Tuesday, March 31, 2009
My take is that it's never a bad idea to have an updated skill set. Education is a good thing. Education you can do something with is even better.
I have a brother out of work now. He's smart and has experience managing groups of people, hiring and firing, and everything in between. What he doesn't have is a 4 year degree. He's just a few hours away from it, but never finished. His grades were good, very good in fact, but somehow... he just never quite finished. I have to admit that I am mystified by that. If something is out there, that can help you get a job, or make you better at your job, you should go and get it.
So, here's my bro, a very computer literate man, smart and personable and someone I think would be a good person to work for (he cares, and gets good responses from his people), and I am asking myself... why is he not going here and doing this?
His last job was moved out of the country, right out from under him. I'd like to see him get into something that can't do that again, and I'd like to see him be able to...shrug it off and go on, if it does happen.
He also never seemed to notice, unduly, that I was in my wheelchair (easier than walking). Dang, I AM going to make sure I go and buy something from him, specifically. And, I'll try to make it a purchase that will get him commission. Note: he told me where to get the item I wanted, that he didn't have, at another store!
The second store I went to was just two stores down from the first. I was greeted there, as I came in. All seemed pretty good.
That was the last time someone said anything to me, or asked if I needed something. I was rather obvious in my interest in the netbooks I was looking at there, and they were more expensive than at the first store. They also had a few more bells and whistles, and cost more than I wanted to spend, but I was really wanting to be sold on them. The associates in that store need some sales training. I have rarely been so thoroughly and efficiently ignored in my life. I will NOT be going there to buy anything. Ever.
The first store, was the Office Depot at Hwys 6 and 529. The second store was the Best Buy next door. Guess where I'll be doing my shopping from now on?
Monday, March 30, 2009
'Pup and I decided to go see what was available at one of our favorite garden centers, and decided to go get some fresh fruit and vegetables at Debbie's Garden and Farmer's Market . When we were there last, the young man that works there had told us of some of the plans Debbie had for improving and expanding the market.
Outside, they have a small selection of plants. Which leads me to a special request. Debbie is looking for local herb growers. She'd like to offer plants for sale, but doesn't have a local supplier. If you'd like to have a place to sell the extra plants you might have seeded, this might be the place for you to do it. I'm going to try to start a few extra seedlings. You never know!
This is the skeletal framework of the future. The farmer's market is going to have a climate controlled area, where the fresh produce will be kept cool and in good condition. Without it, well...in the hot Texas sun, in the summer, under a tent...you'd be getting precooked veggies. Not good. This, however will make sure that you get the produce fresh and cool.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
I'm going to need something lighter. And I keep finding all these lightweight notebook computers on sale. It doesn't help that I keep finding more and more places advertising "Free Wi-Fi". I must confess to a small fantasy. I'd like to be one of those people who go to a small restaurant/coffee house...anywhere... who blithely opens up a tiny notebook computer and merrily types away while getting endless refills of coffee... (it's a fantasy, I can have as much coffee as I want).
More practically, I would like something that I can carry with me, if I'm in the manual wheelchair, that won't add a lot of weight while I'm rolling. I'm getting better with the chair, too. I've figured out how to lean so that my weight is a little forward. That seems to make it easier to propel me forward. I'm figuring out a kind of backpack that can be securely attached (and closed!) to the back of the chair.
I'm planning on having fun and traveling light.
Friday, March 27, 2009
The Harris County's Master Gardener's hotline is 281-855-5600. Montgomery Cty is 936-539-7824. Phone rooms are usually open 9-3, M-F.
They can help with diagnosing plant diseases, growing conditions and what things grow well here in the various parts of the county.
Update: I'm going to have to enable comment moderation for a bit as spammers (nasty ones) have discovered me. If you have troubles commenting, let me know
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Grade School? STAMP!
Middle School (Jr. High when I went)? STAMP!
High School: STAMP, STAMP, STAMP! (I had a rough High School experience.)
College: STAMP! (College was much better.)
Marriage: STAMP! STAMP! (The last STAMP! was a good one, I kept him.)
Work: STAMP! (repeat 20 times)
Retirement: (a bit early) .........no stamp on this one. Can't afford this one. So I'm doing a semi-stamp. 'Pup's gonna have to keep working for a while.
Right now, between losing a lot of the worth of our 401k's and a 401b....we're going to be getting creative with some money making ideas.
Monday, March 23, 2009
The good thing is that he does have some arrows in his quiver. First, he's in good shape, smart (he learned to build a fence by taking apart the ones Ike blew down), he's not afraid to work hard, and he's got a family behind him 100%.
He's made his living rebuilding transmissions, working under automotive lifts, and getting dirty. He knows how to figure things out and I think...he'll be okay. The shop he had worked for went under, but fixing cars is going to be a lot more popular than buying new ones for a while, and I know he'll find another shop who needs someone with his skills.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
You Are Blooming Flowers
You are an optimistic person by nature. In even the darkest times, you are hopeful about the future.
You feel truly blessed in life and can sometimes be overwhelmed with emotions.
