Friday, October 31, 2008

Select Your Candidate

Since Election Day (and my brother's birthday, not that that has anything to do with it) is coming up Tuesday, I thought it was a good time to re-take this Select a Candidate Quiz. Not that I'm not already pretty sure of who I'm going to vote for, but it doesn't hurt to double check and make sure I'm voting for him because I agree with his stand on the issues. It is most definitely not OK to vote for someone because he is or is not black, because his name sounds more presidential, or just because your friends and neighbors say you should.

With all these commercials all the time, it's hard to really know where anyone stands sometimes. Once you take the quiz and find out how you score with the candidates, you can read more about their positions on the issues included on the quiz, along with explanations and sources. Quite handy.

Just a quick question: how do you give tax cuts to the unemployed?

Monday on Ellen

Tour program booklet cover.Image via Wikipedia

I love Cher, so I'm really looking forward to this one. I hope she sings and that Ellen talks to her for the whole show.

I'd have a hard time deciding which of Cher's songs I like best. A couple years ago we bought a double CD set - one with Greatest Hits and the other Live in Concert. They are both great, and we listen to them a lot. Even the kids like them. Sometimes you I wonder about teenagers and their taste in music, but I think there's hope.

Then, after Ellen, Oprah's going to talk about SEX.

I've got the weekend to arrange my tv furniture so I can watch in comfort.
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I've Disappeared

Not literally. I haven't taken too many diet pills and wasted away to nothing. No, it's my picture that's missing. I use this one picture of myself all over the Internet. When I sign up for something and need to upload a picture, that's the one I usually use.

I signed up for a new site last night and went to upload my picture. Gone. Remember I was deleting pictures off my computer a while back? That was one of them. Good thinking, huh? I knew that as soon as I deleted a picture, I'd need it.

I just logged into my Photobucket account and see that I did save it there. I was thinking ahead. I just forgot. I wonder if it's time for a new profile pic anyway?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sky Watch Friday (#43)

It's (almost) Friday again, and that means
Sky Watch Friday!

Yes, I know I missed a couple weeks.  I'm sure there were Fridays in there somewhere...  and skies, too.  I did take some pictures, just didn't get them off the camera or posted.

Until now:

There was just something about these clouds...

If you enjoy looking at the sky as much as I do, you'll want to check out Sky Watch Friday. You can enjoy skies from around the world!

Web Hosting Reviews

I just renewed the first domain I ever bought. Of course I renewed it, and then the very next week, I got an email telling me it was on sale for $1 cheaper than what I paid. Oh well, it's still not all that expensive to own my own domain, and I wouldn't want to lose it.

Looking through this list of Web Hosting Reviews at, I see that a domain doesn't have to cost anything - when you choose a web host and a hosting plan. It looks like all the hosts named in their Top 10 Web Hosting Companies & Web Hosting Reviews offer a Free Domain Name with their hosting plans. The key to choosing the right one would therefore be to compare the other things offered by each host, compare prices, and especially read the user reviews. At users can review and rate their hosting providers. There is a page for each of the web hosts with information such as pricing, an overview that includes ratings, pros and cons, a list of what's included in their hosting packages, and those all-important user reviews. It looks like a good resource for choosing the right web host.

Also, because so much of what's included in a hosting package is 'Greek' to me, the article on Web Hosting Lingo is sure to be a big help.

What Part of turn light on if you want to participate Do You Not Understand?

Photo of a Halloween trick-or-treater, Redford...Image via WikipediaFor reasons I do not understand, there are two separate times for kids in our village to go Trick or Treating - once on Sunday from 4-6 for the whole village, and again tonight from 6-8 for our subdivision. Why one is not enough is beyond me, and why don't they actually do it on Halloween?

As always, the announcements say to turn your outside light on if you want to participate. We don't do Halloween. We don't participate. We don't turn the outside light on. That doesn't stop the little trick or treaters from ringing our doorbell, repeatedly. I'm pretty sure the parents of most of these kids are right there with them. They should be able to tell the difference between a light that is on and a light that isn't, even if the kids can't.

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Another Super Dragon Video

I'm not the only one who has been using Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 and finding out how it can help make blogging, and all kinds of other things, easier. Here's a video from SuperZ showing how easy it is to type with Dragon:

Here's what Brett Bumeter of Softduit Media has to say about SuperZ's video:
Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 Standard The video above was created by a blogger that goes by the name, SuperZ.

I couldn't write that name before using Dragon NaturallySpeaking until I trained Dragon NaturallySpeaking to recognize the name SuperZ. I mention that because I'm using Dragon NaturallySpeaking right now to write this article (notice Dragon new when I said the words right now that I meant the word right and not the word to write).

I've been writing articles and reviews about Dragon NaturallySpeaking for close to two years. I've had a lot of experience with the software, and I wanted to reach out to other bloggers and see what they thought of the software.

SuperZ tried out the software and as you can see from his own video, the results that he's getting after having used the software for just a week are pretty amazing. His computer is keeping up with just about every word that he says, and typing those words out for him in text.

Well frankly that's exactly what Dragon NaturallySpeaking is supposed to do these days and it lives up to its claim of achieving 99% accuracy and I've clocked it typing faster than its claims of 150 words per minute.

