Wednesday, December 19, 2012

CrossWorlds Cafe Welcomes Author Rodney Lacroix!

If you've spent much time wandering around the blogosphere, you've likely run across my guest today at the CrossWorlds Cafe before...You may know him as the Midget Man of Steel, author of the Mental Poo blog or as @moooooog35 on twitter (and in finer blog comments everywhere!) When I heard that The Bloggess had given his book 'Things Go Wrong for Me' a fabulous review, I jumped at the chance to interview the man. 

 Welcome to the CrossWorld's Cafe, Rodney. It's nice to have some company! Let the questioning begin! 

Alura: When you write blog entries now, are you finding yourself thinking about how it would translate to book form? Put another way, has writing the book changed the way you blog? 

Rodney: No. About the only thing that has changed the way I blog is work, which tends to get in the way. Luckily, they don't really expect that much from me around here (please note this was written at 2 in the afternoon at my desk on a Wednesday) so it's not that big of a stretch. What I HAVE changed is how much I want to do more WRITING for the blog and be less dependent on the visuals. The visuals are what sets me apart, to be sure, but I think the most fun I had with the book was in writing the introductions to each chapter. Just off-the-cuff writing and it's what I'm best at. 

Alura: It's always fun when you blog about the things your kids say and do. Do your kids read your blog? If not, do you think they'd be freaked out about knowing that people get to read stories about them? 

Rodney: Oh, no. No they don't read it. The language and pictures on there are in no way appropriate for 12 and 9 year olds. They DO, however, know that I write about them and have seen some of the posts. They have also helped me make a lot of the videos that you'll find on my YouTube Channel ( and we have a TON of fun doing them. My kids are totally funnier than me and it's my job to make sure they don't know that. Captain of the ship, and all.

Alura:  Now that you've gotten the first book written and published, can we look forward to more?

Rodney: This book was categorized into parenting/dating type things. It actually takes you into 2010 where I start dating again after my divorce. Some of the stories involving my girlfriend (SORRY LADIES!) are even more current than that, but don't particularly need the date context. "Axe for Men" stories are timeless.

That said, yes. You can plan on some sequels. There will be pets involved. I've said too much.

Alura: So, will your post-divorce apartment experiences end up a book of their own?

Rodney:  OMG there are SO MANY of those that, yes, I can see the post-divorce chronicles being their own pseudo-book. Such Hell. The only thing I miss about my apartment is that I paid less than half of what I pay in a mortgage now. However, I don't have to listen to people screaming at 3 am in languages I've never heard of so it's kind of a wash.

Alura:  Are there any topics that you would not discuss in your blog? 

Rodney:  There ARE a couple of personal family things that are - currently - off limits to the public. Some of these questions may get raised as you're reading the book and thinking, "Hmmm...I wonder what the back story on THAT is."

I'm also starting to be more cognizant that my kids are now older and - well - they have Internet access. I try to do my best to embarrass the shit out of them when we're all out, but having stuff WRITTEN that OTHER kids can bust them on? Not cool. That's why most - if not all - of the stories involving my kids are from when they are at a pretty early age or are just funny in general. Other than that, I think I need to start getting their permission to write shit. Ugh.

Alura:  So, I have to ask at least one tough question (and hope it isn't too much of a book spoiler!)  If you had to choose one of the following events to live through again, would you rather relive the Post Ex-Lax Bike Ride or your Vasectomy?

Rodney:  Vasectomy. Totally.

At least with the vasectomy, I know I'll never get someone pregnant. With the Ex-Lax story, there's no guarantee that it will be the very last time I shit my pants.

Alura:  Where can my readers get your book? 

Rodney: They can click on the links below - lots of options! - Barnes & Noble (paper only, no Nook version available) - Amazon - Kindle

Alura: Rodney also has a Zazzle Shop, so you can get yourself some cool gear!  And if you like to snack when you read, you should check out his cookies available through Bitter Baking Company!

Thanks for stopping by the CrossWorld's Cafe, Rodney... Please come back!  I'll bet there will be interesting stories to tell if you do a book tour!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Torani brings flavor to the Holidays (and EVERY day!)

Torani makes the holidays tastier! In fact, Torani makes EVERY day tastier! I was fortunate to receive Torani syrups from SheSpeaks. I got Hazelnut and Gingerbread to try!
Experimenting with the Torani has been a lot of fun, and the holidays present even more opportunities to use Torani syrups to make festive beverages... Hot Cocoa, Coffee and even Eggnog can be spiced up with Torani. There are so many potential combinations and so many fabulous Torani flavors and if you are at home using the Torani syrups, you're in control of your beverage. If you always feel that your favorite coffee shop is too heavy handed with the syrup or that they don't add enough, you can experiment and find "the zone" that tingles your tastebuds. Plus, you can add a little zip to your holiday foods with Torani, as well. A little dash of Torani syrup mixed into frosting or whipped topping can change the whole flavor and be an unexpected pleasant surprise for your holiday guests. A little Torani gingerbread syrup mixed into your morning waffle batter? Divine!
Torani syrups come in a variety of flavors and several of the flavors come in sugar-free, as well. And Torani isn't JUST for hot drinks. You can make Italian sodas, cocktails, iced tea & lemonade or, one of my favorites, Cherry Limeade!
The key is to be bold! Experiment! Find new flavors. If you've always felt your favorite beverage could use "a little something", there is probably a Torani syrup that will make it better!
You can find Torani in many stores and if you can't find it near you, just hit Torani's website and order directly from them!
Also, there's a coupon for $1.00 off here, so go and print it!  Then go get some Torani and let me know what you created!

Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample of the product for review purposes. The opinions are my own, based on my personal experience with the product.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Short Insomniac Ramble

And then I blinked and it was October!  In fact, MID October.  So very not cool. (At least from the perspective of someone who had a lot of things cooking in September).

The bad news is that I am still looking for a job.  Which means my time is still very much spoken for, as that absolutely must be my #1 focus.  It takes more hours of the week than you can imagine (unless you are currently in the throes of job-hunting).  Frustration is high.  Progress is minimal.  When you dread sitting down to your computer in the morning because you don't know what you're going to find in your inbox (another rejection? a carefully crafted email that got bounced back to you? someone else who wants money?) you know that it is well past time to get back to the working world.

I don't want to go into it too much here... this is a public forum... but the frustration level I am experiencing is really off the charts.  And a little touch of common courtesy would be a huge help.... but it is not forthcoming.

So, assuming things stay at the "up to my armpits in alligators" state that they are in now, I am not sure when I am going to be able to get things moving forward.  But I do know that November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and so November is going to be crazy busy.

Hope you are all faring well and things are going as smoothly as possible.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Brace yourselves!

I have a bunch of things I will be writing about in the next few days which includes a giveaway!  So, stay tuned because things are going to be busy here for a bit (and hopefully they'll stay that way).

Also, this weekend is the Dallas Pride Parade & Festival.   I haven't been to a Pride parade for about two decades so I am looking forward to the Dallas version.  (The one in Minneapolis was a bunch of fun...partially, I think, because of the friends that I went with).  A friend of me is hostessing the first annual
"Pride and Pancakes", which I am looking forward to (rockin' the brunch, then off to the Parade!)

If you are wondering, no, I am not gay.  I wouldn't be ashamed to say so if I was, though.  But I have bunches of friends who are LGBT and I wholeheartedly support them.

So, it's going to be a really busy weekend, which is good, because life has been really, really stressful lately and I am looking forward to doing things that are fun and productive.

And, because of a recent networking connection, I am going to kick the bath products production thing up a notch.  More about THAT soon, as well!

Have a stellar weekend everyone!

