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Ovation: Happy Birthday, Natalie Carson. You Are Not Alone!

NATALIE-CARSON-largeMy birthday was last week.  I’ve had a lot of them.  I always joke and say that “It beats the alternative!”  They’ve all been good.  I hope I have a lot more.  I, generally, don’t like to be the center of attention but, once a year on my “special day” I acquiesce and let my loved ones celebrate ME.  I don’t think I’ve ever been alone on my birthday.  I consider myself extremely fortunate in that regard.

Today is Natalie Carson’s twentieth birthday.

Last week Natalie, who lives in Colorado, after years of lonely and painful birthdays decided that this one would be different.  The determined teen turned to Craigslist to look for people willing to act like a loving family to help her celebrate her birthday.  In an advertisement posted on the free online classifieds website, Carson explained that she’s a young, female college student looking to “rent” a family with whom she might celebrate her birthday.  She explained that she had aged out of the foster care system after years of living in an abusive household in Georgia.

Natalie Carson's Craig's List Ad

Carson, who even offered to pay eight dollars per hour to make her birthday special, has explained in interviews that when she left the foster care system, she moved to Denver where she was homeless for a time before getting a GED and continuing to take computer science classes.

“I just want one day that I can feel important and special, and like I matter if I really don’t. I have never had a good birthday so I figure why not this birthday.” – Natalie Carson

Inspired by another girl in California who rented a family via Craigslist for the holidays, Carson has received thousands of replies via email, with some families offering to visit her in Colorado and bring gifts.  She thinks she may have found a family to celebrate with.

I hope she has the best birthday ever.

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Copyright © 2015 www.DiatribesAndOvations.com

Diatribe: Don’t Drink And Bake.

Burning cookiesLast month our oven stopped working.  We knew that it was on the fritz and assumed that there was something wrong with the thermostat because we had to leave our frozen pizzas in longer than usual and at a slightly higher temperature.  The oven is about ten years old and its heating element had simply given out.  An easy enough fix, we thought, until we tried to find a new part.

Finding a replacement heating element for a ten-year-old oven is a bigger chore than one might think.  We learned the hard way that, although it’s possible to find same-day-delivery when buying a whole oven, you can’t just buy the individual parts.

Unlike 28-year-old Caitlin Marie Patterson of Muncie, Indiana, we went without an oven for weeks.  Earlier this week, Ms. Patterson was enjoying her fully functioning oven by baking cookies while getting tipsy.  Unfortunately, she got so drunk that she fell asleep … with her four children in the apartment at the time … and smoke from her burning cookies set off a fire alarm that caused a neighbor to call 911.  When firefighters arrived at about 1:30 a.m., they found her asleep in bed and her kids, unharmed, in the living room.

A witness reportedly stated that there were no visible flames but the apartment was very smoky and smelled bad and police noted that Ms. Patterson staggered and swayed as she stood.  Her blood alcohol level was allegedly 0.115, far above the state’s limit for driving of 0.08, and marijuana was found with her on her bed.

Ms. Patterson was charged with four counts of neglect of a dependent and possession of marijuana.  Child protective services was involved and her children are now with their grandmother.

As for our oven adventure …

After, eventually, finding the model number of our oven we were able to order the replacement element online and it was delivered to our home in less than ten days.  It was installed in less than ten minutes and we enjoyed a frozen pizza for dinner that night.

Nobody got drunk.  Nobody fell asleep.  Nothing burned.  The authorities were not involved.

Don’t drink and bake.

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Copyright © 2015 www.DiatribesAndOvations.com

Ovation: The 78th National Doughnut/Donut Day!

National Donut DayToday, the first Friday in June, is National Donut (or, if you’re not counting keystrokes, “Doughnut”) Day! The Chicago Salvation Army likes to take credit for establishing the tradition in 1938 to honor women who served donuts to soldiers during World War I. Long story short … war rations were gross, so the ladies of the Salvation Army, known as the “Donut Lassies” would bring soldiers free donuts in an attempt to boost their spirits and the practice grew to be an annual fundraiser for its services. Today will be the 78th annual celebration and some of our favorite donut makers will be giving away sweet gifts to mark the occasion! For example …

Dunkin DonutsDUNKIN’ DONUTS locations worldwide will be giving out a free doughnut with the purchase of any beverage.

