Saturday, March 31, 2007

I am glad my kids are grown

Last night, around 8 p.m. I went to Target to pick up a prescription and to look around, not to buy anything in particular except for a shower curtain liner and some batteries. Instead of a relaxing bit of shopping, my ears were abused with the sounds of kids screaming bloody murder at every turn.

I don't know if it is because I live in Yuppieville, USA or if this is a trend that spreads across social classes, but it seems as if parents treat their children like little adults, or worse...pets. They also let their kids be the ones in charge, and what the parent says seems to matter very little. I can't tell you how many times I have been in a store or restaurant in recent years and a mother is trying to reason with a little three or four-year-old kid. "Now, mommy doesn't appreciate you screaming like that, you are disturbing all these nice people who have come to shop." This is what I heard a mother saying to her little girl yesterday, and obviously the child couldn't give two shits about disturbing other people as long as she had her mom's undivided attention that she was getting by screaming her lungs out.

Another thing that bugs me is, why the hell are these kids being dragged through a big store at a time of day when they should be getting their baths and getting their jammies on and ready for bed? I have been in restaurants like Chili's at 8 p.m. on a weekday and have found families there eating with their young children who should have eaten hours earlier and should have been tucked in bed hearing a bedtime story instead of shoveling deep fried shrimp into their faces and drinking caffeinated beverages! What is wrong with people?

I am very glad that my kids are all grown up because it was hard enough raising kids in the "collect-them-all" 1980s and the "Barney" bullshit of the 1990s! Now with the kids as the boss, and rules for proper behavior becoming more and more slack, I am glad that I am done with all that.

What a dork I am!

Today, after checking my sitemeter to see who has been visiting me, I saw that someone from Libertyville, Il (a far northern suburb of Chicago) was obsessively reading my blog and persistently going to my log-in page. I also saw that this person was reading my blog for HOURS at a time, and every day for the past week or so. I started to fret...why was this person going to my log-in page? What was he/she trying to do? Were they that much of a fan, a stalker, or a hacker?!

I tried clicking on the link which is supposed to link you back to the visitor's entry page or to their blog, and I kept getting this message that the domain might not be safe, or it would take me back to my Blogger sign-in page. WTF?

I then started looking closely at the sitemeter pages, and details...and then something clicked in my brain. I did not see the usual town that shows up when I log onto my own site. I didn't see it listed for the past few days...after some more investigation and comparing of IP addresses...I discovered that it was ME! Apparently our provider is having problems at our local site and we are now being served out of Libertyville! Blush blush! As Tweety Bird says..."I'm so embawassed!"

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Woo Hoo! I need new jeans!

I am finally experiencing changes because of my new healthy way of eating. My pants are too big! I've been on my special diet since Feb 5th and have lost more than 20 pounds and my jeans are literally falling off of me. I have noticed that they have been getting baggier and baggier, and therefore also longer, and then today while I was doing some cleaning the dang things almost fell down!

Hubby, who is always wanting to avoid spending money says to wear a belt with them. But that would look weird with a belt and a baggy ass and the legs all flapping around. I think tomorrow, since it's payday I am going to go get myself a new pair of jeans in the next smaller size. I will only get one pair because I plan on going down two more sizes before I level out.

I feel so much better, and can breathe so much better. I started out at only around 50 lbs overweight, and I really feel for those who are much more overweight than that. It has to be so hard to keep from getting discouraged. But those of you who read this who are struggling to lose...just stick with it...and get yourself a journal and record everything you eat or drink and the size of the portion, the calories, fat, carbs, protein, fiber, sodium, sugar and cholesterol. (Check with your doctor for recommended levels for you...everyone is different and medical problems, etc have to be taken into account.)

I now just need to get my butt in gear and get to exercising more. I am really lazy and unmotivated about exercise, but imagine how fast this would burn off if I would get out there and really work at it! Warm weather is here, so I need to make myself get outside and do something!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Work-at-home saga: Installation of company software

After waiting hours and hours for the software to download onto my desktop the other day, it finally finished. The files were placed in zip file on my desktop and all I should have had to do was double click on the zip file icon and follow instructions for installation. Should have been easy, should have taken 15 minutes tops. BUT NOOOOOooooo. It took 16 freakin hours one day, and then another half a day the next day and four damn hours of my cell phone peak minutes talking to a technician who seemed to be looking up the problem in some kind of troubleshooting manual which I could have done myself!