You have an artist's eye. You are always looking for beauty in the mundane.
You have a good sense of aesthetics, especially when it comes to shapes and color.
Friday, March 20, 2009
I also have several green tomatoes promising some bounty later on.
Oops.. do you see what I see?
Yep, looks like another tomato is mooning me.
I also have a volunteer that grew over the winter. It is in the pot that I have my dwarf Cavendish banana, and from the look of the tiny blooms, it may be a Mexican miniature from a couple of years ago. I hope it is, as the tomatoes are tiny, but intensely flavored. I've not found anyone selling seeds or sets of that variety, so I'll be saving seeds from this one.
There's more going on in the backyard, but I'm going to be sitting down (gingerly) for a while, as I fell down as I was working (alone). I had re potted a clivia, Orange Bush Lily, and planted a Bird of Paradise (both of them were bought end of the year and overwintered in my surround shelter. I was also able to re pot some begonias (also over wintered). More news later. I need to go find a pillow...
We don't want to spend a lot, so we're looking for a good sale on one. Prices for all electronic devices are going down. I read, the other day, that pawn shops are seeing more and more flat screened TVs, computers, Ipods, and cameras. On the other hand, you can never be sure what's been done to the electronic stuff, so I suspect anyone buying from a pawn shop had best be "buyer beware" aware.
I'm still thinking of getting a little notebook computer that I can carry easily, even when I'm wheeling from place to place. I've found several smaller models that have the features I prefer and I've priced them online and off. So far, the online prices have been lower than the store prices. The stores have the benefit of allowing me to touch and compare the different kinds of screens, keys and features, along with comparing the quality of the different brands offered. I'm going to be looking for a while, and who knows. Prices might come down even more.
Okay, stop laughing out there. Some of 'Pup's coworkers are just a little young, that's all.
He's been vindicated a couple of times when someone comes, in a panic, asking for the data that they need. Pup's usually able to bring it out, to the great relief of the person asking.
He uses the rubber stamps to mark the papers as complete and as to whom the data originated with, and to whom the data is to be addressed. He's got his own code, and while it is a little obscure to me, it seems to work for him!
When I retired, I made a similar decision about any possible administrative careers I might qualify for, not that there were many. But, most of them would have required me to deal with grown ups acting like children. I don't mind it when it's children acting childishly, but grownups make my eyes cross and mutter angry imprecations under my breath. And I don't need that.
At any rate, it would be a moot point, as I am realistic about the fact that ONE, I'm 48. Two, I'm usually using at least one cane, sometimes two and sometimes a wheelchair. Three, I'm not cute. Not gonna be hired, you see.
I wouldn't mind some "at home" remote tasks though. The work would be fine, not as much fun as tutoring, but maybe more stable.
Some of the professional sales are stocked by people going to family garage sales. There, they negotiate a really low price for a lot of the better goods and load up and go. These, women mostly, have little time to waste and are intent on getting to as many sales as possible in as little time as possible. As the day goes on, they'll have fewer choices in the sales, but the prices will have gone down too, as the families are usually ready to shut down and be done with it all by noon.
The neighbors of these professional garage sales are not usually happy about their neighbor's commercial activities. One garage sale a month might be over looked. When it gets to having one every weekend, the gig is up and everyone knows what's going on, and often, it is not what the neighborhood wants to happen.
The problems include an increase in traffic on weekend mornings, just when children would be going out to play, or the parents going out for a walk. Another, perhaps not as obvious inconvenience, is that the customers of the garage sale occasionally include those who are less than upstanding, and take the opportunity to note which houses are empty for the weekend and who might have things laying about that might... walk away.
There are very few benefits of having a permanent neighborhood garage sale. Mostly, the drawbacks of traffic, strangers in the neighborhood and the annoyance of it all is why Home Owners Associations will shut the garage sales down when they're discovered.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Gardeners know that "zone". It's the I'm-almost-done-so-I'll-just-keep-going-for-a-little-while-longer feeling you get when you're making some good progress and you can aaallllmmooosttt see the end of a job coming up. But you've been working for a while, and you're getting tired, but you're in the ZONE! And that means... no stopping.
Sometimes, this results in some rather soul satisfying progress in some trouble area of your garden that you've been meaning to get to before, but hadn't.
And then there are the times when you go for just a few minutes more, and finish up two hours later. You still have the feeling of accomplishment, but there's another feeling or three that go with it.
Those feelings all start with OUCH! OOOFFF! ARRGHH! and WHAT the HADES was I THINKING! (when, of course, you weren't'... thinking, I mean... 'cause you were in the ZONE!).
The amount of pain you feel afterwards is in direct correlation to the amount of time you spent in the zone, plus the amount of time you'd worked before achieving the "zone", plus the amount of time it had been since you'd been in the "zone" last.
In other words: GROAN + MOAN + SCREECH = ice pack, band aids, hot tub soaking and copious complaining.
And no sympathy from your mate...who'd warned you that you were starting to look a little tired, and you ignored him.
Must. Remember. To. Stretch.
Where are the pain pills?
