Wednesday, August 27, 2008



My, that's a big, bright banner for my modest, little back-to-school giveaway. Got to hook you somehow, though, right?

Here's what's at stake (or at steak?!): Thanks to the fine folks at Boca, I have some coupons for a free Boca product (of your choice) to give away. I've always liked Boca's Burgers--best, most beef-like, vegetarian ones I've tasted. I tried a couple of their new products at BlogHer, although I can't for the life of me remember what they were. I was in a low-blood-sugar fog/rage at the time, so my memory's a little hazy. I do remember the food was tasty, though, and it really saved me--kept me from passing out or attacking random passersby for their snacks.

To go with your Boca burgers (or whatever other Boca product you choose), I am also including a bottle of this new, healthier ketchup I've come across called Krazy Ketchup. This isn't your run-of-the-mill ketchup, no siree. (At $5.00 a 12oz bottle, it better not be). It's a puree of all sorts of organic vegetables--mostly tomatoes, of course. Aw heck, I'll just let the folks at Krazy Ketchup describe it for themselves:

My daughter and I like this ketchup, and not just because it's healthy. My son--not so much. This probably has more to do with texture than anything else, as it is a little thicker and denser than standard-issue ketchup. Keep in mind, though, that my son has a repertoire of about 4 foods he is willing to eat, not including chocolate. He hates, among other things, hot dogs, pudding, pancakes and doughnuts (what child does't like DOUGHNUTS????!!!). He's only ever liked one brand of chocolate milk, and when the stores in our area stopped carrying it, I fed him a different brand without telling him. BIG mistake. He could tell it was different at the first sip. So, no more chocolate milk for him. He also is willing to drink only ONE flavor of ONE particular brand of drinkable yogurt. And the child won't even TASTE honey or maple syrup. I think you can understand why I feel you shouldn't rely on my son's evaluation of the ketchup--or any other food product, for that matter. (Unless it's chicken nuggets--he's got a pretty good grasp of the subtleties of chicken nuggets. . .)

So--there will be three lucky winners in this contest, as I have three bottles of wild and Krazy Ketchup. There will be one or two coupons per winner for free Boca products, depending upon how many I decide to keep for myself. I may throw an extra surprise item in the package, too. But I'm not making any promises--so don't get all excited just yet.

In the interest of full disclosure, I will tell you that Boca provided me with the coupons, although I made no promises to review or mention their products for good or ill. The gals at Krazy Ketchup have no idea I'm doing this (at least until I e-mail them with an introduction to me and a link to my blog. . .), so they just owe me big-time.

How, you ask, do you actually enter to win this delicious (and exposition-heavy) contest? I was inspired, as I so often am, by my friend Florinda and her Ten on Tuesday post. This week, it was: 10 Things I Didn't Like About School. [Note: While I started drafting this post on Tuesday, I didn't have a chance to finish until today--so now you have Ten on Tuesday on Wednesday.]

While I listed all 10 things I disliked about school, I'm going to cut you a break. To win, you only need to leave a comment below with the 5 things you disliked or downright hated about school. Alternatively, you can post the 5 things on your own blog, then leave a comment below with a link back to your post. (Feel free to be far more succinct than I am). You can earn extra chances if you (a) link to my post on your blog, and/or (b) list the full 10 things.

The contest is open to residents of the US and Canada. And I reserve the right to choose the winners any way I want to, although I'll probably be using because I think it is a cool site. The contest will end sometime toward the end of the week of September 1st. I haven't decided which day yet. I'll keep you posted on that, though.

10 Things Karen Disliked About School (in no particular order)

Like Florinda, I generally liked school--at least the academic part of it. Nevertheless I was still able, with some mental scrambling, to come up with 10 things I didn't like about school--most of them social. (And I swear, I'm not copying you, Florinda!)

1. PE. I sucked at sports. Or at least I thought I did. (I realized as an adult that I'm not that bad--or I finally matured into my physicality-- or whatever). And my performance generally lived down to my low expectations. (With a couple of weird exceptions, like being able to cradle, catch and throw with ease during Lacrosse. Too bad there was running involved, or I might've actually found my niche!) So, as is the case with geeks everywhere, I was always picked last. (I hope PE teachers have finally wised up to the cruelty inherent in such a system). Plus, for at least some of my school career, we had to wear these hideous one-piece, zipper-front, striped, blue and white (or more often, blue and dingy gray) gym uniforms, which, needless to say, reeked by the end of the week. We looked like convicts--and probably smelled worse.

2. Leaving Home. Pathetic case that I am, I continued to have separation anxiety (compounded by a strong case of hypochondria that only my mom could soothe) pretty much until high school. Lots of stomachaches, lots of calls to come pick me up, lots of absences. Luckily, it didn't affect my grades much.

