Friday, November 19, 2010

A Big Decision - Home School

I am in the middle of making a very unpopular decision (with some). This decision did NOT come lightly... It came from watching my daughter fail when I know she can succeed... It came from talking to countless "experts" in the field of education... It came from the countless times I have had to take privileges away.... It came from wanting more for my kid than what she wants for herself today... It's from getting emails and phone calls from concerned teachers that my kid isn't focused... she is not organized... she is daydreaming... She is all over the place mentally except in the classroom where she should be...

I know there will be a few people in my life that I love who may believe they have the right to give me their opinion of how wrong our decision is... They will believe that they know how it works.. They will have very good intentions... I need the strength... the grace... the "God, please cover my mouth" patience.... I need to accept the fact that I don't have to explain or defend our decisions...... I know my kid.... My husband knows our kid.... And we know - this is the right thing to do for her... and She knows it's the right thing for her.... We are not blindsiding her... It never came down as an ultimatum... or a punishment - it came down to she knows she can't focus with too many distractions and she is tired of getting bad grades when she has always maintained great grades...

Public high school is tough... especially when there are in 39 kids in a class with an overworked teacher who does not have enough time or patience to help kids individually.... It's tough when a child who has a very hard time focusing has other kids that are not on task.. or there's a cute boy that she so happens to have a crush on that is sitting behind her... It's tough when she has to move fast between classes or risk an hour of detention for having a 3rd tardy.. It's hard when there's a biology teacher that gives notes and study details but chooses to make the test so difficult that over 70% of the class fails the test...

A decision is in the making - home school has improved so much in the last few years - there are many more opportunities... home school kids can have advantages that many other kids do not... After much research - prayer - back and forth - We found an on-line program that can have her stay in honors... it can keep her on track - it can go as fast or as slow as she needs... The California UC system gives it outstanding marks... We think this may be the chance to have her shine... The chance to keep her future happiness on track.... her current happiness and self esteem in the here and now where it should be....

As a parent who knows her kid.... I know - she knows this is the best move for her... I am not looking forward to the grief I know I will get... or the judgment... I know the proof will be in the pudding as they say... I have no doubt she will have a great future..... and I know one day she will look back and be thankful that she had parents that cared when she didn't.....

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sports Help Kids Get The Grade

When I was a kid - sports was something that went on everyday - whether it was at school or in the middle of the street in front of my house. I have many fond memories of playing with the neighborhood kids - everyday was an adventure. We all shared crazy imaginations and moms who always had Koolaid and snacks available to fuel our activities. We rode our bikes from our front porches to the pyramids of Egypt - we went on scavenger hunts for important items. We would play hide and seek for hours - until the street lights came on and then it was time to go home for dinner...

Those days are gone.... Our neighborhood is so quiet... There are very few children or teenagers... I have no idea where they all went off to... My girls have always had to make "play dates" or join different clubs or sports to stay active and socialize with their friends.... I wish my girls could have experienced the carefree and wild days of neighborhood youth and adventure....

Monday night we went to my oldest daughter's Tennis Banquet... It's hard to believe that she is already a freshman. It was wonderful to see the bonding that takes place between the players... The entire senior class players were all awarded high GPA awards... This reminded me how important it is to have our kids in a sport (s)... Statistics show that kids who are in sports are more likely to have better grades because they learn time management and they are usually competitive and driven to succeed...

My girl....

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Cell Project

Kara my 7th grader had a project to complete for science. The specifications of this project were very detailed and precise to get an A. Go outside any of the margins and the grade will be lowered... One hundred points possible.. It had to be between 9 - 12 inches in length, no more than 12 inches in width and no more than 10 inches in depth... No glue can show - no loose parts - each item must be labeled with typed print... the teacher preferred her to use ordinary household items for the design... ( a quick trip to Michael's craft store) AND you could not use the same type of material for the entire project - you had to mix it up a bit.... I have to tell you that I am the least creative person you could meet.. my husband is a close 2nd, and Kara not too far behind... We are more A + B = C type personalities - a stick figure is about as good as it gets for me.... This weekend we stepped out of our boundaries... I went on the Internet in search of inspiration and this is what we came up with.... How many points do you think we'll she'll get???

