Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Let's say you have to give presents to a bunch of different teenagers. You don't want to spend any money, but you don't want to look cheap (cuz you know those teenagers will tell you to your face: "Dude, you're freakin cheap. And super old.") So, you go to the craft store and buy some silk thread. (It's $1.99, but you can print out a 40% coupon to cut costs.) Then, you put a couple beads on there. Or, maybe you have little charms just sitting around from a long-abandoned craft project. Then you write somethin witty about how they can make a wish as they tie the bracelet/necklace on. And how when the string breaks, the wish comes true. Just print that out on cardstock and wrap the string around it. Tape it in the back. No clasp necessary. Super cheap. Super cool. Not much money.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Sure, you could bust your buns slicing up 3 pounds of apples and rolling out the perfect piecrust for a pie. And, yeah, maybe folks would be impressed. But, that involves lots of spices and a pie plate and lemon juice and a lot of effort. Need dessert for 12? Buy 3 apples. Seriously. That's all it takes.
Grab 3 sticks from your yard. Stick them in the apples. Melt some caramel. (You might have some left over from Halloween.) Dip the apples. Put them on tin foil on the let 'em sit in the fridge for 30 mins.
Melt some chocolate. I know you've got some. Doesn't matter what kind. Spoon the chocolate over the caramel apples.
Toss some toffee bits on there. Or sprinkles. Or whatever. They're your apples; how do YOU like 'em ? Once you have the apples coated up how you want, back in the fridge they go. Take them out 30 minutes before dessert time and slice 'em up. You watch. NOBODY--not even your big, ol' lazyass uncle who hasn't had a job in 30 years--can eat more than a slice or two. In fact, most folks will end up cutting a slice in half. Done and done--three apples feeds 12 people.
It ain't loaves and fishes, of course, but it's pretty cool.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
It's the holiday season, and we're all supposed to give. My writing services are the best Christmas gift I can offer to the world. Seems like folks are in desperate need of well-placed apostrophes and sujbect-verb agreement, and I'm here to help.
The Annual Holiday Letter
Because of my last blog post, many of my fans and loyal followers raked me over the coals for making fun of their annual holiday letters. Looks like you're going to send these things anyway, so I'd better come to the rescue.
I will ghost write your family holiday letters. Let me know the highlights of your family's past year, and I'll craft it in a way that doesn't make people puke. I'll even include humble comments such as "We certainly didn't expect little Sarah to get the lead in the school play, but she surprised us all with her God-given acting talents. Look out, Hollywood!" The spelling, grammar and punctuation also will be correct. Duh, that goes without saying. Your recipients will be impressed this year. Cost: $20.
As an added bonus, I can provide personalized letters from Santa. These letters will arrive typed on fancy holiday stationery. I'll sign Santa's name in gold ink. Heck, I could even throw in some glitter and a few personal facts ("Way to maintain that C average, Tommy!"). Cost: $10/kid.
Everyone's busy during the holiday season, and bloggers are no exception. I can offer a much-needed break--and the most awesome guest blog posts ever. Cost: $20/post.
Let me know how I can help. Persian Metamarketing Ltd. is here for you. All money received will go to Birthdaywishes.org, a charity that provides birthday parties for children in homeless shelters.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Look out, it's almost that time of year. In a few weeks, they'll start invading your house. You know what I'm talking about. Yep, the annual Christmas letters.
If you are one of those people who send an impersonal form letter to all of your friends and family, realize this: WE ALL MAKE FUN OF YOU.
Seriously. ALL OF US. We get together and have parties and read your letter out loud and laugh at it.
The letter is not cool. Stop doing it. Nobody is impressed by the list of crap you bought or accomplished throughout the year. Nobody cares that you took a business trip to Cleveland. Nobody cares if your kid got the lead in the school play. No one wants to hear the oozing details of your knee surgery.
