A blog about "nothing"!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Photo(s) of the Week, November 24, 2014-and taking a break!

One thing I really miss about our old house is putting up bird feeders.  Sure, we could put them up here, but the neighbor behind us feeds squirrels.  When they are done eating at her house, they like to come empty our feeders.  Uh, I don't think so!  Nevermind.  I do remember seeing a feeder for sale that flings the squirrels when they get on it, that could be rather entertaining...

I'm taking a break from writing on this blog for a couple of weeks for a number of reasons.  First off, we've had several family issues come up that have left us kind of reeling.  As a result, we are way behind on getting ready for the holidays.  Then when I went to look for photos to share for December, I realized I didn't have anything!  I don't take many photos in December and what I do take is mostly family events.  On that note, I guess I will see you after the new year. 
So...Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

My latest "guilty pleasure"

We all have them, guilty pleasures that maybe we do or maybe we don't want to admit.  My husband laughs at me over this one, but I'm finding out that there are quite a few people who are admitting this one lately.  What is it??? The television show Masterchef Junior.

Masterchef Junior is based off the cooking show Masterchef, the difference being that all of the contestants are kids.  They have gone through an audition process of sorts, narrowed down to 24, and then before the airing of the first show, down to 16.  Each week they are presented with several different cooking challenges and at the end of show, several are eliminated. 

First off, I have to admit that I was a bit nervous since Gordon Ramsay is one of the hosts.  If you are even the least bit familiar with him, you know that he can be a bit intense, nasty and has a foul mouth.  Even with all of that, I am a big fan of his, and I usually prefer to watch the British versions of his shows as opposed to the American ones, they tend not to be as caustic, I really think that the producers of the American versions tend to push that over the top persona.  Not necessary IMHO, he's a talented chef with a great personality for TV.  And I was very pleased to see that we get NONE of that nasty side on this show.  He's joined by the two other judges from the original Masterchef, and both of them are also very pleasant.  It's nice to see a different side to this kind of television.

The real stars of the show though are the kids.  At first I couldn't quite grasp why I was so hooked on this show until I read an article on it at the NPR website.  They really pinned it down quite well-these kids are actually nice to each other!  There is none of the backstabbing, badmouthing behavior that seems to be so prevalent on the majority of reality television shows.  When one of them is having a bad time with something, the others seem genuinely concerned about their colleagues.  They all realize that while it is a competition, there is something else to it too, and they all seem to get along quite well.  They also seem to be very well balanced kids, none of that bratty Veruca Salt "I want it now" behavior. 

The other thing that blows my mind completely is the level of cooking ability these kids have.  The set up for the competitions is pretty much the same as most other cooking shows of this type, and these kids DO NOT disappoint.  Some of the stuff that they have made has left me completely speechless.  I wouldn't even try and make some of the things these kids have cooked even if I had a whole day to make it, and they are on a time limit!  Their knowledge of ingredients, technique and equipment is mind blowing.  This particular season the participants are aged 8  - 12, and they all seem to have an extensive knowledge of the kitchen.  The most recent episode had one of the girls decide to use truffle butter in her recipe.  She's 9.  When I was 9 I barely knew the difference between butter and margarine!

At the moment it would be difficult to pick out who the winner is going to be, these kids are really talented.  After last nights elimination we are down to 8.  I'm not going to say too much more about the eliminations in case you haven't seen the show, but I do believe we definitely have the top 8 competing.  Not that the other kids weren't good, but these ones just have that little bit of extra something that it takes. 

I will say that I'm super excited that my favorite of the group from the very beginning is still in it.  Abby is only 8, making her the youngest competitor from both seasons.  She's just cute as a button, says she has been cooking since she was 2 (wow!) and has the confidence to pull it off.  She reminds me of an American Girl doll come to life, maybe that's why I like her so much.

I didn't watch the first season of this, but once this one is over with, I probably will go back and see it.  In case you want to watch, the entire first season is currently available on HuluPlus and season 2 is partially available as well, episodes are posted for the free version approximately one week after airing.  Just be prepared to be completely amazed at the cooking skills of these kids. I know I am. 

Photo from the Masterchef Junior Website
Masterchef Junior Airs Tuesdays at 8:00PM on Fox, with a repeat airing on Fridays at 8:00PM in some markets.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

This is just gross

I'm not a germ-a-phobe.  In fact, I think some people are far too obsessed about germs and that the general obsession with anti-bacterial soaps and such are creating more harm than good.  However, a recent segment on the Today show grossed even me, the non germ-a-phobe out. 

Lots of reports have been done about the places in hotel rooms that have the most germs.  This one took it to a different level.  They rented a room and then made it appear as though they had stayed there.  They messed up the linens, poured soda pop in a glass and drank it, then left.  Before they left they had set up hidden cameras to record just what the cleaning personnel did.

Cleaning personnel-that's a joke and a half.  They did strip the sheets as requested by the card the reporter left behind.  But they left the dirty pillow cases on!!!!  I know in my own home that the pillow cases are by far the dirtiest thing when I change my own bed.  You sweat on them, hair oils accumulate, most people drool, etc-yuck.

It gets better though.  When cleaning the bathroom, they put the dirty glasses in the sink and ran water in them.  That's it, no soap, sanitizer, didn't wash them at all.  Then they proceeded to dry them-WITH A DIRTY TOWEL THEY PICKED UP OFF THE FLOOR!!!!!!!!!  I was totally grossed out at that point.  In the one video they had used this towel to wipe off the toilet before hand and then wiped the counter off as well.  OMFG.  And not a cleaning supply in sight.

Of course, when confronted with this, the hotel management claimed it was an "isolated incident".  Isolated my ass.  They checked several chains and this was an issue at quite a few.  Makes me never want to stay in a hotel again.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised.  Basic hygiene practices escape a lot of people.  Common sense does too.  A few times when my washer or dryer have been out of commission, I've found myself at the laundromat.  Some of the stuff people put in the washers together is just unbelievable.  I can't tell you how many times I've seen dish towels mixed in with underwear.  I couldn't help but think "thank god I'll never be going to that person's home to eat".

Bet Jeff Rossen was wishing he hadn't drank the Coke out of that glass!

If you would like to see the full report, go to http://www.today.com/money/hotel-maids-how-much-how-little-do-they-really-clean-1D80287464

Monday, November 17, 2014

Photo of the Week, November 17, 2014

I needed a good laugh and when I came across this photo, it definitely fit the bill!  Do you know about Flat Stanley???  If you don't, it's a project based on a children's book, "Flat Stanley" is mailed to different locations around the world and the recipient takes photos of him touring the area and experiencing different things.  I was a host for a Flat Stanley from Texas a few years ago, this particular Stanley got to do a number of things from shopping, touring the local college and learning about city government.  Here he is with a friend of mine, getting a ride in an electric company bucket truck!  I think it's a wonderful way to encourage reading and also learn about geography amongst other things.  Whoever thought of this deserves a huge thumbs up in my opinion.

Very cruddy week for so many reasons here, one of which is snow, lots and lots of snow.  It is coming down as I type and supposed to continue.  Tomorrow is supposed to be bitter cold too.  This is just too early, I'm so not ready.  This isn't supposed to happen until the weekend after Thanksgiving and only then so the deer hunters can track easier.  Blech!!!  Crazy part is it's going to warm up by the end of the week and be typical autumn weather.  I can't keep up anymore. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Just who thought this was a good idea?????

