Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Day When Everything Was Difficult

You know how most days everything just goes as it is supposed to? Then there are those days when the dehumidifier decides it needs to run all day and all night without taking a drop of real moisture from the air. It's the same day when the dogs in the kennel decide to jump on you with their muddy paws and the break light comes on in the truck.

But who knew it would also be the same day you hit a cat with your car, except the cat wasn't completely dead and the owner was standing there, at the mailbox, where moments before the cat was bumping its owner with its cute little head, until it saw my car and darted in front of it, despite the fact that I hit the brakes as soon as I saw the cat.


I turned the car around immediately, where the cat was in full flail. Oh. I wanted to hurl. It finally....stopped. The owner lady, with her mail in hand was extremely nice about it and wasn't nearly as freaked out as me. I apologized up and down, which probably any insurance company would say was a bad thing. Anyway, I told her I had a cat that looked just like that one and was so sorry.

The woman then went on to tell me that it was "Miss Kitty," who was one of her best mousers. I was feeling a little green again, imagining that now the woman's yard would be overrun with mice. THEN she told me how the cat had delivered FIVE litters of "purebred" kittens. First alarming thought....FIVE litters? Is she unaware of the pet overpopulation problem? Then she explained that a cat down the road came over and sired at least three of the litters and every kitten had been orange like Miss Kitty.

Uhh...forget the problem of overpopulation, she didn't even realize the definition of what a purebred cat was.

This only made me feel slightly better, however.

Somehow, I made it to Wal-mart to buy figs. This was so extremely difficult it made talking to that farm woman about her dead cat at the mailbox seem like a walk in a catless park. I had to ask two employees. I almost gave up, but considering I'd killed the county's best mouser, I thought I should at least persist to buy what I sought. It would do Miss Kitty a great honor to at least purvey the figs.

And $1.98 later, I had myself some figs, and carefully drove past the site of the slaughter, where Miss Kitty was no longer in sight.

Here I'd been already to do some stress eating and I had completely lost my appetite. Instead, I did stress shopping at Stites and managed to find a steal on Colby cheese and gingerbread latte creamer.

Coming in the door, I still felt sad, and oddly numb. Having my cats greet me made me feel worse. However, there was a package on my doorstep. It was something from my mom. In it were the promised sweaters (we'll call them vintage) and.... of her amazing Gingerbread men!

Look - it's like he's crying.

I feel better now.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dayquil....My Muse

I'm not feeling too well so I stayed home from school. Snow days are better, but this is pretty good except that I don't have much energy. I also seem to be having thoughts that are even more strange than usual. I'll share.

In the last three days, I've spent more time asleep than awake. Last night I woke up and just couldn't sleep any more and I thought "How does Dooley (the dog) do it? He's slept even more than me and he's still at it." My admiration for him continues to grow.

You know how Amish men who are married have beards and the single guys don't? I guess that's how you're supposed to know who to hit on at the barn dance. You can thank me for that tidbit of dating advice later. Anyway, I've realized that when I'm single, I'm thin (or less fat) but when I get married (yes, I've been married three times, get off my flabby back about it. At least I have some basis of comparison.) I get fat. I suppose it's better than growing a beard, but I'm still not happy about it.

I'm sort of in that point of being sick where I'm not tired enough to sleep but I'm too tired to do much (particularly good blog writing). I thought "what if I took the laptop in bed w/me?" Then I worried about falling asleep and rolling over on it and then I'd be like those people who do that w/their babies and kill them. Wouldn't that be awful? And I know the laptop is not a baby and that it's horrible for the people that happens to so don't write any hate mail about it.

I had ramen noodles for breakfast.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Gold Coast - The Desert Experience

You, are loyal friends and fans, know how much we enjoy our Gold Coast Living.

Imagine our cumulative shock when it was reported a month ago that we actually live in a DESERT! A Food Desert!

Apparently this means that access to healthy food is difficult and not affordable. Perhaps this is true. However, I'm not so sure.

To find out, I'm starting a new blog. If you want to read about it, go to the link.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

We're Having a Contest!

I've been reading other blogs lately and lots of people have contests and giveaways in order to "drive traffic" to their blogs. Well, if anyone needs some traffic driven to's us.

I recently learned that November is Prematurity Awareness Month. This is news to me and since I know premature births can be stressful, and even tragic, I'm good with supporting Prematurity Awareness Month.

