Friday, November 8, 2013

Handling stress during a financial crisis

Ran across this fabulous piece by Diane Bergman this morning about how to manage stress during a financial crisis. I thought it had some actual helpful practical ideas beyond the typical Stay Positive! line you usually find in articles like this (although it did include that). I've found when you're swimming in the midst of a true financial crisis and the stress is just drowning you and taking over your life, some of these tips can actually work to pull you back out. They won't necessarily fix the problem, but doing some of them can help change your perspective, give you hope, and help you better navigate the crisis. So check out the article and I hope it can bring a little light to those in otherwise seemingly world-ending situations.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Free Thanksgiving dinner at Don Giovanni's

Wow. Talk about giving back to the community. I just found out that one of the nicer Italian restaurants, Don Giovanni, in downtown Mountain View annually offers a FREE Thanksgiving dinner. To anyone willing to stand in line. Last year they served upwards of 1500 dinners. No questions asked, no money required. You can be rich, poor, lonely, needy, well-off, come with a ton of friends and family, homeless or drive up in your Tesla, it's open to anyone and everyone. How amazingly cool is that?

We have annual plans with out-of-town family that weekend, or I would be all over this. Fancy pants restaurant Thanksgiving dinner, on them? You really can't beat that. They'll be serving up turkey with all the fixings. On the other 364 days of the year, Don Giovanni's offers great traditional Italian food.

Now everyone should go here on not-Thanksgiving and support such a fabulous local business!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Le Boulanger November promotion

A while back I posted on the perks of having a Le Boulanger card. In the months since, things got kind of weird with them and they stopped giving out a loaf of bread each month. There were a couple of months of no man's land, and then bam! the freebies are back, just scaled down a bit.

For the month of November, Le Bou is giving out two free mini pumpkin muffins to any customer that presents their loyalty card. It's no loaf of bread, but it'd still make a nice snack with a cup of coffee. So grab your loyalty card and head on over to the bakery and treat yourself.

If you don't already have a Le Boulanger loyalty card, find your nearest location here.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Free dinner for the kids!

I am alive! Two babies is exponentially more work than one. I did not expect to take this long a break, but am back and will hopefully be posting semi-regularly again.

Tonight is the last night kids can eat for free at Sweet Tomatoes. They've been running a promotion for Halloween week, and the last night is tonight. One free kids meal for each adult meal purchased. Kids under 2 are free, over 12 are the regular adult price. No coupon needed. Find your closest Sweet Tomatoes here.

So go eat a healthy dinner before you all stuff your faces full of candy.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Plant exchange today at the Mountain View Library

Run by the Mountain View Library today from noon to 4 p.m. to participate in a neighborhood plant exchange. If you haven’t done one of these before, it’s an awesome opportunity to offload some extra plants, cuttings, seedlings from your garden, as well as pick up some new stuff to bring home. All for free.

I love plant exchanges, and haven’t been to one in years. I tend to get stuck in gardening ruts and always plant the same things, mainly those that are functional like herbs and vegetables. Being on a budget, it’s sometimes hard to justify the expense of purchasing plants that aren’t going to nourish my family. Silly, I know, as beautiful flowers or a garden can nourish the soul which is just as important, but sometimes I just get too focused on the mouths I have to feed. So I’m excited to see what my neighbors are growing in their gardens and to maybe score some new additions all for free!

The Mountain View Library is located at 585 Franklin St. It sounds like they’re also going to be starting up a seed library (also awesome!) and will be accepting seed donations too. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

If there’s going to be a revolution, it’s going to start in the Silicon Valley

Check out this lovely gem of an article from yahoo news today. It opens with the jolly story of a disabled homeless woman receiving an eviction notice. Yep, you heard that right. She’s already homeless, can’t get a job because she’s disabled, and the local government is evicting her from her TENT. The article goes on to highlight that while although the Silicon Valley is on the rebound economically, the poor just keep getting poorer and poorer and the rich keep getting richer. It also reiterates the cost-of-living issues we have here that I discussed the other day.

