Friday, October 29, 2010

Fun Friday FAQ

Q: What is Fun Friday?
A: Good question. Fun Friday is a time set aside, primarily for those people like Lynne and me who don't have employer provided health care, but are free to pretty much do as we please on Fridays. It's your reward for putting up with Bitterness for four or more days in a row.

Q: What constitutes a Fun Friday activity?
A: There are no specific rules about Fun Friday, that would take away the fun. However, you should do something that makes the day a tiny bit more special than other days. It often involves food, like going out for lunch or breakfast, or donuts or all three. You should leave your house and, if you can stand it, include at least one other person. If you don't leave home, then you should do something that is a litle bit creative, like trying a new recipe or a craft project. Knitting sweaters into rugs or making laundry detergent would be perfectly acceptable fun Friday stay at home activities.

Q: Are there any Fun Friday rules?
A: As stated above, there are no specific rules for Fun Friday. However, there are a couple of guidelines which you might want to keep in mind. First, you probably should shower first thing in the morning. I've learned from experience that sometimes Fun Friday will take off and last well into the evening. If you aren't showered and you're like me and have hair that really needs some attention on a daily basis, this can lead to some awkward situations. It's also a good idea to have a bit of cash on hand and a full tank of gas. I'd suggest taking care of these items by Thursday night at the latest.

Q: Must Fun Friday be a daytime activity?
A: Well....anyone can go out on Friday night. It takes a special breed to dink around an entire day that most of the world still considers a work day. It is acceptable to extend your Fun Friday activities into the evening to accomodate your leisure-challenged friends. However, putting off your own fun until after 5 pm over a period of time can lead to actually accomplishing other things during the day on Friday which is a direct violation of the Spirit of Fun Friday. Proceed with caution.

Q: Can I exercise on Fun Friday?
A: This is a tricky one. Exercise is discouraged as a Fun Friday activity unless it also includes something going for a walk in a beautiful Fall or Spring day would be ok. Running is discouraged. A bike ride to the ice cream stand would be a good Fun Friday activity. Bike riding to a root canal would not. When in doubt, sit it out.

Q: Can I clean my house on Fun Friday?
A: Only if it is to clear a path to the front door.

I hope you have found this helpful. Please feel free to submit your own questions about Fun Friday.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I Throw My Hands Up in the Air Sometimes


Frustration? I touched something hot? I slipped on the ice?

No, because I'm at ZUMBA! It also happens to be the opening line to a zumba song. Last night, Liz made her first ever appearance at zumba. She had a sampling of it at school and apparently got hooked.

She joined me at zumba. She loved it. She said she felt alive and "moving parts that had not moved in decades." So what if she couldn't get all the steps down. I've been going for two months (and five years) and still misstep.

Remember the old movies where couples went out to eat at "supper clubs?" After their sophisticated late night dinners, an orchestra would play and couples would sail across the dance floor.

Later, there was jitterbugging at Arnold's. Then the 60's, which of course ruined everything, particularly couple dancing. Last time I saw Jersey Shore, there was lots of grinding, resulting in sex in the bathrooms, but that is as far from romance as one can get.

Is it a human need to dance? I'm suspecting it is. I know the college students who are 99.9% of the zumba population wonder why us "oldies" are in there. How can I explain that once you're a grown-up, the only dancing you get to do is in your living room?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Creepiest Thing EVER

Reading the Sunday paper should be relaxing, right? Then I saw this ad among the coupons. Questions: who thought of it, who green lighted it, and who buys it?

A collectible "orangutan toddler doll" made from real vinyl (as opposed to that fake vinyl?).

Seriously, this picture frightened me so I've had to keep it face down on the paper. It actually induces nausea.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

When Left to Her Own Devices...

It's been a hectic few weeks here on the Gold Coast.

You know about Boggle for Breast Cancer. Well, the very next day, there was the first ever pumpkin cook and/or bake off. It was delicious. After it was over, I decided I needed to cut sugar from my diet. For at least a little while. And I managed to lose a pound within three days. Yes, healthy eating...salads, smoothies, and cabbage soup.

