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Monday, December 28, 2009

Protect your Purchase

When we buy things, especially electronics, we always get the extended service plan. Chances are you'll never need them, but just like life, health, and auto insurance, it sure is good to know it is there. They do work, too. Just a few months ago we have a massive electrical problem here. It was not the electric company's fault, it was on our end. A problem with the line that came into the house. We got it fixed but the original problem blew up several items in the house. An old TV (the plan was far outdated on that one), and a 1 1/2 year old XBox 360. Well, the extended plan was still in effect on that for two months so we called on it. The company sent us a shipping slip so it didn't even cost us anything to send back. They fixed it and sent it back. The whole process took about 2 weeks. Yeah, it takes some time but considering the couple hundred dollars we saved from buying a new one it was well worth the time. Most important of all, it didn't cost us a thing.

Social Rudeness

You know, if you ask someone to be your 'friend' on a social network, even if it is just to fill quotas, it is just rude to all of a sudden kick them off. It doesn't happen often and sometimes you have to wonder what causes it. One person did that to me today but I went and perused their listing of friends and noticed a similarity between myself and a few others that got knocked off. I won't go into it further but I wasn't surprised any longer. It's still rude, and by the way, just wrong for the apparent reason.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Health and Life on the Right Track

I'm sure hoping that my quitting smoking will help a lot with my life insurance rates this year. I have to contact my insurance company and let them know I don't smoke anymore. I think you have to have quit for 6 months. I will check on the exact length of time, but I have to redo my policy this year anyway, so I should be able to claim 'non-smoking' status. It feels good to say that. I was in a store today and a guy in front of me bought a pack of cigarettes. It was all he got. Seven dollars! I'm very glad I don't smoke for a number of reason, but I have to admit, that's seven of them right there.

Having Fun Doing Nothing

Spent the day running around doing errands with my husband today. Was a cold, dreary winter day but none of that matter because we were together just enjoying even doing mundane things. He got new glasses. Mine came in last week. For both of us it is a new experience of dealing with bi-focals. They take some serious getting used to. Once you get past the first week you're pretty much home free. I've found that out. He is on his first day and it is a real challenge. I just smile because I know what he's going through. I was there last week. Now I can't even make myself experience the problems I was having with the glasses then. I like them a lot now that I'm used to them.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Best of Both Worlds

I was talking the other day about wanting to explore all of the Great Lakes next year. Not just Lake Michigan, which is an obvious choice because it is only a few miles from me, but Ontario, Superior, and Erie too. I guess we're going to have to check out Toronto hotels because I think Lake Ontario would be a great place to spend our next honeymoon. Right on the border of Toronto and New York, we could have the best of both worlds and spend time on each side while enjoying the 'middle' ground on the boat the rest of the time. Of course, we would have to explore as much of the area, including Niagra Falls. What better place to spend an anniversary? Too bad you can't use your own boat close to the falls, but I've always wanted to take a "Maid of the Mist" tour to the base of the falls.

Fire Sale

I bought all new fire extinguishers and co2 monitors two years ago. It was a very expensive system. I kind of fell for the sales spiel. It would have probably cost over $1500 less if I'd just bought them all from a reputable home supply store and put them up myself. I'm not usually talked into things so easily. It was kind of a vulnerable time in my life. Oh well. Suffice it to say that as of today not a single one of them works. Of course, they started failing a few weeks ago, right after the warranty expired. Isn't that always the way it goes? For the record: I'm heading to the local hardware store to get replacements.

No Work, No Worries, Great Living

One of the things we've looked for when considering places to move are various apartments for rent, both in the area and out of state. The idea of an apartment is alluring. We no longer own animals that make apartment living difficult even when they are allowed. We wouldn't have to be responsible for fixing major items like roofing, plumbing, flooring, etc. There are so many reasons renting is a great idea for retirement age people. Neither of us have any desire any longer to do heavy duty yard work. Some wouldn't be bad. In fact, it would be kind of nice, but it would not be sorely missed either. The nicest thing about living in an apartment is if you decide you'd like to move to another area, state, or even across the street, you can do it easily once the lease is up. No worrying about selling before you can move. No fears over not getting enough out of the current property to afford the new one. No juggling moving dates. Just move. The idea is looking more and more appealing.

Think Warm Thoughts

Keep your thoughts warm for me. The building company is scheduled to come here next Thursday/Friday to install the 'boat house' building. Of course, that is WEATHER PERMITTING. Considering the weather we just came out of the last three days it is a real worrisome prospect. Today is nice though, and luckily where I'm at we had all the wind, freezing temperatures and all, but no snow that actually stuck. I need to get that boat under shelter before the real weather comes. It's covered, and I plan on covering it more (a tarp over the mooring cover) this weekend, but that isn't good enough for extreme snow or rain. I'd need to build a framework under the tarp to slant it enough to let snow and water run off if it needed to stay outside longer, so keep your thoughts warm in our direction, please.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Technology Leader Vivek Kundra

With a public more skeptical than ever before, transparency is vital to the success of any technological project. Even before his political appointment, Vivek Kundra fully embraced that belief. He spearheaded projects to increase transparency in business and government at all levels. Using the incredible knowledge he has at his disposal from a list of upper level management positions at such impressive companies as Evincible Software, Creostar and SAIC and years of government service as well, Vivek Kundra envisioned and is helping to build a stronger government structure that also creates a valuable services for the public. Vivek Kundra created a site called to build helpful public information systems that can use interconnected knowledge from each other as well as imput from the outside to create even stronger databases.

FlyOnTime.US is one of the amazing programs that lets the public view flight information, and it is just one of dozens of initial programs that have grown to include over a hundred. Vivek Kundra has more than enough experience to pull off the massive improvements envisioned by the administration. He completely overhauled the old technology in use and replaced with a system that uses real time information making it more accessible and more informative.

Mr. Kundra has been the IT Executive of the Year in 2008, listed on the Government Technology magazine's Top 25 Doers, Dreamers, and Drivers and has a degree in Psychology and a master's degree in Management Information. His list of accomplishments is long and beyond admirable, but none are as admirable as his work toward taking the U.S. into the future of technology in a brave and visible way.

Warm Weather Thoughts

Well, we're not quite at the blizzard stage yet, although the wind last night sounded like a freight train attempting to rip up the house. There has been blowing snow, but so far, down here at least, nothing has stuck. However, there's no question that winter has struck hard, fast, and with a vengence.

I'm in my hibernate mode. I don't like going outside much in the winter. (I so hope we can retire in the south.) It's even hard now with that big boat out in the driveway. I have boating supplies piled up in various spots of the house, and spring can't get here soon enough. All I have is an image to hold me over until next spring:

Everything is Better Online

Online educations are fast becoming the most popular method of obtaining college degrees. Western Governors University is a premium online university. When looking at educational possibilities consider the modern qualities you should look for in an online education like connection: WGU is active on social networks such as Twitter and YouTube. WGU also offers its students plenty of social networking within and a sense of a real campus online.

WGU is fully accredited and offers excellent financing for its students. Whether you are looking to get your bachelors degree online or simply further your current education you can do it at Western Governors University. Studying online saves you money, time, and the difficulties of living away from home. It also allows you to learn without disrupting your life. Keep your job, and continue with family responsibilities while doing everything you can for yourself as well.

5 Months and Counting

I can't believe it, but I've made it over 5 months not smoking. I didn't think it was possible even when I knew I wanted to quit. I've tried before and fallen off the wagon, usually at about 2 weeks. To make it this far is a real milestone for me. My current stats are:

I have been quit for 5 Months, 1 Week, 3 Days, 14 hours, 4 minutes and 59 seconds (163 days). I have saved $1,288.23 by not smoking 4,907 cigarettes. I have saved 2 Weeks, 3 Days and 55 minutes of my life. My Quit Date: 6/28/2009 10:28 PM

5 months = $1,288.23 at the current prices for a regular pack of cigarettes... wow. That's about $3,000 a year! That will about pay for my new boating hobby (gas).

