Sunday, October 26, 2008

Secondhand Drama

So I got just about everything done today except the haircut. Well, and the laundry, but I can do that while I make dinner. We had a little thrift store drama this afternoon that I'm still more than a little peeved about.

So we get to the thrift store and we start looking around. Found this gorgeous shimmery peacock-teal floor length formal dress with a matching shawl. I'm thinking, "Bingo! Perfect." because the whole department costume is supposed to be staged like a pageant. (We'll be working on making sashes at our staff meeting Wednesday. And I think someone is even trying to source tiaras. Like I said, we're really getting into this.)

So Anyhow, I'm thinking I've found the perfect dress, but it's about 3 sizes too small. Well, drats. And we keep looking. Eventually I find this royal blue floor length sheath dress in my size for $7.98. So I try it on to be sure and oh yeah, we're set. When I take off the dress the price tag got stuck in my hair and came off. No biggie, right? So I pack around the detached price tag while we keep browsing. I love thrift store browsing. You never know what you'll find.

I ended up picking up a blouse and we're standing in line to check out. As we're waiting, I over hear a conversation between two women. One is pregnant and has two young girls with her, the other has two slightly older girls and is making a donation of outgrown girls' clothes to the thrift store. So the woman making the donation walks up to the other and asks if she would like to go through the clothes to see if she wants anything for her girls before the clothes are donated. I'm thinking, "that was really nice and thoughtful."

So I've got this warm fuzzy feeling for all humanity when I get to the cashier. And this is where I discover that they refuse to sell an item if the price tag is not attached to it. Well, I had accidentally dropped the price tag, but Sweetie roved the store until he found it. But no deal. I tried to explain that it was for a Halloween costume, and that I wasn't trying to cheat them. In fact, I'd pay double. Still nothing. So we left. Pissed. I actually think Sweetie was as pissed as me and it's not like he was going to be wearing the dress. (Unless he has Halloween plans I don't know about.)

Anyhow, the rest of our errands took us near a Marshall's and behold, they had a royal blue jersey knit dress for $20. In my size no less. And who knows, if an appropriate opportunity presents itself, I might even wear this one again. (Unless I lose a whole bunch of weight first. Hey, it could happen.)

It's a little low cut for my tastes, but I guess that fits the whole pageant thing.

A Rant, of the Economic Variety

Dudes, so that whole costume building thing didn't take nearly as long as I anticipated. I think I did it in about 3 hours. I'll post a picture once I get it all together, or from the office hoopla on Friday.

On the agenda today: swing by the craft store and pick up a couple more clumps of that grassy stuff, hit the thrift store for something blue to wear, get my hairs cut (way overdue), then hit Target and Trader Joe's. Oh, and laundry. Sunday is typically laundry day at the Wayward house.

So, like most Americans, I've been more than a bit preoccupied by this whole economic situation we have going on and I've been collecting links to share with you, dear reader, for a week or so.

So let's start with the bailout. While I hated the idea of throwing $700 billion at the banking industry, I also understood why something needed to be done. But I can't even articulate the revulsion I felt when I read that financial workers are continuing to receive $70 billion in pay deals. Keep in mind that most of this will be given out as bonuses.

Bonuses? Bonuses for what? For completely undermining the American economy to the point of collapse? Oh wait. No. You're getting the bonus for undermining the world economy. Please, allow me to wipe your a$$ with my paycheck.

Oh, and now the clamoring is beginning for a second bailout as a second round of stimulus checks. Read here, here, here, and here. I'm sorry, but I didn't want the first one, and do we even have any evidence that the first stimulus check helped bolster the economy? Mine went toward items I would have purchased with or without the extra money, so I guess you could say my first stimulus check is still sitting in the bank.

And dudes, it's not as if it's free money. We've paid this money in taxes, and if it's being given back to us instead of being used to shore up our infrastructure that money still has to come from somewhere. Issuing more checks just adds to the national debt, and that'll all need to be paid back, plus interest, at some point.

Add to this all the talk of the government buying up bad mortgages and I get even more steamed. So what, the government is going to help out those people who took on mortgages for more house than they could afford? Should the government be responsible for this? Hell no. Look, if you're in this boat, then I'm sorry. But it is simply not my responsibility to get you out of the mess you created.

