What's the matter with me???

That's the question all right... 'What's the matter with me?' I'm afraid I can ask that question on so very many different levels.

There's that "What were you thinking?" level. Or maybe, "How could you do that?" And then there's the literal, "What's the matter with me?"

First off, I don't know what I've been thinking or how I could do that. Particularly, my falling back into my "old" ways the last month or so. I'm like an alcoholic that has 'fallen off the wagon' and totally out of control.

I'm not eating the right foods.
And I'm eating a lot of the wrong foods, like a lot of sugar.
I'm not taking the supplements I should be taking to help my body.

I'm not doing my energy healing work or meditation, both which relieve stress. And just because I don't venture far from home most of the time, and work at home, doesn't mean there isn't stress!

There's stress from trying to do too many things at once, from trying to get a business off the ground and making consistent earnings. There's stress of trying to change my lifestyle and eat those right foods, and exercise, and all the many things I know I should be doing and can't seem to consistently put into practice.

I totally empathize with Paul when he wrote in Romans,
"I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do."

Yep, that's me all right. What was I thinking? Why did I do that? What's the matter with me anyway!!!!?????

And then there was yesterday.
Now we're talking about the literal, "What's the matter with me?"

I felt fine yesterday morning. Jess and I were sitting at the dining room table looking at seed catalogs, trying to figure out what we want to order to plant in a garden this year. I had dug out what leftover seeds we have to make sure we didn't duplicate stuff. Everything was hunky-dory.

Then the room started to get dark. I felt hot needles in my chest and head. I sat there and thought, "Am I imagining this????" I mean, it was surreal. One minute I was fine, the next I felt like I was going to pass out.

Now if you've never fainted, you might not recognize the feeling. But I've done it plenty of times, and it usually happens because my body is reacting to some medicine it didn't like. I think Dr. Bill called it an "atonic-parasympathetic reaction." It just means the body's automatic response to what it thinks is an emergency, causing a state of shock. Blood pressure drops, you feel faint, etc.

Only this time I hadn't got a shot of novacaine or marcaine or anything else my body objects to that usually causes that response. I hadn't eaten anything strange I'd never eaten before. So ??????

When I convinced my brain that this was indeed really happening, I said to Jess, "Something is very wrong." He helped me to the couch, and I sat there until I started to feel better.

But then it happened again a little while later. The room was going dark, I was woozy, and Jess said I was very pale.

He wanted to know if he should call an ambulance. At first I said "yes"... which if you know me you can realize I was really bad off and scared to even consider that! But I backtracked before he got to the phone and decided to try and call my doctor. Wouldn't you know they were all out on their lunch hour.

Jess decided to take me down without waiting to call first, saying if he "had to make a scene to get me in, he would". And if she felt I needed to go to the hospital, we'd be that much closer.

Thankfully, they worked me in quickly. I hadn't sit there more than 5 minutes until the nurse called me back. By that time I had the shakes. Teeth chattering, chilled.

To make a long story a little shorter, I had an EKG and she said it didn't "look significantly different than the last one." She listened to my lungs and they were okay. She was convinced from all the shaking and stuff that I was/am getting the flu.

The upshot is she sent me home with a prescription for Tamiflu, and if I get a fever, I'm supposed to start taking it. But even though I had another episode of the shakes in the middle of the night, I still do not have a fever. I do, however, still have pain in my chest, but it's going to rain here, and that causes my fibromyalgia and costochondritis, an inflammation of the cartilage between the ribs and joining them to the sternum, to act up.

None of this makes any sense. Or at least that passing out part sure didn't. I have no idea what's the matter with me.

Maybe time will tell.

Merry Christmas!

Here in the Huntsville area we had the first white Christmas they've had in 21 years. In fact, 1989 is the only other time there has been measurable snowfall on Christmas until today!

Since I haven't lived here that long and wasn't here 21 years ago, it's the first white Christmas we've had since we moved here. It was kind of funny because I happened to wake up about 3am and look out, and there was nothing but a damp sidewalk. I figured it was going to be just another "scare" and no snow would be forthcoming. But when I got up this morning and looked out, WOW! I was sure wrong about that.

I must admit I'm glad we didn't have to travel anywhere.

This year we did more for Christmas than last year (which wouldn't take much since I did nothing). Jonathan carried up our little fake tree, and we actually bought some presents and put under it.

Now I'm not saying we got fancy and *wrapped* the presents, ha, ha! Boxes or freezer bags, and a red magic marker... and that's it.

We opened gifts last night, and there again, WOW! I don't know when I've been so pampered! Jess got me a new meditation cushion, a craft table, a new set of headphones to use with my laptop.

Then Jonathan got me some movies and a Night Fury figure (my favorite dragon from "How to train your Dragon" movie).

The guys weren't left out! For instance, Jess got a Garmin. Or maybe that's a present for me? You know, the whole "let's not get lost next time we go somewhere" idea! A pair of boots, folders for his state quarters collection. Jonathan got models to paint and shirts to wear.

I think we all were happy with the gifts under the tree, even if the wrapping wasn't fancy!

Christmas Eve Eve

If it's the evening before Christmas Eve, than that's Christmas Eve Eve, right?

This has been a grandkids kind of day. We were surpised to get a package in the mail from Lee today with a framed photo montage. Very nice! Good pictures of the grandkids, and Dave and Debra, and they even managed to sneak one in of me and Jess from when we were down there at Thanksgiving.

Then I checked with Richard and Chrystie today via email to see if they would have any time for a Skype call on Christmas... turns out the next couple of days will be busy (no surprise!), but today they were having a quiet sort of day, so we chatted this evening.

Ellie had BIG NEWS. She lost a tooth! See, Southern Grandma!

I didn't hit the button quick enough to get her showing me the gap where her tooth used to be!

And furthermore, she got a car from a friend for her Zhu Zhu pet. and she lost a tooth! And she's going to the movie theater for the first time to see Rapunzel. and she lost a tooth! And she has a stuffy nose. and she lost a tooth! and Santa is going to come and leave some presents. And the Good Fairy came and left a Toonie, cause guess what.... she lost a tooth!

Grandkids are such fun!

Playing Dominoes

I think I mentioned playing dominoes earlier. Maybe not here though, but on Facebook. I'm not talking about the game with the numbered tiles however, but more about the "domino effect."

You know, if you move one thing, then the next thing must be moved, then the next, and on and on, until the last piece falls.

Or perhaps I'm playing "Pilot." In that game, you pile it here, and you move a pile there, you just pile it, pile it everywhere.

Or maybe it's a combination. I just know it's killing me.

It started when Jess got a new recliner for his birthday/Christmas. That meant his old recliner had to be moved out of the way to make room for the new one. I got the bright idea to put it in my office figuring that when I get tired of sitting in the office chair, maybe I could sit in the recliner and work on my laptop, instead of moving to the living room to do it.

I'm hoping if I do that, I can consolidate my reference materials so they'd all be in the office, instead of some stacked on the couch and loveseat. And of course, whatever I need, it always seems to be in the opposite place of where I am.

But to put the old recliner in the office, I needed to move out the bird's exercise door. And to make room for it by her cage, we had to move the play gym out.

That was Part I. Today I'm working on Part II.

After putting the recliner in my office all the stuff is too cramped together. And I also am in the midst of setting up a filing system in a big office-sized 4-drawer filing cabinet. Everything is torn out so I can sort through it all, then file it, find a new home for it, or throw it away. I'm trying to get things organized to be ready to rock and roll with a tweaked business plan for 2011.

So to make more space in my office, I need to move out a writing desk that is setting beside my computer desk. I'm going to put it in the spare room.

However, to put it in the spare room, I needed to move a set of double bookshelves. To do that I needed to empty all the books off them. We're talking books on 10 feet work of shelving. A lot! Once I got all the stuff off, then Jonathan helped me move the shelves to the living room... Oh! but before I moved them, I had to empty stuff off a tea table and move it out of the way.

At present it has a little Christmas tree setting on it. Where it goes after Christmas... I'll figure out later.

But the bookshelves are in place, and all the books back on the shelves. Now all the stuff is moved off the top of the desk, and from underneath it, and when Jess gets home he can help me move it.

For now, I need to go out and do evening chores.

I hope to have this done by the end of the week if I don't collapse before then.

