It’s Hard To Soar With Eagles . . .

. . . when you’re surrounded by turkeys.

This positive thinking crap just isn’t working for me. It would help if I wasn’t dealing with idiots constantly. But, as the dumbing down of America has been such a raging success, there is no hope in sight.

My warning for today involves MIKE CHURCH’S DUDE GEAR STORE. Don’t buy anything from these people. I don’t know anything about the show — it’s Hubby that listens to it. So when he asked me to get him a t-shirt from this place, I thought it would be easy. It’s been anything but.

It hasn’t been received. My emails to them are met with “Well, it was shipped on the 14th.” Um — okay. I already knew that. But over a month later, it’s still not here. *Then* they tell me it was returned to them — but only in response to yet another “Anybody home?!” email from me.

Bottom line, their customer service sucks. I really thought about sending one to them asking “Is there *any* intelligent life there?” but decided instead to just get in touch with PayPal and get my money back.

GOOD GRIEF! Three hours later and I’m almost a clock tower sniper.

There’s been a dispute entered, yes. And it’s even been escalated! The problem? It’s on the WRONG TRANSACTION! And when I called them back to tell them that? I got more crap from PayPal.

So, my apologies to the company that is now dealing with the PayPal dispute that has been erroneously lodged against them. I only hope you have more luck with these people than I do.

And, for the record, I don’t have or want a PayPal account. But through PayPal was the only way I could get money to the “good people.” No more. Sorry, but I won’t be doing business with you guys anymore simply because I refuse to go through PayPal again.

As for the Dude Gear people? Pat yourselves on the back. You get to keep that $22.00 you stole from me. I give up! Woo hoo for you! Take yourselves out to lunch on it — and choke.

ARGH!

Why do people put information on websites and then leave you no way to contact them?

I’m doing a lot of web-work and recently found a website with a ton of family history information, documents, tombstone photographs. These people have put a lot of work into their site. Unfortunately, they also link to one of my sites — and are using an old, outdated link.

Hey, it happens. How can you keep up with how fast things are changing these days on the InterWebs?

Well, I can tell you for sure that you can’t if you don’t have a way for people to tell you about changes and updates!

Good grief!

Okay — That was a mistake!

I don’t know why I thought Inglourious Basterds was a comedy. I knew it was a Quentin Tarantino movie. I’m familiar with his stuff. My brain didn’t register that fact, though.

In my defense, the commercials are hilarious.

So we sit down Christmas afternoon to watch this funny movie.

OMG!

Now, don’t get me wrong — I love the movie. I like all of his stuff, so far. But I definitely have to be prepared for it! And “in the mood!” Which I was not on Christmas afternoon.

Fortunately, my guys didn’t care. Apparently, they knew what they were in for, and it’s definitely a testosterone fest.

This is probably going to be our “remember when” moment for the holidays this year. I think my guys enjoyed watching me squirm and try to figure out what happened as much as they enjoyed the movie. :-)

Netflix

I am so bummed. I really enjoyed my Netflix account. I had no problems with them — they had no problems with me. But I’m out due to a policy change.

What I find really ironic is that the day after I found out I couldn’t renew my account for October, I got four “Tell-A-Friend” cards in the mail. Apparently, they don’t want me for a customer, but they want me to recruit for them.

Not.

I’ve done a bit of Googling lately, trying to find a customer service email address — which doesn’t exist, by the way, so if that’s what you’re looking for, nothing to see here — and found all kinds of complaints about the service.

I can honestly say I never had any of the problems that seem so prevalent. Maybe it’s because I was renting stuff that no one else wanted. I’m not standing in line to get the latest releases — I was working on the 1001 Movies list which is mostly old stuff.

So I don’t have a grudge against them. The people I have a grudge against are the ones who insist on trying to play the system, get something for nothing, and end up ruining it for the rest of us.

I used to buy all my books from Amazon.com. Then they changed their policy and no longer accepted checks. Bye, Amazon!

Now, with the policy change at Netflix, same story. Bye, Netflix!

I refuse to become a ‘bot just so I can enjoy these services. I am the customer. These companies are supposed to be making it easier for me to purchase their products, not more difficult. These are, after all, luxury items, not necessities. I need air, food and water — and a roof over my head is pretty good too. Movies and books? They aren’t on that list.

I can only guess that there just aren’t enough people left out there like me to make a difference to these big companies. Losing a few hundred customers is barely a blip on the radar.

Well, guess what. It’s a “blip” here, too, and I’ll be over it soon enough. Probably even before I hit “Publish.”

Changing the Water Filter

I get the impression, sometimes, that everyone knows this stuff but me and I’m making these huge discoveries. But someone somewhere out there doesn’t know this, so here you go —

I know most people don’t have water filters. We here in Podunk are blessed with really nasty water that comes from our wells. The water is great — it’s all the rocks and iron and clay that’s in it that makes it nasty. But, I must say, considering what city folks have in their water, and what it smells like, I’ll take my little rocks any day of the week.

