"Hey, we've got all this juice left that's not good enough for our primo wines, what should we do?"
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
"Hey, we've got all this juice left that's not good enough for our primo wines, what should we do?"
All this madness started last week. I worked from home three of the four days for various reasons. And got SO much done. And it was SO stress-free. Then I went into work on Thursday and realized that I just don't fit in the corporate environment.* I got nothing done and was stressed the entire time.
So I drafted my resignation letter, to make me feel better. I thought it would be 'cleansing'. I got to the 'last day is...' part and had to enter some dates. I realized that if I put Monday's date in, two weeks would end on 12/31. The last day of the year. I'm a sucker for closure, so that clinched it...the letter would be sent on Monday.
Do I have another job? No. It's been a lifelong goal of mine to start my own business. I've actually started (and killed) about three so far...with one still limping along. It's time to get serious about this and make it happen. I'm consider this my retirement from Corporate America. I don't intend to look back.
What kind of business? No idea. And not for lack of ideas. No sirree...I've got tons of ideas. Great ones...goofy ones.... But with that annoying full-time job thing, there's just no time for focusing on market viability, sales forecasting and branding strategies, so part of my first steps will be whittling down the many ideas into the chosen few. Kinda like American Idol for business ideas.
Want a look into Goofy's mind? Okay, you asked for it! Here's an excerpt from The Notebook of Goofy Ideas. In no particular order...
- Pet Bling (who says Fifi can only have one dog tag? give her several, made of sterling silver, with sayings like "Sexy Bitch" or "Hot Dog")
- Glow in the dark keyboard (for those late-night surfing sessions)
- Customized band-aids (put Mommy's loving face on that ouchie!)
- Vitamin attachment for the kitchen sink (why not get some good vitamins with every glass of water you drink?)
So there's four of the many goofy ideas that pour through my brain on a daily basis. Will I actually make one of these ideas profitable? Will I come up with something else? Or will I tweak something already around to make it mine?
Stay tuned for Goofy's Next Big Thing...
*Mr. Goofy is laughing his ass off at this. He's known this for years. But I'm slow sometimes.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
I bought it based on the clever name (39 degrees is the latitude of the vineyard), the visually-appealing label and the region the wine was from (Sonoma County, CA). I bought this wine from a neighborhood liquor store, not a specialty wine store, so that I would be reviewing something that my readers might actually be able to find themselves.
Sight: a beautiful, deep ruby color – very opaque.
Since I was starving and had fixed Goofy Junior a grilled cheese, the first pairing was with Grilled Cheese (this blog is just OOZING with culture, yes?). The wine went well with the cheese, although some berrylicious flavor was drowned out because of the fried-ness of the sandwich. Probably not the best pairing! India Pale Ale would be a better choice.
For the OFFICIAL pairing, I matched this wine with:
-A Big-Ass Steak*
-Wild Mushroom Risotto**
This wine stood up nicely to the steak. I typically pair a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Zinfandel with steak, but this Petite Sirah definitely held its own against a lot of strong bovine goodness.
Overall this wine was super-duper drinkable, with or without food. It got dryer the more I drank - which was two glasses before dinner was served. Ahem.
Mr. Goofy's 2 Cents…
Mr. G. didn’t get much of a nose from the wine, but thought the taste was “smoky” and he tasted “anise” (that black licorice flavor). He guessed a price point of $12 – 14. (actual retail price was….$11.99, so he was spot on). He liked the slight “tannicity” (a word that he created to reflect the tannin content of the wine).
Close Your Eyes and Imagine: Having a bite of strawberry shortcake while smelling a fine cigar being smoked nearby.
*For picture purposes we put the whole steak, in all its big-assedness on one plate, but in reality, we split it.
**Archer Farms brand (from Target). I must confess... They make great store brand stuff and we had just visited Target that afternoon.
Friday, December 07, 2007
Our agency knows we have been waiting and approached us with another option. We could pursue an "independent adoption". We would work with our agency here, but when we get to the region in Russia , we would work with a contractor. Since independent adoptions are still okay in Russia , we could make both trips and be back with our son, possibly even before our agency gets accredited.
Our agency approached us with this "independent adoption" option for a particular region that is new to them. We had originally requested to travel to the same region as we did with Alex ( Kaliningrad ). The new region actually has a child awaiting adoption, although we have very few facts about this child. We do know that they have asked us to be open to an older child (up to 3 years old). We had originally requested a younger child (18 months or less), so this was something we really had to stop and consider. The challenge with an older child is that if they've been in the orphanage for a long time, they are more likely to have developmental and psychological delays. Also, a 3-year-old will have some Russian language, so we would have to dust off our Russian language books and get cracking!
In the end, we agreed to this new approach. Alex will be 5 in April (they really do grow up so fast!), so a 3-year-old will still be a little brother for him. The new region looks interesting and is really quite bustling, compared to Kaliningrad .
Travel to this region will be a true adventure. From talking to a family that recently went there, it went like this: Fly to Moscow (11 hours); Rest in hotel (4 hours); Travel by overnight train to new region (13 hours); Freshen-up time (20 minutes); Travel by car to orphanage (3 hours). Talk about planes, trains and automobiles! In the 6 days that this family was in Russia , they only stayed hotels for 2 nights.
We have submitted our paperwork for this region. There is a strong possibility that we could end up traveling in December. And (silly us!) we thought we might get to experience spring or summer in Russia this time, instead of winter again.
We will update everyone when we get the call to travel. Until then, send some good thoughts our way as we embark on our journey into a new part of the world, for a new adventure, for the newest addition to our family.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
My job was to walk around with a shopper to inform them about each department and how many items they could have from each. This was based on family size.
My first shopper was pretty uneventful. She went through each section and made her choices, taking about 45 minutes, then thanked me at the end.
My second shopper was a nice, middle-aged, heavy-set lady in a wheelchair. As we started shopping, she informed me that it was so great that they had allowed her to shop for her adult children, since this was her last Christmas. When I looked confused about what she meant, her face (and tear-filled eyes) said it all. Her LAST Christmas. As in, she will NOT BE AROUND next year.
I quickly recovered and told her, "Well then we are going to make this a great shopping trip for you!". We took our time perusing can labels and boxes of food. She told me that she was diabetic and has had many, many surgeries, so diet was pretty critical. We took our time picking clothes - checking sizes and colors. She spent a long time selecting shampoo and soap. When we got to the adult gifts, she found a tray table and got very excited. She said that she eats a lot of her meals in bed and this was just what she needed. I think she actually clapped with joy...over a tray table.
After two hours of shopping (she really did have a great time), she gave me a big hug (again with the tear-filled eyes) and told me what a blessing it was to have been invited to come shopping - that this had made her holidays special.
I walked away with a new perspective on things. I know I SHOULD be thankful for all that I have. I know that I SHOULD be thankful for my health and well-being. I know that I SHOULD be thankful for a support system of family and friends that I could turn to if needed.
And now I AM thankful. And this, dear readers, is what I think the holidays are really about.
Monday, December 03, 2007
Every year my nieces plot to stump me in my Christmas buying plans for them.
Well, okay, they probably don't actually PLOT to stump me, but it's typically challenging to find the items on their list. But..it's a fun challenge. And I usually succeed. *
Ahem. Except for this year. Not one, but BOTH nieces have "must have"s on their list that must be on every friggin' teenager's list, because they are either NOWHERE TO BE FOUND or WAY TOO EXPENSIVE.
Exhibit A: Cute horse tote. It's cute, no? But ah-ha! It's pink. She does not want pink. ARG..PINK! NO PINK! NO. BAD. PINK, BAD!!! Must have BLUE. There is one place where I find BLUE. eBay. Which should be good, but it's not, because the blue is RARE (read: EXPENSIVE). This little cotton tote in BLUE is 61 bucks. Love ya sweetie, but suck it up, yer gettin' PINK.
Exhibit B: Scene It? Pirates of the Caribbean Game. I like the "Pirates" movies, but really don't see the need to memorize enough to play a trivia game with that knowlege. But, silly me..I'm in the minority on this because THIS GAME IS SOLD OUT EVERYWHERE! I should have known when I found it right away, for a reasonable $29.99, with free shipping. Just WTF does "Temporarily Not Available Online" mean? Should I check the stores? Of course, I cannot check store inventory online.** My good ole faithful (EBAY) has the game, for a mere $54 + $9 shipping. Gah! I'm stalking eBay like a fiend for this game, but niece #2 might have to settle for the Jack Sparrow action figure. No wait...I want that.
