Sunday, July 23, 2006

Scenes from a cookout.

Unfortunately, my pictures of the cookout didn't turn out very well, but we had a good time.

And A Good Time Was Had By All!

Well, this afternoon was our street cookout, and I think it went very well. We had 9 out of 13 families attend. The food was good, the company was even better, and everyone got to meet and greet. The weather couldn't have been more perfect as the rain cleared out just in time. Now I'm getting ready to fall into bed with a book. I am TIRED! I have been a little stressed out - okay, a LOT stressed out - about this cookout. I kept having awful thoughts that maybe people wouldn't get along and then it would be my fault! My worry was groundless, though, because everyone really seemed to have a good time and even signed their names and contact information on a paper I had put on the table so that I could put together a list to distribute to everyone. Well, on to that book now - for as long as my eyes will stay open!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

You Know You're Getting Old When.....

You use a hair color specifically called "Gray Solution" and it still doesn't manage to cover up all the gray, and your own mother sends you old-people jokes via email. Guess I'm in the big leagues now.......!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

It's Pickle Time!

I have been very, very busy lately and haven't been able to update. It's time to buy next year's materials for homeschooling Andy and in order to finance that, I was selling last year's material on eBay, plus some extra materials that I had acquired over the past couple of years. Everything was going great until I listed two science book sets for sale. I had one fourth grade and one fifth grade set each with teacher's edition, student book, and lots of workbooks and project books that go with the course. These are sets that I bought off of eBay a couple of years ago and never used. They are new and had been packed away. Anyway, I listed the sets and then sat back to wait for my profits to roll in. About three hours later I got an email from eBay informing me that I have violated their policy of not selling teacher's editions and that they had pulled my listings off their site. What?! That was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard. After all, I bought those very same books off of there just a couple of years ago. I wrote them a scathing letter and they wrote back informing me that they just made this new policy in February of 2006, so it hadn't applied when I bought the books. They further wrote that they were doing this in order to comply with public school publishing companies who said that teacher's editions being made available to the general public were allowing children to cheat, and asked eBay to not allow them. Oh, please. Fourth and fifth graders? I wrote them yet another scathing letter informing that I was most disappointed in their bowing to outside influences telling them what could and could not be sold on their site. Ebay used to be the greatest place for finding things that you just couldn't find anywhere else. Now it's not just teacher's editions - they have also given in to certain designers and companies who have asked that their products not be allowed there in order that they don't lose out on their profits. Isn't that what an auction is all about? In my letter I pointed out the fact that I had seen used panties (deliberately used -EWWWW!), sweat and other bodily fluids (more EWWWW!), grandmothers, souls, foreheads for advertising tattoos, and other strange and not-so-nice items being put up for auction, but God forbid I should list - OH NO! A TEACHER'S EDITION! (shriek of terror here). They wrote me back yet again saying that they are very sorry for any inconvenience they have caused and that they realize this new policy has not been popular with homeschoolers (you think?!) and at some point they may consider changing it, but in the meantime if I tried to list any more teacher's editions, my eBay account would be suspended for violation of policy. I think the underlying problem here is parents not being involved in their childrens' lives yet again - yes, their kids might be using these books to cheat, but where are they when they are buying them? Well, the elementary school level material being banned is just ridiculous. When is the last time you saw a kindergartener laughing with evil glee as he or she bid on the teacher's edition of Dick and Jane? Patently ridiculous. Ooohh. Now I'm angry all over again, and it's Sunday too. Deep breath - deeeeep breath - okay, I'm better now! I ended up listing the teacher's editions on auctions and intend to tell the winners of the student book auctions that they are there if they want to buy them. After my listings being pulled the first time, I relisted the items but didn't want to go through the hassle of taking new pictures all over again, so even though the teacher's edition was still in the picture of the items, I wrote in the description that although the teacher's edition was pictured, due to eBay's policy, they were NOT included in the auction and that the buyer was bidding on the student books only. Then I sat back to wait for my profits to roll in. About three hours later I got another email informing me that my listings had been pulled AGAIN because they contained teacher's editions! GRRRRRR! Another scathing letter rolled off my keyboard in which I asked if they even bothered to READ my listing in which I clearly stated that the teacher's edition was not included. They wrote back informing me that even PICTURES of teacher's editions were not allowed, and if I violated their policy one more time my account would be suspended. If eBay wasn't the biggest auction place out there, I surely would take my selling elsewhere and will certainly look into that later, but right now I need to get these books out of here so I can buy new ones! So, I took all new pictures NOT including the teacher's editions, and relisted them. Then sat back to wait for either my profits to roll in or my listings to be pulled and my account to be suspended. I seriously feel like they have red-flagged me, now! You think it might be the scathing letters?! Well, it's been a few days and my listings are still intact and one set has two bids on it already, so I must be okay this time. Sheesh.

