My son and hopes of him becoming an exchange student

My oldest son is a sophomore in high school this year. He is mature beyond his years. He has always been this way really. Maybe it’s because I never spoke baby talk with him, or because I read him books from the time he was born, or maybe he was just born that way and would have had the mature presence to him no matter what I had done?

He has always immersed himself full hearted in anything he decides he is interested in and learns as much as he can. His views on things are very mature and he can debate current events and politics better and more rationally than most adults. I hate to admit it to him but more often than not he is right about stuff because he has made sure to get the facts to back up what he says.

He is very smart. He hates to be recognized as smart though. If I tell him he is smart he tells me he is really no smarter than anyone else can be and that moats people choose not to use the capacity if their brain that they could use.

He has become independent the last few years. Although our beliefs in many issue are different I am very proud that he thinks for himself and forms his own opinions. I know a lot of kids who automatically adopt their parents beliefs and political views. He is not one of them. He is also not one of the kids who just adopts the opposite beliefs of his parent just to be different. He actually makes informed decisions and molds his beliefs around what he has found to be true by looking into all the information he can about a subject.

When he started high school he joined the youth and government club and loves the activities of it. He started bugging me about wanting to be an exchange student in his freshman year.

Initially when looking into it I was overwhelmed. How do you know what agency is a reputable one? Where do you start? I tried first by contacting his school for suggestions but they said they are not allowed to recommend or endorse any programs per school district policy. That was not helpful.

Then it seemed everything I was finding online coat so much money. More than I could ever afford to spend. I felt awful telling him it didn’t look like something he would be able to do.

Then he had a friend tell him about this program to Germany (where my son was extremely interested in already and had been teaching himself German) where it is sponsored by the congress and department of state and they give some scholarships every year. His friend hadn’t told him the name of the program. Now though I had something to look for.

I found it easy enough on google. CBYX. By the time I found the information they were already done accepting applications for this school year (Which was next school year at the time) but I sent a request for information anyway. So this year he did all the application stuff for next year and submitted it.

He just had his interview last Saturday. From what I understand of the program there are a total of 250 kids from the United States selected to get the scholarship each year. The country is broken down into 5 regions and handled by 5 different exchange agencies and 50 kids from each region are chosen for a scholarship. Not sure how stuff the competition for our region is.

The agency that is in charge of the region we are in is ASSE. In my sons interview were 4 other kids (so a total of 5) and they said there would be 3 more kids that afternoon. I am not sure if that is all the kids that were interviewing total from this metro area or this state? I am thinking this metro area. But who knows maybe there was a other interview date or location in the area with more kids?

First they did their individual interviews and then they were called back as a group to do their group interview. My son said they told him they would be notifying kids who were picked in a couple weeks or so.

I want this so badly for him. I know this would be an amazing opportunity for him and I am positive he would thrive in the situation. So now we just have to wait and see. I guess waiting us the hardest part! Hopefully in a few weeks he receives an email with exciting news!!


A new found love for baking

So for New Years I made black-eyed peas for good luck. Yes, I know New Years was some time ago. There is a point to this. With my black-eyed peas I wanted to make cornbread. When I make cornbread it consists of whipping up a box of Jiffy cornbread and calling it a day. Well not on New Years. I decided heck I might as well try to make it from scratch. How hard can it be?

Not only was it not hard to do it was way better tasting than any boxes cornbread I had made before. I was super proud of myself. I mean there are certain things I have always made from scratch like mashed potatoes and chocolate chip cookies but there are way more things I am sure I have not made from scratch that I probably should.

A couple weeks later my son had a friend stay the night and they wanted pancakes in the morning. I open the cupboard and we have no pancake mix. So I think wait! If I can make homemade cornbread I can make pancakes right? So I find a recipe online and tweak it to my taste and walla! Homemade chocolate chip pancakes and everyone loved them. I have decided I will not waste money on pancake mix anymore. What’s the point when homemade ones are better and cost less?

Since then I have devolved a liking for baking stuff from scratch. Admittedly I have been really busy the past two months with work and have not had a lot of time to make a ton of stuff. I have made a homemade white cake with homemade purple buttercream frosting (it was ugly but tasted really good), a homemade chocolate heart cake with homemade pink buttercream frosting and homemade fondant design, and I also made homemade chocolate cupcakes with homemade pink butter cream frosting and homemade fondant toppers. I didn’t have all the proper tools for the fondant designs so considering this they turned out pretty dang cute.

So I now live baking and wish I had all the time in the world to practice and experiment with it. I was so excited the other day cause all I have is a hand mixer (which while making my buttercream frosting made a terrible noise and smelled like the motor would burn out) and the other day my mom came over and had bought me a brand new 6qt kitchen aid stand up mixer! Haven’t had a chance to use it yet but can’t wait to get a day off so I can!!

