Saturday, November 14, 2009

Left Wondering, Who Was Driving?

On the way to my daughter's twirling lessons this week I saw an interesting car.

It was a Toyota Sequoia. With permanent handicap plates. And spinners.....huh?

I couldn't get a look at the driver, which is just as well. It gave my imagination a chance to roam. What do you think?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chick-Fil-A...It's Just Chicken, Isn't It?

I'll start off by saying I love Chick-Fil-A. They have great food, clean restaurants, and super friendly staff. My kids love the play area, and I can honestly say I have never had a bad experience. With all that said, you can imagine our families excitement when they started building a new Chick-Fil-A down the road. Yay!

Well, my son goes to preschool real close to the new location. Today as we are approaching the Chick-Fil-A, I notice lots of flags and a LOTS of tents all over the parking lot. You know, the camping variety, and not little 2-4 man tents, I'm talking the 10-12 "we're camping for the week" kind. WTF???? Okay, so I quickly figure it's the grand opening. But, camping in tents for chicken?

Like usual when I pass something that's just not quite right, I had the urge to yell. Today it was the crazy chicken fans. I have the same urge to yell when I pass boys who need haircuts, girls with too much make-up and when I see boys wearing those stupid skinny jeans (guys....these are a fashion DON'T, they are totally NOT NOT NOT sexy!). I usually have the kids with me and keep quiet. Not to mention, yelling at high school boys that I don't think their pants are sexy is probably not a good idea. Anyway, today, down went the right side windows. I yelled "Crazy people, It's just chicken". Okay, not real witty, but it was the best I could do on short notice with my son in the car. The good news is, I felt so much better!

Once I got home, I looked up what was going on. It seems that when Chick-Fil-A opens a new location, the first 100 people who stand in line for the whole day before the grand opening (and only take bathroom breaks) gets a free meal once a week for a year. That's chicken, waffle fries & a drink. So, roughly a $6 meal for 52 weeks will be a $312 value. Now, lets add the fact that they are sitting in the foggy drizzle for 24 hours to "save" $312...that breaks down to about $13 an hour. So those "crazy" folks I yelled at are earning about 2 meals an hour sitting out there.

Okay, so maybe if I had no kids and no job and a big tent, I'd join them. Right now, I'd rather just make a fool of myself (dress up like a cow) and enjoy a free Chick-Fil-A meal on Cow Appreciation Day.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Some Super Duper Season 6 LOST Scoop

Since there are 16 more weeks until the last season of LOST begins, here's some "scoop" I found on the net to help tide us over.

Lost on Saturday (contains spoilers!!)

Shared via AddThis

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sometimes Being Super Frugal Can Backfire!

I just feel like bitching for a moment, so read on if you're still interested!

Blogging for me started when I lost my job in January of 2008. We made a lot of financial adjustments and I made the decision to stay home. My insanity paid off, and it's really been a dream come true. I've always been frugal, but now have lots more time to scout out deals on things that interest me. That daily journey is shared here.

One of the frugal things we started doing was cutting my husband's (and the kids) hair. Now, before you go off and start thinking I'm super fab with the clippers, I'm not! He keeps his hair real short and just uses #1 or #2 all over. In the past he was actually paying and tipping to have this done "professionally". I use quotes since he sometimes came home pissed and usually re-clipped it.

So, back to being frugal, we started doing it at home to save money. But, in order for it to look decent, I have to clip the sides and the back. I hate doing it! I don't like my ears touched, nor do I want to touch other peoples ears. Ear lobes are okay, it's the cartilage that grosses out! Folding it down to clip behind...yuck!

Things have loosened up for us a bit financially (or maybe I just now really see the value in paying $15-20 to have your hair clipped). But hubby thinks I do a better job than hair cut place, and we're still clipping at home. I even tried to give him a coupon for a FREE haircut at SportsClips and he refused it!

Damn me and my mad hair clipper skills!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Watch The First 17 Minutes Of FlashForward!!

Looks awesome to me!! What do you think?

Will You Be Lost After LOST is over?

