Thursday, June 30, 2011

How Do You Know If Your Butt Is Swollen

Seriously, you've never asked yourself that question?

Oh, why would you?

I fell off Tucker today, not because I was dumb or because he was misbehaving or because r-ster said
'trot right over that jump' and he jumped.  No, I fell off because the neighbor's dog came racing out of the woods like a ninja and scared the shit out of both of us.

And according to r-ster, I "almost" stayed on. 

Well, try telling my butt that it should only "almost" hurt.

I fell on my left butt cheek and I am quite certain it's swollen.  Because the other times I've fallen on one butt cheek or the other, I seem to alternate, it has hurt deep inside, but when I've walked, it hasn't felt swollen.

So, I came home and examined myself in the mirror.  Interesting results.  a) I have scratch in the area where I fell.  It might be an abrasion because I know nothing poked me and my pants didn't rip. It must be the result of my weight falling onto my very bony butt.  b)  I have what looks like a bruise starting, but it's so hard to see because it's right where the butt bone is and I am flexible but I can't really see no matter how I bend.  It's not something I want to run over and ask my mother if she can check for me.  c)  When I walk, it feels like I have an orange back there as I walk.  I know, you're like "an orange?  WTF?"  You know that game where you pass the orange from under your chin to the person next to you under their chin and you can't use your hands?  Do you know how that feels? 

That's what it feels like back there.  Like someone said "Hey, I  bet you can't carry this orange between your butt cheek and hamstring" and I was like "k-ster, GET ME AN ORANGE".

I seriously think it's swollen. 

But it's so hard to sit on an ice pack.  I've tried each time I've fallen.  And laying on my opposite side with the ice pack on top doesn't work well either.  I end up freezing nothing even close to the right place.

Because though I have some cushion on it (ask any pair of pants I own and I have issues with fitted pants), my butt is somehow very bony.  My mother used to hate it if I had to sit on her lap because she said my butt bones dug into her legs.  K-ster has told me if I sit on his leg a certain way that it's like I'm digging my bone right through his leg.  Poor Tucker must really hate my butt bones because they say the horse can feel them through the saddle. 

So, I have little hope of relieving the pain in my bony butt cheek. 

If you're an regular reader, you will know this is the 3rd time I've fallen in about a month and you are probably questioning my sanity.  Only one of these falls was my fault and that was communication.  Today's was the ninja dog's fault and the last time, Tucker just fell on his knees and I rolled off.  You probably think it's time for me to give this whole thing up. 

But I really do like it.  It's so much fun when I know I've done something right.

But it's not so much fun when I hurt my butt.  Did I mention that my butt hurts?

And that I bit the end of my tongue and that hurts too?  It feels like when you drink hot beverages too soon and you burn your tongue. 

I suppose this makes up for the very non dangerous life I've lived.  I wasn't a daredevil growing up.  My activities did not usually bear the risk of breaking my neck.  I am not much of a physical risk taker.  I didn't ski until I was 25.  I didn't start riding a horse until I was 34. 

Interesting, one death defying new activty per decade. 

I wonder which one I will start when I'm in my 40s. 

I hear lion taming isn't so hard.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Words I've Learned Today

When I first wrote this, it sounded like a book review and then the bottom part was really out of place.  I haven't really ever done a book review on this site and this isn't one.  It's just to illustrate why I had to go searching online for 3 words in the same book today.

I'm reading a really good book called 1000 White Women: The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus. It's fiction, but written so well, I keep forgetting it didn't happen.

In a nutshell:  May Dodd is a woman who has been sent to an asylum by her family because she was "promiscuous" and in 1875 that meant you were crazy.  Her family took her children from her and her unwed husband and she suspects that her non husband may have been paid by her father to give her to the asylum.  At this time in history, Ulysses S. Grant was having talks with the natives and various suggestions were made for peace keeping.  Someone suggested that to make the "savages" become more "civilized", the American people should give 1000 white women to the natives in exchange for 1000 horses for the American military.  The theory was that these white mothers and native fathers would have offspring that was less wild and could assimilate to the American people as they took over the world.

Obviously that never happened.

That we know of.

In this book, Fergus takes that crazy idea and writes a story as though it happened.  In the book, the government goes to women in prisons, asylums or anywhere else they may want to escape from and makes a big "uncle Sam wants YOU" type of plea.  May is one of the women who thinks that anything would be better than a life stuck in a loony bin, so she signs up and writes journals to her children and her sister and that's what we read.

