Sunday, July 26, 2009

Blue Monday and a *Giveaway*

It is Blue Monday. Hosted by: Smiling Sally

This week I am combining my blues, DataXstream Blue, Arbonne Blue, and my cuties in blue to bring you:
Blue Monday Giveaway


Last week I posted a "patting my own self on the back" post regarding my efforts to boost moral over there at the husband's company.  Friday one of the partners ran a google analytics tool to see where the strengths and weaknesses lie in the "Official Website" and its google ranking.  My little blog comes up all over the place because it has lots of links back to the company site, and to the Linkedin Profiles of the consultants and so on.  Yay me again!  So to celebrate my own self (and to prove my point regarding social media just a bit more with these guys) I am hosting a giveaway! 

Assisted by Beanie, Tiger, Dragon, M-Lyons and Bitsy

We offer you a $100.00 basket of Arbonne goodies

this giveaway is only open to shipping addresses within the continental US and to US military shipping addresses (due to shipping costs.  apologies to all my international friends.  Arbonne products are heavy but if you are in the UK or Australia you can purchase them and have them shipped to you at reasonable rates. just let me know. *wink*)


Visit the Unofficial Blog and come here to this blog and leave a comment (on THIS blog) that lets me know you were there.  (I've entered in some contests where the contestants were obviously in a rush and perhaps did not visit the site required and left vague references.  These will be disqualified.  I need to know you visited.)

Additional Enteries:

1.) on the links to official sites widget to the upper right - click through to DataXstream - come back here to this blog and leave a comment (on this blog) about the DataXstream website. (1 entry)

2.) Digg any post on the Unofficial Blog (click the green "share this" button at the bottom of the post.  You need a Digg account) (1 entry per post dugg)

3.) Post any post on the Unofficial Blog to Delicious (also under the green "share this" button and you need a Delicious account) (1 entry per submission)

4.) Follow me on twitter and twee the giveaway (one entry per tweet - up to 2 a day)

5.) check out the "Consultant's Blog" at DataXstream and Digg any post. (You have to click on the post title and scroll down to the bottom of the post and the sociable links appear) (1 entry per Digg)

6.) check out the "Consultant's Blog" at DataXstream and submit any post to Delicious. (You have to click on the post title and scroll down to the bottom of the post and the sociable links appear) (1 entry per submission)

7.) Technorati Favorite this blog (1 entry)

8.) Technorati Favorite the Unofficial Blog (1 entry)

please be sure to leave a SEPARATE COMMENT per entry THANKS!

this giveaway ends Friday, July 31st Midnight EST (US).  I will notify the winner August 1st.  They will have 72 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Thank you for your support

*and added bonus.  I have no idea what kind of response I'll get.  But I believe in the power of web excitement and word of mouth.  If we get over 100 entries, I'll bump it to a $200.00 basket of goodies*


A note to new followers. First THANK YOU for taking the time to follow and comment.  It really means a lot to me.  Secondly, my browser is being weird today and everytime I hit "follow" to follow you back I get kicked out and have to log in all over again.  Which probably means I need to turn off the computer and reset the browser or something... so I'm not being rude or ignoring you...

Friday, July 24, 2009


the girls on twitter are going nuts today.  Everybody is at Blogher.  And Blogher 2010 has been announced for NYC.  Wow.  I just want to go to hang out with cool women in NYC.  But then again, I could probably do that with cool women I already know in person...
so what is this blogher thing?  
@BOREDmommy tells me to see the following link:
hmmm... tickets for 2010 are on sale now... but WHAT do they DO?

BlogHer '09: "There's so much power in this room."

For some, a ballroom crowded with several hundred bright, accomplished and outgoing women might be a scary place. A conference with close to 1,500 women with opinions and blogs is probably even more frightening! But as we juggled our glasses of wine and tried to make conversation over the din at the first night of the BlogHer '09 conference, one wise woman turned and said to me, "There's so much power in this room."

the above is lifted completely without permission from the blogher homepage:

I admit, I really don't know why... but I wanna go...

