Monthly Archives: February 2011

Google Maps Satellite View

Working at various things over the weekend, I got bored with it all and decided to have a look at the areas where you all live.

United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Canada

Canada

Lynn lives in the United Kingdom and Nancy lives in Canada.

Both of these landscapes look like quilts.  It is fascinating to see the differences in the land parcels.

I don’t know when these satellite photos were taken but it sure is interesting to see what our worlds look like.

Tennessee, United States

Tennessee, United States

Texas, United States

Texas, United States

Jann lives in Tennessee and Maureen lives in Texas.

Jann’s area is quite hilly with lots of rocky terrain.  Maureen’s area is not quite so hilly but it also has quite a bit of rocky terrain.

I’ve traveled through both of these places and these photos don’t do them justice.  Each place has its own beauty.

Illinois, United States

Illinois, United States

Oklahoma, United States

Oklahoma, United States

Shelly lives in Illinois while I live in Oklahoma.

Shelly’s area has a lot of farming parcels while where I live is nothing but housing.

It is amazing the different colors of the earth in these photos, as well as the terrains.

I have no idea where Shar lives – Australia or New Zealand.

Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic

Indira lives in the Dominican Republic somewhere in all that greenery.

Don’t know about  you guys but I thought this was very interesting.  Teach me to think that everyone else lives in an area similar to mine 🙂

Tiffany's tattoo

Tiffany's tattoo

My daughter had another visit to her tattoo artist over the weekend.  He’s added color to the bird and the cemetery.  Poor sweetie says this time hurt worse than all the other times before.  This is becoming quite a work of art.

The paperwork is coming along….slowly.  It seems there is no end in sight of the work yet to do.  BUT progress is being made and I am nearing the end of 2010.

The paperwork

The paperwork

The box of trip envelopes is declining while one area of my kitchen counter is becoming a pile up of this years mail I’m trying to sort in the mean time and get a handle on it for later.

Trip envelopes yet to do

Trip envelopes yet to do

The trip envelopes yet to do are decreasing.  I’ve separated the business for 2011 with the 1099’s from 2010.  So as you can see it is getting better as I go along.  I’ll be starting September tomorrow.  Kind of a bit hard for me to contain myself and wait until tomorrow since this is getting near the end.  I just want this over with.

The bin so far

The bin so far

The finished items are filling the bin.  Hopefully there will be room to fit it all in.

The new bins I purchased, sitting below the table, will hold all of these file folders, plus the ones left to do, and all of the household folders for 2010.

Household files

Household files

I can’t believe the amount of paper that we have to deal with on a daily basis.  I thought that computers were meant to decrease paper usage.  Seems to have only increased it.  Oh well.

Today, I’m going to work on birthday presents.   I just can’t help myself.  I’m so proud of  my Joe and what he has done.  This is not finished, there is still some work to do on it.

Curtis' birthday present

Curtis' birthday present

I supposed I’ve gone and spilled the beans here but some secrets I’m terrible at holding.

This is what I had Joe create.  The letter “C” from copper piping.

Speaking of Joe, he is up near Grand Rapids, Michigan where it is 16 degrees and snowing.  He’s loading his trucks up there that will be delivered to Houston, Texas where it is in the high 60’s and low 70’s.  Quite a bit of temperature changes he will be going through as he heads this way.  Hopefully, he will be home near the end of this week and we can get this finished then sent off to Curtis.

 

Advertisements

Got A Fear Jolt Yesterday

A fax I received

A fax I received

I have to tell you…I spent about an hour in absolute fear when I saw this paper sitting on the tray of my fax machine.

Should I call them?  No, I’m not going to call them!  I’d better call them and find out what this is all about.  No, I don’t want to know!

As the panic subsided then my mind was in a whirl thinking about when I was last in Wichita Falls, Texas.  I’ve been through there several times but I don’t remember stopping for anything.

I called Joe and, frankly, he was of no help at all.  He jumped on my panic attack and fanned the already bonfire like flames 😦  He kept telling me that we had stopped at a Love’s Travel Center in Wichita Falls on several occasions.  He proceeded to ask me if I had not paid for something.  Maybe I had just been too busy at the time and walked off without paying.  Oh gawd, he was making it totally worse by the second.  I had to stop talking to him and get myself settled down.

