cheap frugal and also a fairly good cook. Because of these
two facts, we have never been big restaurant patrons. Even when I worked
full time and had kids still at home, it seemed easier to me to cook
than it did to pack up the kids, entertain them for what was always
too long of a time while we waited for service and then food, and then
eat quickly and try to get the bill paid before the kids turned into
… well, kids.
Even now that we are two mostly retired folks, we don’t eat out all
that often. Perhaps once or twice a month, tops (probably about 15 times
a year). I can feed the two of us for several days on what it costs
to go out to eat, have a drink, leave a tip, and put gas in the car
getting there and back home. Like I said, I’m frugal.
According to USA
Today, many people have had the same outlook in the last few years.
Going out to eat was an extravagance that wasn’t part of family life.
But that is changing. The economic outlook is improving and as people
are more flush, they are spending their money on these little treats.
In April, in the US, we spent $45.9 billion on dining out. That was
an increase (seasonally adjusted) from the previous high achieved last
December when we spent $200 million less. The first three months of
2013 weren’t as good, perhaps because of a new tax hike. Sales were
down to $45.2 billion in February. That is admittedly a shorter month,
but it does include Valentine’s Day which is a big day to dine out.
The restaurants are hoping these numbers continue to rise. Almost half
of Americans (49%) said they don’t eat out as often as they would like.
A survey of 1000 adults showed that most people enjoy eating out and
would like to do so even more frequently (54% of women and 44% of men).
This leads restaurateurs to believe that the economy is still not perky
enough to allow this to take place and some are still living frugally.
Those who do dine out are spending more, at least 26% of Americans are,
while 32% said they are spending the same. However, about 46% of those
in the 50 to 64 year old age bracket are spending less but many say
this is their new normal as they prepare for retirement and are saving
more for that goal.
The younger crowd (18 - 29 year olds) are spending more than they used
One owner said that his restaurant, the Copper Onion in Salt Lake City,
Utah, did remarkably well last month. It could have been due to having
nicer weather. But he also said that he has both $40 and $60 bottles
of Pinot and many more of the higher priced bottles were consumed meaning
that people were willing to spend more while dining out, especially
Overall, Americans are behaving less frugally. Still, 41% polled said
they are "spending less money" now as compared to 57% who
answered that way in 2010. [Aside: If we are comparing how much money
was spent dining out from three years ago, those 18 year olds were only
15 and probably didn’t dine out unless they were with their parents,
so of course they are spending more now. Even the mid-twentysomethings
would have been in college a few years ago and not have the money to
spend on dining out, so these numbers seem to be questionable. Not that
they aren’t spending more now, just that they didn’t have the wherewithal
to spend much earlier.]
How often do you dine out? Would you like to do so more often? What
would be the ideal number of times per month? When you do dine out,
do you get appetizers? Desserts? Drink alcohol?
Do you plan on dining out more frequently in the near future? What sort
of restaurants do you prefer? Do those living outside the US see the
same trend where you live?
On This Article
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People everywhere confuse what they read in newspapers with news. -
A. J. Liebling
By association with nature’s enormities, a man’s heart may truly grow
big also. - Lin Yutang
Little Johnny, burst
into the house, crying his eyes out. His Mama asked him what the problem
was. “Pop and I were fishing, and he hooked a giant fish. Really big.
Then, when he was reeling it in, the line busted, ….and the fish got
“Now come on, Johnny,” his mother said, “a big boy like you shouldn’t
be crying about an accident like that. You should have laughed.”
“That’s what I did, Mama.”
I believe that in a great city, or even in a small city or a village,
a great theater is the outward and visible sign of an inward and probable
We have all, at one time or another, been performers, and many of us
still are - politicians, playboys, cardinals and kings.
I take a simple view of life: keep your eyes open and get on with it.
– all from Laurence Olivier, English actor, born on this day in 1907
My Most Embarrassing Moment
My Scariest Moment
Speak right up!
It is a sad time for me. Saturday, a friend was killed in an accident.
Pete wasn’t an extremely close friend. I had very limited interaction
with him. I actually had more interaction with his son than I did with
him, but I didn’t know his son was related to him until recently. But,
Pete was one of those people you knew was a terrific person the moment
you met him.
Pete was killed in an expedition with a group with whom he was intimately
affiliated. He was an outspoken supporter and very active with the Boy
Scouts. Although I was not involved with him in that, others were.
My involvement with him was in geocaching.
I was going to write something about his unfortunate and tragic accident,
but a phone call interrupted me. His family has asked me to officiate
at his funeral. I now find myself needing to learn more of this friend’s
private life. I will be meeting with the family. I know
there will be a lot of questions. I hope, both ways.
