Saturday, March 31, 2012

Book Reveiw - I Am Hutterite by Mary-Ann Kirkby

I am a member of the Thomas Nelson “Book Sneeze” blogger program and would like to thank Thomas Nelson Publishers for providing me with a copy of this book to review.

I want to know about who I am and where my people came from. I want to know why they left the love and comfort of a family and community and traveled away to the unknown. This desire is what gave me a deep connection to "I Am Hutterite" by Mary-Ann Kirkby. This emotional memoir tells the story of a young girl, born into a Hutterite colony and later leaving that colony with her immediate family to a new life totally different than the one she had known.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It's filled with information not just about a family but a way of life most of us will never hear about or come in contact with. That's what made this book interesting and important to me.  It's important for us to be exposed to other religions and cultures in these difficult and confusing times. So much is going on in the world that makes us suspicious of people who don't believe or live the same way we do. Everyone needs to hear of people who are different so we can understand their point of view and see there are things we share despite our differences. 

Mary-Ann Kirkby shares the differences and the things we have in common in a way that made me what to learn more about Hutterites, Mennonites and Amish folks. We all share so much but it is the differences that make "I Am Hutterite" a compelling read.

Disclosure of Material Connection
I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Miracle-Gro Expand 'n Gro - The Way to Go for Spectacular Results!

This post brought to you by Scotts®. All opinions are 100% mine.
EnG Product Shot.png

Gardeners, you're in for a treat! Miracle-Gro has a new product designed to make growing flowers and vegetables easier and more productive. I'm here to introduce to you Expand ‘n Gro™. Concentrated Planting Mix. The super benefits of Expand 'n Gro are moisture control and bulk density. This means we can water and feed less and still produce bright, beautiful blossoms and a great vegetable yield. Coir fibers in the planting mix help retain water by releasing it as the plant needs it and prevents too little or too much water to the roots of the plants. Plants don't like wet feet, and they like to breathe, so air circulation is critical to your plants health. Mixing Expand 'n Gro into your garden soil  will reduce soil density and create a whole lot more air space for your plant to breathe.  Expand 'n Gro will significantly enhance your soil by creating supreme water holding properties, better distribution of water, great drainage and a much better rooting environment.
Let's get down and dirty here. This is a simple way to prepare your soil for your spring and summer gardens. Plants want light, air, water and food. Good soil is the only way to ensure a plant gets the nutrients and air flow they need. Without good drainage, a plant can drown. Traditional soil amendments are good, but that doesn't solve the air flow, drainage or feed requirements. Expand 'n Gro has it all!  Check out this video to see it in action.

Your native soil may be sandy, hard clay or simply worn out from planting year after year. Improving and maintaining good quality soil is hard and may only last one year. It can be costly to repeat the process of amending your soil each year. Expand 'n Gro has then natural ingredient of coir, a lightweight fiber derived from coconut husks. It's spongy and expands when you add water. Coir also decomposes slowly, being beneficial for years to come.
Used in the ground or in your containers, Expand 'n Gro is the way to healthy, lush, beautiful flowers and gorgeous, tasty vegetables this season!  Miracle-Gro is going to send me a sample of Expand 'n Gro to give away! Throw me a comment and let me know what you plan to plant and maybe you could be the lucky winner of the sample!
Winner will chosen at random, I'll draw a name from a hat. Check back to see who won!
Visit Sponsor's Site

Skywatch 5, #38...

Skies from all over our planet...

25 more days and I'll see this sign in person!

Trek on over to Skywatch Friday to see more excellent skies over truly stupendous locations!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Translation Services - A Must for International Businesses...

My friend RJ works for a big international firm with offices in Boston and London. They do business in many countries and although they have multi-lingual associates, I've often wondered what happens when important legal documents need to be sent to a non-English speaking country. One small mistake in translation could be disastrous. I asked RJ how his firm handles situations where they need to have associates in say France or Dubai, read through documents in their native language.

Rj explained to me that his firm uses a translation service in London that provides interpreting and translation to corporations worldwide. The translation service also has offices in Paris, Shanghai, Luxembourg and New York. Translations can be done for every world language, as well as many rare languages. The service can also certify, notarise or legalise a document so it can be used for legal purposes.

Think about it: people go to university to study languages all the time. We wonder what would a person do with such an education? Well, a translation service is the answer. I know a girl from Russia, Katya, who speaks five languages. She is has actually studied and become fluent in all five languages. That's so amazing to me. Right now Katya is pursuing a degree in business. After talking to RJ, I asked her if she has ever considered working for a translation service. She has has worked for a translation service in the past. She wants another degree so she can be even more attractive to a bigger international company.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Seaon 2 Finale - The Walking Dead..

Has Rick lost his grip?

