Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Back in January, while emptying the car, I slipped. In "catching" myself, I heard a pop and there was pain in my right shoulder. I iced the shoulder, took some ibuprophen and took it easy. I was sore for about a week and a half, but my shoulder seemed to be fine.
Well, off and on over the next few months, I would have pain in the shoulder. I would either ice it or rest on a heating pad. It always seemed to go away. If I were a Barbie doll, I would describe the pain as being in that universal joint where her arm attaches to her shoulder.
Over Memorial Day, I was picking up kitty litter off the grocery shelf and putting it in my cart and there was a very painful twinge in my shoulder. Now, I know all about using your knees to lift and I was using both hands but the pain almost took my breath away. For the whole weekend, I favored my right arm, sleeping with a heating pad, taking ibuprophen and massaging Ben Gay into the arm. By the Wednesday after Memorial Day, the shoulder didn't hurt anymore.
Then, this past weekend was the Illinois St. Andrew Society's Highland Games. I loaded up the Jeep with my tent and all my stuff, unloaded it at the games, loaded it onto a cart to be ferried to the clan area, unloaded the cart, set everything up, took it down, loaded it back into the Jeep and then unloaded the Jeep into the house. By Sunday evening, I was very sore. Monday, I applied Ben Gay and took ibuprophen. This time, the ache and pain didn't go away. I guess it's time to deal with it.
The thing is, I know I should have gone to see the doctor earlier, but when you have very little money, it comes down to gas to get to work or doctor. I chose the gas. My doctor is very good about not wagging his finger at me. I have lost 15 pounds, probably not just from the stress of worrying about money but also because I'm eating better. He listened to my tale and then did a range of motion with my right arm. The only time it hurt was bending the arm unnaturally backwards. "It doesn't bend that way!" I said. He laughed. I've really never had a problem with the range of motion of my arm. It just hurts.
He believes the muscle is inflamed. He doesn't believe I tore anything or, if I did, it was such a small tear, it healed on its own. I have been given an anti-inflammatory to take for 30 days. I have to take it in the morning and with food. I will have to go grocery shopping today as I am out of cereal. I took the first one today and have a noticeable easing of the pain in the shoulder. I'm still sore in more than one spot, but this is very encouraging. I had to have an x-ray even thought an x-ray isn't going to show anything. My doctor said insurance companies won't authorize an MRI even though they know muscles won't show up on x-rays. But, he is hopeful that a weekend of the drug will ease my symptoms and I'll be all better after one month on it.
He did tell me not to be "overdoing" it. Hmmmm, I bet I can't get my insurance to pay for a month's vacation by a pool somewhere.
Beverage: Huckleberry tea
Last night, I do confess to a bit of unease as this line of storms came through. I was cooking dinner and heard the rumble of thunder. I knew we were to get storms and, due to the recent repeated waves of rain, it barely registers a look out the window anymore. This was different. It was calm, dead calm. If you've lived in the Midwest or "tornado alley", you know this calm. So, I decided this perhaps merited a bit more attention.
The first line came through around 5:10, knocking out power for about 3 minutes. When you're cooking on an electric stove, this is a bit problematic. Oh well. That wave was followed, in 10 minutes, by another, much stronger, much more electrical wave. The sheer amount of lightning and thunder around the area was almost double of previous storms. That's when I noticed Pilchard doesn't like thunder storms.
She meowed and wanted my lap. Then, with a crack and boom of lightning followed by thunder, she would take off. No amount of trying to sound soothing, "It's okay ladies. Mom's here." and ear scratches made her feel comfortable.
And then, when the tornado sirens went off, well, you can see where she went. Even under the settee was not comforting enough. She finally went under the cedar chest in the office and stayed there until I sat down to eat dinner.
Mija, on the other hand, while nervous, seemed comforted by my occasional ear scratches and my presence.
I opened the back door and looked at the clouds when the sirens went off. I didn't see anything and, in checking the radar online, the warning was for east of me. This is the first time the girls have experienced the siren here. It's 3 blocks from the house so it can be heard, clearly. It is disconcerting.
