Sunday, June 29, 2008

Future builder?.....

We wanted to have family night last night and what do you do if you want to look at a movie not suitable for the younger set? Well, you find an alternative for them, that's what. We had decided that we wanted to watch American Gangster with Denzil Washington (review of this on another post) and figured it would be violent and also figured that my granddaughter, age almost 6, would not cooperate by going to bed so we could watch it. I remembered something that I hadn't thought of in 3 years. The old laptop!

Three years ago, I attempted to introduce this same granddaughter, at the tender age of 3, to computing. I loaded some very simple educational type games on an old laptop that had been given to me, took a deep breath to give me patience, and started my endeavor. She, being an extremely curious child, wanted to push every button on the laptop but was especially enchanted with the on/off button. No matter how many times I tried to discourage her from pushing that button, she would do it anyway and then the whole boot-up process would have to start over. After many times of this and after a failed attempt of hiding the button under duct tape, my patience packed its bags and left town on the first bus headed anywhere. I took the laptop and put in on the shelf in my closet and forgot about it.....until Saturday. Well, its worth a try, I surmised. Its been three years and she's matured a lot in that time. So I took the trusty laptop down, dusted it off and proceeded to the kitchen table.

Begging patience to stick around for a while, I booted up this lowly laptop and started to refresh my memory about just what was on it. Oh I remember. These are pretty lame games now. She already knows all this stuff. So I went to the shelf where I keep all my old computer programs and games. Searching through them I find some old games that I had purchased for her older brother when he was her age, kicking myself because I had given a lot of them away. This granddaughter, needless to say, was a "surprise" addition to our family.

I find an old game that my grandson dearly loved, Tonka Construction. He loved it so much he wanted to sleep with it. It revolved around Tonka trucks and how to build things. It was definitely something a boy would love and a girl would probably be bored to tears with, but I was desperate. So I loaded this game into the laptop, which took FOREVER. Remember, this machine is OLD. I introduced my granddaughter to the game, gave her minimal instruction and she set out. At first she wasn't too enthused (What? No Barbies, no Bratz?) but when she found out she could build a castle.....well, it was heaven-sent. She played with that game and laptop for four hours and this, my friends, is a RECORD for her to be involved with ANYTHING. She is my hyper, busy, always moving, always talking grandchild. She only screwed it up once by opening the tray which holds the CD Rom in the middle of the game and the computer went....ACK..what happened, where do I get my info from...where did it go....ACK, EEK...Blue Screen. Amazingly, after shutting the tray, everything came back like nothing had happened. Impressive for an old laptop using Win98.

She loves this building game and is basically teaching herself how to use the game and which trucks or equipment to use to do specific things. I'm not too sure what sort of educational help this can be.....maybe following instructions....but she's so into it right now, I wouldn't be surprised if she didn't, one day, build her own house. Hey....stranger things have happened!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Why I color my hair.....

Sheesh….when is this garbage going to STOP. Yesterday was a bear of a day. It was just one thing after another at work. I was so glad when the day finally ended and it was time to lock up and come home. All I wanted to do was get in my jammies and relax with a pot of fresh, steaming coffee.

At home however, in my mailbox, I had received notification that my personal information, along with thousands of others, had been mishandled and lost. In other words, someone lost several boxes of tapes….or else they were stolen…who knows anymore. But they have to advise me that my info is out there for the picking …my name, address and the good old social security number. PEOPLE!!! Have you not ever heard of encryption???? This is a big investment company I’m talking about here. They have my info because I have a few shares of Disney stock.

And get THIS. To make it up to me for THEM being careless with my personal information that could allow thousands of dollars to be charged in my name, they are going to GIVE me…. ..Abolutely FREE of charge….(gasp) a whopping TWENTY-FOUR HOURS of credit monitoring. And to add insult to injury….they discovered the box was missing in FEBRUARY and its taken them all this time to figure out whose names were on the tapes that are now LORD KNOWS WHERE. My guess would be somewhere in BFE where the info is being sold to the highest bidder as I write. So, this kind of makes this 24-hour monitoring gift of theirs a bit ASSININE, doesn’t it. This is a laugh. It’s an embarrassment. If I wasn’t so mad right now I really would laugh.

The last time my identity was stolen it was used to create a fraudulent account in my name for a cell phone, I put a flag on my name with all three credit bureaus but I think it has expired by now. It took me months to sort all that out and I had intense hatred for the woman that used my name 1500 miles away from where I live. Thankfully, I did not have to pay any of it after proving that I was really me and that I live HERE and not THERE… the signatures didn’t match. HA. So now what. I guess I will call all three credit bureaus and see if I can flag my name again.

