Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Short Shorts on Hammond

Dear Mr. Short Shorts on Hammond Avenue:

I feel compelled to write you a letter about my driving experience on Hammond Avenue last Thursday, July 23. As I was driving south on Hammond after working 9 hours I almost hit a parked car about a half block away from your residence. Why? Because I got a full view of your boy bits as you bent over while mowing your lawn. Now, a normal person wouldn't be flashing cars driving by, but you happened to be wearing very short red shorts. With goggles. I'm all for safety and encourage it with my husband when he's doing dangerous things and not paying attention. But goggles for mowing the lawn? You look like a fly. And the short shorts. Really.

There are children in your neighborhood, senior citizens with faulty hearts, and people driving their vehicles. You cannot be walking around in your short shorts. You just can't. You aren't a 20 year old pool boy. You must be late 50's/early 60's maybe and appear to be in good shape; however, your shape is not good enough to excuse flashing people in your front yard. I don't believe that you do this on purpose, but really- get rid of the shorts. Keep the goggles if you must. I would be willing to donate to your cause of purchasing larger, more age appropriate shorts. Let me know, we'll shop together.

Distressed Driver,
Sara Strand

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Book Review: FLIP FLOPPED- Jill Smolinski

Hey lambs, it's time for another book review! After my review of Jill Smolinski's other book, The Next Thing On My List, I had quickly put her other book, Flip Flopped on my library reserve. Well I totally forgot about it until I went to pick up books the other day and bam! There it is, waiting for me. Nice surprise.

So the book, to me, has a very similar love story as The Next Thing On My List, so much so that I could already tell the ending. Normally I would hate this, but this was such a relatable story for me that I overlooked it and kept reading. Totally glad I did because there was a few twists in it, but overall it was good. The thing that was distracting to me was the secondary story of this damn volcano that I think took away from the main storyline. That's just me though. Basically it's about a woman who is divorcing her two timing loser husband and the ensuing divorce and custody battle over their son. It's relatable because I have contemplated divorce because of Matt's bad deeds and my main reason for not divorcing? A custody battle. Ugh. I can't even fathom how I would handle that. Somehow, it seems easier to stick with him than to put my kids through that. Ugh. The high road- supposed to be glorious? Not so much. Anyways- book was good, nice fast read.

Also, I know yall saw that "East of Eden" by John Steinbeck was on my reading list. And yes, I am going to admit I am a quitter. A big one. I got approximately 20 pages in and the use of adjectives was so obscene I had to quit. I just couldn't think straight with 3 or more adjectives in EVERY. SINGLE. SENTENCE. I just can't function. It's amazing that I am over a 5th grade reading level, seriously. So I thought you know what, for a book being touted as a "modern day Book of Genesis" I'm not feeling like I'm missing out. I don't go to church (GASP!! The horror), and I don't know what that book is, and certainly never read it. (Simma down ladies and gents!). It's not like I have Satan as a roomie or anything. I just figure church vs. being lazy or scrapbooking. Yah, pretty much choose lazy/scrapbooking. OK, so in reality I'm really cleaning my bathroom on Sunday mornings THINKING about scrapbooking or how I'd like to be lazy. :)

Christmas In July Swap Results!!

I had a lot of fun participating in my FIRST swap that Angie from Antics With Angie held on her blog. Thanks so much Angie for hosting an awesome swap- your hard work I'm sure is totally appreciated by everyone who played along.

I also need to say thank you to James from I Don't Have Any Easter Music because he was my swap partner and not only did an awesome job but he has inadvertently brought me a piece of childhood I've been looking for for pretty much forever. What am I talking about? Moon Pies, bitches. Specifically, banana ones. OK- I hate bananas, but these taste nothing like bananas and I love them, can't buy them anywhere around here. There are knock off things that are kind of like moon pies around here, but NOTHING comes close to the real thing. You Northern folks have no idea how fabulous these are and you never will until you travel south, well to Tennessee at least. I ate that thing so fast, actually before I opened the rest of the package. :) I remember when my mom worked at Circle K in Florida, she'd bring these home and I would totally eat them in the middle of the night. YUM.

Anyways- he also sent me awesome TN goodies that make me want to for sure stop on our RoadTrip Across Part Of America, otherwise known as the Trip To Florida In A Van With 2 Toddlers From Hell. Olivia has taken my conductor hat, and Jackson has taken my stuffed animal. I'm left with the food (which I grabbed before anyone noticed it obviously) and my coffee mug with tree ornament. And guess what, James? I bet you didn't know that I collect Xmas Ornaments and have a book in which I document where each one came from and the story behind it? Oh yes I do and this one is going in it!

