Mar 31, 2008

Marvelous Monday Update 3/31/08

Ugh... “You have three weeks until the next test.” Couldn’t the B-Law II instructor let us savor our moments of relief in *just* completing our second test of the semester before telling us when the next one was? Photobucket Last Tuesday, we had our second test. I had 16 pages of typewritten notes to study from. 16! The first test, I had 11. Who knows how many I’ll have for the third test. LOL I can’t say how well I did because I thought I did good the last time and ended up with a “C”. This is how I approach taking these horrendous tests -- and I’m NOT exaggerating when I say “horrendous” -- I literally have to concentrate on one question at a time and not look any farther otherwise I’d get overwhelmed and start panicking. If I panic, I’m done for.

I found out that I won’t be having “homework” per se in my Advanced Access class. Our homework is the class project of setting up a database with various requirements. Guess what I decided to do? I’m setting up one for Needlework! When I told the instructor that on the first day of class, her eyes lit up. She used to be a stitcher, but had to stop due to some problems with her hands. My project is way more than what is required for class, but I figured if I’m going to set one up I may as well set it up for what I think I could use it for, especially now that I have the Access program at home.

So far, I’m including details on charts, fibers, fabrics, beads, embellishments, WIPs, and needlework shops. If you have an ideas that would make this a comprehensive stash program, let me know.

The instructor seemed quite impressed with my idea.

Get Fit Program
This is the last week for the program sponsored by the local hospital and fitness centers. The team we put together at work is ranked at 54 out of 86 total, so we’re not doing too bad. In two weeks, we go to get our final screening (BP, BF, weight, cholesterol, etc) done so we can compare it to our beginning screening. This time around my focus was on getting into an exercise routine and sticking with it. I think I did a pretty good job, although the past two weeks I’ve been slacking... barely getting in 3 days/week of exercise. I haven’t done a very good job of maintaining the 5-a-Day fruits and vegetables.

"Measure success in more than pounds. Take pride in feeling better and being healthy and fit for life." How fitting! This came in our weekly Get Fit newsletter.

I’m still doing Leslie Sanstone’s Walking Away The Pounds 3-mile Fat Burning video. 45 minutes of cardio, half of which also incorporates weight/strength training. I really like this video. This week, I’ve managed to fit in 3 workouts.

In my part of the world, March is leaving like a lion. Around 3am, I woke to the sounds of loud thunder. I’d heard there was lightning, too. It’s pouring some major rain and forecasters say we might get hail and a tornado. I hope not! At least, Spring is FINALLY here.

What Is This 3/20/08 Answer

Three men in a tub...

I had a dilemma with the answers on the 3/20 What Is This contest. Several people had guesses that could've been right, but only a few named it for what it was. So I decided to put those names in a hat and choose a winner.

As I aimlessly wandered around the new SuperWalmart a few weeks ago, I came upon it. The answer to all my prayers! LOL, maybe not THE answer, but it sounded good, didn't it? I found a SOAP SAVER.

It's like a shower puff, but it opens up and you can put a full bar of soap, or lots of soap slivers in it. It lathers up really well, too! The only complaint I have about it is the little plastic closure thingy doesn't grip very well and sometimes soap falls out. I know I have better ones in my stash... if I EVER get it unpacked!

I'd been saving soap slivers for years, reusing them in various ways. Once I made liquid soap out of them. I'd thought about making shavings out of them and then melting it into a new bar of soap. With a soap saver, I can just shove those little pieces in there are use it at bath/shower time! For less than $2, re-use can get any easier. Can you tell I'm big on re-using, recycling, and reducing waste?

And now for the winner...

*drum roll*

CINDY in Illinois

Congratulations, Cindy!

Other winners of previous What Is This contests:
• Patty Smith in Canada
• Anita Sorrells in Illinois

Movie Monday 3/31/08

Kevin Spacey, Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth, Lawrence Fishburne. The true story of the brightest young minds in the country - and how they took Vegas for millions. Ben Campbell (Sturgess) is a shy, brilliant M.I.T. student who -- needing to pay school tuition -- finds the answers in the cards. He is recruited to join a group of the school's most gifted students that heads to Vegas every weekend armed with fake identities and the know-how to turn the odds at blackjack in their favor. With unorthodox math professor and stats genius Micky Rosa (Spacey) leading the way, they've cracked the code. By counting cards and employing an intricate system of signals, the team can beat the casinos big time. Seduced by the money, the Vegas lifestyle, and by his smart and sexy teammate, Jill Taylor (Bosworth), Ben begins to push the limits. Though counting cards isn't illegal, the stakes are high, and the challenge becomes not only keeping the numbers straight, but staying one step ahead of the casinos' menacing enforcer: Cole Williams (Fishburne).

