The Eve Of A New Year

In a few hours it's going to be 2010. Are you ready? I am! I'm looking for GREAT THINGS to happen in 2010!!

The past year, 2009, has been a year of learning. It has been the beginning of healing. . . I say the beginning, because I have a long way to go yet, but for the first time I actually feel like I have the tools I need and am getting somewhere.

Of course, this all goes back to learning. Learning about different healing modalities. Learning what works. . . and a whole lot of what doesn't.

Learning about working on the internet and writing for the internet. Learning about all kinds of different self-help available. Learning about self-limiting beliefs. Learning about all kinds of interesting things, at least to me.

Learning, learning, learning. And may I never stop learning! Anyone who stops learning is at best static, and at worst, going backwards. We're either in growth or decline. I want to be growing until the day I die.

But the next step is to TAKE ACTION. For me 2008 & 2009 have been intense learning years, and while I have a lot I still need to learn about a lot of things, it's time to combine that with taking action.

And it's time to think on what specific actions I want to work on this year, and what my specific goals should be. Spiritual, personal, health, business - all kinds of things to think about!

Hope you are ready for a new year, and here's hoping 2010 will be the best we've ever had!

A New "Lord of the Dance"?

We don't watch "Britian's Got Talent" obviously. Mostly because it's not on any of our channels, ha, ha. But someone sent this video to Jess who sent it to me, and it made me laugh out loud. So I hunted it up on Youtube, and now you can see it too.

>>> 01-01-10 >>> The trouble with using other people's videos.... all of a sudden all the ones of the first performance I thought were so funny have disabled the embedding on Youtube. So here's another pretty good one, of their final performance:

Watch out Michael Flatley, Stavros Flatley & son may be the new Lords of the Dance!

Pizza Anyone?

I'm working away sorting out pictures, and came across this one of the pizza delivery guy getting ready to go to work. . .

Shhhh... don't tell him I put his picture on here!

Time To Tidy Up

There's not much of 2009 left, and it just hit me this morning, bam! That means I need to get my pictures and other files on my computer tidied up and sorted out so I'll be ready to make new ones for 2010.

That's especially true for my pictures. When I take them off the camera and put them onto the computer, I put each group into a folder. Later I sort the pictures into categories, to make it easier to find the ones I might want later.

Unfortunately, I have a tendency to get WAY behind on the sorting part, so I'm trying to catch up with that.

Then I need to take the new external hard drive out of the box... the one I bought at the same time I got my laptop... and hook it up and back up everything. Then I can set the computer to do automatic back-ups again. My present back-up drive is full, so I haven't been able to do that.

Blog posts and info, business stuff... all kinds of folders need backed up and then new folders made for 2010.

I also ordered a copy of Windows 7 today. Actually, I get it free as part of the deal when I bought my laptop. I don't even have to pay shipping and handling.

Once I get that, I hope to hire one of Jonathan's friends to install it on my laptop, then set up a secure wireless network for me so I can finally swap files between my computers. It would make things ever so much easier!!

I also need to erase the Office 2007 programs I put on my desktop since they're going to go defunct after I open them a few more times, and get the older programs put back on. Too bad. Guess I'll just have to remember how to use both versions.

I also need to find my Photoshop disk and install that program on my laptop. It has as much power as my desktop, so no reason I can't use it to edit photos. In fact, since it has a 15.6 inch edge-to-edge HD+ wide screen, it will probably be even better. I know the colors certainly look more vibrant and crisp on the laptops screen than they do on the CRT monitor with my desktop computer.

AND I also need to hook up a different printer. Right now I don't have a color printer (why doesn't anyone mention if you don't use an inkjet printer on a regular basis the heads will clog up and ruin the printer?). Jess got a new printer, so I'm getting his old one to use. It sucks up ink like a dessicated sponge, but it will be nice to have a color printer handy for snail mail.

I'm going to be lucky if I can get all that finished this week and be ready to rock and roll the first week of the new year.

I may need more to time to tidy up my computers!

What An Imagination!

Yesterday I had a Skype call with Richard and Ellie. When we first tried Skype, Ellie wasn't too sure about her "Sussern Mama" showing up on her Dad's computer and talking to her. She was pretty shy and it would take a long time for her to warm up and get going.

I'd say those days are pretty well over. Now it doesn't take long for Ellie to start talking and telling me about what's happening in her life.

She had a new toy camera to show me yesterday, and a new Sesame Street sort of dolly, Abby. She had her dad set Abby up beside the computer screen so she'd be "sitting by Sussern Mama", and then she proceeded to tell me to "Say Cheese" and took a picture of me and Abby.

Then she had to show me how she drives, and told me that she and Abby drove to the store not once, but THREE times, and Abby drove home because Ellie was tired, and they bought lots of Play-doh. In fact, they bought so much Play-doh that Ellie had plenty to send to me and Sussern Grandpa and Uncle Geek as presents.

She does this with one of her imaginative games of throwing a present. Richard and Chrystie have no idea how she came up with this game, just one day she started giving out presents! When we're doing the Skype thing, it works with the present going right through their webcam and in and out of my webcam into my waiting hands.

"Open it!" commands Ellie.
"What is it?" says I.
And then it's Play-Doh, or food, or toys or any number of things!

Like I said, what an imagination! I smile and laugh a lot at her stories.

It sounds like she had a good Christmas time, with being in a play at school and at church, and playing with her friends and relatives, and generally enjoying Christmas.

That's the upside of her surgery being postponed. Since her surgery is now scheduled for January 26, 2010, she was able to do all the Christmas stuff. If it had remained January 5th, her Christmas activities and visiting would have beeen curtailed in an effort to be sure she didn't catch any "bug" before surgery.

And from what Chrystie says, all the arrangments are in place again for flying to Vancouver, the surgery, home and then down to Florida for Ellie to have therapy.

After that, we hopefully won't need an imagination to see Ellie walking much better!

I guess it's Christmas!

There's no nice white Christmas here. It looks kind of bleak and dreary.

In fact it brings to mind a twist on Poe's poem . . . Once upon a Christmas dreary, while I pondered weak and weary. . .

Thankfully though the weather may be gray, windy and wet, it's snug and warm inside! There's the aroma of fresh-baked bread, fresh-baked pumpkin pie, chicken cooking. . . at least we'll eat well!

The wild birds are feasting at the feeders. . .

And the farm critters have been fed, and are out grazing.

The King is in his counting house (the dining area) counting out his money. . . Jonathan gave him another handfull of quarters, so he's sorting them by states.

The Queen is in her office, eating homemade bread and honey. . . (okay, so I'm on the computer, but I had homemade bread and hot chocolate for breakfast!)

The maid. . . well, no maid. How about a Jester? He's in the basement, either playing computer games or working on models.

So it's a pretty quiet Christmas. I know it is the only Christmas in my adult life where I have done absolutely NOTHING in the way of decorating and buying presents and all that sort of thing.

Oh well, I agree with Mother Teresa:

"It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you…. Yes, it is Christmas every time you smile at your brother and offer him your hand.” —Mother Teresa"

Hope you are having a happy Christmas.

Windy, VERY windy, with a little rain thrown in. . .

There you have it - the weather report for our part of the world. We have a severe weather advisory for high winds. We've had some rain. Snow, however, is not on the agenda. Now aren't you just totally thrilled and excited to know all that?

Jess and I actually went to Huntsville today. He needs a new printer and scanner for work, and Staples had one on sale he wanted to look at. We checked it out, bought it, and brought it home. He'll take it to the office on Monday.

We also stopped at Tractor Supply, Lowe's and Gander Mountain, trying to find another item he wanted. We actually saw several varieties, but haven't figured out how we could move and install something that weighs 800 pounds in our basement.

On the bright side, we stopped at Applebee's for lunch. I greatly enjoyed one of their Oriental Chicken Salads. Jess went for the Southwest version.

There was a lot of traffic. Hmmmm, I guess that could be because tomorrow is a holiday.

