August 29, 2007

Going "Out On A Limb" For My Birthday!

Glitter Graphics -
September 3 is the day for me!
No one can GUESS just where I'll be!
Spending my birthday in a tree?
Deep in the woods is a key.

Happy Birthday! Loud and free

Going on a trip - Jim and me.
600 miles and we will see
Good friends, laughter, fun and glee!

Tania, Floyd and Ginger too!
Something old and something new.
Old friends - It seems we have a few!
New days are here and skies are blue!
Happy Birthday Glitter Graphics from

We're going to Illinois - Won't stay in a tree!
We're gonna have some cake and tea.
With all our friends from Tennessee!
Happy, Happy Birthday to me!

Take Care on the Journey,

August 28, 2007

What Would You Do?

Read this when you have a few minutes.
I've spent the better part of the last two days at the car shop getting routine work done, and getting the run-around worse than a shark chasing a dolphin!
Monday I stopped Firestone for an oil change. (161/Sunbury Road) Also, I asked them to check on a rubbing sound coming from the back drivers-side tire, and a rattle sound coming from under the car. And to rotate the tires. I also brought my lunch to eat while I waited.
After 45 minutes, they said I needed an air filter (what's new?). I asked about the rattle and rubbing sound. "Oh yes, we still have to check that out." I also asked them to look in their computer and tell me when the last time they put an air filter on the car. (Jim always says "no".) According to their files, we haven't ever had a new air filter so I said ok to the $35 additional cost on that.
Another half-hour later, he says it will cost $24 to rotate the tires because they are not Firestone tires. (Hey, Floyd, we listened to your advice.) The new price tag is $76 dollars for oil change, filter and tire rotation! I order them to delete the tire rotation, and I call Jim to ask where he got the tires. "Sears".
They finally get started on the oil change and 45-minutes later he says the car is done, but they inform me that the brake pads are 95% gone and we could use rotors too since we need brake pads. That will be $325 for both.
"So, what was the rattle and rub?" I ask.
"Oh, he didn't check that. Let me tell him to do that."
30-minutes later he says the rub is from bad tires and we need new tires and they are having real good sale on tires this weekend.."See the big signs outside?"
By now it's been so long that I'm hungry again! I tell them we'll think about the pads and the tires. I pay $69.40 (for the oil change and air filter) and hurry out before rush-hour traffic stalls my trip home.
Later that night, Jim asks what they found about the rattle.
Today (Tuesday), I take the car to Sears - early - so I don't waste the whole day again. By 11 a.m., I'm telling the man at Sears that we want the tires rotated (free) and that we need brake pads, possibly two new tires and to check the rattle. He says it will be about an hour before they can get started, but (thank-goodness) I'm near Polaris Mall!
Of course, I can't spend much money shopping because it's going to cost at least $400 to fix the car! (The shopping experience is another story I'm going to tell you about later.)
Anyway, an hour later "Dave" calls to tell me the good news and bad news. #1, we don't need brake pads! #2, we don't need tires. #3 the rattle is a broken spray can.
The "spray can" would cost about #120 to repair, but they had to order the part so it might be about an hour before they got the part.
Great! We don't need pads or tires. I can do a little shopping for my birthday!!!!!
SIX (6) hours later, the car is ready. Yep it's 4 p.m. and I'm really going to be in rush hour traffic from start to finish. We didn't need tires or pads, but I still paid them $121.44. (That included $15 to check the brakes which didn't need any work, and they were rotating the tires anyway!)
Driving home (with plenty of time to think) I said to myself, "Hey, something is wrong with this picture! If Firestone said the brake pads were 95% gone yesterday, what happened overnight?"
On a whim, (as I am prone to do), I drove to Firestone and said (in a slightly louder voice than is normal for me). "Is the manager here?" When the response was "No." I said, "Should we go into the office because I have a complaint with Firestone." I had the immediate attention of every 'manager' who 'wasn't on duty', and customers too.
I reminded them that I was in yesterday. ("I was the lady who ate my lunch right over at that table.") They remembered me. I told them what they said, and what Sears said. I added, "I know you don't care that we will never come back here, but you might want to know that we are going to report Firestone for this false report."
While several employees slunk away, one did not. Jason came over started pulling the piles of paperwork from under the counter. He found ours from yesterday and became genuinely concerned. He asked if I would mind if he took a look at the brake pads. "Someone is wrong and I hope no one here would say you needed work that you don't need."
I gave him the car keys and pulled out my cell phone to call Jim to let him know I was going to be late. Later, Jason took me to the work area and helped me stand on a tire as he pointed out the almost nil brake pads and gave me a "Brake Pads for Dummies" lesson. He said the pads are at least 95% gone, and they do need to be replaced. Also, rotors while we're at it.
He apologized for the "miscommunication" about the "rattle complaint" and not finding the broken Sway Bar. (Sounds like "spray bottle", doesn't it?)
I have to say that Jason was very nice about it. But, I told him that "fair was fair" and I needed to go back and talk to Sears before I did anything more.
After supper, I called "Dave" at Sears. "Remember me? You worked on my car for 5 hours today". He said he did remember me but if there were any problems he wasn't "the one who worked on the car...."
I told him about the two different reports, and I asked why they would put my car back on the road in an unsafe condition. That got his attention. I heard papers rattling and then he asked if he could put me on hold. Then I heard a 'click' and, a few seconds later, the dial tone and famous operator saying, "If you'd like to make a call, please hang up..." (Honest! I'm not making this up.)
I called Sears right back and another guy answered. I asked for Dave who took a pretty long time to pick up the phone. He stuttered and made excuses and got to talking louder and louder while I just listened. Finally, he said if I could possibly come in tomorrow afternoon the assistant manager, Don, would be in and he would "make it right if they made a mistake".
So, (if you're still reading this). What would you do? Would you go back to Sears where "they will make it right"? Or, go back to Firestone, where at this moment I have slightly more confidence in Jason. But, very little confidence in either one!
In the meantime, after they told me we didn't need all that work done, I splurged on some birthday presents "from Sheba" of course.

