Saturday, January 07, 2006

Petition to Sign

Kicked to Death by Frank Aquino

We ask that 40 year old Frank Aquino, who is charged with aggravated animal cruelty, a felony, if convicted, be given the maximum penalty of up to two years jail time and a $5,000 fine, a small price to pay for taking life of a defenseless dog. Mr. Aquino is accused of viciously kicking Roxie, a 15 year old deaf and blind dog to death. Witnesses say that after Aquino kicked Roxi so hard in the stomach, she rolled several times and then staggered to a neighboring yard where she died under a tree. This is where her guardians found their beloved friend, whom they had raised since she was a puppy.

"To viciously kick a dog is beyond words," said one of them. "She was such a sweet animal. We'd come in the door and her tail would be wagging. Now she is gone, and in such a horrible way."

Being deaf and blind, Roxie couldn't hear or see to run from her attacker! Please click here to sign......

And send to everyone you know......what a sick coward.
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Happy Birthday to my Uncle Harry!!

Hope you have a wonderful day in that cold, frozen tundra that exists north of the Mason Dixon line :D

Friday, January 06, 2006

Where did .....

the Duffel bag get it's name?

Answer next week

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Twelve Days of Christmas

On the Twelvth day of Christmas my true love sent to me...
Twelve drummers drumming

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Eleven pipers piping
Ten lords-a-leaping
Nine ladies dancing
Eight maids a-milking
Seven swans a-swimming
Six geese a-laying
Five gold rings
Four calling birds
Three french hens
Two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree

And thus ends the twelve days of Christmas and the Christmas posts. I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did presenting them to you.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Twelve Days of Christmas

On the Eleventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me...
Eleven pipers piping

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Ten lords-a-leaping
Nine ladies dancing
Eight maids a-milking
Seven swans a-swimming
Six geese a-laying
Five gold rings
Four calling birds
Three french hens
Two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Will You Be Allowed to Cross the Bridge?

There is an Indian legend which says:

"when a human dies, there is a bridge they must cross to enter into heaven. At the head of this bridge awaits every animal the human encountered during their lifetime...The animals, based upon what they know of this person, decide which humans may cross the bridge...and which are turned away"

The Twelve Days of Christmas

On the Tenth day of Christmas my true love sent to me...
Ten lords-a-leaping

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Nine ladies dancing
Eight maids a-milking
Seven swans a-swimming
Six geese a-laying
Five gold rings
Four calling birds
Three french hens
Two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree

1. Open a new file in your PC.
2. Name it "Housework."
3. Send it to the RECYCLE BIN
4. Empty the RECYCLE BIN
5. Your PC will ask you, "Are you sure you want to delete Housework permanently?"
6. Answer calmly, "Yes," and press the mouse button firmly...
7. Feel better?

Works for me !!!
When dressing up for a masquerade, disguise the limit.

Monday, January 02, 2006

The Twelve Days of Christmas

On the Ninth day of Christmas my true love sent to me...
Nine ladies dancing

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Eight maids a-milking
Seven swans a-swimming
Six geese a-laying
Five gold rings
Four calling birds
Three french hens
Two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree
Back to Work

Well, I've been on vacation since the weekend before Christmas. Tomorrow I return to work and I'm not looking forward to it.

I've posted several times about the deferred retirement option (DROP) that members of the Florida Retirement System have. I had planned to take advantage of this option, but over the last few months I've been reconsidering. I couldn't understand why anyone would not want to take advantange of the DROP option, but now I'm beginning to see it. I don't enjoy going to work any more. Things have been going on that have taken alot of the pleasure out of it. Some of the fault lies at my door and I own that responsibility, but there is a lot going on that all I can do is react. There's no place where I can be proactive in some of these problems.

I still have to work for nineteen months and 29 days to get my full retirement. I can hang on that long, I have no choice. Luckily, there are some options I can pursue which might make things more bearable. Maybe I just need a change of scenery.

Nineteen months, 29 days. But who's counting?
Adventures in Re-financing a Mortgage

The Monday before Thanksgiving, the transmission on my van gave up the ghost. I was on my way home from work and the van decided that was the moment. Luckily, there was just enough life left to get off a main street onto a less main street in downtown Bradenton.

