Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Sadly, seeing this article "in print" on the web is gratifying for me. Don't know why. And ironically, we are setting off on a road trip tomorrow morning. Guess I should take my own advice, eh?

Sucks that it isn't signed, but "them's the joys of freelancing."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Web Site for Avid Readers

I found this today and immediately signed up. It sounds almost too good to be true, but if it works, I'm way excited!

Why Starbucks Costs So Much

I'm sure fair trade has something to do with it. But consider:

When I went to Starbucks today to get a tall skim chai (no foam)--Yes, Lucy, we were of one mind today, apparently--there was a trainee barista working on the chai. She asked her trainer how much milk to pour in to steam for the drink, and was told "a little more than that, since she doesn't want foam."

Chai made, the trainee asked her trainer what to do with the extra milk in the silver container used for steaming milk. Her trainer said "throw it out."

My eyebrows shot up. Milk in the grocery store is now $4/gallon for non-organic in our neck of the woods ($6/gallon organic if it is on sale), and I've heard nothing but bad news about food prices due to shortages world-wide. I'm not sure if milk is included in those shortages, but there has been lots of talk about the price of milk, eggs and of course, rice, going up.

"Throw it away?" I asked in horror.

The trainer looked at me, somewhat apologetically. "Yes," she said. "We can only use milk for one drink. So we have to throw it away."

I was beside myself, but it dawned on me as I floundered, dumbstruck, trying to find the car, that this might be the reason Starbucks is so unbelievably expensive, especially with their non-drip coffee drinks. I hesitate to think how much milk they are throwing away.

Does anyone out there in the blogosphere know why they have to throw perfectly good milk away? I know that in other coffee establishments, like Barnes and Noble (which "proudly serves" Starbucks coffee, but is not a Starbucks franchise), the milk is saved for a period of time, and more is added to the carafe as needed for the next drink.

I wonder if there is a way to stop this wastefulness--especially with the cost of milk on the rise. I know that my boycotting the institution won't make the slightest dent in their bottom line--I only go there once a week at most, and it's usually just for chai, as I think their coffee is bitter. I am much happier with the local institution Boston Stoker, and once we move, I will try to find a local coffeeshop (when I can't/don't have time to brew at home) to patronize.

But I just had to share how shocked and surprised I was by this practice, by a corporation I have long-admired for their practice of extending healthcare to employees without them having to work 40 hours a week.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Nothing nefarious after all

The black pick up belonged to a neighbor, who was very apologetic and moved it yesterday afternoon. So we now have a free and clear view of the house and the sign.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

hello little blog

I've been absent, I know. Please forgive me. It has been a rocky road the last few weeks (months)--not in a bad way, just in a busy way. The kiddos are happily watching Cars for what seems like the millionth time, so I thought I'd take a minute (or four) and update on various parts of the craziness that is my life at the moment. And I'll do it in a list, since everything I do seems to be in lists now (Cue music from Ragtime, "You left me lists, everything in lists, but your little lists aren't very helpful, I fear").

1. We are moving. Again. MOVING. As in, 13,000 lbs. of stuff on a huge truck driven out of state. It is sudden, exciting, crazy, stressful.... The last move (less than two years ago, ahem) was more or less local. This one is to northern Virgina, which I am quickly learning is abbreviated NOVA by locals--a suburb of Washington DC (but again, DC or "the District" by locals). New job for DH, hopefully a full-time job for me, new schools for the munchkins, and some sort of new abode for us. I don't yet have a forwarding address but hopefully I will after Memorial Day, when we all pile in the minivan for a short eight hour hop over to NOVA to search out a suitable dwelling place that won't break the bank. Good luck.

We have lots o crap to get rid of before we head out, so if anyone out there in blogland is interested in two full-size arcade games (Track & Field, Circus Charlie), a full-size pinball machine (1976), a full-size slot machine (Japanese), a recumbant exercise bike, or other assorted furniture, please let me know. They are all for sale, and we can hopefully make enough to buy a new flat screen TV for our NOVA pad.

2. My step-grandfather died yesterday. He was 89, sick, had pneumonia, hospice, etc, but it is still sad. He is hopefully at peace now, but I feel for the wife of 50+ years he left behind, and the extended family who have memories of him in a better time. His death is of course making me think about the others I have lost (mom, grandpa, nona, david, leslie) and making it harder to swallow those feelings back down.

3. DH is in Miami at a conference. Single parenting sucks, but fortunately I have great friends who are allowing me to lean heavily on them and go in for some "group parenting" with their children.

