Friday, November 27, 2015

Flashback Friday: Somber Thanksgiving

November 2005:
Sometime during the fall of 2005, my MIL fell in her house and broke her back.  She was sent to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, and my spouse promptly irritated me by spending nearly 12 hours a day in the waiting room.  Before you take me to task, hear me out:

-He'd given up his job and wasn't taking any calls for more work, choosing instead to collect unemployment;
-I was at home with the five kids, two of which were in school, and would drive up to the hospital when we could;
-MIL was in a medically-induced coma for two weeks.

I understood his initial response to go be close to her, but as time went on, we could have used the money; his excuse was 'I need to be there in case I need to sign anything'; and to boot, we were a 45 minute drive from the hospital, so we could have been reached in case of emergency.  He COULD have worked for 8 hours, then gone to the hospital to be with her, in my opinion.

Before she was life-lighted up to Indy, we spent four days at the local hospital in Vincennes, and my parents took K, S, and W to Lafayette.  A and J went to other relatives, until we returned home.

In November, my MIL was sent to a rehabilitation facility for two weeks, until she transferred herself back to the one in her home town.  By the time she was placed in the facility, the construction season had ended for the year.

Consequently, we fell farther behind on bills.

Present Day:
Had a nice relaxing day with only two extras (Reagan Winkles aka 'Adoptee #3' and Hunter Mundy) yesterday!  Reagan and I made cheesecakes and pumpkin pies the night before, then I went to karaoke and sang Zombie (The Cranberries) and rocked the house with You and I (Lady Gaga).

Had to be at Sacred Heart at 7:30, then came home and watched the parade before making the deviled eggs, bacon-tomato cups (made the filling the previous evening), rolls, and noodles.  After we'd eaten, I made two chocolate pies and went to bed early.

We will decorate the house sometime this weekend.  As for karaoke tomorrow, I wasn't able to go last weekend, so will sing the same songs:
It's Not Over-Daughtry
Grand Illusion-Styx
It's Only Love-B. Adams/T. Turner
It's Raining Men-Weather Girls
It's So Easy-Linda Ronstadt

27 Shopping Days left til Christmas; 21 Days til my 50th Birthday!
Star Wars Tickets HAVE been bought, whoo hoo!  Going to see it Thursday, Dec 17th at 7pm!!!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Flashback Friday:

November 1995:
After spending a miserable summer dealing with back pain, cortizone shots which causes major leg muscle spasms, and resisting the idea of surgery, D decided, once he was laid off for the winter, to go ahead and schedule his surgery.

After leaving the kids with a sitter, we drove to the Carmel office and D was whisked away.  I spent five wonderful solitary hours, working on Forbidden Love, and talking books with another woman in the waiting room.

I had a serious 'uh-oh' moment, when a priest came around to offer prayers or comfort and I was in the middle of writing a rather steamy scene between Keri and Kyle! I simply closed my notebook, smiled at him, and told him I was fine, my hubby was in Good Hands with God and the surgeon, Dr. Bagin.

After D was in recovery, he was amazed by the non-pain in his back, and walked out of the hospital, 6 hours after entering, with a band-aid covering the wound!  He said Dr. B had told him, "I don't ever want to go that deep in your back ever again!"

I think we spent Thanksgiving and the weekend in Vincennes, with D's family, setting up his mom's decorations for her on Sunday.

Present Day:
Getting ready for my final signing of the year, the Holiday Vendor Fair, tomorrow  from 8-2pm at one of our former elementary schools.

Sang two songs last night, Zombie and I Got The Boy, but camera batteries quit before the first verse of Zombie was over.  So will sing it again in two weeks.

Saturday's Karaoke Songs:
Since I have to be at church by 7:30 on Sunday, I'll only sing two songs tomorrow, three if the rotation's light:
It's Not Over-Daughtry
Grand Illusion-Styx
It's Only Love-B, Adams/T. Turner (if there's time)

Have a great weekend!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Flashback Friday: Strange Proposal!

Nov 1985:
Recap:  I'd begun spending a lot of time with some off campus friends, and making bad choices.  After going out with five guys over the space of two months, my pride and my grades suffered.

I forgot to mention back in Sept, my AF officer had returned home, and indeed wanted to see me!  Unfortunately, the same issues which had cropped up on our second date back in April surfaced, and though we parted friends, I wasn't so sure about a potential romance.

