Andrew's having the time of his life, he's discovered his nanny's treasure trove of old Super NES games. He's currently banging away at Mario Paint. I don't care, as long as he's quiet.....
Nanny and Poppop are thrilled to see their grandson. At least, when they're not wondering where his "Off " switch is. :)
Hope you've all had a great Christmas. :)
Co-workers sue lottery winnersPlaintiffs say oral agreement was breached
The 15 city of Piqua employees who struck it rich earlier this month by hitting the $207 million Mega Millions jackpot allegedly breached an oral agreement with at least four other co-workers who did not take part in a lottery pool at the city's street department, a lawsuit filed Tuesday on behalf of the four co-workers states.
The four co-workers who did not put money in the office pool, Doug Harter, Israel Carnes, Tammy Wright and Jon Litchfield, all of Piqua and city employees, argue in the complaint they regularly took part in the lottery pool, but weren't able to contribute to the office pool that won the jackpot because they were out of the office.
Furthermore, there was an oral agreement between all of the workers that if the jackpot was hit, they would all share in the proceeds. In addition, a dollar bill would normally be contributed to the pool for the four other workers in their absence, according to the lawsuit.
Harter, manager at the street department, claims he was not in the office on the day the lottery pool money was collected because "he was at home cleaning to prepare his home to host the department holiday party for co-workers."
"The plaintiffs are rightfully entitled to the proceeds of the winning ticket," the lawsuit states.The lawsuit, filed with the Miami County Clerk of Courts on Tuesday morning, contained three counts, including breach of contract, promissory estoppel, and conversion.They are seeking, collectively, $41 million in damages, plus interest.
A jury trial is requested.In addition, a supplemental motion filed with the lawsuit requesting a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction asks a judge to prevent the winners from spending any of their lottery winnings.
The lottery winners, 14 city workers and one relative, claimed their winnings at a press conference held last week at the Fort Piqua Plaza. The group pooled their dollar bills together every Tuesday and Friday for five years in hopes of striking the Mega Millions jackpot and each walked away with $6.33 million, except for one city worker who put two dollars in and gets $12.66 million.
Attorney Jack Hemm, who represented the lottery winners, had no comment when reached, except to say "a litigation team" from the law office where he works, Dungan & LeFevre in Troy, would be representing "a majority of the winners."
Erick L. Bauer, a Dover attorney who is representing the four workers, was out of the office Tuesday afternoon and could not be reached for comment.The combined, after-taxes amount of the winnings totaled is $101,327,359, lottery officials said.
Money really doesn't make you happy.....
I'll be out of town between Christmas and New Year, so it's probably going to be quiet here on Mumblings. So have a safe holiday. :)
Merry Christmas, all. God bless.
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the giant sack of canned goods you left on my porch this morning. 50lbs worth of peanut butter, pasta, canned soups, mac & cheese, baked beans, and the like? I mean, I could barely move the sack! You must have arms like Popeye!
Because of you, we will be able to make lots of casseroles with cream of mushroom soup. We'll get our daily intake of fiber with those Bush's baked beans. Winter will be a much more pleasant environment with peanut butter sandwiches and Kraft mac & cheese for Andrew. Your gift will continue to benefit us throughout the season, and we will fondly remember this as the Christmas that Santa brought us food. Bless you!
Your new fan club president,
The starting ceremonies to the best Christmas ever....
And you know they're just the talk of the store right now. All of our delivery drivers have suddenly got this insatiable urge to run to the c-store next to us and buy scratch-off tickets. A sucker bet, to be sure. But they've seen a glimmer of insane luck strick close to home, and they want a piece of it. Apparently it will make all their dreams come true.
I don't agree. I've been acquainted with a few moneyed people, and they never seem happier than anyone else. Quite the opposite, at times. Their brand of rat race never seems to come to fruition. The people invested in the stock market over the past few months are no doubt more stressed than us "poor folk". People with multiple properties are getting killed in the housing crisis. Those that buy new cars take a hit on massive depreciation.
Right now I'm the most money-poor I've ever been. And have never felt richer. You can't win that in the lottery.
I've seen other bloggers mentioning different reasons why they weren't participating in this archaic holiday tradition this year - mostly financial, environmental, and frugal, good points all. But for me, this year it's been mostly about time management. There's only so many hours in December. Between cooking, making personalized teacher gifts, planning a trip to the old hometown, working, and all the other minutae of daily life, certain festivities had to go. So sorry, but bye-bye holiday greetings.
My girl Julie, down there in Texas, was debating about that queen of all holiday greetings, the Family Update Letter (yes, it does warrant caps, don't you think?). And that's another reason why it felt acceptable to let the Christmas cards go the way of the dinosaur this year. Most of my family and friends check in to see what's new here fairly frequently. So anything we could send to them would probably be yesterday's news.
What do you think? Have you noticed a lack of red and green cheery envelopes in the mailbox? Have you decided to forego the mass mailing of the cards this year? If so, why?
Yesterday someone landed here after googling "flex spending ky jelly".
Thought I'd share that little chuckle with y'all....make of it what you will. :)
But, an update on the homefront. First of all, we've tentatively decided to put the homestead on the market. For those of you who've seen my home, no doubt you're shaking your heads and wondering where I'll find the time to clean it all. Me, too. But when God is with us, who (dustbunnies included) can be against us?
