I Just Won $1 Million Dollars!

This is the first post in a month-long project of writing prompts from BlogHer called Nablopomo. There is still time to join us head over here for all the details. 

Guess what I just won a $1 million dollars and I have to spend it before the end of the day! The first thing I would do is try to buy a new house. I would want a house with 4-5 bedrooms at least 2 full baths (this nonsense of one bathroom in the whole house is ok but I just got a million bucks we are upgrading). A big kitchen would also be nice I spend a lot of time in the kitchen so it would be nice to have more space to work in.

After I purchased the house (which would not be a $1m home). I would pay my solar panel installer cash for the job of putting panels on my house. I have always wanted them on my house and now would be the time to do it.

Next stop the Tesla dealership! I am going to pre-order the 2014 Model S. A fully electric car with a third row seats. This car is amazing it is a high performance car with a range over 200 miles. Tesla even has high-speed charging at stations on highways around here to give you a wider range.

The local dealership happens to be in the mall so there would a quick but huge clothing shopping spree. I have needed some new clothes since I have had both of you guys so now is the perfect time.

I imagine I am starting to run out of time so I have to buy Daddy the car he has alway wanted 1955 Chevy hard top convertible in red…. should not be hard to find and pay someone cash for it right? I may need to hire an assistant this day to help me research all of these purchases.

Next stop, at the mall is the Apple store to buy all my nieces and my kids their own iPads I can think of no other thing that I could quickly get that would make them all universally happy.

Then the restaurant I called early in the day would be ready to seat all of my friends and their kids for dinner and general enjoyment of each other’s company. Sometimes I think we get totally caught in the material things money can buy we forget that there are people we like to spend time with.

Whatever I had left would go to our local animals shelters… Four of them. One where we got our beloved pup Harpua. Then we would give to the two in our area to help local dogs and I would give to another local organization that saves dogs from shelters before they are euthanized. Boom Boom and I love dogs so it seems only fitting that I share some of the money with them.

If there was more time I would purchase my whole wish list from Etsy. I use the Etsy app to mark things I want so if I had time I would try to buy as much of that as possible… but I think my day would be winding to close at this point and this may not make it.

 What would you do with a $1M with only one day to spend it?

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Out with 2012 and in with 2013

So exactly 365 days ago (this year was a leap year right?) I wrote a post about my to do list not a bucket list. Many of the goals are ones I cannot achieve all in one year but I thought I would update you.

I bolded the old goals that I want to actually accomplish this year and you will see the ones that were checked off the list with the details of their success. At the bottom you will see some new one.

  1. Go to Hawaii (your Dad and I have a deal we are going there for our 10 year anniversary only a few years left)
  2. Be on the Price is Right (I really wanted to go on before Bob Barker retired but Drew Carey has been a good replacement)
  3. Go to the taping of late night talk show (I really love Jimmy Fallon but I would be fine with anyone)
  4. Meet Martha Stewart (or at least attend a taping)  Not exactly, but she spoke at BlogHer and I was sitting in the front row. Going to have to do for now.
  5. Drive cross-country with you and your Dad (you guys need to be old enough to appreciate it so we cannot do that yet)
  6. Go to Portland Oregon (seems weird right, my green and crafting side makes me think this is a city that would totally fit my life. I could not move there it would be far away from all our friends and family but I would love to check it out)
  7. Go to Africa (your Dad has zero interest so I think I might try when you kids get older to go on service trip with a charity)
  8. Take a month off of work (impractical on so many levels but I would really like to have 4 weeks to do whatever I want)
  9. Get solar panels put on the house (probably not where we live now but maybe the next house)
  10. Own a hybrid or electric car that can actually accommodate our family size and needs
  11. Cook a new recipe twice a month (short-term goal) I have made a lot of new recipes this year and I hope to keep this up.
  12. Go to the gym/do yoga/Pilates at least 3 times a week. I have been going just not this often.
  13. Learn new ways to do my hair in an up-do other than a ponytail or bun I just got a haircut, that whole Pinterest board of hair styles that I should have been able to do were not working out.
  14. Actually finish writing three posts a week here. (There are so many things I want to write to you guys I need to carve out more time to do it)
  15. Go to England and Ireland (I always wanted to do a bike tour of Ireland, maybe when you kids are older we can all do it together)
  16. Run a Marathon (JUST KIDDING… that will never be on my list) My trainer made me run around the block once, I looked like Phoebe from that episode of Friends. I think this counts as my marathon. I am doing well staying fit without running for no reason.
  17. Do a spontaneous weekend road trip once a year
  18. Go to Glacier National Park (before there is no glacier)
  19. Win the lottery (I will write an entirely separate post on the irony of that goal!)  Yup I won Power Ball this year! I still have not claimed my prize because I have not seen my accountant or lawyer but I did get just the Power Ball number in the big drawing. Please do not solicit me for loans, I unable cope with the thought of new-found wealth.

