Minor Update

I have had all intentions of updating for several weeks. I hope to do more regular updates hopefully after the new year. Emily's surgery is coming up then we have Christmas.

I will be doing a regular post within the next few days. I have been wanting to write about it for almost a month now.


WOW! It's been nearly a month since I have posted. The month of November, so far, literally went by within a blink of my eyes. I have been SUPER busy. For awhile I thought I would seriously need a personal assistant to keep track of my schedule.

We had company come to visit us from Michigan and Wisconsin. We had our annual F.O.P function, celebrating Thanksgiving two weeks in a row and me being sick.

I am thankful we are in our last week quietly ending November, quietly working our way into December to being another semi-busy month.

Em will be having her tonsils and adenoids removed one week before Santa comes to town. So I have to be sure she has plenty of ice cream from Santa. I am getting nervous for her.

Heaven sent...

I have found my saving grace to help Em go to bed at night... She has been afraid of the dark and has had to sleep with her closet light or a hall light. I have bought "cool" night lights with no luck. Until one day I was reading my Parents magazine and saw the savior to my electric bill. It's called the Twilight Turtle. It is a plush turtle with a hard top and when you turn it on in a dark room it lights up with constellations. The hard shell lights up in shades of amber, blue and green and automatically turns off in about 30-45 minutes.

I highly recommend this item. It is a pricey night light, but worth it! I bought mine on eBay.

Fond memories...

Today there will be no Friday Funny... Today is a day of rememberence for me. Twenty-five years ago today I lost my very best friend. The most important man in my life, my father. We did everything together and in an instant he was gone and nothing but a memory.

While each passing year is very difficult for some odd reason this year has been easier for me to accept. My father has been gone for 25 years. I have out-lived my father which a child is never supposed to do. I think I may be at peace.

I think of him every day and I know he's watching over my family and I.

Love you dad.

Time Flies

WOW! I didn't realize it was so long since I last posted. I have been very busy working on a new endeavor professionally. I couldn't be more excited or busy.

Shame on me I have to pay more attention to my blog!

Piss on you Hanna Montana

I have been brewing about this topic for over a week now and it totally chaps my ass. I found out Hannah Montana the alter ego for Miley Cirus is coming locally in concert. I have been saying since my daughter, Em has fallen in love with her I would take her in a heart beat. Em is obsessed with Hannah Montana. We must watch every episode which is on my TiVo (Season Pass even) and we have her CD's now she must have her clothes... We shall see.

So back to what I was saying... Hannah Montana is coming to concert... I log onto Ticketmaster and am waiting patiently until 10:00AM. I am set and ready to pay for two tickets. I had everything all planned in my head. Santa was going to give her one of the best presents ever. Within 3 minutes, my vision of a Merry Christmas from the coolest Santa was shot. The bandwidth was crazy and Ticketmaster was running at a snail like pace. Yes you read right, at 10:03 every flipping ticket in Quicken Loan Arena was sold out!! I mean this girl is popular, but a sell out crowd within minutes? Um, no... I found out her tickets were sold out after 15 seconds. Is that possible? I mean really... I checked for tickets in Detriot, Pittsburgh and Columbus and it is all the same story, SOLD OUT.

I also found out if you paid whatever fee to her fan club you could get the code for presale tickets... Why? I am not going to pay for a fan club. I never did and never will. These artists make enough money as it is...

I sit here writing this pissed and sad because I can give my child something I really wanted to. I won't pay upwards of $3,000 for one ticket. I love my kid, but not that much.

Piss on you Hannah Montana... There's something fishy going on and it isn't pretty. I hope these lawsuits put your management in their place.

You really are getting the Best of Both Worlds and Nobody's Perfect... *sigh*

If it doesn't get any damned worse... Here are tips from ticket brokers how to get a ticket to her concert. All I have to say is WTF?!

Friday Funny (v.46)

This is a day late... The whole family has been sick.

For my friend, many thanks...

