Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A personal note to 2008:




(2009 don't let me down!)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

You grew up in the 80s in Phoenix if you...

1) Would have done anything for a Ladmo bag.
2) Tired to fry an egg on the sidewalk.
3) Can still remember the words to the hepatitis song.
4) Spent way too many summer days in a mall.
5) Remember KZZP.
6) Went ice skating at Metrocenter.
7) Get irritated when people say "yeah, but it's a dry heat."
8) Have red burnt cheeks in ever childhood picture.
9) Had a pool in your backyard.
10) Vacationed in San Diego or Rocky Point.
11) Know what it feel like to come out of an icy cold movie theater into 110 degree heat - I miss that feeling!
12) Saw your mom drive with potholders.
13) Know what "tubing" means.
14) Have been "ice blocking."
15) Have a T-shirt that says "I survived the hottest day in Phoenix history" referring to that summer day in 1990 when it got up to 122 degree in the shade.
16) Consider yourself a "Zonie."
17) Ever put Christmas lights on a cactus.
19) Burnt the bottom of your feet running out to get the mail because you were too lazy to put on shoes.
20) Know some Spanish even though you never studied it.
21) Won hot pink scrunchies at Metro Midway!
22) Enjoyed making song requests at Organ Stop Pizza.
23) Got in trouble for leaving crayons in the back seat of the car.
24) Are not intimidated by a Super Big Gulp.
25) Your heroes were Kevin Johnson (KJ), Mark West, and Tom Chambers.
26) Had to pay full replacement price for the rented VCR tape you left in your car.
27) Shopped at Goldwaters, Broadway Southwest, Federated or Diamonds.
28) Remember Dave Pratt the Morning Mayor on 98 KUPD.
29) Can count the number of times it snowed in Phoenix on one hand.
30) Stood in line to watch movies at the original Cine Capri.
31) Snow Cones and brain freezes made summer worthwhile.
32) Cried when Wallace and Ladmo went off the air
33) Went to Pistol Pete's pizza, ShowBiz pizza, and can recall Tex Critters at MetroCenter
34) Thought Streets of New York had the best pizza in Phoenix at 19th and Northern
35) Remember Gemco
36) Ate at Furr's Cafeteria
37) Shopped at Mervyn's
38) Saw your first concert at the Arizona State Fair
39) Remember the Madhouse Macdowell (Purple Palace)
40) Remember Suns Fever
41) Recall Thunder Dan
42) Mourned the loss of Cotton Fitzsimmons
43) Believed in the 100 year flood
44) Did the hokey pokey at Great Skate.
45) Cruised Central, Metro or Mill Avenue.
46) Worried about drive by shootings at school.
47) Remember only TWO freeways either the I-10 or I-17.
48) Remember who Rose Mofford or Evan Mecham is.
49) Know what Sonoyta Motors is.
50) Know what Price Club is (and when there was only 1).
51) Had Dimension Cable.
52) Know what the Phoenix Gazette is.
53) Went to Legend City or Compton Terrace.
54) Know what Yellow Front, Lucky's, Smittys, AJ Bayless, are.
55) Suffered with a swamp cooler.
56) Went boogie boarding on irrigation day.
57) Fished in the canal.
58) Went to the hot air balloon races at Thunderbird.
59) Thought 19th Ave and Cactus was in the boonies.
60) Speaking of the boonies - drank in the desert with the rest of your high school friends until the bright light of the helicopter came blaring down.
61) Were ever excited about your appearance on "Pets on Parade."
62) Suffered the consequences of leaving your sister's favorite vinyl record in the car.
63) Remember your parents voting (or not voting for) for the monorail.
64) Thought Big Surf was Rad!
65) Danced at Club Rio.
66) Remember Tex Earnhardt and his "No Bull commercials"
67) Attended a birthday party in a railroad car at the McDonald's on Bethany Home and 23rd Ave.
68) Remember the Dr. Demento show on KZZP every Sunday night.
69) Burned your hand trying to open your locker at school.
70) Locking your car doors as soon as you got south of Bethany Home.
71) Wished you lived in California.
72) Didn't believe that High schools actually had indoor halls and full size lockers like they do on TV.
73) Didn't go to the park until AFTER dark.
74) Sweatband were not just a fashion statement.
75) Your Hypercolor T-shirt was permanently a different color under your arms.
76) Knew not to shoot at a Saguaro because it could fall over on you and kill you.
77) Thought Flagstaff was REALLY cold.
78) Always saw at least 10 people you knew on Mission Beach (San Diego)
79) Knew who worked on Van Buren.
80) Remember when the Roadrunners were the only hockey game in town
81) Remember when Buckeye was BFE
82) Wore jellies in the summer even though you had really bad feet sweat.
83) Went to see Santa @ Westridge Mall (that was the best one with the whole set up).
84) Remember when Ahwatukee was a retirement community half way to Tucson.
85) Remember 50 cent movie Tuesdays at Valley West Mall
86) Have a scar on the back of your thighs from the 3rd degree burns sustained from the metal clip your seat belt clicked in to. No protection given from the OP short ,shorts.
87) Remember the orange trees planted all the way down the middle of Black Canyon Freeway (Now called I-17).
88) Ever get your butt and legs burned by metal slides at the Whataburger across from Metrocenter? (What sadist would put metal slides on a kids playground in Phoenix????!!)
89) Remember when Sun City wasn't connected to the rest of the valley?
90) Ever have brunch at Mother Tuckers?
91) Remember when it only took 2 hours to drive to Flagstaff
92) Going to slide rock in Sedona and hoping it wasn't closed due to high levels of bacteria in the water!
93) Remember when Terminal 2 was the only passenger terminal at Sky Harbor and you had to walk on the tarmac.
94) Got free tokens at the Valley West Mall arcade for good grades on your report card
95) Celebrated a birthday at Ed Debevick's
96) Thought Bobby McGee's was the coolest restaurant ever
97) Ever rode the "crack the whip" ride at Encanto Park.
98) Ever got attached by a jumping cactus
99) Know what to do when you hear a rattle in the desert.
100) Used to shop at LaBelles, eat lunch at Liberty Bell Pizza or get soda at the U-TOTEM on Cactus.
101) Remember the commercial about Valley Fever..."Dustyyyy, dustyyyy, dustyyyy"!
101) Remember when you could get 2 tacos and a small drink at Taco Bell for $2
102) Had hot air balloons land in your backyard when you lived on 75th Ave and Bell by the orange groves known now as "Arrowhead Mall"
103) Witnessed the shock when the "art" on the 51 when installed. (Referring to the lovely toilet and large silver sphere.)
104) Had the bell run for their birthday at Farrell's (Christown)
105) Remember going to the Phoenix Firebirds baseball games
106) Remember Dewey Hopper-the weather guy who always wore school t-shirts,
107) Watched World Beyond on Sat. mornings.
108) Ate at Bob's Big Boy.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

From me to you:

I won't have access to the Internet for the rest of the week, so I just wanted to say:


Monday, December 22, 2008

My Favorite Radio DJ

I am one of those people who enjoy listening to the radio in the mornings for the TALK portion of it, not necessarily the music portion of it

Every morning I have looked forward to Dave Pratt and his cronies on KMLE Country 108. They were funny, he's been in Arizona in forever (so he had great stories that I could relate to growing up here myself) and I just enjoyed him and his humor and everything about their morning show.

KMLE fired their entire morning show on Thursday (12/18) afternoon. Merry Christmas to them, huh?

I think the timing was pretty rotten and am severely disappointed in KMLE for their thoughtlessness. And I'm royally bummed that I don't have a morning crew to listen to any longer. I really and truly liked and thoroughly enjoyed these guys.

