Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Fosters (aka My daughters family)

Here is the first of the Holiday family photos. This is my oldest daughter Heather, her husband Mike, Talia (6)(Heathers step-daughter who is loved by all as one of our own) and Little Lucas (18 months).

Happy New Years!!

It is finally the last day of 2008. It has now been eight full years since the turn of the century, and I STILL find myself trying to start the year with a "19".
Today is the day I find myself thinking about those New Years Resolutions. You notice, I said I THINK about them. I almost never actually get to the stage of vowing on them. I know I will never keep any resolution I make, so in reality, what is the point? Maybe if I make ones like, lets see.... I resolve to gain 15 pounds by spring, or I resolve to try any new fast food product (this also includes new pizza's!). Yeah, I think I can make those ones stick!

Actually, I really, really, REALLY want to loose some weight. My parents and grandparents are (were) very large people. My brother and I have picked up the genetics, too, and we have both passed them on to at least one of our kids. Both Krystle (mine) and Angie (John's daughter) are "big boned" girls. I have been fighting with my weight for all my life... well, since high school which was SOooo many years ago. Right before, during and after my divorce I was in a great exercise schedule and was keeping my weight at a very nice and steady 125-135 range. Then the Rheumatoid Arthritis began setting in and what was once a very fulfilling 30-40 minute 3 mile run became a painful one mile walk. That was 10 years ago. I am now sitting (on my very large butt) at 225! WhooWhee! Yep... 100 pounds in 10 years! I really need to get much of the excess fat off, but whenever I do any type of exercise I end up nearly bed ridden the next day.

Now, before anyone wonders why I am not on a medicinal routine to help the RA, here is my dilemma: I am allergic to all NSAIDS, which includes Aspirin, Naproxin Sodium (Alieve), Toradol, and many more. As of last year, all the RA medicines were based on one or more NSAID medicines. My last regimen was Hydroxichloriquine. It is a quinine based medicine, that did help, but taking quinine for an extended period of time can lead to other problems, most notably blindness (on the plus side... I had no risk of contracting Malaria, should there have been an outbreak here in Montana!!) I had to end that because my doc would not prescribe it unless I showed him proof from my optometrist that I had been examined every three months. That became too expensive to keep up. I haven't been able to really go to the doc in the past two years to check on any newer drugs because I don't have any medical insurance. New drugs mean they are EXPENSIVE! I do listen to the TV ads, though, and many of the new meds state in their small print ( or fast talk disclaimers) that if you have allergies to aspirin not to take so-n-so product. As a result, I am stuck with killing my giblets with Tylenol, or resorting to opiates (Codeine, HydroCodone, etc). I don't like being "Fuzzy" so I usually just try and "Deal with it". Unfortunately, that is how I can get to the point where I find it nearly impossible to get out of bed some days. NOW, back to our regularly scheduled Blog post:

I am going to try to exercise more this coming year. No, I don't mean get out to a gym and work out until I am dog tired. I own an elliptical trainer and have just recently moved it into Joe's house since I am in Great Falls more evenings than I am in Helena. My plan is to use the trainer for 10 minutes before work, then another 10 or 15 after work. If that taxes my body too much, I will cut down until I am at a good starting level. I will work up my time as I feel I am able. Yeah, this may not seem like much, but anything has GOT to be better than doing nothing. My goal in all of this? First off, feel better. Second, be able to hike more in Glacier Park.

I am going to have some help in my efforts, too. Joe is deciding to begin 2009 in a much healthier way. We are going to opt for healthier lunches and dinners, no donuts in the mornings, and NO SOFT DRINKS! I am downing one of my very last Mountain Dew's right at this moment.

SO, Happy New Year to all of my readers, may you have great luck, health, and happiness in the coming year! (Oh Yeah--Wish me luck on my own healthy endeavors.!!)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Joe's Photos of Our Christmas Eagle

Joe took these photos of our special Christmas Day visitor. This Bald Eagle was pearched on top of mom and dad's power pole. As you can tell, the sky was overcast, so the background is as white as snow. It would have been super-cool if the skies had been clear Montana Blue, but this was still SOooo Awesome!. He hung around the area for most of the morning. I think the extreme cold temperatures may have killed a rabbit nearby and the slightly warmer temperatures on Christmas Day allowed the eagle to smell his supper.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Week of Christmas (I'm Glad It Is OVER!)

