Monday, January 30, 2012

And the Winner is....

Elaine's winnings, ready to ship.
 posted by Amy Baranski and Melissa Baumgart
Our first ever "Good Luck With That Sweepstakes" was an exciting time for us.  We had a lot of fun watching the comments roll in, and seeing who is out there reading along with us.  We gave away four books and four Powerball tickets.  The books are  looking forward to our next month, "Read a book a week", and the latter a nod to this past month of "Sweepstakes."

Out of the entries, we gave each a random number and drew the number out of a hat.

Whose number came out of that hat????

Elaine Pollack!!! (of Maryland)

Congratulations, Elaine!  We hope you read along with us next month and enjoy our picks for quick reads.

And thanks everyone for sending your comments and book suggestions!

-Melissa and Amy

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Let your heart dream big

Front and Center, my new Popcorn Popper!
posted by Melissa Baumgart
The uncool part of Sweepstakes Month:

This company, if you can call it that, sends me several emails a day.  Each one more desperate than the next.  In the email account I set up for all my sweepstakes entries, the inbox looks like PCH is my best friend.  An insecure, lying and cheating best friend.  The kind that says you can borrow her beautiful cashmere sweater, and then changes her mind when you show up wearing nothing but your dingy white wife beater.  I have never had a friend like that and I don't even want one.  So, I am dumping PCH, if I can figure out how to get off of their subscription list.

I keep hoping to find an email from someone else in my inbox.  Someone telling me I won the set of pots and pans.  Someone telling me I won the trip to a tropical island.  Or even the simple sweepstakes entry for a book.  One book, come one...we're giving away four!

The coolest thing about sweepstakes month so far is this:

I have received so many "winnings" this month.  I have put out there to the universe the things that I want/need in life and they keep coming.  Just like Amy's rice cooker she was gifted by her friends, mine are also coming from unexpected sources.  Here is a list of all the things I have "won" this month...totally without PCH, thank you very much!

  • A popcorn popper!  Hallelujah.  Except maybe I shouldn't be eating it every night.
  • A new set of chairs for my dining room table!  Gorgeous antiqued copper metal chairs.  
  • A check-up for our van, that is way long overdue.  
  • The gift of dental health.  Not only from my daily flossing, but also by getting a cleaning from a real live dentist!
  • An external hard drive to back up all my data.  (I have put this off, and bought groceries and paid bills instead, for way too long.)
Life is magical and beautiful things happen all the time.  I am so grateful to those that made these things possible in our life.  It has offered me a chance to see that life is full of sweepstakes...our communities and families and friends are always in a sublime dance of giving and receiving.  Just remember that each side of that equation is valuable.  It is important to be able to receive.  And to always remember to give, even when perceive your self with little to nothing, give nonetheless.  It doesn't take much to offer someone the gift of a helping hand or an open ear and a hug.  Which can be just as valuable as a new bedroom set.  (OK, so a new bedroom set is what I have been busy pinning on Pinterest, when I should be doing homework...or lending a helping hand.)

I encourage you all to make a list of the things you want/need, tangible and not.  Material and non-material.  Just let your heart dream big and see what comes back.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Sweepstakes for you, the Good Luck With That reader!

posted by Melissa Baumgart and Amy Baranski
Guess what, everyone?  YOU have a chance to WIN in January!

Good Luck With That is not only giving you a sneak peek into our next year's adventures, but also a jump start on joining us in February's fun.

Our next month, kicking off 2012 for the blog, will be Read a Book a Week.  It's a lofty goal (says Melissa) that was chosen by Amy for one of her 6 things to do.  Amy says she would like to read more, and thought this would be a fun way to bring that back into her life.  Melissa was happy to hear the challenge, as she recently was swept away by a young adult fiction novel, and finished it within 24 hours.

So, the good news for you is that we are offering one lucky winner 4 books of our choosing, each with its very own Powerball ticket bookmark!  We chose books that we have read and found to be read-able within a week.  The kind of books that you don't want to put down.  The kind that have you forgetting to eat, or forgetting to make dinner for your kids.  The really good kind.

The books range in variety from a young adult fiction novel with an emotionally brave heroine (yes, the aforementioned one) to a post-apocalyptic drama, and from a story narrated by a nine-year-old boy who searches for clues about a found key from his grandfather to the 2007 National Book Award winner for young adult fiction that's written from the viewpoint of a Native American teenager.

By entering, You can win a copy of each of these books:

AND 4 of your very own Powerball tickets, for a chance to win even more!

Here's how to enter:
  • Leave a comment on our blog.  Simply click on the link that says "comment" below and post a message with the title of your favorite "can't put it down" book.  
  • Make sure to put your name on the comment.  (You do not have to be a google member.)
  • If you don't already "like" us on Facebook, click here and stop on over to our page and like us.  That way we can have you contact info if you win!
On Monday, January 30th, we will announce the winner of our Sweepstakes!  The comments will be numbered and we will draw the winning number out of a hat.   We'll hastily put your books in the mail so you'll have them to read throughout February!

Thank to everyone for reading along on our journeys.  We are so grateful to share our ups and downs of trying new things with all of you!
-Amy and Melissa

Monday, January 23, 2012

I WON $50!

In an uneventful trip to the supermarket,
I bought this ticket.  No big deal.  Just big money.
posted by Melissa Baumgart
50 bucks!  That's right!  Take that Statistics class!

Today as I sat in statistics learning about probability, the teacher announced how very slim the probability is of winning at a casino.  OK, I thought, I'll buy that.  Then she slipped in at the very end, under or her breath..."Or on the lottery."  I deflated.  I had just bought the most expensive scratch off ticket yet, it cost me $10.  I don't know why I did it, I just had a $10 bill and before I knew it, I was pushing the button for the one ticket that cost exactly that much.

I also bought a few lotto tickets:  Hit 5, Lotto, and Daily Keno.  None were winners, if you were wondering.  The interesting thing though, is that as I checked the tickets online, I was able to relax as I did so.  Usually I carry this weighed thrill, like if I wish for it hard enough, I can be a winner.  It was nice to see some shift in that stress, to let go of the illusion that I have some power over the odds.  (makes me think of all those good luck tokens at Bingo)

So, back to my big scratch off, Grand Fortune is its name.  I sat down tonight, after a long day of working probability problems and seeing the chances of my hopeful winnings go deeper and deeper down the dark well of loser-dom.  Every problem I did drove that gloomy message farther down til it became a part of my own belief, you are not going to win anything during sweepstakes month.  There is science to back this up, classical probability theory.  It even has a fancy name.

"But someone has to win!" my ever optimistic voice peeped, trying to be heard from way down in that well.  Trying to change my peer-reviewed mind.

