Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Freaky weather

Last Friday was a strong thaw. Most of the snow in the yard melted - and in places it was knee deep. At Mom's on Saturday, I found a caterpillar on the sidewalk. It had evidently been fooled by the warm temperatures into coming out of hibernation, but then froze again.

I picked it up and brought it home to show Cayla. It woke up for awhile, but after Cayla saw it, I took it outside so it can hibernate again.

(I'll try to remember to post a picture later. Computer isn't cooperating.)

The other thing about Friday was the intense fog. Kent took me to work and when he picked me up, we went to Walmart. We drove home on P59, at about 30 mph. Visibility was about 20 feet, I think. It was a harrowing ride, but we made it home safely.

Favorite foods

A member of Geeks! posed the question: What is your favorite dish to eat?

My response:
Two meals I miss from when I lived in Chicago:

From the cafeteria where I worked: a buffalo chicken sandwich, fries, egg custard and Dr. Pepper. The bite of the buffalo chicken and Dr Pepper were offset by the cool taste of the custard.

From a salads-to-go delivery service that stopped at my building: a Hotsy-Totsy salad (and Dr Pepper). The salad was pasta with chunks of hot chicken (not buffalo but something along those lines) with broccoli, and peppercorn dressing.

I moved from Chicago in 1996 and still remember how much I liked those meals. ;-)

Honestly, I have thought about those particular meals since we left Chicago, including several times lately. I've considered trying to make the salad, but I'm not sure how to do the chicken. It wasn't buffalo chicken, I think the description said something about some oriental name but it's been so long I can't remember.

I can't remember everything my mom cooked when I was a kid. I do believe that I liked everything she cooked except ham and bean soup and her gravy (sorry Mom). She even made macaroni and cheese from scratch with Velveeta. My own kids are split on what they like: one likes this food but the other doesn't, then they switch on the next item. Neither one likes peas, although Cayla used to like them. I used to take great steps to make sure there was something for the kid who didn't like what we were having, but now that they are 15 and 13, if they don't like what's on the table, they can make something for themselves, even if it's only a bowl of cereal. ;-)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Catching up: Dec. 26-28

I worked a day shift Friday. It was difficult because we got back from Waterloo around 2:15 a.m. and I had to be at work at 9. But I made it.

On Fridays, I do a page for the Sunday business section. I had someone come in after the page was done who wanted something added to the page. I told him the page was done and I could get it in for next Sunday. He suggested it might go in the Sports section. Perhaps it might. It won't go in before Friday anyway. Whatever.

Because I was at work all day, exhausted from the trip to Waterloo, and busy, I forgot that I hadn't picked up the prescription for Mom's pain pills from the clinic. They aren't open until Monday.

(Side note: I stopped to pop a mini-bag of Orville Redenbacher popcorn - lime and salt flavor. It smelled like Froot Loops for a little when it was cooking. The lime taste isn't very strong to me.)

We did a little grocery shopping Friday night - Kent had brought me to work and picked me up. I had to get stuff for Jessica to make meatloaf. We watched part of Prince Caspian, but Donna had to take it in when she went to work. So we started watching Kung Fu Panda. I don't think it was stopped until Saturday afternoon - it just kept playing, over and over and over.

Saturday morning Kent and I went into town. We went to the library, where I returned Twilight and picked up some manga books for Amanda. We got Mom's shopping list and went to Subway at Walmart. I did Mom's shopping, except for the shrimp - which she wants for Wednesday - and popcorn. They only carry Pop Weaver, Orville Redenbacher and Jolly Time at Walmart now. Mom wanted Act II or Pop Secret. More importantly, she wanted natural flavor, and there was none. They all either had varying amounts of butter (from little "lite" butter to pour it on to coronary, here I come!) or were flavored. Which is where I got the lime and salt flavored popcorn.

I had to work Saturday, too. I stopped at Walmart on my way home for buffalo chicken Savorings and ibuprofen. We were out of the ibuprofen, and I got a double pack so Donna and I can each have our own bottle.

We didn't go to church today. Let this be our last lazy Sunday of no church. I'm hoping that we can start the new year off right. I know people must be wondering what happened to me - I haven't attended much since I was released from Primary (where I taught a lesson every Sunday) to get a calling in Relief Society (where I teach a lesson once a month). But I've been exhausted and needed to have a break from something. Taking a break from work only works if I can get time off - and I'm out of vacation days for this year. Taking a break from school makes my life harder when I try to catch up. Taking a break from church, well, I know I shouldn't, but I did. I'll try to do better.

That's pretty much it lately. I need to do many things: write my dad, write Kent's dad, update my website (which will require time on the phone with tech support), start preparing for next semester, and so on. Right now I just want to veg online.

(Oh, yeah, forgot to mention: I found some sites with Blogger templates and changed mine. How do you like it?)

Christmas Day

Donna drove to Waterloo to pick up Richard. We opened presents - Kent got us (girls and me) cell phones. I was stunned. We went to dinner at Hong Kong Buffet. Before dinner, Kent and I (and the girls) went to Community Pizza to pick up a pork tenderloin sandwich for Mom and took it to her. Donna got her a chocolate shake from Hardee's.

The buffet was nice - I hadn't been there in a long time. They had some (Americanized of course) Chinese food, salad stuff (including shrimp), crab legs and a lot more. I took some pictures while we were eating. Amanda kept hiding her face. She continued that when we went back to Mom's for pumpkin pie. I got fed up with her resistance and told Kent to take me to work and then come back for the girls. Amanda took a picture of herself with her cell phone camera and texted an apology to me later.

Work was okay. I made up the obit that hadn't been entered into the system for Thursday and got all the obits caught up. I did a couple of pages, but Barbara did the rest. I like to paginate, but when I'm paginating and doing obits and copy editing as well, it gets to be a bit much. So I don't mind that Barbara does the wire pages and in this case finished a couple of pages with wire content. She left early and I finished by 9:45 p.m.

Finishing early was good, because Richard had to get back to Waterloo so he could work the next day. I also had to work the next day, but Donna didn't want to drive to Waterloo again so Kent and I took Richard back (in Suzanna's car).

The roads were icing up in places because mixed precipitation was passing through. We had to stop once under an overpass to slap the windshield wipers on the windshield because they were covered in ice and ineffective. Kent drove 40 mph in places. The wind was bitter and strong.

Richard kept getting prank phone calls. Someone was using a voice distorter - it sounded like a six-year-old girl and was very difficult to understand. He kept having to ask them to repeat what they said. They gave up eventually.

I expored the options on my cell phone. I got it to access Twitter and left some tweets while we were driving. That was cool. It got me wanting to use it more. The problem is that I hate having to tap the keys multiple times to get to certain letters. I want a phone with a qwerty keyboard. So I'm thinking of upgrading.

It's funny, really. I was satisfied with my Tracfone. It had a camera, which wasn't really necessary because I have a digital camera. It had double minutes for life, which is what I really wanted. But since Kent got us all cell phones, I want more. I want the qwerty keyboard, web access, maybe a music player, more, more, more.

I think I need to stop wanting new things. But I'll do that after I get a different car (with better gas mileage), a new computer (that I can actually do my homework on), the software I need to do my homework and new glasses. That's my current list. Plus the new phone, but I haven't decided which one yet.

Catching up: Dec. 24

I didn't have to work Wednesday - it's my normal day off. Apparently they could have used my help, as there was no obit clerk scheduled. So on Thursday I had to do a little catchup work. One obit that ran in Thursday's paper wasn't in the billing system, so I had to enter it as if it ran in Friday's paper, but made sure not to put it on the page for Friday.

