Friday, December 31, 2010

Starting off 2011 with books

What I'm reading now:  Three Fates, Night Play, Songmaster and The Journals of Rupert Giles.  Please don't ask me why I'm reading four books at once, because I have not come up with any answer that even remotely makes sense to me.  Each book is in a different place in my home, and I read it only in that place.  I've given up figuring out why I'm doing it or why it's working.

Bzz - Dymo Labelmaker

I got my Bzzkit in the mail a week or so ago, and have already unpacked it and used it, of course.

I'll write a proper review of it after a few more uses, but first impressions?  It's a good weight and fits well in my hand.  The keyboard is difficult for this qwerty-trained girl to use.  It's worse than hunt and peck!  I don't like the little black stuff that comes off the label every time I print.  They couldn't come up with a better way to print a label?

The labels are a great size, and the font size is customizable, with multiple lines and everything!  I've already used it to organize my online listing items better.

Fine Print:  I'm a BzzAgent and I got this Dymo Label Maker for free from BzzAgent, to use and share my personal opinions about it.

The great world of Amazon and other online sales

I made much use of the eBay promo allowing me to list 100 items every month for nothing, only paying final value fees if something sold.  I did sell several items, but certainly nothing like I wanted to.

I "sold" several things on Listia, where the buyers only pay for shipping.

I found a new selling website called Bonanza, where I sold a group of things to one person, and have had no other activity on there as yet.

However, I started listing things on Amazon on a whim, and my stuff started rolling out the door!  I listed a couple DVDs, a couple CDs, a few books and a glut of tarot decks.  Other stuff has sold, and mostly, it's been the tarot decks flying off to new homes.  One item sold for over $100!  For a tarot deck! 

I just got on there tonight and listed a few books I found while I was unpacking a box.  Three are from the Piers Anthony Incarnations of Immortality series, which I read about 20 years ago, and loved a lot.  I've tried other Piers Anthony, most notably his Xanth series, and just couldn't get into them. 

Anyway, here are links to the three I have listed:

On a Pale Horse: Book One of Incarnations of Immortality
Bearing an Hourglass :Incarnations 2
For Love of Evil :Incarnations 6

All are First Editions and have never been read, if you know someone who collects First Editions or Piers Anthony.

Product Review - Tropicana Trop50

This is another product for which I had a coupon.  I like juice, and like to try new ones, and in particular I like to try blueberry and pomegranate juice blends.  I tried the Pomegranate Blueberry version. 

Even with the coupon, I did not get my money's worth here.  The label claims 50% less sugar and calories, so even though it's juice, I should have expected lesser taste.  It does, in fact, taste like a low-calorie not-really-juice drink. 

Most of the juice contained in this blend is from juice concentrate, if that makes any difference to you, and it's sweetened with Reb A (Pure Via brand), whatever the heck that is.

I did not enjoy this drink, and will not be buying it again, even with a coupon.  The only positive was getting a nicely-designed carafe-type container with a wide mouth, which I can use repeatedly for making better-tasting juice from frozen.

I got nothing from this except the questionable pleasure of drinking something other than tap water.

Product Review - Archer Farms Traditional Bean Dip

I bought this on a whim.  I had a coupon for buying Target's store brand chips and salsa together.  I like their Archer Farms Organic Blue Corn Tortilla chips, and figured surely I could find a dip of some kind to try, and use my coupon all at the same time.

First, this is not the texture of any traditional bean dip I have ever had.  It's sort of a thick, chunky salsa in a bean base.  It's thick with five different kinds of peppers, and the medium is still a bit too hot for my taste. 

This particular dip comes in a 16 oz glass jar, and lasts through at least three chip sessions.  I'm down to nothing but bits of chips and still have some dip left in the fridge. 

This was pretty good, and I'll probably still skip in next time, in favor of something with a texture more like bean dip, or whatever I'm craving at the time.

If you like a thick, chunky, pepper-heavy dip, and don't favor making your own, I'd recommend you try this one.

I got nothing in return for this review, except the pleasure of eating my chips and dip.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Paybox is a new way to pay and be paid online.

It's in the growth stages right now, and will be fully operational sometime this spring.

I've been looking for alternatives to Paypal for a while now, so that I can exchange money for simple things, while avoiding the exorbitant fees that Paypal charges Business or Premier members.

When Paybox goes fully operational, there may be some additional perks for those of us who were early adopters.

Currently, while it's building its framework of merchants and such, Paybox does not ask for more personal information than your name and address.

After three days of logging in, reading the blog and answering a few polls, my balance is nearly $80 - that's means they're paying us to work the bugs out of this before it goes live.

It can't hurt to check it out, and if you join through the link above, yes, I will get a small referral fee.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Update: Kashi GoLean Crisp Toasted Berry Crumble

The cereal itself has an odd taste, not quite sweet, and it was mixed with bits of cranberries and blueberries.  Much of my little sample was crushed into dust.

I liked what wasn't crushed enough that I used my $3 coupon to get a full-size box - originally $3.99.  So, for 99 cents, I got a full box of cereal that I can really taste.