Monday, December 07, 2009

Bahama Mama

I have already told Bob we need to find some orlando vacations and hotels that include boat docks, or are close to boat docks so we can enjoy traveling with our boat and going down to the areas we love to vacation in with it. I was born in Fort Lauderdale, I want to visit there, and Miami as well. In fact my name (Tami) is taken from the "Tamiami Trail" that runs between Tampa and Miami so I have to spend time down in those two areas. We want to make the Bahama (Bimini Island) jump from Miami too with the boat. That would be amazing. Going to the Bahamas on our own boat!

Locking the Locks

I'm a little disappointed. We just got our new boat and haven't even had a chance to experience the Chicago "Triangle" river cruises and now they're talking about closing the locks. That will effectively put an end to the ability to make a big triangle loop comprising of the Chicago River, Lake Michigan, and the Chicago ship and Sanitary Canal, along with making connections to the Illinois River, and the Mississippi River from Lake Michigan impossible. Bummer. I know it's important to keep the dreaded Asian Carp out of the Great Lakes, but I sure hope they figure out some other way to do it other than closing off the lakes.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Indoor Projects

I had to buy a new tub face plate for the overfill. It was one of those "I wish all home improvement projects were this easy" things. If everything that needed to be done simply needed to be unscrewed, removed, and a new one screwed in place life would be good. So few things are like that. I am looking at Toto sinks for both bathroom and kitchen replacements. I bought the new faucet for the kitchen and then decided just replacing the faucet without replacing the sink would be a half-done effort. That is going to be a fairly big job. I'll have to enlist help for that one. At least I have all winter to do the indoor projects.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

And Here She Is.....

Da daaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. We bought the Crownline in Iowa. What a beautiful boat! I'm so excited. It's going to be a very, very long winter though. Wave as you drive down the highway past my house. I'll be the idiot sitting in the boat all bundled up in a winter coat and earmuffs.LOL

Here's the boat in a rest stop area on the way home:

I can't wait to share all the pictures of her on the water next year! In the meantime, there are a few small winter projects I have planned including putting up a new boat shed (thought it would fit in the barn--not) so I'll post pictures of those as winter goes on.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Deven Parekh Follows a Balanced Path

Deven Parekh has a great deal of experience in his field that lead him to his position as the managing director of the 3 billion dollar private equity and venture capital firm Insight Ventures Partners. Before Insight Ventures Partners Mr. Parekh was with Berenson Minella & Company, and before that, The Blackstone Group.

His experiences began with a B.S. in Economics from Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. From there Deven Parekh always made sure to keep his life well balanced. He blends his professional life with an active private life where he is involved in helping others and encouraging young people to excel.

A board member of Publicolor (, Deven Parekh follows his vision as a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute. Devoted to the inspiration of Henry Crown who always gave back to his community and believed in honor, integrity, and philanthropy.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

We Bought The Boat

Well, we bought a boat today. We traveled to Iowa, went all over the boat, had a surveyor go all over the boat, and we bought the boat. We'll be in Iowa until tomorrow morning when we actually make the financial exchange and get the title from the seller's bank and be on our way home. I'm so excited. It was everything I hoped it would be. Now it is going to be an even longer than long winter. I have to apologize, however, I was so excited I forgot to take pictures. I'll get some tomorrow, but it looks like it did in the posts below.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Connection to Machines

I guess no matter what type of car you have there are extra things you can get for them to make them really tailored to your desires. Even my Monte Carlo has some extra accessories that I could get to make it more 'mine.' Each type of car has accessories that are geared toward it alone. Ferrari's have Ferrari parts, Mustang's have their own parts, and some accessories work on all types of cars of similar size and style. Learning how to do a lot of things myself for the boat has opened up some abilities to work on my car and truck as well. It makes it more interesting and I have to admit, I suddenly realize why people who work on their own machines feel about them the way they do. It gives you a connection to the machine you don't have if you simply take it somewhere and pay someone else to do it.

Big Waves

This is pretty cool to watch, but I sure hope to never be caught out in anything like this:

Accessories or Peace

Bob got the truck tuned up for the trip next weekend. He still didn't get the step up I want, although that's not exactly a 'tune up' necessity. I like his truck but it is too tall to get in for me. If I were just a few inches taller it wouldn't be an issue. I've wanted him to buy those truck accessories since the day he got his truck. I don't have a problem with my truck even though it is close to the same height because of the way the floor is. It is just low enough to get up on without a runner bar under the door. My truck could handle the boat too, unfortunately I don't think I'm up to driving it. I'll deal with having to crawl up into Bob's cab so that I can have the peace of mind of his being the one driving that monster home.

Getting Closer

I'm doing my countdown now. In three days we'll be on our way to Iowa to check out the boat I posted about below. I'm getting anxious. It looks like such a great boat. I sure hope the pictures measure up to reality. It's amazing how good pictures can make a so-so boat look. Of course, pictures cannot cover up a horrible wreck so I know it has to be at least decent looking.

Long Term Support From Addiction

I'm kind of surprised that there are no drug rehab programs for cigarette smoking. They have rehab for alcohol addiction and it is just as bad as that. Although I supposed because there are no laws against cigarette smoking like there are alcohol and other illegal drugs they don't consider it as necessary to provide a rehab program. While there are laws regarding where you can and can not smoke now, there aren't any felony crimes involved with it as there are, for instance, with DUI from alcohol. I think it would be very beneficial and more smokers would manage to kick the habit and live healthier lives if there were. Some programs for quitting smoking are out there, but they are certainly not on the same level as a drug rehab program.

One of the more vital aspects of most solid substance abuse rehab centers is long term after care and support. Just because you've made it through a program does not mean you won't relapse. The programs that do not provide a way for the rehabilitated user to reach out and get help when temptation arises are more likely to fail. Of course, it is necessary for the addict to seek the help offered as well.

Anyone who is battling addiction of any kind needs a lot of support from family and friends as well, and that support must not stop once the person has quit the habit either. It must continue for months, years, and a lifetime afterwards. The people that have that type of support are most likely to succeed.

141 DAYS!

141 days and just over 900 dollars. That's how long it has been since I quit smoking. 141 days isn't that long, really. It's just closing in on 5 months. Less than half a year. And still, that 900 dollars (902 and some change to be more precise) is what I have saved so far. That means that in a year I will have saved just a few dollars shy of TWO THOUSAND dollars. That's a lot of money that I've been throwing away on such a destructive habit. Well, to be fair, that figure is based on the current price that jumped up drastically. However, I've easily spent at least half that in years past. The biggest benefit, more than money saved, is how much better I feel.

Yes, there are still times I think about it. I no longer obsess over cigarettes, or desire to smoke, but it does cross my mind. Sometimes I worry I will stumble. When I get those thoughts I wonder if at some point it will happen at just the right time, just the right moment, and I won't talk myself out of it. In reality when I have those thoughts the very next thought is---why? Why do you want one? Smoking never really was all that great. It was a horrible addiction. You don't really want that back... but I do fear that some day that reason won't be there in time and I'll stumble. Many do. I have to pray that as time goes on and the length of time I have been away from them widens the less likely I'll be to stumble even if reason isn't right there with an argument against smoking.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Carl Sgro Exemplifies Success on All Levels

It's interesting to read about successful people, and learning about their methods of success can really help you get the most out of your own endeavors. Seeing how Carl Sgro developed his SEO/SEM solutions for the health care industry and how it all came about is incredibly interesting. What I find even more interesting is how people who are very successful attack their personal lives.

Carl Sgro is not only a successful businessman he is a terrific bass fisherman as well. This has a great deal of interest for me on two levels. The first reason is because I think understanding and learning how successful people handle their entire life, not just business aspects, is a great way to learn how to successfully handle your own. Secondly I want to catch some really big bass myself on our new boat.