I used my lucky dollar (one I found a week
 ago on the ground) to buy a ticket the other day.
  I was sure that dollar was going
to bring me a winner.  It didn't.
OK, I know, it all sounds so dramatic, right?  After all, this is just a scratch-off ticket.  But it's not for me. I used to get so wrapped up in manifesting my destiny, that I was convinced I was going to win every time I played the lottery.  I thought and thought, I visualized until I forgot to breathe.  I never did win, but this is how strong my belief in winning has been.  This is how deep-rooted this goes for me.

I think it all started back in grade school, at a fund-raiser in the school cafeteria when I won that ceramic ET lamp with the light up finger.  That sealed my fate as a bonafide winner.

So, back to the Grand Fortune.  No, I didn't win the $100,000 prize, or even the $10,000, or $5,000.  But I did, however, win $50!  My biggest winning yet.  It may very well even out all the the non-winning tickets I have bought thus far.  Which wouldn't be half bad, better than ending up in the red.

And hey, we still have 8 more days to prove that someone does have to win.  And it might as well be me.  The good part of it all, is that whether I win or lose for the rest of this month, I feel relaxed about it and carefree.  It's for fun, it's not meant to be a pressure filled experience.

And with that, a peaceful sleep to all.  Good night...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What do you do during a snowstorm?

Snow Art, created by 6-year-olds
posted by  Melissa Baumgart
Here is what I have done during Seattle's Snowmageddon 2012:

  1. Discovered new and addicting websites, such as Pinterest.
  2. Studied for a Statistics test that seems like it will never happen.  Will we ever get back to school?
  3. Search endlessly for contests to enter online.  Air popper for popcorn, Le Creuset cookware, a new bedroom set, a new couch, various vacations, another entry for the HGTV Dream House in Utah.
  4. Continuously listened to Jamie ask over and over again, "Is it snowing?"  "Is it raining?"  "Is that ice or rain?"
  5. Suffered miserably from allergies.  And to what?  Who the F knows.  I haven't been enjoying some of my favorite foods in the hopes of finding out which one may contribute to the atopic state of my being.  And still, two+ weeks in, I am still sneezing.
  6. Walked to Central Cinema through the icy snow and darkness with six children to watch Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.  When we reached the theater, we were informed that the voucher I bought was worded in a misleading way.  The ten movie passes I thought I was going to use for the eight of us were instead only to be used by one person for ten separate movie entrances.  So, since I wasn't going to spend $50+ to watch a movie from the 1980's, we turned around and walked back home.  We walked uphill, Tallulah serenading us with her various whines of complaint the whole way.  I will never again use Amazon Local, and question returning to Central Cinema after that fiasco.  These deals should be VERY clear in the wording of the details, I have been burned too many times now from Living Social or Amazon Local.  I'll just stick with Groupon for my Seattle Deals, the OG of all coupons like this.  
  7. Watched Indiana Jones at home, with yummy air popped popcorn thanks to my neighbor.  I gotta get one of those poppers.
  8. Mulled over my list for Good Luck With That 2012.  I have too many things, and perhaps not enough "wow" factor.
  9. Cleaned the house a billion times.
  10. Had some more fun on Pinterest.  I think Good Luck With That needs to start posting pictures on there.  
  11. Watched Tallulah and her friend create snow art with food coloring in spray bottles and squirt bottles.  Luckily, I live on the first floor and can do this from the warmth of inside my window.  
  12. Played Amy at Dance Central 2 on the Kinect.  She kicked my butt.  But I did beat one of the kids.
  13. Watched a couple documentaries.  Food, Inc and God Grew Tired of Us.  The first has got me up at night rethinking my food choices and figuring out how I can get back to my dietary and lifestyle choices of 1999.  What the hell is wrong with this world and all the greedy people that live in it?  The latter movie was about the "Lost Boys" of Sudan.  It was heartbreaking, touching and left me laughing out loud at points about our Western culture.  If you can even call it culture.  Since that movie, I have been saying "Hi!" to people I pass a lot more often.  
  14.  Listened to, and attempted to break up, Lily and Levi fighting a billion times. 
  15. The still hopeful walk to the movies.
  16. Contemplated my Healthival commitment.  After reading Seattle Magazine's 25 best burgers, I am torn between Food, Inc. and my cravings.  But I have been flossing my teeth.  
And now, as the snow continues to dump, I wonder if we'll have school tomorrow.  What do you do for fun when Snowmageddon comes to your town?  

Here's to winter and possibly the last day of snow!  And hoping you had some better ideas than I did, and if so, please share.  Please.  We are getting a little stir crazy over here.


Reader's choice poll: pick our fate for 30 days

By Amy Baranski

Thanks to all the readers who responded to my post by suggesting new things we might try this coming year.

There were a lot of great options, some of which might make their way onto either mine or Melissa's list without you having to vote. So thanks again, and we can't wait to reveal our other choices.

I promised that I'd pick three suggestions at my own discretion, and I just couldn't narrow it down to three, so there are four to choose from. Please vote for the challenge you'd like to see us take on for 30 days in 2012. The challenge with the highest votes will be placed on our list. Any ties will end in a good old-fashioned coin toss.

You have until Sunday January 22 6:00pm to vote. Melissa and I are prohibited from voting. Family members are welcome to vote.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


posted by Melissa Baumgart
After managing our way through the co-op parking lot filled with health conscious idiot car parkers (yes, in a packed parking lot, somebody decided to take up TWO WHOLE parking spots!), stocking up on all our bulk dried beans and grains for Snowmageddon and chatting with the friendly scratch-off aficionado that was our cashier; Amy and I headed on over to the 7-11 to try once again to cash in on my latest Blackout Bingo scratch-off winner.

"I am totally coming in to see this Bingo shit go down," Amy announced as we pulled into the 7-11 parking lot.

We stood in line behind a possibly homeless man buying lotto tickets and another man buying some beer (totally made me wish I had some wine to enjoy the possible snow to come, being snowed in always makes life a party), we looked over the ticket again.  Everything lined up for me to be a winner.  I was prepared to collect my $25.00 this time.  Maybe the other guy didn't scan it correctly or something.

Look for yourself.  B04, I26, the FREE spot, G59 and O73.
They are all on my numbers, and  it says a line wins $25.
No where on the rules (on the back) does it say you cannot use the FREE spot, which is the only
thing I can think of that prevents me from being a winner.
I need to contact the Washington State Lottery and get my money.
"This is not a winner," said the guy behind the counter.  