Dave Pratt, Stacey Brooks, Shappy, Dooley, et. al., you are awesome and I hope to find you on the air again soon.

In the meantime, any suggestions on who to listen to for my morning ride to work each day? KMLE has lost a long-time listener. Shame on them.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

To Billy or not to Billy:

If you know me at all, you know that I love, Love, LOVE Billy Joel.

(Love him.)

He's coming to Phoenix with Elton John on March 26, 2009, for their Face-To-Face tour. I saw this show in Las Vegas (with Thelissa and Holly) in 1995 and loved it. Watching them together on stage was incredible, especially when they were sitting at their pianos - man I LOVE the way they play their pianos. I do remember thinking there was too much Elton, not enough Billy, but I'm certain a lot of that was because I love Billy so much.

I've been in a quandary since I saw this ad. Tickets go on sale this Saturday the 13th. I've never missed a Billy concert since I "discovered" how much I loved him (late 80s, early 90s).

Getting out of debt doesn't really allow for non-important things such as concert tickets. I've been incredibly good at avoiding presents for myself for the most part, and find myself talking me out of things I would normally absolutely buy all in the name of "but I'm being so good."

Just today, several people have told me I should get a ticket for myself for Christmas. I deserved it and would truly enjoy/appreciate it. And I really would. Man, I REALLY would.

But I'm still in debt. I got myself into this mess because for my entire adult life, I've always had the attitude of, "But I deserve it because [insert excuse here]." I don't deserve it. Not this time.

Sigh. Bye bye Billy.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Black Friday Confession...

I bought...


You'd be so proud! I went shopping with all of my sisters and the only thing I bought was breakfast at Mimi's that morning. That's it. I even carried around a shirt I wanted to get and I asked my sister to tell me to not purchase it. She did. I put it back. No regrets (though it was a really cute shirt).

Can you believe it?!? I'm quite pleased if I do say so myself.

Now I gotta share with you some picture memories of Thanksgiving 2008:

(This is the first time I've seen my nephew Jackson [16] in a while. He gives the BEST hugs and I've really missed him.)

(I have the extreme privilege of living near Andrea and her family. She's always saying I'm her kids' second mom - which I absolutely love hearing. Because of this, I asked to get a picture with them and here it is. [Kymber is front and center, then from left to right is Porter, me, Taralee, and Ellie with Abby standing behind Ellie, then the back row is Bryndee and Torie.])

(Here are the original LaRues: Mom and Dad [Sharon and Allan], with from left to right Andrea [4th], Leslie [1st], Tara [3rd], Stacey [2nd], and Cassie [5th].)

(And finally the entire LaRue clan [minus oldest nephew James who lives in Virginia with his wife/child and couldn't make the trip, as well we Jake who is on a mission to the West Indies]: front row is Sydney; 2nd row is Torie and Raegan; 3rd row is Ellie, Jackson, Porter, Mom holding Taralee, Dad holding Max, Andrew, Tyler and Dylan; 4th row is Bryndee, Jonni, Abby, Kymber, Tara, Cassie, Kalli, and Travis; 5th row is Andrea, Ron, Leslie, Jason, Chad, Stacey, and Kirk.)

WHAT A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY! Happy Thanksgiving and now Christmas to you all!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The ugly, almost naked guy

I have a neighbor that works out in his yard, all day and night long, in only his underwear. Not sure why he thinks this is okay, but he does it and it brings all sorts of giggles and chuckling by anyone who either lives near him or has heard about him.

My friend/neighbor who has the privilege of living across the street from him got some pictures a while ago and posted them on her blog.

Take a look.

I'm all about saving money, so here's your free entertainment!

Needs vs. Wants

I've written in the past about need vs. want.

I just read a blog post by Seth Godin that I thoroughly enjoyed that brings that point to home a bit more. He writes for small businesses/entrepreneurs, but I think his words can be applied to all of us personally as well. Take a look: HUNGRY

Monday, November 17, 2008

A tip from me to you:

Are you one of those people who gets email after email about safety issues, ways to gas your car up properly, what to watch out for, etc.?

I get those kinds of emails ALL THE TIME. I usually don't read them (sorry if you are one of the ones that send me those kinds of things).

But I did end up reading one that gave suggestions on how to get better gas mileage for your car. For whatever reason, it "stuck" in my brain and the suggestions seemed good and made sense.

It says to fill your car up in the morning when it's still cool outside and to not put the "lock" on the highest setting - you know, the thing you set on the gas pump that makes it so you don't have to hold it the entire time. It tells you to put it on the slowest setting instead of the highest setting.

I tried this the other day and would you believe I got 75 more miles out of this tank of gas? Granted, because the gas pump was set on the slowest setting, it was REALLY slow (I was able to go into the convenience store, fill up a soda, wait in line to pay for it, pay for it, then walk back outside and it still wasn't finished) - but it didn't produce any vapors as a result and it filled my tank up completely. I have just a dumb little Ford sedan, so 75 miles is actually quite a bit more for this car.

Maybe the cars with bigger tanks will get even better gas mileage than I did if you try it. Let me know how it goes for you. Seriously - I wanna hear about it!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Book Recommendation

Anything by Shannon Hale is always great. I just read her book The Princess Academy and was completely satisfied with it.

Run to your library (don't buy it - save money and get it from the library) and check it out. It's fantastic!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Chad and Cassie on Rachael Ray

Most of you know my little sister spent some time on Rachael Ray as a guest tagged as the "Most embarrassing family in America!"

I don't know how to embed a video here (someone will have to show me some time), but here's the link to watch their segment. It's only about 5 minutes long but kinda fun to see them on National TV: Chad and Cassie on Rachael.

It's free entertainment, which is why I'm posting. I'm all about free everything these days.

Love to you all...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Don't forget to vote!

It's vitally important that each and every one of you vote. Please be sure to get out there and do it. The lines will be long and the wait will seem like forever, but it will be worth it (and next time consider the early mail-in ballot - it's awesome).

Make your votes COUNT!

Monday, October 27, 2008

To Bryndee, Porter, and Torie:

I am very sorry I swore in an earlier post. It highly offended you and for that I apologize. I will try to be better in the future.

Thank you for keeping me on the straight and narrow...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mesa High Jackrabbits, Class of 1988

Yesterday I went to a picnic that was part of the Mesa High School Class of 1988 reunion weekend. It consisted of many of my classmates and their families. THANK YOU to Wende and Mindy and any and everyone else who helped to make this happen.

It was a blast to see so many good, old friends: Mistie, Heidi, Kim, Darce, Sean, Nick, JoNeal, Doug, Kenny, Kristie, Nikki, Mindy, and Wende, just to name a few. I missed seeing Cindy, Alice, Cory, Brian, Liselle, Candace, Brad, Brooks, Dennis, Damon, Bill, Stacy, Rowan and many others who couldn't make it this go round. I hope to catch you at the next one, maybe even before!

What a wonderful day yesterday was. I'm so grateful to have gone to Mesa High, to be able to make such fantastic friends, and to be able to still stay in touch with so many of them today.

Obviously this has nothing to do with getting out of debt, but it does have to do with blessings and I feel this is a good place as any to list my blessings publicly. Mesa High Class of 1988 was definitely a blessing in my life!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Happy One-year Anniversary!

My roommate reminded me the other day that it was exactly a year ago that I started this getting-out-of-debt mission. As I looked at my first post she was right - I wrote it on October 29, 2007. She suggested I do a year update and I always try to do what Jennifer says (wink and smile goes here).

