Monday, February 28, 2011

What's the point?

I have 10 followers and no one comments on my posts anymore. Am I really that boring? What do I need to change to make my blog more interesting and relevant?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Green Mountain Coffee makes me happy

The blog Tatum's Family Reviews is giving away a Green Mountain Coffee Roasters sampler pack. *swoon*

My husband and I had the fortune of visiting the Green Mountain Coffee museum/cafe when we were on our honeymoon in Vermont. While we were there, I had a coffee drink I knew I'd never find in Minnesota -- they blended their delicious coffee with steamed cream, maple syrup, and possibly some cocaine (ok, I'm joking about that, but it was REALLY GOOD). Yeah, yeah, yeah, heavy cream... as if the trip to the Ben and Jerry's Factory earlier that day wasn't enough to plug up my arteries and widen my hips. We brought home a bag of their Fair Trade Vermont Country Blend, which, aside from giving me unprecedented caffeine jitters, was pretty tasty. We got my parents the Signature Sampler for Christmas last year. My Mom said it was good enough to drink without cream and sugar, and THAT is significant.

Giveaway ends Feb. 26 at 11:59 PM EST.

The whole tooth and nothing but the tooth

I want my tooth back. Last night, I asked my husband if he could take my extracted tooth and push it back into the socket until it pops into place. He said, "I could, but you'd probably want to divorce me after."

I have a draft in my mouth and I lisp when I talk. The dentist said it would be a full month before the extraction site is fully healed. I don't want to talk like a gimp and look like a northwoods nerd for any length of time. I wish I could have just had antibiotics. If that tooth was going to come out in time anyway, as the dentist said (the roots were almost fully resorbed on one side, or so he claimed... they looked fine to me!), I should have just let nature take its course and wrest my tooth from my head when it was time.

I think I have phantom tooth syndrome.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Going to the dentist scares me

The title of this post is a huge understatement. I would rather actually shit a brick than have a tooth removed. Unfortunately for me today, I didn't get that choice.

It all started about 2 weeks ago when I was vigorously (and perhaps overzealously) cleaning my teeth with a dental scraper. One of my molars started to feel a little achy, but I chalked it up to the cleaning I did. As time passed, the gum surrounding that molar started to ache a little bit, but the only time I noticed was when I washed my face and ran my hand over that site.

This morning, I woke up with a swollen, pinkish-white mass on my gum where the molar plugs in. I applied a mixture of baking soda and salt, in an attempt to drain the abscess. It came to a head, but I was too chicken to pop it. So, I called around trying to find a dentist -- hard to do when you've moved to a new city and none of the dentists have taken new patients in years. After getting chewed out by one bitch of a receptionist who said I was rude to her (I asked if she was able to look up insurance information on her computer; surely people in the 21st century have access to such things) and threatened to call the cops on me because I was "harassing her" (!). Finally, I found a sympathetic receptionist who said, "Well, we can't have you waiting over the weekend to see a dentist! Let's see... we can get you in with one of the dentists at 3:15 this afternoon." My savior!

I sat in the waiting room and read a whole issue of Reader's Digest before the dental assistant escorted me back through a long, dark hallway. It reminded me of a horror movie that takes place in a 1950s-style insane asylum -- dismal and forboding, where something could pop out at any time from behind one of the myriad identical doors. She sat me down, took an X-ray of the molar, developed it, and said, "Hmm, this doesn't look good." She showed me the X-ray -- it looked like the whole area under the tooth had been hollowed out!

The dentist came in, took a look, and immediately suggested extraction. After much pleading on my part ("Are you sure there's nothing else you can do?"), I finally caved. He swabbed my gum with benzocaine and injected my gums with Novocaine. He left for a few minutes to check on another patient and left me to chat with the dental assistant until he returned. I looked and sounded like a stroke patient, with the whole right side of my puss insensitive and immobile.

When the dentist finally returned to rip my molar from my head, he took a pair of pliers (well, that's what they looked like!) and started to jiggle my tooth around. I could still feel pain and pressure coming from within the tooth, so he gave me another injection. After a few minutes, he went back in with his Giant Pliers of Doom, grasped my molar, and started wiggling it around. When I got teeth extracted as a kid, they never took this kind of maneuvering to remove! This time, it HURT LIKE HELL. I was hyperventilating, in spite of the assistant's efforts to direct me, like a Lamaze class instructor, to JUST BREATHE. My knuckles turned white as I clutched the cuffs of my sweater and shook like a chihuahua on caffeine. Tears poured down the sides of my face. I am not a good dental patient.