Christmas preparations are all tied up. Christmas presents wrapped, jars of Candy Cane Brownie Mix made and ready for distribution to teachers/sitters/neighbors. The tree is up, and it's beautiful. All that's left is grocery shopping for the marathon cook-a-thon the days before Christmas. Have to make a huge dinner, with lots and lots of planned leftovers. Why, you ask?
Well, Andrew and I plan to depart for Reading, PA the 26th. We're very excited about our mini vacay. It should include Andrew's first trip to that mecca of diet-disturbance, Hershey Park's Chocolate World (if you've been there, I apologize for the little diddy that's going through you head right now - and if you haven't had the pleasure, you can hear it here). My child, though no fan of chocolate (weird, huh?), loves Reese's PB cups. And hopefully the weather cooperates enough for us to hit the park and take in the Christmas lights display. I'm also looking forward to hitting my favorite smokehouse ever, Dietrich's Meats. Their smoked sausage is a (stinkily) wonderful addition to my freezer, and a little goes a long way in some old fashioned sausage stew. We'll also be hanging with my good friend, Joy. Should be lots of fun!
So, back to the planned leftovers. I love my husband dearly. But left to his own culinary devices, he'll be eating cold cereal morning, noon, and night. Hence the mountain of warm-ups that will be awaiting him. And, also, when we travel, we make it a point to take a cooler of food and drinks, rather than hitting the turnpike travel plazas for subpar fast food (yeah, that sounds redundant to those not familiar with turnpike food, but trust me, a Hardee's burger at a regular restaurant is light years from a the same on the old toll road). Not to mention the cost. It's really much more frugal, as well as healthy, to brown bag it.
So, that's what's going on here. What's new in everyone else's lives? How are you doing on your holiday plans? Are you ready for Christmas to be over yet?
3 small cans pears, draned and mashed ($3.00)
1/2 cup sugar ($0.50)
1/2 cup brown sugar ($0.50)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce ($0.50)
3 eggs ($0.40)
3 1/4 cups AP flour ($0.75)
3 tsp cinnamon ($0.50)
1 tsp baking soda ($0.25)
1 tsp baking powder ($0.25)
1 tsp ground cloves ($0.30)
1/2 tsp salt (negligible)
In a large bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine the rest, then gradually add dry to the wet, mixing thoroughly. Pour into 4 mini loaf pans, bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes, or until they test done. Let set for 10 minutes before removing from pans to a wire rack to cool completely.
$1.74 per loaf, 6 servings per loaf. So $0.29 per serving. Sprinkle top with coarse sugar before baking, wrap in pretty paper, and give a few loaves to your neighbors!
My favorite method is hitting the local Meijer's produce clearance racks. It's baffling, the product that the produce department deems "undesirable", and sells for rock-bottom prices. I walked in there at 5:30 this morning and waltzed out with eggplant, cukes, zukes, bananas, grapefruit, 2 heads of lettuce, and legions of apples for probably 25% what they usually charge. Sure, it's unpredictable, the types of produce available. But it's a test of your frugality - call it a personal Iron Chef challenge. Can you take an unknown ingredient and make something healthful and delicious? I'm up for that.
My other secret weapon in the battle for cheap, healthy eating is dried beans. You can get lots and lots of 1 lb bags of these nutrition powerhouses for usually less than $1 each. And in the book Miserly Moms by Jonni McCoy, she points out how easy it is to make a complete protein with legumes - pairing them with vegetables, dairy, or whole grains will net you all the benefits of eating a hunk of meat, plus high fiber, low fat, and bulging wallet. And don't let the prep scare you. It's only a matter of soaking overnight, then about 1 1/2 to 2 hours of simmering. Sure, it's a little time consuming. But when you stack all these benefits together, it's clear that dried beans can be the frugalistas best friend.
What about you? What are your tips for maximizing your nutritional dollar?
"Please tell me you have not given up on your weight loss and you have just quit blogging your process. I have lost and gained so many times I've lost count. If you would like an online support pal, email me and let me know. I started my blog just a couple of months ago for two purposes, (1) to spread the word of God, (2) as a weight loss diary to hopefully encourage others to lose weight. Please check out my blog or email me at (redacted) if you're interested in being an online/blogger support pal."
This couldn't come at a better time. I just posted this morning on my facebook account that the war on the waistline starts today. I even lived through the trauma of stepping on the scale. The number was bad, way bad, but I don't feel disappointed. It's a starting point.
And I spent my whole shower time in prayer. My God is so powerful. He can close the mouths of the hungry lions for his servant Daniel. Surely He's capable of helping my lose a little of this caboose.
I can do all things through God, who strengthens me.
Yeah, it makes you scratch your head. But NPR pointed out that flying private is contractural for top CEO's, that it's too much of a terrorist risk to fly commercial. In a way, I can understand that.
Until the companies just blew that theory out of the water by having the Big Kahunas return to DC by car. That's right, road trip. Huh.
I wonder if they're driving those big gas-hog SUV's?
