Monday, September 29, 2008

Plan "B" an Intimate Concert

Today seemed to pass right by as I took Jenn into town to see the doctor for her cough. She has been coughing all week and has been a real trooper with school and after school activities, but she needed an antibiotic to kick the infection in her sinuses and upper respiratory system.

Needless to say, in the depth of parental concern for my daughter's health, I was nowhere near a radio when they played the song that would determine the final winner for the tickets to see Michael Bublé in Raleigh on Friday, October 3rd, 2008. No problem, we've always got something up our sleeves.

So, it's time to set in motion plan "B" which will take place later on this month. I'll share some of the details with you later as they develop, but for the time being let's say it will be an private concert with up close and personal appearances, slow dancing to romantic, sultry jazz tunes from Michael Bublé and Diana Krall. Just imagine!


Friday, September 26, 2008

Hard Choices in Hard Times

In today's financially challenging times it seems that those who are forced to live paycheck to paycheck on a fixed budget are the most burdened by our current economic crisis. Funds are so tight at the moment that several of us at work are facing the idea of having to make some uncomfortable sacrifices. Let's face it, with the rising cost of both gasoline and auto insurance some of us might have to find alternative ways to get to work and around town. I'm not talking about car pooling alone, but parking our vehicles in an effort to stretch our resources. My children and I have already incorporated multitasking when we need to make trips into town. I've tried to arrange a ride with a neighbor into town each day, and offered to split the cost of fuel with them but so far no luck. No one should have to make the choice between fuel to drive to work, or food for their children.

As the gentleman in the song sings ... "Something's gotta give" and soon!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Susan, You've just won tickets to see Michael Bublé!

OMG! Yes! Yes! Yes! That's what you will hear scream on Monday, September 29th, 2008 when our local radio station V103.3 announces that I am the 13th caller and winner of tickets to see Michael Bublé up close and personal in the front row at the RBC Center on October 3rd! All I have to do is call as soon as one of his songs ends and be the 13th caller. I can hardly wait to pick up my tickets! Why?

Michael Bublé is my favorite male crooner! I didn't even know who he was until my boyfriend asked if I had heard his hit song "Home". It became "our song" and as well as his hit song "Everything". As corny as it may sound, there is nothing more romantic than having a song to represent your love for someone, and this singer won both our hearts. This is Michael's second performance in NC, we missed the first one in Fayetteville on March 18th, but as soon as I win those tickets we're headed to Raleigh on October 3rd for a wonderful evening of melodious romance!

Psssst ... wake up! All right; but I'm staying positive about winning one of the five remaining pairs of tickets. Either way, I will be equally as happy to spend our 5th anniversary dancing in each other's arms while listening to our collection of Micheal Bublé's most romantic melodies!

Holiday Recipe Exchange

Over the last few months we've been sharing recipes at work. One of my favorite's is a breakfast cream cheese quiche that Gayle gave me. Though she cooks hers with onions and sausage, I ventured out and added broccoli to the mix. It's so popular at my house that my teens ask for it at least once a week. Since the holidays are fast approaching I've been tempted to call my boyfriend's sister to get her recipe for the dressing she serves with the turkey for Thanksgiving dinner each year. I'm not sure if it's a cornbread dressing or a bread crumb dressing, but what I do remember is that it's great!

I understand it's a recipe that has been in the family for many, many years and I'd love to be able to surprise my boyfriend with it at one of our holiday dinners in the not so distant future. If I get it right, I'll be so thankful, so wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Brrrrrr ....

It's autumn, and boy is it chilly outside tonight! When I arrived home after work today the sun was still shining, so I decided to mow part of the 1.5 acres of grass surrounding my home. The task went a lot easier considering my boyfriend's neighbor fixed my mower this past weekend. I managed to mow nearly half the yard before dark, so Ryan will have to work on it tomorrow after school before the winds and rain move in later in the afternoon.

As I sat outside on the deck swing I began to shiver while chatting with my boyfriend on the telephone. After my body had cooled down from mowing the evening air seemed to have a real bite to it. Yes, autumn has arrived in eastern NC. Not only has the temperature dropped, but the leaves are also beginning their seasonal change from green to various shades of yellow, gold, orange, and red. Though some dislike this time of year, I relish the thought of cool nights, a cozy fire, a glass of red wine, and my sweetie to snuggle up with under a throw while watching a great movie.

This season also brings with it the aroma of fresh baked pies like pumpkin, apple, and spiced pear! We made good use of the pears that our employer's father gave us by preparing spiced pear cobbler ... mmmMMMmmm ... tasty indeed!

What's your favorite thing about autumn?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Weekend Well Spent!