HOWEVER---once I saw the word "prematurity" all I could think about is whether there is an IMmaturity Awareness Month. Every cause has a motto, a color, logo, and a month.

Here's where the contest comes in---in the comment section below please submit your contest entries with suggestions for motto, color, logo and month. We encourage creativity and if you have any other ideas for things that Immaturity Awareness Month needs (like a celebrity spokesperson) then feel free to add those.

Just like Dancing With the Stars, winners will be determined by a convoluted calculation based on audience votes (no 800 numbers, sorry, just put your votes in the comments too) and Judges' Scores (we are willing to be bribed).

Prizes will be awarded from the assortment of crap in my guest room. This could be anything from a partially finished craft project to a box of Christmas ornaments or (my favorite) a shoebox of my family photos.

Enter as many times as you like.

All prize entries become the property of The Bitter Train. heehee

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Found On The Road, Part Five

Friday, September 23, 2011

Found On The Road, Part Four (or more)

When I worked in Admissions, there was a co-worker who no one liked. And I do mean no one. Of course, we were a very immature staff, but I still believe that if we all got together again, we still would find her to be universally disliked.

One of the (many) things she did was order flowers for herself, have them delivered to the office, and say they were from some new boyfriend. It's amazing none of us needed surgery from so much eye rolling at her antics.

Now that I work at home, I don't have boss or coworker issues. And I like that. If I want to order flowers for myself, I won't fool myself or anyone else.

But something was recently delivered to the door of my business. It's something I often find "gifted" to me by one of my cats on the back porch. Apparently some cat decided I needed to impress those dogs in the kennel.
"No take backs!"
But back to my recent adventure of walking dogs and subsequent findings.
That's right, Ladies and Gentlemen, for the first time in Bitter Train history, a dead mouse and a toilet in the same blogpost.

Don't despair, there's more.
First, I passed a crushed up empty plastic water bottle. No big deal, right? Then I found this:
Okay, so Tilly found it first. A mysterious pack of pills, with the name of the person to whom it was prescribed (note fancy grammar)was ripped away. Hmmmm....

Then, I found this:
Only one pill was missing. The rest, tossed aside.

It is mysterious.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Resting Up for The Big Day

You may have wondered where we've been. Sure, you guessed correctly we were probably out there somewhere, marinating in our bitter juices.

Mostly, though, we had to rest up for this past Saturday. It was a huge day near the Gold Coast. It was the Harvest and Bee (Herb) Festival!

Sue was awakened to the sound of a church group yelling back and forth to each other, possibly debating the means of salvation, as they lined up for the parade. When Sue peaked out the window, she noticed a rather large tub, prompting her to wonder if it might be for mobile baptisms. This was not true since I watched the entire, rather tedious parade.

It's not every day you get to see a tractor dedazzled with butternut and bittersweet (our favortite herb).
It's also not often you get to see children dressed up like a hot dog and stop light (their salute to NYC).
In other ways, it was just like other normal parades in that we had completely questionable political candidates hawking their pamphlets.
It wasn't easy keeping Pat from knocking out the driver of this train and taking control. Chances are good she would have mown down the aforementioned candidates.
And while this in and of itself was exciting, there was a much bigger event that day. Jenny got married! Isn't she gorgeous?
And she was kind enough to invite us too (though not the football player - he was already there). As you can see, they had salad (among other delicious things).
Despite Lynne's job as Champagne Coordinator, this particular group did nt get too rowdy.

That's good because if the fake football player wasn't enough, there was that golden jock strap hanging about.
We don't get out much, but when we do, we clean up pretty good, don't we? And we (sometimes) act half-way decent.

Congratulations to our friend Jenny, who is not acting at all bitter these days.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Who Buys This Stuff?

Sure, it's one thing to laugh and take a picture of an unusually tacky object at Stites then put it on your blog.
But who pays hard earned cash for this kitsche?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Looking for a Sign?

Life can be confusing. We all need direction? The Magic 8 Ball is a liar.

Where can one turn?

Stites. It has never failed.

Just look where you can go:

You're welcome.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Things to Catalog to Perpetuity - Part One

Once you start reading, it will become clear this is Lynne's work, not Sue's. But, it seems important to clarify this upfront nonetheless.

Some women lie about their age. I'll probably have to lie about how many cats I own.

