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Yet another attempt to steal our credit card, caught by the card issuer. They have really good security and flag anything that looks even sllightly out of our buying patterns. I'm happy they caught it but annoyed that we will now have to wait until they issue a new card before we can use the account. Normally that wouldn't be a problem but unless the State of Michigan gets off it's dead ass and sends us our property tax credit before the end of the month, we need the card to pay for out truck license!  We're already short on money this month because we were out of nearly everything and had to restock. *ARGH*

Then there's the whole using hubby's old laptop because my computer is down with a virus! I'm really sick of how slow this thing runs and am going blind trying to see things on the crappy low res display. I'm going to bite the bullet and get started tomorrow trying to get my computer back up and running. Hopefully I'll be able to get the security software, security updates and service packs installed before it gets taken down by another attack, meaning that I'll have to go back and start all over again. Not looking forward to it at all. Hopefully I have all of my writing either backed up or printed out so I won't be losing too much when I reformat the hard drive. *sigh*
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Sunday hubby and I went out to his cousin Mary Lee's farm as a Father's Day treat for him. I knew that she had horses (Quarterhorses, in case you're interested in breed) and assumed she probably had 6-8. Make that 19! Plus 2 that she boards! 21 horses on 28 acres that are mostly divided into several pasture areas, a couple nice sized paddocks for her 2 stallions and various smaller pasture areas. It was a hot but breezy day and I managed to pick up a sunburned neck, back and shoulders but for some reason, none on my legs. The breeze made it feel cooler and I didn't even notice that I was getting burned. Of course that was more due to the horses than the breeze. I haven't been around horses in ages except for a few minutes last summer when I got a chance to pet a few that were in their stalls at one of the Boy Scout camp outs.

The first horse we spotted - he was impossible to miss - was an absolutely gorgous paint (light brown and white) stallion in one of the paddocks. He was grazing on the abundant clover and favoring one of his legs. He had stepped in a hole and strained some tendons but should be fine with plenty of rest. We then wandered around looking at her other stallion, a big... hmmm, not sure if he's a bay or a chestnut. I've really forgotten most of what I knew about color terminology for horses! Also a beautiful horse. Both of them are old fellows, around 20 years old. Next we took a look at her two old mares, one of around 18 or so, the other older. The younger of the two is her beginners horse when she gives riding lessons since she's still healty and strong enough for gentle riding by younger kids and is very calm and mild mannered. The older girl is permanently out to pasture since she's too frail for riding. She's getting to live out the rest of her life in peace in lush pasture areas. Then we went to look at the youngest of her horses, a yearling colt (black and white paint) in the barn. Ummm... how to say this tactfully... hubby and I were absolutely appalled by the condition of the box stall he was in. It looked like it hadn't had a thorough cleaning in months and that when it had been cleaned, they had simply moved the manure to the outside of the stall. Mary Lee loves her horses and works 2 jobs, both requiring a long commute, to support them. She has virtually no help on the farm with chores except for a couple girls who do a bit of work in exchange for getting free lessons. She is in major need of help on the farm and Scot and I are hoping that we can provide some of this help. He has already told Mary Lee (posting a message on facebook) that our first priority is to get the stalls completely cleaned out (not something I can really help with, unfortunately) and get the colt cleaned up.Her reply was agreement and also noted that (having seen how appalled we were at the colt's filthy stall) she had already moved him out of the barn into one of the available pasture areas and he was much happier. No surprize there!

Next we took a look at her tack room and again saw a major need for work. I may not be able to shovel shit but I can clean tack. Just give me some saddle soap, soft rags and a shady place to work and I'll happily clean 'em up. (though hubby will have to help with moving the saddles!) Yeah, she really, really needs help and for a chance to be around horses, and for hubby to be able to ride again, we're not only willing but eager to help out.