Monday, September 3, 2012

See you in September... Wait, it's September NOW?

The summer has flown by... I suppose that being up to my armpits in job hunting has caused the days to run together a bit and I frequently have to stop and remember what day it is... most of the time with the help of either my phone or my computer.

I have a bunch of really cool things to share with you (via reviews) very shortly... the "long" weekend didn't seem very long because instead of doing the things I probably should have been doing, I was catsitting at a friend's place and imagining what it would be like to live in a swanky condo.

Also, due to the job hunting, I am trying new things... like artificial nails (thusfar a failed experiment) and nail polish strips (have been afraid to try them so far and they come in funky designs which make them a bit inappropriate for interviewing)

Hope you all had a wonderful and safe long weekend.  Are you ready for the rat race again tomorrow?  My day will start at 4AM and I have things scheduled tomorrow so I can't go back to sleep.  I think it's probably going to be a long day.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

5-hour ENERGY® review

Smiley360 hooked me up with a couple of 5-Hour Energy ®  shots and I'll share the experience with you.

First, I like the size of the 5-Hour Energy® shots.  Especially when you are on the go, you don't always have the space to lug around an energy drink.  The 5-Hour Energy® bottle is small enough to fit into a purse or briefcase, you don't have to keep it cold, you can keep a couple of them in a desk drawer without taking up a lot of space.

Second, as far as energy drinks go, the 5-Hour Energy® doesn't have a bad taste to it.  I have tried the Berry flavor, the Pomegranate flavor and the Orange flavor and all taste ok (not like some other energy drinks where I can't even drink the whole thing because it just tastes bad).

Finally, no nasty crash.  I sometimes get a little "flush" after I first drink a 5-Hour Energy®, but it's a very brief niacin flush (think of hearing a slightly embarrassing joke that makes you blush a little bit)

If you sometimes need a little "push" to get you through the afternoon (after, say, that LONG after-lunch meeting), give 5-Hour Energy® a try!

Disclaimer: I was given free samples of the product - all opinions expressed are my own and were not influenced/biased by my receipt of the free samples.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bright Spots (Recent)

The past few days have been frustrating on one hand and absolutely amazing on the other.  I'm pretty much going to stick to the amazing part in this post.

On Saturday, I had the opportunity to meet an Internet Friend.  I've known this person online for about 4 years and we'd planned to meet before now but it always came down to time and money... if you're working, you have the money, but not the time and if you aren't working you have the time but not the money to go on a road trip.  Yes, it's only a 5-6 hour trip to where she lives, but we just could never quite make it work.

As it turns out, her Mom lives not far from us and she came up to visit her Mom and they met up with me on Saturday.  And she was every bit the wonderful person I had thought she would be and her Mom is a very nice lady and we had a lovely dinner and I hope that we can do it again soon.

Tonight, I trekked across town to meet up with an old friend.  She's a trucker and she happened to be hauling a load through town and even though it was a haul, it was important to me to make the trip to see her.  She and I have been friends about 15 years.   When she, my daughter and I would all go out together, people would assume I was her Mom and she was my daughter's Mom (even though there are only 9 years between us).  It's been about 4 years since we had managed to get together (with her trucking schedule and me moving 1000 miles away, it isn't like either of us can just "pop in" any time.  In any case, it was really nice and I appreciated having the chance to get to see her.

Of course, an unintended side effect to my having trekked across town is that now I am all wound up and even though I should PROBABLY be in bed, I'm not there (yet).

I've been keeping very busy lately.  Finding a job is a huge job.  It was nice to meet up with friends and not think about finding a job for a while.  But now I need to get back to the work of finding work!

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Dark Monk & The Hangman's Daughter

I usually read True Crime books, but I'm a BzzAgent and they gave me the opportunity to read The Hangman's Daughter and The Dark Monk for free so I departed from my normal fare and plunged into the world of The Hangman (Jakob) and his family.

I think people will be able to relate to the characters who struggle with what is expected of them vs. what they want/need/feel is right.  I know that was a big source of enjoyment for me with these books.  If you can put aside that these are not historical documentaries and that there are occasionally some stretches as far as believabilty, you will enjoy the books much more than if you sit and pick apart language and historical fact. Enjoy them for what they are... engaging and enjoyable reading.

I don't want to give away the plots but will tell you that there were nights that I knew I should get to bed and kept reading "just one more page".  If you like a good mystery, a little bit of romance and a bit of medieval history, pick up The Hangman's Daughter and The Dark Monk.

I am a BzzAgent and received these books for free from them.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Keeping Up

There are so many things that I want to do and so many things to keep up with as I am trying to find a new job and also keep from getting sciatica from sitting at my desk all day by working on other tasks. Today (Monday) will largely be a "desk day"... Tomorrow (Tuesday) I have an appointment.  I am not making any real solid plans beyond that at the moment.  I have volunteer work on Thursday evening and I think I will end up at a remote office on Wednesday and Friday (that is the tentative plan).

And when I say "remote office" I actually mean that I am cat-sitting for a friend who says she will not mind me hanging out at her place and since I have to feed kitties and tend plants, I will probably end up just packing my lappie and doing my work from her place.  Thursday I will go over there and take care of kitties and water plants in the afternoon and then head out to my volunteer thing from there (need to map the most efficient route).

So, this week will be a busy week.   I think sometimes that I just need a few more hours in the week (hence staying up until the wee hours of the morning... which really doesn't give me more hours but it gives more hours that I am actually coherent, I guess.

In completely unrelated news... I found some "Perky Jerky" on clearance this weekend. It was really quite tasty. I don't know that I'd pay $5.00 a pack for it, but the clearance price was right.  It did not make me feel jittery or, really, any more perky but it did taste good.

Well, I'd best head to bed. Much to get done this week.  Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Shakespeare in the Park

I went to see "Twelfth Night" tonight... in a park.  Which is classier than it sounds.  It involved not only Shakespeare, but brie cheese and red wine.  Obviously, I have some very cultured friends because I could not have pulled off the goodies we had for our picnic because I am not all Brie Cheese classy.  Here's what I can tell you, though.  Brie cheese is actually quite tasty (I had no idea).  Chorizo is quite tasty when you slap it on some bread with some brie cheese (yes, I was a complete cretin and put it all together and ate it and it was delicious so I don't care much that I am a cretin).

The production was wonderful. There is another play this Friday which I might go to (we shall see what my schedule ends up looking like).

Other than that, it was a rather odd day. Not in a bad way at all, just not what I expected.  I got some things done that needed to be done, I feel like things are proceeding at a pace I like and I am getting some help from an unexpected source (for which I am very grateful).

Hope y'all are having a wonderful week!  And if you get a chance to catch a Shakespeare in the Park production, do so. With Brie Cheese (if possible).

Monday, July 16, 2012

Unexpected Free Time

It looks like I may be doing more blogging, at least in the short term, because I unexpectedly have some free time. On Friday (Friday the 13th, no less) I was laid off from my job.  I was aware that this was a possibility but thought it would be 3-4 months from now so I was taken by surprise.  Nonetheless, I have time now to do some things that I have been putting off and so I will attempt to make the most of my time, both in getting projects done and in looking for a new job.

My desk is cleaned off, my cat made sure I was awake bright and early this morning, I have a mental list of things I need to do.  First on the list, though, will be cleaning up the office. The less I have to distract me, the better.

More to come!

Friday, June 22, 2012


So, I'm in Boston and I am officiating at a wedding tomorrow and I really, really need to get some sleep because I am officiating at a wedding tomorrow AND because I know I am keeping my roommates awake.

