Saturday, March 26, 2011

All sorts of wandering thoughts, but mostly decisions to make

So here I am, 6 days before my wedding, and every day I am falling in love with Steve more and more. We have had our challenges during our 10- year courtship, and huge fights, and mountains to scale and canyons to cross. Oh, and raging rivers to swim... There were times when I was ready to give up, and I am sure many times he was ready to give up on me as well. But I am sure thankful we didn't give up. He brings so much to my life, and because he is part of it, it makes me not just WANT to be a better person, but actually makes me TRY to be a better person.

And, there are going to be tough decisions to make for me, soon. I need to gear up my strength to be able to handle them, and choose what is best for me. I will be doing a LOT of praying for the right answers!

And, since March 5th, I have lost at least 15 lbs. And, a few inches off my waist and other areas. YAY! So that is 21 days to lose 15 lbs. I haven't been super hungry during the diet, but I have had super cravings which I really hate. Tonight I am going out to dinner at El Loros, and will just eat a la carte, (enchiladas or a grande burrito, my faves!) And since my diet is officially over, I can eat carbs / grains again but I will just be careful about the sugars and refined starches... otherwise, I can have at it!! I am sure my dress will fit me just fine.

I can't wait for my massage coming up. I really need it. And, my chiro appointment because I have a rib out and the pain is emanating all around my side and it hurts to breathe. And laying down (which usually makes back pain subside) doesn't make this pain go away.

And, I have to make a decision by Monday on whether or not to cancel my follow up appointment with my surgeon, just checking in to see how my arms/shoulders are doing. I have been in pain, but also have only been doing the bare minimum of physical therapy and stretches, so it kinda serves me right. She will most likely tell me to go see my physical therapist again, and each appointment will cost me $100. Oh well. We will see.

Posted via email from rhauptman's posterous

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

9 days before my wedding

I am sure many brides have a whole range of emotions a mere 9 days before the wedding. I wonder if some of those thoughts are of the groom, wondering if he is going to get cold feet? Or if all the logistics are going to run smoothly, or about their bridesmaids and groomsmen and wonder if they will do their "jobs" -- who knows. I know that the following things are going through my mind:

1. Whether my family will make it safely here. They will be driving (most of them, my sisters will be flying, but my brothers and parents will be driving from Utah to Minnesota!). My brothers plan on driving straight through, taking turns at the wheel. Of course that gives me a sense of anxiety. My parents are making it a 2-day trip. It is 20 hours one way. I think they plan on driving 12 or 13 hours the first day.

2. Will I be able to be a good host for my family? Will I have enough food, blankets, beds, pillows, hot water, etc. for them? (Seriously, this is a concern for me!)

3. How will my dogs and cat react to having a newborn baby around? My cat should be fine, as she has been around babies before, but my dogs might want to "play" and their type of play (as boxers) is a bit rougher than say, the play of a shitzu. Where will my dogs sleep when Steve and I are at the hotel on our wedding night? (yes, this is another worry for me).

4. Will we get enough sleep, to be well rested? I suppose melatonin will be in order for this issue...

5. Will the snow be gone? Please, say yes!!! And sunny, blue skies, pretty please!

6. Then the worries start to fall onto the more materialistic things... like can I lose a few more pounds before the big day? will my hair turn out alright? will I get pimples from stress? What if the cake falls, what if my dog eats the flowers, what if, what if....

The one thing I am sure about is being married to Steve. And since it is only my family and his family that will be there, I suppose if things don't go perfectly, that is ok. Every family is dysfunctional, right? So having a dysfunctional wedding might just be perfect.

But I still don't see how other women can primp all the time... always getting nails done or hair done, doing facial treatments and whitening teeth. Man, it takes a LOT of time!!! I am so glad I am not high maintenance.

Posted via email from rhauptman's posterous

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Body Wrap - second review

After trying the It works! Body wrap last week and not getting any results, I tried the Luca Lean body wrap (bought 2 jars on eBay) last night. Steve laughed at me as he was wrapping me in plastic wrap :) I lost about 2 inches (off my thighs and hips). I am going to try it again tomorrow, to see if I get more inches to disappear. It is actually a LOT more comfortable than I thought it would be. And, I want to target more of my waist area. I will report back once I have tried it a few times. So far, I am pleased. The areas of my body that have the most "fatty tissue" are my upper thighs and butt, so I did see results there...

