Search This Blog

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Rough Week?

If you did not end your week with a 4 lb cat dangling from his claw painfully embedded your right nipple, you had a better week than I did!

Knee Blow-0ut & Rib Party
Ribs are not the only things he likes.
My week started with an emergency MD trip where hubs had 34 cc of fluid drained from his knee (it blew up for no apparent reason). In between, while preoccupied caring for hubs, our pure white Maltese managed to get into leftover ribs and have a BBQ party all over himself, the kitchen floor and into his crate (housed in the carpeted living room of course). Can you spell MAJOR CLEAN UP TIME?

Wind, Leaves & No Heat
Also included in this fun filled week: The day before my hubs hurt his knee, he removed the pool cover to add winterizing chemicals. That night we had a raging windstorm that blew a massive quantity of leaves into the now uncovered pool and brought us our first frost of the season. This necessitated moving plants and covering fruit trees. (can you spell SPONDYLOLISTHESIS ouch!) The aforementioned pool remains partially uncovered and full of leaves.
And BONUS....Our furnace is not functioning and without funds to repair, our home temperature ranges between 60 - 64 degrees...thank God we live in California.

Nipple Incident Revealed:
Innocent looking offender.
We have a very frisky 5 month old "kitten" named Shiloh. He brings much joy into our household. He gets quite excited to see me first thing in the morning. While getting my first cup of coffee of the day, Shiloh bounded into the kitchen and did a flying leap, ostensibly into my arms. This is a "new" trick" so I was unprepared for his acrobatic assault and as he hit me chest high, he attempted to grab on with his paws. While sliding down the front of my nightgown (it was the first cup of coffee of the day remember?) he managed to embed his very sharp left paw into my very large right breast and dangled there while I, screaming in alarm and pain, attempted to gingerly lift him, removing said embedded claw from my bleeding nipple. How I managed to do so without spilling a drop of coffee is beyond my memory recall.  All the while, crutch impaired hubs was sitting at his computer in the kitchen seriously trying not to laugh. By the time I extricated the cat, and showed him my wound (nipple exposure over morning coffee woohoo!) we were both laughing so hard we scared the offending cat away. BTW- If I were a Real Housewife of Beverly Hills I would have been knocking on Adrienne and Paul's mansion door requesting immediate intervention for nipple repair. Since I am a Real Housewife of Merced, I cleaned it, slapped on some antibiotic ointment and proceeded  to finally enjoy my first cup of coffee of the day.

It's Good for Balance
There is a fine line between laughter and hysteria....which we dance along quite often these days--it's good for balance.

If you had a rough week too, tell me about it! If I made your week a little bit better by making you smile, leave a comment and let me know.  It's kind of lonely doing this balancing act here!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Point Redemption for Holiday Purchases? Do The Math!

Who doesn't have a tight budget for the holidays? Creative planning and redemption of credit card rewards points can help you stretch your holiday purchases. If you are a serious planner and want to use those membership points most effectively, then do the math, do the math, do the math!
Consider purchasing store gift cards with those points and using the gift cards to purchase gifts. Point redemption values are not all equal and when you compare values, you can sometimes find enormous savings, hidden on your credit card reward sites!

For example: I recently wanted to redeem points for a new IPod for my son's November birthday. He is a young adult musician so he requested an IPod with the most storage. On my credit card redemption site, the point redemption value of the "largest" IPod model was 91,500 while a smaller version was available for 70,250 points.

This seemed outrageous to me so I did a bit of research. I checked Best Buy online and saw the largest model IPod was available for about $250.00 retail. Returning to the aforementioned credit card site, the point redemption value for a $250 Best Buy gift card was 25,000 points--a savings of 66,500 points! That's a HUGE difference. Redeeming my points for a $250 Best Buy credit card and purchasing the IPod at Best Buy proved to be the most cost effective way of using my points to purchase this gift.

