reindeers and scorpions.

2 01 2012

once upon a time, there was a guy who drove around to all the bars in downtown portland making animals out of tin foil for all the good boys and girls (also, for money). one holiday season, i was at the free street taverna (now the dogfish) drinking my xmas booze, when the tin foil man burst through the front door bellowing “ho ho ho! merry christmas! i got your reindeers and your scorpions!” it was nothing short of an xmas miracle in my book.

but yeah, i know it’s the 2nd of january. so why the fuck am i telling you this pointless xmas related story?

well, mostly it’s because i wanted a reason to tell that story. but also, it’s because i’m about to use it as a flimsy analogy for the shitstorm that is my current life.

basically, sometimes xmas is all reindeer and jinglebells, and sometimes it’s accidental scorpions. this xmas, i got scorpions.

i have overall made it a point not to share much about my personal life with the internet. but the cliff’s notes version of this story is that come february 1st, my life is going to look a lot different. i’ll be moving out of my condo, and back into an apartment (a particularly crappy but cheap bachelor pad apartment if all goes well with the landlord next weekend). i’ll be living with my first roommate since 1996 (when my smith college roommate zoe moved out after 3 months because of her dislike of my late night online gaming habits [text based!] and predilection for menthol cigarettes). i’ll be a single dog parent.

you might also notice that instead of a hilarious picture of a tin foil scorpion in the upper left corner there, there is a MOTIVATIONAL SLOGAN. yikes. what the fuck am i trying to pull? as another rule, i try not to resort to sincere but uplifting over-sentimentality. i swear a lot. i am a cynical old crank. i want to find the person who wrote the first “chicken soup for the soul” book and light them on fire (or at least give them a stern talking to).

but for the new year, i’ve been thinking that maybe it’s time for me to toss a little sugar in the massive ocean of vinegar that is my soul. (don’t worry, not too much). as i’m careening into this utterly terrifying and uncertain new life, it occurred to me that it might be nice to have a little something to grab onto. when i broke up with my college boyfriend (and dropped heavily into a very low and confusing period), i taped a tiny scrap of paper to my front door that said “just start over” that i would have to look at every time i left my house.

but i already used that one.

so i actually did a google search for “inspirational quotes” (oh how the mighty have fallen!), and this is what i found. i think it originated on a t-shirt or something. but whatever, it very correctly sums up the reason that i’m leaving to start my whole life over at 34. my life has been very easy and comfortable for the last few years. as it turns out, easy and happy are two very different things. so i’ll just leave it at that.

i’m not entirely sure what all this biz means for broke207 (i’m focusing my energy these days on finding moving boxes and figuring out how to get a bed). but i have a feeling that we might be getting a little less coupony and more life lessony over the next few months. bear with me. if you do, maybe someday i’ll get back to my roots. or, maybe i’ll just distract you with terrible online dating stories until you forget what this blog was about in the first place.





the gears are turning

30 12 2010

still recovering from the very nutcracker into xmas shitstorm, but yesterday’s snowstorm provided something of a rest and regroup. well, except for the part where i had to take my dog out to pee in the insanity. as it turns out, kazuki LOVES the snow. me, not so much. but anyway, before i go ahead and do another full on rant about bad gift giving (obviously a serious pet peeve of mine) and broken polar bears… here are a few interesting bits and pieces that have floated to the surface in the last week or two:

i’ve done a lot of crazy shit this year. thus, i thought it would befit 2011 if i kicked it off with something equally nuts. on february 12th, i’ll be hurling my pale and fragile body into the icy waters of casco bay for charity. if you wanna help me out, this polar bear will give you the details (it’s a PDF, but i promise it’s safe to download!).

i went straight from the makeup project directly into nutcracker madness, and i don’t know if anyone noticed the wrap up that i did on the update page. the short version is that it was very well received. with lots of help, i managed to throw it together in less than a month (which was all kinds of incredible), but i’d love to get started RIGHT NOW for next year. nothing organized yet, just planting the seeds. so if you have an opportunity to score free makeup or other teen-friends stuff this year in your coupon travels… you know what to do.

i know, 2 donation requests in one post is kind of hardcore… but don’t say i never gave you anything:

the ikea bus is fueling up! i talked about it many moons ago, but the wheels are finally turning (pun intended). the portland daily sun even wrote an article about it (no turning back now!) come april (tentatively the 23rd), there will be approximately 50 spots on the bus (which i am assured will have the capacity for an in-flight movie). i was hoping to keep it under $25 a person round trip- but it looks like if we up it to $28-$30, we can also rent a uhaul so that people can buy big ass furniture (mattresses! couches!) and not worry. and considering that a round trip to boston on greyhound is like $40… and ours will come with snacks and even possibly in-town furniture delivery…  i still think it’s a pretty good deal. i have started an email list, so either go to the ikea bus page, or send me an email and i will add you. no commitment, just updates on progress, prices, and dates.

finally, i’m working on a super secret project with some local fashion bloggers that i think you’re all really going to like. obviously, it’s super secret, so i don’t have a lot of information to give… but hopefully soon i’ll be able to explode the details all over your face. i promise, you’re gonna love it.





happy boxing day!

