Saturday, November 30, 2002
Santa Cruise

Having a child opens up doors to new and exciting activities! Today we took Maleena on a Santa boat cruise. The fun-filled float down the river started with some music provided by a DJ. Next, the characters were introduced to all of the smiling kiddies. There were some well known characters like, Sponge Bob, Bob the Builder and the Grinch. Frosty, Roudolph and some other Christmas icons were on hand to entertain as well. Of course the most beloved guy there, was Santa. That is, if you are over the age of two! Otherwise, you are just some big scary guy! Well, at least that's how I think Maleena felt about the situation! Other than sitting on Santa's lap, Maleena loved the cruise! She smiled and waved to all of the characters. They made her happy and long as she could look at them from a distance. We had such a fun time, if you have children, I would suggest looking to see if anyone does this locally. Here's Maleena and her first visit with the big guy himself:

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Wednesday, November 27, 2002

With Thanksgiving in mind, I started thinking about all of the things that I have to be thankful for. I am so incredibly thankful for my wonderful husband who is always so caring, thoughtful and loving. I am so lucky to be married to my best friend. I sometimes wonder what I did in a past life to be so lucky to share my life with this wonderful soul. I am thankful for my sweet baby girl who brings endless amounts of joy into our lives. I never thought that it was possible to be any happier than I already was before she came along! Her smiles and giggles warm my heart in a way I never thought possible. I am thankful for my parents. My mom has always been there to help us in any way possible, whether it was to help us with a house problem or to watch the baby while we go out. She's one of those people that are ALWAYS there when we are in need. I am thankful for my in-laws. I have the best in-laws in the world. I often hear people complaining about theirs. (I guess most people don't typically get along with them…) My in-laws are such wonderful people! I have many great family members, way too many to mention. My friends, I am very grateful for. I have friends that I go way back with and I have new friends that I've met since my baby came along. She has opened up the door to quite a few new friendships for me (and for her, since the new friends have babies too!). Each friendship is unique in it's own way and I appreciate them all immensely. Since I have no brothers and sisters, I always kind of felt that my friends were more like siblings to me. Especially the ones that I have had for a very long time. I deeply appreciate my pets, so much that they are like family to me. I have two beautiful cats and two frisky turtles that bring much happiness into my life.

Other than the wonderful relationships that I have, I have many other things that I am grateful for. The roof over my head, the car that has gotten me around for the past 9 years, the books that I read for inspiration, the neighborhood that I live in, the food that I eat, the blankets that keep me warm, the challenges that keep me on my toes, the music that brings me enjoyment, the ability to be creative, the camera that allows me to hang onto moments that would otherwise end up a blurry memory, the computer that allows me to communicate and be creative from my comfort zone, the air that I breathe, my health and just life in general!

As you can see, I appreciate many things in my life. I don't believe in taking anything for granted. I believe that life is meant to be enjoyed, and I am doing just that.

May you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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Saturday, November 23, 2002
Guns N Roses

Last night my husband and I attended the Guns N Roses show. I have to admit, I wasn't extremely excited about seeing them since it's really just Axl and I heard rumors of them canceling shows. We never did see them when they were huge in the late 80's, so we thought that it would be a fun show to see. Since we weren't interested in seeing the opening bands, we decided to arrive a little late. Unfortunately, we didn't arrive late enough. We missed CKY, the first opener, but we made it just in time for Mix Master Mike. (he's the DJ behind the Beastie Boys) I have an open mind, so I thought I can give this a try. After about the first half hour, I thought to myself, "This is okay, but I would be happy if he finished up soon and we get to see some real rock-n-roll!" Well, after an hour and a half of suffering though hearing music by bands like Rush, Rage Against The Machine and Rob Zombie being scratched to, we were about to go out of our minds. We headed out to the hallway of the arena to get a break when he announced that he would be on for 20 more minutes! That's when my anger started to build. It was almost 10 o'clock and we were starting to wonder if Guns N Roses were actually going to play. After the DJ was finally done, we headed back into the arena where we sat for an hour just waiting for an announcement that Guns N Roses cancelled. Our city has an 11:00 curfew for music events, so we were sure that the show wasn't happening. I was getting so angry, feeling like I just wasted my time and money on this silly show. What was making me even more mad was the fact that nobody else was fired up! It's like they all knew something that I didn't! Finally, at 10:50 we hear the beginning of "Welcome To The Jungle." We are so angry at this point because we figured that they would play just two songs and we would never be able to get our money back. After about the fourth song, the rage inside started to subside. We were starting to realize that maybe we will get our monies worth out of this show. To our major surprise, they played until 12:45 am! I bet they had a hefty fine to pay this morning! All in all, they were really good! (at least after I let go of my angst and started to enjoy the show...) Axl's voice wasn't what it used to be, but I guess that's to be expected after all those years. They also had a lot of awesome props that made the show very enjoyable.

