216 - Survivors

I found the best show... for an Apocalyptic story lover like myself... Survivors... on BBC America. Caught my first episode last night, and think I only missed a couple of previous ones, so I'm not too far behind. It has now been added to the DVR list. Starts out with your typical super-flu, and sort of like The Stand, people form groups to survive. The characters are very interesting and the story is well done. I'm looking forward to more! If you have BBC America, and you like this kind of story, it's definitely worth a look (this means you, Bendigo).

Going to a gospel brunch with some friends this afternoon. Never been to a gospel brunch before... could be interesting... hope it doesn't mean people coming to the table and singing... but I know I like brunches... lots of tasty food... and mimosas... and I know I like friends... lots of laughter... and fun... The only thing that sucks is that mom and dad left a message last night to let me know they were cooking hamburgers... guess they hadn't gotten my message to cancel lunch yet. It stings... I really like dad's burgers... Oh well... they'll make them again. Someday. And when they do I will eat the burger... oh yes burger, I will eat you! And I will relish you in my belly -- get in ma bellee!

Enough of that silliness...

On my way to brunch I'm going to swing by CVS and Walgreens. I wonder if I'll be this giddy about shopping once the newness wears off? Eventually I won't need to buy anything. I mean, it's just me... how many tubes of toothpaste do I need? How much body wash? So after I stock up, I won't just keep buying for no reason... and I'll miss the high of saving up to 75%... it's a fun little game.

I'm torn. I love Tim Burton. I love Johnny Depp. I'm not a big fan of Alice in Wonderland. But I might like their version. I think I'll probably wait for the dvd. TS should do a non-review so I can make up my mind...

The lady who lives behind me has a clothesline. It's odd to see one in a suburban neighborhood out here, but she's an older lady so in some ways it makes sense. Older people are smarter than us younger folk, they're thrifty. I'm not sure how much it costs me to dry my clothes in 45 minutes, but I'm sure I pay a premium. The only thing I don't like about the idea of a clothesline is that there's a definitive 'outside' smell that I can sense in people who have been outdoors, and I wonder if that smell happens on the clothesline too, or if it's our bodies that produce that smell. I know it sounds funny, but I can always tell when someone has just come in from the outdoors at work. But then, I have a keen sense of smell. And hearing. I can hear that high pitched whine an old picture tube tv makes when it's on. I don't notice it with the LCD or plasma tvs... I am just babbling randomly now...

The End.


215 - The promised land

I wonder if hot chocolate, made with chocolate milk, would be even tastier... I'm not sure it could be any tastier than Promised Land Midnight Chocolate Milk... I've never had it before, but on a whim I picked up a small bottle this afternoon. I was trying to figure out why it tasted so good and finally realized that it tastes like melted chocolate ice cream. Seriously. I can't believe how good it is... this is beyond any chocolate milk I've ever had before... Now that I think about it, religious based food companies seem to put out a better product... first Ezekiel bread (best bread ever), now Promised Land milk... even Chick-Fil-A... hmmm... or is it... mmmm? Can't have too much of this particular treat though, it's pretty high in calories. Luckily I also grabbed a 2% version... maybe it'll be just as tasty.

Had a fruitful day today. Instead of lolligagging around in my pj's I kicked my butt into high gear and accomplished everything I set out to do. Fist I went to the bank to get a voided check for the account I just opened so that on Monday I can submit my direct deposit paperwork, and then I'm on my way to getting a free $125... I knew if I didn't do that task first, I would talk myself out of it. I don't know why... it's just the way I am, I hate to wait in lines and convinced myself that on a Saturday the lines would be out the door. Not so. Easy peasy except for the traffic on the road. Always the traffic... slowing me down...

Then I was off to Target because I wanted to see if their Fancy Feast 24-pack cans were cheaper than Kroger... and boy were they... $10.09 versus $14.49... methinks $4.40 is worth a quick stop. I bought two, so I saved $8.80 (an amount which, oddly, reminds me of White Christmas). After that it was on to Walgreens to get some last minute things before the next sales circular took effect (pretty Revlon eyeshadow). Treated myself to a Route 44 Vanilla Coke for being a good girl, filled up the gas tank, then did my grocery shopping.

Tommorow I will make a run to CVS. If I'm calculating correctly, I'm going to save about 75% on my purchase. And I decided that I should shop at my local Walgreens, not the one by work. Not only does the tax money go to my own city, but it's also 0.25% less. In a way, that's a discount too. Not much of one... but every little bit counts.

This couponing thing is a lot of work... even with SouthernSavers.com doing most of the work for me I have to decide what I need and what's the best way to get the best price, then I have to gather the coupons and do a little more research. For example, even though Crest White Strips Advanced are $10 off at Walgreens and I have a $10 coupon... they are on sale for much less at CVS (if the price at the store is the same as the price on the website)... I know... no one cares... this is me babbling to myself. But it made me proud to have saved another $7 by spending a couple of seconds looking at websites. At $17.99 I'll buy them, at $24.99 I would have scratched them off the list. But I'm glad I can get them because I wanted to whiten my teeth before I get braces.

Speaking of which, I'm planning to do that in April if the doctor takes credit cards for the downpayment (otherwise May so I'll have saved up enough, but I'd like to use my credit card if I can, because I get miles that way, and then in May I can still pay the bill but I get my braces earlier... life is all about planning...). I'm excited. I've never had straight teeth before. Not only that, but I think if my teeth were properly aligned, my mouth would be more comfortable. It sucks having an uncomfortable mouth (and a dirty one, too!).

This was going to be a short post... it always gets away from me...


214 - Leave me the hell alone!

Thought this was funny. Desiree Rogers, the White House social secretary is resigning. The article insinuates its because she was in charge of the party where that stupid couple crashed the White House and shook hands with Obama. That's not the funny bit. This is the funny bit...:

"Rogers, 50, told the Chicago Sun-Times on Friday that she was leaving because she had achieved a major goal of the Obamas: turning the White House into the "people's house" by opening it up to many of those who normally do not get to visit."

Mission accomplished! And 'people's house'... don't even go there. It's called The White House.

Read Robyn's blog about how to tell a gal's not into you and it reminded me of the lengths I once went to to get a guy to leave me alone... I have a devious mind, you just don't know... I would feel bad, but honestly, he pissed me off.

This guy was one of my best friends, but something happened between us and I told him I needed time to think things over. I told him I would call him when I was ready to talk. Two days later, he called me. I ignored the call. He called again. I ignored the call again. He called up to seven times a day for a month, and I never picked up. At this point I wasn't confused anymore, I was angry, and he was pissing me off even more by not respecting my boundaries, but also not getting the point -- when you call repeatedly and no one ever picks up, maybe the person you're calling doesn't want to talk to you.

I had a nifty iMac, it was very cutting edge at the time. It had a program that would read, out loud in a computerized voice, whatever you typed in. I typed in, "We're sorry... the number you have dialed has been disconnected and is no longer in service. If you feel you have reached this message in error, please hang up and try your call again." I somehow got it on my answering machine and told my friends what I'd done so they wouldn't fall for it. I waited with anticipation... would this work? Could this be the answer to my problem?

He called.

He got the recording.

He hung up.

He called back.

He got the recording.

He hung up.

I guess he finally realized that the very beginning of the message, the three annoying tones that hurt your eardrums, weren't playing... and he caught on. Guess he wasn't a total dumbass. He laughed and said, "That's hilarious! For a while there I thought you'd actually changed your number! You're so funny..." (guess he was...)

So I changed my number. Annoyed to all hell that I had to do it. You know what it's like when you change your number... it's tedious.

After that, he called a friend of mine. She didn't answer. Like me, she avoided his calls (thank you caller ID!). One day a mutual friend of ours happened to be there when he called. She got fed up, picked up the phone and told him none of us wanted to talk to him. Then she hung up.

Months later, on Valentine's Day, he called my cell phone. I don't know why he didn't plague my cell with calls when he was barraging my home phone, but he didn't. I didn't recognize the number, just knew it was his area code, but dutiful daughter that I am, I thought maybe my parent's car might have broken down and they were calling for me to come pick them up. So I answered. He caught me by surprise. He said something, and I hung up. That's the last I heard from him. I guess he finally got the point. Took him almost a full year.

