Sunday, December 30, 2012

Book Review: Bold As Love

Bold As Love: What can happen when we see people the way God does by Bob Roberts, Jr.

About this book:

As Christians, we’re called to love our neighbors—all our neighbors. But is that even possible? And can we truly love them well?

People often think of their neighbors as those already belonging to their “tribe” or community. It’s safe, it’s easy, and it doesn’t often cause conflict—politically or religiously. But in today’s world, everyone and everything is interconnected globally in an ever-changing cultural landscape, while religious strife runs rampant. Is it feasible for Christians to live their faith boldly and lovingly while entering into a true relationship with “neighbors” of other faiths, both locally and globally?

In Bold as Love, Pastor Bob Roberts shows you what it looks like to live out your faith daily in the global public square among people of other faiths—Jews, Muslims, atheists, Hindus, Buddhists. While he admits that it can be challenging to engage people of other faiths whose beliefs are as strong as yours, he demonstrates how to enter into this critical dialogue in a radical yet loving way. “We have to learn to speak with one conversation and give the same message everywhere to everyone,” he says. “We are commanded to love God and love others. And sometimes that requires risky boldness.”

Roberts invites you to respond to this call to live a life of fearless and loving engagement with the world. So take the risk! Your faith wasn’t made to live in isolation. It’s something you do face-to-face, heart-to-heart, hand-to-hand. Whether you are in a suburb of Houston or a village in India, put away the fear and suspicion and, instead, answer the call to radically love others the way God loves. And get ready to see your life and the lives of those you touch—your family, your community, even your enemies—transformed!

This book really had me thinking about what it really means to love your neighbor.  Too often in our church tradition we hear people questioning who our neighbors really are.  Who are we supposed to love?  Are there people that God does not require us to love?  I have to agree with Bob Roberts when he says, "Loving others isn't something we do when we agree with them, or when they're like us, or even when we like them."  We are called to love all of our neighbors, maybe even especially those who don't believe the way we do.  Be developing relationships with them, we open up the dialog to share with them what we believe and why, while also understanding who they are and what they believe.  We come to love them as individual people, and not just a people - often a people we don't understand or that we fear.  Often loving others requires risky boldness and is something we can only accomplish by focusing on God first and following his commands to love others.

While reading the book, I found myself highlighting sentences and passages that really struck me.  There are some real gems in this book along with the far-reaching challenge for all of us to see people and love them the way God does.  Roberts shows what it looks like to boldly love your neighbor as God would want us to by sharing the experiences he's had in his home church in the Dallas area, and around the world, building relationships with people from all walks of life.  Imagine what the world would look like if we all stepped out and did that!

"When we love people and build relationships with them, all kinds of good things happen that were not previously possible."

Bold as Love: What Can Happen When We See People the Way God Does is available at Amazon and other book retailers.  I encourage you to pick up your own copy.  Also, be sure to check out Bob Roberts' blog at

Note: I received a free copy of Bold as Love for review.  All opinions are 100% mine.
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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Tile in the Bathroom

I forgot that the tubs in these apartments have Bathroom tiles on the walls until I started cleaning the tub today.  I hadn't even thought of it when I was showering.  Yes, I'm very observant - why do you ask?

I really do like tile in the bathroom, though not necessarily these or the gorgeous shade of green the tub and the toilet are.  I just remembered as I was cleaning that it's important to take proper care of the grout between the tiles.  It's not too bad here, so the last tenants must have cleaned well, or else the apartment complex has learned the secret of cleaning grout really well.  I remember one semester in college it was my job to clean the showers in one of the bathrooms.  The grout in there was pretty bad, and I had no idea how to get it clean, not to mention that it was already that way before it became my job to clean it.  But do you think my RA cared?  No, she expected me to get it clean.

None of the products we had for cleaning the dorm did a thing, so my friend Jen ended up buying some bleach, and that took care of it.  Not that I want to use bleach as a regular cleaner, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.  And the only reason I got to thinking about that was because I realized I hadn't given Jeffrey anything for cleaning the tile grout, because I hadn't even thought of it.  I'm making a list of things I need to send back with him while I'm here, so I ought to add something for that.

My friend Peggy has a really amazing bathroom and shower that is all tile.  She's got really nice tiles like some of the ones you can find on Glass Tile Store website.  They have all kinds of really nice tiles, and also some good information in grout care and cleaning, which could come in handy.  I will have to ask Peggy what she uses and how she keeps her nicely tiled bathroom and shower clean.  Not that I expect to clean this tub and these tiles again, but you never know - and we might just end up with a nicely tiled bathroom of our own when we get a new house.

A Little Bit of Cleaning

While Jeffrey is at work and I'm home alone in the apartment, I've managed to stay occupied.  I brought a book along to read, because I thought I could take some time just to sit and read it - but so far I haven't read more than a few pages.  I should probably blame that on finding out I have internet access and spending too much time on facebook, but I've also spent some time cleaning the apartment for my sweet husband.

Yes, I know he's a big boy and he can take care of himself, but I'm used to taking care of him.  So I've washed the dishes and cleaned up the kitchen, made sure we had something for dinner - fajitas in the crockpot right now - cleaned the tub and sink in the bathroom, and swept and vacuumed the floors.  Honestly, all that didn't really take up too much time.  It really doesn't take too long to clean a little 1-bedroom apartment, and it wasn't really all that messy.  Jeffrey has done a good job of taking care of himself - not that I really want to have him getting too used to doing that.

Mainly I wanted to vacuum the carpet because there were salt crystals all over the place, mainly by the entry door.  Now that it's winter, that's probably going to be a regular thing.  The frustrating thing is that the carpet is nice and thick and new, and right up to the door - meaning that there is no way to put any kind of rug in front of the door to wipe your feet on.  Whatever is on your shoes when you walk in the door, in this case the salt from the sidewalks, gets tracked in onto the carpet.  You definitely don't want to step in any mud!

You'd think they'd put some kind of vinyl or tile in front of the doors to avoid having everything tracked in, but Jeffrey says they just put new carpet in whenever they rent an apartment out to a new tenant.  I don't know if that's more cost effective than if they would just Click Here and get the carpets cleaned between tenants, but that's what they do.  Still, wouldn't it be nice for the current tenants if they were able to put a throw rug in front of the door and keep the carpet cleaner while they're living there?

Should we suggest some kind of hard surface just inside the entry doors of the apartments?  After all, they have changed the kitchen and bathroom floors.  They used to be carpeted when we lived here before.

Thank You, Unknown Neighbor

I haven't been online much because I've been interacting with people in person - outside of the internet and social networks.  Yes, I do that once in a while.

We attended the Winter Family Weekend hosted by the Church of God Cincinnati in Lexington, KY.  This was our 4th year attending.  It's a great event that includes plenty of fun, food, and fellowship with wonderful friends.  We eat, we drink, we talk, we laugh, we stay up way too late, we play sports we don't usually play and end up in pain, and we would really hate to miss it.  This year my parents even came for a couple days!  Usually we go visit them after the weekend is over, but this year we didn't have the time, so it was nice that we got to see them anyway.