Wednesday was pretty quiet. We didn't do any Christmas Eve stuff. Cayla made sure she stayed up until Suzanna got here, because I told her she couldn't open anything from Suzanna unless Suzanna was here. So we stayed up until 2 a.m. I went to bed after presents were opened, around 2:30 a.m. Suzanna gave me a $35 gift card for Walmart.

Catching up: Dec. 23

I haven't blogged and wanted to catch up, so I'm starting with Tuesday. I had the weirdest dream. Well, in the top 20, maybe.

I live in a one-story house with a basement. It has a garage, and there's a breezeway in between. The yard is a good size, and fairly level. There is no ditch.

In my dream, the house was two stories, with a deck all the way around or nearly all the way around the house at the second story, which was apparently the main level. There was a ditch next to the street in the front, but apparently not all the way around. This is important to the dream. There was something about a fence near the stairs up to the deck, which is also important. The deck was redwood, which is not important, just a detail. The garage wasn't there, either, but the driveway was.

Okay, here goes:

There was a car or a couple of cars driving around through my yard. I called police, and also took a picture with my digital camera. My camera showed a message that the license plate of the car was connected to warrants in another state. I told the police this.

I walked on the driveway to the mailbox to get the mail. On the way back, I started to walk through the yard, but fell to my waist in snow in the ditch next to the street. I put my hand down in the snow as I fell and felt something. There was a boot, a child-size boot. I looked to my right and saw a white jacket with blue trim. I pulled at it and it resisted. Then I saw that there was someone in the coat, someone who was certainly dead. I called to the person I was following to the house and told them to call the police.

When I got out of the snow, I walked along the driveway to the fence by the stairs. I saw something that looked like a doll. I picked it up. It was a baby - probably less than a year old. The baby moved. I called 911 again. They told me they would meet me at the hospital in Waterloo. I told them I was calling from (a small town near Fort Dodge). They needed to send the local ambulance.

Now, this is the bare bones of the dream. The people in the cars continued to drive in circles around my house. I don't know what happened with the baby or the body in the front yard. I don't know if the boot belonged to a child that was buried in the snow. I woke up and lost the thread of the dream.

I do have strange dreams from time to time. I have written down a couple. I went back to read one and didn't remember it at first, but eventually could picture it again. Sometimes I can see a message in these strange dreams, but more often they are confusing and unrestful.

No HP Magic for me

I didn't win any of the 50 HP Magic Giveaway prize packages. I didn't enter all the contests - some were in Spanish or Portuguese, some I missed deadlines or chose not to enter because the qualifications were difficult.

But I did learn something. There are blogs out there where you can win something. So I'm going to keep trying. I might not win a computer (in fact I'll be falling back to Plan A, student aid in February), but I might win something. So, here goes:

My first blog contest that I'm going for is from Organize with Sandy. There are three mini books to give away: Three Steps to Organizing your Kitchen,
Three Steps to Organizing your Child's Room
Three Steps to Organizing your Office.

You have to go to and go back to the contest page and leave a comment about which product you would love to have. There are extra chances to win, too. You can Twitter, blog about it, post Organizer Sandy buttons on your blog and/or follow Sandy's blogs. I'm going to do all of these. I could use the help getting organized. And if I win, it will encourage me to enter more contests.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Better luck next time

I missed a couple of days posting, but I've been busy. Thursday I had three final tests, went home for a bit, then went to work. I got off at 9:30 and drove home. I think that was the worst drive home I've had as far as poor visibility goes. When a snow plow turned onto 169, I pulled off on a side road and let it pass me so it could clear the road.

I made it home, though. But it makes me leary about tonight. We're under a blizzard warning, with snow, blowing snow and bitter wind chills expected. I expect I'll have to spend the night at Mom's. I'm not planning to go to church in the morning. Tomorrow's high temperature is predicted to be around zero.

I got up shortly after 6 a.m. and didn't go back to sleep. So I'm going to take a nap before I get started on my past-due assignments for school.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pride goeth before a fall

I had Tuesday night off from work so I could go to Enrichment Night. Enrichment was cancelled because of the weather - we got a few inches of snow. Kent and I went into town in the evening so I could drop off my Secret Santa present at work, so Kent could get some groceries, and so Kent could fix Mom's computer - again. While he was working on that, I shoveled her sidewalk. And the neighbors' sidewalks. Her apartment complex is made up of four-plex buildings. They are arranged so that there's a central sidewalk and then it splits off to each apartment. So in Mom's building, there are four apartments but only two of them face the same courtyard. I shoveled the sidewalks in Mom's courtyard.

I was feeling pretty good about myself - even had Kent take a picture of me. Yeah, I knew I'd be suffering later (back spasms from the shoveling) but I was pleased.

When we got back to Otho, we picked up Amanda so she could have supper at Kent's. I decided to leave the car for him to bring her home, and I started walking.

I'm not sure why I walked in the street instead of the sidewalk. I guess I have a habit of jaywalking. But I didn't get far before I slipped and fell.

I felt a searing pain in my right thigh as I went down. I landed with my left leg bent, my right knee on the ground and my right hand outstretched as though I was at the starting block. I've got a quarter-sized scrape on my right knee. I was stunned for a moment, trying to figure out how to get up. I actually considered calling Kent to come help me, but dismissed the thought. I managed to get up and make my way home.

When I got home, I asked Cayla to help me. She said, "with what?" and I threw a fit. I threw my coat off, threw my gloves on the floor, dropped the bags I was carrying and started yelling at her. It was definitely a case of the last straw.

I need to explain the difference between "what do you need?" and "with what?" Part of the problem was the tone of voice I thought I heard. I thought I heard a tone that conveyed "Mom is always asking me for help because I'm the only one that will help and I'm tired of it." I'm not proud of how I acted. But I plead extenuating circumstances - I was in a lot of pain.

I'm still in pain. I took some ibuprofen earlier, but forgot it at Kent's place when I drove Donna to the hospital. So I had to pick it up when we got back. I've taken two - at least - so hopefully they'll kick in soon. I say "at least" because I can't remember if I already took two. I used to have a prescription for ibuprofen, and that is twice as strong as the over-the-counter version.

So, there's my last couple of days except for finals. I think my design and photoshop (raster graphics) tests went okay. I got 67 percent on the objective test for Illustrator (vector graphics). I have three tests Thursday (today, now). I was working on stuff that was due the same day as these final exams, but had to be the chauffer to the hospital. So, I didn't get those things done. I won't have any time until Friday. We'll see how it goes. Right now, I'm looking forward to going to bed.

Back from the ER

I'll be going out of order here in order to make a quick post before midnight. Donna asked me to take her to the ER because her blood sugar was over 400 and she'd been suffering from a bad headache since the wee hours of the morning. We got there around 8 p.m. and left around 11:10. I took my Dreamweaver book but didn't study - I read the copy of "New Moon" that she had brought. I finished the book.

Cayla made stew for supper, but it wasn't ready when we left, so I am waiting for Jessica to finish cooking a batch of pork cutlets and then I'll have something to eat and go to bed. I didn't get done the homework assignments I was supposed to turn by tonight. Oh well.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Year of CrockPotting

I need to check this out thoroughly. The author's aim was to use the crock pot every day throughout 2008. It appears to be a success. There are posts by category, including "fun stuff" which is (mostly) nonfood items like crayons, soap and Christmas ornaments. Some of those uses will make you raise your eyebrows, and there's a "don't try this at home" disclaimer on one item.