Let's review

o 91,500 Redemption points needed for IPod
o 25,000 Redemption points needed for one $250 Best Buy gift Card

o 66,500 Difference in points for gift card vs points for IPod

With the points savings I could redeem another 50,000 points, receive an additional $500 in Best Buy Gifts cards and still have 16,500 remaining in rewards points.

Net effect--for 75,000 points, I have the desired IPod PLUS an additional $500 in Best Buy gift cards for more holiday shopping!

Those are real numbers and seriously significant savings!
Note: (Apple is NOT a wholesaler friendly vendor and rarely discounts its merchandise which leaves third party sites like points rewards programs having to charge premium redemption rates for any Apple products).
Credit card redemption rates vary from site to site but a little research and creativity can help you save money using point redemption this season.

It pays to do your homework and plan in advance. It will take about three to four weeks for us to receive our $250 ‘rewards’ Best Buy card. While delayed birthday gratification is OK with our adult son, the timeline for using reward redemptions in this manner requires a bit of planning ahead. However, with proper planning and a little creative research, you could have some of those rewards points in your pocket (by way of redeemed points credit cards) to spend while hoofing it to your favorite stores on Black Friday or Small Business Saturday.

Let me know if you find similar creative ways to save using your point rewards program!

Monday, May 30, 2011

We have landed!

It’s a far cry from Chicago….

Our first Spring in Merced, Ca has been full of delightful surprises and although the “natives” here claim that it has been a cold, wet spring, we are relishing the mild temperatures, bright sunshine and cool evenings that enticed us to relocate our family here.

We are thrilled to have harvested three green beans from our home garden already, have healthy cucumbers on the vine and a variety of thriving tomato plants. In Chicao, May 15th was the absolutly earliest you “should” plant and there was still a risk of losing your garden to frost (and even freeze).

Suffice to say, we feel like we are living in gardening nirvana.

Things are hopping at “The Gardens” and Brad has been busy meeting local suppliers, growers and most importantly, customers, who we hope will become long time friends. We have been warmly welcomed by the community and are delighted when people stop by and comment on how nice the place looks. Brad has been working hard to ensure that we are well stocked with all variety of spring planting needs. We are meeting local growers and suppliers and look forward to learning the ebb and flow of the seasons as we continue to gain knowledge of the local planting and harvesting cycles.

This week we are busy planning our Grand Reopening & Parking Lot Clearance Sale. Think of it as “The Gardens” spring cleaning sale. We will be offering many varieties of roses, fruit trees, shrubs and planting materials, all priced to move from our garden to yours!

Bring Dad by and have him pick out his own Father’s Day gift, or purchase him a Merced Gardens gift certificate. The sale starts at 8:00 am Friday and Saturday. We will be serving refreshments throughout the day. Stop by and visit us at 1007 Tahoe Street in Merced

Friday, February 4, 2011

Chronic shoveling.

Snowed in and disabled is not an easy condition to manage.

Chicago Blizzard of 2011

The whole country watched, and the news and the Chicago Red Cross tweets kept us all safe and apprised of the situation. It was disconcerting at times when the wind gusted to 50+ mph to realize that there was just 18 inches and a little bit of wood, brick, and insulation keeping us safe and warm during a 22 inch blizzard. But with a few days advance warning and good preparation, we and most others made it through just fine.

The aftermath….now that is another story.

Since I am disabled and so is my son, most of the leg work managed in this household is done by my husband. And although he is young(ish) and stays in shape attending the gym regularly, he has had three hip replacement surgeries and a knee replacement.

If we were employed, we would have a service to shovel/plow. We don’t, so he’s "it."

The sheer volume of snow that needed moving was daunting. There have been times where we “dug out” together, or tag team….not anymore. There is no easy way to ask or help. It has never been easy for us. This week I asked for help and am so thankful to the neighbors who pitched in.

Matt brought a snow plow and the brute strength of youth. Jim and Margie, though closer to us in age, are blessedly much healthier (Margie ran the marathon last summer) and brought compassion and shovels.
We may not be able to move much snow

We can bake. And we make a great team in the kitchen. Paula Deen would be proud---so much “Real Butter”!

