Thursday, August 5, 2010

High School? Really?

Today I registered my baby boy for high school (don't tell him I called him that). I can't believe DB is 14 years old and about to be a freshman! To top it off, now that we are out of that horrible district, we're putting him back in public school. His dad and I got a chance to meet his counselor, the soccer and baseball coach (he's trying out for both), and get a look around the school.

We've got his new backpack ready to go. New shoes, new haircut, new clothes (well, some anyway), and it doesn't feel real. When did he grow up? And when did he get taller than me? It happens so fast. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and enjoy more of his growing up again. Ah, to re-live the first steps, his first words, that cute baby smile, his adorable baby giggle, and all the other things that make up for the late nights, teething, and diaper changes. Alas, it's a one time deal.

I'm very proud of the man he's growing up to be. If he focuses and puts his mind to it, he's got a big bright future ahead of him. He's brilliant (and that's not just the mom in me talking), fit, athletic, and totally adorable. I just can't believe it's happening so fast. GB decided to comfort me by reminding me that soon he will have his Senior Ball and be graduating. Thanks a lot. Why not twist the knife a little and tell me soon he'll be moved out, married and have a family of his own. *sigh* What's a mother to do.

Guess I just need to put on a happy face and be encouraging and there for him, it's not easy. Sure does make me appreciate my mom more. Love you mom!

Until next time,
The Blogoholic

Monday, August 2, 2010

Do Your Part Against Childhood Obesity

For no cost, you can help this problem, and get a little something in return too.

Childhood is a growing problem, and we can all do our parts. The First Lady, Michelle Obama is running a contest for "apps for healthy kids." One of my favorite little companies, Break Pal, is a finalist in this contest. They are trying to get their app into the schools to help kids, not just to help with the obesity rates, but the mini exercise breaks help with concentration too (this is true for adults as well). Break Pal integrates exercise right into the daily routine in short bursts, I've been using it and it helps with my productivity at work.

Please take a moment to register and vote for them, it's a great product that could really benefit our youth and give them longer healthier lives.

If not for the kids, do a little something for yourself. Here's part of a message I received from Phil at Break Pal (he and his wife are the owners):

Our application is the only one to integrate exercise into the day and also teach about nutrition.

Unfortunately we are a very small organization. Just my wife and Myself. We bootstrapped the entire project and built the app without outside funding.

We are competing against huge national corporations and unfortunately they are using their marketing power to garner votes for their apps and are leaving us in the dust. Some of them have PR firms working for them to get votes and I'm sure many ask their hundreds of employees to vote.

This is Where You Come In

I think that maybe bloggers can compete against these PR firms. It's worth a shot. Who better is there?

So I've decided to do something drastic.

I'm going to give out a premium version to anyone who votes for our app. They just have to contact me and tell me they voted and I'll give them a premium account. No catch. A free premium account and a thank you for voting.

It takes less than 90 seconds to vote.

What do you think? Would you vote for us? Would you be willing to spread the word? Maybe post it on your blog. It wouldn't take a full review or anything (unless you felt like it). Just a post saying we're giving away as many free memberships as people will vote for us.

As a blogger I'm sure you know all about contests and how great it is to win one. Getting into this contest has been the biggest thing that's happened to us and we really hope it can launch our program. This will bring it nationwide exposure.

If your interested here's some information

Easy voting instructions (this will take less than 90 seconds):

1) The fastest way to vote is to go directly to the registration page first.
2) You'll then need to confirm your email address (don't worry they won't spam you)

3) Go directly to our app and click vote
4) Bonus - Share on facebook and twitter.

That's it!!!

We've produced a video on the subject with the help of our local 
Public access Television station. If you've got time there's some great information here.
Thank You, we really appreciate your support

Phil Weaver

(209) 772-1954
139 Main St.
Valley Springs, CA 95252

So please, take a moment and help out our pals ant Break Pal. And if your really feeling generous, share on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, or any other social networking site you use. You can link to this post for instructions.

Until next time,
The Blogoholic

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Black Bear Diner

As seen at the Big Bear Diner





Until next time,
The Blogoholic

Monday, July 19, 2010

Worst Customer Service Award of the Month Goes To...