Whatever happened to Barbies? Oh yeah, this happened.
*eBay usually saves my ass every year. Love ya eBay, my sweet!
** When will stores figure out that we DO NOT want to set foot in them from 11/23 - 1/1?! We want to sit at home with our hot cocoa and shop at midnight from our laptop. Duh. First one to figure this out WINS.
Friday, November 30, 2007
8 passions in my life:
- Mr. Goofy
- Goofy Junior
- Experiencing New Things
- Helping Others experience/learn new things
8 things to do before I die:
- Drive a Nascar
- Travel to New Zealand
- Get a pedicure
- Travel to Mount Everest Basecamp (Cagey- let's go!)
- Visit the Pyramids
- Own a motorcycle (or at least a 50-mph scooter)
- Drink wine in Tuscany
8 things I often say:
- You've got to be kidding!
- Holy Moley!
- Darn it! (Have had to tame down my potty mouth)
8 books I read recently:
- The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans
- Blaze by Stephen King
- The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
- Microtrends by Mark J. Penn
- Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity: GET OUT THE SHOVEL -- WHY EVERYTHING YOU KNOW IS WRONG by John Stossel
- Nature Girl by Carl Hiaasen (for a book club)
- The five dysfunctions of a team: [a leadership fable] by Lencioni, Patrick
- The Hummer and the Mini: Navigating the Contradictions of the New Trend Landscape by Robyn Waters
8 songs that mean something to me:
- "Rosanna" by Toto (song that was playing when I met Mr. Goofy 25 years ago - yikes!)
- "Release Me" by Pearl Jam (makes me shiver)
- "Every Step of the Way" by Steve Walsh
- "Hunger Strike" by Temple of the Dog
- "4 out of 5" by Soul Coughing
- "She's a Rebel" by Green Day
- "Dancing by Myself" by Bill Idol
- "Jaded" by Green Day
Thursday, November 15, 2007
$ 5 Ingredients for Cornbread Stuffing
$ 6 Potatoes for Mashing
$ 5 Ingredients for Green Bean Casserole
$ 5 Dinner Rolls
$ 7 Ingredients for Pumpkin Pie
$ 7 Ingredients for Apple Pie
$ 10 Miscellaneous: Butter, Cranberry, Cool Whip, Gravy, etc.
NOTE: This does NOT include the TIME spent thawing, preparing, mixing, stuffing, buttering, cooking, baking, slicing, whipping and....cleaning up. Groan.
Option 2 - Go out for Thanksgiving dinner to a Restaurant that:
- won the Best Overall Restaurant in KC in 2006
- is located on the Country Club Plaza, which is famous for turning on their obscenely huge array of Christmas Lights on Thanksgiving night
- serves the full-blown traditional turkey dinner (including dessert), all-you-can-eat, for $20 per person
- did I mention that kids eat free?
- or that Goofy Junior LOVES Christmas Lights?
This year we are choosing Option 2*. We have reservations at 6:30pm. The Plaza Lights go on at 6:45pm.
No cooking, no cleaning - just eating, drinking and getting in the merry spirit of the holidays.
So...Lazy or Smart?
I say BOTH.
*My mom-in-law's quote was "Boy, we are getting smarter in our old age, aren't we?" so I think she's down with it.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Heard of the One Laptop Per Child initiative? (if not, check out the link in that last sentence, 'cause I can't do it justice) Coming up this Monday, November 12th, there is a special promotion called "Give One Get One". This is pure marketing genius, IMHO.
Donate $399 to give the gift of education (via a laptop sent to a child in a developing country) and also get a laptop for your child. Two laptops for 400 bucks!?!? That's a good deal in my book.
You get to feel good that you did something for a child you don't know AND you get to feel good that you did something for a child you do know. That's pure double-delicious coolness in my book.
And the laptops are space-age super-cool looking. They are mostly bright green with two antennae poking up from the monitor like ears. They even have a handle. Why doesn't my laptop have a handle? Oh yeah, then the laptop bag makers wouldn't have anything to sell me.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
I came home last night from working all day, playing Craps at the casino, and sitting down to a nice dinner (it was Mr. Goofy's bday). I grabbed our dog Murphy to take her for a short walk before going to bed.
I was about 3 minutes down the street when I realized...I don't feel any pain. This is HUGE. As most of you know (from all my bitchin' in this here blog), I have been having chronic lower back pain (left side if you're keeping score at home), ever since we adopted our son*...going on 2 1/2 years now.
I almost stopped and sat down, just to keep from ruining the feeling. But I kept walking. Down the street. No pain. No back pain. No hip pain. No groin pain. (yep the whole kit n' kaboodle on the left side hurts normally). All the way down the block and back. I almost screamed for joy.
The only thing I've been doing differently is the acupuncture. And I've only been twice. And I haven't been since last Saturday.
So, dear readers, it seems that my meridian was INDEED blocked. Damn meridian. And the needles are INDEED un-blocking them. Love those needles! Rather quickly, I might add.
It's early to get too excited. I did have some pain and stiffness this morning. But much less than normal. But I'm optimistic. Crazy as it might sound, eastern medicine might just be onto something. At least for me.
Stay tuned. I might be leaping tall buildings again soon. Whee!
*He's not a chubby child, it's just that I didn't have the normal 9-month 'ramp-up' time to get my body used to carrying that weight in front of me. No training whatsoever, then deadlifting 17+ pounds of wiggly child twelve+ times a day will do a number on your back, my friends.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
How can I Halloween-ize some veggies to make them fun for a 4-year-old party?
I thought about carving baby carrots into tiny pumpkins and well, that's just ridiculous. I thought about modifying Cagey's Ghosts in the Graveyard dessert for veggies, but what would the 'dirt' be? You don't really dip veggies into anything brown, typically. EW.
Who's got a good creative idea that I can try? With limited time commitment please!
Friday, October 12, 2007
I've got a notebook that I keep with me 24/7 and when I think of something promising ("just feed the tuna fish mayonaise"*) I write it down. I've gotten quite a few wacky ideas, but nothing really promising yet.
However, I recently came up with a pretty interesting idea that I think could actually work. But it's just not an idea that I would like to do. You know how you're supposed to have that passion for your business? Well, this idea gives me no passion. But it might work for someone else, so I'm sharing it.
Here it is: (please forgive the long-windedness as I describe how I got to the idea)
You know those Build-a-Bear stores in the mall, where you go in and pick the bear body, pick the stuffing, pick add-ons like collars and nametags, pick a name, and then they put the damn thing together for you? And pay an average of $32 for the privilege? This company makes a cool $318.1 million in revenue** for providing the materials for customers to come in and basically make their own stuffed animals.
There's also Papa Murphy's Pizza, which follows the same general idea, but they provide all the fresh ingredients for you to create your own pizza, which you then take home and "finish" (by baking). Hey, I just made my family a home-made pizza. Yeah, sure you did. But I'll bet you felt better bringing that home than a cold-by-the-time-it-hits-the-dinner-table Pizza Hut pizza!
Part of the attraction of these two businesses is that, when you go there, you are "doing it yourself" - it's "homemade", so it must be better, right? You can also personalize the products, so you walk away with the exact thing you are looking for, and don't have to settle for whatever was in stock.
Then there is the trend towards Old Fashioned Hobbies. I've noticed this trend over the past few years. I've never known so many women who sew and knit! ***
So how about a store where you could go to make your own, custom-made, high-quality kids' clothes? There would be some pre-made parts (think Build-a-Bear here), like sleeves, collars and bodices. And you could combine colors, fabrics, etc. to make your own creation. Want a blue dress with a lace collar, gold trim and puffy sleeves? Done. How about a green shirt with long sleeves, cute buttons and a satin collar? Done.
This would be different than going to a fabric store, just like buying a Papa Murphy's Pizza is different than making a pizza from scratch - the product is already "half-made" rather than requiring "totally from scratch" work (and time).
I think this idea would work best for baby/toddler/kindergartener clothes, just to limit the sizes that you'd have to carry in inventory.
Stealing from the Bear stores and the Social Suppers-type stores, you could hold parties with friends to make clothes for your kids.
I'll bet you could charge $30-40 for a custom-made dress that the customer "made themselves". This wouldn't be a discount play, this would be a customized product play, and I think folks would dig it.
Disclaimer: I have totally not checked to see if anyone is doing this business already. Not that this would stop someone else from doing...I'm just sayin'...
