Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Finding My Inner "Frugal", or The Best Christmas Present Ever

Today's the day I will go and purchase a small gift for my husband, Bill, for Christmas. For the past few years, we really haven't exchanged gifts and instead have chosen to support organizations that feed the hungry, and take care of those less fortunate. Still, it's fun to find some funny or needed item(s) to give him. I am not going to tell you here what I am going to get on the slight chance he may read this blog today.

There is one gift that Bill would really, really appreciate getting from me. That gift would be for me to find my inner"frugal". And then, to practice it all year long. You know, "the gift that keeps on giving". It's at the very least, something to think about.

As is the case with many married couples, one person is very frugal, er, stingy with money and the other doesn't see a purchase he or she doesn't like! This difference in spending habits can wreck a perfectly good relationship if the couple does not address and discuss this early on. We may be one of the worst couples when it comes to having a good understanding of our comfort levels in regards to our spending habits. We disagree in the origins of our beliefs, in the reasons we are who we are and the justifications of our spending actions. (Thank goodness the sex is soooo good, or we would probably be history!)

Now, do not be too worried, we are actually more similar than he would like you to believe. For starters, we both believe we should stay within our means and we hold no credit card debt, ever. We also both believe that he need to spend a certain amount on charities, church and other needy causes. From there, it goes downhill............

Bill is easier to explain. He has always worked hard his entire life. He put himself through college, bought his own cars, helped out financially to many of his family members and so he is our frugal side for the relationship (surprise). He believes that very little should be spent on clothes, lavish trips, household items such as furniture and appliances, etc. His one area that he has been corrupted, er, changed, is in the level of vacation needs. He does enjoy the nicer places with comfy beds and ocean views. He believes that saving 10-15% for retirement is simply not enough. And, his retirement plan shows us dying when we are 100!

I am the more complicated (okay, difficult) member of this relationship. I love to shop (well, not the actual act of shopping, but collecting wonderful items). I love giving clothes and items for the children. Dressing Laura is like having a life-sized doll around the house. I got the biggest kick out of buying and decorating Andy's first tiny apartment with his girlfriend, Kim. Jonathan had one of the nicest decorated rooms in his whole fraternity house. I always was given many items from my parents and it just feels right to do the same for my kids, when we can afford it.

I also love wonderfully-made clothes and SHOES. Going to Nordstroms', Saks' or Neiman Marcus' shoe department at the beginning of the season is almost orgasmic for me. I appreciate antiques and love buying art as well. I once spent $1000 on delicate trim for our bedroom curtains! Now, that was crazy, even for me. But you should see it...delicious.

Finally, I want to help all businesses when I walk in to their shop or talk to them about their business. Never take me to an auction for a good cause and give me liquor, it's not pretty. It makes me feel good to help others. In my retirement plan, I would want to say that I'll be around until I'm 80 years old, too.

Couples like us have a regular tug and pull affair and each person tries to bend the other's ear with the slight chance they may change. This works best when both couples can be open and respectful of the other's side of the argument. Mostly, we make each other feel bad which is not very nice at all.

Now, this year has been difficult on the old pocketbook, so it's the perfect year to lean more towards Bill's philosophy on life and spending. I have already cut out a lot of frivolous spending for myself, but I can do more.
Bill deserves a little less stress in his life this year, so it's time to bite the frugal bullet. Time to pull in the reigns. Time to buckle down. (Sounds almost dangerous, doesn't it?).

If it's okay by you, I may use this page to vent a little, cry a little and complain a little. Maybe in time, I can change, for the better (or worse?). That's what I repeated in our wedding vows, didn't I?

Wish me luck...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Make a Drink for Me

December 11, 2008

aloha fridayholidays

Welcome to this week’s edition of Aloha Friday.
In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that we take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So a fun blog, Jiggety Jigg and her An Island Life blog has suggested that on Fridays we take it easy on posting. I got the message late and this is my third post today, so I'll start next week. I am suppose to ask you to answer a simple question. Nothing that requires a lengthy response.

If you’d like to participate, just post your own question on your blog and leave your link below. Don’t forget to visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!

Today’s question I have for you:
You have a blender and ice and a group of friends coming over. What are you going to make for them?

