Monday, August 31, 2009

The Reluctant Apple

My church (which really should remain nameless in all of this...but I will tell you that it is in Montgomery, AL) runs an "Apples of Gold" program through the Women's Ministry. In case you are unfamiliar with this program, it attempts to take experienced wives and homemakers and allows them to mentor younger women in the church focusing on a particular theme each night over an seven week period including one night where we get to meet the spouses of everyone and talk about how much we've learned with the program.  Plus, the appetizers that are served that night totally rock.

The "mentors" as they are called either teach a brief cooking lesson, decorate the tables ("table fairies"), or teach a lesson either one night or off and on throughout the class.

Last year, while desperately seeking something interesting to do in service to the church that didn't involve diaper changing, kids, youth, older adults, music, a weekly commitment, food, or anything that involved me standing up in front of the congregation, I thought that this would be a great experience.  Not that I knew what Apples of Gold was exactly...but whatever.

I mean...I've been married for 24 years, I've raised two children and DHR has not been called, my house has not been condemned by the Health Department, and I can cook well enough to host Thanksgiving Dinner for the past several years. All in all...I thought I was qualified! Sign me up!

But you know...sometimes God has a sense of humor.

Oh, I signed up...and I got the call all right...but not as a MENTOR, but as a participant...otherwise known as an APPLE. I was 45 years old being mentored to by people about my age, and this was a very sad state of affairs. There was one other Apple that was my age, and everyone else had not even darkened the door of thirty. Yee haw.

I had heard friends brag about how fabulous the program was and how it was to die for and all that, so I thought...well even if the "dying for" I'm going to do is...of embarrassment...I gave it a whirl.

What follows is the actual week by week synopsis of my "growth" as an Apple. My friends who received this via e-mail enjoyed I'm reprinting it here. One thing that I might explain: I refer to Weight Watchers as "Rehab" because for me...that's what it from "substance abuse". Hope you enjoy it.


As you know, I have been whining about being an "apple" all week. I want to be a "mentor" - which is what I signed up to do, and what I feel that I am qualified to do. However, since this is where God has placed me, and since there are about a gazillion mentors already...I'm committed to being a lowly (if somewhat mushy and old and on my way to dried up) apple for the next six weeks.

Last night, I was the last one to show up, and was quickly escorted to the kitchen where the two cooking mentors were about to amaze us with a simple yet elegant meal option of soup, salad, bread and dessert. Both discussed the various ingredients, how and where to obtain those, shortcuts that might be helpful, and cost saving options for the budget conscious. It became quickly evident that the nine ladies in my group were "lazy and quiet apples" as opposed to "energetic and enthusiastic apples." When provided with the options on how to peel potatoes or chop onions...the only animation from our “bushel of apples” was the fervently discussed option of purchasing precut onions at Publix and how to use hash browns in the soup instead of actually peeling potatoes. Somehow, I do not think that this was necessarily the intention of our mentors.

We were introduced to various cooking implements such as the egg separator and the whisk. The whisk was familiar to most - although the egg separator was another matter entirely. One of the mentors mentioned that she got hers years ago at a Tupperware party as an attendee gift. One other lady (who is slightly older than I am but in FAR better shape) and I were the only two WHO KNEW WHAT A TUPPERWARE PARTY WAS.

Tupperware? (crickets).

Tupperware is now apparently officially dead. At least it is among the young and firm “apples”. Or perhaps…Pampered Chef? Well, they've heard of THAT. Frankly, I separate eggs the old fashioned way, back and forth between the shells. Works for me. And if I had the egg separator...I would probably have put it on eBay by now since it would no doubt ship easily.

So, we moved forward to the of the young and firm “apples” said that she could not imagine putting fruit in a salad. Hello? Have we never been to Panera Bread? They put fruit in almost EVERY salad. The dressing recipe has a dash of Tabasco in it. Well, at least THAT was new to me...

The dessert involved Ritz crackers, pecans, and egg whites (thus the discussion on separating eggs) among other unhealthy ingredients...which means that it is going to taste good. All I can see from my observation point is that once compiled and baked…I'm going to want to eat this...and consumption of this megacaloric robust concoction will never be possible in my lifetime. May as well rip that recipe out of the book now.

They encouraged us to try our hand at these recipes over the coming week so that we get the hang of cooking. And to think that I’ve actually spent the past twenty years attempting to avoid it. I piped up that I might make the meal and take it to someone thus killing two birds with one stone...practicing cooking and being "kind". But will this actually happen? Probably not. I'm spending too many hours on eBay and Freecycle to actually cook. Plus, I don't really want Big Dave to get used to me cooking. I mean, after that one meal, he might convince himself that I want to and/or like to cook and simply quit doing it himself. This is so NOT happening. I wonder if they have "Apples of Gold" for men? They should. Big Dave can whip himself into a frenzy at a Pampered Chef party…which is why we are the proud owners of an apple corer/peeler/slicer with the accompanying stand that has not been used since 1988, and will never be thrown away because it is “his.”

But I digress...

We then looked at the table and a lady impressed me with her "puddle" of fabric on the table. I can set a table...and I can even figure out how to decorate with placemats and napkins...but the "puddle" was a new one on me. As a result of her description of the basic simplicity of the puddle, I intend to purchase a yard of fabric to "puddle" in the middle of my table for future gatherings. This is like saying that I will purchase a yard of fabric for the two times a year that I actually entertain…which are Thanksgiving and Christmas. But wait…there’s more…she also went out to the hostess’ backyard and broke off twigs and leaves and put together an arrangement using I'm not entirely sure what. But, it WAS pretty. The likelihood of me actually being able to create a flower arrangement is approximately the same as me requesting that Big Dave install a pole in the bedroom for me to dance on or me purchasing a thong from Victoria's Secret for myself.

After the cooking lesson, we went into the room for the Bible study. And YES, I have done my homework. All of it. We go over things, read Bible verses off of little pieces of paper, and the book "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein was read to demonstrate kindness...which was a little surreal to me, and also pulled the old heartstrings. I had never read the book...but I'm buying it for my niece and nephew. This was read to us by a lady with a very sweet voice. In fact, all of the mentors had very sweet voices...which I suppose was appropriate since we were on the theme of "kindness" this week. I don't have a sweet voice...which is possibly another reason that I was demoted to “apple” in the first place.