I got it towed home, took the next day off from work, because being shuch short notice I had no way to get to work. We had already planned on renting a car to go to Melbourne for Thanksgiving, so that was just a metter of moving the pickup time from afternoon to morning. I was late getting to work, but was able to arrange that. My Other Half had already had the van towed to a local shop for diagnosis and repair. I won't name the shop, but it is a national chain.

This being a long holiday weekend, was not a good time to have car trouble. The person who would do the work wouldn't be in until Monday. The repair work was going to be about $3,000. I nearly passed out. We don't have that kind of money laying around. And, as it turned out, they wouldn't start the work until they knew we could pay for it. Understandable. They offered a loan, but as it turned out, we didn't qualify.

When my brain finally cleared, I realized that if we could re-finance the mortgage, it might be the answer to several problems, the most pressing being getting the van fixed. So, I went on Lending Tree and entered all the required information. Lending Tree says that you will get at least four offers within hours. Well, I got 12 right off the bat and more the next day. The next day, I was fielding calls from people who wanted to give us money! Well, in exchange for the deed to the house and monthly payments, but you understand what I mean.

We live in a condo. All of the units in this complex are exactly alike. And I mean the same floor plan. Individual owners may have taken up carpet and replaced it with tile, or made other cosmetic changes like that, but the design is the same in every condo. I recently saw that a unit across from us was for sale. I checked it out on the realtor's site and started doing mental backflips! It was selling for nearly three times what we paid four years ago! Now, this was an end unit, meaning that they have a condo on one side and a common grassy area on the other side. They also back up to the end of the propery, so while there is an apartment complex behind them, there are no condos behind. Because we have condos all around us, we figured we could get about $10,000 less.

I had never re-fied before and had no idea what our condo was worth. I only knew what the condo across was selling for (but hadn't sold), not what either was appraised at. I told everyone who called about the condo across and everyone seemed to think that I was correct in "assuming" that since it was selling for (but hadn't yet sold - I was sure to mention that) this amount, we should be able to appraise at close to this figure.

We settled on a mortgage lender and arranged for an appraisal the next week. I was right in figuring that our condo would appraise at about $10,000 less than the end unit across the parking lot. Happy days! So far, so good.

We got a lower interest rate than we were paying (down a full one and a quarter points), a 15-year fixed mortgage (down from a 30-year fixed - wouldn't have anything but a fixed), we rolled all our credit card debt into the mortgage and came out paying less than we were before. I had intended to roll the car loan into the mortgage but there was a misunderstanding and it didn't get in. That's okay, I'll know better next time we do this. We even got cash out! And, we still have enough equity that we aren't paying PMI! Yay! Another plus!

We arranged to close the loan on the 15th, but the closing was changed and we signed the papers on the 13th. Our mortgage banker told us that we would get our checks on Monday (the delay was the 72-hour change of mind clause thingy). Now, here is where you need to pay attention. My friend Tina, who happens to bank at the same bank we do, ran into a problem when she re-fied a couple of years ago. Deposited money in excess of $5,000 would be held for ten working days.Tina said it had to do with The Patriot Act, and large sums of money laundered to support terrorist groups. I hit the roof and called the bank. Turns out Tina was wrong, or the time length had changed, it was now eleven days. I would have access to the first $5,000, but the amount over that would be held. Now, if you are like me, I took exception to this. That's my money, I want it NOW!

I know that terrorist can re-fi a mortgage to get money finance a terror cell, but neither my husband nor I have any ties to any terrorist organizations. That's not how the lady at the bank explained it to me, but it makes more sense than what she said. If this is what came out of the Patriot Act, then it's assuming that everyone is guilty of aiding terror groups without any proof. I don't like that. Let me have my money then prove that I used it illegally. That makes more sense, and would make more sense from a law enforcment point of view. It would be good, solid evidence to build a case on.

Well, there is away around it and this came from the lady at the bank. Have the money wire-transferred into your bank account. It cost $50 out of our proceeds to do it, but we got the money. Well, eventually.

