Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Learning about law: CPSIA

Here's a link to a PDF that explains the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.
http://tgtbt.com/CRIMINALS.pdf
This is a big file and takes awhile to download. MOM! Don't view this one!)

Government site about it:
http://www.cpsc.gov/ABOUT/Cpsia/cpsia.HTML

CPSIA - The Lessons of Nero:
http://learningresourcesinc.blogspot.com/2009/01/cpsia-lessons-of-nero.html

More explanation:
http://www.change.org/ideas/view/save_handmade_toys_from_the_cpsia

Basically, in order to protect children from dangerous chemicals (such as lead in toys), every manufacturer who creates things for children under 12 will be required to test each component of each item they make.

For large manufacturers, this will add to the cost, but won't necessarily put them out of business. But for small businesses, such as people who create handmade items like clothes or toys, it can ruin them. Imagine a handmade outfit for a child. Each component has to be tested - and by the person who puts it together, not the original manufacturer. So the cloth, thread, any buttons or other fastenings, any trim such as ribbons. One item could have 5-6 components that each have to be tested, and this goes for each item made. One type of button on this item, another kind of button on another article of clothing, and each test costing hundreds of dollars (from what I'm seeing on the web).

Resale shops are allowed to sell children's things. But they are not allowed to sell them if there is lead content above the limits set in CPSIA. So resale shops will have to test items or not sell them, as well. People who sell used kids' clothes on eBay or in garage sales will be required to test them.

Even books can be part of this. Apparently only books made entirely of paper (no mention of the items that hold them together, like staples or glue) are eligible for sale without being tested.

Congress will look at exceptions on a case-by-case basis. Don't they have anything better to do? There is already an agency - the Consumer Product Safety Commission is responsible for this.

The CPSC FAQ: http://www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/faq/101faq.html
One of the questions is about testing children's craft items:

We sell craft materials, some packages of beads can have 12 or more colors of beads. Can we composite 3 or more colors at a time to test the beads?

No. Compositing to combine different paints or substrates from one or more samples to reduce the number of tests run may fail to detect excessive levels of lead in one individual paint or substrate because of the effect of dilution by non-lead-containing samples. This approach is therefore currently not acceptable. The only exception to “compositing” is when labs have to combine like paint from several like parts or products to obtain a sufficient sample size for analysis because there is an insufficient quantity of paint on one item to perform the testing.


This just seems like a very, very bad way to protect children. Especially in this weak economy, our government is going to put potentially thousands of businesses out of business by not allowing them to sell items designed for children. This law includes items already made, so people are even saying that libraries will have to take children's books off the shelves until they are tested. (I know, it all sounds like crazy talk, but you do your own research and decide.)

And this doesn't just mean for manufacturers, crafters, sellers and resellers. Every year our local Wells Fargo Bank sponsors a Dress a Doll/Build a Toy competition. The dolls and toys are then given to local children through Operation Christmas. Since these are intended for children under 12, each component of these dolls and toys will have to be tested by the people making them. Who will want to sew a doll outfit or paint a toy if they then have to test each part of the outfit or each color of paint?

All I can do is say, contact your members of Congress. Particularly members of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. According to this site, only the chairman of this committee, Henry A. Waxman, can call a hearing on this subject and only Waxman can get a delay on this.

One more thing: Etsy is a site where people can sell their handicrafts, including items intended for children. Here's a look at what Etsy sellers are saying.

Click on the pictures and read the item descriptions.

My kids are 13 and 15, so this doesn't directly affect my ability to buy things for them. But this whole thing is kind of scary. The CPSIA is a law designed to protect children - a very good idea. But it does in a very wrong way.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Didn't want to wake up for this

Donna called me, waking me up because of a phone call (I skipped class today to sleep).

Caller: "You have been accepted for a special MasterCard."
Me: "No thank you."
Hang up.

I woke up for this? What a waste. I changed my alarm to give me another half hour of sleep and went back to bed.

More confident driving

Kent did my running around yesterday - went to a used tire place to find out about getting a tire, went to a junkyard for a different wheel rim, and back to the used tire place. So now I don't have to worry about driving on the little spare.

I'm still not sure what to do with this car when I get my financial aid. I could get it worked on, but I'm not sure how much work it needs and how long it will last even if it gets some work done.

I could sell it - either to a private party or a junkyard. I could donate it to Wheels for Work. But sellling it to a person or donating it kind of worry me. I'm concerned there may be some problem I'm not aware of that could cause the next owner more problems.