Thursday - Book Club

One of the moms started a book club last January.  It was on her list for New Year's "read more" which she said meant rad at least one book a month and so she decided to start a book club.  It is a great group of very smart women most of whom don't work right now and chose to stay home to be with the kids and most of whom have at least one degree.  
I have only one degree and I'm a bit under qualified to be in the group.
The mom who started was an engineer in the automotive industry pre-kids.  She's also British so everything she says just sounds smarter based on vocabulary and accent.

We were to read "Nickled and Dimed and (not) Getting by" by Barbara Ehrenreich
I didn't finish it.  In fact honestly I'd only attempted to read it a few days ago.  I read about 3/4 of it I guess.
nobody liked the author or enjoyed the book
most of us found the author to be condecending and classist and obsessed with race
we talked a lot about Wal-Mart and fair wages and fair hours
and then moved into things in Wal-Mart and touched briefly on "greed" driven eonomy...

It is interesting to read this book at this time.  90% of the women in the club are in financial difficulty due to current economy.  95% of the women in the club would be considered wealthy by anybody in the book except perhaps the author.  

One of the moms brought up this point, the group is made up of 35-45 year old women with a minimum of a bachelor's degree (and in most cases higher) and "good work experience" who based on the need for "mom friendly hours" are limited in what jobs and wages they can aspire to right now.  This woman's husband lost his job and so she is looking for work - work that is mom friendly - and so she has a very dumbed down resume at the moment because there isn't anywork that fits her qualifications and would allow her to work less than 40 hours (she says no more than 20 hrs) a week during the hours of 8am to 6pm.  And she'll look at nothing less than $10.00/ hour.

Very interesting discussion indeed.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mom confessions

One of our kids is particularly "trying" 
Dragon is 7
and really doesn't have a need to please.  He does things because he is bored or felt like it and really, he isn't sorry.  I am working on accepting this.

Today the kids were invited to go see a movie with their grandparents.

When Dragon is out "en mass" with his siblings he tends to be jealous of "perceived" pecking order or something.  Dragon demands a lot of attention anyway, so when with his siblings he insists on getting more.  He also enjoys manipulating situations.  He thinks it is funny to get people wound up.  

His grandmother is reactive anyway.  She always has been.  My husband gets her wound up at every family event.  It drives me nuts.  Dragon is an expert.  His grandfather has a hot temper.  When he sees his wife wound up and Dragon enjoying the experience he lights up. 

The last several times they have all been together have been a bit explosive.  It is hard on the other kids.  So today, I told Dragon he couldn't go.  {I based that decision on two experiences.  One I am a big sister from "Big Brothers Big Sisters" to a kid whose entire life revolved around a troubled older brother.  My little complained a lot about all the stuff they could and couldn't do based on the oldest's issues.  Also, I have family experience with personality disorders.  The siblings of one family member in particular also got shafted when their brother's actions and inability to be socialy acceptable dictated what they could do as a group.}


As gently but truthfully (and so probably not so gently) as I know how... I tried to explain.

Though in tears that he wasn't going to the movies Dragon actually laughed when I said "It looks to me like you think it is funny when Papa gets mad."

OMG!  What am I going to do with him when he is in High School?

{on the upside he is obsessed with Disney's Remy from Ratatouille so I let him cook Oatmeal Raisin cookies - his choice - by himself.  That was one mess to clean up - flour EVERYPLACE - but he was happy with it.}

self promotion

it has been a while since I submitted to associated content.  I've been mentally yelling at myself to get it back into gear...
Well, finally, I wrote about camp -
and now to the next item on my to do list...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I tried the 3 column thing 
found the link for help on Meg - in the Kitchen
I like it
except it is squishy
how to spread it out a little???


I am one of those people who takes gift giving seriously.  Truly.  So when I am faced with a challenge like this one:

It is my husband's grandmother and grandfather's birthday party on Saturday.  They each turned 90 this year.  What do you give a 90 year old person?  I take it seriously.  Why?  Because for as long as I can remember the family I grew up in bought presents all year long to squirrel away for people.  Partly because spreading them out helped out financially, and partly because it was a treasure hunt.  It was all about finding something that would make their eyes light up and that you'd see on display, or in use, or whatever depending on the gift - RIGHT AWAY!  Because finding a good present means you know the person and you pay attention to what is important to them...