It is also a lot cheaper than the ItWorks! Body wrap, at only about $20 for a jar of the cream... and I am guessing you can do about 3+ body wraps per jar (plus the cost of the saran wrap)... way better than the price for the ItWorks! Body wraps, which targets only one area at a time, not your whole body. So far, I would choose Luca Lean body wrap formula over the other.

Posted via email

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It Works! Body Wrap Review

I tried a body wrap from the MLM company, called It Works! Body Wrap. I of course want to be super slender for my wedding in 16 days... and if I can shed a few more inches before then, GREAT! I am also tanning, and did a 10-session package at a place called TOTALLY TAN, which has locations all over the northwest metro area. Since there is one near my work, it is convenient. Albeit, they are a little pushy. A 10-session tanning package is really only 10 points, and the low level beds are 1-point each, and they go up to 6 points each. So my "10 package" really may only be 2 tans... but I am using the low level beds. Going twice a week. (i am not a proponent of tanning but it is winter still here in MN for another week, hehe, snow still on the ground, and I am wearing a white wedding dress, and have light blond hair. I need some color.... I prefer real sunshine vs. fake bakes, but well, we do what we have to do !).

So, at this tanning salon, they sell the It Works! Body Wraps. All the girls that work there look 21, wear heavy makeup, have cute hair and are super skinny. The manager told me that she lost an inch in just 45 minutes wearing the wrap and she said she thought she didn't have that to lose (she was a stick as it was!) So I spent $25 and tried one.

I took a sauna, opening up the pores and cleansing the skin on my body. Then took a shower. Dried off... and then put the wrap on. I had it on for 2 hours last night. Measured before and after. Didn't lose an inch or even a fraction of an inch. I did it correct, as I watched the video and did what they told me to do.

It was very cold feeling... tingling... like ben gay with the potent herbal smell, but instead of heat, it gave off cold. This morning when I checked the inches, I did lose about 2-4 inches (we are supposed to measure in 3 places and add them up). But every morning I am thinner than I was at night. This is because (I think) last night I drank a ton of water in the sauna, maybe 20 oz. And I drank jasmine tea before bed, so while I still do drink throughout the day, I really need to drink when I lose moisture through sweating in my sauna. So that might be why.

It also is through a detox method, it says that is how it works. Well, I don't understand exactly, but my detox foot pads also provide a detox for your body. I have been doing those for years. Since I *probably* don't have as many toxins in my body as the average person, maybe that is why it didn't work as well. Like any type of "detox diet" that has you do a colon cleanse to lose weight fast, those don't work for me, since I use my oxyflush colon cleanse every night.

I ordered some luca lean body wrap stuff the other day, and will try it this weekend. I will try my whole body. Then I will review that, as well. I am doing the hcg diet right now, too, but only have lost about 8 lbs in 13 days... not fast enough for me!! I think I am freaking out about my wedding, my dress (I go in for alterations tonight so maybe that is the pressure that I am feeling). I want to lose at least another 10 lbs before the big day... only 16 days from now!! (When I say I am freaking out about my wedding, I am NOT freaking out about marrying him, that is the only thing I feel 100% sure about, and when I think of being married to him, I feel a sense of calm and peace, while the rest of the world is experiencing chaos).

So... another review coming up within the week.

Posted via email from rhauptman's posterous

Friday, March 11, 2011

Poison Found in California Dog Park

This is today's blog post from Dr. Eric Barchas, DVM.