So here are pics of some treats we made for the neighbors to thank them for their help.


Our house is still available for sale so these wonderful neighbors can be yours next…complete with a fenced yard…snowbanks not included.

Thank you Matt (Nicole and Vincent)
Thank you Jim and Margie.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Affordable Health Care Act Revisited? Why?

It is a shame that John Boehner and the GOP are wasting millions of taxpayer dollars (OUR MONEY) on political posturing and blowing hot air over an issue that was debated, passed by both House and Senate and signed by the President in December.

The Affordable Care Act will not be repealed. The Senate will stop it or President Obama will. It is a done deal, good for our country and citizens.

What is wrong with the GOP is that they think it is a good idea to revisit this issue when our country desperately needs leadership and consensus in the areas of job creation, immigration and economic growth. Shame on the GOP for NOT focusing their time on what really matters TODAY.

The political slogan we need to remember and revisit is "Change we can Believe in"

The GOP obviously STILL has not gotten the message as they insist on continuing their legacy of SOSO politics (Same Old Same Old political posturing).....what a waste.

Fed up with wasteful and inept leaders?....Tell them so---speak up--speak out

Contact your Congressman here

Contact your Senator here

Friday, January 7, 2011

Congress is making me Ill

Congress is making me ill.

They say that stress is bad for your health.
I am chronically ill, and the mother of a son with Marfan Syndrome. I consider myself an expert in Healthcare. And I am sick.
It is time for me to step up and say that the #GOP is making me sicker. Literally.

Because I am so passionate about our country, and because so much of our households survival depends on the availability of affordable healthcare, I feel compelled to speak up about what the #GOP is doing right now, their first week in the new session of Congress.
Instead of moving forward and helping to support small business growth (which many economists say is the true way to stimulate growth and create jobs) the #GOP is revisiting the Affordable Heathcare Act that passed, with majority and the basic overall approval of the country. The #GOP wants to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act completely, Point Blank.

No one on either side of the aisle thinks that the Affordable Health Care Act is perfect. It isn’t. It needs tweaking. As does Medicare (reducing fraud for starters) which would make it stronger. And Social Security (raising the annual limit) and instituting a cap on income to qualify to collect after the age of 65.

The #GOP wasting our tax dollars debating Healthcare Reform at this juncture is irresponsible, and down right detrimental to the whole spirit of the country. But more importantly, it is a slap in the face to many of their own constituents. The #GOP needs to man up and grow up and take care of BUSINESS, starting with the economy.
And when doing so, do not take defense spending off the table. If you have an efficient machine, then that machine can be trimmed down, made tighter and leaner, yet still provide the greatest national security and armed forces in the world.
The #GOP needs to regroup, create jobs, elevate education, and tackle the immigration issue.
Let Affordable Health Care settle in and tweak it as issues arise. Do not create side issues, diversions and waste our tax dollars on not moving forward….today.
Leave OUR Affordable Health Care Act alone.
Prioritize better.

Because, frankly, the stress is killing me.
There are too many people still out of work.
There are too many people still without affordable health insurance.
We need to protect our borders while reducing crimes along it.
We need to take care of each other, as a nation, create jobs and opportunities within our borders and share that production with the world. This is what will make us a great country again.

I'm just sayin....

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

This is the plan

Dear Family and Friends,

This is the plan.....

This is what I have: Spondylolisthesis
(hence, the new nickname "Slinky Stef")

We have an action plan of Physical Therapy, Excercise and Rest.

Our House in Chicago is for sale.

This is where we hope to move: Merced, CA

If you want more details, follow me on FACEBOOK or Twitter @stefpark.

We will keep you posted as soon as we can. (when I can sit upright and type with minimal pain).

Happy Fall

<<<<-----one of my "Favorite" VINTAGE Fall Brooches