This year we headed home afterwards so Jeffrey could go back to work on Wednesday.  I decided to stay with him for the rest of the week - just because.  For some reason I still like hanging out with him...

So I've got a few days here alone in the apartment.  I thought I'd have to survive without internet access - unless I wanted to go over to the laundry area where they offer free wifi, along with the noise of washers and dryers - but, when I booted my computer up yesterday afternoon, it found an unsecured wireless network and connected.  So, I just want to thank the unknown neighbor who is graciously allowing me to use his internet! 

There are 8 other wireless networks I can see, but all of them are secured.  This one will probably end up being secured eventually, but I'm only here for a few days...

Monday, December 17, 2012

It Looks Good Enough to Eat

I'm supposed to be helping a friend of mine update her website and organize it better.  So far I've taken pictures of some of her products, looked at a few templates we could possibly use, and done some research.

Some of that research involves looking at other similar sites to see how they're organized.  She sells uncured natural meats and Alaskan salmon, so I've been checking out this website where you can seafood order online, and I forgot about the organization and started looking at the pictures.  Do you see how good that smoked salmon looks in that picture?  I am going to have to figure out how to take better pictures of the products - pictures that people just can't resist.  The pictures on this site certainly have me wanting to add some of these things to my cart - the Smoked Salmon, Sockeye Salmon Maple BBQ Kebobs, and the Sockeye Salmon Burger with Ginger Dill to name just a few.

I'll have to keep looking at these pictures and hopefully find some online information about food design and photography.  Any suggestions for that?  I have a hard enough time getting decent pictures for my recipe blog.  Half the time my problem is that I don't think to take a picture until after we've eaten the food, so at least that problem is solved, since the whole point will be the pictures.  Maybe getting to eat the food afterwards would just be a bonus!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Lace Comfort Bra

I recently ordered some bras I saw advertised in the coupon section of my paper.  They were $6.99 each, and I got free shipping if I ordered 3 or more.  So I ordered 3 - a black one, a white one, and a nude one.

The bras promise to stretch to fit any cup size from a B to an E, to be very comfortable and supportive without underwire.  There were no reviews (or even a place for reviews) on the website, but I figured they were worth a try.

Do they follow through on all those promises?  Well, they do stretch, though the material is very thin by the time it stretches - and very see-through.  They are comfortable, even comfortable enough to sleep in, because there is nothing to pinch or poke.

As far as support goes - I think they'd be fine for someone with young, firm breasts or someone who's had breast augmentation montreal (or elsewhere) and has very firm breasts.  I think the biggest problem is that the shoulder straps are a bit longer than they need to be, and there's no way to adjust them.  If I could tighten them up a bit and get a little lift, I think these bras would be quite nice. 

As it is, they do work for what I actually bought them for - wearing under a t-shirt or pajamas on those weekends when we have company or when we're in somebody else's house.  When I just need something, and these are perfect for that.

I suppose I could sew the straps to make them a bit shorter.  I might eventually get around to trying that.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I'm Addicted to Free Stuff

...whether I need it or not.

That's not really a bad thing, is it?  I mean, why pay for something if you can get it for free?  And why pass up something that's free, even if you don't need it right now?  You might some day!  That's my philosophy anyway.

I'm not nearly as bad as those 'extreme coupon' ladies you see on tv, but I do believe in stocking up on things like toothpaste, lotion, shampoo, free baby stuff, etc. - pretty much anything that I know we are going to use at some time.  If I can get it for free or practically free by combining a sale and a coupon, and sometimes a rebate, then I have a hard time passing it up.  I really hate the idea of running out of something and having to pay full price for it, and getting the stuff we need for free means that we have more money to spend on things we want.  Can't argue with that!

And if I can get something I may never need for free - I have a hard time passing that up too.  Except for now.  Now I'm trying to stop accumulating more stuff and just use the stuff we have, so we'll have less stuff to move when the time comes.  Of course trying is the operative word, because if they're going to give it to me...

I am continuing to collect free Kindle books and free Android Apps from Amazon - because those don't take up any space.  I probably won't ever read or play the majority of them, but they're free.  As for the rest, mostly I just stay away from the stores so I'm not tempted.

That Explains It

I heard this morning that today is the most fertile day of the year.  More people get pregnant on this day than on any other day.  How exactly do they know this?  Well, because more babies are born on September 16 than on any other day - 9 months from now!

So, if you don't want a baby in September, be extra careful tonight!

And now I know how we got Beth!  She wasn't born on September 16.  No, she waited until the 18th, because she's Beth, and she does what she wants, but I'm pretty sure her due date was the 16th.

Yeah, that most fertile day of the year got us - 23 years ago.  If only we'd known...  Maybe we would have been more careful, and we would have missed out on our precious daughter.  That wouldn't have been right.

So, be careful.  Or don't.  You may just be in for a delightful surprise.
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Monday, December 10, 2012

20 Things a Mother Should Tell Her Son

I saw this on Facebook and had to share.  I don't know who came up with this list, but I like it.

  1. You will set the tone for the sexual relationship, so don't take something away from her that you can't give back.
  2. Play a sport. It will teach you how to win honorably, lose gracefully, respect authority, work with others, manage your time and stay out of trouble. And maybe even throw or catch.
  3. Use careful aim when you pee. Somebody's got to clean that up, you know.
  4. Save money when you're young because you're going to need it some day.
  5. Allow me to introduce you to the dishwasher, oven, washing machine, iron, vacuum, mop and broom. Now please go use them.
  6. Pray and be a spiritual leader.
  7. Don't ever be a bully and don't ever start a fight, but if some idiot clocks you, please defend yourself.
  8. Your knowledge and education is something that nobody can take away from you.
  9. Treat women kindly. Forever is a long time to live alone and it's even longer to live with somebody who hates your guts.
  10. Take pride in your appearance.
  11. Be strong and tender at the same time.
  12. A woman can do everything that you can do. This includes her having a successful career and you changing diapers at 3am.  Mutual respect is the key to a good relationship.
  13. "Yes ma'am" and "yes sir" still go a long way.
  14. The reason that they're called "private parts" is because they're "private".  Please do not scratch them in public.
  15. Peer pressure is a scary thing. Be a good leader and others will follow.
  16. Bringing her flowers for no reason is always a good idea.
  17. Be patriotic.
  18. Potty humor isn't the only thing that's humorous.
  19. Please choose your spouse wisely. My daughter-in-law will be the gatekeeper for me spending time with you and my grandchildren.
  20. Remember to call your mother because I might be missing you.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Baby Gifts for the Sports Fan

I've noticed that people like to dress their kids and babies up in cute little outfits that support their favorite sports teams.  The babies have no choice - they're born fans!  In our family that always meant University of Illinois Fighting Illini clothes.  (Basketball; not football)  You should see how many Illini outfits Jason has!

