Monthly Archives: November 2014

Confessions of a Coupon Clipper

October marks my favorite time of year. Yes, I love the color of fall leaves. I am lucky to live in the Pacific Northwest where scene takes on definite autumn hue. Halloween is a great holiday, especially in my small Edmonds community. The whole downtown participates with events like scarecrow contests and merchants provide treats in a safe environment for families to enjoy.  Our local health club even gets into the act. Women of all ages are engaged in a “flash mob” athletic dance routine, performed to “Thriller”, replete with all of the famed Michael Jackson moves.

My favorite October event, for the last thirteen years anyway, is the release of the latest edition of the Chinook Book.

I love a bargain.  Ever since my first experience of Earth Day, my senior year of high school turned me into a supporter of the movement to clean up our planet.  I shop my local farmer’s market, recycle, drive a Prius or ride public transportation and love  programs to support the local economy and it’s ecology.

Friends and family know I am an avid supporter of Chinook Book. Most know they are likely to receive one, for a birthday or holiday gift. I’ve presented them to young couples as a very practical wedding gift , guaranteed to sustain them as they start their lives.

I’ve even organized coupon swaps at my office.  In past years I encouraged those who live south of Seattle proper to exchange the bargains for places they’d not likely travel, with the workers in their local area and vise versa.

I offered a restaurant challenge to my husband one year. How many new restaurants could we discover and dine, at a discount, courtesy of the coupons from Chinook? The results were delicious. Unexpected eateries, in quaint neighborhoods off the usual trail we take, but well worth the detour.

Over the years the Chinook Book has continued to improve both in the product values offered and content. Maps of neighborhoods are tremendous aids when I venture beyond my local area to try out a new store or culinary experience.

I am extremely excited to read about expansion into markets beyond the Pacific Northwest. The Chinook Book app helps one locate “local businesses” where ever I roam.

This year I took up a different challenge, for myself. My quest for the 2015 Chinook Book season is to use as many coupons as possible… AND blog about the experiences I have as I redeem them.

Obviously I cannot utilize all 648 coupons in the book, so this is where I hope to draw from my readers who also enjoy the Chinook Book opportunities!

Please share your experiences of redemption, as gifts for all readers.

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Chocolate Comfort

As I pushed my cart through Trader Joe’s, I nursed my perceived wounds.  Earlier in the day I attended a writer’s workshop, an opportunity to see if my novel in progress proved marketable. All twenty four attendees, myself included, met the month prior with speakers who shared with all of us the work that lay ahead. I left this portion of the program inspired to rework the theme of my pitch to promote my novel to a literary agent.

The next few weeks I wrestled with words, read, reread and rewrote again. I called a friend and consulted, read my three paragraph synopsis to my husband, and queried both of them on my content.

“If you read this on the book’s back cover, would you be intrigued enough to open the book and read the first few pages?  Or would you put it back on the shelf?”

My husband waffled.  “I only read non-fiction, so maybe not the best person to ask.”

“Oh, I’d want to read it!” said my friend.

But hey, what are friends for if not to offer support?

I crafted what I believed to be a great start line, reread my three paragraphs for the umpteenth time, printed it out and departed for the workshop in great spirits.

I left the session with a flattened ego.

Instead of commentary on the brilliant pitch I’d worked on for weeks, I received no particular feedback at all.  I was the next to the last person to read. The literary agent listened to twenty two individuals before I took my turn. Made sparse notes; I observed  only one piece of paper on the table .  I watched as the notes were jotted up the side margin.  Possibly one too many hopeful authors’ story caused the “random access module” of his brain’s processor to max out.

On the drive home I chided myself. “Don’t take this so personal, rejection is part of the game.” I believe I possess a thick hide when it comes to critical advice. I take the bad with the good. I just needed some “retail therapy”. I drove directly to my favorite foodie store.

Wounded animal instinct propelled me into the frozen food aisle.  My shopping list included staples in my freezer like the Triple Pepper Mélange that needed to be replenished. The top shelves of this aisle are stocked with items I cannot resist, cookies and confectionary items. By the time I’d reached the checkout line my cart contained not only the items on my list but clear plastic tubs of Dark Chocolate covered Caramels and Roasted Pistachio Dark Chocolate Toffee.

Fortune smiled upon me as I sat in my car, my goodies on the front seat next to me. As I struggled with the plastic tamper proof rings, I dialed my sister. Thank goodness she answered right away! I poured out my heart and she made sympathetic noises.  I cannot munch on chocolate covered caramels and carry on coherent conversation at the same time. I felt better and ceased to tamp down my hurt feelings with  the chewy truffles.

I arrived home and began to unload my shopping bags. My husband greeted me.

“So, how did the workshop go?”

I met his gaze and mumbled “Tell you later.”

My husband took in my activity; the candy containers I’d shoved onto the top shelf of the highest kitchen cupboard and wisely posed no further questions.

If I said the uneaten chocolate wound up in the trash, I’d be a liar.

Tomorrow I’ll don my “big girl panties” and get back to work on a rewrite of chapter twenty-nine.

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