Today is a special day, but sad day to me…

Today is one of my best friends birthday. I will call her Roxie. We are only 26 days apart but we call ourselves sisters from different moms. For my birthday Roxie plotted a surprise visit. She made arrangements to fly in the day before my birthday and stay with a mutual friend of ours that was in my wedding. Then my hubby picked her up on his way home from work (he works third shift). The morning of my birthday I got several text messages saying happy birthday from my girlfriend and chitchatting back and forth as we usually do. The next thing I know I am getting the girls ready to go and the door from the garage opens and there she is, with a coffee in hand saying, “Happy Birthday! Here’s your coffee.” I was shocked. I was at a total loss of words and didn’t know what to do or say. I wanted to cry out of joy and the other part of me wanted to jump up and down. I gave her a big hug and said thank you! The weirdest thing about that moment is in all the years I have known Roxie she has always had red curly hair… And that day it was as straight as could be. She looked like a totally different person like she had an alter ego… It was pretty cool!

My hubby told me to call in “sick” and I just couldn’t do that. I can’t call off of work if I am not sick. I’d feel too guilty and if I did do it, I’d probably end up really sick and laid up for a week. I know what karma is.

I ended up leaving work at noon and I went home changed my clothes and Roxie and I went out to lunch, alone for the first time since we were in college. I can’t remember us doing anything alone in forever! Em was at school and the baby was at Grandma’s. So it was us. We were able to bullshit over memories and just enjoy each other’s company. After lunch we ran a few errands and I picked up the girls early.

We had a wonderful weekend. We went to a place to paint our own pottery. I made a piggy bank for the baby; Em made me her annual school plate with her handprint and Roxie painted a matching set of pasta bowls. The time flew by as usual.

It makes me sad we live so far away and we aren’t able to hang out and enjoy the not-so-simple life. It makes me sad that for her “forever” birthday I will not be able to return the gift she gave me other than this crummy post. I know it’s the thought that counts and believe me there is the utmost sentiment to this, but to be able to hop on a plane for a day trip would be the best gift I could give back to her. I know she won’t hold it against me if I can’t come, but to give her the same memories she gave me would be priceless.

I wish her the very best day and I know next year we will be partying in Vegas for my / our next birthday with friends so it will come full circle.

Thank you for everything… and I hope you have a wonderful day!

Tampons, Pills and Burgers...

While watching television at night I am baffled how some of these commercials are approved.

There are commercials for feminine hygiene products. As a woman, they drive me ape shit. I hate them. Who wants to know about Kotex or Tampons? It is a necessity of life. Advertising of these products in my opinion is worthless and a waste of money.

How about erectile dysfunction commercials? Those are hilarious... Talk about kicking a man when he's down.... I crack myself up! (No pun intended)

Burger King? The scary King man... How mental is that?

At one point I wanted to do marketing and create commercials... Perhaps I should pursue that endeavor.

Friday Funny (v.45)

Who needs a mini-van when you can pack the family on a motorcycle?

Current Events - House Cut Lengthwise by Chainsaw

I am going to try to write something about current events as time allows. I browse the net daily and come across the wierdest articles... It amazes me these people live amongst us.

I was reading an article from the WLWT.com; Cincinnati NBC news afilliate. Here's the video news link.

In the article this man who is 66 years old got pissed off and literally took a chain saw and cut his house in half from the inside. He cut it through the 2x4's, insulation, windows, etc.

Where is the integrity of this house now? The house is essentially worthless.

Soap box moment

The other day I had to run a quick errand to the grocery store. I had to pick up some items I needed for a recipe I was making for a work luncheon. As I approached the front of the store there are the refreshment centers with Pepsi and Coca-a-cola, magazine stands and the all time parent favorite, c-a-n-d-y. As I walked by I wanted bottled water. I stopped and grabbed one and as I backed up I noticed a woman looking feverishly at all kinds of DVD’s. Evidently that has become another something that is sold at the end of your visit to the grocery store. She has nothing in the main part of her cart and 5 DVD’s sitting in the part where a child would be, if she had one or one with her. I went about my business and paid for my items purchased.

As I was walking out of the store I notice the same woman walking out of the store with a big ole’ brown purse and no bag. She didn’t act like she just dropped a $100 on movies. She had guilt written all over her. I watched her walk out and it dawned on me, that is the same woman I saw a few minutes ago. This woman was in her mid 40’s, at least. She ran to her car and as she was running I reported her to an employee who was bringing carts from the parking lot. I couldn't explain the situation fast enough to her. And the woman go away. The sad part is I was totally eyeing out this woman and don't remember what she looks like other than her big purse. I never thought when I was standing next to her that I would have to remember. Thankfully there was video surveillance!