It's that time of year again, the season where we are hit smack in the face with everything Christmas.  It seems like it gets earlier and earlier each year and sometimes I think it gets tackier each year as well.  I'm somewhat of a traditionalist when it comes to Christmas too.  Give me a nice tree, stockings, a beautiful wreath and maybe a few knick knack type things and I'm good.  As my sister-in-law said yesterday-"We don't do cute."  No inflatable Santa on our lawn. 

I can accept most of this stuff if other want people want to do it.  I'm very much a "live and let live" kind of person, as long as what someone else is doing isn't hurting anyone.  We have a house in our neighborhood that tends to go a bit overboard for just about any holiday, but I don't make a big deal about it.  I just choose not to look at it as I drive past. 

There is one thing that happens this time of year though that drives me bananas beyond belief...cinnamon pine cones.  They start appearing in retail and grocery stores about now and honestly, I'd like to find the person who thought these damned things up and shove them up their...you know where.  These things are HORRIBLE!!!  I literally have to hold my breath when I'm in the vicinity of a display, and even then I can still smell them.  Unfortunately it's one of those things that once you get it in your nasal passages, it's hard to get rid of.

While I just hate the smell of these "things", I know that there are other people who experience severe reactions to them too.  I have had family members and friends who suffer from problems brought on by overwhelming fragrances, and these damned things most definitely qualify.  I also question the toxicity issue with these as I don't even think the scent on them is real cinnamon, but some sort of artificial liquid.  None of which can be healthy for anyone or anything.

Here's my question--who actually buys these????  I don't know of a single person in my circle of friends and family who likes these, and when you are in the store, I hear nothing but complaints.  I don't know about you, but if I wanted pinecones bad enough, I am sure that I could visit any number of people and pick some out of the yard.  I know, you're thinking "oh, those probably have bugs and such in them."  Well guess what???  Those ones that you buy in the stores aren't bug free either, there was an incident about 10 or so years ago with them, they were advising people to either throw them out in a sealed bag or put them in a Ziploc type bag in the freezer to kill the little critters.  Serious concerns about if they thrived and reproduced, they could wipe out a specific species of tree here in the US.  Ick.  I think I'd rather have bugs from my native country rather than ones brought in from other places in the world, thank you.  But really, I'd rather not have them period. 

My other question-why can't they be put in sealed bags to sell?  Then if someone really felt that they needed to buy them, they still could, without attacking the olfactory system of those who don't like the smell.  We put other things in bags to keep odors in or out, to me this would be the perfect item for a well sealed bag.

I'm done, I've said my piece.  I hate these things with a passion.  I walked past a box of them today while stopping to get milk and about gagged, and it wasn't even a very big display of them.  I just can't help but think that these can't possibly be healthy at all.  If you see a woman at the store holding her breath or her nose during the holiday season, it might be me. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Photo of the Week, November 10, 2014

This is one of my favorite photos of our dog Gilligan, sunbathing in our dining room.  He loved finding a spot of sunlight and on this particular day, the light was just perfect.  I think he slept there for several hours!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Photo of the Week, November 3, 2014

I thought I would share some colors of fall with everyone!  It is my favorite time of year, but when the weather is as hit and miss as it is around here, you never know what you are going to get.  The year I took these particular pictures it was especially pretty.  We've had a very pretty season here this year so far, it's probably getting close to the end, but you never know.  Some areas in the east had snow over the weekend, yuck!  They had threatened some here, but it missed us, thank heavens.

Friday, October 31, 2014


Some of you may remember last summer when I was "Bummed" because I'd broken my tape measure.  It looked like this:
I've been looking for a replacement ever since.  Not too long ago I needed to go to Home Depot to pick up a few things and I decided it was time to look again...

I was so excited!  I could care less that it's a keychain, I just like having one that is small to carry in my purse.  It's definitely an improvement over the larger one I had been using, it tended to weigh things down if I had it with me.  I can't tell you how many times since I broke my old one that I've been somewhere and went to get it out of my purse, and it wasn't there.      :( 
It is the same length, just a little wider.  That's okay, I have noticed it tends to stay in place better because of that which is important when you are trying to measure something by yourself.  And, it was only $4!  They had another one that was some sort of generic, it was $1, but it definitely didn't feel as sturdy as this one.  I'm actually thinking of going and picking up another one so I can always have one in my purse, plus it would be a backup in case one of them breaks.  Thank you Home Depot!!!  You made my week.  

Monday, October 27, 2014

Photo of the Week, October 27, 2014

As I was looking through my pictures I realized that I don't have much in regards to Halloween which is surprising because I love the colors and decorations that go with it.  However, if there is one place who knows how to decorate for ANY holiday better than anyone else, it's Disneyworld.  We were there a couple of years ago in October and it was really impressive.  We had been there prior to that for Christmas and it was just amazing, and they pull out almost as many stops for Halloween.  All of the parks are decked out to some extent, but my favorite is The Magic Kingdom.   All of the lamp posts on Main Street were decorated like this, almost made me want to run home and decorate the lamp post we had at the time just like it!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Photo of the Week, October 20, 2014

Some fall leaves for you from a trip we took a few years ago in Woodstock, Vermont.  It's been a pretty season here in Pennsylvania this year, lots and lots of color, I wasn't too sure with the weird weather we had all summer what we would get.  The sad part is if we get a good heavy rain or wind storm, it will all be gone.  Until next year!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Photo of the Week, October 13, 2014

I can't believe that 2 years have passed since we went to the Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Festival!  That was truly the experience of a lifetime, hopefully we will get to go again sometime.  All the colors, balloons, just wow!  If you haven't been to it, I highly recommend it.

Thursday, October 9, 2014


Yesterday I went to visit a friend who lives about 30 minutes away.  I left a little early because there were a couple of places near her that I wanted to stop at.  Little did I know that in that time I would have not one but two near accidents, thanks to someone on a cell phone.

The first incident was right after I got off the interstate and was heading in to town.  I was on a side road that doesn't have much berm, it's a narrow road to begin with.  Driving along minding my own business when next thing I know, there is an SUV heading right towards me in my lane.  I wasn't quite sure what to do, but my knee jerk reaction was to lay on the horn.  My car has one of those annoying Road Runner type horns that really gets your attention and apparently it worked because next thing I know the driver suddenly jerked the car back in to the correct lane. She jerked it so quickly that I was actually concerned that she might wreck.   I'm fairly certain she was texting or something along those lines, her eyes were most definitely not on the road.  Scared the heck out of me to put it mildly because not only was she driving badly, she was speeding as well, so it would have not been pretty had she hit me.  Grrr...

I ran my errands and was heading across town on a side street that I have driven many times.  This is a thru street with no stop signs on it, all of the streets that intersect do.  I could see a car at one of the stop signs and slowed down a little.  Good thing I did because she darned near pulled out in front of me!  She stopped in time for me to miss her, but just barely.  And guess what-she was talking on a cell phone.  No surprise. 