I thought this was a good movie, although I figured out how the movie ended before it got there.

World Trade Center
Nicolas Cage, Michael Pena, Maggie Gyllenhaal. True story of Will Jimeno (Pena) and John McLoughlin (Cage), two Port Authority police officers who rushed into the burning World Trade Center on 9/11 to help rescue people, but became trapped themselves when the tower collapsed. A race against time ensued to free them before their air ran out.

Initially, I had difficulty when I started watching this movie. All those emotions from 9/11 surfaced back to the top. I could relate to some of the scenes that showed people in disbelief from all over the world. It all came back to me, like it was yesterday. It was an interesting movie, not as graphic as I thought it would be... which is a good thing, because I probably couldn’t have finished watching it.

Mar 29, 2008

Meeting with Auto Zone

The store manager of Auto Zone rolled the battery tester out to the parking lot to test the battery. Upon asking what the prognosis was, he said: "Well, I'm getting inconsistent readings. He said they'd replace the battery. Since I had an appointment, he suggested I return to the store afterwards. Great! I thought.

When I returned to AZ, the manager was out to lunch and the clerk who waited on me didn't have a clue as to what I was there for. He asked me to pull my car closer to the building so he didn't have to carry the battery as far (more on that later). When I went back into the store, he'd taken the opportunity to call the store manager. Hmmm. I don't think he counted on me coming back into the store as fast as I did. Suspicious. Why couldn't he call the manager when I was IN the store?

The clerk then proceeded to tell me that they'd prorate the cost of the battery because I was outside the "free" battery warranty period. What?! None of that was discussed when I talked to the manager. I was NOT a happy camper, and proceeded to tell the clerk that I'd had problems with the battery since it was exchanged in 2006. Then I received a response: "I'm just telling you what the manager said." I responded, "I understand it's not your problem...." and proceeded to tell him about the frustration and inconvience it's been for me. I wouldn't give in... not after two shops looked at the car and the number of times I've had to recharge the battery. He finally said he'd put the battery in and the manager could deal with the payment himself.

I found it odd that he'd stop every now and then and seemingly stared out into space while he was trying to change out the battery. Come to find out he had a 2nd pacemaker surgery in June. I felt bad then, because I'd seen my Dad stop and "rest" like that a few times. It also explained why he didn't want to carry the battery very far.

He made sure to tell me that they don't normally change the batteries in cars like mine because it's too difficult. (Yes, I know it's a PITA) I tried to tell him about all the times I've had to recharge the battery and the problems with it, but he acted indifferent. He gave me the vibe: She's a woman, what does she know.

The manager came back from lunch while the clerk was still trying to get the battery back in the car. I heard him tell the manager "She doesn't want to pay the bill." The manager finished putting the battery back in my car. He then said the positive battery connector was corroded and that probably was the problem. That it probably wouldn't allow the battery to be charged properly and couldn't understand why 3 different people who'd looked at my car didn't check that. How would I know the answer to that?! He told me to have a nice day and went into the store while the clerk finished putting the bracket back on my car. He had me start it and also told me to have a good day.

All these "things" that "might've" caused the battery not to be charged, or there "might've" been a bad cell in the battery. Yikes... And what IF the other mechanics DID check the connectors andfro they were fine? I don't know. All I know IS I've had several people tell me they don't buy stuff from AZ anymore because their stuff it "junk".

Mar 28, 2008

Auto Zone Called Me!

Earlier this week, I sent a long letter to Auto Zone detailing out all the problems I've had with my battery since I got it from them in the Fall of 2005, which included 3 different mechanics checking my alternator, starter, etc. and replacement of one battery by AZ already. This was after receiving a code on my battery charger last week that the battery is bad! I sent this letter via the AZ website. I never dreamed I'd actually get a response, but I did.

Three days ago, I received a short email stating: "We apologize for any lack of satisfaction you received from your recent AutoZone experience. Your comments have been forwarded to the regional management team in your area, for review." The part about "recent" made me think it was a form letter response, so I gave it no further thought.