When I originally planned this trip, I was going to be in a room by myself. I have the bride's daughters bunking with me.... girls I have known for years... and yet, in many way they are strangers and then again when I look at them I see the reflection of The Girl and.... well, I feel even more like I've made a mess of everything.  I mean, more than I usually feel that.

The thing is, I love these girls and it was my idea to have them bunk with me and I hope that maybe, in some small way, this helps them to remember that there are people who care about them outside of the people that they EXPECT to have care about them.

I am the last person in the world who should be giving marital advice, so I always find it completely ironic that I am officiating at weddings.  But there is a part of me that loves it.  Maybe it's a sort of finding redemption for all of the things I feel I've messed up. Maybe it is just feeling I am giving other people a shot at finding the happiness that has eluded me in marriage.

Whatever the underlying reason... I'm in Boston. I'm officiating at a wedding tomorrow.  Hoping it will hold off on the rain until AFTER the ceremony. Although, into every life a little rain must fall...better to get it out of the way at the start, right?

Saturday, June 16, 2012


I'm going to Boston in a few days. I have a ton of things to get done before then.  So, what did I do today? I took a bunch of clothes out of my closet and put them into a Space Bag.  Because that's the sort of thing that I do when I feel overwhelmed.  Yes, "in the big picture" it will make things easier for me, but it wasn't something I needed to do today.  I also cleaned litterboxes (which DID need to get done) and vacuumed the bedroom (also needed to be done).

It would be a lie to say I'm not nervous.  I am scared of the travel part. Which is totally absurd for someone who has been traveling on planes since they were very small, but it's the truth, nonetheless.  The last time I was on a plane (I think) was a trip to San Francisco.  I hope this trip ends up far better than that one.

I am afraid of crying during some part of the ceremony. And I am petrified about the whole photo part of this whole thing.   I hate being photographed with a passion.  I don't know what I'm going to do with my hair yet and I don't know what jewelry to wear or not wear and I am wondering if I should go through my jewelry box and see if I can find something nice.

This week is going to fly by.  I'm going to have to get what I want to get done around the house done tomorrow (Sunday) because there just really won't be time during the rest of the week. Thursday, I will be busy packing and checking and re-checking lists. And then I will be off to the airport.

Friday is rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. Have I mentioned that while I know the Bride and her children, I don't think I know anyone else who will be at the wedding. Yeah, I am a little freaked out.  Except there is the saving grace that it is unlikely that I will ever see most of these people again, so if I can create and maintain the illusion of being a nice, normal person until Monday, it's a win.  Saturday is wedding. Sunday is brunch and then, in a sort of weird last minute side trip that I feel I need to take, I am going to go on the train down to another part of MA to see my stepsister... who I've not seen in THIRTY years.  No, nothing traumatic happened, my stepsisters were all grown and gone by the time our parents married. This will be my first time seeing my stepsister in my adult life.  How you cram that much catching up into a small timeframe, I have no idea.  And then, at an ungodly hour on Monday morning, I come back home. (Cue more travel anxiety).  And then I will probably take a nap.  And Tuesday morning, I will once again be back on the bus, headed to work...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

How long is long enough?

I found myself wondering today if there is an appropriate time one must wait before identifying themselves as "single" following a divorce.  My Wasband listed his relationship status as single pretty much immediately following the divorce while I tagged myself as "divorced".    I don't mean to suggest that it was inappropriate for him to choose the label that he did, but I confess that it made me feel as if our relationship had either never occurred or that it was so unimportant to him that he didn't "count" it (this was NOT a Kardashian 72-day marriage, it was a 12-year marriage).  I think it would be a disservice to any woman he ends up seriously dating in the future (although he has shown no inclination to do so that I am aware of) to not reveal his "previously married" status so that an informed decision can be made.  I mean, it probably would not change anything significant for me to find out someone I wanted to date was divorced but I'd want to know.  What is an issue for one person may not be an issue for another.  For instance, if you LOVE ballroom dancing and the person you end up dating HATES to dance, there will probably end up being an ongoing issue in the relationship.  True, sometimes these things can be overcome/worked around but if you are a smoker, you probably want to stay away from the asthmatic who needs an inhaler at the mention of the WORD smoke, right?

But I don't know if there are rules of etiquette that dictate that "thou shalt identify thyself as a divorced person forever after having divorced" or if that applies only to females or how it all works. It isn't something keeping me awake at night but I have to admit that at my High School's Alumni website, I tagged myself as "single".  Because I didn't want to advertise my divorce to a bunch of people who I have no reason to share too much personal information with.  I have to laugh that my high school considers me "lost", yet mails me things all the time asking for money... so, I guess that, in alumni parlance, "lost" really means "we are assuming s/he doesn't get our mail because we are sure her fond memories of our fine institution spark in her, as they do in all alumni receiving our mailings, the overwhelming desire to immediately drain their bank accounts and send the money to us."

Someone asked me where I've been today, which makes me wonder if the blogosphere has been having parties that I have not been invited to. I wouldn't doubt it for a minute.  I have so many things in my mind right now that I am probably missing out on tons of killer networking opportunities because I can't keep up with all of the emails and social media notifications... But I love all my internet friends, so I'm not complaining, just commenting.

Ok, a dozen things to do, then bed!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Jumping into June

June is going to be a very busy month.  Most of that will come from preparing for and executing the whole wedding thing.  I have the clothing and accessories for the wedding, so no worries there (I don't have footwear but I have something that would be marginally acceptable that will just have to do).

I am also trying some new things.  I'm naturally pale. Like, almost translucently pale.  I don't tolerate sun well (I'm allergic to sunlight, actually) and was thinking that, for the wedding, maybe "deathly pale" was not such a good look.  That being said, I have no desire to become "Oompa Loompa" orange, either.  I'll let you know more as my experimenting continues.

I should have been in bed a couple of hours ago. However, the panic about everything I have to do this month plus panic about traveling has kicked in.  I didn't accomplish nearly enough this weekend but I did get a few things done.  At this point, it will be painful to get up in the morning and try to function. But I have no choice.  Additionally, the bosslady won't be in the office tomorrow so things will be extra chaotic.

Ok, I need to get off to bed now. Goodnight! Have a fabulous week!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Apparently, long weekends turn me feral...

It's 2AM... I am still awake.  I have, in the last couple of hours gone on 4 or 5 online shopping sprees wherein I go to a site where I need something but then see all of these other things that I momentarily justify needing and then I go to check out, look at the total and promptly click away from the site in horror because I've spent more than the GNP of Fiji... So, as of right now, I've ended up purchasing nothing but there are things that I NEED and I can't just go and procure them because, apparently, I have no self-restraint.

I've also just discovered that, at 2AM with no need to get up at anything vaguely resembling a decent hour tomorrow, when given the choice between nice, wholesome fruit juice and a Mike's Hard Strawberry Lemonade to drink because I've started coughing dust, I'll choose the Mike's.  I am pretty sure that this is a sign that at some point my cats will sit me down and stage an intervention.

Speaking of liquor... I seem to be on the road to attempting to make my own limoncello.  I have a glass jar for mixing/steeping. I have vodka. I need lemons. And a lemon zester (although I am sure that if all I can find is a lime zester or an orange zester, that will be sufficient).

Also speaking of liquor... on Wednesday I went to a vodka tasting and was introduced to the magic that is Bakon vodka... which is a (bet you didn't see this coming) BACON flavored vodka. Now, you might think to yourself "yeah, so what?" but let me tell you, a bacon bloody mary is pretty much the best idea in the history of ever.  I think I need to work a bit on finding the perfect bloody mary mix, but Bakon Bloody Mary's even with an imperfect mixer, are pretty delicious.

