28 June 2008

This week

So I haven't really posted much other than about Aldi, LOL! So I thought I would give a rundown on some of what ELSE has been going on (lest you think I hang out at the Aldi all the time).

  • TaiChiInstructorFriend has decided to teach me the sword form and I am just beside myself excited. Suffice it to say that he is a brave and patient man to take this on. It took me a year to learn the Yang Style Long Form. Who knows how long this will take??

  • William has started swimming lessons. He did great and is very excited to give this a try. We are happy because really with William this could have gone either way - either he would do great or he would come completely unglued. Happily - it seems to be the former.

  • I am finally starting to feel like a real person. I no longer feel like I am on the verge of an anxiety attack 24/7. I am happier and calmer and this is a good thing. I am also working hard to whip this house into shape. It is not a pigsty- don't get me wrong - but it definitely needs tweaking.

  • I am also taking the Martial Arts Fitness Class with TaiChiInstructorFriend on Fridays. I made the mistake last week of mentioning that I sweat more in TaiChi. He fixed my ass this week, LOL. I really only meant to point out that TaiChi makes you work more than people think... it wasn't intended to be a challenge to make MA Fitness HARDER, LOL!

  • We went to a concert in the park this week. It was perfect. Beautiful weather - kids dancing and chasing lightening bugs. We even ran into SchoolTeacherFriend and his wife and son. A big fat thank you to the Waterford Township Recreation Committee and anyone else involved in making that happen!

Well - I think that about does it from here... What's new with you??

27 June 2008

I won!!

YAY!!!! I won one of these pretty rings (I picked the pink one - who here is shocked to learn that??) from my gal Min! Please help me thank Mindi by visiting her new blog (the one with the pig mascot) and leaving a comment. She likes comments. A lot. Err - uhm... we all do, feel free to leave me one too... hint hint.

THANKS MIN!!! I am so psyched! :)

26 June 2008

Aldi Favorite of the Week (volume 2)

So this week I want to tell you all about a product I bought even though I convinced myself that I would be disappointed in it. Usually when I buy generic soaps of any kind I am left with dry hands. I hate dry hands. Or the soap just doesn't seem to rinse off - leaves a film... so I picked this soap off the shelf and thought "Okay Aldi - bring it. You are all that with the food stuffs, but you and I both know generic soaps are just no good. I am Missouri - Show Me."


That'll teach me... this soap is seriously good stuff. It is foamy so you don't need a lot. It smells good, it rinses off nicely and best of all my hands feel soft when I am finished! What, I ask you, could be better than that?? How about a price of $1.69. Puhleeze!

Have you gone to Aldi yet?? If so - tell me what you got and how you are liking it! If not - well - why the heck not?!?!?! BTW - I spent $70 there again this week and got an embarrassing amount of food! 39 items including yogurt covered raisins at $1.49 and some things comparable to hot pockets for $1.79. Oh yeah - and cat litter - the scoopable kind for $3.49 (I would be lying if I said I wasn't really nervous about that but figured it to be worth a shot - will get back to you on that one!)

Mason Jars and Abandonment

Installment number seven (to read the rest, please see the sidebar.) Oh - and - when you read this, please, feel free to comment. Here. On the blog. In case you didn't know this, bloggers like comments. I like feedback... Humor me, Please. Just don't point out my typos. I know they are there - but you can't proofread your own work. Everyone knows that.

The shower did little for Rebecca's aching heart. So much loss in such a short time; her daughter, her marriage and now Garrett. Someone once told her that the more painful a situation was, the more there was to be learned. She wondered what the great lesson was. Her hair was still wrapped in a towel when she heard the front door tentatively creak open.

"Hello?" It was Vince, she had left a note on the door for him to just come in and help himself to a beer in the fridge.
"Almost finished, Vince - make yourself at home."

