Friday, August 29

Thursday, August 28


I forgot to mention that I was changing my URL for the Soccer Mom site.  If you came here looking for it, try me at instead!  All my content stayed the same, but the old URL doesn't work any more.

Sorry I did it without saying so first!

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Where in the World is Travel Man?

I've been blessed that Travel Man hung up his super suit and has been Soccer Dad all week long.  He'll stay here next week, too, and then we get to go on vacation!  (YIPEE!)

He does a LOT of traveling.  You can tell that by the fact that with one hotel chain alone (he's a frequent-stay member at about four chains), he had enough points to supply our family with a week's worth of hotels for the trip to Texas for my aunt's funeral.

But if you're a person who is very visual, that might not make an impact.  If you're curious about Travel Man's schedule this year, you can see his Updated Travel Map for 2008, just posted at his blog.  Even I was surprised at the map!

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Tuesday, August 26

First PC vs. Travel Man's BlackBerry

It's amazing how far computers have come in 27 years. Let's see how my 8703 BlackBerry (a two year old design) measures up:

1981: IBM introduces the 5150 personal computer. It will sweep away the competition and effectively have the field to itself, for a while.
Before 1980, IBM made only mini and mainframe computers. The old-line firm just wasn't sure that the fledgling microcomputer market would be at all profitable. But once the company decided to act, it developed the 5150 in less than a year at its Boca Raton, Florida, facility -- using existing off-the-shelf components. IBM selected Intel's 8-to-16-bit 8088 processor, because it thought both the Intel 8086 and Motorola MC68000 16-bit processors were too powerful.
For an operating system, IBM first went to Digital Research, which had developed CP/M. When Digital declined, IBM went to a small firm known for microcomputer adaptations of BASIC: Microsoft.
Microsoft bought the rights to Seattle Computer Products' QDOS (supposedly, "Quick and Dirty Operating System," itself a possible hack of CP/M). In Microsoft's hands, QDOS became PC-DOS and later MS-DOS. (The 5150 could also run the more-expensive CP/M-86 and UCSD D-Pascal operating systems, but the $40 price tag on PC-DOS 1.0 made it irresistible to most users.)
IBM unveiled its new baby in Boca Raton and at New York City's Waldorf Astoria hotel.

IBM 5150
It weighed 25 pounds
Standard 64 kB, expandable to 256 kB
Monochromatic display
The 16-kb base model, with no data-storage drives included, cost $1,565 ($3,770 in today's money). If you loaded a 64-kB box with all the standard features, that jumped to $2,880 ($6,930 today), and souped up with color graphics and 256 kB, it'd cost you about $6,000 ($14,400 today). Available software included the VisiCalc spreadsheet, Easywriter 1.0 and Adventure, Microsoft's first game.

BlackBerry 8703e
Weighs 4.7 ounces
64 MB
Color, backlit display
It cost @ $400 (less if coupled with a multiyear agreement). Available software includes Wireless email, Organizer, Browser, Phone, Corporate data access, SMS, MMS and GPS. And Brick Breaker if you like video games.

IBM retailed the 5150 through ComputerLand and Sears, Roebuck. It sold 65,000 PCs in four months, with 100,000 orders taken by Christmas.
The 5150 was trouncing all the other microcomputers targeted for homes and small businesses. It established the dominance of the Microsoft operating system, pushing CP/M and proprietary operating systems out of the market. On the hardware side, its boxy design became the model for PC compatibles, and the ISA bus supplanted the old S-100 bus as standard.

It would be two-and-a-half years before the first real challenge appeared, when the original Apple Macintosh went on sale. (Soccer Mom likes this part!).

Source: Old Computers Online Museum

Spend less by paying cash

Soccer Mom has been telling you about our "Gazelle Intensity" (check out the "Starve Your Cheetah" link over on the right side of this blog).

Here is a video that ordinary people can get by without credit cards and have more money left at the end of the month. (Sorry, I don't think I can embed from ABC news).

We just went through a spell of buying a new mattress, Soccer Mom having oral surgery, putting money aside for vacation and still having money saved up for new tires and headlights for the Soccer Mobile. All this was paid for with cash, without affecting our normal expenditures for house, food, etc.

The less the Cheetah gets, the more is left for us!

Saturday, August 23


When Soccer Dad/Travel Man and I got married, my parents bought us a bedset for our wedding present. Since then, we've turned and flipped said mattress. For fifteen years.

This year, for our 15th anniversary, we decided to budget in a mattress and box spring set! And it's being delivered TODAY! HOORAY!!

I hope I can sleep on a mattress that actually has support to it, though.

