Monday, June 30, 2008

Just a little left out....

ok, say you belonged a specific group of people-you all shared the same hobby, and met monthly to talk about it. You shared ideas, thoughts, and had a few drawings/giveaways and just loved the general good feeling you got from being around people with the same interests. Your hobby wasn't your life, you just dabbled in it and were happy to get anything out of it. The main thing was being around a group of people who don't look at you like you're nuts when you say you sent in an entry form to XYZ Company hoping to win an iPod. You get the picture now, don'tcha?

Mostly everyone in the group is fun and great to talk to, sharing info about our hobby and also our lives in general. But there is one person who leads the group, likes to monopolize conversations, creates negativity and strife and everyone who knows her just grits their teeth and bears it because they enjoy the other people's company so much. No one speaks up, and several have left the group or rarely attend meetings because this person can only be taken in very small doses. This person has control issues, and tries to control what group members are doing. The hobby I partake in can be downright dirty-petty and deceptive, with people so jealous of others they take it upon themselves to sabotage anything they can, and create an unfavorable attitude with sponsors of these hobbyists. Someone get pissed because you won a trip to Tahiti and they didn't? No problem, they just email the sponsor and say ya cheated. Even if you didn't. And some, they win so much, they become jaded and feel ENTITLED to win, and when they don't they get ugly or make snide comments.

Where is the fun in that, you ask? I have often wondered myself as I have watched people evolve-first, wanting to share something with friends, and then called out by others who are greedy and want the info kept within the group. Ok, I can understand about not wanting the whole world to know about the promotion, less people entering means better odds for you. Simple mathematics at work here folks. But karma will come and bite you in the ass someday, wait and see. I love entering bloggy giveaways, but I also love searching for them on my own and actually visiting the site and reading about the sponsor and the person doing the giving away. Hell, if I could figure out a way to link to different blogs (ok, so I am not a technical person, I just figured out how to add photos!) to promote the giveaway and earn an extra entry, I'd be doing it. But I don't intend to win them all, and don't get upset when I don't. I like to go back and read the winners comments, to see the genuine excitement their post has about winning. I hate it when I see quick comments like enter me, etc.. I mean, how hard is it to leave a meaningful comment? I was looking at blogs earlier this week, and an artist was giving away a set of her beautiful coasters. But she was plainly upset because her blog had been hijacked by a sweeps site. She was deleting the posts they made, as she wanted it for fans of her work only. She called them bottomfeeders if I am correct. I did not find her site thru a sweeps site, and probably would have had a legitimate entry-but I didn't enter, for I enter sweepstakes as a hobby, and felt she considered me a bottomfeeder. I felt insulted, because I am a consumer as well. But I also understand that there are some that have given my hobby a bad name-a really bad name. So much that promotion companies have stopped giving away prizes due to the whining winners that are always complaining. Or wanting a cash substitute when it specifically says no cash substitutes, or entering for prizes they have no use for and selling them to make money. Be responsible people! And grow up! Geez, nothing like kicking a gift horse in the mouth, huh?

Now back to this group, they have a group they post on that consists of active members and lurkers. Then another group, which is much smaller, which is active members only. I have been an active member for 4 years, known about this elite groups existence, and never once asked to be in it because cliques are SO for high school. So yesterday, I get the invite, along with a couple of other members who have been active only within the last year. Talk about adding insult to injury huh... geez, they didn't want me before, and now they do???? So anyways, I also do focus groups, surveys, you name it -for money when I am on layoff. And one day I get this survey about ABC agency (which is a well known name in promotions) asking me to prequalify for a focus group for a certain website they are thinking of doing. I figure, heck, what do I have to lose, they are gonna pay me for my opinion and I just might win something to boot. I have no idea where they got my name, but have also seen other known hobbyists emails too, so know I was not the only one picked. So I have been participating in the focus group for a few surveys and one of the questions was Do you belong to a sweeps group? I honestly answered that I did. End of story, or so I thought. Now this ABC agency has not asked me for anything about sweeps habits, just to evaluate their site. Nothing more. So I go and post on my little private new group board about how I was involved with this, and it started. The paranoia, that is. The group leader panicked thinking I was going to divulge sweeping "secrets" to this agency. Personally, I think the group leader herself was pissed because she wasn't in control of what was going on, and she wasn't the one asked to do the job, I was. Regretfully, I removed myself from the group. Those that want to remain friendly with me will do so via personal email, and maybe they will one day get the guts up to overcome the put up or shut up mentality that they have with this person. They are a great group of people and I will miss them all but I refuse to remain where not wanted and where paranoia and personal greed (even by 1 or 2 people) happen to rule.