Then, after turning off the electricty to the fences, we wandered up to the back pastures. (There were 3 huge pasture areas that we could see and possibly another one or two that we couldn't see from where we were. The multiple pastures allows her to prevent overgrazing and keeps the clover coming back in nicely) The horses were at the back of 2 of the pastures by the tree line but she was able to call them over (half of them, actually since half were in the second pasture). I had been a bit concerned that since I haven't been around horses in so long, I might be a bit timid around them, especially since we're talking about a fair number of horses running free which is not something you encounter during trail rides at riding stable, which is where most of my experience with horses comes from. Most of the horses just thundered through the gate to the far side of the pasure we were in but 3 or 4 hung around getting attention including a blue eyed black and white paint mare (no, blue eyes aren't really desireable in horses but they were gorgous!) who was very curious and had to be convinced that she really didn't need to nibble my shirt/shorts etc. All of the horses were beautiful, healthy looking and impressive. I'd forgotten how big quarterhorses can get! I was also pleased to find that I wasn't the least bit timid around them nor do I seem to be allergic to them. My allergies didn't flare up at all despite all the petting (and gently shoving away!) I did. After just hanging out with the horses for a bit, we went and got some corn and carrots to feed them and generally had a wonderful time. 

We're planning on going back out and camping there for the 4th (our neighborhood goes so crazy with legal and illegal fireworks that you can't even see across the street for all the smoke!) which I'm looking forward to with some slight reservations. The main reservation being that there is absolutely no shade near the house which is where we'll have our tent set up but hopefully somewhere in the mess in our garage is the shade structure that my daughter bought for us ages ago and if not, that we'll be able to pick up a new one... preferably a screen house type since there are biting flies which are a literal pain! We're also hoping that we can afford the gas to go out at least once a week to help out with the work that Mary Lee can't keep up with on her own. 

Other stuff:
Hubby announced last night that we have "barn cats". ("garage cats" actually!) He says that the 3 kittens from the stray cat's last litter seem to have taken up residence in our garage. Fine by me, especially if they can keep the mouse population down. Mice may be adorable to look at but they do carry diseases and fleas which we do not need in our house! 

I finally got around to doing the last of the updates this laptop needs. Now I shouldn't be getting nag screens from the Dell Support Center to upgrade. (and, yes, this time it actually did find the update which it had told me yesterday didn't exist!) I really need to learn how to reformat my hard drive so I can get back on my own computer! 

I could probably come up with more to post but this is already a long one so I'll stop for now.

 
sheianna: (Default)
I now have the laptop set up with my full keyboard and scrolling mouse which is making things somewhat easier but I'm being driven nuts by some of the things my hubby has on this computer that are either demanding that I do an update to a new version (dell support center) which then proceeds to tell me that no update is available right now... try later. O_o

He's using the Microsoft Security Essentials for his security software which has it's own little quirks. I have the computer set up to do a daily quick scan... no problem so far. Set it up for noon and it starts scanning at 11:55am. Reset it for 1pm and it was after 1:30 pm before it started scanning. Well, it does say "about 1pm"... again O_o. Driving me slightly nuts. I think I'm just going to go with a weekly full scan and hope that it doesn't start up at a time other than the one that I've set leaving me with a computer that is totally unresponsive because I'm right in the middle of doing something that uses most of the memory available!!!

Then there was the fun bit when I did a restart because the silly thing didn't want to let me get back online... "Your computer is at risk!" quickly followed by "Your computer is protected" followed in turn by "Your firewall is turned off!!!" which when I checked it showed "Your firewall is on." ARGH! Flaky, flaky security software but not really any worse than McAfee, which is my only other option!

