Friday, August 31, 2007

Christmas Gift Ideas

Yes, it's that time of year when my children start giving me their Christmas gift ideas. They want to make sure I have enough time to shop around for the items off their lists. This is when I incorporate the help of family members; I contact each of them with those same gift ideas and we all pull together. As my son ages though, he has more often asked for gift cards or cash. He's has come to the conclusion that it's easier to get what you want with those gifts than to have to return items that don't quite fit. Either way, they are always thankful for the presents they receive and have fun giving too!

Next up is what to get my parents? They are harder to shop for since they usually have everything they desire. One thing they don't have is a recent photograph of my four brothers and me. We've not had a professional one taken together since ... shhhhh ... 1970 ... and a home photo in 1980, far too long ago. I'd love to get all four of my brothers together to have a picture taken to give to my parents. It would be wonderful to one taken and framed by this Christmas as their gift. Perhaps our annual gathering on Thanksgiving will be the perfect opportunity for a photo opp. Not to worry, my parents never read my blogs so the secret is safe!

I wonder if I'll get what I'm wishing for this Christmas? ;)

Doin' a Happy Dance! Why? I got a job!

Today at 12:43 p.m. the phone rang; it was a call about the Bookkeeping/Tax Prep position for which I had applied for yesterday! They offered me the job, and I accepted. One of the advantages of this job will be the 20 mile round trip drive to and from work each day. Now that I can handle, especially after driving nearly 80 miles round trip at my last job. The hours are less than I'd like to have at the moment, but that will allow for more time to do some free lance writing. I may even go volunteer at the school one a week until tax season.

The staff a my new place of employment are all very nice. We share a lot in common, being military brats, children, travel, and more. It has a real family feel to it all, and they even do things outside of the office together. Not sure how that will work, but I've done it before with another company I worked for here in town. It seems to be the trend some southern states. Even the more "stuffy" companies have groups of employees that band together, sometimes out of a necessity to hold a core group together as it downsizes, and sometimes out of a love for shared hobbies. My brother and some of the people he works with all ride Harley Davidson's.

Someone once asked me if I knew what the word "job" stood for? Well, I hadn't until then but I will never forget it, "Just Over Broke." Now if only my fortune cookie numbers would pay off! ;)

Milk Crates, Giant Spools, & Coaster Furniture?

Think back to a time when making your new home a place where you could relax involved some ingenuity. You are just starting out and have little to spend on traditional furniture. Being the resourceful person that you are, you find a giant spool which you convert into a coffee table. You cut the spool into two pieces (this allows you to share the wealth and you give the extra table to a friend), then you sand and varnish the entire surface area. Next you paint it with a coat of polyurethane to seal it with a protective layer. All you have for a bed is your mattress, so you collect milk crates from the local markets until you find a better a frame. They work great if you use them on a carpeted floor. Since they are designed for gallons of milk they are the perfect height to raise the mattress off the floor. Someone suggests Coaster Furniture but for the life of me I can't imagine what that would look like; perhaps an end table? You could lay out either a round or square pattern of coasters, glue them together, then glue stacks of coasters together to make legs.

What did you use to make functional furniture when you first started out on your own?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Find a job continues ...

It's week number seven in my search for full time employment. As a full time parent on a single income, it will be great to get back to work. Oh wait! I am working, I'm just not getting paid handsomely for it. I do have some work each week, mowing grass, cleaning house, providing taxi service, grocery delivery, and pet sitting. As for the paid part of my work, I've been fortunate enough to have earned as much as $70.00 in a weeks time blogging. One of the two businesses who offer opportunities to earn money for writing about the things you love, has been producing more work these days. This is a good thing.

As for the job search, I've completed nearly forty applications, have had four interviews, one essay interview, and a typing test. One of the companies had several applicants for the same position, participating in a series of steps in the choice for the right applicant. First everyone was to drop of their resume, followed by a fifteen minute interview with hiring personnel, then given an essay test, and finally an interview with the owners. It was an adventure, and it appears that none of us were what they were looking for as the job is once again posted on the job boards.

