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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

All in all, I've had a nice set of holidays starting with Thanksgiving. Well, except for catching the creeping crud that resulted in losing my voice. I've been without the ability to speak above a whisper for about 4 days now. While I'm sure some will count this as a blessing, it makes it quite difficult to vocally discipline my puppy. She's having a field day.

Others within my circle of friends don't seem to be faring quite as well through the gathering of relatives as the image I received from one of them below indicates. Ahh, the holidays...


I no longer have any blood relatives - at least none that I will claim. The Almighty has decided that I [evidently] will fare better on my own. I'd really like to discuss that with Him when the time is appropriate. But I guess there is a blessing in that I no longer have the holiday relative frustration. Silver linings and all that rot.

So as I sit here on New Years Eve contemplating the past year, I am thankful for the friends that I have, the job that I [still] have, the family that I have adopted to be my new 'blood' relatives while I work on that list of people and appropriate tactics to remove them from my life (or at least squelch them into non-importance.)

I hope your year was as blessed and I wish you and yours all the best for 2012! See you on the flip side ;-)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Non-Chocolate Halloween

I thought I was all set for Halloween until I read a post from Arthur Johnson at G+. It's so hard to be conscientious with all of the stuff going on in the world! To read his original post that describes how the major chocolate companies allow slave child labor to supply us with our chocolate, click on his name above and scroll down to October 14th.

The challenge was now on. After spending 3 days writing software requirements, I needed the diversion anyway :P So, off to the stores I went. I typically have 100+ kids each year, and because I have a tendency to overdo, I hold myself to a $1 per kid allowance up to $100 maximum. The ideas below definitely do not need to be at that level, so anyone should be able to replace chocolate regardless of the budget they have by only using one or two of the ideas. More ideas can be found here and here. I'm sure even more can be found on the net, just search using 'no candy Halloween' or other similar key words.

For my neighborhood kiddies, I picked up party favors at Michaels and Goldfish snack packs and fruit treats at the local Target. Since I was done shopping at that point, I didn't hit the local Dollar store which I'm sure would have produced some fun and inexpensive finds, but would have likely run me over my budget.

The Goldfish came in a bag of 30 snack pouches and the Fruit Snacks came in a box of 80 for $4.49 each. My Target purchase came to $29.01. I will likely have snacks left over, but that's OK as this stuff I might actually eat myself.

The party favors were $2.99 each and came in packages of 12, 18, 20 or 36 depending on the item. A real good find were Glo bracelets that came in a package of 15 for $1. The cute spider web treat bags were $1.99 for a package of 25. The total price tag was $70.89.

Grand Total: $99.90. I came in under budget by 10 cents! LOL

Next year I'll be better prepared as the stores were pretty well picked over at this point on the party favor front. I'll have to now add Halloween to my "after holiday shopping" routine to pick up deals for next year. I can also sew treat pouches from cute Halloween fabric much cheaper than buying pre-made pouches. It's all in the planning, isn't it?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

WTF? Bank of America - Debit Card "Closure"

For the most part, today was the normal BS that the standard work day brings. But I did have a bit of an issue at the restaurant we chose to go to for lunch.

As some of you know, I've been purging the house and a friend of my DLH has been clearing out the garage for me. So I ordered a dumpster to make things easier for him so he wouldn't have to make dump runs. While we were waiting for our food to come, I remembered that I neglected to contact my trash service to schedule a pick-up for the dumpster so I could fill it up again. This essentially constitutes a new dumpster scheduling and I had to provide a credit card number.

I gave him my debit card number as I did before and it came back declined. I didn't think much of it because I didn't have my reading glasses on when I rattled off the number and just figured I screwed up. So I grabbed my Chase card as it is easier to read and ended the phone call.

Then it was time to pay for lunch. I placed my debit card with the bill and again, it came back declined.

WTF?

After I got back to work, I checked my bank account just to make sure there wasn't something funky going on. No... all fine there. So I called the number on the back of my card to find out what was going on.

After I described my adventures to the individual that answered the call, he left to check on the debit card number and came back to the phone indicating that my card had been closed due to potential fraudulent activity and a new one had been issued. And "Yes, we did not notify you."

WTF?

So I asked him why I wasn't notified. A similar situation happened earlier this year and I received a call both at home and on my cell instructing me to stop by a local branch and replace my card. So I pushed again. His less than informative reply indicated that they felt it was best to not notify the card users and then asked if I checked my mail. Now I'm not the greatest at checking my mail, (I typically check it once a week), but in this case I had just checked it yesterday. I had not received anything from BofA. So I pushed again informing him that the banks so desperately want us to use the debit cards, so why would they take such a lame action? He danced around that question and finally indicated that he didn't know. I then asked to speak to someone that did know and he told me there was no one to talk to in all of BofA.