Rebecca dried her hair and threw on a sundress - complete with wrinkles. Apparently wrinkles don't actually fall off the fabric just because one hangs a garment in the bathroom when one showers. Rebecca made a mental note to find her iron and did her best to smooth the material.

Downstairs Vince had uncorked a bottle of Pinot Grigio and was waiting for Rebecca to tell him where he would find the glasses.

"Sorry, Vince. All I have is mason jars right now." She left all the stemware and glasses with Rick along with the flatware and the Pfaltzgraff. All she had now was some mismatched plates from the Goodwill and some Mason Jars. Hadn't seemed sensible to buy anything new until the renovations where complete.
"Better than swigging it out of the bottle, right?" Vince answered.

Vince made a salad and paired it with some kind of broccoli shrimp fettucini dish. It was light and refreshing but also very satisfying. After cleaning up, they sat on the back stoop with their mason jars. They talked about the town and how it had changed since she had left. She explained about the accident that had killed her daughter and how she and her husband just couldn't get their heads around the idea of living together without her. But she finally had enough wine in her to get the nerve to bring it up. What she had been wondering all day...

"What brings you here, Vince? To Garrett Glass?" She asked
"My niece. You met Becky this afternoon in the shop. She needed me to stick around after she lost her father. "

Rebecca realized that the gum cracking girl was Garrett's daughter and that it would seem that she was the girl's namesake. The lump in her throat was too big to talk through and the tears just welled up in her eyes. Vince continued;

"My sister, Caterina, is Becky's mother. She couldn't be there for her after the accident and I didn't want them to take Becky to foster care. I applied for guardianship so I keep an eye on her now. She's a good kid. Helps out a lot."

Rebecca could feel her blood boil. What did he mean her mother "couldn't be there for her" after the accident?? What kind of mother abandons her child when she looses her father? When she is needed the most?

24 June 2008

Where the Hell is Matt? - A video

TaiChiInstructorFriend shared this video with me - and now I am sharing it with you. (I love the one where he is in the DMZ in Korea - cracks me up!)

23 June 2008

Shift Happens

Had to share this. I think it is just fascinating - and you know - we never really know what the tide will bring.

A Poem for the Pig

Not my idea to phrase it that way... It's all cheeky Mindi's idea. Anyway - if you are not prone to sensory overload (Please note: the sensory overload comment is no reflection on Mindi's blog - it is merely a reference to my own issues as they relate to my remedial use of coupons as explained in this post) and want someone to really show you how the whole coupon thang is done, you must must MUST visit Mindi's new blog "Moms Need To Know" (aka: MNTK).

In her honor I have composed a Limerick:

There once was a mom named Min
Saving money made her grin.
She set up a blog
The mascot's a hog
Now with coupons we're all "In Like Flynn".

22 June 2008

Tears of Regret

So - here is the sixth installment of what has come to be known as Rebecca's Saga. I can tell you all are ticked at me for Garrett's death. Sorry - had to be done. But hang in there with me - there is plenty more to this than meets the eye. Anyone wishing to read the whole story can click here - scroll to the bottom and read up from there to see how it started.

Rebecca walked a long time. She couldn't hear anything except her heart pounding in her chest. Her eyes were clouded with tears which, despite her best efforts would simply not stop. They were the tears that come from the bottom of an heart full of regret. Never - in a million years - did Rebecca imagine that she would be deprived of the chance to hear Garrett say something both wildly insightful and droll which would inevitably make her laugh the deep hearty belly laugh that she now realized only he could incite.

It was nearly 4:00 when she found herself in front of Garrett Glass. She remembered only then that she had a 4:30 appointment with Vince to discuss the wiring for her new-old home. The thought of talking about wiring with this complete stranger - no matter how tall and handsome he was - seemed so insignificant to her now. She needed to cancel. Her hand was on the door when it was abruptly pushed open.