Finally -- CRACK -- he wrested my tooth from its gummy prison. The reason it was so hard to extract was that the roots are flared to the sides like a pair of bellbottoms instead of pointing down like they're supposed to. The dentist let me keep my tooth afterwards (he even said it was a very nice looking tooth, in spite of the fact that it was no longer in my head). He told me the reason for the infection was not that I have poor dental hygiene, but that the roots were so short on one side that bacteria seeped under the tooth and caused the infection.

Now, I'm sitting here with a big, gaping hole in my jaw, the acrid taste of blood in my mouth, and lips so dry you could plane a board with them. My husband reassures me that the gap is barely noticeable when I smile, but I feel gross. I even have my own emoticon now: :-F

Monday, February 21, 2011

Winnie-the-Pooh and a blustery day

My Mom and I had a conversation this morning about how windy it was in Duluth yesterday. According to the Duluth News Tribune, there were "40-knot winds with gusts of up to 60 knots (69 mph)" and "9- to 11-foot waves on Lake Superior". I told her that would knocked Pooh into the canal!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

♪ Peepalicious, so delicious ♪


I want some of these chocolate-covered marshmallow Peeps that Laughing Lindsay is giving away. I'm a sucker for those cute little dot eyes....

The Peeps website even has recipes, like these Peep Pops and this Chocolate Raspberry Peepcake.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Pants full of pasta; or, the Italian woman's lament

If you have enormous hips like I do, then you know how hard it can be to find a pair of jeans that fit right. You can't wear hiphuggers (well, nobody should be wearing those) because they give you more muffintops than a bakery. If you find a pair that fits in the hips, the waist could accommodate a ham. When you sit down, the back of your pants gapes open like a fault during an earthquake. You could wear pajama jeans, but you'd feel like a lazy slouch. Besides, everyone knows that pajama jeans are just a gateway to use of harder infomercial products, like Ginsu knives and Mighty Putty.

The best pair of pants I've found thus far to remedy the dreaded butt-gap problem are Levi's Curvy Bootcut 529. They fit about as well as I could want, though I often find myself looking in the mirror and thinking, "My God, you need to get lipo on those saddlebags and chub rub and thick knees and..." Actually, I would do that with any pair of pants. Anyway. The downside to these Levi's is that they appear to only come in three washes, two of which are almost identical. *wah wah*

However, I recently came across a giveaway from Today's Woman Blog for Little in the Middle jeans, which purport to fit your "genes" or something like that. The hips are one size bigger in these jeans, giving them sizes like "4.1" and "16.1". Also, most of the jeans have a significant discrepancy between the front and back rises -- about 9" for the former and 15" for the latter. The Levi's measure about the same. Little in the Middle has pink jeans, for those of you who aspire to look like a chewed wad of bubble gum (no offense intended, but these really wouldn't look good on anyone). Seriously, though, I think I'd like to try the Empowered River jeans. They're just dark enough to be slimming, but light enough to go with most everything I own. Plus, anything that camouflages my hips can't be bad! So, go swing by the Today's Woman Blog and see if you can't win yourself a pair of these sweet trou.

Man.... I don't even eat that much pasta.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The laser goes "pew pew pew"

A couple days ago, I stopped into Target to pick up a carton of half and half. Since that was all I needed, I was walking at a pretty good clip around the store. After I picked up the carton, I headed back toward the check lanes. As I approached, I was stymied in my effort by a woman and her son walking in front of me. The little boy, who couldn't have been any older than 4 or 5, was carrying a Star Wars laser gun toy in front of him and saying, "This laser shoots the bad guys and it goes 'pew pew pew'! And then I zap!" I stepped to his side as I tried to pass and said, "I'd better watch out, I don't want to get hit with a laser!" I got a few feet in front of him, only to hear the little boy turn to his mom and remark worriedly, "But it's not a real laser!!"

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The mullet of the shoe world


DITA High Heel Court Shoe in Burgundy Burton Print
from Beyond Skin, which, despite what you might be thinking,
is actually a vegan shoe store from the UK.