The fax is from the Financial Crimes Unit.  Yikes!!  I’d better just bite the bullet and find out what it was all about.  In my anxiety I called the number on the paper and got an answering machine instead of a real person.

SCAM.  Oh NO!!  I’ve just left my name and phone number for a scam artist!!  Something in my brain was working.  I went to the computer and Googled the Wichita Falls Police Department and got a main phone number.  Calling there I was given a different number for the Detective Unit.  The numbers were pretty much the same.  I called that number and the woman that answered the phone had a brisk enough voice and a no nonsense attitude that I began to feel better.  Yes, there is a Detective by the name I gave her and he was out at the moment.

Now, this is a cautionary tale to any of you that give your credit or debit card information over the phone to a call center of any kind.

The upshot of all this is back in October our telephone and internet service had been shut off due to non payment of the bill.  We had been gone for such a long time and I had left our bills at home.  Subsequently when I returned home and wanted to use the internet I found that the service was disconnected.

I called AT&T  to make the full payment and get the service restored.  The fax I had received from the Wichita Falls Police Department was about an employee at the AT&T call center that had taken my credit card information – including the three digit security code on the back – to make this payment.

Somehow she had paid our bill from the AT&T funds then took my card number, the security code, and our home address information to a Western Union and charged $297.

I guess I would have found the problem when I finally reached the October stuff but I would have not had a clue how to go about getting that straightened out.

I’m not the only person this employee has done this to.  As of now, I’m the 5th one.  Thankfully, someone from Ohio was more on top of their statements than I am and found they had a charge to Western Union they had not authorized.  That person was hot enough to do some digging and find out what had transpired and then contacted the authorities in Wichita Falls.

I won’t be able to get any of that money back – EVER.  The bank that holds this card is the one I use in my truck driving job.  Their policy is they don’t accept disputes after 60 days.  All of the supervisors I talked with told me the same thing.  I was told it is up to the Police Department to work it out with Western Union.  So I can count that money gone for good.

I’ve looked through my other statements to see if there were others that didn’t look right and have found none.  So maybe this person was stopped soon enough.  I’d hate to be in her shoes about now.  Facing a felony charge, having the police on her tail all the time.  At least it is not me they are looking to haul off.  Thank God!

Paper from Creative Imaginations

Paper from Creative Imaginations

I’m going to tease you all just a bit more.

This is the back side of a piece of paper I got from Whole Lotta Scrap.

I cut several of the gears out using a craft knife then mounted them on chipboard and cut the chipboard out.

The gears drying

The gears drying

That was a bit of a task.  I almost got out the Dremel tool and tried to do what Nancy had said she was going to try.  Hoping the wheel was slow enough that I would not destroy the whole thing.  But, I didn’t try it.  I cut them out with the craft knife.  Slathered Glossy Accents on top after I had poked holes to add brads.  There are some air bubbles in the glue but I think they look pretty darn good just as they are.

Graphic 45 pocket watch

Graphic 45 pocket watch

I mounted the pocket watch sticker from the Graphic 45 sheet on a piece of chipboard and cut around it the same way.  I had to use a sanding block to get my wonky edges straightened up.

Since I had so much difficulty with the gears there was no way I was going to try cutting out the space between the watch stem and the round bit.    I just poked a hole to attach some wire I had bent around a paint brush handle several times to make the links.

The wire is very thin and will get all bent out of shape if I’m too rough with it.  I slathered the pocket watch image with Glossy Accents also.  All in all I think these things will look pretty good on Curtis’ piece.

I can’t wait for Joe to come home so we can get this finished.

As far as the paperwork goes.  I waded through August.  Having taken the last three days off from it the momentum I had built up was a bit off kilter.  It took me quite a while to get my rhythm going once again.  I did persevere and get through it all.  Hopefully Monday won’t be too bad of a day to work more on that crap.

Everyone, have a great weekend.  I’m going to get outside on Saturday and enjoy this wonderful Spring like air.


Whole Lotta Scrap In Norman

Dremel Tool Accessories

Dremel Tool Accessories

Yesterday was spent polishing the copper piping, a trip to Lowe’s once again, and a trip to “Mecca” – Whole Lotta Scrap :o)

We have a Dremel Tool that has been hidden away in cupboards for years.  I’ve been a bit skittish using it over the years so it just stays hidden away.  The accessory kit comes with the “Jeweler’s Rouge” which I don’t have the foggiest idea how to use it and two of these bits with a screw on top.  What the heck are they for?!

