Tuesday, December 29, 2009

bringing back the blog

After a busy, difficult, and very stressful summer, life has begun to smooth out once again. I am so thankful. So I'm bringing back the blog. Not that anyone reads it anymore. But I still have lots to say. And while I'm thinking of some things, you can check out my new header. ;) ;)

Friday, April 24, 2009

moving drama

So we had our final house inspection on Wednesday. And that is not the drama -- it went fine. A few minor things were noted, but everything seems to be in order. Well, except the garage door and the outside railings are not painted, but they are not going to paint them until it gets a little dryer......i.e. it's not raining or snowing every day. :-D And our driveway won't be paved until the fall at least, if not the spring. I guess the ground needs time to settle or something like that?? Anyways, it matters not -- the house is in good shape and will become officially ours on Monday!!

We had an appointment with the attorney's office this afternoon. About four hours before the appointment, the secretary decided to call us with the amount we owed them. Well, let's just say that the amount was considerably higher than we had expected. Not only that, we didn't know they expected the money today. And they expected it in the form of a certified check or bank draft. Suffice it to say, that was going to be impossible to get this afternoon. Our banks requires just a little more notice than that. So it became a bit of a freak-out moment. How do we get them the (huge sum of) money??

The lawyer's office decided that a money order would be okay too, so we decided to go that route. After contacting the bank to allow us to withdraw a considerable amount of money (more than our daily limit), I was finally able to get six money orders that totaled the amount the attorney wished to receive. SIX. They limit the amount you put on one, so I had to get six separate ones. Grrrrr. With about an hour to spare, we got the money and then met with the attorney, where we basically signed our lives away. I'm pretty sure that James and I BOTH belong to the bank now, along with our new house. :-)

All along this process of building a new house, every. single. person. we encountered assured us that we did not have to pay the normally required land transfer tax since we are first-time homebuyers and own no land or property. Well, pardon me, but that was a load of crap. We may not have our own home, but there is still a transfer tax for the homebuilder to transfer it to US. There IS a tax credit for first-time buyers, but it definitely doesn't cover the entire amount. So that was a nice little surprise for us. Plus, a few other fees were added that we weren't informed about, and that wasn't too fun to find out.

Oh well, it is done. All the money has changed hands that needs to at this point, and we are just waiting for the phone call on Monday that says everything has been approved and we can pick up our keys!! Until then, I will rush about in a mad frenzy, trying to pack everything. I'm slowly but surely getting there.

Next time I am hiring professional movers. Seriously. And I'm also going to hire somebody to talk to the attorney and mortgage brokers, so we can actually understand what they're doing. :-D

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

final house inspection TODAY

We are FIVE days from closing, so today we are going for the final inspection/walk-thru to make sure everything is A-OK. And I really hope it is. I'll try to take some pics, b/c this time the house should be beautifully cleaned, and that may be the only time ever that it will be that clean. :P

We are so excited about our new house!!! The packing-up-our-entire-life-thing, not so much. But it will be amazing to have our own place. We are so thankful for God's hand of provision in our lives.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

ah Sunday

So it's Sunday again already. Where does the time go?? I guess that means we'll be closing on our brand new house in EIGHT short days. !!! And I do mean short. There is so much to be done!! However, I AM starting to feel a little more motivated, so I suppose that's a good thing.

So what did I do this week?? Hmmmmm.....

1. Well, I got my new computer. She's pictured below. And I don't why I call it a "she." Perhaps that will change. :)

2. I worked one evening shift, and three way-too-early shifts. Yippee for days that start at 5 am. :S Oh, and I almost forgot. I worked two night shifts as well.......how did I forget that when I just got home from one an hour ago?? Losing it.....

3. I forgot to give blood at the drive on Wednesday. I don't know why, I just forgot. And now I feel kinda bad....

4. I went bowling with my friends on Thursday night. I definitely didn't do nearly as well as last time, and I also ended up falling on the floor. Just a little embarrassing. And yes, everyone laughed, and no, no one thought to make sure I was ok before doing so. Haha. Oh well, if it had been someone else, I probably would have laughed too. :P I'm sure it was really funny to watch. But now I have a lovely large bruise on my right knee.

5. I got to give a lot of shots. Yay -- I like my job!! :)

6. I bought new scrubs on Friday after work. That's always fun. I prefer to wait until they go on sale since the regular prices are NOT cheap. And I'm trying to find more girly ones instead of the unisex ones that fit, well, unisexly. I'll have to post a pic of me in my cute scrubs.

7. Jamie and I went through all our paperwork last night, and shredded what seemed like (and probably was) thousands of pages. The shredder got a mini workout. But we were able to condense three large drawers and a bunch of stuff from the coffee table into one file box that is organized AND neatly labeled. And since we were sitting on the floor up to our ears (almost quite literally) in bills and forms and certificates and letters, we ordered pizza to come straight to our door. Yippee for delivery people!!

I guess that's it. Well, the highlights anyways. I slept a few hours, cooked awesome chicken bruschetta bake, ate a few meals, did a bunch of driving, tried to pack a few boxes, etc etc etc. But who wants to hear about THAT?? :)

Now it's Sunday and time to get ready for church. I have three days of orientation for NEW JOB this week, and two night shifts. Then I have the entire weekend free to relax finish packing and hopefully not freak out!! Too much craziness at one time. !!! Soon it will be time to relax though.......I'm flying down to PA on May 13 to see my awesome parents. Oh, and Rita too. Can't leave her out........ ;)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

changes

Well, I officially broke it off and started a new relationship. :) My old Dell has been tucked away, never to breathe another day, and I have a new love -- my red Dell. We're still getting to know each other, but I think it's gonna be a good fit. I have high hopes anyways.....

Sunday, April 12, 2009

HAPPY EASTER!!!

Or, a more appropriate title might be Happy Resurrection Day!!! I am so glad I serve a risen Saviour!! "He is not here, for HE IS RISEN, as He said."

In honour of the holiday, I thought I would post the video to this song that I love. I think I cry every time I watch this video or even hear the song. Such an amazing account of the crucifixion of Christ. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.