It might have been a short weekend in some ways, but anytime you get to spend with loved ones is a treat! After attending the football game Friday night, we arose early Saturday morning to get ready for an overnight trip. Jenn had promised she would finish earning her money that was paid on her behalf to go to her summer leadership camp, so we were headed out to do some mowing. When we weren't working, we spent time relaxing by watching a video of a comedian from "The Last Comic Standing" and the movie "Tin Man" a slightly different version of OZ (the Outer Zone) than we saw as children. It was intriguing to say the least, as Ryan and Jenn stayed up until one to finish out the three disc feature.

Then this morning Jenn got busy mowing, I finished up the laundry, Mr.D worked on his posts, and Ryan worked on his cardboard Mount Olive "Trojan" helmet for mascot day at school tomorrow. Jenn is dressing as a NC Wolf Pack mascot, her favorite college! I can't wait to post pictures tomorrow morning after they are dressed and ready to head out to school. Back to the mowing for a quick laugh. Remember that Jenn mowed the grass today? Well, the neighbor must have become frustrated at hearing our mower sputter through the grass so he came over to see if he could fix it.

He took the air filter off and headed to his house to see if he could get the carburetor to work better; in the meantime I cleaned out the filter. As he replace the part he had removed he checked the blade underneath the deck of the mower. It was on upside down he exclaimed. Well, when Ryan and I replace it we did just what the directions said to do, put it back on the same direction you take it off. The one thing it didn't say, was that if your elderly neighbor takes the blade off to sharpen it and replaces it upside down to begin with, how are you supposed to know it's on wrong?!

Anyway, Mike took it off and turned it around right, tightened it securely on, and cranked it right up. It sounded better and cut even better than before! No wonder we were having such a hard time cutting grass. Mind you, it did cut grass, but it was more like a ripping or tearing instead of a smooth as butter cut. At least it wasn't on upside down because it was a blond moment! It was a senior moment, and not mine! So there :P

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Just how safe are my JPG files?

It's that time of year, school is back in and there are plenty of picture perfect moments to capture. This is Ryan's senior year and Jenn's sophomore year and both are continually asking to use my camera to take photos. What worries me most is the camera's ability to protect my jpg files from being deleted from its memory.

When I mentioned my concerns to my boyfriend, he suggested my purchasing some sort of micro sd travel card for those times when the kids have my camera. One of its features is that is has a write/protect switch which would prevent my data from anyone mistakenly deleting valuable files. I think it might be something I'd use all of the time. Goodness knows, with all of the things I photograph, I could use the extra space!

PS Maybe I'll pick up a 2 pack for twice the space, you think?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Please, Merci!

In today's economy more and more of our clients are coming into our office to get copies of their federal returns in an effort to qualify for medical care at the Merci Clinic. They aren't the only ones effected by the economy, even some of us at our office are earning less than what it takes to support a family and to have medical coverage. That someone is me. All of the other women in our office either have husbands with medical benefits or they have ex's carrying them on their insurance for the time being. So, today I spent the better part of my day at the clinic. I have to say that the staff was wonderful, the doctor took his time answering my concerns, and they made you feel important. It's a shame that for the most part, medical services that are paid for lack the qualities of subsidized care. All I can say, is that I hope to be able to give back the way this staff and doctors have to our community.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

No Gimmicks Needed

On Friday morning we received a call at our office from a client who advised us all to fill up our gas tanks in preparation of sudden but certain higher gasoline prices. We suspected they would rise after Hurricane Ike stormed its way through the gulf, but our client said they would reach the $5 mark by days end. So we all took turns to head out and purchase the least expensive product available. The station just up from the office was still selling it for $3.61 but the lines of vehicles were ridiculous! I ended up getting mine at a station I saw on my way into work and managed to only pay $3.68 per gallon.

There are many businesses that have to offer promotional items to get you purchase their products; gasoline sales is not one of those. The best thing they can do is keep their prices lower than the next guy. We have way too many gasoline stations in our town, and you would think that they would practice this feat, a few might. It's so bad here, that you will see one station selling it for $3.99 and less than two blocks away it's being sold for $3.61. What's up with that?

They don't even need someone in a t-shirt that says "Cheapest Gas In Town". Like I said ... no gimmicks needed.

Ike: Hurricane to Tropical Depression

As Hurricane Ike made landfall in Galveston, TX it was packing winds of 110 miles per hour and traveling at a speed of 13 miles per hour. Today Ike is categorized as a tropical depression and is currently on a path through Memphis, Tennessee. I'm sure our friends and family who were and are in the path of Ike have taken the necessary precautions to prevent any injury. Forecasters had predicted some rain for the area but local Doppler radar isn't showing much at the moment. Though most of the farmers might like a bit more rainfall for their crops, too much is never a good thing!