That's right you can type 150 words a minute with Dragon NaturallySpeaking. You do have to spend a little time editing from time to time, but you type so fast that editing doesn't take that long. You get the typing done faster and the editing is a breeze because you only have to look at the way that you phrased words. Dragon NaturallySpeaking almost never makes a spelling mistake. It types out the entire word based on the vocabulary that has stored in the machine. So it really can't misspell a word it's pulling the word straight out of a dictionary.

The only exception might be the case when you run into a name like SuperZ, which is not in your dictionary yet. When you run across a name like that, all you have to do is add it into your dictionary and train the software to recognize that new word or name. It just takes a second and after that you'll be able to say SuperZ all you like and Dragon NaturallySpeaking will know exactly what you are talking about.

Brett Bumeter
Softduit Media
PS this article includes about 381 words that I wrote with Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10. It took me about 4 minutes to write and 4 minutes to edit this article. The writing time included the short amount of time it took to train dragon to recognize the name SuperZ. Editing took 4 minutes because I’ve been working all night and I’m not reading too fast!
Now I better train my copy of Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 to recognize the name SuperZ! I also do have to point out that Brett needs to explain to his Dragon the difference between 'knew' and 'new' - sorry, I couldn't help myself. I think I'm an editor at heart.

If all this sounds like something you can use, get Dragon NaturallySpeaking and Type 150 Words per minute for $99!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Middle Names

I just realized that both of my kids use their middle names on Facebook. I mean, I already knew that, but I just didn't stop to think about it until tonight. I would never dream of using my middle name on Facebook, or anywhere else for that matter, though I'm pretty sure there's a post somewhere on this blog where you can find my middle name if you want. I just don't really like it. I don't know if I ever thought about it one way or another, until 1st grade or so, when I met a girl who had my middle name as her first name. For reasons I can no longer remember, I did not like that girl, and after that I did not like my middle name either. All these years later, it really isn't very logical, is it? Still, I just don't feel comfortable using my middle name. I do usually use my middle initial, though.

Since Beth and Cory have made it way past 1st grade, and they're still willing to use their middle names publically, I'm guessing they don't have such hangups about their middle names. Either that, or their parents gave them such awesome middle names that nothing could make them not like them. Yeah, that's it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Another Giveaway

I found this giveaway today on Pink Lemonade of Life. Liz is giving away three beautiful bracelets from Finders Keepers. Beth was going through my old jewelry last week and found my old bracelets. Remember those cheap plastic bangles in lots of colors? That's what I wore, so I think it's way past time to update my jewelry, don't you? At least I didn't wear ball lock pins as jewelry, but still, the time for plastic bangles is long past. I have to hold on to them, though, because everything comes back into style, right?

Nowadays I don't wear much jewelry at all, but if I win these bracelets, I'd be willing to change. They are really nice!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Heads or Tails - a Scary Story

This week's theme/prompt is:
TAILS - Tell a scary story (Real or otherwise)

I recently received this email. I thought it was a pretty scary story, even if I didn't tell it myself.
I actually kept my mammogram appointment. I was met with, 'Hi! I'm Belinda!' This perky clipboard carrier smiled from ear to ear, tilted her head to one side and crooned, 'All I need you to do is step into this room right here, strip to the waist, then slip on this gown.

Everything clear?

I'm thinking, 'Belinda, try decaf. This ain't rocket science.'

Belinda skipped away to prepare the chamber of horrors.

With the right side finished, Belinda flipped me (literally) to the left and said, 'Hmmmm. Can you stand on your tippy toes and lean in a tad so we can get everything?'

Fine, I answered. I was freezing, bruised, and out of air, so why not use the remaining circulation in my legs and neck and finish me off?

My body was in a holding pattern that defied gravity (with my other boob wedged between those two 4 inch pieces of square glass) when we heard, then felt a zap! Complete darkness and the power went off!

'Oh, maintenance is working. Bet they hit a snag.' Belinda headed for the door.

'Excuse me! You're not leaving me in this vise alone are you?' I shouted.

Belinda kept going and said, 'Oh, you fussy puppy...the door's wide open so you'll have the emergency hall lights. I'll be right back.'

Before I could shout 'NOOOO!' she disappeared.

And that's exactly how Bubba and Earl, maintenance men extraordinaire, found me, half-naked and part of me dangling from the Jaws of Life, and the other part smashed between glass!

After exchanging polite 'Hi, how's it going' type greetings, Bubba (or possibly Earl) asked, to my utter disbelief, if I knew the power was off.

Trying to disguise my hysteria, I replied with as much calmness as possible 'Uh, yes, yes I did thanks.'

'You bet, take care ' Bubba replied and waved good-bye as though I'd been standing in the line at the grocery store.

Two hours later, Belinda breezes in wearing a sheepish grin. Making no attempt to suppress her amusement, she said, 'Oh I am sooo sorry!' The power came back on and I totally forgot about you! And silly me, I went to lunch. Are we upset?'

And that, Your Honor, is exactly how her head ended up between the clamps...

This email was cleaned by emailStripper.

Heads or Tails is a fun weekly meme hosted by Skittles. Do join in, you'll be glad you did.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Coffee's on Deb

Starbucks logoImage via WikipediaI've had Starbucks a few times in the last week - not my norm because I'm not usually close to a Starbucks. I really do enjoy their coffee drinks, so when I heard that Deb is giving away a $15 Starbucks gift card, I knew I had to enter. That coffee is mine!