My word of advice to anyone thinking about going to see them...just know that it's a gamble when you buy that ticket. They may or may not show up...and if they do, it probably won't be on time! And if they do play, you will see a really good show!

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Thursday, November 21, 2002
Photography Contests

I've still been plugging away trying to find some good photography contests. I'm thinking that one day, down the road a bit, I may try my hand at photography on a professional level. Until then, I have to build that resume! I found this contest on called PhotoQuilt/Picture Of The Day. I have submitted two photographs which are out there to be rated by the public. If you have a spare moment, I'd love to have you votes! If you click on the links below, give it a moment to load. The picture will come up in a small pop-up window. Thanks in advance!

Maleena's Picture and Wet Fall Leaves


More Ghost Pictures

I never did finish the ghost story that I started in October. I was inspired by Beth's recent disturbance to finish the remainder of my story and show the other ghostly photographs. I left off mentioning that all of the photos displayed on my ghost page were taken on my dad's digital. Since then, my mother and I had our 35 mm film developed. I was very surprised that nothing unusual showed up in my photos, however she had two photos that contained orbs. I don't readily believe that every orb that shows up in a photo is really a ghost. You can easily create orbs by spraying water in front of your camera and snapping a picture with the flash on. What I do know, is that we didn't do anything like that, and we were in a home with a lot of ghostly history. So, I do believe that what we captured is authentic. I also had the original ghost photo redeveloped and it turned out much better than the original.

Here is a picture that my mom took of me (it's an awful photo of me, so beware, I'm scarier than the ghost!) with an orb that showed up right in front of me.

Here is a scan of the redeveloped picture of the old ghost picture. I cropped it so you can see just the ghost. If you are interested in seeing the entire photo, please go to my ghost page.

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Monday, November 18, 2002
Kurt Leland

Back in August, I posted a Blogger entitled Otherwhere. Otherwhere is a fascinating book written by Kurt Leland about out of body travel. For some strange reason, over the past two days I have received 11 hits to my site for people searching for Kurt Leland. I am curious as to what all of the sudden interest in him is about! So, if you are reading this because you came here from a search engine, please leave me some comments on what the sudden buzz is about Kurt!

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Friday, November 15, 2002
Christmas Shopping

It's that time of year again. Once it's mid November, I start getting very antsy about what I am going to get everyone. I usually have more shopping done by now, but it's just not that easy to do with a 9 month old. She can only tolerate sitting in a shopping cart for so long. We have a few things purchased already. I always like to try to get thoughtful gifts, but sometimes it can be difficult to find the right thing. Sometimes I wish that we could change the rules and do something different for Christmas. I once thought about requesting that everyone donate what they are going to spend on me to a charity. But, then I thought that it might be kind sad to not get any gifts. (how selfish, I know...) Who knows, I may consider that next year. I have everything in the world that I need to make me happy. I really don't want any material items. What I look forward to most at Christmas time is getting together with friends and family and just enjoying each other's company. That's what it's all about!

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Tuesday, November 12, 2002
Car Seat Safety Check

If you have a car seat, I highly recommend having the installation checked by a professional. A friend advised me that her local police department performs this service. I never gave it much thought, but I decided just for a piece of mind we should look into having ours inspected. I found some information on the internet saying that 95% of all car seats are installed improperly. What does that say for the car seat manufacturer's instruction manuals?!? I decided to contact our local police department and to my surprise, they have three officers who are trained to install and inspect car seats. We figured that the officer would look at our seats, shake them, maybe say that they need tightened a bit and that would be that. Well, to our surprise, he pulled out the one in my husband's car and informed us that it is out of date and then proceeded to install a brand new seat, for free! As I expected, the seats weren't in tight enough, but we also learned that it's best to have baby in the middle of the back seat. He advised us that there is less impact on the baby if there is an accident and the seat is located there. We were so surprised by this service, that I figured that I would post about it here to make people aware that it is out there. If you are interested, contact your local police department. If they don't do it, they will probably be able to direct you to someone who does. I feel so much so much better knowing that if we should get into an accident, that our baby is as safe as she can possibly be.

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Friday, November 08, 2002
My Dad Likes Jokes

I love creating web pages and updating my site and Blogger. In fact, I enjoy creating web stuff so much, I decided to help my dad get a Blogger! Years ago, my dad was a disk jockey for a local, non-profit radio station. He and my uncle had an oldies show that was broadcasted every Saturday night. They had such a blast with their show until the station decided that they no longer had a need for an oldies show. That was years ago. I think that since then, he was always looking for ways to "broadcast" to a variety of people. A few years ago, he started an email list of people who wanted to receive jokes every weekend. Since then, it has grown quite a bit. I thought that it would be a cool idea to start a Blogger so he could archive the jokes and people surfing the net might find them. So, if you are one of those people that likes reading jokes, click here.

