Saturday, February 28, 2009
At CVS, I got the following:
for .23! I saved $25.53!! I was looking for other things to buy at CVS, but they were out. I can't complain though.
Here is what I did:
2 Trail Mix Crunch on sale BOGO - $4.79
1 Gillette Razor - $7.99
1 6 Hour Energy Shot - $4.99
1 Valentine's Lollipops (Filler) - $.25
Total = $18.02
- $2.00 off Trail Mix Crunch coupon
- $2.00 off Trail Mix Crunch coupon
- $4.00 off Gillette Razor coupon
- $10 ECB
Final Total = $.23 And, I received $8.99 in ECBs back. I have just under $20 ECBs left to start the month of March, not bad!
At Walmart I got the following:
for $9.47. I saved $2.50! Ok, I know that wasn't huge savings, but, I did realize that the water I typically buy at Kroger is $.50 cheaper at Walmart. It seems there are some things that are definitely cheaper at Walmart in comparison to Kroger...such as water and flour (I price shopped flour today). I will have to keep this in mind in the coming weeks as I do my shopping. $.50 adds up over a period of time.
At Kroger I got the following:
for $41.57. I saved $42.27!!! More then I spent! I used this week to stock up on cereal (5 boxes total between my CVS and Kroger purchases) and meat, since the deals were good at Kroger. We aren't in need of a lot of stuff right now because we most likely will be traveling again this coming week, although I'm keeping an eye out for mashed potato and rice sales, which I hope will happen soon! The nice thing about this trip, is I have a mail in rebate of $2.99 from the cereal, and I got $3.00 off my next shopping order for the purchase of the rolls (and I got three of the rolls for free, in essence making $.70 on the roll purchase).
Overall for the month of February, I spent $184.72, which is $15 under my $200 budget. That means I'll have $15 extra for next month if it is needed. I saved a grand total of $256.59! That doesn't include several rebates I have coming back to me this month ($15.49 worth).
I think on a whole, I had a great month of shopping. I'm still getting the hang of some things, and in the future, would like to try and use my ECBs at CVS to cover even more of my shopping needs...such as all shampoo, conditioner, deodorant purchases...although sometimes the deals are so good at Kroger they are hard to pass up (but again, if something is free at CVS, why even spend $.08 on it at Kroger?).
Next month, I hope to again stick to my $200 budget for groceries and household supplies. I also hope to keep better track of other spending in our house by using a budget spreadsheet. I tried this month and got a bit confused when I didn't update it for a week or so. Oops. I'll do better next month!
Happy Shopping everyone!
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
I'm not really looking forward to this trip. It is likely the last trip we will make before the farm sells (or, we are hoping it is...). The trips are rough on us...14-16 hours of driving in a short amount of time, sleeping in the truck, the cold weather we will be facing, and having to get through a ginormous amount of stuff in the short time we have. It will be non-stop work the entire time we are there. It is also difficult for me because of all the memories that seem to overtake me whenever I am up there.
The farm issue has been weighing on my mind heavily the last few weeks, and I'll talk more about it when I get back from the trip. For now, we are hoping for a safe journey and no rain. I'd love to hope for warm weather, but I don't want to overdo it. Have a good few days and I'll be back blogging by Saturday I hope!
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
The sun was shining, but
not bright enough,
my world had become dark.
Obsessions took over,
raced through my mind
with every second.
Voices played like a
tape stuck on repeat,
telling me I wasn't small
enough, I wasn't thin
enough, I didn't look good
Caught inside my mind,
helpless, with no other options
I went to the bathroom,
embraced the porcelain before me,
put my fingers in my mouth,
and reached until they scratched
the back of my throat.
The world turned silent as I
watched the nutrients leave my
body and splash into the abyss below.
Monday, February 23, 2009
My grandfather was a scientist, and extremely smart.
He invented the propellant that is used in rockets, believe it or not, although he worked for a company at the time he did, so they are credited with the invention, while he is mentioned, but didn't quite reap the benefits they did...
My grandfather helped instill a love of discovery and knowledge in me. We had very few years together for this though, as he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's when I was about 6. After his diagnosis, he became very introverted (although he always was a bit quiet). Regardless though, I loved him deeply. I was always very connected to him...and as I got older, I continued to feel that connection. I always knew he was proud of me, and what I accomplished in life. He was the first to clip articles out of the newspaper when I was mentioned and that was one thing he continued, even as he fell deeper into the illness. It became obvious when it started to take hold of him, and was very hard for us. To see his brilliant mind become so confused...
My grandfather got sick one day and had to go to the hospital. He ended up having to stay a few days, but I didn't believe it was very serious, so I never went to visit him. One night we got a phone call and they told us he had very few hours left to live...there was a mistake on the hospital's part that resulted in his death, but I won't go into it in this post. I couldn't believe it. When we arrived at the hospital, he was in a coma. I went in to see him, so unsure of what to do. I held his hand, told him it was me, and how much I loved him. I firmly believe he squeezed my hand. He was a wonderful man.
When we were packing up our house when my mom moved, we came across some of the letters that my grandfather had written to my grandmother while he was deployed during WW1. I have those letters now and feel very lucky to have them. This is just one of probably close to 100 or so.