No wonder they say, finding a job IS a job!

Turn of the Century furniture, fit for a Knight!

Imagine if you will, a castle in England surrounded by a moat, and along the outside wall of the castle there are beds of roses in all colors. Inside there is a fair damsel awaiting the return of her gallant knight. He is brave, strong, yet completely aware of all her needs, including that of a canopy bed in the latest styles in the turn of the Century furniture.

After all, what with dragon slaying and fighting off intruders into the castle, he'll be in need of a comfortable place to rest his weary head. Let's face it, wearing armor all day has got to drain the energy right out of you. What man wouldn't love coming home after a hard day's knighting into the loving arms of his fair maiden? Candlelight, rose petals gently tossed on the cool silk sheets of their new canopy knight sized bed ... sigh ... wine, roses and song ... all right, I'll wake up now. I can still dream about a knight in a canopy. ;)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Birth Announcements: Guess Who's Having a Baby!

In October of 2006 I met a very sweet young lady while looking for work in a nearby town. We ended up working together and in doing so we found out that we had some interesting things in common. For instance, her husband's and my boyfriend's first names are the same. Her birthday and my boyfriend's birthday are the same. We both love horses but when we started working for the company we were at, we had very little knowledge about equestrian products. We both share a love for children, yet she and her husband had not been able to conceive a child after eight years of marriage. After getting to know her better, I wondered if perhaps they were just trying to hard. She said it was all right, she had plenty of nieces and nephews to love, and she'd just have to be the best aunt in the whole wide world.

About five weeks ago she called to see how I was doing. We talked for a bit and then she said, "I was wondering if you knew how to design birth announcements on the computer?" "Sure." I said, not thinking a thing. Then she said, "Well, then you'd better get busy, because we only have about 8 months to get them out!" I was thrilled, this couldn't have happened to a nicer couple! Knowing my friend, this was nothing short of a miracle for her and her husband. They've been together for fifteen years, married for eight, and I suspect they'll be together for a lifetime. Now they will have an extension of their love to share in this adventure we know as life. There's nothing like the miracle of birth, especially when the union of the parents is strong!

Finding Cabinet Hardware to Fit

Three years ago while I was working for a furniture manufacturer I had to opportunity to purchase a 2 piece china hutch. I had never owned a new piece of furniture in my life and since I was able to get a discount, I took advantage of it. It's a beautiful vanilla colored wood, with dual door, dual drawer cabinet, and a dual door, mirrored, 2 glass shelved hutch. There is only one thing wrong with it; it’s missing a handle to the cabinet door in the right side. Finding cabinet hardware to fit can be a challenge; I remember how hard it was to find a knob for my antique bookcase that my grandfather gave me. It has wooden knobs and they are a reddish colored wood. I believe it is made of some type of cherry. Since the bookcase was made in the early 40's it might be impossible to find an original knob, but I was able to purchase something similar. Now all I have to do is find the matching stain.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Rain, rain, don't go away ...

"Rain, rain, go away, come again another day!"

These were words we sang as children on those days we wanted to be outside playing with our friends. Lately, we've had so little rain though that we're sing just the opposite. It's been an equally frustrating year for local area farmers who depend on their crops for a living, and for those of us who enjoy tending flowering landscapes and vegetable gardens. Earlier this year we had given my parents a dogwood in honor of a family pet's death, yet the dry weather has nearly killed the tree. Our trees throughout the area are prematurely turning colors.

As I look out my kitchen window this morning there is a tapestry of green, yellow, and red painted leaves across the oaks, maples and pecan trees in the backyard. In addition, the ground is sprinkled with dried brown leave that have fallen before their time. This drought is taking it's toll, giving us a less than brilliant color scheme with the arrival of Fall.

