Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Anatomy of a Murder-Suicide

I finally gave up hope of any of my tomatoes coming up. It just didn't seem to make sense. What happened to all those seeds I planted? Did I accidentally pull them up as weeds? I talked Darryl into buying me some plants that were further along the way in hopes to get some tomatoes this summer. I'd like to try making some sauce from scratch this year.

Today was an exciting day in the garden. My first yellow squash flower appeared in my garden. It was a thing of beauty and I can hardly wait to see those flowers become squash.

Any sweeper realizes that theend of the months sweeps is your longest day of sweeping. There is just so many to enter and so little time to do it. Add to that the whole blog thing, the garden, and well life in general and it adds up to a plate that's a little too full. I'm falling drastically behind in posting.

I wanted to post an update on that very sad murder-suicide that happened in Axton, Virginia. Murder-suicides are sad and frightening crimes, and we've seen several of them recently. Often the killers may transfer their anger and despair for their own life on to others. They feel like the loved ones maybe have not supported them well enough, have not done the things they were supposed to do, disappointed them in some significant way.

Two of the three people who died in an apparent murder-suicide in Axton over the weekend were shot in the head, and the third was shot in the torso, autopsy results reveal.

Dr. Christena Roberts, assistant chief medical examiner for the Western District of Virginia, said Monday that:

• William Ronald Carter Sr., 56, died of a penetrating shotgun wound to his head.

• His wife, Bonnie W. Carter, 56, died of a perforation of her heart, lung and aorta as a result of a shotgun wound to her torso.

• Their son, William Ronald Carter Jr., 29, of Danville, died of a penetrating shotgun wound to his head.

Roberts found that Carter Sr.’s manner of death was suicide, while Bonnie Carter and Carter Jr. died from homicide. Citing policy, she declined to discuss the autopsy findings further.

Investigators might never fully know what happened in the quadruple shooting incident, which was reported to the 911 Communications Center early Sunday at 210 Wilhaven Lane, Axton, Henry County Sheriff Lane Perry said Monday.

The Carters’ other son, Radford University student Timothy E. Carter, 22, also was shot in the incident but survived. He made some initial comments to police prompting them to think “there may have been some matters going on within the household,” said Perry.

The sheriff declined to elaborate. However, he said the Henry County Sheriff’s Office has no record of deputies responding to reports of violence or disturbances at the home.

Based on the lack of such a record, as well as what relatives and neighbors have told police about the family, he said the shootings seem “completely irrational and illogical.”

Timothy Carter was in fair condition late Monday at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., a hospital spokesman said.

Investigators are waiting until he is stable enough from his injuries to answer questions as the investigation continues, Perry said.

Perry said he understands that Carter is “expected to recover from his wounds,” but doctors are not yet sure if he will lose any of his mobility. Carter was shot in the back, police have said.

Based on the results of their preliminary investigation, police said they think Carter Sr. shot and killed his wife and son Carter Jr. before shooting Timothy Carter, who was at the university and had received a call from his father to come home due to a family emergency.

When they arrived, officers found the house on fire, and authorities have said they determined the blaze was arson.

“It’s obvious there was some forethought” to the shootings and the fire, Perry said.

He indicated that the dead bodies could have been in the house for a few hours before police arrived.

Perry said a brief letter, apparently written by Carter Sr. and giving some “instructions” to whoever found it on how to handle funeral arrangements, was found in the home. He did not know exactly where.

The letter contained “nothing that offers an explanation” as to why the shootings occurred, he said.

“Without being able to interview all of the family members,” investigators may not be able to find out things going on in the household that may have led to the shootings, Perry said, referring to the family members who died.

When a suspect is alive during an investigation, “at least there’s a link ... to what took place,” he said. But in this incident, because Carter Sr. is dead, “what went through his mind is information we will never have.”

“There was nothing I could see” that indicated any disharmony in the home, said Bonnie Carter’s sister, Joyce Martin. Relatives “thought everything was fine.”

In fact, the couple had recently returned from a vacation in the mountains, she said.

After he was shot, Timothy Carter went to Akers’ house for help. Akers said that when she realized who was at her door, she let him in because “I wasn’t going to let him die on the porch.”

He told her about the shootings, and she called 911 and put a towel around his wounds to try and stop the bleeding, she said.

Although he was able to walk, Akers said, he was “just bleeding really bad” from his neck and his back, she recalled.

Martin and Akers said both relatives and friends are shocked at the shootings.

“Unfortunately we live in a day and age where we have stressors that can bring a person to suicide,” Perry said, referring to Carter Sr. “There must have been some type of stressors” that resulted in the shootings, but “we do not yet know what those stressors could have been.”

Carter Sr. worked at Goodyear in Danville until April 1, when he took a voluntary buyout and retired, company spokesman Jo Andrews told The Associated Press. Carter had worked for the tire plant for more than 35 years, the AP reported.

Perry said he hopes the investigation can be completed soon, but he would not say how soon that might be.

“We are moving on it as quick as we can while doing a thorough investigation,” he said.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Hi It's Billy Mays Here

Who doesn't recognize this famous greeting? He was the voice of OxyClean, Kaboom, Mighty Puddy, Awsome Auger, Mighty Mender and more.

Billy was on a US Airways flight Saturday June 27 that suffered a hard landing at Tampa International Airport. The resulting jolt caused items to fall from the overhead bins. It is known that a piece of luggage struck Mr. Mays in the head, but it is unknown if this incident was related to his death.

Are the fates sending me a message because Billy Mayes and Michael Jackson were both 50 when they died.

Here's another tragic family murder suicde. What do you want to bet that there were money problems going on here.

AXTON, Va. – A Virginia man fatally shot his wife and adult son and wounded another son before killing himself, authorities said Sunday. Their bodies were discovered in the basement of their burning home.

The Henry County Sheriff's Office said William Ronald Carter shot his wife, Bonnie, 56, and their 29-year-old son William Ronald Carter Jr. Sheriff Lane Perry said he wounded another son who was able to escape and then killed himself before authorities arrived at the burning home. The three bodies were discovered shortly after midnight at the home in Axton, in southwestern Virginia.

The sheriff's office said in a news release that 22-year-old Timothy Carter told investigators that his father, who was 56, lured him into the basement and shot him as he was walking down the steps. He was shot a second time as he tried to escape and was in fair condition at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Timothy Carter called police and when deputies arrived, the house was on fire and it is being investigated as arson, the sheriff's office said.

Deputies recovered a rifle from the scene.

Neighbor Deborah Akers told FOX8 News that Timothy Carter came beating on her door saying, "somebody's after me, my dad's after me to shoot me."

She said she let him in and called 911.

"When he got inside, he said his dad had killed his mother and oldest brother and that he had trapped him," said Akers.

"I've known them my whole life, even when I was in school," she said of the family "They've always been such nice, Christian people. Good people."

Police did not release a motive.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Kris Blanchard, A Portrait Of Courage

I received an email today that had me on the verge of tears all day:


Since you were such an important part of Kristofer's high school career, I wanted to let you know that he passed away last night. We still haven't made any arrangements as of yet, however. If you don't mind, could you please inform the rest of the staff members at XXXX High, especially Dr. XXXXX & Mrs. XXXXX?

Thank you,
Carol Blanchard

Thank you. Ironically, he was very happy in the last few days/weeks because we were going on another vacation to Disney in two weeks. He was gonna surprise you by sending you an email from Epcot. He loved & enjoyed you so much. Right now I am looking at arrangements for Thursday @ 11am. However, I still have to discuss things with my pastor. I would love it if you & Dr. XXXXX & Mrs. XXXXX would be able to attend and say a few words (maybe about 5 mins). Just let me know, please. I would also like for Mrs. XXXXX and/or her son, David, to speak as well. If you could please relay this message to those persons mentioned.

Thank you,

Carol Blanchard

Here is what I wrote for his funeral:

When we come upon a marker in a memorial park, the three things we are likely to see etched in stone are the name of the person who went passed, the day they were born and they day they left their earthly home behind. The most important details, the things that mattered most, are but a dash between these dates. It’s funny to me that we set about to engrave the two things that we have no control over onto a piece of stone. We all know that only God knows when our time has come and when he decides to call us home. It is that part of life that comes between these two dates that defines us and is our legacy for those we leave behind.

I tried real hard to think of a word, a single word, to describe Kris. The first word that came to mind was courage. Kris indeed had courage. He needed courage to meet the challenges that he faced on a daily basis. Kris had the kind of courage that allowed him to try even when others were certain he would fail. He had the courage to be who he was and who he was was a remarkable young man.