P.S. YES, I have heard the latest news about Ray Boltz. Please don't attack me for posting this song anyways. While I find his situation sad, I don't believe what is going on in his personal life changes the message of the song.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

busy busy

So, today was a pretty busy-busy type of day. The day after Good Friday and the day before Easter -- I totally forget every year just what kind of craziness goes on on this day. Yesterday I planned on going to Michael's........not thinking it was Good Friday. I had a coupon that said it was good only on April 10. Yesterday. So it didn't even occur to me that it might not be open. So I hopped in the car and drove the 40 minutes to the nearest Michael's. It starts dawning on me after I pass empty parking lot after empty parking lot. Oh well, I thought, maybe just Michael's is open. There's a coupon after all! And Michael's was open on Thanksgiving, so Good Friday is not that much of a stretch. However, I pull up to the very empty parking lot, refusing to believe that it is closed until I see the sign for myself.

Sigh.

Back to busy-busy.

Because everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, is closed on Good Friday here (an adjustment for this American), and a lot of stuff is closed on Easter as well, what I affectionately refer to as Easter Saturday is madness.

I first experienced the madness at the grocery store. I walked down to the local Price Chopper to pick up a few items. As soon as I walked in, I was sucked into a huge crowd of people, all mulling over what kind of apples to get, or perhaps white or whole wheat bread. I am not normally a claustrophobic person, but I started to feel a bit under attack closed in, so I ran around navigated the mess and haphazardly threw many items into my bag. Yep, I am eco-friendly, so I have my own bag. It's easy being green!! :) Anyways, I finally got in a line, and after 10 minutes of waiting, the ever-polite woman in front of me decided to inform me that it was a cash-only line. Oh.how.wonderful. I moved to another (long) line and glared at the previous one. I finally made it through the line and exited the store $43 poorer. I guess they weren't chopping too many prices today. :)

I spent the early afternoon volunteering at a local retirement home. I try to do that when I have time; unfortunately free time has been rather scarce lately. But I know a lady who works there, and she recruited me to come in and play the piano for the residents this afternoon. It's great for me -- I love playing the piano and I don't have one here at home. So I get to practice and play all I want, and the residents of the home get to enjoy it too.

After that was done, I decided to try the long drive to Michael's again. I KNEW it was open today. And NO, I didn't learn anything from my morning experience at the grocery store. What can I say -- I'm a sucker for Michael's. The drive to and from wasn't bad, but once I hit the city, I hit major major traffic. Yippee. It took me 15 minutes to go less than a mile. :) But Michael's was good to me as always, and then I stopped in Bulk Barn to get stuff for an Easter basket for Jamie. Of course I'm not really sure what I was thinking going in a candy store the day before Easter. More madness ensued. I don't really think I look like a Bulk Barn employee, but I did get asked more than once if I knew where the marshmallow bunnies were. :)

It was good to get home. Jamie ended up working late, so I used the next hour to mix up cupcake, cookie, and muffin batter. I'm supposed to take dessert to church tomorrow, and I couldn't decide what to make. So I made three things. Or at least mixed them up. I'm in the process of baking as-I-type. :) Add that to the mock peanut brittle I made this afternoon for the retirement home, and I think you'll have to agree that I'm a regular Suzy Homemaker. Oh yes I am. ;)

Now I am winding down and finishing up the cookies. So anyone up for some carrot muffins, cream cheese cupcakes, or chocolate raspberry chip cookies, come on over!!

P.S. I got an e-mail today that says my new computer has been shipped!! I can't wait to be using a laptop again....

Friday, April 10, 2009

good GREAT Friday!!

Yes, today is Good Friday. Hmmm, I've always wondered about why it's called that. Let me Wikipedia that...... It seems to me that the day that people use as the date for the crucifixion of Jesus would not be considered a good day at all. I guess it is Catholic in nature. Me, I don't "celebrate" or really observe Good Friday in any way. I suppose this is because 1) it is a Catholic holiday, and 2) Jesus did not die on a Friday. I'm not going to get into semantics or arguments over this, but the Bible says Jesus lay in the grave for three days, and it also very clearly says that He arose from the grave on a Sunday morning. Therefore, Jesus quite obviously was not crucified on a Friday. But I digress...... Easter is the important holiday, perhaps the most important holiday we celebrate!! It is the day we remember and celebrate the resurrection of our Saviour, the One who died to give salvation to all who will receive it!!! So Easter, YES. Good Friday, not so much.

Anyways, I think it's a great Friday!!! The weather is supposed to be absolutely beautiful today and this weekend, and I don't have to go to work until Monday at 2:30pm!! So whatever shall I do with this freedom??

I think the "right" answer is to, ya know, clean up the house, do some laundry, and keep packing boxes for the big move. And maybe I will get around to some of that later today. But for now, there's a big sale at Michael's calling my name. And when Michael's calls, I come, usually running. :-)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

look what I got!!!

In honor of me becoming an RN here in Canada, I bought myself a stethoscope. A Littmann stethoscope, which are pretty much the best around. And in celebration of all things girly, I got myself a pretty pretty pink one. The nurse will see you now........ :) :) :)

P.S. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I got that other job today!!!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

April showers blizzard??

Well, I haven't been blogging in a while.......

I haven't really had the time (started a new job) or the means (my computer bit the dust a few days ago). So now my computer time is relegated to when I'm home (rarely), when I'm awake (every now and then), and when my husband isn't using his computer (never). All this adds up to no blogging.

So I thought I would write a quick little post after he has gone to bed.

Yesterday was a gorgeous spring day. It was sunny and about 50 degrees or so -- perfect April weather. This morning, we woke up to blankets of white. My favorite precipitation had once again graced us with its presence. Quite apparently, spring has not sprung. At least not for good. It had to figure that there would be one more storm before winter could leave us for good. I just didn't expect it to this magnitude. I'm not sure how much snow we got all total, but I'm thinking it was at least six inches. Yippee. It just seems like you ESPECIALLY can't enjoy it when you thought it was gone for good. Ok, ok, who am I kidding?? I've never really enjoyed snow.....but much much much less so when it has already been "spring" for a good two and a half weeks. Thankfully, we hadn't gotten our snow tires taken off yet..... The coolest thing is that today was opening night for the Toronto Blue Jays. Too bad they have a retractable roof on their stadium or they might have gotten to play in the snow. :-) We're going to see them play tomorrow night, and I'm pretty sure it will be the first (and hopefully last) time I have to wear a snow suit to watch a baseball game.