How has the dry weather effected your area?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Sports, Exercise & Physical Workouts

Our home rests on 2 acres of land and we have to mow three fourths of it with a 20" lawn mower. Yes, we seriously mow it with one that small. Why? Well, I'd like to say it's just because we love to get our exercise in by walking around in sections of squares, rectangles and circles while pushing a 50 lbs mower. Believe me, there are easier ways! Nevertheless, it's all we've got to do the job and by the time we are finished mowing, all the artistic sections blend making the lawn look great!

One thing I have noticed is that the physical workout we get from mowing seems to take a toll on our bodies. It might be a good idea to start taking some kind of nutritional supplements to replace all of the vital nutrients we are losing. While I walk across the lawn methodically cutting sections, my son runs back and forth as if he were running a marathon.

I wonder if push mowing will ever be considered as one of the sports for the Olympics. You think?

Addiction Comes In Many Forms

It's been six years since my split with my ex-husband, and the effects of his addiction are still evident in my life. No matter what form addiction takes on it would be great if there were a drug rehab of sorts for each one. For instance, my ex had an addiction to collecting things, from Teeny Beanie Babies, to Star Wars character Pepsi cans, to over 100,000 baseball cards. Our basement looked like a huge collectibles store, only without any organization! This addiction was not only eating away at our living space, it was costing us our marriage! How? Let's think about that one for a moment. It effected our income, the ability to pay necessities like rent and utilities, obligations for child support, you get the picture. Addictions affect everyone around you, so be careful to watch your limits and know when it has become a problem. The shame in not in having an addiction, it's in ignoring it.

Are there good addictions in life? Maybe ... addicted to love!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Books, books & more books!

If you were looking at my bookcase in my living room you might think I collected books as a hobby, but I really collect bears. It's just that over the last 20 years I have had a few collections gathering dust on my bookcase that probably need to be disposed of or to someone that will use them. There is a set of 1987 Global Encyclopedias, a set of The Harvard Classics, a complete set of "The Value Tales" with stories about famous inventors, heros, heroines, and much more.

I've been able to find great deals online from the authors I enjoy most online including Nicholas Sparks, John Gray, Douglas Adams, and Phillip McGraw. One day I hope to add a very special author's book to my collection but it's not yet in print. The author is still compiling his writings, so for now I'll just have to enjoy them online at his blog. Thanks "Mr.D" for sharing your humor and wit with all of your readers!

Online Job Offers; Legitimate or Not? : Update

On July 30th, I did a post about fruadulent email job offers. This will be an on going list of the addresses that continue to come in. Since the addresses are all different I've been reporting them one at a time as Spam mail. Here they are, the senders, subjects and dates are:

Subject: Susan, Regarding an employment offer as Site Manager and your online resume
Date Received: Tue, 17 Jul 2007

Date Received: Tue, 17 Jul 2007

Subject: Susan, In Regards an Assistant Technical Manager employment offer and the Resume you posted online
Date Received: Wed, 22 Aug 2007

Subject: Susan, Possible Technical Director employment opportunity
Date Received: Fri, 24 Aug 2007

In addition to the above email, I also received an offer to register with a recruiting specialist site. Notice the subject line, it says "Subject: Re: your resume" which normally means you sent the other person an email first. I was able to tell by the email what the site name might be, so without clicking on any links in the email, I did a Google spam search, a Better Business Bureau search, and a search, none indicated the site as a threat. The BBB search turned up nothing for the company at all, maybe a little odd since the company claims to have been in business since 1987.

Here are three things to consider:

1. As far as I understand it, none of the following services email your resume out to potential employers.,, and, all offer visible resumes for prospective employers to view. However, each of these companies will keep your personal identifying information private unless you otherwise indicate that to them. Mine is private, therefore an employer must contact me via one of these services.

2. I never emailed my resume to anyone at the following address, so the "Re: your resume" in the subject line falsely identifies the email as a response to an email I appear to have sent out. However, the body of the email shows no signs of an "Original Message." There are those times when people just do not use good email etiquette and make this type of error.

3. After reviewing the site and checking for security measures to prevent identity theft while submitting any personal information or your resume, I found none. Even though they seem legitimate and link to legitimate job search engines it still appears suspicious.