Life has taken me for a bit of a joy ride these past few weeks. I have been so busy with work, then with family, that I haven't really had the time to keep up here. For a quick run down... Our little shop was busy with repair work and sales of used cell phones for Christmas gifts. Joe and I were really running!
I did finally get into the Christmas spirit, mostly out of necessity. I had to get my house in order because I was having family coming in to visit. The tree went up (I opted for the fake one because I didn't think Krystle would remember to water it when I was gone for work), some holiday decor was scattered throughout the house, and I did some holiday baking.
Then, it REALLY got hectic! My brother, his wife, and their two kids (14 and 9) drove up from Denver; arriving on Monday evening. The roads and weather were bad so they pulled into mom's house about 7:30pm, while I arrived home to Helena from Great Falls at about 8:30pm. I went over to mom's and she had some chicken soup on, and homemade muffins, too. I visited everyone until about midnight, then walked back home. I had not seen my brother or his family for over 5 years so we had a bit of catching up to do. After driving in the snow for two days, they didn't get moving until late, then lounged around until about 2. My brother came to my house and made friends with my dog, then about three we all went into town for some last minute shopping. I made some enchiladas for supper and mom made some chili verde to go with them. I ended up staying over there until somewhere around 12:30 or 1:00 am!
Wednesday, Christmas Eve, I headed into town to pick up one last gift. I may live in "small town Montana", but the traffic was as if I was back living in Illinois! Gridlock at many of the lights, cars backed up for at least a mile. This is unheard of in Helena, Montana! My one errand should have taken me a total of 45 minutes to one hour, and that includes the travel time into town and back home. On this day, It took me TWO HOURS! I was ecstatic to finally get to the Interstate on-ramp and be heading back to the house.
Dinner was once again at mom's house, and I supplied the Spaghetti sauce from my freezer while mom had meat balls in hers. It was an easy dinner since we knew the next day would be filled with lots of cooking. Joe showed up after driving down from Great Falls and joined us for dinner after FINALLY meeting my brother. I have known Joe for 10 years, but it always worked out that my brother would come to Montana when Joe had to take a trip to his hometown in Pennsylvania. Joe was also "Back home" when I took the girls to Denver for Heathers 16th birthday. Joe was making jokes for years that My brother was really just a figment of my imagination and he really didn't exist! Well, now Joe has met my imaginary brother-- that makes him just as crazy as me! Brraaahhh Haaaaa Haaaaa!
Heather, her husband Mike, and kids (6 years old and 18 months old) showed up about 9:30pm. They drove down from Kalispell after Heather got off of work. After all the snow Montana has been hit with, Mike said the drive was surprisingly clear. Heather and her family were to stay at my house, taking over the living room during the night time hours. My tiny little living room barely had the room to fit the full size air-bed, but we did it! After visiting with all the family at mom's house, we all trooped through the snow for bed. It was "only" 11pm! For my family, that is early, especially on Christmas Eve.
Christmas Day came early for Joe and I. We managed to get out of the house (large dog, too!) without waking Heather, Mike, or the two little ones. It was about 7am, and we had promised to visit our other early waking friends Vicki and Diana before the Christmas Insanity began. We exchanged simple gifts, chatted for about an hour, then headed back to my house.
Back home, everyone was up and just moving about... Including Krystle, that mistress of the night daughter that I almost never see anymore!
The next hour was a riot of ripping paper and joyous noises as we opened our gifts... mostly the ones to Lucas (18 months) and Talia (6 years). I was delighted to receive a new, larger crock pot and a toaster oven (which I haven't had in many years). Most of the adults gifts were saved to be opened at mom's house with the rest of the family.
At 10am, everyone (except me and Joe) headed over to mom's. Joe and I prepared the turkey and stuffing, popped it into the oven, and headed over ourselves. Actually, the half hour of silence was heavenly! Once at mom's, it was coffee, juice and sweet rolls... then more presents being opened. We decided to have the Santa Stockings there, too. In our tradition, the stockings are filled with interesting little candies from other countries, and John (my brother) had found some awesome items that he brought up from Denver.
After the packages were opened, and the kids off and playing with their new toys, it was time to head back into the kitchen. I put in a ham at mom's, prepared the sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, Au Gratin potatoes, gravy, and a corn bread stuffing (different from the stuffing I already had in the turkey); then got the cranberry sauce, pickles, and olives plated. I was a bit disappointed in the lack of help I received from the rest of my family members.

