Sunday, March 27, 2005

And The List Continues

Well, it has been another busy bird day in my yard. Not only have I discovered that the pair of bluebirds I have been watching are using my nest box, I have spotted two new types of woodpeckers in the yard.

They are as follows:

Hairy Woodpecker (male only)
Common Flicker (male only, but two of them are hanging around).

(Once again these are not my pics, just loaners that are much better than I could take myself)

I Love Winnie-the-Pooh

I absolutely love this bear. I have all the old books and even a new coffee table book with the history of Pooh and Disney. I have the Adventures of Pooh on DVD too....prefer the old illustrations to the new but any Pooh will do...

Take the 100 Acre Personality Quiz!


I am so excited.

The Eastern Bluebird (male and female) that has been hanging out at my feeder is using the bluebird cavity nest in my yard. I was going to replace the box because it was looking a little rickety, and I thought that perhaps the hole was too big, but I just saw the male come in and out of the nest so I know they are using it. Now I just have to make sure no other animals get in there and steal their eggs after they are laid.

Whoooeeee!!!! This is so cool.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Good News and Bad News

Which do you want first?

Good news is that they do change the port-a-potty pretty frequently.

Bad news is that the crew is a bunch of litter bugs. My husband and I spent part of yesterday morning cleaning up all their litter as it had blown (or been dragged out by animals) all over the area and was creeping towards our house. We put the bag of trash in the port-a-potty so they would see it and so the wind (or wildlife) wouldn't get to it.

Hopefully they will get the hint.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Walking Lunges Kick Ass (Literally)

I like to walk outside for at least part of my cardio routine during the week. As I mentioned before, I hate going to the gym and I really hate "leg" days at the gym, so I end up doing lunges during my walks to avoid "leg" days at the gym.

I can't do the lunges that they do on aerobics tapes or in class where you lunge forward and then back. It hurts my soccer knees too much, so I do walking ones. This means that I lunge forward and then stand up, take another step and lunge into it. It looks kind of funny so I try to do it in areas where I won't have too much of an audience. I do 3 sets at least, of 10 each leg during the course of the walk.

The next two days, my ass and hamstrings are very aware of my actions and it feels great to get such a result from a short effort. By the way, if you are a stud muffin, and your own body weight is not enough to get that feeling the next day, you can use hand weights to increase the resistance....

Lunges are supposed to work your entire upper leg, be slimming through the hips (which some leg exercises are not) and help keep your butt up off your calves.

Anyhow, just thought I would share this little miracle with you since my butt is screaming at me from lunges yesterday and it came to mind...


You scored as Goofy. Your alter ego is Goofy! You are fun and great to be around, and you are always willing to help others. You aren't worried about embarrassing yourself, so you are one who is more willing to try new things.



Sleeping Beauty


Peter Pan


The Beast




Snow White




Donald Duck




Cruella De Ville


Which Disney Character is your Alter Ego?
created with

Thursday, March 24, 2005


We went out for a celebratory dinner, to mark the end of my husbands semester, at this seafood place we like. On Thursdays, you can get all you can eat shrimp cooked in a variety of ways. The waitpeople are awesome. It was terrific and we stuffed ourselves (had to walk around Lowe's for 1/2 hour afterwards).

The reason I am posting about it though has nothing to do with the food. It has to do with the demographics of the area we live in. It is a retirement area, lots of sun, golf and hospitals...if you know what I mean. If you are ever feeling angst (Joanne) about your age, retirement areas are the place to visit. You'll never feel younger.

Anyhow, the thing that made this hit home for me tonight was that the restaurant has loaner reading glasses in a basket near the is that for customer service????

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Enough Already

I have had this song in my head since talking about it in an email to my sister this morning. I love the song but I am tired of humming it all day regardless of what other musical influences I might have had today.

The song is the Over the Rainbow version done by Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo'ole and it is on the "Alone in IZ World" album. It played a lot near the end of Dr Green's life on ER and I think it or one like it also played in "Fifty First Dates".

I guess I could have worse songs stuck in there but....I have to bitch about something, right?

Procrastination Has Taken Over

I don't know what is going on with me but I am having the hardest time getting motivated these days.

Each night I go to bed with determination that I will get things accomplished in a timely matter the next day and then the day seems to squeak away from me while I am not looking. I seem to be okay with getting things cleaned up and obviously with blogging but the gym and school work are just not getting crossed off the "To Do List" each day.