Materials: 1 yellow felt 12 x 12, 1 flat circular Styrofoam, black sharpie pen, 1 small Styrofoam ball, misc. colored form paper, black duct tape, hot glue, tooth picks, 1- 12 x 12 black foam sheet, 1- 12x12 blue foam sheet and 1- 6 in. stick

Friday, November 12, 2010

Has This Happend To You?

Something very strange happened to me last night... It kind of freaked me out.. I would love to hear from you to see if you had ever experienced this....

I went to the movies with my oldest and saw Paranormal Activity 2 - afterward met the husband for dinner at Coco's came home went to my computer to answer a few emails and my vision was completely bizarre... I saw waves and bright lights moving around - I could not read - seriously... Went into the family room and tried to watch TV and could not focus - it seemed as if everything I looked at was cut in half - one side normal the other side warbled. This lasted about ten to fifteen minutes... I was back to normal and then it hit again - this time -I'm not sure how long because I went to bed....

I went to the internet to see if I could find answers -this is what I found..

Does This Mean That Turning 45 Is Making Weird Stuff Happen???

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sopa de Tortilla

Winter is FINALLY approaching - I can't wait to start making my hot hot soups... Here's a recipe that was given to me by my favorite Long Beach Mexican restaurant - Mexican Affair - they closed their doors a little over a year ago - I will miss them..

Sopa de Tortilla
Serves 10-12 (or yummy leftover)


1 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 small white cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 tomato diced
1 onion coarsely chopped
4 carrots cut into 1/4 inch slices
4 medium zucchini cut into 1/4 inch slices
1/3 chicken base
1/2 TBSP salt
1 tsp oregano leaves
1 1/2 gallons water
6 corn tortillas cut into strips
8 oz grated jack and cheddar cheese
2 avocados

Cut tortillas into strips. Spray cookie sheet with vegetable cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until crisp. set aside. In a large pot add water, chicken base, and cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Add carrots, garlic powder, salt, oregano leaves, simmer for 5 minutes. Add bell peppers, onions, simmer for 5 minutes. Add zucchini and simmer for 5 minutes. Add cabbage, tomatoes and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Pour soup into bowls - top with tortilla strips and sprinkle with cheese. Garnish with sliced avocados.

Yummy - enjoy and let me know how you like it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Check Is In The Mail...

I have been self employed since 1997 - I started my home mortgage loan processing business as a way to stay home with the kids and also earn a little extra for the fun adventures we as a family like to do.. My business ended up being a God send when my husband lost his job last Spring - thankfully he is back to the world of the employed...

As a self employed person... my reputation is very important... I strive to always provide the best that I can give.... One thing I learned very early on is that what I do or don't do can make or break a loan. My knowledge... persistence... integrity is relied upon when working under constant deadlines... If I don't do my job - No one makes money... And when a loan closes - some of my clients are foaming at the mouth to get their check from the bank... and if it's not there quick enough - I am informed and asked to help them out... Which I gladly do... especially for the fact that if they do not get their check.... I don't get my check... makes sense right???

Recently I have two clients that are not paying me.... The excuses I get are so transparent that I would laugh if I wasn't so ticked off.... The money I get paid doesn't even come out of their pocket - it is billed into the final fees- the borrower pays.... So basically the client is stealing my money.... I have a very hard time understanding how people can operate like this.. I could never hold on to someones money like that...

The excuses I have heard range from: "The bank mailed the check to the wrong address." ( I do online pay and that has NEVER happened to me). "The address on the check can't be seen through the window on the envelope." (huh, really?).. "I mailed it two weeks ago.. really - you didn't get it?" "The postman in my building lost all the outgoing mail that day."

