Hopped Up for National Coffee Day + Coffee DEALS!

Mondays are traditionally my favorite day here at More Cowbell, but today is truly special because America is celebrating my favorite beverage today: Glorious COFFEE.

I’ve got my t-shirt ready.

Coffee Shirt

My favorite coffee mug.

FaveCoffeeMug1

Here’s where you can get your free (or at least cheap) java jolt today!

Note: Some of you have caught on to this before now, because many of these places have been offering coffee specials for the last several days. This is for everyone hopping on the National Coffee Day training today.

Caribou Coffee is donating 10% of all Amy’s Blend coffee proceeds to CancerCare through October 31.

Dunkin’ Donuts: Free medium cup of Dark Roast Coffee today. This same size and brand will be $0.99 from September 30 to October 5.

Kangaroo Express Convenience Stores are offering 12 oz. cups of Bean Street Coffee for $0.01 today from 6-10 am.

Krispy Kreme is giving away free 12 oz. cups of coffee and offering $1 off all mochas, lattes and ice coffee – today only.

If you live in Colorado, Lamar’s Donuts is giving away free 12 oz. coffees today.

McDonald’s ends it’s two-week giveaway of one complimentary small coffee during breakfast hours.

Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. customers can get free hot or iced coffee today, with the purchase of any other menu item.

Peet’s Coffee is giving free samples of coffee and espresso away today. Additionally, they’re doing a buy-one-get-one-free promo and offering a $2 discount off bags of coffee.

Starbucks offered all kinds of deals and freebies last year, but the only thing I’ve discovered this year is a free shipping offer for any purchase $30 or more on their website.

And finally, for our Canadian friends, Tim Horton’s is selling any size for $1 through today. They gave donuts away on National Donut Day, but the coffee is just coming to you a bit cheaper.

So whether you drink regular, decaf or Bulletproof Coffee, today is the day to celebrate your hot cup o’ love. And if you don’t remember how important that beverage is, please refer to Clair’s story of how a “Cup o’ Joe made her man a Ho.”

If you’re feeling creative, here are 34 Unexpected Ways Coffee Grounds Can Make Your Life Better. After I drink the stuff, I put the grounds on my roses, tomatoes and blueberries, but I’m intrigued by several of the ideas on the list. Face masque, anyone?

Happy Monday, y’all…have a great day, whatever your beverage!

Photo from Prince.org

Photo from Prince.org

What role does coffee play in your life? If you don’t drink it, what do you drink? Do you plan to celebrate National Coffee Day? Enquiring minds always want to know these things here at More Cowbell!

~ Jenny

p.s. For those of you following my vertigo story, I am now three days without it, which is almost a record for the month. Keep crossing your fingers that the VRT (vestibular rehab therapy) is working! Thanks!!

Posted in Food & Wine, More Cowbell | Tagged , , , | 28 Comments

Sabotaged by the New WordPress Dashboard

Apparently you have to turn comments and pingbacks on in the new WordPress dashboard, which is about the silliest thing I’ve ever heard. Blogging is all about the conversation for me, and I was kind of bummed out that everyone was so quiet for yesterday’s post on vertigo. As it turns out, the comments default to “unchecked” in the new dashboard.

Now I’m heaping blessings on Kathy Owen (aka K.B. Owen – here’s her blog) because she was the one who told me the comments were closed. Thank you!! The posse here at More Cowbell is the BEST.

And just so you know…comments will never be closed here, unless I’ve died or been eaten by zombies. Even if the zombies got me, I’ll bet they’d still keep the comments on. Y’all are just that entertaining.

~ Jenny

Posted in More Cowbell | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

Vertigo Has Been Spinning Me Right-Round (and Upside Down)

In the 3+ year history of this blog, there has never been a three-week hiatus. I didn’t plan on this last one. I simply couldn’t look at the screen. Those of you who hang with me on Facebook know I’ve been fighting vertigo, and it turns out it’s a lot more common than I thought.

What do I mean by “vertigo?”