Anyway, it's a good idea so here goes:

I started out at over $50,000 in debt (to type that number still sends pangs in my stomach) last year. Here is where I am today:

Bank of America LOC (still really HATE them): $33,031.51
Mastercard: $1,988.07
Car loan: $6,343.67
Dental loan: $1,777.50


It hasn't gone down much, but as several of you have said it took a really long time to amass this amount of debt and OF COURSE it's going to take a long time to get out of it and I just need to be patient.

So my constant thoughts are, "Be patient Tara. Be patient. Be patient. BE PATIENT (dammit)!" If you know me at all, this is NOT a strong virtue of mine and swear words usually are associated with it.

Anyway, thanks to all of you for your constant kind words and thoughts and even prayers. This has been quite the year for me and my family and the support my family and I have felt from all of you has been completely amazing and beyond words.

Thank you. Off to year #2!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tender Mercies

Dad's surgery went really well today. They got 85% of the tumor (more than they thought they were going to get) and had to use only two units of blood (a lot less than what they thought they were going to have to use - I guess tumors use up a LOT of blood and with this tumor being over 11 centimeters long, well, you do the math). They plan on doing radiation in two weeks, chemotherapy in four weeks, and they get him using his hip tomorrow when they take him for a walk.

My sister Stacey said the doctor was rather pleased with the surgery and was very positive with the prognosis.

I'm so giddily relieved I don't know what to do with myself...

I am so grateful for tender mercies.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Another update:

Here is a quick update on what is going on with my dad and his cancer. Last week he had what is called a PET Scan and a Scope. The Scan is really the last test they can do on him to try and figure out what type of Cancer he has.

Yesterday (Monday) the doctors were able to show them the scan over the computer. It goes through his entire body, major organs and glands. The result of that was nothing that we don't already know. It is in his hip, lung and a few glands, but his Heart, Liver, Pancreas, Stomach and Kidneys all are clean and apparently they look great!

They still cannot figure out where the source of the cancer is. So right now his condition is labeled "Cancer of the Unknown Primary" which is only about 5% of all cancers - very rare.

They admit him today at the Huntsman Cancer Hospital to start his prep for his surgery on Wednesday. Today they are doing an Embolism which is where the doctors cut off all blood supply to his tumor in his hip (about a 2 1/2 hour procedure). Then on Wednesday he will be getting a full hip replacement and a removal of that yucky tumor. That procedure will be about 6 hours. Then he will have a recovery in the hospital anywhere from 5-10 days. His healing at home will be about 4 weeks.

After the 4 weeks then the doctors will discuss what type of Chemo he will be on. They only have two to choose from. They will try one type for about 2-3 months and then x-ray to see if the cancer is shrinking. If that doesn't work than they have one more to try.

We still have a long road of waiting. If you feel so inclined, please keep him in your prayers, especially on Wednesday.

Thanks everyone. My entire family and I have felt your prayers and are amazed at the love and kindness we've been shown. Love to you all...

Monday, October 13, 2008

I really can do it, right?

I am REALLY struggling. Seriously so. I am not seeing any progress and even though I recently got a raise, I feel like I'm as strapped as I've ever been.

Then I see this video and my will gets renewed:

She's really debt free!

15 months to get $30k out of debt. Hmm, methinks it might take a bit longer than than, but I really can do it, right?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Dad Update

Okay okay okay - time to update. Sorry - this has been so overwhelming and though we've gotten a lot of answers, more and more questions get generated, which has made me not want to post until I knew everything that's going on with my Dad. I've been asked to tell anyway, so here goes.

Dad had some major hip pain going on and while he was on his mission in NY, and he also got pneumonia. When they did a scan of his lungs to determine if it was pneumonia, they saw some spots on them. They told him to get them checked out when he got home.

He saw a doctor shortly after he got home from his mission and the doctor wanted to wait a few months and take another scan to contrast and compare.

Dad got another scan several weeks ago and it showed the spots were bigger, so he was then scheduled to get a lung biopsy. He got that and they determined it was cancer but it wasn’t lung cancer, that the cancer was being generated in another location

In the meantime, he got a bone scan on his hip to find out why it was so sore and there was an 11-centimeter cancer tumor on his pelvic bone. They then thought that was where the cancer was being generated from and decided to do a biopsy of that tumor to figure out a course of treatment.

The biopsy was done about a week or so ago and when Mom and Dad met with the doctor on Monday, he said Dad’s hip looks like termites got to it – that the cancer has eaten through his bone and joints and he has to have a full hip replacement, including his socket. This will take place on October 15.

BUT – they still don’t know where the cancer is being generated from, because the tissue samples they took showed it was being generated somewhere other than the hip, around the abdomen region.

He now has an appointment with a gut doctor on Monday to have a scope go down through his throat and see if they can’t find the source that way (they’ve already done an MRI on his abdomen and it came up clean).

Every time he has a doctor's appointment and we get an answer, another question gets generated – kind of like two steps forward three steps back. It’s incredibly frustrating.

Anyway, so many of you have told me you've prayed for both me and my dad/family and you've put his/our names on the temple roll and are keep him in your constant thoughts and prayers. Thank you thank you THANK YOU for that. It's these prayers that get me through the day.

We grow up thinking our parents are invincible, and even though as an adult I know that is not the case, I've still been caught completely unprepared to really deal with this. Knowing that there are people who don't know my dad at all yet are praying for him brings incredible strength.

Thank you.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Your Prayers Please.

I have been bound and determined to make this blog more about finances and less about my personal life and family (unless it had to do specifically with my finances).  But I have to do a post here because I need your prayers.  No, my dad needs your prayers.

As some of you know my parents returned home from their mission in New York in February of this year. Since they have been home my dad has had numerous health issues. A blood clot in his hip, constant coughing, and rapid weight loss just to name a few.

This past week his pulmonary doctor requested that he get a biopsy on his lungs to find out what was there. She had seen some unusual spots on his x-rays and wanted to check them out. After a biopsy of the lung (from what I understand this is an awful surgery) that kept him in the hospital for four days, the report is in and the spots are that horrible C-word: CANCER.

She said it isn't lung cancer but another form that is being generated from another source in his body.  Next week he will be undergoing some more x-rays as well as more testing to find the source of the cancer.  He's meeting with an oncologist from the Huntsman Institute - nothing but the best for my dad.

He is scared (incredibly brave but scared). I am scared (terrified is a better word).  My mom and sisters are scared. My dad has always been very healthy. He exercises, he eats right, he has never let anything "harmful" enter his body (except maybe an occasional deep fried chimichanga), and he has come from healthy stock. His mom just died earlier this year at the age of 96 and she was healthy. Her body just quit. His dad was 82 when he left us (went missing and was never found) and the only thing wrong with him was he was hard of hearing.

And he's my DAD.  He's the only male I grew up with and he managed to survive a house full of silly girls.

I HATE that he is going through this and I HATE that I can't be there to help (they live in Utah) and I HATE that it's him and not me going through this.  What I would do to take this from him...

My mom is so strong and is turning into quite the Nurse Nightingale. He has always taken care of my mom and his daughters and now it is her turn (and hopefully all of ours) to take care of him.

And now here is my plea:  Please pray for him.  Pray that he will be able to kick this cancer in the butt (excuse me) and that he will live to see his grandchildren get old and gray.  Or his one single daughter to get married (smile).  In other words at least 100 more years!

Either way, Allan LaRue needs to be here for many, many, MANY more years to come!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Once again, tagged.


Jennifer tagged me on her blog. I've been tagged before about something different, and recently I've decided to be better at blogging about what I actually started this blog for (getting out of debt - duh!). But it's Jennifer and, well, I just need to do it. So, although I could very easily come up with six random things about me (random is what I'm best at), I've decided to tweak the rules a little and give you six random things having to do with debt (lucky all of you).