James and Bylinda did an awesome job on my package, I loved it, and I only hope they liked what I sent them. What did they get? Well candy of course (and you need to know that it as a struggle for me to not eat it as it sat next to my mailing station for a week...that's willpower) a variety of handmade cards and a handmade picture frame. Oh- and a postcard from here. The next time that I go up the North Shore, I'm hitting up the gift shops and sending MN/WI goodies their way. :)

It's Summer Lambs!

Despite the fact that we are being all broke and ghetto and not doing anything this summer, we're still having fun. We're saving our coins (literally) for our trip to Florida in October,which means we are going to be kicking ourselves in the asses come January when we're living it up in -40 weather and thinking of the days it was actually nice outside in the summer. Enough with feeling sorry for ourselves...

Yesterday we had a FABULOUS visit from Matt's cousin Eric and his wife Kathy, with their super awesome and fun kids, Sarah, Jacob, and Hannah. I could literally eat Hannah she is so cute and took to Olivia right away. Jackson loves girls, so he was all over her and batted his blue eyes at Sarah. Adorable. And Jacob didn't know quite what to think of me, but when I totally encouraged jumping around like a monkey and throwing balls- I think I became his favorite 2nd cousin?? What are we?? I don't know- which is why you'll never find a family tree in my house lambs! Anyways, so after a great BBQ lunch and lots of visiting, we all went onto the North Shore Scenic Railroad train and did the Lester River run, which is like an hour or so total. The kids thought it was great to be on an authentic train and I had a great time visiting with Kathy.

OK- so here are the pics..

Jackson with sticky smore fingers eating grass.

Hannah, Sarah, and Olivia

All of the kids being monkeys and throwing balls.

And because I'm going to get asked- the thing they are playing in is a blow up jumpy ball pit we got at Target. We had the balls from a different ball pit that popped when our cat Lenny wanted to play. But this is really light so we have to put it in the garage every night otherwise it'll blow away. :) But the kids had so much fun playing with it, so it was definitely worthe the $30 we paid.
I really cannot wait to find the time and money to make a trip down their way because the kids all played great together and Olivia wants to be like Sarah. I had to hear about how great Sarah is all night, and so far, all morning today. :) Which is great!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

OH, you definitely asked for it...

So if the last post wasn't strange enough- I found even more ladies!

Guess what these babies are???

That's right- re-usable tampons. What's disturbing with this Etsy purchase is that you get a purse sized wet bag to carry them in. Is that gross? Imagine someone hanging these on the clothesline to dry.

Oh, pull yourself together. This is even funnier. Look at it long and hard folks. Use your imagination. A cup? The top of a beer bong? Something illegal??

Nope- it's a Vagi Cup. I couldn't make this up. This one is courtesy of my good buddy Dina. You can click the titels of these fun items to get the low-down on how they work. That's if you can keep yourself from laughing. Could you see yourself using any of these things? Hauling them in your purse? "Excuse me, I have to empty my cup". I mean really folks. Going green is a good idea- but there really is a line. Gross.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Is This Necessary?

I am all for people using their crafty talents and brains to churn a profit. I'd like to do that myself which is why I am filling Etsy shop.

But there is a point in which I have to say: Really? Like are you for real?

Today is one of those days. I found this in my Etsy email:

You may be saying- wow what bright colors. Cute patterns. Kind of looks like a fancy case for your classes, or storing your iPod in your purse. Nope lambs, it's none of those. These puppies are.... Sample Pack Moonpads Organic Cloth Menstrual Pads. I am not kidding. I don't know that I could make this up. Don't believe me? Check the link

I don't know what is more disturbing: The fact that someone makes these or the fact that people buy these. I'm all for going green but come on. There are some lines that you don't draw. I swear to you- if I see organic tampons I am going to be sending a letter off.

Potentially Fabulous

Hey yall- top o' the morn to ya.

So let's talk about what I have going on this week- this is me assuming that you care. But you obviously do since you are reading this.

1. Harper Collins: I got a VERY exciting email yesterday from a Senior Editor at Harper Collins. I know, I totally spit my soda all over the computer screen at work and my desk is still sticky. The most exciting thing? They found and read my blog. I know, right? They found my review of THE LEISURE SEEKER and loved it, and contacted me saying that they loved it. I am so excited. I even got some tips on writing and publishing- so guess what lambs? I decided to for sure write a book. I even started last night, got two pages done in 30 minutes. My brain is swimming and I'm still so excited. I can barely contain myself. A sign from the heavens? Maybe.