One day, I hope to use them in a book-type setting. To read them is just amazing to me. Unfortunately, I don't have any of my grandmother's letters back. I believe my mom told me that my grandmother might have thrown them away at some point. I'm not sure. But this piece of my family's past is something that I treasure having.
This post was a part of Memories on Monday at JAM's Own Reality. To see more posts, go visit her!
Saturday, February 21, 2009
At CVS, I got the following:
for $1.02! I saved $61.67!!! And I actually MADE MONEY by shopping at CVS this week! Yay for rebates! I also had to do 2 transactions so I could have two receipts to get the rebates. I also had to think on my feet a little after I realized that I had the price of the mouth wash wrong (I was off by $4!). Just so I can show you all how I get everything for so cheap, I'll go through my transactions (I never do that!) Here is what I did:
windex wipes $2.50
colgate total $2.99
colgate total $2.99
gillette fusion razor $7.99 = $16.47
-$.40 windex coupon
-$1.00 colgate coupon
-$1.00 colgate coupon
-$4.00 gillette razor coupon
= $.51 I also earned $5.98, and 4.00 in ECB and I can send in for a mail in rebate for the windex wipes, which will get me $2.50 back, which means I actually made $1.97 from my first transaction! (I earned back almost as many ECBs as I spent -$.02 less then I started with).
Hershey's kisses $1.49
Hershey's kisses $1.49
Hershey's kisses $1.49
Hershey's kisses $1.49
Neutrogena facial soap $2.99
Neutrogena facial soap $2.99
Natural Dentist mouthwash $9.99
Natural Dentist mouthwash $9.99
Buckeye candy $.50
Buckeye candy $.50
Buckeye candy $.50 = $33.42
-$2.00 Natural Dentist coupon
-$2.00 Natural Dentist coupon
-$2.00 off 2 Hershey's kisses coupon
-$2.00 off 2 Hershey's kisses coupon
-$12.00 ECB, $5.98 ECB and $4.00 ECB (the last two were from the first transaction).
=$.51 I earned back $18 in ECB and I can send in for a $10 mail in rebate on the mouthwash, which means I made $5.51 on this transaction (seeing as how I came out with less ECBs then I started with).
All in all, it was a really good shopping day at CVS!
At Kroger I got the following (minus a 6-pack of Aquafina I forgot to put in the picture...):
for $38.58. I saved $18.88! This is probably the least I have saved in quite some time...in part because deals at Kroger were next to none this week. Additionally, since B and I are going out of town for a few days this week, I didn't need to buy a lot of the essentials, so I decided to start stocking up on some meat again because we are running low. If you tallied in the savings I had on the meat (All were Manager's Specials, which don't come up as savings on the receipt) I probably saved another $5-$10.
I actually heard someone talking the other day in the bank about how they thought Kroger was too expensive. There was a point when I thought that maybe shopping at Walmart would save me money. But then I started shopping deals and using coupons, and I truly believe that Kroger isn't more expensive. Maybe if you didn't shop the deals. Also, Kroger keeps sending me coupons in the mail, and this month alone, I got coupons for a free liter of Pepsi and a 6-pack of Gatorade! Walmart surely doesn't do that (or give you money off on gas). I'm happy with Kroger and am glad I stuck with shopping there!
In all this week, I spent $47.19 on groceries/household supplies. There are a few things I bought this week that aren't in the pictures. :)
I'm crossing my fingers for some Pepsi deals next week because we are running low!
Friday, February 20, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
She looks at her reflection,
scared of what she will see.
Sad blue eyes look back,
worn down from months of malnourishment.
Her skin is dry, pale,
cheekbones more prominent.
Pimples peek out at the
corners of her chapped, frowning mouth,
from the friction of fingers on skin.
Her gaze lowers to scrutinize
every inch of naked body.
She sees cellulite, fat jiggly arms and
legs too close together
when she stands with her feet side by side.
Stepping onto the scale
she tenses every muscle
in hopes it will make her lighter.
She closes her eyes,
fearful of what the numbers will be.
She opens them to see 104 and
her heart drops--
two pounds heavier than the afternoon.
Stepping off the scale, she slowly puts
her clothes on, and hangs her head
There will be no piece of chocolate,
only a few small bites of dinner,
as she believes the scale does not lie.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
That might not seem like such a bad thing, right? Telemarketers are annoying, half the time I can't understand what they are saying, and they always call at the worst times. Not to mention, I tell them I'm not interested, and they still keep trying to sell. But, the fact I hung up and was rude really made me think.
