Monday, November 23, 2009

When is enough enough?

When I was in my 20s (and even in my early 30s), my dad and I started a tradition of doing the Black Friday shopping at the crack of dawn. I have to admit that despite not being a morning person, it was fun. Dad and I don't really have a lot of activities together, so it was nice that we had found one. We'd be up and at'em EARLY in the morning. We'd scour the flyers Thanksgiving day after we'd stuffed ourselves with turkey. We'd plan our route and be in line at the stores around 5:45. We were ready for the 6 AM open. By the time everyone else was up and starting their day, we were already back home. Mom would usually have breakfast ready (she's the best) and by 11:00 AM we'd each be ready to stake out a couch and settle in for a nap.

Ahhh, good times. {sigh}

Those days of a sane(ish) shopping hour are obviously behind us. While watching TV tonight, I saw that several stores will be opening their doors on Black Friday at 4:00 AM.

I'll wait while that sinks in.



That's not even borderline. That's full-fledged, transfer-my-citizenship....crazy! Maybe it's consumerism gone horribly awry. Maybe the stores are in a panic because they think the economy is in the crapper. Whatever it is, let's take some advice from Susan Powter and STOP THE INSANITY!

Because I can't say it any better...I simply share....

Check out this post. It's hilarious.

Unless you like Sarah Palin.

Although if you do, you probably stopped reading my blog a long time ago.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Perhaps I have some anger issues

"What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say."

I have the Franklin Covey "Simplicity" refill for my daily planner and this was today's quote. Oh, how appropriate it is!

Before I tell you why I wanted to throttle someone last night, I think a little background information is on order.

First of all, if you know me, you will probably agree that most of the time I am not one to lash out at others unexpectedly or without due cause. Secondly, I bowl every Wednesday night except during the summer. I have been doing this for about 7 or 8 years with the same group of people and most of the time I thoroughly enjoy it. Third, just about every week one or more of us orders food from the bowling alley's cafe. They serve your standard fare from pizza to burgers, hotdogs and even salads. The problem is that in the past we've had some problems with their technology and service. They used to have touch screen kiosks where you could order your food and they would bring it out to you. Unfortunately they haven't been maintained properly and are so old that they can no longer get replacement parts for them. Consequently this year they've started distributing blank order forms for us to fill out and give to the food runner (most of the time a teenage boy or girl). Okay, they have had some technological issues and are trying to find a work-around. Fine. There is also the problem that sometimes for those food runners, this is their first job and getting the meals to the customers in a timely manner is perhaps not their highest priority. Oh....and apparently teenage boys believe that if you have a pair of pants on, you don't need a napkin. Right? Right. These issues with the cafe have caused much consternation over the past few years since we feel like, as a bowling league, we are the bread and butter of the alley. They should be sure to make sure serving us is a top priority. I don't think we're asking too much of them.

My coming unglued last night revolves around the fact that different members of our team have different ways of dealing with our frustrations with the cafe. For instance, a few months ago, G asked to speak to the manager of the cafe hoping to resolve some of these issues. The first words out of her mouth when he came to find out what she wanted? "So, is your cafe in business to make money or just to piss people off?" Apparently she has never heard the phrase "you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." Needless to say, at that point the manager crossed his arms and his body language said he was no longer listening to a word she had to say.

Fast forward to last night. We were part way through the second of three games and hadn't seen the food runner even though they generally show up some time during the first game. One of the young men who works at the front counter came down to the lane next to us. Before he could even attend to his purpose for being down at the lanes, G starts in on him with (I'm paraphrasing), "Where is the waiter? He should have been here already....blah blah blah." The young man says he will send someone down right away. G's response is to not let up. She goes on and on about how ridiculous this is and that she wants to have another talk with the manager and to tell him that the lady who bowls on Wednesday nights who is always mad wants to have a word with him. (I'm SURE that sent him running....the other way!)

Meanwhile, I am hearing all of this and I'm starting to get mad. This kid didn't cause the problem, so why is she taking it out on him? For goodness sake, this young man doesn't even work in the cafe! I go up to bowl (and mess up because I'm getting angry). When I come back, the waiter that has been summoned arrives with menus and order forms in his hand. He sets them on the table and I proceed to fill out my order (this is seriously NOT rocket science and takes me no more than 30 seconds). G, on the other hand now begins to berate THIS kid. She's ranting at him because he's "obviously not been trained right". Then I guess that he asked her to fill out an order form so that he could get her order in. Her response was to say that if he wanted a tip, he would fill it out for her. His response was to simply stand there. (Oh! Did I mention that this is the first time I've seen this kid? So I'm guessing he's been at this job for less than 1 week.) She then said to him, "Do you want a tip? Well do you?" Still no response from him.

