Thursday, January 31, 2008

Love is in the Air!

It's giveaway time! I missed the cut-off for the Bloggy Giveaway Carnival over at Rocks in My Dryer but thought I'd do a little something special for my Sweethearts (that's YOU) anyway.

Valentine's Day is fast approaching so I wanted to express my love for all of you who have stuck with my blog and haven't grown weary of my droning on & on about my little, inconsequential life and random ponderings.


So here it is:

This little number is a Tupperware (what else?) 2-piece Romance Canister Set. I didn't name it that, Tupperware did. Blame them. Personally, I don't see anything "romantic" about Tupperware but I do see fun, cool, pretty, snazzy & downright useful! These 4-cup containers are handy for just about anything from coffee grounds to candy. Not only that, they will last you a lifetime because, after all, it's Tupperware and this stuff just doesn't ever break down. This canister set is valued at $20.00.

How do you win? Well, it's easy. All you have to do is leave a comment - any comment - on my blog for this particular post. Comments left on other posts won't be counted though are still HIGHLY appreciated! One reader will be picked at random and will be contacted via email (so make sure I have your email address!) by next Thursday. This contest ends 12:00 noon (Arizona time) Thursday, February 7th. So get your comments in. One comment per person, please. Winner will be announced that day!

Aren't you excited?! Me too!

Again, thank you all for sticking with me! LOVE TO YOU ALL and best of luck.
Oh, and P.S. - today is my birthday!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

They Should've Given Me a Medal.

Something people tend to find interesting about me is that I used to work as a Detention Officer for the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. Maybe it's because I have the persona of someone who never made it past the 11th grade or maybe it's the nerd glasses and my perpetually runny nose or maybe it's the fact that I tend to go "Eeeeeeee!" and do a goober-dance whenever a ball is tossed in my general direction that make people say, "NO! Really? You?!" when they find out this little tidbit regarding my past employment. But the truth is, I really was a detention officer for a little over three years back in the early '90's.

And a darn good one, too! I never had much trouble with the inmates, the other officers enjoyed working with me (well, they seemed to anyway) and I always received excellent reviews. Oh, but if you think that's patting myself on the back, wait until you hear about the time I single-handedly saved a girl's life!

I don't mean single-handedly as in it was just me. No, there was another officer involved. I mean single-handedly as in I saved her life with the use of one single hand. Let me explain.

My fellow officer, I call her Officer "D", and I were assigned to the maximum security housing unit this particular day. Each housing unit consists of four "pods". Each pod contains 15 double-bunk rooms holding a maximum of 30 inmates each. In the maximum housing unit, however, one pod - the segregation pod - contains all of the inmates who cannot, for various reasons, be housed in with the general population whether it be for their safety (child abusers) or the safety of others (psycho freaks). So in this pod, there was one inmate per cell.

Just setting up the scene here.

Anyway, Officer "D" was on a security walk and I was coming back from what I can only guess was the loo, since I can't remember exactly why another officer was covering for me in the tower, when Officer "D" came over the radio frantically calling for back-up as she just discovered a suicide attempt in the segregation pod. Since I was on the floor, I ran into the pod and then cell where Officer "D" was located to assist. What I found upon entering was "D" trying desperately to break the garbage bag twisted into a rope the female inmate had tied around her neck in a very serious attempt to strangle herself. This girl was not kidding. This was no cry for attention. She was very determined. When my fellow officer found her, she was very much unconscious and neither of us had any idea how long she had been like that. This was for real and only by the power of the Lord did we hold ourselves together and restrain against sheer panic.

I could do nothing until "D" broke through the rope. I did, however, place myself at the girl's face ready to administer CPR at the very moment her airway was freed. I had not only in my life gone through two CPR classes prior to and while in officer's academy, but had been professionally trained as to what to do in such an emergency. I was calm, cool, collected & ready! In what seemed like an eternity, the plastic rope tore free and I quickly properly positioned the girl's head and neck, opened her mouth, took a deep breath, lowered my face to hers and...

stopped. I couldn't do it. I could NOT place my mouth on that of an inmate's. No. Gross. Ew! I just couldn't. This was an INMATE for Pete's sake! Heaven only knows where this girl's mouth had been over the course of the years while she was living on the street and doing God-knows-what to pay for her drugs.