You didn't crunch the numbers for yourself. You didn't read the fine print. You didn't do your due diligence. And yeah, I get it that there were predatory lenders out there, but no one put a gun to your head and made you sign on the dotted line. You did that all on your own. Oh, I'll feel the consequences of your poor decisions when my property value drops, but I do not want to finance your ability to live beyond your means while we've been making responsible decisions to live within ours.

Now I'll grant you that there are a small handful of homeowners caught up in this mess that justly deserve to get the help, but here's what's happening; a good friend of ours is trying to refinance so she can stay in he home she purchased a few years ago. At the time, she could afford the loans. Now, as property values plummet, she's upside down on her mortgage and being laid off. Her bank says, get this, her bank tells her they can't help her refinance until she misses at least two payments on her mortgage. And they counsel her to stop paying her mortgage! WTF?

I've seen the same sentiment expressed by Paul Michael here at Wise Bread, and I have to admit, the thought has crossed my mind. And like Paul, I just can't bring myself to do it. (Thanks mom, and mom, and dad, you did good.) But it pisses me off that the people who tried to do the right thing all along are the people most being left out of any recovery or let's-fix-it plan.

All this led to a rant in the car the other day about how our society rewards mediocrity and coddles under-achievers. I've got too much to do today to work up another head of steam for that rant here. So I'll stick to the one I'm currently on.

The other day I learned about another bill making its way through Congress here. It's a Credit Card Holder Bill of Rights, or House Resolution 5244. The only piece of this legislation I think I don't like is that part that requires statements be sent out 25 days before they're due. That probably means my last payment will not be posted on the statement, which I fear will allow the credit card companies wiggle room to add financing fees. We don't carry balances on our credit cards at the Wayward house, so this really won't mean much to us. But I'm betting that a lot of other people will benefit from it and that's a good thing.

I vaguely recall taking economics courses in college, and I remember being very frustrated with the whole macro and micro thing. While it was relatively easy for me to grasp the various theories, it's much easier to apply them at the micro level. I was always challenged at the macro level by the whole what should be ideal versus the reality of what is.

So back to focusing on the micro, because that's all I really have any control over, this post over at Get Rich Slowly about what it means to be rich made me feel better and I'm thankful for all that we do have.

So I'll wrap this up with a couple not-so-funny funnies. The modern bedtime story, and the Grapes of Wrath, 2008.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Halloween Preparations

As you've probably figured out, I'm still not getting up any earlier on weekdays because I'm still not posting in the mornings. Now that I've finished the book that was keeping me up at night, I'm hoping to change that.

We're wrapping up the bathroom painting project today. The actual painting was done by Tuesday and Sweetie recaulked the shower/tub on Wednesday. Today has been more about cleaning up the detritus left behind. So far today I've scrubbed the shower, scraped paint off the laminate flooring, Sweetie replaced the light fixture, I've cleared off the bathroom countertop, and we've hung a new shower curtain and liner and replaced the shower rod. I may actually get to shower in my bathroom again tonight. Woot!

I didn't think it would be as much of an inconvenience as it was to bathe in the second bathroom, but it has only a small shower stall as opposed to the shower/tub, and all of Sweetie's things are already in there so there was really no room for mine. At any rate, I'm looking forward to having my space back.

The rest of today, probably the rest of the weekend to be truthful (at least when I'm not blogging), will be dedicated to making my Halloween costume. Oh yeah. Dudes, we've got some crazy pro-Halloween get-your-scare-on folks in our office. Last December we moved into a new office space, which we share with a sister company (we're both owned by the same parent company). So anyhow, this is the first Halloween we've had together in the same office.

They started decorating last weekend, and I gotta say, the bloody hand prints on the glass front door gave me a start on Monday morning. Simulated gore before coffee was a little disorienting. So yeah, there are spiderwebs and spiders, pumpkins and dismembered body parts all around the office. There's a competition for the best decorated department and best costume. And let me tell you, the competition and trash-talking is getting fierce.

So the memo about the competitions wasn't edited, and being part of the editing department, we took the memo literally and hence created confusion. We thought that there was a competition for the best costume as a department. So the whole department is dressing to a theme. The idea is that we will each choose one of our books and dress as the cover image. We publish travel guides and I ended up choosing our San Diego book.