But I have to change the water filter once a week or so and I really hate that job. Mostly because the filter is in the closet with the water heater and I’m always afraid something’s going to jump out at me when I open that door. Nothing every has, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t just waiting for the perfect opportunity. It’s nice and warm and dark in there. I can think of a whole list of critters who would love to live there. Well, except for the poison that’s thoughtfully provided for them. :-)

Okay, so when I change the water filter, I have to turn off the water to the house, of course, and then release the vacuum and wait for the water in the filter housing to drain out so I can open that up without it leaking all over the place. I used to set the timer for 15 minutes or so, but it never failed that at least every other time I did this, I wouldn’t hear the timer, or I’d get distracted by something else and not remember that I was in the middle of that job until I wanted to use the water — which is off, of course — to fix dinner or take a shower. Oops!

I don’t know why, but one day I flushed the toilet. Well, I probably do know why, and you probably do, too. I probably had to go potty after I started the filter-changing process! But, anyway, that drained the lines! Woo hoo!!!

Shut off the water — leave the faucets open — flush the toilet — change the filter! The water’s drained before I can even get back to the hot water heater closet to take out the dealie.

So, there you go. One of these days, this information is going to be important to you. :-)

More Laundry Stuff

Writing my other post, I realized I made more changes to get my stuff from being stinky all the time, so figured in the spirit of full disclosure, I should divulge that, too.

I used to just do a load and it got into the dryer when it got into the dryer. So it was sitting in the washer, molding and mildewing, apparently, until I had time to put things away after they finished drying. So I don’t do that anymore. I don’t actually wash a load until I want to dry it, too.

But what I do do is start it the night before. I put all the stuff in — laundry soap and ammonia, if I’m using it — and let the tub fill and agitate a bit, but I don’t run the load. So the clothes basically soak all night. Then, when I get up in the morning, I finish the load, throw it in the dryer — that’s it. That’s how I get my load done every day. If I was still working a “real” job — and that’s in quotes because anyone who thinks staying home with a Kid isn’t a “real” job needs to get a close-up demonstration of my awesome round-kick — what I would probably do is start the load soaking before I went to work and finish it up when I got home.

So, I think it’s a combination of a lot of things, but my clothes aren’t stinky anymore and my washer isn’t, either. I read somewhere that you should fill the washer with hot water and vinegar once a month or so and clean it that way. And I did do that once — when I first started working on solving this problem — but I haven’t had to do it again, so that tells me something right there.

Okay — I think that’s it. :-)

Laundry Soap

I thought I had posted this, but if I did I can’t find it. Since I made another batch today, I guess it’s as good a time as any.

I make my own laundry soap because I like to. Yes, it helps that it’s cheap, but if you like the smell of Ivory soap, you’ll love just doing this. The whole house smells of the stuff for days.

This kind of went hand-in-hand with using vinegar instead of fabric softener. My towels, especially, were always stinky as soon as they got wet. Since the rest of my stuff usually doesn’t get wet, it got me to thinking that it was probably not clean, and nasty, too, I just didn’t know it. I don’t know if it’s the water or the humidity — good for your hair and your skin, bad for everything else — but my things aren’t stinky anymore. So — cheap and not stinky. What more could you ask for?

And it’s easy. Yeah, it’s a little messy, but only because I am. Someone else could probably make up a batch of this stuff and even Martha Stewart wouldn’t be able to tell. But at my house, everyone knows because of the mess I make.

I use my food processor for this. Since I realized I pretty much never use it for anything else anymore — graters and knives are less work and easier to clean — the food processor is now dedicated to this, so we don’t bother cleaning it anymore. It is a pain to clean the soap out of it. So get a cheapie at a garage sale and save yourself that chore.

3-4.5 oz. bars of Ivory soap
2 cups of borax
2 cups of washing soda

Grate the soap, mix in the borax and washing soda, run it through the food processor and that’s it. It makes about eight cups of laundry soap — this lasts us about a month or so, depending on how much laundry I do. Following the Fly Lady schedule, I do about a load a day, but sometimes more, like when we wash the quilts and towels and stuff.

Be sure you’re getting washing soda. You aren’t looking for baking soda — that’s different stuff. My Wal-Mart has the borax, but, sneaky as they are, they have a big box of baking soda next to it, not washing soda, and they did trick me once. So I do have to go to a different store to get the washing soda, which is also Arm & Hammer, by the way, but that’s no big deal.

I have a 1/8-cup measure that we used for coffee. A scoop of that per load — a heaping scoop if it’s really dirty stuff — and that’s it. Really nasty stuff also gets a cup of ammonia — especially the whites — instead of bleach. We have a lot of clay or iron or something in the water. Don’t know what it is, but it turns everything this lovely shade of brown — looks kind of like the road outside. The ammonia helps with this, but the bleach didn’t. So I don’t use much bleach anymore.

There ya go.

I think I might be a nudist at heart . . .

I’m on my own these past few weeks. Well, unless you count all the dogs, and they sleep most of the time. So unless you count the speed bumps all over the floor, I still feel like I’m on my own.

I’m talking human companionship here. I’m the only human in the house right now.

I look forward to this brief respite once a year when my son isn’t here. When he was little, it was a relief not to have to be “on” all the time — what’s he doing? Is he okay? Now that he’s older, it’s a little more of a pain ’cause I have to wash the dishes and take out the trash — and I’d like to add that my friends who said, “If you need any help out there on your own, let us know!” were *not* willing to take care of these important things for me, so how sincere were they? Really?!

