Personal ponderings from a natural night-owl!

Archive for the ‘Everything Else’ Category

If I Can, You Can, Too!

I was going to blog about something totally different today, then I found this article in my Google reader.  Apparently, cosmetics manufacturers and retailers were caught colluding to fix prices.  Their “punishment” is a requirement to give away product for free.  And no, this is NOT a hoax!

If you puchased a cosmetic item in the last 10 years, you should read this document closely because starting THIS TUESDAY, January 20th, 2009 you might be eligible to receive one free cosmetic item.

Now, I don’t wear makeup very much.  I probably buy makeup once every 5 or 6 year, in flagrent disregard of all the warnings that you should replace your makeup every 6 months.  But even I do legitimately qualify for a freebie under the terms of this settlement.

No receipt or proof of purchase is needed, but this is a “first come, first served, while it lasts” offer, so I suggest getting to the store bright and early on Tuesday.  And I am printing a copy of the settlement and the Snopes.com page in the very likely event that I run into a clueless store employee.

Happy freebie shopping, everyone!

Yak Razors

With the internet, it is easy to learn something new everyday.  Now, whether what I learn is particularly USEFUL is a different matter altogether!  Take the concept of “yak-shaving.”

What I’ve learned from SkyDaddy and Seth Godin is that “yak-shaving” is the term given to first thing you have to do to accomplish what you really want to accomplish.  A comprehensive example is given here on Seth’s blog, but here’s a personal example that popped into my mind.

Let’s say I want to wash a particular load of laundry, but I find that there is already a load in the washer.  I need to dry that load, but there’s a load in the dryer already.  THAT load needs to get upstairs, but there are no laundry baskets – they are all full of clean kid clothes.  I need to put the kids’ clean clothes away, but the weather has turned colder and there is no room in their drawers for winter clothes.  I need to make room by removing the summer clothes, but I have no more storage tubs.  So in order to do the laundry, I have to go to the store and buy some storage tubs OR clean out existing tubs and take clothes to Goodwill.  Yak-shaving!

Now, according to SkyDaddy, a yak-shaving razor is a tip or tidbit of information that helps you shave the yak faster or helps you avoid shaving the yak altogether.  This lengthy introduction-cum-explanation (whew!) is leading to my five yak razors:  tidbits of information I know which others may not.  I aspire to be a Renaissance woman, a Jill-of-All-Trades, if you will, so my tips cover a variety of subjects!

#1.  Cooking: If you are out of eggs and in the middle of a recipe that calls for some, you can substitute mayonnaise. Use 3 to 5 tablespoons of mayo in place of each egg.  This usually makes your recipe much more rich, so don’t try it in anything that’s supposed to be low fat!

#2.  Sports: Good downhill skiing happens from the waist down. Your upper body is basically along for the ride, centered over your skis.  Once you feel what it’s like to put this into practice, you will float over the snow!

#3.  Relationships:  Keeping secrets from your spouse is the same as lying, which undermines your relationship. If you’re buying a Christmas present, planning a surprise party, or arranging a romantic weekend away, then secret-keeping is temporary and fine.  Otherwise, you are laying the groundwork for marital problems.  I am always amazed and saddened by people who admit to keeping secrets like their shopping habits, sexual fantasies, and life dreams from their spouses.  If you can’t talk about these things with your spouse, with whom CAN you talk about them?!

Corollary:  Anyone who asks you not to tell your spouse something is asking you to lie.  I always refuse.  If you tell me, you’d better assume John will know it, too!

#4.  Organizing:  It’s much harder to change your habits than to change how you deal with your habits. Example A:  if you’ve always thrown your clothes in a pile by your bed, put a laundry basket there and fold/put away when the basket gets full. Example B:  If your mail accumulates in a particular spot, put some paper bins there so you can sort the mail immediately. Example C: Put a hook in the wall where you always throw your keys.  (Learned from Julie Morgenstern’s book “Organizing from the Inside Out” which truly changed my life!)

#5. There is NOTHING you cannot learn if you really want to! Sure, some things take more effort and time to learn than others.  Along the way, you may discover you don’t want to make the effort (that was my conclusion about learning to play the guitar, even though I love the sound of it!), but that doesn’t mean you CAN’T learn.

So there you have my 5 yak razors.  Bravo if you got this far in my lengthy post!

I’m not sure this topic really works as a meme since it requires so much explanation, but if you have nuggests of information you’d like to share, and no one interested in hearing them, consider yourself tagged!  Feel free to leave your razors as comments or blog about them yourself and leave a link back to your site in the comments.

Seven in Nine

Jen Wagner tagged me for this meme where I’m supposed to list 7 things you don’t know about me.  It seemed like the perfect post to revive my dormant blog in 2009.

Happy New Year!

me-with-pocahontas-in-the-barn#1.  I got a pony and joined 4-H when I was eight years old.  I was too inexperienced to ride at my first county fair, so I was the stable girl.  We won the Golden Shovel award because I shoveled stalls so well!  I got a huge pink ribbon and my my first picture in the local newspaper.  I still have both the ribbon and the newspaper article.

#2.  I studied & traveled in Europe for 7 months when I was 19 years old.  I happened to arrive in Vienna, Austria just before the funeral of the last Hapsburg queen.  There was NO PLACE to stay overnight and no trains where we were headed, so my three traveling companions and I accepted the offer of a stranger in the train station to stay in the living room at his “boarding house.”  We slept on the floor in a roughly constructed “living room” and never saw another person there (he left as he was not, apparently, living there). It was very weird.  We left quickly very early the next morning when my friend woke up with a rose on her pillow!

