Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Matt's photographic to-do list before Olivia's party. Oh yes, I'm going there.

I've made no secret about being over the top frustrated with the state of ghettoness in my home and yard. I am fully aware that my current surroundings could be so much more ghetto, but in comparison to my neighbors it's pretty bad. Even the pedophile keeps his yard crap to a minimum. Even the drug dealers down the block are weed whacking their yards regularly.

And because I have been very laid back about Matt's lack of caring about the curb appeal of our house for oh... SIX YEARS... I'm kind of over it. He has no excuse. He's super handy, he can organize when he wants to (the ability is there), he has the skills and the means to make repairs and install things, we have a trailer so he could be taking things to the dump.... it's that he chooses not to. OR, (and this is my favorite) he has no idea what I'm talking about.

Well Matt- I will show you what I'm talking about.

1. The back porch light. We have exposed wires just chillin next to the back door. We have the light fixture--I've seen it sitting on top of the laundry sink that's been sitting there for five years in the garage. I say, let's put that bitch up before it breaks in it's box. And you know, having some light in the yard wouldn't be a bad things since we have a pedophile directly behind us.
 2. The back steps. First off, why is there a cooler open and hanging out by the door? MAYBE explains why our yard is swarming with mosquitoes? I understand your argument that you can't fix the steps, but let's at least move the concrete chunks to the trailer (that's going to go to the dump) and weed whack this shit. Some of those are tall as my knee for god sakes. And the gap between the steps and the door? Can we put something there so a person doesn't accidentally fall through the huge gap?
 3. I take full responsibility for my failure as a gardener. I suck at helping real plants thrive but by god I can grow some waist high weeds. But it wouldn't look this bad if you had just gutted it out a month ago when I asked. Every day for three weeks. And the fact that all of these weeds have prickers? Not good when we'll have about 15 little kids running through our yard in two weeks for Olivia's party.
 4. This pile of random shit that's been next to the garage for years? GET RID OF IT. Where did those tires come from? Why are the kids' sandbox toys hiding in what I believe to be a chive bush? Once again, why did you take down our gutters for no reason? Why are you using one of our nice bathroom towels as a garage curtain? This all needs to go. Is that a garbage can, storage box AND garbage bag of aluminum cans? These need to go. I know you say we get more if we have 100 pounds of them, but do you know how many bags of cans 100 pounds is? I am telling you right here and now I will not let you hoard aluminum cans so you can look like an asshole trying to cash in 100 pounds worth. No. I put my foot down.
 5. Speaking of gutters, since you were on a anti gutter rampage for NO REASON, why did you leave this section? Can we take it down because again, we have plant life growing on the roof?
 6. Oh, and since we're discussing the things that need to be done- have you seen the laundry sink lately? When I said I wasn't cleaning it ever again on Monday, I wasn't kidding. I refuse to deal with this. I've done my time. My punishment of having to clean this drain every other day for six years is worse than some people get in prison for robbery.
 In case you are unclear- take a closer look. Look at it! It's disgusting and I'm putting my foot down. Do you know what that is? It's half sand from the plumbing and half sludge that is peeling off of the concrete sink. And of course fur from our retard cats rubbing on it. I want you to scrape this with the special spoon for two hours and I bet you'd demand a new sink. Especially when 90% of the parts are sitting in the garage.
So world, this bitch is going on a trip to Menards all by herself on Saturday and I'm going to buy a counter top and some plumbing pieces. I am going to have them all ready for when my husband comes home from work on Saturday. Then I'm going to pack up the kids and head to the mother fucking mall while he hooks this shit up because the time has come. Oh, it has come. Is this all that needs to be done? No. Not even freaking close. But this is what I think can be done in the resonable time of two weeks. I will give earned credit for putting the closet door trim up. You didn't paint it, but it already looks better.

If you don't hear from me by Monday just assume I've been arrested for domestic assault because I feel like I am at my end. Olivia's party is on the 10th. I have a bunch of people coming and I know they are friends and they have heard me bitch time and time again, but no more. I absolutely will not let him do nothing in prep for a party. He doesn't shop, he doesn't cook, he doesn't decorate and he isn't even grilling this year so this punk can just fix some of this crap up.

So there.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I apparently like being Chicago's bitch.

Call me crazy but I love Chicago even with it's high crime, drunken and cracked out homeless people in the fetal position on sidewalks and obsessive honking for no reason. I do. I can't help it.

Which is where I was this past Friday and Saturday, which is why you didn't get posts either of those days. I had the laptop but I figured screw it because I was too tired to give you anything worth while anyways. But that just means I spent more time walking the streets of downtown Chicago to give you this post. I'm a giver like that.

So Friday it starts with us obviously driving the about 8 hours it takes to get to Chicago. Somewhere along the way I had to pee. Obviously. But the cool part is I *finally* got to stop at this food court (there are two of these on the way to Chicago but we stopped at only one of them) that is literally above the highway. It's like a giant sky walk food court and there is a gas station on the side. I've driven to Chicago three times now and I'm just happy to be able to say I've waved at cars like a maniac from the sky walk food court. Never mind we were almost run over by the guy cleaning floors with some giant machine on wheels. Like four times.

No, the thing to mention is that the bathrooms here? Have terrible walls. You know I'm a big critic of public restrooms and although Michigan wins the award for grossest bathrooms ever, this one had bizarre walls that made me instantly dizzy.
 Seriously imagine being surrounded by this. I was so dizzy I felt like a drunk trying to aim into the bowl since of course I'm doing the hovered stance because there is no way my actual ass is touching the seat. It was a challenge, let's just leave it at that.

Once we got to Chicago we checked into our hotel which was super great. It was the Double Tree on East Ohio, and it's great because it's in between Navy Pier and the Magnificent Mile so that's handy. After checking in, getting our kind of disgusting warm cookie (they say it's free but you know you're paying for it) we decided to ask the concierge how to get to Gino's East from our hotel since we were just going to walk it. It ended up being 10 blocks, but because I was all "I'm a lost tourist but I'm super friendly" to the concierge, she gave us this nifty pass to not have a wait time to get in. SCORE. It turned out to be a super score because while we waited maybe 5 minutes, we were able to eat and get out in about 90 minutes, and nobody had budged in the line when we came in. See? Being awesome gets you things in life.