As I mentioned in the first post, I eat cereal dry, as a snack, or mixed with yogurt, the way most people eat cereal with milk.  The full-size box has many unbroken pieces, with more clumps, about the size of a large marble.  It's nice and crunchy, with a not-quite-sufficient quantity of berry pieces mixed into the clumps.  It's definitely a healthy alternative, with less sugar than say, Honey Nut Cheerios or Honey Nut Chex, both of which I love to snack on, and neither of which have berries.  I do love dried cranberries and blueberries, and that may have something to do with how much I like this cereal - I might not like it as much with another berry, or no berries at all.

On the down side, there is some kind of grit on the cereal that makes eating it with my hands messy, and leaves little mementos of itself on my bed, if I snack in my room.  This grit is unpleasant enough that I have to wipe my hands with a baby wipe fairly frequently, as it doesn't just lick off.

For the taste, Kashi GoLean Crisp Toasted Berry Crumble is a good buy with a coupon.  I wouldn't pay $3.99 for a regular size box of cereal, even the ones I love, like Apple Jacks and Froot Loops.  Did I mention I'm kind of a cheap girl?  lol  Anyway, as long as I can find coupons, I'll be happy to eat this.  I'm not going to go out of my way to find it, nor am I going to buy it without a coupon (at least not at that price).  However, it's filling and would make a great base for a homemade roadtrip trail mix.

Anybody want a coupon?  I have four for $1 off.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Vocal Point: In the mail

On Thursday, I got a sample in the mail from VocalPoint.

This time, it was Kashi GoLean Crisp! cereal, Toasted Berry Crumble flavor.

I have tried other Kashi food items before, and they've been hit or miss on my taste buds.  This cereal has a good ratio of dried berries in it, giving it a bit of chewy in among the cereal.  It's not the best cereal I've ever had, but it was good enough that I used a coupon to get more, so I could get a better idea whether or not I liked it.

I am lactose intolerant, at least when it comes to milk, and I eat my cereal in dry handfuls, as a snack, or mixed with yogurt in a bowl, so there is nothing but the cereal I'm tasting, in general.

Bottom line, give it a try.  I've even got a couple of coupons, if you want one.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Product Recommendation - Dollar General toilet paper

I like coupons, and making my shopping as frugal as possible.  I recently had the opportunity to spend money (that could only be spent at Dollar General) for some staples.  I decided to try to the DG toilet paper.  It felt OK, and appeared to have the same texture as the Angel Soft and something else that was nearby.

There are some things about which I am particular, and will not compromise.  Toilet paper should stay between me and my bodily functions, and I am willing to pay a little extra for TP that actually does this.

Dollar General toilet paper is not only inexpensive, but also cheap.  It fails at the first sign of wetness, and when one has been butt-sick, as I have been for the last day, this is not only uncomfortable, but also really icky.  Yes, I know I can wash my hands.  I do, every time I use the restroom.  That is not the point.

I highly recommend purchasing some other, more substantial brand of toilet paper over DG in the yellow package. 

Two more items listed on Amazon

I got two new (in shrinkwrap) CDs listed on my Amazon marketplace.

On another note, but the same one, really, I had a fairly successful weekend of selling online, and have to mail a dozen packages this week.  Now, if I can just get that level of success mapped over to other areas of my life....

Monday, December 13, 2010

Not so mandatory meeting...

I was way too sick this morning to leave the bathroom, much less go to an employment meeting.  Ugh.  I think I've managed to go several hours without visiting the loo, so I can hope that it was just something I ate, and not the flu.  So want to avoid that.

Busy weekend

This weekend has been beyond busy, with lots of auctions ending, and putting stuff up on the new site.  I have twelve packages ready to go out, with six of them paid for.

I listed my truck up on craigslist, and have already gotten two responses to it.  It's only been an hour.  Sheesh.  I mean, good, because I want to get rid of it to have something more useful to me, but unexpected.

Tomorrow I have to go to an unemployment meeting, mandatory, at 9am.  I guess that's technically later today.  Ugh.  I hate mandatory meetings, much less first thing in the morning, when I haven't been able to get to sleep the night before. 

The cats all went to the shelter last week, and I miss them.  I wish that I'd had the money to keep them, but since they weren't even mine, I guess I just have to live with what is, rather than what I wish.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Today is going to be one of those days...

I've been struggling with this anthology I got at the library - I renewed it for a second time just before Thanksgiving.

Today, I finally got to a story that made the whole thing worthwhile.  It was a fantastic story, written from the point of view of a dog, and it made me cry.

Once I cried for that, I've just been a faucet.  A Train song made me cry.  A posting on eBay made me cry.

Oy, vey.

Product Recommendation - Target Up and Up

Target Up and Up trash bags do not stand up to normal wear, much less hold up to three flights of stairs down to the dumpster. 

I'd recommend them only for lightweight trash such as packaging or tampons, pads, wet diapers, Q-tips.  Paper is much too heavy, and ordinary trash from kitchen food prep is too much for them.  They don't make good take-laundry-to-the-laundrymat bags, particularly if you're hauling towels or jeans.