Wish me luck. This playing dominoes is hard work!

Short post

Short post, short hair.

Don't think I've mentioned to anyone I got a haircut right before Thanksgiving. Of course, the folks in Florida know it, because they saw me. but I went from waist-length hair to this:

Do I like it? No, I do not. I told the beautician to leave enough hair so that I could put it in a clip and wear it up. It is too short for that. Once she cut the first long length off, about 12 inches or so, she just keep snipping away like a mad woman! =:-O

Oh well, I suppose it will grow out soon enough!

More Sanford Baptism Pictures

I just put a bunch of pictures in an album on Facebook, but I know there are some diehards that do not have a Facebook account (Hi Jess! Hi Randy!) ... so here's a slideshow. Some of the first few pictures will be repeats from the video I did yesterday of the actual baptisms.

But then we had breakfast in the park, which was totally awesome. Debra and Becky had made a bunch of food, some ahead of time, and some like the bacon and eggs they cooked right at the park. It was positively scrumptious!

After breakfast, we walked along one of the trails to see more of the Rock Springs and Kelly Park. So here are pictures from our special day at the park. . .

If you want to see this full screen, click here and you can check it out.

It was a great day!

A Special Day

We made our annual Thanksgiving traditional trek to see the Sanfords and Randy and some of Dave's family last week. It's always a treat, but this year we got an extra special Thanksgiving treat... all four of the Sanford grandkids got baptized.

I'm going to put up more pictures on Rural Ramblings tomorrow, but thought I'd put the video up here tonight.

Another Sunday in the South

Let me just say, I love, love, LOVE this kind of weather. It gets cold at night, then warms up during the day. Beautiful sunshine during the day, a little frost in the morning. I wish it would stay like this longer than it usually does here, but I'm afraid all too soon it will get REALLY cold. I'm not looking forward to that.

Things are settling back into a routine after being gone for a week. Jess is busy at work; he was getting calls before we got home. Jonathan is working 8 days straight. I guess they're letting him "make up" for all his time off!

I'm slowly getting all the laundry done, suitcases back in storage, and other stuff. Seems like I'm carrying something down to the basement every whipstitch! And sure got a lot of ironing that needs done. Some shirts and pants just don't emerge wrinkle-free from the dryer.

The grocery shopping is done for this week, and I've got a work plan made up for the next month. It's a lot easier when I have a list of tasks and can just move from one to the other without having to think about which thing I should do next!

So we're settling back to the status quo, at least until it's time for the next trip!

Maybe we should have stayed on vacation...

We just got home yesterday from almost a week in Pigeon Forge. I'm beginning to think maybe we would have been better off staying there.

There were bad storms around the country yesterday, and the Canadian contingent was flying home. Bad combination. Evidently a big storm in Chicago messed everything up and their flight from Knoxville left about an hour & a half late.

Worse, when they got to Chicago their flight to Fargo had been flat-out cancelled! They ended up having to fly out on another airline, and instead of going to Fargo where their car is parked, they had to fly to Winnipeg instead. So after a little over 12 hours of trying to get home, now at some point they'll have to spend even more time and make a trip to Fargo to get their car!

Now unlike the Canadian contingent, the actual trip home went fine for us. Jonathan did the driving, and we only made a couple of stops along the way. No, our problems began when we got home.

First off, when we drove up Jess noticed the feed room door was hanging open and the feed bucket and the llama's food bowl were sitting in the yard. Why???

It's like this, I pay what I think is a pretty good sum to have the animals looked after. I left a short checklist of what needed done for use as a quick reference each day, AND then a detailed explanation of everything WITH PICTURES to be sure everything was clear. And yet, there were things that were NOT done that were very clearly written on the list, such as:
  • * getting our mail out of the box at the end of the driveway and putting it in a bin on the back porch,
  • * feeding the dogs 2 eggs each every day,
  • * keeping one of Toby's food bowls full of food,
  • * giving the peachicks a sack of greens every day.

I'd put stuff on a table on the back porch. I worked hard before we left to chop up enough greens to place a couple of cups full in each of the paper lunch bags, so each day the peachicks would have some, and they didn't get any!

And as I said, I left pretty clear instructions. I was disappointed since in times past one of the kids from this same family had done the chores and did an excellent job. When it's plain so many things were NOT done, it makes you wonder what other things didn't get done that you can't tell anything about.

Well, once we unloaded everything from the car, Jess and I headed towards Huntsville to pick up the parrot. We got her home and eventually realized that all the flight feathers are gone from one side. No wonder she took a nose dive to the floor when she tried to fly from the top of her cage to the den!

I haven't been able to stretch out her wing yet to see if they were clipped or she pulled them out. I think it's a distinct possibility that they were clipping her beak and toenails, and most of the time people also ask to have the flight feathers clipped on their bird. Maybe they got started and realized they weren't supposed to do it, then quit. But it doesn't make any sense to do just one side, even if they weren't supposed to do it at all. Once one side was done, might as well make it even and clip the other side, too.

And coming back from the bird vet's office we had to drive through heavy rain and lots of wind, and tornado sirens going off in north Alabama. Good grief!

And even more stuff... We put some special air cleaners out in the house before we left, and it did smell better when we came back so I was all excited about that. However, I'm not so sure we've solved the problem, because once we got the air conditioner going again, it seems to me there was more smell. I don't think that problem is conquered. Bummer.

Because of the air cleaning, I'd placed a towel over the turtle tank to prevent any of the chemicals getting in there. When I took that off, the smell was awful. Upon closer investigation I discovered some of the food from the automatic dispenser had fallen in a floating decoration, made a stagnant, yucky soup, and there were little larva that looked like mosquito wrigglers in there. Considering the abundance of little black gnat/flies I'm sure that's what was breeding. I put on plastic gloves and cleaned up that mess, so hopefully that's the end of that!

Further, once we got home I found out about a family situation that I think is a train wreck in the making, but there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. The person is an adult, can do what they want, and I really don't have any say about it. Unfortunately, there's little doubt that at some point I'll have to deal with the consequences from this situation.

All that was yesterday evening. But it wasn't the end of unwanted problems.

Today I spent time searching for another avian vet. There isn't any unless we drive an hour away. So I called and asked about the missing feathers, very polite like, just to see what they'd say. The vet insists he didn't trim her feathers, that she must have pulled them out. Anything is possible. I've never seen her do it before, but it does stress her to board at the vets, so who knows? I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and presume she did it herself.

I also mailed a payment to my farm-critter-sitter today, along with a note about being disappointed because all the chores weren't done, and high-lighted the parts of the chore list that were missed so it's plain. Maybe the next job for whoever, it will prompt a little more care?

And then I went down in the basement to do laundry and discovered yet another unwelcome surprise. We have glue boards down there to catch cave-crickets and spiders that wander in, but one glue board had an extra critter on it... a little snake. A little *live* snake. (I won't creep you out with a picture... but there will likely be one tomorrow on the farm blog!)

Are we having fun yet?

Okay, I'm ready for things to settle down to some semblance of normal, or at least just toodling along with no unwelcome surprises. So excuse me now while I go down and put more laundry in the washer and dryer... if you hear me scream, you'll know there was something else down there I didn't want to see!

Looking for boring. . .

I Sing Because. . .

There are some things I really miss about going to church. I miss the music, both listening and getting to sing in choir. And there are some special people I really miss.

A couple of those special people are Carl and Eveyln Tate. During a very dark time, they were good friends to me. In fact, Eveyln was praying for me even before she knew me. . . she just knew that a neighbor needed prayer. Then once I started attending the same church and got to know them, what a blessing! Their kind words lifted me up more times than I can count.

Everyone needs the blessing of some friends like them.

So I was thrilled to see this video that combines two very special things... the music I love and a special friend that I love.

Carl Tate - "I Sing Because..."

Amen, Brother Carl, amen.

Random Thoughts About Another Week, Another Saturday

The days speed by, the weeks speed by, the months speed by, the years speed by.

Whatever happened to way back when I was a kid, and thinking it was taking such a VERY long time to get to 16, because after all, when I got to be 16 I could do everything? I could get contacts, I could date, I could drive, I could.... well, you get the idea.

Well, I don't want to be 16 again. In fact, if I was in a time machine, I'd probably go back to about 30 or so. I think that's a good age. You've got more a grip on who you are and what you want out of life. A little life experience and maturity under your belt.