I'm not quite done, but I love the way it's written.

And there has been some vocabulary I've never heard of, so I looked them up and now I'll share with you!  I should put links and pictures and everything else, but then that would mean you would leave my blog and get all distracted.

Then you might forget to come back.

And I can't have that.

snipe- a bird they hunt often in the book
pronghorn- a type of antelope
coulee- basically a valley where there is a riverbed that often dries up in different seasons; the definitions were vague and pictures just look like any old valley I've ever seen!

In addition to this enriching vocabulary day, my sister used a word that I was sure she had confused with something else.

She said she had just finished making the "stuffies" for supper.

Last I knew, she was making stuffed quahogs**.  Which I've only ever heard called "stuffed quahogs".  Sure that she had just lost her mind, I asked what she was talking about and I had to go look up what a stuffie is.

Lo and behold, it's a stuffed quahog.

But I swear I've never heard that word.  EVER.

She claims my mother says it and she remembers people talking about stuffies all growing up.

So I emailed my mother.

And of course she knows what stuffies are, she has made them.

They've all lost their minds.

Or have secretly decided on this word.  I swear.

**For those non New Englanders or people who have never seen that dreaded show Family Guy, a quahog is a type of clam.  It's pronounced CO, like Sears Roebuck and Co. and HOG like, hog.  Cohog.  Personally, I am not a fan of the quahog or the awful "chowder" we ate when we were younger called quahog chowder.  Aunt Mildred made it and it was thin broth with chunks of clams and maybe potatoes.

A-ster's stuffed quahogs were just like I've had before.  Good,  but not something I crave very often.  I think they are too salty.  Imagine that, a sea creature being too salty.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Scary Words

Ahhhh some of my favorite words in the English langauge.

Thanks to LL Bean, we can enjoy not one, but 2 items each day that are super on sale.  I love to look and see what they have.  On occasion, I've been lucky to find a real steal but sometimes the items are duds or they aren't what I need.

Today's 2nd markdown item:

Women's Saturday Corduroy Pants, Boot-Cut Straight 

Everything was great until that last word- straight.  This makes me start to quiver because it can only mean these vicious words will come next:

fitted through hips and thigh

Apart from phrases like "we've reached our altitude of 10,000 feet, now jump and enjoy the fall!" or "don't look now, but there's a 10 inch camel spider on the wall behind you, just act normal" , these are the most dreaded words on the planet.

I know it's hard to believe that those 5 words can bring dreadful nightmares to someone who can rock these skinny jeans or who can pull off leggings like this.

But these are the words I hate most in life.

Even at my very skinniest, I have never been straight through the hip and no pair of fitted anything has ever looked right on me. Unlike all of those boyish models who have no hips, I fall in to the class of J-lo when it comes to curves.

My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard but sadly, they are all scary freaks.

And if I try to squeeze that milkshake into anything fitted in the thigh or hip, then it's just a mess.

Why, LL BEAN??? Why must you torment me so? Do you know how many times I have fallen for your daily markdown only to be tormented by your taunts of FITTED pants????

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Shot That Will Be Heard 'Round the World

It's only June and I'm already on the war path.  You'll have to read to the end to see why.

I've been so pleased with garden #2.  Things are really going crazy.  For example:
 Here we have a 4 inch long zucchini.  In JUNE!!  I can't believe it!

 Tomatoes that are already outdoing themselves with their healthiness.  I even have flowers on them already.  In JUNE!!

Then there's this beauty.  This is a zinnia that was singing to the heavens when I planted her and then those evil slugs ate her down to nothing.  And now, she's come back in full force.  What was once a single stalk is growing stalks in every direction!

Here, we have the 3 sisters method of growing corn, beans and squash.  I've never been really clear about how this works, exactly, so I made it up.  I planted the corn.  Then I planted some winter squash that has been struggling.  It has recently been growing more, as you can see toward the left.  Then I went and stuck a bean seed in next to every corn stalk about a week ago.  Here is one fine example.  The others are looking a little weird.  The theory is that the roots of these plants are all very helpful to each other and give off good karma or something like that.  There is also the plan that the squash and beans will climb up the corn.  I'm not so sure that will be a success because the squash gets heavy, but the beans will be fine.  You must have pole beans if you want them to climb!
Another example of the 3 sisters getting along so nicely.  You can barely see the bean under the wisp of a corn leaf (frond?) on the left.