1. Read Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover. It has changed my life (thanks Sam).

2. Avoid any and all expenses that has a monthly charge. These are what add up and they diminish (significantly) your spending cash. This includes Internet, cable, gym fees, water services, etc. Anything that, until you get out of debt completely, are not necessities, get ride of 'em.

3. Do NOT use Bank of America for anything. They are completely unreasonable.

4. Find a way to be accountable to someone or something. Don't do this alone. Get as much help and encouragement as you can get from those who love you.

5. Set up and stick to a budget. Seriously.

6. This pertains to #5 - know where every single penny of yours goes to, including Circle K sodas, eating out, etc. Mark it down and you'll know better where to cut expenses, even if it's only a dollar a day. Those dollars and cents add up quickly.

There you go. My six random getting-out-of-debt things. Those of you who play should do it differently, writing six random things about yourselves. I can't wait to see what you write!

Here are the rules:

1.Link the person who tagged you.
2.Post the rules on your blog.
3.Write 6 random things about yourself.
4.Tag 6 people at the end of your post and link to them.
5.Let the person know you tagged them on their blog.
6.Let the tagger know when you've posted.

I tag Deanna, Lori, Clint/Natalie, Shawna, Porter, and Tricia.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Christian/Stephanie Nielson

Many of you had probably heard about the horrible airplane accident that happened in St. Johns. I grew up two doors down from the Nielson family. I love this family and want to do anything and everything I can to help them out.

If you'd like to hear about the story, please go HERE to get the story and the updates.

This is why I have the donation button at the top of my blog. If you can, please help them out. Their medical bills will eventually land in the millions. Yeah. You read that right. MILLIONS.

Thanks for your kindness and consideration.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Funny Maxine for the weekend.

It's only funny because it's SO PAINFULLY TRUE...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I got this from a couple of my sister's blogs. I thought this would be fun. I hope you will play along. Here are the directions:

1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn't matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember!

2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It's actually pretty funny to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I'll assume you're playing the game and I'll come to your blog and leave one about you.

3. I'm adding one more: If I don't know you (and THANK YOU FOR COMING), please leave me a note saying hello and introducing yourself. I see visits from all over the country, including OUT of the country, and I'd love to know who's visiting my blog.

Here we go...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I'm going to get out of debt.

I have been feeling bad that I haven't contributed anything to my blog for a while, but as I'm going through my list of friends' blogs, I see many of them aren't either, so I'm chalking it up to being summertime and being busy with other things.

Time to get serious. This article has inspired me to get serious.

I have decided to get out of debt. I'm re-committing myself to this project and will be very serious about it.

It's funny. I recently got a decent raise and you know what some of the first things I thought of when I found out? "Ooh, now I can get such and such," and "Ooh, I can finally afford this and that" and "Ooh maybe I can take a weekend trip and fly to a beach somewhere," and STOP THE MADNESS!

I'm such a dork.

I have lost my focus. Completely and totally and it's time to find it again. With this raise, I can really start thinking seriously about a house now. But I've GOT to pay down my debt load in the meantime and I've GOT to have it be my number one priority.

And I've GOT to get rid of that stupid Bank of America 18.99% LOC.

That's actually my next project. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Your Typical Sunday School Lesson On Tithing

I have been debating on sharing this story with you just because I'm not proud of myself and my weaknesses and it's about a pretty private battle going on with me. But this whole blog is about being public with all of my financial decisions and battles and triumphs and this story falls right into that realm. For what it's worth, read on:

Because of my fabulous trip to San Francisco, I way Way WAY over did it on the spending. Because of this, I was short quite a lot to be able to pay my tithing on Sunday. I had the money in my savings, but not any in my checking. I did't want to tap into my precious savings account and figured I would just wait until my next payday and pay double tithing.

But I didn't feel good about that and figured Heavenly Father would bless me if I paid Him first. Please note I didn't come to this decision lightly.

Well then I woke up Sunday morning in a very grumpy mood. No idea why. But I did not want to get up and go to Church and I didn't want to see anyone and I just didn't want to do anything. Eventually, me being the good girl, I did get up to get ready to go (Church is at 8:00 a.m.) but was determined to take my time getting ready and if I was late, then I was late and SO WHAT! (Awful, I know - I don't know where my bad attitude came from!)

As planned, I was still getting ready when my roommate was ready to go to Church, so I sent her on her way and would meet up with her in a few minutes. At 7:58 a.m., I went out to my car and it was dead. It wouldn't turn over and it wouldn't even make a noise. Because I just replaced my battery last year, I was certain it was my alternator. It's four years old and it's a Ford and well, it just seemed like it might be time for that to go out. The lack of noise it made when I tried to turn it on seemed like it coincided with alternator issues I've had in the past with other cars.

Anyway, perfect opportunity to stay home since I couldn't reach Jennifer and of course everyone was already at Church. Well, almost everyone. All of a sudden, because I couldn't make it there, I felt an urgency to be there. I immediately thought I needed to call a neighbor friend of mine who happens to be a little late each week to Church. Luckily enough, he didn't disappoint and he was still home and was getting ready to leave. He very kindly picked me up and I made it in to Church about 10 minutes late.

The talks were all on Faith and things I really needed to hear. I also quickly turned in my tithing to ensure I didn't talk myself out of giving it (which I'm really good at doing - talking myself in and out of things I really shouldn't).

I came home from Church and went into my room and bawled my head off (not sure why again, just feeling really low) and prayed and apologized to Father for my attitude and bad mood/feelings. I felt better and the day went on as a nice, slow, easy-going day.

Monday evening my brother-in-law came over (thanks Ron) to check out my car. When I tried to turn it on, it made a clicking noise that's indicative of a bad battery. It didn't make that noise the day before and Ron was able to diagnose right away that it was a bad battery. He gave my car a jump and we drove over to Checker Auto to talk about the battery that was only a year old that was bad.

Last summer, my battery died on June 23, which was just over a year from when I took my car back this past Monday. They honored their year-long guarantee (even though it was over a year) and gave me a new battery for free!

What I thought was going to be a $300-400 job ended up costing me the gas to get to Checker Auto. That's it.

I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that because I paid my tithing, as painful as it was, I was blessed. I'm certain it was the alternator on Sunday and only the battery on Monday.

What a great lesson in humility and faith, eh?

San Fran Pictures

As I said in an earlier post, this method of travel was my favorite. This is Ginger, Maddie, and myself on our way home (well hotel) from our seminar on the first day. It was simply beautiful outside and I loved having the wind in my face - I felt/looked like a dog the entire time! (smile)

This is me, Maddie (middle) and Debbie on our first day there. We are at Pier 39 (on Fisherman's Wharf) and were getting blown away (almost literally) by the wind gusts. It's was gorgeous.

One of our bosses insisted on sending us to tour Alcatraz on Monday night, which was one of the coolest things ever to see and hear (thanks Marc!). This is Debbie, me, Alyssa, Ginger, and Maddie (the whole group) after the tour was over. We (well everyone but me) are all in coats and jackets because the drive over and back on the boat to the island was cold. It was great - I loved having my cheeks pink from that fresh, cold air. Again, just call me your local dog loving that wind in my face!

And last but not least, this is me with a couple of monkeys in Chinatown. What a cool bench, huh? You've got Mr. Speak No Evil, Ms. Shopping Is Evil, Mr. See No Evil, and Mr. Hear No Evil. That was a great/exhausting/expensive day.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaack......

I got back late last night. I had a total ball and I'm in love with being outdoors. I couldn't get enough of the weather and just wanting to be outside all the time. What a concept - wanting to be outside in July.

I think we must have walked hundreds of miles while we were there. I wouldn't have it any other way.

My favorite method of transportation (besides walking) were the trolley cars. Awesome way to go from Point A to Point B - especially when it's work-related.