 This is my crazy, "I didn't realize I was getting my picture taken face" while texting my friend Emily.
 But then I was all, "Aw.. picture with my friend Tammy!" and so I look normal. Plus, we look great together.
 And then I got a good one of Matt and Chad against the graffiti wall. And yet AGAIN I forgot to bring a neon puffy paint marker. Failure.
 But leave it to those boys to find the penis picture on their seat. AND point it out.

Finally, after like 45 minutes our pizzas came. Tammy and I (picky eaters) shared one and Matt and Chad (human garbage disposals) shared one. Oh, and our little concierge person gave us a ticket for free breadsticks. I can't speak highly enough about this woman.. she rocked out night for sure. Anyways. The pizza was delicious.

So after eating pizza we decided to walk around downtown a bit. I ended up getting a cute shirt at H&M along with a kick ass hair clip and some tights for Olivia. By then we were all kind of exhausted so we headed back to our room.

At this point, I was trying to return some emails and Matt was watching some TV when we get a frantic knock on our door. It was Chad to inform us that hey- you can't lift anything off of that little tray of snacks because you get charged for it. Which was kind of shit because we were picking them up wondering how they have the balls to charge $6 for a bag of M&M's, so Chad made sure that nobody was charged. ROBBERY, this is.
 Anyways. We slept great. We got up early, went to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast and headed to Navy Pier. And just an aside- but is there a rule that every Dunkin Donuts is fully staffed with people who barely speak English? Because poor Matt ordered a sandwich and they kept asking him about what donut. I think he ended up with a sad slice of egg (yes, it was a slice... ew) on some weird bread. Anyways. We started walking to Navy Pier only to find... Ohio Street Beach.
 Kind of awesome to have a beach in the middle of downtown??
 So from there we made it to Navy Pier only to find that there is a weird display of wooden signs that read "Fix-Ice Machene". Now, I don't know if this is something with meaning but they spelled machine wrong. Is the Chicago educational system that bad? And why has nobody said to the artist, "Dude- you spelled it wrong. People will think this entire city is full of uneducated dumbasses."?? I don't know. Nobody seemed to know what it meant either.
 But... Navy Pier! This was my first time there, but both of my previous trips didn't allow for time to see it so I totally put my foot down and said- we ARE seeing Navy Pier.
 And guess what? They have a Billy Goat Tavern! That serves Horny Goat mixed drinks!
 While I didn't partake in that since they weren't open, I settled for a picture under the sign.
The other reason I wanted to go to Navy Pier besides it's awesome was because I wanted to ride on a sailboat for my 30/30 list. And since I don't half ass anything, I rode on a tall ship (like a pirate ship.. and this one had a super awesome and knowledgeable pirate narrator!) with massive sails. It was great.
 And the view was kind of amazing despite fog.
 And I basically learned a lot about Chicago, the coastline, etc. Did you know everything east of Lower Michigan Avenue used to be the water? After their massive fires in late 1800's, the city basically flattened the ashes of the old downtown and that's what makes up the east of Lower Michigan Avenue. They also have a rule you can't build tall building there to ruin the skyline, but this black building? Gets around that rule because it's not built on the ground but rather on stilts.
 The sails!
 The view!

After the boat tour we headed to lunch where the boys got authentic Chicago hotdogs. *barf*
 I obviously had a hamburger. Then we took a bus tour of downtown where Chad's chest photo bombed our picture.
 We saw the bean.
 Oh man. It was about 4pm by the time we got into my van to go home. I was kind of exhausted from walking. Which was unfortunate, because it took us exactly one hour and 15 minutes to get out of Chicago.
 We drove for hours until we decided it was time to eat dinner. But by god.. like a beacon on the horizon I saw a Cracker Barrel. You'll remember from my Tennessee trip the amazingness of such a place. And you know I beelined for the jar of sugar suckers. I literally spent my last $12 on ten of these bad boys.
 Matt wouldn't even walk next to me because he was embarrassed. But after leaving the restaurant it was a long drive home. I can't even emphasize how long that drive home was. Usually I get home from Chicago around 10 or 10:30 at night but since we left so much later than usual, we pulled up at our house at 1:30 a.m. Ugh. To say I was a lazy fat ass on Sunday? Understatement.

Overall it was a great trip. I had a lot of fun, I enjoy being a tourist, I learned a lot, and best of all- I'm itching to go back. This time I'd like to go back in March for St. Patricks when they dye the river green. AND I want to go to a play at the Chicago Theatre or somewhere. So we'll see. ;)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Weight Lost Monday: Pilates DVD review and GIVEAWAY.

Folks, before I get into my review I figured since we're close to the first of the month- it's time I give you my actual weigh in. I didn't take a picture because my camera battery is DEAD so I'm charging it. But the actual number is.... 168 pounds. Not bad, not great. I don't even know what my last weigh in was exactly, but 164 is in my head. So although technically I've gained four pounds in several months, I'm OK with that because I'm pretty confident it's mostly muscle. Because my legs? Are muscle-y but not in a She-Man way. Thankfully.

This week my goal is to get in a 2 mile run three times this week and do my Pilates DVD, which I'm going to tell you about in just a bit. My other goal? Less snacking. I have caught myself recently being on a snack binge of whatever is handy just because I can. So that has to stop and I need to up my water intake again because last night my calves hurt a lot and I'm pretty sure it's lack of water.

But let's talk about this Pilates DVD I have been working on and why I think you need to have it.

Prenatal Pilates with Dale Shea
Prenatal Pilates with Dale Shea (2010) Love Your Shape! Look and Feel Great!
I have to be honest with you, I have never done Pilates (or yoga) before but have always wanted to try it. Mostly because I figured it would be easy and I would look amazing with minimal effort. Well I'm here to tell you Pilates is no joke. I was hurting after the warm up program. By the time I got through the first set of exercises after the warm up, I was hurting in places I didn't know you had muscles. Like under your butt- have you ever hurt so much under your butt it hurt to sit? But it was a good hurt because after doing it for about two weeks (about 2-3 times a week) I can literally feel my muscles stretching and I do feel great after every work out. I feel like I actually got a work out done in my own living room.

Even though it is Prenatal Pilates- I will tell you that I'm not pregnant (though depending on the angle I could go for maybe a 3 or 4 month pregnant woman on a bad day), this was a work out. I am not ashamed to say I felt like a lazy fat ass when this 31 weeks pregnant woman is just breezing through these exercises like it's nothing. Because I know when I was 31 weeks pregnant I certainly wasn't doing Pilates because it was an effort to get in and out of the car.

