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Spring Projects!

It’s one of my favorite times of year. I love when things start to grow again and everything comes back to life. I love the extra hours of sunlight and being able to be outside comfortably in jeans and a t-shirt or light sweatshirt. I just love it. I feel like I am more active simply because it’s still light out and it’s nice enough to just go for a walk or go to the beach and hang out. Sunday, I took my daughter to the park and she only wanted to sit and draw for an hour. I asked her if she wanted to go on the swings or down the slide and she was perfectly content just hanging out and drawing. She even let me help with the sky and sun in one picture.
Spring and fall are my most favorite times of year. Summer is nice but it can get almost to hot sometimes. Winter is nice sometimes too. I especially love when it snows and the silence that falls with it. I do enjoy all 4 seasons but when spring comes around it makes me feel more alive. I can’t wait to get outside and clean up the yard and try to plant a few things. I think our rose bushes are still alive from last year in the front of the house.
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This year I want to try to plant some tomatoes and peppers outside. When we first moved into our house I tried to plant some stuff and it didn’t come out well. I had one tomato that I was watching and I could even taste how good it was going to be. One morning I was drinking coffee and I looked out the back window and watched a squirrel enjoying my tomato. He didn’t even eat the whole thing either! Little punk. This year I want to buy one of these: Best Choice Products 46x22x30in Raised Wood Planter Garden Bed Box Stand for Backyard, Patio – Natural  and see if I can grow some lettuce. I also want to grow peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes. We also need to reseed some of the backyard.
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This year we plan on fencing in the backyard so we can just let the dogs out and also so we can prevent the other animals in the neighborhood from pooping all over our lawn. There is already half a fence from our neighbors so we will follow the chain link they used and finish closing in our backyard.That will be our big outside project. I am thinking about adding a white picket fence in the front yard too.
I am thinking something like this: (**** this is not my house, just an idea of what I think would look good in from of my house)
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What about you? Any projects for the spring? What do you plant?
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Cooking and Eating – Two on my favorite things

When I was young I loooooved to bake. Muffins, cupcakes, cakes. I used to make my mom take me to the library so I could take out recipe books. I remember taking a Japanese cooking class in elementary school and I fell in love with trying new things.
I worked in restaurants right up until I was pregnant with my son and then I decided that I needed a career change with better hours so I went back to school,  finished my associates and switched to office management and then medical billing. I do miss the restaurant, just not the hours.
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When I was pregnant with my daughter, my in laws gave me a kitchen aide mixer for my birthday. Bright Red. I love that thing.
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I made breads every week and cookies every weekend. I tried and failed my first from scratch cake… I think it would have worked out but we were going to a friends house for dinner and I did not time the cooling part so my icing melted and the top layer slide off. It was not pretty, but it was edible.
Then I had my daughter and sort of put bread making on the side while I got used to 2 kids. I am starting to get back into it but I need to focus more on healthy because my husband and I need to lose about 20 lbs. Okay, 30 really.
I love to cook. I love the internet for looking for new recipes, you can find pretty much anything you look for. And pretty authentic recipes too. So far I have made Jamaican, Indian, Greek, Italian, Polish, Czech, Peruvian, Mexican, Thai, American southern, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and that’s really all I can think of right now. There is really nothing that I won’t try. I am totally open to new things. I am slowly working my way through the library.
This year I will be focused on healthier eating and I will be posting the good things on here. So follow this blog already because I promise there will be some interesting things.
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I cook Easter, a big family reunion in the summer and Thanksgiving for my entire family (and any friends they may bring) every year and it makes me so happy to have people I love get together and eat, relax, catch up and have fun.
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(Side note: Why  is it so hard to find a mixed race family BBQ picture? )
In the future, when my kids get older and I finally become a successful blogger and best selling author, and I have some time (ha ha) I would like to open up a free kitchen serving lunch Wednesday through Sunday. Just to have people come sit and eat. That is my ultimate dream. I know we will make it happen one day.
What’s your favorite thing to do? What’s your ultimate dream?