After a month of dealing with old and new companies, moving half way across the country, and dealing with a stolen credit card number the search concluded for the company with the Worst Customer Service. Not only do they win for the month, they may just take the year. And the winner is.... Zoosk!

In the last month I've dealt with rental trucks, Realtors, rental agencies, various stores from grocery to thrift store, and even dealing with getting my new driver's license, all with wonderful service and great people. A few days ago I discovered my credit card number had been stolen and used online to make a couple purchases. Luckily I get notices in my email of all charges, an electronic receipt, so I knew the moment they happened. Well, you can bet I rushed right in and cancelled that card. The charges were still in their "Authorization" phase, not actually being charges yet, so I set about contacting the companies that charges had been made with to attempt to get them stopped. Smooth process until I get to this month's award winner.

Tried their customer service line and was greeted by a message that said they don't talk to people on the phone, if I'm a member I need to log into my account and if I'm reporting a fraudulent charge, I have to email them. That right there pushed them high up on my poor customer service list, a company that won't even talk to someone who had their card stolen and needs to report FRAUD? You'd think they would want to clear something like that up right away, but NO that would be too easy.

OK, I'll play their way, I emailed the email address and told them what happened. My number was stolen, and there is a fraudulent authorization for their company, I want to have it stopped before it's processed. Here's the lovely email I received back:


Thank you for contacting Zoosk and alerting us to this situation.

I'm sorry for the inconvenience with this unwanted charge. Since you aren't registered with our site, we do not have your name or email address in our records and we are not able to identify the account that used your credit card. It is likely that someone used your credit card number to make a fraudulent purchase on our site.

If you feel your card is lost or stolen, please follow this process:

1. Please immediately contact your credit card issuer and report unauthorized charges or close the account.
2. Dispute the charge(s) that you believe are not authorized through your credit card issuer.
3. The bank or credit card issuer will then file a claim with us. With this information, we can trace the payment, cancel the account that used your card, and issue appropriate credit.

Please let us know if you have any additional questions. Happy Zoosking!

Zoosk Customer Support

(Yes, I took out the rep's name). Well, now that seems a little odd to me, of course someone who is a victim of fraud wouldn't have the name and email of the person using their card. Why would they have a message saying to email them if they wouldn't do anything about it. So, I emailed back. Said I would gladly give them the account number on the card used, since it wasn't any good anymore anyway. I really would like to stop the charge, not wait for it to clear then dispute it and wait for the money to be posted back. Their response.... Nothing, not a word. They completely ignored my pleas for assistance, and instead let the charge go through. Now I have to jump through hoops to get it reversed. So, Zoosk wins this month's Worst Customer Service Award (it was so bad, I couldn't wait until the end of the month to announce it.). Congratulations Zooks on your less than prestigious award, and for making sure you didn't have a customer for life. You are officially in my "Companies I'm Never Doing Business With" file.

Until next time,
The Blogoholic

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I have arrived! Well, that's what my GPS said. We've arrived at our new home safe and sound. Unpacked the moving truck, and had the internet installed already. and we just got her yesterday. Boy am I tired. 2 days on the road, right into unpacking the truck and moving boxes and furniture. Next time I move, I'm hiring someone else to do all the heavy lifting!!!!

OK, keeping this one short, a lot to do still.

Until next time,
The Blogoholic

Monday, May 31, 2010

Freak Out Avoided

OK, breathing easier now. Totally blew the issue with the house out of proportion. Rental Agent had me freaking out with her comments. All is well and we move into our new place in less than 2 weeks.

My son has just graduated 8th grade, and will be starting high school in the fall. In a new city, in a new state. He's looking forward to it, but I don't think he is fully aware of how hard it is going to be moving away from the family. He's been surrounded by family all his life (as have I), and this is a big change for us all. It's a good thing, but kinda scary at the same time.

Add that to the fact that he's been home schooled for the last 3 1/2 years, and he's got one more hurdle to overcome this year. We're going to be trying a couple programs for him to do some studying and improving over the summer in hopes that he will be more mentally prepared for the new school. I'll be doing a review for one of them that we will be starting shortly and will write about our experiences with it here.

