Happy New Year and Happier New Beginnings

on Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Just as I did last week, let me wish you a Happy New Year a little early! Today is my last day in the office this week, and chances are I won't be blogging during my time off, so consider this my final post of 2008. Eek!

I began this blog right after the new year last year and it has been an interesting journey. I didn't really know what it would become when I started it, or if I would even share it with anyone, but I am quite pleased as I look back at my nearly 100 posts! Although I haven't been the best, most interesting or most consistent blogger out there, I have found it to be therapeutic, introspective, revealing and fun. It has allowed me to express myself in a way that I never have before - through writing. It has made me more open with my thoughts and feelings and exposed me more than I've ever felt comfortable with before. I think it has helped me along in my journey to live my best life...it has helped me identify my strengths and weakness and has held me accountable for my actions, because once you put it out there in the blogging universe, you can't just pretend you never said it! I find myself ending the year more committed to blogging than when I entered and I have every intention of continuing my blog and making it a more interesting place to be :-) As I said before, I have the distinct feeling the 2009 is going to be a history maker!

And, on that note, let me update you on my New Year's resolutions. My resolutions for 2009 are more goal-oriented than resolution-like, but nonetheless are aimed at helping me live my best possible life. I have loosely organized my goals into 4 categories: mind, body, soul and other/random. I believe that the achievement of each of these goals will assist me in my overall personal goal of continuously working toward a better me, as I believe there is always room for improvement in all of us. My goals are designed to expand my horizons, increase my knowledge, deepen my purpose and better myself mentally, physically and spiritually. They are also designed according to my desires and standards, and not based on other people's opinions or expectations of me. It is my life and I need to decide the best way to live it.

After a lot of consideration, I've decided to keep my specific goals/resolutions to myself (and my hubby, of course), as they are very personal to me and, as much as I'm all about full disclosure, I've got to keep some things for myself. I'm sure I will reveal many of them throughout the year, as I intend to blog about my learnings and life experiences, but for now, this is all you get!



on Monday, December 29, 2008

So, as you can tell, I have given my blog a fresh new look to help ring in the new year. But before I focus on the new year that is about to begin, let me reflect on the year that has passed. A year that has flown by, had it's ups and downs, and has been genuinely interesting. I won't rehash the year in full (heck, you can read back through my blog if you really want to know what's happened), but I will point to a few of the biggies...

The year began with my dad moving out! As glad as I was to help him, I was also glad to get my home back (which has subsequently been invaded by my little sister...ugh! But, let's save that for another time). I landed a fabulous new job in April...one that I absolutely love and am great at, if I do say so myself. My dearest husband has been on a career rollercoaster, which has included being a part-time residential real estate agent, purchasing and renovating his first investment property, partnering with his friends to form a real estate investment company, doing several construction-type projects, breaking off the partnership with his friends to pursue his own dreams, starting his own real estate investment company, and trying to find his way in the crazy and complicated world of real estate, all of which has occurred during the worst real estate market of our lifetime. We went on a few fun getaways...Cape Cod, Hampton Beach, Old Orchard Beach, Burlington (VT), and even made it back to our old stomping ground, Boston, a few times. We've managed to spend lots of quality time with family and are thankful to have our loved ones be in good health and prospering despite the difficult times we currently face. We also got to share in the many joys experienced by our friends this year, including two marriages and baby news from five! John and I have had our share of joyous moments together and have also had our share of fights (what couple doesn't?), but have come out of 2008 stronger, happier, closer and more in love than ever. I am so thankful to have him as my husband, my partner in life, and some days I can't even believe how lucky I am to be married to a man that is as unique, challenging, motivated, passionate, and caring as he is. The love I feel for him has no boundaries and cannot be described in words. But enough gushing about him :-) And last, but not least, we elected a new president! I am so hopeful and invigorated at the prospect of change and am excited to see what happens in our crazy world in the year to come.