Now we come to the glitch. The money was to be wired into our bank account on Monday. I watched for it all day Monday and into Tuesday morning (thank goodness for electronic banking!). It never showed. We were told that it might not be transferred until late Monday, so I didn't panic until Tueday morning. I had paid the bill on the van, a couple of other bills, and bought groceries. It was the van bill that I was concerned about! The rest we had money for. I called our mortgage representative around 11:00 am to see what the problem was. Turned out, the lady who handles wire transfers and disbursement of funds at the title company was out sick and the lady who took over for her didn't read (or maybe didn't see) the instructions to wire the money and sent a check instead. This is what we were trying to avoid! Anyway, it was straigthened out with a phone call from the mortgage company to the title company. The money was transferred, but we would also get a check in that amount. We were asked to void the check and mail it back to the title company. This has been done - gladly. The title company overnighted checks to pay the credit card companies. I could have allowed them to pay them directly, but I wanted the pleasure of mailing the checks myself. It was a very nice feeling to put those checks in the mail, by the way.

We have our money, a new mortgagewith a lower interest rate and a shorter term, the van has been fixed (although that took three weeks of car rentals which ate into our profits from the re-fi and is a whole 'nother matter) and paid for, the credit card debt is paid in full, our bills are up to date, we're saving almost $500 a month over what we were paying out and we don't have to make a mortgage payment in January. Whoo-hoo!

We have several things planned that we want to do with the profits. My other half is getting his van fixed (depending on how much it will ultimately cost), we're both getting new glasses (at our ages, this can be expensive!), the dishwasher and garbage disposal are being replaced, and maybe the hot water heater. That's a little farther down on the priority list, because it "seems" to be okay right now. But considering it's age, and since we have the money, it might be prudent to replace it now.

And Christmas shopping was a pleasure this year. We didn't go overboard, but we did actually buy each other real gifts this year, and not stuff that we need, we got things we wanted. My other half is getting a new monitor for his computer.

No, we're not rich, and it will take a couple of months to adjust to the new mortgage, but, I feel better than I have in months. It's true, money won't buy happiness, but it will sure allow you to sleep a little easier. 2006 should be a better year for us financially.

Note: If anyone is interested in re-financing their mortgage, I'll be happy to give you the information to reach our mortgage banker. Just send email requesting the information.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Tournament of Roses Parade

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Here is a link to the official website for the Tournament of Roses Parade. This year, the parade will be held on Monday, January 2. When I first saw this, I was sure someone had made a mistake, but January 2 is the correct date. I found out that there is a Never on Sunday tradition that dates back to the earliest days of the Parade.

The theme of the 117th Rose Parade is It's Magical. You can expect to see marching bands from across America, high-stepping equestrian units, and the beautiful floral floats that the Tournament is known for.

The Parade Parade starts at 8:00 am (PST) and is 2.5 hours long. The 5.5 mile route starts at Ellis Street and Orange Grove. If you are interested, the parade route continues north on Orange Grove, turns east on Colorado Blvd., then turns north on Sierra Madre and ends at Paloma Street.

In 1890, Valley Hunt Club members Dr. Francis Rowland and Prof. Charles Holder decided to celebrate California's mild winter and created a floral festival patterned after the "Battle of the Flowers in Nice, France. Originally, it was a modest procession of flower-covered carriages with games such as foot races, tug-of-war contests, and sack races in the afternoon and evolved over the years into the spectacular we see today.

Millions of people watch the Rose Parade on TV, including approximately 40 million Americans as well as viewers in 89 countries and territories around the world. The Pasedena Police Department estimates that approximately one million people attend the Parade every year. In addition, 80,000 people visited the Post Parade Float Viewing in the 2½ days following the Rose Parade.

The "Never on Sunday" tradition stems from an 1893 decision to avoid frightening horses tethered outside local churches and interferring with worship services. Only nine times in Parade history has it rained on New Years Day leading some some to ask whether Tournament officials had made a "special pact" with a "Friend Upstairs." Other collegiate bowl organizations have instituted similar policies to not have festivities on Sunday.

