Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Chicken Little Random

For this week's Random Dozen, go here to link up with Lid and read more great answers. Then do your own. Hey, wait! Don't forget to read mine (and comment on them!) first.

1. How do you feel about the marshmallow Easter Peeps?
They never call. They never write. They show up once a year. I think I'd call them fair-weather friends.

2. Chickens are notoriously nervous creatures. When you are nervous, what is the best way to calm down?

Scratch a little in the dirt and then crow a few times.

3. People say, "April showers bring May flowers." Do you enjoy Spring rains?

Fall rainy days are cool. The wind is chilly, and it's a perfect day to curl up indoors with a good book and a blanket in front of a roaring fire with soup simmering on the stove. Spring rains bring mud. 

4. When I was randomly flipping through TV channels this week, I saw a show in which tattoo parlor employees received tattoos of a co-worker's face on their bodies. I can't imagine having a portrait of a colleague tattooed on me. But if someone forced you to receive a portrait tattoo (face only) of anyone, who would it be? Why?

I imagine if someone was forcing me to get a tattoo, they probably already have a face in mind. And I hope they have a little sedation as well because needles are not exactly my favorite things.

5. Would you rather have a tattoo (any kind) or a nose ring?

That depends on which gang I'm joining. But then again, if I'm in a fight, no one can grab the tattoo and give it a yank. Can't say the same for a nose ring. 

6. Do you have any special plans for Easter?

Oh, just making egg-shaped Easter cards, and then sitting out in the egg patch waiting for the Great Egg, decorating the egg tree, then eating the roast chicken with egg stuffing, followed by watching the pastel fireworks. You know--same ol', same ol'.

7. Cadbury Eggs or Reese Eggs?

I prefer to keep my candy separate from my eggs. Eggs go with bacon.

8. What was the last thing/person you took a picture of?

I'm not telling until I hear back from America's Most Wanted.

9. What book are you reading now, or what was the last one?

How to Win Friends and Influence People. Is it working?

10. What do you think is the most difficult task when it comes to Spring cleaning?

Doing it.

11. How many pairs of flip-flops do you own?

You said "pairs", right? I don't know, but I have a great collection of single flip-flops that have lost their mates. I'm thinking of starting a support group.

12. Which color makes you happiest?

It depends on what item is being colored.  Pink accents in clothing? Good. Decorating? Bad. Pepto Bismol pink? Only in medicine. Green in clothing and decorating? Good. In food? Usually means you need to throw it away. It's all a matter of perspective.

Okay, now hurry over to Linda's and read some more great answers. And then go eat Easter candy. You know you want some.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Coupon Frenzy

A couple of months ago I had a friend invite me to a little meeting she was going to one Monday night. It was a meeting for couponing--a lecture on how to get the most out of coupons.

I've never been much of a coupon-user. Sure, I've had them on occasion. But I would lose them, or they would expire. And really, how excited can you get about getting forty cents off "when you buy two"? I was quite happy with generic brands of most things, I decided.

In spite of that, I decided to go to the meeting because I liked my friend and wanted to spend time with her. And it was being held at Panera. Who doesn't love that? Just going to the meeting was an eye opener because most of the other women there were homeschool moms. Boy, you can spot them a mile away, can't you? (Don't get offended. I am a homeschool mom.) I took notes for a future post on that, but I also took notes on the lecture.

I was amazed.

I've heard the stories. You know, women who saved more than they spent at the store? People who somehow managed to put together enough fifty cent off coupons to actually make a dent in their grocery budget. The kind of people who paid less than a dollar for boxes of cereal (name brand cereal!) and always seemed to get an incredible deal on their makeup. Personally, I thought those things were urban myth. At least, I did until the lecturer passed around some of her recent register receipts. These receipts listed $70 or $80 worth of items. At the bottom, you could see where she had actually paid out $3.

I was in awe. It was like finding out that, not only was Superman a real person, but he had a cape for everyone who wanted one.

So I strapped my cape on, and started out. I admit it was rough going at first. You've got to be able to think through scenarios. You've got to be able to anticipate possible windfalls. The first couple of weeks, I saved a little money. But then I'd go home and look at my coupons and see how many opportunities I'd missed. But finally I had a breakthrough.

One week I realized I'd actually saved as much as I spent. I was thrilled, and the savings spurred me on to greater effort in flushing out each and every savings opportunity. I started refusing to buy things unless they were on sale AND I had a coupon. I scoured sale papers. I thrived on the savings.

I became ... Coupon Woman! (My cape is green, in case you want to know.)

I am now savings hundreds (that's right. I said hundreds) of dollars each month. I'm well on my way to becoming the urban myth I'd always heard about.

And, I've got that great post for identifying homeschool moms. It just doesn't get any better than this.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday Memories -- Spaghetti

Quite often when people hear that I have six kids, they inevitably comment, "I don't know how you do it!" I usually respond with, "not very well!" There is one tip I've learned though, that is essential to raising children, no matter how many you have. And I thought I'd give this tip with today's memory. Here it is:

Never take your eyes off them.



