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I'm happy, married, and looking forward to sharing my world with you! If you're interested, that is!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Yay!!

My nephew just got his first job.

We've been, quite honestly, a bit worried about him. He's been without direction, a bit lost, starting college, dropping out, applying for jobs but not following up on them, sleeping all day then going out all night and coming in during the wee hours of the morning, listening to music but doing little else of anything...

His mom's boyfriend offered him jobs a few times, but J never took advantage of the opportunity before. THIS time he did. And when he called me today to say he starts on Monday, well, he was SO excited! He even said to me that I "missed how excited [he] was when [he] found out!"

It's been a looooong time since I've heard such enthusiasm in his voice. A looooong time since he sounded like he cared about something other than AC/DC and whatever other heavy metal groups he's currently listening to... A looooong time since he's sounded as if he wanted to do something other than sleep the day away.

Can I ask you all a favor? Please pray for him. Please pray that he finds his way. Please pray that he listens, does well, and keeps the job. It's seasonal, so it's not permanent, but it's good. For now. For spring and summer.

Please just pray he does well enough to believe he can do well.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Listen to Past Shows | Ric Edelman

Listen to Past Shows Ric Edelman

If you do nothing else, listen to the first five minutes of this radio broadcast. Just click through to the 3/27/10 broadcast. Ric addresses the direct costs of the new healthcare legislation, in dollars and cents. Costs to you, costs to businesses.

THIS is why I did NOT want this plan to pass, in its current form.

I have no objection to working together, both Congress and the people and businesses of the United States, to come up with a plan to help those who, for reasons beyond their control, cannot help themselves at this time.

I do NOT believe in a giant welfare program for people who do not want to help themselves - that hits a little too close to home for my comfort.

There are certain things I have no problem with - a tax on tanning salons, for instance. That's a luxury, whether or not you believe in them for health reasons, and if I have to pay a tax when/if I use one, so be it.

I DO have a problem with a 62% increawse in Medicare payroll tax in 2013. I will still be working and this DOES affect me, directly.

I DO have a problem with a NEW 3/8% tax on investment income, which includes divident interest, rental income, capital gains - I already pay taxes on this income.

I don't have a problem with a flat $2.00 surcharge on my insurance plan. I'm paying my premiums already and this will not take food out of my mouth or clothes off my back, and it is a way to generate some incremental money that can be used to supply care to people who need it.

Which brings up another point: health insurance is not a right. It is a privilege. If you pay for it, you can have it. If you can't afford it, you are not tossed out into the street without healthcare. You can go and get care in any hospital, which is obligated by law to provide it to you whether you have insurance or not. And of COURSE, those who go into ERs for a cold or the flu increase costs to those of us paying for those same services. THIS is where we have to come up with some sort of alternate plan. BUT to arbitrarily pass this bill, in its current form - NO EFFIN' WAY. I am against it and will be until it's in a form that works for all and penalizes none.

I do NOT have a problem paying sales tax on medical devices and I thank them for excluding eyeglasses, contacts and hearing aids. This is another way to earn a little extra money for the program. If this is ANOTHER 2.9% tax, on top of my current sales tax, which is 7%, then YES, I DO have a problem with that. Why not address the current tax code and direct current sales tax incurred on medical devices, and paid for by me and everyone else who buys them, directly to healthcare for uninsured people?

For employers with 50+ employees who do NOT provide healthcare for said employees, there will be a $2000 fee PER EMPLOYEE to be paid to the government. ARE YOU KIDDING ME????

Due to the elimination of any government subsidy to employers for providing retirees with prescription plan, there are seniors who will not have access to a prescription plan???? Those people are on limited incomes - can my mother afford her medication without some sort of prescription plan? NO! Will I be able to? NO? Will my husband? NO.

I am currently punished for being in relatively good health; regardless of how much I spend out-of-pocket, if it is $1 shy of 7.5% of my AGI I can't deduct it. And that's going UP to 10%!!!

Thanks to Ric Edelman for putting this out there. This broadcast should be played everywhere, aired everywhere, so people can really hear what they just voted into being.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Using Picasa

So I tried to load Photoshop Elements 5 on my new laptop and something happened. I had to remove it and wait hours while the laptop checked itself and finally decided it was okay.

So I decided to use Picasa instead, at least for now, as my editing tool. Here's my first attempt to manipulate a photo. The first one is just how the picture came out. The second one is what I did to it in Picasa.


