Sunday, August 31, 2008

Our Best Reads In August


KAREN'S BEST: Touching Spirit Bear by Mikaelsen, Ben (5 stars)

This is an excellent story about Cole, an angry abused boy, who was mad at the world and his personal journey of dealing with his anger and becoming a better person through Circle Justice or Restoration Justice. He beat up Peter to the point of causing him permanent harm and never took any responsibility for his actions until he faced death and began questioning his life. This is a story about helping others and how the Circle Justice system works which Native Americans practiced for years.

The idea is to restore the criminal to become a good citizen and not just punish them. Instead of jail or a detention center, Cole was banished to live for a year on an island in Alaska alone. At the end of the year, the Circle Justice group, made up of all those involved, would meet again and determine if he should go to jail or not. Cole had a traumatic experience while on the island and after just three days was hospitalized after being mauled by a spirit bear. After his rehabilitation he went back. Peter tried committing suicide twice and Cole learned much while on the island, including how many mistakes he made and wanted to make things right if he could.

I really liked this book a lot and had trouble putting it down. I was anxious to see what would happen next. There is no boring part in it. There are many themes running through this book such as abuse, justice, survival, anger, forgiveness, healing.

GERARD'S BEST: Stolen Innocence by Elissa Wall (10 stars)
A Remarkable Journey!
To give this book 5 stars dose this book an injustice! It's a 10 Plus!! It is the true story of Elissa Wall, who grew up in the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints ("FLDS") and was taught to believe all she was told. You will laugh and recoil in anger at what she goes through. Then she finds the courage to go to court and face the "Prophet."

You are a remarkabe woman, Elissa! Thanks for sharing your story. Everyone will enjoy this book. It reads like fiction, but you know it's not. I hated to see it end. It's just incredible!

To see our other book reviews, go to What We've Just Read


Saturday, August 30, 2008

13 Changes In Our Life Since Marriage (Writer's Workshop)

(Photo taken by Mike Solomon August 30, 1997
at the Brooklyn Christian & Missionary Alliance Church)

Lighting the unity candle at our wedding represented the blending of our lives into one. On the candle it says:
This day I will marry my friend, the one I laugh with, live for, dream with, love.

As Gerard and I celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary today, I've reflected on our life together and realize how much each of us has changed from what we were before marriage. Our separate lives truly have become one!

LIFE BEFORE MARRIAGE:

Briefly, Gerard was the lone wolf except for his pet, Dickie Bird. He had a simple routine: Go to work, come home, do some yardwork, read on the porch, watch TV, go to bed. Each week day was the same. On the weekends, he would do his grocery shopping very early on Saturday morning, read, maybe write his pen pals, watch sports on TV, work in the yard, go to mass Saturday evenings. Sundays he would go to mass in the morning if he didn't go Saturday, watch sports on TV, read. He used credit cards all the time and only paid the minimum each month so accumulated sizeable debt, had lots of magazine subscriptions. He also bought a new car for himself but had car payments. Eating out was limited only to take out at Mr. Hero.

I was very involved worked full-time as well and rented from my parents so ate meals with them. I played softball on a team from work, bowled in two bowling leagues, I was the youth director at church which involved another night at church, taught Sunday School, was on the church board as secretary and was active in our AWANA club at church on Wednesday nights. During the evenings when I was home during the week, I'd watch TV with my mom. We both liked to watch Guiding Light so she would tape it for me and we'd watch it together. I watched movies or sports with my mom on Sunday afternoons. Sometimes we'd also play Canasta, Scrabble or some other game. I always paid all my bills off every month and never bought a new car--always paid cash in full for used ones.

OUR BLENDED LIVES AFTER MARRIAGE:

Here's how we both changed over the 11 years of marriage:

A New home that we both agreed on instead of living at his old house.

Gerard now goes to restaurants, before his eating out consisted of take-out from Mr. Hero.

Gerard learned how to bowl and became more sociable.

We are debt free because I take care of the finances.

Gerard started using the library instead of purchasing books.

We both changed churches and now attend Parma Heights Baptist Church where Gerard is more involved and I am less involved than before marriage.

We both joined Fitworks.

I read books now and plant flowers in the spring. Gerard still nurtures them along once they're planted though.

I am more informed about news and started reading the paper.

We got a shelter cat, Mr. Moe, after Gerard's bird died. Neither of us ever had a cat before.

