S&H Green Stamps

I was posting about using coupons today, and had a memory triggered! I was wondering how much money I’ve saved over my lifetime by couponing at the grocery and wondering where I got the idea to coupon at all, since my mother never used a coupon. Then I remembered sticking Green Stamps into books with my Gran, and I thought that perhaps THAT was what got me into couponing. I can’t remember why I did it, but I’d really love to know the tally of all the money I’ve saved! I’ll bet it would buy a nice house!

photo of S&H Green stamps
S&H Green Stamps

Anyway, about those Green Stamps. They were S&H Green Stamps and they were the first loyalty program ever invented, running from the 30s until the 80s. I remember them in the 70s when I was a kid. My Gran got them for shopping at White Store (grocery in E TN). We’d stick them into books then cash them in for merchandise, but I can’t remember anything in particular that she got with them.

I was wondering if Green Stamps were still around, and THEY ARE!! They are now called GreenPoints and they are offered at a few stores in the NE only. They used to still cash in the old stamps if you find your grandma’s stash and it’s over 60 books, however, according to greenpoints.com, they no longer accept them. Boo!

It’s always nice to have childhood memories pop up. I especially like it when I remember things about my Gran. She was quite a lady! Please go read a little about her in my tribute to her!

hillbilly Review

We watched this documentary last night, on purpose, because I knew I’d have a LOT to say about it. And I do. Here is the IMDB for hillbilly, which is currently on Hulu.

First, for those who don’t know, I am from Knoxville, TN. This small town is located in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee. My mother’s side of the family have been there for several generations, my father’s side were from Northern South Carolina and Florida. My mother’s side were hillbillies, my father’s side were white trash. (Yup, there’s a difference.) I lived in E TN until I was about 23, when I came to Atlanta to attend The Art Institute for Music Business. I never returned to E TN. Thank the gods. For the record: I do not identify as E TN, I identify as an Atlantan.

This documentary is centered on KY, where the filmmaker’s family lives, so it’s a very small slice of representation, but I can confirm that the overall attitude is the same in the whole region. And that ACCENT. Oof. The Tennessee version is a bit twangier, but similar. I do not regret losing that mess one little bit. TERRIBLE.

There is a section where they are discussing “code switching”, which is changing the way you talk to certain people, and it was hysterical! This chick was illustrating how she “talked to academics” and she did not change a thing. She *thought* she was cleaning up that nasty accent, but it was 100% the same before and after she supposedly changed it. THIS is pretty much how a hillbilly thinks in a nutshell. They *think* they are “trying” to get above the ignorance, but they are not. They do the same things generation after generation and expect different outcomes.

I grew up in E TN, I can tell you FOR A FACT that the festering resentment for EVERYONE who is not from a hillbilly’s little 10 mile radius is 100% true. Anyone from outside the community is considered OTHER and suspect. My parents opened a steak house in St Joseph MO and my mother would SEETHE in rage when they’d point out her accent. I once asked her if she thought she didn’t HAVE an accent and she sputtered and didn’t answer me. Again, this is pretty normal in that region.

Nick is from Detroit and I have a fairly neutral accent. He got TONS of shit when he moved down here, being a Yankee and all. I still have people ask me where I’m from. In the doc, the hillbillies complained vociferously about being treated as “other” by the rest of the US, but I’m here to tell you that they are EXACTLY the same way. They harass anyone who is not EXACTLY like them with the same accents and the same prejudices. They are mean, rude and nasty to “outsiders”. They tolerate NOTHING.

The documentary is attempting to establish that the media portrayal of the Appalachian people is inaccurate and is partly to blame for the continuing ignorance and poverty in the region. Well, let me tell you something: they are not “portrayed” as dirt poor and ignorant, THEY ARE. The media hasn’t “portrayed” them as anything other than what they are: racist, homophobic, misogynistic, ignorant assholes who hate everyone, but expect the government and all of the US to be nice to them and take care of them. They also excoriate the people who get the fuck OUT and/or promote getting the fuck out of there.

This is a class of people who live in a state of cognitive dissonance. They hate everyone who is not them, they hate the government, they hate the notion that others have it better, YET, YET, YET, they expect everyone to be exceptionally nice to them, to honour their idiocy and to be taken care of by the very government they hate. They voted for T**** because of their deep ignorance of how the world works. They believe what they are told because they want to believe it. They don’t want to hear that what they believe is wrong, no matter WHAT the facts are. They voted for T**** because they are dazzled by people with money who are promising them that they’ll get their share. Regardless if it’s a lie or not. And once they’ve gone down a road, it’s FACT. These people are militantly ignorant. If what they believe doesn’t line up with reality, well, they just doggedly hold on to their beliefs rather than change. These are people who’ve lived in the same shack for eight generations. They are not going to change, because that goes against the grain of who they are. It doesn’t matter if getting away from that shack would be an enlightening experience. They consider it a betrayal of all that they are – which is 100% true. And why it is 100% necessary to break the chain of HILLBILLY culture.