Sorry for the rant folks, but it's kind of a bummer knowing you are giving up meeting with a great bunch of people because of a couple rotten eggs in the bunch.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Old Age=Forgetfulness?

I swear I am losing my mind-it's got to be age related, because I was never like this before. It's a scary thing, forgetting where I put stuff, only to find it in front of me a few minutes later or just plain forgetting what the heck I was going to do next and sitting at my desk or standing in whatever room I happen to be in at the time, wracking my brain for answers.

Today, I decided to head for the local Dollar Tree and Family Dollar to stock up on paper plates, cups, kleenex-the usual stuff. Family Dollar is all fine and good, paid cash and got the heck out while the getting was good. Had my list with me for Dollar Tree, but once I get in there find much more stuff than what was on my list. No problem, I think, I have my wallet and credit cards with me. Wrong!

I get to the checkout, and begin unloading all my purchases while I look frantically in my purse for my wallet. Finally, a light bulb goes off somewhere up in my cranium... AHA! I left it on the bed, when I took it out earlier to clean it out. By then I am glancing at the cash I had on hand and nervously asking the clerk what the total was up to...

All of a sudden, I reach in another pocket of my purse, looking for more cash and out falls my debit card. WHY it was not in my wallet, I don't know-but I am VERY glad that I have it in hand at the moment. Of course, I had to pay some cash and pay some on the debit card, but luckily walked out of the store without embarassing myself further. Then, I remember the REASON I took the wallet out of my purse---because I was looking for my missing debit card!

Please tell me I am not the only one who does this-has something like this ever happened to you?

UPDATE: thanks for all the comments, I know I am not alone in this after all. Would you believe that mom called me a few days later and asked me if I had forgotten my dad's birthday? Guess what day it was? Yup, the 25th! Time to get the belated bday card and a few lotto scratch tix and he will be happy! Where WAS my mind that day?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Back from Canada with goodies!

No, not me silly. But since we live about 3 1/2 hours from the Canadian border, off ventured my dad (who is Canadian btw) and mom to buy cheese, butter, french bread and those wonderful Vashon cakes. I don't know what it is about Canadian food, but it makes me hungry. No, I take that back-I am hungry irregardless, it just TASTES BETTER knowing that it came from Canada.

I know what will happen next-my father will eat 2 pounds of his cheese curds in one sitting because he waited a year or so to get them. He will have satisfied his cravings, but he WILL be miserable for a couple days until he takes a laxative. Trust me, it's happened before. Mom and I will eat some french bread, and, as I type this my daughter Dejanera is asking for those "french cupcakes"-never mind that grandma bought 11 boxes of the stuff.

I haven't been to Canada in a couple years, I miss St. Hubert's chicken and Mike's Restaurant for their pizza. Ahhh, the food of my youth-when I visited Canada at least twice a month. At first, I remembered the culture shock-the pizza that had the pepperoni put under the melted, bubbly cheese, and the packets of butter they gave you with your pizza. Butter, you ask? Yup, I observed several of my buddies in the day slathering the warm, melted cheese with butter-and it was really good! But I could never bring myself to eat poutine-French fries slathered with gravy and melted cheese. I can remember, when, in the crowded restaurant at 3 am I exlaimed GROSS! when my friend Martin ordered poutine. The waitress was NOT impressed, gross to them means FAT and she thought I was calling her fat. Poor Martin had to explain his way out of that one, I don't know exactly what he said-but it made her happy, and I think she was also happy with the $5 tip we left her (in American money of course!) Speaking of Poutine, they even have a version with melted cheese and spaghetti sauce, Poutine Italienne or something like that. And would you believe Mike's has a restaurant in the good old USA? In Las Vegas to be exact, but it looks like they are expanding their franchising to several neighboring states, just not Maine.

Well, I'd be writing more, but a certain little girl keeps tugging at my arm hurrying me to get those cupcakes... so I am off to enjoy Canadian goodies for a bit! Happy Monday to you all!