"Oh 'scuse me" Rebecca heard through the cracking chewing gum. Her red swollen eyes saw a beautiful young girl - with wiry red-brown hair and deep green eyes. "Are you okay?" asked the girl. Rebecca realized she must look an absolute wreck. "I - uh - I'm looking for Vince" she stammered. "Oh - sorry." Replied the girl. "Uncle VIn has an appointment this afternoon - he's unavailable". "I'm afraid I'm that appointment" said Rebecca. "and I won't..." Behind the girl Vince appeared. "Afternoon, Miss Rebecca." Vince's polite greeting had a calming effect on Rebecca. There was something inherently soothing about his speech. Like an aloe plant on a bad burn. It just felt good. She didn't say anything more - just sort of waited to hear him talk. "Everything okay, Ma'am?" As he came closer he could see her tear-stained eyes. "Yes - Vince - and please - just 'Rebecca' - I am fine..." He was handing her a neatly pressed hanky. Rebecca wondered when the last time was she saw a neatly pressed hanky. "Where is your car - Rebecca?" He asked. "Oh. My car." She realized that she was more than a mile away from her car at that point - maybe close to two. "My car is - uhm - not here." He said nothing. She continued - "It's at McCloskey's Market."

Vince looked at his watch - then back to Rebecca. "Was our appointment today?" He asked - obviously perplexed at what she was doing in front of the shop. "I do need to actually inspect the wiring at your house, Rebecca" his voice trailing off. "I know that." she replied "I was taking a walk." "I see" he replied, unconvinced. "Would you like a lift back to your car then? For the sake of time - I mean." "Sure. Yes - that would be fine."

His truck was neat. Almost too neat for a work truck. It was very basic. No air conditioning - no radio. The silence was broken only by a mysterious rattle from the truck bed. Rebecca's mind raced. Should she ask him about Garrett? He must have known him! Why did his young niece work at the shop? She wished he would say something. Anything.

He pulled into the parking lot at the grocer's and parked next to her Trailblazer. Rebecca looked at him wondering how he knew it was hers. "It was in the driveway, Rebecca." was all he offered. "Right." She stated.
"Vince - can we not do this today?"
"The estimate?"
"You're the boss - but why wait?"
"Let's just say I had a bad day."
"Ok. How about I fix you dinner instead - take your mind off of it"
"No - Vince - that's ok. I am sure you have better things to do."
"I wouldn't have offered if I didn't have the time, Rebecca. We'd need to eat at your place though. I could still look at your wiring if you want. Or not." Even though it was against her better judgment, Rebecca found herself agreeing to dinner with this stranger. Probably just s she could hear him talk - hoping it might ease the ache in he heart. She headed home to shower while he stopped in the Market for some supplies. "And he cooks too" she thought to herself on the way home wondering once again what his connection was to Garrett. Why was he running the business? With his neice?

20 June 2008

The problem with coupons. For me. Maybe not so much for you...

Okay - the problem is not so much with coupons themselves but the level of expertise involved in using them. I have them - I cut them I use them but in a very basic rudimentary way. I see it. I need it. I have a coupon for it - Yippie! More than that is more than this brain can handle.

Mind you - I am not stupid. I do not struggle with organization. The problem comes when I enter the store. I hear the lights. I smell the smell of the meat department and the smell of the refrigerator units. I get WAY too cold. Sometimes I get so cold my hair tingles. Even if I wear a sweater. In summer. Sometimes there is a song playing that makes my mind wander. Sometimes someone comes up to me and talks to me. And heaven forbid there be more than like two other people in the store!

All of this makes it woefully difficult for me to shop in under an hour. Add coupons into the mix - in any way more than the most basic way mentioned previously and I come unglued. I pick the wrong size or the wrong flavor or I count wrong - don't buy enough - buy too many. I need to buy three different items - I picked only two. It is extremely nerve-wracking for someone like me to do this the way my gal Mindi does it.

Instead - I just go to Aldi for most items. Everything else - I try to use a coupon or go to BJ's. I found a decent produce stand locally... It is not that I think I am too good for coupons; I just have too many - uhm - wuhl - "issues".