Why? A couple reasons, and all go back to about 9 years ago, during summer after my freshman year of college (omg, 9 years ago...), when I became a telemarketer. It was a stupid idea. I am not cut out to be a telemarketer. I get upset when someone yells at me, or is rude, and am just not pushy. But the hours and pay were good. I told myself it was only for a few months and I could make it. And I did, although there were a few times my feelings got hurt (they weren't really yelling at me, just at the fact that telemarketers, are, well, an annoyance but I still took it to heart), and many times I couldn't wait until I no longer had to go to that small room and dial numbers from lists. I left that job with an appreciation for what telemarketers go through, and told myself that I would never be rude to them. Would politely interrupt them, and ask them to "please put me on your do-not call list," and tell them to have a nice day. After all, I understand that they need to make money, just like everyone else. Over the years, I've stuck to not being rude to them, even when it has been hard. But yesterday, I hung up the phone without a word and couldn't help the fact I was seething inside. Maybe it was the fact that I was cleaning and the phone was upstairs, so I had to run to find it. Maybe it was the fact that I'd had a long morning with the animals and wasn't in the mood to have to deal with another person badgering me. But as I thought about it more, I realized that it is probably because I'm not in the place I need to be in my life right now.
I've written a few times on here about how confused I am about what I am supposed to be doing with my life. That confusion has, at times, driven me a bit batty. My brain tells me that I need to apply for jobs because our economy sucks right now and it would definitely not hurt to have another paycheck coming in. That means I have applied for several jobs that it is possible I could get, but that I don't really feel my heart would be into. Just this past week, I was invited for an interview for a job I applied to back in October. I never actually thought I would get an interview for this job...I was qualified, sure, but the job description was very specific in saying that the person for the job would have knowledge of law schools and the law field, which I do not have. So, I was surprised back in December when I was asked for a phone interview (which I thought I did miserably at...since I don't know anything about law schools and it was blatantly apparent), and I was even more surprised when I learned I was a top candidate and they wanted me to be one of the few (typically 3-4) people they interviewed with face-to-face. When I got the call that they wanted to interview me, my stomach dropped...and not in a good way. Why? A few reasons.
The first being that in the months since I'd originally applied, I've come to see more and more that an 8-5 job, 5 days a week, 12 months a year was going to be extremely hard for me. I've been lucky in the past to have flexible jobs that weren't specifically 8-5 and where I only worked 10 months out of the year. I enjoy my time off, and I enjoy flexibility. But mostly, I enjoy being able to spend time with B, and on the farm. B works 7-3 every day but Thurday and Friday, and taking an 8-5 job would mean I'd never be off on the same days as him, and rarely see him. It is important to me to be able to spend time with him, and have days where we can take the whole day to explore or work on projects. It would mean I'd come home and be tired and not get anything done around the house, or be in the mood to spend time with the animals. The second was that, well, I truly felt I'd make an idiot out of myself trying to interview. I'm not one to make an idiot out of myself. Ha. Well, maybe I should rephrase that. I don't want to go in to a situation where I know I would make an idiot out of myself. I do it all the time not meaning to... :) And finally, I don't think I truly felt passionate about the job. It wasn't something I really wanted to do. Not something that I'd look forward to waking up for in the morning. Not something that I'd mind working extra on the weekends or evenings for. Still though, I faked being excited and said,
"Ok, I'll come in and interview."
For a week I couldn't stop thinking about this interview. Couldn't stop asking myself why I was putting myself through something and what I would do if I actually got offered the job. I knew I would take it, if only because I'm bad at saying no...and because a paycheck is a nice thing, especially in this lovely economy we are in. I thought about the positives and the negatives. But in my heart, I knew it was wrong. When the telemarketer called and I hung up on him...I thought no only about my attitude with life right now, but also about the fact that when I was a telemarketer I hated it. But, I was able to stick it out and get through. Couldn't I do the same with this job? Not really wanting to be there...but being able to stick it through? The job was only a 2 year contract and I could bare it. I think. And who knows, I might end up liking it.
I was really stressed about the interview. To the point that when I got an email telling me I'd have to do a 15 minute presentation as a part of the interview, I started to cry. Weird reaction, I know. But, what? A presentation? On a topic I've had to research to hopefully be able to not sound totally oblivious about? There was no way I'd be able to do that. Maybe in a past life. When I had a bit more confidence in myself and what I wanted to do. But it was a little too much for me. I'm already pretty shy when it comes to presentations, but on a topic I don't have a background it...it would have been pretty mortifying. I talked to B about it a lot. He told me to pull my name from consideration. But, how could I do that? They would be so disappointed. I'd let them down. And wouldn't that be just plain stupid? But wouldn't taking myself out of consideration give someone else a chance? Someone who would probably really enjoy the job and maybe really need it?
After a weekend of stressing about the presentation, and talking to B about what the right thing to do, I pulled my name. I know it was the right thing to do. But it was still difficult. And I still have this desire to figure out what my purpose is. As B says, a job is not what defines me. It isn't really what gives me purpose either. But it is hard to change one's thinking when it seems that society many times looks down on those that don't have a good job, or are staying at home (I've experienced this many times already). I do have a desire to contribute to our little family as well. Cleaning and doing chores around the farm doesn't make me feel like I am contributing as I'm supposed to be. Be home with the animals does make me happy. As does the ability to spend time with B. But, there are days that I want to DO something. But what? I don't know. I've given it a bit of thought. Maybe, when I start subbing more (I haven't been called in anymore, so I've been putting in applications to sub in more places) I'll feel better. I'm not sure. But, one thing I really want to give a try is writing again. I want to sit down and write the things I want to write. To not be scared to share them. So, I'm going to try and make myself. I finally have the time and I should use it. I've been so scared to write because when I do, it is always very personal...and there is a part of me that runs from that.
