Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Friday, January 25, 2008


You wouldn't think that moving 5 or 6 feet across the room would be such a big change but it can be! You see, I'm posting this blog from my recliner- sitting about 5 or 6 feet from our desktop 'puter. Yep! A nice warm laptop is sitting on my lap.

But what a huge change! First of all, there's the setting up of said laptop. A wireless router installation took me far longer than it should have. I'm a "geek wannabe" you see. Likely a dangerous one at that. I'm not afraid to explore places that I probably shouldn't be on the 'puter. It's a control thing I'm sure. But I was a little tied up with the wireless router!

Dad called to see how I was making out. He gave me some explanations & some advice- advice that included, "Hon! Call the 1-800 number if those things don't work. You've already spent 3 hours on this." My response went something like--> Ugh! I hate those 1-800 numbers! I always end up with some tech who can barely understand, much less speak English. Then I have to try to explain what I don't understand to a person who can barely understand English. And of course, it goes without saying that I will barely be able to understand their explanation because of their poor grasp of the language.

Nope! I'd rather poke around in places I shouldn't be for hours than endure that! LOL Stubborn, I guess!

But don't worry! Dad saved the day. I followed his instructions and was soon mobile! Hooray!

Of course, now comes the task of loading my creature comforts. Software that I prefer. And OH NO! This computer doesn't remember all of my passwords yet! Fortunately, it is learning quickly and so am I.

But who ever would have believed that moving such a short distance could be such a huge change!

Bare with me while I get my bearings again! ;)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Shoes Bill of Rights

Thought I'd share our oldest filly's writing assignment from today. :)

The Shoes Bill of Rights
  1. All shoes have the right to an owner that will not step in dog poop and/or cat poop.
  2. Every shoe has the right to be protected from dirty socks and/or feet.
  3. No shoe should be left where a dog can get it.
  4. All shoes have the right to stay nice and neat.
  5. Every shoe has the right to fair use. No owner shall choose favorites.
  6. If a shoe becomes worn, it shall be taken to the shoe shop immediately.
  7. Every shoe has the right to be used properly. No shoe should be put under a horse's hoof.
  8. If a shoe becomes too old and small, it should have the right to be rested in a closet, not handed down.
  9. All shoes have the right to be put away after use and to be away from any danger of being sat on or injured in any other way.
  10. No shoe should be deprived of seeing the world.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Fun Friday Fotos

Haflingers don't nap!

They Eat-

While the others sleep!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Spaghetti, Meatballs & Family

As I sit here, my home is filled with T-H-E MOST delicious aroma! It sends my mind deep into my memory and veils me in sentimentality. The smell is a combination of garlic, onion and tomatoes. It is the unmistakable scent of spaghetti and meatballs!

You have to understand something about the family I come from. Somewhere... somehow... we MUST have pure Italian blood running in us. Don't even let your mind wander to Ragu or Preggo. It's NOT in there, I tell you! No! We're talking about freshly chopped onion and freshly minced garlic sauteed in olive oil. Add crushed and pureed tomatoes and let it simmer for hours! Mmmmmmmm.... my stomach has been growling for hours!

The memories: Growing up, a pot of homemade spaghetti sauce and meatballs seemed synonymous with family gathering. It was as if the smell of that sauce simmering on the stove traveled miles around and called everyone home. Dad, Mom, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, Grandma and Grandpa- they all came.

And someone would stop by Columbus Bakery to pick up FRESHLY BAKED italian bread. I have yet to find bread that could even whisper its own name in the presence of such far superior bread. Did we even dare to put margarine on that bread? Oh please! Tell me we didn't because margarine is not worthy of being spread on such bread!

There was talk. There was play- lots of play, for we cousins knew how to play! There was laughter. It was family. And when it was time to eat, --OH MAN!!!-- it was delicious!

I give Grandma Jackie credit for the sauce. I don't know who taught her how to make that powerful sauce. Likely her mother. No matter. Grandma Jackie will always receive credit in my mind. She taught her daughters and daughters-in-law. They taught us girls. And faithful to the tradition and to the memories, I am passing the spoon to my own daughters.

Having added the tomato paste, we now watch, wait and occasionally grab a little taste. Yummy! Of course, we're missing that Columbus Bakery Bread and we're missing the whole family arriving in time to eat. But the memories are still delicious!

I hope my family reads this and I hope you all know how much I love you all!

What is he looking at?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Our Beautiful Fillies!

More captures from yesterday's photography fun.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

What a little sun can do!

Before even climbing out of bed this morning, "Charlie Brown" and I were discussing imminent tasks and issues we needed to deal with. None of it abnormal. Just simply the symptoms of real life. The stuff you just have to deal with. But it left me with an overwhelmed feeling and I had a strong desire to just stay under the flannel sheets, all cozy and warm in the blankets.

Life feels safe there. Could it be that feeling is one that traces back to the womb? It's so similar to the security of being an infant swaddled in a blanket.

Regardless, we are no longer infants and cannot simply stay in bed. So we ventured out to face the day and all that life brings.

The sun was shining and it was actually a beautiful day for mid-January. We cleaned out stalls dressed simply in sweatshirts, stocking hats and gloves. Being outside felt like therapy!