Then I began to wonder, does courage fully define who Kris was? Certainly he was Inspirational. Thomas Caryle once said that “Men do less than they ought, unless they do all they can.” I could always count on Kris to exceed expectations. Some people are satisfied with the status quo but that just wasn’t Kris. He met every challenge, every assignment with a willingness to do his very best.

The Energy, invincible determination, self reliance, and honesty that Kris possessed makes me wonder if the word I should use to describe him should be leadership. You see, I often tease my students that having been born in DC I would eventually be the President of the United States. I’m certain many students began shopping for another country just in case this actually happened. Kris told me that I needed someone to counterbalance my shall we say enthusiasm and he agreed to be my Vice President if I ever held the Office of President. Secretly I believed then and believe now that Kris held so many of the characteristics we want a great leader to embody.

Sure these words defined Kris but they didn’t begin to touch on some of the things those who knew him loved so much. Kris had a playful sense of humor and being one who always loved a good joke I would be remiss if I didn’t address this. Many of my students love my stupid news stories. I glean the papers looking for unbelievable stories which I use not just as an attention grabber but as also a way to sneak in language lessons but to get kids talking about subjects that affect them every day. Kris would often send me copies of articles he thought I would appreciate even after he graduated and they always brought a smile to my face.

For a few years I was keeping a gratitude journal. In it I would make a point to write something, no matter how small, that I was grateful for. It might have been a beautiful sunrise, a call from my son, or the word that a student I taught had received a scholarship. It was important to open to the many opportunities that life holds for us to be grateful. Recently I’ve been going through some difficult times and I had put this practice on hold. My husband chided me because he said I seemed much happier when I was keeping the journal. I put it off for awhile until I received an email from Kris’ Mom. In her email she talked about how Kris was getting ready to go to Disney and he was going to surprise me by sending me an email from Epcot. She told me that I had always meant a great deal to Kris. It is that message that helps me as I am dealing with the pain of having lost such a wonderful young man.

It is one of those many times in life when the student becomes the teacher. Kris taught me so much. He taught me about faith, hope, success, life, and love. For love is really what is important. It is what Kris has etched on each of the hearts and lives of those gathered here today. Love should play a big part in our daily living as we are writing the story to be left behind in the dash between the dates. Never let the opportunity go by to tell someone you love them. Don’t excuse yourself from doing this because you feel that person should “know that you love them.” Kris reminded me that a life lived in love is patient and kind.

So while I searched for just the right word to describe Kris I realize that no one word can ever truly define a young man as wonderful as Kris and I am grateful, truly grateful for having had the pleasure of knowing him.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Confessions Of A ThriftyMaven

Rome News-Tribune Features Editor

SAvila@RN-T.com / 706-290-5255

In tough economic times, most people are looking to save a few bucks here and there. But Rome High School teacher Catherine Copeland’s home is stocked with brand new electronics and fancy gadgets and she’s taking trips all over the country, even being picked up at the airport in limousines. The catch is that she isn’t paying for any of it.

Copeland, who teaches business at Rome High, has been sweeping since she was 19 years old.

“Sweeping is when you enter sweepstakes,” Copeland said. “A long time ago I discovered that with patience and perseverance you can win a lot of stuff just by entering sweepstakes and contests.”

And for most of her adult life, Copeland has enjoyed the thrill of sweepstakes and contests and the chance at winning prizes and gifts.

She started with call-in radio contests and won more than 100 albums and saw 70 concerts including Billy Joel, Elton John and Queen for free.

Copeland then graduated to “snail mail,” filling out 3x5 cards and mailing them out to various sweepstakes.

And now, the Internet offers her thousands of choices for entering contests.

She is a member of the Georgia Peaches Sweepers Club as well as onlinesweepers.com. Through those groups, she shares information with other avid sweepers and gets information on thousands of contests.

“On average I enter about 500 sweepstakes per day,” she said. “But you have programs that make doing that very easy. It’s mindless. I could sit and watch television and send those out.”

There is also a big difference between sweepstakes and contests, as Copeland is quick to point out.

“Sweepstakes usually just require you to send in your name and address,” she said. “Contests require some sort of skill.”

Copeland has entered and won contests for recipes, photography, videos and even essays.

And that time spent has certainly paid off. Her home is filled with her prizes including radios, cameras, laptops, printers, gift cards and iPods.

She has won trips to the Bahamas, Disney World, Aruba, St. Lucia, several U.S. cities and even as far away as Scotland.

Her most unusual prize, she guesses, was a double ghost tour of New Orleans and Chicago.

And the most valuable?

“We sweepers have what we call ‘hall of fame’ wins,” she said. “Those are prizes that are worth at least $5,000. I’ve won three of those. Two were trips and one was an electronics package.”

But Copeland isn’t keeping all the wealth to herself. She’s taken to the Internet with a blog, thriftymaven.com, in an effort to share all her thrifty secrets with the community.

“The blog is a byproduct of what I teach my students,” she said. “I’m thrifty. I teach about good business and saving money and marketing and company strategies. So the blog is somewhere people can go to learn about some of those things.

Copeland blogs about everything from how and where to find deals to contests and sweepstakes and even coupons.

Readers can get special promotions, recipes as well as product reviews.

“I just want people to be aware of these money-saving strategies,” she said. “With rising joblessness, housing woes and other economic problems people are looking for ways to cut costs.”

Today is the day that my article appeared in the Rome News Tribune. Some 56 new subscribers signed up in one day. That's about the same number of people who signed up in one day after I began the Home Depot Contest.

I had posted that I had appeared in the paper on OLS and a couple of people were upset because I talked about sweeping and about OLS. They felt that this would keep them from winning because more people would sign up. That was fine. I guess I understand that. I do know that most of the people I turn on to sweeping generally lose interest quickly. They might enter a couple of sweeps and that's it, they're through with it. See I told you I never win!

One person though really lashed into me. She wanted to know why I talked about entering sweeps mindlessly while watching TV. Well if that person talked to my husband she would know that I don't watch TV in the sense that I stare mindlessly at the screen. I have the TV on, I listen to it, as I hit roboform. The reporter had wanted to know how in the world I entered 500 sweeps a day. I had chatted with the reporter about sweeping and I showed him Roboform. He thought that was pretty cool. He said "I guess you could just do that while you are entering sweeps." I said yes. The reporter had gotten the name of OLS wrong and he had put the mindlessly watching TV thing in his article and this bothered the heck out of this person on OLS.

Not once, but three separate times she came at me. Finally I had enough and I confronted her. She had been so snarky and then she said "Why are you being so defensive?" Uh hello? Are you following the same conversation I am I asked? As always I took it personally. So I told her look, some people will always believe they are right. It doesn't matter what is said THEY are always right so "YOU ARE RIGHT." She stopped posting. After that a few people posted how happy they were about my article.

So wish me luck, I'm still growing my blog.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson - Man In The Mirror

When I think of Michael Jackson, I like to remember the young boy. The young man who had such an incredible talent. He was just a year older than I am and I remember watching the animated Jackson 5 cartoon series on Saturday mornings. Funny now that we think that fascination with big families erupted with big families with the rise of Jon and Kate. When I was young we watched The Brady Bunch, a fictional blended family of six and The Partridge Family, a fictional family of five (if five could be considered large) that traveled around in a bus asking people to get happy as they traveled around the country asking everyone to "Come on Get Happy."

We watched cartoons about two real life families as they performed songs that caused preteens to run out and buy their 45's. I'll have to confess I have the song ABC downloaded onto my iPod.

The Young Man who seemed to burst onto the Pop Scene in the 80's was a brilliant performer and with hits like "Thriller" and "Billie Jean" you can't gloss over his talent.

It is his personal life that seemed to be a train wreck in the making. Charges of child molestation, sleeping in a hyperbaric chamber, trying to purchased the bones of John Merrick, the "Elephant Man." massive debt, short lived marriages, family feuds, dangling his son from a balcony, they all provided the gossip mills with lots to talk about the man some called Wacko Jacko.

Now with rumors that an injection of Demerol being bandied about shadows of Anna Nichole Smith cannot help but be raised.

When all is said and done, what will be said of Michael Jackson the man? It is undeniable that he had an amazing talent. He was a man who's music crossed race and age lines. He was truly the King of Pop.

