Friday, August 21, 2009

My projects while I am/was computerless

While I was sans my computer, I came up with the brillant plan that I could use this time to work on all those things I want/need to get done yet somehow put off by wandering the net often aimlessly and having too many conversations via aim and facebook. What I did not take into consideration was that:

  • I would have terrible insomnia which would leave me quite lethargic.
  • I am a world class procrastinator.
  • I would eat some bad eggs(aparently along with a few other people I know) which would make me beyond miserable Sunday.
  • I perhaps think I can accomplish much more than I am able to in a short time.
  • Someone else in my house was trying to find ways to occupy his time which often seemed to distract me or coincide with what I needed to use to accomplish my own tasks.

But, I did get a few things done. My original quite lofty list(along with explanations) was as follows:

  • Get all my pictures on CDs from the old desktop which is no longer capable of connecting to the internet-Never seemed to get my chance to use the computer as the boy dusted it off to play old computer games like Starcraft which he hasn't played in almost a year.
  • Figure out how to make condom bouquets. Ok, I came up with a plan; but I had to wait to get my supplies.
  • Get some reading done. This I would say I did as I began and completed 2 books and started a 3rd.
  • Handwrite some blog posts in a journal, so I would have them ready when I got my computer back. I did this, but as of yet have not typed them into blogger.
  • Make some more crayons to sell at the festival. I simply never did this.
  • Start some sewing projects. Once again, never did it.
  • Clean up my text inbox. My inbox was out of control with over 1400 messages. I did this one going through them individually determining what to save and delete getting it down to a more manageable 300 or so messages. However, this has not improved the performance of my phone as I had originally hoped.
  • Sell more ads for PRIDE. I was held up at work over the weekend and didn't make it downtown in time to do this. But, I did get money for 2 on Tuesday.
  • Thoroughly clean my house. You know doing the little things that get put off like washing the walls as well as the usual suspects like the tub. While I did contemplate buying some oven cleaner while at the store, that's about far I got on that one.

So, what else did I get done instead? I attempted to nap though my insomnia seemed to prevent even that. I watched a few movies which I had already watched, but the boy had not. I talked quite a bit more on the phone than I usually do. I spent time with friends that I hadn't in a while. Once again, I had the best laid plans.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Keeping the cord

No, it is not that discussion. I am far from being in a position to be even concerned about that at all. Though I thought it was a cute intro into my post on my laptop adapter woes. Last week, I thought I would be sans my computer for weeks when my laptop adapter decided to be naughty and reveal its wires to the world. Since my computer is less than a year old, I decided to take Gateway up on their warranty promises and give them a call. The call certainly made me miss having a Gateway store in my town where I could speak to a live person. I described to the gentleman on the phone my problem in great detail concerned that the warranty may not cover it as it may be considered excessive wear and tear though I know I treat my baby with the utmost care. Despite my description, the customer service rep insisted on going through his usual schpell(sp?) asking me if it was plugged into the wall adapter etc. While I am sure there are people who are silly enough not to realize they do not have something plugged in, I am not one of these people; and I thought I was clear that I had exposed wires. In my mind, I was pretty clear as they had shocked me several times which lead to a nasty blister which now resembles a hole in my finger and some heart palpatations. On top of that, I grew tired of the is it plugged in question years ago when I contacted another company via live chat on a desktop and the rep asked me if my computer was plugged in. Really now. No, it's not plugged in I am powering the computer with my mind as we chat online. I understand company procedures, but shouldn't people be able to use some common sense.
Finally, he listened and gave me two options for how I could get my replacement part. The first option was to pay for the replacement up front which is approxiamately $90 plus shipping and handling. Then, when I received the new part they would include a box for me to ship back the defective part. Once they received the defective part, they would credit me back the amount I paid. Nice option, but I don't really have $100 to pay out of pocket and wait to be reimbursed. The second option was to mail the defective part off. Once they received it, they would send me the replacement part without any cost to me except what I paid for the original shipping of the defective part. That sounded better, and I agreed to do that. The problem was between our work schedules, there was no way to get that done Saturday morning.
By Sunday, I was going a bit nutzoid having a weekend away from the net especially with my cell phone working when it decides it wants to. I was lonely without the ability to easily contact my friends. This isn't my first Gateway computer though. So, I know how quickly or in their case not so quickly send out parts. I bought my first laptop through them back in 2002. I got the extended warranty on it since I bought it directly from the Gateway store. Ironically, that laptop's adapter died after I had it for a couple of years but in a less dramatic fashion as it simply went kaput which was obvious since the light no longer came on. Back then, I didn't have to send them the defective part, they just sent me a new one since the part had a known problem. However, it took me nearly a month to get my new part as there was some problem with it being on back order. I did know that they told me it normally took about 2 weeks for parts to be received. I even tried the adapter from my previous laptop to see if I might get lucky and have it work for both laptops, but I was not lucky at least not with that. By this point, I knew there was no way I could go that long without my computer. Luckily, I have wonderful friends who offered to help. One friend offered me the use of her universal laptop adapter while I was without mine. Nifty device which I was heretofor unaware. The adapter comes with like 9 different connectors made to fit most major manufacturer's laptops. Yay, temporary fix. Additionally, my dear friend Paul offered to fix the laptop adapter by welding together the wires and properly covering them back up. At first, I was a bit nervous as I was sure this would void my warranty. I didn't want that either since the cheapest universal adapter I found was also $90. He assured me he was trained to do this. So in desperation, I handed the cord over to him. Apparently, I am the only one clueless enough not to know this type of surgery can be performed. Thankfully, my cord is back to me and working fine looking just a little worse for the wear covered in electric tape. Once again, I am grateful for having amazing friends who are both generous and knowledgeable in areas I am not.