Edible Groceries: $227.93
Inedible Groceries: $5.70
Edible groceries was up this month, between Thanksgiving and hosting family for Andrew's birthday party. While this is more than usual, I'm not too upset about this.
Inedible groceries? Andrew needed a new electric toothbrush. I'm so blessed to have a business to pirate toilet paper from, or this number would be higher. ;)
Health was 3 months worth of my prescription.
Misc looks to be almost all between Andrew's birthday party and Christmas shopping (which is very close to being done). Yeah, it's high. But again, it's okay.
And we didn't really eat out this month, either.
Gas is down to $1.50 a gallon here, notice how our gas bill is less than half what it'd previously been? Yay!
All around, this has been an expensive month, but definitely not disappointing. December will be kinder to us.
We made tentative plans for destinations, mapping, and items to purchase. We got up early, piled into the car (my husband couldn't resist the fun, either, much to my astonishment!), and set out for destination: Walmart.
Madness, I tell you! Madness! People piled on top of more people, everyone vying for the shortest checkout line. Loaded down with flat screen TV's, the latest Hanna Montana gobblty-gook, and armloads of clothes. I shopped for about 10 minutes, then took my place in line and waited for Yasar and Chris to gravitate from their positions in the toys and electronics departments. And the entertainment began. If you're the type who enjoys people-watching, Black Friday at Walmart is an absolute bonanza! You can see the best and the worst in human behavior, all in one fell swoop. It seems that the old adage should be updated to say "all's fair in love, war, and Black Friday shopping." Women getting snarky with each other over checkout line position, people guarding their shopping carts as if they're filled with precious gems, fat women stripping down to barely-decent tops due to the intense body heat generated by the hoards. And the smell! Hundreds of unshowered, undeodorized, and probably un-toothbrushed people. Yowza. Hmmmm.
After that, it was off to Office Depot, where Chris was eyeballing a fax machine that, after rebate, would go for a paltry $10. You'd think an office supply store would be pretty low on the shopper's radar...you'd be wrong. The checkout line was easily 45 minutes. But I got to watch some of the best spirit of the season - the girl behind me was too late to get the $350 laptop she wanted, and was standing in line with her $500 next choice. A gentleman came by and gave her a pink piece of paper that entitled her to one of the computers she wanted. With a "merry Christmas", he disappeared into the crowd. After a few minutes talking to others, we found that they were only handing out those papers to those hardy souls standing outside the store at 4am. And, that same girl had been approached by someone else outside trying to scalp one of those papers to her! She was a very happy young lady, and it was such a blessing to watch her glowing with her gratitude to that kind stranger.
Last stop for us was Menards. The store was crowded, the lines long. We chose to go to the checkouts in their outdoor area, and ended up spending what seemed like forever, but was probably closer to an hour, in the 40 degree checkout. And, at the end of that miserable wait, got to watch a gentleman basically lose it on a poor cashier who was no doubt more cold and miserable than the rest of us. Not the kind of end you really want to experience, but I guess it's the reality.
Moral of the story? I now know how I'm going to make my first million. I'm going to pitch a story to the first video game company I can, called "Black Friday". It'll be better than GTA, I promise! Starting with the parking lot derby, the race for the Wii, answering trivia questions to advance your place in the checkout line, earn extra points and trade them for a Taser to get people out of your way (and might also be helpful in zapping the guys breaking into your car and stealing your bags while you're in the mall). Tell me you wouldn't buy that!
1/2 cup butter, room temp ($0.50 on sale)
1 cup sugar ($0.25)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar ($0.20)
2 eggs ($0.15)
1 tsp vanilla extract (pennies, from homemade)
1 1/2 cups AP flour ($0.30)
2 tsp baking powder ($0.20)
1/4 tsp salt (negligible)
1/2 bag Heath chips (without chocolate) ($1.00)
Prehet oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with pan spray, then lay down a piece of parchment paper. Having the paper overhang the sides will make blondies easy to remove from pan and cut.
Cream butter and sugar in a large baking dish. Add eggs, mix well. Beat in vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, paking powder, and salt. Gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in Heath bits. Batter will be very thick.
Spread onto parchment paper, evening as well as you can. Bake for 30-40 minute, until they test done. Cool on wire rack, lift out by parchment paper and cut with a pizza cutter. Save any crumbs for ice cream topping.
$2.60 for whole recipe. Makes 24 servings at $0.11 each. And spanks the pants off anything you can buy at the store.
I started taking it a few weeks ago. No kidding, I feel like a different person. That constant undercurrent of anger? Gone. The mindless mouth-stuffing? Sayonara. Relationship with Yasar? Fun again. Dealing with Andrew? Piece of cake. Life's good.
In fact, it's almost disturbing. Like Invasion-of-the-Bodysnatchers weird. My personality almost seems to have changed. I'm kind. Without stress wrinkles. I can take a deep breath and actually feel relaxed. And the reason this is so disturbing is that, hey, I've been angry for such a long time, I just thought I'd become one of those people. Forgotten was the person my husband fell in love with. I'd lost the gene for playfulness.
But you know what? She's still in there. And she's making a comeback.
So, to all you who commented that antidepressants are not denying God's power in your life, thank you. Celexa and I are getting along just fine. It feels like a miracle.