But, I digress —

I wonder sometimes what kind of Empty Nester I’ll be. You know, those ladies who are lost when their kids leave and they’re alone at home. I get a taste of it every year, and I gotta say, I think I’ll handle it just fine.

Like when I took a shower the other day and forgot to take my clothes or a robe into the bathroom with me. It really was nice not to have to announce, “DON’T LOOK!” and dash to my room.

Or like when I was on my computer the other day, playing my Pinochle tournament (does anyone play Pinochle anymore?) in my big t-shirt and panties, realizing that I could take *those* off, too, if I wanted! And prance around the house, too, if I wanted!

Or like when I was doing laundry yesterday and thought, “Boy, I’d sure like to throw these clothes I’m wearing in there, but . . .” And then the sudden realization that there was no “but!” Well, there was — ’cause I just striped ‘em off and threw ‘em in the washer, again without the necessity of any announcements or scooting about.

It was the laundry thing that made me realize that all the stuff I was thinking was so kewl involved clothes, or the lack thereof!

My son is going to be gone for good in a year or two. (Maybe sooner if he doesn’t shape up!) I’m going to miss him, yes, and when he does something that’s particularly kewl or says something unexpected that makes me laugh right down to my toes, I’m reminded of that line from one of the Indiana Jones movies. Harrison Ford and Sean Connery are talking about their father-son relationship. And that’s when Sean Connery (the Dad, of course!) says something like, “Just when you were getting interesting, you left!”

My son *is* getting interesting. He’s still a pain in the butt — he’s still a kid, after all — but he’s awesome and I’m so proud of him. He makes me laugh, now, more often than he makes me cry and I’m enjoying that immensely.

Soon I’ll be finding out if I enjoy that more than running around the house nekked.

Fly Lady’s Swish and Swipe

I really like the ideas you can pick up from the Fly Lady. I don’t have a chance in hell of doing everything every day, or every week, that she has on her lists, but it helps a lot.

My sink doesn’t get shined every day ’cause, let’s be honest here, there’s usually too many dishes in the way to do that. :-D And I don’t do the “Swish and Swipe” every day, either, but I do get it done several times a week and it sure helps.

Since I’m an “all or nothing” girl, you can imagine what my house used to look like. If I couldn’t do *everything* why bother to do *anything*?! If I learned anything from her, it was that little five, ten or fifteen minute bits here and there make a big difference — and they do!

Frankly, it was a revelation to find that I didn’t *really* have to do a “full clean” on that bathroom to get it presentable! But one thing that bothered me about her advice here was to keep a crock beside the toilet with the toilet brush and some cleaner in it. This just grossed me out. Yes, I have kids and pets — and she does say this isn’t good for them! — but even if I didn’t I wouldn’t want that sitting there looking at me all the time.

She also says you can get brush caddies with lids on them — but they’re all plastic! I’m such a spaz, I *would* be doing a full clean on the bathroom several times a week to clean up the mess after I knocked it over.

I also imagined a crock full of nasty scum after a week or so. This whole thing just sounded gross.

I went to the Goodwill store to try to find something that would work. Musta been my lucky day because I found a fancy trash bucket! It was bathroom size (as a matter of fact it was part of a bath accessory set) and weighed a ton. It’s ceramic or porcelain, or something like that. That bad boy is *not* going anywhere! Then, I hid it in the cabinet under the sink. Added some water, a toilet brush, and a squirt or two of dishwashing liquid, and my experiment was ready to go.

I’m thinking about this today because it’s been several months since I put that under there. And today I pulled it out to do my “thing” and notice that, while most of the water had evaporated, there was *no* nastiness in there at all. It looked like I could probably wash my dishes with it, though, of course, NOT!

So, if you’ve read that “how to” and thought “YUCK!!!” I can tell you it really does work, it really does help, makes it easy and quick to do your “Swish and Swipe” and, for me anyway, I no longer feel like I need to lock the bathroom and tell unexpected visitors that, yes, my son really does take three hour showers. ;-)

No, I’m Not Surprised

We got the news today that the company my husband is working for will be paying him less. But only until the economy turns around. And to make us feel better, we’re told that the executives won’t be getting their bonuses this year.

I don’t know what’s worse — the fact that he’s working harder and getting paid less at a job that didn’t pay that much in the first place (our income is just above the poverty line as it is) or the fact that they really think the people that work for them are so stupid that they actually buy this crap.

This company has been making cuts for years. They’ve just been using different excuses. The “bad economy” is just the latest and most convenient one right now.

Hey, executive guys — wanna make me feel better? Cut your pay by 40%. Why don’t you try working a 70 hour week while getting paid the equivalent of one minimum wage job. How about putting in three or four hours a day that you don’t get paid for.

Of the top four executives of this trucking company — according to the company bios on the website — not one of them has ever had a job actually driving a truck. Why don’t you guys try that for a year or two?

Might give you bean counters a little perspective.

You Can’t Fight Mother Nature

I’ve come to the conclusion that sagging boobs are Mother Nature’s way of saying, “You don’t need these anymore — we’ll store them in the basement.”

I don’t know why we can’t use the attic.

Another Mystery Solved!

Every spring I wait. It is a time of suspense and intrigue!