But then, 30 isn't a magic number either. I'm still rediscovering who I am, and what I want, and it doesn't stay the same from one day to the next. Okay, the basics do, but there are always changes. You can't be living and not changing. If you never changed, well, that would be a sad state of affairs.

Even more on time passing so quickly. . .

I was wearing an old tee shirt this week that said,

"My grandchildren are as cute as buttons."

These days, I only have one grandchild I could say that about. The others have gotten past the "cute as buttons" stage and are gorgeous young ladies and handsome young men. Again, how did that happen so fast? And even our little Ellie who can still be classified as cute... well, she started kindergarten this year.

Time keeps on slippin' away.

I'm reminded of that every time I look at my spreadsheets and where I should be business wise. Time keeps relentlessly speeding up and I don't get things done I wanted to.

For instance, I spent a large part of the last week learning some new software. I hereby confess I positively HATE learning new software. But once I've figured it out, it's like, "Wow! This is really cool!"

This time was no different. It took a long time to set-up everything and figure out how to work it, but now it will be a big time saver and a great asset to the business.

But all that being said, it put me behind for the moment, and I didn't get work done on a lot of stuff I wanted to finish up this week.

Still taking time to learn. . .

The SEO webinars that lasted from 7:30pm until 1:30am DID finish up this past week however. But there is a follow-up course in October on a related subject. And I still have a different course on Tuesday nights, but thankfully it doesn't last as long. On the other hand, neither does it deliver so much information! But shorter seminars allow you to digest and implement stuff a little quicker. Too much information and the brain kind of short-circuits, and I wonder what to do first!

As for the rest of the clan. . .

Jesse isn't having the time of his life at the moment, considering he has a cold. Also, he's been pretty busy at work, and his plan for taking Fridays off hasn't been happening because of that.

To add insult to injury, a guy he did a bunch of work for just went out of business. He owed Jess a bunch of money, but no way to collect it, so Jess and all this guy's other creditors are just up the creek without a paddle, too bad, so sad.

Jonathan is working over time this week, and only had one day off. His usual days off are Thursday and Saturday, but he's got to work today to help cover for people being out.

And now it's time to close. . .

Well, I need to get back to work. Hope those of you reading this have a good time this week!

Saturday morning on the farm. . .

Or maybe, "Everything you wanted to know about what I'm doing but were afraid to ask." And if you aren't interested if what I'm doing, well, now would be a good time to stop reading.

At the moment I'm doing my usual Saturday thing of work a while (more physical work... as in, cleaning house), then take a break and sit down for a while and do some stuff on the computer. For this break I decided to update my woefully neglected personal blog here.

Most of the time posting here gets passed over for posting on working blogs. With two outsourcers working for me and Jesse on the brink of retiring, I need to boost my income considerably, which Jess so kindly reminds me of from time to time. (NO pressure.... nooooooooooooo.......) But I've got to be able to stop pouring all profit back into the business and have some for living expenses.

I guess this week is fairly representative of how things go ... I do the usual farm chores and fixing lunches and cooking... occasionally get some laundry and cleaning in there. And I still attend webinars. There will ALWAYS be more to learn. Working as an online entrepreneur is like anything else in that the rules are always changing, and the stuff that worked yesterday doesn't always do so well today. Only maybe in the world of instant communication it happens a little faster! (Okay, a LOT faster.)

So this week I had a webinar on Tuesday night I needed to attend. (We have rearranged our schedule for mastermind group calls that we were previously doing on Tuesday nights, but yes, I'm still in a mastermind group.)

Wednesday night I had two webinars. One didn't last long, and I left it before the Q&A session at the end was over so I could go to the next to the last call of another series I've been attending on SEO (search engine optimization). The guy doing these webinars seriously over delivers on information. It's not fluff, it's solid content, and we have consistently been on these sessions for 5-6 hours. This last one lasted from 7:30pm to 1:30am.

But it's important to keep learning more things to help my work. Sometimes it's a new way of doing things to help get things done better or faster or both. Sometimes it's finding out something I've been doing is ALL WRONG, and I need to change. That's a little disheartening when that happens, but it just means it's time to fix things, dust myself off and move on.

Of course, in-between the regular farm and household work and webinars, and making sure my outsourcers have stuff to work on, it's critical for me to be actually DOING , and working on stuff online that will generate income.

I have 3 main business models I'm using, and rotate working on the sites associated with these methods. I won't try to explain them fully; if it's not your thing you'd be totally bored pretty fast. But as an example of what I do, in the past couple of months I have built 11 new blogs and seriously overhauled several old ones. Most of the new blogs are part of a batch I'm working on that feed into a larger authority site. So far I've done about 100 posts for those sites. Fortunately, there will come a point when I feel they are built up sufficiently, and can slow down on those.

But there will always be more to do once those are done. To increase income, I have to keep building, plus do an occasional brush-up of those already done.

Being an online entrepreneur is NOT the get-rich-quick thing some gurus talk about. It takes time to learn how to do it, and time to build a business. The guys who say you can get rich quick online are the only ones getting rich quick off the money you spend buying their products. Now, there are legitimate products out there, and some are a big help. And there are also a lot of tools you need to streamline the work you're doing, or to just plain out-right be able to get it done.

But it takes a while to become savvy enough to know what's good and what's not, and from the talk on forums it's clear that most people spend a lot more than they wanted to before they figure it out.

At any rate, the bottom line is I'm still working on building my business. The coffers aren't filling as quickly as I'd hoped, but I'm starting to see some results. Right now I'm really PUSHING to have a lot done in the next couple of months, particularly that new batch of websites, so they'll be firmly entrenched in the search engines before Christmas shopping season which for my purposes I'm counting as starting around the first of November.

And there you have it. This may seem like a lengthy post, but it just scratches the surface of what I'm doing. So if you don't hear from me, it's not that I'm lazy, I'm just going crazy(ier) trying to get things done!

Comedy of Errors

Well, I ended up with two things supposed to be happening at the same time tonight. One was our usual Mastermind call, and the other was a webinar to give some in-depth instruction on a system I bought some time ago.

First I had trouble finding the phone number for our conference call. Finally found it and had the online webinar booting up at the same time.

I got on the Mastermind call, and only one other was there. We chatted a little while, and I told her about how this call was supposed to be Thursday, and now it was Tuesday, and... bottom line, decided I'd attend the webinar and come back to the mastermind next week.

In the meantime, the webinar had started, then all of a sudden the screen stopped moving. After a few minutes the webinar went totally down. I clicked back on, and this time the partner of the guy who was going to give the webinar came on and said his partner's internet went down, and the call has been rescheduled to.... you guess it.... Thursday.

Argh! I could have went ahead with the mastermind call if I'd known. But that's the way it is sometimes, a total comedy of errors.

While I was trying to get all these things set up at the same time, I knocked over my glass of iced tea and had to clean it up, and I got my head set wet and had to dry it...

And through all this I'm dealing with itchy ant bites, like half a dozen on my right knee, and a couple of bigger ones on each ankle. That was another comedy of errors, that the llama and I should end up standing in a fire ant hill yesterday. That's a black comedy I fear... okay, red...

Well, that's how it goes! Guess I'll just go back to work, and hope things go better Thursday night and next Tuesday, and all the rest of the days in-between!


I am not the farm...

Today has been a hard day in a whole lot of ways and I didn't get much sleep last night, so I'm a little cranky. If you don't want to listen to me grousing, stop reading right now.

Okay, so here it is. I write a lot about life on the farm. I used to send out an email to interested people a few years ago (TN Tattlers), but quit because I got tired of explaining that I was writing about what time I WAS active, but that didn't mean I was active 24/7, and yes, I still had/have chronic pain and fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. I just didn't see writing, "Oh, I was on the couch for a couple of hours today" as being interesting reading.

So I gave up with the TN Tattlers. But I like to write, so now I do it on a more public and a little less personal forum of the farm blog. It gets quite a few visitors, enough so that the website has a page rank of 3. That probably doesn't mean anything to most people reading this, but short explanation is that Google ranks all pages from 0 - 10, and there are a lot more ranked zero than about anything else. 3 is a solid ranking.

