Monday, May 24, 2010

Stickin' It to the Man

I don't plug too much stuff on my blog, but this is something good. And since you're my best friend, I had to tell you about it!

I don't know about you, but saving some money always gives me a kick. Since you can often find better deals this way (and a little because I live in what the upper crust might refer to as "BFE" and sometimes it's just easier to shop while I'm sitting on the couch than driving all over creation), I often order online.

A while back I heard about this site called "Retail Me Not". It's a user-contribution site, where people from all over can share their coupon codes. You simply plug in the site name or URL in the search bar and it will pull up all the available codes in its database. Some are for free or upgraded shipping. Some are for incentive goodies or services. Some are worth a percentage off certain products, or even your entire order. You can also find grocery and other printable coupons here. Expiration dates are usually provided, and there is user feedback so you can see how successful the codes worked and how much savings others had using the codes.

Most often I refer to this site for my insatiable scrapbook supply hoarding requirements, but I've also found awesome savings for clothes, photo orders, and gifts, among other things. I have saved tons on shipping expenses and by taking percentages off the cost my orders. Just last night I saved 20% on my antivirus subscription renewal. Whoda thought you could even get that?

If you ever order anything on line, I just wanted to pass this little reference on to you. Bookmark it and check it next time you want to buy something - you just might find some free money. What's better than saving some cash in the process of whatever you're doing? :)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My First Thursday Thunk!

I'm trying a new group participation thing today, just for fun. My dear friend Ace did it before me, and since we are practically doppelgangers, she already took all my answers. I'll try to come up with new stuff. But I tell ya, it was pretty rude of her to do that, don't you think?

Anyway ....

Welcome to this week's (and my first) episode of Thursday Thunks! They pick a subject, and my job is to interpret it anyway I want. This week is going to be easy... just one question. Ok, well maybe not so easy. Take each letter of the alphabet and describe something in your life... don't skip any!

Arbitrary. To the outsider, I probably seem like I'm really big on free-association. I'll relate things that will make total sense to me but I'm probably the only one - and I usually won't bother to explain why because it's too time-consuming to find a descriptive bridge for it before my busy brain moves on to the next thing.

Boys. With a husband, son, and male dog - as well as working in a heavily male-dominated business - my life is chock full of boys. Which is fine with me because boys are totally fun to hang out with anyway.

Caribbean. I would just love to rot away on the island of St. Somewhere in the Caribbean for the rest of my life. Breeze in my hair, rum and fresh pineapple juice in my glass, butt in a hammock between two palm trees, steel drums making up the soundtrack of my days and nights. Plus the off-chance that I might run into this guy ----------->. Ohhhh, my. *Sigh*. That'd be the life, baby.

Dog. Everybody knows how much my Most Beautiful Dog means to me. He's the furry peg of my heart.

Embellishments. I love to scrapbook, and what's scrapbooking without embellishments? Just a photo album, that's what! For those who aren't into it, embellishments are all the little extra things you add to a page to make it pretty and shiny and artsy. Stickers, fibers, brads, whatever. Fun stuff! Pretty stuff! YAY!

Frogs. Incrediboy is really into frogs right now, which means that by default I have frogs on my mind all the time. Which is cool, because I think frogs are pretty cute too.

Graveyards. I enjoy exploring old graveyards and seeing the awesome craftsmanship of stone carvers past. I detest visiting the gravesite of someone I knew - in fact I'll avoid it at almost all cost. But apart from that, graveyards can be serene places.

Humor. I can be a real snarky smartarse - er, sarcastic pain - I mean, um, silly girl. Life's not always easy, but if you can find a way to make your own fun and laugh about it all, it helps a lot.

Ink. When I got my first tattoo 20+ years ago, not too many women had them. Now they're everywhere. That's kind of a bummer, because it takes my rebel edge off. But I still love my ink.

Jeopardy. I need to go on this show, or else my huge collection of useless knowledge and trivial facts & statistics will have no value whatsoever.

KISS. My favorite band since I was 6 years old. Sophisticated?
Not a bit. Good, fun, old fashioned rock 'n' roll and good times? That's my guys.

Lake. I love the water. Always have. We live less than a mile from a lake and there is where we spend as much time as we can in the fair weather months. "There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats." ~ Kenneth Grahame

Music. My life's always been heavily entrenched in music. More than any other cultural influence. Music has the power to become one with places, emotions, and experiences - providing instantaneous recollection and time travel. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. But I wouldn't trade it.

Nachos. Man, I love Mexican food. I'm not even sure if nachos are "real" Mexican food, or they're just Mexican food-associated. You know, how they say pizza isn't really Italian, even though you think of it as Italian? But you know what I'm sayin'.