We play tennis regularly.

We got a computer which neither of us had before marriage.

Marriage is seeking to make your partner happy. It is making compromises and sometimes giving in to your partner's wishes. It's helping each other become better and sharing yourself with your partner. It's trusting each other and loving each other every minute of every day. Who would have guessed we'd have cats?

I am cheating a bit and using this old post for Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop prompt this week: What did you compromise when you married? I thought it was close enough.


Friday, August 29, 2008

What Does Your Wedding Dress Say About You?

When I was shopping for a wedding dress, I wanted something light, easy to walk in, traditional, modest and not real expensive. I was so happy when I found the perfect dress for me at David's Bridal which I have pictured here taken last year on my 10th anniversary (and the price was right). I could still fit into it! I'm really not big on dresses, mostly because of having to wear nylons and dress shoes with them. Since this dress came down to the floor, after the ceremony and reception immediately following, I changed into some white tennis shoes which I wore for the pictures at Stan Hywett Gardens in Akron, Ohio.

This very short little quiz really fit me. Here's my results:



What Your Ideal Wedding Dress Says About You

Your Personal Style: Modern and simple. You like clothes to accentuate who you are, not overwhelm you. (exactly! That's why I lost the veil as soon as my wedding party would let me.)

Your Ideal Wedding: A small ceremony at an old church with a beautiful flower garden. (Since our little church didn't have a garden, I always thought it would be neat to take wedding pictures at Stan Hywett Hall and Gardens in Akron, which we did!)

Your Philosophy on Marriage: You can have a deep commitment without marriage. It's only a piece of paper. (I believe this is true, except that piece of papers shows we made sacred vows to each other and are legally married)

Your Perfect Marriage: Simply loving each other a little more every day (This I believe is a good way to put it!)
Take the test yourself:


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Organizing Tip for Week 11: Coupons

Put coupons with the item they are for or with your credit card. For example, when I get coupons for pet food, I put it with my pet food bag so I see it when I need to shop for more. When I shop, I put the coupon right with my credit card so I remember to use it when I check out. CVS coupons I put right with my CVS card so when I pay, I see I have the coupon and if it expired, then out it goes. This way I remember to use them and if they expire, then out they go.

On the other hand, Gerard uses a different system. He shoves them all in an envelope and every time he plans to go shopping, he sifts through all the coupons first just looking for the ones he wants to use. Eventually, he'll sit down and sort through them all throwing away the expired ones which takes him about half an hour to do. I like my system much better!


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What Kind of Customer Service Is This?

We are still getting calls about money we owe for some magazines that we don't remember ordering and have no invoice for. This time I was home so had the privilege of speaking with this guy myself. I basically lost my cool and told him off, mentioning that they won't send us an invoice but paid it anyway and they it wasn't put through because it's a bunch of baloney. I told him go ahead and take legal action!

Afterwards, I regretted not getting a name or phone number. It's just so upsetting, it's hard to think clearly. Then the verse popped into my head about "A soft answer turns away wrath" and "be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath." I so wish I had his phone number so I could apologize and try to get this issue resolved! (I think this is a bill collector--I wasn't on at the beginning of the call.)

A few days later, I think the magazine company called--I'm not sure. My husband took the call and I listened on the extension. The caller said they didn't put through the payment made by my husband using our bank card because they don't accept Master Card credit cards. Gerard asked for a name and number and got it-finally! It was Kevin from customer service at e-solutions. When Gerard asked what magazines this was charge was for, the guy said USA package. My husband says, "What magazine is that?" and the guy hung up on him!

I tried calling back immediately on the number he gave us and hit the customer service extension only to hear this recorded message: "The voice mail box is full, please try again later." I tried later that evening and all through the next day at different times, getting this message every single time I tried. This is a nightmare! I would really like to talk this through with a live person and get it resolved. I don't understand what actually happened.

After talking this over with a co-worker who had a similar experience and had her credit ruined because of it, I am eager to get this settled, but it looks like I'll just have to hope they call again.

I pray that this will all work out soon and that I get an opportunity to talk to that bill collector again, being nice this time. This is all very upsetting to me.

