Monday, March 30, 2009

No Net!

No new blog until at least Friday and possibly Monday - Our Hughesnet modem went Tango Uniform, and the new one takes five working days to receive. That also puts a stop to my news reading experiment. See you in a week or there about.


News Experiment

I've started a bit of an experiment about 'news' reading. For a few days I've been glancing at headlines on several news sources - from the left to the right - MSNBC, NYT, CNN, FOX news, Instapundit, Drudge Report. ( I'm looking for a lefty blogger to fill out the far left spot to balance Drudge, but haven't found one I can stomach yet. The Daily KOS just pi$$es me off.)

The idea is to see what is considered newsworthy depending on your political point of view. I am considering adding a non-American news source to the mix - like BBC - but one that reports expensively on American issues. I try to spend 5-10 minutes or less on each site, just enough to scan the headlines and take a few notes and look at the lead pictures.

Let me know in the comments if you have any ideas about what I might add to make this experiment more interesting - I plan on doing this for about two weeks, then I'll pontificate on what I've observed.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

More evidence that I'm not ' a nice Christian lady'

Got a note from a friend today, where I had inquired about a girl that Meredith knew back in her TeenPact years. The young lady is about 20 or 21 years old, lives at home, works in a daycare, and is an expert quilter. Her specialty is 'wedding quilts' hand embroidered with the names of the bride and groom, and their wedding date. ( What's a double wedding ring pattern?) She spent a year at Bible college, but decided to move back home because she didn't like the 'atmosphere'.

I wanted to giggle maniacally. I kept thinking that in their circles it just might be an issue remembering the name of the person you just married, since you likely only met them a few times - so having it on the bedcovering might be a good idea.

Really - where on earth will you find a more rarefied atmosphere than a small, conservative Bible college? Should we all just be locked in closets with our Bibles and wedding quilts until Christ returns?

I accept that there are families more conservative than mine. I accept there are those more liberal. I regret that I feel the need to giggle and roll my eyes at some of the antics of both. I'm a rotten 'not nice' Christian lady.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Morning Randomness.

* I saw the biggest bullfrog I've ever seen around here this morning. He was making his way across the back yard toward the swamp. Hey, Ladies - there's a new boy in town!

* Our spring weather has turned blustery. Time to get back to inside chores today. Yesterday Hannah planted the seeds for this summer's herbs in the pots on the deck. Good things come to those who wait. Yum.

* I don't like grocery shopping for many reasons. Yesterday the family behind me separated their purchases into two carts - hers full of food purchased with an Illinois LINK card ("food stamps"), and his full of beer purchased by $20.00 bills peeled off a roll. My tax money at work vicariously underwriting one heck of a party as it looks.

* Budgeting: We're at the end of our first "official" month of Dave Ramsey budgeting - as opposed to the semi-official program we had going. It seemed pretty simple at first - but I'm so lost. I'm pretty sure I didn't overspend anywhere, but the money ended up in all of the wrong places at the wrong times. Going to have to do some rethinking there...

* Wednesday we'll have an Elston Family Reunion. Harry and Hannah will both be home for the first time in about three weeks.

Cheers! ~M.E.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I Officially Hate CFL's.

Ok, I'm a hater. Even worse, I'm a non-green hater. I used to just have a preference for those old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs we've used our whole lives, but also had an open mind. I try not to do things just because that what we've always done, I like to have a reason.

First: there's price. The 60 watt full spectrum bulbs run about $.80 each. The 13 watt (60 watt replacement) CFL's range from $6. to $8. each - that's up to ten times as much.

Then there's ease of use: We have two identical lamps in our bedroom, and another set in our upstairs living space. Just so happens that sometime last spring, in a fit of greenness Harry (NOT ME) bought some CFL's and replaced one bulb in each set. In the bedroom, the light on my side is the incandescent. I flip the switch and it comes on - a nice warm 60 watt glow that I read by every night. The light on Harry's side is the CFL. You flip the switch, and wait to see if you have the right setting for a second or two - then you reach up and fiddle with the bulb, then it flickers for a few seconds, then you get a feeble glow that strengthens to about the 60 watt equivalent in about two or three minutes. In the living room the 60 watter acts as it always has - flip the switch - fiat lux! but again the CFL is always flickering and weak.

Then there's all those promises about longevity: as of this morning, I have replaced BOTH of those original bulbs installed last spring. The living-room one was defective from the get-go and was replaced within the first two weeks, and the bedroom one refused to shine even with the kindest of ministrations this morning.