But, no more looking back, because an exciting new year is upon us! Yesterday, John and I took Bailey to the park, and as we walked around we talked about all of our hopes and dreams for 2009 and how excited we are for the fresh new start that the new year brings with it. We are confident that 2009 is going to be one for the books! We have big dreams for this year, huge in fact, and we WILL make them all come true. I really think that this year is going to be a big turning point in our lives in many ways, and I absolutely cannot wait to see what happens. So, stay tuned and enjoy the ride with me! Happy New Year!

Today I am thankful for the fresh start and abundance of opportunity that the new year brings. Although many might consider it "just another day", I feel like it is a new beginning and I always enter the new year determined to make it the best year ever. Hello 2009!

Merry Christmas!

on Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Since this is my last day at work before Christmas, and let's face it...I'm not the best blogger when I'm at home, I am going to send out my holiday greetings today.

Merry Christmas Everyone! It's hard to believe the holidays are here (and 2008 is almost over!). I am looking forward to time with family, seeing the reactions to the gifts we bought this year (I think we did a pretty darn good job, if I do say so myself), good food and drink, and all around good cheer! It will be a busy couple of days for us for sure...tomorrow includes dinner at a family friend's house, followed by spending the evening at John's grandparent's house (and possibly church in between, but John isn't too keen on the idea). Then on Christmas, we will be cooking breakfast for and exchanging gifts with my father and sister at our house, then heading up to my mom's for quality time and gifts with my mom and brother, then back to John's grandparent's house for Christmas dinner, followed by Rosie and Jerry's (John's parent's neighbors and good friends...they're practically family) annual Christmas party where we always have a scrabble yankee swap and play the "LCR" game (a dice game involving lost of $$$!). It will be a whirlwind for sure, and there's no doubt we'll be sleeping late on Friday to recover, but I am so excited for it!

I hope everyone enjoys their holiday!

Today I am thankful for being blessed enough to have another holiday with myself and my family in good health and high spirits. I cherish each and every moment of it, because life is too short not to!

Counting My Blessings

So, I should probably explain the whole "Today I am thankful for..." tidbits that I've been including at the end of my posts lately.

In my never-ending quest for knowledge, I recently came across an article entitled "Count your Blessings for Happiness" (included below) and it got me thinking. I truly have so very much to be thankful for in my life. I am blessed in many ways...some obvious, like the fabulous husband and the wonderful home, and some not so obvious, like the care and compassion that I carry in my heart each day and the desire to help others that I feel deep inside. But, my life is in no way without its trials and tribulations. I have struggles and tough times just like everyone else. And, much like everyone else, it gets really easy to focus on those "bad" things and forget about all the great things that touch my life each and every day. When you take a step back and really examine things, the "bad" things really aren't so bad, and they certainly pale in comparison to the magnitude of the good things. So, I have vowed to myself to pour my energy and focus into the good things, because it is those good things that are at the core of my happiness and define my imperfectly perfect life.

Today I am thankful for my unending desire to learn and experience as much as I possibly can. There is always opportunity for growth and improvement, and I will never stop trying to live the best and fullest life I possibly can.


This is an excerpt from 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life by David Leonhardt

"Count Your Blessings" for Happiness

Have you ever bought a new car? Remember the pride you felt and the excitement when you made the choice? When you signed the papers? When you drove it off the lot? Do you remember that "new car smell"? Then something happened. Where is that pride today? Where is that excitement now? What happened to that "new car smell"?

Simple. You stopped counting your blessings. When you bought the car, it was a step up. Perhaps it was a better car. Or a bigger car. Or simply a car that would spend less days on the hoist. You were grateful. You were appreciative. You were counting this blessing. It does not take long for a new blessing to be taken for granted. And the new car becomes just another thing in your life that you take for granted.

