Friday, February 26, 2010


They say hell hath no fury like that of a woman scorned. I disagree. I don't think any simple person can hold a candle to hell.

In this day and age I am reminded constantly that there is no limit on what dark souled people will do. When I say dark people I am referring to people that are generally just evil. You know the type, don't you? Their lives are shrouded in darkness and they bring a raining cloud to almost every person they meet. Maybe they can put up a fake front for a while and fool a few people, but soon their dark light shines right through and they are revealed to be what they really are. They are dark. They are evil. They wish bad things on others. They try to drag others down to their level. They create stories to slander others. They are strangers to the truth if it doesn't serve them. And, in the end they are alone.

Why are they this way? Maybe they are so unhappy with their own lives that they become obsessed with causing trouble in others. Maybe they are pathological liars. Maybe they want what others have but don't want to work to get it. Maybe they scheme, plan, and plot to alter the lives of those around them for their own personal gain. Maybe it is easier for them to label others in a depreciatory or unsavory way to better themselves financially rather than work to earn or achieve. I guess it matters very little what they do. We all know the type.

I don't understand much of the time how these people do it. I guess I was blessed (cursed?) with a conscience. If I spent my time lying and fabricating damaging stories about people around me, I wouldn't be able to sleep at night. I don't think I would be okay battening from other people's misery. There is just no way. It seems too, that as I age I become less hateful. I become less begrudging with every passing day. I mean seriously, who has the energy to hate anyone anymore? Who has the energy to wish bad things on people at all? Maybe it is my daughter that makes me be more patient and forgiving of those around me? Maybe it is the realization that it is a lot of work to hate people? Am I just lazy? Maybe it is because I think sometimes I have done things that people could have hated me for, but they let it go and I am passing it on? I can't say.

Many people say karma can be a real bitch. Do I have some bad things coming? I don't know. When I spent a couple years drunk abusing my body and destroying my reputation I don't think I did much good to my own soul. I don't think I helped myself out too much. But, on the same token, I didn't bury myself in the destruction of others in a way that I deserve any just amount of bad karma. I think the implication that I could have been an instrument of damage or destruction of others is giving me way more credit than I deserve (READ: I just fix cars). I did try to make amends with people that I had remembered that I had wronged with great success. So, what gives?

One of these days the dark people from my past will no longer have the ability to attempt to cast a dark shadow over me. One of these days perhaps karma will bite them in their dark ass. One of these days maybe their own lives will hold enough meaning for them to concentrate on working on them and leave mine alone. One of these days perhaps they will decide that they could get on with their own life and let me get on with mine.

Until then I can always take comfort in knowing that I don't hate them. Despite it all, I still wish them no ill will. I know that things can be beyond my control and I accept that. I can continue to know that no matter what threats are made, what lies are told, and whatever actions they can muster that I did nothing to deserve this from them. I know that although their wicked intentions concern me from time to time, that they can never put out the fire in me. I know that I will not treat them in the same way they have treated me. I know there is no such thing as revenge because their actions are beneath me. Their actions are desperate. Their actions have little meaning.

That is freedom.

I am truly blessed with the people that are in my life now. Thank God for you all.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

My lovely vacation...

I took a vacation with my girlfriend this past week. Her and I went to beautiful Scottsdale Arizona for a few days to warm up. It was a terrific trip and her and I had a really nice time. The weather was beautiful. The people were friendly. It was very inexpensive. It was the best adult vacation I have ever had. In light of all of these positive things, I have a couple observations.

1. Just because my girlfriend and I have been seeing each other for more than nine months does NOT mean that any time we go away together for more than an afternoon that we are getting married. I certainly don't mean any disrespect to her in saying this because I do think she is the greatest and I care for her very deeply. For now though, I think we will continue to date until she decides to dump me (which is usually right after I write a blog). It isn't that we don't respect the institution of marriage, but really that both of us think the other is "the bomb" and know the other of us isn't going anywhere so we aren't in a mad dash to sign a piece of paper that won't change how we feel. Who knows? Maybe someday (if we can go more than a few weeks without breaking up) maybe we will get married. Then again, maybe not. We just don't see any need to rush into things, okay? So, if Kate and I both wake up one of these mornings, smash ourselves in the head with a hammer a few dozen times, take 2 or 3 hand fulls of "Stupid" pills and decide that we need to get engaged or married, you will be the first to know. Until then, you need not bother asking. We haven't done it.