In other news, I have started my new job, and I think I am really going to like it. Check back in six months, but I don't think I'll change my mind. The month of April is filled with more orientation shifts, working at my other job, and getting ready to move. Stick in a couple hours of volunteering here, and various frivolity there......it makes for a pretty busy month. But all is well.

As I mentioned earlier, my computer died the other day. As in, ceased to exist any longer. I guess we had a good run -- it was about 6 1/2 years old. It lived through 2 1/2 years of college, all our years of marriage up to this point, and a very nasty and debilitating liquid NyQuil spill that may or may not have been my fault. :-D She did good. I knew it was going to happen sometime soon, but I wasn't really prepared.......as in, I had none of my documents or music saved to external devices. At least I had most of my pics uploaded onto an external USB, so those are safe. I also wasn't prepared for Jamie to want to buy me a new computer right away. But apparently the idea of me using his computer for any length of time didn't sit well with him, so I am having a brand new laptop shipped to me sometime this month. Yay!!! It was an unanticipated expense for sure, but thankfully we were afforded an extra pay check this month which was able to cover it. Let's just make sure to keep the liquid cold medications away from my new baby. Which will be cherry RED, for those of you who were wondering........... :) :) :)

And so goes the life. I'll update on how the snowy baseball game goes. And I just happen to be off the entire Easter weekend, so here's to hoping the weather gets a lot sunnier and a lot less snowy!! I'll keep dreaming........

Thursday, March 26, 2009

more job/interview drama

For someone who hates interviews so much, I sure seem to be going on a lot of them. And they don't seem to be getting any easier really. Oh well, I guess it's good experience. At least that's what everyone says. And "everyone" is always right, right?? :)

I don't really know what to think of this interview. I would love to get the position, but only God knows. I'd say my chances are about 50/50, and it probably depends a lot on the candidates they are interviewing next week. I would have to say that this was by far the most challenging interview yet. They asked lots of tough questions and wrote down pretty much every word I said. I was starting to feel a little overwhelmed by the questions, and pretty stupid really. I mean, come on, I'm a nurse -- I should know these things!!! I felt like crying, but willed myself not to. The interviewers told me to relax and that I was doing fine, but it just didn't seem like it at the time.

On the way home, I analyzed (over-analyzed?) everything I had said in my mind, and thought of about a bazillion other things I COULD have said and yet didn't. I beat myself up mentally for a while, and then decided it's out of my hands now. They said they would call towards the end of next week. And they are going to call either way, so at least I don't have to make myself sick over wondering whether the phone is going to ring.

Hmmmm, I just reread this post, and I sound like such a mental basket case. :-) And I guess that would be a pretty fair assessment.

Hopefully this will be the last interview for a while......

Friday, March 20, 2009

proud of us!!

God has blessed us so much financially. Many times, I am ungrateful -- thinking we don't have enough money for this or that -- but the truth is we have way more than we can use, and much more than we need. Honestly, we aren't the most frugal of people. Sure, I'll use coupons here and there when I can, and I always take advantage of good sales, but when I see how frugally some people (have to) live, it almost makes me feel wasteful.

Anyways, even with our not-quite-frugal/not-quite-spendthrift lifestyle, we have managed to save quite a bit of money during the time we have been married. During the last 3 1/2 years, these are our major financial milestones:

  • Paid off about $12,000 in debt (basically from my college tuition)
  • Paid off about $2,500 worth of dental bills from when we didn't have dental insurance
  • Bought a car, which we are currently making payments on
  • Saved over $20,000 toward the purchase of our new home
  • Consistently given 10% plus of our income to God's work at our church
When I think of how much income we have earned over the past few years, I am impressed with the amount of money we were able to save, and I am so proud of us!! But I think it is the last point that is the kicker -- giving back to God. I confess that many times I am so tempted to let that slide. Skipping one week of giving probably wouldn't hurt, right?? And I could sure use that $200 elsewhere -- maybe pay the cable bill or the car insurance. But then I slap myself and remind myself that it is the least we can do to give some of our earnings back to God. He has never failed us -- not once -- and He's not about to start now. And I firmly believe that God blesses those who give back to Him.

Now, after living in a small apartment for the last three years, God has blessed us with the means to purchase our own home. We both have good jobs. We also have two cars that are insured, and we always have money to buy gas for them. We always have food in our refrigerator and in our pantry, and there are more than enough clothes in our closet. We have nice furniture, two computers, a TV, and a ridiculous amount of "extras." Thank you, God, for consistently taking care of us!!

"Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto HIM be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

oh the trials of life.....

So, last week (or whenever) I was whining (yes, whining) about a situation. A situation that I interpreted as bad, long before it even had an opportunity to manifest itself. In short, I cried (a lot) about not being able to get a job after TWO interviews. Poor little me.

Well, soon after I cried about it, I received a phone call in which I was offered one of the jobs from said interviews. Yippee for me!! Regarding the other interview, I also whined (only a little) about how I wished they would call me even if they didn't want to hire me. I didn't mind that I didn't get the job -- just that I didn't KNOW.

Well, God has a sense of humor.

Today, I received another phone call. I got the other job!!! Wowee, now what to do?? Both are casual positions, and as far as I can see, that does not entail any set number of hours. I could very possibly accept both positions, but it depends on a number of factors. First, I have to attend orientation at position #1 to find out the particulars of the job. That will be on March 31. Then I will have to call position #2 back and see if their schedule could possibly mesh with my new one. Position #2 seems very understanding about the other position and told me to call them back when I had more of an idea about hours and such. Complicating matters further is the presence of my current job. While NOT my dream job and not really what I went to school for, I feel some sort of attachment to it, as I have been there 2 1/2 years. I don't really want to give it up entirely just yet, as I may need to pick up a few shifts here and there while I learn the ins and outs of casual work. It's a job where I basically schedule myself, so there's that bonus.

