Friday, June 5, 2009

Positivity!

In an attempt to be a more positive person - don't worry, I'll wait until you're done wiping up the coffee that just spurted out of your nose - I've decided to "rename personality traits."

For example:

"talks too much" becomes "likes to share" (flowery, right?)

"bossy" becomes "natural leader" (positive, I know. Who doesn't want to be known as a leader?)

I'm struggling with "grates on my nerves so bad the only way I'll find relief is to stick a fork in my eye."

Cutting Costs

The amount of food consumed in our home each month is atronomical. Bean is a teen who can consume more food in a day than you can even imagine. Big V eats enough food to feed a third world country. Dotter prefers healthier stuff: apples, lettuce, cheese... which the other two could care less about, so I make sure I have enough of that on hand as well. As for me, well, I'm the mom, so I'm obligated to eat the food no one else likes.

One of the things I've done to cut costs for years is order food from Wisconsin SHARE, a food buying networking site that allows citizens to purchase a monthly menu of foods on line. (I love not having to move from my desk to place an order.) There's a distribution site right in my neighborhood, so once a month, on a Saturday between 10-10:30am (bonus! I can sleep in!) I run over, grab my box of food with my name on it, and run home.

The food is actually good. A lot of brands I haven't heard of, but a lot I have. In addition to the fresh produce and standard bone-in chicken, they have a lot of specials. We love the huge bag of frozen chicken nuggets. They have FLAVOR - which is good for a family with tastebuds. Some of the Score! items we've purchased was this ginornmous box of hot dogs, perfect for grilling. The cost came out to something rediculous like ten cents a dog for 80 dogs. Yes, I said 80.

We have a box of frozen breakfast sandwiches - comparable to the Egg McMuffin... which V throws a couple in the micro right before he heads out for the day. We've gotten huge bags of french toast strips, carne asada steak meat, brats, etc.

I'm sorry, I need to change the topic, my stomach is starting to growl.

Today I learned of a second food buying network site nearby which I'm thinking of ordering from as well, just to compare.

In case you're interested, here are the links:

http://www.sharewi.org/
http://www.angelfoodministries.com/

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Reason to Celebrate!

The Bean is about to graduate.

No, not from obtaining her college degree that she worked so hard for.

Not from earning her high school diploma, having been careful to take all the "right courses" to prep her for college, maintaining that honorable GPA, and gracefully manuevering through all those pesky first rights of passages: driver's license, first kiss, first heartbreak.

Oh, no... she's "graduating" from 8th grade.

How does one "graduate" from the 8th grade, you might ask? Well, basically they show up on a fairly regular basis. The grades they earned will be magically erased to allow for a clean slate for their highschool career, so it's really not about the grades. The vast majority of middle schoolers spent numerous days out of school committed to their monthly and weekly orthodontics appointments, so it's not really about attendance, either. Chorus was pass/fail. Band was pass/fail. Art was pass/fail. And the mandatory guidance class "Building Character" was pass/fail. So they really didn't have to work, just participate. Like I said, they had to show up.

But 8th grade graduation is not be taken lightly as I am quickly finding out.

Formal wear is required. Luckily we found a one-of-a-kind dress at a local hoity-toity shop where the eccentric owner assured us she had purchased only three of that exact dress from her contacts in LA. That's right - the Bean is wearing a dress from the same part of the world where famous people purchase their daily blended iced caramel frappuccino. This data alone has earned her several bonus points with the girls of the class (or so she thinks).

The hair appointment has been made, sacrificing an up-do the day of the event for a weekend cut & highlight. (She'll be one of the disadvantaged students that must *gulp* do her own hair.) The shoes will be - no, must be purchased this weekend.

I am a horrible mother because I haven't allowed my 13 year old to go tanning every day for the past 30 days so she can have that oh-so-unnatural glow on stage. Sorry, but skin cancer for 8th grade graduation? Make it worthwhile - save it for marrying your soul mate.

After the graduation ceremony (thank you, school administration, for the reminder to bring a bouquet of flowers and a well charged camera), there is the class After-Party held at a nearby country club (about a 25 minute drive). And then, of course, there are the weekend family parties that are going on.

Family parties?

Am I really obligated to round up family members so we can cheer the accomplishments of someone who is required by law to attend school? Are they obligated to purchase cards and gifts to celebrate someone who is doing what they're supposed to?

Perhaps I should host a "Thank you for not vandalizing property that does not belong to you" party ... or a "Congratulations! For not smuggling drugs out of Columbia!" soiree....

I guess I'm the most jaded parent in America for not doing cartwheels in the street upon learning my little girl has achieved graduate status of the 8th school grade. But really...

Really? You think?

One of the moms in Dotter's class is a real estate agent. She grabbed my email address from the class directory. Since then I have received countless "new listing!" ads.... and not one of those homes has been listed for less than $1.5 MILLION DOLLARS. I'm pretty sure she sees me drive up in my dented Nissan and can quite easily recognize my non-label Target clothing, and yet she seems to think I could quite feasibly purchase the new lake home just listed with the bargain price of $3,400,500.00. Although only three bedrooms, it does come with 100' of lake frontage.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sometimes I forget how truly technologically advanced I am, as evidenced by this little conversation I had this morning:

ME: "... and you can send that over to us electronically...."

CUSTOMER: "oh, okay... that means through the computer, right?"

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

family.

Family relationships are like trying to swim in an ever-changing body of water... sometimes you feel like you're going with the current, sometimes against. Sometimes it's a calm, glassy pool of still waters, other times it's the torrential hell of the rapids. Sometimes you have the energy to swim all by yourself, and sometimes you are left screaming out that if someone doesn't throw you a frickin life jacket this second there's no way you're ever going to make it.

For as energy draining as it can be sometimes to try to successfully navigate our way through the diverse ranges of personalities in any family relationship, it is these same relationships we will be able to fall lightly against and float along with in perfect harmony - at least for special moments from time to time.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Ouch.

Family axes wedding plans, Egyptian cuts off organ

CAIRO – A 25-year-old Egyptian man cut off his own penis to spite his family after he was refused permission to marry a girl from a lower class family, police reported Sunday.

After unsuccessfully petitioning his father for two years to marry the girl, the man heated up a knife and sliced off his reproductive organ, said a police official.

The young man came from a prominent family in the southern Egyptian province of Qena, one of Egypt's poorest and most conservative areas that is also home to the famed ancient Egyptian ruins of Luxor.
The man was rushed to the hospital but doctors were unable to reattach the severed member, the official added citing the police report filed after the incident.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with the press, added that the man was still recovering in the hospital.

Traditionally, marriages in these conservative part of southern Egypt are between similar social classes and often within the same extended families — and are rarely for love.

Yeah.... so not worth it...