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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

For the love of Iris...

I did it! I finally finished the iris bed after four days of stuffing clay under my fingernails. Sorry about the quality of the video... a storm is moving in and it is getting dark. You can't really see all the irises, just the big ones, but you can see it's quite a good-sized area. Thank goodness for the rainy weather that gave me a little break. The first two days I worked on it for several hours and the third day my legs cramped!

The stepping stones lead to the 'sitting' rock area. The rock came from down by the creek. I had to roll it in place with the tractor because it's too big to pick up. It directly faces the round pen, so Hubby can sit and watch while I work the horses. Some day the plum tree will provide nice shade for the rock. I spaced the stepping stones with little feet in mind. Big people can just skip some steps.

The small section of picket fence is something I repurposed. A relative brought over a load of stuff to burn and I salvaged half the stuff! This was part of an old gate that was falling apart. I reattached the pickets,spacing them closer together, and wired it up against the electric transformer cover. It looks much nicer than the big green box. Eventually, I'll put sections around the sides too.

This bed will connect with one at the other end of the driveway that runs along the side of the house. I'm shooting for a low-to-no-maintenance landscape. Yeah, there's some weeds to pull, but I lay out my gardens and design the edges so that there's no trimming - just curves that I can mow with the lawn tractor.

Well, since this bed is done, it's on to the big bed out front! UGH!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

little pile of sticks

Since we're heating with wood now, we've had another load of logs delivered. Hopefully this will do us for a couple of years. Trouble is figuring out where to stack it all when we get it cut! Oh, and getting the first log off the top of the pile...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

You're only as old as you feel...

...so I must be ninety-nine! I'm trying to get all my iris bulbs back in the ground in the new flower bed. I worked on it Monday and Tuesday for several hours. I could hardly walk Wednesday! The back of my legs cramped from getting up and down. I spent several hours out there tonight, so I'm worried about how I'm going to feel in the morning. I got to thinking earlier - I have forty-seven more years left if I live as long as my grandmother! Now I understand why she was getting so desperate to go to heaven. I can't imagine living forty-seven more years. I used to say I want to live to be one hundred. Now I know I don't.

Monday, March 23, 2009

long day

I traded my old car for some work. This guy's a handy-man and is not afraid of work! It wore me out just watching! Anyway, one of the jobs I had him do was to dig up all my Japanese blood grass (that was getting out of hand) and all the irises in the rear bed. What was I thinking? Yes, it saved me a lot of hard work, but now I've got to put it all back in the ground! So I've got this huge area of irises waiting to be replanted. I got about a third of it done today. My back hurts. I think I have blisters on my toes!

Four years ago I bought 3 small pots of blood grass. I divided each pot into 2 or 3 plants. I didn't know how fast it would spread. Now I have enough of the grass to cover my dining room floor! That's a lot of digging. I think I'll turn in early tonight.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

craigs list

I'm a newbie, but totally won over! I got a new (to me) vehicle to replace two old vehicles. I needed to sell them, so last night I went on craigs list. I'd heard it was the way to go... Yeah, baby!

I placed an ad at about 3am last night. I got the first call at 9am! Mr Moron. My add said $5k and call after 10am. He wanted to know if I'd take 2500. No. "Well, I don't know what to offer." Um, something closer to my asking price? He hasn't seen it. He wants to do the deal backwards? It's clear he has no money and may have been drinking.

The last call I got for it was at dinner time. The guy had written the number down this morning and didn't know the ad had been deleted because I had already sold it! Oh yeah, I sold the other one too.

48 hours...

It started Wednesday afternoon actually, but I got on the roller coaster forty-eight hours ago...

I got a letter in the mail from a local car lot. They were having a special liquidation event and offered me some free prizes (at least two guaranteed)just for stopping by. I was supposed to call a number to verify my prize first. I thought, "What the heck, for a change I'm not busy." I looked at the prize list and decided I would win the $1000 scratch off ticket and the $5000 gas scratch off ticket. But there was a good chance I could win the 3-day - 2-night vacation of a lifetime! I concluded from the small print that the hotel room was perhaps in Florida and would sure help if I have to take Mom down again.

Upon calling the 800 number, I was promised a minimum of three prizes! Yea! Two scratch off tickets and two nights paid for my hotel when I visit my family. I set a time for Thursday afternoon to stop in. I told Hubby I was just going to stop in, pick up my prizes and come home. Then I got to thinking...

