Saturday, March 31, 2007

Come on baby light my ...ceiling fan

Well, THAT was inconvenient. My city caught on fire.

Stupid teenagers. But other than the cost of the fireworks, it was free! Perhaps I should look into setting things on fire. I mean, other than how I have set the world on fire with my softball skills. I do have to admit that it smelled LOVELY outside last night. Just like camping! And the sunsets are always beautiful when the city is ablaze.

...I have big plans this weekend. I have an eye doctor appointment at 10.

That's it.

Last night I went to bed at 6:00.


I am telling you, I worked a LOT last week, plus every fiber of my being is in pain from softball. And yes, let me tell you about my sports injury, as I alluded to last time. Apparently, I held the bat up too high and the base of it kept sort of coming back around and hitting the bottom of my hand. So it is swollen and bruised down at the bottom of my palm. Which really makes it hard to high five people, as I like to do.

It's kind of exciting to have a sports injury, although I suspect the truly sporting would not even notice if they had said bruise. It would just be another part of the game or whatever, along with concussions and pulled ham hocks and what have you.

Anyway, the big news is that I have printed out four apartment descriptions from craigslist and am going apartment hunting for a place near work. Cause driving through fire is just not something I am suited for. The apartments range from $1650 to $2200. Gee, I wonder what Marvin Gardens will say about which one we should pick?

Marvin Gardens has no concern whatsoever for where he lives. He would truly live in a storage facility if it were the cheapest thing available. As for me, where I live is really really important. I would way rather have a cute dwelling and a bad car. Marvin Gardens would totally drive away from the storage facility in his [insert nice car name here, as I know nothing about cars].

This obviously creates a problem. You know how before you get married you are supposed to make sure you are in agreement about kids and finances and religion? Yeah, also make sure that you are both in agreement about whether you can live with popcorn ceilings and brown ceiling fans.

Ceiling accouterments are a big thing for me.

Anyway, I will keep you all posted. If I find a place it will pretty much rip apart our savings. Like Joe and I were ripped apart.

That line was only funny if you love Say Anything as much as I do.

Friday, March 30, 2007

My first softball practice. EVer.

Oh. My. Shattered.


Let me ask you something. If a hard, dense little ball is hurtling at you very very fast, is your instinct to walk TOWARDS it, with your hand out to greet it?

Or is your instinct to go, "GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!", cover your head and run the other way?

Cause my instinct is the latter. My teammates? The Pantone 132s? (It's a color from this whole book of colors that designers use. Specifically, Pantone 132 is a shit brown. Nice.) My teammates HURL themselves toward that god-awful frightening ball, they RUSH toward it like a ball of million-dollar bills is coming at them. They hold their HAND, their TINY HAND, up in the AIR and they actually CATCH the ball.

If I were them, I would have beaten me with the bat.

And when did bats stop being wooden? When my Uncle Jim played baseball the bats were wooden. Of course, I was like four when I saw my Uncle Jim play baseball. All I remember is that he always won, and I did not get the concept that his TEAM won and not him (which pretty much sums up my team player attitude toward life) and that the concession stand had candy apples.

The only other woman at the practice yesterday was The Gnasher, a coworker who is my age who was on her All-Star team in high school. By the way, I have no idea what that means, but I assume it means she can really play softball. And guess what? She really can.

Now, normally, The Gnasher is the type of woman who hates my guts immediately on sight. That athletic, no-nonsense type always detests me.

When I was in college, I hostessed at a restaurant with this girl who owned a horse. She was quiet, had long silky no-nonsense brown hair, and was the epitome of quiet confidence and COMPLETE LACK OF HUMOR. There we were, day after day, her with her quiet brown hair and me with my giant New Wave hairdo and 57 rubber bracelets. One time a family came in, and they had to wait at the bar till their table was ready. I went to the bar and called them. "The Pool party? Your table is ready."

As soon as I heard myself say "The Pool party," I started snickering, and it just got funnier and funnier to me, until by the time I sat the family, I was bent over, convulsing and snorting. I went back to the hostess stand to tell Quiet Brown the story, and she quietly and gently said, "I just don't think you're very funny."

I hope a horse stepped on her.

Anyway, The Gnasher, who is not a humorless dolt like the hostess, but does have that I-am-scared-of-nothing-and-I-actually-enjoy-athletics thing, was extremely kind to me. In fact they were ALL extremely kind to me. The way you are kind when a really slow old person gets in front of you at the airport, and walks one step an hour. You know how sometimes they will smile and apologize and you get really really condescending and use your old person voice? "Well, that's okay! Don't you worry!" But in your mind you are thinking "COME ON YOU OLD CODGE. YOU MAY BE RETIRED, BUT I ACTUALLY HAVE SOMEWHERE TO BE."

They were like that.

And may I add the disclaimer that I actually really like old people a lot? I did not want you to think I am a completely awful person. I really do like the elderly. In fact, my love of living things kind of goes like this:
  1. Cats
  2. Old people
  3. Barry Gibb

I am just saying that sometimes I get impatient. Which I am grateful to my coworkers for not being with me.

I have to go to work now, so I will have to tell you later about the GIANT BRUISE on my palm from holding the bat wrong.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Sure wish I had a tiara and a baby leopard...