Here in Wisconsin, most babies wear Green Bay Packers outfits, and in Texas I bet they all wear Dallas Cowboys Baby Clothes. You have to admit, they're really cute.  Onesies, sleepers, sweatsuits, all kinds of adorable fan clothes are available as well as things like hats, bottles, bibs, and even a storage unit for baby's room.  And, of course, those cheerleader sets for little girls.  Nothing is cuter than that!  Nothing.  I don't care what team it is.

They'd make great gifts for all the sports fans in your life and their new little fans.  According to this site, baby fans - "Once a fan, always a fan." - so you know they want to get them started off right!  The site has baby and toddler clothing for the littlest fans of not only professional football, baseball and basketball teams, but college teams, too.  They'll even wrap your gift in team-colored tissue!

If you're shopping for the holidays, be sure to order by December 18th for guaranteed delivery.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

These Games Can Be Addicting

Words With Friends
Words With Friends (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
How many online games do you play?  I've pretty much avoided all of them - except for the word games Lexulous, Scrabble, and Words with Friends.

I keep getting notifications from friends on facebook about all kinds of other games, so I know there are plenty of games to choose from and plenty of people playing.  I just try to turn off all those notifications as they come in, because I just don't have time for any more games.  I have a hard enough time keeping up with the word games I am playing sometimes!  I have at least one friend on facebook who never seems to post anything personal, but she's always sending me game requests.  As soon as I turn off the requests from one game (or 3 or 4 games), she's sending me requests from something else.  How many games are there anyway?  And does she ever do anything else?

Image representing FarmVille as depicted in Cr...
Image via CrunchBase
I do feel kind of lost when I'm all caught up on my games and waiting on everybody else to play their turns so I can play again - so I understand a bit about how addictive these games can be.  Thankfully I haven't been completely sucked in, not like the lady on the news tonight, or maybe even my friend.  This lady on the news plays Farmville up to 8 hours every day, and spends up to $200 per month on it.  So, pretty much, she does nothing but sit on her computer and play games all day - and she's spending real money on it. 

According to the news story about why we get hooked on online games, it isn't necessarily the players' fault they spend so much time playing.  The gaming industry is hiring psychologists as consultants - to make their games more enticing and more addictive.  They employ the same strategies as Las Vegas - flash and intermittent rewards, all designed to hook you within 20 minutes and keep you playing.

If that's not a good reason to continue turning off all those notifications, I don't know what is! 
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Thursday, November 29, 2012

I Hope It's Something They Ate

Beth texted me today and asked me if I could watch Jason for a bit because she had something to do.  Of course I said yes, because I like hanging out with the little guy.

Then she showed up, and she wasn't feeling good.  She said the little guy she babysits has been sick, and now she's getting it.  But Jason hasn't really been around the other little guy - even though they spend the day in the same house - because they were on different schedules, sleeping and being up at different times.  So Jason was fine.

Except it wasn't but a few minutes after Beth had left that I heard Jason coughing in the other room.  I went to check on him and found him throwing up all over his computer.  Yeah, thankfully his computer caught most of it, along with his pants and his sweatshirt.  Poor sweet baby, he had no idea what was happening.

I got him to the bathroom, got his clothes off and got him all cleaned up.  After that, he seemed fine, but I called his mommy and told her she should probably come get him and take him home.  She, of course, was sick herself and couldn't really come get him.  So she called his daddy to come get him and take him home.

In the meantime, I kept a close eye on him and tried to keep him off the furniture and the carpet, trying to avoid needing to call a cleaning service like carpet cleaning calgary.  Of course, he's a busy toddler and keeping him still anywhere is not really possible, so when he threw up again, he did get some on the carpet - and on the shirt he was still wearing - and, there were no extra clothes in the diaper bag, so I was thinking I'd have to send him home wearing just a diaper and some socks, but there was still an outfit hanging in the closet from when he used to live here, so we put that on.  It didn't really fit him, but at least it was something.

Then once his daddy came to get him, I cleaned up the carpet, gathered all the clothes and blankets, and threw everything in the washer.  OH, and washed my hands and washed my hands and washed my hands.  With soap.  I really hope it's something they ate, because I do not want this.  And I hope that sweet precious baby boy feels better soon.  And his mommy too.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I'm Not Really Motivated

Is it wrong that I'm not really motivated to edit a post for a stupid company I used to post for?  I say 'used to' because they just suddenly stopped giving me any assignments at the beginning of this year.  Yes, they had threatened to stop giving me assignments several years ago if I didn't stop working with another company they, for some reason, feel a real antagonism toward.  I didn't stop working with the other company, and the assignments kept coming with this company - so I kept doing them.  And then suddenly they stopped - no notice, no explanation, nothing.

I kept logging in at least once a week for a while, but never any assignments, so eventually I stopped bothering.  Now suddenly I'm getting emails wanting me to edit one of my old posts.  I'm supposed to keep the link but change the link text. 
For your post below would you please replace the existing keyword link "medical malpractice insurance illinois" with the new phrase "for this liability broker in IL"

If you would, please reply when you have switched out the current keyword link "medical malpractice insurance illinois" with the new keyword link "for this liability broker in IL"

Ummm, why?  And what's in it for me?  I mean, they haven't cared enough to give me any assignments all year and suddenly I'm supposed to care enough to change an old post just because they told me to?  Yeah, not so motivated...  I'll file the email in my 2do folder.  Maybe I'll get to it one of these days.

It's Too Late to Get Tickets to This Show

We're going to see some Shakespeare Saturday night.  Thankfully we already have our tickets, because the show is sold out.  Our handsome and talented son is in this play, so of course we have to see it.  He's playing the King of Navarre, and wearing a pink suit.  It's going to be great.

He's the one in the pink suit
Love's Labours Lost
November 27-December 1 - 7:30pm
Hicklin Studio Theatre
Greenhill Center of the Arts

How awesome is it that they're sold out, and they'll be playing to a full house every night?  These theatre majors love an audience!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My Repairman Canceled on Me

I called yesterday to find somebody to come and look at my stove to see why the oven won't heat.  I ended up finding someone from right here in Eagle.  I don't know if he was here a few years ago when I was looking for someone to fix the oven.  I didn't see a listing in the phone book.  This time I just went online and searched 'appliance repair Eagle WI' and came up with a list of local repair shops.  (I probably should have searched 'how to fix an oven that won't heat' because I'm finding all kinds of directions and even videos.  Maybe my husband and brother could have fixed the oven over the weekend and saved me the headache.)

I am trying to figure out why I used the phone book last time.  Does anyone really still use the phone book?  Yeah, obviously me - but usually all the phone books that we still get every year just sit in the front closet, until we get the new ones to replace them, and the old ones go into the recycle bin.  Anyway, I called the local repairman, and set up an appointment for today - sometime between 11am and 1pm.

Then this morning I went for my walk as usual, and sometime after I got back I noticed I had a voicemail.  It was someone from the appliance repair place calling to cancel my appointment because they were overbooked and that I should call someone else because they couldn't get to me until next month sometime.  I guess that's good for the company, but not so good for me, because I had to find someone else and didn't get my oven fixed today.