3. Elementary School Cafeteria Rolls-or rather, their smell. I'll pretty much eat anything, including cafeteria food, but there was a kind of dinner roll my elementary school baked--and it had a very distinct aroma. I've only come across that particular smell a couple of times as an adult, but the negative olfactory connection is so strong that the smell induced nausea both times. It was a smell that permeated my elementary school and so I cannot separate the odor from the experience of school as a whole.

4. Recess-Yes, I may be the only person in the history of the world to dislike recess. I was so painfully shy and such a loner that I didn't really have anyone to play with after about 2nd grade. I therefore felt both left out and conspicuous. Recess, with it's lack of structure, was hell for me.

5. Wesley Bunch-The golden boy of my grade in elementary school. He had an angelic face, and a head full of cottony-soft, curly, blonde (and I mean tow-headed) hair. He thought he was da bomb (if that term had existed then). He was an obnoxious and annoying boy. He also had the temerity use the time we spent waiting in line to go into the library to spin himself dizzy, eventually falling down and cracking his chin open. A very large puddle of blood pooled below his pale, seemingly lifeless body. I almost threw up several times, was sick to my stomach the rest of the day and was utterly traumatized. Wesley came back to school with a bunch of stitches in his chin, hero status and the envy of every boy in our grade. (I'm sure he matured into a lovely adult, however.)

6. Math-I hated math and thought I was not that good at it. Until I hit 11th and 12th grades. Funny what a difference a GOOD math teacher can make.

7. Mean Girls-I don't think this needs an explanation. School-age girls can be vicious.

8. Riding the Bus-One year I was the last pick-up on the morning route. By the time I got on the bus, inevitably, all the seats were occupied by at least 2 people. The seats were ostensibly built for three--and maybe that works when you're 6 or 7, but when you're between the ages of 12 and 17, those seats are just too small for three people. This was horrible for me on two levels. First: No one wanted to share a seat with a third person, so every morning I had to piss someone off by asking to share a seat. Some kids were so unkind that they actually said no. For an exceedingly shy child, this daily humiliation amounted to torture of the most cruel and unusual kind. Second: I spent my bus ride with one butt cheek on and one butt cheek hanging precariously off the seat, trying to brace myself to keep from falling in the aisle and to keep my books from flying all over the bus as we whipped around corners and freeway off-ramps. It did help me understand some basic physics, though, albeit in a most personal and unpleasant way.

9. Stupid people-I guess in some ways I wasn't a terribly tolerant tot. (So my later shyness and the torture related thereto was perhaps karma coming back to bite me on the ass). I am ashamed now to say that the kids who just didn't get it annoyed me beyond belief, and having to go slowly for them bored me to tears. I'd like to think I'm a little more tolerant as an adult. Looking back and seeing my smug six-year-old self in the reading circle, impatient with kids who could barely sound their way through Tip The Dog, when I could have read it two years earlier does not make for a pretty picture. If possible, I was worse in kindergarten, where I scornfully refused to "read" what I now assume were the curricular pre-reading books because they didn't have any words, just pictures. (Think Good Dog, Carl, except with crappy illustrations and story lines).

10. Boys--This only lasted until late-middle school. I assume you can imagine the cause of my change of heart at around that time. Before that, though, boys just scared the life out of me. Having only sisters (and younger ones at that), I did not understand or know what to make of them and their strange and rowdy ways. Although I do remember having a crush on Robbie Ritchie in 2nd grade. . .not that I ever would have dared to talk to him.

Okay, now you've read my 10 things--it's time for you to share your 5 for a chance to win, and win big! And don't forget: linky-love and/or an extra 5 things will earn you extra chances. Go ahead, dredge up that past you thought (hoped) was forever buried in the darkest recesses of your memory. It's fun!


Stimey said...

Okay, I am intensely intrigued by the krazy ketchup, so I'll play. :)

1. Finding someone to eat lunch with. It's the most cliched nightmare about school for a reason.

2. Junior high in general. That was a tough three years for me. For everyone, I think.

3. Girl politics.

4. Gym class.

5. Being shy. A lot of school was nervewracking for me. At least until high school when I found some really good friends.

Florinda said...

Can I take the easy way out and just give you half the things from my Ten on Tuesday post? Thanks :-D! (By the way, my husband's list was better than mine - it's on his blog, if you haven't seen it yet.)

Gym class. I have no athletic ability at all. I was always picked last for teams, and I was always afraid of breaking my glasses. My high school only required two years of P.E.; the last day of tenth-grade classes, which was my last day of gym ever, was one of the happiest days of my life.

Picture day. They took one shot, and you had to order before you even saw the pictures. When they finally came in, weeks later, they were an inevitable disappointment.

Cafeteria food - probably the reason I still pack my own lunch.