2. It is REALLY cheap to travel to the Phoenix area. I mean REALLY cheap. For my girl and I to go for four days, it cost about $310 per person. That includes round trip airfare and the hotel. When we checked into to hotel, they told us that they had overbooked, so they would give us a villa to stay in if that was alright. It was certainly "alright." It allowed us to grocery shop and prepare our own food, so our dining bill was chopped in half or less. It was sweet. The rental car was about another $370 for the four days. I thought this was a little high, but keeping in mind I bought the extra insurance so we had zero liability, it was pretty reasonable. Her and I put over 800 miles on our rental car. So, I think less than $.50 per mile was cheap to drive around in an almost new car. When we bought groceries, we shopped at "Fry's." When we were checking out, our grocery bill was about $46. With our Fry's discount card (the checkout lady hooked us up) we saved $16. So, to clarify, we spent about $30 on about half a cart of groceries. Back in Minnesota, we would have paid at least $65-75 dollars for the same food. All in all it was a very economical trip. Putting this in perspective, her and I spent less than $1000 between us on the whole trip. Before we went we tried to book a weekend at a northern Minnesota ski resort and it was $250 per person per day to stay there and have lift tickets. So, what would you pick? Sunny and 75 degrees for 4 days? Or, would you pick drive for 5 hours to have 10 degrees for 2 days?

3. If I ever complain about the economy here, remind me of how bad things are in Phoenix. Seriously. I saw signs for ghost towns as an attraction, but I saw the real ghost town and that was northern Scottsdale. Don't get me wrong, it isn't trashy, dirty, or run down. It was very nice. But, we drove for what seemed to be miles and miles through abandoned new housing developments. These developments had new homes built, but were all locked up and the streets were not paved yet. How long have they been sitting empty? Who knows? I know we saw scrub brush and tumbleweeds laying in the street, so my guess would be a couple years at least. As we drove around, I saw countless businesses closed. I remember at least 2 new strip malls with finished buildings, but no tenants and dirt parking lots. It was quiet. Please don't misunderstand me, though. I did think Scottsdale was charming, clean, and nice. I am not trying to run the area down by saying it is like a ghost town. I am just trying to illustrate how it seems much of the local economy there is moving at a snail's pace. It is sad because it is such a beautiful place.

4. The landscape in Arizona is very diverse. I had heard this before but until I saw it with my own eyes, I didn't really grasp the scale of it all. In the Phoenix area, most of the growth is Wile E. Coyote cactus. There are a few other small things that grow like prickly pears and a bush that looks like ironwood, but that is about it. If you drive north about 30 miles, just like flipping a switch, the landscape almost completely changes. The Wile E's are completely gone and have been replaced by a different cactus species that is thinner and looks almost frail. Here there are tumbleweeds and some other brushy growth. If you continue north, down one hill and up the next and then all of the sudden, it looks like a prairie plateau. Not much on this level other than a yellowish grass. There were a couple small trees, but that was about it. As you continue north, all of the sudden it is snow covered and trees that look like cedar or some sort of pine or spruce. The terrain is mountain rocks. Just like that. I am doing a poor job of describing it, but it is amazing that the landscaped completely changes inside a couple hour drive. It is beautiful. It's pretty cool.

5. Some day I want to drive the mother road. I have been enchanted by Route 66 for years and got to drive a stretch of it last winter near Barstow California. This year I got to drive a little more of it in Arizona. It was really cool. We traveled though Williams and Flagstaff areas. It was really cool. I had an old style malt at Twister's in Williams. I had a cheeseburger at the Downtown Diner in Flagstaff. Both places had great service, great food, and a intimate, timeless dining experience. I loved it. It is a laid back atmosphere that I think much of our rush-rush culture has forgotten about. I sat at Twister's and ate my malt without distractions from the modern world. It was a good thing. I hope to get to visit both places again in a few years when I plan to drive all of Route 66 in one of my old cars. I can hardly wait.