I sent a tweet to the woman that did the film and told her this exact thing and that I have ZERO pity for any of them.

She clearly wanted this documentary to elicit guilt from non-hillbillies, the notion that everyone has gotten it all wrong and hillbillies are not the way they are.

She is wrong, hillbillies are EXACTLY the way everyone thinks they are.

She sits with her MAGAt family during the 2016 election and cowtows to them when the Cheeto won. She goes on to say that it doesn’t mean she can’t relate to the family. (She left at 18, became a progressive and has not looked back, I might add. And clearly does NOT relate to her family.) And her family was saying, oh, it’s OK, we love you anyway, even though we think you are stupid. Her Granny went on to say that she is sorry she didn’t burp her (filmmaker) better as a baby, because she (filmmaker) is clearly DUMB. This is what you get if you dare bust out of their asinine bubble.

This is EXACTLY what my family thinks of me and how I am treated when I visit – which is why I don’t visit. I am the stupid one, because I dared to leave and I dared to question the load of bullshit I was taught growing up. That is the core of all hillbilly thought processes: everyone else is SO DUMB. Why won’t they be like WE are? And THAT, my friends, is why they are still impoverished and ignorant. Because they WANT TO BE. My family are technophobes and refuse to use any tech other than cable TV and cell phones – but ONLY flip phones, because smart phones are for dummies. And computers are for dummies, too. My mother once said to me “You are such an idiot because you use computers. You are so stupid.” And she meant every word.

So, yes, I’ve been up close and personal with hillbilly culture. And I’m here to tell you that it will not change. And they’ll vote for T**** again, because they’ve decided that he’s doing a great job and he’s rich, so OF COURSE he’s qualified to run the country. There’s no changing them and there’s no talking to them. THEY WILL NOT LISTEN.

The woman that did this documentary meant well, I’m sure, but all she did was illustrate the intransigent nature of the Appalachian culture and point out that it’s there to stay. If you want out, you MUST leave the area. Period. And when you do, you will be “other” to them, family or not. I don’t think the filmmaker really understands that. I think she gives them far more leeway and far more credit than they deserve. And she needs to lose that nasty accent, too. There is no reason to sound like that. I am a lover of accents, but I think really strong ones are counterproductive. I can turn mine on and off as it suits me. Children should be taught in school with a neutral accent, IMO, so they can truly code switch and relate to ANYONE, not just the people of their small community. But that’s just me, I have much distaste for all things hillbilly and the accent is a trigger. If you don’t want to be seen as a hillbilly, then DON’T SOUND LIKE ONE. Duh.

I encourage everyone to watch this documentary, especially if you do NOT live in the South. It will open your eyes to the deep rooted bullshit that is Appalachia. And even those who DO live here, you might learn a bit about the region that you didn’t know before. Just know that the tone is overly conciliatory to the hillbillies and it really shouldn’t be. They deserve all the bad press they get. These people are VERY MUCH average people of Appalachia. Such as it is. Take it as a cautionary tale. ;)

Cafe Gates

Cafe Gates coffee cocktail
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Cafe Gates

This is a coffee drink from the 80s that I used to get ALL the time! It is SO good!
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Keyword 80s cocktail, cafe gates, coffee cocktail, coffee drink
Prep Time 3 minutes
Servings 1
Author misangela

Ingredients

  • 3/4 oz Coffee Liqueur Kahlua
  • 3/4 oz Orange Liqueur Grand Marnier
  • 3/4 oz Dark Creme de Cacao
  • 1/2 oz cream
  • Hot black coffee
  • whipped cream garnish
  • shaved chocolate garnish

Instructions

  • Put first 4 ingredients in a tall coffee mug, preferably glass. Top with hot coffee. Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate. Add a cherry if you're FANCY.

Notes

This was my hands down favourite coffee drink in the 80s. I have a deep love for Grand Marnier, so anything with that in it will be close to my heart.  <3
Photo credit: Creative Culinary

Time to Unload, Unpack and Move On

I have learned a lot in the past 3 years. I’ve taken a risk and gotten VSG surgery, I’ve tried to open a restaurant, failed, and lived through it…

Now I’m tired. Tired to the bone.

I think I’ve reached the time for me to unload some of the angst, anger, frustration and disappointment of the last year and a half. Then maybe unpack some lessons learned.

First of all, let’s go back to the VSG in 2016. THAT was one of the best decisions I’ve EVER made. Nick was working, we had the money, it was ALL GOOD. I’m happy with that move and I’d do it again. Even losing my trusty 1994 Honda Civic EX in 2017 turned out OK, for which I am grateful.

