Sunday, February 26, 2012

SNCC, February 26, 2012


Pay It Forward....I can't believe hubby has never seen this movie. Waiting for "The Walking Dead" to come on at 9.

Listening to? Cub making a mess of the living room again.

Cooking/Baking? I made some weird concoction with pork and bbq sauce, with rice and yellow beans for dinner. I also baked two loaves of bread today, while doing two loads of laundry. Tee hee.

Happy you accomplished this week? Lots of work! I definitely put in more than 20 hours to the part time job, as well as a couple of runs for my own business.

Looking forward to next week? Hopefully, my first steady pay cheque from the new part time job. (And not looking forward to getting the paperwork together for getting taxes done.)

Thankful for today? My loving family, the ability to work, and the drive to succeed.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bowing Out Gracefully

The last couple of weeks have been filled with lots and lots of activities for me. I have been working a lot, and am seeing some of the fruits of my efforts. The company I have been doing work for has now put me on payroll for part-time hours. This is such a blessing! I will have consistent funds coming in which will help the budget immensely. It will help me free up money from my yearly budget to pay off debt, and reach some goals. Not to mention I enjoy the work.

My schedule is filling up fast, and I have to let something go. So I've decided to bow out of the 'challenges' that I signed up for. I will still declutter, and try to lose that pesky 10 pounds, as well as keeping my spending as low as possible, just not officially.

I am still knitting ( to keep my sanity) and I will post pictures of my first pair of knitted socks when they are done. Carla, I think I can do some chunky ones for you in the future. Do you have a colour preference? I have been trying to find some time to takes pictures of my creations, but that isn't happening anytime this week. Oh well.

I'm starting to work on my month end numbers. It seems we're not making much progress, but that's ok too. This time of year is always super-tight for us, so to keep the debt at a certain level is fine by me. At least we're making the minimum payments. :)

I gotta run. Work calls. Have a good day everyone!

Monday, February 20, 2012

And the Award goes to.....

I'm a few days behind with this, but my wee blog was given an award! Thanks Jane!

The rules are pretty easy:
1) I must pass on the Versatile Blogger award to five other very deserving versatile bloggers.
2) You must tell 7 random things about yourself that your readers don't know about you. (I guess posting them on your blog is part of it too.)

OK, here goes. I nominate:

Amy & Judi at Living Large - Tales of a Blended Family.

(I guess I better tell these folks that I've nominated them, huh?)

As for the 7 things you may not know about me, well, I'll try;

1. I sold life insurance while I was in my 20's and I hated every minute of it.

2. When I was pregnant with my eldest, I developed a severe UTI that led to infections in my bladder and kidney that almost killed me. I was hospitalised for over a week where it was very touch and go. They weren't sure if me or the baby was going to survive. We're both still here though. :)

3. I used to be in a baton twirling troupe that travelled around the country and sometimes the US for different parades. I missed it terribly when I couldn't be a part of it anymore.

4. The year I was 12, my family was robbed. My parents had put all of our Christmas gifts in out locker in the storage area of our apartment building and someone cleaned it out. Well, except for the boxes. The thieves left all of the empty boxes of the things I should have gotten for Christmas that year. At least I got to see a picture of the awesome ghetto blaster that I should have had.

5. I have arthritis. I have been largely ignoring my symptoms for most of my life (I was diagnosed at age 10). I was once told that the progression was bad enough that I would likely be in a wheelchair before age 40. Seeing as my 40th birthday is just over 60 days away, I'm thinking that ain't going to happen. :)

6. I got my GED and applied to college when I was 30. You guys know that part. What you don't know is that the only college that offered that particular program in Ontario was over a 2 hour drive from where I lived. So for eight very long months, I left my then husband and children at home and to their own devices while I pursued my academic goals. I could only afford to visit every other weekend so it was very hard on all of us. That was a milstone year for me and my girls schoolwise. I was starting my first day at college, while my eldest was starting her first day of highschool, and my youngest daughter was starting her first day of kindergarten.

7. I come from very humble beginnings. At one point in my life, I was an aboriginal teenaged runaway, homeless, and pregnant, with absolutely no good prospects in life. I had been abused, neglected, and without hope. I tell you this so that you can know that anyone can change and turn their life around. Whatever it is that seems hopeless in your life can be changed.