6. I like my job, but I don't think I will ever enjoy work as much as I like vacation. I missed sleeping in my own bed and I missed my daughter and my girlfriend's dog, but I didn't miss going to work. I didn't miss the cold weather of Minnesota although it has been fairly mild since we returned. I suppose if I was on vacation all the time that I might grow weary of that and start to lose appreciation for it. I think I could risk it. I think I could make it quite a while without working and still be content. I need to scare up a rich uncle or a distant relative that is the founder of Microsoft. Or, maybe some kin that owns a bunch of oil wells? Anyway, I could try not working for a while and see if it is something I can stand. I am willing to take that chance for science. Well, I am willing to take that chance for any reason I can think of. It doesn't even have to be a good reason.

So, if you are thinking of traveling somewhere please don't consider Phoenix. There is no sense in you going down there and waking up the locals to the treasure they have. It is nice, cheap and clean right now. No sense in messing it up, right?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Good enough?

One day at a time is what they say. I say it, too. I guess, I know all about this first hand. It was me in treatment a few years back. I know all about one day at a time. I know all about deciding what I am not going to do today. I don't know about tomorrow yet, but I know about today. I can live my life without plans. I can live my life without absolutes in my future.

Still, I wonder. What if today was your last "one day at a time?" Have you done enough? Have you said enough? Have you said enough of the right thing? Have you shared what was on your mind with your loved ones? Was this short, violent experience satisfactory enough for you? Are you able to live without seeing the rest of the world? Have you taken steps during your daily life to insure your satisfaction if it was all to end? Is any of it ever enough? Is our desire to do everything and have everything just another manifestation of our consumerism?

Everything is Amazing and Nobody is Happy

Claire (MySpace Australia) | MySpace Video

If we are to never plan for a life more than one day in advance, why do we not pack light? Is this the proper way to look at our world? Is it all about finding a balance between a future plan and a current living life?

Which of these truly enriched your life? Was it the destination? Or, was it the road you took to get there?

I hope for a long road. It doesn't always have to be free from debris, but a few smooth patches would be nice.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I need a new career...

Another year has passed! Thankfully, I didn't watch one second of the Super Bowl.

Something I think is a problem in the country is the glorification of professional athletes. Don't get me wrong, many of them have extraordinary talent in their game. A few of them have talent at more than one game. But, are they larger than life? Nope. Do they deserve to be almost millionaires overnight? I don't think so.

In these dark economic times, do these players really earn the money they get paid? Seriously. Here is some quick info. It is a little dated, but still good. It is from Wikianswers. This one is for the National Football League.

The minimum salary structure for 2007 is as follows:

•Rookies and first-year players $285,000
•Second-year players $360,000
•Third-year $435,000
•Fourth-year $510,000
•Fifth- through seventh-year $595,000
•Eighth- through tenth-year $720,000
•Eleventh-year and longer $820,000

So, using this scale, if you can be active professionally for 4 years, you will have earned $1,590,000. To put this is scale, a normal person would make $53,000 a year for 30 years to equal this. Divide this amount into 25 years, and a normal person could make $63,600 average. This amount would be $79,500 per year average for a 20 year normal person career. This is MINIMUM pay.

What is the minimum to play baseball professionally? The minimum salary for the 2008 season is $390,000. This is from How much is this in a four year career? It is $1,560,000. This number into 30 years is $52,000. Into 25 years is $62,400. Divide this number into a 20 year career for a normal person and it is $78,000. Again, this is for a four year career.

What about the National Basketball Association? According to, it is $427,163 as a rookie. This is minimum. How much to do it for four years? That would be $1,708,652. In an ordinary person's life, that is 30 years at $56,955. It is 25 years at $63,346. It divides into 20 years at $85,433 per year.

So, what dollar amount do you put on being entertained? Is there really ANYONE worth this kind of money to "work" at playing a game for nine months a year? I'm sorry. Jerry Maguire should change his focus. I think he should be thinking of communities and families when he is trying to "show me the money." I think if the sanctioning groups lowered the rate of pay to something reasonable, these players would probably throw a fit, but they would still play. If they decided not to, the purity of the sport would be increased by players that love the game and love to play instead of getting a real job. It seems since the money has gotten so long to these players, for the most part they are more worried about senseless grandstanding and getting on television (name recognition for increased pay) then they are about playing the game and winning. I know there are exceptions to this, but they are few and far between.

