Sunday, May 31, 2009

One Of My Birdies Died Today

Every morning I get my video camera out and take a video of my birdies from a safe distance using the zoom on the camera. When I first noticed the nest I saw that there were four eggs. Then days later I noticed that there were three birds.

I've been documenting their life every day since I noticed they have hatched, now I realize that one of them has died. We found him lying on the ground beneath the nest. He must have been there for a little while because he already had mites crawling into his chest and his heart was exposed out of his chest.

I checked Alexa today and it shows I'm ranked 3,323,807. I guess like George and Weezy I'm movin' on up. Still it's slow progress. I picked up another couple of subscribers. It's interesting to watch this thing grow. If only I lived such a fabulous life that others would follow this site.

This morning was a busy day with grocery shopping, tending to the garden, and entering the end of the month sweeps. Darryl often says I'm listening to TV rather than watching it. That might be a little true. I watch but I'm also entering sweeps. Yesterday was a busy sweep day because it was an end of the month day. So while I "watched" Dallas, I entered content on ThriftyMaven and entered contests.

Then Darryl asked me, "Tiller got shot?" "Tiller?" I answered. Almost as soon as I asked the question I recognized the name. In the past he has been identified as one of the only doctors who perform late term abortions in the United States. Some media markets have labeled him as "Tiller the Baby Killer."

"Shot?" I asked. "Yeah he was shot. When did that happen?" He asked me. I had no clue. This was news to me. Darryl is one of the many people who is convinced I've already heard about a story on the news. In this case I had to claim I knew nothing about it.

The man who committed this in custody. His name is Scott Roeder and he was taken into custody some 170 miles away in a Kansas City suburb about three hours after the shooting.

In 1996, a 38-year-old man named Scott Roeder was charged in Topeka with criminal use of explosives for having bomb components in his car trunk and sentenced to 24 months of probation. However, his conviction was overturned on appeal the next year after a higher court said evidence against Roeder was seized by law enforcement officers during an illegal search of his car.

At the time, police said the FBI had identified Roeder as a member of the anti-government Freemen group, an organization that kept the FBI at bay in Jordan, Mont., for almost three months in 1995-96. Authorities on Sunday night would not immediately confirm if their suspect was the same man.

If one proclaims to be pro-life then one adheres to the belief that ALL LIFE is sacred. For me the Death Penalty has always been difficult for me. I said in an earlier post how difficult it is to reconcile a belief that all life is sacred and yet feel that it's OK to EVER execute someone. I remember the words that everyone is sacred in the good Lord's sight. Then sometimes someone commits a horrific crime like the rape and murder of a child and you rage and call for their death.

I do NOT equate Dr. Tiller in that category. I do not, have not, EVER wished for anything bad to happen to a doctor who performs abortions. I do not, have not, EVER support things like blowing up abortion clinics or killing doctors who perform abortions. I do NOT and have NEVER had the authority to condemn anyone to hell, although I have suggestion that my ex-husband go there on an extended stay.

I think the majority of people who are pro-life, like I am, do not feel that way at all. Two of my best friends had had abortions before I met them. When they told me it never colored the way I felt about them. It never stopped me from caring about them or seeing them for the wonderful caring mothers I knew them to be.

I think like a lot of people, I'd love to see a time when abortions were rare. As a rape victim, I know how it feels to be fearful that you might be pregnant by your attacker. For me I prayed and came to the conclusion that I would give such a baby up. Fortunately for me I did not become pregnant. I understand and the church even says that in cases when the mother's life is in danger a woman might choose abortion.

I do NOT understand how someone who proclaims to be PROLIFE can deign to take another's life. I hate the fact that some NUT can do something like this and now people like me will be painted with the broad brush of psycho, clinic bomber, anti-abortion wack-job. It got me just as angry because hours later they publicly identified the last doctor who performs late term abortions here in the United States. This is crazy. Why not draw a bull's eye on this other doctor to make the next nut's job easier?

George Tiller was killed the foyer of Reformation Lutheran Church while serving as an usher. His wife was in the choir. I hope he doesn't start spouting off that God told him to do this or that he was doing God's work.

Here are the posts I entered today:

Prize: Vado pocket-sized video camera in choice of pink or silver from Creative Labs (ARV $79.99).

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hello It's Me

DALLAS Pictures, Images and Photos

Let me start by reminding everyone that all I am not one of these cellphonegluedtoyourhead kind of gals. I grew up in the age of phones that hung on the wall which you dialed to get in touch with anyone. I often forget to turn my phone call on for days and if I do I might be just as likely to leave the darn thing on forgetting that it's still on.

This morning I checked my phone to see if anyone had called. When I turned my phone on there was a new voicemail message. Being a sweeper, my fingers are always crossed hoping that it is a message about a win.

Even better than a win, I received the following message, "Hello Mom. This is your FAVORITE son. You would think you would answer the phone when your favorite son is standing in the airport in Atlanta." As I told you, my boys often identify themselves with the phrase, "your favorite son." I get a big kick out of it. they sound a little a like so it sometimes takes me a few minutes to identify which son is calling.

Then I realized, it's MIKE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mike is on leave from Iraq for a couple of weeks. He called to let me know that he arrived safe and sound and that he was headed to Huntsville to see his girlfriend. I tried calling back but I got some guy on the phone that I didn't know. He wound up calling me later and I missed that call too because I was outside watering our vegetable garden and pulling some weeds.

This time I saw a different number and was able to speak with him. I'm so glad he's home and I can't wait to see him. I'd be lying if I didn't say I was a bit jealous that he rushed over to see his girl first but then I remember being young and crazy in love once so I guess I can forgive him.

Not much in the way of traffic for ThriftyMaven today. I had lots of stuff on there today. I also have a contest going on. We are giving away a poster. Yippeeee!!!!!! I get a free poster myself so we'll see how that goes.

Other than that Darryl and I watched Dallas Season 8 and then worked some more outside. I was still having some tummy trouble today but I finally felt better by the afternoon.

Yesterday Darryl and I used a coupon for buy one get one free at Ruby Tuesdays. I have always loved their salad bar. It is soooooo good. The problem was I couldn't eat my dinner after I ate so much of the salad bar. I took my lunch home and put it in the fridge for today. I ate it for lunch today.

Here are the blog contests I entered today:

Prize: $100 HP gift card.

Prize: JVC Everio GZ-MG 630 camcorder (ARV $429.95).

Prize: Casio Digital Camera (ARV $249.99).

Friday, May 29, 2009

Secrets Behind The Blog

Blog Pictures, Images and Photos

As someone very wisely told me, "You can't please everybody." I like to add that you could hand someone $100 and they might complain that you handed them a big bill and they would rather have five $20 bills.

Having my own blog, ThriftyMaven is a complete learning experience. When I first started the site I panicked because I had no users. I might get 20 viewers in a 24 hour period and most of that was spiders. I just wanted to give up. What in the heck was I doing anyway?

Then little by little more people began coming. By now you know that if If there are bright skies all around me I will focus on the dark cloud in the distance that might signify rain. I will focus on the cloud. Analyze the cloud. Think about the cloud and the significance of the cloud. Worse of all I will wonder what I could have done to cause the cloud to have appeared.

At first the people who signed up for my MavenMoments were probably doing it because you were able to secure an extra entry in a contest I was running. Oh those were the days when I was personally buying the things I gave away and paying for the shipping. I still kept saying, why in the HECK am I spending money on something I'm not earning money doing? Then there's the time spent factor where I worried about the time I spent making posts.

Today I received the following email. It wasn't just a hey unsubscribe me email it was a long detailed email:

Unsubscribe ASAP.

Why don't you provide a link to unsubscribe?

Why do I have to click through to your website to read today's content? What's the
point of offering a newsletter if you don't provide content?

Your newsletter looks like spam. You need to polish it's appearance and provide an
unsubscribe link if you want more subscribers.

Now it starts out with a good suggestion. You don't want to be a subscriber you should be able to unsubscribe. Darryl told me there is a link right on ThriftyMaven that allows you to unsubscribe. So really she didn't have to write me to unsubscribe she could have gone to the site and done exactly that. I will suggest to Darryl to do just exactly that, make it easier to unsubscribe. Now I'm not being cavalier abut it. When someone unsubscribes I feel really bad. Almost a personal thing. Not quite like losing a friend kind of thing, but more of a "Wow what did I do wrong? What can I do to keep you?" kind of thing.

She is obviously upset about the MavenMoment format. To be honest I had signed up for other blogger's email as part of a contest and stayed on their mailing list. Generally they send me a brief summary of the deals and a link taking you to the rest of the article. It's an effective way for me to decide if I even want to visit their site. If I'm interested I can just click a link to that article. Essentially another way to drive traffic to your site, or not. So I'm not certain what kind of content she wants in my emails.