I. just. couldn't. do. it.

So I did the only thing I knew to do after that. I raised my right hand high in the air and swiftly and powerfully administered the most awesome knock-you-into-next-week slap to her face that would do any soap opera diva proud. And by the glory of God, this and this alone caused our young deathwisher to cough.

Hallelujah! She coughed!

She coughed and sputtered and gasped herself back into the living world! I literally knocked the wind back INTO her. It was then that I turned around to see that back-up had arrived and several of my fellow officers, including my Sergeant (the one who wrote my reviews), had all witnessed this incredible and very unprofessional act.

Several minutes later, after medical staff took over and the girl was wheeled away to the in-house medical facility and later to the hospital, me, "D" and my Sergeant were all back in the tower to tell him what all had transpired. "D" and I were required to write out a formal report but found ourselves so pumped up with adrenaline that we couldn't hold our pens still enough to write legibly and, therefore, Sarge ordered us to take a 30 minute break to collect ourselves. He never asked about the slap.

For the next couple of days, "D" and I were asked by several people to retell the story. Each time I sheepishly admitted that I could not bring myself to perform CPR on the girl and chose, instead, to slap the skin off of her, I was amazed to find that not one person gave me a hard time about it. I don't know if it's because they were just thankful it wasn't they who got there first, or if they felt they would do the same but I like to think they didn't say anything because, when it came right down to it, it worked.

Yeah, not one of my finer moments and not one that I'm particularly proud of, either. Afterall, I balked when I was supposed to be attempting to save a life, thinking only of my own germ-free self and ultimately whacking someone upside the face. I don't think they hold honor ceremonies for such things. In fact, I'm sure of it since there is no "Bitch-Slap-the-Life-Back-Into-Them" medal on my wall with a picture of me shaking the hand of Leona Helmsley.

That's probably a good thing.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I Squashed the ClutterBug.

Clutter drains your energy - and you don't realize it till it's gone. Every item in your home has an energy to it. When items go a long time unused, unloved and uncared for, they become stuck, stagnant energy that actually physically drains you of your energy. ~ Ariane Benefit


That was a wonderful way to spend the morning! I had been dealing with much, too much clutter in my house. My closets were full. My cupboards were full. The storage space under the beds were full. And my tolerance for it all was gone! So I decided to do something about it. Something radical.

I cleaned it all out. Every last thing that I haven't touched in over a year or more. Every last thing that I just knew I would need someday. Stuff that I would eventually get around to. That project that was going to be so cool and creative once I actually did it. Turns out, I didn't need it, I never got around to it, and I never created it.

Turns out the world didn't stop turning either.

But guess what I DID do with it! No, don't guess - that's no fun for me. Let me tell you!

I gave it all away!

Yep! I emailed all my friends and relatives and told them to be at my house 10 a.m. sharp to get some really great steals! I flatly refused to accept a dime for anything (the less you have to pay, the more you take, you know) though did hint a little that any donations of chocolate would be greatly appreciated (thank you Tre' and Katie!). The stuff went like.., well.., like FREE STUFF!



Have you ever dreamed of waking up one morning and having 50 lbs suddenly gone? That's what this felt like. Though, sadly, I didn't lose any body weight (that might have something to do with the chocolate, however) I did lose a lot of stuff that was weighing me down. You know how cholesterol can clog your arteries? Well, clutter clogs my spiritual and mental arteries. It drags me down, scrambles my mind, makes me irritable until I finally come [] <- this close to wanting to light a match. But since the insurance companies and law enforcement agencies tend to frown on arson, I decided to do something a little less criminal. Sorry, if you missed it and though you might be waiting for me to say, "Maybe next year", there won't be a next year. I'm placing a big box in the corner of the garage and marking it "DONATE". I'll be you-know-what if I ever let that "stuff" back in!

All that is left is going to be boxed up and donated. Next stop: the home organization aisle at Wal-mart!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Cheap Therapy.

This Saturday, I'm doing a little cheap, self therapy. I can't wait! I'll have pictures and tell you all about it afterward. Keep an eye out.

It's radical. It's unheard of. It's INSANE! Some may think I've actually lost my mind. Taken a little dip in the crazy pool , even. But that's okay, I don't mind. I'm giddy just thinking about it.

That's all for now. I need to prepare for Saturday. There's still work to be done. This therapy is cheap but it does require some effort. See you Saturday!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Gifts of God.

