Down for the Count Up, 9

SORT, SEPTEMBER 29, 2015

It is that time of year again. My favorite time of year bursting with colors, and my worst time of year bursting with tears.

I was told the hurt never goes away, it just changes. Some years it seems it has; others it seems it hasn’t.

This is one of the hasn’t.  Last year I barely had time to think about anything else but condo purchase. This year, I’ve got the time.

I used to write about it a lot more, intent on gathering thoughts and feelings and memories; sorting.

I’ve never been much good at sort. I’ve always argued that Mc should be filed after Mb and before Md – if such name roots actually existed. They don’t warrant their own alphabetical sub category or file tab. Should the Mac’s be filed with the Mc’s? If not, accurate spelling will be imperative when trying to figure out which drawer to pull.

Then there’s the fabric stash. Grouped mostly by solid color, unless there’s a pattern; American Flag fabric would sit nicely between red and blue – if red and blue were adjacent on the color wheel. They are not. This is my confusion. Would Poinsettia fabric be best placed under mostly red, mostly green, assorted floral or catalogued as just Christmas?

Sort ranks up there on the difficulty chart with where to start.

I’ve started this before, and I’ve done ok. Tidbits here and there; succinct vignettes.

Written, shared, abandoned or saved. It’s going to take some cull.

I’ve been at this 8 years now. Haven’t missed a Tuesday, yet.

Background matters, but this isn’t biography.

I was born somewhere, some date, schooled, worked, and have been writing since 1973: poetry first, some stories, blogging 2007. It’s key, relevant, but not now.

Now, I’ve got to start somewhere, so it might as well be here:

  1. Haslett, Michigan, a slightly-above word-processing level computer, a phone-line dial-up, a bottle of wine (no idea what kind) and the unexpected blessing of one very persistent neighbor.

Quote for the Week:

2015 09 29 sort ranks up there with where to start jakorte

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Simple:  http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/memoir-vs-autobiography-2

Complex: http://www.biographile.com/autobiography-vs-memoir-the-changing-landscape-of-recollective-writing/21575/

Free-scape

So, here’s what happened.

I got a email. About gardening. In my very unknown, incoming-only, address.

It’s another account I keep to keep clutter from my real email.

You know, the one that people I actually know have and where the important stuff goes.

Anyway, the beauty of this junk box is that it fills up nicely with coupons and offers and a lotta ‘free.’ I love freebies. Even if I don’t need it, or won’t use it, if it’s free – I snag it and pass it along.

Samples are a great way to experiment, especially for less money. It’s a win-win. For me, experimenting for less is a happy mind expansion thing. Plus, deals and coupons save me money on stuff I know I’m going to buy, anyway. Same sort of mindset as Fetch and Ibotta. I just love layering.

I get a few newsy-type dailies that let me know when and where to find good stuff. I was particularly excited to learn Lowe’s was having a series of garden give-aways. Hypocritical, I know considering how hard I take the ‘annual that which I despise’ obligation.

I shared this with my gardening friend who had already heard about and tried to get into it.

Registration for the first event opened at midnight and her experience was that the site was overloaded and she didn’t get anywhere.

That was a bummer to hear. I’m not that driven to stay up until midnight battling it out with other batty internet users. Strangely, enough, though…

By the time I’d finished my weekly blog, sent it out into the social-universes of FB me, FB Knabble, WordPress, IG and Twitter it was 11:20 PM. I still thought it might be a little over the top to be hovering over my keyboard for 40 more minutes.

I puttered around prepping for the next-day work-day by re-filing blog fodder, and just generally straightening and restoring my desk back to the ‘real job’ configuration. At 11:47 the idea was still free-floating around in my head. I still had a bit of time on my non-gardening, don’t-like-to-get-too-dirty hands.

I turned up Spotify and tuned into Grandson. It’s not the kind of music you can tune-out to. Hence, the love. The first time I heard Grandson was through an IG video reaction site; totally recommend a follow. Besides the music/reaction, dude’s got an oddly sense of humor. (Links’ll be below.)

11:58, I thought I’d just try and slip into the site. Get queued up. No dice. Just a bit of a reprimand that it wasn’t time, yet.