Amy debated with him for a bit, 'til it was clear that there was nothing he could do, nor did he know the rules of Bingo well enough to decipher what she was pointing out on the Bingo Blackout scratch-off.  Then the homeless looking guy that had just bought several scratch-offs and a handful of lotto tickets, came over to help us.  We slowly went through each winning spot, and were all unanimous, this ticket was a winner indeed.  So, he walks us over to the self-scanner, and we all stand there waiting.

"Sorry this is not a winning ticket" spans across the small digital display in red letters.

We all muttered our disbelief and as Amy and I were cussing our way  out the door, the man turned to us and said, "Well, Gee-Willikers!"

While our explicatives were a bit less family friendly, I knew he could feel our pain.  To be a winner, without any validation.  To be a true winner, and still the powers that be just won't allow it.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

I am Finally a Winner!

The Winner!
posted by Melissa Baumgart
I went to Bingo yesterday.  Me, and three kids.  Turns out Bingo (which is still gambling, isn't it?) is open to anyone 10 years old and up.  They just have to have a guardian there over the age of 18.  Works for me, I needed someone to go with and the kids can be pretty fun (sometimes.)

After being to Bingo once before, the kids not only looked to me as the wise adult that I am, but as an expert in the game of Bingo as well.  We each got our own cards and daubers and set up near the football game.  Levi thought he would be able to watch the game, but little did he know the intense concentration that Bingo demands.

During the first game, the kids were a mess.  "Help me, I need help!"  "I am so behind, what number was called?'  "I am so nervous."  "This is so hard, I don't know what I am doing."  And various other cries for help were uttered by two of them, Lily seemed fairly comfortable and held her own.  After a couple games were played, they all got into a groove and settled down to win some money.  They were feeling lucky, and it was announced before each game.

Levi, deep in concentration.
Turns out the kids luck ran dry and they didn't win, but I did!  I won on a blackout game, 1st consolation prize.  Someone else got a Bingo at the same time, so we had to split the $50.00 prize and I won $25.00.  It wasn't the $300.00 I almost won last week, but it still felt good to be a winner.  Real good.

So good in fact, that after we got home from afternoon Bingo, I was rearing to go back to the 7pm game.  We all were, so me, Lily and Levi all jumped back in the van and headed north to 220th St. Bingo!  We chatted all the way up about what we would do if we won big, since the night games pay more.  As we pulled into the parking lot, it seemed dark.  And empty.  NO!  It couldn't be.  Was it closed?
Our sidewalk today.

Indeed, as we drove up in front of the door, the headlights of our minivan illuminated a plain piece of paper with red hand-written marker (not neatly) writing spelling it all out, "7PM Bingo Closed due to snow."  Snow?!  There was no snow!  We drove out of the parking lot, deflated and not quite sure what to do without Bingo.

We drove home and settled for a Family Movie Night.  We watched A Life In A Day, and it was liked by all, but I am pretty sure it paled in comparison to the $900.00 we were going to win at Bingo.

I love how short this snowman makes
me look.
The best news of all though, is that we woke up this morning to true snow.  The neighborhood we live in,  Capitol Hill, got at least 5-6 inches.  That is a lot of snow for Seattle.  The kids had a ball today, building snow people, sledding, and packing snow into forts for a snowball fight that went way into the darkness of the early Seattle night.  I even went out in the snow (I usually opt not to for some reason, I guess I am typically not prepared when it comes to warm clothing) and couldn't help but laugh and smile at everything.  I wonder if snow is as magical in a place that gets snow all winter, to is it because we live in a city where snow is a special and rare event.

Oh, and I lost on both my PowerBall tickets from yesterday.  And when I went to cash in my last scratch-off ticket that I thought I won $25.00 on, they guy just looked at me after scanning it and said, "You are not a winner."  And I thought, "Oh yeah buddy, well, you must not know me then.  Cause I believe (against all odds) that I am!"


Friday, January 13, 2012

Ch Ch Ch Changes

By Amy Baranski

This guy right here won me a dollar.
Today things are changing at work. The person I report to is moving on to a different role at a different company. I've worked with her for six years and I can only describe our working relationship as some kind of Vulcan mind-meld. I don't like to write about work too often but for today it seems fitting. It's been an extremely busy week with lots of transition meetings, and housekeeping items, trips out to Redmond over the 520 bridge (which is now tolled) and back again. You can actually bypass the toll by taking the bus. And if you have an Orca card provided by your company then they pick up the cost.

So there hasn't been a ton of time to spend scouring the internet for sweepstakes or contests, nor time to do coupon clipping (nonetheless shopping), and today I have visitors coming in for the weekend. They are some of my favorite people in fact, and I can't wait. There has been time to buy more scratch off tickets and lose, and time to buy a Mega Millions lotto ticket with my husband Bob, and also lose. We matched only one number last night. Apparently there was one $10,000 winner and several thousand $2 winners. The game is rigged.

I asked Bob last night how we'd spend $10,000. I mean we always talk about what we'd do with our millions but we never talk about more reasonable and manageable amounts. Would I feel happy to win $10,000 or would I feel upset that my luck was spent on winning a smaller ticket? I guess I'd feel happy. Ten thousand free dollars shouldn't be a burden.

Well, I guess I should finish cleaning all the things...just thought I'd check in.

What do people think of this sweepstakes month? Are you enjoying it as much as I am?

Beautiful (not Sleepless) in Seattle

Cal Anderson Park this morning.

posted by Melissa Baumgart
It has been so beautiful in Seattle this week.  Clear skies with mountains out all around, pink and orange fuzzy sunrises and ice crystals covering all the plants making them more magical than they already are, growing in the cold winter.  I drive 20 minutes to school and back these days since I had to take a couple classes at a different campus, and Mount Rainier has been gorgeous.  And on the way home at night, the full Moon is mesmerizing.

I try to capture some of it with my iPhone camera, but usually I am driving or not in a good spot to catch the entire view.  I wish I had more time to get to a good view point so I can share the vistas with you all, but you'll have to just take my word for it.

Catching up with Dr. Oz and my intentions for following through with my word, I have to say that it is going really great.  I have flossed my teeth everyday!  (I know some of you are probably thinking, gross!  You didn't before?  And the answer is a shameful, no, I did not.  Yeah, gross.  but I bet there are more people out there like me than you think and if I can change one person into a flosser by admitting my previous grossness, then it's all worth it!)  In fact, I got a great tip form a friend (and local dentist) Ken McNabb.  He posted a "how-to" video on flossing on his website and it is great.  I had no idea, that when I did attempt to floss in the past, I wasn't doing it correctly.  Clink on the link and listen for that squeak!

I also called an old friend, well, OK, not so old.  But I am working up to that one.
Frosty Cauliflower on the walk home from school.

