Monday, November 30, 2009

Finding Myself- Part 2

**This is taking me longer to finish than I thought it would. Next time I do something like this, I'll make sure I have all the photos I'll need first. I still haven't found that one photo album I'm looking for-- the years between high school and marriage. I did manage to find other albums I forgot about, so I'll go ahead and continue where I left off. **
After high school, I stayed home a year.
I didn't have a clue what I wanted to do and if I were to be honest,
I think I was depressed.
I spent a lot of time in my Mom's apartment watching TV, reading books, smoking cigarettes and just living a basic existence. After a while, my sister kicked my ass and told me to fill out an application for college. I did with her help and I got in the following fall of '92.
I'm missing pictures for this part, but college? Wow! I had some serious fun!
I still didn't know what I wanted to major in, but jewelry design sparked an interest in me. My financial support vetoed that, saying it wasn't a financially supportive career and to look for another major. But they didn't tell me that until after they dropped my funding for the 2nd trimester and I got a bill from the college. That was the end of that.
I left school in the Spring of '93 and spent the summer working at the beach. Again, missing pictures here, but it was the greatest time of my life. Of all the jobs I've ever held, working at the little gift/jewelry shop for $5/hour was the best job!
After that summer, I kind of bummed around. I stayed in the dorm room of my best friend while she was enrolled in another college in DC. Whoo! You wanna talk about parties? We Par-Tayed! We went to all the coolest dance clubs and never paid the entrance fee. It was just like in the movies, where there was a line and the bouncer just waved us in! We got to know the bartenders on a first name basis and I don't recall ever paying for a drink. Oh the stories I could tell!
That following summer, '94, found me in Maine. A close friend of mine lived there and invited me up for the summer. It was supposed to be just for a little bit, but I ended up falling in love with the place and when fall came and it was time for her to go back to college, I stayed behind at her Mom's house. Her Mom took me everywhere. We were kindred spirits and had much in common. We went places on weekends, exploring the state and she let me play with her 35mm camera and I discovered I loved photography. Pictures missing- argh!
I got my own apartment and started making friends, but come Spring, it was time to move on. I hated to leave, but I knew I had to.
Summer of '95 found me and 2 of my best friends back at the beach again. I was turning 21 in the fall and I still had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.

There was a possibility of working at a group home not too far from the beach, but the girl that was supposed to be our roommate kept flaking out on us, so I ended up going back home to Mom's at the end of the summer.


I went to my best friend's Maw-Maw's house for a weekend and she put us to work helping out in the garden. I fell in love with canning tomatoes. I loved getting my hands dirty, picking tomatoes and then learning how to skin them, can them and seeing all the pretty rows of tomato-filled quart jars on the table. I was happy that day.

At the encouragement of my Mom, I applied for a job in the Post Office. I took the test, was hired, and began work on 11-11-95. Little did I know, a fellow co-worker that began on the same day would be my future husband.


I think this is the very first picture of the two of us together. This was either the first or second time I went to his parent's house and this was about a month after we started dating in November of '96.

I have never brought a boy I dated home before, and by the time my Dad met him, we were already engaged. He proposed to me on Jan 2, 1997 and we moved into an apartment together shortly after. We went to my Dad and his wife's house to gather some things for my apartment and I only introduced him as a friend who was helping me move. I wanted to tell them in a formal way, so we invited them for dinner and when I told Dad and his Wife that we were engaged, my Dad's exact words were, "I didn't even know you had a boyfriend!"


I still didn't know what I wanted to do with myself. I knew I wanted to marry my fiancee, but the Post Office was not where I wanted to be. I hated that place. Good money, good benefits, I met my husband there, but the job was hell. It was a physically taxing job with supervisors that ignored me unless they wanted me to work elsewhere.


We got married in '98, moved to a bigger apartment, moved to a house in the country, and then, I finally discovered what I wanted to do:

Have babies with my Husband!


to be continued next Monday...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gobble Gobble!

Happy Thanksgiving


my Family

to Yours!
Taking a little break, be back on Monday with more on 'Finding Myself'.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's coming!!

Eeek! I can't find my 2nd photo album to continue the "Finding Myself" post!! I am hunting it down, it's gotta be somewhere around here! I just hope it isn't in the basement *gulp!* After we made room for my Mom's boxes down there, we sort of shoved our stuff to the other side, and haven't gotten around to reorganizing down there. Might be time to do that now... sigh. The kids swear up and down that they don't know where it is, and I believe them. They like to look through our photos, but don't usually put them back where they got them, so it might have gotten misplaced in one of our 'hurry-people-are-coming-over-let's-clean-up-quick!' cleaning sprees!