Joe, Krystle, and Heather's family were all hanging out at my house while I was preparing dinner and chatting with my brother and sister-in-law. Krystle called me to tell me to look outside at the power pole. I found a window with an unobstructed view and was treated to an awesome sight. There was a Bald Eagle perched on the top of the pole. Joe was out taking photos, but since I was inside (and without my 35mm with the awesome lenses) I didn't go out the door. I didn't want to frighten it away. Joe did get some great photos, and I plan to get one from him to post here.
Dinner was great... for the first time in 13 years the entire family was together. It was Mom and dad; John, Mariah, Sean (14), and Angie (9); Heather, Mike, Talia (6), and Lucas (18 months), Krystle and her boyfriend Dylan, Me and Joe. No fights, no arguments, no food disasters!

Since everyone was together, I wanted a family portrait taken. Joe is a professional photographer so I asked him to set it up. They came out awesome, and I will post one here when I download a digital version onto my laptop.

Christmas was finalized with servings of various pies (Pecan, Apple, Lemon Meringue, and coconut cream). It was off to bed early for Joe and I since we had an early start, and Joe was heading back to Great Falls to work. It was awesome of Joe to allow me to have Tuesday to Sunday off so I could visit with my family, while he worked the store alone. I felt a bit guilty... but only a little bit... LOL. (Thanks SO much, Joe!)
Friday, John and his family were off to visit the wife's side of the family in Butte. They packed up and headed out about 2 pm. Heather's family went into town to visit some friends so I was left home ALL ALONE! Whew! Brooke (my dog) and I relaxed in the quiet... I took a very long hot shower.... I read some of my newest book (T is For Trespass by Sue Grafton).... cleaned a little... did some laundry... relaxed a bit more in the quiet (sigh!). The kids decided to grab their dinner in town, so I headed over to mom and dad's for some leftovers. It was just the three of us, and I could tell they were glad to have order restored back into their home.

Saturday was spent hanging out with Heather and her family, with Joe arriving back in Helena about 5pm. We all went out to Chile's for dinner. Sunday Heather and her brood headed back north with a stop in Ronan to see Mike's family before heading to their home in Kalispell.
Now, here it is finally Monday! I am back to work, and life is pretty much normal again.
Sorry this was SO long, but I had to write it down for posterity before I forgot the details.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Too Cold! Had to bake to keep warm!

