Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Staying steady...

Staying steady... is a great site for nutrition and fitness information and support. I enjoy the articles and the nutrition/fitness trackers. Probably the best part is the community. There are teams for every interest, but if I wanted to start a new group, I CAN!! It's great to communicate with others who are tackling the same challenges as I am, whether it is weight, nutrition, balancing work/family life, learning new skills, relearning old skills.... it's all here!

In the blog I posted on SP (that's what we insiders refer to the site as), I ramble off a few thoughts on anorexia, personal finances, recent fitness challenges, and nutrition habits. I hope you will look around on the SP site and consider becoming a member (YES! IT'S TOTALLY FREE!!), even if you aren't weight-challenged, you can get a lot out of the site. Come see, and enjoy!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Extreme Couponing... is it worth it?


I like saving money. I like having a full pantry. I like having a little extra that I can share with someone who needs it. I use coupons when I go to the grocery store. I started shopping a few months ago at a store that doubles coupons (up to 99c face value). I'm pretty happy with what I spend on groceries and my savings with coupons and store discounts. According to the popular TV show "Extreme Couponing" (TLC Channel), maybe I shouldn't be...

TLC channel is running a marathon today of EC. They are showing women who shop for hours with hundreds of coupons per trip, and thousands more in their trusty binders. Their pantries are stocked with over $10,000 in products (food, snacks, cleaning supplies, etc) for which they claim to have paid less than $2,000 in total receipts! Primarily, these shoppers are women. However, the show has highlighted a couple of young men who have a couponing addiction. I will call it an addiction, because I wonder if (some) of these people need help. Like the couple who are wanting to move out of state because they live in a bad neighborhood. So they are stockpiling items in order to save money on their total grocery bill, the one place most households can make the biggest dent in their budget, and use these savings for the "big move". I wonder though, did they not just make themselves a burglary and looting target by exploiting their treasure trove on cable? Did I mention this couple might try eating less and putting some of that savings toward a serious gym membership? A lot of extreme couponers seem to be large people... but one in three Americans is overweight, so maybe that is not necessarily a symptom of a grocery shopping addiction?

FIRST POINT: Even if it IS free, poor quality food will cost you a bundle in medical complications. The longer you eat highly processed (junk) foods, the more you can expect to pay for health problems. Eat fresh, whenever possible (fresh food isn't free unless you grow it).

       Every one of these shoppers has a nerve-wrecking check-out experience! I personally do not need the stress. The cash registers have scan limits, so you can't check out more than 'x' scans including scanned coupons in a single transaction. So, the shoppers split their orders into 20+ separate orders. They spend 5+ hours in the store, which might include more than two hours  just in the check-out process! Now, I don't know about you, but my time is more valuable than that! I've got other stuff to do! If I spent a whole day in one store, I would hope it's because I work there!!

SECOND POINT: It takes a LOT of time to shop all the sales and collect all the items you have 'pons for even if you only go to one store. That is IN ADDITION to the time you've spent collecting all those coupons and researching the ads to match sales with coupons to get the best pricing! Some women use 20 to 40 hours a week (nearly a full time job)!... and don't forget the time to unload it all back at home... OH THAT'S ANOTHER POINT!!

THIRD POINT: The space it takes to stockpile all this stuff! If you don't keep it organized, you could end up on "Hoarders: Buried Alive" (another cable show)! Freezers for the frozen stuff, refrigeration space in either multiple refrigerators (power hogs) or freezing less fragile cold items (I hear you can freeze milk and cheese?). Closets, spare bedrooms... oh, there is the college student with a 1-BR apartment! He keeps his stockpile in the kitchen and living room of the apartment. I just think that will be a LOT of stuff to move (student apartments are very temporary addresses....)

What about the guy that buys stuff he will never have a need for ("who cares? It's FREE!")... maybe he donates the feminine products to the local women's prison or battered women's shelter?

Let me make a final point from a business/economy angle:
Q: Why does it matter who buys the 250 cans of tuna/boxes of cereal/bottles of nutri-water? The manufacturers and distributors make the same either way whether 250 couponholders buy the products at one each, or one couponer with 250 coupons nabs them. So what?
A: It makes long term sense to have 250 individual consumers try your product. It doesn't matter if they try it for free, but the long-term effect is that SOME of those consumers will buy that product again with or without a sale or coupon. The one who emptied shelves in four stores has cheated 249 other shoppers of trying the product, and likely won't make a repeat purchase for a long time.