Now don't get me wrong, I am getting exercise, but I just hate going to the gym. I would prefer to work out at home or outside (which is what I do on most days), but we have a membership so I have that little cash register dinging in my head each day I miss a workout at the gym.

School work, on the other hand, should not be a big deal. I really don't have that much, as I am only taking one class this semester. Unfortunately, the book is super boring and the requirements are lame so I just put it off until crunch time and then throw something together. Thank goodness writing has always been easy for me or I would really be up the creek without a paddle.

I keep hoping not that spring has sprung, I will be more easily motivated because I want to tackle some yard things and won't let myself the treat of it unless I get some of this other crap out of the way...Ugh!!!! Come on sunshine, where are you when I need you???

Parking Peeve

You know, I have never understood people who either drive all over the parking lot looking for the best spot or just hang out behind someone that is leaving but still has 800 bags of groceries to load into their car before they will be ready.

I have actually parked, walked into the store, made my purchases and have been back at my car before a person waiting for that "perfect spot" has even parked their car. What is the point of that?

I understand if the weather is lousy or you are going to have something very large to load up but then generally you just pull up to the doors to do that. Have you ever noticed too that many times, the ones waiting for that prime "next to the door" spot, could use a good walk from farther out in the parking lot?

I would rather just park and get what I need to get done, done and not bother with the parking lot politics...

Monday, March 21, 2005

New Sightings

Today I was walking and geocaching in a park near our home and spotted my first Eastern Fox Squirrel. It is pretty big (largest of the tree squirrels) and looks exactly like this picture. I didn't know what it was at first and had to do some searching through my National Audubon Guide when I got home but that is definitely what I saw. They are rarer than they used to be so I feel priviledged to have seen it.

I have also seen two new species of birds, one in my yard, Eastern Towhee, and the other at this same park this morning, White-breasted Nuthatch. It was with its partner, setting up their nest on a tree near the parking lot. There are a lot of these cavity birdhouses set up all over the place around here but this was the first that I have seen used...

(Note: not my photos....much better than mine)

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Thanks to Joanne

My pirate name is:

Dirty Grace Flint

You're the pirate everyone else wants to throw in the ocean -- not to get rid of you, you understand; just to get rid of the smell. Like the rock flint, you're hard and sharp. But, also like flint, you're easily chipped, and sparky. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from

Friday, March 18, 2005

Sad Day

Oil Crazy

I can't believe that the idiots that represent us think that this is some kind of solution to our energy issues. Hitting consumers in the pocketbook with oil prices is supposed to create a desire to research and develop new energy options, not to start digging holes all over the US in hopes that oil might be under there. That is akin to a squirrel trying to find that one last acorn it knows is hid somewhere nearby but just can't remember exactly where, when its energy would be better spent in smarter storing to begin with.

Digging in Alaska's protected wildlife areas is going to do several things (even if it doesn't damage the fragile ecosystem and environment, which we know it will). This now opens up all protected areas to possible oil exploration (sorry, to that Florida congressman who thinks he just saved the Everglades). It is open season on natural wildlife preserves now. It tells all consumers that they don't need to conserve or recycle because we have lots of areas that haven't been utilized for oil, we can just move there next if Alaska doesn't pan out. It tells car manufacturers and other oil dependent industries that they don't have to spend millions on R&D for more fossil fuel economical products or get this, even fossil fuel independent products. It does possibly shorten the lifespan of the habitable environment on this planet for all of us.

What is doesn't do is fix the energy issues we have for the long term. Even if they do find oil, it isn't very much and does nothing to curb the dependency we have on petroleum products. One or two years of product (assuming there is even that much and it doesn't take us many years to process it) is not a solution. We have more oil than that in emergency reserves in underground tanks and you don't see them jumping on the band wagon to open that up to consumers.

What American needs is a few years of gas prices like Europe and Asia experience constantly, so we can all get our heads out of our asses. We need to focus on other options, and conservation. This means developing products across the board (not just the auto industry) that use less energy but still provide us with our desired result. It is possible to do. I have lived in places where their appliances and cars far outweigh our abilities on much less energy. It just takes the drive to do it, and looking for new oil in our own backyard is not the drive we need. We will end up learning this lesson the hard way and it will be too late to fix it by the time we realize it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Credit Cards

Just recently I have started credit card shopping...we have two major cards total and I want to get rid of one of them (because of a monthly due we pay on it even when we don't use it) but don't want to be left without a back up so I started shopping around to see what the best deal was...