When Matt and Steph were little, I was a full time secretary, and Terry worked second shift driving a forklift. When I got off work on Wednesdays, I had very little time to pick the two kids up from the sitter's, get them home and fed and dressed for prayer meeting. One Wednesday night I decided to dress them while I was waiting for dinner to finish cooking. Then I swathed them in towels to make sure their clothes stayed clean, and told them to eat quickly while I finished getting ready.

When I returned to the kitchen, both children sat at the table, doing their best to look innocent. I'm not sure why they thought I would buy that because they couldn't hide the fact that spaghetti was plastered to the walls, table and floor, and both of them were dripping with spaghetti as well. Apparently Matthew decided it would be funny to throw a handful of spaghetti at his sister. Stephanie, always able to hold her own, decided to give as good as she got. And the result was a spaghetti explosion in the kitchen.

I'm pretty sure Matt would have thought of throwing spaghetti if I was still in the room, but he would have curbed the desire under my watchful eye.

And that's the reason for the tip. Never. Look. Away. Sure, it requires a complete lack of sleep and any semblance of a life, but you gave those up once you decided to have kids anyway.

Oh! And here's another tip:  try to hold off feeding them spaghetti until they're a little older. It won't stop the food fights, but at least they can help clean up the mess.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Strangers Passing in the Night

Okay, you want to know something totally weird? Or freaky? Or maybe it's just me and my over active imagination. You tell me.

I have a feeder service that tells me about my blog traffic. It's interesting because it tells me where people are going in order to get to my blog. The feeder helps me to identify my target audience. Clearly, sometimes they just happen to stumble across it. Sometimes I think they come by accident. Sometimes it's my "regulars"; the followers on my blog that I communicate with on a regular basis.

I get a lot of international hits on my blog. I've gotten quite a few from Saudi Arabia. I had no idea they'd get my sense of humor over there. I've also had hits from Moscow, Japan, Spain (I know those people!) and various other countries that I can barely identify.

It is interesting(!) to see how people searched in order to find me. Sometimes they searched for "Jill Boyd's blog". Sometimes they were searching for something innocuous. Like insurance. I did a post a few weeks ago about insurance, and I used pictures of several well-known spokespeople. And one gecko.

One time I had someone in the cornfields of middle America hit my blog in the wee hours of the morning. They did it by searching for "Terry and Jill Boyd in Florida".  Hmm! That would be us. Except we don't know anyone in the cornfields of middle America. But apparently they know us.

Recently I had an international hit from someone who was searching for "Jill is sprayed by poison gas".


 Is anyone else uncomfortable here?

Well, on the plus side, if they're international, they're not going to be spraying me with poison gas anytime soon. And there's a lot of Jills in the world. It doesn't have to be me. Except this hit came from Asia. I don't know how many Jills they have over there.

Of course you know what my imagination is doing. Nothing that's good for my blood pressure, that's for sure. And now I'm wondering--how careful are you about your presence on the internet? Do you ever worry about stalkers? Or poison gas attacks? (I live in a household of males. We have poison gas attacks almost every night. )

I want to hear of any weird encounters you've had on the internet. It'll make me feel better. Maybe.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Punny Idea

Just thought I'd try to give you a smile today, since we don't laugh too much around here. Enjoy!
1. The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.

2. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.

3. She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.

4. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class, because it was a weapon of math disruption.

5. No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

6. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.

7. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.

8. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.

9. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.

11. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

12. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other: 'You stay here; I'll go on a head.'

13. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.

14. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: 'Keep off the Grass.'

15. The short fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.

16. The man who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran

17. A backward poet writes inverse.

18. In a democracy it's your vote that counts. In feudalism it's your count that votes.

19. When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Roving Random

Linda is out this week, so we have a new hostess for this week's questions. You know the drill. Read my answers, then go here to copy the questions to your own blog. Or just to read lots of other people's answers. And now a random start--

1.  What is your favorite sign of Spring?
I love the blue skies and--wait. That happens all the time here. Okay, I like the warm temperatures and--oops, get that all year long, too. Well you can't beat seeing flowers in bloom or--you know, it's hard to know what season it is in paradise!

2.  Did you remember to spring forward on March 14?  If not, how did it impact your day?

I set my clocks ahead fairly early in the evening Saturday night. I was still late to church on Sunday.

3.  If soil, time, talent and climate were no problem, what vegetable would you plant in a garden this year?

I would plant rutabagas because I like to say rutabagas.  It's a fun word. I have no idea what it's like as a vegetable.

4.  If soil, time, talent and climate were no problem, what fruit would you plant?

I would plant kumquats and loquats for the same reason I plant rutabagas.

5.  What is your least favorite insect?

Seriously, who has a favorite insect? And more importantly, why would I want to know that person?

6.  March 22 was World Water Day. To celebrate, here are some water questions. Do you drink bottled water? If so, what brand?