We just have to come up with a better system. I say banks or any organization that requires your social security number for their files should be MANDATED, by law, to encrypt every single piece of data that they create and/or store that includes that information. And the government should assign watchdogs to make sure that it’s being carried out. That way if something is misplaced or stolen it would be useless. See? I’m just an average Jane and I figured that out….WHY CAN’T THEY?

*UPDATE – I tried to call the three credit bureaus this morning, using the 800 numbers given in my correspondence and all I got were computerized menus that send you in a frenzy of never-ending circles but no human. (don’t any of these companies employ humans anymore?) Something tells me that this is going to be a Catch-22 situation, but I will keep trying. After all, I wouldn’t want to be afflicted with mind-numbing boredom by having my days blend into a ho-hum cycle of everything going effing RIGHT for a while. Oh, how frightening that would be…..I always have been afraid of the unfamiliar and unknown! I need a drink.

*SECOND UPDATE - Upon reading Fiwa's comment, I decided to try what she suggested and ask for more credit protection. Well, I guess I was so upset when reading the letter, I mis-read what they had offered. It was 24 MONTH protection, not 24-hour, which makes a lot more sense. I also took Anonymous Boxer's advice and forgot about the 800 number and went to the Internet. I'm now enrolled. Thanks to both of you for the advice. However.....I'm still ticked off that they were careless....and I STILL need that drink! HA.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A new doll in town.....

I have two little granddaughters who will celebrate birthdays in August. They are not the same age but their birthdates are one day apart. They have already let it be known what they want for their birthdays.

This age group used to be Barbie’s domain. Barbie, you know, the great American girl-next-door, the Prom Queen, everybody’s sweetheart. Yes, totally out of proportion to say the least, but with a face just screaming goodness and light. Only problem…. after a few days in the hands of an anxious kid, Barbie’s hair makes her look like she’s had a rough night with the Notre Dame football team…..and there is NO FIXING IT. Yep, once its all frizzed, its frizzed to stay and our girl-next-door takes on the look of a quarter hooker slumped at the end of the bar, used and abused.

A few years ago a new doll arrived in town. I had serious issue with these dolls because they all looked like little sluts. And what’s with the feet? Removable feet? Who’s bright idea is that? It really did gross me out, to tell the truth. I still haven’t figured out the reason for it.

But these little Bratz dolls have won me over. As I watched my granddaughters lovingly clutch them in their arms, I knew there was a new kid in town to stay. Yep, these girls may come across as sluts in the beginning and the foot issue takes a while to get used to, but their HAIR. Their hair is to die for. It can be mangled, brushed, pulled, colored, yanked, washed, and curled and still manages to look halfway decent. None of this frizz crap. And lets face it….having a doll is all about changing the clothes and the HAIR. The Bratz girls have rooted hair that, so far, does not seem to frizz.

So I will be buying Bratz and Barbie will be shoved to the bottom of the toy chest, unused and unloved, contemplating Botox injections. I guess she’s lasted quite a while if you think about it. If her maker’s would just think about it, spend a few pennies and FIX HER HAIR, she would be back in full force again, I’m sure. In the meantime, I have a box full of Barbie clothes that just won’t fit Bratz….not that the little sluts would be caught dead in any of them anyway. And Ken…why Ken is just sittin’ back, not looking old, but merely distinguished. Ken’s fantasies will have just about all been realized if he gets thrown in the same toy chest as one of those HOT poofy lipped, sloe eyed Bratz girls. Sigh…….whatever happened to Betsy Wetsy.

Monday, June 23, 2008

R.I.P. You will be missed.....

One of my all time favorite comedians, George Carlin...God love him, is gone. This man has made me laugh so hard that I have found myself gasping for air, doubled over, red in the face, peeing my pants...totally out of control hysterically bellowing out screams of laughter. Is there anything in the world better for you?

I have played his tapes when I was blue, only to find myself with a silly grin on my face in no time and my blues flying out the window. I never tired of his stuff.

I have posted a couple clips of his below; one about embarrassing moments and the other one is about cats. No cat owner can listen to that one without an out-loud burst of laughter. I hope you can view them. If so, enjoy!

So, old friend, I hope that now you can find that huge pile of "lost stuff" you talked about in your "stuff" routine, which makes me grin even now. You did did your made us laugh....and now you can make the angels laugh...but just remember that now, even though God DOES have a sense of humor, you REALLY DO have to watch your language. Good-bye old friend.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Not that I love saying it.......but

You know in some cultures, babies are born and the mothers take to the fields to work and the grandmothers raise the young. Grandmothers are seen as sage residents of the village and are respected as such. What has happened? Not that I'd like to trek my hefty self to the fields to do some serious work, but what about this SAGE business. And no, I'm not talkin' seasoning here. My son thinks I talk just to hear myself, I guess. But, I have found, in all my years of clean living, that if one is patient enough, one gets the LAST LAUGH.