Oh will I survive without you? I'm not the biggest TV fan, but when I do find something to watch, I'm an addict. Before LOST I was a Sex and The City freak, and before that I guess it was Seinfeld. Okay, if I go back any further we'll be in the 80's. Truth be told, I still think of The Cosby Show and Family Ties as Thursday night lineup. I feel so left out most of the time when the topic turns to TV. There's a 9o% chance I have no clue what you're even talking about, except when it comes to LOST or anything "educational" (you know, NatGeo and Discovery stuff).

I figure I like LOST for several reasons. It has action, drama, and romance (just don't mention the term sci-fi, and I'm good). The perfect recipe to tune in each week and tune out on real life. But, it's also thought provoking and I like that it gets me thinking! I'll find myself "slipping away" mentally and thinking about the show, trying to figure it all out, etc. I'm not saying I'm going to build a rocket because of LOST. But, I can find more way more value in it than watching, say, Desperate Housewives. That's one show I don't get, again another lifestyle I don't promote so I can't imagine wasting my time watching it. At least it's fiction I guess. Anyway, I'll leave that topic for another day.

So, other LOST nerds like me might know that they have picked up filming again in Hawaii. Yippee! With filming comes rumors and scoop! I keep up with the news via Dark UFO. I've never been a forum fan and this is a blog style site.

Are you a LOST fan? What do you think of this whole reset thing? After the videos that were released at Comic-Con 2009 (something I'd never thought I'd even be aware of) like Kate's America's Most Wanted Video and the rumors of them filming 815 landing/LAX scenes, seems it's TV "fact". I'm glad I've had time to start processing it all, and am now beginning to have questions (in a good way). I've heard some people complain that this would make the last 5 seasons a waste, but I think the exact opposite is true. What are your biggest questions now, that we're leading up to the final season? Do you seek out spoilers? Who is your favorite character, why? Do you watch LOST clips, videos, etc on during the hiatus?

Even though I couldn't be more excited to see how the ending plays out in LOST, I will be sad when it's all over. But, the end is months away! For now, let's focus on the "now" in LOSTland, whatever and whenever that might be.

Thanks to DarkUFO for the photo.

Monday, September 14, 2009

An Overnight Staycation At The Hilton Anatole

This weekend we took our second staycation of the summer. What is a staycation you might be asking? A staycation is a mini vacation where you stay in town (or at home). For us that means heading to the Hilton Anatole in Dallas. There are several reasons why we've become addicted to the overnight staycation.

First off is the hotel. When was the last time you went to a hotel and enjoyed some of the amenities they offer? My guess is never. For adults, hotels are places to stay while we're on the road or visiting cool destinations. But when you visit cool destinations (ex: Disney World), it seems you're pressed for time. We stayed at a beautiful resort in Florida last year, and never once had a chance to even swim. That was a bummer for my kids since they LOVE hotels! Hotels are the funnest and most memorable part of a vacation for a child. What's not to like? There's a bed you can usually jump on a few times before you get yelled at. Glass elevators and escalators, the need for trips down the hall for ice, fun new bathrooms, indoor pools in the winter. Okay, I think you get the idea. Hotels are super cool to kids!

Second, we love that there really isn't much of a drive. It takes us about 35 minutes to get to the Anatole. Right about the time the kids decide to start repetitively asking "are we there yet?", we are pulling in. Not to mention that you don't need to plan ahead with oil changes, gas fill ups, etc.
For us, the Anatole is also positioned closer to "new and different" things to do. Since we were staying close to downtown, we ate dinner at El Fenix which is super yummy! Plus, my husband and kids had never been. Although, being close to downtown has a few drawbacks, such as the strong smell of pee outside the restaurant. :)

The third reason we love the staycation, is the leisurely mornings. With no rushing to get back on the road, we enjoyed a full breakfast and swam in the indoor pool while it poured down rain outside. I even got to soak in the hot tub! Then we packed up (but didn't make our beds!!) and headed to the Dallas World Aquarium right down the road. The aquarium was lots of fun and a great indoor activity with all of the rain.

Finally, the trip home was quick and there was not a pile of laundry to wash, that's a win-win for me.