Water has a day? Is that really fair? I mean, when is Chocolate Milk Day? That's a cause I could support.

7.  Have you ever been somewhere that it was not safe to drink the local water? If so, how did you handle that?

If the water's not safe to drink, why would you handle it? (And Uganda. We had a filter and we boiled water.)

8.  How many glasses of water do you drink per day?

I'll tell you if you tell me how many cups of coffee you drink per day. Seriously. Leave an answer in the comments. Or how much soda do you drink? (That's Coke or Pepsi-type products for those of you that call it "pop".)

9.  March 24 is the birthday of Harry Houdini.  Have you ever watched a professional magic show? Share.

I get to see a magic show every single time I need help around the house. My kids disappear.

10.  Have you ever been a participant in a professional magic show (up on stage!)?

Couldn't possibly. They're always wanting to stick you in a box and make you disappear, or they're laying you in a box and sawing you in half. I can't do that. I'm claustrophobic. Plus, most magicians "assistants" I've seen look beautiful and dumb. I can look beautiful and I can look dumb, but I've never been able to do both at the same time.

11. March 24 is also the birthday of Steve McQueen and Clyde Barrow. Do you like Westerns or gangster movies?  If so, what is your favorite?

What I'd like to see is John Wayne in a gangster movie. Or a gangster in a western. Because then you'd have a comedy.

12. (Really random)  What U.S. state that you've never visited would you like to visit someday?

I've had complaints that I don't really answer the random dozen questions, so I'm actually going to "answer" this one. (BTW, look at the words in blue. Those are answers.) I'd like to visit South Dakota and Montana. And as long as I was in the area, I'd like to swing through Idaho as well. Why? Because I've never been there. Didn't you read the question?

Well that was fun! Now hurry over to Southlakesmom and read some more answers! (Not everyone puts their answers in blue. Just wanted to warn you.)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mystery Shopping Basics

In case you haven't figured it out by now, there were no Monday Memories this week. Not that I don't have any--actually I was having trouble deciding which memory to share. But instead I spent my time caring for sick and injured family members. Now that everyone's getting back on track, it's not Monday anymore. So I'll have memories next week.

In the meantime, I had a lot of comments with questions about my post on Friday. So I want to give you a few basics on mystery shopping.

The first thing you need to know is that mystery shoppers are independent contractors. They don't usually work for just one company. They sign up with and work for a variety of companies that offer mystery shopping services. When the company has a job that needs doing, they send out emails to their shoppers.

What do you need for the work? A computer with internet access (not dial-up). A printer and scanner are a must. A digital camera would help. You need an email address--I have one specifically for mystery shopping. You can get free ones at hotmail, yahoo or gmail. You'll also need a paypal account. It's very easy to set up, and it's free. Use your mystery shopping email address. This is a convenient and safe way to get paid for mystery shopping. Sometimes you can request a check to be mailed by the mystery shopping company instead, but payment by check takes longer, and more and more mystery shopping companies are moving exclusively to paypal for payment and reimbursement.

So where do you find these companies? Well DON'T simply google "mystery shopping" and start clicking on links. There are a lot of scams out there. And a lot of websites will offer you a list of mystery shopping companies for $25.00 or even $35.00. The first place you want to go on the internet is to the Mystery Shopping Providers Association. This website can give you a list of companies that are looking for mystery shoppers. The website will also give some advice on the latest scams, and some ideas for mystery shopping.

When you click on the links for different mystery shopping companies, you'll need to fill out applications to work there. Some of the companies also ask a lot of demographic questions. The reason for this is because some shops require specific shoppers. Some are just for men. Some are for shoppers with a teenager between 15-17 (video store), etc. The more information you give them, the better your chances of getting notification on shops you qualify for. This can be a tedious process of filling out applications, but the more companies you're signed up with, the more work you'll get.

One term you may see often is MSPA certified. While you can simply mystery shop, if you go through the MSPA certification processes (silver and gold) you will qualify for more shops. And you will get higher paying shops. Many times you also get notice of shopping opportunities before others do.

You need to know that some shops require you to purchase something. Sometimes the companies want you to send the item to them. Other times you can keep the item as part of your pay.

That's the basics of getting started at mystery shopping. Tomorrow is Random Dozen, but on Thursday I'll cover a few tips to doing successful shops.

BTW, someone asked me what my favorite place to shop is. You gotta love the restaurant shops. Hubby and I get dinner out, and someone else reimburses us for a meal.

Happy shopping!

Friday, March 19, 2010

I Have A Secret!

Well with a title like that you came running, didn't you? And is your mind scrambling frantically through the various secrets I might be hiding? Are you thinking ...

She committed a crime.

She has another child somewhere.
Isn't six enough? 

She's murdered someone and buried them in the backyard.
Only in my writing.

She's pregnant.

Let me say that again:  ABSOLUTELY NO!

Just want to make sure we're clear on that.

And by the way--NO!