Sorry I haven't blobbed in a few days -- my life is a vortex of work/eat/sleep/work/eat/sleep.

Why do people say "whirling vortex" all the time? Do you know what a vortex is? It's water that's WHIRLING.


Did you know that when you say "The La Brea Tar Pits" you are saying "the the tar tar pits"?

I am full of the info today.

I have had lunch bought for me by work again, cause we've had to work through lunch (my beleaguered officemate hates it that I write "cause" and not "because." As you can see, beleaguered officemate needs a life even more than I do).

So anyway, the free lunch has been money-saving. And believe it or not, I am attending some beginning-of-the-season softball party tonight, so I guess hors d'oeuvres will be my free dinner! Yay, me! Yay, mooching.

Oh, and speaking of such. I was talking to a pal of mine this weekend and she seemed almost...resentful that people are buying me things.

Now listen. The whole POINT of this year of no spending is to see how we do WITHOUT stuff. When I crave a thing on this blog, it is really not me asking my very kind friends to buy them for me. Seriously. I am just thinking out loud. In fact, I turned down people who asked ahead of time if I wanted the perfume or the softball glove. The people who gave me that stuff just showed up with it.

So really, if I write about how I wish I had something, do not feel like you have to buy it for me. I will live. Unless I say "boy I really need that oxygen tank" or something.

Back to work/eat/sleep...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Time doesn't wait for me, it keeps on rollin'...

I don't know if you've noticed, but lately I have been a bit on edge. A trifle snarky. A little sand in my pants, as it were.

I do not know if it has anything to do with not spending. It doesn't FEEL like that's what it is. I think I am just stressy in general.

But I can tell you one thing. Last night I was bored.

It was a Saturday night, for goodness sake. The night of partayying. Date night. The night the Bay City Rollers wrote a whole song about. The night Elton John wrote a whole song about. The night the Bee Gees wrote songs for a whole movie about.

And there we were, ready for an evening of nothingness. We watched a movie -- one of those Marvin Gardens movies, where things are cerebral and not a lot happens. By 7:00, we were done with said cerebral movie.

It was at that point that I started whining. Oh, I must be a pleasure to be married to. I said I was bored and that this was our 12th weekend of not going anywhere cause we can't spend and if we didn't go do SOMETHING, ANYTHING, I would die right there of boredom. I said just find us something to do, I did not care what it was, I was going to take off my sweatshirt and get ready.

An hour later, we were in Reseda seeing a Boston tribute band.

No, seriously.

It has been a long time (It's been such a looong time/I really should be gooooiiin', yeah) since I have been to a bar to see a band. It has been a REALLY long time since I've had my hand stamped. It has been years, DECADES, since I have been the thinnest woman in the room.

I experienced all of that and more last night. Oh, but that Boston tribute band was fun. The lead singer was cutey cute cute, and EVERYONE in the room was at least our age.

Here's a little tip for the over-40 crowd. It is better to look a tad nerdy than to dress too young. Really. I promise you.

It turns out, there are a lot more songs by Boston that I know than I actually thought! Of course there's the classic More Than a Feeling, then there's that one that goes "All I want is to have my piece of miiiiiiiiNNNNNDDD! Do do do do do, do do do do do..."

And what about Don't Look Back ("been so long since I felt this way...")

And who can forget the it's-1987-and-I-have-a-perm-and-I'm-dating-a-cook-named-Larry-flashback, "Amanda"? (I'm gonna take you by surprise and make you realize AMANDA. I'm gonna tell you right away I can't wait another day AMANDA.)

I sound like one of those informercials.

Turns out the Boston tribute band was just opening for... The Pink Floyd tribute band! Even though I like Pink Floyd a lot, cause you can take the girl out of Michigan and all that, it turns out that watching a bunch of Pink Floyd songs in a row just kind of makes you wanna overdose and call it a day.

So, yes, we spent $12 apiece on a cover charge, and I had two nonalcoholic drinks for a total of $8 and Marvin Gardens had a $5 screwdriver. Cause he drinks girly drinks like screwdrivers.

But $37 for a lifetime of Boston tribute band memories? So worth it.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


I am wearing the pink robe with the duckies on it again. When WILL the cutting edge of fashion ever stop, over here?

So, I have two no-spending-related things to tell you about, which I'm sure will take me an hour and 15 minutes to tell you. It's genetic. You should hear my cousin Katie tell a story.

"Well, I was on my way to The Gap, because Jason and I got invited to this other couple's house for dinner and I had nothing to wear. Have I told you about them? She is ADORABLE, she works with me at the co-op, and her husband is a doctor. She sort of has this hair color that would look good on you. No, really, I was thinking about it. It has a kind of red tint that might look nice with your complexion..."

Six hours and one dangling noose later, she will tell you the POINT of the story, which had nothing to do with The Gap or the couple.

I just noticed the button that allows me to do a sort of drop quote, like I did above. There are so many buttons I have yet to try!

So, in non-cousin-Katie fashion, I will tell you the first thing, which is that we have now saved more than $9,000 since January 1, which is ridiculous. Now, I am terrible at math. And sometimes I have to do a little light math at work.