As far as spammy, some of these newsletters email me EVERYDAY. I don't have to open them if I don't want to. I do NOT email people EVERYDAY. If there is a really good deal and it's day specific then yes I will send out a MAVENMOMENT. Some weeks it might be one email and some it might be three emails. I also hate SPAM and I'm trying very hard to balance between the fact that some people have signed up for something and expect to get something. Some people will feel it's way too much and some will wonder why they don't get more.

I was feeling pretty down after her email. I wrote a nice email back asking her for advice and providing her with a free music download from Starbucks and iTunes. I wondered if she would write me back. Then I checked back about ten minutes later to see if she wrote back and I noticed that two more people signed up for alerts. Who knew? Guess you win some you lose some.

When Darryl helped me set up ThriftyMaven, he wisely made it necessary for me to accept comments before they are posted. Thank God! You would be surprised what people will say.

Earlier this year a woman posted a two paragraph post about how unhappy she was with blog contests. How she thought it was crazy to require people to post comments in order to win and on and on she went. Now first of all I was giving away a pair of head phones that were valued at $12. I wasn't giving away a car, a cruise, or $10,000 in cash. It seems odd to get so emotionally invested in a pair of headphones.

Second, some people don't like bog contests. I get that. I don't like brussel sprouts so I don't serve them, don't make them, don't buy them, and essentially AVOID them. It seems odd to me that someone who doesn't like blog contests, AVOID them. Even now that OLS has clearly LABELED Blog contests, people go on a tear about how they hate these kind so contests, wonder why they are posted, rather than spending their time avoiding them and entering the kind of contests they do like.

Third, as I said this person wasted two paragraphs worth of rage, accusations, and name calling, and could have just as easily written one sentence and been entered in the contest. Does that make sense?

This is certainly is not the worse thing anyone tried to post on my site. For example some MORON tried to post to the FREE KFC Grilled chicken. The person made this racist post basically talking about blacks and fried chicken and that's about all I can mention here. Is someone's life so devoid of activities that they have to come to a coupon site and make comments like that?

Another memorable post was by a guy who's email actually contains the "F" word. He then goes on to make not one but two posts filled with curse words and wanting to know why I posted something about Free ice cream. Gosh who doesn't like ice cream? You don't like ice cream? Fine, move on to another post. What's the point of all the cursing? This same gentleman (?) decided to reply to a post I made about who is providing free breast cancer screenings. He went off about gays, how gay my post was, how all gays should die with AIDs. What's the matter Mommy and Daddy want you to get a job and move out of their basement? What is up with this NUT? I actually went and googled his email and discovered that he is a Marketing Major. Maybe he needs to spend more time hitting the books and less time posting this trash on the internet.

I receive some unusual posts. For example I've had two posts about free cell phones for low income people. Every week I receive one or more people provide me their address, information about their personal circumstances, and asking ME to send them a cell phone. Gee if you read either post you will see that I clearly provide you with link to the company that provides this service. I've had one person complain to me asking me why she would only receive one free hour per month on the cell phone and then told me how quickly that could be used up. Well not to be mean but no one is giving me a free cell phone or any free minutes.

The latest weird potential post was from a woman who has PhD behind her name. She write to me as Dear Oprah. She goes on to say how she would appreciate having the opportunity to be a part of Oprah's show and share good things that can impact the quality of lives. She wants me to know that she is still going in a positive direction in spite what has happen in her life. By the way she loves Oprah's show and would like the opportunity to be a part of the show and meet her again since the 1970’s. She also provides me all kinds of contact information. What post did she try to comment on you might ask? The free chicken at KFC article.

So in all has been a real lesson in human behavior.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

First Day Out of School

schools out Pictures, Images and Photos

Sorry I haven't been in touch lately,, but I won the lottery, bought a yacht, stocked it with champagne, caviar, and a dozen love slaves, and sailed around the world. Well not really.

Today was spent mostly working out in the garden with Darryl. It was a lot of work but maybe that will help me start exercising again. ranks 4,228,296!!!!

Here are the blog contests I entered today:

Prize: Exergen TemporalScanner 200C thermometer (ARV $49).

Prize: Gift certificates redeemable for six months worth of Edy’s Ice Cream (ARV $36).

Prizes (10): Coupon for a free 1.5 quart of Edy's slow churned ice cream.
Prizes (10): Coupon for a free carton of ice cream (ARV $7).

Monday, May 25, 2009

What's Your Fortune?

I love reading fortune cookie fortunes. Do you ever keep track of them to see if they come true. I'd like to share with you some of the fortunes I've received lately.

Success will be yours at home and in business in the next month.

Soon You will receive a letter from a loved one.

You will attend an unusual party and meet someone important.

This morning ThriftyMaven showed that I had 1,483 views over the past 24 hours. That emboldened me to contact two local organizations about doing a Staycation feature on them. I contacted a sponsor to see if they would be willing to sponsor a giveaway on my blog. I also contacted two companies to see if they would be willing to sponsor a special blog vacation segment. Fingers crossed that this works.

Here are the blog contests I entered today:

Prize: Sweetheart apron in aqua from Carolyn's Kitchen (ARV $42).

Prize: $50 Photofiddle gift certificate.

Prize: Six month supply of Edy’s and Dreyer’s ice cream.

Prize: Choice of Giant Fortune Cookie.

Prize: Busch Gardens/Sea World prize pack with plush animals, t-shirt, stickers, notebooks and more.

Prize: Woman’s World Snack Pack; includes bowl, Baked!, Flat Earth and Smart Food snacks, and two month subscription to NetFlix.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

What's Between The Dashes

posting soon

Still no official word about the Stove Top Stuffing sweepstakes. There is someting I want to say but can't say. I do know that this is the link for the WINNERS' LIST: For the names of the winners available after June 5, 2009, please visit

Here are the blog contests I entered:

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Saturday In The Garden

First on my list of things to do was to pick up my coffee grounds from Starbucks and my free beverage coupons. No problems today. They already had them waiting for me.

This morning Darryl and I finished planting the last of the plants. Unfortunately we still haven't planted all that we have. I still have a pack of watermellons and a pack of pumplins that have gone unopened.

We planted corn, beans, and tomatoes in the garden. Well mostly we transplanted them out of the containers that they were planted in. The weather was good for planting as there was a bit of a breeze and it was overcast as well.

I can't believe it by about 7:12 this evening I had over 1,234 visits to Even better 22 new people signed up for my site. What sparked all this interest? I'd like to say it was because so many people were interested in my huge list of Memorial Day activities. Instead I was looking at the referrer and I noticed that a radio station KLOVE had linked onto my site. As a matter of fact it was the link at the top of the page.

KLOVE is a Christian radio station online. They had linked to my post about free ice cream. Actually it's a rebate form for a free rebate. I gather they seem to have a lot of listeners. How's that for exciting?

Why is it when I finally have some time to really catch up I spend most of the day working on piddly things that can wait? For example I entered codes on MyCokeRewards, then set up and Office Live Workspace, and then I spent some time cruising the net. I could have, should have, entered sweeps but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Why did I do that?

PS, At 10 pm I checked ThriftyMaven for the last time today. The view count is now 1,461. I remember being excited that was the monthly count. I also got 23 more new subscribers.

Here are the blog contests I entered today:

Prize: $50 Fancy Fortune Cookies gift certificate.

Prize: $50 Fancy Fortune Cookies gift certificate.

Prizes (5): Mod Squad: Season 2 Volume 2 DVD.

Prizes (5): Gunsmoke: The Third Season Volume 2 DVD.

Prize: Hotel for Dogs DVD.

Prize: Black three-tray Worm Factory composting system (ARV $117).

Friday, May 22, 2009

It Is What It Is

Lately the phrase, "It is what it is" seems to be our principals favorite rejoinder. He finds an excuse to toss this phrase out at any meeting. Sometimes it comes off as a sympathetic shrug as in "Whatchagonnado?" Other times this phrase comes off as being almost calous and without feeling. It comes off sounding more like a "Let them eat cake" remark.

Deep breaths, deep breaths, hold, now slowly exhale. Ok perhaps now I have calmed down enough to share the latest benefits of being a teacher at RHS. I knew we were going to have a faculty meeting today and I was pretty sure it was going to be about cell phones.

Hey I'm there for that. Having lived over half my life with a rotary dial phone attached to a wall, I will be the first to admit I just don't get it. I don't get kids sleeping with their cell phones. I don't understand adults having personal conversations using their blue tooth while standing on line at the grocery store. It's totally over my head why anyone feels it is necessary to have their cell phone on during a movie in a theater let alone why they MUST take the call while sitting next to you during the most important part of the film.