What follows is a complete listing of all the cats that have lived on the Gold Coast at the same time as me. Unless otherwise noted, I will not list the demise of said cats. It's also important to note that at no time did I surpass the Cat Capacity of "Six."

1995 - We moved in with Joe and Arthur. Goldie already lived here. His girlfriend, Cleo, also took up residence, along with that scoundrel Johnny Cat (he looked like the cat on the cat litter bag), who always tried to woo Cleo away from Goldie. Shortly upon arrival, all were spayed or neutered. Johnny Cat left town and Goldie (eventually) never returned from the woods. We never missed those two, but we sure liked Cleo.

That same year, I was returning home from my job at the local humane society, only to find a small cat standing in the middle of the road. When I stopped, heaved a great sigh, and opened my car door, he dashed in. That's when Otto, aka "Bunnyman", got here. He was a great cat - retrieved bouncy balls like a labrador.

Olive yowled incessantly from a branch high up in a maple tree. I heard her as I came out of the newly-opened kennel. When I climbed the ladder, she was too scared to move. I had to literally tear her from the branch and pluck her onto my lumberjack coat to get her down. Olive still lives here, a professional napper.

Baker lived in the dumpster at the local pizza shop until I got take-out on a rainy night. Then he lived here. Giant Black Bart found his way here and loved beating up Olive.

Penny was dumped at the local vet's office in April 2003 and was my birthday present - a kitten. She really did have nine lives - venturing into the fridge for regular chilly visits, chased by a fox til Foster and Guinnes intervened, gone for days only to return thin and dehydrated, and showing up with a lame leg and grease on her body. And that's after surviving Darren running her over in his electric cart.

Chloe lived here a short time after someone begged me to keep her, just as an outside cat. Chloe was a great mouser, yet it was her downfall as well.

A feral kitten in Ada, Dooley was (and still is) the least friendly cat. However, he's one of the sweetest, once you make his list. Franklin, the biggest cat I've ever owned at 20 pounds, is like a dog, following me around, waiting for a pat on the head.

Carbon was dumped off here as a tiny, three week old dirty kitten. She was a mess but is now one of the most beautiful with a coat as soft as mink (although I've never felt mink, so I could be all wrong about that).

Which brings me to that terrorist of a kitten, The Captain. Found just north of here on June 1st, the month old shy kitten now has the whole Gold Coast in his fearful reign.
I'm pretty sure that's it. I really hope so.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tilly's New Normal

Yesterday, Tilly tore the eye out of her stuffed toy. Do you think she was trying to make her world consistent? Doesn't everything have one eye?

Perhaps I need to keep "one eye" open when I sleep at night.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Random Stuff From This Week....And It's Only Wednesday

Where to I begin?

When all else fails, go with chronological order. I also like to go with alphabetical, but that seems too complicated for this situation. How would I label the conversations? Weird thing my student said would be in the W section, but Goofy thing my student said would be in the G's. So, let's go with chronological.

Yesterday was my parents' 53rd wedding anniversary. (yay!) Chris and I took them out for dinner. If you were eavesdropping from the table next door, you might have heard something like this.

Chris: "Wow, little pancakes." (I ordered mu shu)
Me: "Yep. I think every culture has a food that gets wrapped up."
Chris: "I don't remember ever seeing anything about tacos during the revolutionary war."
My mother: "They had hoe cakes."
Chris: "I didn't think you were able to eat those outside." [you might have needed to be there for this one, but it was funny]

I also learned that my cousin sent my mom a photo from the wedding of my cousin's daughter. Seems harmless. Turns out that my cousin photo shopped a picture of my deceased aunt (her mother/bride's grandmother) so that my aunt is part of a stained glass window in the church looking down on the bride. EEEEwwwww. Is there anyone (other than my cousin) who thinks that's a good idea?

Also from dinner with my parents:
Me: So where did you guys go on your honeymoon?
Dad: Somewhere near the shore in Maryland.
Me: Is that all you remember?
Mom: I also left my nightgown at the hotel we stayed in the first night.
Chris: How many days did it take you to notice?

I'm teaching a public speaking class this summer. My students were asked to watch video tapes of themselves giving speeches and then write a review of themselves. In response to "what will you do differently next time?" one student said "I didn't take my anti-anxiety medicine. I'll do that for sure next time."

