Friday, September 30, 2011

A Whole New Look

For years my brother and youngest son have been commenting that they can't believe I still have a 19 inch television.  My house isn't all that big, and it fit in well, and I could see it, so it was fine for me.

Recently a friend was moving from her big house in the country to a much smaller place in the city.  She had a TV to get rid of, and she offered it to me.  My old TV was starting to get lines at the top of the screen, but I would have lived with it for a while yet, as this isn't the best time of year for me to be spending money on a new replacement. I asked her what she wanted for her used one, and she told me she just wanted to get rid of it. It wouldn't cost me anything, but I would have to come pick it up on a specific date. 

I saw it and it looked good, and worked fine, so I lined up my hubby and son to help get it home.  It's a 27 inch conventional style television and weighs much too much for me to have been of any help at all. 

This is where the problem came in. I didn't have a stand to put it on.  It was too big for the stand I had been using for my 19 inch one.  I decided to try FreeCycle, and put out a request.

I quickly got two responses.  The first one sounded promising, but when we went to fetch it, it turned out to be smaller than the one we had previously been using.  We stopped by the son's place and found out he still had the old stand he got from us years ago.  But when we got it home, it was too small too.  We had an old desk in the garage, so we dragged it in, and set the TV on that. It just barely fit.  The little legs under the TV were half on and half off at the edges of the desk,  and I worried that this big front heavy TV might be easy to tip over if our little grandchildren came to visit. 

The desk was 30 inches high, and we found ourselves looking up.  Having this larger TV was like having an elephant in the room, especially with it up in the air like that.  The second offer I had from FreeCycle was for a cabinet but it stood 33 inches tall.  It was obvious that wouldn't do either. I started looking at stands in the stores.  They are now made mostly just to support the newer flat screen televisions.  And even then, it would cost more for one of them than it would cost me for a new TV of the size I was used to.

I likely would have decided to upsize my TV the next time we bought one, but I'm sure glad I found out about all this now, as it would have instantly cost us a lot more than expected, given that we would have needed a new stand too.  It's one of those things I never thought about before.

Luckily, one of the ladies at my paint class is also planning to sell her house, and she had just the thing at her place that she was more than happy to part with.  So now the 27 inch television has a new home, and I think it looks fine sitting in my TV corner.  There is no place to put the VCR or DVD player at the moment, but we don't use them often anyway, so that's not really a problem. 

Will I buy a new large TV someday?  That's a question I still don't have an answer to. But you can be sure it will have a flat screen so we can put it on a proper stand.  At least now I know I'll have to work that into the budget when the time times.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fair Trade Squirrel

I was given a pot of tulips for my birthday last spring. I've been meaning to plant those bulbs this fall, so I'd have flowers in the garden next spring (assuming the deer don't know enough to come looking for them).  The pot was sitting out in my flower garden.  It had been there all summer as I had let the tulip leaves sit in the sun gathering strength for next year. 

Well, it's now officially fall, and the squirrels are busy gathering food to get them through the winter.  Suddenly some smart squirrel thought to check the pot for bulbs.  He found one and took it away to hide, then came back, tipped the pot on it's side, and made sure he got every bulb that was in there. 

He was so grateful, he brought me a gift.  A beechnut was tucked neatly into the corner by my doorway.  I'm not sure that was a fair exchange but I don't remember a squirrel ever trying to pay for what he took before.  Maybe this one is part pack rat.

Now, I notice that he's decided to check out the rest of my flowerpots too.

And to think I used to only have to worry about the deer!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Luring the Public

This week Walmart is advertising a Black & Decker Bread Maker for $38.  This model is regularly $79.96 and I suggested my hubby go get this thing and put it away for me for Christmas. It's not something I would buy for myself, but I did think it would make a great gift....for both of us actually. 

Well, we were out shopping yesterday and there was a Walmart nearby, so we went over there to look for this gadget. We found the housewares area and walked up and down those isles numerous times. There wasn't much sign of any organization there, and the darn thing could have been anywhere within a couple of isles. We could not find it, but my hubby eventually located a store employee.  This was amazing to me as I couldn't see any sign of one. In fact, the man he found didn't look like a store employee to me, and I later asked how he knew he was one.  It seems he had some sort of key or something hanging around his neck, and was spotted gathering up empty shopping carts.  Hmmmmmm.......

Anyway, this fellow consulted the flyer, and then looked around too.  He ended up saying there was a big truck unloading at the back door, and perhaps this item was still on the truck.  He also said he couldn't be sure of that until after the truck was unloaded. But he did assure me that they would have some.

That shopping trip, by the way was 12 miles to the west of me.  Today, we went 12 miles to the east, where there happens to be another Walmart.  We went in to see if we could find the bread maker there.  Well, the isles were definitely better organized, but once again we discovered we could not locate the item in question.  A store employee was more easily located here also, but she just said they didn't have any. 

So, why is Walmart advertising a product they are obviously not carrying?  I think it's just a trick to get me through the door.  I don't usually shop at Walmart, and I've once again been reminded why.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Summer is Over

How was your summer?

