Celebrity Apprentice wrap-up

Well folks, it’s done and gone.  The Celebrity Apprentice warpped up tonight and boy were Joan & Annie ticked at each other.  I’m surprised at Mr. Trump’s choice (okay, not completely, definitely somewhat surprised though).  I guess old friendships die hard.  Mr. Trump made some very telling comments during the show.  The most obvious was when he spoke with Clint Black and said that if he ever received tickets to a Clint Black show, he would go and he would bring Joan as his date.  When he brought Joan and Annie out, Joan was on his left and that was the direction he turned in the previews to say “You’re hired”.  So it should not have come as a surprise that he hired Joan and fired Annie.  Yet it was.

Annie worked hard during the show on each task.  She is very much a person who wants to be in control because she knows that if she does the job, it will get done and done right.  This can be a bad thing, but when Annie acknowledges her teammates and lets them know that they have done a good job, they rally back around her and are willing to work hard for a win.

I didn’t start out liking Annie Duke in this competition.  I didn’t want to like someone who didn’t seem to have the same midwestern values that I have been raised with.  Upon watching the whole show however, I have come to realize that Annie and I are not so different after all.  She believes in hard work, that family should come first, and that if you take care of your friends, your true friends will take care of you.  Since it is highly unlikely that I will take a trip to Vegas (one needs to have money that one is willing to part with in order to enjoy Vegas), I’d just like to say: “Thanks Annie.  It’s been one hell of a ride.”

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Well, I didn’t see that coming

Okay, a quick Celebrity Apprentice update.  Joan came back!  I honestly didn’t think she would, but she did.  She, Clint Black & Jesse James worked together on last night’s task, an updated jingle and 30 second radio commercial for Chicken of the Sea tuna.  Yes, they do have other fish products, but I remember them for canned tuna.  And even after hearing the jingle my whole life, I can still sing it without getting sick of it. 

Annie and Brandi were the entire other team (there were only five contestants left).  Annie and Brandi pulled off the win-yep, beat Clint Black at writing a jingle.  Amazing.  Even Clint complimented them on their jingle.  Clint’s team had the usual in fighting.  Joan always tries to make things funny.  She wanted to say Cluck, Cluck, Splash after the jingle to make the executives laugh.  Clint didn’t go for it and Joan felt she was not being used well in the task.  I think Clint’s instincts were right on with that one.  No executive wants to hear someone make fun of their product.  Mr Trump fired Clint because he was the product manager and also for not taking other advice from his team and using it-the team had suggested speeding up the jingle to make it more contemporary, which the execs wanted.  Clint also kiboshed that idea for a more “classic” style.

After the initial boardroom, the final four were called back by Mr. Trump to learn that they would be interviewed by Piers Morgan, the winner of the first Celebrity Apprentice and that two more would be fired that night.  After the interviews, Piers met with Mr. Trump and gave his recommendations.  Mr. Trump, then met with the four and fired Brandi and Jesse.  This leaves Joan and Annie to slug it out in the final task.  In all honesty-my money would be on Annie to win.  Joan has taken Annie’s remarks so personally, that she no longer has the perspective needed to complete a task properly.  Too bad, she and Piers would have been an interesting pair to promote Trump Enterprises.  I’m beginning to wonder if The Donald is matchmaking.  Piers and his three boys, Annie and her four kids-quite the yours, mine (& later ours?) set. Hmm.  Mr. Trump, you softie you.

I missed it!

Had my parents over on Sunday and in my post visit de-stress mode, I missed The Celebrity Apprentice.  Dang!  It was apparently a really good episode according to Regis & Kelly on their Monday show.  Why was I watching Regis & Kelly?  Well, the house was clean (because of my parent’s visit) and there was nothing else to do (laundry does not count!).  According to the call Regis made to Donald Trump, Melissa Rivers was fired and Joan Rivers, being a loyal mother, quit the show.  If my computer wasn’t so slow at downloading video, I’d go over to nbc.com and watch the show online.

 

In other news, my calendar just gets busier.  DD1 will be attending the ACES conference in Mpls this week and I, lucky me, get to drive her in to downtown Mpls each day of the three day event (and pick her up too, woo hoo).  In a nutshell, I do not like traffic and I feel very vulnerable when driving our car among drivers in SUV’s and other large vehicles-there are a ridiculous number of Hummer’s around here.  But semi tractor trailers do not scare me.  I’m actually quite calm when driving near them, maybe because those individuals are professional drivers, know their route and actually plan ahead to be in the lane they need well before the last possible second.  All in all, I wish we had our new-to-us minivan before Thursday.

