Keely, the zombie executioner, is not a slacker. I, however, am a huge slacker. I hope that my lethargy lately has not caused her to think I am a zombie.
* I am not sure what has gone on lately, but I have been in a writing slump. I have read other blogs and can think of nothing good, intelligent or funny to say. I almost feel like I should at least comment something like “WickedStepMom was here. She just can’t think of what to write today.” Then people would know that I stopped by. But, I would have to leave that same comment over and over. So, people would really start having a problem with me. ::sigh: Anyone have any ideas to get me out of the commentary slump?
* The wii fit and I are back to going steady. He is just really mouthly. The other day, I was trying a yoga pose (which I am not very good at because my balance stinks), and it says “You are pretty shaky! It’s hard to get the correct pose if your core muscles need work!” I just rolled my eyes and continued to try to keep my balance so I would not brain myself on the basement floor.
* My new ENT has been really wonderful. He is using the aggressive approach against my sinus gnome. He made me a special mix of nasal steroids that make my throat burn but the sinus gnome disappear.
* The Tribe has had a few ups and downs lately. I think it is partly because the holiday season is over and we are all back to a normal schedule. And there are no more presents to open. Settling back into the routine has been a little harder than normal. I am hoping that we all get back to ourselves soon.
* Two out of three of our girls are dating. I keep saying boys are icky but they don’t believe me. So, I am thinking that there may be ice cream and hugs in the near future for one of them. I just hope that the one left not dating doesn’t feel bad or feel left out.
* It is truly sad when our society is feeling so horrible about itself, that people have to literally get lost in a movie. We watched Avatar and thought the movie was pretty good. We were entertained and we left the theater after having a good time. To us, it was just another movie. But, I really think it says something about our world today when people out there honestly are having depression symptoms because they can not leave in a fantasy world. It says that we are doing something very wrong.
Lately, I have noticed that people are extremely rude and getting ruder. People will be talking on their cell phones on dates, in doctors’ offices, and even public restrooms. People will cut you off in traffic and then give you a filthy look. People will knock you over and not even say anything. This is becoming normal.
I miss manners. I miss them a lot. People use to hold doors open and smile as you walked by. Now, they scowl and slam doors in your face. What happened? When did it become acceptable to not give a damn about your fellow human beings? Is it something with the more recent generations or am I missing something?
People also think it is acceptable for others to not have manners. There is a store near us that Bear and I don’t shop at because the people are rude. I was discussing this store with someone today. She shruged when I said that people are rude at the store. “I am just rude right back,” was how she explained it to me. To me, if I am going to a store to spend money, the least the workers at the store could be is polite. Now, I am not talking about one rude person, I am talking about all of the employees being jerks. If they are rude, I won’t shop there.
What about you… Do you miss manners?
I am not beautiful like you, I am beautiful like me.
Teach the next generation about true beauty and self confidence.
Help girls and boys to have a better self image and to stand up for beauty in all forms.
This year, I had the opportunity to go to The Mother Hen’s Winter Chorus Festival. It is a competition with other schools. If they had scored really well, they would have gotten to go to the state finals. It took place during school hours, so it was a field trip and I chaperoned. I was shorter than most of the kids there. The Mother Hen thought this was hilarious. She kept teasing me about it all day.
When they sang before the judges, I thought they did a stellar job. Their teacher was even telling them how proud of them she was. After the performance, we went to workshop. In workshop, professional singers give them tips on how they can improve as a group. It was fun to watch because the woman running the workshop was having them manipulate their voices to change the mood of the songs that they had sung. After workshop, we went on to sight reading. Sight reading is where they have to sing a piece of music that they have never seen before. The first establish rhythm and then had to sing the notes. (Ex Do Re Me) This looked really hard and I did not envy them for having to even try it. They struggled with it, but they were rated pretty well. They did not score high enough to make it to states but they still took home a medal, which was pretty neat.
The real competition was going on behind the scenes. The bully of the group was picking on one of the other girls. She was calling her cell phone, using the restricted *67 to mask who she was. When the girl would answer, the bully would hang up. This went on several times throughout the morning. Finally, we we were at dinner, the whole situation came to a head. The girl sat at the same table as The Mother Hen, the chorus teacher and I. She told The Mother Hen what was going on and she was very upset. Some girls at the table behind us over heard her. They began shouting, “Jeez, can’t you take a joke!” They were berating her for mentioning it in front of me and the teacher. Honestly, I was shocked. I couldn’t believe they were jumping on her case for being upset. To make matter worse, the chorus teacher told her to bring her phone bill to class to make the bully pay for the calls. They continued to make snide comments to her throughout dinner.
My only thought was, “My little song birds, you guys are very good. But, you could be great. If you just sang together and stopped preaching hate.”
I mentioned before my desire to have a Zombie Apocalypse. So, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I have gathered a few cards for all of you.