And you know me...I can't just sit there and be a quiet “apple”...I have to "share." I apparently felt it necessary to inform the lady who made soup for her neighbor as an act of kindness but who didn't think that it was "enough" that she was more hung up on what she thought of it rather than just trusting God to make more of it than it really was. Which is exactly what happened. The recipient of said bowl of soup thought it was the best she'd ever eaten. And why was that? Because the recipient had spent all day at the emergency room with her husband, was exhausted, and was slowly losing her grip on reality. That bowl of soup was a lifeline...not JUST a bowl of soup. And I should know about people losing a grip on the crazy lady from Phoenix, AZ on eBay last night who bid $37.50 for one package of 15 and one package of 14 - 8 x 10 retired page protectors. Granted, they are RETIRED. BUT $37.50??? These originally cost me about $8-10.

ANYWAY, I am finding that much like my comments in rehab on Monday night in response to why it is that people drop out of Weight Watchers and say it doesn't work...and I answered "because they refuse to accept that they need to be here...because if they did...they'd be doing the program to the letter"... I tend to say something and then people just stare at me. I don't know if I'm wise or nuts...probably the latter.

After this, we sat down to a meal that freaked me out because I had no clue how to count this in points (I had saved 11) but every fiber of my being wanted me face down in that plate. During the meal, the homeowner’s smoke detector kept screeching at us because her husband didn't have a 9V battery to make it shut every so often, it would scream and we would all fall silent. I ate only one small bite of the dessert and took the rest home to Big Dave. He thought it was "too sweet"...the dessert...not me bringing it to him. I think he's mean for eating my dessert and not at least being eternally grateful that I thought enough of him to bring it home, hide it in my trunk from myself and bring it to him before it started yelling "EAT ME!" from beneath the plastic wrap.

By the way, I did learn due to my request for a “to go” dessert the real reason my "press and seal" wrap never works is because it is HEAT ACTIVATED. At least that's what she said. You have to press it, but leave your fingertips on the edge for a few seconds so that the heat from your body forces the seal. Well, shucks. I thought I was just slow.

I won a set of whisks because my birthday was closest (which means that the law of averages means that I will win no other drawing until at least 2015 so I can quit buying lottery tickets on my random trips to Georgia). The whisks are going in Jill's hope chest, along with the beautifully wrapped framed Bible verse – a gift from the mentors - that was placed lovingly in her Phi Mu pink bedroom. How's that for being kind? Anyway, due to my interpretation of the inspiring Bible study prior to class, I did send some letters yesterday and money to a college kid that I didn't give birth to, so I felt like I demonstrated enough kindness for one day.

At 8:55, they starting singing "Good Night Ladies..." which was our cue to either leave or get ourselves in the kitchen to help clean up. Naturally, because I want to max out my “apple” experience, I went home. I am sincerely looking forward to next week when we will be discussing "Loving Our Husbands"... This should be good...but not quite as good as the upcoming lecture on "Submission." Heaven help us.


I have now graduated from being a "reluctant apple" to being a "grateful apple" since I have now figured out the drill and also know that I got the better end of this whole experience. I'm still too old for this and ask you to humor me by envisioning things the way I do. Imagine a beautiful blue bowl with three perfect Granny Smith apples, two perfect Red Delicious apples, and three Yellow Delicious apples contained within. It is sitting upon a puddle of fabric (let's step up and make it a gold lame or something...) There's a hint of cinnamon in the air intermingled with Pledge signifying that the maid has come and the house is clean. There is the sound of (insert your favorite music here) playing softly in the background and the soft crackle of a fire (or the sound of the gas logs hissing...whatever) in the background. All is well. Beside this idyllic bowl of fruit are is a package of dehydrated apple chips (that would be me). Yes. I'm reminded of the Sesame Street ditty..."One of these things doesn't belong of these things just isn't the same..."

Anyway, I arrived almost late to a beautiful appetizer of mozzarella, fresh basil, and cherry tomatoes drizzled with balsamic reduction. Prior to this, the only "reduction" that I had been familiar with was what I'm trying to accomplish in Rehab. I jumped all over these as I could actually count them fairly easily on WW, and I was a breath away from starvation having eaten nothing since 3pm. Our cooking mentors for the night were AWESOME. One of them was the one who got me started on Creative Memories in the first place in January 1996, and she is just the sweetest person ever. Or was it due to the onions? Anyway, one of them is well-known as an excellent cook and presenter, and I was not disappointed. She proceeded to make meatloaf look attractive, demonstrated the proper chopping of onions, green peppers and sun dried tomatoes, and blended it all together. The other discussed the nutritive properties of whole wheat and showed us how her flour mill works.

I want one. A flour mill.  And I'm so serious. Anyway, I actually wanted to jump up and do this as it looked like so much fun.

We went to the Bible study and the tiny mentor presented the section on "Loving our Husbands" which included such radical ideas as "smelling good", "taking care of ourselves", and "greeting him at the door" which really just are basic...but easily put aside. Big Dave would probably pass out if I did any one of those three things...although I do occasionally smell good and this stint in Rehab is a way of "taking care of myself" I suppose. She did have the guts to say that some women "let themselves go" after they are married with me sitting right beside her - which I thought was quite a step of faith on her part that I would not hurl my massive self over there and knock her unconscious. A lot of what she said is true...but a lot of it is just not applicable to my particular marriage. I did glean a few nuggets, though.

We then went back into the dining room where I sat beside the same girl as last week who just will not eat her vegetables and it irritates me because asparagus is expensive. I almost did the famous, "are you going to eat that?" but restrained myself. I savored my food and counted my points faithfully. The roll almost brought me to tears because it was all so good and because I am so motivated to start making these for everyone I know that I sense another bout of obsession brewing. I can't make anything involving yeast, but they told us not to be afraid. Obviously, they have not seen me attempt to make any kind of bread. It is a sad, sad thing to witness. I cannot even make frozen dough rise.

They also prepared grits from the place in Wetumpka (Oakview Farms) that were AWESOME and put these under the meatloaf and put some pan sauce on it. I'm not really sure, but I think that pan sauce is just grease. I'm not sure how many points there are in "grease" but I tried to count it effectively. They bundled up our desserts - one for us and one for our husbands. I took them home to Big Dave and he told me this week that it was "too rich".

I do not like Big Dave at this point in time.

I took my one bite (and counted don't EVEN start with me) and it was good. I brought the other one to a friend at work who loves chocolate. Unfortunately, due to diverticulitis, a personal aversion to nuts of any kind (it contained pecans in the icing) and the fact that his doctor wants to run a glucose test...he didn't appreciate it either. I just CANNOT win. The important thing was that I didn't consume it...which was a giant leap forward in my recovery.

Anyway, the table decorations were phenomenal again, and NO, I did not photograph them. Why, you ask? Because I was either too hungry, too crowded, or actually eating and was shooed out immediately upon commencement of my meal and did not get to it. So, before you start sending me hate mail...have mercy.

Next week we are doing "Loving Our Children." This should be easy, but knowing my two...I'm in for a rocky week. That's the way my luck goes.