It isn’t a fun, butterflies-in-the-stomach wait, like on Christmas Eve when you’re seven years old. And it’s not a gut-churning, butt-burning-before-it’s-even-smacked wait, like when you’ve been told “Wait til your father gets home!”

It falls somewhere in between, but it’s still a mystery waiting to be solved! I have no control over it. I can only wait. Patience has nothing to do with it. You can’t rush it, so being patient is irrelevant.

Only Mother Nature can answer the question, and we have this year’s answer!

What is the answer, Alex? I’ll take “I Hate Nature” for $1000 please!

ANTS!

The question is: What will invade my home this year?

I’m not talking about an ant or two that happens to find it’s way into the sugar container.

I’m talking about a total invasion.

They are in the microwave. They are on the stove. They are in the dog food bin. They are in the “junk” drawer — and what they found in there to snack on, I’m almost afraid to look!

But, that’s not all!

They’re in the living room, the bathroom, and the bedrooms!

They’re everywhere!

But they’re also sneaky!

We have only found one true ant trail. That’s right — just one.

So, apparently, they’re in the walls and in the floors, too — ’cause they’re not traveling via a route that we can follow!

One year it was crickets. One year it was grasshoppers. One year it was roaches. We’re out in the country, so you can always count on a few wood roaches — but one year it was *really* bad. One year it was mice.

This year, it’s ants. A week ago — nothing. This morning? They’ve totally taken over the place.

Now, since you have to wait until the culprit is revealed each year, you can’t stock up on the proper poisons — and yes, I have no qualms about killing them dead, dead, DEAD! They have acres and acres outside where they can flourish and live happy lives. If they are adrenaline junkies who insist on invading my space, they deserve what they get.

Now fully armed with weapons of, hopefully, mass insect destruction, I am off to commence the massacre.

We Are Covered For Awhile On Family Night!

Thank you, SwapADVD!!

We’re still doing family night, though sometimes it’s tough coming up with things to do! Not anymore! You are not going to believe the great score I made!

I’ve belonged to PaperbackSwap for quite awhile and while I’ve received some nasty books, most of them have been in great condition and a considerable number of them look like they’re brand new. I was hesitant to try the same thing with DVDs, though. I don’t have much luck with those when I buy them at the store, and I wasn’t sure I’d want one someone else had taken a crack at.

As an aside — who decided this was “the” format for movies — or data storage of any kind? I mean, seriously, I have VHS tapes that are 25 years old that still play like they’re new. DVDs? They’re so temperamental — and same with CDs. I don’t buy many CDs but the ones I do buy are copied several times “just in case.” I’d love for them to sue me so I can tell anyone and everyone how I’m tired of being ripped off. Alas, I’m not into “file sharing” so they’ll probably never even know I exist.

But — that’s not really my point.

Okay, so I was cleaning up the bookcase one day and there were dozens of DVDs that we’ll never watch again. So I joined SwapADVD, posted ‘em, sent ‘em out, and put a few things on my wish list, one of which was Six Feet Under — the complete series. Check out that kewl box!

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine anyone would actually send it to me.

Usually what happens with these swap sites is someone comes along, posts something really neet like this, realizes a lot of other people want it and then think, “Hey — if this is so great, maybe I better hold on to it!” So it gets posted, but it never gets sent. Swapper’s Remorse.

Not only did this get posted, it was sent, received and it was brand new!! Still shrink wrapped! I couldn’t believe it! How kewl is THAT?!

When I PM’d the guy to let him know how thrilled I was, he says, “Yeah — I thought you might like to have a new one.” Talk about an understatement! I received this a couple of months ago and I’m still lovin’ it.

Okay, so anyway — our family night is “covered” for months — years? — to come. :-)

Getting Candle Wax Out Of Those Cute Jars

Forget putting them upside down in a warm oven — my preferred method for the longest time. It’s a mess, not to mention the fact that the only fire we’ve ever had in the kitchen was started when my son (then a wee lad) turned on the oven without looking inside first. It was never serious, but it sure scared him.

I wish I knew where I read this, so I could give proper credit. It certainly wasn’t my idea. But, since I’m de-waxing a neet jar right now, I figured I’d write about it ’cause it’s easy peasy. And I’m especially happy because I hate to throw things away — my family is going to want to kill me when it comes time to clean up my stuff after I’m dead. I’m sure they will be happy to throw it away!

But . . . I digress . . .

Boiling water. Just pour boiling water into the jar — or anything else you want to save after the candle is long gone. That’s it.

Hate surprises? Okay — I’ll tell you what happens.

The boiling water melts the wax, and also does a pretty good job of getting the other ickies out of there, too, like the black stuff that collects on the side when the candle gets burned down so low you can’t trim the wick.

Leave the jar, let the water cool, and what do you have? A nice, neat glob of wax that you just lift out of the jar. Of course, most jars are smaller on the top than they are on the bottom, so the disc of wax you end up with won’t come out in one piece. Stick a table knife in there, break it in half, and remove the pieces.

That’s it.

I usually do this twice to get any bits that really really don’t want to leave home.

It’s cleaner, faster, easier and more effective than the warm oven method, and you don’t have to mess with wax in your sink or worry about it getting into your septic tank.