At this point the news reports say there has been minimal loss of life in Texas and the surrounding states along the coast. Rescue efforts resulted in saving nearly 2000 residents from Galveston and flooded areas along coastal waters, and the search for survivors continues. However there is extensive property damage throughout the area. The JP Morgan Chase building in Houston which stands 75 stories tall suffered extensive damage including loss of office equipment as the windows were blown out on the sides of the building. People outside found computer parts on the sidewalks and streets along with shattered glass. What is puzzling is that older surrounding buildings seemed to have very little damage to their windows. Was this a design flaw?

Several roadways remain impassable due to downed power lines and debris from the surrounding areas. Standing water and debris over these roads were making rescue of those still in Galveston hard to accomplish early this morning. Why would anyone want to ride out a hurricane that had flooded your streets before it made landfall? One man's home burnt to nothing as he helplessly stood by watching in horror. Firefighters had no way of reaching his home; it is a total loss. My heart goes out to all of the residents and families of the hardest hit areas. I can only imagine their sense of loss.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hurricane Ike Regaining Strength Over Gulf

Over the past two days Hurricane Ike has crossed over Cuba causing great damage and loss of life, and has entered the Gulf of Mexico. It would appear it is headed on a northwestern path towards Texas and the surrounding states along the coast. While it appeared to have had the breath knocked out of it crossing over land, as soon as it was over the warm water in the gulf the winds grew with renewed strength. Ike may once again make it to a category 4 by landfall later this week.

We've watched with great interest as we have family in Texas and in Louisiana and am hoping they are all safe having taken the necessary preventative measures to avoid "the wrath of Ike". Hoping for a miracle with this storm, that something causes the winds to diminish to nearly nothing, and for the rain to dissipate causing minimal or little flooding. We can always hope for the best while preparing for the worst.

Reminder to self: It is far better to be safe than sorry!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Helpful Blogger Tips & more ...

A couple of days ago, I was searching for tips on how to better maximize my blog here on Blogspot, when I received an invitation to visit a website via BlogCatalog. I accepted the invite, and boy, am I glad I did! As I read this gentleman's posts I found one titled "Must Read Tips for Google Blogspot Bloggers". It is both interesting and informative, and I manged to find some things that may help improve the look and feel of my blog. Right about now I could use a good facelift ... I mean my blog could ... yeah ... after all I am just 29 ... cough ... 39 and holding! ;)

While I was there I there I took a look at some of the other topics. In "Make her leave you soon" the writer shares his experience handling one of life's most uncomfortable situations; a break up. As a man, how do you handle a break up with a woman from whom you have fallen out of love? Are you up front by telling her the truth? Do you find a way out without being honest? Or do you find ways to turn her off? To see some of the ways this writer suggests might be options for handling the same situation, you'll have to visit the site yourself.

Thanks for the tips!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Residents of Florida May Get Their Wish

If Hurricane Ike stays its course westward Florida residents will breathe a great sigh of relief! Since yesterday the storm had diminished in strength by over 50 miles per hour. What began as a storm packing 135 mph winds has weakened to a mere 80 mph winds; at least for the moment.

Forecasters are predicting that Hurricane Ike will regain strength once it is in the gulf. The thought process is that it will make landfall anywhere between Louisiana and Texas. I'm no meteorologist, but if I lived anywhere from Florida to Mexico I'd be packed and ready to hit the trail in a moments notice. But that's why they pay the meteorologists the big bucks; they know their stuff! :)

Hopefully both of my nieces, Olivia in Louisiana and Talena, her hubby, and two children in Texas are far enough inland not to be to badly effected by this monster on waves! For now my friends and family in Florida are safe, which is a good thing! Did I mention that I am so thankful that Hurricane Ike didn't repeat Hannah's track up the eastern seaboard? Well, I am!

To all my family and friends in Louisiana and Texas, please take care & BE SAFE! I love you all!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Check Your Facts

A friend of mine in Florida (who happens to be a democrat) sends me lots of interesting information throughout the year. This year is no exception. I have the utmost respect for her as she continues to present the facts. Check these sites out for more information on what you thought you might have heard during the conventions:

"Just the Facts - The Party's Over" video clears up the many political facts from fiction during both party conventions.

You can read more about the facts presented by Emi Kolawole at the following links:

"FactChecking Obama - August 29, 2008 - He stuck to the facts, except when he stretched them.

"GOP Convention Spin - September 3, 2008 - Lieberman and Thompson make misleading claims about Obama on Day Two of the party in St. Paul."

"GOP Convention Spin, Part II - September 4, 2008 - Palin trips up on her facts, and Giuliani and Huckabee have their own stumbles on Night 3 of the Republican confab."

"FactChecking McCain - September 5, 2008 - He made some flubs in accepting the nomination."