We can expect more restrictions in stores' coupon policies as manufacturers and distributors strive to maximize brand exposure.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Past MidTerm... heading for the holidays!

It's late... again! I had a Structural Geology lab exam today. Gruesome. So this evening while it poured down rain, I crocheted a little, dabbled in my shop ( getting ready for holiday rush, and watched re-runs of The Big Bang Theory on TBS. Else, I'm still learning the ropes of internet marketing, getting my name out there, and attracting users to my site. Not brain surgery, you say, but without an advertising budget, I may need to put a homemade bumpersticker on my car! LOL.. actually, I shouldn't laugh! I actually saw a bumpersticker where the person was trying to get people to click "like" on (his) Facebook page!!

I just got home from Utah this past week! Uploading a few pictures for you! I especially like the 2.7billion year old rock at Antelope Island in Great Salt Lake (top photo)! Definitely worth the trip! Canyonlands (bottom photo) and Arches National Parks are nice, and Upheaval Dome. Discussed a LOT of geology on the trip. Well, it WAS a geology field trip! Camping, long van rides, snow, sun, rain, stars, waxing moon.... good times!

Ah, well... the guts and glory of being a late bloomer! If only I had the opportunities now that I had 20 years ago coupled with the wisdom I have since acquired! This would be a completely different blog! "Everything happens for a reason" (they) keep saying, and "all things work together for good for those who love the Lord (and are called according to His purpose)" ... I certainly hope so!

Love to all my readers!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Am I really so techno-illiterate?

I cannot find my way around on! Seriously! I want to add my friend's blog to my reading list... I have to use Google Chrome to even be able to comment on blogs or see my stats! (Bullies!) I look all over the pages trying to find the link back to my 'dashboard'... so I can start over without logging out and in again!... grrr! Is it really this confusing to get around? I need a Tom-Tom just to blog? Seriously? ... or is it me? Am I too out-of-touch with the whole blog hysteria that I missed a few lessons on navigation? To be fair, Blogger isn't the only site I have had difficulty with... but it is by far the most challenging at the moment!

Shucks, I found images and taxonomy detail for 7 (count! seven!!) insects I have collected over the past two weeks and needed to identify.... and I cannot get around the blog site I use?... I don't believe it's all on me. I think Google could make Blogger, Blogspot, whatever... more user friendly!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Gardening is an enjoyable chore!

The summer is winding down here in central North Carolina. (Boo! Hiss!) My poor little garden would have fared much better if I had planted a cactus bed instead of water-hogging squash and melons! LOL Alas, I managed to salvage two (count: 1, 2!) squash from my thirsty vine, and it looks like I may get two (again, t-w-o!) very small canteloupes. My carrots... well, let me tell you about planting carrots in Carolina clay!! First, I made a modified "square-foot" style garden: I raked out the alcove between the cement steps at the back porch and the cement stoop the HVAC sits on. Then I set a 2x6 plank to create a front edge and staked it so it wouldn't lean over. Next, I poured in prepared topsoil and organic humus (10 bags total), and used a shovel to dig it deep into the original surface... all that, LAST year!! Last year, I had a "cute" garden.

So, the carrots! Right! This year, after pulling out weeds and whatever, I sectioned off the square I'm planting carrots. I take a 10-inch screwdriver and stab it into the ground and wiggle it around to waller out a loose hole for the carrots to enjoy... I do this for every place I am planting a carrot (16 holes). Not only do I only get 1/3 germination from the carrots (I don't know what happens to seeds... I had to plant banana peppers THREE TIMES before even ONE came up!... happy for the one...), oh! Not only do I only get 5 carrots, but they are stumpy... like 'Thumbelina' variety! I am sure I planted Danvers Long, and created a nice deep space for them, and lightly set the seeds in the tops of these carefully prepared holes.... but this ol' Carolina clay pinched them off! ... OR, a second, less plausible explanation: I didn't water often enough during the drought, and while they survived, they never dug deep into the soil. AND... I am impatient and didn't want to wait another 6 weeks till the frost and see if they could fatten up (actually, girth is good, the length is lacking).