Kewl, huh? :-)

Being Prepared

We’re still dealing with the aftermath of a huge winter storm that came through here last Tuesday and Wednesday morning.

I think some people are confusing “being prepared” with controlling Mother Nature. I’ve seen a lot of talk about how the areas involved weren’t prepared because the power is out and the roads are closed. Um — there was a big storm. “Being prepared” doesn’t mean putting a dome over the state and thwarting the storm!

Being prepared means — on an individual level — that you have bottled water, a source of heat, and food you can actually use when the power goes out! It doesn’t mean the power won’t go out.

This storm wasn’t a big surprise. There were weather reports about it for days before it hit. And yet? There was still news footage about people lined up in front of Wal-Mart the day after, looking for bottled water and generators.

From comments that other people have made on some of the forums I read, I’m getting the impression that they think “being prepared” means that someone else should make sure they have power and water and food when something like this hits.

I’m a pessimist. Yes, it’s one of the things that I’m trying to work on. But it appears that a “Murphy” attitude is a good thing to have when things like this come up. I will only say that we were as prepared as we could be for the storm that came through this past week. Yes, we’ve done without — and I still can’t get my car out of the driveway. Even if I could, our road is impassible without 4-wheel drive.

It would appear from some of the feedback I’ve received to my comments on other forums that people think I have an “every man for himself” attitude about these things. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

For instance, I have heat here when the power goes out. Many of my neighbors do not. Would I tell them to go away when it’s cold at night because they didn’t think to find an alternative heat source when the power goes out? Of course not! On the other hand, I don’t have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, but several of my neighbors do, and one of them just ran me to the store this morning.

If everyone does what they *can* do, then your neighbors will have what you don’t, and vice versa. So then everyone can help in their own way.

But “being prepared” doesn’t mean sitting on your butt and praying that the storm won’t really be “that bad.” “Being prepared” means assuming it will be worse.

Cleaning House

I’ve been rethinking a lot of things lately. The new year tends to do that to people. So I’m cleaning house. I’ve been spending a lot of time in places where I don’t belong. So I’ve decided to stop doing that. I’ve always known I’m a square peg, and it really doesn’t bother me that much. But I don’t see much sense in trying to fit into the round holes. It’s just not going to happen.

On the one hand, it would be nice to find people I can relate to — and who can relate to me — without having to worry about a lot of back stabbing and gossip. As I get older, it gets worse, not better. I will never understand why people can’t just accept others as they are. I don’t lie, I don’t cheat, I don’t steal. Considering the kinds of things that people complain about lately, you’d think that would be enough. But it’s not. And what they don’t know, they make up. Sheesh.

Then, on the other hand, I think the world is better off that there *aren’t* more people like me in it. I mean, I know I’m a little — hum — is “odd” the word I’m looking for? Okay — but I really prefer eccentric.

Someone told me not too long ago that you had to be rich to be eccentric. Obviously, that is not the case. :-)

A New Tradition?

We always have cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning. I realized last night, I didn’t buy any.

In an effort to try to do something special today, I made these cinnamon rolls.

They were absolutely amazing. I think my guys will turn their noses up at anything from the store now. Even if you don’t think you know how to bake, give it a try. I did the dough in my bread machine and I have never had dough this beautiful before.

Get Smart!

For our third family night — which Sweetie actually got to participate in because he was home for the holiday three days early! — we watched “Get Smart” — and I’ve been avoiding this one. I’m old enough to remember and love the original series.

I guess I was just in the mood to watch this movie. I was laughing through the whole thing. Loved it! So far, we’re three for three! How long can this last? :-)

Happy Thanksgiving!

:-)

Assume Good Intentions

LuckyThis little guy was abandoned at the Pilot truck stop in Roland, Oklahoma some time Sunday night — in below freezing temperatures, in the rain. He was left in a large, open TV box with no lid — read: completely exposed to the cold and rain — next to a garbage barrel.

He’s blind in one eye — it’s shrunken and covered with a cataract — and his other eye isn’t looking that good, either, as it seems to be developing a cataract, too. He has almost no teeth, with only one “fang” on the top. Apparently, the other one fell out or was removed within the past few weeks. His toenails were almost half an inch long, so his feet are pretty deformed. He has allergies, possibly from the fleas — and he has a lot of fleas for such a little guy. He has a heart murmur. And yes, we know all of this because we spent Tuesday morning at the vet’s office. That’s how we also know that he looks like an old dog because he is an old dog, not just because he’s had a hard life. It’s obvious that he’s a “truck dog” — the noises and comings and goings next to a major highway didn’t phase him a bit — and he’s not deaf, not in both ears, anyway — and he settled right down when the truck was moving and doesn’t get motion sickness, thank goodness!

Giving people the benefit of the doubt is another one of the things I’ve been working on. It’s amazing what people will come up with — almost like they’re just set on thinking badly of you, no matter what you do. I’ve been guilty of it myself — too often, I’m sure — and unfortunately my “bad guy” radar often wasn’t engaged when it should have been.

Anyway, in this situation, I’ve had a hard time implementing what I’m hoping will be my new philosophy, and it’s actually taken me over two days to find the good intentions here. But I think I’ve managed it. Any day with a personal victory is a good day.