I have been drinking green tea.  Even when it tastes disgusting.  Do people really like this stuff?  I
suppose it could be an acquired taste.

I have not had a lunch out, And I have had healthy snacks on hand.  I have been eating more fruit, well, if I can get to it before my kids eat the entire supply from our CSA box in one day!  Seriously, do your kids eat 5 pieces of fruit in one evening?  What an expensive habit.

I have been getting enough sleep, and enjoying reading in beda t night to wind down.  I have kept an eye on portion size, and no, not to make sure I get more.  To keep it reasonable, even when I had french fries the other night.  Wow, that was difficult.

What I have not done:  (yet!)

  • Say no.
  • Stretch.
  • Meditate.
  • Memorize a poem.
  • and maybe one more that I don't really feel is necessary to talk to the whole WWW about.
Attempting to capture Rainier, and
no, Dad, I wasn't driving.  Not me.
I wouldn't do that.  I was stopped at a red
light on the on-ramp.
Off to school to finish the 20+ pages of Statistics homework I have to turn in today.  Luckily I only have 5 more problems to do, I have been keeping up with more than then Kardashians lately.  

Have a great Friday!  And if you're lucky, maybe you'll find your way to a Bingo Hall tonight, I know I am going to try my best to get there this weekend before the snow comes!  That's right, they are calling for snow in Seattle!  Exciting!


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Publisher's Clearing House is the WORST

May hope rise in you, like the sun
on this beautiful January day.
posted by Melissa Baumgart
I am starting to agree with Amy.  Although I do win at least one dollar, two dollars, even up to twelve dollars on the scratch-offs often, I am not landing any sweepstakes wins.  I get emails from them every day, alerting me to all the winnings that are imminent if I just do X, Y and Z.

Publisher's Clearing House is the WORST!  Every single day I get multiple emails from them, asking me to use their search engine to be entered into some new, awesome, huge sweepstakes.  One day it was because my initials we MB, and someone with those initials was going to win big.  Today I received this exciting news:
Dear Melissa Baumgart,
When you search today, you will be assigned a SuperPrize® Number in the winner selection range! 
Only a SuperPrize Number in the winner selection range can win a life-changing Publishers Clearing House fortune, awarded by the Prize Patrol on February 29th!
Search now to enter and ensure conveyance of a SuperPrize Number in the winner selection range to YOU, Melissa Baumgart.
Plus, when you search you could even win a PCHSearch&Win instant cash prize. Melissa, your prompt action could win you cash on the spot! 
Time is of the essence because Publishers Clearing House will soon be taking a "Special Early Look" for a SuperPrize winner from Giveaway No. 1830. You could Win $1 Million Every Year For Life in just weeks, but in order to be in the running, it's imperative that you enter. Waste no time, search now. 
Good luck!
They lay it on pretty thick; a FORTUNE,  CASH ON THE SPOT, IMPERATIVE.  I feel swindled and lied to, their graphics alone tell me that nobody is winning anything.  And I didn't even give them any money or buy any of the damn magazine subscriptions they inundate you with when you enter, and still I feel like they got the best of me.  Like I am a rat on the wheel of their money making scheme.

I can't help but think I have better things to spend my time on than clicking to win, filling out long surveys for a chance to win $1,000 or more (or less), and searching endlessly online for more things to win.  I really had high hopes for this month, and I am reminded again of my idealistic nature.  I always assume that I will win, that I will succeed and prevail.  So far, that is rarely true (poker, bowling, trapeze).  In the end, I am thankful that I still maintain a positive and hopeful outlook every month.

And 'til the end of January, I will also maintain my sweepstakes entering.  You never know, right? (here I go again.)  They have to show up at someone's door!  When I am not wasting my time filling out entries, you better believe I'll be in front of the mirror freshening up for my big TV debut.  Good thing I have been flossing, so when I smile from ear to ear with my huge check in my hand, I won't have spinach from my smoothie all stuck in my teeth.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sometimes you win some. Sometimes you dim sum.

By Amy Baranski

Yesterday I went out to buy a few scratch-off tickets so I'd have something to blog about. I bought four tickets and played them with my husband over slices at Piecora's (the very first restaurant I ate at in Seattle, as an adult).

Thank you Aaron & Jesse!
I won!



I have this overriding feeling that all contests and sweepstakes are SCAMS. Can you believe that I've only won ONE coloring contest in MY LIFE. (I did stop entering them a few years ago). I guess that's a badge of honor--not coloring in between the lines. But still I want win I can feel that something unexpected and surprising, and that something that gives me hope that luck is real and it's not all just karma or fate or random, and that luck's on my side, and that everything is going to work out well, and that I'll live forever without ever getting sick, and I'll have many friends and be famous someday.

If I could win a Vit-a-Mix I would feel that way.

The last time I mentioned a desired kitchen appliance on this blog two things happened:

1) The auto-correct feature renamed it the Numero Fuzzy Rice Cooker.
2) I got a Nuero Fuzzy Rice Cooker!

I didn't win it. Well, if you call having friends winning then I did. Charlie Sheen might say that. Or maybe his winning was something else, like having friends with benefits and doing a bunch of cocaine. I can't remember. That was like 7 millions years ago in Internet time.

So a Vit-a-Mix. I found an entry for one! From 2010. Sometimes the Internet is so lame. If you know of any Vit-a-Mix give-aways or contests let me know. In the mean time I guess I'll try to conjure some luck somehow.

Readers' Choice: you pick 1 of my new things

By Amy Baranski

It's that time of year, mid-January, when Melissa and I prepare to reveal our list of 12 new things that we will set out to accomplish for the rest of 2012.

This time around, I'm changing it up. I'd love your help. I'd like to give one of my choices up to you--the readers!

Care to decide my fate for one month in 2012?

I'm already using a reader's suggestion (from a comment thread in October) for this year. And I'd like to open up one other spot on my list of six things to try, not only to your suggestions, but to your vote.

So, what are your suggestions? What should it be?

Here's how you can play along:

1) Suggest something by January 18.
2) Write your idea in the comments of this post, or on Facebook. (Suggestions must be made publicly).
3) I'll select three, at my own discretion, and put up a poll on the blog for you to vote.
4) Whatever suggestion gets the highest votes will be placed on my list.
5) If there's a tie we'll flip a coin.

Sound fair? Sounds totally disastrous to me, so let's do it!

For reference, here's the list we made for 2011.

Of course in deciding these new things here is what I ask you to consider:
  • Is it exciting?
  • Is it reasonable, for a 30 days?
  • Is it a small thing with big impact or a big thing with small impact?
  • Cost.
  • Location - can I do it in Seattle?
  • Would it make a good blog post?
  • Does it lend itself to a good photo shoot opportunity?
Okay - have fun, suggest away!