In his versatile and well-rounded personal life, not only an accomplished tournament level fisherman but a harmonica player as well, you find that Carl Sgro has learned the true meaning of success in life. Business success has to be balanced by a degree of personal fulfillment and happiness. I think too many of us starting our own businesses forget that and soon feel overwhelmed because we lose sight of our personal lives.

Weather Blues---or Grays.

Well darn it, I think winter is finally here. The entire first half of the month of November was actually prettier, warmer, and definitely drier than the whole month of October. I am not sure you could actually call it Indian Summer, but it was certainly a lovely fall. The rain is back now though and I really feel bad for local farmers. Most of the harvesting was delayed for the whole month of October. In November everybody went into overdrive to get the crops in but half of the fields are still full and this cold, nasty rain is going to stall it even more. The sun decided to completely hide out today and it is gray and dreary. Just a bit of a foreshadowing of months to come I suppose. I am not looking forward to it. The older I get, and each time winter rolls around now, the more sure I am that I want to retire to someplace very warm all year round when the time comes.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Flower Delivery Makes Gift Giving Easy

A friend of mine has an anniversary coming up. I am going to send flowers. For me the best way to do that is to order a flower delivery service like 1-800flowers to get the best quality and freshness with the least amount of hassle. Flowers make a fantastic gift especially at this time of year, or early in the year like on my anniversary in April. Flowers aren't blooming outside so having a beautiful spray in the house makes you feel more alive and gives your spirits a lift.

For an occasion such as a friend's anniversary, or birthday gift baskets are perfect. Not only can I give flowers, but special treats as well. This wine basket is perfect for my friend who is a real vinophile:
1-800flowers has so many types to choose from you're sure to find the right one. Most of the time it is difficult to not find several I want for myself as well. That, however, is a bonus rather than a real problem.

More Boat Decisions

Well, irregardless of whether the boat we put an offer on is accepted we haven't solidified anything on that one, we are still going to look at that boat in Iowa on the 22nd. If it is as represented it is a much better deal all around. I've liked it for a long time but logistics have prevented us from going to see it. I posted a picture awhile ago but here is another one:
I also arranged to have a boat surveyor meet us there to check it out. Usually I would do what we did last weekend, go look at the boat, make an offer pending agreement AND a successful survey, but with the Iowa boat such a long distance to drive, if we go there we want to either buy the boat and come home with it, or leave and be done with it. So our surveyor is going to meet us there so we can know that day if we can reach an agreement on the purchase of the boat or not. I hope we can because I have been in love from afar with this boat for a long time. The boat in the picture below that we looked at over the past weekend has one HUGE factor in its favor, but this boat in the picture here has many, many extras so it can be a little bit of a tough decision. The main deciding factor will be how the boat here is kept in regard to how it was described.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Having a Blast on the Water

One of the things we are very determined to do with our new boat is cruise the 'great loop' which is down the Mississippi, around Florida, up the East Coast, through the Hudson by New York, around the Erie Canal to Lake Michigan, down past Chicago, down the Chicago river to the Illinois River to the Mississippi again. After that we want to go down the Mississippi to Florida, then head across the Florida straights to the out islands of the Bahamas at Bimini Island. We'll stay on the boat, and even get a nice room at abermuda hotel, head out back to Florida, maybe even the Keys for awhile and then back up the Mississippi. We are going to have a ball on that boat.

And the Winning Bid Is...

At least we hope it is.

Okay, at the risk of really jinxing things (I'm starting to wonder if posting about my searches is screwing with success: nah, not really, shopping for boats is hair pulling and aggravating until you find the perfect one) this is the boat we put a bid on yesterday:

Life and Hobbies

I'm getting to the point now where I am going to have to start looking for a good wrinkle treatment. I've never had to worry about that before. I have been blessed. Even though I had some grey hairs, I wasn't really getting wrinkled. I am starting to show my age more in my face now though. Wrinkle creams are actually pretty amazing. I used some for the darkness around my eyes and it puts moisture in the skin to help puff it out a big to reduce the sunken areas and that's the way wrinkle creams work, too. Since we plan on spending a lot of time in the wind, on the water, in the sun I'm going to have to be even more careful not to let it get to my skin and by protection along with treatments. Just another part of getting older and enjoying hobbies, I suppose.

Boat, Boats,Boats, and it's too cold to even go on the water.

This boat search thing is really going to take a while. We went up to the Frankfort area yesterday and looked at a couple of boats. One really nice, but no trailer, the other had a trailer but was pretty run down. The run down one with the trailer was out of the question even if it would have been nice to get one for 4 grand less than our boat buying budget. The other one, however, we made an offer of, meet their price if they put a good trailer under it, or we'll buy a trailer if they knock the price of the boat down to reflect the cost. Probably won't be getting that boat even though I do really like it. Still going up to Iowa to look at the boat up there but that's not for almost two weeks yet. Keeping my eyes open for a deal until then.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Travel Needs

When we get the new boat I'm going to have to concentrate on getting a new computer too. One that I can take along with me when we're out for days at a time. The computer I have now is a laptop, therefore transportable, and has a big computer memory ability. It's too much though really. All I need is something smaller and easy to pack that can let me get online. I will still use the more powerful, bigger laptop at home. I don't want to take this one in case something happens to it. It could get banged around a bit if seas get rough, it could get wet and damaged, any number of things could happen and I always want to have my home computer no matter what happens when we're out.


Boy boat hunting is a trip. We were supposed to go out last weekend but finally getting some detailed pictures I'd been bugging the seller for saved us the trip. I won't go into the problem that showed up, but the worst part wasn't that the problem was there, but that the seller stumbled around trying to come up with a reason for it. No reason for that, just tell the truth. Not sure this seller knew what the truth was anymore, or simply didn't want to say what it was. Whatever the case may be we didn't go look at that boat. We're going to look at a different one in two weeks. I'm excited because this one the seller was quick to get me more pictures when asked for them, has been quick to answer all questions, and even upfront about a reason for a repair when asked. It's a long drive to get there, but hopefully it will be worth it. Here's one of the pictures of the boat.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Flowers Help You Beat the Winter Blues

This time of year always makes me a little sad. The winter blues are sneaking up. Fall is in mid-swing and the ability to cultivate outdoor flowers is a thing of the past where I am in the upper Midwest. The landscape gets drearier and drearier and soon snow will fall combined with slush and ice.

One surefire way I've found to beat the winter blues is to fill the inside of the house with beautiful, fresh flowers. Finding them is no trouble at all with 1-800flowers. The fact that I can have them delivered to my door is an even bigger plus since where I live in the rural areas it is a pain to go out to the store and the nearest florist is 15 miles away.

Keeping flowers in the house gives it a fresh spring-like feel during the long cold months. That allows me to forget the cold for awhile and chases the blues away in a heartbeat.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Testing a banner. Not sure if it will work in here

Remodeling with Tile

I think we have settled on glass tiles for our kitchen walls. We have found some very lovely samples now we just have to get all the equipment needed to do a DIY project as extensive, yet common, as re-tiling. I have watched about as many YouTube DIY tiling instructions as possible. After awhile you begin to feel like a pro even before you've picked up a single tile. I remember years ago watching DIY programs on TV. They're still on, but YouTube I think has usurped much of their viewership. Of all the home repair/remodeling jobs tiling is really one of the simpler ones. The biggest concern for us because we have a basement is making sure the flooring on the main floor isn't flexible. That's going to be a pain. We're going to have to pretty much re-floor before we tile. Even that is really just a matter of laying down firm flooring and nailing it on to the existing plywood, but still. Makes me wish we'd looked for a house without a basement.

Boating in the Fall??

I'm very excited. We're going out on a water test for a boat we're really interested in on Saturday (weather permitting. I put that in there so as not to jinx the fact that the weather is supposed to be fine). That boat is about an hour south of us. There is also the plus that the little lake we're going on also has a boat club that the boat's owner highly recommends. Then on Sunday we're going to drive about 2 1/2 north and maybe test a different boat! That one is very promising as well. Between the two I'm hoping to find what we're looking for. If nothing else it could be a really fun weekend. We need a fun weekend after the last few.