Other factors are (of course) money and location. We are relocating to another town in about six weeks. Position #1 will be about 5 minutes from our new house. Position #2 will be about 40 minutes from our new house. And my current job will be about 25 minutes from our new house. I, quite obviously, am keeping the casual position #1, as its location is supremely ideal. I don't know yet if position #2 will offer enough hours to make the drive worth it. And about the money -- positions #1 and #2 are similar, if not identical, in salary. My current job earns me SIGNIFICANTLY less than either of these other two would. Its only "perks" are its familiarity, my attachment to the elderly lady and her daughter, and its consistency. My schedule rarely changes unless I want it to, and the hours are dependable.

So therein lies the irony. Instead of crying about not getting jobs, I am now wondering what is the best route to take now that I essentially have three jobs in my lap. Take one new position?? Well, that's a given -- I've already accepted one. Take both new positions?? Quite possibly. Keep my current job or leave it?? Still undecided. And I can't really decide anything until orientation starts at the end of the month.

Oh well. I'd much rather be in this "predicament" than sit by the phone crying about my apparent lack of interview skills. Oh yes, I am the woman!! :) :) Time will sort this one out, and it will happen quite soon, I think.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

to rock or not to rock

I have many thoughts today. For your convenience, I shall put them in a numbered list. :-)

  1. Yoplait yogurt -- cranberry-raspberry crumble variety: This stuff rocks!! I am so in love with this flavor. Unfortunately, the only way I seem to be able to buy it is in a 16-pack with three other flavors (4 of each flavor). While the other flavors are okay, I find myself just dutifully slurping them down in anticipation of the cranberry stuff. I hope I can find it soon in its own individual pack, or in a big tub, or something.
  2. RRRoll up the RRRim contest: This stuff does NOT rock. I guess one could make the case that we go through the drive-thru at Timmy's an awful lot. I probably wouldn't contest that fact. Even more so during February and March, when they have the (in)famous RRRoll up the RRRim contest. It's just like it sounds -- after you're done drinking your coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or whatever, you roll up the rim to see if you've won a prize. Prizes range from gift cards to money to new cars to computers. However, free coffee and donuts from Timmy's is supposed to be the easiest prize to win -- after all, they're only giving away 31 MILLION food prizes. I remember from last year winning a donut almost every time I rolled up the rim. Not so this year. We. have. not. won. ANYTHING. You would think this might be enough to make us stop buying our favorite beverages. Again, not so. Apparently, we're suckers for punishment.
  3. The hair-dying saga: This stuff does NOT rock. I decided in a LAST effort to try the hair dye my sister recommended. If it didn't work, then I was done and stuck with the wonderful color God gave me. :) Well, let me tell you -- this dye is potent stuff. My eyes were watering and I was feeling a bit faint as I combed it through my hair. James said he was getting a headache from it, and he wasn't anywhere near me when I was doing it. Ah, I thought, this is the stuff. Anything this powerful has to be clinging to (and chemically destroying) every single strand of my hair. It said to leave it on for 10 minutes, so due to my hair's non-compliance in the past, I left it on for 30 minutes. Work, baby, work!! Well, I have to say I *think* it worked. Immediately after, my hair was dark. Really dark. I did it on a Saturday night, and I got LOADS of comments about it at church the next day. But!! There's always a but!! Even though it's supposed to be a permanent dye, I believe it is slowly washing out every time I wash my hair. It's still darker than normal, but it's definitely lighter than the first day. And from day two, my lather of shampoo ends up with a purplish tinge to it. That's ok though -- after all this trouble I've been through, I don't even think I liked it dark, although everyone else sure seemed to. I think I'm gonna stick with my dark dark blonde. Although I would love to add some pink or purple streaks -- anyone got any advice on that??? :) :)
  4. Job interviews: this stuff does NOT rock. Honestly, the mere mention of an interview sends my stomach into spasms and me into a nearly full-blown nervous breakdown. Usually when I get to the interview, I am completely fine and able to be polite, outgoing, and maybe even charming. I had an interview last week Wednesday, and it seemed to go okay. She said someone would be contacting me soon. It's been a week and a half, and no one has called. I'm guessing that means they passed on me. Totally fine, but I almost wish they would call and say so, so my stomach doesn't have to be in knots all the time wondering. The second interview was this past Tuesday. There were three of us, and only one job available. Part of it was a group interview, and part of it was individual. I had the last individual interview, and honestly, I thought it went GREAT. I felt like I really clicked with the two interviewers, and it left me with a very happy feeling. She said they would be making a decision by the end of the week. Yikes. The next three days were anxiety-ridden. I couldn't even sleep at night due to feeling ill, and when I finally would fall asleep, I would dream that they had called me. Then I would frantically wake up, grab the phone, and realize they hadn't. All day yesterday, I assumed I would hear something. The phone did not ring. Instead of feeling sick, I now started to feel upset that I probably hadn't gotten the job. I did all this worst-case scenario stuff in my mind, and then ended up sobbing about how I was never going to get a job. You would NOT have wanted to be at my house yesterday. Finally, I let it go (with a lot of prodding from Jamie). I thought, maybe they're making a decision today and then calling everyone on Monday. Yeah, that's it. Job interviews and waiting are definitely not for me!!!
  5. Getting a job: now this stuff totally rocks!!! After all my whining and woe-is-me-ing (great word I just made up, hey?) that I did on Friday, the director called me very late Friday afternoon and said "would you like a job?" Ah, music to my anxiety-laden ears!! It felt amazing to have my hard work finally pay off. And it made me feel a lot better about my interviewing skills -- maybe it really had gone as well as I thought. I don't know all the details yet, but she is going to call me back Monday and tell me more. When I see her again, I will have to give her a huge hug for letting me know before the weekend so I wouldn't have to be sick about it. Then again, that might not be the best way to impress a new employer. So I'll just be happy about it here!!! Thank you, God.
And so concludes my list of thoughts for now. :)

P.S. Is it just me, or has the standard of dress for interviews gone WAY down?? I've always thought it was appropriate to look professional, clean, and well-polished for an interview, even if you're applying to be a cashier at a supermarket (I did that, so I know!!). I usually dress up (not ridiculously so -- no ball gowns or anything lol). I figure if you are trying to sell yourself to a company, it's important to look your best. In these group interviews, however, I get to see how other people are dressing, and let me tell you, it's scary sometimes. In this last one, a not-very-skinny woman was wearing a very ill-fitting blue suit that looked about a hundred years old. And she paired with that white athletic socks and very casual shoes. Hmmmmm. That may or may not be as bad as the last group interview I had last year. There were nine of us, all female. Three of the nine were wearing jeans!! And two were wearing shirts/blouses that left an awful lot of them hanging out and not an awful lot left to the imagination. Another was wearing scrubs -- I guess maybe she had just come from work?? Still, take the time to change!! Maybe employers just have to take what they can get these days. If I'm ever in the position to do the hiring (not very likely), I would certainly not hire someone who couldn't even bother to look appropriate for ONE day.

