First off, take some unsolicited advice. DON’T SWITCH OVER TO THE BETA VERSION OF BLOGGER! It has been nothing but an ass-ache for me and I’m furious with it. Why? Primarily because I blog all day long. That is, I write some, do some work, write some more, do some more work, etc. and then I publish the day’s work. Friday I had a nice, long entry ready to publish with an update about my granddaughter, the snow we had Friday, and other stuff. I hit the “Publish” button, and was brought to the login screen. Everything I’d spent the entire day posting was gone. *Poof* There have been other little problems with it as well. Anyway, don’t switch over until they get the numerous bugs worked out! This has been a public service announcement.

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Michelle called yesterday after Cher’s follow-up appointment with the maxillofacial doctor. They took the splints out of her nose and she’ll likely get the external splint removed Friday. She can return to school today.

Michelle is unfamiliar with the area, as she lives about 90 miles south of us but they sent Cher up here because of the Golisano Children’s Hospital and the other specialists that the little munchkin had to see. Anyway, as Michelle got off the expressway, she got disoriented and had difficulty finding the hospital. From the back seat she heard “If Gramma was here we wouldn’t be lost.” He he he. Smart kid.

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We finally got through the muck and mire of beaurocracy and will have our online store open later this evening or early tomorrow morning. Along with that will be a new blog with articles and information related to gardening and anything else we happen to get into with our business. We’re doing some routine contract work, fixing broken windows, designing gardens, light electrical repair, plumbing, and other home improvement projects. We’re already working on our first job which has presented some fun challengs for us, and produced squeals of delight from the lady of the house. She’s thrilled that things are getting done!

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Joe got a speeding ticket over the weekend. What’s bad is that about two months ago, he got two speeding tickets in two weeks. This will make his third one in a year and, under New York State law, his license is to be revoked. He’ll be working with our attorney to see if there are any plea deals to be made so that he can keep his license. He’s furious with himself but also feels strongly that his vanity plates are “cop magnets.” I’ve heard other people complain of the same thing. Joe’s plates say “JOEDIRTE.”

He’s been pretty stressed lately, burning his candle at multiple ends. He goes to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 until 1:00 and then spends the rest of the day on his reading assignments. He’s taking 3 literature courses and has tons of reading to do. On Mondays and Wednesdays he works from noon until 8:00 PM at the garden center, as well as on Saturdays and Sundays from 7:30 to 5:00. On Friday and Saturday nights he tends bar from 6:00 until around 1:00. When he’s not working or going to school, his girlfriend wants a lot of his time. We heard him fussin’ at her last night on the phone. He just wanted to stay home, get his reading done, and get to bed at a decent time. She was apparently being pissy about him wanting to stay home and he fussed at her about that, too. Can’t say as I blame him. He says he feels like he’s operating in a fog lately.

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And you still want to know why I don’t shop at WalMart?

For months, politicians and activists have been saying that the low prices at the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores, come at a tremendous cost to its low-paid employees. They point to lawsuits that contend the company discriminates against women and forces low-paid employees to work through lunch breaks and after their shifts, without extra compensation. Wal-Mart has also been boosting its political contributions to stop initiatives aimed at forcing the retailer to raise pay and benefits.

More to the story:

…but they felt that the company had gone too far with certain new policies. Among them were moves to cut the hours of full-time employees from 40 hours a week to 32 hours, along with a corresponding cut in wages, and to compel workers to be available for shifts around the clock.

In addition, the shifts would be decided not by managers, but by a computer at company headquarters. Employees could find themselves working 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. one week and noon to 9 p.m. the next. “So workers cannot pick up their children after school everyday, and part-timers cannot keep another job because they can be called to work anytime,” says Vasquez.

In addition to scheduling changes and reduction in hours, workers are now required to call an 800 number when they are sick. “If we are at an emergency room and spend the night in a hospital and cannot call the number, they won’t respect that,” says Larosa, who has worked at the store for six years. “It will be counted as an unexcused absence.”

See the full article here.