Here's a picture of one of the boats we're going to look at:

Friday, October 23, 2009

Stop Negative Information with the Defamation Monitor

Do you ever wonder what other people are saying about you online? Now you don't have to only worry about your reputation on the "street" you have an entire world's population who may know who you are, and are spreading rumors--right or wrong, and usually, like most rumors, wrong. Defamation of character is a widespread problem now that global communication is a simple.

Now you can do something about what is being said. Knowledge is power and you can protect your online reputation by knowing what others are saying in time to stop the tide of negative talk. It is easier to solve a problem when it is starting than it is after it has time to spread.

Once you know what is being said you can stop online defamation by confronting the gossiper, contacting the defamer's host and reporting them, or launching your own positive campaign to set the record straight. Your efforts will be much more successful if you know where the negativity is being spread so you can target those areas.

However, you combat negative information about you on the web any action is better than no action.

Room with a View

This is one reason I want a boat. It has to be a cruiser too so we can spend then night on it because I want to wake up on a brisk spring/summer/or fall morning and see this:

Online Smokes

Even though I quit smoking my son still smokes and comes around now and then. My husband also enjoys a cigar every now and then. With the current prices the way they are and being in an area where shopping is limited shopping for cigars online makes more sense for him. He can find more brands/choices at better prices. I've bought herbal cigarettes online. I don't use them much but every once in a while when my 'quit' gets tough having one helps. No no, not that kind of herb. I never used to like the smell of cigars either, but now I enjoy it. What is even funnier is that I can't stand the smell of cigarettes now.


I was looking for a boat a few months ago but gave up on it because there was way too much going on in my life at the moment. Well, just recently I started looking again... wow, this is the time of year to buy in regards to deals and prices. That's on the upside. On the downside it's a hard time of the year to buy for two reasons. It is impossible to put the boat in question in the water around here to test it so you have to take the word of the seller along with careful ground examination... tough but okay.. it is even harder though because you know you are going to have to wait MONTHS before going out in it. The best I'll be able to do is go out to the shed and sit in it LOL until next April/May.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

New Way To Clean

I'm a little old fashioned. I've always used good old fashioned elbow grease to clean the house. I found out today I've been doing it all wrong! I have to get me one of these. They're called Ladybug steam cleaners (how cute). It kills all kinds of germs from mold and mildew to greasy grime. It even kills bedbugs and mites. It will clean everything from draperies and rugs to sinks and tubs. It uses a super heated water vapor that dries in seconds. There are not harmful chemicals, just tap water, and no abrasive pads or scouring wire. Beat of all, no strength required. It's a marvel and I've missed out on it all this time.

New Tractor

We were out the other day and we stopped and got a price workup for a new tractor with bucket and backhoe. We even got a price on a post hole digger attachment--a near vital addition for us. I'm so tired of digging holes for posts. No more digging. The tractor will do it for us. This is what the tractor looks like standard (the post hole digger would be in place of the backhoe, one is removed to fit the other). Both the front loader and the backhoe are easy on and off attachments.
We're picking it up in two weeks.

Good Insurance Makes The Difference

Considering all the costs my mother-in-law incurred during the course of her cancer treatment the fact that she really didn't have many out-of-pocket expenses is testament to the value of good insurance on top of standard Medicare. She had BlueCross BlueShield, one of the better insurances. I have BCBS too and think it's a great insurance. The great thing about BCBS coverages is that no matter where you get it, the coverage is likely to be uniform to that found elsewhere. If you get bcbsnc coverage it is going to be similar to the BCBS coverage I have in Illinois. Not only that but there are hospitals all over the country and you are covered everywhere with similar practices. I can understand what Obama means about protecting those from shoddy insurance practices, but I think one of the most important things to realize there is a good insurance company won't have such problems. We were sure grateful for the quality and quick payments for my mother-in-law, and for any emergency we've ever had. A good insurance company treats you well.

Sad Travels Home

I had a funeral to attend over the weekend which meant being gone for several days. Even though it was just up by Chicago it made more sense to get a hotel room than to drive back and forth several times. With the price of gas it was actually only a little more expensive to stay up there, and after such long days that were so full of emotion it was worth that little bit to not have to drive. I really would love to move back up to the area up there but it doesn't look like that is going to happen. Even though the situation wasn't nice, it was nice to drive around familiar territory and see the old neighborhood. I didn't take the time to drive by where my old house was (now replaced by a condominium) but just seeing the neighborhood was enough. Another aspect of funerals that while not nice, is nice, is seeing all the relatives you never see otherwise. Even the wedding a few months ago didn't quite have this because it was more of both sides of this family not just this family and the groom's family like at the wedding. As lovely as that was this was more 'home'.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Many Facets of RENEW International

RENEW International is a great inspiration. It is an institution designed to help people refocus their spiritual devotion. RENEW International has several programs designed for particular needs: a campus program for young people called Campus RENEW that is an outreach to help those interested in becoming spiritual leaders the help they need to reach those goals. RENEW Worldwide goes to the locations around the globe that are suffering from oppression or other spiritual needs and provides all that those people need to win the fight for their beliefs, or keep them alive in times of great detestation.

RENEW International has a program called Renew Resources that provides the materials that churches, schools, and other spiritual programs need to spread the word. These are just a few of the many wonderful ways RENEW International brings faith and love to those in need.

Forecast of Things to Come?

Rain, rain, rain and more rain. I feel sorry for the farmers with crops still in the fields. Harvest had just started when all of a sudden we were hit by these rains that won't stop. It appears from the forecast that it isn't going to stop anytime soon either. In fact, some news reports have been threatening (yes threatening, in my book it's a threat anyway) snow over the weekend. SNOW... in October. Early October yet. It is insane. If this is a predication of things to come it is going to be a long, nasty winter. I care a lot less than I used to though. With no outside animals anymore to worry about doing feeding and watering daily in the frigid winter I can stay nice and warm inside.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Getting to the "Big Apple"

Someday I would love to visit New York. It is the mecca for all types of entertainment and the place any self-respecting fiction writer should be familiar with. The trouble with travel to New York is finding affordable travel. Being the mecca for everything it is also the most sought after 'ticket' around. When you are a "starving" artist like myself you need to find the best deals on cheap New York hotels in order to be able to afford the trip. It is worth the effort and the Internet makes it that much easier to do the research. Once you get to the "Great White Way" located smack dab in the middle of the "Big Apple" there is so much for an entertainment enthusiast to do. I'm determined. I'll get there. It may take a few more years, but I will get there.

Yay Entourage

Yay HBO's Entourage has been renewed. There has been some complaining in the fan community over the show's decline in the past season, but I still really like it. I've noticed many of the same issues they complain about. I'm willing to wait and see how the writer's will work it though. Sometimes it is necessary to go through a bit of a lull in order to get the story moving in the direction it needs to go. I still enjoy all of the characters and actually REALLY like the ending of the last episode where Ari bought out his old nemesis' agency where Loyd now works. Loyd is in for some trouble in the coming season.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Plush and Comfortable Entertainment

In the store a few days ago my husband pulled me to the electronic section to check out the big flat screens. The choice was between a 55" LCD and a 52" plasma. He proclaimed his intentions of getting a big screen next year with the tax money. Sounds good to me. There are so many ways we could make out entertainment area better. There are home theater systems and furnishings that are not just practical and quality improving, they are downright luxurious. When I first heard of home theater furnishings I immediately thought of movie house type chairs--ick. these are nothing like that, though. The home theater equipment and furnishings are plush and comfortable. Big overstuffed easy chairs, soft comfortable couches, and equipment to make any picture come to life in your living room, family room, or where ever you set up the theater. For us it makes perfect sense because we do not go out to movies often. We enjoy watching them at home much more. So bringing a full and rich experience into our home is worth the effort.

