JoDa
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    • JoDa

      Eh, I’m particularly butthurt because I dropped a boatload of miles I earned from work travel flying my mom and I to an awesome location and putting us up in nice digs for a week this spring to celebrate her retirement. Could I have done that if I married young and spawned within a few years of that, as my siblings did? Nope. Hell, some of them have never even left the state we grew up in. Then again, many of them *did* worry and call a lot because I dared take our mom out of the state…

    • JoDa

      I thought when I first saw this article “I’m glad I am old enough that I missed the family photo holiday card mess.” Then, yesterday, a card showed up in my mailbox…my mom, my (married) siblings, their spouses, and their kids…sitting in front of the Christmas tree I spent a whole day helping a certain sibling put up over Thanksgiving weekend, after I almost single-handedly made Thanksgiving dinner for 12 so that everyone else could deal with their spawn (I’m a good cook and used to manage a restaurant kitchen, so I can handle that, no sweat). Needless to say, I will be drinking the entire case of (very good) wine I bought as gifts for the adults (the kids will still get their presents, because it’s not their fault). I know I’m the only one who lives far away, but the tree was up and I was there for 5 days after it went up. Being the last single in the family *does* earn you pariah status… Maybe I can take photos of myself drinking it and send them in card form for lunar new year…

    • JoDa

      I was going to say dried or canned beans and whole-grain (unprocessed) rice…while I know those can get tedious, they’re nutrient-dense, versatile, and generally allergen-free. Dried lentils are also very nutritious and can be cheap if you have a “hispanic foods” market or section in your store. Canned low-sodium veggies/veggie-based soups and fruit in water or natural juices (no added sugar) can provide an additional nutrition boost and keep well. Same for low-sodium canned meats and fish (tuna, chunk chicken, etc.) I usually toss in a few packets of naturally-dried (no sugar added) fruits and trail mix (if you want to donate for people with allergies, look for nut-free varieties) for nutritious snacks, as well.

    • JoDa

      The edited sign is true, as well: the penalty for theft is not death. It’s amazing how that frame has not been shouted from the rooftops, because it is the frame that all of the recent incidents exist in. Selling untaxed cigarettes, jaywalking (the actual reason Brown was stopped), etc. are not punishable by death in the USA. This is the crux of the issue: police officers are taking it on themselves to dole out disproportionate justice for minor crimes and/or no crime. Since jaywalking is a no-ID crime where I live (the police cannot demand that you show ID if stopped for jaywalking), I know white people who have told the police their names are Bill Clinton or Warren Buffett when stopped, and the police just write the ticket to that name and let them go. Imagine if Mike Brown had played along and said “sure, officer, my name is Barak Obama.” Do you think he’d be given a citation and sent on his way?

    • JoDa

      I got the side-eye from an older (not elderly, I’d guess 50) woman today for sitting on the subway when there were only a few open seats. After I used the pole to haul myself to my feet at my stop, she said something to the effect of “finally, I thought you were going to rest your lazy bones the whole way to the end of the line.” I looked her in the eye and said, loud enough for half the car to hear, “you’re welcome, and I appreciate you allowing me to sit until my stop, since my sciatica is flaring and one wrong jerk would cause me to crumple to the floor!” She just stared at me mouth agape as I limped off the train and several people laughed at her. I’m otherwise healthy, but when this thing flares…I’ve actually had to be picked up off the floor of my office because I stepped the wrong way and my knees buckled from the pain. Maybe speaking up will get people to think twice.

    • JoDa

      You might be able to find someone in your own life/community who could use those coupons. I know there are coupon swap boards all over the place, for starters. The first time my housekeeper came, I was home and going though a pile of mail. In that pile was a packet of coupons for a local grocery chain, only one of which I could use. I asked her if she wanted the rest, and she looked at them and said either she or someone she knew could use all of them. I now leave any coupons I can’t use with my check for cleaning, and she takes them and either uses them or gives them to people who can. I don’t care if it’s “not classy” to recognize that my housekeeper is living on a slimmer budget than I am (and probably needs diapers, wipes, and other things I don’t), it’s REALITY, and if she and her friends/family can put the coupons to good use, better than tossing them. And, yes, I still do a standard holiday bonus/tip…I don’t consider coupons any kind of payment, just putting something to good use that I’d otherwise toss in the recycling bin because I don’t personally use those items or know anyone who does.