I look back and wonder how I would have handled this situation differently had I known what the outcome would have been and I honestly don't know. I don't understand, nor will I ever why some people things must come to them for free.

And when honest people purchase something we are paying inflated prices to compensate what thieves take.

Britney Spears vs. O.J.

For most of the day I listen to the Fox News channel on my satellite radio. I listen to it in the office because it's non-distracting and educational. Today's big topics were Britney Spears and the ever infamous O.J. Simpson.

First of all, Britney may be labeled an "unfit" mother. She parties and forgets to wear panties. Heck, we all do that, right? Ok, I guess I was blinded by the sight of her crotch one too many times. I hear all these reporters talking about her and K-Fed and how she may be or is going to be losing custody of her two boys. But why is she getting so much media attention? What about the children of the world whose mother wasn't famous but they deserve the attention to have a better life? I just believe we should try to refocus here just a bit... But it's my own opinion.

Then we have O.J. Simpson... What a waste of a human being... Come on now. Dude held up someone by gun point for $7,000 in memorabilia. Is he really that much of a tight ass? It amazes me he'd fuck his pathetic life up with the potential of actual jail/prison time. Way to go jack ass!

So who wins the biggest loser award of the week contest? Britney or O.J.?

Good Cup of Joe

While on our New England vacation I have experienced some different tastes for the palate. Stopping at a local Starbucks for either my "hot" or iced venti non-fat upside-down Carmel macchiato. The easiest place to stop was at McDonald's for a $1 cup of Joe. While traveling the taste of the coffee was awesome!

Come to find out McDonald's, Paul Newman and Green Mountain Coffee have come together marketing an organic, yes organic line of coffee. I have never been the "tree hugging" type, but in this case, the earth tastes pretty dammed good. I had a cup of McDonald's coffee everyday and would have loved to have more without killing myself on a caffeine high.

When we came home I started doing some web searches about McDonald's organic coffee and it's currently a regional thing which I find doubtful that it would end up here in Ohio. I actually liked the coffee so much I got some for my birthday. My girlfriend ended up coming here (another post) and we enjoyed sipping on Green Mountain coffee.

I'd recommend you swing by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and purchase some. If you like Starbucks, you will LOVE these beans! It's less than purchasing Starbucks coffee in the store and in all honesty a whole hell of a lot better than Starbucks.

I am not being paid for this "review". I am simply sharing my experience.

Friday Funny (v.44)

Nice doggy!


Today my boss hands me a box of Jelly Belly's. I say thank you. He proceeds to tell me therse are "special". How so? The flavors of these wonderful sugary treats are

  • earwax
  • soap
  • rotten egg
  • grass
  • earthworm booger
  • bacon
  • black pepper
  • vomit

My boss said he tried the earthworm, bacon and dirt. And he said they all tasted very "true" to what he remembers as a child. Then he said he tried the vomit and after the fourth chew he about blew chunk himself.

I said I would be "brave" and try the soap... After two chews I thought I was seriously frothing at the mouth. It was disgusting! I tried the grass and it tasted like I ate a flower.

My big question is... What sick fucker perfected these tastes enough to be edible let alone able to make a profit?

Friday Funny (v.43)

This is funny as hell!

***ETA-- this is NOT my child. This is for "fun" sake. I would never put my child in this personally. What the heck is wrong with ones sense of humor?


So I am totally pumped! Obviously I have a new design and I love it! It's just in time for my birthday!


I have been having Chic & Sassy designs design my site for over a year now. She has never steered me wrong.



We recently had company over and it was super duper nice to see them, but it was also nice to see them go (in a relieving type of way).

As a woman... we have our quirks and obsessions. Here's mine:

There is all kinds of preparation that goes into having company come over. You have to make sure everything is in its special place. And while every nick-nack is sitting in its special place it must pass the white glove inspection and look nice and shiny.
You work up to the moment of climax in this case is your company arriving. Then it fizzels away... It's all for the nano-second your guest(s) walk through the door.

With all of this preparation comes disorganization.... Clutter, congestion and chaos. It is all welcomed, but it is overwhelming.

After a few days I just wanted to reclaim my space. I wanted to be able to run around my house naked, if I wanted to.

I know some may not understand these feelings and I don't expect anyone else to "get it". I love having coming over. I love the anticipation of seeing friends and loved ones. I just wish I didn't get so damned worked up about it.