Joe was holding my  hand while he was driving through Oklahoma, Arkansas, and into Tennessee.   This kit comes with some felt discs for polishing and, after much lamentation, I figured out they attach to the screw bits.  There is a hole in the center of the felt pad and are meant to be screwed on to the bit.

Buffers and jeweler's rouge

Buffers and Jeweler's Rouge

The larger buffing pads are about the size of a quarter while the smaller and thicker ones are larger than a pencil eraser.

The Jeweler’s Rouge comes in the packet and is about 1″ wide a little over 1/4″ tall and about 1/2″ thick.  Never having used the stuff before I didn’t know how to apply this stuff – still don’t.

Joe told me to turn the speed on the Dremel Tool down very low and place the running pad over the rouge to “load” up the pad then use it on the copper.

That fast spinning wheel caused the rouge stuff to have pieces fly off everywhere on my kitchen counter. Little bits of the stuff were everywhere, including the toaster!  When I applied the polishing pad to the copper it seemed that nothing happened.  So I had to do my thing.  I took the stick of rouge out of the packet and rubbed it on the copper.  It leaves behind a chalk like trail.  When I felt I had sufficient coverage then I used the polishing wheel over the rouge and spread it around.  Instead of this beautiful shiny copper surface I had imagined would appear I got some very black feathery marks left behind.

Purchases from Lowe's

Purchases from Lowe's

I left out that I had to make a trip to Lowe’s first to get a Brass Wire Brush to clean the whole copper piece first.  All the flux Joe had put on the joints while soldering had left a sticky residue that had to first be cleaned off with a good scrubbing with the wire brush and Lava hand soap then rinsed well before I could begin the polishing.

While at Lowe’s I picked up some tack cloths since I would be using a sanding sealer paint stuff on the wood so it would not absorb so much paint when I get to that part.  The tack cloths I’ve used many times before in the past.  They are cheese cloth loaded with some sticky stuff that makes my hands feel yucky when finished using them.  The gunk left over from sanding is picked right up with these tack cloths so I could apply another coat of the sealer and have a very smooth surface.  Joe’s orders!  I’m going to cover the wood with paper stuff so I didn’t think this step was necessary but he was adamant that I use the sealer.  Okay, okay – jeezers!

After polishing and using Brasso

After polishing and using Brasso

Now back to my litany.  After I had scrubbed the entire piece down with the brass wire brush and lava, rinsed it well with running water then dried it with a towel, I left it to air dry for about an hour.  I don’t know what I’m doing here so I want to make sure I don’t cause a problem.

The rouge and the polishing wheel, as I said, left behind a black feathery mess and I was very unhappy with the results.  Brasso metal cleaner was my next choice at getting this thing all cleaned up and shiny.  Worked really well and NOW I’m pleased with the outcome.

Creative Imaginations

Creative Imaginations

I made a trip to Whole Lotta Scrap and asked Leslie for some help!  As soon as I walked in the door I felt like I had entered a special place in Heaven!  I love this place!!!!

I told her I was looking for some paper that would be something to use for plumbing.  She thought about it and took care of her customers as I wandered the store taking in the sights of beautiful paper and lots of wonderous stuff :o)  The back side of this paper is covered with gears.  The words I can use on Curtis’ stand.  Although “Slacker” is not on this paper and is one of Curtis’ favorite words to use when speaking of himself when he takes a day off.  He does work very hard and long hours at his job and has been recognized for it.  We are both so proud of him.

Graphic 45 Vintage stickers

Graphic 45 Vintage stickers

I am planning on using the two labels somewhere on the board.  The old telephone is intriguing to me and might be used also.

Two watch faces

Two watch faces

I also want to use the two watch faces somewhere on the wooden base.  Kind of make it a collage.

Wooden base

Wooden base

This is the wooden base Joe picked out while we were out shopping day before yesterday.  I drug his butt to Hobby Lobby to choose a piece he liked.

I’ve applied the sanding sealer and have used black acrylic paint on the edges.

Now that all the other work is done and out of the way I can begin the really fun stuff.

I’ve decided that I’m far enough along in my paperwork drudgery that I can get back to the Monday, Wednesday, Friday thing and have free days to play around with really important and fun stuff.