In the mean time, we still have a lot of packing to do. Need to pack up the truck in 9 days.

Until next time,
The Blogoholic

Monday, May 24, 2010

We're Moving! . . . maybe

That's right, we're moving. Not the blog, I mean really moving. Like many people out there, we've been struggling financially and for the last couple months haven't been able to keep up with our mortgage payment. So, we've put the place on the market for a short sale. We'll be moving out of state and fulfilling our dream.

So, we've been scouring rental websites, my husband has been spending a lot of time on the phone to various rental management companies, and we've found several places we like. The other day we found one that was just about perfect, so we jumped on it and sent our application right in. It's a lovely place on a court, 4 bedrooms, about 500 sq ft bigger than the place we have now. There's a huge backyard perfect for our girls (the 4 legged kind that bark). Got the call yesterday that we were approved and needed to send in the security deposit. Getting ready to run to the bank for a cashier's check I got another call. "Oops, wait a sec, what about this mortgage payment we see?" Well, that's the house we're selling through a Short Sale process. "Oh, I didn't know that. Can you call *** at our main office and tell her that and make sure that is still ok?" WHAT!!! We stopped even considering any other places. I told my friends and family that we got the place. Showed them pictures. Posted it to my FaceBook account, and now they tell me "fooled ya, ha, ha, neener, neener, neener. You don't really have the house yet." Is it just me or is that totally ****** up? Not fair to tell us yes, then say "well maybe not." And of course the lady at their main office isn't there when I call. Her message says to give her 24 hours to call back. My sanity won't hold on for 24 hours! I'm going to lose my freaking mind by then. It's bad enough we lost all the equity we had in our house, that we have to move out on short notice, and I'm stressing out about that. A 2 day drive, with me, my son and our girls in my SUV and my husband in the moving truck driving half way across the country. Trying to find a hotel half way through that will let 2 big dogs stay in the room, and another in town since we'll arrive late on a Sunday. Stretching the money we've managed to save not paying the mortgage for a couple months plus my tax returns to pay the security deposit, 1st month's rent, the moving truck, and all the necessities we'll have to get as soon as we arrive. No, that's not enough stress to pile on one person. Don't be silly. Lets taunt you with the possibility of not getting the rental house we already told you that you have. I hope they're getting a good laugh out of this.

If I wasn't so against using alcohol to self-medicate, I'd go get a bottle of coconut rum and get schnockered! But that little voice in my head that tells me alcoholism is hereditary just won't let me drink to feel better. I'll get into that another time.

This is so frustrating. It's affecting my work, I can't convince myself to finish packing and getting the house ready to show. I have a short temper and keep snapping at my son (sorry kiddo). I feel tears burning the back of my eyes that won't fall, which is giving me a headache. I can hardly eat even though I'm hungry. And I just want to curl up in a ball and sleep for a week until it's all over. I don't feel like myself. For the first time that I can ever remember my mind isn't churning thought after thought. In fact, I can hardly keep a coherent thought in my mind at all.

I am trying to convince myself that I'm worrying over nothing. But what better to worry about than the future of my family? The very roof over our heads? Not quite ready to live in my car thank you very much. It's not like we can't afford the place. I make almost 5 times what the rent is on the place we're getting. I budgeted it so that we'd be able to put at least $400 in savings every month, and that's just my salary! Doesn't include anything my husband makes from whatever job he manages to get. Doesn't include anything I make off my home based business. I don't see the problem? The rent is $650 less a month than our mortgage. Come on people! Cut us a little slack, we're trying!

I'd like to say that's the end of my personal pity party, but I think I'll sit around and feel sorry for myself a little longer. At least for a couple more hours, I'll shake it off before my son's 8th grade graduation tonight. No point in feeling like this during such an important time for him. So I'll take all the sorry, worry, stress, and anger and tuck it into a tight little ball to store in a tightly locked box in the back of my mind, and give him the proud mama he deserves to have at his graduation. After all, you only graduate from 8th grade once.

So I'll go take a few deep breaths and maybe go grab a Starbucks coffee or a chocolate candy bar. And try not to totally go off the deep end until I hear back. Wish me luck.