27 12 2010

today is boxing day in various nations around the world. today is also a different kind of boxing day right here in the USA. today is the day that people haul home their xmas loads, grab a big cardboard box, and start sorting out the shit that they’re going to drop off at the goodwill ASAP. (a friend of mine brings 2 bags to her in-law’s house- one for stuff to bring home, one to ditch at the goodwill on her way home).

for example, my boyfriend’s parents have a large extended family. and even though trying to celebrate everyone for xmas is expensive and extremely inconvenient, several family members refuse to give up the tradition. unfortunately, it’s not the family members with large disposable incomes or most intimate insights into their wants and interests doing the gift giving. mostly it’s distant and out of touch (often with reality) relatives without much to spare in the gift giving budget. now, as a person who writes a budget blog, i am certainly not one to poo poo an inexpensive gift. however, any gift not given with care is likely to end up discard bin, and the only thing you’ve really given your friends and relatives is the task of writing an awkward thank you note that won’t reveal the fact that your gift is already donation fodder.

so to you coworkers, extended family, in-laws, acquaintences… my gift to you this year is a cautionary tale of three ceramic polar bears: Read the rest of this entry »





weekend pickthrough- put your sorries in a sack edition.

20 12 2010

yeah. it’s been a ROUGH WEEK, and holy shit i’m sorry i haven’t posted. this is actually the longest i’ve ever gone neglecting my poor blog, but i assure you it was necessary! 6:30 am get up and walk dog, 7:45 am leave for work, 5 pm leave work, 5:15 pm grab a snack and pack bag, 6 pm arrive at show for performance, 11 pm return home from performance, eat snack, do laundry if applicable, 12-2 am go to sleep- maybe. wash. rinse. repeat.

i finally got a chance to sleep a bit this weekend (ok, 12 hours each night), but i still feel like i’m gasping for breath. and as i’m slowly bobbing to the surface for air, the universe is stuffing an xmas stocking in my mouth trying to smother me a bit further. anyway, i know my apologies mean nothing, but i’m giving them to you anyway (and you’ll take them! or else!).

here’s some mass linkage to help ease the pain. you may even get a real entry tomorrow!

waking up to a freshly ironed dress and a half-eaten watermelon, gary suspected elaine was back on ambien.

welcome to photo 1. please leave your photos of homeless squirrels romping in a graveyard as shot through your rearview mirror at the door.

harness the force and make yourself some festive last minute party decorations.

the free press compares hannaford, trader joes, and whole foods so that i don’t have to.

kind of a cool idea, until someone tries to rob you.

epic local cupcake showdown. and i do mean epic. oh, and epic over here too.

wow, this whitman’s sampler is serious about putting the christ back in christmas.

can’t go wrong with a heartwarming xmas tale where the punchline is “NAKED SANTA”.

3 bedrooms, 4 baths, and an unspeakable loneliness we can’t contemplate.

and emotionally scarring human interest story to brighten your morning!

best ink cartridge description EVER.

dewey decimal THIS.

 





weekend pickthrough- holiday shitstorm edition.

5 12 2010

since i’ve become an adult, i kind of hate xmas. i know that the holidays, whichever ones you choose to celebrate, are supposed to be about family, and tradition, and the spirit of giving… and all that shit that holiday specials teach us to expect (demand!). but between the divorced family, my jam packed schedule, and the specter of debt from xmas past still looming large, i tend to be kind of a bitch this time of year. which is ridiculous because the boyfriend has an unnatural enthusiasm for the holidays that fills me with deep deep dread.

anyway, i decided this year that i would do my best to embrace the season and try to muster up a few shreds of xmas spirit from my shriveled black heart. so far, not so great.

1. extended family declares “just kids” xmas. i have to buy 6 kid gifts for all my nieces… and i get JACK FUCKING SQUAT. i love my sisters, but their fertility is bankrupting me.

