10/10/08

Made Ya Look!

For the past three nights, John and I have snuggled into bed and pulled up a new TV network online. I know what you're thinking, this story could probably go anywhere right now. Pull your heads out of the gutters, people.

Truth be told, we have methodically "tried" a different station each night. (Okay, okay, it sounds kinky but it's not!). First we tried abc.com and watched "Samantha Who?" Got some fashion inspiration but not much else out of the show. Then we watched "My Name Is Earl" and had a few laughs but were ultimately unimpressed. Last night we ventured to cbs.com and watched "The Ex-List". Pretty hilarious. Even though the main character looks like Skeletor with shoulder pads, on the whole the cast is pretty solid.

So we anxiously put the kids to bed tonight and returned to cbs.com for the next episode of "Ex-List" only to find that there's just a pilot and no season! Ugh!!!

I'm taking suggestions for other online TV series addictions. I just have one stipulation: I cannot afford to lose sleep over a TV show that has creepy scary dead people in it or mysterious murders. Trust me, I don't get enough sleep as it is in my life, I don't need to be awake at night because some lady with boils all over her body keeps spitting bees at me every time I close my eyes. Suggestions?

10/9/08

Highways in High Heels

Have you ever noticed the people who clean up the highways? You know, those kind hearted volunteers who wear the vests and hard hats and spend their free time picking up trash alongside fast moving vehicles on roads and highways.

Below are two images I copied from online. The first is a picture of a proud volunteer on road clean-up. The second is a picture of prisoners doing the same job. Can you tell the difference?




Why do California prisoners get to wear the same uniform that volunteers wear when doing clean-up tasks?
This is degrading to all the philanthropists in the world (sadly, I don't fall in this category).
I propose that instead of degrading the "Do-Gooders", we degrade the prisoners. I'm sending the image below as a uniform proposal to the California Prison Authority for consideration in next year's Prisoner Highway Clean Up Committee:

If every prisoner had to wear this to clean up garbage, I'm pretty sure we would eliminate repeat offenders.

10/8/08

Fool Proof Recipe

My friend, H, is a great cook. She's the brainiac scientist who moonlights as Betty friggin Crocker. She bakes four course dinners for her family of (almost) 4 and makes a mean Orzo Salad. I hope she's alright with my sharing this Fool Proof recipe with you but it has become a family favorite in my house and I know your family (well, at least your husband) will dig it.

The Famous "H" Orzo Salad
(I've never been one for measuring so bare with me, please)
Cook Orzo pasta as directed.
Add lots of olive oil, lots of pine nuts, and lots of parmesan (the powdery version seems to work best)
Salt and chopped garlic and fresh basil can really give it a nice kick. Don't add the basil until orzo has cooled (otherwise it turns a blackish brown color-not as attractive in the salad)
If I have grape tomatoes on hand I find these are yummy and add color.
Serve room temp or cold.
Can be kept for a few days in the fridge but it'll need more olive oil upon serving.
Bon Appetit!