Things I love about this DVD are basically it's a variety of workouts that you can mix and match depending on what you have to use or what you feel like doing. Like any other DVD you get a warm up and cool down chapter, but you also get a mat workout, hand weights work out, exercise band work out, and finally a ball work out. I loved each one of them and I felt like I got a substantial work out. I also love that you can do Pilates even if you have a bad back, bum leg, whatever- you can do it. I have a lot of lower back pain when I sit on the floor or generally any hard surface (thank you to my two babies) but I had no problem doing any of these exercises for 30-50 minutes at a time. I've also noticed an improvement in my running since doing this. I feel like the muscles in my legs are longer, if that makes any sense.

Would I recommend this DVD to anyone? Yes, I absolutely would. For it being my first time with Pilates, Dale (the instructor) explains everything really well so you don't feel like an idiot. The other best? She isn't one of these super crazy "You go girl!" screamers or overly hyper instructors. Which is really great because of the few exercise videos I've ever had- after one time watching it I'm done because I literally cannot take that persons voice or personality. But Dale seems super down to earth and she is there to get it done with you, so that's nice.

The best part my fellow fatties/chunklets? You can win a copy for your very own. That's right- Dale is so awesome she is going to give one of my readers their own copy. All you need to do is leave me a comment on this post (and be a follower) and I will draw a winner on Friday, September 2 during my Dear Sara vlog.

In the meantime, I highly suggest you check out her website HERE and take a look around. You can buy your own copy of the DVD on her website or through Amazon (here) and it's a reasonable price for a really great workout. For those of you wanting to lose weight but need to start with baby steps- this is for you. For those who are walking or beginning running and need something to do on your down days- this is for you. If you are pregnant or thinking you want to be pregnant- this is for you. Another great resource is her Pilates for Moms page because it gives you a bunch of legit reasons you should be doing Pilates.

Have you tried Pilates before? Did you like it, love it, or hate it? Why or why not?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Domestic Violets

Oh am I happy to share this book with you. I really am. It's very rare that you find a male author who's not only a good writer but funny. And not just that, but one that can give you a story you can't put down because it's honest and relatable. But Matthew Norman does just that. If you are a man who's married or has been married- you will probably relate to this book and very much enjoy it.

Domestic Violets- Matthew Norman
Domestic Violets: A Novel (P.S.)
Tom Violet always thought that by the time he turned thirty-five, he’d have everything going for him. Fame. Fortune. A beautiful wife. A satisfying career as a successful novelist. A happy dog to greet him at the end of the day.

The reality, though, is far different. He’s got a wife, but their problems are bigger than he can even imagine. And he’s written a novel, but the manuscript he’s slaved over for years is currently hidden in his desk drawer while his father, an actual famous writer, just won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. His career, such that it is, involves mind-numbing corporate buzzwords, his pretentious archnemesis

Tom’s life is crushing his soul, but he’s decided to do something about it. (Really.)Domestic Violets is the brilliant and beguiling story of a man finally taking control of his own happiness—even if it means making a complete idiot of himself along the way.

Without going into the personal trials of my own marriage, I will tell you that this is such a close description of it that it's almost kind of alarming. And I say alarming because to read it from an outsider perspective it makes living it to be a little harsher.

So let me talk about all of the things I really loved about this book in the hopes to sway you to read it. Because I really believe this book highlights the typical marriage so well but what makes this book different is that it shows that adults can be rational, can forgive, and can work towards something better rather than just say, "Screw you, I want a divorce!" because that's just a trigger reaction for someone who isn't willing to be an adult and work through something.

1. Can I just say I really loved Tom Violet? I did. He reminds me so much of Matt from his previous job that reading it in this perspective made me really understand what he was trying to tell me all along but never really could.

2. I appreciated his wife Anna because I knew exactly what she would have been feeling and although I didn't make the choices she does, I certainly wanted to.

3. I loved how funny this book was. It was such a real humor that it feels like this is your buddy calling you up to vent about something and you totally sympathize.

4. Can I just say I love how he resigns? Epic.

5. I loved the ending. I really did. There are not many books that end in a way that makes me think about it long after I finish the book. Was it just fates way of leading his life down another direction? The father and son dynamic of it makes me think of when one door closes, another opens, but in this case, when one generation bows out, another comes in.

One of my favorite passages of the book hit me because it's true. You know this author is married because nobody who is single will ever totally get this:

" Anna and I maneuver through our small bathroom, going about our nighttime routines of brushing and moisturizing. Tonight, we've managed to do it in complete silence. Married silence is a specific kind of silence, typically one in which the woman goes mute while the man pretends as if it's perfectly normal that she hasn't spoken in hours. In the face of conflict with their wives, most men choose to remain oblivious and passive, and I'm no different. Our shoulders touch as she scrubs her face with these little medicated pads. I say excuse me and drop my used floss in the garbage bin. We could be traveling salespeople, sharing a bathroom for some strange reason."

That right there? Is just a sampling of the realistic humor that married people just get and can identify with. I'm so excited to read another Matthew Norman novel because he's got such a talent that can weave a story that sounds like it's a memoir but bring humor to serious situations and it's all good. Everything about this book was good and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I have a dream that someday...

... I will have a non ghetto laundry room. I refuse to believe that this is an impossible task. Thousands of Americans are living in their purchased homes with fully functioning laundry rooms with ceilings. I refuse to believe my laundry room will be in squalor forever. If I give up this dream than I will have lost and I refuse to lose the battle over this room. I have fought the good fight for six years now and god dammit, out of sheer principle I refuse to give up.

But let me tell you something- I still don't have a functioning laundry sink. I still have no ceiling. The door that goes to the back porch still doesn't shut or even open some days. I am still missing an entire wall. But the kicker? The kicker was walking into the laundry room on Saturday to see this:

If nothing else is ever said about me when I die, people will be able to say that I am a very patient and forgiving person. I am. I have to believe this because Matt is still alive to show for it.