Looks like I have found myself a new hobby! I have spent a lot of time the last few weeks watching and reading all kinds of stuff online about baking cakes and cupcakes and frosting and fondant. I will add pictures to this post later when I am at a computer.

Off course but not derailed yet.

I have been MIA on here. I have had the best of intentions but in life things don’t always work out as you intend.
My weight loss plan has fallen by the wayside the last month. I could make excuses but I won’t. Honestly bottom line is despite everything had I wanted to make it a priority it still would be. I haven’t had to buy any bigger clothes though so I am doing ok I suppose!

I’ve been staying busy, busy, busy working lots of overtime. Things should start calming down soon. Hopefully.

I will get back on track. I have decided I will not make promises or set future dates when that will happen because in a way it sets me up to fail and then I beat myself up. I find that when I set future dates then in my mind I give myself a free pass to go overboard with food I should not. So instead I will just breath. Just live. When everything calms down I will get back on track but until then I’m not going to set goals that allow me to totally derail from the tracks!

Still stuck in the blahs

So I have been avoiding writing anything down because I have basically been lazy.  With the exception of one week in January where I went to the gym everyday.  I got a fitbit force for myself for my birthday, January 12, hoping to motivate myself more.  The week I went to the gym it worked.  Then…I don’t know I have been so blah.  I still wear the fitbit everyday and look at the stats and think man I am being lazy.  I guess at least I am aware?  I haven’t weighed myself in over a month though cause really I don’t want to see what damage I have done.

I have decided that I am going to try and jump start my weight loss program again. yada yada yada right?  I know I have been full of excuses and promises the last couple of months.  Anyway I am going to do a meal replacement shake thing two meals a day (ideally) for a month.  I was looking into different meal replacement shake powders and decided I am just going to make my own rather than spend a lot on a powder that will only make me full if I add stuff to it anyways.  So I have the stuff to start this and am just contemplating if I will start Saturday so I have the weekend to adjust or if I will start next Monday.  I am leaning toward Saturday since that will be February 1st.  We shall see.  I plan on doing the shakes for breakfast and dinner.  I think it will be too hard being at work trying to do the shake thing for lunch especially since I will be making my own and not just mixing a powder in some milk or water.

I am really hoping this gives me the kick start I need to get back on my weigh loss journey.  I also need to make myself get up and go to the gym.  It’s not that I haven’t been getting up early.  I have actually been getting up at the time I would get up to go to the gym because I still don’t want to be stuck in traffic.  What am I doing do you ask?  I leave for work hours before I need to be there.  I keep a blanket in my car and I park in the back corner of the parking lot surf the web on my phone for a bit then set my alarm and take a nap to get extra sleep.  So sad! haha Yes I need to get back in the gym.  

I have also been contemplating riding my bicycle.  I have a beach cruiser though and it has no gears.  I am thinking I need a bike with gears?  That isn’t the main reason why I haven’t ridden.  I haven’t ridden because I am scared.  Yes I haven’t ridden a bike in over 3 years (very close to 4 years) and I am scared I will try to get on and go and will crash and fall on my face.  This thought terrifies me!  But I should probably ride the bike I have a few times before buying a new one…I don’t need to waste money I really don’t have on something I will end up not using. Right?

The day of broken promises

I’m getting old. I must be. New Year’s Eve I fell asleep about 1130pm and had to be woken up by my boyfriend saying “Baby, wake up…only 30 seconds left until the New Year you don’t want to miss it!” So I woke up and stayed awake for all of 10or 15 minutes before falling back to sleep. How boring right?

There is always so much hype over the New Year. People all excited and making resolutions. The more I think about it the more I really don’t get it. Really it’s just a day like any other. The world still turns, the sun still comes up, and the sun still sets. Everything is still the same. I still owe the bills I owed the day before. It’s not like my slate is suddenly wiped clean and I am a different person than I was before the clock struck midnight.

There are endless jokes year after year about broken resolutions. So why then every year people seem to think January first will be a new day unlike any other new day that has come and gone the other 365 days of the previous year? If one is going to make a change in their life why wait and act like that is the only day it can be done?

January 1st is the biggest day in the world for making promises that are going to be broken. It’s just the facts. Just how it is. If you want to change something in your life that can be changed then do it right then and there no need to wait for the day of broken promises.

Any changes that I have made and that have lasted were not made as a resolution. Changes I have made have been thought out decisions I have committed to in my life and stuck with day after day. Sometimes there are ups and sometimes there are downs. I don’t need one day of the year to tell me I should do something positive.

Happy New Year. May we all strive to be the best people we can each day of the coming year and every year. May we see something that needs to be done and do it now rather than wait.

The American Dream… Just that a thing of imagination.