10/7/08

A New Kind Of Goal

I've decided I would like to build up our savings account. Call it "for a rainy day". Call it the pessimist in me who sees the economic downturn of our near future (or present). Maybe it's because I know I've only got 50% of my brake pads left. Call it what you will but I've decided to put away some serious cash.
I find the topic of finances to be an intriguing topic when posed to random couples, especially newlywed couples. Do you share bank accounts? Which one of you handles your finances?
I ask the question because I'm nosy, and intrigued by the inner workings of the separate account life.
You see, John and I have always agreed on a shared account. Thankfully, he makes the money, I manage the money AND I spend the money. What more could a girl ask for???
When we got married I actually worked full time but it was never enough to cover the household utilities, groceries and clothes (okay, good clothes). So before we tied the knot, I had become another monthly check to write on John's list of "To Do's"...write a check to my broke ass fiance so she can buy us beer, toilet paper, and chips (we did a lot of entertaining in those days).
It was obvious my negative-balanced bank account was ripe for the closing when we walked down the aisle. Poor guy, he got the ball, the chain, and the student loans. We've had a few bumps along the road but all in all, he's said his peace, I've learned my lessons and it's been smooth sailing.
I'm interested in other people's approach to this subject because John and I aren't organized or private enough to keep our own accounts. Nor do I dare claim that ours is the perfect scenario for everyone. We have encountered issues -like my birthday-when he's run out of ideas and he pops into the grocer for a bouquet of flowers (twice in ten years) only to find that our debit card was declined. Big oops (definitely in the category of BUMP). Now he asks how much he can spend for our anniversary or my birthday. Kinda takes the romance out of it doesn't it?
How do separate bank accounts work without creating more bookkeeping? In our world, I do the groceries, the bills, stocking the house, medical, and the clothes & shoes. Yes, I buy all his clothes. And his shoes (it's a fine scientific equation of sizing and measuring that I've perfected since college).
We have some close friends who dole out an allowance from their monthly income. They each get an amount to spend on their toys, hobbies, clothes, etc. Where I would imagine it gets tricky is the kids and the house. Sure, it's nice to think that daddy hits Target for Sara's new dolly stroller and happens across an adorable harvest wreath for the door. But we all know that ain't happening. What about the bedroom set she loves, he hates, so she buys it anyway and pays for it herself?
Back to where I began, my financial goal... is to build up our savings account. In order to achieve this I've set some benchmarks for the upcoming months allowing for Christmas and yes, new brakes. My problem is not the theory but the practice. Enter, stage right, my sister (a born and bred hoarder of all things money) suggesting I consult her idol, Suze Orman for financial advice. She loves that woman! Back to the topic at hand, the practice. I write it all out, I set the goals, and on paper we should be a millionaires by February!!! But in reality, I run into snags. Like the kajillion birthday party invites my preschooler receives (and subsequent gifts she must give). And the Princess Extravaganza. And the awesome Children's Place prices on Amazon.com. And the NuBra/chicken cutlets I need for my self esteem(check em out-cool!). And the impromptu Santa Barbara trip with my mom and the kids next week..how can a girl go to Santa Barbara and NOT hit Nordies??? You see my problem?
I pushed it all aside today and focused in on those benchmarks. If I can claw my way to the finish line I will be one accomplished household financial guru mama (and I can have a new pair of shoes, or three). Take that Suze Orman!
And then the credit card bill arrived. And in plain English, it spelled out the 4 digit $$$ playhouse that god-damned Bottle Fairy dropped off at our house (which is still in the box). That bitch left us to cover the bill! And the assembling!!!
How am I supposed to find my benchmarks with HER in my life??
CURSE YOU BOTTLE FAIRY!!!!!!!!

10/5/08

If You Give A Mom A Moment

It's Sunday afternoon and by some miracle of God, I have been alone for exactly 46 minutes...and counting. If I knew how this happened, trust me, I would share the secret so every woman could emulate this hour of glory! I am giddy with alone-ness.
STOP. From the distant corner of my backyard I can hear my daughters voices. One repeating, "Dadda. Dadda. Daaddddaaaaaaa!!!!!!" (it's the only word she knows, but how appropriate!) And the older one, "Daddy, I need some more bubbles! Daddy I need a towel. Daddy I need some more bubbles, please." I am so glad someone else is their bitch right now.
OKAY. How did I slip into this isolation chamber without anyone noticing? Well, maybe the doors opened when I left the family doing yard work so I could check the bank accounts on line. I know it's Sunday. And the banks are closed. Let me digress. I have "Shiny Rock" syndrome reminiscent of that Mouse in the children's Cookie Book. I was walking in the house to get a tape measure for John when I passed the kitchen. Seeing the wristbands on the kitchen counter made me remember how much money we spent at the Harbor Festival today. Remembering all the money we spent reminded me I haven't checked the bank accounts for awhile. So I fired up the laptop to have a look when I heard the girls out back. Hearing their voices reminded me that they needed a bath. So, while the laptop was booting up, I ran a bath. When I returned to the kitchen I saw a bag of chips, which made me hungry. So I rummaged through the cabinets for some snacks and a plan of attack for dinner. When I formulated a plan, I noticed the bath water was still running. When I reached the bath, I couldn't remember the last time I took a bath alone. So I jumped in and pretended I had disappeared. When John popped his head in to ask, "What happened to you?" I just smiled and sank deeper into the tub. He must have gotten the hint because it is nearing 62 minutes now. Alone. I even dressed myself, stared at my age lines in the mirror for two seconds and when I was done not one cabinet or drawer had emptied its contents onto the floor (which seems to happen every time the girls join me in there!). Oh glorious me time. I think I'll lie here on my bed and stare at the ceiling until they find me.