The Sweetie Chronicles

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

Extra Money Blues

When we started thinking about our wedding, G and I decided that instead of taking out a loan or taking money from savings, we were going to pay for our wedding out of extra money that we made. I was able to get a job teaching private music lessons and between that and google adsense and EQII. we were pulling in some extra money. Somehow, though, along the way, we've managed to spend it. Every month there's been some extra expense like a cousin's wedding or a trip home or... for example, Christmas (which is insanely expensive these days). You would think that after being engaged for a year and a half, we would have managed to save thousands by now, but that just isn't the case. Not after RWA conference and birthdays and trips to the local Sanrio store.

So now we are just four months away from our wedding and still needing to make some "extra" money. I got a second job and thought that would do it, but they promised me 8-10 hours a week, but have so far given me less than 2 a week. There's just no way we can put this wedding off again and push it back, because we really have to get married before the end of 2009. Plus, I'm so ready to be married to him. In some ways, the marriage is just a piece of paper... a legal document. We're already fully committed to each other. But I still want to be able to call him husband and to change my name to match his and to go through that ceremony that binds us together.

Over the next few months, we're going to have to stay super focused on two things: (1) Saving money wherever possible; and (2) Making extra money wherever possible. We are going to have to stop going to the movies and eating out so much. We need to cut back on random purchases (me). And then we have to find new ways, even in this crazy bad economy where everyone is scared to spend what little money they do have, to make more money. We've been talking about going to the flea market for forever, so this time we're really going to do it. Not this weekend, but next weekend, labor day weekend. We have already started making a list of what to sell... and it includes a mix of hand-crafted items like painted wooden letters and jewelry, as well as yard-sale type stuff we have around the house such as books and old CD's.

I know that we will find a way to pay for our wedding, simply because we are working together to come up with ideas and to be innovative and creative when it comes to our ideas. "Find a way or make one" - a sign says, hanging up in father's workshop. We're going to do just that.

MY WEDDING DRESS!!!

I bought my wedding dress last night! I am so excited! I'm not ashamed to say that I found it on Craig's list through an ad. The girl who sold it to me was planning to get married last year and paid over $1500 for the dress. When the wedding fell through, this beautiful, never before worn Maggie Sottero silk dress was just hanging in her closet. I was able to snag it from her for only $200!! With our current budget, it was a great price, especially considering how beautiful and nice a dress it is!

Without any further talk, here are the online pics I was able to find of the dress to show you:

The pictures don't quite do it justice either. The silk is absolutely the most gorgeous material. It is a very simple dress (ignore the feathery looking thing in the girl's hand in the top photo... that is NOT part of the dress, LOL) with just a little bit of beading and embellishment at the top and along one side. With the corset style back, it allows for some weight adjustments. The main thing now is that I pretty much am going to have to lose 20 pounds to look amazing in this dress! I know they say never to buy a dress that is too small hoping you will lose weight, and I imagine that especially applies to things like unreturnable wedding dresses. I don't care though. The way it is, since there's no zipper, the dress basically fits just as it is... or rather just as I am. Still, the corset back has a panel that hides the skin and is supposed to button up and we couldn't get it to button at all. It's not the end of the world, but losing some weight over the next four months is going to be imperative.

With that being said, I couldn't be more excited about my wedding dress! I was hoping to be able to afford something beautiful and glamorous, but given the fact that we're doing a Vegas wedding with just the two of us, I couldn't see spending a fortune just to get a big poofy dress. Problem solved thanks to a local woman who tossed her undeserving man to the curb and was left with the dress of my dreams. :P Haha! Better to lose money on a dress than to marry the wrong guy... trust me on this one.

Now that I have found the RIGHT man, I am very happy to have found the perfect dress to marry him in. Next on the wedding planning agenda? Picking the perfect wedding chapel in Las Vegas.... Oh boy! Wish me luck!

Senator Ted Kennedy Dead at 77

The last of the legendary Kennedy brothers has died of a brain tumor. Even as one who doesn't tend to follow politics too closely, I know that you can't deny the impact the Kennedy's have had on American politics. There were originally four Kennedy brothers. The oldest, Joe I think? Died fighting in World War II. People say their father intended for Joe to run for president, but after he died so young, their father's sights turned to John, the second boy.