For example, we will be advertising that something is 20% off and we will list the new price. I have to check to make sure that the new price is correct. Usually what turned out to be a $49.95 item has become $8,967,943.72 with that 20% discount, after I have finished calculating it.

So you can imagine that this figure of us saving more than $9,000 since January 1 has made me tense. But I have checked and rechecked, and really, that is what we have saved.

We paid the dang taxes, and now we are thinking of paying off the credit card. Suze Orman always says that there is no point in having savings if you have credit card debt, cause the debt is creating interest. I am not interested in it; I do not know where it is creating interest. On a credit card porn site?

In any event, we owe $2,000 in credit card debt, so that may be paid. If so, I will add it to the column under "What we've saved so far" on the right.

Also, I thought I might have to buy lunch yesterday, but it turned out okay.

On Friday, I was invited to attend a lunch meeting where we were going to have a brainstorming session. Why anyone thinks my brain could storm in any way is an enigma to me. In the invitation, it said "a light lunch will be served." This is how professional I am. I wrote back and said, "Define light." I mean, the person inviting me is very thin. Did she mean we would get a SweetTart and a breath strip? Cause girlfriend needs her calories, over here. "Needs" might be a strong word, but still. So when she told me it would be sandwiches, I said okay and therefore did not pack a lunch.

So, remember Thursday, when it was so busy at work? Friday turned out to be an even bigger gem.

Do you know what I hate? Other than call waiting and people who say "for all intensive purposes" and traffic and all the other things I have said that I hate? I HATE it when work is put on my chair. I also hate it when work is put on my keyboard. It's like, "DON'T SIT DOWN! THERE IS NO TIME FOR YOU TO BEND YOUR KNEES AND SQUAT! WORK NEEDS TO BE DONE! DON'T YOU GET HOW IMPORTANT IT IS? STOP DRAWING BREATH AND WORK! WORK! WOOOOORRRRK!"

I'll have you know I have a large rack. No, not like that. Grow up. I have a large rack at WORK, on a TABLE in my OFFICE, and it has many many many slots. How it is supposed to go is that the traffic department is to put jobs in said rack, in the order they need doing. If it is key, it gets put right at the front of the rack, which means "get to it now."

I will have you know I have NEVER diverged from this system. If a job is at the front of my rack, that is what I grab next. I never say, "Oh, I think I will throw caution to the wind, and take a job from the very back of this rack." No! Never!

So WHY the drama of putting jobs on my chair or my keyboard?

So Friday, I walk into work, my office door is closed, and someone had LEANED JOBS UP AGAINST MY DOOR! Okay, this takes the cake. "Do not even open your door! That is how crucial this is! Just STAND here, in the hall, and start working now! Do not take off your coat! Do not grab a pen! WORK! WORK! WOOOOOORRRRRRK!

"For the love of God, WORRRRRRKKK!"

So since it was a tad busy, I knew I would not have time to attend said meeting of the storming brains. It was then, standing in the hall working with my coat on, that I realized I did not HAVE a lunch to eat. Oh, I was worried. As worried as you can be while your workplace is surgically attaching more eyeballs onto your head so you can work faster. How they wish they could find an Indian goddess, with eight pairs of hands. Wouldn't SHE be efficient.

Luckily for me, the thin woman conducting the meeting invited me to come take a sandwich even though I couldn't go to the meeting, which, shamelessly, I did. It was a delicious turkey spinach leaf and basil-y thing. On some sort of pretentious bread. Mmmm.

Then, not five minutes later, someone came around with a menu to buy everyone else in the office lunch. So I am afraid to tell you that I actually had TWO free lunches yesterday (the second was a delish chicken Parmesan on a bed of buttery noodles. I don't know why I can't lose the weight.)

Okay, so finally.

You know I think I am funny. I always have. My grandmother used to say,

"Look at her, over there. She don't need no one. She just sits by herself and laughs."

Love me the drop quote feature.

Just the other day, my poor beleaguered officemate, who just wants to do his job and go home, was watching some of my shenanigans (specifically, someone had given me note cards with a different picture of a cat on each one. I was holding up each one and giving it its own voice. "Hello! I am a Persian. I am lovely and smushy in my face." "Hi. I. am. weird-looking. Sphinx. I. am. not. so. cute." My officemate said, "You are just your own ball of yarn, aren't you?"

So yes, I get a kick out of myself. Which is why I find it disturbing when I find someone who is funnier than me. Please give up on my blog and just read Miss Doxie. If you find the part where she has birds in her yard, you will have a convulsion. Or the part where she comes up with Halloween costumes for her dogs. Or the part where she hates the symphony. Oh, she buries me in the funny department.

And yes, Dave Newman, you are and have always been funnier than me. But you do not keep a blog, thank God, so I do not have to feel threatened by you. Plus you have that gut...

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Crankerbritches checks in

This was the worst day EVER. Sort of.

On March 22nd, 2006, my magnificent cat Mr. Horkheimer died. He was my good cat for more than 12 years; I had gotten him back while I was still single. So for several years it was just Horkie and me. He was a fine roommate; he rarely ate my food and never borrowed my clothes.