As soon as I find the album, and I cannot rest until I do, I'll continue where I left off. Thank you for all your positive comments. I enjoyed reading them and look forward to reading what you'll say on the next installment.

On a funny side note: I bought the Husband a bag of chocolate-covered raisins. It's sitting on the pantry shelf in plain view of the kids. Oldest asked me if she could have some, and I told her to ask her dad, they're his. So she bounds out of the room to find daddy. Hubby came out laughing, he said she asked him if she could have his "chocolate grapes"!!! He had to think about that one a bit before he realized what she meant! Don't you just love kids and how their minds work?? :o)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Finding Myself

Every kid goes through that period where they are searching for who they are-- their style, their signature, that thing that tells the world they are who they are. At 13, when I went into high school, I wasn't too sure of who I was, except that I was a deaf girl about to enter a school for the deaf, and for the first time, I would be equal to my peers. I hoped that I would no longer have to endure taunts from hearing classmates or be picked on for my K-mart clothes or be teased for not saying a word correctly.
This, was how 14 year olds dressed back in 1988.
Please note that the jeans and the jean jacket are K-mart issue.
How are today's 14 year old girls so gorgeous??? None of the girls I knew back then look like the girls do today!
The buttons on my jacket ranged from:
"SSDD- Same Shit, Different Day"
"I'm not Deaf, I'm ignoring you!" (ha-ha!)
A picture of Spuds McKenzie
I remember how I felt most of the time that year.. like I was a fat kid with braces. I had an aunt and uncle that always told me that if I wore make-up I'd be so pretty and to dress better, which only made me more painfully aware of myself and I figured I must not be very pretty for them to say that to me. I remember pulling my already big shirt out to be sure that you couldn't see my tummy when I sat down and my long bangs would obscure half of my face.
I did manage to get my first kiss at 14. Some of us girls and boys would go behind the dorms and have make-out sessions. I don't know about anyone else, but I never went beyond kissing.
This is me at 15, the summer between sophomore and junior years. We were dressed up for a Sadie Hawkins party and this was my version of country bumpkin. It was fun that day, but then I was caught in that anxiety of trying to "catch" a guy and hoping he would have fun with me and not be all depressed that it was me that got him. I never did figure out if he was cool with me-- after our "marriage" we went our separate ways.

At just-turned-17, I was still searching for my style. I was wearing a shirt from a guy I liked. It was Homecoming weekend at the university and he was a freshman and I was a high school senior. I stayed overnight in his room. Nothing happened- I slept on the floor, but the next day, I needed a shirt, so I swiped his. I wore that shirt out. How many times have I thought I was the coolest chick wearing a boys' shirt??? I figured out here that I liked silver jewelry, so I had the big hoops and silver rings and necklaces. I was all about the silver!
I went stag to my senior prom. No one asked me. I wanted to go, it was on a cruise ship, so me and 2 other girls decided we'd go together and have fun anyway. I was starting to discover my style-- hippie chick. This was my prom outfit. I felt so daring, wearing a see-thru blouse, belly showing, mini-skort. I went to Georgetown to buy this outfit at all the hip shops. I had on dangle-y daisy earrings, a peace necklace, my hair parted down the middle... I felt like I was in my element. I was also kind of nervous, what would people think? How would they react?

Looking at this picture of me, about to head onto the boat, I looked so sexy! Look at those legs! I wish I had more confidence in myself back then. I wish I knew how beautiful I was, instead of worrying about what other people thought of me. I wish that when I worked up the courage to ask a guy out, only to get told that he just wanted to be friends, that I said to him, "your loss", instead of feeling crushed and that girl inside of me just wanted to wither away and disappear.
No one danced with me that night. I spent a lot of time topside, smoking my cigarettes (yes, I smoked then) and watched the sun go down over Potomac River. I took pictures for other people, posed for a few, but I didn't dance a single dance.
After graduation, my sister and I participated in a 'Bike Across Virginia' ride. My sister was an avid biker, and I wanted to be like her. I wanted to be athletic like she was, so I tried out for the basketball and volleyball teams because she played, but I never made the teams. I could ride a bike though, so we signed up and spent 5 days riding the Shenandoah Valley with hundreds of other riders. It was a great trip, I learned I didn't have the stamina my sister had, but we had so much fun together.

