Monday, October 27, 2008

Review of my New Blackberry Pearl 8130

A few weeks ago I left my phone laying on the bed in the camper, and at some point during the night it was found on the floor at the OTHER end of the camper in a rather unrecognizable condition. Shattered glass, missing antenna, doggy chew marks all over the plastic. Two things could be concluded: 1.)I'm a horrible doggy mommy, and 2.)I was without a phone.

I started researching and reading reviews online, and thought I wanted the HTC Touch or the Motorola Q. I bid on a few on Ebay but never won, and I'm really glad now. After visiting with the guys at the Alltel store here in town, I concluded that what I *really* wanted was a Blackberry, and this is what I came out with:

It's a Blackberry Pearl 8130 in white..(it matches my new van..I'm so easily amused!)I ended up buying it online from the Alltel store because it was $79.99 after rebate, and it came with a free Bluetooth headset and free car charger,and free shipping of course. (I am the free shipping QUEEN!)

The first thing I noticed with this phone was the unique keyboard...then when I realized what was so unique about it, I started to panic. The Blackberry pearl hosts 2 letters per key. Yes, you read that has a Qwerty-style layout, but rather than each letter to a key, you get 2 letters per key. This new-fangled idea is called SureType, and I'm sure the sadistic bastard that created it is laughing his rear off at those of us more technologically-challenged folks.

The other aspect of the phone that took some getting used to was the scrolling/clicking ball..gone are the up/down/left/right buttons and scroll wheels of the past. This roller ball is placed in the top center of the keypad to allow you to navigate horizontally, vertically, and diagonally. Pretty nifty, huh?

My favorite features of the phone are the Smartphone features--I was able to sync my email immediately, and set up a Blackberry email as well. The ability to live chat on Yahoo messenger or Blackberry messenger is very nice, and web browsing is convenient and easy. If I get a text, it chimes. If I get a Yahoo messenger message, it chimes. An email?? Chime! With a 2.0 mp camera, video camera capabilities, and Bluetooth technology, there just isn't much that I can't do with my Blackberry.

Just don't ask me to type very fast with the SureType keyboard, okay?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The New Croppin' Cabin Car....

I've been tracking my expenses, income, and budget faithfully for a couple of months with a very specific goal in mind--to see just how much money I was running through the gas tank in the Gas Guzzler, otherwise known as the Ford Econoline 1/2 ton conversion hi-top van. Yes, it towed my 16' Shasta, and yes, it towed my 28' Prowler, but was it really practical for everyday driving? You know the kind of driving that I'm talking about--to & from school, to the store, to the library..

Needless to say my worst fears were confirmed..I was spending, on average, about $400 a month just driving to and from school & the store. Wow. We don't go anywhere significant since acquiring this conversion van--it's sole purpose was to tow with, and it succeeded. It just didn't seem logical, however, in these hard times (if I may quote a little matchbox twenty just for the fun of it)to use it as my every day means of transportation. That isn't very green at all, and it certainly isn't helping my checkbook any, either.

I sold the Guzzler, and after reading reviews, asking others, and weighing the pros & cons, I settled on this Kia Sedona EX:

Oh, beautiful moonroof! I love you!

Yes, I bought a foreign car..I bought a Kia. Kia is from S. Korea, and it means something in Korean but I've forgotten already although my user manual tells me in the first few pages. And you know what--I LOVE my little foreign-made's way cooler than any of my American-made vehicles. What can I say?

It cost me a whopping $40 to fill this one up, as opposed to the $125 Guzzler. Common sense would say that means you'll be finding me at the pumps a lot more often, but unfortunately, the Guzzler held more but used more, so I don't think I'll notice much difference in time spent at the pump. As for how we're going to tow, we're only going camping once more this season as it's already freezing cold here, and Robert has a tow vehicle. Then we'll have until next spring/summer to find an alternative for towing the Prowler.