“Donuts have a special place in our country’s history and culture, creating moments of delight, lifting spirits and bringing people together at work and at home. We are proud to celebrate this timeless favorite on National Donut Day with our loyal guests by once again offering a free donut with the purchase of any beverage, and pleased to share this offer with all of our donut fans all around the world.” – Jeff Miller, Executive Chef and Vice President of Product Innovation, Dunkin’ Brands.

Krispy Kreme At Winston-Salem, NC-based KRISPY KREME, guests will be treated to one free doughnut of any variety at participating U.S. and Canadian store locations.

“National Doughnut Day is a fun and engaging occasion to celebrate the joy of Krispy Kreme with our fans both in our shops and online.” – Dwayne Chambers, Chief Marketing Officer, Krispy Kreme.

Last year, more than 100,000 people claimed a complimentary treat at Krispy Kreme shops and thousands of fans also shared their #NationalDoughnutDay excitement via tweets, pics and posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

ShipleyAt participating SHIPLEY DO-NUTS locations, customers will receive one free glazed donut between the hours of 5:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. and they are, once again, partnering with The Salvation Army by donating a portion of store sales to the organization. At least one location in the Houston, Texas, area will be hosting a donut eating contest

EntenmanENTENMANN’S, whose chocolate-glazed is quite possibly my all-time favorite donut, is holding a sweepstakes where by simply entering you could win free donuts for a year! Plus, for each of the first thirty thousand entries, one dollar will be donated to the Salvation Army! No purchase is necessary to enter or to win the sweepstakes. The only thing better than a free donut day would be a free donut YEAR!

Visit the National Donut Day website and enter your zip code to find hot fresh donuts in your neighborhood!

Jiffy LubeBut wait! To help you avoid having to use a spare, or a “donut tire”, JIFFY LUBE is also celebrating National Donut Day … by offering free tire air pressure checks at participating Jiffy Lube locations! At locations in the Houston, Philadelphia and Florence, SC markets, customers will also receive complimentary donuts all day today while they get their tires checked! Pretty clever if you ask me!

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Copyright © 2015 www.DiatribesAndOvations.com

Diatribe: Being Charged A Reburial Fee After Floodwaters Unearth Your Wife’s Coffin.

flood_levels_expected_to_rise__0_1433247129We lost our cat last winter.  He was almost fifteen years old.  He’d been slowing down for a few months and could no longer hop up onto the sofa to watch television with us.  We’d bought a little stool for him to use so he could get up onto the bed to sleep at our feet and his trips down the steep flight of stairs to his litter box were taking him noticeably longer, but he was a stubborn old cat and very set in his ways.

When his time had finally come and our veterinarian had helped him comfortably take his final breaths, we brought him to the space we had prepared for him in the pet cemetery beside the shed in our yard where we carefully covered him with a heavy concrete slab so that nothing would upset his final resting place and, just as importantly, give us cause to see him again due to the unpleasant antics of passing fauna or inclement weather.

Last week’s intense flooding in Houston, Texas, caused the coffin of Carolyn Lee, buried in 2007, to float to the surface of Riceville Cemetery.  Widower, Richard Lee, received even more disturbing news when he was told that he would have to pay a discounted reburial fee to rebury her.  He couldn’t believe what he was hearing since his wife had been laid to rest in a sealed concrete vault!  But when he arrived at the cemetery he recognized the casket which had floated at least fifty yards before stopping along a guard rail.

“I didn’t want to look inside because I’d never get that out of my mind.” – Richard Lee

Apparently, the vault wasn’t sealed correctly and there were no built-in holes to allow floodwaters to pass in and out.