So what's my secret? I'm a mystery shopper. I actually shop stores, restaurants, hotels, etc., to make sure they're meeting all requirements of their respective corporate offices. Tonight I mystery shopped a restaurant. Nothing like getting a free meal in exchange for observing a few details about the restaurant, food, servers, etc.

I do not wear a disguise.

My husband says this is the perfect job for me because it combines my two talents:  shopping and being critical.

He is no longer going with me when I mystery shop restaurants.

Anyway, since I'm so close with so many of you, I mean except for the whole never-met-you-in-real-life thing, I felt bad for keeping a secret.

So now you know.

And knowing is half the battle! (Can you name that action figure?)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Typical Day with the Boys

My husband was out of town for the last couple of days so the boys and I had some quality (!) time together. We're now ready for some quality time apart. Hence, they are staying home with their father tomorrow while I go to work.

What did today include?

A stopped up toilet. At work. Stopped up and overflowing, actually. It took two rolls of paper towels to clean it up. The faint smell of clorox lingered in the office air for the rest of the day.

The boys eating everything in sight. And asking for more. (Could this be the reason for the first problem? Just askin'.)

Schoolwork left at home when I took the boys with me to work.

Piano lessons when three of the boys hadn't practiced all week.

Letting the dog out at 11:30 at night, only to have him decide he wants to play with the two armadillos in our yard. We almost never got him back in the house.

All of this was topped off by Joel during Patch the Pirate Club. The two ladies that work in Patch are sisters-in-law. I chatted quietly at the back of the room with one, but apparently we were distracting. The lady in front cocked a disapproving eyebrow at her sister-in-law. Said sil (sister-in-law, duh! What else?) immediately assumed a repentant look and straightened up.

Since my behavior was not even acknowledged, I smirked at my partner in mischief and gloated that she got in trouble and I didn't. (Sometimes I am so mature!) SIL immediately complained that I was making fun of her because she got in trouble. I assumed an innocent look and declared that I would never do something like that.

Joel was sitting on the back row. "Hey!" he interrupted, looking at my not-so-repentant friend. "I know my mom." Pause. "She would definitely do something like that."

And I thought he was going to defend me! The other lady actually gave Joel a piece of candy to reward his "honesty". I held him up for it after the meeting and demanded half.

And that was my day on Wednesday. How was yours?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Randomly Irish

The top o' the marnin' to ya! (Because really, who wants the bottom of the morning?) Sure and it's time for the Irish Random. Read through my answers and then go to Lid's at 2nd Cup of Coffee and link up with your own.

1. On a scale of 1-10, how superstitious are you, honestly?
If you usually read my random answers (and really, who doesn't?) then you know that often I pick a "5" on a number scale. However, this time I can honestly say I am a 0. Seriously. I'm not superstitious. I'll walk under a ladder, I'll let a black cat cross my path and I never throw salt over my shoulder. I'm not very coordinated and I think the granules would probably accidentally go down my collar and that would be very irritating.

2. Julius Caesar is quoted as saying, "I came, I saw, I conquered." Which circumstance or experience of yours does this saying best describe?
Childbirth. I'm an expert.

3. If I peeked in on your day like a mischievous little leprechaun, at what time would I most likely find you blogging?
If you peeked in on me like a leprechaun, then I'd smack you in the head and steal claim your pot of gold. Then I'd pay someone to blog for me.

4. Re springing forward for Daylight Saving Time, is there anything you've ever been really early or really late for?
I was really late for my own birth. My mother carried me for ten months. The woman was a saint.

5. What are you most looking forward to concerning Spring?
The end of these freezing cold temperatures. Really, I can't take this fifty degree weather much longer. 

6. Shamrocks are the national flower of Ireland and are picked on St. Patrick's Day and worn on the lapel or shoulder. Do you wear green on St. Patty's Day?
My eyes are green. Does that count?

7. One of Caesar's assassins, Casca, said, "But, for my own part, it was Greek to me," which of course means he didn't understand something. Probably his own lines in the play. Anyway, what is something that is "Greek to you," something incomprehensible or indecipherable?
The mind of a male. I live with six of them, and I still can't figure out why they do the things they do.

8. Is March behaving more like a lion or a lamb where you live?
I think it's behaving more like a cat. Arrogantly unconcerned with what I want, and in no hurry to move along.

9. "An extra yawn one morning in the springtime, an extra snooze one night in the autumn is all that we ask in return for dazzling gifts. We borrow an hour one night in April; we pay it back with golden interest five months later." -Winston Churchill. If you had one extra hour per day every day, what would you do with it?
I would spend my time figuring out how to fit thirteen hours on the face of a clock. I'd make a fortune!

10. Legend says that every Leprechaun has a pot of gold hidden deep in the Irish countryside. Aside from real gold or money, what material item would be in your dream pot of gold?
I'm assuming this material item would be on top of the gold in the pot. Because seriously, what good is a pot of gold without any gold?