Michael Jackson August 29, 1959-June 25, 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson - The King Of Pop Has Died

Michael Jackson Pictures, Images and Photos

Michael Jackson was brought to the hospital in full cardiac arrest. Paramedics were called to a home in the 100 block of Carolwood Drive off Sunset Boulevard. Jackson rented the Bel-Air home for $100,000 a month. He was not breathing.

The AP has now announced that Michael Jackson is Dead. He died 3:15 PT.

UPDATE from the Hollywood Rumor Mill:

An Emergency Room source at UCLA hospital said Jackson aides told medics he had collapsed after an injection of potent Demerol — similar to morphine.

A Jackson source said: “Shortly after taking the Demerol he started to experience slow shallow breathing.

“His breathing gradually got slower and slower until it stopped.

“His staff started mouth-to-mouth and an ambulance was called which got there in eight minutes “But Found he was in full respiratory arrest, no breathing and no pulse. They started full CPR and rushed him to hospital.

“When he arrived they started resuscitation, giving him heart shocks and inserted a breathing tube and other supportive measures to try and save his life.

“He never regained consciousness.The family was told that he had passed.”

His autopsy will be performed tomorrow.

The Passing Of An Angel

Farrah Fawcett Pictures, Images and Photos

To say she was a star in the series Charlies Angels misses much of who she was. Farrah was multiple Golden Globe and Emmy-nominated American actress. She was the "face of an era."

I remember her when she was in the Ultra Brite commercial. The jingle when: "Mother had a feeling, I might be too appealing. So mother never told me about...Ultra Brite." Then she smiled that big smile. I was still a very young girl wondering what I would look like when I was a grown woman and I was certain I wanted to look like her.

While I NEVER watched Charlies Angels I couldn't help but know who she was. She was the woman in the one piece red bathing suit who's picture adorned every teenage boys bedroom. She was the woman who's hair style adorned every teenage woman's head whether the cut flattered them or not. She will always be associated with her work on Charlies Angels even though she was only on there for one season.

Fawcett won critical acclaim for her 1983 role in the off-Broadway stage production of the controversial play Extremities, written by William Mastrosimone. She followed Susan Sarandon in the role, in which she played a would-be rape victim who turns the tables on her attacker.

Her role as a battered wife in the fact-based TV movie The Burning Bed earned her her first of three Emmy Award nominations. It was one that was very relevant to me as I was a battered woman.

She was nominated for Golden Globe awards for roles as Beate Klarsfeld in Nazi Hunter: The Beate Klarsfeld Story and troubled Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton in Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story, and won a CableACE Award for her 1989 portrayal of groundbreaking Life Magazine photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White.

Her role in the miniseries Small Sacrifices earned her a second Emmy nomination and her sixth Golden Globe Award nomination. Diane Down's story had happened when my youngest son was little and I couldn't imagine a mother who would kill her children to be with a man. The miniseries was adapted from a book written by one of my FAVORITE authors, Ann Rule.

On June 22, 2009, The Los Angeles Times and Reuters reported that Ryan O'Neal has said that Fawcett has agreed to marry him. I honestly felt uncomfortable with Ryan saying that they'd marry even if he had to nod her head yes. Obviously they loved each other enough to stay together all these years but it's unfortunate that they didn't marry sooner, (IMHO).

Farrah Fawcett died on June 25, 2009, at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California. She was 62.

Farewell Farrah

Farrah died today, June 25, 2009. She lost her long battle with cancer at the age of 62.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

It's Time To Act

People are being shot like animals...people are being beaten like animals.....people are being hit with an axe in the heart....they are throwing people off the bridge...You people should stop this its time to act"

This is only a "Wordless Wednesday" if we continue to refuse to raise our voices in support of these protests.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jon And Kate Minus One Or The Other

Orignial Jon and Kate photo Pictures, Images and Photos

Let me begin by saying that I had no clue that the show John and Kate Plus Eight even existed, let alone that it had been on the air as long as it had been. Let's just say it was never on my radar.

About a month or so ago I was bored and was flipping the channels and that's when I happened upon a day long Eight-a-Palooza. I began watching somewhere in the middle of a show about the parents getting the kids ready to go to a Fourth of July celebration that John had gone to as he was growing up. Eight little kids can be incredibly cute so I decided to watch the rest of that particular episode and then I told myself I'd flick the channel. I think I remember something about Kate whining about how the kids clothes all needing to match. Some fool thing about one of the kids who got a little dirty or something and the one daughter might have a non-matching outfit. It wasn't a big part of the show but it struck me wrong because Kate was lecturing John about how hard she worked to make sure the kids clothes matched. And matched they did. The kids were all wearing red, white, and blue outfits and looked very cute.

That might have been the end of John and Kate for me but I wound up leaving show on because the next show they had on took place in Cape Hatteras. This family was staying in a nice beach house for the Fourth of July so I said to myself, "Well I'll just watch this one more show."

In this particular episode Kate took the girls to a spa to have their hair done. That's because when I take kids to the beach I always say to myself, I'd better head on over to the spa and have the kids hair done. Maybe it's because I had boys that it just didn't make sense to me. The girls were having those braids with beads and one of the girls started to cry because the braids hurt so bad. Kate even acknowledged it and she said she had felt bad but I notice she didn't stop.

Maybe it's just me, but if my kid was having a shot that contained life saving serum and he cried "Mommy this hurts." I'd hold him. I'd comfort him. I wouldn't stop him from getting the shot. However, in this case we are talking HAIR. I'd say "Do you want to stop honey? I don't want you to hurt to have your hair look like your sister's hair."

Now did I think she was psycho Mom? No but she seemed a bit hyper and wound way too tight. Everything having to be done a certain way. Then I saw her talk to her husband about fireworks and she seemed a bit abrupt with him. Her husband had bought some fireworks but they were illegal to fire them. Since I didn't know the context of their relationship, I shrugged off. For me it was one of those, wow this has been a hot busy days and the kids are getting whinny so I'm a bit edgy moments.

With Darryl and his Dad out running errands that Day I decided to leave TLC on while working on my computer. It would give me a break from the endless news, business news, and market analysis, that is normally my Sunday fare.

I think it was by the third show that I caught on how Kate spoke to John and I realized what the show was really about. You can say it's about the kids, you can say it's about John and Kate, but what it's about is blatant marketing machine. You have eight cute little kids and it's an advertisers dream. Can you say the Dionne Quintuplets?

When Darryl got home he'd asked what I was watching. I told him it was "some show called John and Kate Make Eight." We watched a few more shows together. One was about their vow renewal in Hawaii and the other was about moving into their new home. Darryl asked me where this couple got the money to run to Hawaii with eight kids especially a nice resort like that. What did John do for a living?

It shows how little I knew. Google saves the day again. Neither one of them had a job outside of the show. These kids are their cash cow. While the wedding renewal show was on I was scouting the net to learn more about the couple. I learned that people either loved her or hated her. By now I was trending towards a disdain. I didn't like how she dealt with her husband. I felt it was pretty darn cheesy to make a living off your kids. I think the thing I found even more distasteful was her pimping herself to churches and Christian organizations. She would go to churches to speak about her faith. After the show she would accept "Love Gifts" and sell family photos for $25 a pop.

These are people who are making $75,000 an episode and they were selling their family photos to people who probably had household incomes of $40,000 or less. Why would people buy these photos? Did they hope to sell them on eBay?

Darryl and I watched the cash cow, I mean show, as Jon and Kate renewed their vows. At first she had wanted the kids to be up there with them but, being kids they began running around and acting like kids so she made them sit down. Who doesn't realize that kids that age have the attention span of a flea? Fine have them accompany you down the aisle but then let them take a seat. Don't pretend that they will be able to focus during a ceremony. Kate mentioned that she and John wanted the kids to know that they had a "forever Marriage".

Darryl wanted to know why people watched this show. I told him that people with one or two children sometimes feel frustrated sand say "I just can't deal with all this." Watching this show makes them say a silent prayer that goes a little like "Thank God I don't have eight two year olds. I'd go CRAZY!!"

I think it got my feathers a little ruffled when I told him that no one made a reality shwo about my crazy family with four boys and four girls. Talk about reality show. You'd have Jon and Kate meets Survivor meets House meets WWF. Now tell me that's not television to remember.

The last show Darryl and I watched was when they moved into their new home. This of course required more googling to learn how much the house cost and where it was located. We came away from this series feeling like we had our fill and we never needed to see another episode again.