But, it looks like a worthwhile blog to follow.

Receiving the gift of giving

Chris Pirillo is participating in the Don't Just Give A Gift, Grant A Wish contest. What would you do with one of the offered packages? I would pass it along to the local Salvation Army and/or Operation Christmas. I think the Family Game Night package would be best.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

How can I change the world (or a tiny corner of it)?

I would share.

My first sharing would be with my 70-year-old mom, who is using my old computer that runs on Windows 98. This computer breaks down frequently, and she can't access some of her favorite websites. Mom would get the HP TouchSmart so she would be able to see the screen easily. I would have loved to keep this myself, but the other computers are laptops and Mom just wouldn't do well with a laptop. So she would get the TouchSmart.

I did a little video with my camera that shows Mom, my husband Kent working on Mom's computer and me. (I had the hardest time uploading it, so I'm just linking to it.)

My sister's two daughters would get two of the computers. Suzanna is in college and has no computer. Jessica wants to re-enroll and her laptop has been defective since water was spilled on the keyboard last December. They would get one of the laptops and the HP Mini 1000.

I would get one of the laptops, but that would be sharing, as well. In my web technology program (I'm in college too), I will be creating websites. My first project is for the Webster County Museum (Iowa). I plan to do other projects for nonprofits in the area. There are several who have websites that need updating or reworking, and some that don't have any at all. I would share my talents with these organizations.

I also want to start a technology group at church. There are people who have computers and don't know how to use the basic features. There are people who want computers but they're scared of them. I'd like to help people learn how to send email, find information, maybe even set up a blog (on a service site like Blogger or WordPress). (I'd also like to set up a message forum for the people in my church in my area, so we can chat about lessons and so on, but that would require permission from church.)

Selfishly, I want my own computer that I can do my homework on. I'm currently sharing a computer that belongs to a relative that I took in after she was evicted. I want to acknowledge that she has control over her own things, so I try not to be demanding about using the computer. I don't have time to work on assignments after classes because I work full time in the evenings and have to rush to get to work on time. So I want a computer that I have control over and that can run the Adobe products I use in class: Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver and InDesign.

Thanks for taking time to consider my story. If I win, I'll do the happy dance and have someone video it and post it. Just think of the benefit that will be to others. My video would be on YouTube. I could be the next Gary Brolsma as far as funny viral videos go. (It would be along the lines of "This woman can't dance! This is freaking hilarious!") People who view the video would laugh and all their troubles would seem to fade as they realize that they will never look as ridiculous as I do dancing. So, please, pick me. Think of the humanity. ;-)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hey, I made it to Fail Blog!

Feel free to vote on my entry. And yes, that's actually a cheeseburger eggroll special, which is why, to my mind, this was an "appetite fail."

more fail, owned and pwned pics and videos

Not sure that's a win.’s Magic Giveaway with HP and Microsoft

I entered the portion of the HP Magic Giveaway in the nick of time, I believe. The rules say the cutoff is noon today, but doesn't specify time zone. Later in the rules it says something about Pacific time, so I'm hoping that's right.

Anyway, here's my two most important tips for entering these contests: 1) Read the rules and 2) Pay attention to deadlines. Many of the deadlines have already passed, and prizes have been awarded. Organizational skills will help you in your quest.

Another tip: Embrace technology. Many of the contest bloggers invite people to follow them on Twitter, to tweet a specific phrase, or to post a video. I posted my first video on YouTube to enter this contest for another blogger. I've been trying to upload it to my blog, but it's not loading properly. I had the same problem uploading to YouTube, but finally got it up from another computer.

What I would do with this prize? I've written this so many times already. ;-) Mom (70) would get the HP TouchSmart. I would get one laptop and one niece (probably Jessica) would get the other. A niece (probably Suzanna) would get the HP Mini 1000. I would love the HP TouchSmart, but Mom really needs a computer. She's using my old HP Pavilion that runs on Windows 98, and it keeps breaking down. I'd like to see the look on her face when she gets a chance to go online with the TouchSmart.

I asked Mom to imagine winning the TouchSmart and show me the expression that would be on her face. Apparently she's really, really excited - on the inside.

HP Magic Giveaway: what this would mean to me

The HP Magic Giveaway is an awesome package of computers, hardware, software and extras (Kung Fu Panda, anyone?). Here's what it would mean to my family:

My mom, who is 70, would have the HP TouchSmart. She would have the wide screen to easily see what she's doing. She would be able to enjoy her favorite websites. If she wanted to, she could play solitaire by moving the cards around with her finger, although she probably wouldn't do that for long with her shoulder problems.

What this means to me: I wouldn't have to send my husband over to try to fix the computer she's using - my old HP Pavilion that runs on Windows 98. Mom would be able to post on her forums, watch BYU-TV and play games.

I would get one of the laptops, which would help me in school (web technology). I don't own a computer than can run Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Dreamweaver. I'm using the computer of a relative who's staying with me after getting evicted last month. (I took in two relatives, their 7 cats and their dog. Thanksgiving was about being thankful for having a roof over all our heads.) With my own computer through the giveaway, I could buy the Adobe suite with the programs (I'm currently using a 30-day trial that will soon expire).

Having my own computer means not sharing and waiting on others, so I'd be able to get homework done on time instead of the weekend before finals (true story!). Although, I can't blame my lack of organization on the computer situation - sad but true. But it would enable me to take the laptop to work (oh, yeah, I work full time too, and I'm raising two daughters) and work on it on my lunch break.

The other laptop and the HP mini 1000 would be shared with my nieces - Suzanna is in college and Jessica is planning to re-enroll. Suzanna also came for Thanksgiving, and shared the computer I was planning to use to catch up on homework. She left at 11:30 p.m. (That's getting close to whining, isn't it? Sorry.) Jessica wants a computer she can take notes in class with.

So I would share this prize package with members of my family. But wait, there's more! My major is web technology and a large part of that is creating websites. My first project was for a local nonprofit - the Webster County Museum (Iowa). I plan to do more websites for nonprofits while I'm in school. So, not only would this package benefit my family, but it would benefit the nonprofit organizations I would create websites for.

Stop, Drop and Blog contest

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My entry into Techie Diva's HP Magic Giveaway Contest

The HP Magic Giveaway is a chance for 50 bloggers to each share a $6,000 prize package with 50 people. Most of the contests so far have asked the winners to share with others. Here's my entry into Techie Diva's contest:

I'm a struggling college student with a big difference: I'm 47, separated, raising two daughters, working full time and sharing my home with two relatives who were evicted last month, plus all their pets (seven cats and a dog). Thanksgiving was about being thankful for a roof over all our heads.

My plans for the computers in the giveaway are this: The HP TouchSmart would go to my 70-year-old mother, who would enjoy being able to watch BYU-TV online again (my old computer which she's using runs on Win98 and she's unable to enjoy some of her favorite websites); one laptop and the HP mini 1000 would go to my two college-age nieces to help them in school; and I would get the other laptop.

My major is web technology. My problem is that the Adobe products I use in school need a newer computer than I own. I'm currently using the computer that belongs to the relative that I opened my home to, but I do have to share and when they move out, I won't have a computer at all. Because I work full time, I can't stay after classes to use the Flex Lab computers, and wasn't able to finish and turn in several assignments. I'm sure I can do better if I actually have a usable computer that can run the software I need and that I can with me to work on during my lunch break at work.

In addition, since my major is web technology, I'll be creating websites. My first project is for a local nonprofit organization. I plan to continue doing my project for nonprofits, benefitting my education and the organizations at the same time.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Frustration at EA Games

I'm trying to play Sims2. I can't get it to start. I only get this message: Please insert the original disc instead of a backup (1000).