On Friday, after I get back from the traffic in downtown Mpls, I will be helping with our school’s Kindergarten screening.  Since the Kindergarten classes are both full, this will be a long day.  But fun too.  I get to check the kids proficiency with scissors.  Wait a minute, did I say fun?!  Well, at least these are safety scissors and they are only allowed to cut the paper in front of them.  On Saturday, after we drop off DD1, DH & I are taking the kids to the Science Museum for the day.

Hoping your week is slow and sunny.  Ciao.

Will it ever stop?

Life has been moving at a very fast clip lately.  It seems like I have all I can do to get the daily stuff done and my parents are coming over on Sunday to celebrate Easter with us.  This would be fine if my dad wasn’t so anal about a spotlessly clean house.  I have kids people!  There is no such thing as spotless around here, just more spots and less spots, more clutter and less clutter.  I even have the stupid curtain from the bathroom in the wash now.  If I make it through this weekend without blowing up (cause that would certainly put my cleaning spree back a couple days lol), I’ll have to have a party before the place goes back to looking like it does today.

Oh well, back to the grind.

Oh, a note on The Celebrity Apprentice.  Both Natalie and Hershel were fired last Sunday.  Natalie for picking jewelry that could not be seen from the back of the room.  Hershel for picking an entree that had been done to death (chicken) and a dessert that was too complicated for the Schwans people to market.  Next week ought to be interesting, they’re down to six contestants.

Whew!

Okay, Apprentice update.  Brian McKnight was fired in last week’s episode.  Long story short, he was absent from the entire task the week before and during the task had clearly lost his drive to win the competition even though he was the project manager and stood to gain additional money for his chosen charity.  I do not understand these celebs who will not undergo slight deprivation to help a charity they claim to believe in!  They, unlike the candiates on the regular Apprentice show, at least get to be absent for all or part of a task with very little in the way of repercussion from Mr. Trump.  And quite frankly, they could afford to fly their spouse/significant other in for visits, so their actual “deprivation” is slight at best.  It will be interesting to see who gets the boot this week as the candidates were given their next task shortly after Mr. Trump fired Brian.  Mr. Trump also brought back Piers Morgan, the first Celebrity Apprentice, to keep an eye on four of the players.

Life update:  I survived tax season thanks in no small part to DH.  He quickly realized when he got home on Tuesday that my sanity was in danger. 

Backtrack a bit:  I had been trying to use the Turbo Tax CD ROM that we received in the mail to do our taxes.  We (meaning I) have used Turbo Tax ever since DH started his electrical business 10 (yes ten) years ago and have never had a problem with it.  Until This Year!  The CD ROM was  incorrect or corrupted because first of all, it had filled out a form that added the special deduction/exemption for people over 72 years of age.  Now, pardon me, I am not a vain individual but I really don’t think I look a day over 65 (lol).  The other mistake that I caught was in our itemized deductions.  The program deducted federal tax withheld on the line item for deducting state taxes paid and withheld.  That’s a big No-No and the IRS will audit your tax returns with a vengance for making that obvious a  “mistake”.  All this happened after 12 hours of work. 

So, I abandoned the malfunctioning program and went to the IRS website to download the necessary forms, schedules and whatnot to do the taxes myself in handwritten form.  This endeavor, I began on Tuesday and when DH got home, I had figured out that the amount of money we supposedly owed was astronomically higher than what the Turbo Tax program had said.  Now even allowing for the errors that I caught and even a few I might have missed, we should not have had a tax bill that high.  And I hadn’t even begun our State tax return which is always a higher bill than the Federal tax return. 

So, once again, I was in tears and teetering on the brink of a complete and total breakdown.  DH looked at me and asked if I wanted to stop at Walmart to get a different tax program to use.  I began thinking about how long it had taken me to get the information organized and input in a program I was familiar with (on April 14th no less) and quite frankly couldn’t even open my mouth to comment-just stared back at him with the “deer in the headlights” look of utter terror.  He then said we should just bite the bullet and have someone else do the taxes since we only had one day left to get them finished.