Maybe if their pay got cut and they want to whine about it, they could go out a get a real job. Maybe they could punch a clock and work on an assembly line for a few years to learn to respect the value of a dollar. Maybe they could run a loader or a road grader. Maybe they could be a server that works for minimum wage and tips. Maybe they could drive a gravel truck without air conditioning for a few summers. Maybe they could milk cows, bale hay, or raise soybeans or corn. Maybe they could work a complaint department in a retail store. Who knows? Maybe they could be useful to the rest of society with their vocation. Why aren't there jerseys for the guy that picks up my garbage? Why isn't there high pay for the people that work next door to me and bust their asses building cabinets all day? There are so many people in this country that work really hard, but don't get their face on a trading card.

Another thing that pisses me off is the fact that the people that buy the tickets to watch the professional games pay have to pay $100 per seat. These good people pay $100 for a matching jersey. These people work a half of a week to be able to afford to go to a game. The working people in this country are the ones that pay the way for all of these professional players' lives. We get to work, and they get a Hummer. We get to work, and they get gold teeth.

As a state, instead of building stadiums, we could be taking care of our own. We could be reinvesting in our own communities instead of paying the way for more glorified athletes with more huge salaries to play games to entertain us. Our country could put this money to MUCH better use.

I think I am in for a career change. I want to play professional basketball, football, and baseball all in the same year. Then, I could retire. Sick, right?

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Un-me.

An exercise in sarcasm.

I will go along with whatever you say because I am sure you are right. I am sure you have my best interest in mind. I am sure whatever you are thinking is what's best for me.

I trust you. I have many reasons not to trust you, but I do anyway. I mean, I think I like you and I trust me. So, if I trust me, I guess I trust you, too.

I won't question anything you say. I think you have a good handle on the world. I am sure anything you say you have researched before you said it. I don't spend much time researching things. I think that if you think something is right, I do too.

I think you should have almost every dollar I earn. I hope to pay this money in as a tax, but if I can't, maybe I can pay it as a penalty or something else along those lines.

I love working six days a week and I would love to donate what I have to help strangers before I bother helping myself or my family.

I think it is fair for me to work six days and week and be on call seven days a week when you aren't working at all. I know you aren't looking for a job, but maybe something you like will come along. Until then, I will help by working extra.

I love working with the general public. The ones I don't like are the few people that aren't very challenging because they pay their bills on time and aren't constantly trying to cheapen up their repairs.

I would love to pay more property tax. The $30,000.00 a year I pay now on my work building and the $3500.00 I pay for my house may seem like a lot, but I just hope it is enough to help in this dark economic time.

I prefer it if you can diagnose your own problem with your car and attempt to fix it yourself. I don't mind trying to correct your mistakes. It is a good learnig process for you and me.

I enjoy diagnosing the problems with your car so you can fix them yourself. My shop operates solely on good will and a dream so I have no need for pesky money burdening me.

I enjoy it when you talk down to me and swear at me. I know I am beneath you and I don't deserve your respect. I think when you insult me and use profanity that I know my place in this world and I know how serious my offense is. Please, talk me down to make yourself feel better. You have earned it.

It's okay if you steal from me. I think since you are taking merchandise from me, that you must need it more than I do. I am sorry I have been so blind to your needs. Take as much as you want.

I am glad you expect me to drop whatever I am doing to help you with your needs. I know there are other people in line in front of you, but I also know that your needs are much more important than theirs. Thanks for pointing this out to me.

I appreciate you coming in and interupting my lunch. Let's not kid ourselves, I really wasn't enjoying it that much anyway. Besides, what is better for me? Serving your needs or giving my body nourishment?

I am sorry the car washing machine is so stupid that it doesn't understand how you want to operate it. I know your method of attempted operation is much more throughly engineered and leaves no room for error. I am sorry the machine can't fathom your brilliance.

Please throw all of your garbage in the parking lot of my business. I thank you for the help in keeping myself fit by picking up all of your garbage. I know you have much more important things to do than blow your time walking all the way to the garbage can.