18 June 2008

Aldi Favorite of the Week

Okay - I am not obtuse to the fact that most, if not all, of you are quite sick of hearing about my infatuation with Aldi. Here is what I am going to do: Each week I will post my favorite product of the week. Something that really sticks out as excellent. This way you won't have t keep hearing about how great Aldi is - but I still get to share some very fine products with you - no coupons needed! :) Just great savings - so... save time AND save money! Win-win!

To that end, this week's product is Rodeo Bill's Peppercorn Ranch Chips. Are you KIDDING ME? These are fantastic. They are kettle-style so they are thicker than an average chip, they are robust and full of flavor. They were $1.69. That's all. You might expect to pay more than $3 for a bag of chips like this. They are seriously great - worth a trip to your local Aldi even if they are the only thing on your list... If you try them - let me know what YOU think!

What Is It Wednesday - Episode I

The video speaks for itself...

17 June 2008

Supah quick Aldi update...

Let me just update you - the chicken I bought at Aldi was good, if not a little too peppery for William. I will look for another flavor (this one was Italian Style) because it was EASY to make and I still have enough for two more servings (I can use these when everyone else is having something like ham slices).

The curly fries, I thought, were delicious. Everyone else seemed to agree with me.

The fruit cocktail was on par with the DelMonte. Had even a few more cherries I believe. Always a plus in the fruit cocktail department.

So far - We are all loving Aldi. :)

I used to LOVE this show...

Anyone else remember StarBlazers?? Thanks to Shana for making think of old shows I used to like... Now I want to find this on DVD to share with WIlliam!

15 June 2008

Aldi Love

Daisy! You just quit your job of 12 years! It's your first real day of freedom - for - well - ever! What are you going to do?!

I'm going to Aldi!

And that is precisely what I did. Armed with the sales flyer provided by TaiChiInstructorFriend (who is lucky enough to have an Aldi within walking distance of his house - hello!) and my quarter to release the cart (yes, you bring a quarter with you if you expect to use a cart. No. You are NOT paying to use the cart. You will get your quarter back. ) I bravely went into the German Super Store.

I saw bargains everywhere. I bought everything from little gummy fruit candy thingies at $1.69 for a box of 10 little packages to enough frozen tilapia for two meals at $4.99. (I would normally not consider this purchase - but TaiChiInstructorFriend gave a strong recommendation). I had three bags of groceries - including cherries and fruit cocktail (William loves fruit cocktail) and yogurts for $35.

It was quiet in there. Almost spooky - but reminiscent of Target. It was clean. Our Aldi is not in what could be considered a great neighborhood - but WAS clean in there and the cashier was pleasant. They were hiring that day - interviewing on the spot and the front part of the store which is usually reserved for people to pack their own groceries was PACKED with people filling out applications.

I was happy - but suspicious. Wildly suspicious. If it is to good to be true - it probably is, right? That is the cynical American mantra - right? But I have to tell you - so far - everything we have had we have really liked.

I made blueberry muffins this morning for Ron for Father's Day - the box mix with the little can of blueberries was $1.29. He ate them. And then he ate more of them. This is as close to a "hey! These are pretty good." as I am ever going to get - that's the endorsement. Ron ate them and then he ate more. What MORE do I want?? The kids (William and his BFF and her sister) loved the granola bars and the fruit snackie things. I think it is tomorrow that we will be trying the chicken. So far - we are SO loving Aldi! Going back on Wednesday!

Do you have an Aldi near you? Why not try it out and come back to give us a full report!

14 June 2008

Names and Faces

Those of you who have been waiting for more of Rebecca's saga - I apologize again for the delay. Those of you just joining us can read the previous installments here. This is a bit short - but a very important segment... trust me. I have a plan. :) Gmom - don't be mad...

