Monday, January 30, 2012

How Much is an Accident Really Worth?

I saw on the news the other day that the cruiseline that owns the cruise ship that ran aground and tipped over was offering all the passengers about $14,000 for their troubles.  Along with a complete refund, travel expenses, medical expenses, etc.  My first thought was that just doesn't seem like very much.  What do you think?

Normally I think it's a bit ridiculous how much people get or think they deserve when they're in an accident.  Thousands of dollars for a car accident - why?  Yes, I think all expenses should be covered.  Medical bills should be paid.  Car repairs should be paid.  Lost wages would need to be paid.  But do people really need to get rich because of an accident?  Maybe that's not how it actually works, but the commercials on TV certainly make it sound that way.  It makes me wonder if anybody who's actually in an accident just automatically needs a lawyer to get even the basics that should be covered.  I mean, of course somebody who's accused of a crime in Los Angeles will need a california criminal lawyer, but is it really necessary to get a lawyer to make the insurance companies do what they're supposed to do?

It's probably just a vicious cycle - insurance companies are reluctant to pay because of the lawyers who have made them pay so much in the future, so the people without lawyers have a really hard time getting what they actually deserve - something that wouldn't and shouldn't have been a big deal, if only the lawyers hadn't gotten involved in the first place. So, ridiculous as it may seem at times, there probably isn't any other choice.

I'm thinking the cruise ship passengers will be calling their own lawyers.  I don't think that $14,000 offered by the cruiseline will be enough to keep them from calling.  The captain may need a los angeles criminal defense lawyer to maybe keep him out of jail, and all the passengers will be hiring lawyers to get them some of that money car accident victims are always getting.  I think they deserve it.  A cruise ship accident like this just seems more serious and worthy of more compensation than any old car accident.

What do you think?

Friday, January 27, 2012

I Hope my Husband Doesn’t Mind

I’m in love with another guy!

(Warning: Cuteness Overload!)

Can you blame me?

I'm Elmo and I Know It

I saw this on Good Morning America this morning and thought it was really fun. Who doesn't love Elmo?

Friday Fives

Friday Fives BadgeElizabeth over at Table for Five has started a new weekly meme that's pretty simple.  Just share a list - of anything!  I keep meaning to join in, but just haven't done it until today.  I think I've only missed a couple weeks - it's a new meme - but I'm thinking maybe I should post a list of all the reasons I haven't joined yet.  Or not.

Actually, I was just reminded of a post from a couple years ago called Thoughts on Shoveling Snow, and after reading the list, I realized all those thoughts are still true - so why not share?

Thoughts on Shoveling Snow:
Image by bcmom via Flickr
  1. I really don't mind shoveling snow - unless it's really wet, heavy, and deep, like at the bottom of the driveway where the plow goes through, and in front of the mailbox.
  2. Sometimes I'd like to wait until it actually stops snowing so I can shovel the snow all off at once, but I don't like to drive through it or have anyone else drive through it.  Tire tracks in the snow just make it harder to clean off the driveway.
  3. Even if the snow isn't super deep and heavy, shoveling the entire driveway is still good exercise, especially when I have to do it multiple times a day.
  4. I really wish the neighbors didn't have snow blowers - not because they get their driveways cleaned in less time with less effort, but because the gas fumes really bother me and sometimes give me a headache.  So much for crisp, fresh air.
  5. It doesn't seem to matter which gloves I wear, my fingers always seem to get cold.  I did recently get some fingerless gloves with a mitten part that pulls over the end - what do you call those?  Glittens?  I'm hoping that will help.  If not I may have to find me some mittens and see if that helps, keeping my fingers together so they can keep each other warm.
I also wondered why I seem to want to spell shoveling with two l's - it seems like it should have them!  And I should update that those glittens do a better job of keeping my fingers warm, except when the mitten part comes off and exposes my fingers!  They need velcro to keep them closed.  Or I need to get a pair that fits me better - these came from the men's department.

If you'd like to join in with your own list and grab the button, be sure to visit Table for Five!  You can also enter your post here and then go visit other participants.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Come on In, the Water's Fine!

One of my facebook friends will be jumping into freezing water on February 11.  Of course, he does live in Missouri, so it won't be as cold as it might be here in Wisconsin - and he is doing it for a good cause.  He's raising money for Special Olympics athletes.  If you'd like to help him out by jumping in with him, I mean donating to his fundraising campaign, let me know, and I'll get you the link.  If only I lived closer, I might think about jumping in with him...