So, save yourself some money (and a trip to Staples) and forego that 200-pack of 8.5 x 11 Christmas paper. Nobody wants to read the usual crap you print. Unless you say something nice. So, think about it. Send a personalized handwritten note. Maybe something like, "Give peace a chance in 2011" or "You're the funkiest, freshest cat I know." Don't have time? Please. If you don't have time to scratch "I love you, man. Your fave cat, Bede" at the bottom of a card, then you need to brush up on your social skills.
All you need is some paper and some envelopes. I bet you have some in a drawer somewhere. Who are you trying to impress with fancy stamps and letterpress printing in gold ink? It's the words, man. It's the words you use and that has the power to make someone feel great. Cost: $0.
Friday, November 5, 2010
Hosting a baby shower for a family member or friend? Don't know what to buy? You don't have to spend much.
1. You know that Diaper Genie the UPS man delivered to your house by mistake? Give that to someone you really like. If you want to be really cool, you could add a companion gift of Diaper Genie liners, but that would cost money.
2. Frame that e-mail your friend sent you where she wrote, "Dude, I'm in labor."
3. Go to one of those Christmas All Year Long stores and buy a "Baby's 1st Christmas" ornament. Moms-to-be love that sorta stuff, and you can find the ornament for less than $10. Or you can create one for free out of leftover polymer clay or spraypainted wood or something you have around the house.
4. Diapers. Any size. Any amount. No matter how many you get, it won't be enough. This is a gift that won't go to waste. Actually, it WILL go to waste because it'll be a receptacle for poop but you know what I mean.
5. An outfit or stuffed animal that someone in your house outgrew and forgot about. This one's tricky. It has to be something really cool like a vintage Superman T-shirt in a tiny size or a classic teddy bear. You also have to write a whole backstory to the piece explaining the significance of it. Otherwise, you just end up looking cheap.
Friday, October 15, 2010
You don't need to spend a lot of money on a little kid's birthday party. Whenever I throw a party for one of the neighborhood kids, I keep it inexpensive and simple. Here's how:
1. Keep the guest list small. If your kid is turning four, invite four kids. Plus, keep party interlopers away from the food table by posting a sign that reads "PRIVATE." It really does deter any food moochers (neighbors, former colleagues) who might appear. (Savings tip: Bought a Betty Crocker mix on sale for $.99 and got some frosting for a $1.59. Had a $1 coupon for buying the two together.)
2. Remember that project you were gonna do? The one that required bags of sand and stone pavers for a little walkway? The one you never started? Yeah, take that sand and put it in a plastic tub. Then buy some gold spray paint ($3.99 at hardware store but probably cheaper at Wal-Mart) and paint some rocks. Put the rocks in the sand and tell the kids to dig for gold. This will keep them busy for hours. Trust me. (Savings tip: Find rocks around the neighborhood, restaurants, a creek bed, anywhere they're free.)
3. If people ask if they can bring something, say yes. Be specific. Say stuff like, "Bring the private cake." Or, "Bring the potato salad." Or, "I sure could use some plasticware." But, tell folks not to bring gifts. And mean it. Does your kid need another toy? No. You're inviting people cuz you like them--not cuz they're gonna buy stuff for your kid. If someone happens to bring a gift, whisk it away to another room and let your kid open it after the party. (Savings Tip: Some kids are happy with a bun with ketchup. Ask them and see. You'll save on hot dogs that way.)
4. For party favors, send the kids home with some gold rocks.
Monday, October 11, 2010
When I first came up with the idea of giving a button with my face on it to people who made a $10 donation to the Red Cross, I didn't expect much of a response. As the weeks went by, however, people told me of their generous donations and it truly warmed my heart. Using the honor system, I have no way of knowing whether people really made donations to the Red Cross or not, but I like to believe in humanity and hope each person made a donation, however large or small.
For Christmas and for the Chilean miners, I will unveil a larger, more festive Bede button made from the picture on the left. I hope it's also a hit with my many fans.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Or, maybe you could stay at home and whip up some crabcakes. That's some folks' idea of dinner. Some FANCY folks, maybe. But, what about your plan to save money so you can go to Tuscany someday? You better RETHINK.