So...one thing I've decided is that I'll share some of my old poetry on here. I haven't really shared my poetry other then with people in classes in college and a few very close friends. But, it is time to put some of my work out there. Maybe, when I get gutsy (and when I can find them) I'll put a few of my short stories out. And, eventually, I'll get some new stuff done. I think I need to do it for myself.
Wow, that was a long post. Sorry if it didn't make complete sense...my thoughts are kinda all over the place! Who would have thought hanging up on a telemarketer would bring me to think about all this?
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
But as I mentioned in my previous post, it was very difficult for me to get rid of the truck. My dad sat in that truck. He drove it around. There was this part of me that liked that at one point in time, he had been in the same exact place that I was sitting. Does that sound weird?
In the four years since he passed away, we have gotten rid of so many of the things that my dad was a part of. We sold the house we grew up in (and where he passed), we are selling the farm, the equipment that went with the farm...all these places where he once walked, sat, and just was.
I know it is good to move on. But I also appreciate and cherish memories. Sometimes, material items help those memories along. When memories start to fade, one day, I may pick up the last Valentine's present he gave to me and spark a memory that could have been long forgotten about where we were when he gave it to me, and how proud I was that he was visiting me in my first ever apartment... (it isn't yet, but it could one day).
I'm scared to lose any of the memories because they are all I have left.
Here I am, with the truck, the day we sold it.
I guess pictures help keep memories too.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Last week I talked about my skating, which was a huge part of my life, and really, the only sport I ever participated in. After I quit skating, I felt I needed to come up with something to do with myself...I'd been active all my life, training for upwards of 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, and I'm extremely competitive...so I needed something.
One day, while sitting in my dorm room freshman year, my boyfriend at the time, D and I were watching the news, and a piece came on about the Marine Corps Marathon. "How cool would it be to run a marathon?" I asked. "We should do it!" I was joking, but somehow my joke turned in to reality, and before I knew it, we were training for a marathon.
Here we are (I'm second from the left) finishing our very first one (we wanted to do the Marine Corps, but didn't get in...very high demand to run that one...so we ran in the first ever Baltimore Marathon instead). We really wanted to come in under 5 hours. You can see we came in just over. About a month before the marathon day, D pulled his groin and we couldn't train for two weeks. While running the marathon, he felt it pulling again, and at about mile 6, his knee started to hurt really bad. We were in the end, just happy to finish. It really is an exhilarating feeling knowing that you've pushed your body to do something so incredibly ridiculous. It is hard to explain. But amazing.
A year later, we did our second marathon, in Richmond. This picture shows me at about the 24-25 mile mark. My best memory from the marathon happened as this picture was taken. D's dad came out of the crowd and started running with us. He could tell that we were hurting and was so encouraging. I don't know if I ever told him how much I appreciated his enthusiasm and encouragement. It really helped. The Richmond Marathon is touted as "The Nation's Friendliest Marathon." Eh. Twice during the run there were protesters holding billboards of aborted children (yeah, they were against abortion and thought that was what we wanted to see while running 26 miles...), and they ran out of all food at the stops...so D and I never got any. We weren't happy about that. Food is very much needed to keep your body going during a marathon... And, they told everyone they would have masseuses available after the marathon to help cool down your muscles, etc. Well, they did for all the people that finished quickly. Not us people that finished later on...
This is D and I after we finished. We came in just under 5 hours. I look like absolute death. I had gotten a cold the day before we ran, and had not gotten much sleep the night before. Additionally, I hadn't eaten anything at all the entire day because I felt so awful in the morning and figured I would get snacks at the refreshment areas. Yeah. Not good. But we finished and we were happy with it.
I still hope to do one more. I want to run one with appropriate training and when I am healthy. I think I could finish in about 4-4.5 hours and would love to attain that goal. After that, I'd probably stop. :)
Thanks for remembering with me! For more memories, visit Jam's Own Reality.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
I encourage you to scroll through my sidebar and print off what you like. It will save you money (and earn me a few pennies)!
Saturday, February 14, 2009
I had another good week shopping at Kroger! I bought the following items:
for $49.06. I saved $39.06! I was actually surprised I saved so much...although they were have another decent sale where they gave money back for so many specific items purchased, many of those items were things I didn't have coupons for. I took advantage of the fact that Gatorade was a part of the sale and was able to stock up over the last two weeks. Gatorade for $.69 is good! I've also been stocking up on the soap (Johnson's Buddies) as I have tons of coupons that allow me to get them for free...and every time I buy them, I just keep getting more! (We might be overstocked on soap!
This was the second week that I came in below my $50 per week budget. I am doing good so far for the month. One thing I wish I could get rid of is tax! It eats up about $2.00 or more for each of my trips and that's at least another item I could buy instead!
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I was really hesitant to get a treadmill. I didn't want one. I feel they are harder to use. Plus, my ankle is still sore from falling off the horse last August (I fear it is forever damaged). We originally got an elliptical, but B really, really, really wanted a treadmill. So, we finally got it. I've been using it some and surprisingly my ankle doesn't bother me while running...only afterwards when I move it around, which is when it typically hurts.