So speaking of tomorrow, well by mutual agreements with many relatives, no gifts were exchanged. Here at home there is also no tree or any other Christmas decorations at our house, and absolutely nothing to go under a tree or put in stockings or anything else. I mean, I truly have not bought a thing or done a thing to celebrate a holiday.

I do plan to cook a decent meal tomorrow, and promised to make hot chocolate for breakfast, but I do have to wonder. . . how is it on holidays the women are still working while the men sit around and watch tv or play on the computer?

I remember at Thanksgiving or Christmas gatherings at my grandmother's house, the guys would be in the living room watching football or parades on tv, and the women would first be cooking, then cleaning up. It didn't seem right to me then, and it still doesn't. But the facts are, if it's going to get done, usually it's the women who are going to have to do it.

So it seems if the woman of the house does nothing about a holiday, well, then it just won't get done. No baking. No candy making. No buying presents. No mailing cards. No decorating. No whatever.

It's kind of depressing.

As far as I can tell, the so called woman's liberation movement has accomplished this: women are now free to work outside the home. But that doesn't seem to excuse them from doing the work INSIDE the home as well, or even that the two adults now both working will split the work needed done at home. So in effect, it just means most women now essentially have two jobs, so more work and responsibilities than they ever had.

Gosh, I just feel so warm and fuzzy to be a liberated woman.

It seemed like a good idea at the time...

Ever do something that seemed like a really good idea.. but wasn't?

I'm a pro at that sort of thing.

Like I got the bright idea to use the installation disk for Office that came with my laptop and put the program on my desktop computer, so I could have the same version of Word and Excel on both computers.

The only problem is once I got it installed, the program asked for the serial number, which I DID have. Only trouble is a message popped up informing me the program had already been used, and obviously they don't want you to use it again, so after "x" number of times, the program won't work any more.

Great. Instead of making things easier, I've complicated them, because now I'll have to UNinstall that set of programs, try to find the installation disks I had for the older versions, and REinstall them. Boo, hiss. You pay enough for these programs you'd think they'd let you put it on another of your own computers.

Another one of my "seemed like a good idea at the time" was to buy a set of headphones that will plug into the jack on the telephone. They work okay with the regular telephones, but when I use them with my cell phone, I get a lot of static.

Worse, when I try to use it with Jess's cell phone, like tonight when I wanted to listen to a training call, the phone would disconnect just as soon as it connected. Dial, ring, connect, disconnect. Unplugged the headset, and the call went through fine. Well, rats.

Then I got the bright idea to do a "12 Days Of Christmas, Country Style" for the Rural Ramblings blog. Well, I like the post I ended up with, but it sure took a lot more time than I envisioned when I first got into it.

But it seemed like a good idea at the time. . . yeah, I get a lot of those.

What was I thinking?

I got my usual chores done this morning, and was ready to sit down and get to work on the laptop computer.

Then I got this idea. . . always dangerous.

I decided I wanted to do the "12 Days of Christmas" lyrics, country style, for the Rural Ramblings blog. So instead of going to work, I went back to the desktop computer to play.

What was I thinking?!!! This is a BIG project!

I've got 9 days done, which means I have 3 to go if my math is correct.

Guess I'd better get back to work. It's taking so much time, I imagine it will be my last Rural Ramblings post for the week.

Hmmmm, now what should I do for the 10th day?

Are You Entitled?

Jonathan comes home with some interesting stories after a day of delivering pizzas. Last night he told me one of the more bizarre. Well, the kind that makes you shake your head and wonder about people.

It seems that he had a delivery to one of the posher neighborhoods. The slip said, "Deliver to the back door."

Well, the only time these delivery guys are allowed to take a pizza to the "back door" is if that door happens to be on the side, or somehow well-lit and in view of the road. It's one of the company policies for safety.

So he tried knocking at the front door.
No answer.

Then some woman came out from behind the house and told him to come round to the back. Okay, he'll stretch it a bit and do that.

Now you caught that, right? The woman is already OUTSIDE.

But she went back inside, and then she and her husband INSISTED that Jonathan should come inside and put the pizza on the counter.

He told them he was sorry, but it was against the company policy for the delivery people to go inside a private residence.

They continued to insist, and told him he wouldn't get paid if he didn't bring the pizza INSIDE.

He continued to tell them he was sorry, but he wasn't allowed to do that, couldn't they just step to the door and take the pizza?

Well, no, golly, it sseems like they felt they were entitled to have their pizza delivered right to their kitchen counter.

Eventually they called the store to complain to the manager, who informed them that she was sorry, but that is indeed the company policy - for safety reasons the delivery people are NOT supposed to go inside.

They continued to rant and rave, and the guy even went so far to tell her the pizza was COLD, which I guess he is a kinetic or something, because he never touched the pizza so how did he know that?

Since the store was really busy, just to cut things short, the manager told Jonathan to just give them the pizza for free.

It boggles my mind that someone believes they are entitled to:
  1. Have someone delivering food bring it in their house and sit it on the kitchen counter.
  2. Complain because a delivery person wanted to keep to the safety rules of the company and hand them their food at the door.
  3. Lie and complain the food is cold when they have NO idea whether or not that is the case, and thereby get free food.

So I guess if you have enough brass, you can throw a fit and get your food for free. Because, after all, they're living in a posh neighborhood, so must feel they are "upper class" and thereby entitled.

Personally, I think what they're REALLY entitled too is a good swift kick in the behind.

More Than One Life To Live

I know there’s a soap opera called “One Life To Live.” But the fact is, I feel like I’ve lived several lives already. I often think or even say, “Oh, that was back in another life.” It’s usually when I'm thinking about something in the past that is so totally different from my present life that it seems in no way connected to it.

I’ve been thinking about these changes a lot lately. I’ll no doubt be doing even more of it as I become more and more involved in the healing process I’m learning, as it involves a healing of the heart, a spiritual healing. The more I learn, the more I can see how many radical changes there have been in my life and I can also see how many places I’m so totally messed up and have wrong thinking.

Here’s an example. I’m not sure I can trace the exact path that got me there, but I suspect it has a lot to do with being taught you should think of other people first, and it’s selfish to think of yourself, and I internalized all that and moved on to where my mind said, “You pray only for other people. You do NOT pray for your own needs.”

Seriously. I could not pray for myself, because in my mind, that was selfish. You’re only supposed to pray for other people. You can’t ask God to help you or bless you or whatever, because it would be selfish to do that.

Yeah, I know. Totally warped. In reality, it’s more like when you get on a plane, and hear the flight attendant’s speech about oxygen masks, “Put on your own mask before attempting to help others, even small children.” Why? Because if you don’t help yourself first, you might get in such bad shape you won’t be *able* to help others.

I could expound on this and more. I could talk about how much I’ve been learning, and changes I’ve been making. But not now. Cause right now what I’m REALLY wondering is, “How far am I willing to bare my soul, so to speak?” And further, “Does anyone really want to hear it anyway?” I might shatter quite a few illusions, or maybe it’s a matter of too much information.

After all, a lot of family members read this, like my kids.

I’ve even considered writing anonymously on a different blog. If no one read it, fine. But then again, maybe it would help someone else on their journey of transformation. Cause in the past couple of years while I’ve been learning about ways to make a living online, I’ve also been led towards side paths on self-help, self-realization, self-empowerment… I’m not sure what to call it.

No, I’m not talking about New Age mumbo-jumbo. Some things I’ve learned may sound “far out” at first, but they’re all based in science and a belief in God. You can talk about quantum physics, neuroscience, healing, the law of attraction, and on and on… it all comes back to the source… God.

There are just so many things in my head and heart, and so much changing. I feel in such a state of flux, and feel like yet another person is emerging. Sometimes I slip back to my "old ways", but mostly I’m moving forward, and I feel like things are coalescing and speeding up. I really believe 2010 is going to be a great year in a whole lot of ways.

The question is, how much do I want to share about why and how?