Poison Found in California Dog Park

Posted: 10 Mar 2011 08:49 AM PST

Utah still holds the lead in the troubling pet news category this week. But I suppose it was only a matter of time until California made it onto the score board. Someone is trying to poison dogs in Silicon Valley. From
Sunnyvale city officials warned local dog owners Tuesday about someone trying to poison pets after rat poison was found at a local dog park.
Police said that on two separate occasions in late February, boxes of rat poison were found at the Las Palmas Dog Park.
D-con Baitbits are designed to kill mice and rats in one feeding. The small green pellets were discovered out in the open at the park for dogs to discover.
An ominous threat that read “All dogs must die” was scrawled in blue marker on one of the boxes that was found.
The active ingredient in D-con is brodifacoum. This agent is a potent poison in dogs. It is in a class of poisons called anticoagulants. Brodifacoum and similar poisons cause uncontrolled bleeding. For a more detailed description of the poison’s effects, symptoms, and treatments, see my website:
The Sunnyvale police department appears to be making an honest effort to deal with this issue. They ran a fingerprint analysis on the box, which unfortunately didn’t turn up any matches. They have issued warnings to the community. And, although a deranged sociopath is still on the loose in Sunnyvale, there is a silver lining to the cloud:
Sunnyvale leaders said that so far, they don’t know of any dogs that have been poisoned at the park. They want to keep it that way.

Email delivery powered by Google

Posted via email from rhauptman's posterous

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Homeless, Poor and Unemployed & Living within your means

I read an article the other day on about children who were living out of their cars, or out of motels, because their families lost their homes and jobs. It tore my heart apart. In a county in Florida, some children were interviewed and asked how many of them went to bed hungry in the past week or so... I think 73% of them raised their hands (I can't find the article now so I can't quote exact figures or link the article... but the thoughts invoked by the article have stayed with me).

Children should not have to go hungry.

I have a LOT of opinions about different things. Many people may disagree with me, and they have the right to. Hopefully respectfully. For example, it is easy for me to make judgment about the obesity epidemic in our society, and how we eat processed, chemical laden food, and fast food because we are a gluttonous society and are losing the skills usually passed from one generation to the next, in learning to cook from scratch. I DO agree that parents who feed their children MSG, aspartame, and a host of other chemicals are setting them up for chronic illness, mental and emotional issues, and obesity/diabetes. So when I see the types of foods that are usually handed out at food shelves, or the type of food that is cheap enough for "poor" folks to purchase, I shake my head. I am generalizing here. Because I see this as a societal issue, and one that doesn't just touch the lower income families. But, it is less prevalent in higher income families who are more educated and can afford organic or healthier food choices. This is a fact, unfortunately, not just my opinion.

I am also one to avoid going to the doctor's unless it is something that I am very worried about. (i.e. gallbladder attack?), but not for a cold that won't seem to go away. I am anti-medication/drugs, and don't want to be prescribed antibiotics unless it is an emergency. It disturbs me to hear others head to the doctor because their child has had the sniffles for 2 days. And then they get antibiotics for a virus (I do have to say there are some cases where a viral infection triggers a bacterial infection, but that is NOT the norm). Why not eat HEALTHY food, take natural immune-boosting supplements, take colloidal silver (which attacks both viruses AND bacteria, AND other pathogens). Or a natural supplement like oil of oregano that is especially good against viruses. That is what I do, since all the stress in my life has been causing me to get a few colds a year vs. the one I used to get. Stress, on the other hand, is not something I am good at talking about dealing with effectively, because obviously I don't know how!! (relaxation, meditation, doing less, well, those just don't seem to exist in my world!! Someday maybe?)

Now, back to the article I originally mentioned. And back to my opinions. This is hindsight, of course, these people can't go back and change things now, but hopefully we all can learn. I just want to talk about some things that have me thinking, and occasionally get me angry (which is my own issue... for example, those banks that triggered the housing burst, well, I was responsible but I am paying for it... my properties are below water now! I never was late on any payments, and I never over-borrowed, why do I have to suffer as a result of others actions? I know, unrealistic, but sometimes those thoughts find their way into my mind).

