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July 2007 Archives

July 1, 2007

Online coupons

I never used to bother with clipping coupons but I do use them a lot on the internet. Now that C. has a car, we'll probably be checking the coupons for JC Whitney coupons to buy auto parts. The Home Depot coupons have 20% off ceiling fans. I'm thinking about putting a ceiling fan in the living room. I just don't know how big of a pain it is to put an overhead light in where there isn't one at all.

July 2, 2007

New vacuum

Bought a new vacuum the other day and love it enough to highly recommend it. It's a Eureka Capture. We have a Kirby and a TriStar and neither of them ever feel like they are getting all the dog hair. Christopher vacuumed for me Friday and on Saturday we tried the new one. It filled the cup twice. I did it again today and it filled the cup again. Dog hair and fine dust about the consistency of powdered sugar. It's gross to think that has been buried down in the old carpets for so long. Yuck.

July 4, 2007

Holidays suck

This one in particular since it's my favorite and it's just me here. bleh.

July 5, 2007

Air Ambulance Service

I've never been around a medical airplane but I did spend some time around the Air Life helicopter when I was in EMT school at Mercy. They can fit an amazing amount of life saving equipment and other medical equipment in a helicopter for a quick patient transport to a trauma center.

I've also never flown in a plane but if I had a severe illness, I'd probably want treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and an air ambulance service would be way better than a trip in a bumpy old wheeled ambulance. It would be much quicker and probably a lot more comfortable. I didn't know until I read that site that they even have air ambulance service in Iowa. I'd have never guessed that.

July 8, 2007


I got up early this morning to water my flowers, weed the garden and water the neighbors flowers. By 7:30, it was almost 80 degrees already. I'm not ready for the hot part of summer yet. Wasn't it just yesterday that I planted my flowers? Where did Spring go?

The 4th of July seemed like just another day to me and now it's almost county fair time. I need to get control of my life so I can enjoy some of this time that's flying right on by.

If I die, it's from the chicken

Todd made chicken shishkabob things on the grill for lunch today. The chicken tasted really funky so I put mine in the trash after one or two bites. Turns out he has had these things in the fridge since July 4th. The fridge shelf life of raw chicken is 1-2 days. Not four. Pass the Immodium.

Funny comment from my post about Christopher learning to drive:

You sound like a very smart woman. I found out several years after I had been driving why my sisters were laughing when my dad taught me to parallel park. He put two bales of hay on the street to represent two cars. He had me park between them. Everytime I went around the block to come back and park again, he had had them move the two bales a little closer together. They laughed harder everytime I parked. I was getting frustrated because it was getting harder instead of easier to park. Finally, dad told me he thought I understood the concept. When I took my driving test, I misunderstood where the examiner wanted me to park and I parked in the tightest spot on the block. He got out, scratched his head and told me that was the best job of parallel parking he had ever seen, especially for a 16 year old. Now, I can parallel park an ambulance, but I try not to do that in very small spaces. (Diana)

In that same thread, Faith asks about tractors. I would wager that most Iowa kids do not ever learn how to drive a tractor. It's a farm kid thing and there isn't a permit to drive them. You just get shown and off you go.

4th of July recap

Todd had to work on the 4th so I didn't go to the parade. C. was with his dad and Ben and Em were with their mom. That night when C. got home, we walked out to the rodeo and immediately ran into a friend who was very drunk and pretty much spent the rest of the night near him so that he didn't get his ass kicked. Sometimes it's fun to watch the drunks and save them.

One of C's friends asked if he could go hang out with him and I said no, he was fine where he was, etc. Friend argued that I never let C. go do anything with his friends. This is true as I would rather know where he was. I was thinking realistically, he's 14 now and I should loosen up the strings a bit. I got the kid's cellphone number so I could reach them and laid down the law that when I called, he'd better be with this kid and when I said we were leaving, it wasn't open for discussion. He and his friend agreed and off they went.

I told Todd to get a beer for himself and wine cooler for me. This is rare as we almost always have kids and don't drink around them. I discovered I still have no interest in alcohol and dumped mine after drinking about half of it. Todd had three beers while we stood talking to drunk friend and then some other friends. The funny thing here is that one of C's classmates is telling people we were trashed at the rodeo. He gathered this info from walking by us and seeing a drink in our hands. Little douche. Anyway...