I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day

It’s Jess’s week to teach Sunday School. (He and another guy teach on alternate Sundays.) Since he was super busy this week, what with a load of work, choir practice Wednesday night, and the church Christmas program and Christmas dinner on Thursday night, he's having to do all his studying today.

Evidently the lesson has references to Christmas songs in it, as he asked me to find the lyrics for a couple of them. It was in my search for the second song I got really interested. They lyrics of “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day” were written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I’ve loved his poetry since I was a child and first came across it in an old book someone gave me, but I didn’t know the story behind this particular poem and subsequent song made from it. Here’s the poem as it was originally written:

"Christmas Bells"

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!"

I’d be willing to bet you’ve never heard it sung with all those verses. More likely this traditional version is what you've heard or sung:

In case you haven’t guessed from the words of the original poem, it was written during the Civil War. And from what I’ve read, it seems the feelings behind this song were about three years in the making. While the whole nation was living through the tragedy of the Civil War, the Longfellow house was hit with its own tragedies.

In the summer of 1861, the Longfellow family was living in the Craigie House overlooking the Charles River in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was a hot summer, and Longfellow’s wife, Fanny, decided to trim the hair of their 7-year old little girl to remove some of the weight of it, and hopefully allow her to be more comfortable.

As mother’s sometimes do, she wanted to save a few of the curls. She got a bar of sealing wax, and melted it with a candle, so she could preserve them. What she didn’t notice was a few drops of the wax dripped onto her light-weight summer dress.

About that time a breeze blew through the window, and ignited the wax on her dress, causing it to burst into flames. Fanny ran into the nearby library, trying to spare her children the sight of their mother in flames. Longfellow was in the library and tried to put out the flames with a small throw rug. The rug wasn’t big enough to do the job, so he threw his arms about his wife, trying to extinguish the flames.

Talk about love in action.

Longfellow’s face, arms and hands were severely burned. Fanny died the next day, and Henry Longfellow was too ill from his own burns to be able to attend the funeral.

The first Christmas after Fanny's death, Longfellow wrote, "How inexpressibly sad are all holidays." The following year, December 25th 1862, he wrote in his journal, “’A merry Christmas' say the children, but that is no more for me."

But tragedy wasn’t done with the Longfellow family. Almost a year later, Longfellow received word that his oldest son Charles, a lieutenant in the Army of the Potomac, had been severely wounded with a bullet passing under his shoulder blades and taking off one of the spinal processes. However, he did NOT die, so contrary to popular belief, it wasn’t his son’s death that spurred Longfellow to write “Christmas Bells.”

However, I’d guess it’s safe to say that his wife’s death, his son’s serious injury, and the Civil War as a whole were much in Henry Longfellow’s mind when he wrote the poem on Christmas Day of 1864. Though the song speaks of despair, in the end it offers hope.

The music for the Christmas carol, “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day” came from John Baptiste Calkin. He rearranged the verses of “Christmas Bells” and left out the two with more direct references to the Civil War.

The traditional music and verses were used in the above rendition of the carol, which is quite nice. However, while searching for a video, I came across a little different version I reallly like. It's sung by the group, Casting Crowns.

That's what we need not just at Christmas, but all year long,
"Peace on earth,
good will to men."

All I want for Christmas. . .

Well, all I want for Christmas, I guess I've already got. I certainly haven't thought of anything I would put on a gift list. In fact, we're all kind of non-Christmas at our house this year. It seems to be a non-event. I'm not sure why. But right now it's one week until Christmas, and -
  • There are NO Christmas decorations anywhere to be found.
  • There are NO Christmas presents anywhere to be found.
  • Thare are NO Christmas cards being mailed.
  • There are NO plans to remedy the above.
A bunch of Scrooges? Maybe.
Perhaps we're all Grinches? Maybe.
An over-reaction to the commercialization of Christmas? Maybe.

For whatever reason, it seems no one here can get in the spirit of the season. For myself, I would have to say I feel more sadness than joy this time of year.

Sure, you hear that Jesus is the reason for the season. If you can go to Christmas services, I guess you might feel that more. If I had a church home, I might feel that more. But for various reasons, I don't.

And, well, we don't really KNOW when his birthday is, now do we? I mean, historically it can't be pinpointed to an exact year, let alone an exact date. So instead of going crazy just at Christmas and Easter, well, why not a passion for Jesus all year long?

So it seems Christmas isn't on our calendar this year. I think it's just going to be another day off, like having an extra Saturday. Maybe next year will be different, but this year, I'm not doing Christmas.

Have a nice day.


I put this picture up on Rural Ramblings as a "Gateway into another dimension". . .

Gateway into another dimension?

Then I did a little work in Photoshop.

Actually, I didn't really do much but change the hue & saturation, and get rid of the tree branches. I didn't even notice the lighter areas to the left of the "wormhole" until I did that. Is it an alien being? A spaceship? Something in a parallel universe?

I don't know, but it's fun and it looks cool.

I just want it to work. . .

To tell you the truth, there’s a whole lot of things in life that I just don’t care HOW they work. All I care about is that when I need them, they DO work.

I don’t know anything about fixing cars. I just want to be able to get in my car, and it works RELIABLY. It gets me where I want to go without breaking down.

I don’t know anything about fixing computers. I just want to be able to turn it on, and it works RELIABLY. It does what I need it to do without breaking down. (And if there’s a glitch, at least make it a simple one that my in-house or my Canadian consultant can easily diagnose and tell me how to fix it.)

I don’t know anything about fixing the heating and air conditioning system. I just want to be able to turn that thermostat on, and it’s hot or cold as needed. Again, RELIABLY. Granted, there’s usually a glitch getting the furnace started every fall, but for the most part, it’s been pretty good. And we have a good repairman to call if there’s a problem.

There’s just a whole lot of things I use every day that I can’t fix on my own. I reckon that’s modern living for you. If we were back “long ago”, we’d be using a horse and buggy instead of a car, and we’d have to know how to take care of the horse and buggy on our own. (Except I think even then, the services of a blacksmith were needed!) There wouldn’t be a computer, the fireplace/stove would provide heat and you'd have to hope for a breeze to provide cooling.

But I don’t want to be a pioneer. I want my creature comforts. And yes, I’m spoiled and want my communication system to work too. I don’t use the telephone much. I’m more of a writer than a talker. Besides, with email, you can send it off at your convenience, and the other party can read it at THEIR convenience. Nice for both parties.

Well, for a week or so I’ve been getting messages from Mediacom about how they are going to upgrade the email system. I guess they made the change yesterday, and so far, it’s just a mess.

I haven’t got ANY of my mail from about noon yesterday to 6 or 7pm, and what I’m getting now I KNOW is only a fraction of what I should be getting.

I haven’t been able to SEND email since yesterday morning.

They’ve got a new web-mail interface. I guess they’re trying to copy Yahoo, and have a home page, and there’s a button on it you click to get to the email. The really annoying part is that every time you click anything, it opens a new window. And I’ve only been able to get into the webmail a few times. Most of the time the new window times out. Pretty soon there’s half a dozen windows open and still no mail!

And even if you do get to the email, it’s still the same problem. The email isn’t coming through..

I called this morning and they’ve got a canned message saying that there are delays in people getting mail and sending mail, the technicians are working on it, and thank you for your patience.

Who said I was patient? I am NOT patient.

Here’s what I think.

  1. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Cause gee, now it IS broke. If they’d left things alone I’d still be getting my email!
  2. If I wanted a newsy home page for webmail, I’d just use my Yahoo email address all the time. And guess what? It’s FREE. I just want to go straight to my email, thank you very much, and forget this other crap.
  3. I frequently see or hear Mediacom advertising for phone service. Now there’s a big joke. My land line works pretty reliably. I don’t have to worry if I’m going to be able to use the phone. It takes an ice storm or something taking down the lines before there’s a problem most of the time. But problems with my Mediacom service? That happens all too frequently. NO WAY I'd ever trust them for my phone service.

I just want it to work.