From what I understand, this is an anti-pirate measure. I bought this game legally, as I have bought all my other EA games. I've had to reinstall my games, due to changing computers and reformatting and so on. Why can't I just play my game?

I've wasted 2 hours on this tonight - 2 hours I could have been playing for some mental relaxation. Or it could have been 2 hours of much-needed sleep. This happened with Bon Voyage and FreeTime. I've spent a couple hundred dollars on Sims games and this is how you treat your customers? I was going to buy Apartment Life this week, but I'm not sure I want to continue with the sims. I might just give up on them altogether. And I might forget about Sims3.

I submitted the first two paragraphs to the EA help people. We'll see if I get a response. From what I've seen online, my choices are:
a) forget about playing Sims 2 (which would be better for my school work and sleep deprivation)
b) contact EA and get a new code
c) find a no CD crack online (hoping it's not a virus, of course)

I hate that I can't just buy a game, play it as much as I want, uninstall and reinstall it as much as I need to, without having to jump through hoops. When I buy a game, it should be mine as much as I want. Not for purposes of reverse engineering or anything, but I should be able to play it. Someone commented it's like making the game a rental. To me it's like only being able to wear an outfit so many times and you have to ask permission to wear it again.

I own all the original Sims CDs and most of the Sims2 CDs (expanion packs except Apartment Life and not all the "stuff" CDs). So I've spent quite a chunk of change on their games. GRRR.

I'm going to bed now - I need sleep. I don't think sleep will make me feel better about this in the morning, though.

Update: Found the solution here. Got the game to work, although it was slow and laggy. Got about 2 1/2 hours sleep, and I don't feel better for it. I have a test in my first class, unfortunately, or I would go right back to bed after the girls go to school.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Snow day

And I'll be going back to bed as soon as Donna gets here (she works 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.). Or maybe I'll go back to bed now and let Amanda tell me when Donna gets home, like she woke me up to tell me that school was closed.

Monday, December 8, 2008


Oops, forgot to post yesterday. Well, there's always next month.

We're currently in the midst of a winter storm. A winter weather advisory is in effect until 3 p.m. tomorrow. A bunch of schools in our area have already declared a 2-hour delay for tomorrow, but not our school. Of course. I'd like to sleep in, but I've got to prepare for class tomorrow.

What I'd really like to do is:
a) go to bed and sleep til noon
b) play Hatchlings on Facebook and feed all my pets, Cayla's pets and pets belonging to our friends from Utah (I told them I'd help feed their pets)
c) play Sims2 until I fall asleep at the computer.

What I'll probably do is:
a) mess around online until I fall asleep at the computer and then wake up in the morning going "oh crap" when I realize I have to be at the college at 8 a.m. even though the kids have a 2-hour delay by then.

Anyway, please leave a comment on my winter driving tips entry in the HP Magic Giveaway. (yeah, like anybody reads this besides my mom and her computer hasn't worked in a week)

Saturday, December 6, 2008


It's Saturday, I have to go to work later. I tried working on my past homework, but lost motivation. I'd rather play Sims 2 (which kept me up til 2:30 a.m.). But you've got to have a little fun in your life, right?

I entered the Geeks! portion of the HP Magic Giveaway. The challenge is to write a 500+ essay on how to, what is or top 5 of something. The essay with the most comments wins. I wrote about winter driving tips. There are no comments yet. I won't be winning that one.

Guess I'll play Sims 2.

Friday, December 5, 2008

HP Magic Giveaway entry for moosh in indy

I would give the HP TouchSmart to my 70-year-old mom (not living in my house) so she can visit her favorite websites. She has been missing BYU TV online because she's using my old HP Pavilion computer runs on Win98 and can't open the videos. The TouchSmart screen is plenty big for her to see. My nieces Jessica (planning to go back to college, currently living in my house) and Suzanna (currently going to college and not living in my house) would get one laptop and the HP mini 1000. (Jessica gets first pick.) The other laptop would be mine, to do my college coursework.

My major is web technology. My coursework involves creating websites. I plan to mostly do websites for nonprofit organizations while I'm in school. I'm also thinking of starting a technology group at church to help people learn to do email and so on.

HP Magic Giveaway: MediaBlab

Entered the HP Magic Giveaway at MediaBlab. You, too, can enter:
Jake Ludington’s HP Magic Giveaway

HP Magic Giveaway

I just sent Chris an entry for the HP Magic Giveaway. He lives on the West Coast and isn't up this early, so I'll have to wait to see when he posts my entry. This is one case where earlier is better: part of the contest is to see how many comments each entry gets. There aren't too many entries so far, so maybe my chances are pretty good. I'll post when I get a link to my entry.

Up late again

I got home around 11:15 p.m. and Amanda was still up. Donna was on her computer, but she consented to letting me kick her off after I got my laundry started. Amanda is still up - it's nearly 12:06 a.m.

"I took a nap," she said. But she'll still be difficult to get up in the morning. Right now I should go to bed, but I just started a load of laundry that I need to see through to the dryer. I don't feel tired, but know that if I went to bed right now, I'd be asleep in few minutes.

I should be doing homework, but I'm also trying to think of what to write about for the Geeks! entry into the HP Magic Giveaway. Chris PIrillo wants a 500-word essay on a how-to, what-is or Top 5 subject. I can't figure out what to write about.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Chicken is sick

Chicken is Amanda's kitten. She's 5 months old tomorrow. And she's sick. She's been sneezing and gagging. She puked a couple of times. Right now she's asleep in a laundry basket.

I'm too broke to take her to the vet. The last time I took a cat to the vet, I spent $120 and the cat died 4 hours later. That was after I called the vet's office to say "my cat has fleas and I didn't know until now how bad she is" and they said "you have to buy medicine and treat her at home." Well, "how bad she is" was anemic. I wonder if I had taken her to the vet on Friday when I called instead of the next day, would she have survived? Poor Comet kitty.

Anyway, that's life. You try to do the best you can and sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't. I'm going to go enter a couple of the HP Magic Giveaway contests now because I'm so lucky and postitive right now.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

All-nighter: bad idea

I'm kind of tired, but not ready to go to bed yet. I've been trying to fulfill requirements for entries into the HP Magic Giveaway, and I'm not quick. I haven't started doing my homework yet. Yikes. And we have a test in my first class (today) - unless we have a late start or a snow day, if it snows enough. Of course, at 2 a.m. they haven't made that decision yet. Plus, my luck would be that the K-12 schools have a late start but the college would be on time. I don't think it's started snowing yet. (checks - nope)

I could fall asleep really easily, but I've still doing laundry. I guess I'll put the clothes in the dryer when I get up. ;-)


National Blog Posting Month. It's every month, but in November it's serious. You have to post each and every day to be included in the contest. Since I didn't sign up until today, I'll have to wait until next year. But it should be a good exercise in discipline - can I really post every day? Can I come up with something to say/write on a daily basis? I've got (counting) five blogs at least. I won't try to post in each one every day, but I should be able to manage a post a day in at least one of them.