I'm really starting to hate cell phones.  I thought they were a wonderful thing when they first came out, a way to get in touch with someone in an emergency, let your family know if you are stuck in traffic, etc.  Now they have become an annoying pain in the neck.  Driving while talking on a cell phone is bad, but now we have people who think that they can text while they drive-uh, I don't think so!  Statistics show that texting and driving is every bit as bad as driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol.  Yet in the United States, punishment for doing this is still minor.  I don't get it.

In 2000 we went to the UK and spent some time with friends there.  We were trying to get in touch with another person who we were to meet up with and while we were on the road, she did call back on my friends cell phone.  He quickly answered the call, told her to hang on a second, then PULLED THE CAR TO THE SIDE OF THE ROAD, and then proceeded to finish the call.  Afterwards I asked him about it and he said that the UK imposed heavy fines to anyone caught driving and talking.  This was 14 years ago!!!!  If the UK can get laws passed in regards to something this dangerous, why can't we get this done in the US? 

In 2011, 23% of automobile accidents in the US were attributed to cell phones.  That's 1.3 MILLION crashes.  That's ridiculous.  Text messaging is by far the worst offense with it contributing to the likelihood of an accident by 23 times!  Now tell me, is that really worth it?  Is that message or phone call going to be worth it if you kill someone (or several someone's) in the process?  Or even yourself?

20 years ago very few people had cell phones.  We got along just fine.  I don't know of ANY conversation that is so important that you have to take it at that very moment.  Not a single one.  Do you have a problem ignoring a ringing phone?  Perhaps it would be a good idea then to turn off the ringer when you get in the car and remove that temptation.  Put the phone in the trunk or the back seat.  Whatever it takes.  It's a bad habit.  If you are that bored, pick your nose or something.  I'd rather see you doing that.  Safety first! 

Last night my husband started to tell me this story before I had even had a chance to tell him about what had happened to me.  He was at a grocery store where a woman started to pull out and almost hit another car because she wasn't paying attention.  Why?  Yeah, you guessed it, she was on her cell phone.  The woman she nearly hit is my hero.  Apparently she blocked this woman's car, got out and proceeded to give her a total butt chewing right there, on the spot, in front of God and everyone.  I told my husband that if I had been there I would have applauded her. And I hope it makes this woman rethink the importance of that phone call.  It could have waited.  Or she could have waited to pull out until she was done with the call. 

SHUT THE PHONE OFF, PUT BOTH HANDS ON THE WHEEL AND DRIVE THE CAR!!!  That phone call or text is not that damned important, but someone's life is.  Driving is a privilege, NOT A RIGHT.  Treat it like the privilege it is.  Quit being stupid.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Photo of the Week, October 6, 2014

One last photo from Niagara Falls.  This one is from last year about the same week.  Last year I was running around in a t-shirt, I couldn't have done that this weekend, it was cold!  We still haven't had a frost though, my tomatoes are still growing.  Very strange weather.

The boat in this picture is The Maid Of The Mist, a ride that you can take from either the American or Canadian side of the falls that gives you an up close look at the Horseshoe Falls.  They give you raincoats to wear, but you still end up wet.  I highly recommend this to anyone going to Niagara Falls, it is one of the best tourist attractions IMHO.  I've done it several times and it's always fun!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Photo of the Week, September 29, 2014

Another photo from a trip to Niagara Falls!  This was taken at the Butterfly Conservatory at the Botanical Gardens on the Canadian Side.  The gardens are gorgeous but the butterfly conservatory is definitely my favorite part.  What was neat about this particular type of butterfly is when it's wings were closed, it was gray like the background it is on so it blended right in.  I had to time it just right to get this photo as this particular butterfly wasn't cooperating.  I just love the color contrast.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My Take: Downton Abbey, S5, E1 (No Spoilers!)

I did manage to get to watch the first episode of the new season before it’s shown in the US.  I had been careful not to read any spoilers beyond the usual teasers and releases of information that ITV had provided.  Last season was a huge disappointment to me right from the start.  I can say that this was not the case with the first show of season 5, I’m just hopeful that it will keep the momentum through the rest of this year.  Without further ado:

1.       Let’s not forget that Tom Branson was the chauffeur to begin with-and Irish and a rebel.  And so are his friends!

2.       Violet is back to her usual stuff with Isobel.  Isobel is just smarter this time.

3.       Lady Edith starts the season out as her usual sad sack self and it just goes downhill from there.  Just remember-books are for reading, not throwing.

4.       Mr. Moseley was born a few years too soon for “Just For Men”, ooops

5.       Uh, I think it’s time they get a puppy, if you do the math, Isis is at least 12 years old.  Being a Labrador retriever she’s ancient.  Sibbie and George would have a blast with a puppy.  Come on Lord Grantham, you bad grandfather you!

6.       Mr. Carson still needs a Xanax

7.       Mrs. Hughes is still the voice of reason

8.       Go Daisy!  Don’t let the others get you down.  Would like to see her strike up a friendship with Miss Bunting. 

9.       Oh no Jimmy, that was NOT a good idea

10.   And last but not least-Thomas, OH THOMAS!  The Thomas I know and love is back and with a vengeance.  Just the way it should be. Yay!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Photo of the Week, September 22, 2014--and a mystery solved (sort of)

This isn't a spectacular photo, but I think it's just cool.  How many times do you get to see Niagara Falls made out of Lego's?!?!  This was taken at Brick City, a Lego devoted museum in Niagara Falls, Ontario.  They have lots of other displays, but I thought this was appropriate since it was right there.

The mystery--where all of these harassing phone calls started trying to sell me health insurance.  I was really concerned about the fact that they not only had my name and phone number, but my e-mail address as well.  Today I FINALLY got my answer.  What the idiot at the Federal Trade Commission told me was only partly true.  All of the call aren't scam calls.  This morning I got a phone call from another person trying to sell me insurance.  This guy sounded as genuinely confused as I was annoyed when I told him that I wasn't looking for health insurance.  He asked where in the world they might have gotten my name from and I told him about looking online over a year ago and being bombarded with calls, but that I hadn't done that again.  He said that was more than likely where it originated this time too.  He said the websites that offer this "service" (yeah right, some service) get paid for each referral by each company whether you actually buy something or not!  I'm sure that some of the scam ones pay them too just to get your info, they aren't going to go to each one and verify that they are a legitimate company or not.  They just want their money.  He said they will re-submit old information from their data base just to get more money.  Argh!

He actually couldn't have been any nicer, said he would remove my name and number from their records and also told me that the only real way to get it to stop is to answer each call and tell them to remove you from their list.  Basically the same thing the guy from the FTC told me, but at least this guy had an answer for me as to how they got my information.  If it happens again, I will just change our phone number, hate to do that, but it's the only way I can think of to get it to stop once and for all.  Since I have absolutely no idea what the website was that I submitted it through originally, I am stuck at this point.  I really hate computers some times...

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Garden Report 2014-How Did You Do?

2014 will definitely go down as one of the strangest years when it comes to vegetable gardening in this area.  Even my flowers were strange.  I attribute most of the issues I had with water-too much or two little at the wrong times.  I should have known from my hydrangea putting up blooms in an entirely different color at the beginning of the season that something was up!  I suspected it might have been from too much water from all the snow melt off and I think I was right.  As the season progressed the colors were back to normal so I guess mineral levels were starting to get back to what they usually are.  It definitely surprised me when my normally blue/purple blooms showed up as lavender!