I am to be a peacock. It seemed like a brainstorm when I chose it and I started looking for feathers online. Yeah I can get 100 peacock tail feathers at a reasonable cost, but then it hit me. I only have one week to get the feathers and build this dang thing.

So what started as a spectacular, spectacular Broadway-type costume in my mind's eye has become increasingly scraggly each time I think of it. I'm now aiming for a childish imitation of a Brazilian carnival bustle.

I stopped at the craft store on my way home last night and completely bought out their supply of peacock feathers. I also bought a plastic mask and a cheap-o bag of blue-dyed feathers which I plan to glue to the mask, some fake grassy plant stuff to help fill in some of the gaps between feathers, and several sheets of colored felt. I have a loose plan. Executing it will be the problem.

Oh, and it's also occurred to me that I have nothing royal or bright blue in my closet. I used to have a gorgeous silk teal shirt that would have been perfect, but that's long gone now. So, I may need to squeeze in a shopping trip.

I'm actually getting into the Halloween spirit now. It's contagious. Let's just say I'm wishing I'd spoken up faster and taken dibs on the book cover with the leopard.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Paint Party, Party of 1

We've been doing some home sprucing the last few months. Nothing as drastic as a complete gutting like Becca's family has done (I still say kitchen envy is a valid psychological condition); we've pretty much limited ourselves to painting, minor DIY repairs, and replacing old college era hand-me-down furniture.

When we first moved in I wanted a sagey grey-green color in the bedroom, but what had looked good on the color swatch did not look so good on the walls. I ended up with what I can only describe as Crayola Seafoam Green. It took about a month for me to realize I completely hated the color, which, of course, by that time we'd already put away all the painting supplies and had moved in the furniture.

So I have opened my eyes to Seafoam Green (I think the actual color swatch was called Pond. They forgot the Scum.) everyday for the past 5 - 6 years. Each morning I would inwardly cringe with the knowledge that I had no one to blame but myself because I chose the color.

We finally repainted the bedroom in July and I love the new color. Knowing that we plan to move in 1 or 2 years, we knew we wanted to paint in a more neutral color. I went back and forth between a few choices but kept coming back to a swatch called Cookie Crumb. Sweetie swears I only chose it because of the name. But I love it, and I chose it. Woot! I now wake up in the morning and smile when I see the walls. (Well, I do when there's enough freaking light in the mornings to see the walls.)

In July we also replaced the old futon with a new bed frame and mattress, the old broken down sofa with a new sofa, and purchased an entertainment center. Our local Linens n Things was going out of business in July so we took advantage of the inventory liquidation sales and purchased a bedding set, new sheets (550 thread count!), a shower curtain and liner, and new bath towels.

That's Tank and Dozer inspecting the new sofa.

All the painting and lifting and moving of furniture in July sent my back back into muscle spasms so we've been off the home improvement bandwagon for a while. We got back on today. Well Sweetie got back on. Me, I'm blogging him my emotional support.

Now we're working on the bathrooms. Again, nothing drastic. We replaced the faucets last summer and now we're going to paint and replace the rest of the hardware (which we completely purchased with credit card point rewards). Hopefully we'll do the light fixtures too. We've got those blessedly hideous fluorescent bar thingys.

Anyhow, I helped Sweetie empty out the water closet (that ridiculously little room for the shower and toilet) in the master bath, he stripped the caulking from around the shower and then I wiped down all the walls with an ammonia solution. He's in there priming the walls right now while I'm comfy at my desk with a cup of coffee.

Dude, primer stinks. I've opened all the windows and doors and have a few fans going to help ventilate. I need to go into the bathroom and check on Sweetie every 15 minutes or so to make sure he hasn't passed out from the fumes. There are no windows in the bathroom. Sweetie is so getting a meat and potatoes dinner tonight.

Once we're done I doubt anyone else will even notice we've done anything in there. But we will, and we'll be happy with it. And we'll be happy with the knowledge that we did it ourselves. 'Cause we love it when we rock the frugal like that.

One More for the Ring

So this should be the last post on the ring for awhile.