After I die

Have you ever thought about it? Like what you would like people to do with your remains? Assuming there are some. I know it’s kind of a morbid question. Let me explain.
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My father died unexpectedly last July leaving my mother and the rest of our immediate family to kind of navigate the entire what do you do after someone dies stuff… I guess there isn’t very much explanation needed, huh…
My father had said that he wanted to be cremated, so we did that. Since his body wasn’t in the best shape (he was gored by his bull on his farm) we opted to put together a bunch of pictures and have a empty Urn stand in for the funeral. We didn’t need to buy a casket or pay for any of the body prep/clean up since we weren’t doing an open casket. The entire funeral home bill was around $4,500.00.
My father and mother had moved away from our hometown so my dad could pursue his dream of running a farm. We decided that we would lay him to rest back in our hometown of Greenwich, CT. My great grandparents have a plot and there was space to add my fathers ashes for $720.00.
He was in the Navy so the Navy sent us a stone for wherever we choose to bury him. We bought a urn which now that everything is complete, I am not entirely sure we needed. Then there was a flag that the Navy sent as well, so we bought a flag case.
We had his funeral in Upstate New York, where the Farm is. My father was a retired firefighter for the town of Greenwich. We had a memorial about a month later in Greenwich, CT and the Fire Department showed up to give my dad a proper fireman send off and held a lunch at the firehouse afterwards. Everything worked out for the memorial. The firehouse did a salute as we drove by in the fire truck that my father drove when he worked for the town. It was really touching and more than I could have imagined.
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Being that Dad’s death was so unexpected, I am not quite sure how we got through it all. Honestly, it is all a blur now that I look back at it. The money isn’t important in all this but I mention it because it got my mom and I talking about after we die on the drive home from Boston this past Sunday.
My mother said that she was going to take out a life insurance policy for herself for $5-10,000 to help us with the costs after she dies. My initial response was to say “Mom, let’s not talk about that right now.”  Instead I thought that it was probably not a terrible idea to talk about it.  So we did.
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We spoke about her wishes to be cremated and where she would prefer to be buried. I assumed it was with my dad and she said she didn’t know if that was possible but that there are plots where her mother and father are buried too. I told her that I was looking into more life insurance for my husband and I as well.
That’s kind of where we left it for now. But I at least know the basics of what she would like and I think that is really important because there is so much that is thrown at you when you are taking care of everything after someone you love dies. There are a lot of questions and everything is kind of foggy so it’s nice to at least have a little bit of insight into what the person actually wants.
I think these conversations are important and as I get older I realize that it should be something that should be discussed and I am glad that my mom and I had the discussion.
I plan on talking to my husband a little more about it this week just because I think it is an important thing to talk about.
I always said “I don’t care what you do with me after I die.. Just throw me wherever!” after going through the entire process with my father, I think it’s much better to have a little bit of a road map because there is so much information and questions and everyone is still trying to just get through a day.
Have you had conversations like this before with loved ones?