So, there you go. Someone go do this idea and make a bunch of money. Then buy me lunch. I love lunch. :-)
* quote totally stolen from the movie, Night Shift, 1982
** I'd totally be happy with the .1 by itself!
*** This trend totally missed me...I'm lucky to get a button back on when they fall off!
Thursday, October 11, 2007
After almost three years of lower back pain, I've decided to give up on western medicine and turn to eastern medicine. Acupuncture in particular.
I have avoided this until now because I'm a little freaked out by it. Overall, I'm very open-minded. I'll try anything once. But when it came to long needles being shoved into my bod, my mind closed. Just a bit. But just for a little while.
I finally got to the breaking point since my latest (and best) chiropractor is leaving for Colorado to start a practice with his wife. Bastard for leaving. Bastard for leaving for Colorado. I met his replacement this week and I'm just not sure how long I'll be seeing him.
Anyway, I went for acupuncture last Friday. I got two good referrals and chose the one that was obviously a Chinese woman (from her name and accent on the phone) and the fact that she had been a doctor in China. I figured she's probably smarter than the average bear, so I gave her a try.
Our consultation began with the typical forms. Where does it hurt? What else is wrong with you? How long? Family history? Mark on the stick man where your pain is. Blah, blah, blah.
Then it diverged. We talked about my pain history and somehow got on the topic of bowel movements. Lots of details were required. Lots of questions: size, shape, frequency, consistency. TMI for this post, thankfully. Then she got out a little blue satin pillow and had me rest my wrists on it, one at a time, underside-up. She made motions like she was taking my pulse, but she poked and prodded a bit more than was was needed for a simple pulse.
After this, she told me she understood my "health condition". It seems that I have a blocked meridian right where the pain is. I also have a weak spleen and a weak liver. (oops, too many margaritas!) Acupuncture could help me. I am to go through 5 treatments and take Chinese herbs. Was I up for this? Er, sure. Why not?
I changed into the obligatory Velcro-in-back hospital gown and rested face-down on a padded table. She rubbed alcohol on seemingly random spots from my mid-back to my ankle, about seven in total. Then the needles. EEK! The needles. Yoga breath...yoga breath...WHERE IS MY YOGA BREATH? Ah...there it is. But, I really didn't need it. I only felt ONE needle. Of course, it was the one that went into where my pain is located - left-side, lower back.
Then she gave me a walkie-talkie (in case I decided to freak out) and left for 20 minutes.
Okay, so anyone who knows me knows what I did next. What did I do? Do you know?
Of course. I looked. Which is not easy to do when you are face-down and the needles on in your backside. I looked and I saw....
TINY! They were TINY! Maybe 2 inches long! For some reason, I was expecting sharp, foot-long, metal needles, waving in the breeze from my poor, tender leg-flesh. But these looked, well, just silly. They weren't even metal, they were white plastic. They looked like those plastic toothpicks that you can buy at Walgreen's. Hell, maybe they were.
Assured that I wasn't too much of a shish-kabob, I settled in a fell fast asleep. Hey, you put me face-down, I fall sleep.
I woke up when she came back. She took them out, pop, pop, pop, and helped me up. I got my herbs* and headed out.
So how do I feel? I feel the same. But I'll try a few more times before I give up. I'm goofy that way.
*Obviously, the mix of herbs was an "ancient Chinese secret". I asked her several times and all she would say is that it was special mix, made especially for me, of 12 different herbs. All legal, darn it.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
We went to that mecca of all things homely, er, I mean, home-y: Nebraska Furniture Mart (imagine a booming echo while saying those 3 words)
We had done some research on the Tempur-Pedic beds, and wanted to check one of those out. FYI - it's really, really hard to determine the differences between mattresses on the web. They are just one of those things you have to go SEE. And I wasn't sure if I would like the memory foam stuff - that seemed kind of hot and weird to me.
Anyway, I had a few of the "lower" priced Tempur-Pedic (TP) beds marked to check out. Please notice the quotes around "lower"...these beds range from $1500 - $7000. Yowsa!
We first practice-slept on some 'regular' beds, in order to get a baseline. Control freak much? Yeah, I know. Shut up.
Then we got onto a lower-end TP bed. Hmmm....not so bad. They actually feel like a waterbed filled with gel.
The salesdude walked over to check on us. We shooed him away. Not ready yet.
Then we tried the middle-range bed (the "Rhapsody" if you're keeping score at home). Wow. Yes, I think we actually said, "Wow". It felt good. Firm, but not rigid. Soft but not smooshy.
Again, I'm channelling that Goldilocks vibe here...
Salesdude was back. Said lots of great things about the bed. We asked some questions. He gave some answers.
We actually liked the TP pillows too. Uh-oh...my mind started tallying up the prices. The pillows are a hefty $100+ each! But my back told my mind to shut the f&*#% up.
It could be delivered the next day. The next day was Friday. I was off and would be at home. There was no excuse not to, so we bought the bed.
Ka-ching! Let's just say we could have bought about 3 'regular' beds with the money we spent.
Yeah, Dave Ramsey would be horrified. Whatever.
A couple notes about these types of beds:
1. When you get them home, the memory foam stuff gives off a chemical odor for about 3 days. Opening the windows and turning on a fan helps. It's not super bad, but it was a very weird smell. The salesdude warned us, luckily, or we might have freaked.
2. You have to "break-in" the mattress. Minds out of the gutter, please! Ahem. We had to get on the bed and walk around on it. Both of us. To music. Okay, that last part we improvised. And we had Alex walk on our pillows to break them in. That was Big Fun and he slept like a babe after all that exercise.
2a. If you get the pillows, you need to break them in to. We totally spaced this and had sore necks the first morning, because the pillows were like rocks. After break-in, they are much better.
3. You have to "break-in" your body to the mattress. I am used to tossing and turning all night long. With this mattress, you don't really need to do that. It's actually HARDER to toss and turn, since it's like the gel water bed. This took us about a week to get used to - and I'll be honest, we had some hard nights.
4. If you sleep "hot", you won't need a comforter anymore. I never thought I "slept hot", but after waking up feeling like I had a heating pad under me, I realized that I was cooking myself. The memory foam is denser than typical fabric, and you lay in place longer. Thus...burnt ends.
5. You will absolutely NOT KNOW if your sleeping partner gets up out of bed. This bed doesn't even flince when someone moves on it. I believe this is a good thing.
6. I AM a bit horrified at how much we spent, but you sleep 6-8 hours a day. About a third or fourth of your day is spent in bed, so why not be comfortable?
Sweet Dreams! ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ...
Monday, October 01, 2007
I've been happily recording and watching some of the fall premieres for the past two weeks. Here's what I like (and don't like so much):
Reaper - LOVE it. The dry, goofy humor DOES remind me of Buffy, as some critics have noted (a moment of silence for the Slayer, please). The main character is a perfect mix of goofy cuteness mixed with just outright dork. And his sidekick is Jack Black's twin. And the scary versus silly mix is just right.
DVR Status: DVR-Worthy!
Bionic Woman - Liked the first ep a LOT. I'm a closet Battlestar Galactica fan, so the fact that Starbuck is in this series was a pleasant surprise. I like the way they've 'spun' the story a little bit differently than the original. And I really like the actress that plays Jamie - she's very good.
DVR Status: DVR Worthy for now...will decide after next ep.
Chuck - I really WANTED to like Chuck, but I didn't so much. It wasn't nearly as funny as Reaper, and quite frankly I keep confusing the two. Both main characters work in a 'big box' store (a Best Buy-type store versus a Home Depot-type store), they both have sidekicks and they both have love interests way cuter than they would have in real life. Plus they both have new "roles" that they don't want (Reaper - working for the devil; Chuck - working for the CIA).
DVR Status: It's touch and go. This one may go bye-bye after this week.
Moonlight - ERROR! I recorded this last Friday and fired it up over the weekend to watch. I ended up with the end of a college football game instead. RATS!
DVR Status: Error. Will try again.
Journeyman - Caught this show tonight. Really, really liked it. I read that you have to have more than an 8th grade education to understand the show. This is true. And it's well worth having to pay close attention. Lots of potential for this show, if they don't get Quantum-Leap-goofy on us.
DVR status: This wasn't on my original list of shows to DVR, but it's been added!
Kitchen Nightmares - I saw the BBC version of this show and really liked it. But I haven't had the excitement to watch the American version. I might not have time. The BBC version was good, but I ended up feeling sorry for the restaurant owners as Gil cussed and berated them. He's definitely got the 'tough love' thing going on.