As we all know, John F. Kennedy was elected as the 35th president of the United States, but only served a few years as he was brutally assassinated in 1963. When he died, he was one of America's most beloved presidents, but I have to admit that I don't really know much about him other than how he died. His younger brother Robert was appointed his Attorney General, and was also assassinated in 1968.

That left Ted Kennedy, the youngest of the four brothers, who ran for John's vacated seat on the Senate and won. For the past 40 years Senator Kennedy has been at the forefront of the Democratic Party, continuing to be re-elected every single term without fail. I personally have always had a bad taste in my mouth when it comes to Ted Kennedy. Part of it probably has to do with some of the Democratic Party's ideals that I honestly despise. But a lot of it has to do with the Chappaquiddick incident and just feeling deep down that more happened that night than Ted Kennedy ever admitted.

Of course, I'm not an expert and the only things I know about Chappaquiddick are the things I have read about it or heard about it from other sources. If you aren't familiar with it, I'll give you a brief rundown.... In 1969, Ted went to a party hosted by some people who had worked together on his then-dead brother Robert's presidential campaign. Even though he had a chauffeur who drove him to the party, he insisted on driving himself home. A young woman named Mary Jo Kopechne left the party with him. No one remembers seeing them leave together and even though Ted later testified that Mary Jo asked him to take her back to her hotel, she left her purse and hotel key at the party. On the way home, Ted 'missed a turn' and the car veered off into the water. Ted swam free, but could not get to Mary Jo to help her. She drowned in the car that night, but was not discovered until the following morning.

The incident always sticks out in my memory, because it's so hard for me to believe that Ted Kennedy actually did something like that and continued to be re-elected and revered in this country. I suppose no one but Ted and Mary Jo really know what happened that night, but the facts of the case seemed to never totally add up. If the girl wanted to go home, why did she leave her purse and hotel key at the party and not say goodnight to any of her close friends? Later, an eyewitness claimed to see Kennedy's car an hour after he supposedly left the party, so what took him so long to get her home? Also, after the car went into the water, why was it so easy for him to get free and so difficult to get her out? There was a house just 150 feet from the bridge. Why didn't he run there and telephone for help right away? Instead, he walked all the way back to the party, got two friends, and went back to the bridge to dive in and see if he could help Mary Jo out of the car. Then, when they couldn't get her, Ted swam all the way across the river to get back to his hotel without once calling the cops or emergency services.

The next morning at 7:30, someone said he was chatting to people at the hotel like nothing happened. How cold do you have to be? He never called to report her missing or anything. Some fisherman saw the car in the water and called the police. It was later reported that Mary Jo was possibly still alive in the car for several minutes after it went into the water, as her body was found pressed against a spot where an air bubble would have formed. If he had just gone to that nearest house and called the police, Mary Jo Kopechne might have lived.

I know it was a super long time ago and that Senator Kennedy has left a legacy far beyond what happened that night in 1969. I just wonder how some people might have spent years in jail for manslaughter while Ted continued to be a respected Senator for another 40 years. He lied about what happened that night, saying the house nearby had no light on (when the owner says she always left the light on when she went to bed). He left that poor girl there to die without once calling the police, then got up the next morning and acted like nothing was wrong. How can our country have respected and loved a man who could do such a thing and never truly own up to what he'd done? I just have never been able to understand that, and therefore never like Ted Kennedy.

Of course, they say it is wrong to speak ill of the dead, so I will just end this blog by saying he had an important and influential life and I'm sure he will be missed by many. Rest in peace, Ted Kennedy. It is truly the end of an era in our country's political history.

August is A Long Month

Is it just me? Or does it seem like this is the month that never ends? There's almost an entire week left in August, believe it or not, and I haven't gotten nearly as much done as I was supposed to. A month since the RWA conference and I still am not ready to send my manuscript out to NYC. I guess I should be grateful that the month is not over yet. It still gives me time to say I got this sent out in August. But to be honest, I'm ready for it to be over.

I'm ready for slightly cooler weather and fall's crisp smell and feel. It seems as if the fall storm season has begun in full force, but there still hasn't been much relief from the heat. Fall will be a welcome season as far as I'm concerned. Anyone else ready for August to be over?