Then a few weeks later I saw something about Jon cheating on his wife. I'd seen enough of the show to know that there was trouble in the kingdom but that still didn't mean he should cheat. Then again this was the Enquirer. According to them Dr. Phil and his wife are breaing up every week. It's always funny standing on the grocery line and reading about how Jennifer is still mooning over Ben or how Angelina has finally called it quits. Of course the Enquirer was correct about John Edwards so can you totally discount the photos of Jon and the Elementary School teacher?

Now Yahoo news would have stories about John and Kate. Kate with the body guard. Jon off with his girlfriend in Colorado while Kate celebrated her birthday alone. I wish I could say I was forced to watch another show but I did on my own valition. I did it to watch them talk about their relationship. Here's the shocker (lol)

On Monday June 22, 2009, legal proceedings were initiated in Pennsylvania to dissolve the ten-year marriage of Jon and Kate Gosselin.

Half the show was about the Crooked Houses. Boy those people got their money worth. Imagine the viewership on this show. The show reminded me about why some people get upset about bloggers. They act like they just out of the blue tried something and they liked it. Then it sounded like she and Jon just decided to "buy" them for the kids. HA HA HA HA. What a joke. They were given them as in kind advertising.

In this episode you could see ever so clearly why things were going down the tubes so quickly. Jon had cleared out an area for the houses. He told kate where he was going to put them and she didn't say anything about it until the tractor trailer with the crooked houses was pulled out in front of their home. She wanted the houses to be closer to the house so she could supervise the kids better. Instead of talking to him she put the Crooked House guys in the position of talking to Jon about where to put the houses.

How unfair to these Crooked House people. Kate is putting someone else in the middle of their marital squabbles. This is how far this marriage has fallen. Her comments communicate to the viewers and the Crooked House people that Jon just won't listen to reason, is selfish, and basically to stupid to realize that what he is doing is just plain wrong.

Towards the end of the show they make their big announcement. Well sort of. They talk about new beginnings, they talk about sharing the house, they talk about sharing the kids, and they talk about not really knowing where this is taking them. Not sure? Try divorce. That's generally what happens when you file the papers. Why not we realize what we have been doing is not healthy for the kids so we are going to stop? How about we are going try to save this marriage and go to counseling? Why not, I've decided to drop my mistress? Why not, I've decided to stop treating my husband like he's child number nine? It just doesn't make sense.

For the past few weeks the news has carried clips of Kate spanking one daughter. Another clip shows one daughter asking over and over for water. Kate tells her that they are getting ready to do their interview. Kate's trying to get the kids to settle down. The daughter asks again and Kate says there is no time and that she would get water when they are finished. The daughter says "You're mean." Ok you say, it's not likely that the daughter will perish if she waits a few more minutes. Then Kate asks one of her "people to get her a bottle of water." You think, well she's going to give her daughter some water. NOPE. Mom opens the water, takes a swig, and then places the water on the floor our of camera sight. SHE NEVER OFFERED any to her daughter. How crazy rude.

Now here's today's JonandKate Update: Jon & Kate Plus 8 will go on hiatus until August following the Gosselins' separation announcement on Monday's episode, TLC said in a statement. Well uh gee. Don't you think people will want to watch the utter melt down of children wondering when Daddy's coming home? Don't people want to watch little children crying endless hours at night for their mommy who won't be there until the next day? I mean if you're going to continue exploiting these kids why not raise the bar?

I guess I can no longer really make fun of the people who watch American Idol while the world burns down around them. My world, the world as I know it is melting and I'm watching Jon and Kate. This is how far I have fallen.

Jon and Kate Plus 8 Pictures, Images and Photos

Ed McMahon is Dead. The 86-year-old TV personality died this morning at Ronald Regan UCLA Medical Center.

Most famous for his work on television as Johnny Carson's announcer on Tonight Show from 1962 to 1992, and as the host of the talent show Star Search from 1983 to 1995, he later also became well-known as the presenter of American Family Publishers sweepstakes, which arrives unannounced at the homes of winners.

McMahon and Dick Clark hosted the television series (later special broadcast) TV Bloopers And Practical Jokes on NBC from 1982 until 1998, when Clark decided to move the production of the series to ABC.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Her Name was Neda


Last night when I was watching the news I realized yet again how quickly things have changed, even in the past couple of years. I'm watching the news and information is coming out and being reported using Twitter and YouTube.

So far all I've ever used Twitter for is to promote my ThriftyMaven site. YouTube in my house has been for making videos for contest or watching a video someone told me about recently. As the unrest in Iran continues to grow these social media sites are being used to let the world know what is going on in a country that has long kept women subservient.

I saw tweets about Neda but I didn't know what the context was. The tweets I saw were something like "her name was Neda." Another tweet said "She was with her father." I didn't know what happened until today so let me tell you what I know.

Neda Agha Soltan (1982 – June 20, 2009 in Tehran) was an Iranian woman whose alleged killing by Basij militia during the 2009 Iranian election protests was captured on video by bystanders. The graphic videos were posted on the Internet, and her name quickly becoming a rallying cry for the pro-reform demonstration. Neda means "voice" in Persian, and she was dubbed the "voice of Iran" by the world.

At 19:05 June 20th Place: Karegar Ave., at the corner crossing Khosravi St. and Salehi st. A young woman who was standing aside with her father watching the protests was shot by a basij member hiding on the rooftop of a civilian house. He had clear shot at the girl and could not miss her. However, he aimed straight her heart. I am a doctor, so I rushed to try to save her. But the impact of the gunshot was so fierce that the bullet had blasted inside the victim’s chest, and she died in less than 2 minutes. The protests were going on about 1 kilometers away in the main street and some of the protesting crowd were running from tear gas used among them, towards Salehi St. The film is shot by my friend who was standing beside me. Please let the world know.

Her face is compelling because she is a face of a movement. The face of a young generation tired of the yoke of oppression.

I was 19 the last time there was a revolution in Iran. Anti-American sentiment in Iran — fueled in part by close ties between the U.S. and the unpopular leader Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi — peaked when Pahlavi fled Iran during the 1979 Iranian revolution. When the monarch entered the U.S. for medical treatment later that year, Islamic militants stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran and seized 66 Americans. The hostage-takers, who enjoyed the tacit support of the new Iranian regime of Ruhollah Khomeini, demanded the shah's extradition to Iran, but Pres. Jimmy Carter refused and froze all Iranian assets in the U.S.

We all watched as Islamic militants overran the American embassy in Teheran, Iran, initiating a crisis that lasted 444 days.

Where will this revolution take Iran? What will be written on the New Page that could be Iran? What will become of a New Day that's history is written in the blood of young men and women? The world watches and waits to find out if true reform will be the outcome.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

You Say You Want A Revolution

Iran revolution 6-15-09 Pictures, Images and Photos

As I went to bed last night I heard the calls for there were threats that live ammunition would be used on protesters today. I worried. Would this be the end of the protests? Would the fact that Iran's clerical government had the streets flooded with militia.

I woke this morning and the new reported that the streets were quiet. Apparently that was the quiet before the storm. Witnesses described fierce clashes after some 3,000 protesters, many wearing black, chanted "Death to the dictator!" and "Death to dictatorship!" near Revolution Square in downtown Tehran. Police fired tear gas, water cannons and guns but it was not clear if they were firing live ammunition.

Police beat protesters and fired tear gas and water cannons at thousands who rallied Saturday in open defiance of Iran's clerical government, sharply escalating the most serious internal conflict since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

We have heard reports that helicopters have dropped acid on the crowds. This has not been substantiated. We then heard that the water cannons had scalding water. There are reports that the police are arresting people who show up to hospitals for treatment. At one point on twitter I heard that protesters were throwing sand onto the streets to make it difficult for the soldiers motorcycles to drive.

The whole situation is just so very fluid and it's caught the attention of the world. If it were not for technology, things like cell phones, twitter, youtube, facebook, and myspace might not this uprising have been quelled with mass killings and government denials. This is a country that is not above murdering their own people.

What will happen? I don't know. Will the protests continue or will they be put down violently? What will America do? Will we stand idly by? Will we go into the country with covert operatives? I am praying for these people. Praying for the men and women who long for change from an oppressive government.

Friday, June 19, 2009

When You're Not Working,

Iran Pictures, Images and Photos

Every day is the weekend so Friday isn't such a big deal. I worked a bit more on ThriftyMaven. I have a big post tomorrow. It's the big "What To Do On Father's Day" post. I did a lot of research. I think it will be a great post. So far about 120 people have entered my $100 Home Depot Gift Card contest on ThriftyMaven. That's good but most of them are not from OLS. More of them are from Refund Cents than anything else.