UPDATE: The loaf of french bread is gone, Deja ate 7 Vashon cupcakes in ONE Sitting and now she is on a sugar high, it's 10:15 pm where I am, and she is still bouncing off the walls here! The All Dressed and Ketchup Yum Yum brand potato chips have been opened and the bags are half empty... or should I say half full?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Next windows!

Ok, so I had the guy from Home Depot come over today to do an estimate on my upstairs windows.... they are so old that my poor teen son was knocking on one to tell his gram to wait up a few months ago, and the thing shattered... No, he wasn't hurt, but since then, all glass has broken out of them, just by opening and shutting them. He stuck his new A/C in one, the other one has a screen for the moment as its summer right now.

Old Man Winter will soon be knocking on my door, so I figured I'd contact the HD place to find out about a couple new windows for his room. First up, you have to buy 3 minimum, I was told. Ok, I can deal with that. Now these windows are small, the guy tells me-I knew that, get to the point. Then he goes on about a spiel about some bigger windows alone are $900 bucks each... I am not liking the sound of this conversation.

So while the guy (who wasn't bad looking either) is pricing my windows I am getting nervous. My stimulus check has already stimulated my oil company by paying for LAST years oil.. Hubby was in our room sulking because there was no way he was letting anyone talk him into putting another charge on the credit card. Hmmm... so I guess when he wants to get that snazzy new drill I will grab that card out of his hand and run for the hills with it. Well, it was a bargain, each window $465.00 installed with lifetime guarantee!

Now, I LOVE that lifetime guarantee thing for both screens and windows... what I don't love right now is the price. So it looks like lots of plastic on the windows this winter, or blocking off the upstairs, though my teen will NEVER go for that as he likes his privacy. Or maybe winning a lottery? I wish I could have gotten them done one at a time, and just two that are needed the most. But being the bargain shopper I am, I'm not done yet-I am going to check other places. Hey, have you seen any good deals on windows lately?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Weather Musings...

Is it just me or do you all think the weather has been crazy lately? Earthquakes, Volcanic eruptions-just plain extreme weather all over the world.

Here in the USA, damaging tornados, historical flooding, extreme heat-is this just the beginning or what? And the food supply, tainted tomatoes, America's Breadbasket under water, all of this weather affecting our crops and food supplies, it is a very scary thing. Even scarier when I read some of the articles and hidden news stories on Sure, some of the stuff is probably pure propaganda and bs, but the other lesser known news stories of events and happenings in the world have legitimate news links so you can read about what is happening elsewhere-and most of it is not good.

This is the first year I have ever planted a garden. Ever. I mean, I am the type of person who can kill a cactus for goodness sake. Luckily hubby has the experience since he lived in the pueblo in Guatemala and can grow lots of veggies. Our tomatoes are doing really good, as are the radishes, onions and other stuff we planted. I still have my fears, though, that when he leaves for Guatemala in July he will come back to a brown, withering bunch of plants because I will have killed them by overwatering or not watering enough. But this little garden gives me some security of being able to grow my own food as well as making me feel a bit self sufficient in the crazy world we live in today.

Lately I've been spending alot of time in survival forums-taking notes and getting prepared. For what, I don't exactly know-maybe an extreme weather event in my neck of the woods, or food shortgage- building some sort of safety net to fall back on if a crisis hits close to home. But unfortunately, while I'd love to buy tons of stuff, and be ready all at once, I know it will never come to that until I get out from under debt. Credit cards are very easy to use, but very evil things, lol. They tempt you when you are in the store and see that shiny new doodad that you wanted to buy, but always seemed out of reach. And what about when you live paycheck to paycheck and the unthinkable unexpected expense comes along and you have to decide, do I eat this week or get my car repaired? So you charge one thing, but never completely pay it off and it goes on to the list of mounting debt like a dark shadow on a bright sunny day.

What, if anything, have you done to prepare? Do you live in an area currently affected by extreme weather? How has the weather affected you where you live? Here in Maine we did have some minor flooding this spring, but last year we had TONS of snow. It reminded me of winters long ago, when I was young, when we had plenty of snow. The last few winters, it'd been mild, with a few cold spells-but not alot of snow. Snow plow drivers, snowmobile enthusiasts, all were losing money-but then came the big snows. Sure, it was good for them but I got sick of snow almost every day. Many districts had to extend the last days of school due to taking too many snow days in winter. Summer is off to a fair start, it started off really HOT way above normal, but has leveled off now to regular temperatures for this time of year. My coworker emailed me yesterday and said her oil lock in price for winter was $4.60 a gallon. Her monthly payment for 12 months will be $358.00-more than my current mortgage. I haven't locked in, I can't bear to. Not at those prices-even though I should because I don't think oil is going to go down anytime soon. But I will just order when I can, and use it sparingly. So, what are you doing? Have you started to think about the same things I have?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Blogging is Big!