New goals for 2013 and beyond

  1. Sew more, I miss it terribly it was something I did a lot of before I had kids and I simply cannot find the time to do it!
  2. Read more books on topics I really care about. I have so many things I want to learn more about. I need to make more time to read and learn about them.
  3. See my friends more often, many of my friends live far away and it is tough to figure out time to visit so I am going to take my show on the road this year and make sure I see them more!
  4. Cut down on the sugar snacks in my diet, cookies and ice cream we need to stop meeting so often… sniff, sniff. I cannot write anymore this one makes me so sad.
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Dear President Obama

Dear President Obama,

I voted for you just a few weeks ago and in addition to hoping you were the best candidate to protect our planet I also thought you were the best candidate to do something about the growing problem of gun violence in our country. After the Aurora shootings you took no action, while I did not agree with your inaction I understood politically why you did not bring it up during an election. Now is the time for you to lead our country and do something about our gun violence.

Your advisors can give you the statistics you need about gun related deaths in the country I want to tell you about what I want to see happen in this country.

I want to see every gun owner licensed with a process similar to a driver’s license including a written test and practical test that includes gun safety, assembly, care and other items expected of responsible gun owner.

I want to see gun owners insuring their weapons making sure they are continually inspected like cars to ensure that they are being cared for and stored properly.

Make automatic and semi-automatic weapons illegal. Regardless of what the laws have been on the topic they have not worked. No more automatic and semiautomatic weapons, make them illegal to everyone. Anyone who has a grandfathered one (like the one used in Newtown) must keep it at registered location (like a hunting club or a police station) and it must be checked out for use.

Make the main mechanical part of the semi-automatic and automatic weapons illegal, not available for sale in the US and can no longer be made in the US. Since anyone with basic knowledge of guns can assemble an entire gun from parts so this is the only real way to keep the count the same and lower of these kinds of weapons (ask your ATF agents about Waco, they will explain it to you).

Set a limit to the number of weapons a person can own and can buy a year and in a lifetime.

None of these measures will stop gun violence completely. Sadly there are to many guns in the country and every day you refuse to act more and more people are going to buy them to “protect” themselves and because they are afraid they are going to lose the right soon so they want to get the most they can.

Please do not let another day go by, do not let Congress go home for the holidays to their families without making it clear that this violence will not continue under your leadership.

My children, your children as well as CharlotteDaniel, Rachel, Olivia, Josephine, Ana, Dylan, Dawn, Madeleine, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, James, Grace, Anne Marie, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Avielle, Lauren, Mary, Victoria, Benjamin, and Allison are looking for you to be a leader. Please do not let any of us down.

Sincerely,

Leigh (Miss A and Boom Boom’s Mom)

Sent to:

  1. President Obama and Vice President Biden
  2. Frank Lautenberg (D)
  3. Robert Menendez (D)
  4. Bill Pascrell (D)

 

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What Do We Do Now?

“The victims of violence are black and white, rich and poor, young and old, famous and unknown… No one can be certain who next will suffer from some senseless act of bloodshed. And yet it goes on and on an on in this country of ours. Why?”    – Robert Kennedy the day after Martin Luther King Jr. was killed. 

When you both start elementary school you will have a drill where your teacher will have you hide quietly in your classroom. Some schools have been doing this since the Columbine High School shooting on April 20, 1999 . Every school will be doing it by the time you start school because of the events on Friday in Newtown, Connecticut. 20 children and 6 adults were killed in the second most deadly school shooting in US history.

I have told you here and will tell you when you old enough about my feelings about gun control and how it is something that is already long overdue. What I really hope to tell you is how you gun control changed after this event.

I am lucky enough to not be a parent affected by this tragedy but as your parent and a parent in general I owe it to the children and adults who died and the parents and siblings who survived to act on their behalf to keep this from happening again. Is there any way to completely prevent violence? Nope, sorry kids that is just not something anyone can do. What we can do is limit access to guns. We can make it harder for people to get guns. We can make it illegal AND impossible to have an automatic or semi-automatic weapon.

18 years ago I wrote a paper about gun control and my research for that paper has stayed with me forever. I saved that paper, not only was it the first paper I got an A on but it was the paper that inspired me to major in political science and galvanized my interest in how the government can improve/protect the lives of its citizens.

