Monthly Archives: August 2007

Landon – CD Review

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Here is the link to the temporary online article:
 
 

In the song ‘Angry’ there is a quote, “I just want to be angry.” Well, listening to ‘Defying the Stereotype’, Landon’s newest and self-released CD, that statement is so painfully obvious. I felt during most of the album that I was being scolded or punished in some way. All the shouting and angst appears to me to be something as simple as misguided talent. And I say talent because Landon, the lead singer, definitely is pure and raw in that regard. There are moments throughout this CD where you are awakened by a change of pace and drawn to her Stefani-like, melodic vocals. But then the moment is quickly banished by more yelling and drowning out instrumentals.

 

There are also misplaced production additions that seem odd. In the third track, First to Come in Last (which is a sweet title by the way), the beginning of the song has these background “Ohs” and “Ahs” which are in true teeny bopper fashion. It is not only strange but also obnoxious. And it certainly did not fit with the rest of the heaviness that adorns 90% of this album.

 

By naming the CD ‘Defying the Stereotype’, I can only guess that they wish not to be a part of any particular genre. And the music certainly accomplishes that wish. While it is attractive to be independent and have variety within a band and even within a CD, it makes it difficult to find a fan base when the music stomps all over the place as though it is lost and without a home.

 

Instrumentally, the band, Landon, is mediocre. Vocally, there are gobs of potential. Young and fresh – I can see Landon, herself, becoming a true star. But I believe that she will need to find her niche and tone down the PO’d screaming just a tad.

 

In the meantime, I think this would be a good CD to crank up after a bitter breakup, a couple thrown lamps and a few Jack and Cokes. 

Friday August 24, 2007

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Well, can’t write much today. My brother is getting married tomorrow so we are all pretty busy. Mom is spending the night and in the morning we are going to get our hair done, manicure and pedicure. I am also getting my underarms waxed for the first time. I heard it lasts for like a month. That would be AWESOME!! It will be nice to be pampered.
 
Tonight is the rehersal dinner at my soon to be sister in law’s parent’s house. It is a mexican menu and I made chocolate mexican wedding cookies. Kinda bland if you ask me. I followed the directions exactly…but I am also not much of a baker.
 
I have my niece here for the day. I heard she was quite upset at the rehersal last night so I thought I would take her today and have some time with her. She is 4. She is very nervous about walking down the aisle by herself. Not only is her dad getting re-married, but her mom is also getting re-married in a couple weeks. Plus she is starting a new school and new schedule. I think she is overwhelmed. I don’t want too much pressure on her to be perfect at this wedding. So I told her that it doesn’t matter one bit if she makes a mistake. I said, "Whether you drop the flowers, fall on your butt or fart really loud…you will still be the best thing in the wedding!!" Then I told her that she will be able to see me (I am not in the wedding party) so if she feels scared she can look at me and I will make silly face – I then demonstrated the silly face. She laughed. I hope she feels better. They are all growing up so fast. It seems like yesterday when I was changing her diapers. Now she is so ‘grown up’ acting. 4 1/2 going on 14. Man.
 
Well, I will be posting pictures on Sunday or Monday. And I will write about the event. I also have my Dr appt next week so maybe I will have some news on what the heck is wrong with me (physically – not mentally….that is already pretty clear Thinking).
 
Anyway…talk at ya later.