Hmm... I got to improve our skin tones, and add some text, just for fun. I like it! Not that I'll get rid of the original, real us, but...
Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 26, 2010

Surprised by politics...

I went to a scrapping event last night. There were 9 of us, I believe, just sitting around talking about organizing our scrap stuff and organizing for a crop, and at the end of the night, one of the women made an off-the-cuff comment about BO. We weren't talking politics and no one had asked a question about the recent healthcare plan...

The comment wasn't derogatory or mean, but it was quite obvious that she's not a fan of BO or of the plan.

What surprised me was that all of a sudden, with the exception of one woman who simply said nothing at all, every single woman there made a comment that they were against the healthcare plan that just passed.

This is not a rant against the plan. This is not a rant against BO, although I could go there in an instant if I wanted to! I'm not against reform, per se; in fact I think tort reform and insurance industry regulation is absolutely required, but what surprised me was the wild assortment of women in the room:
older, younger; with children, without children; with pre-existing medical conditions, without; with young children, with older children, with children out of the house and on their own already; women who owned their own homes, women who were renting; with mortgages, without; with debt, without; women whose husbands were working multiple jobs to keep afloat, women whose husbands were unemployed and looking for a job; women benefiting from government subsidies because they needed help, women just working and paying their taxes and collecting not a dime of assistance for anything; women who are Democrats, women who are Republicans, women who are Independents...

A real, honest-to-goodness cross section of female Americana. And none of our Democratic representatives listened to us.

Thanks to our Republican representatives who voted with us.

To our current Democratic representatives: enjoy your jobs until election day rolls around. I'm not so sure you'll be there for another term!

And I'd like to take a minute to address anyone reading this whose knee-jerk reaction is to defend BO and the healthcare plan and go off me in the comments: it's not necessary.

I didn't write this to beat up on BO. I'm not here to criticize the plan. I don't want or need to be "taught" by you that I'm wrong. I have an opinion and I'm entitled to it. This post is simply a comment on the wide assortment of women who got together for reasons unrelated to politics and, surprisingly (to me, anyway!), despite their politics, found that they all had some other things in common - that there are a lot of opinions and beliefs that cross political boundaries, that you can be one thing and think another, that they truly believe in something, and that they now know for sure that their representatives aren't representing them!

An enlightening evening...

Monday, March 22, 2010

The World's Best Book Tour!

As much as I've always thought Alaska and Paris would be my two most favorite dream vacations, I think I've come up with a new one...

Imagine me traveling the world to see the most spectacular and most beautiful libraries... Now THAT'S a dream vacation (for me!)!!!

Click on these two links to see some absolutely stunning examples of the world's most beautiful libraries...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/22/the-most-amazing-librarie_n_432126.html?slidenumber=IvNql0eBitk%3D&&&&&&&&&&&

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/22/the-most-amazing-librarie_n_469484.html?slidenumber=GZvrQ1MHPCs%3D&&&&&&&&&&&

Here's something you all might not know about me... I collect books on books.

I have books about libraries, books about collecting books, books about how books are made, books about books since the first days of the Gutenberg Bible... I am lucky enough to have fallen into a career that allows me to be surrounded by books or book-related "stuff" all during my working day... I'm even luckier that my husband accepts my obsession with books, understands that I'd rather read than, well, do almost anything! I read at stop signs, red lights, the dinner table (although I try REALLY hard not to do this - we have little time enough together as it is, so 99 times out of 100 I wait until he excuses himself to go do some work around the house - he's a much faster eater than I am!), in bed while we're watching TV, on vacation, on cruise ships, at work, on airplanes, at the lake...

I can spend hours in a Barnes & Noble, just browsing, or actually sitting down with a cuppa joe and reading a book while hubby does the same (sans coffee!). In fact, he's usually the one who suggests we go to B&N for a couple of hours - date night, if you will! We grab a table, a stack of books and/or magazines each, and go to town!

In fact, one of the nicest things he's ever said to me, and I'm sure I've posted this here at least once, is that he's never read so much in his entire life as he has since he met me! Now I can die happy!!!

I've decided that once we/I retire, one of the things I want to do is volunteer in some capacity with a library or a literacy organization or at a school, if that's an option... I volunteer now, through work, as a reader for a second grade class in J's school. Every other week I go for an hour to read to the kids out loud, and do some book-related activity with them after the book(s) are finished. I want to do something like this later in life, when I have more time... If I can find a part-time job that actually pays me to do something like that, all the better... Perhaps I can work with RIF or Literacy.org in some way... reading when English is your second language, improving reading skills, something...