I Took Joe Shopping

He didn’t make a fuss either.  We went to Lowe’s Home Improvement Center, just the kind of store he has fun in…me too.

 

Getting supplies for a project

Getting supplies for a project

He said “I can’t believe you took a picture!”  You can even see it on his face, hahahaha.

One of our sons lives in Salina, Kansas and works for Wilson Engineering as a Mechanical Engineer.  Right now he is working on a huge project that is being built somewhere in New Mexico near the Arizona border.  Curtis has talked with Joe about it so I have it from Joe in pieces.

I think Joe told me Burlington Northern Railways has a big switching station that Curtis is working on to design the fueling system for the engines.  As they come into the designated area and over a huge pit the engines are inspected below ground as they are being fueled.

Now I can’t tell you if the pit is actually already there or if Curtis is designing the pit as well as the pumping system to bring diesel fuel from a holding tank elsewhere on the site up to this pit area where hoses will be attached to allow the fueling process to happen as the engine is being inspected.  Don’t have all the details on that.

Preparing the creation

Preparing the creation

I’ve told Joe of my idea for Curtis’ birthday present and what I want.  Since Joe has knowledge of working with pipes and couplings I figured he was my “Go To Guy” for this project.  Otherwise I’d have to ask someone at the store and then this idea would be shelved because I don’t have any idea how to put this stuff together.  Besides, he’s Curtis’ Dad and thereby is roped into this project :o)

Poor Joe.  He has to work on surfaces that are not meant for tools 😦  Someday I hope to find a way to get him into a place that will have space for a “Man Cave” so he can have a place to play with his tools.  For now, the barbecue grill will have to suffice.

"Sweating" the pipes

"Sweating" the pipes

The grill worked as a good place for him to solder all the parts we picked out to assemble the project.  Watching him make this thing come together was fun.

Since I don’t know if Curtis or Brenda (his wife) read my foolishness and nonsense I can’t take the chance of blowing the surprise so you will only see this in pieces as a work in progress until it has been finished and he has received it.

Alas, it is going to be late in getting to Curtis.  His birthday is the 20th of February and today is the 16th.  Really, it should already be in the mail to him but I could not figure out how to accomplish this by myself.

I’m so excited to be getting back to creating.  That damn paperwork has sucked the life out of me and I’m rebelling now.  Going to take a couple days off from it so I can get my head back on straight.

As I work on Curtis’ birthday present I still have quite a bit of work to do on the present for my granddaughter, Reilee, and her birthday has done long passed 😦  I have only one birthday in March to work on so I’m hoping to get Krasi’s (k-res-a) done on time.  Then four in April to do.  That dreaded paperwork has got to be done long before that so I don’t have to divide up so much of my time.

Joe is on his way to deliver his trucks this morning to Greensboro, North Carolina (he reminded me of where he is going).  Then, as of now, he is deadheading up around Grand Rapids, Michigan to take trucks to Houston, Texas.  He plans on being home for a while after that.  Plans will most likely change a few times between now and then.


Joe’s Home

Well, for today only.  He will be leaving tomorrow morning early to finish this trip to Alabama or Georgia, I don’t remember which it is.

After he picked up his last truck in Sacramento, California on Thursday and had a final visit with his friend in Reno, Nevada he tried to make his way to Bakersfield, California for the night. Traffic was pretty bad and slowed his progress.  Friday night he spent in Fresno, California.  After leaving Fresno on Saturday morning he was shooting for Kingman, Arizona for the night.  He had to make one stop.  Murray Family Farms.

Buddah's Hand Citron

Buddah's Hand Citron

This fresh fruit and vegetable market is open year round.  He wanted to see what seasonal fruits were available, always hoping for one last bin of cherries – ever hopeful 🙂  Citrus is now in season.  Fresh oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes.  As he perused the harvested bounty his eyes came to a spot where two Buddah’s Hand Citron fruit rested.  Now there is only one.  Joe brought home not just the Buddah’s Hand Citron but a bag of fresh California naval oranges.

Smelling the Buddah's Hand

Smelling the Buddah's Hand

The fragrance of this odd citrus fruit is hard to describe.  It has a floral aroma in that it is sweet smelling.  It does not smell like an orange or a grapefruit.  It has a slight citrus smell, but mostly it smells like orange blossoms.  As Joe made his way toward home with the Buddah’s Hand in a plastic bag the fragrance would waft with the bumps that jarred the bag safely stored on the passenger seat.  The poor thing weathered the cold nights in the truck when Joe stopped and greeted him each morning with its special floral and delicate citrus smell having permeated the truck overnight.