I could keep it as my back-up car. But I'm not too happy with that idea, either. So today, I'm leaning toward selling it for scrap metal. Who knows how I will feel about it tomorrow.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Other reasons to not go to church

Mainly this one - I couldn't get the tired fixed yesterday and I'm still driving on the little spare. I won't do any trips I don't have to, and this is a time when church isn't as necessary as staying safe.

We waited an hour at Wal-Mart, and they told us that they wouldn't put a new tire on because the rim is damaged. So we can't do anything until Monday.

Kent's going to take me to school tomorrow and go try to find a tire with wheel. I'm down to not much money now, though.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The best-laid plans ...

yeah. I was going to move my car so Donna could park in the front of the driveway and I could park in back, thus being able to come and go as I please today, when I discovered I won't be going anywhere in the immediate future.

I have a flat tire.

This changes a lot of things. I can't move my car right now, so I'll have to move Donna's car (after mine is mobile again) out to the street, move my car, park her car in the driveway and then park my car. It would have taken so much less time with both of us driving, but she'll be going to bed soon - she works nights.

And I'll be buying a couple of tires for this car that I'm not even sure I want to keep after I get my financial aid in a couple of weeks. There goes most of the money I have left after I got paid yesterday. Yippee.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Nothing really profound

I didn't go to class today. I was going to take a nap and make it to the third and fourth classes. Then I called Kent, he said he was coming over and I decided to stay home. He could have come over by himself, but I came back anyway.

I had to go into town anyway because Cayla had an afterschool meeting. I picked her up around 1:45, she said they were done at 1:30. I came when she had told me they would be done. Plus, she left her cell phone at home today, so she couldn't call or play games or anything.

Donna went to Ames today for multiple reasons. She took Mama Cat to Suzanna, who took her to a vet down there. The vet told Suzanna that Mama Cat probably has pancreatic cancer and said something about keeping her comfortable in her last days. But nothing about putting her to sleep. This was based on the vet scruffing her to pick her up and saying her skin was pulling away. Suzanna did not ask about putting the cat to sleep, so is supposed to bring her back here.

Donna also took Sophie, her dog, to a lady in Boone to give her away. Sophie is old, but needs to have a bit more attention that we've been giving her.

And, Donna bought pizza for supper. Cayla baked a cake. I'm stuffed and ready for bed. Jessica has been patient about waiting for the computer - she's playing a game on my cell phone.

I've got to come up with ideas for a couple of websites for Dreamweaver projects. We'll be working on a team project and an individual project. I haven't decided yet what I want to do. But I've got to go to class tomorrow. I've missed too many days already and it's only the second week.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Change is here

I watched the inauguration today - as best I could. I was in class, watching it stream semi-live on ustream.com. The video was laggy and kept skipping. I heard part of Obama's swearing-in. I went to the student center and watched for awhile, heard much of his speech.

On Twitter, someone asked when the White House website would switch to the new president. It switched just after noon Eastern time. I got screen shots before and after:

Bush:


and Obama:

Ageism, and Twitter

Okay, I'm not sure that's a word and I'm not looking it up right now.

Years ago, I worked at a Circle K store in Arizona (convenience store/gas station). I had worked there for awhile and when a new employee was hired, I was asked to help train her. As I recall, she had been a nurse. She was in her 40s or 50s, I think - I was around 28. As I was telling her how things were done there, I got the impressions that she was disregarding me - and that proved to be the case. Everything I told her kind of went in one ear and out the other. Although I told and showed her how things were done, she did them her way.

I've always assumed that it was because of the age difference - that she disregarded me because she was older and "knew better" than me how things were done, even though I had worked there long enough to know that. It bothered me and I didn't want to be the kind of person who would be so foolish.

Now (at 48) I find myself on Twitter. I'm being followed by a wide variety of people: some I followed first, but many are following me and I don't know why. And there is a small group that makes me wonder why they are following me - they are in web design. And they are teenagers. I'm being followed by melikbilge, a 14-year-old web designer. And 9miles Media, "a small, vibrant graphic/web design studio comprised of nine creative, talented youth from all over the world." (melikbilge works for 9miles.) And hayespotter, the founder of 9miles.

My first question is why are they following me? I'm definitely old enough to be the mother of any of them. What made them decide to follow me? Maybe one or more of them is on Geeks! or some other place they may have seen my nick.