Vertigo is when you feel like you’re rotating, rolling and spinning, even when you’re still. Combine this with some walking and wicked motion sickness and you have one wildly unhappy Jenny.

vertigo, BPPV

Yeah…imagine being whipped around in this Epley chair.

Or having the floors and walls move in the Hippie Balance Booth

Or having the floors and walls move in the Hippie Balance Booth

What the heck causes it?

The inner ear can become inflamed because of illness, or in my case, a bad allergy attack.

Also, for those of us over 40, the small crystals or stones found normally within the inner ear tend to become more easily displaced and cause irritation to the cilia of the inner ear’s semicircular canals, leading to vertigo.

Note: When your mom says “you have rocks in your head,” you really DO. Who knew, right?

Also, according to the auditory people? 50 percent of people are at risk to develop vertigo in their lifetime. My doc handed me a six-page leaflet on “benign paroxysmal positional vertigo” (BPPV) and said he sees it several times a year.

How do you get rid of it?

The first few days I had it, I’d have said the only way to calm it down was to remain perfectly still. I spent those days looking at my phone for short periods with my head tilted and one eye closed.

But then I went to an auditory and balance center for testing and they put me in contraptions like the ones you see above. The great thing is, I found out my hearing is normal. The downside is all that jostling made everything worse.

Does anything help?

The night of the testing, my husband and I decided to take my sister-in-law’s advice (she’s a PT) and try the “Foster Half-Somersault Maneuver.” (Stop laughing.)

The problem for me was getting from my bed to the living room where I had room for the Hubs to help me do it. Every time I walked from the bed to the bathroom and back, I hurled. Every time I walked to the kitchen to eat was the same story. Finally, the Hubs let me close my eyes and hang onto his belt to slowly get to the living room.

It took five tries for the Foster maneuver to work for me that first time, and I lost my stomach in between everyone one of them. But that kept the vertigo away for a day or so, which was AWESOME.

Below is a video of THE MOVE. Without it, I promise you I would still be hurling every time I walked.

Cute, eh? I’ve done this thing in most of the rooms at my house, my backseat and the conference room at work. Everyone in my circle now knows what I mean when I say, “I had to do the move.” Really, it’s kind of sad.

You see, this stupid vertigo comes back. I actually fear it more than blood clots since I KNOW what causes those. As far as what causes the spins? I’ve got nothing.

But at least I know if I’m patient, and roll around on the floor long enough, it will eventually go away. For a while.

Have you, or anyone close to you, ever experienced vertigo? How long did it last, and what made it go away? Enquiring minds are dying to know these things here at More Cowbell!

~ Jenny

Posted in Health, Life's Challenges | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

The Pet of a Lifetime: I’ve Had One…Have You?

Since it was National Dog Day this week, I’m celebrating the pet who rocked my lifetime. Have you had one of those? The kind of pet who’s a member of the family, and who is mourned long after they’re gone?

Hoshi was everything a dog should be: loyal, loving, sweet-tempered, funny. She totally laughed at my jokes and she was around for all my big “life milestones.”

And then one day, 17 days after my daughter was born, Hoshi let me know it was time to go. There are so many up sides to pet ownership, but the biggest downside in my opinion is their short life span.

They will always go before we do. Dammit.

Hoshi lived a stupendously long life for a 90 pound dog; she was fourteen-and-a-half years old when she left to frolic in that Puppy Lake in the Sky.

It’s never easy to say goodbye to a loved one, animal or human. The memories, and the lessons you learned from them, are what help you get through it.

Here’s the Top 10 lessons my Hoshi-Moshi taught me.

(Now everyone go hug your pets!)

1)      50 New Smells A Day

It’s said that dogs need to get fifty new smells a day to stay psychologically alert and happy.  Those daily walks are your dog’s version of reading the paper. I KNOW they’re sniffing every bush, light pole and dog bootie on the block but in reality what they’re doing is “filling the well.” You need to do it too (the well-filling, not the sniffing).

2)      Pay Attention

Take notice of the people, places and things in your life that fill your writing well. With the plethora of daily tasks on all our to-do lists, especially this time of year, it’s easy to let the small simple gifts in our world pass through unnoticed.

