My Very Own StarSong

I have been anticipating this for what feels like forever. It was finally here. I don’t mean finally like I’m mad about it. I mean finally like I’m a little scared and anxious about it.

The time had to be ideal. I had to finish up some deadline things first. Then I had to make sure everything was just right. Did we even still have a CD player anymore? Tayler’s room. Down the stairs I went. Found it. Back up the stairs I went. I grabbed the CD, the player my headphones and the letter with the chart. I headed to my office way upstairs. 

I made it perfect. I arranged my rug with my yoga pillow and I lit a candle. I plugged in the player and hit the eject button. Oh man. Inside the player was “Baby Mozart.” Wow. We played classical music for Tayler from the time we brought her home from the hospital. You guys that was over 19 years ago. She still listened to it every night to relax her and help her sleep. It almost made me cry.

I opened the case and pulled out the CD. I got goosebumps just touching it. I could feel everything about it. I don’t mean physically, I mean emotionally, spiritually. A rush came over my body and my eyes started to water.

I put on my headphones and pressed play. The music started. Wow! The sounds. The emotion, I can’t even describe. I could see myself in black water, trying frantically to get out, trying not to drown, feeling like I was drowning. Peacefulness came next. It was calming. The bird noises made it that way. Water made it that way. Water, cleansing, calming over and over.

It is hard to describe. It was so overwhelming in an absolute good way.

This CD, hands down, is the best gift I have ever received. It was exactly what I needed when I needed it. My friend is so thoughtful.

You may be wondering what I am talking about. First I have to explain.

Her name is Rebecca. I call her Breckie. We have been friends for a long time. Online friends. That’s how our friendship started, I think in 2007. We were both in a workout forum and that’s how we met. Fast friends to the end. It took several years before we met in person. We have been through a lot together. When I say a lot, I really mean a lot. We have pulled each other through hard times. We have similar life experiences. We are the best sounding boards for each other. We are honest with each other and I believe I can say we would do anything for each other. She means the world to me. She truly is one of the best friends I ever had and I am so thankful, grateful and blessed to know her. 

Now, back to the CD. The CD is a gift from Breckie. She bought me a song! A StarSong. She gifted me a song composed only for me! Only for me according to where and when I was born and my astrological chart. Is that not the most amazing thing ever? I think so.

It was done. I received it in the mail yesterday. It was everything I thought it would be and more. As I listened I could feel every emotion, every sorrow, every happiness and every life lesson. It was like I could reach out and touch every single thing. It was that intense. And, knowing it was specifically composed for me, made it that much more special.

The composer and chart preparer is Danick Jawer. You can find her at http://www.danickmusic.com. She also gave me a copy of her CD, Amitie – Voyage d’amour. I will be listening.

The CD has two tracks. The first track is the StarSong itself and the second track Danick talks over the song. This second track contains the main astrological comments that guided her process. Her voice is so unique and accented and calming. She is an amazing and beautiful French woman. 

There are so many things. I can’t wait to listen to it more and more and more. It is such a special gift. I can barely put it into words. 

And the cherry on top of this proverbial cake, Breckie also gifted me a one hour reading with Danick in which she will go more in-depth with my astrological chart, a much more thorough reading of my chart. I bet it will explain many many things about my life. I am so interested to do this. I will be scheduling it as soon as I can. 

I really do have the best friends and many special people in my life. I am very lucky and I know this. Thank you so much Breckie!! This truly is such a special gift.

Another Update for Frugal February

The shopping ban is going well. I have not felt that tempted at all to buy new things. I even stashed away some money this last week. Winning!

The rules were pretty clear and concise. How did I do?

