Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Semi-productive

My normal day includes a morning nap because I was usually up too late the night before.

Today, however, I spent naptime at Iowa Central Community College, so Amanda could attend the orientation for the HSED program. This included a couple of evaluation tests, which she passed, so she only has to attend classes for 12 hours, instead of 40.

Which is good, because we have other things we need to do during that time period (besides my naps).

We then stopped at my work so I could take care of a thing I forgot about last night, then over to pick up chicken fried rice for Amanda and home. I messed around on the computer for a bit, then took a nap for about half an hour before going to the library.

Normally I volunteer at the Webster County Genealogical Society on Wednesdays. Not every Wednesday, but today the volunteer was on her own for the first time and I thought I would stop by to see how she was doing.

I brought my laptop and stuff to do, although I didn't get anything done that I had planned. I also brought my lunch, as I hadn't had that yet. (I went to the Hardee's drive-thru.)

I did get some work done on the genealogy society's website, although I'm not entirely happy with how it turned out. I'll work on that later.

After the library, I went to Walgreen's to drop off some film. I have 17 rolls of film and a disposable camera that need to be developed (14 rolls of film now). The machine at Walgreen's is broken, so I went to Walmart instead.

Three rolls of film. Two are Agfa brand and have writing in German, so they might be from when I was in Germany in 1978. Or they might not. I have no idea.

The other roll is Osco brand, so it's from when I lived in Chicago. We moved to Iowa in 1996. So who knows what's on that roll?

The photos should be back on Tuesday. I got double prints and the CD. Apparently they do the CD automatically now - you don't get your negatives back.

So, if the photos turn out, I'll post some when I pick them up, or probably next Wednesday, when I'll be volunteering at the genealogy society again.

 5:42 p.m. Is it too late for a nap?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Graduation and enchiladas

Cayla graduated today.


 First was church. Dad didn't enjoy it much because he couldn't hear very well. We do have the receivers for the microphone system, but they are set up for the Spanish-speaking people and nobody knows how to (or if it's even possible) have different receivers on different channels like Spanish and English. So he spent part of the time in his car. He also has back problems, and  lying down helps that.

At Cayla's graduation, we sat on a bench on the track (like in the background of this photo). He went to his car while the valedictorian was speaking, because he couldn't hear. I couldn't either, but I was bound and determined to video the part where Cayla crossed the stage (and I did).

After commencement was over, Dad took me back to my place. Donna and Jessica arrived right after we did. Cayla went to get Kent, since she couldn't remember how to get to his place before the graduation ceremony and he missed it Suzanna showed up later, with her boyfriend's niece Lexis in tow.

Donna and I made the enchiladas. She dips the tortillas in the sauce, then in the oil. She flips the tortilla over, then takes it out, lets it drain a little and places it on the foil-wrapped cookie sheet. I put the cheese in and fold the tortilla from right and from left. We made about 1 1/2 packages of tortillas. There were four packages of cheese - which was quite a bit. But there's leftovers for Suzanna's boyfriend Chad and Jessica's husband Eric, and even some for my nephew Richard, who should be stopping by in about half an hour.

Dad told some family stories - most that I hadn't heard before, and one that I had, but not all the details. Jessica's baby Noah loved listening to Dad talk. Also, I put the movie "Up" in my laptop and played it for Noah, and during the beginning part, he liked it. He was laughing at young Carl and Ellie when they first met.

 Four generations represented here. Photo by 6-year-old Lexis.

Catching up and moving on

It's a little after midnight. I've got potatoes cooling in the kitchen to go with enchiladas after Cayla's graduation Sunday afternoon.

I've crumbled the queso fresco and cut up an onion. Part of the cheese is still in a block because it hasn't thawed yet. We discovered years ago that the cheese crumbles better if it was frozen first. And the onion might be in bigger chunks than normal because it was nearly midnight when I was cutting it and, quite frankly, at this time of night I don't feel like cooking.

It's been a long day and there's a couple more ahead. Cayla graduates on Sunday and leaves Monday to spend the summer with my dad and stepmom, and she'll be working to save money for college. Also on Monday, I'll have to go into work pretty much as soon as they leave, as I have a big project that's due Tuesday and it's nowhere near done.

Some things that have happened lately

Cayla's last band concert














What was supposed to be her last orchestra concert was canceled because the teacher/director was ill.

