Saturday, December 31, 2011

Google Plus

I haven't really gotten the hang of it yet, but I'm going to learn. I started a page for In Old Fort Dodge, my history blog from the early days of Fort Dodge, Iowa. I'll do one for this blog, and I'm also working some social networking for an author friend of mine, so I'll get her on there, as well.

I don't think Google + will be a Facebook killer, but it doesn't hurt to get coverage in more than one place. I can be found here, if anyone is interested.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


One copy of My Memories digital scrapbooking software. It's easy to use, and nice that you can make as many layouts as you want without running out of supplies.

One person will receive a code to download their own copy of My Memories Suite v3. One entry is mandatory, the others get you extra entries. This giveaway ends 12:01 a.m. EST on Dec. 31, which is 11:01 p.m. on Dec. 30. Please let the Rafflecopter widget load.

Friday, December 9, 2011

He only does it to annoy

From "Alice in Wonderland":
Speak roughly to your little boy,
And beat him when he sneezes:
He only does it to annoy,
Because he knows it teases.
In this case, it's Kent. Apparently he was in a bit of a fender-bender Tuesday night and his car is non-functional. Which is annoying to me because Cayla may miss the bus and I don't want to have to drive her to school. It's as if he does these things on purpose to inconvenience me.

Okay, not really. But seriously, I have told him over the years about driving carefully and here we are.

(Later) Luckily for me, I was able to get Cayla to the bus stop on time, so I don't have that extra trip into town.

Monday, December 5, 2011

My Memories on video

To show a bit of what My Memories Suite can do, I thought I would offer a video from the My Memories YouTube channel. The video is about 2 minutes long and it's obviously a commercial/infomercial, but if you watch it you will see that there is more to My Memories than traditional scrapbooking.

I like the idea of creating something once and sharing it many times. If you want to make each version a little different, you can do that, too. In this post I showed how one layout can be switched around with different elements or backgrounds to look different. You can make slightly different versions of the same scrapbook if you want each book you are sharing to be different (for example if you don't want all the grandparents to get the same exact thing).

This also helps you decide how a page is best laid out. And since I have a tendency to add too many embellishments, I can look at the finished product and then take away some - which is difficult to do with actual stickers.

Anyway, if you are interested in a chance to win a copy of My Memories Suite v3 digital scrapbooking software, enter my giveaway. There is one mandatory entry - you must "like" My Memories on Facebook. Other entries are optional, but some will give you extra entries (if you go to the My Memories website and leave a blog comment or a Rafflecopter comment with the name of a product, you get five extra entries). Good luck!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas layout 1

So I'm doing a giveaway of My Memories Suite v3 digital scrapbooking software, and I'd like to show a few things you can do with the software. So I will try to do a different layout every day during the giveaway, which started today and ends at 12:01 a.m. EST on December 8, 2011.

These two layouts are to show how you can change up a few things to make them better (I hope they are better). I have a tendency to put too much stuff in my scrapbook pages. But one nice feature is that if you do "save as"  you can build on your original page, modify it or delete things without ruining what you have already accomplished.

I used Holiday Snows pack snow overlay (left side and bottom - all one piece), with some extra individual snowflakes. The word art comes from Holiday Simplicity pack. I purposefully arranged the snowflakes to cover some of the background stuff, although I could have cropped the photo or used a mat instead.

For this version, I downsized the snowflake overlay (should have moved it closer to the edge of the page) and put a peppermint stripe mat, rotated and sized down, under "Holiday" in the word art to make it show up better. I was able to increase the font size of the journaling, as well.
Blue version of the original background, and I changed the mat color to blue using the picker option so it is a color from the actual background. Also picked a different mat, although that one doesn't quite suit.
Used a white flourish from Holiday Simplicity pack and rearranged the other elements.

As you can see, I was able to try a few different looks without using up my "supplies" and I can still make changes.

I mention the packs the embellishments came in. Some of the embellishments come with the software. Some are downloaded - and I only used what was free on the My Memories website or offered by the designers on their Facebook pages. I still have some I haven't used yet because they are in zip files and I'm figuring out how to use them (not how to unzip them, but where they go once they are unzipped). The files from My Memories are usually executable files, so they go where they are supposed to when you double-click on them.

You can also download the packs in photoshop format if you want to use them but don't have the My Memories software yet. And if you are in the market, I've got this giveaway going on, or you can simply purchase it by clicking on the graphic at the right and use my affiliate code STMMMS22597 to save $10 on your purchase (and yes, if you do that, I am compensated).

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I recently started using My Memories digital scrapbooking software. It's nice to be able to make multiple layouts without running out of supplies or messing things up if I cut something wrong.

You can do many things with My Memories - create scrapbooking layouts (of course), calendars, cards, and I've even seen someone who is using it to create layouts of her favorite recipes, with photos of the actual food.

When you use digital scrapbooking software, you can recreate your layout as many times as you like. You can share with as many people as you like, without using up your precious hoard of scrapbooking materials. (Yes, I hoard mine.) And if you think it's not personal enough this way, start the layout on your computer, print it out and add physical embellishments for the final touch.

But you don't have to add physical embellishments, because embellishments are included. And what's nice here is that they are sizeable, so you can have the same embellishment in many different sizes, and even colors.

This layout uses a background paper plus the ornament embellishment and three stars at the bottom, the family memories embellishment and text and photo. I colored the text two different colors to highlight Amanda's childhood wish list.

I'm having a giveaway - one person will get a copy of My Memories Suite v3 software - it's a download, so you have to be able to access the Internet on the computer you will use the software on. (System requirements) I run it on an eMachine with 1 G of RAM and it runs pretty fair, as long as I am not running a lot of other stuff at the time, although I have run it at the same time as Firefox. Probably not fair to my computer, which I bought refurbished last year.

Anyway, here's the giveaway. If you don't see the Rafflecopter form right away, give it a minute to load. There is one mandatory entry - you must "like" My Memories on Facebook. There are two ways to earn 5 entries each, both of which you visit the sponsor ( and leave a comment on the blog post with the name of your favorite product or use the Rafflecopter entry form and enter the name of your favorite product in that form (third text box). You can do the 5-entry Rafflecopter entry or the tweet once per day, all other entries are one-time only.

Contest starts at 12:01 a.m. EST Dec. 1 (11:01 p.m. Nov. 30).

Okay, let's try this again

I recently held a giveaway that failed. I didn't get even one valid entrant. There were two requirements, both of which related to the sponsor, and I didn't want to change them. So I didn't give the item away.

But here I am again. I'm going to use Rafflecopter again, because I like entering Rafflecopter giveaways, and they're not that hard, honest. I've got some background stuff to do, because I'll be highlighting the product again and want to create new stuff for this giveaway.

Maybe I'm just overthinking it ...

Monday, November 28, 2011

It's Cyber Monday!

Supposedly people are more likely to shop online today. Here's a glimpse at what happens to online shoppers when the computer crashes:

Here's a modern version of a visit to Santa Claus:

And finally, word to the wise:

(I'd like to point out that I don't actually drink alcoholic beverages; however, I have been known to sit at the computer for hours, fueled by diet Dr Pepper.)

These are some items I've seen on Facebook, which I call Facebook funnies. I'll post them here from time to time.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Help me out?

For anyone who hasn't used StumbleUpon, for each 5 people who sign up through my link, I can get $10 credit. I've got plans for something to buy there and I need more credit. So, anyone? Except maybe Mom, who has enough to do on the computer already. :-) (Mom, I like the Mahjongg game you've been playing lately.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Plastic Jungle

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I had a $30 gift card I couldn't use, but I could trade it in for some credit for an account I could use. Sure, I would lose some of the value (I would get about $24 in credit), but it seemed better than losing the value of the gift card completely or having to a) drive 90 miles to the closest store of that type or b) spend it online and have to spend more money, too (although this might have been the better option, in retrospect).

