sheianna: (Default)

Sorry that I haven't been around...
I'm feeling horribly down right now. Two deaths in the family. Shortly after hubby's brother passed away we received word that his dad was in the hospital. Before that day was out, he was gone. No way of going to the funeral since it was in Nevada and we'd spend more than we could really afford going to his brother's funeral only a month or so earlier. We knew that his dad's health wasn't good. We didn't know that he was in stage 4 lung cancer. Hubby's brothers are still not communitcating with him; fall out from the death of their brother. Probaly why we didn't know about his dad until the day he died.

As if the whole family thing wasn't bad enough, hubby is not doing well in his algebra class. It's very likely that he will fail the class and in doing so, lose his funding bringing his college career to a halt. This is why I had been opposed to his going with an online college. There is no real teaching going on! He is simply given the material and expected to teach himself. That may work for some classes and for some students but for hubby where algebra is concerned, it doesn't work at all. He's talked to his student advisor, gone to the algebra seminar at the local campus and tried to get help from his teacher but nothing works. There are fundamental elements that he is not grasping and simply doing the problems and getting the feedback of"yes,your answer is right' or "no,your answer is wrong" does not help him see where he's making the mistakes therefore he isn't learning! It's leaving him angry and depressed and reinforcing the feelings of worthlessness that he's been trying to overcome most of his life. (thanks to his "wonderful" mother who was both physically and emotionally abusive and who has done her best to show him over and over how useless she feels he is... the kicker being that she sees absolutely nothing wrong with her behaviour.)  It's taking a terrible toll on him and also on me. I can do only so much to help him feel good about himself. He feels like he's beating his head against a wall trying to learn algebra. I feel like I'm beating my head against a wall trying to help him see that he has worth and trying to help him past the negativity that has been so much a part of his life for far too long.

I'm going to stop now since I'm just depressing myself even more...
sheianna: (Default)

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*
sheianna: (Default)

Long weekend! Camping at cousin Mary Lee's was... interesting. I really do not like the Eddie Bauer tent that we used (one that the kids gave us when they got their popup camper). If you have the rain fly on, it blocks the side screened windows so there's no air flow through them and the clear plastic panels at the top magnify the sunlight making it a furnace inside during the day. Mainly though I don't like the way it's taller at one end than at the other. (needless to say, I was on the short side!) Our old tent was about 6 feet tall in the center and the sides were of equal height. It had large screened windows that could be closed (the ones on the EB tent can't). It may not have been as fancy as the EB tent but it was a much more logical & practical design. We knew that there would be no shade regardless of where we pitched the tent but we hadn't taken into consideration that where we did set up, we were very close to the automatic security light (a necessity in such a rural area) which meant that there was way too much light at night. I'm thinking next time we should set up on the opposite side of the house where, hopefully, the building will block at least some of the light.

The weather was extremely hot but for the most part we had a nice breeze. The best time was sitting in the shade under the Cottonwood tree reading or just talking, enjoying the wind blowing through the branches. Very peaceful.

As usual, we brought way too much food. We had planned on having Mary eat with us; she planned on feeding us. We certainly weren't going to refuse the steaks and salads she'd bought (especially since she's on such a limited budget, even more so than we are) but did insist that we'd do the burgers we brought the following night. She even picked up some packets of gourmet coffee that we fixed the first morning.

We had a wonderful time hanging out with the horses (and dogs... one is hers - Boomer, a basset hound; the other three are her son's. He lives in a trailer home up near the road on her property with his girlfriend and daughter. He has a rottweiler mix named Zeus, a mixed breed of the Australian shepherd variety - Alice?- and a deaf puppy named Daisy who is an adorable little nuisance!) We helped out with feeding the horses and Scot even did a little bit of riding. He's way out of practice and admits that he needs some lessons before he can do any trail riding. I was almost convinced to try riding but it was so hot that I chickened out. Maybe next time... I know I need lessons first! We had a lot of fun watching the yearling colt kicking up his heels after being let out of his box stall for some exercise. His name is ... Steve. Yeah, Steve. That's what happens when you let a 3 year old girl name a new foal. She stated that if it was a girl she would name it Princess. When they told her it was a boy, they expected her to name him Prince or King or something similar. Instead she thought about it and announced that "I think I'll name him Steve." o_O I've at least learned the names of the stallions... the gorgeous pale brown and white paint is named Pokey (they've had him since he was a yearling and his person is the son, Mike. Apparently when they were out looking at horses to buy, Pokey walked up to Mike and laid his head on Mike's shoulder. Mike announced that he wanted this horse! He has really good bloodlines and was what they were looking for so they bought him.) Pokey is one of the calmest, gentlest stallions I've ever seen. A beautiful horse with a wonderful temperament who makes gorgeous foals.The other stallion is named Zippy. Another very nice looking horse... but then all of Mary's horses are beautiful, even the old paint mare, Madge. (actually her name is Magic but Madge suits her better now that she's such an old girl, 26 years old)