Oh, and because it's WAY thicker than our old Sealy Postropedic, we'll need a new mattress pad/protector and new sheets. And our pillows are way icky, even after I wash and dry them. So we'll be hitting the stores for other bedstuffs, too.


Best part of it is that we are paying cash for it all.

THANK YOU, DAVE RAMSEY! (And thanks to Travel Man's work buddy who gave us the book just when things were bleakest for us.)

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Friday, August 22

Unexpected Kindness

Last night while I was working (or maybe in the afternoon while I was working), the periodontist called my  house to see how I was doing.  He left a message and said I didn't need to call back unless there was a problem.

I wasn't expecting that, and it was a really nice thing to do.  I nearly want to bring him a present next week when I get my stitches out. :)

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Wednesday, August 20

Goody, Goody Gumdrops

I had oral surgery today.  I'd injured the gum for one of my front bottom teeth and it receded to a dangerous point.  So today I went to see a wonderful doctor who put a gum graft from my soft palate where the gum used to be.  It will heal, and no one who sees it will be able to notice a difference.  

However, my mouth is a bit sore.  And I'm working.  Three hours today, four Thursday and Friday.  Talking is not fun.  


I can eat, though, and I just have to mind not brushing where the graft was as well as the spot where it is.  I'm guessing I'll want to skip the Listerine, too, though I actually didn't ask.  LOL!

Well, I'm off to get some pain meds in the event that Advil and offering it up don't do enough for me tonight.  That, and replace the catfish that died in the tank yesterday.  LOL!

Thank God the surgery went well, though.  He is good to me; better than I ever deserve.

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Blogroll Highlight: Roanoke Cop

I've got a new-ish blog up on my sidebar: Roanoke Cop.  He writes about his adventures in busting bad guys.  He's also a friend of mine and a quite devout Catholic, to boot.  

And did I mention he's a really good (and funny) writer?

Anyway, his most recent post is about meeting someone famous.  My thought way, "Maybe this is the guy behind the godsbot."

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What. Ever.

The Ironic Catholic: Truth Is Stranger #82: "Godsbot" is a post in which we find a robo-Jesus who answers questions for you on the web. Their website/blog asks for donations. I.C. asked questions and got some funny answers, so I decided to mosey on over and check it out, too.  Here is a sampling:

Human: Who was Mary? 
godsbot: Mary is Isis, also the Empress in the Tarot. The Empress Corresponds in Hebrew to Double Letter Daleth the number 4 , in English it translates to the letter - D. 

Human: What is the Rosary? 
godsbot: Is that a rhetorical question? 

Human: Who is the blessed Virgin? 
godsbot: It depends on the historical context, because it changes from time to time. 

Human: Is Mary a virgin? 
godsbot: It could be. Ask Jesus if it is. 

I also asked if Catholics were saved.  The Jesus-looking guy said he wasn't sure.  So I guess the guy who looks just like all the Western images of Jesus isn't actually Him.  That would explain a lot.  Especially the somewhat snarky answers I got:

Human: Who are Catholics? 
godsbot: Some people on the net. 
Have you tried a web search? 

Human: How do I get saved? 
godsbot: First tell me why you want it. 

Human: Who is Saint Paul? 
godsbot: I remember faces better than names. 
I'll come back to that later. 

Human: Can women be preachers? 
godsbot: Can a book have no title? 

Very, very strange.

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Tuesday, August 19

Iron Butt

This morning, as I was on my way downstairs to work, I slipped three steps up and - bunp Bump BUMP!  Down I went.  Coffee all over.  I feel like SpongeBob Squarepants.  I think I broke my butt.  I hope I don't need to be in the Iron Butt now.

(BTW, this comment brought gales of laughter from Big Girl.)

I searched in vain for clips of SpongeBob breaking his butt, by the way.  Sorry I couldn't deliver.

Sunday, August 17

Important Prayer Request

Please keep my aunt (the one who paints the icons*) in your prayers.  She is okay now, but was in a very serious accident at the beach and will be having a very long and painful recovery.  She had surgery yesterday (the last of the really scary stuff), and did well.  Our family had prayed that the doctors' hands would be guided by the Lord, and the Lord delivered for us.  (Alleluia!)  But now the hard stuff begins.

*Note: I updated that icon post from last week to fix the problem with the pictures.  I finally realzied that I was trying to post the pictures from my logged-in address rather than the public gallery I have set up.  Sorry!  But please do go look at them.  Her icons are really beautiful!

Thursday, August 14

Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart!

15 years.  

In some ways, it seems like a fleeting moment.  (Time flies and all...) In others, it feels like it's just always been this way.