Today, I received a telephone call from the manager at the AZ store where I got the battery. Unbelievable! He went on to tell me that he didn't understand why I was having these problems because the Duralast batteries are the best on the market. (I certainly wouldn't know!) I have a meeting with him tomorrow at 9am for him to look over the car. I'm betting he's going to check the alternator, starter, and battery. I feel like telling him to give me my money back, but after 2 years they'll prorate it, more than likely. Then I'll have to find someone who's able to put a new battery in. I could do it, but after watching my brother do it twice and seeing what a PITA it is... I'd rather not. LOL

Of course, this all transpired before I found out the serpenting belt keeps the battery charged. I'm still trying to figure out how that is...

Serpentine Belts 101

I dropped my car off at the shop today to have both serpentine belts replaced. I have a supercharged car, so those babies aren't cheap! I was pleasantly surprised when I went to pick my car up that the bill was $20 cheaper than originally quoted (which makes it $95 cheaper than what the GM dealership was going to charge me). Can't beat that!

In doing a little reading, I found out that my belts were WAY past due in being replaced. Apparently, a serpentine belt is made to last 30-40K miles. My car is at almost 85K, and I bought it new so I know they've never been replaced. LOL, yes I consider myself lucky.

I asked the mechanic, "How bad were the belts?" (This was before I edu-ma-cated myself with some info.) He actually went and dug them out of the trash. They sorta looked like this... only MUCH, MUCH worse:

I've read that some (horizontal) cracks are OK, and normal. Excessive cracks, chunks missings, or lateral cracks are NOT OK. Obviously, my belt fit into the latter category. :(

Here's what a new belt looks
like next to a bad belt

Just what IS a serpentine belt? I had no idea, until I did some research. It's a belt that drives the components of the engine such as the alternator, power steering pump, water pump, air compressor, air pump, etc. It's what keeps your battery charged (oh really!), your engine cool, steering easy to turn and keeps you cool when it's hot enough to cook eggs on your sidewalk.

Mar 27, 2008

SBQ - Screening It?

When you stitch a pattern that you have downloaded do you print out the pattern or do you stitch directly from your computer screen?

I most definitely print it out so I can mark it up with my handy dandy highlighter as I stitch. I stare at a computer screen all day long at work, I certainly do not want to sit at home trying to stitch from one. Staring at a computer screen too long, fatigues my eyes. Besides... How would it look after I started marking up my screen? ;-)

Gripe, Groan & Complain...

That’s how I feel today. It all started last night...

No, this isn't about money. Since the weather was nice, I thought I’d bring some wood in for the fireplace rather than wait until today when it snowed, sleeted, and rained. Good thinking on my part, don’tcha think? I had a few 2-3” tree branches that needed to be cut up, so I set about doing that with a combo mitre saw ( LOL) -- Hey, it works! Just be prepared for kickbacks. I didn’t have a secure grip on a branch and the saw grabbed it and kicked it… smashing two of my fingers in the process. I think a few profane words came out of my mouth. I’m not sure, as my fingers REALLY hurt! Today, they feel bruised and a little warm to the touch. I don’t think they’re broken since I can still bend them and type without them hurting. I did get that wood cut up, though!

Car Recall & Other Repairs
Today, I took my car to the GM dealer to get the manifold gasket replaced per the recall letter I talked about a few days ago. For those who care: The recall is for the 1999 Pontiac Grand Prix with the 3.8L supercharged engine.

Within an hour, the service department called me to tell me the serpentine belts needed to be replaced and did I want them to do that. Had I NOT already known that they needed to be replaced, I would’ve thought to myself: What a racket… Get the car in for a recall, and try to up-sell other repairs! I knew the GM dealer would charge me an arm and a leg to replace the belts, but I gave them an opportunity to give me a quote. They were going to call me back with one. My mind spoke again (Funny how it talks to me, LOL): Great, you do that! Meantime, I’m going to call around town and get my own quotes. I could also hear T telling me a while back: “But you’re getting genuine GM parts!” Phooey on that. GM called me back and their quote was $75 higher than everyone else’s (I called 4 different places). I politely declined and made an appointment with a shop I’ve dealt with before. Meantime, the manifold gasket was replaced free of charge. Who knows what they would’ve charged me for that repair.

Tomorrow I’ll be up early again in order to get my car to the shop by 7:30am so they can get me to work on time. Two serpentine belts coming right up! I really can’t complain about the repairs as I haven’t had trouble with the car, other than the battery problems. I’ve known for almost a year the belts needed to be replaced, so it’s now time.

