Saturday, April 25, 2009

Selections from Today's Phone Conversation with Grandma Durham

Gma: So what did you have for lunch?
Me: Great Harvest
Gma: I thought they just made bread.
Me: They make sandwiches too.
Gma: Do you know what you and all pretty young ladies should eat?
Me: What's that?
Gma: Cod liver oil
Me: Cod?
Gma: It makes you healthy and you'll live forever.
Me: Gross.
Gma: It is delicious. I have some that has mint and it is wonderful.
Me: Mint flavored cod?

Gma: Do you like sushi?
Me: I love sushi. In fact, I had sushi for dinner last night.
Gma: Did you buy it at Costco?
Me: No, I went to a sushi restaurant.
Gma: Costco has good sushi. What was in your sushi?
Me: We had some with tempura shrimp, avocado, eel...
Gma: Eel?
Me: Yes. Eel.
Gma: Ew...I could never eat eel.
Me: You'll eat mint flavored cod but you won't try eel?

Gma: So I heard you were teaching piano students.
Me: Yes, I'm teaching my mom's while she's away.
Gma: I didn't think you were qualified to teach piano lessons.
Me: Really.
Gma: I've heard you play a little at my house but that's it.
Me: I'm actually a pretty good pianist.
Gma: Well do you know who gets my piano when I die?
Me: Carter.
Gma: Don't you think that's the right decision?
Me: You can do whatever you want with your piano Grandma.

Gma: How is your Dad?
Me: I haven't talked to him in awhile.
Gma: Well Suzi talked to him yesterday.
Me: Then Suzi probably knows how he is.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Spending Trends

I really thought this recession would cause me to take a recess from spending, but it seems to have the adverse effect. Well...kind of. I'm spending more money than I've ever spent before, but what I'm spending it on has changed.

I'm not eating out as much; I'm not buying as many clothes --haven't gone to a lot of movies lately (that probably has more to do with the choices at the box office).

What I am buying is stuff I should have bought a long time ago. For example: tires for my car, new eyeglasses, a crown for my molar. I'm thinking of buying some stuff I've wanted for awhile: Microsoft Office for my Mac, a digital SLR, season tickets to the symphony and ballet. Also, it's time I frame the prints I bought a couple years ago and I keep forgetting I owe the government about $125.

These inclement economic times have also changed my behavior as a consumer. I'm doing things I've never done before. For example, for the first time in my life I have food storage. I have a bunch of food and water on a shelf downstairs in the basement and I'm still adding to it. When I see food on sale, I buy extra and take it downstairs for storage. Good for me, I say. I'm finally following that counsel from my church.

I've always been a comparison shopper and a coupon clipper so that's not new.

Here's something new: On Wednesday I returned my milk to the grocery store. Sure I've returned clothes that didn't fit or electronics that didn't work, but usually if food is bad, I just take it as a loss and toss it. But no, I buy organic milk -- it's $4 for half a gallon (actually only $2.25 with my coupon). The expiration date was freaking May 22 and my milk was SOUR. It was the most disgusting bite of cereal I've ever tasted and, as a result, I wasted a whole bowl of Grape Nut Flakes. That cereal is hard to find. And then I started to put two and two together and realized why my soup tasted funny the night before. Of course, I soured it with my milk. It didn't look clear and chunky as I was pouring it in the pot but that's how it looked in my cereal bowl that morning.

I promptly drove to Smith's Marketplace and traded it for another half gallon. I even requested milk from a different shipment (in case the whole case was rancid). No one gets away with selling me bad, organic, should-be-good-for-another-month milk these days.

I'm also a smarter, more detail-oriented shopper that works harder for what she wants. Last night I went to Burlington Coat Factory because I needed a light weight rain coat to take with me to London next month. I found this really cute London Fog trench -- in my size. Price? $150 -- marked down from $318. I knew London Fog was a nice brand, but c'mon. I wasn't going to spend $150 on a coat at Burlington Coat Factory. If I want a $150 coat I'll go to J. Crew. So I returned it to the rack and didn't look back.

I browsed around a little more. I found the exact same trench coat in an XL. For some reason I looked at the price: $49.99 marked down from $119. Hmmm...interesting. I wouldn't put it past a retail store that is trying to move merchandise to charge more for more popular sizes, but for the original prices to be that different? That makes no sense. So I had to investigate with a store manager. They put the wrong tag on the small.

Good thing I asked.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Evening at the Ballet

Friday night, Annie and I had the privilege of taking our nieces to "Swan Princess" at Kingsbury Hall performed by Children's Ballet Theatre (I danced with them when I was younger -- so did Annie. In fact, last year we discovered we were in the same production of Cinderella. I was a mouse).

Piper (almost 4) loves ballet and even knows how to do an arabesque and Chloe (6) just likes activities so I knew they'd have fun.

They were so good and sat (relatively) still throughout the 2 hr 15 min performance. We had great seats on the front row of the balcony. The Swan Princess was an adaptation of Swan Lake. The music initially scared Piper who plugged her ears throughout the entire overture. But once the dancers came out, she was able to adjust and enjoy it.

In the future, I'm going to be sure to read the program beforehand so I'm prepared to answer the constant questions that will inevitably be asked of me. I'm not a parent, but I assume you get to a point where you just start making stuff up. I reached that point after 5 minutes. Here are some of the questions and comments throughout the production:

"Where are the ballerinas?"

"This is scary."

"What are they doing?"

"Is she a swan too?"

"Is it over?" (Chloe asked this every time the audience clapped during the first half)

"Where are they now?"
Answer: They're having a birthday party.
Follow up question: "Are they going to eat birthday cake?"

"I don't like that dancing."

"I like that dancing."

"Is she older now?"
Answer: "Yes."
Follow up: "How old is she now?"
Answer: "A few years older."
Follow up: "How old?"

"What's the black girl doing in the back?" (she meant the black swan)

"Is she jealous of the white swan?"

"Where's the prince?"

"Is he a bad guy?"

"How many more swans are there?"

"Is it mission yet?" (intermission)

This is a picture of all three adorable little girls. As soon as Chloe found out Annie's niece was also six years old, she wanted to be her best friend for the evening.

At intermission we ate the chocolates Chloe and Piper kindly brought for me and then we walked up and down the stairs inside Kingsbury a couple times, got some water, did a couple twirls (Annie's idea) and then went back to our seats.

Annie, being the genius she is, looked through her program, explained the entire second half before it began and the girls sat quietly enthralled for the rest of the performance.