Writing Day

Ever since I got back from my vacation visiting family and friends last week, I've had a hard time getting back into the swing of things. But I feel the energy and the passion to write and work toward my goals coming back. Today is going to be a writing day. I could feel it the moment I got up this morning.

It has been a month since my trip to Washington DC where the editor and agent both requested my manuscript... and I have yet to polish my manuscript to the point where I'm comfortable sending it out. I'm running out of time! Supposedly, they'll still accept it as "requested material" for a year, but I dont' want to miss my chance by putting this off any longer. My absolute goal is to have this in the mail to NYC on Monday, August 31st. Basically, that gives me just over one week to wrap this up. I know I can do it, and it's going to take a very dedicated and focused weekend of writing. Wish me luck!

Pictures from Florida

This is simply going to be a picture fest post so T and her sister can see pictures of T's gorgeous little boy! Enjoy!








Goals

In some ways, goals are the most important things in life. Okay, maybe not above family or love and health and things like that, but goals are really up there. Without goals, you have nothing to reach for. And with nothing to look forward to or work towards, what purpose do you really feel that you have? Giving yourself a goal and then working towards it, no matter how slowly, is important.

I have always been a goal-oriented kind of person. I can't tell you how many nights I've stayed up writing down goal sheets and marking up a plan of how to reach that goal. In the sixth grade or so, I decided I wanted to go to Harvard and become a lawyer. I called them to request admission materials. I filled out my application, just to practice for when I actually was ready to send one in six years later. I tried to figure out just how much I'd need in terms of scholarship money and which local scholarships I could already start working to win. Everything I've ever wanted to achieve in life, I have treated in this same way. The planning and the dreaming part of the goal is the easiest and best part.

Then comes the hard part. The DOING. The work that goes into executing those plans. The daily grind, so to speak. That's truly the hard part. Keeping my eye on the prize and working little by little to achieve something great. It isn't easy. And after all the times I've sat down and written in a notebook until the wee hours of the morning thinking up some new goal and plan, there have only truly been a handful of times I've reached those goals.

Sometimes, by the time I get to the point where the "dream" can come true, I realize that I want something else. Take Harvard Law for example. By the time I was a senior in high school, I didn't want to be a lawyer. I wanted to be a singer or a writer. I worked toward auditioning for schools that had decent music programs but also amazing academic/liberal arts education in English. Vanderbilt rose to the top of my list. Do I still consider that a goal I achieved since I ended up at Vandy instead of Harvard? You bet your ass I do! I worked hard and I felt the joy of a goal accomplished every year I was at that school. The little goals and the daily grind was worth it. It was worth every single moment of hated homework and missing out on party life in high school to be a more studious person who took part in a lot of afterschool, extracurricular activities. The reward was worth it.

Other times, I got exactly what I wanted and worked for...and beyond. Like the time I won first place in the State Girls Solo competition for Literary. I had been working towards just getting past the regional competition for four years. My senior year, my goal was simply to win regionals and perform at State. When I WON state, I was shocked and happy. The payoff there was so much greater than I ever dreamed.

And then, of course, there are the times when I never reached my goals. Like the goal I set to become a famous opera singer. Or to be in the Merola Program in San Francisco by the time I turned 30. Those were real goals and I put years of hard work into them. But I never could achieve them. I sort of gave up on my singing career a long time ago, for various reason, some of which I think I still don't fully understand.

I have a collection of past goals with various outcomes. But the ones that really matter now are my goals for the future. And there are many. The problem, however, is that the daily grind has gotten harder. Either my goals are just that much more difficult and focused or else I'm just getting very lazy. I wake up every day and know exactly what my goals are, but that doesn't mean that I take the steps I need to in order to achieve them. Like losing weight. I have been wanting to lose weight for years. It's a goal of mine. But I don't take the right steps like exercise and eating right. And without that committment and dedication to really working toward that goal, I'll stay right where I am for the rest of my life.