What EVERY Star Wars Fan Needs!

Use the (chop)forks Luke, use the forks!"

Gotta love the guys at Who else would think up something like Star Wars Chop Sabers?

Or how about this Tauntaun sleeping bag?

You can "slumber in the belly of the beast," and they were even "thoughtful" (crazy?) enough to have "printed internal intestines." A little over-the-top realistic, perhaps?
They have all kinds of things Star Wars, like a "Force Trainer", cookbook, R2D2 trashcan, lightsaber laser pointer, and how about this?

Your very own R2D2 peppermill! Now how cool is THAT?

Gotta love Geeks!

Christmas Dinners & Broken Eyeglasses

Well, yesterday we had our annual dusting of snow. It looked pretty cool (literally and figuratively). I went out and took a bunch of pictures. Toby liked that because it meant while I walked around in the woods, he got to run all over creation.

Jess went in to work yesterday morning, and it took him an hour to get there because of some road closings and detours. It’s just as well it wasn’t a regular work day, or there would have been numerous wrecks. People in the south get all rattled when they see snow. Just the forecast of snow puts them in a panic - QUICK! Go to the grocery store and buy milk and bread!!!

Anyway, tomorrow morning I plan on putting a bunch of the pictures up on the site.

Jonathan came home sick from work Friday, and hasn’t stirred out of the house all weekend. That means I was on my own going to the grocery store for the second week in a row. Bummer! I think he’s feeling a little better this evening, and says he’s hopeful he can make it to work tomorrow.

Jess attended a Christmas dinner after morning church services. It was for the “older folks” Sunday School classes. They were doing some story telling about past years at church, which I think Jess really enjoyed. There are several older than he is, and have been at the church longer.

Yesterday my eyeglasses fell apart. Literally. In two pieces – a lens and earpiece on one side, and a lens, earpiece and nose piece on the other. It’s such a tiny little connection between one side/end of the nosepiece and a tiny little section of the wire around the lens that it connects to. Jonathan tried to use some of his special model stuff to mend it. It “cured” overnight, and I put them on this morning.

So I tried wearing them while driving to the store, and did all right until the first time my glasses were slipping down my nose and I forgot and pushed them up. They immediately fell apart again. Fortunately, I had very gingerly put my clip-on sunglasses on them, so they held the two sides together until I got to the store.

Guess the cure didn’t cure my glasses.

Well, I found an old pair of eyeglasses that are all in one piece, sort of. There’s a crack over an inch long down the middle of one lens, and the end of one of the ear pieces is broken off and just a sharp metal piece sticking out. I wrapped that in lots of tape, and am just peering around the crack. So it looks like a crackpot world to me. (No wise cracks!)

Guess I’ll call the eye doctor’s office tomorrow.

Time For A Family Update

When I put up the post with Jess’s NASCAR birthday card, I noticed it’s been almost a month since I posted any real updates on what’s going on around here. I know everyone is busy, and many people even “more busy” with getting ready for Christmas.

Well, we’re no exception to that “being busy” phenomenon.

We had a super great time in Florida visiting with family. What a blessing it is to all get together over Thanksgiving. It works out so well with Randy having a room, and Jess and I having a room, at the missions complex. They’re nice rooms, economical, in a beautiful area, and close to the Sanford’s house. That means we all get to visit, but not all squished into one house 24 hours a day for the duration of the visit. 9 people in a 3-bedroom house would be a bit much!

And we have such wonderful visits. It’s so nice that not only do we have great family with Randy and all the Sanfords, but their extended family is pretty special too! We love Dave’s Mom, Lucille, and his sister, Becky, and her husband Dave. They’re just good people, fun to be around, and to have such a big house full of people and no fusses or tensions in the family… did I mention how blessed we all are?

We even got to say hello to the “special friends” of Lee, Emily and Ryan. Lee’s girlfriend, Danielle, was there quite a bit. We had an especially good time visiting Friday evening around the campfire in the woods by the Sanford house. (Chilly, but fun!)

Moving from the far south on up to the far north, the Kroeker-Boggs clan stay crazy busy, too. Chrystie has her own blog many of you read so I’ll only mention here that they really need your prayers! This bit about having a surgery date all set up for Ellie, and plane tickets and a rental place in Florida all set up, plus Chrystie taking leave from her job, and then what happens? The neurosurgeon and team change the date from the 5th to the 19th of January, then that doesn’t work either, and now it’s all up in the air, well! That sucks! (I actually hate that expression, but somehow it seems so appropriate for this situation.)

So anytime you think of them, pray that the arrangements all work out for Ellie to have her surgery before the middle of January, and work out soon so they can quit stressing about it! It’s more than enough to have on your mind that your child is having surgery without having to worry if all the arrangements made to accommodate the surgery and subsequent therapy are all going to work out.

Here on the homefront, Jess has been swamped with work since clear back after returning from our vacation at Panama City Beach in Florida. That’s a mixed blessing. It’s good he has work, and it’s good he’ll get more money, but sometimes it gets to be a little too much of a “good thing” and he starts to stress a bit. I’m thinking by the end of next year, it will be high time for him to retire.

Even working at Domino’s can keep a person busy! Jonathan works full time, and often even gets in some over time. With the economy still, shall we say, less than stellar, that’s a blessing. He even does a little work on the side now and then, getting commissions for painting models used in tabletop war games. With work and visiting friends and carting Mom to the grocery store or post office, he stays busy too!

As for me, one set of training is winding down, but I’ve still got a couple more going strong. One is a new set of seminars on healing, and I’m really excited about that. I’m hoping to learn some great things!

Besides training, I have to do the actual work of putting all this training to use, plus the usual household and farm chores. Yeah, I stay busy, too. Unfortunately, all this cold, rainy weather we've been having lately makes things difficult. It’s got my peripheral neuropathy (nerve pain in my feet) stirred up, making it hard to walk sometimes. And of course, the thoracic neuralgia and fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue are all aggravated too.

But I’ve got great hopes that 2010 is going to be a stupendous year on all fronts! I’m looking for a whole lot of things to “gel” and improvements all over the place. So as "they" say (whoever "they" are!), hang on to your hat and get ready to rock and roll, cause before you know it 2010 is going to be here!

Are you ready?

Another Birthday Greeting For Jesse

When we were in Florida visiting with the Sanfords and Randy and all over Thanksgiving, the Sanfords had a birthday card for Jess. Emily picked it out, and she and Deb were especially excited to give it to Jess because "it fit him so well."

I'm not sure which one of the dudes is Jess, or who the second guy is. Maybe one of his buddies who likes NASCAR? Randy? Maybe even my dad, since he enjoys NASCAR. No telling!

Whoever these two good old boys are, now you know how the term 'NASCAR' came to be.

Someone Else Wishes Jess Happy Birthday!

Well, actually she's wishing her Southern Grandpa happy birthday!

Of course, when the camera turns on, our little girl is apt to get an attack of shyness, so you have to listen real close to hear what she's saying!

Besides "Happy Birthday Southern Grandpa", it's "Roll Tide" and "Go BAMA" and "I love you."

BAMA outfit, BAMA birthday greetings! Great birthday video for BAMA Grandpa!


So how about a few pictures to celebrate his birthday? Here's the earliest picture I can find of Jess. He's one year old in this picture. It's not the best picture, but it's the only picture (so I guess it IS the best picture of him that young, ha!).

And then here he is, long, long ago, with his mother:
According to the date on the picture it was taken back in 1941 . So probably Jess was about 5 1/2 years old at the time. Wasn't he a cute little guy?

Here's all the King siblings around 1944. That's JB standing in the front, in the middle.
This picture is marked 1944, so Jess ought to have been about 9 years old.

And here he is with his younger brother, Kenneth:

Don't let the sweet pose fool you. I suspect he was a little rough on Kenneth at times! You know, that brotherly love stuff!

Jess thinks he's probably about 11 years old in this picture, and wearing his older brother, Thelbert's army hat.

