Friday, August 29, 2008

Double Standard?

I couldn't resist taking a picture of and posting this. This is my boss' trash can in his otherwise neat office. Lovely no?

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

This is the same guy who has told my other boss to tell me and my co-workers that our areas look cluttered and that we may not put Walmart bags in the refrigerator because it doesn't look good.

Hmmm....kinda strange, don't you think?

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

And yes, it always looks like this!

Lets just hope my boss doesn't look at my blog :) I really do get along with my bosses for the most part...but I thought this was just begging for a post. :)

In other news...lets see. I haven't posted for a few days cause I've been SICK AS A DOG. It started with what seemed to be allergies - watering eyes and that rubber band, tight feeling around my temples along with stuffed up nose. Well, starting about Tuesday night, it just got worse and worse. I woke up Wednesday miserable. Had to go to work because we are under the gun to get stuff done for our pending trip to Washington DC. Went home and went to bed at 6:30 p.m. WEd night. Felt horrible - mentally and physically. After a restless night of sleep, I decided to go to the doctor on Thursday. Bad sinus infection. Now I'm taking four different kinds of medication and trying to recover. Went to work Thursday and today, and I must say, I am feeling a bit better today, though not nearly well.

I toyed with going out of town this weekend to visit some friends, because I HATE being home with nothing to do over a Holiday weekend. It somehow makes me feel extremelly lonely for some reason. Silly I know because for one thing, I really don't feel that great and I need to rest, second, I have a bunch of stuff to do around here before I leave on my trip and this weekend is my only chance to do that and third it is kind of silly to go somewhere just because I don't want to be home "with nothing to do." So, I've elected to stay here and try to fully recuperate from my sickness as well as cleaning the house and maybe throwing a few "fun" things in like going to a movie or possibly going fishing with my dad on Monday (that depends on how I'm feeling and if I get my packing and stuff done before then...)

I'm also feeling a bit melancholy because remember the nice guy who I had gone out with a few times (who was nice enough to fix my garbage disposal, etc.)? Well, he has now decided he wants to date someone else. Found that out earlier this week and it came as quite a shocker. It literally happened overnight. Unfortunately, that is the breaks in dating isn't it? You win some, you lose some, etc. It just tends to throw me for a loop because I guess I always have such high hopes and time after time, it just doesn't work out for one reason or another. I'm fine, but just quite a bit disapointed that it didn't work out. It wasn't anything I could have prevented but still, it hurts nonetheless. One day you are talking to someone almost 24/7 and the next, they are out of your life. And this hit about the same day as my sickness did so it was a double whammy.

Kind of ironic/funny/not so funny - we had talked about being able to have a date this Friday night without kiddos - maybe finding someone for Brandon to spend the night we could have a real "date night" sans kids. Then, tonight, I get a call from his buddy's mom asking if he can come over and hang out and spend the night. So...Brandon is at his buddy's house and I am here all alone - with no date. Kind of like the "all dressed up, but nowhere to go" kind of thing. Oh well, its not like I feel that great anyway, but it is just the timing - tends to sorta suck! So, I thought I'd update the blog and try to get a few things done around here. Figured I'd go to bed early too, but I guess that isn't happening.

Tomorrow I'm attending the funeral of a good friend of mine's brother. He passed away a couple of days ago from cancer. Really sad. I'm reminded that I really need to try to look at the positives and the good things in my life - that life is too short to dwell on the little negatives and disapointments. Now if only I can remember that for more than 10 minutes! That is the challenge.

I hope to update my blog again soon, but I'll be leaving for Washington DC in a few days and will be gone for a few days so I'll update when I can. Have a great weekend everyone.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

More Vacation pics - are you sick of em yet?

These were actually from June 20 and our drive from Glacier to Idaho. We stopped at this dam (sorry, but I can't remember the name of it) on the way. It was tucked back in this little town and we parked and hiked across this quaint little bridge and there it was. The water around this dam was just surging and was actually quite pretty.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

We hiked around the area to see what we could find. We saw an Osprey nest up on one of the telephone poles near there. We saw a chipmunk and a really cool looking squirrel. Here is the squirrel. I got some good close up shots of it with my zoom lens. I thought they came out really nice!