At that point I produced a gutteral growl (literally), thanked him for his "service" and promised that if this happened again that I would switch banks. He didn't care.

Needless to say, when I got home I checked the mail. Sure enough, there was an envelope from BofA with a new debit card inside accompanied by a letter:


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Note the 2nd bullet. How stupid of a statement is that? How can they possibly know when I've received the letter? How can they possibly know that my mailman is less efficient than most? Secondly, notice that this letter is not even dated.

The letter doesn't state the form of fraudulent activity beyond "third party" issues. Also, if I cannot rely on them to contact me for this issue, how can I rely on them to contact me if they find any suspicious behavior during their monitoring period. Since they've closed my card, it wouldn't affect me anyway.

I do all of my banking and bill pay on line through the BofA site. They could have easily sent me a message there. In fact, it would have been cheaper than printing off a zillion letters to enclose with the new card.

WTF?

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The card was labeled with the standard sticker. Since the card was assigned a new number, they could have easily cancelled the old card upon activation of the new one.

Blah, Blah, Blah.

And how was your Wednesday?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Post!

Yep, it's been a while. Basically the old work machine has kept me sidetracked - that and house purging. Let me tell you, I'm so tired of yarn barfage all over my house that I'll be going on crochet haitus for quite a while!

So back to stitchery as flosses definitely take up less space than balls of yarn. I dug out the old stitching frame and dusted it off. Then off to eBay to see what's out there on the cheap. I picked up some Teresa Wentzler and Patricia Allison charts that I did not already have as I just love their designs. (You know me and fantasy!) I then took a trip to the local stitchery store and came across another designer that I fell thoroughly in love with.

She sponsors online project groups for her designs and I've signed up for one of them called Autumn Knotgarden Mandala:


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(Click pic to access online project site)

This is just one of MANY awesome designs. The designer's name is Martina Rosenberg and she hails from Germany. Check out her design site to see all. I love the symmetry of her Mandala designs. It talks to the graphic artist in me big time. I'm just waiting for the official acceptance into the project group and then I'll be madly stitching. I'm thinking I'll stitch it on black to make the colors pop. It's been a while, so I've got a bit of rust to wipe off of those skills, but it will be fun nonetheless.

Other than that, it's pretty much the same old routine. My DDH's friend has been coming by to help me clear out the garage so I can actually park both vehicles in it. We're not yet done, but close. That should cut down on the amount money I've been spending on car washes! It's incredible the amount of dirt that floats around in the air just waiting (and looking) to land on my cars! Then, of course, the neighborhood cats walk all over them before the dew dries in the morning to leave their special signature. Maybe what I ought to do is hang out on the porch with a slingshot and drench them with water balloons. Yes, I'm turning into that kind of an old crusty lady!

And for those that are following the making of The Hobbit, I'm starting up a newsletter for those that don't have the time to surf for tidbits. First installment below, more to follow!


Well, ciao for now and I'll post pics of my stitching progress for you to critique on how well I'm doing compared to the pic above :)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Single on a Holiday

Happy Easter everyone!

If you're reading this on Facebook, click here so you can easily read the whole post. If you're on the blog, stay put ;-)

When you are married - or live with a mate - you have a filter. The filter that says 'shouldn't you be cleaning the house?' and other assorted sanity checks. When you are single, that filter does not exist.

So fast-forward to today. It's Easter Sunday. I've done all of the housework I intend on doing, I've been off work this past week so I've done the visits and fun things and now I'm bored. No relatives to visit, (that I would care to visit anyway), and my closest friends live miles away - far enough that I don't feel like getting into the car and onto the freeways. So now what?

Let's check email and surf the net. I get a vehicle maintenance reminder and go to the website to schedule the appointment. (What did we do before the internet?) From there, I start to look at used cars. I do need something with a hatchback for hauling larger items. Maybe a PT Cruiser. Let's see what they have.

I find one and it's dirt cheap. Just a 4-banger, but for what I'd be using it for that would be fine. So, as I wave good-bye to Paco and his sad eyes, (you're going somewhere without me?), I hop in the car and drive to the dealer.

The Cruiser was indeed a good deal, but it was Snowblind White. I'm not kidding - I've never seen a brighter white in my life on a car. Too bad I hate white cars. The posting said 'Sandstone White', so I imagined a creamy white. I could have lived with that, but not Snowblind White. No way.

So I look around the lot. I looked at Jeeps - those looked fun. I looked at mini-vans. Nah, not my thing. Then I saw the Dodge Nitro. Bigger than what I was originally looking for, but it's kinda cool. I test drove it and it was all over. It is now sitting in the driveway.

Nitro

This is the pic from the website. It's a 2010 with 17,000 (+ change) miles. It was one of their weekend specials. Of course, I checked out Car Fax and Edmunds before I test drove. Good reports and reviews and the price was way below what Kelly Blue Book indicated for that year-model-options. So, I think I made a good deal. If not, I'll just live in denial.