In the spirit of friendship, the letters I sent him mentioned the three guys I'd been partying with, and in November, a letter arrived, calling me out about it.

I responded he'd stated we were 'friends', so I was treating him like one.

A late night phone call came:

"Will you marry me?"

"Sure, why not?"  (I thought it was a joke)

After a few more moments of conversation, he clued in to my not taking him seriously.

"You don't think I'm serious, do you?"

I laughed.  "We've only seen each other twice, and keep having fights on the second date.  How can you possibly be serious?"

"I am serious.  I can't get you off my mind!  I want to spend the rest of my life with you, since you don't put up with any bullshit."

At this point, I began to think he was serious!

"Are you on your knees?"

"Just a I am." I could hear the irritation/movement in his voice.  "Now will you marry me, damn it?"

"Yes."  I started crying.

"Good."  I heard him move again.  "Next time I come home, I'll have a ring for you.  We'll get married after you graduate.  Okay?"

We spoke some more, then hung up.  I went in a daze to EY and related the conversation!

A few days later, I received the news I was on Academic Probation, due to my mid-term grades.  I decided to only party on the weekend, and make my new fiance' proud of me.

Two weeks later, I was on my daily walk when B flagged me down, and we simply talked.  Later, he indicated he was interested in a repeat, and since I was feeling lonely, I agreed.  When I got back to the dorm, I discovered I'd missed S's call, and he'd told EY he'd changed his mind about our engagement.

Since I still hadn't entirely taken him seriously, preferring to 'believe it when I saw the ring', I shrugged it off.

Thanksgiving was quite different that year.  Mom and Dad had finally gotten cable, so my sister and I ended up watching Showtime, MTV, and other various cable network.  The climax was watching Raiders of the Lost Ark that evening:)

Mom and Dad also spoke to me about my grades, and I assured them both I was taking my schoolwork seriously again.

Next Month:  Christmas; my 20th birthday party; getting a new roommate:)

Present Day:
I'm up in Indianapolis at the Christmas Gift, Toy, and Hobby Show:)

I've also been the victim of Friday the 13th:  I picked up my rental car, with the understanding they would only charge my account $150. Imagine my shock when I saw they'd taken out $283! Half an hour later, instead of refunding $100, he'd accidentally CHARGED me another $100. Two phone calls to the bank, and I was able to get that one refunded.  But this now left me with $75 overdrawn.  D gave me the emergency credit card and told me to take it easy.
11/14/15 Update:  Enterprise has fixed their error, refunding me $200:)  This still only leaves me less than $30, but at least I'm back on the plus side, and I've been charged NO overdraft fees!  Thank you Lord, and Enterprise is off my sh*t list, lol!  I hope they don't fire Dave, the poor guy who'd only been on the job for a month.  It was an honest mistake.

Day 1:  Sold 8:)

Day 2:  Sold 7, gifted 2:)

Monday, November 9, 2015

November Goals

So how did I do on those fabulous goals last month?
-Finish Heart Song!  *whimper*  Not even close....
-Clean up Kira and send it off to RP.Check:)
-Buy Book Rack  Nope....this one will have to wait until next year....
-Pay for July trip to Par-A-Dice  Paid half, so that's good!
-Get print versions of BOBW, BA, and others up.  Print version of BOBW is up:)  Rest will be done next year:)
-Publish kindle versions of AFD and WAH.  Check:)

Verdict:  50%.

Books Read:  7

Karaoke Songs Added:  10:)

Halloween Update: I went as a vampire, in my MIL's old black formal and red and black wig; Daughter and Reagan went as Sugar Skulls; granddaughter was a kitty cat for her daddy and Tinkerbell for us:)

November Goals:
-Finish Heart Song!
-Attend Women's Retreat Check:)
-Do well at Indpls Christmas Toy and Hobby Show Check:)  Sold 15 books!
-Do well at Holiday Vendor Event 
-Relaxing Thanksgiving
-Start Christmas shopping
-Decorate house

November Reading Schedule:
Serendipity-Carly Phillips Really enjoyed this!  DRR!
Hot Number-Carly Phillips  Wonderful story!  DRR!  Now I want the others in this series!!
Lucky Streak-Carly Phillips  Loved this! DRR Now I also want the other in this series:)
Until I Saw Your Smile-JJ Murray

Thursday Karaoke Songs:
Since I'm back down to only twice a month, I think I'm going to start singing some of my favorites, then beginning in December, start with the 'Z' titles and work my way backwards through the alphabet.