THEN there's this little warning on the CFL - DO NOT THROW IN THE TRASH CONTAINS MURCURY DISPOSE OF AS HAZARDOUS WASTE never saw that on the ol' GE soft-whites.

Finally, the patriotic angle - the CFL's I have are all made in mainland China. The old-fashioned bulbs I have in the house are made either in Canada, or in the good old US of A.

Until the government decides I can't have them any more, I'm sticking with the incandescents. I'll just turn them off when I don't need them to save the planet. Thank you.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Close to a Vacation

This week H Girl is away with a group from our Church doing grunt- work down in New Orleans. I miss her, but have thoroughly enjoyed having a few days to myself. I have spent some time doing yard work, and brewing a new story. Today I am starting to write. This one seems that it will resolve itself pretty quickly - either a very long short story or a novella.

It's in the science-fiction realm - and a small part of it involves a middle-aged, out of shape, overweight woman doing yard work. Just my day making it's way into my fiction.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Coming American Black Market

I remember all of the times when I hear about other countries - 'lesser' countries, that have thriving black markets. I assume that those cases are because the people value their things more than government currency, but I may be wrong. I felt like we lived in a superior society because we didn't resort to this. In the last few months, three things have come to my attention that make me think that we not only are losing any superiority we may once have perceived for ourselves, but that we may soon be living with a thriving black market society. Consider:

The Comsumer Products Safety Commission, in reaction to the lead found in toys imported from China last summer quietly passed Public Law 110-114 entitled the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 that essentially bans ALL items that are made for the use of children under the age of twelve from being sold or resold unless that have been tested for lead and phthlates - and have a sticker affixed proving so. This leaves resale shops, thrift shops and yard sellers with unfathomable amounts of perfectly good reusable items that must be dumped into landfills. The penalty for non-compliance is formidable - as much as $1,000,000.00 per occurrence.

Laws are being considered in several states that will impose sales taxes on individual parties that exchange goods and services for money. This would include yard sales, Craig's List sales, and selling your used lawnmower to the guy down the street. The government wants you to submit paperwork, and give them their cut.

Last month, a friend quietly told me that a compassionate doctor wrote a prescription for her - at a higher dose - for a drug that both her husband and son need to control a hereditary high cholesterol problem. It is the only dependable drug for their problem, and it is 'top tier' on their meager insurance - Nearly $100.00 a month per prescription. With a penstroke the physician broke the law, and saved the struggling family a whole month's worth of gasoline for the family car. With the choice of having money to buy necessities, or severely compromising our health, I can see where this may spin off to more than just an occasional 'family plan' occurrence.

Today I read of a new bill in congress that will severely hamper the small farmer from selling his own goods at local farmer's markets. Say hello to H.R. 875 The Food Safety Modernization act of 2009. What this will do is force anyone who produces food of any kind, and then transports it to a different location for sale, to register with a new federal agency called the "Food Safety Administration." Then they will be somehow inspected, regulated and taxed accordingly - and heavily fined for non-compliance. (oddly enough it seems that the bill's sponsor, Rosa Delauro D-Conn is married to a guy who list's Monsanto as a major client. )

What I see is our government turning us all into a bunch of criminals: Tiffany is going to buy a car seat from Rachel so her baby is in a seat when she gets stopped by the cops, but she won't check for the sticker, and she won't fill out the paperwork and send off the $.87 sales tax. With no way to be sure that you personally are abiding by all of the rules, it becomes moot. Doing what it takes to get along and giving up worrying if it is 'legal' becomes a way of life. The black market in kid's clothing, homegrown veggies and farm eggs, life-saving drugs, and lawn mowers becomes the norm. The government more and more is looked at as Big Brother waiting to swoop down and devour decent people and less like the protector of American justice, safety, and freedom.


Monday, March 16, 2009

kicking off the dust

Well, well. Look how neglected this place has become.

Time to reclaim my blog, though, because the shine has dimmed from the facebook experiment. Two drastic changes for the worse since I started spending most of my free computer time over there. Ugh. Can't find anything. I hate the look, and it's s l o w.

So, back to the archaic thing: a real Blog. Welcome any of you that have come over here to have a look because I redirected you from Facebook. Leave me a not so I know you were by. I'll start posting quasi-regularly again in a couple of days.

Cheers! ~M.E.