So, I signed up for You tell them about your gift card and they tell you how much you can get for it in various formats, including PayPal and Amazon credit. They generate label information, you print out the sheet, cut the mailing label from the sheet and tape it to an envelope and tape the card(s) to the invoice sheet.

Then, apparently, you wait.

And you wait some more.

And after you've waited for awhile, you contact their customer service. And they tell you to wait. And they mark your request for assistance as "resolved" and "closed."

So, it's been three weeks and a day since I put the card in the mail. Nothing on their website - it doesn't show that they have received the card. (It doesn't help that they did a major website relaunch in the meantime, so who knows if it's because they didn't get the card, or because they are tardy in processing it, or if their database is messed up?)

But here's my latest request for assistance, and although I didn't threaten to blog about this, here I am:

I sent an Office Depot card for $30 on Oct. 17, 2011. It does not show up in my account. I contacted customer service through the website and by phone. Both customer service people have said my problem is solved and closed. NO IT IS NOT. They think it's solved when they tell me to wait longer. NO IT IS NOT. It is solved when I get credit for the $30 card I sent you.

I also left a comment on your Facebook page. Someone from Plastic Jungle promised to look into it, but never got back to me and now the thread is gone.

It's been three weeks since I sent the card. You should have received it by now. I am very unhappy with this "service" and I know I'm not alone. The number of unhappy commenters on your Facebook page is much greater than those who are happy. I want to know what you are going to do to resolve this issue, and telling me to wait and then marking my request for assistance as "resolved" and "closed" is not the right answer.

So, I'll keep you informed about what happens next.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A busted giveaway

So I held my first giveaway on this blog. The giveaway ended at 12:01 a.m. today. I had one entry.

The problem is that two entries were mandatory and one person did one of them, and another left a comment which didn't fulfill the requirements.

I'm waiting to hear from the sponsor to see what to do next. I guess I didn't advertise enough. I also barred my relatives from entering, which would probably have gotten me a couple of entries, if only to keep them from hearing me whine about it.

More to come when I know what's going on.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My Memories a layout a day: Grumpy Cat

Today's layout is Grumpy Cat. It's actually an embellishment, but it's easy to add photos - you just add a photo box, size it and send it to the back. I also added Word Art and two text boxes. It only took a few minutes.

The giveaway of a copy of My Memories Suite v2 digital scrapbooking software ends at 11:01 p.m. tonight (12:01 a.m. Eastern time Nov. 2).

6 centimeters

That's how long the gash in Cayla's leg is, according to the E.R. nurse.

She slipped at the haunted house and cut her leg on a sharp corner on an outlet cover attached to a pole. She called me at work to let me know that someone from the haunted house was taking her to the E.R. I left work and met them there.

It's not that bad, only took two stitches and some steri-strips to hold it closed. But we spent 3 1/2 hours in the E.R. (mostly in the waiting room) and I expect Cayla will be in a little bit of pain tomorrow (her leg is starting to bruise), so I have already called the school to say she won't be there.

And now I'm off to bed, to charge my phone (which was down to one battery bar by the time I left), to turn off my alarm, and to sleep until I wake up on my own in the morning. Please let there be no phone calls.

Also, my motto is Always Bring a Book. And Always Bring a Camera. Having neither of those items made the lengthy wait seem even longer. And no souvenir photos of our experience.

Monday, October 31, 2011

My Memories a layout a day: Halloween 2

Today's layout uses Pumpkin Flair, a free embellishment pack from My Memories. I got an email with a link to download. If you sign up to get email updates, you can get these free packs, too. The link I got is here, but I'm not sure it allows more than one person to get the free download.

Usually the part that takes the longest time for me is checking out each kind of paper and embellishment, because there are a lot to choose from. It's easy to use a predesigned kit and just plug in your photos, though. This layout is based on a photo layout without any embellishments. I added the Pumpkin Flair (the little pumpkin faces), "Happy Halloween" from the Halloween card kit I downloaded, and pumpkin stripe background paper. I also used Word Art for "Trunk or Treat 2008." The whole thing only took a few minutes.

The giveaway is still going on. You can win your own copy of My Memories Suite v2 digital scrapbooking software. Giveaway ends at 12:01 a.m. Eastern time on Nov. 2, which is 11:01 p.m. Tuesday night for people in my time zone (Central). Two entries are required: Visit and leave a comment in my blog entry here with the name of something you like on their website, and "like" My Memories on Facebook. Use the Rafflecopter entry form to let me know you have done these entries. Other methods give you more entries, but are not mandatory.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Memories a layout a day: Princess Diva

I think this scrapbook layout came with the My Memories Suite. I downloaded a lot of free templates and papers, but it's not on my list. (Forgetful me, sorry)

I didn't add anything to these except some text in the last page shown:

There is plenty of room for text here. I would recommend putting a shape with a color that matches or complements the colors of the background paper, then putting your text box on top of that. You can group those two elements and move them around together.

Cayla has no idea I've been using pictures of her for these layouts. Shhh! Don't tell her!

You can enter my giveaway for a copy of My Memories Suite v2 digital scrapbooking software here. There are two mandatory entries - you must "like" My Memories on Facebook, and you must leave a comment at this blog post with a My Memories product that you like. You don't have to like my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter, but you can get extra entries if you do. But you must do both mandatory entries to be eligible for the prize.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

My Memories a layout a day: Christmas tags

I thought I would try a different template - this one is a free download at

As  you can see, all you do is double-click on the picture box (or circle) and browse to a photo. You can also add the names by using text boxes, but I like handwritten names better (unless your handwriting is really, really bad). :-)
Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a copy of My Memories Suite v2 digital scrapbooking software. And if you don't win, but buy it on your own, you can save $10 by using this code when you check out: STMMMS22597.

Friday, October 28, 2011

My Memories a layout a day: Vintage

Today's layout uses a template to create an album with different page layouts and photo positions. I modified these pages a bit, changing the size of the photo boxes in one and removing a couple of photo boxes and adding a journaling box to the other. Other modifications are noted in the captions.

This layout uses a burlap texture for the background and word art for the name.

The background for this one is turquoise large stripe paper.
For a complete album, I would probably use different background but a similar color scheme, as much as possible.  But with My Memories digital scrapbooking software, each page could have a completely different background or you could them all the same.

Go to my giveaway and enter to win your very own copy of My Memories Suite v2 and you can create your own digital scrapbook.

You can also visit My Memories on Facebook, "like" the page and click on VIP exclusive. You can download exclusive content beginning every Friday.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Memories a layout a day: Halloween

During the giveaway week, I'm going to post a layout each day using My Memories digital scrapbooking software.

Today's layout is barely today, because I actually work outside the home and was in town for about 12 hours today, so I didn't have time to tweak my layout and get it uploaded until very, very late. But here it is:

Halloween times 2.

Simple background, one of the Halloween background papers offered. "Halloween" is done with the Word Art feature.

Same photos, text and word art. I put a black background behind the words "Cayla's hand" to help it show up better against the busy background. This paper comes in different colors, and there are more "batty" papers to go with it.
You can download free papers and embellishments at, and you can also purchase paper packs or layout sets.