Thought of the day

It is one thing to pick your nose in public, but to eat what you pick… is just plain old WRONG!

Things that make you go hmmmm.....

I have been gathering up some questions in my head when I am out and about and even at home...

  1. Why do really heavy people stock up on diet soda and purchase all kinds of junk in their grocery carts?
  2. Is it treason when the specialized television stations reveal secrets of the US military or law enforcement techniques?
  3. Why is it that some motorists will use their blinkers and leave them on for their entire trip and others won't use them at all? (My car has a dummy alarm and tells me if I have left it on)
  4. Who really wants to see your thong hanging out of your pants? Whale tails aren't hot, really.
  5. While at the movies prior to the previews when the movie theater asks you politley for your silence, they mean it! Don't add your commentary and ruin the ending for everyone else and that means elders too!
  6. Add cell phones to number 5
  7. Don't stand so close to people! We all have our own personal space called a bubble!
  8. How many more reality shows can one come up with? It seems like the trend isn't as popular as it once was. I mean how many seasons of MTV's Real World have there been? I believe they are now on season 19!
What drives you insane?

Friday Funny (v.42)

It's been a long week... here's a good way to start the weekend!

Friday Funny (v.41)

Take that Michael Vick!!

Tag, your it!

My friend Donald at Burkean Reflections tagged me and it's been about a month, and I am now getting to it. I will not be tagging anyone else, but just doing it for fun!

Here are the rules:

1. We have to post the rules before we give you the facts. - NO RULES -

2. Players have to list eight random facts/habits about themselves. - SEE BELOW -

3. People tagged also write about eight things and post the rules. - NO TAGGING -

4. At the end of the post, you need to tag eight other bloggers. - NO TAGGING -

Here are my eight facts:

1. I like to shoot guns.

2. I refuse to purchase any other card brand than Hallmark.

3. I am very loyal.

4. I hate to read the comics.

5. I like to speed.

6. I used to be in a marching band, yes I was a band geek.

7. I started college when I was a junior in high school and never finished.

8. I am not afraid to travel alone as long as I have a map, full tank of gas and my cell phone.

Friday Funny (v.40)

And they are back!

Mom, Mom, MOM!!

Today I took the girls to get their pictures taken. At the photo studio I took them to there was another mom with two children about 8 and 10. They were running around like bored children do. I was talking to the lady ordering my photos and I hear, mom, mom, mom, mom, MOM, MOM, MOM. I turn around and say WHAT????

It wasn't my child.

The other mom starts laughing hysterically saying she was ignoring her children and had she responded it would have been in the same tone.

I am back!

It's been awhile since I have had a chance to write. Between being a mom, going on vacation, having company and going back to work. Needless to say I am a little tired.

I intend to begin my Friday Funny posts again too. I have missed doing them.

Here are some pictures from my vacation.

We went whale watching off the coast of Gloucester, Massachusetts. Here are some pictures of the memorable experience. Afterwards we met up with a girlfriend of mine and she took pictures of us Emily and Allison.

Leaving port:

Notable whale sightings:

Salem, Massachusetts




Emily & Allison

Friendship, Salem, Massachusetts

Old Sturbridge Village, Massachusetts

More than meets the eye!

Tonight my hubby and I saw Transformers. All I can say is why are you sitting here reading my post? Go out and watch it now!!

Truly the Best. Movie. EVER!

The effects were so damn amazing I had goosebumps. The plot wasn't all love-y like Armageddon. I hope there is a sequel, as I will be there.

"Let down"

Today has been a really rough day for me... I am so angry, hurt, and sad I can't collect a coherent thought. I just want to scream, cry and throw something. I have been let down by a very close person to me three times in the past two months. Every pinnacle moment in my life in this short period of time (the birth of Allison, Allison's baptism, and Emily's birthday) is now affiliated with a bad memory. Right now I am speaking from the pain that is bellowing out of my bones and it will subside with pain and linger as a memory.

I just keep telling myself tomorrow is another day and this too shall pass.

"Her Cuteness"

Here are some new pictures I took of Allison over the past couple of days. I took them while she was sitting in my lap on her Boppy or her bouncy seat. She looks entirely thrilled Mommy has been in her face with the camera. Hey, I can't help it!


Highly irritating!