Comments below..

Take Care on the Journey,

Say Something Nice Today!

My friend, Becky, from Michigan, forwarded this story to my e-mail (The picture is from Flicker). My computer doesn't forward things like it should so I'm posting it here for everyone to read and enjoy. And, pass it on!

One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name.

Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down.

It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in their paper.

After class, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual.

The next day, she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. "Really?" she heard whispered. "I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!" and, "I didn't know others liked me so much," were most of the comments.

No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn't matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another. That group of students moved on.

Several years later, one of the students was killed in Viet Nam and his teacher attended the funeral of that special student. She had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. He looked so handsome, so mature.

The church was packed with his friends. One by one those who loved him took a last walk by the coffin. The teacher was the last one to bless the coffin. As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to her.

"Were you Mark's math teacher?" he asked.

She nodded: "yes" Then he said, "Mark talked about you a lot."

After the funeral, most of Mark's former classmates went together to a luncheon. Mark's mother and father were there, obviously waiting to speak with his teacher. "We want to show you something," his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket. "They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it."

Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. The teacher knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good things each of Mark's classmates had said about him.

"Thank you so much for doing that," Mark's mother said. "As you can see, Mark treasured it."

All of Mark's former classmates started to gather around. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, "I still have my list. It's in the top drawer of my desk at home."

Chuck 's wife said, "Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album."

"I have mine too," Marilyn said "It's in my diary." Then Vicki, and other classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group "I carry this with me at all times," Vicki said and without batting an eyelash. She continued, "I think we all saved our lists."

That's when the teacher finally sat down and cried. She cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again. The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will end one day. And we don't know when that day will be.

So please, tell the people you love and care for, that they are special and important. Tell them, before it is too late. Remember, you reap what you sow. What you put into the lives of others comes back into your own.

May Your Day Be As Blessed As You Are Special!
Take Care on the Journey, ~Linda

August 27, 2007

More Hugs Please

Once in a while, since the book, Dusty Angels and Old Diaries" came out, word gets around to someone who knew me many years ago and they make contact. That happened tonight in an e-mail from a young lady who was my child's babysitter at Laurelbrook! It makes my heart sing with joy to hear from someone like that! People may think they are alone in their struggles, but such contact reminds us that we are not alone!

It also reminds me that we are surrounded by people who need our little attentions and who always appreciate cheerful words and to be remembered. There are countless people within our reach who have been through more in their lifetime than we can image, and would dearly love to 'write their story'. We never know who's footsteps we are following - or who will follow ours!

Tonight while I was at work, I got a call on my cell phone from a wonderful Christian women I met at another job. She has a story waiting to be written, and I hope we can work together to help make her dream come true!
Yesterday I heard a car security alarm going off. You know where the horn goes, hone-honk-honk-honk! I ran outside with our remote because Jim had just been out there and he doesn't always 'click the right clicker' when it comes to clickers...
Instead it was a lady I hadn't seen before trying to get into her vehicle - or actually waiting for it to finish a 'cycle' so she could reset it. She felt badly, but we got started talking and discovered we had a LOT in common in that our paths have often been the same.
We sat on the steps and both of us talked non-stop! I almost forgot I was suppose to be getting ready for work.
We decided our angels had set off the car alarm for us to meet. I shared my book with her which she was delighted to get (she collects angels too), and I'm sure we will 'meet on the steps' again soon.