Another student said that she'd "use her arms to make more jesters".

Tomorrow I'm going to make Caprese Baked Eggs (recipe at How Sweet Treats, see our favorite blogs over there ----->
The only thing I don't have for the recipe is cream so I headed out for some half and half. Being lazy, I went to the drive thru.

Me: You wouldn't happen to have half and half, would you?
Drive Thru Guy: We do. But I just noticed that it's expired.
He pulls a pint and a quart from the cooler. "It's dated the 27th so I guess I'll just throw it away."
Me: Today's the 27th (I was considering offering to buy them for half price because I didn't want to go to another store).
Drive Thru Guy: Here, you can just have them.
Me: Thanks. I guess I'm a garbage eater. If you don't see me for a couple days, it's because I shouldn't have been drinking this stuff.
Drive Thru Guy gives me the thumbs up and says "Remember, only at The Four Seasons."

Am I the only one, or have you had some random things happen too?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

So I Went a Little Nuts...

Cinnamon almonds with cocoa almonds?! Hello!! For .99 (and not stale). How could I not buy 10? I heart Stites.

I also bought frozen chocolate covered bananas - one milk and one dark chocolate.

So I guess I also went a little bananas.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Bob is Awesome

This is Bob.
Bob is the rather peculiar umbrella top handle belonging to Robin. Bob is over 20 years old. Robin got Bob sometime in college. It seems like Bob has been around forever.

Bob's showing a little age, but today Robin found him in the garage. Bob's sort of eternal. It's good to have him back.

Bob is awesome.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Who Says My Life Isn't Working Out?

One of my favorite sayings is "It's good to have a goal." Sometimes I use it sarcastically, like when a student promises to be on time to class, but mostly, I think that having goals is important. They don't have to be life changing goals like running a marathon or curing cancer. I just think that it's important to have something to look forward to. Something that catches your attention and gives you something to think about during television commercials. Or while other people are talking and you aren't really listening. Some might say that I should have a goal of writing in complete sentences.

Some goals are short term: can I get through church without giving the evil eye to the people with the crying baby? Others are longer term: will I ever have a tenth wedding anniversary?
Recently I achieved a more mid-range goal---It's taken about two weeks, which is sort of embarrassing to admit but it's not like I skipped work or sleep to achieve it.

Yes, that's over ONE MILLION Points.

My fingers are a little cramped up, but no pain, no gain.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Beauty and Home Decor Tips by Lynne

First it was Martha Stewart who had multiple media outlets to showcase her broad knowledge of elegant living. Then, Rachel Ray made a valiant attempt.

Here on the Gold Coast, there's no reason to think we can't do the same.

But, perhaps, on a scale of elegance that has a slightly different um...calibration.

How does a Hardin County Girl stay beautiful and youthful? When I was a kid, I read in Teen Magazine how a simple smear of Vaseline was an inexpensive yet effective way to keep lips moisturized.
Eat your heart out Suzie Chapstick.

When my grandmother died, it was discovered that she had quite the treasure trove of Vaseline (goodness knows what pop up ads we'll get now). The above jar, now empty, was part of my inheritance. I doubt Grandma Leiner read that tip in Teen Magazine. I don't really want to know why she had so much but as a person who lived through the Depression, there were many, many products that she had stockpiled. In fact, twenty years later, I still have a can of Comet from her cache.

And, don't worry, still more Vaseline. But, sadly, this is the last. In ten years, I may have to spend $3 to buy more. That is, if it's even sold anymore.

Next, let's discuss home decor. While my own home is done up with a motif of "Early Garage Sale," I do have standards. They are low, but I have them.

But, they are not this low:
This little gem was hanging at Habitat for Humanity's Restore. Personally, I find it extremely Inhumane. What sort of services do they offer anyway? Who on earth would want a latch hooked Holly Hobby set off by institutional carpeting as a background? Seriously, it's like donating pickled beets or sardines to the food pantry.

It's truly amazing that some reality show has not found us yet.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What Are My Health Concerns?

This morning, our friend Pat sent me an email asking me what health topics, I, as a consumer, would like to know more about. A good and important issue.