While I was pregnant I was offered all kinds of advice for my future child, I also had freaks trying to pet my stomach.

Now... as a parent with a new baby when in public I am constantly approached. It is nice the first few times, but everywhere I go? My daughter gets these oagling eyes from strangers. They want to touch her. Hell, I had a woman totally put her head in her car seat while sitting in a grocery cart. Ewwww.... I am afraid that if I blink my eyes or turn my head some freak will take her.

I am inundated with questions like the following:

How old is s/he? -- First of all dip shit... She is wearing PINK or PURPLE. Those colors mean GIRL!

How much did she weigh? -- She was 6lbs 3oz. OH MY GOD! She is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo little... Yes there is that emphasis on SO. No she is average. She is not the big huge baby your sisters husbands brothers wife had. This is my child and she is healthy.

What's wrong with her? -- Nothing, she is petite.

She's so tiny! Was she a preemie?
-- No damnit! She is FINE!

Did you have a c-section or vaginally? -- I answer this with much hesitation as it is no ones business if my child came out of my stomach by a beautiful incision or out of my crotch. But the answer is c-section.

How are you healing? -- Just fine thank you. I had some major complications which are none of your business.

Where did you deliver?
-- Does it matter? What would you say if I said it was my back yard or it was by an unlicensed practitioner? JEEZUS!

How long were you in labor? I really wasn't...

--And this is when it gets freaky--

What does your stomach look like? Because mine looks messed up?
-- It's not very attractive. I just had a baby? How the hell do you answer that? Here, wanna see?

I don't know what's wrong with me, but I have been bleeding for 6 months after my daughter was born.
-- Like I really need to know whats going on with you. Call a doctor, really, please.

When you come up to me either when I am alone with baby or with my family, yes, you are interrupting me. A simple excuse me would be nice... Please don't chase me down or quit working at your station to follow me around the store. We are not there for your entertainment. If I am considered entertainment I will begin charging an admission. I am trying to run errands, shop, dine at a restaurant. I don't have time to bullshit for 30 minutes. New parents these days are really very skeptical of literal strangers approaching them and their young, be cautious and like with animals, make sure you ask before you pet.

Allison and I thank you!

Go cheerleaders!

Today Emily had her first dance recital... She did such a great job and looked so darn cute!

Another fallen hero...

Yesterday Cleveland buried another officer shot in the line of duty. Jason West was 31 years old responding to a a domestic call. At the age of 31 he was already a detective. He had drive. He had what it took to be a wonderful officer and his life was cut short.

Today I was driving through the City of Avon, Ohio. West was buried in Avon. The streets were lined with luminaries and business signs paid their respect to their hometown hero. I cried. It was so sad to realize how short life really is.

Jason, I never knew you, but may you rest in peace brother.

Please take the time to watch these video clips. It is truly moving!

*At the end of this film it says David's casket was in here... It was an error on the producer's part.


Lord I ask for courage

Courage to face and
Conquer my own fears...

Courage to take me
Where others will not go...

I ask for strength

Strength of body to protect others
And strength of spirit to lead others...

I ask for dedication

Dedication to my job, to do it well
Dedication to my community
To keep it safe...

Give me Lord, concern
For others who trust me
And compassion for those who need me...

And please Lord

Through it all
Be at my side...

--Author Unknown

15 ways stores trick you into spending

I found this article on MSN Money and found it quite interesting and very true. Hope this advice helps. I have noticed most of these points to be correct while shopping. For example, in the toothpaste aisle, children's toothbrushes and toothpaste is shelved below the knee for your children to see and pick out what they want. Pretty sneaky, but it works!

Don't succumb to retailers' simple ploys. Here's how they get you to buy -- and 10 ways to fight back.

By The Simple Dollar

Ever notice how you can go to a store to pick up just one thing and then, by the time you get to the check stand, you have five or six things in your cart and a bigger bill than you had anticipated?

This happens over and over because department stores use an array of techniques (grocery stores use many of the same tactics) to get you to pick up these items. By itself, each technique isn't very strong -- it's the use of them in combination that is powerful.

Here's a list of 15 of the best tricks. After the list, watch for 10 ways to combat these techniques so you can get in and out of stores with your finances intact.

1. Shopping carts. Most department-store customers enter the store intending to buy only an item or two, but the shopping carts are right there by the entrance and, oh, wouldn't it be convenient to have it so I can lean on it a bit while walking around and to put my stuff in it?