Without the lightning and thunder, last night's rain would have been wonderful to experience. The air temperature was warm and the rain was warm. I would have loved to sit on the deck with a mug of tea and just get drenched. But, with all the lightning around, that's not a real smart thing to do.
Today is glorious. It is a reminder that rain brings brilliant days. If we weren't expecting rain again over the weekend, I'd put the top down. Welcome to summer.
Beverage: Huckleberry tea
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
$75M mansion near Orlando selling 'as is'
WINDERMERE, Fla. – The brochure promises a "monument to unparalleled success."
The 90,000-square-foot home for sale outside Orlando has 23 bathrooms, 13 bedrooms, 10 kitchens and three pools. All that and more for $75 million "as is."
The catch? It's not finished.
Nicknamed "Versailles" by owner and timeshare tycoon David Siegel, the mansion hit the market recently as the largest home for sale in the United States. Construction was halted last year to save money in a recession that proved particularly hard on Siegel's industry.
The home also has a 20-car garage, a bowling alley, an indoor-roller rink, a movie theater, a video arcade, a fitness center, a baseball field and two tennis courts.
But the mansion's interior has no carpet, tile or interior walls. (Seen on Yahoo News feed.)
I'm not sure I'd want to live in Orlando and the property taxes on this monstrosity are probably more than my yearly income, but let's play "what if". I am now in possession of this beast of a building and have the wherewithal to pay the property taxes. Of course this also assumes I have some income to make the place livable. What to do?
This room is intriguing. No dimensions are available but let's make this the library. I've always wanted to have a library. I'd like a plaster (dry wall/sheet rock nowdays I think unless there are competent plasterers out there) ceiling painted a sky blue and then clouds, birds and a rainbow in the corner are painted on it. I'm also assuming opposite these windows are walls where floor to ceiling bookcases would be installed. And then I can get one of those "library ladders"! You know what I'm talking about; the one anchored to a track at the top and you just roll it around to climb to the top of the bookcases to get your book. I've always wanted to actually use those. They get reserved for "trained" library personnel. Mine would have 'no-slip' treads so all of you could come over and try it. It would lock in place but be easily rolled. Yes, we would hop on and another would push us around the library walls. Don't tell me you haven't wanted to do that after seeing it done in a movie.
Because I am allergic to formaldehyde and it's found in most building materials, insulation is going to be more expensive because I can't have any that will leech formaldehyde into the air. Fortunately, sheet rock and US made drywall don't leech that chemical. Neither do wood floors. I'd be looking into bamboo floors. From a "Green Building Materials" web site, "The best manufacturers now use formaldehyde-free adhesives and finishes that exceed European standards for safety and can prove it. These are water-based, solvent-free and do not off-gass toxic chemicals. They may cost slightly more but they are better for your health. This may not be easy to determine by smelling a sample of bamboo, even if it is freshly sawn. You have to know your sources." Or I'd be interested in recycling wood flooring from homes being demolished. Often the flooring is still good and, once sanded and sealed, is perfect.
I think, don't you, that a library looks better with wood floors and area rugs, overstuffed chairs and a couple of writing desks, ottomans and side tables with lamps, a couple of floor lamps and sconces. Oh! I must have adjustable sconces in my library.
To the left is an unfinished roller rink. I don't roller skate. I was never very good at it; couldn't get the hang of it. My mother was a very good skater. I remember watching her with envy when she chaperoned church roller skating events. She could skate backwards and in small circles. I could barely stand up. Hence, this part of the "house" is going to remain unfinished until I figure out what to do with it.
I'll need a kitchen and a bath and 3 bedrooms. I need a home office where the computer sits and that room should have a system for up to a dozen computers at once. That way, I can have a lot of my friends from my WOW guild come stay with me. They can camp in the unfinished part and use the bathroom in the finished part. Given how big this house is, we could conduct hiking expeditions to the far side.