11. "The best things are nearest: breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of God just before you." Robert Louis Stevenson. Look around you right now and tell us about something essential or beautiful very near you that you take for granted every day.
It's first thing in the morning, and I can't help but think that I take my bed for granted. I don't visit it near enough. I really feel I should curl up and spend some more time with it this morning.

12. Just for a bit o' fun, click here( and then report your Irish name. Mine is "Zoe O'Sullivan." I love it!
I'm sure this is all very scientifically calculated based on my gender and the number of letters in my name. The first time I checked I was Zaira Flynn. Then I was my cousin, Eimear Flynn. And finally I was a singer named Zoe Carroll. I thought Jill was hard to live with because of that oh so not funny, "Where's Jack" joke. But seriously I think I got a deal compared to some of these monikers. Is Eimear even a real name? 

See? That didn't hurt a bit! Now hurry over to Lid's before you miss out on something fun!

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Dangers of Cinnamon Toast

Cinnamon toast was a great treat when I was growing up. It's not too bad now, either, come to think of it. I was the middle of six children with two older sisters and three younger brothers. Breakfast at our house was always a scramble for whatever you wanted to fix that day. There was usually cereal and some instant oatmeal. But the big draw for breakfast was poptarts.

Mom only bought so many, and the rule was first come first served. One morning I rummaged through the kitchen and found two poptarts that had not yet been claimed. I enjoyed them thoroughly, and was just finishing up when my brother, a year and a half younger than me, came into the kitchen.

Apparently he knew there were two poptarts recently because he went directly to the cabinet for them. When he realized they were gone, he demanded to know who had eaten "his" poptarts.

"I did," I told him with no remorse. "Your name wasn't on them. You snooze, you lose." (I was so clever back then. And I usually got up earlier than he did.)

Brother insisted that, since I had eaten his breakfast, I owed him something. he demanded that I make cinnamon toast for him.

If it was in the kitchen it was fair game, and I hadn't done anything wrong. I started to tell him what to do with his cinnamon toast and his sense of entitlement when a thought stopped me. I swallowed my anger and managed to smile. (He should have known then to watch out.)

"Fine," I agreed. "I'll make your cinnamon toast. Two slices?"


I carefully toasted and buttered the bread and then sprinkled it with sugar. Then I reached into the cabinet and used the cinnamon on one slice. The other three slices got healthy doses of chili powder. Hey, it's the same color! I popped it into the microwave just long enough to melt the sugar and then took the plate to him.

"Here you are," I said cheerfully. And here's where my full genius lies. I knew he would be suspicious if I were too happy to serve. So I pulled the piece of authentic cinnamon toast off the plate and ate it, telling him that was my pay for fixing his breakfast. He gave a token protest and then settled down to his breakfast.

Would you believe he scarfed down all three pieces of toast without hesitation? I waited until the last bite  disappeared and then asked sweetly, "Did you enjoy your breakfast?"

"Yes," he answered graciously. "Thank you for fixing it for me."

"Your welcome. And did you enjoy the chili powder I used instead of cinnamon?"

He stared at me in shock for a moment before the storm broke. The upshot was, he told Mom, but when she heard the whole story, she said he deserved what he got.

I win.

This is my memory for this Monday's Memories. Tell the truth. How many of you have pulled a prank of a sibling? Care to confess here?

How many of you read this story and then immediately thought, "She ate two poptarts and a piece of cinnamon toast for breakfast?" I'll have you know I was in high school, and I could eat a whole lot more than that without gaining a ounce. Who's laughing now?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fighting the Giants

One of the sermons during our conference last week focused on killing the giants in our lives. The speaker pointed out that giants are things that we have to conquer, or trials we're going through or a sin over which we just can't get victory. He used the story of David and Goliath in I Samuel 17, and then he used II Samuel 21:15-22. That second passage talks of giants that needed to be fought toward the end of David's life. According to Scripture, these giants were brothers of Goliath. The sermon was a real encouragement to me, and I just want to share a few points with you.

1. Not everyone fights the same giants. Some of the things I struggle with might seem silly to you. On the other hand, I may have absolutely no trouble with something that you fight against all the time. Have compassion for people no matter what their giant is.

2. Not every giant will attack the same way. Goliath boldly went out before the entire Israelite army, insulting them and their God and challenging them to come fight him. In II Samuel 22, one of the giants was sneaky. He got behind enemy lines and almost killed David before one of his men struck him.

3. The same method does not kill every giant. What worked at one point against the giants in your life may not work at another point. Be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in how to battle the giants.

4. No matter how big the giants are, or how great their weapons are, if God is on our side, then the giants are no match for us.

Just wanted to share a little encouragement today. Been fighting any giants lately?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Plinko Dozen

We're ready for the Plinko Random Dozen. If you don't know what plinko is, or what random dozen is (are?) then you need to click here and read all about it. After readying my answers, of course. And commenting on them, of course. Then you can click there and read all the other answers before linking up with your own. And away we go!!!!!