Well, my husband's grandmother is from a family that takes faith and church very seriously.  One of her favorite gifts to the young girls is a Precious Moments Bible.  She likes Kincaid because he refers to "light" in a scripture kind of way and he paints quaint churches.  She likes quaint.  My husband used to rent a house that belonged to her - he was in the house when I met him - the entire house was mauve and it took one entire u-haul truck to get all the silk flower arrangements out when she sold it.  {we still don't know where all those flowers went, but she wanted each and every one}  She likes Hummels.  You get the picture.

I remembered randomly yesterday that there was a Virginia artist who uses Calligraphy and illustrates scripture.  I remembered which person at church has mentioned his work and I knew she'd know who he was.  She emailed me back this morning.

MICHAEL PODESTA - and he has a website. YES! click here
I ordered a book called "Joy" and it is very reasonably priced.  I am delighted!

I also found a great gift for my friend who is moving. She is a military wife and I know her from Bible study. Check it out:

Description: Ruth 1:16. Black and ochre calligraphy on cream background. Cream/gold mat. Gold frame.
Text: Whither thou goest I will go and where thou lodgest I will lodge. Thy people shall be my people and thy God my God

So now to find something for great grandpa... both harder and easier.  Great Grandpa was a mechanically inclined guy.  He sold newspapers outside of a manufacturing plant during the depression and got to know all the men.  As soon as he was old enough he applied to work in the plant, since he knew everybody they made sure he got the job.  He worked his butt off and eventually became a V.P. in manufacturing.  He is my husband's hero.  I've known him for 14 years.  In the last ten his mind has started slipping.  During the last 5 he has had dementia.  Now he doesn't know who most people are anymore or what is going on.  He knows his wife, and his brain slips back in time to his manufacturing days.  He likes to talk about unit orders.  He doesn't know it is his birthday or that the party is for him.  But Great Grandma will feel better if we make sure he gets a present too.

Monday, July 20, 2009

patting my own self on the back

Sometimes you have to toot your own horn for a minute you know?

I wrote one of my "cast of characters" blog posts today for the unofficial company blog I started it in December for my husband as sort of a moral boost and social marketing experiment.  The sky was falling, he was thinking he was going to have to close the business and was looking for contingency plans to protect the family as much as possible (it is an LLC.)  He couldn't sleep, he couldn't eat and he went into work everyday trying to dispel everybody else's fears.  I couldn't help and it drove me nuts.  So I started a company blog.  I don't speak geek so it had to be less content driven than a good company blog would be.  

Turns out people like it.  Since I started some 708 individual hits (which supposedly means that the counter does not count the same person twice) have been noted.  And I don't advertise it any where.  His clients love it.

Better still, it spiked his interest in utilizing social media for marketing.  Now the company website gets updated regularly, there is an official blog filled with good content on SAP.  I convinced him to start twittering (although I still pull most of the weight there.  Try to teach these brilliant SAP consultants how to tweet so that they are saying something worth while AND entering into conversations with others in the SAP community - it would be easier to get the dog to meow!)

And no we are not out of the woods yet... but traffic has increased significantly and so has the hope level. yay us.  And I just have to say "yay me" because there are so many nay sayers inside the company and amongst friends and family.  {I actually unfriended pretty much everybody related to me from Facebook for a while because they are so not supportive of my efforts.  Yes, I post a LOT about my husband's company and my Arbonne business.  Sorry, I don't have the United States Military and various T.V. networks with their celebrities... like the Thunderbirds for example... helping with Marketing.}

wrote all that and then ran off to get Beanie from computer camp.  On the way home I was thinking.  For fun... maybe I could run a give away (I've never done one) and have everybody click over on the Unofficial blog and then come back here to my blog and  leave a comment... and I'd give out an Arbonne Basket.  I might even be able to tie that into a Blue Monday...  hmmm

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Lovely Blog....

I received this award from Annette over at Under the Loupe and it has taked me a little too long to get it out here.  Sorry for that!  

The rules of the award are:
Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award." 

My list of 15 {give or take}:

okay, now you need to know that "lovely" can be a challege for me.  I tend to like blogs that make me laugh so here are a few others that I've found myself frequently visiting... and I'm qualifying them in the "I love to visit them" definition of lovely instead of the "pink and roses" definition of lovely because it all depends on "what your definition of "is" is"...