Now here's a couple of those behind the blog stories. When I started getting all these entries for the giveaway I got a spammer. They tried to post something about "watching a B$&!# taking it up the ARSE." The ARSE????? Uh I know what that means but who says that exactly? No one over here that I know probably someone from Europe. They have a few ARSES over there. Not that we don't have our own share here but we call them something else.

The CRAZY Pizza lady wrote four more times!!!!!!!!! Four more times. First she starts out accusing me of "Ripping her off" because she didn't get FREE Pizza. I'm not giving away free pizza. I didn't charge her for the pizza, so how in the HELL did I rip her off exactly? I just don't know. For two days now it's been back and forth with me requesting that she gets a pizza coupon from the original offer. I went to all the trouble of spelling out just exactly how her screen should look. I did everything except for driving over to her house, holding her hand and clicking the damn link.

Each time I responded to her I said "This is the last time." Wouldn't you know the teacher in me refused to say just give up. I just couldn't get it in my head that she just would never catch on. So I requested the coupon, sent it to my email and forwarded that email to her. I knew the coupon was embedded in the email so this time I knew she would get it because she responded back to all my other emails. She wrote me back. Finally she said she didn't see it in her email. This was different than all her other emails when she insisted over and over again that she never received the email. So I had to go into a step by step on how to use the SHOW IMAGE link on her email.

When Darryl interviewed on Monday the company seemed very interested. The Head Hunter told Darryl that they really wanted to have a second interview with him. Now as each second drags on we wait to hear when they will be calling him. For all I know they have decided not to fill the position. So then we are backed to square one then.

What's going on here, the email, the contest, Darryl's interview, is nothing compared with what's going on in Iran. In Iran an uprising that I haven't seen since 1979 has erupted. The election is disputed and people are risking their lives to protest the outcome. All day clips show guards that swoop down on protesters and protesters who have been shot. These videos are taken by cell phones and when they are sent out the person who transmits the image puts themselves at risk.

Amateur video showed dozens of Iranians running down a street after police fired tear gas at them. Shouts of "Allahu Akbar!" — "God is Great" — could be heard on the video, which could not be independently verified.

Helicopters hovered, ambulances raced through the streets and black smoke rose over the city.

The witnesses told The Associated Press that between 50 and 60 protesters were hospitalized after beatings by police and pro-government militia. People could be seen dragging away comrades bloodied by baton strikes.

I ask myself, would we Americans put our lives at risk? Would we turn off "American Idol, stop playing video games, and could we turn off the rap music, if that's what we needed to do to save our country?" Are we so much the "sheeple" that we will stand blindly by while our country is turning a blind eye to its people?

Do I want a revolution? Do I want to see bloodshed? No I absolutely remember the protests of the sixties. My Dad was a cop in DC during the DC riots neighborhoods burned and some people died. I would never want to see such a thing again. It was a tragic time for our country. Who knew a peace movement could be surrounded with so much violence.

On the flip side, has there ever been a lasting revolution that came about in peace? I pray for these people. I hope our President will come out in support of these Iranians who are struggling to free themselves of the shackles that keep them bound to an oppressive past.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thursday & Still No Word

Although we know that the company says they want Darryl to come out on a second interview we still have no word about when. All day I've been on pins and needles. Not Darryl. He just seems to take it all for granted that it will work out.

We did learn something interesting about Trinity Rail today. Darryl had me stand on line at customer service to return an ironing board we had bought. The ironing board had a bent leg stand but we didn't notice it until we got it out of the wrap. While I stood there Darryl went to get another ironing board.

While standing there I noticed a man wearing a shirt that I recognized from our closet. It was a Trinity Rail shirt. I struck up a conversation with the gentleman and he told me that Trinity has reduced their hours from four ten hour days to three ten hour days. The plant closes in three weeks. As a matter of fact they are closing this plant and their plant in Mexico. We didn't even know they were going to do that. We got the impression that they were just going to relocate their operations to Mexico. Instead they are closing both plants.

Every year I enter the Edy's Ice Cream Block Party and I usually win every year. So far no word. I notice that some people on OLS are beginning to learn that they've won. If I remember correctly though they contact you closer to when your party is to be held. Maybe I won for a later date. Who knows. I just know that I love winning it and trying all the ice cream.

I spent most of the day working on ThriftyMaven. We are going to have a giveaway tomorrow for a $100 Home Depot gift card.

Here are the blog contests I entered today:

Prize: Motorola MOTONAV TN30 GPS, Eureka N!ergy electric tent, Eureka N!ergy power pak and Redington Red.X rod/reel outfit (ARV $800)

Prizes (372 - 31 per birth month): Roundtrip business class flight for one on OpenSkies in Biz Seat cabin from New York City, NY, or Newark, NJ, to choice of Paris, France, or Amsterdam, Netherlands (ARV $1,500).

Prize: $50 1-800-Flowers.com gift card.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

It's Hot And Muggy

hot Pictures, Images and Photos

Today was very hot and muggy. The heat was oppressive and it reminded me of August in Washington, DC.

All day long I was on a quasi high. Darryl and I talked about a three year plan about when I'm finally vested in my pension. He said something I don't think he realized he said. He said, "Maybe you can take your twenty years, retire, and then do whatever in Alabama." I honestly floated. I've been wanting to retire so badly. I don't want to have to work until I'm 65 or 70. Then of course I should have known he'd restate his plan for the future. No his plan was for me to take my 20 years and teach in TN. This means I'd have to teach another 10 years. Oh boy. I'll be 63 by then. My all-day high crashed and I sighed. It's the way it always is isn't it?

I received a blogspark item today. The problem was it was the wrong thing. So I have to contact them because that's going to be the next giveaway on thriftymaven.

Here are two new fortune cookie fortunes I received recently.

An interesting musical opportunity is in your near future.

You will continue to take chances and be glad you did.

Let's see how that works. Maybe I will win a trip (from taking a chance) to see a musical opportunity (a concert) soon. hee hee hee hee

Here are the blog contests I entered:

Prize: 100 personalized Fortune Cookies from Fancy Fortune Cookies.

Prize: $100 EyeBuyDirect.com gift certificate.

Prize: Motorola Motonav TN30 personal navigation system, Redington Red.Fly2 rod and the Crosswater reel, Eureka N!ergy 9 tent and E! Power Pak.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Darryl Made It To Second Base

We found out today at 4:00 that Darryl will have a second interview!!!!!!!!! Keep us in your prayers.

I also got a bit of good news. As I mentioned in a previous post I have google set up to do vanity searches for me. It searches for ThriftyMaven, teechbiz, and Catherine copeland + contest. Well I saw this interesting google alert:

it is from the USS Freedom. How's that? People on a Navy Boat talking about the ThriftyMaven?

The Thrifty Maven points out another thing aside from that:
While certainly not a complete list of activities or events , I hope the events IĆ¢€™ve listed below will helpful for you this Memorial Day Weekend.

One very important thing that should be mentioned here. Be very careful what you put up on the web because you don't know who will have access to it. Today without even trying I found out someone's personal home address, phone number, birthday, and their kids names. I was shocked and I'm certain that they would be too. They should thank their lucky stars I'm not some nut job or swindler out to steal their identity. As they used to say on Hill Street Blues, "Be careful out there."

Monday, June 15, 2009

Darryl Interviewed Today

Interview Pictures, Images and Photos

Today was the big day. Darryl had to go to downtown Atlanta for his interview. I knew that the morning was going to be about a presentation and that the actual interview wouldn't be until the afternoon. I didn't start worrying until about 1 o'clock or so.

When he had left this morning I was so confident. I felt we had rehearsed his answers enough that they sounded natural as opposed to rehearsed. Still I was freaking out by 4 o'clock.

He called about 4:30 to tell me he was on his way home and when he got home he told me he felt he did pretty well. He had a set time for his interview but he went to the interview room five minutes early. The interviewers told him they needed a break and for him to come back in about five minutes. He did and then when he was interviewing someone knocked at the door and they told that person to give them another fifteen minutes. I felt that was a good sign. They should let him know tomorrow if he's going on to the next level, which would be a tour of the company.

Once again I should feel lucky instead of sad when we are living so frugally. There was another murder suicide that involved a couple deep in debt. This happened about a mile or two from where my sister Mary lives in Florida.