Anyway, if I win the MegaMillions some day, I think I just might have to visit a couple of these libraries... Take a few minutes and browse through the two slideshows... Some are just unbelievable!!!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

It Feels Like Summer!

My face feels like that first day of summer when you get a little color and your skin feels warm and tight. Oh, wait! I was outsided today, sitting in the sun, hoping to get a little color! And then we went out on the rowboat for a little putt around our part of the lake. Of course, in the sun, I couldn't read any of the settings on my camera so the picture was taken in black and white... Too bad they don't have a button to go from b/w to color, like they do to go from color to b/w...
This picture is of Jack checking the rowboat out - I refused to get into it until he took it out for a spin and came back safe and dry. It's a rowboat he got as a trade for a kayak he got rid of and we'd never put it in the water... I wasn't taking any chances...
While the air was cool (glad I was wearing my sweatshirt, especially when I got splashed a little by the not-so-warm lake water!), the sun was so warm and welcome. After the snow and rain we've gotten these past several weeks, the sun looks that much MORE awesome!
So I just got off a webcam call with my sister in AZ. I must say I love being able to actually SEE my sister; we don't get together for years at a time so this is a way for us to "be" with each other while we're thousands of miles apart! (Shh, there's a rumor she might get to come east this summer for niece A's graduation... barring any acts of God, hurricanes or tornadoes or unexpected expenses...
Well, gotta run and feed the hubby - it's dinnertime and he's only had lunch all day...

Monday, March 15, 2010

I am now the proud owner of...

an HP laptop!

Although far from my dream machine (I would have loved a faster processor), it will have to do. Hopefully once I get online and see how fast it is, I'll be pleasantly surprised. Although from what everyone told me, I should have held out for the faster processor.

Unfortunately I got a $1000 bill for propane for the lake house. The lake house we've kept at 45 degrees since October. The lakehouse we spent two or three days at since then, days when we ran the heat up to a whopping 65 degrees until it went off when the woodburning stove or the room heater heated up enough to shut the heater off.

That $1000 was NOT expected; I was sort of thinking $700 or $800, so there goes the extra $200 or $300 for the upgraded laptop...

It does have the memory I was looking for (4GB/500GB) and I bought a wireless router - useless, by the way, until we get internet back. Internet, TV, and phone have been out since Saturday night, thanks to Mother Nature's hurricane-without-a-name! (That's what the weather stations are calling the storm - 75mph gusts = F1 hurricane!!!) I did call the house and the machine answered so I'm hoping that's a good sign, that all things cable-related are back up and running. We were lucky enough not to lose our electricity; neighbors on the street behind us have been without electricity since 6pm on Saturday night, and they have children and lots'o'food in their refrigerator and freezers.

I wonder, all you techy readers, if I can upgrade a processor later on... or is it simply cheaper to get a new laptop in a few years...

Well, gotta run - am posting this during working hours so I don't want to spend too much time on it...

Later, dudes!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Voting in a Special Election

Pardon me while I climb on my soapbox for a moment.

Regardless of your party affiliation - you should be registered to vote!!! I don't care if we agree when it comes to politics. You are entitled to your own opinion, as am I. I hate the crap that your vote cancels out my vote - if you don't vote, you haven't got a leg to stand on when you complain and cry the blues that you don't like the way things are being run.

Yesterday there was a special election held in my hometown. My mom asked my sister to take her to the polls so she could vote.

I talked to Mom today and she was complaining that when she went into the booth to vote, they had combined the two issues into one: she had only a single yay or nay vote. So she voted, and the fact that the issues were combined forced her to vote only one way and that changed the entire election for her.

Take a look at this: http://www.essexclerk.com/election/ElectionFrame.html

In a town of 48,000+ people, there are 27,964 registered voters.

In this election, only 2,278 people bothered to vote.

8.15% of the registered voters.

I find this COMPLETELY OFFENSIVE. Have you no civic pride, people? Don't you realize that your vote REALLY DOES COUNT? Here's the perfect example: both issues were defeated by 110 votes. 110!!!

If another 10,000 voters voted, the results could have gone in the opposite direction. Hell, if 111 more people had voted, we could have had a different result!!!