Maybe it's a good thing because I was having this really weird dream right before I woke up this morning.  I dreamed that the repairman showed up at the very end of that 2 hour window - right at 1pm.  He came to the door along with a short lady wearing big sunglasses and a young lady about 18 or 19.  It wasn't until they were all in my kitchen that I realized the short lady hiding behind the sunglasses was my friend Nancy from Kansas City.  What was she doing there?  She just stood in my kitchen laughing because I hadn't recognized her.  The repairman was a scruffy young guy with asthma who didn't seem to be very clear on the idea of personal space.  I didn't see him check or test anything, but he kept telling me how he'd have to order the part and come back to put it in, all the while repeatedly using his inhaler.  I was really happy to have Nancy there, because he creeped me out quite a bit, and I don't think I would have wanted to be alone in the house with him.  Oh, and then my mom just happened to be in the kitchen, too.

I know it was just a dream, and the appliance repairman from Eagle is nothing like that, but...

So today I called a Mukwonago appliance repair man, and he's coming tomorrow - sometime between 9:30am and noon.  Don't you just love those windows?  But I'll be here, and I'll be very happy to get the oven fixed.
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Our Last Thanksgiving Here

It will be nice to have Thanksgiving at home this year.  It will be the last year in this house - not that we're quite ready to call ottawa movers  to pack us up and move us out. Yet.  But we certainly better get this house sold and get moved out before this time next year.  Way before!  Like any day now. 

We'll have our daughter, our son, and our grandson here.  My brother and his daughter will be here too, so it will be a nice little family gathering.  Cory is already appreciating the fact that he'll be able to spend Thanksgiving with his own family this year.  Last year we went to Kansas City to spend the holiday and weekend with Jeffrey's dad and his wife, and it was really nice.  Barb always takes really good care of us!  The problem was that Cory couldn't come with us because he had rehearsal to get back for. He did get to spend Thanksgiving with a friend's family, but it just wasn't the same. 

Cory has to be back for rehearsal this year, too, but since we live so close to campus, it won't be a problem.  It won't be quite as convenient next year once we've moved, but at least we'll be close enough that the kids can get down for Thanksgiving, and Cory will still be able to get back for rehearsal when he needs to.  We'll be even closer to my brother and niece.  So, even though we're moving and this will be our last Thanksgiving here, we'll all still be able to get together in the future and make new memories in a new place.  That's definitely something to be thankful for!

Where's the Heat?

So, Thanksgiving is this week.  I'm supposed to be thankful, right?  And I am, really I am - for so many things.
via Anna on Pinteres

I'm also busy, because I've got pies to make, rolls to bake, a turkey to cook, and all the other things that go along with having Thanksgiving dinner.  I started today by baking a Bourbon Pecan pie that smells wonderful. 

But now I'm a bit frustrated, because, when the pie came out of the oven, I turned it off for a bit, until I got ready to bake a pizza for dinner.  And when I turned the oven back on, it seemed to be taking forever to heat up.  I waited and waited and waited - and finally went ahead and put the pizza in anyway, but it just wouldn't cook properly.  I finally just finished it up in my roaster oven.  Thankfully I had that down and ready to use, because I already planned to cook the turkey in it tomorrow - while I was baking the pies and rolls in the oven.

So now, I'm hoping it was just some random glitch and the oven decides to work tomorrow.  If not, well, I guess everything will have to be cooked in the roaster.  I started by baking a pumpkin pie tonight.  It looks and smells great, so I know it's possible to bake everything in the roaster oven - it will just take a lot longer than I'd like.

This happened about 3 years ago, and we got it fixed, but it's not something I really wanted to have to deal with again - and the timing is really bad.  Still, I can be very, very thankful that I do have the roaster oven, right?  As well as plenty of food that needs to be cooked.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Location, Location, Location

They say the most important thing in real estate is location, and it really does seem to make all the difference.  We had HGTV or some other home improvement channel on this weekend.  One of the shows had a couple looking to buy a new house, and they ended up buying one for almost $350,000 - and it needed $80,000 worth of renovations.  Seriously?  I would think that if you're going to spend that much on a house, it should be gorgeous and ready to move into.  Must have been their location, which I did not catch because I wasn't paying close enough attention.

Another show had a family already living in a house that needed some major updates and renovations, just to make it actually liveable.  The show had a designer and crew working on their house and fixing it up, while at the same time a realtor was trying to find them a new house.  In the end they'd have to decide if they'd love their house, with all the work that had been done, or if they'd list it and buy the new house.  Their house had some serious issues - all the wiring in the house had to be redone because it was a fire hazard, and they had needed an emergency roofing ottawa company for a good long time because they had a flat roof over part of the house, and it had been collecting water which had run down and rotted the wood in the walls underneath it.  They had to pull that whole section out and rebuild it.  Needless to say, their whole budget was blown, and they had to give up some of the other things they wanted done in the house.  Even though it wasn't completely finished, their house at the end of the show was supposedly worth about $600,000 - and it still needed several thousand dollars worth of improvements!  Yeah, I didn't get their location either.  I was just shocked that a house in that kind of shape, even after all the work, could supposedly be worth that much.

Compared to that, our house - at just under $210,000 - is very reasonable.  And, it doesn't need thousands of dollars worth of work to make it liveable, either.  A nice house in a very nice location - we'll never be on one of those shows!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Online Continuing Education

Many professions require some kind of continuing education.  Getting the degree and passing the exams in the first place are good, but it's also important to keep up with new things and continue to learn and grow.  I know teachers have certain requirements as well as Library Directors and, I'm sure doctors and lawyers.

In this age of technology and the internet, continuing education does not have to mean signing up for classes and taking time away from work and family.  For instance, lawyers can sign up for a subscription with west legal center and get unlimited access to online continuing legal education.  They have different subscription levels for everyone from single lawyers to big firms and everyone in between.  They also have live and on-demand programs that can be purchased separately.

I browsed through some of the programs - What Civil Judges Want You to Know; Cheat, Prey, Shove: Three Acts Forbidden by Ethics; and Hot Topics in Legal Ethics 2012 were just a few.  Of course, the closest I've come to being a lawyer is reading John Grisham books, but I'm sure all those are relevant and important to actual lawyers.  They even have a mobile app, making it possible for lawyers to continue their education anywhere.  Not all programs are compatible with the mobile app, but how convenient is that?

They offer a complimentary site demo, and just for checking it out, they'll give you a code to take one of their courses for free.  Sounds like a great way to see if this online continuing legal education is for you, or the lawyer in your life.  Me?  I think I'll go read a John Grisham book!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Does This Light Go with This Railing?

Since Jeffrey has been working in Champaign, he's been able to spend a lot more time with his brother.  It seems Kirk is there at least once or twice a week.  It makes me wonder what he did before!

It's not like they've just been goofing around.  At least not all the time.  They've been busy picking out things for Kirk's house.  He's lived there for several years, and he's getting some improvements done, mainly new siding on the house.  Along with the siding, he's getting new shutters and storm doors and putting new outdoor light fixtures up, and I'm not sure what all.  I really wish he'd post some before and after pictures on facebook!