My New Car

I have a picture of my new car. You have to ignore the weeds and all but the car looks great. It is fantastic to have a nice car again. I had a truck and it was nice. Great as trucks go actually, but I missed having a normal car. Here it is.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Making Medical Trips Easier

One of the scariest things in the world is knowing you need important surgery or medical care but it can't be found near home. Even elective surgeries that need to be traveled to obtain make the cost of health care go up enormously. Most of the time medical travel is not covered by insurance either. Family members need to go along in some cases and that only complicates the cost and the planning. It helps to find a travel planner who can coordinate all aspects of your medical travel from where family members can stay to making your personal connections. When you need medical care it is the last time you need to be concerned with the hassles of planning travel.

Lose Weight and Quit Smoking

It is possible to lose weight while quitting smoking! In the past week I've lose 9 pounds. Of course, I gained those pounds during the first two months quitting. LOL. It's all good though. If I'd done some of the things like chewing gum, planning daily menus, and exercising at the beginning I probably wouldn't have even gained them in the first place. Either way it is a small price to pay to get my lungs back.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Picture Perfect

Technology in photo development always excites me but the pictures themselves aren't the only way modern memories are improved with new developments. I adore using a digital frame to hold digital images. You can even get digital frames that rotate between pictures so you are never bored looking at the same shot. Keeping a digital picture frame on your desk at work, or on your wall at home keeps your pictures beautifully presented for everyone to see.

Calories are King but Exercise is Vital

I've been using my stationary bike/elliptical machine daily now since restarting my diet. I had stopped using it for several months. I think it was partly the depression from quitting cigarettes but I just couldn't get motivated to do anything including exercise. They say exercise helps that feeling but it's a vicious circle, how do you get motivated to do something that will help break the depression when you can't get out of the depression? It took me so long to put this thing together back when I got it that I have to make good use of it. It really is a great way to work out at home. Here's a picture of it being put together in my living room a few months ago when I got it.

Help With Dieting

No matter how hard you work at it dieting is tough. There is no shame in getting help when you need it. When you choose a weight loss supplement make sure you investigate all of the possibilities thoroughly and feel comfortable with the effectiveness and safety of your choice. There are many wonderful diet aides on the market today. The numbers of products can make choosing the one that is right for you confusing. Start by selecting products from a company you trust and read reviews and tips. Understand what makes a diet work and know that even with help from a good aide dieting will take work. There is no magic pill that will do it all for you.

Full Plate

It looks like a lot of food. In some ways it is. It's 2 servings of vegetables (peas) 2 servings of mashed potatoes, and 2 servings of chicken but because they are all relatively low calorie and fit into my daily amounts for the day that was dinner. It looks like even more than it is because I put it on a plate that is roughly half the size of a standard dinner plate. How food looks and the appearance of quantity can go a long way in making it taste better, feel like more, and leaving you more satisfied when on a diet.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New Car New Insurance

My very old, but trusty truck broke down a few weeks ago. The brakes went out completely. I finally got it towed in to have it checked out a few days ago and just got the news that it is DOA (dead on its axles). So I called my trusty car guy and told him I needed him to keep an eye out for something cheap but dependable because my ancient truck has gone to meet the great motor maker in the sky. I guess it is time to start looking around for free insurance quotes too. I'll need new insurance and I've been thinking about looking around for a different company. Like most people I'm not fond of rocking the boat but it is important now and then to see if you're getting the best deals you can get. Having insurance isn't just smart it's a law so you may as well make sure it's the best that you can get.

Getting The Spark

I rejoined Spark People. It's a great absolutely FREE weight loss community on line. They have everything the other weight loss places have. It's all very high tech. I really need to lose these quit smoking pounds and get on with the weight loss I was working on last year. SparkPeople dot com is a great way to do it. I feel fantastic already and it's only been a day.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Burning Fat

If I had known what a powerful drug Nicotine really was, and how it not only physically damaged the body but mentally altered the brain worse than the most powerful street drug I know for a fact I never would have started it. Unfortunately I did not so now I am dealing with withdrawals and all that goes with it including weight gain. As much as I don't like using aides sometimes it is necessary to find a good, high quality weight loss aide and when you are quitting smoking it is very necessary. I need to find a diet aide that goes beyond an appetite suppressant because withdrawals have slowed down my metabolism as well. I need to find high quality fat burners to pick up the slack and help offset the extra pounds while I am less active and my body is burning less. Between having to find alternatives to oral cravings and beating the depressed mood swings and not wanting to do anything the pounds are really starting to pile on.

Friday, September 11, 2009

10 Weeks

I don't want to bore you with a continuous countdown of my quitting smoking but it is such a big thing in my life. In many ways it takes over everything I do, and the way I do it as well.

I'm not sure if this will work but this is my smoke'meter'. I'm going to post it in my sidebar too to keep track of my time without the 'Nicodemon'. (okay, nope didn't work. Hopefully it will work in the sidebar. It's a cool thing because it shows money saved too.) EDIT: Perfect, it is above the main posts here as a permanent leader. That works.

I'm in a good, and yet slightly dangerous spot in my 'quit'. I'm at a place where I no longer think about actually smoking a cigarette anymore. I don't even want to. That sounds good, and it is in many ways but in some ways it allows me to put my guard down a bit too. This is dangerous because although my cravings are no longer there, the after effects of years of a smoke clouded mind are still very strong. I have trouble concentrating and there are moments of depression and anxiety that are not normal for me. I am having trouble working which is more a matter of not having any motiviation or desire to do the work than it is inability to actually do it.

This is a dangerous and tricky time and I need to keep talking about it in order to remind myself that I still have a ways to go--it's not a clear sail just yet.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Frank J. Hanna III

I do not know many people who can consider themselves such a success that the Pope honors their accomplishments. Frank J. Hanna III has contributed to many Catholic charities and the Pope himself bestowed on him the Grand Cross in the Order of Saint Gregory. Frank J. Hanna III has many duties and serves as a board member of the Papal Foundation and much more. He is a visionary who truly exemplifies the ideal of 'giving back.'

What makes this important to me is that Frank J. Hanna III is an author too. His book "What Your Money Means: And How To Use It Well" shows people how to develop a healthy relationship with their money rather than letting it control them. That is a very important tool in today's world that is so preoccupied with money. It's the fact that he has taken his knowledge and turned into a helpful resource that intrigues me.

Frank J. Hanna III goes a step further in his humanitarian work by providing a blog of financial information for anyone who wants to learn more about how to control their money and make it work for them. Mr. Hanna is truly an example of what you give you get.

Rerun Love

I'm sitting here watching "Home Improvement" reruns. It is a show I've seen a million times, and that's not even much of an exageration. It made me wonder what makes a show "classic" enough to be something you would watch over and over again. It isn't like they are all like that. Even shows you like aren't something you would want to watch more than once let alone several times. That point was brought home a few days ago when Bob was cruising channels and saw a rerun of one of his cop shows. I instantly cringed. It is a show I enjoy watching first run but I don't want to see it over and over. So why are other shows so loveable that you could watch them repeatedly? Is it a chord they strike with your own life? I think that might be it. Bob could have watched that cop show repeatedly and enjoyed it. I couldn't. There must be a lot of people who have similar tastes to mine because many of my all time favorite shows are the ones that are shown constantly in reruns.

Monday, September 07, 2009

African Music Notes From Mohammed Babangida

I find the information on African music given by Mohammed Babangida very interesting. African music is the root of all music and Mr. Babangida has a very full and structured look at how it has effected the world's music. Because music is such a huge part of most of our lives it is important to know what cultural links it has to our past as well. I know for my part a song can trigger memories, feelings, emotions, and just inspire with a raw passion. African music has that raw quality that connects deep down inside.

Mohammed Babangida explains a lot about that raw quality in talking about the timbre, or sound quality, of African music and how it shares that aspect with all music forms that have developed, but especially with Jazz.