Rebecca spent the day running errands, picking up fresh fruit from the farmer's market and stopping briefly at the corner market for Ajax and paper towels. "Rebecca? Rebecca Stoya?" The voice came from the produce department. Rebecca turned quickly to see a tall woman with bright red hair waving enthusiastically at her. Rebecca smiled weakly and waved reluctantly. This was just the sort of awkward encounter that the had been dreading. Clearly this woman knew who she was while Rebecca was drawing a blank. Again. As usual. Terrible with names and faces, this was just one reason Rebecca had avoided "going home".

The red head was persistent - she rushed over to Rebecca and gave her one of those light, back patting hugs. "How have you been? You look exactly the same! Garrett would have been so happy to see you." "Where is he?" Rebecca blurted without thinking, quickly putting her hand to her mouth. "Oh." was all the other woman said. Rebecca looked at her - silently waiting for the answer to the question that plagued her since she returned. Where was Garrett Lewsinsky?

Rebecca's eyes grew wide with expectation - the red head's pretty green eyes began to fill with tears. "He's gone, Rebecca. I thought you knew." "Where did - he - go?" Rebecca asked, hoping to hear that he ran off to the Caribbean to open a beach bar or perhaps made his long anticipated journey to the Shaolin Temple. She winced as she waited to hear the reply. "Rebecca" the woman took Rebecca's hands "He died more than ten years ago. A car accident. Drunk driver..." Rebecca's heart slowed and pounded loudly in her head. She pulled her hands from the woman's and turned and walked away leaving the cart behind. "Rebecca... Rebecca..." She could hear the red-head yelling after her but she needed to get outside for air.

13 June 2008

Textbook Example

This is a perfect example of why some things are just not for me.

If you have been following along with the whole CVS saga - you already know that BloggyFriendMindi from The Queen Mum has been kind enough to work out a scenario for me on her new blog Moms Need To Know, because I require special assistance with these things - a steep learning curve, if you will. SO! After realizing the my coupon had expired - the $4/$20 one - I did what Mindi said to do and called CVS for help. I first spoke to the Extra Care people - the folks that handle the card itself... they promptly told me that this is a function of and transferred me there. The young man there said he couldn't help me. He didn't have any left. Then he said he found one. Then he said he didn't have it. Then he said - oh yes! Yes indeed - his manger has one. I gave him my email address and went to run my errands.

I went to Aldi (that place RAWKS!!) and then I went to CVS. I figured since I was out, why not just do transaction number one... so I did. I had to dig for about 15 minutes for a toothbrush but I finally found one that matched the advert. Grabbed the flouride mouthwash and the band-aids and checked out - got my extra care bucks. Went to Goodwill (scored a lovely Jones New York Dress for $6.50 and a balance board for $4) and then went home. Where I found this lovely email:

Dear Valued Customer,

Thank you for contacting

In response to your inquiry for the $4.00 off of $20.00 coupon, please
be advised that we have researched with Extracare and they no longer
offer this promotion through emails. They will look into your situation
though so we must advise that you contact Extracare directly at
1-800-746-7287 (option 3, option 2).

If you have further questions or require additional assistance, please
contact us by email at or by phone at (888)

As always, thank you for choosing

You see what I mean? I just do not think that I have a Karmic destiny with CVS.

12 June 2008

Parting is such sweet sorrow...

Don't be dismayed at goodbyes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetime, is certain for those who are friends. ~Richard Bach

When one starts a job I don't think there is ever any expectation of the kind of camaraderie I was privileged to be a part of at XYZMovers (not the real company name). But I will tell you this - for many years I spent every day with these fine people - so many interesting characters - wonderful friends. Someone today said to me that with FormerCFO leaving and now with me leaving it is the end of an era. In some way - I feel very much like a cocky young person going away from her family feeling like I can do better. I can do better, job-wise, but when it comes to friends - I don't know that I can ever surpass those friendships. If I can make new friends that can make me laugh and cry half as much as those people I shall be truly blessed.