Yes, I can safely say that because I don't live close enough, but I really do like swimming in cold water.  Maybe not that cold, but colder than most people seem to like.  It all started when some of my friends made me get in the water when we went to the beach in February.  I fought it, but then I loved it - it felt so good!  Please note that this was in Southern California, so the water was cold enough to make my body tingle and eventually just feel numb, but it wasn't exactly freezing.  Like that water in Missouri in February will probably be...

People used to say the water was freezing in our apartment pool.  I don't know if the heater broke, or they were just trying to save money on power and pool chemicals, but it was pretty cold sometimes. That was when I liked it best!  People would come by and ask, "How's the water?" and I'd answer, "Fine!" or "Perfect!" - and they'd know it was too cold for their liking.  What this meant, of course, was that I had the pool to myself, because nobody else wanted to swim.  Well, there were 1 or 2 other people who enjoyed it, but everyone else pretty much stayed away.  It was so nice.  And the water was just plain invigorating.

There is, of course, only one way to get into a cold pool - jump right into the deep end!  I may not know much about pool filters, but I do know that.  Trying to ease in slowly just does not work.  I'm guessing my friend Mike will be jumping right in next month when he does his Polar Plunge - and then he'll probably jump right back out again!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stop Calling Me!

I keep getting these recorded phone calls.  They're always regarding my current credit card account, and I should call them right away, and...  Well, I don't really know what else because I always hang up on them after that.  Really - does that work with anybody?  It must, because they keep doing it.  In fact, they usually call several times in one day - all from different phone numbers.  I'm just gradually adding them to a contact on my phone called 'Spam!' - and all calls from that contact go straight to voicemail, so eventually I won't hear from them anymore.  Or at least that's the plan.

I'm not really sure why they are allowed to call me in the first place.  I always sign all of our phone numbers up for the Do Not Call List - every time they mention it on the news.  Never mind the fact that I don't know why I should have to sign up again and again.  I mean, why does my sign-up on that list only last 2 years at a time?  I think it should last until I take my number off the list - like that would ever happen!  But, anyway, I'm wondering if these 'I have information about your current credit card' phone calls aren't actually against the law.  Could I get them in trouble?  Or sue them?  Yeah, I'm not sure what the law is on that; I guess I'll just stick to the send to voicemail thing.

I could understand their right to call me if they really were calling from one of my credit cards and maybe trying to work out a payment plan with me - not that there's any need for that!  And I really don't recommend using the voicemail trick to stop collection harassment for good, because if you owe money, you owe money, and it's probably best just to face up to it and come up with a plan to take care of it.  There are even lawyers who are working hard to stop collection harassment California and elsewhere - because, really, does harassing someone really do any good for anybody?  It just has people avoiding the bill collectors and getting deeper and deeper into trouble.

Yep, makes about as much sense as these stupid recorded phone calls...  Why don't they ask me about this stuff? 

Cleaning Tips from the Pros

Good Morning America did a story the other day on 13 Things Your Housecleaner Won't Tell You, which I thought was really interesting - not because I have a housecleaner, but because they also shared some cleaning tips that I think will come in really handy.  I'm especially interested in trying the tip for cleaning mirrors, because no matter what I do, I always seem to have streaks on my mirrors.  They may not show up until the next day, but they're there!  And it bugs me!

