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Friday, December 1st 2006

1:33 AM

Change your bookmark

Hi - if you are seeing this post then you've been linking directly to my bravenet blog.

I've moved to wordpress so you'll need to update your bookmark. Just go directly to my website:

http://www.engleberts.net/

See you there!

Virginia

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Thursday, November 30th 2006

10:01 AM

Snow Day!

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Yesterday's big thunderstorm has turned everything to ice today. Not only is everything covered in ice, it's snowing lightly and the kids are out of school for a snow day. We're under a winter storm warning and the forecast calls for 5-7 inches by noon tomorrow. Chances are tomorrow will be a snow day too.

Kids love snow days. My brother, Raymond and I used to watch the weather forecast in the winter praying for enough snow to cancel school. It didn't take much - a snowfall of about 1/2 inch was enough to do it. Those winding country roads in East Tennessee really worked to our advantage.

It didn't snow a lot in Tennessee where I grew up but when it did we took full advantage - snowball fights and lame attempts at sledding. One of our favorite games was Track - kind of a hide-and-seek game where you try to find everyone by following their tracks in the snow.

We didn't have any of the snow gear that kids in the north have - no snowpants, no snowboots, our gloves were generally not waterproof. After an hour or two we'd stumble back inside, soaked to the skin and freezing cold. We'd dry off, warm up and head back out. It was glorious being out of school unexpectedly!

When you grow up you start hating snow days. Grownups don't get snow days from work. We don't like driving around on sloppy roads and it's such a hassle making last-minute arrangements for childcare. Since I'm not working, I can just enjoy this snow day with my kids. Violet and her friend Kaley are rolling around in the yard making snow angels. Soon she'll come in, soaked to the skin and freezing cold. I'll make her a cup of hot chocolate, she'll dry off and warm up. Then she'll head back outside with a smile on her face because - it's a SNOW DAY!!!!

NaBloPoMo Month comes to an end today. I took the challenge - and did it!

As the month began, I had plenty of things to write about. Good old George Bush and the election provided me with several posts. After a couple of days, I was feeling pretty smug about how easy writing a post every day was going to be so I confessed to you all that I was participating in the NaBloPoMo challenge.

Things started going downhill soon after and the remainder of the month was a rollercoaster ride of some good posts and some incredibly lame posts. Some days I would find myself staring at a blank screen. Nothing really coming to mind and wishing I hadn't told everyone I would be posting every day. But that is exactly what kept me from copping out. Rather than giving up, I would just start typing and eventually I'd end up with something to post.

A really good lesson that I learned is that writing is a lot like many other things in life. You can't always wait for inspiration to strike before you get started. You just have to start doing it and revise as you go along.

So I did it! Thirty consecutive days of posting. Actually, not only did I post every day in November but, all totalled, I have posted for 38 days straight and a total of 75 posts since I started this blog.

That worked out so well that I'm using you for my "No Dew Challenge" now. If I tell all of you all that I am giving up the Dew, it becomes that much harder for me to just give in to the craving.No Dew Day 4

Experts say it takes 21 days to build a new habit or break an old one. This is Day 4. I'm actually feeling better today - the ache in my head has subsided to a "clamped in a vise grip" level and I only think about having a dew every 20 or 30 minutes that I am awake. I am incredibly lethargic (i.e. I don't feel like getting off my butt and doing anything) but not sleepy - I'm sure that's because I wish I could just sleep through the next few days.

 

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Wednesday, November 29th 2006

8:30 AM

Going cold turkey isn't as delicious as it sounds*

It's day 3 of the "No Dew" challenge.Mt Dew Day Count

I'm attempting to kick the habit - again. Last time I tried to quit there were days and days of crying and bitching - and it wasn't just me doing it either. It's so hard to stay on the wagon. I feel like Jack Twist in Brokeback Mountain (Dew), "I wish I knew how to quit you." It's so easy to say "I'll just have one", then the next thing you know you're back up to several bottles a day.