 I leave you with this video. *grab some kleenex, you will need it*
The video had copyright something or other so I had to delete it.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

I Got My Valentine's Wish :)

When I found out that Gail was going to be doing a book signing in Oshawa, I begged Hubby to take me as my gift for Valentine's Day. Not that far away really. Just a little drive. So yesterday morning, we packed ourselves and Cub in the car first thing in the morning, and headed to the Oshawa Chapters store.

Cub waiting in line to see Gail, and get *his* book signed.

We were able to hear her speak and answer questions for about 45 minutes before she started signing. It was wonderful. She talked about her love for her kids, and the things she does for them out of love ( and so they will take care of her in her old age). She talked about jars, and emergency funds ( so not what she calls hers) and about adjusting your spending plan to take life as it comes. (Something I just figured out myself.)

Cub and Gail. They were having a good laugh 'howling' with each other.

Hubby asked her about her knitting, and she claims it is going well. :)
She talked to folks in the audience about it being a parents responsibility to teach our children about money, starting at age 2 or 3 by showing them that you exchange money for something you want; then at age 6, incorporate an allowance to teach them the basics of having a spending plan and to start them on the right track of learning how to save.

She talked to Cub more than anyone else in the line, I think. ;)

We had to wait in line for~ever to get up to the front. Of course, with Cub, I had forgotten anything I was going to ask by the time we got to the front of the line. I was just happy to be seeing her again, and to get one of her huge hugs.

I think both of my 'men' have a crush on Gail now. *sigh*

The best moment of the day for me!

Content, we drove home to London. Thanks to Chapters for giving us the opportunity to see Gail again. A very big thank you to Gail for sharing a few moments of your life with us. You'll be hearing from us again soon!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

It's All Quiet Around This Here Blog

I haven't been posting as much as I would like to lately. Whoever said that life is what happens while you're busy making other plans wasn't kidding!

I had a sick little guy last week, then I took ill on the weekend, so a lot of things didn't get done that I wanted to have done. Good thing I was so far ahead on the declutter challenges! I babysat little grandcub on the 14th for his mommie & daddie so they could spend some alone time. :) (Hubby and I don't celebrate Valentine's. It's just not us.) Work has had some interesting twists and turns for me, so I haven't even thought about tackling my kitchen as of yet. The hand written card I was going to send out is still unwritten and the mountain of laundry is threatening to take over the hallway. *sigh*

Life is happening to me, so it seems with all the evolving that is going on. I'm not able to share most of it for now, but when I can, boy will you hear all about it. It's all good though. I've just having to learn and adapt to it as we go along. I just hope that the dust settles soon.

Hope you all are having a fantastic week!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Why I do what I do

Louise wrote:
" it's nice reading a bit more about everyone with these tag posts,
Do you mind me asking how you got into the funeral directing work? "

There are many moments in my life that kept bringing me back to the death industry. some of my most vivid memories are of funerals and in funeral homes. For whatever reason, they stuck with me.

While growing up, my parents always took me with them to funeral visitations and services. They did not believe that children shouldn't be at funerals. I remember going to a funeral when I was very young, and had to stand on my tiptoes to see into the casket. I cannot remember whose funeral it was, but I do remember seeing a very pretty lady sitting in a high backed velour covered chair receiving guests and thanking people for coming. I asked my Mom if she was a queen or something. Apparently, the lady was my Aunt. Mostly I remember how the place made me feel. I was feeling peace for the very first time. Everyone was calm even though they were sad. I remember thinking that I wanted to live in that place of calm and peace.

Sometime later, I think I was about 10 or so, my Uncle was killed while walking down the highway. It was tragic, and my mother followed the court trial that ensued for the two separate men who were both charged with hit and run that caused my Uncles death. Every night during the trial, she would come home and tell my Dad all about what had happened in court that day. I was really young to hear such details, but I mostly remember hearing how forensics had been used to match paint from the vehicles (that's how they knew there was two vehicles) and how Uncles blood had been found on both cars. Such things seemed magical to me, and I got interested then in learning more about this magic.