DVR Status: In danger of being deleted.
Dancing with the Stars - Okay, so it's not technically a premiere, since it's been on a few times before, but it's a guilty pleasure and I'm watching it. The must-see dancers are: The Cheetah Girl (sorry, don't know her name, nor what a 'cheetah girl' is, but she's damn fun to watch), and Helio, the racecard driver (goofy, but hot in a goofy way - excellent dancer!). Wayne Newton was a BIG disappointment - it's like watching your grandfather dance. Badly.
DVR status: This is a keeper.
Survivor: China - Again, not technically a premiere, but I've been a Survivor fan from the beginning and this season (two eps now) has got me hooked. Mark Burnett continues to change this show up each season so that it's still exciting and interesting to watch. This season has a host of very unique personalities.
DVR Status: It's there until the finale.
Is there anything I'm missing that I must see? Please don't recommend sitcoms or any show with a laugh-track. I just can't stomach those anymore.
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Add to this the need to greet sleepover guest with more than an air mattress and pump and the need for an upgrade is obvious.
First I did some Internet research. I was curious about the Sleep Number bed, mainly because I would prefer to sleep on a rock, while Mr. Goofy would prefer a featherbed. They don't advertise the PRICE of these crazy beds, which averages around $3000. Yow! Also, they are basically air matresses. And the reviews are really quite mixed. So we quickly nixec the SN bed.
Where to shop for a mattress? If it hadn't been Race Weekend, I would have headed to Nebraska Furniture Mart.* But I looked at the NFM ad anyway, to get some ideas of what options I had.
There was 'Deluxe Queen Pillowtop' for $399. And 'Deluxe Pillowtop' (Queen sized) for $649. The only diff appeared to be 'Deep Sleep' versus 'Beautyrest'. I'll take 'Deep Sleep' over 'Beautyrest' anytime, but that was the cheaper option. Too cheap?
Then there was Firm/Plush versus Plush/Firm. Excuse me, but isn't "Plush" the EXACT OPPOSITE of "Firm"?! And does order matter? Obviously so, because the "Plush first" was $200 more.
My head was spinning now. Visco foam? Visco/latex foam? These mattress marketing folks really like slashes, don't they? Pillowtop? Super pillowtop? Euro pillowtop (do I get an espresso with it?)? How much pillowtop does one need for a 'deep sleep'? How about for a 'beautyrest'?
I should have known better, but Mr. Goofy wanted to go visit a store. We chose Mattress Firm (get the clever pun? Groan.). An eager salesdude asked immediately greeted us and asked us about firmness. (This HAS to be an embarrassing job to have). We unaminously said "Firm". He proceeded to have us practice-sleep on a "firm" bed. Which was WAY softer than our existing bed.
"Firmer," we said, with visions of Goldilocks in our heads. We wanted Papa Bear's bed, not Mama Bear's!
He pointed the way to the back of the store. Do normal people sleep on beds with the consistency of Marshmallow Fluff? Were we freaks for wanting something firmer than pudding?
There were three beds that fit our Firmness demands: Simmons, Stearns & Foster, and Tempurpedic. The first bed was too poofy. The second bed was too giggly. The third bed was like laying on a wonderfully supportive cloud...but too f-ing expensive. I'm talking $6000. For that price it should do my laundry, walk the dog and make me breakfast, too.
So we practice-sleeped and practice-sleeped. And Goofy Junior jumped from bed to bed to bed to bed to bed...ad nauseum. It seemed that he was the only one having fun in Hell, er, I mean the Mattress Store.
We eventually escaped and I came home and layed on our current bed. And no, it's not a super pillowtop, visco/latex/plush/firm/euro/espresso-serving cloud. But it works. So it looks like the air mattress might be around for a little while longer. Until we get the energy to return to Hell and go mattress shopping again.
*Note to non-Kansas Citians: The NE Furn. Mart is in close vicinity to our NASCAR track. On race weekend, you can't get within a 10 minute radius without running into race-crazed crowds. Um, no thanks.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
I feel furious, hopeless and tired, all at the same time.
p.s. Maybe things will improve tomorrow. I'll write more then. Be happy that your day has to be going better than mine.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
p.s. You'll have to read the comments on the Freakonomics blog to see my decision.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
The client manager where I am currently working as a contractor asked for me to reduce my hours slightly, so she can adjust to a recent budget cut. I'm thrilled to death that there is still a place for me here, so I agreed. Her request was that I work 14 less days between Sept 1st and the end of the year. Now I love vacation as much as the next person does, but I don't have that much! Nor do I have the money to travel, nor do I have anyplace to go. What to do? What to do?
Then the Devil That Sits on My Left Shoulder (DTSoMLS) whispered in my ear, "Here's your chance...take Fridays off through the end of the year."
The Angel That Sits on My Right Shoulder (ATSoMRS) was horrified. "How will that look? They will think you are not taking your work seriously! And anyway, they would never let you do that!"
But, Me, being in the middle of this debate, thought it was an interesting idea. The client couldn't disagree - she had ASKED me to do this. The problem was lack of vacation days. Then the Devil spoke again.
"Ask to take the time off UNPAID."
Unpaid?!?! What the...!?!?!? Hmmmm... Wait a second. That's not a bad idea.
So...I gathered the data, prepared my case and ASKED.
And...be careful what you ask for. I got a "Yes"! I didn't even have to push much. Just a little.
And, as it turns out, I have quite a few vacation days left. How it's going to play out is that I'm going to use vacay days until they are gone, then the rest of the Fridays will be unpaid. This will add up to a whopping 2-3 days unpaid for the year. Big Whoop. 2-3 days multiplied by my daily pittance..er, income, in exchange for Fridays off for the rest of the year? Hey, sign me up!
So I signed up.
Now the Angel wouldn't let me get off easy. She insisted that, "you must accomplish one big thing each Friday that you are off." And I agreed that it was a good idea.
Then the Devil chimed in, "Oh yeah! Well she also needs to do one fun thing each Friday that she is off."
Then we all had a group hug and a big smile at what we had accomplished.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
Then Monday came.
Lunch was hard. No sandwiches....eek! No slice of pizza from Whole Foods (my favorite 'no brainer' lunch). And no Pei Wei (most dishes come with rice or noodles). I ended up going to Pei Wei anyway and getting Lettuce Wraps. Score!
Dinner was hard too. We ended up each having something different. I had a salad with some of the leftover chicken on top. Goofy Junior (who had a free pass from the experiment) had a PB&J sandwich. Mr. Goofy had soup.
Rinse and repeat.
Roundabout Thursday, as Mr. Goofy was falling asleep on the couch at 6:00pm and I was getting ready to yell at him for doing it, we realized...we live on Carbs. Very few items in our pantry are NOT carbs. In fact, we have a full shelf dedicated to pasta of every shape and size and pasta sauces. We have several types of bread. We typically have pizza once or twice a week, and Mexican at least once. We eat sandwiches quite a bit. And toast. And grilled cheese. We rarely eat just 'meat n' potatoes'. And veggies are an afterthought.
So the lack of our beloved carbs was:
(A) Making Mr. Goofy sleepy, and thus, crabby
(B) Making me bitchy
(C) Confusing the hell out of Goofy Junior
(D) Making my back feel better (something about glutens causing inflammation - my doc confirmed that this was a good experiment for me)
So, alas, Mr. Goofy withdrew from the experiment. I persisted, as I was not as tired and was actually starting to see some good results in the form of a weight I haven't seen in about 4 years. Since he wasn't crabby, I wasn't as bitchy (funny how that works). And we are both more aware now of how what you eat effects your mood.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
What would happen if I quit my job?
Hmmm....well, first of all FEAR. Yikes! No money coming in. But...I DID just get a bonus. And we still have some money left from the sale of our old house. I could survive on jelly sandwiches for a while (I don't like peanut butter). And if I couldn't get a business started on my own quickly, I could always get a part-time job somewhere and make some sort of money.
Second, there's also our second adoption that's in process. What about that? I don't think it would be a big deal...we qualify without my income. I checked this last time our social worker visited. I was just curious, and now I'm glad I asked. To adopt, you have to have household income of 125% of poverty line for your state. We are in Kansas and our poverty line is $17,170. Yeah, I was pretty shocked at how low that was too! We might have to re-do paperwork. Or we could just keep quiet and follow the 'if no one asks, we won't tell' philosophy.