Excerpt from Growing…Chapter 6

Chapter 6: Career changes
We had our son Sam and then 2 1/2 years later we had our Daughter Isabel. When Sam was 4 and Isabel 1 1/2 , we bought our first house. In those 4 years a lot happen. Including some of the toughest parts of our marriage to date.
We moved to Stamford when Sam was a few months old. He was such a cute little pork chop. He 9 now, but he is still my baby boy. When we moved we were so happy. We had a really nice condo apartment in a nice area of Stamford. Our landlord was getting married so he was moving out of his condo and in with his new Wife cause she had a house in Norwalk.
She was the one who met us to show us the apartment. She was so nice and happy and cooing over Sam and The fact that we had a pit bull was no problem. Up until that point we had found many places we liked but if you mention a Pit Bull they say no way. Nacho is a part of our family, there is no way we were leaving him behind.
We found this place in Stamford. For the first two years we are so happy. I find out I am expecting right around the time that my landlord finds out that she is expecting too. She tells us about this great new job she has selling insurance. She’s making so much money. She’s selling it to all the other doctors that work with her husband so it’s so easy and if Ray came to work with her then they could be a team and they could both make all this money. She came to our apartment and sat at our table while I made dinner and convinced Ray to take all the tests to be able to sell insurance. He was working at a hospital in New York and he was not happy so this would give him a chance to be closer to home and work whatever hours he wants. He’s intrigued. I say no. I am not a sales person. You tell me you don’t need something and I will tell you you are probably right. By the time our landlord leaves Ray has decided he is going to look into this.
Meanwhile my job at the Chiropractors  office is going terrible. They are terrible people and they are terribly mean to me.  I have anxiety attacks thinking about going to work. We have this client Angela. She really likes me and she said that she is an office manager at a OBGYN in Stamford and she wants to hire me to do side work, like if someone calls out, I can come fill in. I am pregnant and she doesn’t care. she hires me and I work there when I am not working at the Chiropractors office. This helps because sometimes I don’t get paid on time from the Chiropractors. Whoops they say, I thought I called Paychex.
Then everything happens at once. I have Isabel on December 9th. I don’t have maternity leave but they give me 10 hours pay a week out of the kindness of their hearts. I usually worked around 28 hours. After 2 weeks home with Isabel I start going back to work with her when the office is closed so that I can process their billing and post the payments. I bring Bel with me and breast feed her while I work. They pay me for the 10 hours I work. At the end of December Ray’s job at the hospital lets him go. They no longer need that job anymore. Ray calls our landlord and tells them that he was let go of his job. Oh don’t worry they say, take your time and pay us what you can. Ray tells the woman landlord that he has finished all his tests and he’s ready to sell insurance. She says okay, she’ll be there to help him. She has her baby. Ray has no one to help him.
The thing with Insurance sales is you have this “warm” market which consists of your friends and family. Initially you can make money selling insurance to these people. But when your warm market goes cold, you have to really be a good sales person to keep going. Ray tried, he really did. And he made a little bit. What followed those few months were terrible. My job was awful. The bosses just got worse and worse and were treating me terrible. They didn’t pay on time. We had no income from Ray’s side. We pulled the kids from daycare to stay with Ray and when I wasn’t working he would go out to network and stand at the train stations and call up every doctor he ever met at his old job to see if they needed anything. We did events and I would call everyone who showed interest. But usually they weren’t interested anymore.
The landlords were wondering when we would be paying the back rent that we owed. It was a bad situation. The lady landlord that promised to help Ray disappeared and let her husband command the rent. I thought for months that we were always on the verge of being kicked out. It was terrible.
I had panic attacks about how I was going to buy groceries with $100.00 a week for 4 people. We had $30.00 each a week for gas. I was so stressed my breast milk dried up and I couldn’t breast feed anymore so I had to supplement with formula. I’m telling you, I would never ever wish that on anyone. We didn’t qualify for any help from the state. I made to much money they said.
In May I decided that I could not take the Chiropractors anymore and I called my part time job and begged for anything full time. I loved the billing part of my job and it turned out that they just had a billing position open at Norwalk hospital. There were so many people who wanted it but Angela pushed my resume in their hands and said that I was already on the payroll and she recommended me and that they should at least “try me out” for a couple weeks and then make a decision. They said yes, they would try me out. I quit my job at the chiropractors that day with 2 weeks notice.
If I thought I was treated badly before I was really wrong. It got so much worse after that. The husband Chiropractor wouldn’t even talk or look to me anymore. And the Wife would yell at me when she talked to me. Finally that Friday after I gave notice when I didn’t get paid I waited in the dark. When she got there, I said I wasn’t going to work until I got paid. She said “what are you going to do, sue me? I should sue you for destroying my practice!” I said”I can call the labor department and tell them you are not paying your employees.” She told me to get out or she would call the cops.
Man, it felt good to walk out of there. I did finally end up getting paid the following week. I did open an investigation on them, but since they paid me there was nothing to be done.
To be honest, I knew that they were running the practice into the ground. I told them we needed new clients and the deals they made with people were just wrong. They spent all the money on all their hobbies and then there was no money left to pay the employees. Then I would get yelled at to make money appear. I knew every file in that place without even looking at it, what the persons insurance was and how much they covered for each visit. I can honestly say that I walked away with a clear conscious.
I heard after I left they talked very badly about me. They hired their old receptionist back. The one who left before me and they were so happy. A year later their amazing receptionist was charged with forging prescriptions to herself and they fired her.
The following week I started at the hospital and 2 weeks later I accepted a full time position as a Medical Biller. Pay was a little less but I had more hours and no stress.
At some point Ray was like fuck insurance. He gave it a go, but it wasn’t going to happen. He started to focus on his computer skills. He changed his resume to highlight that and started sending it out. In August he accepted a full time position as help desk IT at a place in Greenwich. The starting pay was enough to bring us current with everything.
We caught up on rent in September. I remember giving the husband landlord the final back rent check and he said “my wife stopped selling insurance too.” I closed the door before I could yell at him.  Even though we were always on time with rent after that day it was never the same.
We were able to buy our first house a few years after this. but I will always remember how tough it was and how my husband and I worked through it together.
As for me the Hospital Position was great and gave me a great opportunity to learn so many things. Then there was a merge and all of our positions were being moved up to Danbury which is a 45 minute drive each way. Our positions didn’t exist anymore and most of us weren’t qualified for a lateral move. That job also became very stressful because I was promoted to a supervisor position which I think was just because everyone in those positions were leaving. My boss was fired and a new person who was contracted came in to prepare us for the merge. We were given job descriptions of jobs that we could apply for and nothing was guaranteed.  It’s terrible going to work and not feeling like it’s secure. I also was upset because my children were young (5 and 2 1/2) and in school in Norwalk. Ray was working in Greenwich and with traffic, that’s an hour drive each way as well. Someone had to be close to them. I started reapply for new jobs in Norwalk and luckily I found one in Norwalk at a great non-profit doing billing and I am close to my kids.
I intend to go back to school and I am still figuring that all out. Ray has moved jobs from Greenwich to Norwalk into a more senior position and  it’s really nice to finally all be in the same town.
Buy my book! Half the proceeds will be donated!
Growing