Also? My configuration: (refurbished) eMachine with Intel Celeron 2 GHz processor, 1 gigabytes of RAM and  53.3 gigabytes of hard drive space. I am definitely not running this on a new, high-end machine, but My Memories Suite v2 runs just fine. If I'm trying to use it and have an open browser, it sometimes gets real slow until I close one or the other, but that's the only problem I've experienced.

Skip over to my giveaway and enter. There are two mandatory entries and four optional entries. You could win a copy of My Memories Suite v2.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Memories Suite scrapbooking software

I was recently asked to do a review of the My Memories Suite scrapbooking software and the good news is that one lucky ready will get a copy of the software for their very own!

From My Memories website:

My Memories Suite Version 2.0 digital scrapbooking software is a fun and creative way to keep and share memories, whether you have a Mac or PC. The software's design tools will help you to build entire albums effortlessly using one of the many installed templates, or designing your very own pages from scratch.

Available worldwide. Intended for English-language computers. Technical support is English-only.
You can do a lot with My Memories suite. You can lay out a full scrapbook of several pages following a template and just plugging in your photos and embellishments from the digital scrapbooking software. You can just create a couple of pages - or only one at a time - and follow their layouts or create one completely from scratch. You can make cards and calendars, as well.

I played around with the software for a bit and here's what I have come up with:

This is very simple, just a prearranged layout, some photos and a little text.

I have added a color background, some embellishments (A Day To Remember, a button and stars), and a shape with a paper backround (heart).

Again, fairly simple but with the stars, button and "One of a Kind" embellishments added.

The background came from a free download, and I added Word Art (Cayla creates) and played with some of the options.
I played around some more and created layout a day: Thursday, Halloween; Friday, Vintage; Saturday, Christmas tags; Sunday, Princess Diva layout; Monday, Halloween 2; Tuesday, Grumpy Cat.

You can download free kits and sample pages at Even the sample pages are worth a download, because they may contain embellishments that you will want to use in other pages.

And there's a giveaway! One person will win a copy of My Memories Suite digital scrapbooking software to download. There are two mandatory entries and four optional entries, including tweeting once per day. The giveaway is live now and ends at 12:01 a.m. EST on November 2, 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: Two entries are mandatory. You must "like" My Memories on Facebook and you must post a comment listing something you like on their website at If you don't do both mandatory entries, you are not eligible to win. I tried to keep it simple for people to enter. Use the Rafflecopter form below for your entries. If you don't see it, wait a bit to let it load.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of the software for the purpose of this review. I also signed up as an affiliate and will receive compensation whenever someone purchases the My Memories v2 scrapbook software through my referral code: STMMMS22597. (Purchaser will save $10 on the purchase of the software suite. This does not apply to the Wedding Studio or Photobook Studio software.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

There's a dead skunk in the middle of the road

Did you ever play that word game as a child? It goes like this:

Savvy first person: "There's a dead skunk in the middle of the road. I one it." (You explain to the other person they say "I two it.")
Unsuspecting second person: "I two it."
Savvy first person: "I three it."
Unsuspecting second person: "I four it."
Savvy first person: "I five it."
Unsuspecting second person: "I six it."
Savvy first person: "I seven it."
Unsuspecting second person: "I eight it."
Savvy first person pointing and laughing: "You ate it! You ate the dead skunk! Hey, look at who just said they ate a skunk!"

Unhappy second person: "I want to do it again but I want to be first this time."
Savvy first person: "Okay."
Unsuspecting second person: "There's a dead skunk in the middle of the road. I one it."

Savvy first person: "I two it."
Unsuspecting second person: "I three it."
Savvy first person: "I four it."
Unsuspecting second person: "I five it."
Savvy first person: "I six it."
Unsuspecting second person: "I seven it."
Savvy first person: "I jumped over it and you eight it! You ate the skunk! Hahaha, you ate another skunk!"

Usually at this point the whole thing degenerates and eventually bandaids are involved.

Or in my case, "I ran over it with my car and now my car smells like cooked skunk."

Still, two days later. (This happened Monday night on the way home. Crunch.) Then on Tuesday I drove over to Webster City to help a friend set up a couple of websites and there was a dead skunk on the side of the road on Highway 520. On the way back to Fort Dodge I took D20, which is old Highway 20. Another dead skunk. I haven't seen any yet today, but the day's not over. I just hope I only see the dead ones, on the side of the road, and not disturb any live ones or run over any more. Not fun.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"Pigs Must Fly"

I suck at writing book reviews. Really.

But I do want to tell you about "Pigs Must Fly" by Edna Flannigan.

Iris Haugsdahl has suffered all her life. No one would ever call her attractive, and when she left high school to marry Urbb, a much older man, people didn't care, except to speculate that her parents paid him off with farm land.

Urbb wasn't abusive, but neglectful. His passion was his dairy farm, and his favorite cow was Enola - "she had Swiss written all over her," Urbb had said.

When Urbb is invited to a VFW convention in Las Vegas, Iris urges him to go. And when Urbb dies a few weeks before the convention, Iris goes, on her own for the first time in her life.

There she meets Kitty Velour, a transgender lounge singer who inadvertently reopens old wounds. Kitty tries to make it up to Iris, with unexpected results.

Added to the mix are the neighbors from back home, Forky and Netta Stimple, and things get a little crazy.

"Pigs Must Fly" is an enjoyable read. I could identify with Iris, and feel her pain. But there's also a bit of things turning around, of karma making things right.

I do recommend this book. If you know me personally, I can loan you my (signed!) copy. If you are in the Webster City area, you can get your own signed copy at a book signing from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Romancing the Home, 707 Second St., Webster City, during Ladies Night Out.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lessons learned

Every weekday that school is held (and not delayed because of weather or whatever), I have to get up at 4:30 a.m. and usually spend the next 1 1/2 hours getting Cayla awake, out of bed, into the shower and out the door for early morning Seminary (a scripture study class at church for high school students). She is always late, except on the days when she completely misses it - like yesterday, because I didn't want to drive in dense fog.

Most of the time, I just stay in my pajamas - sweat pants or old exercise pants, and an old, raggedy T-shirt (I have several to choose from). When I get home I usually go on the computer for a bit and then roll back into bed.

Today, Cayla was pretty wide awake - due to the fact that when she got home yesterday she went to bed for a one-hour nap and didn't wake up til this morning. I dozed off after my alarm went off at 4:30 and woke up again at 5:35. She was ready to leave. As we left, she mentioned that she needs a calculator for a math test today. Had I known this yesterday, when I was at the dollar store, I could have gotten one then. She said she would try to borrow one at school.

We were on time today - and by on time, I mean the teacher hadn't opened up the church yet, and other people were waiting to get in. So I dropped her off and I went to Walmart to buy a calculator. I think only 4 or 5 people saw me, and I held my hoodie closed. But still kind of embarrassing. I don't want to end up on People of Walmart.

Lesson one: Cayla learned that her mom loves her enough to go to Walmart in her pajamas to buy her a calculator when she needs one.

Lesson two: Cayla's mom learned to always, always, get dressed from now on when driving Cayla to Seminary.

Now I'm going to roll back into bed while it's still dark.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

All about the kitties

Mom called the other night to tell me she thought there was something wrong with my blog because the last entry she saw was from Aug. 20. I had to tell her that was correct - I just hadn't updated in that long.