    • JoDa

      Same for me, tabby. Every once in a while I get to stay in a really nice hotel that has top-notch toiletries. One year, I was in a hotel like that for two weeks, and when I brought the bag in to donate, the intake person spotted the dozens of bottles and bars of high-end shampoo/conditioner/lotion/soap. She asked me if I mined walking the bag next door, to their women’s shelter donation intake, instead of the food pantry intake, so that it could go in toiletry bags for the incoming women and girls, to give them something nice. I really hope it made someone’s day (even if they didn’t recognize the brand, using it would reveal it as “the good stuff”), and it cost me nothing except the time to think of stuffing it my suitcase and drop it off when I got home.

    • JoDa

      23 ideas for people with houses too big for them. For serious…unused closets? My place has great closet space, and it’s all used to keep the small floor space from devolving into disaster. While I’d agree in some cases one could take out a closet to add usable space, removing mine would simply result in a wider hallway (bedroom closets are a must for them to be a legal bedroom here)…not exactly useful (the wall between the hallway and the usable rooms is load-bearing, so it can’t be moved to create more living space and less hallway, sans closets).

    • JoDa

      If I’m reading this correctly, the suggestions were for those donating. My local store puts their store brand whole wheat pasta on sale for $.99/lb a couple times a year. I buy 10 boxes for myself and 10 more for the food bank. It’s just as cheap as the white at that point, but more nutritious. I’d like for you to have better/healthier choices available, so that’s what I donate.

    • JoDa

      Definitely. One easy way to donate is to swipe the complimentary shampoo, soap, etc. from hotels if you’re not going to use it. Trust me, the hotel has already built the price of them into your room rate (and if they’re branded, is getting them at a steep discount or free for advertising the brand). I used to travel enough that I’d go to the food bank with a huge bag of these once a year, and they appreciated it. You can also use BOGO deals or coupons to get some cheap and donate.

    • JoDa

      It’s not just you. I dye my hair (at home), and it smells gross. Though I try not to assault my coworkers too much by doing a very good rinse so that the smell is pretty much so gone by the time I show up in the office. HOWEVER, a good salon will have great ventilation and separate chemical treatments from basic stuff. Because I only go in for a haircut, all I smell at my salon is shampoo and basic hair products, which smell very nice. All the dying/perming/other stinky things take place in the back of the space and I don’t smell them.

    • JoDa

      Also, with respect to the comments about ungrateful kids and/or their parents (if you are buying for a kid other than your own), I always buy something fun and cheap (books, cheap toys, or an outfit they want (within reason)), but additionally do the donation on their behalf and contribution to their college fund, and try to instill in them as young as possible why this is important. It helps that I’ve actually been to small towns in less-developed countries, and can show them my personal pictures of girls going to school in their spiffy-but-foreign-looking uniforms and say “so we helped girls just like these go to school, just like you do” for example. My oldest relative (5) now wants to know when I’m taking her to Ethiopia so she can see the schools they go to (the answer is as soon as her parents let me, because I actually have friends living and working in Ethiopia - some in education non-profits working in these very schools, which is where the donations are going - and would be happy to take her over for a visit, my dime, and also a perfectly safe place to visit barring a few border regions I wouldn’t go to even if it were just me).

    • JoDa

      When I was a kid, my parents “humored” me by letting me try the grade-school “grass seeds in a wet napkin in a margarine dish” experiment with the seeds from every fruit I ate. Of course the experiment failed…until it didn’t. There’s now a peach tree in my mom’s yard that *I GREW.* She’ll be selling the house next year, and we’re looking into whether it’s feasible to dig it up and move it to my brother’s yard since people in the area have a penchant for cutting down trees in their yards, especially when they come with the “nuisance” of fruit.