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

Here is the sign that was posted about the Osprey. I thought it was pretty interesting.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

This particular osprey picture was one I actually took in Idaho and not one that we saw where this sign was. There was a nest near the dam where this sign was, but it was so high up that I could not get a good look at the bird inside! But, the picture I did get was taken alongside the road in Idaho - alongside a road that lined water. There in the water were all these platforms they had built presumably for the osprey to build their nests upon.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Best Shot Monday - First Day of School - 8th Grade

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

Well, let me back up. I took this picture actually on the night BEFORE the first day of school. I had to laugh (and smile inside) cause this is what I saw in Brandon's room. He has a calendar that he has already marked his schedule on, as well as his soccer games and stuff he feels necessary to keep up with. Also, it is lying on top of the clothes he has out to wear to school the next day. I always get my clothes out the night before for the next day. It is one of the anal retentive things I do. I guess he takes after me!

The picture below was what he looked like the morning of the first day of school. We usually take it by the swing in our yard but it was raining pretty hard on the first day so this was the best I could do. You could tell how UNTHRILLED Brandon was to have his picture taken. After all, he is 13!!! AW mom!!! Well heck, at least I didn't try to follow him in the school and take a picture of him in his desk. :)

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

Now fast forward to AFTER SCHOOL:

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

When I got home from work Wednesday night last week, this is where I found Brandon. Fast asleep in the living room! And yes, I guess it appears he carries that danged gun around with him everywhere.

He said he had a good first day - I guess it wore him out!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Rare Sunday Post

I don't normally post on Sundays. Or much of the weekend for that matter. Why you ask? Well, for one thing because I find that most of the bloggers out there seem to take a break on the weekends. Therefore, if I post something on Saturday or Sunday and then something on Monday, nobody reads what I posted on Saturday or Sunday. And although I know I should be posting for ME and not anybody else, I love my visitors and I love having comments. The anal retentiveness in me hates to have a post that doesn't get a chance to get any comments.

I wanted to alude to my Friday post about my SMELLY FART/BAD ATTITUDE. I guess it really wasn't that bad, but the expression of my attitude stinking and emitting an odor was just too funny not to post. I got a laugh out of it anyway.

Work is stressing me out lately a bit. Details really aren't that necessary, and really things aren't that bad. Just more annoying than anything. One of those situations where there are too many chiefs and not enough indians. Lots of bosses and therefore you don't know who to go to to get something nailed down. Things don't really GET nailed down...and everything seems to change at the last minute. Really, again, it is MY attitude. I just need to get it back in order. I need to be (and I AM) thankful to even HAVE a job......The rush is on right now though because right after Labor Day, I'll be traveling to the Washington DC area for our yearly meetings with a bunch of our committee members. This is where we hash out details about next year's conference. It is very labor intensive and for me, very stressful. I'll be glad when this trip is OVER.

That leads me to something else that is totally stressing me out right now: Money.

Brandon is 13 1/2. Within just a year, he will need braces. Within a couple years after that, a car. And then (drumroll please) COLLEGE. And oh my gosh, how am I ever going to pay for that? I really have been thinking so much about all this lately and to be honest, it truly depresses me. I try not to worry about it so much but my faith is being really tested. I just don't see how I can meet the rising costs of the future.

Brandon's school is awesome. I would love for him to continue to go there. However, it is costing me an arm and a leg. And frankly, I'm being nickled and dimed to death when it comes to school stuff. I guess that is to be expected. But, everything I turn around, there is another fee, another cost, another check I have to write.

School just started last week and in addition to all the school supplies, the new uniforms, the tennis shoes, all that stuff that goes along with going back to school...there is a fee for his soccer uniform - about $25.00, a fee of $85.00!!! that the school charges for his participation in this sport (and they will charge $85.00 for EACH sport your child participates in so that in the fall, I'll owe ANOTHER $85.00 for basketball and then in the spring, an additional $85.00 for track!) School lunches are $4.00 a day! He needs another pair of tennis shoes for gym....a $15.00 portfolio for art, a new sketchbook (these are in addition to the supplies I already bought him) oh and to top it off, he needs a graphing calculator! So, yesterday we were off to my favorite places - Walmart - to purchase an almost $100.00 CALCULATOR !!! I'm sorry, but I didn't even know what a graphing calculator was! Brandon is taking Alegebra I and beginning Physics this year (yes, in 8th grade!) and he said the calculator will be used this year and he can use it all through high school. I figured I would get it for him since even though it is not REQUIRED this year, it is needed. The money flow should slow down, I hope, but I am just so frustrated right now.