I started my latest attempt on Sunday. I did ok until about 9 pm when I begged April to go to the convenience store and buy just 2. One for that evening and a "just in case" bottle for the next day. Before bed I had drunk them both. I decided to try again on Monday - cold turkey.

This morning, I woke up with yet another horrible headache. Actually, I'm not sure if it's another headache or just a continuation of the one from yesterday. It's gotten so bad that I no longer care about damaging my liver and have eaten nearly a full bottle of extra-strength Excedrin.

Each time I stop drinking Mountain Dew, I become very ill. Headaches, dizziness, nausea, crankiness and persistent thoughts of going to the store to get one of those lovely green bottles. There's something just not right about this!

If I don't have milk for a couple of days, I don't wake up with "symptoms", jonesing for a fix. I don't see little dancing cows in my head while I wonder when I can get my next glass.

Perhaps it is just the caffeine and sugar, but I don't think so. I believe they are adding a little something-something that is extremely addictive or habit-forming to my beloved soda. Kinda like what the cigarette manufacterers are doing to tobacco.

I keep reminding myself of all the benefits of kicking this habit... fall asleep easier, sleep better, cut out some worthless calories, stop wasting money and generally feel better. I've been having a lot of trouble with insomnia lately. I'm sure part of it is the high amount of caffeine I'm ingesting. With a minimum 3-4 bottle-a-day habit (20 oz bottles), I'm drinking at least 1100 calories a day! At about 1.40 a bottle, I'm also spending over $5 a day on soda. That's over $1825 a year! Ridiculous!

Why does it cost well over a dollar for a 20-oz serving when it probably only cost the company 10 cents to make it? They know you're addicted. It's a big scam. I'm not drinking it anymore.

I'm gonna need some extra willpower for this. I think I might need to get some of these patches and maybe join a support group. If I can't quit the dew, how will I ever give up the smokes?

____________________________
*Homer Simpson

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Tuesday, November 28th 2006

4:32 PM

Budget is a dirty word

Posting about only 28 shopping days until Christmas brings up an ugly topic at our house this year - the Christmas budget. Steve doesn’t like to talk about a budget for Christmas - he prefers to speak only in general terms about how much we might spend this holiday season. 

In my experience, no budget = uncontrolled spending. No budget makes it nearly impossible to reign in Steve’s impulsive generosity, ”I know it's expensive but just think how much (fill in name here) would love it!” 

Its been quite a few years since we’ve really had to think about our spending habits. Most of the year we live pretty frugally and that allows us to splurge a bit on gifts. But, since we’re not banking my entire salary anymore, this year we need a budget. 

This is sad news for the children. Clearly, we’ve failed in teaching them the real deal about fiscal responsibility. The kids seem to believe in the “if you have it, spend it” approach to financial planning. Saving is only for short term goals like the latest CD or a trip to Paris. Future needs like retirement are too far down the road to be important to them. 

I should have gotten them one of these piggy banks…

Truthfully, I’m not thinking about retirement either. We’re still saving for that. And we’re not living hand-to-mouth or even paycheck-to-paycheck. But my more immediate goal is that cute little dream house in a few years. And the only way we’re going to get it on our terms is if we’re a little more careful with our spending or I get a new job. 

So for now, everyone is just going to have to get used to hearing the “B” word around here.

 

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Monday, November 27th 2006

7:27 PM

Only 28 Shopping Days Til Christmas!

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It's time to get on the ball and get my Christmas shopping done - there's only 28 days until Christmas! I always plan to finish my shopping early but I'm always a little hesitant to start purchasing items from the first versions of kids' Christmas wish lists. It seems they always change their minds as Christmas approaches. There's nothing worse than tears on Christmas morning.

Buying for Alex will be a breeze. All I have to do is think of all the things his mom wanted as she was growing up - you know, the ones we wouldn't buy for her.

So here's my list of things I will totally buy my grandchild that I never would buy for my own kids…

Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!

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