2. in an attempt to be festive, i purchased a large plastic light up santa clause, and my dog is fucking terrified of it.

3. i finally buckled to the boyfriend’s demands and went out in to the freezing fucking cold and mud to cut down an xmas tree. charming! judging by the rash i got when i was helping load it onto the car, and the itchy eyes i’ve been suffering since we got it home, i’m allergic.

cant’ you just smell the xmas cheer? let’s deflect from my grinch-pants with a little weekend pickthrough:

wow, what an asshole. weirdly i had an almost identical experience with a urologist once. EMOTIONALLY SCARRING!

dude, how did we ever let ecto-cooler go off the market!?

and while we’re feeling nostalgic for extinct snack foods, why not get a little misty over some 80s commercials?

merry xmas y’all! urban outfitters gives us another 25 song sampler- for free!

the perfect xmas gift! a photo of a chunk of ice, that MIGHT contain extra terrestrial life.

yep, this survey of most wanted gift cards reveals nothing that we didn’t already know about american tastes. (how quick we apparently are to forgive BP)

the intricacies the holiday tree pissing match.

the makeup project is slugging along, but i still need help! makeup bags & journals, come on down!!! (please) 3 days left to donate!





get your local on- pop & lock.

2 12 2010

well, december is here. and that means that jerks like me who didn’t celebrate xmas shopping in july (and certainly didn’t sign up for any sort of xmas club) are all like “OH SHIT, i didn’t do any xmas shopping, and now i have no money and no time!” it’s last minute time folks, and the solution is simple- BUY LOCAL. we talked a little bit about it on plaid friday, but along with supporting/growing the local economy, shopping local has some additional benefits worth considering:

1. no exorbitant shipping rates. how many times have i filled my online shopping cart full of amazing discount goodies, only to find out that shipping will cost more than the merchandise. so not worth it. BOO!

2. no stress about things shipping on time. i spent last xmas tussling with an amazon.com call center employee over a lost package that didn’t make it on time and RUINED XMAS. ok, not really ruined, but gifts lose a little bit of their potency when not given on the appropriate day. if you bought local, you wouldn’t have to worry about the shame of lost potency EVER AGAIN. plus, you can do all your shopping on xmas eve.

3. everyone buys the same crap at amazon.com, and frankly, you’re better than that. screw the big label mass market consumer goods this year, and get your friends and fams something that they can’t get anywhere else but here. state pride doesn’t have to come in the form of a black bears sweatshirt (although it certainly could if you’re into that sort of thing), and there are tons of great local shops, companies and artisans hovering all around you just waiting to sell you the perfect gift.

anyway, this month i’ll be spotlighting some of my favorite local businesses where one can purchase thoughtful, exciting, and original merchandise at the very last possible moment, and never have to pay for shipping. today’s focus is on my very favorite food of all time- POPCORN.  fabulous flavored popcorn is a great xmas hostess gift, inexpensive gift for co-workers, stocking stuffer, or treat to put out at your holiday shindig (i’m over you potato chips!). or, if i’m on your xmas list- a garbage bag sized sack will do just fine. coincidentally, maine is packed full of gourmet/boutique popcorn poppers- and they know their shit. here are my favorites: Read the rest of this entry »





worth the trip- the black album (with a plaid b-side).

24 11 2010

i feel like it was just halloween. how exactly is it thanksgiving already? now, thanksgiving means a lot of things to me- pie, defending my vegetarianism against people who think it is a personal attack, pie, rolling my eyes at football, pie, and most of all… BLACK FRIDAY.

to many, getting up at the pre-crack of dawn in order to shiver outside in the icy icy weather in a line of other assholes who also think that this is a good idea does not seem like a privilege. i know it seems wrong on a number of levels, but i can’t stop myself. i’m not even buying any xmas presents. i’m not even trying to score big ticket items at crazy low prices. i just really love a hot bargain, and have designs on expanding my chick flick collection for less than $2 a dvd.

now traditionally, one gets the thanksgiving paper and weeds through the ads while digesting their  gravy coated food baby after dinner (sort of like half time before the pie round). but since this is the internet age, and we’re all a big fucking pack of cheaters, there are multiple websites offering up all the black friday deal fliers days before anyone has to stick their hands into a frozen turkey and pull out the “giblet sack” (and people question my vegetarianism?).

i love black-friday. net, but it really doesn’t make a fucking difference if you go there or to blackfriday.info or even blackfriday.com. the point is that i’ve been planning my black friday shopping strategy for DAYS. here is my present  ACTION PLAN: Read the rest of this entry »








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