I sometimes compose blog posts in my head while driving or whenever, but then forget to actually post when I get home. Maybe someday you all will get the benefit of my thoughts on those topics ... But for now, all about our cats:

We have three cats. Buster, known as Boo-Boo, is 4 1/2 (I think). Chicken and Olivia were born July 5, 2008. They are all so different. Boo-Boo is aptly nicknamed. He is a fat cat, and sometimes incredibly clumsy. Chicken is finally warming up to me after living with us for three years. (We got her and Olivia in August 2008 and the girls bottle-fed them at first - they were very tiny and hadn't been cared for by their mother.) Olivia is a sweetheart and very lovey-dovey.
Chicken and Olivia as kittens

Chicken is Amanda's cat. She used to be very possessive of food and would try anything. More recently I've had to stop her chewing on plastic, including the sleeve of a stack of crackers. She has over names, but we've forgotten the list - it was something like Chicken Solar Zucchini with a couple more in there. She is a marmalade and white cat, and when she lies down in the kitchen window and the sun hits her fur, it brings out copper highlights.

There is a shelf next to the door of my bedroom. All the cats like it, but Olivia especially likes to sit on the shelf and have me pet her. She will grab at my hand if I move it away, and pull it to her. She's a tortoise-shell kitty, the first I've ever had. She's actually Cayla's cat, but I think she thinks I'm her human. She comes over when I'm on the computer and insinuates herself onto my chest, making me support her with my left arm - which makes typing difficult.

Boo-Boo was born in a garage belonging to friends of mine in Webster City. Debbie J. mentioned at church that a cat had given birth in the garage and there were kittens old enough to take home. Donna wanted one, and she drove us both over to Webster City. I picked Boo-Boo, who is a tabby with white on his belly and legs. We found out that he could catch mice, but he didn't want to eat them, just play with them. We were living in a mobile home that started getting mice that following winter (feral cats started living underneath the mobile and I think that was what started it). Boo-Boo would catch one, play with it, sometimes lose it. So we would (and by we I mean Kent) grab a plastic grocery bag and grab the mouse away from Boo-Boo and throw it outside into the snow,  hoping it wouldn't come back. Boo-Boo's mice now come from the grocery store - I buy the kind with rabbit fur on the outside. He plays fetch with them. Seriously.
Boo-Boo takes naps seriously.

Boo-Boo can also jump higher than Chicken and Olivia. He can jump from the floor to the top of the fridge. The girl kitties jump onto the stove, then on a shelf next to the stove (we no longer put jars of spices there - they were getting knocked down) and on to the fridge, or from a stool to the fridge. Chicken can jump from the back of a chair to the top of the pantry if the chair is in the right position and she remembers that she can do that. Otherwise she cries until someone puts her up there or she jumps on my back if I am careless enough to bend over near the pantry, and then jumps up. Chicken can jump from the top of the computer monitor (which she's taking a nap on right now) to the top shelf of the bookcase, but Boo-Boo can jump to the top of the bookcase. There's a huge entertainment center, too, and Chicken and Boo-Boo can jump to the middle shelf and use that to get to the top. Olivia doesn't jump to the pantry, bookshelf or entertainment center.

The girl kitties' growth was stunted by their early circumstances. They were born to a feral cat who was taken in by Dawn T. a co-worker of mine. Dawn gave the kittens as much care as she could, but she would be gone for hours at work and couldn't bottle-feed them in that time. A couple of the litter died. We got these two at five weeks and Amanda and Cayla bottle-fed them around the clock. We went through a lot of tiny nipples for the bottles, as the kittens would bite right through them.

So  there you have it. We've got three cats, they are all different. They all love being in the window when it's open - I opened a bedroom window this morning and they rushed over like it was their Christmas present. Unfortunately, the days of open windows are soon to end for awhile. They can still look outside, but they love the fresh air. I kind of like it, too.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Disappointment and surprise

This morning didn't start out too bad. I knew ahead of time that someone was cranky about something that happened last night. Okay, a couple of somethings. One of the somethings was a missed deadline. I finished the task ahead of the deadline that is posted, but apparently behind the deadline that is not posted, that nobody else has to follow, and it's all my fault.

I thought I was dealing with that pretty well, and then came the phone call. It was a personal call, on my cell phone. I had to take the phone into the office because the person on the other end wasn't listening to my point of view. In fact, my point of view was a "weak excuse" in his words.

I had, apparently missed another deadline.

This was a personal matter. I had agreed  to perform a certain task. I thought I still had time, but apparently although Person A said the person (Person B) for whom the task was to be performed would have things going on this week, I was supposed to do it anyway. And I was supposed to make sure that Person C was there, too.

I objected to being responsible for making sure Person C was involved. For one thing, I don't want Person C's business to be my business, and vice versa. I have a hard enough time doing my own responsibilities and, to be honest, failing at most of those. So to tell me I have to make sure Person C fulfills their responsibilities as well, seems pretty harsh.

As do the words, "weak excuse."

This conversation brought back all the times I listened to the disappointment in my dad's voice. I was never good enough, never did things fast enough or soon enough to please him. I eventually had to tell myself that nothing I ever did would please him, and stop trying.

So this renewed my childhood memories and painful feelings. I've tried to get past them all my life. But I feel like I've been a disappointment to Dad since the day I was born a girl. And how do you get past that?

So all day, I've been in an emotional turmoil, upset and angry. I was going to just go home after work, but decided to do some grocery shopping the Cayla had requested. When I got home, I brought in some of the groceries, but the garbage bags fell out of the bag onto the lawn and it was about the last straw. I rehearsed in my mind what I was going to say when I entered the house: "I'm done. You guys get the rest of the stuff and put it away."

What came out of my mouth instead was, "thank you, thank you, thank you" and then sobs. Cayla had cleaned the kitchen. Really, really cleaned it. There had been boxes from when we moved in almost three years ago that had never been gone through, but they are gone now. She did an amazing job. But the shock on top of my emotions brought me to tears.

I still have the problem of the unfinished task and the harsh feelings brought on by the phone call. But I'll deal with that later.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I've got wheels!

Okay, so I've had wheels for more than a week.

I bought a car on Aug. 9. I got it as a used car place which I discovered is actually part of a dealership - apparently they funnel their lower-priced trade-ins over there. Or something. Anyway.

It's a Pontiac Grand Prix, four-door. There's no radio, so I'm going to try to get the radio from the Camry to work, but the wiring is different. There are some wiring issues - the door locks don't always want to lock when I want them to lock so I either turn the car on and keep trying to lock them or go around and lock them all manually. One back window doesn't open. There's something missing in the trunk area to keep water from entering the trunk, so I need to get that fixed.

But it runs and it gets me to work and places I need to go. And I'm thankful for that.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A car, a car, my kingdom for a car

Okay, I don't actually have a kingdom, and I do actually have a car, only it's not well.

On July 22, I picked Cayla up at camp and on the way home the car developed some problems. When I stopped at Harcourt (because it has a convenience store), I discovered that the oil cap was off. This is not good.

We put a couple of quarts of oil in and continued back to Fort Dodge. After Cayla's practice (for her performance in a chamber music recital that evening) I got an oil change. We went to Walmart and headed home.

Going through the woods on Otho Drive, the car's problems got much worse, to the point that I wasn't sure it would make it up the hill. Since I didn't want to try to turn it around or back down the curvy hill, I kept it going. The car died after reaching the crest of the hill. I managed to coast most of the way home, got it started and made it to my driveway.

And it has sat there ever since. A friend of Kent's has looked at it and said it could be one of about eight different things. A thrown piston rod is one possibility. If that's the case, I'm not even going to try to get it fixed. I'll find another cheap car. I hope.