The biggest let down for me this season was the lettuce.  I really think the roots just rotted off.  Whenever I would pick it, instead of tearing nicely like it usually does, it would just pull out of the soil, roots (what little there was) and all.  I mentioned in a previous post that I thought about replanting and I even bought seeds to give it a try, but I held off and I was glad that I did.  I finally gave up a couple of weeks ago and told my husband to get rid of it.  I don't think a rabbit would have even wanted to eat what I had.  Argh!

My onions were also a bit of a failure, but for a totally different reason.  I only planted half as many and replanted a couple of slightly mature ones left from last year to see how they did.  The mature ones did okay, I just pulled a couple this morning.  The new plants sprouted, but what I didn't think about was the tomato plant that I put in right next to them.  We have since named it "The Monster"--in all my years of growing things, I have NEVER seen a tomato plant grow as big as this one did.  It takes up a ton of space and shaded my onions to the point that they never got very far. 

The peppers did okay, definitely not as well as last year.  Partially to blame was the fact that they were planted a whole month later than last year due to cold weather lasting well in to May/beginning of June.  But they also didn't thrive like last year.  I'm not sure if it was because I used different planting soil with them than I usually do, but I didn't get nearly as many nice large banana peppers as I did last season.  I did get enough for us to have sausage stuffed peppers several times and I just picked off a bunch to use in salsa and freeze for other cooking.  There are a few still maturing, but I think we are getting very close to the end of them, I don't see many new starts or blooms/buds.

Without a doubt, the tomatoes did the best of everything.  The cherry tomatoes are still going strong, I see some little ones forming and some buds too, so we will have those a little bit longer and the plant is in a pot, so even if we should get some frost, I can bring them in and extend the season.  The Roma tomatoes (my favorite!) have also done very well, but I think we are in the last days of harvesting those.  And then there's the Beefsteak...that's The Monster.  It took a while, but once we started getting tomatoes off it, we had a steady supply.  This week it is going great guns, enough that we gave away tomatoes to the neighbors and may have to again before the week is out.  The only issue I've had with our tomatoes is that they have been splitting.  A friend told me that it is caused by inconsistent watering.  Imagine that, around here we don't get just steady rains anymore, it's either nothing or torrential downpour.  It didn't seem to affect how many we got though, our neighbor commented that we got more tomatoes off the one plant than a friend of his got out of his whole garden.  We must have done something right.

This morning I picked everything that was ready so I could assess where we were at and figure out what I'm going to do next:

I had some tomatoes in the refrigerator that I picked a couple of days ago so I used the two onions, a pepper and several tomatoes to make a batch of fresh salsa-yum!!  One nice thing about having these out of my own garden is knowing that they were just picked, I can use the peppers over the next couple of weeks in my cooking.  Everything has tasted fabulous, particularly the tomatoes.  I will miss them when the season comes to an end. 

Now I have to start thinking about next year as I get everything ready to clean up for the season.  I don't think I will bother with onions next year, it hasn't been one of my better "crops".  We are also kind of tired of the peppers, so I may just skip those for a year, I can always buy those somewhere if we decide we need them.  I will try lettuce again since I have the seeds and I will definitely do some tomato plants again.  My husband agreed with me that perhaps we need to give the two permanent beds a rest anyhow, so we will be restricted to our smaller planters.  I am thinking next year we will plant Roma and Heirloom, those seem to do the best here and I love the flavor of both.

Autumn is only a couple of days away...where did the summer go?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Photo of the week, September 15, 2014

And heeeeerrrrreeee's Laney!  She loves hiding in the covers on our bed, she's a good snuggler too.  She was just a little over a year old when this picture was taken.  She turned 6 last month, where has the time gone?!?!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Land of the Free, Part 2

I wanted to update you on some information I found in regards to the problems I was having with harassing phone calls last week.  Consider this my personal public service announcement!

After I called the FTC and Verizon on Thursday I didn't get anymore calls.  All day Friday went by without getting any calls until almost 5:00PM.  Of course, it happened when I was in the bathroom.  No message left, but I decided to get the phone number via *69.  Then I decided to try and call it.  My call went to a print shop in Florida!  I told the woman why I was calling and that her phone number had been "spoofed".  She wasn't aware of any issue and didn't even know what spoofing was.  I explained to her that someone else was using her phone number to show up on caller ID so that they could call people for illegal purposes.  She was shocked and said she would have to tell her husband about it.  She was very nice about it and thanked me.

I decided out of curiosity to type her number in to a search engine.  Holy cow!  Her phone number along with several others have been used over and over again to hound people.  It led me to a site called "Pissedconsumer.com".  The main purpose of the site is to register complaints with companies, but there were quite a few with issues over this scam.  Unfortunately not a lot of the people realized it was a scam.  They thought it was a legitimate company called "Health Enrollment Center".  IT IS NOT! 

There are several scams going around that are run in a similar manner that I thought I would also make you aware of.  One of the older ones is a recording telling you that "you can lower your credit card interest rate" and sends you to a menu to talk to a customer service representative.  I finally got rid of this one a while back by waiting to talk to a representative and chewing them out royally.  Another one is a call you get from someone claiming to be "Windows Support" or "Microsoft Support".  When I challenged this guy, he got very indignant with me and swore at me!!!  I haven't gotten one of those in a while either.  I guess if they suck you in though, they will actually ask for access to your computer and totally mess it up.  I personally find it hard to believe that anyone falls for any of these, but they do, everyday.  That's why these scumbags keep doing it. 

How to fight back?  Good question!  All of these calls are originating outside of the US and using the spoofing software to make it look like they are calling from here.  Because they aren't actually from the US, law enforcement can't do a thing about it.  But there is nothing that says we can't be mean and nasty to them when they call.  I personally will be making horrible (and I mean horrible) comments to any future callers.  I'm not going to go in to what I'm going to say, but I've got a whole list of things I've been working on.  A late friend of mine used to play a game with telemarketers and he would start asking them all kinds of questions that he knew they wouldn't be able to answer.  He said they would usually get exasperated and hang up.  My all time favorite was a friend who used to get all kinds of telemarketer calls at the office she worked at.  She figured that if they thought nothing of wasting her time, she thought nothing of wasting their time.  She would tell them that "Harold" handled anything like that and would they please hold.  Sometimes they would just hang up then, but some of the more persistent ones would agree to it, and she would put them on hold, INDEFINITELY!  The best part of this was they would eventually hang up, but then try again later--and when they called back they would ask for Harold!  This clued her in immediately that they were a telemarketer, so she would put them on hold again.  I thought this was one of the most ingenious things.  And "Harold" is hanging out somewhere with Keyzer Soze laughing his head off ;)

Something else I wanted to warn you about too--beware of the call that comes through where the caller ID is your own number!  I've not personally had that happen, but I know of someone else who did and apparently this isn't all that unusual either.  They are using some sort of software to do this as well. 

Once again I just want to emphasize, DO NOT give out any information about yourself to these people.  They are trying to gain credit card numbers, social security numbers and anything else they can get their grubby little hands on so that they can ruin your credit and perhaps steal your identity or your money. 

