Wow! Tell her she earned some points in my book with that comment!

I really haven’t agonized over gifts this badly for a long time. A little bit of background – DH and I have just established this fragile new spending arrangement. I was afraid that if I bought presents for my nieces, when he’d already decided we couldn’t afford to spend money for him to send gifts to HIS nieces, well, our wonderful new fragile “let’s really be partners in this” might be set back a bit. So I used some gift money I got from Mom and Dad to actually buy the gifts. And I told DH that’s what I was going to use the money for, so that there was no mistake where it came from. He grumbled that it was my gift money and my call but he’d use his gift money for other stuff. And that’s fine. Then I called my brother to see what sorts of gifts they’d want. And as some of you will recall, I’m only recently reestablishing a relationship with my brother after 20 years of barely speaking to him. We didn’t have a fallout, we just weren’t real close. So I very much wanted to “play ball” and be the cooperative family member. He told me they’d enjoy the books, but they’d love gift cards to Target. Oy! That’s exactly the kind of gift I did NOT want to give – impersonal, temporary, and going towards who-knows-what which maybe would benefit them (I would have been OK with music and the like) but maybe would have been blown on the 5lb bag of M&Ms for all I know. So I agonized over that awhile too. Finally decided that nope, if Auntie Kath is going to give gifts, she’s going to give Auntie-Kath-type gifts. Right about then was when the news broke that Target credit and debit card user info had been stolen, so I felt very much justified in my decision. Had it happened with Amazon.com (and let’s face it, it could have), well, I’d still prefer books over cheap plastic crap from Target.

I didn’t send the honey

I bought them each a single book through Amazon.com, carefully chosen for their particular activities/ages. The really dumb part is that I dithered so long that by the time I finally decided to go that route, there wasn’t a prayer of getting it to them in time. And one of the books was on back-order anyway. I haven’t heard yet what the girls thought, but I hope they like the books. That was the best I could come up with. The biggest lesson from this particular fiasco is that kids don’t want grown-up presents, at least not at their ages, so I’d best figure out what to send the kids well in advance and just go make it happen.

Truthfully?

I’m listening to one of Mark’s shows recent shows and he sort of road all over a woman for not wanting to give gifts to the children in her family. He spoke of how in the very beginning he and his wife were the ones to introduce, and adamantly state, they’d like to draw an adults name, but gifts would still be given to the children. He gave the woman a hard time about not wanting to give to the children, because after all, the gift giving is geared towards the children. It was rather timely in his offering of his advice, because we were a bit on the fence here. I listened to him, and then got the big boot in the pants, that of course, we’ll give to all the children. Honestly, you’re looking at less than one hundred dollars here. Don’t be a scrooge.

My sister in law and I started something new last year and we’re going to just keep it going

She’s a single mom to 2 teens and I have 7+ children….she loves buying for all her nieces/nephews but it gets downright expensive….so she bought them each a book last year. They loved it! They are still talking about their books from Aunt Rachel….so from now on we buy books for each others kids.
I know your feel inferior for only giving honey but I still think its a great gift and the idea of sending some packets of tea (with or without teacups) is a great inexpensive idea…we do tea time at our home a few times a week and our older children love it! (Ages 9, 10, 11)

You never know how kids are going to react

Take my ds, we were recently discussing favorite gifts from “others”. Ds surprised me tremendously. He said his all time favorite gift from his Aunt was kitchen gadgets for his first apartment. She spent very little, because her budget was tight. He said that it was his favorite gift wasn’t so much what she gave, but that she thought of what he might need and took the time to make the gift personal—She spent less than $10, but she included a note stating why she had chosen the few items she had got and how she used similar ones in her own kitchen.

Well

I think you’re right that teenage girls are not going to be excited by honey, but I think you can turn this into a win-win adding some “context”.
Add in something describing the story of your farm and what it means to you and what goes into the honey. Or something about how important bees are in our world and how you are helping to preserve them. Or maybe give them each a jar of honey and a mason jar of flour and ingredients for making their own Honey Cake?
Something that lets them know that this is not just something from a supermarket shelf, that it is a gift from the heart and a labor of love.

Here’s my pep talk to you

You are being totally ridiculous in wanting to run out, or to the computer, to buy gifts! You are offering very generous gifts to your family, no matter their age. Besides whatever you would buy for them will probably be forgotten in less than a month. Really, how many teens can name what they received and from whom at the end of January? These kids have apparently not learned the lesson of graciously accepting any gift given to them.

Need your help this morning folks

The plan for this year’s holiday giving was very simple – we are sending out jars of our very own honey to various friends and family members. For most of the folks we associate with, that gift will be very much appreciated and well received. We really didn’t have anything left over in the budget to buy a bunch of stuff. But I just got off the phone with my nieces, (13, 11 and 9) and came away with the very powerful feeling that geez, they’re not going to care about bottles of honey. They want kid stuff. I’m just a hair’s breath away from going on Amazon.com and getting three gift cards for them, to give them something “worthy” of their age and interests. I need a big dose of encouragement right now to NOT cave in to sudden last minute knee-jerk “I need to give STUFF” to my nieces. Help me out here?