Most of the people I follow on Twitter I follow for a reason. I usually find someone through the tweets of someone else I follow. I follow people who have life tips, web design tips, people who are crafty and people who are amusing. So I probably can learn from these young web designers. It still mystifies me why they are following me.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Waiting

can be hard. Waiting for money days (payday, financial aid, tax refund). Waiting for my sister to be able to move out (I'm not kicking her out, but it's hard to run my own household without having to modify the way I do things).

I try sometimes to enjoy life as it's happening. But I get caught up in thinking of some future event, as if that event will change things for the better. Yeah, when I get my financial aid I can get a better car and a computer so I can do my class assignments on my own. But I won't be able to do everything with that money that I want to do - it simply won't stretch that far.

So I'll have to compromise, as I always do. But that's life.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Things I was going to do ...

Well, I was going to blog the Sunday School lesson for BJ, and I was going to blog the Relief Society lesson here, and I was going to clear crap out of the driveway - especially after the car got stuck, and I was going to go hunting for Hatchlings eggs and update the Links with Eggs list and do laundry.

I did one load of laundry and updated the Links with Eggs list. I also took a nap, but woke up crabby. I calmed down after a bit and feel almost human. I haven't had supper yet, but I'm sure I'll feel better after I eat. (Leftover macaroni salad, but at least I won't have to cook.)

And I should get my books ready for class tomorrow - should be my first full day of classes since the semester started last Wednesday (missed Wednesday because I was sick, missed Thursday because my car wouldn't start, missed 1 1/2 classes Friday because I couldn't get my act together).

Friday, January 16, 2009

Made it to class today

I was late for the second class, missed the first one entirely. But my car started and I was able to go.

I'll have some catching up to do over the weekend - I didn't keep caught up in Dreamweaver and when we start up on Tuesday in Dreamweaver Projects, I'll need to start from where we left off in the book. So I've got to get that caught up.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

"Snow day" for the kids but not for me ...

so far. The college is still supposed to open at 9:30 and my only class today is at 9:40. But I don't want to go out in the cold, and I wonder if the car will even start. So I put off getting ready, even though I absolutely have to wash my hair today and it will freeze when I go out.

The floor is even a bit cold, but my bed would soon be warm if I could snuggle back under the covers.

Oh, to heck with it. I'll go take my shower. They'll probably cancel while I'm in there. (I can still hope.)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Why eMusic sucks

Pardon my language, but honestly. They don't have the artists I want to listen to, they make you sign up for a 30-day "trial" in order to download the free downloads, they gave me 50 downloads when the Pizza Hut offer was for 75, they billed my credit card before the 30 days was up, and they are making me jump through hoops to cancel my account. It's only been about 2 weeks - not 30 days.

So I'm trying to cancel my account but the site keeps directing me to the page where I'm supposed to update my credit card into or the FAQ page. The FAQ doesn't include my particular problem, which is how to extricate myself from their substandard service.

And back to the original part - they don't even offer what I want. Type in "Coldplay" and you get this:
We’re sorry but in order to keep eMusic download prices at less than half of iTunes® and Amazon® we currently do not have albums by Coldplay.


They do, however, offer Coldplay songs sung by other artists - people I've never heard of. They may be quite good, but they are not what I'm looking for. I downloaded some foreign language MP3s and should have canceled right away but wanted to see if anything interesting turned up later.

Anyway, hopefully they will let me cancel and this nightmare will be over. I only have a prepaid credit card and I can't load more money on it if I think they will be taking it for nothing. GRRR!

UPDATE: I got an email saying they had canceled my account and would not bill me any more. I'll wait and see, and check my credit card balance. It shouldn't be that difficult to contact people for customer service, but at least once I was able to actually contact them, they acted quickly.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I did blog yesterday, just not here

I started a new blog yesterday - intended to cheer up a friend from church who is having some health problems. So I did blog, but not here. I'm still going to count it for NaBloPoMo. I haven't kept track of my daily posts, but I know I missed one day by one minute. I got home that night (Jan. 3, a Saturday) and asked Cayla to let me on the computer before midnight. I guess I wasn't specific enough. I got on in time to make a very quick, short post - and it posted at midnight exactly. So my blogging streak was ruined already.

Today is a snow day. The kids don't have school, but I still have to go to work this afternoon. Of the three people who work on the news side tonight, I live closest to town, so I can't use bad weather as an excuse not to go to work. I'll leave early, though, so I will have plenty of time to get there. And I'll take my fancy new cell phone (which has GPS if I need it). I'll just make sure it's fully charged - it drains quickly when people are playing games or music on it.

For now, I'm going back to bed. Classes resume on Wednesday, and naptimes will once again become a distant dream. ;-)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

So my new birthday wish is


not to have to clean off my car ...