I went in today - we had the luncheon - people said goodbye - a few people cried, which felt so odd - very humbling. I held it together until I was driving home and allowed myself to cry until I crossed the bridge. Then I agreed I wouldn't cry anymore. I would not squander this opportunity - I would make sure that I would return in December to visit my friends and have something to tell them - something that will make them proud. So that is my goal.

Thank you my friends - each of you has truly woven yourself into my heart and I shall never forget you or that which you have taught me. Promise.

Thanks for your patience!

I have not forgotten about Rebecca... Everything has been so oddly busy here. I promise to write more soon. Not just promise - pinkie swear promise... :)

11 June 2008

Either you get it - or you don't.

Clearly - I just don't.

This whole CVS thing. I have read and read and read to the complete and total neglect of you good people who take the time to visit me here - unbelievable that you likely don't know that tomorrow is my last day at my job of 12 years. I promise to post about that after tomorrow though.

The CVS thing is starting to be my new cartwheel. Every once in a while there is something that everyone else can do with relative ease that just makes my head explode. Cartwheels always eluded me - Soduko puzzles - same thing. And now there is this. ECB's and multiple trips and strategies.

SO I am going to just fly by the seat of my pants and try it. Compulsive planner that I am - this makes me very uncomfortable. I don't have the massive coupon stash that everyone else seems to have... Here is what I plan to do this week:

Two trips:

1) Smart Rinse (I have a coupon from the dentist too) I will pay $2.50 and earn $3.50; Oral B toothbrushes I will pay $7 and earn $7 and I shall buy 4 bars of Dove soap for $10 and earn $3.

2) My next trip I have things I need to buy so I will buy the GasX (however much that is - I have no clue) and I shall earn $3 and I shall buy the coffee and the Fiber One bars for $20 and earn $10 I think. I have a coupon for ziploc bags and SeaBreeze and I shall stock up on some candy for my little family at $10 and earn $5.

Now - people like Mindi at The Queen Mum could do all of this and tell you precisely to the penny how much she will spend and what she will earn and likely twist it around so that she spends like $0.06 out of pocket after her first trip - but I am, apparently wee todd id. Still - I think I will do okay. If I EVER get the hang of it and find it to be as awesome as everyone promises I promise to make videos for those of us who are visual learners and can not learn by reading alone.

07 June 2008

The Clean Plate Club

Okay - anyone who has ever been on a diet knows what the "Clean Plate Club" is along with the ostensibly over-simplified mantra "Eat when you're hungry. Stop when you're full." Yeah, Captain Obvious - ya think?

The other night we had tomato-tortellini soup. I noticed that Ron had left one tortellini in his bowl. This, to me, seemed so odd. Unusual. And in a small way - amazing. So I asked him why he left the tortellini behind.

He said "I was full". It was that simple.

I am here to tell you that in no way - in no universe - could I ever leave one tiny tortellini behind on a plate. It just could never happen. Which is the perfect illustration of how that little mechanism that makes someone know when they are full and fell content enough to just.stop.eating has either gone missing, never existed or is completely broken for me.

What about you - are you like Ron and can leave one little tortellini behind if you are full or are you like me and would feel compelled to finish. Are you a member of the Clean Plate Club?

03 June 2008

A weird sort of limbo

I find myself poised between now and then and it is awkward. People at work don't know how to talk to me now. I am working hard to get things in order for when I leave even though it obviously doesn't matter. No one will ever notice or acknowledge what I am doing - I won't get any extra money or consideration, but the truth is, I am doing it for me. When I leave on the 13th I will be able to do so knowing that I have done my best and left with as much grace and integrity as is possible for me.

I know- I know... Integrity is so 1950's right? Well - color me retro then. I don't care. Integrity means something to me. So - this is all for me.

Anyway - it feels weird to be almost at the end of 12 years. But overall I am very excited... a teeny bit scared - but mostly just excited. :)