Sometimes it feels as if the "goal" switch got turned off for a while and now I'm looking for it again to flip it back on. When I was married and living in GA teaching school, I realized that for the first time in my life, I didn't really have any goals. And I was lost. Completely and utterly lost. Goals are too important to me to just sit back and be content with life as it is. Even if I make the New York Times Bestseller list someday, I hope I still have goals to work toward. I need them to survive and to be happy. It's just taking me longer than I had hoped to get back in the old routines of setting the goal and then working every single day to make a small contribution to my future. I know that I have what it takes deep inside. I just need to flip that switch somehow and re-teach myself to work harder.

Wedding Dress Contestant

Over the many months of our engagement, I have been browsing wedding dresses from time to time and asking G for his opinion on what dresses he likes. Even though we aren't having a traditional church wedding with guests, I still want to wear a real wedding dress. Isn't that part of the fun of getting married in Vegas, after all? Wearing the dress around town?

Lately, we have settled on a near-Christmas wedding, so I thought, "Why not wear a dress with some red in it?" So last night, I started browsing wedding dresses with red accents. At Alfred Angelo.com, I finally found a dress that G loves. It's really the first dress he has taken much interest in, so I'm going to post it here and ask for advice from friends and family. What do you think of this dress? I need to try to find a place here in town that carries Alfred Angelo so I can try it on and see what it looks like on me, but so far, this is the front runner!


So there is both the front and back of the dress. If you're wondering about the color, the top one is "cherry" and the bottom one is "wine". I think I would probably go more along the lines of the darker red at the bottom.

Back on Schedule

Coming home from a mini-vacation always means having to find my way back into some semblance of a routine. Not that I'm ever great at following a proper routine, but getting back into it is such a pain. I had a wonderful time on my trip to see my family and my best friend. I spent time with both of my beautiful nieces and all of my immediate family (including a steak dinner from my parents!), and then got to spend a few days hanging out with T and her beautiful family.

The best part of being home is being with G. I miss him way too much when I am gone, so it is definitely good to be back again. It was especially great to have a weekend with him to enjoy. But now that Monday is here, it's back to the routine of life. I start a new job today (I think) and I still have a manuscript to turn in to NY, so there's no shortage of things to work on. Time to get to work. And hopefully by tomorrow, I'll be back into the swing of things enough to actually write a good blog post.... :P

Jeanine Wins So You Think You Can Dance!!!

Yay! After Wednesday night's performance finale, I rushed to my phone and dialed the number to vote for Jeanine at least 100 times. I think I must have gotten through at least 20 times! I was so happy when she was announced as Season 5's winner of So You Think You Can Dance. She really deserved it!

After the elimination of my personal favorites this season (Janette and Kupono), Jeanine was really the only dancer I got super excited about watching. To see both her and Brandon standing up there as the top 2 made me very happy. Both of them are fantastic dancers, and watching them brought so much joy to me over the past few months of watching the show.

I'm heading home to GA and then down to see my good friend T next week, so probably no blog updates, but just had to post this before I headed to bed! I am so happy for Jeanine! Her solo on Wednesday night BLEW ME AWAY! She can do anything she sets her mind to, and she is such a beautiful girl. I was very happy to see her win.

Just as a side note, thank you producers for having Kayla and Kupono perform my absolutely favorite routine of the season, Mia Michaels' "Addiction Routine". It was even more amazingly performed last night than ever before, and it touched my heart so thank you for that. Makes me wish I could dance...

Race: The Final Frontier - The arrest of Professor Gates


It occurred to me yesterday, while reading as much bullshit on the black Harvard professor's arrest as I could stomach, that race is truly the final frontier. It's the one thing that is still incredibly taboo and annoyingly tiptoed over at all costs. If you aren't aware of the case, an African-American scholar named Henry Louis Gates, Jr., was arrested a few weeks ago in his own ritzy home in Cambridge. Why? Because a "white" woman called 911 to report that she thought someone was breaking into the house. Police went to investigate the call and found Gates in the foyer of the home. When the officer asked him to identify himself, instead of following the rules, Professor Gates played the ever-overused race card. He walked to the door of the house shouting, "You're treating me like this because I'm BLACK!" Instead of following the rules, he immediately assumed the officer only asked him for his name because he was a black man, and there's no way a black man could own such a nice house.