Freecycle Woes
Anyone who’s an avid reader of my blog... I’m still stoked that I have fans!... knows that I’m a big advocate of Freecycle. What you may not know is I’m one of the moderators of our local Freecycle group. The basic rule of Freecycle is: Items posted or asked for have to be FREE and the jist of the organization is to reduce the amount of “stuff” that goes to the landfill, not to borrow… barter… or sell things.

Several weeks back, I rejected a post because a person was asking for a recipe. I sent a polite explanation as to why the post could not be approved. Next thing I know, he/she is sending a LONG post to the group (luckily on moderated status) going on a tirade about how UNFAIR it was that a few weeks ago a post went to the group asking to borrow an engine lift, and how everyone should be treated the same, blah, blah, blah. It was a page long! This person also DEMANDED an apology and threatened to go to the newspaper about it. LOL I sent a short email back to him/her stating that there are several moderators and the other post probably was accidentally approved. I also said: “I’m sorry you feel you were treated unfairly. I treat everyone the same, according to the rules of Freecycle.” I figured that would be the end of it… but NO! (Do you think any of the other moderators stepped up to diffuse this? They all got the same “waiting to be approved” message I did.) Next, I received an email telling me it was a poor excuse for an apology. LOL “Not an apology, just an explanation.” is what I responded and left it at that.

Last week, I accidentally approved a message from someone selling dogs. I hit the “approve” instead of “reject” button… going too fast and not paying attention, I guess. Immediately, I contacted the person who posted the message telling them it was inappropriate AND I sent a message to the group apologizing for what I did. I received a couple of emails stating “We all make mistakes, you mods do a good job.”

Today… I received an email from the “recipe” person stating: “Speaking of apologies, I’m still waiting for mine.” WTH!! I promptly deleted it. Not getting anymore responses from me. Obviously, the newspaper hasn't gotten wind of this human interest story yet. I think the TV newscrews should be called, too. LOL

This brings me to the guy wanting to borrow a hoist. I thought his post was accidentally approved, but he posted another message asking for the same thing to which I contacted him, and told him the post wasn’t according to Freecycle rules. After some investigation, I found out he wasn’t on moderated status and I put him back on. He was offended and asked “Since when… You new moderators… blah, blah, blah.” I’ve been a moderator on Freecycle for several years. I’ve given a lot away, and gotten a few things. I’ve read the Freecycle site (obviously he didn’t because he didn’t know what the purpose of Freecycle was). Cripes! I sent him the mission statement of the Freecycle site, and sent a Friendly Reminder to the group about the purpose of Freecycle. He didn’t like that, so he sent a message to the local “For Sale” group telling everyone he’s starting a new group where people can trade and barter. Oh, and he put a little blurb in there about the “Freecycle moderator won’t let me ask this on that group” so I’m starting my own group. Have at it, friend! Not saying I was THE moderator, I posted a message to the “For Sale” group stating my “understanding” of the Freecycle organization, informing everyone of the local barter group that was already set up, and wishing him well in his new group. Haven’t heard from him since. LOL

What is it with people who think they’re “entitled” to disregard the rules? It’s not like I’m rude in any of the communications I send. Anyone who’s in my stitching groups knows this. I’ve actually gotten compliments on how “diplomatically” I handle the exchanges I coordinate and firmly set the expectations without offending people. I just don’t get it!

OK, enough of the gripes, groans, and complaints!

*stepping carefully off the soapbox*

Mar 24, 2008

The Ultimate Steal

During my career as a student, I've been blessed and happy that being a student has some excellent perks.

Years ago, I took a photography class and with that class I was entitled to purchase the professional version of Photoshop for a ridiculously low price, saving hundreds of dollars.

Today, I was turned on to what Microsoft calls "The Ultimate Steal." Under this program, I am eligible to purchase the Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007 Suite for $60! The software retails for almost $700!!! It seems I learned about this just in time... it expires April 30, 2008. More about it HERE.

You may want to pony up the extra $13 for a CD if you have dial-up because it took 12 hours for me to download parts 1 & 2 (2 is optional), and I have DSL.

The following programs are included in this offer: Word 2007, Powerpoint 2007, Office Outlook 2007 with Business Contact Manager, Accounting Express (You can also get this as a free download), Access 2007, Excel 2007, InfoPath 2007, Groove 2007, OneNote 2007, and Publisher 2007. All for $60!