Look in your cabinet and find a can o' soup. I know you've got at least one. It's turning fall weather and nothing's better than chicken'n'wild rice or split pea w/ ham. Who are you trying to impress on a Monday evening anyway? Pop open that can. Two, three minutes in the microwave, and dinner's done. Bust out a bag of gluten-free crackers, and you've got a feast! Tomato soup and a grilled cheese is mmm, mmm free.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
1. I'm thankful for the lunch I packed that isn't very appetizing. The alternative could be no food at all. Back when I was a starving artist in Nashville, I gathered the change from my piggy bank so I could buy a can of soup for the day. I bought the soup and was walking back to my car when a homeless man asked me if I had any money. I gave him a handful of dimes (cuz I thought the pennies would be too insulting).
2. Just the other day, I was making funny faces in the mirror when I noticed my grey roots. I felt old and upset with myself that I hadn't gotten around to calling up the beauty shop. Then, I thought about the guy from Spenser for Hire who lost all his hair during chemo. I should be thankful for my hair, roots and all. I bet Michael Douglas is.
3. I was having a good time walking through the Salvation Army trying to find funny clothes to make a Halloween costume. Then, I saw families there shopping for their everyday clothes.
4. Sunday night, I was sitting on the couch upset that I got only 200 cable channels instead of 600. Then, I noticed my bookshelves, full of books I haven't read. So, I miss some must-see TV. So what. What was my favorite show five years ago? 10 years ago? I have no idea. But, I can tell you all about my favorite books (that's a post for another day).
5. I broke a bowl. I was mad until I counted up how many bowls I have. There are 17 left. I think I will get by. We all will.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
1) I have read Luke 14:7-11 (NIV).
2) I am the chair and CEO of Persian Metamarketing Ltd. (NYSE: PML), which employs approximately 612,000 people and operates 684 facilities in 111 countries, so I have nothing to prove.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
The whole point of the transaction is to get the toy, so I can take it home to the human kid. (Often, when I am flying back from my Shanghai biz trips, I forget to buy her a souvenir and end up purchasing a double-decker bus-shaped handbag at the duty-free in Heathrow.)
So, the cashier will ask me, "Is it for a boy or a girl?"
And, that's where it gets complicated.
I end up defending a dissertation through the speaker board while holding up the lunch line.
"Well, I'm a cat," I say, "but I'm only eating the fries in the meal. The toy isn't for me. It's a gift for someone else, a little human girl, BUT, she would prefer a DC Comics action figure to the mini Madame Alexander doll. You see, she really loves Iron Man and she got a huge kick outta that Aquaman she received the last time we were here."
And then through the speaker, a static-y voice asks, "What?"
"Boy! It's for a boy!" I yell.
And then, I opened the box expecting to see Batman or Stretch Armstrong.
There she was, a mini Cinderella-version Madame Alexander.
Maybe the cashier had malice in her heart cuz I yelled. Maybe a dog-lover was working the drive-thru. I just hope human kid isn't too disappointed with her doll. Cost: $3.17.
Monday, August 23, 2010
My latest adventure is one full of fire and music (for we all know that music soothes the savage beast, which is what dogs are). For those of you who haven't already heard, I have recently formed a Dixieland band called The Bede Cat Band. It seems like every city where my band tours, the crowds are getting bigger instead of smaller. We're talking from Cairo (Egypt) to Cairo (Georgia). People don't seem to mind that we play only one song: "Sweet Georgia Brown." It's a classic and gets the crowd to the dance floor almost as quickly as the Georgia Satellites' "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" does. (In a related note, we are working hard to learn the entire Satellites' catalog. Stay tuned.) Our popularity has mushroomed only as a result of my fans spreading the word and bringing new people out to see us play at venues across the world. Thank you for your continued support as I live the dream.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
My good friends--the 700+ who follow me on Facebook-- know that I was recently diagnosed with a gluten allergy. My veterinarian found this fascinating, especially since a) I was already allergic to beef and dairy products and b) cats can usually eat whatever.