One night I got a phone call from Jeffrey.  He and Kirk were looking at the light fixtures and wanted to know if they should be black like the wrought iron railings on the front porch, or if they would look OK in some other color, like a bronze.  My opinion was that nobody really pays much attention to what color the lights are, they just see lights, so go with the style you like and don't worry too much about the color.  At least that's what we did when we picked the new light fixtures for the front of the garage and the front and back doors.

We don't have any wrought iron railings to worry about matching, but the light fixtures we really liked only came in one color, and that color wasn't necessarily one I would have chosen - but we loved the style, so we bought them. 

Since I'm thinking about wrought iron fences, I'm looking at some of the styles on this website, and I found one I really like -
Actually, there are several I like.  They have all kinds, many of them created by hand.  I'm not sure what kind of railing Kirk has - again, why I need pictures - but I hope the style of the light fixtures goes well with the railings.  I think that's more important than what color they are.

Then again, does anybody really pay that close of attention?  With decorative railings like this, I bet they do.

He Doesn't Hold Still Much

Beth got free passes to go see a movie tonight, so I got to spend time with the little guy.  Twice in one week - wow!  It's fun having the little guy around, though I have to keep an eye on him at all times or he's into something he's not supposed to get into.  He grabs the remotes for the tv or stereo and points them at the tv, pushing buttons all the while.  He tries to type something on my computer, and always seems to hit some button that doesn't need to be hit.  He pulls pictures and CDs and books off the shelves.  Yep, he's into everything, and he really has a knack for knowing when I'm not exactly paying close attention to him, because that's when he goes for all those things he's not supposed to have!  Of course.

So when he's here I just pretty much hang out with him.  We play with stickers, read books, laugh, and snuggle - as much as I can get him to hold still.  We take pictures together, but it's hard to get him to smile, or to hold still when he is smiling - so I get lots of blurry Jason pictures. 

Or silly pictures of me when he's actually smiling and looking all cute.

We had spaghetti squash with sauce and broccoli for dinner.  He ate all of his and said he was all done, and then when I'd cleaned up after him and sat down to finish mine, he expected me to share with him - and ate quite a bit more.  It was pretty good!

After dinner we went into the bedroom to set up his bed (Pack 'n Play), and he discovered some toys that had been left in the closet from when he used to live here.  Yeah, he can open the closet by himself now.  He was having a good time playing in the closet and wasn't too happy with me when I pulled him out of there and closed the door.  He tried really hard to throw a fit.  It was kind of funny - he'd cover his face and force a really loud cry.  Then he'd stop, and then he'd try it again.  It was so funny, I just started laughing at him, and he gave up and started laughing, too.

When it was time for bed, we put all the toys away.  Jason thought that was a lot of fun.  Then he was ready to sit still, and we snuggled for a bit before I put him to bed - and I haven't heard a thing out of him since.  His mommy will pick him up in the morning on her way to work, and he can start a new day of go, go, go.

Blogging Inspiration, Where Does it Come From?

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How many times have you sat down with your computer, a new blog post just waiting to be written, and you can't think of a thing to say?  Yeah, me too - way too often.

That's when I start looking around for some kind of inspiration, something that will get some words onto the screen.  The truth is that I'm often inspired to blog.  I compose blog posts in my head as I go about my daily activities - while I'm walking (yes, even though I'm also trying to listen to a book), while I'm washing dishes or cleaning the house or baking, and even when I'm in the shower.  Inspiration comes from many sources.

Of course, the best source of inspiration for a personal blog like mine is life - what's going on in my life, what's going on with the kids, the cute thing my grandson did the other day, etc.  Let me tell you what that little cutie did yesterday.  I was watching him while his mommy went to the doctor, and we pulled his motorcycle out into the living room so he could ride it.  I hadn't been planning on watching him, so I was still trying to get some things done.  I had my back turned, and when I turned back around to see what Jason was doing, I caught him standing up on the motorcycle.  Little daredevil of a boy!  (and isn't that motorcycle just the neatest thing?)  Shortly after this picture was taken, he took his hands off the handlebars and stood straight up.

The great thing about using life and life's happenings as inspiration for blogging is that, when you blog about what is going on right now, you'll have it to look back on and read later.  Your memories are preserved.  And the family members who live far away get a chance to read about what is going on, even if they can't be there in person.

Sometimes, though, my life just seems to be more of the same thing as always, and there's nothing fun, exciting, or interesting to write about.  Then what?  I've found that some of the best sources of inspiration come from talk shows.  I usually have something on while I'm working around the house - whether I'm actually watching or even paying attention.  Sometimes (often) the things they say really have me talking back to the tv - like they can really hear me!  But that is a perfect time for a blog post.  I may not be on tv, like those talk show personalities, and they can't hear me when I talk back and disagree with them, but I can blog about it.  This is the place where I can share my opinions, and whether anybody else cares or agrees, at least I get to say it.  Let me tell you, there are some people on tv that I rarely, if ever, agree with!  I really should be blogging more instead of wasting my energy yelling at the tv.

Other sources of inspiration are news and current events, magazine articles, books, email - pretty much anything you hear, read, or experience.  If you have an opinion to share, you have a blog post.  I think there's plenty of inspiration out there, and I realize that I have plenty to say.  What I need to do is sit myself down at the computer and write my posts when that inspiration strikes, while all the words are there - instead of waiting, and then finding out that I can't remember all that stuff I was going to say and that I can't think of a thing to say.

Oh yeah, I have plenty to say.  I just need to start saying it.  How about you?

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Is Your Family Protected?

This is not something that any of us really want to talk about or think about, but what if something happened to you?  Or to your spouse?  Would your family be taken care of?  Would they lose their house?  As if it wouldn't be hard enough on them to lose you.

It may be easier, and more affordable, than you expect to purchase home mortgage protection that would protect your family in just such a situation.  The insurance provides a death benefit that can be used to pay off the mortgage in the event of your death, or the death of your covered spouse.  Simply fill out the online form to request a free no obligation quote, or you can call the toll-free number and talk to a customer service representative.  No cost, no obligation, and no pressure.  They promise competitive prices on high quality insurance, and when you purchase a policy, you'll even have 10, 20, or 30 days to look the policy over, depending on your state, and if you're not satisfied for any reason, you can return it for a full refund of any premiums paid.

We don't specifically have life insurance for the mortgage protection, but we do have life insurance - for both of us.  Of course I'd rather keep my husband than get some big insurance pay-out, but it's good to know things would be taken care of if something were to happen.  Is your family protected?

Monday, November 12, 2012

What a Drop!

...and I'm not talking about a roller coaster, because I like those drops.  I'm talking about the major drop in temperature from yesterday to today.  Yesterday we were in the 60s.  Today we were in the 20s - with windchills in the teens.  Yep, somebody said it could feel like winter out there.