Last year he got really sick and he died. Marvin Gardens and I had been planning a bar mitzvah for him -- he would have been 13 in May. We thought we were hilARious with this idea. We were going to have a bird and mouse theme, we were gonna put up a photo collage of Horkie -- oh, we couldn't get enough of ourselves.

Anyway. I am just saying that LAST March 22nd was a bad day, and this one RANKED RIGHT UP THERE...

EVERY job at work was an emergency that had to get done RIGHT AWAY OR EVERYONE WOULD DIE!

Then traffic was terrible all the way home. It took me an hour and 15 minutes to get home. And as I crawled down the 405, I was trying to talk to my Aunt Mary on my cell phone, and like 86 people called me. BEEP! My phone would go. BEEP! Then it would go BOOPBOOPBOOP! to let me know the person had hung up. I don't CARE that they hung up! Then three seconds later my phone would go, boodledy boodely boo! to let me know whoever was calling had left a MESSAGE! LIKE I CARED! JUST LET ME TALK TO AUNT MARY, WILL YA?

I personally think call waiting is the rudest thing possible. I did not choose to have it on my phone. On our REAL phone, if someone else calls in, it goes straight to voicemail, which means I can CONCENTRATE on THAT person when I am DONE with my original caller! Which is what talking on the phone is all about! You are supposed to give the person your UNDIVIDED ATTENTION! You are not supposed to interrupt them to see if a bigger name is on the other line. And really, how often is the other call an emergency? Once every five years or so? Please.

Oh, I am cranky today.

Anyway, the reason I am blogging is to say that to make myself feel better, and this is such a healthy way to deal with stress, I used my McDonald's gift certificate that my pal Lisa sent me! I have a hot fudge sundae in the freezer to eat later. I am happy now. Happy and cranky.

This might cheer me up. One of my favorite bloggers, musings of a housewife, had a sort of questionnaire on her site today. It is a list of things one may or may not have done, and you bold the stuff you have done. So I will do so. Then you can cut and paste the list and send it to me, with your own changes! Okay, here we go (please note that I have done most of the drunken, slutty stuff. Hi, mom!):

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula (eww! never!)
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree (my friend Jeff Gilman told me to, so I did)
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea (define "sea." Does that mean the ocean? Cause I MIGHT have done so at the ocean, but I for sure have at the Great Lakes)
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise (Marvin Gardens and I talked all night once when we were dating. We're so over each other now; we'd fall asleep trying)
14. Seen the Northern Lights (the coolest thing. ever.)
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb (oooh! I wish!)
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run (hah!)
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them (Lisa G., remember that cute old lady we sat with at Hunan?)
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sang karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day (pretty much all of 1996)
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain ( lived in Seattle, there was no choice)
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie (Someone is making a documentary on Marvin Gardens and me. Does it count if it's not out yet?)
74. Crashed a party (Marvin G. and I crashed two weddings at a hotel we were staying at. We even signed the guest book. "Don't be strangers!" we wrote.)
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest (Just this Halloween.)
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date (Marvin Gardens. He was too dreamy...)
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship (Does the Queen Mary count?)
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children/currently raising child
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour (Hmm, do I know anyoe who does that?)
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication (sort of. Does the Saginaw News wedding section count?)
106. Lost 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon (I tried to, with Marvin G. He said it was like trying to hike with his Gramma Ethel. I minced more than I hiked.)
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about (Renee likes cats AND Laura Ingalls Wilder now!)
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes (with my friend Marianne, who calls them "damaydas.")
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language (when I was in Paris. We met three guys who spoke no English. Hung out with our French/English dictionary all night!)
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

McDonaldland or Dreamland?

The Guinness Book of World Records said the longest recorded time that a person ever went without sleep is 19 days, 21 hours and 40 minutes.

I am more tired than that person.

I haven't been pulling a train with my teeth or trying to sleep next to a jackhammer or anything. But I have been that kind of busy where you rush home after being gone for 14 hours, do 800 things in a huge hurry, then try to fall asleep. Which always results in me lying there with my brain going like this:


Like that.

Anyway, the exciting news is that my oldest friend -- and by that I do not mean that she is really old -- sent me MCDONALD'S GIFT CERTIFICATES today!!!! Thank you Lisa, not to be confused with my blog commenter named Lisa or the commenter named I'm Not Lisa. Whole other Lisa altogether. We've known each other since we were zygotes.

Oh, am I excited. I do not even know what I will order first.

Have you noticed that the longer I go without spending, the more things seem to just come to me? I know I sound like that woman who wrote The Secret. Or did a man write it? I haven't read it, but I borrowed it.

But really. Okay, yeah, maybe it's cause I have a blog clearly stating all the things I wish for so it's pretty easy to figure out. But then again, no one has to send me those things as a result. And why did someone come up to me in a parking structure the other day and just give me their permit that they'd already paid for? And why did that nice woman at work just give me that pink pomegranate soap? Okay, just realized I could change the color of my text. Can I go back and make my St. Patrick's Day blog entry all green?

Okay, seriously, now I have become delirious. Going to sleep.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Shamrock-hard arteries

First of all, let's discuss my outfit: I am wearing white cotton pajamas with cherries and bluebirds all over them (not literally. PICTURES of cherries and bluebirds) and my pink robe with yellow duckies and bubbles. I am 41 years old.