If you run over to her blog, enter, and win? Then, the coffee's on you...
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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Camera Critters (#29)


Beth came home with a new doll Thursday night.  Yes, I thought she was too old for dolls, too - but she's taking a class in school, and they're supposed to take care of babies.  She's got a stroller and everything for her doll.  She brought this one home for her friend, and it's really cute.  See?

Oh, wait, that doesn't look like a doll.  That looks like Tillie!  Seriously, if you saw this on the shelf, wouldn't you just have to buy it?

Camera Critters is a fun weekend meme hosted by Misty Dawn.Visit the Camera Critters headquarters and join in.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Look, No Hands!

Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 Preferred Right now I'm typing this post and petting the cat at the same time. Now, when's the last time you could do that when you had your hands on the keyboard? And, that's the trick. No hands! I'm using Dragon Naturally Speaking 10 to type this post.

I wanted to do this post earlier, but as you all know, we were away from home, and I just didn't have a chance to do it. It figures that I go away and have to sit in meetings and classes and services right when I really need to test my new software. I'm talking about Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10, the software that allows you to type just by using your voice. And, of course, I couldn't be using my voice when I was supposed to be quiet and listening and not distracting the people around me.

I did manage to sneak away for a little bit and record a quick video showing a little bit about how Dragon NaturallySpeaking works. I apologize for the sound quality. It sounds decent using my head phones, but not so good with the speakers. So, if you really want to hear what I have to say, use headphones. (Edit: never mind, it was my sound settings.) If I have a chance, I may try recording a new video later. This one isn't exactly what I wanted, but my WebCam wouldn't work the way I wanted it to, so I tried a new screen capture software to record this, and it affected it really strangely. That whole Japanese movie, badly dubbed lip sync thing is kind of disconcerting too. Still, you get the idea. And, the sound was at least good enough for Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 to hear me!

I used to be able to type about 60 words per minute, back in high school. Now, I'm really not sure how fast I type, but I know it's not as fast as I can using Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10. Take the Dragon NaturallySpeaking typing test! to see for yourself how you stack up to Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10. I took the test a couple weeks ago, and I'm way too embarrassed to tell you how badly I did. I haven't done it yet but I am so tempted to go back and try it again with my new software. Is that cheating?

Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 allows you to type up to 150 words per minute. Simply talk, and the software does the typing for you. As you saw in the video, you can also do editing with Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10. The more you edit, the smarter Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 becomes, and the less you'll need to edit in the future. Of course, you'll need to speak clearly so that Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 can understand what it is you're trying to say in the 1st place, and that's not necessarily a bad thing!

So far, I'm finding that this software works really well, with just a little setup and training. It seems to work best in its own DragonPad software, which is fully supported by Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10. You can also use it to type into Microsoft Word, into your blogging platform, and other things. I foresee lots of great, long, interesting blog posts using this software. The faster I can type, the more I can say, right? For instance, this post was supposed to be a minimum of 200 words, and I just couldn't stop talking. Like I said in the video, I can get all the words on the screen as I'm thinking them without waiting for my fingers to catch up. Okay, I may not have said exactly that, but you know what I mean.

For more info, check out this New York Times Review, which made me laugh, and this video:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Too Efficient

There is such a thing as being too efficient. (not a problem I have, though)

We left Lake Geneva Tuesday evening and spent the night at home before heading to Baraboo for the last two days of the Feast. I've been reading the library copy of Brisingr, so Cory could loan his copy to his friend Jenna. Of course, being at the Feast and spending time with friends and in Bible studies and services does not leave much time for reading, so I still have quite a bit of the book left to read. And, it was due Wednesday, with holds so I couldn't renew it.

So, I decided to read as much as I could Tuesday night and then drop it off at the library on the way out of town Wednesday morning. Only, we forgot to grab the book and didn't think of it until we were almost to Baraboo. Oops! So, I emailed one of our wonderful library staff members and asked her if she could possibly extend my loan so I could return the book next Tuesday when I normally get into the library. She not only did that for me, but also renewed two other books that I had somehow overlooked and didn't realize they were due. I said she was wonderful, didn't I?

Then, tonight we got home, and the book was not on the table where we left it. See, Jeffrey had called Beth and asked her if she would take it to the library and drop it off, along with the audio copy that he had been listening to. So, she took them and returned them. I forgot about Beth being home! And she was sick, so I wouldn't have wanted to bother her anyway, but Jeffrey figured the books were due and needed to go back.

See - way too efficient. I was planning to finish that book over the weekend.

Eventually Cory will get his (our) copy back, and I can finish it then. I have other things to do - like laundry!

Calculate That

HP 49g+ graphing calculatorImage via
Since we've been gone and Cory's been out of school, he's got homework that needs done. He said he had most things done except PreCalc, and he needs a calculator for that. His doesn't work, and Beth 'can't find' hers - which makes me really mad because that calculator wasn't cheap, and if she wasn't using it, it should have been put someplace safe so it could be found and used when needed.

At school he uses one of the teacher's calculators because she knows how they work and can help the students use them. For $2 per school year, they can use one of her calculators during class, but that doesn't help for homework and of course not for vacation. So I got to wondering if there was a graphing calculator he could use online. After all, you can find anything on the Internet, right?