Thanks everyone

It has been a thoroughly crappy weekend. I lost Viola yesterday (8 year old sheep) – she must have passed in the night. I didn’t see any signs of struggle or convulsions, so I think she passed peacefully. No signs of pneumonia or anything like that. I think it was her time, regardless of how hard I was fighting to keep her going.

Then the damn migraine from hell which started on Friday morning wouldn’t go away so I didn’t get any sleep on Saturday night. Then the neighbors to the south kept playing music – all I could hear was the damn bass beat ad infinitum. Add that to the chaos of the house which I’m trying to get in order and the anniversary of mom’s death etc etc and I snapped.

I’m home today – needed a day to myself. And it started with a bitch fight between Kweeba and LooLo so I’m patching up bitches and not a happy camper. I’ve been trying to place LooLoo for over a year now – there is nothing wrong with her apart from the grudge she holds against Kweeba. The girls hate each other. They are both fine with other bitches and dogs, and absolutely not at all aggressive to humans. LooLoo loves kids, and humans. Crate trained, walks nicely on a leash, she loves to cuddle and is a sweet girl (except when it comes to Kweeba).

I do have a nibble on Shadow, the other trouble maker. He can’t live with other males so once he gets moved out, it will be one less issue to worry about. He’s also very sweet with humans, loves kids, wonderful with bitches, but continually tries to pick fights with old man Quan and Skundi and I just cannot allow that. Especially not fighting with Old Man Quan.

I did seem to spend a fair amount bawling this weekend, I think it was cathartic. I do feel more composed today.

No worries

I meant to add, the anniversaries of the deaths of loved ones are always apt to set people off. Mourn your mom. You should. Then move on or just deal with life as you need to. No worries. You’re a caring person. You’re total normal in feeling this way.

You’re human

We think we’re adaptable, but sometimes, we really do need what we’re familiar with and what makes us most comfortable. You’re allowed to be homesick. As for menopause, look, I think that’s all what you make of it. Whatever. If you want to have an off week, have one. People are irritating. Dogs are stupid at times, are so are a lot of people. . Sometimes we just don’t want to deal with it all, but most of the times, we’re polite, and are accomodating. Don’t. Do what makes you feel good, and start all over in a couple of days. Works for me, especially I know everyone is working on my nerves, and those who know you best will just side step your mood for right now, and will completely forget abou it by next week, after you have a chance to readjust. You know, you don’t always have to be everything for everyone. Sometimes it is all about you. Right now, it needs to just be all about Althea. Sometimes we just give too much, and we snap. It sounds like you’re there. In a couple of days, life will look a lot different after you decide to take care of yourself and forget about everyone else’s problems. I promise..

In a mood… is it the weather?

Today I’m “in a mood” – there is no other way to describe it.
People are getting on my nerves, I’m all out of sorts, I’m snapping at the dogs. I feel like having a good old fashioned sulk and I don’t want anyone to tell me this is transitory and I’ll get over it.
I suspect that menopause has finally caught up and I’m definitely not thrilled about that.
I’m also homesick – I’d almost kill for some biltong.
My cousin is sending me a goodie box from Canada so I have that to look forward to.
I suspect that this mood has more to do with tomorrow being the anniversary of my mom’s death than anything else.
Isn’t it strange how some things just don’t ease over time?

Good day everyone

I have some pretty big news. We have been working hard here to write a book about chicken coops. Yes, chicken coops. Why? When we got started with our flock, we couldn’t find much information on Building The Perfect Coop. It seems a minor issue but over the years we’ve spent a small fortune correcting those early mistakes. And now that we’re serving as mentors for other folks getting started with their flocks, we realized that they have the same questions we did. So instead of answering all those questions, one at a time, over and over again, we’ve written The Chicken Coop Manual. And now it’s available for purchase through our website.

For now, it will only be available in PDF format, full color, 81 pages in length. We’re having the file formats created to convert it into an e-book that will work on things like Kindles and Nooks. That process takes awhile but we’re hoping those versions will be ready sometime in February. We also plan to eventually offer the book in full color print format. But for now, we’ll dip our toe in the self-publishing world by offering it in PDF format while we await the e-book conversion.

For anyone on the list who are curious about possibly owning a small flock, but you weren’t sure where to start, this book is for you.

On a related note, for anyone on the list who is stuck at home with kids or animals or other caretaker duties, but who wants or needs an additional source of income, book writing and publishing may be an option to consider. I wrote this book in between all my other duties, and we’re going the self-publishing route which will keep the vast majority of any sales, coming in to our coffers rather than into a publisher’s wallet. If anyone is interested to know how I went about researching, completing and now marketing this product, please feel free to email me off-list. Or I can provide general information on-list if enough folks are interested.

My limited understanding of

someone joining the Reserves who ultimately gets deployed is if they are gainfully employed, the company has to hold an equal position for them upon return … however, I have heard stories of military personnel coming back from deployment and the only equal position is in another state.

Somewhat similar to FMLA actually… the company is only required to hold an open slot for the person out on leave but WHERE that position resides becomes the tipping point learn more here detroitharmonie.com again, this is my limited experience — others more knowledgeable might want to chime in.