Bless his frugal heart!  My sanity was worth more to him than the money.  We went to Walmart, they have an H&R Block kiosk inside, found out that Yes we could still get our taxes done there and to come back in 30 minutes as they were no longer taking appointments-just walk ins.  We went home so I could pick up the tax info we needed and print last year’s return because you always need that and I hadn’t bothered to print it when I was working on the taxes myself.  DH and DS went to their Cub Scout meeting and I went back to the tax preparer.  Together, we got most of the information input that night-the poor guy worked almost an hour past his quitting time to sort through the mess.  The tax preparer also said that he would come in early the next day to call our broker and get them to send him the proper form to replace the incomplete summary that they had sent us and would call us when he finished.  We were able to pick up the completed returns at 4:00 pm yesterday and since the post office closes at 5:00 pm, made it with less than 30 minutes to spare.  Thank God that’s done for another year and we didn’t have the huge tax bill that I had come up with.  We’ll (I’ll) probably do the taxes myself next year, but I’ll need to get a new program and learn it well before April.  After the frustration of this year, we are not going back to Turbo Tax.

In related life news, now that we’ve paid the tax bill, the mini van has broken down and needs a new transmission.  This means the inevitable discussion of whether to just chuck it all and get a new/different used vehicle or fix what we have and the fact that I now have to drive the car.  I am not fond of driving the car because I like big, safe vehicles and the car is small and sporty-looking.  I’m a mom, my ego doesn’t have a need for small and sporty looking.  I want to survive any potential crash and I want my passengers to survive as well.  So during the above conversation last night, I stated that we should just fix the transmission and yes, the steering column issue as well (whatever that was) and keep the vehicle for another year so we could save for something we really wanted and not have to find something else quick.  The last time we had to buy another vehicle quick, I ended up with the ugliest Honda station wagon they could have possibly made.  I don’t need sleek & sporty, but the vehicle doesn’t need to be horrendously ugly either.  I have my “mom” image to protect.

Rockem Sockem Robots Game -  Mattel - Toys"R"Us
Why do some days just feel like this?

Tax Day

Well, since the taxes must be filed by April 15th and I haven’t done them yet, I’ll be working on them all of today and possibly most of tomorrow.  I’ll post an Apprentice update and a life update once I get them done.

Ciao for now.

Is it Monday already?

Wow, busy weekend.  It was hard to get to stop and smell the roses.  Let’s see, where to begin. . . those of you looking for the update on Celebrity Apprentice can skip to the bottom of this post.

DH & I took the two younger kids to the science museum on Saturday.  The science museum was doing Nano Day with extra activities about nano science.  It was alot of fun.  At the ticket window, I decided to buy a membership to the museum rather than the usual admission.   The membership allows members free admission to the exhibits and to view one Imax movie in the Omnitheater free each day.  This movie bonus will be great for DH & the kids.  All that motion and sweeping aerial views make me sick to my stomach.  I’ll bring my knitting and meet them in the cafe area for an after show snack instead.  Now, to make the membership pay for itself, all we have to do is go to the museum one more time.  Don’t even need to go to a movie.  Since the membership is good for one year from the date of purchase, we have free admission through next winter.  This will be a great way to combat cabin fever in the Great White Frozen North and not bad for the rainy days either.  DD2 and DS really enjoyed the movie and the exhibits so it won’t be hard to get them to go back again.  We also want to attend the Flint Hills International Children’s Festival later this year (it’s full of free & low cost activities specifically geared toward art, music & kids).  The festival is put on close to the science museum so if the kids are bored at the festival, want to stay in the area longer, or just run through the activities faster than planned; we can go over to the science museum for a quick visit.

Then on Sunday after church, we went to visit with my in-laws.  The kids haven’t seen their grandparents in awhile, so it was nice to have a chance to visit.  My MIL was home for the weekend and that was good.  She is gradually getting her strength back and hasn’t had symptoms of the graft vs. host disease yet.  Those symptoms can occur up to one year after the transplant and she said her doctors don’t seem concerned yet, so we won’t worry either.  She was on anti rejection medicine but the doctors have taken her off  that since it was harming her kidneys.  Since bone marrow tranplantation isn’t as invasive a procedure as a heart or kidney transplant, she would have come off the anti rejection drugs at some point anyway.  After we got back home, I made supper.  Since I have been falling behind on creating my monthly menus, I had nothing thawed or even planned, in my defense-I didn’t know how long we would be visiting at the in-laws either.  So I decided to make homemade pizza.  I haven’t done this in a long time, relying instead on the grocery store sale flyers to clue me in on which brand of frozen pizza was on sale that week.  DH & the kids really missed my homemade pizza-they all actually commented on how good it was and DD2 said she had almost forgotten how good it tasted.  LOL, guess I’ll have to add making some pizza crust for the freezer to my next cooking session.