First of all, I get a zero for doing my homework this week. Due to the vehicle gymnastics that we have been doing for the past two weeks, I inadvertently left my book in what is now temporarily Brian's car (formerly mine) and couldn't figure out where I left it. That and the fact that I've been mailing out eBay packages in my limited spare time. I arrived on time, had a bite of cheese ball and cracker chased by a concoction of ginger ale and grape juice that I counted as three points and sat down (on time) for my third lesson in domesticity.

Although I was slightly mesmerized by the mentor’s blinking tiara, I was able to pull it together enough to watch them show us how to make parmesan chicken fingers and homemade macaroni and cheese. guessed it..."How to Love Your Kids" night. I did learn some new things, and someone’s frog prince table was absolutely precious. I was saddened to learn that the table fairy that taught me about puddling fabric is now off duty for the remaining weeks of the class.

One of the mentors read the "Fancy Nancy" book...which at least brought me closure to know what she was talking about since that particular combination of words had been uttered no fewer than 100 times since my arrival. I was pleased to understand what it meant, and enjoyed the my own obsessive little way was proven by the fact that I rushed home to find one on eBay. The fact that they mention France in it was a cue to me that my niece Tara needs this book and the numerous others that are also apparently for sale. I thought I'd start slowly. I'm just "watching" it for now.

We went into the lesson that was very sweetly done by a mentor who had the organization and the forethought (is that a word? I don't know) to provide us with a little box of reminders to go along with what she was saying. And in case you are wondering...NO...I am not putting this box on eBay. (Hey! I won't.) Speaking of eBay (since I have already done so twice), I got into my first tussle with a bad seller last night. I ordered a "lot" of stuff only to find out that the only saving grace was that the lady shipped incredibly fast and that 40% of what she said was supposed to be in there...actually was. I then filed a grievance with PayPal and am getting back the value of the missing "stuff". Let's just suffice it to say that I had some telling clues before I even opened the box...the "Eau de Marlboro" was quite evident and upon opening it I quickly learned that she was apparently a Nascar fan and shopped a lot at the Dollar Tree. I won't elaborate more. I suppose that I should be grateful that I filed when I did...she hadn't received her money yet as PayPal was waiting on proof of shipping or a positive seller rating...and because of this...she was quite willing to negotiate. I am normally a nice person...or at least my seller ratings indicate that my buyers think I am...but I WAS born in Georgia...west central Georgia...and I know a thing or two about "going redneck" if I am pushed to do so. Plus, there's that added bonus for anyone crossing me of my current perimenopausal...and hungry most of the time...and overcaffienated state of being.

After our lesson, we went back in to eat...the food was good...and we had these little parfait things. Now, the original idea of making these "surprise parfaits" was a good one...but the reality of having the combination of chocolate pudding, cool whip and gummy bears is just well...about like it sounds. Peanut M&Ms...yes. Sprinkles...yes. Little conversation hearts and gummy In spite of this, I ate all of my stuff because I could count it for Rehab...and because I was short a milk for the day (justification rocks).

Speaking of Rehab...I'm down a small bowling ball at this point for those of you who either care or are counting. The numerical equivalent of that is 12 lbs. Wow...only 88 to go! At this rate, I will be there a minimum of 44 weeks...but as we all some point (probably next week with my luck)...I will hit a plateau. The plateau is where I start eating nothing but broccoli, drinking five gallons of water a day and going beyond "moving" to outright exercise. I'm hoping that I plateau sometime in 2010, but I'm betting not.

Hope that all is well with you. I'm busy today and still carless...hopefully only through today, though.


Last night's bible lesson was on "submission." What exactly is it about that word? I think it is the "sub" part of in subpar, substitute, subcommittee, subcontract, subpoena, sublease, subculture, subdue, subconscious, and subdivide. We think of it as being less than, under, beneath, or whatever, and since we are all "daughters of the king"...we just have a real problem with that. However, there are also words like subject, subliminal, submarine, and my personal favorite...sublime...that are also sub words without the negative connotation. Well, maybe subliminal needs to go in the first camp...if it involves flashing pictures of popcorn and cokes at a movie screen without my knowledge. It is normally wasted on me anyway since spending $15 in the concession stand is a prerequisite for me to go to the movie theater and I don't care how many points it is. Not getting the overpriced popcorn is like going to the fair and passing on the funnel cake. I mean...why would anyone do THAT?

Oh yeah, and I'm strike two with the homework. Can't find my book. BAD apple. And before you think is not on eBay. The contents of Jill’s closet currently are...I have 78 items on as of this morning...

We show up to a wonderful salsa that includes Monterey Jack cheese, tomatoes, etc. and lime chips. For those of you who have not experienced the magic of Lime Tostados...get a bag and eat 14 of them (3 points!). Really good...and remarkably good with salsa. The mentors made pork tenderloin, a rice/bean dish, and lemon squares. I seriously think that we did less actual cooking demonstration this time, but the food and its presentation were awesome. I am making the tenderloin this weekend for my parents. May make the whole meal.

The apples have suddenly become loud apples...with lots of talking...questions...and we've all pretty much dropped our defenses and have now admitted that we are all pretty clueless in the kitchen but not hopeless. One of the cooking mentors is like the Socrates, E.F. Hutton, or Alan Greenspan of the kitchen. She talks...we listen. She also prays really well and dramatically. Which I love...and I'm sure that God loves too although I'm pretty sure that He is not giving us scores or anything.

The mentors are also sitting behind the cooking mentors and they can't hear as they are asking questions too. You do realize that there are more of them than there are of us...which is why I am a dehydrated apple in the first place. It reassures the young apples that their current clueless state is nothing to be ashamed may just be permanent.

We were given some wheat seeds to sprout for Easter (looks like cool grass) that is likely going to be disastrous. It combines my two major ingredients and live plants. I suspect that my grass will probably either not sprout at all and will turn into some kind of weird fungus that reeks to high heaven or will actually perform and then die the day before Easter. That's my luck. I'm pretty much betting that the former is true...and I will not be able to figure out what the funky smell is. By the way, just so you know, I can keep a poinsettia alive for months...or years...or possibly indefinitely. I have one from last Christmas (2007) and two from this year. They are still in their attractive foil things and they look spindly as all get out, but they are alive. Doesn't that just figure? They are good one month a year...but they just won't die and give me an excuse to get rid of them! I'm thinking of listing them on Freecycle.