Consider this incredible set of statistics:

99% of people in the developed world take shelter for granted.
99% of people in the developed world take breakfast for granted.
99% of people in the developed world take lunch for granted.
99% of people in the developed world take dinner for granted.
99% of people in the developed world take clothing for granted.

At the risk of sounding trite or glib, most people in the developed world take cars, televisions, computers, vacations, toasters, freedom of speech, paper clips and thousands of other conveniences for granted. In fact, a TV remote control that requires a battery change or a web page that takes more than five seconds to load are considered serious irritations. Who is happier, the person grateful to be able to change those batteries and wait for that web page? Or the person grumbling about the time it takes and the inconvenience and the bother and why can't things work better? (Why don't they make things like they used to? Why does the lineup have to be so long? Why is it so cold outside? Why do I have to go to work today?)

Of course you have every right to complain any time you choose. Nobody wants to take away your right to be unhappy. But I would love to take away your unhappiness, if you are willing to take action. Math is not everybody's strong suit. This is where "counting your blessings", simple and even corny, is not as easy as it sounds. Our knee-jerk reaction is to complain, to grumble, to be frustrated, to feel almost offended when things don't work out "perfectly", just the way we want them to. Imagine poor God, sifting through the millions of prayers he receives daily. Despite the cornucopia of blessings we receive, I am willing to bet that he receives ten times more "Gimmee" prayers than "Thank you" prayers.

Counting our blessings in this day and age of entitlement is not as simple as it sounds, and it sure is not easy to do. In fact, billions of dollars of advertising conspire to reinforce the belief that whatever we have is not good enough and that we deserve better. Who is there to tell us we have enough? Who can help us feel happy with what we have? You. Only you.

Are you ready to give up your own natural knee-jerk reaction and choose to be happy? You can have all the confidence in the world, but if you do not actively feel grateful for the fruits of your confidence, it will not bring you happiness. You can have immaculate health, but if you do not think about how wonderful that is, it will not bring you happiness. You can smile, build friendships, achieve success, win the lottery, or do whatever you desire, but if you are not saying every day, "Wow! This is wonderful. This is grand. I am the luckiest man (or woman) alive because of this," don't expect it to bring you happiness.

Yes, there is a secret to happiness. The secret is gratitude. The secret is appreciation. Or, as I call it in Climb Your Stairway to Heaven: the 9 habits of maximum happiness, the secret is to count your blessings.


on Monday, December 22, 2008

It's time to admit it...someone in my family has an addiction. You see it happen to other people, but you still never imagine that it can happen to you...until it does. Addiction can come in many forms, and is often debilitating and destructive. Occasionally, addiction is a little less serious.

Here it goes...

Bailey is addicted to the snow. She has an unnatural, uncontrollable obsession with it. She love to run in it, jump through it, tunnel around in it. She likes to search for things buried in the snow. She likes to roll around like a wild animal in it. She insists on sticking her head in it like an ostrich. She absolutely cannot stand being inside when she knows that there is snow outside.

We took her out for over two hours yesterday...first we took her to the park down the street for an hour where she had free reign to run and jump and act like a pup. Then we played with her in our own yard for a total of another hour as we shoveled our driveway (twice). She never slowed down, never got sick of it. Then, when it was finally time to go inside, warm up by the cozy fire and watch football (our fall and winter Sunday tradition), she could not relax. She paced around the house...back and forth from us to the door. She had this look on her face like something was wrong, like she was stressed out. She even whined a bit. We proceeded to let her out a few times when she got most antsy, and she's burst out the door straight into the snow and would be back to her old antics immediately...running, jumping, tunneling. She loves the snow more than you can even begin to imagine. There is no doubt...she is addicted.

I'm sure the novelty will wear off soon, seeing that this was the first big snow of the year (about 12" on Friday, and another 6" yesterday!). But, without fail, every year's first snow is as exciting as the first time she saw snow nearly 6 years ago. My girl...or as I like to call her...Snowface!