Can you see me rolling my eyes right now? I highly doubt that the police officer is trained to make assumptions like that. Especially when the black man in question is 60 years old, wearing glass and a fucking suit. BUT... he probably IS trained to investigate 911 calls, and if there is a suspected robbery taking place, he is probably trained to question and identify all individuals on the premises. The news media, the president (who called the officer 'stupid' for arresting such a prominent black scholar), everyone has been on this officer's case, but why is everyone so scared to talk back against the professor? Because he's black and everyone's scared to death that they'll seem racists. But who is the first one on the scene that brought up race and started throwing a fit with his assumptions? GATES! That's who! If he had simply told the officer, "My name is Gates, I live here." The officer could have verified that, apologized, done a sweep of the property, and then left peacefully. Gates should have been happy they were trying to protect his home from intruders. If anyone was guilty of racial profiling, it was the old lady who told the "white" woman to call 911. Now, I put "white" in parenthesis because both of her parents are Portuguese.

My frustration here is that everyone has seemed to make such a HUGE deal out of this case, because they are abhorred and appalled at a prominent black man being arrested in his own home. Many wealthy blacks have come forward to say that anytime they open their door, they get asked, "May I speak to the man of the house?" assuming that the black man must be a servant. I don't doubt that it happens, but shit, when I open the door, most kids or people will ask, "Are you the person who makes decisions for your household?' I don't fucking automatically shout that the person is a gender profiler who assumes a woman can't make decisions. Instead, I understand that the person at my door is only interested in one thing: making a sale. They don't give a shit if the black woman next door makes the decisions for all us white folk or if it's the Indian man sitting on the stoop. All they care about is getting an audience with the main cheese and trying to convince them to buy something. I just don't understand why so many people jump to those awful conclusions, calling themselves "Victims". The only victims are the people who get accused and hung out to dry for being "racist" when all they were doing is the job they were fucking trained to do.

When we listen to people like Gates and we jump on his bandwagon and say Yes! If you were white, this never would have happened! (which is bullshit), we are just flaunting our own stupidity. And the fact that our own President called the police 'stupid' for arresting Gates? Don't even get me started on how stupid that fucker can be. The bottom line for me is that Gates was asked a simple question, and instead of answering it and clearing up any confusion, he immediately started throwing a fit, going on about the injustice. Maybe he shouldn't have been arrested, I'll give you that. But he shouldn't have gone crazy over it in the first place. Anyone acting disorderly like that will be arrested. Black or white. Haven't these people ever watched COPS? They'll arrest a white fucker for shouting and running around crazy just as fast as a black dude.

In my opinion, the time for 'minorities' (which is a fucking crazy word now because how truly minority are blacks in America these days? are we talking like 55/45? Seriously) to shout and stamp their feet about slavery and civil rights is gone. It's almost like it's become a crutch and a staple in our society that a minority, namely someone who is black, can attribute anything wrong that happens in their life to the fact that white people don't treat them right. And we put up with it! Why? Because we're scared to death of sounding racist or being accused of being racist. If you're accused or seem like you are racist, you will lose your job and be threatened by society. The lady who called 911 has gotten death threats! For reporting suspicious behavoir in her community! Why does no one see the horrible degrees of WRONG in this whole situation? It's the media that keeps dishing it out, I know. But it's too bad they are completely missing the point and truthfully only serving to fuel the fire for race issue anger.

Race, my friends, is the final frontier. It's the last true taboo. Be careful what you say, even if you are right and even if you are speaking in an intelligent manner. If anyone can interpret it to be racist, you'll be raked over the coals my friend. Beware!

A Material Girl

Okay, I admit it. I am a material girl. And no, that doesn't mean I woke up this morning thinking I turned into Madonna. I just mean that I like material things. I love having a thousand pens in every different color. Without my computer and my candles and my car and my books, I don't know what I would do. Shopping for new things makes me happy, dammit! And I am not going to be ashamed about that.

Sure, the church teaches us that we should be happy in the Lord and that material wealth is not important, etc etc. I know that material wealth is not the source of happiness. I realize that you can have everything in the world you ever dreamed of from a limousine to a private jet to a fucking solid gold toilet seat... and still not be happy. However... anyone who says that having money and material things doesn't make life easier is a big fat stinking OJ Simpson-I-did-not-kill-those-people liar. Money makes almost everything easier. (with the exception of maybe dying... but then again, having a lot of money means you can afford the really good pain killers...)