Have you tried a staycation? What did you do? Will you do another?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

HOAs Are For Mindless Drones

Guest Post by Keith Wilcox

I rent my house and I've always rented my homes. In all this time I've never rented in an area with a HOA (Home Owners Association). When it comes time to finally buy a house I will never ever belong to one. People who do belong to them either don't realize the freedom they are giving up for no good reason, or are mindless drones who don't care that they are paying to live under fascist rule. These houses that people buy, in these massive sub divisions, are not cheap yet they come with strings. Why are HOAs most common in suburban subdivisions? Because the are implemented by builders who are keen to protect their investments. I bet you thought once you bought your house that it was yours. You'd be wrong. If you don't follow the rules the builder, who has contracted out with an HOA management company, will foreclose on you. They don't care about you, they care that they get return on their investment and they use the banks and HOAs to make it happen. Older neighborhoods don't have HOAs. They don't have them because the same builder did not build all the houses; each house was typically built by either an individual or a small company. This is why, in old neighborhoods, the houses don't all look like they were sucked out of the pages of 1984.

My Neighborhood

People will argue that HOAs protect residents from unruly and disruptive behavior. That's bull crap! HOAs protect investment property in the same way landlords don't allow residents to paint the walls or hang hooks because it will increase repair cost prior to the next resident. I live in a HOA free neighborhood. It's a rich neighborhood too. It's the Newlands Neighborhood of Boulder, Colorado where the median home price is about a million dollars. No two houses look alike and they all carry their own distinctive flavor. My house was built in 1927 by a father and son who dragged stones out of the mountains for construction material. Yeah, my house is stone and it's not going anywhere. My neighbors house is a big log cabin, and the neighbor after him has a gingerbread looking house. The guy living across the street from me is a rent house like mine. Nobody can tell the difference between the rent houses and the others because we all respect our neighborhood and don't throw wild parties or disrupt people with redneck stupidity.


Suburbia is where you find HOAs. They exist in areas where every house is within 10 feet of the next and they all look just about the same. They're all built from the same materials and they all conform to the same building code. My friend lives in one of these areas. I tried to visit him last month and I got the wrong house because I couldn't tell the difference between them. Think about the people who want to be a little different. They hang a flag outside to add a little character. They fancy up their mailbox a bit so the mailman and guests can find them better. And god forbid they have a family and the kids want a tree house. Try getting that past an HOA! Holy crap; it a nightmare. I won't live in suburbia. I won't live there because I refuse to pay out the nose for a house that isn't really mine and where I have to listen to a half wit about how I didn't cut my lawn to specification. I refuse to live in a tract of houses that have shoddy construction. Yes, modern suburban houses have shoddy construction. The cost of lumber is going up and they reduce cost by using less of it while increasing the drywall to cover it up. Sure, these suburban houses look fancy, but which ones are going over in a hurricane? You bet it's the shitty HOA ones first!

Not only do you give up freedom while still paying, in many cases, the same or more than someone who lives free, you are also living in inferior housing in a suburban wasteland where nobody has a speck of individuality left. It's enough to really create a lot of stress in people. No wonder folks are so unhealthy; It's all because of HOAs. But really, I would pack it up and move to the city or out to the country. Being stuck in between sucks the life out of good people who simply don't realize what they're actually giving up. The Nazis did the same thing. They pushed further and further and people accepted it. They got themselves elected based on a promise of financial conservancy and responsible stewardship of the state. Sounds just like an HOA.

Visit Keith's parenting & caring for kids blog, AlmightyDad.Com. Keith is an awesome stay at home dad who spends his days home schooling his two boys, playing, writing insightful articles, studying languages, and exercising.

On a personal note, I live just where Keith described. So, yes, I'm a mindless drone!! Does it make it any better that I'm aware of the fact? I honestly couldn't agree with him more and I think our neighborhood would look exactly the same HOA or not. There will always be people who take pride in home ownership and there will always be those who don't care and have weeds & cars on blocks. The later just ignore the HOA anyway.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mickey Mouse Is Real, He Blinks His Eyes!

I just thought this was funny. I was taking some awesome pictures of a show in front on Cinderella's Castle last December at Disney World. The show was a little special, because before we even left for Florida my daughter kept telling me she was having dreams (plural) of watching all the Disney Princesses dance on stage. Her dream came true as we were heading out of the Magic Kingdom our final day. It was a bit creepy in fact (the dream coming true part), I had tears and goosebumps at the same time.