So, I outed. Then, I inned. And outed and inned. Mmm hmm. Turned into an online version of the day after Christmas at Wal*mart at 4:00 AM in Tennessee. That’s a story by itself. Never again, folks. Never, again. Although, I did end up at a Michigan Kohl’s one black Friday. 5:00 AM. Easy in, easy find. Horrible two and a half hours of standing in line to check out. Never, again, to that, too. At least Kohl’s, handed out candy canes.

Stroke of midnight at Lowe’s online, I got it right! I got right in.

But, of course, it wasn’t going to be that easy.

Quote for the Week:

Grandson: (do you have enough love in your heart to go and get your hands) Dirty

Recommended reactionary: @fablefil

Savings $ Layering

I had this whole thing conceptualized as a three-part learning series, which it will be, still.

However, on the front side of holiday shopping, I wanted to share how I layer savings and earn cash back and gift cards and shopper rewards, too.

So, not my best example, but my most recent. Here’s how the FoodSaver purchase worked out for me at Kohl’s:

I started by going to MyPoints and entering Kohl’s from there. 6 points per dollar was the rate on 11/23. It can rise or lower. So, before you shop at any store, open your MyPoints account.

Original price $349.99

Sale price $329.99

Kohl’s 15% Off Coupon – $49.50 (I didn’t get the 30% 😦 )

Shipping Free

Kohl’s cash earned $75.00 (think funds for holiday gifts)

Kohl’s rewards earned $14.02 (think funds for holiday gifts)

Ibotta Browser Extension 0.5% Cash Back $1.49 (think thirst quencher while you’re shopping) and remember – I earned $193.00 cash back from Ibotta last year! It all adds up. Truly.

MyPoints 1782 point (Redeemable for Gift Cards)

Fetch – Unfortunately, only works with online purchases associated with GMail accounts, SO FAR. They’re working on it!

Click the Blue Links below to get started.

Ibotta My Ibotta Referral Code: vuodlbm

Fetch My Fetch Referral Code: A8JUX

MyPoints: if you are interested in adding MyPoints to your layered savings, please private message me your email address so I may send you an invitation. You can go and sign upon your own, but it’d be nice if you give me a chance to send you the invite. 🙂

Yes, I will earn points or cash back boosts from the above links. But, once you sign up, you can, too!

Extra tips:

Create a Junk Email Address. You’ll use this for all of the stores, restaurants, point and cash back programs so they don’t clutter up your real inbox!

When you sign up for any cashback or points program there is usually a bonus. Always check your email and the website for extra deals.

Right now Ibotta is offering 2.5% cash back on Society6 purchases.

I always order samples from each site I list my art on as a quality check. Not only am I super pleased with the pleated, 2-layer, filter-insert features of Society6 masks, I am also super pleased that the Ibotta Browser popped up and offered 2.5% Cash Back ON TOP OF THE SALE PRICE – up to 50% off on a lot of items. Redbubble also offers Ibotta cash back.

Important – I will never, ever sell or give your email address away or divulge any other personal information. to any other person, company or space alien. Promise.

Artwork available on masks, pillows, clocks, tables, leggings, travel mugs, and just about any great gift you can think of!

Knabbler Shop @ Society6

Knabbler Shop @ RedBubble

btw – Chewy offers discounts for joining their auto-ship plan. Scheduling is your choice. Auto ships may be canceled at any time, so try it out.

My Favorite, Noel.

I decorate for Christmas.  

Some years, not a single soul sees it. Some years, maybe one or two or three tops.

But, that’s because I travel, and it really doesn’t matter. I do it for me.

I refrained for many years. I could only see painful reminders. I suppose if there was such a thing, I’d say my grief has matured.

One year, I decided I’d at least try. I went through the box and struggled through each memory. Then, I went to World Market and Target and Meijer and struggled through buying new non-traditional décor in fuschia pink and winter blue and brilliant 80’s lime-ish green.

I couldn’t bring myself to put up the unique partial tree that Jeff and I had marveled over. Imagine a fake three-foot fir in a wicker basket – neatly sliced in verticle half to allow for wall hanging.

We used it in the townhouse, much to Miss Fred’s annoyance. She’d sit near the wall and balefully mewl. I suspect she was either trying to convince the tree to come down and play or she believed her caterwauling would spur us into action and bring all the shiny things down to her level.