Mine felt really short. It got off to a late start, with lots of rain.  Then the bugs came and after that it got too hot to do what we like to do most....Geocache. 

You know fall is upon us when people start to clean up their gardens. I've only recently started on mine.  It's way overgrown from the past few years of ..... laziness, I guess. 

Actually, I suffer from something they call Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I used to be very active, and my garden was beautiful. Every year it got a little bigger. I would divide some perennials and always have some left over after finding homes for as many as possible.  I'd dig up another piece of land and plant them there. Then my life changed, and after no more than 30 minutes just deadheading the plants, it's like someone pulls the plug on my energy supply.  The garden has now gotten way ahead of me and I don't like how it's been looking the past couple of years. 

My energy levels have not been bad lately (knock on wood) and the weather has been nice, without being overly hot, so I decided to just go dig and see if I can improve at least some corner of this tangle of plants.

I started at the far end of the strip out back. There is a peony there, and I won't touch that, but almost everything else is being uprooted.  Some of it I don't even remember what was growing there.  I saved wee bits of that, and discarded the rest. I moved  one patch of columbine over to be with the rest, and moved one small bunch of iris over next to the peonies, as I know they bloom about the same time.  The bigger patch of iris got dug out yesterday.  I just put them in a bag, and can plant them anywhere, any time or give them away. I do have lots more of that particular colour.  Right now, I suddenly have a bare spot large enough to transplant part of the old fashioned rose that's living at the corner of my vegetable garden.  I'll let the man handle the digging and moving of that.  It's prickly and he's tough.
Did I say vegetable garden?  Ha. It hasn't been that for several years now.  The deer always got more of whatever I planted than I did, so I gave up.  The birds kindly planted some blackberries, and I've let those grow. I usually get enough berries to make a few nice desserts and still put some in the freezer for winter months.  That's a much better harvest than anything I ever tried to grow in the way of actual vegetables. 

I do put a net over the blackberries,  to protect them from the birds.  Mind you, the birds still sit on the upper vines and push the net down so they get a good share.  All the berries I get, I notice, come from underneath, where I have to carefully reach my hands through the thorns to get them.  The easy ones on top are all gone. The robins this year didn't even seem to mind sharing with me while they were there.  They just stayed there, looking at me while I picked my share a few times.  I wish I'd had the camera with me for that.

While I usually really enjoy the fall colours, this year I find I'm sad to see the leaves changing. I guess I just don't feel like I've had enough summer yet.  The weatherman did promise us an unusually long and warm autumn.  One can only hope.....

I'm ready for Indian Summer. Bring it on!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

In Full Test Mode

Last week I was testing Chatelaine recipes, and  this week I'm testing Trend Micro Titanium Maximum Security.  I'm not only an official recipe tester for Chatelaine magazine, but also a Bzz Agent.  The best advertising is always word of mouth so I have been supplied with this new security product so that I can try it for myself, and let the rest of you know what I think.  I don't have to convince anyone to like a product. I just give my honest impressions. 

The first thing I notice is that the links are now all highlighted on every page I go to.  Green means it's been checked and is safe.  Grey means it's questionable, though that might just mean Trend Micro hasn't actually checked that link yet.  I did see one Orange link so far, which seemed to be a caution.  I imagine a truly dangerous link would be Red, but I don't know for sure as I have not come across any of those yet (and hope I don't).
I find this rating system especially helpful when in Google, Facebook, Twitter, newsletters or any other place where there are numerous links to to the unknown.
I installed the program earlier this week, after uninstalling my Spybot, ZoneAlarm and Avast programs. When I tried to get rid of Spybot, I saw this.
Hmmmm......Blog spot is making some changes and I'm currently unable to enlarge that to the point where you could read it.  Here's what it says:
"We were  not able to reproduce the alleged incompatibility, and Trend Micro was not able to produce an explanation either.  We therefore have to assume it's request to uninstall Spybot-S&D is just unfair competition.
The Anti-Spyware Coalition defines software that uninstalls other security software as possible malware. Do you really want to trust software that reduces your system's security to improve their shareholder value?

You can reinstall Spybot-S&D after installing Trend Micro should you tolerate their patronizing and want to continue uninstalling Spybot-S&D."

I'd like to point out that Trend Micro did NOT attempt to uninstall anything. I uninstalled all previous protection myself before installing the new product.  It is my experience that these things do not always work in tandem and I wanted to give it a fair chance.  Mind you, I don't know if it would have tried to remove it if I hadn't done it first.

I don't know if I'll reinstall Spybot yet or not.  We'll see....

This morning I had a notice that there was a monthly report ready.  Well, since I haven't had this thing for a full month, I reduced it down to the past week (even though I haven't had it that long either).  It showed I had a Web Threat at some point.

I investigated that further, and found that this report shows me the URL the treat originated from, and that it was blocked.  I don't recognize it, though I do remember an unexpected pop up at some point.

Trend Micro Titanium Maximum Security also has a lot of other functions too, including Parental Control.  That might come in handy when my grandsons visit. 

So far, I'm liking it.
I'm going to do a full scan later today.  I wonder what that will find.