Cayla's art on display














A wee visitor














I got to babysit one day while his mom was working 9-5 last week. There were some not-so-Hallmark moments, as well. It's been awhile since I've cared for a baby for such an extended period, and when it was my own kids at this age, we had milk on tap, so to speak. No waiting for the formula bottle to warm up under hot tap water. Also, I don't think we have any good books to read to infants. I should just read anything - at this age, he won't care much what the content is.

Senior class night














She did get an award, something to do with the PSAT/NMSQT, I think. I didn't catch what it was and haven't seen the certificate. It was also her last high school orchestra performance. I wish I had videoed her walking up to get her certificate. From her position in the orchestra, she stepped onto the platform at the right, went up and got her certificate, then came down the other ramp (out of the frame), stepped near the top of the first part of the ramp near the plants, across to where she first stepped on the platform and sat down.

So now, I've got to get some sleep. Church at 10, graduation at 1:30, and family coming over after that for enchiladas. If our wee visitor comes back, we might get a four-generation photo or two. But I'm sending my camera with Cayla, so there probably won't be any pictures from me for awhile.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Just because it's on the Internet


The Internet is great. I love it.

There's so much to do, see and learn online. I could spend every waking hour surfing the Web. I play games, read Facebook posts, do family history research and more.

But ...

While there is so much available on the Web, that doesn't mean it's okay to take it.

One issue is truth. Just because it's online, doesn't make it true. I see this all the time with forwarded emails (less so now) and shared posts on Facebook (all. the. time.).

People see a Facebook post that they agree with - or disagree with - and they have to share it, often with their opinion on the subject matter.

They rarely check to see if it's true.

Sometimes these are innocuous things, like faith-promoting stories. But other times it may be health advice (water can save you from a heart attack! Well, no, actually.) or stories of abducted or sick children (those two boys kidnapped from their grandparents? They were returned safely to the grandparents days later, so sharing their photos now won't help anybody.).

Let's not even get started on sick baby hoaxes. Just read this, please.

Some of those links may be viral in nature. That video that says they found Flight 370? Wrong. It links to a video streaming website.

I check things out with Snopes.com, Hoax-slayer.com and other hoax-busting sites. If it's a news item, I check CNN.com or other news sites.

Then there's copyright issues and plagiarism.

Would you believe that there are people claiming to be professional photographers who post other photographers' work on their websites as if they had taken those photos? It's true. Ironically, the latest post features a photo taken by the person who has the Stop Stealing Photos website, used by a so-called photographer without permission.

This type of thing happens to bloggers, as well. Blogger A discovers her text (and sometimes photos) used on Blogger B's site as though they originated with Blogger B. There's an element of creeper here - having your kids' photos claimed by a stranger. Not good.

 There's also been controversy in the genealogy community over a website owned by a particular person with content gleaned from other websites and sources.

And, lastly, research issues. There are a multitude of places people can put up their family trees: Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.com, WikiTree.org and more, as well as their personal websites.

There is temptation when you see a family tree with familiar names to include it in your own tree, but beware. You don't know how good or accurate that person's research is. If you attach it to your tree, but later discover errors, it will be difficult to get the false information out.

Just keep the link to that tree, so you can access it later, but verify the information before including it in your own genealogy.

It will save a lot of hassles later on.


Saturday, April 19, 2014

My poor van

I went out last night to get something for supper and saw this. Time for a trip to the mechanic.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

My Memories giveaway for everyone

Apologies, people! I forgot to start this on Sunday.

Okay, if you have read my blog at all, you may have seen a few entries about My Memories digital scrapbooking software. If not, you can check here, here, here, here, here and here.


The good news today is that you can get it yourself FOR FREE. Just go to My Memories, create an account and click on the software link. You want to get MyMemories Suite, which is the main program. Click on Add to Cart.

You should see Enter Coupon/Promo Code. Use this code: FreeTreatEE148. Copy it from here and paste it, as it has to be exact. THIS CODE IS GOOD THROUGH OCT. 26, 2013.

You can click on Proceed to Checkout or go back to the main page and click on Free Kits in the Shop listing. There's a variety of free items, including fonts, quick pages, papers and mini kits. There are hundreds to choose from, which will give you quite a selection to add to what's already in the program.

The next screen after Proceed to Checkout will have your billing address information, which you can change at this point if appropriate.

Now you should see your Order Summary. Look it over and especially make sure the dollar amount is what you expect. For the My Memories Suite, it should be free if you used the code.


Click on Place Your Order. Make sure you click it only once. Now you will see your order number and a link to Access Your Downloads. Click that link and you can start downloading everything. The product key for My Memories Suite will be on this page.

