Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It will be Tuesday at the earliest before my computer can be diagnosed and repaired, later still if a remote exam doesn't help and I fear that will be the case. Thankfully I can still play on another computer. Even if it isn't as user friendly, it prevents withdrawals and as Martha would say, this is a good thing.

The weather is SE Michigan is unseasonably gorgeous and hubby is celebrating this with a game of golf. I am tackling cleaning the house in his absence (do I know how to have fun or what?) and beginning to get ready for Easter. With that in mind, please click here for a Jacquie Lawson greeting.

I'll be back to read my favorite blogs after I've made the house sparkle. Well, maybe not sparkle, but at least remove that matte finish known also as dust from most surfaces.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A mixed bag on Monday

It is gray and chilly out, but sunshine and warmer temps are on their way.Photobucket
I was running late this morning, but my exercise partner was running later so I didn't keep her waiting.Photobucket

One mystery in my life has been solved, but it didn't pertain to the virus still infecting my computer. Photobucket

Most of the pictures that I wanted to use in posts last week and this week are locked up in that computer but I was able to load new pictures from my camera to my laptop and the pictures just happened to be of my favorite subject, my grandson Colton.Photobucket

Grandpa and I watched him Saturday while his Mommy and Daddy ran errands and had an uninterrupted dinner. I'll let Colton pick up the story from here:

I was looking rather cute in my baseball uniform but decided to catch a few zzzzs before going to the Grands for the day.
What the heck? Somebody made my diaper wet!
Oh man, they put poop in it too! This is bad!
Can you believe it took both my grandparents to change one diaper? And they took so long, my sprinkler went off and got my clothes wet. Sorry Granny, but on diaper changing this afternoon, I'd have to give you a thumbs down.
Here I am doing my impression of an old man listening to politicians and not believing a word they say.
Thanks Gramps! I was wondering when Grandma would get that bottle ready. Is she always that slow in the kitchen?
Is that Grandma coming with the camera?
Again Grandma? Really? Don't you think the first 66 photos were enough? Good thing you aren't paying to have all of these developed!

Maybe if I act bored she will go away.
Oh, she is trying to catch my dimples. Ha! That isn't going to happen!
Almost! You're still too slow though.
No, that is not my dimple on the other side of my face. This is my disgusted expression. Grandma, you really need a hobby. What the heck did you do before I arrived?
Ok, I concede. You outlasted me. I am going to sleep a bit. Maybe Mom and Dad will show up soon. They don't have a camera in my face all the time but they do point their phone at me a lot and click a button. Grown ups are strange.
Double fist pump for Grandpa! He knows how to take a picture! He at least waits until a guy is asleep before hovering and clicking.

I guess the grands aren't so bad. They sure do seem to love me so maybe I'll come back again a few times. I think I heard them tell Mommy and Daddy "anytime" and they were smiling.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Computer issues .... again

Yesterday I was happily typing away and BOOM! up popped a fake security alert. The first time a fake alert came through 18 months ago, I thought it was legit and by responding to it, I ended up with a trojan on my hard drive that was a pain to remove. A technician had to use a second computer to access my was way over my head and I was without my main computer for over a week.

Months ago I had another attempt. I run an antivirus program and do regular scans. I don't know how these things sneak in. I was able to delete it on my own the second time using MalwareBytes, a free program that is easy to use and very helpful.

And now I sit again on my laptop while my main computer has a fake alert trojan infection. The culprit is called Antivirus XP. It looks like a real antivirus program and attempts to frighten you by telling you have many infections and intrustions on your system. They solicit you to buy their program to clean up this problem, but no such program exists. If you fell for it, you kissed your money goodbye.

I knew not to click on any of the options in the pop up windows but I did go to my Control Panel to see if my firewall was truly disabled. Apparently what I was viewing was not my real control panel and simply clicking there for information downloaded the virus. MalwareBytes removed part of the problem (I think) but not all of it. I am still getting pop up warnings and now my real antivirus is picking up the intrusion and popping up real warnings. When I try to quarantine or delete this through the real antivirus, I get a message that the action cannot be completed. The virus doesn't want to be deleted. So now I sit and wait for one of the technicians to return my phone calls or emails. They aren't good about this which adds another layer of agitation.


I am lucky to have a laptop but there are programs I need to use on my main computer but I cannot access them. It is times like this that I realize I am not such a pacifist after all. If I could track down the creators of computer viruses, I would not be lenient while extracting my own brand of justice.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Another old UFO done!

With a friend on a mission this year to complete her sewing UFOs (UnFinished Objects) and another who is very organized and working on Christmas projects for this coming Christmas, I have been inspired to work on my own stash of UFOs. If I stop reading, writing, cooking (and looking for a way to eat out and avoid cooking) and oh yeah, occasionally cleaning, I might, just might, have my UFOs completed by 2020. Heck, maybe 2015 if I give up sleep.

This bunny was a kit destined to be a pillow. I finished the felted wool applique but thought I would make a wall hanging out of it. It sat unfinished for two years. Realizing I didn't have a bare spot on a wall for it but did have a pillow that wasn't being used, I finished it as originally intended. The pillow form is a bit scrunched at top and bottom so I may add some fiberfill to fill out the slack in fabric at center top and bottom. The photo doesn't show the bunny's ears well. They are wired and stand away from the pillow.