Okay, I admit I am impatient when it comes to gardening: my potato sacks are 1/4 (if that one is doing its magic. I haven't looked yet.), my radishes even bolted right out of the ground! Not a single bulb before flowering! Unbelievable! My tomatoes never sprouted, and my peppers/eggplants are MIA. BUT I DID GET: three dinners' worth of green beans!! and two dinners of spinach/mustard greens! And the greens are growing again now that the weather is cooling down!

Still, I am wondering... that was a lot of work this summer for 3 cans of green beans and a can of spinach! I will plant a bumper crop this week, but maybe... just maybe... I need a bigger garden?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Busy Busy Busy!

My summer went okay. I didn't get to move out West, but I'm okay with that. The week of exams, my grandmother had gone back into the hospital. When she came home, and my exams were over, there was a daily onslaught of tornados through the middle of the country... where I needed to drive, no thank you. Then, as if that wasn't enough to discourage me, Phoenix, Arizona was blanketed by a severe duststorm!! Okay, truth: duststorm was not enough to dissuade me without the terrifying weeklong drive through tornado alley at peak season! So, I settled in with my folks for a long summer.... and enrolled for fall classes here.

School started for me on a Wednesday. Two days later, my grandmother passed. I had been expecting her departure for a long time. Watching her ability to take care of herself steadily decline was hard. She is missed, but I have peace in my heart. Just hours after her graveside service, there was a great earthquake! ('Great' for this area is anything that people can actually detect!) I laughed, because I was musing that if that EQ had hit during the service, we might have been digging some more holes!! LOL (okay, sorry, that isn't funny to everybody... but I still crack myself up!) I happened to be in structural geology lab at the time of the event, and we momentarily got off topic, but that's another story!

Family, school starting back, Fall Break planning, deciding on graduate programs, whether to file for a second Bachelors (not a bad idea, as it solidifies concepts by having to complete more classes, but   it would add more than 2 semesters to plan), moving... stay with folks or move closer to school.... need a job... want relevant work experience (in geology), not cashier at grocery/retailer (not that there's anything wrong with those jobs, but I need experience on my resume!) OH! AND.... I've been adding to my listings ( ... and eBay (and_ankhira)... so I am feeling very busy busy!

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Even when I was supposed to be studying for my sedimentology & stratigraphy exam, I was worrying about my lack of preparedness for regional or global disasters. My first thoughts were: Do I know how to find water? How do I make it safe to drink? So, I immediately abandoned my study and Google-d my new quest. Oh, I DO know how to find water, and apparently, boiling water for at least two minutes will destroy any ill-seeking pathogens in the water. Boiling longer than two minutes is a waste of water unless you are capturing the steam. The water needs to be at a full rolling boil... need to get temperature above 185* F, and I did not remember that water boils at lower temps at lower air pressure (higher elevations)... thermal dynamics was not my favorite subject.

Ah-hah! okay! but on the way to learning how to make "wild water" potable, I also learned how to make sandals from truck tires and how to sort and prepare acorns. I furthermore stumbled upon several websites (mainly blogs) about being prepared because "it could happen tomorrow." Okay, I thought about the many to-do lists... do I have a first aid kit? how complete is it? do I know where it is? Do I have food for 3 months if I suddenly had no way to get any more? (well, no... ). Do I keep my gas tank filled on my car? ummm... not really,so  in case you were hoping to take my car in an emergency, it will likely be low on gas, and if you need it tomorrow, the tires are worn and my mechanic tells me I need brakes all around!

Clothes, boots, food, WATER... the heaviest of all necessities! even heavier than the essential cast iron frying pan! which is why (you/I) would need to be able to find a reliable water source.... food... after awhile, (I/we) may have to forage for food. I can't kill an animal even for my own survival. I will dig for roots and berries and suck on tree bark before I kill something to eat! ... However, if I was lucky enough to have a hunter as a post-apocolypse partner.... LOL

So, now I have found some Y2K preparedness manuals and magazine articles... remember when the world was going to end at the end of 1999?... like asteroids, comets, Messiah, etc give a hoot about how we crazy folks have numbered our years? LOL still makes me laugh.... but what's NOT funny is political unrest and widespread economic crises keep me up at night worrying about water...and health...and nutrition..and foraging skills... and physical fitness... and sturdy shoes.... and bandaids... and... and... and...