No new clothes – CHECK

No new shoes – CHECK

No new workout clothes – CHECK – UGH!!! This one was hard. Peloton had a sale on their boutique items. These items are normally ridiculously expensive and if I want any, they have to be on sale. They are that expensive. It’s dumb. Notice how I said WANT and not need. I told myself I was not missing out, to cool my jets and just move on. You guys, FOMO is alive and well on the internet. There will always be sales, always. Resist. You can. I did. CHECK

Groceries – of course. I haven’t stopped eating. I have noticed that I ask myself if I really want the food I am buying or if I need it. That is a whole new perspective. Try it. Nobody really needs a bag of chips now, do they?

Shampoo, makeup, etc. – I did buy face wash. I was out. A girl has to wash her face and with my aging skin I needed some good shit.

No new notebooks, etc. – CHECK

No new books – this is another hard one. Audible keeps telling me about book sales. So far, so good, but like I said, this one is hard. CHECK

I am still unsubscribing to emails. This is crazy. These companies are sneaky too. I bet I have unsubscribed at least 6 times to the same one. Did they not get the damn memo. Leave me alone. I don’t want to buy all your amazing stuff!

That’s it. This week I have felt pretty confident with my spending or should I say spending resistance. Ha.

I will be back soon with another update. Thanks for reading.

 

 

The Bagel Experience

I was sitting at my computer on Sunday, just like pretty much every Sunday, when all of a sudden I saw a post about bagels. I mean, I like bagels and all, but who wants to take the time to make them? It’s a process and one that I did not want to go through. But these bagels were different. They only had a few ingredients and you didn’t have to boil them. I thought hmmmm, maybe I can make these. Well, everything else I was working on immediately went to the back burner. Bagels here I come! How hard could it be? It said it was simple. I was so excited. 

Okay, ingredients needed – flour – all purpose, baking powder, salt and greek yogurt. This IS going to be easy. The recipe makes four bagels. I will double it, because duh, bagels. I even had “everything bagel seasoning” to put on top of them. These bagels are going to be tasty. As I read the recipe, I checked off in my head the ingredients. I knew I had everything. I was so excited. 

I got my bowl, stainless steel, of course. No special reason. I just feel cool when I use stainless steel bowls. I carefully measured the flour, two cups. Next the baking powder, 4 teaspoons and then the salt about 1.5 teaspoons. Next up the greek yogurt. I know I have Fage in the fridge. That is the kind the recipe lady said she used. I was so excited. 

I opened the fridge and pulled out the yogurt. Hmmmm. Remember I doubled the recipe, so I would need two containers of the yogurt. Well, I only had one. Shit. I looked in the stainless steel bowl. Piles of the baking powder and salt were in separate places on top of the flour. I bet I could take out two piles of baking powder and a pile of salt. Then I could take out a cup of flour and just make the four bagels like the stupid recipe told me to do all along. That was not going to work. Everything starting mixing together when I touched it with a spoon. I could have mixed it all together and then removed a cup, but I wasn’t smart enough to think of that until later. Like now later. Duh. 

I did have other greek yogurt, but it was all flavored. I couldn’t very well make everything bagel flavored bagels with peach and coconut yogurt. Could you imagine? That would taste disgusting. Improvise. Plan B. Always have a plan B. I decided I could make the bagels cinnamon and sugar flavored, because peaches taste good with cinnamon and sugar and I think coconut would taste good with cinnamon and sugar. Okay then, peach and coconut it would be. I put in the Fage first. Crap that was not mixing very well. I used a whisk. Dumbass. I needed a fork. I looked at the container of Fage and noticed the date was January 10, 2019. WTF? 

I legit thought about starting over. I thought about going to Walmart and getting more yogurt and more flour. Except, it was snowing and I live about nine miles from Walmart. Not today. Back to Plan B. 

I smelled the yogurt. It didn’t make me want to gag, so I figured it was good. I had to add a container of coconut and a container of peach to make the dough look like the consistency it was supposed to be. Okay then. I was so excited again. 

The recipe then told me to throw some flour on the counter and put the dough ball on the counter and knead it about 15 or so times. It actually said dust some flour on the counter. I was to then cut the dough into four separate pieces and then roll each piece to about 3/4 inch ropes and to join the ends to make the bagel circle. That worked. I was so excited.