#3.  In July 1992, I sang in Carnegie Hall with Akron’s Masterworks Chorale under the direction of THE John Rutter.  We sang Mozart’s Requiem and some Rutter works.  It was amazing!

#4.  I knew I wanted to marry John on December 28th, 1992 and wrote him a letter that day that I gave him when we got married.  He proposed on New Year’s Eve 1992, but we didn’t get married until October 22, 1994.  Sadly, the letter got lost sometime on our wedding day and was never seen again.

#5.  John planned our entire honeymoon himself and didn’t tell ANYONE  – including me – the destination.  I didn’t figure out where we were going until we got there – 24 hours after the wedding.  My mom insisted on knowing how to contact us in case of an emergency, so John said he’d leave her an envelope.  The envelope actually contained a note that said, “We’ll be back on October 29th” with no other info.  The envelope was never opened and is in our wedding scrapbook to this day!  My mom never knew.

#6.  When we learned we were going to have a baby, John and I read every book we could, went to all the recommended birthing classes and made a 3 page birth plan (yes, it’s in Emily’s scrapbook!).  Virtually nothing went according to plan – especially the emergency C-section.  In fact, “Nothing goes according to plan” is a pretty good definition of parenthood.  Megan was a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section), so I have experienced both type of infant deliveries.  (The C-section was MUCH easier!)

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#7.  In our pre-romance years, John and I played pinball on a Williams Cyclone machine at the student center at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.  Three years ago this coming April, we found a full-sized, working 1988 Williams Cyclone pinball machine on Ebay which now lives in our basement.  This machine actually came from Middletown, Ohio near Oxford where we went to school!

So now you know FAR more about me than you wanted or needed to.  Apparently, the last step in this process is for me to”tag” 7 more people to participate in this meme.  In the interest of continuing to get to know more personally the authors of the blogs I frequently read, the following folks should consider themselves tagged – and YOU should definitely check out their interesting blogs!

Bonnie Stewart from Crib Chronicles

Lisa Palumbo from qualcosa di bello

Julie Styles Mills from Pragmatic Compendium

Sarah Rohrer from A Princess and A Sailor

Allen from blog of kaiyen

Amber G from Skyward Journey and amber g photography

Jules from The Way I See It, Generosiprocity,and Late to Life (which I just found TODAY!)

Happy Birthday to ME!

Yes, this is a momentous date because I was born on this date in 1969.  </trumpet fanfare>  And please, when I say I’m 39 this year, DON’T ask me, “How many times?” like someone did at work last week!  I have lived a good full life in my 39 years and don’t intend to wish any of them away any time soon.

Ok…maybe I do wish that all those great years didn’t show on my face.  For years, people would tell me how young I looked and how, someday, I’d appreciate looking so much younger than I was.  It was annoying then and now – even more annoying to discover that they were RIGHT!  I wish people mistook me for someone younger these days.  Advice to all grocery store clerks:  make someone’s day by carding them when they buy alcohol, even if they are nearly twice the legal age and don’t look like they need to be carded.

Take a look at what life was like way back in 1969, according to Wikipedia!  There were, of course, some interesting musical happenings that year, too.

And don’t pay any mind to my husband this week when claims to be SO much younger.  His turn is coming just 8 short days!

Christmas in July

I love Christmas!  It’s by far my favorite time of year.  I don’t mind when the stores start playing Christmas music before Halloween.  The earlier the music starts, the sooner that sense of anticipation begins which both thrills me and revs my holiday preparation engines.  I love all the special activities, the decorating, and the music.  And although I could do without the shopping, wrapping, and Christmas card sending, I do love the traditions, the foods, and the general spirit of goodwill that overtakes the entire country that time of year.

Having musical children with minds (and ears) of their own, I’ve become accustomed to hearing patriotic tunes in December and the Nutcracker Suite in July.  But THIS July has truly been a strange juxtaposition of holidays!

It all started on July 3rd with the Blossom Festival Band.  They played the usual Independence Day fare – Sousa, the 1812- but they also played a tribute to Leroy Anderson, who would have been 100 years old this year.  Even if you don’t know Leroy Anderson by name, you’ve heard one of his most famous compositions played incessantly around Christmas.  Appropriately for us, this famous composition was made popular by the Boston Pops, for whom he was orchestra arranger.  So it was that we heard SLEIGH RIDE on July 3rd.

And even though it was a delightfully warm summer night here in Ohio, I could see a snowy vista, smell  crisp winter air, hear the jangle of bit and bridle, taste snowflakes on my tongue and feel a soft fleece scarf pulled close around my neck.

A few days later on July 16th, I was coming home from Pennsylvania and had picked out a few CD’s to help pass the 4 hours of driving.  At the end of new James Taylor‘s “October Road” cames his version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”  Weird, but not spooky…yet.

The next CD was John McCutcheon‘s “Water from Another Time” which had both the song “Christmas in the Trenches” AND a hammered dulcimer version of “For Unto Us a Child is Born” from Handel’s Messiah.  Now my “Christmas in July” was officially in full swing!

On Friday, July 18th, I logged into the Creative Memories‘ consultant website to find a sneak peek at some new products coming out.  Among them – yes, you’ve guessed it – some Christmas products, including a neat Christmas card and tag project and some cute wintery albums.  Inspired by that collection, I themed my customer crop on Saturday “Christmas in July,” though I didn’t have the energy to get out the Christmas decorations.

Then today, I walked into church, looked at the bulletin, and laughed out loud.  Yes, the top of the bulletin said it was “Christmas in July” at church, complete with readings from Isaiah and Christmas carols.

So MERRY CHRISTMAS in July to all of you out in cyberspace!  And remember, at the time of this post, there were only 158 days left until Christmas, so start your shopping now and avoid the usual last minute Christmas rush this year!

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