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For the next four years (three years and three months really) I will be reading the recommended books everyone should read before the age of 30. I have modified it a bit and gone between a couple of different acknowledged lists. I took a popular list and edited out the books I don’t care to read or know I wont be able to make it though. The only book that may be a challenge will be War and Peace merely because of its length. I choose 30 books of different genre’s and lengths from 29 different authors. Only one author is repeated because I wanted to read two of his books from two different lists.

My hope is that I will learn a lot in this process, but I don’t know what to expect or if I will even finish. This only allows for 40 days spent on each book. I know a book or two that may take much longer than that. Right now I have a bit of time on my hands, but in a few weeks I will have little to no time each day. Maybe half an hour or so. Okay, so good luck to me and each day I will blog about what I read or why I didn’t read. The following is the list I plan to read:

  1. 1984 by George Orwell
  2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  3. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  4. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
  5. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  6. The Rights of Man by Tom Paine
  7. The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  8. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  9. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham
  10. The Art of War by Sun Tzu
  11. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  12. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
  13. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  14. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  15. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyersky
  16. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
  17. Walden by Henry David Thoreau
  18. Getting Things Done by David Allen
  19. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  20. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
  21. Honeymoon With My Brother by Franz Wisner
  22. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  23. All Quiet on the Western Front by Enich Maria Remarque
  24. His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman
  25. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
  26. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  27. Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
  28. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  29. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
  30. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
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Posted by on September 6, 2011 in Books and Writing

 

Where have you gone?


I wrote this earlier today, but somehow it got erased…so here it goes again…p.s. I started from scratch because this was not saved anywhere but here…ugh…anyway…

You were born to a young woman who was confused and scattered and cruel. You were born into a world of abuse, drugs, and tragedy. You were beaten and called evil names. You were unwanted by the very people that created you. To them you were trash, garbage, a waste of time and space. You witnessed horrifying things; you were surrounded by hell itself. Dark walls and a red ceiling, smoke in the background through a green/grey light, and shadowy creatures filled your little sight every day and night for three years of your young and beginning life.

Then salvation, the light, a way out of the darkness, the beatings, and the broken bones; away from this torture that you now knew as life and love and home.You were whisked away by people with a life and love and expectations. People who had hand picked you. People who were unpretentious in thinking if one was good, two would be better. Now out of the hell you were once in, the walls you had built up to hide and protect your emotion, your thoughts, you credulous self, now visible to all. An onion with many layers made of steel and stone. To you love is hate. To you caring is selfishness. To you home is hell, no matter where it is.

Outside everything was cheery and flowery and bubbly; inside was black and damp and sorrowful. Day to day was filled with fights and fists and fall outs, yelling and screaming and crying. Hell was back in a new way, but no one knew why or how. Communication lacked in a tremendous way, but you really didn’t know how. How you communicated and how others expected you to communicate were completely different ideals. There were long nights of empty tummies and many days spent in a small dark room and many months you were barely even allowed to speak and others were favored over you for many long and disheartening years.

Many years came and many years went. All the same. Then the day came when you left. Left the people who were to naive to try and make you stay. At first you were still in touch with many of the people you had left, then one by one they dissipated. Slowly they all lost your phone number or you address or both, slowly they forgot or at least pretended to. You hurt them in ways they never thought they had hurt you, but you had to escape, flee, fly away from all the hell in your life. You were looking to start anew. You wanted to relinquish your life as it was and make thing not so ugly. You lived eighteen long years in places you never wanted to be in, so you vanished.

Where did you go? Where have you gone? Did you fulfill all your life’s dreams? Or travel to places I have never seen? Has life been good to you or has it been just as cruel as it was before? Do you have any regrets or any sorrow? Do you have things you wish had gone unsaid or things your dying to say now? Are you living in a place that’s nice and warm or cold and blistery? Are you safe? Are you scared? Are you happy? Are you lonely? Are you where you want to be or some place you wish you weren’t? Are you in an icy cold cage or a bed full of roses? Are you living a full and plentiful life or are you living in the mud six feet under? Where have you gone my little sister?