101 Things About Me – Finally Finished!!

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1. I was born in the same damn city I live in now
2. I have no birth marks
3. I had braces on my teeth for 4 years
4. I desperately want a chin implant and breast lift – but too afraid
5. I have OCD…well, not the C part – just the O part
6. I love staying in hotels
7. I always use coupons when I go to the store
8. I buy all my bras and undies at Victoria’s Secret
9. The only bone I have ever broken is a small one in my foot
10. I hate looking at myself in the mirror
11. I never wore perfume until I found Philosophy fragrances
12. I am tired all of the time
13. I watched the entire series of Six Feet Under in less than a week
14. I cry when I see really awesome talent
15. I can be quite envious
16. I am very sad at the likelihood of not having another child
17. My head is constantly full of what ifs
18. I really hate exercise
19. I love chocolate WAY too much
20. I love the smell of pot even though I no longer smoke it
21. Sometimes I wish I could sleep all day
22. I think I have nice feet
23. I use the address labels even when I do not always donate to the charity that sent them to me
24. I think I am being used by the publications for whom I write for free
25. I do not clean as often as I should
26. I am sometimes consumed with worry
27. I have to have the TV on before I go to sleep
28. I was at the last Grateful Dead show
29. I wish I had closer relationships with my brother and step daughter
30. I forgive very easily
31. I never forget anything
32. I love to go to the movies by myself
33. When I get bitten by bugs I react badly and get very large lumps that itch terribly
34. I have seasonal allergies which drive me nuts
35. I take lots of vitamins
36. I regret many things from my past
37. I miss my father every day
38. I love to start fires
39. I am super impatient
40. I have a slide in my living room
41. I am a good cook but a bad baker
42. I think I should have been an actress
43. Where the Wild Things Are was my favorite book when I was little
44. I had pictures of Ricky Schroeder and Kirk Cameron all over my room growing up
45. I have an active sixth sense which I wish I could tap into more often and have more control over
46. I like to go grocery shopping
47. I love the smell of gasoline
48. I eat meat but feel very guilty about it
49. I worry all the time that there is no afterlife
50. I wore out both my Grease Album and 8 Track from listening to them too much
51. I enjoyed living alone
52. I miss a lot of people – several I miss A LOT
53. When I was a kid I would come home from school and eat saltine crackers and drink Tang as I listened to The Jefferson’s on my TV Radio
54. I was grounded a lot as a kid
55. I did not have sex until I was almost 19
56. My first kiss was behind a garage with a boy named Ryan
57. My first French kiss was also with a boy named Ryan (not the same one) and I forgot to take my gum out of my mouth
58. I once fell into a HUGE mud puddle while on a date
59. I have been dumped many times
60. I think I may be high maintenance…emotionally speaking
61. I do not need to be rich. I am happy with a home, cable, food and a hotel every so often
62. I drive a foreign SUV and I do not feel bad about that
63. I love big loud crashing thunderstorms
64. I sneaked out of my house once as a teen and it wasn’t even fun…and I got caught
65. I feel life is going by much too quickly and I am not doing enough to LIVE
66. I wish I was more affectionate with those other than just Cassidy
67. When I get really good customer service I try to let their supervisors know
68. I love to play board games and kick ass at Trivial Pursuit and Scattagories
69. My first dog was named Daisy and she was put to sleep
70. I wish I could push the fat from my tummy into my ass
71. I use both liquid and dryer sheet fabric softener
72. At this time in my life I have no best friend…unless you count my mom
73. I continue to sell things on Ebay and Craigslist even though I never make any money
74. My cat, Brian, never lets me sleep…she really annoys me
75. I have to wear glasses now. It sucks.
76. I think lights should be off during sex
77. When my daughter cries, my spine hurts – does that make ANY sense?
78. I love to have painted toenails
79. But I hate painting my nails
80. And I am too cheap for manis and pedis when I do them just as well
81. I am starting to see the appeal of Books on CD
82. I used to think it would be cool to be a mob wife
83. I once took acid and watched Wizard of Oz – worst night EVER
84. I love the smell of lilacs
85. I often wonder if certain people think of me as often as I think of them
86. I hate the feelings of being up-side-down, adrenaline and spinning
87. I love the feelings of being in water, warm new sheets and my daughter’s Eskimo kisses
88. I have 8 books on my nightstand waiting to be finished
89. I like doing crosswords – if they’re not too hard
90. When I started smoking I started with Benson and Hedges
91. When I quit smoking my last pack was Camel Ultra Lights
92. I am secretly afraid of bees, wasps and hornets – like AFRAID afraid…but I don’t run and scream because its a secret
93. I never see caterpillars anymore
94. I need to learn how to use my sewing machine
95. I once had a Hedgehog named Oswald aka Ozzy
96. My husband says that when my cats die we aren’t getting anymore, but he is wrong because I am
97. I think my daughter may be psychic
98. I want so badly to look as I did 10 years ago
99. I like houses which are built from those multi colored bricks
100. I would kill for a hot tub
101. Boy, I sound more boring than I thought!!