Other than that, I am trying to put together a wedding ceremony... I have a ton of ideas and now I just need to make something coherent out of all of those ideas.  Oh well, I will think about it tomorrow.... or, ummm, later today as the case may be.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Catching Up

Things have been a tad chaotic, here at the CrossWorld's Cafe.  I met my heroine, Jenny "The Bloggess" Lawson and it was every bit as wonderful as I had hoped (though altogether way too brief).  I got my book signed and have now finished reading the book.

Here's the thing. I started reading the book when I first got it. And I loved it. But it wasn't something I could read on the bus (laughing on the bus is ill advised) and so it got put into the bathroom to be read whilst soaking in the tub. The only problem with that is that most of the time when I read in the tub I fall asleep and so I had to be careful to not drop my autographed copy into the bathwater.  It was a wonderful book and I laughed til it hurt and a couple of times I cried a little and found myself, perhaps all too often, nodding my head knowingly.

So, now I am finished with the book and feel a little bereft knowing I've finished and so am back to hanging around waiting for Jenny's next blog post.  Still, I have those to look forward to, so life is good.

Not so good... I've spent the past couple of days incredibly sick. I'm pretty sure it was the Indian Buffet I had on Saturday and...blargh.  My stomach is still not happy but I'm at that weird point right now where I am not entirely sure if the pain in my stomach means "feed me" or "get ready to hurl again".  Even though I desperately want mac n' cheese and bacon (I dunno, that's just what I'm hungry for), I'm having a smoothie.

Also from the not so good side... someone got shot in the parking lot in front of my apartment on Saturday.  I am thinking it was not a fatality because I can't find anything about it in the news or on the police website.

Lastly, for tonight, I had a conference call on Saturday and it looks like I will, indeed, be traveling to Boston to officiate at a wedding in June.  I am both excited and nervous.  Not so nervous about the wedding (though I am anxious about NOT SCREWING UP) but more nervous about the travel. Even though I have been flying my whole life, I don't like to do it.

So... that's the catch up for now. Have a stellar week, y'all!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I am a little early...

It is a little after 2PM... I am at "A Real Bookstore" (that is the name of the bookstore) and at about 7PM, The Bloggess will be here.  So, yeah, I may be a little early.  BUT, they start handing out the wristbands that you have to have to get your book signed at 5PM, so I guess I am just "prepared" and not freakishly early.  When I picked up my book, they asked me if I was coming back later. No... I am staying right here. Because I am not going to take even the remotest chance that this will somehow NOT happen.   It is not often that I get the chance to meet someone I have dreamed of meeting. So I am crazy excited for the chance to meet Jenny.  AND... AND... I might also get to meet Lisa, who will be here with a penguin.  I don't have a penguin, but I do have a necklace that I got for Jenny before I found out that she hates jewelry (yeah, I died a little inside when I read that in her blog a couple days ago, but I am hoping that somehow the particular necklace I have will meet with her approval. I mean, I don't expect her to wear it if she hates jewelry, but maybe it will make a nice accessory for Juanita.  Yes, accessorizing your weasel can be important...and difficult. Because there is a bit of an anti-weasel sentiment in retail.... or at least there was before Jenny came along.

It's been a bit of an emotional week and I am worried that I am going to make an ass of myself in front of Jenny and/or Lisa because I don't do well with social situations. Plus, there is already someone in the blogosphere that thinks I am some sort of dangerous psychopath.  And the worst part of that is that I have no clue why the person came to that conclusion. I'm trying to not dwell on it, but it's hard sometimes because it makes you start second guessing EVERYTHING you do. 

I mean, I do realize that I have always been "weird" and that when I worked in residential facilities for adults with mental illnesses, the counselors would always tease me that they felt that having me around was a bit like having an inmate running the asylum... partially because of my innate strangeness and partially because I often had really good insights on what was really going on with some of the residents (because I dealt with them as PEOPLE and not as case studies).  Apparently when you are in "the system" you eventually get tired of everyone you encounter being on a mission to "fix" you when sometimes what you really want is for someone to just LISTEN to you.  And since I was just an Administrative Assistant who took care of the business part of things and not a therapist of any sort, the clients actually TALKED to me.  But not like client-to-therapist but more like someone remembering what it was like to have a conversation with people that didn't involve any effort to change you.  I wonder sometimes if "the system" might work better if people were treated more like PEOPLE and less like broken things that needed repairing. (And that, my friends, is why I am not in management or in the mental health field).  I was once told by a co-worker at one of the residential facilities that I would eventually stop caring about the residents.   I never wanted to get to that point and knew that if I did, that was the day I should get out of the field.

This post has gotten really long and i still have several hours to go before Jenny will be here.  But I'll wrap up this post and write another after the evening is over. I'm sure it will be magical.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

S/he who is forewarned...

The Blogosphere is a magnificent and wonderous place.  It opens up new venues for friendships that might not exist without it. You can reach out and "meet" people all over the world.  But, because subtle things cannot be conveyed perfectly in a written medium, sometimes you may find that you have unintentionally gotten on someone's shit list. 

Sometimes, too, you write something that might be provocative and there are people who won't like what you have to say and they will either stop reading your blog or maybe make a snarky comment on your blog.  I've seen it happen.  Sometimes those relationships can be repaired. Other times they can't.

In the 90's, back before the current incarnation of the Internet, there were BBS's. You tended to get local people from these groups meeting each other. I was an idiot at a New Year's Eve party and managed to pretty much, in one fell swoop, cut my social circle down to pretty much nothing.  I'd like to think I am older and wiser now, but I still tend to be somewhat socially inept.  Part of it comes from circumstances growing up, part of it is just my personality.  I tend to be one of those people that people don't feel "middle-of-the-road" about... they either adore me or loathe me.

Still, there are times when I think I've "clicked" with someone and then something happens that I don't quite "get" and I encounter a cold shoulder.  And I'm never quite sure how to approach it. Do I just walk away without trying to figure things out?  Do I ask and risk getting told "you know what you did" when I honestly DON'T know what I did?  Do I ask a mutual friend to be an intermediary (that strikes me as  pretty juvenile, actually). 

There's really no "point" to this whole thing... I'm musing on a situation/situations and my inability to find "the right thing" to do.

Unrelated...The Center for Biological Diversity sent me a package.  They have a program that focuses on the environmental impact of overpopulation and they distribute over 100,000 condoms. Guess what was in my package?  Nowhere near 100,000 condoms, but a bunch of condoms. And I am hoping that I will get around to putting up the giveaway info this weekend.  I am hoping that no one is offended by a condom giveaway.  If you are offended, I hope you will just skip those posts and come back again another time.  I'm here to make friends and discover a world outside of my little corner of it.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Catting Around

Hey all you internetz peoples. I am Crystal. I am a cat. Momma left her computer logged in tonight when she went to bed. Sometimes she forgets to log off. Most of the time I look at food when she is sleeping. Sometimes I get on Facebooks. I have my own Facebooks page.  With my beeyutiful picture on it and everythings.

But also, there was this cat Dumbcat of a blog place called Lucys Football (which sounds dangerous cause feets is dangerous cuz they can step on your tailz and that is not a good feeling). And that Dumbcat blogged the other day and I wonder if Dumbcat is his real name or if he is using a special name so the Internetz does not catnap him. Cuz he is scared of peeplez. I am not afraid of peeplez.  They make good beds. And chairs.Also bathtubs (cat bathtubs anyways, because we do not use all the water)  Plus sometimes they have food. Food they will share with you. Anyhow, I do not think Dumbcat is a nice name for a cat because my brother is not too bright but I don't think Momma and Daddy would name him Dumbcat.  They do call us silly sometimes but I try to not be offended because they do weird stuff all the time.  But Momma says that Dumbcats mom is a nice lady who would probably pet me and maybe sneak me snacks so I will go with the theory that she just gave Dumbcat an internet name so he doesn't get all catnapped.  