Now that this is done, I like it so much I think I will keep it on a spare bed when the other spring decorations are packed away until next year.

Finishing up a long neglected project sure feels good.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Balance, Inspiration and Motivation

Balance, Inspiration and Motivation
Ever have trouble with one of these concepts? Maybe all of them?

For years, decades maybe, I thought time was the factor that caused me to struggle with balance. Specifically, not enough time to do be all the things I wanted to be, do all the jobs I wanted to do well. I am retired now, and in theory, the calendar is an open book and still don't have time to get to everything I want to do and should do.
How many of you look at a blank monitor wondering what you are going to write as a blog entry? Do you have a passing thought and dismiss it as too personal  or somehow too local for others to understand and appreciate? Do you feel guilty for not having written in "X" number of days but just don't know what to say or how to start? If it isn't blogging, is it cooking? What the heck are you going to fix for dinner tonight and the rest of the week? Are you a painter, quilter, woodcrafter or musician wanting to create or perform SOMETHING but you don't know what? What inspires you?
Oh, and motivation. Ugh! I could list many things that I do daily or weekly that need no prodding but there are others....oy! I am exercising at a gym three days per week. This is good. But it isn't enough. I need to watch what I eat but you know what? My motivation is at an all time low. I can think of many reasons to feel differently, but I don't feel  like putting any of those ideas into practice.
I know how to count calories, count carbs and count Weight Watcher points. It isn't about how, my problem is to get me to the starting gate. I am down on myself, not having a pity party or anything else that is negative and detrimental in outlook. I am just looking for a spark and have no idea where to find it or how to cultivate it.
Maybe I am overthinking things. Maybe it is as simple as this:
But for those of us who struggle with weight, we know it isn't that simple. If  you know of a key that helps unlocks the problems of balance, inspiration and motivation, would you please share it with me?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Talents that skip generations

Ever wonder where a "natural talent" or proclivity for something comes from if the parent didn't instruct the child?  For me, it becomes fascinating when I hear of child with a particular talent that a grandparent or great uncle, etc, had but that person was never around the child as a mentor. Perhaps the relative who shared the talent was dead before the child was born. While googling for some information on this question, I came across the terms "epigenetics" and  "epigenetic inheritance".

From what I read here from the University of Utah, it means that more than DNA transfers from parent to child. It means that a parent's experiences, in the form of epigenetic tags, can be passed down to future generations. This graphic and the explanation below it come from the provided link. 
Three generations at once are exposed to the same environmental conditions (diet, toxins, hormones, etc.). In order to provide a convincing case for epigenetic inheritance, an epigenetic change must be observed in the 4th generation.

I can see where chemicals that we are exposed to can affect not only our bodies, but our fetuses and the reproductive cells of future grandchildren, but that doesn't answer my question.

I love almost all crafts, especially those involving fibers. I never witnessed my paternal grandmother embroidering, but my dad used to tell me when I was embroidering or doing any hand sewing that I reminded him of his mother. My maternal grandmother could sew, but it was her sister, a great-aunt that I never met, who was a seamstress. My mom sewed out of necessity in the early years of my parent's marriage. By the time I came along, the only thing I remember my mother ever sewing was kitchen curtains. They were simple panels with a hem and a casing for the curtain rod. Sewing was never pleasurable for her.

I learned the basics of sewing in half a semester of home economics in 8th grade. The projects were ridiculous, but taught us the barest of basics. I was intrigued though and walked to Woolworth's (mom didn't drive and wasn't there to guide my purchases) and bought a pattern and fabric to make a dress with a zipper in the back and a matching lined jacket. When I came home with this, my mother nearly fainted. It looked like I was in over my head, but I was determined. I think the only advice mom gave me was about the quirks of her sewing machine which was much older than the one I had used in school. If I still had the outfit today, I am sure I could find many faults with it, but my end result made me happy and my mom proud. She treated me to new shoes to match the dress.
(Not the dress, but this is from the same era)
Those few weeks of class in 8th grade really did not prepare me for that pattern. Who or what guided me? Were my grandmothers' and great-aunt's eyes and fingers guiding me? Neither of my grandmothers lived near me and I saw them so rarely before they died, I really don't feel that they had any influence on me.

There doesn't appear to be any scientific evidence to support proclivities to be passed down. Everything not DNA is supposedly learned behavior. I still question this.

My paternal grandparents were far from young when I was born. I never remember them traveling to where we lived. They had two children, four grandchildren and three great-grandkids in my hometown. They just could not or would not travel. My maternal grandmother was long widowed and in hindsight, probably not a very stable person. She moved from town to town, seemingly on a whim in the 1950s and '60s. One phone call from her would be in Georgia, the next would be from Alaska. The phone calls usually meant she was out of money and needed some wired to her to get to her next destination and job. Maybe my mother's fear of travel was painfully related to her mother's gypsy-like ways. I have traits of both grandmothers in me. I love to travel but I love my home too.
Do have talents or interests that connect you to an ancestor? I haven't watched the TV show Who Do You Think You Are? but I understand this happens to many people. Whatever the answer to my question is, I think we are all more connected to each other and the past, both known and unknown, than we realize.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A wee bit o' Irish

I can't claim even a wee bit of Irish in me. I don't even ingest what most think of when we speak of Irish fare. Guiness is too strong for me, and I prefer Scotch to any whiskey, Irish or not. Hubby and I do love grilled corned beef sandwiches with coleslaw, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing on rye or marbled breads, but don't care much for corned beef and cabbage fixed the traditional way.