I didn't trade in my Sebring - I love that car! I don't know if I could ever live without a convertible ever again. This will be my utility vehicle.

And that is what one can do without the 'mate filter'. How was your Easter?

Friday, April 01, 2011

Monday, March 28, 2011

Shades of Farting Poodles

Remember the Farting Poodle? We all had a good chuckle on that one. In fact, I've recently made two of them for fellow fartiers at work. They're quite a hoot to make even if finding a can of air freshener with a flat cap is a pain in the arse.



Well, Lion Brand strikes again with a 'what the hell were they thinking' pattern that will only top my list of things to make for people I don't like:



Anybody want to venture a guess as to what drugs the pattern designer was on for this one?! And to add insult to injury, are those pink dotted stockings she has on? Where does one even buy those?

I passed this photo around at work and one of the guys stated it must be a diversion to keep men from looking up her skirt. I agree ~ who could look at anything else? Might be a cheap replacement for chastity rings...

So my question to you is, if all you had available for patterns were this and the farting poodle pattern, which one would you make? :D

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

I Went to the Sideshow Website

I've avoided that site for the past couple of years because it's dangerous for me. I have more LOTR figures than I have room for. But something made me go there. Something powerful. Something sinister...

And I found this 'Last Chance to Own':


and this (the upper bodies are interchangeable):


and these unframed lithographs that they're taking preorders on:





Help meee...!

Update: Too late. I ordered the lithographs :P

Friday, January 28, 2011

Anyone Gotta Q-Tip?

It's Stupid Story Time!

There is no cafeteria in the building that we work in, so we go out to lunch every day. Fortunately for us, no one cooks in the town we work in so there are plenty of restaurants to eat at. Today, we picked one that had outside dining since it was such a beautiful day.

There were 5 of us and we are all basically smart-asses. Upon arrival, one of us made the waitress push 2 tables together ensuring that part were in the sun and the other part was in the shade. We gave him grief, of course. We order, the meal comes and it is quiet for a bit while we are all chomping away. There was 80s music playing in the background. As the person furthest from me begins conversing with the others, I COULD HAVE SWORN that I heard him say something completely unexpected and I just missed the name of the individual that was 'doing it'.

So to insure that I was heard over the music I say rather loudly, 'Who was masturbating?!' At that point everyone around the table fell silent and looked at me like I lost my mind.

Needless to say, the giggles and smart cracks began. He never did finish his story because I think I discomboobalated him so that he forgot was he was talking about.

Yep, you can dress me up but you can't take me anywhere...

And how was your day?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Animal Crackers


alan, alan, alan, alan!!!! LOL

Monday, January 24, 2011

Meanwhile in Paraguay...

They're experiencing heavy showers. High = 84 degrees F.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Customer Service

So yesterday I decide to make my annual trip to the outlet mall to buy shoes. I have bad feet, (must have been those years of wearing 6" platforms in the 70s and pointy-toed roach killer heels in the 80s & 90s combined with 25 years of sliding into bases during the softball years), and the only shoes that seem to be the most comfortable are made by SAS. They used to sell them at the Gottchalk's department store at the local mall, but they went out of business. (They were replaced with a Forever 21 store which I would have died for in my 20s. They are also closing up shop at the end of this month in our town. Gotta love the shape of the economy.) But I digress...

Fortunately, SAS has a shop at the outlet mall about an hour away. So I make a new driving playlist for the iPod, put the top down on the car for it was a beautiful day, and hit the road. I splurge and buy 3 pairs of shoes then decide to cruise the mall for any other bargains. (Note to self: 3 pairs of shoes fit in the SAS shopping bag. Remember this to possibly use to my advantage at a later date.)

I end up buying a couple of tops and some jeans, decide I am done and start walking back to head for the car when the handle on the plastic clothing bag breaks and starts a chain reaction with the SAS bag that then tears. Shoes are all over the place. Fortunately, this occurs right in front of the SAS store. I gather up the shoes and head back in for another bag.

They not only give me a new bag, but take my other bag and bag it up as well. They then take the bags and put them in the back room and tell me to drive around and pick them up at their back door. When I come around, the clerk is on the phone with the clothing store informing them of their bad bagging practices and informs them of the weight limit of the average plastic bag! I was cracking up. Needless to say, I thanked them profusely, but before I left the sales clerk gave me 3 boxed chocolate truffles to 'ease my pain and suffering'. Bear in mind that this is a 'direct from factory' discount store. I was very impressed ~ you rarely see this kind of customer service from a standard retail store. Needless to say, bad feet or not, they have a loyal customer in me now.