Mr. J and I have spoken a number of times about how crazy it is to hear that teachers are actually talking on their cell phone during class. Mr. J had said to me a few times that if it was up to him teachers would get written up for such infractions. FINE. JUST FINE. It doesn't affect me whatsoever. No problem.

Then it was on to covering more classes. I figured I would cover more classes next year anyway. Let's see, they had to para-pros who subbed for teachers but they will be laid off. I will not be working extended day next year so the writing was already on the wall. I would be covering more classes. Dr. E spoke about how the fact that when he first came to our school he'd done everything he could to help the teachers feel better about coverage. For the first two years he was at our school he rewarded teachers with $10 Kroger gift cards. They were nice. I never received one because I worked extended day and never covered any classes.

They stopped the gift cards but you did receive a coupon and you could save them up to either miss PTSO meetings or you could leave school grounds during your planning period. I never received those until this year when I finally had a planning period. Next year I will get two planning periods because of what they plan to do do another program in the Vocational Department. So Ok! Alright already, I will be covering more classes. No problem. I will earn more coupons and that means I can use them if convenient.

I think what threw me was the next topic of the faculty meeting. Dr. E said that he tried to help the school spirit. He cracked a joke about how he can't make everyone happy. He smiled and mentioned how he couldn't even make his wife happy all the time. We laughed. I honestly thought He was going to say how much school spirit had improved since his arrival. For awhile, I was almost the only teacher who dressed up. Now more teachers than ever dress up.

Oh silly me, why would we get an "atta boy"? No we were told that we would institute a new way of improving school spirit. That's right!!!! We were going to increase school spirit and help teacher moral by REQUIRING teachers to attend ten mandatory events. Bear in mind this means attending an event for an hour and a half with pay.

For someone like me that used to be REQUIRED to attend the six PTSO meetings because I didn't have the ability to earn coupons this would a a big increase. Oh but the hits just keep coming. Not only will I have to attend these extra events after school but my pay will be going down because I will lose my extended day pay. We haven't even been told if the six PTSO meetings will be included or if they are in addition. Oh and we can't buy our way out of it.

As an added bonus to pit us against them, coaches will not have to attend ten events because their games count towards those events. School events held during school hours like FBLA would not count because we are already being paid for them. Yet coaches who receive money for being coaches will have their games counted. Oh and have I mentioned how many teachers live in Alabama or closer into Atlanta.

So essentially the fact that I participate in every pep rally does not promote school spirit but me attending a school play does. The fact that I help kids with their homework for other classes, that's not school spirit, but forcing me to attend sporting events, which I have no interest in will make kids feel more school spirit.

My honest perception is that someone at the School Board said, "Times are tough and people are going to want to know what they are getting their money's worth. If you get the teachers to show up we will be able to legitimately claim that they are working more hours without a raise. Where as other teachers in other schools have to show up at planning and not be paid for that but we will just work later in the evening. Translated to mean, I will be driving in the dark.

Deep breath. Ok I guess I should crawl on hot broken glass thanking them that I have a job. I can't help but recall one of my favorite movie lines of all times. It comes from the movie Animal House. In the movie the pledges are grabbing their ankles and being wacked with a huge paddle. With each wack they say, "Thank You Sir. Can I have another?" So I will smile. I will suck it up. With each wack I will say, "Thank you sir can I have another." Do you wonder why so many teachers leave the profession?

Practicing using my new Vado Camcorder these last few days. There is a bird nest behind a light fixure at our home. When you walk outside the mother flies away. I climb up on a chair and hold the camera over the nest at a distance.

The camcoder doesn't really let you focus it but it is easy to use and very light and easy to carry.

Monday, May 18, 2009

No News....Good News?

Vado Pocket Video Cam Pictures, Images and Photos

Some social networking sites are filled with unhappy people. I belong to such a site and although I seldom post there it’s interesting to watch as they tear each other apart and bemoan their current life situation. Everything that is wrong in their life is someone else’s fault and someone else’s responsibility to change. It’s almost a demented looking at the train wreck fascination for me. Which is not to say that I never learn anything by going on to that site. When the recipe contest was going on I asked for people to vote for me and some people did. Other people tore me a new one for asking and cast dispersions on me for even bothering to ask. Today I spent way too much of my time lurking and posting pleasantries. I’m certain my time could have been better spent.

Speaking of the recipe contest, today was the day they were supposed to decide upon a winner. I was afraid to check back on the site figuring it would be bad luck to do so. Finally I could wait no more. I went to the Blogher to see that the contest said only that the winners would be announced soon. I shrugged. I must have lost. It’s always easier to accept my loss when it’s an abstract. I haven’t seen it in black and white so that feeling of being punched in the stomach hasn’t registered yet.

Then right about 2 o’clock this afternoon the phone rang. Since my phone is locked in the closet I heard it ring and then I heard the noise that said someone left a message. I was hopeful. Perhaps they were calling me. Maybe they were letting me know I was the big winner. I could hardly wait for Fifth period to end so my planning period could start and I could check my phone. Then the phone rang again. Once again the sound of a message being left happened. I went from thinking it was the contest people to thinking it was the Starbucks people.

The bell rang and after the kids cleared the room I ran to get my phone. The number was local so I thought it was Starbucks. It was simply a wrong number that had rung too long causing two different messages of breathing and then a click.

I decided to call Starbucks since they didn’t call me. I spoke to the Manager Josh who was actually very nice and he will be leaving me a bunch of grounds on Saturday and some free beverage coupons. I was actually crying when I spoke to him because I was just so wound up from everything.

Tomorrow will be the last day I see many of my seniors until graduation day. I will miss many of them. I did my exams slightly different this year making them entirely performance based rather than using rote memorization. We’ll see how that works.

When I came home Darryl and I worked for a little while transferring our veggies from containers into the ground. I think we were both surprised how big some onions were while other onions were very small.

While we were working the UPS guy came. I told Darryl it was probably for him. It turned out I was only half right. One thing was for Darryl and the other was for me. It seems I finally one one of those pocket video cams I have been trying so hard to win. It's pink my favorite color. I'm so excited and i can hardly wait to use it. It holds up to 2 hours of video. It also claims to be easy to upload to Youtube and photobucket.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

It's Sunday So It's Grocery Day

Bird\'s nest Pictures, Images and Photos

As you know I am a creature of habit. Sunday mornings I wake up and post something on ThriftyMaven. Not long after I post there I enter the contests that will expire on Sunday. By then I'm starving for my weekly treat. Every week I head over to Starbucks on my way to Kroger. Kroger sells buy one get one free newspapers which mean that I get twice the coupons for the price of one paper. When I lived in Acworth the Starbucks people were much nicer and always got my order correct. The one here in Cartersville often screws up my order but it is the closest one to my house so I'm trying to wean myself off my green tea latte fix. I asked the young man behind the counter if I could get some coffee grounds for my garden and he said yes come back at noon. (more on that story later)

Once I'm home, tea and paper in hand, I go through the paper trying to match up the coupons with the sales brochures. Darryl feels he has to go with me when I go shopping. Personally I don't like it but I've learned to deal.

Today I thought I'd take some pictures of our bird's nest. A bird built a nest above one of our light fixtures. It seems a bird builds one behind that fixture every year. There are four eggs and Mom waits until she sees you head past the fixture on the way to the driveway before she takes off. I thought it would be interesting to document their life with occasional photos.

A cold front has come through so it is a little cold today and it has sprinkled a little throughout the day. This and the fact I have two big blisters on my hand kept us out of the garden today.

I'm not certain when they will announce the winner of the Stovetop Stuffing contest. I'm afraid to go on the Blogher site to find out when they will announce the winner. Afraid that it will jinx it if I go there. Sick to my stomach that my recipe did not win. The other day I threw the idea over in my head that I won the grand prize. That would be a $1,00 gift certificate and a trip to the Blogher conference. What an amazing opportunity. If I won I would see the Kraft kitchens. Then I get this sick feeling in my stomach. The dread that I already know the answer and the answer is I didn't win and had no chance to win in the first place.

So back to the Starbucks Drama. I went back at eleven right after grocery shopping and they had no coffee grounds. The guy behind the counter. The same one who promised me the grounds said, "No come back later." Well just when is later. I mean I came back one time now I have to come back again? He said, "Come back at 5 pm."

Darryl and I watched the last six episodes of Season Eight of Dallas. Then we were headed out to drop off the DVDs, pick up some soil conditioner for our garden, and of course pick up our coffee grounds.