Another insightful note from Mohammed Babangida is how African music instills the same outter qualities that make modern music resonate with audiences. How it connects the artist to the audience and draws them together in the experience. Not only does Mr. Babangida fully detail how the musical experience has developed but he also does something very beneficial for people like me who only have a surface appreciation for Jazz and that is completely breaking down all of the various types of Jazz music and how they differ. He brings to life a style of music that is hard to understand and makes it familiar and friendly.

Little Johnny

Johnny is so at home now that he has taken to flying room to room after me. Johnny is my new cockatiel. I've had him for about a month. In that month he's become more and more loving and much more attached to me than any of my birds. He's the only one that won't let me leave the room without him. He will play on his own and every so often come waddling over to be petted, then go back to playing and as long as I'm sitting here he is fine. Up until the other day I've been able to leave the room and he'd stay on his play stand but not anymore. He is confident now and simply flies after me.

Survey Resource Center Leads The Way

Most businesses rely on a good source of leads to get sales but the insurance and finance industries can't do without them. Survey Resource Center provides valuable leads that are targeted to specific needs. These allow callers to be sure they are contacting only the people that really want to hear from them. These leads also give companies a great way to build their mailing list so that their offers aren't falling on deaf ears but are finding individuals who have a real interest in their offerings.

Survey Resource Center provides a very valuable resource on both ends. They give sales people justified leads that won't waste their valuable time. They also help the consumers by making sure the people that contact them are only those that truly have a product the consumer will be interested in.

The information provided by the Survey Resource Center is updated regularly so that businesses can be sure that they are getting fresh resources.

Little Planes

Watching "Snow Dogs" tonight my husband pointed out the little two-seater plane most commonly used to fly from point to point in rugged Alaska and said that's the type of plane we'll be flying in when we go to Alaska.

Um... not me. I'll stay in the major city we land in and he can go off flying in an itty bitty tin can hundreds of feet in the icy air. Not me. I wouldn't even get in one of those little things to take flying lessons to get my pilot's license after getting all the ground work and passing the ground test. There's no way I'm dying in Alaska.

K-Designers Gets The Job Done Right

Yesterday I realized my husband is never going to commit to moving. I thought we would finally get that together in the course of the next year. We might still if I can manage to make it happen myself which is the only way anything ever gets done. Talking to him yesterday made it clear he was going to do the typical hemming and hawing he always does. He hates change. He's no good at it and his typical behavior is to just duck and avoid it. At first I got angry. Then I got obsinant (quietly) and thought to myself it is just going to have to happen he doesn't have an option. Then I started to think about what would happen if I can't make it go my way. I'll be stuck here and I don't want to be. I decided that it was time to get serious about making this house a place I would want to stay in if that happens. That means hiring a designer like K-Designers. I can't do it myself.

I wish I was handy like some people and could do the work myself. I think it's great when people can do projects themselves. Of course I can do some without the help of a company like K-Designers but not the big things. Not stuff like cabinets, countertops, ceramic tile flooring, new bathroom fixtures. I'm not good at that stuff. I've tried in the past... hence the need for some serious consideration on making the house some place I'd like to stay. It just doesn't turn out right.

When you choose a company like K-Designers to do your remodeling you know the finished product will look professional. You can be proud of the way your rooms look. That's what I want. I don't want anymore projects that look nice until you take a closer look and see raw edges, or missed spots. I think DIY shows and books give people too much hope that they can do big things themselves. Some jobs take experience and practice to know how to do something right and there's no way someone with one house, or one room to do is ever going to get the practice and experience to do a job professionally.

One Of Those Lightbulb Moments

I had one of those lightbulb moments today and it was my Amazon parrot who delivered it. In a strange way little things around you can bring revelations you didn't expect. Goober, my big green Yellow Nape Amazon parrot loves to immitate me. He says all kinds of things that he picks up from exclamations and everyday language around the house--no, nothing off color, just funny things like "oh wow", "whoa", "hey, stop"... he says that and a whole lot more, but mostly just goofy stuff. It never ceases to amuze me what he comes up with now and again. I've often laughed at his little 'clear the throat' noise he makes and know that he got it from me. I used to always clear my throat in the mornings. Today he is stuck on that noise. He appears to be amuzing himself with it, but it drove a very poignant point home to me. Just how much I did use to do that, and that I don't do it AT ALL anymore. Why? Becasue I quit smoking 2 months ago. Now, I know that I've been feeling better in some ways, but I've been focusing on some of the bad points of quiting -- withdrawal wise. The depression, the weigh gain, things I have been harping on myself to get under control, and get it under control fast because it's causing havoc in my life. It wasn't until this morning, listening to my precocious bird that I realized instead of focusing on the difficulties I should be rejoicing in the positive changes not smoking has brought my life. Here's a picture of the goofy bringer of powerful revelations:

Friday, September 04, 2009

Home Medical Equipment

My mother-in-law is dealing with terminal cancer. She's in her late 70s and having a really hard time of it. There has been so much we've had to get for her to make living possible. Now that it's getting toward the end she needs even more. She was in the hospital recently and is now in a nursing facility for some rehab but still hoping to get back home again. If she can get back home she will need lots of extra medical equipment including a hospital bed brought in. Medicare pays for a lot of the equipment she has received in the past few years, but bigger items like the bed are thankfully covered by the local hospice organization. If it were something to be used repeatedly like a hospital would it makes sense to buy it but she isn't going to be using it for that long. They have equipment they bring in especially for individual patients in her situation. So I hope she can get back home. I know it means a lot to her.

Frustrated and Fed Up

Health insurance is very confusing. I'm sitting here with a brand new card in my hand. My husband handed it to me before he left this week for work. It's the same insurance we've always had. A very, very prominent name in health care providers too so it's not a fly by night company. There is a vision policy attached to it but I cannot for the life of me find out what the specifics of the insurance are, and where I can use it. I've tried just about everything I possibly can. It is giving me a royal headache. They (the insurance companies) make it hard on purpose I think. If you can't figure it out, maybe you won't use it. It's just about frustrating enough to make that true too.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Accessorize Your Car

My car is sitting at the end of my driveway right now awaiting the moment I can afford to get it fixed. The breaks went out suddenly on me a few weeks ago. I don't use my car much so I can afford to be without it. Now for most people that's certainly not an option. My husband could not afford to be without his car for a day. He wouldn't be able to get to work. Actually I wouldn't be able to get along without at least his car to go shopping once or twice a week too. His car also has all the possible new gadgets in it. Before my car broke down I was shopping around looking for car accessories to add to it to bring it up to speed with 'modern' cars that come with all those nifty things. In my searches I've found things even my husband's car doesn't, or rather didn't, have. It does now. He's become quite addicted to some of the places that sell extra fun or interesting accessories for cars.


My husband asked me the other day about Twitter. He's asked before what it is about but never really tried it. He still hasn't. The reason it came up is the commercial that's on television now that mentions it in a cute little skit. He says it makes no sense to him. Actually, I think if anyone, even those who love it, actually sat back and pondered the concept it wouldn't make much sense to them either. Blogs make some sense. You can actually get full concepts across. I admit, there's more interaction on Twitter, at least it seems like it, but the talk is largely gibberish and one-liners. It gets old quick. When you are active in it you get caught up, but the moment you step away like I have for the past few months you come back to reality. You look at it and think about how silly the actual concept of it is. Like many time diversions on line, that's really all it is.

The Eyes Have It

I don't know about you, but I know that as I got older I noticed how much more help I needed to look good, even just to me. I really don't work hard at making myself look good to others, or even be up to par according to fashion magazines. I'm an average woman and it is a losing battle. I do, however, want to look good to myself when I look in a mirror. I use a wrinkle eye cream daily and it really helps my favorite feature--my eyes--stand out. I avoid wearing a lot of makeup, but I like to highlight my eyes. I think it's really all I need to do along with a touch of lip gloss, or if really going all out, some lipstick. Making the most out of my eyes doesn't work if they look tired and old so that's why I take so many pains to keep them looking as good as possible.