I have offered to run by their office to pick up the check and that's when I almost get the truth... Almost... I wonder whatever happened to good character? Because when it comes to money for some people good character has left the building.... I find that sad, don't you?

Definition of Good Character

Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny
Character is who we are when no one is looking.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Going To The Dermatologist Today

Take My Poll Up Top and Let Me Know What You Think - Am I Paranoid?????

I have an appointment with a dermatologist this morning - in about one (1) hour to be exact. I have a couple moles that I want looked at.. My dad used to get Basil Cell Carcinoma - he would go in to the doctor and have many moles burned off... I had a weird mole removed from my leg about fifteen (15) years ago - It's back....

I'm not trying to be paranoid - BUT... I'm pretty sure I have a Basil Cell on my left upper arm.. It's small - red - kind of looks like an ingrown zit... But it's been there for at least six (6) months that I know of... It's better to be safe than sorry... I tried to take a picture of it- but my camera is not working that well ( I need a new one)

The mole on my leg - looks a little like this one..

Picture taken from yahoo pictures

I have a dark ugly mole on neck/shoulder - I hope to have this removed soon - looks like this one...

Picture taken from yahoo pictures

There's another mole on my leg - now this one is very very light - a couple of weeks ago - something must have rubbed against it because it started to bleed - turned into a scab and fell off... Searching the internet about moles - it always says to have bleeding moles checked... so here I go...

I know the A B C D E of moles - BUT... I'd rather have a doctor tell me..

Asymmetry can be assessed by comparing one half of the growth to the other half to determine if the halves are equal in size. Unequal or asymmetric moles are suspicious.

If the mole's border is irregular, notched, scalloped, or indistinct, it is more likely to be cancerous and is suspicious.

Variation of color (e.g., more than one color or shade) within a mole is a suspicious finding. Different shades of browns, blues, reds, whites, and blacks are all concerning.

Any mole that has a diameter larger than a pencil eraser in size (> 6 mm) should be considered suspicious.

If a mole is elevated, or raised from of the skin, it should be considered suspicious.

Halloween Light..... Halloween Dark | Kelly's Ideas

Halloween Light..... Halloween Dark | Kelly's Ideas

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

God, Cover My Mouth Please.......

I have come to the conclusion I have a BIG mouth.... Sometimes all the time I just start going and the next thing I know - I have been ranting for an hour... I can't stop the flow of words from coming out... I have often thought it would be great if God would reach down from Heaven and cover my mouth and say "Be Silent!"

I was having lunch with my mom the other day and as we were talking I realized that she did not lecture me when I was growing up... If I was bad - I would know it - simply by her disappointed tone and her words... Her words were short and simple. I remember hating that I disappointed her and promising myself I would do better... My dad on the other hand - would go on and on and on.... He would work himself up into a full on anger fest.. Many times the offense was something as small as putting an empty milk carton back into the refrigerator... I grew up fearing my dad - not knowing when he would explode over a little thing... He was unpredictable... and I realized - that many times in my anger - I was dad.... I lecture... I yell and my kids would tune me out... My kids don't fear me - they humored me and looking back I think know they were also losing respect for me....

A little while ago - I decided no more yelling... no more lectures. Already - I see a huge difference - not only in my kids' behavior but also in my stress level.. I have realized that my girls know what needs to be done in school - they also know right from wrong... I have let go of trying to control results... I have also loosened the apron strings a tad more.... I will continue to be involved in their studies.. their activities... And I will always be a parent - teaching right from wrong... holding them responsible for their actions.. Praising them on their accomplishments.. Loving them unconditionally... The difference now - is no more lecturing.. no more yelling..

Yesterday as we were driving home from school - my oldest asked me if I was able to see her grades on line... I replied that yes they were finally up - this is our conversation - it opened my eyes to many things...

Nicole: "Did you check to see if my grades were posted on line yet?"

Me: " Yes, they are there - you have all Cs and one D." I said very calmly..