Saturday Karaoke Songs:
It's Not Over-Daughtry
It's Only Love-B.Adams/T. Turner
It's Raining Men-Weather Girls
It's So Easy-Linda Ronstadt
It's Too Late-Carole King
It's Your Call-Reba

Friday, November 6, 2015

Flashback Friday: Thanksgiving With Friends:)

Nov. 1975:
My sister and I were both in the annual PTA program, singing who-knows-what.  Not sure if this doubled as the Christmas Concert or not.

Mom and Dad had joined a Small Group Bible Study with other families, so we hosted Thanksgiving.  We turned our living room into the dining room, with the large table with both leaves for the adults, and a smaller card table for the kids.

Those in attendance included:
Carl, Anita, Greg, and Dana Pirkle
Tom, Nancy, Gretchen, and Stig Zarle
Don and Cathy Campbell.

Stig was the youngest, so he sat with his mother while Dana, Gretchen, Wendy, and I sat at the card table.  Greg was in high school, so he was considered an adult.

After the meal, we kids put on skits to entertain the adults.  My room was the staging area, and we have pictures of Stig on Greg's shoulders and covered with a blanket, plus my sister wearing dark glasses, carrying a Halloween bag, with a sheet draped across her shoulders, cape-style.  I guess Mom grabbed the camera too late, for these were the only pictures taken, beside the one of the dinner table.

I think this may be the year I got upset, because my room was trashed.  I remember walking in at one point and seeing my mattress completely off the box springs.  I complained to my mom, and she made us all pick up the mess.

Present Day:
I'm off to my Women's Retreat this weekend!  Today I'm making cookies and getting everything ready for a fun-filled weekend of fellowship and prayer.

Which means no karaoke on Saturday.  I did go last night, and sang the following songs:
Foolish Beat-Debbie Gibson
Telephone Man-Meri Wilson
Let It Go-Idina Menzel

Have a safe and happy weekend!  I'll post my November goals next week.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Life On The Edge: Culture Shock!

I'm turning today's blog over to the lovely Kenzie Michaels, who has ridden the financial roller coaster of Life.  Take it away Kenzie:)

Thanks Molly!

What happens when a product of the 1960s marries a child of the 1980s?


I began my married life with an income half the size of what I grew up with.  In all fairness, I'd lived on my own for an entire year, living paycheck to paycheck, and an emergency surgical procedure had nearly bankrupted me.  I really should have declared bankruptcy, but was too ashamed to admit I couldn't pay my hospital bill, even working two jobs.

I brought to my marriage $1500 in medical debt and probably close to $2000 in credit card debt, between a Discover Card, American Express, and a gas card.  I was making the minimum payments, but after complications from pregnancy forced me to cut my hours down the 10 per week, and my brand new spouse barely making just above minimum wage, money was extremely tight.

When you take two different ideas of money budgeting and try to combine them, you get disaster.  My father had handled all the bills, whereas my spouse's mother had been in charge of the checkbook.  My husband insisted I handle it all, and I'll admit; after a year of seeing only single digits left over from my paycheck, that triple digit looked pretty nice:)  I made a valuable mistake:  I went shopping for things before paying the bills, which was a huge no-no.

This caused conflict, as you can imagine, and when I tried to correct my mistake, it was too late.  I had taken pride in saying during college that I intended to spend as little time as possible in the kitchen; however, during that first year of marriage I learned to become very acquainted with my oven and recipe books.

I resented every minute of it.  Why couldn't we go out to eat?  Why was McDonald's for lunch no longer an option?  When we were dating, eating out was a given.  But suddenly that ring was on my finger and going out was limited only to payday.  What the hell had I gotten myself into?  This was not the marriage I'd envisioned.

In my defense, I will say this:  Knowing when we decided to get married he'd just received his tax refund of $1600, I could not justify spending half of that on an engagement ring.  I insisted we shop around and settled for the $200 ring instead of the gorgeous $800 one I'd fallen in love with.  So when it comes to spending money on myself, as far as jewelry and clothes, I don't like to spend a lot of money.  But household items and food?  Different story.  I had the classic case of 'Champagne Tastes on a Beer Budget' mentality.

And we couldn't afford it.