I've been driving my Tahoe for ten years. It's getting harder and harder for my mother to get it in when I have to take her shopping and to the doctor. Besides, I can't fit all my granddaughters in if Hubby comes along. Last year we bought a '92 Lincoln Town Car for those very two reason. But the Lincoln had a laundry list of 'quirks': Heat only comes out vents, AC doesn't work, radio?- sometimes, two windows off track, flat tire... You get the picture. Last year the Tahoe AC got warm. I put it off. Over the winter the windshield was cracked by a well-meaning soul trying to clear the ice off for me. Mind you, I'm also paying for license and insurance for two vehicles now, neither of which is 100%.

I arrived at the lot to find balloons dotting the air and people everywhere! Evidently they sent other letters out. I found a place to park and went in. I told the salesman my predicament. I would love to find a gently-used vehicle in my budget (next to nothing) that is not to low to the ground, not to high for Mom, will seat six, has cargo room for two hundred pounds of horse feed and the AC works. He walked me over to the car that is now in my driveway. Well, it might have been the one with the leather interior - I'm not sure. I looked at a couple of other models, but came back to that one. I told him I'd drive it. Now comes the hard part...

I am extremely particular about the seat. My Tahoe is the only vehicle we own that I can ride a long way in and not get achy. This car was almost as comfy as... I can't believe I never gave it a name. Anyway, I was impressed. It was quiet, smooth, lots of sweet things (grands love the DVD player) and he said it was a really good deal...

I pulled into the lot and pulled out my cell. "Hubby, come down here. I want you to look at a car." Wonder what his face looked like. He does trust me that I make sound decisions when it comes to our finances. So he came down, rode with me and loved it. He agreed it was time for me and the Tahoe to part ways. :(

Anyone that knows me well knows this; I am not a fool. First of all, I am extremely frugal. And, when it comes to large purchases, I do the research and read every word on the documents - I'm a stickler for accuracy. Drives loan officers crazy! I probably hold the Guinness record for longest mortgage closing.

Man #1 (that showed me to the car) scribbles down some numbers. I say no. He scribbles more. I say maybe. He walks away. Man #2 comes back with him. He shows me more numbers. I say (in a nice way), "I said what I said. That's what I want. It's all I can do. Take it or leave it." Man #2 scribbles more, then leaves. Man #1 and I talk. He scribbles more. I'm getting tired. Hubby is hungry. Almost three hours after I had arrived (seriously) I'm sitting at the owner's desk. Everything was hammered out and it was time for ink. I was getting six-k for the Tahoe and I had a coupon (forgot to mention - came in the letter) for another two-k. It was a good deal.

Hubby's really hungry, and if you know him, this is not a good thing. I quickly scanned the documents, signed by the ink dots and thought, "What have I done? I miss (no name) already!" This brings us to forty-eight hours ago...

It was getting late, and I was getting nervous. I haven't had a car payment in years and, although this was a rather small one, it was a big deal to me. I got the documents out and started reading... Where's the two-k? It's not even in the numbers. That was the biggest regret on the paperwork; there were more small ones. I felt mad at myself. I can't believe I signed this without noticing this stuff! Oh well, I'll blame it on old age and Hubby's stomach. I'll still call them in the morning. You see, I still have the title for the Tahoe and the one thousand dollar check I promised them. It's called leverage.

Hubby is a morning person, so he went to bed. I'm just starting the climb up the first hill...

I'm a night owl. When everyone else goes to sleep, I surf, I blog, I catch up on e-mail. This night I visit kellybluebook.com. Big mistake. I wasn't sure of my exact model and didn't want to dig out the VIN, but punching in my limited date, the results sickened me! Literally! It's how I handle stress... nausea, stomach pains, sweat, headache. The retail book value of the new thing was what I paid. Only they had no-name! I almost woke up Hubby. You know how you feel when you wake up in the middle of the night from a horrific dream? You want to talk to someone so you can scrape it out of your insides. I cried. I felt like such a stupid fool. It was worse than death! It was the worst mistake anyone on earth has ever made!
And it was soon three a.m. I wanted to be there first thing in the morning. I was suicidal. Well, maybe not.