It was time to bake these babies. Ummm, not quite. I first had to put an egg wash on the tops and sides of the bagels so that my cinnamon and sugar would stick. The egg wash is also supposed to make the bagel shiny.  On went the sugar and cinnamon. Mmmmm. They smelled so good. Mine didn’t look very smooth though. They were kind of lumpy. I didn’t care. I was excited. 

Into the 375 degree oven they went. The recipe said bake them for about 25 minutes. That was correct. They puffed up slightly and smelled delicious. 

Once the 25 minutes was up, I checked them. They were done. Mine weren’t shiny. I took them out of the oven and brought them over to the counter to rest. “Squirrel.” The cat was on the counter, laying in the flour that was left from rolling them out. Lovely. Had to get the cat off the counter. At least she laid in it after I rolled them out and not before. See, glass half full, right here. 

Even though they weren’t shiny and they weren’t the most even circles, they still looked really good. Now the true test. The taste test. I got the knife. The serrated bread cutting knife, because you know, bagels are basically bread. I cut the bagel in half. Ohhhh, it looked pretty inside. I wondered what to put on it. I didn’t have any cream cheese. That would have been good. I settled on butter and honey. I had some vanilla infused honey and Kerrygold butter. Mmmmmmmmmm. Delicious! 

Even though I messed up the recipe, it wasn’t a complete disaster. These bagels tasted amazing. I could taste a hint of peach. It paired well with the honey and the butter and I didn’t die from the out of date yogurt. I will definitely be making these again. 

Lessons learned: 

Make sure all ingredients are readily available.

Yogurt lasts a month past the date.

Watch what the cat is doing at all times.

 

 

Frugal February – UPDATE

Well, my shopping ban is in full force. I am one week in and feel pretty good about it. I have opened the extra savings account and have unsubscribed from and deleted a crap ton of emails. They seriously are tempting and can cause some serious FOMO issues. Because, really I might need that product. It’s 25 percent off. Whatever, all marketing tactics. I am sure when I want to buy that product two or three months from now, there will be another sale. There always is. 

Let’s see how I have adhered to my rules: 

  1. No new clothes – CHECK
  2. No new shoes – CHECK
  3. No new workout clothes – CHECK
  4. Can only buy things as they run out, for example deodorant or shampoo. How many of you have a shit ton of shampoos and conditioners? Haven’t had to buy anything yet. 
  5. Can buy groceries of course. A girl’s gotta eat. – Yep – I gotta eat. 
  6. No new notebooks, notecards, pens, etc. – CHECK  – this one is hard!!
  7. No new books, except for my business. February purchase was Pat Flynn’s book. I also purchased a kettlebell program from him and Aleks Salkin. I support my friends. It was important to me.
  8. I will unsubscribe to emails that are trying to persuade me to buy their stuff. Believe me, that is a lot of subscriptions. – CHECK
  9. I can buy gifts, if needed – CHECK – a friend’s mom passed away and I contributed towards flowers for her visitation. RIP Bonnie. 
  10. This is the last rule, but the most important rule. When I buy something, I will be asking myself if I really need it or if I just want it. This goes for everything I will be buying. THIS, is the most important rule. 

I have used the last rule. A lot! I am good about asking myself every time I pick something up if I want it or need it. A few days in, I was al Walmart buying groceries and I noticed how easy it is just to grab stuff. There were several items I put back because I really didn’t need them. I just wanted them. It’s nice to be able to tell the difference. 

Thanks for reading – will be back with another update in about a week.

Jump Rope Contest

Remember last week when I told you about learning how to do double jumps and how hard I worked to perfect them? Well, every year there was a jump rope contest. Each school was represented. There was the girls and the boys contests. The PE teacher, who was Mr. Bucklin at the time, chose who from each class would represent their school at the contest. 