It is exciting for me to put up a new mailbox at least 3 times a year. It adds excitement to getting the mail if I never know if the box will still be there. Or, maybe it will be knocked down. Or maybe crushed. It makes my pulse race. Keep up the good work.

I love it when you call me with your problems. I know that food for me and my family is much less important than the dental work for your dog, the two kids you have had since you were supposed to have paid me, and your family's Christmas. I am sorry that I am so short sighted about your needs.

I would rather you trash talk me rather than just talk to me to my face. I respect your means of communication since if one person can get a point across, I think fifteen people can drive that point home.

You make great decisions when you are drinking. You look so cool to me when you are drunk. You are very glamorous and you are the life of the party. Keep up the good work.

I trust our government. They got elected by a popular vote, so what they say is good with me. They know what is best for me.

I would love to have somebody tell me what to think. It is a burden to try to think for myself and each time I do, I find that it can interfere with my obedience to others. I would like to try to avoid thinking for myself in the future.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

My boring Thursday night.

I got home form work today and I was relieved. I have been having a somewhat stressful, somewhat tiring, and certainly long seeming week. I was ready to "unplug" for a little while. It has felt like a week of continuous action.

Last night I thought I would test my cooking prowess and make a big supper for Sydney and I to eat after church. We go to church almost every Wednesday since neither of us like crowds of people and I like to sleep in on Sunday morning. Also, church on Wednesday night lasts about 45 minutes and church on Sunday last about 65 minutes, so it is a streamlined pastoral effort. It is a good thing.

Since I have worked or just been busy each night this week between church and cooking last night, grocery shopping/haircut on Tuesday night and snow plowing Monday night, I was ready to sit in my chair and relax a little. It was Syd's night to cook and we had frozen pizza (she went all out). I had a plate of food, and RC Cola, a blanket, and I was firming pressed into my chair. I was ready. It was a go.

Syd and I had a disagreement over what we should do. She wanted to play games, but I didn't. I wanted to watch a movie, and she didn't. Since I am bigger than her and it is my television, we decided to watch a movie. Good choice.

I was thinking of what movie I would like to see and I asked her to pick one out, too. She couldn't decide. I was digging around and came across "Forrest Gump." I looked at the back. It is "PG-13." I remember there are some sex/drug use scenes, but if it is "PG-13" how bad can it be? I haven't seen the whole thing for a while, so I thought it would be a good choice. I have started watching it about 3 times in the past month or so, but I've fallen asleep within the first few minutes of it playing.

It was a good idea to watch this movie. What an emotional roller coaster it is. My normally stone faced 12 year old was a little misty eyed a couple times as was I. She was celebrating the little victories that our hero had, and so was I. She really seemed to like it. I asked her if she like the movie and she thought it was "okay." I suppose she would hate to be too descriptive about her enjoyment, as usual.

While I watched this movie tonight, I was reminded of how precious our lives are. I was reminded of how the most simple actions by one person can change the world for another person. I was reminded of how although sometimes it is harsh, unsatisfying, cruel, and painful, love still beats all. I was reminded about the importance of the people you hold dear in your lives. I was reminded of the beauty of simply living.

As of late my almost total lack of tolerance for others has been on my mind steadily. I used to not be this way, but as time passes, I seem to be becoming less and less tolerant. There are great lessons to be learned in acceptance of your own situation and patience with other people in "Forrest Gump." Maybe I can learn them.

Maybe I can learn from Forrest's example. Maybe I can get on with my life. Perhaps I need to spend more time on the relationships in my life and less time worrying about the outside world. There are many, many lessons in this film.

One thing is for sure, though. This is my box of chocolates, and I still don't know what I am going to get. Maybe with an extension of patience and a dash or two of love, I can get something really special. Until then, I think I will just try to keeping running.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Think for yourself. Please. Think.

This is just an addition to my January 27 blog, but I think it warrants a new post since it is getting so much media coverage.

Here is one article:;_ylt=Aobq4MjIbP.vMAeDnAqO4yhv24cA;_ylu=X3oDMTM1NXFzbjJrBGFzc2V0A3RpbWUvMjAxMDAyMDMvMDg1OTkxOTU4Mzc5MDAEY2NvZGUDbW9zdHBvcHVsYXIEY3BvcwMzBHBvcwMzBHNlYwN5bl90b3Bfc3RvcmllcwRzbGsDd2hpY2hhdXRvbWFr

Please see also:

And also:


and I quote:

"U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told The Associated Press Tuesday that federal officials had to alert Toyota to the seriousness of the safety issues that eventually led to the recalls.