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Birthday for Big Girls


Birthday for Big Girls.

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Motherhood


Never did I ever think I would have a baby at the age of 22. When I was younger I had a set plan. Finish high school, finish college and have a good job by 22, get married at 24, have kids starting at 26 ending at 32. Wow! how different things really turned out. I don’t regret anything because I ended up having the most beautiful child that could ever exist…not that I am biased or anything. Soon she will be 4 years old and that makes me feel kind of old too, even though really I am still very young.

It seems like only yesterday (as cliche as that sounds) that I was in the hospital being induced. 18 hours later I had a successful c-section to a beautiful baby girl. She seemed so small even though she was a huge baby! I don’t remember a lot because of all the drugs they gave me before the c-section. The one thing I do remember is that sweet little baby girl looking me right in the eyes for a long time before the nurses took her to be cleaned.

She slept though the night from day one. She rarely had tantrums as a baby, although now she is quite the little diva. Almost from the first time she walked she was running. She potty trained herself practically, and now my little smarty pants is learning her ABC’s and 123’s so quickly.

I am so proud to call myself a mom, but even more so to call her my daughter. I couldn’t have asked for a more well behaved, amazingly smart little girl. She is truly the sunshine of my life and I can’t imagine even one day without her. She has taught me more than I could have ever known. I thought I was a patient person before her. Wrong. I thought I was loving and nurturing before her. Wrong. I thought being a parent was easy. Wrong again. It’s a tough job, but every upset is worth it.

Thank you baby girl for being so smart, well behaved, and kind. Thank you for making me a better person. Thank you for making my life more meaningful than I could have ever hoped for. Thank you for showing me the true meaning of love.

You never truly know what love is until you have a child. What a blessing in my life you have been. I hope that I can teach you and love you as much as you have taught me and love me. Happy Birthday to the little light of my life!

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Eat Healthy for Less Money


Just a warning, this blog will be more of a list than paragraphs with information. Thanks for reading this though, it is all very important to me.

1. Switch to water. It is much healthier than soda or other drink products, and it is inexpensive!

2. Eat eggs. No guarantee the eggs wont be from chicken fed chickens or chickens who eat their own feces because of their living conditions! To avoid this by your own chicken(s). This is what makes eggs cheep! As chicks they only cost about $2 a pop and chicken feed is not pricey either.

3. Eat Fatty Meats! This is quite the statement I know. I have avoided fat for a long time…it’s no wonder i have not been able to lose weight. Fat doesn’t make you fat, excess calories do. Inactive men and women only need 4-6 oz of meats high in omega 3, 6, and 9 per day (active men and women needing slightly more). This is approximately the size of your fist unless you have very large hands. That’s only 260 calories for chicken, 270 calories in salmon, 430 calories in beef (at 80% lean, which is medium lean), 415 calories for pork, 360 calories in lamb. The rest of your calories for the day can be spent on veggies, fruits, and whole grains.

4. Buy frozen veggies. Not only do they take less time to prepare (time is money after all), but your not wasting money if they are not eaten in time and they can be bought in bulk for discounts and stored in your freezer.

5. Buy generic food! I have been trying for years to get my significant other to buy all generic brands. A lot of the time those generic brands are exactly the same as the name brand. Tylenol for instance sells its medicines to Safeway and other grocery/drug stores to sell as their off brand. Tylenol either overproduced and is looking to sell more or they are just looking to sell more of their product. The only reason bottles with ‘Tylenol’ cost $2.00 a bottle more is the brand; it’s trusted, recognized, and known, whereas the off brand, not so much (until you try it anyway).