I've actually been pretty proud of my work on the treadmill so far. I've always been one to push myself even when I'm struggling while exercising, so I've been able to start at and stick with about 30 minutes 3 times a week. I'd like to get it up to at least 5 times a week, but circumstances make it hard. There is a part of me that would really like to do another marathon. To try and finish one when I am healthy for once (the first time my running partner was hurt so we didn't train as best we could have and the second time I got a cold the day before we ran). To give me something to work towards as I right now I am struggling to find meaning in my life...I just need something to occupy my time besides chores and cleaning...to feel a sense of accomplishment...
So, I guess I'll have to keep at it. I've started several times to try and get back into it and I've succeeded for about 2 months...always getting back up to about 6 miles or so and then sputtering out when life gets busy. I'll have to let you know how I'm doing.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
I got to the school and am told where to go and that my syllabus is waiting for me there. I got there, looked over the days schedule, and see things I don't understand. What is Lunch Duty? Where do I go for recess? There is nothing to tell me if kids are brought to the gym, or if I'm to get them, etc. Luckily, I had plenty of time to go and find a teacher and ask her all necessary questions.
My instructions for the day were to play Extreme Pinball. Easy enough. I had classes with 5th, 6th, 2nd and 3rd graders. The first period went well...although I learned very quickly that attempting to talk over 20-30 students is not easy...especially when they are in a gym and in to a game and yelling and screaming. I wished I had a whistle. I also learned that Extreme Pinball games could sometimes end very quickly...resulting in 8 games in a period. Ugh. My throat and legs started hurting by about the 4th period. I had a kid punch another kid in the second period...didn't see it happen, just saw the crying student. And...I had no idea what to do! No one left me any instructions as to what to do if someone punched someone else! My immediate thought was that they had to go to the principal's office...but...would they go if I sent them? And I couldn't leave the gym. So, I tried to ease everything over and we resumed play.
It was 7th period when things started to get rough. 7th and 8th period were when I had the 3rd graders. Extreme Pinball requires the use of dodgeball type balls and bean bags...none of which are supposed to be thrown at people, only at pins or slid on the floor. As I was attempting to talk in between games, a student started screaming and throwing balls at the student's head that I was talking to. I said "stop." He didn't listen. I said, "Enough!" He didn't listen. Finally, I said "LISTEN! Either you stop screaming and listen to me while I am talking and stop throwing balls at people's heads, or we will stop playing and sit for the rest of the period!" That stopped him. The rest of the period went pretty well, with the exception of the same student laying on the floor in the middle of a game and not getting up until I went and told him to get up. And then, as they were cleaning up, they got stupid. Started throwing bean bags at each other's faces. I had asked them several times to clean up...stop throwing balls, get things back the way they were and they hadn't listened. When I saw them doing this I was like "Er, what?" I slapped my leg with the papers I was carrying and said "STOP! Line up now! You need to start listening" They did. (Thing is, I know they probably wouldn't have acted like that with their real teacher, but such is the joy of being a sub). They left to go to their next class and my last class passed them in the hallway. I heard one of the students say to my next class "The substitute is mean!" I had to laugh.
I told my last class that regardless of what the previous class had said, I wasn't mean, but that we couldn't throw bean bags at people's heads and we needed to listen. Things were going well, until two kids went at each other. I had to literally yank them apart. Again, I had no idea what to do. I separated them and told them they were done for the day. They really should have gotten in trouble...but I had no clue. I had to put them at opposite sides of the gym because the one kid looked as if he was going to lose it and go at the other one again if he was still in his line of sight. It was interesting. I made sure that the assistant teacher knew what happened and she passed a long the information to their teacher, so I guess I'm glad that something got done (hopefully...at least people were informed I guess).
And that was my first experience with subbing. Not awful. Just wish they would have given me a little more information so I knew what I was doing and how to address/handle situations. Oh, and a whistle. That would have been nice. :)
Monday, February 9, 2009
I'm trying something new today, and participating in Memory Monday from Jam's Own Reality. I've been kinda stuck with what I want to write about lately (well...not totally, I have lots of ideas, just not really feeling the passion to write them). I saw this on Kristen's blog and thought it seemed fun.
I used to be a figure skater and it was a big part of my life for 11 years. I quit almost 10 years ago (I still find that hard to believe). January, February and March are the big months for skating...when the big competitions are.
This is me, shortly after I began skating. I believe I was probably 7 or 8 here. Originally, I skated by myself and on a team. We had just finished a competition when my mom snapped this shot.
I trained hard for several years, and the work paid off. In 1993, when I was 12, I went to Mini-Nationals at the lowest level you can go, and placed third. I got nervous, and had I not, it is quite possible I could have won. I made a lot of mistakes in my free program. This is the medal podium from that competition.
My dream though, was to always skate pairs, and after placing third at Mini-Nationals, I started looking for a partner. I found one and the first year we were together, we placed second at Nationals at the Novice level. This is us competing our short program.