This will be my first funeral. I am totally honored that the family
has asked this of me. Although my friendship with Pete wasn’t
a daily interaction, I can say I felt a closeness with him as we shared
similar interests in life. That, and he was one heck of a nice
I’ll leave this here for now and go back to preparing for something
I hope my own emotions will not betray.
Here’s your quiz:
Have you had a friend suddenly die?
Have you been surprised to learn someone you knew was related to someone
Will you give me some "good vibes" to help me make this as
the family would appreciate?
Grief - Going To Have To Handle It My Own Way
Cliff (the High-Tech Redneck who doesn’t rate a fancy ’signature pic’)
on this article
acts will keep you in stitches.”
~ Unknown ~
If I were to pick the one major appliance that I absolutely cannot do
without, I would have to pick my dishwasher. And because my dishwasher
is so important to me, that is the thing that decided to stop working
a week ago.
The problem is not with the dishwasher itself, but with the drain going
out of it, which appears to be clogged. When we discovered that the water
was not draining out of the dishwasher after the cycle, my husband and
I embarked on what has been quite an adventure to try to get the thing
Initially, we did what anyone would do: we Googled the problem because,
you know, the Internet knows everything. We found a solution involving
vinegar and baking soda, but despite several attempts, it didn’t work.
Then we tried some stuff that claims to be the foolproof solution to any
drain blockage while still being kind to the environment. We learned that
anything that is gentle on the environment is not strong enough for a
So we brought in the big guns and got chemicals. Not the namby-pamby tree-hugger
stuff, but industrial strength Drano that you can smell from seven blocks
It didn’t work.
On Monday morning, after the husband had left for work, I said to myself,
“So the dishwasher doesn’t work. How hard can it possibly be to fix it
It turns out, very.
Feeling quite proud of my resourcefulness, I fed a plumbing snake down
the outlet, but it immediately met resistance. Deducing that there was
probably a filter at the mouth of the outlet that I couldn’t see, I decided
to dig around in there to try and remove it. With my bare hands and all.
Three seconds later, I sliced my finger open on a sharp edge in the bowels
of the dishwasher and ended up dancing around my kitchen bleeding like
a stuck pig, while the kids looked on in bewilderment.
I am proud to say that my kids demonstrated their emergency preparedness
like stars. After a few seconds of stunned silence, they both leapt into
action without a word from me. They grabbed the box of Band-Aids, and
started unwrapping Band-Aids like speed demons. My younger son shoved
a wad of tissues into my hand to stem the bleeding, and between them,
they wrapped my finger in enough layers of gauze and Band-Aids to stop
the blood from leaking out.
I considered going to the emergency room for stitches. I probably should
have, and at some point I may regret not going. But I really, really do
not want stitches, because it would hurt a lot and I’m a bit of a wuss
where needles and stitches are concerned.
When I unwrapped my finger later in the day, I was relieved to see that
although the Band-Aids and gauze were soaked in blood, the bleed had,
at some point, stopped. The cut still looked gross, but I applied disinfectant
and re-dressed it.
At this point, I am relying on the power of the human body to heal itself.
The dishwasher will just have to do the same, because I’m not going anywhere
On This Article
When you have dogs, their activities are always of interest. It isn’t
that they do anything unusual for their species. It isn’t that they conduct
scientific experiments or discover new planets. My interest in what TJ,
The Golden Retriever, and Molly and Daisy, our West Highland Terrorists
do springs from a concern that a mess is in progress, or, in TJ’s case,
that food is about to be stolen.
There are times that mere concern turns into absolute panic. I’ll hear
a noise in the kitchen, and will assume some canine mischief is afoot.
I’ll holler, and in extreme cases, even get out of my artist’s garret
Sometimes, I’ll walk into the kitchen and find garbage all over the floor.
This doesn’t happen a lot. All of our trash containers have lids. If the
lids are in place, inquisitive muzzles can’t penetrate. Of course, it
is Mom’s position that only one muzzle can knock over the garbage can,
steal food from the counter or drink out of the toilet. She just won’t
accept the fact that Westies are gifted with the ability to fly, and the
added ability to blame innocent golden retrievers for they’re evil deeds.
The point of all of this is that I have on occasion blamed our four legged
roommates for things they didn’t do. For instance, I will think my mother
is peacefully watching TV, and a noise out in the kitchen will inspire
false accusations. “What are you doing?” I will ask TJ, who rarely responds,
at least not in English. “Stop that right now!” I might exclaim believing
that my voice can do what my body can’t, which is to move quick enough
to discourage miscreant paws and muzzles.
“I’m making myself a cup of tea,” the maternal parent will inform me in
a voice that might as well be saying, “minding my own business”.
“Oh,” I will humbly reply. “I thought you were one of the dogs.”