It may sound cold, but he deserved it. I have my limits, and if you push me too far, I have a cold streak. If he would have just given me space, I would have eventually called him, and while the outcome would have been the same (out of my life), I wouldn't have avoided him like I did. As time went on I guess it almost became a game to see how long he would perservere before he got the hint and gave up.

So there's one to add to your list Robyn: When a gal actually records the "we're sorry" message just to get you to stop calling...


213 - Poor Poopy Person

In the work bathroom, there's no guarantee of privacy. You never know if someone is going to walk through the door and when they do, it's poopus interruptus. Today, that person was me (the door walker inner that is... not the PI). My keen sense of observation told me that there was someone already in the bathroom. It wasn't until I started doing my business that I realized I had interrupted something... they were being very quiet... waiting me out... I was trying to accomodate them by being expedient (I didn't want to get to the dreaded throat clearing stage), but as I was finishing up, someone else walked in the door, heading straight for the middle stall. Poor poopy person... they had to wait again, and now someone was seated (or hovering) next to them. *cringe*

Yesterday I was in the bathroom and the person who had just finished up literally turned the water on for 2 seconds, grabbed a paper towel and walked out the door... Really? Do you think you fooled me? You didn't wash your hands... I'm not here to judge, but why go to the effort of pretending? ...sigh... There's also a girl who washes her hands, lets the water run while she dries them off, then she uses the paper towel to turn the water off. I can't decide if she's being smart or if she wants a greenie to lecture her about water conservation. I think I would change it up a little, let the water run while you grab the paper towel, turn the water off with the towel then dry your hands... but then that transfers germs... so you grab the paper towel, turn the handle off, throw that towel away, get a new towel and dry your hands, but that kills trees... hmph. Can't win, can you? I will say, with the new paper towels they put in the bathroom, it takes two to dry your hands anyway.

Last night I clicked on Where's My Refund? at the irs.gov website... I get my refund on Friday... WOOT! and WOOT! again!!! So I'm out $60 in transfer fees for a balance transfer I didn't end up needing... oh well. I had peace of mind at a time when I was freaking out. It was one of those things I probably should have waited to do, but ya'll know how stressed I was... so it was sort of worth it (I'm really trying to sell myself on that, lol... $60... grrr...).

When July comes, and I've paid off the majority of my debts, it's going to feel like a ton of weight just got lifted from my shoulders... whee!!! Feeling sooooooooooo much better, everything is starting to turn around... everyone is getting better, and the money sitch is too.


212 - Wordless Wednesday

I like the concept of Wordless Wednesday... it's a timesaver, and I don't have squat to blog about at the moment.

Kato, you can sew... make me this dress!!!


211 - Ho Hum, Dum-dee-dum

At work time passes like frozen molasses (nice start to a poem, eh?). At home... where does my frickin' time go?

I came home. I made dinner... 5 pm'ish. I ate. I sat down at the computer, checked my email, checked Facebook, checked Southern Savers. Watched a couple of video tutorials on the Southern Savers website. Cleaned up a couple of piles of receipts and magazines, did some dishes. It's 7:15 pm at this point. Crap, I need to exercise... here I come, Gilad... wait for meeeeeeeeeeeeee! 7:47pm and here I sit, blogging (read your blogs at lunch). In another hour I'll be in the tub, reading (and shaving my legs with all the razors I bought this week), when I get out, it'll be 10 pm... watch Paranormal State, and if I'm still feeling peppy, The Bad Girls Club, then off to bed I go... wondering why I felt so calm after my bath, but now I feel paranoid and a little angry... (kidding about the paranoia...) (mostly)

How do people who work late and have kids do it??? Are you people from the planet Krypton???

Booked my condo for the shuttle launch and talked to my aunt about visiting her in Georgia at some point in the fall. Yea! Plans! My aunt said something funny, because it's what I always say... she said it's good to have something to look forward to. I don't know if I've said it here or not, but I think that's the secret to happiness... looking forward to things. If I had everything I could possibly want, never wanted for anything again, I think I would be bored. There's got to be something to strive for. She said she read it in a book. Somehow I managed to figure it out on my own.

My uncle is still in the hospital, but he is relying less and less on the respirator. By now Jose should be moved out of the ICU and into a private room. My cousin hasn't said anything about her daughter so I assume the meds are working and her seizures are a thing of the past. Things are looking up, thank you again for your prayers.

My friend, author Marc Schooley has graciously granted me an interview! I finished his book, The Dark Man, about a week ago... it was really good... It is kind of a 1984-esque take on religion. Because of my love/hate relationship with organized religion I didn't know if I would be open to it or not. He did a really good job of telling a compelling story without religious overkill. It is certainly in there, but I wasn't put off by it -- and for me, that's saying something! Anyway, unlike Ian, I'm not a fountain of questions... for all my creativity and zillion thoughts, I'm not a very inquisitive person. It's why I suck at small talk. So it's going to take me a little while to formulate my questions, and then I'll have to sync up with him to interroga-- I mean, interview him. I'm hoping to post late this week or early next week. So... something to look forward to! (see how I tied that all up in a nice bow? it's my special talent.)


210B - Mo' Money

Ha! Walgreens was another mecca of savings. My krill oil was buy one, get one free and I had a $4 coupon, effective price per bottle (normally $29.99) was $13. Hunt's Tomato Sauce... $0.19 per can ($0.99 per can before coupon, Walgreens coupon reduced them to $0.39 each, Mfg coupon $1 off 3... score!). Cost before coupons... $175.77... cost after coupons... $80.26... total savings... $95.51, and $11 toward my next shopping trip. And I don't need anymore razors for a while... Seriously. I had a BOGO coupon for disposable razors, I bought some more at CVS to get the free Secret Clinical, I had a coupon for a free Shick Quattro with rebate, and today I bought a Venus to get free Olay Body Wash. I have no excuse not to shave my legs...

Also completed all of the errands I set out to do... unheard of! After Walgreens, I swung by the bank and made my deposits... was going to blow it off, but I remembered that there is a branch on the way home if I took a slightly different route... I hate going out of my way to do something, have I mentioned that? Or maybe I'm just lazy. Then I came home, grabbed the butternut squash and went to Kroger to get my money back... the cashier charged me by the pound for zucchini, so my butternut squash rang up at $9.65... If it weren't for the coupon project (starting a database with prices so I'll know what's a good price and what isn't), I would have missed the error. That's a good day. I got $7.65 back. Woot! Couponing is a good thing... saves you money in ways you don't even realize!

I came home, ate, and took a nap. A long nap. I never caught up on the sleep I missed Saturday... I slept for a couple of hours. Now I'm all groggy and don't want to work out... but I will... it's 8:24 pm... just ten more minutes... *whine*

Saw a ridiculous ad for a new show called Jersey-licious. I admitted already that I watched Jersey Shore, but really? Do we need a knock-off?

I think not.

210 - For Ian


209 - I like it + An award

I got an awesome award from RawknRobynsGoneBlogWild cuz I know a thing or two about chocolate. And I'm a star pupil. ;p

I don't know how she managed to get her hands on a picture of me in a bikini... lol.

So yesterday I read Samantha's post on couponing... I'm always excited to learn how other people manage to take it to another level. I dream of one day being that person who walks out of the store with a cart full of groceries and only paying $20 for it. Sounds like a pipe dream, I know... but there are people who do it.

I already cut coupons out of the Sunday paper, and ever since I started making a list and remembering to bring my coupons with me, I have been racking up between $20-30 worth of savings (also due in part to my Kroger card). After reading Samantha's post I'm taking it up a notch. She introduced me to the Southern Savers website, and now I've seen the light. These people are serious! They have introduced me to an entirely new thought process. Now I have a spreadsheet with all the coupons, values and their expiry date so that when the Sunday circulars come out, I can see how to maximize my savings. And I'll be checking the SS website just to make sure I'm taking full advantage.

Yesterday I did my research, and this morning I put it to the test by going to CVS. Normally I don't buy much from CVS because they're a little pricey. This is because I've been doing it wrong! My total bill before coupons and sale prices was $123.58. When all was said and done I paid $63.47 and walked away with $17 Extra Care Bucks to spend on a future shopping trip, so my effective cost is $43.11. I saved $80.47 and I feel pretty good about that! I didn't have to go out of my way, there's a CVS close to my house, so it's very convenient.