Morning came and the world did not end. I jumped out of bed at eight-fifty! That's a special event in itself. After brushing my teeth and getting dressed, I surprised Hubby in the living room. I had my purse and keys. "Do you want to go with me?"

"Where are you going?" he asked. "To get my Tahoe back! I'll explain on the way."

From the driveway to the car lot, I filled Hubby in on what had transpired while he had slept. I blubbered and chastised myself. Hubby exhibited his greatest virtue; he was compassionate and told me not to worry about it. Didn't help.

I walked to the desk and the owner asked, "How are you today?" (Here come the tears.) "Not at all well! I didn't sleep last night. I'm sick about this deal..." I went on to explain the whole story to her. She was not part of the 'deal'. She went to talk to them.

Man #2 comes in. "You're not happy? I told you I want you to be happy..." We talk. The lady prints out new paperwork. Same numbers. I leave in my new car. Hubby follows me home in the Tahoe. The coaster glides into the station...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

idiotic ridiculous system...IRS

Something needs to be done now! Tonight I will be composing my next letter to my congressmen! I've been doing my own taxes since I was 18 years old. It's not rocket science... No, rocket science is logical. There are some people in the world that actually understand rocket science. I don't of anyone that understands our tax system.

Last year I filed a joint return. This year I'm filing a separate return. I wondered, should I prorate our state refund for each of us, or do I need to report the entire amount under one social security number? What about other joint income / expense? Simple question, I thought...

I called the IRS; go straight to the source, right? After listening the the music long enough to become drowsy, I finally got to talk to someone whose job it was to put me on hold. Apparently she didn't understand my question. I held for the wrong department, I explained my situation, I held some more, I explained my situation again... After finally reaching the correct department for my very difficult question, I was once again put on hold while the agent researched the tax laws. Maybe I should have googled my question.

When the agent finally returned, he was no more informed than when he pushed the hold button. Again he had me hold while he asked someone else...

At this point, well maybe before this point, I wondered what the criteria was for landing one of these IRS jobs. Ability to speak on the phone and read? Evidently, tax experts only work in law offices.

After consulting the tax law documents and the guy at the next desk, the agent determined I should probably prorate the amounts, or however I wanted to do it. Gee, I'm glad I called and got this cleared up!

I am still in shock that my question was considered difficult. I have such a simple tax situation, really. Yes, I itemize. But aside from the 1040 & Schedule A, I don't require any other forms. Should I have to pay someone several hundred dollars to answer that one question? I believe that the average citizen should be able to complete their income tax forms without assistance. I wish I didn't have the option of filing jointly or separately. I feel that itself is unfair - that we have to take the time to figure our returns both ways to see which one is better for us.

I'm thinking about just paying the extra taxes to simplify the process and not have to worry about kicking up an audit. If our current system is so confusing that the people explaining it to us don't understand it, isn't it time we ripped it up and started over?

Monday, March 16, 2009


After the disappointing production titled Polynesian Fire, Kim and I were very much looking forward to seeing Camelot! My life has become so routine and home-centered that I especially enjoy the six times a year we spent at LaComedia. I wish my budget would allow for season tickets at all the area’s theatres. No screen play could ever compete with live theatre, with the exception of Polynesian Fire. (I’ve seen better costuming at pre-school productions.)

Last night’s performance did not let me down. The show was fast-paced and highly entertaining. The actors were right on cue and polished. The costumes were fabulous! If I had lived during the period, I would have felt blessed to have the wardrobe of Queen Guinevere. The fabrics were lush and well fitted. Everything from the lighting to the sound was well produced.

The story was bitter-sweet and thought provoking, though spotted with humor. The leads were well chosen. I’m not one to care much about physical appearances, but I hate it when the handsome stranger is an actor of less than ordinary looks. The actor that played King Arthur was nice looking and Sir Lancelot, was just handsomer enough to steal away the flawless queen.

Our table was almost dead center and the third level up – perfect. Sadly there were many empty tables. Since I feel this production should be a good draw, I fear the economic crisis is strongly impacting the world of performing arts. Although, for the money, LaComedia is a very good bargain. And with all the people out there worrying about their jobs and the market, who wouldn’t want to be swept away, if just for a few hours, to a land where it never rains before sundown?

Friday, March 13, 2009

what's in a name

Here's something fun I thought I'd share with you...