I started reading books about death, mostly stories about people who should have died but didn't, and other miracles of science. I read 'Karen Ann, The Quinlans Tell Their Story' (published in 1977). I was fascinated that parents actually wanted their child to die. I had also read 'Helter Skelter', a book about the 1969 Manson Family murders and trial. Forensics had also played a major role in that trial. I was hooked on death and dying.

A few years later, my grandmother died. The visitation and service was held in the home of a family member. I couldn't stop looking at her and touching her. The funeral director that was there was good enough to answer all of my questions. I was really curious. I wish I knew who he was, so I could thank him in person. I really got the bug then.

As I was getting older, I thought that my role in life was to be in forensics. Life got in the way of my plans, and I put away any dreams of ever being a pathologist. It was just not meant to be.

In 2001, I was working in a bar in a small town just outside of London. I was trying to figure out who I was to become. I had already become a mother twice, and I knew I didn't want to be a bartender for the rest of my life. Then a number of things happened in a short period of time that helped me to figure it out. First, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. Her impending death made me realise that none of us escapes death, and we will all have to go through losing someone sooner or later. Secondly, I met Sasha. She would come into the place where I worked, so she would have a change of scenery. She was always quiet, studying and reading. Of course, I asked her what she was studying. To my surprise, she was an apprentice funeral director that worked down the street. It brought back something of a dream of mine that had been long forgotten.

While my mother was getting her affairs in order, we had many talks about many things. It was like she was trying to give me as much advice as she could in the short time that she had left. She made me promise that I would figure out what I wanted to do with my life, and then give it all I had. That winter I wrote my GED exams while still working and being a full-time mom. I passed all of them without ever having taken a course. I was determined. I had started looking into Funeral Director school, but I wasn't prepared to apply as my mom was still getting sicker by the day. She'd had surgery on her brain to remove a tumour. My life was the perfect image of imbalance.

My thirtieth birthday came and went, and I knew Mom's time here was short. She died less than two months later. The funeral home was again a place of peace and calmness, even though I was feeling none of that inside. I went through the motions of life, my grief too strong for me to break through. It was like I was walking around inside a cloud. Nothing bothered me, and nothing made me happy. I was in a very bad state. It took about six months for the fog and haze to lift. I didn't realize I was in it, until it wasn't there anymore. I had come to terms with it, accepted what was. I could move forward.

I applied to college for the following year. My acceptance letter was one of the best things I ever got in the mail. I now knew what I wanted to do; I wanted to hold hands of others through the fog of grief.

I kept my promise, Mom. I hope I have made you and Dad proud.

Friday, February 10, 2012

What I got in the mail

Yesterday was a bit hectic for me, and with lots of work goings on, I hardly have time to post anymore. But I will keep trying.

While I doing my stuff, I checked the mail box yesterday. I was happy to see the weekly flyers in it even if I'm still waiting for some coupons. But there was also a huge envelope in there, addressed to me. Could it be?

Yes!! Inside was a lovely Nightmare before Christmas themed Mug Rug and coffee sleeve from the one and only Carla. I have been a very patient girl waiting for this mug rug, and my friend wanted to make it special for me, so it took some time. But I can tell you it was oh so worth it! Thanks again Carla.

In other news, I spent some time on the phone with company that takes care of the benefits from hubby's work. When my DD2 (his step) was taken to the dentist last month by her father, the dental office did what they were supposed to do, and put down the benefit information for both of the 'Dads' in her life. When the claim went to Hubby's insurance company, somehow it got all mixed up, and then returned the claim in hubby's name to ex-hubby's address. Of course it got returned. The insurance company then sent it to hubby's work, with another letter addressed to him, stating that the address they have on file is incorrect, and for hubby to prove his relationship to DD2.

What a mess! Not to mention a very unhappy hubby. (It likely ticked off ex-hubby as well, but his feelings don't really matter to me anymore.) The claim form from the dentists office had DD2's address as ex-hubby's and someone in the insurance office took it upon themselves to change the address on Hubby's contact information, without anyone asking for it to be done.

To their credit, they were apologetic, and offered a good suggestion for hubby to fix the way his benefits are applied (when it comes to her) with his plan administrator at the workplace. The problem with that is, there is no plan administrator at his workplace. Due to cutbacks, the person who used to do this was let go, and there has been no one to replace the work that she did do. What a pain in the butt this is going to be!