Anyway, the point is that I write a lot about the farm and a lot of people read it. Most I never hear from or know who they are. Many comment and we have an enjoyable dialog. Others I hear from I could do without, those being the ones who love to tell me what I'm doing wrong.

And then there are those who are so interested in what I write they want to come visit and see the farm. Many don't even make a pretense of saying they want to come see me, they just "want to see the farm and the animals I write about."

Well, we don't have a petting zoo. We're not open to the public. And for the most part, I don't do visitors. Seriously, when I say I'm turning into a hermit, I am NOT kidding. Especially right now when I am concentrating on starting/growing a business, while still doing the farm work and a little bit of house work, because the guys are also working full time and somebody's got to do it!

So at the moment we do most family visits by meeting family elsewhere, like taking Dad on a mini vacation, and meeting Maria and family and staying overnight at a cabin in eastern WV. Or meeting the Canadian crew this fall in the Pigeon Forge area.

The point to all this rambling is why would I want people I don't even know to come visit when these days I rarely even have immediate family visit the farm? It's just too difficult to take time off to clean and get ready for company, and still get other work done. It's more fun, easier, and less stressful to meet people elsewhere.

And seriously, "I am not the farm"... people can see me without seeing the farm. If people have to see the farm to see me, they're not really interested in seeing me, they want to see the farm. I just happen to be the keeper of the farm animals. And frankly, I'm a little tired of people feigning an interest in me so they can see the farm.

So there it is. I repeat, I am not the farm. If someone really wants to see me, we can meet somewhere besides the farm. Go out to dinner perhaps. Or here's an idea... what about THEIR house?

Hey, I warned you I was cranky!

Retired Classmates

I was just looking at Facebook, and noticed there are a lot of my classmates from high school that list their present occupation as "retired."

First off, it seems a little early to be retiring if you go by Social Security standards. Even with early retirement, you're supposed to be 62 years of age. People in my class should still be at least 5 years or so away from that. So what's with all these retired people?

Of course, for my part, I never worked at any job long enough to become vested for a retirement plan. I was a SAHM, we moved way too often, and I tended to have money making projects, but not so many jobs outside the home.

And while retirement seems foreign to me, I *still* don't work outside the home. (I am such a hermit!) I'm working hard getting a business off the ground, but I sit at home and work odd hours - albeit a LOT of hours - and not even thinking about retiring. Who's got time to retire?

I never did do things the way most "normal" people do them. So why start now?

Jess has got a green toe....

Yeah, that's supposed to be a green thumb, but Jess likes to do things differently.

See, he went to the podiatrist today. He's been having trouble with the toenail on the big toe of his left foot. The podiatrist removed it. (Ooooowwwwww, I cringe as I write this!)

So now to gain the sympathy vote, he's got a bright green bandage around his toe. I didn't think to get a picture of it, and I don't think he'd appreciate me waking him up at midnight to get one.

He says it doesn't hurt, so hopefully it will stay in that condition.

Other news... what's to say? Busy as usual, same old, same old!

What's happening?

First, an update on the "psychotic reaction" episodes. Thankfully, once all that second antibiotic got out of my bloodstream, they went away. I suppose one of these days I'll see the humor in me "being psycho", but that's a long way off for now. It's still too vivid in my mind, too real, too intense, too... scary.

Now, as for what's happening around here. Mostly it's the same old stuff, but here's a short run-down of life on the farm. . .

-> The weather. Everyone talks about the weather. Well, it's summer in the south, and no big surprise that it's hot. Temperatures in the high 90s for days and days and whew! Is it fall yet? And dry. The trees in the front yard are losing so many leaves it looks like fall, but it sure doesn't feel like fall.

-> The farm. Lots of baby chickens, 4 baby peafowl, a couple of baby guinea birds. One heavily pregnant llama (due in late October - 11 months gestation).

-> Jess's garden. He's given up on the tomatoes, but has quite a few watermelons. He ate the first one yesterday, and it was nice and sweet tasting.

-> Jess himself. Sometimes very busy at work, once in a while employs "time-users" like playing cards on the computer. Choir starting back at church after a summer break. Going to a podiatrist tomorrow.

-> Jonathan. Still delivering pizza, and working full-time most weeks, and often even gets into overtime. Started a league playing tabletop war games.

-> me. Crazy busy. ALL THE TIME. Oh, I take a little time off now and then, but most of the time I'm either working on farm stuff, critical household chores (I'll confess, if it's not critical, it's not getting done), and otherwise working online. I want to keep the growth momentum going, especially since I'll lose a lot of time come November with various activities. I'll need to have things in place to keep my two girls busy even when I'm not working.

And there you have it, a short summing up of what's been happening around here!

Psychotic Reactions

All kidding aside, I've been dealing with psychotic reactions the last couple of days. Waking up with anxiety attacks and pretty much having nightmares while still awake. Scary stuff. Feeling I couldn't go back to sleep because I had to stay awake and tell myself to keep breathing or I'd die. Unknown presences looming over me. Did I mention it was scary stuff?

And the cause of all this?

Well, the doctor thinks it was the antibiotic I was taking. Yes, an antibiotic. It seems one of the less common side effects is "confusion, psychotic reactions."

Wonderful. I'm on an antibiotic to get rid of an infection, and I get psychotic episodes instead.

And oh, by the way, that was the second antibiotic in a row I was taking, because the first one didn't do anything at all to help. I suppose I should be grateful it didn't create any bad side effects either. I mean, psychotic reactions from an antibiotic!?!

So it's now week three, and a third antibiotic. I'm almost afraid to start taking this one. I'm not ready to deal with any more strange side effects. But it seems I have little choice since the infection lingers....

Well, I'm off to take another pill. Hopefully withOUT side effects.

It's pretty bad when you're scared to take an antibiotic. . .

We're still here!

So it's been almost a month since I wrote anything on this blog. How to condense activities for that much time? For the most part, it's pretty easy. Jess goes to work Monday through Friday, spends Saturday mowing or doing other chores around the farm, and goes to church on Sunday. Jonathan works full-time at the pizza place, helps out at home, and is in a wargaming league. For my part, I've been working long hours trying to get sites built and more money coming in from my business, while keeping up with the house and farm.

Then last week we were in West Virginia. For a combination Father's Day and birthday gift, we took Dad on a mini-vacation. We picked him up and drove over to Elkins and stayed the night, then the next morning had breakfast and headed to the train depot.

We took a ride on the Cheat Mountain Salamander, described on their site as:

The CHEAT MOUNTAIN SALAMANDER ... a spectacular 128-mile, 9-hour round trip through one of the largest wilderness areas in the Eastern United States. Your assigned-seat ticket includes the following enhanced on-board services: a sandwich buffet for lunch and a dinner featuring a choice of hot entrees served buffet-style in our dining car, the “Red Spruce”.

From Elkins to Spruce is 9-hour ride that transports you through mile after mile of unbroken, untamed mountain wilderness that relatively few people have actually seen. In fact, this rugged mountain area is so inhospitable, neither early settlers nor contemporary society have opted to settle here. As a result, with the exception of early 20th century resource extraction activities, this stronghold of nature remains largely as it was before modern civilization arrived.

Your excursion route includes many interesting features such as a long tunnel built with an “S” curve far underneath Cheat Mountain, numerous long mountain vistas, and many opportunities to view exotic wildlife including bald eagle and black bear sightings. Also, stops will be made at the inspirational “High Falls of the Cheat” and the former sight of the notorious town of Spruce, WV, once the highest and coldest incorporated town east of the Mississippi.
We were fortunate to have beautiful weather for the day of the train ride. I got to thinking about it ahead of time and wondering about how hot it might be, but with the windows open as far as they would go (maybe 10 inches?), and up in the mountains, it was fine. We never got too hot.

As for all the exotic wildlife, we never saw any. No eagles. No black bear. Just lots of birds and butterflies! But the scenery was beautiful and we enjoyed the trip.

When we got off the train, Maria and crew were waiting for us and we headed to a cabin about 40 miles away. We spent the night there, then went over to Elk Springs Resort and Elk River the next day. Caleb and Clair did some fly fishing for trout. Jess and Dad both tried their hand at it, but the trout were mostly ignorning them. The water was so clear you can see the fish easily, and they were just swimming around more or less taunting the fishermen. Claire and Caleb did finally catch some, however.

