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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Christmas is fast approaching...What Is Your Christmas Gifting Strategy?

Every year my partner’s family has an Adult Grab Bag for Christmas. The names are drawn each Thanksgiving. Each adult buys 1 gift. Not having to buy for every single adult, the Grab Bag was an economical way to deal with a very large family.

This year, in light of the economy, each adult family member has decided to donate to a charity, in lieu of purchasing a gift. I set up a Donation Link List that lists Local and National Charity Donation Pages to make it easy for the less tech savvy to find Donation Pages.

It’s not too late to adopt a similar Christmas Gifting Strategy.
Instead of the Gag Gift Grab Bag at work, why not make a difference and donate to a worthwhile charity?

Instead of buying Uncle Bob yet another silly Christmas tie, why not donate to a local Food Pantry to help your fellow neighbors who have fallen on hard times?

The links for the Donation Pages are at the top of my blog post, just under the blog header.

Click on the Charity name to go to that Charity’s Donation Page.

Do you have a favorite Charity? Post it to the comment section and I will add a link for that charity's donation page in my Donation List. Website addresses without the corresponding charity name will not be posted.

I will leave the Donation List at the top of my blog posts throughout the holidays.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Random Thoughts from Hell…I would like to thank…

I have been in furnace hell all week, so I should have enjoyed this new version of hell tonight…But I didn’t.

To start off, our furnace didn’t work when we tried it on Saturday. Sunday we had a family friend who is a hvac techie have a look-see.

The VERY abbreviated version of it is that we need a new furnace and I now know more about furnaces and furnace parts and how they work than I ever knew before. Friday will be day 6 of the saga. We still have no heat and I fear that I may never give up my ‘Nanook of the North’ hat. My Cubs hat is starting to get jealous.

I keep chanting the following mantra:
“He’s saving us thousands of dollars we don’t have.”
“He’s saving us thousands of dollars we don’t have.”
“He’s saving us thousands of dollars we don’t have.”

My new version of hell tonight was High School Sports Awards Night. No, it’s not a sequel to “High School Musical 3”. (Maybe I should thank my lucky stars for that.) But it was pretty painful.

Never having been involved in sports when we were students, Anastasia and I were not prepared for the snoozefest. (Note to self: Next time…ipod tucked discretely in my jacket.)

Anastasia and I entertained ourselves by making commentary to each other to stifle the shear and utter boredom.

It started out with some head sports coach mucky muck making a very long speech thanking….well everyone. I whispered over to Anastasia that next he was going to thank “The Academy”. He started out thanking the school board, the various whose-its and whats-its teachers, coaches, administration…and yes….the janitors. He even thanked us parents.

Then the next blow-hard steps up to the podium and what does he do? He makes virtually the same “thank you” speech. I whispered over to Anastasia “why can’t he say ‘ditto, thanks’, you know, in the spirit of moving things along?” That’s when Anastasia noticed all of the coach mucky mucks and blow-hards were all bald. We decided that must be a job requirement.

Finally! They said they were going to start calling student names. We both looked at each other and simultaneously prayed that they announce the teams alphabetically, because if we had to sit through the track and tennis list first we’d surely be there forever. We were waiting for golf. They began with Boys cross country, then Girls, then Boys golf, then hallelujah! Girls golf. Then they proceeded to only name the girls who went to state, which were only Varsity, not JV. So we’re thinking, why are we even here?

Then they awarded trophies and plaques to the star players and MVP’s of each Boys and Girls sport. One plaque for MVP was co-won by two girls. Neither would release their death-grip on that plaque. I told Anastasia that maybe they will share the year Suzie will get it, then the next year Brittany, but not until you pry it out of her cold dead fingers! Anastasia noted how one sporty spice girl was stroking/caressing the gold ribbon that was attached to her “prized” blue trophy.

After all this pomp and ceremony of awarding the trophies and plaques to the students, each “winner” ceremoniously came back up to the podium and announced that they were giving their trophy or plaque back to the school to be put in the numerous display cases outside the gyms. The sporty spice girl with the gold ribbon and blue trophy lingered longingly as she placed her “prize” back on the table. We almost thought she wasn't going to give it up.

At this point we’re thinking it’s over now, right?

Wrong! Remember, this is High School Sports Award Night HELL!

Now some third, bald mucky muck starts announcing that the various teams will meet with their parents in specific rooms and calls off each team and the room number.


Now High School Sports Award Night Hell Part 2.

The Girls Golf coach makes yet another thank you speech. (What’s wrong with “ditto, thanks”?) Then he calls each JV player to the podium and basically calls out their faults at the beginning of the season and how they progressed. For some girls he made a point of mentioning continuing with the team next year, others, he avoided it.