So anyway, I was trying to take a cute picture for my son to frame for his room. And, here's a great shot of Goofy, Donald, Mickey and Minnie except Mickey Mouse blinked his eyes!! Who would have thought that Mickey blinks?

At least on my next trip, I'll be looking out for character eye blinking while taking pictures!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Why Is America Obbessed With Jon & Kate Plus Hate (opps) Eight?

Here's one I'll never get, Jon & Kate Plus Eight. Sure I understood in the beginning, we're all curious about the "All American" family with twins and sextuplets. It seems so overwhelming and mind blowing for anyone who's a parent of just one child. We all wanted to tune in and see how it's done. But, that's pretty much were it all ended for me.

Just look at the recap for the first episode of their TLC show, "Kate and Jon want to make sure their eight grow up with traditions and Fall is prime time for a family ritual. They take the kids to a local orchard for pumpkin and apple picking, and end the day with romping through a corn maze." Aww, that sounds so sweet!

Well, not so much for me! Watching 2 parents try to load up and get 8 kids out of the house and then attempt "normal" family activities such as excursions and errands is way to much for me. I rarely even watch TV, and when I do, it's to relax (& maybe learn in the process). Watching Jon & Kate Plus Eight is anything but peaceful. Yup, that's just what I look forward to in the evenings after I get my two kids in bed, a nice cup of tea (or glass of wine..hehe) and watching a family of 10 scream at each other. I might have a total of 2 episodes under my belt.

Okay, let's flash forward to present day. Now we have a few years of fame, money and media corruption under our belts and Jon & Kate are divorcing. No surprise to me. I can't possibly imagine how they could have a strong healthy marriage with 8 kids, volunteers, bodyguards, staff, a television crew and a camera in their face 24/7. What makes it all terrible is, they are using the media to spew and promote their hate for each other. Real classy!!

Jon recently told Good Morning America "I despise [her] because she's not speaking from the heart". That's great and I'm sure it's true. But maybe that should be shared in family counseling, not to the world via the media. I just love this picture of Jon in front of all the bikini clad babes in a pool (damn, what a family man!!), professing this love for his new soul mate, 22 year old Haily Glassman. Jon's such the catch and all (with 8 kids!), she can't possibly be with him for his money and to hang to his "fame" coat tails. :)

Anyway, these people have issues and need some in private professional help if they plan on raising their kids into being 8 self sufficient adults. Here's my point and question. If Jon & Kate are not the sort of folks who you would hang out with socially and have as role models for your children, why are so many American families wasting hours and hours still watching their shows and interviews and buying their smut mags at the grocery store and tell all books at Barnes and Noble? That is what's paying their bills and supporting their lifestyles people!!!

Further more, looks like my dreams for them fading into the background might be put on hold if Jon agrees to do the show "Divorced Dads Club" with Kevin Kederline and Michael Lohan ( 2 more great fathers). Just another stupid reality show for people to rot their brains watching. I prefer to surround myself with people and things I believe in and support, thankfully reality TV never fits the bill.

What do you think?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

President Obama Is Speaking To School Kids Today

I think this is great!! Call me crazy, but it seems that the more controversial this topic becomes the more I support it.

The fact that it's controversial is crazy to begin with. Bush and Regan both spoke to students during their administration with no fear. What are people afraid of? Have these "freaked out" parents and school districts actually read the speech (check it out President Obama's prepared speech here)?

I bet the schools are afraid kids might listen and stay in school....eek! No, not that! We sure don't want to be a nation full of educated people.

I know! Maybe parents are afraid of their kids believing in themselves? "Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide." Yup, that's a pretty racy message with a hidden political agenda!

Heaven forbid we teach our children that they should respect the leader of our FREE country. That they should value an education, believe in themselves and work hard at their dreams no matter what their current circumstances are.

I read the speech last night and loved it! I personally, am always inspired by President Obama, and was brought to tears. To me, President Obama stands for everything American. He's an interracial man from a financially challenged (at times), single parent home who became president! What is more inspiring than that?

Anyone who is concerned about the President speaking to their children about staying in school is scared and ignorant. Read the speech (educate yourself!!) people and have more faith in your President!

I'd love to hear your comments!!