Have a great V-day! I hope no one literally eats your heart out!
Yesterday, The Mother Hen walked in and said to me “You have been cleaning, haven’t you?” So, I look at her, confused, “Umm.. yeah, why?” She grins, “Because it smells all frilly in here and it always does when you have been cleaning.” After I got over the fact that I have girly-smelling cleaning products, I started thinking about the smells that trigger memories for me. I wonder if when she is older, she will think about my house cleaning whenever she smells “frilly” things.
For me, I have a list of things that trigger thoughts and memories whenever I smell them.
Winston cigarettes and old spice – My uncle who passed away when I was a teenager
Cinnamon rolls – birthday’s as a kid
Guacamole – my grandmother’s house
What about you? What smells trigger happy thoughts for you?
I spent a lot of time thinking about the things that we do to save money. Its hard for us, because I require all special stuff. But, there are some cost cutting measures that we take all the time. Here is the list:
- We do not buy snack foods unless they are on sale (then we stock up)
- We separate everything. My stuff gets washed in special detergent, everyone else’s doesn’t. They have their own shampoo and I have mine, etc.
- No one really likes to eat left overs in the house, except me. So we only cook what we are going to eat, otherwise a lot of stuff gets thrown away.
- We shop at thrift stores and clearance racks for clothes as much as possible.
- We clip coupons and visit websites with extra savings. (check out Shortcutsthe site loads clip-less coupons on to your shopping card for certain stores.)
- I participate in a lot of free sample programs and surveys that offer free stuff. The kids love it because we are the first to try a lot of things. (Kraft has an awesome program for it)
- I also check out manufacturers sites for coupons. Campbell’s, Kraft, Land O’ Lakesand many others have coupons right off of there sites. P&G also has a ton of coupons.
Its not a whole lot of savings but a little bit here and there can really add up to be alot.
Thank you everyone for all the well wishes! I am feeling loads better and while not fully recovered I am at least full coherent again. Or at least as coherent as I was before I got sick. So, thank you bunches!
It has become our tradition to get Chinese food once every two weeks with some co-workers for lunch. Bear and I have offices fairly close to each other and so we get together with some of his co-workers and some of mine and have a huge Chinese food lunch. This has been going on so long, that if my co-workers and I miss it due to a meeting, everyone asks Bear where we are. This past week, we had our Chinese food lunch. We got our typical orders, sweet and sour chicken for him and chicken lo mien for me. At the end of the meal, I held out the fortune cookies for everyone to choose from. Everyone picked a cookie in turn and I took what has left over. We always read our fortunes out loud to everyone. Some of them are funny and some of them are serious, but what happen when we destroyed our desserts has never happened before. In eight years of tradition, we have never had a matching fortune but this time Bear and I had the exact same one.
“You will make many changes before your settle satisfactorily”
After this weekend, I have to say two things. I am amazed how true our fortunes turned out to be. And Chinese people don’t actually eat fortune cookies.
This is my 100th post. So, I decided to make ten lists of ten things. They are not top tens, so the order doesn’t necessarily matter. But, it is a list of ten tens so, there is that. To be honest, I have agonized over this post for a few weeks. I even bugged Bear trying to come up with what to write about. He said, “Hell no! I am staying out of it!” I think it was a wise decision, so I won’t hold it against him. So, without further ramblings, here we go:
Ten Things I Hear a lot:
- Are you serious? (No, probably not)
- Wait, what? (Yeah, you heard me right, even if it doesn’t make sense to you)
- Slow down! You are talking to fast. (Too bad pal, keep up!)
- How old are you? (I am very tiny and have chubby cheeks, if I try hard enough, I can pass for 13)
- Can you fix this for me? (I am not sure why so many people trust me with power tools)
- So, about my home computer… (I hate this phase, don’t ask me to fix your computer. Unless you are prepared to deal with the snark. Then, ask away)
- You’re crazy! (Yeah, mostly. You say that like it is a bad thing…)
- Did you really eat all of that? (Yep…)
- Is this going to end up in your blog? (Probably.)
- You are definitely your mother’s daughter. (I am never sure how to respond to this.)
Ten Best Moments of My Life:
- Getting into college
- Graduating from college
- Passing my first Microsoft Certification exam
- Kissing Bear for the first time
- Making the first ever [WickedStepMom]‘s Day cake
- Realizing that my divorce was finally over and I was finally free
- Getting my first blog comment
- Being published for the first time
- Getting the first real hug from each of my beautiful girls
- Realizing I can do this “step-mom thing”
Ten of My Favorite Things:
- Coke Zero
- My cell phone
- Bear, The Mother Hen, The Show, and The Tyrant
- Grilled Cheese sandwiches made with pepper jack cheese
- Chili Fries
- Snow men
- I wouldn’t have gotten married when I did. I was too young and too naive.