I thought about doing the miles or money back options but they all seem to have a minimum finance charge per month even if you pay it off (which we do) and a huge annual fee (like 4 times the amount of most regular cards). I looked at just getting a regular little fixed rate one and those seem to be on the endangered species list.

It seems in the years that we have been with our two cards, that things in the credit card arena have changed. I figured with the really low interest rates out there that getting a card below 10% fixed APR would be a no brainer...companies would be beating down my door to offer them to me... well I was wrong...most companies don't offer fixed APR cards anymore. I have to figure it is because the interest rates are so low and they don't want to get caught in the long term with those rates if they ever should go back up (which we know they will) so they all offer variable APR which means your interest rate could completely sky rocket if you weren't paying attention. The minimum finance charge seems to be their way of getting around the consumers that pay off their card every month. I use my credit card instead of cash and the benefit would be lost if I had to pay a finance charge on an empty balance every month.

I am thinking right now that my current "most used" card company would love for us to close our account because they don't offer fixed APR at all anymore and every card they have has a minimum monthly finance charge (the one we have doesn't and we only have an 18 dollar annual fee and a decent interest rate). We pay them off every month so they really only make the annual fee off us and the 3% off the retailers.

So I had to go on a serious hunt and finally did find a card at my own credit union that offers a fixed APR with a low or nonexistent annual fee...perhaps when the interest rates go back up, there will be more out there to have but for now....happy hunting to anyone looking for it and make sure you read that fine print...that is where the variable APR resides.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Customer Service Miracle

In the fall, we bought a four piece living room set (couch, loveseat, chair, and ottoman). We had to back order 3 of the items from a company that will remain unnamed. The loveseat was delivered right away and we were told 30 days for the make a long story short, we did not get the rest of the items until 2 1/2 months had gone by.

Normally this would not have been a huge deal but because we had just moved, we had actually gotten rid of all our living room furniture so we were sitting on the loveseat only for those 2 1/2 months. I should also mention that the unnamed company charged our credit card for the full amount the day we made the order and I paid it off that same month so we had no furniture but everyone else already had their money. We didn't want to cancel the rest of the order because we already had the loveseat which we couldn't return.

After about 1 1/2 months, I did email the corporate office and of course received no word back....after 2 months, I called the corporate office and had to leave a voice mail that was not returned. I had serious issues with the peon customer service person who told me that they could not be held responsible for what the salesman told me......hmmmm, sounds illegal if you ask me.

So I decided to wait until all our stuff was finally delivered, and I filed two complaint reports. One was with an online source and another was with the local BBB. I didn't expect to see any compensation from either of them but was hoping to keep another innocent from falling into their promise trap.

A couple of days ago, I got a refund of the amount I had asked for in compensation along with the apology letter I had requested from the local store I had made my purchases at. I was truly surprised and extremely happy (although this doesn't mean that the corporate office has learned anything about how to treat customers). I now need to make sure I give them another try (the only way to show them that good customer service works) but I think I will stay away from back orders for a while...

Friday, March 11, 2005


Until today, I had seen a few robins around town but none in my yard. I am pretty sure they are strickly a insect/bug eating bird . My feeders are just thistle and suet at this point so I didn't really expect to see them there.

This morning, I did see my first robins in my yard (they weren't eating at the birdfeeders) so I am officially adding them to the list of feathered friends even though they were not using the feeders.

American Robin (male only I think)

Not my picture either.

And the Blogger Problems Continue

Well this morning, comments are not working. Might explain why on most of the blogs I read, comments are lower than normal.

I sent an email to support but I don't know if that will be much help and I also checked the blogger status page but it has not been updated since mid-February.

When I click on "post comment" it takes me to a page that states the blog can't be found and has a button to return to the dashboard...not what I was expecting but it is doing it on all the blogs I have been too this morning....that means all of you...ha ha.

Anyhow, just thought I would mention it since I can't comment anywhere but my own blog at this point....

Thursday, March 10, 2005


Oh my, they just delivered the bright green port-a-potty that will be living across the street from my house until the construction is over....lovely, just what I need, a hot steamy plastic box with shit in it up wind from my house....hope they change it often for all of our sake's.