Well we got the ring back yesterday and you can really tell they've done some work on it. They've noticeably tipped each of the four prongs on the center stone so that they wrap over the edge of the stone. It may come loose over time, but I doubt this baby will fall out again.

At any rate, the store manager was very gracious and still offered to exchange or refund the ring, and we have until the end of the year to make a decision. We spent most of the afternoon window shopping and pricing rings at other stores in the mall. Fun for me; not so fun for Sweetie. So I made sure we stopped off at some of the places he likes, Game Stop, Babbages, and Game Workshop.

One thing we're concerned with for the future is that if we move to Eugene, OR (one of the places we're considering in the distant future) the nearest branch of this jeweler is in Portland. We think we have it bad now with a 50 - 60 mile round trip.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

More of the Same

So, the saga continues with the ring. I received a call yesterday evening from the jewelry store manager (I had lodged a complaint on the company's website on Tuesday). What he basically had to say was that this time they've secured the center stone as much as they can without causing damage to the stone but that given the nature of the ring, the size and type of stone used for the centerpiece, we should expect more frequent maintenance issues (though not at the rate we have been experiencing) with this ring than with a more traditional engagement ring.

We're going to the jeweler's today to meet with the manager and inspect the ring. He's also given us a few alternatives--he will ask the person who made the repairs if we could add additional prongs to the setting (I don't like this option as is fundamentally changes the ring), we could exchange the ring for the purchase of something else, or he could refund the full purchase price of the ring.

I have a feeling that the manager will want to tie up the loose ends today, but Sweetie is going to want to sit on the decision for a while.

In other news, I have not been getting up at 5am for a while now. I had been getting up at 6am and was fine with that for about a week. Then it became 6:30, then 7, and now I'm back to my old ways of rolling out of bed around 8am to get ready for work during the week. This does not leave enough time for yoga or posting to the blog in the morning. I need to get back to getting up earlier.

It could also have something to do with the fact that I've been working late all this week. I'm under a lot of pressure to get more content ready faster for the Jan. 1 launch of our new website at work, so it's not at all uncommon for me to be at work until 7 or 7:30pm. Which then pushes back dinner and the rest of our evening activities. But I am fitting in 15 - 30 minutes on the elliptical machine most nights.

Some things I've seen in my internet surfing that have stuck with me this week.

Well, I really just spotted this item today. I posted a couple weeks ago about some college students hanging an Obama effigy from a tree as a protest (here) , but today I see this video of a man in Ohio, one Mike Lunsford, who has done the same thing, only he specifically states he intends it as a racist display, not a political statement! There's also a clip in the video of the display (McCain in KKK robes chasing Obama) that inspired Lunsford to make his own. (No, I don't feel at all conflicted about using the man's real name here. It's already been reported by his local news outlet and he doesn't seem to feel the need to remain anonymous.)

It's beyond me how people can still think this way. This and some of the interview clips I see of McCain/Palin supporters coming out of Ohio just scare the living bejeebees out of me. (Questions asked by the interviewer are obviously left-leaning, but the answers are downright scary.) I don't think I'll be planning to visit Ohio anytime soon.

On to better news, Major League Baseball and FOX have agreed to push back the start time of World Series Game 6 so that Obama can address the American people. Granted, they're only pushing it back by 6 - 8 minutes, but the fact that they agreed to it just blows my mind, especially for FOX. To me (and I am biased), it almost seems like an implicit endorsement.

I spotted this on one of the tech blogs I read. What started as a comic strip has been developed and implemented. I love this idea of having to listen to your comments before you can post them to an open forum. I hope it'll be made available beyond YouTube. Not that crazy commenters are a problem here.

Lastly, this just made me laugh. Uncontrollably.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Ring (part 2)

I should get the call today to pick the ring up after work. Lucky me, I also have a dentist appointment after work. My favorite. Right up there with a trip to the OBG. And a trip to the jeweler is beginning to run a close third.

Interesting thing though, when we took it in on Sunday the saleslady we spoke with says, "They never should have sold you this ring as an engagement ring, especially if it needed to be resized." (Oh, and once we started inspecting it at the store, we realized that a side diamond had fallen out as well.)