Most of us (and quite a few of those who helped get us into this economic mess we are in) are living beyond our means. What does that REALLY mean? It means, if you do not have enough money to have health insurance, car insurance, life insurance, etc, and don't have enough money to put any away for your retirement and your savings (even if it is a measly $50 a month), then you are driving a car that is too expensive, or you are living in a place that is too expensive. You are going out to eat too often, and buying needless items. I am honest here. Why is insurance so important? Because then if disaster or trauma strikes you, you and your family will be covered. Why are savings so important? so you will be ok if you lose your job. If you are living in a $1,500 apartment, well, I know for a fact in my area there is a nice 2-bedroom apartment that includes all utilities except electric, for only $825! Because I OWN it and rent it out for that amount. I rarely have a hard time finding renters. Well, that is an extra $650 (the difference in rent) right there to put towards savings, retirement, getting out of debt, insurance. Oh, well, it isn't fancy enough for you? That isn't the right attitude to have. It is that kind of attitude that helped get us in this mess. We WANT and WANT and WANT. Let's bare down and get back to the basics. Food. Clothing. Shelter. Once you have those, and pay all your bills, including insurance and savings (think of it as paying yourself), then you can spend on whatever you want, a new video game, a $100 pair of jeans (ack!), shoes, or whatever it is your greedy heart desires. Yes, I am being a bit mean here. But I am being REALISTIC. The 7 deadly sins include sloth, greed, envy, lust... think about it.

I already mentioned not saving your money, but it bears mentioning again. Even if it is $50 a month, PAY YOURSELF! This is crucial. You need a safety net. An emergency fund. Times WILL be hard once in a while, but it will be easier to be happy and find joy during those hard times if you have that safety net. Granted, we all should have started this years ago, and are now paying the consequences of not having done it... so, START NOW. Forget the past, you can only change today and tomorrow.

Which brings me to my next recommendation, which is to HAVE GOALS!! Do you want to be debt-free, living within your means with savings and retirement funds? It won't happen overnight, but imagine yourself with all those things. I bet you feel peace. Peace knowing you don't have creditors knocking on your door, or bills stuffed inside the mailbox. You don't have to worry about looking people in the eye, or especially looking at yourself in the mirror. The peace in your life will be worth millions. Priceless. All you have to do is start now. Start small. Find one bill to pay off, and move to the next. And so on. Start putting $10 away at a time, and increase it as you are able. Practice living with less, being less greedy and materialistic. Soon, your whole life will change, and I bet you will be able to find happiness much easier! And, if we hit another terrible recession, it won't hurt as bad because you will be prepared. THAT is what I want people to learn. To be prepared, so it doesn't hurt as bad.

And then, materialism will slowly dwindle. Granted, retailers will have to find other things to entice us to spend our money on. But my bet is that they won't be lacking consumers willing to depart from their money... just don't be one of them! We boycotted the materialistic Christmas this year. We went to a Third World country and stayed in inexpensive hotels and resorts, away from all the greed that we have back here in the U.S. We saved all our frequent flier miles for 2 years, and got discounts on the hotels where we stayed. Sure, we had a much needed vacation, but thankfully we planned it well and it didn't cost us much at all. We didn't give each other presents. I read the Christmas story. It was beautiful. I don't like Easter for the materialism it is starting to represent, either. WHY do people other than Christians celebrate Easter? It makes no sense to me. Or Christmas, for that matter. I know why. GREED and MATERIALISM! PRESENTS!!

I just want to sing songs of praise and glory that Jesus was resurrected! That is all! It is a very special day for me, Easter Sunday, because it reminds me that although I am a sinner, I can accept Christ, and because he died for me, I can be forgiven of my sins! What a wonderful message! And we have to desecrate that special message with our materialism.

Lastly, when we do start living within our means, and saving our money, we will not be chained down. We won't feel like we have shackles dragging behind us, weighing us down, like a heavy burden on our shoulders. And, that gives us more time to help others out that are less fortunate! Wouldn't that be grand!? I have this burning desire inside to want to lighten another's burdens, to help them out when needed, and to commit random acts of selflessness, anonymously.

Where am I in this whole process? Well, first, we are not living beyond our means. We are actually living below our means. Times have been tough for us, too, because our rental properties have caused a LOT of money drainage, so my goal this upcoming year is to try and replenish my depleted savings. My truck had probably about $4,000 worth of various work done on it in the past year. I had 3 surgeries and had to pay $2500 of my deductible (which I have to say is an extremely fair deal, I am not complaining about that at all). And, I still need to pay off one credit card that I put my schooling on. My goal is to have that paid off this year, by December!