We then went into the room to hear our discussion on "submission". The mentor did an excellent job, and she ran over who all we are to submit to in our lives. I have to admit that this is one of those little classes that I am still sitting in and can't graduate out of to save my life. I mean...there are first graders who wave goodbye to me on their way out of the room. I've passed the quizzes on government, teachers, preachers, and the police and barely passed the one on bosses, but the whole husband thing and the God thing have been harder. I feel like a 16 year old 6th grader. Make that a 45 year old 6th grader. I try to be obedient, and I'm actually good at it in theory...not so much in practice. I figured that God would give me a man that was less laid back to make it a little easier...but alas, no. I'm finding that obeying God in the little things is harder than the big things. For example, I went redneck on the lady who sent me the Marlboro infused box last week and she refunded me almost half of what I paid her. God was not happy with this...even thought I was technically right. He is the one who takes vengeance...not moi. He has reminded me of this every day repeatedly. So, this morning, I refunded the money to her that she refunded to me. Maybe I can live with myself today. Once she realizes this, she will know that she was dealing with a psycho. I figure that God intended for her to have a certain amount of money, and I was messing with His plans. Not smart. I have freely admitted that my mercy quotient is zero...justice quotient 10+...which puts me in the "pit bull" category of human beings. Yes, we can be good, but we are highly unstable. I am trying to be more in the German Shepherd/Labrador category with the ultimate goal of Golden Retriever.

Oh, for those of you who are wondering...I missed my rehab meeting on Monday night because I was being traumatized in the dentist's chair with a crown. Yeah, crowns are great on your head...not so great in your mouth. It took four sets of shots to deaden the right lower part of my head. My right nostril was dead, but not where she intended to drill. I was there for two hour of it was spent trying to get my mouth deadened. I have been extremely good so far this week (um...that would be yesterday) and I'm hoping for decent results next Monday. After being a little loosy-goosey at the beach with not recording my intake...and the fact that my body thinks it is time for one of my now-quarterly "visits"...I think that it was wise to keep me out of there for now. I can't open my mouth...because the jaw is sore where she poked me repeatedly trying to get my mouth to calm down. Kept me from overeating the chips and salsa last night since you have to be able to shove it in before it falls down the front of your shirt and look somewhat graceful in the process.

After that, we went into the dining area and they gave me a folding chair at the big table. The only folding chair...and not that I'm complaining or anything....but I'm wondering if any of these ladies have noticed that I'm a bit...overweight. There are eight other of which are sticks. Put the stick in the folding chair where it is less likely that she will crumple it like tin foil. Fortunately, it worked out and I didn't become "that woman who is so fat that she broke a chair in my Apples of Gold class." It didn't cave in...and I am grateful for that. I ate less than half of my lemon square and took the rest home to Big Dave. He actually liked it because it was "sour". We have GOT to get this man some better adjectives. His birthday is in I was again placed beside another Apple (the non-vegetable eater) who actually broke down and tried the pineapple cucumber salsa. I know that this description sounds yucky, but it was actually pretty good. I was proud of her "growth" in this area. I am really sorry that they clipped the wings of the table fairy from weeks 1-3 offense to the current table fairy...I was not inspired. In fact, these tables were more in line with what I can do...and I'm pretty much an imbecile in home decorating. They were attractive...but there were no puddles...and a little too basic in my opinion (although nobody asked for it.) They were "lovely" but that's a far cry from "wow."

We talked about doing a men's version of this called "Steaks of Charcoal" and having the submission lesson include such topics as "releasing the remote" and "asking for directions" but it is unlikely that this will actually occur. The table decorations would be one of those plastic nasty smelling tablecloths (with the creases still in it) in the classic red checkerboard pattern that can easily be procured at the local Dollar Tree...and Chinet plates since we are trying to be "uptown". Big Dave could teach this class as it is our life in any given week.

Anyway, hope that next week's lesson is interesting and that I'll find my book beforehand. Have a great week!


Last night's dinner was quite wonderful with appetizers of little twirly tart things made with the same stuff crescent rolls are made of...can't call it right now. I blew it out and ate more than I should have - 5 - which will probably reflect on the scale this week. Let's hope not. (By the way...for those of you who are counting...I'm up to 14 lbs off at Rehab...putting me squarely in medium bowling ball range). Anyway, we had new cooking mentors. They used so many vegetables in what they were preparing that I saw one Apple (the girl who doesn't eat vegetables) squirm in her seat. Actually, she also shot me a glance and mouthed the words, "I know...if it has color I should try it." Mediterranean tilapia...couscous, veggies, and a stuffed tomato thing. It was quite delightful. It was also easy to count and was not fattening because heaven knows the tart things had done me in points-wise by that time. Don't even get me started talking about dessert...she made these things that look like the outside of a cream puff, and then put a miniscule scoop of ice cream inside them and the whole thing was topped with a puddle of fudge sauce. Needless to say, Big Dave did not get any "happys" from this particular meal... ergo, I didn't have to wake him up from the couch and hear him whine. I ate it. All of it. Every single crumb. And you know what? I LIKED it.

The dance in the kitchen between the two cooking mentors is always enjoyable to watch. Mind you, these ladies are closer to my age than to the typical age of the young firm apples. Yes, the "T" word (Tupperware) came out again last night. This time it was a roller that you could chill by putting cold water in it. The first set of mentors talked a lot and kept the menu simple, the second set, informed a lot and put out menus that were possible but stretched you out of your comfort zone in both ingredients and prep, and the third set, crammed a ton of nutritious food together in a simple yet rock solid way. The two of them in the kitchen was choreographed hysterically...although I seriously doubt that this was their intention at all. Primarily the "dance" consisted of "[drop this], no, this belongs here, where's my..., I used the wrong recipe, ignore this part, [dropped item], use the Tupperware roller, Barefoot Contessa, I forgot that, wait, no, you need to buy the cookbooks, Sam's, [adding more because consistency was weird], Barefoot Contessa...seriously...[searching for utensil], Sam's, [check oven temperature], you need non-stick Reynolds Wrap, ziploc bags and wait...where is my...well, it is SUPPOSED to do this..." and on and on. Hysterical. You know the "frog in a blender dance" that so many men are famous for? Well, this was the culinary version. However, the food that they prepared could not have been tastier, more nutritious or easier to prepare (with the exception of the cream puffy outsides and one of the two tarts.) So, all in all, I enjoyed the entire presentation.

We later went into the room for our bible lesson. Now, let me stop you right here. Do you know women whose voices are so soothing that you feel like you are eight years old with your head on their shoulder, and they are reading a book to you?" You know what I mean...the kind of "MeeMaw" that isn't dipping snuff, sitting on the front porch with a flyswatter, or shelling peas...that's another kind. I mean the kind of lady who has the Southern drawl that just reminds you of magnolia blossoms, cool breezes and lemonade. Well, tonight’s teaching mentor has one of those kind of voices. And she was our speaker on purity. Not only does she sound wonderful, she is an excellent storyteller. She gave us three stories that had all of us on the edge of our seats. I saw eye contact from everyone. Perfect delivery, tie-ins, and so on. I cannot stress to you how soothing, uplifting, and "at home" I felt listening to her. She has that grace and elegance that I so wish I had. I'm too edgy to ever sound like that or make others feel that way in my presence. But, I can certainly appreciate it in others. She stroked our hair with words and fed our spirits with verses that wrapped around us like a warm towel when you were little and had just gotten out of the tub. I just felt comfortable there. Our gift was a very pretty candle, that I'm ashamed to admit I've already looked up on eBay...and they are selling. NO, I have not listed it yet. I'm so bad.