2. Olivia is back: Olivia spent the last two nights at Matt's parents' house and is back today. I'm at work so that sucks for both of us. She cried when I had to leave which makes me feel like the worst parent ever. I couldn't even make her stop crying with bribing. I don't know what's worse- the fact that I have resorted to bribing or the fact it didn't work.

3. My house is clean: I know, hold the presses. I actually made time for cleaning yesterday- in the hopes that doing physical activitiy would dull the excitement from the Harper Collins email. It didn't, but my house looks and smells lovely. I would consider this a bonus.

4. I have to get my lazy ass to the post office to mail packages. James- I swear I will put it in the mail today. I'm such a loser and I'm sorry. Angie and Lindze- your packages are coming too, and Elena- yours is being made tonight with the hopes to mail it this week as well. Hopefully nobody was holding their breath otherwise I'd have 4 dead people as a result of my laziness. That would suck.

5. The guy from the bagel shop by my work that commented on my boobs last Wednesday? Was there again today. I must have had that, "Don't talk to me because I'm feeling bitchy today" look on my face because all I got from him today was a wink and a wave. Oh- and of course, the blatant stare at my chest. Oh well. I should be thankful that my boobs are obviously something to look at. Or maybe I should thank Victoria's Secret for making a fabulous bra that makes them look perkier than they really are.

6. I have got to get my ass going on my Etsy shop. My goals this year- 2 sales in the Etsy shop and garner more "followers" on my blog. Maybe if I'm lucky they can coincide.

7. Why do I need followers? Well according to a fabulous source (can you guess who??) I need a "platform" in order to approach a publisher. They want to know how I know people will read/buy the book. I don't teach or do public speaking for fear of making an ass out of myself so the next best thing is a blog. Wait...does public speaking mean like when you tell people to fuck off (in various, sometimes nice ways) in public areas like stores? Because I do that ALL of the time. Spread the word lambs! I will have a little somethin' somethin' for the first 50 followers. As soon I as I hit 50, I'll come up with something. :) Sweet.

OK- so I am going to get some stuff done, sit in my hole of an office and spread joy to fellow co-workers. Who may not be here today since I am the only one on the second floor at 8:45 in the morning. Strange.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Are you a Winner or a Loser???

Holy crap lambs- I forgot to post the results of my blog candy post!!! Hopefully the suspense hasn't killed or stricken anyone's health. If it has, you should know that I'm not liable, so please don't sue me. Anyways! For my first candy grab I think I did pretty good! You all should know that when I become a really famous author- you all will be in the book acknowledgements for being my loyal peeps. And if you help me actually sell copies- you might get some royalties. :) HAHA!! See, nobody is a loser in that regard!

Anyways- onwards and upwards I say! So to do this in a super scientific for a kindergartner way I printed your names on scratch pieces of paper and had Olivia draw the names out. She did fabulous, I only wish I had a picture of the moment. So the winnner.....


Yay, you! OK, so your goodie pack will be in the mail sometime this week- so look for that. :)

Thanks my peeps for following me, for listening to my gripes and spreading the word 'yo! Keep spreading the word, and if my blog can grow a little more then I'll be offering more blog candies. Because really? You can never have enough candy. :)

Book Review: The Leisure Seeker

Well, as usual- let's start this post off by me saying that I usually don't like books about getting old and dying seeing how I'm only 27 and I'd like to be optimistic and say that won't happen to me for awhile. But let's be real- I could be killed on my lunch break. But I reserved this book from the library after seeing the super snazzy cover with a racing RV on it because again, I'm shallow like that and judge books by covers. Freal, folks. OK- on with the review....