Well visit number three to Starbucks was not the lucky one. I got there and they didn't have it. They didn't put it aside for me as they promised. I was so frustrated I told the girl that half the time they can't get their orders straight and now I've had to waste my gas for nothing. I didn't appreciate it. I got the card of the manager, Mr. Josh Small. I called and left a message for him. The person on the phone couldn't even seem to take the message correctly. Then I emailed their corporate headquarters.

Here are the blog contests I entered today:

Prizes (11): Tyson Heat ‘N Eat Dinner Meats product.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I Was Really Hoe-ing Today

hoe hoe hoe Pictures, Images and Photos

Made ya look. I woke up this morning threw up some content on ThriftyMaven. Then I tweeted about it, Kirtsied it, and also put it on Digg. After that I head outside to work on our little garden which is about to move from the containers and into the ground.

Darryl had run it over with a tiller the other day but there were still big clumps of grass. I worked on it with a hoe for about an hour. My hands hurt and I have some blisters. I still can't believe how excited I am about this whole little garden. What's wrong with me anyway? One might wonder why we are even bothering this late in the season but it seemed almost every weekend was filled with rain or too many things scheduled. I do have some things growing in empty cupcake containers, plastic bottles, and of course large flower pots.

It's all over but the waiting as far as the recipe contest goes. At this point I either made the top three or I didn't. I look around other people's sites and see that they ask people to vote for them on various other contests offering them extra entries in a contest. How many people wind up actually doing that I really have no clue. I guess that just causes me more aggravation and grief as I wonder if i should have tried doing something like that or if morally that is really a good thing do do.

Today is another bar for ThriftyMaven. I now have 400 registered users. I was pretty sad because there weren't that many people checking the site today. Right about 260 so far. However two people did sign up to be subscribers bringing me up to 400 new readers.

Blog Contests I entered today:

Prize: 100 Personalized Fortune Cookies in your choice of flavor (ARV $48).

Prize: RCA Small Wonder HC camcorder.

Prize: (5) Mac Microsoft Office 2008 Software (ARV $150)

Prize: Vera Wang Rock Princess, and $20 iTunes Gift Card (ARV $65).

Prizes (3): Strawberry Shortcake: Berry Big Journeys on DVD.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Contracts Are In

Contracts came today. When I walked into the faculty room the long sheaves of paper poked out of the teacher boxes like pale yellow jonquils in the red Georgia clay. I pulled mine from my box and stared at the Notary Stamp. It’s now official I will be back for yet another year.

Last year I was biting at the bit to leave so I could find some place closer to home. Home being Acworth, my Barbie Dreamhouse home. I had been so frustrated that I couldn’t seem to get a position in another school despite the fact that they seemed to be throwing new schools up like concert flyers on telephone poles. One school seemed larger and grander than the next and certainly they needed more teachers.

Now of course I’m lucky I didn’t get a job at one of those schools. I’ve lost that home. I would have lost my seniority. It was truly a blessing in disguise but I didn’t realize it then.

Now that Darryl’s lost his job I find a certain peace knowing that for at least this next year I have a job. It will be my eighth year at RHS, the longest I have ever stayed at one job before. When I was younger I changed jobs sometimes twice a year. I would work at this restaurant or that retail store chasing nickel an hour raises. Even when I became a secretary I might stay at a location for two years before I was ready to move on to greener pastures.

Now I’m looking at my eighth year in a single school. This means that at the end of that year I will have seen two sets of students who started out with me in the ninth grade. It’s an interesting perspective. You watch them shuffle in uncertainly that first day of their Freshman year. By the time their Senior year rolls around you’ve watched them get their license, attend their prom, and then finally you wonder if that’s really the same kid you knew for years ago as they walk across the stage to receive their diploma.

There’s another wrinkle in the phone call story from earlier this week. One of my students had walked in just as the phone was ringing and said, “I just have this feeling that phone call is for me.” Yes I’m certain he did. The student at the other end of the phone told me that another teacher was busy right that second and asked him to call me to send my student down to his classroom. Since that teacher was the swimming coach, I thought it might make sense that he might ask a student to call because he was supervising kids in the pool. I sent the young man down to the teacher’s classroom.

Two days later I ran into the coach. “How long did you keep G because he never returned to class?” “What? I didn’t send for him.” The teacher replied. “REALLY?”

The trap slammed shut. I wrote the student up but the difficult question was, who was the student who called? Wouldn’t you know his classmates had heard I had figured out the deception and asked me if I had written up P also. P is not my student. I didn’t even know that P had called me. “Yes. Of course I wrote him up. That was crazy that he would call and think I wouldn’t check on it.” Two of my students laughed and said “Yeah that really was stupid that P would do that.” SCORE!!!!!!!!!!! So I wrote him up also delivering the referral to the Assistant principal personally. I’m certain P feels that his friend G snitched. I don't think I will go out of my way to correct this perception.

Today is also candy day. Every week until the end of September, Mars is giving away a candy bar. I won one last week. I hope I win one again this week. I posted it on ThriftyMaven but I wonder how much traffic it will get.

Here are the blog contests I entered today:

Prize: $50 Red Lobster gift card.

Prize: Pair of eyeglasses from [excludes designer frames and sunglasses].

Prize: $25 Build-a-Bear Workshop Bear Bucks gift card.

Prize: HomeFree Treats Organic Cookies sampler pack.

Prize: One-year supply of all small & mighty detergent, The Apprentice Complete Season 1 DVD, autographed photograph of Donald Trump and You're Fired! promotional items (ARV $160).

Prize: 8-day/7-night trip for two to a JetBlue Getaways destination city of winner's choice (ARV $3,296).

Prize: Flip Ultra Series II Camcorder (ARV $149.99).

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Chasing The Prize

Seems to me that I’m always chasing the prize. Very seldom can I say that I’m ahead of the curve. After all I didn’t invent the Ipod. I was not the founder of FedEx. Runway models do not wear my latest designs and my picture has never appeared on the cover of the National Enquirer. Last time I checked my name still doesn’t appear on the Presidential ballot, but perhaps that will one day it will.

This is not to say that I didn’t have dreams nor that I was never able to accomplish anything. As a little girl I was certain that one day I would be a teacher. I could close my eyes and seem myself at the head of the classroom, students listening in rapt attention as I taught them history or discussed great novels with them. I dreamed of being a mother and a wife. I guess I could check these off my list too.

The problem seems to be that I never seem to do these things in the right order and they never occur the way they did in my childhood daydreams. I seem to possess an innate ability to thwart progress and circumvent my dreams. If I had been the lead character in the short story the lady and the tiger, the tiger would inevitably always be my first choice.

One of my college professors once said that I had tenacity. Perhaps she is correct. If not for tenacity I would never have survived my numerous poor choices. It would have been far better for me to have been born with a better degree of foresight than dogged determination. Such a gift would translate into far less bumping and bruising.

It seems to be the same way with my blog ThriftyMaven. Every day people are beginning to sign up, even when I’m not having a contest. I get so excited to see the number of subscribers as they rise. I feel like dancing around the room when I see that I now have over 1,000 comments on ThriftyMaven. Then, moments later, I feel crestfallen to see the daily hits have gone done to almost 300 visitors. Funny, because two months ago, I would have been dancing around the room if 300 people came to view ThriftyMaven in a week.

Now I’m chasing money. Money to make up for the loss of my husband’s income but secretly hoping to win a trip to the BlogHer conference. I want to learn how to make enough money on my blog to earn a second income but I know I would be jumping up and down for joy if I won the $500 gift card. If I won the trip I could learn from women who are actually doing that. If I won the trip I could tour the Kraft Kitchens. Now granted, I LOVE to cook, but as a Business Teacher this would be a big deal. There are so many things I would ask and even more information I could carry back to my students.

The problem is not the recipe, it was a finalist. The problem is, that now I am part of a dreaded voting contest. These contest force me to go out with hat in hand begging and pleading people to take time out of their busy day to log on to a website to help someone they hardly know to win something that they won’t share in at all. It is in fact a very selfish thing to do and I don’t know why I continue to get myself caught up in these sort of contests? The chances of me winning such a contest seem as elusive as catching the wind in a paper cup.

Now comes the pathetic groveling, begging, pleading mess that is vote getting. I decided to see if Twitter would net me any votes and amazingly enough, someone actually tweeted me back saying that they did just that. I begged co-workers. I ran around with sheets of paper with directions on how to vote begging and pleading for them to vote for me. “What do I get said one of the aides?” “What do you want?” I asked. From there it’s on to OLS to beg and plead with the people from my local sweep club. A few of them are in the same position as I am and I feel guilty asking. Why should I ask for their help to win something that they could probably use just as much or even more? If I win does that make me a bad person?