So, a shout out to my sister-in-law, who sent me the Sweet Earth solid perfumes! She said, "Anything to get rid of that new-doll scent." I was so excited! They smell EXACTLY like my childhood, when I would stand in front of gramma's vanity, playing with her makeup. I wore my new/old perfume over to Renee and Dan's last night.

Who loves her some links today?

Yesterday was Dan's birthday, so Renee had a little dinner party for him. They are incredibly healthy eaters most of the time, so for his birthday Dan wanted steak, thin french fries, cake and ice cream. Given his cholesterol and mine, I thought it'd be fun to see who died first in the evening.

I was worried about the whole gift thing. I think I hate that part the most about not spending. But I am happy to report that I brought that elaborate flower arrangement I got from work (and I do not even know how to describe it. It is nothing like any flower arrangement you have ever seen) and it was a big hit.

Did I mention that on top of the steak there was garlic butter?

There were other couples at said gathering, and party guest Juan Valdez and I were critiquing the art of Dan and Renee's daughter Charlotte, who is going to be two. There was one painting that was all done in black paint, and we figured that was her dark, Courtney Love period. Then another green painting we decided she did under the influence of absynthe. Of course, it would have to be absynthe in a sippy cup.

Who got kicks of of themselves? Was it Juan Valdez and me?

Naturally, Marvin Gardens and I turned into an informercial for not spending, which is what happens whenever we go anywhere. I have never mentioned here how I came up with this idea in the first place, and people always ask. It was a yoga magazine. A FIVE DOLLAR yoga magazine, that had an article about people who made a decision not to spend. I was reading it while Marvin and I were at a restaurant, cause I'm polite that way, and I said, "Let's try this!" and he said, "Okay."

So that's that exciting story.

Well, happy St. Patrick's Day. I am gonna throw down later with some green tea. Whoo! Erin go Braless or whatever.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Howard Hughes, the Eiffel Tower and Gas Pumps

Last night, Marvin Gardens made me go out in the back yard for softball practice. I am afraid that he bought a bat, and also some balls, which are referred to as softballs, which to me that means they should feel like powder puffs. They didn't.

Anyway, we stood out there in the backyard and Marvin HIT the ball at me with a BAT. And do you know that most often I caught it? He said I just had to get that wince-y, terrified look off my face and I'll be fine.

Then I batted. And again, Marvin rated me as, "Surprisingly good."

I will have you all know that my Uncle Deb was a Boston Red Sock or something. Maybe he just wore red socks in Boston. No! He was actually on the team and then he got drafted to go to Korea. If my Uncle Deb is reading my blog, perhaps he can tell me the details. (Aunt Kathy, can you forward this to him?)

So I'm just sayin'. It's in my genes. Maybe I'll be remarkably good at this. Maybe I will be the star player.

Maybe Howard Hughes will fly me to work tomorrow. On a unicorn.

In other news, I got a nice Eiffel Tower key chain from my friend Sandy today (she went to Paris. I collect Eiffel Towers. 'nuff said.) and I also got free, elaborate flowers from work. Also, today I bravely returned to the gas station where I once drove off with the pump. Actually, it was not so brave. I was just SO COMPLETELY out of gas that I had no choice. Fortunately, they did not kick me out or anything. And I remembered this time to put the pump back.

So all in all, a good no-spending day. And have you LOOKED at our SAVINGS thus far? Don't you want to smack us? Why don't you join your workplace's softball team, then you can play against me and bitch slap me with your glove.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Reading is free, credit cards are not free, being fat is free

I have now officially become obsessed with other people's blogs. Following is a list of 100 books that someone else has on their blog. She noted whether she has read them or not, so I did the same.

I do not know what the criteria is for these books; some of them aren't even that good. (Bridget Jones' Diary? I mean, it was funny, but it's in the same list with War and Peace?!) Anyway, why not join me in reading them all?

I am currently in the middle of Sylvia Plath's journals and a book about a guy who read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. But you have to admit that a goal of reading all these is a good way to entertain myself for free (and I have a connection at the library. My stepsister "Una" can hook me up).

Below is the list, and then after I will get to the credit cards and fatness part of this blog.

1. The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) - Read
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)- Read
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)- Read 100 times
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)-Read
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)-Read
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)-Read
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)- Read
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)-Read
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)-Read
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)- Read
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)- Read
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte) - Read
28. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)- Read
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)- Read?
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom) - Read
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)- Read
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell) - Read
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)- Read
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)- Started it
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)- Read
45. The Bible - Went to Lutheran school. Memorized it.
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)- Read
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas) - Ate the sandwich
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)- Read
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)- Have started it 16 times
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)- Read
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)- Read
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)- Read
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)- Read
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)- Read
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)- Read
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)- Read?
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)- HATED it
67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)- Read
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)- Read
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)- Favorite book ever
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)- Read
78. The World According to Garp (John Irving)- One of my all-time favorites
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte's Web (E.B. White)- Have read 6,789,045 times.
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)- Read it?
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)- Read
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)- First grownup book I read
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)- Read
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)- Read
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)- Read
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Okay, so moving on from the literary world, let's talk about my fatness. It is not pretty. So, as I am officially obsessed with the blogs of others, there is this woman whose blog I am fascinated with. Seriously, her life is perfect. Among the 75 other perfect things about her life, she runs 20 miles a week. So my new goal is to work up to doing the same. So I am starting out with a walk/run of 10 miles total each week. I want you all to NAG ME, and ask me how many miles I have done this week. So far I have done two, and tonight I plan to do two more. I am in softball training, after all, so I need to shape up.

