2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 310 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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I’ve missed this thing called Blogging..

Over the past 17 months I have thought of my blog many times; I have read my old posts; I have tried writing new posts; I have not succeeded in writing anything new. I know, that’s obvious from the fact that there have been NO posts since May 2013. Well, today is a new post. Today I return to my blog. Today I read all my posts and I actually think I did a good job of writing my previous posts — something I have not been able to accomplish as of late. Hopefully that changes today.

Life has honestly not improved a great deal since my last post. I continue to struggle financially. I continue to have good days and bad days parenting. ‘Goings on’ in my life continue to change. But I have changed. At least I am working on changing… I am a ‘work in progress’ as the saying goes.

So for today I’d just like to say Welcome. Welcome to this journey with me.
I’ve missed you.

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How Heavy Is The Weight of The World?

How Heavy Is The Weight of The World?

There are times being a single mom feels like carrying the weight of the world.. and today I’m having one of those times.

My day started out well. Well, except for the fact my youngest woke up feeling sick to his stomach. I attributed it to the fact that 1) he is the pickiest eater in the WORLD (do moms of other picky eaters feel their kid is THE pickiest?) and, therefore, did not eat lunch that was offered to him at a friend’s house yesterday and 2) he, again being picky, didn’t like what I made for dinner, again choosing not to eat. {side note: I grew up with the understanding that if one was hungry enough, they would eat practically anything and, as a single mom who is domestically-challenged, I stick to that way of thinking} Following that hopeful outlook, I prepared him a bowl of oatmeal rather than making him wait to get to school to eat breakfast. Nope. His stomach had a different idea altogether.

OK, so I’ll adapt my day a little; it’s not the end of the world. Next up? My younger daughter called to get some loving words and consolation from mommy cause her wisdom teeth are hurting her SO bad she wanted to cry AND she was getting a migraine. I’m sure all you moms out there that have kids living ‘out of the area’ know exactly what I mean when I say “it hurt me to the core” not being able to comfort her. My words didn’t help. I can’t afford or even help to afford to get her in to a dentist or surgeon to have her wisdom teeth removed. I did do the only thing I could do.. I empathized with her pain and signed her up on the ‘reservation list’ for the state health plan. Seeing as how both her jobs are part-time, and one of them has pretty much completely cut her hours temporarily, she doesn’t have health insurance and has not taken the time to prioritize getting to the dentist. The most important lessons are the hardest to learn, aren’t they?

OK, another bullet in my day. Now it’s time to get on track and get something actually completed. How could I be so wrong? Did I ask how the day could get any worse, and forget I asked?!? No, I didn’t. I didn’t even think it. However, the phone still rang. And I answered it. And it was my oldest child’s friend letting me know that my daughter’s car had broke down on the freeway and she couldn’t call, would I please call her (she had texted me, but my phone was not near me). I thanked him for being the go-between and assured I would indeed call her right away. I dialed her number as I told my sick son and my nephew to ‘get dressed and get your shoes on’. She answered and let me know that her car had pretty much ‘exploded in a cloud of smoke’ and she was pulled over on the left side of the freeway! I told her I was out the door in 2 minutes and on my way. Luckily by the time I got there incident response had already been by and ‘pushed’ her car to the right side of the freeway, out of the danger zone. We called for a tow and, being informed the call was ‘priority’ since we were on the side of the freeway, waited a short time for the driver to arrive. We gladly greeted him and explained the situation. Our happiness quickly faded when it was explained that our roadside assistance only covered towing up to 3 miles and it was $3.75 per additional mile. Now why hadn’t I been told that on the phone when I called? “Grr” was what ran through my mind as I told the tow driver, “oh, ok.” A total of 19 miles and $60 later, I called my roadside assistance and inquired on the mileage allowance and the difference in my plan. I was informed I could upgrade from a Basic plan to a Plus plan for only $29 through the end of the current year membership. Really? Well, that would have been helpful BEFORE I spent $60 on towing.

It’s at this point in the day I realized that the “half full” attitude I try to keep had become the “almost empty” attitude. I now feel as if everything is caving in.. everything that needs to be done, everything that needs to be paid, everything I cannot afford to pay. I feel as though there is so much to do and it is crippling me. I’ve got that feeling — you know the one — there’s so much to do, where do I start?

So I’ll start by taking the weight off my shoulder, I’ll take a deep breath and ask myself, “what needs to be done next? What is priority numero uno?” And I’ll start there.

What ways do you have with coping when you feel overwhelmed by life and the tasks thrown your way? Does it debilitate you at times? Or do you have a sure-fire way to handle things before they get to be too much? I’d love to hear your comments.