For my previous posts about this: Goofy Phone Calls and Yea For Dollar Bank


Finally Got Rid Of Some Books

We had so many books that all our bookshelves were used to capacity. I salvaged books from my dad that I thought may be of interest to people and tried selling them on Ebay. Some I listed but they didn't sell. He had tons of books! I really hated to just throw them away, but some were from way back and were out of date and many were religious in nature--not much demand for those. I ended up throwing many of those away. My husband used to buy books before we were married and I introduced him to the library so he had quite a few as well. I got a call from the Vietnam Vets organization asking for books! Hurray! I gathered four boxes together to give away, including some that I read. There was quite an assortment--sports, spiritual, how-to and novels. I hope someone will enjoy them! At least, now we have space on some shelves for other things.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cat Enrichment At Home

At the zoo on animal comforts day, they said pet owners should try to provide some special activities for their pets at home to keep them from getting bored, such as making them work for their food. Since I finally found the Temptations treats that both our cats like, I decided I'd give it a try. I had an long cardboard tube from some shelf paper I used up and put some treats inside. Sure enough, both my cats wanted those treats and put some effort into getting them. Manny discovered it first:






Manny: Hey Spunky, there are treats in here!






Spunky: I think I got it!







Spunky: Yeah, it's in there all right. I see it!






Manny: Let me try.








Spunky: Let's see if mine will reach.






Manny: I'm going to try pulling it out again.



I don't exactly know how they finally did it, but when we got home from church, the treats were all gone.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Farewell to Our Elephants!


Yesterday Gerard and I went to the Cleveland Zoo for a farewell party for the elephants. It was fun! After all, how often does a person get to attend a party for an elephant? They are being transferred to the Columbus zoo for three years and are scheduled to return to a brand new HUGE exhibit at the Cleveland Zoo. The new exhibit will be big enough for 8-10 elephants plus other animals will be in with them. We signed a jumbo farewell card for them, kids made elephant ear headbands, a special fruit cake was given to them at 1:30 (which we had to miss because of a previously scheduled for Dr. appointment). It always seems like we usually have no definite plans, but whenever we do, something else comes up at the same time. Why is that? If I could choose to have a super power, it would definitely be to be able to be in two or three places at once!

A party atmosphere permeated the entire zoo. Even the other animals were more lively than usual in spite of the heat! The swamp monkey went for a swim in a big tub, the gorilla tore open a suitcase to get food out of it, the golden bellied monkey kept mooning the crowd from up high on his log near the ceiling. We also got to pet a lot of different furs from a gazelle, a lion, a cheetah, a zebra (felt like a horse), a colibus monkey and the snow leopard which was soft like our cats!

Gerard and Leo posed behind these two "elephants" who were playing music. I felt sorry for them in those heavy costumes on such a hot day, but they did have a fan set up blowing on them.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Best Bagger Championship

In the CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER on August 16, was an article that caught me eye: "Portage Grocery Store Bagger Quickly Wraps Up State Title." Yup, apparently there is even a competition for bagging groceries! Denise Farley who is a bagger at Giant Eagle is the fastest grocery bagger in Ohio. She will go to compete in the 2009National Grocers Association USA Best Bagger Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada on February 5. It's an all-expense paid, 4-day trip and she also won $1,100.

She bags quickly because she doesn't like waiting in line herself. She checks out the customer and bags according to how much she thinks they can carry easily. If it's older people, she makes the bags lighter for them. It thought that was very nice of her.

She also eye's up the groceries and puts the heavy stuff on the bottom. You'd think that's just common sense, and it is; however, there are baggers who don't do it that way.

This is they type of news I enjoy--happy news! It just goes to show you our American culture are so competitive that we even have competitions for this.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Organizing Tip for Week 10: Mail

Handle paper once. When I go through my mail, I make a decision with each piece. I decide right away if I want it or not. If not, throw it away! Bills get dated and the amount put on the envelope and inserted into my checkbook to be paid. Action items I take care of immediately if possible, but if not, then I put them on my desk or in my purse to be taken care of the next day. This way no big mail pile accumulates that things can become lost in.

I don't really like mail. It's just another nuissance that takes up time I could be spending on other things. Once in awhile, I'll get something of a personal nature but that is rare. The best though is when we get checks which happens maybe a couple of times a year . . . certainly not often. "No mail" days are fine with me!