Sloooooow Blogger

Okay, am I the only one that is having problems today???? I have been trying to read, comment, post and edit all day today and the site is giving me nothing but grief. I'll be lucky to get this published in the first three tries...I even went to the status site (that is supposed to be hosted on a completely different set of servers) and it took a while to load and then didn't have anything new (since late February). The main page doesn't have anything either.

Does anyone know what is going on?

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

It Is Over

Whoooeeeee!!! I finished my midterm last night in the nick of time and am feeling a breath of fresh air today. I should start reading the chapter for this week (along with the ones from the last 3 weeks) but I am taking the day off and doing something completely not school related...nothing. Ha!!

I don't know why I get so relieved each time a deliverable is delivered but I do and I love the feeling. I should do school forever just so I can have this feeling everytime something is required of me. How nice would that be?

The Trees Are Gone

Well they started least I wasn't here for most of it. When I saw them this morning, I wanted to cry...Now there is just a barren spot across from my house where this morning a beautiful pine and oak wood stood.

They are building a new house across from my house and have cleared most of the lot of vegetation. They did leave several of the bigger pine trees but it is not the same and now I get to wake up each morning to the sounds of construction (at least for 6 months).

I feel sorry for the wild life that had gotten accustomed to the woods being there for the last 30 years at least (the age of my house). I am sure they had a rude awakening this morning.

There is a question in my mind of how much they are really supposed to be clearing as the company doing the construction actually owns one of the lots and it looks like they are clearing two of them...hmmm. Might have to head to the city planners to check it out. Would be nice to save what we can, right?

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Drunk Drivers

I am so disappointed to see today that at least three of the bloggers I read regularly, succumb to driving while intoxicated (buzzed, tipsy, it what you want). I thought people had wised up about this? Was I wrong? Is it just as prevalent as it was for my parent's generation (baby boomers) and I just don't realize it? I just don't think it is the smart thing to do and these days there really is no legitimate excuse for it. I almost commented to one about it but then decided that I am not their mother, so I would just mention my distaste for people who drive drunk on my own here it distaste.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

More Birds

Today I discovered three more species of birds in our backyard feeding at our feeders...I was excited to see the diversity so here they are...

Ringed Turtle Dove (Male I think)
Dark Eyed Junco (Male only)
Carolina Chickadee (Male only)

I'll keep watching and we'll see if we get any other newcomers...I just hung my humming bird feeder yesterday but no takers so far...I'll keep my fingers crossed as I know they take a while to establish sometimes...

Note that once again, the pics that are linked are not mine but much better versions I found on the Net.

Starbucks E Rumor

Starbucks doesn't support the war in Iraq-Fiction!

Here is a perfect of example of Internet efiction, which of course because it is controversial, will make the rounds via email. It is sad that most people do not take the second it takes to check these things out before sending it on to their entire address book.

I have had people forward me virus hoaxes (which asked you to delete needed files from your system) and all sorts of "boycot this or that" emails because they got it from someone they trust and assume it must be correct...I got this one this morning, that is why I am bitching about it. I happen to like Starbucks (have a bit of stock in them as well), and was disappointed to see this email. Fortunately for me, one Google search later and it was all cleared up...yeah!!!!

Starbucks is actually a huge supporter of the troops. One of my friends was stationed in Iraq recently, and Starbucks sent so much free coffee to them, that they had more than they could use and gave it away to other units.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Fortune Cookie Confusion

J got a fortune last night from our Chinese take out and this is what it read:
"A gambler not only will lose what he has, but also will lose what he doesn't have.
Lucky Numbers 8,17,37,38,41,44"

Seems as they are warning you away from something, they are also encouraging it...hmmm!!! Have to wonder about the fortune teller on this one.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Fresh Ink

I just love these cards. They are from Hallmark and I guess you can buy them from Hallmark in the online store or in the brick and mortar store. Last time I was at my local Hallmark I cleaned them out pretty much. I like to stock up on them, then I can use them as I go and not have to worry about whether I already sent one or the other to several people or not.

Some of them have terrific pictures that remind me of when I was a kid (70s-80s), and those ones I love to share with other 30 somethings I know. The cards must bring back memories to them as well.

Anyhow, I was just sending out a couple to some friends of mine for their birthdays and I thought I would share. Check them out sometime if you haven't already gotten hooked.

Update: These cards seem to be unavailable by Hallmark sad, they were my favorites of store bought cards...