Sunday night we sat in the backyard watching a panorama of fireworks from 5 different areas who did theirs on the 3rd. Some were partially hidden by the tree line but it was still very satisfying and we didn't have to put up with crowds or traffic to see them. We didn't really try to watch more on the night of the 4th since Mary had to be up by 5 to deal with chores before heading for work. We had to leave early too so we could be in Plainwell by 7:30 to babysit for our grandkids. That was a fun 2 days! We watched movies, played outside and generally had a great time. Emily helped clean up the backyard on Tuesday (lots of mess from the fireworks they did at their 4th of July party) and rode her bike. She wasn't too happy that we wouldn't let her ride further down the street, but Bryce wanted to follow her and at not quite 2, he's just too young! She was a big help when it came time for Bryce to take his nap the first day. It wasn't until she told him it was nap time that he finally agreed to lay down without fussing about it. The second day we set up the sprinkler and they had a blast running through it. No problem getting Bryce to take his nap that day! He was totally tuckered out!

At any rate, it was a great 4 days though totally exhausting. We spent most of Thursday recuperating! We'll probably go camping at Mary's again although I'm thinking it would be better just to do it for one night rather than two. Scot really can't afford to be away from his computer (and schoolwork) for longer than that. It didn't matter this time since it was a holiday weekend and he had internet access at the kids but being away for 2 nights would put him too far behind on his required participation. Who knows, maybe next time they'll actually convince me to give riding a try. ~_^
sheianna: (indigo dragon)

Technically the weekend isn't any longer but we are going to be away from home for an additional 2 days. My daugher called this afternoon to ask if we would be able to babysit Tuesday and Wednesday. We, of course, said yes. Bryce is sick again and can't go to daycare. Every time Jenn works in the nursery at their church Bryce ends up getting sick. She's finally decided that enough is enough and is going to tell them she can't do it anymore. It obviously isn't a healthy place and she can't keep risking her son's health.

Since we are spending Sunday and Monday night out at our cousin's farm (Yay! Horses!) and Jenn and Jeff's home is on our way back home, we'll just be packing up early on Tuesday (say, around 6 am) so we can make it to the kid's no later than 7:30, when Jenn needs to leave for work. Rather than heading home after Jeff gets off work at 3:30pm Tuesday, we agreed that it made more sense for us just to stay the night and save an extra round trip out there. We're going to have our air bed and bedding with us anyway and Emily had really wanted us to stay another night the last time we babysat for them so we'll just have to pack twice as many clothes, more reading material and a couple movies (I would really love to watch Avatar on their huge screen TV and Emily has requested The Incredibles)  and bring Scot's laptop after all so he can do his schoolwork. Maybe Jenn will even be able to take some time Tuesday evening to tutor him a bit on his algebra. (She's not just good at it, she LOVES algebra and she's always been very good at tutoring too.) I'm still trying to work out if I can manage to carry enough of my morning and evening meds in my pill minder without having to put both in the same compartment. I had really wanted to find a double one (14 compartments) but wasn't able to find one that wasn't ridiculously overpriced. Guess I'll just have to pick up a second one if we're going to have more of these multiple days away from home. (not likely since Scot can't be without internet for more than a day... the holiday being the exception since they aren't expected to do any schoolwork on the 4th anyway) Anyway, it should be interesting. Might even be fun as long as Bryce is on the mend by then. Hopefully he'll be feeling a bit better by Tuesday.
sheianna: (Default)

This term, hubby has Algebra. Hubby hates Algebra. Hubby doesn't "get" Algebra. It's "too abstract"! (Mind you this is the same person who is fascinated by Quantum Physics... of course he doesn't have to do the math there to get the concepts!)

I had to come upstairs to get away from him while he works on one of the quizes because he's so frustrated that it's stressing me out. I would love to help him with it. I used to be very good at algebra... but I don't remember the terminology anymore so to help him I'd need to read over the text for the class. Nope, he won't hear of it! (Mind you, I have no intention of actually doing his work for him... not my job... just trying to help explain it so he can solve the problems for himself.) The reason this is so stressful for me is that if he fails the class, he could (and probably would) lose his funding. This would be a very bad thing!