1. How old is the oldest pair of shoes in your closet?

It's probably a good thing you said pair because I have several single shoes that have lost a mate and are languishing in the back of my closet. I'm thinking about putting an ad for them at because I'm certain they are not the only shoes that have lost a mate. I tend to be rather hard on shoes. Or else I lose them. But I never lose a pair which is really kind of weird because it's not like I take one shoe off and set it down while wearing the other one for a while. I usually take both off at the same time so how could they not end up in the same place at the same time? It's not like one could just walk off. (Oh, I crack myself up!)

2. Did you buy Girl Scout cookies this year? If so, what variety?

This is actually the first year I ever bought Girl Scout cookies, and I bought the thin mints. I must say, though, that I don't believe they lived up to the hype. I never trust a cookie that wasn't made by an elf.

3. Do you know how to ballroom dance? If not, would you like to?

I would love to ballroom dance, but sadly, I have no ballroom and therefore it is not allowed. Or possible.

4. Were you a responsible child/teenager?

Absolutely! Anytime something went wrong I was responsible. (Oh, come on! Like you didn't see that one coming a mile away!)

5. How many of this year's Oscar-nominated movies did you see?

I haven't seen any Oscar-nominated ones, but I have a few that Bert and Ernie recommended. (Sesame Street, people. Try to keep up.)

6. If you're going to have a medical procedure done, such as having blood drawn, is it easier for you to watch someone else having the procedure done or have it done yourself?

I think it would be hard for me personally to have my blood drawn from someone else. After all, it's my blood, and therefore, usually it's in my veins.

7. What is your favorite day of the week and why?

I like all the days that end in "y", but my favorites are the days that end in "day".

8. Do you miss anyone right now?

No, but I'm not presently shooting at anyone either.

9. Do hospitals make you queasy?

No, but bad Chinese food does.

10. At which store would you like to max-out your credit card. Not that you ever would, you responsible person, you.

Considering I don't have much of a limit on my card, I'd probably have to go with the Dollar Store.

11. Are you true to the brand names of products/items?

I stick with brand names for underwear and spaghetti sauce. Everything else is negotiable.

12. Which is more difficult: looking into someone’s eyes when you are telling someone how you feel, or looking into someone’s eyes when he/she is telling you how he/she feels?

Unless you're talking about good feelings here, I can't imagine that it's very easy to look into someone's eyes at this point. And because we're talking about levels of difficulty, I find it hard to believe we would be discussing something good. So I'm gonna go with neither, but I am very proud of myself for the deductive reasoning I've exercised on this question. Wanna tell me how you feel about that?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I Could Use A Smile

 It's a little dreary and rainy today, and I'm a little down. So how about leaving a bunch of comments today? Tell a joke, tell a funny story. Make me laugh. Please.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday's Memories

So if you were expecting huge changes and new layouts after Friday's hint of something new, I'm sorry to disappoint you. The blog will be undergoing some changes in the next few months, but I'm not sure how sweeping they will be. In fact, maybe I'll start awarding prizes to anyone who can spot the miniscule changes that come over my blog this year. But then people would start identifying accidental changes caused by a lack of design knowledge so forget that idea.

When I started this blog, my purpose was to make more friends, and to affect others in various ways. One of the easiest ways for me to influence others is to make them laugh. That's why I do Random Dozen each Wednesday. That's why I write posts about being married to Indiana Jones, or about my failure at our church fellowships.

With the desire for laughter in mind, I've written about recent weekend guests  and my struggles with my inner Martha. But it has occurred to me that, getting into humorous situations is not something that's restricted to present day happenings. I've always had a knack for getting into things that, quite frankly, make for a good story. So I'm dedicating Monday posts to memories. Now, I know there are other blogs out there that have flashback posts and memory posts. They are often sweet and warm thoughts from great milestones in the bloggers' lives.

Do I have to actually mention that mine won't be like that? While I do reserve the right to get warm and fuzzy once in a while, let's focus on our actual purpose here--laughter. So my Monday Memories will, for the most part, consist of funny things that have happened to me in the not so recent past. I'll keep doing these memory posts on Monday until I get bored, run out of stories or have something better I want to talk about. In the meantime, I bring you the Tale of Two Tickets--

Once upon a time I lived in Wisconsin, 90 minutes north of my mother's house, and 60 minutes east of my sister's. When my sister was expecting her first baby, I drove her to my mother's house so that we could give her a baby shower. Long after the shower was over, we packed all the gifts into my minivan, and I drove my sister to her home. I say long after because it was an afternoon shower, but we didn't start the two and half hour drive to my sister's until after eight o'clock that night. When I got off the interstate, I still had quite a drive on the county highway in order to get to her town.

I was cruising along at a good clip because, after I dropped off her and her presents, I still had another hour to go to get home. When you entered the outskirts of town, the speed limit dropped from 55 to 25. I didn't see the sign that announced the new and much slower speed limit, neither did I see the police officer that sat right near the sign, waiting for dopes like me to fly on by. My sister had just commented that I might want to slow down when I saw the flashing lights in my rearview mirror. A short time later I took my ticket from him, threw my driver's license in my purse in disgust and drove my sister home.