 Then, we head over to garden #1 where we have a volunteer tomato. I know we aren't supposed to let volunteers grow because they are basically weeds.  And, I am taking a risk here, because I don't know what kind of tomato this is and it could end up cross breeding with the variety I do have already planted here and we could end up with a mess.  Last year, I had a cross breed that I created by mistake and though the tomatoes were good to eat, every single one of them, off of like 20 plants all had tomatoes that split their skins before they continued to ripen.  This happened to people I gave them to too, so it wasn't just a matter of me over or underwatering.  I managed to keep the weird gene that said "split your skin!".  To avoid that this year, I planted one variety in one garden and one in the other.  But now we have this rogue plant.  I just can't pull it out, so I will let it sit here and do its thing.

This is one of my fabulous non pole beans.  See the little baby beans already?  These things have been exploding with flowers.  I like green beans, so I am really pleased.
This is on of the many marigolds I grew from the 25 cent packet of marigold seeds  that I got at the Dollar Tree.  Just for reference, the watering can is there and this marigold tree is just going ape!  They are all doing well, but these marigolds in this garden are doing the best.
 And now begins the portion of the show where my ire comes into full bloom.

So there I was, strolling through garden #2 and marveling at all of the lush growth and how everyone is behaving so well.  I was thinking about what 2 days of rain can do for a garden and other pleasant thoughts.

Then I look at this mess and almost threw right up.  It was like someone had grabbed me by the throat and dragged me off to their trunk to dump my body. 

Do you see this carnage???  What animal did this?  If you look, it is almost cut off, not just broken or nibbled.  If I didn't see all of the gnawing in the last picture, I would say someone came in with clippers to be a jerk.  But, no, it's an animal.  And it has to be of the flying variety because I have a 5 foot fence around it and the door was not open.  And nothing else was touched or even crushed or knocked over.  It reminded me of this mess back in the fall.  I was pretty sure that was due to squirrels and I almost wonder if this was, but it's just too cleanly cut.  And there isn't any corn to enjoy yet, so I don't think it's raccoons.  I am pretty mad about this.  I better not get back from my sister's to find that more have been destroyed like this!

This is younger corn in garden #1.  You can see that a hole has been dug beside it.  There were tons of these.  I believe it's either squirrels looking for nuts or crows looking for grubs.  Either way, they make me very mad.  I thought I was sly and immediately covered these with lots of mulch when I planted them and they dug around and moved the much and made holes anyway.

God help us all if I catch these animals in the act.

If it's squirrels, they will be looking for more than their nuts when I get through with them.

I don't even like guns.

But I like these evil critters even less.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Feel Good Friday- Mr. Linky Is Back

Wait, who's Mr. Linky??  He's the guy that creates the code for the links at the bottom of Feel Good Friday so you can link up your posts.  I have thegirl give me her linkys because I am too D-U-M-B to figure out how to do it myself and use her Feel Good Friday meme.  Last week, I hadn't realized I had used up my stash of linkys until it was too late, so we didn't have any links.  We're back in full force today, though!

So, if you're new to Feel Good Friday and you don't know what linkys or memes are, don't worry.  You go to your blog, write a post about what made you feel great this week and then you come back here and link up.  It's soooooo easy and we are sooooo nosy we love to read what you have to tell us!

Here we go:

*It's been like wild kingdom around here lately.  We had the snake a few weeks ago, which I thank GOD I was not not a witness to.  Then I was witness to this marvelous created in my garden the other day.

My mother and I had just been talking about snakes and spiders and then I went out to the garden and hear all this rustling.  I looked down and this turtle was running around.  I mean running.  I could not believe the speed of this thing!  It was about 6 inches across and it's a box turtle.  Native to here but not usually my garden.  I still can't get over the speed and if I had had a video camera I would totally have taped it.  Eat up all the bugs Mr. Turtle!

*The Run/Walk for the Arts was Saturday and went really well.  I had a lot of volunteers, most of whom have done it before and can totally be trusted to get the job done.  We had 150 runners finish, I don't know where the other 20 were that were counted in the beginning- hopefully not still running around out there! And about 20 walkers. That's a really manageable number and typical of what we have.  We made a good chunk of money and everyone seemed happy.  We had yogurt from Chobani and Popchips.  Click here to see some pictures.