Least favorite were the F-line cars. Blech. A thousand people trying to cram into a skinny bus. Just completely gross.

I took some pictures, but I borrowed a friend's camera (thanks Shawna) and need her help in getting them uploaded to my computer. They will be coming later.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I spent WAY too much money (could NOT resist Pier 39 and Chinatown).

I had a blast - a total and complete blast - but I'm happy to be home.

Happy July everyone!

Thursday, July 3, 2008


I am OFF to San Francisco bright and early tomorrow morning. Tomorrow night, I get to view this:

My friends and I are going on a cruise around the harbor to watch the fireworks tomorrow night. How cool will it be to see them over the water? Frankly, I'm a little excited about this.

We get to play until Sunday night, then starting Monday morning, we are there for a 3-day intense seminar. My company is sending all five of the executive assistants in our office. This is why a couple of us decided to go early, especially with it being a holiday weekend before the seminar. It worked out perfectly and the personal cost will be minimal (hotel and food only for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday).

I haven't been to San Francisco in years - not since I was a kid (yeah, at least 100 years ago) so I feel like I'll be experiencing it really for the first time.

Like I said earlier, I CANNOT WAIT.

In the meantime, I'd like to wish you all a happy and safe Independence Day!

Great (and cheap) Mexican Food

My roomie Jennifer and I went to a new Mexican food restaurant last night. It's called Los 7 Compadres and it's at 2795 S Market Street. It's in the shopping center just west of Circuit City, Ulta, Old Navy, etc. It's right next to Quiznos. (Nearest crossroads are San Tan [Greenfield] and Williams Field.)

The price was great (I had a bean/cheese burrito for $2.78), the food was great, and the service was great. It's family owned and operated and I want for it to stay in business and do really well. So next time you NEED good Mexican food (and don't we all really NEED good Mexican food?), check it out. AND let me know what you think...

Here's a link to a review Jen found on it:

Monday, June 30, 2008

Splurge and Savings

I have two favorite items. One has been a favorite for a while, and one I just discovered recently.

The one that's been around for a while is not cheap. It's a splurge item that I still insist on getting because it makes me eat my salad.

Oh mylanta, this is stuff is delicious. So far I've only been able to find it at AJs Market (I believe they only exist here in Arizona) and it's $6.00 a bottle. But seriously folks, it's the BEST. DRESSING. EVER.

I made a salad last night that consisted of spinach and strawberries and candied nuts. I poured a little of this dressing in a bowl and added poppy seeds and about a teaspoon of dried onions. It was simply marvy. Seriously. Oh. So. GOOD!

Like I said, it's a splurge, but one you won't regret and will find you'll need always. And again, it gets me to eat my veggies.


Now, talk about random, but the one that's a new discovery is a cheap alternative to pedicures. (Okay, so what's wrong with doing a single blog post about salad dressing and pedicures?)

I am going to San Francisco later this week and am in dire and desperate need of a pedicure (seriously GROSS FEET!). I didn't want to spend the money on one, but was considering it because though logically you would think, "Just give yourself one," physically I'm a pedicure moron. I won't explain, just know I have problems (if you know me, that's a given anyway - HA!).

I then remembered my cousin then my sister and eventually my roommate talking about this little contraption - The PedEgg. I purchased one on Saturday for $9.99 (the cheapest pedicure is $25) and proceeded to make my feet look and feel like a baby's bottom. Oh. So. Wonderful.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Ellie Bellie!

You're THREE years old today and what a fun character you are! I love you sweetie...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I don't get tagged all that often, so when I do, I feel I need to respond. Please bear with me (and thanks muchly Jen H.). I've been "TAGGED" and must now share 3 joys of mine, 3 fears, 3 goals, 3 obsessions/collections, & 3 random or surprising facts. Then I tag 5 more people at the end. Here I go:


1. I actually have 19 joys - James, Jonni, Jake, Jackson, Travis, Dylan, Bryndee, Porter, Torie, Kymber, Abby, Ellie, Taralee, Raegan, Kalli, Tyler, Sydney, Andrew, and Max. These are my nieces and nephews and nothing and no one makes me happier than these critters. I thank Heavenly Father every night for them.

2. Music - I love music. I love the way it makes me feel, I love hearing it and making it and never tire of it. There's not a lot of music out there that I don't enjoy, and if I don't enjoy it, then I probably don't really count it as music anyway.

3. Family togetherness - I LOVE it when my entire family makes an effort to get together. I love the chaos that it always brings and I love the sense of stability I get when I am with my family. Granted when we are all together, there's a good chance a lot of JOY isn't around (we have a tendenancy to be a little hot headed at times - shocker, I know), but if I had my druthers, we would all live near each other and be more in each others' lives on a regular basis.


1. Losing any member of my family to death. I can't even think about it without tearing up. I pray I won't have to deal with this for a very long time.

2. Creepy crawly things, especially spiders. I am so afraid that they are going to land on me or crawl on me or even jump up on me. It's an irrational fear, but it's very real and I HATE them!

3. Having the bottom fall out in my life before I get to pay off all of my debt. Seriously - with the economy the way it is right now, it's a very real fear, one that's always in the back of my mind.


1. Get completely out of debt.
2. Establish some savings.
3. Purchase a house.


1. Shoes - it doesn't matter how fat or thin or pretty or ugly you are, if you got cute shoes - ALL IS WELL!

2. "Lost" - based on recent posts, need I say more?

3. The Cooking Channel - I don't cook. It's just me, myself, and I and it's too messy to cook for just one, not to mention I'm not a huge fan of eating my own cooked meal (weird, I know). But I LOVE the Food Network and some of their regulars on there: Rachael Ray, Giada DeLaurentis, Ina Garten, Tyler Florence, Paula Deen just to name a few. My sisters absolutely LOVE it when I tell them how to do something when I see they're not doing it the way the experts on TV do it (sarcasm really doesn't come over well in the written word).


1. I lettered in high school
2. I can stick my entire fist in my mouth (SO not proud of this one...)
3. I type 118 WPM with 0 errors (great free testing site:

TAGS: I tag Melanie, Bryndee, Brenda Whiz, Cousin Kristen, and Tricia! Love you all...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I love old friends...

A few posts ago, I mentioned that my childhood home burned down.

My old friend from that neighborhood did a tribute to our home on a recent blog post. Her memories of our house sparked many more of my own and I appreciate you Allyson for your kind words and thoughts.

Take a look: Tribute

Lost Season 3

I don't really know what to say here to tie Lost Season 3 in with my getting out of debt. All I know is I am hooked. Hook. Line. And Sinker!

That's it.

Lovely People

In my quest to get out of debt, I have met or have been reacquainted or have strengthened friendships because of how I'm being so public about this very private issue.

Melinda is a girl that I met through my roommate a couple of years or so ago. She's a cool, awesome girl who makes and sells fabulous jewelry (I own several pieces of hers that I've purchased throughout the years - all with cash thankyouverymuch). I recently was reacquainted with her through another friend of mine who had a vendor fair in her home, where Melinda had a booth.

Melinda found out about my blog through my roommate and has been reading it off and on for a while. When I saw her a few weeks ago, she mentioned it, mentioned how happy for me she was for what I was doing, and wanted to reward me.

I couldn't believe she wanted to reward such bad decisions, but she said she was rewarding the good decisions of conquering the bad. She then let me choose a favorite piece of jewelry that was on display and I immediately went to this:

The moment I walked in the door, this was the first piece I saw and fell in love with (if you know me at all, green is my all time favorite color, and this particular shade of green is probably tops of all the shades). I don't know what the stone is, but it's awfully cool and it has turned into my favorite piece of jewelry that I own.