Then he announces that the team MVP made a slide show.

Yes, a slide show. What fun!

Now this would have been nice, had it included ALL of the team. It would have been nice seeing my daughter goofin on the bus with the team and action shots of each girl on the various golf courses. However, little Miss MVP only included the Varsity squad.

Then the coach began calling the Varsity players one by one to the podium.

Rinse, lather, repeat.

Anastasia whispers to my son, she exits. Then he whispers to me, then he exits. Then I motion to my daughter at the front of the room and we both exit. (Very nicely choreographed!)

This hell is put on hold until Winter Golf begins.

Back to furnace hell.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bait and Switch Bailout?

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's announced changes to the $700 billion financial bailout plan -- to focus on shoring up financial institutions that offer consumer credit- credit cards, car loans, student loans, etc. rather than purchasing troubled mortgage assets.


“The actions taken by the Treasury, Federal Reserve and the FDIC in October have clearly helped stabilized our financial system.” – Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.


“Before we acted we were at a tipping point. Credit markets were largely frozen, denying financial institutions, businesses and consumers access to vital funding and to credit. ” – Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.


“We got broad authority. ” – Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.


“It was necessary for broad authority. ” – Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.


“We welcome oversight. We’ve have an oversight board. ” – Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.


“It’s important for me to live within the intent of the bill, rather than trying to find loopholes or what have you. ” – Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.


“I’m doing what I can to live within the intent of the bill. ” – Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.


Gee, when I speed on the highway, but not too much, I just try to keep up with traffic, am I trying to live within the intent of speed limit laws?

I’m not understanding how shoring up financial institutions that offer consumer credit- credit cards, car loans, student loans, etc. rather than purchasing troubled mortgage assets is going to help the homeowners in over their heads because of shady mortgage practices.

Why do financial institutions offering consumer credit cards need a bailout? Haven’t they already run amuck? Does our economy really need people gaining access to even more credit card debt?

Where is the homeowner bailout?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Nanook of the North

It has been freakin cold here in the mid-west. So cold, in fact, that we attempted to turn on the furnace for the first time this past weekend. The result? No heat. I had to order a replacement part online because none of the area parts wholesalers had the part in stock. I'm hoping the part comes tomorrow, but until it comes, we've been bundling up in sweats, fleece pullovers and hats.

(Between 7 percent and 55 percent of total body heat can be lost through the head.)

This hat? This is my hat.

It's not fashionable, it's not stylish, it's just FREAKIN WARM.

Ok, some people can "own" this "Nanook of the North" look and make it look cool.

I've seen plenty of hipster teens wearing them in the last week.

I just saw Susan Powter sporting one on her blog.

Susan Powter is rockin it.

I, however, look like a BIG DORKY DYKE.

But you know what?

I'm a Big Dorky Dyke who is nice and toasty warm!

And I have no problem "owning" that.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Some websites to fight H8 to find the location of protests in most every state.

Refuse to Hate from Refuse to Hate on Vimeo.

Keith Olbermann from MSNBC

Please take 7 minutes and watch the complete video:

Monday, November 10, 2008

National Protest Against Prop 8 November 15th

Please join, be a part of the movement.