I didn't know what I wanted to do after high school. I found my style, but now what was I going to do??

--to be continued

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What Are They Saying?

**Edited to add::

I went ahead and watched my copy of the dvd movie UP and it IS captioned AND has English subtitles!! It has no [CC] symbols on the back and no subtitles info, but it IS captioned!! I have heard from various people that the rental versions aren't captioned, dunno what the deal with that is. So my apologies, the plain dvd version of UP is ok for us Deaf people to watch!! Yay!!

A friend on Facebook posted that the UP dvd movie did not have captions or subtitles. My heart skipped a beat as I ran to go check my copy and sure enough-- no captions or subtitles. There is French and Spanish subtitles, but not English. I went online to the Disney website and did some searching and I found they released 3 versions of the UP movie-- Blu-Ray, Digital, and regular DVD. ONLY the Blu-Ray version has English subtitles for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing viewers.

Why??? First, the Blu-Ray version costs more, and you need the Blu-Ray player. Secondly, why would Disney choose to leave out the captions or subtitles on any version of their movies?? I like watching movies, too! My kids could still watch it, but I won't be able to understand anything. Have you ever tried to lip-read a cartoon??? I'm a good lip-reader, but not that good!

I'm upset about it. I already opened the movie to clip out the proof-of-purchase tabs to redeem a rebate on the movie. I don't know if I'll be able to return it. I did get it for free after the coupons, but it's the principal of the thing-- had I known there were no captions or subtitles on it, I wouldn't have bought it. I hardly ever check for captions or subtitles anymore.. almost all the popular movies released on dvd have captions or subtitles.. it's usually the older copies or lesser-known movies that are hit-or-miss with captions.

I'm going to try and take back the movie, but I think the chances will be slim that they refund my $10 CVS bucks.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Shopping Frugally

Money is still an issue for us. Hubby is still working at his part-time job, and we are ever so grateful for it, knowing that there are many others without work. We have been doing alright, we have our moments when we have only $17 in the bank and we are left holding our breath until the next paycheck comes in, and sometimes, almost as soon as it gets deposited, it's spent already.

It helps that we don't keep up with all the newest toys and fashions, we are a low-tech family, which means we don't have any video games or ipods or any such electronica. We only have a computer, a TV with a DVD/Video player, and a plain and simple cell phone for Hubby. Oh, and an old handheld nintendo game player that gets used only in the bathroom. We are happy this way, with a simple lifestyle and less distractions that take away our time as a family.

It also helps that we raised maybe 30% of our own food-- hopefully more next year. I am still figuring out the balance and how much to plant to feed our growing family; for example: I planted 45 potato halves which gave us about 150 pounds of potatoes, and that lasted about 2 1/2 months. Definitely need to plant more next season.

That said, since my Dad's wife taught me some coupons tricks last August, I have been learning how to shop all over again. I've always used coupons before, but it never saved me much, maybe $10 at the most here and there, but still, it helped. I always wondered how those "coupon ladies" got $150 worth of groceries and only paid like $5 bucks! How did they do that??? I am slowly learning how!

I found out last week that Target was having a sale on a children's game-- connect 4x4. It was on sale for $14.99. There was a coupon out for $5 off, plus Target has a store coupon for $5 off. That makes it $5 after coupons. Then, I also had a $5 giftcard from buying something at Target, which made the game free and all I had to pay was the tax, which was 49 cents! Now, I have a game for all of us to play and I can put it under the tree this Christmas, and it didn't break the bank. Heck! It didn't even crack the wallet!

Do any of you shop at CVS? I never did. I thought it was an expensive store and I only shopped there if I needed something real quick, like cough medicine or a soda and a candy bar. Turns out, there is a trick to shopping at CVS... Get the membership card, cut out coupons in the Sunday papers, shop wisely and CVS will pay you to shop there! No, really! I'll show you-- this week, CVS is offering a nice selection of candies on sale.. buy $15 worth, and they'll give you $5 back on your receipt, which you can use to shop next time you go in. So here's the scenario:: Get 4 bags of chocolate kisses for a total of $12, 2 XL hershey bars for $3 which equals $15; use 2 $1 coupons for the kisses and a CVS coupon for $3 off $15. Ok, that sounds confusing, here...