You DO have to be a registered student at a college. If you are contacted to provide proof and can't, you will be required to pay full price for the software.

My only gripe is: I learned about it from an offshoot Freecycle group. Why aren't instructors aware of this? Why aren't they telling students?? Had I known about this earlier in the semester, it would've saved me from trekking out to the college in subzero temps so I could do my assignments. Now that I know about it, I can work on my Access homework any hour of the day. Yay!!

Marvelous Monday Update 3/24/08

Get Fit Challenge
Is it true that something becomes habit if you do it for at least 20 times? I'm to the point where I actually feel guilty if I don't work out! I did cardio and strength training 5 times this week.

The "major" storm the forecasters predicted never materialized, thank goodness. My area did get 2-3" of snow on Friday. "Shove" had to come back from vacation in order to help me clear the driveway. It snowed twice on Easter Sunday. Even though it came down heavy, there wasn't enough to make the ground white and it melted right away.

I spent a good amount of time working on Mime. Yes, Mime!

Progress of Mime
Other progress pics can be seen HERE.

I also started a new project... Quakers Rule by Miladys Needle. It's stitched on 40ct linen over-two. It's not as difficult as I thought it would be. I've completed two motifs so far.

Movie Monday 3/24/08

Michael Clayton
Michael Clayton (George Clooney) is an attorney and a "fixer". He's the guy his firm goes to when they need messes swept under the rug. When his firm hands him a $3-billion case, he turns into a whistleblower. The more he tries to undo the damage, the more he faces "corporate survival" vs. "human survival", which includes his own life. I was really disappointed in this movie. I thought it would have more substance and suspense than it did.

Laws of Attraction
Pierce Bronsan and Julianne Moore. This romantic comdey is a battle of wits and will. Both are top-notch NY divorce attorneys with celebrity clients. During the nasty divorce, Audrey (Moore) and Daniel (Bronson) set out on a trip to Ireland in order to make their cases, and end up married. To spare their professional reputations, they try to fool people in NY that they're in love. Interspersed throughout the movie is Audrey's mother, who is obsessed with looking young and continually is telling her how to get a man. I'm a fan of both these actors, and the ending of this movie is surprising. This is a good "chick flick" movie.

Mar 23, 2008

But It Smells... good! Have you ever bought or received as a gift a candle that smelled really good? Then you burn it and it doesn't burn down evenly. Next thing you know, you have a bunch of wax with no wick? I hate to throw those great smelling candles away when this happens. Or, what about those so-so smelling candles? What do I do?

I make new candles and firestarters!

For the candles that come in glass containers, I melt the wax by either putting it in the microwave for 2 minutes (Do not "cook" for more than 2 minute intervals AND do not leave unattended), or I place the glass container in a pan with water and let the "double boiler" effect do the job.

If the candles are the larger ones that don't come in containers, like pillars, I break them up into smaller chunks. The orange one above was a 3-wick 8" diameter pumpkin pie spice candle. It smelled sooo good! The red one was a cinnamon apple scent.

Once the wax is melted, I use a small pair of needle-nose pliers to lift the glass container out of the hot water and pour it over dryer-lint filled paper egg cartons (Recycling at it's best!), if the wax scent isn't all that great. These make great firestarters for the fireplace, or camping.
Or, I will continue to add wax to the glass container and let it melt until the container is full of melted wax. Then, I will add a wick and let it solidify. Voila! A new Pumpkin Pie Spice candle.

After melting the wax, how do I clean the glass containers if I'm not using them to make candles? I use paper towels to wipe out the residual wax. Good as new!

A few things to note: 1) Make sure the water in the pan doesn't evaporate, otherwise the glass may shatter and you'll have a mess on your hands if there was a lot of melted wax. 2) The glass container gets REALLY hot, so be careful when lifting out with the needle-nose pliers. 3) You can "mix and match" colors/scents, but I've found that the resulting color usually ends up being a "dirty" mixture of whatever was mixed together.

Dear Pontiac Owner

I get a lot of junk mail. Usually, I will go through it while I am at the post office and throw away everything I don't want, after tearing off any personal info (to be shredded later when I get home). For some reason, a few weeks ago, I didn't go through my junk mail and ended up bringing it home. As I was cleaning yesterday, found and opened what I thought was junk mail. It wasn't.