We practiced and practiced and then practiced some more. I was in 4th grade at the time at Lincoln Elementary School. The house was the Prospect House.

Every recess a bunch of us girls jumped rope. A lot of times I played football with the boys, but it was jump rope season now and that meant practicing every chance I got. There were several good jump ropers in our grade and we all wanted to go to the competition. 

Mr. Bucklin was super tall. He had blond hair and glasses. He was really nice and we all liked him as a PE teacher. He had a hard job. He had to choose who was going to go to the contest. It was narrowed down between me and Marianne Bassett. Marianne was a really good jump roper. This was going to be a tough decision for him. 

It was the day. The day of decision. The day to see who would represent the Lincoln Elementary School 4th grade class. Would it be me or would it be Marianne? 

I can still picture us on the playground, jump ropes in hand. We were on the west side of the building, near the double doors. That was the flattest spot on the playground. It was good cement, like sidewalk cement, not the other rough stuff the rest of the playground was made of. Mr. Bucklin had us start with plain old jumps, then we moved into criss cross and backwards jumps, criss cross backwards, fancy foot work and double jumps. We got to show off a little bit. I remember doing criss cross double jumps backwards and frontwards. Marianne could do them too. I don’t know how he was going to pick. Why couldn’t we both go? Well, it doesn’t work that way, obviously. He finally picked. He picked me!! I was elated. I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to go to the contest. I felt bad for Marianne though. She worked just as hard as I had. 

The contest was a few weeks later. It was at the Junior High school in the gym. It seemed like there were a ton of people there watching. It also seemed like there were a ton of competitors. It is kind of a blur what happened next. I can’t remember if girls went first or if boys went first and if each grade went in order. That part is a blur. I do remember the jump roping part. I remember there was a line of judges and we were facing them. They would call out the jumps that we were supposed to do. I specifically remember doing double jumps during the contest, and jumping fancy footwork style too. I also remember making sure not to miss. I don’t know if points were deducted for missing, but it would only make sense. 

It was hot and it seemed like the contest took forever. When all was said and done, I won!!! I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to get home and tell my parents. At the same time I wondered why they hadn’t come to the contest and watched. I always wondered that. Always. 

Our house was about three or four blocks from the school. I ran all the way home. I always took the shortcut home. Up the alley. That’s the shortcut.  Up the alley from the Zesto. I slowed down when I was almost to the house. I could see dad out watering the grass. I walked up to him with my hands behind my back and was pretending to be sad. He asked me how I did. Instantly the giant smile appeared and the hand came flying from behind my back holding the first place ribbon. 

He was happy for me. I was happy for me. I won the jump rope contest. 

Frugal February – Money-Saving March

Frugal February anyone? Money-Saving March anyone? I’m doing it. I am imposing a shopping ban on myself for the months of February and March. Have you ever done that–imposed a shopping ban on yourself? I really never have. I don’t go overboard with spending, but I want to change a few things and form some better habits when it comes to money.

If there was one positive that came out of the most recent government shut down, it taught me how to get by with less, way less. I’m still in less mode. I’m still in the basics of basics mode. Why not continue? 

There are many unanswered questions. Can I go that long? What can I buy? What can’t I buy? Can I really do this? Do I really want to do this?

I have made myself some rules. If you are on my email list, you might remember a book I read about a shopping ban. It was called The Year of Less by Cait Flanders. The timing of that could not have been more perfect and really, maybe it was a sign. A sign to get my shit together and just quit spending money. A sign to start saving more. A sign. 

Like I said, I don’t go overboard but there are definitely some places I can cut back and not feel like I am being deprived. 