Tomorrow I'm going to Walgreens to get more stuff. They have Mega Red Krill Oil tablets BOGO and I have a $3 coupon, so for 26.99 I get six months of Omega 3... nice. Won't be going out of my way to shop there either, since one is conveniently located on my way home from work... I kinda factor that in when I'm calculating savings... time and gas sort of matter...

Now I can add this tool to my toolbox, and I can save when I shop offline. For tips about how to save when doing your online shopping, you can check out one of my previous posts where I talk about rebate sites and other nuggets.

Last night's Pity Party was fun. I made buffalo chicken dip, onion dip and put out some cinnamon coated almonds... thankfully we ate it all up so I don't have to fight temptation today. I love that frickin' buffalo dip... God it's good... We sat around and chatted until close to midnight. Then after most people left, a couple of us watched Boat Trip, Eurotrip and Moulin Rouge. I was up until probably 5 am. Kristy's a tired girl today.

I haven't seen Moulin Rouge in a couple of years now... I am seriously addicted to it... Kind of like I get addicted to Amadeus, only it doesn't depress me to watch Moulin Rouge. When I first got the dvd, I probably watched it once a month... or more. I've seen in at least 20 times. Watching it last night reminded me of how great a movie it is. I sang along, I laughed, I cried... Sure, it's silly sometimes, but I like silly... you may have noticed that I'm a little silly...

And an update on my uncle: They're weaning him off his respirator and he should go home in a couple of days. I think the problem is that he was actually getting too much oxygen. Apparently whenever he would get up to go to the bathroom, he'd come back winded, and he would ask my aunt to increase the oxygen for a little while. Sometimes they would forget to turn it back down.

Thanks for your prayers.  =)


208 - A Different Kind of Shortie

Thanks for dealing with my meltdown last night. Hope to see some of you at my Pity Party this evening. Fun starts promptly at 7 pm. =)

There seems to be a glut of teenaged singers out there right now... Miley Cyrus... Taylor Swift... The Jonas Brothers... You know which one I like? Selena Gomez. She's adorable. And classy. Check out this video... she manages to be a little bit sexy, but not trashy or inappropriate. And she can actually sing. Something about her seems more mature than her meager seventeen years. Just thought I'd throw my two cents in.

We used to play this game a lot on Myspace... Put your iTunes on random and list the first ten, no matter how embarassing. I have 13,623 songs. I definitely don't like all of them. I collected them through various means and don't feel like going to the effort of getting rid of them, because you never know when someone else might be looking for a song you have, or maybe you want to have people over for some Tex-Mex and you actually want to listen to a mariachi band while you eat. I'll be honest, some of these songs... I've probably never heard before. I would just base this on my three star and up playlist, but I recently transferred all of my music to another drive and all my hard work went right down the drain... ratings, gone. Bugger.

No idea what's going to happen here.

A brief note about my rating system (I'll be rating these as I go along) -- My rating system is arbitrary and ill-defined...
  • One Star - Reserved for songs that are absolutely atrocious, or comedy sketches that I wouldn't want coming up on a playlist
  • Two stars - A song I don't particularly like, but it doesn't turn my stomach
  • Three stars - A song that is passable; I don't mind listening to it every once in a while
  • Four stars - A song that I really like, but if I had to choose between it and a five star song, the five star song would win out
  • Five stars - An honor reserved for songs that I absolutely love and often listen to twice before moving on
1) Lifestyles of the Not So Rich and Famous by Tracy Byrd - Never heard it before. Typical country line dance song (I can seriously picture the people dancing). Neither good nor bad, but it would get three stars.

2) Popeye by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes - This is not my fault. A friend loaded these onto my computer. I would really classify this as comedy because it's a punk version of the theme to Popeye the Sailor Man. Songs like these are cute the first couple of times you hear them, you might even share them with your friends to prove that you have a sense of humor, but I tire of them quickly... one star and a 'comedy' genre classification. Songs in the 1 min 25 sec range rarely take themselves seriously...

3) Do You Fear For Your Child (artist unknown) - A random song of the techno persuasion. I have no idea where this 80's beatbox industrial mishmash came from but it sounds like that episode of Friends where Ross finds his old keyboard and starts playing random sounds. It's 5:32, and that's about 5:30 too long. One star.

4) Ghostbusters by Ray Parker, Jr. - Well, well, well... a song for Kato, lol! This one isn't one I'd want to listen to over and over, but it's catchy and brings back good memories... Stay-Puffed Marshmallow Man anyone? So I give it three stars.

5) Everytime by Lustral - This was on a free cd I got with the purchase of another cd. It's about the only decent song on the cd, but on the whole, I don't crave it. I feel like Simon Cowell tonight... everything disappoints... three stars and an insulting remark!

6) Fool for the City by Foghat - If I was drinking I might enjoy listening to this song. It's not a complicated song, that's for sure. Three stars. I'm going to keep going until I hit 10 or give something a five star rating... this is depressing! Maybe in honor of Spinal Tap I'll go to at least 11...

7) Let Go by Adema - Well if nothing else I think you're starting to get an idea how eclectic my collection is... I like Adema so even though I don't recognize this particular song, I'm already more apt to give it a higher rating. I find that I do that with people, too. If one of my friends likes you, I start out liking you... what happens after that is anyone's guess... This song isn't a typical Adema song, but I like it. I may have stumbled across a four star gem here... wait... that bridge is a little weak... but... hmmm... thinking... nope, it was going to be four stars but the crappy guitar solo took it down to three... damn. I had high hopes for this one.

8) Light My Way by Audioslave - Ah Audioslave, born of the post-Pearl Jam grunge era. Unfortunate. I hate Pearl Jam and since you remind me of them you have to work harder to impress... Already your Eddie Vedder-like nasal whine grates on my nerves a bit... There are some redeeming bits... but... three stars... just barely. Were you a Nirvana knock-off I might have ranked you higher.

9) What Do You Want? by Mr. T and the Experience - What the hell? Can't I catch a break? Punk. Not my favorite three-cord genre. I know very well where this came from, same place as The Mad Caddies, The Queers, and Anti-Flag... It was a sad day when I traded music with you, Rob... two stars and I'm skipping the rest of the song.

10) Twist/Chi by Korn - Finally something I might like. Right now he sounds like a caveman trying to tell me how to roast an elk. Is he even speaking English? Maybe he's overcome by the spirit of God and he's speaking in tongues... Still, something about it... I like... It's all over the place, primal... Korn... Three stars.

11) Auld Lang Syne by Patrick Ball - Approriate if this were the end, but I must perservere until I break the three star curse. Another Patrick Ball song might have done it, but this isn't a song I want on my iPod (I'm a pod person... run!)... it's a holiday song, and not even one of my favorites (though I do appreciate you Robert Burns!). If you like Celtic music, Patrick Ball is an awesome harp player. Absolutely amazing. I had the honor of seeing him perform live at a small club once. One of my cherished memories.

12) Dublin O'Shea by The Rovers - That'll do Donkey... that'll do... Stereotypical Irish song about drinking and boating. Three stars... with an accordian in the band you're lucky I didn't demote you to two.

13) Mack the Knife by Frank Sinatra - When I have mom and dad over for lunch, I play Big Band because it's something that won't offend. It sets a fun mood. I like Big Band. I kinda like Sinatra, but he's not my favorite. Ella is my favorite, or Bing. You know what? I also like what Rod Stewart did with it. This is also three stars.

14) If I Can't Have You by Yvonne Elliman - I hate disco. I don't know this song. One star.

15) Fire on the Mountain by Bill Monroe - Bluegrass mandolin... listen to them fangers set far to them strangs! A nice change, but still only three stars.

16) Smack My Bitch Up by The Prodigy - Wouldn't you know that a song with this title would be the first five star song on the list? I love The Prodigy! I'm in such a good mood now that I'm going for 20.

17) Happy Holiday (Beef Wellington Remix) by Bing Crosby - Woot! Another five star song! I don't normally like remixes of Big Band, but this one works. It's an excellent holiday song, especially for a cocktail party. And it's Bing! Double woot!

18) Last by Nine Inch Nails - Wow, how the tide has turned. This is when NIN ruled the world. Now that he's in love, there's no angst in his music and... well... it sucks. I used think Trent Reznor could fart into a microphone and make it sound good, but I misjudged. This song gets five stars baby!