Today I am thankful for the simple joys in life, like watching my beloved doggie frolic in the snow. Her excitement over the simplest things never ceases to bring me immeasurable amounts of joy!

Christmas Times Three

on Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Apparently everyone we know thought that this coming weekend (December 20th and 21st) would already be filled with holiday plans, so instead they scheduled their parties for this past Saturday, December 13th. We attended three, yes three, Christmas parties on Saturday evening.

First up was Century 21. John's co-workers there (although he is not doing much work at C21 these days with the upstart of his own real estate investment company, JMG Properties) are very nice and we had a fun, albeit quick, time catching up, munching on some yummy appetizers, and enjoying a delicious cocktail. Of course, with two other parties to attend (and an out of town guest, my dear old college roomie Amelia, joining us for the last two parties) we had to make a swift exit to go meet up with Amelia and continue our night of festivities.

After swinging back by the house to pick up our host/hostess gifts and the Christmas gift I got for Crystal (oh yeah, and Amelia!) we were off to Southampton for Crystal's party. The food there was delicious, the decorations were beautiful and the champagne was flowing...all wonderful things! But...we hardly knew anyone there! I find it very strange that I didn't know many people at my own best friend's party, but that's because most of the guests were Marty's (Crystal's husband) co-workers and army buddies. Regardless, we made the best of it by chatting it up with the people we did know (and a few we didn't) and kicking butt on the holiday trivia game that Crystal had organized (see - useless information always comes in handy at some point!). I am proud to say I got all the questions right (although I did get some help on a few of them)! But, we didn't have much time to celebrate the trivia victory, because we had to head to the third and final party of the night.

We were soon out the door and off to Enfield (CT) for Sean (John's cousin, who I also know from living in the same dorm and having the same major at UMASS) and his wife Missy's party. I think we arrived a little too late, because by the time we got there, everyone had enjoyed a few too many beverages, if you know what I mean. It was still nice to see some of John's family members...something that I wish we could do a little more. Unlike me, John actually has cousins that are close in age and close in lifestyle to us. It would be great to spend more time with them and develop a closer relationship. In my family, I really only have one cousin that I can relate to. The rest are either in jail, on drugs or staying as far away from our crazy family as possible! OK, OK, maybe I am exaggerating a little, but I don't have a lot of family that I could be all that close with. But, I digress... Sean and Missy's party was...interesting. Like I said, most people there were a little off their rocker (and we were not) so there was a lot of inappropriate behavior, obnoxious yelling and slurring of words...everything you'd expect at the party of a UMASS alum! The highlight of our time there was getting my first sobriety test ever! See, Sean left the world of Finance too (I guess we both figured out how crappy it is!) and is now a CT State Trooper. He was trying to get me to drink the world's most disgusting champagne, Asti (ack!), and I used my being the designated driver as an excuse not to drink it (although not entirely untrue). Joking around, I said something about needing to be able to pass a sobriety test and he jumped at the opportunity (I think to show off how he's such a tough cop...another story for another time!). I did pass with flying colors and was even described as "stone cold sober" (which I was). Soon after that, it was time to hit the road back to my comfy home and my comfy bed. Bliss!

So, in one night, we got our fill of holiday cheer! We don't have any parties (that we know of yet) for this coming weekend, so we might actually have some time to relax before the real holiday madness begins. Cheers to that!

Today I am thankful for having friends and family that care about us enough to want us part of their holiday celebrations...as simple and silly as it may seem, I feel like it is truly a blessing.

Accountability (and some good news)

on Monday, December 15, 2008

Why can't people take accountability for their actions? It seems like every single day there is another public figure who thought they were above the law and who felt they were too good or too special to have to abide by the same rules as everyone else. Why is it that, according to them, they are never guilty? Why is it always someone else's fault? This whole Blagojevich thing (Illinois Governor who accepted bribes for appointment to Senate...just one of him multiple illegal and/or unethical activities) has got me so disgusted. You made a conscious decision to betray your oath to your state and country, you chose to act in an illegal and unethical manner, and you got caught. The jig is up. Own up to it. I would have much more respect for someone who takes accountability for their actions than someone who denies guilt despite overwhelming evidence and who perpetuates a bad situation for no good reason. Resign already!