*I rode Tucker in the rain twice this week and though the rains were extremely slippery, we did not kill ourselves.  After a month of rotten lessons a few months back, r-ster is full of compliments lately, so I don't know why those weeks were so awful.  He's being cooperative lately and seems pleased to be working.  Except for the mosquitoes.  Those are no fun.

*I am on the Literacy Intervention Committee for school.  It sounded like a great idea-  hang around for 2 more days when school gets out.  Get paid a buttload of money from a grant.  Make some decisions about literacy for my building.  WHY NOT?????  Umm because school got out Wednesday and I'm still there????  At least it's been raining, so it hasn't been like amazing weather while we sit inside.  It's been kind of neat, looking at the data and selecting kids for some reading intervention for next year. And it's nowhere near as hard as I thought it was going to be.

*School's out for the summer!!  No more lesson plans.  No more parents.  No more steamy building.

*I'm going to meet my niece l-ster on Saturday.  That should be fun and kind of like a little vacation.  I don't plan to do anything or go anywhere specific.  Except Filene's Basement to get underwear because the crisis continues.  All of the pink pairs that I got for Christmas are still intact but the other set is just not making it.  I don't know what I do, I swear.

Ok, so that's all of the Feel Good Friday I can come up with!  Now go write your own and come back here and link up!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I'll Wear Out Your Britches!

Don't you love it when you are having a wardrobe malfunction and it's like noon and you can't believe it's been like that all day?  You wonder if anyone else knows and then you walk around assuming EVERYONE else knows.

How about when you are almost having a wardrobe malfunction and you have to pray for the rest of the day that you won't end up with a hole the size of Mt. Vesuvius?

Being a teacher is like being on live tv.  You have 20 cameras focused on you, when they bother to focus on the speaker and not themselves, and they do nothing but scrutinize your every move, your every wardrobe decision and they relish when they can find any flaws.  Don't you remember doing that too?

I've only had one real wardrobe malfunction in my career and that was a zipper that exploded apart.  I luckily had a safety pin and a long enough shirt.  Other than that, if I've had one, I haven't noticed.

In the first picture, you are looking from the inside out.  I was going to the bathroom and happened to look down and was like "ummm, why am I seeing the floor through my pants???" (no, I do not carry a camera to the bathroom.  This was done when I got home and had to look again to see if the holes had gone through completely.

Thankfully, I made it through the day before they ripped right through.

The second picture shows how they were just worn right through in the upper thigh area.

How this happens is a mystery.  I have pretty muscular inner thighs, more so since I started riding, but I don't think they rub together when I walk.  Like, I can wear corduroys and I've never noticed the swish sound they make when your thighs are too fat.  These capris are not that old and I wear them often, but not THAT often.  Nowhere else on the fabric is it worn  like this.  Yes, they are thin linen and they were probably cheap.  But I'm not wearing them to powerwalk the mall, I wear them to school.  I walk around a lot, but this is ridiculous.

It got me thinking maybe I have some others like this, just two threads away from showing the whole world my underwear, so I had to go look.  Indeed, some of my pants do have some wear in the inner thigh.  But not all.  And none as dramatic as this.   So WHAT does this mean?  Other than I now have to throw away one of my favorite pair of capris.

I have another pair that I got at Express circa 1995 and they do deserve to meet their maker any time soon.  I know this, but I hold my breath.  For about 3 years, I've worn them knowing that at any moment, the entire pair could just burst off of my body onto the floor.  I love them.  They are khaki and go with everything.  I wore them in Belgium, France, Canada.  I just can't part with them.  But every time I put them on, I think that this may be the last time I am considered "decent" in the public eye because I can feel that they are just about to croak.

Maybe one more summer.

Being "decent" in town hasn't gotten me anywhere yet, anyway.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

So This Is Why I Was A Tad Busy Last Week

I took one of my 3 personal days on Friday to catch this shipment.  8 boxes of Chobani yogurt.  All for me!  i love the thickness of the Greek style yogurt and I'm a total convert.  I can't even look at "regular' yogurt anymore.  K-ster is in love with it too.

Ok, not all for me.  All for the Run/Walk for the Arts that took place on Saturday.

I love organizing this race and I've done it for long enough that everything really falls into place.  But the few days before, I do a lot of running around and making sure everything will be all set.  This year, my big worry was the yogurt.  They agreed to sponsor without me having to bribe them, take my shirt off or threaten them in any other way.  I was so taken aback when the girl asked if 25 cases would be enough, I was sure it was a joke and would never really happen.