Until next time,
The Blogoholic

Monday, April 5, 2010


OK, I won't complain about being underpaid anymore. I talked to my boss about my impending move and the possibility of telecommuting. Here's how it went.

We were in his office with several other people having a meeting. The meeting ended and everyone else left. We were going to step right into another meeting with the new department Executive Assistant, when I said "Before you pull her in, can I talk to you?" His face reflected a little concern when he said sure and motioned for me to sit at the conference table. I took a deep breath not knowing how he would react to what I was about to say.

Not sure how to start, I just came out with it. "I'm moving." His face dropped. Shock at the suddenness was evident, as well as a minor freaking out knowing that I'm the only person in the company familiar enough with the system I manage, to actually manage it. Seeing his dismay, I felt it might work out. So I threw in, "and I'd like to talk to you about working from home full time instead of part time."

Relief flooded his face, and I almost smiled. He was more than happy to allow me to work from home full time. His only question was where was I moving to to be sure I was at least close to one of our locations (there's actually 3 in the city we're moving to, so no worries.)

One problem down, now I just need to get the house on a short sale, get out of it, and make the 2 day drive half way across the country. Not to mention finding a place to rent, and getting approved. and the hardest part, telling my family that we're actually moving. after 10 years of telling them we would be in the future, I don't think they believe it would ever happen.

Luckily DB & GB are excited about the idea and can't wait. Now that we've made the decision and finalized the difficult stuff, I feel like a load has been lifted from my shoulders. I'm happier and more relaxed than I have been in a long time.

Until next time,
The Blogoholic

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Give-It-Away Linky Day

I love giveaways, don't you? Well, here's a great place to find them or list your own. Here's the next edition of the Sunday link up. Come back often, check out the giveaways to enter and list your new ones.

Until next time,

The Blogoholic

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Give-It-Away Linky Day

I love giveaways, don't you? Well, here's a great place to find them or list your own. I'll start posting a new list every Sunday, so be sure and come back often, check out the giveaways to enter and list your new ones.

Until next time,

The Blogoholic

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Canvas Prints Giveaway

UPrinting has offered to my readers a giveaway for a 16 x 20 Rolled Canvas print. Turn your most precious moments into masterpieces! Get that artist’s feel and transform your favorite photos or work into canvas art. These thick and high-quality canvases are ultra durable and will a long time.
UPrinting Canvas Prints
Who wouldn't love to have one of these to display? I know I would.

How Do I Win?
Check out the Canvas Prints page on UPrinting's website, and tell me now you would use this prize if you win.

Additional Entries
Become a Fan on UPrinting's facebook page
Subscribe to my blog
Blog about this giveaway (leave the link to the blog post)

Be sure you have an email address in your profile or you leave your email in your comment entry. First entry must be done for Additional Entries to count. Leave a separate comment for each entry. Entries must be in by Midnight PDT, 3/31/2010. Open to US Residents only. FREE UPS Ground shipping. Disclosure: I will be receiving this prize as well in appreciation for hosting this giveaway.

Uprinting: A great way to print online, check them out for business cards, postcards, brochures, stickers, and so much more!

Have a giveaway you'd like to add to my Blog World Giveaways List? Click the link on the top of my right sidebar to see the latest giveaways list, and add your own.

Until next time,

The Blogoholic

Monday, March 1, 2010

I'm Underpaid!

A day in my work life. Get up and grab my BlackBerry, which has been buzzing at me to get up for at least a half an hour before I listen. Check my emails to see how many "emergencies" there are already. Depending on the day, either hop right on the computer or drive over an hour to the office to work. Paniced calls and emails, "the program isn't working", "XYZ template has a problem", "I need a report", and other such urgent issues that everyone needs handled that very minute or it's the end of the world.