It occurred to me that THIS was a great day to have my camera out! I exhausted the subject matter around our property and suggested to Charlie Brown that this would be a great day to go walk around Adams Mill! Adams Mill is a quaint treasure tucked away south of Burlington in Carroll county.

I filled the memory card and we returned home feeling relieved, refreshed and recharged. Now I'm having fun with photos. I just discovered that I don't have to resize them so small in order to use them on the blog. If you want to see the actual picture file, click on the picture. (duh, right? Sometimes I do resemble an air head! LOL) So while these are not FULL size files, I did edit them leaving them a little larger so you can appreciate them better. Here are a few from this afternoon.

Friday, January 11, 2008

More Furnace Work!

The furnace people are back!

This time, they sent a different tech- one who seems to know what he's doing (I hope!).

Fun Friday Fotos




Wednesday, January 9, 2008

My heart SINGS!

The art, joy and freedom of homeschooling gives us opportunity to let our young fillies run with the wind, stretch their legs and see if they can fly.

This week, with the dreary dark days of January setting in, is a great time to go dig my sewing supplies out of the boxes in the basement. Now that those long awaited bedrooms are finished, we have an extra room serving primarily as the classroom but also useful and available for projects. JJJJOOOOOOOOOYYYY! (sing that for the right effect!)

I am not sure I can describe the way my heart sang when our three young fillies lit up over the unveiling. And then the fabric bin came up! Oh my!!! It's IN THEIR BLOOD! Just watching them oooooooo and aaahhhhhhhh over all of the prints, textures and colors was entertainment enough for me. These young charges come from a long line of completely capable women who were and are equipped with many wonderful talents. One talent among them all -- Sewing! Walk the females from this side of the pedigree into a fabric store and it's like letting pregnant mares loose in an alfalfa field!

And so begins another generation! The first lesson was simple and very basic. I let them pick a fabric and showed them how to make a quick, simple pillow. They learned the basics of fabric, how to pin it, cut it, iron it, put the parts right sides together, the parts of the sewing machine, where & how the thread works, how to sew a straight stitch and turn corners. They finished their quick project by hand sewing the opening closed.

They were so excited over their success that I allowed them to make another today to reinforce their first lessons. Ahhhhhhh..... they make my heart sing!

Do you see the tongue at work?

I think that's like "licking the brain". LOL
And getting to use fun things like Mom's wrist-band pin cushion is a BIG deal! Everyone must get a turn!

See the tongue?

It's still at work! ;)



This filly- she's got it!
Wanting to race ahead!

She's looking forward - ahead - and on to the next project!



Not to be put off... she'll stretch a little farther if that's what it takes to run with the older fillies.


"Stay with me Mom, ok?"

My heart SINGS!!!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Of Bad Business & Poor Service!

What do the words "customer service" mean to you? There once was a day when those words meant there was a person available to help me. They were there to help me if I was lost, or if I had a question, concern or complaint. This was, and still is, a place where a business leaves an indelible mark on its customer. There are still businesses today that represent such a view of customer service and serve it on a gold platter. I've had personal experience with such companies. But that's not what this post is about. Nah! I feel a need to vent today!

To my utter frustration, there are an increasing number of businesses today who view "customer service" like a game of chess. Well, that's not right because I, personally enjoy a good game of chess. No... it's like.... ah!... It's like cleaning out the kitty-litter pan! Yes! That's it! That's exactly what it's like. Only, we're the "morsels" being cleaned out of the pan.

Isn't this the coolest hammock swing?

While looking for fish and beach items for our 9 year old daughter's new bedroom, I came upon these neat-o hammock swings. The perfect addition to her room! We added it to her wish list months ago before the room was even completed. Of course, in true fashion (at least for our household), her sisters also thought these swings were just dreamy and wanted it on their wish lists as well.

So Christmas approaches and with a tight budget (we finished those rooms, ya know!), we decided to just get one or two things that the girls really want & will fit in the budget. The swings fit the budget & would definitely leave the best daughters in the whole-wide-world smiling on Christmas morning. So we ordered 3 swings. Each one a little different from the other (color, with or without fringe). All were in stock and slated for delivery 5 days before Christmas. Perfect!

Ha! That little girl in the swing was in there for the first time tonight because the hammock I ordered for her never left the warehouse. Two swings arrived as scheduled- her sisters (that equals 2 happy girls, 1 slightly sad but understanding girl). The third- well, I couldn't find a trace of it so I called the "Customer Service" number for hammocks dot com (RUN I say! RUN far away from this business! There are others out there! Use them!). The first person who fielded my call (several days before Christmas even) couldn't tell me a thing but assured me that he would send off an note and someone would call me back. Ha! When I called them again the next day, after never being called back, it was the weekend. Guess what! They will gladly TAKE your order on the weekend but "customer service" doesn't work on the weekend. "So sorry!"

So come Monday, Christmas Eve mind you, I was on the phone right away with said "customer service". Now obviously, everyone's hands are tied as far as this getting here to be under the tree. (Three children- two big boxes with wished for hammocks! You put it together!) So "customer service" tells me he'll make a replacement order and they will get it to me as quick as possible. No problem, I think. There will be some disappointment initially but we can wrap a picture and explain to our peaceful child that hers will be here in just a day or two. Ha!