My badge:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

HP Magic Giveaway: some blogs have gone live

I'm going to list the schedule by day, taken from a Google calendar*:

Nov. 28
Bleeping Computer -entered- (didn't win)
Gear Live -entered- (didn't win)
Windows Connected -entered- (didn't win)

Nov. 29
Morningside Mom -entered- (didn't win)
Thoughts on poetics & tech -entered-

Nov. 30
MediaBlab -entered-

Dec. 1

Dec. 2
Gotta Be Mobile -entered-
I Started Something -entered-
(Enter name and email addy. Bonus entry for using Windows Vista {download})
The Gadgeteer

Dec. 3
Carlos Alberto (in Portuguese)
Down-to-Earth Mama -entered-
La Bitácora de Erwin Ried (in Spanish)
moosh in indy -entered-

Dec. 4
Geeks To Go! -entered-
Geeks! -entered- (didn't win)

Dec. 5
One Day, One Job (tell how you helped someone try to get a job)

Dec. 6 - entered- (survey)
Techie Diva -entered-

Dec. 7
InfoWester (in Portuguese)
merlot mom
Noticias Tech (in Spanish)

Dec. 8
Barb's Connected World
Planet x64

Dec. 9
Student Bloggers

Dec. 10
Gadgetell -missed deadline-
Liliputing -entered-
Slashdot Review -missed deadline-

Dec. 11
Eliax (in Spanish)
GeeksRoom (in Spanish)
Living - In Theory -entered-
Stop, Drop & Blog -entered-

Dec. 12
Digital Home Thoughts -entered-
OSNN -didn't enter- (seemed like a forum popularity contest)
SlashGear missed deadline

Dec. 13
Study Hacks missed deadline

Dec. 14
Digital Inspiration -entered-
Geekzone -entered-

Dec. 15
The Digital Lifestyle missed deadline

Dec. 16
CíberPrensa (in Spanish) didn't enter
Unión de Bloggers Hispanos (in Spanish) didn't enter

Dec. 17
Geek News Central entered once, need to listen to podcasts
JK On the Run
Last 100

*Unfortunately, I can't remember who posted the Google calendar with the schedule. When I figure it out, I'll give credit.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

HP Magic Giveaway update

Entered the HP Magic Giveaway at GearLive:

Their requirements are a little more detailed: You have to have a GearLive account and post a link on Twitter. Then you post a comment on the GearLive page with a link to the Twitter post. You can earn bonus entries by posting in four other places: Facebook,, FriendFeed and your blog. I don't have a FriendFeed account - yet - but it might be worth it for this. ;-)

I can't figure out how to do Shared Link on Facebook, and I'm wondering how they can view my profile anyway - I don't want it completely open, just my friends and networks. I'll work on that later.

I also entered at Windows Connected. They want an email with a 150-word-or-less explanation on how the prize package would be used.

I also used TinyURL to make a good URL for Twitter:

HP Magic Giveaway

I've entered the HP Magic Giveaway contest at Bleeping Computer. One down, 49 to go.

Bleeping Computer's criteria is they want the winner to share. They are asking that the winner give at least one of the computers to someone else. I was already considering sharing the wealth if I win.

Here's my post at Bleeping Computer:
My first thought was that I would give the HP TouchSmart to my mom. She's 70 and currently using my old HP Pavilion, which runs Windows 98. She can't access all her favorite websites on it. I played with one at OfficeMax and it was kind of fun to play solitaire by touching the screen and moving the cards. (I'm not sure Mom would be able to lift her arm that far and long, though, she has shoulder problems.)

One of the laptops would be mine for schoolwork. My current computer can't run the Adobe products that I use for class (Photoshop, Dreamweaver, InDesign and Illustrator), so I rented a laptop for a few weeks and I'm currently using my sister's computer. I had also thought of giving the other laptop to my niece Jessica. Her laptop was damaged when water spilled on it a year ago. It still works, but is hard to start, the keyboard doesn't work (she has a fullsize keyboard that she uses) and the CD drive doesn't always recognize CDs. (Jessica says she wants the HP mini 1000 to take notes in school and the other full-size laptop can go to her sister Suzanna, who is also in college and doesn't have a computer.)

I guess you can see that I can share the items in the prize package, even if it's only with members of my family. Part of my school work involves creating websites and at least one of my websites (so far) is for a local nonprofit organization. In future semesters, I'll probably be doing more of those for local organizations. I also want to start a technology group at church and help people learn to use email and computer programs.

Two other blogs have their contests open:
Gear Live
Windows Connected

The blogs have a schedule when each one can release their contest. I don't know if I'll be able to enter the Spanish- and Portuguese-language blogs unless they have a version in English. But I'm entering as many as I can.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

So I called in sick today

I generally feel like crap: nauseated, achy, getting a headache. I barely made it through classes today, and only long enough to finish the part of a test that has to be done in class. I brought home the performance part, which is due next Tuesday.

I got 85% on the objective part of the exam, meaning that miracles still do happen.

So, after I called work, I went back to bed, until Mom called to ask me to pick up her prescription at the clinic. I told her I would do it tomorrow, and would have gone back to bed, except she asked me to make sure they are open tomorrow. So, I whipped out the phone book (I actually know where two are - they're in the same place and handy to find!) and called. Yes, they are open.

Anyway, I was going through emails and found one from Lockergnome about a contest. I haven't listened to the video yet - gotta get my MP3 player out to use the headphones, but the gist of it is that Chris Pirillo is one of 50 bloggers who is testing a hardware/software package from HP that they are then giving away. It's the HP Magic Giveaway.

The stuff they are giving away is awesome: an HP touchsmart PC, two notebook computers and an HP mini 1000 series - kind of like a mini-laptop, I guess. A printer, a MediaSmart Connect, it's all so much. I'm already imagining what I would do with it all.

Mom would get the TouchSmart, I think. It's plenty big enough and she could clear off her desktop. That would leave two laptops and the mini 1000 for me and the girls. Or I could give a laptop to my niece Jessica, who could give hers to the girls. Or ... too many possibilities.

Anyway, I'm going to enter as many ways as I can - there's a list of the bloggers at Eight of the blogs are Spanish- and Portuguese-language blogs.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

keyboard back to normal

Amanda's kitten, Chicken, walked on my keyboard and hit something and the keyboard was all messed up. I think it was scroll lock. Anyway, the keyboard is back to normal.

I can't say my life is.

The girls and I are living in a two-bedroom house outside Fort Dodge. Kent is in his own apartment, but it's nearby. He's got his key to my place and I have a key to his, but that's in a neighborly way, not for, ummm, anything else.

Anyway ...

So, I'm taking classes and working full time and life is crazy. Donna asked Mom to move in with her but recent events have made that impossible. I'll be taking on three of Donna's cats - in addition to our four and our landlady's cat that comes in and goes out as he pleases. I always said I wouldn't be the crazy cat lady but apparently I was wrong.

Today is Election Day, which translates into pandemonium at work, so I'll be working late tonight. I would take tomorrow off from class, but I've got a test tomorrow - in my first class. Yippee.

than2s, 25tty

st4*5d cat wa32ed 6n 0y 2eyb6ard and 5t's a33 0essed 4* n6w.

Monday, September 29, 2008

I hate moving

There's a quote from Dorothy Parker: "I hate writing; I love having written." I'm going to use my own version: "I hate moving I love having moved."

We're nearly there. There are some odds and ends at the old place, which we're supposed to be out of tomorrow (Sept. 30). I'm at that "I don't care anymore" stage. I highly disrecommend (new word!) this combination: working full time, going to school full time and moving within the same month. Any combination of two of those is hard enough - three is insane.

I've got a test tomorrow, and assignments due, and I'm trying to download trial versions of Adobe programs so I can do my homework. But the programs are so huge that one takes 15 minutes to download. By the time I get the four programs I need, I'll have to go to bed.