    • JoDa

      Googling your symptoms and thinking the worst is much-maligned, but *good* research can save your life. I was recently prescribed a drug combination that is fine at low doses, but at the doses I was prescribed, could have killed me. When I called in to discuss it with the doctor, he said “oh, I thought I put on the script to take them 3-4 hours apart and with food, and only take the second if necessary. You should take them 3-4 hours apart and with food, and only take the second if necessary. Taking them together could kill you, especially on an empty stomach. Also, you shouldn’t drink alcohol until you’re off them…ANY ALCOHOL…I said that, right? (he hadn’t, but the warnings on the bottles made that abundantly clear)” Thank you drugs.com! (FWIW, he *did* indicate to take them several hours apart and with food on the script (computerized records, FTW), but that never made it onto the label…so, really the pharmacist’s fault)

    • JoDa

      Dude, the first thing I did when I became a *real* adult (bought my home and realized that the mortgage was less than my rent, so I’d have extra money every month) was to give away my ironing board (I kept the iron because it has cleaning applications, like removing candle wax from upholstery…don’t ask me how that happened, because I don’t know). Now, like a grown-ass adult, when I need something to be perfectly pressed, I TAKE IT TO THE DRY CLEANER. Also, housekeeper. At $150/month for service every two weeks…worth every penny. When I moved to a new city and didn’t have a cleaning service for a few weeks while I got quotes, the only reason my house didn’t STANK was because the previous owners had left behind some toilet bowl cleaner and windex…

    • JoDa

      Well, good for you, I guess. But if you don’t want to hear that soda is bad for you (no one is banning it, BTW), maybe you should exercise discretion enough not to click on articles titled “17 Ways Your Life Will Get More Awesome After You Give Up Soda.” This article isn’t going to take your soda away. NO ONE is going to take your soda away. If you’re offended that someone might say soda is a poor choice of beverage, um, don’t click on an article that is obviously promoting that viewpoint?

    • JoDa

      That actually depends on where you are. I’ve stayed at plenty of hotels in small towns in China where a soda was only $.50-75 US, and a beer was $2 US. Sure, I could have gone to the store and bought them for less, but I’m very much so willing to pay less than I do in the store *here* (America) for a cold and convenient Coke Light or Tiger.

    • JoDa

      Let’s get one thing straight: the goal of almost all reality TV is to “make people feel better about themselves.” Occasionally a cool concept will come along, like the Amazing Race (though I find racing through a foreign land and not really learning much about it (I know, they try, on the surface, to include a little cultural education, but it’s overwhelmed by screaming (in English) at a cab driver to go faster) a little shallow), but by and large reality TV exists to make us either say “I would NEVER behave like that” or “I’m more talented than I thought I was.” We can fix this, and get decent programming back on TV, but that would mean WE HAVE TO STOP WATCHING THESE TRAINWRECKS.

    • JoDa

      It *is* hard! I switched from diet soda to home-made unsweetened iced tea (buy the good stuff, it tastes sooooo good and will still cost less than soda), but I was still missing the soda. So I started making tea concentrate (just use half the water you normally would to steep) and mixing it with carbonated water (I bought a soda stream, but the store-bought stuff is still cheap) and BAM…satisfied. Bubbles and caffeine, without the acids, chemicals, or cost.

    • JoDa

      I only had one professor demand a “dress code” beyond presentations, but several did make mention in the syllabus that your appearance reflects your seriousness about your studies and/or your respect for them as an instructor of (presumably) future professionals. The one professor with a dress code was a little bit of a nutball (would knock 50% off your grade if your printout was slightly askew - yes, she’d measure your margins at 3 places along the side and top of the document, so even if it wasn’t visibly askew, she could tell). None of them, however, minded jeans and a nice shirt (the “official” dress code was “no night wear, no athletic wear (except tennis shoes, which are acceptable), no flip-flops (dress or sport sandals are acceptable, but discouraged), no “club” wear, no ripped, torn, or stained clothing.”). Those who encouraged us to dress decently just riffed on people who showed up in PJs or gym wear *every* day (I would occasionally show up in athletic wear after a particularly long night (studying, getting home from *academic* extra-curriculars late, or watching election returns compulsively), and got a gentle ribbing, but they seemed to recognize that I was pretty miserable and just showing up was a lot of effort).

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