Nicole: " Are you mad?"

Me: "No, I do know that you can do better - you are right on the border of
getting B's in 3 of the classes and the D you are less than a percent
away from a C"

Nicole: "Are you mad? I'm really sorry - I will do better."

Me: "I'm not mad. I told you I'm done with yelling and getting mad about your
grades. You are a very smart girl and if you want to raise them up you

Nicole: "I'm really sorry - please don't be mad!"

Me: "I am not mad - really I'm not - do I sound mad?"

Nicole: "You sound normal but-I think I'd rather have you yelling at me because then I would know for sure you care."

Me: "I care and I know you can make it better - I know you - you like to have
good grades." (she has always had an A average)

Nicole: "Yes, I do. I'm really sorry - I will raise them to As and Bs"

This conversation really showed me that I have been putting too much importance in the results of their efforts rather than the efforts they are making... Nicole's grades have improved since the beginning of the year - she no longer has the ability to text on her cell and she has realized that the texting she had done at the beginning of the school year in class really did damage her grades - she is trying to catch up and I am proud of her efforts.... and Yes, I told her that - several times.... But I did not lecture about it.... :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Memory Lane On My Birthday

Today I turn forty five - it's hard to believe I am this old... My mind tells me I am still young but my body- now that's a different story.... Today - I looked back on my life and I realized I have lived through some very exciting times...

1968 - I remember the election of Richard Nixon - my dad would discuss politics - I was three years old - Nixon took office January 1969.

1977 - I remember the day Elvis Presley died - My mom cried...

1977 - I remember the day my first nephew was born - I remember rushing home to hear the news.

1980 - I remember my first kiss - it was at school behind the gymnasium..

1982 - I remember the day Valley Girl played on KROQ - we all talked like her - gag me with a spoon.

1982 - I remember falling in love for the very first time... and experiencing a few other firsts...

1983 - I remember going to my prom - the Plimsouls played - still love their song - A Million Miles away... Later saw them in the movie Valley Girl - with Nicholas Cage... Nicholas Cage went to elementary school with me... but his last name was Coppola at that time..

1983 - I remember the day I graduated high school - my boyfriend crashed his car and I spent most of the day at the hospital with him... My walking partner was my best friend Mark.. (I miss him)

1984 - I remember my first election - I voted for Ronald Reagan. I was very proud.

1986 - I remember the Space Shuttle Challenger exploding in midair - I was in the shower and I heard it on the radio - could not believe what I was hearing -ran out of the shower and saw the tail end of the explosion on TV and watched the replays over and over again - in a state of shock- our nation mourned that day....

1986 - I remember the day I met my future husband, Dusty. He and his sales rep tried to sell me a copier... My company went with someone else... I went with Dusty - he did not get the sale but he did get the

1989 - I remember the day I was married... I remember Dusty left a message on my answering machine -he sang the song "We're going to the Chapel and we're going to get married..."

1992 - I remember when bought our current home - I remember thinking there is no way we could fill up this house - it's huge.. Today - every nook and cranny has something... I love my house.

1994 - I remember the birth of our daughter Krystal Dawn -we had her baptized in the NICU - she died two days later - she was so very tiny - and very beautiful.

1996 -I remember the birth of Nikki - she had a perfect round face, dark hair, and hair on the tips of her ears... She was perfect.

1997 - I remember the day I started my business and I have never looked back...

1998 - I remember the birth of Kara - she was in a hurry to come out into the world - one push and there she was - she was a perfect angel - who squeaked like a little mouse when she slept.

2000 - I remember fearing that my computer would not work properly - it did...

2001 - I remember the first day of kindergarten for Nikki - she was ready to go - I wasn't ready to let her....

2001 - I remember when terrorists planes flew into the World Trade Center - my sister called me from New York and woke me up.... - she said "Our nation is now at war.." I remember the flags flying proudly from every porch on our street... Our nation united during this time... Gas prices dropped below .90 cents...