Part of why this is so frustrating for both of us is that I honestly don't see why he can't get it! I looked at one of the problems and, after playing around with it for a few minutes, I think I had it solved and tried to show him how it could be solved but his reply (after I'd explained several different ways, how to work it out ) when I asked him if he saw what I was getting at was "Yeah, whatever..." meaning No, he did not get it. It wasn't that hard a problem!!! (assuming I understood it properly)

e = m + r over 2 (sorry, don't have the right math program to express it correctly) Solve for m.  

Not really that difficult but even substituting actual numbers for m and r, I still couldn't explain it clearly enough for him to understand it. Assuming I'm getting it right  (which given how out of practice I am, is NOT a given!) it should be m = e2 - r  Just a matter of reversing the whole process, mulitplying where you'd divided and subtracting where you added. At least when I substitute real numbers for m & r it works out... If I'm getting it wrong, I really need to brush up on my algebra but I doubt he's going to listen to me anyway.*sigh*
sheianna: (Default)
Hubby and I had a great time last weekend babysitting our grandkids up at their place while our daughter, son in law and his mom made a trip to Detroit for a Tiger's baseball game. (I think Jeff's dad probably had to work or he'd have gone too...) I'd been somewhat unsure how things were going to go since Bryce (not quite 2 yet) hasn't been around us all that much and Jenn had been giving us warnings that he's reached the Terrible Two stage a bit early. As it turns out, he was a perfect little angel, no fussing (except when Emily decided it was ok to tease him... she was soon corrected on that count) and wanted to be with Grandpa all the time! We had great fun watching movies, playing outside, setting up their Slip and Slide - which had a hole in it that Grandpa fixed (well enough to be usable) with some duct tape. Emily asked what duct tape was and after telling her that it was good for fixing a lot of things, she proceeded to point out various items in her room (a picture frame, her dresser...) and ask if they broke, could you fix them with duct tape. Yes, but they probably wouldn't look very good and wood glue would probably work better. *giggle* She picked up so quickly on the Handyman's Helpers many uses!

I'm starting to get excited about going out to cousin Mary Lee's for the Fourth. We've decided that we'll go out Sunday and stay 'til Tuesday morning. I just hope that the weather will cooperate and not be unbearably hot or rainy. Hopefully we'll be able to set the tent (or tents) up in the backyard to let them air out before we go. Keeping Scot from packing our entire kitchen is going to be a bit of an issue. He's decided that since we have electric available, we should take our extra drip coffee maker since "it's faster than the percolator." I'm not so sure about it since the carafe is glass and that just doesn't seem like a good idea to me. (Now if he wanted to take the one we use every day with it's metal thermal carafe, I wouldn't mind nearly as much). At least he's agreed that our battery powered camping lights will be good enough for reading "in bed". I'll just put some new batteries in my book light for me. Happily, both sunblock and insect repellent are on sale this week, as I'm going to need both! I'm hoping that I can convince him that we can jury rig a shade structure with one of our many tarps and the extra tent poles we have (we don't throw those out when a tent becomes too old to use unless the poles themselves are broken) and that we don't need to spend money we really can't be certain we can afford right now on a quick set screen house. We still have no idea when we'll be getting the State tax return or when/if he'll be getting any money from the student loans overages (or even if there will be extra this term) and we have to keep in mind that we have a $120 license plate to buy before the month is out! And this is the month our garbage bill is due for the quarter. This one really ticks me off since we're paying the same high price as a customer who has a larger bin that they fill to overflowing every week yet our smaller bin is generally not even half full. I really wish I could find a provider who charged by volume rather than just a set rate! Oh well...

I got a nice amount of raspberries off the bushes this morning, about a pint or so, I'd guess. The bushes are loaded again this year and again, there are far too many that I can't get to. Scot deciding that the area that I had used as the path to some of the inner bushes was a perfect place to dump a bunch of scrap wood means that I now have no way at all of reaching the inner berries but since he's the big raspberry fan, it's his loss! I also did the tiny bit of planting that I'm doing this year. I had pepper and bean seeds left from last year and started the pepper inside. I put a couple tiny seedling peppers in yesterday (I'm holding out the other two that came up until they're a bit bigger) and planted a row of beans this morning. I seriously doubt that we're going to get much off them since I'm getting such a late start (although the beans should do well into the fall as long as we don't have an early hard frost). I'd given up on doing an actual garden since we never got around to thinning out the berry bushes, removing the dozens and dozens of excess Rose of Sharons that are making a jungle of the garden plot or cutting down the numerous "weed" trees that are trying to take over the fence line. On the other hand, I already had the pepper and bean seeds and couldn't see letting them just sit around another year. If they grow and produce veg, fine. If not, it was still good exercise for me.