3)      Treats Help Everything

One of my dearest friends has tons of pets and, according to her, “any one of her dogs would step over her bloody carcass for one bite of kibble.” (If you have dogs like hers, you might want to skip to #4.)

I’m not suggesting that you allow either you or your pet to get too fluffy in the backside but the world is better with steady rewards of coffee, chocolate, wine, cake or whatever treat that says, “Well done!” to you.

4)      Smile and Wag

What happens when your dog bounds across the room with a smile and a wag of his or her tail and slides under your hand? You pet them, and coo over them, AND YOU SMILE. It’s hard to resist your pet when they’re sweet.

Try to remember this concept. You’ll know when you need it by the way your family rolls their eyes.

5)      Find the best professionals (and trust them)

When Hoshi turned eight, she began to get creaky with arthritis. Akita lifespans average about 10 years so I started getting mentally prepared (though, let’s face it, you never are).

My girlfriend, Mary, who’s a dog trainer, heard my concerns and sent me to Dr. Voll. A few visits with this wonderful vet and Hoshi was a whole new girl. Certainly, we did our part, but Dr. Voll took care of Hoshi for almost seven years and went well above the call of duty. Whenever the inevitable ups and downs of a senior dog would occur, I’d worry that it might be time to let my sweet baby dog go.  On one of those bad days, Dr. Voll looked me in the eye and said, “Stop crying! I’ll tell you when it’s time.”

And she did.

6)      Love Without Conditions

I don’t have to explain this one to any pet owners. Dogs don’t see disabilities, disfigurement, neuroses or any of the other things that tend to squeeze the human brain down the narrow path of judgment. Animals manage to see inside your heart and make their decisions from there.

You’ve heard the saying, “I want to be the person my dog thinks I am,” right? Enough said.

7)      Bring Your “A” Game

It’s not in a dog’s nature to give 50%, at least it wasn’t in Hoshi’s. She traveled the entire West Coast, San Diego to Seattle, and explored every dog beach and mountain range with the same focused zeal.

I’m a software trainer by day and, after September 11th the training projects in Southern California dried up. In 2002, if I wanted work, the dog and I had to hit the road.  We traveled throughout the state, stopping at every available doggie day care along the way. Whether it was Elaine’s Pet Resorts in Fresno or Fog City Doggie Day Care in San Francisco, that dog brought her A-Game. In turn, these places delighted in her visits and always made room for her even when they were full.

8)      Invest In Training

One of my ex-boyfriends owned Hoshi’s parents – she and her four litter mates were literally born into my hands.

Unfortunately, this guy went to the “Well, they mind ME” school of training. This wasn’t so bad with Hoshi’s sire, who had an even temperament, but her mother was a really bad dog and it became a dicey business to have anyone in our house. I began training all five puppies, almost before their eyes opened, in an attempt to counteract the unruly bitchiness of their mother. This kind of rigorous training opened a lot of doors for Hoshi.

The money and time you put into learning will always be worth it.

9)      Service Makes You Feel Good

One of the happiest dogs I know is a Corgi named Boris. His owner, Monique is extremely disabled and gets around mostly by scooter. Mary (the dog trainer from #5 above) has taught Boris to fetch Monique’s keys, her shoes, the paper, and a myriad of other items. Like every pet, Boris thinks his owner is a rock star – he lives to serve Monique and nothing makes him happier than making her happy.

I’m not suggesting that you throw yourself on the altar of someone else’s happiness but I am recommending that you give back. You’ll know your service opportunity when you see it if you’re on the lookout.

10)   Leave People Smiling

Like I said, during my second week home after having my daughter, Hoshi let me know it was her time to go. She’d limped along health-wise through my high-risk pregnancy. I really thought she’d miss the birth but she rallied.

Dr. Voll came when I called her and agreed that it was “time,” though she said I could take a few days.