I said, "son, don't let her (meaning his 3.5 yr old daughter) play with your cell phone. she's liable to break it". He just lets my words travel in one ear and out the other, never taking a few seconds to let any of them absorb into brain matter. Sigh. After so many times of saying this to him, I finally gave up and didn't say anything anymore.

Then, there was, "son, you shouldn't be letting her play around your vehicle like that...going in and out of it, she's liable to slam her fingers in the door or pull your radio knobs off or something like that". Again, this fell on deaf ears. day last week as he is driving down a five-lane highway in heavy traffic he hears something hit the side of his car, he glances in the rear view mirror in time to see something get run over by another car and then he glances back at his daughter who is now crying and saying that she has thrown his cell phone out the window. Lesson #1

A couple days ago, said granddaughter is in her father's car and he's right there in the yard and she not only pushes the back door window down, she puts all her weight on it and pushes it down even further into the door. Oh yes, we need to say here that the crank to roll the window UP no longer works and now she's pushed it so far down, you can't get ahold of it. He attempts to grasp it with needle nose pliers and the window SHATTERS into millions of pieces inside the door. Need I mention that we've had a lot of rain lately. Lesson #2

You know sometimes things just work out for the best all by themselves. Do I sound a tad bitter? Maybe I'm still holding a grudge from when he parked right behind me and disappeared for 6 hours. Shhhhh....don't tell anyone. Grandmas aren't supposed to behave that way. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I apologize.....

A lot has been going on lately in my life and with working more hours than I normally do I sometimes do not get the chance to read or comment on as many blogs as I'd like to. I'm able to read blogs at work, but cannot comment. As someone I have a lot of respect for once said, "real life trumps blog life" and that's true. It can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on circumstances.

I have neglected some of you lately and please accept my apology for that. At home I have suffered through hundreds of interruptions and sometimes would simply forget where I left off on my blog commenting when I did find the time to do it. You just can't even imagine the frustrations I'm going through right now......or maybe you can because I'm sure we all have them at one time or another. Life is like that.

I love every single one of you and if I don't comment for a while....YELL at me and remind me that I haven't said anything to you lately. Please don't think I singled anyone out purposely to ignore. I don't do stuff like that. Bear with me here.....I just need to get a few things in my life adjusted. Thank you, dear friends.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

One more thing to tick me off.....

My driveway is wide enough for two cars to sit side by side. My son likes to park his vehicle directly in front of the garage door which houses MY car, leaving me no way to get out unless I ask him to move his car. I've told him about this on at least THREE other occasions and since he has done it again leaves me with no other option but to think he's doing this ON PURPOSE.

To add insult to injury....he has not only parked his vehicle there, making me a prisoner in my own home....but he has left the premises. Whereabouts unknown. He did not say he was goodbye, no nothin'. Someone had to come here and pick him up but I was told not a thing. This is beyond being inconsiderate. This is being just plain uncaring and STUPID. I swear, I did not raise him to be like this.

When he comes back I'm going to tell him that I had a phone call and was invited to meet Sean Connery at the local restaurant for a light supper but had to decline because I could not get out and I hope he's proud of himself that he made me miss this. Furthermore, I'm starving and there isn't anything here to cook and in addition to that I also had a chance to work this afternoon helping my boss with his election for TRIPLE time and had to decline all that too for the same reason. Mention martyr and I'm the queen of the hop.....nobody does it better when I put my mind to it.

Its supposed to thunder storm and his window is down. Ask me if I'm going to go out there and put it up. HA.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Just call me "Leadfoot".....

I feel like a criminal. In all my years of driving, my driving record is totally unblemished. The other morning as I was driving into work and, I might add, only a quarter mile from my house, I get pulled over. I was doing 13 over the speed limit. I was shocked. I really had no idea. I was just driving along, listening to the radio, minding my own business.

There was a time that I knew most of the officers and they were all older than me. Now they look like kids and our little police force has grown so much....I doubt that I know any of them anymore. The ones I knew have all retired by now. My home town police department is not to be confused with the one I worked for, which is the next township west of where I live. He took all my information and went back to his car to check me out. In a few minutes he returned and explained to me what had transpired.

First of all, he praised me for my excellent driving record and then said that he was not going to give me a speeding ticket but, instead, would be issuing me a Civil Infraction for Impeding Traffic. (which is a laugh cause I was just basically going with the flow). He said the Civil Infraction would not go on my driving record and I would not be given any points. BUT, I would have a fine to pay within 10 days.

