I had only one person to call and ask them to hold a check for a day, but that would have to wait until I returned from my errands.

Now we have arrived at the library and this is a small parking lot. It holds about 36 cars. But on this day there were cars all over the place, and I am not talking just in the spaces. there were cars in places they should not be. The minute we pulled up I knew exactly what was going on...early voting. I am glad these people are out and about and doing their civic duty. But I, someone trying to get into the library, could not get into a parking space. I had to go over to the middle school parking lot and walk over, what a concept.

I was in there to report a book my son had checked out. It is called a manga, which is a anime styled comic book. This comic book which was readily available for children to check out had some quite explicit sex scenes in them. There was no denying what these scenes were trying to tell you. I filled out the correct paperwork for the staff to review the books and I left. I was still angry that these voters would not cart their backsides in the adjoining middle school parking lot, but I did. The non-emergency police were going to get a call when I got home.

We get to the grocery store and I realize when I get out of the car and can find only 3 of my canvas bags, that thee others were most more than likely back at home. My son then explained that they were in my husbands car. I did not have a huge grocery list, but we all know if they are bulky items your bag capacity goes down. But I had faith in my ability to keep our shopping experience a good one. We bammed (A word my son tells me means to go through quickly) through and were able to use only the 3 bags we had, save for the large items that did not need bags. Am I good or what?

We get home, make the phone call about the check and call the non-emergency police. Life is good. My husband and daughter made fun of me for being proactive about something I felt deeply about. Number one being I did not think those Japanese comic book should be so readily available to children (which it is) and people should park in parking spaces, no where folks can not get in and out of spaces and not worry about making a fender bender happen because someone was too lazy to walk to and from the library.

Thank you have a nice day.