Not that I'm complaining.  Really I'm not.  More I'm just kind of amazed at the difference a day makes.  I'm also really feeling for those people on the East Coast who still don't have their power back.  I just heard on the news that 72,000 people are still without power.  Still.  On the one hand, the cool weather has probably made it easier to save some of the food from the refrigerators , but on the other hand, it's hard for people to keep warm when there's no power!

I know the power companies and the landlords have been doing their best to get everything back up and running.  Power workers from all over the country and mississauga electrical contractors and others have gone to help out - but it's been a really big job.  So, let's all continue to remember those who have lost homes and possessions, and those who are still without power even now.

And always remember to appreciate what you have while you have it.  So, major drop in temperature - and I'm thankful for power and heat and a warm bed to sleep in - with a cozy cat to snuggle up with me.

Review: Kylie Minogue The Abbey Road Sessions

When I hear Kylie Minogue, the first thing I think of is Locomotion.  We played that song at all our dances for a lot of years!

Kylie has been singing and recording for the last 25 years.  It has been an extraordinary career so far—60 million global album sales, multiple hit singles, global tours, and industry accolades, but I haven't really kept up with her since Locomotion.

This album, The Abbey Road Sessions, features 16 tracks from Kylie's 25-year career, some of them her greatest hits along with some previously unreleased tracks.  All of them have been stripped of Kylie's usual high-end pop production and re-worked.  The album was recorded in London’s legendary Abbey Road Studios with Kylie’s band and a full orchestra.  The result is beautiful, with Kylie's voice front and center.  Locomotion is on there, but it's probably my least favorite track.  I especially like Better the Devil You Know and On a Night Like This, but the more I listen to this CD, the more I find to like. I've just been turning it on and letting it play, and I used it for my 'soft music' twice when we showed the house. If one of those people buy the house, I'll have Kylie to thank! (at least a little)

For a taste of this album, listen to this video:

Beautiful, right?  The Abbey Road Sessions is available now, in stores and on Amazon and iTunes.  Be sure to grab your copy.  Also, be sure to watch Dancing with the Stars tomorrow night on ABC, because Kylie will be appearing on the show.  I know I'll be watching!

Note: I received a free copy of the CD from One2One Network to facilitate my review. By posting, I am eligible for incentives. All opinions stated are my own.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Have You Tried Deal Dash?

More than 1 million US shoppers have tried DealDash. Have you?  I haven't.  I keep seeing the Deal Dash ads on Facebook, and it looks like people are getting some good deals.  I'm just not sure I have the time or patience for it.  You have to buy Bid Packs and then bid on the items you want - and the auction times keep resetting as long as people are bidding, so those auctions can go on for a while.

I think if you like shopping and online games or online gambling, then DealDash might be the perfect thing for you.  A little fun and excitement, and you could get a new computer, camera, Kindle, or something else you've been wanting for an unbelievably low price. 

Maybe if I had something I really wanted?  And some extra time for bidding?  Let me know if you've tried it and how it worked for you.

Thank You For Your Service

I saw this video this morning. I dare you to watch it without just a few tears.

Let's not forget to thank our Veterans - and not just on Veterans' Day.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

True Love?

Best chocolate chip cookies I've made in decades.
chocolate chip cookies
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
From my email: 
A very old man lay dying in his bed. In death's doorway, he suddenly smelled the aroma of his favorite chocolate chip cookies wafting up the stairs.

He gathered his remaining strength and lifted himself from the bed.

Leaning against the wall, he slowly made his way out of the bedroom, and with even greater effort forced himself down the stairs, gripping the railing with both hands.

With labored breath, he leaned against the door frame, gazing into the kitchen. Were it not for death's agony, he would have thought himself already in heaven.

There, spread out on newspapers on the kitchen table were literally hundreds of his favorite chocolate chip cookies.

Was it heaven?  Or was it one final act of heroic love from his devoted wife, seeing to it that he left this world a happy man?

Mustering one great final effort, he threw himself toward the table.

The aged and withered hand, shaking, made its way to a cookie at the edge of the table, when he was suddenly smacked with a spatula by his wife.

"Stay out of those," she said.

"They're for the funeral."

I really did not see that coming! So I had to share.
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Walmart's 12 Days of Giving

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Walmart for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
Is there a nonprofit in your community that could use some help?   Be sure to visit Walmart's 12 Days of Giving page on Facebook and nominate them by November 18th, and they could be one of many to receive a portion of the $1.5 million in grants that Walmart is giving away this holiday season.

Simply visit the Walmart Facebook page to get started.  Click the 'Nominate Now" button and fill in the information - nonprofit name, contact info, web page, and an optional photo.  Then, in 200 words or less, tell Walmart how this nonprofit organization benefits your community and makes a difference in people's lives.  On December 10, Walmart will start the “12 Days of Giving,” by announcing funding to the winning nonprofits.

I don't really know of a local  nonprofit that I'd like to nominate, though I'm sure that there are some quietly doing good work that really could use some help.  I have a soft spot in my heart for our local Friends of the Library organization, because they do so much for our local library, and that really does do a lot for our community.  However, when I read through the categories in the drop-down under "What does this nonprofit do your community?" - Fighting Hunger, Communities Impacted by Disaster, Infants/Babies/Children, Warm Weather Clothing, Shelters, Veterans and Military Family Assistance, Senior Care, Women, and Other - I wonder if what they're doing is important enough.  Organizations serving in some of these categories can really make a difference in people's lives.
Is there a local nonprofit you're going to nominate?  Be sure to do it by November 18th!  Then come back and tell me about the difference they're making in your community.  I'd love to hear it!

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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Open House this Sunday

We're having another Open House this Sunday.  Hopefully we'll get lots of people through here, and they'll all want the house and start a bidding war to get it.  Wouldn't that be nice?

All it really takes is one to come along and offer us the right amount, so we can pay the realtor fees, pay off the mortgage, and have the money we need to make a down payment on a new house.  We don't even have to find that new house right away, but we'll be able to call the movers montreal (or Milwaukee) and get moved out of here as soon as the new owners want to get moved in.  The cats and I can live with Jeffrey in the apartment, and we can put everything else in storage until we find the right place.  Not the ideal situation, but it would work - and I really would enjoy living with my husband again.

kitchen and dining room
In the meantime, I need to be sure the house is in perfect order by the weekend.  It's really not bad, since we had that showing last week.  I just have to keep it looking that way.  Why is that so hard, considering I'm the only one living here?  I'm looking forward to having a definite buyer so I can start concentrating on packing and getting ready to move, instead of always just trying to keep everything looking good.

And when the house looks good, I'm reminded of how much I like this house.  It's not so easy to let go, but I keep reminding myself that it will be good for someone else to get to enjoy it, too - and we'll be able to move on, together, and find a new house to enjoy.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

A Different Way to Shop

I've been seeing posts about DealDash on Facebook recently. People are getting some really good deals on things like cameras, computers, and eReaders - just to name a few of the deals I've seen.