Eleven years old, and look at that big handlebar moustache! Man, he grew a moustache at a YOUNG age, didn't he?

Now, how about this school picture? What a grin he's got!
He claims he was really shy during his school years.

They had horses to do a lot of the farm work while Jess was growing up. Here he is with Kenneth and one of their buddies:

He's the one holding the horse on the left.

Now, does this look like a shy dude in this picture? I think he's sure playing it cool here.
That's him leaning against the tree, in case you didn't figure it out.

Here's a picture of his entire family from 1948.

That's our Jesse in the front again, clear to the left.

Fast forward 35 years, and here's the family again:
Jess got to be one of the taller ones of the bunch, and is in the back, second from the right. (Or third from the left if you'd rather go that direction.)

Jess loves his grandchildren, and here he is with Debra and Dave's kids: Lee, Ryan and Emily.. .

By the time this picture was taken, Kelley was added to the group.

It was some time later, in 2005, and there came another grandchild!

Here we are with Ellie, way back when they still lived in Texas:

I have to admit, it's one of my favorite pictures.

And here's the proud grandpa with all the Sanford clan at Lee's graduation:

And then at Emily's. . .
I'd put one from Ryan's graduation in here, but I don't have any!

Of course, when you get to the grandpa stage, you're also likely to have some wear and tear on the body, and Jess had to have both knees replaced. Here he is last December doing some physical therapy.

This picture was taken back in July of this year, when we went to Canada to visit Richard, Chrystie and Ellie.

And then here's Jess with The Phantom Son during one of his visit's.

And last, a picture of recent vintage, of our intrepid explorer, checking out the new culverts the creek by our property is running through.

Of course, this is just a smattering of pictures, but you know I can't put a picture for every year on here or I'd use up all my bandwidth or something! It'd take a year to download, ha, ha!


NOT The Star Trek I Expected

Spoiler Alert! If you haven’t seen “Star Trek”
and want to watch it some time, DO NOT read this!!!!

Okay, so I’m an old fogey. I’ve been watching Star Trek since the original series first came out on tv. I had to walk over to a neighbor’s house to get to watch it in color. Through hay fields that were full of icky slugs that got in my shoes and made me go, “ooooooooooooo”. (As in a YUCK kind of ooooo – I don’t know how to spell it.) But it was worth it.

The point is, I love Star Trek. I’m a long time fan.

So I was all excited to finally get to watch the latest movie. I was sorry to have missed it in theaters, and stayed away from reading any reviews or anything that would spoil it when I finally got to see the movie on DVD.

You know, the movie advertised as the one “that follows the early days of the intergalactic adventurers” – that’s EXACTLY what it says on the movie sleeve. The one that promos lead you to believe tells you how Kirk, Spock, McCoy and all of the bridge crew met.

Well, I’m sorry. While this was a decent sci-fi movie, it is NOT how the Kirk, Spock and crew of the Enterprise we’ve known in previous shows and movies and books met.

No, instead we got some kind of alternate reality switch.

They talk about reality changing because people came back in time. And unless they do ANOTHER sort of alternate reality switch in the following movies, there's no way to segue from what I thought was supposed to be a prequel into the present Star Trek Universe.

Kirk’s dad was killed off in the opening scenes of the movie. They killed off Spock’s mother. They blew up Vulcan. Spock and Uhura have a romance. Man, it is soooooo messed up. These people (and planet) are important parts of the following Star Trek adventures.

This movie really flew under false colors. False advertising. I repeat, it is NOT how the crew of the Enterprise from other Star Trek movies met. Cause, after all, this is all a different reality.

An enjoyable movie? Yes, but, and it’s a BIG but… it’s not the Star Trek movie I was expecting.

And that’s a big disappointment.
(And I'm glad I didn't waste my money seeing it in a theater.)

A Little Behind

Okay, so I’m a LOT behind. As usual! (And my, wouldn’t I just love to have a little behind . . . )

I cannot believe that it’s only about a week until Thanksgiving. CAN. NOT!!!! You know what that means, don’t you? If it’s almost Thanksgiving, Christmas can’t be far behind, and then New Years, and there we are in 2010 and time just keeps whizzing by!

And so I just try to make the most of each day. That’s all any of us can do. I know that sounds trite, but as with most trite sayings, it also happens to be true.

I’d love to be able to make MORE of each day. I’m working on my health so I can hopefully gain more usable hours in the day. But there’s too much of the “gonna get worse before you get better” thing. Man, I am sooooo tired of that! Make one thing better, make another worse, or ever worser, create a whole new problem. What’s with that?

However, all things considered I feel extremely blessed. That’s something to think of with THANKSgiving coming up. However much I might whine and complain, we DO have income, we DO have a roof over our heads, we DO have food on the table, and on and on. We get so used to the land of plenty here, that we sometimes forget how much we have compared to a lot of other people.

I need to remember.

Imagine A Life Without Sports

I was just browsing through Facebook, and it never ceases to amaze me how many comments over the weekends are sports oriented.

What would people do without sports?

I’m not talking about actually playing sports themselves and getting exercise. Of course it’s good to get exercise. And it’s better yet if you can have fun while doing it.

No, I’m talking about sports as entertainment.

I guess mankind (& womenkind) have a long history of watching other people compete at some sort of athletic event. Way before the Greeks came up with the Olympics, I suppose cavemen were watching footraces or dino wrestling or something.

It seems to be included in many people’s make-up to enjoy watching sports. Maybe there’s some kind of “sports” gene that makes people susceptible to the thrill of watching physical competitions.

So I have to wonder, what would happen if people couldn’t sit around watching their favorite sports? What if there were no sports channel, or ESPN, or whatever? (Maybe even no tv, period!)

Well, what would people do for entertainment then?

Poor Baby!

I don't often chat about extended family on my blog, because as sure as I do, someone feels slighted. I don't know everything that's going on, I don't have time to mention everything that's going on, I can't begin to keep up with everyone in our extended family! So to prevent hard feelings, I usually stick to talking about us, our parents, kids, and grandkids.

But yesterday I mentioned that my niece, Bobbie, was at Duke with her youngest. Ava had to have eye surgery because of glaucoma. Sis-in-law Deb forwarded along a picture Bobbie took this morning of Ava:

All I can say is, "Poor Baby!"

Life Is A Whirlwind

Whew, seems like things are all awhirl. Seems like everyone is extra busy these days.

Jess has a manic-depressive job. For days and days he’ll have nothing to do. Depressive phase.

Then all of a sudden half a dozen people will all want something done yesterday. MANIC PHASE! He says he’s “busy as a one-armed paper hanger” or another one of his little sayings (some of which are probably better not to repeat).

Jonathan has been working over 40 hours a week. One good thing is he keeps relatively the same schedule week to week. He doesn't know the exact hours, but he does know what days he has off each week, when he’ll be opening and when he’ll be closing. Makes it a lot easier to plan.

Me, well, for instance last night we were going to do just a HALF hour meeting. Yeah, right. How about more like two hours!?! Which isn’t bad, just kind of funny. Wonder how long the meeting will be Thursday night?

Otherwise it’s the same old thing of trying to do too many things. With the time change, I’m doing all the outside critter chores by myself now. Cooking, laundry, whatever. Trying to get more internet work done. Updating older sites while thinking up new ideas, and creating new sites. It’s all a balancing act.

And wishing I could figure out what I’m doing wrong with networking computers. My laptop sees Jonathan’s computer, which is hard wired. But it won’t see MY desktop, which is also hardwired. I really, really, need to figure this out to get optimum use out of my laptop. I need to be able to tap into the stored files on the desktop. I’ve got two hard drives in active use there (one for documents, one for graphics). I’ve got to figure out how to access them from my laptop, but none of the info I find helps any. I do everything, step by step, and it still doesn’t work. I know I’m missing something, but I don’t know what I’m missing!