Not wanting to just dash off some flippant response, I gave it careful thought. After all, health concerns demand our attention. Here's what I've come up with (so far):

1. How much toilet paper must I layer on a toilet seat to avoid germs? Actually, does this technique work at all?

2. Is this brown spot on my arm a mole, age spot or skin cancer? Explain.

3. What is the most polite way to tell my homeopathic friend I will not cut up onions and leave them around my house to prevent germs? I've got enough problems explaining my home to visitors.

4. How many S T D 's do you think that waiter might have?

5. Why does that man hit his pit bull with his ball cap? Wait, that's a question I have for me.

6. I've heard Zumba is a great fitness activity. Is it true that Lynne is the best instructor? (okay, can we at least agree she's the most recently licensed in the greater Gold Coast area?)

7. What is the most effective way to soothe my aching muscles (see above) now that drug dealers have ruined my dates with Mr. Bubble?

8. What does Chris put in the burgers to make them so darn good?

9. The Healing Power of Plarn. Discuss.

As you can see, I've really been mulling these over. One mustn't trifle with one's health.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Careful Research, Part Two

Today I needed a little reward after my annual exam. Perhaps that is too much information, but it's my explanation for why I went to McDonald's. The day before, I'd heard that their new Rolo McFlurry was fabulous. In need of fabulosity, I went to see The Clown (thank you, Chris, for this dubbing). I ordered the snack size for $1.50. It was not bad. It wasn't fabulous. Plus, the weird plastic spoon it came with looked like a doctor's dosing spoon. Considering from where I'd just been, this was not welcome.

Perhaps, (in the interest and benefit of helping you, the reader, find good ice cream as stated before) I needed to do a comparison with the local ice cream place, Buster's. Since they didn't have Rolo as an option for their "cyclones" (why must these ice cream/candy treats be named after inclement weather conditions?), my local ice cream mix-masters proposed a combination of chocolate and caramel, like a turtle sans nuts.

Here's where the locals win every time over the big chain - customized orders, thinking outside the box. Or thinking outside the cone anyway.

However, it was a bit disappointing too. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't awful. However, the cyclone/flurry/hurricane/blizzard ice cream treat has at its very heart the promise of candy surprises swirled through sweet, soft ice cream. This concoction was all, well...mixed up. It tasted just...cold. I didn't even finish it (when you're counting calories, every single one better be darn near delicious). Buster's option was also more expensive and only slightly bigger than McD's.

While I prefer to give the locals my business, the quest for fabulosity continues, both in ice cream treats and life in general.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Found on the Road, Part Three (or more)

Wednesday, I sent a text that read, "Look what I found near my house."

This could mean anything. Looking back over the years, lots of interesting things have been found on the road near or around my house.

Usually, it's something like this:
What is that? You ask? Melted gummy bears. How do I know? Because when I walked the dogs by there earlier in the week, they were unmelted.

But Wednesday's surprise was ALIVE:
And very small. And hungry.

If you are in need of a charming four week old kitten who wants to be held all the time, please let me know. Soon.

In a weird twist on "found on the road," the kitten I were on the road
That just blew your mind, didn't it?

Monday, May 30, 2011


Folks on the Bitter Train are patriotic. To that end, we salute our veterans. (imagine salute here)
This morning as I went to pick up my paper at the end of my drive, my neighbor drove by. Earlier I heard his dog barking and whining a bit. After his truck passed, I noticed it was hauling a trailer. On the back of the trailer was a huge piece of wood laying horizontally, with a gravestone up vertically that read "RIP." At first, I thought his dog died. Then I figured he must be in a parade.

It is why I don't ask too many questions around here.

Most people celebrate by huge community garage sales. Nothing says celebrate your freedom like selling the crap you don't want anymore.

Isn't it beautiful? Tear.

Memorial Day is also seen as the beginning of summer. I decided that I'd do some important research so that you, loyal reader, will have vital information at your fingertips. While in the greater Gold Coast area, you will now know where to get the best chocolate shake.
First, I stopped by Buster's and requested from my friend Patty (hi Patty) what would be the most chocolate-y shake. She said a hot fudge shake made with chocolate ice cream. Done! The teenager enthusiastically filled my order. I'm sure she was admiring my gusto for chocolate. Cost - $2.25. That's the cup on the right.

Unlike some shake fans, I like my shakes thin. This is so I can suck down the chocolate-y goodness as quickly as possible. Buster's shake was a bit thick, so I had to wait a little while. However, it's 90 out, so just a few miles down the road, I tore into it. It was quite good. However, you will notice, it was on the small side. When the menu said small, they meant small.