I know, I know... Its been a few days! The weather here has been terrible. Once the cold front hit the state, we have been setting new record low temperatures at many places. Yep, it has been really, really, REALLY cold! It actually got above zero (barely) yesterday, and today the high is supposed to get all the way up to 14! Tomorrow we are supposed to get more snow and a tropical high of 17. Then another cold snap is expected to hit dropping us back into below zero temps for the weekend, as well as more snow.
On a good note, even with the temperatures dipping down to -27 last weekend, my little Rav-4 started for me. It doesn't even have an engine block heater installed! I was impressed.
Since it was SO cold, I stayed at home all weekend, leaving only for a few hours each day. Krystle didn't want to drive to work so I was a nice, caring mother and drove her into town both mornings. It wasn't all good-heartedness, I admit. I did have to go to the grocery store on Saturday and Joe and I usually meet up for brunch on Sundays. It wasn't like I was going out of my way to be nice.... Shhh, don't tell her that! These days, I hardly ever see her so it was nice getting to spend that little bit of quality time with her.
When the weather turns this cold, I really like to bake. It warms the house, not to mention the awesome smells! I had only planned on baking some bread. Not in a machine, but the REAL way... mixing, hand kneading, rising, shaping, rising, then baking. Now, there is a strangeness in my house that a full loaf of bread will turn green before it gets eaten. I didn't want that to happen with all my hard work, so instead of making two regular size loaves, I made six small ones. One went to mom's while it was still hot, one was devoured by me and Joe. Krystle started into another one when she got home from work. The rest are in the freezer. I don't expect them to be around very long!
Once I got myself into the baking mood, I just kept on going. I made zucchini bread, pumpkin bread, date nut bread, Noel pound cake (cake with red and green Maraschino cherries) and gum-drop cookies. I do plan on making more Christmas cookies this Saturday. The oven was on all day and kept the house toasty warm.
On Sunday, I decided to put up my tree. I usually opt for a real one, but with no one home most of the time I am sure it would have been neglected and become a fire hazard. The fake one is pretty nice, and as a plus, it already has lights on it. I always add one more strand with a flasher just to make it prettier (IMHO). I decorated it differently than the normal multi-colored ornaments I have always opted for. This year the tree is decorated with a multitude of crystal icicles, crystal ornaments, and gold balls, and colored lights. It turned out very nice. Now that the tree is up and I have been able to do some shopping and cooking I am finally in a Christmasy mood. I even wore a holiday sweatshirt yesterday! I am going to finish my shopping this weekend, probably on Sunday. Then I will be all ready for the Holiday... I hope!

Friday, December 12, 2008

I finally did some Christmas shopping!

It is almost 3pm and the snow hasn't started yet, but the sky has been filled with those really low, dark grey clouds all day. It looks like early evening out there. It also looks cold. I know it isn't cold (yet) because I stepped out to grab some treats from the bakery outlet store not too long ago. Yeah, treats... comfort food... sugar! Nothing like Twinkies and peanut butter filled cheddar crackers to fatten up for the winter! LOL I actually went to the shop to see if they sold plastic silverware (how can that be right? It's either plastic OR silver... Hmmm-- Maybe I mean plasticware?) I bought some applesauce last night at Wally-World, but didn't think about how I was going to eat it here at work! Anyway, with no plastic spoons but tons of sugar later, here I am. Don't mind the ADHD type of posting today! I'm surfing on a sugar high right about now.

My post today wasn't going to be about the weather or sweet treats. So lets get back on track. I wanted to tell the world, or at least the few people in the world that show up here, that I think I am finally starting to get rid of the Bah Humbugs. Joe and I went shopping last night. I was ONLY going to get green maraschino cherries and fabric softener. I left with Christmas presents for my daughter Krystle (19), my niece Angie (9), and my step-granddaughter Talia (6). Just being in the toy isles with all the happy kids reminded me of when my kids were smaller. All the happy faces and kids asking their parents if Santa might have this toy or that toy... it was actually tons of fun! I think some of their cheer rubbed off onto my soul because I left the store in a great mood. Not something that happens very often when I leave Wal-Mart. By the way, those green maraschino cherries-- no one seems to carry them anymore. I'm going to check out all the grocery stores in Helena. Wish me luck!
This weekend it is supposed to get cold... really, really, REALLY cold. Something like -20 (that is 20 below zero for those of you in the warmer climates). Since I will be staying indoors, I have plans to decorate the living room for the holidays. For me, that also involves a bit of deep cleaning. I have my work cut out for me there.

One thing I have been noticing more and more these days is the epidemic of people who are leaving the house in their pajamas to go shopping, or even to the movies. I ranted about it on my other blog (the one I get paid to write on). Here is the link:

Speaking of getting paid to write... I just received my very first $5.oo in to my PayPal account! I know, not much, but it is a start. Kind of like an "I did it! I did it!" warm fuzzy feeling. It may not be the Pulitzer, but to me it is awesome.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Good News for OHN, Libby still in trouble

I have been following a fellow blogger named OHN for a few months now. Her blog is very touching and human. All I can say is if anyone close to me gets seriously ill, with the possibility of having cancer, I hope I can face life with the same strength and occasional humor she showed. Her writing made me laugh and cry... sometimes in the same post. Hats off to you, OHN.