The article points out that one attempt to unionize in Canada was met with WalMart shutting down the store. If the employees at EVERY store vote to unionize, what’s WalMart going to do, shut down all their stores?

Gestapo management, if you ask me…

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Have you priced mattresses lately? We currently sleep on a motionless waterbed. The bladder is just about 15 years old and, over the years, has “stretched” to the point where, if we want any degree of firmness, we have to fill it to the point where it bulges above the top of the bed rails. We’re waking up stiff and sore mornings with aches and pains in our backs and hips. Even the chiropractor agrees that it’s not doing our spines any good, nor is it providing us with any good support.

So, just for shits and giggles I stopped off at Raymour and Flanigan after work yesterday. What we need is firm support yet not so firm that it feels like a slab of concrete. We’ve fallen in love with the pillow-top designs because, while you get firm support, you also get luxurious softness to lay on.

Long story short, it appears that, in order to get that California King Size mattress, it’s going to run us about $3,000 for what we want. Even Queen and full-sized ones are running close to $2,000. So, the options are to get the cheapest mattress we can find and probably end up no better than we are right now (which would be a huge waste of money), or bust the big buck and get what we want/need. Even something in the middle is going to cost us a couple of grand.

Man, when did it get so expensive to sleep? For that kind of money, those mattresses should sing, dance, and tell jokes…

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How is it that power can be restored to an entire state within 24 hours after three earthquakes (the first one being a 6.7 magnitude) in Hawaii, but there are still thousands without power after a snowstorm in Buffalo almost a week ago?

I’ve seen the argument that workers in Buffalo have had to try to maneuver around snow-filled streets but hey, they had to maneuver around impassable streets in Hawaii, too, what with the rocks and boulders and buildings blocking roads.

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It appears that Ben Roethlisberger has returned from the off-season, finally. In his first four games he seemed tentative and hurried, carrying an anemic QB rating of under 35. This past weekend, he topped the league with a 158.3 quarterback rating bringing his overall rating up to 60 points, well below what he usually enjoys.

Hell, even Jake Plummer has a higher rating (not by much).

Matt Leinart and his Cardinals put in quite a strong first half last night but somehow managed to let a 20-0 halftime lead end up as a 24-23 defeat. However, the rookie carries a QB rating of 84, well above veterans like Roethlisberger, Plummer, Favre, Culpepper and Vick.

There’s also something wrong with a team whose quarterback is only 100 yards behind the team’s running back (in rushing yards). In one game a couple of years ago, Michael Vick ran for 173 yards, and passed for the same amount. I wonder if anyone has considered putting a defensive back on him to contain him and make him throw more? He’s really not all that great as a passer, averaging only 135 passing yards per game.

The most exciting thing about Sunday’s late game was that the Broncos played the Raiders. I’m a Broncos fan, Lisa’s a Raiders fan. That game should have been a blowout but, instead, Denver went the entire second half without a score, and the Raiders scored only a field goal. Major yawner.

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The Georgia O’Keeffe Color and Conservation exhibit is coming to our locale, and will be housed in the Memorial Art Gallery through the end of December.

We’re thrilled to death and can’t wait to get a free day to get there to see it.

Georgie O’Keeffe’s floral works are seductive, erotic, and colorful. She was masterful in her use of colors, creating a sort of “emotion” with every piece she produced. You can feel something when you look at them. Some are very dark (Jack in the Pulpit IV) and others, like Cup of Silver to the left show a range of emotions.

O’Keeffe is a bit of an icon with the lesbian community as many of her floral renderings are erotically suggestive of female sensuality. Even Corn, shown at the right, is darkly erotic.

She was brilliant.

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Finally, for the Ambeau family:

At one point during a game, the coach said to little Ricky, “Do you understand what cooperation is? What a team is?”

Ricky nodded in the affirmative.

“Do you understand that what matters is whether we win together as a team?”

The little boy nodded yes.

“So,” the coach continued, “when a strike is called, or you’re out at first, you don’t argue or curse or attack the umpire. Do you understand all that?”

Again the little boy nodded.

“Good,” said the coach. “Now go over there and explain it to your father.”

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