The first several hours were downloading the zip file, and then it took a few minutes to install the software from the zip file. Everything seemed like it was moving right along as far as the installation process went, and icons were placed in the program files where they should be, and all should have worked fine. I went to the company website to test the software and no go! I tried several times and it wouldn't work. I then sent an email to tech support and they sent back an email that it must be my computer and also the usual claim "no one else is having problems." Well, bully for everyone else then!

After a few more tries, I reinstalled the software. I tried the company website again...then go, nothing. I then called tech support and got this really nice guy who was trying his best, but he had me trying all kinds of crazy things...changing settings, changing preferences and defaults. I was hoping my computer wouldn't explode. The thing that worried me most is that I was having to turn off more and more security settings, but that didn't work to solve the problem.

Around 11 p.m. I threw in the towel and said I was going to bed. The tech guy kept talking and I said I really needed to get to bed, and my husband who was also trying to help needed to get to bed. Mr. Technician gave me his home email and said to send a message and let him know how things were the next day...and he also suggested trying to install a new version of Internet Explorer. I despise Internet Explorer and use a different browser that is more secure and doesn't have the problems Microsucks has.

The next morning, before work, my husband downloaded the newest version of Explorer 7. But he didn't install it because he had to leave. (I didn't know he had downloaded this as he didn't leave me a message about it.) I struggled with the settings etc. some more when I got up around 7:00 a.m. I realized something I hadn't noticed before. Whenever I had the Internet Explorer 6 browser open, and went to a different site, another window would open and revert back to my default browser! I tried again and was the damndest thing! Why was this happening! Grrrr! I tried resetting all the controls back to default and that didn't help.

Then the head of tech support called me after I had sent an update to the first tech guy who had given me his email address the day before. Boss tech then starts asking me redundant and seemingly stupid I have Internet Explorer installed, did I download the software...I was losing patience, but since this is my employer and not some lame service we are paying for, I had to be nice and keep my head about me.

He then tells me that we need a new version of Windows XP since the one we have is SP1...he said we needed SP2. So, hubby stopped by Best Buy on the way home and got a brand new version of XP, but fortunately he was smart enough not to open it right away and wanted to try one more thing. He installed the downloaded Internet Explorer 7 and miracle of worked! I logged onto the company website and it magically worked....for whatever reasons. He has since taken the new XP software back for a refund. We didn't need it. (I think I could be a technical support person as good as those guys can...should be "interesting" working for yet another company who has a "trial and error" tech support department.)

I don't really care anymore how it started working, just as long as it is. I start my first day of training on April 4 and so help me, this bugger program better work!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

For Uma

Goa Silhouettes
Credit & Copyright: Joerg Schoppmeyer

Explanation: On Moonday, March 19, shortly before the equinox, locations in Asia and the Arctic were favoured by the New Moon's shadow during a partial solar eclipse. Although the view from Goa, India found the eclipsed Sun near the horizon, photographer Joerg Schoppmeyer was still able to capture this lovely image, combining celestial with terrestrial silhouettes. The next eclipse season will begin in late August this year, featuring a total lunar eclipse on August 28, and another partial solar eclipse on September 11. Compared to the March 19th eclipse, the September 11th eclipse will be seen on the other side of our fair planet, from parts of South America and Antarctica.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Slower than molasses in January!

"Slower than molasses in January" is one of the sayings my father uses to describe things that are slower than slow! Right now I am having one of these "slow" experiences of the "hurry up and wait" kind!

I am in the process of downloading company software for the new work-at-home job I wrote about earlier, here and here. They want this software downloaded and certification completed by a specific time and date, but never said anything about this process taking hours and hours.

The company sent me an email a couple weeks ago saying that on March 19th everyone was going to be sent a "Welcome" email, and passwords and ID information to get started in the process to download software and get our computers certified that our programs are installed and operational. Well, Monday came and went and no email!

Yesterday morning I sent an email saying that I did not receive my email on Monday and hope that it wasn't lost in cyberspace. My email must have gone astray on Monday because after sending them a message yesterday morning saying I didn't receive my welcome email, I was sent a response almost immediately with my password, etc. Instructions were for us ALL to sign on around 9 a.m. today, which is what I did and sweet Zeus is this SLOW! I have a pretty fast computer, and it NEVER takes this long to download something. I installed PhotoShop, Illustrator, and QuarkXpress in less than fifteen minutes total, so it ain't me! So I am assuming the slowness is because all new employees of this company are all downloading this program at once, therefore the slowness is from their end, not mine.