"They should have taken it seriously from the very beginning when we first started discussing it with them," he said. "Maybe they were a little safety deaf."

LaHood also said the U.S. government was considering civil penalties for Toyota for having dragged its feet on safety concerns."

Did Toyota drag their feet? Or, did the Obama administration not really seem to care about any of this until GM and Dodge continued to lose market share? Did this ONLY become an important issue since the loss of the Democrat held U.S. Senate seat now held by Scott Brown? Is this only a big media issue because of the elections this fall? Is this an attempt at a forced "success" by the Obama administration in light of public distrust and disapproval of their failed politics? Is this another attempt at finger-pointing and blame-placing that the Obama administration is known for?

We will indeed see how much Americans are a slave to the popular media. These cars are NO less safe then they were yesterday. They are NO less safe than they were last week. They are NO less safe than they were last year. These affected cars manufactured by Toyota are no less likely today to have any issues than they EVER were. This is an exercise in FEAR by the Obama administration. This is an obvious direct shot at Toyota to benefit General Motors and attempt to restore public opinion of the Obama administration's unpopular auto industry bailouts.


I am all for safe cars, don't get me wrong. I think if there are situations involving these cars, they should be taken care of. The timing of these big media hit stories is just all too convenient.

Sorry LaHood, I am not buying it. Sorry Obama administration, I think you were all well aware of these problems last year and the year before, but they only came to light after another quarter of declining sales for "Government Motors" [GM].

I didn't spend much time researching past factual data. I would be VERY curious to learn how many problems would have to be evident with a General Motors car or a Dodge car before there would be this big ripple in the media. This attack on Toyota is unprecedented. It would not happen to a "U.S." manufacturer.

Updated 12:33PM on 2/3/2010. In all fairness, Ray LaHood printed an apology for his "misspoken" statement to Toyota owners a few hours after he said it. Again we see it is WAY easier in this country to apologize than it is to just say or do the right thing to begin with. The Obama administration has been chocked full of apologies lately it would seem [Toyota, Vegas, Scott Brown, Harry Reid]. Do you suppose Americans are getting tired of all the bullshit?

As a side note, I don't drive a Toyota. In fact, I would more than likely never buy one even if given the chance. It isn't that I think they are bad because the one I owned in past I was very happy with. I WOULD buy a Toyota over a Chrysler, Dodge, GM, Chevy or Cadillac though, since Toyota is not operating on a daily basis using our tax money. I only feel strongly about this topic on the principal of it all. It is ridiculous.

P.S. Here is how much trouble can be had with a GM product without ANY government action:,2933,584781,00.html

This is 1100+ compliants and NO action.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A list of complications...

Why does everything always seem to need to be so complicated? It doesn't matter if it is something as simple as buying groceries, it is still a complicated task. Everything is difficult. Well, everything can be difficult.

If you are headed to the grocery store, how do you prepare? Do you clip coupons? Do you make a list [and check it twice]? Do you have certain days when you go? Are there better deals on food certain days of the week? Do you buy only sale items? Do you buy huge quantity? There are so many questions for what should be a simple task. I mean seriously, we are just buying some food, right?

Since I am a typical man, I don't make a grocery list. I have made a lists in the past, but I usually forget them at home. So, I usually try to "wing it." I have pretty decent success in "winging it" until I get home and remember the identity of the item that spurned the trip. Later, when I get home, my list is right there on the counter waiting for me almost giving me a look like "I thought I got to go along, too." Messed up, I know.

