Archive for the 'Products' Category

Fish Oil Fallacies – Fat or Flaky?

I’m a bit of a doubting Thomasina.  I don’t automatically believe what I’m told to believe.  I like to see the evidence.  I need to weigh the possibilities.  I read and do research, especially on the hugely important issues in my life–such as, why the hell am I getting fatter now when I’m back to exercising and trying to cut back on the snackies?

It just doesn’t make sense.  I know I got careless last year when the girls came to live with us and whittled me down 10 pounds through sheer exhaustion.  I squandered that wonderful jump-start to a svelte new me by indulging in ice cream and other late night goodies as a reward for my mothering efforts.  The weight slowly crept back as we settled into a more normal slacker mom routine, but I was avoiding THE number (the number on the scale where I start to panic) by running here and there and kind of trying to eat healthy.

Unfortunately, while the body got soft and pudgy, the brain was losing serious muscle tone too.  I’d say something and Big Daddy and J would exchange glances.  Incredulous and sometimes worried glances.   I’d spend countless minutes each day trying to locate something that I’d just had in my hand moments before.    I’d forget why I walked into a room.  It was the same old spacy me — only magnified to the hundredth power.  And so Big Daddy gently advised me to start taking the fish oil capsules he purchased, the ones that cost a fortune and he quit taking because they gave him fish burps.  They’re supposed to keep you young and sharp, lubricating not only tired old joints but creaky old neurons in the brain.  I remembered that I used to take them.  I couldn’t remember why I’d stopped. 

Now that I’m semi-lucid again thanks to that daily infusion of miraculous omega-3 fatty acid, I remember why I quit taking them before.  I started gaining weight.  When I should be losing–or at least maintaining.  Just like now.

Normally, I would never ever suspect that a tiny capsule of fatty fish oil would make me fat.  But the facts say “check it out!”  A google search showed that others have inquired about whether taking fish oil might make them fat.  And each inquiry was answered using the reassuring spiel that not only does it not make you fat, studies have shown that it may help you lose weight.  Seriously, are these the same studies that tried to shove man-made global warming down our throats?

And I’m wondering why these other people posed this question.  Were they just curious?  Or were they exercising and dieting like crazy and still getting fatter like me?

So at least until Oldest Son’s wedding next month, I’m going to play it safe and lay off the fatty little capsules.  You may need to patiently direct me to the groom’s side, or help me find my misplaced keys, but at least I won’t be busting the seams on the cute little dress I’m planning to wear.



Soft Tissue My Butt

Getting things back to normal around here has been my priority lately.  I spent the past couple of days cutting out the grocery coupons that piled up during tax season.  The fact that I often have to pay full price for things when I’m working full-time is just another of those pesky costs of working.

Another thing I’ve been busy doing is restocking the cupboards and cabinets.  The supply of toilet paper was getting dangerously low.  My excitement was a little over-the-top when I looked through the Sunday ads and saw that this was the week CVS had Scott paper products on sale–Scott towels and Scott toilet paper.  “I’m so pumped,” I yelled.  “This makes my day!”  Big Daddy and Middle Son J just kind of looked at each other like they often do when I speak.  They just don’t understand.

Anyways, my heart started beating even faster when I remembered cutting out some coupons for Scott toilet paper.  This could be one of those savings home runs!  I haven’t avoided the 40-hour-a-week rat race all these years sitting on my laurels, you know.

I dug up my CVS card, grabbed my wallet, and scooped up my paper products coupons.  Then I noticed that every single Scott toilet paper coupon I had was for their crappy Extra Soft tissue.  If  I wanted soft toilet paper, I wouldn’t be buying Scott.  They’re the master of real toilet paper.  That’s how they made their fortune.  Strong.  Durable.  Unscented.  Some things are just better when they’re a little rough and hard.  ; )

Manly blue-wrapped butt paper

I live in a house full of guys.  They don’t want that soft perfumey crap.  For those that prefer to pamper their butts, there are a huge variety of toilet papers out there to choose from.  And you know what?  Most of them do it better.  I’ve bought the Extra-Soft Scott.  It leaves behind a Hansel-and-Gretel white trail of crumbs, moreso than say Charmin or Cottonelle.  Even worse, they try to sell you the extra large extra soft rolls so that you have to use an enclosed adapter so that the roll will fit on your toilet paper holder.

Purple-is-for-girls wrapper

Guess what, Kimberly-Clark?  If you have to endlessly entice consumers to buy your extra-soft tissue with coupons, maybe they don’t like that product.  Save us all some money, drop the extra-soft garbage, and lower the price on your good-ol’ standard toilet paper.  Even with the coupons on the extra-soft, people still buy the rough and ready variety.  When there’s a good sale, I’m sometimes forced to buy the soft stuff because the other is sold out!  Rethink your strategy, KC.  America’s butts are counting on you.