And there are a few old favorites I cannot fail to mention:

Okay - this is about 1/2 done.  But I'm off to watch Heroes reruns with the husband.  SO... I could either just save it, or post it and finish later.

As I said, it has taken me WEEKS to get this up. So I'm posting it... and I'll finish later because I think poor Annette has come back faithfully to check on me and I repeatedly disappoint her...

LATER- see it is Sunday and I came back and added all sorts of blogs and links! I'm so very proud of me!

Ballet part 2

WELL we made it to the Friday Recital!  Too much! They were hysterical.  They were "studying" Don Quixote.  So the first dance they showed us was the "fan dance" from Don Quioxte.  The kids had made fans during craft time.

Then they came out decked out in sunglasses and beads to do a jazz number from "High School Musical."  They danced to "Fabulous!"  Too funny!

And finally a tap number "The Codfish Ball."  Which I've been informed is a Shirly Temple number.

M-Lyons alternated between being too excited that we were all watching, and paying attention and doing the dances.  It was way too cute.

Virgina Regional Ballet check them out!

And it must be noted: Daddy, Nana, Papa and Grandma all rearranged their busy days to come watch the debut!  She is one lucky kid.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Ooooh-la-la!  We've entered the land of ballet.  It may be a permanent move... hard to say.  M-Lyons adores performing (not that you can't tell from any of her previous photos) and loves to dance.  She has pushed us over into the world of Barbie Movies (actually Barbie in the Nutcracker and Barbie in Swan Lake are not too bad...) and regularly spends rainy days on her toes with the Fantasy Garden Ballet Class DVD my sister bought her over a year ago.

On Monday she attended her first day at "Dance Camp."  Dance Camp is offered by the Virginia Regional Ballet and is from 9 AM to 2 PM for a week. She has worn her ballet shoes in the house all day long every single day.

She will NOT show me any of her moves, I have to wait until the "recital" tomorrow to see it.
She is so very pleased she cannot stand herself.  Daddy, the other kids, my mother, and Tim's parents will all be at the very brief "recital" tomorrow at 1 PM.

she wore her little self out!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


So this weekend we, all 7 of us, jumped in the car Thursday night after the swim meet (around 9 PM) and drove to Sparta NJ. That is over 6 hours on a good day. We arrived at our hotel (not actually IN Sparta, in the area though) around 3 AM... We were there for my husband's 20th High School reunion.

On Saturday the organizer had a "family" outing from 11 to 3 - bring your own style -picnic. It was really nice.
There was a pond at the park, a good algae covered, fish filled pond that had a large number of fascinating green frogs living in the grass along the edges. The kids spent a good amount of their time frog hunting.


One of the first frogs to get caught was of course an instant sensation and all the kids were trying to gather round to see it. Bitsy went running over "I do! I do!" One of the dad's had caught it and he gently lowered the frog to Bitsy's viewing height - the frog sensed a lessening in the hand hold and made its break for freedom. It wriggled loose and jumped... straight onto Bitsy and the sandwich she was clutching at chest level. Bitsy erupted into shrieks. Shrieks. While she is shrieking I am hustling over to scoop her up, but as I lean over to her the frog launches off the sandwich and at my feet. Now I am doing a "dance" trying to pick up Bitsy and not step on the frog and laughing my head off. Bitsy still shrieking. The whole thing needed to be on video.

Poor froggy got away unsquashed, poor Bitsy got picked up and comforted and carried to daddy so she could tell him the whole story all over. Being able to tell the story and receive validation is very important to Bitsy. She was doubly insulted that everybody was laughing!

Tiger caught several frogs:

Once she was able to tell Daddy the story and receive lots of "oh poor Bitsy" she recovered and went back to checking out frogs:

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

YAY! The Nuero Optho says I'll be fine

2 weeks ago I saw an eye doctor for a regular annual check up - basically my "I'm out of contacts can I get some more please" check up. The Dr. saw something in my eyes that had him worried. Well, 10 years ago, there was swelling of eye tissue that resulted in loss of vision in my eyes. Worse in the left. And no one could tell me what or why. It just happened. I saw a neurologist and had a spinal tap, I saw the head of some department or other at MCV, I saw a retina specialist every two weeks for the entire summer. It was never diagnosed, named or anything and eventually it went away leaving me with scarring, and week eyes and extreme sensitivity to sunlight.