Anticipating what will come next.

posted by Melissa Baumgart
I am working on my list of 6 things for Good Luck With That's third year!
Finding the Methow Valley, an unexpected
Silver Lining during the torturous
Hiking and Backpacking month.

It keeps changing.  I think I have 6 things concretely on my list, and then something new will pop up.  Today I found a few things that are of interest, but I am not sure of the broad spectrum acceptance of a couple of them.  One is a little odd, and yet very intriguing to me.  The other kinda seems more like a guy's thing, but still, I feel strangely drawn to it.  There is another that I want to do, but I wonder if I will need to find classes.  Sometimes finding classes to fit nicely into a one month window can be a challenge, even greater than funding the classes can be.

I try to stick with what comes up, and follow the threads that are presented to me, without questioning the idea too much.  Will people want to read about this?  What if I end up hating it?  What if we can't afford it?  What if it is boring?  Even if the answers to those questions were "No!", "You will!", "You can't!" and "It will be!" right now today as I ask them, you never know what that month will bring and what the silver lining will be if it does end up being less than you expected.

That being said, I wonder if there are any great ideas looming out there in your heads?  If you were doing your own "Good Luck With That" (And why not?  You totally could), what things would you choose?  Leave your thoughts in the comments below.  Just click where it says 0 comments, or 1 comment, or 7 comments and a window will pop up for you to share your thoughts.  You can even do it anonymously if you prefer.  Or let us know on our Facebook page.

I also want to share some thoughts I have been having about the b log in general.  Even though this blog started as a way to find a "passion", I feel it has evolved into something else.  Instead of finding one singular passion, it has become more about always trying new things in life.  Keeping ourselves open to new and unexpected experiences.  Once you are open to new experiences, many more can find their way into your life.

It's like in savasana.  When you are quiet and ready to receive, the Universe can bring you its infinite wisdom.  If you always have everything already figured out, why would the Universe bring you any divine wisdom?  I, myself, want to stay open to unending possibilities in my life.  Putting ourselves out there to try all these new things brings us new connections, new lessons, new understandings about ourselves, humanity and life.  And so much more.

I look forward to hearing your ideas!  And nervously await finding out what Amy is picking.  Please NOT SKYDIVING!!!!!  That's all I ask.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Have a Spinach-Blueberry-Green Tea-Smoothie for Brunch!

posted by Melissa Baumgart
Talk about swinging the pendulum.  How do I go from squirting mayonnaise tubes onto tater tots to creating spinach smoothies with green tea like I am some new age health nut?  Next thing you know I'll be meditating with Jamie, or worse, having hours transcendental sex with him like Sting and his wife!  JK.  (Sorry, Jamie)

But first, a scratch-off update:
I spent $7.00.  I won $5.00.  Statistically speaking, this scratch-off effort is not working out in my favor.

This is my brunch, and it is working out in my favor.
Three handfuls of spinach, one pint of blueberries, one banana and a cup of green tea with ginger.  Blend in a blender until smooth and drink.   

I suppose a Vita-Mix would be better, but my Osterizer blender got it drink-able enough for me. 

Finished product.  Drink it up!

Oh, and I have not heard back from Publisher's Clearing House, nor any of the other sweepstakes I have entered.  Could you imagine if they showed up at my door like they show on TV!  And I answer it with a green mustache from my brunch smoothie!  That would be awesome.

Crap, I just realized I forgot to stretch this morning.  Here I go...
Cheers!  -Melissa

Monday, January 9, 2012

Me, Gwyneth and Dr. Oz

posted by Melissa Baumgart
Margarita, anyone?
While January is Sweepstakes month, and I have been busy finding every which way to rake in the winnings, I have also deemed January as "Healthival!"  If you haven't heard about it, it is simply my version of cleaning up and clearing out, so to speak.  Gwyneth Paltrow may have her Goop Cleanse created specially for her by a detox guru doctor, but leave it to me to be inspired by my homemade margaritas and a Disney movie. (BTW, I may use some of her recipes on that link, they do look good.)

Nine days in and it is going great.  I am not having dairy, wheat, sugar, or alcohol.  These are all items that I am suspicious of being allergens, or perhaps sensitivities in my diet.  If nothing else, I overeat these things like nobody's business (pizza, baguettes with butter, pasta, cheeseburgers) so even if it doesn't help that damn rash on my leg (it has been there for a year and ten topical creams now), I may lighten up a bit.

I guess I wasn't feeling challenged enough by my Healthival festivities, so as I was reading through my latest email from Oprah I found myself clicking on a link to Dr. Oz's "28-Day-Plan to renew your body, mind, and soul."  (I never do this.  I never read Dr. Oz.  I typically am turned off by the popularity, simplicity and mob mentality that he and Oprah incite.  I know, so what am I doing getting her emails then?  Anyway, back to the topic at hand.)

Ok, Dr. Oz, you're on.  After professing my love for the average American during a post-Bingo stupor, I owe it to myself to tune into what those ladies might very well be watching, or buying into as far as their health and happiness are concerned.  Out of the 28 ideas he shared, I settled on 18 of them.  The ones I exclude involved using a scale (which I do not own) or taking supplements (which I do not do), among other things not in my repertoire.

Here is my list of Dr. Oz suggestions that I am willing to take on:

  1. Drink green tea.  I can do this.  My goal is one cup/day.  If I get more in, good for me!  I think I actually have a few boxes of green tea just sitting in my china closet.
  2. Eat Dark Chocolate  Um, OK.  No problem there, Oz.  Just gotta find one that doesn't have sugar.  
  3. Eat Heart Healthy  He says to include wild salmon, tomatoes, garlic and lima beans in your diet.  Done and done.  Salmon once a week (even though I don't really like it except when my friend Keith makes it, and he lives in Baltimore), I already eat tons of tomatoes and garlic, and just add in lima beans.  Simple.
  4. Forgive Someone  Wow.  Dr. Oz is going deep, yo.  He says "studies show that forgiveness can lower blood pressure and heart rate and reduce depression, anxiety, and anger."  I'll buy that.  
  5. Memorize a Poem  Done.  That was a good month, and I am always thankful that Amy picked it.  I think I'll commit another little poem to memory this month too.  
  6. Have More Sex  Really, Oz?  You're going to go there?  
  7. Write Every Bite  I do like to do this for a number of days when I am trying out a new eating plan.  I keeps me accountable and dedicated to my intention.  
  8. 30 Minutes of Walking a Day  I walk to and from school every weekday, which ends up being about 40 minutes.  It's the weekends I need to pay attention to.
  9. Get More Sleep  This I have been doing.  I have been having a cup of Nighty Night tea before bed, reading a good book, and sleeping like a baby.
  10. Meditate  Does it count if your husband does it instead of you?
  11. Don't Graze at Night  Ok, during the week, I'll do this, but on the weekend I will be likely to have some popcorn with nutritional yeast during a family movie.  (I guess this one goes without saying that I won't be following his "Don't eat popcorn" rule.   But I do pop own!)
  12. Portion Size  Be mindful about the portion on your plate.  I could totally be better about this one.  
  13. Pack a Smarter Lunch  For me this means, thinking ahead.  And not, under any circumstances eating out at lunch. 
  14. Call an Old Friend  This made Dr. Oz's list so we could be mindful of the power of connection.  I can use a reminder in this category, it's even on my list of things about me on the blog. 
  15. Floss!  Enough said.  Dental health weighs on my mind like an elephant on a shih tzu.   
  16. Practice Saying No  This is hard, even though I don't want to admit it.  I am social, I feel bad if I let people down, and I like to be helpful and part of a community.  All of that lends itself to saying "yes" a lot.  I am not sure if I actually want to do this one.
  17. Stretch  This is one I can see me starting, and then letting it fade away.  Maybe I should keep it simple, like touching my toes in the morning.  
  18. Keep Healthy Snacks on Hand  I carried a small bag of pecans with me today.  Seems good enough.  But I always have this fear that the more I carry food with me, the more I will eat.  And then I'll still be out there with no snack, cause I ate everything 10 minutes after I left my house.  
There you have it.  I am not declaring that I am sticking to ALL of these suggestions, because I know how that not follow through with something I say I will do.  (Run a Mile Everyday?  Writing month?  Salsa dancing?)  But I am saying that I will be conscious of these intentions, and I wouldn't mind a few reminders here and there. (hint hint)

To Healthival!!

Lottery update

By Amy baranski

Playing the lottery feels totally hopeless, like Robin Williams hopeless in Goodwill Hunting. Like Matt Damon hopeless in general. And every time I lose I hear a little voice say: "It's not your fault." At first I grin cockeyed and say, "I know." Then the voice repeats, "It's not your fault." This goes on-and-on until I'm weeping into the voice's arms.

That's a total lie.

In this post I'm including a picture of two losing lotto tickets.

On January 15, 2012 one of the world's biggest lottery games will become bigger and better, so says the Washington Lottery website. The site goes on to say that the largest jackpot to date was won by eight workers from a Nebraska meatpacking plant. The sum was $365 million.

The changes to the jackpot that begin on January 15 will include a jackpot that starts at $40 million this is up from $20 million. The second prize will increase to $1 million this is up from $200,000. The odds are in proving as four Powerball balls will be removed, the Powerball pool drops from 39 to 35. The player can still choose the first five numbers from 1-59.

Powerball has nine winning ball combinations the more numbers that match the numbers drawn the more you win. Let's play Powerball!

220th Street Bingo

By Amy Baranski

This past weekend I ended up at 220th Street Bingo for the first time. It reminded me of grade school. That's where I learned how to gamble. Bingo was the weekly fundraiser at Holy Redeemer. Every Wednesday night the cafeteria would fill with blue hairs cigarette smoke and the smell of that sweetly sick nacho cheese flavor from the concessions stand. Every now and then my parents would volunteer to work the concessions. I'd dispense soda. There was usually a priest present.

This was bingo prior to the machines, or small computers, that are used at 220th Street Bingo, in addition to the paper and daubers. 

If you're looking for a breath free of pretentiousness in Seattle, head to 220th Street Bingo and take me with you. It's not flashy, and it's not trying to be anything. It's full of regular folks, mostly women, but some men, who are content to let the hours roll by with the chance of winning. Well, there's a bit more strategy to it than that, but I find myself only mildly interested in understanding the odds. It's the the passing of time and hopefull clingy-ness to luck that I enjoy. 

Of course, when we got to the bingo hall, I was nervous. I suppose that's natural as an outsider. But Melissa and I made friends quickly. The woman sitting to my left was sitting directly across from her twin who was wearing a sweatshirt that read "Leavenworth." There wasn't too much time to chit chat about the where-are-you-froms or the I-grew-up-heres. There were sequences and protocols to learn--a new language really.

Bingo, as I  previously thought of it, was simply winning five in a row: horizontal, vertical, or diagonal. I had heard of black-out bingo--that's getting every number on your card. But teeter-totter, hardway bingo, crazy chair, crazy kite--with or without broken tail, chevron, double chevron, diamond, and little man were all new to me. Fortunately, there's a cheat sheet to which these patterns refer.

Another interesting component to bingo is that some of the games proceed directly from other games. This means that you start playing one game to achieve a specific pattern. Once someone yells bingo the bingo is verified and that game ends, but you keep using the same card for the next round.

I didn't win anything, and really I only came close once. But here are some things I picked up:

Don't call out bingo until the last number is called. Seems obvious. But this is important because you will see the next number on the screen before the caller calls it. So you're often playing one number ahead of the caller. But, you must hear the caller call the winning number before you say bingo, otherwise it's invalid. Also, it's your responsibility to make sure the caller hears or sees you say bingo.

Yell bingo. I asked one of the gentleman selling extra games if people really yell bingo. He says to me "what would you them yell, 'what the fuck?'"

It's okay to have a bingo troll. Bingo players believe in luck. This manifests itself in the changing of different dauber colors for different games, or having the same dauber for 30 years, placing little totems around your game board, or even turning your game board into an altar--as we saw one woman, referred to as Big Mama, do with several stacks of coins gingerly placed around wallet sized photos of her children or nieces and nephews. Big Mama was big and Big Mama won.

Play the extras: There are add-on games to play in between the regular bingo games. Apparently the odds are better with the extras, because less people tend to play. One of our extras was speed blackout. This was especially satisfying because table talk is prohibited and the caller calls the numbers fast without the arduously long pauses during regular games.

Tell people when you're "on". I could feel excitement build during the game when murmuring would start across the table or behind us. People would say "I'll be on with B39" and that message would reverberate down the line--perhaps with bingo teams playing together. What they mean is that when B39 is called they only need one more play to win. Being "on" in bingo is analogous to being on base in scoring position in baseball. 