And, although we had help moving the majority of our stuff on Saturday, we're not completely settled. Besides all the boxes, which is normal for us, my washer and dryer aren't hooked up. A washer is hooked up, which belongs to the owner of the house. I want to use my own: it's newer and if something happens, I don't feel bad about breaking someone else's washer. But more important is the dryer. I can still wash in that washer, but I can't dry my clothes at home.

So, while I was at work, Cayla did a load of laundry. She did it herself, which is good, but nobody asked me if I needed anything washed. Which I did. So, my choices are to wear preworn clothes (slightly dirty) or buy something new to wear to work. What fun.

My first download is complete, so I'll close this and go on to the next one ...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back to school

I start classes in 9 1/2 hours. I'm nervous and a bit excited. It's going to be hard to go to school full time and work full time, but at least this time around I don't have to pay my tuition out of my own pocket (yay Pell Grant!).

And Kent will be moving out, and the girls and I will be moving to a friend's house who moved to another state. I pay my first month's rent there on Friday. Saturday I have the day off so the girls and I can move boxes and whatever else we can get into the pickup truck of a coworker - we're swapping vehicles for the day. The following Saturday, we'll get the rest of the furniture moved. Kent's waiting to hear about a place near where we will be, or an apartment in FD. That one is only a studio, and he'd like a one-bedroom.

More updates later, particularly after Sunday.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Due to a mess with some woman in iPlay, I've had to make my blog private. Only people I invite can read it. Apparently this woman has a beef with Kent and found my blog and told people there's nasty stuff about Kent on it. Whatever.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Walk this way

I signed up for the Trinity Healthy Living 10,000 steps a day challenge. I got a pedometer, which I'll have to make a habit of wearing (not wearing it at this moment). I'll have to keep a daily log of my progress, too.

It should be interesting - to see if I can keep up with this. I've never had much luck with losing weight or living a healthy lifestyle.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Carol and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

With respects to Judith Viorst.

Lemme see. Wednesday was the day that our partly-outside kitty, Rocky, came home injured. I suspect someone might have kicked him, because his right front paw was dangling, and it looked like his ribs were hurt (based on how he meowed when we lightly touched his side). I ended up calling the animal control guy (who suggested he could take Rocky to his cousin's farm and maybe Rocky will heal naturally. (Or maybe he'll just put him to sleep like he said originally. I'm hoping Rocky is okay, but have no way to know. I just couldn't find any vets willing to work out a payment arrangment with me.)

It was the day I got a temporary filling for the tooth that lost one a few days ago (which seems like a plus, but it still counts).

It was the day that Kent went to the doctor, who agreed that Kent is probably bipolar (my diagnosis) and prescribed him Abilify. The doctor also wants him to go to the Heart Clinic of Iowa to see if there's a problem with his heart, based on the dizzy spells Kent has been experiencing lately.

I went to sleep a bit earlier than usual, but woke up so exhausted this morning that I kept pushing the snooze button for another 40 minutes (10 minutes at a time).

And although I realized this morning that my Bell's palsy is back (probably related to the lost filling and a possible infection), I'm still counting it on Wednesday's tab, since I was experiencing the symptoms yesterday but hadn't put the pieces together.

Hey, it's my complaint, I can lump it all together if I want to.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along blog

I found this through a Facebook friend. Read the master plan for details. I plan to see it, and if I like it, will buy it on DVD. I like some of Joss Whedon's stuff, and the combination of Joss and Nathan Fillion is irresistible.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


I attended the first meeting of the reunion committee for my high school class's 30-year reunion. And volunteered to do the website.

I had done a little homework beforehand, so I knew about a free site specifically for reunions like this. We're currently using this, but it isn't quite what I wanted.

So I purchased a domain name and two months of hosting from I'm trying to learn how to use Wordpress to maintain a website and getting more and more confused. But I don't think it looks too bad.

The committee will meet again in July.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Infinite sadness

I found out Monday night that a friend had died. He didn't die of a sudden heart attack, stroke or cancer, all of which would be tragic enough at his age: 54.

He committed suicide.

He leaves behind a wife, three sons (one married, one engaged), and two grandchildren, parents, siblings, plus many friends and acquaintances.

He also leaves behind infinite sadness.

Whatever his reason is - and I won't speculate - it will never be enough for those close to him. They will always wonder, "What didn't I do?" and "What did I do wrong?" They will wonder why their love wasn't enough to keep him here.

I wasn't as close to him as I would have liked - he was a great guy. He was active in many community activities. But he always greeted me with a smile - as if he was truly glad to see me. I was always glad to see him. There's nothing improper about this, I always considered him a friend I wanted to know better. Even I wonder if there was anything I could have said or done to change his mind.

Suicide leaves its mark on those left behind. My grandpa S. died in May 1991. When my dad called us to tell us the news, we were sad. But it was two months later, when we were coming for a visit, that Dad told us how Grandpa died. He shot himself. That made the grief fresh again. It still burns a bit. The only question is why?

My eloquence has left me. I have been planning this out in my mind for two days, and I can't finish it right. To me, suicide is an unthinkable act. I could not do that to my kids, family and friends. I grieve for those who feel they must take this way out, and I grieve for those left behind.

If there is anyone out there reading this who may be considering suicide, I have this to say: Think of those you will leave behind. There must be someone who loves you, someone you love. Don't do this to them. Don't do it to anyone who cares about you at all. If you truly feel there is nobody who cares if you live or die, then make someone care. Volunteer somewhere. Do good things for other people. Do something, but don't leave by suicide.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Facebook addict

Yeah,I'm kind of a Facebook addict. It's all the applications - you can join groups, play games, look for Easter eggs, plant a virtual garden, stock a virtual aquarium, send virtual gifts ...

So, I play Oregon Trail and Knighthood, look for hatching eggs, Superpoke all my friends, and collect Pieces of Flair.

That last one is what has me bummed. You see, I discovered that one of my friends has the Pieces of Flair application. So, I thought it would be cool to send her one, something pretty. I searched for awhile and found one that I liked that I thought she would like ...

But she isn't on my friends list. Anymore. I don't know when that happened, or why. So I can't send her flair, but more importantly, I'm wondering if I did something to offend her. And I'm wondering why it took me so long to figure this out.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Cats, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs and rats

We took Buster (aka Boo-boo) to the Family Pet Clinic on March 20 to be neutered. We picked him up the next day, a changed kitty. He's been a bit tentative lately, not quite himself.

He also has been compulsively licking the affected area. So Kent took him back Friday afternoon and they gave him a surgical cone. Poor Boo-boo. He can't lick himself, even regular cleaning, unless we take it off. He runs into the side of things with the cone. If you offer him a treat, sometimes it lands on the inside of the cone and he has to try to lick it off. It's really quite comical at times.

Also, Cayla finally decided that she had had enough of guinea pig ownership and I placed an ad for the cavies. We sold the last two today. While discussing the ins and outs of guinea pigs, I mentioned to the buyers that Cayla had wanted a rat for some time and I told her "You aren't getting a rat."

We gave the last buyers the cages, water bottles and food that we had left. Cayla and I helped carry stuff across the street and load the van. As we walked back to the house, Cayla turned to me and said, "Now I can get a rat!"

"No, I said you aren't getting a rat."

"But rats are smarter than guinea pigs."

"Didn't you hear me before? No rats."

See, we started with gerbils. There were supposedly four males - gerbils like to be with other gerbils. But one wasn't a male - "he" was a she, and gave birth before we got her. And got pregnant right away. As one point, we had 11 gerbils. We placed an ad and gave them all away by ones and twos.