This is Birthday-Girl Amanda getting her Donald Duck balloon sculpture.
The kids were in rapt attention throughout the 40-minute balloon/magic show session. Lucky the Clown did an amazing job, and he far exceeded my expectations!
The cupcake decorating table was a big hit with the parents AND the kids!
We tried to organize games for the kids, but they pretty much took off on the trikes and had a blast. As far as I know, no one got hurt (hooray!)
Andrew sporting his tattoo (Spiderman riding a motorcycle). And I quote "this was the best birthday ever!"
Last night I got a bit of pause from a friend when I revealed my strict 8pm bedtime. Maybe it sounds preschoolish, but I really value getting up at 5am, enjoying a cup of coffee and my Google Reader, with the morning news going in the background. Our home is situated perfectly to watch the sun come up over I-75. The cat even understands that noise is sacriligeous - he's standing at the back door awaiting his daily hunt (he caught a mouse the other day and I had the unique opportunity to watch him eat it - he hasn't been giving me any lovins for a few days, I just can't shake that scene from my head!).
But this is my favorite time of day. Before Andrew wakes up and shatters the quiet with Curious George and Sid the Science Kid, before Yasar wakes up and starts grumbling about (lack of) business. Before the traffic starts rolling outside, and my to-do list starts rolling through my subconscience.
And, as I finish typing this, I hear the telltale toilet flushing upstairs. Usually the first clue that the quiet is about to be reluctantly tucked away until tomorrow.
Can't we, as taxpayers, demand to know what's happening to our money? My flipping taxes will be going to pay for companies who willingly made risky choices, meanwhile I struggle to deal with a dead business? Why can't we get some of those bailout dollars?
Oh, that's right...when our franchise goes under, it'll only be something like 5 jobs lost.
Nothing like knowing where you are on the food chain.
Heading through my RSS Reader, they were talking about AIG's latest luxury spa visit, to the tune of $350,000. Didn't they JUST go to Congress asking for another $40 billion?
So help me God, if our government is STUPID enough to hand them the money, I'm gonna...I'm gonna......
Argh! God Flippin' Bless America!
We went to do our weekly grocery stop Sunday. Uneventful, until we got to the checkout. Much to our disappointment, the penny horse rides were gone! It's something I'l posted about before, how I was willing to pay the slightly-higher Meijer prices just for the opportunity to send Andrew to the penny horse rides so I could pay more attention to the scanner at checkout. To say Andrew was devastated would be pretty dead-on. The cashier said the machines were being serviced, but the spots they resided in were conspicuously overtaken by those annoying Grab-A-Prize games (you know, those ones that cost $1 for each reach of the mechanical arm, in the hopes that maybe, just MAYBE you'll snag a $0.25 stuffed animal that will fall apart before you hit your front door). And it was totally working on Andrew, he was pulling on me for a penny to play that games (when I explained the price difference, he did me proud by saying (in an eerie imitation of his mom),"What? Forget that!".).
Anyway, the reign of Meijer over Walmart is officially over. And we have a newer horse in the running, Save A Lot.
And we'll still be frequenting the Meijer for the clearance racks in the produce section - something Walmart doesn't (won't, I asked) offer.
So next week is the mother of all birthday parties. We've rented out a whole gymnasium, enough to hold the 30 kids we're expecting. We've retained a clown to perform a magic show and make balloon animals ad nauseum. Instead on dealing with those crappy goodie bags (I hate those!), we're requesting everyone bring a gift-wrapped book for a book exchange. Instead of the ginormous cake, we'll be baking a bunch of cupcakes for the kids to ice and decorate themselves. I've got a bucket full of McD's Happy Meal toys to use for prizes for our games (Simon Says, Pin the Tail, Musical Chairs, Red Light/Green Light, Giant Tricycle races). Pizza will be served (free for me!), and we'll be collecting nonperishables for our local food pantry.
I can't tell you how excited I am about this party. The very best part is that Andrew is sharing this party with his girl, Amanda. She turns 5 the day after he does (isn't that cool?), so they're going to have a great party together.
I can't wait to post the pictures! Stay tuned....
What's not so well known is that I really thought both candidates were good & bad in their own rights.
For me, this election was a win-win (lose-lose?) situation.
The part that breaks my heart is that McCain never truly had a fighting chance. After the legacy that Bush has left for our country, very few wanted to see another War President in the White House.
I actually admire Obama in his demeanor - he always appears cool and completely in control of his emotions.
Keep praying for the leadership of this country. It won't be an easy job, following President Bush. I hope Obama's up for it.
I accepted Jesus into my heart when I was 8 or 9, at Pioneer Girls, the Wednesday night program for our church. Why did I ask Jesus to cleanse me of my sins? In a nutshell, they literally scared the hell out of me. I didn't want to spend eternity in Hades, poked by Satan's pitchfork, so I thought Jesus sure sounded like the safer bet. As an adult, I question this practice. I don't emphasize hell to my son. I highlight Jesus's love for us, and His sacrifice. I want Andrew to love Jesus because Jesus loves us, not because we need to be terrified of the alternative.
I also have some theories about being saved at a young age. It seems very likely that those who receive Jesus as children rebel against Him in their teens. Only to return when they themselves have children. This is a recurring theme in Sunday School, and I wonder how I can help Andrew avoid this trap.