At this point I couldn't take it any longer. I was REALLLLLLYYY fuming about the way she was treating him. I stepped in and said, "Hey, G. How about we NOT berate the waiter has come to take our order and who just started for problems that 1) have been going on for years and 2) he has no control over?" She vehemently disagreed and said that she felt she was not wrong to blame him and that it was ridiculous for her to have to fill out the order form. While we were arguing, the kid turned on his heels and left. I called after him, but either he didn't hear me or he didn't want to hear me. So, I ran after him (with my completed order form) and asked if he would please take my order. He was very nice and polite and said that he would certainly take mine but that he WASN'T coming back to take HERS. I told him I certainly didn't blame him.

When I got back to the lane, our argument was obviously not over. We went back and forth with me being angry that this kid is being blamed for things beyond his control and G saying we would just have to agree to disagree. WTF? This is like blaming kids born in the 80s for the Cold War. It just seems unreasonable to me.

By then I was so mad that I once again messed up when it was my turn to bowl. When I had finished, I changed into my street shoes, excused myself and went outside to walk around for a few minutes and cool off. I felt like it was either that or punch G in the face. When I returned there was definitely tension in the air, but I think that was a better outcome than physical violence. Needless to say there were very few words exchanged between us for the rest of the night.

When I relayed the story to Troy later on, he said good for me and that obviously therapy was doing me some good. In the past, I probably would have not said anything and instead would have stewed about it for the next month. He says he thinks this is a better solution. I'm not so sure everyone else would agree. What about you?

An aside: Aren't you glad you asked, S?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


On this windy Wednesday morning, I am wondering "Why?"

* When you are waiting for an elevator and the button has already been pushed, why do some people insist on pushing it again?

* Why do I keep expecting people to change when they've continually shown they will not?

* Why does nothing rhyme with "orange"?

* Why can't we keep from doing those things that will harm us in the long run?

* Why am I afraid of mice when I know they won't really hurt me?

* Why didn't I realize a long time ago that I'm a grown woman and I don't have to lead the life prescribed by all the people who think they know everything?

* Why is saying "I love you" so hard? Why is it so gratifying when you do?

* Why do I do the thing I shouldn't and not do the thing I should?

Just a few of my random thoughts.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Container conundrum

I have a drinking problem. I admit it.... and admitting it is half the problem, right? Oh, mine is not a problem of excess drinking, however. Mine is a quandry I think few others encounter.

Somehow liquids in containers with small openings seem to multiply. Let me explain. We have a very nice perk at my company. We have a virtual smorgasboard of drinkable liquids at our disposal. Our choices of FREE beverages include: at least 15 types of coffees (complete with creamer and your choices of sweeteners), 3 types of hot tea, orange juice, lemonade and no less than 8 variations of sodas. It is an embarrassment of riches. Luckily I am usually able to contain myself to 1 coffee in the morning, 1 tea in the afternoon and usually a soda with my lunch.

At the end of the day, I clean out the mug that I use for the coffee/tea, so 90% of the time I finish the hot beverages that I take from the kitchen. Sometimes they are even still hot! However.......about 90% of the time, I don't finish the soda and end up dumping 1/3 - 1/2 of a can out the next day. I hate that. I hate being wasteful.

Recently, for some reason, I started pouring the soda into a cup (I think it was because the top of the can was icky one day). The result? I drank all of the soda! Holy cow! It's a miracle! Since then I've noticed that if I empty the can into a cup, I drink it all. If I don't, I don't.

Is this odd? Is it a case of out of sight, out of mind? Have I discovered some sort of connection to an untapped diet coke reservoir at the bottom of my can?

The world may never know....well unless you chime in and let me know what you think the answer is!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A follow-up to Halloween Part #2

The other day I talked about what a great time I had at Troy's family farm during our hayride and campfire. Thanks to Troy, I now know what the poem was that his mom recited from memory. It's "Little Orphant Annie" by James Whitcomb Riley:

LITTLE Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away,
An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep,
An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep;
An' all us other childern, when the supper-things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun
A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,
An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
Ef you

Wunst they wuz a little boy wouldn't say his prayers,--
An' when he went to bed at night, away up-stairs,
His Mammy heerd him holler, an' his Daddy heerd him bawl,
An' when they turn't the kivvers down, he wuzn't there at all!
An' they seeked him in the rafter-room, an' cubby-hole, an' press,
An' seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an' ever'-wheres, I guess;
But all they ever found wuz thist his pants an' roundabout:--
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you