What’s good about this, you might ask? Well —

He was left in the box where someone would find him, though it was a little off the beaten track, back behind the trucks. As a matter of fact, my Sweetie, ordinarily, wouldn’t even go back there to dump his trash — he’d usually just make a pass through the fuel island. So something niggled him to go back there. Of course, once he saw the little guy — and the fact that the box had no top insured that someone would see him in there — he couldn’t just leave him there. And yes, the company has a “no pets in the trucks” policy — sue us.

In the box with him was a bag of food, two new-looking little bowls, and a new package of flea and tick treatment. Someone went to a lot of trouble to make it easy for a stranger to pick this little guy up and take him home — no stop at the pet store required en route.

What happened? I can only guess. I’m thinking at this point that someone found this guy wandering around, but couldn’t take him home for whatever reason, but didn’t want to leave him out on his own. He’s really not much bigger than a rat. He’s definitely a “lap dog” — he feels that’s where he belongs, so someone gave him a soft spot to sit on a regular basis. And the fact that his nails were so long indicates that he was an “inside” dog and didn’t spend a lot of time on abrasive surfaces that would have worn them down. You can probably see from the pictures that his ears are clear and clean — no mites. While he does have a heart murmur, he doesn’t have heart worm and he doesn’t have intestinal worms, either, which is really saying something. He’s well socialized and has settled right in here — sweet, friendly, cuddly and yet able to let the big German Shepherd know — in no uncertain terms, I might add — that he is not a new chew toy.

Who knows why someone decided a box next to a garbage can was a good way to re-home this dog. We’ve been talking about it since he was found and we’ve come up with dozens of possible scenarios. And I candidly admit my first reaction on hearing about him was to load up the shotgun — for all the good that would do. They’re long gone. But now I’m going to assume they just felt they were out of options. And, seriously, considering the condition of this dog — for whatever reason — could you really look someone in the eye and ask them to take him in?

But he’s warm and happy now, a welcome addition to the family, and he smiles when we call him. “Lucky” is a good fit. :-)

Family Night #2

A little late, but we’ve been a bit busy lately for some reason. What’s happened to my nice, quiet life?! I know a few people I can blame for this — and I will!

Our second stab at “Family Night” got off to a bit of a rocky start because The Kid didn’t want to do it! He has a membership at Runescape that was expiring the next day and he needed to kill some dragons or burn some logs or something. I admit that I have no clue what he does there –

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Redbelt

I don’t think my son realized, when he picked this movie for “Family Night,” exactly what he was getting into. Being familiar with the work of David Mamet, I didn’t argue with him, and I think that gave him pause. “Hum, if Mom’s going to actually like this movie — will I?!”

I was pleasantly surprised to find that our little Mom & Pop store had it on their rental shelf. But that’s not necessarily a good thing! Like most of Mamet’s stuff, you really have to watch it more than once, sometimes much more than once, to really “get it.” The dialog, for one thing, can be challenging. And I think this was the case for The Kid, who expected, I’ll wager, a lot of martial arts. Actually, there’s very little fighting in this movie. I can see that we might have to rent it again, or even buy it.

I loved it. It was just what I was hoping it would be — classic Mamet. Plenty of unexpected twists and turns, and a nice fight scene to keep The Kid happy.

A successful “Family Night” at our house! :-)

Finally!

In early September, I ordered Don Quixote. More than six weeks later, it finally arrived! I won’t tell you which company I ordered it from. Suffice to say this was my second transaction with them — the second with a problem — so it will probably be my last.

So I’m now ready to read it, and if you are a DQ Dropout, too, why don’t you give it another shot? With the schedule we’ve set up, there will be a long time spent on this book — but you still have plenty of time to catch up!

Fabric Softener

If you don’t use fabric softener on your towels, it feels like you’re drying yourself with pine needles. If you do use fabric softener on your towels, they just kind of push the water around ’cause now they’re basically covered with wax! Ah — what to do? What to do?

Use vinegar. Yup. It works. It’s cheap. And it works! Just put the vinegar in your softener dispenser — either the one on the machine or use a little “Downey ball.”

And no — your laundry won’t smell like a pickle. But would that really be a bad thing? :-)

My Beef Stew In The Crock Pot

I’ve been reading Stephanie’s A Year of CrockPotting and she has inspired me! As a matter of fact, her fajita recipe is in the pot as we type!

I make an awesome beef stew — and I know it’s awesome because my guys said so! But it’s a lot of work and though it’s fabulous, I don’t make it very often because there’s so much browning and sauteeing and deglazing — it takes about an hour to get it into the oven, and then we have to smell that for two or three hours before we can eat it! So the other day I just chopped everything up, threw it in the pot and waited to see what would happen. All I can tell you is that I didn’t make enough of this stuff. It was even more awesome! And a lot easier to do! So — here it is!

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Halloween Testing

Our Halloween testing was last Saturday. It’s great fun and I look forward to it. So even though I had just tested in September, I really wanted to do the Halloween testing, too. I just barely made it, I think. Now they’re making noises about testing in January, too! This would totally mess up my ten year plan!

I guess I’m getting better at testing. Usually, our instructor has to say, “That means GO!” when I’m supposed to start my form, ’cause I’m standing there like a deer in the headlights. I have no idea why — except I just hate testing (doesn’t everyone?) and I get so wrapped up in that, I just freeze.