Friday, August 21, 2009

New Bird Website

My new website I just started for the birds.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Which Way To Go

My husband and I may never come to an agreement about what we want to do for a retirement. We talk and talk but never seem to be on the same page. The time for decision is coming up fast. One of the choices we have been considering is putting a manufactured home on one of the two lots we have available to us. The biggest problem with both places is that they both have existing homes on them. Not homes we would want to consider as permanent housing though. So it's either sell both places and buy a new one, or tear down the old and put up a new home. Manufactured homes make a lot of sense. They come in tons of great styles too which makes them attractive and over all are a lot cheaper than buying a new home.

Fitting In

Johnny is learning how to fit in. He came from a home that didn't have any other birds so he is completely unaccustomed to strange birds. He loves his own reflection, however. Luckily he and my other two cockatiels are not quarreling. They aren't close and friendly yet, but they aren't fighting. Here they all are out and about on the play top yesterday.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Shop and Compare

I always joke with hubby and ask if his insurance is paid up when he takes off on his motorcycle, or goes water skiing. The fact that term life insurance is such a pain to find makes me happy that ours is. We found the company we're with long before the Internet though. I'm thinking lately it would be a good idea to do some comparison shopping. Online options make it so easy now compared to back when we found ours. I think it's too easy to become complacent and just settle for what you have instead of comparing prices and plans. It's about time we start doing that every so often.

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeere's Little Johnny

Well Johnny came to live here today. He is so little compared to Spice who is a huge tiel. Johnny's a real sweetie though. What he lacks in size he makes up for in luvin'. Took no time stepping up, seems bright and dove into the food the minute I put him in his cage. He's a gray pearl split to pied judging from the white markings on the back of his head.

I'll get some better pictures later I didn't want to over do it with him tonight.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Advocate For The Elderly--Nachshon Draiman

Having an active role in the care of my elderly mother-in-law really makes me appreciate the hard work and dedication of others who work hard to make the lives of elderly people better. Nachshon Draiman works right here in Illinois to create geriatric care and social services for the elderly. On top of all of his hard work he is a tireless and generous individual. Nachshon Draiman donates time and money as well as working as a fundraiser for charities.

Nachshon Draiman enjoys traveling the world as well as playing tennis almost as much as helping others. His business interests of developing assisted living complexs and nursing homes along with developing alternative energy to create a better world all show the generous and giving nature of this hard working individual.


Pardon my yell but I'm pretty excited about that pronoucement. It's been 5 weeks since I stopped smoking. That's a pretty big thing considering I'd smoked for 30+ years without stopping. I never really increased my habit like many do over time. I was a one pack a day smoker from beginning to end but 1 pack a day for over 10950 days is a lot of cigarettes to smoke. If I were to be honest I would have to admit I wouldn't have given up the nasty habit just because it was better/healthier for me to do so. I gave it up becuase the cost was becoming increasingly stupid. I mean, I am not going to spend a fortune to kill myself. (yeah, I know that sounds crazy, and it is) The last price hikes that shot up a pack of cigarettes and also raw tobacco, which I had used for years to roll my own cigarettes and off-set the already crazy high prices, zooming through the roof was the final straw for me.

Regardless of why, as anyone who has attempted to kick the habit knows it is not easy. Most also know that only a few manage to never go back. Whether it is 1 week, 1 year, or 10 years many go back. It only takes one 'trigger' at a weak moment. Here's hoping that moment never comes... or at least doesn't come for another 20 or 30 years, maybe by then I won't care anymore and smoke again.

What I Didn't Know About Precious Metals And Gems Andrew Wilshire Taught Me

I have a large collection of jewelry but it wasn't until I read the blog that Andrew Wilshire created to give people like me an insight into the precious metals industry and investment that I really appreciated it. I mean, of course I appreaciated what was received as a gift, or what I worked hard to earn, but to appreciate it for its beauty, value, and understand why a piece has the value it has. Andrew Wilshire even explains the best ways to keep your valuables in their best shape to ensure the hold and build their value.

Andrew Wilshire began teaching others the tricks to good investments and how to achieve financial stability 11 years ago. His newsletters and blogs are a great resource for anyone of any means to get a solid start and long-term success in investments.

Pictures, Art, and More

People who know me know I love to play with pictures. Creating pictures from scratch, painting, drawing, computer generated pictures, altered pictures, and much more. I have several paint programs on my computer and used to load all of my pictures on my websites but recently I had a reason to use photobucket. I don't know why I haven't used them before. In fact, I had certainly heard of them, and fought at ever turn to not use them. I can't really explain it. Wow, what a great website and totally free. It even has a picture editor that is just marvelous. Being all online means I don't have to have another large program loaded on my computer, and since I'm online 24/7 practically anyway, why not have it online? I think I will be using photobucket for everything from now on.

Amos Tamam Makes Public Transportation Better Than Ever

If you're like me you don't carry cash around with you. The fact that I'm so far from town, banks, etc and that I work and get paid online makes it less likely I am in a position to get cash unless I am at a store and use my bank card as a debit card to get cash back. I don't even do that. I just don't like carrying cash. I especially don't like carrying cash in busy cities or strange places. Being that way makes me really appreciate people like Amos Tamam who have worked so hard to make life easier for those of us who rely on modern technology to get through all aspects of life from work to travel.

Amos Tamam literally started from the beginning when he came to the States in the early 80's. He had vast technological experience in his homeland but here he started out working in a Taxi garage. From there he began to see where improvements were needed and to develop the technologies that would make that happen.

All of that was wonderful for the taxi industry but where the inovations of Amos Tamam truly became a service to the public at large came into play was placing his verifone credit checking machines in taxi's throughout various metropolitan cities. The beginnings have been slow but here's hoping that the concept of credit acceptance in public transportation continues to grow until the time comes when we couldn't remember not being able to pay for a cab ride with a credit card.

Settling In

The birds are really settling in now. They have been terrific from the start, showing that they had been well cared for prior to my getting them. However, little by little you can really see them opening up even more. Now Spice (the gray male in the picture) has decided he just HAS to eat whatever you are eating and will literally come running from wherever he is on his perch to be near enough to you to beg. He begs so cute too. He's a real junk food junkie though and much prefers chips and popcorn to fruit and vegies... lol.

K-Designers Provides Real Quality

I have come to a painful conclusion. Well it's not painful so much as scary. I am going to need a designer to realize my dreams of what I want from the final version of my new house. The time is coming swiftly when final plans will need to be drawn up and put into action. Looking for a designer is tricky. That's why when you find someone like K-Designers you rejoice and know that you are in good hands.

A fantastic home designer will make sure you have the best in quality and their construction standards will be second-to-none. K-Designers works only with the best materials and it shows in the beauty and long-lasting product they produce. Now for some companies that is just a minor after-thought but when you are dealing with a company that will be producing your home, the place you live in, your family's place of security that means more than ever.

So, it's time to put down my own in-experienced pen and paper and so some serious searching for someone who can give my plans true life with the quality that will make it a home I can be proud of for years. Don't skimp on your home construction, remodel, or additons call K-Designers and see what real quality and craftmanship looks like.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

An Adorable Cockatoo - Message Boards - The Friendliest Pet Bird / Parrot Forum on the Net !

An Adorable Cockatoo - Message Boards - The Friendliest Pet Bird / Parrot Forum on the Net !