And, do you think that God grieves when one of us dies and goes to Hell? I think He does, even though He's all-knowing and can pinpoint the moment it's going to happen.
I grew up in Christian schools, at least until 9th grade. And just that has been a huge step in the wrong direction. You think that kids don't notice the flaws of adults. We saw some very poor examples of Christianity in parochial school, and still do to this day. I believe that High Point Baptist Academy was pivotal in my leave-of-absence from my faith. You have higher expectations for a school that costs $6000 annually and professes it's faith in Jesus, and when they make poor decisions, and push their carnal ideals and ambitions, well, it didn't end well. High Point left scars that even today I battle. But it also left taught me lessons, mostly not in a good sense.
Andrew will attend public school. At least he won't have higher expectations that will be dashed. He'll know he's walking into a secular world, and we'll equip him as best we can. That strikes me as an intimidating responsibility, thank God He's there to help!
Today, my faith is stronger than ever. God is not my copilot, He is in absolute control. And, looking at our present situation, I wouldn't want it any other way. His presence in my life has never been more felt. Prayers are answered. My life is filled with purpose. I'm interested in being a better Christian, and a better example to those around me. I'm learning to talk about Jesus with passion instead of fear. My heart is excited!
I'm sure nosing around these dusty corridors of my mind will produce some more interesting ideas, and it's a great thing to be a thinking adult and be able to process some of these theories. Nothing trumps experience as a teacher. And since your experiences are the foundation of your testimony, I can only be grateful to have them. They were clearly God's plan, and someday I'll know why.
For right now, Andrew and I have plans. When we get to heaven together, we're going to ride on a raindrop, and skate on a snowflake. It's something to look forward to!
Saturday was another day at work. I spent so much of it in prayer, and in tears. I hate to look at antidepressants as my help - does that mean I don't trust in God to get me through this? I'm struggling with that question. I'm not sure if the issue is the situation we're facing or a chemical imbalance (there is a strong family history of mental issues in my family). I have a bottle of happy pills awaiting me at the pharmacy, but I'm still on the fence as to whether to take them or not.
It's funny, when things get bad, I always return to the same two songs - Held by Natalie Grant and Cry on My Shoulder by Overflow. These songs held the promises I clung to during the miscarriage, when Andrew got scalded, and when we were dealing with his dogbite and the aftermath. It's these songs that consistently bring me to my knees, and make me feel Jesus's arms holding me, caring for me and begging me to rely on Him. I'm so grateful.
And I'm grateful that this past weekend is past.
So I'm tagging Debbie, Julie, my anonymous Indian friend (sorry, you still haven't told me your name!), MacMommy, and Thaleia. Let's see whatcha got, ladies!
* Five Things I Plan To Do Before I Die:
1. Take my son on a hot air balloon ride.
2. Learn to ride a motorcycle.
3. Take a photography class.
4. Visit every state in the continental US on an RV trip with my sister (we'll probably be Golden Agers by the time we can afford it!)
5. Go back for another winter trip to Niagara Falls with Yasar.
* Five Things I Can Do:
1. Change my own flat tire.
2. Drive a stick shift.
3. Sniff out poop from a distance of about 25 feet (a great trick picked up from the nursing home).
5. Kiss boo-boos away.
* Five Things I Can't Do:
1. Stay out of the bath tub.
2. Sit still for an entire 2-hour DVD in the house (halfway through I'll start doing dishes or something).
3. Be an extrovert.
4. Go for a week without talking to my mom.
5. Run the Boston Marathon
* Five Things That Attract Me To The Opposite Sex:
1. Confidence combined with a little vulnerability.
2. Olive skin and a big nose.
3. Solid moral base.
4. Ability to think outside the box.
5. Good conversationalist.
* Five Things I Say Most Often:
1. "Thank you for calling (redacted) Pizza, will this be for pick-up or delivery?"
2. Andrew...I love you.
3. Habibi, what should I make for dinner?
4. Thank You, God, for ......
5. I hate my life (I never say this out loud, though)
Hobart Arena, here in Troy, hosted a Republican rally today, with guest speaker Sarah Palin.
The business we own is right on the main drag between Interstate 75 and Hobart Arena.
Naturally, the whole street was shut down for the half hour before Palin's arrival. Since there wasn't much going in or out of our store, I left my delivery driver inside and went out to await the caravan of police, Palin, and assorted press-groupies.
Funny, Troy police cars flying up and down the street, lights flashing. Nothing apparently wrong, maybe they just wanted to blow off some steam, too.
Anyway, here comes the line-up. State Police truck in the front, then Palin's gold-colored Suburban. There's probably no more than 20 people out waiting. But Palin flys by, eyes firmly on her lap (or maybe her speech notes, let's give the girl a little cred). Barricades go up, and it's business as usual.
Fast forward 2 hours, the street gets quiet again. Not much notice this time, but I'm back out at the curb, waiting. The State Police go by, then Palin's truck. Of course, I'm waving like a goofball. But Palin's eyes are again firmly planted into her lap. No speech notes excuse this time.