In fact, today I'm starting a journal of sorts. Tracking. I'm going to keep a notebook of every. single. penny. I. spend. every one. I figure if I want to keep more of my money, I need to see where it is all going. Then, after tracking all my expenses for a couple of months, I can more readily see where the big holes are and where my money is going.

My health insurance is also causing me great stress right now. Can I just say that BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD sucks the big one. They are horrible. I am paying a lot of money (several hundred dollars) a month for healthcare just to cover me. And this is healthcare that EXCLUDES more than it INCLUDES.

I pay more in premiums so that I can go to the doctor and just pay a co-pay for routine stuff. That way, I'm not hit with unexpected trips to the doctor. Mostly, it should just cost me the $25.00 for the office visit and then the px cost. I pay through the nose for prescriptions too because Blue Cross and Blue Shield excludes so many medications. Also, I pay more because of my history of migraines and because of the cost of my migraine medication. Basically, the pills I take for it cost me around $20.00 EACH pill. And this is WITH insurance. Lovely.

I've been really frustrated with BCBS for a while and need to look at other options I guess. The problem is, I know other insurance companies probably aren't much better. Everyone out there has to deal with these issues, I know. I'm not alone and my situation is certainly much better than many people. So in a way I feel bad for complaining at all. What would be really great is if I worked for a big company that provided health insurance for me - a company that could afford to have large group coverage that I didn't have to pay out the nose for. But, where i live, that ain't gonna happen. I would have to relocate to another city to get a job like that.

Anyway, I'm getting off topic. My latest complaint with my insurance is they still hadn't paid an invoice from my primary care physician from September of 2007! I finally called them about it because my doctor's office is billing ME for it. I paid my $25.00 co-pay so I shouldn't owe any more, if it worked like it should.

Well, my insurance company (the "wonderful" Blue Cross and Blue Shield) is saying that they applied the full amount of the visit to my deductible. Why? Because BCBS says my doctor's office coded the visit as a "surgical procedure". I exlained it WASN'T a surgical procedure. Ya know what it was? I had EAR WAX REMOVED from my ear. um, it wasNOT a surgical procedure. BCBS says their hands are tied - the way it is coded, they have to charge it to my deductible. They suggest I call my doctor's office and get them to recode it.

I call my doctor's office and after talking to them, they said they would have someone else call me back and see what they could do. Another lady calls me back and the short version is they can't recode it. That code is what they have to call it. The lady at my doctor's office said she totally understands it is NOT a surgical procedure, but that is how they have to code it. Ear Wax removal - coded as a surgical procedure. She said that this is a grey area and my insurance company knows it. (and I am sure she is right) - that they have the ability to look at the charge and see it was for ear wax removal and pay it like they should - as an office visit.

So, here I am STUCK in the middle. The consumer. It really, really, really pisses me off. I really blame BCBS rather than my doctor. I believe BCBS could rule the other way and process my claim like they should. And the money here, well it really isn't that much - only about $25.00 after I looked at it - the difference betwen what I would owe if they charged it correctly and the way they did charge it...but it is just the principal of the matter!!!

I guess was just sort of the straw that broke the camel's back for me on Friday - this little deal was just the symbol of the frustration I feel in dealing with my insurance company and the cost I'm paying for health care - shoddy health care coverage I might add. And sometimes it is enough to drive me to tears. Like Friday.

But anyway, today is another day and I'm OK. I have decided not to try to fight it any further because it is only about $20.00 I'm fighting over and my time is worth much more than $20.00. I could appeal it, but I don't think it would do any good and it would cause me further for now, I'm letting it lie.

But, doesn't that suck?

Have a great Sunday. I'm off to have lunch with my ex-brother in law and his son who are in town for lunch.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Can You Smell It?

Some days my attitude stinks so bad, I think I farted.

Today is definitely one of those days.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

What is This? - Part 2

If you missed my PREVIOUS POST, check that out and then read this one.

Ok, do you give up? I feel sure most of you already guessed what it is. It is "someone" under my sink, fixing my garbage disposal.

Pretty cool huh?

This person, who shall remain anonymous, was nice enough to volunteer to replace my garbage disposal that went out last week. The one I had has been in the house since I bought it, so I guess it was time. It corroded out and had big holes in it that I discovered when I saw a huge bunch of water pouring out from underneath my sink.