Wow! Where have I been? I have been looking at and posting on blogs all day-there are so many people out there who have awesome looking blogs, with tons of photos, cool layouts, I am so jealous, lol.

I guess I didn't realize that blogging was as big as it is-I mean, back in 2004-2005 a coworker told me about blogging but I figured it was something that college aged kids were doing since she mentioned her daughter in college out of state had a blog.

And the crafty people...omg-I can't sew a button on a shirt, let alone come up with some of the beautiful stuff these people do. Every fall we have the local craft fairs, and I am addicted to buying stuff for my house because I just LOVE homemade crafts. When hubby goes to Guatemala every year I beg him to bring me back goodies to decorate with. I don't have a particular theme, country, Southwest, nautical, Central American-I just end up with a hodgepodge of different decor types, and I like it that way. No one else seems to mind either, though my teen son gives me the look of "oh no, she bought more junk" and rolls his eyes whenever he sees me with my latest purchase. So that room is off limits, but my 6 year old loves decor as much as I do, with the condition that it has to have pink-(or light blue is passable too).

So here I am blogging away, and perusing others blogs for recipes, information, to enter their giveaways, and just finding out more about people in other parts of the country/world. When work starts up I will be depressed, won't have much time for reading or posting-but I am really enjoying this hobby (along with my other interests which I never have time for either!). So if you've stopped by to read my blog, I welcome you. Please excuse the newbie layout/look-hoping to adjust that as time goes along (had to enlist my son's help for my myspace layout though, so might have to have a helper) Feel free to leave me a comment, I look forward to hearing from you!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Yes! We have no tomatoes, no tomatoes today!

Ever had a Taco Bell chalupa without good ole tomatoes? What about the nachos? I did tonight and it wasn't pretty. A few years back they used scallions, green onions whatever-on their nachos and mexican pizza and the flavor was great. But then something happened, people got sick, and scallions never came back again, even after many months. Ok, so life went on without the famous green onions. I liked them, but it was kinda nice, because I didn't have to worry about popping a breath mint if I got too close to someone afterwards.

A few weeks ago, drove the 18 miles or so to my closest TB and had a chalupa and some nachos, and decided to make the trek again tonight. Wish I hadn't spent the 20 bucks not to mention gas wasted, in an effort to eat a decent meal at the home of the famous little dog. Now I can do without tomatoes at Burger King and McDs just fine, since I am strictly ketchup (OMG another tomato product!!!!) and onions type of girl. But take the tomatoes from my chalupa and we have war! You'd THINK by not including onions or tomatoes they'd at least discount the price a bit, or buy a different type of tomato or something local until the crisis passed. I watched the other patrons taking a bite, then opening up their tacos, chalupas, gorditas, looking for that missing item. No signs on the door, a small sign taped near the register, on the counter-not where lots of people are looking, announced that due to salmonella there were no tomatoes today .
One smart gentleman brought a paper bag with him, and out of that bag he produced a tomato, and what looked like onions. Hubby had to keep me from jumping him as I watched, mouth watering, as he lovingly sliced his tomato in front of the dining room patrons. I watched the others, they were envious, jealous of him too. Drool ran down the side of my mouth as he began sprinkling the tomato pieces on his nachos. Even the kitchen area watched him in awe. The manager looked alert, knowing he could have a riot on his hands at any given moment. I looked at my chalupa, suddenly I didn't feel hungry anymore. The food didn't taste the same, I wish I'd ordered good old KFC instead because even good Col. Sanders knows chipotle flavoring is the way to go. But we had that two nights ago, and I couldn't bear a repeat performance twice in the same week.

I rushed to my garden when we got home and had hubby water my tomato plants. This is my first year doing a garden, and I'd say its a pretty darn good one since everything we buy is poisoned one way or another. You can't even turn on the news anymore without hearing of a food recall somewhere. Lesson for the day: Until they bring the tomatoes back, Taco Bell is on my shit list. Sorry little doggie, but without tomatoes YO NO QUIERO TACO BELL!!!!