Making Do

Jun. 16th, 2011 12:11 pm
sheianna: (Default)
I've spent most of this morning getting the laptop I'm using configured for my sites and the way I like to use the internet. I'm slowly learning patience as I deal with the amount of time it takes to access everything with this low powered computer. Most places were easy to add. I had to change my password here but that was no real problem. Remembering the answer to the first security question that I had to answer to log into my prescription site was not fun. I tried every variation I could think of for my elementary school and it wouldn't accept any of them, finally booting me and advising I call the customer support number. Lots of waiting to get a service rep only to find out that they number listed for website customer support was actually only for prescription coverage support. While holding waiting for the correct support number to pick up on the transfer, I gave it one more try and got a different security question which I had no problem with so I'm now set up on this computer for my prescriptions. *whew*

Setting up this computer to access my credit union account and my library account was easy. Easy security question at the CU (thank god they didn't ask for zodiac sign since we've never been able to get that one right... it doesn't like hubby's for some reason and I don't think we used mine.) I'm even sort of getting used to the keyboard. I'm getting much faster and more accurate on it even though it isn't a full size one like I'm used to and I do miss the numeric key pad! If I have to use this one for much longer, I'll have to see if it will accept my new keyboard and my scrolling mouse. The wireless mouse I'm using is nice but the scrolling function stopped working.... confusing.  
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I had intended to post this yesterday but was interrupted by a nasty virus taking my computer down. It's still down... I'm struggling with my hubby's old slow, underpowered laptop with the keyboard that I hate (I need to see if my new one is compatible so I can use it). At least we have a cordless mouse for it so I don't have to use the much hated touchpad! Picked the virus up at LJ and suddenly remembered why I'd been avoiding it. I've been hit with nasty stuff (or at least been warned that nasty stuff was trying to access my computer)far too often to really trust the site anymore.

I'm going to try to keep this brief... Let's see if I succeed.   (ETA... looks to me like the cut didn't work... sorry if it didn't)

Not really that brief. )Last week we got a call from my hubby's mother telling him that his younger brother (the oldest of the three younger brothers and Scot's only full brother) had passed away suddenly from a heart attack. Scot was understandably distraught, disbelieving and his mother and 2 half brother's reactions made matters much worse. His 2 half brothers have basically stopped talking to him, his mother seems to want to blame everything that has ever gone wrong since he and his brothers were kids on him, told him he had no right to feel so upset, no right to want to console his nieces (despite his nieces telling him that they wanted his emotional support during this time!) and generally giving us both the feeling that she felt the world would be a much better place if his brother Bruce had lived and he had died instead, One day when they were talking about this on the phone, his mother said some very hateful, hurtful things to him, called back a bit later and told him she wanted him to come over so she could apologize... I went along since I didn't think it was going to end well... Her idea of an apology was to basically say "I'm sorry that you made me have to say those hurtful things." Yeah, real aplolgy that.  There is a lot more to it but I'm sure you get the picture.

In addition to all of this, Scot and I went to visit with one of Bruce's daughters, Lisa and she had some stories about "grandma" both from her dad's experiences,  such as all of the times as kids when Scot had taken the blame for his little brothers because his mom was going to blame him anyway and that way at least they wouldn't get the beating. (Yes, literally a beating with a leather belt with metal eyelets for the entire length... found out about that from his dad several years ago when his dad sincerely and abjectly apologized for the abusive treatment he'd received... with no lame attempts to justify it.)  The story that really pissed me off the most though was when Lisa was talking about how when she was 7, grandma had told her to stop singing because "Your singing makes me nauseous!" What the hell kind of person says something like that to their 7 year old granddaughter? Needless to say, Lisa has never sung again. The woman neither understands nor cares how much harm this sort of thing causes.