4 kisses -- $12
2 XL bars-- $3
equals $15
2-$1 coupon -$2
CVS 3 off 15 -$3
total is $10 and CVS gives you $5 to use next time you shop!

So say next week, they offer the candy deal again, you now have $5 CVS cash along with whatever coupons you have and they give you more CVS cash for next time! It's a great little trick to keep you coming back, but when you use your own coupons, you actually kind of trick them a little bit. I don't know how they can afford to do it, but it works for me, so I'm not complaining. By using this way of shopping at CVS, I was able to get the newest Pixar UP movie on DVD for free! There goes another present under the tree this year! I also now have candies to use for my holiday baking-- the kisses go into cookies and the XL chocolate bars will be turned into fudge.

Last year, we could only afford one present for each child and then one present for all of them to share. On the one hand, we didn't mind, we wanted to teach them to appreciate their things and not get materialistic; on the other hand, we really wanted to be able to give them more, but just couldn't afford to. This year, we'd like to give each child 2 presents-- a new pair of jammies and one item, maybe a book or a toy, and then the game and the movie for them to share. With the money I am saving with my new way of shopping, I can see it happening.

I'm not super coupon lady yet, but I am getting there. It's a lot of work on my part, to search out online coupons and match up the coupons with the sales to make a good deal. I try to limit my computer time to a couple hours during the day and then a couple of hours after the kids go to bed. I am grateful that Hubby helps out and doesn't mind using coupons, too. He was the one that picked up the free game at Target for me last week and came home pretty pleased about it. We now have a little game we do with each other after I get home from the store and I point out something I got for free. I'll hold it up and we say "fuh-ree!" then laugh like crazy! Wait til he gets home tonight and I hold up the new UP movie... "fuh-ree!" then we'll cackle like a couple of crazy old loons!


Monday, November 9, 2009

Busy, busy, and busy!

We've had a great weekend! The temperatures were just fantastic, it got as high as 80 yesterday, so we spent most of the weekend working the wood and raking leaves. We gathered both cured and green logs from our woods and sorted out the green wood for next year; the seasoned wood got split. At least until the log splitter sputtered out. Hubby thinks it needs new spark plugs.

Anyway, we stacked freshly-split wood by the basement, and while it is nowhere near the amount we need to last the winter, it felt good to get something out there! Gotta start somewhere!

While Hubby puttered away on the log-splitter engine, I started raking. And raking. AND raking!! Whew! Being surrounded by trees makes for a lot of leaves to rake! I raked only the back yard where we spend most of our time-- around the swing tree, the chicken coop, the wood pile. Then I raked them onto a tarp and dragged the leaves to the garden area. I made 6 trips and I AM SORE! I got a blister that popped between my finger and thumb, my ribcage aches and my lower back is killing me, then add sore arms and picking up a heavy baby.. oof! But it's a good kind of sore.. the kind where you know you did good, honest work to benefit the garden.

Oooohhh!! I am SO SO SO looking forward to the garden next year! we have big plans and hopes and good intentions. I hope we follow through this time! :o) I don't know about you, but there have been plenty of times where I have said I was going to do something, and then didn't. Hopefully Garden 2010 will be the year for doing what we said we will do!

We went to the memorial service for my husband's cousin today. We took the kids with us. He was cremated, so his ashes were in a nice wooden box, parked on a table next to his picture. The kids did alright, I had the foresight to bring notebooks and colored pencils for the girls to draw, and Baby got a little antsy there, but settled down after a bit. I had planned to sit in the back, but apparently, family gets ushered into the front pews and then on our way up, the Baby's snacks spilled out of it's container onto the floor, so I held up the line a little bit and I got flustered there, but whatcha gonna do? I picked up what I could and hurried on. I didn't expect to sit in the very first pew, and I swear I felt eyes on me when Baby started getting loud, but he's a baby, and I thought he did pretty good.

It was a nice service, what I caught of it. I was the only Deaf person there, so they didn't arrange for interpreters, and I didn't expect them to. I knew I would be kept busy with the kids and I mainly went to support my husband. I didn't know his cousin well, he never came to family gatherings, despite repeated invitations. I think I've only met him maybe 10 times in the nearly 13 years I've been with my husband, and even then, it was a polite 'hi-how-ya-doin' kind of thing. He'll be missed, and I hope he's in a better place now.