The cart has a huge bin compared with the size of most items for sale in the store, making it psychologically easy to toss in an item you don't need -- after all, there's room for plenty more, right?

2. Desirable departments are far away from the entrance. Most of the items I go to a department store to buy, such as light bulbs and laundry detergent, are located many, many aisles from the entrance. This means I spend my time walking by a lot of consumer goods on my way to find the item I want.

Because these consumer goods are effectively marketed to me, there's a good likelihood that I'll spy something that I don't necessarily need and toss it in the cart.

3. The toy section is far, far, far away from the entrance. Naturally, if I take my son to the store, he wants to visit the toy section. He gets excited and starts shouting "Ball! Ball!" to me when we go in because he remembers the enormous plastic balls in the toy section.

I tell him that if he's good, we'll go look at the balls, and at the end of the trip, we usually make our way over there. What do we see? Lots of children in that area, which means that there are parents that follow their children.

4. Impulse-oriented items are near the checkouts. Stores stock the latest DVD releases and "froth" magazines there, along with overpriced beverages and candy.

Why? Because people leaving the store are thirsty, and they're going to be standing in line for a bit, which is the perfect place to hook them with some entertainment options.

5. The most expensive versions of a product are the ones at eye level. Take a look sometime at the arrangement of different choices for a particular product, such as laundry detergent. Almost every time, the most expensive options per unit are placed at eye level, so you see them first when you enter an aisle. The bulk options and better deals are usually on the bottom shelves.

6. Items that aren't on sale are sometimes placed as though they are on sale, without using the word "sale." I noticed this over and over with diapers; the department store would display a rack of them with a huge sign above them displaying the price, but it would be the same price I paid for them a week ago. Unsurprisingly, the diapers displayed like that were always the most expensive kind.

7. Commodity items, such as socks, are surrounded by noncommodity items, such as shirts and jeans. If I'm looking to buy some socks, I have to traverse through a number of racks full of different types of clothing in the clothing section just to reach them.

Why? If my mind is already open to the idea of buying clothes, I would be more likely to look at other clothing items.

8. Slickly packaged items alternate with less slickly packaged items. Look carefully at an aisle of, say, potato chips. The ones with the bright and slick packaging are generally more expensive, which isn't surprising.

But notice that there usually isn't a section of just inexpensive chips -- in most stores, they're sandwiched between more-expensive items. If there is a section of just inexpensive items, they're down by your feet (think about the inexpensive bagged cereals at your local supermarket).

9. Stop, stop, stop. You add items to your cart only if you stop, right? So stores are designed to maximize the number of stops you have to make: aisles in which only two carts can fit, colorful and attractive layouts, escalators and, my favorite of all, sample vendors. Even if it's not conscious to you, every time you stop moving in a store, you increase your chances of putting something into your cart.

10. Staple items are placed in the middle of aisles, nonessential and overpriced items near the end. Why? If you enter an aisle to get a "staple" item (i.e., a high-traffic item), you have to go by the other items twice -- once on the way in and once on the way out. That gives these items two chances to make their pitch at you.

11. Prices are chosen to make comparison math difficult. Instead of selling the 100-ounce detergent for $6 and the 200-ounce detergent for $11 (making it easier to figure out the better deal), they sell the 100-ounce for $5.99 and the 200-ounce for $10.89.

Hey, look, they're basically the same, right, because five is half of 10? Uh, no.

12. Stuff in bins isn't always a bargain. Higher-end stores will sometimes put items in "bins" to emulate the bargains found at cheaper stores, but the prices are still quite high. They just use the visual cue of a "bargain store" to make you think it is a bargain.

13. High-markup items are made to look prestigious. If you see something in a glass case that has lots of space around it, your gut reaction is to believe that it is valuable and prestigious to own, and for many people it can be as attractive as a light to a moth. The truth is that these items typically have tremendous markup -- you're literally just buying an idea, not a product.

14. The most profitable department is usually the first one you run into. Ever noticed that at Younkers, JC Penney, Kohl's and such stores, the cosmetic department is front and center? That's because it's very profitable, and by putting it in a place where people walk by time and time again, customers are more prone to making a purchase on an item with a very big markup.