- I would have gotten allergy tested sooner.
- I would have been less shy as a kid. Being that shy really did a major number on my self-confidence.
- I would have never quit writing.
- I would have not told my parents that I didn’t want to move when I was a kid. They wanted to move and my brother and I didn’t, so they didn’t move.
- I would have gone on vacation with my parents a few years ago, so that I could have said goodbye to my dog.
- I would have bought a house instead of a condo and gotten a new dog.
- I would have worked harder in high school so that college wasn’t so hard.
- I would have listen to my head more instead of always listening to my heart.
- I would have argued more to go to the funeral of my friend, instead of giving in to my ex-husband.
Ten Things I Wouldn’t Change:
- Going to a local university and living at home for most of the time.
- Falling in love with Bear.
- Learning to laugh at myself.
- My childhood.
- Starting a blog and becoming known as WickedStepMom.
- My love of reading and books.
- Not becoming a journalist or not studying journalism in college.
- Becoming a computer nerd.
- Becoming a step-mom.
- Getting divorced.
Ten Superstitions I Have:
- Any penny found is a lucky penny that should be put in your shoe.
- If you blow out all the candles on your birthday cake with the first puff you will get your wish.
- Tap the dash board twice and tap the ceiling of the car once, if you are driving through a yellow light so that you don’t get pulled over.
- If you count the number of fish you caught, you will catch no more that day.
- Pulling out a gray or white hair will cause ten more to grow in its place.
- If the palm of your right hand itches it means you will soon be getting money.
- If the palm of your left hand itches it means you will soon be paying out money.
- It is bad luck to walk under a ladder.
- Bad luck will follow the spilling of salt unless a pinch is thrown over the left shoulder.
- Put salt on the doorstep of a new house and no evil can enter.
Ten Movies I Can Watch Over and Over:
- Jason and the Argonauts
- The Patriot
- Ever After
- The Sword in the Stone
- Die Hard
- The Bourne Identity
- The Evil Dead
- Reign of Fire
Ten Thing I Will Never Understand:
- Reality TV
- American Idol
- Why people are convince that if there is a car in front of them they are going to travel slower than if there isn’t one. Even if the car in front is going faster than they are.
- Mayonnaise on French Fries
- Ketchup on Mac and Cheese
- The fascination with Britney Spears.
- The need to force political correctness on everyone.
- Jim Carey
- Iced coffee
- Teenagers – I didn’t even understand myself as a teenager.
Ten Nicknames I Have Had:
- Home Salad
- Princess Moon Puppy
- The Commish
Ten Places I Want to Visit:
- Scotland (again)
- New York, NY
- Hawaii – For the NFL Pro Bowl
- Universal Studio’s Island of Adventure
- Kalahari Resorts
- The Smithsonian
- Frederik Meijer Gardens (again)
- Tahquamenon Falls (again)
(as promised so long ago)
1. Content filtering with Google - There are several things that you can do for content filtering. The first is the easiest and probably something that is overlooked. Google Preferences allows you to filter your searches. The best way to avoid any accidental viewing of explicit images is to turn on Moderate Safe search. If you have young children, it make be wise to turn on Strict Filtering. This prevents explicit images and language. For more information, click here. This is an easy way to prevent explicit images and language from popping up on an innocent search. However, searching for explicit things will by pass this filtering in most cases. But, it works great and best of all it is free.
2. Content filtering and Parental Controls with OpenDNS – OpenDNS for home networks provides a lot of protection and customization. First, you can enable parental controls that will block all explicit traffic at the router. So, it won’t even allow you to bring the explicit image or language to your PC. It also has Phishing protection and typo correction. Typing www.dinsey.com into your web browser will automatically take you to www.disney.com. We all know how on-line predators and smut producers like to take common web sites and mix up the letters a little bit so that when you type it incorrectly, you are redirected to their site. With OpenDNS this happens a lot less. The service is free but the downside is that you really should have a router and it takes a little work to set up. It works with just a PC but they recommend using a router. You can pick one up for around $25-$50. If you are using wireless internet access, remember to set up the security. I recommend WPA2. (if there is a strong request for more info, I will post more details.)
3. Parental Controls with your ISP – Most internet service providers (ISPs) have free or low cost parental control add-ons for their service. If it is free, I say go for it. Your ISP will even help you to set it up. If the cost is more than $5 a month, I wouldn’t recommend it. There are so many free services out that and most of the time, they are rated better than the ones that cost a ton.
4. Content filtering with Internet Explorer Content Advisor – In Internet Explorer, at the top, select Tools and then Internet Options. Then click on the Content Tab. Click on Enable under Content Advisor and set your preferences. There are four categories and each can be set individually.
I hope that you guys found this information helpful. Please post questions in the comments section or send me an e-mail and I will do my best to answer anything that comes in.