This book is a MUST READ. If you read nothing else in your life, you must read this book. I'm so not kidding. It will give you a totally different outlook on your marriage, your parents, and getting old. This book is a really fast read and I did it in under 6 hours and that's probably because I just could not put it down. It is basically the story of John and Ella Rubina who are elderly with a multitude of health probems with the most significang being John with Alzheimer's and Ella with cancer. John doesn't really get what's happening to him and Ella is running the show despite being in advanced stages of her cancer. She's opted to stop treatments and live out the rest of the life she has with her husband. In their RV. On the way to California, DisneyLand, via Route 66 to be exact. Their kids obviously thinks this is ridiculous and are adament that they come home and seek medical help "to get better". What the kids don't realize and what Ella very clearly does is that she doesn't have much time left and she doesn't want to be without her husband. And she knows that John would be lost without Ella because she's the only one he can really remember and recognize, mostly because they've been married 60+ years. It is a really great story and as much as I would grieve over the loss of either of my parents, I will not be the child that insists they go to the doctor, or seek additional treatment, etc. When people are ready to go the most humane thing we can do as family or friends is to just let them go. You must read this- definitely add it to your lists!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

Before I even start this review I have to just say upfront that I think Oprah is a very lovely woman. She obviously is very successful to have lasted this long in such a fickle industry. With that being said, let me give my 2 cents on her 2008 Oprah Book Club pick The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. (I am not putting on protective gear to hopefully prevent any injuries from projectiles thrown at me because of my review).

I hated the book (I'm ducking right now). I really did. I also should say that I usually don't like Oprah's picks because they are too mushy mushy, supposed to be life altering, etc. I just can't get into that shit. Also, the book is set in Northern Wisconsin (where I am living) and that's just weird. I don't know- perhaps I'm just weird and picky. But the book is LONG. Like when I picked it up from the library and saw how huge it was, I silently prayed (ok- so by that I mean I said, "Holy shit! I hope this is large print!"). Well, it wasn't large print and suddenly for the first time in years I felt like it might take me the 3 week check out period to finish the damn thing. It also should be said that if I can't get "hooked" on the book in the first chapter, I pressure myself to quit. BUT, it is on my Summer Reading List, so I can't be a quitter. So I read it, finished it, and felt like throwing the book against the wall because I HATED the ending. Fuck you David Wroblewski for ruining it for me. Here I am, rooting for god damn Edgar to prove what an ass Claude is, and take over the dog breeding farm thing they've got going on- and you fucking ruined it for me. Screw you, Dave.

OK- so on a less dramatic note... I started a new book that I thought would be funny and uplifting. Yah- guess what? It isn't, but it's GREAT and I can not wait to finish it and give you the review. What's it called? The Leisure Seeker. Doesn't that freaking sound fun? And the cover has a 1978 Leisure Seeker RV on the cover speeding down the highway. I'm pretty snobbish when it comes to books and I totally judge books by covers (because really? If you can't spend the time to put a cool cover on your book how hard did you really work on it????). Anyways- Yall should know one of my dreams is to someday get an RV and make Matt drive it to stupid random places. And I'm all about stupid roadside tourist traps. :) OK- so I'm almost done with it, so watch for the review probably this week sometime. Later lambs!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bloggie News- Blog Candy!!!

Hi everyone! So in order to increase my "readership" (is that a word? If not, I just made it up on purpose.) (OK- how many of you are pulling out your dictionary??)... I am going to start a Blog Candy Goodie Box to one reader, maybe two, maybe more- we'll just have to see. :) HAHA!!

So in order to win this prize- you must:

1. Leave a comment on this post.
2. Tell me what your favorite post of mine is/was (you can go all the way back to the beginning if you really really want to). (OPTIONAL)
3. Become a "Follower" (haven't you always wanted to be in a cult? Now you can be! It's a cult of the cool kids obviously).
4. And leave your contact information! I hate when people leave a post, thinking they are going to be a winner and cool and then leave no way for me to contact YOU. Because YOU COULD BE A WINNER!! (Imagine me with my best Ed McMahon smile right now only I'm not going to be holding a huge cardboard fake check. Sorry.)

From those people who follow all of the rules I will pick my favorite entry and send that person a really fun, handmade prize(s) (it's a surprise, yo- you can't know if you get one thing or many). THEN, as a bonus, I will randomly pick another person to get a different package.

It's all mysterious, lambs- but I assure you it'll be fun. Plus- who doesn't like getting stuff in the mail?? You may be wondering- why? Why is this neurotic crazy lady doing this? Has she lost her home and is trying to get rid of stuff? No, but if you refer back to my 30/30 list you'll see #3 is to write a book. Oh yes, I am doing it- but in order to do it and (gasp!!!) maybe even get it published (even if I am doing it myself on the work photocopier...HAHA!!) I have to have an audience, right? So pass the word my friends- because I promise you- if I actually finish the book (which is required to cross it off the 30/30 list...kind of the point of the list ya know?) and get it published (a bonus!) I will have lots of fun things for yall. Enough of my rambling. It's the end of the day- give me a break. :P

OK- so the deadline to enter and start praying that you too can be a winner is SATURDAY, JULY 18. Oh that's right- I am not going to make you wait long. :) I'll even mail the boxes out Monday, July 20 and you can salivating in anticipation over the weekend because I am good to you. :) Pass the word along my readerettes. (Now I KNOW that word is made up!)