And my final note is that I recently got a credit card. I didn't have any; Marvin Gardens has our one credit card. I realized that this was not so good for my credit, so I applied for one. Well. You can imagine the temptation to BUY something once that card arrived in the mail. I am pleased to report that I purchased my migraine medicine and my hair dye (Preference Dark Ash Blond this time -- less orange as a result) and that is IT! I did not cave! I did not cheat!

Okay, gotta run and read.

Monday, March 12, 2007

I Heart People

I was going to call this blog entry "Odds-n-Ends," cause there is nothing that bugs me more than when people use "n" like that. Are you THAT BUSY that you can't just spell out 'and'? Seriously? Are you on your way to perform a tracheotomy?

When I was in college, I worked at my hometown newspaper in the Weddings department. Basically I took the forms people filled out to announce their nuptials, then I got to write the announcement for the paper. (This while I was embroiled in the world's worst relationship, convinced I would never marry anyone.) At any rate, one time this woman gave me her form, and she had written "mother-n-law" and "father-n-law."


But I digress. Cause I really do heart people today, even people who say "ATM machine" and "for all intensive purposes."

As you know, I joined my work softball team. Well, today I came to work and told our coach that I could not join. Marvin Gardens and I had been to Big 5 Sporting Goods (I am surprised they even let me in), and baseball gloves were like $40. Plus we have to pay $10 to join the team, and it is suggested that we buy cleats. I told our coach (okay, it's cracking me up to keep referring to him that way. He is a 25-year-old kid. But he is our coach) that not spending is really my first priority this year, and there was too much spending going on to join this team.

I felt like a jerk. I hate saying I'll do something and then not following through.

After lunch, I was toiling away when I felt stared at. There was my coach and another guy from our softball team, standing pregnantly in my doorway. "Will you join now?" they asked, and threw a brand-new, PINK glove at me. (Naturally I ducked and cowered.)

Now, how nice is that? So now I pretty much have to join. Our first practice was tonight, but I am sorry to report that I wore a pink cardigan with pink sparkly sequins on it, black capri pants and silver shiny ballet slippers to work, so my coach (tee-hee) said I did not have to come to practice, as all the real players would beat me.

So then when I got home, there was a box waiting for me, and do you know my good friend Dot sent me Girl Scout cookies? Three kinds! She knew how badly I was wanting them and I couldn't buy them this year. Dot is the coolest friend ever.

You know, this year of not spending was supposed to be for me to see what is was like to go without. But with the people I have around me, I see that I will never be without anything.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

What are we gonna do with the money we've saved?

It's eight o'clock on Saturday morning. I have been up for an hour and a half. I have eaten, started doing laundry, and soon I will shower. When did I become 87 years old?

I used to get HOME at 7 a.m. on Saturday mornings; I remember dragging myself in as the sun came up. I can no longer imagine why staying out so long was that interesting. What was keeping me amused till 7 a.m., really?

So since I was up, and since Marvin Gardens is watching the world's most boring documentary, from his collection of mind-numbingly dull and depressing documentaries, I started thinking about money.

As you can see from the column on the right-hand side of this blog (unless I later change where the column can be found, in which case I apologize for confusing you), we have accumulated quite a bit of cash by not spending any money. We have saved wayyyyyy more than I thought we could. I recall several times over the years asking Marvin Gardens, "Where does all our money go?" and he would say, "It goes to bills! We don't have any extra money."

Well, clearly we were misguided.

So now we will finish this year with maybe $20,000 saved up (I am deleting the money we spent on taxes, a thing that still makes me resentful). So what are we gonna do with the extra cash?

I have heard you are supposed to have three months' income saved up, for some reason or another. I guess in case of emergency or if you ever get fired or something. So, is that three months' income BEFORE taxes? Is it three months' living expenses? Cause there is a big difference there. Do any of my fiscally responsible friends (Cindy) know the answer to this?

If we blow off being fiscally responsible -- and have you met us? We probably will -- what'll we purchase with our newfound cash? My friend Renee is moving with her husband and child to Maui later this year. Perhaps next year we can visit her. I have never been to Hawaii. I am certain I am the ONLY friend who has considered bothering poor Renee for a free place to stay next year.

We will not have enough for a down payment on a house, not in this stupid area. We will not even have enough for a down payment on a CONDO. The median price for a single-family home in LA County is currently $545,000. And I would like to meet the person who can show me a home for sale that's LESS than $545,000, cause I haven't seen one listed for years. So that's out.

I did peruse one of my favorite websites, kate spade, to see if there was anything I needed to buy myself next year. And you know what? Not really. Then I looked at my second-favorite site, and nothing thrilled me there, either.

Have I already gotten out of the habit of not spending?