He politely handed me my Civil Infraction, told me to have a nice day and went back to his partially unmarked traffic car. I was not happy, of course.....but I have to admit that I WAS speeding and when you do wrong, you have to deal with the consequences. And also....I reminded myself....I have driven this same stretch of road thousands of times and have probably been driving over the speed limit hundreds of times without even thinking about it.

I called the court to find out what my fine is and to confirm what the officer told me about it not being part of my driving record. The fine is a whopping $145. for the charge of Impeding Traffic. I was going 13 miles over the speed limit and if that had been the charge I think the fine would have been double that, plus 2 points on my record. So....I must look at the bright side of this. And, yes.....I have learned a lesson. Be more diligent of my driving speed. Nothing makes you sit up and take notice quicker than hitting you in the effing pocketbook. OUCH. I am NOT telling my son or my grandson about this. Matriarchs have a certain image to uphold, you know.

Monday, June 9, 2008


This is going to be a real quickie. Yesterday we really got slammed with a line of thunderstorms and all the neat things that go along with them. At least we didn't get any uprooted trees or trees on houses in my neighborhood but a mile away they did. However we were inconvenienced with NO POWER. Oh how I hate that. It was in the 90's and my house was nice and cool and did stay that way for quite a while but we were without power for 25 hours and so things began to heat up. I have a generator and after so many hours I decided we would have to start it up because it didn't look like the power was coming back on anytime soon. According to the battery operated little TV I have, the power company was stating that power would be restored by late Wednesday evening. I feel very fortunate that we have it back tonight. There are 100,000 people in my area without power now.
So, since its thundering again, I'm going to get off the computer and hope for the best....that the fragile newly fixed lines won't succumb to a tree branch or high winds.
Isn't it something how....when you're out of power....everything you can think of to do involves electricity. I did read for a while until it got too dark to do so.
So, I'll be back soon....hopefully with some stories to tell.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I have to laugh.....

because if I didn't.....I think I would just cry. I won't go into a lot of detail but Saturday my son got another court "order" in the mail. Now he's being ordered to reimburse the court for the services of the Guardian Ad Litem for his daughter. This is the same on-going case in which his daughter (who he has custody of) was sucked into court because her mother (whom she rarely sees and does NOT live with) uses drugs and was neglecting her two other children she's had since my son broke off with her. We had nothing to do with that case or with his ex. But my son's child was made temporary ward of the court just like her two half siblings....only difference was that she was permitted to stay with her father, where the half-siblings went to foster care because THEIR father was part of the neglect.

Friday I am giving copies of all this paperwork to the County Commissioner in hopes that she can help us get away from all their drama. My son and his child were not involved in it until now. And this last communication from the court just added insult to injury. He's forced into all this...has done no wrong...has NO criminal charges against him....has to put up with weekly visitation to the ex.... bi-weekly "home visits" from the social workers...and NOW they are making him PAY for services that he had no involvement in instigating.

I hope you don't find this boring. Maybe by letting you know what could happen to you when you're doing nothing wrong will start up some effort to protect the INNOCENT....instead of just laws on the books to protect the GUILTY. We have looked into getting legal counsel but he has to come up with a $2500 retainer fee and lord only knows what more costs will be tacked on after that. He really can't afford that. And again....he shouldn't HAVE to be putting out money like this for something he had no prior knowledge of and definitely was not involved in. As we find out more, I'll post the results. And if any of you have any suggestions....please advise. Thanks.

On a different subject.....I was paying bills online last night and had just clicked OK to pay the last bill and saw it go when the power went off. This really disgusted me. I have reported this to the power company before and they were supposed to check it out and remedy it. We lose our power here on the average of once every two weeks. I have given up reprogramming my answering machine and my VCR. I have purchased clocks with battery back-up because I got so sick of having to reset them all the time. The power outages lasts for about 1 or maybe 2 seconds for the most part. Sometimes its out for 3 minutes but that's rare. This is about the worse thing you can do to electronics.....especially computers. I have a battery back-up system for my computer but its old and it didn't work last night when the power went out. So I guess I'll have to replace it....and soon...... before the outages ruin this system. I've lost two computers due to these outages and I tried to get the power company to reimburse me, but they wouldn't. They state they aren't responsible for your stuff. Anyway, Mercury is retrograde right now and that means the time is right for computers to crash, appliances to stop, cars to break down and communications to get screwed up. So I waited for a good 10 minutes before I booted up my system again and....sure enough....the keyboard wasn't working. I was dismayed because even though they are cheap keyboard is special and I'm not so sure I can find another one like it. I shut the system totally down and left it alone for about an hour. I rebooted again and everything worked! Computers are strange things....but I'm glad everything is working again. Mercury will be normal again on June 19.