Friday, June 28, 2013

I love them.....

Trees.  I love every leaf on their branches and their majestic beauty makes my heart swell.  I guess that's why I've been happy living among so many of them for over 40 years.

I have 26 mature trees in my yard....most of them Oak.  Most people take trees for granted and never stop to think about the benefits they offer us. Trees and other plants are vital to our existence in more ways than just providing wood and paper products.

A couple years ago the house next door to me sold and the new people moved in. A young couple who have since had a child. They are good people but keep to themselves, like most everyone else in my neighborhood. One day shortly after moving in he visited with me over the fence for a few minutes. He told me then that he "hated trees".  He was originally from a huge farm where there were few trees to get in the way of their farming operation. After fall came and went and he experienced all the work involved with raking all those leaves, I'm sure his dislike for trees only grew.

Yesterday it was hot and humid and I was inside with the AC on. I let my dog out only to see a bunch of workmen in my neighbor's yard with chainsaws. I watched in horror as a perfectly healthy beautiful tree nestled against my fence that separates his property from mine was being cut down. Several more in his yard met the same fate. These were healthy mature oak trees and I felt like someone was hurting one of my children. The chainsaws grated on my nerves and the realization that something that took so many years to grow was being needlessly eradicated almost made me physically sick. That area in my back yard looks strange now since there has been a tree there for the 40-some years I've been here and for probably a 100 more before that.

There is nothing I can do. They are on his property and he has the right to cut them. I won't say anything to him either. A good neighbor knows when to keep their mouth shut. One of the biggest trees in the neighborhood sits on the corner of his property and I'm just praying that it's big enough that he won't tackle that one next.

Sigh. Us older folks hate changes anyway but we understand that a lot of changes are necessary. I just have a hard time dealing with the unnecessary ones.

In other news.....I am now all caught up with Downton Abbey.  I watched all 3 seasons and all I can say is "wow". Terrific series that proves you can have a winner without nudity and obscene language.  I have also watched two seasons of The Game of Thrones and I love it. A lot more nudity than is necessary, the obscenities are frequent both in word and gore, but the plot is terrific. I watched Downton Abbey through Roku and The Game of Thrones by DVD that I purchased.  If you have not watched either one, they are both worth your time.....unless the things I've mentioned above would bother you. One cute thing.....Baby Dragons!!!!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Something new for me.....

First of all.....this is not a paid advertisement. I'm getting nothing for writing my praises on this little gadget, although if the company offered...............

But, I must continue.....for I am excited that I've found a good product that works well. I never...ever praise a product unless I've tried it and I like it.

This is a Roku®.... Roku 3 to be exact. I found out about this little gem through a co-worker who is about as technically challenged as I am. When she assured me that it was easy to hookup and easy to use....well, that sold me. My TV is not that old.....maybe 2 years. I don't know if this works with older TV's.

This purchase is part of an on-going attempt to get my monthly bills decreased. My cable bill has been a thorn in my side for many years.....although, to be fair, I must say that the cable company has been most generous with me lately. Every time they increase my bill (roughly 3 times a year), I call and complain and they cancel the increase and set me up for a "deal" and I end up paying less than what I was paying before the latest increase for the exact same service. I appreciate this gesture, bill is still too high for what I'm getting. It has always been my argument that we should only have to pay for the cable channels we actually WANT and watch. I have only basic cable with internet and it allows me to view 99 paid channels like HBO. I only actively watch about 25 of those 99 channels but I still have to pay for all those that I never watch. Not Fair!  Whoa.... I'm veering off the path let me get back on track.

I ordered the Roku® and hooked it up with no problem. I attached it to the back of my TV with a HDMI cable (bought separately for around $6). Plugged it into an electrical outlet and then plugged an Ethernet cable into it which allowed internet access (cable bought separately for about $15). If I had a wireless router, then the Ethernet cable wouldn't be necessary, but my router is not wireless. I am a big fan of and purchase almost everything from them. I found out that if I joined  Amazon "Prime", then it would not only give me free two day shipping on nearly every purchase, but would allow me to view movies and TV shows for free through streaming video, either through your PC or through another source, such as Roku.