19) Rocky Top by Grandpa Jones - Mom and dad used to sing this all the time. And we watched Hee Haw as a family whenever we visited grandma and grandpa. So three stars. I like GJ, he was a hoot. And there's an old lady in the background that reminds me of my grandma, singing for all she's worth, just belting it out in that slightly shrill old lady voice, trying their damndest but still slightly off key... a little like Taylor Swift... bless her heart...

20) Creeping Death by Metallica - What a nice finish! My favorite band... and a very cool song. To me, this was part of the soundtrack to The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub. I read that book with this album playing in the background, looped so that it repeated over and over and over and over and over and over and over. In a strange way, it fit the storyline. This is an awesome song in concert, too. We (the crowd) get to raise our fists in the air and scream "DIE!" as James Hetfield sings his part: Die by my hand, I creep across the land, killing firstborn man. It sounds insane, but it's awesome. Creeping Death is the plague God sent to kill the first born sons of Israel, but it passed you by if you painted your door with the blood of a lamb. See... you probably didn't know it unless you're a Metalli-Fan, but James is the son of a preacher man... Five stars of hella cool.

And one to grow...

21) Speedballin by Outkast - Love this song. Andre 3000 is a force of nature. I didn't know who the hell Outkast was, but then I saw Saturday Night Live and they played B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad) and I was blown away (no pun intended). He was all over the stage. From that point on, I was hooked. When I play this song, I can't sit still.

Well, when this little experiment started out I wondered if I was ever going to redeem myself or if I was going to end up looking like a complete loser with horrible taste in music, but I think I rallied there at the end. Phew!


207B - Wasn't gonna post twice today but...

Fucking hell. My prayer list just keeps getting longer. None of it affects me directly, but these things keep happening to the people I care about...

Tuesday. 1:45 AM. I get a text message from my cousin Beth. Her youngest has been having seizures and is on her way to the ER. 3:30 AM I get a second text, she's had another seizure, but she's at the hospital so the doctors are administering anti-convulsion meds.

Thursday. After watching the aftermath of Crazy Man vs. IRS on the news, I learn that a guy I work with was in an automobile accident on Wednesday night -- on his way to church. His wife is dead, he's in the ICU. The guy who hit them was on his way home from the plant, he fell asleep at the wheel. This guy always made me smile, he was always upbeat, always laughing. We played this silly game with the weather. He'd look at me and I'd wiggle my fingers and bring them down if it was raining out. I'd wiggle them and bring them up if it was humid. We'd do all manner of silly hand gestures to pantomine our version of the weather. It was our inside joke. Everyone else just gave us cautious looks and backed away. He'd smile, pat me on the back and go get his coffee.

Tonight. Same cousin texts me. Her father is in the ICU. He has been on oxygen for a couple of years now because of emphysema, apparently he's taken a turn for the worse. My aunt is pretty much homebound because she has to do almost everything for him, he can't go anywhere, all he can do is sit in his recliner and breathe. It's a sad life. Admittedly, he smoked like a chimney, but some people have done worse and didn't suffer the same repercussions. If you smoke, please let him be an example of where you could end up... for your sake and your families, consider cutting back.

All I can say is that when it rains, it fucking pours.

After I forwarded the newspaper article about Jose to him, Greg asked me if I thought God had a plan... if these things are pre-ordained.

Allow me to give you my version of God.

I think God is a scientist, and we exist in a large, very complex terrarium. Sometimes he stirs the pot, sometimes he helps out, mostly he sits and watches but doesn't interfere. I'm sure that, like everyone, he has his favorites... I know that this seems diametrically opposed to my belief in angels and demons, and the fact that I still pray... but, it helps me get through times like these without getting pissed off at him. When I was younger I was pissed off at him for a mighty long time. I wouldn't listen to any conversation that involved religion, I wouldn't watch any television shows that broached the subject. Eventually I began watching Touched by an Angel and somehow made my peace with God. We're on good terms. I decided that if I was going to blame him for the bad, I also had to give him credit for the good... until that point, the balance had been off... now he's neutral, but I like him.

The reason I think of him as a scientist is that I can't believe -- won't believe -- that a God who actively participates in our lives would let these things happen to people like my friend Jose, or to my family. I can't believe that he would have let my 2-year old cousin be strangled by her carseat when her parent's had an automobile accident (not unlike the accident Jose was in). That was the same year my great-aunt died from ovarian cancer that came on sudden and strong, and the year my grandpa passed on from lung cancer (he hadn't smoked in 20 years but he worked for the railroad so I guess that played its part).

I also can't believe that he would allow my Uncle Kenneth (grandpa to the 2-year old) to suffer an agonizing death that lasted for months until he ultimately starved to death because he couldn't keep anything down. My Uncle Kenneth was the closest thing to a saint I've known, this is a man who was devoted to his family, called me ma'am, worked 2-3 jobs his whole life -- even up until the end -- and he still made time to go to church, and participate in a prison ministry. He looked like Harrison Ford, he was tall and solidly built, if he wasn't related to me I might have had a crush on him; and because he worked so hard he was always hungry. It's a cruel irony that he starved to death, because he had the biggest appetite of anyone I've ever known... it was because he worked hard and took pride in his work. I think when I told him about my experience as a test dummy, he was the most excited out of anyone, in fact, it was the most excited I'd ever seen him. He loved the idea of NASA.

That's why my God is a scientist. Impartial. Uninvolved. Because my God isn't cruel. He would never cause these things to happen, nor would he allow his people to go down like that.

I try not to coorelate events like these to religion. Instead I take them for what they are, tragedies that no one understands. It's futile to try to make sense of it, because it's senseless. There's no lesson here because it's random.

Anyway... now that I'm running out of steam, if you have a spare moment, and you're inclined to pray, consider adding my cousin, my uncle and my friend Jose to your list. They could use the extra help.

207 - Shortie

So I’m reading my email and this advertising pane to the side says, “Swat Team Openings: Immediate Openings in 47 US States. We need your help. Starting Salary of $63,790.00 A Year”

Couple of reactions: Nice money... Shouldn't 'Swat' should be SWAT? My belief in your legitimacy has already begun to decay unless this is a team of renegade mosquito and fly swatters... Why do we need all these SWAT members?... 'US States' is redundant… Why is 'A' capitalized when 'of' is not…

So many questions, so little time...

Also, we got a company email telling us to 'dust of our boots' because the rodeo is coming, or Go Texan day is nigh, or some other redneckish nonsense is afoot (I kid... I like rednecks...)... am I right in thinking we're supposed to dust our boots off, or is there some magic in the dust of our boots?

Hell, I'm the girl who claims Jesus turned wine into water... what am I being all uppity about?

For some reason I was just thinking about Jack Handy... anyone remember Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy? My favorite was this one:

The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

But this one also cracks me up:

We used to laugh at Grandpa when he'd head off and go fishing. But we wouldn't be laughing that evening when he'd come back with some whore he picked up in town.


206C - Throw us under a bus why don't you?

Yep, a third post -- Ian, remember to create a category for most posts in one day so I can win it at the end of the year! lol

This is mind boggling.

I suppose I have to preface the following rant with the disclaimer that I don't speak for NASA and these are my own views...

First of all, we don't have enough resources to fund our own damn space program (or fix our fucking facilities with anything but duct tape and buckets), so why the fuck do we have to 'reach out' to other countries? Why do we have to hand them the benefit of our years of research for gratis? If Obama wants to do this, let him fund it out of his own damn pocket! I don't want my tax dollars going there. (post has been edited... I didn't like the rest of the paragraph because it didn't really have to do with the point I was trying to make)

Secondly, why the fuck are we marketing space to a religion? He's not talking about reaching out to other countries, he's talking about specifically muslim countries. Why specifically muslim countries? He denies that he's muslim, but he seems to have all these muslim ties, and now he's trying to reach out to muslim countries. I'm not calling him a liar, but... he looks like a duck and he quacks like a duck.

Thirdly, this is another fine example of Bolden's mouth running away from him again. I would almost bet you he wasn't supposed to say that. I would almost bet you that, par for the course, he just wasn't thinking and it slipped out. Or maybe I'm wrong, maybe he's finally had enough of Obama's hand up his ass telling him what to do and this was his cry for help... a freudian slip of sorts. Or an Urkel... 'did I say thaaaaaaaaaaaaat?' I don't know. I'm not sure how he got the job, but this is one of the many times I find myself wondering if there are incriminating pictures of somebody with a camel lurking around somewhere...