4. Sleep. Or lack thereof. We sent DS's pacifiers to the "babies who don't have binkies" last Saturday, via US Mail (thanks to the kind lady at the window who didn't bat an eyelash at our request and took the unmarked envelope full of eight used pacifiers and actually smiled and told my son what a "big boy" he was), and allegedly, via train after that (because all things train-related are comforting when you've said goodbye to the binky). This has resulted in a week of little to no consistent sleep. I thought he was doing better--he slept 13 hours without waking on Friday night, but last night he returned to his former ways and was up at 2, 4, 4:30 and 6:15. Ack. At least we don't have to show the house today, so I can take it slow and easy.

5. The black pick-up truck. It has been parked in front of our house since Thursday, with, apparently, no intention of moving. I wrote down the license plate, but I am unwilling to fork over $30-79 (depending on the site) to determine the ID of its owner. I am planning on knocking on neighbors' doors when the hour becomes a little more sociable (and perhaps after church time--we are a very church-y neighborhood, well, town, it would seem) but my brain was telling me at 4 this morning that the extended cab pick-up is there to hide our "for sale" sign from passers-by. This seems nefarious, I know, but as there are an insane number of houses for sale in our neighborhood (and lately, on our street), I think people will use any tactics to take out the competition. If I can't ID the owner, I will be calling the cops. I want the thing gone by the time open houses are in swing this afternoon (2 p.m.) so that potential buyers can actually see that our house is for sale. Yes, I am slightly freaking out about this. It's the coffee.

6. I miss Miss Doxie. Where oh where has your little blog gone?

Everything else in life is on track. I am writing, both for profit and not, which is why I haven't been blogging much. Kids are good, other than the binky thing. I am making time for yoga and cardio occasionally, filling in with DDR when I can't get to the gym or outside to walk/run. I am trying to eat right and sleep enough, and I'm using my pedometer like a mad woman. Packing is, for the most part, under control. Grey's Anatomy is back on TV, which gives me a welcome respite on Thursday nights. I'm almost done knitting the second sock of the pair I started a while back, I've done one baby sweater for a friend who is due in the next few weeks, and I'm almost halfway done with a second one for another friend who is also due in the next few weeks. I'm regularly checking MLS and Craig's List for affordable rentals in our target area, and Monster for possible jobs opps. I need to revise my resume. And sleep. Sleep would be good. And fewer baked goods would probably make my fitness goals easier to achieve. But.

Incidentally, on a final note, there was an NPR call-in show on Friday afternoon about words and linguistics. It had something to do with the campaigning and primary season, etc, and I didn't get a chance to listen because I was in the dr's office for an hour (routine check up--all is well), but they were asking for listeners' thoughts about words, language and phrases and how well people are using them these days. This actually interests me (sadly?), since I am a closet linguist, and since I couldn't call in, I thought I'd post my comment here.

I AM SO TIRED OF "IT IS WHAT IT IS." I wish people would stop using this phrase. Seriously. (That's another one that's getting old, but I use it, so it would be hypocritical to complain about it.) The Buddhist thought that spawned this evil offspring has been so far corrupted. I would go as far as to say "It is what it is" is what is wrong with our country (mounting soapbox)... People use it to remove themselves from the responsibility of caring for what is going on around them and for actually doing something about it. Yes, it's true that there are some things we are powerless to control (thank you, Aristotlean Primary Unmoved Mover and company), but dismissing children's behavior, general lack of social or customer service skills, sad news, twists of fate and other things that occur in life as "it is what it is" is a cop out. I am working on what I will say to someone the next time I hear this (be forewarned). So far I have come up with:

It is what it is not.
Why must it be so.
(Yoda voice) You think. So it is not.

Other suggestions?

(stepping off soap box now--incidentally, when is the last time anyone actually saw a soap box used for public fora? wasn't the last one used for firewood back in 18-- when William Jennings Bryan went off on his last opponent?)

(tossing camera in air, a la Austin Powers)
I'm spent.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

blog tag

Tagged by Caryn. Sadly, this will probably be the most interesting part of my day.

Two names I go by:
1) Allyson
2) Al

Two things I am wearing right now:
1) Socks
2) Pedometer

Two of my favorite things to do:
1) Sleep
2) Write (I'm so boring!)

Two things I want very badly at the moment:
1) For my house to sell at a good price
2) A big hot fudge sundae with no consequences on the scale

Two favorite pets I've had:
1) None
2) None--i'm not an animal person

Two things I did last night:
1) Made spaghetti bolognaise that went UNEATEN
2) Worked on a sweater I'm knitting for Shoshi's impending arrival

Two things I ate today:
1) Fiber One with milk
2) Banana

Two people I last talked to:
1) Marc
2) Sam

Two longest car rides:
1) Cincinnati to Ft. Myers FL (ugh)
2) Cincinnati to Columbia, MO

Two favorite beverages:
1) Venti Caramel Frappaccino (again, with no scale consequences)
2) Alice White Lexia

I tag (if you haven't been tagged already): sidewalker eater, legion, these darn writing shoes, lucy