Condom Bouquet Tutorial

I know I am usually pretty PG if not PG-13 here in blogland. But, I have a bachelorette party looming. The bride-to-be has requested no gifts, but I wanted to do something at least as a gag gift for her. Being a bit tight on money right now, going to an adult store with their prices is out of the question and not something I could even do with the limited time given before the event. I have heard many friends speak of condom roses or condom bouquets before as a gag and figured it would be a pretty simple thing for me to make. I tried looking online for an easy tutorial, but most I found had no pictures or didn't quite look as nice as I wanted mine to turn out. I think these may also make fun birthday presents as well.
So, this is my take on it. Total cost for my project was $3 since I bought all my supplies at the dollar store.

I got all the condoms for free from Aids prevention organizations. There are tons of community organizations out there who offer free condoms without any questions asked these days. Even some condom companies will send you free samples these days like Lifestyles and Trojans. Often Gay Pride functions will have freebie condoms. In fact, here is my box of freebie condoms that I had to choose from for this project.

Other supplies:

I purchased floral tape, electrical tape as they didn't seem to have any masking tape, and fake floral bouquets all at the dollar store.

The trick to making this easy is in picking the fake flowers. I purchased ones that had movable leaves and flowers that were removable. The leaves being movable meant that I could move them down to give myself room to attach tape, I could move them back up when completed to complete the look. The flowers popping off saved me needing wire cutters to remove the flowers as there is wire inside the fake flower stems for stability. Additionally, most of the instructions I found used wire for the stem and added fake flowers. Not only did this seem more costly to me, but it also seemed like a lot of unneccesary work.

The only other necessary supply is scissors for cutting the tape.


  • Condoms

  • Floral Tape

  • Sturdy tape of your choice such as masking tape, electrical tape, etc

  • Fake Flower Bouquet

  • Scissors

Step 1: Pop off all the flowers.

This will leave you with a pile of flower tops perfect for using in other projects especially finishing hair adornments like barettes and headbands.

Step 2: Push back the leaves so you have some room to work.

Step 3: This one I learned from trial and error. Cut off two lengths of your sturdy tape that you will use to attach the condoms to the wire. I recommend 3-4 inches of tape, but I basically eyeballed it. Set aside the tape by sticking just a bit of it to an easy to reach surface like the desk you are working at or in my case my leg.

Step 4:Fold a condom in half diagonally.

I found it also helped if I applied enough pressure to make a crease so that it would stay in this nice neat triangle.

Step 5: Place the wire inside of the condom and attach using tape around the bottom corner of the condom.

Step 6: Fold second condom as you did the first then attach second condom around the first so that it's point is flaring out opposite that of the first as seen in this picture.

Secure with tape.

Step 7: Avoid the temptation to wrap floral tape around the sturdy tape you are using. You see this was my learning experience with floral tape. I mistakenly assumed it is pretty much like any other tape except green and better for using with flowers. Boy was I wrong. First of all floral tape only sticks to itself really, so it won't secure the condom to the wire which is why I had to use the electrical tape. Secondly, when it does stick to itself it leaves your fingers quite sticky which is why I would recommend finishing all the condom flowers before covering your tape with the floral tape.