Download and install My Memories Suite before installing any other downloads, as installing the program sets up the folders where the other downloads go.

Your download options for kits are Windows, Mac and general. General is for using the kits in other programs, like Photoshop. This list, including the My Memories Suite, will stay. You can download them again if needed, for example if you get a new computer or have to reformat your computer for some reason. I would suggest saving the downloads on an external hard drive, though, because that would be quicker than downloading everything again.


There are so many things you can do with this software. Yes, you can scrapbook, but you can do other things. I have made Facebook covers and profile pictures with it. They have templates for things like calendars, cupcake wraps, gift tags, chapstick covers, cards, party invitations, different kinds of gift boxes and more.

And that's it. There are tutorial videos on YouTube if you need instruction. I think it's pretty straightforward. I have been able to figure a lot out on my own.


The code is good through Oct. 26, so use it soon. Once you have gone through the checkout process, it's yours forever. Remember, the code to use after clicking on Add to Cart is FreeTreatEE148.

Disclosure: I received a copy of My Memories Suite v4 for free. I can earn money when people buy the software though my affiliate link, although I haven't yet. All of the kits and add-ons I have on my computer were either free for everyone or I purchased them. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Happy Halloween giveaway: $500 KMart gift card

It’s Halloween Giveaway Event


Growing up, my sister and I didn't get to go trick or treating much. I only remember once that I was allowed to go. We lived in the country from the time I was about 3 until I was 14. Dad felt that it was "begging" like actual begging on the street, so that was pretty much not allowed.

I took my kids trick or treating, though. Amanda's first trick or treat night was when she was nearly 2 1/2, and we lived in Chicago. We went around a long block in our neighborhood. I was pregnant with Cayla and it was chilly and dark. On the way back home, we stopped at a house that had a porch light on (which was the sign where we lived in Iowa when I was younger that you welcomed trick or treaters). We knocked, a man came to the door. He looked surprised, but went away and came back with a tray of things like refrigerator magnets. There was a distinct smell of marijuana.

So, here's my tips for Halloween:
  • Don't smoke pot if you expect people to come to your door. Police officers take their kids trick or treating, too, and you certainly don't want to make them have to interrupt their kids' fun to arrest you. 
  • If you welcome trick or treaters, have a porch or outside light on. If you don't want them, make sure that light is not on. 
  • Be prepared for a variety of ages. 
  • Offer different things - make sure there is something that doesn't have peanuts in case there's a kid who is allergic. You can give out fun stuff like spider rings, plastic fangs, glow sticks or stickers.
  • Wear a costume if possible - it makes the experience better for the trick or treaters and for you. 
  • Have fun!
MPM Network Bloggers are super excited to share their Halloween Recipes, Crafts, Decor Ideas and so much more with you this holiday season. Make sure you take a peek at the fabulous posts below. Surely you will find something that makes you smile!

One lucky reader will receive a $500 K-Mart Gift Card!

Giveaway ends October 28th at 11:59 p.m., open to US, ages 18+. 
To enter please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:Carol's Random Babble is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment. Please contact teri@mompoweredmedia.com with questions or to see your business or blog featured on the next big event!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Creativity

In response to this blog post "3 Ways to Increase Your (and Your Child’s) Creativity", I commented:

I never told my parents this at the time, but I gave up on being artistic in kindergarten. We made "Indian" clay pots and to my eyes, my little pot was misshapen and ugly, while it seemed that everyone else's pots were delicate and lovely. I felt that I could not ever catch up, so I gave up.

I'm still trying to overcome that.
It's been 47 years and that self-doubt, that self-criticism, still holds me back.

I try to get around it. I have scrapbooked, both physically and digitally. I have used Photoshop and Illustrator to create and manipulate images. I used to draw, a little, back in high school, but would never show it off. I have written (well, you know that, you are reading my blog) fiction, nonfiction, columns, blog posts, talks that I have given at church, a eulogy for my mother.

And yet I still don't feel good enough to say "I am creative."

If you tell yourself something for decades, it's hard to get out of that mental rut.

Yet, that's exactly what I must do. Especially considering that Mom died of Alzheimer's.

I can't afford not to use my brain in every way possible. I have to keep trying new things. I have to keep learning. I have to stretch my brain cells because that's my best way to avoid or stave off mental deterioration.

I guess my point is that there are things out there that people can do, and if they don't get them right the first time, don't give up. Keep trying. You will find something that you can do, or you will learn to do something better than you did it before.

