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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Siri, I Love You!

When my daughter and her husband bought their new iPhone 4S, they were in for an exciting experience. The iPhone 4S was their first iPhone.

Any time you purchase a new phone, getting to know your new phone takes some time. For a first phone to be the iPhone 4S was a learning process that was at times interesting; at other times frustrating.

And also FUN! Especially when you talk to Siri. Apple says, "Siri on iPhone 4S lets you use your voice to send messages, make calls, set reminders, and more. Just speak naturally. Siri understands what you say." 

Anybody who owns the new iPhone 4S agrees. But it's the "and more" that appeals to me and I can't wait (but I have to) to get my new iPhone 4S – because of Siri.

After a few frustrating starts, my son-in-law told Siri, "Siri, you are worthless!"

Siri responded, "Now, now. Don't get upset. I'm only trying to help."

Well, that opened a conversation that began a relationship with Siri that continues to be filled with lots of laughter.

When I told my daughter-in-law about my daughter and son-in-law's experience, she had never thought to use Siri on her iPhone 4S for anything other than serious Siri inquiries, so when she asked, "Siri, do you love me?" Siri responded, "Impossible!"

Another time when my daughter asked if Siri loved her, Siri said, "I am incapable of love."

Once, when my daughter said, "Siri, I love you," Siri said, "You are the wind beneath my wings."

But my favorite Siri comment so far happened after my daughter said, "Siri, I love you," and that time Siri responded, "I bet you say that to all your products."

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NOT Happy With Firefox – Back to Safari

For the past couple of months I have had nothing BUT problems with Firefox (I'm running version 3.6.19). EVERY SINGLE TIME I open a new page, or return to another page, or shift back and forth between pages, I get this:

Warning: Unresponsive script

A script on this page may be busy, or it may have stopped responding. You can stop the script now, or you can continue to see if the script will complete.

Script: chrome://fctoolbar771f303798854423b50fa5ede4854e26/content/fctoolbar.js:1

After viewing several pages that offer possible solutions to fix the problem, most of which would require me to find this and that and change this or that or upgrade again (I have the latest version for a Mac), I have finally given up.


I'm back with Safari. If Safari is good enough for the iPad 2 and the new iPhone 4S, it's good enough for my old MacBook Pro. Ever since I switched back to Safari I have had NO PROBLEMS!

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

My Favorite Funny Movie Scenes

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't seen any of the following movies, you may want to watch them before you view these clips. Now for the blog:

As one who LOVES watching funny movies, I'm kind of hard to please when it comes to laughing out loud. I might find something funny, but to laugh to the point of crying takes scenes like the following for me to "lose it."

From Beetlejuice, starring Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Michael Keaton, Catherine O'Hara, Jeffrey Jones, and Winona Ryder, comes this scene: At a dinner party, given by the Deetz parents (played by Catherine O'Hara and Jeffrey Jones), daughter, Lydia (played by Winona Ryder), announces that ghosts live in the attic. Somebody else haunts the abode too, though, and he, Beetlejuice (played by Michael Keaton), with the help of an unexpected leap into the Banana Boat song, gives guests, hosts, and viewers a memorable experience.

From Three Fugitives, starring Nick Nolte, Martin Short, Sarah Rowland Doroff, and James Earl Jones, is this scene (which appears at the beginning of the movie, but near the end of this clip): Ned Perry (played by Martin Short), a fumbling first-time thief, robs a bank to get money to pay for his daughter's much needed therapy. When the teller accidentally throws the bag onto a chandelier, Perry demands that he retrieve it. The wig scene is funny too.

Little Miss Sunshine, starring Abigail Breslin, Greg Kinnear, Paul Dano, Alan Arkin, Toni Collette, and Steve Carrell is funny throughout, but the last scene is laugh out loud. Abigail (Breslin) has entered the Little Miss Sunshine beauty competition. Grandpa Edwin Hoover (Arkin), before he died, taught Abigail her pageant routine. The rest of the family knew nothing about the routine until the day of the pageant. Unlike any beauty pageant anybody has ever seen, Little Miss Sunshine gives a slap in the face to child beauty pageants, where little girls are made up to look like mannequins.

Bruce Almighty, starring Jim Carrey as Bruce Nolan, Morgan Freeman as God, Jennifer Aniston as Grace Connelly, and Steve Carrell as Evan Baxter, tops my list as probably the funniest movie scene EVER (to me). Bruce Nolan (Carrey) had told God that he would like a chance to play God. God grants his wish, but instead of being God-like, because he was upset about Evan Baxter (Carrell) getting the role of co-anchor instead of himself, Nolan, with his new abilities, decides to make Baxter his puppet.

Hope you enjoyed my laugh out loud funny scenes. I'd love to see yours.

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Do NOT Purchase an Electrolux Vacuum – a Review

It might have been about 30 years ago that my sister bought an Electrolux vacuum. She swore by it and probably could have sold hundreds of them, so convinced was she of their worth. Not only was the Electrolux a powerful vacuum – it also came with a lifetime warranty.