My jams have been slowly selling! I'm excited, I just sold another sampler set (it's on its way tomorrow! ) and they make nice Christmas gifts to a foodie. They bake well in desserts, too, so don't forget your Christmas baking!

I'm heading out of town again tomorrow, have to take my Mom to meet Auntie and Uncle so they can take her to her doctor appts this week. I'm hoping this week I can squeeze in some time to post some more things to sell in my etsy shop. I have some vintage Christmas items that I need to part with to make room for others... I'll let you know when I update the shop!

Here's to another busy week!

Friday, November 6, 2009


I like watching Glee on It's a musical comedy show and I've always had a thing for musicals, never mind that I can't hear!

Anyway, on one of their recent episodes, one of the characters sang a shortened version of Neil Diamonds' 'Sweet Caroline'. I remember that song from when I was a kid and since watching that episode last week, I have Sweet Caroline stuck on the broken record player I have in my head, only I can't remember the words, so it's "Sweet Caroline, ba-ba-ba, dah dah dah da da da dah, sweet caroline, ba-ba-ba..." over and over.

I was humming it while making breakfast this morning and Hubby interjected his version of the song, saying I wasn't singing it right and it went "ba-da-da" (or something like that) and we got into this whole debate over who was singing it right. Let's see, deaf girl versus die-hard music lover hearing man? Guess who was right?

I played the clip from Glee because it was captioned and after it was done, Hubby told me to youtube it, so I did and guess what? I was still right! Hah!

We were laughing about it, so it wasn't a fight or anything, just one of those laughing-can't-believe-we're-arguing-about-this kind of debate. Still, though, it felt good to be right. Then, Mom and I were talking about how Neil Diamond was jewish and all, and the Hubby interupted with, "wait, what? He's jewish?" Ah-hahahahaha!! TWO deaf ladies know more about a singer than he did!!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE my husband. It's SO much fun being married to him and I love that we can laugh over stuff like this. That I can hum and sing a song, even though I know I'm not in tune and probably not singing the right words half the time, and you know what? Hubby will sing right along with me! Wrong words and all!

Now, go youtube it and sing Sweet Caroline! :o)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Costumes and Catch up

Can you believe it's November 5th already?!? Cripes! Seriously, where does time go?

Here's that picture I promised of the girls in their costumes: Oldest as a vampire, dressed in black with crimped hair and pointy teeth; Youngest as a purple witch with black-painted fingernails and pointy hat; Middle as supergirl. I found the groovy blue polyester pant suit at a yard sale a while back and bought it to wear for Halloween one day. I don't know how people did it back then, but polyester is freakin' hot!! I was sweating buckets wearing that and ended up taking the jacket off and just wearing the pants with a t-shirt. So much for dressing up!

We had a great time! (Thanks sweetie, for having us up!) The girls got plenty of candy to last, at least, until Christmas and I got to see the brand-new baby, and catch up on the news with my best friend. We really ought to get up there more often, since we always have such a good time, both kids and adults.

Mom is officially retired now. She met us for Halloween and then rode home with me while Hubby drove her car. No more scheduled work hours, no more pissy supervisors, no more dragging herself to work when she feels like crap. I'm so proud of her and I hope she'll be happy living with us. We love having her here and the girls love their grandma!

We have had some mild days lately, so we are working the firewood. Hubby is frustrated with his chainsaw-- it's over 20 years old and it seems like there is always some reason to take it apart and fiddle with it before it will run, and even then, it struggles with cutting. Hubby hints for a new chainsaw, and I would love to get one for him, but as usual, money doesn't permit that. So he does what he can with what he has, even if he's a little grumpy about it.

It's gotten cold today, and I'm tempted to start up the wood stove, but we'll see. Maybe we can get away with not starting it up for another day. I'll just bundle the kids up in warmer clothes, do some baking to help warm up the house and see how it goes. I won't turn everyone into popsicles just so I can put off another day with starting the wood stove.

I've sort of lost my blogging groove. I need to get back into it. Bear with me... it's been busy here and I sit at the computer thinking I'd rather do something else, so I do.

My husband's cousin died on Monday. He was only 40. I feel bad for his Aunt, she found him, and I'm sure she is devastated. No parent should ever have to bury their own child. Services will be next Monday, so we are making arrangements for going up for the day.

Time to put Baby down for his nap, then go out and help Hubby with the wood. Later, dudes.