Well,  I suppose I should go looking for pictures of fish. And food. And maybe see if I can order some new toys from the internetz. The kind with catnipz. Because I like the nip. And I like toys. If Dumbcat gets catnapped to my house, I will maybe even share my toys. But not my stinky food. The stinky food is all mine. I have Momma trained to feed it to me. I would do it myself but apparently you need thumbs to open cans and I sadly don't have any thumbs. I am trying to find someone to complain to about that. I need at least one thumb.

Goodnight internetz people. Please don't catnap Dumbcat. Unless you catnap him to my house. Thank you.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Reading, Lists and Giveaway Prep

Got something interesting in the mail today... something that will be part of a giveaway very soon.

Busy weekend ahead and I will be disappearing for part of it to read Jenny "The Bloggess" Lawson's new book "Let's Pretend This Never Happened"... because it is awesome.  I got it yesterday and really wanted to find a way to take today off to read it but I will behave and wait until I have the time (and a time when my laughing until it hurts will not wake anyone).  And, in the time it has taken me to write this I've realized that I have a ton of things I need to do tomorrow night, as well.

So, now I need to write this blog post and then I need to write a "to-do" list and one of the things on the "to-do" list is to write more blog posts, maybe even including the one that will talk about the giveaway but I don't know if maybe that is overly ambitious... because I also need to finish writing a wedding ceremony this weekend AND finish compiling a list AND all the housekeeping and other things that are on the agenda to be done.

But right now, I need to go to bed.  Even though I feel bad because I didn't get any reading done tonight.  I will make up for it tomorrow.

And I will get the giveaway information up soon. Possibly this weekend.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Terrifying Transit

A few weeks ago, I started taking DART (local public transportation) to work in the morning and home from work in the evening.  For the most part it isn't too awful and has been uneventful.

HOWEVER, then entered the bus driver I have nicknamed Flingin' Flo.  Flingin' Flo is apparently a new driver.  Judging from her skills, she got her license from a box of Lucky Charms one morning, donned a DART uniform and took to the road.

Why am I maligning the woman, you ask? Oh, let me extrapolate:

  • Consistently least 10 minutes late.  She gets a partial pass for today because there was an accident where she was supposed to turn and she had to go out of her way to get around it.
  • STOMPS on the brakes. This is part of the reason I call her Flingin' Flo... because her brake stomping causes passengers to (quite literally) be flung from their seats into the aisles and onto the floors of the bus.
  • WHIPS around turns.... This is the rest of the reason I call her Flingin' Flo... She takes corners hard and fast.
  • Road Ragey... she has used her horn more in the three trips I've taken with her than all other transit workers I've EVER ridden with combined.
  • Has her route written on a piece of paper and still consistently needs reminding from passengers where she needs to turn. Ok, I get it.. It isn't easy to keep a long bus ride straight in your head, especially the route I ride that twists and turns and doubles back upon itself.  But really, consistently having to whip across three lanes of traffic to make a turn is not winning you any friend.
  • Crash waiting to happen... every ride she comes really close to plowing into a car or cars.  Todays incident she gets a partial pass because the idiot DID pull out in front of her and should have known better.

I am actually fairly convinced, at this point, that she has a death wish and wants to take the rest of us with her. However, I have indeed lived to tell the tale, so I suppose she's not THAT bad... but it is very scary sometimes to ride with someone who seems to have so very little regard for passengers and other drivers.  Perhaps some more training. In a nice secluded training area. And something for the rage.

I'd better get to bed and rest my road-weary body.  Hope the bruising (from people being flung into my lap with great force and velocity) isn't too bad tomorrow.

Friday, April 13, 2012


Today is Friday, the 13th... I am generally not a terribly superstitious person, but I do have a touch of  paraskevidekatriaphobia which is a fear of Friday, the 13th.

Today, in general, went allright. I was likely more cautious than usual because of my paraskevidekatriaphobia  which, you know, why borrow trouble?  And the morning commute went ok.  Well, except that I REALLY needed to use a restroom when I got to the train station and there was someone ENCAMPED in said restroom. So, I toughed it out. 

I was reading on Twitter that people were getting their signed bookplate for The Bloggess's book (which I pre-ordered back in November... the book, that is, the bookplate pre-order was a while later).  I checked the mail after work and sure enough, there was my envelope from Penguin (the publishers of the book) which I eagerly opened and IT WAS EMPTY. No bookplate.  To say I was sad would be a gross understatement. And, even though I am no one of influence, I did Tweet about it...but, because I am no one of influence, it did little but made me feel marginaly better.  And so, I came home and wrote a carefully worded e-mail to the publisher asking if, by chance, they could provide me with a bookplate (and I KNOW that there were only a limited number and I am likely shit outta luck).

And so... Friday the 13th did, indeed, get it's little dig in.  I am trying to be grateful that it wasn't something worse.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Delicious Dishes

Tonight's dinner was "Crockpot Lasagne" as seen over at 'Dinosaurs Can't Eat Pizza'.

The Crockpot Lasagne is very tasty and easy to make.  There are a number of recipes on the site that I want to try and when you surf on over there, make sure to take a look in the archives.

Robyn and Nance do one recipe each week that they both try and then post their thoughts on it and they individually post recipes, too.  None of it is weird "who in the real world would ever eat that" stuff, either.  You know how recipe sites can be...  and, for instance, the crockpot lasagne recipe lists ground turkey as the meat but you could certainly use sausage or ground beef.

There will probably be few (if any) vegetarian recipes on 'Dinosaurs Can't Eat Pizza' simply because neither Robyn or Nance are vegetarians.  I don't have a problem with that, but I don't want anyone surfing over there and being disappointed that there are no vegetarian or vegan options.

When I've tried some of their other recipes, I'll follow up with a post here. Go check them out and let me know if you end up trying any recipes you find there!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Catching Up (again)

I'm not sure why I get overwhelmed by the day-to-day things that need to be done. I cannot fathom, sometimes, how people with kids and a spouse on top of a job get anything done, ever.  But perhaps they do not have a clingy, needy feline who they feel guilty about neglecting like I do.

I had today (Friday) off work and I meant it to be a productive day and it was not so productive.  I did get a few little things done but for the majority of the day I was a catbed which meant I sat in front of my computer doing whatever can be done with one's mouse-hand free because my other hand is supporting aforementioned cat lest I be torn to bits by her rear feet's pointy bits.  Having a scratched up chest is a) not attractive b) draws some unwanted attention.

A week or so ago, I had acquired part of an iSi Beverage Carbonating System... it is similar in theory to a SodaStream (which I want very much but cannot justify dropping $100 on) except that it can be used to "sparkle" all sorts of things (I am thinking of making my own Sparkling Moscato, which will be approximately $10 cheaper than buying moscato sparkled by someone else) and I received the rest of what I needed via UPS yesterday (I am on a first-name basis with the UPS guy at work, we get a LOT of packages).  I am dying to sparkle something BUT whatever is to be sparkled must be chilled SO I have some watermelon lemonade chilling in the fridge as I type this and tomorrow I will try this thing out and see if it makes watermelon lemonade into sparkling awesomeness!