As I suspected, it's a cocktail ring and not intended for daily wear. But Sweetie specifically told the sales person he bought it from in Austin that he intended it as an engagement ring. And when we took it to the Pleasanton store here, that salesperson said resizing was not a problem. Apparently, resizing it what has cause most of the repair problems we're having because when they took it down a size all of the settings stretched just the tiniest bit making the stones loose.

What should have happened is that the Austin salesperson should have told Sweetie that yes, the center stone is hard enough for regular wear (not daily wear, but that it would be susceptible to scratches and chips, and given the size of the center stone (it's a London blue topaz), would become very noticeable over time. When we brought it into the Pleasanton store, the saleslady there should have offered to order it in my correct size directly from the maker rather than resizing this ring.

All the store managers are off to Dallas this week for training or something, but I've got the name and number for the manager here and the regional supervisor for Austin. I don't want to get anyone into trouble, but come on, they need to do something at this point.

The salesperson said they would probably give us full retail credit toward a different ring since we are having so many problems with it. The problem for me, now, is that I don't want to get rid of this one. Sweetie put a lot of time and thought into choosing this one and proposed with so it has sentimental value. So I'm hoping to keep this one and get a new one. Because, can you ever have too much jewelry?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Ring

So we're heading back to the jeweler today. Wait wasn't I just there last weekend? Why yes, yes I was.

And why was I there? To pick up my engagement ring after they had tightened up the center stone setting.

So why am I going back? Because the center stone fell out of the setting on Friday. Again.

This is a highly reputable jeweler and I'm getting peeved. The jewelry is beautiful, their customer service is impeccable, but dang it if the product can't hold up to daily wear, there's just something wrong.

I take the ring off when I do dishes. I take it off when I shower. I take it off when I cook. I take it off when I do my hair. I take it off when I work in the flower pots. I feel like I spend more time with it off than on and this still happens.

It seems like all I do while wearing the ring is type and drive. That really shouldn't be that stressful for the ring.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


I've been watching Sweetie carefully this week. He not only replaced the battery in his car (finally), he single-handedly repacked the garage the following day, he washed the dishes in the sink, he vacuumed the living room, and he drove to the hardware store 3 towns over to get something we needed. And I've received 3, count 'em 3, backrubs this week.

He did all of this with my asking. He did all of this without pointing out that he did it without my asking.

I don't know what's going on--but I like it! I have my suspicions and I haven't ruled out alien abduction, but until he sprouts tentacles or an extra head, I'll be keeping him.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Chayote and Spinach Quiche

I'm still experimenting with Chayote in the kitchen. I tried this a couple weeks ago and while it tasted good, I wasn't completely thrilled with the texture. Made some tweaks and tried again this past weekend with much better results. I wanted to post this recipe earlier in the week, but with the home repair situation I didn't quite get to it. We were just sitting down to this meal when the lights went out Sunday night.

Chayote and Spinach Quiche

Cooking time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6

    1 Tablespoon olive oil
    1 medium onion, chopped
    ½ cup light mayonnaise
    ½ cup low fat milk
    3 eggs
    8oz shredded cheese (I used a mixture of Mozzarella, Cheddar, and Jack)
    2 chayotes, grated and squeezed dry
    1 10oz pack of frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
    salt and pepper
    1 9" pie crust (homemade or prepared)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and saute the onion for 15 - 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. Par-bake the piecrust for 5 minutes. (This will help keep the crust from getting quite so soggy.)
  4. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise and milk until smooth. Whisk in eggs. Fold the chayote, spinach, cheese, and onion into the mixture. Pour the mixture into the pie crust.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until top begins to brown and the center is set.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Reigniting the Spark

You know, sometimes you just lose it, that little spark that puts the twinkle in your eyes. We lost ours Sunday evening. As we sat down to dinner, I turned on a lamp near the table and the bulb went out. It was followed by a crackling sound in the wall near the light switch that controls the outlet the lamp was plugged in to. And darkness reigned in our home.

Unfortunately it wasn't a simple matter of resetting the breaker. But luckily for us it only impacted half of the house. Unluckily the master bedroom and bathroom is on that side of the house. I say unluckily because that meant we need to plug in the alarm clock elsewhere in the house, which of course meant we needed to sleep near it in order to hear it in the morning. Yep, we spend Sunday night sleeping on the living room floor. The cats thought it was fun.