Of course, we’re not the only busy ones in the family. Dad will be going to Pigeon Forge next week so probably thinking about getting ready for that. My niece, Bobbi, was at Duke University Hospital with her youngest today. Ava needed eye surgery because of glaucoma. Debbie is watching her other two kids, so she's busy too!

I suspect I could poll everyone in the whole extended family, and probably everyone is busy with one thing or another. Thanksgiving is coming up fast, as is Jess’s birthday, and Christmas, and then all of a sudden, it’s going to be another new year!

Whew. I get tired just thinking about it.

A Family Classic

When I was hunting for a picture of me as a little girl for the previous post, I came across this picture:

It's definitely a family classic.

That's a year and a half old Jonathan under that blanket. We were camping near Mystic Seaport in Connecticut. It was Richard's 5th birthday (I believe he had a ship cake with little Lego men on it), and we were enjoying a family vacation.

At the time the picture was taken, the boys were supposed to be sleeping. Dale had just got after Jonathan, telling him to settle down. Jonathan immediately went perfectly still.

It was obvious he thought that if he couldn't see us, well, we couldn't see him either if he just held nice and still, and then maybe he wouldn't be in trouble.

His ploy worked. Not because we couldn't see him of course, but because it was so funny, we couldn't help laughing.

And it's hard to be stern when you're laughing so hard.

Think These Little Girls Are Related?

So what do you think? Do these little girls look related? I'm sure I'm more than a tad biased, but I think they do!

Of course, the right half of the picture is a recent vintage photo of our sweet Miss Ellie. But once in a while I see a picture of her, and it reminds me of another little girl from long, LONG ago (okay, you can quit snickering and making wisecracks about the Stone Age).

Cause yeah, the little girl in the left half of the photo is Ellie's Grandma. Both photos taken at around 4-years of age.

Put a pair of glasses on one little girl, and bangs on the other, and I think they'd look even more alike.

And I think that's pretty cool.

Life Is A Roller Coaster

Saying life has its ups and downs may sound pretty trite, but the fact remains, it happens to be true. Just looking at my last few posts, I see in one I'm discouraged, then I'm encouraged, then I'm discouraged, then . . . you get the drift.

And here I am this morning, at 11a.m., just now FINALLY in here to sit down at my computer and get to work. But first I need to decompress a little, vent, and get a little more "zen" in my thinking. Ready to focus. Because right now I'm anything but. I'm frustrated and discouraged. It's the middle of the day almost, and I haven't even started work.

Oh, it's not that I haven't been working. So far today I've:
  • Fixed Jess's lunch for him to take to work,
  • Baked some pepperoni mini-calzones for Jonathan to put in his lunch,
  • Fed the turtle and bird on the inside,
  • Put feed out on the front porch for the cat,
  • Fixed feed for the chicks in the birdcage on the back porch,
  • Put feed in the peafowl and rooster pens,
  • Threw out feed for the chickens and guineas,
  • And gave both dogs some treat bones.

But that didn't finish my outside chores. The good news is that it's beautiful outside today and we finally have sunshine. The bad news is after all that rain numerous buckets and the three wading pools holding water for the animals were full not only of water, but leaves. It is FALL after all.

The critters aren't that fond of leaf tea. I needed to dump those buckets and pools and refill them with fresh, clean water. Well, dumping full pools is hard work for me. Yeah, okay, I'm a wuss. But here I was hoping to have a less painful week since it's not supposed to rain, making it easier to focus on internet work, but dumping pools and dragging hoses means at some point there will be a payback. I'm gonna hurt.

I try to remember to use my left side as much as possible, but I'm right handed, and sometimes I forget and find myself dragging hoses with my right arm/hand. Not good. And I had to do a lot of hose dragging this morning because the hose to the sheep pen and for the birdbath in the front yard was busted. That meant I needed to haul it in and roll it up out of the way, and get another hose hooked up and pulled out where I needed it. And the hose I found was too short, so I had to move the concrete birdbath so it would reach it. . .

Then also some time during this morning, I was on the phone with Jess, trying to figure out how to email files from Microsoft Project. I didn't do very well at that, and that also is frustrating. We never did get it to work, and the only thing I could think to do was tell him to bring the program disks and manual home, and I'll install it on my desktop and check it out.

Poor Richard. How many zillion times have I asked him for tech support long distance? I know it's tough when you can't SEE the problem.

We were also having troubles with the phones. That's what I get for buying the cheapest cordless phones I could find. They kept going dead, so I'd have to switch phones, and Jess had to call back about three times.

Have I mentioned it's been a frustrating morning???

I had big expectations of really being able to charge into my internet work this week, but there are so many other things every day that I have to do first. And of course Mondays seem to be the worst, with getting things set up, like the week's humor mailings, and getting one done and mailed out.

Working at home may sound cool, but it's difficult. There are so many distractions, with things all around that need done, and nobody's there to do them but you. And a lot of people don't "get" the fact you are working. You're at home after all! You can do what you want! And you don't get away from the office. . . with all the interruptions it usually means you're working in the evenings too, trying to make up for lost time.

But having said all that, I still prefer working at home to going to an office. Which is just as well, because I can't survive in an office environment any more. No way I could sit at a desk 8 hours at a stretch. That's why the laptop is such a big help, because I can change my seating arrangements and give my body a little bit of a break.

And speaking of breaks, I've had mine now, so it's time to get to "work work" and see how much I can accomplish. It's not going to do itself, and nobody is going to help me, sooooo... time to woman up and get 'er done!


encourage tr.v. , -aged , -aging , -ages . To inspire with hope, courage, or confidence; hearten. To give support to.

I've been encouraged lately.

Getting my first commission check helped greatly. Finally, a sign all my work is heading somewhere!

Then one of the co-owners of the company where I take classes, etc., mentioned my accomplishment in the membership-wide call last week. I think there were about 80 people on the call. That may sound like a lot, but it's really a pittance compared with how many actually have membership.

The trouble is, more people like the idea of making a living on line than actually want to do the work it entails. So they join / buy a lot of memberships / products, but never do anything with them.

But it was encouraging for him to congratulate me, and hand out some praise!

And I'm encouraged because it's supposed to be DRY this coming week. No rain pain! I'm hoping to be able to get a lot done. It's easier to feel encouraged when the pain levels are down to normal.

So I'm hoping for a great week here. Hope you have one too!

A Step Forward

Well, when I last wrote I was pretty down in the dumps. Thankfully, those times don’t usually last very long. After a couple of days the IV effects wore off and I started feeling more normal (no smart aleck remarks now about how normal and me are total strangers).

Otherwise, things are perking along pretty much as usual. I still have more things to do than I can possibly get done, but at least I’m moving forward.

I didn’t realize I’d made any concrete progress until I got the mail today however. I keep track of the major places I do affiliate marketing on blogs, and still mostly big fat zeros on all but one. However, there are some stand-alone products I market, too, and I don’t check those so regularly.

I was thrilled to get a check in the mail from one of them today! I had no idea it was coming. I thought at first it was one of those fake checks, trying to get you to buy something using the check more or less as a coupon off the purchase price. Nope, this was the real deal!

It wasn’t a huge check, but it’s a start. One of my classmates was thrilled to make her first $5 commission, and this was way more than that at least! (Yes, more than ten times that much in fact!)

In class we keep hearing how there seems to be a long, long time before anything happens and most people give up too soon. They also keep drilling in our heads about continuing to build. Cause once the work is out there, someday one sale will become two becomes four becomes more and more. Keep plugging away and let the work build on itself.

So while it wasn’t a lot of money, it was an encouragement. Classes aren't over, but I'm on my way!

Downright Discouraged

Most days I might rant and rave about something, but I keep a pretty optimistic attitude for all that. But once in a while, I get more than a little overwhelmed and downright discouraged.

Today is such a day.

I’m behind on everything. The corollary is I can’t keep up with anything! The house is a disaster. It needs a good cleaning in the worst way. A really deep cleaning, clearing out a whole bunch of stuff cleaning.