I sold my first handknit swiffer cloth yesterday. It excites me to think that people may actually want the things that I make. Last night, I attended a free knitting class that my friend hosts, and got some help with finishing up a couple of projects that I had been working on. All the ladies there were interested in my Sock pattern on two needles (instead of the traditional four). I think it's time I actually start putting my patterns into some page holders in a binder, seeing as I have more than a few of them. :)

Well, I'm off to work again today. I'm hoping to get some work done on my second week declutter challenge this weekend.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I'm It!!

Yesterday, while I was working and other boring stuff, I got TAGGED in a couple of posts from some bloggy friends. A cool kind of game, where you have to answer question posted by the blogger who tagged you, and then go tag some other bloggers, and ask questions of them.

With me so far?

OK, here are the Rules:

#1 - Post these rules.

#2 - Answer the 11 questions from the person who tagged you.
#3 - Create 11 new questions for the people you tag.
#4 - Tag 11 people and link them to your post.
#5 - Let them know that you tagged them.
So here goes, my answers to questions posed by Jane and Makky's Mom:
1J) Describe yourself in seven words: kind, loyal, giving, serious, caring, helpful, determined
1MM) What is your favourite fun thing to do? At the risk of sounding old, I love to knit and read for fun.
2J) Why did you decide to start a blog? I had been reading Gail Vaz-Oxlade's blog for awhile, and then met someone who had started a personal finance type blog. I thought, heck, if he can do it, so can I! I had been trying to incorporate writing daily into my life, and blogging seemed to fit the bill.
2MM) Tell me about your family - children, spouse, parents, siblings, plans for future babies or marriage.
I have a wonderful Hubby (we're not married yet, I still have to get divorced first - long story) and three beautiful children ages 22, 12 and 3. I also have one gorgeous grandson! Both my parents and my step-dad are deceased so I only have MIL to go to when I need advice. I am the youngest of 9 siblings, none of whom are full sibs. Mom adopted another child after I left home, so I sorta have a little brother. I only have contact with a few of my sibs though.
3J) What is your favorite kind of cheese? I like blue cheese when I have wings or salad, but for eating, I prefer old cheddar.
3MM) What type of career do you have? I am a licenced funeral director in the province of Ontario.
4J) What keeps you awake at night? Usually not much, but worrying about things does affect my sleep. That and having an overactive bladder.
4MM) How old are you? I'll be hitting the 40 year milestone on my birthday this year.

5J) If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be? I would make myself taller.
5MM) What has happened in your life that you never expected to happen? Pretty much everything, especially having a child with blond hair!

6J)   "What are you wearing right now?" LOL@ Jane and Michael! My pajamas, of course!
6MM) What are you currently saving up for? Emergency fund, retirement fund, RESPs, Xmas fund, newer van fund, a family vacation, house downpayment, newer work equipment. (Wow, that's a lot of stuff!)

7J) Tell us something about the person who tagged you! Although she doesn't know it, Jane is an inspiration to many. She is the kind of person I want to be when I grow up!
7MM) What is your biggest pet peeve? When people say "irregardless" when they are trying to make themselves sound smart. I just want to tell them, and any one else who uses it, that "irregardless" isn't even a word.

8J) Stretch out your arm and tell us what is the closest thing to you right now? The computer monitor, silly Jane.
8MM) What puts a smile on your face? Hearing Cub laugh when he is entertaining himself; helping a family to the best of my ability; when Hubby winks at me when I am least expecting it.

9J) What's your favorite flavour of icecream? Do you lick your icecream or bite right into it? I prefer ice cream with chunks of chocolate and other stuff in it. I start out by gently licking it, and then I turn into a biter. Oh, we are still talking about ice cream, right?!?
9MM)  If you could make one wish come true, what would it be? I am working toward making all my own dreams come true, so I would have to make a wish come true for others: to find a cure for cancer.

10J)  Do you prefer the truth or a white lie that doesn't hurt your feelings? I always prefer the truth. It would bother me to know that someone thought they had to lie to me and didn't feel they could tell me the truth, no matter the reason.
10MM) Do you like coffee? I don't like coffee, I love coffee!!