Her husband had worked in a place where he had been exposed to asbestos, and her blog describes the turns her life took from the day the Dr told them about the mass in BigD's lung, through the fears of possible Mesothemioma (spelling could be wrong here) or other cancers, and finally the negative diagnosis. Her blog really got me thinking about all the families who have lived in, or still live in Libby, Montana.
When I lived in Kalispell, I had some good friends who had lived in, or even grew up in, Libby and nearby Troy, MT. Troy is only a few miles away from Libby and unfortunately has much of the same contaminants in the soil. We aren't just talking about the mine sites, but yards and playgrounds, too. We haven't been hearing much about the area in the past few years, but OHN's blog brought the memories of the heated town meetings that were broadcast on the Kalispell TV news. Also, the stories of the victims. A few years ago, victim stories were everywhere since it was the "News Of The Moment". Now it has been put back under the rug from where it had been pulled out of for awhile.

Here is Libby's story, the Readers Digest Condensed (Wiki) version:

Vermiculite, an ore found in the area in 1881, had been mined in the area since 1919. In 1919, E.N. Alley bought the Rainy Creek claims and started the Zonolite Company. Zonolite is a branded trademark product made from vermiculite. W. R. Grace and Company bought the Zonolite mine in 1963, prior to this logging was the leading employer in Libby. After W. R. Grace & Company closed the Zonolite mine in 1990, the United States Environmental Protection Agency and Montana Department of Health and Environment sampled local soil and air and found no asbestos contamination. Further examination with improved equipment found that the samples had traces of fibrous tremolite, which is suspected in the scores of asbestos related ailments affecting area residents. The EPA has spent $120 million in Superfund money on cleanup. A documentary film by the name Libby, Montana was made regarding the asbestos exposure. W.R. Grace knew since 1956 that the dust was toxic and causing asbestosis, but did not release this information to the public, nor the workforce. They also knew that the people had died from the mine, were dying, and would die. Additionally, an estimated 35 million homes in the U.S. contain Zonolite insulation. has even more information. Here is how their web page starts:

Tiny Libby, Mont., depended for years on the jobs at a vermiculite mine. But the mine is closed now, and a P-I investigation shows the town is paying a tragic price for those jobs. Hundreds of former miners, their wives and children, and other townspeople have either died or been diagnosed with fatal illness from asbestos the mine released into the air. No one stepped in to stop the dying. Now the town wonders when it will end, and if the town's children are still at risk.

I am very happy OHN and her husband, BigD are on the road to recovery!
Tomorrow...I'll try to post something a bit "lighter" in subject.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Spring Cleaning a few months early!