With that in mind, I got the bright idea I’d kill two birds with one stone and be clearing stuff out of the basement and pod, and be selling the decent stuff and thus making some extra money to use to pay off my computer.

It’s a good plan, except for one thing. It takes time. Today drove that point home.

I’d advertised a nice wooden futon frame we aren’t using, and agreed to meet the people who wanted it in a nearby church parking lot. Jonathan was going to help me load it into the back of the truck, but first we had to get it out of the pod.

When we did, we discovered there must be a leak allowing some moisture in there, because the wood was coated with a powdery mold/mildew. So I needed to clean that off. Once again. . . it took time.

After we got it loaded, I had about 45 minutes until I needed to drive to the church. Not long enough to do anything much really, but too long to sit around and do nothing. Anyway, the point is that by the time we got this thing out, cleaned, loaded, and delivered, my morning was pretty well shot.

I am behind on doing snail mail this week. Same thing with humor mailings. I need to WORK. Online sort of work that is. I’m way behind there too. I just have many, many things to do, and can't seem to find enough time to get them all done. Worse is so many hours are lost to the chronic pain/ fibromyalgia/ chronic fatigue problems.

Like today for instance. I’ve been recuperating from a 4+ hour trip to Marietta, Georgia, and another 4+ hours back. While at the clinic yesterday I got an IV full of anti-viral stuff, and it’s knocked me on my can. The doctor warned me that might happen. Nothing like feeling like you’ve got the flu to help you get better, right?

She had another blood test result back, too. More discouraging news, but not surprising since it just went along with the other lab results. This was a special blood test to see if the body is fighting infection, and it was ten times higher than it ought to be. That means I need to take an oral anti-viral medication now, plus shots every two weeks. I am sooooo thrilled (read that with lots and LOTS of sarcasm).

And while I’m being so thrilled (NOT!), the doc also told me next visit it will be time to start work on clearing the fibrin out of my blood vessels. Previous tests showed that a likely problem. The short explanation is this fibrin coating on the inside of the blood vessels traps the viruses and bacteria, trying to protect the body. However, at the same time it slows down the oxygen diffusion out to the cells, contributing to the fatigue.

To correct the problem and get rid of the fibrin, thus allowing oxygen to get through easier, means those trapped bacteria, viruses and toxins will also be released. And apparently THAT means an average of two months of feeling WORSE before slowly getting better over the next 6 or 7 months.

Well now, that’s really thrilling. (That's more sarcasm in case you're wondering.)

Have I mentioned I feel downright discouraged today?

Getting Ready For A New Week

The weekend is almost gone, but that's okay. I'm ready to get started on a new week. The only bad part is that I'll only have one day to work, then have to take a day off to travel to the Atlanta, Georgia, area because I have another appointment at the Fibromyalgia clinic.

That's good/bad. I hate the time and expense, but it's good because I usually learn something new I can do to help improve my health.

We've already got our copies of Ellie's new big calendar. That order was processed really quickly! I would guess they don't have a lot of calendar business right now, but come the latter part of November and all of December, and things will move a lot slower.

Anyway, I think the calendars look pretty good and am pleased at how well they turned out. Now I'm waiting to see what all the smaller desk calendars look like, as I have an order placed for samples of those also.

I'm still learning the quirks of my new laptop. Sometimes it zips around and does something I didn't really mean for it to do. The touchpad and buttons are pretty sensitive. That's good most of time, but sometimes it's also annoying.

I was telling Jonathan about how cool my laptop worked for my webinar, and that I thought the picture was even better than my desktop computer. He got that "Well, DUH..." look and said, "Mom, your laptop has an HD screen, and you're using a CRT with your desktop. Of course it looks better!"

Then he wanted to know if I'd thought about trying to watch an online movie from Netflix. It doesn't cost any extra to watch movies online. It never occurred to me, cause it's sure not something I could have have done with my old laptop, but since he mentioned it. . .

Well, of course, I had to try it. First off, I found an episode of Law & Order SVU and got it going. And oh yeah, it works. Almost too well, because gee, what a temptation! This weekend I've watched Sherlock Holmes episodes, and old Star Trek episodes and. . . I'll have to be careful or I'll have some "time users" of my own, ha, ha!

Otherwise, it's pretty much same old around here, and that's not all bad. We're plugging away, and doing well for the most part. So that's the news for now from our part of the world!

New And Improved!

Tonight's class just finished up. I listened/watched it on my laptop. ON. MY. LAPTOP!!!! I made Jess come and look, cause it was just AWESOME. The clarity of the picture was tack sharp wonderful, with full, vibrant colors. And the sound was right on, with that Aussie accent sounding like he was right here in the living room with me. There was no delay; no time lag. It was just so freakin' cool. I've NEVER been able to attend a webinar on my laptop before.

Of course, this is on my NEW AND IMPROVED laptop! Brand new! Improved a zillion fold! Okay, that might be a tad bit of an exaggeration, but seriously, it's like going from an old Atari to a Ninendo Wii. From little stick figure gunfighters shooting at each other to 3-D in your face real looking soldiers blowing stuff up.

This will be so nice. It's going to be a big help to me not to be tied to the desktop computer for all the intense graphics work, or webinars. To be able to lean back on the couch and use my computer here is a real blessing. It should help me work a little longer, because the chronic pain will only allow me to sit in an office chair for so long. And it's not long enough.

Of course, my desktop is still the hub, being a major storage center. It has a 2nd internal drive Richard installed for me, plus an external hard drive that is now filled up, so I have a new external hard drive ready to hook up and start acting as a back-up.

Yes folks, that means I now have 4 hard drives. The internal drive that came on my desktop is used for programs and My Documents. The second internal drive is for photography. The first external drive was for back-up, and the second external drive will pick up where that one left off.

What can I say? Pictures take a lot of space.

Also NEW AND IMPROVED this year - I have calendars done! I think this is the first time I've finished them before Thanksgiving. I wanted to have plenty of time for people to order, so we will hopefully get more orders.

Not only is the timing new and improved, but there are more calendars to choose from! I finished the big Ellie calendar first, which is mostly for family. Then I did a smaller, desktop version that is more suited to selling as a fundraiser. Considering we get about the same amount of profit from the big ones vs. the small ones, and the big ones are $30 vs $12 for the desktop size . . . well, I think most people are more apt to go for the cheaper calendar.

And in case you're wondering, the sales page for Ellie's calendar is here.

But wait! I said NEW AND IMPROVED means MORE calendars, so besides the Ellie version, there are two more! One has flower photos on the pages, and the other has pictures of critters from around the farm.

The Rural Ramblings Floral Calendar is here, and the Rural Ramblings Critter Calendar is here.

Don't let the names throw you; the profits still go to the Ellie surgery fund. Because in case you missed reading/hearing about it from one of us, or on Facebook, or on some of the other family blogs, Ellie is having surgery January 5th, getting the SDR (Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy). They have to travel to Vancouver, B.C. for that, clear over on the west coast of Canada.

Then it's down to the Orlando, Florida, area so Ellie can go to the recommended place for daily therapy for 4 months. Fortunately, since Richard can telecommute, he can work from there. (Chrystie is still working out details to see about her job.) But that means renting a house down there and more expenses.

So while we're hoping this will mean a NEW AND IMPROVED walking status for Ellie, it's obviously going to be costly. Which is why I wanted to get calendars done sooner. Although I know those sales are not likely to come close to covering all the expenses, I figure every little bit helps.

Well, guess that's all my news for now. Let me cruise a little on the internet with my NEW AND IMPROVED computer (it's got a backlit keyboard! It has a Soundblaster sound system! It's got a big, bright screen! It's . . . awesome.)

Whew, all this NEW AND IMPROVED is so cool...

My Laptop Is Coming!

It's another rainy day here, with all the extra pain that entails, but today I just don't care. I got an email this morning saying my laptop has shipped! In fact, they estimate it to arrive . . . (drum roll please!). . . TOMORROW!!! Wow!