Sorry, pet peeve...... :) :)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

swag bucks


Search & Win


Now I'm certainly not an expert on these sorts of things, but this one seems pretty good to me. It reminds me a little of Mypoints, but so far it's been easier to get points (bucks) and it looks like the rewards are cheaper.

What am I talking about??? Swagbucks.com. It's a search engine that pulls results from Google and Ask.com and brings them to you in one convenient place. Sounds pretty cool, right? Well, here is the best part! You can also earn "Swagbucks" while searching the web, and redeem them for prizes in the Swag Store. Prizes range from $5 gift cards to Amazon.com all the way up to iPhones and electric guitars! So you are not only getting two of the best search engines pulled into one, but you are also earning Swagbucks for doing it. You don't find Swagbucks every time you search, but you never know when you will!! Usually, you will get 2 Swagbucks just for your first search.

There are other ways to win Swagbucks -- like shopping through their site, finding hidden codes on various websites, trading in other merchandise -- but so far I'm only using the search option. I made Swagbucks my default search engine, and so far I have earned 26 Swagbucks just doing normal every-day searches. 45 Swagbucks will buy you a $5 gift card, so I'm not doing too badly, since I've only had my account for less than a week.

So here's where you come in. I want you to sign up for Swagbucks too!! You can get free stuff, and if you use my referral link, you will help me earn more Swagbucks. It's not a scam, and all you have to do is use their search engine to win a buck or two here and there. Who doesn't Google every day anyways??

So SIGN UP USING THIS LINK, or click the banner above!! Hopefully, you (and I) will be earning lots of Swagbucks soon. :) :)

P.S. If you're interested in joining Mypoints, let me know and I'll send you a referral link.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

empty your purse!!

No, seriously.....

I saw this on a million blogs, and maybe it was a million years ago. But I'm just getting around to it now. Or maybe I'm just finally brave enough to go through the depths (and I do mean depths) of my bag. Or maybe I just need something to post. :) :)

Whatever the case, it's pretty easy. Just empty out your purse or bag or whatever you carry with you and take a pic of the contents. Oh yeah, also take a pic of your bag so everyone can see how boring stylish you are.

Here is my bag. It's a pink and black striped designer knockoff that I picked up at a flea market in PA. Yay flea markets!! Anyways, I love it -- it's roomy and it's really unique. People either really like it or really hate it. Jamie doesn't care for it much, he says it looks like a "hooker bag," whatever that means. And how would he even know what a hooker bag looks like?? It doesn't matter, I ♥ it!


And all -- ALL -- the junk in it. :) :) You can click to make it larger and see all my garbage.


Here's a list of everything I found in the depths of there (starting on the left):

  • a bunch of pens, mascara tubes, lip glosses, etc
  • my glasses case (with glasses inside!!) -- I'm supposed (note SUPPOSED) to wear them for driving
  • a pack of gel pens that I won at a Christmas party
  • a pack of cinnamon gum
  • a few (ahem) feminine products
  • a stack of receipts
  • a bottle of trusty Aleve (my drug of choice :)
  • my CG compact
  • three clothespins -- one is broken, two are from Korea
  • a ticket from the Raptors game we went to on Dec 31
  • three wet wipes from Chick-Fil-A
  • one of the lenses from my broken sunglasses
  • floss from my last visit to the dentist
  • a nearly empty bottle of Dove hair spray
  • a spoon?!? :)
  • a little thing of bubbles from a wedding in September
  • my wallet
  • two adapter cords -- one for my cell and one for my DS
  • a package of Kleenex (thanks Mom)
  • my pink cell phone
  • my check book
  • an envelope of pictures from Walmart
  • Valentine's Day tissue paper -- really don't know how THAT got in there :)
  • keys!!
  • my iPod shuffle -- still has Christmas music on it, I need to remedy that --Rudolph and Frosty are getting a little tired :)
  • a book -- I usually keep one in there to read at work, or if I'm going to have to wait somewhere
  • my Nintendo DS in its super cute designer bag that my super cool sister gave me
And that's it. Actually, that's quite a lot for a girl who never really liked purses or wanted to carry a bag. Now I have way too many. Now that I have this one empty, I think I'll switch to a different one -- something spring-like, maybe it'll hurry up the warmer weather!! :) :)

If you feel like emptying your bag, consider yourself tagged!!

cars

Well, the automobiles have both been fixed/serviced, and the total cost for both cars came in way under the dealer's estimate of $461 for ONE car. Even with a couple extra things added on the Saturn that we didn't know needed to be fixed.

Take THAT, Volkswagen!! :) :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

long time no post

I guess I really haven't had anything to post about. So I didn't. :) However, life is good on the homefront, other than both cars needing repairs (VW) and some maintenance (Saturn). Actually, maybe they're both maintenance -- is replacing worn-out brakes considered maintenance?? All I know is it's not covered by the warranty. Oh well, it didn't stop us from making a little pit stop at Starbucks on the way home from the mechanic. :) :)

We also stopped at the new house after taking the VW in. Oh yeah, a side note on that -- $461 to fix the brakes at the dealer, and $250 to do it at our mechanic. Can we say the dealer is into a little bit of highway robbery?? I know their hourly labor rate is more expensive, but it shouldn't be more than $200 more!!

Anyways, the house...... It's looking great!! I haven't posted any updated pictures here in a while, so maybe I'll add one or two to this post. It's come along so far. All the dry wall is done, first layer of painting is done, and all the tiles are now in too!! I can't wait for all the cabinets and the rest of the flooring. Only about nine weeks now til closing!!