Now let’s move to the end of Nick’s job (Dec 2017) and where we were then.

Nick was making a very good living at NuVision after 20+ years. At the end, he was making $75k. We knew months in advance that the shop was closing – they were down to their last client (Rite Aid), which had been bought by Walgreens. When that shot clock started in mid 2017, we decided to see if we could perhaps roll our existing arcade business into a bigger, more lucrative concept: arcade pub.

We knew we didn’t have the money to start up something like this, so we asked one of Nick’s bosses if he might be interested in investing since NVG was closing, etc. He already owns a bar in Memphis, so we thought he might be amenable. He said he might, so I got to work on a business plan and projections. We had a coupla meetings and he seemed interested, but then he ultimately said no. We think it was actually his WIFE that said no. LOL

So we shelved the idea and Nick continued to close down NVG, which was a MASSIVE job. December of 2017, NVG finally closed for good, Nick got his severance and applied for unemployment.
Continue reading “Time to Unload, Unpack and Move On”

My Philosophy

There are some things that I’ve learned over my 52 years of living. The main thing I’ve learned, above all else is:

Change is the only constant; roll with it and keep moving.

This pretty much covers it. I had a long winded post all thought up, but really, it boils down to this one statement. Change is constant. Fighting it is a recipe for unhappiness. I’ve seen it 1000 times.

And here’s the long winded post anyway! ;)

So many times I’ve counseled friends who are miserable, feeling stuck, convinced that nothing will ever change, with this advice: CHANGE YOUR MIND.

I think that people who do the same things for years, running the exact same scenarios but with different players, are people who underestimate the power of their minds and allow fear to squelch their intent. If you want to do something else, then change your mind and DO IT. Banish that soul sucking fear – learn to ignore it! No one can change your mind for you. You have to do it yourself. No amount of counseling will help you change your own mind to achieve your intent. I’ve spent so much of my time over the years repeating this mantra. It is the truth!

If you want to change your life, change your MIND.

I swear it! I’m not immune to getting stuck. Trust me, my 40s were all about it. I’d done pretty well in my 20s and 30s with changing my life and doing new things, but the 40s tanked. What changed all that? MY MIND, that’s what. At the age of 50, I decided I was done with being fat and being stuck. I got VSG. It changed EVERYTHING. Yes, it was a HUGE thing, but that’s what it took to shake me (and Nick, too) out of our torpor. Sometimes you’ve got to GO BIG. For us, we usually have to GO BIG for it to kick us in the ass. [See: pub scheme]

Sometimes random quotes stick with me:

“You get what anybody gets – you get a lifetime.” – Neil Gaiman, Preludes & Nocturnes

“No fate but what we make.” – Sarah Connor, Terminator 2

“If you believe in fate, believe in it, a least, for your good.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Habits change into character.” – Ovid

“Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you’ll understand what little chance you have trying to change others.” – Arnold Glasow

That last one is one that I have to remind myself of often. I want so much to help friends out of their particular self made tortures, but alas, I cannot. All I can do is keep repeating the mantra: CHANGE YOUR MIND. And entreat them to use their stubbornness to their benefit (CHANGE) rather than to fight to keep things the same. I see people use all their strength to remain in the exact same state they have been in for as long as I’ve known them. It’s not unique, no, I have many friends who are exactly where they were when I met them 15 years ago. It pains me. I want them to MOVE FORWARD. But I can’t make them move forward, can I?

I think it’s hard for people to realise that life is all about trajectory. It’s not a smooth straight line, hells no, it’s a jagged thing filled with false starts, U turns, backtracks and other jackassery. BUT as long as it is still going forward, I call it good. So what if you try something and it doesn’t work? So what if you see something shiny and it turns out to be just the glimmer of a bad idea? SO WHAT? Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

You’ve got a lifetime. USE IT. Don’t sit on the same goddam sinking ship, rearranging deck chairs! JUMP THAT SHIP!

CHANGE YOUR MIND. Stop fighting change – use it to your advantage.

The rest will follow.

I promise*.

*Don’t believe me? Just WATCH as Nick and I open a pub. WATCH. We decided that is our hill to conquer and we’re going to DO it. Are we ready? Nope. Do we have enough money? Nope. But we have faith in ourselves to figure it the fuck out. If it fails? Welp, we’ll find another battle. We won’t die. We’ll pick up the pieces and move forward. Like we’ve done before. WATCH US. We live by these tenets. Every day. It’s taken us 20 years to get our shit straight, so it is not instant, no, but by the gods, it’s worth it. Just watch and see.

NB: This is a general post, not directed at any one person. It’s directed at the MANY persons I know who are stuck, afraid, mired in their dramas. I love you all. Your journey is your own. This is just MY PERSONAL writ of intent. I try very hard to live by these tenets. You do you. I’ll help you if I can. <3