But, back to reality. Who NEEDS 90,000 square feet to live in? No one. Some of the comments to the piece involved carving the place up and using it for people who had lost their homes. That sounds like a marvelous idea.
Beverage: Scottish Blend tea
They were very nice and helpful and answered all my questions. I explained my situation and what I needed. The selling point on Chase was "funds availability". I have always had problems with 5th 3rd holding my paycheck or expense check or any other direct deposited monies for at least 24-48 hours. Expense checks would be held for 5 days. The guy at Chase just sort of blinked at me and then said, "Um...we don't do that. Once you've had a test deposit go through, we know that account depositing your money and it's available that day. The only time it might be held is when it's a 5-6 figure number."
They also will help me balance my checkbook. I received a paper statement yesterday regarding my savings account. On the back was a very clear, step-by-step explanation on how to make your account agree with the statement. It even says, "If you find you cannot make this agree, please come into one of our branches where a friendly account representative can assist you."
I was shown online bill paying last week and I'm really impressed with that. I may, eventually, go that route for all my bills. When you pay a bill, it's automatically deducted from your account. I like that because then my check register matches my account. I may decide to online pay most of my bills, but we'll see. Carole will testify that I resisted a debit card for years. Now, I can't imagine not having one.
Chase was, maybe still is, having a promotion where you get a card in the mail that will reward you with $100 for setting up a new checking account with them. I got the card AFTER I set up my account. I figured I'd get a run around about including this $100. Nope. The guy took the card, typed in the numbers and I got the $100.
He also changed my debit card to one that is going to work better for me. The most popular card rewards you for gas, fast food, groceries and coffee, up to 3% back straight into your checking account, assuming you spend $500 a month on those items. I don't spend that much. Even if I have to put gas in the Jeep AND buy groceries, it's never over $500 a month. So, the new debit card will give me 1% back on everything I buy. As I'm facing car repairs soon, that will be a chunk of change.
I have my writing earnings deposited directly into my new savings account. That showed up over the weekend. It was very nice to see and made me feel that I was actually a published author.
So, another step on the road back to not feeling as if the world is collapsing in on me. I was able to send Carole some money for flowers for the front of her house and I loaned Rodney $20 for gas. I have not been able to do this in at least 6 months. I don't have much but being able to do this makes me feel richer than ever.
Beverage: Scottish Blend tea
Friday, June 18, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
I am simply trying to get organized for the Highland Games. The weather is to be bad tomorrow so I am not going to go set up tomorrow afternoon. Plus, there's some work stuff that has me in the office organizing, something I do really well.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I love these kinds of summer mornings where the fog hangs about the landscape. First of all, it makes everything look so different. Secondly, it muffles the sound. Third, you can smell the earth, deeply. And lastly, I like to breathe in the water droplets of fog. It has a cleansing feeling. I like to go for walks in the fog or just sit on the deck with a cup of tea. I know people hate it because of the whole lack of visibility but I could enjoy a foggy morning once every couple weeks.
Beverage: English Breakfast tea
Monday, June 14, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
Perhaps it's because social media is just that, "social", that I found myself cringing this morning while reading Facebook updates. You all know how much I love language and the turn of a phrase. I also consider myself to be an above average speller. There is absolutely no way I could spell half of the words asked of the National Spelling Bee contestants even though I do know what at least three quarters of them mean.
The basic premise behind Facebook, a means to keep in touch with people, encourages the reduction of a life to a few phrases. I can do that, but I can't do it with the truncated language that seems to be in use.
I remember the "write how you talk" movement and I shudder. Good communication is vital. I get incredibly frustrated if you cannot tell me what I need to know. You get frustrated when I can't adequately explain what I need to know to you so you can reciprocate with the information I seek.
And, let's face it, spelling is not the most fun subject to learn or teach. Hand a student a list of words and tell them they have to memorize this list and be able to parrot it back on Friday. I remember those lists both in my grade school life and in Carole's life. Who decides what's on the list? I remember them being tied to whatever they were reading; desk, chair, school, street, etc. I'm sure there is a guideline learned in college teaching courses about how many syllables a word should be for a first grader to learn it.