Sunday, March 15, 2009
As a lone bloom, in what was once a bed full of dianthus.. I have to honor this little guy. I think the bed's been shaded out this winter by the tomatoes. The plants are still pretty healthy, so perhaps later this spring, or summer, I'll have more of them to share.
The three tiny blueberry bushes I planted a couple of weeks ago are doing okay. This one is blooming, but I don't really expect any blueberries this year.
Aren't tomato blooms pretty? Especially when one has set a tiny tomato!
I had to take these shots of the pink jasmine earlier this week. The ones I took today just didn't turn out as well. The camera and I are having discussions with one another. It was much more cooperative a couple of days ago.
One of the few things I've gotten done this last week or so has been, with 'Pup's help, to put up the wire fencing on the western fence. We made the decision to have the "back side" of the fence for two reasons: 1) it was gonna be a son of a gun to try to pound in the nails for the boards behind the raised beds from this side, and 2) I wanted the boards to be able to put up a trellis of some kind on the fence. I'll take a better picture of it as a whole on another day. Like when the camera is actually talking to me again.
In the front yard, the little Blue Eyes are blooming in among the weeds. I'm going to be able to clean out that bed now, since the soil won't be rock hard.
The allysium is still blooming in that bed too. I need to find something that makes me happy to plant into the strawberry jar next to it. Perhaps geraniums or begonias, I'm not sure what I want yet.
The morning glories are opening too. I think this may be one of the better pictures I've been able to get of this flower. I love the blue flower, but the vines are threatening to take over the house. If I ever go silent, send help. The morning glories will have won.
I also have some roses beginning to bloom again. The Belinda's Dream is a reliable bloomer, and my favorite.
The little lavender colored rose (I don't know the variety for this one), got a little beat up in the rain, but it still has it's charm.
The bees have continued to enjoy the Mexican heather. Oddly, while we've had some colder than usual temperatures this winter, we've not gotten quite cold enough for long enough to knock the bushes back this year. They're going to need trimming too.
It's a good laptop. It has been a little heavier to carry around, but it's been great for my home use. The problems it's having has gotten me to look around to see what's on sale around the web. Popular Mechanics had an issue lately about the best laptops under $500, and what I've read there has been instructive.
There are also some really small notebooks out there that look like I could carry them in my purse. But, I really want something that is has a little more... well, everything. I need the hard drive, as I want something that can handle my photos, and editing them on the road. I'd like a CD reader, if not read/write, as there are some programs I'd like to install.
The little notebooks are so small, so portable. Some of them only weigh about 2 and 1/2 pounds, but I do need more performance for my buck. So, I think I may be going with something like this one. It weighs just over 6 lbs, but it will be good on the road and at home. Richie and I can both have a laptop and both spend some of the nice weather outside and still get some writing done, and blogs read, and other things.. like playing pool against each other online. It's more fun when you can see his face when you..
Besides, I hear that one of the possible door prizes at this years Spring Fling in Chicago will be a snazzy new white leather laptop bag. I gotta have something to put into it! (Not that I'll win it, but it's nice dreamin'.)
Friday, March 13, 2009
It started raining yesterday, and when I got to work I was a little early. So, I sat in my car for a moment and admired the raindrops dripping down the windshield.
In case you can't hear/understand the little song I sing at the end (softly and made up on the spot, as I was singing it), here are the words:
Rain, little raindrops, splitter, splatter,
Rain, little raindrops, splitter, splatter,
Make my plants grow big and strong,
So rain the whole day long!
Hey, I've never claimed to be a song writer.
Still, I can see the wonderful promise of the greening this rain will give us. This is what I love watching for every year. Sometime, right between Winter and Spring, we usually get this kind of rain, one that lasts a couple of days, with cloudy, drippy and chilly weather, one that gives us rain at just the right rate, so that it is able to sink deeply into the ground. It's chilly and damp enough that most people stay inside, and run from place to place when they have to be outside.
Then, it stops raining and the sun comes out. The air gets a soft, warm, silky feeling as the breeze slips over you and you look around, and stop.
Things have suddenly changed. All the brown bits of grass have disappeared under a sea of green, tender, sweet looking grass. Grass so young and sweet that the smell of it crushed under your feet, it makes you want to reach down and take a bite of it. The trees look as if they've changed clothes, with the live oaks giving up the last of last year's leaves to lay at their feet. The sky looks clean and washed, and you envy a kite for it's ability to leap up into it. You wish you were a bird so you could go wash your face in the puffy white clouds left over from the tail ends of the rain clouds that have passed over.
And you understand Easter, as it seeps into your soul.
Life is good when it rains in the Spring.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
No, can't harvest cross vines, though they are kinda pretty...
they're not something that will feed anything but your soul.
Lemon grass, on the other hand,
tastes just fine. I could harvest this much about 10 times and I'd still have a respectable stand of lemon grass. Anyone need some lemon grass? I've been sharing it with some Vietnamese neighbors and my hairdresser, and a parent of one of the students I tutor.
Another tasty harvest.. some tomatoes. They aren't pretty, but they're not as ugly as some! And they tasted juuuuust fine, thank you.