Though it would have helped my allergies considerably to have had an Electrolux, I decided I couldn't afford to spend that much money on a vacuum.

30 years of going through various vacuums approximately every three to four years, I remembered my sister's admiration of the Electrolux, so I spent several hundred dollars on one and brought it home. Two years later it broke, but because my daughter and her family moved in with me and we used their vacuum after mine broke, I didn't worry about getting it fixed until they decided to move out. The Electrolux had a lifetime warranty after all.

HA! A few weeks ago when I had pneumonia, I drove past the Electrolux store and brought in my vacuum to get fixed. Still not worried about getting it back because my daughter was still living with me, Electrolux called me yesterday to tell me that the Electrolux now has only a 2 year warranty AND – AND – they no longer manufacture the original Electrolux.

WHAT????????????

Well, of course they don't! Why would ANYBODY who wasn't interested in a profit EVER create a product that worked for a lifetime? How can the poor people at Electrolux make a profit if nobody EVER needs repairs?

So on my TISH (misspelled on purpose) List, Electrolux sits at about number 1 right now. SHAME ON YOU, ELECTROLUX, for making an inferior product and for not making the original EXCELLENT product WHICH MY SISTER STILL HAS – AND IT STILL WORKS GREAT, by the way. SHAME ON YOU!

If you would like to read more from this author, click any of the following links:

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Bakery Down the Street

Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts
Because I was allergic to eggs for so many years and because many baked goods include eggs, I never really developed a taste for them. Not that I don't crave sweets sometimes, but if I see a chocolate cake sitting next to some barbecued chicken wings, I'm going for the BBQ.

So though I passed the bakery every day on my way to school every morning and though I enjoyed the aromas wafting from the bakery, I never went inside to purchase anything. I think the only pastry I ever ate were donuts covered with confectioners sugar purchased by my parents.

But one day my friend, Kathie, talked me into spending my money on an item she promised I would LOVE. Little did she know that I was probably the only friend she had who could have cared less about chocolate (caramel, on the other hand, mmm…).

Anyway, in we went, me holding onto my money like Whoopie Goldberg's character, Oda Mae, when she had to give a sizable check to the nuns in the movie, Ghost, while Kathie looked lovingly and longingly at her favorite item, a chocolate eclair.

It was probably the biggest piece of pastry I'd ever seen and I'll have to admit I was curious, but I was also hesitant, because I would rather have spent my money on magazines splashed with Beatles photos than a donut. But Kathie was insistent.

Reluctantly I handed over my hard-earned babysitting money to the cashier and cautiously took a small bite. Fully expecting this to be the next best thing to God, I was surprised by how deeply disappointed I was. I hated it. I hated the texture, I hated the cream (was that custard – I hate custard) and in fact, I hated the whole thing. And I was angry at Kathie for persuading me to spend my money on that revolting piece of tish (misspelled on purpose).

Kathie was flabbergasted. How could anybody not like chocolate eclairs? I must have faulty taste buds, or worse – just bad taste. My money – from my 50-cent-an-hour babysitting job was GONE and in its place was this food item I couldn't even eat.

It reminded me of the time another friend, Pam, convinced me to give her all of my Beatles cards so we could make a Beatles doll (cubes put together to form a doll using Beatles photos CUT OUT of the cards – MY cards) to send to a local Chicago radio station. Though WLS thanked us for the gift, I never forgave Pam for forcing me to use my Beatles cards.

In those days I frequently got angry at others for not being able to stand up for myself. Knowing myself as I do, I probably didn't talk to Kathie for days after that episode, and I never again bought another chocolate eclair.

But through it all I learned some very valuable lessons. The next time I was asked to pay for food that somebody else raved about, I would sample a bite first. And if anybody ever wanted to take ANYTHING Beatles-related from me for any reason whatsoever, the answer would be a resounding NO!

Unfortunately, Beatles cards stopped being printed so I never retrieved my missing Beatles cards, and Pam and I no longer speak (not because of the Beatles cards).

The bakery, however, though it carries a different name, still stands, and despite my behavior, Kathie and I remain good friends.

If you would like to read more from this author, click any of the following links:

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Olive Garden


The first time I set foot inside an Olive Garden restaurant, I fell in love with it. The aromas were intoxicating, the servers were exceptional, and the food was delicious.

The Olive Garden offers so many exceptional dishes, in fact, that choosing one to eat is always a challenge. I've never been disappointed with anything I've eaten.

Unlike other restaurants that serve traditional meals, like steak and potatoes, the Olive Garden offers a variety of meals you probably wouldn't make at home. Anybody can grill a steak. How many people do you know who can whip up Four Cheese Pastachetties with Grilled Chicken (see photo)?