To see what my dad did with his junk mail, click here to go to "My Funny Dad, Harry


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What Does Your Driving Say About You

Here's another little quiz just for fun. I like these! Anyhow, here's my results which I believe are quite accurate:



What Your Driving Says About You




You are a creative, resourceful person. You can easily entertain yourself, and you make the best of any situation.
You are a fairly aware person, but you can't help but make judgment errors from time to time.
You are a very fair person. You treat everyone equally, even when it's difficult to do.
You are a calm, peaceful person. You realize that arguments are only temporary, and you try to give people the benefit of the doubt.
You have mixed feelings about authority figures. You understand their place, but you believe their power needs to be in check.
You are not a very focused person. You have trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time!
You are a very responsible and conscientious person. You often consider the feelings and needs of others.
Your ego is a healthy size. You don't think you're more important than anyone else.

You too, can take this quiz:
What Does Your Driving Say About You?


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Blog Stats at Cubestat--What do They Mean?--HELP!

Cubestat is a site where you can put in the URL to your blog and get all kinds of data about it for free. I like free and so I tried it with all three of my blogs. It gives so much information, including much that I don't know what it means.

I'd like if someone could explain the meaning of "Website Worth." It said my little blogs were worth approximately $9,000 for my blogspot ones and $13,000 for my PNN one! I am curious to know just who thinks they are worth this and how they arrive at this figure. I can't believe it!

Another thing that floored me is that it lists Daily Ads Revenue at approximately $12, $13 and $18. I don't even have ads or blog for money so I am really clueless as to exactly what this means. I get no revenue from any of my blogs.

Finally, my last question is what the Daily Pageview number is. The report says I have over 4,000 views a day on my blogspot blogs and over 6,000 a day on my Personal News Network (PNN) one. However, how can this be when my blog counters only show around 7,000 for a total? I don't get it!

I first discovered Cubestat through this post
For What It's Worth at Delusions of Grandeur using entrecard. I always like to add some first-time visits when I am dropping cards and this is how I came across this blog.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Gerard's Schedule

As a follow-up post to our organizing tip for week 9--To Do List list, Gerard wants to share with you his weekly schedule and would like to know if any other husbands out there do all this stuff:

Monday: Clean all three bathrooms.

Tuesday: Clean the upstairs
Fitworks
Put out garbage for Wednesday pickup

Wednesday: Clean Living Room
Clean Dining Room
Do grocery shopping at Giant Eagle

Thursday: Clean computer/music room
Clean bedroom
Fitworks

Friday: Clean basement (Yes, he cleans our basement every Friday!)
Yard work
Laundry

Saturday: Fitworks
Wash car

Sunday: Loads up car for wife with all her Sunday School "necessities"
Vacuum and anything missed during the week
Fitworks

Everyday: wash glasses, dishes and take out the trash


On an as needed basis, he does the snow shoveling as well, although I help him sometimes if there's a lot.

I told you I married "Mr. Wonderful." Now, so that you don't think I am a total "Queen" who does nothing but goes to work and blogs, I will be sharing my weekly schedule in tomorrow's post.


Karen's Weekly Schedule


Here's my weekly schedule:

Everyday: Feed and care for cats 5:00 a.m.
Play with cats before work, after work, before bedtime
Monday:
Tuesday:
Wednesday:
Thursday: Pay bills
Record Auto Deposits in Checkbook
Write church check
Friday: Cut up cucumber for lunches for the week
Saturday:
Sunday:

Okay, granted, I don't do much on a routine basis as far as household chores. I do make my own breakfast and supper though. I am more the "on-call" Hassler Handler. I take care of the following things on an "as needed basis":

--scheduling home improvements
--maintenance (replacing light bulbs, calling Handyman Connection, etc.)
--computer maintenance (cleaning disk, deframentation monthly, etc.)
--insurance matters
--legal matters (our wills, cemetery plots)
--renewing our zoo membership
--withdrawing cash for bowling or weekend activities
--ordering bus cards
--scheduling social activities
--deal with any problems that arise

So there, that about covers it. So you see, I do contribute something to our household after all!


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Kids From East Cleveland Play In China

Below is a short film clip of Shaw High School's Band performance in China. What a marvelous experience for these kids from East Cleveland! Their band is super and I look forward to watching the whole documentary on Thursday, August 21 at 9 p.m. on WVIZ and again on Sunday, Sept. 7 at 3 p.m.

Shaw Band in China featured in documentary film












Just Wondering

My mind is filled with post ideas this morning, some random thoughts and yet my strategy is to only add one post a day so that when I hit a dry spell, I have some ready to go. But today, I am breaking this guideline. I would like to just ask my readers if they are doing my "Play Trivia--Feed Hungry Cats and Dogs."