After three more years filled with injuries and illness and not performing up to expectation at Nationals (I got pnemonia before Nationals one year, then had an ankle sprain the next, and we both suffered from herniated discs in our backs...) we won at the Junior level. This is me and my partner (in the yellow) and our families after the Exhibition of Champions. I would have loved to have shown you pictures from the performance/podium, but those are still in a box somewhere.
Unfortunately, after this year, I started to suffer from a really bad eating disorder and the next year we ended our partnership. Regardless though, my skating is something that I am proud of, although it is at times, difficult to remember the dreams that now are not attained. Not many people can say they got to compete on the level that we did, and for that I am grateful.
Thanks for remembering with me! :)
Saturday, February 7, 2009
My first stop this week was CVS. I got:
for $.64 cents! I saved $24.98! I got the milk for free! I love free milk! :) I used $15.98 in ECB and earned back $15.49. Not a bad trip.
At Kroger I got:
for $36.56. I saved $41.70!! And bought 35 items! Although Kroger is no longer doing their mega-sale event, they were doing another sale event that allowed you to get $3.00 off if you bought 10 of an item. I probably could have bought another 10 gatorades, but chose not to. I got the Cottonelle, the Buddies soap and the Kleenex for free. The soap was $.18.
So far, I have spent $37.20 this month. That is well under my $50 a week budget. It gives me some wiggle room in the coming weeks as well.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
But the truck the person is interested in...I'm attached to. Silly to be attached to this metal thing? Probably. But, the reason I'm so attached to it is that it was my dad's last vehicle. We've kept the truck the last four a half years despite the fact it was never really needed. My mom had it for over 3.5 of those years, and it mostly just sat in her garage, unless I was there and used it. She gave it to me and B for a very cheap price and we've used it quite a bit. We already had 2 vehicles...a big truck (much needed for farm life and hauling) and a trailblazer (my vehicle which I love) and both were kinda gas guzzlers. We felt the little truck was a great addition in a time when gas prices were high and we could use it around the farm with no problem. Not to mention, I'd always loved the truck, and it had special meaning since it had been my dad's...
So this person will buy it. In my brain, I know that getting rid of it now is the smartest thing to do. We'd lower our insurance costs. Do we really need 3 vehicles for 2 people? We could use the money we'd make to pay off 2 of our current loans, to free up more money in our budget each month. Granted, if gas prices went back up, we'd be without a little vehicle to tool around in, and paying more in gas. But, I have a feeling the money saved, would probably balance it out in the end. I know my dad would probably knock me upside the head if I passed the opportunity to sell it now...before it got any older and the value went down even more.
But, that emotional attachment to it...makes it so hard for me. I wish I could be like so many people I know who don't get attached to things. I'm a packrat because of it and it hurts me when I do end of getting rid of them.
I'll let you know what the final decision is...
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
My sister and I were very close growing up. Only 2 years apart, my mom often dressed us a like and for a long time, we pretended we were twins (although, we sure didn't look it...she towered over me). We went through a lot together...especially in the years where my mom's manic depression was at its worst. She tried to protect me from the horrors that would occur when my mom would have an episode, and this meant that she often took the brunt of my mom's psychological breaks. Through everything, we loved each other and supported each other. Although, not to say we always got along. She would often do things and blame them on me...so I would get in trouble. We had some pretty knock down, drag out fights at times too...we'd punch and one time I bit her bad enough she had a bruise for weeks. Sometimes, emotions get the best of you I guess.
During my sister's college years, she made many choices I didn't agree with, but I still loved her. She suffered through some bad relationships, and had a bad falling out with our dad. Bad enough that they barely talked for several years. Our dad didn't agree with what she was doing in her life...she thought he was being unfair. It was rough. I worked hard the summer I graduated from college to bring them back together. I felt the mistakes weren't worth the estrangement. And finally, they came back together. She grew up and realized her own mistakes, and got on a good and smart path for herself. No longer being so destructive.
Unfortunately, only a year later, my dad got sick. My sister didn't know how to handle it and went on her own way doing her own thing. I was frustrated with her...in part because it was difficult being the caretaker for my dad, but also because I felt she was throwing away the time she had left with him...to each her own... When he passed away, we leaned on each other and continued to do so when my mom fell apart.
We each made choices that neither of us agreed with after my dad passed away and we were grieving. However, my sister did things that hurt me to the core, and I am not one to forgive easily. I need to work on that. B tells me I need to work on it...what good does holding a grudge do? I look at it more as protecting myself...if you hurt me once, why would I put myself in that situation again? Anyway, I was seriously hurt. I didn't talk to her for over 2 years, unless it was to have a screaming match. Really, in the end, what I needed was an apology, and she was unwilling to give it to me. More though, she couldn't seem to figure out what she did that hurt me.
Eventually, she called me and talked to me. She had really thought after our last fight about what it was that might have hurt me. She was sorry. So, we've begun talking again. Although, our relationship is definitely not the same. It is rather scarred and though we are working on it, I wonder if we will ever be as close. I think it is more my fault then hers...but...I find it hard.
Anyway, today is her birthday. And regardless of what has happened in our lives, I am glad she has been there to help me out and support me through everything. She helped me when times weren't easy for me or in our lives, and that can't be forgotten.