This is the job I've come to love. Many of these issues I can handle in my sleep (which is a good thing since I'm not a morning person and everything before noon is pretty much in my sleep). Now for the fun part. I recently got a new boss. He's a great guy, and a great boss, but I haven't worked with him long enough to anticipate his needs or understand his unclear instructions. Add that to him not using our sales software for reporting needs like my last boss did, and he adds a lot to my workload. I have now been tasked to provide twice monthly reporting on the sales team and there is a very short window for completion of this reporting. The problem is, this reporting isn't easy or fast. I still need to do the rest of my job on top of pulling together these reports. That and depending on what day of the month the first and third Fridays occur, affects how long I have to get the reports done. Luckily this month the 1st Friday isn't until the 5th, so I have 4 full days to go my reports, but the 3rd is on the 16th in April, so I'll have about 2 hours. Is it possible? Who knows, with all the formulas and the automates system reports I've got in place, there is a chance that I can throw it all together that fast now (after putting in hours and hours to prep the reporting files), but I guess I'll find out.

I shouldn't complain, I have a good job and work with great people, but if I can't complain here to blow off steam, then how else can I blow off steam?

Until next time,

The Blogoholic

Sunday, February 28, 2010


In order to deal with the stress in my life, I have started meditation. After much research, watching programs on meditation, reading books, talking to others, and searching the internet, I decided on what was right for me. My meditation consists of a quiet environment, and a burning candle. For 10 minutes I concentrate about seeing nothing but the flame of the burning candle, staring calmly at the yellow tip of the fire, allowing my eyes to relax and the images around that flame to fade to darkness. When it feels right, I close my eyes and concentrate on my breathing, when I feel my mind start to wander, I open my eyes just enough to see that flame again and re-concentrate on that flame to quiet my thoughts.

The goal of my meditation is to relieve the everyday stresses I've been letting get to me, and calm my thoughts. My hope is that relieving these issues I will be able to sleep better, won't feel like I need to play games to relax, will be able to get a good night's sleep, and will have the centering of body that will allow me to naturally and safely drop some excess weight I've been carrying. I also hope to see an improvement in my immune system, my energy level, my drive to complete things I've started, my memory, and concentration. I think my family would be happy to see an improvement in my mood swings too.

Sounds like a lot for such a simple thing as meditating for 10 minutes a day, and who knows I may be hoping for too much here. But my research has shown me that stress can cause immune problems, moodiness, difficulty sleeping, and weight gain, so why wouldn't relief of that stress cause a reversal of those problems? We'll see how it goes.

Until next time,

The Blogoholic

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Looking on the Bright Side

I'm trying to look on the bright side of life. Sometimes it's hard. Right now I'm facing the loss of my house, due to the economy. I'm talking to my mortgage servicing company (so annoying that I can't talk to the people who actually hold my mortgage, but have to go through some third party, whatever), about a possible loan modification. Honestly, I don't think I'm going to bother. I'll let that part of things run it's course, then talk to them about trying to do a short sale.

My neighbor has had his house on the market for several months now, and has had several people try and buy on his short sale, they've all gotten rejected. Guess no one can get a loan right now. I'm hoping we'll have a little more luck. Our place needs some TLC, we started some projects we ran out of money to finish, so it would be a good investment for someone who wanted to fix it up and re-sell it. The market is supposed to start picking up soon. It's just not worth it for us to stay in this place, we're so far upside down in the house that it will take forever to get back up to how much we owe and we'll never recover the lost equity. It's about time to wash my hands of it and just walk away. As much as that sucks.

But we've always talked about moving out of state, and heading somewhere that it snows. So I'm trying to look at this as a blessing in disguise. I just hope with the hit to our credit from the house that someone will still be willing to rent to us. We're good people, normally careful with our money, but with the nose dive the housing market took the year we were planning to sell, we got in over our heads with an adjustable rate. Never again will I fall for an adjustable rate mortgage, it's financial suicide! But, we'll soon be far away with a fresh start. Now I just need to tell my boss ad talk him into letting me telecommute...

Until next time,

The Blogoholic

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Memories

When I think Valentine's Day, one specific Valentine's Day always comes to mind. It's not the typical type of memory you may associate with a day all about romance. Let me start at the beginning. I had been dating my boyfriend for less than a year when we found ourselves expecting. It was May of 95, and as you can imagine, it was a bit of a surprise. I had always wanted children, and wanted to have them fairly young (as most of my family tended to do), so was not upset at the idea of being a new mom. Now, I'm sure you've heard people say they can tell the moment they get pregnant, and I never really believed them, until it happened to me. I knew, I just waited for my cycle to confirm it. Nervous about being a mom before I was 20, with a man I wasn't married to, I delayed telling my family until I was 7 month's along. So, the first 7 month's were stressful as I tried to keep it a secret. I had only put on 5 pounds at this point, and just looked a little pudgy around the middle. 