Step 8: Push the leaves back into the position you desire.

And, here is the finished product:

Bachelorette party on the horizon

I have been invited to my first bachelorette party. How odd, I know that I made it to my 30s without attending a bachelorette party. I've been to a bachelor party or two in my day. Calm your dirty minds. I was never the entertainment. I just have tended to have closer friends who were male rather than female. Those who were of the female variety and took the plunge have never really had bachelorette parties. Well, I think this shall be a fun adventure. Some quality girl time even though I only know the bride to be.
The odd thing is that as part of the festivities for the night I just discovered today that we are going to a Chippendale's show right here in little old Fredericksburg in of all places a bowling alley. Am I the only person who finds it a bit odd that the Chippendale's are coming to perform in a relatively small city at a bowling alley which markets itself as a family friendly establishment?

A gift that inspired me

One of my regular customers brought me this wonderful blankie last week. I love it. I wish you could feel how soft is right through your computer monitor. I am a Cowboys fan in the land of Redskins fans, I know. That was not the inspiration part of the present though. She asked what team I wanted since football season is gearing up, and she has tons of material for different teams since she makes and sells these blankets. No, I am feeling inspired by its simplicity. I've seen tuturials for these tie blankets especially when I was searching for baby stuff earlier this year. But, seeing one in person and feeling how exceptionally warm this baby is since it is two layers of fleece absolutely convinced me I must make some myself. This just may be one of the easiest craft projects I will ever take on since it involves no sewing. Now I can't wait for some extra spending money to take a trip to the craft store to buy some fleece.

Mom I'm a Vegetarian

Thanks to my facebook friends, I get comments on my blog posts in a variety of manners. A childhood friend of mine, Shelly, informed me after reading my mac and cheese post from Monday that it was food for thought for her as her son has decided to become a vegetarian. If that's the least I can do it makes me feel good. Now, I am not here to convert anyone. I hope I have made it perfectly clear that I believe I don't want anyone to preach at me about how I choose to live anymore than I am sure people would appreciate it coming from me. I will say I am proud of her for being so understanding while equally concerned that he is still getting all the nutrients he needs. She is an awesome person, and I would expect nothing less. I am sure that the decision of how to deal with a child who chooses to become a vegetarian is difficult for a parent who only wants what is best for their child.
I was an adult away at college when I made the decision on a lark as a New Year's Eve resolution. My parents did not know of my decision until I came home briefly over spring break 3-4 months later. I grew up in a house where we definitely ate meat. My father was a hunter, so I ate my share of venison along with some rabbit and squirrel. Our house was literally right on the water making fish and crab staples of our diets especially in the summertime. We raised chickens, and I know from first hand experience what the saying running around like a chicken with its head cuts off means(yes, the body continues to run around after its separation from the head quite manically for what seems like a long stretch of time but is in all reality only a few seconds.). I am sure I gave my parents quite a bit to digest. I don't at all recall my mother's immediate reaction, but I will never forget my father questioning me about whether I still use glue(what about the poor horsies?). They couldn't really force feed me though especially with me being gone so much at that point in college. My father is a wonderful, kind, generous man. Really, I cannot say enough how much I adore him. I am a good southern girl which means I am a daddy's girl through and through. I know one phone call and my daddy would be right here to do just about anything for me, and he has. But, he still thought of me as his little girl then. So, at our first family gathering since I outed myself as a vegetarian, he had a creative and (only now) comical way of dealing with the situation. I doubt he thought I would still be a vegetarian all these years later. Heck, I don't think I even thought I would. So, I am sure he thought his plan would work. You see my father found a way to put meat in every dish he brought to dinner. Every veggie had meat in it generally of the pork variety like a ham hock or bacon or fatback. Not that unusual though at a Southern meal. The stuffing had shrimp and crab. Different for our family, but not really thinking outside the box. The potatoes had bacon. That was the most obvious attempt. We always have mashed or whipped or smashed potatoes depending on which family member is talking about them made quite simply with milk, butter, and salt. No frills. I think if grandma hadn't made the bread he would have figured out a way to insert some meat into them as well. So, I ate my meal of bread and was unbroken. The lure of a good, salty country ham, one of my childhood favorites(yes my parents called me the ham hound often using ham as a test of how ill I really was meaning I was really sick if I refused to eat ham not just playing at feeling bad.) even that early on would not sway me. In fact, I think his attempts only served to entrench me further. I a hard headed. I come by it honest. I may not have an exact breakdown of what kind of mutt I really am; German, Irish, and English being our best guesses. But, I know without a shadow of a doubt I am 100% stubborn being the child of two quite stubborn parents. My father has since acquessed bringing going as far as bringing meatless gravy to holiday dinners, trying hummus(too gritty for him), and taking into consideration what foods I can eat when picking a restaurant.
In the end, I think that my anemia improving vastly to the point that I no longer have to take iron pills daily since I've become a vegetarian may have been one of the biggest factors in my parents understanding I am making a healthy choice for me. But, it all took time for them to accept that the decision is mine, and that I am being smart about it. In college, I had lots of friends who were both vegetarians and vegans I could look to for advice. I was willing to do research to find out what my options were to make up for any nutrients I might be missing ie omega 3 fatty acids can be found in flax seed and walnuts.
If your child is still a child making this decision, there are a ton of great resources out there especially on the internet. I've talked about them before on my postings about vegetarianism. I know that I rarely post entrees when I post recipes, but that is because I have not been the meal preparer in our household since I've lived with a trained chef for 3 years. I am sure that will all change soon. I encourage people to make an informed decision. And, in the end if you have any questions, I am always here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Christmas Already???