Thank you Melinda. This was not an easy gift for me to accept as I don't feel I deserve anything until all this debt is paid off completely by me. Thank you for your thoughtfulness, kindness, and especially for your talent and your willingness to share it with others!

She doesn't know I'm doing this, but I wanted to give her a plug. Please visit Melinda's website and see for yourself: - you will love anything you get from her!

A Cheaper Alternative

One of my all time favorite things to eat are desserts (as you can obviously tell by my svelte figure). My all time favorite dessert is a chocolate croissant. I don't get them very often because, well, they're really fattening not to mention it's an extra cost that I don't need to spend (though that doesn't stop me from getting them every once in a while [smile]).

I recently read in a magazine about a cheaper alternative to chocolate croissants. You get the Pilsbury crescent rolls and add chocolate chips to them before you roll them up and bake them. It sounded intriguing to me so I tried it last night (the picture above is a "real" chocolate croissant - the picture below is my attempt at the alternative).


The buttery goodness of those rolls were so divine with the chocolate in the middle. It's a perfect blend of savory and sweet, but not too sweet (I prefer semi-sweet chocolate over milk chocolate - dark chocolate would be even better but I didn't have dark chocolate chips).

Not to mention for about the cost of one chocolate croissant from the bakery, I was able to make eight of them. Much smaller and of course the quality is not near as good, but still, a great, cheaper alternative.

Happy Birthday Sydney and Kalli!

Sydney Rae Kerby, you are a whopping SIX years old today! Have fun riding the horses tonight. I love you!

Kalli LaRue Kerby, you turned NINE on Saturday and I wish I could have been there to celebrate your birthday with you. I love you sweetie!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad!

(My dad with Max, Andrew, and Tyler Kerby - they all LOVE their Grandpa!)

You're 67 years young today. I sure do love you!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Not related to finances in any way...

I grew up in two homes - one in west Mesa from the age of 0 to 15, and the 2nd one in east Mesa from the age of 16 to whenever I moved out as an adult.

I drove by the first one yesterday and found this:

Apparently it burned down just Saturday morning (today is Tuesday) and they're not sure why. It was sad to see my childhood home in such a mess (and so incredibly ugly too - it was MUCH cuter when we lived there - thanks Mom and Dad for keeping our homes so nice).

Anyway, I keep looking at this picture, remembering where certain rooms were, where my piano sat, where the kitchen window was located - totally going down amnesia lane. Lots of good memories were made there and I guess in the end, that's all we really need anyway.


As of today, my debt totals are:

Bank of America (stupid bank): $33,784.39
Mastercard: $2,235.91
GE Care Credit (for my dental stuff): $2,168.50
AZFCU (car): $7,175.33

GRAND TOTAL: $45,364.13

The last time I did an update in February (four month ago), the number was almost exactly the same. This is very discouraging. I know I had to add the dental stuff on there, and I KNOW that the 18.99% is killing me for the BofA loan (which I'm eventually going to put on a couple of low interest rate cards), so I shouldn't get too discouraged because I have a plan, right?

Blech. I'm tired of plans. I just want to get me out of this mess!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

What I've Learned From "Lost" (Season 2) So Far...

I'm really struggling with this one. I LOVED Season 2. A lot more than Season 1 actually. It was a lot more intense, crazy story lines, strange characters introduced, and on and on and on.

But seriously - POLAR BEARS?

Anyway, finding a debt message out of this season has proven interesting to say the least.

Okay - here goes. A lot of this season was about faith. Faith in ourselves, faith in the island (??), faith in each other. My faith in getting out of debt is strong. My will, on the other hand, not so much. I'm constantly working on that.

But I have faith. Actually, I HAVE to have faith to keep going. This has been one of the most exhilarating and hardest things I've ever EVER had to do and though my will many times seems very weak, my faith has always remained strong.

I know I'm doing the right thing and that this is absolutely the best thing for me. I seriously can't wait to be done with it all and move on to other goals. This has helped me realize I CAN make a goal and work to achieve it. I've never been very good at that and have actually never been a fan of making goals to begin with. I always thought that all they are are promises to yourself that you can make or break if you wanted. Why do something that I could easily fail at, since I am NOT a fan of failure or even the option of failing.

Anyway, a whole other topic there.

It's all about faith.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Happy Birthday James!

Today is my oldest nephew's birthday. He's 24 years old, he's a husband and daddy and I sure love him a lot.

Happy birthday James Allan Julian! Love you bud.

What I've Learned From "Lost" So Far...

Okay, in order to justify my watching "Lost" every waking moment is I have to glean something from it and apply it to my debt struggle.

This may be stretching but...

In the first season (which I finished last night), one of the characters talks about a caterpillar that turns into a moth. Not a butterfly but a moth. He said the butterflies are much prettier than the moths, but the moths' cocoon's are tougher and made out of silk and are harder to break out of.

He said he could very easily help that moth along by widening the hold in the cocoon, which would ease the moth's struggle of getting out. But our lives are made for struggles like this so we can be stronger in the end.

That's how I feel about this whole getting-out-of-debt process. I just want it to be over and done with NOW. But I need to struggle with it and chip it away little by little so I can be stronger in the end and will never find myself in this situation again.

I'm struggling and chipping away at this debt and even though this lesson totally does work for me and applies to me, I would still be completely okay if it was done with NOW (smile).

In a perfect world - maybe. As we all very well know, this isn't a perfect world and I absolutely do not live a perfect life. So here's to struggling a lot and getting stronger every day!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Stupid Bank of America

I'm so frustrated I could scream. I did a little when I was alone in my car yesterday.

As you all know, I have a line of credit with Bank of America. It's my biggest form of debt with the highest percentage rate (18.99%). Because of this, even though I've been paying on it for about a year now, It's only gone down about $1,500 (I pay $730 a month - zoiks, I know). This percentage rate is killing me and my plan.

So about once a month, I call Bank of America to see if they're willing to lower my percentage rate. Yesterday was the first time they patched me through to someone else besides the initial person who answers the phone. This was encouraging since it was the first time they've done this.

The person I spoke with asked me what I wanted - I told her I wanted and needed a lower interest rate to be able to pay off this loan more quickly. She asked me if I was planning on using any more of the money from it. I told her no. She then asked permission to pull my credit report. Okay. She did and came back stating my debt ratio was too high and therefore they couldn't grant me the smaller percentage rate.

How does this make any sense?!?

I told her my debt ratio is large because of the single LOC I have with them. My other two forms of debt are rather small amounts and this large amount remains large because of the huge interest rate. I told her I've never been late on a payment, in fact pay extra and have an impeccable history with them. Her response: "I'm sorry ma'am, your debt ratio is too high." That's all she said and wouldn't give any other answers. I hung up on her. I probably shouldn't have I know - but they're just STUPID.

I was livid yesterday, and as I type this, I'm getting angrier by the second.

Stupid Bank of America.

I will call again and ask for a manager or supervisor.

I HATE this stuff...

Monday, June 2, 2008

Happy Birthday Torie!

Happy birthday to my darling, sweet, kind, hard-working, generous, beautiful niece Torie. This picture was taken yesterday and I appreciate her willingness to be a poser with her Aunt Tara.
Love you sweetie!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Happy Birthday to... oldest (and SHE thinks wisest) sister Leslie. You're 45 today. My goodness, how am I related to someone so old?!? (smiley face here) Love you sistah dear!

PS: Happy birthday to you too Ronaldo (my bro-in-law)!

Cheap Entertainment

Today is Saturday. My chores day. And guess what I'm NOT doing? CHORES.

I sit near a bunch of boys at work that are the TV show "Lost" fanatics. It's all they talk about. I live with a roommate who is also a "Lost" fanatic. I work with an executive who couldn't believe I've never seen the show "Lost" and asked me what kind of ridiculous shows DO I watch if not "Lost."