Happy Birthday Sis!
Monday, February 2, 2009
Crossing my fingers that the groundhog predicts that Spring is coming quick!
This is Part 2 of my posts about our animals. The first was about the dogs, and can be found here.
Let it be known, that when B and I moved in to our new house last May, that we had 3 cats and did not plan on getting anymore. 3 cats in the house along with 1-3 dogs at a time was more then enough in our opinion. Little did we know, that we would be receiving 2 barn cats with our house purchase, and that they would have kittens. Now, we have many more then we ever would have thought...
This is Onyx. I wrote about him here. He was my very first pet that I got on my own. He is black with a little bit of white on his tummy and is four a half years old now. He is a lover...much more like a dog then a cat. He actually fetches mice and brings them back to you. He also LOVES to get up in the most bizarre places...some times he will actually jump to the tops of doors and balance on them. He'll then realize that he can't sit on them and jump back down...but what possesses him to jump up there in the first place is beyond me! He can be stubborn and has a habit of batting things off tables, counters, etc. He is the reason I don't have many decorations on my tables...
This is Lucky. Lucky is two and half years old. She holds a very special place in my heart. The way Lucky became a part of my family is different then all the others. I had decided at that point, I did not need any more animals. I was done (at the time we had 5 cats and 4 dogs and enough was enough). One night I was up at the farm and we went out to eat. When we arrived at the restaurant, there was a kitten sitting in the parking lot. My friend mentioned that he had tried to catch one the last time he was there with no success. I, being the smarty pants that I am, bet him I would be able to go right over and pick the kitten up. So I did. And my gosh. What I found was a kitten whose eyes were almost completely crusted shut. Extremely dehydrated (so much so that her gums and tongue were white), very small, very hungry and flea infested. I was mortified. I couldn't leave her there. So, I took her home. I didn't expect her to make it through the night...everything was closed and I had no milk for her. I sprayed her with flea spray and put her in a crate for the night (the fleas were so bad that they were jumping off her to escape the flea spray...ugh). She made it through the night and the next day I got her some milk, and gave her a flea bath...I had to since the spray barely touched her. The water was filled with blood. Her belly was raw. The next day, I had to go down to see my mom, so Lucky made the trip with us. I took her to the vet then, they gave her a shot and told me to do what I'd been doing. Somehow, she made it. Lucky is a very smart kitty. But, she is one of the few I have that is not extremely social. She does like attention, but only in her time. If you pick her up, she will immediately start purring. She runs and hides when we have company, only really wanting attention from me and B (especially me). She is a bit cross-eyed, and I think she has the most beautiful face. She looks a lot like Onyx, with the bit of white on the chest. She is my special girl. :)
This is Myah. She is a year and a half. Again, I wasn't looking to get another animal. But, she came in to my life as someone abandoned her in a park on one of the hottest days of summer (it hit about 100 degrees). A friend called me and asked me if I could give her a home for a few days, and then that was it. I fell in love with her. Myah is our most standoffish cat. She loves to get attention when she can come in our bedroom, but otherwise she pretty much keeps to herself. It is weird to me she is like that because when she was found, she was very young. She was a very loving kitten. But, she changed. She is playful, and used to climb up furniture and curtains. Kind of a crazy kitty. :) She and Lucky are pals and she's not the biggest fans of the little kittens. Myah's quirk is that she will always stick her paws under the bathroom door when someone is in there. It is her way of saying hey! let me in! i want to be with you! I'm often greeted in the morning by a paw stretched under the door, and it makes me laugh.
This is Mama Cat. I have no idea how old she is. She is one of the two barn cats that came with our new house. When we got to the house, she had 2 kittens on her (Speck and Tears). Eventually, she also ended up mothering Wild Cat's kittens. She was a very good mom and stayed in the house for about 2 months raising the kittens. Now that she is back in the barn, she disappears for days at a time, but shows back up eventually. I often see her out in the field hunkered down, waiting to pounce on some unsuspecting meal. She is now spayed, so no more little kittens from her, which is for the best.
This is Wild Cat. She is the other cat that came with the new house. She had kittens also (Mouse, Maggie, Smoke and Hammie, who didn't make it), but we had to take them from her because we didn't want feral kittens...and that would have happened with her. She is not really people friendly...she does come around to eat food, and hangs out in the barn consistently. Almost always there when we are there. I think she is starting to get more used to us, but who knows? She is fixed now also. We don't want more kittens!
This is Speck. He is about 9 months old. He is my baby. All my life I've wanted a long haired cat...I had one, but she was attacked by a dog and passed away when little. When I first saw him, I fell in love. He was about a month old when we found him and his sister in the barn. They weren't too fond of us and hissed at us all the time. Speck was very sick as a little guy. He lost a lot of weight. Eventually though, he cleared up and as you can see, became a very healthy and big boy. He is also one of the friendliest kittens. I absolutely adore him. Unfortunately, B felt that some of the kittens had to go to the barn (we had a few too many in the house...8...when we originally only planned for 3) and he took Speck down one day when I wasn't home. As Speck was healthy (and many of the other kittens not) he felt it was a good choice. I honestly miss having this kitten around all the time. He has a wonderful personality and is just a baby. He seems to like being outside, but I can't say I like having him there...