For weeks I have been complaining about the dryer. At first I thought maybe I'm trying to dry too much at once and that's why things are still kind of damp. I ask Matt and he says yes, that's totally it. OK. So I start doing half loads thinking it's weird because for six years it's worked just fine. Then I notice that even half loads aren't getting totally dry and that I'm having to put them through at least two and sometimes up to four cycles just to get them dry enough to fold them. Again, I ask Matt and he flat out tells me I'm just looking for something to complain about. Which clearly isn't true, because if that was the case I have a plethora of other things I could complain about.

So after my complete bitching about the dryer very much not working he said he'd look at it. It stayed like this for two days before he tells me he believes it's not completely broken just that it needs two cylanoid thingies. Whatever. Apparently, they are $21 (total, each.. nobody knows) and so I'm taking my Etsy shop money and buying them. Because I can't be relying on my mom to dry my laundry or the clothes line forever. It is August which means the warmer temperatures are going to be a fleeting memory soon.

It's just another in a long line of frustrations. I don't think I need to mention that the insulation around the foundation of the house never happened this summer either. I appreciate that we've been busy but I also appreciate he's had plenty of weekends from May until now to at least get one section done. But no. So again this winter I look forward to outrageous heating bills and a freezing cold house. Someone once told me these are my glory years. And I have to think that can't possibly be true.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Oh a campin' we will go...

... or try to go.

Last week I mentioned to you that over the course of last weekend I'd be crossing the canoeing and camping portion of my 30/30 list off. Well because the canoe rental joint in Brule, Wisconsin is ungodly popular they were out of boats. In a larger tourist area I would have reserved one ahead of time, but I figured not many people chose Brule as a vacation destination. What with it's seedy looking hotel (singular), random bars (plural) and few things other than that on the one road through town. But obviously I'm an idiot and underestimate people's desire to do things in the wilderness.

Since canoeing was no longer an option, it didn't really make sense to drive to Brule only to sit in the woods with only Matt for more than 24 hours. Together. I think it's safe to say only one of us would have made it out and my money would be on myself since hey- I can run now! (And I fight dirty, so I automatically get more points.)

A really terrible plan B was to pick our kids up early and camp with them in our yard. Laugh all you want, but we get wildlife in our yard. My garbage can has evidence that a bear bitch slapped it so you just shut up. It's kind of like nature. And we have a tent, sleeping bags, AND we were under a tree. It counts.

 And because this was all totally impromptu and I was too lazy from being kid-free for the week we decided we were just going to 'que it up in this bitch.

And then because I'm an awesome parent, I let my kids try sparklers again. We only did this once when Olivia was three who totally burned herself and has reminded us ever since. But she was totally interested this time.
 And then Jackson had to show off to her because he's three and declared he wasn't a baby.
 So after sparklers we were going to do smores. But I kid you not the minute I pulled the crackers out, it started to rain. And by "rain" I mean "pour". So we hauled ass into the tent. At 6:50 p.m. I don't know if you're familiar with small kids, but they kind of don't love bed time. I'm a big fan of them having doors on their bedrooms so I can just shut the door at bedtime. They are trained (except Olivia on her insomnia months, yes I said "months") to stay in their room unless they have to pee, are being kidnapped or the house is on fire. But all that aside, I want you to know that those kids didn't fall asleep until 10:30. I was exhausted but clearly couldn't sleep because you KNOW those kids would have been out of that tent playing in the sandbox all night. We also had some trips to the potty where Matt ran across the yard, in the rain, carrying a toddler so they didn't pee in the tent. Then I made him get me more pillows because hello- our yard is really hard.
 So finally, I snuggled next to Jackson (who clearly doesn't look tired here in his Batman pajamas and CARS sleeping bag) and Matt was next to Olivia.
The other downside to camping in the summer is that it was hot as FUCK in that tent. And it was raining, fairly windy and a ton of thunder/lightening. Oh- have I mentioned that neither of my kids like storms?

Overall it went OK. I couldn't sleep with shit because a twin size sleeping bag is not do-able for me. I had to unzip it I just couldn't be crammed up like that. Then I was too cold. Then the ground was too hard. My back was killing me. Around 2 am I really wanted to go inside but I didn't.

Did I encounter wildlife? Why as a matter of fact, I did. At some point I could see a couple of deer coming through my yard. Like idiots, we put the tent under the apple tree and the deer raid our yard for apples all of the time. So here were deer having a buffet near us. Then one came super close to the tent and basically sniffed right next to my head. I had visions of being kicked in the head, but I wasn't. Then a little while later as Jackson is thrashing and talking in his sleep I smell it. A god damn skunk. We get skunks a LOT near our house and almost every morning the yard smells like a skunk died. So I'm thinking, "Oh shit- please do not get freaked out and spray the tent" because hello- that would totally gas us. So I saw it do it's stupid skunk wiggle walk through the yard not even two feet from the tent but he didn't appear to care that Jackson was thrashing like a wild man causing the entire tent to shake. And then right before the kids got up, a bunch of bunnies hopped next to my head. Because by this point, I got pushed to the far corner of the tent and had water dripping on me from the zippered window thingie.

Overall, I was proud of myself for not being a baby and going into the house halfway through. But I am determined to canoe yet before winter. It's pretty much fall at this point here, you can tell that summer is officially over with the temperatures.. so the water is going to be cold. There's no doubt about that. But in September Matt and I are going on a couples camping/canoeing trip with some friends. They are going to kayak while we canoe since we all know Matt and I can't kayak together. Every time I think back to that horrendous trip I think that if nothing else, the rest of the people on that trip have a great story about a really incapatible couple that they once kayaked with. Just another little service I provide.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sara's News Desk.

It's been awhile since I've done a post about what I've seen in the news that I have an opinion on. So let's get to it.

Did you see the story about a baseball player with a moth stuck in his ear? Because that's gross. I've seen another story recently similar to this and there too the moth was taken out alive. I'm sorry, but I would be freaking out. I'm not a bug person and I'm a self professed baby when it comes to pretty much everything, so you know I would be flailing.

Then my new thing is watching hour after hour of Dr. Phil on the Oprah Network or whatever. I can't help myself. I'm a Phil-Addict. but the good part is that I'm pretty opinionated and this show will provide me endless fodder.

Let's take today's rerun episode called "Fighting Back!" people who are apparently trying to fight the wrongs of the world. The first guests were this young couple who are probably married by now, but are pissed off about their engagement ring. If I understand this right, they picked out a ring together and the guy picked it up the next day. While he's in the midst of proposing marriage, the ring place was leaving him a message saying, "Whoops! We gave you the wrong ring, please come back to exchange it." The ring he was in possession of was approximately $700 MORE than what he paid for.