15. Restrooms and customer services are usually right by the exit or as far from the exit as possible. Why? If you need to use either one in the middle of a shopping journey, you have to walk by a lot of merchandise to reach the needed service, thus increasing your chances for an impulse buy.

Want to see more? Look at this presentation on the art of department-store layouts to get an idea of how much thought goes into making sure you buy more, particularly those items that are marked up a lot. I didn't even get into some of the more complex techniques, such as sensory marketing, that are more subtle and harder to avoid.

How can I fight back?

Is there any wonder why people end up buying more than they need or buying sizes that are poor deals? With an array of techniques at their disposal, retailers can make a mint.

Had enough? Here are 10 things you can do to fight back against these techniques:

1. Don't use a shopping cart unless you need it. A cart, most of the time, is just a place to put stuff you don't need. If you're carrying a product, you're a lot more likely to consider whether it's a worthwhile purchase.

2. Make a shopping list and stick to it. A list makes you focus on the items you intended to buy. Without it, you are much more prone to wandering and stumbling into "great buys" that you don't really need.

3. Look at nothing but the prices and sizes. That's all the information you really need -- everything else is marketing. Find the one that has the best price for its size, get that one, and move on.

4. Start at the back and work toward the front. If this is an option at all for you based on the store layout, do it. When you go in, head directly for the most distant item, then progress back toward the checkout aisles. If you do it the other way, you're prone to walk more slowly and tiredly toward the front after your shopping is done, leaving you open to lots of impulse buys on the way.

5. Always look at the bottom shelf first. If you've found the section you want, start looking at the bottom shelf first. This is usually where the better per-unit deals are.

6. Don't stop unless you're actively selecting an item. Displays are designed to beg you to stop for a moment and just look, which is often enough to get you to pick out the item. Even if something looks interesting, keep walking. You can study it as you go past and make up your mind later about the item.

7. Never go by an item twice unless absolutely necessary. If you go down an aisle, start at one end and continue all the way out the other. Walking by an item once lets it sink into your short-term memory, giving just a hint of familiarity when you walk by it again, sometimes just enough to persuade you to buy it.

8. Carry a pocket calculator -- or know how to use the one on your cell phone. Do the math yourself to find out what the best buy is because stores try to choose numbers that make drawing false conclusions quite easy.

9. If you don't know for sure that it is a good deal, don't buy because you think it is a good deal. Stores use all kinds of visual cues to make you think something is a bargain when it's not (like the bin trick mentioned above). Don't buy anything because it's a "deal" unless you're sure that it really is an excellent bargain -- just walk away.

10. At the checkout, rethink everything you put in your cart -- and don't hesitate to hand an item to the cashier and say you've changed your mind. Many people seem to have a guilt, or obligation, to buy an item that they've put into their cart. Don't. You're the customer -- you have the right to choose whether to buy. If you find something you don't want to buy, tell the cashier and don't buy it.

Remember when?

Now that we have a baby at home sleep hasn't been in an abundance. I have been up a bit more in the morning hours. During the night I was watching a show on 9/11 the "Inside" story or something like that. It was a breakdown of what happened minute-by-minute, flight-by-flight with more pictures and video of that dreadful day.

When I was watching this show it was sad to re-visit our history, but what struck me is how our nation is now. We were a nation united after 9/11. We all had a sense of spirit. We loved America. We loved what America stands for. Every American embraced one another and we consoled one another during a horrific time. People helped one another, strangers. There was no boundaries between race, sex, or religion. You were a breathing human being and an equal and that was all that mattered.

Somehow we have reverted back into our "old" ways, to me it is even worse watching the news and we have forgotten. We have forgotten and it is so sad. It pains me we all have become so selfish, again.

Thank you!

Well I have had a crazy couple of weeks. I got very sick and ended up back in the hospital, but I am home and feeling much, much better.

I want to thank all of you for your generous comments regarding my family. I really appreciate it and am truly flattered. We are truly blessed to have happy and healthy children.

Hopefully life will become slightly normal again and I will be back on a routine for posting.

Until then, here's a picture of Allison I took the day before I went back to the hospital.

Here she is!!

Please welcome my daughter, Allison Marie to the world. She was born April 27, 2007 at 11:12 PM. She just couldn't wait for my scheduled c-section on the 30th. Allison weighed in at a tiny 6lbs 3oz, 18 1/4" long. She is a very happy and content baby. We are truly blessed.