Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween's over - let the candy sales begin ...

We had kids at the door this year! The first time in about three years and not just one or two but 15! And what's even more surprisingly is that the kids were out in the pouring rain - they were all soaked. Fireworks have been going off for hours and that's surprising too - I really didn't think they'd go off when it's wet.
Tomorrow, I'll hit the half-price candy sales - it's a November 1st tradition in this house. We look for little chocolate bars and anything by Lindt. Most of it gets frozen but it's always appreciated when it comes out on a later date.
I went cookie mad this weekend. Made four batches - 34 double chocolate chip, 15 carrot orange, 44 oatmeal raisin and 60 sugar. The biggest surprise was the carrot orange cookies - they almost taste like an orangey shortbread cookie - delish! I only made a few since it was my first time with the recipe but they worked. All the recipes come from the Company's Coming set of mini-books - the one specializing in cookie recipes.I don't like to reprint the recipes unless they're mine for obvious copyright reasons. Now I have a nice stash for the holidays and afternoon tea breaks. Of course, now that I've started, I'd like to add peanut butter chocolate chip, ginger and shortbread to that pile so we'll see but for now, I'm well stocked for home-made cookies.
With those cookies, I've been drinking Harney's Paris tea and Upton's Baker Street Blend. Works really well.

Friday, October 29, 2010


Maybe it's the time of year but it's hard to ignore junk food at Halloween. I've been so very good lately - well-balanced meals and snacks, low cal, low fat, virtually no salt - even exercising like a demon.
Then the stores started putting the Halloween treats on sale.
And of course, you give in because you rationalize that you need plenty in case a lot of kids show up at the door (I think two showed up last year). So now there's tons of tiny chocolate bars lazing around my house, looking for a plump belly to occupy - yep, mine.
And I hear Shoppers has those little bags of chips on sale this weekend too.
There's no hope for me.
I wonder if the kids would settle for apples - I have those too ...
And actually, since it's going to be cold, wet and damp here this weekend, it might be the perfect time to make an apple pie. That and a cup of Upton's Baker Street Blend might be even harder to resist.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Not so nice

A few days ago, I was a nasty customer - of which I am not proud - but unfortunately, I had to be, to get the service I wanted. Looking back, I know I had no other options but I really hate it when a company's stupid policies drive you to the darker side.
This was the problem: I had a cellphone that I wasn't using. The phone company kept raising the rates to the point where I was paying about $50 a month for nothing - that's $600 a year! Time to get rid of the phone. First, I deleted some services on line, such as call display, but they kept charging me. So, I went into see them at their shop at the mall and was told I would have to call them at home. No way - I had tried that before and ended up waiting online for a half hour and still didn't get done what I needed done. Finally, they allowed me to use the phone in-store and after a wait of 15 minutes, I got someone. He took all my information and then said he could do nothing but he would send me to the cancellation department. Why did he take my information then - I told him straight off that I wanted to cancel the phone. After another 16 to 20 minutes, someone else came on the line, took my information again and then said they were transferring me again and I said no. He was the cancellation service and I had already waited a half hour - he said he could take it no further and got me someone else - who then had the nerve to try to upsell me. I had enough by then and told her all the services she was trying to give me for free had been free for me all along until three months ago when they started charging me for them and that I tried to delete them since I never used them anyway. She, although friendly, kept trying to convince me to keep the phone but at this point, I wanted to cancel my home phone and internet too because of their stubborness. Finally, I got through to her to cancel my cell - now I have to wait to see if it actually happens. I did have a business phone through this company before and I had to cancel twice - they ignored me the first time.
Why hadn't I cancelled before? Mainly to avoid this whole situation - when I want to cancel a service, I want to do just that. I don't want to be upsold, put on hold in hopes that I go away or be told that I need it. All this company has done is irritate me into never using their service again and looking at other options for other services that I am using.
And that's bad business, in my books.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Weeks Whiz By!