another blogger "Ferfal" has a preparedness blog I stumbled on today

I accidentally found it while seeking the answer to: where's the (corned) beef? It used to come from Argentina and Brazil... Argentina overhauled agriculture and is no longer a major exporter of corned beef to the USA, and Brazil was drugging the cows and has been banned from shipping to the USA (as of a year ago)... somehow, I have only just now been affected by the shortage! :(

Friday, May 20, 2011

I need a cross-country itinerary to Arizona

I want to move out west. I have been planning this for a year already. I know I definitely want to study geology among those gorgeous outcrops in Arizona! If I knew anything about networking, I would know a few key persons out there and maybe even some intern prospects. However, I am plodding through the hard way. I know I need to complete some remedial courses in Geology to make up the difference between my undergraduate degree and the pre-reqs for graduate school. I have started taking those here, but have a few still to go... I also need to take the GRE and actually APPLY to grad schools!

On the practical side, I have decided that driving to Arizona is my best travel plan, since I have a car, and I will need one once I get there. How to navigate that distance is my issue. Okay, Interstate 40 goes directly from my house to Flagstaff, Arizona.... a whopping 2,025 miles away! I've read that a solo driver should not aim for more than 500 miles per day... so, there's a minimum 4 days on the road. I have been searching online all morning for websites that would help me plan the trip and all the details like 200 mile breaks, 500-600 mile stopovers, where to eat, etc. I need to stay on a shoestring budget, and still be safe. Plus, I until I can get a GPS unit, I don't want to stray too far off the interstate... I am easily lost trying to find my way out of a paper bag! LOL... also, I am concerned about current flooding in the Mississippi Valley because I will have to cross the Ol' Mississip at Memphis.

I am interested in finding a surrogate church family. I love my church here in NC, and I expect to find a "home away from home" out there...Next order of business is a JOB!!  I will need a place to stay and a way to pay for it, and plus, I want to take advantage of IN-STATE tuition at Arizona universities... I have a couple in mind, but I was first attracted to Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff because of their relationship with the USGS Astrogeology Science Center (also in Flagstaff). I hear that Flagstaff gets cold and snowy in the winter.... not my favorite season... and a desert cat like myself might enjoy the more temperate Phoenix area. I was impressed with the Mesa, AZ, area when I took a class trip out to Usery Mountain Regional Park last fall. Four days was NOT enough! I wish we could've stayed a whole semester (or longer!)... coyotes, tarantulas, Bagdad Copper Mine, Superstition Mountains, ... awesome, awesome time!

Okay, that is a full enough post for today. On to other things... thanks for letting me vent! :)

Friday, April 8, 2011

American Idol Facebook fanbase

While searching for the actual vote tally, I checked out the FOX network's website for American Idol. From the Contestants page, I clicked through to each one's Facebook page. Here are the fanbase results as of 4:00am EDT (USA) for the remaining 8 contestants:

8. Haley Reinhart                 9,133
7. Jacob Lusk                       9,900
6. Stefano Langone             12,063
5. Lauren Alaina                 14,409*
4. Paul McDonald               17,034
3. Casey Abrams                 22,708
2. James Durbin                  25,131
1. Scotty McCreery          54,230
(* Lauren Alaina has multiple pages dedicated to her. Only the fan count on the contestants' pages linked to the official FOX site are used for comparison.)

There could be a trend here?

American Idol: show some respect!

I can't believe I have been sucked into the pop culture craze of Fox Television's "American Idol!" It's true, my home state has a Top 8 contender, but I usually don't take much notice of reality TV or game shows. My friends, however, are avid fans!

In this week's elimination, Pia Toscano was sent home. She didn't win this week's popularity contest... for whatever the reason(s). That is sad for Pia, because she is a gorgeous, talented young woman, and I believe she could have gone farther in the competition. In the end, though, someone had to get the least votes. Someone HAD to be at the bottom. Ryan Seacrest never fails each week to tell us which three contestants received the lowest number of votes (without actually telling us the number of votes received, which I find irritating, because I am a "numbers person").

Okay, so Pia got the short stick this week, and Stefano Langone is "safe." The crowd boo-ed loudly when the results were given. I agree, Pia sings well! What message does that convey to Stefano? He and Pia are standing waiting on the verdict, and he is "safe," and the crowd boos? Wow! I am glad I am not Stefano!