Outside. I like to go outside and explore the big world with my boy. We are lucky to have a nature preserve near our home and we love to go for walks there. I'm also a bit of a shutterbug, and I love photographing nature's little details. Outside is a good place to be.

Patriotism. I love my country. I love freedom.

Quiet. As a general life rule, I love it loud. But since becoming a wife and mom, I really relish quiet. When anyone else is in the house, there are televisions, radios, video games and toys making all kinds of racket. If I get a rare chunk of time to myself, it all goes off and I bask in the sweet sound of silence for a while. Funny how you don't appreciate the simple things until they are gone. ;)

Restless. I always have these thoughts banging around in my head - about what I want to be doing, what I should be doing, what I want to get to next. It's actually kind of counterproductive most of the time. Right about now is when that quiet thing would come in handy.

Sheldon Cooper. My favorite show is The Big Bang Theory, and Sheldon is the absolute funniest straight man ever. When this show first aired, I really didn't have much hope that it'd last. It was too good. You know how great shows get cancelled but stupid crap is on for years? But TBBT beat the odds and is hugely popular. And my little inner nerd couldn't be happier about that.

Titilating. Just because it's fun to say. Yes, I'm immature.

Underdog. I love the underdog. Not the cartoon superhero, but the one who has the odds stacked against him. The one who tries harder because he has to. The one who probably deserves to win more anyway because of that. It might have to do with the fact that I've been the underdog so often in my life, but you didn't hear that from me.

Vroom! I love cars! Classic cars and hot rods especially. I don't know much about them - how they work or what year they are. But I know what I like to look at, and I like classic cars and hot rods.

Weight. I obsess about mine too much. I'm not obese or anything, but I used to be a lot thinner than I am now and didn't even really have to work at it. But then again, I'm not twentysomething anymore, and thank God for that in all other aspects. So I'm working on just loving the best me I can be.

Xanax. I don't take it, but maybe I should. Or maybe not. But hey, there aren't that many X words.

Yarn. I enjoy knitting now and then - it relaxes me and indulges my obsessive-compulsive counting disorder. I also like to spin yarns. As in tell stories. But you probably could figure that out on your own.

Zamboni. Hockey rocks. Go Blue Jackets!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Godspeed, Soldier.

I "adopted" a soldier in Afghanistan in a letter-writing effort last fall. It was a project put together to focus on soldiers who had, for whatever reason, not received any mail from home since their arrival there.

How sad it that thought?

Some might wonder if this lack of comfort from home is due to them being a jerk - but I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I tend to think the best of others. Maybe these guys are buttholes as people and that's why nobody cares enough to write to them. On the other hand, maybe their families are the buttholes. Maybe they just don't have families. Maybe their friends don't write because the art of longhand correspondence is dying out. Whatever the case may be, it's sad to think of these kids fighting for freedom in a distant land, a whole world away from all they know, with seemingly no one who cares enough to say hey. It tugs at the heart to think of his buddies getting letters and packages while he gets nothing at mail call, ever.

How utterly lonely that must feel.

It was made clear that it would probably be a thankless job. The soldiers are crazy-busy over there and may not have the time or the energy to be good return pen pals. Most who take on the adoptions never hear back from their soldiers. But enough word gets back that regardless of whether we hear from them or not, no volunteered letter is ever taken for granted. No heart goes untouched to know that complete strangers care and are praying for their safety.

I knew nothing about my soldier but his name and position in his branch. But since I'm a Chatty Cathy, I just started writing - introducing myself and telling him about things going on back home. From time to time I sent a care package: small games like dice and decks of cards, puzzle books, candy at Halloween, bright pressed leaves during autumn, Girl Scout cookies at Cookie Time. But mostly I just sent letters - always making sure to thank him for his service let him know I was praying for his safety.

The other day, a letter I'd written in April was returned to me. It had been opened, and on the front was written in lovely ladies' penmanship to forward it back to me. No other details were noted.

I wondered if the letter had been sent to the wrong post, but it didn't really make sense that it would be sent back to me and not re-routed to him. I wondered if something had happened to the soldier. I wondered if his tour was over and he'd gotten to come home.

I've decided to think that he's now home.

I'll probably continue to write a few more letters just to make sure it wasn't a fluke - I'd hate to stop writing altogether if he's still over there. But for his sake, I hope he's home.

I hope that my small-talk letters have made his time away from American soil a little less monotonous. I hope I helped him feel appreciated back in the states. I hope the remainder of his life is filled with peace and contentment.