Here are the cleaning tips you may not have heard before, but the pros say they work: (my comments in parentheses)
  1. The best way to dust blinds: Close them, then wipe up and down with an old dryer sheet. It'll create an antistatic barrier that helps prevent dust from building up again. 
    (I really need to do this!  Mini-blinds are such a pain to dust that I usually just don't do it.)
  2. The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is your friend. It will cut your cleaning time in half for bathtubs, sinks, countertops, and dirty walls. 
    (I have one of these - got it free with a coupon - but I've never used it.  I hope I can still find it.)
  3. To clean glass and mirrors, use coffee filters, not paper towels. They leave no streaks or lint — and they're cheap. 
    (Coffee filters!)
  4. Vinegar and water is a great deodorizer for a musty bathroom. Spray your shower down as you're getting out. It really absorbs the odors, and the smell of vinegar goes away in an hour. 
    (I do this occasionally, though more for hard water than for odors.)
  5. A wet pumice stone will clean a dirty oven faster than any spray-on product. 
    (I wonder if it's safe for a self-cleaning oven?)
  6. Vacuuming bathroom mats is a nightmare. Toss them in the wash every week or two instead. 
    (Bath mat or the fuzzy bath rug?  I wash the bath mats, but shake the rug out the front door when I vacuum.)
  7. To damp-mop wood floors, use plain water or a water-based floor cleaner like Bona. Don't use vinegar. The acid in it will pit your polyurethane finish, can void your warranty, and may reduce shine over time. 
    (Well, I don't have wood floors - yet - but I will keep this in mind.)
  8. Seventh Generation dish liquid diluted with water is a great nontoxic all-purpose cleanser. Just put two squirts in a spray bottle and fill it with water. 
    (Is it better than Simple Green?  Or is that non-toxic?  Guess I should read the bottle.  I've been mixing up and using this cleaner recently, and I really like it.)
  9. Our biggest secret weapon? A powdered product called Bar Keepers Friend®. We use it on everything. Its active ingredient is rhubarb powder, which really cuts through grit and grime. It cleans glass-top stoves, counters, toilets, porcelain and more. Your sink will never be shinier.
    (I have this!  I guess I should use it for more than scrubbing the occasional dirty pots and pans.)
  10. To clean your microwave oven, microwave a cup of water with some baking soda in it until it's boiling. That eliminates odors and makes it super easy to wipe away all that stuck-on stuff. 
    (OK, odors maybe, from the occasional bag of burnt popcorn, but what stuck-on stuff?  What do you people do in your microwaves?)
  11. Clean cobwebs with a yardstick covered by a tube sock. That also works for cleaning under stoves and refrigerators.
    (Cobwebs?  What cobwebs?  You mean I'm supposed to look up, too?  We actually have a Cobweb Duster for that exact job, and Jeffrey is the one who usually uses it - because I don't look up!)
  12. Shine your bathroom tiles with lemon oil. It also helps prevent mold and mildew.
    (I have no comment for this one - but had to put something here so you didn't think I just forgot.) 
  13. To eliminate that ring in your toilet, drop in a bubbling denture tablet, and leave it for at least 30 minutes or overnight. The stain will come off with just a few swishes of the brush.
    (I guess I need to buy denture tablets...  It seems like usually the ring/stain ends up right above the water line.  Do you think this will help with that?  How high does this stuff bubble?)
Anyway, there are a few tips on this list that I am definitely going to be trying soon.  How about you?  Which tips are you going to try?  Do you have any more helpful cleaning tips to add to this list?  Please do!
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    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

    Done for Now

    The snow stopped, and the sun started to come out, so I thought I better get the driveway shoveled.  The snow was kinda heavy, and it took me a while to get it done, but the driveway is all cleaned off - for now.

    The wind was still blowing, it was starting to snow again when I came in, and then the snowplow went by - so I'll at least have to go clean off the bottom of the driveway again, if not the whole thing. 

    A Walk in the Snow

    Image by bcmom via Flickr
    Snow again today.  Yes, it's finally looking like winter in Wisconsin.  They said it was supposed to start with sleet or freezing drizzle early this morning and then change to snow, but it was already snowing by the time we got up this morning.

    We are going to have to change our morning schedule!  Since Jeffrey stopped walking with me, I haven't been getting up until he gets up to get ready for work.  While he's getting dressed, I make his lunch, and then Weasley and I see him off, and I go for my walk after he's gone.  That works just fine - unless it snows and the driveway needs shoveled - because there's no time to get it shoveled before he leaves for work.  He did quickly clean off his side this morning while I finished up his lunch, but it just got covered again practically as soon as he cleared it off.  So I'm waiting until later, when it stops snowing, before I go out and shovel.  I don't have to go anywhere today...

    I did go for my walk after Jeffrey left for work.  Two miles in the falling snow!  It was really nice.  The new snow is a lot better to walk in than the slush and slippery patches left from an old snow.  I keep thinking I should get some Alpinestars Tech 10 Boots or some kind winter walking shoes, but so far I've just made do with my regular walking shoes.  I'm not sure the mesh in the tops of my current ones is the best idea for winter, though. 