Forget Pia for a moment (sorry, sweetie)! There was a 50/50 shot here and the crowd vehemently cried out against the result. Do you think Stefano's release would have prompted a similar response? I wonder. I wonder what was going through his mind as he listened to the boos as he walked to greet his friends at the "safe couch?" Wow!

People, listen up! If it matters to you, then vote for your favorite. You don't have a favorite? Vote for the one(s) you think performed the best, and vote more than once! My friend and I stayed on the phone the whole two hours voting over and over for our favorites. Someone will come in last. With millions of votes nationwide, there is a greater chance a meteor will fall through your roof than there be a tie for the bottom of the heap on American Idol next week (8 contestants remaining).

Vote, and be considerate of the "runner up." Showing disappointment for Pia's leaving was expected, but you hurt Stefano in the process. Be considerate. Think about the other people involved and show some respect!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Why don't you participate?

I don't understand something: why won't people speak up? In particular, why don't students speak up in class? Oh, I understand the fear of giving an incorrect response in front of your snickering peers. Really, I do. You want to be certain of your answer so you aren't embarrassed. Sure!

I challenge you for a moment. Think of the instructor or speaker who has just asked for class participation and NO ONE responds. Not even with a wrong answer. The speaker wonders if anyone is listening or cares about the subject they are passionately trying to convey! It is interesting to me that small children are eager to share their thoughts and ideas when prompted, yet as we age, and are ridiculed by our peers, we become silent and passive learners; we are afraid of each other. Not much better, is the situation when one student voices an idea and others jump on the bandwagon with the pressure removed for them to formulate an idea of their own.

Now think of your classmates... the snickering ones, in particular... those who do not share thoughts and ideas, even the incorrect ones, with the class. You see, even an incorrect response to an open question is a teaching moment. If you offer an answer that is not 'spot on,' at least two things happen:
(1) A silent student supposed the same wrong response and would have gone home not knowing the right information if you had kept silent, and
(2) now the speaker (teacher) will correct you out loud, thereby teaching the whole group how to arrive at the correct answer. I would bet you are likely to remember the right answer when you are publicly corrected!

This is learning. We learn by making mistakes and finding out why our answer was not optimal, then fixing it. It is advantageous to make a mistake in the presence of a mentor or instructor (someone who can show us how to avoid the same mistake in the future). So, SPEAK UP EVEN IF YOU ARE UNSURE! Those who ridicule you are, IMHO, relieved that you spoke up with the wrong answer, because possibly they thought it, too, but were afraid of being wrong. Make the effort. Your instructors will appreciate your participation and attempt at showing interest in the subject matter.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ack! I found one!!! Piece of mind?

I haven't constructed a new blog... yet... but I couldn't resist sharing this common spelling error I found today. Read the following phrase from an (unnamed) online article:
"...[being debt free] gave him the piece of mind he wanted."

Did you catch it? "piece of mind?"... If someone gives you a piece of their mind, it is usually unwanted! The phrase the article is going for here is "peace of mind." So, now let's review:

Piece: a part or fragment of a whole. Examples: a piece of pie, a piece of string...
Peace: a state of tranquility or quiet, absence of quarrels or war.

Amazingly, the spelling of piece is correct in the article, as many people cannot get the "i before e except after c" jingle straight in their head. A Google search of the anomalous letter assemblage "peice" yielded over 7 million results! Atrocious!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What's a blog for anyway?

Hi, again! I'm definitely glad you stopped by! I am pondering: what's a blog for anyway? It seems that a lot of people (and I do mean A LOT!) are posting their personal ramblings (not that there's anything wrong with that!).... and, it's me included... because.. why? There are other people using their blogs to generate income (imagine that!)... now some of those "smart" ones are writing how-to articles, DIY stuff, financial self-help, inspirational devotions.... so, my question to myself is: what do I know about that I can start a "smart" blog? ... Let's review:

1. Rocks... I've got rocks in my head!
2. Mars (?)... I want to know all about the Red Planet...
3. Crochet.... I do crochet everyday, and knit at least a couple times a week... nothing fancy yet
4. Mistakes... especially other people's mistakes... I would make an excellent proofreader! Let's explore this one!