"Dear Pontiac Owner,

GM will be announcing a safety recall that may cause a FIRE in your Pontiac supercharged engine. We believe fires may be caused by oil being deposited on the exhaust manifold through hard breaking. If the manifold is hot enough and oil runs below the heatshield, it may ignite into a small flame and in some instances the fire may spread to the plastic spark plug wire channel.

We strongly recommend you not park your vehicle in a garage, car port, or other structure. If you notice a burning odor, you should have your Pontiac dealer inspect your vehicle."

OMG!! I've noticed a burning oil odor in my car for quite a while. It came and went and I just chalked it up to the car being old. *ACK* Don't park it in a garage or other building? LOL (not really funny) Nice to warn us about that one! I've been parking my car in my garage, which is full of unpacked boxes from when I moved. I guess I'd better make an appointment with the local GM dealership.

Mar 20, 2008

What Is This? 3/20/08

It's been a while since I've done one of these so I thought it was time! Take a guess... leave me a comment... Your answer has to be specific as to what it is and what it's used for. What do you think this is?

Whoever guesses correctly, will win something from my stash. This contest will be open until 3/28. If you're signing in as "anonymous", please be sure to leave your name and email addy so I can contact you if you're the winner. Multiple guesses with the correct answer will be put in a "hat" and one name will be chosen as a winner. Good luck!

Mar 19, 2008

Bling Flinging, Recipe & Addiction

Marita and Kendra flung this bling my way...

The creator of the You Cheer Me Up award had three things in mind for the recipients:
* bloggers who make me laugh until my face hurts
* bloggers whose writing voice comforts me when I’m feeling lost
* bloggers who inspire me when I’m feeling blue.

The original award instructions are:

If you are a recipient of the You Cheer Me Up Award, please find the blogs that cheer you up, copy the code to post on your sidebar and pass Ethel and Lucy across the blogosphere. You can use what cheers you up in your post, or copy this one, but please send your award recipients back to the original post on A Nice Place In The Sun to get a copy of the award code, post the image and read the instructions. I want to try to maintain a page of original and ongoing award recipients, so feel free to let me know if you’ve received an award when you pick up the image code.

Since I gave out You Make Me Smile Awards, I'm just going to say... consider this bling yours if I read and comment on your blog. :) Leave me a comment, if you snag this bling!

Here's an interesting recipe:

The Recipe For Meari

3 parts Success
2 parts Flirtation
1 part Wisdom

Splash of Energy

Finish off with a little umbrella and straw

In case you didn't know... I have a blog addiction! LOL

77%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Lastly, my blog is Rated G...

Apparently, the only "bad" words on my blog were 'breast' and 'suck'... oh me, oh my!

Mar 18, 2008

Stash Bonanza

It's been a while since I made a stash haul, so I thought I was due. LOL, can we ever have enough? I took advantage of a few sales from Needle in a Haystack and The Needles Art.

Here's what I came away with:

Six Strand Sweets
and Wisper Floss

2004 Just Cross Stitch
Christmas Ornament Issue

Sing For The USA
by Brittercup Designs

Summer ABC's
by Lizzie Kate

Strawberries Rule Accoutrements
by Milady's Needle

Strawberries Rule
by Milady's Needle

At a thrift store, I got all of these for 80cents!

Yes, that's a JCS Ornament issue!

Marvelous Monday Update 3/17/08

Grades are in! At least for my online Beginning Access class. I got an A. Woo Hoo! One class done, two to go. I started the Advanced Access class last week. It's a campus class and since I took the beginning class online, I am the new kid on the block. Everyone else knew everyone in the class, except for me. Our big project will be to create a database, reports, and forms, and the present it to the class. Doesn't that sound like fun?

Dad Update
My Dad says he's doing much better since his last round in the hospital, where they ended up adjusting his meds. Apparently the docs at the VA hospital had him over-medicated.

Friday was his 66th birthday... AND... his last day working. He is officially retired! I'm sure he and mom will drive each other crazy. LOL A few pics from his party:

Grandpa says "No Kissy-Face"

Quality Time
My 16yr old niece spent the weekend with me. Last fall, she moved an hour away so I don't get to see her that often anymore. Growing up, I was like her second Mom. Now she's all grown up and driving... and STILL wants to spend time with me. :) She even arranged to take the weekend off work to do so.

We spent Saturday, shopping. First, a bunch of home improvement stores for me. Then to the mall for her, so she could do her birthday shopping. She came away with 3 bags of goodies and was a happy camper. She was also allowed to drive us practically everywhere. There were only a few minor *incidents* that a small lecture was in order. LOL

She was nominated by her school as Student of the Quarter for the Rotary Club. Not bad for her first year at a new school. She even prepared a speech. I'm so proud of her!