SAS Shoes

Sadly, it was a little too chilly at this point to drive with the top down, but I took the long way home and had a nice leisurely drive through Lake Elsinore. It had been many years since I drove around the lake and they've done a lot of work sprucing up around it. Lots of new parks and renovated buildings. Lake Elsinore always had the reputation for being a disgusting place, their local city government at one point was very corrupt and the town's money tagged for improvements never seemed to produce anything (could be because it ended up in their pockets.) So I was glad to see things are looking so much better there. Here are a couple of pics that I snagged from the city site:

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(The 'Vette pic is included for the benefit of a buddy that thinks he wants a Porche instead of a 'Vette... :o)

Here's a video for the guys. Note 2 of the remaining members of Queen at 1:48:



That's it for this fyne Sunday. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dancing Eyebrows

As I was perusing old posts, I found that I had to replace a video that had been taken down. In my search for a replacement, I came across this gem! As someone who has to paint their eyebrows on everyday, I have to admit that I'm a bit green over their talent.


What do those eyebrows remind you of? I know it's something creepy that I've seen in a movie, but I'm just not pulling anything up. (Which has been the bane of my day, quite frankly.) Could this be a new Olympic sport? Synchronized dancing eyebrows? Maybe I'd finally watch the event if they actually had sports along those lines! It's all about being amused...

But tomorrow is Friday! I have got to go shoe shopping this weekend and I have got to get the car washed. So I'll be motor-farting around the Corona area - honk and wave if you see me!

In other news...

The USDA admitted to poisoning a huge flock of starlings because they were defecating all over a nearby farm/ranch. Personally, I think it's all a ruse to cover something else up. Otherwise, how convenient for them that other flocks are falling out of the sky all over the world. And the fish - mass suicide? The cows - one tipping too many? I understand that weather conditions and other natural events can contribute to mass animal deaths, but we're sure seeing these in volume and in unrelated parts of the world. Aliens. Where's Fox and Dana?

What do you think is happening?


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Blackberry is Not Working!


A commentor on YouTube stated it's because he launched his Apple through Windows. Of course it's going to crash - 'duh'.

Thanks to Gretchen for sharing!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Hobbit & Other Stuff

So... I've been getting the updates on The Hobbit movie. There will definitely be 2 with the second being a bridge movie. They're quickly bringing back a lot of the characters from LOTR - I'm assuming for the bridge movie as the majority of them did not exist in The Hobbit. Peter Jackson is finally at the directing helm after Del Toro had to leave due to delays. All worked out in the end ;o) Although Del Toro has done some excellent work, he is quite dark and I just couldn't see how his style would translate well in a basically light-hearted story.

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On another movie-related note, I finally got around to purging the old DVD collection. A shop opened up in the neighborhood that buys, sells and rents DVDs. So I packed them up. Can you believe I sold over 900 of them?! Talk about out of control. I still have a couple hundred left, but won't be parting with them anytime soon. Most are not available in digital and some might never be. Somehow, I don't think Dark Shadows is high enough on anyone's list to convert to digital.

On the crochet front, I just may have burnt myself out for the time being. I keep trying to start projects - and I like the patterns I'm picking - but I get a ways into the project and push it aside. I did a lot of crocheting after Kirby passed for therapy. Maybe I just need to put it down for a while and pick up another spare-time hobby that I can do while I'm drooling on myself after work in front of the TV. Cross-stitching has been popping into my head as of late. And Crewel.

This guy is kinda cool. I've done one other dragon who resides on the wall next to my bed. This one could be a partner on the other side.

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I found him at The Stitchery (unfortunately, it's a kit that is currently out of stock, otherwise, I would have grabbed him tonight.) It's done up on 14ct, but I think I'd change to 18ct as I think the smaller thread count makes for a nicer finished product.

Paco is staring at me indicating that I'm not providing him with enough quality time and/or attention (all depending on your definition of 'quality time'.) So I'll end it here for today. Catch you on the flip side!

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Best Wishes Steve!

Yes, it's been over a year since I've posted. I've had to learn to live my life alone and much to my extreme surprise, it took much longer than expected. I've always thought of myself as a strong and independent individual and although I knew it would be tough, I had no earthly idea. So for me, it worked to go underground until all was sorted out.

So this morning I decided that I am now far enough along in my new single life that it's time to get back amongst the living. I'm baaaaaaaaaack!

But alas, there is another sad note. For those of you that know me a wee bit, you know I'm a huge Mac fan. So it was unfortunate to hear that Steve Jobs is taking another medical leave from his beloved Apple. Whether you like him or not, prefer Macs or PCs, there is no question that he has made an indelible mark in our lives.

There is a great article that chronicles the highlights of his life over at Gismodo. It's quite long, but is a very good read.

My apologies that my first post in over a year starts out on a sad note, but I am back and will posting more on things that happen in my stupid life soon!