Things I do NOT Love

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Not in any particular order…
 
1. When the kids are sick
2. Bad acting
3. My lack of ambition
4. Being wrong
5. Spoiled kids (actually, their parents)
6. Religion in politics
7. George Bush
8. Stubbing my toe
9. When good shows get cancelled
10. Rude customer service workers
11. Not getting enough sleep
12. Liars (especially the ones who have no idea I KNOW they are lying so they keep doing it over and over)
13. Liver
14. Dangerous souless corporations who are taking over the country
15. Lazy parents
16. Dirty snow
17. Rap music
18. When people think you have to breastfeed until the kid is in middle school
19. Overly drunk people
20. Winter
21. Relentless Bible pushing religious people who refuse to believe there are OTHER beliefs just as legitimate as theirs
22. Oppression
23. Cruelty in any form
24. Bad teeth
25. Yippy dogs that don’t EVER shut up
26. Being cold
27. Being cold AND wet
28. Having the flu
29. Pills getting stuck in back of my throat
30. Biting the side of my cheek and then doing it again in the exact same spot 

Things That I Love

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 In no particular order of course….
 
1. Stand up comedy
2. Spirituality
3. Animals
4. Thunderstorms
5. Dreaming
6. My DVR
7. Witnessing acts of kindness
8. Being right (lol…sorry)
9. Cassidy’s kisses
10. Soft grass on my bare feet
11. Cooking
12. The smell of coconut
13. Strawberry Coladas
14. Lobster
15. The ocean
16. Any season that doesn’t end in "ter"
17. Writing
18. Genuine compliments (who doesn’t)
19. John Edward (the medium – though I do like the candidate too)
20. A great movie
21. TV
22. My husband’s massages
23. Laughing through tears
24. Making up after a fight
25. Chocolate
26. My family
27. Reconnecting with long lost friends/family
28. Getting cool mail
29. Having soft skin
30. Philosophy products (the Grace scents are heavenly)

August 16, 2007

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Needless to say, it’s been a stressful week. I am beat and feeling like total shit. And quite frankly I am tired of feeling this way.

 

Last Wednesday my mom had her surgery. It was a LONG day. We thought the surgery would be a couple hours. We ended up waiting (not including the prep time before when we got to stay with her) from 10:30 until 5:30. Dr. came down and told us everything went well, but that it was a bit more complicated than he anticipated. The kidney was very large and attached to many other parts. When we finally got up to see her she was mostly out of it, so we didn’t stay long. I went up there everyday but one. The hospital is about 45 minutes away. The driving was getting quite tiring, but there was no way I wasn’t going to go up there and help out. The staff really doesn’t do much and I worried about her all the time. She was released Tuesday morning. Almost one full week in the hospital. By the last day she was feeling much better, but the recovery will still be a while. She cannot even lift anything over 10lbs for 4-6 weeks. She will likely be off of work for those 6 weeks.  I will be going out to her house (also about 45 mins away) several times a week now that my step dad is going back to work. Hopefully she will come here sometimes to make it a bit easier. I still get mad that they moved so far away. What is going to happen when they are elderly?? Anyway, I am so relieved she is fine and all went fairly well. I will always be worried about her only having one kidney though. But I guess the other has been taking over completely for about 17 years now…so it must be a good one (knocking on wood). Her surgeon believes strongly that the hysterectomy she had 17 years ago was the reason for her kidney failing. Apparently some kind of error was made. It irritates me, but they are not going to see an attorney about it. The error could have killed her. Someone should pay for that. She had a fever when they let her out of the hospital back then. They never even tested for this type of complication. They f’d up plain and simple. I am not one who supports frivolous lawsuits in ANY way. But this is not frivolous and medical staff and physicians need to be held responsible.

 

My stress levels and Charlie’s having to take over some of the responsibilities here have caused for some tension at home.  It is definitely not helping. I feel like I am literally sick. I have aches, pains, chest heaviness, indigestion, extreme exhaustion and headaches. I just cannot take one more argument. I want to run away. Sometimes I wish there was a pill I could take that would make me forget my life here so I could just get on a plane and leave forever. I know how horrible that sounds – so skip the attempts to show your elite knowledge of proper behavior. I am just getting so sick of so many things.

 

I cannot get a job. Ones I am very much qualified for. I get interviews that go well and as soon as it comes time to do a background check – bye bye opportunity. So I remain financially dependant with a brain turning to mush. I love being home with Cassidy, but being with her 24/7 is really getting draining and I don’t feel she is getting all from me that she could from a decent pre-school program. Part time, of course as I am not ready to be away from her full time yet.