PCOS and me

PCOS is  Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS may have infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods or excess male hormone (androgen) levels. The ovaries may develop numerous small collections of fluid (follicles) and fail to regularly release eggs.
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I have it. I’ve had irregular periods all my life.  I had to take birth control to regulate them. I have IBS and hashimotos thyroid disease also. My thyroid is still functioning fine so I’m okay they say. I’m just fat cause I love food. Especially bread, cheese and wine. I can lose weight by starving, really it’s that hard for me. My doctor gave me a prescription for metformin to help my body regulate blood sugar. I’m not diabetic but this drug apparently might help my lose weight cause of the PCOS. I took it for 1 1/2 weeks and then stopped. I can’t understand taking a drug to help my body regulate insulin if I don’t actually need a drug to help my body regulate insulin. If I needed it, I would take it. But just to lose some weight? I don’t know. I just didn’t feel right so I just stopped taking it. I would maybe try it again if there was enough out there that proved that the medication really did help. As of right now everything I found had said there is no real proof that Metformin will help with weight loss in women with PCOS.
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Growing up, I took birth control to regulate my period. So I felt normal. But then I got married and I was like let’s try this whole baby thing. I doubt anything will happen because I was pretty sure I couldn’t have kids,  but lets try. And then I had my son. I got depo shot after I had him and I didn’t get my period for almost a year. And I gained 30 lbs. the weight gain had nothing to do with the shot they said. They gave me pills to make me get my period. It didn’t work. They gave me another round.  It still didn’t work. At that point my husband and I hadn’t  had sex in 3 months. One thing lead to the next, what could possibly happen? Then I had my daughter.
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I decided I didn’t want to be on birth control anymore. My husband volunteered to get snipped cause it’s easier than if I got my tubes tied.  So he did. I went off birth control. Only to have a lot of doctors tell me I actually needed it. Fuck. So I’m rolling with it. But now I sort of want to have another baby like a dummy. I’m not having another baby.
I actually didn’t enjoy being pregnant. It’s really hard for me to share my body. Even if I’m growing a human. My body felt like it wasn’t mine and I was weird. I love my kids and I would never change the experience of having them, but I was very happy to have my body back.
I was diagnosed with all these things last year. I was told how amazing it was that I was able to have any kids. I am very proud of them. I guess it was good that I didn’t know all these things before we tried because I think I would have stressed myself out.
What are some symptoms? From https://www.webmd.com/women/symptoms-of-pcos