    By the time I got back, I was having a hard time seeing because of all the snow on my glasses, and my hat, coat, and gloves were covered in snow - but it was all worth it.  And definitely better than sleet or freezing drizzle.  Those would have kept me inside.
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    Sunday, January 15, 2012

    Book List 2011

    Books I read (and listened to) in 2011. I listed them all by the month I finished reading them.  For the first time this year, I'm linking the titles to Amazon so you can check out any of the books that sound interesting.

    1. Playing for Pizza - John Grisham (audio)
    2. Under the Overpass: A Journey of Faith on the Streets of America - Mike Yankoski
    1. Around the World in Eighty Days - Michael Palin
    2. American Gods: A Novel - Neil Gaiman
    3. Sabbath: The Ancient Practices - Dan Allender
    1. Wicked Appetite (Between the Numbers #5) - Janet Evanovich (audio)
    2. The Walk: A Novel - Richard Paul Evans
    3. Old World Murder (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery) - Kathleen Ernst
    4. This Book Is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All - Marilyn Johnson (audio)
    5. Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life - Nick Vujicic
    6. I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced - Delphine Minoui by Nujood Ali

    1. Treachery in Death - J. D. Robb
    2. Swimming in the Daylight: An American Student, a Soviet-Jewish Dissident, and the Gift of Hope - Lisa C. Paul
    3. The Wake of the Lorelei Lee: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, On Her Way to Botany Bay (Bloody Jack Adventures) (A Bloody Jack Adventure) - Louis A. Meyer (audio)
    1. Down to the Wire (The Specialists) - Shannon Greenland (audio)
    2. The Holy Thief: A Novel - William Ryan
    3. Orphans of the Sky - Robert A. Heinlein (audio)
    4. Possession in Death (In Death Series) - J.D. Robb (audio)
    5. Sh*t My Dad Says - Justin Halpern
    1. Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel - Jeannette Walls
    2. The Sister Wife: Brides of Gabriel Book One - Diane Noble
    3. One Tuesday Morning (September 11 Series #1) - Karen Kingsbury
    4. The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language - Melvyn Bragg (audio)
    5. Beyond Tuesday Morning (September 11 Series #2) - Karen Kingsbury
    1. Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum Novels) - Janet Evanovich
    2. Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King
    3. Dust to Dust (The Prophecy) - Heather Graham (audio)
    4. Her Royal Spyness (A Royal Spyness Mystery) - Rhys Bowen
    5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling
    6. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling
    7. The Rowan - Anne Mccaffrey (audio)

    1. Damia (Rowan) - Anne McCaffrey (audio)
    2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J. K. Rowling
    3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J. K. Rowling
    4. The Nanny Diaries: A Novel - Emma Mclaughlin (audio)

    1. Something Borrowed - Emily Giffin
    2. Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter: A Novel - Tom Franklin (audio)
    3. Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God - Francis Chan
    4. Evenings at Five - Gail Godwin
    5. License to Pawn: Deals, Steals, and My Life at the Gold & Silver - Rick Harrison

    1. Go with Me: A Novel - Castle Freeman
    2. Missing in Death (In Death Series) - J.D. Robb
    3. Private - James Patterson, Maxine Paetro (audio)
    4. Night - Elie Wiesel

    1. Gods and Kings (Chronicles of the Kings #1) - Lynn N. Austin
    2. Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter) - Laurell K. Hamilton (audio)
    3. Admission - Travis Thrasher
    4. Await Your Reply: A Novel - Dan Chaon (audio)

    1. Good Brother, Bad Brother: The Story of Edwin Booth and John Wilkes Booth - James Cross Giblin
    2. Black Like Me - John Howard Griffin (audio)
    3. The Girl Who Played with Fire - Stieg Larsson
    4. Dreams of the Dead (Nina Reilly) - Perri O'Shaughnessy

    51 books!  That's up a bit from the last two years - 45 in 2009 and 45 in 2010 - and up quite a bit from only 27 in 2008.  I keep track of them on WeRead - both on facebook and on the WeRead website when the facebook app doesn't seem to be working - and don't actually total them up until the end, so it's always a surprise.

    I'm not sure I'll include the links again, because that took a lot of time.  However, if you happen to click any of my links and buy the books from Amazon, they say they'll pay me a small percentage, so maybe it's worth it.  Also, I think links are quite handy for finding out more about any books that might sound interesting, and I very much like including the covers of  a few of the books. 

    January is only half over, so my list isn't really late... How many books did you read in 2011?