Sunday, November 30, 2008


Children's Book of the Month Club and Literary Guild. These are two book clubs that I've been an un-proud member of for 6-8 years, before I was an active eBay and amazon-ite. I got in with the "Get 8 Free Books" deal where after receiving those free books you're obligated to buy 3 books over a year's time and pay hideous amounts of know the spiel. (Who hasn't been a member of BMG or Columbia House in their younger days?) I'm pretty good at not buying more than those requisite books, but of course the "gotcha" is when you occasionally forget to return your featured selection with the "no" checked in the box. Thus the book comes in the mail and you either have to annoy your mail carrier and try to convince them to return to sender, or you're stuck with a big bill and most likely a book you would not want to own (the ones you wouldn't mind accidentally receiving are always on the months you remember to check no!).

With the convenience of online web sites to decline the featured selections instead of using a stamp, after receiving the monthly catalog, I just head straight over to the computer and log on, taking care of business quickly as to avoid a package in the mail. How many years I have been doing this?? Has it really been over 6 years?! Yes. My obligations to the clubs are long gone. Why don't I just quit? A couple reasons:

1) They keep telling me that they are going to kick me out of the clubs if I don't buy something, and I don't! But they haven't kicked me out! Liars.
2) The cancellation process takes too much of my precious time. I spent a good amount of time a few years ago trying to quit. I thought I could just quit online. But those stinkers make you mail in a form requesting cancellation. That's a pain, but I can do that. However, then they make you include your account number, which is only located on those monthly mailers, which I toss as soon as I receive. So embarassingly, somehow I have not been able to remember to keep the mailers at the same time I remember I really want to carry through on this quitting thing.

But after writing this, I am vowing to quit this insanity. That is, if the address they have listed is actually valid!

What do you do automatically that is just unnecessary?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving education and a lot of rambling

I thought it would suit the big day coming up if I just recalled a few flashes of Thanksgivings past. I can't say that I've ever love-loved Thanksgiving until adulthood (okay, maybe a bit later) because I always thought it was just the holiday blocking the entrance of the better holiday: Christmas. Not to say I skipped being grateful all those years because of course I have always been very grateful for lots of stuff. I am also appreciative of the first settlers of this great country for being able to till the ground and make a livelihood despite the hardships...though I am a bit confused about the actual First Thanksgiving because the elementary school version always seemed like an animated children's story to me. It probably doesn't help that I picture snippets from Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving with Snoopy at the head of the long table either. So to help me and maybe somebody else, I did some research just a second ago and I realized some new things about Thanksgiving that you too may not have known.

  • Thanksgiving lasted a week or so, with lots of meals indoors and out.
  • They ate deer, duck, squash, cabbage, onions and corn.
  • They had singing, dancing, shooting, blinds man's bluff!
  • The Wampanoag tribe was who the Pilgrims dined with. Squanto was from that tribe.
So how cool are those things!? Who came up with turkey? Who came up with cranberry sauce? Pies? Changing from the week of meals to just one meal the size of one week's worth? There is more to this story we don't know. Who came up with the other half of the feast? I always thought Thanksgiving should have been Taco Bar and Hot Fudge Sundaes or something more interesting than potatoes, gravy,and somewhat unsettling mincemeat and browned banana cream pies. Now at least I can feel solace that my mental rejection of those foods is not a dis to our friendly pilgrim friends and their efforts with the fertile earth. As a pleasant sidenote, I do like stuffing-turkey-cranberry sauce-cheese sandwiches.

Back to my message. I really like Thanksgiving. It is a peaceful, reflective time of thankfulness preceding the rush of Christmas season. And Garfield's Thanksgiving is a must. It is a classic, so try to see that if you can. What else...before I make anyone else cry with this meaningful Thanksgiving Gratitude post I better sign off.

What is your thought on Thanksgiving 2008? Any traditions/foods that make the season for you? Anyone actually use a cornucopia?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Shopping, shopping, and more shopping?

If you know me at all, then you know I like to buy things. Whether it's the new scented Windex or fluffy new towels, I'm happy being a consumer. I don't know if it's the power of ownership or the simple knowledge that money is actually going somewhere instead of sitting there bored in the bank, whatever it is, I love it.

So Christmas is coming. My visiting teachers came over the other week and one of them was talking about how she liked to have all of her Christmas shopping done before December, so she could "relax and enjoy the season". Which for me, begs the question, isn't shopping part of the fun of the Christmas season???

The last couple of years I have started looking on amazon and other websites early as September for deals. I find them, I feel happy and prepared, but the problem is, THE DEALS NEVER END. So I keep on buying because how do you ignore a good deal? What about next year or a birthday? So that is one problem, not to mention the ever-changing Christmas lists of the children as the season goes on.

The other problem is not a problem. I like shopping at Christmas time, when others are out for the same reason. The rush, the Norman Rockwell feel in the air, the Christmas music (though I wish they wouldn't play it in early November!), the snow falling gently while driving on the slippery freeway....I love it all. I have even enjoyed the last minute doll shopping Christmas Eve at Shopko with slim pickins because that was festive, too. How cool to see empty shelves! Yay for Christmas!

So how do you feel? Would you rather not shop during the busy Christmas season? Are you done now? Any good deals you know of?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The last of fall fun? Say it ain't so!

As soon as the first trick or treaters were spotted at about 5:00, Anika was begging me to go...and I'm really anti-begging. I prefer beating around the bush over begging. We held off until 5:30 just so I could be the boss. As a parent, you've got to stick to your guns even if sometimes you don't know quite why.

I really feel bad for Russell who was working at home Friday, because we had a lot of faux-leaf fight fun for the camera he missed out on, along with some really good walks in the perfect weather. I really like being the parent that plays in the leaves and takes pictures and enjoys the cute moments.

We have a serious leaf-falling problem. It came on this week and now that it's cold I really don't want to rake. But it is so cool to look out the window and see the yellow trees and yellow ground.
Russell fed Sam some spaghetti today. I'm wondering if he just let Sam go at it and stick his face in the plate? The spoon-mouth-swoop-wipe is an art that only few have mastered I suppose. Anyhow, Sam is looking quite pleased with himself.