Hmmmm, what else?? I watched the Oscars on Sunday night at work. I know, I know, I'm pathetic. I also read gossip magazines on occasion -- so what?? :) :) However, on Sunday, I must have an extra-high dose of monthly hormones, b/c I even cried at one part. Yes, I know I'm admitting I'm even more pathetic. Anyways, Heath Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for his work in The Dark Knight. No, I didn't cry because he won (I was never exactly a huge fan of his). I also didn't cry because he died (yes, it's sad, but he overdosed -- he probably could have prevented that). I cried when his family came up to accept the award without him. They looked very upset, and I cry when other people are visibly sad. So there I sat, watching the Academy Awards, with tears rolling down my face. Complete dork-dom at its finest. :) :)

Oops, I forgot to mention that I was more than a little annoyed at Sean Penn's speech after he won his award. I fully understand that people have different views and beliefs on certain issues, but I don't think the time to push these causes is when you're supposed to be making an acceptance speech. Of course, what else could I expect when he had just won an award for his "excellence" in portraying a gay man.

(steps down from soapbox)

Ok, here's a couple pics of the house. Doesn't it look great??

Saturday, February 14, 2009

♥ valentines ♥

It's Valentine's Day!!

The day of love!!

And I am so blessed to be one of those people who are in love. February 14 marks six years that Jamie and I have been together -- the six best years of my life. We started dating on Valentine's Day 2003, and it's been quite a ride. Although sometimes I feel as if I miss the more carefree days of dating, I LOVE being married. It definitely changes your relationship, but I feel we have grown so much together as a couple, and our love has gotten deeper, better, and stronger. So that is the message I tried to convey on the card I made Jamie. Here's a look.

the front

the inside

This last picture is of the other valentine I made for Jamie. I used the decoupage technique my sister described on her blog. 25 years, and I'm still learning things from her. :) :)

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!!!! ♥ ♥ ♥

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

we need your help!!

My 3-year-old niece Gabi has been selected as a finalist in the Horsing Around Photo Contest over at 5 Minutes for Mom.

And she needs lots of votes!! I think she's currently in 5th or 6th position out of 20. Not good enough!!!

Voting is easy. Just click here for the contest page!! When it comes up, scroll down to the bottom of the page to get to the voting section. Gabi's photo is #19!! Just click on the little circle beside #19 and hit vote!! Oh yeah, I guess you can look at the pictures first if you want. :) :) There ARE some pretty cute ones.

So please vote. It only takes three clicks!! Three winners will receive gift certificates to this cuter-than-cute website. If Gabi wins one of the prizes, my sister is going to give her prize away to a lesser-fortunate family. Now that is a great reason for Gabi to win, wouldn't you agree??

GO VOTE for number 19!!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

valentine project

My wonderful big sister kind of inspired me over at her craft blog to make something valentine-y. I've pretty much grown out of handing out valentines to my friends, and I don't have kids yet to do that with. So I had to think of something else. And now I'm feeling all crafty. I can't wait until I have my own space to do all my creative things.

Anyways, once a month, I go with my church to a nursing home, where we hold a small church service with the residents. I've been doing this for about three years, and have really grown to love the people there. I've made them Easter crafts before, and at Christmas, we gave them little bags of candy and cookies and all kinds of Christmas goodies. You can't imagine just how excited they get just to receive some sort of small gift. This month, our day happens to fall on the day after Valentine's Day, so I decided to make them a little Valentine that can be used as a bookmark or whatever. Some of them really don't have much family, and I want them to know that we love them, and more importantly, God loves them.

Here's what I came up with (click to enlarge). I have seen the John 3:16 idea for valentines before, and I just love it. What greater love is there, than to have God send His only Son to die for us?? It's the perfect valentine.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

for those who care.....

Here are a couple pics of my new hair. The length in the back hasn't changed that much, but the front is much shorter. Like three inches shorter. It's kind of weird getting used to it, I'm not really all that fond of it yet. I want my long hair back!!! Anyways, I tried to dye it darker twice with little success. It might be a smidge darker, but still basically the same. Oh well, it will eventually grow out and then I'll be complaining about THAT lol. So, for now, it's short. Enjoy!!


Friday, January 30, 2009

RN!!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

sweetness

As I walked in the house after getting off work this morning, my husband met me at the door with a steaming mug of hot apple cider. Then later in the afternoon, after I got out of bed, he greeted me with a cup of tea. Yummy. Don't I have such a sweet guy?? :)

Oh yeah, and I almost forgot to mention that he even cleaned off my car for me last night before I went to work!! I ♥ him.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

we have a roof!!

So, here is the latest updated picture of our house. We are only thirteen weeks away from the closing date!! Yesterday, we did the framing walk-through to make sure everything is right before they start putting up the walls. And let me tell you, it looks awesome!! We are so impressed with this builder, and will definitely recommend them to anyone that lives up here.


Monday, January 26, 2009

the hair chronicles

I'm still not really sure if I like my new haircut. Oh well, it will grow out in time, it always does. :)

I came home from work this morning and *tried* to dye my hair. I say TRIED, because one box of hair dye later, I still appear to have the same exact hair color as I did last night. Soooooo frustrating!!! I don't know what it is with my hair. In my freshman year of college, my roommate Liz dyed my hair red, but all it did to my hair was give it a faint strawberry hue. At the time, I thought it was because my hair was overly bleached and wouldn't hold the dye.

But now my hair hasn't had an ounce of dye in it for over four years, and still no luck. Does anyone have any ideas why my hair won't hold color?? Are there any tips or tricks I can try to get it to work?? The box said to leave it in for 25 minutes, or if you have "particularly resistant" hair, then for 35 minutes. I left it in for about 35 minutes, and I'm still my dark blonde self. Maybe I need to lighten it first and then try to darken it?? I don't know, I'm so confused!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

the hair has come off......again

Well, remember my haircut from six months ago??

Yeah, it was cute and all, and for a very worthy cause. But.....all the cuteness took a certain amount of upkeep that I was getting tired of. Also, I hadn't kept up with the trims, and it was starting to look like a crooked haircut instead of a "style."