Futuristic creature

Futuristic creature

This fruit has a very unsettling appearance.  Like some mutant squid or octopus.  The ends of the “fingers” curl at the tips into sharp looking claws.  Gives me the heebie jeebies just looking at it.  I think I’ve watched way too many Science Fiction movies 😦  Click on any of the photos to see them in larger size.

The outer peel is pitted as an orange is with the bumpy texture.  The “fingers” are firm to the touch and when squeezed the sweet aroma intensifies.  As it lays upon the wooden surface of the cart the fragrance fills our home with the delicate sweet scent.

Compared to a soda/pop can

Compared to a soda/pop can

Further comparison

Further comparison

As a size comparison I’ve used a soda/pop can to demonstrate the length and width of this strange fruit.

Joe has asked me what we are going to do with this Buddah’s Hand.  I don’t have a clue.  The poor thing is going to be admired and repulsed I guess until it withers and rots then is unceremoniously dumped in the trash can.  Oddity that it is, at least I can say that we have actually held one in our hands and had the pleasure of smelling its fragrance for a while.  Even though it looks like an octopus on its side and some kind of terrifying many fanged monster spider while looking at the underside of it.  Heebie Jeebies.


My Brain Is Almost Fried

I can so relate to this video 😦  This was sent to me by my friend, Janice, who lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Today is Sunday.  I’m so having trouble getting going and staying focused.  Didn’t sleep very well last night and it didn’t help that I was up until nearly 1 a.m. then woke at 6:30 a.m.  Got up feeling a bit groggy.

I made a stab at the paperwork today but only lasted for an hour and had to quit.  I was getting sleepy.  Going back to bed for a couple hours seemed like the right thing to do.  Instead I got a bowl of cereal and felt somewhat better.  Still no interest in doing the paperwork, though.

I turned the television on and thought I’d just veg out for a while.  Have you seen the movie Julie & Julia?  I watched that today.  What a fun “Chick Flick”.  I really enjoyed that movie.  I was surprised to see the woman from Glee to be in the movie as Julia’s sister.  I have not watched any of the episodes for Glee so I don’t know what the woman’s name is.  She, evidently, is the teacher that has temper fits from what I can gather watching the episode teasers sometimes.

After watching Julie & Julia I felt I had to make another stab at the paperwork.  I spent another three hours on it but have not quite finished July.  There is always tomorrow.

This is what has transpired since I last added photos of slogging through the paperwork.

The 2010 bin

The 2010 bin

The bin beneath my desk is getting more full and orderly.

The table is still up

The table is still up

The table is still up and holding the dreaded Trip envelopes yet to be finished.  Ugh, I’m quitting for the day.  I don’t have any more energy to continue this drudgery.


Fun Video

This video is just plain adorable.

No, I didn’t take the day off.  I’ve finished June 2010 – WOO HOO – and have made the preparations to begin July.  A trip to Office Depot is required before I can get going again.  I need file folders, ink cartridges, and a couple of plastic bins.

Joe has had an interesting past few days.  He sold a camera a few years back, on eBay, to a man that lives in Sparks, Nevada.  Joe has wanted to meet the man for quite a while but has not had the opportunity or time to do so.  They e-mail each other but that has been as far as it has gone.

Thursday, Joe was in Reno, Nevada to get one of his trucks.  The other is in Sacramento, California.  The truck in Reno wasn’t quite ready for Joe to pick up so he called his friend and they met for dinner.  Friday morning Joe was able to get the Reno truck loaded then head to Sacramento for his other one.  His other truck was still out on delivery rounds.  Such is the way things go in this crazy job. By mid afternoon Joe was all hooked up and ready to leave.  His friend in Sparks called Joe and told him how much he enjoyed meeting him.  Before they hung up Joe had changed his “Road Warrior” plans and went back to Reno to have dinner with his friend once again.  This friend of Joe’s had been a Merchant Marine for many years.  The tales he had to tell fresh ears kept Joe totally enthralled for hours.  I’m happy that Joe was able to have this time to visit.

Okay, time to get to Office Depot and get my supplies.  The weather is warming up, the snow has melted and it is time to go out and get some fresh air.