That's about all I remember at this point, but I'd really like to go back. Anybody with a car interested?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Catch The... Bingo Bug

Our initial view of the Bingo Hall

posted by Melissa Baumgart
We went to BINGO!!!  And I loved it.  We drove up to Mountlake Terrace and took exit #179 off Interstate 5 headed north from Seattle.  After stopping to cash in my scratch-offs and PowerBall ticket at a convenience market, we headed to the Bingo Hall.  I think I speak for both of us when I say, we were extremely nervous and intimidated.  Everyone there looked seasoned, serious and prepared.

There were women with intricately designed Good Luck tokens of pictures and money like an alter on the table before them.  (This particular women won at least twice.)  I saw other tokens like a small plastic giraffe,  chocolate coins covered in gold tin, and a woman with an electric fan blowing on her.  Admittedly, the fan may not have been for luck.

Speed Blackout near win!
We headed to the counter and after admitting to this being our first time, and laughing at a requisite joke by the Bingo Hall staff, we "bought in" and purchased our own personal dobbers.  Mine was pink, Amy's green.  We decided on our table, one close to the caller.  I wanted to be sure to be seen when I called out my winning Bingo card.  A kindly young woman invited us to sit by her, so she could help us.  I was thankful, and felt a slight bit of calm wash over me.  We had been welcomed and accepted into the fold.

The welcoming woman said she had been playing Bingo for 15 years.  She didn't look a day over 30.

The games were not just straight -up Bingo.  There was "Little Man", "Kite with or without a Broken tail", "Chevron", "Hardway Chevron", "3 around 2 Corners"...and many more.  We asked for a cheat sheet with the designs displayed for each game.   Without that I would have been completely lost.

During one of the extra add-on games, "Speed Blackout", I was on.  That is what they call it when you only need one more spot to get the Bingo.  You could hear people through the hall at various times (usually way before I was even close to being on) calling out to their nearby peers, "I am on for B3" or something like that.  I was on for O70, and I was feeling the effects.  My heart was racing, my hands trembling.  The caller called out "O-Seventy.....One"  Crap!  So close!  It took me a good five to ten minutes to stop shaking from all the adrenaline I felt from my near win of $300.

Amy, deep in Bingo concentration.
I never did win.  But after spending only $10.00 for over two hours of fun, AND the possibility of winning big, all I want to do is go back to Bingo.  It's like when I was super into Bikram yoga (without all the sweating and calorie burning), it's all I wanted to do.  I have spent my last 24 hours scheming on how soon I can justify going back to Bingo.

I am reminded again, after attending the Bingo Hall, of how much I enjoy being around everyday Americans.  The crowd there was completely unpretentious.  I always feel comfortable in that kind of setting, and yet I find myself not attracted toward that lifestyle for my own life.  Oh, the humanity of us all.


Saturday, January 7, 2012


PowerBall without the PowerPlay
posted by Melissa Baumgart
Here's a lesson for you.  When you play Powerball, always play the power play.  Always.  It could mean the difference between winning only $3.00 and winning a whopping $12.00!  Yes, sadly this happened to me.  Imagine my dismay when I saw "Winner $12.00" on the screen when I checked my tickets online, only to see that I had not played the power play.  That's the last time that will happen.  Well, once I figure out how to actually play the power play on the machine I bought my tickets from.

I also entered more sweepstakes online.  I entered to win the same trip to Palm Springs that Amy did, as well as multiple shopping sprees and various little prizes like books and kitchen gadgets.  There's a sort of thrill for me at first, like I am throwing caution to the wind and doing the unthinkable...sending my info into the ether waves for all to find, anything could happen, don't people warn about doing this kind of thing?  It feels risky and promising, hopeful even.  I have these moments where I picture myself winning, holding or using the prize, walking around in my new dream home on Provo River in Utah, depositing a big check (yes, I picture the one that's actual size is bigger than my body) into my local credit union.

Then at some point all that imaginary fervor gets wiped away by obsessive key clacking and google searching.  Entering the same info over and over, I start to feel like a junkie, like some lonely person sitting in front of a computer screen all day, unkept and smelly.  Thankfully, given the fact that I have school at 8am every day, a family to take care of and more school to attend throughout the day, this is not my life.  But I do wonder if there are people out there doing this all day.  And what's more?  Do they win?

Does anyone win?  Is this some wild goose chase?  I mean you should see some of these sites loaded with lists of sweepstakes to enter, they do not look reputable.  If I can pass that judgement to an internet site, the way you would to a brick and mortar business.  I try to keep my entries to places I have heard of, or people I my good friends Oprah and Rachel Ray, HGTV, The Food Channel.

So, after a week of online sweepstakes and lottery play, I am heading into something more hands-on.  I am going to go and play Bingo!  I remember playing Bingo when I was younger, and for the life of me, I can't remember where.  But I am sure that in the Ohio Valley there is no shortage of Bingo games to be found.  I do remember in college, going home with a girlfriend to her family's home in WV, and her Mom took us to play Bingo.  At first, I thought it couldn't be more lame...a weekend night spent in a Bingo hall with all these old ladies?  I was used to clubs and dancing, looking for guys to hook-up with.  Wasn't going to happen here.  But I did win some nominal amount that felt larger than life at the time.  And I ended up having a great night, despite my judgements going in.

Also, Healthival is still going strong.  I feel great.  Walking is good medicine, quiet and filled with thought.  I like to take note of what I choose to think about, and shift that pattern when necessary.  Driving doesn't offer that same opportunity, too many distractions and things to pay attention to outside of yourself.  I don't miss wheat, dairy or sugar.  But after a harrowing day with the Worker Retraining office at my school, I did kinda miss the alcohol, and on a Friday night.

Coupons are a challenge.  As I mentioned before, they tend to be for processed foods, of which I try to avoid as much as possible.  I am still working on how to save money on whole, healthy foods, and will keep you updated as to how that unfolds.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Winner x 2

posted by Melissa Baumgart
I found an old scratch-off ticket in my back pocket this morning.  Yes, after, I found my purse right where I had left it.  (Perhaps I am lucky afterall)  The ticket turned out to be a $4.00 winner!  So, I hoofed it over to the local "Everything Store" up the street to cash in for my prize.

Then what?  Buy more tickets, of course.  This month is awesome, I have an excuse to play the lottery!

Turns out the two scratch-offs I bought were both winners as well.  One for $1.00 and one for $5.00.  I hope I am as lucky with the $1.00 left that I spent on the PowerBall.  And don't tell, but I got an extra lottery ticket, a Hit 5 ticket.  Both drawings are tonight, and you'll hear either way.

Here's to hoping I win more to pay for the textbooks I have to buy.  What the hell happened since I was in my undergrad?  Did books really cost $150.00 - $250.00 each back in the 1990's?  I don't think so.  But then again, I went to the #1 party school back then (although I have found no such reference on the world wide web), so maybe I just don't remember.