Then we got a hamster. Hamsters like to be alone, so we got just one. We especially didn't want to repeat the multiple fiasco the gerbils had been. But the hamster died in August, and Cayla was devasted.

Kent went to visit some friends in October, and brought their guinea pigs back with him. A male and female, and guess what? She was pregnant. Yippee. She gave birth on Nov. 10 - two pups - and got pregnant pretty quick. Through an ad, we had found homes for the dad and two pups before the second litter - three pups - arrived on Jan. 18.

We are done with extra pets for awhile.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Your geek rating ...

62% Geek

Only 62 percent? *hangs head in shame*

I just took another test: 30.76923 percent - Total Geek

i am a total geek

I'm going to have to study harder.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

It's a new holiday in our house!

It's "Snip Snip Eunuchy Day" for Buster. This refers to the second "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie where Jack Sparrow tells the cannibals that Will Turner is a eunuch. In the middle of his speech, he says "snip snip eunuchy."

Buster wasn't happy when I took him to the vet, but not because he was afraid of the vet - yet. He doesn't like going in the car, and I had bought a cat carrier just for this occasion. I assembled it in the car and brought it in and set it on the floor. He sniffed it and went inside and I shut the door. Then I took him out to the car and drove him to the vet. That was just part of the chain of disasters as far as he was concerned. He was quiet, but scared on the way there.

Poor baby.

You missed quite a sight!

I had to go to Ames yesterday to pick something up. When I got there, it wasn't there. Some miscommunication had caused the order not to arrive, and there's no way for me to find out until I get there.

So, I got back in the Blazer - which I had driven because my car sucks down more gas and the Blazer had a bit more gas - and tried to shut the door. Which wouldn't latch. I tried a few more times, then asked someone for help. He tried a few times with no luck. So I drove around the side of the building where the parking lot slopes, hoping gravity would help. No luck.

So, I drove out of Ames with my window down a couple of inches and holding the door shut with my left hand. I shut the window and held the door by the door handle until we got to Little Wall Lake.

My plan was to shut the door from the outside, which usually works. In the past, I've done this, then got into the Blazer from the passenger's side and scooted across. In a manner of speaking - you don't exactly "scoot" across the center part of a Blazer.

I tried a few times, finally thought I had it after a fashion. I crawled in the back window, rolled across the back seat (it was already down) and maneuvered myself into the front seat. Cayla was laughing at me the whole time. She was the reason I didn't go in the passenger side - I wanted her door to stay where it was. The passenger door has latching issues, too, and I didn't want to deal with both of them.

Anyway, I finally got into the driver's seat and barely touched the door and it popped open. I tried a few more times to close it and finally gave up. I ended up driving the whole way back to Fort Dodge holding on to the door handle, even at 65 mph on Highway 20.

I can't begin to tell you how much fun that was. ;-)

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Minor rant - work-related

It's really nice to work at a place where you can be sure that when there's a shortage of available people to work on a certain type of project, someone will volunteer/step up. It's reassuring to know that if anybody calls in, or quits, or is unable to get to work for whatever reason, there is someone who can get things done.

Until you realize that you are someone, and it kind of sucks to be the person who is always filling in/volunteering/stepping up. And it's not all volunteer, either. This past week is was a note on a Post-It saying this particular project needs to be done ASAP. I started working on it Monday or Tuesday already, but just to get the pieces together in order to do the main part, which is uploading the information to the Web site. Our esteemed webmaster assured the news editor that it would only take 20 minutes per section.

After about an hour and a half of prep on Monday or Tuesday (can't remember - it's all a blur), I came in Wednesday (MY DAY OFF!!!!) to make sure it all got done. More prep time: The folders had been moved, so I:
Copied each folder to my desktop
Deleted the ads and pasteboard stuff from each page
Updated the links to photos on each page
As each section was updated, I then did "collect for output" for each page
When all sections were collected for output, I dragged the section folders onto a shared server, then went to a computer with Photoshop and saved each photo for the Web (changed image size first, to make uploading faster)

Then, finally, I was ready to upload everything to the Web. (Oh, and the webmaster assures me that he'll make a droplet or something that will process the photos for me for next time. Thanks.) Also, one section is supposed to be uploaded for a sister publication. I emailed the webmaster, asking if he can maybe copy that section online for the other publication. Apparently not - he didn't address that part of my email. Besides doing tedious work, there's nothing I like more than duplicating the tedious work. "Can I do this over and over and over again? Huh, can I?"

I also discovered that for some reason, the paragraph breaks didn't translate when the articles were uploaded. So, after that, I put two < BR > tags at the beginning of each paragraph in the articles in Quark Xpress - it's easier to put them in before pasting the text into the Web program.

I was at work on Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Those hours had be cut from the rest of my week. So, now I have about 5.75 hours left for today, and I'm doing obits, paginating and uploading three sections of Sunday's paper to the Web.

I'm thinking of taking my laptop to work so I can take a long lunch hour and play games or something.

An observation

I've had Bell's palsy manifest at two different times in my life. The first time (1988), I had been mugged and either hit or kicked in the face, and the Bell's palsy came on suddenly a week or so later and lasted a couple of weeks.

The second time was during my second pregnancy (1995). I think that was more gradual. At that time, one eye didn't want to stay closed when I was sleeping, so I ended up using first aid tape to tape it closed at night. It gradually went away, and I think there are no aftereffects, except a very slight difference between the right and left sides of my face.

Even a mild thing like Bell's palsy can freak you out and mess with your life. I bring this up because of a thread on a forum I frequent. One person was asking for advice on symptoms, and Bell's palsy was one of the suggestions for a possible diagnosis. The main advice was, of course, see a doctor. But reading the responses brought back memories of the times I had Bell's palsy.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

It's just a cold

but I feel like crap. I have had weird things going on with my ears for over a week. They crackle. It's like they have fluid in them or something. I haven't gone to the doctor because I don't have insurance and I owe them money.

Saturday I woke up with a throat that felt hot and tight. Not sore, exactly ... And I'm all full of snot.

Maybe I should put an "ewww factor" warning on this post. Sorry.

Anyway, I did work Saturday but didn't go to church on Sunday. I worked Monday because there were two things I had to do that nobody else either knew how to do or would be willing to do. The second item was copy editing, and I was supposed to have had that done by last Friday, but was too busy, what with working 10 days in a row and all. The first item was obits, and I have to do those on Mondays and Thursdays, plus days that Jean takes off (which was part of the reason I worked 10 days in a row). So I went to work.

I also couldn't use the excuse that the roads were too bad, because the other two people scheduled to work live farther away from town than I do.

But, they sent me home and pretty much ordered me not to work today if I feel as bad. Which is kind of a given. I've been taking Zicam since Sunday, and I think it's helping to loosen up the congestion. I got the dissolvable kind, and I think each one tastes worse than the one before.

I'm going back to bed now.

Oh, and I made an important discovery yesterday. If you blow your nose enough times, even the facial tissues with lotion aren't soft enough. Blahhh.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Two-hour delay (now closed)

I think the schools may have learned a lesson from last Tuesday. The weather wasn't so bad, exactly, but the little snow that had fallen was being blown around by the wind. Driving through it was like driving in fog. The schools did not have a delay. They realized later that the driving conditions were bad, but5 by that point they decided th at the conditions were too bad to let the kids go home. Humboldt made plans to take elementary kids to the high school if conditions stayed bad and parents couldn't pick their kids up. Luckily, the winds dropped and they were able to bus kids home. I didn't wait. I packed up a bag with clothes and got blankets for Cayla and me and picked her up. I planned that if the weather stayed bad, we would stay at Mom's. We did get to go home that night.