While you're there check out their homepage.

Thanks for the info Ape ;)

Hurricane's Hannah & Ike

On Friday around noon our area started feeling the effects of Hurricane Hannah's outer bands. When it began we got drenched! If this storm had kept up its pace of rainfall we would have had a bigger mess than was experienced over the next 48 hours. As it would turn out we suffered far less damage than the middle of the state. Areas surround the I95 corridor received 5" of rain compared to the coastal areas 1-2" during the course of the storm.

If Hurricane Ike hits either the gulf coast states or the eastern seaboard after being drenched by Hurricane Gustav and Hurricane Hannah, the damages will be both extensive and devastating for all. Right about now it would be a great blessing if Ike would "drop dead" much like Hurricane David did off the coast of Florida years ago. Well, it's worth all the positive vibes we can muster!

Like Hurricane Hannah, we don't want to see is Hurricane Ike to loop down around those islands and redirect itself towards the Carolinas!

Ignorance vs Knowledge

How much information have you reviewed or researched in your quest to make the best choice for our next Commander in Chief? Everything is not as it appears, or is it? Do we blindly follow along in ignorance or do we research our choices to ensure an intelligent informed decision? Just how much truth an article, speech, or video contains depends on how much we search for the truth and what we believe to be true. Speaking of public information available; this is one I had not seen, have you?

A video that makes one wonder do birds of a feather really flock together? Are you truly the company you keep? Will Obama have to denounce yet another from his associations? Is this again becoming a campaign of the "lesser" of two evils? We absolutely need to know more about each of the candidates before placing our votes in November 2008.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

What causes blurred vision?

Yesterday as I awakened to the sound of silence; the kids had already left for school, I meandered into the kitchen for a cup of coffee. The cats were circling my legs looking for some breakfast, the birds were gathering in the backyard for a meal in the freshly cut grass, and the crew at the local news station were all hyped about the 2008 hurricane season's predictions for the Atlantic Ocean.

As I sat down at my computer with my cup of coffee I gazed at the television to see what was happening with Hannah, the latest storm to be headed up the east coast. I squinted at first, then gently rubbed my eyes, but my vision remained blurred as if I had some kind of gel in them. This has happened before, so is it aging? My oldest daughter and her husband have both had Lasik eye surgery, and both were successful surgeries. My daughter went through a period of having to hydrate one eye more than the other but it seems like such a small price to pay for clear vision.

Today my eyes are clear again, and I'm not sure if it was allergies, stress, fatigue, or something else causing less than perfect vision. One thing I do know, I'll be scheduling an appointment soon with my eye doctor and physician to see what is going on with my eyes. Keep your eyes, I mean fingers crossed it is something easy to repair, and that my vision remains crystal clear.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Productive Labor Day Weekend

This weekend was a very productive one. Jenn and I went to visit "Mr.D" with a dual purpose, first to fulfill her commitment to mow his grass, and to spend some time visiting a loved one. We got up early Saturday morning to get the things done around our house before heading out. As soon as those things were done we headed to town to go by the bank, pick up some lunch, and then headed to my brother's house to drop off Ryan. When we arrived at our destination "Mr.D" took us out shopping for supplies for the weekend, and though we picked up food to cook for the weekend, our host insisted on Chinese take-out for dinner. We spent our first night dining and watching movies, one of which was "Multiplicity" starring Michael Keaton. What a riot!!!

Jenn's plan for the weekend was to mow the yard Sunday morning, and then wash the car on Monday morning. Unfortunately when Jenn woke up on Sunday morning she was feeling a bit under the weather, so our host assured her that it was fine if she did what she needed to the next day as long as she was feeling better. She knew that if she needed my help that I was there for her. Meanwhile I tended to drying and folding our laundry, and helping with the dishes.

Bright and early this morning after a delicious breakfast, Jenn and I started with our chores for the day. I started the mowing by cutting close to the house and outlining the area she needed to do first. There is a section where some roots are partially exposed so I like to mow there to avoid any injury to Jenn. She is not yet confident to get to close to the roots without hitting them which cause the mower to stop. After that she took over the mowing and I started on trimming the tree branches.

Next thing we knew our host had fixed all of us a delicious lunch ... Angus bacon cheeseburgers, complete with a side order of potato chips and a tall glass of iced tea. "Mr.D" you are too sweet! After lunch we finished our tasks, cleaned up, packed the van for the trip home, and said our goodbyes. It's really nice getting to visit, but equally as important that we had things to keep us busy while our host worked on things he needed to accomplish before he heads into work tomorrow.

Thank you both, Jenn and "Mr.D" for making this a most productive and profitable weekend!

PS Ryan finished sanding the chairs over the weekend, so they are ready for delivery and payment!