Let me begin by saying that I love the idea of Christmas in July. Really, I do. And, I adore Christmas celebrations. Boy do I. Christmas parties, wrapping presents, spending time with friends and family, donning a Santa hat or the whole suit as the case may be(yeah, that's me last year at work in a Santa suit just being silly.). I am cuckoo for cocoa puffs about the whole shebang. I swear. But, I have one hard and fast rule when it comes to Christmas. I do not begin any planning of anything Christmas(with the notable exception of picking up gifts for friends and family which I sometimes do throughout the year especially when you find something that's just so perfect that you may never see it again like the ladybug vase on clearance for the ladybug lover in your life) until November 11th. That may seem like a pretty random date to those of you who don't know me well, but it will make perfect sense in a few minutes. My birthday is November 10th. My father's is the 12th and grandmother's also falls in November. For some reason, growing up a large portion of my friends were also November babies. I grew uncomfortably accustomed to having to share my birthday with others. On top of that since my birthday falls a little to close to Christmas for comfort, I have fallen victim to the this present is your Christmas/birthday present. That all stinks. I wanted my special day that was supposed to be all about me just as much as everyone else. So, I created my rule as an adult that there is no Christmas discussions until after my big day has passed. I also like celebrating all holidays. I look forward to Labor Day cookouts, Halloween Trick or Treaters and Thanksgiving gorging. As commercial industries keep pushing up the time when they bring out holiday ways earlier and earlier each year, this task becomes more difficult. Usually, I have come to expect to be annoyed around Halloween to start seeing the Christmas items hitting the shelfs. I was bewildered today when upon entering the Dollar Store searching for supplies for a bachelorette party project which I promise to make a tutorial for over the next few days to see Christmas items prominently displayed near the front of the store. I tried to avert my eyes and pretend I didn't see it, but alas it was too late. It's well over 90 degrees here. School has yet to start. I'm ready for some grilling. I'm simply not ready for summer to be over much less for Christmas to be here.

The Benefit of Mac and Cheese

Being a vegetarian, I try to be very careful to get the necessary amount of protein per day. My last trip to the hospital I was concerned that even though a nutritionist would be doing the consult on my meals that I might have problems. I got lucky though as my nutritionist was amazingly a vegetatarian as well. As she was going over the protein options the hospital had offer for me, she mentioned mac and cheese. I poo poo'd her idea of mac and cheese as an insufficient source of protein but really didn't give it too much thought as I was after all in the hospital. Tonight as we were discussing dinner options for the two of us, we for some reason decided to take a look at the protein content of our dinner options. I was to be having some Stouffer's Mac and Cheese and a salad. The boy would be having Banquet Salisbury Steak, some of the mac and cheese, and a salad as well. What can I say, we're working on a tight budget. Imagine my surprise to find out the following numbers on the boxes: Mac and cheese 16g Protein per Serving Salisbury Steak 15g Protein per Serving. Guess I was wrong, but in a good way especially since I love mac and cheese.

A Brief Reprieve

I have been able to borrow an adapter for my computer for a brief while. Thank goodness for universal adapters. Not sure how long this will allow me to use the internet, but I am soaking up every minute I can get. It certainly is sad how much I missed being able to get online just not having it for the weekend. I got really lonely and felt completely out of the loop.