Aside from the fact that money for the high school and for the town's stadium was voted down, ONE of those issues might have passed if the Board of Elections hadn't combined them on the ballot. The advance ballot that was mailed to my mom clearly had them separated out, she said (admittedly I didn't see the ballot). This would have allowed her to vote for or against each individual expenditure and one of them might have passed! But by combining them, voters were forced to choose all or nothing. And obviously "nothing" won!

I will freely admit that I have not voted in every single special election since I turned 18. Sometimes I was out of state and quite frankly, at that young age, I didn't care about budgets and taxes. But since I grew up, since I realized that it's MY MONEY all these elections are spending, I haven't missed a one. NOT.A.ONE. Not in years and years and years.

And I won't miss one, either. I guess I'm not like those other 25,686 Bloomfield voters.

Yea, I'm talking to YOU!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The Dance

Okay, I admit it. We had a much nicer time than either of us anticipated! We knew we would have a good time with each other, but we weren't really sure we'd have a good time in general! J isn't big on socializing just to do the right thing whereas I've been in business long enough to know sometimes you just have to pretend you're having a good time! But this time we did! See?

[I look at this picture and I think, "He's really having a good time!" So many of our photos, when we're out with others, seem forced. He's just not a good, "Say cheese!" kind of guy!]
Several restaurants in town supplied the food; it was an all you can eat buffet. There were several pasta dishes, some Chinese food and some spring rolls, mini sandwiches, salad, eggplant parm, sausage and peppers, etc. We ate 'til we couldn't eat any more, and we never even made it to dessert! We sat and ate, and talked and laughed, then J decided we should dance. Now I can fake it through a slow dance (although I have a nasty tendency to lead), but I really hate to dance fast. I ain't got no rhythm and I always feel as though I'm just flailing around out there, looking foolish and dancing so far off the beat that I have to be throwing everyone else off, too!
But we did. Dance, that is. Fast dance, to be precise. Here's proof (and please, no comments about how that is the.most.unflattering.outfit.imagineable. I didn't realize my chest looked SO big and so low! Obviously I need to be fitted with better undergarments!):
It was SO hot in the Elks club, at least after we danced! I have to remember (a) don't ever wear that sweater combo again, and (b) don't ever wear a turtleneck when you plan on dancing. (Although, if you remember, I had no.intention.of.dancing!)
Anyway, we had a blast! We had planned on eating, smiling and leaving around 9:30 so we could be home in time to watch our favorite Friday night TV show, Numbers.
We stayed until 11!
THAT, my friends, shows exactly how much fun we were having! We didn't leave! And some of you out there know us well enough to know that when we want to leave, we leave, and there ain't no stoppin' us!
Anyway, I suppose I should probably go and do some work, since it's 10:28am and I'm on the job! More later! Toodles!

Monday, March 08, 2010

e-books vs. books in print

From the March 8th edition of Shelf Awareness, Volume 2/Issue 1131

In the Globe and Mail, Russell Smith lamented the effect of e-books on personal book collections, writing in part:"So we lose forever the pleasure known to humanity for 500 years of taking a stroll up and down the aisles of someone else's brain by perusing their bookshelves. Gone will be the guilty joy of spending a rainy afternoon at a cottage with the remnants of someone else's childhood: their Nancy Drews, their 1970s National Geographics. Without bookshelves, you will never know the warning signs contained in the e-reader of your handsome date--you will not know for months that he is reading The Secret and Feng Shui for Dummies, even if you stay over. You will never be able to ask, as casually as you can, 'Did you like this?' as you pull down, as if fascinated, Patrick Swayze's autobiography."

And another article I enjoyed in the same issue...

Here's a nice story about nine-year-old Molly McArdle of Berkeley, Calif., as told by her father to Andy Weiner of Abrams:
"Molly was looking at my DVD box of Ken Burns's Baseball. She looked at the back and said, 'This is wrong.' I asked her what was wrong, and she said, 'It says that baseball is America's national pastime. America's national pastime is reading.'
"Weiner added that "Molly's heart was broken was Cody's closed, but she was restored when Books Inc. opened near where Cody's had been."