Two things I hate in this world: thieves and liars... true, but that's not where I was going...
Two things: misspellings and poor grammar!
I can't tell you how many times I have picked up the local newspaper and cringed at the cut-off sentences and blatant misspellings. I thought the editor was supposed to proof the articles before they go to print? At least, in this world of cut-and-paste, the reporters could run their pieces through 'spellcheck' before submitting them for publishing? A few years back, I attended one of our regional universities. The campus newspaper was atrocious. Not only were the spelling and grammar leaving much to be desired, but the content was sometimes inappropriate for their diversified audience. I did write to the editor on that note, because I was embarrassed to share the newspaper with my friends and family (it was that bad!).

But how would I turn this obsession with correct grammar and passion for eradicating spelling errors into a fruitful blog?... I would definitely need to title a new blog.  (See that definitely? It means "without question." It is rooted in the word finite, meaning "bounded, limited in magnitude or expanse." If I had a nickel for every time I 've seen it posted as "definately" I could already pay for grad school! DEFINITELY... definitely... Definitely.... no A's people! It looks funny now, doesn't it?

I'll scan the recent posts on Facebook for more grossly overused misspellings. I will forgive the cyber jargon (maybe?). It won't take long... please watch for a new blog title from me. I think I have found my niche! LOL :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ah, Spring Break is over... sigh!

So, Spring Break 2011 has come to an end! It's back to school for me... although, my original plan ( hatched the week before Break started) was to stick around close to campus and enjoy uninterrupted use of the geology lab, and maybe even prepare a thin slice of my 200+million year old rock I collected on a recent field trip. Alas, the lure of family comraderie, my nephew's Eagle Scout ceremony, etc, etc... led me on a different plan. On the plus side, I nearly finished a knitting project I am working for my sister's birthday (it won't make it in time, but I did get a lot done on it!) :)

Yes, my nephew earned his Eagle Scout badge back in November, and he is officially an Eagle Scout now! We are all very proud of him. He worked hard to earn it!

Do I really have a rock over 200-million-years old? Yes, I do! I collected it from a Triassic-period alluvial fan deposit in central North Carolina that has been exposed through local faulting and the help of railroad construction. My sedimentology class was visiting the structure recently, and I inquired about the rocks within this ancient rubble. The rockpile was created during the Triassic period (200-250mya), and any rocks therein are much older than that!

You see, a rock needs to have a "coolness factor" to stay in my collection, or it may get tossed out with "I have no idea why I'm keeping this!" So, if it isn't interesting to look at but I can say, "Oh! That's over 200 million years old!", then it's cool. I tried to find one that is interesting as well, and I found a green rock. Green could be anything, really... not likely to be peridotite, although that would be most cool! I am placing my bets on epidote maybe with some chloritization of olivine/pyroxenes, although my mineralogy professor is doubtful due to the muted color. Epidote (proper) is a bright pistachio green. My rock is not as bright as the lab sample. So, I hope to make a thin section... a thinner than paper slice of the rock that can be viewed under a microscope to identify the individual mineral grains of the rock.

<<note to self: upload microscope image of rock>>

Friday, February 25, 2011

Buy American!

Buy American! Stop giving your American-made money to corporate tycoons who throw pennies at poor nations in the name of international commerce! Help your neighbors in the USA!

I stopped in a discount store this evening to wait out Friday rush hour traffic at sundown. The low sun angle just makes a nerve-wrecking drive even worse, so I stopped off until after dark. I decided that IF I chose to buy anything, it would have to be made in the USA. There isn't much to choose from. I DID however, find a new (much-needed) plastic litter box for the cat, Sterlite (R) plastic 3-drawer container to house my rock collection, and sport bottles that fit in the drink-holder, AND some BPA-free squirt bottles that looked like dishwashing liquid bottles (why do dishwashing liq bottles need to be BPA-free?) ... anyhow. I was excited to get a few things that I actually need and to BUY AMERICAN MADE PRODUCTS!

I am in the market for some new jeans... I searched online to find that most major brands have outsourced their production... even Lee, Wrangler, and Levi's! : o This did not make me happy! But, I DID find American-made jeans at and I do believe they will soon be shipping me some jeans! Woo Hoo!