All that said the Dr. says it looks like I have macular degeneration but since they can correct it to 20/20 there really isn't anything anybody can do about it.

That is so not okay with me.

So I made an appointment with a nuero optho whom I happen to know and who is in the office so she has all the records. She is very thorough. She is also probably one of the smartest people if not the smartest person I have ever met. She took her time, looked it all over, had I think a field vision test done and suggested we take new pictures so that we'll have a good comparission and to her best judment things haven't changed in 10 years. But I'll be seeing her for my annual from now on which is just fine with me.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

So Seriously... I need an at home job

Tim said no to sending Dragon back to PCS. I'm devastated. Tim isn't getting why this is so important and he says "more importantly we can't afford it." YES WE CAN I want to just SCREAM. But I was in at the Naturopaths last week - because the eye doctor said "macular degeneration" as in my 37 year old eyes think they are 60 or some such crap - and my lymph nodes have been getting cysts (nothing to worry about, little ones and the gyn has seen them and doesn't care) - and I'm all stiff in the AM and refusing to think about it because fibromyalgia is associated with psoriasis and my aunt and my sister (she's 25!) are diagnosed with it and if I just ignore it I won't have to manage it...

so I go see the Naturopath who says... you want this and this and this for various things and then stops and says.. "I can't go on. You need to talk about something." I do? Know I have to get something off my chest? "yes" fabulous. So the biggest weight on my mind is Dragon and school. And the ND looks at me and says, " you need someone to remind you that there is only one head in the family." ***ARGH!*** BUT HE IS WRONG! and this is my son we are talking about. Doesn't matter. State your case and let it go.... (and that is a whole nother serious of posts because it is killing me but anyway)

Tim says WE CANNOT AFFORD PCS. So I am going to go over this week and ask for the financial aid form and hope that they understand that even though I would put the house on the market and downsize, it is financial suicide to do so until the housing market starts to turn. Right now we would loose money and we cannot loose on the house and afford private school tuition. We cannot. A way better plan would be for me to get a job. But again there are qualifications, I cannot afford private school and day care - so I need a job that I can do late at night or early in the morning on the computer. I have a friend who does Data entry and gets about $26000 a year. That would be more than enough. Sadly there is a long list of people waiting for her job.

So if you know anybody who is looking for someone who can do data entry, or write (I'm a fairly good writer if I know what I"m talking about) or whatever(!) please let me know! NO MLMs. I do Arbonne because I love the products; but I am very gentle in my approach and sharing so it is a slow build. I am absolutely sure that in time I will create a strong company, but that is work that has to be done during the day and I will not pressure people.

Modeling, again

So I thought I'd google Virginia Modeling just because some of you said you'd (or your child) either have modeled or have submitted photos...

Joe Edelman
this Joel person has all sorts of interesting articles, who should model, do you need classes, arrive on time?, internet based companies, how to spot a scam... how to contact agencies

Joe's list of Agencies in Virginia

ModelLogic accepts new photos through the mail or the internet: NewFaces@MODELOGIC
hmmm... I just might have to try that and see what happens...
waffles on 4th







Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy 4th

It is the 4th of July!
We will have homemade waffles with vanilla ice cream and strawberries (fresh even) and blueberries for breakfast! (I know you are jealous!) and then off to the parade. My three oldest will be with their swim team on their bikes... the two younger ones will watch with myself and my mother. And then to the "pavilion" for field games and when we are finally too darn hot we'll head home.

I intend to make Beans take a nap. She is still not fully herself after getting worn out. The herbalist told her to chill for a week, her adrenales are shot. Beans doesn't chill but she is trying...

after naps we are to mom's for BBQ. I'm making cherry pie (Dad's favorite and I always have it on the 4th) and mom's cheesecake recipe as she doesn't care for cherry pie.