Anyway, the purity thing was the obvious...ruling out Cosmopolitan magazine, R rated movies, people that might cause us to step over the line, and situations that we know are bad. I'd ruled out "Cos-smut-politan" magazine years ago when I realized that I cannot even look at the cover without blushing. I didn't want Jill reading any magazine except Shape, Southern Living, and Readers' Digest...and she has really been good about compliance. Granted, I still have to set fire to the daily dose of Victoria's Secret catalogs that insist on coming in through my mailbox so as to not taint Brian's view of feminine beauty. Or Jill's. Or mine. Actually, I find the whole thing laughable since it will be a cold day in hell before I find myself in a thong. I don't know, though. If I ever get to my goal weight...two pygmy goats from now...I might try one on so that I can know for sure. When I was able to wear such a garment, they didn't exist except in Frederick's of Hollywood.

We had "puddles" again in the table decorations last night, and heart boxes and white plates. I wolfed my food down. Heather was proud to report to me after dinner that she ate the stuffing out of her tomato and that her fish (which she doesn't normally like) was good once she raked some of the stuff off of it. She's trying. I'm so glad for her. She's missing out on so much by living within the confines of chicken fingers and the offerings of any random drive-thru.

I'm thinking of going to J-BUG tonight (Just Between Us Girls) at Frazer at 6:00. Someone I want to hear is speaking and one of the Apples invited me to come. Granted, this Apple weighs less than 50% of what I currently do. She's a sweet girl (and one of the young firm apples). My family is playing "musical cars" once again since Brian has mine and Big Dave has his, Jill is in Tuscaloosa, and "The Destroyer" (Brian's name for his new 1997 Ford Explorer) is having its little engine replaced right now. We're hoping that "The Destroyer" will remain roadworthy until spring of 2011...or beyond. Jill wants another vehicle and we don't want her 1991 Miata to break down. We want to keep it running and hang onto it for a "fun car."

In the world of eBay, I now have a feedback rating of 83 and I'm still at 100%. I have a number of items on there (80-something) and I'm enjoying myself. If anyone wants to feed my addiction and clear out stuff that you don't want and don't want to fool with eBay...let me know. Oh, and for today...if anyone needs a lunch date, please call. The only issue will have to come and get me AND bring me back. Sorry. Don't feel obligated. I'm sure that there's a nice (gag me) frozen dinner with my name on it in the kitchen. If I do not hear from you on any of the above, that is fine...seriously...I'm just throwing it out there.


Some days are a sprint...yesterday was a marathon.

About mid-morning, as I was working, I got a phone call from the mother of one of Jill's sorority sisters giving me my marching orders for the tea on Sunday. As you all know, I do love to be involved, and I really have very little trouble figuring out how to make things happen if given adequate time. If not, whatever I do come up with looks like the climax of any given MacGyver episode with me solving the problem at hand with something random that some people interpret as "creative." Actually, I really do enjoy the adrenaline rush from such but have learned that there's enough stuff in life that comes apart at the seams with adequate preparation to satisfy me without actually adding to it by failing to plan. Ergo, I am not a procrastinator of the highest order...I'm a private...not a 5 star general.

Anyway, so my marching orders end up resembling a scavenger hunt gone bad and require domesticity of a higher order than I normally can muster. I had to find someone to print 60 napkins (pink or choice!) with Phi Mu on them. That meant that I had to call people (I hate that) and then had to go in person to pick them out and choose from one of the two stupid fonts that they had. This would not normally be a problem, but since "The Destroyer" (Brian's new/old car) is still awaiting release from the engine genie on the Troy Highway, I am totally at the mercy of Big Dave who is totally at the mercy of the three customers he is trying to finish up so that he can get paid and we can get The Destroyer out of hock instead of racking up points on my LL Bean Visa card. We get there on the other side of town (LeCroy Village), and I make my selection. Had to get 100 napkins because they come in lots of 50, and since there must be 60, I had to order up. Essentially, these napkins cost twenty-eight cents each and they had better be cute.

Then she tells me that I have to provide 60 strawberries dipped in white and dark chocolate (an assortment!) with pink sprinkles. Pink sprinkles, naturally, went out of vogue last week with the clearance Valentine's Day paraphernalia. This means that I will have to search the tri-county area for them and will no doubt locate them somewhere random like the Super Foods on McGehee Road where I will probably be unfortunate enough to come face to face with (ex-boyfriend of Jill’s mother) who lives in the vicinity. I'm sure that I'll have to call around again, but I haven't even crossed that bridge yet. Nor have I ever dipped strawberries. Should be interesting. Oh, and I have to provide the toppings for the ice cream sundaes. That SHOULD be easy...but I'm sure that it won't be simply because it SHOULD be.

And that means that Her Highness will be home on Saturday which means that I have to clean her room Friday night because The Boy has been camping out in there playing X-box (before it mysteriously broke). I'd do it tonight, but I have to go take pictures of the Dress Rehearsal for a Mother, and then tomorrow night I'm going to some Ladies' thing at a friend’s church that sounded good at the time. If not...she will find an excuse to suck me into the vortex of Ann Taylor Loft to spend her "buy $50, get $25 free" coupons of which she has four from her last reign of terror.

So, after this call, a trip to pick up a check from Trinity that was supposed to have been sent home with Brian the day before but NOOOO that would have been too easy, a trip to McDonald's which meant that because I was with Big Dave I had to get out of the truck and go in and order because he won't wait in a drive-thru. Before I could get his Mickey D's sweet tea filled, they are shouting out my initials and I'm like, SHUT UP I'M FILLING UP THE DRINK YOU SHOULD BE FILLING, and then I get my bag and go. And YES, I logged the 12 points for that excursion. Went by to check on The Destroyer, and it is (still) not ready.

At 4:00, I was waiting on Big Dave to come get me so that I could report to Guthrie's at 4:30 sharp to pick up the 500 chicken fingers and 140 pieces of toast and I find that he is "busy" and that I am to call The Boy. The Boy is not answering his phone, or the house phone, and I'm dialing incessantly for about 10 minutes before he finally gives it up and picks up. After enduring his whining for 30 seconds, and resorting to a threat to sell him on eBay if he didn't get his rear end in that car right then to get me, he arrived at 4:25 to move me to Phase II of my day.