Further into OLS I go. Now I go to the vote request area of OLS. Please vote for me I ask. My husband lost his job. We could really use this. I say this knowing that across the country is in the same boat as I am. There are people on OLS who are in an even worse position than I am. Is it really right for me to ask them to vote for me? What is fair in this situation? I wondered the same thing as I posted in my vote request in Sweepsheet. I offered to vote for anyone who voted for me.

In ThriftyMaven I post a HUGE Baking and Pleading Blog post asking for people to please vote for me. I provide a copy of my recipe and beg anyone landing on my site to please vote for me. Do they even read it? Do they even acknowledge it? I wonder. Then it’s over to my New Day New Page site. I totally didn’t understand how to set up a blog originally with gmail. I honestly thought that there was a site that was set up for me and that each page I wrote was part of the same blog. Silly me. Essentially there exists out in cyberspace 18 different blogs that I have created and most of them only have one post. Oh my! Now, since I like the title New Day New Page I keep this blog and yet the ip address is the title of a post I did along time ago for a contest. Crazy huh? Plead, beg, grovel, appeal, beseech, entreat, implore, petition, pray, I do it all hoping that someone will vote and I even hope they will vote more than once.

Next, I head over to Kirtsy. You don’t know KiRTSY? It is a place to find things. News. Ideas. Information. Products. Coolness, and more and more and more. It’s much like Digg which is a place for people to discover and share content from anywhere on the web. You or someone who reads your blog and finds something interesting on it can post it in a category People looking for something on perhaps food will take a look at that category, see your post and head there to check it out. I thought about throwing it up on Digg but didn’t want to press my luck.

As you can see, my tactic for this, and really for most everything in my life seems to be the same. Throw enough mud at the wall and hope something will stick. Keep trying and if this doesn’t work, well maybe that will. It’s a wonder that the Darwin Theory hasn’t caught up with me yet.

Then I fret, anguish, brood, and stew. If only I had more friends. If only I had a better personality that would win more friends. Maybe if I had more presence on the net. What if? Why can’t? There are a million ways to dissect my dilemma and they all come back to me being unworthy at some level. I feel like Charlie Brown fishing a rock out of his trick or treat bag while his friends delight in finding candy.

Tonight I sit in the final PTSO meeting of the year. It is our Awards night. Our seniors have earned over $3.3 million in scholarships. My heart swells with pride as some of my babies receive awards from classroom excellence and achievement.

I applaud and smile as I listen to scholarship amounts as they are announced. One young man earned more than my own home is worth in scholarships. How I wanted that for myself when I was young. An unstable family life had me bouncing from place to place desperate to just fit in and stay under the radar. I didn’t’ stand out so much as I survived high school.

This is where my story comes full circle. I did eventually get the scholarships I would have liked to have received in high school. They came eight years after I graduated. I opened a couple of thick envelopes to discover that I had received them and although no one applauded me at an assembly in school I felt a pride that was all my own. The applause for outstanding achievement came later as I was received an award for being an outstanding graduate at age 27 rather than at age 17. Was it indeed ten years too late as my Dad sometimes said or was it just in time for me? When I marched to receive my degree, graduating Magna Cum Laude two years later it was while my two sons sat in the audience.

The Byrds had a song years ago called “Turn, Turn, Turn.” I thought of that tonight as I watched my students. To everything there is a season. Perhaps this will be my season to win this contest. Maybe the season will come when Darryl gets a new job and I don’t want a grocery gift card so badly that I will have to beg everyone to vote for me. There’s a time for every purpose under Heaven.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Shameless Promotion And Vote Begging

begging Pictures, Images and Photos

One of the things i was planning to do on my site was start a series of articles about contests and sweepstakes. I figured I'd do that this summer when work wasn't as pressing. Then I received word that I'm one of the eight FINALISTS for a recipe contest. The grand prize would be a trip to the BlogHer Conference. Don't get me wrong, that would be an amazing experience and I would be able to learn things I could bring back to my students. What I'm hoping to win is one of the $500 gift cards for FREE groceries.

This puts the ThriftyMaven in a bit of a peculiar situation. In order to win I need votes. Vote contests are my least favorite contests beause you have to beg and plead with friends and strangers to vote for your entry. I'm asking you to consider helping out a starving blogger by voting for my recipe.

So in a big departure from my normal format I'm begging, pleading, crawling on hands and knees for you to go to:

and vote for my recipe

Thanks ahead of time.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It's Hump Day

Democrats charged Tuesday that the CIA has released documents about congressional briefings on harsh interrogation techniques in order to deflect attention and blame away from itself.

“I think there is so much embarrassment in some quarters that people are going to try to shift some of the responsibility to others — that’s what I think,” said Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who sat on the Senate Intelligence Committee and was briefed on interrogation techniques five times between 2006 and 2007.

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, said he finds it “interesting” that a document detailing congressional briefings was released just as “some of the groups that have been responsible for these interrogation techniques were taking the most criticism.”

I know I've covered this before but these words from Shakespeare keep coming to mind every time I hear these Dems talk about the whole torture issue, "Me thinkst thou does protest to loudly."

Let's see, you heard about the torture then but decided not to speak out and say stop this is inhumane then. Now that Obama is in office and your far left is screaming for vengeance now you are screaming "Torture is always wrong."

It either was or it wasn't. If it was then you should have had the courage to speak out then. If it isn't then are you only screaming now because George Soros and is in the driver's seat? Or is this a John Kerry moment for Pelosi, Levin, and other Dems when they were for waterboarding and torture before they were against it. I thought Dems hated duplicity. Seems like they are no stranger to that concept.

Blog Contests I entered today:

Prize: Sansa slotRadio music player and mix card pre-loaded with 1,000 songs (ARV $99).

Prize: Killer at Large: Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat DVD.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Then & Now

hourglass Pictures, Images and Photos

Did you know kids now a-days sleep with their cell phones? I was shocked. It shows how totally out of touch with reality I am. Perhaps I should say I’m out of sync with an Ipod world.

I have students who feel as though their hand was created simply to cradle their cell phone during the day. Now it appears that the addiction is far worse than I first suspected.

Today I had a guest speaker come from Westwood college talking to my students about they should consider going to Westwood. He was very amusing and kept the kids focused and involved in his presentation. I was understood what he was talking about having been raised poor in a big family. I laughed when he talked about placing a nickel on my record player needle so my record wouldn’t skip. My students couldn’t imagine it. He also talked about things that kids could understand like current music, sports, and hanging out at the mall.

Sadly many people don’t like teaching the kind of kids I teach. For people who are about my age, imagine “Sweat Hogs”. Teachers generally like teaching the upper echelon of student. The kind who are accepted to Yale, Princeton, and Harvard and wax poetically about the classical literature they read on their own time. They pat themselves on the back and say, “Look how I have inspired my student’s to greatness.”

People who teach Vocational students like I do, realize that these over-achievers will bloom wherever they are planted. These kids won the lottery at conception given their IQ and parentage. The whole Nature vs. Nurture argument comes into play. Is the kid with the IQ a victim of his own environment when born to parents who are in and out of jail, drug addicted, and the child is born into poverty? Our administrators tell us to ignore the scientific fact that innate IQ cannot discernibly be changed in any permanent sense and they ask us to make scholars out of kids who have less than a stellar IQ. When we seem to be able to fashion a silk purse from a sow’s ear we are looked down upon as failures and some administrators and teachers question our ability to teach.

For me, I feel blessed to have these students in my class. In the bell curve of life, I will statistically come in contact far more with people with average IQ’s than Genius. It is far more important that I get them ready to hit the ground running when they graduate and make a real effort to help them fashion a reality based on the skills and abilities that they do posses. My students may not go to Harvard but they can go to a community college to learn to manage an office for a lawyer. They may not have straight A’s and do calculus in their head but they can learn not just function in the real world but succeed there. We put so much effort on college and forget how many people went on to success lacking that paper. What someone lacks in book smarts they might posses in people smarts and you can’t teach that in a lecture hall in an Ivy League school.

My kids deserve to be encouraged and told of opportunities for post secondary training and scholarships but not every teacher makes sure that they are exposed to this. It is for this reason that I make sure that my students hear, “I want you to be successful.” “I believe in you.” “Here’s a different path to your success.”
It is for this reason that I bring someone from a branch of the military to my school as well as a Vocational School or Technical College to speak to my students about options. Some have gone their whole life and no one has ever even explained to them that there were options. One year I had someone from Le Cordon Blue and another year from Coosa Valley Technical College. I offer to look over college application essays and scholarship applications.