Please feel free to pass these posts along to anyone who you think might be able to use this information.  This is annoying beyond belief.  After reading some of the complaints I consider myself lucky, some of these people have been getting literally 60 calls in an hour from these losers, unbelievable!  I've actually thought of telling the next one that calls and asks for me that "she's dead, she had a heart attack running for the phone" just to see what they say.  If anything new happens with this, I'll be sure to post about it.  And if you have found a way to get it to stop or have anything to add as a way of perhaps stopping this, please post it to the comments.  Thanks!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Land of the Free...not so fast!

Today is 9/11, a day that will go down in history as one of the worst in United States history.  Never before had we experienced terrorism on this level on US soil.  A lot of remembering goes on today each year in honor of those who lost their lives, those who have served and our freedom.  But are we really free? 

I'm being "terrorized" in a different way right now and no one can seem to help me.  Last week I started getting phone calls from people claiming to be representatives from health insurance companies.  They informed me that I had requested a quote on insurance.  I had done no such thing.  I did go through this about a year and a half ago when my husband was about to lose his job, but hadn't since.  I initially thought it was a computer glitch and that for some reason we had been put through again by accident.  I've since found out otherwise.

Day 1 was ridiculous, I had at least 10 calls in one hour.  They continued until about 5 PM and then quit.  We got none over the weekend, but on Monday they started again.  This has gone on all week with one day getting at least 13 calls in an afternoon.  Today I decided to call the phone company to see what could be done.

Getting through to a real human being at Verizon is a joke and a half.  Especially since their menus DON'T MATCH accurately.  After jumping through a million hoops I finally got to talk to someone and explained the problem.  She was very nice but said that there wasn't anything the phone company could do, I would have to contact the Federal Trade Commission.  She gave me an 800 number to call and told me some other stuff she thought I would need to know.

I then called the FTC.  Right at the moment I am beyond disgusted and feel as though even more of my tax dollars are going to waste.  I don't feel like a proud American.  I feel like an abused American who has no rights anymore.  I personally feel like a victim.

Apparently this is yet another scam.  And to make matters worse, they pass our number along to someone else.  And the FTC can't help me in any way, shape or form, even though my phone number is registered on the Do Not Call Registry.  Or maybe it's more like they don't want to.  I'll just have to put up with these calls until someone finally gives up.  All I know is right now, it seems as though it is better to live in this country and be dishonest than to be an average Joe who just tries to eek out a living and live a clean life.  I am sick and tired of free handouts to those who don't want to do anything.  Especially tired of the dishonesty that seems to be running rampant in the United States right now.  From scams like this to stolen credit card information to dishonest politicians, it's one big vicious circle. 

At this moment I am beyond mad.  I am angry beyond belief.  I can't have something as simple as a telephone without being harassed because someone thinks that it's okay and no one to do anything about it.  And what about the person who is much more gullible than I am who will actually give out information that they are asked for, thinking that the call is genuine.

THAT my friends is why I'm posting this.  I'm a first rate bitch, I'll be the first to admit it and I will take on these sorry excuses for human kind verbally, so they had better be prepared.  I worked enough years in a collections position and I can dish it out as well as take it.  But I feel sorry for the elderly person or someone who isn't a bitchy type-A personality like me who might fall for this or other scams.  Why does anyone think that this is okay?  Do they sleep at night knowing that their actions could be financially ruining someone? 

Tell your friends and family not to give ANY information out over the phone to ANYONE!  I know that it seems ridiculous I have to say that but regularly on our local news there are stories of people who have been swindled out of tens of thousands of dollars because of this kind of stuff.  Quit giving to charities who call as well.  I came up with a simple response to that years ago-"I do not take solicitations over the phone, please mail me something."  Interesting, not one of them has.  Instead of giving to national charities, give locally instead.  Choose who you give to wisely, don't be bullied in to giving.  And if it seems to good to be true, it is.  Toss those "you have won" papers you got in the mail in the trash, you didn't win a damned thing.

In closing--if you are someone who knows me personally and might call me at home, I apologize in advance for anything I might accidentally say to you.  You know who it's meant for.  I'm angry, ready and loaded for bear.  I love a good verbal fight and it's been a while...

Monday, September 8, 2014

Photo of the week, September 8, 2014

This week you get two pictures for the price of one!  At our old house we had several low spots in the yard where water would accumulate after a heavy rain.  I was excited to look out the window one day and see a bunch of bluebirds turning the puddle in to their own swimming pool!  We don't have a lot of bluebirds in this area for a variety of reasons, but when you do see them, you usually see more than one.  At our new house we usually see them sitting on top of our clothesline poles!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Keep Calm and Carry On...

I love that phrase.  In case you don't know, it was a saying printed on a motivational poster in Britain in preparation for World War II.  It has an interesting history in case you want to read about it.  I like it because as someone who is of primarily British/WASP heritage, it really does fit that "stiff upper lip" attitude that defines much of the British population.  As I'm typing this post, I'm drinking my coffee from a mug that has it on too. :)

It's been a trying couple of weeks.  First off, I started having some not so good side effects from the medication I had been taking for my arthritis/knee pain and had to quit taking it.  I don't care that what I'm taking is a prescription dosage of an over the counter medication--it was awful going cold turkey!!!  I feel really bad for anyone going through withdrawals from stronger stuff, yowsa.  I'm a bit grumpy now because I'm in pain and I'd kind of gotten used to feeling pretty good.  Hopefully I will be able to go back on it eventually, but I'm not counting on that.  Ugh.  Then I've had several people who I know pass away over the last few weeks, all of them fairly young.  Mostly from cancer which aside from the obvious sad feeling from their passing, it also scares me because it makes you wonder-what in the world have we been exposed to in this area? 

Last week my sister came to visit which was really nice, she has had so much going on that it had been a year since she'd been here.  I had been to her house twice in the meantime, but still.  We had fun making doll dresses, going shopping and just hanging out together.  Unfortunately while she was here my laptop decided to crash.  Thank you so much Microsoft Windows update!  It wouldn't have been such an issue except the instructions to make the doll dress were on the laptop. :(  After some very nasty language and resetting it (thank heavens I have somewhat of an IT background) I was able to get it up and running enough that we could use it.  Since then I've been systematically putting back all the programs I lost in the reset.  Not feeling the love at the moment Mr. Gates...

Finally, we are dealing with a family member who is very sick, and at this point in time how it will turn out is anybody's guess.  Trying to remain optimistic at this point because it's still early days, but the reality of how it could end up is always in the back of one's mind.  I also found out yesterday about a friend who is dealing with a serious medical emergency.  Getting old sucks.

In the meantime, I'm still plugging away at my usual stuff.  I haven't really done much cleaning, but I did take some more stuff to the Goodwill.   Next week I will have some more stuff to donate and also take to the consignment store as I'm starting the seasonal process of changing out the ending season's clothing and getting out my cold weather clothes.  It is still warm here, but you can definitely tell that autumn is just around the corner.  I'm also getting ready to start a heavy push on Ebay, last year my busiest time was mid-October till the beginning of December.  I figure if I list the stuff now and it doesn't sell, I will just keep relisting it and eventually it will sell as the online shopping traffic increases.  I am happy to say that I am getting to a really good point in this whole process, what started out as a major chore in January of 2013 is now approaching the "just a good way to make a few extra bucks"-yay!  You'd never know it to look at the collection of boxes in my craft room, but honest, they have a purpose.  Seriously, I saved boxes all spring and summer to be sure that I had enough for some of the larger items I am planning on listing.  My hope is that by the time Christmas arrives, the majority of them will be gone.  I hope so, I have a lot.  I'll keep you posted. 