At 4:50, we arrived at Trinity with said chicken fingers and toast and begin setting up for the 120 students we are anticipating for play practice. It is sophomore night! For those of you who have followed my frustration at never being asked to chair anything at the school, note that this is the culmination of a dream I've had since 1996. We served tons of kids, but not nearly enough to consume the volume of chicken fingers purchased, and one of the sophomore girls asked me to be a speaker for their bible study next week. I had just cut my finger on an aluminum pan and was bleeding, but I did manage to give her my cell number. Some of the kids were actually polite. I've intentionally avoided TPS this year because it doesn't seem the same, but I did enjoy catching up with some of the seniors and finding out their plans for college.

At 6:30, I took out the trash, wiped the tables, cleared up everything and got into the truck with the "William Tell Overture" playing in my mind. Something from the 1990's grunge era was actually playing on the radio - but whatever. Big Dave took me to "Apples of Gold - Part VI" where the kitchen lesson was already in progress. It was the Lucy and Ethel team again and it was the same thing with the organization...or lack thereof. They gave us a lot of great directions, and one girl, who is too cute and has a double name asked several questions about eggs. I had no idea that people actually washed them if they were poaching them as opposed to cooking them to keep germs out. I just don't think like that. She had apparently never constructed a deviled egg in her life because she was perched on the edge of her seat and writing furiously. About eggs. I kid you not.

After this, we went into our room where I was expecting another sweet voice to lull me through the bible study. Alas, no. This teaching mentor kept us awake with the stories and she was anything but quiet. Granted, we are now noisy apples, participating in the bible study and interrupting her, but it was a very different mood in that room from previous weeks. Naturally, I spoke up and stated that my friend Carol’s house is warm and welcoming to me and the only oasis that I am aware of where everything is perfect all of the time...period...end of discussion. It is my version of the "Southern Living masterpiece" that I so enjoy visiting. I learned a lot of things about hospitality and why I think that I've always undervalued my own version. My version of "puddled fabric" is more likely to be brown paper bags with buffalo chicken wings laid out on them and a silver tray...but not from Neiman Marcus...but from Sunday Dinner...with french fries strewn over it. Instead of "cute" or "elegant" china, we're talking the styrofoam plates from WalMart and the cheapest napkins that can be purchased (because you get 500 in a pack) in a pile on the table rather than formed delicately into the shape of a swan. But you know...just like there is room in life for Subway AND The Capital City Club...I suppose that there's room in the hospitality arena for my way of doing things. It is nice to visit the "other side" through Apples of Gold and my not often enough visits to Carol's (and I'm not slighting you girls...I always feel at home with is just amazing to me that I have never seen dirt, cobwebs, gradu, or anything remotely out of place at Carol's EVER...and I've been there enough times to trust my impressions.)

Yes, they gave us directions how to make elegant presentations with our dinner napkins. In my particular case, I am sorry to report, it was an unmitigated waste of paper. Some tree-hugger in California is - quite frankly - justified in her insane quest to stop the "savagery" as we speak.

Dinner was glorious as usual although I would have been a little more heavy handed with the salt. They didn't have the cornbread ready as we sat down to eat, and yes, I did eat my dessert. Something with lady fingers that was good, but not my favorite. Didn't stop me from eating it, though, under the guise of those mysterious 35 points that I can toss to the wind each week. The ham glaze with Dijon mustard was the bomb, and I really liked the potatoes, green beans and the deviled egg. Heather, the non-vegetable eater, offered me her deviled egg. I took it. They decorated it with a little sprig of something green and a pimento. Yeah. I just don't have patience for garnishing...but I do enjoy eating around it. Ol' “I Don’t Eat Vegetables” and I have come a long way together since the early days of Apples when I wanted to be totally redneck and ask "ya gonna eat that?" to her uneaten asparagus but for once was too bashful to ask. My Gammy would have been proud at my restraint.

We received a gift basket for our spare bedroom. I got the bright pink one since it is going in Her Highness' bedroom. That is as close to a guest room as I have.

I then arrived home to find Jill's friend who attends college in town with a written document in his hand that was typed and just needed to be proofread. I was so astounded that I almost fell out. Granted, it needed two hours of tweaking, a soliloquy of his life since December, including portions that I could have done without knowing including significant detail on a current relationship and a blow-by-blow on him getting his truck stuck in a swamp at 4 a.m….and consumption of half a gallon of sweet tea on his part, but it is nice to feel needed. He wants to go to an out of town college next year and needs to get his grades up. I was also so pleased to note how far he's come from the sad little term paper in the 11th grade that was incoherently written on notebook paper to what I received last night. He's growing up. Thank God.

Anyway, I hope that next week will be fun as well. One of the Apples showed us her engagement ring that she received last weekend, and we will get to meet Mr. Wonderful next Tuesday. The other “mature” Apple’s daughter is getting married in April. That's the spectrum our little bushel has been known for these past six weeks. Getting something we gave birth to getting married. I'll give you one final installment of the saga next week. It has been quite a ride.

I finally passed out last night at 1:15am thanks to Tylenol PM and then dragged out of bed to check my eBay at 6:30 this morning. I'm tired. My feedback rating was 103 this morning, and I have achieved my short term goal of a turquoise star. I am down 14 1/2 pounds at Rehab, and once I leave Apples, it will probably start clicking along a little faster.

Have a great week ladies. Sorry for the tome. Couldn't be avoided. Later!

APPLES OF GOLD – The Final Chapter

Well, that title says it all. Except that there will actually be one additional meeting called "Bread Making".

Speaking of bread…this mentor actually made her rolls with seasoned roast beef in them as her appetizer. I parked my immense rear end in a chair beside said rolls and activated what I have learned from Rebel when he is guarding anything that he is trying to keep from Dixie. I tried a lot of different things...low growl, staring, talking to them so they wouldn't focus, or just plain out blocking their path. I ended up taking home two "for later" apparently I am a good student. There was an immense amount of party food on said table...all of which was sampled. It was also the beginning of my "birthday week" which will end tonight (yeah, I go eight days). I gave myself a pass at Rehab this week as a gift. This means that I’ll go on Wednesday night and suffer through another leader who will probably have false enthusiasm and I’ll have to resist the urge to slap her. I've finally gotten over that with my regular leader. I'm even able to be more accepting of her unintentional slaughter of the English language. But I am NOT weighing this week. Lalalalala denial is soo nice sometimes.

The night was a little interesting in many respects...