That is no reason not to decorate though.

My table has a Belleek cache pot with a shamrock setting inside it.
The March SnoWonder figure is the only snow I want to see this month (or just about any month!)
St Patrick's Day and Easter often overlap when it comes to seasonal decorating. This vase is out year round, but now always in this location. The bunny was an Avon purchase many years ago. I'll have more bunnies to show in few days.
Would you like a cup of coffee in a shamrock mug?
Or would you prefer tea in a teacup? Years ago I became fascinated with Belleek and their process of making parian china. I HAD to have a teacup but wasn't finding single teacups for sale around home. Fourteen years ago we went on a Caribbean cruise with friends. We had a few hours to spend in Barbados and the first thing I spotted while shopping was this teacup! Nothing like going to Barbados from Michigan to buy an Irish teacup and saucer!
When the boys were little, we always had shamrocks cut from green paper, paper chains draped around things and often had cakes decorated with rainbows made of colored sugars and gold foil wrapped coins in the edge of the plate. Since Colton is only a week old, I think I will skip that kind of cake this year. Maybe his parents, his uncle, his grandpa and I will just have a little Bailey's in our coffee and call that our dessert.

Soon this Beanie Baby will go back in the bin with the other Beanies. His cousin, a Beanie covered in an Easter egg print sits on another perch and will make an appearance with the bunnies, chicks and all things Spring in a few days.

I'll leave you with a simple Irish blessing:

May the best day of your past
Be the worst day of your future.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Commercials you'd prefer not to see on TV

I have a Useless Trivia widget on my Google home page that provides information that is sometimes funny and sometimes bizarre, causing me to wonder who looked up the odd information. It is a source of amusement for me when I repeat some of these items to Bill and watch his expression.

Today's item states that Playtex made U.S. history in May 1987 when TV networks began airing its commercials showing women wearing bras. Prior to this, either torso mannequins were used, or female models donned brassieres on top of their outer clothing.
I know that graphic is a Maidenform print ad, not a Playtex ad that ran on TV, but my Google search didn't find an image I liked. The unusual hat (is it a bird attacking her head???) made this a more interesting choice.

I remember some people being embarrassed by these ads as well as the ads for feminine hygiene products. Men who laughed at the silliness of women being embarrassed  found the shoe on the other foot when Viagra and Cialis commercials began airing.
And let's not forget Bob, the guy in the Enzyte commercials! 
There aren't any current commercials that I find embarrassing but some are annoying, some are confusing (what were they selling?) and there are some categories of products I'd like to see go away, namely prescription drug ads.

I trust my doctor to decide if it is time for me to begin using a drug and which one might be best for me. Do any of us need to tell our doctors (for example) we want what Sally Fields is taking? Do we really believe she takes Boniva or is she a well paid actress doing her job?
And speaking of her pay, how much of Boniva's cost covers her salary? Even without a recognizable face endorsing a product, TV commercials are very expensive. I know the high cost of drugs isn't solely the result of commercials, but it is a pet peeve of mine. I wrote the checks to cover medical insurance for my husband's company for almost two decades and prescription drug coverage went up drastically each of the last five years I made those payments.

Rather than further rants about medical costs and insurance coverage, I am going to stop and ask which commercials bother you, either specific ones or types of products.

To end with a bit of humor, as our population ages, perhaps every other ad should be for a memory enhancing drug, preferably sold at all check-outs so that we are likely to buy it and use it. Just look at this spoof of the above Cialis ad:

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Reason for a new cell phone

I have an old cell phone. It is a flip phone without any special features. It doesn't text or take photos.  It is not my main phone and few people have that number. Its ring tone is boring, but the phone works just fine.

So why would I suddenly think I need a new phone that can take pictures?  Because of this photo:

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Happiness Machine

 This should bring a smile to your face. 

A Coca-Cola vending machine is transformed into a happiness machine delivering "doses" of happiness.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I'm a Grandma!!!

Colton William is here!

He arrived at 9:00 PM on March 6th, weighing in at 7 pounds, 1 ounce and 21.5 inches long. Mommy and baby are doing well. Daddy is...well Daddy is over the moon! Colton was born on the eve of Daddy's 32nd birthday. I don't think any birthday present will ever top this one!
Doesn't Daddy's expression say it all?

Mommy is tired, but remains pretty.

Grandma and Grandpa can't stop smiling.

Uncle Billy doesn't think anyone has ever been an uncle before.

We are all blissfully goofy.  The new family should be coming home Monday morning. I have no prediction on when anyone will stop grinning, but I think we will all have sore face muscles before that happens!
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