Monday we were going to visit Jackson Mills but it started raining soon after we got there, so we didn't spend much time there. We drove Dad home, and he and I looked through a bunch of picture albums. Then Jess and I needed to head out, because it takes us two days to get back home.

We did stop on the way home and spent a couple of hours at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Jess has wanted to stop there for ages, so we finallly took the time. I've never seen so many Corvettes in my life! There are some pretty neat looking cars there.

I took lots of pictures everywhere we went, but I haven't sorted through them yet. I actually filled up a 4GB memory card and started on the second one, which I have never done before, so I've got a lot to sort through. Since many of them were taken ont the train while it was moving, I'm sure a good portion of them will be too blurry to keep. My camera has trouble focusing at the best of times, and pictures while moving are even more problematic. I'll try to get some posted... sometime. I won't even attempt to guess when or make any promises!

Now it's catch up time, and I'm finishing up laundry today. Jonathan is off the hook for taking care of the farm and it's back in my bailiwick. Jess is trying to get his tractor working, make some repairs around the house, and keep up with stuff at work. We're all busy, and just trying to survive the heat!

And that's the way it is for now in our part of the world!

Happy 16th Anniversary!

Yes, it's been 16 years since our "big" church wedding. (Just us, Richard, Jason, Jonathan, and the preacher, Rodney Bowling.)

And here we are on our honeymoon...

Wow, are we cool, or what?

We went and had a more formal picture taken soon after our wedding.


Mom's Birthday

Today would have been my Mom's 76th birthday. It makes me sad she didn't get to see all the grandkids and great-grandkids. She so wanted to, but it just didn't happen. Dale and I were only married 4 months when she died.

To celebrate her life, here a few of the pictures I found of her, in no particular order...

The picture above has written on the back, "Florence at Stanley Rock." I have no idea where that is or when this was taken.

I don't know when this was taken either, but Mom looks pretty young!

And she looks pretty young in this picture also...

I am assuming she was the one to get the deer in this picture since she is posing with it, but don't know for certain.

The next couple of pictures had to be taken in the late 1950's, because that's me with Mom in both of the following pictures.


Here's a couple of bathing beauties. . .

Once again, I don't know where the picture was taken, but the other looker in the picture is one of Mom's friends, Mary Lee Reed.

I don't know what year this was taken either. Too bad the date wasn't printed on all these pictures!

And a good picture of Mom and Dad...

Here's Mom holding a palomino horse we had, and that's Maria riding it.

Here's a fairly rare picture of our whole family together. It was taken in Washington, D.C. We went to visit Charles while he was attending Gallaudet College.

This picture was taken by Michael Boggs at mine and Dale's wedding in 1972.

And this last picture didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped, but it's a picture of Mom with another one of her friends, Betty Metheney. There were up at the Metheney place, making apple butter.

Sadly, it couldn't have been more than a year or so before she died, as she passed away on April 26, 1973, about a month and a half shy of her 39th birthday.

I still miss her.

Another Rainy Sunday

I guess better it rains today than yesterday. One of my best friends was at an outdoor wedding yesterday, and Jess and some of his friends went to the race at Nashville Speedway last night. So they all got to attend the events without getting rained on.

And it didn't rain today until Jonathan got all the groceries in from the car. Good again!

I got a new notebook while we were at the store, or maybe I should say a 3-ring binder. I needed a bigger one for my paperwork on websites. This one is soooooo cool. It's the kind with pockets you can slide a paper into on the front and on the back and even on the end, so you can put something in there to be able to tell what's inside the notebook.

But considering the eye-popping electric blue color of this binder, I don't think I'm going to have any trouble picking it out from the others when I need it!

Got to admit, that's my favorite aisle... binders, paper, pens and pencils... better than jewelry! The only real competition is a book store. Good thing I don't get to one very often, ha!

So I don't fit the "typical" female profile and want to shop for clothes and jewelry. Give me office stuff and I'm a happy camper. But lest you think I'm a cheap date... I'm mighty fond of digital cameras and computer stuff too. However, they're not on the shopping list very often, whereas I can buy a new pen or binder almost any time!

It's good to enjoy the little things in life!

Back to the old order of things...

Richard, Chrystie and Ellie were here for a few days on their way back to Canada. Today Richard and Ellie flew from Nashville back to Canada. Chrystie is driving the car back, and made it to Indiana tonight. If all goes well, she'll be back in Canada by the beginning of next week.

So it's back to the old order of things.

Back to taking at least two layovers for a visit, cause that what it takes to make it to Canada. There's no more non-stop flights to go visit them.

And Chrystie will be back to work, and Ellie will be back to her therapy routine, and this fall be starting school. And of course, Richard's been working right along through the Florida sojourn, and goes back to work tomorrow in Canada.

All of this means it's back to being difficult to arrange visits!

Here's it's back to the same old, with both Jesse and Jonathan busy at work, and me busy working at home.

So, for now, it's back to the old order of things. sigh....

Success at last!

Yes, I have FINALLY got the Tracphone working.

However, that doesn't mean the problems have been resolved. Oh no, we're on the FIFTH go round of "We'll definitely have it fixed in 48 hours." Yeah, right.

At least one of the last customer service reps I talked to had sense enough to tell me that even if I couldn't use my credit cards to put minutes on, I could go to someplace like Walmart and buy an airtime/minutes card, and then use that to put airtime on the phone.

So when Jonathan and I went to get groceries today, we also bought one of those cards. Since the airtime ran out on May 15th, that meant the phone had to be reactivated, which meant I had to call to have the minutes put on. Otherwise I could have done it from a menu on the phone itself.

At any rate, I called, and the phone is now working. At first the guy said they'd email me a new phone number, and I had a HISSY FIT. I informed him I was told at the beginning of this fiasco that since they were the ones trying to fix the problem, I would be able to keep the old phone number even though the phone was inactive.

9 days later of their inept problem solving, and they wanted to go back on their word and give me a new number. No sirreeeeeee dude!

Bottom line.... the phone has more airtime and is working. It still has the same number. But I STILL have to call back in another 48 hours to see if they corrected the problem with being able to get online or using my credit cards.

They've given me all kinds of stories, even to the point of telling me one of the cards had fraudulent activity on it. Oh no buddy, I know better than that! I emailed the service department of the card in question to double check, but I have email alerts on my credit card. Every time something is charged, I get an email telling me where to and how much. When I use the card at the store, the email is waiting or me when I get home. I positively KNOW it is NOT anything wrong with my credit cards. The problem is on THEIR end!

As for Jess and no work... that didn't last long! He got work pouring in faster than he could do it last week. In fact, he has more than enough work to keep his busy this coming week also!

In the meantime he's outside trying to fix our lawnmower. I believe he said there was some problem with a belt. And I think he was going to fix a broken perch in the peafowl's pen.

As for me, I'm working on an updated business plan, and disengaging myself from any gurus or companies that aren't in line with what I want to focus on.

And of course, there's always farm and housework!

In other words, we'll are still busy!!!

So there you have it, the latest news from our neck of the woods.

Three is NOT charming!

Okay, I know the old saying, "Three's a charm." but I've got to tell you, today I am not finding the number 3 charming. Not. at. all.

#1 Uncharming incident was getting up and try to check my email, and once again, NO internet service. I called customer support. Let me say here and now, I have a love/hate relationship with Mediacom Internet. When it's working, of course it's wonderful. But when it's not and you have to contact them, it is most decidedly BAD NEWS.

I have called them many, many times over the years. The first thing the system does is ask for your phone number and checks to see if there is an outage in the area. I think MAYBE that one out of 25 times it will actually tell me that yes, there is an outage in this area and that's the end of that because then I know they'll have someone out to work on it.

But usually I get the "There is no reported outage in your area" and shunted over to a different automated system.

This one has an oh-so-cheery female voice that is going to help me figure out what is wrong. She asks a zillion questions, but the bottom line is a) unplug your modem, and b) wait a few seconds then plug it back in, and c) oops, it STILL ISN'T WORKING and she doesn't know what to do so sends your information to a LIVE tech. (About time!)

Of course, all that rigamarole takes about 20 minutes, and is insulting because anyone who has had a problem with their internet going out, after the first go round already KNOWS to unplug the modem so it will reset.