Their lunch menu is reasonably priced, and for the amount of food you get, you can order one meal and split it with a partner. A friend and I often split our meal and find that it's just enough for the two of us. We get to spend time together, enjoy a fabulous meal, and not spend a week's worth of groceries on one meal.

If you haven't had a chance to visit the Olive Garden, treat yourself to this gourmet meal experience. Olive Garden restaurants are everywhere. Click any of the links in this blog and find one near you.


If you would like to read more from this author, click any of the following links:

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Academy Awards

Guest post of the week by Bradley Guthrie

The Academy Awards is such a classy event that brings together the best and most qualified celebrities out there. I simply love to watch this awards show for the fashion. It is so much fun to analyze each celebrity's style and to see what each celebrity is wearing. There is nothing better than seeing what each celebrity is wearing and how different designers appeal to different celebrities.

I think it is interesting to see why different celebrities choose to wear the designers they wear to the Academy Awards. Some celebs are actually friends with top designers like Chanel, which is quite interesting and intriguing. Other celebs simply fall in love with certain gowns, even if they have never worn that designer before. I think it is cool to see celebs try out new designers and wear gorgeous dresses they may have never chosen otherwise. It is also fun to see celebs wear more traditional designers like Chanel or Oscar de la Renta.

I never miss the Academy Awards on my www.directstartv.com. If there is one program that I refuse to miss, it is this one. I love to forecast what the trends in evening wear will be for the upcoming year, by watching this awards ceremony. It is also the perfect way to relax from any crazy day too. It is a great show!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

MAKE MONEY with InboxDollars!

Have you heard the news about InboxDollars on Good Morning America? It's FREE to join and you can MAKE MONEY just by signing up – InBoxDollars offers a $5 signup bonus!

By performing simple tasks such as completing descriptions for products or services, identifying the content of a paragraph, translating phrases, or taking surveys, you MAKE MONEY!

If you perform these tasks intelligently, and if you accurately follow the instructions provided by InboxDollars, after you complete the tasks it provides, you MAKE MONEY!

InboxDollars rewards users with Cash Tasks when they complete opportunities that InboxDollars provides. InboxDollars credits users THE SAME DAY users complete their tasks. In other words, as a member of InboxDollars, you will find CASH REWARDS in your account the same day you complete the task! (You will have to wait to retrieve your money, however, for about a month after your account reaches $30, but InboxDollars will explain the details when you sign up).

But still – CASH REWARDS for answering questions and filling out forms?

If you read emails, shop online, play games online, and don't mind filling out surveys, why wouldn't you want to join InBoxDollars where you MAKE MONEY doing what you do every day? Join InboxDollars by clicking on any of the links in this blog or by clicking on the ad next to this blog.

Some rewards are as little as $.75; others are up to $8.00 and I haven't even seen all of them. I made $5.77 in less than 20 minutes after I joined!

If you would like to read more from this author, click any of the following links:

All Craft Connection


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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Be a Better Blogger

I've noticed in a lot of the blogs I've read, how clumsily written some of them are. Blogs I have to stumble over are difficult to read, and poorly written blogs persuade me to move on to the next blog.

Why? Because if I'm reading a blog that is so badly written, and I have to re-read what I just read, I get so frustrated at not being able to understand the blog, I give up and move on to the next blog.

Don't bloggers care about having their blogs read? With so much help out there, bloggers have no reason to write messy unreadable blogs. One invaluable tool for helping writers write better blogs is White Smoke.

How many times have you visited a blog and thought, hmm, looks like this blogger just grabbed random words from the dictionary and threw them on the page hoping they would make sense? Hopefully never, but I sometimes wonder if bloggers write a different language and then substitute words they hope will make sense. Oftentimes they don't and the blogger appears to be a third grader pretending to be a college graduate.

Again, White Smoke comes to the rescue with great translation abilities. Compared to Microsoft Word when it comes to grammar, White Smoke comes out as the winner, at least according to CNN and others.

If you're looking for help in writing great blog posts, and especially if you are translating from a foreign language, check out White Smoke, either by clicking on the ad next to this blog or by clicking on any of the links in this blog.

If you would like to read more from this author, click any of the following links:

All Craft Connection


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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Breakthrough Health Information

Breakthrough information – whenever I read those words my eyes pop wide open. I LOVE researching the latest breakthroughs in science and medicine.

My family members are probably dropping their jaws right now (well, two of my family members are dropping their jaws right now – nobody else in my family reads my blogs), because science was always my WORST subject. I HATED science growing up.

I honestly think the reason I hated science was because the teachers who instructed me were either boring or didn't really care about science either. They could have made it so much more interesting, but they didn't. All through grammar school I dreaded science class, because I knew I would be bored silly.

By the time I got to high school, already bored with the subject, I approached my freshman science class with disdain, especially after we were told we had to dissect a frog, a LIVE frog that would be euthanized in front of our eyes.