The first half-hour into downloading, I was at 1%, an hour later I was at three hours later I am at 58%. The indicator tells me that I have a bit more than two hours left to go! The weather has decided to take a turn for the worse and is thundering and lightning outside. So, help me if our internet goes out before this is done downloading I am going to be screaming like a banshee!

Monday, March 19, 2007




Don't forget to click on "APRI" !!!


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St Paddy's Day! ‘

Well, I am wearin' of the green today, a green sweater. Green usually isn't my color, but I have to wear it today because I am part Irish, after all. St Patrick's Day was a Catholic holiday, but like Valentine's Day, St Paddy's Day has been taken over by the secular world and is mainly now a day of fun and for many people getting shit-faced drunk and having a great time no matter if one is Irish or not.

Everybody in Chicago is Irish on St. Paddy's Day. Every year on St. Patrick's Day, the Chicago River is dyed green. The Pipefitters Union uses fluorescein dye which can also be used to study moving water. While in 1962, 100 pounds (45 kg) of dye were used, more recently the amount has been decreased to about 40 pounds (18 kg). This video gives a bit of history about why St. Patrick's Day is so special for the Windy City.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Monday, March 12, 2007

Filing frenzy

As I have said before in a previous post somewhere, I abhor office-type work and I am lazy about filing papers and I stash bill statements in drawers or in a pile on a table here and there with all the best intentions of filing them "later." Well, later seems to take a long time to get here! Last time I cleaned out our file cabinet and got up to date with my filing was August 2005! A year and a half ago!

I could kick myself every time I have to spend hours and hours sorting and filing papers that would have taken about two minutes out of my day to keep up with. I must have caught the saying that my husband's side of the family lives by "Always put off until tomorrow what you can do today." I have to get that out of my brain and quit being so lazy because it always comes back to bite me in the ass later.

I spent FIVE HOURS sorting and filing this year-and-a-half worth of bill stubs, statements, receipts, warranties, tax records, financial investment documents, car insurance policies, and a bunch of miscellaneous of this and that. I sat on the floor in our downstairs family room and sorted everything in piles and then had to organize each pile according to dates. I must have had thirty piles! Then I had to take each pile and put it in the filing cabinet in it's corresponding folder. My butt cheeks are still sore from all that leaning and stretching across the floor, and my hips hurt, and my back hurts, but it's my own darn fault! If I wasn't such a procrastinator about things I don't like, I wouldn't have to be tortured with so much of it all at one time.

SO, now that I have everything all caught up and organized AGAIN, I am going to say once more...I AM going to keep up with my filing this time and not let it get so out of control. Now I just have to make myself follow through!

Sunday, March 11, 2007


click on image to go to Birminghamopoly website

Yesterday evening my husband and I went to our good friends Pam and Eddie's home for dinner and to visit for the evening. We haven't been over there in quite some time, and we always have fun when we do get together. Pam made a very delicious dinner, and so kindly took my diet into consideration which I had told her that she didn't need to go to extra trouble, but she did anyway. She made skinless chicken breasts sprinkled lightly with breadcrumbs, steamed asparagus, brown rice and a salad. It was very good. I even splurged a bit and had a small piece of strawberry cheesecake for dessert.

After dinner was over and we had talked for awhile, Pam decided to take a couple of games out for us to play, and one of those games was Birminghamopoly. I know that they sell city versions of Monopoly and have seen Chicago-opoly sold at Marshall Fields before it was bought out by Macy's (which I am not happy about since Field's is a Chicago landmark). I like the game of Monopoly, so figured it would be fun.

A bit of background about Pam before I continue on with my story about yesterday evening's game of Birminghamopoly. Pam loves garage sales and she loves a cheap deal even better. She loves antiques, and bumming around stores that sell items of nostaligia and antiquity. Keep that in mind...

We sent up the board and sorted the money into piles, my husband organized the properties into sets, and we chose what color of game marker we wanted, and started playing. The properties are all places around the city of Birmingham like eateries, clothing stores, delis, bistros, etc. In place of where the railroad properties are in real Monopoly there are chains of Barclay stores...BUT all the properties only say "Barclay's" so there is no way to keep track of who owns WHICH Barclay's and so we had to keep very close attention in order to pay the rightful owner the rent due when landing on one of them. We thought that was lame, but thought no big deal since there were only four.

We kept playing, going around the board and then someone landed on the question mark over where Connecticut Ave. (light blue) properties usually are. It said "pick a surprise"...we wanted to know what was a "surprise"??? Where's the instructions? NO instructions! So, we made up a rule of what a surprise was and decided that would mean take a yellow card )in Monopoly this would be Community Chest"...