I play it every day myself, because it's fun and educational! It is quite simple. When someone clicks on the banner (at the top of the page) a window opens with a multiple choice question. Just click on your answer and look in the bubble to see if you are right or not. No matter what, just for playing, 20 kibbles of food is given to an animal shelter to help feed their dogs and cats. Up to the right of the box is a place to click to feed dogs as well and it works the same way. Each day is a different question.

I found that I know much more about cats than I do dogs, but I'm learning more every day! For example, today's questions are: What is the rarest dog breed in the world? and How long does neteuring your cat extend its life? I'm not giving you the answers here, you'll have to play to find out!

Please leave a comment to let me know if you play or not. I'm really curious about this and would like to know.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Breast Cancer 3-Day 60-Mile Walk


We are sponsoring Jan, one of my co-workers and a member of Team Kay, who is doing the Breast Cancer 3-Day walk to raise money for breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment through Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death for all women, and the leading cause of death in women between the ages of 40 and 55.


Jan and her daughter, Elissa, did this walk last year too. They have to raise a minimum of $2,200 each in order to participate in this walk which involves camping overnight in a tent with all of the other walkers the weekend of August 22-24, 2008. If you would like to contribute to this, donate online at their website: http://08.the3day.org/goto/Elissa.Paul. (Donations are tax deductible so you will receive a receipt for online donations).


Team Kay was formed in honor of their Aunt Kay who is a breast cancer survivor and in memory of Jan's mom, who did not survive. They are walking for anyone who has had this horrible disease touch their lives. My sister is also a breast cancer survivor.


(After the walk, the tents get donated to Girl Scouts.)


Why Do We Need Friends?

This friendship award came from Liza at Mommy's Little Corner. Thanks, Liza! This is a wonderful poem.

We need friends for many reasons,
all throughout the season.
We need friends to comfort us
when we are sad,
and to have fun with us when we are glad.

We need friends to give us good advice,
We need someone we can count on,
and treat us nice.

We need friends to remember us
one we have passed
sharing memories that will always last.

Spread the poem of friendship.

1. Everyday Life 2. Words of Love 3. Sheng's Simple Thoughts . . . 4. Insights from the Grocery Cart 5. Moms... Check Nyo 6. Mommy's Little Corner 7. Karen & Gerard Zemek 8. your blog here

I am passing friendship poem to the following:
Jemi at Live, Laugh, Love
Tina at The Creative Nerd
Rene' at Cheaper by the Half Dozen
Jude at Mature But Not Senile
Monique Renae at Blogging More

Thanks for making my blog life fun.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Organizing Tip of Week 9: The To Do List

Use a "To Do List." Each day, think of 2-4 things that you must get done (or definitely want to do) that day. If you have more things than that to do, list all the stuff you think of that you need to do on one long list. Then from that list, choose several things that you feel you can accomplish for that day and work from that list only. This will help keep you from feeling so overwhelmed and also give you that sense of accomplishment and feeling that you have made some progress. Prioritize your long list--set up a timeline for the things that don't need to necessarily be done this week. Don't neglect to add some FUN to that list!

Here's my list for Today:
A--record auto deposit in checkbook
A--prepare Sunday School lesson
B--draft post about 3-day Breast Cancer walk and get pics from Jan
C--watch some of Olympics

A, B, C are the prioritizing symbols. In your list, A items are things you absolutely must do, B are things you definitely want to do but that aren't absolutely necessary to be done today, and C are things it would be nice to do today but if not, oh well.

Gerard's list looks like this and he writes it on a little white board every day:
clean computer room and bedroom
Fitworks
Go Sox!

We have simple lives right now with everything normal. My list is short enough that I don't need to write it down. I just make a mental note in my mind and fortunately, my mind remembers. This is how I like it! At this point, the normal routine stuff I just remember to do without having to write it down. When I get really old, like my dad was in his late 80s, then I'll probably have to write down everything like I did for him.

To see what my dad's daily To Do List was like,here's the link:
Harry's To Do List


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Thanks for the Brilliant Blog Award, Sara!