Like the mature folks they want to be, they ignore the calls and eventually have the girl's mother call the jewelry store because you know, it was stressing them out. CLEARLY it should because that's theft. Of course it came down to going to court and the couple failed to show up for two court dates (including one which was a continuance they requested) and now feel like they shouldn't have to give the ring back or pay the money that technically they owe. What is astounding to me is that A) they would even think they are in the right and B) that according to a "Dr. Phil poll" 63% of viewers agree with the couple.

Here's my thought. The jewelry store lawyer brought up a great point- it's not just their ring. There is another couple out there who don't have the ring they rightfully paid for and were expecting to get. Is your engagement ruined if you have to go back and get the ring you picked out as a couple? No, it's not. Don't be an idiot. If you decide that getting the ring you picked up would ruin the moment of the proposal, then man up and pay the difference. Mistakes happen and I'm sure the jewelry store won't make this one again, but good lord. I think these kids are totally immature and the fact that they can't logically see this for what it is kind of proves they aren't ready to get married.

Then the next thing from that same episode was a woman who supposedly got demoted at her job from front line bartender to working in the back kitchen area because she gained five pounds. No, I agree that's not right. Unless it's a situation where like at Hooters, you know you are hired for boobs, you can't be discriminated against based on what you look like. If an employer wants to hire people who fit a specific body requirement (like at Hooters) then make it known. OK, so eventually she won the right to work front line again. Now a normal person would just get on with life and feel victorious that *yay* you have a job and are not on the unemployment line with everyone else.

Oh, but not this girl. Oh no. She's got crazy Gloria Allred backing her up which means... dun dun dun... bring on frivolous and ridiculous lawsuits! YAY! The woman in question, Victoria, is now suing her former employer for unspecified damages because now she has low self esteem. Wah wah. She is a victim of such emotional turmoil that she can't possibly work (and has since quit her job after returning for only one day) and because she feels fat and sad, she had to quit college. Aw... poor baby. So now she's suing because she can't possible motivate herself to oh I don't know, get another job? Read an empowering self help book? It's people like this I'd like to just punch for being a waste of humanity and sucking up oxygen for no reason.

I won't even go into the guy bitching about his neighbor's dog because frankly- if I were him I'd be calling nuisance control 20 times a day if I had to. If you are a person who works full time outside of the home, it is cruel to own a dog and have them on a leash in your yard and just let them bark away. I'd like to have a dog but I know that even with me working part time, I am not home long enough over the course of a day to give it the attention it would need. So we don't have a dog. And I'm sure my neighbors are completely grateful. I can't imagine if I was at home all day and my neighbor's dog barked. Even if it wasn't totally non stop barking but frequent enough to drive you crazy, I would be complaining. I'm so considerate that if we're doing something that would maybe be loud and/or annoying to my neighbors- I at least go and let them know. I have no problem knocking on the door and saying, "Hey- we're doing some home repairs and we have to use a table saw- I just wanted to let you know it might be loud, but we'll try to get it done quickly." You know why? Because that's what a decent person does. Same goes with a dog. If I had a dog and my neighbor complained about it, I'd make every possible concession to work it out. Because that's what decent people do.

So. What are your thoughts on any/all of these stories? Has anything similar ever happened to you- how did you handle it?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Weightloss Monday: Running with Pilates. Oh, and a WINNER.

So maybe I'm not running with pilates persay, but this week I'm doing both! I was actually contacted about reviewing a Pilates DVD and so I'm going to officially start that tonight (wee!) right after my run... which will hopefully be two miles. Cross your fingers.

I'm pretty sure I can do two miles since I did it last week and didn't feel like I was going to die- so my marathon training is in full swing. Which is kind of scary? Can I just be upfront? And the need for a properly fitting sports bra is becoming obscenely clear because we had a bit too much boob jiggle for comfort. Although I'm sure my neighbors, in particular the pedophiles and convicted rapists, don't seem to mind and eagerly await for my next trek through the hood, feeling like they are going to bounce off is a problem. I'm temporarily trying to fix that by using the ol' double bra method which is worse than you can ever imagine when it's say... 85 degrees and humid outside. Thankfully tonight it's only maybe 75 and not as humid so I'm hoping the pools of sweat just waiting to dump into the shower are avoided.

Oh yes, I'm nothing if not a great scene painter for you.

But aside from that, I've eaten like shit and it will only get worse this week. Why? Well because I'm going to Chicago and you can't do a proper Chicago trip without indulging in some Chicago pizza which is fully loaded with carbs and fat. Here's hoping I can walk an ungodly amount on the Magnificent Mile and Navy Pier to justify it.

So my challenge is to curb my snacking. I'm a snack-a-holic and quite honestly, if you give me a handful of Cheez-Its I'm going to want the box. And if I eat a box of Cheez-Its, I'm going to want something sugary to balance out the salty. And we can go right down the line with various things I may have in my house. It's a problem. And I would say it's because I'm bored, but I'm too tired to do anything aside from sit on the couch and watch me some Dr. Phil. I'm literally exhausted lately, so the thought of getting up to do something is repulsive. I can't even imagine it. So that's my goal. LESS SNACKING.

Let me know what your challenges are for this week. Or brag about how awesome you're doing. I'll take that too.

And before we go... the winner of the book Complete Without Kids is...

number 6... which is...


OOHHH... so I will email you and get your mailing info so I can get your book out to you. Let's all flash our boobs at Devilish.. I'm sure she will appreciate it.

The Lantern

Here's something I'd never thought I'd review- a historical romance with ghost hauntings! But there's a first for everything and overall... kind of an interesting book.

The Lantern- Deborah Lawrenson
The Lantern: A Novel
Meeting Dom was the most incredible thing that had ever happened to me. When Eve falls for the secretive, charming Dom in Switzerland, their whirlwind relationship leads them to Les Genévriers, an abandoned house set among the fragrant lavender fields of the South of France. Each enchanting day delivers happy discoveries: hidden chambers, secret vaults, a beautiful wrought-iron lantern. Deeply in love and surrounded by music, books, and the heady summer scents of the French countryside, Eve has never felt more alive.