I found him one - and then he told me that he was going to wait and do his homework after he gets back to school. See if I ever try to help him again!?

He does get an extra day for every day he was absent to make up his missed work, so he should be OK. And there will probably be future homework that he might be able to use this online calculator for - especially if Beth doesn't put a little effort into finding that lost calculator.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I was just sitting here and noticed my Google toolbar says my blog has a PageRank of 8. I know it's just a fluke, but I thought I'd capture it. I can at least pretend that once upon a time I had an 8.


Besides, I wanted to play with my new screen capture tool Jing. I think it will be a handy tool for sharing things or explaining what I'm doing. Sometimes. Maybe.

Always Eating

It's the picture of Italian ice-cream in a sho...Image via WikipediaThe thing with being away from home is that we don't eat like normal. We end up going out to restaurants and eating with friends. We buy ice cream and desserts that we wouldn't normally have. There is definitely no shortage of good food! It's hard to say no. The other night we went to dinner with some friends, and then right after that there was a party in the hallway. Everyone opened their doors and put out food to share. It made me think we should have skipped dinner, because there were plenty of snacks just begging to be eaten. Of course, we couldn't have skipped dinner because we would have missed spending that time with our dinner companions. And we couldn't have skipped the snacks either, because we would have missed some good conversation. All this on the same day that Jeffrey and I went out to check out the downtown area and he made me get ice cream! (he had to twist my arm really hard)

Jeffrey and I have gotten up and walked several days, so that helps, but I'm still beginning to wonder which are the best diet pills! Oh well, in a couple days we'll be back home - back to a normal life, hopefully getting more sleep, eating normally, and walking every day.
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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Camera Critters (#28)


We visited this horse a while back at Old World Wisconsin.

Camera Critters is a fun weekend meme hosted by Misty Dawn.Visit the Camera Critters headquarters and join in.

Friday, October 17, 2008

We Are Not Getting Enough Sleep

...and the coffee doesn't really help. What did help is that Jeffrey and I got up and went for our walk this morning. Yesterday we slept in a little, and I could not wake up all morning. There's just something about getting up, getting outside, and getting moving that really helps.

It was quite chilly out there this morning. I was really thankful for my new sweatshirt to keep me warm. I would have been even happier if I had remembered to bring a sweatshirt from home, so that I didn't have to buy a new one. It's like buying family health insurance ahead of time, so you don't have to spend more money on health care later. Yeah, I know, that's a stretch. Seriously, though, if I had remembered my sweatshirt, I probably wouldn't have needed it, but since I forgot, of course I needed it. The sad thing is I looked at the sweatshirts in my closet when I was packing, thought to myself that I needed to grab one for walking, and then didn't grab one. Oh well, now I have a new sweatshirt.

I'm still not getting enough sleep, though - more than Cory, but not enough. I guess there will be time enough to sleep later, maybe.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


We picked Cory up after play practice at school yesterday and headed to the Feast. About half an hour later, we arrived. Yes, we went really far - all the way to Timber Ridge Lodge at Lake Geneva. It's kind of nice having a Feast site so close. We chose to come here because there were going to be so many teenagers and young people. Most of Cory's friends are here, and he said he was coming here no matter what - even if we decided to go somewhere else. The kids keep in touch via the Internet, but it's just not the same as being together. We decided that letting him be with his friends was the most important thing, and besides that, we like the parents of all those friends of Cory's.

Cory is very, very happy. His friends were calling him repeatedly before we finally got here, and he could hardly contain himself. When we finally got the van unloaded, he was off to the lobby . We got there a while later to find him between two girls. I have a feeling we're not going to see him much while we're here. There are games to play, a waterpark to play in, and just general chillaxing.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I'm trying to pack today. No, I didn't look into some Vegas vacations. We're not going all that far from home, just to Lake Geneva. Still, I have to figure out everything I'm going to need for a week. Every year we say we're not going to take as many clothes, because we tend to take too many, and every year we still take too many. It's just so hard to know what I'm going to need, or be in the mood to wear.

Also, It's hard to believe how many health and beauty aids I need on a regular basis until I see them scattered all over my bathroom sink. At least I don't have to iron my clothes before I leave, because I just called the resort to ask if there's an iron and ironing board in the room, and there is - so I can iron things there, if I decide to bother at all. Things aren't horrible, just sort of wrinkled from hanging crowded into the closet. One of these days I am going to find the time to go through my closet and clean some things out.

Anyway, back to packing. Oh, and there is high speed Internet where I'm going, so I will still be around. You can't get rid of me that easily.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Heads or Tails - G

This week's theme/prompt is:

HEADS - Anything that starts with the letter G

As I was trying to figure out something to post for this week, I started wondering - are there any tongue twisters that start with the letter G? So, I looked, and found these. I'd never heard any of them before. Have you?

Greek grapes.

Gus goes by Blue Goose bus.

Cows graze in droves on grass that grows on grooves in groves.

Gale’s great glass globe glows green.

Try saying some of those 3 times fast! I think that third one was written somewhere around where Misty lives, don't you?

Heads or Tails is a fun weekly meme hosted by Skittles. Do join in, you'll be glad you did.