Hmm, maybe they're all trying to tell me something?

I went to my local public library yesterday and guess what I found? The first three seasons of "Lost" on DVD that I could check out. I've avoided this show for the past four years - why in the world should or would I start on it now?

Because it's summer and I will be here in town alone for most of it, and heck, why not jump on the bandwagon?

So instead of chores and weekly grocery shopping and even getting dressed or showered for that matter, I'm sitting on the couch, completely enthralled in "Lost." Totally addicted already.

But heck, it's free entertainment and I aint spending any money. How's that for justification? (Mom, you would be so proud!)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I Am Pocahontas

You Are Pocahantas

Free-spirited and wise. You have a strong passionate spirit that touches and changes all who know you. The wisdom and common sense that you have is really what guides you through life. Even so, you also have a very playful side that loves adventure and excitement.

Which Disney Princess Are You?

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Great Dave Ramsey

I love this guy. Everything he teaches and talks about is purely common sense. This month's newsletter has him talking about how to pay for the gasoline that is so expensive.

Dave's Thoughts on Gas Prices (click here if you want to read his stuff online)

Gasoline has gone up 26% since this time last year. SHOCKER! Since most of us are used to daily commutes, running the kids here and there for their various activities, and visiting friends and family, this price increase is affecting us. The Consumer Price Index figures say this is the number one thing that's gone up in our household budgets this year — and it's only May!

"But there's nothing I can do," some say. I say, "Oh, yes there is!"

It's time to revisit the budget.

When I tell people this, some tell me they've crunched their budgets as much as they can. Then I ask, "How much is your car payment? ... How much is your monthly cable or satellite bill? ... Is the Starbucks drive-thru a regular stop on your morning commute?"

I hate to break it to you, but new cars, cable, and Starbucks are luxuries, NOT necessities! You can easily survive with a used (and paid-for!) car, no cable reality shows, and coffee made at home. Just think of all that money you could use to pay off debt and put toward your gasoline money for the month if you did just those 3 things!

Earlier this month, an algebra teacher in Michigan sent me a great email that I read on the radio show. She wrote:

Dave, I often give my math students this calculation to figure out. A typical latte costs $3.59 for 16 oz. That's 22 cents per ounce or $28.72 a gallon! Ask your listeners if they've drank a gallon of latte lately!

HOLY COW! If that doesn't put things into perspective, I don't know what will!

First Things First: You must remember there IS a difference between needs and wants in life. The first things at the top of your budget should be your needs: shelter, food, transportation, clothing, and utilities. If you currently go to the movie theatre every weekend or have a Hawaiian vacation at the top of your list when you struggle to pay the electric bill, your priorities are out of wack. Don't sacrifice your needs to finance your wants. If you do, it will catch up with you and you'll regret it.

Plan Ahead: You can also strategically plan ahead when running errands and commuting to work. If you go to the grocery store twice a week, reorganize your list so you only have to go once a week. If you have a lot of errands to run, plan your route ahead of time so you're not retracing your steps around town. You could also organize a carpool with some of your coworkers who live near you.

June will be here before you know it, so go have a Budget Committee Meeting right now to see where you can free up some more money — because every little bit adds up when gas is $4 a gallon!

I remember complaining when it cost me $16 to fill my little Honda Civic. I filled my Ford Focus up this morning for $43 and some change. ZOIKS.

Anyway, the purpose of this post is just to pass along Dave's common sense. He mentions eliminating vacations if money is too tight. I have a mini-vacation coming up in July. No, it's not necessary, but the opportunity is there and because I know about it ahead of time, I can save a little bit more on the day-to-day spending to enable me to do this trip, including eliminating unnecessary expenditures, which includes needing to drive everywhere. Gas is a killer!

I am as excited about the financial planning of the trip as I am actually taking it. It will probably be the first trip I take that will be paid with cash rather than credit. THAT'S what I'm excited about.

I've never been smart about money. I still struggle with it to this day, but I'm working on it and trying to be smart about it and I'm doing an okay job. Still not great, but oh so much better than when I started this blog back in October.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Meet my niece.

You have to meet my niece Sydney (click below):

Comments from Sydney Kerby

Read her comments over and over and read them out loud to yourself. They get funnier and funnier the more you read them.

I'm still crying over it.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A HORRIBLE way to save money... to get really, REALLY sick.

I've been puking and pooping (sorry) since Wednesday night. It is now Saturday night and this is the first time I've even ventured out of my bedroom.

You save money because you aren't going anywhere so therefore you save on gas money, not to mention wear and tear on your car.

You save money because you aren't eating or drinking a single, solitary thing, so no grocery money is spent.

You save money because you can't drag yourself out of bed long enough to take a shower. You're saving on water, heat, toiletries, energy in general.

You save money because when you're not puking and/or pooping, you are sleeping, so there are no energy costs going on there with the TV on or the lights on.

You save money because when you're puking and/or pooping, you don't want to go anywhere, do anything, see anyone, and you save on entertainment costs.

I'm WAY tired of saving money this way. I hope never, Ever, EVER again to be so gosh dern frugal. BLECH.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

There's going to be a prom...

...on Saturday night, it's May 14th!

This was the beginning of a song that Mistie Davis, Stacy Malone, Staci Blythe, and myself sang to our dates (Brian, Andy, Dennis [I think], and Nick) in front of our class, telling these guys that our answer was yes we would love to go with them to our senior prom.

Exactly 20 years ago today. May 14, 1988.


I really AM that old.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Birthday... my just-younger sister Andrea. Thank you for allowing me be a part of your family. I love you sis!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Looking Back...

For some reason, my roommate Jennifer and I were talking about our youth and I told her about my first bike - my first banana seat, basket-on-the-front bike.

My sister Andrea and I got our "new" bikes for Christmas one year. The interesting thing was they weren't new. They were used (I don't remember if they belonged to our older sisters or if they were purchased elsewhere - Mom and Dad, would you like to comment on that?) and in pretty bad shape. I believe when we realized what they were that Christmas morning, some disappointment was felt - at least by me.

But the thing that sold us on them was the fact that we got to go to the store with Dad, pick out whatever color of paint we wanted the bike painted, chose a new seat, and chose a basket for the front.

I don't remember what Andi chose, but I chose the color copper. (Weird color, I know, and as I see the pink bike above, why couldn't I have chosen a cool color like that instead?) Anyway...

These bikes never felt used. They were our very own from the very beginning because we got to be part of the process of making them new again. I loved that bike.

I'm sharing this trip down amnesia lane because my parents weren't wealthy. But as kids we never really felt poor. My folks new how to scrimp and save and make do and we always felt comfortable growing up.

I'm not exactly sure where I got my horrible, HORRIBLE spending habits. It was definitely NOT an inherited thing or learn-by-example thing. I went completely against the grain on this front and am paying dearly for it now.

Silly me.

Do you have memories to share on making do with what you have/had? Please comment. I'd love to hear your stories. Seriously.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

American Idol

I just had to share what my niece thought of the vote for last night's American Idol. You have to know her to really appreciate this, but just know she's got a very low, scratchy voice, and she's a very no nonsense, tells it like it is, wonderful girl.

Click HERE to learn about her thoughts from last night's contest.

I LOVE that Kalli girl...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Count Your Many Blessings...

...Name them one by one: Stephen, Rachel, Jake, Hannah, Chip, Simon, Lauren, and Calvin Hixon. You are my blessings.

After reading my post yesterday, the entire Hixon family came over last night for Family Home Evening. After a lesson from my roommate, they swept our porch and driveway, and then Stephen proceeded to teach his boys how to fix brakes. They took my car away, and a couple of hours later, I got my car back with new brakes. And the car was sparkling clean as well - they washed it! Couldn't tell ya the last time my car got a shower. Heaven.