I guess we could pay off my car, or wait till just the right thing presents itself. Someone said we could be really noble and give all the money to charity. Again, have you met us? Although maybe a little could go to the Humane Society, certainly.

I guess if there was going to be something on my mind, how to spend several thousand dollars isn't the worst thing that could be going on.

I guess I will sign off now, as my feet are cold. It is supposed to be 90 degrees this weekend. Tell that to my extremities.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Dagwood Bumstead I am Not

Oh, did I have a bad cheat yesterday. It was my worst one yet this year.

So, I was home sick from work. Marvin Gardens gave me his cold. I'm lying there on the couch, watching The E! True Hollywood Story on "Who's The Boss" (I wish I were exaggerating for comic effect, but no, that's really what I was doing). Suddenly my doorbell rang.

Let's talk about my door and its bell. Our front door is adorable (bah!). It is original to the house, which was built in 1935 or something. Hang on. Let me try to take a photo of the door, and I'll call Marvin Gardens to see when the house was built...

He is NEVER in the office when I call. I swear he was fired five years ago and he has bribed them to say he's "down the street" when I call. Down the street doing WHAT? Is he a prostitute? Is he selling fruit? Down the street.

At any rate, the door, which I have taken a photo of with my cell phone (I really need to find one of our actual cameras) has a large window in the center and it also has this very jarring, buzzy, 1935-ish bell. ZZZZzzzzzt! It goes. So right as I am learning about the trials of Tony Danza, the ZZZzzzt! happens. The sad part is, anyone at our door can look RIGHT IN and see our entire living room. And rudely, people often do. So when I saw a happy young guy peering in at me, I had to get up and answer the door.

It was a kid, one of those people selling things so that they stay out of gangs and go to college. He was trying to go back to University of Michigan. I am from Michigan. I paid for a lot of my college by myself. And he was so AFFABLE. He said I was the loveliest woman he'd seen all night. You KNOW I fell for it.

He was selling cleaning supplies, and he cleaned the rust from our driveway, the aforementioned front door window, and even our old, also-original-to-the-house brass doorknob. I bought the whole dang kit.

And when I made my way to the door, I said to myself, "Just tell him about your year of no spending. He'll be bored stiff. Tell him your blog address. Do not fall for this."

I am terrible, TERRIBLE at turning someone down, even over the phone. I can never kick those people to the curb, like Dagwood Bumstead does. I always feel sorry for the seller. What a crappy job it must be. If only everyone were like me, every salesperson would be a millionaire.

Well, anyway, we need cleaning supplies, right? At least it wasn't candy or magazines or something we really DON'T need.

And speaking of spending money, I did something fun today. I have officially been at my workplace for a year now, and once you have worked a year, you are allotted a certain amount of money that you can give to local charities. Oh, it was so much fun! There is a big list you go through, and you say how much you want to give within your allotted amount. It was the most fun perk I have ever had, honestly!

Maybe I need to start my own charity for pushovers who fall for charming salespeople.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Sweet Earth

No, no, noooooooooo! No!

When I was a kid, I spent hours at my grandmother's vanity. She had a TON of makeup and perfume. I remember some of it specifically: Rapture perfume, which I mispronounced Rupture. Moon Drops iridescent lipstick. Maybelline mascara that came in a pan, and a palette of pale blue, green and pink eye shadows. Oh, I had fun playing with that stuff.

And by the way, my grandmother never really wore makeup. If she was going out, she'd put on a little Real Red lipstick by Revlon, and spray on some Emeraude. So I assume this was makeup left behind by various aunts and such.

Anyway, one thing I have never forgotten is her compact of solid fragrances called Sweet Earth. They were these waxy rectangles and there were three altogether: sandalwood, amberwood and patchouli. I guarantee you this was left behind by some hippie girlfriend of my uncle or something, cause gramma was not rockin' the patchouli by any stretch of the imagination. And they did not really smell the way they were described, they were way more floral than they sounded.

For years, YEARS, I have been trying to find just one signature scent (and that new doll scent of my deodorant that WILL NOT GET USED UP is not the scent I am going for). My mother-in-law always wears Opium, and you can't help but think of her if you smell it. I want that kind of thing. And in all the years of trying to find a scent that I am (a) not allergic to and (b) can stand after a month, I have always thought back to how much I liked those Sweet Earth solid scents. But of course I haven't even SEEN those scents since the last time I sat down to enjoy Land of the Lost.

Until TODAY. TODAY, when I have NINE MORE MONTHS of not spending. It's in Vermont Country Store catalog -- the catalog of my dreams. It is the greatest catalog in the world, because they have all sorts of things from your past that you thought were gone forever: bonnet hair dryers, Tabu lipstick, Click Clacks. And now today, SWEET EARTH SOLID PERFUME! Oh, the humanity.

Lately I have mostly just been putting my catalogs right into the recycle bin, cause why bother to look? It has really saved time and clutter and heartbreak.

Speaking of less clutter, when I get my bank statement now, it is one page. One. It shows gas purchased and groceries purchased, then transfers into savings. That's IT! So exciting.