Rant over. Feel free to state your case.

206B - Spoiled

We here at NASA are spoiled little brats. There, I said it. We live in the lap of luxury, frittering away your hard earned tax dollars with our posh offices and neat, technologically advanced toys. I am going to give you an insider's look at our crazy pad... Don't hate me just because you work in a dump... prepare yourself... are you ready?... Three... two... one... LIFT OFF!!!

Wait -- Houston... we have a problem.

Exhibit A - A ceiling so lovely that it rivals the Sistine Chapel.  I know what you're thinking -- and you're right -- it's absolutely breath-taking. A wonder to behold.

Fun fact -- we flew people to the Moon...

You may think some moron put aluminum foil in the microwave and walked away letting an electrical fire almost get out of hand, but you are probably wrong. I hope you're wrong... because we're rocket scientists dammit. Did I mention we flew people to the Moon? M-O-O-N, that spells... everything. Anyway, in reality, this is a space microwave where we blow up meteorites, but they also allow us to reheat our lunches in it.

The funeral will be held on Friday.

This here is our sophisticated drainage system. It's not that we have a leaky roof, no silly, we are collecting rainwater to recycle it. After all, Jesus turned wine into water, and NASA did the same thing for urine... and rainwater. Yes... that's what's going on here... space alchemy...
You can also see that we are big into safety... those buckets may be in the middle of the hallway, but we warned you not to trip over them!

Now doesn't this look appetizing? No... no one took a dump in the bucket... that's the water that leaked into the bucket from the fluorescent light fixture above... ahem... I mean, it is part of sophisticated rainwater collection system. If the water were clean, it wouldn't be challenging, and we at NASA love a challenge... Oh, and remember -- reduce, reuse, recycle...

Well, I hope I haven't upset you too much... every once in a while I just can't help myself... I have to brag about where I work for a living, and I know that makes some people feel inferior because their offices don't do extreme recycling or have fancy ceilings... But take heart, not that you know you can get paid to pee and poop, you're better off today than you were the day before...

P.S. We flew people to the Moon -- did I mention that?

206 - Idiots.

Guy crashed a stolen plane into a federal building in Austin after burning his house down (with a wife and daughter inside). I'm glad he's dead. I wish the other people weren't injured though.

Sometimes it's hard to believe people like him exist in this world.


205B - LMAO

Okay... one of you people with the dangly bits has to call:

Axe is giving away 1,000 Axe Detailer Shower Tools weekly! If they are gone today call back on Monday when it starts again. The number is 1-877-3AXEBALL or 1-877-3293-2255.

And then we need a report. Yep. That would cheer me immensely.

205 - The Pity Party

I have decided that I need to have a pity party. So I'm throwing one. This weekend. Hopefully it will pull me out of my funk, because the funk still lingers. If it stays cold I get to make more hot, spiced wine. I had some at the Renaissance Festival once and had to recreate it because it was so yummy.  Take a bottle of white zinfandel, a bottle of apple cider, some brown sugar, a couple of cinnamon sticks, a few cloves, simmer it, add rum, and voila! A tasty treat that warms you up nicely. If it's not cold, I shall make frozen margaritas... I would call this a win-win situation.

Today was soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo long. Felt like work was never going to end. But eventually it did. Now I'm home, playing around with my budget. And no, that's not the name of a battery operated appliance... dirty person...

One of my favorite creditors sent me a letter yesterday. Seriously, I've been in a relationship with them since 1994, and I really do like them. They always had my back. They issued me ludicrous amounts of credit. I wish they hadn't turned out to be like all the other boys...

In the letter they inform me that they will henceforth be charging me an annual fee of $60. Apparently this is for my benefit. They say, and I quote, "The reason we are making this change is to maintain the quality of our service amid the rising cost of doing business. (I bet that means I get to talk to a customer service representative that I can actually understand!) However, because we value you as a customer (feeling loved), we wanted to give you an opportunity to have the annual fee credited back to your account (how sweet). Here's how it works. (Doesn't 'here's how it works' make it sound fun?) Each year, we'll credit the $60 fee back to your account once you have made $2,400 in purchases during that year. That comes to an average of $200 in spending a month (thank you for doing the math for me), an amount you can reach by using your card for purchases you already make, like gas, groceries, cell phone plans or your cable bill." (It's so easy!... And fun!)

I can also opt out, but if I do, they close my account. Futhermucker. I needed more problems to deal with.

Alas, I don't have much to say tonight. Six paragraphs will have to do... the funk clouds my brain.


204 - Overindulging and Awards

I got more awards! First the Love Link award from Terry at A Writer of Wrongs, a great blog (with a very clever title) that is equal parts writer's journal, slice of life, and Molly Ringwald fan club. Terry is such a diehard writer that he even managed to injure his writing fingers! To receive this award I must pass it on to five more blogs, and post this:

"You have received a LOVE LINK, now it's your turn to pass it on. Pick 5 special blog friends/readers/or non-blogging friends to link to and post about in addition to the person who LOVE-LINKED you; don't forget to add this notice to your post. This paragraph links you to Womenslifelink.com (where it all started) because we want to know how far the love spreads and to how many. So, please come and leave a comment to tell us who you are and that you received a LOVE LINK from a friend."

I'm going to give them out to blogs I started reading within the last couple of months or so ("couple" being a relative term)... in no particular order:

1. Ms. Anthropy
2. Hissyfits & Halos
3. Redhead Ranting
4. The Girl Next Door Grows Up
5. I think it's Interesting (ASBLACKASOBAMA) - By the way, I take back my comment about Taylor Swift... I finally figured it out -- she's not flat... it's the band... they're really making her look bad. And Stevie Nicks... hmph... you'd think a professional singer with that many years under her belt would be more professional... how they have hidden her lack of talent for so long I'll never know...

And a second award from Kato, whom I'm sure you all know is one of my favorite people/bloggers. She gave me the One Lovely Blog Award, and I get to hand that over to one more blog. So this one goes to Joe (The Shadow of My Life), because he is one lovely blogger (and also a fellow Texan, yee-haw ya'll!).

Gosh, that's a big award... I tried to make it smaller and it blew up on me...

Well, it didn't ever get warm enough for me to open the windows, but yesterday was still a beautiful day.

I'm a little embarassed to admit how obsessive anal OCD happy it makes me when I can get rid of clutter. Any little scrap of paper that I can get toss, even going so far as to cut a recipe out of a page and be able to throw the rest of that page away, makes me feel so much better. It even transfers to intagible things like my spam folder... I check it to make sure no blogspot comments, or other valuable email I may want, is in there, then I empty it. It's a small rush.

On the other hand, I'm learning to finish things before I throw them out. Instead of leaving the last little bit of toothpaste in the tube, or the last few squirts of liquid soap in the container, I now use it all up. See, I look forward to opening up the next new container so much that it's hard for me to stop myself from using the new thing before finishing the old one... It's an ongoing story in my life... Carries on to more than just toiletries, unfortunately. But I'm learning not to tire of things so easily...

That said, I have been using the most wonderful soap... I got it at the Renaissance Festival a couple of years ago and am just now using it because I'm such a soap whore that I have a drawer full of the stuff... I can't help myself. I'm a very scent-sual woman. ;) Anyway, it is olive oil based and smells wonderful, but most of all, it has a nice lather to it... so luxurious... If you're looking for a good soap to add to your collection, you can find it at http://soapmagic.com/. I've used Angel, and am currently using Arabian Spice... both are wonderful and generously sized... about twice the size of a store-bought bar of soap. (And no, I am in no way affiliated with these people, I only wish they were bribing me!).

Random commercial-driven comment: I like Kirstie Alley, but wtf? "Life. Lick it." What the hell does that even mean?

I finally got around to trying agave nectar as a sugar substitute. It is a liquid rather than a granular sugar (did the 'nectar' part give that away?), but it tastes good. Almost like honey... I had my doubts... I mean, agave turns into a nice tequila... but a sweetener? I put it in my water this evening, with a couple of packets of True Lime... makes a nice limeade-type beverage. And apparently it's good for regulating blood sugar, doesn't cause an insulin spike like regular sugar. All in all I'm glad I tried it. I could even see adding some vanilla extract to it to make a flavored syrup, and adding that to a coke instead of going to Sonic and getting a Route-44 vanilla coke (I know, the coke part is bad, but if I do it this way it's a little healthier, right? Smaller portion, adding a healthier syrup... okay, I'm fooling myself... but not you...). And I can add it to my chocolate almond milk so that it will actually taste good! Yea!