I picked up the yellow box, 100 count.  It was about as much as the Glad Flex less than half count, but those would have held up better to what I've done the last few weeks.

Friday, December 10, 2010

2010 accomplishments

Got everything I owned out of storage and into the garage of the house in which I was living.

Threw away, gave away, recycled and donated about three large U-Haul trucks' worth of "stuff." 

Yes, I was a packrat.  My "stuff" included 30 years of living on my own, my daughter's dead best friend's leftovers from five years ago (mom needed them out of the house after she died, and I don't blame her), my own dead mother's stuff from eight years ago (personal, professional and retail), my daughter's stuff, and my own personal addiction to candles, incense, magazines, rocks, office supplies in general and pens in particular, shoes and whatever else has struck my fancy.

As far as that packrattiness is concerned, I am in recovery, not cured.  There are still things I find it very difficult to let go.  Mostly though, I find that I don't even remember why I was holding onto things, as I unpack them and evaluate the usefulness of each item.  There are still far too many items which are "worth money, I can sell that."  Problem is, if the person to whom they really belong doesn't see them, they don't get sold, and I keep looking at them, or moving them around, or moving them to new places. 

Attended my only daughter's wedding without killing the man who was planning it.  Without input from us, I might add.  That alone ought to have earned me the Pulitzer Peace prize away from Obama.

Continued to look for work, whether at a job or from home.  No, I haven't applied at McDonald's or Wendy's, and I'm planning to continue avoiding those little jewels.  I know my physical limitations.  Usually.  I continue to get emails and letters turning me down, or explaining that I am not the best person for the job.

Got my first few denials for SS Disability, and an appearance before a judge, who also denied my claim.  That is an ongoing saga - I am looking for a new disability lawyer, because that firm "fired" me for failure to communicate.  My last letter from them came with a deadline that had passed five days before I received the letter.   And I'm the one failing to communicate.

Now, I am looking forward to 2011.  It must, by necessity, be a big year for me.  I will find a way to support myself financially.  I will find a way to have access to more-than-adequate medical care.  I will continue to sell or give away or throw away or donate stuff as I sort through the seemingly endless supply of boxes and bins.  I will resolve what legal issues are before me, and perhaps in a more positive way than I am expecting.  I will sell the car I now own, and find a mode of transportation that is more in keeping with my current practically nonexistent means and minimal needs.

I will love my kid and my grandkid (and yes, -sigh-, even my son-in-law, lol), and myself.  I will strive to be aware of the good in my life as it passes through, and continue to be incredibly thankful for it, whatever forms it takes.  If you perhaps need to point that out to me sometimes, feel free.

Amazing what some people will say...

At the end of 2009, I decided that I was going to start off 2010 strong, and change my life. 

One of the things I did was ask my sister if she would help me by paying for some sessions with her healer.  She agreed to do so, and it was to be between us, because mom would not understand.

So, a few weeks ago, during one of mom's usual rants, she asked me, "Didn't your sister's healer do some sessions for you?"  Yes, mom.  "Well, why didn't it work?"  Meaning, of course, that I am still as fucked up as ever, and the sessions were useless.   What a shocker.

The year has not gone according to my plan, but I've managed to avoid going to prison, or killing anyone, or sleeping with a 14-year-old of either gender.  So, yay for me.

Moving to this apartment, and having a roof over my head for the last few months is thanks to her, and I'm right out there saying it.  Based on her behavior and the way she talks to me, I'm not real sure why she bothered, because she flat out says it was wasted money.  I stole her retirement money, and prevented her from the remodeling she had planned for this fall. 

And people wonder why I prefer the family to whom I'm not blood-related.  It's because some of my "real" family sucks beyond the telling of it.

Recipe - of sorts

I like chocolate chip cookies.  I like oatmeal cookies (with cranberries).  I love oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.  Betty Crocker has a bag mix for Oatmeal Chocolate chip cookies, and on a whim I decided to add some frozen cranberries.  Mmm mmmm mmmmmmmm! 

The cranberries added a touch of tartness to the cookie, keeping it from being too sweet, and the frozen cranberries made the cookies a little moister. 

I did try it with fresh cranberries - not so good.  They are too juicy.

Product Recommendation - Target Up and Up

Target's new Up and Up brand of products are hit and miss. 

I really like the unscented baby wipes - I keep wipes on hand for many non-baby purposes.  The superlarge refill package is a good deal, and comes with three individually wrapped packets. 

However, the individual resealable seals on the those packets do not hold up to repeated use.  Better to invest in a plastic tub for each location, then use the refills to keep them full.

Product Recommendation - Renuzit Super Odor Neutralizer spray

Renuzit Super Odor Neutralizer does NOT work as well as Febreze.  Febreze is more expensive, but worth the extra expense.

I'll be back

Yeah, OK.  It's not original, but it's true.  I took a vacation and then got busy, but tomorrow it's back to business.  Well, today, really.  But later today.