I contacted all of Hoshi’s friends and opened the house for anyone who wanted to visit. We gave her every treat we had, plus people brought her scads of contraband food. Things like McDonald’s cheeseburgers that give a dog pancreatitis were on the menu that week (though I definitely got the “where has this been all my life” look).

On the big day, Dr. Voll came to the door and we sent our daughter out with a friend for a long walk so we could focus on Hoshi. She polished off the rest of a cheeseburger and moved on to the Honeybaked ham, smiling and wagging all the way.

When the medicine was administered, she never knew it.  I’ve repeatedly thought ‘we should all be so lucky.’

Hoshi was my first “baby girl” and I feel blessed to have learned from her.

Now it’s your turn to celebrate your fur babies in the comments.

International Business Times shows their picks for “the Top 5 Dog Stories of the Year.”

Do you have pets? What lessons have they taught you? Enquiring minds LOVE to know these things here at More Cowbell!

~ Jenny

Posted in Inspiration, More Cowbell | Tagged , , , , , | 29 Comments

Robin Williams: A Mind Like a Tornado

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am missing the hell out of Robin Williams. It’s been two weeks, and I still can’t believe he’s gone.

For years, I’ve watched his movies and his old comedy specials, like I was visiting an old friend. Cracking up at him as Adrian Cronauer in Good Morning, Vietnam, or weeping (with both sadness and laughter) at his portrayal of Parry in The Fisher King. To know that he will never create again makes the world feel a little strange.

TIME put up a video of Williams explaining how he does such top-speed improv. I’ve decided his mind is like a tornado, sucking in everything in his path. And sometimes those things end up miles away. This 9 minutes shows it well. Plus, you’ll laugh. I promise.

In More Cowbell lingo, Williams was a man who “really used his studio space.”

What is your favorite show, movie, special memory of Robin Williams? Are you mourning like I am? Enquiring minds always want to know these things here at More Cowbell!

~ Jenny

Update on the “Dog Hip“:
As most of you know, I had hip surgery on June 19th. It wasn’t a hip replacement. It was a labral tear repair and re-attachment, with a complete reshaping of the femoral head and neck. I just tell people who ask that “I had my hip rebuilt.” 

From my perspective it has been a very slow healing process. The intense pain for this injury started back in Feb/March, so there are many, many loose threads for me to tidy up. I’m just now starting to catch up a little, get out my thank you’s, and dive full-tilt back into my work and writing. I got the word last week that I have six weeks of physical therapy left (yes, I whimpered), so there is an end in sight. 

Thank you to all of you who have cheered me through this process. Truly, you can’t know how much you helped with your texts, calls, FB updates, and gifts. I appreciate every one of you. 60 hours a month of rehab is like having a third job. Thanks for your patience while my posting schedule is so scattered.

Posted in Inspiration, More Cowbell | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

If Men Had To Wear Lady SPANX [Video]

As a follow-up to the hilarious Kanga/Undie-roos, the undie-verse keeps putting these sorts of unusual (and thematic) items in my path. This video came from our own Perilous Pauline Baird Jones and had me shaking with laughter.

Of course, it all started with the guys wanting to be tougher than the lady on the cover of the SPANX package “who looks like she could kick my a$$.” Personally, I’d love for someone to make a similar video showing women the first time they try on football pads or, um…Jog Straps.

Note: We’re an equal opportunity shop for undergarment discomfort.

Have you ever seen SPANX? Who introduced them to you? Would any of you guys wear them? Enquiring minds always want to know these things here at More Cowbell!

~ Jenny

Posted in Humor, Undie Chronicles | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

The Cutest Undie Picture EVER…

Elayne Boosler posted this to Facebook and I am madly in love. Just look at that sweet little guy!

The Undie Chronicles

Her caption:

Kangaroo Joey was rescued from a forest fire. He’s learning to hop, hunt, and color co-ordinate his underwear.

Oh my God, the sweetness… I had to share!

As soon as they’re done torturing me so many hours each week in PT, I’ll get back to a more normal schedule here at More Cowbell. But enquiring minds want to know…what’s new with you?

~ Jenny

Posted in More Cowbell | Tagged , , | 21 Comments