And last, a final thought for the day... getting paid to pee (and/or poop as the case may be)... Yes folks, your employer not only provides you with 'low cost' health insurance and a paycheck -- if you take advantage of it, they will also pay you for your bodily waste as well. And they provide soap, water and towels. So the next time you start to think about how much you hate your job, think about this -- maybe your just not availing yourself of all the many benefits of working for somebody else.


203 - Feeling better

Woke up this morning and felt better. Sun is shining, and it might even warm up enough for me to open the windows again today. VD is also over. Maybe the Omega-3 and triple dose of exercise paid off (Gilad tricked me... his shows are usually 30 minutes but this one was a grueling hour... then later I did a hip-hop workout). I've been off of anti-depressants for about 3 years now, but every once in a while I still succumb. I've read that regular exercise, over a period of time, is actually more effective than meds to stave it off. Another good reason to get off my ass.

Also, thanks to everyone for your supportive comments, I read them and that went a long way toward elevating my mood. I've never met any of you in person, but your comments do perk up me up. I also got a couple of awards in the last week, so tomorrow I will address those.

Yesterday, at the height of my crap mood, I watched Conspiracy Theory. Interesting show (I say haltingly). Does it mean I'm paranoid if some of what Jesse Ventura says actually makes me go 'hmmm'? I used to blow things like that off, but more and more I find myself willing to listen. I may not believe it all, but I can learn at least a couple of thought provoking things if I keep an open mind. The show I watched was about the bunker that the government is building for themselves in preparation for the 2012 solar flare event, and the underground condos (former missile silos that are being converted) that wealthy people are buying. I had to laugh a little at the condos... One of the scenarios was that a 500 foot tidal wave washes over the city... They said these condos are designed to be submerged for up to 36 hours. So... first... 'up to'? Doesn't that give you a warm fuzzy? And what happens if the water doesn't recede in 'up to' 36 hours? Then you're buried in an underground bunker with tons of water on top of you and nowhere to go. D'oh! I also figure that most of these wealthy people are so used to other people doing things for them that once the real work begins are they even going to know what to do? Survival only begins with not dying, but it doesn't end there...

You know how things get me thinking... The 'danger' most feared during this solar flare event is apparently the electrical grid going down. Apparently if there are no grounds between transformers, there's nothing to stop a surge from frying the whole grid. I guess this isn't important in the day to day scheme of things or it would be standard operating procedure to install these grounds? So I happened upon this really interesting map that shows the states most likely to be affected if a solar event fries the grid. (Yea Texas!) I think I could probably live without electricity as long as I could still make a fire and grow my own food, except that water is brought up from the ground using electric pumps, and waste treatment facilities need power... the toilet would be a problem, and eventually drinking water could be an issue.

Heard something interesting about water on the radio the other day... One of our radio stations has little 5-minute segments on technology in the mornings, and while I'm usually not interested in 'geek' stuff like knowing how something mechanical works, these little snippets are usually interesting enough to keep me listening. This particular segment was on water towers. I learned that water towers pump water from the ground at night when demand is low, then gravity feeds the water to our houses. That's why if the power goes out, we still have water flowing through the tap. It works as long as the tower is higher than the buildings it serves, so skyscrapers often have mini-water towers on their roof, which is also a safety measure during a fire because then there's water available to put out fires. But I still wouldn't mind having a well... that way if the power goes out for too long a period of time, I still have water... Sometimes I have this yearning to go back to the 'old ways'... that's why I'm interested in gardening and canning and things like that. I don't like being dependent on 'the city' for things... I want to know how to do things if the 'failsafe' methods fail.

Off that topic, I attempted to make a rotisserie chicken in my fancy-schmancy toaster oven on Saturday... The cornish hen I cooked last month went great. The chicken was a frickin' nightmare. I tied the damn thing up (or so I thought), stuck it on the spit, put the little spikey things in it, and put the spit in the toaster oven. That's always a hassle... I've already scratched off some of the coating inside the oven as I attempt to get the spit in place. First problem is that the spit going through the cavity of the chicken was lopsided... breast side was right up againt the spit, back was hanging down like a gaping mouth. So I fixed that by adding lemons to the cavity and after a couple of attempts, managed to get the spit centered between the breast and the back. Bully for me. Next, one of the wing tips kept hitting the heating element as it rotated, so smoke began to billow out of my oven. Not only did it scare me because smoke can mean fire, but it stunk (another reason why opening the windows was such a treat). I snipped the offending tip off with some kitchen shears. Then the wing managed to works its way out of the twine and hit the heating element again. I snipped off more. Oh the carnage. Then it did it again. I took the bird out of the oven and retied the twine, which by now had completely come loose because it, too had hit the heating element and basically burned away. After three more snafus I took the damn thing out of the rotisserie oven and transferred it to the oven where I finished it off and it was delicious. So... maybe I'll try again with a smaller bird, one trussed to the nines, or maybe I'll just use my toaster oven as a toaster oven... It does make a damn fine toast. And my oven does chicken just fine, so why bother?

Actually went outside yesterday afternoon and pulled some weeds out of the flower beds. Because the guys who mow my lawn keep it pretty much under control, it wasn't so bad, but there were still a few patches of clover to pull. Then I planted some arugula (rocket), jalapeno peppers, and even though I know it's probably futile since you're supposed to germinate them indoors... tomatoes. I'm worried that with all the rain we've been getting, the ground is too saturated and the seeds are just going to rot. I haven't seen any life stirring in the pots where I planted the lettuce seeds. Guess time will tell. But at least it felt good to get out there and get my hands in the dirt.


202 - Angst

Been in a really bad funk today. Will have to apologize to the bride for missing the wedding, but I couldn't be there. I wrestled with it all day, right up to the point of no return, but I don't want to be around anyone right now, much less a wedding party. I feel bad, but it would only make things worse... I stare off into space a lot... but that's an improvement over the sobbing. I feel like I should add the disclaimer that if it was one of my best friends I would have forced myself to buck up and at least go to the ceremony... even though I feel bad for missing it, I envisioned myself having too much to drink and having a meltdown after the wedding... not good, right?

It's not only the fact that it's VD that has put me into this funk... oh no... it's compounded by an ugly little family member named Uncle Sam.

I may have screwed up on my tax return... I filed electronically, and I put in a placeholder for the interest on a bank account, then forgot it was empty, and submitted before I got my end of year tax statement.

What sucks is that I didn't earn enough interest to matter a whit, but the fact that I listed it and left it blank is probably going to delay my return (and the damn 'alerts' on the program I used didn't flag my glaring error).

Wouldn't be such a huge issue except that I have to pay off my windows by the end of March, and I need the money from my tax return in order to do that. If I leave the balance past March, I will owe all of the accrued interest... from day one... and I don't want that. Usually I get balance transfer offers and would be able to move the money to another card, but the only one offering me that option is the bank who holds the credit card I put the windows on... so that won't work. So the only other way I can think of to work it, is to leave part of the credit card I use and pay off every month, as a balance, and redirect that money to the windows. I don't want to have to play it that way, but I don't see another option (selling my eggs is still a no-go).

I may be worrying for nothing. The tax form itself doesn't go into detail, it just shows one line for interest income, so maybe it won't be a problem. Maybe my luck will hold out just a little while longer... but when I used to mail the forms in, you had to attached the 1099's to the 1040, so I assume it's the same in the electronic world.

Logically I know it will somehow work itself out, and I only have to get through the next couple of months, but I'm still stressed out. I'm so tired of struggling. I make a decent living, but I got myself into a bind when all the crap happened with the house. If none of that shit had happened, the windows would have been paid off months ago, I wouldn't have two balances with payment deadlines staring me in the face, and I wouldn't owe my parent's.

Oh, and I found out that I got approved for my braces. But I can't afford them right now.

Boy, whenever I decide to throw a pity party I go all out...

I'm going to end this before it gets even more depressing...VD gets progressively worse for me each year, and this year it's a little overwhelming, but just because I hate it doesn't mean I hope it sucks for everyone else...

I hope all of you are having an amazing VD (and happy birthday to Jen's daughter)!