We intended to be home before fireworks so the dogs wouldn't freak. Our backyard butts up against the rodeo grounds so we usually just watch the show from the patio. We were so busy talking that we didn't notice the rodeo part was over and the lights shut off for fireworks. We watched them and then I called the cellphone number and was told C. was not with this kid anymore but with another friend. I had a missed call but didn't pay attention to that since my focus was on where the heck my kid was at. I called the other friend and he said no, he was not with him. I flipped. First time out without my supervision and he already blew it???

Turns out no, he did not. Friend #1 ditched him for a drunk girl so he found friend #2 who ditched him to drink. He walked around looking for us but we were buried in the back corner behind the lines to the beer tents. He found one of "my kids" and used his cellphone to call me but I didn't hear it over the crowd noise. He then walked home, thinking we'd be home for fireworks but we didnt come home.

We met him on our way out where he was waiting for us at the gate. I was fuming, just sure he'd been doing something wrong. He was fuming because his friends are idiots and his mother is too for not answering her phone. In the end I assured him that I was very proud of him for making good decisions and very sorry that I made bad assumptions about him. Apparently he's been under Todd's influence enough to cancel his genetic makeup. If it were his dad or I at 14 and our friends were drinking, we'd have been all over it. So far, the kid is still concentrating on a career as a state trooper and thinks drinking is stupid. Dear Lord, please let that hold.

July 11, 2007

Vote for Lis!

This beautiful girl that I know is in the final five for a "Dream Date" sponsored by the Des Moines Juice - a trendy spinoff of the main paper. I've already asked my friends to vote for her and now I'm asking strangers. Friends who have already voted, you may please do so again and again every 24 hours until the contest ends.

Go here: http://dmjuice.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070704/JUICE08/307020005/1115/juice and look at them all. Some are very cute and one has a pug which will catch Faith's eye BUT I'm lobbying for you to choose Elisabeth because she is gorgeous and funny and sweet and most deserving. Thanks!

July 13, 2007


Thanks to everyone who voted! Lis won!! Yay! Let's just hope the dream date guy isn't a dud. HA!

July 15, 2007

Sharing Files

Since I work remotely from Iowa to Boston, I transfer a lot of files to myself each week. The web service I used to use disappeared so I started using gmail. I don't know how, but sometimes files are altered a bit after they've been a gmail attachment. Nothing fatal for general file sending but In my work, if one line of code picks up an extra linespace, things break.

Now there's a new face in file sharing that will allow me to upload a file and gmail myself the link to pick it up on the other end.

The best thing for me is that I can park files up to 500MB in size. We often handle large zip files. I put a 4mb file up to test and the upload speed was faster than I had anticipated. Another thing I appreciate is that no registration is required to use the service.

The old service I used only kept the file on their servers until I picked it up. Driveway let's you literally "park" your file on their servers where it remains for 90 days after the file was last accessed. You can also share the link with others which will come in handy for parking a file that we all need to look at without cluttering up our servers.

Government waste

Reading this story this morning about how millions of dollars of tax money is "melting away" as the surplus ice FEMA ordered for Katrina victims is being melted. In the article, someone is quoted as asking if it's unsafe for humans, why can't they use it for fish. I wonder why can't they use it to fight the wildfires and drought around our nation.

Stories like this enrage me. As a private citizen, I'm held accountable from every direction if I mismanage my money but the government can mismanage it all they want.

July 18, 2007

What a week

The kids' maternal grandfather passed away this week so I've been trying to spend extra time with Ben as this is his first real memorable loss. He was too young to remember when Todd's mother passed on. Everyone tells him it's okay to cry and the cool thing about Ben is that he will do just that. No tough guy acts with him.

Also this week another loss has pulled me backwards 15+ years to the family I used to call mine. Things seem rosier after that much time has passed but as I move through the memories of the past and actually see the people from that time, I am reassured that I did the right thing. I would have done it differently but I still would have cut ties and moved along. It's amazing how anger and pain can lie dormant for so many years but just a glimpse of a face can bring it all rushing back.

Saturday is Farmer's Market in downtown Des Moines and I hope to go to that and recharge after this incredibly draining week.

July 19, 2007


Last night Eva and I attended a small group discussion with two of Obama's campaign people. They were basically collecting concerns to pass back up the chain. All in all it was a good conversation and hopefully got Eva thinking a bit about how young people need to part of the change.

I had a hard time finding anyone who understands why I am excited about Obama. I called one friend with the complete intent of getting him wound up because he's just plain funny and witty in his arguments and mud slinging. However a couple of others surprised me with their reaction. One asked why I was spending time learning about a towel head. That's just sad. Political discussion brings out the ignorance in people who rabidly protect their party even if they sound like retards.