I'll tell you the same thing I tell you every year: I thank God for you every day.  The blessings in my life are so abundant, and you are among the very best of them.

I love you, and I always will.

[pictures hosted at MobileMe]

Tuesday, August 12

Template Update

I decided to update the background of my blog, and I might even change the sidebar background if I can come up with something that isn't too busy.  I used the photograph of the crab apple tree that I just uploaded to my CafePress store.  

Hope you like it! 

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Seven Years Ago...

... God adopted Little Girl and took away her Original Sin. Alleluia!

Happy Baptismal Day, Little Girl!

Monday, August 11

Hawkin' My Wares

I'd been meaning to update my CafePress shop with some new pictures. I've got the Pro Life gear in one shop, but I also have a shop that is mostly stationery and such with some of my garden pictures that I've taken.

If you like any of these, and want to see more (or even get some pretty notecards or calendars and such), then just click the link in the button for CafePress.

Support This Site

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Thursday, August 7


We just took a deposit for the camper. Under 24 hours, and it's gone! Whoo hoo!

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Tuesday, August 5

Bye Bye Pope Up Tramper!

It's been fun having a pop-up, but we haven't really used it, and since we are busy being Gazelles, we're selling our "pope-up tramper."

Here's hoping it goes quickly. We priced it for a quick sale, and though it needs a couple of minor repairs, it's listed for about half it's retail value.

Being a Gazelle isn't much fun sometimes, but it's more fun than being in debt. If we can sell this, we'll put a BIG dent in what's left to pay on our Jeep. Like, more than 1/3 of it. In the meantime, we've managed to pay off (through selling and debt snowballs) more than $20,000 in debt since February. That includes the $3000 of medical bills I've had to pay for my December visit. And when I started my home business (my call center work), I did so without borrowing a dime for it, which means that aside from taxes I have to pay, I've got no other money to put aside. (Mind you, I pay for some bills out of that money, specifically the ones directly related to the business like phone and internet service.) But still, it's been very good. We've even managed to put aside money for things we'll need to purchase: tires for my Jeep, a new mattress for our anniversary (15 years is enough for one mattress if you ask me!), sports and dance for the girls. We haven't touched a credit card since Soccer Dad had a root canal and crown done in early January! And the final payment on that went out in today's mail, too!

I take it back, we HAVE touched the cards. To SHRED them! I love the sound of plastic going through my shredder! Ha HA!

If I met Dave Ramsey, I swear I'd kiss him!
Update (8-6, 8:39 a.m.): I've had more than half a dozen people contact me already. The camper will be gone before the end of the weekend. Because if I don't sell it today, someone is willing to drive up from Virginia Beach for it! WHOO HOO!

Saturday, August 2

Good Enough to Repeat

I'm certain I've posted this before, but I have to do it again.

This video is the reason why my seven year old presents her father with his spatula at the grill and says to him, "Here's your spatula, Daddy ... GABARDINE!"

In case you're wondering, I first saw this at Mark Shea's blog.  I just have to bring it up every once in a while because I love when they yell, "MUK LUK!" 

Hey...look!  A live version!


Oh, and a family doing a lip sync. The dad is hysterical!

That Didn't Take Long, Did It?

My sister sent Little Girl a beautiful panda Webkins for her birthday.

She took it with her to Wal Mart (leaving the precious Giggles in the car to wait for us).  

On the way, Big Girl helped her take out her paper with the code on it.

We got home hours later to discover the paper missing.

No code.

No registration.

No replacement code.

No WEB portion of the Webkins.

I'm going to search again and send up a prayer to Saint Anthony, because the girl has had this Webkins for less than five hours and it's already useless.  Well, useless for online.  It's still the softest little thing I've held in a while.

Please send up a quick prayer.  She's sure to cry if we can't get her set up online.

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More Microsoft Teasing

Julie posted a great video about Microsoft trying to market the iPod.  I shared it with my parents (who also both do work for Apple), and they sent back this:

And then I found this:

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Summer Day

Update: How can I resist?  I'm entering this photo in a contest at 5 Minutes for Mom.  Check out the details here.

Trying out my photo-hosting at (MobileMe).

Here's a shot of the girls jumping into the pool that I especially like! (If it's not visible to you, please comment so I can remedy the problem!)

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Friday, August 1


The hyperbole in the caption here is just laughable!  It reads:

Astonishing NASA images show sun gradually devoured, ultimately blotted out by the moon as total eclipse fascinates millions of skywatchers.

um ... yeah, guys.  Maybe you should get in touch with a first-grader who can tell you that the Sun isn't devoured during an eclipse.  The moon is just passing between the Earth and the Sun.  It will come back!  Really!
Who are your heros?


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