Some of the key points that have stayed with me over the years and are still important to today’s gun control debate is:

  • The ATF estimates that possibly ALL the weapon (59 handguns, 12 shotguns, 94 rifles, 45 machine guns, 1.8 million rounds of ammunition and other weapons) that David Koresh and his followers had were purchased as parts and put together.
  • Many people have a gun to keep them safe but keep it in their bedroom unloaded (Time Magazine survey in 1990).
  • Firearm homicide rate in the United States is 7 times higher than Australia, 55 times higher than Great Britain and 58 times Japan. (Fact from 1993)

I am writing a letter to each and every one of my congressmen/women on the state and federal level, the President, the Speaker of the House and the Vice President to not just tell them that I think the time for watching this violence continue without action is over but give them my thoughts on what kind of gun control I want to see.

Here is what I would like to see happen

  • Every gun owner must be licensed with a process like a driver’s license, written test, practical test (gun safety, assembly, care…etc.).
  • Owners must be insured and their weapons are continually inspected like cars.
  • Automatic and semi-automatic weapons are illegal. Technically speaking automatic weapons have been outlawed since 1986 but grandfathering and other ways around the law have kept those weapons available. Lets make that anyone who has a grandfathered one (like the one used in Newtown) must keep it at registered location (like a hunting club) and it must be checked out for use.
  • The main mechanical part of the semi-automatic and automatic weapons can no longer be  made or sold in the US. Since anyone with basic knowledge of guns can assemble an entire gun from parts so this is the only real way to keep the count the same and lower of these kinds of weapons.
  • Set a limit to the number of weapons a person can own and can buy a year and in a lifetime.
  • I also wanted to research if any of my elected officials have received money from the NRA, which they have not (see the list here). I will work hard through social media and any other medium to publicize those that do outside of my districts to make sure that the NRA money is not worth it for elected officials to take.

Sadly none of these efforts will stop violence, gun violence or other violence but I think the shooting in Newtown, Aurora, Portland, Oregon, Tuscon, Virginia Tech, Columbine, Waco….etc. shows that we simply have a problem in this country that we have to address to make this problem less of an issue. I owe it to you two and CharlotteDaniel, Rachel, Olivia, Josephine,  Ana, Dylan, Dawn, Madeleine,Catherine, Chase, Jesse, James, Grace, Anne Marie, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Avielle, Lauren, Mary, Victoria, Benjamin, and Allison

We need to remember that life is more important than the rights of the sportsmen and our need to have a militia is much different now then when our founding fathers wrote the constitution.

For more facts about gun violence and the need for stricter gun control laws here is another post I wrote about this topic the day BEFORE the Aurora shootings.

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Profile of our Elf: Snowbusiness

Name: Snowbusiness Tree-Stump

Birthday: December 27, 2005 (just missed Christmas that year)

Age : 7 years old

Favorite food: chocolate chip cookies

Best class in elf school: Watching without being seen

Family: The first son of immigrant elves. His parents came from the South Pole to come work for Santa in hopes of having children and raising them in the happy North Pole culture. His Mom is teacher at Elf School, she teaches coloring! His Dad is Dentist, yes elves can be dentists! He has a younger sister that he misses very much when he is away.

Background: Miss A was his first assignment as an elf and how he is in charge of reporting back on Boom Boom and Miss A.

Favorite place: Lamp shade or the curtain rod

Friends in the North Pole: Buddy the Elf and Rudolph but his best friend is Mr. Narwhal.

Interesting Fact: spends a lot of time at our house he started coming back and checking on Miss A in July this year when her name appeared on the naughty list. He could not play with the other elves all day and he missed his lunches with Mr. Narwhal to come to our house. He also missed some of the required Elf seminars about fun places to hide and fun things to find in the house because he was busy working.

What Santa say about him: “as a rookie elf he has really been forced to step up his learning curve. I am impressed with his commitment to the job and his TPS (Tattle Peek Spy) reports are top-notch… I know everything that Miss A does and he is letting me know that Boom Boom so far has been on the straight and narrow”

Extra responsibility: when Miss A does not listen to her Mom and Dad they put a toy on the porch for him to take back to Santa. If she is good before Christmas Santa will bring it back from the North Pole and give it to her Christmas morning.

What Snowbusiness says about his job: “my first year was easy Miss A was so small and was even sleeping through the night so it was easy for me to keep an eye on her. Now I need to keep a close eye on her. When she was put on the naughty list this summer I was worried about her and that Santa might send a more experienced elf to look after her. He let me keep the job, but it is tough job. I cannot talk to her and she has to think I am only in one place in the house so I often have to fly to her daycare and keep and eye on here through the window… Which is very hard because I cannot let any of the kids see me! I am hoping that she listens more to her Mom, Dad and teachers before Christmas because it is hard for me to carry her toys to the north pole at night. But I do love her so much and love the fact I got to spend more time with her and her brother this year”

Stay tuned for more information about Snowbusiness’ work in the coming weeks

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