But with autumn’s arrival the days begin to cool, and so, too, does Dom. Though Eve knows he bears the emotional scars of a failed marriage—one he refuses to talk about—his silence arouses suspicion and uncertainty. The more reticent Dom is to explain, the more Eve becomes obsessed with finding answers—and with unraveling the mystery of his absent, beautiful ex-wife, Rachel.

Like its owner, Les Genévriers is also changing. Bright, warm rooms have turned cold and uninviting; shadows now fall unexpectedly; and Eve senses a presence moving through the garden. Is it a ghost from the past or a manifestation of her current troubles with Dom? Can she trust Dom, or could her life be in danger?

Eve does not know that Les Genévriers has been haunted before. Bénédicte Lincel, the house’s former owner, thrived as a young girl within the rich elements of the landscape: the violets hidden in the woodland, the warm wind through the almond trees. She knew the bitter taste of heartbreak and tragedy—long-buried family secrets and evil deeds that, once unearthed, will hold shocking and unexpected consequences for Eve.

OK, so some things I'll tell you upfront that I didn't like are the long winded-ness of some areas. I bet I could cut out a 1/3 of that book and still feel like I got the entire story. I appreciate character development and scene setting but sometimes... enough is enough. I get how the trees were and the horizon and how they are together.. etc. When it doesn't add something specifically to the story I feel like it should be taken out. I also felt like all of the added fluff made it a little more difficult to read and to follow the story in some areas. There were more than a few sections I had to read again because I got to the end and thought, "What did I miss??". So those two things aside, it was a pretty interesting story. Interesting enough to keep me plugging through it in really slow parts.

What I didn't get until the end are the parallels between the past and the future. The story flip flops between the present day Eve and Dom and the past of Les Genevriers and it wasn't until the end when I realized where the connection was. Though I suspected, I feel like maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I knew more of this in the beginning? I will also say I kind of found Eve to be dumb and Dom to be kind of a jerk? I mostly think if I were in a relationship and Dom was as evasive with me, I would have left long ago. So at times I felt frustrated with both of those characters only because I didn't understand them.

I will say I really enjoyed how the author tied the past and future together. And for the last third of the book I felt like she really gained momentum in finishing the story in a way that would leave readers happy, leave just enough unanswered questions to satisfy you and still leave you thinking the book was enjoyable overall. It's a departure from what I would normally read, but I did enjoy it and found myself feeling satisfied at the end.

You know I never leave you to only take my 98 cents worth, so I recommend you check out the other blog stops on this tour HERE.

Friday, August 19, 2011

If you give a bear a Sara...

So I am going to be a bit M.I.A this weekend... but for good reason. Tomorrow I am going to go canoeing and camping. Not gonna lie- kind of effing nervous. Anyone who knows me in real life knows I'm a wuss. Not only am I a wuss but I am a city girl through and through. I'm worried a bear will eat me. Or I'll lose most of my blood from mosquitos. I'm afraid Matt will capsize our canoe and I'll drown. Nevermind the deepest part probably comes to my knees. In high stress situations I'm not afraid to say I'll freak the fuck out. So let's hope I can keep it together.

But I have a LOT of cool stuff coming up on my blog soon. I have lots of giveaways, super fun reviews, and sexy times coming. Oh yes. It's all coming soon.

I also need YOUR help. I'm starting to make the beginnng of my 40/40 list and I need some ideas for it. And I'm asking you because maybe you know of some cool things to do. Maybe it's an adventure, maybe it's seeing something cool, maybe seeing something historical that should be on anyone's list, etc. You get the idea. Have you done something really fun or amazing that you think I'd like? Or do you have something you'd like to see me do? What kind of shenanigans would you like your Lambwhore Leader get into?

Leave me a comment, give me an idea.

But of course, if I get eaten by a bear tomorrow...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Complete Without Kids

No, I haven't given my children away, I'm just reviewing a really great book that I recommend every parent or non parent to read. Super fascinating insight into the world of living child free. And before you click away from this because it's a book review, I invite you to really read though this as I'll be giving some of my 98 cents throughout.

Complete Without Kids- Ellen L. Walker, Ph.D
Complete Without Kids: An Insider's Guide to Childfree Living by Choice or by Chance
In Complete Without Kids, Licensed Clinical Psychologist Ellen L. Walker examines the often-ignored question of what it means to be child free, by choice or by circumstance, in a family-focused society. Recognizing that there is no one child free adult, the author guides the reader through the positive and negative aspects of child free living, taking into consideration the different issues faced by men or women, couples or singles, whether gay or straight. As a woman who is child free by choice, Walker draws upon her personal experience while also offering the reader numerous interviews with other child free adults, revealing behind-the-scenes factors that influenced their personal journeys. She approaches the tough-decision making process of whether or not to have children from a biological, historical, and societal perspective, offering valuable information on: The unique set of problems that child free adults face simply due to living in a culture that celebrates babies and traditional families; Methods to cope with the pressure to have children from media, family, and friends in a healthy way; How to create balance and approach the leisure time allowed by a child free lifestyle and; Financial, health, and personal benefits associated with child free living. Offering support, guidance, and thought-provoking questions, Complete Without Kids is a productive guide for any reader considering the child free path.

So that's the general synopsis so you know what we're talking about. And before I get started into my review, most of you know that I'm a parent of two children. I had my kids in my early 20's and I've been very honest about not knowing what I was doing. Had I known how much work it was really going to be, how emotionally draining it was going to be, how hard it would be on my marriage, and how much of what makes me... well, me would be sucked away I would most definitely thought twice about having kids. That's not to say I don't love my children.

On page 32 I found a line that struck an immediate chord with me: "Dr. Jeffers emphasizes the difference between loving your children and actually enjoying parenting them." and later in that paragraph, "The thing I regret most is that everyone told me how amazingly fulfilling and fun mothering is, without mentioning the negatives, and especially the fact that once you sign on for the job you cannot quit." Those two lines alone sum up my feelings. I love my children dearly but I would by lying if I said that I haven't had many days where I question what the hell I was thinking when I decided I wanted children. The book also raises a really good question about whether discussing being child free by choice is a valid conversation piece to have with young girls in the same breathe as safe sex and/or abstinence. I know with my children I will talk to them openly about these things including how you don't have to have kids. I don't ever want to be that person that pressures my kids for grandchildren because I know first hand how difficult it is to be a parent. Not everybody is cut out for it, yet you don't really hear that in Sex Ed, do you? I know when birth control was discussed it was always, "take it until you're ready to be a parent" but nothing really beyond that.