Coincidentally this was the same evening said very nice guy was here having dinner and fixing my ice cube maker. REMEMBER THAT? Now my ice cube maker works perfectly! I am soo thankful I have nice people to help me with my messes!

Oh yea, and good guessing everyone. I loved REBEKAH'S answer the best - ha ha.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - What is This?Part 1

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

I love this picture. Of course I know where I took it and what it is of, but I'm just curious if it is that obvious to all you out there at first glance.

It is an interesting picture though, isn't it? I don't know why it is so appealing to me. When I saw this, I had to grab my camera.

Come back tomorrow and I'll tell you what it is, but in the meantime, I'd love to hear your guesses.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Times They Are A-Changin

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

I can see change on the horizon. And I can’t tell if it is going to bring me rain or a beautiful day, but I see it coming. Just thinking today about Brandon and me and the future I guess. I see him on the very cusp of being a full-fledged “teenager” complete with raging hormones, acne, and excess hair. (ewwwww!) I don’t think he has hit puberty full force yet. I guess I would be kidding myself to think it has not started, but it certainly hasn’t totally manifested itself yet. He has some tell-tale acne sprinkling his nose and chin and his voice – well, his voice is sounding a tiny bit deeper, but more of a hoarse nature to it. Hard to describe – different, but not the “squeaky” change or very deep voice I would imagine would occur. Mostly I guess, it is not so much his physical appearance, but his actions that are indicative to me that change is on the horizon.

He is involved in our youth group at church, which is a great thing. He is really wanting to spend a lot of time up there, basically whenever the doors are open. They have a great time – they play music – several guitar players and singers are in the group…they play cards, and games and have lock ins and just have a great time, all within the confines of the church. In fact, he came home and told me last night that he is now “in the band” up there. And of course, there are girls. In the past, Brandon has never shown an interest and on the surface, he still isn’t. However, I am wondering if his recent influx of interest in activities at the church as to do with a few very cute young ladies I have seen at the church. In particular, a set of twin girls that are just as cute as they can be and another gal that Brandon actually danced with at Cotillion and won a dance contest with last year! So, I’m thinking he has some ulterior motives for his involvement. I could be wrong.

All I can say is “I’M NOT READY!!” I’m not ready for my little boy to turn into a man!!! I also realize of course that my not being ready has nothing to do with it, but I can at least complain on here, my blog, my outlet!

The thing that really brought this to my attention was the other night, they had an event at the church. Brandon said they were watching a movie and it started at 6:00 p.m. I was riding with a cycling group at the time (more on that in a different post) so I had my parents drop him off. I couldn't remember when I was to pick him up so when I got done with my cycling (about 7:30 p.m.) I went by the church to pick him up.

They were watching a movie (Radio) and hanging out. I told Brandon "come on" because I didn't want to have to run back up there to pick him up later. He didn't want to leave, but he came. He said they weren't done and could he stay. Without thinking, I said no - I had come there to get him and didn't fancy the fact of going BACK to pick him up later. We ended up getting home. He was asking me to go back after we got to the house. I was like "no, of course not" but then I realized, as the tears spilled down his cheeks that it would really mean a lot to him to get to go back. He said they weren't nearly finished - they were going to watch and discuss the movie (and the movie wasn't nearly done when I got there he said) and then they were going to do other things....and he was going to miss them.

I breathed a heavy sigh and really contemplated. I was taken back to my own youth when these things took on dire importance. Connecting with peers, etc. So, I gave in. I decided we would go back and I would ask the youth director exactly how long they would be. If it was a while, I would let him stay. Brandon very seldom cries. This was something that brought him to tears. I guess this is what made me realize I think the puberty has started!!! I felt for him I guess.

Took him back and talked to the youth director. Turns out they WEREN'T nearly done. Brandon was right. After the movie, they were going out to the local park and were going to play volleyvall until rather late. He offered to bring Brandon home after. I said that was fine. So, he was so happy to get to stay and enjoy being with his freinds. There are only a handful of days left until school starts back (it starts back on WEdnesday August 20 for us) so I felt inclined to let him enjoy the last few days of summer.

I guess this little incident just opened my eyes to what is happening in front of my eyes. My little boy is growing up.

And I'm so not ready.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Best Shot Monday - Future NRA Member?