And then when I got to college, one of my science instructors threw a bunch of rocks at my lab partner and me and told us to identify them. What? They're rocks! We had a good laugh about how we couldn't tell the difference between flagstone and feldspar, and if he had included gems like rubies and jade, we'd  have fared much better in his class, but still, science didn't interest me.

And then – suddenly – I don't know what the catalyst was – everything changed. I devoured medical information like a ravenous beast. If I saw a copy of JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) sitting next to a copy of People in my doctor's office, I grabbed the JAMA. And when it came to NEW, BREAKTHROUGH information, I couldn't wait to read it.

So you can imagine how I reacted when I had the opportunity to read The Doctors Health e-Bulletin (see the link next to this blog). Those little synapses in my brain danced around in my head with excitement. Whether the information relates to asthma, cancer, or the best brain-boosting super foods, I love learning about how I can improve my health and now I can use The Doctors Health e-Bulletin as a source.

If you are one of those people who gets excited at learning the latest health information and who jumps at the word, breakthrough, click the link next to this blog under The Doctors Health e-Bulletin to get your shot of breakthrough information.


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Style My House is Offering $10,000 to Remodel Your Home!

I love walking through homes that are beautifully decorated and that have everything in place. My talents are not in the decorating or remodeling field. Perhaps because all of my stuff is cramped mostly into my bedroom, I have no space to decorate. But my daughter, her husband, and their children will soon be moving out and while I have the house up for sale, I'm also contemplating getting a roommate.

Having had horrible experiences with roommates in the past, I'm a little afraid of what's out there, but I love my home and would really like to keep it. The other day I came up with an idea that might work. My bedroom and my family room share a wall. The family room is sunk-in and is just off the dining area which is just off the kitchen. I love the openness, but I love my privacy more.

So I came up with an idea for putting a wall between the dining area and the family room. That way my bedroom and my family room would be mine and mine alone. When I came across Style My House (see link next to this blog), and saw that StyleMyHouse was offering a $10,000 remodeling contest, I signed up.

That wall would change the entire look of my home, but with a gifted contractor, my home will look even better than it did before. I'll have my own little portion of the house and any roommates I get will have theirs. If you would like to enter the StyleMyHouse $10,000 contest, click the link next to this blog. I wish you luck, but I have to tell you – I'm looking forward to winning ;)

If you would like to read more from this author, click any of the following links:

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Monday, June 6, 2011

VistaPrint – My Top Pick for Business Cards

My new car magnet will look like this.
FREE! Don't you just love that word? When I received an email for FREE business cards, I wanted to know, "What's the catch?" But for the price of only shipping and handling, I thought, why not?

True to their word, VistaPrint sent me FREE business cards. All I truly had to pay was shipping and handling.

When my daughter added a car magnet to her automobile to promote her consignment boutique, I thought, why not get a car magnet to promote my writing business?

Synchronicity, or meaningful coincidences as some like to say, placed an email in my box from VistaPrint offering car magnets at an unbelievably low price. I designed the magnet and am now awaiting its arrival, along with new business cards to promote my web site, WritingCreatively.

If you're looking for ways to promote your business and you don't want to spend an exorbitant amount of money, click the VistaPrint ad near this blog.

If you would like to read more from this author, click any of the following links:

All Craft Connection


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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Staples is on My BAD List

Occasionally, I will post NEGATIVE comments about companies I feel have jilted me, because I know I can't possibly be the only one experiencing problems like the one I'm about to explain.

STAPLES is the subject of my first attack blog. Many times over the past several years I have shopped at Staples for everything from folders and paper to ink cartridges and more. I purchase my yearly calendar refills from them, my pens – you name it, I buy it at Staples. Or rather, I BOUGHT it at Staples.

In the past couple of years, however, I have experienced more problems with their ink cartridges than ever.

THREE TIMES I have purchased what I thought were BRAND NEW ink cartridges. THREE TIMES I have brought home empty ink cartridges. Twice I've brought them back to the store. The third time I didn't. I'm tired of taking trips back to the store and bringing ink cartridges that should have been full.

I will no longer shop at Staples.

Sad thing is, Staples used to be one of my favorite stores for supplies. They have lost a customer FOREVER! As far as I'm concerned, they have lowered their standards.


If you would like to read more from this author, click any of the following links:

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Blind Man Taught Me To See

When you GIVE, do you also expect to RECEIVE? My Product Favorite for today's blog is unselfish giving.

I was applying for a job downtown Chicago on Michigan Avenue just north of the Chicago River. My train took me to Chicago's lower level where I would have to climb the stairs to get to street level.

One day, as I was leaving the train, a blind man grabbed me by my elbow and asked me if I would mind taking him up the stairs and across the street. Though he had a white cane, I was suspicious.

"I have a job interview," I told him. "I might be late, and I'm not sure where I'm going."

"I'll point you in the right direction if you'll just take me up to street level," he offered.