Not having sufficient chocolate for the day, I headed to the Dairy Barn for a back-to-back comparison. As you can see in terms of value, straws down Dairy Barn had the edge. I requested the exact same ingredients, though my choices were for regular or large. Employees here last year tended to be a bit on the surly side. However, the woman who took my order definitely had the jealousy of my order for "an intense chocolate shake."

It also was on the thick side. Very thick. I had to wait much longer to really get going with this one. Fortunately, I was home soon and just set it outside for a minute thirty seconds and it was in fine form. Taste wise, it seemed a bit chalky. However, every now and then, their chocolate soft serve gets funky and is more like a creamsicle than ice cream.

What's the verdict? Meh. Buster's cup has a better design perhaps. Neither shake had the "wow" factor. But they had the "good enough" factor. And here on the Gold Coast, we're all about that.

Here's a picture of Frankie inspecting what was left of shake number two. I took it while I had the other picture up, ready to blog. Freaky.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tornado Safety

Monday night we had some freaky storms. We turned on the TV and watched the weather guy practically show us street by street where the storms were (and this was the pokey little Lima station. Who knew?).

Earlier in the day Chris and I had taken my parents to Columbus so my mom could have out patient surgery. (It went well, thanks for asking). But, it had been a long day. When I got home, I put on a pair of shorts...they were sort of a light green.

And I was wearing black underwear. I thought about changing so that my undies didn't appear to be a shadow under my shorts, but again, it had been a long day and I was wearing a long t-shirt, so I just went with it.
(It might appear that the honeymoon is over.)

Then when the storms started and Chris and I looked at each other like "well, what should we do?" my thought was---"do I need to change my underwear?"

I pictured myself digging through the rubble of my home, soaking wet from the fact that the roof blew off my house, wearing the neon yellow/green shorts with the black undies now very obvious. I imagined what it would look like when the folks from CNN came and interviewed me about the storm damage and I was on national tv with my black undies/neon shorts combo saying "it sounded like a train".

I thought "what if I die? Is this the outfit I want to be found in?"

Apparently, the answer was yes because my black undies and I survived the storm.

Does this mean I have a new pair of lucky undies?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Good News---You Too Can Save Tons of Money

An article on Yahoo today had an interesting title "One Family's Plan to Save $12,975 this summer."

Intrigued, I clicked to read the article. Wow, these folks are really living on the brink. Here's one example of how they plan to save money: Rather than spending their usual $5,000 on a vacation this summer, they are going to go to a local resort for $400, thus saving $4,600.

Call the Red Cross. This is America. We can't stand by and let people suffer like that.

Now, they didn't say that they actually had 5K to spend on vacation this year, just that they usually spend that amount. So, if they didn't have the money to begin with, are they really saving anything if they don't spend it?

Well, it's on Yahoo, so it must be right. And, based on this reasoning, I've determined that I am going to be able to save even more than these folks. Here's my plan:

1. I will not have a weekly massage. Savings: $50/week or $600 over the three months of summer.

2. I will eat chicken instead of steak. Savings: $25/week or $300 over the summer.

3. I will not buy $75 jeans or a $300 purse. Savings: $375.

This is fantastic! With all these savings, I'll soon be able to quit my job. I'm inspired to cut back even more.

4. I will not have liposuction. I don't know how much that costs, but I'll go conservative with $5,000.

5. I will not go on a two week European Vacation. Savings: $5,000

6. I will not remodel my kitchen. Savings: $20,000.

I'm already saving $30,1275. Seriously, how can so many people be defaulting on their debts when this simple savings plan can save you tens of thousands of dollars.

So, how about you? How will you save money this summer?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Of Head Injuries and Fancy Dinners

Friday promised to be a peaceful day. The sun was out, which was highly unusual, and the temperature wasn't so bad that I needed wool socks. In fact, I woke up early and even showered before my 7 a.m. kennel appointment. Coffee, oatmeal, newspaper. Bliss.

Having completed a (startlingly bad) first draft of my recent writing project, the day was free. To celebrate, I made my own deodorant (don't laugh, it works great with hot flashes). One of my friends called and she had a very bad day, including having her car full of children backed into by a small bus.