July 21, 2007

My aching back!

Yesterday I worked on setting up some wireless networking in a facility with less than ideal conditions for such a thing. This involved going up and down a step ladder multiple times to adjust repeaters. After an adjustment near the ceiling, I’d race down the hallway and climb under a desk and reach back through to adjust the antenna on a workstation, then back the halls to check signal strengths at all points. By the time I got all of this finished, I had a terrible backache. It was so bad that I told Todd maybe I was having a heart attack and would wake up dead in the morning.

At bedtime I remembered the free samples of Freeze It I had and asked Todd to rub some on my back. I was sitting cross legged, bent over with my head in my lap, holding my shirt up out of the way and heard him say “Oh. Hmmm. Weird.” Freaked me out because I assumed something was terribly wrong with my back but turned out he was expecting a clear gel to come out of the packet and it was green instead. The smell was the menthol scent I expected and I started to complain that I thought it said it was odorless. He read the package again and clarified that it had a quickly disappearing scent. By the time we finished the odor conversation, any remaining menthol smell was already gone.


When he put it on my back it was pretty cold (hence the name Freeze It) but then the sensation changed to a deep penetrating tingling. Not being accustomed to that, I almost went and washed it off but then I realized my back was feeling better. Within a few minutes, I fell asleep and the backache didn’t return until late this afternoon after I’d sat on a church pew for over an hour. I’ll be using it again tonight for sure.

Boys and Toys


I guess this is male bonding. Someone needs to take a pic of Emily and I browsing the Aeropostale website to see what's on clearance in her size. That's way more fun than changing the oil.

July 22, 2007

Man Stuff

Some day our garage will be finished and not just a big shed sitting on thousands of dollars of concrete. When that happens, I want to install metal pegboard for the heavy stuff like our new Toro electric snowblower that we've never got to use yet. It's amazing how much more space you acquire when you hang things up out of the way.

These brushed aluminum ones are nice enough for the kitchen and would be handy for hanging up my utinsels. They currently reside in one big drawer and it's like a hunting game every time I need a spatula.

Speaking of spatulas, Todd fried up the best batch of fish last night and his lovely dog, Lucy, did some counter surfing and ate most of it. I had to laugh since Dozer ate a pound of bacon about five years ago and still hears about it. Dozer was tied out and missed the fish fest. I doubt he'd have participated anyway since he still is a bacon man.

I needed a laugh

This past week has been pretty emotionally draining for me so I'm kicking off this week with funny junk from Funnylah.com. Surprisingly, I've never heard this joke before. It's hard to find a church joke that isn't completely offensive or downright stupid. That one is cute. So is this funny video.

If you need a laugh, visit Funnylah.com and check out the categories or browse the most popular.

Continue reading "I needed a laugh" »

Counting blessings

Tonight I was feeling pretty bummed out as is usually the case on Sunday evenings. The weekends just go too fast. Anyway, Christopher came in and said I was being serenaded with a guitar and I needed to go out. My favorite neighbor kid from down the block and Erin of the Triple E's* were outside my office window singing to me. They changed the words to Hey There Delilah to be "Hey there Lisa what's it like inside that office and even though we can't see you we just know you look so pretty, yes you do" I am so lucky to have such great kids of my own and then so many others who treat this as a second home from time to time.

*The Triple E's are Emily, Eva and Erin. Three finer girls you'll never find. I love them so much. Tonight I am very, very thankful for them all. I need to remember to put in for a week vacation before school starts so I can spend time with them before they go back to school and off to college.

July 23, 2007

Environmental concerns

I'm reading about BP and the controversy (link requires registration) brewing over how much they pollute Lake Michigan. Their Whiting refinery in Indiana is going to start refining Canadian crude oil which requires more processing and therefore results in more waste product. This is not a good thing of course but the flip side is that if we don't start drawing on resources closer to home, our dependency on foreign goods is going to hurt us. This is particularly true with regards to our dependency on Middle Eastern oil. Whether you believe we are fighting in the Middle East for oil is not is really a moot point. I don't think we should rely so heavily on any other nation, friend or foe. If splitting some of the demand and doing business with our friendly Canadian neighbors results in a little more waste product, then I guess that is a worthwhile tradeoff.