201B - Constellation Lives

I know... a second post. I couldn't help myself, I love a good public smackdown:

Letter From House of Representatives to NASA Administrator Bolden regarding Constellation contract Cancellation 

*dance of joy*

201 - CCII

And now, the weekly inches update (I screwed up and ate before I measured, but I was sharp enough to weigh myself first thing this morning):

                    4 weeks ago     Today     Total Change

Weight -      172.0                171.6       -0.4 lbs (but I peaked at 173.2, so it's really a 1.6 lb loss)

Bust -          39-1/2"             39"          -1/2"

Chest -        34-1/2"             34-1/2"    -0"

Waist -       36-1/2"             34-1/2"    -2"

Hips -         43-1/2"            42-1/2"    -1"

Thighs -      24"                  23-1/2"    -1/2" (x2)

Arms -       14"                   12"          -2" (x2)

Overall inch loss = 8" (I cheated myself out of inches last time because I forgot that I had two arms and two legs... duh), and I'm finally starting to shed pounds... not much, but a little, and hopefully it will start to pick up now. If I ate better it would probably be coming off a heck of a lot faster... but last night I had wings, fries, ice cream, and an extra soda. It's nights like that that sabotage me...

Last night I did Gilad, then I hopped on the treadmill for 20 minutes. I wanted to see if my aerobic abilities have improved. Toning is one aspect of exercise, but cardio is something I need to work on incorporating. Used to be that I could run for 30 seconds at 5 mph, maybe a minute, and if I wanted to kill myself I could do two. But afterwards, I felt like absolute crap. Last night I ran for 5 minutes! I know it's still pitiful... I probably could have run a little longer, but I don't really like to run and talked myself out of it... admittedly my lungs were burning a little, too. My goal is that someday I'll be one of those people who actually likes to run... I wonder though, do those people really exist?

You know what I like about Jillian? Her honesty. I still get those newsletters, and I scan through them because there are always little nuggests in there that I can use. This particular statement made me laugh:

"When you hear some buff celebrity talking about how he trained six hours straight a day to get ready for his latest action movie, he's talking a load of embellished bull that makes the ordinary person feel totally inferior. We have lives, we can't possibly do that! However, spending that much time working out is not only impossible, it would be counterproductive, as it would throw the body into a state of overtraining and make it more prone to metabolize its own lean muscle tissue for energy."

So anyway... Saturday... time to catch up on housework (towels are in the wash), plan next week's menu, go to the grocery store (gonna try it later this evening), and chill. It's a three day weekend... I would have liked to have gone out of town and explored a little, but I have a wedding to go to on Sunday evening. (this is me doing a little excited hop) (that was me being sarcastic) I know I shouldn't feel that way, but I feel like my weekend has been stolen from me. If I would have realized that it was a 3-day weekend, I would have said no... I sound like a horrible friend, but this is someone that I rarely ever see, so it's not like we're besties. Oh well, I'm going to shut up now.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.


200 - is a nice round number

If you want to appreciate how good we've got it, read Army Hippie Chick's latest post. Every time I scrolled down and saw her blog I wondered how she was doing over there. Good to know that she's safe.

Watched Orphan today... hmph. ASBLACKASOBAMA was right... the ending... really? That's your twist? I didn't laugh... I wanted to reach through the screen and strangle that bitch. And the person who wrote the screenplay. And the studio who put it out. And the guy at the dvd store, for letting me buy it.

I had holiday fever today. Decided to take off at lunch. Guess lots of other people decided to take off early too, because when I went to get my wings, the parking lot for the grocery store next door was full. And there seems to be a run on gas. Doesn't anyone work on Fridays anymore? You can't go anywhere without encountering gazillions of people. It sucks. I just want some breathing room, and I want to be able to go the frickin' speed limit (so I lied... I want to be able to go 10 mph over the frickin' speed limit).

I've been browsing for houses again. I'm not ready to move, I just want to get an idea where I want to go when I am ready to move. Unfortunately there isn't a lot of land around around here, just houses on little 6,000 sq ft plots with baby trees on them, and neighbors within arm's reach, and people who park in front of your mailbox or behind your driveway. I'm having a difficult time finding what I want that I think I'll be able to afford in a couple of years. There are some houses south of here that might fit the bill, but with the hurricanes, I'm not sure I want to go further south.

So then I started looking for acreage... lots of nice looking plots, some with ponds, but waaaaaaaaaaaaaay west, or waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay north, and most are just land, no houses. One of these days I'm going to grow a pair, find a new job, and relocate to a less densely populated area. I mean, I like where I am, I feel safe where I am, but there's always a tradeoff... there are too many damn people, there's too little space, there are not enough trees.

I need to start playing the lottery, because my job is never going to get me where I want to be in life...


199 - ... is 200 minus 1

So I was paying bills online, and there it was... $41 due to Bank of America... the $6 credit card charge for my bloody Mary plus a $35 returned check fee... Damn. I attempted to pay it, but my online payment privileges have been suspended... I called to rectify that once before, but wimped out after they transferred me to another dept, because it was at that point that I finally realized what had happened... and I just couldn't couldn't face it right then. I was too ashamed.

Admittedly the $35 fee rankled me, but it was my own idiocy that caused this, so I was prepared to eat the crow, or pay the piper as the case may be... I was going to call tomorrow (did I mention I procrastinate), but decided to tackle it tonight. Hoo-ah! My motivation came from the fact that I'm terrified of doing anything to upset the delicate balance of happy creditors I've got going. I'm afraid to blink wrong until the 22nd when the new laws kick in.

I know I confused the crap out of the representative who answered my call... but I guess my ability to laugh at myself put me on her good side because she took the $35 fee off (and I didn't even ask!), and let me pay over the phone without charging me the usual $15 fee. Awesome. And she got a good laugh out of it after I told her I felt like a complete a-hole once I figured out what had happened. I think it was probably a good thing that I called during a slower period, if she'd been in a bad mood she might not have waived anything. So happy-happy joy-joy, I think this little episode is behind me.

Tonight I skipped Jillian and did Gilad. He is killing me in an entirely different way. He works the legs to death (it burns!), then he exhausts the arms (they burn!), then he destroys my abs (it burns!). But I do notice that he combines moves like Jillian does. I don't know what it is about him, but I really like his workouts... always have. And no, it's not because he's eye candy... I think it's that he was the first one who made me aware of my form. Once I started paying attention to that I could actually feel my body getting stronger. It's amazing what a difference it makes if you go into a squat and push up from your heels... you feel it in a totally different way. So I think I'm going to alternate Gilad, Jillian and the treadmill. I may even break out the Total Gym. I have two issues with that though: space, and one of the pieces on the handle is missing, so it's almost impossible to use it without injuring myself -- and since I didn't buy it directly from Total Gym, and can't find the damn serial number -- they won't sell me any damn replacement parts! Seriously! When one of the cables frayed, I had to find an aftermarket seller. In that instance it worked out great, but with this little part, I don't know what I'm looking for... Plus, my beloved Sammy used it as a scratching post, so the piece I lay down on is all fucked up and prickly. Someday I tell myself I will buy another TG... I loved the crap out of it, and it does work, but I look at the price, and assess my current lack of space and decide against it (note: they claim that you can roll it under a bed - HA! Size-wise, you could, but weight-wise... you'd better be in good condition...)

Got my Julia Childs cookbook yesterday afternoon. It was a bit of a letdown. I guess I've grown used to more modern cookbooks with a certain format to the recipe. And I like pictures rather than drawings. Everything seems so complicated, and even though she says you can get all these ingredients in the grocery store... yeah, okay, you can... but some of them are ingredients with modifications... Like cream... you use heavy whipping cream, but then you have to add a Tbsp of buttermilk to it and let it sit for 8 hours in order for it to be like French cream. WTF? After skimming through it, I'm not sure I'll be doing much more than letting it be a conversation piece on my bookshelf. And holy hell, I bow down to Julie Powell for having cooked her way through that tome... it's not a project I'd want to bite off! No way, no how. Someday I will make the beef burgundy though...


198 - Sleet! Sweet!

Anyone else watch Bad Girls Club? Man I'm so glad Flo's gone... her outbursts were really getting on my damn nerves!

As I left work today there was sleet falling from the sky. Totally unexpected. I know Ian's crying me a river right now (more likely he's forming a massive snowball to hurl at me). I liked the sound it made as it hit the leaves of the big oak tree just outside our building. Comparable to rain, but not... I'm rambling...