Thinking my day was smooth sailing by comparison, I went out to mow the yard. This is no small task as there are many obstacles. Very often I end up dodging bushes and ducking under branches. However, I didn't duck yesterday and got a scratch on my forehead by a low-lying limb. It hurt but I had only a small window before rain was on its way.

I finished half and then realized I needed to get ready for a dinner the former president of the university was having. In the house, I looked in the mirror to see a seriously heinous bloody gash on my forehead. With grass stuck to it. I showered and hoped it would clean up okay. Fortunately, my hair turned out so odd that it distracted from the bright red stripe on my head.

All seemed smooth at the dinner and no one mentioned my wound. Perhaps I should set the scene. These are fancy affairs with white tablecloths in a nice room with chandelier (like) lighting. People dress up and don't seem very comfortable in their own skin. There is a table chart and nicely lettered seating cards with the pre-set fruit cups and salads.

Then there's me, who sails in with grass clippings stuck to my shoes and a seeping cut on my head, glad-handing the President Emeritus and making silly jokes. Soon, he went to the podium and asked us to find our seats. Everyone scurried to their chairs.

I hesitated, but slowly sat at my table set for eight. Alone. No one else who was assigned my table were there. Just me, and eight fruit cups. It was quickly noticed by all in attendance, including our host. It was hard to keep from busting out laughing. Instead, I said, "Well, I'll just sit here with all my friends" As more heads turned, I asked, "Does this mean I can eat their food?"

The ever-gracious host assured us that some shuffling would take place. However, Pat, who was also invited but had been assigned to some other rogue table, offered to sit with me (strangely, no one else volunteered).

Then, about ten minutes into our fruit cups, a young woman joined us who was assigned the table. We chatted and learned her husband couldn't attend because one of their cows was having a difficult time calving (I'm not sure how to spell calving). Perhaps this topic of dinner conversation might seem gauche and odd to big city people. I thought it was fascinating and had a short list of follow-up questions. She obviously was at the right place.

Later, I ran into a woman at the dinner who asked what I was up to lately (she kindly didn't stare at my head wound). I told her I was going to get licensed to have zumba classes. She told me that she knew another woman who taught it but the moves were really hard. She thought maybe she could handle my class. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

As you can imagine, it was an eventful night. Then, we all went to see Oklahoma! That Judd guy was really scary. That's my full review.

Perhaps I should have worn my hair like this:

Do you have a dinner party nightmare story? Funny Head injury incidents? (How many times do I get to ask that question?)

Monday, April 18, 2011

What Makes You Itch?

Last week, I was outside enjoying a somewhat pleasant day. Of course, it did not last long. At least there was a little time to walk the dogs around the pond and enjoy the great outdoors. I even hung laundry outside in a great sign that Spring is surely here and I am still a total tightwad.

Later, my right leg was itching terribly with the added effect of some tingling. Just what was going on? Finally, I located the culprit:

A bully wooly bully. Apparently it came out from hibernation and decided my pant leg was a logical place to scale. As a result of me walking around and doing my normal routine, the bully began to bite, rub, sting, drill poison in my veins - whatever it was doing - it hurt!

It's really not a fair deal since I spend a lot of time and concentration trying to avoid running these little creatures over every fall as they scurry across the roads. If I'd known they were mini furry killers I'd be much less careful.

Then, there's the little item in my mailbox today. If it had not been in a cheerful envelope, then surely I would have simply left it in the mailbox forever. I would probably have had to move.

It's so horrifying I don't know what to do. In fact, I don't know how to get it out of my house. I may have to move.

Thanks, Trina, for one of the most frightening birthday gifts I've ever received.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Other Woman

I knew that eventually the honeymoon would be over and Chris, my usually attentive and doting husband, might cool in his desire to focus his attention on me. I just didn't expect it this soon and I didn't think it would be over...her.

Sure, I can understand the attraction.

I'm lumpy. She's sleek.

I'm old school. She's fashionable and trendy.

I'm dial up. She's wi-fi.

But mostly, I think it's the eager way she responds even to his most gentle touch.

Be on the look out. This vixen could invade your homes as well.

Now I know why they called the company's full of temptation.

Friday, April 8, 2011

When Will the Excitement End?

Some weeks are mundane. Some are eventful. This week has been the latter for the Scott household. What I've learned is, I prefer mundane.