I think it’s a dumb idea

In fact, I think it may cause her even MORE problems. Ok, she would have protections if she was deployed(which I assume to be overseas) that they couldn’t release her when she comes back. But that doesn’t affect her status *before* a deployment. If I were an employer who was considering letting her go(because of performance, integrity issues, whatever), I’d be more inclined to let her go as soon as I found out about her joining. At that point, wouldn’t she still be considered an ‘at will’ employee? Seems that enlisting would force them into pulling the trigger a lot sooner than they might have…

We have a young acquaintance in town

whom we really like, but let’s just say this person is in her early 20’s and hasn’t experienced much of the world yet. She recently informed me that she’s going to join the Reserves. I was rather shocked, and asked why. Not that I have anything against a person deciding on military service – after all I was a Navy wife for six years. That loyalty runs deep. But something about this situation struck me as very odd. And it turns out her answer didn’t really make me feel any better. This young woman, who is afraid she’s going to lose her job soon, is under the impression that by joining the Reserves she’ll be immune from ever being fired, laid off, etc. And that’s why she’s joining. To make herself jobless-proof.

I came away from that conversation suspecting that there’s a kernel of truth in there, but there was probably more to it than that. If an employer hires someone in the Reserves, and/or a person joins the Reserves while employed, I understand that the employer must offer the person their job back after a deployment. But I suspect there are provisions in there that if the employee can’t hack the job, or if the company is downsizing in some way, there are ways the company can let go a person if they need to, even if that person is in the Reserves.

Does anyone know for sure? I like this young lady and I would hate to see her sign her name on that line of obligation, under some misunderstandings about what it will and will not do for her. Thanks all…………..

Kathryn Kerby, still a proud Navy wife even though DH#1 skipped out years ago

Wow, this is a really rather sophisticated phishing attempt

The thing that flagged this right away is that we’re not PG&E customers, but I used to be. The only giveaway that this is a phishing scam, is that if I point (but don’t click) at the “click here” link, it shows that it goes to some other unrelated website. I went to the PG&E website and lo and behold, a number of utility companies are having problems right now with scam-statements like this. They never tire of trying to find new ways to get someone when we’re not paying attention…….

Seirus XM?

I had no real luck getting a lower monthly rate. They did offer me a few free months when I told them to end my service. I decided against it because they wanted a 2 year contract at the regular rack rate after the free months.
bucks
We now use tune in radio, which is FREE. I have it free on my computer, phone and tablet and it has all the same orograms as satellite.

I wish alternative routes were possible

He has to cross two rivers. There are some side streets he could use, but he still has to get on freeways to get onto the bridges to cross the rivers. Now they’re saying that seniority has nothing to do with who will go and who will stay. Sucks cause one person volunteered and if they were going by seniority Brad would have been safe. They are using a bunch different things like the drivers work records, driving scores, etc…. Which makes no f’ing sense. So basically brad could be punished for being a good employee. His boss couldn’t even tell him if the better employee will stay or be transferred. I am so stressed. It could be another 45 days before we know. AND it doesn’t even sound like his boss is the one that is making the decision.
He says we’re not moving back to Oregon, but we may still have to move closer to Oregon and be right off the freeway to make the commute less.

We have a similar situation here

I-696 is the east-west corridor through this area. But going eastbound in the afternoon rush hour is bumper-to-bumper for most of it’s length(19 miles). With speeds not going much more than 20mph, I can’t understand why people don’t go 2 miles south and use 8-mile Rd. It’s QUICKER.

Don’t you just love it when employers mess with your life in such a manner?

Something I would suggest is he look for alternate routes to the new location. Even if they are slightly longer the savings in fuel, time and wear and tear on his nerves (and yours) could well be worth a few extra miles.
Sometimes the “surface streets”, as we call the non-highway streets here in ok, are far less congested and easier to use than the main highways. Often my guys come home a different route, veering around wrecks and go through a small town about 5 miles off the beaten path and come the country roads home. As a result they will get home a good 30 minutes to an hour faster than if they had stayed in the traffic jam. Just a thought.

We usually don’t get to see Murphy coming

That’s why he’s (or she) is called Murphy. But here he comes. Found out on Wednesday that there is a 50/50 change my hubby will be forced to transfer to another office. This new office is 34 miles away. Now I am sure most of you are thinking no big deal. BUT, here’s where Murphy comes in to play…he would have to drive through two major cities. That would make his communte terrible. To work it would take about an hour…coming home on a good day it would be 1 1/2 hours. A bad day it could be over 2 hours. Not to mention gas that would require filling up every 3 days and wear and tear on the truck. Oh and cause we live in a state with out state tax (we have sales tax) and he would be working in a state that DOES have state tax, Oregon taxes will be taken out of his check and we have to file non resident taxes at the end of the year where we will then get to pay the state of Oregon more money. In all I figure it will be about a 25% pay cut.

I looked over our budget and I have NO IDEA where in the world I am going to cut 25%.

For those of you who are praying people, please say a prayer for us. Pray that he isn’t the one who gets transferred. And if he does, he gets a new job soon….yes he already started looking. But the economy is still pretty bad here.