I don't read the comics and I have no idea how long its been since the Zombie Apocalypse. I'm guessing  about 5 or 6 months has passed. If I go by Laurie's pregnancy, maybe only 4 months. At any rate,would a prison or a theme park still be able to generate it's own power that long after the infrastructure failed? So what was that shining complex off in the distance? Does it have anything to do with the helicopter flying over Atlanta? We've seen schools and hospitals over run with walkers. A theme park may generate power independently. But, and this is a big but, would a them park be able to be fortified as Rick suggested? I think not. So that leaves a prison. Again, with the question of how much time has passed, would a prison complex be able to generate that much power and would it really be lit up like a Christmas Tree?

I noticed that the group as a whole began to question Rick's leadership. I think it may have been a mistake for him to declare that what they have is no longer a democracy. I don't see any of the others stepping up to the plate and taking the reins. Seeing that Herschel was willing to stay behind and take his chances on the highway, letting Rick and Carl go away on their own, leads me to believe he has no hope for his own future. Glenn has not shown much in the way of leadership qualities and neither has T-Dog. Who does that leave? Darryl. The things I noticed about Darryl is that he has stayed consistent in his views right along. He says he doesn't want anyone to rely on him, but he doesn't leave the group, allowing them to rely on him. Although distant, Darryl repeatedly steps up to the plate to do the nasty jobs no one else volunteers for. He is also the only one who has kept a cool head and a keen eye right through the whole mess. I suspect the group will try to lean on Darryl more, looking to him for guidance. I also suspect he will stand up for and with Rick in the next steps they all take. Darryl seems like a good sous chef. Not the head of the kitchen, but right there behind the Exec, backing him and everyone else up. I like Darryl. He seems to have a good heart and strong convictions. I also noticed he is the first one to jump in wherever he is needed and get done whatever needs doing. The group needs Darryl and he needs them as much as he denies it.

I don't believe Rick has lost his grip. I think he has only lost his emotional sensibilities. He is beginning to act like a real leader, who makes decisions the collective doesn't agree with and is willing to make sacrifices for the good of the group as a whole. Yes, he is getting mean, but I don't think this is a sign of weakness. He's made some decisions, like not telling everyone what he learned at the CDC, that don't seem to jibe with the democracy idea. But Rick is growing a thick skin. He's growing some cajones, and he means to get through the mess and bring his people along with him. He has taken ownership of these people, more responsible for them than ever before.

One last thing. What or who was that hooded creature in the forest that saved Andrea. He/it looked like something from Game of Thrones! Any way, that hooded creature had two walkers with their arms cut off on chains like dogs . That would certainly make them less dangerous, but what would be the benefit of keeping walkers like that?  No face or eyes were shown on the hooded creature, leading me to believe this was not a supernatural creature, but human. My guess is Merle. Remember Merle? Chaining up armless walkers like dogs seems like something he would be able to pull off. But I could be wrong.

What do you think?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Trade Show Exhibits - Beauty and Function Go Hand in Hand...

Colleen and I spent this afternoon getting things together for two trade show exhibits. There's a lot to pack and she has a list a of things she needs to have available during the show. Aside from Colleen's personal items,we had to pack the literature, business cards and promotional items as well. We also had to get together the exhibits themselves. The exhibits have a small footprint and will be easy to transport.

The exhibit at the show is pretty impressive. There is a fabulous table top display with beautiful graphics that catch the eye and draw attention into the booth. I was impressed by the size of the display and it's portability. We set everything up in the garage just to make sure we had everything we needed. It packs and unpacks nicely and is easy for one person to set up alone.

We both loved the table covers imprinted with the company logo. They really jazz up the whole exhibit much nicer than just a plain table cloth. There were two different kinds. I liked the contoured covers and Colleen preferred the printed throws. Either one will do nicely, and Colleen can store the travel containers under the table during the show.

Neither of us realized there were a couple of super nice directors chairs included with the exhibit. The show is open for 12 hours, so a comfortable chair will be a welcome addition. These chairs also fold very nicely into a bag for travel.

After setting up the entire exhibits and then packing it up again, I wish I was able to go along and see the whole thing in action.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

HBO's 'LUCK' Cancelled...

Sad news for me today, HBO has cancelled LUCK after three horses met theirs deaths working on the show. I read some comments to a news article and naturally there are a lot of opposing views. I can't really get behind any of the attitudes expressed in that particular set of comments, but with the limited information I have at this moment, I can get behind the cancellation.

I did like LUCK. Very much so, actually. But I admit it wasn't for everyone. It had a slow start in ratings, and didn't gain many more viewers as the series progressed. There could have been many reasons for the lack of interest.