DealDash calls itself the fair & honest alternative to penny auctions.  I haven't tried it yet, but it looks like all you have to do is sign up for a free account and purchase what they call Bid Packs.  These are sold in packs of 60, 100, or more and usually cost 60¢ per bid, but there are often Bid Sales where you can get them for as little as 15¢ per bid.  Currently they're going for 17¢.

Once you have your free DealDash account and have purchased some bids, you can start looking for deals and start bidding.  All auctions start at $0, and each bid raises the price by one penny.  Highest bidder wins the auction, and they pay whatever price the final bid came in at.  I've been watching the front page, and there are lots of items available.  The final prices are pretty good, even if the auctions do seem to go on for quite some time because the timer resets to 10, 20, or 30 seconds every time someone bids.  I guess eventually someone gives up and the other guy wins.  I can't really tell how many times people are bidding on these items, and the cost of the bids would have to be factored into the cost of the item.  Even with that, I think people are getting items for significantly less than they could buy them elsewhere.  They must be, right?  Otherwise they wouldn't be so excited about all the stuff they're getting.

It's risk free to try Deal Dash for several reasons:
  • If you’re a first time bidder on DealDash and use all your bids without winning a single auction, DealDash will return all the bids from your first bid pack purchase, for free, to give you a second chance!
  • Bidding on DealDash is also risk free thanks to the Buy it Now option. If you don’t win the auction, you can buy the item you were bidding on for its regular price and get back all the bids you used in that auction for free. This way you not only get the desired item, you don't lose the bids and can use them again to try and win another auction.
  • DealDash offers a no questions asked 100% money back guarantee. If you are not satisfied for any reason, DealDash will refund your entire first purchase – no questions asked!
If you're looking for some good deals, be sure to check out DealDash.  If you've already tried it, let me know what you think. 

OK, They Like It

Thanks for all your prayers, because the people who looked at the house the other day do like it.  In fact, they gave us an offer - which should be good news and may just yet be good news.  The problem is that their offer is WAY below the asking price - so low that, had it been us, we never would have dreamed of starting that low. It may be a 'buyer's market' but I don't think sellers should be expected to practically give their house away...  But anyway, there's room for negotiation.  Right?

Pray that, if these are the right buyers, they'll agree to a number that actually works for us.  It sounds like they'd really like to live here.  And, if they aren't the ones - keep praying God sends us a buyer - one ready to give us a reasonable offer.  And some good neighbors - for the really great neighbors we have here - that would be nice.

Call the Repairman First

Every time that I spend the day baking, like today, I really appreciate my stove - and Appliance Repair. I like to think that I didn't take the stove for granted before, but a few years ago, the oven stopped heating properly.  You really find out how much you depend on something when it stops working!

Electric_Stove-03I ended up calling an appliance repair company to come out and take a look at it.  I thought it was the heating element in the oven that was going to need replaced - because, of course I know how to diagnose a problem like that!  The repairman who came out tested that, and that was not the problem.  It was bigger than that - the computer chip that controlled everything was bad.  The oven was just the beginning, this thing controlled the burners, the clock, the timer, everything.  That's when we had to decide, either go ahead with the repair, or buy a new stove.

A new stove was tempting... but in the end it would have cost more, and really my stove was in perfect shape - except for the not working part, of course.  So, we went ahead with the repair, and for about $300 we got, for all practical purposes, a new stove. Its body was in good shape, and with a new brain, it could again do the things it was made to do.  There is no way we could have actually gotten a new stove for that kind of money.

If any of your appliances stops working properly, I would strongly suggest calling an appliance repair company first, before you rush out and buy something new.  You can have a repairman come to your house, diagnose the problem, give you an estimate, and oftentimes fix your problem right on the spot, so you can get back to doing the things you need to do, all at a significant savings to buying something new.  Mine took a bit longer because the part wasn't one he carried in his van, so he had to order it in and then come back to fix the stove a few days later.  In the meantime, I realized how much I use the oven, even more than I'd realized before - and that's why I still appreciate it pretty much every time I use it.

Now That's a Pastrami

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Wonder bread for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
Kids have been enjoying sandwiches made with Wonder bread for over 90 years.  This may be hard to believe, but I'm not one of those kids.  I've never had a sandwich on Wonder bread. We always had homemade bread when I was growing up.  My husband, on the other hand, must've had Wonder bread.  Did I ever tell you about the first time I made bread after we got married?  He ate a slice.  Then he said, "This is OK, but why can't we have real bread?"  And here I thought that what I just gave him was real bread!  I like crusts, too.
For many families Wonder bread is their real bread.  They love this soft and delicious bread, and now there are more than 20 varieties of Wonder products, something for everyone.
To be sure kids are getting the nutrition they need, Wonder  introduced new Smartwhite for Kids this summer.  With the same delicious flavor and soft texture kids have come to expect, Smartwhite
  • is baked with NO high fructose corn syrup
  • contains only 50 calories per slice - that's 100 calories per sandwich 
  • is fortified with the fiber of 100% whole wheat bread
  • contains the calcium of an 8-ounce glass of milk
  • and is a good source of nine essential vitamins and minerals.
Add some great sandwich fillings, and you can pack a lot of nutrition into a little lunchbox.  I tried out The Sandwich Wonder-izer! and created a really yummy-looking sandwich using the new Smartwhite for Kids bread.  I layered (from the bottom up) spicy mustard, turkey Pastrami, dill pickle slices, sliced tomato, cucumber, provolone, alfalfa sprouts, avocado, spinach, and Ranch dressing between two slices of Smartwhite bread.  It looks pretty good to me.  What do you think?  I shared it on twitter and facebook, but I don't know if I got anyone drooling on their keyboards or not - besides me, of course.
Be sure to try the Sandwich Wonder-izer for yourself.  You can either start from scratch or from several pre-made sandwiches if you need inspiration.  Choose your bread, meats, cheeses, veggies, condiments, etc. nutritional valueThen check the nutritional value, save your creations, and share with friends - or head to the kitchen and create a masterpiece you can actually eat once you've been inspired.
Don't forget to share your creations with me.  I'd love to see what you come up with as well as hear your memories of Wonder bread in your lunchbox.  Be sure to Like Wonder bread on Facebook, too.
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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hazing Can Be Very Harmful

Hazing is a nationwide issue that has received a vast amount of publicity within the last few years. This controversial issue is common among many sports teams and college bodies, and it is not something that should be overlooked.

Hazing is harmful in so many ways. It can long-term mental health problems, and it can even be deadly in some cases.  Recently, colleges have been cracking down on the epidemic. Hazing is not just among students, it's even recognized as an issue among adults.

Some people don't even know they're being hazed. If you know someone or are involved in any of these situations, stand up to the hazers and report it to a higher authority. Hazing is illegal and if you or anyone involved in it can face a serious punishment. College students have been expelled and in some cases they have been arrested for the acts they were involved in.