 

Tonight is a play my step daughter is doing with her summer daycare. The Jungle Book. She is very excited and I am sure she will have a blast. I remember those days when I was a kid. They were the best. I wish I could look forward to it. My husband’s ex and her family members will be there. Some of whom said horrible things about me, pushed her into accusing me of abuse and are just very bad people. I do not know how I will ever deal with being in the same place as these ‘people’. I feel like throwing up.

 

This just isn’t the life I dreamed for myself. I feel so stuck. I cannot get a receptionist job let alone something I would really love like social work or teaching or counseling. I feel completely defeated and pissed off. And YES I am feeling sorry for myself. Deal with it or stop reading. But I feel a wee bit entitled to some self sympathy once in a while.

 

And yes, I am grateful – SO grateful for my beautiful daughter. For my mother’s positive recovery. And for many other gifts. My sadness and anger and tiredness do not take that away. But I wish they could take the bad stuff away. Perhaps if I were a better, more focused, motivated, positive person they would. But right now I guess I just suck. 

Where Can a Teen Volunteer? – Glad You Asked

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Here is the link to the online article:
 
 
 

Reader Maria writes to us with the following inquiries:

 

#1 In another glad you asked article I read that someone asked about volunteer tutoring. My question is about the same thing but is there any volunteer tutoring I can do at my age? Or is there any volunteer tutoring I can do in my spare time to help younger students with trouble in school?

 

#2 Are there any programs where I can mentor and help younger children with everyday issues? Or like being an older role model? (I know the there are programs but I don’t know how old you have to be.)

 

After a number of phone calls and some research on the internet I have actually found some volunteer opportunities for Maria’s age group. Many organizations require that a volunteer be at least 16, but there are indeed a few options for you Maria.

 

There are hundreds of volunteer want ads on the website www.volunteersolutions.org. You can certainly create your own search that best fits your needs and desires. But here are a few I found which would suit the reader’s request:

 

Tech Corps Wisconsin, Inc 262.619.0931

  • Assist with technology to students K-12

 

Racine Family Literacy 262.898.3968

  • Read children’s books to pre-school aged children
  • Nursery Room Attendant

 

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare – All Saints 262.886.8615

  • Little Saints Childcare Volunteer

 

S.A.F.E. Haven 262.637.9559

  • Youth Members

 

Even Start 262.632.9495

  • Nursery Room Assistant

 

YMCA 262.634.1996

  • Several youth volunteer opportunities throughout the year

 

Salvation Army Community Center 262.632.3147

  • After School Program Volunteers

 

Racine County 4H 262-886-8461

  • Junior Leadership Program

 

It was also suggested that during the school year, one could contact individual elementary schools to inquire whether they have any volunteer opportunities.

 

There are so many volunteer positions, especially if you are 16 and older, in our area. From nursing homes to hospitals to animal shelters to community centers; not only would it be fairly easy to find something suited to your interests, but it also would provide one with many positive gifts. Some positions even help students gain high school credits, not to mention it looks great on an application or resume.

 

I should mention that Big Brothers and Big Sisters, The Racine Literacy Council and many other organizations are looking for volunteers as well. However, you must be 16 or older to donate your time with them.

 

Bravo to Maria for searching out such admirable ways to spend her time. Hopefully her questions will spur others to follow suit.  

Where to Rent Car Seats – Glad You Asked

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Here is the link to the online article:
 
 

 

A Racine resident called and wondered where he could rent car seats (boosters for children age 5 & 7) for his grandchildren who will be in town for a visit this month.

 

What a great question. I have never before thought about what people are supposed to do in this situation. Also, if flying in somewhere – it sure would be nice not to have to lug car seats with you!!

 

My first thought was General Rental. But nope, no car seats there. Then I realized that car rental companies must have some type of service like this and sure enough!!

 

My first try was Avis. They do carry car seats and booster seats for approximately $9.00 a day. You can call their local office at 262.884.4403.

 

I also checked with Hertz. They have Graco seats in the 3 size styles: Booster, Infant and Toddler. They start at $10.95 a day. You can contact the local office at 262.884.0888.

 

For the traveling Wisconsinites, if you find yourself out of town and would like to rent baby/toddler supplies such as strollers, car seats, high chairs and such…there is a great company called Baby’s Away (http://www.babysaway.com/). Unfortunately they do not have a site in Wisconsin; however, they do have locations all over the country in 30 states. The only like company I was able to find in Wisconsin is in the Madison area and they are called Touring Tikes (http://www.touringtikes.com). What a great idea for a business (nudge nudge to all those entrepreneurs out there)!!