11J)  Do you like your life right now? Why or why not? I do like my life right now. I'm happy and comfortable with it, knowing that it will not always be this way as we work towards having a better life.
11MM)What is your favourite TV show? My personal favourites are AMC's The Walking Dead, and The Biggest Loser as well as The Big Bang Theory.

I'll do a separate post for my questions and who is going to get tagged. I have some stuff to do today.
Cheers all!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Judy has been found!

I was really, really, really starting to miss Judy, when low and behold, I found her new blog buried in some comments on another blog!

Go give her some love, and update your bookmarks ladies!

Now I can go make some of  Carla's bread with a smile on my face. :)

Welcome back Judy!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Declutter Challenge Post #2

Here's how I decided to map out Carla's February Challenge.

  • Week One: Personal Space Challenge ~ Hallway Closet (it's huge) Hubby did this one.

  • Week Two: Family Space Challenge ~ The Kitchen

  • Week Three: Productivity Challenge ~ All the crafty stuff: Yarns, Plastic Canvas, Candles

  • Week Four: The “Dreaded” Challenge ~ Master Bedroom Closet

  • Seeing as my darling Hubby took care of the Week One challenge, I thought I would get a jump on next week's challenge. Except I forgot which one it was, and dove head first into The 'Dreaded' Challenge this morning.

    Before pics (please be nice):

    First half of the bedroom closet. Notice the boxes and clothing piled in front.

    The other side. Lots of space to hang clothes....

    My little helper.

    So I got down to business. I picked up all the laundry that was just laying on the floor (I spared you all a picture of this). I pulled stuff out bit by bit, and started sorting, purging and generally being disgusted with myself for letting it get this bad.

    The Results:
    •  3 and a half garbage bags of clothing to be donated
    • 5 grocery sized bags of garbage tossed out
    • 2 dressers cleaned out
    • 1 box of summer clothing set aside for me & hubby
    • half a small box of items to be donated or given away
    • yarn and plastic canvas stash gone through and sorted
    • 8 loads of laundry to be done this week

    After pictures:

    I can see the floor of the closet! Yay!!

    Utilising the space as was intended.

    Donations, donations. :)

    Boxes; 1 full of junk, 2 empty that were just taking up space, now gone.

    As an added bonus, I got the top of hubby's dresser cleaned off. My yarn and plastic canvas stash is to the left of this dresser, now in a much neater state. I will be able to find stuff when I want to, cuz now I know where it all is. :)

    The top of my dresser cleared of the stuff it had accumulated.

    The inside of my dresser is cleaned out as well, so I will have somewhere to put all my clothes once I am done the impending laundry marathon.

    Once I got the closet done, I was feeling so good about this accomplishment, that the entire bedroom got the same treatment. I purged, dusted, sorted, tossed garbage, vaccuumed, cleaned the mirror and even pulled out junk from under the bed. Part way through, hubby came in the bedroom and cleaned out his dresser as well. I now believe in miracles!

    In summary, it is now the 6th of February, and I already have completed 3 out of the 4 weekly challenges. This makes me so very happy.

    I think I'll wait until the laundry is caught up before I start in on the kitchen.


    Sunday, February 5, 2012

    SNCC, February 5, 2012

    My parents on their wedding day. This is the only picture I have of my paternal grandfather (far right). My brothers and sisters looked so cute in their finery!

    What are you:

    Reading? ~ The Extensions by Myrna Dey


    We watched 'Rudy' on television this afternoon. I cry every time I see this movie. If you have never seen it, I would definately reccommend it.

    Listening to?
    The Superbowl is on the t.v., but I of course, have my back to it as I'm working on the computer. :)

    Today...absolutely nothing. Earlier this week, I made cupcakes with DD2 and then attempted to make buns. What an utter fail! They didn't rise properly (pretty sure that's my fault) and I apparently didn't bake them long enough. They were still doughy inside. I tossed the entire batch. sigh

    Happy you accomplished this week?
    Seeing as my wonderful Hubby took care of the Hallway closet project, I tackled my 'dreaded' project today. An entire post on this with pictures later this week!