In the meantime, my sister has been driving out here twice a day to pick me up for work and take me home. It's a big hassle for both of us, and I will be paying her for gas when I get paid. I hope the car issue is one that is fixable for not too much money (under $400 would be good) and can be fixed quickly, so I don't have to impose much longer.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Beware the cats

I said a long, long time ago, that if cats had thumbs, they would rule the world. This theme has been expanded upon by Bertrum Thumbcat, whose ponderings and plots can be followed on Facebook.

I have often accused our cat Booboo of trying to kill me, especially by tripping me, sometimes at the top of the basement stairs. Although this is simply proof that Booboo is not entirely there, or possibly not thinking things through, as I buy the cat food. So that is obviously not in his best interests.

I may have proof, finally, of catty plotting.

Yesterday I was trying to watch a video online. It was slow loading - watch a minute or two, then pause it to let it load. It took 3 1/2 hours to watch 36 minutes last night and I finally went to bed, leaving the screen up so the video could keep loading (which it did, just fine).

But this morning, the image on the monitor was completely upside-down. The cursor worked completely backward, in line with the upside-down image. I was able to Google monitor image upside down and found instructions to turn the image back the right way. The keyboard combination is Ctrl-Alt-Up arrow.

Now, it took me both hands to fix this. So for a cat to do this would be even more difficult, which leads me to believe that it's a deliberate act. I just can't decide if it was so the cat can watch stuff from a position on top of the monitor, or just designed to make me crazy.

Or, for all I know, both. Because there's nothing like killing two birds with one stone, right?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Legally an adult

But not quite a grownup.

Amanda's birthday was today. She and I went out to Fazoli's for a late lunch, stopped by my mom's and did a (very) little shopping for Amanda. She and I were both tired, so we went home. I took a nap before taking Cayla to church, but Amanda wouldn't go.

We also stopped at Kent's before we went shopping. His dad had stopped by and took him out to eat, and gave him an older laptop he had that he didn't need any more. Unfortunately, he can't remember the password, so Kent won't be using it right away. And Kent said his dad told him to tell Amanda happy birthday from him.

I did some research on the Carr family and Thomas Nicholson, the Gowrie town marshal who was shot to death on July 11, 1908, by Wilbur Carr. Wilbur's dad was Ira, the younger brother of Lydia Carr Caylor Burrell Baxter, my great-great-grandmother, which makes Wilbur my first cousin three times removed, I think.

I think I discovered an error in the 1900 census. It lists Thomas Nicholson as being 36, married 14 years, but with a daughter of age 21. The daughter is listed between the 12-year-old son and the 10-year-old daughter, and the third digit in her birth year is messed up. I think it's supposed to be 1888, not 1878. I think the census taker wrote down the birth years and did the math later, and couldn't read his own handwriting or something. In the first article about the shooting, it says that Nicholson had three children graduate from the school at Gowrie that spring. If the daughter was 11 in 1900, that would be the right age, between two siblings also graduating. There were no other children listed as being close enough in age.

I've got loads more to type about the murder, but I also have the daily stuff to do on In Old Fort Dodge. I think I'll do that and then play a while before I go to bed.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

An interesting day

Kent was called into jury selection today, so he needed a ride to town. His friend Chad needed to go grocery shopping, as well, so I combined those trips. Dropped Kent off just after 9 a.m., put gas in the car ($3.57/gal at Walmart, but 10 cents off/gallon because I used a Walmart gift card), took Chad to Fareway, did a little shopping and went out to the car to wait for Chad.

While I was waiting for Chad, I wrote some research questions in a notebook about a relative who is a big black sheep in our family. Wilbur Carr, 23, shot the Gowrie, Iowa, town marshal to death in July 1908. Wilbur's father was Ira S. Carr Sr., and Ira's sister was Lydia Carr Caylor Burrell Baxter, my great-great-grandmother. Which makes Wilbur my first cousin three times removed, if I have figured it correctly.

So, one of my questions is what is Wilbur's actual name? I think that in census records he's listed as Wilbur. But most of The Messenger articles about the crime and the aftermath refer to him as William. So I headed back to the courthouse to look up Wilbur's birth record to see if I could find his real name.

As I pulled into a parking spot in front of the courthouse, Kent hollered "hey" at me. He was just leaving and ready to go home. But I made him wait while I went up to the recorder's office and did my lookups. We went to Walmart, where I picked up some items for Mom, and discovered that gas had gone up 11 cents since I was there about 2 hours before. ($3.68 now!)

As it turns out:
  • the person who wrote most of the entries in this birth registry had really bad handwriting
  • hardly anyone listed a birth name when they turned in the records - probably because it was the medical attendant/doctor who turned in the records.

So now I'm home, ready to work on stuff, and with lots of typing to do because that news article appeared on July 12 and I've got to post it today. But I'm going to take a nap first because the Tuesday copy editor has the day off so they are having a reporter copy edit - which isn't bad, unless he needs to go cover stuff like a fire or bad weather, as happened last week. Plus the paginator was indisposed yesterday, so I offered if circumstances require it (if paginator is still indisposed and reporter needs to go cover stuff) I can come in for the evening. So in case that happens, I need to take my nap now.

And since it's an on-again, off-again rainy day, it's not too sunny and that should help.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Funny kitties

First a video:
Poor kitty. No nap for you!

Now to our kitties.

We have a bookcase (media tower?) that is about 2 feet wide and about 7 feet tall. I firmly believe that bookcases should be packed with books. The books should be stacked on top of each other, and I've been known to have two rows of books on one shelf, along with the stacked books on top of each row.

However. I'm still not organized from when we moved in (September 2008), so many of my books are still in boxes. This bookcase/media tower has a few books, assorted stuff and software cases. But on the top shelf right now is a rock bookend and a cat. Chicken, to be precise - Amanda's cat. Chicken is taking a nap on the top shelf. She likes it up there.

She can jump from the computer monitor (the desk is in front and slight to the left of the bookcase). Booboo can jump all the way to the top of the bookcase, and he likes to hang out there.

Chicken likes the freestanding pantry we have, but she can't jump up there on her own. Sometimes she stands on the kitchen chair next to the pantry and meows at me. I ask her, "do you want up?" Then I pick her up and toss her on top. She rolls around on there and is happy. Until she falls off, which has happened a couple of time.

Olivia has been spending time on a shelf that overlooks the sink and kitchen window. She has taken naps up there. As far as I know, she hasn't fallen into the dish drainer. Yet. But right now her favorite spot is an box that used to hold ramen noodles, but currently has nectarines in need of ripening. She's spent so much time there that a little while ago, when she was sitting on the computer desk, I could smell nectarines.

Olivia is Cayla's kitty, but she seems to think I'm her human instead. She likes to nap on my computer desk, obstructing access to the keyboard (Booboo likes this, as well). She also likes my chest, which (especially if I lean back in the chair) offers a little napping shelf for her. And at night she comes racing in and jumps on me, starts kneading and purring and eventually lies down to sleep on my side. Directly on me, that is, since I sleep on my side. I just have to be sure to have blankets pulled up so she's kneading the blankets and not my flesh, since our cats are not declawed.

Booboo's little escapade today: When I brought groceries home, I put them on the top step in the breezeway and asked Amanda for the key to the garage so I could put some things in the freezer there. Booboo escaped and ran into the garage, hiding in the stuff in the back. I put the ice cream and other frozen items in the freezer, locked the garage and came inside. I waited about 10 minutes, then opened the garage again and called him. He was sitting about 3 or 4 feet from the door. He came into the breezeway, I locked the garage, and he looked around like he was going back into the garage. I don't think so! I still had to capture him, but that's a lot easier in a six-foot-long space than a garage full of shelves and stuff. So we are all back inside where it's cooler.