My confusion between parent and canine has never caused real offense,
although rightfully it could. When the dogs want me to pet or scratch
them, they bump the side of my chair to let me know they are in want of
my attention. There are times that TJ, The Golden Retriever manages to
plant himself between Mom and her destination, requiring her to maneuver
around him in a somewhat inconvenient dance. Sometimes, she has to grasp
portions of my artist’s garret to get around him. The sensation is much
like the doggy affection request, and, if I am in my usual state of preoccupation
and inattention, my automatic response is to idly supply the requested
service. It is in this way I discovered that 92 year old women do not
share a golden retriever’s pleasure in a good butt scratch.
On This Article
Odds and Ends
- More Fun Facts…
More people in the United States die during the first week of the month
than during the last, an increase that may be a result of the abuse of
substances purchased with benefit checks that come at the beginning of
each month. In the film Forrest Gump, all the still photos show Forrest
with his eyes closed. There are an average of 18,000,000 items for sale
at any time on EBay. The New York Times reports that in February 2004,
62% of all e-mail was spam. U.K. telecom provider Telewest Broadband is
testing a device that hooks to your PC and wafts a scent when certain
e-mails arrive. In 1993, David McLean developed lung cancer. He died on
October 12, 1995. McLean’s death made him the second Marlboro Man to die
of lung cancer. Another Marlboro actor, Wayne McLaren, died in 1992 at
the age of 51 from lung cancer. There is a bar in London that sells vaporized
vodka, which is inhaled instead of sipped.
Thanks for the limericks - let’s try this fill-in -
Next Line - I once met a gal with three ________
Here’s a great new rhyming/composition tool. http://www.writerhymes.com/
There’s also a great rhyming dictionary at http://www.rhymezone.com/
Limerick rules. http://freespace.virgin.net/merrick.sheldon/limerickrules.htm
once met a man who ate grass…..
And found it so hard to "pass"…..
Then he fell to the ground…..
And made that horrible sound…..
That he heard from passing that gas!!!
once met a man who ate beans…..
The best he could do with his "means"…..
He thought he was "classy"……
With his pretty young lassie…..
Till she smelled him and made a big scene.
story is a good illustration of my concerns about current treatments
for Autism Spectrum disorders, and quite a few others. One remarkably
fidgety girl, who would just be medicated into her seat these days,
was sent to dance school before the invention of Ritalin. She became
quite famous. After playing to sell-out crowds in Carnegie Hall, Josh
Bell tried his luck busking in the subway, mastering a piece most couldn’t
even attempt, on a Stradivarius. He barely got noticed. If you saw Kim
Peak without his father’s constant guidance, you wouldn’t see a mathematical
prodigy and walking encyclopedia, you’d see a nut muttering in the gutter.
If Rolls and Royce had not met, you would not have heard of either of
All those specialists seem to be trying to turn extraordinary people
into ordinary ones, however low-functioning. Dull minds can’t imagine
the possibilities in more focussed ones. That has become a big problem
in health administration, with the talent getting micro-managed by the
clueless. I can spend all week helping people get their houses fixed
up, doing stuff that seems simple and obvious to me, but if I ask them
for some help arranging a meeting, something they have been on the ‘phone
doing all week, in between gushing about how stuff had been broken for
years, they react as if I must have nothing between my ears. Creative
people often remark that all the kids in kindergarten were creative,
but only their spark somehow survived school. Sure, we need both chiefs
and indians, but the contrast has gotten too great, encouraged by a
school system that teaches “what to think instead of how.” as John Sirkis
so eloquently sings. - Bob of the North
All those “highly skillled
and educated professionals” weere too busy trying to make a child conform
to societal norms instead of recognizing that each person is unique
and encouraging that. Thank goodness his mother didn’t give up! What
do you think school is for? It’s not for the teaching of knowledge,
but how to behave as a good little drone and do what you are told! Just
think back to your school days and remember how much time was wasted
doing what they told you to instead of learning. And I don’t mean in
the sense of learning how to get along with other people or not behaving
like a chimp on a swing either. - Ruth in WA
Psychiatrist say 99% of the population is crazy and the 1% percent that
isn’t is slowly going crazy.
You see the psychiatrist are in the 1% so all I say is look out - dEE
found a few ticks already this year, and the city has started the mosquito
spraying that drives my asthma wild. We don’t have any unique vampires
that I know of, just the usual politicians and utility companies. It
may not be contagious to become a vampire, but I’ve certainly noticed
some boring cases in print! - Ruth in WA
Disclaimer- All quotes printed in this publication are believed to be accurately
attributed, but no guarantees are made that some incorrectly attributed,
or even outright false quotes won’t get in here from time to time.
I assure readers that I will do my best to weed out incorrect quotes, and
will print a retraction as soon as I become aware of any errors.
Click here to see the archives of past issues, or go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/reallygoodquotes/messages.
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which pieces impacted you the most.
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