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Wednesday, November 06, 2002
Baby Updates

My baby is growing up much too fast! It feels like only weeks, not months since she was born. She has brought more joy into our lives than we could have ever imagined. Just yesterday, we discovered that she has a tooth that is finally starting to pop through her gums! She is over nine months old and this is the first time that she's had any signs of teeth! (we thought that we might have to get her baby dentures...ha ha!) Some other new developments are cruising the furniture, standing for just a second without support and being clingy to mum-mum-mum.

Being a mother is awesome. I never could have guessed how exciting all the small things in life can be with a child. I always expected to feel so old once I became a mommy, but I sometimes feel younger! I'm often on the floor playing with toys or reading children's books. We have so much fun. I want to appreciate these moments to the fullest possibility, because I know that with a the blink of an eye, she'll be all grown up.

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Monday, November 04, 2002
My Tips For Saving Money

Today, I was thinking about what a blessing it is to be able to afford to be a stay at home mom. I feel lucky beyond belief to be able to dedicate my life, right now, to raising my daughter. I also thought about a few of the ways of living that have helped us to save money to accomplish this lifestyle. I thought I would jot them down here, and pass them along. While these tips may seem very obvious to some, others may have not given it much thought. I hope you enjoy them and share a few of your tips in my comments section!

Buy Second Hand - Why pay full price, when you can usually find clothing and other items that are gently used at second hand stores? Most of my wardrobe came from the local thrift store's 75 cents sale! You would be surprised by the fact that people donate practically brand new items!

Buy The Cheaper Brand When Grocery Shopping - Most stores carry their own brand that is much cheaper than the name brand. While there are some items that quality does come with a higher price, I find that most store brands are just as good!

Limit Dining Out - Make dining out a weekend treat. If you do it often, it adds up really fast! Get a few easy to make recipes and dine in a little more often. Also, you'll appreciate eating dinner out if you do it less often.

Clip Coupons - They really do add up to some nice savings!

Don't Use Credit Cards - Unless absolutely necessary. It may seem like that monthly payment isn't much, but if you look at things in the long run, you are spending way more than you probably realize! If you do use them, try to pay it off as soon as you get the bill.

Have Yard Sales - Make some money from that old junk that is just collecting dust and taking up space.

Designate An Amount to Savings (No Matter How Small) - Even if it's just a couple of bucks here and there, it will add up.

Record Your Spendings - Know where your money is going. When you keep track of it, you can see where some of it may be getting wasted.

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Friday, November 01, 2002
Why Am I a Vegetarian?

It wasn't until about 2 years ago that I made the conscious decision to never consume meat again. It's something that I had thought about for years before choosing to live this new lifestyle. It was never a big deal to me to make the change, and I didn't expect much interest from others about it. However, people are curious by nature, so I get a lot of whys when folks realize that I am no longer a carnivore. I don't really like to get into it, because people usually have a strong opinion one way or the other. So, I usually give the quick, "Oh, I read this really disturbing book about the meat industry and it shocked me so much that I never want to eat it again." Usually that's enough to keep them from asking any further questions. Because the truth is, people really don't want to know what goes on behind the scenes of those plastic wrapped hunks of flesh at the supermarket.

The book, Diet For A New America by John Robbins (son of the Robbins of Baskin-Robbins), was what made the turning point in my life happen. Oddly, I didn't even read the entire thing. I made it to page 106 (the marker is still there, two years later) and just couldn't take any more. I was aware that the more that I read, the less I could live with myself as a meat eater. I have always loved animals, all animals, not just the cute and furry domesticated animals. I'm the type of person that will carry a bug outside of the house rather than squash it. I think it's important to respect all life forms. So, when I read about the things that were being done to these animals, it made me look at those chicken wings on my plate a little differently.

I won't go into details about what they do. If anyone is curious, the will find out for themselves. The information is out there. I am not one to preach, but I will share information when asked. I was inspired to write about this today, because a friend called me to tell me about a website that she thought that I should visit. Apparently, there is a nutritionist who does a Christian talk show locally and they have talked about vegetarianism in the past. She said that they talk about how there are some important things that we get from meat and that our bodies produce an acid that is meant to aid in the digestion of meat. She also mentioned that "God" must have meant for us to eat meat since our bodies have this acid. (but who's to say we didn't gain this acid over years of evolution?) I must admit, I was caught off guard by her call. I never really explained to her why I don't eat meat. I was also surprised that this was the first time that someone actually tried to guide me back to being a meat eater. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to listen to the recording, due to my slow internet connection. However, there's nothing that could be said to me to change my mind. This is how I choose to live my life, and I am sure that there are many others who have lived long, happy lives without meat in their diet. Also, I like to think that "God" smiles upon the compassion that I have for animals.

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