I crochet and knit... did I tell you, that I buy yarns that are MADE IN USA? I use Peaches & Creme cotton yarns (Old Fort, NC) and Lion Brand Homespun acrylic yarns (

Take a look at the non-food items you purchase... just look at the "Made in _______" I wanted new special towels to take to the gym (made in India/China/Pakistan/Turkey)... new panties? Honduras... new pencils? China (although I am certain if I go to the office supply store I will find American-made pencils there). It's unbelievable! Other than cars and plastic homegoods, what does America produce? My friend replaced her dinnerware recently, determined to buy American, and found Fiestaware is made in USA! On the manufacturer's website, FAQ page, this is the actual question and answer:

Is Fiesta® Dinnerware made in the USA?     The Homer Laughlin China Co is proud to say that our Fiesta® Dinnerware is still made here in the USA at our plant in Newell, West Virginia where it was originally designed and produced nearly 75 years ago.
(copied without permission 2/25/2011 from website: my apologies for not asking first)

Food is a whole other issue... I want to buy local (regional) seasonal produce, but I have no sense of what should be in season at my local farms? the farmers' market imports, too! grrrrr.... I just know that strawberries, tomatoes, melons, and cucumbers are NOT in season here during February!! Borden advertises that its farms are 100% family-owned right here in the USA and 100% of their proceeds goes back to the diary farmers ( So, I bought Borden processed cheese slices instead of my usual brand.

Have you thought about how you can help America get back to its roots and stop sending our jobs overseas? Or are you just looking for the lowest price? Americans have a higher standard of living, and need larger salaries than impoverished opressed people who are just happy to get something even if it's not enough. Support American families. Buy American every chance you get!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chore lists not just for kids!

So, my sister has been bragging how her 5-year old can't wait to log in to her personal online chore chart and check off her to-do list!! She earns mommy-set points for each task, and banks those points to earn mommy-set rewards.. like a trip to the museum, ice skating, McDonald's playground, new book/puzzle, etc. etc.... the cool thing? The child GETS IT! She sees a chore that she needs to do, hurries to go do it, and announces that she needs to log in her points! WOW... I wonder if that will work for a 13-year old? So far, logging in is just "one more thing I have to do"... maybe the teenager should earn points just for logging points daily?

Now, I am far past my teens, but I have a difficult time staying disciplined throughout the week. Monday starts off well, but by Wednesday... I have fell off my exercise and sensible eating wagon. So, WHAT IF... I use the chore chart at for MY to-do lists? I need motivation for daily exercise, completing homework assignments daily, and other grown-up things... is filing my taxes 30-days before the due date worth 5000 pts? 500 pts?... hmmm... I'll think about that. How about detailing the car? Making dinner for housemates once a week? crocheting items to sell on

The trouble with being a grown up is it is akin to having the fox guarding the henhouse. If I rack up say 3500 points, I can treat myself to a fancy frappuccino. HOWEVER... who's to stop me from nabbing that frap whenever I feel like it? Me? Like I will tell ME 'No.'? Who are you kidding? So, I have to think of rewards for me that are within my budget, but that I will not circumvent the point-system and get it anyway. Hmmmm.....????

I would like to hear if you have used or a similar site and what you think of the idea? Has it worked for you/your family? What special /unique rewards did you come up with? Please leave your comments below! I like to hear from my readers!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

School's in Full Swing!

Hey, everyone! I love geology! The topic this week is "Snowball Earth" (hypothesis). Was the Earth ever frozen over like Jupiter's moon Europa? OR was the Earth only mostly/partially glaciated "the Slushball hypothesis"? The assignment in one class is to use the stratigraphic record to determine what was happening at the Earth's surface nearly one billion years ago. Some members of my family are skeptical on most paleontology. I think that THEY think that the Earth has pretty much looked like it does now, and they may even doubt the age of the Earth (approx 4 1/2 Billion years). There is evidence to the age and constantly changing conditions that shape the immediate geography. That being said, luckily, my assignment is not to support or refute the hypothesis, only to determine from scholarly articles and limited field work if the stratigraphic record is reliable evidence to argue the case.

Else, in my world:
I am recovering from acute bronchitis. I know I am recovering, because my symptoms went from bad to not worse, but different LOL. Coughing is nagging but necessary. :( Winter sucks!