Then a couple more times around the board, we were buying properties and not really paying attention to names in particular until people started landing on more places where rent was due to the owner. My husband and Eddie had properties from the same color sets and would probably have haggled about it and wheeled and dealed later in the game in real Monopoly, but when Pam landed on an orange property and owed rent, she said the name and BOTH my husband and Eddie owned orange properties with that name and then we realized what was going on...many of the properties had the SAME NAME. WTF? My husband and Eddie both could not remember which orange property of the same name was their own. Who gets rent? No one remembered. Then Eddie asked, "Pam, where did the hell did you get this stupid game?" and she responded. . .

"at a garage sale"...Eddie tossed down his money and said "shit! game over!" and started laughing and got up to get a cup of husband was laughing like crazy, and though I didn't want to chime in against my friend, I sat there grinning, trying to contain my laughter. After a few moments, Pam just had to laugh, too.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Computer addiction

My name is Stardust and I am a computer-a-holic.

There, I admitted it. That's the first step, right?

I have been teased by family members of being “addicted” to the internet and blogging. I LOVE my computer, how can they criticize something that I enjoy so much! I have made “friends” via the internet, and have found a group of people I enjoy very much. But it has taken up excessive amounts of my time the past year. Too much when I could be working on that novel and collection of short stories I wish to someday have published. Even when I go on vacation I look for an opportunity to check out “just for a minute” what is going on at my blogs, my friends' blogs, my two email accounts, my online book discussion group, etc. and the “minute” turns into an hour (or more).

I realized just how much I am addicted to the internet when my modem died a couple days ago and I felt like I HAD to run out and get one NOW (and it was nearly nine o’clock in the evening!) I stopped myself and told myself that was ridiculous since it was nearing bedtime and I had a couple of books I have been trying to finish reading for months, and I waited until morning. But I was the first one at Best Buy yesterday morning to purchase a new modem, AND I took it home, and installed it myself instead of waiting for my husband to do it. Usually I wait for him to do the setting up of computer hardware, but I had done it on my jobs before and didn't want to wait. I followed the instructions, and then had to call our internet provider to get re-established online. This took almost an hour on the phone with them, and going up and down the stairs to do what the technician told me to do (our main computer and modem/router is downstairs in the basement and my cell phone won't work down there.) I managed to get the internet up and running with the help of the patient man on the phone and I was so relieved and happy. (I was quite grumpy when I couldn't get online.)

I tell others when they tease that I DO do other things besides internet, like reading, writing cleaning, cooking...but I do go back and forth in between that stuff and just have to "check" what is going on. When the computer wasn't available for me to "check" what was going on, I suffered the same kind of “pangs” that seem similar to the cravings an alcoholic feels for a drink whenever they try to stop. I wondered, are many of us becoming internet/blog “junkies”? How did I ever get along before computers?

Then after saying, naw...I am not addicted. I keep house, I can turn it off whenever I want to...I pushed aside the questions and then I found this video by Bad Religion and made me start thinking all over again. I know that if they are writing songs about it, I am not the only's religious and non-religious, science people, teachers, philosphers, political activists, artists, musicians, young people, old people…practically everyone! Is it a good thing, or a bad thing? I am trying to decide. Here is the video and lyrics:


I love my computer
you make me feel alright
every waking hour
and every lonely night
I love my computer
for all you give to me
predictable errors and no identity
and it’s never been quite so easy
I’ve never been quite so happy
all I need to do is click on you
and we’ll be joined
in the most soul-less way
and we’ll never
ever ruin each other’s day
cuz when I’m through I just click
and you just go away
I love my computer
you’re always in the mood
I get turned on
when I turn on you
I love my computer
you never ask for more
you can be a princess
or you can be my whore
and it’s never been quite so easy
I’ve never been quite so happy
the world outside is so big
but it’s safe in my domain
because to you
I’m just a number
and a clever screen name
all I need to do is click on you
and we’ll be together for eternity
and no one is ever gonna take my love
from me because I’ve got security,
her password and a key

Monday, March 05, 2007

Enough soup to feed an army

Trying to find things to eat on a low sodium, low fat, low carb diet is expensive and time consuming (unless one wants to eat oatmeal three times a day). I have been so careful lately that now I am getting too little of everything and was lightheaded this morning. I was proud of keeping my levels of sodium, calories, carbs, etc. at almost half of what is recommended daily for a normal person, but apparently too little can be as bad as too much. I am trying to find a balance.