All of this meant that there was no way that we could make the trip to Wisconsin for the funeral with her as we normally would have done. We were left having to spend money we couldn't really afford, running our credit card back up close to the max, for gas and figured that there would be other expenses for food etc. Scot had already reconnected with his cousin Mike who lives in Portage Wis. which is about a 6 hour drive from here and about a 3 1/2 hour drive south of the Veteran's Cemetery where the service was held. I hadn't originally planned on going since the original plan had been to go all the way up to the Shell Lake area (near the cemetery) and stay with friends of one of our nieces; a nine and a half hour drive from here. When Mike invited us to stay at his place, I decided to go along since a 6 hour drive was much more managable. (the mention of alpacas, goats, sheep, cats, dog and bunnies made it more attractive too ~_^)  The drive itself was hell... Scot insisted on leaving Wednesday - the funeral wasn't until Friday - on one of the hottest days of the year with temps in the mid 90s and us with no Air Conditioning. The route he got from Google maps or Mapquest or whatever, sent us right through Chicago, the "shortest" route, which was a 5 to 25 mile an hour nightmare with far too many toll booths with far too high tolls. It was a good thing I thought to get an extra $20 in cash before we left!

We finally arrived at Mike and Allison's 10 acre farm and from that point on, at least until the funeral, it was wonderful! The area is so beautiful and serene! My allergies all but disappeared in spite of the animals. Mike, Allison and their 10 year old son, Liam were so welcoming! (And Red, their dog, was a blast to play with!) I found that I had a lot in common with Allison. One day we talked so much I ended up losing my voice! I am not usually that much of a talker! Liam and I had a blast watching Doctor Who (they have BBC America so I got to see a couple of episodes that won't air here on PBS until next year) and talking about bats, snakes and other critters. He's a really bright, inventive kid and I even got some reading recommendations from him! 

Mike and family drove separately to the service since Mike and Scot planned on a side trip on the way back to the Leinenkugle (which I know I've spelled wrong!) brewery . The funeral service itself... once again the minister got it all wrong and the military part of the service redeemed it. What the hell kind of minister says in a eulogy "I don't know if Bruce was a believer but if he was, he is in heaven. If he wasn't a believer then he's not." WTF??? He couldn't have stopped with the first sentence? He just had to add the second??? Anyway. after the military portion everyone became very emotional, there was lots of hugging and such though not with Scot's mom who chose that time to ask if she was back in his good graces yet. He informed her that it was neither the time nor the place to discuss it.

We headed for the wake which was at the Shell Lake Community Center, a few miles away and ran into the only other bad thing to happen on the trip... we were almost there when I noticed what looked like smoke coming up from under the hood of the truck. We got to a gas station where the guys (including one of our nephews and Lisa's husband) started trying to figure out where the problem was. We had already figured that it was actually steam, not smoke (thank god!) and that there had to be a coolant leak. Luckily it was just a broken T connection that was easy to replace and, since it turned out the gas station was right across from the community center, Allison, Liam and I went to have lunch while Scot and Mike went in search of a parts store (thank goodness for Mike's smart phone!). Turned out to be a cheap and easy fix and things continued as planned. We could have all done without Scot's mom's parting shot to Mike - who she hasn't seen in 15 years - that she was glad Mike was there since "Scot needs a keeper." Whatever the hell that's supposed to mean! Anyway, the guys did their brewery tour, Allison, Liam and i went home - yeah, it was starting to feel way too much like "home!" We ended up staying a day longer than we planned - Mike and Allison made it very clear they wanted us to stay even asking if there was any way I could pick up the meds that I needed (I hadn't brought the ones for Sunday morning) at a local pharmacy because they'd be more than happy to take me to one to get them. As it turned out, I had extras of the really necessary ones and could easily wait and take the others in the evening. Even with the extra day, we still hated leaving. I miss all of them and the animals and hopefully we will be able to make another trip there soon.

The drive back was at least cooler... still ran into horrible traffic backups on the suggested route so when Scot saw a chance to jump from 90 to 294, he took it. Much faster, lower tolls and while it's technically longer since it loops around the outskirts of Chicago it is also much faster! We made it home with no further problems with the truck. We haven't talked to Scot's mom... not sure that I want to. I doubt that she realizes how badly she's damaged the relationship with her behaviour. If it was her lashing out in grief, I might be able to forgive it, but most of it was just her being herself... coldly cutting and unkind. *sigh*

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sheianna

August 2011

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