Sometimes I feel like a big fake. People sometimes say things to me that are so over my head they make my eyes cross and my head spin. But somehow I pull it off, I say something just vague enough to sound like I know what I'm talking about, or at least not give away how confused I am. Either that, or people are very forgiving. I'm not as smart as people seem to think I am, I just have common sense and a good gut!

So... I got a couple of awards, and that makes this blog a little easier... which is good, because today I feel like one big brain-fart... too much staring at numbers on a computer screen... makes me zombie-like and uninteresting.

So I received the Honest Scrap award from both Lisa Marie and Terry Towery. This is what it looks like:

This reward requires that I display it proudly (done) and tell you ten truths about myself... which is hard! I'm sure I will have a million things to say as soon as I post this... Some of these I'm sure you already know:

Truth 1 - When I saw the name of this award, I giggled because I read it as "Honest Crap"

Truth 2 - I love the smell of butter as it cooks. And I love the taste of a good European butter. I don't care if it's bad for me, because I think margarine is worse for me, and it doesn't taste like butter.

Truth 3 - All too often I become almost obsessive about a new hobby, and then in a matter of days, I'm done. No more interest. It's kind of sad. That's why I have to exercise every day, and blog every day, because if I skip one too many days, I'm probably not coming back to it.

Truth 4 - I love to clip coupons. It's a sickness. My Saturday routine involves a trip to the supermarket where I buy the Sunday newspaper just so I can clip the coupons... the rest goes into the recycle bin. It's actually how I motivate myself to do the grocery shopping... And I clip them all so I can give away the ones I don't use.

Truth 5 - Assuming that the programs I usually watch are on haitus, when I browse the tv guide I will almost always watch shows about: the end of the world, obesity, addiction, the paranormal, reality shows about romance (especially involving celebrities -- even celebrities I'm unfamiliar with), and the Dog Whisperer.

Truth 6 - I wrap my bacon individually before I freeze it. It's easier that way.

Truth 7 - I tried to read my way through the entire Bible, but only got halfway through Exodus... or whichever book it was where the two girls seduced their own dad. That was gross.

Truth 8 - I wish I were more skilled at the grill. I do alright, but some of my friends (pardon the pun) smoke me... I have never tried to moderate the heat by stacking coals off to the side, or drawing the air across the meat by putting the vent on the opposite side... half the time I can't even get the charcoal lit without using half a bottle of lighter fluid (stupid store brand charcoal). I even watch Grill It religiously, but I feel inadequate...

Truth 9 - I'm a procrastinator. Once I get started I'm good, but getting started is my downfall. I have about a thousand things I want to do... but can't get started. (Still haven't painted those two spots in the kitchen and just outside the front door...)

Truth 10 - I read fast, but my retention sucks. When people try to be specific about some aspect of a book they read... I don't remember it. Sometimes that's even the case with my favorite books. It's getting worse as I get older. I remember general concepts now... top level stuff...

That's a good segue...

I realized today that the higher up in the heirarchy a person goes, the less they have to say. It's like the charts excutives read: top level information, no detail. Most of what they say is also top level. Right back to my original statement... they're faking it, too. They say something so vague as to sound knowledgable, but they never really say anything of substance. Maybe that's why people think I'm smart...


197 - Meet ur neighbors

OMG I found this hilariously sad. Someone has been drinking too much moonshine.

So... anyone feel just a little bit bad for Toyota? Man oh man... what a mess. But as bad as I feel for Toyota, I feel even worse for the owners of the cars... what happens to them while their cars are being repaired? What happens to the resale / trade-in value of their cars? And how much faith will they have in their cars when they get them back? Once something breaks I start to doubt it, so I wouldn't feel very confident...

Today I met my new neighbors. They seem pretty cool. I may even get a friend out of the deal because the woman (Kristina) is my age, and seems to have similar interests. I stepped outside to get the mail and say hello, and we probably chatted for 30 minutes. They apparently moved here from Dallas, so they don't really know anyone, and since she doesn't work (outside the home), and home schools her son, it's probably hard to meet people. He's a firefighter, so hey... maybe some hot firefighting men could start hanging out next door... *drool* And cook for me... *drool* And model for me. *double drool* Talking to her made me realize that I make most of my friends through work... even if I don't work with the people directly, I still met them in some form or fashion through my job. If I didn't work, I don't know how I'd meet people, because I've never been a 'joiner'... no clubs, no sports, no organizations, no church... I'm not very sociable... I'm lucky to have friends, really...

The Olympics are about to start and it got me thinking... I am one of the unravelling threads in the fabric that is America... I used to watch Miss USA... I don't anymore... I used to watch all the shuttle launches... I don't anymore (of course there are way more launches than there were when I was a kid...)... I used to watch the Olympics (figure skating and gymnastics)... I don't anymore. It hasn't been a conscious choice, it just happened over time. Little patriotic things that keep you connected to your country and give you a sense of pride... Don't know what it means, just an observation.

Attempted level 3 of the Shred tonight... oh lordy. But I don't think I did any worse on level 3 than I did when I started levels 1 or 2. Each time I took shortcuts or rested a little, so I shouldn't beat myself up. Hell, last night I did Gilad and then did circuits 1 and 3 of Jillian's level 2. (That's right... I did Gilad and then I did Jillian -- spread that around, will you?) So anyhoo... progress is being made and I'm starting to look forward to working out. I finally realized (lots of realizations happening tonight, lol) that I need to work out every day. If I skip even one day, the chances that I will quit altogether increase exponentially. It's that easy for me to drop a good habit. One day. So I just have to push myself and do it until it's second nature.

Probably shouldn't admit this... I watched New Moon tonight. You're probably realizing that the dvd isn't available until next month... Now... I didn't pirate the copy, and I don't approve of pirating movies... but I borrowed a copy from someone who borrowed it from someone else who pirated it... and I feel bad about myself. It's not one of my better moments. But... let's get past my moral transgression and get to the meat of the matter: Cheese Whiz is less cheesy than New Moon was. There's something about seeing the book put into action that changes everything... Bella seems pathetic... Edward is always so solemn... Jacob is incredibly moody and childish... and Jasper... poor Jasper... he looks like a cartoon (see LiLa's recent post for a visual). Alice... her personality just isn't allowed to shine... and I love Alice... not only is her character the coolest character, but my friends agree that if I were a Twilight character... I would be Alice... As long as the character is already cool, hearing that endears me to the character even more. That said, I felt the same way about Twilight and watched it three times, then got inspired to write the book that had been brewing inside me for ten years, because it set a mood (and my book was, unfortunately, about vampires). So I will probably give it a second chance (and I'll pay this time). I think the thing that bugs me the most is that ridiculous makeup they slop onto R-Patz. It looks ridiculous and it's distracting.

Speaking of pirating... how the hell do people find this shit? I don't have the balls to do it, not only do I not want to get caught, but I'm afraid of computer viruses, and also, as I said... it's not right. As someone who produced something artistic (I tried my hand at screenplays and wrote a book), I don't want to be cheated out of the revenue generated by it just because someone feels entitled to a free copy. People scoff and cite the ridiculous salaries that movie stars make, and -- agreed -- the money is ridiculous. But the money doesn't just go to the stars... you have the director, all of the film crew, the screenwriter, the author, the agents, agent staff, the producers, the office staff in the production studio, the production crew, the star's staff (security, agent, publicist, accountant, assistant), film editors, composers, hair and makeup artists, wardrobe, prop construction and/or rental, scouts to find shooting locations, extras, stunt doubles, the guys who put the sets together, the guys who set up the wires for some of the stunts, materials to produce the dvd, cases and liners, food to feed all these people, people to cook the food, lodging for on-location shoots, revenue generated to the city where the film is shot even afterward as fans flock to see where K-Stew and R-Patz snogged... and I'm sure that's only half of what goes into a movie. There are a lot of people involved in a film, and they each get a cut of the take. That's what I think about when I get the urge to just take something, and that's why I feel the way I do. (stepping down from soapbox and wiping tomato guts off)

P.S. ABAO, I didn't watch CFC, but I do have it DVR'd and I notice there are two episodes. Since tonight is almost over and it's Paranormal State night (which I can't miss), I will probably watch it tomorrow. But if I have time, I may get it in tonight. I take it, it was good?