There are 935 active volunteers known as "white-suiters" who are members of 32 committees. The members spend more than 80,000 hours planing and executing the Tournament of Roses. Members live or work within a 15 mile radius of Pasadena City Hal and must be willing to devote the necessary time and energy to the Parade. The volunteers are responsible for a wide range of events and activities from selecting the Parade's participants, and directing visitors on the day of the Parade, to serving hamburgers to band members at the end of the Parade route and giving presentations to community groups about the Tournament.

In 2005, the Tournament was responsible for $370.3 million in total economic impact to Southern California.

The Rose Queen® and Rose Princesses have presided over the annual celebration each year since 1930. They serve as goodwill ambassadors for the Tournament of Roses Association by making social and media appearances. Hundreds of local young women, 17-21, participate every September in the selection process to become a member of the Royal Court. They are evaluated on a number of qualities including academic achievement, community involvment, public speaking ability, and, of course, poise.

A Traditional duty of the president of the Tournament is naming the Parade's Grand Marshall. Past Grand Marshalls have included actors, astronauts, writers, artists, athletes, and political figures. Dwight Eisenhower, Bob Hope, Kate Smith, Mary Pickford, Bob Newhart, Walt Disney, Shirley Temple Black, Angela Lansbury, Tom Brokaw and Bill Cosby are among those who have been so honored. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has been named Grand Marshall for 2006.
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The Rose Bowl Game will host the National Championship Game between the University of Southern California Trojans and the University of Texas Longhorns. The Bowl Game will be played in Pasadena on Wednesday, January 4 and will be broadcase live on ABC beginning at 5:00 pm PST.

The One Flaw In Women

The One Flaw In Women

By the time the Lord made woman,
He was into his sixth day of working overtime.
An angel appeared and said, "Why are you spending so
much time on this one?"
And the Lord answered, "Have you seen my spec sheet on her?
She has to be completely washable, but not plastic,
have over 200 movable parts, all replaceable
and able to run on diet coke and leftovers,
have a lap that can hold four children at one time,
have a kiss that can cure anything from a scraped knee
to a broken heart -and she will do everything with only two hands."

The angel was astounded at the requirements.
"Only two hands!? No way!
And that's just on the standard model?
That's too much work for one day.
Wait until tomorrow to finish."
"But I won't," the Lord protested.
"I am so close to finishing this creation that is so close to my own heart.
She already heals herself when she is sick AND can work 18 hour days."
The angel moved closer and touched the woman.
"But you have made her so soft, Lord."
"She is soft," the Lord agreed, "but I have also made her tough.
You have no idea what she can endure or accomplish."
"Will she be able to think?", asked the angel.
The Lord replied, "Not only will she be able to think,
she will be able to reason and negotiate."

The angel then noticed something, and reaching out,
touched the woman's cheek.
"Oops, it looks like you have a leak in this model.
I told you that you were trying to put too much into this one."
"That's not a leak," the Lord corrected, "that's a tear!"
"What's the tear for?" the angel asked.
The Lord said, "The tear is her way of expressing her joy,
her sorrow, her pain, her disappointment, her love,
her loneliness, her grief and her pride."
The angel was impressed.
"You are a genius, Lord.
You thought of everything!
Woman is truly amazing."

And she is!
Women have strengths that amaze men.
They bear hardships and they carry burdens,
but they hold happiness, love and joy.
They smile when they want to scream.
They sing when they want to cry.
They cry when they are happy
and laugh when they are nervous.
They fight for what they believe in.
They stand up to injustice.
They don't take "no" for an answer
when they believe there is a better solution.
They go without so their family can have.
They go to the doctor with a frightened friend.
They love unconditionally.
They cry when their children excel
and cheer when their friends get awards.
They are happy when they hear about a birth or a wedding.
Their hearts break when a friend dies.
They grieve at the loss of a family member,
yet they are strong when they think there is no strength left.
They know that a hug and a kiss can heal a broken heart.
Women come in all shapes, sizes and colors.
They'll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you
to show how much they care about you.
The heart of a woman is what makes the world keep turning.
They bring joy, hope and love.
They have compassion and ideals.
They give moral support to their family and friends.
Women have vital things to say and everything to give .