They have a really nifty way of packing 3 flats of 12 containers into a styrofoam cooler with packing peanuts and ice packs.  They overnight it and when it arrived, everything was still nice and cold and some of the ice packs were still frozen.  This wa sa huge relief because I thought they were shipping them with dry ice and I was going to have to put lots of ice into lots of coolers and I was beginning to get really worried about how that would all work.

I was so thrilled to have these.  Except for those damned peanuts.  They are EVERYWHERE because they hid in the little holes of the cardboard flats that the yogurt were in and I left a trail from here to the Cultural Center and they are still all over the General and my house.

After I stashed all of the yogurt, I continued getting everything ready and in the General so it would be a smooth morning.

It rained all night and I figured it would rain that morning.  We havent' had a rain disaster in all of the 9 years we've done it, so I figure we are due.  I don't worry much because I get enough pre registered that even if no one showed up that day to pay, we would not lose money.  Plus, runners are a really weird group and some will run no matter the storm or situation.

The day started out cloudy but then the clouds broke and it was fine.  A little more humid than I would prefer, but everything went just dandy.  And we brought in just about the same amount of money as last year.  Not too shabby.  Here are some fabulous photos for evidence.  

 THis is my favorite flavor and k'ster's too.  I had a lot of yogurt left over, but not this flavor.  I should have nabbed us 2 flats of lemon ahead of time but I had to put it all out in case we had to feed the masses.  I still haven't heard the end of how someone in this house wishes I had grabbed the lemons instead of what I did grab (blueberry and pomegranate.
 Popchips also sponsored the race and gave me 300 bags.  They are an interesting chip and appear to be fairly healthy, but I don't buy it.  I kind of like them but they are odd.  You could easily eat 4 whole bags and not even realize what you did.  They were not such a hit and we had tons left over, which we gave to the Relay for Life.
 K-ster posed with his chobani cup so I could send the company some pictures.  By the way, are you aware that the BRUINS WON THE STANLEY CUP????
This girls don't look too thrilled about something.  Maybe it's because #75 can't get her shorts out of her crotch?
Thanks to all of my marvelous volunteers, everything was smooth and easy.  Thanks to all of the runners and walkers, we had a great turnout and made some money for the Cultural Center.

And this is the last real week of school.  Tomorrow is a half day for kids and teachers have to finish the day.  Then, I thought I'd delay summer a little longer and I applied to be on the Literacy Intervention Committee for middle school.  It's an easy $600 for showing up for 2 summer days, so I thought I'd do it. Although now I'm getting a little itchy to be done and have my freedom, so I might have been seeing dollar signs instead of freedom.

Then I'm off to my sister's on Saturday for a few days.

AND THEN summer will be begin when I return.  No grad classes or workshops this summer for the first time in......  possibly the first time ever.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Feel Good Friday Hosted By THE SLACKER

Geez you host a few Feel Good Fridays and you skip one and all hell breaks loose.  My aunt s-ster did two week's worth and melanie did hers early.  I just didn't do one.  I didn't have a bad week.  I was just busy and things got out of control and time marched on.

I pretty much think I outdid myself with this post and this one, so I wasn't too worried that the 3 readers who like my blog would be missing me too much yesterday.  

But, I was wrong and caught holy hell, so you can be sure I'll never miss again!  I hate missed opportunities!

So......  here's the recap of the week, brought to you a few days late.

*I started the week by taking a pole dancing class and I just got rid of the bruise today.  Not sure I need to try that again.  A part of me WANTS to be able to do some of those exercises requiring lots of strength, but part of me just says "go lift some weights instead of bruising yourself and pinching your thighs on that pole!!"  But, I satisfied my burning curiosity, so that is a great thing.

*Everything that needed to be done for the Run For the Arts went smoothly this week.  At the same time, scholarship applications are due for ABWA, so this week, the mailman, the fedex guy and UPS were wearing out my driveway with all of their deliveries.  I love doing the run and I love giving out scholarships, so this is a fun but crazy week every June.

*Field day was Thursday and if you remember field day, it's really just for the athletes.  Yes, we try to make everyone feel good about completing something, but when Susie is running the 880 in like 2 minutes flat and Johnny just jumped 75 feet in the long jump, your ability to roll a tire 20 yards or catch an egg in the egg toss doesn't really matter, does it?  