So after maybe half an hour I finally got to talk to a real person, repeated all my information, and was told, "Oh, there's an outage in your area."

#$%@% No kidding!

I told him very politely what I thought of their automated system, and how ridiculous it is, and how it wasted at least 30 minutes of my time to tell me what I already knew! He agreed, but do you think anything will ever be done?

No, it will not. Because Mediacom thinks that stupid automated system is saving them money, because they sure wouldn't want to have to pay another tech. Never mind how much we're all paying them every month for internet service, and do you think we get a refund when it doesn't work? No, we do NOT!

But I mentioned 3 things didn't I?

#2) I work online. I have several blogs. I was trying to do something with one of them I've done many, many times before, but two accounts have crossed wires on one of the systems, and it won't work. I have an email into support, but so far, the problem hasn't been resolved. In the mean time, that blog is sitting there with no spam protection and is not collecting stats. I'm sure it will eventually get worked out. I hope.

#3) Tracphone. Ohhhhhh, tracphone. The airtime on the one Jonathan uses was due to expire today. I always go online, put in my user name and password, and add airtime.

Well, not today.

First off, the system wouldn't accept the user name and password. Here again, this is something I've done many, many times. The information hasn't changed. I thought maybe they had a system-wide glitch and tried to enter the user name and password for my phone. That went right through. So I tried to get a new password for Jonathan's phone. The system informed me that email was not in their records and contact customer support.

So I did.

Trying to get a straight answer as to why I suddenly can't get into my account never happened. I spent well over an hour on this. When it became obvious I wasn't going to get an answer, I was going to let them put the airtime on.

So the first person tried it, and said the system wouldn't take my credit card. What??? I tried to give her a different one then, and she needed to send me to someone else. (It's called passing the buck, ha!)

I explained my situation again, and this guy told me I could go online and put airtime on the phone without actually logging into my account. So I tried it.

It didn't work.

Then he tried it with two different credit cards, both of which I KNOW are in excellent standing. It didn't matter. The system wouldn't take it.

I asked him if this had anything to do with the fact somebody used my name and address and stolen credit card number to buy a bunch of stuff from Tracphone a few months ago. He didn't think so. Okay, then what IS the problem? He didn't know.

The bottom line with this one is that I have a ticket number, and am supposed to call back in 24 hours to see if they know what the problem is, but he also said they'd know in 24 to 48 hours. So I might call and they still won't have an answer.

By the time I hung up, it was getting dark and we needed to go out and do chores. My lady llama was as crabby as me and tried to spit on me. That's unusual. She usually spits at Jess, not me.

When we came back in I sat down and looked at my email.... and saw THREE transaction alerts from the credit card company for charges from TracPhone! Considering someone has stolen my credit card information twice, and NO, not from on-line..... well, I'm more than a little paranoid about my credit cards!

So I called TracPhone back. As I suspected, those charges are from when they tried to put airtime on my phone, but should go OFF the credit card because their system didn't accept my account getting new airtime.

We shall see. You can bet I'll be keeping my eyes open on this one. If I see those charges pop up on my account, there will be a lot more phone calling happening!

In the meantime, I'm hoping the rest of this day is QUIET. Boring. Serene. Peaceful. Nice. No glitches.

I can dream, can't I?

Plugging Away

Jess is momentarily out of work, so he decided to stay home today and help me in the basement. We managed about 4 hours of work down there, and that did me in. Jess however, being a tough old geezer, went out and tilled his garden and mowed a little grass. He must have ate his Wheaties this morning!

We got two sections of shelving cleared out and rearranged. There are three levels, about 25-inches deep, and each section about 4-feet long. There was a set of bookshelves on top of one section with a bunch of stuff too. AND an unbelievable amount of stuff sitting on the floor in front of the shelves.

We took all of that outside, sorted through it, decided on a more-or-less permanent disposition of the items, then put the stuff back. We had a lot of leftover and never used paint and some gardening stuff in that area. Not to mention extension cords, old tv converter boxes, and what-not.

There's a couple of boxes by the door now for the "give-away" stuff, and a bunch of boxes of foot-square floor tiles I'm going to see if I can sell on Craig's List. I don't see any of us wanting to crawl around putting these tiles down on the basement floor. I actually got them thinking I'd use them in a bathroom or the kitchen, but a nice vinyl flooring was so much easier to put down!

So here's what it looks like now:

I'm glad I took before and after pictures, because when we were done for the day, it was hard to see what we'd accomplished. Jonathan helped me put it into perspective though by telling me from the square surface area, we'd cleaned out an entire room!

However, one thing is painfully (literally!) clear. It's going to take a long time to finish this project considering all the space and how many sets of shelving there are in the basement and that I can only clean in shorter periods of time. No all day cleaning sprees I'm afraid!

I'd hoped to finish it within a month. It's obvious that isn't going to happen. I guess I can live with that as long as we keep it a priority and keep chipping away at it.

I want a clean basement and a nice smelling house!

Gardening Overload

Life is busy as usual. Jess still has a lot of work. Jonathan has been working more than 40 hours a week, even going in on one of his usual days off.

And of course, I always seem to have more to do than I can manage to get done.

But in the midst of all this we planted a garden. My original idea was a few tomato plants, a few pepper plants, maybe some flowers. But once Jesse started tilling he just kept going.

This morning we went and bought some plants. Jess wanted to have a variety of tomato and pepper plants. I think he succeeded in that mission.

For we now have these varieties of tomato plants in our garden:

  • 1 Lemon Boy
  • 1 Cherokee Purple
  • 3 Mountain Pride
  • 3 Rutgers
  • 6 Early Girl
  • 6 Roma
  • 6 Park's Whopper
  • 6 Burpee Big Boy
  • 6 Better Boy
  • 6 Celebrity
  • 9 Atkinson
  • 9 Brandywine
That makes 62 tomato plants. And of course, we also have 13 pepper plants:

  • 1 Gypsy
  • 3 Golden Summer
  • 3 Sweet Banana
  • 6 California Wonder

That makes a total of 75 plants in our garden.

When questioned what he was going to do with the produce from that many plants, Jess said, "Eat it!" I told him no way he could eat all that, so then he declared he'd give a lot away.

I believe we may have a teensy bit more garden than we really need. Gardening overload indeed!

What's That Smell?

First off, I can't believe it's been 12 days since I last posted. We've been home some time since my last post of April 20th, having motored back the 24th & 25th of April. Last week was "catch up" time, trying to get caught up on all the stuff that was not done the 9 days we were gone.

And of course, one of the bad things I noticed when we got home was the smell. It's one of the banes of my existence. I'm sure it's the first thing anyone notices when they come to our house, and wonder, "What's that smell?"

There's no getting around it, the house stinks.

Of course, when we're here all the time, we get used to it and don't notice it so much. But after being gone a while and coming back... oh yeah, it's still there.

I have tried air filters of all sorts - ionic, HEPA, charcoal. The carpets have been shampooed. There are air fresheners sitting around all over the house, and scented oils.

All those things help, but it's a temporary fix. The smell may seem like it's gone, but it always comes back.

I've about come to the conclusion that one or both things are at the bottom of this smell. One is the carpet. It's been here since we moved in and looked a little worse for wear even then. We had problems with cats spraying some places, and they were put outside and the carpet then cleaned with stuff that was supposed to remove the cat urine.

And maybe it did. The smell doesn't really remind me of cat.

I think it is more likely the basement is the main source of the odors. It flooded several times before we got it fixed. No telling what kind of mold is growing underneath the paneling or inside the blocks.

And it has lots of cardboard boxes. Many of these got damp. They are probably still drawing dampness. More mold/mildew and odor.

I've done a lot of research into getting odors out of a house, but I just recently found something that may actually do the trick. It was used in New Orleans to remove the black mold and other mildew and smells from houses. Of course, they would tent a house and fumigate it. But now you can buy packages that do one room at a time. It's supposed to be non-toxic, but at the same time, it's still supposed to get rid of all the molds, mildews and odors.

So I'm on a mission. I've enlisted the help of the two J's here. The game plan is this:
  • Clear the basement of all cardboard - everything in cardboard boxes needs to be put in plastic bins if it's worth keeping, or given away or thrown away.
  • Once the basement is cleared out and cleaned up, time to "bomb" it with this stuff to kill all the nasties and odors.