It's Saturday. I decided early in the day that I really needed a break from all the games, cooking, zumba and yoga. Ocean Breathing wasn't helping. Training for the 5k I'm planning (oh yes, add that to the mix of stuff I have to do), I've been eating pretty well and tonight I decided that for my big Saturday night treat, I'd cook up the bacon that's been in the fridge for awhile.

First of all, I haven't bought bacon forever, let alone make it. I had to look for directions and decided on the oven method, which was 9-12 minutes or until desired doneness. Desired doneness for me ended up being about 25 minutes. I pulled it out of the oven.


Mysteriously, it was crispy on top, but the parts that were layered, even a tiny bit, were sort of mushy.

As you will see, that didn't slow me down. Ten minutes later....

I've long suspected I could be a competitive eater if I put my mind to it. It's really a toss up whether I'm bragging or confessing.

All I can say is, the house smells great!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

When is 3rd Place Better Than 2nd?

Answer: When you're bitter.

Today was the Second Annual Boggle for Breast Cancer Competition. Lynne and I got our Bog On and headed to Lima. Last year we had so much fun because we didn't know what to expect or how'd we'd do. We ended up having a great time and bringing home the third place trophy. We giggled with delight the whole way home.

This year, we knew what to expect and we had a fair idea of how we might do against the competition. We both expected more teams, but in fact, there were fewer (could be poor PR or maybe we scared them off).

Also---no zither music this year. Not that it would have mattered to me, but it did throw Lynne off her game last year.

After each round the scores were posted. After round one we got a shout out for being in first place. We felt the bitterness of those around us, but it only spurred us onward to more words.

We continued in the hunt, moving from third to second to first and back to second a couple times. Going into the final round, we had a 30 point lead. No one could catch us and we could feel the thrill of taking home the first place trophy. I wondered if we might need to put the back seat down in Lynne's car in order to get it home.

The final round was a behomoth 10X10 grid of letters. In previous rounds, extra points were awarded for words of 5 letters or more. Imagine our excitement when we found "Bitter" (Lynne underlined it on our answer sheet). But in the final round all words were worth one point each,regardless of size. We filled one sheet, then a second and moved onto a third. The buzzer rang and we turned in our score sheets. The woman who picked them up said "wow, you used three?" We smiled and tried not to get too puffed up.

We waited while the final round was scored by the judges. Some scores were posted, but then they hid the screen so that it would be a surprise. We tried to act nonchalant, but as you know, we are both very chalant. Ok...I'm not really sure that's a word, but we are the opposite of nonchalant, which one might think would be chalant.

The final scores were revealed...we had 911 points for the day...but team "Squeeze Your Boobies" beat us by 30 points and so we settled for second.

What's happened to us? Have we become spoiled celebrities who are no longer satisfied with every day life? How can second place (out of 17 teams) not be good enough? Last year we were thrilled with third, this year, frankly, we were bitter.

On our way out Lynne chatted with one of the judges who told her "You guys had the best words." In the world of word-gamers, that's high praise. Of course, I've always thought that "quality over quantity" argument was just a sad excuse used by losers.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Candy and the Lies It Tells

When I was a kid, my family ate Chinese food nearly every Sunday after church. No matter what Chinese restaurant we went to, my grandma always ordered the chopped sirloin. That's just an interesting side note. The point is, fortune cookies always rocked. Reading our fortunes out loud was always fun. Then there was the crunchy cookie with its almond-y goodness.

Of course, there are the "bad fortune cookies" that Sue recently found that had sayings such as "your friends don't really like you." The Bitter Train would like to award the "Biddy" in Food Marketing to the bitter fortune cookie. Kudos to you.

Not content to let the Chinese corner the market on food messaging, Dove has their "Promises" line of chocolates.

I say, stick to Bitter chocolates. Who does Dove think they are? I mean, I opened one chocolate and the message on the foil was "Learn from the past but live in the present." Snore. Please? This is wisdom? The next wrapper told me to "Be proud and just run the race, no matter the finish." Really "Joni" in Miami Lakes, Florida? I should run, with a sense of pride, into a brick wall? This is not wisdom. It is tomfoolery (I've been just waiting to use that word).