In my elementary school, we had field day every June.  I wasn't an athlete in those days.  I'm not sure I'm one now, either, but I think some people think I am, so I let them believe what they wish.  As I recall, we all had to do every event because we had such small classes and it was feasible to do them.  My sisters will have to chime in here, because I may be wrong on that.  I just dont' remember selecting an event the way we have our students do now.

I remember thinking I was really dashing during the 50 yard dash, but there was no speed in me in those days.  And it was on the tar parking lot of the church, so I think I feared crashing to my death on that tar.  I also remember the high jump, which we don't even do at my school now, but no one knew the word "liability" back then, so everyone did the high jump.  I had such visions of the heights I would achieve.  An ant could have jumped higher.

One of the most vivid memories for me at field day in my youth was actually two fold.  A)  we got to wear SHORTs.  TO SCHOOL!!! and B)  we had LUNCH served to us AT SCHOOL. 

I know you wonder what sort of Amish life I must have lived.  We went to a small, Christian school that didn't have a gym or a cafeteria.  The good old basement of the church was our gymnastics center in the winter, in which everyone had to run around in socks because it was gymnastics time and there were mats on the floor but I was afraid to breathe because I was afraid of smelling feet; and the basement of the church was also the cafeteria in my early elementary years.  My sisters probably dont' remember this because I think it had stopped when they came through.  But, in 1st and possibly 2nd grade, we traipsed to the cafeteria with our lunches every day.  Except Friday, most people didn't bring their lunches because they would serve hot dogs on Fridays.  But I never bought lunch because I was weird.  Eventually, we just ate lunch in our rooms and no one served lunch to anyone but on field day?  Someone made hot dogs and we had watermelon.  That was a big deal.  Watermelon at school.  In shorts.  (we had a strict dress code)

So, when I first got to the public, middle school that I teach in, and they said that field day was June whatever, I was thinking:  50 yard dash on tar, high jump with a bamboo pole, watermelon, hot dogs and SHORTS.  Of course, being a public school in 1997, anyone could wear shorts any day they chose as long as they were long enough (no so much a problem in 1997, but today?  Long enough shorts have been the source of many a battle in the past few weeks).

I arrived on field day to find:
- there is no high jump
-50% of the kids HATE field day because they aren't good at any of the events we do offer, not even the sack race, tire roll or egg toss
-those kids who are not doing events and looking like star athletes were constantly in trouble 
-there was a special "cookout" that involved a hot dog, chips and watermelon, but it wasn't FREE!  our was always free!
So, after my first field day in the real world, I too HATED field day.  I would often take a personal day on field day just not have to deal with the bad attitudes of the kids and the lack of teacher support.

Fast forward a lot of years and we have different gym teachers.  While there still isn't a high jump or free lunch, it's not such a nightmare anymore.  Yes, everyone has to participate and there are some who can't even do the sack race, but there's something different.  We have our roles down to a science, we are a well oiled machine.  Kids are allowed to sub for their classmates if they are absent- this used to be a major issue and if they hadn't notified the queen of their subs by a certain time, they couldn't change and it would pit kids against each other and ruin the day.

So, though I took a personal day the day after field day so I could welcome 300 containers of Chobani yogurt to chez sparkling, I did not take on on field day and it wasn't bad!  In fact, we had some great laughs.  At ourselves, not the kids.  Because they just aren't that funny.  

Oh, and I got to wear my cowboy hat on field day and no one made fun of me.

*I feel like I am forgetting something.  Something major.  Something that made someone else feel good and then I felt good because of that.  What was it?

Oh yeah.  The Bruins won the Stanley Cup Championship!!!  WOOOOO HOOOO!  K-ster is beyond excited.  He got to go to game 6 and then watched game 7 on tv.  Which is good because those butt heads in Vancouver did some very bad things and k-ster would not have liked getting caught up in a looting riot mob.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Feel Good Friday

Is on hold until Saturday.  Come back, I'll have something.  In the meantime, show us what a slacker you aren't and leave a comment.  I didn't even get around to getting the linky from thegirl this week!  Wow.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mary Had A Little Lamb


A-ster and her husband s-ster bought a house in the far suburbs a year ago and love the fact that they live in farm country.  They frequent the nearby organic farm and buy vegetables and meat from them often.  A-ster went to the farm in July to reserve her Thanksgiving turkey, which she served to sister sparkling and her boytoy k-ster.  None of them are vegetarians and all enjoyed it tremendously, sources say.