HEATHROW - The family of four killed in an apparent murder-suicide in this gated community was deep in debt and struggled for five years to get out, according to records filed in federal bankruptcy court.

John Dillon Wood, 41, and Cynthia Wood, 40, declared bankruptcy in 2004 and tried for years to pay back money they owed, including more than $100,000 in credit-card bills. As of March, documents show, the Wood family still owed $85,000 to a list of creditors.

On Monday, the Woods and their two children, Aubrey, 12, and Dillon, 10, were found dead inside their home on Trentwood Court in the Lakeside subdivision. A preliminary investigation shows John Wood shot and killed his entire family, Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger said.

"It's a huge tragedy. There's no other way to describe it," Eslinger said A cleaning lady entered the home before noon and discovered John  Wood shot in the head, sheriff's Capt. Dennis Lemma said. She called authorities, who found the other bodies in the home.

Investigators said family members were last seen Friday. A black Jeep and a blue Ford Expedition parked outside the house had not moved since then, Lemma said.

No suicide note had been found as of late Monday. Deputies noted that the family had financial troubles.

Neighbor Ed Evans said John Wood had worked for the Lowe's home-improvement chain but more recently had a job with Dick's Sporting Goods in Melbourne. Employees at Dick's said they couldn't comment, and a telephone message left at the corporate office was not returned.

Cynthia Wood recently lost her job, said Evans, who described the Woods as a "nice couple."

The family wrestled with financial troubles for years before the shootings, according to papers filed in federal court. John Wood had worked more than 16 years for Lowe's, earning $183,000 as a store manager in 2003, but he and his wife filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy the following year.

The couple had racked up more than $100,000 in credit-card debt. They also owed $228,000 on two mortgages on their home and loan for their 2002 Toyota Highlander, the documents state. John Wood was listed as unemployed, but how he lost his job was not explained.

A bankruptcy trustee put the couple on a plan to repay their debt, but they failed to make payments. In December 2007, the case was converted to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy: liquidation of assets. A status hearing was set for August.

Although $100,000 is a lot to owe on credit cards, Orlando bankruptcy attorney Anne-Marie Bowen said such steep debt is increasingly common. Sometimes people use their credit cards to pay large medical bills, or lose their jobs and fail to reduce their living expenses. Interest and fees add up, and the debt grows out of control.

"I'll ask my clients what they bought, and most people don't have anything to show for it," Bowen said.
Debt rarely leads to violence or suicide, Bowen said, because even if people lose their home through Chapter 7 bankruptcy, once the process is finished, almost all of the debt disappears and they get a fresh start.

"For someone to do that [kill your family], you can't be in your right state of mind," Bowen said.

Despite the Woods' financial troubles, the family lived well. John Wood owned a motorcycle, and the family had a boat that got used often, neighbor Evans said.

"The kids were just wonderful," he said.

Property records show the Woods' nearly 3,000-square-foot home built in 1999 was valued at almost $330,000.

Aubrey attended Markham Woods Middle School, and Dillon went to Heathrow Elementary, according to a family friend.
Until about a year ago, they took lessons at Champion Karate.

"The kids were normal, fun, vivacious kids," said Mike Friedman, owner of the karate school. "I can't imagine what it would take for that guy to do something like that."

Sydney Boughan, 12, attended Markham Woods Middle with Aubrey, and was planning to go to her house for a sleepover. Aubrey was a freckled, dark-blond girl who always had a pencil or paper to loan to her friends.

"She was the kind of friend you could rely on," Sydney said.

Aubrey, a cheerleader, went to Shine Athletics, a Longwood cheerleading gym, and was trying to learn back handsprings, Sydney said. Each weekend, Aubrey's mother treated the girl to trips to the mall, although all the shopping annoyed Dillon.

Cynthia Wood gave Aubrey quilted Vera Bradley bags, and on special occasions, dresses from Saks Fifth Avenue.

"She always seemed, like, perfect," Sydney said.

The last time Sydney heard from Aubrey was a text message at 3:06 p.m. Friday. Aubrey wanted to talk, but Sydney was watching a movie. Sydney didn't hear from her again.

"I still can't believe it's real," she said.

As time goes by we may see more and more of these kinds of murders and that's incredibly sad.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Vanity Searches

Google Pictures, Images and Photos

A few years ago I began hearing about employers googling names of people they thought about hiring. Doing so would often bring up embarrassing photos posted on the web, conversations about drug use, and more. An employer never needs to tell you that they did this nor do they have to tell you what they find. Trust me they find a lot of things.

When Darryl received his email about his interview it appeared that the recruiter emailed Darryl and another man using the same email. Big deal you say? Well let me tell you how big a deal it was. Darryl and this other person now both had the name of their competition for the job and their email address. With just a few simple keystrokes we could have found out so much about this man. He could do the same with Darryl. I almost felt it was a privacy violation.

Honestly I don't believe most people do vanity searches. I do. I teach my students to do that too. I tell them these are the things your future boss can find out about you. Still I think that most people either have no clue how easy a vanity search is or think that they wouldn't be able to find out anything out about the other person.

Google your name and you would be surprised what you see. You don't have to be Brittany Spears or Madonna to be found on the net. You can just be teechbiz and you could see my youtube videos, my posts on ols, as well as my myspace. I'm not worried. I'm almost fifty and nothing I'm really nervous about people seeing. Darryl doesn't put much out there about himself. Still you might be surprised what others have written about you. It's amazing.

I will be honest. If they had Google back when I was dating years ago I'd have googled every guy I ever dated. It might have opened my eyes to some problems.

Darryl's interview is on Monday. We spent the day running around looking for a suit for him to wear. We wound up buying him a pinstripe. We also bought him a new tie, a new shirt, and a new pair of shoe. I think he looked wonderful. He'll look very coordinated and put together.

We spent a good portion of the day rehearsing his interview. We tweaked his answers and rehearsed again. I think he'll do GREAT!!!!!!!

Keep us in your prayers.

Friday, June 12, 2009

It's Friday

Do you remember me saying I was going to revisit my fortune cookies? Well I just happened to revisit that post and here's an interesting one I got May 25, 2009.

Success will be yours at home and in business in the next month.

Well if you consider ThriftyMaven a Business then this one came true. Also my fingers are still crossed on Darryl getting a job. It looks like he has an interview on Monday. I just have this feeling that this will be the one.

Since I've been off work I've been eating crazy amounts of food. My weight has gone up to 126.4. I need to lose about two pounds. So each day I've been walking about two miles and I'm still two pounds overweight. I'm hoping that by writing it down it will inspire me to do something different about losing my weight.

I spent most of the day working on future stories for ThriftyMaven, running to the library with Darryl, and pulling weeds in the garden. So I have lots of sweeps I have to hurry and get them done.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Big Event For The Thrifty Maven

After posting all my things on ThriftyMaven and doing my tweets, I checked my email. I saw an email that had the word "about your post" in the subject line. I didn't know what to say. Was this something that I should be worried about. Was someone going to tell me to cease and desist? I just didn't know. I was pleasantly surprised to see the following:

Hi Cathy. I've been checking out your blog and saw your post about Home Depot's
Garden Club and coupon offerings and wanted to introduce myself. I work for Home
Depot's PR firm.

We're actually working to promote the Garden Club for Home Depot right now. Wanted
to see if you were open to running a giveaway or contest for a Home Depot gift card
on your blog?

Let me know if you're interested, and we can discuss the details.

OMG!!!!!!!! A sponsor contacted me. I was hoping this would happen. Guess you never know who is reading your blog.

I felt so good that I didn't even fret about the person who asked to unsubscribe. Not only that but right after one person subscribed another subscribed. Call that a red letter day.

It only seemed to get better. Darryl and I have been sweating about the whole job situation. Then yesterday Darryl's brother wrote him to tell him about a recruiter he knows who is looking for someone with rail experience. That would be Darryl. I told himm to send off his resume right away.

At the end of last week his resume had been sent to the hiring manager at Heil so we thought he would have heard from them by yesterday. There was still no word. Then it turns out that a recruiter contacted Darryl about a job located in Athens, AL. Darryl might actually have an interview. We'll know tomorrow. I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed. Say a little prayer for us.

The luck didn't stop there. I asked Darryl to drive me down to the Publix because I had a question about a new contest they have going on right now. Just as we were leaving I noticed that the mail carrier had already come. In the box was a big padded envelope and inside was the book "Beloved Counterfeit" autographed by the author Kathleen Y'Bara.