With some hesitation, I agreed to take him.

Lower Michigan Avenue was filled with potholes and my blind partner, clinging gently to my elbow, warned me of each impending hole before we got to it. I was surprised by how easily he maneuvered his way through lower Michigan Avenue and was beginning to wonder if he was scamming me. I thought maybe he had an ulterior motive.

But we reached Michigan Avenue and he pointed to a building across the street, my destination. He walked away with a smile and a wave after thanking me and left me standing in place for a while as I watched him tap his cane from side to side on the pavement in front of him while he walked away.

A stranger had asked me to extend him some time and I had tried to brush him off with an excuse that I didn't think I had enough time to give to him – all because I was afraid I would miss my appointment. 

In the decades since that event, I have found myself giving my time to other people – people I love, people who mean something to me, and sometimes, again, to complete strangers. All I ever hope to get is a simple thank you, and I get it.

But I know others who are filled with rage because they feel they are giving more than they are receiving. They complain about giving, giving, and giving some more when they receive nothing in return.

They often overextend themselves and regret giving without receiving. But maybe they are giving more than they are capable of giving, and they are disappointed when they don't "receive" in the same measure as they give.

My mother always taught me never to extend cash or gifts if I expected to receive anything in return. If somebody asked to borrow something, Mom instructed me to give it without expecting it back. I have lived by her wise words.

Then again, because of my financial situation, the ONLY thing I can give is my time, and I find that though giving my time to somebody else takes away time from myself, the people who benefit from my act of giving are not only the receivers of my time, but also of myself.

I spend the majority of my days watching children, but those children provide me with the bulk of my blogs. Also, while I was raising my children, my parents and one of my sisters helped me every week for several years so that my children would have a home, clothing, and food to eat.

They never expected anything in return and I am eternally grateful to them for allowing me to stay in my home and to raise my children.

Lots of people gave to me and my family in the name of love. The following email, which I received from a friend of mine, Cathy Hyman, is an example of someone who gave something and received something unexpected in return. The next time you give of yourself, remember this email:

"There was a blind girl who hated herself because she was blind. She hated everyone, except her loving boyfriend.  He was always there for her. She told her boyfriend, 'If I could only see the world, I will marry you.'

One day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her. When the bandages came off, she was able to see everything, including her boyfriend.

He asked her, 'Now that you can see the world, will you marry me?' The girl looked at her boyfriend and saw that he was blind. The sight of his closed eyelids shocked her. She hadn't expected that. The thought of looking at them the rest of her life led her to refuse to marry him.

Her boyfriend left in tears and days later wrote a note to her saying: 'Take good care of your eyes, my dear, for before they were yours, they were mine.'"

If you would like to read more from this author, click any of the following links:

Your Weird Dreams

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Thank you for visiting!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Softsoap Pink Grapefruit Splash Body Wash

As somebody who likes to try new products, I have discovered that no matter how many products I try, I tend to go back to my favorites.

And so it is with body washes. My favorite Spring and Summer body wash is Softsoap's Pink Grapefruit Splash. My oldest daughter introduced me to it years ago, and though I try others every now and then, and though I use a different one during the winter, I always go back to the Pink Grapefruit Splash Body Wash every Spring.

Word of caution: when you shop for it, don't ask for Softscrub – as I did – it's a completely different product with a completely different purpose.

Softsoap's Pink Grapefruit Splash Body Wash is the most refreshing body wash I've ever tried. And it truly does smell like pink grapefruit. If you're looking for a refreshing body wash, you have got to try Softsoap's Pink Grapefruit Splash Body Wash. (I'm starting to sound like a commercial.)

If you would like to read more from this author, click any of the following links:

Your Weird Dreams

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Crocheted Necklaces

As I passed the magazine section at Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago, I stopped by the magazines section to find writing and crocheting magazines. I love to crochet, but I make mostly afghans and scarves. Over the years I've made afghans for my parents, my sisters, my children, all of my grandchildren, and others.

While I was standing in the magazine aisle, I searched through all the crochet magazines to locate one that included instructions on how to make crocheted necklaces. Barnes and Noble had one magazine with one crocheted necklace that was similar in style to the one I wanted to create, but it wasn't exactly what I had pictured.

And then I encountered some problems –


Problem number one: I didn't have a clue about how to make a crocheted necklace, and I didn't want to buy the whole magazine for instructions on how to make the crocheted necklace pictured in the magazine. I wanted my crocheted necklace to be a choker type necklace with beads dangling in  front.

Problem number two: How do I attach beads to a crochet project? I had never used beads before.

Problem number three: What size crochet hook do I need? I have about 20 different crochet hooks, but I didn't have one the size my grandmother used for making her doilies.

(I could have saved myself a lot of time and trouble if only I had read Marie Anne St. Jean's blog, Crochet Jewelry, but I figured it out, and now I have her link for future reference.)