You might be asking why I chose the title I did for this post, when clearly these gorgeous high heels are anything but mullet-esque. It's because they're classy in front, with just a little bit of color and sparkle, and would look nice with a pair of slacks covering the back. However, they're a little more interesting with the slacks off... actually, most things are, but still. I think I should have a pair of these, but they're ├╝ber-expensive (£89, which is also equal to a lot of US dollars). *wah wah wah wah*

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day is meat

For Valentine's Day this year, my husband and I decided to celebrate early. On Saturday, we got dressed up and went to Outback Steakhouse... along with most of the elderly population of the city, apparently. We figured there would be a long wait if we went between 5 and 8 PM, so we went at 4 PM -- and got seated amid a crowd of bluehairs.

We split a small order of the Aussie cheese fries, which is the the "Worst Food in America", according to Men's Health magazine. Of course, Men's Health is basically Cosmo for dudes and has the same articles over and over again. Anyway, I think the reason Men's Health decries the Aussia cheese fries is because the appetizer comes with a side of Ranch dressing and they assume you will drink the rest of it after you eat the fries. Aside from the dressing, the fries don't really seem that bad -- it's a plate full of average-looking French fries with a less-than-generous smattering of Colby Jack cheese and about 4 little bacon bits. The Wikipedia article on Outback Steakhouse says they fry everything in vegetable shortening, so perhaps therein lies the rub.

Anyway. For dinner, I had a 9-oz. steak, medium rare (judging from the pictures here, I should have gotten it rare. What? I like my steak to moo when I cut into it), with a blue cheese crust; mixed vegetables; and a baked potato with sour cream, bacon, and green onions. My husband got the same, except a bigger, more well-cooked steak and mashed potatoes instead of baked.

The most shocking part of the evening was when the waitress came over, asked if we had saved room for dessert, and proceeded to describe their featured dessert, the "Cinnamon Oblivion". My husband, who is not a sweets-eater by any stretch of the imagination, abruptly said, "We'll take that one!" They brought out Mt. Ice Cream, which we scaled with two giant spoons, until we could take no more.

When we got home, my husband flopped down on the couch and said, "I don't feeeeeel good."

How was YOUR Valentine's Day?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Buzzin' on a sugar high

In the past week, I've won 1,994 lbs. shy of a ton of candy. Since my husband is not a big fan of anything sweet, it looks like I'm going to have to suffer through it myself. And my "suffer through it", I mean "eat my way out of this situation from the bottom up".

Teh winningz:

Tuesday
Two Bloomsberry chocolate bars from My Little Review Corner

Wednesday
4 lbs. of 1980s candy from The Blissful Bee

Thursday
$12 Choccreate gift code from The Funky Monkey
Hershey's Miniatures from Blessings Abound Mommy

If any of the people who run these various blogs stop by here, THANK YOU!

Friday, February 11, 2011

More stuff you shouldn't wear

Here's my second installment of things you shouldn't wear.......

6. "Distressed" jeans


WTF is this hobo shit?

You know what's distressing? Your jeans. They make you look like a homeless person. Why would you pay for a pair of pants that look like they've been assaulted with a weedwhacker? Next thing you know, they're going to start making distressed jeggings and then my head will cave in.


7. Gladiator sandals


The only person who can truly pull off this look is Jesus. I'm guessing you're not Jesus, so why wear these things?


8. Open-toed shoes with socks


You know who else wears sandals with socks? Elderly tourists. If you want to wear open-toed shoes, but feel you might be too cold wearing them, STOP. This is Nature's way of telling you that the weather is not conducive to your choice of footwear. You will need to wait until conditions improve before donning those heels.


9. Ruffle and bow overload


A little bit of ruffle-age can look nice, and I could even see myself wearing something with a modest ruffle... ah, no I couldn't. However, when it looks like a cat shredded the front of your shirt, it may be time to reconsider your wardrobe. Likewise, if wearing a particular top might make you look like the icing on a wedding cake, please refrain. The same goes for those ridiculous-looking bows. Why do you want to dress like a stodgy, old-fashioned librarian? You could pair this look with the ankle sock-with-heels trend and look like you stepped right out of the Victorian era.


10. Greasy, unwashed "hipster" hair


I saw a guy at the science fair who had hair so filthy, it separated into chunky waves spilling out from beneath his uber-trendy Jason Mraz hat. I could smell his greasy locks from several feet away, yet the girl he was cavorting with seemed to be entraced by his ultimate hipsterness. Sorry, dood, that "hairdo" makes you look like a bum.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What not to wear: the cranky edition

Taking a cue from Stacy and Clinton (who are so eponymous with "What Not to Wear" that I don't even need to put their surnames), I'm going to write about fashion statements that make me cringe, shudder, and weep for the future of mankind.