I am simply the point where I'm nearly speechless, about all the popular uncut movies available to me for no charge other than paying $79 a YEAR to be a Prime member. That's a YEAR!  That is $6.58 cents a MONTH!!! And remember, that fee gets me FREE two day shipping on my purchases. This is in addition to my Internet fee, of course.....but I have to have I didn't add in that cost. I went through last night and made up my "watch list"....all free through Amazon Prime .....movies as dated as the old Charlie Chan mysteries right up to documentaries and episodes like "Walking Dead".  Yes, some things you have to pay $1.99 or $2.99, depending on what it is, but the free content is absolutely amazing. Newer movies are available for $3.99 to $4.99.....but I'm more interested in the free content.

You don't have to join anything extra if you don't want to.....but with everything you get for only $6.58 a month (through Amazon Prime), it would be foolish not to. You can also join Netflix, Hulu Plus, Crackle, and a bunch others I can't think of right now. But I'm more familiar with Amazon, so I stuck with them. I'm not sorry.

The Roku 3 was $99, they have other models with less features that cost less. This model has earbuds that you plug into the Roku remote so you can listen without disturbing anyone else in the house. I can walk as far as the bathroom with the buds in and still hear what I'm watching as it's controlled by a radio signal. Any earbuds will work. Eventually I'm hoping to cancel my cable TV and just have Internet supplied by my cable company.....and with this little gadget, it may be possible sooner than I thought. This new season I will watch Walking Dead through Prime and see if I can enjoy it without commercials.

This is a win-win situation. So, if you're like me and want to try and save some monthly fees, you might want to give this a try. So far, I'm extremely happy with it. Not to mention, it also comes with a free Angry Birds game you play right on your TV using the Roku remote.

Again, this is NOT a paid advertisement.....I just like to let others know when I find something that works well and can save you money.  Keep smilin'.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A humble hero.....

is a hero nevertheless.  My daughter's friend called her Friday and told her what happened when he went shopping at a local store that morning.

He went to a discount store to pick up one item. He parked next to a vehicle that was occupied by a little girl, perhaps around 8 or 9 years old. He glanced at her, noting that she was the only one in the car and he then went inside. He wasn't in the store long, only a few minutes and when he came out and went to his car he noticed that the little girl was outside of her car with a guy. He had her by the arm and was obviously leading her somewhere. She wasn't making a fuss or yelling but she had a certain look about her that caused my daughter's friend to take particular notice.  Let me just call my daughter's friend "Joe" to make it easier.

Acting on pure instinct, Joe asked the little girl if she knew the man who was leading her away and she answered 'no'.  The man, who was in his early 30's, told Joe to mind his own business.  Joe ignored him and asked why she was leaving with him and she said that the man had told her that her mother had sent him to get her. Joe grabbed the man's arm and told him to let go, and at the same time yelled for passers-by to call 911 as this guy was trying to take this child. A struggle ensued and Joe.....wanting to keep the guy there so police could question him.....knocked him out.

Police arrived in record time and took the man in custody. Mother came out of the store screaming and crying over her daughter. (She needs to be reported to protective services for leaving her child alone in the car as far as I'm concerned.....she very nearly lost her child by her neglectful actions.)  Anyway, all turned out well....everyone around, and there were plenty of witnesses in the parking lot, slapped Joe on the back and the police officers told him beers were on them anytime he wanted to take them up on it. The store offered him a reward for his heroic actions. The press wanted a story with pictures. Joe humbly turned it all down with a smile, tip of his hat and a "happy to have been of some service" attitude. All he needed was a white horse to ride away on.

You know, there are a lot of those kind of people walking around.....unsung heroes......some people call them angels.  And they really are. We don't hear about them because that's the way they want it.  In your prayers tonight, thank God for Joe.....and all the other Joes and Jo-annes out there.  I hope that little girl's mother is thanking God also.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

This n' that.....

to go with a refreshing fruit salad.

For the summer, my granddaughter is coming over to stay with me on the days that I don't work  This is doing everyone some good and keeping me on my toes, so to speak.