So I am in the middle of this process. It does take a while, and sometimes there are setbacks. But if you start now, soon you, too, can be living within your means. And hopefully someone will listen so that 12 years down the road if we have another bad recession, they won't be homeless and their kids won't have to go to bed hungry. I wish I could feed all those children, and give them homes, and give their parents jobs, and make it so they don't have to worry about the instability in their lives, and that they can just focus on being kids. I wish and I wish.

(I want to mention that I seemed to be pushing insurance companies pretty hard... insurance is super important, but I have to say I am not affiliated with any insurance company. I get my health, AD&D, LTD and STD insurance through work, and my other insurance through USAA, which I absolutely love (homeowners, auto, life, etc). I have my meager retirement fund through both work, and also USAA... I am still young so I have a ways to go, but I do contribute a small amount each paycheck! When I can afford more, I will do so. But even a small amount gets me into the habit of saving) TRY IT!!

Good luck!

Posted via email from rhauptman's posterous

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Barnes and Noble Customer Support: FAIL

I recently purchased the Groupon offering $20 worth of product from Barnes and Noble, for only $10. When I went to redeem it, I followed the instructions to redeem it at the NookStore, and went to a web page that had a link for me to activate my "gift card". That link was broken. So, I sent the following email to the company, thinking that they would be interested to know a crucial link was broken on their website. I then called customer service, had someone from India (I presume, with the account and the digitized voice (VoIP). Once he found out that I had a question about the Groupon, he immediately wanted to send me to the "Groupon" department. I halted him and told him to go to the website and click on the link in question, to see if it worked for him. It didn't. But, he showed me a back door way to apply my gift card. Then, everything worked by then. He gave me the number to call the Groupon Department, and it happened to be Groupon itself!! Excuse me, how could Groupon help me with a broken link on Barnes and Noble's website?

So the response I just received today from them is below. They don't address my concerns, only go into a cookie cutter answer on how to use a gift card. BIG FAIL for their customer service!

> Original Message Follows:
> ------------------------
My Message to them:
> This URL doesn't allow me to click to
> to manage gift
> cards link. it gives me a 404 error message:
> Server Error in '/' Application.
> The resource cannot be found.
> Description: HTTP 404. The resource you are looking for (or one of its
> dependencies) could have been removed, had its name changed, or is
> temporarily unavailable. Please review the following URL and make sure
> that it is spelled correctly.
> Requested URL: /account/request.aspx
> PLEASE HELP. I got the Groupon $20 certificate and want to buy some
> ebooks.

> Thank you for writing to us about using Barnes & Noble Gift Cards to
> purchase NOOkbooks.
> At this time, the maximum number of gift cards that can be applied to an
> online NOOKbook purchase is three.
> To make your gift cards available for your future NOOKbook purchases,
> please sign on to your Account and click on the link titled Manage Gift
> Cards for NOOKbooks. You can store up to three gift cards in this
> section and they will be automatically applied to your NOOKbook
> purchase. If you do not currently have a Barnes & Noble Account, please
> visit our website and create one.
> Also, you will still need a default credit card for NOOKbook purchases.
> All publishers require that the eBooks they submit, including free
> eBooks, are encrypted for each customer. Currently, the ?unlock? device
> is the billing name and credit card number of the primary credit card on
> your Barnes & Noble account. However, your credit card will not be
> charged if there are sufficient funds on your gift card(s) to cover the
> order total.
> Please retain any gift card you have stored on your account if you wish
> to use it for non-NOOKbook purchases.
> We at Barnes & Noble want to say thanks for your suggestions and
> enthusiasm. We were able to accelerate this change due to your feedback.
> Visit and click on the options that appear in the upper
> right-hand corner to view information about your order.
> We look forward to your next visit.
> Sincerely,
> Felicia
> Customer Service Representative
> Barnes & Noble

Posted via email from rhauptman's posterous