I didn't include the sender's address here as I am currently checking it authenticity. I'll let you know as soon as I find out anything.

Until then and as always, if you need to check the origin of and email or website you can do that at a domain-based research tool. Just enter the URL of a website into the "WHOIS Lookup" space and click the "Go" button. You can also use the "Search by domain or keyword" and "Search through deleted domains" to locate information about any given site.

You can also check out the resources at the Better Business Bureau's Security Alerts and BBB's Find a Reliability Report.

Round and round we go ...

Ever feel like your job search is going around in circles? Well, mine sure has lately. I have seen more interesting reception desks than I care to, but my favorite is the round one. It's reminiscent of a set up on the command deck of the USS Enterprise.

Anyway, this one looks like it would be very functional. There are times when I have to spread out my tasks. This desk would allow for ease of access to everything I'm doing. Just think, no more having to dig through my stacks of paperwork to find that schedule for next month's charity walk. This desk would also stop those trips across the floor in the gliding chair just to get one item at the farthest corner of my current desk. Now that would be a great idea!

Monday, August 20, 2007

A New Gadget for Dad: Pulse Oximeter?

It's been more than fifteen years since my dad was diagnosed with emphysema. Last month he had to take a stress test for his breathing to find out why he was having a hard time working outside. Well, the test was completed and the results are in; he'll be needing to use a nebulizer and an inhaler for those times when his breathing is stressed. Apparently he was having difficulty breathing out and not in. With all of the gadgets Dad has around the house you'd think he would have a pulse oximeter. He has gadgets to measure everything from rain, to wind, and humidity; why not have one to measure his oxygen levels?

How about a "just because I love you, Dad" gift? Sounds good to me!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Buying Real Estate: When is it right?

As my mother and sat in the living room of their home of 32 years, she took the time to talk to me about the advantages of home ownership. We had been watching a news report about the real estate market and how rough things appear to be at this moment in time. When she and dad bought their home it cost them in the ballpark of $30,000 - $50,000. Of course, with the interest they probably paid three times that for the house. Regardless, she was happy they never took the opportunity to refinance it; they knew just how much they would be paying each month and their interest rate never changed. Today, it's hard to tell what interest rates will be, but one thing is for sure, their house belongs to them!

When is the right time to purchase a new home? Or your first home?

What type of interest rate should you choose? Fixed, variable or ballon? Is that choice anymore?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

September 27th, 2007 - Bloggers Blog Against Abuse

What are you doing September 27th, 2007? How'd you like to participate in BlogCatalog's Blogging for a Great Cause Challenge? The goal is to have thousands of bloggers from around the world uniting in a history making event in an effort to stop abuse of any kind. How will they accomplish it? It's easy; each participant will choose any type of abuse and write a post about it, so join in and spread the word!

Bloggers Unite

Looking forward to seeing YOU and your post on September 27th!

Don't forget to get your "Blogging For a Great Cause Badge"

"America's Got Talent" Who Will Win?

Last night we watched "America's Got Talent" and the competition is really tough! The top four are all so talented that choosing one is going to be harder than it appears. One of my favorites is the ventriloquist, Terry Fator; watch theses AOL clip of his performances with puppets featuring songs by Nate & Natalie Cole, Garth Brooks & Roy Orbison:

Listen to Terry Fator & Emma Taylor sing a favorite romantic oldie; "Unforgetable".

America's Top Four Final Performances (and more):

Terry Fator sings a Roy Orbison hit and it's a huge hit!

Julienne Irwin sings "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" in country style making the song her own!

Butterscotch showcasing what she does best and is obviously most comfortable performing. How does she do that?

Cas Haley sings a Stevie wonder song for his final performance, but "Walking On The Moon" was what started it all! Cas brings a whole new generation and old school songs to life with great talent!

I have no doubt that each of these top four contenders will be huge successes with or without winning this competition! Thanks for giving us your best on "America's Got Talent!"

