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?)