On a nicer note, today is pickling and bread-baking day here. A while back I wrote about a very nice older man that Jerry knows who Jerry gives all his extra building material to because he fixes up houses for people in his church. Well, this man has worked for the same excavating company around here for nearly 20 years, and now they haven't had any work for him for the past four weeks or so. He called Jerry asking if Jerry could use any help and so he worked with Jerry on days when Jerry needed extra help. Whenever Jerry has a job which involves removing old aluminum siding he keeps the siding and when the aluminum pile gets big enough he takes it to the recycling place and gets a check for it. Well, we had gotten quite a pile out here and so Jerry told this man that if he would help load all the aluminum, he could have the money that they got for it. This man is very proud and refused to take any money, even a loan, without doing something for it, so the aluminum deal worked out well for both of them. The side of our garage now no longer has aluminum stacked to the heavens, and the man was able to make this month's truck payment. Anyway, this man always grows a huge garden every year and usually shares veggies with Jerry anyway, but he came by the other night and gave us a 5-gallon bucket of cucumbers. Jerry mentioned to him that I would make pickles out of them and a deal was struck (between those two, mind you - I was informed later!) that if he brought vegetables, that I would can them or make stuff out of them and we would share what I canned or made. He requested zucchini bread from the zucchini, so that's the bread I'll be making today, and also those cucumbers will be pickles by this evening. Well, it works out well for us too because I really like to can stuff, and this man and our family will get vegetables canned for the winter. It's probably a good thing, too. I went to Safeway the other night and a 10-pound bag of potatoes cost 7.99. Was there a potato shortage I was unaware of?! Well, I should be getting busy - cucumbers await!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Two Birthdays!

I am sorry it took so long to update my blog. I am embarrassed to admit this, but the pictures of the baby that Mike sent me were in .bmp format and I couldn't post them here, and it took me longer than most people to figure out how to change them to .jpg format so they would work! I'm a little slow. Okay, a LOT slow! Anyway, here they are, finally. Aaron is a cutie and so are his big brothers. I can't wait to see (and hold!) him. He was born on Thursday, 06/29/2006 at about 1:00 in the afternoon, and weighed about 8.5 pounds. (I am saying about because these are the statistics I was given by the proud Dad shortly after his birth, and I'm not sure if he was rounding or not!)

We celebrated Andy's birthday on Monday with bowling again this year. We had a great time. I still can't bowl, but I have fun anyway! This year Sam's sister and grandmother joined us. Hilda wasn't able to come because she had fallen a couple of days before and had to stay off of her knee for a bit. Other than that, it was the same crew as last year. We came home and ordered pizza from Domino's, and later had cake and ice cream. Mmmmmmm!!

Happy Birthday, Andy!

From left to right: Andy, Charlie, Tom, Jerry, Sam, Jerry's mom, Sam's sister, Sam's grandmother.

Bowling birthday boy.

Welcome, little Aaron!

Big Brother Collin.

Big Brother Matthew.


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