So far so good, until now.

Study, study, study.
posted by Melissa Baumgart
January, thus far:

  • Started back to school!  Paid my own tuition. (Worker Retraining?  Really?  How can you be retrained without funding for classes when you are on unemployment?)  Classes will be difficult, but in a good way.  
  • Healthival is off to a good start!  No dairy, no wheat, no sugar, no alcohol and more exercise.  Walking to school has been the extent of the exercise for now, but it's a start.  This clearing of the body is going to make achieving my school goals a whole hell of a lot easier.  I could already feel its effects this morning walking to school; the sun was coming up and creating a pink wavy blanket across the sky, the air was somewhat warm, and I felt clear and content.  It was difficult to just be there in that moment and savor it, not wanting to make sure I create this every day, to wonder if colder and drearier weather would take that contentment away.  To just be there - I think I accomplished that for about 30 seconds, a small but potent gift.
  • Sweepstakes entering has begun!  Yesterday I set up a new email account with the name "melissabwins" in hopes to magnetize the winnings.  I entered several contests trying to win various prizes:  a camera, a Kinect system, a $200.00 gift card, a Roku and free year of Pandora, a Bobby Flay cookbook, a Honda CRV plus free gas for a year, the HGTV Dream Home in Utah, a GMC truck, and a $250,000 shopping spree.
  • I saved money grocery shopping yesterday!  I spent a total of $61.90 and saved 20% off the original total of $77.39 and at the other store I spent $35.39 and saved $12.76, a total savings of 27%!!! (the receipt told me)  I used my 10% member coupon at the local co-op, my QFC advantage card and  coupons.  And I made sure to buy things I use, I hear using coupons can catch you in a trap of spending money on things you normally wouldn't buy in the first place, just to use the coupon.
  • The bad news:  I just went to get into my wallet to check my lottery ticket from yesterday and realized I left my purse in my classroom this morning!  Crap!  Gotta run back to school now.  Please tell me there is a silver lining in this...
Save, save, save!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Entering sweepstakes

By Amy Baranski

Yesterday during our photo shoot for this month's theme: sweepstakes I bought several scratch-off tickets.

I played them all this morning and didn't win anything. What is that substance that you scratch off anyway?

I also entered two contests online. The first is a getaway to Palm Springs. I'll never win but I'm still going there. The second was a contest to win a número fuzzy logic rice cooker. I doubt I'll win that one either. So I might just have to buy a rice cooker.

So far sweepstakes month has me in the whole a few hundred dollars.

Monday, January 2, 2012

It can't be wrong, when it feels so right

posted by Melissa Baumgart
As Amy addressed earlier today, we are changing yet another month for Good Luck With That!
She claims to be unapologetic, but I defer to some apologies.  There is just this part of me that really wants to stick with the original list.  Like a challenge set forth, it needs to be followed through to the end (even if it is bitter) to see what unknown fruits are to be gained.  And then, there is the more realistic and logical part of me.  That part sees movie making as a plan for failure; doing something completely new while also taking 15 credits of difficult classes.

Alas, I have come over to Amy's side and decided that it can't really be that wrong to change, when it feels so right.

We are switching to "Sweepstakes Month!"

I see it as a chance to save some money through frugal shopping, perhaps winning some money through using coupons and sharing that experience's highs and lows.  It may also be a chance to win some money through contest, lottery and bingo.  I remember watching a movie set back in the 50's where the Mom stayed at home and entered contests to bring home money for the family.  You never know, maybe I'll find my luck afterall (recall poker month)!  One things for sure, I am setting up a new email account for all the spam I'll be sure to get.  An account that I can delete as soon as February hits.

So far I am down $10.00 on the scratch-off tickets I bought today.  And I am holding a $1.00 Lotto ticket for a drawing tonight.  The good thing is that both rows of numbers start with 09, my lucky number!

Feel free to send along your ideas on saving money and winning money, and of course, send along any scratch-offs too.  I love playing those!  And you can bet, if I win big, I'll be filming that.  SO you may get your movie after all.

Good Luck!

From Carnival to Healthival!

At the Rock Box 12/30
posted by Melissa Baumgart
During a family movie night watching Rio, which takes place in Rio De Janeiro during Carnival, I realized that I have been living quite the Carnival lifestyle.  What with karaoke and the Holidays, life has been one big party.  Somewhere between the main character, Blue, preferring a flightless life as a pet and his triumphant last ditch attempt to save his love, Jewel, by spreading his wings and finally taking flight a new inspiration took me over.  Healthival!

Healthival is like Carnival for the mind, body and spirit.  Whereas the Carnival mentality can make it a bit easier to sing karaoke in front of a bar full of people (like I did on Friday night at the Rock Box) the Healthival mentality can get you totally jazzed about cutting out wheat, dairy and sugar!  And in the same way the Carnival lifestyle can get a fun New Year's Eve party rolling, the Healthival lifestyle get you pumped up to get in some exercise everyday.

My pendulum swings pretty far, from one extreme to another.  I used to judge myself for this, but in 2012, I am going to hang on to that pendulum and enjoy the ride.  Maybe if I don't fight the momentum I might end up in a new and amazing place.

And like Amy, 2012 is also bringing with it a theme for me this year.  The idea is "behind the scenes maintenance", which I have to admit is not very exciting.  But nonetheless, it must happen.  I heard the voice of the innermost knowing part of myself and this is what I need, like it or not.  It involves things like getting my teeth taken care of (we have not had insurance forever, and my own dental care is something that constantly gets pushed to the back burner, unfortunately), getting the car a check-up and changing filters and belts and such, and taking care of my body and mind as cited by the Healthival paragraphs.  All things that culminate in a delayed gratification, or perhaps gratification that never actualizes, but offers some sense of security and self-reliance.

As I reach 40 this year, I can feel my body needing more care and attention.  My strong constitution is yielding a bit, and maybe it is due to age, or maybe it is due to me taking it for granted for so long.  Either way, I have some physical squawks (nothing major, don't worry) that are getting louder and diet and exercise with a little herbal support is what I believe is the best way to take care of myself.  As an added bonus, I hope to also get back into shape and feel good about my body by my birthday in September.

I am also starting back to school again!  Finally.  I took it all into my own hands and figured out a payment plan, switched a couple classes to another campus and made it happen.  I'll find out at the end of this month if I get into the nurse midwifery program, but even if I do not, I'll finish out this quarter and decide then what my next step will be.
The Baumgarts, New Year's Day 2012

Delayed gratification, behind the scenes maintenance and Healthival!  Here's to 2102!
And for real, Wish me luck with this!