6. Buy in Bulk. As an add on to number 4, buying everything in bulk is best on the budget. Freeze whatever you don’t use right away. Here is a list of things you can freeze and how long they can last and stay good in the freezer:

  • Chicken or turkey pieces, uncooked: nine months
  • Fruit pies, unbaked: eight months
  • Fruit: 6 to 12 months
  • Steaks, uncooked: 6 to 12 months
  • Butter: 6 to 9 months
  • Lean fish: six months
  • Roasts, uncooked: 4 to 12 months
  • Chicken or turkey, cooked: 4 to 6 months
  • Chops, uncooked: 4 to 6 months
  • Shellfish, uncooked: 3 to 6 months
  • Hamburger: 3 to 4 months
  • Bread and cake: three months
  • Cookies, baked or dough: three months
  • Meat casseroles, cooked: three months
  • Fatty fish: 2 to 3 months
  • Soups and stews: 2 to 3 months
  • Ice cream and sorbet: two months
  • Ham, cooked: 1 to 2 months
  • Bacon: one month
7. Go to one grocery store. Again time is money. Choose the closest grocery store that has the cheapest prices for what you are looking for that particular week. Save time and gas since fuel is super expensive now a days.
8. Take food to work. Don’t spend $8 on a deli sandwich from the place down the street. That’s $40 per week and $2080 per year. If instead you bought a loaf of bread $3, meat $10, cheese $7, head of lettuce $2, and 2 tomato’s $4, that’s only $26 dollars per week. More than likely that 2 pound brick of cheese you bought will last longer than that week. Or don’t use cheese at all and it will save you money and calories and fat! With the extra time you have from a home prepared meal, take a walk around the block or the office and get some exercise in after eating you healthy meal from home.
9. Eat less. This is easier for some than others. Especially if you are overweight, like myself, this will lower your grocery bill, be good for your overall health, and your bank account will thank you.
10. Don’t buy junk food! If it comes in a box or a bag it is probably processed, which is not good for you and here’s why. Processed foods have what is called additives, which are very difficult for the liver to break down. The liver will break down the most complex foods first, usually resulting in lost vitamins and minerals that the body needs to survive. It takes time for the liver to figure out which acids and how much of each acid to use to break down these foreign chemicals found in processed food. Even if your boxed pasta guarantees omega-3’s, it may be so over processed the omega’s are completely lost in your urine or stool. As a side note and a quick tip…if you don’t know what the ingredient on the side of the box is….IT’S PROCESSED!!! BHT, found in a lot of cereals, a synthetic antioxidant (processed) used to preserve fats and oils not only in food, but medicinal drugs and cosmetics. I’ll just eat my lipstick next time I need my daily dose of BHT…
Alright now go out there and don’t let your food budget take over your life!
 
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Posted by on August 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Never Washing My Hair Again…Maybe.


So I just read an article about not washing your hair with shampoo or conditioner to save money. At first i thought it was crazy! I don’t know if I could ever live without my shampoo and conditioner. I am the type to use really nice expensive stuff, but since my recent layoff from my job, I have been looking for ways to save money.

The article made shampoo from baking soda and water and conditioner from apple cider vinegar and one cup water. What a revelation! One tablespoon of baking soda and water makes for a good cleaning agent for one’s hair. If your hair becomes too dry with this recipe, simply add less baking soda until it seems right for your hair. Everyone’s oil output is different. The conditioner is the same recipe. One tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and on cup water. If your hair tends to be more oily use less vinegar and so on.

I will be trying this starting today. I will give it about a month or so since the lack of chemicals degreasing my hair will cause it to over produce oils.

Here’s the great part about this if it works: I will save so much money! I spend $10 dollars minimum per month on shampoo and conditioner. I more than likely spend more, but at this point I am just estimating. One small box of baking soda costs less than a dollar and a small bottle of apple cider vinegar costs about $3. The baking soda is only good for one month after opened, but that is still one $1, and the apple cider vinegar would last approx. 2 months. I would only be spending $2.50 per month of hair care products. Over an entire year that is a savings of $90 per year, which may not seem like a lot, but that is a whole car insurance payment or $90 extra to put into my life savings.

Okay, time to stop writing and start washing my hair! I will post again on this to tell the first hand story of how well it works.

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2011 in Uncategorized