But not last Saturday! I still looked like an old fat woman, but no one had to say, “That means GO!” I was going! Woo hoo! Personal victories abound this year! :-D

Could YOU get by on $25.00 a week for groceries?

I’ve been reading a lot lately at the LLNOE forums, based on Dave Ramsey’s book, The Total Money Makeover. There are a lot of great ideas there, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that we had already done quite a few things “right” — like not using credit cards, for instance.

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Life is rough!

I’m having a lousy week! Don’t think I need to say anymore than that. And if I do — well, I won’t. Just hoping to get out from under this dog pile before I get too many bites. :-)

It’s Not All About The Hardware

1st Place Sparring

1st Place Sparring

Okay — I admit it! I love watching my son compete. Even though it’s such a helpless feeling! If anything goes wrong, there’s nothing you can do. It’s not my fault, but does that really matter or have anything to do with anything? When he excels, I don’t get credit for that either! It’s all him — and it’s amazing to watch.

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ATA Tournament This Weekend

We’re off to the tournament in Columbia this weekend. This is the first time we’ve been there, and we’re really looking forward to it. Hopefully, we’ll have some hardware in the trunk for the trip home! Stay tuned!!

The Cornell Note Taking System

The Cornell Note Taking System, developed by Walter Pauk, isn’t new, but it’s new to me. I just discovered it yesterday and — wow! This sure would have come in handy when I was retyping and outlining all those study notes! It’s recommended for, and was designed for, lecture notes, but we’re using it for reading, too.

Let The Games Begin!

Our school has a class on Tuesday and Thursday evenings for camo belt and above. They do all kinds of different things, including working on lower rank forms, but the main focus is sparring.

I met one lady who couldn’t wait to get her camo belt because she wanted to spar. She had her equipment months before she tested for that belt and couldn’t wait. I admired her immensely, but didn’t share her enthusiasm, not at bit of it! As a matter of fact, I have dreaded the thought of sparring from the beginning, and was determined not to do it at all. Who wants to voluntarily wrap themselves in hot, sweaty vinyl and spend 45 minutes getting beat up? I’m fat, I’m slow, and I’m clueless! What other outcome could there be?!

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I thought diabetes was hard to figure out!

Good grief!

I started digging around trying to find information on ADD/ADHD Saturday afternoon. I might go into why later — not sure yet. Gotta protect that personal space! :-D

It’s no wonder this is such a controversial topic. What a mess! After, literally, spending the whole weekend Googling and reading, I’m more confused now than when I started. One of my main lines of attack on any topic is to find a good newsgroup. The good news is there are several that address this topic. The bad news is, they seem to have been overrun by trolls and are basically useless. That is really too bad, because it’s the alt.support.diabetes newsgroup that helped me get on track controlling T2. No such luck with ADD/ADHD — it just couldn’t be that easy, could it? :-D

Bug Bites

You can’t go outside around here without being bitten by something. Sometimes, you can’t walk through your house without something taking a chunk out of you, too! Just last night, I was sitting here, minding my own business, when I felt something on my neck.

Why do they always go for the throat?

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Burned Pots

My mother told me about this one. Used to be, if I burned something into a pot badly enough, I just threw the pot away. That was when I was rich and stupid. Now that I’m poor and smart, I try to save the pot. :-D

This little trick has become more and more useful now that my son is spending more time in the kitchen. Well, actually, if he was spending enough time in the kitchen, things wouldn’t get burned! But he hasn’t quite wrapped his mind around the fact that you can’t just put something on high heat and go immerse yourself in whatever that is he’s listening to — I don’t know what it is, I just know it’s loud. ;-)

So, anyway —

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First Latin Study Assignment

My first chapter assignment has been sent in — how about you? This is a big milestone for me! I’ve never sent one in before! I always chickened out, afraid I might send in some wrong answers. Well, we’re jumping into the deep end here, folks! It’s off into cyberspace and come Saturday, we’ll all know which ones were wrong! :-)

If you’ve missed this week’s assignment, never fear. You can start the group at any time. And David Meadows is starting up a faster paced group in a couple of weeks, too, so you can go for that one.

Pack Rats Need Love, Too

Do you envy your friends with spotless homes? Well, I sorta do — but only a little bit. I like to have a nice house, but I like to have all my “stuff,” too. It’s the “stuff” that’s the problem — I’ll confess my biggest problems are books, magazines, and books. One day, everything is nice and neat and clean and spotless and you can actually see the beautiful wood pattern on the dining room table. Next thing I know, you can’t even tell there is a dining room table. Well, that’s not quite true — if it wasn’t there, all that stuff would be on the floor. :-D

What I can’t figure out is why, when I was working and going to school full time, my house wasn’t too bad. Now that I’m home, it’s pathetic. Fortunately, being the anti-social sort that I am, I don’t have to worry about the nice neighbor ladies stopping by for coffee. Maybe if I had friends, the house would be cleaner! But — I digress —

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OpenOffice.org

Are you looking for an affordable office suite? Can’t get much better than this — OpenOffice.org is free. Yup, it’s free. Comparable to Microsoft Word and WordPerfect Office, but without the stroke-inducing price tag — it’s open source.