So, here are my rules, if you will, or my I can buy this, but not that list:

  1. No new clothes
  2. No new shoes
  3. No new workout clothes
  4. Can only buy things as they run out, for example deodorant or shampoo. How many of you have a shit ton of shampoos and conditioners? I bet a lot of you. Same with makeup.
  5. Can buy groceries of course. A girl’s gotta eat.
  6. No new notebooks, notecards, pens, etc. I am a notebook whore. Not even kidding. I love journals and notebooks and notecards. Any size, all sizes. I want them all. This one will be tough for me.
  7. No new books, except for my business and then I will limit that to one per month! I have enough. I really do. I love books. I love reading them, I love listening to them, but I have enough!
  8. I will unsubscribe to emails that are trying to persuade me to buy their stuff. Believe me, that is a lot of subscriptions. 
  9. I can buy gifts, if needed.
  10. This is the last rule, but the most important rule. When I buy something, I will be asking myself if I really need it or if I just want it. This goes for everything I will be buying. THIS, is the most important rule. 

I think this is a great place to start. I also plan on opening a separate savings account and stashing as much money as I can in there every month. 

I have decluttered my closet and bathroom already and I have a few more things to declutter. I am ready to just get rid of crap.

If anyone wants to join, I would love the company and the accountability. 

I will be checking in and updating at least once a week, and possibly more. I will let you know when it gets hard. I will let you know when it feels easy. I will let you know. 

…off to unsubscribe to a crap ton of email lists. Later. 

My review of Pat Flynn’s book–

I read Pat Flynn’s new book – “How To Be Better At (Almost) Everything,” because it has Pat Flynn’s name on it. If something comes from Pat Flynn I pay attention. Because I care about you as well, I wanted to give you a quick (maybe) review. 

By way of background, I have known Pat Flynn for several years. He was my coach, when I was training for my first RKC (kettlebell certification). It’s been a minute. I think that was in 2011. I had my HKC and was now moving on to the next level. He made the difference for me. I have kept in touch with Pat since then. I am a member of his inner circle and Strong On and follow him on all social media platforms. 

I’ve never done a book review post before, so I am not sure if there is a proper format or if I get to just say what I want. Is it like grade school, like a book report? You know, where you explain the main characters and the plot and all that jazz. I’m not sure. So, you know, I will just say what I want. 

This book is a refreshing punch in the face. Is that even possible? Yes, I think it is. It will be a wake up call to a lot of people. 

Pat’s subject is generalism. What does that even mean? “Generalism isn’t about learning every skill or technique in the world ‘just because.’ It’s about being better at just the right number of things and then combining those things to form a competitive and creative advantage.” So, figure out what skills you want to learn and then the practices within them.” 

Generalism is being great at many things, but not the best at any one. I compare it to kids “these days.” If you specialize in a sport, say football, say grade school, middle school, high school and college, think of how you are taking it to a point where it can destroy your health. Kids especially should try different sports. I think in the long run this will save their bodies. 

Pat says, “The problem with specializing is that you can actually take fitness to the point where it destroys your health.” It means that you don’t specialize. You don’t become so damn good at one thing that you sacrifice. It is kind of common sense really, and why wouldn’t someone want to be good at several things? I think it’s brilliant.

Pat breaks down the process of generalism and introduces the reader (you) to skill stacking. We have been led to believe, since a young age, that specializing is what we should do. This book puts an end to that, an end to the goal of specializing. Pat breaks down his theory and tells the reader how to become a generalist. He lays out the five key principles and goes through them step-by-step. 

Pat is funny. Like really funny. Like a super dry sense of humor that some people may not get. There are some good one liners in here. 

I have several favorite parts. I’m not sure why these spoke to me and I’m not sure why I picked out these parts. Sometimes you just have to listen and hear. 

The first one: In Pat’s house, in his attic, he keeps a picture of himself, around third grade. Pat was a fat kid. He will tell you so. He was not athletic and hated to exercise. He doesn’t keep the picture to be motivated or to feel bad about himself, rather, he uses the picture to remind himself that he doesn’t want to be JUST successful or JUST good at things. He wants to do what’s important. He wants to do what matters. He wants his life to have meaning. He wants to make a difference. I would say he has made a difference in many, many lives. I think he accomplished that one. 