I’ll be having Easter here with my parents later this month.  I need time for a good spring cleaning of the house as well as time to grocery shop for the food.  The menu:  Ham, party potatoes, peas, creamy coleslaw, spinach salad, bread, lemon meringue pie.  Lemon meringue pie is one of my favorite spring/summer desserts and I’ve been craving a bit of sunshine lately so I’m skipping the Easter cake and going with pie instead.

Okay, for the folks patiently trying to find the Apprentice update, here it is.  This post was getting long anyway and I have birthday shopping to complete before Easter Sunday.

This week contained a revison of the teams and a double firing.  The members of each team are now:  Kotu:  Clint Black, Herschel Walker, Joan Rivers, Natalie Gulbis and Khloe Kardashian.  Athena:  Jesse James, Melissa Rivers, Annie Duke, Brande Roderick and Tionne (T-Boz) Watkins.  Since I missed the opening of the show, due to reading DS a bedtime story, I do not know which team Brian McKnight will be on since he was absent from this week’s task.

Neither team won the task-the executives from All Laundry Detergent didn’t like either video.  They said that they wanted a “viral” internet video, one that would be passed on from person to person, but they were incredibly conservative about what they thought was appropriate for said video.  They also stated that their target demographic was women age 25 and over with kids.  I’m definitely in the “over” category & have kids so I would guess that I’m part of that demographic.

Kotu’s video focused on sexual innuendo and masterbation.  Clint Black acted in the video since the little person they hired wasn’t working out in the part.  Their video really offended the exec’s.  Athena’s video was funnier with Jesse James being “laundered” by little people.  Athena used the term midgets in their video title and had the little people swear and stalk off the set at the end of the video, so they also lost the task.  The All executives didn’t seem to understand that most videos that get passed around on the internet do offend some people-that’s why they’re passed around.  Personally, I wasn’t offended by the Athena video.  I would have asked them to delete the swearing at the end and the stalking off the set simply because it doesn’t portray the product in a good light.  The Kotu video was crap IMO.  I liked Herschel Walker’s comment “I think Clint just misses his wife”.  LOL! That had to be the best comment made by a contestant to date.

Mr. Trump asked both project managers, Clint Black for Kotu and Melissa Rivers for Athena to pick two of their teammates to return with them to the boardroom where he would then do a double firing.  Clint had been arguing with Joan Rivers throughout the task but picked Natalie & Khloe to accompany him back to the boardroom.  Melissa told Mr. Trump that her team had discussed this earlier as a hedge in case they didn’t win the task because she felt that the whole team did exceptionally well on the task.  Tionne volunteered to come back in with Melissa who then chose Brande as the other person.  Outside the boardroom, both project managers tried to explain to their two team members that they would be the ones fired since they were the ones ultimately responsible for the loss.  Khloe didn’t believe that for an instant and told Clint that (paraphrased) this is Donald Trump, he’ll do whatever he wants to do. When the six were sent back into the boardroom, Mr. Trump turned to Athena first and asked Tionne if she had ever heard of Bradford.  Bradford was a contestant on The Apprentice-Season Six who volunteered to go back into the boardroom with his project manager-he was fired.  Trump fired Tionne as well with the words “Never volunteer for execution”.  It was a stupid thing to do.  At least her charity received $20K from her win as project manager last week.  Then Mr. Trump turned to Kotu.  At this point, Clint Black looked white as a ghost and probably regretted bringing anyone back with him.  Mr. Trump spoke with Clint and Natalie first, then asked Khloe why she was absent for most of last week’s task.  Khloe had been back in California to take court ordered classes as a result of her conviction for DUI.  Mr. Trump said that he has personally known three families of DUI victims, that he is proud of all the mothers campaigning against drunk driving and that he can not condone driving under the influence in anyone.  Mr. Trump also said that if he had known this before, Khloe would have never been allowed to be a contestant on his show.  Khloe, you’re fired.

Khloe commented in the car that she hadn’t wanted the DUI to be the main reason people remember her and that she is trying to make amends for her DUI, through her classes and her chosen charity.  Let’s hope that she is helped by those classes and continues to work with her chosen charity to educate people that drinking and driving don’t mix.