At the end of the day the speaker said to me, “You can tell you have a really good relationship with these kids. They really love you.” He told me that when he talked to one of the Guidance Counselors that the she told him that I was very involved with my kids. I am and they are my kids. Maybe one will go on to Yale or Harvard one day. Maybe not, but I will still be proud of them if they are working towards their own rainbow that doesn’t harm others.

A funny incident happened this morning before my speaker came. A student came to me and said, “Ms. Cope, I brought you something. I know you love coupons.” I answered that I did. What she did next took me by surprise. She handed me an Entertainment book. I have wanted one of them. I used to buy these when I lived in Richmond. Michael and I used them all the time to go to different venues like the Science Museum or the Children’s Museum at buy one get one prices.

When Darryl and I moved own here I asked him if we could get one. He said he didn’t think we’d use it because most of the coupons were for Atlanta and we were living in Rome. That made sense. Still I remembered that there were coupons that I could use at places like McDonalds and Burger King. I figured in the long run we’d still save money but Darryl wasn’t convinced that we’d save enough money.

When we moved to Cartersville I didn’t ask but I would often look at the book when I would go to CVS. I’d remember the places I used to visit and thought if only I had one I’d see more of Atlanta. I feel like Atlanta might as well be Los Angeles. I’ve seen very little of Atlanta. I’ve seen The Underground, Olympic park, and the Coke Museum. I saw a little of the High Museum of Art because I won tickets. I saw the Governor’s Mansion one year at Christmas. So much I want to see but I don’t want to spend full price to do it. If we had buy one get one free coupons I’d be more likely to go.

Our move to Acworth made me want the Entertainment book more. I’d touch the book like an old friend I’d skim through the pages asking Darryl, “Do you think we should buy it?” Which is code word for “Can I buy this?” It’s easier to hear the words “No” to that question. That’s because I haven’t asked directly for it so I haven’t been turned down for something I really want. The predictable answer happens each time. “What do you need that for? “ or “How much is that anyway? Why do you want it?” Translated to Cathy speak the simple answer is “NO”. Why explain. I will either hear that we can afford the attraction without the coupon (pre job loss) or I will hear that the gas we would use would mean that we wouldn’t save anything. Which might as well be we can’t afford to go to that place so why are you asking. Oh the subtle language that men and women speak. Darryl thinks it’s only me that speaks this secret language but after all “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus.”

These are the blog contests I entered today.

Prizes (10): Five Stouffer's free product coupons.
Here are the blog contests I entered today:

Prize: $25 Build A Bear workshop gift card.

Prize: $100 voucher for a pair of eyeglasses from [excludes designer frames and sunglasses].

Prize: $100 gift card [excludes designer frames or sunglasses].

Prizes (2): $25 Kroger gift card.

Money Like Water

money Pictures, Images and Photos

One day I will look this and laugh, well maybe not laugh, maybe cry so hard that I will laugh that crazy laugh that TV villains do. You know like that Vincent Price laugh that you hear at the end of Michael Jackson’s thriller album. I’m certain I will be sitting in my padded cell, maybe even with a caterpillar, rocking back and forth reciting. “Yes Big Brother. I worship you. I honor you. You are the greatest.”

As last Friday’s monthly employment report showed, job losses are showing no signs of reversing anytime soon – a point the President’s chief economic advisor, Dr. Christina Romer, acknowledged over the weekend. And while our job market is hemorrhaging, so too are the federal government’s books, with the Associated Press reporting this morning that the budget deficit this year will climb to $1.8 trillion – nearly four times the record set just last year. Perhaps the most startling aspect of the White House’s budget admission: the government is borrowing 50 cents for every dollar it spends this year

Can you imagine if you tried to run your household budget like this? In other words, what if you had to borrow half of your budget on your credit card? Any financial consultant worth a salt would say “ARE YOU CRAZY?” Essentially that’s what we are doing you know. We are borrowing from our children and what is our return on investment? We are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to create a job that pays maybe $30,000. Just send me my check it would be cheaper and I promise to spend it in a way that will stimulate more jobs.

OBAMA said that his Recover Act has already saved or created over 150,000 jobs. Sadly the Us has lost more than 1.2 million jobs since Obama took office, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Not quite certain when all this job loss stops being Bush’s and begins being his.

Also Obama has not really explained to me under his transparent administration just what the job-counting formula is for counting jobs created by the stimulus bill.
While I’m on the “It’s All Bush’s Fault” rant, how about this Obama quote. Number one, we inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit….That wasn’t me.”

In fact, the congress was under Democratic control in 2007 and 2008. For those who didn’t pay attention in high school history it is the Congress who holds the purse strings. George Bush does hold some responsibility because he signed the legislation. Don’t think I haven’t forgotten or excused that.

In Bush’s final months he said we had to hurry to sign the emergency financial bail-out package. Much was made about McCain rushing to sign on but Obama also supported it. Don’t forget the Dems wanted to make it even bigger. I, like many other Americans were all for these companies to go under but instead, our money, the money that Congress treats as their own went to prop up the same institutions that spent like drunken sailors. (My apologies to drunken sailors everywhere.) Oh and Obama did vote in support of Iraq war spending even though he voted against the war.

I try not to get too political on my blog but our history is being written right now and I'm doing my best to document what is happening.

Something funny happened today in my seventh period class today. One of my students, G just walked in the door after having gone to the bathroom. In that very instant the phone rang. G looked at the phone and as I was walking over to answer it he said, “I just felt a charge go right through me and into that phone. It’s like I know that phone call is about me.”

I picked up the receiver and the voice at the other end was a student calling for one of the coaches. “Coach so and so wants you to send G down here.” It was just plain odd. I sent G down there and he was gone all period. He thought I was joking at first but I just thought it was funny how sometimes people just know things.

These are the blog contests I entered:

Prizes (3): Romano's Macaroni Grill gift basket.

Prize: Pink Vado HD pocket video camera.

Prize: Creative Vado HD pocket video camera (ARV $229.99).

Prize: $50 Visa gift card and Kleenex Anti-Viral Tissues.

Prize: Two canisters of Wet Ones Antibacterial Wipes for every classroom in your child's school.

Prize: Pair of eyeglasses from [excludes designer frames and sunglasses].

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mother's Day

Mike called me this morning. I love hearing from my sons on Mother's Day. He was talking about his plans for when he gets home for his vacation and his plans for when he marries Leslie. Mike also said I could add him as a friend on Facebook. Well who would have thunk it.

Here's what is going on with This morning I checked the traffic for my site and it said that there were 605 hits over the last 24 hours. I also found that if you googled free things to do Mother's Day my site was ranked eigth. Just a month ago my site wouldn't show up on the first page and now I showed up number eight. I'm learning. I'm learning.

Here's what I don't seem to get or understand. I was looking at the Arts section of the paper. I like to see what the top books are and read about new books. One of the new books they talked about was written by a blogger who talks about her life, her depression, and raising her daughter. She has so many people who follow her blog she's making $40,000 a MONTH. Not a year a MONTH from her blog. Her husband has quit his job to help manage their "blog empire". Me? Well I guess I've earned exactly 50 cents unless you factor in in-kind things I've received like my new glasses which were free saving us money. That was $100. If you get real broad about the whole thing and factor in the cost of the prizes I've given away and subtract from that the amount that I've paid for out of my own pocket, well now we are talking $$125.

I really wondered if anyone was reading this blog but I have discovered that two people actually do. It's like with anything else, are you delivering the product that people really want. I can see that I'm not and with my limited time, I don't know how to do that with this blog. On the other hand right now I feel like I'm running in a gerbil wheel and I suppose the content shows just that. UGH

Well here are the blog contests I entered today:

Prize: $50 Photofiddle gift certificate.

Prize: Betty Crocker's The Mixer gift basket filled with a mixing spoon, spatula, measuring spoons and cups, whisk, liquid measuring cup and a Betty Crocker Magazine.

Prize: Kodak EasyShare digital camera (ARV $89.99).

Prize: $100 American Airlines gift card.

Prize: Wet Ones will stock one winner's school of choice with 2 cannisters of Wet Ones per classroom.

Prize: Choice of one dozen mini cupcakes from Cupcakes Gourmet.

A Winner of A Day

Yesterday accidentally turned into a very lucky day for me. I was disappointed that I couldn't go to KFC because the whole Oprah coupon deal fell through. We still have $6 on my Pizza Hut card so I knew I had at least one more inexpensive meal out.

When I got home Darryl asked if I wanted to go to Stevie B's. I was already in a good mood because Mike had sent me the flowers so I said sure. Usually I hate eating if I'm the only one eating. I figured I would go because I knew it wouldn't cost us anything. It was Teacher Appreciation Week at Stevie B's. What neither of us knew was that B98.5 radio station was there.