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. ~ Romans 12:6-8

I believe we have all been given different gifts by God. I believe I know my own gift, as it is something that comes naturally to me, I enjoy doing, and it falls in line with God's word. I don't have to work at this gift and it causes me no struggle (except, at times, I wonder if my timing is correct).

However, I often wonder if God puts it on our heart to actually work toward a gift. This gift would also be enjoyable and fall in line with God's word but may not come naturally. It would be something that needed practice, patience and, for me anyway, a great deal of work. I have a desire for such a gift (I will not mention it here - at least not now) and have had this desire since I was a child. It has never once left me, not even for a moment.

What do you think? Do you think God would lay it on one's heart to work toward a gift or do you think that the gifts God gives He gives immediately and without constraint? Do you think God would plant the seed in one's heart of another gift, one that would not come so immediately and would require quite an effort?

I understand that often times, God calls on us to do something difficult, something we may not realize we have the strength or courage to do. But once we answer that calling, we realize God had instilled within us the gifts and talents to be successful at whatever it is He's called us to do. I'm speaking here of gifts that were already there, we just never realized them.

But the subject of my post is not these hidden, undiscovered gifts. I'm talking about a gift you desire to have but truly know is not there. It's not there naturally and that would require diligence, time, effort and, quite honestly, the swallowing of one's pride.

Do you think God always just hands out His gifts or do you think He would like to see some effort on our part to work toward a desired gift? I'm interested to hear what you have to say.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Super Savings Saturday

I would like you all to meet my new best friend, . I know you all will love her just as much as I do. I stalk her blog at least 3-4 times a day. Every Saturday, she invites her readers to post their super shopping savings for that week. I don't know if I'll be able to do this every Saturday, but I'm sure going to try. Buying things at deep, deep discounts is addicting, let me tell you. I have become so consumed with what I can practically steal from stores that I've even dreamt about it.

Okay, maybe that hints to deeper problems but, whatever! I don't care. I have found some awesome deals in the last two weeks and I can't wait to find more!

And, yes, I know this goes totally against New Year's Resolution #1 but I will reconcile with that later.
(Amanda writes herself a note reminding herself to look up how to delete a post)

So here's today's catch:
What you see in the picture above is three 2-piece outfits and one shirt for London, plus one 2-piece outfit, 2 pairs of jammies, 5 shirts and a sweater vest for Kirby that I purchased at JC Penny. I had heard through the grapevine that they were having a 70% off or more sale so I headed on down there to check it out.

Total retail on above items: $208.90
Total spent (before tax): $ 35.94
Total saved: $172.96

WooHoo! Most of what I purchased I bought in larger sizes for next winter. The kids are pretty well covered this year.

This was a deal from last week:

I found a 15% off coupon code to use online at the Kohl's website. I can't remember where I found it, I'll have to research that. Anyway, I went straight to their clearance section. I bought the purple top for $2.80 marked down from $24, the white tank for $4.80 down from $14 and a shirt for The Kirbster for $3.20 down from $12.00. The website was offering .99 cent shipping per item and I had $10.79 left over on a Returns Card, so with tax, the total that was charged to my Visa was $2.03!

At CVS this week, (I don't have a picture because I already opened some of the stuff up) I hit their clearance make-up, used several coupons plus some of my Extra Care Bucks that I earned prior and walked out the door with over $66 worth of stuff paying only the tax of .81 cents. Plus, I earned $6 in Extra Care Bucks and a $3.00 off any $15.00 purchase for next time. So, basically, CVS handed me $9.00 back!


If you don't know how to take advantage of CVS's Extra Care Program, check it out here . My guess is, I'll be seeing you around CVS very soon!

Also, last week, I hit a garage sale. I haven't hit a garage sale in I don't know how long! I found six pieces of like-new clothing for London for $3.00. I'd like to hit some more of these, but with the kiddos in tow that'll be tricky. We'll have to see.

Anyway, welcome to my latest addiction. This one, so far, has been the best. I hope to be posting more great savings in weeks to come. Keep an eye out and, hopefully, I may inspire some of you to to the same. If you are already doing the same, then please share with the rest of us. There are enough great deals out there for everyone!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Found It On the Web Friday

I haven't done this is awhile. Not because I'm not finding anything, I just can't remember what day it is most of the time. I actually came across this website awhile back but it was brought to my attention once again this week. It is an incredible time waste, let me warn you, but you will laugh & laugh & laugh and laugh some more. I know I do but, then again, it never takes much.