2002 - I remember Nikki as an orphan in the church Christmas Show.

2003 - I remember the first day of kindergarten for Kara - she wore the same Noah's Ark dress that Nikki had worn... My baby is in school... I cried on my way home... I realized at that moment that time goes by so very fast...

2004 - I remember Kara as a shepherd in the school Christmas play. I remember Nikki placing 2nd in the school spelling bee and competing in the district bee - I remember closing my eyes whenever she spelled a word - sending positive signals.. She did great... She missed the word logging.. spelling it with 1 G and not two... she will forever remember to spell that word...

2005 - I remember our first road trip to Lake Tahoe and San Francisco - The girls loved riding in a canoe with their Uncle Darin. On our drive into the city of San Francisco - we accidentally took a wrong turn and ended up at the front of the Gay parade.. The parade Queen/King? could wear an evening gown better than most.... It was rainbow colored sequins and the crown would blow away Miss Universe's ....It was at least 10 inches high.

2006 - I remember we went to the Bahamas and stayed at The Atlantis - it was an amazing trip.

2007 - Dusty was laid off from his job of 23 years... It was unexpected and life changing....

2008 - I remember I took the girls on a two (2) week road trip - we had an incredible time.. When I came home - my dad was in the hospital - he died four days later...

2008 - I remember voting for McCain - President Obama won... I remember the fear of many...

2009 - I remember listening to the radio while getting my hair cut - there was a new bulletin interruption - Michael Jackson has had a heart attack and he was not breathing... Michael Jackson died the day of my niece's wedding rehearsal dinner..

2009 - I remember my niece Kristin's amazing wedding... No one could be more beautiful and happy.... Nikki and Kara were junior bridesmaids... Nikki caught the bride's bouquet..

2010 - I will remember this year as a difficult year - Dusty was laid off in March - was hired by a great company doing exactly what he loves in September.. I will remember this summer as the summer I never left my office....

I have lived a wonderful life with some sadness tossed in.. - I have witnessed history - the birth of my 3 daughters - the death of a child - the death of a parent - and I have been truly loved....

Monday, November 1, 2010

Addiction Has Many Faces

When we hear the word addiction - most of us think or assume drugs and/or alcohol.. But I believe addiction has many faces... many forms... I believe addiction is caused by a compulsive addictive personality and I also believe it can be hereditary.. Addiction of any kind is a life long battle.. I know - I have battled food addiction my entire life and I smoked for twenty-eight (28) years - I quit when I turned forty (40).... It took me about ten (10) tries before I was able to quit smoking for good... and I'm thankful that those urges to pollute my body with nicotine are gone....

When I was waiting for my oldest daughter to be born - I spent several weeks with her birth mother (Cindy). Cindy attended AA meetings several times a week. She was a recovering alcoholic and had been sober for about two (2) years when we met. I was invited to attend a few meetings with Cindy - She wanted to spend time with me and to introduce me to several of her friends and her sponsor... One night - a leader in a meeting came up to me and said that - I needed to be watchful of my daughter... that she too may have inherited an "additive" personality and alcohol and drug abuse could happen... I remember thinking to myself at the time - I will raise my kid right and this would not... could not be an issue.... My dad was an alcoholic and I turned out okay, right????

Since that night over fourteen years ago - I have learned and matured... I have learned that addiction can take on many forms... and I also learned that the signs can start at a very early age... The personality of "it's never enough" is a sign... Not enough candy... not enough TV time.. not enough phone time... I want more.. and I will do whatever it takes to have it.... I have watched my daughter go through these feelings and I have watched her try to fight the urge to push the envelope of going too far - sometimes she won the battle and sometimes she did not... I also came to realize that this is exactly the feelings and battles I fought as a young child... a young teen... a young adult... and still today... Different wants but same desires...

Addiction is a battle - an everyday - I got to pay attention battle... I believe as parents we must be diligent... we must keep our eyes and ears open... Our kids' future happiness may depend on it...


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