And now, a video of a barking cat:

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Free searches on is allowing free searches of Sons of the American Revolution applications through July 4.

This database contains applications for membership in the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution approved between 1889 and 31 December 1970.  The applications are  arranged in packets. It may be helpful to scroll through the images to  find all information relating to the applicant.

The DAR has a database that allows searches of patriots and descendants. I discovered that an ancestor of mine did serve in the Revolutionary War and several people have achieved membership in the DAR through one of his children. I am descended from another child, but it shouldn't be too difficult to prove.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A series of mishaps, or why I picked a bad week to quit Dr Pepper

I decided to stop drinking Dr Pepper after my last one Friday night. So, all day Saturday and all day Sunday, with headaches on and off.

At church yesterday, I locked my keys (both sets) in the car, necessitating a call to ask my niece Jessica to take Cayla home to get her key. We went home after that.

Our power went out just before midnight last night due to a bad storm and didn't come back on until 11:12 this morning (one minute after I made an 11:11 wish that the power would come back on).

Booboo woke me up at 5 a.m. puking on the foot of my bed. I threw him on the floor and he immediately jumped back up to finish puking on the head of my bed.

I woke up at 8 a.m. (had my alarm set for this purpose) and called the phone company to tell them I would bring the money in today that I was supposed to bring yesterday, and the customer service representative assured me that my service would continue today.

Two hours later I woke up again and tried the phone, but it was disconnected. Apparently Mr. CSR is a liar and also doesn't document his work, because when I finally got through to make a payment on the phone (fourth? fifth? call to them today?) there was no record of that call. There were other calls, including one where the guy (Dennis in Florida) said that if I make the past due payment the service would be turned back on. The last guy gave a different amount, but we finally settled on what I expected.

In between, though, were a trip to the bank to take out money, a trip to the pawn shop to pawn my flat-screen TV, and lunch. Because I hadn't eaten up to that point. And when I got to the phone company, there was a sign that they would be back at 1:30. I left at 1:45 to go buy a prepaid Visa gift card in order to pay the bill over the phone, which I finally accomplished in a phone call using Kent's cell that lasted 30+ minutes.

And all of this adds up to why my first purchase today was a Dr Pepper. And my next purchase might well be one, as well.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The dreams we dream

I often have what I call "weird dreams." Because they are. Some make me feel like I wasn't actually asleep, so I wake up nearly as tired as when I went to bed.

Today's was a doozy.

I can only remember a little bit, so I'll give the Cliff Notes version.

It involved the crew of Serenity. Somehow there was a thieving team or mafia upset with them. It may have had something to do with a possible client of Inara's, or a similar situation to "The Train Job" when Mal returned what was stolen and angered Niska.

At any rate, there was a scene (yeah, well, it seemed like a movie) where the bad guys were shooting and the crew decided to try to talk their way out of it. Mal told them the crew would come up and he started up a really long ladder. On the way, he picked up a pan that had been shot, so it had bullets in it. He dumped the bullets into a pan that already had lead, saying something about not wasting it. (My dad used to make bullets for his muzzle-loader, and I got to watch when I was a kid.)

Now it gets weird(er). River told the Doctor (oh, yeah, did I forget to mention it's a Serenity-Doctor Who crossover/mishmash? It is.) that she would do something, but he needed to cross the time (streams? lines? I'm not sure). He got in the TARDIS (and I don't remember which version of the Doctor it was) and she got to work.

Somehow River "fixed" flaws in each of the thieving team. It was like rewriting each person's history. Two of the team members had feelings for each other, and she had them get married. This gave hope to others. One guy was in a wheelchair, and somehow she fixed that, too. She saved the team leader for last. There was a sort of badge or something in the ground with a swirly design and she manipulated that, acting as if the Doctor wasn't coming back and she was trying to reset it.

Then River "fixed" the team leader, who was also in a wheelchair. The leader expected to be healed from whatever cause the problem, but instead, she disappeared. River looked sad and said something about the team not needing her any more. It was like the team leader was erased from history.

There was a little bit more. It was like the original timeline was the way it was because these flawed people got together and their flaws worked things up to a certain point. By taking the certain flaws away, they could go in a more normal direction. The two people who got married (originally a thief and a whore) gave hope to others that they could find love. They didn't have to steal - didn't feel that was the only option available.

There may have been a hint of Brandon Sanderson's "Mistborn" series in there, as well. I recently finished reading the first three books, and there was a tight-knit thieving crew in the series.

But, yeah, it's just weird. And there's the fact that I woke up with a caffeine hangover - I do know better than to drink (diet) Dr Pepper late at night, but I did anyway. I can't help but think the caffeine had something to do with the dream.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A pain update

Since my last post, which was on a very painful day, I did have a couple more days like that. That Sunday (June 12) was pretty bad. By Wednesday it was getting better, until I was getting dressed to take Mom to the podiatrist's office. While pulling my jeans on, my left leg twisted and pulled a muscle or something, causing a lot of pain. I called Donna to see if she could take Mom so I could go back to bed and not have to be out running around, but she didn't have her car. So I went.

Mom's appointment went okay, and we even grabbed something to eat and sat in the car for awhile. The weather was nice and with the windows open it was quite breezy. We were parked in the shade in the Walmart parking lot. I felt the need for a chocolate milkshake, so I went to Ja-Mar's before dropping Mom off at home.

My knee hasn't given me too much grief since then. I've had more problems with muscle cramps in the calf of that leg. But overall it's been slight pain and some weakness.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

My day so far

Got up (always a plus), dressed, and out the door for an ancestry workshop by the DAR. Had McDonald's breakfast on the way there. Was a little late, but no worries. I got some information, learned how to look things up on the public part of the DAR website and learned some things.

Then I went to the flea market. Parked my car, walked all the way to the main building, where I bought Avon deodorant from 2 vendors. I like to spread my money around. ;-) I also got popcorn, which I had to wait for, but it was good.

Then I went looking for eggs. Barbara had raved about the eggs she had bought there before. So I tried to find the vendor. I went north and south from the main building, then all the way north and around, through the barns and back to the main building. Possibly I didn't go far enough south, but even by the time I left the building, I was having problems.

So. Much. Pain.

My left knee, my right knee a bit, my left ankle, my lower back. Whatever benefit my fairly good night's sleep (one interruption, about an hour lost) had gained was competely lost. When I got home, I grabbed a package of cookies and the rest of the milk and that was my lunch. I'm going to take a nap now before I have to go to work.

There is still some grocery shopping in my immediate future, as well. That will be short but not very sweet.

And after all the walking, I never did find the vendor I was looking for, so I ended up going back to one of the Avon vendors because she had a sign for eggs and I bought a dozen there. I hope they are worth it.

Update: More about the pain here, and about the eggs:  I couldn't tell how much of a difference there was between the eggs I bought at the flea market and regular store-bought eggs. Until last night, when I wanted a quick meal and only had one flea market egg left, so I cooked one of each. There is quite a difference. One yolk was yellow and one was orange. I couldn't tell if there was any taste difference, but it certainly looked healthier. And as it turns out, I bought the eggs from the same person Barbara did, I just heard her directions wrong or something.

DAR update: I did some research on at church last Wednesday and found a direct line to a Revolutionary War soldier. I will do research to verify this and might apply to the DAR. Whether I apply to DAR or not, it's valuable information and I'm kind of looking forward to pursuing it.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


This is not exactly a book review, especially since I haven't finished the book. It's a warning: Do not read this book just before bedtime.

It is unsettling.