I started a new group on Facebook. It's only for people with my name. So far I have 8! We live from CA to London, and range in age from teens up to grammas. While trying to get my sites set up, I ended up on a google search page and there was a video of 'me' taking my first steps! Cute kid. Then there was 'me' listed as some specialist in chemistry & toxins. I had never 'googled' myself before. Turns out I'm everywhere!

That gave me the idea. I found a whole bunch of 'mes' on Facebook and sent them all friend invites (except the exotic looking one). I mentioned to one that maybe we should start a group and she said it sounded like fun, so... Anyway, I posted the first group discussion today - how I got the name.

My plan for the group is to learn of all the achievements and adventures our name has experienced. Maybe I'm already famous!

woe is me

My laptop is ailing. Now that I've got my sites set up, I need to turn my focus to getting my pc healthy. I've tried restore points... It all started when I tried to install a program that was extremely large. I uninstalled it, but didn't realize the extent of the problems until after some time passed and that restore point was deleted. Of course, I can't say for certain that was the cause of all this, but I thought the restore points went farther back. So now my mail hangs up almost everytime I get on and the sync program flat doesn't work, despite reinstalling it more than once. My money program quits running in the background frequently for no reason. Just stuff like that. I hate to go back to square one and reload everything. But I can't seem to find the reason for the glitches. Any ideas would be welcome.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Up and running... almost!

Well, I guess I'm still a quick learner. I've finally got my blog on my own domain name! Yea me! You ask why I am still on blogspot? Ah, my dears... one can never have too many web pages.

This blog is where I will take out my frustrations with technical computer stuff. I will also use this page to display the blogs I am following. (As if someone really cares.)

Check out the links on this page to get to my other blog sites, or visit me at http://www.lilyrobinson.com/ or http://www.lillianrobinson.com/ If you like what you read, become my follower!

my remarkable hand

Today started out typical, until I heard the BOOM! Well, come to think of it, that was pretty normal too. My mother-in-law fell again. She gets very impatient and forgets she can’t always walk. While trying to make it 4 feet to her stash of peppermints, she fell and hit the back of her head on something and got a nasty cut. Hubby called me to help. That’s when I found her sitting in the floor with the back of her head wet with blood.

After locating the source of the bleeding, I held the heel of my hand firmly against it while she sat pleading with me to have Hubby and my father-in-law pick her up. With both of them having previous back surgeries, she had no choice but to wait on the ambulance. Besides, she hit hard enough that perhaps we shouldn’t be moving her around…

The ambulance crew arrived (a few familiar faces) and carried her off to the local emergency room. After the CT scan showed no problem and she got a couple of souvenir staples in the back of her head, Hubby brought her back home.

During this ordeal I got a message from my daughter. It seems Grand #3 was running a temp of 104 and shaking! Her preschool called Mommy and Daddy at work. Daddy was on his way to pick her up and take her to the doctor. I was going to be in Middletown anyway for the choir concert (Grand #1), so I would get to see her and give her a dose of Nana!

I drove Dani home after the concert to find Grace still running a fever. Her body was like a hot roll right out of the oven. She crawled into my lap and wanted to give me one of her sqeezy hugs. She wrapped around me and laid her head on my shoulder. I put one arm around her and my other hand to the back of her head and rocked her as I always do when she’s feeling lousy…

It dawned on me that the hand that applied pressure against the wound of the seventy-seven-year-old woman in the floor was now the hand that cradled and comforted the four-year-old with the fever. I stopped typing just now to gaze at that hand… that hand I take for granted every day. It’s remarkable. My God is so amazing!

the saga continues...

Theoretically, my issue with using my private domain name has been resolved... we'll see. Apparently, I was trying to make it harder than it really was to set-up the link. Shocking!

My future plans (when I'm a famous published author) are to have several separate blogs for different areas of my life. e.g. one or more for those projects I'm continuously embarking on; maybe one on my development as a country girl with critters; of course I'll have one for my fans to learn more about my background and private life (stop giggling); there'll be at least one on my adventures as Nana - maybe branching out as the family grows...

At some future date, I'll most likely have my domains hosted elsewhere, where I can customize my pages exactly to my liking. Maybe then I'll have to add another blog titled 'my frustration in moving my blogs!'