My blogging friend, Sara, at Red Pine Mountain passed on the Brilliant Weblog award to me. I thank her so much for doing so. The rules of the award are as follows:

1) Add the logo of the award to your blog
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you
3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs

In addition, here are links to seven blogs I've passed this award on to that I enjoy reading:

Nerdy Parenting
Life With Rog
Kathy at the Junk Drawer
Cromley's World
Lisa at Work At Home Mom Revolution
2 & 2 = Nine (tips and ideas for children from toddlers through teens from two moms with nine children between them)
Life as a Mom
Kaydee at Spirituality Guru

Thanks again Sara.


Are You Afraid of Commitment?




Here's my results of this quiz:
You Are Ready, Willing, and Able to Commit




You are not scared of commitment in the least.
In fact, there's a good chance that you're already committed to someone you love.
You are willing to give up a little freedom for relationship stability.
And once you're in a relationship, you'll do almost anything to make things work.



Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sharing the Cat Tree!

video
This is the first time I ever saw both cats on the cat tree at the same time so naturally, I just had to get it on video! Spunky Doodle likes the highest level. I've never seen Manny venture up that high so it works out just fine. Manny is looking for the toy mouse or cat nip bag on the second level. Sometimes I wonder if they like each other but then there's moments like this when they touch noses. I guess they do like each other okay and are just playing when they chase each other through the house on occasion. We love our cats and are so happy that Spunky has accepted Manny and Manny is now happy living with us.

For Manny's story of how he came to live with us, click here. To see a video of how scared Manny was when we first got him here's the link


Monday, August 11, 2008

Creature Comfort Day at the Cleveland Zoo

Saturday we spent the majority of our day at the Cleveland zoo. It was a special day because it was Creature Comfort Day. That is the day when the keepers give the animals special enrichment activities to let them use their natural skills and challenge them. Right at the beginning were some free give aways--hats and enrichment toys for our pets. We got a real nice adjustable cap, a rubber toy for our neighbor's dog that they can put peanut butter inside, a couple cats toys for our cats, included one I made myself! It's a ball with a bell inside with a rope through it. (My cats sniffed it some and walked away.)

Me trying to get Spunky Doodle to play with the handmade toy.



Playing with Manny with my handmade toy.


There is so much going on at the same time that you have to choose which ones to watch. We chose the lions, the polar bears, the tigers, the orangutans and the African Savannah tour which included giraffes, vultures, and zebras, and gray parrots. For the lions and the polar bears, a paper mache' animals was put into their exhibit that contained food for them inside it.

The polar bears also got a watermelon! The idea is to let the animals use their natural forging skills and work at getting the food like they would in the wild. They seemed to enjoy tearing it apart.


The tigers got bones that were frozen in a giant popsicle and dumped into their water. They seemed to enjoy fishing them out.

The orangutans had some baby food put inside a hole in their door and they used a small branch to stick in and scoop it out with like we would use a spoon.

The giraffes were given a bunch of leaves on some branches that were strung up high for them to chew off. They really liked that and the one chased a Canadian goose that invaded their exhibit until it finally flew over the fence.

The vultures were given bones with meat still on them which they devoured as a team. Two of them would pull on it together getting the meat off.

For the zebras, they just spread their food around so they'd have to hunt for it.

The cranes were given extra bugs but they were inside a paper mache' lady bug which they had to poke at to get the bugs out.

Different kinds of fruit were hung in the gray parrots' cage that they had to work for a little bit to get.

The keeper of the African Savannah animals said for those with dogs, you can spread some of the food around the back yard for them to hunt for to give them a little challenge and let them use their hunting skills.

We had a good time and the weather was on the cool side which is perfect for the zoo. We would have longer, but me feet were starting to hurt a little and Gerard wanted to wash the car. I took some video with my Flip camera, but it didn't come out very well because we were too far away. The zoom isn't very good on the flip camera so sorry, no video to show you this time.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

My Top 10 Favorite Things


Starting out each day with a quiet time of prayer and Bible reading, having my own little worship time with God! James 1:17 says, Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variablenes, neither shadow of turning.




Being married to Gerard, Mr. Wonderful! (Click here for my post "I Married Mr. Wonderful"








Playing with and petting my cats (and other furry animals as well)!







Going to the zoo.








Blogging or playing video games or visiting my favorite sites on the computer!






Playing games--board games, card games, video games, tennis, softball, basketball, etc.!







Reading a good book in the main Cleveland Public Library garden on my lunch hour!







Teaching Sunday School!








Having a day with no plans at all but to just relax and do whatever I want whenever I want!