Things You Might Notice

If you have things such as oily skin, missed periods, or trouble losing weight, you may think those issues are just a normal part of your life. But those frustrations could actually be signs that you have polycystic ovary (or ovarian) syndrome, also known as PCOS.
The condition has many symptoms, and you may not have all of them. It’s pretty common for it to take women a while — even years — to find out they have this condition.
 
You might be most bothered by some of the PCOS symptoms that other people can notice. These include:
  • Hair growth in unwanted areas. Your doctor may call this “hirsutism” (pronounced HUR-soo-tiz-uhm). You might have unwanted hair growing in places such as on your face or chin, breasts, stomach, or thumbs and toes.
  • Hair loss. Women with PCOS might see thinning hair on their head, which could worsen in middle age.
  • Weight problems. About half of women with PCOS struggle with weight gain or have a hard time losing weight.
  • Acne or oily skin. Because of hormone changes related to PCOS, you might develop pimples and oily skin. (You can have these skin problemswithout PCOS, of course).
  • Problems sleeping, feeling tired all the time. You could have trouble falling asleep. Or you might have a disorder known as sleep apnea. This means that even when you do sleep, you do not feel well-rested after you wake up.
  • Headaches. This is because of hormone changes with PCOS.
  • Trouble getting pregnant. PCOS is one of the leading causes of infertility.
  • Period problems. You could have irregular periods. Or you might not have a period for several months. Or you might have very heavy bleeding during your period.

About me

I know I have a great story somewhere. I know it. I lived a good story so far. I’m sure that’s something. I know I have a good story. It’s somewhere. I know it.
I have been blogging seriously on the side for 4 months now and really trying to grow this time. I am trying to become a real author eventually.  To date I sold 2 books. One to the librarian and one to someone else. The someone else gave me such positive feedback and I was so happy. Then he messaged me like “No one will ever buy your book. My market is to small. My writing is good but needs to be focused on a sell able genre.” So, thank you for the review?
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I want to write what I know. And I know what I have lived. So I write that. There has to be a market for that, right?  Maybe I’ll sell some. That’s my dream, but for now I am just trying to grow and audience. So thank you for stopping by and I hope that you stay!
My real name is Jessica. I live in Connecticut in the US. I am feeling like no one is going to buy my damn books no matter what price I charge. I write about me and my experience. It’s the only thing I know 100%. But no one will find that interesting if I am not already famous said the guy that I don’t know that did buy one book. So I am trying to figure out my next move. Do I try to write a fiction book and see if that will help me? Do I keep the books I have and continue to promote them? Can I promote books and not have to actually interact with anyone? I’m really terrible at public speaking. I’m terrified actually.
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The thing is I really am not interesting at all. I go to work. I go home. I take care of my people. I am not that interesting. I use to always joke about how my life could be a soap opera. And it really could have 20 years ago, which is why I wrote the books I have.  But really, my life is not a soap opera, not anymore. I mean, maybe some of it.
I have a 4th grade  teacher who’s a bully to my son, I’m trying to figure that out. My daughter is crazy silly and funny. My husband is amazing. I am just trying to move forward in life. I am working on trying to have multiple revenue streams that will one day just pour into my account. Well,that’s a dream of mine, so that’s what I am working on. I guess I better get super interesting quick, huh?
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I am just trying to figure out what my next moves are and I hope that you all will follow with me while I figure out my next career. Thank you for taking the time to read!
What are you currently working on?