I'm trying, as I read the posts and updates, to be charitable and assume the writer doesn't like to spell and struggles with reading and is not just lazy or sloppy. "Rediculous". I know it sounds as if it should be spelled this way, but it's not. And I actually complained to a friend about a post where the writer, a college educated woman, said the initial post was "interesting and full of incite". ARG! Perhaps I should "incite" people to use more "insight" into their posts?
I do hear-by give you permission to correct, in the comments, the spelling errors I may make in this blog. I edit myself, oh do I edit myself, but I can read something as correct even when it is not. Plus, I am not above learning. If I cease to learn, I cease to live. That is another post.
I'm going to Panera for lunch today. I need a chocolate croissant to settle my nerves.
Beverage: English Breakfast tea
We were out of a few things at the office so, first thing this morning, I went to Office Depot. They open at 8 and I was their first customer of the day. Some of you who know me, can probably guess, by the title of the post, what happened. There was no one in the store except me and 3 employees.
I walked in and an employee asked, "Can I help you ma'am?" I handed him the post-it with the list and said, "Sure. Go get all of those things. I'll wait right here." He looked at the list which consisted of tabbed file folders, large bubble mailers, CD jewel cases, water, and toner for the printer, and then at me. I gave him my best, "I'm waiting look" and he stood there, more than a little embarrassed. Yes, I relished this moment. No, it's not nice to pull such a practical joke on a store employee, but, come on, he asked.
After a hugely uncomfortable, for him, minute, I said, "What aisles, please?" He visibly sighed and told me all the aisles where I could find things. I didn't buy water. I had purchased 4 cases of water at the grocery on May 26th and we still have 3 cases left. But, I got everything else.
Yes, it made my day.
Beverage: English Breakfast Tea
Thursday, June 10, 2010
I didn't really pay that much attention to the games. I knew of the team's drive to the Stanley Cup but, beyond that, I know they have a guy named Toews only because he sang the 7th Inning Stretch at the Cubs game I went to in 2008. I haven't the faintest idea how to pronounce his last name.
Last night, the guild decided to take down a big blue dragon. Very few people attempt this because the final phase of the fight is just annoying. You probably have to die a couple of times before you get the mechanics of the fight down. We grabbed 10 people, including one person who technically shouldn't have gone, and did it. I could hear, as our event started, my next-door neighbor yelling, "Go! Go! Go! Get it in! NOOOOOO!" which I took to mean a scoring opportunity by the Blackhawks had been thwarted. I heard nothing after that.
Roughly 2 hours later, there was the sound of firecrackers. When the Bears won the Super Bowl, the noise in the street was incredible. When the White Sox won the World Series, the noise was loud, not as much as when the Bears won, but very noticeable. I heard firecrackers but, now that school is out and it's summer, it's not uncommon to hear the random firecrackers at night. I have a few people from the Chicagoland area in my guild. None of them knew if the Blackhawks had won. We did surmise, based on the noise of firecrackers, they had.
Suddenly, I heard the cats fighting. Pilchard was going after Mija. They were taking pot shots at each other in the living room. Then Mija took off into the bedroom, turning around to fight Pilchard in the hall before dashing across the bed and up onto the window sill where she sat, growling and hissing. This continued off and on for the next half hour. I'm convinced they were spooked by the firecrackers they could hear through the open windows. Once that noise died down and I gave them treats, they calmed down and we all went to bed.
All I can think of is if this is what it's like for a sports team winning, the weekend of July 4th is going to be a bear.
Beverage: English Breakfast tea
I have no M&M's in the office. They are all gone. I think a trip to the grocery is in order.