Horse racing is a very specialised sport. It does not appeal to the masses and the general public probably isn't aware of the real drama behind the scenes at a race track. LUCK did a good job showing us the different aspects of track life. So much goes into getting a horse to run on a track that we don't see. Many different professional people and a boatload of money go into making it all happen. Luck gave us a nice snapshot into the day to day life at one track in Southern California. The owner, the trainer, the groom, the veterinarian, the riders, the spectators and the bettors are but a few of the human factors that make horse racing. While the average person sees a horse, a rider and a racetrack, the bulk of the work of horse racing is done elsewhere. That's what HBO tried to show us. That and a nice little story to pull it all together. However, all of this may have been just too much for the average television viewer looking to be titillated and not expecting to have to think too much.

While watching LUCK, I had many, many questions. Those questions were what interested me in the show in the first place. Even still, I didn't look only to the show to answer my questions. I searched out the answers elsewhere. When I watched the next episode, the answers I found brought me to a new understanding of what everyone who worked on LUCK tried to show me. I admire those people for their work and I thank them for helping me learn things that aren't in my day to day view.

Producing  as show like LUCK is most definitely a costly endeavor. Low ratings would put the damper on any show with such a high production value. And that is the bottom line, isn't it? Anything costly, without a good return on investment is doomed, whether it be horse racing or a television show. When you add problems with production, big or small, those problems reduce the return on investment even further. Add some bad press and some activists and you end up with the axe. It's plain and simple.

I'll miss LUCK, but I would rather see it end before I'm ready, than go on for longer than it should.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sensational Haiku Wednesday!

Join the fun!

Take a leisurely stroll over to see Jenn at "You know...that Blog?" and try on some really spectacular Haiku.

Warmth, brightness, fresh air,
I feel the change come slowly.
Leaves unfurl, buds peek.

I know today's prompt is EXCITEMENT. 
But I'm just so excited about Spring, I wanted to use last weeks prompt!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Check Out Daily Freebies!

My neighbor Sylvia is a die hard lottery player. She buys scratch tickets and plays the big games. Sylvia also enters a bunch of sweepstakes. It amazes me not only that she plays so many games, but that she wins. I questioned her about this today. I asked if she had a particular strategy and she said she did, but would never reveal it. I can understand that. If I had a winning strategy I would never tell either. One thing Sylvia did share however is the place she finds all the different sweepstakes she enters.

 Sylvia revealed this exciting tidbit: helps you find online and offline sweepstakes, contests, competitions, daily freebies and winning lottery numbers. I took a look and found exactly what Sylvia described. I'm pretty psyched about being able to go to one place to find all of the big game, jackpot information and daily numbers in one spot. And you can get this information for any state! iWinners Advantage also lists historical winning numbers too. I suspect Sylvia's strategy has something to do with the previous winning numbers. But like I said, she would not let me in on her secret. Sylvia said you can also find free giveaways at iWinners, things like hand lotion, cologne, pretty calenders, magazines and coupon booklets.

I did ask Sylvia one question. Just how much cash does she spend each day or week on all her lottery games and scratch offs. What she told me was excellent advice. Sylvia said that she never played until her 40th birthday when someone gave her a draw for the daily number. That number was her birth day and year. It hit for a few bucks. Since then, Sylvia has never used anything but her winnings to continue to play. Each time she wins, she saves 25%, she puts aside 10% to keep playing if she loses and she plays with the rest. In the 20 some odd years since her 40th birthday, Sylvia has won and saved enough to take a nice vacation every couple of years. She swears by iWinners Advantage. I think I might give it a try.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Did Shane turn into a ZOMBIE?

Ok. I watched the whole episode of The Walikng Dead Last night in rapt attention. I just have one question.

Did Shane turn into a zombie?

If so, How? I don't remember him ever being scratched or bitten. I did see him get a little more crazy looking before he snapped Randal's neck. However, I don't know if this was just his psychotic behaviour manifesting as he was about to commit his latest dastardly deed.

If Shane did become a zombie, it happened very quickly, did it not? When Rick was crying over him after killing him in the field, there were some flashes of zombie like faces. Ricks' face? Shane's face? What the heck was that all about?

If you have an explanation, please leave a comment here on this blog. I am so confused! I'm also very sad at the loss of Dale. He was my favorite. But Darryl is quickly replacing him.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Guest post of the week by Brittany Booker

We visited and upgraded our internet speed. Now, I have been able to watch Netflix and stream it through my Blu-Ray player in the bedroom. I had no idea that I was going to enjoy it as much as I do. It is so much fun. They have tons of movies! Some of them I hadn’t ever even heard of but really enjoy. I love eighties movies- no matter how cheesey they are. One movie that I watched the other day that I never even heard of was the “Heathers”. It had Winonna Rider ( pre-jail days) and one actor that I am picturing and know his name, but can’t remember ( tip of the tongue thing!). Anyway, I was actually really surprised at how much I liked the movie. It was like “Mean Girls”, but Winonna started to murder other people with her boy toy. She didn’t want to, she was dragged into it, but then they become like Bonnie and Clyde. Then, she realizes how awful this guy is and he turns on her. I liked how Netflix suggested that I watch other movies like it!