Coffee Pots for Dummies

About a year and a half ago, our old cheap basic Mr. Coffee coffee maker fizzled out and died with no warning.  Being my typical thrifty self, and also in a hurry to replace the source of my caffeine intake, I headed out to the closest bargain outlet to find a new coffeemaker.  Ollies is nearby, and usually has a good supply of reasonably priced quality housewares.  Since it sells close-out items, you’re never quite sure what will be in stock, but I am pretty flexible.  If it works, and is cheap, I’ll be happy.

Apparently, Ollies does not get a good supply of coffee makers.  At just about any given time they have lovely Farberware pots and pans, chef grade ceramic casserole dishes, and soft 200 thread count sheets.  But the supply of  coffee makers is usually very limited.  I got the only brand they had, some Cafe Belmondo close-out that had been part of some coffee promotion at one time.  For $20, how bad could it be?  And I didn’t feel like going to the other side of town to deal with the Wal-Mart crowds.

At first, the coffee pot seemed decent, although Big Daddy rolled his eyes at the no-name brand.  “Look, it has a timer.  We can set it before we go to bed and have coffee waiting for us,”  I pathetically argued to get his endorsement.  This was not the best argument since Mr. Wizard already has much of our household running on timers, and the old coffee pot was one of those items.

Before long, the digital read-out on the clock disintegrated, making it impossible to set the timer.  The replaceable mesh filter still allowed coffee grounds to get into the finished product so we had to buy the weird cone-shaped paper filters.  I used to be able to place the Mr. Coffee pot in the dishwasher, but since the lid didn’t come off this new gadget, I had to wash it by hand.  The spout dribbled coffee onto the counter every time we poured.  But the most annoying thing of all was…the damn thing turned off after two hours.  Whether you’re done with your coffee drinking or not, the stupid machine stops warming your pot of brew.

More than any other flaw and feature, the two-hour shut-off is the one thing that annoyed us most.  We like to enjoy our coffee throughout the day, not gulp it down in an hour or two.  I have a thermos carafe, but that’s just one more pain-in-the butt thing to wash.  And Big Daddy actually likes the taste of coffee that has been cooking all day on the warmer.  I should have asked for a new coffee maker for Christmas.  In fact, I saw one for about $10 at Wal-Mart while I was Christmas shopping.  I could kick myself for not buying it.

Saturday I got a 10% off coupon from Ollies.  Today I used the last of my cone-shaped coffee filters.  This perfect storm convinced me to try my luck again at buying a coffee maker.  There was another no-name brand, and it had the stupid two-hour shut-off.  Then I spied a Black and Decker model.  It was factory serviced, but who cares?  The filter basket was round, and it was a brand name.  There was no mention of it shutting down after two hours.

I brought it home and set it up.  I ran water through it to clean out the dust before I use it.  And then I read the booklet that proudly mentioned that it automatically shuts off after two hours!!!

Is this a law now?  Do they think we’re all too stupid to turn off the coffee pot when we’re done?  I realize most of us Americans are too stupid to understand the health care issues without them being properly explained by our elected elite, and soon they’ll have to limit our access to junk food and such because we’re too dumb to realize it’s not good for us, but really!  Taking away our steamy midday cup of java?  This is really a low blow.


Big Daddy and I were winding down the evening watching an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation that he recorded on DVR.  Actually, he was watching while I was flipping through the last section of the newspaper, so I thought he was joking when after fast-forwarding through the commercials, he said he saw a Barack Obama Chia head. We went back to look for it.  I thought it had to be some kind of joke, maybe some kind of SNL-type skit.  But no, it’s for real, folks.  And just in time for the holiday shopping season!

chiaprez And there is Fearless Leader!

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia! 😀

Comcast + NBC = Real Idiot Box

Yikes!  Thanks to cable (good old competition for the network giants) TV has a few bright spots.  Just about everyone can find at least a few shows to interest and entertain them.  To get those cable channels, though, we must deal with the all-powerful and often abusive cable companies.  They can treat us customers like crap because there are not many alternatives.

For my family right now there is no alternative.  When our one-year Comcast triple-play special ran out earlier this year, I shopped around looking for other deals.  We looked into the Dish network, which is about the only other thing available to us here.  Unfortunately, Comcast owns Versus, the channel that airs the Tour de France and many Penguin hockey games.  If you can even still get Versus through the Dish network, it is very expensive.  And we heard it soon might not even be available through Dish at all.  With this being the case, Dish could charge a dollar a month and I wouldn’t be able to choose them being that Big Daddy plans his vacation around the Tour de France and this entire family bleeds Black and Gold (Go Pens!).