As you can imagine, the majority of the messages run from the banal to the ridiculous (I won't tell you how many I ate). But what one message really put me over the edge was "Most things you worry about never happen." Yes, this is true. Most of the things that have happened to me I never imagined - it was always so much worse. Thanks, Dove Chocolates, for setting society's sights too darn low.

And just shut up "Kallana" in New York - "He who walks in another's tracks leaves no footprints." Does it not snow in New York? The false optimism of "There are new opportunities around every corner!" doesn't fool me "Toby" in California. Who told you that? Your grandmother?

Perhaps I'll follow "Michelle's" advice from Georgia, "Laugh every day - it's like inner jogging." Because it makes no damn sense.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Road Hazards

That little yellow thing in the road is why I hate to drive this time of the year.

It is the Woolly Bully. The only insect with a near-wordless theme song.

They are all over the road, moving as slow as a, well, caterpillar. While I don't like to see dead raccoons or deer, they at least have a fighting chance of crossing the road. Not the woolly bully caterpillars. They haven't a chance when they are in the sights of a vehicle. I've swerved to miss them. The idea of them mushing in the tires is just too much for me.

Another poor decision:

Sure, talking or texting on your phone may be a hazard, but what about the Woolly Bully? Shouldn't there be signs for THEM crossing the road? Laws enacted? There must be a better solution than waiting for the first frost.

So close, yet so far...

Yes! Smart Woolly! Smart!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

I Love A Parade

It's homecoming at ONU. That means a parade. And since I live across the street from the school where everyone is lining up, you might say that I have a primo location. And, you'd be right, if I cared. And if I wanted to change out of my pajamas (which I don't). I may just peek at the whole thing out my front window, but frankly, once you've seen one pick up truck full of cheerleaders, you've seen them all.

It's like I'm the Ebenezer Scrooge of Fall. Yay!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Significant Sociological Differences Or The Heart of Darkness

Sure, this picture has been used before. However, it bears repeating considering the events of today. Frankly, you would not want pictures of what I'm about to tell you.

Liz asked me if I wanted to join her while she ran some errands in Lima and I said yes. I should have stayed home and watched college football. After all, that's always the right decision and I should know that. Amateur mistake, forgive me.

We go to Stites, the best scratch and dent grocery store for finding such bargains as five pounds of grits for a dollar (yes, I bought one - I love grits). It was rather crowded today, being the day after government checks arrived. There are always some interesting people loading their carts (or two) with frozen pizza rolls, oyster crackers (10 bags for $1), and pretty much anything with low nutritional value. Sadly, many of the shoppers on this day also looked like their diet never included fresh vegetables. Were they embarrassed by this? No. They have vanity license plates proudly touting it. In the parking lot, a van was parked in the handicap space with "FAT MAMA" on the plates.

Fortunately, we had a respite from weirdness at Tractor Supply, where Liz bought a salt cube for her goats (no really, that is not weird - although I didn't know that deer salt licks and goat salt licks are two different things).

Then, we went to Ray's. All this excitement meant we needed to use the Ladies Room, emphasis on LADIES. When we walked into the two stall room, a young girl was washing her hands. In the stall closest to the door, we saw adult-sized fleece pajama bottoms around the ankles of the occupant. And because that wasn't icky enough, she was on her cell phone. We knew this because the caller was on speaker phone and all of us could hear the incessant yammering of the woman friend with her slight Kentucky accent. The stall occupant occasionally said, "yeah" or "uh-huh." If we weren't so appalled, we probably would have busted out laughing.

Sue pointed out that I seem to have a pattern of unfortunate public restroom incidents (all of which seem to be documented on this blog). This is true. Of course, unlike her, I've never had to inform the agent at the Michigan Welcome Center that there was a "(wo)man down" on the floor of their public ladies room.

There seems to be epidemic of ickiness.

I'd ask you to share your public restroom stories, but frankly, I'm still queasy. I think I'll go take a shower. Then, I'm never leaving the house again.

The horror...the horror...