    Looking forward to next week?
    Cub will be going back to daycare full time next week. Mommy will be able to get things done without her little helper.

    Cub with two of his friends from playgroup. He's the cutie on the right. *love*

    Thankful for today?
    Cub's gramma calling to ask if she could take him for a couple of hours so Hubby & I could have a peaceful dinnertime together. I love that woman!

    So how goes your Sunday?

    Friday, February 3, 2012

    Declutter Challenge - Week One

    The first weeks challenge is “Personal Space” says Carla. I opted to do the Hallway closet in our apartment. This closet has three doors, and runs almost the entire length of the hallway from family room to bathroom. There is a rod which runs the length of it, even though there is a wall inside that separates it by half. There is a shelf on both sides of this 'wall', and we have put as much storage stuff in there as possible.

    I had to work today, so I thought this evening I would take pictures of it, and then get started.

    I was thinking a lot today about Carla's Weekly Bonus Challenge. This weeks challenge is to donate at least one item of food to the food bank. While I was going through a year's worth of paperwork today, I was on autopilot and gave this some thought. I was thinking about how much I could afford to buy to donate, and what would be the most coveted item for the food bank. I went to the London and Area Food Bank website , and found this list of item that are needed.

    Here’s a list of items that we currently need:
    • canned fish, meat, stew
    • peanut butter, jam
    • canned vegetables
    • rice, pasta (uncooked)
    • canned soup, canned fruit
    • macaroni & cheese dinner
    • canned juice, or individual boxes
    • baby food (large or small jars, cereals, cookies)
    • baby formula
    • powdered or canned milk
    • oatmeal, large packages or individual servings
    • individually packaged healthy snack foods
    • cake mixes, baking goods
    You can drop these off at the collection bin of a London food store, or you can deliver them directly to the food bank.

    In the spirit of this challenge, instead of donating to the food bank, I bought a few bags of groceries which included fresh fruit, vegetables, and milk and gave them directly to a family in need. I did this after work. Then I headed home.

    When I walked in, much to my surprise, Hubby showed me what he did to occupy himself all afternoon. He had cleaned out, decluttered and reorganised the hallway closet! (Do I get points for this Carla, even if I didn't do it myself?) He'd thrown out several bags of garbage, and taken several items to the donation bin located in our laundry area in the basement. My declutter project is done and I finished my Bonus mini-challenge.

    What am I going to do the rest of the week? I think I'll knit. :)

    Thursday, February 2, 2012

    Checking In

    I just wanted to let you all know I haven't been trapped in a landslide from the hallway closet or anything like that (yet). It's just been a busy time for me. I'm also keeping my fingers busy knitting. I have one dry cloth done for a sweeper stick and I'm about 1/3 of the way through a single red sock. I'm aiming to do some slippers in the very near future as well.

    I've decided not to post month end numbers or reports for the first 6 months of the year. We are not making the type of progress that I would like and we are again implementing changes to way the way we deal with our finances.

    We are looking at taking on more debt this year by way of a vehicle loan. My work van will need replacing sooner rather than later. If this was the vehicle we just drove around in for pleasure, I would drive it until the wheels fell off. However, it is a work vehicle, and it must be in near perfect working condition as well as looking like I just drove it off the car lot. This is probably a few months away still, and I'm ok with having that kind of debt again. With the knowledge that I have now, we will be able to handle the payments and we will work away at paying it off early.

    The housing situation stress is now over. I'm happy to report that we will not be moving for some time in the foreseeable future. Our property management company was seeking an eviction based on the grounds that we have been late with paying our rent several times in the past year. We managed last month to pay what would be the equivalent of two months worth of rent, so that we would be ahead of the game. Which is why our finances needed to be so tight in January. But it's ok now. Moving on.

    Hubby is on board with me for the decluttering projects this month, so I'm hoping to get a lot accomplished. There are lots of things to get rid of by way of donation, sale or just throwing it out. I'd like to get a jump start on my first declutter area today, if time allows.

    I'm off to grab another cup of coffee, and get the kids out the door for school and daycare. have a great day everyone!

    P.S. Judy, if you're reading this, I miss you and your blog. I hope you get everything back up and running soon!