I managed to finish Spring Bluebird by Waxing Moon Designs for Rita's RR. I also stitched on Victorian Pansies Needlebook. I thought to myself: I've got the RR done, I've got my March ornie done. Now I can pick WHATEVER I want to stitch on for the rest of the month. I'm thinking it should be Mime!

Lastly... Anyone care for some... CHICKEN?

Baked Chicken Breast with Mushrooms, Sweet Potato Fries,
and Steamed Broccoli... made by yours truly.

Mar 16, 2008

Spring Bluebird Finished

I finished Spring Bluebird by Waxing Moon Designs for Rita's RR today. It's being stitched on 18ct aida with DMC floss. It took 5.75 hours to stitch bluebird.

Here's what the entire piece looks like so far:

Mar 12, 2008


I finished my March ornie tonight. It's a design by Velda in Canada. The photo really doesn't do it justice at all. I used sparkly red Kreinik blending filament on the word "Sparkle" and sparkly white on the green parts of the ornament. The gold beads are really set off by the gold cording. It's stitched on 18ct white aida with DMC floss.

Mar 11, 2008

We Both Feel The Same

Apparently, my car and I felt the same way today.... neither of us wanted to get started this morning! I had a LONG day yesterday: Didn't sleep well Sunday night (I blame it on Daylight Savings Time), then worked 11.5 hours, and woke up at 3:30am today. Plus, tonight I have B-Law until 9pm. *ugh* In an exhausted haze, I wandered from room to room getting ready for work, sometimes forgetting what it was I was doing.

Finally, I get out the door to leave for work. My car would NOT start. The battery was dead again! *ugh* #@*&! I put it on the charger and called in to work to let them know I'd be later than I already was.

Is it Friday yet?

Mar 10, 2008

Spring Bluebird Update 3/10/08

After 4.75 hours, bluebird is coming to life!

Meari's Monday Update 3/10/08

Last week, I found out that I got a C on my first test in B-Law... 3 points away from a B, so I was bummed. :( I was also bummed to find out the instructor wants us to make up the two days where school was called off due to snow. So guess who will be spending Spring Break at school, not one night but two nights of B-Law II! *ack*

Recently, my city acquired a Super Walmart. The place is huge... overwhelming HUGE! Not only that, it's waaaay on the outskirts of town. Both of these things mean that I can't do my Walmart errands on my lunch hour anymore. I went to Walmart after work to get a few things. TWO HOURS later I finally walk out of the store. No one I've talked to has good things to say about this Super Walmart. What do my loyal (lol) readers have to say?

Getting Fit
Hmmm... Is it just my imagination? Walmart had some slacks on clearance for $3 (Couldn't pass THAT up!) so I tried on a size 10. They were a bit loose! I know different brands have different fits, but...? I actually have to use a belt for these slacks.

I don't know if I've shared this tidbit of information, and for some it may be TMI, but here goes: I detest yogurt. (What did you think I was going to say?) Even with the fruity stuff, I've always had a difficult time getting past the smell and then the taste of it. Yogurt ice cream, no problem. Yogurt, no way! Why am I going on about yogurt? Because it's supposed to be good for me. At least that's what experts say. Not only that, I've seen commercials on TV about yogurt drinks in the bottle. Have you actually priced one of those bottles? They're like $2-3+! Crazy. I had a brain storm idea: I bought the Walmart brand of "light" fruit-flavored yogurt (40cents), poured it into an empty juice bottle (Single serving size you can get at the gas station... with the one inch or so opening) and then filled it up part way with skim milk. Shake, then fill up the rest of the way with milk. Shake again. Viola! Yogurt drink. I've tried the Aldi's brand of yogurt - yuck. Nasty. For some reason, I can suck down my homemade yogurt drink, no problem! And at a fraction of the cost getting them at the store. Not only that, I'm keeping "green" by re-using the juice bottles. I re-fill them with water, too.

My exercise this week was dismal. :( I only worked out twice this week.