An' one time a little girl 'ud allus laugh an' grin,
An' make fun of ever' one, an' all her blood-an'-kin;
An' wunst, when they was "company," an' ole folks wuz there,
She mocked 'em an' shocked 'em, an' said she didn't care!
An' thist as she kicked her heels, an' turn't to run an' hide,
They wuz two great big Black Things a-standin' by her side,
An' they snatched her through the ceilin' 'fore she knowed what she's about!
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you

An' little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue,
An' the lamp-wick sputters, an' the wind goes woo-oo!
An' you hear the crickets quit, an' the moon is gray,
An' the lightnin'-bugs in dew is all squenched away,--
You better mind yer parunts, an' yer teachurs fond an' dear,
An' churish them 'at loves you, an' dry the orphant's tear,
An' he'p the pore an' needy ones 'at clusters all about,
Er the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you

I'm definitely going to try to get "The Road Not Taken" memorized this weekend. I'll let you know how I do on Monday.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fabulous Friday Finds - Coupon(ing)

Ok, I'm sure I'm nearly the last person on Earth that doesn't do this, but I have discovered couponing. I'll wait while you stop rolling your eyes and laughing hysterically at me.

Don't worry. I have time.

Anyway, when I was in high school, my part-time job was as a cashier at a local grocery store. I wasn't running my own household at the time and sometimes would roll MY eyes when my mom would ask me if something, like hamburger, was on sale. What did I know? I was a teenage girl. Who has time to pay attention to those things when there are cute bag boys to flirt with? What I did sometimes pay attention to and notice were those women that came to my lane with their massive carts of groceries and saved a LOT of money when they used coupons. I used to wonder why everyone didn't use them!

Then I grew up, went to college, graduated and started making a little money. All of those coupon savings suddenly vanished out of my mind. I think I figured that grocery store coupons were really only good to use if you had a family to feed. No family = no need for coupons, right? Apparently wrong.

Lots of people have this couponing down to a science. Like the people at and (she even has a system you can use too!) I may not have the knowledge these women have built up, but I have something they DON'T have. I have a mom who works as the manager of the coupon department for a major grocery distributor. Sweet! One quick email to her and I had almost more information on the ins and out of coupons than I could have imagined.

So, over the next couple of months I'm gonna try out this coupon-clipping gig and set a goal for myself of spending no more than $75 a month on groceries. I'm hoping that includes all of the kitty/puppy food my little farm goes through. Wish me luck and let me know if you have any couponing strategies that work for you!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Halloween Recap #2

The fun fall activities continued the next day. Troy's oldest sister and her three kids were staying at the family's farm in southern Indiana for a few days, so we decided to take the opportunity to go down for the day and visit.

When I first started dating Troy (nearly 6 years ago! Oh my!), his nieces were just 4 and 10 months and his nephew was only 3. They've grown into adorable little people in the intervening time. I don't have any nieces or nephews of mine own and since I'm single, kids sometimes wear me out. That is certainly not the case with these three! I would be happy to claim them in an instant! In fact, a few months ago, Sophie and William, the two older kids, were being kind of mean to Annabelle, the youngest, and suggested that since the economy was kind of hard right now, perhaps they should sell her off to make ends meet. She was hurt, obviously, but I assured her that I would pay any price for the opportunity to take her!

We had a wonderful visit with them all. First, Troy's mom made us a lovely lunch when we arrived. I'm always amazed at how she can make it look so easy to throw together a meal for what seems to be an army! There are always lots of people showing up around meal times.

Then it was time for the kiddos to show me the new batch of kittens! It's a farm, of course, so there's ALWAYS a new batch of kittens to be tamed. Thankfully the kids are always willing to do their part. (Whether the kittens like it or not.) There were 5 or 6 in the litter and they had named them all. I'm happy to see them so willing to get attached to these frail creatures. I find myself not wanting to feel anything for them because they live outside on a farm where any number of things (disease, animals, etc) can snatch their little lives from them. Perhaps I'm too soft but the mere thought of that breaks my heart.

It was while we were in the hayloft checking out the kitties that William decided to share that he "had a secret". He wasn't allowed to say anything, but he knew what they were having for dinner. Let's just say it didn't take much prying from his two sisters for him to reveal that we were all going to go for a hayride and have hotdogs over an open fire. There were shouts of "yeah!" all around.