So my aim was to get most of the hair the same length again. I didn't exactly get the cut I was expecting, and I'm not even sure if I like it yet. I certainly didn't like it when I walked out of the cutting place, b/c the stylist had it poofed up like I was straight out of the 80's. Decidedly uncool. I got home and was able to flatten it a bit, and thought maybe it would work after all. Jamie says he likes it, so at least one person is on board. :) I still have to come around.

I did buy a box of hair dye to go along with my new cut. Maybe I'll be brave enough to try it. And if I am, maybe I'll be brave enough to post a pic. Maybe. :)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

250

250 is an interesting number.

It can be extremely exciting, if, say, you have 250 dollars to spend at your favorite store.

It can be depressing if 250 is the number showing when you hop on the scale.

It can be inspiring if 250 is the number showing on the scale when you previously weighed 300.

It can be overwhelming if 250 is the number of things on your to-do list.

It can be heart-warming if 250 is the number of people you count as true friends.

It can be saddening if 250 is the number of days left until vacation.

It can be ridiculous if 250 is the number of Christmas cards you have to send out because you have so many true friends.

And on and on and on...... Yep, see, I told you -- interesting. :-) Actually, this sort of list would probably work with any number you want.

I just picked 250 because this is my 250th post. And I couldn't think of anything else to write. Because my life is boring like that. And now you know. Yay 250!!

P.S. I got an extremely cute little purse for my sister-in-law today for $2.50. Coincidence?? I think not. :-)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

customer service woes

Moving to a different country doesn't exactly do great things for your credit history. In fact, you pretty much have to start over. And trying to get various organizations to understand that you have a new married name is sometimes next to impossible. And it's hard to even get the process started when they won't even recognize you as an individual until you become a resident -- a process that took about 16 months. So, for a while there, I was a non-person living completely dependent on my husband. Not that that's a BAD thing, necessarily, except for, you know, the NON-PERSON part. :-)

Anyways, I have been trying to establish/re-establish credit here in my name. Since we're buying a house in both of our names, it would be helpful for interest rates and mortgage payments and such if I had a decent credit rating.

On to the woes. We have a joint credit card, but it still had my maiden name on the account. When we got it, it was because I didn't have any ID yet with my married name. It doesn't really cause too much of a problem, except it looks like there is nobody named Melissa B--- in all of Canada. I called to find out how I could get my name changed on the account, and they said I needed to fax in a request along with a copy of my marriage certificate. Not a problem -- our marriage certificate is pretty worn from all the photo-copying it has been through in its short life.

I faxed in the request November 21. Last week, I realized I had never heard back about it. So I called to inquire about the status. The ever-helpful rep said they had received the fax on December 17 (??) -- interesting four week delay, even though I was pretty sure faxes go through immediately. Anyways, they said the fax was missing the copy of the marriage certificate, and therefore the request could not be processed. I knew I had sent it, and asked why they hadn't contacted me when they realized it was missing. All I got was an uh, um, uh, not sure...... I agreed to fax in the request again, and said I would call in a few days to make sure they had gotten it.

I didn't get around to faxing it until yesterday. We had to fax a couple other things as well. When we got home from Staples, I picked up the mail. In the mail, there was an envelope from the credit card company. Hmmmm. Inside the envelope was a new credit card with my MARRIED name on it!!! What?!?!? I thought they couldn't process the request! Did they suddenly find the marriage certificate??

Oh, and of course this happens right after I fax in ANOTHER request. I wonder what will happen now -- maybe I'll get another new card in a couple months. One thing is sure -- they won't be calling me to find out what's up. Because apparently, they don't do that. Good old customer service.

Speaking of stellar customer service, the organization that oversees the licensing of nurses in Ontario is perhaps one of the most unprofessional organizations I have ever worked with. Even grocery stores and Walmart far exceed them in professional and courteous service. Maybe I will get my license eventually -- they say 2-3 weeks yet. I do have to say for a country that is supposedly so desperate for nurses, they sure don't make the process easy.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Grandma

So today is January 15. I guess that means it's a holiday for some in the US. I never really thought about it, but I guess we don't celebrate the birth of the "great" MLK here. And somehow the world keeps revolving. How we manage without that holiday, I'll never know. :-) January 15 has always been important to our family for another reason though -- it is the day my late grandma was born. If she was still here with us, she would be 68 years old today. Hmmmm, I wonder if she would want me broadcasting that fact if she were here?? :)

I loved my grandma. Lung cancer took her at much too early of an age (61). I wasn't close to my grandma all my life, we visited now and then when we were kids. I don't really know how or why that changed, but my brother Matt and I started doing lots of things with my grandparents when we were probably 12 and 13. They would take us to fairs and malls and carnivals and it was so great to have that time with them. In the next couple years, when they started getting sicker, I would tag along to their doctor's appointments. I was 16 when my grandpa died in 1999. By that time, my grandma wasn't in that great of health herself, so my parents and Matt and I moved in with her in March 2000. Those two years were full of learning -- they say you really get to know someone when you live with them. Good and bad, you see it all. Through the good times and the hard times, I think we were able to grow closer as a family. Now that I look back, I think we were incredibly blessed to have that time with her before she passed away.

I wasn't home in PA when she died -- I was in my second semester of freshman year at PCC. I didn't know it would happen so soon. We (Andy, Jeanette, and I) had just been home in January and she seemed weaker but nothing that made me think she would die soon. My mom took care of her at home until the very end. She passed away February 17, 2002. I remember when my brother and sister and I got the news at college -- I cried and cried and cried. I wasn't there, and I wanted to be. We couldn't really afford plane tickets home, so the three of us missed her funeral. It still makes me sad to think I couldn't be there.

Here we are, almost seven years later. It hardly seems it has been that long. There are so many memories, and we still laugh about them together as a family. Certain things always remind me of her -- lighthouses, golden retrievers, smiley faces, All My Children..... She really was the best grandma!!

Here are some things I love to remember about my grandma.

1. She always sent me little cards and packages at school to let me know she was thinking about me. I still have most of the cards.

2. She was so proud of the fact that I was going to be a nurse. Whenever she went for her chemo treatments, she would tell everyone there that I was studying to be a nurse. Now I am, although she didn't get to see that.