Whew, after this marathon post, I’m going shopping.  Have a nice day.

Here’s to sobriety. . .

The Celebrity Apprentice update today involves my sincere hope that Dennis Rodman achieves and maintains sobriety.  I add the maintains part because getting sober is easy, staying sober is hard work.  I agree with what Jesse James said when he said (paraphrasing again) that Dennis is like two people right now.  There’s the Dennis who is a nice guy and there’s the Dennis he becomes when he drinks-definitely not a stable, secure individual.  Here’s hoping that Dennis will get the help he needs.  Eric Clapton did it.  Tommy, the firefighter, in Clapton’s book did it.  Many people each and every day fight their battle to stay off drugs and/or alcohol.

Watching Dennis on the show the last few weeks, I came to realize that:  When Dennis was sober, his head was in the game.  He went out of his way to be as helpful as possible.  Anything his team needed-anything, Dennis was more than willing to get for them.  When Dennis started drinking, he became a moody and irresponsible individual.  More than one of the other celebs described Dennis as a loose cannon.  That’s sad.  No one should have to go through that, including Dennis.  I hope he checks into Hazelden and gets sober.  And I also hope for Dennis, that he has around him the good friends he’ll need when he gets sober.

I’m sorry you were fired Dennis.  Best wishes for your sobriety journey.

***************************************************************

On a related note, if you or someone you know has a drinking problem, please get help.  People never realize who they’ve hurt with their drinking until it’s too late.  Be strong, get help!  www.aa.org

Oops! Here’s the update. . .

I forgot to post my weekly update about the Celebrity Apprentice.  Chalk it up to having all three kids at home this week.  Makes the mind weak.  I’ll be able to get out of the house tomorrow, dental appointments count.  That should help me shake off the mental fuzzies.

Well, the women were handed their first loss on Sunday.  Not too surprising since Claudia was their project manager.  Her first comment about becoming project manager was (paraphrased); I want to be the project manager on this task because I’m good at managing people.  Being project manager involves many things and being able to tell people what to do (ie: bossing them around) does not guarantee a successful outcome to the project.  And generally, when people have to say they’re good at managing people, they’re not really that good at it.  Claudia managed to alienate members of her team, pissed off Melissa Rivers and made fun of the way Melissa speaks while in the van with two of her other team members – talk about a middle school/junior high flashback.  I thought people were supposed to grow up when they became rich and famous, what an eye opener!

The guys did very well on their task, despite the fact that Brian didn’t want to accept Dennis back into the fold after he stormed out of the initial meeting.  Had the men lost, that would have been enough to get Brian fired by Mr. Trump.  Donald Trump does not suffer long the people who are unable to get over their personal issues and get back to working together.  That was a big part of the reason he fired Claudia.

Until next week.

Apprentice update, part 2

Well, Tom Green, the comedian, was fired last night.  He was a lousy project manager.  In fact, he didn’t even manage his team at all.  He told them to raise money and then basically left them alone.   Tom Green didn’t even call his contacts to raise money for the project, in spite of the fact that IF his team had won the task, his charity would benefit by a huge donation by Donald Trump!  That was stupid, stupid, stupid.

Dennis Rodman needs to be the next one fired.  He went out on the street to supposedly raise awareness that their team was going to be selling wedding dresses at their location the next day.  Instead, he ordered multiple “adult beverages”, flirted with women (who should, quite frankly, be smarter than that), called a hooker for the evening and then didn’t show up for work the next day (due, he said, to an allergic reaction to cats, Uh Huh-sure).  Green also sent Herschel Walker out with Dennis Rodman to “work the streets”.  Herschel Walker has got to be the quietest celebrity on the planet.  He isn’t about to stand up to Dennis Rodman on camera.  It isn’t in Herschel’s blood to cause a scene, especially in public.  Jesse James might have been a better chaperone for Dennis, but he would have probably gotten told off by Rodman if he had said anything negative about what happened too.

The women’s team was lead by Brandy this week.  She did a good job of leading her team.  Her one fault was – worrying.  My advice to her would be to do the best you can and don’t worry.  Worry is not productive, it paralyzes people and they do not take needed action.  One can be concerned about some aspect of a task.  Once a concern is identified, take steps to create an action plan to deal with the concern.  That’s how one should deal with a problem, not with worry.  Congratulations to Brandy on winning a whopping sum of money for her charity.  Those kids are blessed to have her working for them.

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