Not much is going on around here, so I haven't had much to write about. I am still suffering from the "Bah Humbugs", but not as badly as I was a few weeks ago. Since I am almost never home I asked Krystle if she wanted a real tree (that she would have to remember to water) or if she just wanted me to put up the fake tree. She looked at me in that way that only a teenager can manage. I'm sure many of you adults have been flashed that look, too. You know the one... a mixture of angst, irritation, and bewilderment. Then she just shrugged and told me she didn't even care if we had one up or not. Wow! I may not be a huge traditionalist, but I have never gone a year without a Christmas tree. At 40 years old, I am not about to start. I guess that could be because if I think I can get away without dealing with the trappings of the holidays, I will. How depressing is that? SOooo, I decided I would put up the fake tree this coming weekend. Anyone who has been in my tiny home knows that finding a place in my living room for a tree is a major feat! I have been mentally preparing for the furniture rearrangement and the deep cleaning that always comes with it by starting a bit smaller. OK, so I thought I was starting smaller! Here is what happened:
Two weekends ago I decided to clean out my bedroom closet. This chore had not been done in about 10 years! My small walk-in closet was pretty much a reach-way-in closet because the entire floor was covered in boxes, bags, backpacks, craft projects, and other stuff. Krystle had gone through her clothes and her closet so I had two large boxes of clothes going to charity. I wanted to make only one trip to the donation box, so I decided it was time to clean out my stuff. Three large boxes of clothes and other usable misc. crap later, I found the closet floor. I can now hang things up without the use of a crowbar, and I can walk into my walk-in closet. What a concept! I do have one laundry basket full of bed sheets that I no longer use, but I thought I would let Heather go through those before I sent them on to charity. This closet project took me about SIX HOURS! Now, if you think that is bad, read on!
Last weekend, I decided to keep the cleaning momentum going. My bedroom is the "catch all" for everything that I never took the time to find a place for. My dresser is the largest flat place, so it accumulated all the "important papers" like pay stubs, bank statements, photographs, letters, and 401K paperwork. With the closet now cleaned out, I can get to my lock box, so that was the first thing I took care of. Then it was getting rid of all the garbage like old receipts, old makeup, non-matching socks, and even some outdated computer software. We are talking Windows 5.1 and some books on DOS that were just as old. I didn't realize how much garbage I was hording. I took two boxes and one large garbage bag of trash out of there. I cleaned off the antique sewing machine cabinet, my dresser, under the bed, and the top of another chest of drawers that I use to store my linens in. My house does not have a linen closet, or anything that could substitute, so that is the only place I could find to put them. I worked on my bedroom for 8 straight hours! Guess what? I'm not even finished! I did get about 3/4 of the way through the room, but the last wall is occupied by a large bookshelf and a small bookshelf sitting on top of two bedside tables. I am an avid reader so the bookshelves are packed with books of all types. The smaller shelf holds my (soon to be outdated) TV/DVD player and my Nintendo 64. This is how I amuse myself when Krystle and her friends take over the living room. It is also where I put all of my Montana related books, magazines, and maps. The small book shelf sits on the two bedside tables in order to raise the TV to an acceptable height. Those hold smaller craft projects, and all types of other misc errata. The large bookcase is packed with novels of all types, but one shelf is dedicated to various memorabilia from my life. Things like tiny stuffed toys that my kids or other important people gave me, a jewelry box, a shadow box that displays some miniature mementos, and a couple of photographs in frames of the girls when they were newborns. Cleaning up these shelves, arranging the books into proper rows, and cleaning the dust from all the other stuff is my project for this coming Saturday. Once my bedroom is free from the weight of grime, all shiny and clean, I will tackle the living room. It is not even one-tenth of a chore that my bedroom turned into. I will deep clean the kitchen last, since Krystle uses it all the time, but she is not the cleanest cook! I want it to be clean, deep cleaned for my sanity, when the Christmas visitors show up. Granted, the only visitors I am expecting are all family, so I don't think anyone will care if the pots and pans cupboard is in disarray! It's just the mood I am in right now, and if I am in a cleaning mood, I better take advantage of it. I'm not the OCD type (stop laughing Joe!) so I don't know when the cleaning bug will hit me again.
I am hoping to put the Christmas tree up on Sunday. Once the tree is up, and my house cleaned, I will start making some homemade gifts. I have found a few recipes I would like to try, and a few "Gifts in a Jar". I won't go into details here, just in case people in my gift giving circle actually read my page!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Joe's photo of the Christmas Stroll

We went to the Great Falls Christmas Stroll last night. It was nice, but not as festive as Helena's or East Helena's festivities. I'll post more about it later, but you can read about it on my other blog if you want to hear about it Right Now.
Joe posted a photo of the Great Falls Civic Center and official city tree on his blog-- You can check it out here:

Heading home to Helena... more on Monday!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Help make me some money-- Please?

Just thought I would tell everyone to look over there to the right hand column and notice that little new link.... ----->
Yeah, right over there! Go and make a comment, stupid or smart... funny or crass.... I don't care. I guess if enough people go there I get more than the $1.00 a day for my postings. If I make enough, I'll send each of you a candy cane-- hahaha
Ok, so maybe not, but at least I'll know someone cares.
Yeah... do whatever.... just thought I would try the guilt trip on you. (Did it work?)
Whatever you do, have a good weekend!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I Got It!