Of course, the upstairs needs "bombed" too. I even read that it's a good idea to do the attic at the same time to get rid of any problems there.

We got started on the project this past weekend, and Jess had quite a bonfire burning up cardboard boxes that were already empty or easily emptied. We bought our first batch of bins to get started on sorting. We got rid of a bunch of plastic grocery sacks that have been accumulating for a long time by taking them to be recycled. We have a place fairly well cleared out for a "staging area" as we sort things into categories of give away, recycle, throw away, or put in a bin to keep.

This is all a lot of work. LOTS. And it's not exactly cheap either to buy a bunch of plastic bins and to buy enough stuff to clear the entire house of any molds, mildews or odors. But I'm tired of being embarrassed for anyone to come to our house.

Somehow, we've got to get this work done. I don't want the first thing someone wonders when they walk in our house to be, "What's that smell?"

Visiting Family in Florida

Here we are in Florida, and we are indeed visiting family. I thought this would be so cool having everyone in one place. and it will be this evening when we all get together in one place to visit.

But most of the time there's a major drawback. You can only be visiting one house at a time, one part of the family at a time. And when you are visiting them you're having a good time, but in the back of your head, you are also thinking about the other part of your family.

In other words, I want to be in two places at the same time.

Obviously, that doesn't work. But we have such fun both places, and enjoy seeing our family, just too many places we want to be at the same time.

We just love all our family bunches and wish we could see them all bunches!

Greetings from Tifton, Georgia

Here we are in Tifton, Georgia, sitting in the motel room. Jesse is watching baseball (big surprise!), and I’m working on the computer (another big surprise!)

Tomorrow we're headed over to the Okefenokee Swamp, then on down to Florida.

More to come!

One week from today!!

Yep, in one week I'll be headed to Florida again. Don't know when I've been there so much, ha! But this time Jess is also going, and we're taking a couple of days and driving down. and we'll get to see not only Richard, Chrystie & Ellie, but Randy and the Sanfords as well. Fun times!

Now, looking at the dates, I can't believe it's been over two weeks since I last posted. Well, come to think of it, yes, I can. I've been totally swamped.

I talked it over with Jess today, and have decided to ease up a little. An Apple iPad isn't worth the misery, ha! I just can't keep up with this contest. I lost a week at the beginning, we're going to be gone another week soon, and the work load is just tremendous.

Besides it's too much of just ONE thing. I've got other projects too that are being ignored while I try to get this done. So I'm going to forget about the contest and just do the work at a slower pace. And that way have more things I can work on too.

It's just been too crazy. I have been so totally immersed trying to catch up and keep up, that all my waking hours seem to be involved in farm work, house work or computer work. No letter writing, no reading, no casual blogging, and even very little photography or tv watching.

Time to ease up a little.

And I've got a blog to repair. I can NOT believe my hosting service just up and deleted "Helping Ellie Walk", including all the back-ups. Absolutely everything gone. If I hadn't made my own back-ups it would have been a total loss. But the trouble is my back-ups didn't include pictures, and the text ended up with strange characters here and there, and of course I had to set-up the blog again and Wordpress, and plugins, yada, yada, yada.... it's going to take a while to fix it.

So I'm losing hours of my time for their mistake.

Jess spent part of last week getting our taxes done. Well, he has them finished, but the Turbo Tax/IRS connection keeps spitting them back. He's going to have to keep working at it next week, or finally give and print and mail them if they won't go electronically.

He also mowed the grass today for the first time this year. He even went up in the orchard and mowed there and the main pasture too.

And he's dealing with some kind of allergic reaction. His woke up Wednesday morning looking like he had a bad sunburned face and puffy around the eyes, and he had to take his wedding ring off. It's red like a burn under it! We've tried to figure out what in the world could have caused this but just not sure.

He tilled the garden last Saturday, but that means at least 3 days passed, and that seems a little long for sun poisoning or something. He had a hair cut Tuesday, so maybe they used a new kind of shampoo or hairspray? Just really don't know why or what he's allergic to all of a sudden.

So as usual, life remains interesting!

Back in the rainy south . .

I didn't comment on Day 3 of the seminar, and I even spent another day with Richard, Chrystie & Ellie before flying home Tuesday.

But Tuesday I was tired. Wednesday was a payback day. Today is the first day I'm starting to feel human again.

Honestly, there were times during the seminar I wasn't sure I could make it. I'd be tempted to slink off to my room, but then one of my mastermind group or someone would ask me about something, and I'd say to myself, "Okay, just a little longer."

As Chrystie said on Monday when I was complaining about being run over by a semi-truck, "The adrenalin has worn off." Yep, exactly. During the seminar, I was running on adrenalin, pumped up and hanging in there as best I could.

I had big plans for this trip. I was going to go see Ellie at therapy. I was going to go shopping to get Ellie a birthday present. I was going to call the Sanfords. I did not get any of these things done. It was just a rough trip, feeling bad before the seminar and just finally the evening before getting a little better, managing to last through the seminar itself, and then trying to recuperate.

As for now! I just hope to keep moving forward, rain or no rain, pain or no pain.

Seminar, Day 2

All I can say is a repeat... wow!

I have learned soooooo much in the last two days. I told Jess when I talked to him this evening that's it's like a revival or "tent meeting" for online entrepreneurs!!!

It's not just sitting in there listening to someone lecture about what you need to do for websites or traffic or other components to online work. It is far more than that. It's creating a mindset for success. It's learning more about yourself AND your master mind group. It's been about changing limiting beliefs and replacing them with those beliefs about success.

My comfort zone was stretched so far out of the norm this afternoon it will never be the same. If I had known ahead of time some of the stuff we'd be doing, I probably would have reconsidered coming. Which would have been too bad, because it has been good for me.

I don't know what tomorrow holds, but once again, even if I went home right now, it would have been worth the money.

Seminar, Day 1

It's late, and I have another long day tomorrow, so this will be short.

To sum it up, I survived it.

Not only survived, but thrived!

Oh, the seats weren't the best and my posterior and back are feeling the pain.

But I learned soooooo much, and we got sooooooo much accomplished today. It's incredible!

If I left today, it would have been worth it. But there are two more days, and lots more to learn.


This, That & The Other...

I've got dining room chairs in my living room. People who clean house regularly will probably figure out why right off, but for the rest of us, they're in here with me because I mopped the kitchen floor and am waiting for it to dry.

I don't do a full-out all-floor mop-up very often. More prone to spot cleaning, because scooting chairs and rugs and table around is a big hassle.

I have also dusted everything in the den and straightened up some in there. Don't anybody keel over in a faint.

I've done chores outside, I've sorted through some papers, I've done this, that and the other.

There were two factors in play to create this cleaning-semi-frenzy. The first one is the fact I didn't have any internet working until about 1pm, so couldn't work anyway.

The second is a variation of your mom telling you to always wear clean underwear in case you're in an accident or something. (Frankly, I don't remember my mom ever telling me such a thing, but it's just something "everyone" knows.)

Anyway, my variation is "clean the house before you go on a trip, in case something happens to you and other people have to go in your house."

Hey, I didn't say it made any sense.

Of course, it's also nice to come back to a clean house after you've been away, instead of home to a mess. However, since on this trip I'm leaving two men behind while I'm gone, and they like to clean house maybe even less than I do, who knows what the house will look like when I get back. (I must here relate though, that a certain older gentleman actually ran the sweeper in the den while I was gone the last time. Wow! I didn't know he could even do such a thing, ha, ha!)

Anyway, I'll do a little more today, and a little more tomorrow, shop for groceries the day after, and do less physical stuff after that until time to get to Chattanooga and fly to Florida.

As for Jess, he also has a bunch of work. It's feast or famine, and he's in the feast stage again. This morning he mentioned he had FOUR jobs to work on.

So it's pretty much the usual around here, busy, busy!

One week until Florida! Again!

Wow, I'm just a traveling maniac these days. (As usual, no comments please!)

For the second time this spring, I'm headed to Florida one week from today. This is a combination fun and business trip. Fun because I get to see the kids and how Ellie is progressing while I'm there. Business because I have a 3-day seminar to attend.

Of course, Richard, Chrystie and Ellie are getting company from the far north too. And one of those times they went to Disney World. From all accounts, Ellie loved Cinderella's Castle!