A couple of my personal favorites:

Some of them you may find offensive and I wouldn't allow your kids to go through the pictures on their own as they may stumble across some inappropriate language but, really, those are few compared to the vast majority that are downright funny. If you're the type that prefers intelligent humor, move along - none of that here. Also, it takes a bit of practice to get the "language".

And after you have wasted an hour at this site and you haven't done anything productive and your kids are hungry and dinner is burned, be sure to thank me. I appreciate being appreciated!

You're welcome.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Things I Do When No One is Around. Installment #1

I have decided to bare my most sinful self. Not all at once, mind you. Sorry, didn't mean to get you all excited. No, this is the beginning of a once a month "confessional" where I tell you, my dear, sweet anonymous blog readers whom I'm not obligated to see on a daily basis, about the things I do when no one is looking.

Well, except my kids, who are too young still to understand the levels of my bizarre behavior and my husband, who...well, know...has seen me naked, so how much worse could it get for him. Ya know?

So once a month, I am putting myself out there...going out on a limb...putting my neck on the line...pushing the envelope...playing for all the marbles...

um, I ran out of tired & over-used cliches. Anyway...

I do this for you so that you may read my dirty little secrets and say, "Whew! She does it too! NOW I can sleep at night!"

So, are you ready? Are you sure? 'Cause if you're not sure, we can do this some other time. Really, it's no big deal. Oh, I see. You're ready. Well, then, here we go:

read People Magazine.

There. It's out. Okay, that wasn't so scary. I can handle this. Yes, I know, it comes as a bit of a shock to you, I'm sure, those of you who are used to seeing me with my head buried in The Wall Street Journal or Psychology Today or Super-Smart People Monthly but let's keep things in perspective, shall we? I mean, it's not like I ever visit or anything. Nope, not once. Or even for that matter.


Yes, I like to curl up from time to time with the leading trash mag. So what? Got something to say 'bout it?

Yeah, didn't think so. It's not like I'm ignoring my children for the splendor of the gossip rag.


No, I just pick it up from time to time when the mood strikes me, I'm feeling bored or Britney's on the cover. And when is girlfriend going to get some help, anyway?

So there you have it. The first in a long line of confessions that will surely make your cheeks blush, your lips quiver and your eyes roll. And while I want you to keep an eye out for installment #2, please don't hold your breath. This is only a once a month treat, remember.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Clear Focus.

Not that long ago, I had been shopping in Wal-mart. Once I had collected all of my "needful things" I headed to the check-out. There was a couple in front of me and as I waited to place my items on the belt, I realized that some of the gentleman's item had been left on the end instead of the belt itself and, therefore, were not moving forward. Unsure as to whether or not he wanted these items, I didn't want to assume and start piling on my things.

So I asked him, "Excuse me, Sir? Did you mean to put these on the belt?"

He: "Oh, yes. I'm sorry about that."

Me: "That's okay. Here, let me help you."

I then assisted him in getting the remaining items onto the belt, then turned toward my cart and began to unload my things, when he asked me, "So, how are you today?"

Me: "I'm doing great, thank you? And yourself?" I turned to retrieve more items.

He: "I'm blessed."

I spun back around and looked at him. "Did you say, 'blessed'?" I asked.

He nodded: "Yes, I did."

Me: "What a great answer! You know, if we all stopped to think about it, we would all answer that way."

He smiled and nodded in agreement. His things were totalled, he bid me a good day, and he and the woman he was with were on their way. But part of him remained with me. Did you ever meet someone, even for a brief moment and they left a part of themselves with you? You take that small piece and tuck it safely inside. Over time, it is absorbed into your very essence, your DNA and, with luck God's blessing, it becomes a part of you, yet ready to be left with someone else.

This is how it was with this man. I will never forget him because in that minute and a half that we spoke, he taught me what it really means to see clearly. Yes, I am blessed. Regardless of the never-ending To-do list, the children whom I cannot catch a break, the husband who sometimes "bugs me", the bills, the mess, the chaos, the static. In fact, I am not blessed in spite of it but because of it. Yes, I AM BLESSED.