1. Leggings as pants

Image from uiucnopants.com
I don't care if you want to wear leggings with a skirt, because that's where they belong, but for God's sake, why would you wear them as pants? The only time that's acceptable is if you're working out. If you wear leggings alone, you're going out in public with no pants on. Think about it. Your mother would have slapped you silly if you had gone to elementary school in just leggings and a t-shirt.

NB: I will admit that I have a pair of jean leggings (or "jeggings", if you're into that sort of thing) that I won in a contest. They just look like skin-tight jeans. I haven't worn them once, because they bring back memories of having been teased for wearing much the same in about 6th grade ("HAHA! You're so fat your pants are skin-tight!"). Also, my sister-in-law wears crap like that and I like to make fun of her for it.


2. The word "jeggings"

It sounds like the plural of some kinky sex act. Surprisingly, Urban Dictionary does not list that as an alternate definition.


3. Multi-chain "statement" necklaces


You know what statement you're making with these? It screams that you're too lazy to detangle all the necklaces you grabbed from your mother's jewelry box. Now, I have been known to wear multi-strand necklaces from time to time, but mine are all distinct strands and not this twisted-up mishmash.


4. Giant nerd glasses


I don't get it. When I wore glasses like this in my youth, I got made fun of and now, the style is showing up on runways. Was I really that fashion-forward when I was 10? I'm not sure if women are sporting these clunky old man specs because they think they're cute or ironic or what, but I do know it makes you look like a dork.


5. Tie-waist tops and tunics


Very few women are able to look even halfway decent in a shirt like this. Unless you are the size of Victoria Beckham, a flowing, "boho" blouse with a drawstring waist is going to make you look like a fatty. Especially if you pair it with skinny jeans or (God forbid) leggings. When you do this, it makes it look like your jeans are so tight, they're forcing all your thigh fat up and around your midsection. For those of us blessed with enormous Italian childbearing hips, wearing an ensemble of this sort will give you the profile of an ice cream cone. When the feminine ideal in America is a rangy size 0, why would you deliberately want to make yourself look like the one-third of Americans who weigh as much as the other two-thirds?

All right, there will be more tomorrow. You just wait.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Time to put some pants on

I was thinking about all the giveaways I've blogged about here and realized they're all food-related. If I were to win any or all of them (so far, the only thing I won off those lists was the North Carolina BBQ Battle Box from Sammi's Blog of Life; we had meat up the wazoo.. er..), I'd need to do something to offset all those sweet, sweet calories.

That is why I'm featuring Champagne Living's Jockey Sport Collection giveaway. Three lucky weiners will get their choice of workout pants from Jockey.

Also, the woman who runs Champagne Living is named Zipporah. How cool is that? I've only known of one other Zipporah in my life -- a guy I knew in college had a brother who had a daughter with that name. Anyway, PANTS. Go enter by February 9th, 2011.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Beware: science ahead

Yesterday morning, I was a judge at the Northeast Minnesota Regional Science Fair for the 9th year in a row. God, that makes me feel old.

This year, I judged the Environmental Science category. In previous years, I've judged this category, Environmental Management, Earth and Space Science, and Botany. You'll see a lot of the same topics within a category, which is a little strange, seeing as the kids doing them don't all go to the same school. It looked like the hot topic in environmental science this year was how fertilizer runoff affects growth of aquatic plants and/or Daphnia. A couple others tested the effects of various medications on Daphnia survivorship. I guess they don't understand that the environment has a lot more facets than water flea mortality, but I'm not sure that I'd have been able to come up with anything better at that age.

I love being a science fair judge because I'm always learning something new and I get to see some of the same kids and their projects year after year. Pretty strange thing for me to say, seeing how I'm frequently complaining about kids. The kids at the science fair are always on their best behavior and they're very respectful of the judges. Sometimes, you can walk over to a project you're not judging, introduce yourself to the presenter (who is trembling like a leaf in a spring breeze), and the moment you indicate you're not actually judging their project, all that tension dissipates. I like to think that because I'm still one of the younger judges (even after 9 years there), the students feel more comfortable around me. That being said, some of the older judges fail to realize that they are not dealing with their colleagues at the science fair; they're dealing with 7th-12th graders. These kids are still learning. If a 7th grader doesn't know how to run an ANOVA test, don't drag her over to a 12th grader's project to show her "real" graphs. There is no worse faux pas for a science fair judge than to completely demoralize a student who may have been genuinely interested in her topic.