And now for the solutions – 

Solution number one: I measured my neck, and created a chain that was long enough to fit around it. I then placed markers (I use baby hair clips) at the spots where I wanted to designate the drop part of the necklace. I had to figure out how to attach a clasp, so I crocheted a chain to hook on a clasp.

Solution number two: I learned how to attach beads. You have to string them onto the thread before you begin – not always easy if you plan to use different beads, because you have to attach them in the order in which you will use them.

Solution number three: I purchased a 4/2.00 mm crochet hook, a ball of cranberry thread, beads, clasps, and earring hooks, created my own design,  and through a series of mishaps, finally came up with the crocheted necklace you see above.

I still have to attach a clasp to the crocheted necklace and I want to figure out how to make matching earrings, so this crocheted necklace with its matching earrings is a work in progress.

While I considered making my own beads, I was eager to begin this project, so I purchased mine from Hobby Lobby (another favorite store of mine). You can learn how to Make Your Own Beads from Household Items (a Marie Anne St. Jean article) if you want. Just click the link and you'll learn how.

My biggest problem crocheting a necklace? 

Holding onto that microscopic crochet hook. I don't know how my grandmother mastered it, but I plan on practicing until I get it right, because I'm already getting requests for more crocheted necklaces.




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Friday, April 8, 2011

The BEST FACE CREAM I've Found – Avon Anew

As someone who will be celebrating her 60th birthday this year, wrinkles are a big deal for me. Finding the right product to hide the wrinkles is an even bigger deal for me. And the cost – oh, the cost – the cost is a HUGE deal for me.

Unfortunately after trying Avon Anew, I have NEVER been able to find a product that comes close to hiding the wrinkles, as well, or even half as well, as Avon Anew. I will not mention the plethora of other products I used in an effort to save money, but I feel that I have to tell you what a dramatic difference it made, no matter what product I used, when I STOPPED using Avon Anew.

I HATE the ENORMOUS amount of money Avon charges for so little product. Their jars are deceitfully large, and what sits inside them is not nearly as much as what the size of the jar would lead you to believe it holds.

The sad truth is, though, Avon Anew actually works, and I find myself spending a month's worth of McDonald's dollar menu meals every time I run out.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Toyota Prius Hybrid Provides the Best Gas Mileage

We all know that the cost of gas is OUTRAGEOUS! So what are we supposed to do – stay in our homes all day – every day?

While I drive back and forth from Urbana to Bourbonnais to care for my grandchildren every week, my son and his wife are absorbing the cost of gas three out of the four weeks I drive there (I didn't think it was fair to charge them for the fourth week since I drive there at least once a month anyway).

My old 2002 Saturn with its over 120,000 miles currently costs me about $25 a week to get back and forth. According to figures I got from the fueleconomy.gov web site, the 2002 Saturn gets anywhere from 22 - 32 miles per gallon.

So I've been looking for a Toyota Prius, because, according to the same site, the Prius is the most fuel efficient car. The Toyota Prius hybrid would give me about 50 miles per gallon, and cost me nearly half of what I'm currently paying in gas.

But I can't afford to purchase a new Prius, and I need one that hasn't been recalled and doesn't carry any warnings.

Research time.

Research done. I found a site that tells me which vehicles (not just Toyota) have been recalled. Knowing I can rely on this source will prepare me for any questions I may have about my purchase. And I'll be able to ask if the recall issue has been resolved.

It appears that one problem the Toyota Prius has had is with tire selection and rims for cars sold between September 1, 2005 and June 2, 2008. And the site offers information on other recalls as well.

If you are curious about whether or not your car has been recalled, click HERE for car information, questions and answers, recalls, and reviews.

And for people like me who, after three years of living in the same home, still don't know where their local dealerships are, THIS SITE provide a button that says, "Find a Dealership Near You." Looks like I'll be shopping in Danville (the birth place of Dick Van Dyke).

I should probably go with the oldest Prius.  The earliest Toyota Prius I could find on this site was the 2001 model. Just for kicks I went on craigslist to find out if anybody was selling a Toyota Prius. I found three of them and they were all sold. Looks like everybody is thinking the same way I am – go hybrid!


Photo from Edmunds Toyota.

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Finally! A Good Night's Sleep

Well, For Me Anyway

Don't you just hate hearing old people complain about all their aches and pains? Well, you're going to hate this blog.

Not really. At least I hope not. I'm not going to complain about my aches and pains, because I found a way to alleviate them – with the Simmons Beautyrest 19" Pilllowtop AIR Bed.

I had been sleeping on an old mattress, and every morning when I awoke, my hips hurt. I thought I was just getting old until I spent the night on a firmly blown air mattress.

So I threw out my old mattress (actually the kids use it to play on now), and plugged in my electric pump that came with my Simmons Beautyrest 19" Pilllowtop AIR Bed. Within minutes I had a COMFORTABLE bed that allows me to sleep for HOURS!