True Love

22 years ago I married my best friend, the guy I had known since I was 12 years old. We're still friends and still in love after all these years. At least, I'm still crazy about him. You'll have to ask him how he feels. :P

I realize we're really lucky, because there are plenty of people out there who haven't found their true love yet. That's where comes in. True is dedicated to providing a safer, smarter way to find your soul mate. It's free to sign up and take the TRUE Compatibility Test to get an amazingly accurate profile of yourself. Sometimes I just want to sign up for one of these sites to take the test, and then have Jeffrey take it too, just to see how compatible we really are. Not that it would make a difference. I just think it would be fun to see.

Anyway, for those really looking for love, which is what the site is for, you can search for free to find your matches. You can look for people near you, people that match you in different areas like interests, personality, and communications, based on both of your compatibility tests, and use the True chatrooms to get to know one another. screens all communicating members against some of the largest criminal records databases on the Internet, so it's very safe. You also get access to plenty of articles and tips on love, relationships, and safer dating.

Reading through the success stories on the site makes it clear - you can find your soul mate, and can help. I especially love the story of Jim and Farida, both 66 years old, who found each other on True and have been married since June 5, 2004.


Which Side is the Right Side?

After my recent post where I mentioned that people walking on the wrong side of the street really, really bug me, I had a couple people comment that they didn't know there was a right side or a wrong side. I'm convinced that most people in my town don't know the difference either, because most of the time I see them walking on the wrong side of the street. I once even mentioned it to a police officer here in our village, and she didn't even know.

The rule is that, where there is no sidewalk, pedestrians are supposed to walk on the left side of the street, facing traffic. In London, Lady Banana, you'd walk on the right side - again facing traffic. This way, if the driver of the car you meet doesn't happen to see you - because he or she is on the phone or changing the CD in the stereo, or just otherwise occupied - you have a chance to get out of the way. If you're walking on the other side of the street, with the traffic coming behind you, and a car starts coming toward you, you will not see it.

In my small town, it's usually not a big safety issue. However, the days are getting shorter, and it is dark in the mornings when we walk. I always try to wear something light-colored so the drivers have a better chance to see me, but Jeffrey has been wearing dark clothes, and there have been a few times when it was obvious the driver did not see him until the last minute. Since we walk facing the oncoming traffic, we see them coming, and Jeffrey moved over out of the way, just in case.

This is especially bothering me right now, because a young girl in Wisconsin was walking home from a party not too long ago, and she was killed by a drunk driver. It keeps being brought up on the news because the driver is on trial now. When the news crews went out to shoot video of the scene, they walked along the right-hand shoulder of the road. I don't know for sure that she was walking on the wrong side. I'm just guessing based on the news footage and because they say she was heading home from the same party the driver was. So, what if she was? Obviously the driver was drunk, and it is his fault. I'm not arguing with that. What bothers me is that, if she was walking with her back to traffic, she didn't have a chance. If she had been facing traffic, she would have at least had the chance to get out of the way. Did her parents not teach her? Did they not know themselves? It shocks me how many people don't seem to know.
Related articles by me:
More (not by me):

Cheap Flights Widget for Your Website

My friend Peggy and I work together on a website listing Feast* sites around the world. We do our best to make sure feastgoers everywhere can find the perfect Feast site. I just became aware of this Cheap Flights Map Widget today, and I think it would be a great addition to the site. It's a Flash widget that can be fully customized using the simple controls and the Maps Code Wizard. You can either select both a departure and a destination point, only one of them, or leave both ends open. Then the widget can be added to any website so that visitors can find cheap flights right from the website. The size of the map widget can also be customized, so that it fits nicely on the web page, and there are 20 languages to choose from.

I think it would be really handy to have a widget on each page, with the destination selected so that visitors can input their local airport and search for cheap flights to that destination. It would be an added convenience to help people choose the site they want to attend and to find the best price for their flights.

The widget is free, and it uses Skyscanner, which is the most powerful and flexible flight search engine in Europe. Skyscanner provides instant online price comparisons on over 300,000 flights and over 600 airlines. Also, with Skyscanner, users can browse flights without having to enter specific dates, departures or even destinations. I love that part. Sometimes I don't really have a destination in mind, but if the right flight came available, you just never know... I might decide to plan a trip.

You can even add this widget to your desktop so you can easily keep an eye out for cheap flights.

*Feast of Tabernacles - a yearly religious observance as listed in Leviticus 23. Visit to find out more.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I Can't Believe I'm Doing This

I'm deleting pictures off my computer. My hard drive is getting filled up with photos, but I have such a hard time deleting them, even though they have been backed up to DVD. Some of them are even on at least one CD, too. Deleting them is still hard. But, I'm doing it.

First I used a program I got a while back from Giveaway of the Day called SearchMyDiscs. You put a CD or DVD in, and it scans it and creates a list of everything on it. That way, even if you don't have the CD in, you can still search through and find out what disc the file or photo you want is on, so you can find it easily later. Right now I am just going through the list of all photos on the first DVD and deleting those photos from the hard drive. While I was at it, I found this picture of Cory:

Isn't he cute? I mean, he's still cute, but he used to be so little. This picture was taken about 5-1/2 years ago. And it was still on my hard drive. Actually, it was first on my old laptop, then transferred to this one, and still on my hard drive. I guess it really is time to delete it, huh?