Misc: Incongruous occurrence for the day... listening to the guys doing construction a couple houses down singing along with Brittany Spears. o_O
sheianna: (Default)
And today has been one of those days! First we're talking about going camping out at his cousin's farm and I ask if we should take the small reading light that I picked up for when we're out at camp. His response... "Well, I guess it depends on if we can buy a generator by then." What generator???  O_o  Uh, at every place Mary Lee pointed out as a good place to pitch our tent she made sure to mention where the nearest outside electical outlet was since she knows I use a CPap! We have absolutely NO NEED for a generator to camp out there!

Next, after telling me that the truck is overheating he starts talking about asking the neighbor behind us how much he wants to replace the gasket that we know is faulty. I ask if he knows what the guy's experience is... "Well, he's always working on his car!" Yeah, that's a great recommendation! (Uh, no, just no!) Could it be the reason he's always working on it is that he doesn't get it right??? For something like this, I'd rather pay more and take it into the dealer (who does really good work for a fairly reasonable price) and know it's done properly the first time since this gasket is in a hard to reach place requiring the removal of a lot of other parts! Now his idea of replacing the thermostat to see if that will help isn't that bad an idea since it's a $6-$12 part and he can do the work himself. It might not help but it won't hurt and doesn't cost that much.

Not done yet... Seems that in addition to having cats in the garage, he now says we have at least one raccoon in there too. So he calls to see how much it would cost to have someone come out and trap it. Over a hundred dollars... not gonna happen. Then he wants to buy a live trap, which would be just as likely to trap the kittens as the raccoon. His way of dealing with it if it is the kittens, take them to Animal Control! NO NO NO!!! We don't have a no kill shelter in this area and they are too darn cute to condemn to death! As for the raccoon, even if we get rid of this one, there are others in the area and we'll probably just end up with another one. The thing that needs to be done is to critter proof the garage! There are too many gaping holes that they can enter the garage through. Close up the holes, shoo the critters out, problem solved! No need to spend money we can't afford on traps that would probaly be ineffective anyway! 

On the good side, I started the day with a kitten sighting. I opened the upstairs back door and the same gray and white kitten that I found up there early this spring was up on the porch again. As soon as she saw me she made a dash back down them so I couldn't pick her up and drag her in the house again! *giggle* not that I would... she's old enough and big enough now to manage the stairs on her own, unlike the first time she was up there.

Note: I'm trying to work up the nerve to log back on to LJ with this computer so I can post responses there but I'm very uneasy about this after having my computer knocked out of commission by a virus picked up there and I'm not really sure I trust the security software on this laptop to be up for the task...
sheianna: (Default)
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)
Since I'm not actively posting to LJ anymore after picking up a nasty virus that took down my computer, I've finally set up crossposting and hopefully, it will actually work. So this is basically a test... hopefully if it does someone will comment to let me know...
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.  
sheianna: (Default)
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*
sheianna: (Default)
I really have to get more regular in my posting. I have been in a bit of a funk the last couple months and just haven't been feeling like doing much of anything. Actually, not much had been happening in my life lately so I really didn't have much to say. *sigh*

I do have something to write about now ( trip to Wisconsin) but don't have time right now since our cousin, Mary Lee, is going to be over shortly. She called to see if she could use one of our computers to do a Power Point presentation for work and, of course, we said "Sure!" (And hey, she's bringing donuts!) I'll be back (hopefully) later today to post about the trip.
sheianna: (daffodil)
I had planned on posting to LJ but can't get it to load... wonder if they're under (yet) another DDOS attack?