And for inspiration, watch this video, because not only can you be creative, you can learn new things in a reasonable amount of time:


The video is "The First 20 Hours - How to Learn Anything": Josh Kaufman at TEDxCSU. I love TED talks - they are usually inspiring, and even ones I don't necessarily agree with will make me think.

So I'm going to try this. I haven't yet decided exactly what I will do for my first 20-hour experiment. I have been thinking about NaNoWriMo again, although I'm not sure how writing a novel fits with the 20-hour learning. But that method of breaking things down into easier parts should be applicable to the novel-writing process.

So, we'll see. I will try to learn a new skill, or write a novel (which could be a learning process).

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Good intentions

I'm at my most productive when I'm doing something else.

Actually, that should read I intend productivity when I'm doing something else.

In practice, that means that at 8:30 on a Tuesday night when I'm close to being done with work, I start thinking of all the productive things I can do at home, once I get there.

In reality, once I get home, it's off to the time vortex that is Facebook, games, emails and other time wasters.

I know I should cut myself off from these things, but I can't. Because they are useful. Even the games, in moderation.

But especially for doing family history and stuff like that.

So I need to retrain my brain, I guess. Start timing my unuseful Facebook time and get started on those projects I'm behind on.

Right after I catch up on my games ...

Sunday, September 1, 2013

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate?

You can read my post here or choose to go to Married to Medicine: Vaccination: A Layperson's Perspective. My post is my opinion,facts I found through Google, personal knowledge and a bit of family history. Married to Medicine has more facts and photos of actual people (mostly children) who caught diseases that could have been prevented, plus links to scientific articles about vaccination. To me, it's more important that you be fully informed (and hopefully more likely to vaccinate for your kids' safety and the safety of others) than whether you read my words or someone else's.

I chose to vaccinate my kids. I feel that the risk of a reaction from the vaccination (particularly since we don't have a history of problems) is much less than the possible risk of the actual disease.

I butted heads with a mom blogger a couple of months ago over her anti-vaccination stance. She recently posted in favor of no-peanut policy in schools because *gasp* allergic kids die of exposure to peanuts.

According to my brief research on Google, about 200 people die in the U.S. every year due to food allergies (not just peanut).

Here's what the WHO says about measles: In 2011, there were 158,000 measles deaths globally – about 430 deaths every day or 18 deaths every hour.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asks What Would Happen If We Stopped Vaccinations?


According to the CDC, before vaccinations were widely available, about 2.6 million people died each year from measles.

I'm not saying that peanut allergies are inconsequential. There's a kid in my ward (church) who has a peanut allergy. We are all aware of it and keep an eye out. But an unvaccinated person who brings a disease into an unvaccinated group of people has more chances to kill by accident than a peanut butter sandwich in the wrong hands.

I worked as a secretary in a bank in Chicago in the 1990s. One of my co-workers caught whooping cough from another co-worker and her baby caught it from her, and ended up in the hospital. It was incredibly bad timing - my co-worker came back to work after her baby was born but before the baby got the Tdap shot.

My great-grandmother Augusta Meyn was 2 when her sister, father and two brothers died in about a 3-week period of diphtheria in 1879. There was an epidemic in the area.

We think that things like this don't happen any more in this modern era, but they do happen all the time, in places that don't have widespread vaccinations against the diseases that can be conquered.

There are those who say that the risk of vaccination is worse than the risk of not being vaccinated. I don't believe that. (Go back and read the CDC article about What Would Happen If We Stopped Vaccinations?) There are those who say that faith in God is all you need to stay healthy. (There's a megachurch in Texas holding vaccination clinics now because of a measles outbreak, but apparently they have been saying that all you need is faith.) I say that God gave people brains in order to figure out how to do things, such as scientists who research how to prevent diseases.

I'm done with my rant for now. It may not be my last word on the subject (or will if you are lucky). But we have the opportunity to learn from the past, and it's a shame if we don't take that chance. Vaccines save lives and save people from worse suffering from diseases that they don't have to catch.

Adding a few links I've come across lately.
Anti-vaccine body count
Penn and Teller on vaccinations (language warning)
Growing up unvaccinated
The toll of the anti-vaccination movement, in one devastating graphic
The Extent of America's (Totally Unnecessary) Whooping Cough Outbreak
I've Got Whooping Cough. Thanks a Lot, Jenny McCarthy.
Woman with flu miscarries, battles for her life