1. Lisa C.2. Sues2u23. Tamy~3 Sides of Crazy:)4. Amy @ Thoughts from the Mrs.5. Autumn @ My MoonBean6. Mom of 27. Jen ~ A Little Bit About Me8. Julie From Inmates9. Janet from Grammy Janet's Place10. Perspective11. Cathi12. Deb - Mom of 3 Girls13. blueviolet@ A Nut in a Nutshell14. Meredith15. Jenni Jiggety16. Chocolate Fingerprints17. Nina18. Proud Mommy
19. Jennifer20. amy-happy momma21. Dee@Two Of A Kind, Working On A Full House22. Chrissy Mac CEO23. TheAngelForever 24. Daily Mish Mash25. Jennifer: Wilson-six26. Jen @ mommablogsalot27. Kari @ Alas3Lads28. Jen @ What's Shakin'?29. Abby 30. Just Jenn31. Colleen32. Jennie Lee33. A Maui Blog34. Charlotte (Life's a Charm!)35. sagemom36. Ropa Vieja
37. mamaJoss @ Dribbles & Diapers 38. BlapherMJ39. Pegsy @ Sharing Life With Peggy40. Louise41. Pamela Kramer42. Brandi43. Cammi44. Lori Downs45. diana/sunshine46. kelley47. Toni @ Photo Bug Baby48. Christy49. Aloha Monkey50. Tena @ Crazy Book...51. Beth52. shydub53.You're next!

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Monday, December 1, 2008

Scottsdale Mom Celebrates Empty Nester Month with a New Website

Here's a copy of my press release, hot off the presses!

Scottsdale Mom Celebrates Empty Nester Month with a New Website: "Trackback URL: http://www.prweb.com/pingpr.php/VGhpci1UaGlyLUluc2UtTWFnbi1Mb3ZlLVNpbmctWmVybw=="

Now, I have NO idea how to bookmark this article as it suggests to do at the bottom of the page. Every time I hit StumbleUpon, or DIGG or Del.icious, it asks for my account. Clearly, I am doing something wrong. Will you please help me or go to the article and do it for me?

Thanks y'all.......

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Nest Will Be Filled for Thanksgiving

If your family is like mine, then next week the house will go from quiet and clean to loud and messy before your very eyes. Of course, I am speaking about the college children coming home for a few days for Thanksgiving. Or perhaps you have family coming to visit around this special holiday. Either way, the best way for you to be relaxed and enjoy this change is to prepare and plan ahead!

First, go ahead and set the table as if the big dinner was this evening. Once I have set the table, I close the drapes and close off the dining area completely, until the company arrives.

Next, do all the grocery shopping on Monday and Tuesday and make as many things ahead if you are clever and know how to prepare items and freeze or refrigerate your food dishes. I am not that good, but at least I will have all the food bought for Wednesday through Sunday. Have all the recipes out and placed together, ready to use at the appropriate meal.

Make sure each bedroom and bathroom is ready with towels, flowers, etc., then just close the doors as each room is "visitor ready". I am trying to add one special item for each of the children in their old rooms.

Get the laundry out of the way as you may (okay...will!) have some laundry brought to you from the college kiddies.

I highly recommend doing some sort of take-out the night before everyone arrives. You will most likely be running around cooking more than you have in months and it will be a little exhausting. It is amazing how we have gotten out of the regular eating habits we had when our children lived at home.

The best advise, is to sit back and take all the action and activity in stride. Don't try to "parent" so much this holiday vacation. You have probably already built a good foundation and any bad habits they are showing won't get changed because you start to nag them. Remember, some kids are a little homesick and so you want them to just relax and enjoy their home environment for a few days. Getting a little extra sleep, seeing old high school friends and talking to Mom and/or Dad as a new growing adult can be a wonderful time for both parent and child.

I hope I can use my own words and follow the advise. Sometimes I can be my own worse enemy. But it is important to me to have a nice time with the children that I dearly miss (every single day!). I plan to sit back, listen, laugh, do some laundry and cook up a storm. I can rest in my empty nest on Monday, after they leave!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Semi-Annual Boob Torture Coming Up

It's about time to head over to get the boobs tortured and smashed and tested for the dreaded breast cancer. Since it runs in my family, they want me to come for this pleasurable experience every six (6) months.

I just joined a group called moms in a blog which reminded me I need to make this semi-annual mammogram appointment. I know I need to go and insurance pays for most of the costs but I still get very nervous about going and getting this done.

Last time I went, they asked me to come back and get re-tested as they "saw" something even though I didn't feel anything. Then they did a needle aspiration which wasn't cool either. This 12-year old doctor came in who looks like maybe he just stepped off the tennis court, carrying this big but thin needle and tells me he's going to stick it into my right breast. I thought to myself, "okay, but then I get to stick a thin, long needle into your cock!" Not exactly my idea of foreplay.