How often do you backup your photos? Delete them from the hard drive?

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My Sink is So Shiny, I Gotta Wear Shades

I was recently given the opportunity to try Turtle Wax® ICE Total Interior Care. When you think of Turtle Wax®, you probably think of car care, and you should, because Turtle Wax® is the number one selling brand of car care products in the world. While the inside of my van really does need cleaned, what intrigued me about this product were the household uses. Yes, a car care product that can be used to make house cleaning easier. What's not to love?

It took me a while to try the ICE Total Interior Care because I was having a hard time getting to my cleaning, and that's exactly why I'm pretty sure I'm going to like this stuff. I decided to try it out in my bathroom first after reading this:
Bring the Bling in the Bathroom – From the sink to shower tile and doors, you might need to wear shades when this room is done. Simply wipe off the selected surface with a damp rag to remove dirt and then rub on a small amount of wax. Once it becomes hazy, the wax is dry and you can buff it to a shine with a soft cloth. Say good-bye to soap scum – applying car wax to bathroom surfaces makes it resist dirt and easier to clean in the future.
So, today I cleaned my bathroom sink really well, and then applied the ICE Total Interior Care with the included micro-fiber cleaning cloth. I'm going to tell you that my sink has never been so shiny! I had to call Cory into the bathroom to show him, and then when Jeffrey walked in later, he was really impressed, too. The best part is that it should stay looking nice and clean longer because the wax will resist the dirt. The water is sure beading up on the surface.

I just wish I had some of this stuff when we first moved into the house. Keeping a good coat of this wax on the bathroom surfaces all along, before they managed to get soap scum and hard water build-up would have saved so much scrubbing time. I would especially recommend ICE Total Interior Care to anyone with new bathroom fixtures. Apply it now and save yourself lots of work in the future. Me, I'm going to have to get my tub cleaned really well now, so I can apply it in there, too - and then maybe I'll move on to the kids' bathroom. I really wish I had applied some of this before it became Beth's job to clean in there.

Turtle Wax® ICE Total Interior Care can also be used in the kitchen, to clean up your grill, and to protect patio furniture. We don't have a patio yet and therefore no patio furniture, but when we do get it, I'm going to apply some of this right from the start to protect the patio furniture from sun, dirt, rain and stains. I'm also planning to use it in my van because,
  • ICE Total Interior takes the guesswork out of cleaning a vehicle’s interior because it can be used on all surfaces.
  • ICE Total Interior is formulated to clean, shine and protect soft vinyl, plastic, leather and composite surfaces easily. It also effectively removes stains from carpet and fabric, cleans clear plastic without streaking, and removes musty and unpleasant odors and protects to keep them from reappearing.
  • ICE Total Interior contains UV absorbers to help prevent fading, drying and cracking of interior plastics.
I'm thinking that when I get finished, my van will look like brand new. If I hadn't been using it in the bathroom today, I should have had Beth try it in 'her' car, since she cleaned it all out today, even vacuuming and washing it. Yeah, I know - what got into her? But she could have cleaned the dashboard, the steering wheel, the leather seats, everything. Of course, then the car would have been so clean she probably wouldn't have felt comfortable driving it.

Turtle Wax® ICE Total Interior Care has a suggested Manufacturer's Retail Price of $8.99 and can be found at many local auto parts store as well as retail stores like Target, Kmart, and Walmart. You can also buy it online.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Camera Critters (#27)


I took this picture a few years ago at the zoo.

He's kinda cute, for a snake.  I liked him just fine because he was behind glass.  That's as close as I want to get.


Camera Critters is a fun weekend meme hosted by Misty Dawn.Visit the Camera Critters headquarters and join in.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Planning a Band Trip

We've got a new band director at school this year. He's learning a lot, really quickly. He's done student teaching before, but this is his first job as the actual band director. So far, he's doing a great job!

And he's not afraid to take on the big things, like a band trip. He's actually planning to take the band on a trip. Our last band director planned every detail of the trips herself, but our new director is looking into some agencies that specialize in student group travel. One that I was going to recommend to him is Hemisphere Educational Travel, but he beat me to it and mentioned that he is already looking at what they can offer.

Hemisphere has been planning and coordinating student travel for 37 years. They customize every tour to meet the needs of the individual group, and guarantee to meet or beat any tour price containing the same tour components and quality. The part I'm really interested in is that teachers and chaperones travel for free. Sign me up!

I still think Mr. B. is a brave man for even thinking about a band trip his first year here. But I'm reading through everything that is included in a tour, like transportation, accommodations, meals, security, insurance, and everything that Hemisphere Educational Travel does, like sending out parent letters, putting together exciting tour flyers, and setting up a payment plan and collecting the money, and it doesn't sound quite so scary.

It's Homecoming

The Homecoming football game is tonight. It's the only football game this season that the band has to dress in uniform and gets to perform their show on the field. No competitions this year, no football half-time performances except for this one. It's been a really easy marching band season. We've got to get there early and help the band get into uniform and get things set up because the Band Boosters are selling spirit wear - hats, t-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, stuff like that. As long as I get to see the band!