I can't believe it's the weekend again! The week whizzed by so fast, I didn't have a chance to spend any money - gotta like that! But tomorrow I'm going shopping and eating with a friend so I daresay a few bucks will leave the wallet.
Now that I've gone low sodium, Halloween and the resulting goodies available before are no longer much fun. They don't make my favorite low salt chips in tiny bags so there's no point picking up a box for the house. And since we're watching the calories, it's not a good idea to bring home the little bars either. Here's my list of foods that I wish they had out for Halloween.
1. mini bags of no-salt Kettle brand chips
2. pumpkin spice flavored packs of two tea-bags each - a bit different but neat!
3. Caramel Pears - why should apples have all the fun?
4. Halloween nougat with pumpkin seeds
5. small hot apple cidre packs

Speaking of Halloween flavors, I bought a box of Timothy's Perfectly Pumpkin coffee K-cups last weekend. They're .... OK - not my favorite, nor would I recommend them but I can finish the box. Wouldn't get them again though.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Rotten day!

There are days when it really doesn't pay to get out of bed. This was one of them. Everything went wrong today so that leaves me optimistic for tomorrow - all the nasty stuff is now out of the way. Viva la weekend!
'Twas a day for macaroni and cheese with a chocolate bar for dessert. Yep. Good ole comforting carbs and chocolate. Works everytime. Best teas for a day like this - can't beat the old standards like Orange Spice or a chai.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Another account

It's very fallish here today - about 6C! But sunny and windy so it seems even cooler. It was definitely a day for Upton's Harvest Blend. Right now, I'm having Timmy's Pumpkin Spice - it's an herbal tea! I've been drinking it for three years and thought it was a flavored black so I have never had it at night. Well, that's changed.
Earlier this year, I made arrangements for the bank to automatically take off money twice a month for my Tax Free Account and my RRSP. Painlessly, I've managed to save at least $800 for each account (at least since there was a banking error that saw that doubled for a few weeks). Normally, I would not have been able to save that much so I'm pretty pleased. I'll have $2000 put away by the end of December.
So today, I decided to try something new. I receive a nice amount of freelance income for music and writing, which supplements my pay - but because it's often paid by cheque, it has a habit of disappearing. In plain speaking, I just spend it on this and that and have nothing to show for it. Each item is worth about $75 or $100 dollars but combined, they add up to a new computer, car downpayment or a little vacation next year. I know there's about $1200 between now and the end of the year and for once, I want to do something about it. So today, I opened a savings account at another bank that allows only one free withdrawal a month - just the fact it's at another bank and the idea I have to pay for withdrawals should keep me out of it! I deposited $80 of my GST refund and used the rest to get a few extra boxes of K-cups. Just the fact the GST isn't in my hot little hands means it won't get spent on groceries or sales at the mall - and that's a good thing!

Friday, October 8, 2010

It's Thanksgiving Weekend!

That means unlimited food - and yes, we've been shopping our brains out. It seems there are deals everywhere this week. Last night, we got 10 pounds of pasta for $4, two cases of pop for $5, four frozen pie crusts for $4.00 and butter for $3 a pound and today, we got two more cases of pop for $4 total (brand names again!), balkan-style yogurt for 99 cents a large container, seedless grapes for 99 cents a pound and large blocks of cheddar cheese for $4! My fridge is bulging and I haven't even start cooking dinner yet!
I'm having the traditional turkey, along with all the fixings, and lemon pie for dessert. I might make some carrot muffins too - for some reason, they just say "autumn" to me.
It's going to be cold this weekend so I may be breaking out the lapsang souchong! More than likely, I'll be drinking Upton's Harvest Blend - my taste buds are back in business after a two-week cold. It was a good opportunity to use up some of less favored teas - after all, why waste the good stuff if you can't taste it.
I have my GST cheque and it's suppose to be destined for my new travel account - since I didn't go anywhere this year, I thought I'd set aside all my freelance and extra money for a nice getaway next year - but I've since learned that a hefty price increase is expected for K-cups. I may use some of the GST to stock up on some of my favorites - Timothy's Cinnamon Pastry and German Chocolate Cake coffees and their Chai tea and White Indulgence tea - I'm almost out of all of them. I just like this stuff too much!
Have a tummy-filling holiday weekend!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Cold again!

As in, I have that dreaded "cold" again. Sigh. I had it from December to April the last time - yet after a week, it still feels like I've had it forever. I have no idea why germs stick to me like glue. I do know when I worked from home, I was rarely sick. Since returning to work in an office, it seems like I'm always sick.
Could I be allergic to work???!!!
The worst thing about this cold is that my taste buds have gone on holiday. Can't taste a thing. That makes it a good time to use up all the not-so-hot teas and I've even been able to cut back a bit on the food.
I have been drinking gallons of water though. With the usual after-effects. Oh well, since I am now in the bathroom most of the time, I can see my skin does indeed look better ...