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Blogging The Recession

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Aug 17, 2008 in Local Community

Is anyone else out there being hit hard by the recession?  Or am I the only one counting each and every penny we spend, hoping that this month we’re able to rob from Peter to pay Paul once again?

Kristen at Motherhood Uncensored (and I DO mean uncensored!) has decided to start a ‘blog the recession’ movement to help out those bloggers that get paid by their advertisers per hit.  I WISH I had advertisers…but I’d like to pass the word along anyway.

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I was just reading through Kristen’s blog and I have to say that I love it – she’s saying the things all moms feel but aren’t quite so comfortable saying out loud.  Or posting online.  But God bless you, Kristen, for doing it anyway…and making me laugh.

So back to the recession…

The Torrence family is – as of the beginning of August – now on a VERY strict and painfully-detailed budget with a plan to pay off all those nasty bills that keep coming (and coming, and coming…) in 5 years.  Gulp…that sounds like a long time, doesn’t it?  But if we had just used this plan 5 years ago, we wouldn’t be where we are now – gotta start somewhere.

Our credit cards are gone.  It’s only cash from here on out.  And there’s not much of it, I’m afraid.  So there’s not going to be much ‘back-to-school’ shopping going on over here.  Here’s hoping the kids fit into most of their clothes from last year.  Stop growing, darn you all! (Kristen would have said it MUCH better than that!)

So help out some fellow bloggers and click through some links from her site…every little bit helps…

 
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Home At Last!

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Aug 17, 2008 in Today's Photo, Uncategorized

Remind me NEVER to take a red-eye back from Alaska again!  The problem is that almost every flight back from Anchorage turns into a red-eye at some point because of the long distance and time difference. 

I have come to the realization that I am just not capable of sleeping on an airplane.  I was lucky enough to get upgraded to first class for my long leg from Anchorage to Chicago, but I still couldn’t sleep no matter what I tried.  It might have been the man snoring loudly next to me…or the fact that I was in the first row right behind the kitchen where the light stayed on all night and the flight attendants were buzzing around the entire flight…or the severe turbulence that we were in for what seemed like about an hour somewhere over Canada.  By the way, United Airlines has a cool new feature for control freaks like me – you can plug in your headphones and listen to communications between the plane and the air traffic controllers.  I listened in during the turbulence and got to hear all the details.

I certainly did appreciate the first class service – free drinks, a lovely fruit and cheese plate, a hot towel, a warm blanket…I just wish it also included a big fluffy pillow and most importantly, a bed where I could lay flat.

I really wish that I had also been upgraded to first class for the second leg…I ended up sitting in a row with an extremely odiferous older gentleman in the window seat.  Not only did he possess a certain odor about him, but he kept repeatedly and loudly burping (without apology) an even more offensive scent.  After we reached our cruising altitude, I nudged the poor girl in the center seat and said, “You wanna make a run for it – there are some empty seats behind us?!?!” – and so we did.  But even 5 or 6 rows back, you couldn’t escape the smell – at least the burping noises were obscured by the sound of the engines.

After we landed in Philadelphia, I was so excited to see one of my bags on the luggage carousel that I actually cheered and jumped up and down (that would have really embarrassed Andrew if he were with me).  Unfortunately, my excitement was shortlived when after all of the other bags were sent out, my black bag was not among them… :(

I filed another missing bag report with the airline (I’m an old pro at it after this trip) and the man working the counter told me that O’Hare is notorious for losing bags and that he had filed 3 missing bag reports the previous day for people flying from ANC to PHL.  And as of this morning, they have still not located my suitcase.

So let this be a lesson – DO NOT fly United Airlines through Chicago…unless you plan on carrying on with you everything you need.

I was so out of sorts yesterday between my lack of sleep and the time difference – I got home at about 10am and forced myself to stay up until about 8pm – then I crashed HARD. I’m still not close to feeling back to normal this morning even after all that sleep.  I tend to get a little bit of motion sickness for the next day or so even after I landed (and all that turbulence didn’t help my case any).

But I did manage to unload my camera – I really didn’t take many photos because I spent most of my time either working or shopping for clothes to replace those in my lost luggage (I guess I can’t do that for THIS missing bag since I’m home now, can I?).  But here’s a shot of the mountain view from the back door of Ray’s house (the man who hosted the dinner):

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And a picture of all of us on his back deck:

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Poor Ray is trying to poke his head into the picture through my bushy hair at the upper right of the photo!  You’ll also notice a pair of hands at the left of the photo.  That is our project manager from Washington DC, Barbara – she said that she was uncomfortable having her photo on the web, so at her request, I cropped her out of the picture.  But from left to right, that’s Jeff (from the Tech Center), Norman (also from DC), Larry (Tech Center), Ed. T (from Anchorage), David (from Fairbanks), me, part of our host Ray’s face and Mark (from DC).

Here’s another less flattering photo of the group taken inside (Barbara was conveniently on the side again, so she’s cropped again):

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That our host Ray on the upper right – thanks for a great time, Ray!  And also a huge thanks to Ray’s lovely wife Barbara – she did a wonderful job!

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