Today I read where our good friend Comcast is looking to buy a hefty chunk of NBC Universal.  One scenario under discussion calls for NBC to be spun off into a separate company with Comcast owning 51% and GE the rest!  How horrible is that!?

Will GE and Comcast soon own the world?  Will Comcast suddenly lose its signal (like it did during the Steelers big playoff game) right when Glen Beck reveals a big political scandal?  Will we be forced to watch Brian William’s smug tunnel-vision version of the news every night?  When another network scores a big coup like exclusive rights to a big game, will Comcast suddenly have technical difficulties?  Does this mean we will have to put up with even more of dim-witted Alec Baldwin’s snarky face?

It just doesn’t seem right that the country’s largest cable TV provider should be able to own any of the stations, and worse yet, one of the biggest.  They will be able to edge out ALL of their competitors once they own the big networks.  If they decided to buy Fox network, does that mean that only Comcast subscribers may someday be the only ones able to watch American Idol?  What happens to all the smaller cable companies, Verizon Fios, Dish subscribers, etc.?  Will they all be at the mercy of Comcast?  We Comcast subscribers know that Comcast has no mercy.

We have antitrust laws in this country to protect consumers from greedy monopolies.  Why doesn’t someone step in to try to prevent this huge attempt to control the media in this country?  Isn’t Comcast already big and powerful enough?

Please Make Average Length Pants!

For the second time this week, I put on a pair of pants that I really like and that fit me very nicely. Except for one small detail. I almost look like I’m ready to jump puddles. My socks poke out between the shoes and pants hem. They’re FLOODS!

Now, at my age, I am not growing upward. And I only wash sheets, towels and undies in hot water so they didn’t shrink much. The problem was, when I bought them, I couldn’t find anything that fit better. They just don’t make clothes for average height American women, because at 5’4″, I am supposedly the average height for an American female. I can wear petite size tops, because I have like almost no shoulders. I am one of the few women out there that actually liked 80’s fashions, because the shoulder pads gave me some upper body presence. I was sad to see them go. But I know that Petite sizes are supposed to fit women 5’4″ and under. I’m right on the cusp there, supposedly. But I’ve tried on Petites and they hit way above my ankles. So I try to buy average length. But the average length pants I find must be “average” in some third world country. And this could possibly be the problem since you can’t find too many things made in America any more.

I would move up to Tall sizes, but I have no sewing skills. I went to Catholic school. They only had the 4 R’s–reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic, and of course, religion. No pool, and certainly no Home Ec. My boys can sew better than me, thanks to their Family and Consumer Education courses in middle school. I have resorted to taking a few things to a tailor, but that’s only when I find a really good deal, and it makes economic sense to spend the extra money on a hem. And really, I am not tall. I should not have to buy Tall sizes.

Going Postal

Even though a big cold front had blustered its way to our fair city, I forced myself out of the house to pick up some supplies at the Post Office yesterday.  Soldier son needs some goodies and reading materials, and supposedly there are boxes you can get through the USPS so that you can send care packages overseas at a lower rate than the usual $37.  I also needed to pick up Passport applications.  After dealing with frozen car door handles (I had to climb in through the passenger side) and then the usual parallel parking hassle downtown, I trudged my way up the hill to the Post Office.

Luckily and for a change, the line wasn’t that long.  But it was confusing.  There is only one  worker that handles Passport matters and a sign distinctly points to there.  But that worker also handles any other duty like the rest of the counter employees and if it’s your turn, you could be sent there.  So I decided to bypass the people in the regular queue and just get behind the one person being helped in the passport line ( no one in line seemed too intimidating).  The worker was very nice,  but wasn’t sure which boxes I was asking for.  After checking  a printout, she  found what I was talking about but  said that they did not have any there. She then gave me 2 Passport applications, but said they were only good for one more day.  So if we were to use them, we would have to fill out the forms, get our pictures, and dig up our birth certificates like that night. Well, we just don’t move that fast.  And, she did not have any of the new applications (even though no one would be able to use the old ones in two days).

I didn’t give up hope, yet.  Certainly I could find the boxes I need at the USPS web site.  They should have all their products listed there for me to order.  Guess again.  Finally, I remembered our contact person with our Family Readiness Group.  This was the person who had first made us aware of this product, as well as many other things a military family needs to know.  A quick e-mail and she gave me the number to call.  The product I was looking for is called CAREKIT04, and now hopefully, is on its way.  So hang in there, son.  Your 2600 magazine and other goodies will soon be there!

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