In addition to ranting about politics, I do have some good news to share. I am done with my class, baby! I got down to business on Friday and wrote my final paper. Done, done, done! I am thrilled!!!

Today I am thankful for my desire and ability to learn about life on my own terms, and for having enough sense not to go down a path that is not right for me just because it looks good on paper.


on Thursday, December 11, 2008

I am taking tomorrow off to write my paper that is due on Monday. I have had all semester to write it, but I decide to wait until 3 days before it's due. Let's hope I have some spark of genius and write an incredible paper in no time at all.

I've really been rethinking this whole MBA thing lately. If I were really meant to pursue my MBA, wouldn't I be enjoying it more? Instead, it's more of an inconvenience and an annoyance than anything. I find myself really not caring about getting anything out of class or even doing that well in it (and this is coming from a straight A student). In fact, my only motivation to finish the class with a semi-decent grade is so I can get reimbursed for it by my company. And I'm supposed to do this for another 3 years? Ugh!

All of this leads me to believe that this is not the right path for me. I don't know what is, but I'm pretty sure this isn't it. Maybe I need to continue to devote my time to education, but in a different sense. I think I just need to explore the things that interest me on my own terms. I want to learn and I want to grow, but I want it to be about something that I care about, something that I have some passion for. And, business just isn't it. I need to make some decisions for myself, but I have been unable to do so because my thoughts have been clouded by being in this class. Hopefully after I finish and submit my paper tomorrow I will gain some clarity. And, if nothing else, at least I won't have to waste my weekend on boring schoolwork.

Today I am thankful for having a job with very generous vacation time. I have been able to take all the time off that I've wanted to this year, and I still have some time left over.

Did I Mention...

on Tuesday, December 9, 2008

That all 90 of our Christmas Cards are in the mail as of today? It's all fun from here on out!

Today I am thankful for my self-motivation and my organization skills...although I don't utilize them nearly as much as I should, it's nice to know how powerful they are when put to good use.

Laughing Out Loud

So silly, but I can't stop cracking up about this...

Last night I am getting ready for bed (washing my face, brushing my teeth, etc...) and John comes into the bathroom and the following exchange took place...

John: "Bailey is sprawled out across our bed"

Me: "Yeah, so what?"

John: "She got her ass on my pillow!"

Baileytales - The story of how we got Bailey

I will try to keep this as brief as possible, because lord knows I could go on all day about my girl.

When I was in high school, my family adopted a Pomeranian named Petunia. She was adorable and really was the sweetest, most loving dog you could imagine. Toonie, as we like to call her, instantly became part of our family. In the early months of 2003, Toonie was killed. People have actually laughed when I told them this (which subsequently sent me into tears), but Toonie was run over by a snowmobile. My mom lives in a rather rural area, and she lives right next to railroad tracks. People fly up and down the tracks all winter on their snowmobiles. While out in the yard one day, Toonie wandered over to the tracks (which was very out of character for her, so something must have attracted her there) and was hit. The jerk, may God punish his soul, didn't even stop. My poor mother found here there. It was devastating for us. It was like losing a family member.

But, a few weeks later in typical Micki fashion, to ease the pain of losing Toonie, my mother found another Pomeranian at the mall pet store that she wanted to get. She was going on and on about this Pom and how much she wanted it and how I just had to go to the mall to check it out. So, one Saturday, with nothing better to do, John, Amelia and I decided to head to the mall to check out the "replacement" Toonie. Little did I know at the time, but that innocent trip into the pet store to pacify my mother changed my life forever.