I lay part of the blame for my three hours of wakefulness in the middle of the night on this book. It's a fascinating read, and I will finish it, but not at nighttime.

What we learn to live with

I have been in increasing, almost constant pain for probably a couple of months now. My left knee is stiff and painful, especially when I stand or walk. When I sit, my leg becomes numb and/or painful. Sometimes the pain radiates up or down my leg. Stairs are a killer. Walking with this pain is such a problem it affects how I walk, to the point where my right knee is sometimes affected, as well.

I even started taking pain pills, which is very rare for me. I stopped taking them because they didn't seem to help, but I'm going to start again. I'm taking a store brand naproxen sodium.

But I haven't seen anyone about it.

I don't have health insurance - the premiums at work were too high, and the kids are currently covered. So I muddled along thinking I can deal with whatever comes along. I keep limping - last week at work a co-worker called me "Hopalong." I gave my witty reply back and it was well-received. But people at work will notice today, because I was off for two days and it always shocks them to see it again.

Last night, I work around 2:30 a.m. I couldn't sleep again for about 3 hours. It wasn't the pain - my knee hardly hurt at all, except when I was up moving or trying to find a good sleeping position. Part of my problem was restlessness and the effects of reading the wrong book before bedtime, and part was, I think, possibly sleep apnea - except I was awake. I just kept seeming to stop breathing and then gasping for breath. Not restful at all.

So I'll be going on to work with sleep deprivation and pain, but that's fairly normal. It's what I've learned to live with.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Things to do, places to go, people to talk to

 Today's laundry list:
  • Go to hospital to visit Mom, who was held overnight for observation after having chest pains.
  • Pay interest on laptop.
  • Put gas in car.
  • Call phone company.
  • Call Chamber of Commerce for Cayla's costume for the parade tomorrow.
  • Call landlady.
  • Fill out and return reporting form.
  • Library - need an article for June 4.
  • Go to work.

Here's where I'm at right now:

  • Go to hospital to visit Mom, who was held overnight for observation after having chest pains. (Update: just talked to Donna. Mom will be going home soon, so I won't be going to visit her at the hospital. Which is fine, since I've got to get to work.)
  • Pay interest on laptop.
  • Put gas in car.
  • Call phone company.
  • Call Chamber of Commerce for Cayla's costume for the parade tomorrow. (Called, left message, no response. So we're taking Cayla there.)
  • Call landlady.
  • Fill out and return reporting form. (Can't find my Nanny Goats in Panties pen, so I have to find another pen to fill this out.)
  • Library - need an article for June 4.
  • Go to work.
I need to take a shower and get dressed, then we can do all the running-around stuff. I'm going to have to do the hospital and go to work, then do the rest afterwards. Kent will take Cayla to the Chamber after dropping me at work.

And I should do laundry, as well.

Friday, May 13, 2011


The NBC show "Chuck" has been renewed for its fifth season. This is good news. It's a great show overall, and one of my favorites. I generally watch the morning after it's aired, since we are cable-less now, but it's worth waiting for.

The bad news: this is likely the last season for the show. I hope that the season-of-13-shows-with-option-for-more turns into a full season, and I hope that enough people join the current fans of "Chuck" to increase the numbers and keep the show going.

Synopsis: Chuck, who has been in a holding pattern since being kicked out of Stanford for cheating (he didn't) and being dumped by his girlfriend, receives a mysterious email from his old college roommate, Bryce, who was the person who turned him for cheating. The email downloads top-secret information into his brain, which can then make connections between things he sees or hears and the government data. Chuck then becomes a government asset, to be guarded and watched, but also possibly killed if things go badly.

CIA agent Sarah Walker's cover as Chuck's new girlfriend turns into something more, and NSA agent John Casey finds he has something more than being the designated shooter at the government's beck and call.

There's more to the story, but it's worth catching up on. Seasons 1-4 are available on DVD or at The last three episodes are available at or (I always watch there). You can view some episodes here - they usually do 6-7 episodes of season 1 at a time, so you can get that out of the way. And right now, today, those are episodes 1-6 of season 1, so if you haven't watched "Chuck" before, this is the perfect time to give it a try.

I'm so glad that "Chuck" will be back next fall.

Monday, May 2, 2011


Cayla didn't miss the bus to school this morning. It is the first time in 2011 she didn't have to be driven to school - other than days she was sick.

This means she's on time and not making me waste gas. Yay!

Also, Kent and his friend put some stop leak stuff in the radiator and hopefully it will hold together for a couple of days until I can get it fixed. So I'm leaving soon to go into town - genealogical society meets today and one of the members specifically asked me to come for my input on a decision they will be discussing. Cool.

In other news ...

It was just another Sunday afternoon at work. Two obits to process, a few pages to lay out. Deanna had the front page done and we thought we were going to get done in a timely fashion.

Then the sports editor said, "I hate to break it to you, but the president's going to make some big announcement at 9:30."

That was sometime after 9 p.m. It would be much, much later that we got the official word (after many "unofficial" announcements by various people) that U.S. forces had killed Osama bin Laden.

Then was more of a waiting game - waiting for the Associated Press to provide an article, waiting for updates to the article, waiting for photos be be available. Finally, finally we sent the last pages to the press.

And I called my sister to have her pick me up and take me home, because apparently it developed another hole (this is the second time since Friday this has happened) in the radiator. I won't be able to take care of it Monday (today), so I will need a ride to work and another ride home. And then I have to figure out how to get it into town to be worked on and how to pay for that.

In the meantime, I'm heading to bed because I have to get up in less than four hours to get Cayla out of bed in time to catch the bus to school for the first time in 2011. Let's hope I'm more successful than I have been for the past four months ...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A very long day

With about four hours of sleep, I wasn't prepared for the various weirdness of the day. Cayla delayed getting up, to the point that she was extremely late for school. As it turned out, that didn't matter, as she started feeling sick again (she was sick yesterday) and so I told her to have her dad drive her home.

I was at the hospital with Amanda, who was having an upper GI endoscopy done. She had missed a lot of school because of "stomach aches" when she was still going to school, and when she was ill a couple of weeks ago the doctor remembered this and decided she should be thoroughly checked out. Last week it was an abdominal ultrasound, this week an upper GI encoscopy. And the illness a couple of weeks ago was vomiting on a nearly daily basis for about a week, then nothing since then.

The weird part is that it's April 19. And it was snowing this morning. Big, heavy, clumps of snow coming down. Accompanied by thunder. Kent actually consented to driving below the speed limit - at a safe driving speed. I had him drop Amanda and me off at the hospital so he could take Cayla to school and Amanda wouldn't be late for her appointment, but of course, it didn't matter, since Cayla thought she was going to be sick again.

After Amanda came back from her procedure and was awake enough to eat and drink and walk, Kent came to get us. We drove through Hardee's for something for her lunch, since she wasn't allowed to eat or drink from 10 p.m. yesterday until after the procedure. I went into Walmart for a few things, we stopped at Mom's to pick up her phone bill payment and dropped it off at the phone company. Then through McDonald's for a smoothie for Cayla and home.

So, I'm beat. I've had lunch and now it's my naptime, about 7 hours late. I usually take a couple of hours after Cayla goes to school. I will admit that I dozed off at the hospital while they were working on Amanda. But dozing sitting up in a stiff chair isn't very restful. So I'm off to get a couple of hours of sleep. Naps are good.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ups and downs

We all have them. Sometimes I tend to focus on things that are similar, as if a group of bad things are an indication that my life is going downhill. When that happens, I ignore any good things that happen. It's kind of like when a celebrity dies and somebody wonders who the next two will be, because "these things happen in threes."