I let my little niece use my loop-lens to look at a rock found in her yard. She was amazed at the little specks you can see with the magnifier that you don't see when you just pick up the rock and look at it (naked eye). Of course, she then wants to use the loop to look at EVERYthing up close... she is going to be science-oriented like me! I love it!

I finished my pink mittens I started crocheting two years ago LOL. They don't match exactly, because I didn't have the pattern to work the second one, and I had to guess the hook size, et al, from the first one. Close enough. Now I can start on a new scarf... while I take a break from the Snowball Earth hypothesis!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Still not sleeping...

Good grief! As if insomnia is not bad enough, I had a couple of disturbing dreams last night this morning!

The more disturbing one was... I am lying on the bottom bunk of my childhood bunk bed. A plain-clothed home nurse is prepping a hypodermic needle. A friend is nearby. The nurse uses an alcohol soaked swab to prep a small area on the back of my right knee, and then uses a scalpel to gently scrape off a melanoma. The flesh-colored raised mole unfurled and swelled before becoming totally loosed and required 3 scrapes with the scalpel to remove. The nurse was intrigued by the mole and said it looked, "Cool, like Kool-Aid!".. is she talking to a child? My mind immediately linked Kool-Aid to the Jim Jones' cult mass suicide. Considering the gravity of the melanoma and the use of Kool-Aid to carry Jones' cyanide, I did not find her comment reassuring at all, and I reminded her of the Jones' incident, challenging that her new specimen is not "cool like Kool-Aid." She conceded and cleaned a split on my middle finger on my right hand. I had what I call a 'cold-split' on the top corner of my finger, at the corner of my fingernail, that only occurs in very cold weather. The nurse uses a hypodermic to numb the finger and then used a quick-stitch gizmo to shoot a couple stitches to pull the split together. It seems this is a pro bono comfort-favor to me, the patient, that we arranged prior to the mole removal. (NOTE: I do NOT have raised moles of any kind, anywhere!)

The other dream I remember was shorter... people were not wearing pants. Everyone had their butts covered, bathing suits, underpants, shorts, etc... but it was odd for no one to have pants. I even was discussing with a couple neighbors (also no pants) about the oddity, and they were equally confused...
**(OOOOHHH! I just figured that one out! I only have one pair of jeans with no rips... in the mind of a woman, "I have no pants!"... Okay... well, I'll leave this one in, just in case it helps someone else figure out their no pants/shirt/car dream!)

Okay! Time for breakfast! I'm awake now. HAVE A GREAT DAY!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Did I ever tell you about myself?

Mid-40's, no-nonsense, born again Christian woman seeking career in planetary geology. I enjoy hiking, climbing and nature trails which led me into the hobbies of rockhounding and letterboxing (similar to geocaching but without loose items). I also enjoy gardening and cooking.
Things I do NOT like: country music, tattoos, horror flicks, drinkers, smokers, drug users, reckless drivers, criminal records, men with no goals who are wallowing around waiting for an epiphany.I do like romantic comedies, comedy, action, drama (Nicholas Cage, Morton Downey Jr, Morgan Freeman, Richard Gere, Hugh Grant are my fave actors. Actresses: Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts, and Angelina Jolie. 'Big Bang Theory' is my favorite TV show. I am most like 'Dr. Sheldon Cooper', less a few dozen IQ points. Within the past 6 months, I have watched most episodes of 'The Practice' and the entire series 'Firefly' (no doubt, I would know a lot more about Geology if I hadn't stopped for the TV!).

Typically my weekends are spent managing my Avon and PartyLite businesses, rewriting class notes, letterboxing (see to learn about this hobby), spending time with family and friends, or walking in the park with the dog. I often visit my local Starbucks for a relaxing cup o' Joe and a book. Board games, canasta, Wii (LOL), "dance party" haha with nieces... nights I am trying to beat my sis at Bejeweled Blitz or crocheting/knitting, though I am no stranger to reading non-fiction or reviewing French language. In fact, I am reading Mars updates at present, when not studying geology.
I am getting my ducks in a row to move to the Flagstaff, Arizona, area within the next 18-24 months to pursue a Master of Science degree in Geology. I am currently enrolled in remedial courses in North Carolina to patch the difference in programs.
Thank you for stopping by.