The Twelve Days of Christmas

On the Eighth day of Christmas my true love sent to me...
Eight maids a-milking

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Seven swans a-swimming
Six geese a-laying
Five gold rings
Four calling birds
Three french hens
Two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree
Starting the Year Off Right

I thought I'd start 2006 off with a review of the rules here in my Corner. There aren't many, and I reserve the right to modify, change, throw out, or add rules as I go along.

1. This is my blog, not yours. I choose what I want to write about. I express my opinion which may differ from yours. I have the right to disagree with you as you have the right to disagree with me.

2. You may state your disagreement in comments or in your own blog. If you leave a comment, you will be respectful. I will not condone the use of words I don't like. These are generally words that in another time would have gotten your mouth washed out with soap. Don't be foolish, you know the words I am referring to. You use those words and I will delete your comments without a second thought. That's my right as owner of this Corner.

3. You don't have the right to not be offended. Again, you may state your side in comments, and you may leave if you so choose. Don't call me names, don't call my parentage into question, and don't think you'll be missed if you decide to not come back. I'll delete your comments and forget you even commented. Don't just say I'm an idiot, ask where I went to college so that you won't send your kids there, and not explain why you question my intelligence. As far as I'm concerned, if you don't bother to tell me what the problem is, the problem is with you.

4. If I make a mistake, please feel free to point it out to me....respectfully. Please be able to prove to me that you are correct if I ask. If I am, and I'm to first to admit that I make mistakes, I'll be happy to either simply make a correction, or to write about my mistake in another post. I may or may not give you credit for the correction. It will depend on how you presented your correction and the context of the original mistake. And yes, my mood at the moment will play a part.

You might notice a theme here: Respect. I will show you respect if you show respect for me.

5. I hate the PC movement. As far as I am concerned, it's simply a form of censorship. As I stated above, when you are in my Corner, you don't have the right to be offended. I will never deliberately write something designed to be hateful, mean, or to hurt someone's feelings. I can't help how you react to what I write, only you can do that. If I offend you, then perhaps you would be happier reading another blog, or publishing your own.

6. I am a Christian. I don't apologize for it to anyone. I don't write much about religion simply because I haven't. If I publish a prayer I received in email, or publish a post on religion, and you don't want to read it, then either go on to the next post or leave. That's your right. You don't have to read everything I write. At Christmas time, I will say "Merry Christmas". I will not be offended if someone offers a "Happy Holiday" to me. If I am aware that you are not a Christian, I may offer a "Happy Holiday" to you instead of Merry Christmas. I don't care if someone wants to display a menorrah between a Nativity scene and a Christmas tree. If you insist on calling it a "holiday tree" instead of a "Christmas tree", that's your right. It's my right to say I think it's stupid if I so choose.

7. I am a government employee. Some people think that government employees are stupid, or too lazy to hold a job in the "real world". This may be true of a lot of government employees. I work with, or have worked with some of them. I am neither stupid nor lazy. I work hard at what I do. I assume you do too.

The bottom line is, when you come to my Corner, you have come into my online home. Behave.

Show respect. I don't think it's too much to ask.
New Year's Traditions

Auld Lang Syne

The most commonly sung song for English-speakers on New Year's eve, "Auld Lang Syne" is an old Scottish song that was first published by the poet Robert Burns in the 1796 edition of the book, Scots Musical Museum. Burns transcribed it (and made some refinements to the lyrics) after he heard it sung by an old man from the Ayrshire area of Scotland, Burns's homeland.

It is often remarked that "Auld Lang Syne" is one of the most popular songs that nobody knows the lyrics to. "Auld Lang Syne" literally translates as "old long since" and means "times gone by." The song asks whether old friends and times will be forgotten and promises to remember people of the past with fondness, "For auld lang syne, we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet."