The third issue is Burnt Bridges. I work for a company (A) that has placed me at another company (B) to do contract work. Company A can kiss my ass. I don't care about burnt bridges there. At all. However, Company B could be a potential future employer or future client, and/or folks that I work with may be those that I would want to reach out to in the future for business, mentoring or a free lunch (see jelly sandwiches, above). So I'm a bit concerned about that. But just a bit. A teensy-tiny bit.
I read an article recently that likened starting a business to learning how to swim. Sure, you can go the pool, dip your toe in, dry off, go home. Then come back the next day, dip a foot in, dry off, go home. Or you can overcome your fear and jump in. Provided, of course, you have an idea of how to swim and have some good help there, if you need it (a life preserver of sorts). I've been dipping my toe in for about 10 years now. It's freaking soggy! But...I just might be in the market for a swimsuit soon!
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
I want to wallow in all things wizardly. Yep, I'm OCD like that. And I rarely eat my dessert first.
So, I'm petrified that someone will spoil HP7 for me. I'm afraid to go to the theatre to see HP5, for fear that some blabbermouth fan will bust out with "Hey did you know how it all ends? Well, let me tell you? ...blah, blah, blah". SHUDDER.
Anyway, even though I'm not 1/2 way through my Harry Plan, I've already started looking for the next big thing. I've found a few books that are similar in theme and tone as the HP books. If you're interested, they are:
Percy Jackson and the Olympians - think Harry Potter with Greek Gods instead of wizards
The Bartimaeus Trilogy - a young magician and a smart-assed demon; very well-written
I read the Percy Jackson series in about two weeks. There are three books out now, and more to come. The Bart Trilogy I am listening to on audio. I would highly recommend the audio - there are lots of characters and the narrator does a good job of keeping them all straight and sounding different.
Happy reading, whatever you are reading!
Thursday, July 19, 2007
I went to a place called the KC Culinary Center (http://www.kcculinary.com/) in downtown Overland Park. It was not a hands-on class, so basically we just watched the chef create wonderful, delicious stuff, while we sipped wine and had some breadsticks, cornbread and foccacia.
We learned how to make Beef Stew, 5-Onion French Onion Soup (complete with garlic crouton and Gruyere cheese on top), New England Clam Chowder (surprisingly easy!), and Chicken Noodle Soup (with homemade noodles).
On that last one, there was a bit of pasta-making. Pasta dough is easy: flour and eggs. Stir a bit, roll out, cut with pizza cutter. So far so good. But then you have to let the noodles "dry" for 2 hours. Goofy has no patient for slow food. The chef asked, "Is this too hard for anyone?" Of course, I raised my hand. I asked, "What is you just want dumplings instead?" The answer? No drying! Just make the dough, spoon and drop into the boiling soup. So Goofy will be making Chicken DUMPLING soup, thankyouverymuch.
He also threw in a recipe for quick Drop Biscuits that I definitely will be using. Bisquik? YUK.
All the soups were yummy. I met some interesting folks, had a glass of wine and had a blast! I can't decide which soup to make first. They were all yummy and fairly simply. I might go for the Stew recipe - that one was hearty enough to be a meal alone.
So, Dear Readers...What have YOU learned to do lately?
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
I read Harry Potter before Harry Potter was cool. Bet you haven't heard of Percy Jackson. He's the next cool Potteresque dude. Check him out here. But I digress...
So, anyway, I am obviously looking forward to the seventh and last Harry Potter book (insert teary eyes here). In preparation, I had a plan:
1. Rent movie - Harry Potter #5
2. Go to theatre to see Harry Potter #6
3. Read book - Harry Potter #7
...all within the same week, thus making for a Harry Potter Extravaganza of the highest order. I had my butter beer and chocolate frogs at the ready, but alas...
Does anyone see the giant FLAW in my plan? See it? SEE IT?
There is no Harry Potter #6 movie! Yet. #6 is Half-Blood Prince and it's not due out until November 2008. The movie available for rental would be #4 (Goblet of Fire) and the movie in the theatres is #5 - Order of the Phoenix. Then INSERT BIG GAPING HOLE HERE ...then #7 book (Deathly Hallows).
I have to READ #6! Which is totally okay, but it will add an few days to my plan. But there's no way I can do all that by Saturday night. If you've been living in the Chamber of Secrets, midnight Saturday night is when book #7 arrives.
And, just to add a Dark Mark on my perfect plan, the Goofy family reunion is this weekend. We will be driving to Azkaban, Iowa on Friday. There will be no midnight madness at Border's on Saturday night (Cagey, you gotta represent for me, yo!).
If my perfect plan had been, er..perfect, I would be surfing the 'net for a Borders in Iowa. But alas, I will be reading #6 on Saturday instead of #7.
At least I have some good driving time in which to read. I promise only to read while I'm not driving, okay? I'm just not ready to join Moaning Myrtle yet.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Let me tell you.
I was talking to my manager this afternoon. He mentioned that someone in our department had mentioned that it was odd that I was out of the office "so much recently". I suppose "so much recently" means being an hour or so late on Monday, then having a doctor's appointment on Tuesday and busting my butt to get there by 10:30am. Neither of which I will post as billable time.
The "someone" is yet un-named, although I have my suspects. I'm furious because, c'mon, if I wanted to punch a timeclock, I would work for McDonald's. I'm a professional. I'm in my forties. Do I really need to put in "face time" to be productive? Does this "someone" see how much I work in my home office? Do I really need to be "seen" to be productive? How 80's is this entire topic?
I left the office with a smirk on my face. Whatever. They can kiss my ass. Then, as I started thinking about this more on the drive home, the Furious came out.
Jeez. There's been some shit coming down for the past year regarding my current work situation and I'm thinking this is the straw that broke Goofy's back. Normally I would just blow this off, but I can't. It's stuck under my skin and won't go away.
What's SO ironic about this is...I'm a contractor. All the regular employees get a once a week "work from home" day. I don't. I haven't minded. So some idiot decides to mention that I'm "not in the office" much this week. Why in the world do they care?
I'm thinking...life is too short for shit like this...
NOTE: I posted this last night, then deleted it today, then decided WTF and re-posted it. I'm not as peeved today.
I'll try to catch you up on all the Goofy Goings-On, but it might take a few posts. So my plan is to post shorter, more frequent posts. So here goes...
The latest fun in the Goofy household is the arrival yesterday of Alex's NEW TWIN BED! And HEADBOARD! With SIX-DRAWER DRESSER! And matching MIRROR!
...all in five flat boxes which appeared on our driveway. Gulp. Annie get yer screwdriver.
No boxes were damaged in shipping. This is good. But each one weighs about 70 pounds. So they will inevitably be damaged by one of us trying to move them. We will have to tear the boxes apart in the garage (their current location, after Mr. Goofy dragged them in from the driveway), and carry the contents upstairs to Alex's room.
I foresee a few walls being dinged.
And of course, our pride as parents is on the line. I'm sure at some point Alex will ask, "Do you guys know how to put this together?" He's in that annoying "question your parents' knowledge" stage, so everywhere we go its, "Do you know where you're going?" "You don't know how to get there." "You don't know how to do that", "You're lost", etc. It's funny, at first, then it starts to get under your skin.
So, the Goofy weekend will be filled with much unpacking of parts and pieces, much swearing, probably an injury or two, and hopefully, in the end, a new bed for Alex.
...which he will promptly roll out of in the middle of the night. And then blame us for putting it together wrong. Sigh.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
First off, three year olds have NO IDEA about money. I had to sit him down and teach him what a penny was. And I caught him throwing away a dollar bill, because, "it wasn't money." (he thought only coins were money)
So I figured he should learn early. Robert Kiyosaki would be proud.*
I found a blue plastic container that had a small, round hole in the lid. I taped the lid shut, and marked a line about 3/4 from the top of the container. Then I herded up Alex and Mr. Goofy for a family meeting.
I christined it the "Family Fund Jar". Okay it wasn't a Jar, but "Family Fund Blue Plastic Container with Scotch-Taped Lid So No One Cheats" just didn't roll off the tongue. All our spare change would go into the FFJ. When we reached the line, we would all get together and decide how to spend our fun money! Big Fun at the Goofy household!
We went through drawers, pockets, car ashtrays, wallets, the laundry room and just about every place that spare change hides. Alex carefully put all the change into the Family Fun Jar.
...and it reached about 1/12 of the way from the bottom of the FFJ. Mommy had picked too gigantic of a container for the FFJ. Or over-estimated how much loose change we had lying around.