On another topic, one of my coworkers just came back from a big trip to Africa and she had a lot if interesting things to say. She said that she and her husband could be described as very patriotic, pro-American people. But when they got on the plane to come home, her husband said, "We live in a tragic country. Tragic." She said the people of Africa are incredibly politically aware, from their tour guide to their taxi driver, and that there is no need for the biggest, shiniest, newest thing. She said she was struck over and over again by how much Americans feel the need to CONSUME, and that in Africa there is great concern for the earth, and for re-using and recycling. She came home and felt like getting rid of most of her stuff, and downsizing.

As someone who would have to pause before she could tell you who was Secretary of State, and who just had seven heart attacks over not being able to buy more perfume, I guess I should mull her comments over.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Watching my cats watch birds

I can't stand it. I think I have to buy birdseed. We buy food for our cats, that's still allowed, so why do I have to deprive the birds, who although they are not my domestic pets, have come to count on me for food? I have not bought bird seed since we started not spending.

I am such an old lady about the birds. Marvin Gardens bought me a bird feeder before I even moved here, when he found us an apartment with a balcony. It was so much fun to watch my cats on the other side of that glass, obsessing over the birds. Our lovely cat Ruby was just a kitten then, and sometimes she would leap the height of the hanging feeder, as though if she just jumped high enough she could get to the birds, glass be damned.

Now we have a bird feeder outside the living room window. Wait, I have a cute picture of Winston and you can see said window... Well, okay, all you can really see out the window is my car, but trust me, there is a bird feeder right out there.

Anyway, I saw two birds discussing whether to build a nest on our back porch the other day. One had a piece of string or hay or something in its beak, and they were all up under our rafters, tweeping at each other and looking around. I wish I could send a press release or something.

"FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June Cutoff Cash reported today that she is willing to house a bird nest in and around her Southern California rental home. 'I will make sure my cats don't eat you!' Cash was reported to exclaim..."

Anyway, I am just saying, it is still food. I'm buying it. Sue me.

In other exciting news, tomorrow is MARATHON DAY!!!!!!!! Yes, it is true, seven years ago, I ran a marathon in a whip-fast six hours, forty-three minutes and ten seconds. Okay, Kenyan I am not, but still I did it. On marathon day, I take treats (ibuprofen, licorice, chips) and hand them out to marathoners. I also cheer like an idiot. If someone has their name on their shirt, it is all over for me. "You go, Jill! Whoooo, Jill! Lookin' good, Jill! You can eat whatever you want after this, Jill! Jill, Jill, Fo-Fill, Fe Fi Fo-Fill. Jiiiiiill!"

Marvin Gardens no longer attends marathon day with me.

I have several friends actually running this year -- shout out to Natalie, Kista and Rebecca. Woooooooo! Kis Kis Kista, Fe Fi Fo Fis...okay, whatever with me. But for years I have been doing this, staying very late to cheer on my people, the slow runners, and it never occurred to me that other than buying the tub of licorice from Staples, it is absolutely free, day-long entertainment. So there ya go.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Humiliating yourself is free

I have an announcement to make, and if you actually know me, brace yourself. Cause you're gonna pee down your own leg giggling when you hear this.

I have joined my workplace's softball team.

I will give my friends and family a moment to compose themselves.

I know I have said it before, but seriously. I am the






Stephen Hawking is more athletic than I am.

I cannot ride a bike. I learned how and I forgot. Yes, I know the saying, and I am here to tell you it is untrue. My father spent what seems like years running behind me, holding my bike, run-run-running, then he'd let go of my bike and I'd fall over.

Finally, he bribed my pal Caroline Jeeter to teach me, telling her he'd send her to camp with me. Caroline told me, "You are gonnna LEARN" and in a week she had me riding my two-wheeler. Then guess what? I HATED camp and came home early and -- surprise! -- could no longer ride a bike.

I also cannot go under water without plugging my nose. I will spare you a similar story of my father spending every vacation with me in various hotel pools, actually paying me to go under water for one second.

Are you gleaning that athletic endeavors do not come naturally to me?

When I was in elementary school and they did that horrid thing where they pick teams, I was always second to last, before the poor asthmatic girl. Those no-nonsense athletic types, the types who STILL HATE ME TO THIS DAY, would sigh, look at me and the asthma girl, and say, "Okay, 'JUNE,' I guess."

So, those same no-nonsense girls, including a coworker who wants me to call her The Gnasher, are including me in this team sport at my workplace. Why they are doing so is beyond me. I think they have no idea just how bad I am at this. Today when I asked if I could have a pink glove, I think they started to catch on.

Which brings me to my first dilemma. I am doing this nightmarish thing cause (a) I can't be afraid of down-to-earth girls my whole life, and (b) it'll keep me amused on my spend-free weekends. But I DO have to acquire a glove.

I am actually not so worried. You'd be amazed at how many things have been coming to me since I gave up spending. Someone I barely know at work just gave me some really nice pink pomegranate soap. Someone else gave me a Starbucks gift certificate. I got taken out to lunch by the WIFE of a coworker this week. So I have the feeling a pink baseball glove will somehow manifest itself.

And speaking of my athletic prowess, I know I have previously mentioned how I live near some stables. Well, one of my friends who owns a horse says she can help me learn to ride, for free! Now, where did that come from?

So, that's what's new here in no-spend land. I will let you know if the athletes give me a swirly.