“Clearly something went wrong here.  Bodies are not supposed to come up.” – Annie McAdams, Attorney for Richard Lee

Lee has sued the funeral home that buried his wife.  His lawsuit not only alleges negligence in burying her but also says it caused him anguish after his wife’s “charcoaled and sunken” face was described to him.  An injunction has been filed on Lee’s behalf to keep the grave site clear while investigators try to figure out what happened and determine if others buried there were done so properly so this never happens to another family.

Meanwhile, another local funeral home has stepped up to the plate and will re-inter Lee’s wife free of charge.

I sure miss our cat. And I’m really glad there’s no chance that I’ll ever see him again.

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Copyright © 2015 www.DiatribesAndOvations.com

Ovation: Finnegans Reverse Food Truck.

finnrftAs a teen, I worked with my grandfather to begin an “open pantry” in our church’s basement.  The idea was to collect non-perishable food and make it available to those in the congregation, and the surrounding community, who found themselves “down on their luck” and unable to feed themselves or their families.  Pa was a handy carpenter and I helped by making signs and organizing shelves so that we made the best use of the small space we had been allotted and folks could see what foods were available.  The project was one of the first of its kind to address the needs of the hungry in our small town.

Still today, according to Feeding America, a nationwide network of member food banks, one in six people struggle to get enough to eat.

I still think it’s important to give.  The US Postal Service makes it easy once each spring as part of their “Stamp Out Hunger” Food Drive when mail carriers pick up food at individual mail boxes along their routes and many local food banks go into overdrive during the holiday season when people often feel the most charitable, but hungry people are among us all the time.

We need more organizations like Finnegans and their Reverse Food Truck.

Rather than serving food, like most food trucks, Finnegans does the opposite … it accepts food donations.  Like a food drive on wheels, the location of Finnegans Reverse Food Truck can be tracked via Twitter or Foursquare! If you’re hosting an event or want to have a food drive at your place of business arrangements can be made for the Reverse Food Truck to make an appearance.  Of course, Finnegans accepts online donations via their virtual food menu.

“… barring any scheduling conflicts or traffic jams, we’ll do our best to help out.”

I made a donation to my local food bank just yesterday at the grocery store where the cashier simply had to scan a bar code to add the amount to my grocery bill.  If every one of us added one dollar to our grocery bill every time we shopped, imagine the difference that we could make … and we might not even notice the difference in our wallets. Food for thought. ;)

Reverse Food Truck Banner

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Copyright © 2015 www.DiatribesAndOvations.com

Diatribe: “Happy Valentine’s Day. I Named A Roach For You”

Seal It With a HissSingles Awareness Day is just around the corner and the world is awash in all things red and pink.  What used to be a day set aside for gentlemen to bring their special ladies a box of chocolates or a bouquet of flowers has turned into a national holiday of enormous proportions … a marketing extravaganza to bridge the gap between Superbowl Sunday and March Madness.  A trip to any supermarket reveals that just about anything can be sold in a heart-shaped package.

I saw a commercial during the news this morning for Heart-Shaped Pizzas!

Jet's Heart Pizza

It just goes to show that, when it comes to celebrating Valentine’s Day, there’s something for everyone … even those with a soft spot for Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches.

That’s right.  Continuing its Name-A-Roach program begun in 2011, the Bronx Zoo is once again offering us the opportunity to name one of their hissing cockroaches in honor of our special someone this Valentines Day.  For a ten dollar donation, our valentine will receive a unique certificate of honor featuring the name of a roach named specifically for him or her.  Plus, our donation will benefit the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Yay!

Not.

We don’t celebrate this holiday at my house but, if we did, I’m pretty sure I’d be in a heck of a lot of trouble if I presented my loved one a certificate announcing “Happy Valentine’s Day, Honey, I named a roach for you.”

Then again, this might be someone else’s cup of tea.

What do you think?

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Like this post? Follow the blog and get involved in discussions! Find “Follow via Email” on the right side of the page.  There’s also an opportunity to follow on Twitter and/or LIKE our page on Facebook so you won’t miss a daily post.  Click on buttons at the end of each post to share on other social media sites, too!  Thanks for reading!

Copyright © 2015 www.DiatribesAndOvations.com

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