My point in all of this is that because the schools didn't have a two-hour delay, the kids stayed in school all day. If there had been a delay, there wouldn't have been school at all. Today, there's a two-hour delay,and I won't be surprised if it they decide later to just have no school today. Right now there's 139 listings of schools with delays on

And I'm miserable, by the way. I woke up Saturday with a throat that felt hot and tight, and a nose full of snot. I worked Saturday, but didn't go to church on Sunday. I had Kent drive me into town later and did two loads of laundry at the laundromat Sunday night. The fact that I had Kent drive my car should tell you how bad I was feeling. I still feel like crap. My problem is that I didn't get something done at work that is due this morning, so I feel like I should go in early to finish it. But, the way I feel, I should call in sick. But I can't call in sick because there is nobody who can do what I do if I'm gone.

UPDATE: There's no school today. I'm playing Sims Castaway Stories for a bit, then going back to bed.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Pie chart

In response to a thread entitled Best Pie Chart Ever, I have come up with my own version:

The other contenders are:
Pac-Man, which brings up Pac-Man's skull,
Ninja turtles,
Profanity (warning: profanity),
and the ultimate(ly useless) Venn diagram.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Support your local library

Our normal routine is morning news until 7 a.m., then I turn to HGTV for "Simply Quilts" and "Carol Duvall" show. Then it's Discovery for two episodes of "How It's Made," which is when I fall asleep for my morning nap. When I wake up, Kent has changed the channel - but it's never the same thing. It could be a judge show, extreme videos on SpikeTV or "Walker, Texas Ranger."

At noon, it's the ABC soaps. I get to watch "All My Children," but have to get ready for work during "One Life to Live."

When I get home, it could be something on NatGeo, History or A&E (if "CSI: Miami" is on). Wednesday nights, we usually watch "Ghost Hunters." Friday nights I try to get home in time for the second viewing of "SG: Atlantis."

But, right now our cable is off, so we're watching DVDs borrowed from the library. Most of our personal collection is kiddie things like "Brother Bear" and "Finding Nemo." So I have borrowed the first and second season of "The Muppet Show," "Serenity," the second "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie and the first season of "Eureka," which we're watching at the moment. Gotta love the library.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Our family expands - again

Cayla called me at work yesterday afternoon with emotion in her voice. At first, I thought something was wrong, but quickly realized it was excitement. Mercedes Cow had given birth to her pups. She had three this time, one calico and two brownish-red and white. Those two also have different colors, I think it is lilac and red, according to the guinea pig book that Cayla has. So, one black-red-white and two red-lilac-white pups.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

So we have one vehicle that won't start and one that won't stop ...

I hadn't been driving my car since Kent returned from Kentucky. The last time it had been driven was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, when a random guy stopped and asked if we were going to sell it. He took it for a test drive and said he would pay $800 for it but didn't have the money that day.

He never came back.

So, I didn't drive the car because it was nearly out of gas and just kept driving the Blazer. Then on Jan. 4, Kent and I had a fight and he insisted that I get a battery so I could drive the car and leave "his" Blazer alone.

Fine. I had to borrow money from Mom for the battery and a few other things. Kent got the car jump-started and I drove it to Wal-Mart to get a new battery. It ran fine after that from Jan. 4 through Jan. 9. Then it wouldn't start.

So I've been driving the Blazer again, or Kent has taken me to work. Today, Cayla had Lollipop Orchestra, so I took her to the library. We went to Hy-Vee after that so I could take money out and get the truck gassed up - it was nearly empty. After gassing the truck, I drove home.

We stopped at the convenience store for sodas. I stayed in the truck listening to a CD I had borrowed from the library. When Cayla got back in the Blazer, I put my foot on the brake pedal and shifted from Park to Drive. Only, my foot went all the way to the floor. Not good.

So, I'm getting a ride to work today and a ride to church tomorrow. But after that, I don't know. We'll have to have the truck towed - that's going to be around $75, I think. Plus the charge for getting the brakes fixed. Great.

And I didn't mention the situation I discovered earlier, before Cayla and I left to go to the library. I got my coat from the back of the sofa - forgot to hang it up last night - and Buster had peed on it. Thanks, kitty. I don't know how I'll repay you for that one.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Get paid to click

I just signed up for I got the link from a Lockergnome e-mail and signed up through that. The pay amount isn't a lot: one cent if you have a free account. But, people you refer add to your amount, too. I think they only go one level, so people who are referred by the people you refer don't count for you.

You need to have PayPal, because that's how they pay out. They will pay out once your account reaches at least $10. I've earned 71 cents so far.

I have signed up for a couple of things in the past. AllAdvantage didn't last long. I did get some money from them, but they went bust owing me more. MyPoints is a great program, but I haven't checked that e-mail in awhile. I've got more than 200 e-mails waiting for me and most will have expired. Still, I've gotten a lot of gift certificates from them. It's definitely worth it. I can get points for referring friends each month. If you are interested, you can send me an email by clicking on the link at right.

Get paid to click.

Weird phone call: possible scam

I placed an ad to find homes for Pumpkin and the two pups. Mama (as I call her - Cayla named the female cavy Mercedes Cow) will be giving birth within two weeks, and we've got to simplify the pet situation.

Over the weekend, the pups found new homes. Then yesterday I got a weird phone call.

The person who talked claimed to be a relay operator. He said he was helping a person who was communicating by computer - possibly a deaf person. The procedure is that the caller types the message, the relay operator says the message, the call recipient responds verbally and ends with "go ahead." The relay operator then types the response, the caller types again, and so on.

During the call, an operator supervisor broke in to tell me that the call fits the criteria of a scam. The call was dropped, but there was a second call. During the second call, I asked where the caller was from. Wisconsin. The caller said that shipping wouldn't be a problem and asked if I would e-mail the details.

I ended the call and e-mailed the caller. Here is the text of the e-mail:
"You called because I have a guinea pig for sale. You said you live in Wisconsin. What town in Wisconsin? This guinea pig is around Fort Dodge, Iowa, which is too far from Wisconsin. I'm sure there are guinea pigs much closer to where you live."

I have not received an e-mail in return.

What I think is going on is that someone found my ad online. It's possible that this is a scam. There are scams where people are given a check for way over the amount of the item and asked to give back the difference.

From the Iowa Attorney General's Web site:
"(Iowa Attorney General Tom) Miller listed the hallmarks of the new scheme:

■ The victim is selling a used car or some other item via the Internet. A buyer based in Africa sends an e-mail message that he wants to buy the item.
■ The buyer says he will pay with a cashier's check from a bank in the U.S.
■ At the last minute the buyer has some story why the cashier's check will be much more than the asking price - thousands of dollars more. "Just wire the difference back to me," he explains, "-- after the cashier's check clears, of course."
■ The victim thinks the cashier's check must be good when it's accepted by his or her bank and the funds are provided - but in a week or so the check turns out to be counterfeit.
■ Unfortunately, the victim has wired thousands of dollars to Africa, never to be seen again."

I'm guessing that since the caller didn't respond to my e-mail, I showed enough skepticism that they figured it wouldn't be worth the effort to continue. I'm sure there are easier marks out there.

In the meantime, we've got one cavy for sale and more to be born soon. Since the pups were born Nov. 10, I'm guessing Jan. 10 for a possible birth date. (Wikipedia article on cavies: The gestation period lasts from 59–72 days, with an average of 63–68 days.) So, it could be any day now. I just picked my birthday as the due date for the heck of it.