It seems every year, I’ve managed to find the baby-steps, bits and pieces strength to add another sentimental piece. At least that’s what my lighted, miniature, fake burlap sack ensconced pine tree is telling me.

These are a few of my favorite things:

The purple and gold swirl paint bulb Jeff made.

The beaded snowman pin that Jeff also made

A tiny box with a big message from my mother-in-law, Sally

The tree topper is a handmade ornament from Nannee Vincze

The paper folded pinecone is a purchase I made at a craft show from a couple who reminded me so much of us.

The glass chili pepper is part of a set of six I bought for Jeff the Christmas after our store opened.

The Frankincense, Gold, and Myrrh were a beautifully authentic biblical present to myself, and to others one year.

The Hershey kiss angel, by my best guesstimate, is somewhere between 20-25 years old – the result of a crafting episode with my sister-in-law.

The illuminated pine bottle was a gift this year from a friend who likes to call me ‘sis’.

The miniature Hannukah lamp was a gift from my mother that year we took her to Bronner’s. That is a story unto itself.

The nativity was my first, acquired the same year I purchased my condo.

The tatted cross is a gift that is a story unto itself, as well. A heritage heirloom I was astonished and honored to receive from a family that wasn’t mine to start with, but now completely is.

The Christmas Loon comes from the same family. No one has ever able to explain why, and the only thing I’ve found on the internet is a reference to the Loon being the state bird of Minnesota.

And I have no idea where the super shiny sparkly pine cone came from or how it landed in my Christmas storage tote, but… I like it.

All of this sits on the top of my living room hutch. There’s a lot of love crammed onto the four-foot-long top, which is conveniently completely Blu proof. He’s got jumping issues.

Happy Christmas from me. Repeating an adored adopted phrase, I’m the one who wants you to know – God loves you, and so do I. Noel.

Picture for the Week: 2019 12 24 Merry Christmas Noel jakorte

The Way the Crinkle Crumbles

Back to the Crinkles:

The first issue, was that I proceeded to try and puncture the cookie with the toothy strength needed to break through our family tradition of over-caramelized undersides and dry snappy hardness.

As a result, I overly chomped right through the softness and took a mini-chunk out of the inside of my bottom lip. Reflexively, I attempted to shout like hurt people do, “Oh, ow!” Instead, on the inhale, I vacuumed some of the powdery topping (which, being unfamiliar with Crinkles, I didn’t realize was powdered) into my mouth and throat and very upper bronchials.

I spewed forth a spattering cloud of exhaled wheezing, followed by immediate tears; continuing with a deep barking coughing spell that seemed like it was never going to end. Jeff handed me a cup of presumably water, which turned out to be milk. Not fond of straight-up milk, I unhappily expectorated it before it got too far. Jeff’s eyes bugged wide, eyebrows rising toward his hairline in astonishment.

He grabbed a kitchen chair, rolled it over to me and pressed down on my shoulders until I was seated. Firmly patting me on the back, his face mere inches from mine, Jeff alarmedly asked if I was ok. I shook my head ‘no’ at first, but eventually, croaked out that I thought I would be. “Ok.” Jeff bobbed his head, clearing his face of concern. With my hands in his, hope in his eyes, and an adorable earnestness, Jeff took a deep breath, then asked, “So, how’d ya like it?”

He never did make me an Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookie, but believe me: the ones he made were surely enough. Snickerdoodles and Sour Cream cookies. Buttery Sugar Cookies and melt-in-your-mouth Spritz.

Soft Peanut Butter and rich Scotchies. Potato Chip cookies and Billy Goats. Almond Crescents and Thumbprints. Perfectly spiced Gingerbread, both, soft rounds and firm, but not tooth-breaking, rolled.

Anise Stars, which, without fail, he would purposefully mispronounce, then laugh out loud at his own  joke. No-Bakes, which I firmly argued against calling a cookie.

Later on, and only for us, Jeff spiced cookies with various degrees of heat. Habanero shortbread; dark-chocolate cake-based cayenne. Spicy icing and mini-cheesecakes flavored with an awesome heated line of dessert hot sauces called Toad Sweat. 

Oh, and what turned out to be one of my favorites – Crinkles. I would safely lick most of the sugar off of the pretty tops, before delicately biting to ensure injury-free enjoyment.

Quote for the Week:

2018 12 25 For good measure, the proper ratio of sugar and spice jakorte