But back to the catching up thing.  I feel like all I do is scoop kitty boxes and gather more trash to go out and I don't know where all the trash is coming from (other than the scoopings from the kitty boxes) but there are about 12 bags of trash that need to go out right now which is making me a little bit stabbity... BUT, here's the thing. Trash bags are heavy and unwieldy.  I live at the top of 15 very steep stairs which necessitates me holding the rail when I descend, which makes carrying heavy, unwieldy trashbags very NOT fun.  Plus, I can only carry about 2 at a time.  Which is a huge problem if there are TWELVE bags of trash because that involves navigating the stairs 6 times and after the first couple of trips up and down the stairs I feel like I want to die and I know there are some of you out there who are probably thinking that what that means is that I NEED that workout and I DO.. but honestly, I don't want my epitaph to read "She died taking out trash" and what a sad, sad obituary notice that would make.  I would hope, though, that if I died taking out the trash I would get a FANCY burial in one of those flexi bags (preferably one with OdorGuard, thank you) Ok, yes, I KNOW that they don't (legally) let you bury someone in a trash bag but they DO let you bury people in burlap sacks and corrugated cardboard so I am guessing that the barrier to trash bag burials is that they take FOREVER to biodegrade and so if you were buried in a trash bag it would probably have a negative environmental impact.  So, I guess I wouldn't want to be buried in fancy trashbag... but burlap would be itchy so just duct tape some boxes together, stuff me in and call it a day....

(Ant that last sentence is why I should not blog when it's way past bedtime...)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Moving Right Along

In the end, I decided that growing as a writer is more important than my personal feelings about having things change and not being sure if the change was a change for the better.  March actually ended up being a month that carried a great deal of change for me.  It doesn't seem to be bad change, just things that needed to happen/be dealt with.

April will be (hopefully) about growth. Not in a physical way (again, hopefully) but I got things done that will allow me to focus/refocus on other things I have wanted/needed to do.  I have a long weekend coming up, which I hope will allow me to finish up some last little bits of old projects and move along new projects.  I've tried in the past to come up with a blog posting schedule and have found that it just doesn't really work for me. I haven't been able to harness my muse and discipline myself to blog on any given day.  That being said, I do write every day at but it is seldom anything I would post in any of my blogs and more an exercise on being disciplined to get SOMETHING written every day, even if it is only a "brain dump".  I've found it very useful.

So, I'm going to be focusing on posting more and better content, improving my writing and creating new bath fizzies.  Right now, though, there's work to be done and I'd best start doing it.  Have a fabulous week!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Change... know when to hold 'em... when to fold 'em

My last post was about a piece of writing submitted to an online community that was rejected.  Further changes are happening in that community and I am questioning whether I will remain a part of it or let it go. 

My first thought is that if the people who run the community knew I was contemplating leaving they would probably say "Don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!"  Maybe I am wrong, but I am really not part of the "core" crowd in that community so I would likely not be a big loss.  Additionally, there is only so much fresh content one person can come up with, so not belonging to that community would give me one less place I need to wrack my brain for "what to write" ideas.

The flip side of this is that I feel more and more that the only way I am going to grow stronger as a writer is to belong to writing communities where I don't have to be on the hunt for good writing, I can just log in and there will be a plethora of writers whose prose I can read and maybe I can start to pick out what elements are getting comments and which writers seem to have a large, strong following.  Although, for the life of me, I cannot fathom why some bloggers have huge audiences and others have 2 or 3 (it seems) readers.  I've read some incredibly wonderful blogs that have very, very few comments... so maybe I just know what *I* like and not what appeals to the masses.

So, I am still pondering the correct course of action.  Any thoughts?

Sunday, March 25, 2012


One of the things I like about blogging is that I can come here to my blog and write anything I want to and people may comment on it but no one will tell me "your writing isn't good enough" and refuse to publish what I've written.

Every now and then, though, I go to one of the writing communities I belong to and submit something.  Up until now, I've never had a problem and everything I have submitted has been accepted.  I wrote something last night (Ironically, about how I struggle to hit "publish" sometimes, due to a fear of rejection) and this morning, in my email box, was a note rejecting my submission.

And I understand the reason and everything but have to admit that it still kindve stung and I am now going to be very hesitant to submit anything in that community again.  Oh, I'll still write in the blog I have there, I just won't ever submit anything for publication there.  And yes, I know that part of being a writer is that you have things you submit for publication rejected ALL THE TIME but I guess that's why I prefer blogging... sure, people can comment that what I wrote was awful and that I should give up writing, but it's my blog, my forum and I can (within reason) publish anything I like here.

On a positive (non-writing relate) note...I spent most of yesterday working on the Closet From H3LL and it's now downgraded to the Closet From H3ck.  It needs more work, but at least it can be used as a place to hang clothes again. So... yay for that!

Have a wonderful Sunday and a great week!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hand me a paper bag....

I read this morning that The Bloggess is doing a book tour and she's going to be in the city I live in and I am pretty sure that I made some unnatural sounding happy noise because meeting The Bloggess is pretty much the number one thing on my list of "Things That Will Probably Never Happen But I Might Die Of Excitement If They Do And It Would Be Totally Worth It"....

I've already let my boss know that I will be taking that day off of work. I am looking online for a sleeping bag so I can camp out wherever she will be so I can be first in line. I am contemplating just spending from now until the date she's here camping at random bookstores on the off chance I will pick the right one.

And yes, I realize that she's probably drafting the restraining order right now... because I know I sound completely insane but if you had asked me a few years ago who my hero was, I would have drawn a blank and now I can, without hesitation, tell you that my hero(ine) is Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess.  And I don't even say that in a 'fangirl' way.  She does so many things to help people and she is hysterically funny but more than all of that she is so very REAL.

So, even if the restraining order says I have to stay 500 feet away, I'll still be happy to have gotten that close.  And I have a whole month to try to train myself to not burst into tears of sheer joy at the mere thought of being in the same zip code as The Bloggess.   I think this will make my postal carrier happy, too, as I am pretty sure that she's tired of me asking every day if my book has come yet (yes, I know it isn't being released until next month but I am just making sure that there wasn't an early release or something...)  I'm a little afraid my postal carrier will smack me upside the head with the book when it DOES come... or spray me with her pepper spray (usually reserved for unruly dogs) just on general principle for being such a pain in the posterior about this.

I suppose I'd best get to work, though... on the theory that much like Christmas, The Bloggess Book Tour will get here faster if I distract myself from counting the seconds... ummm, not that I would do something like that... (1 month, 4 days, and approximately 22 hours... not that I'm counting...)

So, yes, I'm excited.  Have a stellar day!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Blame it on the rain...

I have two cats. They don't get along so I have a gate up between my livingroom and the rest of my apartment. One cat on each side of the gate. One cat is scared of thunderstorms. It is storming tonight. He is hiding in the bathroom (I won't tell you exactly where because he's TRYING to hide... not exactly helpful for me to give away his location, right?)

Earlier this evening, I was passing through the gate and the Scaredy Cat came slinking down the hall. Lil Bit was waiting eagerly to dart into the "forbidden" part of the apartment.  They passed each other without growling. This is unusual.  As I write this, scaredy cat is back in the bathroom, Lil Bit is curled up under my desk. The gate remains open.  I am thinking that I will just leave it that way unless there is a throwdown during the nighttime hours (which, knowing my luck, will take place ON MY FACE).  Then, in the morning, I will put them back on their respective sides of the fence and let them ponder whether, after nearly 6 months, maybe they can live a peaceful life together (or at least not smack the crap out of each other) which would make my life infinitely easier.

I am, once again, miffed at Panda Express because they are not carrying the Peppercorn Shrimp at the location near work which I didn't find out until AFTER I was in line and so I settled for a much less satisfying than anticipated lunch and I wish they'd just bring back the Golden Treasure Shrimp because that was really good but, of course, since I liked it they don't have it anymore.

That's all I've got for tonight. Hopefully when I go out to go to work in the morning I won't need a jet ski to get to my car.  I tell you, the weather has been BIZARRE lately.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Evaded The Grim Reaper Yet Again!

