Thursday, April 30, 2009

Random Thoughts

1. We bought a mini-van today. We went with a used and uber-affordable Kia Sedona. It's great. I love it. I always knew I would be a mini-van owner, so this is not hard for me.

2. We are selling our Pontiac Aztek. But silly us, we neglected to get our title when we paid it off. And we've lost the original lien release. So, based off the lovely Arizona Motor-Vehicle Division's website and a call to their office, all we had to bring to the MVD is the lien release. So, we have our bank fax over a release. And then take it to the busiest MVD in the history of MVD's (the one in Glendale) wait for about 45 minutes only to have the person tell me that they will not accept faxed lien releases. It must be original. ARGHHHHH!!!!!! We own the car! What is the problem? I swear bureaucrats must be sadists who derive pleasure from making honest, hard-working, yes, forgetful people make multiple trips to the devil's lair only to get one piece of paper that would help those same people get on with their lives! As my insightful hubby put it "This is what holds up free enterprise!" Amen, love!

3. What is with all the causes on Facebook? I just checked my facebook friend/cause invitations pages and seriously, it's about a mile long. Let me just put this out there: I know that the causes are good, well, causes. But really? What is '1,000,000 people for the Old Facebook format' really going to change? Or how about 'Join the fight against (fill in the blank)"? I don't have enough time to ignore all the cause I get. And yes, I ignore all of them. And no, that doesn't mean I'm pro-Breast Cancer or Asperger's Syndrome.

Okay, that's it. Bye.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Book Review: The Prince of Tides

Immediately banish any memory you may have of this movie. I have seen the movie, although it took me about half-way through the book to realize it, and the movie is a shade of what the book is. However, in defense of the producers, I can see why they would make it into a movie; people should know about this story.

This book was so good. (Chandy-you can rest safe-you did not over-hype the book!) I cried, laughed, cringed, laughed some more. All in all, Pat Conroy did an outstanding job in developing these characters. Have you ever read a book and wished that the characters actually existed? I feel this way about Pride and Prejudice, and I feel this way about the Wingos. As much as I despised everyone at some point, they were all real and flawed and wonderful.

Also, although the book is over 600 pages, I didn't find that it lagged at any point. Maybe the ending, but I am not sure the story lagged or if it was me anxious to find out what happened. As a self-professed editor, I was unable to find any story that didn't matter, which is why the movie was doomed in the first place. How can you take a 40 year story and condense it down adequately to 2 hours? I just don't think you can. In any case, I didn't take out my theoretical red-pen and line-out whole stories. I loved them all.

One of the books most interesting themes was the kids relationship with their parents. The Wingo kids simultaneously hated and loved their parents. Their childhood was not ideal, far from it, yet their childhood created children wholly unique. And the grown children could not fully fault their parents. Even still loved them. I thought about how most children go through this process with their parents in their adulthood. Adult children usually have to work to an understanding and love for their parents, no matter how ideal their childhood.

I found Conroy's story very moving and redeeming. Thank goodness for the redemption! In this case I did not wonder if the author was being untrue to his characters when he resolved things in a sweet way. I felt it was an authentic ending.

I hope you'll read it. It is worth the time it takes to read. Two thumbs up from this amateur book critic.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Tea Party Anyone?

Have you heard about the Tea Parties happening around the country? No? Little surprise. These peaceful protests have been gaining little publicity thanks to the biased media.

In any case, there are Tea Parties scheduled to occur all over the nation on April 15th. Tax Day for all you non-tax payers. There are 14 in the state of Arizona alone. With one in Phoenix at the Capital Building.

I'm thinking this is a great time to introduce the girls to the freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment. Before they take it away, anyways. What do you think? Anyone interested in going with me?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Coupons Schmoopons

I just got home from an exhausting morning of grocery shopping. (And the morning lasted well into the afternoon-it's 3:00.)

I have become somewhat of a coupon-er. I read a couple of awesome money saving blogs and I have two crazy couponing good friends who get me on track. But I'm no where near the caliber of saving hundreds of dollars while paying $10. That's not me. I usually save anywhere from 40%-50% per shopping trip. Not bad. I know. I'm happy with it.

In order to organize myself, I spend about two hours of going through the sites and organizing the coupons that I'm going to use. It is pretty time consuming. Apparently I am slow. But I get it done. However, I haven't really paid any attention to the whole expiration date thing. I haven't had to. The Fry's Marketplace by my house has never raised a stink about taking expired coupons so I've never bothered to clean mine out. That is, until today.

Here's the story. I make my way through the 1,000,000 square foot Fry's Marketplace and get what's on my list and match the coupons. It takes me about 45 minutes to do all this. (Matilyn is with me.) I get to the check out. The lady checking out is kind of slow, and I notice that as she's checking out the lady in front of me she's examining the expiration of the coupons. Now I go into a slight (read: pretty big) panic. "Oh no!" I think, "Half the items in my cart probably have expired coupons. And I need those half. Maybe she's checking for something else." I say as I attempt to calm myself down.

She's takes my groceries and I hand her my coupons. (Holding my breath...) And, yes, she checks the expiration and eliminates about half of my coupons. I am SHOCKED! I have never had this happen at my Fry's. (It's the one on Waddel and Litchfield,FYI. I'm linking to them so they know I'm talking about them...) She says, "Don't you have any other coupons?" Are you kidding me, yes I have millions of coupons. But she has a line about a mile long behind me and she's suggesting that I go through my coupons. Ugh. I say, "I'll just be returning the items that I didn't get coupons taken for." So, now I've been in the store for an hour. And I do what any reasonable coupon-aholic would do. I pull over to the side, sort through the rest of my coupons looking for non-expired ones, and put aside the items that do not have coupons. Duh. So, my poor Mati has been patiently (for a three year old) waiting for me. And now I march us over to the Customer Service desk, where we wait in another line for about 10 more minutes. Then I have to do two more transactions; one for the returns, and one for the coupons that I did find to go with already purchased items. It was 11:45 by the time we walked out the door. I had been there since 10.

Overall I saved about $51 and spent $44. Do you think it was worth my time?

Anyways, I had two more stores to hit after that and so we just got home. Wow. What a day. But happily I shopped for two weeks of groceries (except chicken (which I'll get tomorrow at Sam's), milk and eggs) and spent about $86. I think it was worth it. What about you?