Anyway, we've been donating to the FFJ for about 6 months now. I fear that the lesson will be lost if I wait too long for the reward of spending the FFFJ.
So....I need your ideas! Dinner and a movie is what comes to my mind, but Alex nixes it. He wants to use it to "go to the zoo and a park". Er, that stuff is free, dude. He's still got a lot to learn.
Anyway, ideas! Ideas! Something that will be memorable. That Alex can look back on and think, "Wow! We saved our money and got to do XYZ. That was so cool!"
Oh, and I have no idea how much money is actually in the FFJ. I found a whole bunch of dollar bills that went through the laundry and those got added recently, which helped. If I had to take a wild guess, we probably have $50 in there. So don't suggest a trip to Disneyworld, cause that won't even get us in the parking lot.
*If you haven't read "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" go do it. Now! A very important book for anyone alive.
Monday, April 16, 2007
Follow-up: I forwarded this to D because he had a former, much-loved intern going through her first job search and getting low-ball offers. D encouraged her to ask for more money and also sent her this post. I have no idea if she read it, but she did ask for more money and got it. You may have helped put one young woman on the right track at the start of her career.
This just made my day. No, scratch that. This just made MY WEEK!
I love it!
Keep it up! If nothing else, we will all make more money. That can't be bad!
...and just so you know I "walk the walk"...here's my tale:
Friday night we went to our favorite Italian restaurant. It was around 7:30pm and, of course, the place was crowded. We were told we had a 20 minute wait. After about 5 minutes, Alex starts getting restless. Since we are standing there looking at 2 empty tables in the bar, and a foursome eating at the third, I said, "let's ask if we can sit in the bar". Two minutes later, we walked past all the other poor (silent) suckers waiting for their table and sat in a nice, roomy table in the bar. And, no, no one was smoking...they were all just waiting for other tables! It was sweet!
Keep it up! I want MORE stories!
Friday, April 13, 2007
I happily stand under ladders, I socialize with black cats (if they are nice), and I just plain try to stay out of graveyards, so there's no risk of me walking over someone's grave.
I do listen to the universe.
Okay you new age goofy freak, what does that mean?
I think there are signs around us that give us guidance about whether we are going in the right direction or not. You might call it "God", "karma", "Gaia" or even "shit happens".
Mr. Goofy and I grew up in the same city. But we did not meet until we were in high school. But after comparing notes over the years, we have come to realize that our paths intersected many, many times over the years. YMCA camp, field trips, common friends...we found a scary amount of examples that prove to me that we were meant to meet. [insert Twlight Zone theme here]
The best example of this was when we adopted our son. Regardless of what you might read, when you meet your adopted child for the first time, angels do not come down from the heavens and you do not hear trumpets, violins, nor kazoos playing. You just stare at each other and think, "Jeez, is this the one?"
So when we traveled to Russia for the first time to meet our new son, we were listening. For a sign. Anything. So we would know if were on the right track. There's a lot of of scaryness related to adopting internationally. You have no real medical history. It can be lied about. If the parents are not married, the dad is not put on the birth certificate, so you have no idea of his medical history. There is a big risk of fetal alcohol syndrome, especially with all the readily-accessible vodka. And sexually-transmitted diseases are pretty common and can be transferred to the child of a pregnant mom.
Unlike China, when you travel to Russia, you do not get many details regarding the child they have selected for you. The "expecting parents" for China get pictures, names, ages, and details. We got a hearty, "C'mon over, we have a boy selected for you". How old? Name? "Just c'mon over and meet him." Um...okay.
So, of course, one of the first question friends and family asked was, "Well, what are you going to name him?" We were very open to keeping his given name, provided it "worked" in America. Our comment was typically, "Well, if it's something like Vladamir, we will probably change it. But if it's something like Alexander, then that would work here and we will keep it."
The first details you get about your "referral" are in Russia. We met with the Director of the Ministry of Education. He had a file in his hand. He pulled out a picture of a bouncing baby boy. Obviously a boy, as the child was buck naked, all his boy parts showing, with a goofy grin on his face.
"His name is Alexander," the Director said. And that was all we needed to know.
The universe spoke.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Anyway, I decided to reward the small business that left a nice, pleasing house cleaning flyer on our door. I'm becoming very jaded against large, franchised companies and starting to prefer working with small, locally-owned joints.
I called, we met at the house and walked through the house-cleaning procedure. She seemed nice and seemed willing to have her crew do WAY more than Previous Housecleaner. Change our sheets? Sweet! Dust our blinds? Rock n' Roll!
At the end, she said, "And I will call you the following day to find out how we did and see if you would like to get on a weekly or bi-weekly schedule." Wow! I was impressed. That seemed very professional and easy. I didn't have to call her back, and when she called, I could easily mention any tasks that we had forgotten to ask her to do (something that was always very ackward with Previous Housecleaner).
Then came. They cleaned. They did a great job. The house smelled good. It looked good. Mr. Goofy noticed.*
I took a few notes (very few) on some things that we forgot to tell them (we hide our bathroom trash cans under the sinks - something we got doing during the open house process and learned to love...who wants to SEE their bathroom trash all the time? Ugh. And they didn't know that and didn't empty those cans.).
And....she didn't call the next day.
Nor the next day.
The weekend came. Then went.
Monday came and I was started to get a bit peeved. All she had to do was call. And we were ready to sign up! We were even considering the weekly option, although with every minute ticking past, this option was going away. Also, over the weekend, we decided that, since they did such a good job, we would pay them to do a move-out cleaning on our old house. So whenever she called, I was ready to give her TWO PAYING JOBS!
[This is where I transition to a life lesson. Wait for it...wait for it....]
Then, last night I tripped across an interesting book called "Women Don't Ask". The premise of the book is that, by their nature, women don't like to negotiate. And it hurts them in the long term.
I could relate. I have a hard time asking for things sometime. Last time I bought a car, I negotiated the price, and I don't think I slept the night before. It was kinda painful....until you actually GET something that you are asking for, then it's wonderful!
Here's some interesting stats from the book: more here
-Men initiate negotiations about four times as often as women.
-When asked to pick metaphors for the process of negotiating, men picked "winning a ballgame" and a "wrestling match," while women picked "going to the dentist."
-Women will pay as much as $1,353 to avoid negotiating the price of a car, which may help explain why 63 percent of Saturn car buyers are women.
-20 percent of adult women (22 million people) say they never negotiate at all, even though they often recognize negotiation as appropriate and even necessary.
And I had a real-life example! All the housecleaner gal had to do was call me. A call that I was expecting. And she would have two cleaning jobs. This week!
Postscript: I finally relented and left her a message late Monday afternoon. She called me back mid-morning Tuesday, didn't ask at all about how the cleaning went (I volunteered). After the whole conversation, I think she still seemed pretty ambivalent about getting my business. Sigh.
So, Dear Readers, whether you are female or other, here is your Homework Assignment for this week: ASK SOMEONE FOR SOMETHING THAT THEY DON'T HAVE TO GIVE YOU.
This could be as simple as asking for a better table at a restaurant. Or as large as asking for a raise. Look for opportunities!
The worst you can do is get denied. Keep asking. If the first person says "No", try another person.
And....let me know how it went!
*NOTE: Mr. Goofy has a mom from Germany. They grew up in a spotlessly clean house. He is anal to the max about clean. This is why I don't even TRY to clean. I ain't never winning THAT game.
Friday, April 06, 2007
Why, oh why do you insist of selling Easter baskets ($10) and bunny ears ($5) in the main lobby of your daycare for an ENTIRE week?
Knock it off!Signed,
Pissed-Off Goofy Girl
Every day for the past week, Goofy Junior has bee-lined to the table, picked up a basket (or the ears) and said, "I want this." OF COURSE he wants it. It's like waving raw meat in front of a tiger. Or putting a mouse in a cage with cheese all over the place. OF COURSE the tiger and the mouse want the meat and cheese, respectively. They've been looking at it all day. It's pretty. It's colorful. It's bunny-ish. They want it. Now.
So every day this week, when I pick up Junior. He asks. I say, "No". No, scratch that. I don't just say "No". I explain too.
"Junior," I say, "you have no less than THREE pairs of bunny ears at home. In several days, you will have more Easter baskets and basket contents than you could ever dream"*
(here comes the whining) "But I WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANT it."
(then comes the tears) "WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA."
I have to explain to the wide-eyed dad walking in the door that we are having a "tough love day". "Been there," he grumbled, then walked briskly away.