Watching Sunday afternoon football or a good movie!




What are your favorite things?


Friday, August 8, 2008

A Very Fun Game Site: Pogo.com

I like the pogo.com game site. It has such a wide variety of free games with chat boxes so I can chit chat with other players or learn new games by playing against robots. Games include card games (both solitaire and partner games), strategy games, sports games, puzzle games, silly games, and board games.

Scrabble was recently added which I especially enjoy because I used to play this often with my mom. Her goal would be to score 300 or she felt she hadn't played well. I seldom beat her but when I play on pogo, I try to make 300 and pretend I'm playing my mom. She would have really liked this game site--too bad she didn't have a computer before she died.

There's also a very slim chance of winning some money by turning in the tokens you win in exchange for tickets that they draw from to give away money (I haven't won anything yet). There are also jackpots on most of the games up to $4,999that you get jackpot spins for if you reach a certain score on the games. Anyone who enjoys games should definitely check this out.

Since I've started blogging though, I've been spending more time on that and promoting my blogs so I hardly get a chance to play anymore. Link Referral takes me about an hour a day and then dropping my entrecards, visiting and commenting on others' blogs takes me about 4-5 hours a day. I also spend about an hour a day on email.

I really miss playing on pogo lately so will have to make a special time for it in my weekly schedule somewhere. I think I'm going to actually set aside Sunday to enjoy pogo and take a little break from blogging.

In reading others blogs I came across this post about My Playstation at Winters Tale which is what inspired me to write this post.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Organizing Tip of Week 8: Scrapbooking

Keep the camera and camcorder handy if you have children or pets. You never know when someone or something is going to do something new or cute so keep the camera/camcorder handy to get some great shots. Then, organize your pictures right away so they don't pile up and become a chore to do later. Whether you put them on your computer, get prints made and put into an album or scrapbook, do it right away.

Here's a cool site I found recently that may interest you about digital scrapbooking


Do You Live In The Past, Present or Future?

Growing up, most kids want to be older than they are. When they are 7, they want to be 13! They get to 13 and they want to be 18! They reach 18 and want to be 21! Not me. I had a wonderful childhood and wanted it to last as long as possible. My advice is to enjoy every age you are. I always thought Peter Pan had the right idea--never grow up. Although I did get older and turned into an adult, I still try to make the most of each year God gives me. After all, life is short and we can never go back. Even now, as I anticipate retiring one day in about seven years, I still want to enjoy the time I am in now. Psalms 118:24 says, This is the day which the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
I took this little test and here's my results:




You Live in the Present


You take things one day at a time.

And it turns out, that's a pretty great way to live.

You aren't consumed by the past, and you're aren't obsessed with the future.

You live in the now, and you enjoy each moment.

While most people don't live in the present enough, make sure you don't live in it too much.

It would be a mistake to forget your past or neglect to plan for the future.



Monday, August 4, 2008

Two Hours of Tennis Was Very Fun!

Yesterday Gerard and I went to a very nice neighborhood park not too far away from our home to make up for being stuck at home all yesterday afternoon. The tennis courts there are very nice without any cracks. Our first set took an hour because we needed a tie breaker at 6-6. Gerard won! I was having trouble putting the ball where I wanted it. The sun was bright and we took a water break in between sets. I won the second set 6-2 and so then we had to play a third set which is very unusual for us since I normally win the first to in an hour. Gerard was more tuckered than I so I won the last set 6-1. It was very fun though, but it got hot and we both wanted to get to some shade so we passed on the bocce ball and headed for the pond to read on the swing in the shade. Unfortunately, there is only one swing in the shade and it was occupied. Gerard settled for reading on the ground under a tree and I read in the car. It was a very pleasant day and it felt good to get out and exercise.

I got a headache from all that sun so watched "Death of a Cheerleader" and "Fab Five" on Lifetime when I got home. I enjoyed both those movies.


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Monkeys Helping Hands

video
This is an amazing video which shows how useful monkeys are. I received this in an email and wanted to share it with my readers. (This is not a video I made.)


Saturday, August 2, 2008

Out With Cox Cable and In with Direct TV


We finally decided to switch to Direct TV from Cox Cable to get the Sunday NFL ticket. That is the only reason we switched and I hope it's a good move. This is something Gerard has been wanting for a long, long time so I finally agreed when I saw a special advertised through AAA. I called on Wednesday and the appointment for insatllation was set for Saturday.