Herein lies the problem. As I am driving to these appointments, I ask the "what if" question. What if this time, cancer has entered my body. How will it change my life? Will I die and never get to see my children's weddings and their babies? Who will Bill get remarried to? (Hate that one!). Then I arrive at the office and all my thoughts turn to the other people sitting in the waiting room. Are they okay? Do they have breast cancer and are their lives being affected? It's really quite a miserable way to spend an afternoon. Twice a year.

Well, I have to go because all the research supports that early detection of this deadly disease saves so many lives. But I don't have to like it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

500 today, 1 Million tomorrow

I know that this is not such a big deal for most bloggers, but Google tells me I have now had 500 profile views come and spend a little of their precious time reading the posts on my site. I recognize that some of you receive that many views every hour of every day. But as a newbie, it's a mini-milestone to celebrate with a good bottle of wine. (I was going to do my special wine celebration after the first 1000 views, but I got too thirsty to wait).

There are debates all over the internet discussing whether traffic is important or not. One thing it does do is give you some form of validation about the interest in your brand of content.

I want to thank those people who are reading my posts and are digging it. I love getting comments. The feeling I get when I receive comments is similar to that of having an orgasm (okay, a mini-orgasm...no, more like the second or third orgasm of the night). It's sooooooo good, baby! Prior to starting this blog, I had no idea I would feel this way and enjoy the interactive nature of this business.

And the bloggers I have "met" are really a very amazing, funny group of people. They brighten up my days especially when I am missing my children. Which brings me to a very interesting topic. The number of people around the age of 50 and are empty nesters like myself, are so often, people who have never blogged. I cannot tell you how many people I teach how to make a comment, how to subscribe to one of my pages and how to do Google Searches from my site. It's kind of like the blind leading the blind, but in the end, many friends are now becoming bloggers.

If you're one of these people who are just discovering the underworld of blogging, please let me know here. (Click on the word COMMENT, write a comment in the box, give me your name and a work website address, an email address or be anonymous if that suits your fancy). It's time to come out of the closet. You won't be sorry you did. And remember, practice makes perfect. So your first assignment is to come to my site everyday. Practice, practice, practice! And make this empty nest Mom a very ecstatic person.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Me and My Blackberry Curve

Did you know that when you buy a new phone, that it comes with several discs to assist you in setting the phone services? They still give you the instructions in writing, too.

For the past 12 years or so, I have used my tech-oriented kids to set up everything in my house, including my phones. If I wanted the phone on vibrate, I just hand it to Laura and ask her to take care of it. Jonathan entered all my contacts, set the ring tone and helped me download the pictures. Andy would tell me that "any idiot can set up their phone", so I avoided asking him and expose my level of competency to my oldest child.

So here I sit with my brand new Blackberry Curve phone, 2 discs and a 'tips cheat sheet' provided by the good people at Blackberry and I either have to suck it up and be a big girl or I'll have no cell phone communication, as all the children are no where in site (GD them!).

It's not that I am intimidated by the phone that can do everything except cook dinner for me. I simply don't want to do it. I would rather spend my afternoon reading all the posts from the awesome bloggers out there.

Does anyone in the Phoenix area want to replace the role my children have so graciously filled for their Mommy? Seriously, I'll meet you anytime, anywhere to get this phone set up.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Parents' Weekend is Here

Tomorrow morning, Bill and me head to Oxford, Ohio to see my middle son for parent's weekend at Miami University. The school gets a huge turnout of parents and grandparents and siblings. This is his senior year so it's probably the second to the last time we go to Ohio, maybe in our lifetime. The traditions are strong at this school and I look forward to seeing his friends parents who we have come to know and really enjoy.

More than anything, I just want to hug Jonathan and see in his eyes that he is doing well and is happy. It is really hard to know just how they're doing by phone and emails.

So, until Monday morning, I'll be off enjoying nice, cool Fall weather and relaxing with my son, my husband and his friends. Couldn't ask for anything more!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What is Your Man Really Doing in the Potty?

I'm just dying to know....

Many women have told me how their husband/significant other takes 30+ minutes to go to the bathroom in the morning AND they take the newspaper in with them to read. What happens when that family has decided to go "paperless" and order the paper online, such as the WSJ.com? Do they take the laptop in with them?

And are they staying on the newspaper page or are they secretly blog surfing? Do me a favor, if you are sitting on the pot right now and are reading this, please comment on this article right away! Too embarrassing? I get it. But I still want you to comment, just sign in as 'anonymous'.