My doll blog is going very well, if you haven't checked it out, please do!  I've been having TONS of fun with it and meeting some new and interesting people in the doll world.  I'm learning a lot too, loving every minute of it.  Right now my brain is on overload with ideas of things I want to write about for it as well as things I want to make.  I find myself looking at things from a different view point, particularly when I'm at the thrift store.  Yesterday afternoon I spent part of my afternoon cutting and gluing foamcore to try out a doll bed idea I had.  It's a sickness, it really is.

My thrift store trips have a new purpose to them thanks to the doll blog.  I have quit even looking at clothing for the time being.  First off-I NEED NOTHING.  Second, there are so many fun things that turn up that can be repurposed.  I even found a doll horse that needs some TLC!  I won't bore you with all of that stuff, you can check that out over at my other blog.  I do still look at other things though, and I found a few things that weren't doll related that I had to have.
Seventy Five cents!!!!!!!!!!!  And it is an actual souvenir from St. Paul's, it has their marking on the bottom.  I have a collection of various things from London or London themed, some I've purchased there, some have been gifts, some are just London related items I've found elsewhere.  So of course, I HAD to have this.  Not a mark on it either. 
And this:
You have no idea how excited I was to run across this.  I don't usually look at the DVD bins much because we already have so many that we need to watch, but something drew me over there.  It was $2.99, and the DVD's have no scratches on them.  I've mentioned before that I loved this show when it originally aired and I had started watching it over again on Amazon Prime, only to have them yank the rug out from under me and change it from being part of the Prime membership to a pay per view item-grrrrr.  I can watch 10 episodes for what they want me to pay for one--sorry Amazon.  I may have to start checking the DVD bins more often to see if I can find more seasons.

Another thing I'm working on is my semi-annual grocery purge.  I started doing this a couple of years ago, it's a great way to clean out the pantry and the fridge.  I especially like doing it at this time of year so I can stock up on different things for the winter.  I don't know about you, but what we eat during the winter months can be drastically different from what we eat in warm weather.  It's also a way of making sure we don't have any science experiments incubating and that we are using things up that are getting ready to expire.  I also want to try out some new recipes with the weather getting cooler.  Do you find that you crave more "comfort" type foods as the weather gets colder?

Have a great day!  Enjoy these last days of summer.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Photo of the Week, September 1, 2014

Lots of fairs ending today, Happy Labor Day!  Doesn't this guy look like he has some sort of secret and he's grinning about it?  I took this photo a couple of years ago at the Stoneboro Fair, I'd forgotten all about it until I was digging through some old picture files. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Photo of the Week, August 25, 2014

This is Blockhead, the star of "The Untrained Dog Show".  He is part of the act known as "Fool Hearty" along with Marquise and Ima Nutte.  We got to see this show a couple of years ago at The Great Lakes Medieval Faire and totally loved it.  Of course, we are a little partial to herding dogs ;)

I'm not sure if Fool Hearty is still performing, their website doesn't have any updates beyond 2012.  If you do go to a renaissance festival and see them listed as one of the acts, try and see them, they are very unique.  Renaissance festival season is in full swing in this part of the country, Great Lakes just ended last weekend and the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival just started this weekend and runs through the end of September.  The other side of the state has a really big one in the Harrisburg/Lancaster area along with several scattered around other nearby states.  If you get a chance you should go, they are really a lot of fun!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thrift Store Finds

I realized this week that I haven't done a thrift store finds post in ages-probably because I haven't been to the thrift stores much the past couple of months!  I've really been stuck at home more than usual the past two or three months due to circumstances beyond my control.  First, the AC quit right in the middle of the worst heat wave we've had here all summer.  The only way I could keep the house cool was to leave everything open and run fans.  I won't leave the house with fans running and I couldn't exactly leave Miss Laney without a fan, so that kept me home for the better part of a week.  Then the bathroom remodel, then I was sick, then I spent 2 weeks cleaning up from the remodel-time flies when you're NOT having fun?!  I did manage a few quick pop ins to our local Goodwill store and at some point I did make it to one in New Castle.  I haven't bought a ton, but that has been a bit deliberate.

First off, I'm really working at not buying any clothing.  My closet has been just about bursting at the seams.  I'm not a happy camper when I have so many clothes in there that they are getting wrinkled >:(  Since the beginning of the summer I've only bought a handful of things, primarily some shorts that I really did need and those didn't come from a thrift store unfortunately.  Second off, we really don't need anything.  I'm still working on clearing out a lot of unused/unneeded items from our home.  Because of all the things we had going on, I wasn't doing much on Ebay either, so as a result I felt a bit guilty when I did buy anything.  I am getting back to that now, I sold 9 things this month, so I feel much better.  I've also taken some stuff to Goodwill to donate and I'm currently working on two more piles, another for Goodwill and one for consignment.  My closet is starting to look the way I want it to again.  It's all good.