When Troy's youngest sister and her husband had loaded all of the provisions on the trunk and the wagon with bales of straw, we set out for a big area on their farm that they use for such occasions. The kids, Troy, his mom and oldest sister all bundled up for the ride. Thankfully Troy is a real boyscout and brought along an extra hat, gloves and coat for yours truly. I may be a lot of things, but sometimes prepared for the weather is not one of them. I would have been miserable if it were for him thinking ahead. Thanks, Troy!

An additional passenger on our hayride was Miss Sasha (Fierce) herself! Now, you didn't think I had actually left the adorable bundle of fur at home, did you? This was her first hayride adventure and I think she handled herself VERY well. She got into the wagon (aided by a sizable boost from Troy) and simply laid at our feet while we rode along. She even did really well with the kids. Being kids, they wanted to pet her in their little kid way. She just laid there and let them have at it. I'd say that's a major accomplishment since kids are generally the focus of her barking.

Once we arrived at the site, we set out the camp food and got to cooking over the open fire. We enjoyed hotdogs and brats with all the fixin's. William thought it was an especially good dinner since he said, "Yea! No vegetables!" It got even better when the s'mores stuff made an appearance. Yum! With the exception of one marshmallow that accidentally leapt to its death off of my stick and one marshmallow that was nearly turned into mallow napalm, the fireside dessert was definitely a hit!

As the sun set, Troy's family took turns singing songs and reciting poems from memory. I know it probably sounds a bit cheesy, but it was actually really nice. These aren't things that my family (extended or otherwise) would EVER think of doing. It really made me wish I had already completed #38 (Memorize Robert Frost's "The Road Less Traveled").

I wish I could remember the poem that Troy's mom shared with us. I'll look it up and get back to you. ;-)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween Recap #1

I have a new affinity for Halloween. Growing up we didn't really get to trick-or-treat for too many years. I think it was a combination of the whole tainted Tylenol scare and the fact that my mother was COMPLETELY overprotective. (Of course, if I had kids I'd hope not to be the same way, but since I take my DOG to daycare, I think there's little chance that I wouldn't be a worry-wart as well. I digress.)

Oh, we had kids come to our house all dressed in their costumes asking for candy and Mom once threw a pretty great Halloween party complete with treat bags, bobbing for apples and an amazingly scare maze all set up in the garage. To this day, several of my friends still say that that is one of their most vivid memories of their childhoods. (Sadly, that year I was supposed to be a ballerina - the secret dream of little fat girls everywhere - but my mom was so busy with preparations for the party that I attended wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Hmm...some pink tulle and tights. Doesn't seem that difficult. I'm still discussing that one in therapy. Again, I digress.)

My parents live in the suburbs - the home of front porches that consist of a huge garage door - so they didn't really do much decorating for the holiday and the trick-or-treating time consisted of opening the door whenever kids rang the bell. I had no idea that it could be any different.

That was until I moved into my house. I moved in at the end of September and that first Halloween I made the mistake of going away for the evening. I didn't even have a pumpkin out as decoration. I did remember to turn off my light so at least the ire of my neighbors wasn't taken out on my house. The next day I received a "talking to" from the family next door. Apparently in my neighborhood, Halloween can be a big deal. Up and down the street most everyone sits out on the front porch to greet the ghouls and goblins. Many people even have little fires in chimneas. It is very cozy and a great way to really become a part of the neighborhood. It has really become one of my favorite holidays for this very reason.

This year I decided to really get in the spirit. For a very long time I was a real humbug about decorating because I am the only one to put it all up. Then I am the only one to take it all down. And for a while, as far as Christmas decorations went, I was the only one to see them. I thought that was a lot of work to do and I didn't really see the reward in it. This year (aided by Wellbutrin) I decorated with a huge straw bale (courtesy of Troy's family's farm. Thanks to them!), several little gourds, Halloween votive holders and (for the second time ever, I believe) I carved two pumpkins. I think they turned out pretty well for being an amateur.

This year I also made a rule that I wasn't going to give out candy to "kids" I thought had probably driven themselves there and could possibly hold down a job. I know. I'm a fuddy-duddy. What can I say? But we have the problem A LOT in my neighborhood. However, I changed my tune when these three young men showed up in their spotless suits, ties and gangsta' hats. They offered me "protection" in return for some candy. The tallest one then opened a briefcase for me to deposit the candy into. It was hilarious! It also turns out that they are 8TH GRADERS from a local catholic school. One of them was 6'3"!! What are they feeding those kids?!?!?


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