True Blood

We all know I love me some Twilight and Robert Pattinson. And really? How could you not? But my new obsession is the True Blood series on HBO. I even ordered HBO last night so that I could watch the season 2 episodes over and over again, because obviously I have already bought the first season on DVD. :) This is loosely based on the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris. I say loosely because there are a lot of differences between the books and the show and normally I'd be peeved at this (as I will be if New Moon movie is different than the book) but I like it in this case because it's like two different things, but kind of the same. Does this make sense or am I just crazy? Probably crazy, but you know- what's new? Anywho- the best part of True Blood? Um, definitely the hotness that are Vampires Bill and Eric. YUMOLA.

Vampire Bill- played by Stephen Moyer

Vampire Eric played by Alexander Skarsgard

Kate- appreciate that last picture. :) You see, my sister in law Kate is the one who has gotten me hooked on the Twilight series so in turn, I have gotten her hooked on True Blood- only fair. And we agree that both of these guys are "hunks of hotness" (her quote). Yummy. Back to the show- it's great. I am not much for gore/blood/scary but this show has all of it including fairly graphic sex scenes. (It is HBO). But all of the characters have been cast PERFECTLY and all play the part of homebred Louisiana southerners perfectly (which is hard and rare). You can relate to all of the characters and it's hard to not like any of them. OK- so there is your hotness pictures for today. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

South Superior Birds Retaliate

You know I'm all about cutting costs where I can. This summer I decided that spending $20 on a bag of bird food that lasts MAYBE 3 days is obscene. Some of these birds are looking pretty big, with the one that doesn't fly well anyway struggling even more. He will probably get killed by the psychotic cat from next door or hit by someone on a bicycle. If birds could read I would have a sign that said "Not All You Can Eat" because I am going broke trying to ward off famine on local birds. Plus, the kids like to watch them eat.

My solution? Walmart actually had bags of bird seed in the $1 section. No joke. I thought- god has seen my struggle but appreciates the sentiment so is putting bird seed on sale. THANK YOU! I was so excited, thinking the birds are going to be all happy to have a bird feeder stocked and loaded all of the time and I will become the Old Country Buffet for birds.

Well guess what? Those unthankful, ungracious bastards of birds are NOT happy. They made their gross bird noises next to my open windows at all hours, bang into the windows, etc. And now because I haven't responded to them, this is what I see this morning:

Let me assure you- my van was COVERED, this was just the first one I saw. No matter where I move my van- I am now a target.
The birds are also doing their destructive pooping on my daughter's second floor window. The screen was covered and I had to spray that off from the inside because guess what? It fucking smells to high heaven.
I apologize birds if this food gives you the runs. Really. It's gross, I get it. But you know what? I'm not rich. You are no longer getting the expensive stuff- find another home. Stop shitting on all of my stuff because that will get you nowhere. I'm in this house for a long time bitches so I will win this war.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Summer Reading List- pt. 2

I'm working on my summer reading list, which is going slower than anticipated since I keep adding books to it! Here is the list so far and I've italicized what I've already read:

Wuthering Heights- Emily Bronte
East of Eden-John Steinbeck-(requested @ library)
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle- David Wroblewski (requested@ library)
Beautiful Lies- Lisa Unger
The Sound & The Fury- William Faulkner
Love In the Time of Cholera- Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Next Thing On My List- Jill Smolinski
Pride & Prejudice- Jane Austen
Brights Lights, Big Ass- Jen Lancaster
Such a Pretty Fat- Jen Lancaster
Bitter Is The New Black- Jen Lancaster
Sookie Stackhouse Series- (half way through!)
Me Talk Pretty One Day- David Sedaris (started)
The Friday Night Knitting Club- Kate Jacobs

I won't even put on here the HUGE list I have going in my notebook. You see, everytime someone mentions a good book- I put it on my "someday" list which is now a notebook. I am going through books like water at this point. This last week I read 5 of the Sookie Stackhouse Series (which spurred the TrueBlood series on HBO- reviews on that later) and started my David Sedaris book. Well since Target is being slow on restocking shelves, I can't get to the other Sookie books, so now I've reserved two at the library to hopefully fill the gap. I have to admit, I'm skerred about the classics- they are probably huge and full of big words or crazy language. Do we have to relive the Wuthering Heights debacle?? I hope not.