I do eat oatmeal almost every morning and that is getting to be pretty dull and boring. So today I remembered that my father likes to put diced apples in his cereal and thought that would be good to add to my oatmeal. Instant oatmeal is sold in the apple cinnamon flavor, but there is a lot of sodium added that I can't have. So, I decided to make my own. I diced up an apple and mixed it in with the oats before cooking and the apple cooked along with the oats and acted like a natural sweetener! I added a little cinnamon on top and it was very tasty!

The past few days I have been looking for recipes online and found several good websites so copied down some recipes and ingredients that I would need. My husband and I went to the grocery store yesterday and ended up spending another small fortune on fresh produce, a couple packages of meat, cans of no-salt-added tomato sauce and stewed tomatoes, dried beans and spices and things that I have been trying to buy gradually.

Today I decided to make a beef stew from a recipe I found at If I had followed the recipe, we would have had enough stew for a meal or two for the both of us, but instead I deviated from the recipe and browned a pound of diced beef stew meat, and then added carrots, celery, onion, red potatoes (skins on), green beans, peas, garlic, diced green pepper, whole crushed tomatoes, and spinach. To this I added low sodium vegetable stock and a couple of tablespoons of Mrs. Dash's garlic and herb spice. It didn't look like enough liquid so I added two more cans of low sodium chicken stock. It filled over half of my huge stock pot. I simmered the soup/stew for about four hours. It was delicious! But there was so much of it!

It seems that am still in the mode of cooking for a family of five, and there is only the two of us now. We now have soup to feed five families. I could just feed it to him for the next week and not have to cook...tempting :-) Or I could freeze half of it and heat it up for a meal in a hurry. Nah...I hate cooking. :-D

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Last Date

I have so many good memories of the music that was played in our house when I was growing up and I still love it to this very day. Here is one of my all-time favorites. Floyd Cramer's Last Date...played by someone I don't know but it's all I could find on YouTube...but she's very good whoever she is.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Longing for Summertime

All this blowing snow and the freezing temperatures make me wish Summertime was here. Here is a YouTube by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald to make you feel nostalgic.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Another visit to the doctor

Click on cartoon to enlarge

Today would have been a good day to just stay in bed and sleep in. Torrential rains were falling from the skies and roads were flooded in some parts and it was just icky, nasty out. But I had to drag myself up early, take a shower and drive to the doctor's office for yet another appointment.

This time it was to talk about test results and to talk about why I had two abnormal urine tests. I got there, expecting there to be a lot of cancellations because of the inclimate weather and the parking lot was jammed full! Usually I can find parking at least in the third or fourth rows away from the complex, but today I had to park in the back row a million miles away from the door and had to brave being pelted with water that was blowing practically sideways in the wind.

I got inside and shook my coat off. My jeans were soaked to the knees. Wonderful. I will probably get a cold now from being wet, chilled and exposed once again to the extreme levels of germs and bacteria that exist where sick people gather.

When I got up to the second floor and saw the waiting area for my doctor I couldn't believe it. Must have been twenty people waiting. It's never like this. Part of me just wanted to tell them I would reschedule, but then I needed to know about my lab work and what the hell is wrong now.

I waited, and waited, and waited...finally they call out my name and I get to go back. I get on the scale...good! I lost a couple more pounds...and then they hand me a urine jar for ANOTHER urine sample. WTF...I am getting sick of this weekly urine sample bullcrap and them not doing anything or coming to any conclusions.

I then went back to the examining room and waited some more. The doctor comes in after a little tap on the door and says "Hi D--- how are you?" all happily. I wanted to say like Rodney "I don't know, you're the doctor, you tell me!" But I refrained from sarcasm and said I was there to discuss test results, lab results, and to find out why my urine tests keep coming back funky. He informed me that he is happy I am losing weight...good. He tells me my liver function looks good and that things are going along pretty good....EXCEPT...I am now considered "prediabetic"...blood sugar is too high. So now, on top of trying to keep track of sodium, I now have to keep track of sugar and carbs! I need to keep my sodium even lower than was originally thought, and need to really get crackin' on the exercise routine.

So, the ice cream pictured below is now only someone I can dream of, and I am going to have to learn to forget about eating for pleasure ever again. But, like the cartoon says, I can cheat, I can go off of the diet and do whatever I want, but there is a penalty...and I think I can find other things to do for fun and food is not in the category of mainly longer a pastime pleasure. I do want to be around for at least two or three more decades.