Beth will even probably go to this game. I told her she better go to most of them, since I bought her a pass at registration. Then we had the rainy game - the band played and left early because it was pouring, and Beth and Tim showed up, but I told her she didn't have to stay. We didn't even stay. That night I was really thankful my kid was in band and not on the football team! Oh, and Beth was at the game where the rest of us sold concessions, so I guess I got my money's worth on that pass.

The interesting thing about Homecoming week - the toilet paper on all the trees. So far we've escaped this year.

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In Home Music Lessons

Cory is the musical one in the family. He takes band in school. He enjoys playing his saxophone, though I think he should practice more. Yes, Cory, I know you're reading this, and I think you should practice more.

I never really thought about having him take private lessons to supplement what he learns in school, and he never mentioned it. Some of his other band friends take private lessons, though, and I'm sure it makes a difference. The question is, with a busy schedule full of school activities, library activities, and homework, how does anyone fit in time for music lessons?

Amadeus Home Music School can help, because they schedule music lessons in your home, at your convenience. That definitely saves some time because you don't have to drive to the lesson and back again. Amadeus offers lessons for not only the saxophone, but other instruments, singing lessons, and music for children with special needs. You can call their toll free number or fill out the web form to get more information.

I'll have to ask Cory if it's something he would be interested in.

Tagged - 7 Things

Cathy tagged me to share 7 random facts about myself.

This tag even comes with a cute graphic:
  1. I started this post about a week ago, and then never got to it. Then I read Misty's 7 Things post and felt tagged all over again. What can you learn about me from that? I have good intentions - it's just that there are so many things I want to do and just not enough time to do them all. At least not time to do them right.
  2. I have a whole bunch of pictures on my camera cards that I really need to download to my computer. I've just been pulling a picture off here and there for posts and things, but I need to get them all off, and backed up to DVD - so I can clear the cards off, and fill them back up again. (this sounds kind of like a repeat of #1, doesn't it?)
  3. I've been walking 2 miles (30 minutes) every weekday morning since Cory was a baby. He's 16 now, so that's a lot of miles. I was going to add them up, but that sounds like too much work.
  4. When I read John Grisham books, I think it would be cool to be a lawyer.
  5. I think I'm in love with bread. Seriously, I could never do the low carb thing. This week I tried out a bread recipe I saw on GMA last week. Yum! I am definitely making this again.
  6. It bugs me when people walk on the wrong side of the street. Bugs me. More on this later.
  7. I have two kids. Oh, wait, you already knew that. :P
Now, I know I'm supposed to tag seven random people, so here goes: Well, I was gonna tag 7 random people from my Entrecard inbox, but I'm having problems getting to anyone's blog, so I'm going to leave this open. If you want to do it, leave me a comment, and I'll tag you.
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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Sky Watch Friday (#42)

It's (almost) Friday again, and that means
Sky Watch Friday!

To get a picture of tonight's sunset, I had to walk out my front door and across the street.   I just couldn't see it from my house because of the trees and houses in the way.  A couple weeks ago, I could see the sunset from my front yard, but not tonight.  The sun may set in the West, but it seems that West moves, doesn't it?  Even without the help of New York movers.

So, my feet got a little cold - it was worth it.

If you enjoy looking at the sky as much as I do, you'll want to check out Sky Watch Friday. You can enjoy skies from around the world!

Books I Read

I took some books back to the library this afternoon, books I haven't read yet. I could have kept them, because they weren't due yet, but I knew I wasn't going to have a chance to read them. So I figured it would be better to take them back so they could perhaps be read by someone else. The thing is, I really want to read these books. They're not about anything important like employment screening, just interesting books I pulled off the shelves. You know how they say you can't judge a book by its cover? Maybe you can't, but I tend to choose a book by its cover. If the cover looks interesting, I'm more likely to pull it off the shelf.

These books looked interesting enough that I pulled them off the shelf, checked them out, and brought them home to read. The problem is that I do that with a lot of books - more books than I have time to actually read. I so wish I could read faster like Cory does.

I need to find a better way to keep track of the books I want to read, instead of just checking out every book that catches my eye and then not having time to read them all, though that does help the library's circulation stats. So today I started using the 'I want to Read' option on iRead on Facebook. I've been using it to keep track of the books I am reading and the books I've read this year, but I hadn't added any to the 'I want to Read' list until now. I added the books I took back to the library - so I'll remember to check them out again when I'm ready to read them. That is, unless some other book covers attract my attention and get in the way.

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What Should Have Been a Quick Job...

...took me half the morning.

Why do the simplest things seem to take so much time? I needed to update a website this morning - change 4 numbers on 2 pages, upload the changed pages, done. Well, it should have worked that way, but when I changed the numbers and uploaded the pages, suddenly there was no home page. When I went to the page, the server told me there was no such page. What?

So I checked the files on the server and found that FrontPage had added an extra file and made that the home page. The only problem was that I never created that file, and the browser wouldn't read it. I kept trying to fix the navigation, making my page the home page, but it wouldn't listen to me - until I just deleted the extra file. Then I had to play mess fight with the navigation to get it back to the way it was before. I just don't know why things can't work the way they are supposed to - quickly and the first time - so I don't have to spend so much time on simple tasks.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Be in the Movies

Cory and I were watching a movie the other day, and he was saying the lines along with the actor, all dramatic and everything. Then he turned to me and said, "I'd love to be in the movies." - or something like that. He reads my blog, and then he'll complain if I put words in his mouth. The point is, acting and being in movies is something he would definitely enjoy. He loves being in front of a crowd, being the center of attention. I think he'd be great in the movies. Those of you who have seen his videos, what do you think?