Thank you, Lord, that my ever-chatty daughter has the ability to speak.
Thank you, Lord, that my perpetually hungry baby has the ability to eat.
Thank you, Lord, that my sometimes forgetful husband is HERE and is good to us all.
Thank you, Lord, that my disorganized and dusty home keeps us safe & warm.
Thank you, Lord, that my sometimes short-sighted self was able to meet a man who gave me perspective and a new outlook.

Who was this man? This man who just happened to forget some of his items on the end of the beltway. This man who asked me a simple question and returned mine with a profound answer. This man who had vision beyond the here & now. This man who summed up his life in one simple word - Blessed. And this man who held a cane in his hand - a cane that was white with a red tip. This man...

...was blind. And yet I've never met anyone with a clearer focus.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Happy Birthday, My Sweet Baby Boy!

In the beginning...

a boy was born unto us.

His name was Kirby Michael.

He was not at all impressed with Mommy's hairstyling

and often found himself "stickered" by his big sister.

After a brief affair with his thumb,
he began to make camera lenses melt everywhere.
A fan was good for quieting the occasional grumpy-butt,
and he was spruced up for the girls shortly after.
A smile would soon reign supreme on his face.
This All-American Boy of ours.
A first-time visit to the beach,
and a short stint as a disosaur impersonator,
inspires him to venture out from the safety of mom & dad to another year!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dad!

My dad was born January 3rd, 1939. He was the third child of eight and the oldest son. He did not graduate high school, opting instead to join the Navy at seventeen.
That same Navy uniform I would wear as a Halloween costume for years!

Here he is, circa 1959:
If you put my hair on his head, you'll have a pretty dang good idea of what I look like. Not bad, eh?

Here's Dad on Christmas Eve night, 1986. My brothers, Jack and Kiel, bought him that recliner. For years to come, if you sat in his recliner, that was fine, but if you see him BEGIN to walk into the room, you get out. You don't wait for him to "ask" you, you just do.

My graduation day from Maricopa County Detention Officers Academy. It wasn't long after this that I called my dad and said, "Thank you! I get it now". Working in a county jail with inmates will help you to understand very quickly why your parents are hard on you at times. Understand and appreciate! Thank you again, Dad!
My dad passed away from pancreatic cancer in May, 2001. My first child was born April, 2004. Some have asked me if I'm sorry that my dad never got to see my kids. I say, "No. He sees them everyday".

When I became pregnant with my son, I calculated his due date to be January 3rd. To say I was excited about the possiblity my son may be born on my Dad's birthday is an understatement. However, my son had different ideas and was born January 4th. As my son marks his first birthday tomorrow, I realize that this is how it was supposed to be.

Today I celebrate the life of a man passed on and tomorrow I celebrate the life of a man yet to be. I think that works out perfectly.

Happy Birthday, Dad! I love you! You're the best Dad in the whole world!

*nose rub*

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Year's Resolution #3

I'm making this one quick because it's 10:30 here and I'm actually going on zero nights sleep from last night (thanks, Kirby).

In the last 2 1/2 years since we moved into our new neighborhood and started attending church, God has blessed us with many new friends. So many, in fact, that I have a hard time keeping up with everyone.

In addition, hubby and I have ALWAYS - and I mean, ALWAYS, in case you didn't get the emphasis the first time - talked about entertaining more at the house. Well, it's as if chocolate and peanut butter have come together for the first time to make something really great!

So, New Year's Resolution #3:

Thou shalt open thy doors and bringeth in friends for good, good times!

I'm planning on - not fully committing to or setting anything in the proverbial stone - inviting someone over 2-3 times a month for dinner & conversation. Heck, maybe I'll even break out the occasional boardgame to really get the party rockin'. Monopoly anyone?

I just find that in our every day busy, busy, busy lives, - I don't want to say we forget to include others, no - we choose to put people on the backburner of our life cooktop. This is the one resolution that I believe has the highest chance of falling by the waistside. And is that really right? Are decluttering and watching my shopping habits more important than the people God, Himself, has blessed me with?

I hope not. I really hope not. This week my beloved in-laws are visiting. Woohoo! But, next week, watch out! I'll be preparing a dinner menu complete with appetizers and dessert. Not to mention, dusting off a boardgame or two.

And, you - YOU may getting a phone call with a request to mark the date! And don't be Caller ID'ing me either or I'll make you be the shoe.