Links for videos courtesy of NBC's America's Got Talent

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Movies, PS2 Games, & Truck Toolbox?

This month will celebrate a first wedding anniversary, and four birthdays! Lisa and Steve will have celebrated their successful first year together on the 12th, their birthdays on the 18th & 20th. Then our sons will celebrate their birthday’s one day behind the other on the 27th & 28th! Everyone has been covered, all gifts are on order or are purchased except for Steve, our most difficult challenge when it comes to gifts.
In an effort to keep him from "re-gifting" what we give him, we've been considering getting him a truck toolbox. This makes perfect sense as he has been doing a lot of home repair work on their home. It sure would come in handy to have all of his tools with him when he has to travel to do a job.

This is definitely one gift that he'd be hard pressed to pass along!

New Tires, a CD Player or Auto Accessories

Why is it that just when you think you've reached the place that you can begin spending your extra funds for things like a CD player, cargo mats, and other auto accessories for your vehicle, that you are forced to buy new tires? Yes, it's that time of my tires life; time for a new set or at least two front tires. I forget that rule of Lincoln, that if you can see his head on a penny then your tread is gone! Well, ummm, no problem seeing that! I guess that CD player will have to remain on my list of luxuries for my ride. After all, if my ride is not safe, there will be no reason to "pimp my ride."

One opportunity down, but I'm not out!

The interviews went well yesterday, one was very relaxed and the other was friendly, but quick as the interviewer said in advanced that quick but thorough was his style. Both had more interviews to conduct, so they well contact the most qualified applicant by next Tuesday.

As for the position working from home doing excel workbooks, there were 4 applicants and after all the test results were in, I didn't make the cut. However, the job shop will notify me if the company posts more positions. This might be a good time to dive into practicing my excel skills. For now, it's on to more searches!

Monday, August 13, 2007

2 Interviews & A Test

Today I have two interviews, the first is for an Administrative Assistant for a local health systems office, and the second is for a Teller at a credit union in a nearby town. Then later on today, I'll take a test for a job shop who has a job opening for at home work processing excel workbooks. For now, it's time to head out for the day and take Jenn to color guard & band camp. Who knows? Maybe my search will yield something really great!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Taking Time to Reflect: A Positive Outcome

With all of the changes that have occurred in my life in the past seven years, I am reminded there is always a bright side to every situation. Some say, "if life gives you lemons, make lemonade," or "every cloud has a silver lining," and how viewing your glass as "half empty" or "half full" helps determine the direction of your life. I agree, it's how we look at life that helps us get through the rough spots in our lives. On those days when I need quick, I recall an antidote I heard years ago.

It's a story about two children who were placed in separate rooms to observe their reactions.

The first child was placed in a room full of toys, treats and delights beyond all imagination. The second was placed in a room full of horse manure. Both children were left alone for a time to reflect.

Upon checking in on the first child, the response was one of extreme boredom. When asked what caused such boredom the child said, "I've play with all of it and there is nothing more to do. I'm bored!"

However, upon checking in on the second child, the response was that of sheer delight! When asked what caused such happiness the child said, "Where there's this much poop, there's got to be a pony!"

Today a friend reminded me once again, that no matter how full of "poop" our lives get at times, there are still ponies running wild! ;)

Friday, August 10, 2007

How To Know When It's Really Hot

Just how hot is hot anyway? Well, apparently we found out today! After driving to a nearby city and returning, I stopped by the ESC (Employment Security Commission) office. There were a few things I needed to do, ask about transferring amounts, conduct a job search, pick up referrals, complete & submit a state application, and check my email. All in all, I was in the office for about two hours.

As I left the office it was sweltering hot! If I'm not mistaken, the weather reported the temperature at 101 degrees and that was without adding in a heat index! I cooled the van down before getting in to drive away. As I drove down the road I reached for my tea from lunch. I knew it would probably be warm at best, but what I found was far more shocking. A quick glance the McDonald's cup as I grabbed it caused an immediate drawback of the hand. My cup was covered with ants! Sugar ants! Not just a few ants, but what looked to be about 100 or more!