The spouse and I have been married nearly 25 years.  What have I learned from those first few disastrous ones?
-Obviously, pay the bills first.  That's a given.

-Invest in a large freezer.  That way you can stock up on meat and have a place to store it.

-Shop the sales paper.  Buy meat in bulk and repackage it at home with freezer paper.

-Get your staples (canned veggies, flour, sugar, salt, etc) at Aldi's or Save-A-Lot.  Yeah, I was unimpressed with these stores at first, but I had gone in with the wrong mindset.  Like your brand names?  Then don't shop there.

-Plan your weekly (or monthly) menu before you shop.  We went from a weekly paycheck to twice a month, once my spouse had to retire and go on disability. I know exactly how many days I need to plan for that money, and always ask the kids if they have anything special they'd like during that time period.

-Get creative.  Facebook and Pinterest are full of recipe ideas if you're stumped as to how to fix an inexpensive meal.  Another favorite of mine:  Next time you eat out in a fancy restaurant, try to  see if you can recreate it from what you have in your pantry.  Or try Food Network dot com.

Obviously, I use generic brands a great deal, but I'm picky about a few items. There are a few generic items which don't taste the same as the name brands.  My spouse will tell you I'm nuts, but being a picky eater in general, I don't eat food that's unappetizing.

When our first child was born, we crunched the numbers and realized that if I returned to work, daycare would take my entire paycheck, plus $20 of his.  So staying home was an option.  I realize not everyone has this luxury, and I've been blessed to be home with my kids and concentrate on my first love, writing.

Yes, it took me a while to get published, and even longer for a steady income to arrive.  I'll admit, my earnings at the moment support my weekly karaoke habit, but I've also been able to pay for some of my own expenses, instead of having to budget them into the household budget.

Am I better off financially?  Not really. I'd hoped that by now we'd have a savings account, a nice home, two cars, and not have to budget so carefully, but that hasn't happened.

What has changes has been my attitude toward my situation.  I learned to budget; learned to live within my means; and to compromise on certain purchases.

I'm still hopeful, though.  I look forward to the day when I don't have to watch every penny carefully,  because our health insurance payment will hit the account, or that the electric bill will be forty dollars higher.

Or maybe I'll win the powerball.  I've won it twice before....but that was the only number which matched.  Still, that $12 will either pay for my lunch at Steak-n-Shake or I can have one rum and coke at karaoke every week this month!


I'd say they were in order:)

If you're interested in reading steamy contemporary romance, or steamy sci-fi romance, check out Kenzie's books at Amazon.

Make sure to start thinking about retirement early, because you won't retire by accident. Use tools like the free retirement calculator from  Personal Capital  to manage your money and plan for retirement better.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Flashback Friday: Halloween With A Full House!

October 2005:
With a houseful of kids, my creativity kicked in for Halloween.  When we decorated the house, I made tombstones out of cardboard for everyone in the house:
D-Bled To Death
M-Absorbed into the computer
K-Recurring Football Injury
S-Trampled by Stuffed Animals or Hunting Accident
A-Screamed Herself To Death
J-Death by Whining
W-Death by Overexertion

For Halloween, we had two Scream characters; Cinderella; a Ninja; and a bunny rabbit:)

Present Day:
I was able to go to karaoke Wed and last night, taking four songs off of my 'sing list':)
Delta Dawn, Remember Me This Way, and I Got The Boy were added to my 'good' list, while In The End is on the 'maybe'.

Tonight, our little Tinkerbell will be trick-or-treating downtown with her daddy, then we'll take her around the neighborhood tomorrow.  

One of my 'adoptees', R, is now living with us until she gets back on her feet, so she, S, and I (and maybe K) will be dressing up tomorrow night for the Karaoke Halloween Party.  I'm going to be a vampire, since I can't find a Bride of Frankenstein wig.  No word on what K, S, or R will be.

Tomorrow Night's Songs:
It's A Heartache-Bonnie Tyler  Did well:)
Don't Pay The Ferry Man-Chris de Burgh  Nailed it:)
It's My Life-Bon Jovi  Was told it sounded good:)
It's My Party-Leslie Gore  Okay:)

                  Have a Safe and Happy Halloween!

Just found out another wonderful author has left this world.  RIP Fran Lee....your books are amazing, and thank you for your encouragement when we first 'met' online. Your family is in my prayers.