When I called Cox to tell them we were switching to Direct TV, they pretty much talked me out of it. They have really good sales people in the "Termination" Department. Following are the points she listed:

1. If something goes wrong with their box, we have to ship it in and will be without TV for days since they have no local office here.

2. If it's bad weather where the football game is being played, we may not got a signal so won't be able to see the game anyhow.

3. There's a 2 yr. contract we have to agree to with Direct TV that we don't have with Cox. That's because people want to switch back.
At this point I was having some second thoughts.

I then emailed a co-worker who lives up the street and has Direct TV to see how they like it. She told my then never had any problems with it and if they did lose the signal on occasion, it came back in just a few minutes. She told me they never had to go up to brush snow off it. So at this point, I was convinced to switch over.

I called Cox back and got David this time who was very nice but again who gave me a couple more reasons why I shouldn't switch:

4. They have to rewire everything so if you do want to switch back, you have to have Cox come out to re-install it.

5. It's a big, heavy satelite dish that weighs 45 lbs. on your roof. (So what?)
He was very nice though and said that if I want, we can wait to have them disconnet the cable until after the Direct TV is installed to make sure it's what we really want to do after we see how the Direct TV works. He said if we still want it disconnected Monday, that he won't charge us for the the weekend.

Then I called Direct TV and asked about the weather problem. The lady said it's a non-issue, that she's had Direct TV for 15 years and loves it. She lives in Florida and it's been through lots of bad storms. Knowing Gerard really wants this, I went ahead and kept the appointment I made.

Today the installer was supposed to come between noon and 4:00. Want to venture a guess what time he got here? It was 5:45 and that was after Gerard even called twice to find out what was going on. Of course, it was a beautiful day out and we had to stay home to wait for the installer. The installer is drilling another hole in my house for more wires as I type this and shaking my floor. The big satelite dish now sits on top of my roof, but at least it's in the back of the house. I hope the product is better than their service!

We're really looking forward to football season this year. With being able to see all the games, I'll be a nervous wreck pulling for the teams I picked in my office pool. Time will tell if this was a good decision or not.


Dining Out on Weekends (my 100th Post)

I am easy to please as far as eating out goes. I do not care for fancy, high-priced restaurants and Gerard, my husband, doesn't either. I think the most expensive restaurant we ever went to is The Olive Garden. Since we don't cook, on the weekends we usually go out to eat somewhere just for some variety. Here is the list of our favorite places to eat:

Golden Corral: This we both enjoy because of the wide variety of choices AND there's no waiting! Generally, we wait until we are hungry to go for lunch so once we arrive, we are ready for our food! I usually eat four to five plates of food and Gerard usually does two.

Hometown Buffet: This is another buffet place that is even closer to our home than Golden Corral where we can really chow down. Although I don't think it has as much variety as the Golden Corral and not as many desserts to from which to choose, it is more convenient and we are always full afterwards.

The Cracker Barrel: The first time we ever went to Cracker Barrel I think was on Sweetest Day. Thus, it has become a tradition of ours to go there on Sweetest Day each year. This is a real restaurant, but the decor is early American. There are wooden rocking chairs for sale, a small "general store" attached with all sorts of things from years ago such as old-time games, old-fashioned candy, some home decor stuff as well as more modern things such as Ohio State Buckeye apparel. On our first visit Gerard purchased a very pretty sweatshirt for me with a fall scene on it that has pockets! The food is delicious and the service is fast! They even have a checker board set up where we played checkers once and little hi-Q games at the tables you can play while you wait to be served.

CiCi's: Since I am a pizza lover, we order pizza every Sunday from a small neighborhood pizza place called Casamel's. We like it better than the major chains because it's not not as spicy. We limit ourselves to just two pieces each and then I take two to work for lunch on Monday and Tuesday.Sometimes though, we'll even treat ourselves to CiCi's on a Saturday. Again, this is a buffet but with only salad (which we usually skip), pizza and pasta, breadsticks and brownies and cookies. They have a row of pizzas out with different toppings--even spinach and macaroni! Gerard always counts how many slices I eat--usually around 6-8. He generally eats two but likes the breadsticks and cookies.


If we don't want to take much time for lunch and just want something quick, then we hit these fast-food places: Arby's, Subway, Wendy's, McDonalds. I love breakfast food any time of the day!

Yum, Yum!