Random Thoughts While Reading the Paper
posted by Amy

Nearly every morning, while reading my local newspaper, my thinking gets stuck in one of two ruts. The first involves the current rash of "how to live with less" articles. Always eager to cut costs, I skim these, only to find that most of the advice is stuff I and most of my acquaintances have been doing for, well, our whole lives.

I feel pretty lucky most of the time; my kids have clothes and food, my husband and I have jobs, we all have health insurance, and we can even afford our dog, with his food and vet bills and replacement dog toys for the ones he's already destroyed. I don't focus on what we can't afford, at least not most of the time.

But when I read these articles, which seem to believe we're all eating out every night and, if we're eating at home, we're eating filet mignon, and maybe now we need to start using our frequent flier miles for our annual trips to Hawaii, now that times are hard, well, I feel invisible. Holy cow, I find myself thinking, who are these people with frequent flier miles they don't even use? Do they even exist? (And if they do, I'm totally willing to accept their donated miles.)

In other words, these tips for being frugal don't really help those of us who already live what is apparently to some a frugal life. For actual useful tips, I tend to go to blogs by parents, not newspapers. Does this ring true for others? I'm curious.

The other running theme in my mind will only make sense to my fellow fans of the TV series The West Wing. I spent most of the eight years our current president has been around trying to pretend that Barlett was my president. It kept me sane. Is anyone else out there constantly trying to fit current political events into Season 7? You know: Santos=Obama, Josh Lyman=Rahm Emanuel, Vinick=Hillary Clinton (well, we didn't really expect him to appoint McCain as his Secretary of State, did we?), Helen Santos' emphasis on being there for her kids through the transition=Michelle Obama's stated focus on the same, and so on. Or, um, is this just me?