What amazes me is that my van is not dirty, there was a bag on the floor next to the cup holder with a single french fry in it and there wasn't a single ant in that bag! To top that off the tea was UNSWEET tea! These were sugar ants and they were so HOT & THIRSTY that they were all over that unsweet tea, locked in my van in over what seemed like 160 degree heat! Now that is when you know it's REALLY HOT!

Here is a picture of some of the deceased ants (they were in a 2.5" wide roll of tape I use on my floor between the driver and passenger seat; it hold cups better than the flimsy plastic holder provided by ... cough ... the manufacturer).

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Time for Learning ... Check the Time Zone Settings!

Over the last few days I've had some time to dabble in the inner workings of my blog. When I first started posting, I noticed after clicking the "Publish Post" button that the time I really finished the post and the time stamp on the post were off. I just chalked it up as blogger operating on a different time zone. Well, since then I have found the place where you set your time zone. :/

This presents an opportunity. Either I document all of my posts, change the time zone, and then adjust all of the post to their original posting times, or I continue to update the time before publishing each post. Sound like loads of fun ... NOT! For now I'll consider what needs to be done while I work on a project in progress.

Any ideas? Anyone out there know what the default time zone is for blogger blogs?

Does anybody really know what time it is, does really anybody care? About time ... (are you singing along?)

Moral of the story: If you are using an online blog or journal for personal or professional use; and you need to have your work properly time stamped, remember to check its settings for the correct "Time Zone."

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

30 days and counting ...

Just one month ago I found myself looking for full time employment. Nothing has changed in that regard ... wait the phone is ringing ... YES! An interview for Monday at 11:20 a.m. with a company I delivered a resume to just yesterday! Thank you Hazel! (That's the lady who hand delivered my resume to the proper party.) The position applied for is that of Admin Assistant with a health systems company. Hopefully my experiences in office settings will prove to be adequate for this position. It would be much closer than my last place of employment; 8.8 miles in comparison to 37.7 miles one way. The cost of gasoline has really put a squeeze on things having to drive 377 miles a week; it took over $225.00 per month to get to and from work alone. If we needed to go anywhere else, like the grocery store, I'd do it on the way home from work to save fuel. Not that I minded, but it would be nice to work closer to home. So, keep a positive thought wave coming my way next Monday!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

A Way to Increase One's Income

For some time now I've been writing paid advertising posts for a few unique online companies; the most active business came from Up until now, I had reserved those postings to appear over at "Adventures in a Lifetime." It was great at first; I earned about $300 per month for the first 3 months; after that it settled down due to system segmentation. This prompted the need to expand the field for earnings by implementing these two steps:

1. In addition to, I've registered my blogs/journals with,, and

2. I've opted to add A Little Bit of Everything to my list of blogs for paid posts. These posts will be uniquely identified by their tags, as many of my non-paid posts contain unsolicited links to places that I find interesting, entertaining, or informative.

Each one of the above companies has a uniquely different approach to opportunities for paid blog posts, which should prove to be profitable with quality posts.

I wonder what it would take for paid blogging opportunities to be adequate enough to provide full time employment? Can you really earn enough to adequately support a family?

Any of you experienced paid bloggers have some advice?

This is not a paid post; however, if you feel compelled to contribute, please leave a comment. Thank you for stopping by to read! ;)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Results Are Good News

Yesterday I received a call from my mom after she had awakened from her surgery, and after she had the chance to get a bite to eat. The doctors were happy with the results, there were no signs of cancer! We all want to thank everyone for their continued positive thoughts and prayers during this entire adventure. We are all so thankful for each day we have together as a family and with our loved ones! May you all have the best that life has to offer and may your and yours have the best of health!

Original post: Request for Positive Thoughts & Prayers

Related posts: The Hardest Part: Waiting for Results

Updates: Update (1): Request for Positive Thoughts & Prayers

Updates: Update (2): Request for Positive Thoughts & Prayers