Friday, March 05, 2010

My new window seats

So my sister has encouraged me to post a picture of my window-seats-to-be. Unfortunately I don't have a good picture of them; the photo will look much better in my bright sunny sitting room this weekend; I'll post new pictures next week! But here's one:

That's two benches, lined up one next to the other, currently in our library, but soon to be relocated to the sitting room at the lake. I am SO very proud of how well I lined up the dragonflies on the fabric - check out the front of the 2 cushions! Of course, when we take these to Hopatcong, and put them in place in the sitting room and measure for the 3rd unit that goes inbetween these two, you KNOW I'll never get the fabric to line up so well... I bought a little extra, just in case, and I hope I can make it work. The middle unit will be closed, with a lift-up lid for closed storage. And yes, I did manage to find more of the same baskets to fill those 3 empty spaces... Another story that I should share...

Okay, here goes... We found these closed fabric storage boxes in WalMart. I suggested we buy the four we needed because, you know, they won't be there when I need them in two weeks. "No," Jack said, "don't waste your money, they're new, we'll get them later. What if you find baskets you like better somewhere else?"

I KNEW he was wrong. I KNEW I should have bought them that day. But I didn't. And he built the window seats to fit those baskets.

And then I went online to order three more to be delivered to the local WalMart and there were none available online to order! I checked around and the only store that had any in stock was North Bergen, so we went there last night, on a mission. We walked in, went right to homegoods, and searched high and low until we found them. There were five left, one unpackaged. I bought four. I have one extra that I can actually store inside the closed seat, in case I need one. Thank goodness I got them!!!

Sad news on the work front: today is the last day my friend E will be working here at our unnamed publishing house. She's moving on to bigger and better (hopefully!) things at another company which will be referred to by its initials: WG. They offered her $20K more than she was making here, a "life-changing number," in E's words. Heck, yea, it's life-changing! That's MORE THAN $1000 MORE A MONTH!!! What I couldn't do with that kind of raise!!! Anyway, we'll miss you, E!!!

Went to the W Hotel here in town to celebrate her new job. I'm just old, folks, just plain old, and it has nothing to do with my chronological age. That hotel is dark, with dim lights, modern furnishings, and I just didn't like it. I did like the Mango-Pom drink I had, not too tart, not too sweet! I didn't see the rooms, of course, but I'm just not that into dark and dim and yuppie...

Well, gotta run and do some work before it's lunch time! Later!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Not too much is going on here in NJ...

Actually, it's kind of boring here in NJ...

Although hubby and I ARE going to a dance at the Elks club tomorrow night... Yea, you're as surprised as I was when he announced he'd bought tickets! Apparently J is feeling as though we don't "do anything" and I "deserve to go out once in a while."

And he chose a dance?!?!?

But seriously, we'll have a great time. We always do. No matter what we do, if we're together, we have fun! All the school folk are so excited that we're coming; they've been stopping me in the hallway to say they can't believe I got him to go! When I tell them it was HIS idea, they're floored! It's nothing formal, jeans or work clothes are okay, and it's all you can eat and all you can drink (wine, soda, beer, coffee, with a cash bar). I'm looking forward to it! I'll try to remember to take some pictures! It's a pretty wild crowd, from what I understand!

We're going to be at the lakehouse this weekend, installing two of my three window seats and measuring for the third. Oh, wait, I forgot to mention that J built me window seats to go under the three windows in the sitting room! We bought some fabric and made cushions - a real pretty maroon-ish color with gold dragonflies that match the gold accent wall behind the bookshelves. Once we decide what to do with the fireplace surround and then put some other furniture in that room, it will be DONE!

Then we can start on the kitchen and bathroom downstairs! And the new dock we need outside... But none of that can be done until we have our final inspection, which we'll do this spring. Then we'll start working on a plan for the kitchen/bath remodel and start getting the permits and supplies, etc., and it starts all over again!

My friend E leaves our company tomorrow for what she hopes will be bigger and better things. At the very least, her salary will be about 50% bigger and better! A "life-changing number" was how she described the increase! She'll be commuting from NJ to Brooklyn every day, which is enough to put me off the job, but I'm not her and she's not me and she's younger and commuted into the city for her entire college career at NYU, so she's okay with it. Me? Uh-uh, no way, Jose! Not even for that kind of salary bump!

So my job will be less one friend, which makes me sad, but in a way will force me to expand my friend horizons a bit, too. With a built-in best friend at work, it wasn't really necessary to be friends with anyone else; I was okay just being colleagues. Now I'll make some new friends...

Unless I win the MegaMillions at which point, internet-pals, I'll be traveling the country to meet you all in person!!!