I knew my husband was not going to be happy. When I left him with our two small children earlier that day, he had no idea he was going to be babysitting until well after midnight. And he certainly would not be thrilled to find out I had a ticket I would have to pay. I helped my sister haul all her baby presents inside, kissed her goodbye and started the trek home.

It had been an extremely long day and I was dreading the rest of the drive home. In addition to being exhausted, I also had to contend with a pretty fierce wind that had come up. The wind pushed and pulled at my minivan, and I had to constantly struggle against it as I drove. I was pretty miserable, but I was also sure it couldn't get any worse. At least, that's what I thought until I once again saw flashing lights in my rearview mirror.

It seems that I had been weaving back and forth in my lane enough that the police officer wanted to check and make sure I hadn't been drinking. I was both horrified at the suggestion, and incredibly relieved that he didn't make me get out and walk a straight line or touch my nose. The police officer asked for my license, and I dutifully reached for my purse. This was getting to be old hat.

Except I couldn't find the license.

"Just a minute," I assured the officer. "I know it's in here. I just had it out a little while ago."

Never mind why.

I dug frantically, but that license was nowhere to be found. I couldn't help it. I started to sniff. And then shiver. And then I sobbed. "I know it's here," I babbled almost incoherently. "I always carry it."

I wasn't hysterical, but there was no sign of the storm ending soon and the officer started getting uncomfortable. Finally he stopped my frantic pawing through my purse. "That's okay, ma'am," he said, holding his hand out. "If I could just--is that another ticket?" He pointed to the yellow paper sticking up out of my purse, and I sobbed harder. "Could I just--" he reached gingerly for the ticket. "If I could just see that, I can probably get what I need off of there."

I surrendered the ticket and struggled to get a hold of myself while I wondered if the fines increased when you were stopped twice in the space of an hour.  When the officer returned, he handed me my original ticket and explained that he'd stopped me because of my erratic driving. Had I been drinking? That started another deluge of tears. When I could speak, I squeaked out that, while I was perfectly sober, I was fighting the wind and was very tired. "I just want to go home," I wailed, like a bad actress in an afterschool special. The officer cautioned me to be more careful in my driving and sent me on my way.

The moral of the story? You can cry your way out of a ticket, but only if you show the officer the citation you just got less than an hour before.

The other moral? Your husband will be aggravated with you for the ticket, but he'll get even by telling everyone at church about it the next day.

Ahhhh, memories!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Public Service Announcement

I've been so tied up with our meetings at church this week that I've had no time to blog. I just wanted to pop in today to say I haven't dropped off the face of the earth, and also to tell you to expect something new here on Monday.  See you then!

(I'll also post my two tickets in one night story on Monday.)

Oh! One more thing--I will give my undying gratitude to anyone who can tell me how to get rid of the white square behind my signature. It's driving me crazy!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

An Irish Dozen

For this week's Random Dozen, you're going to want to click here to go and read other bloggers' answers before you post your own. You were going to post your own, weren't you? Come on! It's fun!

1.  Do you prefer even or odd numbers? Any particular reason?
Even numbers are important when you're talking about donuts and shoes. Odd numbers are my favorite when you're talking about having "just one more."

2. On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being "not at all" and 10 being Carly Simon-worthy, how vain are you?
Obviously the correct answer to this (as it is to almost any scale question) would be 5. Clearly, someone who claims not to be vain at all is fudging on the truth, and no one wants to be a 10 unless Carly Simon has written a song about them.

3. Among these Irish stereotypes, with which do you identify most closely? Talkative, Proud, Inquisitive, Love to party, Hot-tempered

You tell me. But remember I am part Irish and pay attention to that last choice.

4. How lucky do you consider yourself?
I'm lucky enough to have not gotten that second ticket that night, but unlucky enough to have gotten the first one. (That'll be a blog post next week. Am I whetting your appetite?)

5. What is the subject of your favorite post that you've written?

I wrote a series of posts about the last time I went to the dentist. Click on this link and then click on the "newer post" link at the bottom of the posts to read about stitches, way too much novocain and why I will never go to that dentist again. I don't know if it's my favorite post, but it was funny.

6. Describe March weather where you live in three words.

Sunny. Warm. Beautiful.   (Don't hate me.)

7. How apt are you at detecting blarney when you hear it? (Smooth talk, flattery)

It depends on how good the other person is at speaking it.

8. How "green" are you, environmentally speaking?

I think I'm more of a muddy brown.

9. What is your favorite song this week?

I've had no particular songs running through my head this week, but I've had a few nightmares in there. 

10. You are walking along and see a coin on the ground. What denomination does it have to be before you will stop to pick it up?

Hey, I am not prejudiced. I will pick it up whether it's Baptist, Methodist or Episcopalian. 

11. Complete the sentence: "Every time I look outside my window ...."

That body is still lying in the bushes. (These are the jokes, people! Work with me!)