I still get up a lot at night, I will probably always get up a lot at night, but at least now my sleep is more restful and I don't wake up with all those previous aches and pains.

This bed is puncture proof, but I wouldn't test it by hammering nails into it. Also I top off mine with a pillow-top sheet cover and a foam cushion.

Why spend a thousand dollars for a bed that costs only $100?

The only downside about the Simmons Beautyrest 19" Pilllowtop AIR Bed is that I've noticed I have to put more air into it periodically. I never really know how much air it needs. It may be puncture proof, but I'll bet it can explode if you put too much air into it, so I'm cautious. Still I now look forward to sleeping on my Simmons Beautyrest 19" Pilllowtop AIR Bed.

I do have to climb up to get into it though, because I placed it on top of my box springs. When you look at the photo you'll realize what a task getting into bed has become, but it is SO WORTH IT!

Photo borrowed from csnstores.com


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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Infested

My daughter, Lindsey, treated me to a television program I'd never seen before, entitled, Infested. The funny thing about a blog entitled, Product Favorites is that I can choose any product I've used, seen, or wanted – from items that condition my hair to programs I watch on TV.

To be honest, Infested was the most repulsive program I've ever seen. And repulsive makes for fascinating. I sat riveted to the television, unable to move. Had anybody been taping my reaction to what I had been watching, though, they would have seen sheer disgust mixed with shock splashed all over my face.

Probably the reason this particular program fascinated me was that I had personally witnessed an infestation before. Apartment hunting many years ago, I found one in my price range. After standing at the door and knocking for some time, a little woman finally came around the corner from the outside of the apartment. She looked me up and down and said, "I no think you gonna like it."

But I had made the trip and thought, "How bad could it be?"

She repeated, "I no think you gonna like it."

And I stupidly responded, "That's OK. I'm here. I might as well take a look."

What I should have said was, "My whole purpose in being here is to ingrain in my brain a nightmare I will have for the rest of my life," because I've learned over the years that when you ask a question that begs an answer, you discover the answer quickly. "How bad could it be?"

Let me tell you.

The front door was locked from the inside and she didn't have a key so we had to climb in through the window. You would think that alone would have been a giant red flag, but it wasn't. Because it was dark inside, after I stepped over the window ledge and into the darkness, she told me, "Stay. I gonna turn on light."

So I obediently stood still. When she turned on the light, I felt as if I were in the midst of an acid trip. The walls, ceiling, and floor were moving. No, actually, the walls weren't moving. The millions of cockroaches, measuring probably from microscopic to three inches long and all sizes in between, were moving – EVERYWHERE.

Looking back I don't know why I didn't just run out of the window, but because I was trying to be polite, I followed her from room to room, watching the cockroaches span out from my shoes with every step. I don't remember the layout of the apartment. I don't remember what the woman look like. I don't even remember exactly where this apartment was located.

What I do remember is getting out of that apartment and shaking my limbs so violently that I thought I would lose one. I remember the terror of thinking I might have brought one of them home. I remember examining my car thoroughly before I exited it, and I remember removing my clothing IN the shower.

That nightmare returned the day I sat in my daughter's apartment watching the show, Infested (which airs on Animal Planet), where I watched millions of mice swarming walls, cockroaches crawling across butter, raccoons confiscating a family home, and bed bugs biting little babies.

Yes, this program is both repulsive and fascinating. But I have to ask, why do infestations always involve ugly bugs and rodents? I would rather see the world infested with butterflies.

If you are as fascinated by the bizarre as I am and you want to watch something truly revolting, check out Animal Planet's program, Infested. Don't – I repeat DON'T eat dinner while you watch that program. (Clicking the links to Infested will take you to Animal Planet's web site for the program.)

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Cancer, Hair Loss, and Aussie

I never really liked my hair, and I was never very good at primping. My poor daughters, at a very young age, had to learn how to fix their own hair because my fingers couldn't coordinate all of the hair implements necessary for creating any type of style.

Once, when I tried braiding one of my daughters' hair, I twisted her hair around my fingers so badly, I had to cut it out of my hand.

You might think I would be grateful for having lost all of my hair during chemo last year so I could get a fresh start. And I have to admit it was kind of a relief to not have to force my hair into something remotely close to attractive. I always wore my hair in pony tails or put it up with banana barrettes, because I had no skill in creating hairstyles.

But then I lost all of my hair and whoa! What a surprise! When I stopped taking the "bad" chemo (I'm on the "good" chemo now), my hair grew back ultra curly! Sadly all of my former cowlicks remained.

Ever since my hair grew back, I've been on a quest to find hair products that will tame down this Brillo pad that sits on the top of my head, and two very important factors played a heavy role in determining which products I would use on my hair – texture and fragrance.

I wanted my hair to be SOFT and I wanted something that would smell good, but I also wanted something that wouldn't put me in the hospital with an asthma attack because of my allergy to so many fragrances.