I found this quote particularly interesting:
            “Before the Great Recession, about 10% of people seeking food had at least some college education. Today, one in four who line up at food pantries for bags of free food have been to college.”

This whole thing just incenses me on so many levels, from the fact that everything the article points out is totally true, to some of the asinine and utterly ignorant comments posted below the article by readers. Particularly one reader who goes off about how education is the key to getting out of poverty, when the article clearly stated that ONE IN FOUR people lining up at the food pantries has some college education! And don’t even get me started on the cost of a college education these days and how devastating student loan debt is to so. many. people. Oh yeah, and the fact that it can’t be discharged in bankruptcy, so even if you lose everything financially, you still better find a way to pay back that 20, 40, 60, or even 100K+ in student loans. Another commenter that I wanted to throw something at didn’t see why the woman didn’t just move out of the area. Seriously? Because she gets $826 a month, and lives in a tent, which leads me to believe that she probably doesn’t have a car, so what is she supposed to do? Strap everything she owns onto her back, which by the way, she can’t do because she’s disabled, and walk to some other area which will miraculously be cheaper to live? Or should she take those imaginary savings they think she has and hire someone to help her move? Where she’ll (again miraculously) have enough money to come up with a security deposit for a room to rent. Or the commenter that said this woman must feel entitled. Oh right, I’m sure she feels so entitled that she thinks she deserves to be evicted from her tent. I’m sure it’s quite luxurious living out in the cold. Let’s let go a little of that pride, lady. Argh. I’m seriously going to have an aneurism over these peoples’ lack of compassion, sympathy, and just sheer ignorance of what the reality of being truly poor is like.

So naturally as I’m sitting here in a progressively more agitated ball of anger, I realize I have to start looking at myself. If I’m so pissed off about this, what am I going to do about it? And sadly, I just don’t know. For those of us closer to the lower end of the income scale, honestly what do we have to offer to folks in similar or worse economic situations than ourselves besides compassion? Compassion’s great, but it doesn’t put a roof over someone’s head, and it doesn’t put food in their mouths. So when you don’t have any money to give, and you’re scraping by to put food on your own table, just how can we help out our fellow man?

Maybe the answer is education. I’m not talking about college education so we can all make loads of money and afford nice homes and cars, but education of the “haves” that not all “have nots” are lazy, uneducated, or entitled. That a huge majority of them are educated, hard working people, that perhaps fell on hard times, were injured, or were devastated by medical bills or job loss. That regardless of the reason behind why someone is poorer than someone else, does not in any way mean they are less worthy of respect as a human being. That things can change in an instant, and you never know when the coin will flip and you will wish that someone would show you an ounce of compassion and offer you a place to sleep, or a morsel to eat. Maybe we all need to stop equating income with a person’s value and go back to looking at people’s character. 

I know a change like that isn’t going to feed anyone, but at least if the minds and hearts of those in a position to help can be changed, maybe it will start to make a difference.  

Friday, March 8, 2013

Free Krispy Kreme doughnuts!

Who doesn’t love free stuff, and who doesn’t love Krispy Kreme? In order to appease us all for losing an hour this weekend due to the Daylight Savings time change, select Krispy Kreme locations will be giving away one free original doughnut per customer on Sunday, March 10th.

Sadly, there aren’t too many Bay Area locations offering the deal. If you’re in the South Bay, head over to the Mountain View (2146 Leghorn Street) or San Jose (121 Curtner Ave) locations for your free doughnut. For a full listing of other California or US locations, check out the list on their website. I’m not sure if they all do, but the Mountain View location has the added bonus of having their conveyor belt in full view of the shop so you can watch the doughnuts being made and glazed while you wait in line. It’s kind of mesmerizing watching hundreds of doughnuts gliding blissfully by. I dare you to walk out with just one.

Oh yeah, and don’t forget to set your clocks an hour ahead on Saturday. But don’t worry, you can get your free doughnut anytime during regular business hours on Sunday.