Rumor has it that a-ster recently purchased some lamb from the nearby farm.  She cooked it, served it and ate it with abandon.  It has been said that s-ster also thoroughly enjoyed this dish and recommended that they have it again some time soon.  It has long been known that sister sparkling indeed loves lamb though it is also a known fact that Primrose Jim will not eat lamb.  Whether the rest of the family dines regularly on lamb has not been disclosed.

Not long after l-ster was born, a mystery package arrived with a very large stuffed animal in it.  There wasn't a card or anything in it and there appeared to be hoof prints on the outside of the package.  Thinking it was from a scatterbrained family member who forgot to give it to her at the shower, a-ster thought it was cute and put it in the crib.  She never gave the hoofprints a second thought.  The toy was one of the only decorations in the nursery before l-ster was born.

At one month old,  a-ster propped her in the corner of her crib to pose with the lamb. "She seemed pretty excited about it," a-ster said.  "Who doesn't love a lamb?  They are so cute. And fluffy.  And white. And tasty"

And in this case.  HUGE.

According to this picutre, l-ster appears to be liking the lamb.  The lamb looks quite innocent and pure.  No one was prepared for what happened next.


After changing out of her outfit from Auntiejo, l-ster was back in her crib for more pictures with the lamb.  It is believed the photographer was going for a "fleece as white as snow" look, not surprising given the number of years the w-girls spent in a Christian school.

A source close to the family says he heard someone bleatingly say "STICK EM UP, BABY" at which point, it is believed, l-ster flung her hands over her head, her fists always at the ready.

It is too early to tell if the lamb did any permanent damage, though judging by the smirk on l-ster's face, authorities believe the lamb may have found a ticklish spot.

When asked if a-ster knew who might have sent this dangerous toy, a-ster said, "No, I mean, we did get a nice gift from the farm when we brought her home, but we never thought we'd get anything like this."  The P-family's mailman has confirmed that over the past 4 weeks, there have been numerous letters delivered to the P-family, all bearing the same kind of hoofprint and smelling faintly of hay.  Father s-ster says, "We didn't take those threats seriously, we thought someone was playing a joke.  I guess we know who what we'll be marinating and grilling up this weekend!"

The family is pretty shaken over the whole ordeal, but has determined to see this through to the end.  Their therapist suggested that every  month, l-ster pose with this lamb and until she is big enough to hold her own, no one will be placing the lamb within biting distance.  And next month, the theme may change slightly if that mama sheep can't get some control.

Finding the Funny

Extreme Couponers Beware

I'm sure you've heard of it.  The latest reality show on TLC.  I am certain TLC stands for Total Lunatic Central.  They are the fine company that brings us things like Say Yes to the Dress (love it), all of those hoarders shows and now, Extreme Couponing.

I am not sure when coupon became a verb.  But since TLC says it's so, everyone now thinks it's a sport.  A way of life.  Seriously.  Have you seen this show?

These people, mostly women, have actual grocery stores in their houses.   One woman and her daughter joked that though the kids have moved out, they frequently visit her storage room to stock up.   I've watched the show twice and both times, it's been similar.

Usually, it starts with the women having a large family and they have to save money.  But then they get out of control.  Their life becomes the search for the ultimate coupon experience.  Shopping is now a job.   They talk about losing sleep over the next day's shopping trip.

Some get the whole family involved.  They line up their 7 kids and cut, cut, cut.  They say it's a learning experience.

They work out deals with the newspaper delivery people to give them all of the Sunday leftovers so they can have the coupons.

They buy from other people who hoard coupons and get boxes and boxes full of coupons.

They spend 4-6 hours PER DAY online getting deals.

They buy PURE CRAP for the sake of saving money.

They use spreadsheets and plot their shopping journey and then recruit friends or family to help push the overflowing carts.

They call ahead to the store to let them know they are coming with tons of coupons and it takes like 3 hours to check out.

And then they go home and they reveal to the viewer where they stash it all.

The virgin couponers have no clue.  They didn't build their houses with a room dedicated to supplies, so they are forced to store everything under beds, in kids' closets, in their garages, anywhere they can.  Gallons of bleach in the toddler's closet?  No biggie, it was free!  Blue toilet bowl thinggies to last a lifetime stored next to cereal?  Who cares if the smell of public restrooms oozes from every pore- we saved MOULA!