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

Had to grab the camera for this one! Walked into Brandon's bedroom one night to turn off his light and saw this! Pretty hilarious. This is an air gun (soft pellet) in case you are wondering. Not sure why he took it to BED with him....

Here is a closer look at it in case you are really into the gun thang.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

Be sure to visit TRACY'S SITE for more Best Shot Monday!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wordless Wednesday "Why Yes, I'm Back On Weight Watchers....Why Do You Ask?"

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

A picture truly can be worth quite a few words....or at least worth about 15 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

For more Wordless Wednesday Participants, stop by the official WW HUB or by 5 MINUTES FOR MOM

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More Vacation Pics - June 21

June 21 we spent our first day at the condos in Blanchard, Idaho. This farmhouse was right near the entrance to the area where we stayed. I just loved the way the sky was so blue against the red farm house. They also had Llamas out in the field. When I got out to take the picture, these llamas RAN as fast as they could over to me and started making this funky noise. It was funny! In the second picture, you can see the Llama in the bottom right corner.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

This day we just had a rest day - just drove around in the towns near our condo and relaxed. We were pretty tired from riding in the car so much.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Best Shot Monday

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

The other day, Brandon was playing with his laptop on my bed and Lexi gets up there and lies down her chin on his keyboard. She was like "Ok, get off the computer and play with me!!!" - It was really cute.

This weekend was very laid back. I haven't really been feeling the greatest. I think it is allergies or sinus stuff. Not really sure, but I didn't feel great the entire weekend. I think I'm finally on the mend. I lost my voice around Wednesday or so and it just kept getting worse. I think it is finally back mostly, though still not normal. Brandon had a lock in at our church from Friday night at 9:00 until 9:00 a.m. Saturday so he came home and went to bed. He slept from 9:30 a.m. Saturday morning until 4:30 p.m. Saturday evening. I finally had to wake him up because I was afraid he wouldn't be able to get to sleep that night. I myself pretty much just stayed in bed sleeping and watching TV. Just didn't feel like doing much else.

Oh, and our newest purchase: A Wii Fit! I had enough credit at a local store to completely pay for it so I didn't have to put out any money at all for it. Brandon just hooked it up and is playing it. I'll have to try it out later. It looks like a lot of fun. I understand there is some test you can take and it will give you your "Wii Fit Age" - hmmm - not sure I wanna do that!

Hope everyone had a great weekend (and a more cheery one than I did!)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Continuation of Vacation - a "Beary" Scarey Day - June 20

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

OK, so the title is goofy. It wasn't really scarey at all.

Continuation of our trip earlier this summer. We were really hoping to see some bear and we did see a couple in Glacier National Park, but we were always on the lookout for more. So, on this day, we were driving to Blanchard, Idaho (from Glacier) to our condo where we would spend the next week.

As we were driving, my mom shouts "hey, there is a bear in the middle of that field!" So, we turn the van around and drive back by to see if it really was one. She was right.

This is what we saw:

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

See the black line looking thing in the middle of the grass. Yep, its a bear!

This next picture gives you a better look at it.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

I must mention there was no shoulder on the road in this particular part of the highway. So, Dad, Brandon and I got out of the van and Amy halfway pulled the van over in the grass. There weren't any cars coming at that time. I got out my zoom lens and started shooting.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

Is that cool or what? my zoom lens really came in handy when this guy decided to stand up in the middle of that field. He was eating something in the field and every now and then, he would stand up and look around at us.

We eventually walked over to a gravel road beside the field and a sheriff's car was siting there also watching the bear. It turned on its siren to show us how that made the bear stand up. It did indeed stand up to see where the noise was coming from. I got some more shots of it. I just thought it was so cool to see it pretty close up (but not so close it could get us). I am loving this 400 mm zoom lens I got!

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

We felt we were really lucky to be able to see this bear and get some good shots!

Stay tuned because there are still more nature and travel shots to come.

Oh yea, and Brandon is coming home late Thursday night. They decided to drive back tomorrow all day - they will be here late, but he should be here tomorrow night. I talked to him today and he said the soaring through the trees deal was FANTASTIC. He wants me to come back with him and do it at night!! I would love to go. Maybe we'll be able to go back someday.

*Freezer update - I still haven't tried anyone's suggestions and the shirt is still stuck in the freezer. I do plan to get it out one way or the other. Thanks for all your helpful suggestions.