I have managed to evade The Grim Reaper for yet another year and had a very nice birthday in spite of the fact that The Bloggess still doesn't know I exist and Lisa & I didn't hang out at Teavana sipping tea and plotting how to get into the room where they keep all of the tea monkeys.  Sometimes you just have to settle for spending a nice day with friends and family (not that I am, at all, complaining about having done that!)

Tomorrow I go back to work after having been off work for several days (because I like to drag out my birthday celebration... a multi-day excuse to eat cake should always take place around one's birthday!)  Since there are only three work days left this week, it will be exceptionally busy.

I should try to get to bed early tonight because I have been averaging 4 hours of sleep for the past several days and it is not going to work well to try and go to work tomorrow if I can't stay awake.

I don't make resolutions at New Year's but I sometimes set some goals around my birthday (see, that gives me additional time to come up with a list of things I will probably not follow through on!)  I hope to get to meet The Bloggess and/or Lisa this coming year.   If I could have lunch with both of them I would probably die of happiness which would be bad because I know The Bloggess doesn't want to have to bury another body in her backyard  (to clarify, she buried a pet, not a human.. well, at least, not that we know of.... but that isn't the sort of thing someone would blog about... burying humans in your yard is generally considered to be illegal).

Also, by my next birthday (assuming that the latest Doomsday prophecy predicted does not turn out to be true), I hope to have written something (a novel) worth reading.  Of course, if Doomsday happens, I suppose it won't matter.

I should be around more now that my birthday has come and gone and the company has gone home and everything will return to what passes for normal.  Possible changes (not in a bad way) on the horizon.  But nothing I can talk about yet (no, I am not pregnant.  I shudder to even THINK of that).

Have a stellar week!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Tiaras &Teavana

Ended up at the Galleria today.  Went to Teavana where they still don't seem to have monkeys available (but still sell monkey-picked Oolong which I am starting to doubt is picked by actual monkeys due to the lack of monkeys for sale at Teavana).  I mean, they have everything else tea-related, it seems, so I don't understand the lack of monkeys.  Maybe I've just got overly high expectations, though.

I've written here before about tiaras and how much I want one.  Well, I happened to find & purchase a couple this afternoon and while I love them (yes, I got two) I feel weird having had to buy my own tiara.  Tiaras are bestowed, they are not bought by oneself. *sigh

I am suddenly exhausted... I don't know if it was the nearly three miles I walked today or if fighting oxidants was harder than I thought...

(since apparently BLOGGER was feeling lazy and didn't actually post this when I WROTE it)

Saturday we went to the Art Museum where we walked and walked and walked some more. We had a simply lovely lunch in the atrium where my friends gave me very lovely gifts and then we went and got cupcakes and then came home.  Between late lunch and cupcakes, we decided to skip dinner and plan on lunch on Sunday which will likely be a very late lunch since I am not setting an alarm clock and we are "sleeping in".

Monday... well, I am not ready to start thinking about that yet....

But I do need to think about getting some sleep.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Couple of Days off of Work

It's my birthday this weekend and my Mom and my Daughter are coming to visit me (assuming all goes as planned).  My mom still uses DIAL UP AOL and complains about how expensive it is ($9.99 a month, I think). So, she does not understand my "addiction" to the Internet and will be less than happy that I do things like check email whilst she is visiting. She cannot fathom why I cannot go 4 days without checking email.  She does not have The Facebook (her term) or That Tweety Nonsense (her term) and so she gets a little put out by the fact that my Daughter (who is 17) text messages almost constantly (I figure she will be first in line if they ever come up with the technology for direct human interface with the 'Net...)

I hadn't really considered until today what a bummer of a "vacation" this is for my Daughter... She "gets" to spend time with her (to her) old Mother and her even OLDER Gramma.  And there is really nowhere for her to escape to because I live in a teeny, tiny apartment (ok, it's not a STUDIO, but it's not huge).  So, yeah.  Gotta sortve be a bummer for her but she's coming and I hope we will have a good time.

The weather is going to be less than optimal.  It's been gorgeous lately but this weekend is scheduled to be cold and rainy.  Not cool.

I am hoping I will get the chance to solve a mystery today... there was a FedEx slip on my door last night and I am not expecting anything... They are supposed to reattempt delivery today so I hope they don't do it whilst I am vacuuming or something because I'd like to get my package.

I've also discovered, via the amount of noise that my neighbors make, that apparently NO ONE who lives here except me has a job.   Or, at least, not a job where they work during the day. Because it is NOISY and sounds like a big ol' social club around here during the day. Exactly like it sounds on the weekend.

I need to get back to vacuuming!  Have a fabulous weekend, y'all.  I'll check back in as soon as I can.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Wedding Officiant Heartbreak

I have a friend who is getting married in June, near Boston.  Due to unforseen circumstances, her wedding officiant has had to drop out of the wedding.  The first line replacement also cannot make the journey. I, being a clergy member + friend of the Bride was asked if I could step in.

No, they are not getting married in a church. No, they are not members of an organized religious group. No, they don't want a Judge or JP to do the ceremony, they want someone who means something to them to officiate.

My reality, at the moment, is that I live paycheck to paycheck.  I don't say that seeking pity, it's my reality right now and there is a light at the end of that tunnel (a major expense is going away probably this year, certainly next year).  But I don't have money sitting around nor do I have sufficient available credit to be able to plop it onto a credit card  (Yes, I know that is totally fiscally irresponsible).

I cried as I wrote the email telling her I can't do it. Not little tears... a big, ugly cry.

I want so much for some miracle to occur that would make it possible for me to be able to do this. I know that it isn't forthcoming, but it doesn't stop me from wanting to be able to write her back and tell her the situation has changed and I can and will be there.

They say if your problems can be solved with money, that you really have no problems. Again I say that apparently the people who say that never have any money-related issues.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Coupon Pondering

Compared to other people who I follow on the internet, I am a weak couponer.  But I was pretty happy to save $16.97 today including a pillow I found on sale AND had a 20% off coupon for.  I could do tons better with my shopping and I do try to stay on top of the coupons but I haven't started the shopping 2-3 different stores to get the absolute best deals which is mainly because I normally shop on the way home from work on Mondays.

I am a tich ticked off at Target where I usually shop right now because they HAD Welches Fizz grape drink a couple of weeks ago and this is the second week in a row that they don't have any in stock and my coupon expires soon.  I think maybe because there was both a Target Coupon and a Manufacturer's Coupon and so people were able to get it for FREE, Target just decided to not restock it until after the coupons have expired. *sigh  And I am sure that the folks from Target would tell you that that simply isn't true but this has happened in the past with products that you could end up getting free/really, really low priced.  For a while, they had Ozarka Sparkling Water out of stock which was, coincidentally, at a time when there were coupons that were buy one, get one free AND a coupon for $1/1 so you got 2 bottles of Sparkling Water for free.  Now, I know some people probably only buy a product when they can get it free like that but the reality for me (since I don't have a SodaStream even though I DESPERATELY want one) is that I will buy the Sparkling water at it's normal price (albeit grudgingly).  I will buy more of it if I have ANY coupon for it (even the 50 cents off two that I used today is still SOMETHING).

I think one of the things that gets coupon users a bad reputation is the people who go in and only get what they can for free. And I'll be clear about this, there is NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT but I think it leaves the cashiers feeling like the store isn't making any money (because they don't understand how the store DOES get paid for those coupons) and so they get a little surly towards all coupon users.  The other people that become an issue are the folks who go through the store removing coupons from items they aren't even buying (I actually saw a woman one day at Target take ALL OF THE COUPONS OFF THE MEAT IN THE MEAT DEPARTMENT... meat she wasn't even buying....)  And you know what? I haven't seen a coupon on meat at Target since then (thankfully, I eat pretty much salads and smoothies these days, so I don't buy much/any meat).