I shall hopefully post some festive photos...

in the meantime:
it is my daddy's birthday. He would have been 58 this year.
Ross E Mulhare
and check out:
F-117A loss of #792
The X Hunters
The X Hunters took me to the crash site with my husband in 2006. I wanted to replace the flag before the 20th anniversary of the crash. I had gone googling one night and come upon their hunt and the page "the lonely monument" something about that wording sent me to bed in tears. I woke up resolved to get that flag replaced. Peter Merlin took us. I'll probably write more about that to post on the 11th.

Me and my Daddy, 1983.


more bucket list

apparently we are getting serious about all this!!!

I mentioned it to the husband. He is flying home tonight from his client site. He emails me via phone:

My Start much more to go
Bucket List
- live in the city with my wife after the kids grow up for at least a
- call colorado home again
- take my family to Alaska
- take my family to Europe
- England, Ireland, Scotland, Germany,
Spain, France, Italy, Greece
- take my family to Korea
- take family to Egypt
- live in another country
- safari in Africa
- ski Europe with family
- ski South America with family
- do something out of this world
- travel western united states with family
- hike entire at in virgina kids
- make a positive difference in the world

I don't think that is the "before they are in High School" list!!!

I decided while I was musing things to do; I needed to post some of the things we have done. I, we, they (kids) have had some cool experiences to date...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

here is one for the "Bucket List"

this add showed up on my blog.
Definitely on the "if money wasn't an issue list" and not likely to happen EVER but holy cow this looks so cool!

I just think it is really neat. I mean, to go see Polar Bears on Arctic Ice not swimming in a pool at the zoo while you sweat to death and wonder how they are handling the heat in all that fur!

I explained the theory to my kids the other night and these are their responses {things they want on the list of things to do before they graduate from High School. Which to them feels like a million years away anyway... }

Beans is 11: to own chickens; to sleep in a log cabin (like camping but in a cabin she says)

Tiger is 8: learn how to cook something; be a better soccer player. (I asked him to be more specific. He replied: be on a real team with numbers on the jerseys)
grow an apple tree; learn to surf; spend the winter in Colorado again only in a place that has friends

Dragon is 7: go to Korea; go to Mexico; grow watermelons; cook something

and thanks for your comments yesterday. I just needed to vent a bit.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Today is July 1st and I've made it through the day - doctor appointment, brother in law's birthday (all the way out in Colorado! Hi David! Happy Birthday) latest specials with Arbonne.

Five years ago today my cousin Ian decided he couldn't do it any more and he killed himself. I cannot imagine his parents and brothers when they heard the news. Devastating.

I had a chat with a friend Mike earlier this week about loosing someone. How it never really goes away. Life goes on and you roll with it but it sticks with you. Mike's Dad died not long ago. He still is trying to get it through his head that his Dad is gone forever.

July 4th used to be my favorite holiday. The United States of America's Independence Day and my Dad's birthday. Now it is the hardest day of the year to get through. I have to be "normal" and get my kids to the parade. Attend field games afterwards and sometimes a party... and all I want to do is sit down with a drink with family who KNEW him g*ddamnit and tell stories and reminisce and remember him.

July 11th is the anniversary of the day he crashed his airplane into a mountain. That day pretty much sucks too. This year I have the JOY of attending my husband's high school reunion on July 11th and acting "just fine."

The thing is, as Mike and I were talking, if it hasn't happened to someone they really don't get it. I allow myself to be a total emotional wreck two days a year.
TWO. That is it.
Why is that so much to ask?

If you didn't graduate High School without your dad at graduation
if you didn't listen to lecture upon lecture about education and college only to have to pick college by yourself
If you didn't graduate College with your dad watching from the sky

If you didn't get married while two F-15s flew formation over the church when you walked in but your dad wasn't there to walk you down the aisle
If you gave birth to the first grandchild, a beautiful daughter born one day before your dad's mom's birthday and therefore named after her, a child he will never hold, a child who knows your dad through pictures

If you haven't woken up one morning with the empty realization that you don't remember what your dad's voice sounds like
If you haven't spent hours trying to remember his laugh

If you haven't found yourself arguing with a corner in the wall when trying to make a decision you think your dad wouldn't have agreed with
If you haven't wished as you watch your son want to play football that your dad was there to play with his grandson

then don't tell me when it is time to "let it go"
I've tried
I don't know how