Public speaking and me

I am terrible at public speaking. I just can’t. I get all red. I talk super fast. I can’t breath. I put off speech class until my absolute last class that I had to take to get my Associates. Luckily, I was 7 months pregnant when taking the class and then I felt like if people laughed at the bright red, trying not to faint, pregnant girl, then they were just assholes. My first speech was a how to speech. I decided to do “How to fold a flag” That was a terrible idea because everyone could see how shaky I was! Then I discovered the PowerPoint presentation and that helped a lot so people could focus on pretty pictures and not me. I passed the class.
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I have a severe problem speaking in front of people. Even in meetings at work I don’t speak unless spoken to and even then I get nervous.  Even when I know what I am talking about. It’s usually about 3 years in that I feel like I can actually speak for a few minutes and not turn weird colors.
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I made a deal with my best friend that if my books ever do sell that she would have to go on the interviews because I would mess up my words and then be mad at myself for the rest of eternity.
How are you with public speaking? Are you are weird and awkward as me? Or are you like my husband and best friend who can get up in front of people and talk about anything and people just like them and listen and laugh. I’ll leave the public speaking to them.

Isabel’s post

It was fundraiser night for the kindergarten so we went to dinner to support them. Then I came home and was trying to think of my next post. I have a few started but I need to add more. My daughter said that she was going to help me write my blog tonight. So tonight I’m doing a guest blog by her.
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Isabel’s blog:
I’m going to talk about me. I’m 7 and my name is Isabel. I like dogs. I believe in unicorns.
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I like my friends and family. My favorite thing to do is art and go to school. I like music. I like to sing and dance. I like to write a lot, like my mommy.
This is my book. I have to illustrate it still:
Growing In Color by [Acosta, Jessica, Acosta, Isabel]
I think unicorns are real and not mythical. I love my dad and my mom and everyone in my family and some other people, I guess. I have a lot of friends. My family is kind to me. My favorite holiday is Easter and Christmas and Thanksgiving. My favorite toy is art supplies and calico critters. My favorite store is target. My favorite food is apples and bananas and Mac and cheese. My favorite drink is milk and water.
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I like to go on vacation. I collect pennies. I love to read.
Thanks for reading my blog! Have a nice weekend.

Boston Family Trip Planning

I am planning a trip to Boston in the next few weeks. We are taking my Mom and Sister and Niece with us. I have booked the Hotel and we plan on driving up and then all getting around in my Honda Pilot.
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So far the only thing I really have planned is to eat at Quincy market because that is what my mom has asked for. I am thinking about buying the Boston Go cards because it’s one price and you get access to a bunch of stuff. I don’t like to create itinerary’s because I get stressed when we are late for things so I like to have an idea of what there is to do and then kind of go with the flow.
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I am planning on The Aquarium and the Trolley sightseeing tour. I think the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of fine arts sound really cool. The Museum of Science sounds interesting too. Then there is the Skywalk Observatory and the Fenway Park Tour that my mom might be interested in.
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Anyone from Boston? What are things that you need to do? We are only there for 2 nights, 3 days and I want to pack in as much as possible. I heard there is another Market in the Bay Back area, so I think we are going to stop there on the way home.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World Our Family Review

Sam: It was a good movie. He liked it
Isabel: it was a great movie and I loved all of the dragons. It was pretty cool. My favorite dragon is Toothless. I liked that they saved the day. And they got married. It was funny.  It was sad when they let the dragons go. Toothless got a wife. I liked the battle. When they ate, it made me hungry.
Ramon: I liked it. I liked how they developed the characters, the world, actually went somewhere with the story. Not sure about the warlords. They were kind of there but the story wasn’t about them. I liked the flashbacks with his father.
Me: I liked it. It was very  entertaining even if you don’t follow the story to closely. Which I don’t. I liked the animation. It was really pretty to watch and then story kept me entertained.
The lady that worked there said that her 16 year old son loved it and thought it was a good conclusion to the movies. My niece who’s 13 thought the same thing. She has been watching and reading the Dragon books forever.
We all recommend going to see it. It’s worth going to the movies to see!
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