How do you decide what to buy? Do you buy regional items? I always seem to want to support my local people as much as I can and I do so even when buying groceries. If I buy sliced ham, I buy "Sportsman's Ham" because it is delicious and it is packed in Saint Michael, MN [If I remember right]. If I buy other canned goods or meats, I always try to buy a local vendor's brand. I think it is a good thing for our local economy. If I am buying the item anyway, I MUCH prefer to give my money to a fellow Minnesotan. I bought chicken drummies from Walmart a couple years ago [before I was SURE that Walmart is the most evil company in the world and probably a spawn from Satan, now I will not shop there NO MATTER WHAT]. The chicken drummies I bought were from Ecuador. Seriously. They certainly weren't very local unless Ecuador is a city in Minnesota. And, to top it off, they weren't really much cheaper than the drummies I normally bought. I saved like $.04 per pound. After buying them, I was a little creeped out. I wondered how often the people of Ecuador washed their hands when butchering. I wondered if anyone ever asked. I wondered how an employee of the FDA could visually look at a chicken and be able to tell if the person butchering had poop under their fingernails. Gross. Also, I thought that I probably directly hurt the local economy by buying them, so I was riddled with guilt. I couldn't enjoy eating them because first I knew somebody local lost their job or couldn't take a vacation because of my purchase. Secondly, I didn't think that anything I could put on the chicken to wash off or kill the invisible poop was very healthy for me to eat. I was hosed either way.

For some reason, I can't seem to get myself to clip coupons. Why don't the store just automatically give you the money off? Instead, they give you tasks. Find a paper with our ad. Find a scissors. Clip out our ad. Bring it with you. Go to this store between these hours on these days. Buy this item in this size only. Then, you can save $.40! Ta da! [Limit one per customer.] So, I always figure that I am outsmarting them by not clipping coupons because I am sorry, my time is worth more than $.40. Then, I get to the store and find that the bag of potatoes that I want is $5.99 normally, but "This week ONLY" is $.79 with coupon. Suffering nuts! Does this really need to be so complicated?

I hate that the local grocery store seems to have sales that are very dependent on timing. I must be a magnet for this because I notice this all the time. I either see about the huge money saving sale in the store ad, but then get there and realize that it ended yesterday. Or, it starts tomorrow. It seems to be almost every time I have zero success. I wonder if the sale truly starts tomorrow if the items "on sale" are different from today until then? Do they magically restock the items in the middle of the night? I don't think so. Nope. I think the sale items are the ones that are currently on the shelf, but they can be bought at a reduced rate. But, for somebody else. Not me.

I am a sucker for a volume buy. It always seems like a good idea when I am at the store, but it not such a good idea when I get home. If a person is buying toilet paper, for instance, it is pretty much a situation where you can buy as much as they will let you and you are guaranteed usefulness out of all of it. If a person is buying something like ketchup on sale, this situation becomes a little more touch and go, but still fairly safe if you use ketchup regularly. If you are buying potatoes in the bag, on the other hand, it is maybe a poor idea to grab a few extra bags even if they are on sale. So, when I am carrying my 5 bags of potatoes to the car, it dawns on me that perhaps I didn't think this through very well. I know there are solutions, like to shred them and freeze them, but I never thought of that until they were beginning to stink. Lesson learned. I hope.

Do you buy generic items? Do you stick to brand names? Do you buy "Miracle Whip" or "Spinblend?" Do you buy "Heinz" ketchup or generic ketchup? Is there really a difference? I think there is a HUGE difference in barbeque sauces, but I can barely taste the difference in ketchup. I can tell the difference between "Cap'n Crunch" and the Malt-O-Meal generic bag cereal, but I think they are both good. The concept of generic versus name brand adds to my shopping confusion. For instance, I love baked beans. I buy "Bush's Baked Beans" because I think they taste great. I also love their new line of "Grillin' Beans." I wouldn't consider buying generic beans because the brand name ones are so good. On the other hand, I wouldn't consider buying brand name beans when buying black beans for cooking. I am using the "they are all the same" or "I am not paying for their advertising" theories and I could very well be wrong. But, I will likely never know.

When I get home from the store it is a truly special time. This time is the time when I remember what it was that I went shopping for in the first place. Whether it is toilet paper, laundry detergent, or deodorant it is something that I need. Not something frivolous like the ice cream I forgot to buy [that was on sale when I was at the grocery store with no coupon], but something that I needed badly enough to venture out and get. Something important. [sighs].

Each time I go grocery shopping I can pretty much figure that I just made plans for the following night. I suppose I can pick up some of that ice cream I was looking for assuming the sale didn't end today. Maybe a potato recipe. Maybe not. You get the idea.