So, this morning I discovered that my laptop battery not only wasn't holding a charge, but lost power quickly, going from 53 percent to 40 percent in only a few minutes. Yikes.

An involved web search - on the desktop computer after I shut the laptop down - gave me the information that:
  • the battery needs to be replaced
  • laptop batteries tend to last about a year (mine is two years old)
  • a new battery will be between $104 to $150, depending on whether I get a six-cell or 12-cell battery
  • the 12-cell battery got bad reviews, including the fact that it sticks out from the profile of the laptop and makes the laptop go at an angle
  • you can run a laptop with the battery out using just the adapter
I can tell you one thing - I will not buy a battery on eBay. I bought a laptop adapter on eBay once and it didn't last long. Better to spend a little more and get something more reliable.

So I'm using the laptop with the adapter, no battery. I'm not sure when I'll order a new battery. I'm going to check at the local Office Max first. I might get it through Office Depot, because I have a $30 gift card to use. And it probably will be a six-cell so I don't have to worry about the extra weight and size of the battery.

And I realize that isn't much of a down, except I have a great use for my laptop and can't afford to have it out of commission. I don't have the $100+ in my budget for a new battery right now. And with my tendency to group bad things in my mind, I can't help but wonder what's next?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Mmmmm, Nutella

I saw this at our local Hy-Vee store on Saturday. The jars on the right are the normal size, but now they have 26.5-ounce jars available. Wonderful!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I don't often get involved in the current fads. Although I did have a pet rock the first time they were popular. And a mood ring. But really, I don't subscribed to fads that much.

What I do is my own fads, themes, obsessions or whatever. I played Farmville, Frontierville and Cityville - those last two daily from the time they started until I gave them all up on Jan. 1 of this year. I put in 2-3 hours a day playing Zynga games.

Then there's the food thing. I find a food I like and can eat that thing twice a day for forever, or until I get tired of it. Put some Panda Express pork potstickers in front of me and I can eat them 3 times a day. Especially with my favorite Thai sweet chili sauce. (That I now have four bottles of, thanks to a road trip to Ames on March 1.)

I think my new fad may be family history/genealogy webinars. I just finished one (on using Twitter/Tweetdeck) and signed up for Writing Your Personal History (and Living to Tell About it) which starts in about 10 minutes.

And maybe family search indexing. I just got an email yesterday saying I have completed 100 batches. Yay me. I actually know someone who has done thousands - tens of thousands - of batches. So I do need to get started on my second hundred ...

Side note: My mom says that her dad used to say that he was working on his second million dollars. The first million didn't work out so well, so he was moving on to the second.

That comment may seem out of place, but it actually fits with the family history category. I need to get more family stories - I can get dates and names from official sources, but they don't tell who the people were. My memories of people and what I was told may differ from someone else's, and I just want to document as much as I can while I can.

So let family history be my next fad, and may I control my direction (not letting it become an obsession to the detriment of my other responsibilities) but also may I never give it up.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Timing is everything

I went to the library yesterday between work times. (On Fridays I lay out a Sunday business page and copy edit the rest of that section, then go to lunch and come back to work until around 10:30 or so.)

I was hoping to see Roger Natte there. He's a local historian, in the Webster County Historical Society and Fort Dodge Historic Preservation Commission. I told him about In Old Fort Dodge.

He likes the site, but was particularly excited to see one article I had posted about the high bridge being nearly completed. He hadn't seen that one yet, and he's looking for every possible resource and information about the high bridge, as the Historic Preservation Commission is working to get the high bridge listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

I asked if I could scan and use photos from the  Historical Society. He's okay with that, but he got excited and said that I had to see these photos. He showed me a couple of pictures taken in 1912 of an aircraft invented by a Fort Dodge man. He looked around for the article and when he showed it to me, I got excited, too. It was dated March 25, 1912.

This meant that if I wanted to use it, I needed to get it typed and posted right away. So I typed it right then, and Roger sent me an email with the photos. The whole thing is posted here. I also talked to the acting library director, Rita, who said she will try to get a link to In Old Fort Dodge on the library's website. Cool.

This morning's focus on timing means that I can't watch "Who Do You Think You Are?" right now, because I signed up for a family history webinar that starts in 18 minutes. So it's time to go log in.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Natural disasters

An earthquake triggered massive tsunamis, affecting a wide area of the Pacific Ocean. The death toll is unknown at this time. Google has offered a widget to help people find each other:

If this doesn't work, go to

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A semi-productive day

I got A Vague Recollection up and running, might have freed A Wiser Steward from the clutches of Website Tonight (I haven't checked yet).

I sorted through hundreds of copies of newspaper articles for In Old Fort Dodge to get them grouped by month, and by day for January through February.

I have typed and scheduled posts for tomorrow, Friday and Saturday, and pulled articles for the rest of the month.

Of the four things on my to-do list today, I got one done. I didn't take Mom where she needed to go because she asked if we can do it Saturday. I didn't take Cayla to church because she wasn't feeling well and took about a three-hour nap. And I didn't get to the library, but I do have enough articles for this month, so it's not that urgent.

New day tomorrow, new to-do list. Feels kind of good.

The waiting game

Since I renewed hosting at and purchased three new domain names for three distinct blog sites, I've been trying to get them all set up.

I hit a glitch with A Wiser Steward. When doing the original hosting setup, I was asked if I wanted to create a launch page. I thought it was just a placeholder, but later figured out it was a one-page site through Website Tonight. This is a problem, since I want all four sites to be managed with WordPress.

I finally got A Wiser Steward off of Website Tonight, but it will take time for the account to cancel. Now I'm waiting for installation of WordPress at A Vague Recollection to finish, so I can get it started.

On the other hand, it's only been a few days since I actually got the ball rolling on this, so I should be patient. A friend from church is waiting for her baby to arrive, and she's been waiting a lot longer than I have. I should go take Mom on her errand(s) and go to the library. That would occupy my mind.

But, no. I keep going back to the tab and refreshing the page only to see "installing application" is still there.

I also press elevator buttons more than once, and hold down the button when buying pop from a vending machine.

(Update: Installation is complete, and I have a theme installed and a first post. Mom doesn't want to go anywhere today, so I just have to get myself going so I can get to the library. First, though, I'm going to organize the files I have, which is why I bought the file box and folders yesterday.)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A productive day

Mostly, anyway.

Cayla had a headache and didn't go to school. I worked on In Old Fort Dodge - the post that was scheduled to go live at 6 a.m. didn't. It took several (many) tries before I got it to work. We'll see what happens tomorrow.

Donna and I had made plans to go to Ames. I wanted to see if I could find a couple of food items: Yoshida's oriental gourmet sauce, which Kent and I used to do stir-fry with when we lived in Chicago, and Aroma Chef Thai sweet chili sauce, which I really, really like to use on potstickers.

Jessica went along, too. It was her birthday.

During the day we stopped at two Asian stores, three Wal-Marts, a diner/cafe (The Grove Cafe in Ames), Suzanna's apartment in Ankeny, Arby's (yay for chocolate turnover!), a super Target, PetsMart and Michaels. (Did I miss anything?)

I bought chopsticks, four bottles of the sweet chili sauce, a file box, hanging folders, manila folders, Sharpies, oil pastels, binders, two scrapbooks and some quilting fabric.

Tomorrow I have to take Mom on an errand, go to the library, schedule more posts on In Old Fort Dodge, organize the article copies I already have (which is what the file box, hanging folders and manila folders are for), and take Cayla to church.

It's kind of cool to have a plan. And now I plan to go to bed.