Monday, July 6, 2009

I'm a Winner (no, really, I am)

YAY!!! Normally I would take this time to discuss my penchant for losing stuff, but this post will be different for I am a Winner!!!

About a month ago I posted about a contest going on over at The Treadler on how you could get your own handmade wool finger puppet. I'm a sucker for anything cute and funny, so I of course put myself into the hat. My two puppet options were either a mini Robert Pattinson (and I mean, who wouldn't want that???) or my alter ego, Suzy the Floozy (and really, I think the name speaks for itself, don't you?). Well Miss Suzy THE Floozy was the winner and I am so incredibly excited to get a finger puppet! Is there finger puppet insurance? I'm suddenly worried Suzy may be abducted. Of course, when Suzy comes home to her momma (that's me, because I'm a WINNER) I will post pictures of her and her new home (my desk at work).

She will be in charge of security for me and will be giving stink eye to the losers who walk past my office picking their nose thinking I can't see out the glass window. Oh yes, this could be great fun. :) HEHE!! I did have to promise not to use her for evil, but if she does it on her own free will I'm not liable, right??

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

It Sucks Being Poor

First off, I want to thank James because his blog gave me the reminder of what I was going to post this week- so THANK YOU for inadvertently jogging my memory.

I am not in any way news-savvy but I do occassionally read online magazines and in May I cam across this article in The Washington Post (click here for article) about being poor in America and how much it actually costs a person and why being poor means you have to be rich. Let me tell you- after reading this article I have a greater appreciation for those who have less than I do, makes me count my blessings for what I have, and it makes me admire my mom who was raising two kids on her own and experienced a lot of this. I really recommend that you read it.

In light of that, I admire the anti-homeless and other outreach groups that are trying to improve communities but does everything have to be on a major scale? While it is good to have food and clothing drives (for example) what about ride sharing when you go to the grocery store or to Target? What about offering your washer and dryer to someone you know at no cost? What about offering snacks to kids in the neighborhood or park?

It's really the little things that add up to make something big. I don't do as much as I know I could but this article is making me think about what else I could do. I offer my washer/dryer to people who don't have one, I provide snacks/drinks for other kids at the park when I take mine there, I donate regularly to food drives but I should start sending $10/month at least to the Salvation Army so they can get what they need. I share coupons with other people which doesn't seem like a lot but people save wherever they can. If you see someone at the grocery store who comes up short on money for their food- would it kill you to fork that money over to them? What's $15 out of your pocket? Can you cut back on something for one month to help someone else out? My favorite thing is randomly picking a family to help with Christmas. Do you know what a big deal a laundry basket with basic household supplies, books/toys, gift card to grocery store/Target/gas station is to your neighbor?

And maybe because Matt and I had a rough six months after he got fired from his job I suddenly have a much better understanding of what it's like chosing to feed your child versus paying the utility bill. Although Matt got a job after six months he took a $4/hour pay cut we just couldn't catch up and it really is a cyclone that is nipping at you and the stress is horrible. We ended up having to file bankruptcy and let me tell you- it was the most humiliating and humbling thing I have ever experienced. I was so embarrassed and felt like such a complete failure but when I walked into our last hearing and saw 83 other couples there I suddenly felt part of a group. Every other couple were like us- victims of overspending, not enough saving/planning, and a bad economy with a lack of jobs. We were lucky that we were able to keep our home sicne we had never missed a payment and agreed to continue with our loan as scheduled. But there were families who were there signing their homes away and I cried for them. I can't imagine what that would be like. How scary to not know what you are going to do next. We don't have much and still struggle pay check to pay check but I know we are better off than a lot of people. We have more than other people do and I have to remember that when I pay my bills and have $30 to last me another two weeks. Sure, I'm broke- but I have a house, a job, and two healthy and happy children. I'm doing my best.

I urge you to help out in little ways. Research in your community where and what the need is. Contact local agencies that help the community and see what you can do. Often times they have a "need list" and it is easy stuff. Your animal shelter might need paper towels, the local family resource center might need paper cups, the homeless shelter may need food or blankets, etc. Every little bit helps and it's a GREAT project for kids in the summer. Have your kids go through toys, clothes, stuffed animals, books, etc and donate to the local battered women's shelter. They often leave without their children's things. Buy coloring books and make little goodie bags for those kids. There are lots of things you can do- just do something.