Have you ever met someone and then just assumed that you knew what their spouse was like? I mean...I think that we all play by the rules somewhat of pairing up with people that are somewhat like us. But sometimes people just throw all of those rules out of the window and marry someone who is just shockingly different than what you would expect. Okay...picture this...Mel Gibson and Joan Rivers. Scary? about Robert Redford and Britney Spears? Get what I mean? I experienced that about three times during this meeting.  So, I've learned that one cannot assume anything about what could possibly attract another person. Seriously. I was pleased that the Apple about to get married has a fiance was as cute as she is...and trust me when I tell you that the wedding pictures will be phenomenal.

One of the mentors wrote a poem which was wonderful and everyone shared their experience in Apples. Naturally, I had to express my own. I felt kind of weird doing so because I felt like I cheated getting in there in the first place. But it was okay. I don't know if I was intoxicated on party food or what...but I actually remembered everybody's name and said what I wanted to say. Actually, I had written a poem as well, but chose not to share because I'd gotten wind that this was her thing and I didn't want to pale in comparison.

Overall, it was a lovely experience. I enjoyed my time as a dehydrated apple. I have enjoyed relaying it to you as well. I hope that I will actually be able to apply the lessons that I have learned somewhere because my family certainly is not interested.

For my birthday lunch on Saturday (yeah, we celebrated a day early), I cooked the meatloaf, grits, etc. meal and was so delighted that everyone enjoyed it. HOWEVER, when everyone arrived, I was standing in the kitchen with no makeup, hair brushed but certainly wild, in my short pink and blue striped pink nightgown (sans bra) and my purple pajama pants in size "gargantuan" with my favorite dwarf - Grumpy - gracing them. Needless to say, I was a vision of loveliness. So, my table did not get puddled, the plates and glasses did not match, the silverware was in a pile instead of neatly distributed under a napkin, and the flowers that Big Dave purchased me from Winn Dixie (because he is unfamiliar with the concept of a florist) were on the bar because they were too tall. Also, the dyed daisies just were not providing the ambiance I had so desired. I appreciated the gesture, but I REALLY appreciated the hot pink roses and green mum things that Nedra gave me on Sunday night a whole lot more. They are sitting here on my desk.

Ladies...seriously...we need to discourage the purchase of flowers that are unnaturally fake looking. Plain daisies...yes. Daisies dyed in some funky turquoise color, fuschia, tangerine (wish I were kidding) and neon yellow are just unnatural. Kind of like fat free cheese, the Weight Watchers meals at Applebees, coupons that are buy 8 and get .25 off, Creative Memories pick up squares, parsley, Palmer's chocolate, Boone's Farm strawberry wine, Peeps, Brach's maple candy at Halloween, or non-leather shoes. I mean...WHY BOTHER.

Just letting you all know that if you call me here at work this week, you will likely get a mini version of the witch from the Wizard of Oz...and I don't mean Glinda. I mean the one with the green tint and the wart. Do not be offended. I am trying to soothe myself by listening to Collective Soul, U2, Pearl Jam, Linkin Park and Led Zeppelin on my new iPod and I can't hear the phone ring anyway. Everyone is on vacation, examiners are here, and I am still unable to make the adjustment to Daylight Savings Time. The latter means that I arrive to work with something, makeup, socks, or all of the above. And late. Doesn't matter, though, as I'm working through lunch and late every night. Pity me, forgive me, or just overlook me. Please.

Anyway, I do love this new i-Pod. It is green...and since it arrived just before St. Patrick's Day...I named it Pati. Jill's spelling...don't blame me. She has a red one named Ruby. Why we must name these electronic things is beyond me. And for those of you who know my family's insistence on only purchasing things for me that qualify as "appliances" - you will be happy to note that this qualifies since it has to be plugged in to their streak is unbroken. Brian insisted that I load all of my CDs on it yesterday, so I have learned how to do this because he made me. It is amazing how much you learn with a 16 year old teaching you. They are to us in this realm what we are to them in just about everything else. But with regard to electronics...they are light years ahead of us. We can stumble through and figure it out...but they intuitively understand that if you push the little eject icon instead of fumbling with the thing on the side to release your CD and saying words that you really don't mean (such as the obvious or "I'm going to throw this thing across the room") that it works a lot better. Well, duh. That assumes, however, that we can actually see the stupid little icon. Seeing is becoming more of a challenge to me every day. Which of

There's something random about listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd one moment, Abba the next, and then Linkin Park. Kind of a schizophrenic thing that I can somewhat relate to. Have a lovely day, ladies.

Apples of Gold – Bread Making

Last night was one of those evenings where you just feel like God arranged the right people at the right time to give you a big ol' cosmic hug. I got to the mentor’s house at about 6:00 after fighting with the Wetumpka bound traffic on 231 because - as a banker - I do not possess any cash - ever - which made the toll bridge an impossibility. I wasn't sure if they took debit cards or not...but assumed not... Oh well. I ended up flying down the right lane before realizing that there was a good reason that people were not in said lane...and that was that it veered off before getting to where I needed to go. No biggie. I just turned, did a "u-ie" and it was no problem. The directions were spot I had no difficulty finding the house. It is a beautiful home...trees and a quiet neighborhood...tons of curb appeal...but with a daunting set of steps in front of it. Thanks to Rehab, I had enough weight off to not have any problem climbing them.

We arrived to a delicious chicken salad recipe with crackers and homemade pizzas that were cooked outside on her husband’s "Green Egg". This gave the pizzas a distinctly delicious smoky flavor. I think that Big Dave needs a Green Egg. Seriously. she used her whole wheat recipe to make the crust, put caramelized onions, green pepper, sauteed mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella on them. I know...I'm sending this at lunchtime and you guys are SOOOOO jealous and think that I'm a meanie for going into this much detail. Well, ladies, it was THAT good.

It was a small group as one of the Apples had a stomach virus that nobody wanted, and so the four of us (the mentor, her sister, another mentor, and me) started making the delicious whole wheat rolls. It is a process that starts with real wheat berries, flaxseed, olive oil and honey. She actually grounds her own flour and puts in yeast and lecithin. Needless to was a lot of fun to watch...and I'm really looking forward to making my own on Friday night. She gave me ingredients. I have a mixer and a granite countertop and everything except the honey. That means a trip to Costco...which will not be pretty unless I keep repeating "honey honey honey" to myself and don't get distracted by sampling something like taquitoes or hummus or pomegranate-blueberry-mango-raspberry-lime water or something else random like that and think that I just have to have it. The last hummus I bought (which Jill said was not good) had black olives in it. I like both...just not together.

The neat thing was...the recipe was supposed to make 40 rolls. She let me cut out the rolls and it made exactly 40! I was proud that it didn't turn out at 37 or 43...which would be the norm for me. I also got to make them (cut them out) I know how it feels to handle the dough.