Hey Everyone! I just wanted to share my excitement about some good news I just received. But first, let me tell you what I have been doing to get to this point. I decided to try and make a little extra cash while improving my writing skills. I did some research and found a few freelance writing sites where you bid for jobs. Of course, the more jobs you win, the higher your ranking on these sites... the higher your ranking, the easier it is to "score" a job... so it can be hard for a beginner to win jobs. A little more research and I found out the way to break into the elite job market is to bid VERY low until you have completed a few assignments, then start to raise rates as your ranking raises. Seems logical. It took some time to find a few jobs I knew I could do, placed my bids. Yeah, I was turned down for most of them, but... BUT (yep, here's the good part) I did get a few bites!
I was chosen to be part of a book reviewer team, part of another five person team to re-write articles (more on that later), and I was chosen to be a paid blogger (and here I have been doing it for FREE!).
The book reviewer job consists of reading a PDF file of a book then placing reviews of the book onto five different consumer sites, like Amazon. I will be paid $5 for each review (good or bad!) so that is a pretty easy $30 a month! I read all the time, I may as well get something out of it.
The blogging site is a new one, and they are paying good bloggers to write, which will bring others to their site through search engines. I will start that one today and post a shameless self promotion here. I will be paid $1.00 for each day I post (another $30 a month!) and even more if I get traffic and comments!
The re-write job is going to be the most difficult, but I think it will be the one that actually "breaks" me into the market. The lady I am working for hired a five person team (out of 87 bidders!) to rewrite many of her articles. She is an OK writer, but her articles really lack depth. She wants us to improve her ideas. Yeah, she will get the credit, as we will kinda be her ghostwriters. That is OK for me, at this point in my writing career. The articles will be from 500 to 1000 words (one to two MS word pages). Now the only bad part... like I said, low bids win. I had initially bid her low range price of $2.00 a rewrite. When she contacted me and told me I was a "finalist", but she had to see an example of my writing style, I told her I really would like to win this project and I was willing to work for $1.00 an article. Well, she liked my style and told me that I was going to be on her team. She will send me the first 5 articles on Monday, and daily after that, with more if I request them. I will get paid 48 hours after she approves each rewrite (to PayPal). SOoooo, if I do five a day M-F, I will earn $25 a week.
It looks like I may start out with something like $160 a month with these three jobs. That is nothing to sneeze at, really.
SO, I am off to try and earn some of that right now----

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Winter Warm-Up

It seems winter has tried to miss us here in Montana this year. I have watched the news reports about winter storms causing problems in the Mid-west and the Eastern part of the US while we were enjoying temps anywhere from 40-70 degrees here. Not anymore! We had a winter storm pass through the state yesterday covering most of the state with a very Christmas like blanket of snow and dropping the mercury into the single digits. It is supposed to be a very chilly 9 degrees Ferinheit tonight. In order to warm the insides up tonight I am going out for hot wings and beer after work with Joe and our friend Doug. YUM! We go to a local restaurant/bar called The Sting. They serve the best wings around here. These aren't those puny little things many of the places serve around here. You know what I am talking about. Yeah, those pre-breaded greasy things that don't seem to have any actual meat on them. The Sting's wings are the WHOLE wing, and they are HUGE! They even have a variety of sauces to choose from. Being a regulars to the place, Joe and I have decided our favorite flavor is the regular BBQ on the wings, served with a side of the original hot sauce. We pour the hot flavor over the BBQ'd wings for a spicy BBQ flavor.
OK, some of you are appalled at even the thought of eating something as messy as a saucy hot wing in a public place. I can appreciate that, but when over half of the patrons are eating the same messy entree as you, licking sauce from thier fingers and enjoying their cold beers, just like you, the feelings of self conscientiousness fade. But, if you just can't make yourself eat anything with your fingers, might I suggest the boneless "wing" selection from the menu!

Now, a little update. I did put out a few Christmasy things this past weekend. I am still not sure how much I will decorate, but I think I will get more into the spirit as the holiday gets closer. Maybe when I put up the tree? Speaking of that, I think I will put up the fake tree this year. I don't know how good Krystle will be at keeping a live tree watered. The fake tree is also easier to clean up and put away after the holidays, too! I am still leaning towards home made gifts for the majority of my friends and family. Of course, I will go shopping for all the little kids. I think I am looking forward to seeing their happy, giggling faces more than anything this season. Christmas is so magical for the young ones. At times I wish I could go back to those simpler years. You know, before all the cycnicism set in.

OK... Now it is time to sign off and go get messy! Mmmmmmm......