Beverage: English Breakfast tea
But anyway, I'm thrilled to have yet another article published. This makes $30 I've received since this program started. That's almost a tank of gas. I'm happy.
by Deb Montague Jun 10th 2010 at 8:00AM
My guild runs all content. In doing this, we frequently find ourselves in Burning Crusade raids. Last night, for instance, we downed Lady Vashj. I got another couple of handfuls of Badges of Justice, essentially worthless currency even for someone who hangs onto things for nostalgia. We had a couple of level 70+ players in the group, new players who are leveling as fast as they can to 80. They asked what they do with these badges. We old hands laughed and said, "Not much." Beyond buying gems from the Isle of Quel'Danas to level my jewelcrafter's skills, there's nothing my level 80 finds interesting in BC badge gear. We talked about the changes in Wrath badge gear and how we wished for something to spend our accumulations on.
This led to a discussion of the patterns that had just dropped and how they aren't relevant to anyone other than a newly minted 70. How nice it would be to find a use for all these patterns, recipes, schematics, etc., in addition to simply leveling a profession.
I am an alchemist, and I've often thought it would be neat to combine some of the potions I know to make better potions. Combine rage and healing potions to make a potion for warriors that heals them over time, based on the amount of rage they generate during combat ... a spellpower and fire potion combo for fire mages or warlocks using fire spells ... a tracking and invisibility combo for hunters or druids or rogues ... Take it one step further and allow all sorts of combinations where on occasion, you get something you weren't expecting: a third eye, an extra arm, laser gaze, 3x growth. I'm a former dungeon master from Dungeons & Dragons; I know all about "side effects."
There must be thousands of things in the game that could be combined in new ways to make them useful again as we progress to 85. What are your suggestions?
Beverage: English Breakfast tea
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
But I found something I want.
I come from a generation where photos and negatives documented life. Yes, I can scan the photos but the negatives. What to do with those other than stick them in a box and put off dealing with them for another year. The scanner function on my home printer isn't working right. The computer says it can't find it. Even if it was working, it can't scan slides or negatives. This nifty little item seems to do it all.
The only problem, aside from my not having $100 to get it, is that it's at Walmart.
Sure, I would take an iPad or the new iPhone if offered, but I'm in serious gadget lust over this baby.
Beverage: English Breakfast tea
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Remember October's raccoon on the roof? I found the small green ball I used to pelt him until he decided it was merely annoying and just watched me. I tossed that into the house and Mija immediately chased it somewhere into the living room. I also found this.
Did I pelt that raccoon with this or is this a long neglected item? I picked it up and it crumbled which says to me that it's been in the weeds for many seasons. Interesting, however, that the plastic has deteriorated. I was tempted to set it in a spot and just let the elements work on it to see how long before it collapsed into pieces.
Carole would probably consider this a candidate for the Farktography contest she always enters. I just find it an interesting item. Are current wiffleballs more sturdy or will they all fall apart like this if left outside for at least one winter?
Beverage: Dr Pepper
I noticed dead leaves on it last fall but figured it was just that particular branch. It started to leaf out in the spring, but this is what it currently looks like. I don't know what kind of tree this is but I'm pretty sure this means the tree is dying. It's not near the house so that a high wind would snap anything off and send it crashing through the roof. I probably could, with some friends, actually take it down without involving a tree service, as it's not that big. I do have a Rubbermaid large yard storage container below it that we'd have to watch out for, but I'll bet we could take it down ourselves. I certainly don't have the money to pay someone to do it. There are a few branches with green leaves on them, but I suspect whatever is killing the tree will get to those eventually.
Yet dead trees are a haven for birds and provide insect eaters with an abundance of food. Maybe part of the tree could be taken down and the rest left? Or maybe the tree's having an "off" year and will be back in full bloom next year? It doesn't provide that much shade to the west side of the house so if I took it down, I wouldn't miss much. Options. Options.
Beverage: Scottish Blend tea
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Friday, June 4, 2010
I get packages from a couple of friends. I am not expecting packages from friends. Inside the packages are...
Lots and lots of stickers.
Charly went to Hallmark and must have taken stickers from almost every spinner on their sticker tree. Patt went to the Dollar Store, I bet, and picked up the 296 packets. I was so excited. They read the blog. They know I mused about being close to out.