My boyfriend didn't think he was ready to be a dad, and tried to convince me to put the baby up for adoption. I told him I'd think about it, but knew in my heart that I could never do it. From that first moment of conception, that was my child, a piece of me, and I couldn't bear the thought of someone else raising him. After much thought, and many discussions, I told my boyfriend that I was keeping the baby, even if that meant losing him. Luckily for all three of us, that was what it took to change his mind. When he realized how important it was to me, he came around. 

So as you can imagine, the first 2 trimesters of my pregnancy were very hard on me emotionally, although physically I was feeling great. I had a little bit of morning sickness that summer, and got dehydrated easily, but other than that, things were great. Now at the 7 month mark, my family knew, we were keeping the baby, and things were falling into place. I was very happy, and so excited to hold that little bundle that had been kicking me. His due date according to the doctors was February 1st, but I knew better, it was more like the 12th from calculating to the day of conception (they didn't believe me that I knew the exact day). So, the 1st rolls around, no baby, the 10th and the doctor wanted to discuss inducing. I knew it wasn't time yet, so told him not yet. That afternoon I went into labor. After a long night, my son was born at 2:53 am. 

Now for the hard part, he came out grayish in color, and I was told he was having difficulty breathing and holding his temperature. I got to hold him for a few seconds before he was taken to the nursery to be put in a heated bed. They ran test after test. Being as young as I was, I was scared out of my mind. I got into the nursery as soon and as often as I could to hold and feed him. I watched infuriated as the nurse took blood from his little foot, I wanted to punch her for hurting my baby, but knew in the back of my mind she was doing her job, and he wasn't really hurt. Didn't make me like her anymore knowing that though. 

So the days drag on, I watched nurses care for my new baby. And my heart broke every day to see him in there. Finally, his temperature was normal, his breathing was perfect, and they found nothing wrong. They believed that he swallowed a little of the amniotic fluid. On Valentine's Day, we were able to bring our little bundle of joy home. Since that day, Valentine's has always been a family celebration for us, and not a day for my husband and I (yes, I did eventually marry my son's father). I like it much better this way, it's a day with a lot more meaning now. It's not about candy and flowers, it's about family, love and life. 

Until next time,

The Blogoholic

MckLinky Blog Hop

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sure, kick me while I'm down

There is a song that I heard on the radio today, it's by Tim McGraw. The first part is:
"You know those times when you feel that there's a sign there on your back, says I don' t mind if you kick me, seems like every body has. Things go from bad to worse, you think they can't get worse than than, and then they do." Well, my life kinda feels like that right now. With the economy being what it is, the poor job market, and the college fees going up so we can't afford for my husband to take classes this semester, and being so far upside down in the mortgage that we can't get out from under the house, I'm a little on edge lately. Every little thing right now pushes me over the edge.

I'm sitting in my living room, stewing over my darling husband not doing the one thing I asked him to today. Just drop a couple things off at the post office. Home all day, all he had to do was watch our son (who's almost 14, so it's not a full time thing), and take him to Karate class. I get home, and what do I see, the packages still sitting on the table where I left them for him last night. Customer orders that really needed to ship today, and here they are gathering dust.

I know I'm over reacting, but I was so mad when I saw them that I started yelling at my empty house. You'd think that working a full time job, and trying to run a small business on the side that he could step in and handle the important little things for me. It's not like he's working right now or going to school. Which is part of the problem.

Top it all off, he just called to let me know they were headed home, and could hear in my voice that I was upset about something. I told him why I was upset, and he felt so bad and apologized over and over, which just made me start crying. I know I must be totally stressed out if an apology can make me cry like that.

How do you get your life back on track when you're so derailed you can't even see the tracks anymore? One day, one step, one inch at a time.

Until next time,

The Blogoholic