I was on a big high with the whole Darryl might have an interview thing and now with the book win I felt that the day couldn't get any better. I was wrong. VERY WRONG.

We went to Publix and I took a quick walk around the store. I asked about the new Publix sweep and the customer service person had no clue what I was talking about. That was a good sign. I still had $1.26 on a gift card I won so I figured I'd blow that and then be done with it.

While I was up at customer service I saw all the lottery tickets and I asked about the Lucky 7 tickets. When she said they were $10 I blanched. I don't usually buy many scratch offs. Darryl asked if I wanted one and I said no because I was really just asking because they've been advertised so much. Darryl then bought me one. I was afraid to scratch it.

Would you believe the very first game I scratched had two 7's on it. That made it a $40 winner. I was thrilled enough quadrupling my money. These tickets have five games though so I wasn't finished. On the second game you had to roll either a seven or an eleven to win. I rolled another seven and an eleven. Each of those was worth another $20 each. So now I was actually up to $80. I just knew that was it but seriously that was the most I EVER won on the lottery. The next game had to be a 7 and you only had one chance. I scratched off a 2 and laughed because I expected as much. The next game you had to scratch three sevens in a row in order to win and I won another $20. This was great. One more game. I almost hustled it up to the counter to cash it in without playing the last game. Darryl wanted me to play the last game which gave you a win for any sevens. I got one more seven and that win brought me an extra $150. Altogether that one ticket was $250!!!!!!!!!

As you know I will be going to Chicago and I was wondering how my trip would affect our budget as far as me eating. How much should I ask for? Money is tight. Now I have my answer I will be using this money to buy my food while in Chicago and Darryl gets $50 out of the win. Not a fair split but one that makes sense.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Gunman Opens Fire At Holocaust Museum


About ten years ago I took my son Michael to the Holocaust Museum. Like everyone else I had learned about the Holocaust, had seen some documentaries about the Holocaust, and of course read the Diary of Ann Frank.

When I first entered it was academic. Try to learn more about what happened how such a horrific series of events could have ever come to be. You could be somewhat removed as you read about laws and proclamations. Easy to say, well this could never happen again, would never happen again. Then the further you walked through the museum the more the weight of the atrocities, the people who's lives were cruelly snuffed out by a dangerous regime.

At one point you had to walk into a cattle car like the ones that the Germans used to transport Jews and other "undesirables" off to labor camps. I had only just stepped foot into the car when I could scarcely catch my breath. The weight on my chest was pressing down on me and I almost melted down in a full-blown panic attack. I could almost smell the fear as it closed down upon me.

I had to move. I had to get out of there and I at least had that opportunity. Just as I was coming to the end of the museum I saw the shoes in piles. Piles and piles of shoes. Once upon a time each of those shoes were worn by a human being and that's when the tears began flowing because I could choke them back no longer. Michael, only a fourteen year told kids looked at me and could scarcely croak out the words "Mom I can't stay here. I have to leave." Tears were streaming down his face.

People talk about a moving experience but I can honestly say no museum, no exhibit, had ever effected me the way the Holocaust Museum had. Now today the Museum has been touched by tragedy.

A gunman entered the museum shortly before 1 p.m. ET carrying a "long gun," but that it's unclear whether he was carrying a rifle or a shotgun. He shot one security guard and then two other security guards returned fire, wounding the shooter.

The gunman has been identified as James Von Brunn, a man with apparent links to the white supremacist movement. Von Brunn was president of his college fraternity, SAE. He served as PT-Boat captain, USNR, during WW2, earning 4-battle stars and a Commendation Ribbon. His early business career was in NYC as copywriter, art-director and film producer; later as a real-estate broker; and lastly as a writer-artist.

A security guard shot in an exchange of gunfire Wednesday at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has died of his injuries.
Museum officials identified the guard as 39-year-old Stephen T. Johns of Temple Hills, Md. Johns, a special police officer, was a six-year veteran of the museum. In an e-mail to the Associated Press, director Sara Bloomfield says he "died heroically in the line of duty."

What a sick act of an extremely sick individual. He was a racist of the worst sort and you have to wonder how he feels having non-whites working around the clock to keep him alive. Does he then refuse their help? Does his racism then become a barrier for him? Is his doctor an African-American? Perhaps his nurse is Jewish. If he gets any transfusions does he request "White Blood only please?" Sick, sick, sick, sick, sick!!!!!

Here's an update on that whole contest thing. Upon reading my second email the promotions people absoulutely understood how I could have been confused. She told me that if the contest hadn't had that clause in the rules she would have loved to award me the prize. She appreciated my honesty. Well maybe Karma will get me back. Either it will bring me bad Karma because I entered the sweep in the first place of good Karma for coming clean so quickly.

I also received a weird email today. I was notified I won the DVD "Air Bud" today. I always look to see how much something is worth and that's when I noticed that the contest had ended back in April. Now that wouldn't really be such a big suprise except it was a blog contest and usually they have quick turn arounds. Usually they tell you that you've won within about 48 hours and then give you 48-72 hours to respond. Not this time. I emailed her back to tell my mailing information. I know some people HATE, HATE, HATE, blog contests but I love them. You seem to have a better chance of winning them and you usually get your prize pretty quickly.

Here are the blog contests I entered:

Prize: Insignia 7.0-Megapixel Digital Camera and Rocketfish 2MP Autofocus Webcam.

Prize: Insignia 7.0-megapixel digital camera and Rocketfish 2MP Autofocus Webcam.

Prize: Four gift certificates for Haagen-Dazs Five Ice Cream and Tote Bag.

Prize: Creative Labs Vado pocket video camera.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Baby Killed By Mom's Boyfriend

murder Pictures, Images and Photos

It is a Mother's worse nightmare. Her baby was killed by the man she was dating. The boyfriend is being charged with rape and murder of the eight month old baby.

The 17 year old had a lengthy criminal history with arrests for possession of crack cocaine, possession of marijuana, obscenity, battery on a correctional officer, three counts of battery on a school teacher, three counts of theft, illegal carrying of a weapon and assault. I know some people would say, well you can't judge someone based on the criminal record but I think I would be very hesitant to bring entrust someone with an obvious anger problem with my child.

Officers were called to an apartment on Gary Court where an infant, Da-Von Lonzo, was unresponsive, Fortunato said. The baby was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead

Does this mean the Mom deserved what happened? Absolutely not. The child did not deserve this. What we do have to ask is why this young man was not either receiving some kind of treatment for what's wrong with him and/or why is he not incarcerated? I realize I'm much older than my husband but MY GOD he wasn't a seventeen year old KID when I was dating him. He was a grown man with a Master's Degree in Engineering so he wasn't some babe in the woods.

After an autopsy on the child, the Coroner’s Office classified the infant’s death as a homicide, following evidence that the child had fractures consistent from a beating, Fortunato said.

A 17-year-old man, Arnold Ross, Terrytown, who claimed to be the boyfriend of Lonzo’s 34-year-old mother, told detectives that the infant fell down the stairs, Fortunato said.

After questioning by detectives, Ross admitted to beating the child. The child began “defecating on himself,” at which point Ross stuck his finger in the child’s rectum to try and clean him, deputies said.

Today there was no new word from the sponsors so I'm figuring they've read my new email and it's all cleared up. Most of the rest of the day was spent running errands. We got my tire plugged and we worked more on the garden.

Today I received Season 4 of the Hills. I won it but Darryl says I need to give it away in a blog contest. He's always wanting to giveaway everything I win.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Michael's Home

:) Pictures, Images and Photos

Today was a day filled with surprises and happenings. To begin with Darryl took me to eat at the Fruit Jar Restaurant. We've both talked about going there for awhile but just never made it. When Darryl sold the tub he had a little money and took me out to eat.

I'm telling you that was "GOOD Eatin'" They have an all you can eat bean bar with corn bread that toes with your meal. I honestly could have made a meal just out of that. They had butter beans, ranch beans (basically chili) and black-eye peas. I just love that with corn bread. I ate so much I couldn't eat my HUGE meal. I actually wound up taking that home. My stomach was actually hurting from eating so much.

Then when we arrived home there was a strange car in our driveway headed down the road then suddenly it swerved off into our front lawn and as we pulled in to block them in it did some big circle in the front lawn.

Darryl screamed "Call 911. Call 911." He got out of his car to confront the driver who was now headed away from us. That's when we found out it was Michael and his friend in a rental car. I had to apologize to 911. We didn't get to see him the day I was supposed to see him so we didn't know what car he was driving and he hadn't called us to let us know he was coming. After having had our home robbed twice we were sick and tired of it.