I used to be a vegan, but then I realized--as a feline who is committed to frugal living--bunnies, squirrels and chipmunks were readily available in my backyard. I found them both tasty and economical in these tough financial times. (As CEO of Persian Metamarketing Ltd., I employ a staff of thousands, with subsidiaries and licensees in a variety of markets throughout the world. Our CatNip Treats products in Canada have taken an especially tough hit, in light of the recent PR scandal that I'm sure you all are abundantly aware of.)
So, now I stay away from pasta and breads and try to fill my plate with veggies. Whenever I am at a restaurant, I like to ask the server if there is a gluten-free, kosher menu available. While I am not Jewish, I enjoy seeing the look on the server's face. I can tell she is thinking, "HOLY CRAP, who let a cat in the restaurant?"
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Get an onion from your friend who participates in a weekly CSA. Cut it up, saute it in some grease.
Get 3 eggs from a co-worker who raises chickens. (Make sure they fresh.)
Go buy store brand sour cream (95 cents).
Ask your neighbor for a handful of shredded cheese. Doesn't matter what kind.
Open up that can of cream of mushroom soup that's been sitting in your pantry.
Skip the butter cuz, girl, you know you don't need the calories.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
Cost: 95 cents
Monday, August 2, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Since my blog has become so popular over the years and since I'm so well known internationally on Facebook and Twitter, I get A LOT of reader feedback. A LOT, folks. I am humbled by the overwhelming response and interest in my life. Truly, I am. Believe me, I realize that I owe it all to my fans. Seriously. That's why I wanted to take just a moment to dig deep into the virtual mailbag and respond to just a few of my readers' inquiries:
Do you have a boyfriend?
Eric V. in Pennsylvania
In a word: no. While I do not discriminate against dating humans (if, in fact, that is what you are), I am currently already in a complicated inter-species relationship with a dog. (Please see my Facebook profile.)
Come out from behind your cloak of deciet and say who you are! I literally "hate" cats, and have no intention of friending one. Your stupid!
Anonymous from an unnamed town
While I believe that your lack of grammar is a far greater problem than our FB friendship, it appears that you didn't actually ask a question.
Who inspires you?
Cher in California
Oh, that's easy. Chaka Khan.
During your recent escape to Egypt, what did you learn?
Jane the Pain in Canada
Hmmm, good question. I learned very little as I have tried to escape again several times since then. A cat's brain is wired differently than a human's, so I don't really expect you to understand my insatiable wanderlust.
Which beach do you prefer: Cannes or The Outer Banks?
Natalie in D.C.
Ah, a trick question. We both know that those beaches are exactly the same. Good try, silly girl.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
I think it's a shame that Pam from "Urban Cowboy" wasn't in more movies. She really brings that whole flick together. She's got the Crystal Gayle hair, the Cadillac, the cowgirl couture. And you know when she's got her hair up in a bun, it's a special occasion--like a funeral or a fancy night on the town in "Houston proper." I also like how she knows the difference between bourbon and whiskey. And when Bud's wife crashes Uncle Bob's funeral, Pam says to Bud, "Come on, the family car's waiting." But you know what Pam really means is, "Be gone!" And when the whole movie comes to a head during rodeo competition and Charlie Daniels is playing "Devil Went Down to Georgia" on his fiddle, Pam shows up wearing this fringe-y halter top thing and you just KNOW she had it made especially for that occasion. That's class.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
I know this is supposed to be a blog about going off the grid and living frugally, but I have to admit something to my loyal followers: I went shopping yesterday. For stuff I didn't even need. And it felt good. I bought underwear--even though cats don't wear clothes--and a book of children's Bible stories for the human kid. She had tired of hearing me repeat the loaves and fishes story over and over, so I needed some new material for bedtime. (Yes, I know I could've easily looked up these stories in my personal Bible, but I prefer the illustrated, kids' version.)