Godspeed, Soldier.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Sort-of Update: My good buddy Coffeypot provided me with this link which lists all reported servicemen killed in action related to Project Enduring Freedom. I'm happy to learn my soldier is not on this list! It is heartbreaking, however, to see the names and faces of those who are. There are soooo many. The majority are just babies. Some still have adolescent acne. Please take a moment to pray for the safety of our servicemen each night. They are offering the ultimate sacrifice.

"All gave some - Some gave all."


Monday, May 17, 2010

Back in One (exhausted) Piece!

I'm back in one piece from the big weekend! We had a fabulous time as always. Great food, lots of creativity, generous amounts of alcohol, and tons of hijinks & laughter. We laughed so much I even peed a little at one point. I know, gross. But it was only a little dot of pee. Sometimes you just cant help it, especially when you're with your besties. And you've been drinking a lot of rum. But I digress.

I also accidentally discovered this stuff at a gas station when I stopped for a cup of joe along my road trip to said girls' weekend. It adds an extra turbo-boost of caffeine to your coffee. I snagged a couple extra to take with me and with the weekend now behind me I can officially say I'm addicted to this powerful little additive. I was on line first thing this morning trying to score some for my own private abuse occasional enjoyment.

In case anyone's wondering, I found a case of about 264 of these for $24 on Amazon. I'm jonesin' like a crack addict just thinking about getting my hands on it. I'm nonchalantly looking forward to its arrival.

So happy to be back to work today. Not.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Impishness is Afoot

So this weekend is the semi-annual Blogarita gathering ~ me and my besties getting together under the ruse of for the main purpose of doing some scrapbooking, while really having an excuse to get lit together and find immature mischief to get into having some laughs and quaint girl time in the process.
I absolutely can't wait.
The downside, as I have mentioned in earlier posts, is one of us will not be able to come, as is sometimes the case in our hectic 21st century lives. That's a real bummer ... But I also know that plenty of laughs and great memories are waiting to be had. The 5 pounds of fresh pineapple I have in my fridge, marinating in straight rum, should help assure that.
Cheers ~

Friday, May 07, 2010

Look! An Award!

Awww, my sweet blogfriend Nicole over at Laugh Outloud gave me the Attitude & Gratitude Sisterhood Award! Isn't that great? I feel so honored! And a little surprised, since all my complaining lately doesn't exactly display gratitude. Hm, I must have won based on the attitude part. ...

So anyway, I'm taking a break from Friday Fragments in lieu of sharing and celebrating this exciting turn of events. I mean honestly, isn't this enough? :) Thanks so much, Nicole - you're the best! xoxox

Now it is my distinct honor to pass the gauntlet to ten other deserving blog sisters (in no particular order). Be sure to check them out because I think they're the cat's butt.

  • Paint Splotches (Ace) - This lady is sassy and funny and I just love her. We're pretty sure we were separated at birth.

  • Blending Ame (Ame) - One of my personal heroes - strong, humble, and wise. I am so blessed to also call her my friend.

  • Not a Wonk (Patti) - one of my newest blog haunts - she's smart, sharp witted and loves to talk hot topics with no holds barred.

  • Cooking Up Trouble Texas Style (StacieF) - We met on the grounds of a shared love of music, and a lifelong sisterhood germinated & thrived. One of my favorite people ever.

  • In the Middle - Mad Hatter (Martie) - My BFF's mom, who has become my second mom, as well as a dear wonderful friend.

  • Simply 55 (Danielle) - A candid writer and a beautiful soul, and a friend who has taught me a lot about myself, too.

  • Saurly Yours (Saurkraut) - This beautiful lady has the 3 "i"s going for her - Intelligent, Insightful and Interesting. One of the first members of my blogroll and still a favorite.

  • Thoughts of Laurel (Lori) - another of my longstanding blogbuddies - a true friend with an eye for the quiet beauty of the world. Visiting her blog is always a salve.

  • It's A Pug's Life (Marni) - I'm just getting to know this girl, and it's great fun because we are a LOT alike! Don't you love it when that happens?

  • Coffeypot - Okay, technically, he's a mister, not a sister. But he's too great to leave out. Full of piss and vinegar, this one! All kinds of fun on his blog.

Visit my peeps and enjoy the cornucopia of delights they bring to the blogworld!

Now, recipients: with great power comes great responsibility. It's now your turn to pass on the award as you see fit.
  1. Proudly display the award on your post and/or blog template.

  2. Nominate 10 blogs which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude!

  3. Be sure to link your nominees within your post, so others can find them.

  4. Let them know of their nomination by commenting on their blog.

  5. Share the love and link back to me too :)

Sorry to give you homework over the weekend, but at least it's lovey dovey. Have a great day, friends!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

More crap that's annoying me

While I'm on the topic of complaining, allow me to continue.