Date Night?
I had a last minute invite to a movie on Saturday night. J has been kicking around the idea of us going out on a date for some time. We saw 10,000 BC. Through the entire movie, he sat next to me with his arms crossed over his chest. I can't decide whether the theater was too cold for him (It was cold), or if it was an insight to his personality. After the movie, I thanked him and we went our separate ways. After I got home, he sent me a text message about how he would've rather done painting (He knew I'd been painting my bathroom mirror.) so we could've talked. I agreed. Next, I received a text message: "I'm probably not what you're looking for anyway." Whoa, what?! Do I detect insecurity? Men!

Mar 9, 2008

New Additions

I went back to Menards today because they had kitchen cabinet hardware on sale for 50% off. So, I thought I'd better take advantage of the sale since I've been wanting to change the hardware on my cabinets after I refinish them.

For the past month or so, every time I go to Menards my cart seems to get a mind of it's own and pulls me toward the mirror aisle. I've been like a kid in a candy store coveting a certain full length wall mirror. Today was no different. The cart was like a magnet... Right to the mirror aisle again. Imagine my surprise when I saw a big RED sign: 40% Off! I frantically searched through the full length mirrors that were left. Ahhh... There it was! I happily snatched it up.

One more thing to add to my DIY projects.

Close Up Details

Here's a rough look at my room. The boxes on the far side are filled with stash. I have another 6 large boxes that isn't seen in the pic. I still need to put up my bedroom drapes. Those valances were left by the previous owner, along with a swag of daisies hanging above the bedroom door. Both need to go...

Mar 8, 2008

A Few Projects Outta The Way

The Menards in town is moving to a larger location so they're having clearance on lots of items. I went in for salt, but came out with two combo smoke/CO2 detectors instead. They were marked down almost $10 each so I couldn't pass them up. I'd been looking at them since I moved into the Homestead, but at $30-40 a pop I kept holding off. The smoke detectors from the previous owner weren't working right (even after I replaced the batteries) so I ended up disconnecting them, have been without pretty much since I moved in. I installed the new detectors and now I feel safe again. :)

These are pretty neat. There are four lights that alert for different things. On one side is a fire/smoke alarm light that blinks while the alarm goes off. On the other side is the CO2 alarm light that blinks and sounds off to a different alarm noise. Light #3 tells if the battery needs replacing, #4 tells if the detector is malfunctioning for some reason. I'm sure the latter make different sounds, too, but at this point I don't know what they are. (Little things make me happy... LOL)

Call me crazy, but when I saw this mirror I thought it was very "cool" and unique. I've never seen one like it anywhere. The mirror opens to the medicine cabinet. I love the lights on each side, although I'm thinking there were sconces at one time. From a distance, it looks great, right?

Up close and personal (like when you're brushing your teeth), it's not so pretty:

I wanted to refinish it with an antique bronze, but alas I couldn't find a "kit" in that color. American Accents by Rustoleum makes a "kit" in Antique Gold that I hoped would look just as good with the dark base cabinet. While at Menards last month, I grabbed a can of primer and a kit. Today, I finally had time to do it:

Everything except the primer and tape were included in
the kit. A pair of gloves was also with the kit, but I didn't
include them in the photo.

I couldn't take the cabinet out of the wall without unhooking the electrical wires, so I shut off the breaker and did the prep work of taping off everything that wasn't to be painted. What in the world are those things sticking out of the light sockets? Good thing I shut off the electricity! LOL, I didn't want to get paint inside the sockets, so I cut in half one of my niece's socks (funny how I only have ONE). Rolled them up and stuck one in each socket. Worked perfectly!

Primered and Ready to Go!

Gold Paint - Looking better already.

Antiqued Details

Finished Project, complete with "green" CFL bulbs - Woo Hoo!

Mar 6, 2008

Spring Bluebird 3/6/08

This is such a quick stitch. Here's the progress after 3.25 hours:

The best part about it? I haven't had to FROG yet! Shhhhh....

Stitching, Stashing, & Shopping

Not necessarily in that order :)

Remember a week or so ago when I realized I could wear size 10 slacks? At the same time, I bought a new beaded watch with a matching bracelet. Normally priced at $55 (Why, I don't know!), and on sale for $20. Is it cool, or what?!

JoAnn Fabrics is having a sale on the Darice beads (40% off) and Favorite Findings Buttons ($1/pkg). I got the star sequins on a whim. All of these cost me less than $3.75! I'm debating whether to use the stars (vs. silver or gold seed beeds) on my March ornie.

I found these goodies at the Goodwill Thrift Store.

I started Rita's RR last night. This is my progress after 1.75 hours. It's called Spring Bluebird by Waxing Moon Designs.