What's really great about this book is that it doesn't sway your opinion. I didn't walk away from reading this book feeling strongly about either side, I could really relate to both sides. I also felt like the author did a tremendous job talking to real life people from all types of economic standing and backgrounds to really give you a full perspective as to why some people choose to be child free. And those who would like to have kids but can't for a multitude of reasons, there is adequate perspective from them as well.

What I also really valued about this book was the absolute honesty about what parenting does to a marriage. I know most couples think that because they have started their marriage strong that it only helps them with parenting. While that is true, it's good to have a solid marriage before you bring kids to the mix, it fails to recognize what a huge stressor it is to have kids. I will say that every single marital issue Matt and I have ever had was directly related to the stress of parenting. We are no longer the people we were when we got married- not even close. I would venture to say the high divorce rates would be tied, at least in some way, to society's push for people to have children. It was mentioned in this book that childless couples are frowned upon in most circles, not because it's a bad thing but because it's not the norm. The norm is for people to get married, buy a house, have some kids, and live happily ever after yet that rarely happens. Also mentioned in the book was how couples with children find it hard to stay connected and eventually drift apart; therefore it becomes difficult to co-exist once the children are grown. They no longer have the common threads holding them together- those had been long gone. Sure you can go on date nights but people frown on that too, don't they? Most people, usually other parents themselves, will make a person feel guilty for spending time away from their kids. I would venture to say almost all of the time it's because they have feelings of jealousy because that couple can and they can't.

I have struggled with this myself. It took me almost five years to figure out I need alone time. I need time away from my husband and my kids to make myself not cry every single night and to not feel like driving my car off a bridge just to check out. I need that time away to be the quality parent my children deserve and a good wife that my husband needs. But I'll tell you- when I schedule a weekend away, or I sign up for a class, or I go to dinner with a friend I have some people around me that scoff and try to make me feel guilty. And it's too bad because I wish they would support me trying to be a better person for my kids.

Also in this book it talked about how friendships change when you have a childless friend and the rest are mommies. I have a couple of friends who don't have kids or who choose to not have kids and I feel bad. I can't always do what they want because... I have kids. I sometimes feel like they have a hard time connecting with me because we don't have a lot in common? My days are full with crying, chores, and kid related things and that makes it difficult to relate sometimes. I can only imagine how hard it would be to be child less and have all of your friends have children.

So all in all- the book was fascinating. I really enjoyed reading it and for me, I felt better about how I was feeling as a parent. Society frowns upon those of us who are not loving parenthood and all that comes with it and it's too bad. Just because I don't love to sit and play Barbies doesn't make me a bad mom. It just means I was ill-prepared for what I would really be signing up for. I always tell people I know that are having babies or thinking about it to really look at the reasons they want to have a kid. Is it because you want to be loved? Because that's just a temporary fix. I know I wanted kids because it was just what you did when you got married. I never questioned not having kids, I just knew I would because it's just what you do. Sounds a bit archaic when I think about it but how many young women think that right now?

I highly recommend this read for anyone. It really opened my eyes to a lot of different child free living assumptions that I hadn't considered before, several that I haven't mentioned. This is a superb book, very well researched and well written.

Luckily for you, I have a copy to giveaway!! WOOT! All you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me why you choose to be a parent or why you are choosing to be child free. I'd love to hear your perspective on this topic.

I'll draw a winner for the giveaway on Monday, August 22. Good luck!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sometimes you need to wear more clothing.

I feel like I'm on a Public Service Announcement roll. Yesterday I talked about feet and today I'm going to talk about fat people. Or maybe they aren't even fat but they sure as hell are not model thin.

We've all encountered a person who is much larger than the clothing they are wearing. I will be the first person to admit it's important to have good self esteem and a healthy body image of yourself. I think it's probably pretty accurate to say confidence comes, at least in part, by how you feel you look on the outside. But I also believe that people need to not only own a mirror, but they need to use it. A mirror will not lie to you. A mirror does not make you look awesome when in real life you look like your ass is eating your shorts. So let's break this down.
  • Rompers don't look good on anyone. I don't care what anyone says, I'm anti-romper unless you are 5 or under.
  • If you have stretch marks on your arms, boobs, back, neck, etc- you have no business wearing a tank top.
  • If you are a hefty person, you need to make sure you are adequately covered. Just because it comes in your size does not mean it's OK to wear.
  • If your thighs touch in any area you have no business wearing short shorts. You just can't. Same with mini skirts.
  • If you are beyond a very perky B cup, you have no business wearing any top that you go braless with. You either find a very supportive strapless bra or you find a different shirt.
  • If you are wearing a halter top, you need a strapless bra. It's not cute for us to see your bra straps. It ruins the shirt.
  • Spandex and leggings are not OK. I don't care how skinny you think you are. Same with jeggings.
  • If you are out of elementary school, it is not OK to be rocking the Tweetie Bird shirt. I know Walmart sells them cheap and you think it's cute, but it's not.
  • I don't care how god damn poor you are, there is no excuse not to wash your clothing. My mom was a single parent with two kids and our clothes were always clean. I know for a fact you can get a giant jug of Xtra detergent for $1.99 at Walgreens.
  • It is never OK to go out into the world with your pajamas on.
  • If you put a shirt on and all you can see are stomach rolls? You need the next size up.
  • If you put pants on and you have muffin top? You need the next size up.
  • If you put a bra on and your boobs are spilling out of the cups? You need the next cup size up.
  • If you put your bra on and you have back rolls appear? You need the next band size up.
  • Socks with sandals? Never OK.
  • If you are a man you need to not be wearing rhinestones on your jeans. And no skinny jeans.
  • If you are wearing a light colored shirt- match your bra accordingly. I don't want to see your leopard print bra under your white shirt.
What other fashion faux paus did I miss? I went to the mall this evening and I was being bombarded with fashion no-no's everywhere. I'm not the most fashionable person, but at least my clothes fit, are clean, are ironed, match, and fit my body type. It's not that hard, folks.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The facts about feet.

Feet are gross and for the most part, highly unattractive. Be that as it may, it doesn't mean you can just not take care of your feet. I don't care how poor you are, you absolutely CAN afford a $.97 pair of nail clippers. And if you are super poor, please recycle aluminum cans (because I know you're probably buying beer even though you're on welfare) and get yourself a nail brush which retails at Walmart for maybe another $.97.