After work on Monday I went grocery shopping at a different store than I usually go to. I used to shop at this store a lot before I retired because it was conveniently close to my work. I was surprised to see that they have replenished their supply of rider carts and now I can confirm they have the best ones anywhere around. I actually got a cart that didn't go dead on me halfway through shopping......and it was at the end of the day too!

I bought stuff to make a refreshing fruit salad as the day was hot and humid and it just sounded good.  After stopping to pick up my granddaughter, we came home and cut up the fruit and made the dip:

1, 8 oz package of cream cheese
1, 7 oz container of marshmallow fluff

Beat up the cream cheese until smooth, then add the fluff a little at a time and mix well.  You can either carefully (so you don't smash the fruit) mix it into a bowl of fruit or put it in a separate container and use it for dip.  Yum yummy

During grocery shopping I observed some women who desperately needed to look in a full length mirror before going out in public. I am no beauty shape definitely needs to be redefined to put the curves back in the right places.....but I, at least, do try and make myself presentable. I am embarrassed FOR these people who obviously don't care if they make our eyes bleed. Their motto....if you don't like what you see....then don't look.

The one that got me the most was this middle aged lady who had poured herself into a pair of leggings. They were stretched to the max....showing her white underwear. I kept waiting for them to explode. She was about 100 lbs overweight, which did not help. She also did not have a bra on and her generous endowments hung halfway to her waist. Her short hair was smashed in the back (bed-head)......maybe she had just arose from a nap and suddenly decided she needed groceries and bolted from her home in a rush. Anyhow, it's one of those circumstances where you don't want to stare but you can hardly contain yourself. Mentally I was putting her in a different outfit and visualizing it taking off 50 plus pounds. Who needs Wal-mart to people watch?

Oh yeah.....another thing.  I have now confirmed that I totally suck at video games. It looks so simple.....I don't understand how it can be so hard.  I just hope granddaughter doesn't lose respect for me because I killed off every one of the soldiers in my unit.  Thank goodness for the 'save game' feature.

Don't you wish real life was like that?  Make a mistake?  No problem.....just do that part of life over.  LOL

Keep smilin'.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Once a year.....

into every pet's life a little rain (pain) must fall. Hopefully no more than once a year.

Yes, it was that time again.

I purposely schedule her shots so it's nice weather when we have to go to the dreaded vet's office. As soon as her leash comes off the hook she gets all excited. She knows that she's in for a car ride and thankfully she associates car rides with something pleasant so the first part of our event is rather nice.

Then we get to the parking lot of the vet's office. She knows that something is up but....forever optimistic, she runs around peeing on spots that have been peed on hundreds of times before her. It's not until we open the door and go inside that this happy little dog turns into a quivering mass of Jello. If it was possible for her to climb up the front of me and slide into the back of my sweatshirt and into my bra....she would gladly do so. There was only one other dog there at the time....a huge black Lab who was also shivering and shaking while giving pleading looks to her owner.

We got her the two shots that she needed....her checkup and her heartworm test.  Then her heartworm medication, her flea preventative and her nails clipped. She's in good health, a perfect weight and beat all land speed records in exiting the building. How such a small dog can morph into something so powerful is beyond me....but, trust me, it happens.

My bill for the 50 minutes I spent there was $298.00.  I will get a $20 rebate on the heartworm meds in the form of a credit card lookalike, which I will put into my wallet and forget about until it has expired. I figure a lot of people must do this because why else would they issue a rebate in the form of a card? dummies like me can forget about them and they end up not having to pay you anything.  They aren't dumb!

I honestly do not know how people who have 3 or 4 pets can afford it.  I personally know a guy who has 6 dogs.....he uses them for hunting but they still have to be licensed and vaccinated and take heartworm preventative.

So we are home now. My dog is exhausted. She is now in a deep sleep and I know ..... from past experience.....that she will sleep like this until tomorrow then she'll have all her energy back so she can once again go outside in the backyard and tell off all of the much bigger dogs whose yards borders ours. They just mostly give her that "yeah, yeah, whatever" look and slowly walk away from the fence. She takes that as victory I guess as she prances around the yard feelin' big.

How much are vet bills in your area?