Our girl, just a tiny pup of 6 pounds, grabbed our eyes and our hearts immediately. She was THE CUTEST thing I had ever seen. We just knew that we had to meet her, so we had the pet store attendant get her out of her cage and bring us into a private room with her. We fell in love instantly. Beyond in love. She was cuddly and playful and full of life. We debated back and forth about whether to get her, but there was never really any question if we were actually going to. She HAD to come home with us. She was perfect. We absolutely should not have gotten a dog at that time...we were still in college and didn't even live together...but all logical thinking went out the door when we saw her face. Only minutes after meeting her, we were walking out of the mall with our tiny little ball of love in our arms. And, the rest is history. Here we are nearly six years and 70 pounds later, and we could not be more thankful for having her come into, and truly enrich our lives beyond our wildest dreams.

And, my mom never ended up getting the "replacement" Toonie.

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree!

on Monday, December 8, 2008

It's Christmas at my house! We put up our tree and decorated this weekend and I am so happy with the result. It's so warm and cozy...just the way I like it. And, in true Melissa fashion, I again selected a huge tree. They always look so much smaller at the Christmas tree lot. John says our tree is fat. Poor tree is going to develop a complex :-) I will post pictures soon...I'm just waiting on the finishing touch (my mantle decor) to arrive today!

In other news (about my holiday timeline), I am doing quite well. All shopping is done and all presents are wrapped and under the fully decorated tree. Our Christmas cards are nearly ready to go out...we just have a few more to write out and then they'll be in the mail. We have also semi-secured our New Year's Eve plans...we are having another couple over for dinner, which is in keeping with the low key evening we wanted to have. We haven't quite decided if we are going to spend the whole evening at home, or if we'll try to go out somewhere after dinner, but either way, it should be fun. Oh, and I've been crafting my New Year's resolutions already...but I'll save all that for a later post. Can I just say how much I love being organized. It has made this holiday season (thus far) completely stress-free and so much fun!

Less than helpful

on Friday, December 5, 2008

So, I have an allergy. To cats.

Well, duh! My eyes burn like battery acid and my nose runs like crazy when I come in contact with a cat, so I kind of already figured out that I am allergic. The testing just confirmed it.

The troubling part is...I'm not allergic to anything else! So, considering the fact that I am rarely in contact with cats, I have no explanation for the symptoms I've been experiencing for 4+ months.

The plan from here is to continue using the Rhinocort (which I've been on for 2 weeks and have noticed quite a big improvement) for another month or two and then try to go off it if my symptoms have subsided. If the symptoms return when I go off the Rhinocort, I will have to go see an allergist for extensive allergy testing. Symptoms, I command you to go away!

In other news, something I was listening to on the radio this morning got me thinking. Maybe my lack of motivation and foul mood lately is caused by SAD...seasonal affective disorder. Let's review the facts...When I wake up, it's dark. When I leave work, it's dark. I don't leave the office building during the day, so I have virtually no exposure to sunlight. So, I think I am going to perform an experiment. I am going to try to go for a walk every day at lunch for a couple of weeks and see if it helps. If nothing else, at least I'll be squeezing in a little extra exercise.

Boy, am I in rare form today!?!?

on Thursday, December 4, 2008

A recent trip to the ladies' room inspired this post...

Biggest Fashion Faux Pas According to Me (in no particular order):

1. Novelty sweaters. This time of year just kills me. A 3D Santa Claus is never OK on clothes. Ever.

2. Pantyhose with open toe shoes. Just the thought makes me cringe.

3. Floor length skirts. Sorry, but they don't look good on ANYONE.

4. White athletic socks worn with business casual clothing. Please just invest in a pair of $2 trouser socks.

5. Flip flops worn with business casual clothing. Nothing says professional like the flopping of a rubber shoe.

6. Pajamas. How can anyone think it's OK to wear plaid flannel pants in public?

7. Crocks. They are appropriate for precisely two occasions...gardening and gardening.

8. Anything ill fitting. Sorry, but bulging out of skin tight pants does not make you look thinner.

9. Cell phones worn on belts. That's why God invented pockets and purses.

10. Sweatpants. Unless you are participating in an activity that makes you sweat (hence, the name SWEATpants).


My mind has been swirling with a thousand different thoughts these past few days, so I'm hoping by getting them down on paper (proverbial paper, that is) that I'll straighten myself out!