The second one: This part of the book is probably my favorite. Pat talked about how he was frustrated and annoyed and needed a break. He decided he would go to a local church. The next several pages, along with the spiritual practice plan, are worth the price alone. It’s touching. It’s heart-wrenching, and it means everything! To me, it did anyway. He articulates why there is suffering and wrongdoing and injustice in this world. I loved it. Read the book just for that.

The third one: He talks about his grandfather and it so meaningful. His grandfather aspired to everything because he aspired to love people and to be a man of faith. His grandfather taught him that faith was not just believing but also trying really hard to make good on those beliefs, no matter how many times you fail or don’t live up to your own expectations. 

Ultimately, we want to be happy. 

This book has everything, diet, exercise, religion, meditation with a little bit of sex, drugs, and rock and roll sprinkled in. 

There are so many great one liners. Here are just a few:

“Don’t make things harder without making them relevant.”

“Goddamnit, Judy!”

“If you want to do something, you’re going to find time to do it.” 

“Faith will stop you from taking shortcuts.”

“Training to failure is often training to fail.”

“Get the basics down. Stick to the fundamentals.”

This book is great. I loved it. I think you will too. Pat Flynn is a great teacher. He is authentic and trustworthy. And, he’s really funny! I have so much respect for him. AND, I get to meet him in person in March. I am really looking forward to that. 

You can get the book on Amazon and it’s on sale. https://www.amazon.com/How-Be-Better-Almost-Everything/dp/194688541X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1548983943&sr=8-1&keywords=how+to+better+at+almost+everything

You can find Pat everywhere on social media. Facebook: chroniclesofstrength/ Instagram: chroniclesofstrength. He can also be found on YouTube: supmuhhumbruh and he has an amazing podcast: The Pat Flynn Show. Check him out. 

Determined. And stubborn.

 

I was about seven or eight years old. It was the Euclid house. When I put my mind to something, I didn’t stop until I accomplished what I set out to do. Like a goal. You know that about me, if you have read my posts. Remember the broken collar bone? Yeah. I was determined. And, I was stubborn. Some might say I am still that way. I think they are pretty good traits to have, to a point. Determined is great, stubborn maybe not as much. I have gotten way better and have learned to control my stubbornness. I’ve grown. When I was a kid though, it helped me become better at things. 

At the back of the Euclid house, outside, there were steps that led to the upstairs apartment. Two women lived there, Myra and Sharon. They were nice and put up with a lot from us. I am sure we were loud and obnoxious. We were always outside so I am guessing they could hear us all the time. The steps were made of wood. I used those steps religiously to up my jump rope game.

I was learning how to do double jumps. These days they are called double unders. I couldn’t do them. I was mad and frustrated and frankly pissed off. Why couldn’t I do them? They seemed easy enough. You jumped and twirled the rope underneath your feet twice. Big deal. Why should that be so hard? Why couldn’t I just do that? I loved jumping rope. I had a jump rope in my hands most of the time when I was a kid. I loved it. It was fun. It was challenging. That’s why I loved it. 

The rope itself was not made of rope. It was made of plastic. That part had to be perfect. Not too thick, not too thin, just right. Like Goldilocks. Red Owl (now Dakotamart) is where I bought my jump ropes. They had the best ones for sure. I bought a lot of them. The worst part about finding a favorite jump rope was when they were used so much, they wore out in the middle and broke in half. The concrete did that to them. Back to square one. Good thing jump ropes were cheap. They came in many different colors and lengths. The best way to measure was to step on the jump rope at the center and to hold the handles to your armpits. That was how to measure for length. If it wasn’t measured correctly, jump roping did not work. At all. It messed up the timing. 

I came up with a plan on how to finally master the double jumps. I thought about it for days. I tested it multiple times. I was sure it would work. How could it not? I was determined. And stubborn, so it had to work. My plan was to start out on the bottom step. I would stand on the step sideways. I would then jump off the step to the side and perform the double jump. I figured I would get higher in the air and then be able to turn the rope faster and therefore be able to get it twirled twice under my feet. A few times I jumped too far to the side and lost my balance. Several times I landed on my knees. But I was determined. And, I was stubborn. I kept trying. Nothing was going to stop me. Timing was everything, when it came to jump rope. If the timing wasn’t there, it just was not going to work.  

I would get off the step and practice other jumps. Criss cross, backwards jumping, backwards criss cross, front criss cross, moving the feet AND the elusive double jump. I still couldn’t get the timing down. Back to the step it would have to be. 

Standing on the step, I got the jump rope behind me and told myself this was it. It was time to get this. Because I was determined. And, I was stubborn. I jumped and twirled the rope at the same time. It felt like slow motion. It felt like this time it was going to happen. I could feel it. The jump rope twirled twice under my feet and I landed on the ground without falling! I was elated. I did it. I did a double jump. I did it! Holy crap, time to try again. I got up on the step again. I repeated everything as before, step by step. I did it again! It worked, again! I was so excited. 

Well, you know what came next, right? Of course I had to try it off the step. I made it a big production, even though I was by myself. I acted like I was on a stage and I had no choice but to do it. I had no choice but to get this jump. I was determined. And, I was stubborn. I got in position. Feet together on the ground, jump rope behind me. Deep breath. 1-2-3. I jumped and twirled. Twice. I got it. Again. It felt good. It felt, almost easy. Had I practiced so much that now every piece was going to fall into place, every dot was going to be connected and all of my hard work was going to pay off? Could it be that easy? Could practicing so much really pay off? Why yes, it can. It really can. That is the only way we are going to get better at something. Sometimes we want it right now. I should say a lot of times we want it right now and we are not willing to work for it. I see it all the time. We need to be patient and we need to work and practice something if we want to get better at it. That should be common sense. 

After I got the one double jump, I started practicing more and more. I started stringing together one after the other, until I could do 25 unbroken double jumps. I then started practicing backwards double jumps until I perfected those as well. I was so happy with my progress. I was determined to reach my goal. And, I was stubborn.

Be determined. And, be stubborn. 

Cash Money

The other night, John and I were watching American Pickers. We rarely watch that show. For some reason there was a marathon of them leading up to the Season Premiere. In this particular episode, Mike and Frank were somewhere in a giant building going through crap looking for treasures. Same as pretty much every single episode. Mike found the most awesome tin sign. It was green and white. It was probably 2×3 feet. It looked to be in great shape. It was an S&H Green Stamps advertising sign. Remember those? Remember green stamps? 

The History: 

copied from the web:

“S&H Green Stamps were the first trading stamps popular across the U.S. and Europe, although the company did have competitors. “S&H” stands for the Sperry & Hutchinson Co, which was founded by Thomas Sperry and Shelley Byron Hutchison in 1896. 

It wasn’t until the 1930s that the company’s reward programs became popular nationwide, and the little green stamps were distributed by various retailers as rewards for shoppers. The stamps could be collected into booklets – the backs had an adhesive like that on postage stamps that had to be wet to adhere – then the booklets were redeemed for “rewards” ordered from S&H catalogs, or picked up at one of several S&H centers across Alabama. The centers, found in Birmingham, Montgomery, Huntsville and most larger cities, were like department stores, offering everything from linens to china to furniture to sporting equipment.”

S&H green stamps, small for a dime and large for a dollar. Sooper Dooper gave them out when customers spent money on groceries. A lot of them. We had a green stamp machine, kind of like a rotary dial phone. People would get mad if we, as checkers, forgot to give them their green stamps. And, if a person was really lucky the person in front of them, who didn’t collect them, would offer them to the person behind them. Score. They were a premium item. 

Who cares about green stamps, you might be asking? Well, we did. Sherry and I did. They used to have a green stamp store here in town, way down on Pierre Street, next to the funeral home. Anyone could go in there and turn in their stamp books for a discount on all kinds of products. You had to fill them in first. Lick and stick. But, the most important thing, THE MOST important thing was that a person could cash in the books for money. Cash money. And when I say person, I mean me. I also mean Sherry. I am not sure how we found out about this great program. Who knew? Winning! 

Prospect House. Mom kept the green stamps in a drawer. It may have been a basket. The memory is fuzzy. We had a ton of the empty stamp books, so we, as in Sherry and I, would lick and stick and fill up the books. We had to be careful though. We didn’t want it to look like we were taking the stamps and using them for our own purposes. I realize taking is kind of a weak word here. Okay, okay, I was stealing. Again! I think this is the last time though. Seriously. Anyway we had to be strategic. We couldn’t just fill up all the books and then go cash them in. I mean, really, we had to be better thieves than that. 

We would head down to the stamp store. We were there for no other purpose than the cash. Cold hard cash. It was good money too. The store itself always kind of creeped me out. It always seemed dark and it smelled weird. The lady who worked there was meticulous. She had dark puffy hair and glasses and wore a smock. A store smock. She was tall and skinny. I never saw her without lipstick. She always gave us the look when we walked in the door. The look of non-trust. The look of the brats are here again. Like I said, she was meticulous with these books. She made sure every single page was filled and every stamp was in its place, licking her finger and then separating the pages, making sure, page by page. Ken and Egghead from The Cottage must have told her the pop bottle story. The word may have gotten out about our lying and stealing ways. This was a small town after all. She reluctantly handed over the cash, after asking every single time if we were redeeming the stamp books for something such as luggage, or a toaster. Ummm, cash please. 

Cold hard cash. Score. I have no idea why we needed the money. It wasn’t like we were supporting a drug or alcohol habit. It could have been a candy habit though.

Most people saved the stamps and put them in books.

Most people saved the stamps to buy products at a discount.

Most people did the right thing.

Sherry and I weren’t most people. 

 I swear stealing has ceased in my life. I grew out of it. I developed a conscience. 

Because It’s Educational

Her name was Debbie. Debbie Sayler. She was my friend. A good friend. She had brown hair and glasses. She was tall and slender. Skinny. It was the Central House. We lived there briefly before we moved to the Prospect house. It was after the Euclid house. Debbie lived on Capitol. Down towards the west end of town, West Capitol.

We played together a lot. Either at my house or hers. It seemed like the time spent at each house was equal. I always liked going to her house. Her mom was really nice. There was always crafty stuff going on at their house. I wanted to be crafty. I was not. 

We played together and sometimes did school work and other times we played games or just did other things. 

On this day, we were bored. It was warm outside so we went out and sat on the front steps. We sat there and talked about things that were important in our lives at that time.  

 At some point in our young lives we both watched Sesame Street. Sesame Street was a very educational series, with puppets. We learned a lot from Sesame Street, particularly the formation of words. Remember the segment where Maria and one of the puppets would have a lesson in sounding out words or forming the word and then putting it all together? A typical word may have been something like the sw sound and then the ing sound. One person would say the sw sound and the other would say the ing sound. Next they both would say the word together. So it would be sw, ing, then swing. Pretty cool way to sound out words. Pure genius. 

Debbie and I did that too. We were having a lot of fun. We couldn’t stop laughing. We played this game for quite a while. I’m not sure whose idea it was. I will concede we were both at fault. Our words were more creative than Sesame Street’s though. Our words were swear words. Because why wouldn’t they be? It was educational. Sesame Street said so. And, we were learning. We were using the lessons we had learned. 

We thought we the funniest kids ever. Over and over and over again, sh— it —shit. We would look at each other as we sounded out the word and then would burst out laughing. That was our main word. The other was damn. I don’t think we did the f word, but it’s entirely possible. We played and played and laughed and laughed. 

I always had fun playing with Debbie.