12. What was the #1 song on the day you were born? Seethis site to find out.

The #1 song was Summer in the City by Lovin' Spoonful, but I think it should have been Anticipation. I was a month late and my mother was more than ready for me to be born. My birth set a pattern and I haven't been on time since.

Head over to 2nd Cup of Coffee and join in this meme. You know you want to!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Which Way is Up?

So last night was the first night of our conference. Awesome start by the way. But I'm sitting there and my phone buzzes. The display says it's one of my best friends and my former pastor's wife. She's in Alabama, but her husband was on his way here. She knew I was in church, so I could only assume this was an emergency.

When I slipped out of the auditorium to answer the phone, she told me that her husband had just gotten to town, but the hotel had no record of his reservation. Turns out he was at the wrong hotel. I told her the name of the place where we had booked his room, and then described the surroundings a little so he'd know what to look for.

My friend called me back a short time later. Hubby wanted to know what exit he needed to use to get to the hotel. And here's where I had a problem. That particular exit has an "A", a "B" and a "C". I live around here. I don't pay attention to which exit I use. I just know where to turn.

Fortunately for me, I had been driving over in that area just a few days before. My boys had a big discussion about which exit to use so I could confidently tell her that he should take exit "B". That would have been correct if he'd been driving west.

He wasn't.

I went back inside the church to play the organ for some congregational singing. When I finished, I got a text message:

"Still can't find it."

So I headed back outside and called her again. "Jill, you've got to help find that hotel. He's getting pretty frustrated. He finally said he's going to pull over and get something to eat while he waits for someone to call him with directions."

One of the men in our church is a deputy sheriff. I figured if anyone could talk the man through some directions, it would be him. My friend gave me her husband's phone number, and I gave him a call.

"Hey, this is Jill. How're you doing?"

"Well, I'm lost."

My wicked sense of humor kicked in. "Okay. Let's start with Romans 3:10. We'll take you through the Romans Road and have you saved before the end of the night."

The deputy sheriff thought it was funny. My former pastor did not, so I quickly got down to business and asked him what road he was on.

"I don't know. I took that "B" exit you told me to and drove for a long time. I finally got off at Exit 50 and now I'm sitting at a gas station. I had to pay a toll to use the exit!"

I think the toll aggravated him as much as the faulty directions did.

"I don't even know what road I'm on. I'm at a gas station and there's a Wendy's and an Arby's across the street."

Now, his hotel was about 10-12 miles from the church. At that moment I realized he'd driven so far he was less than 2 miles from the church. And he had apparently been driving around for over an hour, trying to find the hotel. I quickly put the deputy sheriff on, and he gave detailed instructions how to get back to the hotel. He did finally reach his destination, but I don't think he's too happy with the accidental detour I sent him on.

I'm going to put together a peace offering before I see him today. A butterfinger, some Twizzlers and a few other favorite things. Oh! And fifty cents. I think that toll still bugs him.

So how directionally challenged are you? Are you always turned around yourself, or are you one of those people who know how to get there but couldn't tell anyone else? Or do you work a second job as a GPS unit? As for me, I think I'll include a map in that peace offering. It couldn't hurt.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Rook and the Male Ego

So have you ever played Rook? It's a game that requires skill and strategic thinking. And devoted followers. We knew a lot of Rook players when we lived in Alabama. We had evenings of Rook, Rook tournaments and all sorts of Rook-related things. There are also Rook related traditions. For instance, did you know that you cannot play the game unless you are munching on some sort of junk food? Appetizers are okay, and the occasional piece of fruit, but only if it is washed down with a big bowl of chips or popcorn.

Another unwritten rule is that you can never, absolutely never play just one game. It always has to be two out of three. And if the women are winning, then it has to be four out of five.

One of the most important rules is that, if at all possible, you must not play with your spouse as your partner. If there are two couples, it must be men against the women. And again, the women must not be winning. Men somehow seem to consider this "their" game. Like they have the corner on strategic thinking and outsmarting others. Come on.

We've got some long time friends staying with us this week. They got here yesterday, and it took us until after supper (all of three hours after they got here) before we began playing Rook. The women won three out of four games last night.

The men were not happy.

They made up reasons why they were losing.

They demanded a rematch after lunch today.

Now we're at the point where, technically, we've each won an equal number of games. So we're tied for now. (That's the only reason the men agreed to stop the game and let us all get some sleep.) But if you add up the total points scored in all games so far, the women are beating the men by over 500 points. That's like winning a whole extra game. So really we are probably actually winning.

(It's only the male ego and need for superiority that has a problem. I'm perfectly fine with this. As long as I can prove that we are winning.)

Our friends will be here all week. I foresee a little friendly competition ahead.

What about you? Are you competitive at all? How far will you go to win? Will you fudge the rules a little? Are you a poor loser? As for me, I'll answer these questions at the end of the week ... or not ... guess it all depends on who wins.

Related Posts with Thumbnails