Dastardly Deeds...

Dennis was a tall man with a very dark look about him. He had dark eyes that were almost black, and a thick black beard that covered most of his face. He hid most of his hair underneath a dirty looking tweed flat cap.  Dennis was a skillful assassin.

His cover was lowly pizza joint worker. In the joint he scrubbed pots, cleaned floors and maintained the equipment. From time to time he helped weigh out the dough and run it through the sheeter. He also stocked the beverage coolers and took in the deliveries. 

Dennis was a quiet man and kept to himself. He was polite to his employers and the other workers, he was patient and never raised his voice. The girls in the shop didn't like to be left alone with him, the guys kept their distance. No one ever said an unkind word to or about him. He liked it that way.

Dennis didn't use telephones. When it was necessary to contact him concerning wet work, the potential client would leave an ad in the lonely hearts column of the newspaper. The same ad was always used: 
Slurpee Heaven
 Me: 70+ geriatric quadriplegic with toe fetish. 
You: hairy carny midget with hobbit feet. 
WOLD 8250
Upon seeing this, Dennis would respond to the ad with a meeting place and time. Most often it was the dumspter behind the pizza joint in broad daylight. The meetings were short, with the client giving the details and Dennis naming his price. If both parties were in agreement, Dennis laid down the terms, pay me one week after the job is done or I do the same to you. Simple, quick, to the point.

One Thursday, Dennis had a meeting set for 11:45am. He shuffled out to the dumpster, lit up a Tiparillo and waited. From around the corner came a kid, a little nine or ten year old kid. Dennis listened to the kid's proposition. He had $47 and wanted Dennis to waste his math teacher and the lunch lady. Dennis said he didn't do two for one deals. The kid said just the math teacher would be fine, they'd talk about the lunch lady when he got his birthday money. Curious for the first time in his assassin career, Dennis asked why.

The kid, shame faced, explained the teacher had been giving him poor grades because he couldn't do long division and he had a hard time with the word problems. Dennis agreed the kid had a problem. Intrigued, Dennis asked about the lunch lady. The reason was simple. The kid felt she was a shitty cook. 

Dennis made the kid an offer. He told the kid to go to the math teacher, explain his difficulty with long division and word problems and ask for help. After one week, the kid was to come back to Dennis and tell him what happened. After agreeing to these terms, the kid had one more question. What was he supposed to do about the lunch lady?

Dennis said the answer was easy, bring your lunch.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Zenni Optical - Buy 2 - Get One Free!

If you are at all like me, you need your glasses to do anything. Very often I leave my glasses at work, on the counter at the post office, at the market or just about anywhere they can't do me any good. I must have a good pair of  affordable eyeglasses because I lose mine all the time. I talked to Manda and she turned me on to this:

Zenni Optical

Buy two and get one free! I'm in! I feel so much better when I have an extra pair of glasses around. It's no secret that I need them too!

Zenni Optical  is the go-to-guy when it comes to eye wear. From the Zenni website, I can choose the type of glasses I want very easily, enjoy fabulous pricing and browse through a wide variety of styles. Even if you need prescription lenses, Zenni Optical has what you're looking for. Single vision or bi-focal, man, woman or child, full rim, half rim or rimless, Zenni has it all right there on their website. I love shopping for glasses this way because its so easy and there is no pressure. There are no pushy sales people, but you can chat live with a Zenni Optical associate with any question you may have.

One last thing, I was a little suspicious of the $6.95 prescription eyeglasses claim. So the first thing I did was find a bunch of glasses priced at $6.95, that I liked, then entered my prescription information. I was psyched that I could have the glasses I wanted for the low price and I didn't have to settle for something I wasn't terribly crazy about. That is the beauty of Zenni Optical. The frame type, styles and colors you want, at the price you want!

A-Z Blog Challenge...

I heard about this seemingly easy blog challenge over at Julianna's place, Surviving Boys.Here is the scoop: you post everyday the entire month of  March, skipping only Sundays. The first day, your post is inspired by the letter A and so on, until you get to the end of the month with Z.

Well as you can see, I've missed A, B and C. I think I will jam those three letters together and say they represent the ABACUS. And with said abacus, I will begin to count the days until I set off on an adventure to Florida with my family. It will be a very short adventure, at the end of April, and we are going to jam more Disney and central Florida into three days than we ever have before. No small children will accompany us and no boys will either. It will be one Grandma, two sisters and two granddaughters (who also happen to be sisters).

I think the parks may be busy and I don't give a rat's a$$. I'm just happy to be able to go.