Six Random Things About Me

There's a kind of a chain letter going around the blog world that asks you to post 6 random things about yourself and then tag 6 other people. I've seen it on several blogs that I frequent. Since I've been too busy, lazy or otherwise occupied to come up with a dazzling blog post since Friday, I thought I'd give it a shot. I will refrain from tagging anyone. If you have a blog and see this, feel free to post your own 6 random things about yourself on your blog.
Here are the rules:
1.Post the rules on your blog
2.Write 6 random things about yourself
3.Tag 6 people at the end of your post
4.If you are tagged, just do it, and pass the tag along!
Here goes:
  • Growing up I had 1 best friend for as long as I could remember, Joey (Joanne). We were thick as thieves and always were hanging out together outside of school. She was a year ahead of me in school. The year I became a high school freshman, she suddenly decided it wasn’t “cool” to be friends with me anymore, just because I was a freshman. At least that is what she told me. I agonized over this for the longest time. In many ways, I still do. My mother, God bless her, even went to Joey’s mother to try to help the situation. It couldn’t be helped. Joey’s mother couldn’t understand it either. Looking back, I think it was very likely that it had everything to do with Joey discovering boys. She must have thought I was competition for her boyfriend down the block. (Little did she know that I had no interest whatsoever in the opposite sex.) Joey lived 2 doors down and we never spoke after my mother tried to “fix things”. Years later I heard from our neighbor that Joey had a brain tumor. Due to my own family problems at the time I wasn’t able to make the 95 mile drive to visit Joey before she passed. I did make the funeral though. Ever since this “failed” friendship I’ve found it really hard to make friends. I “read” too much into things. I over-analyze everything. I try to teach my kids they need to make friends at school. I remind my daughter that calling a friend too much, when you don't hear back from them is not a good thing. With my son, I have to remind him, ‘when your friend calls you, it’s rude not to answer.’
  • Karma, it’s a bitch. You know the show “My Name is Earl”? It’s all about Karma. Sometimes I think my friend Joey was a victim, so to speak, of Karma. Sometimes I think I am too, what with all the bad things going on simultaneously in my life right of late. I don’t think that I could ever come up with a list like Earl did. Maybe I don’t over-analyze things as much as I thought?
  • Throughout my whole life, until I came out, I was incredibly uncomfortable in my own skin. Once I figured out that I batted for a different team it was like this wave of confidence came over me. I knew who I was. I have to say though, I’m still uncomfortable in social situations, whether it’s with people who know me, or strangers. Girl-talk, you know, women talking about their their figures, bras, breasts, booty, sex life, etc. It makes me very uncomfortable. I think that has a lot to do with the fear that I think, that they think, that I am looking at their figures, bras, breasts or booty. And I’m NOT! Unless they are all fallin out for anyone to see! Anastasia and I have had conversations about this. We both have agreed that certain people we know deliberately lean their cleavage toward us when it’s not necessary and deliberately indulge in titillating conversation when we are around to see if they can get a reaction out of us. When a large breasted woman cuts my hair, I swear I sit like a statue so as not to accidentally brush up against her. Anastasia had her hair cut last week and joked about the large breasted stylist who almost put her eye out with her gi-normous breasts. We go to the same haircut place, I know who she is talking about. It’s funny. But it doesn’t make me want to go get my hair cut any time soon.
  • I can’t say that I grew up poor, because I didn’t. I grew up frugal. We never went without, but we didn’t have any of the extras or fancy stuff that my friends had. When I was 7 I wanted a Barbie doll because all my friends had Barbie, Ken, Skipper, etc.

    The year I asked for Barbie my father had back surgery and money was tight. I didn’t get a Barbie, or any of her “Mattel” friends. My sister and I got “Mini-Mod” dolls.
    1960's Mini Mod 11.5" Fashion Doll
    “Mini-Mod” dolls were cheap, vinyl Barbie knock-offs that had arms and legs that weren’t articulated like Barbie’s and if you pressed them too hard, they dented. I learned to never waste anything. When I grocery shop, or buy clothing, if it’s not on sale, I don’t buy it. This has served me well with my current economic situation, but sometimes, for the love of all things holy, I would just like to go buy a fresh box of Twinkies (not from the Hostess Outlet) or a pair of jeans that isn’t on sale! Anastasia will often ask me why I didn’t get Raisin Bran Crunch at the store. When I tell her ‘because it wasn’t on sale’, she’ll tell me, ‘come on, splurge, 1 box of Raisin Bran Crunch won’t break the bank’. But I just CAN’T do it. I know I can better use that $2-3 price difference for something else we need.

Wow, this 6 random things is hard. Ok, focus….two more to go!
  • There is this show on called "Gaytown". It’s an online series of brief episodes (about 3-5 minutes each) that basically turns the world upside down. I think this series is based on a short film I saw on the Logo Channel. Basically the whole world is gay, except for the minority, who are heterosexuals. Each episode typically has a theme that points out some form of discrimination or social difficulty that the “heterosexual” person faces as a minority in a "gay" world. If the acting and storylines were better I think the series could catch on more. It does make me think sometimes... What it would be like if the tables were turned. (Cue the harp strums, fade out, fantasy sequence...action!…)
  • It is really freakin’ cold here. Too cold to have another random thought that does not deal with it being so freakin’ cold. Last night Anastasia finally gave in and turned the heat on for the first time this season. Each year we try to hold out as long as we can. No heat. Furnace is not working. Thank goodness Anastasia’s best friend’s husband is a heating and A/C guy. He came over and diagnosed the problem. Nothing to do until the parts house opens Monday. It needs a new circuit board and a new thermostat. We’ve requested that he buy and install a programmable thermostat that doesn’t require a PHD to figure out how to program. Lol! We never did figure out the one that came with the house and since it has to be replaced, we might as well get one we can actually program. So until the parts are purchased and installed on Monday we have an oil filled radiator in our living room and extra blankets on the bed at night. I’m charged with turning off the radiator when I turn in tonight.
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