Let's see, the last thing I shared with you were the things we bought on vacation, and the dessert plates I bought shortly after that.  I've mentioned that I've been doing a lot of stuff with American Girl dolls lately, and I had it in my head to keep an eye out for something I could transform in to a little dresser for them.  I figured it would take me a while before I found something that worked, so you can imagine how surprised I was when I came across this:
It was missing a leg and some of the rhinestones, but that didn't matter.  It ended up looking totally different by the time I was done with it.  I was happy with how it turned out and if you would like to see the finished product, you can check it out here on my other blog.  It only cost $3.99 and I had very little invested in materials to redo it, so I was pleased.
Shortly after that was when I made the quick run to the Goodwill in New Castle.  Not much to be had there other than another cover for my iPod.  It was marked down too, so I was excited!  I don't know why iPod covers have become so hard to find, the only ones I've found anywhere have been on Amazon, and this particular cover starts out at around $24-ridiculous for a piece of plastic.  $3.50 is much more in my price range and it was brand new.  I laughed though, I decided to go get lunch afterwards and spent more on that than I did shopping.
Then it was time for a long dry spell, I bet it was no less than a month in between visits, probably closer to 6 weeks.  My next visit was a trip with a purpose.  I've been making doll clothes, and I have discovered that finding nice knit material for making t-shirts and the like for sewing is difficult.  I don't know why, but the fabric stores around here have very little, and what they do have is expensive.  And usually prints too large to use for doll clothes.  I took a page out of my mom's book and headed to Goodwill.  She used to buy evening gowns in thrift stores to turn in to doll clothes.   I wasn't even thinking about the fact it was 1/2 off Friday, but I ended up with two t-shirts for $3.29, yay!  The one most definitely wouldn't fit me, it was about two sizes too small, but the other one I bought thinking if it fit me great, if it didn't, cut it up!  The one did fit so it is currently hanging in my closet, but it still might turn in to doll clothes.  The jury is still out.
About a week later I went back because I remembered two shirts in the men's department that I thought would work well for another doll clothes project.  Surprisingly they were still there, but on closer inspection I decided they wouldn't work out as well as I first thought.  Oh well.  I did find another shirt though that was one my husband would really like.  The size was border line, but I bought it anyhow, figuring if it didn't fit, I could (you guessed it) turn it in to a doll dress.  This really is turning in to a sickness...you know it will be really bad when I start cutting up our regular clothes.  Anyhow, on this trip I also found something else that I knew he would love:
My husband has been a University of North Carolina fan for as long as I have known him, and when I saw this mug for 99 cents, I knew without a doubt it had to go home with me.  It had an ink mark in the bottom that suggested whoever had it before had used it on a desk to hold pens.  The NCAA sticker on the bottom was still intact though, so beyond that, I don't think it had been used for anything else.  I was right, he loved it!  I ran it through the dishwasher and it came out sparkling clean.  I did a little research and these mugs sell new for anywhere from $17 - $20 --I think I did well :)
Earlier this week I got the bug to go to Pittsburgh to check out Red White and Blue.  I hadn't been there since Heather and I went in March, wow.  I hurried up and got the things done around the house that needed to be taken care of and headed out.  I decided ahead of time that I would only go to the one and depending on the time, would stop at the Goodwill not far from there on the way home.  I was primarily looking for doll type stuff, and I did well in that department.  I found some Onesies to refashion for doll t-shirts, a cute little Bath and Body Works container that was doll sized and a horse!  The horse needs work, but nothing I can't tackle.  (more about those finds on Say Hello To My Little Friends as well).  I also found something completely unrelated doll-wise, but I had to have it for one of my other collections:
An authentic Department 56 building for $3.99, whoo hooo!!!  It is a wedding shop, I had never seen this one before.  It was discontinued quite a while ago, but originally sold for $60.  I started buying Department 56 buildings about 15 years ago, I don't have a ton of them because I am really particular about which ones I buy, but I couldn't pass this one up.  It needs a little bit of cleaning up, but otherwise is in perfect condition.  I haven't set up my Christmas village for a couple of years, I guess I have to now ;)
Have you found anything good at your area thrift stores?  I think I'm going to take one more day soon and hit a bunch of them,  I need to do some planning.  I figure once the kids start school will be a good time to go, I won't be competing with them in the toy department.  Until then...

Monday, August 18, 2014

Photo of the Week, August 18, 2014

Took this picture a couple of years ago at the Pittsburgh Zoo.  We haven't been there since, maybe I need to plan a trip there?

Beautiful weather here in Western Pennsylvania, supposed to rain a lot this week.  It's been a cool summer in comparison to the past couple of years, I'll take it!  Reminds me a lot of the summers we had when I was growing up.  It is odd to see it still nice and green with August more than halfway over.  I want to lock this weather in for a long time, wonder how I can do that?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Just sayin'...

I’ve been debating on posting this for the past week or so…but a recent happening made me decide to go forward with it.  Several months ago I posted about how mean people are and how it needs to stop.  Since that posting, I’ve witnessed even more nastiness and hatred online.  I’m just shocked, appalled, saddened-there aren’t enough adjectives available to express how I feel.  Lately it seems like a lot of it has been aimed at bloggers who are achieving success with their efforts.  I’m thrilled for them on one hand; on the other I’m glad it’s not me. 

The first instance of it that I witnessed happened at Refashionista.  If you aren’t familiar with the blog, Jillian is a thirty something who buys super cheap stuff at thrift stores and turns what started out as a trainwreck in to a fashionable piece.  Some of what she has done is truly amazing; she deserves every single accolade she has received.  She has been so successful at it that she ended up doing a refashion of two items that were recently featured on Good Morning America-awesome!  Yet someone seems gung ho to make Jillian feel like crap about her efforts.  Namely a so-called “plus sized person” who is upset because she thinks that Jillian is encouraging people to go out and buy up all the plus sized clothing available in thrift shops and refashion it so there will be nothing left for those of us who really are plus sized.  Seriously?!?!?!  First off, Jillian picks out mostly stuff from the dollar bins.  If you are familiar with thrift stores, things that are in the dollar bin are there because NO ONE WANTED THEM to begin with.  Never mind the fact that these clothes are donated in the first place.  And that Jillian is maybe a size 6, so when she buys something to refashion, she’s maybe buying a size 12 at the largest-not exactly a plus sized piece of clothing.  And some of the stuff she has bought are items I personally would have relegated to the scrub rag bin, so even as a self-proclaimed queen of thrift store clothing, I wouldn’t want it.  Last but not least, their claim of “never finding anything for plus sized women” at the thrift store is a load of hogwash.  I’m a plus sized gal and I’ve found PLENTY!  I’ve shared a lot of the finds here on the blog, so you know what I’m talking about.  In fact, it’s so bad that I’m currently doing a clean out of my spring/summer stuff as I do laundry so I have some more space.  I really think this person (or persons) has nothing better to do with their time than to piss and moan about something, or perhaps they are jealous of Jillian’s success.  Gag with me with a spoon.  I’m thrilled to death that Jillian is getting the attention she is because she deserves it.  She has taken something that was a fun hobby, shared it with others, and has gotten some really positive attention from it.  Go Jillian!
The next instance happened to Danielle at Blissful andDomestic.  Danielle is a mom/wife first, blogger second.  Her blog was born out of her desire to share money saving tips with others who are trying to stretch their dollar further.  Nothing wrong with that!  She reminds me a lot of Amy Daczyn, author of “The Tightwad Gazette”-those of you who are my age may remember Amy and her newsletter/books made popular in the 80's/90's.  Danielle has a lot of great ideas ranging from menu planning to make it yourself ideas, and she presents it in a very kind, friendly manner.  Best way to describe it (as other have), it’s like reading a conversation with a gal pal.  No, it’s not grammatically perfect at all times, and she is the first to admit it and several times has commented that she welcomes constructive criticism if someone notices a glaring error so she can fix it.  Recently someone went a bit far in my opinion.  There is a difference between constructive criticism and just being mean.  Not only did they nastily criticize her bad grammar (something along the lines of “reading your blog makes me cringe”) they then attacked her about homeschooling her kids and how stupid they were going to turn out because she didn’t have a grasp of the English language.  I was stunned that someone could be so nasty about something like this.  I have issues with bad grammar to a point-but Danielle’s errors weren’t so bad that the blog was unreadable; most of them weren’t even all that noticeable unless you are an English major armed with a red pen.  Then there was a post where she talked about frozen food items she kept in her freezer for emergency situations.  Several people felt it necessary to chastise her for serving these foods to her family and went on and on about how bad they were for you, etc.  I personally don’t like to eat a lot of premade frozen items, but I totally get how a busy mom can periodically find herself backed in to a corner and will use these items once in a while to save some time.  I don’t see an issue with that as long as it’s not a regular thing.  Anyone who reads Danielle’s blog regularly will know that she doesn’t do this often because it’s not only not very healthy, but also not cost efficient.  I just don’t get the need to be so hateful about something just because you don’t agree with it 100%.  No one is holding a gun to your head making you read these blogs.  Just like with the TV or the radio, you can choose to change the webpage. 
On to the reason why I finally did choose to write this post:  Jenny Trout.  Jenny is an author who uses many forms of social media to promote her writing as well as things she feels strongly about.  Jenny is a very funny lady, queen of snark, outspoken on many different subjects, who isn’t afraid to say what she feels.  She posted photos a few weeks ago of her in her “fatkini” at the beach and wrote a great story to go along with it.  It hit a positive nerve with a lot of people and got quite a bit of attention, she was interviewed by Huffington Post Live as well as Good Morning America.  More recently she posted about the song “All About That Bass” and why she felt the song had problematic content.  Because of it she was interviewed by National Public Radio.  What followed was downright scary.  There were the usual people who didn’t agree with her (which is fine, we’re all entitled to our opinion) but one post that appeared on her Facebook page is probably one of the creepiest things I have ever seen in my life.  The poster starts out ranting and raving about his disagreement with her and ends the post with “if I ever see you in public I’ll make a necklace out of your teeth”.  WHAT?!?!?!  To make matters worse, when Jenny tried to contact Facebook to show them this post, it was next to impossible.  She was a bit freaked out about it and rightfully so.  Threats to one’s safety aren’t to be taking lightly in this day and age, especially when you are any kind of public personality.  And seriously, I can’t believe that someone thought that this was even okay to post, even as a joke.  There were more posts from this person too and it sounds like the ravings of a lunatic.  Interestingly enough, the poster decided to take them down, but not before lots of people had read it and were equally upset and/or shocked.  Jenny was smart enough to do a screen capture of them and has them saved.  I hope she doesn’t ever need it and the poster had crawled back in to the hole he came from.  All of that because she didn't like a song and said why.  Wow.
Last week I was talking with my niece and somehow we got on the topic of the death of someone we both knew.  I was horrified when she told me about a posting that appeared on Facebook.  This friend was handicapped and his death was a direct result of an accident due to his handicap.  Some jerk posted some comments that were completely inappropriate, fortunately many of those who saw it called him on the carpet for his comments.  The sadder part is that this individual does this all the time, I personally know several people who have been victims of his crazy rants, so much so that some of them have actually pressed charges against him.  Yet he keeps doing it.  He doesn't even do it anonymously.  What is wrong with him?!?!
Why does anyone think that this kind of behavior is acceptable?  It isn’t.  I know that I personally will not read the comments section on any of the articles regarding the passing of Robin Williams because I am sure there is some moron out there who will say something completely inappropriate.  It seems like the “edit” button no longer exists on a large portion of the population.  It’s fine to disagree with something, but to attack someone personally, make threats, etc. is just unacceptable.  Whatever happened to “if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all”?
In closing, let me just say this:  keep in mind when reading a blog, most of us AREN’T professional writers.  We are doing this for fun.  We have something we want to share with a group of interested people.  This blog started out as something I shared only with friends and family.   If you aren’t interested in what I’m doing or just plain out don’t like me (or others), close the web browser.  I don’t need to deal with your issues and quite frankly, neither does anyone else.  I happen to have a very thick skin after years of working in collections.  I’ve been called a b*tch, a c*nt, threatened with bodily harm-it doesn’t bug me.  But it does bug other people who are perhaps more sensitive.  Think about what you say before you hit that “send”  button.  And if you say something stupid to me, you’d better be prepared to be called out on it.  Or ignored completely.  I’m too old for childish crap.  As I once said to my former psycho-b*tch neighbor-“I don’t care to be a co-star in your melodrama”.  Or as my late sister liked to say: "I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person".  Enough said.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Photo of the Week, August 11, 2014