Mike didn't have a cell phone because he had it turned off before he went to Iraq. I had called his girlfriend's phone but I never heard back. I had assumed she never told him or she had and they were just so busy in love that he just didn't call back. It turns out that they broke up and there was no way to get in touch with him.

We took Michael and his friend to bumper car/miniature golf course. We were told we couldn't rent bumper cars because I was in flip flops and so was Mike's friend. After we left there a driver signaled to us that our tire was almost flat. Turned out that we had THREE nails in the darn thing.

When we got home Darryl and the boys went to see Hangover. They liked it but I didn't feel like going. Darryl felt extra generous and took us all to Hooters to eat.

Just before Michael left he gave me a stuffed white tiger. It really meant a lot to me that he did that. Then he and his friend were off to Alabama and then Michael is off to visit his brother in Virginia.

Now about that crazy win that shouldn't be. As I said I had entered it without reading the rules. The email notifying me that I was the winner asked me straight up if I was able to travel on certain dates but also asked me about the specific item which is not about my age but about my profession. As I said, the same company had almost exactly the same contest going that didn't have that little qualifier. I hadn't read the rules and I had entered. I responded honestly to the email and funny enough they must not have read my email. They emailed me back and asked me for proof that my profession was the correct profession. Now let me tell you that is CRAZY.

If I answer you saying No I'm not an Anthropologist or NO I'm not a diesel mechanic then how in the heck would I be able to send you proof that I was something that I wasn't? Obviously I was wrong to enter and I'm certain that there would be people who would excoriate me for having done just that. The problem was initially my fault but I figured I cleared it up by saying hey this is not my profession and figured they were on to select the correct winner. Now they aren't reading what I sent them. OH MY.

I of course wrote them back a big long detailed email showing them the link to the sweep I thought this was and how I messed up and explained again that I now understood that this was similar but not the same. Hopefully it's all cleared up now.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Read The Rules Dummy

Here's my predicament. Yesterday I received an email that normally I would welcome. It was to tell me that I was the GRAND PRIZE winner for a trip. I can't say much about it because people will look at it and say why did she enter that? Here's the problem. This one company was running two contests with virtually the same prize. There was one significant difference but if you hadn't read the notes in OLS notes or the RULES you wouldn't have really realized the difference. I have a horrible habit of not reading the entire rules before entering. Basically if it's a sweep and all I have to do is submit my address and all I enter it by hitting robo form and moving on.

If I'm too old I'll be kicked off. For example earlier today I entered a sweep and it said, "Sorry you don't meet age requirements." That's when I realized I was too old. Entering sweeps for me is basically mindless with a click, click, and enter. I look to see what they are giving away and then I decide whether or not I'm going to enter.

Well I received an email congratulating me for being the grand prize winner. I was just so excited until I read on further into the letter and then i realized that there was a difference in the two contests and the one I entered I am not eligible for. On OLS people would give me grief saying, "Why didn't you read the rules? Why did you put in for a contest you weren't eligible for?" The fact is I didn't lie to enter. The screen looked the same as the other one and it was simply a straight up robo form. click, click, enter.

I know that the sponsor has ever right to say, no you can't have this prize and I certainly won't fight that decision. They are right and my big poopy head should really read rules more. Saying that doesn't mean that I will.

The sponsor asked me two questions and I was honest about both answers so I expect that they will say "You are not a winner." I feel like a big, big, dummy. Too bad because it would be a really great trip and one I could take my husband on. Oh well. You win some you lose some.

Today I videoed my birdies and they looked pretty awake and aware. Later in the day I went outside and one of my birdies was gone. He flew away. Later in the day my other birdies left the nest. I will miss them. So that episode is over.

Well here are the blog contests I did win. Very feew rules to read with blog contests.

Prizes (2): Giant fortune cookie with customized message from Giant Fortune Cookies.

Prize: One-year supply of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and 50-box donation to Feeding America.

Prize: HP Mini Vivienne Tam Edition laptop.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Today's The Day

winner Pictures, Images and Photos

Today's the day I can finally annouce what I won. I know one of my fellow Peach Sweepers checks my blog. I want to post it there but then again I want to be able to tell everyone about my Hall of Fame win so I will post it here and some people will know ahead of time.

Congratulations to Catherine C. from Cartersville, GA! She is the Grand Prize winner of the STOVE TOP Dinner Challenge! Catherine put together a quick and delicious weeknight recipe to warm up her family for less than $10 and won a trip to BlogHer '09 plus a $1,000 grocery gift card. I am so thrilled

Well another person left my website but at least she was very nice so I didn't boo hoo. Here's what she said:

Sorry, but I need to unsubscribe from your newsletter. I couldn't find a
place on the site to do it. You do a great job, but I just have too many
e-mails right now. It worked out fine because I got eight more people sign up for membership.

Today I made a video that I hope to put on ThriftyMaven on Sunday about how your can save money by getting your hair cut at a beauty school. The guy who cut my hair today did a GREAT job. I was really happy with it.

Here are the blog contests I entered today:

Prize: Father's Day Fortune Cookie (ARV $29.95)

Prize: JVC Everio GZ-MG 630 camcorder (ARV $429.95).

Prize: JVC Everio GZ-MG 630 camcorder (ARV $429.95).

Prize: 100 personalized fortune cookies in choice of flavor from Fancy Fortune Cookies.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Actor David Carradine Dead

When I was in my tween one of the most popular shows out there was Kung Fu. It was all the rage among my classmates who swore they either held a black belt or were working towards one. Personally I never watched an episode of Kung Fu. This did not mean I didn't know who David Carradine was.

Today Carradine was found dead in his room at the Park Nai Lert Hotel in Junfan Mulay, Bangkok, Thailand. The initial police investigation indicated that Carradine had hanged himself using a cord of the type which is used with curtains. Circumstances suggested that the death was a suicide. He was a lifetime supporter of the Save the Lemur Campaign. He was 72.

Well tomorrow is a big announcement about a great win. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this win. I truly am thrilled.

Another thing to be thrilled about is my Victory Garden. I was going to water it this morning but it looked like it had sprinkled at the sky was overcast. Still I decided to check on my garden anyway. I couldn't believe it. I noticed something new on one of my plants. A PEPPER. I can hardly believe it. Peppers are actually coming out on some of my plants. It's just so hard for me to believe. Me the same person who used to kill every plant I ever owned.

ThriftyMaven is still growing. Tuesday six more people subscribed. Yesterday three more people subscribed. I'm also beginning to get more comments without asking for them in a contest.

Here are the blog contests I entered today:

Prize: Exergen TemporalScanner.

Prize: Flip Mino Digital Camera (ARV $179).

Prize: Aqua Sweetheart apron from Carolyn's Kitchen.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


brooke blog Pictures, Images and Photos

I'm a little upset about an incident that happened on ThriftyMaven. Here's the deal. I woke up and began to post content to my site. Right away I noticed a comment. I thought it was a comment for the contest I'm running. No!!!!! It was a comment, obviously by someone who works with Pick Up Stix.

You see I had posted a link to their website for a coupon that featured a FREE entree NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. So far so good. I do not post things unless I've checked them out because I don't want to post fraudulent information to my readers. What bothered me about this post was that the gentleman said I was basically posting a fraudulent coupon. This would not be true. I posted a link to his site, for a coupon ON HIS Site that was for the FREE entree.

Obviously one of several things happened. I think it was a person who did a poor job of proofreading. Usually this company has buy one get one free coupons. So it could be that the proofreader didn't read the coupon very well. That I would understand. The company could have written me and said that there was a mistake on their end and they weren't going to honor it. Instead they made it sound as if I manufactured this coupon. Wow I must be the MASTER coupon forger. That's because not only did I change the information on the coupon but I must have also HACKED their site. NO STINKING WAY!!!!

The coupon was listed on their site. There was no fraud on my end. They realized their mistaken and they had the nerve to write me and many other bloggers about this making it seem as though we didn't care enough about our readers to research things and wonder whether they can truly what we trust them.

On June 5th I will have a big announcement. I really want to say something but I can't. All I can say is that I'm so very excited.

Before I close I would be amiss if I didn't tell you that tommorrow is Wingsday from Hooters and you can get a FREE rootbeer float from Sonics.

Here are the blog contests I entered today:

Prizes (5): $25 Domino’s gift card.