It is a fact that regulators are allowing BP to release 54% more ammonia and 35& more sludge into Lake Michigan each day, still within federal regulations. An important fact in this argument is that it isn't really sludge as the sludge product is heavily treated and then discharged into the lake as 99% water. I know there will be people who dispute that fact but the refinery has been there for 117 years and the water in Lake Michigan is still pretty clean. This is the BP Refinery Fact Sheet that gives facts rather than scary hype. Frankly, I am more concerned about ocean vessels coming in, flushing their ballasts and bringing non-native mollusks who upset the ecosystem. Always something to worry about I suppose but in the case of BP, you have to give a little to get a little.

July 24, 2007


Christopher has decided he wants to participate in school golf in the Spring. My mother, being the supportive grandma she is, paid for golf lessons for him and he wanted me to go, too. Ben wants to learn too so we all decided to do it. Last night was lesson #1 and it was so much fun. All we did was stay on the green and practice putting but it was still a blast. There were 7 of us aiming at a tee stuck in the green and it was so silly that we managed to keep laughing and playing for over an hour. A pro golfer I will never be but it's always fun doing something with the kids.

At one point our teacher said something about "separate your balls" and I guess I giggled outloud. He said "Are you the adult here?" I told him I didn't recall putting that down on paper. I take my laughs wherever I can get them. I know some of you will frown when you read that but you know what, you can get over yourself already. Life is too short to play hardass all the time. You'll see. I'm laughing all the way to my grave, baby!

July 26, 2007

African Vacation

Todd always says he'd like to go to South Dakota and hunt prairie dogs (NO!!!!) or pheasants. I wonder how he'd feel about Namibia hunting safaris where he could bag a cape buffalo or rhino. This is a well designed site offering a lot of information for such a trip. My favorite tip from the FAQ is never loan your new skinning knife to a local skinner unless you want it sharpened on a rock.

They have several packages but I think the Namibia sarari with the shark hunting option would be fun. I was pleasantly surprised that they take the time to recommend a gun caliber and to stress the importance of practicing with the big gun before going on the safari. A lot of places fail to mention that and I know from living with the gun freak that even the best shooters need practice on every gun.

They say the best time to go is anytime February to November. I'd go in the winter if we could afford it and take the dolphin cruise while Todd chased baboons and cheetahs.

July 29, 2007

Fear vs. Hope


Friday night I had the pleasure of actually meeting Barack Obama. Not just shaking his hand in a crowd but actually meeting him for a quick discussion with other Decatur County Democrats. Beforehand he gave a really great speech about where he'd like to see us (as Americans) in the future. Say what you will about the man but he is very intelligent and very well spoken.

I came home very energized and feeling good and immediately ran into the brick wall of naysayers. I don't understand what people don't like about him. When I ask for legitimate concerns I don't hear any valid responses. Some say they just don't like him. Other say he is full of crap. Some say he's scary.

I've talked to his people, read the campaign materials, watched the youtube debates and now have spent time with him in person. Everything he says makes perfect sense. How can you rally against a peaceful end to the Iraqi war? Against environmental protection? Against equal opportunity? Against health care for all? One thing he said really struck a chord with me and that was we may very well be the generation that passes on an America that is a little poorer and a little meaner than it was when we got it. Is that what we want for our children?

Maybe he is not the man to do it but someone has to start repairing my country and I'll do what I can in my small corner of the world. I am open to all reasonable debate from all sides but there are some things I will not sway on:

  1. I love my gay friends and they deserve the same rights afforded to me
  2. The war in Iraq was ill advised and is draining money and lives.
  3. We have been destroying the planet for decades and need to take steps to protect it.
  4. The rich are too rich and the poor are too poor.
There's more of course but those are the big ones.

Another thing I have to get off my chest: why do people feel like they can only listen to one party? To me that is ignorant. I lean Democrat (strongly!!) but that doesn't mean I think all Republicans are too stupid to hear out. It's like football. People tell me I can only pick one team. Why?? Why can't I pick one in each division and increase my odds of a happy ending each week? Same with NASCAR. Only pick one driver? That's crazy! I have a Chevy guy, a few Ford guys and even a Toyota driver I like. I am rarely disappointed on Sunday. So yeah, I'm entertaining Republicans as well. Obama is 95% sealed in my mind. I seriously invite you to try and change my mind through reasonable, polite debate. If you say one thing about his name, I won't hear another word. No cheap shots. Use your head and let's be part of the solution in '08. Comments or email me at obama4me08@gmail.com. I will also try to answer any questions you may have about him or his policy. If I don't know the answer, I can find it out.

About July 2007

This page contains all entries posted to JustLisa in July 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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