I thought it was pretty cool too, but it's been years since I was there! (Like when the boys were in grade school! I believe Richard has grown a bit since then, ha, ha!)

Anyway, it's over to Chattanooga in one week to fly out on Allegiant. Wouldn't you know that in May they're supposed to start cheap, direct air flights to Orlando out of Huntsville. Too late for this year, but maybe it'll help the next time Jess or I want to fly to Florida.

In the meantime, we'll be heading down there again in April. This time Jess and I will drive down, and Randy will be down there at the same time, so we ought to have a great time visiting family.

Too bad we don't have that much family in one place more often.


We went shopping in Huntsville this morning. I was telling Jess on the way down that's just one of the ways I am stranger than most. (NO comments allowed!!!) See, I don't do very many "middle-of-the road" kind of trips. I'm either going somewhere really close, like about 10 miles away, more or less (grocery store, Walmart)... or I go far away like Florida or West Virginia or Canada or something!

I needed a new laptop case however, because the zipper busted on my old one. And it was an OLD one. I'd guess over 10 years old and seen a lot of use. I'm pretty sure I bought it at Walmart, so it lasted a long time considering.

We looked at Walmart on our way down the Parkway, but they didn't have much. I suspect they weren't wide enough either. The labels said 15", and that's how wide my laptop is... but I didn't want to chance it. I'd like a little more room, and to be able to cushion it a little more when traveling.

Jess wanted to look at fire-proof safes while we down there, so we stopped at Lowe's next. He's been looking at ones big enough to put all his firepower in, but the weight of these things is a BIG problem. How do we get something that weighs 600-800 pounds in the basement?

Anyway, he downscaled his plans for the moment, and decided to get one big enough for papers and stuff. I just got a bill for our bank box, so I think the deal is that I'll now get the stuff out of there and put it in this safe.

Even the small versions are heavy! I think this thing weighs close to 200 pounds and it's just a 2' cube of concentrated weight. If we'd planned on buying the safe, we might have drove the truck, but we didn't. (Actually, it might have been even harder to hoist that thing up into the truck bed!)

So we tried to get that heavy object into the trunk of the car, and that took both of us tugging and lifting and tilting.... only to find out it was about 2 inches too big to slide into the trunk. ARGH!

That meant we had to carefully ease it back down onto the cart and take it around to the side door, and try to somehow get it scooted up on the back seat. Where were some of those strong stock boys (men) when we could have used one?

At present the safe is still in the car, awaiting Jonathan's return from town so HE can help Jess move it this time. I've done my part and made a place to set the thing, but I don't want to help move that monster again.

After that fracas, we finally made it to one of my favorite stores... Staples! Actually, it doesn't have to be Staples, just drop me off in any office supply type store and I'm as happy as a pig in slop. Pens, pencils, papers, notebooks, computer stuff. . . oh there are lots of things to drool over there!

I did find a decent laptop bag. I was looking for something rather lightweight, but sturdy enough to do the job. And of course I couldn't resist getting a few pens, and needed a new pad of paper before going to the seminar in a couple of weeks, and then there were. . .

Jess finally dragged me out of the store. Spoil sport. I told him I could have easily spent another hour in there just looking around. He made some remark along the lines of "that was what he was afraid of."

Of course, by then he was thinking RED LOBSTER. We timed our trip to be able to use gift cards for there that we got at Christmas time. Jess enjoyed lobster and grilled shrimp, but I got my very favorite coconut shrimp! Yum!!!

It was a nice break in routine, got some needed stuff, and had a good time. All right!

Family Update Time!

Yes, here we are again, time for a family update. I've about decided that's all I use this blog for these days, and will try to make it here once a week. Although sometimes we're just not doing anything that exciting!

In about a week and a half I'll be in Florida again. Woot! This having the Canadian Crew closer is a lot of fun. I'm taking advantage of it while I can.

Of course, the reason I'm headed to Orlando in March is for a work-related seminar, but I figure no need to waste a perfectly good plane ticket.... might as well go a little early and see the kids too! I'm eager to see how Ellie has progressed. From the sound of things, she's doing quite well.

As for Jess, he's in one of those "work coming in like crazy" phases. Sometimes just little jobs; sometimes not so little.

Tomorrow we're planning on going to Huntsville so I can look for a new laptop case. The zipper on my old one busted, and I don't want my lovely laptop falling out of the bag on the plane or something!

Since we're going to be in town, we're also planning to eat lunch there and use one of our wonderful gift cards for Red Lobster. Double woot!

As for Jonathan, he's also going to Huntsville tomorrow to meet someone for some war games. He's still plugging away at work, and the job seems to be doing fine.

So... we'll are still busy with our respective work & life, we're all okay, and that's the way it is in our part of the world!

One Short Trip!

Last week I was in Florida for a short time. I wanted to go down and see Ellie with my own two eyes and check out how she was doing after her surgery. And of course, that meant I got to see Richard and Chrystie also!

There are 3 bedrooms on the 3rd floor of the townhouse they're renting. From the room I was staying in, I could walk out on the balcony and see the clubhouse and pool area. It looked pretty neat at night.

One day we walked over there to check it out. It's a long jaunt for Ellie, but she does well! Sometimes she likes someone to walk beside her though, and this time she wanted her Dad.

Ellie has a little toy computer she loves to play on. She liked for me to sit beside her and type on my laptop while she typed on hers. She would tell me to type her name, or Daddy or Mommy.

One day Richard got a picture of us playing. It's one of those weird and wonderful pictures!

You know, I'm weird, Ellie's wonderful!

It was brief, but fun to see them. I'll be going back in a few weeks since I have a seminar to attend in Orlando in March, then Jess and I are driving down in April to see both them and the Sanfords and Randy too.

Fun times!

A Brief Visit

I'm here visiting Richard, Chrystie & Ellie. A *short* visit, but time enough to see how Ellie is doing at home and at therapy.

Ellie is using her walker and getting around really well. I tried taking a video of her outside this morning, but I goofed up and the video didn't shut off but kept going and going... so lots of sidewalk and shoes... I don't think I'll upload that one.

And we can't take pictures in therapy, so just going to have to go with a couple of still shots from her morning stroll outside this morning.


I think she's doing super to have just had major surgery 3 weeks ago this past Tuesday.

And her incision is all healed up and just a thin little scar. Amazing!

And now that she's seen for herself, Grandma feels better too. :-)

Past Time For An Update!!!

Oh wow, I can't believe it's been so long since I've been on here. Almost 2 weeks! Oops! It's not that I haven't been online, but I've been intent on my other internet work. Like I've said before, this is my make it or break it year, so I'm really putting my nose to the grindstone and all those other cliches!

Anyway, as to what's been happening around here. . . mostly same old, same old.

But speaking of old, I got another year older since my last post. I was going to get a new office chair for my birthday, but instead opted for a ticket to Florida (leaving one week from today in fact). Just a short little trip, long enough to say hi and see how Ellie is doing, and how Richard and Chrystie are keeping up. I'm flying Allegiant, and the only days open in February were on Wednesdays and Saturdays. And they have such wildly varying rates!

We started out with the plans of both of us going to Florida in April, then saw an opportunity for March, but then Randy wouldn't have been able to be there, so we're back to driving down in April, and I'll just make a flying trip down there by myself earlier to see how things are going. (I just couldn't wait for late April!!!)

Travel plans are also shaping up for the annual trek to West Virginia. As things stand now, we'll go in July, and we're going to take Dad and head over to Elkins and take a ride on a railroad. According to their website, it's a 9-hour trip - "through mile after mile of unbroken, untamed mountain wilderness that relatively few people have actually seen. In fact, this rugged mountain area is so inhospitable, neither early settlers nor contemporary society have opted to settle here. As a result, with the exception of early 20th century resource extraction activities, this stronghold of nature remains largely as it was before modern civilization arrived."

Sounds like a lot of fun. I think we're all excited about that!

Otherwise, we're all doing fine. We all stay busy with our respective jobs. We're all doing okay health-wise. Like I said, mostly same old, same old.

Just waiting for spring. To be the shortest month in the year, February sure seems to last a long time!

And that's pretty much the way it is in our part of the world!

Star Trekkin'!

Here we are, Star Trekkin' across the universe!!!