First of all, a state issue passed here yesterday under the guise of stimulating the economy and the job market here. But really all it does is assure more money for the unions. Well I work for a union company, and I can tell you the last people who need money handed to them are the dang unions.

American Idol's theme was Sinatra this week. Which is annoying because hey, I like Sinatra and all, but all the judges do is gripe about how these kids need to be more current and pick younger songs. Really?

One of my BFFs has had to cancel on the girls' weekend coming up, which is really sad for all of us. I miss my girls. All we want is one weekend, twice a year, to hang out and laugh together. Though that's not much to ask, at least half the time it doesn't work out for one of us to be able to join, thanks to life. What the *Insert expletives here* ! :(

I've got a freaking dentist appointment at 7am on Friday. Enough said on that.

My house is an absolute pig pen. So much so that it may be easier to just burn it to the ground and rebuild than to actually clean it. I can't believe my sweet Hub hasn't yelled about it, because frankly, he should. I'm the worst housewife ever and I'm lucky that he loves me. Hopefully he still does.

Thank God it's Cinco de Mayo, because I need a drink.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Breakneck Moody

I think I'm going to change my name to that. Yeah.

If you were here yesterday between the hours of about 11:20 and 1:15, yes you did see another post here - I was raving on and on about Sons of Sylvia, who are great. I haven't changed my mind about that or anything. But I took it down because - well, I don't know why. Just because I get on my own nerves lately, I guess.

So I'm in this foul mood today. I should be in a good mood, considering I'm going to be hanging with my besties next weekend at our bi-annual hangtime in the state to the north, which is ALWAYS a grand old event. But alas, I'm grumpy right now.

It could be that I've felt extremely poopy for several days - I've got some kind of stomach bug thing and it's really putting a cramp in my natural charm. It's not enough to make me throw up or crap my pants or anything, but it's more than ample to make my entrails feel anywhere between uncomfortable tenderness and sharp pain. I'm wondering if I got poisoned by that nasty hamburger I ate Friday for lunch.

I was so distracted by my ill-feelingness yesterday that I actually took Incrediboy to school with no shoes on - just his socks. WTF! Normally this wouldn't be a big major drama, except that we live 25 miles from the school and going back home would be less than convenient. So I had to run to a department store (which I got lost trying to find because I'd never been there before) and buy him a new pair of shoes. Which of course made me late to work. Urgh.

Hm, I should possibly save that for my Friday Frags post, since anyone to whom I've relayed it has found it quite hilarious ... but then I wouldn't get to gripe about it right now, so forget it.

Spammers have found my email box, and it's really pissing me off. I was always very careful with giving my email address, and it seemed to work for a long time. But some undesirable has gotten their grubby mitts on it and is now stuffing my mailbox with all kinds of crap - usually in duplicate. I'm strongly considering opening a new address and throwing this one solely to the spam jackals. It's probably time I got a less cutesy email address anyway.

On the other hand, I don't really feel like fooling with it.

The Hub is doing a side job for a sweet old English lady right now. She sent home some jigsaw puzzles with him, which has rekindled my obsession with doing puzzles. I've been working on one that she gave us for several days now - it's a picture of a bunch of cherry trees or something. Normally I can whip out a 500 piece puzzle in an evening, but this puzzle, oh my word - every piece looks exactly the same. Little white flowers on every stupid piece. I've considered giving up and stuffing the whole thing back in the box and moving on with my life, but I've invested so much time at this point I'm staying with it on principle. It's about 2/3 done now. I'm considering hanging myself.

I got back in touch with one of my favorite old friends from college on Facebook a while back and subsequently got friended with his wife too. She is funny and I really try to like her, but she is the exact opposite of me in the areas of social and political views. Not a problem for me normally - I'm an agree-to-disagree kind of person, and I figure if you want to be wrong, well that's your business, not mine ;). But she's really nasty about it. Not to me directly (usually). But she's readily outspoken about how anyone who'd disagree with what she's chosen as fact for herself is not only wrong, but is an absolute blithering idiot. I'm not down with disrespect and I'm about this close to deleting her. I don't want to cause any riffs with my old friend by booting his wife ... but hell, we don't really talk much anymore anyway. I mean, why should I be insulted on my own news feed? *frown*

My arsehole neighbor keeps firing his gun off his back porch like a drunken hillbilly, scaring MBDog half to death. I'm about to go over there and jam that gun up his back holster. Sigh. Country living is so relaxing!

So you see, it's just that a whole lot of little annoyances add up to one big express ticket to the crank train. WHEE!