The lesser known verses continue this theme, lamenting how friends who once used to "run about the braes,/ And pou'd the gowans fine" (run about the hills and pulled up the daisies) and "paidl'd in the burn/Frae morning sun till dine" (paddled in the stream from morning to dusk) have become divided by time and distance—"seas between us braid hae roar'd" (broad seas have roared between us). Yet there is always time for old friends to get together—if not in person then in memory—and "tak a right guid-willie waught" (a good-will drink).

But it was bandleader Guy Lombardo, and not Robert Burns, who popularized the song and turned it into a New Year's tradition. Lombardo first heard "Auld Lang Syne" in his hometown of London, Ontario, where it was sung by Scottish immigrants. When he and his brothers formed the famous dance band, Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, the song became one of their standards. Lombardo played the song at midnight at a New Year's eve party at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City in 1929, and a tradition was born. After that, Lombardo's version of the song was played every New Year's eve from the 1930s until 1976 at the Waldorf Astoria. In the first years it was broadcast on radio, and then on television. The song became such a New Year's tradition that "Life magazine wrote that if Lombardo failed to play 'Auld Lang Syne,' the American public would not believe that the new year had really arrived."

Hogmanay (Scotland)

The birthplace of "Auld Lang Syne" is also the home of Hogmanay (hog-mah-NAY), the rousing Scottish New Year's celebration (the origins of the name are obscure). One of the traditions is "first-footing." Shortly after midnight on New Year's eve, neighbors pay visits to each other and impart New Year's wishes. Traditionally, First foots used to bring along a gift of coal for the fire, or shortbread. It is considered especially lucky if a tall, dark, and handsome man is the first to enter your house after the new year is rung in. The Edinburgh Hogmanay celebration is the largest in the country, and consists of an all-night street party (visit their Hagmanay website here).

Oshogatsu (Japan)

The new year is the most important holiday in Japan, and is a symbol of renewal. In December, various Bonenkai or "forget-the-year parties" are held to bid farewell to the problems and concerns of the past year and prepare for a new beginning. Misunderstandings and grudges are forgiven and houses are scrubbed. At midnight on Dec. 31, Buddhist temples strike their gongs 108 times, in a effort to expel 108 types of human weakness. New Year's day itself is a day of joy and no work is to be done. Children receive otoshidamas, small gifts with money inside. Sending New Year's cards is a popular tradition—if postmarked by a certain date, the Japanese post office guarantees delivery of all New Year's cards on Jan. 1.


The Spanish ritual on New Year's eve is to eat twelve grapes at midnight. The tradition is meant to secure twelve happy months in the coming year.

The Netherlands

The Dutch burn bonfires of Christmas trees on the street and launch fireworks. The fires are meant to purge the old and welcome the new.


In Greece, New Year's day is also the Festival of St. Basil, one of the founders of the Greek Orthodox Church. One of the traditional foods served is Vassilopitta, or St Basil's cake. A silver or gold coin is baked inside the cake. Whoever finds the coin in their piece of cake will be especially lucky during the coming year.

United States

Probably the most famous tradition in the United States is the dropping of the New Year ball in Times Square, New York City, at 11:59 P.M. Thousands gather to watch the ball make its one-minute descent, arriving exactly at midnight. The tradition first began in 1907. The original ball was made of iron and wood; the current ball is made of Waterford Crystal, weighs 1,070 pounds, and is six feet in diameter.

A traditional southern New Year's dish is Hoppin' John—black eyed peas and ham hocks. An old saying goes, "Eat peas on New Year's day to have plenty of everything the rest of the year."

Another American tradition is the
Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. The Tournament of Roses parade that precedes the football game on New Year's day is made up of elaborate and inventive floats. The first parade was held in 1886.

Widely Observed New Year Symbols and Traditions

Resolutions: It is believed that the Babylonians were the first to make New Year's resolutions, and people all over the world have been breaking them ever since. The early Christians believed the first day of the new year should be spent reflecting on past mistakes and resolving to improve oneself in the new year.

Fireworks: Noisemaking and fireworks on New Year's eve is believed to have originated in ancient times, when noise and fire were thought to dispel evil spirits and bring good luck. The Chinese are credited with inventing fireworks and use them to spectacular effect in their
New Year's celebrations