My question is, with the McCain/Palin approval rating being where it is, and being smack in the middle of Bush country, why wasn't she trying just a little harder to connect with the people who so obviously would have been grateful for just a hint of acknowledgement? It would have gone a long way towards making a few people happy, people who cared enough to be standing outside in less-than-balmy weather, just to catch a glimpse of her and be inspired anew.
I'm just left feeling disappointed.
I'm voting Republican this primary. Obama is pro-choice, and as a person I can't side with that. But I'm left to wonder, if both Obama and McCain stood on the same side of that issue, would I still vote Republican?
Not so different is our $100 grocery budget. We wouldn't be able to manage a weekly budget, since we do the Angel Food boxes ($30), but so far we've been relatively successful in keeping to our goals.
What The $25 Challenge found was that living on that dollar amount of food per month, especially with the recent hikes in grocery prices, is very difficult. And I'd agree, unless you're willing to put a lot of work and effort into feeding your family, you'd be hard-pressed to make it.
Not to disparage many food stamp recipients, but I've worked in the grocery industry before. Long, long ago I had the best job, working in a supermarket-owned convenience store. And, what I've seen concerning food stamps was disturbing. I have never seen anyone use food stamps in a responsible manner. Buying name-brand food, convenience food, swapping a paper dollar for a 25-cent pack of gum, then having your kids do it as well, until you have anough change to buy a pack of smokes (it was a long time ago, the debit card was just coming out, and smokes were around $1.75). It got hard to watch people using my tax dollars in such a careless way.
But I digress. I'm sure people today are more effective, buying less meat, hitting the discount bread store, using AFM. And, even using all these resources, we would not have been able to make our grocery goal without a well-stocked freezer and an unlimited supply of pizza. And some good friends doing our leftover exchange (future post).
The government is talking about all these different programs to help the public. But if they really want to help the public, maybe they should address the rising costs of food. With gas prices here being $2.39/gl yesterday, why are the groceries still not dropping? When will they? If they worked on that, maybe they wouldn't feel the need to increase food stamps (and, in turn, taxes).
But my guess is that might be too much effort for them. Far easier to pass a pork-laden bill.
And the funny part is, this morning Stop Buying Crap was talking about a similar experience.
That got the old grey-matter churning about the economy today, and how it's quickly becoming that used goods are the "new" new goods. If you don't believe me, visit a new car dealership today. The stench of desperation is palpable. Despite all forms of crazy rebates/employee pricing/etc, new cars just aren't moving (unless you're talking hybrid, but that's another post). I'll bet all those new car dealership owners were wishing they'd purchased a "buy here, pay here" right now!
My friend Christine was telling me how the other day she stopped by the local Goodwill store to pick up some pants for her husband, and turned around and left because the line to checkout was stretching to the rear of the store. Meanwhile, the department stores at the malls have to put out rack after rack of clearance items to get customers into their doors.
Would you believe frugality is coming en vogue?
Back to my point - look around your house today and see what you can list on craigslist. Push your used goods into the market to keep this ball rolling. Wouldn't it be great if we could use this movement to send a message to manufacturers that we demand quality instead of quantity? Bring our jobs back from China and make us products that will last long enough to be on future craigslist posts? Man, as a consumer, I've never felt so powerful!
It doesn't take much to make my day, huh? :)
So far this week has been a record sales week at the store. And not in a good way. I guess I understand, everyone is responding to the economic rollercoaster we've all ridden this week (VERTIGO!), and they're feeling that it'll be hard to spend that $20 on pizza. I get that. Unfortunately it's putting us in a horrible position, and bringing things to a head rather quickly.
I'm an action person. I don't like to sit on an idea for long, I want to put it into practice. It makes Yasar and I very compatable, he's one to contemplate. Anyway, I'm feeling this desperate urge to simplify our lives. I'm laying awake at night, figuring what household items to post on craigslist. To start really going through the basement in earnest and get rid of as much as we can. I guess this is my way of gearing up for worst case scenario, as the doors to our other options slam shut.
Bottom line, I'm scared. I have this uneasy feeling our lives are about to be completely upheaved, and we're going to be left loading up a truck with our very favorite belongings and heading back east. Not the worst thing ever, at least we have places to go, and we'll still have each other, but that underlying malaise is constantly there. The antidepressants are doing nothing to relieve it.
Yet, even through this, the "Footprints in the Sand" poem still comes to mind. God doesn't promise that we'll not face trials in this life, but He does promise to carry us through them. When I list my blessings, they may not be many at this time, but the ones I have are huge. My Lord and my family are all I need.
David, I'm speechless, too. Unfortunately not surprised, but definitely speechless. I mean, these people put themselves in the positions they're in due to fiscal irresponsibility...did you really think throwing them an $85 billion dollar life preserver would suddenly morph them into accountable individuals? We should live so long.
And now the fed has considering buying a whole bunch of unsecured debt? I thought our money was going to buy foreclosed properties that it could eventually recoup and maybe (cough cough) pay John and Jane Q Public back the funds we'll be putting into this venture. With the rate of bankruptcy going up, do I really want to be stuck holding that bag? Ha, as if we have a choice.
You know, at least the AIG guys are getting a spa weekend out of this. Maybe they're the smart ones, anyway.