Anyhow, I worked from home Monday and Tuesday while we made the necessary repairs. We called in a licensed handyman and he tested all the outlets and switches in that circuit to try and pinpoint the short. He finally isolated where it was in the walls, but couldn't actually locate the broken section, so he ran new wire through the walls and just bypassed the short. Works for me.

This search, of course, involved cutting huge sections of drywall from the walls, thankfully that work was limited to the garage. He did a pretty good job of putting the walls back together too.

Of course, since the repairman needed to work in the garage, we needed to pull all our crappe away from the walls so he could search for outlets and do the work. And in order to pull things away from the wall, we needed to move Sweetie's car out of the garage. The battery has been dead for about 4 months. Sweetie doesn't drive much.

On the plus side, we now have power throughout the house. Also on the plus side, Sweetie finally put a fresh battery in his car (Yea!). On the down side, the contents of our garage are now piled in the middle of the garage floor. We've had most of this crappe since we moved in, 6 years ago. I'm hoping we'll finally be able to part with some of it.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Death by Laundry

Well, we didn't make it to the library yesterday. Actually I talked myself out of it, I have enough books at home waiting to be read. It's just that most of my books are non-fiction or "heavy" reading. I just wanted to be entertained with a bit of fluff. Sorry Nora, love your stuff, but you fall in the fluff category and you'll have to wait.

At any rate, we did get a lot of running around done yesterday and generally had fun. We watched the Sex in the City movie last night. I used to watch the series, but I think I stopped after season 3. The movie was fun, I had a lot of laughs, and was not at all confusing even though I hadn't seen all of the shows that came before. It made me remember what I liked about the show in the first place. I may have to go back and revisit the series.

So, random question here, is it completely irrational for me to be stoked that my pen ran out of ink? I usually misplace, loan out, switch up pens before they run out of ink. The sense of accomplishment I experienced when the pen ran dry doesn't make sense to me. But there it was.

This article about doctors redefining what it means to die in order to facilitate organ harvesting for transplant put a downer on my day. I've been close to this situation 3 times (two cousins and a significant other) so far in my life and have twice been part of the family decision making group determining when enough is enough and whether organs will be made available for transplant. It's not a happy place to be. Please people, complete an advanced health care directive. I know it's unpleasant to think about your own death, but it's much more unpleasant for the people left behind--especially if they don't agree.

After that, I went looking for anything to make me laugh. The SNL skit of the VP debate was just the ticket. Disturbingly, I kinda see myself in the whole "I like McCain, but I don't" portrayal of Biden. Oh, and I loved Queen Latifah as Gwen Ifill.

Today is laundry day. With just the two of us, there really isn't that much laundry, but I'm doing a couple of extra loads for rugs around the house and for my fluffy warm robe. It's been getting colder as I've been getting up earlier and I pulled the robe out of a storage box. It needs to be freshened up a bit. I ran across this video on how to fold a t-shirt. Clearly there are no engineers in the Wayward house.

Another political cartoon on the financial crisis/bailout.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

One Ringy Dingy

We're headed out to go pick up my engagement ring from the jeweler. The center stone had come loose last week and we took it in for repairs before it could fall out. (It's fallen out once before.)

Going to the jeweler isn't terribly convenient; it's about 30 miles out of our way every time we need to take it in or pick it up. This is the third repair in 5 months. So we've talked about getting a different ring.

It rained here this morning, so the world seems bright and fresh.Hopefully we'll find something fun to do while we're out. I'm angling for a trip to the library... oh, what an exciting life we lead.

So I've been receiving an unusual number of calls the last few days (like 3 times a day) from American General. They don't leave a message and they don't leave a number. I have no idea what my connection to them is or why they're calling. A Google search turns up several American General companies connected to loans, financial products, insurance and whatnot. I think I'll be reviewing my credit report this weekend. I'll need coffee for that task.

I love the smell of coffee, especially in the morning. Here's an article on how to roast your own coffee on the cheap at home. I'm fortunate that my commute takes me past two coffee roasters on the way to work each morning, Peet's and somebody else. I always breathe deeply when I pass through the cloud of coffee roasting goodness on the freeway. Of course, I then cough up a lung because I'm also sucking on the tailpipe in front of me. At any rate, I don't think I'll be trying this coffee roasting trick at home--my kitchen is just too small and, quite frankly, it seems like way too much bother. I'm happy to stick my face in a container of Folgers and call it good.