3. SHE comforted ME when my grandpa died. I remember crying and crying, and she put her arm around me and told me that my grandpa had loved me and everything was going to be ok. Even when she was grieving herself, she took the time to make sure I was all right.

4. We lived at her house during the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire phenomenon. Every night it was on, she and I would watch it together. It was so fun trying to answer the questions and yelling at the dumb contestants.

5. We used to have a football pool at our house every year. Every week, we all would pick what teams we thought would win their game that week. When we moved in with my grandma, we kept up the tradition and she joined right in. It was so much fun to watch her check the scores every week to see how she did.

6. Every Thanksgiving, we had a huge meal, played lots of games, and watched football and the Macy's parade. I have such great memories of Thanksgiving at Grandma's house.

7. She knew how to stand up for herself!! Even though she wasn't very big, she made sure people (usually waitresses or customer service people) knew when she wasn't happy about something. This caused embarrassment to us on several occasions, but now it's just a funny memory. There was this one time when she had to take up some issue with the neighbor (over stealing wayward trash cans, I believe), and she just marched over there and confronted him. (I think my sister probably remembers this -- remember the Mickey Mouse jumper?? :)

8. I collected Beanie Babies back in the day (still have most of them), and one time she took me and my aunt to a Beanie Baby convention at some hotel in the area. I couldn't believe it -- it was like a little heaven of stuffed toys. She patiently helped me find the ones I wanted for my collection.

There are so many things I could write about my grandma. I just thought I would share a few since today is her birthday. Here are a couple of pictures. They're pretty poor quality (scans), but they're the only ones I have on my computer. The first is of Matt, my grandma, and me around Christmas, 1999, I believe. The second one is of me and my grandma on the day of my high school graduation (June 2000). I wish she could have stayed around to watch me graduate from college, and see me get married. But it wasn't to be. Happy Birthday, Grandma!! I love you and miss you very much.



Monday, January 12, 2009

house update

For those of you who are not Facebook junkies (not me, of course!!), I will post some pics of our ever-evolving house on here, too. Just yesterday, we stopped by after church and took a quick walk-through. It's so neat to be able to see where every room will be in real life, and not just on an architect's plan. The builders we are working with are great about letting you come whenever you want -- walk around, take pics, ask questions, whatever.

I'm thinking the visible progress on the house is going to come to a halt here shortly. I'm pretty sure the next things on the to-do list involve wiring and plumbing. Boring. Necessary, yes, but that's not exactly something I can take a picture of to put in the scrapbook. Oh well, closing day is coming soon, sometimes I can't believe just how soon. 108 days!! I think I'm going to start trying to organize things around here and clean as much as I can, so it won't be such a HUGE thing when we move. We'll see -- my ambitions have been lofty before. :-) Here are the pics. You can click them to make them bigger.

the foundation, December 5, 2008

framing started, January 2, 2009

more framing completed, January 6, 2009

the front of the house and first visit from the police, January 8, 2009 :-)
You can see a bunch more pics of the progress here on my Facebook page!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

sister tag

Well, I was gonna post anyways, since I've been slacking off again. And my wonderful sister just happened to give me a "topic" to blog about, so yay. You get to see a random picture from my computer files. And no, it is NOT of one of my cats.

Here are the rules, as I understand copy and paste them.

1. Choose the 4th folder where you store pictures on your computer.
2. Select the 4th picture in the folder.
3. Explain the picture.
4. Tag four people to do the same.
5. No cheating (cropping, editing, etc.)

Well now. The folder just happens to be Christmas 2006. For one who is as unorganized as I, I actually have all my pictures sorted, in proper folders, and alphabetized. :-) Impressive, eh?? Just don't look in my kitchen.

Anyways, here's the pic. It's of me, fluffing the branches of our tree. Okay, well, I guess fluffing really isn't the word for it -- it IS artificial, after all. Anyways, I obviously dressed up for the occasion. Note the ripped PJ pants. :-) And I'm pretty sure the neon pink hat is to cover up nasty unwashed hair..... Good times indeed.


And I tag.....
Anne of From my Perspective
Abbi of Dear Abbi
Kristi of Thimble Thoughts
Kay of It's All Under an Eclipse

Although I fully expect no one to do it. Exceed my expectations, people!!! :) :)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

and now.........2009!!!

Well, I didn't do so hot at posting in the last week of 2008. It seems like we are always doing something. And even when we're not, I don't feel like blogging. :-)

But here we are -- 2009, a brand new year. We had somewhat of an unceremonious start to the new year. No loud parties (a la Vasel style). No shrimp cocktail. No firecrackers. But we did have a very nice night, and I still haven't gone to bed. We were originally going to go to a party/get-together thing at church, but then at the last minute decided to go to a Toronto Raptors game with James' brothers instead. We can't say no to free tickets and food that is found only at sporting event concession stands. :-) So we rode the subway into downtown Toronto and watched the Raptors lose to the Nuggets. It was kinda fun and very non-stressful to go to a game where I didn't care who won or lost.

We got home around 11:30, and the boys decided to stay for a while. We watched the ball drop in Times Square (on TV, of course -- no quick commute to NYC this time :), and then played cards til about 3:30. On a side note, did you know that the ball that drops cost 5 MILLION DOLLARS?!?!?!? What a resourceful and budget-friendly way to spend money in these days of financial woe. Oh the priorities.

So it was fun and very low-key. Lots of laughing, and it's always nice to be with family. Someone said tonight (don't remember who) that family is over-rated. And I really don't think that's true. At least not for me. Family are the people who are always going to be there, good or bad. You're kinda stuck with them. And while you can't choose them, they can certainly be the best friends you ever know. I can't thank God enough for the wonderful family He has blessed me with. Also, I got a pretty great in-law family when I married Jamie. :-)

New year -- new things to come. At least one big change is in store -- we will be moving into our new house!!! Maybe a new job for me, and maybe other changes coming as well, who knows?? I am excited to see what this year holds. I am excited to be at this time in my life. I am excited that God has granted us another year, and excited to see what He will do in 2009.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

P.S. Resolutions, anyone??? I'm not sure I'll be cutting 10 inches off my hair again -- for the simple reason that I no longer have 10 inches to cut!!! Maybe by next year........ :-)