I am going for allergy testing this afternoon. I am not nervous that I'm going to find out I'm allergic to something, but rather that I'm not allergic to anything. Then I'll really start to worry about what's been causing my 4 month runny nose. It's easier just to assume it's allergies.

I went to a pitch for a pyramid scheme last night. My mom convinced me to go and it was the biggest waste of 2 hours in my life. It felt so slimy and skeevy. Yuck!

Mornings have been such a challenge for me lately. I don't know if it's the dark/cold combination, or whether it's the fact that my schedule has been completely disrupted lately due to having lots of time off, but whatever it is, I don't like it. I like popping out of bed and being at the gym at 5:30. I do not like barely dragging myself from bed to shower at 7:00.

I reluctantly "crashed" a high school reunion last week. Crystal convinced me to go to the class of '98 reunion (even though we graduated in '99) because we were "invited". It turned out to be the lamest, most uncomfortable experience I've had in quite some time. Everyone seemed exactly the same as they were in HS and it was so fake. Plus, all of the "my life is so fabulous" and "I make so much money" and "I am just so happy" makes me want to vomit. Quit trying to convince me that your life is so great. I guarantee it's not.

To MBA or not to MBA, that is the question. I am close to finishing my first class and I'm just not convinced that I want to continue to pursue this. I cannot think of one good reason not to, but yet I still can't psych myself up for it. I think it's yet another sign that my "professional life" is supposed to go in another direction. Unfortunately, I am still waiting to have that revelation telling what I am supposed to be doing with my life. Does anyone else feel this confused? Why can't I be one of those people that has known what they've wanted to do with their life since they were 7 years old. When I was 7, I wanted to be a florist. Now, I work in compliance. Maybe I should give floristry (is that even a word?) a chance.

Sista sledge has got to go. I love my sister dearly, but she needs to get her hiney out of my house. She is a slob. Her room is disgusting (and it smells like pee). She's been smoking in there too. Seriously, how disrespectful is that? We don't smoke, and we don't allow others to smoke in our house. Who does she think she is that she can just make a mess and smoke in there when she feels like it. Here's the kicker in it all. She has no home of her own, no money to find her own place, she can't afford her own cell phone or car insurance (my dad pays for them), she's in debt, she's not in school, she's making close to minimum wage at a dead end job, she's less than a month from having no health insurance. She is really in a bad position, and if one thing goes wrong, she's screwed. If her car breaks down, if she gets sick, if she gets laid off, etc... she will seriously have nothing. Pretty dire situation, right? If it were you, wouldn't you be freaking out and doing everything in your power to get yourself out of that situation? Well, she apparently has other plans. She's buying her ghetto on again, off again boyfriend a $400 video game system for Christmas. Boy, does she have her priorities straight! HA! Please tell me what person with half a brain would say "Gee, I have no place to live, I'm in debt, I'm completely screwed if one thing in my life goes wrong, but obviously buying this loser guy who probably won't be in my life in mere months from now a $400 Christmas gift is the most important thing I can do with my life right now." Not "Gee, maybe I should save all the extra money I have to get back on my feet" or "Gee, maybe I should try to pay my own bills instead of mooch off my dad" or "Gee, maybe I should kick in a little cash for the household expenses at my sister's house since I've been living there scott free for 3 months". Nope. It's a video game system for Geoffrey. Ugh!!!!!

OK, now that I've been a Debby Downer and vented, I actually feel better. Sometimes you just need to scream, right?