In other news, I caught up on the VP debate here. (Links to the video are embedded in the article about halfway down.)Gotta say, I'm pleased. Biden didn't run at the mouth and Palin held her own. I don't think the debate will really change anything, but all those Republicans calling for Palin to step aside may give her a little more breathing room after this performance. Granted, they both got some facts wrong, they both did their fair share of misrepresentation, and they both side-stepped some questions, but overall I think Biden seemed to answer a larger number of questions more directly. Thankfully the fact checkers have been hard at work.

When I think of politicians, I think of talking heads. And with Halloween approaching I think of pumpkins. And pumpkins as heads makes me think of the legend of Sleepy Hollow. Crikies! Can you imagine the headless horseman riding around with this monster?

On the subject of Halloween, I think I've found my costume for this year.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Some Things Stay the Same

Mornin'. I slept in a bit this morning and got up at 6:30 instead of 5, but I still had enough time to do my yoga, have a bowl of cereal, and my coffee is starting to kick in.

I took my measurements last night; No, I'm not posting them here. The good news, there's been no real change from when I took my measurements around the same time last year. The bad news, there's been no real change from when I took my measurements around the same time last year. *sigh*

According to this piece in the New York Times, that extra hour and a half of sleep will make me more creative and give me an edge. It would be nice if I didn't spend that extra time dreaming of editing and coding text at work.

So I'm debating whether I should try to catch the VP debate tonight or pick it up online later. My mind is already made up. It's been made up since February. I'll be voting Obama/Biden. But I must say I was pleasantly surprised when I watched the Sept. 26th Obama/McCain debate last week, and I learned a few things. You see, I used to really like McCain, back when he was something of a free-thinking Republican. Back when he could credibly be called a maverick.

So I feel partially compelled to watch the VP debate, even though I'm nearly certain it'll be a train wreck. If nothing else, Tina Fey will have fodder for this week's SNL.

I picked up this story of four students at an Oregon Christian university hanging an image of Obama from a tree on campus. Now, I'm from Oregon and I'm beyond disappointed. I'm disgusted and angry and not because it was an image of Obama, but because you don't do that. You just don't do that. There is no possible justification.

I've wandered over to the Art of Manliness site a couple of times now and even though I'm not a man and a don't have a pair (at least not a pair of those) I find it entertaining. Don't think manly-man, think gentlemanly-man and you'll have a better sense of what you'll find there. Here's a link to their Best of September round up. Somehow, I don't think an Art of Womanliness site would go over as well.

And Bush is out to change history... again.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

All in all, this getting up early thing is starting to get easier. I think it helps that I'm not giving myself a wake-up buffer before I start my morning exercises. If I don't jump right into yoga, the challenge is finding something to do during that buffer time, otherwise I fall back to sleep. Like Monday. And yesterday.

Even though I didn't have enough time to fit in my yoga, I did get some stretching in and overall, I'm still up moving around earlier than I used to, and that's gotta be a good thing.

But not today, today I exercised.

I ran across this shower manager contraption the other day over on the Gather Little by Little blog. I bet my mom would have loved to have had this when I was a teen. I liked one reader's comment about using a light timer. Mom just shut off the hot water--that seemed to do the trick just fine. I'm better about conserving water now; I turn off the flow while brushing my teeth and I don't leave it running while I'm scrubbing up dishes in the sink, but there's no way my showers are down to 5, 8, or even, 11 minutes.

I found this article on wisdom from TimesOnline an interesting read this morning, if only for how the individual people have learned or applied particular pieces of wisdom from or in their lives. I especially liked the pieces from Clint Eastwood, Judi Dench, Madeleine Albright, and Billie Jean King.

As much as I feel you have to take Michael Moore with a shaker of salt (not just a grain), there's usually a nugget of truth entombed in his rants. After reading his latest from Monday I have to wonder, Just how connected are rising health care costs and failing mortgages? We're able to afford our mortgage, but if we incurred significant and unexpected health care costs, would we be screwed? Probably.

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