This act of service kept me up all night long. I am very humbled and grateful for people like the Hixons who see a need and act upon it. I am very weepy today (service + no sleep + painful dentist appointment makes Tara an emotional girl) and am still marveling at last night's events.

To the Hixon family, THANK YOU. I don't deserve your generosity but am so grateful for what you did for me. I love you guys!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back

I went to the dentist last week.


I now have $2,500 worth of dental work I need to get done in order for my teeth to not fall out. Starting tomorrow. Urg...

Luckily they have a 12-month 0% financing program, so I will be able to pay this off in 12 months, but it's going to take away from my debt snowball and as a result that will take that much longer to pay it off. Joy and rapture.

And now my brakes on my car are making awful noises.

I'd be sobbing like a baby if I wasn't laughing manically!

Let's hope Tara doesn't go completely bye bye...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Happy Administrative Professionals Day

It used to be called Secretaries Day, but apparently that term went out of style several years ago and the PC term is now Administrative Assistant.

I am one of these. Actually I'm an Executive Assistant, but it's close to the same thing.

I always thought this was a day that was made up by the card and floral companies. I still personally don't find it necessary, most especially because I work at a place that constantly praises and recognizes everyone on a regular basis, not just because the hallmark companies out there say to. But it was awfully nice to come in and have a bouquet of flowers not only from my boss (daisies - amazing colored ones) but also from a fellow assistant (yellow tulips - wunnerful!). We've been getting high fives and well dones all day long from random people. Kinda makes me blush.

A great history of why this day exists is mentioned HERE. You may or may not be interested in it, but apparently the card companies did NOT create this day, though I find it hilarious to see the floral links at the bottom of the aforementioned article. They gotta get their digs in there somewhere.

Anyway, I guess what I'm saying to all of you wonderful Administrative/Executive Assistants out there, HAPPY DAY TO YOU! And to all of you wonderful bosses out there, thanks for making this day/week special!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

How do you like my background?

Does it hurt your eyes yet?

My darling niece is rather brilliant at creating these blog backgrounds. I love to change things up a bit every once in a while, and she has a blast doing them. Not to mention she does a dang good job at them.

I've put a link to her background-making blog to the right (you too can get fun backgrounds from her), but you can also check it out HERE.

This particular background probably won't last long 'cause I don't want to hurt people's eyes too much. But I sure like looking at it...

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

It's been a heck of a couple of weeks!

Sorry I've been AWOL for a while. It's been a crazy couple of weeks and I'm only now starting to feel like my life is getting semi-back to normal.

On the same day that my grandmother passed away (March 19), my oldest nephew married the love of his life:

(James and Tabitha Julian)

Tabitha had a daughter from a previous marriage, so I became an instant great-aunt, my sister became a grandmother, and my parents are great-grandparents. So cool. Anyway, how adorable is she?

(James and Olivia)

My grandmother's funeral was last week. It was lovely. All of my sisters attended:

Left to Right: Cassie [youngest], Stacey [next to oldest], Tara (me) [middle child - explains a lot, huh?], Andrea [next to youngest], and Leslie [oldest]

This was probably one of the best days I've had in a really long time. I am happiest when I am around my family, and to have my parents and all of my sisters close by was just simply wonderful.

Two days later, I flew to Colorado to attend the temple with my nephew who was receiving his own endowments in preparation for his mission (he's going to Trinidad Tobago West Indies French speaking) and to hear him give his farewell talk. Another weekend full of family and friends and it was lovely.

Left to right: Me, Jake the missionary, and Cassie in front of the Denver, CO temple.

When I flew home on Sunday night, my mom came with me to stay with Andrea's kids while Andi goes through some surgery. So my mom is around and has decided there is a reason why women are mothers in their early years. Here's why:

This is a picture of my 2-year old niece's leg and foot after she found a container of red nail polish this weekend. When my mom saw this picture, right before she was to get on the airplane to watch these kids, she got a little nervous to watch this particular 2-year old, a 2-year old that is REALLY good at being 2.

I can report that so far, Grandma and kids are alive and well and are enjoying each other immensely. Mom told me last night that if I was able to stop by each night this week, she wouldn't be unhappy about it. That's nothing but a treat for me.

Anyway, life is crazy and good and busy and all that good stuff.

The debt is still there. It's ALWAYS still there. But it's not being ignored. Sometimes I would really like to pretend it went away and use that money for fun things, but I quickly realize if I were to do that, it would take that much longer to get out of debt, and that much longer to NOT get a house that my family can come and stay in when they're in town.

Sure wish I had that house last week.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Tribute: Ruby Ann LaRue

This is probably one of the worst pictures of me (though darling of my sister Cassie and my Grandma LaRue):

I'm posting it because my sweet, 96-year old grandma LaRue passed away tonight. This picture was taken just two weeks ago, but a week later, she fell, hit her head and broke her hip and it is what finally "helped" her pass on to the other side. Up until then, she was healthier than anyone I knew. Anyone.

I'm happy she's finally getting to be reunited with my Grandpa, who took a walk 20 years ago and hasn't been seen from since. She'll finally get to learn what happened to him. The rest of us will have to wait until it's our turn.

We are having a double funeral/memorial for Grandma and Grandpa LaRue. I can't wait to be able to celebrate their lives and relive memories of them with the rest of my family.

In the mean time, I'm sad that I won't get to see her again on this earth, but oh so happy she's no longer in pain and has moved on to her eternal life and companion.

Love you Grandma.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Just a quick note:

I was so lucky and got to sing with my 8-year old niece yesterday in her ward. We sang "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" and were actually able to harmonize a bit with each other.

I want to thank Kymber for asking me to do this. It was an honor and privilege to get to be the first one to be a part of Kymber's first official musical number.

I hope there are many, MANY more to come. You have a beautiful singing voice m'dear...

I've Been Tagged...

I have managed to escape being tagged... UNTIL NOW. My "darling" niece tagged me on her blog. I don't like to do these, but because it's her, I'll do it this one time. Here's to you Bryndee Boo...


A - Attached or single: single (sigh)
B - Best friend: Andrea
C - Cake or pie: White cake with the gooiest chocolate buttercream frosting.
D - Day of choice: Friday (you get the anticipation of Saturday).
E - Essential item: Blistex.
F - Favorite color: Green!
G - Gummy bears or worms: Neither one - GWOSS!
H - Hometown: Gilbert, AZ.
I - Indulgence(s): Chocolate croissants (zoiks!), Pepsi (Mmm).
J - January or July: In town, JANUARY - out of town (like San Diego), JULY!
K - Kids: 19 nieces and nephews.
L - Life is incomplete without: My Family.
M - Marriage date: Now, that's the fruit you're talking about, right? Marriage, what is this marriage you speak of?
N - Number of siblings: 4.
O - Oranges or apples: Oranges.
P - Phobias or fears: Any of my family members being hurt.
Q - Quotes: "Can I sit by you?" as quoted by Bryndee, Porter, Torie, Kymber, and Abby every Sunday when I come over for dinner.
R - Reason to smile: "You're awesome!" from my boss (as I already know this [grin]).
S - Season of choice: Arizona winters - absolutely.
T - Tag three friends: Tricia, Rachel, Alisa.
U - Unknown fact about me: I can seriously stick my entire fist in my mouth.
V - Very favorite store: Any shoe store probably.
W - Worst habit: I like my junk food - salty and sweet.
X - X-ray or ultrasound: Huh?
Y - Your favorite food. Peanut Butter anything.
Z - Zodiac sign: Scorpio.