And scrub your feet.

I cannot tell you how many people I've seen this summer who have nasty ass feet. Feet that have obviously not been scrubbed. If you have dirt under your nail or on the side? Your feet are still dirty. Just because you stood in a shower and let water and excess soap hit your feet doesn't mean you feet are clean. You actually need to bend your ass over and physically wash your feet.

Every summer it's a problem and every summer I hold back the urge to have a mini public service announcement in the middle of Walmart while standing on a case of Milwaukee's Best because it's a problem. It's an epidemic.

Now I get it- some people are lazy. They just can't be bothered. Which, to each his own, but if that's the case please for the mother loving baby jeebus, do not, under any circumstances wear sandals. Do not expose your feet. Do not trudge your hooves around and air our your fungal infection.

I can't afford pedicures very often, if I get two a year it's a good year. That doesn't mean I ignore my feet. I'm constantly using my pumice stone, trimming/filing my toenails so they are even and I keep them polished. If any toenail chips, you know I'm wearing socks until I can fix them because it's not attractive. It's absolutely disgusting to see completely unkempt feet. All of my life I have been hyper vigilant about feet because I think if you can't even keep your feet clean and looking decent- what else are you slacking on? Gross.

Oh. And before I forget- ladies? Long toenails are not cute. If your nail could be mistaken for a fingernail? TRIM THAT SHIT. If you could go rock climbing with your toenails? It's time you shorten them. If when wearing socks it looks like you shoved some daggers in there? You need to cut those bitches. And please don't file them into points. Your toenails should be a round or a square with round corners shape. There is no other acceptable shape for your toenails to be in- it looks crazy and kind of scary. Your feet shouldn't look like they belong to a troll.

So yes. I wish there was some kind of Foot Hygiene Awareness group or something. As you can tell, I have experienced some pretty effing disgusting foot encounters recently and it's driving me nuts.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Still Chunky.

But it's OK. I know I'm still chunky because I'm not anywhere NEAR as diligent about exercise and diet as I should be. So I'm going to let that go and hope for a better exercise week. But for my part, although I didn't run much last week I moved an entire bookstore about 98% by myself. On a rickety media cart. Every single day last week.

I also know that after a week of hauling large amounts of books and clothing and just stuff in general I still hurt from it. But it's a good hurt so I'll take it.

Some goals for myself this week... well I ran 1.5 miles last week like it was nothing. I feel like if I can do that this week I'll be proud of myself. I'm going to try running two miles on Sunday. I'm kind of nervous about running a half marathon in June because I feel like I'm not going to be ready enough. I also am debating on doing a yoga class this fall. Have any of you done yoga? Did you lose weight or is more for regulating breathing and stretching? I really don't know how yoga helps you lose weight, so if any of you have some thoughts on that.... let me know. Have any of you done Pilate's? I say that because I'm going to be getting a Pilate's DVD to review very soon and I've never tried it, I'm kind of nervous but excited. I've wanted to take a class but I kind of don't want to be that asshole in the back of the class cracking up when I realize every body's ass is in the air.

Because that's possible. I remember one time I was riding the school bus and when I saw everybody bouncing up and down, because that's what you do in a bus, I started laughing uncontrollably. I have a problem, I recognize this, and I try not to embarrass myself.

Anyways. The other thing I'm going to try this weekend... canoeing. Bitches you know I've been working on my 30/30 list and it's been hard. It really has but it's always kind of gotten me out of what I would normally do or not do. Canoeing sounds like it might be kind of a work out, at least with my arms, so we'll see. I could use some work on my arms for sure.

So how are you? What are you doing to work out? Most importantly- what kind of snacks can I eat that don't taste like cardboard? Because let me tell you- that Special K shit is gross. And don't even tell me about those Weight Watchers things. Bitch please. One bite isn't going to do me.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

You know the economy is bad when...

.. people resort to making their own wheelchairs. Fortunately for you, I have an actual photograph displaying this.

I saw this beast on my way home from work one night last week. This also was the scene of an accident involving an old guy and his Lincoln versus a gigantic Dodge Ram. I'll let you guess which car ended up being totaled and in this yard.

But seriously- that cushion is from a Shop Ko rocking chair (I know this because I used to own one, bitches) strapped to what appears to be... bicycle tires? I mean, kind of fucking genius if you ask me. Obviously their disability check is pending or something.

Another story I have seen on Facebook which appears to be a trending thing is that people are stealing newspapers from newspaper stands. Now, I might just be a pessimistic asshole but I have always wondered how that wasn't a bigger crime? Like, you put your $1.50 in for a Sunday paper, it opens and you grab one. Well, what's really stopping you from grabbing all of them? Maybe knowing you'll get in trouble, but truly- how is this not a bigger deal? Of course, almost everyone on Facebook is blaming the dumpster diving ladies of the Extreme Couponing show, or the women who drive around to foreclosed houses and grab their newspapers for this. I'm lucky that my gas station lets me have whatever their leftover papers on Mondays, but I use them for other things, not just coupons. If I'm lucky all the inserts haven't been completely stolen. The gas station people tell me women have come into the store and literally just went through papers taking inserts. Um, considering the papers are directly in front of the counter this seems a bit strange. Why aren't employees telling them not to?

I don't know. But now I kind of feel like stealing a bunch of newspapers just because it's proven that I can. I won't because that involves me getting dressed right now and that defeats the purpose of a lazy Sunday.

Speaking of lazy Sunday- you'll notice I've been quiet since Thursday. Well folks, I have had the WORST case of poops ever. I'm not even kidding and I'm not trying to gross you out. But it started Friday evening, I was up ALL NIGHT and I seriously thought I was dying. I hadn't eaten lunch or dinner so quite frankly, I wasn't sure where it was coming from. Then Saturday was even worse. If I didn't already have my period (seriously, this weekend blows) I would have thought I was in labor. I mean, it felt *exactly* like contractions. I think around 2am Saturday morning I started lamaze breathing and was looking online if it's possible to give birth while having your period because I was in that much pain.

Fortunately, I'm better now. I still feel like I have a woozy stomach but I'm at least eating and not spending the majority of my day in the bathroom. Win.

So um, how was YOUR weekend?