Of course, everyone can't be in the movies, at least not with a speaking, starring part, but Talent6 can help people get into the movies as Extras. You know the extras. They're the crowd at the baseball game, the people walking down the street, the background people who make it look real. You won't necessarily become a movie star, but being an Extra means you're in the movie, right?

All it takes is a phone call to the toll free number (800-493-9047) to get started. Talk to a portfolio manager and let them find you a job in the movies. Movies are filmed all over the country, not just in Hollywood, so they can find work for anyone. It's not movie star pay, but movie extras get paid between $100 and $300 per day, which isn't bad. And sometimes extras get 'discovered' right? Either way, it sounds like an amazing experience, and Talent6 can help.

If you've ever dreamed of being in the movies, give them a call. What do you have to lose? Oh, and when you get famous - remember I knew you when.

Doctor's Appointment

Beth had another doctor's appointment today. This doctor told her basically the same thing the last one did, but she feels more comfortable with this one. It sounds like she is seriously considering the surgery now, which should take care of her problem. He said she could take medicine to control it, but she would have to take it for the rest of her life, except that she couldn't take it when she got pregnant, and if she had any problems with her heart during pregnancy, it could be really hard on her and the baby.

Anyway, if she gets the surgery, she shouldn't have to worry about it any more. It's not going to be cheap, but definitely something that needs taken care of.

Save Green, Go Green Giveaway!

I like where I live. I really do, but this is one of those times I wish I lived somewhere else - either that, or that Charter would offer services in my area. Right now they are offering some great deals on their services for Internet, cable TV, and phone services. You know how I love to save money, and under $100/month for all three services would definitely save us some money.

That's not the only thing, though. Right now if you sign up and order one or more services from Charter you are entered to win a 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid. There's no purchase required, but you do have to live in an area serviced by Charter to be eligible. With the cost of gas nowadays, this is probably one of the best prizes around. Winning any car would be great, but being able to save money on gas too is even better. This car gets up to 45mpg on the highway, and is worth over $24,000. It has a polished metal exterior, fabric interior, cruise control, 160-watt sound system, and the all-important MP3 Auxiliary Input Jack. Best of all, if you win, it's FREE!

Now is definitely the time. Check out Charter's services on Internet, phone service, and cable TV, and enter the Save Green, Go Green Giveaway. Even if you don't win the car, you'll still be saving money.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Very Dangerous

An example of street markets accepting credit ...Image via WikipediaShe's a high school student, with a part-time job - so why in the @*%$# would Chase give her a credit card with a $15,000 limit?

When Beth went and opened her new checking and savings accounts, they offered her a credit card, too. It sounded good - up to 3% back on purchases, and they'll tie it to her checking account in case she ever spends more than she actually has. Yep, real convenient.

We talked about how this can be a good thing, as long as she uses it responsibly and pays her balance, if she has one, every single month. She can start building her own credit record so she'll be able to buy a car and even a house some day. She's starting with a clean slate, and she has the opportunity to build a good credit score. On the other hand, if she doesn't use it responsibly, she can really get herself into trouble, now and for a long time to come.

Of course, when we first talked about it, I thought they'd maybe give her a credit line of $1000 to $1500 - something small that would gradually increase as she used it responsibly. But she got the card yesterday, and it says her a credit limit is $15,000.

Correction: as I was typing this, Beth came home from school. She said she called to activate her new card, and they said they'd put the wrong number on the letter. Her credit limit is actually $1500. Still dangerous, but not quite so bad.
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Monday, October 06, 2008

Her Own Money

A week or so ago Beth stopped by the bank on the way home from school. She opened a new checking account and savings account - one that is not linked to our accounts and that we can't access. Technically the High School Checking account we opened for her was supposed to end when she turned 18, and change to a College Checking account. She's still in high school, so they said she didn't have to change, but she decided to mostly because she doesn't want anyone else to have access to her accounts.

It was supposed to take a little while to get everything set up and to get her debit card sent to her, so they left her original account open until it was all set up, and then the bank is supposed to move her money over and close her old accounts. She has received her debit card and some other information, so when I logged into the bank accounts today and saw that her checking account balance was $0, I figured they had moved the money over. Except that her savings account still has a balance. So, I checked, and she spent more money than she actually had in her account, so overdraft protection had moved over enough to cover it from her savings.

Then the question is, transfer enough to cover it so that she doesn't get hit with the overdraft fee again, or just leave it alone? I mean, she wants to handle her own money, says she knows how, but I don't want to see her get hit with a fee, either.

I decided that she wants to handle her own money and she needs to learn, so I didn't touch it. I did, however, mention it to her when she got home from school, and she transferred some money before she left for work. Pretty soon everything will be changed over, and I won't be able to see if she's on thin ice. Then she really will have to keep track of her own money, or pay the fees. Pretty soon she'll have to do everything for herself, like get her own car insurance, get life insurance quotes, and maybe even clean her room/apartment/house. Yeah, I'll believe that one when I see it!

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