Thank-you, Diane
Thank-you Ginger
Thank-you Ann
Take Care on the Journey,

August 21, 2007

New Post at "The Laughing Place"

A new Chapter is posted at my website, The Laughing Place.

It's also the name of my book-in-progress.

Titled, "The Doctor Who Forgot". If you haven't already clicked, click here

Take Care on the Journey, ~Linda

August 20, 2007

Sunrise Earth

(Photo from Flicker by phillipschip)
My schedule is somewhat crazy! Sometimes I'm up before the sun to clock in early for work. Other days I pull the afternoon shift (my favorite) and can sleep in. Of course, sleeping in doesn't happen much because hubby couldn't find his flash drive or the neighbor has to honk twice for his 6 a.m. pick-up who overslept, or the dogs simply want to go outside to eat grass or bark at the other dogs on a morning run.

One of these days I'm going to learn Spanish so I can open the bedroom window at 6:30 a.m. and yell (in Spanish) at the inconsiderate horn honker down in the parking lot, "No horn honkie! It wakie up 300 people and 200 dogs!" (Sorry, Billy.)

But, back to the title of this posting. I've discovered the the Animal Planet runs a program called Sunrise Earth for a couple hours every morning. It shows realtime sunrises in crystal-clear high definition and surround sounds of nature. No music and few interruptions!

Today I watched brown bears in Alaska catching fish and settle down for a nap - all before the morning sun hit the tops of the trees. Also today, there was an awesome view of a group of people welcoming in the sunrise on a hillside overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. They moved in unison and reached for the sky.

For various reasons, I don't get to watch this too often, but should you find yourself available to enjoy a living room sunrise, check it out.

Take Care on the Journey,

August 13, 2007

Sparrows Tapping At My Window

(Photos from Flicker)
Remember the one-way film I somehow applied to the window at the balcony? We don't have a door to the balcony, just a window that we open and climb over to get out on our little 5x8 and enjoy the fresh air or sit in the sun.

Now we sit in the living room and watch all the birds eat from the three bird feeders I have out there. Sometimes a mama bird will get a baby bird in the feeder and feed the little squawker from the dish of food! That's so funny to watch.

Now they're eating me out of house and home. Hundreds of sparrows have spread the word, and they can eat 5# of bird seed in just a few hours! (They don't want the corn!)

And, when they are done, these tiny creatures of God come to the window and tap-tap-tap.

"Hey, lady. We're empty out here!"

I'm searching for a cheap place to buy bird seed near Columbus, Ohio. Any suggestions?

The caption for this picture at Flicker said, "When you grow up, you can learn to dance like this."
Take Care on the Journey,

August 9, 2007

Hello Columbus, Ohio

The Columbus, Ohio skyline that most people love to see. Jim used to work in the small white building at the foot of the tallest building. His office overlooked the river. They moved the State Library to another building and made this a courthouse!

It's hot and stormy this afternoon. Here are my thoughts in pictures.
I'm filling in a few days nursing at the MRDD workshop for special needs adults. As usual, I love my work there and the interaction with staff. I'm hoping several staff from the workshop will find my website, so I send greetings to Ed, Debbie, Kim and others who may browse by. Please feel free to click 'comments' at the end and add your hi back. (You can sign-in as anonymous if you don't have an account.)

I saw on CNN where it's 104 degrees in "Columbia, South Carolina" today. That's where youngest son and his wife just relocated to. That was a good enough excuse to call and see how they are doing. Yep, it's hot, reported my son, but his school is cool and their apartment is very cool. "It's just those few minutes when you first get into the car, " he said.

At the website of my other daughter-in-law in Portland, Oregon she says it's also 100+ there! They are tolerating the heat ok too - including Mittens the cat! No word of the sister cat, Sylvia, how she handles the heat. But, all of them can run to the basement and sortof cool off.

Our computer had a brief meltdown again. We couldn't get on the Internet. We think it was the result of trying to download Adobe. Our server said the IP address got 'confused' and after 24 hours, they figured out how to reset it and got us back online. I really hate it when out computer is down. We do have a nice laptop but I've been cautious about linking it to the Internet with all the virus and spywear. We think Trend Micro is working very well, though. It seems to be downloading most every day!