After 15 minutes or so (no, you didn't read that wrong....FIFTEEN), Junior finally gets tired of crying. We get in the car and drive away. Three minutes later he's happily giggling and smiling, bunny ears and baskets no longer in his face.
In case you are curious, the same thing happens at Valentine's Day. I'm really glad we don't have another holiday coming any time soon.
*NOTE: Junior's grandparents are coming in this weekend, surely bearing tons of Easter sugar...er, joy.
Monday, April 02, 2007
Here's what was funny. Kinda. Our speaker on Sunday had a short segment called, "Houses NOT to Buy". My rehab house met ALMOST ALL OF THE CRITERIA. Hello? No wonder it's not selling (well, other than a flaky realtor, recurring plumbing problems, no parking, blah, blah, blah).
It read like a laundry list: Avoid houses....
-on a busy street (check!),
-with steep front yards with stairs (check!),
-with no driveway (check!),
-no off-street parking (check!),
-bad neighborhood (check!),
-no garage (check!)
-over 30 minutes drive from your home or office (check!).
Jeez. I really know how to pick 'em, huh?
But, ever the eternal optimist, here's my take-away...
I'VE MADE ALL MY MISTAKES WITH THE FIRST HOUSE! Yee-ha! What an over-achiever, I am. Now I can relax.
I know...I'm goofy. Duh. Check out the name of this blog. It's named that way for a reason.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Check out the theme song. I guarantee it will make you smile.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
I found out that the bears cost $10 apiece. (this was more than I expected...for the size/quality of the bear, I was thinking more like $3 -$5...but I suppose there was the charitable component at work).
I also found out that there were 40 bears for sale. I'm not great at math, but that looks like $400 to buy all the bears. I also found out that the Bear-ophile Daddy won 3 "free week of daycare" prizes hidden in the bears' pots. If I take an average amount for daycare at our place, it's probably around $180.
So $180 * 3 weeks = $540. So Bear Lovin' Poppa got an $140 discount on daycare, a charitable deduction on his taxes (minus the $3-5 cost per bear), and 40 bears to give away to family and friends for St. Paddy's Day.
So, as much as it pains me, I have to go with option a) Savvy businessman.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
I didn't have my wallet with me, so I inquired, "how long will the bears be on sale?". "All week" was the answer.
So, I traipsed into daycare this afternoon, wallet in hand, ready to claim my bear. I had promised one to Goofy Junior the previous day, when he saw the aforementioned Table o' Bears.
But, when I entered the building....an empty table greeted me. No bears. No signs. Where the #&*% were the bears?! I asked Daycare Worker #1....no idea. I asked Daycare Worker #2...and she had the answer.
Some dad had done the math. He multiplied the price of the bears, times the cost of each bear, and compared that with the cost of one week of daycare. And....
The bastard bought all the bears. All of them. Every last fucking bear.
I think my jaw hit the floor....and I was immediately conflicted by two emotions:
a) Shock. He bought all the bears?! What about MY bear? How would I explain to GJ that some cheap dork bought all the bears?
b) Jealousy. Why didn't *I* think of this? I could have gotten a cheaper week of daycare. Dammit.
Then I thought further...The dude actually helped the daycare achieve their goal...they DID sell all the bears. And they did get the donation for charity.
But...what about us "late parents" who didn't have their wallet on Monday? We have money burning a hole in our pockets for a bear. We want a bear dammit!
If you've read the book, "Freakonomics", this is a lot like the after-hours daycare scenario. A daycare had a problem with parents picking up late, so they decided to start charging for late pickups. They decided to charge $3 for a late pickups. Late pickups promptly went up. Yes, up!
As any parent reading this could tell you, well, DUH!...it's well worth $3 to have someone you trust watch your kid for an extra 15-30 minutes, while you run errands, work a bit more, pick up some milk at the store, etc. They grossly underestimated the value of that extra time!
...or that extra bear, if you take the analogy back to my story above.
So, Innernets, chime in!
Was the Bear-Buying Dad:
a) A savvy businessmen who knew a good opportunity when he saw it
b) A selfish dude who stole other kids' opportunity to bring home a bear
c) A bear-loving freak
*All apologies to the way-more-smarter-than-I authors of Freakonomics.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
We headed to closing Thursday afternoon. After circling the block several times in search of the title company, I called and realized they gave us the wrong address. Fortunately, real address was fairly close to wrong address.
Signed piles of documents. Got to the Big Boy document (HUD-1). Numbers were wrong. Not in our favor, of course. Much calling and emailing ensued. Finally numbers were right. In our favor. Lady assisting us asked if I was an Accountant. "You are very detailed," she said. * I wondered how many people just sign the docs and don't actually READ them. Scary.
Left closing table. Went to This Old House (TOH) and loaded up some things to bring to This New House (TNH). Also grabbed Goofy Junior, so he could feel like he was "Moving" and not "Being Moved".**
Dropped off stuff at TNH, went to dinner.
Went back to TOH, put Junior to bed. Then the fun started. Packing, packing, packing. Moving boxes into the garage. Separating what Movers got to move versus what we got to move. In the end, there was way too much stuff for us to move. Making mental note for next time we move. Ow, my aching back.
Anyway. Next morning 5:00am: Up and at 'em! Much disconnecting: TV, stereo, computer, fridge, washer, dryer, sanity.
Movers showed up at 8:15am. At 9:00am, one mover somehow tripped, and in the process broke his ankle and our entertainment center. Let the fun begin!
We gave Broken Mover an icepack and waited for Replacement for Broken Mover. For the rest of the day, many jokes were made between the other movers regarding Broken Mover. "Ouch, I think I broke my ankle" was the joke of the day. I suppose you have to have tough skin to be mover.
Then we are at TNH, with all our Stuff. Ridiculous amounts of Stuff. Still packed. Staring at us, waiting. We collapsed in a heap of sweaty, tired Goofiness. 10 minutes later, Grammy and Grampy Goofy showed up. Bearing more Stuff. AAAAAIIIIIIIIEEEEEEE!
After my nervous breakdown, we made some coffee and had cake.
** NOTE: This is a BIG DEAL to a toddler. They want to know The Plan. If they don't know The Plan, much whining and crying may occur. And yeah, it's a PITA sometimes, but always worth to include him.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
I want the colorful little characters to visit my bakery. I want to guess what they will order and make a cake BEFORE they order it. I want to upgrade my slow loafers to the speedier "Cloud Walker" versions. I want to speed around and make, frost and deliver their cake to them. I want to see the little delivery guy character pump his animated fist in the air after I gift him his cake.
Ah, the joys of being a computer game addict.
I thought I had figured out how to beat the system. I would just keep playing. SURELY, the game would not crap out in the middle of a round, right? If I could keep all 5 of my lives (I'll depart with modesty for a sec and tell you that it was pretty easy to do), I could just leave the game up and keep playing. FYI - this works for Bookworm.
But, alas, half-way into the round with the vampires, THE BLACK SCREEN OF THE TRIAL ENDING BADNESS appeared.
After I was finished cursing like a sailor, I tried to hack it. Maybe I could uninstall and reinstall. Maybe change my system date. FYI - these techniques work on some other trial programs, but you didn't hear that here. (wink)
I was stumped. I was cake-less. Customer-less. Oven-less and frosting-less. No air-pumping delivery man. Big bummer.
Oh yeah, I guess I could pay the 20 bucks for the real version, but that's like cheating right? ;-)
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
I downloaded the free trial and ONE HOUR LATER my time ran out. Gah! This game is addictive, fun and easy.
Jill, our diligent baking hero, must keep her customers happy by supplying them with the cake that they ordered. If she takes too long, the customer storms out of the shop. If she makes them happy, they give her tips. Kinda like real life, eh?
She can upgrade her kitchen by buying faster ovens, faster icing machines and faster shoes. Also, she can make more profitable cakes by buying candle, wedding and retirement decorations.
I might actually cough up 20 bucks to buy the real game. Yes, it's that good.
Don't like cake? Check out Bookworm, my now second-favorite addictive game:
Lost my renter for my rehab house
Lost the buyer for my current house
Lost my boss (and this is a decidedly BAD thing)
Lost my temper...too many times to count
Lost my ability to connect to work from home (again, this is BAD, since I know have to BE there to work...how old-school is that?)