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Good Ole Boys and A Lot of Country

Lately most of the vacation plans I've scouted out involved bodies of water suitable for boating. However there are areas that either I or my husband would like to visit/experience that don't involved boating such as Gatlinburg vacations. Gatlilnburg has a cultural life that almost requires people who love country music visit it. As part of the Smokey Mountains it has a divergence of cultures that fights to remain what it was while also joining with what is. It is one of those juxtaposed places in history that manage to combine the past with the present in an almost seamless manner. That isn't as easy to do as it would seem just by looking in. If you are a fan of the "Dukes of Hazzard" you simply have to visit the area to see Pigeon Forge, Cooter's Garage, and the "Dukes of Hazzard Museum". Of course no country music fan can live their whole life without going to "Dollywood" and seeing the home of Dolly Parton.

Boat Accessories

I've learned a lot about various things that have to do with boating because of all the research I've been doing lately. One of the most intriguing items is the depthfinder/fishfinder. Modern technology has made fishing a truly relaxing endeavor. No more worries about sitting for hours without a single nibble fish finders make it possible to know exactly where the fish are. For boaters these devices both help them find fish filled waters they also help navigate shallow water areas without damaging their boats by keeping track of the depth of the water.

Purchasing a Fish Finder

Don't skimp. Get a fish finder with as many pixels as possible. The more pixels the fish finder has the clearer and more accurate the picture. Color shows more detail than a black and white screen. For extra value get a fish finder/depth finder with GPS capability and make sure you never get lost and can always communicate your position to rescue craft when necessary.

Professional Installation

It may be tempting to install a sonar device on your own to save on costs but this is one time when hiring a professional makes more sense. You may pay a little more but you'll save on worries of having engine interference, putting the depth sounder in the proper position for your particular type of boat, and if for any reason there are problems with your unit when you put your boat in the water, you can take it back for repair without paying extra in most cases.

What You're Looking At

You will have to become accustomed to looking at the images on a fish finder. Both objects in the water and fish themselves do not look 'lifelike' but as you use your sonar device you will learn what fish look like, what to look for to find fish such as brush in the water where bass are likely to be living, bottom swells to watch out for to keep from bottoming out your boat.

Fishing Aid

As you learn to distinguish the various types of fish on your screen your fish finder will help you catch fish by letting you know the depth of the fish so you can get your line right down to where the fish are. Some fish finders will allow you to see in all directions around your boat so you can fish off several sections of the boat at the same time. It will even tell you the temperature of the water so you know when fish are most likely to be active.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New Discoveries

I have to admit that when planning to do the room additions I want including the master bathroom I really haven't given much thought to anything but ceramic or stone tile. I came across a stunning discovery today, however, and realized that I hadn't done my research well enough. In neglecting glass tile I left off a huge realm of possibilities. Glass tile is luxurious and would make a beautiful bathroom. It would be great in a kitchen too but I'm not redoing my kitchen again. I really like the way glass tile just sparkles. In a big room like I am planning for the new master bath it would add elegance without over-powering it. Perhaps one of my favorite parts of decorating is the planning that leads up to it. There are so many choices. It does come down to making a final decision, however, or the work would never get started. I hope I don't make any new discoveries or I may never get that new bathroom.

Sometimes There Just isn't a Reason

I am sitting here today pretty much crippled and unable to move. I haven't had a problem with my back in months but suddenly yesterday and today have been excruciating. I'm not even sure why. I didn't do anything to aggravate it. I sometimes think it acts up just to warn me, or let me know it is still there. I love my new LazyBoy though. It has a massage/heat setting that really helps relieve the pain. It doesn't seem fair that something like that could just spring up without cause. Life is sure like that sometimes though. Sometimes there just isn't a reason, it just is.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Help When You Need It

Motorcycles are a popular vehicle but there are many dangers. Not just because of the motorcycle itself but because of other drivers on the road. If you are in California and have an accident involving a motorcycle you need a good lawyer on your side to help you get the best compensation. An Oakland motorcycle accident lawyer can make sure you get your medical bills covered, replacement for your vehicle, and if necessary help for your family while you recover. These are not things you want to think about but if an accident occurs you will be grateful that your lawyer is ready to assist you and keep your family safe.

Possible execptions

I need to go out and dig a test hole to see if we can even have a pond here which is what we ultimately want to do. It means digging a small test patch at least 6 feet deep--not fun. I keep putting it off. Once the hole is dug it isn't a big deal. You fill it with water and see if it holds in 24 hours. If it has sunk a few inches you refill it, but after a day or two it should be saturated enough to hold without dropping overnight. If it doesn't then you can't simply dig a pond you have to line it which is really expensive if you want a large lake which we do. I think if it turns out the ground won't hold water on its own I'm going to go with small interconnected ponds that can be dug out and lined individually, connected by small creeks. I've seen similar types of things at a condo once, it was really pretty. It will make a lovely visual here even though it isn't the big lake we wanted.

Finding the Perfect Spot

On the drive home I happened to spot another area to look into for recreation and possibly living if we do end up deciding to move in a year or two. Lake Springfield is the area and it is a gorgeous lake. It made me think though. I was pretty sure I had seen all of the areas in this part of Illinois where there were 'boatable' lakes and nice areas to live. Obviously not. But how do you know if you have found the right spot? There might be other possibilities you aren't even aware of unless you just happen to stumble on them like I did this weekend.

Time Consuming Beauty

I feel like I am on a never-ending search these days for the best way to keep from aging faster than I should. I guess I do okay. I do not look as old as some and I look older than others. I'm sort of in the middle of the aging race for my age group. It took a long time to find the best way to keep my eyes from looking sunken and old and now I am on the hunt for the best wrinkle cream to get rid of crows feet and those little lines around the corners of my mouth. Over the weekend I got to see a few relatives I hadn't seen in a long time and one of them was moaning about how she had to dress up for the occasion and what a pain it is. It brought to mind an old saying my grandmother used to say "beauty is painful". Well, it may not be painful but it sure is time consuming.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Death Wish

My new birds are doing great but I think they have a death wish. Every chance they get they fly over to my Amazon's cage. He's going to kill them. They are lucky I have such quick reflexes and run and grab them off the side of the cage before Goober (my Amazon) can bite at them. I think it is because his cage looks so much like theirs that they get confused and think they are flying to their own cage. I'm going to have to cover up Goober's cage when the cockatiels are out playing. I hate doing that though because I feel like I'm punishing him because the cockatiels are being bad. LOL By the way, that's Spice in the picture here and he's just a real troublemaker no matter what, but he has such a good time doing it I can't get mad.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Time to Decide

I am having such a hard time deciding what I want to do for the future. The choices revolve around whether or not I want to move. It would be a final move. It would have to be someplace I am happy with forever. Most of me wants to move away from anywhere that has septic systems and well water, not too mention too much land. I have several options but at the same time I will miss the place here. If we do stay here there are so many things that will need to be done. Some of the stuff in internal, a new bathroom, a bigger bedroom, kitchen remodeling, but some of the stuff is outdoors too. Turning the property into a retirement estate rather than a farm. I love gazebos, lakes, big patios, and all of that will take a lot of work. It would be nice though and we have the land here to really make a pleasant and relaxing landscape. Fortunately I have some time to decide but I am not making much progress.

Adjusting well

The new birds are adjusting really well after just 9 days. They have taken really well to the play stand and enjoy being out most of the day on it. I even got them to accept taking a shower tonight. Since Sugar (the lutino - white- one) is begining a molt I want to keep them showered several times a week, it helps cut down on floating feathers and helps the new feathers come in easier for them.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Finding What I Want and What I Need

I've been having trouble thinking about losing weight because I've been concentrating on quitting smoking for the past few weeks. Unfortunately weight LOSS and not smoking do not usually go hand-in-hand. Because of that I've considered trying a fat burner pill to combat the extra weight that comes with loss of one addictive habit. Finding the best prices is easier with the Internet and there is a much better selection than if I were to just go to the local store. Being so rural means it isn't likely a store near me would have much of anything to choose from but I can always find what I want on here.

New Pets

I brought two new birds into the house last night and they are doing just great. They are a pair of cockatiels who are quite tame, if a little timid. They are adapting wonderfully to their new home although I'm sure they are scared of the different environment. Here's a picture of them from this morning.