I noticed that they were giving things away so I walked over to register. I was given a FREE T-shirt and I was pretty happy with that. For a long time there I was collecting radio station t-shirts from various places that I had lived. I was fine with that. FREE pizza buffet and a t-shirt, who could ask for more?

I tried their new chicken hot wings pizza because Darryl liked it and it was pretty good. The DJ's were having a few giveaways and someone won a pizza party for ten for a trivia contest. Someone won a year's worth of Stevie B's. Then the last draw of the day happened. It was another Year's worth of pizza at Stevie B's. Well guess who won? I did what I always do which is to crumple my entry and then flatten it out a bit.

So now every month, for twelve months, I get a free pizza buffet from Stevie B's. Thanks I needed that.

Georgia police believe they may have found the body of the wanted UGA Professor George Zinkhan. Police in Georgia say they have found a body near the site where a Jeep belonging to a fugitive professor, suspect in a triple homicide, was found. Local reports suggested the body was that of the professor. I honestly figured that this is how the story would turn out.

I chose a winner for my Thrifty Maven Blog contest and we had 435 people come to my site today. Most were coming to check out what to do with Mom for Mother's Day.

Here are the blog contests I entered today:

Prize: Creative Vado HD pocket video camera.

Prize: Fountain Jet soda lover's start-up kit (ARV $99.99).

Prize: Fountain Jet soda lover's start-up kit (ARV $99.99).

Prize: HP Mini 1000 XP Edition (ARV $469.99).

Prizes (3): Romano's Macaroni Grill What's For Dinner gift basket with Creamy Basil Parmesan Chicken Pasta variety sample, three Romano's Macaroni Grill Restaurant Favorites free product coupons, colander, serving spoon and cheese grater.

Prizes (2): $25 Kroger gift card.

Friday, May 8, 2009

I Love My Son

Today when I was in Third Period I had just finished explaining exam procedures when the door opened. It was a young man I knew from around school. He was carrying these beautiful pink flowers. Actually it was the butterfly bouquet that I had really wanted.

“Oh,” I said, “Who are they for? “ The boy answered, “They’re for you Mz Cope.”

I was taken aback. Only Darryl sends me flowers to school and we had agreed not to spend money on that this year. I had hoped to win some flowers but since I didn’t I was surprised to see them.

I opened the card and it said “You’re the best mom in the world. I may be stuck in Iraq but I will always love you. I’ll see you in a few weeks. Love Mike.” I busted out in tears. The kids were all laughing saying they wished they had their cameras. I just couldn’t get over it. They are beautiful.

I love you Michael. What a wonderful beautiful thing you did. I am so blessed to have two wonderful boys and blessed that they are both well and doing OK.

A few weeks ago I wrote about how ill Farah had become. As a teen I wanted to look like her. As a young woman I watched her life played out in the papers on the checkout stands of the grocery store. As a woman I watched her movies even though I never watched an episode of Charlie’s Angels. I ignored my Mother’s oft given advice “Never wish you could be someone else because you don’t know the troubles and challenge that they face.”

Today the news of Farrah’s illness has gotten worse. Ryan O'Neal is breaking down about his longtime partner's battle with cancer. "It's a love story," he tells People magazine. "I just don't know how to play this one. I won't know this world without her. Cancer is an insidious enemy."

The actor admits his angel has lost her trademark tresses and her treatment has neared its end.

"She stays in bed now," he says. "The doctors see that she is comfortable. Farrah is on IVs, but some of that is for nourishment. The treatment has pretty much ended." Farrah’s weight has plummeted to 86 pounds, according to her son, Redmond O'Neal.

Fawcett, 62, became an international sex symbol in the 1970s for her famous swimsuit poster and her role as one of a trio of female private detectives on the hit television show "Charlie's Angels."

Another major story is the Drew Peterson story which broke last night. He has been charged with murdering his third wife and held on $20 million dollars bail. Kathleen Savio, his third wife, was found at home dead in a dry bathtub on March 1, 2004.

Here is Rome there is much to do about of 19-year-old Jeffrey Pledger of Cedartown during a violent robbery attempt on East 19th Street in Rome around 5 p.m. Wednesday. Three men were arrested and a fourth one is being sought.

The chatter has been upped because police stopped and questioned three men that they said may have been on their way to Rome from Polk County to seek revenge for the murder. The men were briefly detained Wednesday night in a black and white sedan on U.S. 27 south of Rome near Booger Hollow Road.

Finally, as long as this is a particularly newsworthy day I see that the word is getting out about how much the DEMS knew and when they knew it as far as torture. After all remember, EVIL Bush did all this in secrecy didn’t he? It was him and crazy Carl Rove and Dick Chaney while the poor DEMS Champions of all that is good and just were kept in the dark about waterboarding. NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The CIA has leaked a devastating document detailing the dates and explicit details of secret Congressional briefings in which members of Congress were told of the Bush administration’s torture techniques and when they had been used.

The document is explicit (PDF here: ). Most damningly, perhaps, is its description of a meeting held between CIA staff and then-House Intelligence Committee Chairman Porter Goss and now-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, which shows that Pelosi was briefed on the Bush Administration’s torture techniques in 2002 — even though she’s publicly said she was never told about the use of waterboarding.

Equally striking, however, is the volume of the briefings that have been conducted on the CIA’s interrogation practices since 2002. The document runs ten pages, with up to four briefings a page.

I always suspected that this was why Pelosi said they wouldn’t impeach Bush. She and many high powered Dems were afraid of what would come out in regards to the war and in regard to “torture.” Call it blackmail. Call it the Sword of Damocles. It hung over Polisi and others and they didn’t want the truth to get out to their followers. Some how they said with a straight face that they weren’t aware that when they voted for action in Iraq they weren’t voting for Bush to move forward on it and millions of American Idol watching voters nodded their heads and said “Evil Bush tricked them.”

Gee how smart were you if someone you proclaimed to be a moron was able to trick you? Come on now. I say “Be Careful What You Ask For Because You Just Might Get It.” Many of them studied law in college I’m surprised they don’t take to heart the axiom “Never ask a question that you don’t already know the answer to.” Basically this means that when you are examining a witness in court don’t ask them a question you haven’t already asked them before because you don’t need any surprises, any Perry Mason moments, in court.

Oh how heavy is the head that wears the crown.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Community Reaches Out

Cemetary Gate 1 Pictures, Images and Photos

Here are some updates on Andrea's funeral and plans for her to be recognized at graduation.

RHS will recognize Andrea at graduation and present her diploma to her father in place of her. That is the wish of her family and RHS will comply with that wish.

As mentioned in the Rome News Tribune, The “Andrea Garcia Fund" that has begun through Regions Bank to help defray expenses. The account number for the account is #061101375 at a Regions Bank location throughout Rome/Floyd County.

As I said before, years ago another one of my students died in a car accident and the parent was unable to deal with the unexpected expenses. Imagine, losing your child, having to bury your child, and then realizing that you have no money to bury her.

Most parents, me included, do not have their children insured. Years ago I spoke to someone who helped me calculate the odds against a child’s death and counseled me that the money I would have spend on that life insurance would be better spent in an account for my child’s college education. The fact is that odds are just that, odds. The reality of a child’s death does not factor in to the odds against that event happening. This family is dealing with something that no one should ever have to deal with, the loss of a child.

If you are reading this and want to contribute even a dollar to this family contact the Regions Bank at,
Regions Bank,
1400 Turner Mccall Blvd SW,
Rome, GA 30161
(706) 295-7700

Feel free to check with the bank and the newspaper to make sure I'm not some kind of wack job scoundrel who's trying to get money in my own account. I realize that there are people who do that. I donated some money today. Not as much as I would have liked to. Not as much as I would have if my husband had a job, but every little bit counts. One of my students mentioned, "Do realize if every kid at RHS donated $1 we'd raise $1,400. That's true I said. So as you can see everything counts. Even if it's just prayers for the family and prayers for the friends and classmates she left behind.

STOP THE PRESSES!!!!!!!!!! Can you believe it? Just a couple of days ago his publicist was talking about having him in some reality show in Nevada about a brothel. The show was to be called "Cat House".

Peterson will likely be charged in the death of Kathleen Savio, who was found dead in a bathtub in her home on March 1, 2004, according to

Peterson has been a suspect in the disappearance of his 23-year-old wife Stacy Peterson, who vanished on Oct. 28, 2007, from her Bolingbrook, Ill., home.

In the months following Stacy Peterson's disappearance, Savio's body was exhumed and her 2004 bathtub drowning death was re-classified as a homicide.