The experts, the "professional couponers" shall we say, have actual rooms devoted to their sickness.  They show the viewer their special shelves that they bought (they never tell us how they swung a deal on those...) that are like the soup shelves at the grocery where you put a new can in and it pushes the old one to the front so you always rotate your stock.  This is the language they use.  They "rotate stock".  Just like Angelo's, the A&P, Stop and Shop, Kroger, Plublix, what have you.

They have a whole bedroom or garage just for their scores.  Tubs and tubs of products.  Shelves to the ceiling filled with stuff.  Cabinets filled to the brim.

I keep thinking, if you didn't have a house big enough to give you a whole room devoted to your sickness, would you even need to save the money in the first place?

Now, being a little money savvy myself, I am slightly intrigued by all of this, until I see what they buy.  You'll notice I didn't mention that in their special grocery store rooms they don't have any refrigerators.  It's not lettuce and milk they are stocking up on

These growing families are scoring free..... Candy bars.  Canned foods.  Ramen noodles.  Products I wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole.  I'm not sure when I last needed 50 free Snickers bars.  Or 150 packets of rice.  Or one can of air freshener let alone 30.

I said it's a sickness, a few lines back and I firmly believe it is.  What starts as excitement over saving a few dollars becomes a true illness.  These women are hoarding.  And they are using up precious time in their lives to score the next free shopping trip.  This is no different from any other obsession.  If they were drinking 4-6 hours a day, we'd get them treatment. If they were hoarding mail and trash, we'd have an intervention.

Instead, we glorify their savings. They are hoarding toilet paper and Huggies and we think that's fine.   TLC shows us their special rooms and systems.  They make us think we too could save all that money at the grocery store and have a year's worth of food and supplies at our finger tips.  We just need to quit our jobs, get a computer and sit for hours a day searching and clipping.

In the 2nd episode I watched, the woman told us how some food pantries and animal shelters had contacted her for free food so this shopping trip was for them.  Yes, how nice it is that she's using her illness to buy things for free for hungry people and animals.  But this is where I know it's a sickness.  If she just liked saving money and wanted to help her family, it would be one thing.  But to be known in town as the woman who has so many coupons she can get anything for free and then to go and enjoy getting 400 boxes of cat food- it's not right.  Yes, she's doing a good thing and isn't hoarding it all for herself, but--- really?

I recently had a very exciting money saving moment that made me think I might be just one step away from what got these women started on this slippery slope.

I use my Discover card for EVERYTHING and instead of taking the cash back, I use my points for gift cards.  The gift card redemption process usually takes 20 points and gives you a $25 gift card somewhere and sometimes even better than that.  They make great gifts and cost me- NOTHING.

Recently, I have also started to use  You go through them to buy things online and you get percentages back.  Really.  I tried it and it worked, so I am hooked.

K-ster needed shorts, so I went to ebates and then to because that's where I got them last year.  However, last year, I swear I bought every pair they had, so I had no hope.  This year, they had them again but they were $14.99 instead of 20something99.  Add to that that Sears was giving a percentage off if you spent $50, I saved a lot.  And then I used my $50 Sears gift card that I got through Discover for 40 of my points.  And I redeemed some of my Sears points that I had for swiping my key tag that I didn't think did anything.  And guess what- I paid 71 cents for many pairs of shorts.  But it gets better- I get $2 in ebate money back.  So ummmm, I made money from this deal.

It is a great feeling to know I didn't spend money and actually earned it back.  And I know this is how those Extreme Couponers feel because they will brag about spending nothing and now the store owes THEM money.  But I did this mostly by accident.  I didn't know was doing a deal.  I did know that I had the gift card, but I did not know I actually had points from my keytag swipes. 

Like anyone, I do LOVE to save money.   Primrose Jim probably thinks I can't wait to be an extreme couponer because he's always telling me I am so cheap.  I get a little thrill when I save crazy amounts of money.  Who doesn't?  You feel like you've tricked THE MAN.

But I draw the line at spending hours upon hours trying to save money on dog treats when I don't have a dog.  Or enough toilet bowl cleaner to last me a lifetime and then some, when I try to use safer cleaner products.  Or 50 Snickers bars.  I just can't get past that one, can I?

You know that this very act is what will make manufacturers stop  giving out coupons.  You're all just spoiling it for yourselves.

I can't wait for the next TLC reality show- the show about what happens when your 1500 boxes of cereal become infested with mealy bugs.

Or when you open your jar of spaghetti sauce that you bought for free in 2008 and it gives everyone bochulism.

Yep, can't wait for that show.