Here's examples of very serious hazing methods everyone should be aware of:

Physical Abuse

This is most common among sororities and fraternities. Although, it is common among sports teams as well. Scenarios in Greek life include being paddled or punched and kicked while the new members are helpless. In sports it can involve rookie athletes being put up against much older and stronger athletes. For instance in the sport of football, a rookie may have to take a few hits from bigger teammates. These events can physically injure someone and in some cases result in death.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse can cause anyone long-term distress. Another common practice in sororities is insulting the new members by picking out their physical flaws. Other initiation methods include getting naked or being forced to dress up in degrading clothing. This is grounds for bullying and harassment. In any moment you notice someone getting harassed in the workplace, outside the classroom, or on a sports team, you should immediately report it.

Extra Work

No matter who you are, you should never be forced to do someone's work, unless a higher authority assigns it. It can be a task as small as gathering all the equipment after practice because you are the rookie. Or it can be doing all the chores in the Greek house, and doing everyone's homework. Again, these can cause unnecessary stress and put you behind with your own workload. Stand up for yourself in the event your feel you are being hazed.

Maggie Lawrence lived away from home during her undergrad education. While she never faced hazing issues, her college consistently cracked down on the epidemic. Currently she is researching a new educational experience by taking online classes. One of the programs she has researched is the Pepperdine MBA Online Program.

I've Got Such a Sweet Son!

Spam commenters are really irritating, but one good thing about all those irritating comments is that I'm reminded of old posts I had completely forgotten about.  Here's one from April 2007:
I took the boy to school this evening so he could go on the band trip to Boston. They had to be there at 5:00, but then had a lot of waiting around and checking of luggage and stuff before they could actually leave. I decided I might as well hang out with him, since he is going to be gone for 5 days. While we were waiting around, he repeatedly hugged me. I think maybe he was trying to make up for all the hugs he's going to miss, though he is a regular hugger. There was a time several years ago when I told him that he was always going to hug me, and he was going to like it. I thought I had to mention that because people told me that kids grow up and don't want to hug their moms anymore - especially in front of their friends. I guess I didn't have to worry about that, he never gets tired of hugs. One time today he was hugging me and turned to his friend and said, "This is my mom. I'm hugging her, and I'm not ashamed of it. So there." What a goofball! You've gotta love the kid.

One last hug, and he climbed aboard the big bus for Boston.
Everybody say, "Awwww."  I really do have a sweet son, and he still likes to hug his mom - even now that he's a junior in college.  He just gets to do it a little less often because he doesn't get to see me very much.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

We Do Like Our Deck, But

We always planned to have a raised paver patio with a pergola, but when it was time to put in the patio, there was the possibility we'd be moving (even then), and a deck was easier for the guys to build.  So we got a deck, and we love our deck.  I've been looking at all the steps involved with installing a paver patio, and I see why building the deck was the smart idea.  First there's the preparation - excavation, setting the grade, compacting.  Then a base of crushed stone needs to be laid followed by sand to make a nice base for the patio pavers,which then have to be careful arranged in the pattern you want, all the while paying strict attention to the alignment of the rows and the straightness of the joint lines.  And that's not even the end of it.  There are more steps to getting that perfect patio.

Umm, yeah.  Sounds like putting in a paver patio is a job for the experts.  They guys at System Pavers have been laying stones for 20 years, and they know what they're doing.  To back it up, they offer a 30-day satisfaction guarantee or you money back and a 25-year guarantee on their installations and pavers.  If within Twenty Five Years of the completion of the work, the workmanship of the installation fails to conform to their installation quality specifications or there is a defect in the product, they will, at their election, repair or replace the products.  The stones are guaranteed not to break or crack.

The interlocking paving stones from System Pavers come with over 50 colors, shapes, and sizes to choose from, making it easy for people to find and express their own styles.  Looking at the pictures on the website, I'm seeing lots to love.  Sure, we really love our deck, but those paver patios are awesome!  Absolutely gorgeous.  Seriously, be sure to look through the images in the gallery.

Maybe we'll get a paver patio with our next house?  So many of the available houses have nothing but a tiny concrete patio, so we'll definitely have to do something.  Why not call System Pavers and see what they can do?  It's definitely worth checking into.

How about you?  Are you thinking about putting in a paver patio or driveway?  Just fill out the form on the website to request a free in-home consultation with a design specialist and see what System Pavers can do for you.

Pray They Love It

Somebody is coming to look at our house tomorrow.  Pray they love it and want to buy it.

I spent the day straightening up and cleaning around here so that everything looks great.  Not that it looks all that bad normally, and we've spent time getting all kinds of extra stuff cleared out.  Still, I live here, and I tend to stack my papers, books, and all the other stuff I'm supposed to be working on right next to me on the couch or on the floor where they're easily accessible.  Mail comes in and gets stacked on the table.  The kitchen gets cluttered and filled with dirty dishes from cooking.  Laundry gets hung to dry. Etc., etc...

Today I cleared out all of that- except for these movies here next to me that need to go downstairs with the rest of the movies.  I dusted the furniture, swept and vacuumed the floors, wiped down bathroom sinks, cleaned the kitchen sink, and just generally cleaned and straightened the whole house. 

Now that I've done all that, what I need you to do is pray that the people who come to look at it love it.  (I mean, why wouldn't they?)  Maybe they want a deck on their next house, and we've got a really nice one.  To go with our really nice move-in-ready house.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Review: Chris Mann Roads

A year ago Chris Mann was nervously awaiting his audition for reality show The Voice.  This year he releases his debut album Roads with Faircraft/Universal Republic, a new label formed by renowned producer/music executive Ron Fair.

When I was offered the chance to preview this CD, I jumped at the chance - not because I'd ever heard of Chris Mann, but because of his picture on the album cover.  (Is that wrong?  I mean, he is nice to look at.)  But besides that, I enjoy discovering new music and new artists.

Now that I've listened to the CD through, twice so far, I can say that Chris Mann's voice is absolutely amazing!  They say you can't judge a book by its cover (or a CD by its), and that's true - this CD is way better than anything I could have imagined.  Chris Mann describes his style as classically based pop music.  Yeah, that's it.  He takes some familiar songs like Lady Antebellum's Need You Now and Willie Nelson's Always on My Mind, and gives them a deeper, richer feel.  I like it.  A lot.

There are some new songs on this album, two of them co-written by Mann, and a re-imagining of the Frank Sinatra standard My Way.  It's an eclectic group of songs that somehow fit together well.  Right now I think my favorite track is Unless You Mean It.  Don't ask me why.  I can't really put it into words, but I can see a reality show crossover.  This would be a perfect song for Dancing With the Stars.  It would be a very hot dance.

For more information on Chris Mann and his music, be sure to visit the official Chris Mann page. I learned that I may just have seen Chris Mann before, just not on The Voice.  He worked on Glee for a while and appeared as a member of the Warblers.  That wasn't what Chris was born to do - this was what he was born to do, and he does it very very well!

Roads will be available in stores and online October 30, 2012 - that's tomorrow for those of you who are paying attention. Be sure to grab your copy either in one of those stores or on iTunes or Amazon. You'll be glad you did!

Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of the album by One2One Network, and I am eligible for a prize drawing. All opinions stated are my own.