P.S. (a little business plug to help my finances a bit, lol) If you or anyone you know would like to buy AVON, check out my web site: http://www.youravon/lauretta
And if you or someone you know would like more information on becoming an Avon Independent Sales Representative, contact me – Let’s Talk!

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Absence makes the heart grow fonder…

or so they say. Sometimes in the absence of something you realize you don’t need it, it was something (or someone) that added more stress to your life. Then there are the times where you realize you life is better in some way, big or small, because you have that thing (or someone) in your life.

I came to that realization over the past couple weeks, culminating yesterday in my resolve to return to my blog. You, the reader, may not have missed me, but I missed having this outlet. After all, the purpose of my starting a blog was to find a release. Some way for me to get everything out of my head and express things, some way to help keep me from going crazy! Besides the regular morning chats with my BFF, that is.  ☺

Actually my resolution (after all, resolutions are not meant for only the beginning of a new year, right?) to myself encompassed more than returning to my blog on a regular basis. I have been slowly spiraling into CHAOS (remember that post?). My home, my schedule, my brain; all getting too cluttered to function properly, too out of tune with my priorities for me to be happy.

So, why did I stop blogging? What happened to draw me away from my journey to a simpler, more organized life? That’s the funny part. I moved. A new beginning, right? A fresh canvas. My problem was that I didn’t stay focused, I let things continue to pile on, I didn’t “just say no”. I commuted more than I needed to, using my precious time and valuable gas, until I couldn’t afford to even go to the store. I added more responsibilities, along with unpacking, until things started getting misplaced and lost. And I found a lost interest, which resulted in me becoming my own boss in another adventure!

SO, I stopped commuting. My kids transferred schools and now take the bus, bike or walk, saving me over 1½ hours in the morning – that’s a LOT of time. I also told my sister she would have to drop off/pick up her son for daycare or have him sleepover, so for now I have 3 kids during the week.. but this is temporary. And my nephew is a good kid.

I started delegating – I don’t have to DO it all, even if I oversee it. I am asking for help more often with more things. I have given my kids additional chores (I still need to make up schedule/chore charts to help them stay on task), and I have loosened the reigns a bit on my issue with ‘control’. Of course that’s a whole different post! haha..

I have said “no” more often, giving myself the time I need to unpack and put things away where I want them. I’ve put some items in ‘holding’ (an extra closet) until I figure out where exactly I want them or IF I really want to keep them. My house is slowly becoming the neat, organized, relaxing oasis I want for my family.

As for the business, I started selling Avon. Again. I used to sell Avon back in the late 90’s. I loved it then, I love it now. I stopped at a time when I was having personal issues in my relationship with my husband.. too much drama. I have always found myself drawn to the Avon brochures – for me it’s not all about the makeup. I love the extras Avon has also. Now I can get the skin care, the makeup, the ‘extras’ AND save money doing it. Even make money doing it! And it’s so easy..

Here’s my plug.  😉
You can start your own Avon business for only $10. WHAT? Yep, TEN dollars. I did that. And in my first order, I had a friend order some products, but I also ordered some makeup. And guess what? I made that $10 back on her order. But I also made that $10 back in the money I saved on the products I bought for myself! WooHoo!

I’m taking MY Avon one step further. Yep, this is only my 2nd ‘campaign’ (brochure), but I have a helping, leading type of personality. I am starting Avon Leadership. What does that mean? If YOU want to start your own Avon business, let me know. Ask me any questions you have. I’d be MORE than happy to go over the opportunity with you. And I’d be even MORE happy to help you get started for only $10 too!

More on life later…    it’s all uphill from here, right?

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We, the jury…..

We, the jury.....

I spent the day yesterday, all day, at a focus group. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went, I was told it was regarding issues facing Lane County. I could have guessed based on the questions they asked to qualify me for the group, but I have been so busy, I didn’t bother to take the time.

So after signing in, I sat in a room as people of various backgrounds, styles of life, styles of dress, age all came in.. we were to be the “jury”. We sat in a conference room listening to 4 different attorneys, 1 for the plaintiff and 3 defendants. A personal injury case. We were then given deliberation instructions and divided into 2 groups (juries) and put in different rooms to make our decision of fault, percentage of fault assigned to each party, if any, and come up with figures for “economic” and “non-economic” damages.
Although it was not a ‘real’ jury trial, our thoughts and decisions will be used by the attorneys to help in the decision to “settle or go to trial”.

