It may happen to you at some point in your life that, while slightly intoxicated from an impulsive shot or two of Rumplemintz, you realize half-way through a recipe that you have run out of the necessary red food coloring for the 4th of July chocolatey snack you are attempting to prepare for a family BBQ.

A warning:

Don’t waste your time and risk your safety by driving out to the grocery store at 11:45pm to buy said food dye before the stores close.  When you get home and attempt to use it, you will learn the hard way that the water-based food coloring sold in most grocery stores destroys melted chocolate, so you won’t be able to finish your tasty snack anyway.  Stay home, enjoy another shot, and finish the recipe tomorrow.



Work outings.  Yep.  They happen.  It’s a strange thing to be required to spend your free time with people you normally don’t like, doing something you normally wouldn’t do.  In my case, it’s a party in downtown OKC with free beer (read: Bud Light) and half-naked women dancing in cages whilst a DJ spins club jams.  Oh yeah.  Sign me up.

As if that weren’t enough, there’s a dress code that is, according to the flyer, “strictly enforced.”  Helpfully, said dress code is clearly outlined in the following ways: “Dress to impress.”  Right.  Obviously.  (According to the other, much more knowledgeable girls who are also required to participate in the Mandatory Fun, this means I need club wear.  Sigh.)

Now, as a professor and part time waitress, naturally my closet is bursting with all manner of trendy, club-ready clothing.  Yeah, not so much. After a good deal of closet shopping and improvising, I managed to find a dress that I thought would be workable. All I needed was a key piece of jewelry to bring it all together, give it some punch.

Since the dress is navy and black, I decided I needed a bright red bracelet.  I wanted something that had the heft and color of these beads:


but also had the cuff-like quality of this:

from Shop Ruche

Unfortunately, I’m not interested in spending $45 for a bracelet that I’m not totally in love with (à la Shop Ruche), and for an event I couldn’t care less about.  And, in order to buy enough of the Sino-Treasure version to make a cuff, it’d still cost about $42.  Pretty sure I can do better.

Off once more to the hobby store.  I found some lovely, rich burgundy beads that were exactly what I was looking for.  Thankfully, the sale gods were smiling on me again, and I managed to snag them for 50% off.

I bought two packages, giving me 4 strands of beads to work with at a total cost of only $5.34, including tax!  I already had stretchy beading thread on hand, but even if I hadn’t, it still would’ve only added $2.50 (plus tax) to the overall cost.

Rather than trying to figure out some way to fashion a single cuff (I’m a jewelry-making newbie, after all), I decided to make three individual bracelets that I would wear as bangles to get that cuff look I was going for.  In order to string them all together, I used a ribbon needle and double threaded the strands to give extra support for my bracelets. Wouldn’t want those guys breaking apart with all that exuberant rump shaking I’m sure to be doing.

A quick double knot on the end and I was ready to string those beads!  This was a fun project to do during commercials while I enjoyed a Law & Order SVU and red wine fix.  (I ♥ Det. Stabler. And a good Cab Sav.)  It’s pretty much goof proof.   Thread needle.  String beads.  Tie ends together.  Repeat.  Before Benson and Stabler had their first suspect in handcuffs, my cuff was good to go.

Here’s the cost breakdown:

Beads:  $4.99 @ 50% off x 2 pkg. = $5.34

String:  already had on hand = free!


My total cost:  $5.34

Average of internet inspirations:  $43.50

TOTAL SAVED:  $38.16

Bring it, Mandatory Work-Fun-times. I’m ready for you.

Think back to a time in your life when you just dominated. Call it a “win at life” moment, if you will.  That time you felt as if you owned the world, that the stars were aligned just for you and nothing could touch you.  Let that feeling creep back in for a moment, allow your confidence to grow, relish the taste, the thrill of assurance that things were going to work out and nothing, NOTHING would ever change that.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s how they felt, too.

Until they ended up my local thrift store.

For $ .99.

With a 50% off sticker proudly displayed on the back.

Dear readers, I’ve begun to notice a serious condition that is plaguing students all across our fine state.  It is a rampant, growing epidemic that is so invasive, it threatens to reach into your school and take possession of your children.  It seems that many college students, who are engaged in their class discussions and lectures, are suddenly and without warning disappearing.

Yes, it’s true.  Students all over the state are vanishing before our educator’s very eyes.  One minute, they are there, sitting attentively, taking notes and engaging the instructor in meaningful conversation. The next, they are gone.  It’s as if they evaporated into thin air, leaving no trace of their former presence.  Or so one would think.  Just when you grow comfortable in their absence, they abruptly re-appear, frightening their fellow classmates and instructors with a random question, comment, or concern.  It’s as if their spirit remained in the room, observing all the goings on yet their bodies choose to remain unseen by the rest of the class.  It is a terribly frightening and chilling phenomenon; one that requires all caution to avoid.

Ok, maybe students aren’t actually disappearing in class.  But that scenario seems to make more sense than the reality of what goes on with some students in some classes.  How else am I to explain when students fall asleep, watch You Tube videos on their laptops, text, doodle, or complete homework for other classes, all during class time and in plain view.  It’s a phenomenon I’ve referred to as the “invisibility effect.”  Something happens when a student sits at a desk and faces the front of a classroom – they forget that just as they can see their professor, so can their professor see them.