Selling stuff for school fund-raisers - although, to be honest, I hate this even more as a parent than I did as a student.

Cliques. I think this is a "didn't like about school" item you may only find on the lists of people who weren't part of the cliques. Unfortunately, they exist in almost every organization, but they're rarely more obvious or more insidious than they are in middle and high school.

Anonymous said...

I will write what I don't like about school now...not when I was a child.
1. Making lunches for school...for all 6 children.
2.Last minute making my girls hair..ponies, half pony, banana clip, etc.
3. Phone calls before will be together so soon, must other children call to ask questions right before my children have to leave.
4. Not having the breakfast everybody "likes".
5. Having to bring things to my childrens school if they forgot.

Well...thanks for the blog..I enjoyed it.

Karen said...

Thanks guys--so far you don't have a whole lot of competition. Jeez, doesn't anyone want free food anymore? I'll at least let this giveaway go on until the end of the week. Possibly later. Will keep you posted--and thank you, Stimey, Florinda and Anonymous for playing!

Vanessa said...

I love your description of what your son will eat. My son removes one thing a week from his list - without adding any - so I totally get it. Ketchup was a recent casualty so I'd love to try a different kind.

5 things I hated about school...
1) Tuna Casserole Day at the Cafeteria
2) Pop quizzes
3) Being picked last in gym class
4) Dodge Ball - so scary!
5) Used books that smell like vomit

ChefDruck said...

By the way, I added you to my blog roll!

Karen said...

LOL Vanessa--I had TOTALLY forgotten about the vomit-smelling books--that's a GREAT one! (Some new ones smelled like vomit, too. Maybe it was the glue?) Dodge ball used to scare the crap out of me, too. Now there's a version of the game my kids play at camp, called Ga-Ga and they love it. Beats me as to why. Maybe it's not as mean-spirited as traditional dodge ball. And thanks for blogrollin' me!

ChefDruck said...

I linked to this giveaway at Chefdruck Musings on my Mickey Mouse Clubhouse DVD giveaway post.

Unknown said...

5 things I hated about school
1. Homework!
2. Peer Pressure
3. Having to get up early
4. Gym
5. Reading boring books for english class.

Beeb said...

What a great giveaway! The Krazy Ketchup sounds great. I love Boca burgers - there's tomato/basil pizza flavoured one that is just delicious.

So my list might look a little different, because I was homeschooled. It's hard to list much of anything negative, because my homeschooling experience was so positive. But here goes:

1. Math. Enough said!

2. People asking me dumb questions when they found out I was homeschooled, or trying to "quiz" me.

3. Uuhhh...I'm trying to think of something bad here.

4. Let's see, I guess I couldn't play hooky, since I was already at home.

5. Seriously, being homeschooled rocked!

Thanks for offering this! My email is:

Danielle said...

I had a decent school experience but I think I can still come up with 5, maybe even 10 things I disliked about it.

1-Catching the bus at 6:30AM

2-Uncontrolled hormones, mine and everyone elses; of course I did not know that was what the problem was back then, but now I do.

3-Riding the school bus. It was much nicer when I was finally able to drive myself to school.

4-Being judged by the adults based on who your friends were. THis actually only happened to me once, but I ended up with t nights detention because of it and I did nothing wrong.

5-Not understanding when I was ever going to need to know how to do logarithms and having a teacher who refused to answer the question.

6-The lunch monitors..have you ever heard of a smile?

7-Fire drills. In the middle of January. In Western NY. During gym class.

8-Finding out that a guy I had crushed on for 2 years crushed on me too. Sounds like a good thing right? He told me years later.

9-A sexist vice-principal

10-Not being challenged academically and thus the reason I homeschool my own children.

ldsmom2201 at yahoo dot com

Miss Spoken said...

1 - Rainy Days
2 - Cafeteria Food
3 - I was 1 of only 2 girls in my 4th & 5th grade classes
4 - Gym class
5 - Uniforms

bison61 said...

Gym class is #1
cafeteria food
English class (had the same teacher 2 years in a row)
math class

tiramisu392 (at)

Karen said...

Well, gym class and math sure seem to be a constant! Thanks for entering, folks. I'll be running the contest until the end of the week--Sunday the 7th. So stay tuned.

peony paperie said...

I liked school, for the most part. But I HATED teaching school. Go figure.

Here's my 5 things I hated about school (when I was the teacher!)

1. Getting to school so early...before 7 am.
2. No comraderie between teachers. It was almost like a contest to be the best, with no one helping each other out.
3. Parents who weren't there physically, emotionally, mentally for their kids.
4. Kids who had gotten away with so much for so long, they were a terror to my classroom.
5. Teaching history.
Did I mention the parents. I don't think many people realize what a help or hindrance they can be to their kid's education. It's WONDERFUL teaching school when you have involved parents.