Rice. Some people look at rice as a great mystery. But, really, it's sooo easy. Your ratio of regular white rice to water is 1:2-and-a-little-bit. Our favorite rice recipe is:
1/3 cup crushed vermicelli
2 tbsp butter
2 cups regular Uncle Ben's white rice
4 1/4 cups water
2 Maggi chicken stock cubes (or 4 chicken boullion cubes)
1 tbsp salt - optional
In a saucepan, cook vermicelli and butter until vermicelli is well toasted. Add rice, stir until all grains are shiny with the butter. Add water, stock cubes, and salt. Cook on high until boiling, drop heat to very low (barely bubbling) and cover. Cook until liquid is gone. DO NOT STIR once you add the liquid.
Now, the fasuli.
1/4 lb of lean beef, trimmed and diced into small cubes
2 tbsp olive oil
2 lbs frozen green beans
1 large onion, chopped
4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large can pureed tomatoes
salt, pepper, tabasco to taste
In the microwave, cook green beans with a little water until tender. In a large dutch oven, fry beef in olive oil on high heat until well cooked. Add cooked green beans & cooking liquid, onion, potato, and about 1 cup of tap water. Cover, lower heat to a simmer, and cook until potatoes are almost tender. Add tomaotes and spices, continue to cook until potatoes are completely done.
Serve fasuli over riz. This recipe makes a ton, so it's hard to determine price-per-serving. It will feed my family, plus about 2 meals of leftovers.
I was talking to a friend yesterday about this, and he said that many people believe that, in the last days, America won't even exist. Scary stuff, and it feels like we're on a greased chute, headed straight for it.
Insomnia rules the night tonight. Wonder why?
God bless America.
At the same time, I found a recipe for chai in my Taste of home cookbook. Chai is one of my favorite cold-weather drinks, but I thought you had to buy it in powdered form. I was so excited to find a recipe, and immediately started digging through my spice cabinet to see if I had all the components to the recipe.
I'm pulling spices, and tending steaks, and not really paying attention to Yasar. Then I smell something funny...the potent aroma of cloves. I turn around and see Yasar dumping powdered cloves liberally on his salad. I started laughing when he said the pepper smelled different. He thought it was a container of black pepper I'd laid there for his salad.
My husband, always opening culinary windows for us. And keeping us in stitches.
Edible Grocery - $308.54
Inedible Grocery - $41.17
Health - $25.49
Miscellaneous - $214.58
Restaurant - $103.87
Gas - $157.84
Our miscellaneous catagory is higher than I'd like, and I can pinpoint it down to Andrew's Thomas the Tank Engine visit and Operation Christmas Child, both of which won't be recurring (whew!). We ate out as a family once this month, and took Andrew and his friend Amanda to Chuck E Cheese (that's expensive, even with a coupon!), and still did our weekly McDonald's meeting-of-the-moms. Gas is about where I expected it to be.
I'm on the fence about next month's goals. I really wanted to try to survive on whatever's in the pantry/freezer, but now I'm rethinking that (see previous post). It would be so great to spend under $100 in groceries in a month - that's my ultimate goal. I know we probably couldn't make that a monthly occurance, but just once I really want to hit that mark.
You'd think I'd be relieved. You'd be partially right. From all the different opinions lobbed into my Google Reader every day, this bailout plan was a necessary evil. The US economy is completely unstable right now, the bailout was a shot in the dark at stabilizing (read: no guarantees) our economy and world economy. Yes, when the US economy hiccups, it's felt the world over.
No pressure, John Q.
Anyway, now that the bill has been axed by the House, the RSS Reader is strangely quiet. No more Chicken Little theories. There's probably only 2 or 3 blogs talking about it. The silence is definitely ominous. Personally, I'm an information girl. Give me what you got, and let me work it out. I don't like this head-in-the-sand way of dealing with this situation. So I'm a little on-edge.
Do I still see bread lines in our future? You betcha. Bill or no bill, Americans are going to have to figure out a new way to live. We frugalistas are going to become more valuable. Don't believe me? Check out my Feedjit and see how many people are hitting my Angel Food Ministries entry. Some of us are already seeing the writing on the wall, and are looking for other viable options to feed our families. But, strangely, the restaurant parking lots were still full last night. Denial?
You know, my plan for next month was to limit grocery spending to the trinity (bread/milk/eggs) and see if we could eat out of the pantry and freezer. Now I'm wondering if that's such a good idea. Do I really want to deplete my stockpile when things are so uncertain? What do you think?
1 4-lb lean beef roast ($12.00)
1 jar pepperoncinis ($1.99)
1/4 cup water (negligible)
3 tbsp Italian seasoning ($0.25)
2 tsp garlic salt ($0.25)
1 large onion, quartered and sliced ($0.50)
12 hard rolls ($1.99)
12 slices provolone cheese ($2.99)
Chunk meat and put into crockpot. Mix together peppers and pepper liquid, water, seasonings, and onion. Pour on top of beef. Cover and cook on low for 9 hours. Shred with a fork. Use a slotted spoon to serve onto rolls. Top with provolone. Enjoy. Freeze leftovers.
Makes 12 servings @ $1.66 per serving.