However, you will occasionally run across a student who clearly does not give a single, solitary crap about science, the science fair, or speaking civilly to the judges. These are the kids who do projects on how Mountain Dew affects plant growth and when pressured, tell you they started the project last night. Or the kids who give you a 20-second overview of their project and give one-word answers when questioned about it. When I see projects like this, I don't even fill in the scoring boxes on my judging spreadsheet; I automatically put a "3" next to their name. We're forced to give each project a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place ribbon, no matter how poorly-conducted their project was. I mean, I can understand a kid getting nervous or intimidated and not being able to recite their spiel, but some of these kids aren't even trying. A lot of the time, it's because they've been forced to by their teachers. If someone isn't interested in science to begin with, chances are they'll be even less interested after being forced to to explore whether having short legs makes a person a better runner or if goats are colorblind.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Free Coffee-Mate coupon for those of the Facebook persuasion


I'm sure everyone on Earth has heard about this already, but Coffee-Mate is giving away 100,000 coupons for a free bottle of their product TODAY ONLY at 9 AM PST/10 AM MST/11 AM CST/12 PM EST. "Like" their page on Facebook to have a shot at this. Based on their Facebook fanbase, only 27,955 people will leave disappointed.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

All the theobromine you can handle

I thought I'd do a roundup of chocolate-related giveaways, seeing as I'm a girl and I like chocolate... Oh yeah, and Valentine's Day is coming up.

Ending February 2, 2011
New Age Mama is giving away an Oliver Kita Studio Collection box of 16 beautifully-designed chocolates.
Mon Cheri has long-stemmed chocolate roses from Bea's Gift Baskets up for grabs!

Ending February 3, 2011
Closer to Lucy is giving away some Chocolate Heart Lollis from Illinois Nut & Candy's Raising the Candy Bar.
Rachel's Reviews and Giveaways has an assortment of Nicobella Organics chocolates up for grabs.

Ending February 4, 2011
Mommy Is Green and she's giving away some Equal Exchange Organic Chocolate bars!
Real Heart Prints is giving away a $25 gift code for Choccreate.

Ending February 5, 2011
Classy Mommy has a huge basket of Dove Chocolate products up for grabs. You can enter this one daily!
Ask Ms Recipe is giving away 3 $12 Choccreate gift codes.
My Milwaukee Mommy is also doing a Choccreate giveaway, except the prize is a $25 gift code.
Lisa Cooking is giving away Veronica's Cake Pops. I decided to include this here because they contain chocolate and that's good enough for me!

Ending February 6, 2011
Heck of a Bunch has one $12 gift code for Choccreate up for grabs!
Momma Told Me is giving away 2 Righteously Raw chocolate bars.

Ending February 7, 2011
Sweet T Makes Three is giving away a 1/3 lb. sampler box of Cowgirl Chocolates.
Thanks, Mail Carrier has some delicious Lindor truffles up for grabs.

Ending February 8, 2011
Closer to Lucy is giving away a $25 gift code for Choccreate.
3 Princes and a Princess 2 is also giving away $25 to Choccreate.
Kidsumers is giving away two Bloomsberry Chocolate bars to each of 5 lucky winners.
My Little Review Corner is also giving away Bloomsberry Chocolate.
MamaBuzz is giving away $50 worth of Sarris Candies, which includes chocolate-covered pretzels and chocolate fondue!

Ending February 9, 2011
Blessings Abound Mommy is giving away Hershey's Miniatures.
Tammy's Two Cents is giving away a box of Swiss Colony chocolates.

Ending February 10, 2011
Smart Girl Reviews has some Cowgirl Chocolates for you to win.

Ending February 11, 2011
Two Classy Chics is giving away a box of chocolates from The Chocolate Nation!
New Age Mama is giving away some delicious-looking Terra Source Vegan Chocolates. One 2 Try is giving away the same thing on her blog.

More to come......

NOM NOM NOM

Can someone please buy me a giant fortune cookie?

Momma Told Me, in conjunction with Fancy Fortune Cookies, is giving away a giant fortune cookie to one lucky entrant. Hopefully, that lucky entrant is me... or you. That would be ok, too.

Giveaway ends February 15, 2011.