Monday was as normal as they can get on the Gold Coast. However, Tuesday was a day of carting Foster and Tilly over to see Money Guy. Since he and his assistant (Money Guy's All-Knowing Assistant) like dogs, the two of them were invited into the office.

Foster ran into things. Tilly ran around everywhere, and managed to pee a little from all the excitement. Then, they gave her a new squeaky toy.

It's been non-stop squeaking ever since. It must be hidden at night. Sometimes it makes me cry.

Then Wednesday was take-two-cats-to-the-vet day. One of the cats now weighs an impressive even twenty pounds. The other (the ever crafty Dooley) has to have a tooth pulled, so he was prescribed an anti-biotic. I got one dose in him just before I released him from his carrier when we got home. The result was a trail of orange foam as he ran around the house in terror. It was not a good time.

But the weekend promises to be non-stop hilarity. I mean, check this out:

What could it be? Will we get to wear safari hats? Detective monocles?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I Can't Explain...

Remember The Who song, "I Can't Explain"? It was about love. The Who had one of the best guitarists ever.

What I can't explain (besides love) is the advertisement I saw in yesterday's paper. It's real. I blocked out the phone number, but maybe I should have included it for anyone in need of this guy's services (or gal).

Realizing I live in a rural area, maybe I simply am not aware of the growing need for air guitarists, let alone seeing an actual professional in action. Does he have air blisters on his fingers?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Coffee Belongs in a Cup

Here on the Bitter Train, we enjoy a frugal home remedy or repurposed item.

When I read about adding olive oil to used coffee grounds as a body scrub, I got pretty excited. (note Dooley's inspection, and possible chemical analysis)

The concoction was easy to put together and I marched upstairs to put it to the test. Looking forward to an invigorating exfoliation, I got to scrubbing. It was rough. Literally. It also was messy. There were grounds all over the shower and tub. They also lodged in inconvenient locations on my body.

Perhaps it was yet another case of "operator error." However, from now on, used coffee grounds are going in the compost.

Do you have any fun "home remedies"? What about uses for coffee grounds?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Santa Can't Swim

Last Saturday night, I walked to the beach and enjoyed my last Florida sunset.

The next day, I drove home with the dogs. The car was sort of packed.

When I got home, I realized something was different. This is not my mailbox.

I mean, it's the mailbox in front of my house, but when I left, it was a black plastic mailbox. Now it's a grey metal mailbox. With a huge dent. ???

The next day, school was canceled and Pat and Liz and I went out on an excursion.

The last time the three of us were together, we were having a Florida Adventure. Let's take a look at what we did, shall we?
Liz at Babcock Ranch - ta da!

We took a cool tour through swamp land and saw cypress knees, wild boars, turkeys, Florida cracker cattle and GATORS!!

Other than someone's grandson, we were the youngest people on the tour.

We went to the Italian market and got all kinds of goodies, including fresh, warm mozzarella cheese. And this chocolate ganache cake.

It was quite a party.

Back in Ohio (and stark reality), we went to lunch at Bob Evans and had cherry pie at the Kewpee. For entertainment, our tour was to the nearby Goodwill and Tractor Supply. Yes, it was just a bit different of an experience.

But even though this was my welcome home:

It was okay. These same friends (and Sue!) cleaned my house before I got home. They rock. It's not where you are, it's who you're with.

Besides, small towns always have some weird crap that can never be matched in a big city. For instance, there's the local Christmas display in the park. Each year, there's some kitschy and probably offensive scene to visit. And sometimes the weather is so bad, they keep it up until the snow melts. And with snow melt and torrential rains, it's even a more interesting display:

There's only so much fresh mozzarella can do for you.

Please note that is a small plastic Santa, not Sue.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Lucky Monkeys

Do not adjust your set. Yes, this is exactly what it appears to be:

A Sea Monkeys Slot Machine! Hereafter known as SM Squared. It's true! And it's the cool sea monkeys with crowns. I played this exact machine and won $45.

Imagine my excitement as the reels spun and sea monkeys in all varieties went flying by. It was almost too much to bear.

After I won on this machine we went off and did other things, then I wanted to come back. But others had found the joy of the SM Squared so I had to sort of lurk and stalk. In the whole casino, there were only two SM squareds.

It would have been better if I hadn't scared that lady off since I quickly lost money the second time around. Sea Monkeys are fickle.