Even as I wrote this the news announced that he has been indicted. Thank God. Thank God.

Now here's the news about ThriftyMaven. I expected a huge drop in views after yesterday. At one point it showed I got over 1,400 views. I figured I might get 15 people. When I woke up I noticed that there were hours where no one was coming to the site. Then just as I went to work I noticed a little upturn. Some 697 people came by the site over the last 24 hours. I also got 29 new subscribers. AMAZING. I wonder if I could get more viewers to this blog. Probably not. Still I am pretty excited. I also noticed that I'm getting some people from twitter and from digg. Yipee.

Here are the blog contests I entered today:

Prize: $50 Fancy Fortune Cookies gift certificate.

Prize: Bride Wars DVD and $25 Paper Shouts gift certificate.

Prize: Bride Wars DVD and $25 Paper Shouts gift certificate.

Prize: One-year supply of all small & mighty, The Apprentice Season One DVD, autographed photo of Donald Trump and You're Fired! promotional items.

Prize: Dell Inspiron Mini 9 Netbook (ARV $299).

Prize: $25 Paper Shouts gift certificate and Bride Wars DVD.

Prize: $25 Paper Shouts gift certificate and Bride Wars DVD (ARV $54.98).

Prizes (3): Romano's Macaroni Grill What's For Dinner gift basket with Creamy Basil Parmesan Chicken Pasta variety sample, three Romano's Macaroni Grill Restaurant Favorites free product coupons, colander, serving spoon and cheese grater.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Life Unfinished


Yesterday I couldn’t find Andrea’s obituary. Today there was an article about her funeral which is to be this Saturday. The article included quotes from various teachers who all agreed that she was a very wonderful girl who worked hard to maintain an A average while working outside the home to help support her family. She really was a sweet young lady who was taken from us way too soon.

Here is some of what the Rome Paper said today about Andrea.

Andrea Garcia will be laid to rest this weekend, dressed in her red graduation cap and gown.

The Rome High senior died Sunday after a car wreck late Saturday night. She was 18 and would have graduated May 24.

Andrea was a bright, loving girl, Guzman recalled. She was Rome High’s Student of the Month for April and was planning to start classes at Georgia Highlands College in the fall to pursue a degree in accounting.

“She loved to sing, and she was always with her friends. She had a lot of friends,” Guzman said. “I think that’s because she just liked helping people. She loved music and the color yellow.”

Teachers at Rome High School remembered Andrea’s work ethic and her smile.
Andrea’s family is now appealing to the community for assistance with funeral expenses. Guzman said donations are appreciated and can be made to the “Andrea Garcia Fund,” account number 061101375 at Regions Bank. Collection boxes have also been placed at area restaurants.

Funeral services have been arranged by McGuire, Jennings & Miller Funeral Home, 2542 Shorter Ave. A visitation is scheduled Friday from 7 to 9 p.m. and the funeral service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Oaknoll Chapel.
Today started out very rainy with thunder and lightning. At times I would unexpectedly hydroplane.

As one of my students would say, “It’s chicken day.” It’s almost a running joke. On Wednesday he comes to class all smiles and say, “You know what today is?” Then without missing a beat he declares “It’s chicken dayyyyyyyyyyyyy!” Sometime I think of teasing him and telling him that they didn’t order enough chicken so because of that, third lunch will have to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I never do say it though. Well today is the day that Oprah gave out FREE two piece chicken dinners from KFC. That would be their new grilled chicken dinners with two pieces of chicken, two sides and a biscuit.

I blogged about it on ThriftyMaven, twittered about it , and I told all my students about it. I hope I get some web traffic because of it today. I googled it a few minutes ago and noticed that on Digg it shows:

The Oprah Winfrey Show Kentucky Grilled Chicken Deal — Have you tried the new Kentucky Grilled Chicken yet? Now's the time to do it. Free offer good for 2 pieces of Kentucky Grilled Chicken™ (manager’s choice) and two individual sides and a biscuit at participating KFC restaurants located in the U.S. There is a number one in front of it so I don’t know if that means that there was only one person who looked at it or if was the number one post for that on Digg.

I still don’t understand Digg too much. I have heard that some people spend a great deal of time trying to be number on the front page of Digg. Mine’s not there so I guess that means. I do know that at 2:45 I checked Alexa and my traffic rank was 4,710,404!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can’t wait to see how many people viewed my site.

I saw that I had over 1,000 visitors on ThriftyMaven today and I registered 32 NEW people on my site. It's kind of like that Three Stooges Routine. "Slowly I turn. Inch by inch. Step by Step." I'm keeping my fingers crossed that things will keep growing.

Here are the blog contests I entered:

Prize: Pepsi Throwback prize pack with trucker cap, retro Pepsi tin lunch box, retro clock radio/CD player, USB lava lamp, Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback (ARV $150).

Prize: Bride Wars DVD and a $25 Gift Certifcate to

Prize: One semester/six months of online courses from Computer Savvy Seniors.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

One Bad Apple Don't Spoil The Whole Bunch

Apple Pictures, Images and Photos

You should be thankful for what you get and I am. In this time of great economic unrest I have a job. Today the School Board came to our school to dole out our annual apple. Yes to show their appreciation for all that we do we get a handshake, and if we've been with the school for an interval of five year increments we get a pin. This year there's a bonus, a bookmark. The representative comes to your class, shakes your hand, hands you the apple and thanks you for your service. I got a little bit of a laugh after they left when I noticed that the top of my apple was mushy. so mushy as a matter of fact I was able to put my finger right through the top of it. I said to myself, "I'll try not to take it personally."

At school the Vocational Department has a little display case where we post our Students of the Month. Each month, a teacher in each discipline names their most outstanding student. You’d be surprised at how many people stop and look at that display. Today Andrea’s picture joined the students who’s were already named Student of the Month. It talked about how she had planned to go to college and major in Accounting. Throughout the day kids gathered to look at her photo. Andrea will be laid to rest this Saturday. Her parents are trying to raise money to defray the funeral costs.

I thought about posting her Obituary but our local paper is now CHARGING you to access obituaries. Can you believe it? People in grief have to PAY to read the obituary.

On the way home I passed another accident and saw an officer carrying a young woman out of a ditch to the waiting stretcher. It sent a chill through me.

I just found out that Dom DeLuise passed away today. According to reports, he passed away peacefully in his sleep following a long illness.

He also hosted the popular TV show "Candid Camera" from 1991-1992. Dom was an avid cook and author, penning several cooking guides and children's books.

Writer-director-actor Mel Brooks particularly admired DeLuise's talent for offbeat comedy and cast him in several of his films, including "The Twelve Chairs," "Blazing Saddles," "Silent Movie," "History of the World Part I" and "Robin Hood: Men in Tights." DeLuise was also the voice of Pizza the Hutt in Brooks' "Star Wars" parody, "Spaceballs."

The actor also appeared frequently in films opposite his friend Burt Reynolds. Among them, "The End," "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas," "Smokey and the Bandit II," "The Cannonball Run" and "Cannonball Run II."

Other TV credits included appearances on such shows as "The Munsters," "The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.," "Burke's Law," "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" and "Diagnosis Murder."

On Broadway, DeLuise appeared in Neil Simon's "Last of the Red Hot Lovers" and other plays.

I always liked Dom DeLuise because I just felt he seemed very comfortable in his own skin. That's what I always wished I could be.

There was some good news. Not for me but for someone else. Since September, the 59-year-old South Charleston woman has won five West Virginia Lottery cash prizes, totaling $167,600.

All of Bailey's winnings came from the Lottery's instant games. Her latest win is her biggest — the $100,000 top prize in the Price is Right game.

Bailey claimed that prize Tuesday. Her other winnings from various instant games include $50,000 in April, $1,000 in March, $6,000 in January and $10,000 in September.

Another hectic day of working on Thrifty Maven. Any time I got a free moment I was researching ideas for free things for Mother’s Day. I have a huge list now and I will be publishing them on Saturday.

Here are the blog contests I entered:

Prize: Magellan RoadMate 1430 GPS (ARV $229.99).

Prize: Hasbro Easy-Bake Oven (ARV $36).

Prize: Bride Wars DVD and $25 Paper Shouts gift certificate.

Prize: Bride Wars DVD and a $25 Gift Certifcate to

Prize: Betty Crocker Mixer Basket with mixing spoon, spatula, measuring spoons and cups, whisk, liquid measuring cup, and Betty Crocker Magazine.

Prize: 6 Megapixel Kodak Digital Camera, spy remotes or the worlds smallest card reader.

Prize: EarCheck middle ear monitor (ARV $50).

Prize: Hoover FloorMate SpinScrub Widepath.