Maybe this is the result of too much television or the fault of online chatting, where people do remain unseen by their digital audiences.  But this is real life now; the instructor you’re looking at isn’t digital.  You are visible.  Recognize.  I see those cell phones hidden under textbooks and table tops.  I know you’re not taking notes on your laptop when your face reveals muffled laughter and you elbow your neighbor, pointing at your computer screen so they might share in your glee.  Pull your hat down over your eyes all you want; just because you can’t see me, I can still see you, sleeping peacefully in the back row, head leaning back against the wall.  And ma’am, I understand that bras aren’t always the most comfortable of clothing.  However, if you would be so kind, please refrain from grabbing the tops of your cups and vigorously hoisting them upward during my lectures. It’s distracting, at the least. At most, it’s going to cause some chafing, and that’s not good for anyone.

So students, a word to the wise.  Remember that game your parents played with you as a baby?  Peek-a-boo?  Well, consider that your first and possibly earliest life’s lesson.  I. See. You.

Another semester, another finals week limps to its death. As if exams, late work, and upwardly mobile deadlines weren’t enough to slough through, the curriculum at my community college requires its students to craft a researched, argument essay as the final assignment.  Adding insult to injury is the fact that their topic must be of “global importance”.  Typically, the freshman perspective on topics like gay rights or abortion trigger my snark response. The following excerpt, however, utterly floored me:

“Pro-Life advocates believe in personal responsibility and self control. The mother should only have protected sex. If she was not raped or taken advantage of by a male relative then it is the girl’s fault. Even if she was a victim of rape or incest, with the proper medical help she can get the sperm extracted from her body and would prevent unwanted pregnancy. It is the female’s responsibility that her sex partner uses protection every time. Or she can go the safe route and not have sex until marriage.”

That’s right, ladies. It’s YOUR job to make sure he wraps it up.  And if you forget? Well, doctors have new-fangled sperm extractors with testosterone seeking drones that will locate and safely escort each and every one of the approximately 100 million swimmers now circulating your fallopian tubes.

And in case you’re wondering, no. The student did not cite his sources.

To Whom It May Concern:
cc: The Powers That Be

RE: Overcrowding, Domain, and other societal contradictions

Be it here observed and otherwise declared, in full view of witnesses and with all the force and authority of the signed, the following: People suck. For those who doubt the validity of this claim, a sampling.

Item 1 – The elderly (and ornery) Homeland shopper who, while laboriously re-reading her grocery list, ignored a very polite request to access the bundles of romaine lettuce that were partially blocked as she inspected each and every curled leaf of the neighboring Italian parsley. Upon hearing the request and turning to look the speaker in the eye, she rolled hers, returning to her task without surrendering even an inch.

Item 2 – The technology dependent youth who, earbuds firmly in place, thumbs twitching furiously on the keypad during dinner out with family, refused to disconnect his umbilical gadget. Though his family seemed not to mind (their own attentions focused elsewhere), the fatigued restaurant employee attempting to wait on them struggled to communicate the most basic of needs.

Item 3 (subparts A and B)- The overpaid checkout-girl who, after communicating a sales total and turning to enter data into the computer, paused to write the Anna Karenina of text messages, oblivious to the $20 bill the hurried customer held out in payment. Tolstoy’s manager, meanwhile, stood at the end of the conveyor discussing with a confused shopper the location and merits of raisins. He failed to notice the texting incident.

Item 4 – The pushy department of defense employee who, having already argued with the TSA officer at the airport checkpoint, shoved her fellow Americans (whose flight left in 10 minutes) out of her way with a body blow and an “I’m going, here!” Her efforts secured her the use of a *special* plastic tub and stymied the entire line’s progress in order that she might receive additional screening from disgruntled security officers.

Item 5 – The hat-wearing churchgoer who, after offering a bit too much cough syrup to her already excitable child, pulled aside a busy restaurant employee, demanding that she take a moment to sanitize the women’s restroom after said child projectile vomited all over the walls, sinks, and floors. The employee reminded the mother that paper towels were available for guest use and hinted that perhaps she might want to clean up after her child herself. Instead, the devout lady returned to her table to eat, having sent her food back to the kitchen no less than three times.

In response to these and other similar incidents, one might opt for unrepressed anger and/or cynicism. Unfortunately, this often serves only to promote the very episodes that launched such a vicious cycle. Another option is to “be the bigger person” and attempt on one’s own to “kill with kindness” the powerful forces of vanity. Realistically, this is not a viable option.

Alternatively, in the interest of peace and general goodwill toward everyone, may I propose a new holiday: National Navel-Gazing Day. For this one day, let us celebrate the narcissist within us all. Ignore those around you! Deny the existence of reality outside the boundaries of your own flesh! Embrace conceit! Promote egotism! You deserve it.

Then, for the remaining 364 rotations in our common journey around the sun, may I suggest the following: Get over yourself.

Faithfully witnessed and fully supported by,

(your name here)

in a student essay regarding global warming, this:

“Because the earth has been warming up, the glaciers in the North and South poles are melting and taking polar bears and penguins’ places to rest on.”