I'm not suggesting anything, just throwing out what I've noticed.
This seems like such an irresponsible move on the part of the US Government. I can only akin it to letting a murdering spouse collect that hefty life insurance policy. We're basically rewarding all those greedy financial institutions for their chancy decisions. It's a no-lose situation for them. Do you know who's going to be on the losing end?
That's right. The American taxpayer. John and Jane Q. Public.
For the first time in my 30+ years, I look at America and don't feel hopeful. I feel scared. I see a bad time ahead, not just in my personal situation, but in the whole country. Bread lines. I drive down the street here and shake my head in wonder that Applebee's and Ruby Tuesday's parking lots are still jam-packed. I wonder how people can still swallow that expensive food without wondering how that $40 they're spending will affect them next year at this time. I don't understand the two new houses being built in our neighborhood - with the housing market being what it is, who would new-build a home right now?
And, my biggest question of all, why would Obama and McCain fight over who gets to hold this whole smelly bag come January? They're far braver than I. Or dumber.
Let's keep praying for our country right now.
Submitted by Dr. Mark MacDonald, San Francisco
2. At the beginning of my shift I placed a stethoscope on an elderly and slightly deaf female patient's anterior chest wall. ' Real big breaths,'. .I instructed. 'Yes, they used to be,'. . . replied the patient.
Submitted by Dr. Richard Byrnes, Seattle , WA
3. One day I had to be the bearer of bad news when I told a Wife that her husband had died of a massive myocardial infarct. Not more than five minutes later, I heard her reporting to the rest of the family that he had died of a 'massive internal fart.'
Submitted by Dr. Susan Steinberg
4. During a patient's two week follow-up appointment with his cardiodoctor, the patient said that he was having trouble with one of his medications. ' Which one ?'.. . I asked. 'The patch; the Nurse told me to put on a new one every six hours and now I'm running out of places to put it!' I had him quickly undress and discovered what I hoped I wouldn't see. Yes, the man had overfifty patches on his body! Now, the instructions include removal of the old patch before applying a new one.
Submitted by Dr. Rebecca St. Clair, Norfolk , VA
5. While acquainting myself with a new elderly patient, I asked 'How long have you been bed ridden?' After a look of complete confusion she then answered . . .' Why, not for about twenty years - when my husband passed away.'
Submitted by Dr. Steven Swanson- Corvallis, OR
6. I was performing rounds at the hospital one morning and while checking up on a man I asked, 'So how's your breakfast this morning?''The man replied, 'It's very good except for the Kentucky Jelly. I can't seem to getused to the taste.'. . . I then asked to see the jelly and he produced a foil packet labeled ' KY Jelly.'
Submitted by Dr. Leonard Kransdorf, Detroit , MI
7. A nurse was on duty in the Emergency Room when a young woman withpurple hair styled into a punk rocker Mohawk, sporting a variety of tattoos,and wearing strange clothing, entered. It was quickly determined that the patient had acute appendicitis, so she was scheduled for immediate surgery. When she was completely disrobed on the operating table, the staff noticed that her pubic hair had been dyed green, and above it there was a tattoo that read . . .' Keep off the grass.' Once the surgery was completed, the surgeon wrote a short note on the patient's dressing, which said 'Sorry . . . had to mow the lawn.'
Submitted by RN, no name
8. As a new, young MD doing his residency in OB , I was quite embarrassed when performing female pelvic exams... To cover my embarrassment I had unconsciously formed a habit of whistling softly. The middle-aged lady upon whom I was performing this exam suddenly burst out laughing and further embarrassing me I looked up from my work and sheepishly said, 'I'm sorry. Was I tickling you?' She replied with tears running down her cheeksfrom laughing so hard . .' No doctor, but the song you were whistling was ' I wish I was an Oscar Meyer Wiener.'
Dr. wouldn't submit his name
Thanks Joy! These are hysterical!
We brought home three of the boxes available (this year Samaritan's Purse is providing the boxes, no more scrounging for leftover shoeboxes!). Andrew had a bunch of questions. Rather then answering them, after lunch we sat down at the computer and watched the 10-minute movie on the website. About halfway through, Andrew turned to me and asked why these children had no toys, and to my surprise I started sobbing. Every year this ministry shows me exactly how greedy I am. I kind of go through a personal crisis, like that scene in Schindler's List where Schindler starts removing his jewelry and saying how that watch could have bought another Jew. I look at all we have around us, yet we're still on the fast track to moremoremore. I feel deprived, when I have a roof and clean water and plenty to eat. I have the love of my family, and the love of Jesus. I am wealthy beyond my imagination.
So Andrew and I set off to fill the boxes. We've chosen two girls 5-8 years old, and one boy 9-12 years old. Andrew was very excited, choosing items to put in the boxes, from markers and Hot Wheels cars, to My Little Pony figures and Littlest Petshop pets. We bought puzzles, toothbrushes, and candy; bookmarks, Silly Putty, and bubble gum. And we've imagined the faces of the children when they open the boxes and enjoy the toys. We see their mouths reading the words of the books on Jesus. We pray they will feel the love from our family and from Jesus.
To me, this ministry embodies the truest meaning of Christmas. And we're so grateful to be a small part of it.