Right now, G and I are finding ourselves in a tight situation. We can afford the basics and then some extra on top, but we are certainly not to the point where we can go shopping for a bunch of new clothes or afford a fancy wedding. Our house is nice, but it's a townhouse. We share space with other people and we don't have a garage for G to work on his old Hornet. I just wake up everyday thinking about the future and how we are going to get from point A to point B in the fastest time. Then, I go to bed every night thinking of how much I have fallen short for the day. How much harder I should be working in order to reach those goals.

One goal, for example, is a nice house with actual grown-up furniture and nice carpet. Kitts Creek is one of those cookie cutter kind of neighborhoods in the area that is currently being touted around here as the premiere place to live. A house like this one costs roughly half a million dollars. I would love to have a house like that, but holy shit. How much money does a couple have to make a year to be able to reasonably afford a house like that? Maybe our next house is somewhere in between what we have now and what is pictured here, and that's fine, but I think it's important to have goals and to look ahead at what needs to be done in order to reach them.

My problem isn't figuring out what I want. My problem is finding the motivation and the every-day juice to work hard enough to get the things that I want. Every day is a struggle. I just have to keep my eye on the prize and remember that I'm lucky enough to have the man of my dreams beside me, struggling right there with me. Money and material things can't buy you happiness, but if you're lucky enough to have already found someone who makes you happy, why not work to have the money too? It can't hurt. :)

No Rain!

Today is the first day for weeks that there is no rain in the forecast! Woohoo! I haven't minded the cooler days, but the overcast skies and rainy afternoons have been a drag lately. Yesterday, we had a huge rain shower. It got so loud, I had to go downstairs to watch it and make sure we weren't going to float away. For a minute there, I thought maybe there was some hail involved, but it turns out it wasn't that bad. Today, the forecast says sunny skies and low nineties! It's probably going to feel pretty hot compared to most recent days, but that's okay. I plan to go for a nice walk this afternoon and enjoy the sun! The rest of the week? On my weather channel desktop, the 10 day forecast says rain and thunderstorms until next Thursday.

PCOS and VItamin D

Recently, my doctor told me that I am deficient in vitamin D. She instructed me to take twice the daily recommended amount and to come back for further blood tests. I started out okay by taking a tablet with 1000 IU (whatever that is) of Vitamin D, which claims to be 250% of the daily rec. dose. But, as per usual with me and pills I'm supposed to take, I slowly forgot to take them and eventually stopped completely.

Today, though, I got a newsletter that I subscribe to through email telling me that new research indicates women with PCOS (Poly-cystic Ovary Syndrome) are typically deficient in Vitamin D, which contributes to insulin resistance. Now, I don't understand everything about the disease, but I do know that it's the insulin resistance that is a huge factor in my weight problems. My doctor has already prescribed Metformin for this problem, but do I take it like I should? No.

I think getting this newsletter today is a sign. Plain and simple. In order to be healthy, I'm going to have to start taking my pills regularly. You wouldn't think that something simple like a deficiency of Vitamin D would cause problems, but apparently it aggravates the symptoms of PCOS, makes you feel tired and drowsy, and can lead to weight issues. Taking a couple of pills a day could help dramatically, so I better start taking it today and stick with it. The problem with the metformin, which I know I've said before in this blog, is that it makes my tummy sick. I do know from earlier experience with it, however, that after a month or two, the sickness starts to go away. I just have to be more careful what I eat, but that is good for me anyway.

The lesson here: Listen to your doctor and take your pills. Also, women with PCOS should be tested for Vitamin D levels, because it may be contributing to your health issues. I will give an update in a month or two and let you know if taking the Vitamin D and Metformin together help me to lose weight and have more energy.

Sarra Cannon

Young Adult Indie Author

I always secretly wanted to be a cheerleader. And a witch. Now, I write about both. The first five novels in my Peachville High Demons Young Adult Paranormal series are available now in ebook!

Sarra's Works in Progress

Followers

Sarra's bookshelf: sarra-s-favorites

Beautiful DemonsThe Time Traveler's WifeLoveroot: PoemsFear of FlyingWe the LivingAnthem

More of Sarra's books »
Sarra Cannon's sarra-s-favorites book recommendations, reviews, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists