Tag Archives: Top 10 list

10 Reasons Why I Am Grateful This Thanksgiving

I live in the East Fernando Valley. The rest of my family resides in various pockets of the Inland Empire – an hour away without traffic, and a slow multi-hour freeway crawl on a holiday like Thanksgiving. As Spock would say, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few,” so most holidays I’m the one checking Sigalert and making a pit stop at the In-N-Out drive thru to tide myself over before the big meal.

The last time I hosted Thanksgiving dinner at my home was in 1993. This was pre-kids, and my ex-husband and I prepared a turkey dinner for my mom, siblings, nieces and nephews at the home we rented in Toluca Lake.

Notice that I say: “prepared.”

Sometime mid-morning our oven broke and we finished cooking the turkey in the microwave. The ceremonial slicing of the bird occurred around noon so we could divide it into pieces small enough to fit into the microwave. You didn’t have the option of white meat or dark meat. Instead, it was your choice of “dry as a bone” or “pink enough to cause e coli.”

Besides the long drive and the rising price of gas, the microwaved turkey dinner was probably a good reason for my family to take nearly two decades before allowing me to host another Thanksgiving dinner.

As I write this post, my family will be arriving here in just under an hour to give me another shot. And since my current husband will be doing all the cooking this year (another reason why I think this one’s a keeper), I’m taking a moment to reflect upon the 10 Reasons Why I Am Grateful This Thanksgiving:

1. I am grateful that I get to enjoy a long visit with my Family of Origin, but that they’ll all leave before I remember why I couldn’t wait to move out the second I turned 18.

2. I am grateful that I didn’t have to kill my own turkey.

3. I am grateful that I decided against being cheap enough to make a pumpkin pie out of our leftover Halloween jack-o-lanterns.

4. I am grateful that my family will be so hungry that they won’t notice that we do not own a dining table.

5. I am grateful that that most Americans and I share the belief that Thanksgiving calories don’t count.

6. I am grateful that I am not invited to any social engagements this coming weekend where I would need to try and hide the 5 lbs. I gained on this single day.

7. I am grateful that the turkey’s tryptophane will keep me from waking up early enough to partake in the Black Friday Sales that I can’t afford.

8. I am grateful that there will be a variety of vegetables, but I don’t have to eat any of them.

9. I am grateful that since I am destined to become a football widow today, I’ll have two dozen family members here to entertain me.

10. I am grateful that we had new sewage pipes installed this year, just in case any of my family members have become closet bulimics.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, and I hope that your hearts are overflowing with gratitude instead of bad cholesterol.

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Filed under Family, Holidays, Humor, Husband, Kids, Top 10 List

10 Exciting Things I Can Now Do After Being Featured on “Freshly Pressed”

Imagine opening up your email and instead of just the standard Groupons, spammers, and loads of subjects starting with “Re:” (even though you were sick of reading the original email the first time around), you – Joe Shmoe – see page after page of:

[Joe Shmoe] everybody likes you…

[Joe Shmoe] everybody wants to follow you…

[Joe Shmoe] everybody is commenting about you you YOU…

This exact thing happened to me last Friday. Well, the exact same thing except that instead of “Joe Shmoe” it was for my blog very VERY busy mom. And of course it didn’t actually say “everybody.” I just said that to provide myself a little ego boost.

But I kid you not. I was getting a new email practically every minute.

Apparently a post I wrote last month about obsessing over the high price of gas entitled “($ ÷ Gallon) x (Miles ÷ Gallon) = LA Gasoline Anxiety” was featured on WordPress.com’s Freshly Pressed, a Webpage that offers between 11 and 19 picks of the day chosen from their nearly half a million bloggers.

Typically I’ll get 80 to 160 hits when I post a new blog, and then it’ll dwindle down to about 20 to 50 hits until I post another new one the next week.

But after appearing on Freshly Pressed’s hit list, I had an astounding 1757 hits!

Let me repeat that: 1757 hits!

I don’t even know 1757 people. Even virtual people.

More readers visited in subsequent days. 1647 on Saturday. 1438 on Sunday. 1443 on Monday. By Tuesday it dropped down to just 442, which was still more than double my all-time record of 174 hits in one day.

I received 181 comments on that article alone, mostly from people reprimanding me for driving my pokey 5-year old son 1300 feet to school in the morning. I guess you can’t explain the humiliation of a tardy slip to people who want to save the planet from greenhouse gases.

I must have logged onto my blog a hundred times between Friday and Monday just to watch my hits graph move up. And to answer the obvious question… no, it wasn’t just me visiting my own site 1757, 1647, 1438, and 1443 times in four days. WordPress actually counts unique visitor per day. And if I am anything, I am certainly unique.

So, to celebrate my good fortune, I now present:

10 Exciting Things I Can Now Do After Being Featured on Freshly Pressed

1. I can wear a sash in the Valley Village 4th of July Parade that says “Miss Freshly Pressed.” Or maybe not, since I hate ironing.

2. I’ll have virtual conversations with well-known bloggers, and they still won’t know or care who the heck I am, but I have the opportunity to feel smug anyway.

3. I’m finally getting more regular comments from people besides my mom and my husband.

4. I get to experience what it’s like to have 5 minutes of fame without claiming to be impregnated by a pop star.

5. Because I now have more Twitter followers, I’d better start posting more newsworthy tweets than “Another Wednesday. Another Humpday.”

6. I now have readers in countries I not only have never heard of, I also can’t pronounce their names. (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya… anyone?)

7. My Klout score has risen to an impressive 46! I still don’t really know what a Klout score is, or if 46 really is impressive, but it sounds good, and most of my readers probably don’t know the difference.

8. I can brag that both Indians (Native Americans) and Indians (from Asia) read my blog, except at opposite times of the day.

9. I now know a lot of people in Europe who want to move to LA for the cheap gas.

10. I have to figure out who at Freshly Pressed I need to bribe to get featured again. This has been fun!

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Filed under Humor, Husband, Kids, Top 10 List

Top 10 List of Stores With Really Stupid Names

There’s an urban legend that Sav-On Drug Stores (now CVS) changed their name to Osco, then just as quickly changed it back to Sav-On when they realized that asco in Spanish (pronounced oskoh) means disgusting, nauseous and filthy. Snopes and Wikipedia claim that the rumor wasn’t true, but it’s a good place to start my:

Top 10 List of Stores With Really Stupid Names

1. Smart & Final: I agree it was smart to shop there before they started raising their prices a couple of years ago, but what do they mean by final? If that ten-pound bag of spuds turns out to by moldy before I get it home will they refuse to exchange it? What if I find rat turds in my Cocoa Pebbles or a booger in my relish? They’re really going to tell me to get a lawyer rather than refund my three bucks?

2. Quiznos: I can understand why Subway came up with its name since it sells subway AKA submarine sandwiches. Quiznos also sells submarine sandwiches but their name sounds like a failed SAT test. It’s not even Quizknows or Quizyes, which might be slightly more favorable, but it still has nothing to do with sandwiches. Maybe the quiz is trying to figure out how many fewer carbs you’ll have to burn by ordering their flat bread.

3. Ralphs: Supermarkets are often named after their founders and called by either their first name (Jon’s), last name (Vons, Albertsons, Smiths) or even both names (Fred Meyer). It seems logical that Ralphs was founded by someone named Ralph, but he really should have called his store by another name. Ralph is a slang term for throw up, or vomit, as in: I wandered around Ralph’s meat aisle and it made me want to ralph. Unless you’re bulimic, it’s really not the best name when shopping for food.

4. Starbucks: It’s now a household name, synonymous with coffee the way Kleenex is with bathroom tissue. They’re more ubiquitous than public restrooms, and in fact, Starbucks probably have the only public restrooms that people are actually welcome to use. The name breaks down to star and bucks, which is no surprise since every supermarket tabloid features a celebrity popping in there for a half cap or Frappuccino and paying about ten times more than if they had made it at home. By in there, I assume you know I mean Starbucks, and not the Starbucks restroom. There’s a whole different aisle of magazines for those celebrity photos.

5. Kmart: Mart is a place where people come together to buy and sell goods, but what’s going on with the K? Is it short for OK? If so, do you really want to shop at a store that is just ok? If they wanted to keep it short, I could see AAA Mart, but that might be mistaken for either AAA insurance, or one A more drunk than Alcoholics Anonymous. The founder’s name probably started with the letter K, just as the founder of Walmart’s name probably starts with Walking Away From American Manufacturing Jobs.

6. Robinsons-May: When I heard that May Company was merging with Robinson’s, it seemed like the obvious choice for the new name would be May Robinson. There might have even been some real May Robinsons out there who could have participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony. But instead, it became a backwards mouthful, like some formal roll call as in: Flynn, Cathy. It would be like Wienerschnitzel merging with Carl’s Jr. and calling itself Wienerschnitzel Carl instead of Carl Wienerschnitzel. The backwards name was short lived, and now replaced by Macy’s, which can be used as a first (Macy Gray) or last name (William H. Macy). A coincidence? I don’t think so.

7. Jack in the Box: What the flock does this antiquated toy have to do with fast food? You crank a handle on a small box while an annoying tune plays for about ten seconds, then out pops a wiggly clown. It gives small children nightmares and elderly adults a heart attack. Do the great minds at Jack in the Box Corporate realize that jack is another word for nothing? Do you really want to get stuck in that long drive thru line just to get jack (nothing) in your box? Don’t even get me started on the urban slang term for box.

8. Big Lots: This store, which is one step up from a swap meet, used to be called Pic ‘N’ Save (another ridiculous store name). The establishments are not big. If they were, they would be called Costco. I assume that they use the word lot as in a portion of something rather than lots as in a heap of stuff. Even with a valid entomological explanation, Big Lots still sounds like loads of large as translated by one of those scam emailers whose first language is definitely not English.

9. Forever 21: How many of you really want to be stuck on 21 for the rest of your lives? You’re finally able to get legally s#$tfaced and lose your paycheck on the roulette wheel. Are these your truly memorable moments? Frankly, whenever I go into Forever 21, the only customers I see are the tweens and their moms, and they’ve already been around that 21-year old block twice. It’s a little sad when you see those mothers getting a thing or two for themselves as well, wondering if they should instead use the money for that second face lift, another botox session, or to have a couple of ribs removed.

10. McDonald’s: As the most famous franchise until that expensive celebrity coffee took the world by storm, everyone knows your food is from the land of the Golden Arches as long as you tack Mc on the front (McNuggets, McMuffin, McRib, McFlurry). Yet it doesn’t seem to have much in common with the other famous McDonald, as in ee-i-ee-i-oh! – particularly since their fast food hardens the arteries so quickly there’s no way the farmer would ever reach old age by eating it. I know some of you will try to point out that the elderly agriculturalist spells his name MacDonald, but it all sounds the same if you’re singing it. When your kids are eagerly chanting “and a moo moo here” or a “cluck cluck there,” you can tell them that their Happy Meal gives them two treats for their mouth – an entertaining song, as well as a cheap, tasty and terribly unhealthy meal. Fortunately, there’s very little actual meat in McDonald’s food, so it’s almost like your tyke is eating vegetarian.

These are my top 10. Can you suggest any others? Or was my list so crass that you need to race for the nearest Osco because you’re feeling a little asco?

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Filed under Humor, Parenting, Top 10 List

10 Luxuries I Can Now Afford Since “Once Upon a Time” Got Picked Up for a Full Season

A couple of weeks ago, on the night of its premiere, I wrote the blog Please, Fairy Godmother… Please Make “Once Upon a Time” a Mega Hit!

I got my wish.

On Thursday, ABC announced that it was ordering a full season pick up of the new fairy tale drama, which means 9 additional episodes to their original order of 13.

Why do I care so much? As the dialogue editor for the show, that means 9 more paychecks. And if it truly is a mega hit, I may have 22 weeks of pay for years to come.

Since my last show Brothers & Sisters was cancelled last May, my mind has been going to some very dark places. Unemployment is only available for 26 weeks, and if I didn’t get another show, those dark places could quickly become a reality.

Foreclosure.

No medical insurance.

Food stamps.

Selling my kids into slavery.

But now I can count on some regular paychecks. Well, as long as I keep turning my show in on time and well edited. And also as long as the higher-ups on Once Upon a Time (basically everyone higher than I am) don’t get annoyed that a lacky like myself is incessantly chatting about their hit show on her mommy blog.

So now that I can count on a regular income (about as regular as you can get in the entertainment industry), here are the 10 Luxuries I Can Now Afford Since Once Upon a Time Got Picked Up for a Full Season:

  1. I can stop calling peanut butter the other white meat. We can finally add some lovely Spam to our dinner. Not every night. But some nights.
  2. Feed my dogs instead of eat my dogs. Their growling stomachs were really bugging me, and frankly, these mutts don’t have a lot of meat on their bones to nibble on.
  3. My 2012 wardrobe will not completely consist of my 10-year old’s rejected hand-me-downs from her classmate. I’m so glad Mary Belle’s friend is out of the High School Musical phase. I was feeling like one of those pathetic moms that dresses like her teenage daughter and truly believes it when people tell her they look like sisters.
  4. I can stop filling my Arrowhead water bottles from my neighbor’s hose. I dodged a bullet by never getting caught. Maybe I should make them a quiche to ease my guilty thieving conscience. A Spam quiche.
  5. I’ll donate blood for free. Platelets, however are too lucrative to give away.
  6. I can stop making my kids reuse their dental floss (no wonder they hate to floss).
  7. We won’t be living in a cardboard box on an off ramp. Actually my plan was to create a home out of cardboard boxes from IKEA. I figured that it would be easier to put together than their furniture.
  8. I can start buying my kids’ friends real birthday presents instead of just recycling the gifts they gave to my kids. It’s really embarrassing when I find out the hard way that there’s a personalized message in the book that was given.
  9. I can stop googling “earn money” “black market” and “kidney” together in advanced search mode. But shoot… I could have made a bundle of money. But my kidneys are getting a little old and tired. Too bad my daughter Emily’s got type 1 diabetes. They probably don’t want hers either.
  10. I can keep posting blogs on Sundays (those are the days that public libraries – and hence computers and the internet – are closed). Otherwise, it would take me about two days to text these ramblings via cell phone. Also, Verizon would have cut my service by then anyway for lack of payment.

Ok… so I’m exaggerating a little. But in my head, I really was living in a box on an off ramp, filtering leftover German Shepherd with my single kidney.

A girl can dream, can’t she?

Next – The 10 Luxuries I Can Afford When I Win Lotto.

#1 – Spam every day!

Episode #3 of Once Upon a Time airs tonight at 8:00 pm on ABC. Please watch.

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Filed under Anxiety, Career, Debt, Financial Insecurity, Humor, Parenting