Anyway... We got our tax return today which means that I can finally pay off the lab bills that I've been contesting and that have gone to collection because of it. I'm so infuriated by the ethical and legal violations practiced by the collection agency - Amcol Systems - that I'm hoping I can just pay the lab directly and just say to hell with my protest over the amount. It's higher than it should have been because they failed to submit the claim to my insurance in the required amount of time. The claim was for $150 but in reality the insurance would only have paid maybe $60 of it... "reasonable and customary" my ass! Anyway, it's not enough to continue fighting over. I just want it paid but after Amcol Systems decided that it was appropriate to harangue my husband over the bill (they shouldn't have discussed it with him at all since his name isn't on the bill, it wasn't lab work done for him and he's not the one who has the insurance!!!) violating my right to privacy where the bill is concerned and then followed that bit of unethical behavior up with 2 weeks of nuisance calls - no, not talking calling every day to argue with me about it, I'm talking about calling 3 to 4 times a day, letting the phone ring once or twice and hanging up, never responding when we answered before it stopped ringing which isn't an attempt to collect a debt, it is pure and simple harassment which is illegal, I am not feeling like rewarding Amcol Systems by paying them. (How's that for a run on sentence? ~_^) Anyway, it will be wonderful to finally have this paid off and done with.
The tax return will also allow us to take hubby's mom out to dinner for Mother's Day and allow me to finally pick up some new summer weight slacks which I'm sorely in need of. Actually, it will let us take care of several things that need to be dealt with as long as we don't get too crazy with spending.


Nov. 7th, 2010 10:41 am
sheianna: (actions vorkosigan)
Got this from [personal profile] sulien who gave me the letter M. This proved to be a bit of a challenge...

1. favorite film
2. favorite book
3. favorite word

1. Favorite Film:
I went through the list of movies that I like starting with the letter M. (The) Matrix? No, I like it but not enough to call it a favorite. Same for (The) Mummy. I'm a big Jackie Chan fan so (The) Medalion came to mind. I finally realize that my favorite "M" movie is My Neighbor Totoro, a wonderful, magical children's movie from Studio Ghibli! If I were to try to describe the movie, it wouldn't sound like much plotwise but it is a truly amazing movie for children of all ages! (even those of MY age!) Besides, who wouldn't love to ride on the Cat Bus?

and of course, Totoro himself!

2. Favorite Book
This was another one where I considered and discarded a lot before settling on a favorite... or two favorites actually. Should I pick Terry Pratchett's Men At Arms, Mort or even Moving Pictures? Maybe Robert Asprin's Myth Adventures? Nope. I finally thought that I had settled on Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosiverse book Mirror Dance, a very intense entry in the series that gives so much insight into Miles' clone brother, Mark and what makes him what he is. (not to mention Miles getting killed, revived, amnesiac and everything else that happens). In the end I decided that my favorite is the followup book Memory in which Miles, trying to cover up (unsuccessfully) the seizures that are the result of his death and revival, loses everything that, in his mind, make him special. No more leading the Dendari Free Mercenaries or working undercover for ImpSec and the emperor. Add to that the inexplicable mental deterioration of Simon Illyan, head of ImpSec (and Miles boss before his unsuccessful coverup) and Miles suspicion that the deterioration isn't natural but the result of someone trying to destroy Illyan and subvert ImpSec. Lots of action, a good mystery and just enough romance to make it a very satisfying book.

3. Favorite Word:

This one was a bit easier!
Remember, remember the Fifth of November... Yeah, that would be my granddaughter's birthday. I have a horrible time remembering dates and without using mnemonics would probably forget the most important ones! Besides, it's just a fun word!
sheianna: (Default)
After giving it a lot of though, I decided to take another pass on Nano this year. I had a couple of ideas - both completely different from what I've done in previous years and not the tiniest bit of fanfic in either of them - but I just don't feel I have the time or, more importantly, the energy to devote to such an intense level of writing at this time. Lately I've barely had the energy to read the posts from my flist over on LJ! (and I still haven't decided on a name for my journal here!)

The Nano style of writing is totally opposite the way I prefer to write, rushing to get the words down before the month is out, turning off my self editor, not bothering with polishing until the whole thing is totally finished. I like to write in longhand first, getting the basics down, then type it up, polishing a bit along the way and then revise, giving it more of a polish. Nano style feels so... sloppy. Yet, it does get results. The stories that I've started my preferred way are not anywhere close to being finished but the Nano novels actually had beginnings, middles and ends (more or less... the first one was actually a couple chapters shy of being finished but I did make my word count!) Unfortunately, it also put me off writing for a long time. I was so burned out that I just couldn't face another stint trying to work out a story, no matter how much I wanted to tell that story.

First Post

Sep. 24th, 2010 10:11 pm
sheianna: (Default)
My first post on my so far unnamed journal here. I really hate trying to come up with names. My LiveJournal is called Mystical Musings and Othersuch and while it contains posts that probably qualify as "othersuch" they aren't particularly Mystical. (or even really "musings" for that matter!) I'm hoping for a more freeform journal here; stream of consciousness or whatever but I'm not sure that I'll ever really lighten up enough to actually do this. *sigh* But, hey! At least I have my first icon uploaded! ^o^