The definition of a dream:

Main Entry: 1dream
Pronunciation: \ˈdrēm\
Function: noun
Usage: often attributive
Etymology: Middle English dreem, from Old English drēam noise, joy, and Old Norse draumr dream; akin to Old High German troum dream
Date: 13th century
1 : a series of thoughts, images, or emotions occurring during sleep — compare rem sleep 2 : an experience of waking life having the characteristics of a dream: as a : a visionary creation of the imagination : daydream b : a state of mind marked by abstraction or release from reality : reverie c : an object seen in a dreamlike state : vision 3 : something notable for its beauty, excellence, or enjoyable quality 4 a : a strongly desired goal or purpose b : something that fully satisfies a wish : ideal

Imagination…release from reality…hmmm.
It’s called the American Dream because it’s not reality and it doesn’t exist. At least not for me and so many other people I know.

Now that’s a downer right?

I have spent almost 37 years — my whole life — trying to be a good person and do the right thing. Nobody is perfect but I have abided mostly by the rules. I have conformed and done what society, friends, and family say is the right thing to do. I follow the rules and abide by the law. I try to not cheat the system even though it looks like often times those who do get more.

I am a slave to the system. I wake up I go to work all day and pay my taxes. I make too much to be considered poor and worthy of assistance by who ever it is that sets the standard of poor. However I don’t make enough to get by without worrying which bills I can pay and which can be left to go past due and for how long without being shut off. I struggle to keep food in the house and dread holidays because that’s usually the worst time of year where I am the farthest behind from bills piling up throughout the year and I agonize over not being able to give my kids a good Christmas.

Yes I know that there are many people worse off than I am and some if them really break my heart to see. Then others I see using and abusing the system and it makes me so angry. Why should my tax dollars go to give you food stamps that you just use to trade for drugs or buy ridiculous things that I can’t afford to buy? I can’t get food stamps because although I am a single mom with two kids I didn’t have 4 or 5 kids and I chose to do my best to work rather than stay home and seek welfare. So now I am what I have been told by welfare caseworkers (even when I have lost my job and had nothing) over qualified.

My kids have been denied medical coverage when I was unemployed because my unemployment (that averaged to below minimum wage) still put me at too high an income to get help.

I know for everyone that cheats the system there are many more who do not. I however am feeling jaded because I have seen first hand too many people that do.

I feel trapped. I feel hopeless. I feel I work to stay poor. I feel I am a slave to society … A slave to good old Uncle Sam.

Then I am told I must but medical insurance or be fined. I can barely pay my water and electric bills how can I afford medical insurance? This affordable care act is not affordable. I was purchasing private individual medical insurance for a few months until I had to choose between that ur groceries and let it go. But before it went I got a letter from my insurance company detailing the new plans, premiums, and copays under the affordable care act and my monthly premium was going to go up, my copays and deductibles were being raised. Oh and when I put my information into the state website it told me I don’t qualify for a tax credit. Tell me how making me pay more for something I was already struggling to pay is affordable? What is the point in having insurance if the copay makes it so high I won’t ever use it?

If you are going to mandate that I have to have insurance and then call it affordable care then you damn well better mandate to the insurance companies that it actually be affordable.

Dear Mr Obama perhaps the dictionary definition of affordable would be of some help to you?

af•ford•a•ble (əˈfɔr də bəl, əˈfoʊr-)
considered to be within one’s financial means.

Because there is nothing within my financial means about your healthcare act.

It is just hard to keep your head up when so much is weighing you down. Prices of everything keep going up and up but wages don’t advance accordingly. The rich get richer and us “middle class poor” are stuck. Stuck with our American Dream in sight but no real way to reach it.

Rent so high it’s ridiculous. I live in a poor neighborhood… There are some really close by sketchy people and areas. I am not sure how the income level here afford to pay the rent? Perhaps everyone is getting housing assistance but me? Maybe I should go and have a couple more kids before I have passed my child bearing age so I can too get a piece of the welfare pie?

I hope one day my children an find a way to obtain the American Dream and not be stuck like I am… Not have to worry about if they will make it to the next paycheck. Sadly I don’t know if they will. As bright as they are I don’t know if it will happen. Of course I never tell them that. I tell then they can and will be whatever they want to be.

But with the weight of life holding me further and further down I feel like I am trying to breath under water and it’s getting harder and harder to keep a smile on my face and pretend I have a positive outlook.

There are so many hard working friends I have in similar spots and I wish I could find a way to fix it for all of us and make it all better.

Being a legal slave to life is no fun.

Time to refocus

I haven’t been on here in a bit. Really I haven’t been doing much of anything. Haven’t been to the gym. Haven’t tracked my food. Just haven’t been feeling like I really care the last week or so. I feel stressed out and down and blah. I need to refocus on everything and get my mind together.

Tomorrow morning I plan on going back to the gym before work. Hopefully it makes me feel a little better. I just know I have come to far the past few months to let life get me down and just give up. I mean I know most things going on I can’t really control right now. I can however control how I eat and if I exercise so I might as well control what I can.

Hope everyone has been having a good holiday season… At least better than me.

Here is to restoring my focus and determination for life in the new year!!