A long-time mystery as to why my biscuits don't turn out may have been answered last night. Too much flour. I think that I am scared of doughy dough...and you can't be scared of doughy dough to make bread. Now for making bricks...un-doughy anything would be highly recommended and necessary. So, I think that the correlation between the bricks that have previously passed as my biscuits and what biscuits are intended to be has finally reached my brain. Although Pillsbury makes a perfectly acceptable biscuit...cheating in this manner is not the same as proudly presenting a basket of freshly baked biscuits that you have actually toiled over out of the oven to your guests. And although on certain days, I do resemble the Pillsbury Doughboy (especially since I have that lovely European non-tint to my skin)... I don't think that pushing the Doughboy's biscuits off as my own is fooling anybody.

She even made cookies using wheat flour. I limited myself to one cookie. I wanted four. They were that good.

The best part, though, was the one-on-one tutoring that I received and the encouragement that the ladies gave me. The wonder-cook even reminded me that my inability to cook well is likely more a function of ignorance rather than ability. I was afraid of the yeast...but even my negative kitchen karma couldn't destroy it. The force was too strong in that kitchen. Let's hope that it carries over to my own. But back to my "Adventures in Cooking" that began sometime in 1983...although really much earlier when I inadvertently served pink mashed potatoes (I used red potatoes and they had soaked) to my Dad and stepmother and salmon croquettes that were somewhat edible at age 13. After years of having very little time to myself, I have learned a way to function doing numerous things simultaneously. For example...I watch movies and scrapbook, read on the commode, rest and watch TV, work and listen to Pati (my iPod), cook and clean the kitchen, do laundry and entertain guests. I don't know how to do anything just by itself. So, imagine if you will...trying to crack an egg one handed your first time...trying to read a recipe that is in liters and grams, or flipping pancakes with the spatula between your toes...and you will understand how I have handicapped myself. Where I should have sat at the feet of people who knew better 20 years ago (the only one I did this with was my mother-in-law...who was a basic but excellent cook)...AND tried to just do one thing at a time...I just tried things...failed often...and resorted to repeating the recipes that were Karen-proof. I lost all desire for healthy cooking because I wasn't encouraged...quit trying because I failed more often than I succeeded, and thought I was an idiot because I couldn't pull off anything short of cooking for 14...which is how my mother-in-law taught me to cook. You peel a 10 lb bag of potatoes and cook them all when you make mashed potatoes (I only use five pounds for the four of us...which should explain my portion size problem to you more clearly), open a 5 lb bag of corn and put a stick of butter in it for "seasoning" or you make enough chili to feed everyone in the neighborhood. However, after years of failing to cook for less than a crowd...I have finally showed the signs of what Kevin Leman calls a "defeated perfectionist" in his Birth Order Book. Meaning...if I can't be good at it...I don't try. Which explains my aversions to housework, weight loss, clothes shopping, painting, and anything involving sewing. Last night, I realized that I have to start slowly...and then in time...I can figure out more. I also have to ask for help. She offered help and I showed up...and as a result...I was blessed.

Anyway, I hope that all of you have a splendid day. I had a roll for breakfast this morning and another for lunch with my Progresso WW soup. I would give you a Rehab update, but I'm stuck...which is better than it should I have to get my head straight to have a good week next week. Let's hope that I can. I don't mean to make you jealous...nah...who am I kidding? Of COURSE I want you to be jealous :)

My eBay feedback score is now 157 and the Crazy Lady Trade of the Day was someone who paid $41.00 (free shipping, though) for a decorative corner rounder. You know...the one that puts the little scalloped edge on it. I was not the recipient of this, unfortunately, but I saw it and just had to see what was up with that. The bidding started at $5. My latest Crazy Lady Trade was $9.49 plus shipping for a pack of Wild Side Paper that I acquired in one of my lots that I didn't really need. I bid on an open pack for $2.25 and won that one along with three sets of alphabet letters. You have to read the ads because some of these people are speaking some version of eBay is close...but nobody completely understands what it is they are selling and skim over the ad as a result. Well...everybody but me. After my "Marlboro infused box incident" I do ask "non-smoking home?" and will not bid unless I receive an enthusiastic "YES" or it is stuck in the ad as it should be in the first place. I also don't assume anything. There are some sneaky sneaky ladies on there who put a photo of about a gazillion stickers and then say that they are selling 100 stickers. Yeah...that means about 20 strips...which is disclosed if you read the ad. Who reads the ad when it looks like you can get 100 sticker strips for $15? The ol' heifers. Wish eBay would run them out. I may buy from them and go redneck just to make them stop. One lady is today advertising "white 12 x 12 paper" that is actually "pages" in the description and in the picture. It is currently going for $5.99 and should finish up today. Had she put the word "pages" it would be going for $15.99 or higher. I may win that one if nobody else reads the ad and skips over it thinking that it is white paper and is fairly priced. I used to inform people that they were being stupid in a nice way...but have found that sometimes the best way for them to discover this is to find out the hard way. I know I have (ALWAYS REMEMBER...NON-SMOKING HOME). Yes...I am a bottom feeder extraordiniare. Call me Catfish.

Oh, and for those of you who know that my musical tastes run to Collective Soul, Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, Linkin Park, U2, Train, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Tom Petty, Daughtry, Coldplay, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Dave Matthews Band, Nickelback and Creed...I was proud to hear Condoleezza Rice on Jay Leno last night saying that her favorite band was Led Zeppelin. Ol' Condi and I have not outgrown being 14 years old...musically, at least. ROCK ON.


  1. We had another layoff today, our third, so it's been pretty grim at the office. I must say that it was lovely to belly laugh at your word pictures.

    Some questions:

    how do i get a blinking tiara?
    retired page protectors?
    how do i get on your mailing list?
    what are you selling on ebay?

    And last but not least, I saved the last two nights for tomorrow.

  2. OH NO to the layoffs! Thank you! The blinking tiara is beyond me. It was probably obtained at the local Toys R Us...but can't verify. Page protectors (Creative Memories). I don't know how to get on my mailing list, and during the writing of this, I was selling everything that wasn't nailed down. I have a seller feedback score of 230 right I was a wee bit obsessed, yes? :)

  3. Lest you think I didn't mean it, I came back for the last 2 or 3 applesodes and chuckled outloud the whole time. Gus and Cotton the golden retrievers are waiting their turn to google the phone number for "my owner is drooling and cackling while staring at that square thing".

    I sold off a bunch of stuff, but I don't even approach you. I must get back in gear.

    Please let me know when you get to Atlanta. I'd love to take you to dinner, not rehab.

  4. LOL! It's a deal! I'd love to see you. If you come through here...I'll take YOU to lunch! :)