It was a fun and worthwhile “adventure”. I made some extra money, they fed us breakfast, lunch & snacks, and (in my opinion) we helped with an important issue. I am upset only by one thing, the money.

A number of people that attended the group were only there because of the money (hey, it’s $175, I understand). I do not condemn them for that, my decision to take a whole day out of my life was also influenced by the money. The bigger picture though was that we were called there to make a difference. I take that as a burden of responsibility. Something to take seriously. Others, it appeared to me anyway, seemed more to have the mindset of “just go along with the group and let’s get paid and get out of here, it’s a beautiful, sunny day outside”. Yes, it was sunny and beautiful outside. Yes, I wanted to get the money and deposit it to my bank account also. But how can you so lightly take the pain and suffering of the individual we were considering and the burden of responsibilities to him and these companies so lightly?!?

In the end, we ‘deliberated’ and came to a close decision. The attorneys will end up with a “general” idea of what a ‘real’ jury would do — and they will get the recordings that will notate the difference of opinions in the room. So, I can let it go and say to myself, I did my dual duty. I can feel good about what I did and justified in the money I ‘earned’.

Have you ever participated in a “mock trial”? Have you ever been on a jury trial? Both? I’d love to hear your opinions on how they turned out – especially if you’ve been on both and can relate the difference.

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What is CHAOS?

What is CHAOS?

Do you have CHAOS? I do. What!? You don’t know what CHAOS is? Let me explain…

Can’t
Have
Anyone
Over
Syndrome

Yep. That point when things are so out-of-hand that you can barely stand to look around the house – there is NO WAY you’re going to let company come over. You’ve got the flu, you’ve got pink eye, the kids are sick, you’ve got exploding diarrhea, ANY excuse to avoid company so that you can buy time to get rid of that CHAOS. CHAOS sneaks up on you sometimes, a pile here, a pile there. Then next thing you know, every flat surface is covered.

I have been SO busy these past couple weeks that I blinked and when I turned around… oops, there it is! CHAOS. ugh. 😦

If you’re anything like me (and I pray you’re not), it’s can be debilitating. I have such a hard time sticking with ONE thing to clean until it’s done before moving onto something else. I’ll start by going through papers on my desk, to come across a paper that belongs to my sister. So I take the paper to her room to give her, stop to get a drink of water and see one of the kids have left their food on the counter, so I empty the plate and start washing dishes, go to put the dish towel in the laundry and the hamper is full, so I start a load of laundry.

After a long day I’m exhausted from everything I felt like I did, but looking around, you can’t tell I did anything! Because nothing is DONE. It’s all just pieces of done, here and there. Sigh, maybe tomorrow.

How about you? Do you find it hard to stay on task when cleaning? Do you run around like a forgetful child or do you have a plan and stick to it?

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This is how to enjoy the morning… just add coffee!

2014-04-08 14.38.55

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You Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks….

You Can't Teach An Old Dog New Tricks....

or can you?

That’s what I attempted to find out when we ‘adopted’ a 4-month old black lab/dalmation mix into our house, joining our 7-year old Chihuahua/Jack Russel and 1-year old Lhasa Apso/Chihuahua. Our “small” family members have always been allowed to sit on the couch curled up next to us or on our laps. With the addition of a big member, I decided to try the “No dogs on the couch” rule.

Haha.. I’m sure it IS possible. However, in the past month, I have not had any luck in keeping our little furry friends off the cozy couches. And now Blaze lazily climbs up there and plops himself down right there with them -ignoring the growls and mumbles of whoever he decides to lay on. ☺

We’ve always been big on cuddles and loves with our furry family, but I still can’t stop hoping…
“when we move, there will be NO dogs on the furniture!”

I guess we’ll see when the time comes.

How about you? Have you changed your rules with your pets and been successful? Or was it a lesson in futility? I’d be interested in hearing your stories….

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Why don’t cats play poker in the jungle?

Why don't cats play poker in the jungle?

too many Cheetahs.. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
Had to share!

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just keep swimming

just keep swimming

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming.. does this make you think of Dory in Finding Nemo? I “sang” this tune in my head a lot this past weekend. Why? Because, as a meet director, I have spent the last two days at the pool watching over 380 swimmers age 10 and under swim the short course championships. It is inspiring! Have you ever seen those little 5, 6, 7 year olds swimming their hearts out.. excited when they realize they touched first! Or crying inside (and sometimes out) when they just miss, come in last, or heartbreakingly get disqualified. They are true athletes in training.
Not to mention, I’m sure any one of them can beat me in a 25 yard Freestyle!
Congratulations to the 72 Champions that placed today. I applaud you!

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