I have always loved gladiolas-but I'd never tried to grown any.  You can imagine how surprised we were when this one just appeared suddenly at our old house!  All we could come up with is a squirrel "transplanted" it from someone else's garden, but we have no idea which one.  Another plant I wish we would have brought with us when we moved, perhaps a trip to the garden center is in order to get a new one.  I loved the colors of this one, something about the pink/lavender with the yellow really caught my eye. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Photo of the Week, August 4, 2014

A close up of the front of the National Cathedral in Washington D.C.  Throughout the building you can see numerous influences from the different majestic cathedrals of Europe.  I think it is really interesting that it is a non-denominational church!  We've been to see it several times and I always notice something new.  I also love watching the black squirrels playing on the lawn. :)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cleaning: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!

This week I am doing a deep clean of my living room.  I normally do this every spring, but I put it off knowing that we would have some mess from the bathroom remodel.  Wow, am I ever glad I waited!  Our living room isn't huge, but I knew that the dust and dirt would stir up my allergies, so I mentally divided the room up in 6 different things/areas to clean.  Today is section 4 which is the wall where our bookshelves and entertainment center are.  Lots of little things on those shelves that will need wiped down and cleaned too, last night I at least had the foresight to put some of the glassware and pottery pieces in the dishwasher.

The Good:  We sure have a lot of DVD's and VHS tapes as well as CD's.  And I had to dust each and every one of them-yuck!  Some weren't bad as they were in storage bins but others were just gross.  As I was cleaning these I came to the decision that when our Amazon Prime membership expires at the end of the year, I'm going to hold off renewing it and we are going to watch all of these and at the end of each viewing, decide if it's worth keeping or donate it.  The good is that we will save some money by not paying for a streaming service while doing this!

The Bad:  Too many books!  But not as many as we used to have.  I really went through them a few years ago before we moved, but I realized that they needed some further purging.  When I was done I had a box of books that I immediately took to the Goodwill before I could change my mind.  With the advent of digital media we've bought way fewer books than we have in the past and now I have them all in the small built in bookcase.

The Ugly:  When my mom passed away, I ended up with her photo album.  Things were kind of crazy at that point, I just took it home, set it on a shelf and a few months later when we moved stuck it on a new shelf.  Yesterday as I was cleaning where it was I decided to look at it.  Good thing I did!  It's one of those old "magnetic" style albums (remember those?) and it is disintegrating.  Fortunately it hasn't affected the photos much, so I'm going to systematically pull them all out and put them in something else that is safer.  There is even some mold in the album, not sure where that came from, but definitely don't want that around any more. 

The really good thing is that we've done a really good job of purging things we don't need, use or like over the years, so other than the box of books, I really haven't had much to get rid of.  Most of what we have are things that have personal meaning-photographs, mementos from travels and things that we really like.  It makes me feel good knowing that while some days I feel like I haven't accomplished much in our purge, I really have made a ton of progress.  It's coming along.

Tomorrow I'm going to scrub the area rug, kind of looking forward to that because it means I either have to find something else to do afterwards or go somewhere since I don't want to walk on it for several hours.  I haven't decided which it will be yet.  Saturday I will take the curtains down and wash them and clean the giant window.  The only reason I don't already have that done is because I need help taking the curtains down and putting them back up.  I'm also going to make my husband help me rotate the area rug, definitely something else I can't do by myself.  Then we will be done for a while!  :)

Next week I'm going to tackle the kitchen and the dining room.  Both of them ended up with some dust and dirt from the remodel, but not nearly as much as the living room because of the way the house is set up.    Thank heavens I was able to close the doors to the bedrooms!!!