And then I digress. What if somehow I discover through my Google analytics report that most of my subscribers and followers are men sitting on the potty ignoring the daily news to read my latest post? Do I alter my content to appease them? Do they like the funny posts to make them laugh and maybe "go" quicker at the potty? (If anything, I think they want to prolong this morning ritual, so maybe I need to write longer, thought-provoking stories).

Maybe I would need to add more titillating posts and by that I mean more tits. Example:

I'm afraid this is just going to be one of life's mysteries. Like why men take so long to go the bathroom in the morning in the first place.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Proud Mom as Oldest Son Starts His Career

Andy's girlfriend took these pictures of him as he was getting ready for his first day of work at Ernst and Young, much to his dismay. He'd probably die if he know that I posted them on my website. I cannot help it. I am so very proud of him and his accomplishments. I cried with joy for about 30 minutes when I saw them. I cannot believe that he is all grown up, has left my nest and is ready to be out in the working world.

I especially like that he is standing so tall next to the tall buttes in the Ansel Adams print.

Good luck, Andy. May you be successful in all your adventures ahead of you.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Feeling Safe in America

Without sounding too "preachy" or political, I just want to say a little prayer for our nation and the victims who were killed on this day seven years ago. I have no idea what has kept our nation safe from attacks from our nation's enemies; I am just thankful that someone has taken on this responsibility, and seemingly, know what they are doing. Maybe it's just luck, or maybe the policies and procedures that have been put in place are working. Maybe our President and Homeland Security have done a great job and we do not even know it. I just know that my family and me do not feel threatened and that is a wonderful feeling.

This is why I am not quick to say that war is a smart or dumb thing for our nation to engage in and whether or not we need extra layers of protection which may invade on our privacy. I do not want that responsibility of being wrong and risk the chance of many people being hurt or killed as a result of my decisions. Instead, I ask the politicians we elect to become well-versed and studied on this topic and to try not to think in terms of partisan politics. Many people in your constituency are like me and don't have the time or the resources to make an educated opinion on what is right or wrong in keeping our nation safe from attack.

Today is a day of reflection and prayers and hope for our collection futures and thank those men and women who carry this heavy burden in keeping America safe from harm.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A friend of mine sent me this motto. I love it!

Enjoy your day!

Powerful Women's Motto: Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders & says... 'Oh crap ....she's awake!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I Have Three Good Fingers

Ojau, O'll asmoee it. I don'e tyoeo very weill.,

Using my three good fingers and looking down at the keyboard often is the only way I can type. It all started in high school when I just barely passed the minimum of 24 words per minute with three mistakes or less (or something like that). Then I attended a college that had a career center where students got paid to type other students papers; the only catch was you had to turn it in 4 days prior to it's due date. It was at this point in my life that I learned not to procrastinate as it was well worth it to get my work done early to avoid typing a paper.

My first few jobs required very little typing on my part, so my exceptional typing skills actually worsened. Rather pitiful.

The amount of time I have spent on a computer has steadily increased over time with different career choices, but it was actually in the voluntary fundraising positions I have held that has made me wish I had more fingers to use for typing. Begging for money often starts with an email correspondence, followed by thank you notes and continued emails.

I may actually have to break down and learn basic typing skills at age 50 as my fingers can not keep up with my thoughts! And, I get headaches looking down at the keyboard and then back up at the screen all day. I am dizzy even before my first glass of wine.

I found an online typing tutorial and keyboard program at http://www.typingweb.com/ that's free for individuals. Doing everything at home avoids the embarrassment of other people seeing just how fast my three fingers can type.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

When Did I Become the Older Woman in the Office?

Last day I worked in an office was March 12, 2004. Approximately 20 people were employed in the office and I was about the mean age of the group. Our office always had several sharp, older women as secretaries and administrative assistants and several older, upper management men while I was employed there. We also had a slew of younger people in the accounting department and in the field positions. I felt I had room to grow and the ‘ceiling’ could be inched upward as my work deemed necessary. Age never seemed to be a factor.

Jump ahead 4.5 years and now I’m OLD? How did this happen so quickly? A few months ago, I was attending a dinner party and we were discussing several projects this one man’s company was pursuing and how he was looking for an experienced project manager to handle their new project. He said that one guy he was considering had all the experience he was looking for, but that he didn’t think he wanted to invest in someone who was 50 years… too OLD! That comment starting me to think about my own career and how I will be perceived by my future employer.

Suddenly I am insecure. I start thinking about how I am a little overweight, have many wrinkles on my face and whether I should “get those taken care of” before I start interviewing for jobs! Wow. What about my qualifications and my skill set? Did I forget about these and will they really matter to the interviewer?

Secretly I worry about this in my private conversations.