The little netbook is still "in production", but that's okay. I can wait for it, but I'm in desperate need of a laptop! I wiggled and jiggled and tried to get those wires to connect to power my old laptop all weekend without success. I just hope I can get enough juice to it at some point to make sure I've got any data I need off there.

Fortunately, I don't think there's much on it that isn't already backed up to one of the hard drives connected to my desktop computer. I did periodic back ups of "My Documents" from the laptop but it's been a while.

Today I hope to finish up all the calendar stuff. I got the big Ellie calendars done and ordered copies for the Great-Grandpas and us yesterday. It was the last day of their 25% off sale. Even better, I got another 18% off for a multiple sale. Even with the cost of shipping and handling included, the price per calendar was only $16.25 - which I think is decent for such a huge calendar.

I've also got a smaller desktop calendar done with Ellie pics, plus one of flowers, and plan to finish up the one with farm critters today.

Of course, I also need to do some snail mail today. So I've got a lot to get done and the morning is pretty well shot. I'd better get with it, cause I need to get back to work tomorrow!

Mother Nature Hates Me

Okay, Mother Nature doesn't really hate me. I know there really isn't any such thing as "Mother Nature" and the creatures are just doing what creatures do. So maybe it's my body that hates me.

Anyway, yesterday I was taking Toby for a walk in the woods, getting our daily exercise. I had on a pair of old gray gym pants, a gray long sleeved shirt, and my old black tennis shoes. (I tell you this not as a fashion statement, but because it's pertinent to the story.)

We didn't get very far into the woods until something started buzzing around my head. I thought it was a horse fly. I thought wrong.

I slapped at it with my camera strap (who goes walking in the woods without their camera, right?). I don't know if it was the same buzzing bee or a different one, but something nailed me on my foot, between my shoe and the bottom of my pants! I hot-footed it out of there (in more ways than one!).

In about 5 minutes I was feeling the effects. We were at the edge of the woods by then, so I took off my shoe and something flew out. The thing was IN MY SHOE!

Unfortunately, I didn't get a good look at it, and don't know if it was a yellow jacket or just what. I reckon it wasn't a honeybee since it was still living and flying after stinging me. Also, I read yellow jackets like dark colors and often nest in the ground. They also get meaner as it gets colder and food gets scarcer, and their nest was probably a little flooded from all the rain. So I figure it was a yellow jacket and I was in the wrong place at the wrong time wearing the wrong clothes. Go figure.

I hobbled around to finish chores and then on into the house. I wasn't feeling too spiffy by then. And I've got to say, I'm getting tired of the attacks on my right leg and foot. Earlier this summer I ended up with a bleeding bite after walking in some weeds beside our pond. I think it was a spider bite, but have no way of knowing for sure.

What I do know is that it took weeks to heal, and for a while there I was afraid I was going to have to get radical and ... GASP! Go to the doctor.

Then there's the ants. A few years ago I was taking pictures of a cotton field for an online magazine and walked out into the field to get some better shots. What I didn't realize and couldn't see was I ended up standing right in the middle of a fire ant nest. After a sting or two I went zipping out of that tall cotton and frantically brushed the ants off.

Those stings didn't bother me that much. But it happened again a couple of weeks later. And now it's to the point it doesn't have to be fire ants to give me problems. Even bites from black ants raise a blister. I've told Jess I'm probably going to be the first person in the world who has to carry around an EpiPen for ant bites.

And wouldn't you know, our last day at the beach I was taking pictures and some ants found me and I got 3 or 4 bites. They're slow to heal, so now my right foot and lower leg look like this:

My nature inflicted wounds may not look like much, but the scar is somewhere between the size of a dime and a quarter. The ant bite at least doesn't hurt any more, but the sting I got yesterday is a different matter altogether. It looks better but feels worse. Much worse.

I know, I know, in a way it's all darkly humorous. Who gets all these bites and stings anyway? But it sure puts a damper on working in flower beds or wearing sandals or walking through the woods without a care in the world.

I think I need some battle armor.

Now About Those Emails

After ranting and raving about spammy emails yesterday, one landed in my inbox this morning that was so perfect, it made me laugh out loud. Without further ado, I hereby present it to you...

I just want to thank all of you for your e-mails over the past year. I am totally screwed up now and have little chance of recovery. I no longer open a public bathroom door without using a paper towel or have them put lemon slices in my ice water without worrying about the bacteria on the lemon peel.

I can't use the remote in a hotel room because I don't know what the last person was doing while flipping through the adult movie channels.I can't sit down on the hotel bedspread because I can only imagine what has happened on it since it was last washed.

I have trouble shaking hands with someone who has been driving because the number one pastime while driving alone is picking ones nose (although cell phone usage may be taking the number one spot).Eating a little snack sends me on a guilt trip because I can only imagine how many gallons of Trans fats I have consumed over the years.

I can't touch any woman's purse for fear she has placed it on the floor of a public bathroom.

I MUST SEND MY SPECIAL THANKS to whoever sent me the one about poop in the glue on envelopes because I now have to use a wet sponge with every envelope that needs sealing.

ALSO, now I have to scrub the top of every can I open for the same reason.

I no longer have any savings because I gave them to a sick girl (Penny Brown) who is about to die in the hospital for the 1,387,258th time.

I no longer have any money at all, but that will change once I receive the $15,000 that Bill Gates/Microsoft and AOL are sending me for participating in their special e-mail program.

I no longer worry about my soul because I have 363,214 angels looking out for me, and St. Theresa's Novena has granted my every wish.

I no longer eat KFC because their chickens are actually horrible mutant freaks with no eyes or feathers.I no longer use cancer-causing deodorants even though I smell like a water buffalo on a hot day.

THANKS TO YOU I have learned that my prayers only get answered if I forward an e-mail to seven of my friends and make a wish within five minutes.

BECAUSE OF YOUR CONCERN, I no longer drink Coca Cola because it can remove toilet stains.

I no longer can buy gasoline without taking someone along to watch the car so a serial killer won't crawl in my back seat when I'm pumping gas.

I no longer drink Pepsi or Dr. Pepper since the people who make these products are atheists who refuse to put 'Under God' on their cans.

I no longer use Saran Wrap in the microwave because it causes cancer.
AND THANKS FOR LETTING ME KNOW I can't boil a cup of water in the microwave anymore because it will blow up in my face.. Disfiguring me for life.

I no longer check the coin return on pay phones because I could be pricked with a needle infected with AIDS.
I no longer go to shopping malls because someone will drug me with a perfume sample and rob me.

I no longer receive packages from UPS or Fed Ex since they are actually Al Qaeda in disguise.

I no longer shop at Target since they are French and don't support our American troops or the Salvation Army.

I no longer answer the phone because someone will ask me to dial a number for which I will get a phone bill with calls to Jamaica , Uganda , Singapore and Uzbekistan ...
I no longer buy expensive cookies from Neiman Marcus since I now have their recipe.

THANKS TO YOU I can't use anyone's toilet but mine because a big brown African spider is lurking under the seat to cause me instant death when it bites my butt.


AND THANKS TO YOUR GREAT ADVICE I can't ever pick up $5.00 dropped in the parking lot because it probably was placed there by a sex molester waiting underneath my car to grab my leg.

I can no longer drive my car because I can't buy gas from certain gas companies!

I can't do any gardening because I'm afraid I'll get bitten by the brown recluse and my hand will fall off.

And I now keep my toothbrush in the living room, because water splashes over 6 ft. out of the commode.

If you don't send this e-mail to at least 144,000 people in the next 70 minutes, a large dove with diarrhea will land on your head at 5:00 p.m. tomorrow afternoon and the fleas from 12 camels will infest your back, causing you to grow a hairy hump. I know this will occur because it actually happened to a friend of my next door neighbor's ex-mother-in-law's second husband's cousin's beautician...


Oh, by the way...

A German scientist from Argentina , after a lengthy study, has discovered that people with insufficient brain activity read their e-mail (and blogs) with their hand on the mouse...

Don't bother taking it off now, it's too late.