Friday, July 9, 2010
Send everyone an invitation to "Salad Day" in the conference room. Make sure everyone signs up to bring a couple things. Contribute with stuff that's already in your fridge--like half-full bottles of Thousand Island and that stale bag o' croutons. Toss in the bag of dried-out mini carrots that's been in the bottom drawer since you moved into your house. Or the quart jar of pickles your mother-in-law canned back in '08. When your boss asks what he can bring, suggest something expensive, like mini-shrimp or smoked gouda. Cost: $0.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
I was walking through the mall today and found a pair of shorts for $4.99. (People were like, "Hey, there's a cat in the mall!") So, I'm standing in line ready to buy my shorts, and these women in front of me couldn't decide between two pairs of flip-flops and whether or not they should sign up for a rewards card. As I stood there, I realized these were not my dream shorts. First of all, cats don't even wear shorts. Second, I already have plenty of cat couture in the closet at home. So, I walked away. Cost: $0.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Hoo, it weddin' season and that sure does get expensive. Sure, you could buy something off the couple's registry, but that's not very frugal. Besides, while all that oil is spilling into the gulf, don't you feel guilty frettin about which blender to buy and what color gift bag to put it in just for Chris 'n' Rachel's nuptials? All you really need is a jar of homemade bread'n'butter pickles and a tag with a scripty font that reads:
1. Sweet and Sour of Life
As part of your wedding vows, you will stand by each other in good times (sweet) and bad (sour). May these bread'n'butter pickles embody both the sour and the sweetness of life. Enjoy.
2. Mustard Seed Faith
Matthew 17:20 says, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." A happy marriage centers on faith, and, if you have faith as small as the mustard seeds contained within this jar, everything else in life is a bonus.
3. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts
May the many ingredients of this jar symbolize all of the qualities that the two of you bring to the marriage. As Aristotle wrote, "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts." Hope y'all have fun mixin it up!
Is it cheap? Sure, it is. But, really, what's more important? Buying a blender for your cousins or paying off your credit card(s), student loan, car loan, etc.? You're never gonna be able to pay for that trip to Tuscany if you keep wastin your money on silly stuff like wedding gifts. Besides, these two crazy kids will be starving after the reception and will need a snack on the way to the airport.
Monday, July 5, 2010
Sunday, July 4, 2010
I went to the corner coffeehouse yesterday to meet with my book group. I ordered my usual chai tea latte with soy and whipped out my debit card. The hipster dude wearing the circa 1992 sherpa hat said, "Don't you have cash? We require cash for orders less than $10."
Friday, July 2, 2010
Dude, I think I'm gonna order steak branding irons anytime I need a gift. It's economical. And fun. It's a good father's day gift. Or wedding gift (get "X" and "O" branding irons for the happy couple). It's the perfect size for a great stocking stuffer. I mean, who doesn't like to personalize a steak? Hell, I'm allergic to steak, but I'd still like to mark one with a giant letter "B." Probably not a good gift for people in nursing homes, cuz they usually don't have access to grills. But, some of the fancier nursing homes probably allow grilling, so it still might work for them. Cost: $10.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
My whole goal in life is to use up the stuff that's already sitting around my house, buying as little as possible. That way, I can save up my money and go to Tuscany in 2012. For dinner, I tried to think up a meal that wouldn't involve a trip to the grocery store. (It's difficult for me to drive places because I'm a cat and human vehicles are big and cumbersome.)I found a bottle of sweet'n'sour sauce sitting next to the flour. There was chicken in the freezer. I snipped a lilac bell pepper from the garden while chasing a bird and two rabbits from the yard. Pineapple? Had some chunks in a can. Broccoli? Bought some locally grown a few days ago, and it was still sittin in the fridge. Dinner: sweet'n'sour chicken. Cost: $0.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Don't want to spend money on hot dogs this Fourth of July weekend? Wait for a party invitation from your friends or family. Find something in your cabinet--like a can o' grillin' beans--so you can look like you're contributing to the party. Cost: $0.