I'm anxious for it to cool off a little so I can continue to work on my little photography studio. I'd love to start taking portraits there in the fall. Surely I'll find someone out there who would like a nice portrait of the kids and/or the pets. My ideas include some pretty colorful backdrops and use of props of which we have lots and lots from the previous studios.

Someone at the workshop has given me information on a woman's chapter called, "Women With A Call International, Inc." I'm excited to find out more about this group of women who want to make a difference. I've located some interesting information about it on the Internet and plan to meet "Ann" and attend a meeting here in Columbus this month! Wish me well!!!

Hopefully, someone reading this will leave me a little comment. What has happened to all my frequent commenter's? Too hot for the computer, maybe?

But, whoever and where ever you are, remember you are loved.

Take Care on the Journey,

August 6, 2007

My Easy Vege Lasagna!

My boys remember my favorite 'cheese' lasagna made with a can Worthington no-meat burger. In fact, youngest son and wife have upgraded mom's cheesy delight to something even better. But, today I put together a few recipes I found on the Internet and came up with somthin' really good! Here's what we had for supper tonight.

Sauté' all your favorite vegetables with Olive Oil and lightly salt for flavor.
I put together...

2 yellow squash
1 small zucchini
1/4 onion (I don't like much onion)
A box of fresh mushrooms sliced
2 or 3 Broccoli tops
2 or 3 finely sliced carrots

Set aside 1 regular jar of Ragu Speg sauce (with veggies)
Set aside 1 small can sliced black olives
Set aside a 8 oz. bag of Mozzarella cheese
Provolone cheese slices
Cheddar cheese

Cook 8 to 10 lasagna noodles as directed

In large oven pan or baking dish add layers of sauce, veggies, and cheeses.
On top add the black olives and the most of the cheddar cheese and a final layer of Provolone cheese slices.

Cover with foil bake at 350 for at least 45 minutes and uncover to brown cheese.

Eat sparingly as I'm sure it's chocked full of loaded calories, but be prepared for compliments to the cook!

Take Care on the Journey,


August 4, 2007

Southern Charm in Columbia, SC

I'm back from a grueling but successful trip to install youngest son and wife into their new abode in Columbia, SC. I just love the place! Here are a few pictures of the area near their apartment and one of Philip leaving to take me to the airport. If Philip looks tired, we all were! The story will follow when I've rested a bit...

Youngest son and lovely wife express appreciation to all their friends and family for support and assistance during their move to South Carolina!

Packing and loading the truck in Berrien Springs, Michigan, couldn’t have been so successful without experienced packer, Mike; and experienced truck loader, Floyd! Mike came by train from Chicago to help his good friends; and Floyd, who has been a family friend since before Philip was born, was in town for his job, so he stopped by when he heard they could use a helping hand.

Thanks Mike and Floyd!

Several family members who couldn’t be involved physically were in telephone contact checking on progress and offering encouragement! Philip’s dad and Shelley’s dad called by cell phone throughout the trip and were kept updated until everyone arrived safe and sound in Columbia, South Carolina! The trip took 18 hours driving time from Michigan to South Carolina. I drove the second car from Columbus, Ohio, starting out without sleep for the previous 40 hours! But, not getting sleepy at all during the 8-hour drive on Tuesday!

Each mile of the way brought more southern beauty! At least for me! I’ve always missed the green forests and laid back style of the southern states. Tennessee is my first love! So, at the final destination I was singing with glee as I jumped out of the car and said, “I love this place. It has such CHARM!” I think the kids were not quite so exuberant having packed all their possessions, loaded everything into the truck, cleaned their place to a shine and drove a bulky tedious truck pulling a car up and down mountains for 1,000 miles – all in 4 days!

We had quickly located the apartment complex right off the freeway on the outskirts of Columbia, but Philip was unsure of parking constraints so he continued to drive round and round past all the apartments and out to the highway again! A quick call to the office (thank goodness for modern technology!) and another drive-through, and the pleasant lady from the office came out to met the truck the second time around! She had paperwork in hand and directed us to the spacious parking area for all of us! The first sign of that great Southern Hospitality!

We were slightly surprised to find the “first floor” apartment was down a set of 14 steps! Nice for privacy, but an added burden for unloading the truck. I had been a little worried about the three of us getting all the heavy things off the truck! We asked at the office if anyone would be interested in some extra income by helping us unload, but they said they would ask when the maintenance men got off at 5 p.m. Didn’t sound encouraging. It was 95 degrees hot!

In the meantime, we checked out the (cool) apartment and started unloading both cars. It took very few trips back and forth for us to realize this was going to be a formidable task!