There are things that I like that, without coupons, are cost prohibitive.  For example, Starbucks Double Shots (sold in small cans, in 4-packs).  The shelf price was something like $5.79.  That's something I will usually pass up no matter how much I like them because I just can't justify almost $6 for 4 small cans, but today I had a $2/1 coupon and I bought them because with the coupon, the cans were less than a dollar apiece. 

Many times I will try a new product that I might not have tried if I have a coupon.  Philadelphia Cooking Creme is one such product.  A while back I had a coupon for it AND I had a recipe that someone said it worked well with.  I might not have tried it but the coupon made the product a low enough risk that if I didn't like it I wouldn't feel I'd wasted a lot of money.  Turns out it DOES work very well in that recipe.

Unfortunately, there is no coupon for a good night's sleep.  I'd pay to get one of those! And it is way past bedtime so goodnight and happy bargain hunting!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate with Truffle Filling

The lovely people at SheSpeaks sent me some delicious Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate with Truffle Filling.

Ghirardelli makes some awesome chocolate and this product just continues to fuel my love for what they do.  They have several kinds of  Filled Squares in their product lineup and I have yet to try one that I didn't love. However, I am now a huge fan of the Milk Chocolate with Truffle Filling because they're good for my diet.

I can see you rolling your eyes in disbelief and thinking I am nuts for saying that CHOCOLATE is GOOD for my diet. Let me explain...

I can break one of these squares into four pieces.  And they are so deliciously chocolatey that I really only need to eat one to feel like I've had delicious chocolate and have satisfied my chocolate craving. Could I sit and eat the entire bag in one sitting? ABSOLUTELY.. but they are too good to wolf down without savoring and if you can enjoy a treat and not go crazy, so much the better. 

If you are not a Milk Chocolate lover, don't despair.  They make a Dark Chocolate with Truffle Filling Square, too.

I was thrilled, when I went to San Francisco a few years ago, to get to go to Ghirardelli's store there.  If you ever have the chance to go to one of their stores, take the opportunity.  I had actually been introduced to Ghirardelli chocolate back in the 80's by a young man I was dating.  Knowing good chocolate is an absolutely wonderful way to impress/woo a ladyfriend!

Thank you to SheSpeaks for the opportunity to enjoy something tasty.

You can find these tasty treats (at least where I live) in Target or at Walgreens.

Disclaimer:  I was sent this product free of charge and all opinions contained herein are my own

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Value of Networking....?

I had gotten tickets to go to a "convention" this coming weekend. The venue is about an hour drive (one way) for me and tonight I got an email informing me that parking at the venue is $10.  Well, that put me off the Friday portion of the conference because $10 for parking for 2 days is sadly right out of the budget right now.

Ok, then I got to thinking about Saturday and the conference starts at 8AM which means I should leave home no later than 6:30AM , which means I am going to have to get up about 5AM... And I am just SO not a morning person.

Yes, this event would be a good networking opportunity...but there is a similar event in a couple of months closer to home.  True, I am probably NOT going to score free tickets to that event and thus will probably not be able to attend but I am just less than enamoured with the idea of spending the gas money right now and then having to pay for parking and it's something geared towards Moms and perhaps not 100% appropriate for me.

Ugh... I hate having to make these decisions. I wish that I didn't have to decide things based on budget.

And completely unrelated... can someone PLEASE explain to me what preschool children are doing running around outside screaming at almost 1AM?  No, I didn't think so.  On that note, I'm going to bed.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Singin' the Blues

Work will be really busy this week since I have Monday off and then will have only 4 days to get work done.

Tomorrow I am having lunch with a friend who has to work (since she came up and had lunch with me on MLK Day when she didn't have to work and I did).

I am starting to get my annual pre-birthday blues.  I get to this point where I start looking back on the last year and then at my life and realize what a colossal waste of time everything has been and wish that I was doing something fabulous with my life.  I think if I can make it through this year, things will be better. I know that sounds stupid seeing as how it is only February, but if I can just keep things on track and have no MAJOR upheaval, a couple of things are set to happen later this year that will make my life significantly easier. And they aren't things I can rush, they are linked to specific calendar dates.

I also have to remember to run an errand in the early part of this week even though a significant issue has not resolved yet as I had hoped that it would.

Let's hope that there is not another power outage tonight.  It is very hard on the computers and the microwave.  Not to mention that it doesn't do fabulous things for the fridge.

I'm off to bed.  I do have to get up and be ready for my lunch tomorrow, which is more work than you'd think (hanging out with pretty girls is a lot of work y'all... but she's worth it!  *gag* I sound like a haircolour commercial)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

V-Day Wrap-Up

Today was Valentines Day...

There was no great romance, no boxes of fancy chocolates, no tiara.

There were no cards with hearts and gushy sentiment.  There was no fancy dinner. There will be no lingerie. There will be no sexy rumpus (Oh How I Love The Oatmeal!)...

I had cuddly kitties. I had a wonderful compliment on Facebook. I had a nice txt chat. There was a domestic dispute in my apartment complex that was very loud and public and involved gunshots (no injuries/fatalities).

But public domestic dispute aside (it wouldn't be Valentines Day without some woman screeching at her man about "that slut"... well, at least not in MY neighborhood), I am ok with how today went.  It's the first Valentine's Day in a long time that I felt neither sad nor angry.  It was just a day.  And honestly, that's ok.

I DID screw up my first giveaway (on my other blog)... and I am relatively certain that at least one person will conveniently lose my contact info if I ever want to participate in doing a giveaway again.  I know that the whole thing made me look like a bumbling idiot but it was new territory for me and I learned from it.  I learned how Rafflecopters work and how to find a decent prize when you don't have people chomping at the bit to be sponsors for you.

I think it shows how much of a crazy cat lady I am that I asked Miz Poo to be my Valentine.  (She said as long as I am ok with her sneezing in my face, we're good to go!  Robyn speaks fluent cat and is an excellent translator!)

So... although the day lacked romance, it was an ok day.  I think I'm making peace with a day that has always made me feel unlovable (V-Day and I have a LONG history).

And tomorrow... tomorrow is cheap chocolate day! BRING IT ON!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cheap Chocolate Day Is Coming!

It was cold this weekend, so I mostly stayed inside and worked on cleaning/organizing. I managed to finish up the home office and the kitchen is close to done. The bathroom is also close to done. Yes, I am aware that close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades but it's a process and I'm working through the process.

The week ahead will be semi-chaotic.  Monday and Tuesday are going to be quiet. Wednesday I have a class and then my writer's group in the evening (switched from Tuesday for the next couple of weeks) and Thursday is a Kitty Volunteer night (when I go and volunteer for the cat rescue) then Friday and the weekend things will be quiet again (at least, as far as I know...)  Since we haven't discussed it yet, I am thinking that this month we will not be going to the Friday Late Night at the Art Museum... but there is always the possibility it will come up on Wednesday night.

So, I am happy that I got some things done this weekend, disappointed that I didn't get more done and wishing I had another day or two to get things done without a five day interim period... But, wait... I THINK that NEXT Monday is President's Day and that's a holiday so I will have three days next weekend so...YAY! (Honestly, it's always really the little things with me).

Oh... and Tuesday this week is Valentine's Day which is nothing I am really excited about EXCEPT that it precedes CHEAP CHOCOLATE DAY (because Valentine's candy is usually marked down the day after).  So I will be keeping my eye out for good deals on apres~VD chocolate!

Now... when is it Free Tiara Day??