I spent at least 20 minutes on the phone with "customer service" on Thursday, 2 days after Christmas. No one knew where the missing hammock was. Oh wait! "Our computer says it's in stock but the warehouse says it's out of stock". Every effort was made to try to scoop me out of their pan but to no avail. I refused to be emailed or called back and insisted on having my questions answered. I have no problem patiently waiting while you go check & find the answers I need. Heck! I'll even tell you what viable options I see for this company to rectify this situation in a manner that is acceptable business practice. So given those options, "customer service" chooses choice B with one variation- they can't overnight the product because it's already past noon. But they can send it via 2nd day air and it will be delivered on Monday. O-K! I've got an answer- a viable solution- a "cooperating" representative and a confirmation number. Ha!

They sure got my number! Joke's on me! I got scooped! Said package didn't come on Monday. On this call to "customer service" I'm now told that Fed-ex doesn't work on Sunday or Monday and since Tuesday was the New Year's holiday, well... there would be no delivery on Tuesday. "But your package is in KY." Needless to say, we've been run around, shoved around and even lied too. (The order was NOT sent via 2nd day air- it's marked otherwise on the package. Do I look stupid?) We've been the poop in the litter pan to this business. Ha! Wanna know what the kicker is? They had our money- IN FULL- withdrawn from our account just a few hours from the time I placed my order! RUN I tell you! RUN far away from hammocks dot com. There are other sources for this most comfy seat! (it's a great place to curl up with a blanket & a book! It really feels dreamy!)

I'm writing a letter Mom! Got a pen? Want to join me? OH! But I'm not done venting! Sorry folks! It's a long winded vent, I know... but seriously! Shouldn't we speak up! It's injustice I tell ya- INJUSTICE!

Today it is butt-awful COLD--- no, not cold----FREEZING- hurts *your*country*hiney FREEZING outside! We're talking single digits with a stiff wind that turns your nose inside-out! I walked past the thermostat around 11am and noticed the temp in the house was reading 60 degrees. It's set at 66 degrees during the day! YIKES! I've been here before!!! In February- during just such a frigid wave, we woke up to 49 degrees! I literally blew a puff of air out to see if I could see my breath. So before the temperature plummets to that butt-awful temp in my house again, my good-man Charlie Brown tells me to go ahead and call for service.

Now I have to tell you. I've had bad experiences with service men in my home. I don't like them coming in my home without my good-man Charlie Brown or any other adult male presence in my home. My experience with the furnace guys is that they see a woman and flip the "pour on the manure" switch. Yes! They really do this! I've seen the switch turn off when Charlie Brown has come home in the middle of such service calls. It's amazing to watch. So the hard- fast rule for me is you must come when Charlie Brown is home.

But in the interest of my precious young chilluns and my own hiney--- that is getting quite COLD NOW--- I decided that today I could deal with it. After all, my 12 year old is pretty grown up now and she's almost bigger than me now. She's STRONG too! (hehehe) Nah! Really, we have had good experiences lately with a different business. The tech in February was super. Charlie Brown was most impressed by his thorough work and attention to detail.

Ha! I forgot one important detail--- Charlie Brown was home.

In comes furnace tech. Oh! Just a woman & 3 daughters? There went the switch! Unbelievable! I kid you not! Do I look stupid? I know I can be a little slow to catch on about some stuff. I know I LOOK like I'm a kid (Fellow Sonlight moms: "where is the mom in that family picture?" LOL). But trust me people-- heck! Don't trust me! Ask my father! He'll tell you!-- I'm pretty good with mechanical stuff. Better than you might think! (I installed my own electric break controller with some over the phone instruction from Dad) Of course I don't know heating & furnaces, but I'm not a complete idiot about the mechanics of this enormous apparatus. I understand the basics. In fact, I understand the basics enough to know when grumpy furnace tech has flipped his pour-on-the-manure switch to the ON position.

My choice- walk away. Leave him in the basement to work alone. He won't need to ask me anymore questions (with obvious answers! Come on!) nor waste my time while he makes-up-stuff! I'm going back to my job as mom and teacher. After all, we have math problems to solve, and grammar to learn. We need to read more adventures from the island of Capri or from Moccasin Trail. When he comes up, I'll be ready with paper & pen. I'll write down everything he tells me, let him know that I'll pass the info on to Charlie Brown and we'll get back to him. I'll even make sure to ask clarifying questions. Of course, those were answered with the standard wheelbarrow full of manure! Really, man! You really don't see how obvious your manure is? (Forgive me! We have horses. We clean stalls. We scoop a lot of manure. We've come to be experts on identifying the stuff!) It's unmistakable only horses' smell better! Ha!

For all of his manure, his time alone in my basement served a purpose. Our furnace is working fine again in spite of the load of manure furnace tech tried to dump on my household budget. Ha! Who is laughing now?

I'm writing a letter Mom! Got a pen? Want to join me? Right after I clean stalls, ok?

-I'm Laughing Woman today.