Yes folks. It's the little things that make me deliriously happy. Now I have to write letters and send cards.
Beverage: Irish Breakfast Tea
Thursday, June 3, 2010
by Deb Montague on Jun 3rd 2010 (11 hours ago)
Many things are eagerly anticipated with the release of Cataclysm: guild achievements, level 85, Deathwing. Little has been discussed about flying mounts in all of Azeroth. It is just a snippet in the trailer, but I do remember its getting a huge cheer. Gone will be the days of flying into Southshore and then riding (I mean, really -- once we can fly, who is going to ride?) north to battle the Abominable Greench. You'll fly -- and yes, I know, Alliance won't be using Southshore, but that's a different topic. We will be flying up and out of Stormwind, heading south into Searing Gorge to Blackrock Mountain and a new instance with Nefarian, and we will be using our own mounts. Can't get that one piece of ore on the side of a hill? Fly up and get it. Need to help a low-level guild member outside Jintha'Alor? Fly there from Aerie Peak or Revantusk Village. You'll be able to scout where those nasty Devilsaurs are in Un'Goro without getting stomped on (not that it matters to a level 85).
So once you can fly anywhere in Azeroth, where are you going first? If you are Alliance, I would wager 85% of you are going to the airport above Ironforge. There is a gryphon master at the north end of that area. He always waves when you fly over on your way to Menethil. I'm thinking that will become an active flight point, but I suspect most of you will fly up there on your own, simply because now you can. A few of you will probably go to the fishing hut above Stormwind.
Me? That's not the first place I'm going. I have long wanted to get to one particular spot on the map. I've tried getting there a few times, particularly during the Lunar Festival because there's an elder near this spot. The gryphon flies over it and I so desperately want to get off, right there. No, I'm not telling.
Where are you going to go first? Anyplace in particular, or do you think you will just hop on your flying mount and savor the wind in your face as you fly anywhere?
As I mentioned, I visited my old hometown last week when I went to Decorah on business. I stopped by my dad's grave and told him everything that has been going on. After that, I walked among the headstones in one of the older parts of the cemetery looking for relatives.
We know where my grandparents, Archie and Eltha, are buried. We know where my grandfather's parents, Lawrence and Minnie, are buried. We know where Lawrence's father, Andrew, is probably buried, but we don't know where his mother, Anna, is buried. Andrew came to America with his uncle, Matthew, and aunt, Jean. We know where Matthew and Jean are buried.
I should have brought along the hand drawn map I received several years ago when I was doing more digging into the Thompsons than I do now. But I honestly didn't think I'd have the time to stop so the idea of bringing along my genealogy materials whooshed through my head like a stiff breeze. When I walked through the older section of the cemetery, I had a vague remembrance of where Anna's grave might be but no clear image. I didn't find Anna but I found another Jean and Janet.
My camera died after taking these two photos. I need to come back and photograph the stones from all angles. In the top photo, I think the small marker on the right side had a name that began with "M". There was, I believe, a Margaret. Again, without the stacks of information I have, I couldn't remember.
These markers are exciting to find. My mom and I have talked about meeting at the cemetery some weekend day with cameras and paper and pencil, to decipher the aging stones and document their location in the cemetery. I took a look at the Google earth view in the hopes that we could use that to mark where everyone rests. It's not the clearest. Still, it's better than nothing and, 5 years ago, we couldn't do that so we will make it work.
Jean, the top marker, was born in Scotland and came over on the boat, the British Bark Sterling. Janet was born shortly after the family arrived in Northeast Iowa.
Time is not a friend to headstones. I wasn't sure if I could scrape that orange stuff off or it I should leave it. I would like to do something that the names and dates will still be visible for years to come. I guess the first step is contacting the cemetery association to see what is and is not allowed. Then, what would it cost to clean these and do some preservation work.
My father rests to the left of the building in the background. He's got a wonderful view of a cornfield and it's peaceful.