I had to shovel - Cayla's still asleep (1:37 p.m.) and Amanda's over at Kent's. Jessica just got up a few minutes ago. Donna came upstairs earlier, but went back to bed. So I shoveled a path around both cars, but didn't clean off either one. Kent came over, so he might do that. He's taking me to lunch.

I don't think I mentioned that the cell phones arrived. I got an LG Voyager with touch screen and QWERTY keyboard. It's really cool. I still feel a tinge of longing for the Palm Centro, which was my second/third choice if I couldn't get this one - I could have downloaded the scriptures onto that. But I can play Oregon Trail on this one. (I have to take off my glasses and hold it really close, though.)

Anyway, new cell phones arrived Thursday, just before I had to go to work. I've showed mine off to everyone at work - I'm sure they are tired of it.

And I have a lesson to prepare for Relief Society tomorrow: Lesson 23 “How Good and How Pleasant It Is … to Dwell Together in Unity.”

It's my birthday

and all I want is to not have to shovel the driveway.



But I know I'll have to anyway. Sigh.

Win a set of wool balls for your pet

Colleen Stearns (Living life one day at a time blog) is offering a set of wool balls to one lucky reader. Rules are here. The wool balls come from Purrfect Play. They have toys for dogs and cats. Although the wool balls are intended for dogs, I think our cats would like them, too.

The pet toys are made with natural fibers, no dyes. They look lovely, and I bet our cats would have a field day. I picture Boo-Boo (Buster) throwing one of the small mice up in the air and catching it, like he used to do when we lived in a place that had mice. His substitute since then has been the small mice that have actual fur. He loves those, but they do have dyes, and I have to wonder how safe the dyes are.

The added benefit of buying from a company like this is supporting small businesses. I'll admit to shopping at Wal-Mart - it's cheaper most of the time. They match advertised prices - but there has to be competition for this to happen. Supporting other businesses makes sense, and supporting small businesses is one way to keep the economy moving forward.

This wasn't intended to be a political message, honest. ;-) Just an entry to win the wool balls for our pets.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Win a T-shirt

I entered to win a T-shirt from Resist Today. The contest is from Sandier Pastures. I would want the Skulls and kittens grey T-shirt for Amanda. It also comes in yellow, pink and blue. She's not here to pick, so I'm guessing grey will work for her.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Books that move people

I reread "Breaking Dawn" by Stephenie Meyer yesterday. I was prepared to feel superior about those people who are such fans of the series, but I kind of understand how they feel. I'm not going to change my username to BellaSwan or EsmeCullen or anything like that. But the books are enjoyable and don't damage the mythology too much.

The reference to changing my username is because I've used "CaySedai" for nearly 13 years. The Sedai part is from the Wheel of Time series by the late Robert Jordan. The last book ("A Memory of Light") of that series is being written by Brandon Sanderson and is supposed to come out later this year. Sanderson's site says that he's not done with it, so I doubt this will be the year.

The point is that books move people in different ways. There are plenty of people who have taken usernames that reflect their favorite books, whether it's from the Wheel of Time series or the Twilight series or something else. Some books entice people to play games (video, or real life) based on them.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Being a winner/organization

I won Organizer Sandy's mini-book giveaway last week and the mini-books arrived on Friday. They are truly tiny, but have good tips. I almost feel like getting organized. (But not right now)

I'm also entering Organizer Sandy's car caddy giveaway.

Oh, and the last post about needing my own computer? I told Cayla when I got home that I needed to get on the computer before midnight. I should have been more specific. I needed to get my Saturday post in before midnight. As you can see, I got it at midnight, making my run for January (NaBloPoMo) invalid already. Oh well, there's always next month, right? Sigh.

I need my own computer.

That is all.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Welcome to 2009

My first post of the new year.

I'm still in NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month, which is every month, actually). January's theme is Change.

I signed up for The Power of Less challenge. My first challenge is to take my shower first thing in the morning when I get up. I usually wait until the girls go to school, then I have to rush around to get ready and am often late for class. This next semester my classes start at either 9:10 or 9:40, but it's still a good idea - get the day started right.

I'm adding a new blog to my blogroll: The Levite Chronicles. I "heard" about it on Twitter.

Another thing I found on Twitter: Project 365. Basically, take a picture every day. Post it in a blog or photo account. Along with making a blog post every day, I think I can take a picture every day, as well. I already take my camera everywhere, and soon I'll have a cell phone with a camera (when that arrives, that will be my picture of the day!).

More later, maybe.