My quest for a good hair product lead me to Aussie.

Aussie hair styling products are my favorite hair products. Aussie's fragrance is beautiful and before I cover my hair with hairspray (something I NEVER used to use prior to getting cancer), and after using Aussie "hair insurance" and Aussie "catch the wave," my hair's texture is remarkably soft.

So yes, using the hair spray kind of defeats the purpose when it stiffens my soft hair, but without it, my hair moves in a thousand directions.

And if I let my hair dry without using any products, the texture of my hair is wiry. Aussie's leave-in conditioner helps me feel as if I am doing something healthy for my hair.

Aussie's "catch the wave" mousse allows me to move the cowlicks around so that parts of my hair don't look as if I am permanently affixed to a light socket because my hair has a tendency to ignore the rules of gravity.

My hair still isn't as soft as I would like for it to be, but I'm hoping that once the "chemo hair" grows out, what lies beneath has a more silky texture and that Aussie will help me grow a beautiful head of hair.

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Auto Correct Mode Makes For Funny Smart Phones Text Messages


With all the complaints about how nobody understands us, nobody listens to us, nobody hears us, etc., FINALLY something comes along to really discombobulate us – text messaging with auto correct. If you've never experienced the fun of text messaging with auto-correct, or if you have, and you understand its humor aspect, continue reading.

I am not one who finds texting to be a pleasurable experience. Texting – for me – is frustrating! But I admit, it can also be VERY funny.

And even though most of the time, the message I try to convey is so far off from its original intent I don't know why I bother sending text messages in the first place, I continue to use the auto correct feature because of the sheer laughter I experience by using it.

Last week I received from my daughter an email filled with funny text messages.
As evidenced by the tumultuous laughter that ensued after reading the texts, I discovered I am not the only one who has a problem with texting. Here are some actual texts copied from Damn You Auto Correct Dot Com.

When you finish reading them, I encourage you to go directly to Damn You Auto Correct Dot Com to find more. I am wheezing from an asthma attack after reading them, and it was worth it!


















What I have provided you is a tiny sample of what is available on Damn You Auto Correct Dot Com. Please visit them for hundreds more.

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Top Shots on The History Channel Season Premier Tuesday, February 8th


In the early Nintendo years, Mario Brothers came packaged with Duck Hunt. I could have cared less about Mario, but I loved Duck Hunt. The only misery I felt was that every time the game loaded, it started from the beginning and I had to shoot the duck in what felt like slow motion for several hundred hours before the higher levels finally appeared.

OK, admittedly, I'm exaggerating. I (maybe) had to go through only about twenty levels to get to a level that required even a little skill. But I really enjoyed shooting games, and I was a fairly good marksman (markswoman).

Whenever a boyfriend took me to a carnival, in fact, I gravitated toward the arcade games where I could aim at moving targets.

Actually, the only time I faltered badly with a gun was when one boyfriend handed me a 57 magnum and asked me to point at a target located several hundred feet away. The gun shot backwards out of my hand, tore open the flesh on my hand, and ruined my eardrums for several days.

Shooting, though, for me, has always been fun.

When I was a kid staying with my grandmother, I sat on the back step with a huge washtub of water in front of me. As my grandmother hung laundry in the back yard, I lowered a squirt gun into the tub and filled it again and again with water.

I aimed at bugs crawling on glass blades, various pebbles, and greenery. I practiced and practiced for hours. Rarely did I miss my target.

Don't get me wrong – I'm not an advocate for guns, but I always let my kids play with squirt guns when they were little, my sisters and I played cops and robbers with the neighborhood kids when we were young, and nobody in our neighborhood went on a murderous rampage – ever.

Yes, times are very different now, and bullying needs to be addressed, but sadly, too many kids are solving minor problems with major and deadly NON-solutions, and too many kids are left without appropriate supervision.

That's material for another blog, though.

You've heard it said again and again – guns don't kill people – people kill people, and guns should be respected and understood for the harm they can inflict and for the deadly consequences that result from using them inappropriately.

Weapons are also used for sport, and one new television program has taken the skill of shooting a weapon to a whole different level.

Top Shot, which airs on the History channel, is a program that matches the greatest marksmen with other great marksmen who compete against each other "in historically inspired challenges for a chance to win the title of Top Shot." It works kind of like Survivor in that contestants must work through different challenges using a variety of weapons in a variety of circumstances.

As Top Shot explains on its web site, "It's not about the weapons – it's about skill."

16 new contestants (14 men and 2 women) compete this year to win History's title of Top Shot as they show their expertise with Tommy Guns, Tomahawks, Compound Bows, and other weaponry.

The show airs tonight, February 8th on the History Channel.

I've already chosen my "$100,000 Top Shot winner," but only because I know one of the contestants and I really really hope MY PICK wins.

For a sneak peak at tonight's show, visit this Top Shot Sneak Peak link.

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