Lost touch with several good friends (again with the BAD)
Alllllmost lost a treasured co-worker
Lost contact with my much beloved husband (who is launching a new brand at his company and works like 50 hours per week...something I've never seen him do)
Lost my motivation for my current training goal
(almost) Lost my sanity
But...since I'm the Eternal Optimist (look it up in the dictionary and you will see my picture!), I also:
Gained a new goal (become a runner. still have to chuckle at this until it actually happens)
Gained a good friend at work
Gained an alliance w/ my boss at work (definitely a GREAT thing!)
Gained several potential buyers for our house (and we are not giving as many concessions this time...the gloves are on now, folks)
Will not have to travel to Russia in the middle of winter (yee-ha...this is big!)
Gained control over my donut addiction. New goal: No donuts until June. You might laugh, but this is a HARD goal for me. Krispy Kreme's a-callin', but I ain't answerin'.
Didn't lose my love for a good movie. Two "must-sees": "The Illusionist" and "Invincible". Illusionist is brilliant; Invincible is inspiring.
Gained the knowledge that Stephen King's son (Joe Hill) is a superb writer...almost on-par with dad. Check out "Heart-Shaped Box" if you are a doubter.
And gained perspective.
My last fortune cookie said: Things are hardest just before the summit.
My, how true this is. So where's the fucking summit already?!
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Lessons from the Young #1: The struggle for power and control starts young. Every day when I drop Goofy Junior off at school, some kid comes up to me and proudly declares that they "HAVE THE PIG", and show me this stupid little plastic pig. The pig comes from some sort of farm playset. Why they chose the pig to represent power, I will never know. But the pig holds the key. The pig is the shit. The pig is the POWER. At any point in time, all the kids know which kid HAS THE PIG. The pig is much-coveted. So, next time I get a raise or promotion (or a really high score on Frogger), I'm going to scream, "I HAVE THE PIG". Ahem. Okay, maybe I'll just whisper it to myself. Or not. What's "THE PIG" in your world?
Food Find #1: In keeping with my personal training goal, I've been searching for a sweet treat that's half-way healthy and not full of calories. I discovered one! Keebler Right Bites - Sandies. Sandies are a shortbread-type cookie. The normal version is fully of nutritional crappiness and loads of calories. But this version has only 100 calories and they are actually good. Also, BONUS! No transfat and, per the label, "contains two percent or less of salt, high fructose corn syrup, natural flavor, oat fiber, butter (cream, salt), soy lecithin, baking soda".
Food Find #2: Barilla Pasta Plus. What's the "Plus", you ask? Only that these little pastas are chock-full of protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. By looking at the ingredients, you can figure out how...they include lentils, chickpeas, flaxseed, egg whites and barley. So how to they taste? They are a little chewier than normal pasta (or maybe I just didn't cook them long enough), but good! Not, in any way, like whole wheat pasta. BLECK. That stuff is nasty.
Food Find #3: Classico Vodka Sauce (Now I'm a bit worried, as this flavor is not listed on Classico's website!). This stuff rocks. You can even put it on pasta made from lentils and it tastes good. Ha!
Unfortunate Food Find #1: Tubs of pre-made frosting have trans-fat....always. Try to find one that doesn't. I searched the entire 4-shelf area in my local Price Chopper and came away empty handed. Sometimes products can get around actually listing the transfat, if they can manipulate the portion size to a small enough amount. Obviously frosting couldn't do this because trans-fat is LISTED RIGHT ON THE LABEL. So, ever the dilligent researcher, I went in search of a homemade frosting recipe and I found this: Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe - No, it won't sit in your pantry for 6 months waiting for you, but it's easy, delish, and trans-fat-FREE.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Monday, February 05, 2007
Cut to Italian restaurant: Helpful waiter (or so we thought) comes to table, inquiring about drink orders. We have kids, so we are ready to order everything at once and proceed to do so. Whoa! This threw him off-guard and he looked slightly peeved. But we managed to get our order in.
Bread? The bread has gotta come quick or the kids get restless. Bread? Hello, BREAD?! BREAD!?!?!?! Bread did not come. Wine came (yee-ha!), but no bread. Moms happy, kids not. Waiter asked if we would like him to bring crackers for kids. SURE! PLEASE! Something to put in their mouths so the napkins, plates, and salt shakers would stay out.
Here's the punchline....wait for it. Wait for it!
He comes out with two bowls of ice cream! And says he can't find crackers, will ice cream do. I think both Cagey's and my mouths hit the table right about the same time. Er, NO! HELL, NO!
Luckily the ice cream disappeared before the kids could figure out that it was meant for them. Then the bread mysteriously appeared and all was well.
Until it was time for the check. It was in the twilight zone with the bread. Kids were starting to meltdown from quickly approaching bedtime. Check? Kids up and running amok, burning off that extra energy from fighting sleep... CHECK?! Kids stumbling around in front of waitresses carrying large trays of hot food. CHECK!?!?!?!?
I could go on, but I think you get the picture. When parents and kids go out to eat, they are not interested in a four-course, leisurely meal. It's more like an air-strike. Get in, get out, and no one gets hurt. Efficiency is key. Waiters and waitresses that are keen to this get large tips. Dorky waiters with no clue bearing bowls of ice cream prior to dinner do not.
Take heed, service industry!
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
- I am typically floating in Border's 20% off coupons, until I actually need one. Then there are none.
- I am pondering an ebook venture on eBay. Has anyone bought an ebook on eBay? Would you buy one if it was the right topic and price?
- An airline kicked a family off a flight when the 3-year-old daughter would not take her seat. She was "climbing under the seat and hitting the parents and wouldn't get in her seat". I agree with the airline's action. Do you?
- I told my personal trainer I needed a goal. Stupid! Stupid! Now I have to do 30 minutes of cardio 5 times per week for the next six weeks. It's been two days and I can't feel my butt anymore. And I can't eat donuts anymore. WHAA!
- Since we will be traveling to Russia again sometime this spring for our second adoption, I am re-taking a Russian language class. Russian is very easy when you are saying, "That is the dog."* and "My name is Goofy." But after only three weeks, we are conjugating verbs like mad and getting into things like genitive case, accusative case and dative case. Gah! Do I really need to be able to say, "I will read my professor's purple Russian book in the study, with the candlestick"?
- I still haven't done my 2005 taxes. How much trouble am I in?
-My favorite new website is Woot. They offer one deal, per day. It's typically a geeky-techy thing, like a gaming mouse, digital camera or Roboraptor. A sister site is Wine.Woot. Same thing, only wine and one deal per week (not day). I love the one thing per day model. What else could be sold this way? Books? Food items?
- I'm dyeing my hair purple on Friday. Just 'cause.
*funny language note: There are no articles in Russian (the, that, this, a...), so you basically say "That dog." instead of "That is the dog." If you want to ask whether that furry thing is indeed a dog, only your inflection changes... "That dog?" I imagine they do a lot of pointing in Russia.
Monday, January 15, 2007
Well, I've sure been quiet, huh? It all started with that darn "Blog Every Day For a Month" thing. I have this fear of committment, so I just gave up and waited it out until January.
So here I am.
Don't get me wrong, I've had plenty to blog about, let me tell ya.
Goofy's December/January in a nutshell:
- celebrated an anniversary (Good God...SIXTEEN YEARS!!)
- celebrated a birthday (Holy Moley...FORTY-ONE YEARS!!!!)
- felt very old, so took a nap
- took Goofy Junior to a Nutcracker Tea Party (where he announced during a lull in the action, "When I grow up....I want to be a Ballerina". I'm so proud)
- sold our house on the day before Christmas Eve (complete with visiting family members twiddling thumbs in living room as we signed paperwork with the buyer's agent)
- hosted Christmas dinner
- had a very quiet New Year's Eve at home (the first one ever, I think)
- bought a new house on New Year's Day
- had the buyers of our house get cold feet and back out THREE DAYS after we bought the new one
- had quick nervous breakdown wondering how this would all work out
- regrouped and had open house this past Sunday (in the sleet/ice storm - surprisingly, 1 person actually showed up)
- had inspection of rental house
- promptly failed inspection of rental house (electric still not working, water not turned on - picky, picky)
- took matters into my own hands and called city, power company and electrician and played the Whose Problem Is This? game for a few weeks
- finally got electric on (Yeah!)
- finally got water on (Yeah!)
- have two leaks in plumbing (Boo!)
- promptly turned water off (Boo!) and called plumber
- planned and executed company holiday party (shoot, this was easy compared to the rest of the month!)
So what have you all been up too? I've missed you all!