Friday, December 19, 2014

Is anybody out there?

My interest in certain things ebbs and flows. I get caught up in a particular activity and ignore other things. I've had blog posts in mind but haven't been sufficiently interested to actually post them.

Maybe later.

In the meantime, a little catching up.

I had my first colonoscopy in November. Everything was fine, so I don't have to do it again for 10 years. The prep solution you have to drink was the worst. It tasted a little like salty pineapple, which normally wouldn't be a problem, but when you have to drink 1/2 gallon in the evening and another 1/2 gallon the next morning, the effect adds up. I had to measure out each cup and mark them off as I drank them. I played a level of Plants vs Zombies or a game of Solitaire each time I drank one, as a reward system. In the morning, though, I just couldn't drink the whole thing. I got to a point where if I had taken one more sip, it would have all come back up. :-( So I stopped. But, I feel that as long as the results are there, it's all good (I am NOT giving medical advice to others - your mileage may vary).

Cayla is home for Christmas. She's set to return to school around Jan. 9 or so.

Family Christmas will be at my place. We're having homemade enchiladas. It will be the Snyder side of the family (me, my sister and any of her kids and their families/friends who wish to come). I suggested to my girls that their dad can come on New Year's Day, as I'm off then. I do have to work on Christmas Day.

Yesterday was my 32nd wedding anniversary. Kent and I have been separated since September 2008, but not divorced because neither of us has filed (or neither of us can afford a lawyer). I found out (yesterday, on the wedding anniversary) that apparently he's engaged, but we don't know to whom. He unfriended me on Facebook quite a while back, so I don't get any updates from him. I don't usually go look at his page, so I'm not in the loop. Whatever.

Our microwave oven died, so I'll be heading out shortly to get another one. I had to wait until payday, of course. Amanda has been making pizza rolls in the oven. I'm not sure if Cayla cares one way or the other, but Amanda and I use the microwave a lot.

My van has this weird thing where the "communications array" doesn't work from time to time. What that means is the dashboard indicators don't indicate, so I would have no idea how fast it's going or how much gas is in it. Driving in town, that's not a problem, as I can tell the approximate speed by what the engine and muffler sound like. But for picking Cayla up at school, it does cause problems. I'm reluctant to drive highway speeds when I'm not sure exactly how fast I'm going.

But my mechanic told me there are apps that will calculate speed based on GPS. So on Dec. 12, I tried that - I went down to Ames using the app the whole way there and back. It does work. So did the speedometer for that trip (taking Cayla her birthday presents and spending time with her) and one this Wednesday to pick Cayla up for her break.

One more thing about the van: I had decided to keep it running as long as possible. I've spent a lot of money on it so far: new starter, brakes, a couple of things in the front wheels (a tie rod for one), new tires (3 brand new, 1 used in good condition). Last week, after having some problems when the van would start (it was either sluggish, or would start, die and have to be started again), I put the key in and turned it and the thing went nuts. It wouldn't start, but the door locks were locking and unlocking rapidly - even after I took the key out of the ignition. I ended up having it jump-started and drove it to the mechanic. It needed a new battery. So I had to pay for a new battery and the jump start. The battery probably cost more than one from Walmart, but I had to get it through my mechanic because it was between paydays and he will hold a check. (I just checked - not quite as much difference as I expected, but a bit more.)

So now, new battery. That, getting a new microwave, and having Cayla home for three weeks (another mouth to feed) make things a bit tight. So Christmas won't be about what's under the tree (we don't have one, and nearly all my Christmas stuff was stolen by Kent's friends a few years ago), but about hanging out with family. I guess that's not entirely a bad thing.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Headache and heartache

I watched this video this morning before getting ready for church, and lapsed into full-on sobbing.

Even now my eyes are welling up and I have a lump in my chest.

I miss my mom so much. All the distracting I did today to get my mind calmer is just not working now.

This morning, I learned that it's difficult to eat and shower while sobbing. I barely made it through sacrament meeting - I had to walk out during the intermediate hymn to compose myself. I had a headache from the crying earlier, and it's coming back now. After church, I learned that it's also difficult to drive in that condition.

It's been a year and a half since she died. I've been pretty good throughout it all, but a couple of days ago my train of thought went from me getting some cash at the bank, which used to be her account but she added me to it, then when she died, I took her off of it. I was thinking how handy it is to have an account so close to work, but I would give it up in a second to have more time with her.

Then I thought that I would shave my head to make a wig for her, if that would help. (She had a type of alopecia and as long as I could remember, she always wore a wig.) I would sacrifice in other ways, if it gave me more time with her.

But that's silly. I know Mom is beyond all that. There is a purpose to our lives, and she has gone to another part of her existence. Someday I will see her again. There is nothing that I can do to make it happen any sooner.

So, I will have to miss my mom. I will have to try harder to do what I know is needed to be able to see her again. I know there will be good days and bad days. It will be hard at times. It's hard right now.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Cayla is coming home

Cayla has been staying with my dad and stepmom in Illinois, and working to save money for college. She has not been emailing or Facebooking me every day (like she's supposed to!), so it's been kind of weird not knowing what's going on with her.

Some things I had to find out second-hand, like she dated a guy while she was there.

But she comes home tomorrow.

Also, my laptop should be back tomorrow. I sent it away to get fixed, but wasn't sure if I would get it back in time for a family history workshop on Saturday at church. UPS says it's in Des Moines right now.

The problem was that it's been really sluggish lately, and when I play Flash games, they crash - a lot. I checked to see if it would be able to play The Sims 4, and the site I used to check it said it didn't have enough RAM. That confused me, as it's supposed to have 6 G of RAM, which should be plenty.

But when I looked at the specs, it was only registering 1.46 G of RAM.

That's not right.

So I checked the extended warranty I had paid for, and called customer support, and they sent a box for me to send it in for repairs. I've been waiting anxiously for it to return.

Amanda has allowed me to use her desktop, but there are times we both want it, so I've been reading a lot lately.

A few of the books I've read in the last week or so:

"Peter and the Starcatchers," by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
"The Last Continent," by Terry Pratchett (and a few of the other Discworld books)
"A Dance With Dragons," by George R.R. Martin
"Imager," "Imager's Challenge," and "Imager's Intrigue," by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

Cayla will only be home until Tuesday, when she leaves for college. It's such a short time, and I have to work three of those days. But I do have Tuesday off, so I can go help her move in. 

On the educational front, Amanda is nearly done taking the HiSET tests for a high school equivalency diploma. The last test is on Monday.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 5:42 p.m. Is it too late for a nap?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Graduation and enchiladas

Cayla graduated today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Catching up and moving on

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

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

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

Some things that have happened lately

Cayla's last band concert

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

Cayla's art on display

A wee visitor

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

Senior class night

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

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

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Just because it's on the Internet

The Internet is great. I love it.

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

But ...

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

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

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

They rarely check to see if it's true.

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

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

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

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

Then there's copyright issues and plagiarism.

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

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

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

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

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

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

It will save a lot of hassles later on.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

My poor van

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