This is Tears (she is kind of in the middle in this picture...the one with the white on her face). She is Speck's sister, and is about 9 months as well. Tears went down to the barn...and then came back up to recover from her spaying...and never went back down. Although she was originally standoffish...something changed in her. Now you can hardly ever get her off you. We are still discovering facets of her personality, but she sure does love to be wherever the people are. And, she absolutely loves Onyx, and Jem. She will often go over to Jem and just lie next to her belly, at which point Jem will start licking her. It is quite an adorable sight!
This is Mouse. He is about 8 months, although like his sisters (Smoke and Maggie) he doesn't look like it as he is so small. He has been sick for quite some time with the runs...which is part of the reason he was taken to the barn. We couldn't get rid of them...and when a kitty has a continuously running behind...it makes a mess in the house. We tried hard, and even the vet couldn't figure out what was wrong. For the most part, he seems to like being in the barn, but like Speck, I miss having him with me in the house. Of the kittens, he is the one who cares the least about getting attention, although he likes it when you give it to him. I love his markings. His one eye is black and I think it is the cutest thing.
This is Smoke. Also, about 8 months. Also, doesn't look it. Like her brother and sister, she has been sick for quite a bit of her life. We wonder if maybe it is because they were born in the barn to a barn cat. Who knows? Smoke is an absolute lovebug. If you sit down, she is on you. If you put her on the ground, she gets back up. She will not be dissuaded. If she wants up, she will find a way to be next you you. Smoke also loves to sit in the most bizarre places. I've found her on paper plates, on paper packaging, you name it. She will also lie on you in the most bizarre ways...I often think it must be so uncomfortable, but in the end, she seems happy that way, so who am I to guess how comfortable she is? :)
This is Maggie. I wrote about her here. She is also about 8 months. We have been trying for the last month to help Maggie get better with our own type of treatment (in the bathroom, better food, etc....if it worked we'd do it on the others), but have not succeeded well. She has gained some weight though. Maggie is a very loving kitten. She absolutely loves attention. She attacks feet with a reckless abandon, many times coming out of nowhere. She is another that loves to be in your face, and when she wants to be there is determined to be. There is no discouraging her. Something silly about Maggie is that she would just decide to take a nap in the middle of the floor. I could be cooking in the kitchen, look down and Maggie would be in the middle of the room, in the midst of everything, snoozing away.
This is Dakota. I think he is about 7-8 years old. Dakota is a monster and weighs over 20 pounds. Not because he is fat necessarily (although he is a bit overweight) but more because he is just a big cat. Dakota was originally my sister's cat. She had him for a few years, and felt that he wanted to be an outdoor cat. In fact, one time he wanted out so bad that he jumped out her 2nd story window... When she met her fiance about 4 years ago, he told her he didn't want cats, so she sent him up to the farm, where she felt he would be happy because he could be outside all he wanted. I guess he was happy, but about a year ago, when people stopped being at the farm regularly, we didn't know if he was still there. I loved the cat too, as he is very personable. He loves attention. He was our original sink sleeper. When B and I went up to get the horses in October, we knew if he was up there, we had to bring him back. We didn't want any animals up there anymore. I had little hope of finding him up there, as the person who stopped by on a frequent basis said he hadn't seen him in a while. But, wouldn't you know, that I stuck my head out the door when we got there, called "here kitty!" and out of the woods he ran. We tried to put him out when we got him here, but he kept going to the neighbors. So, he is inside right now, until the weather gets nicer, and he has a better sense of where his home is. I love having him here and am glad that we can provide him with his final home.
This is Fat Cat. I have no idea how old he is. Or if it really is a he. We are assuming by the way he looks that he is a he. He randomly showed up in the barn one day last fall and has become a regular visitor since then. We aren't sure how we feel about that yet...especially if it is a he. We don't want him trying to run Speck and Mouse off. Wild Cat and Fat Cat are really good friends, surprisingly...and when I come in the barn, I often see Wild Cat sleeping on top of him. He is not people friendly...runs when you get near, but apparently, he likes the food we leave in the barn...
We have one other cat who just started showing up whom we have named New Cat. No pictures of her. It is rare to see her. She seems to be about Speck and Tears age, but who knows at this point. We'd like her to stay away. We don't want kittens. No more!
And those are all the lovely cat furbabies that bless us with their presence. While many (most) were not planned, they all bring us joy, and I love them each for their differences and what they bring. While having so many cats can be overwhelming at times (more so then having quite a few dogs) they are worth the time and effort.
My final animal post will cover the horses and goats. :)
Sunday, February 1, 2009
"I'm a little groundhog, it's my day.
Wake and stretch, go out and play.
Down in my burrow, down so deep,
Time to wake, from my long winter's sleep.
Grumble, grumble, scratch, scratch,
Grunt, grunt, yawn.
I'll eat my breakfast in your front lawn.
I'm a little groundhog, it's my day.
Wake up and stretch, go out and play.'
- Author Unknown