Philip was happy to get the car off the carrier and head back to U-Haul and get rid of that noose! He was pleased to know we had gotten to our destination one day ahead of schedule too! I was checking the icemaker in the refrigerator and wondering where we would find some toilet paper in a hurry. A quick setting adjustment started the ice machine; and low and behold, there was a roll of TP lying in front of another apartment door. Strange, because this place is immaculately clean! An angel’s touch? Sounds good to me!

Another little magic moment…Because Philip’s car sits so low, the car doors could not open when on the carrier. AND, their trunk key would not work. (It was bent.) Philip had discovered he could carefully slide a clothes hanger through the couple inches that the door would open, but here in Columbia, we had no clothes hanger. We were stumped and stranded not sure how to get the car started to drive it off the ramp! I walked over to the little white maintenance cart to see if he had any tools out in the open we could use for makeshift. A few rags and underneath, a small perfect tool. Just what we needed. I didn’t know what it was at the time but it was a long white stick with a tiny hook on one end. (Later determined to be a rod for pulling drapes.) Within seconds Philip had the trunk popped: He climbed into the front seat through the trunk, and we were free again!

The biggest magical moment of all was when I was very worried about how the three of us would manage unloading the truck. I was exhausted after two trips, and Philip twisted his knee and was having pain going up the steps. Looking around, I saw a young man on the sidewalk talking on his cell phone. When he hung up, I asked if he knew of anyone who would be interested in helping us unload the truck. “Yes mam!” he said and his smile took on the look of a dollar sign and he went to get a friend who also wanted to help. Together they had the energy of a windstorm and had the complete truck unloaded in less than two hours! Shelley was able to direct the unloading inside and start adding a woman’s touch to their new home!


In town for less than 24 hours, I heard the soft rolling greeting of, “Y’all have a wonderful day now” and a respectful, “Yes Mam” about 100 times!

At The CVS store where I got a book to read on the airplane, the friendly cashier from India commented on my book. He asked if I had read the trilogy of books which he took time to write down for me. “Eragon” and “Eldest” with a new book to come out by the end of the year. “The movie is worthless, but the books are 1,000 times better,” he said. “Have a safe flight home,” he offered as I left with a smile and a happy feeling for having been there.

At the desk of the Red Roof Inn, I asked about the location of a Cracker Barrel. The pleasant lady (who I had seen there late the night before when I checked in) said she had breakfast at Cracker Barrel that morning and gave me directions for the next exit up. She also gave me directions for other places I was looking for. Then she wrote her number on a piece of paper and said to call Red Roof (803-736-0850) if I needed any more directions – even though I was checking OUT.

At Jiffy Lube I started to give an excuse and drive away when they quoted me a price I thought was too much. But, when I offered that I needed to hurry because I had to catch a plane the man said, “My name is Rodney and I’m here to help. We’ll get you out of here in 20 minutes!” Then they moved two cars out of the bays and put every employee on the oil-changing task. “Have a safe flight,” he said with a bow as they finished 15 minutes later.

During the brief wait at Jiffy Lube, someone else who was waiting listed all the colleges in Columbia and the main places of interest. He said the school where my son will be teaching is a “great school”. Another lady told me which TV stations were the best for news (noticing that I was paying attention to the news on TV.)

At Firestone when I went to ask directions to a local car wash, I was told that because of the heat, most people use the drive through. My first excuse was too limp. When I said the car wasn’t mine and I wasn’t sure it was safe for a drive-through, the young man went outside to the car and walked all the way around it checking for loose parts. “It’s safe for a drive-through,” he assured me with a big smile. But, he said if I wanted a good vacuum, there was a place a few miles away UNLESS I would be interested in using the hose at his house. He would call his wife and let her know I was coming. (I said, No, thank-you.)

Travis gave me careful, detailed directions to a FREE vacuum and inexpensive car wash. ($4). (At the intersection of Sparkleberry LN and Clemson Rd). There must have been 20 vacuum’s attached to strong suction pipes in the center of a nice shaded area. And the long drive-through car wash that I ended up using anyway.

Back at the apartments, everyone we met was pleasant and helpful. A military man gave us directions to the local stores and said a lot of good people lived at the apartments included many from the military because there’s a base close by.

My son and I had some discussion on why people in the south are generally friendlier. He thinks maybe it’s because of the heat. I say it’s because kids are raised to be polite and respectful.

All I know is that I sure would like some more of that wonderful Southern Hospitality, politeness and charm!

Notice the flowering trees... Click for closer view.

The backside of the apartments...More trees!

Plenty of parking and lots of shade...

Take Care on the Journey,