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Well, I’m Still Loving This Weather, But . . .

Good grief! Texas didn’t work the nastiness out of Ike before he came calling up here! Our power is now back on after being out for two days, and there are still people in Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana that have no electricity. What a monster storm that was.

As usual, we could get nothing local on the news. And it didn’t have anything to do with Texas getting all the press, though they’ve certainly earned it. No, our local “source for news and information” was busy at the local gym, giving away pizza and helping them celebrate their second anniversary in business. I tuned in for news, and maybe some inkling as to when the power would be back on, and got a five minute commercial. Thank goodness they were waiving the sign-up fees! Now that’s news.

This “positive thinking” stuff is a lot of work.

Battling My Hair

I’m a tall girl. Okay, woman. Well, I’m tall. But I have very fine, dark hair. All my hairdressers have told me I have a lot of hair — but it’s so fine, the only ones who would know that are the people who cut it.

So I’ve been trying to force my hair into submission for most of my life — perms, coloring, hot rollers, blow dryers, mousse, curling irons. Any hair torture device ever invented was part of my War on Hair. And after I got it close to where I wanted it, Aqua Net sealed the deal. It probably would have been cheaper to use Elmer’s glue — and I think the effect would have been the same.

I had a little “spider clip” in my hair at the office one day, and one of the other ladies asked me in amazement how I could get all of my hair in that little, tiny clip. “Because I have little, tiny hair” of course!

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Chapter One Flashcards

I made up a template for my flashcards. I was going to buy them, but I thought it might help with the memorization if I typed them up myself. I admit, it’s kind of a pain, since I still need to learn how to make special characters with the keyboard. Using the character map is so tedious! But, the flashcards for chapter one are finished, they’re a great tool, and I thought I’d go ahead and share them.

Please let me know if you find any errors, or if you have any suggestions!

English Grammar for Students of Latin

I’ve started working through the first chapter of Wheelock’s Latin. The first assignment in the new study group is due by 20 September, and I want to get a good head start. I don’t want to get behind — again! — right off the bat.

If you’ve been out of school for awhile — and no, I’m not going to tell you how long it’s been for me! ;-) — your grammar might be a bit lacking when you start to study Latin. I picked up English Grammar for Students of Latin so long ago, I don’t remember where the recommendation came from, but I’ve already pulled it out for a refresher.

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I’m Loving This Weather!

The heat and humidity kicked into high gear in May this year and it’s been a hot, miserable summer. I’ll never adjust to this humidity. It is some small consolation that it’s good for my hair and my skin — but I really hate running around all wet and drippy and sticky all the time. The other ladies who live here always look so fresh! And I look live I’ve run a marathon, and they dumped the drink cups on my head.

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Our Little Brown Birds

Dad had to call in the big guns to identify this little guy. This is a better picture than the one he had to work with. The head guy of their birding club says it’s a chipping sparrow — that’s all it could be. And so, it is.

We don’t have as many of these as the yellow birds, and they don’t share very well, either. The yellow birds came first, and then a few of these chipping sparrows.

All of them seem to be used to me, now, though, and it’s a lot easier to get pictures of them — they don’t seem to mind anymore. But initially it was tough. All I had to do was think about getting the camera out and they took off.

Our Little Yellow Birds

First off, I am not the birder in the family. My Dad is. I just take the pictures — he is the one to tell me what kinds of birds we have.

There aren’t many of them out there right now. As a matter of fact, I had my feeder for weeks before these American Goldfinches even found it. I finally went outside and threw bird seed all over the place. I don’t know if it made a difference, but a few days after that, they started coming around.

Isn’t this little guy precious?

Taekwondo

I just tested yesterday for my camo belt. I passed, but that’s all I can say about it. I wasn’t pleased or proud of my performance, but I did get out there and I did do it. So we will be happy with that for now.

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Just How Cool Is This Theme?

I love it. beccary.com seems to be having server issues right now, but I can’t wait to see what else she’s been doing.

Pessimists Are Never Disappointed

I said that to a lady a couple of weeks ago, and she thought it was quite profound. I don’t think so — I just think it’s true!

I had to get a mailbox. I didn’t want a mailbox. We’ve lived on this road for ten years, quite happily, without a mailbox. I make my trip to town, once a week, and when I’m there I pick up my mail. I didn’t ask anyone else to pick up my mail for me, I was quite content to do it myself.

The state government, however, thinks we need a mailbox. Apparently, if you don’t have a mailbox, you are a terrorist.

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You Have To Start Somewhere

I’ve always been a reader. I don’t know why I love books so passionately. No one in my immediate family devours books as enthusiastically as I do. And I have piles of them to prove it. Right now, I’m in desperate need of another bookcase, two would be better, and there isn’t a chair or table in the house that doesn’t have a couple (or three or four) books within easy reach.

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Nightmares

I’m not generally prone to nightmares, or even bad dreams, but four nights in a row, I had some pretty strange ones. The settings were different, and the people were different, but the main theme was the same–someone I knew from my past grabbed me from behind, wrapping their arms around me, and took me off to do “bad things.” One involved an ex who locked me in an old car and tried to kill me with a bug bomb! Isn’t it funny how silly these things sound when you bring them out of your head and speak or type the words?

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