So far we LOVE the van. No, we really do LOVE the van. I love the soft leather, the power everything, the fast engine (I'll behave, I promise!) and the quick take-off. It has that new-car smell and feel, and it's so clean that I wouldn't let you eat a Cheerio in it. And Marley & Sadie..well, they're on a car-riding restriction now. Marley got his first ride in the van yesterday on his way to pet therapy, and he didn't seem too impressed.

What do dogs know though?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Bags, Bags, and more Bags

Sorry for the empty post for a few days..I became distracted. :gasp:

This post was going to be about bags..betcha couldn't tell, huh? Anyway, I've been hankering for a new bag lately. You know how some girls have a thing for shoes?? I have that same thing, but it's for bags, not shoes. I LOVE bags, and I HATE to carry the same one for very long.

So..for the past few months, I've had my eye on one of the khaki signature totes from Coach...especially with the big hoop hardware and pink accent stripe. CUTE!! The other day, though, I was perusing Ebags and came across the Kathy Van Zeeland bags. I've never given much thought to Kathy Van Zeeland, but now I think I NEED a Kathy Van Zeeland bag, and this one in particular:

It's black, shiny, fairly big but not tote-sized big, has lots of the silver hardware that I like the looks of, and the lining is pink. PINK. I LOVE pink!! Oh, yeah..that needs to be my next bag?

Any comments or suggestions? Do you have this bag and hate it? It's on sale at Ebags for $74.99 right now.

New Haircut

I finally got a new haircut the other day..the "ponytail" thing was starting to become my everyday uniform look, so I knew it was time to stop the madness.

I realized as I was parking the van that I totally forgot to bring the picture to show Elizabeth how I wanted it cut, but she guessed and did a great job.

I took some pics so you could see...please ignore the dark roots--I'm overdo for a color, and I think instead of lighter, or streaks of dark & light, I'm going to go dark. (insert evil laughter)


Scrapbooking Toys

I haven't purchased any new scrapbooking toys lately, because all my spare $$ seems to be going into the gas tank...however this doesn't mean that I'm not wanting and desiring a few new things.

Here's what I have my eye on these day. Number 1--Nestabilities scalloped ovals and circles, Number 2--Bazzill In Stitch'z Kit (why can't I find embroidery floss at Walmart anymore? GRRR!) and 3--a Bind-It-All.

If you have experience with any of these items, would you please leave me a comment & let me know what you like & don't like about them? I plan on "rewarding" myself around the first of the year, but I can't decide what I want most. :-)

I've been anxiously awaiting to hear how everyone likes the new Slice, but I hear from Pen-Pen in California (hi, Pen-Pen!!) that it hasn't shipped yet. The price is nice, but with the small Cricut & the Cricut Expressions, I don't feel like I can justify anotyer die cutter.

Or can I? Hmmm...hahahahaha

This weekend is my kid-free weekend, so I'm planning on surrounding myself with pretty papers, brads, eyelets, Primas, and skittles. (the scrappin' kind, not the candy kind, but that sounds kinda yummy now that I think about it.)I WILL get some pages done, or at least the cards that I've been planning to made for a month now. I might even venture over to the Cricut boards and say hi to you fellow Cricut girls! (((HUGS)))

Lemme know what you're using that's on my wish list, girls (and guys!)

The Hoover Floormate

My new cleaning gadget arrived on Tuesday--the red model Hoover Floormate. (I believe this is the wide path model but what do I know..haha)I ordered from the Home Shopping Network (so cliche am I!) for $169.95 with free shipping & handling, plus it came with the flexibility to do 4 easy payments of $42.45 and it came with 4 bottles of cleaning solution vs just the standard two. I'd read reviews and decided this was one of the best models, and I like the flexible payment plan with NO interest. I'm a happy girl! I obviously have NO life, either. haha

I had it assembled in less than 10 minutes and went straight to the kitchen with it. I have 3 kids, 2 dogs, and 2 cats. I also have The World's Ugliest Ceramic Tile, so you can imagine how I might fret & worry about my floor. It's bad enough it is cosmetically challenged, but I cannot STAND a dirty floor. If I feel a crumb with my bare feet, or see a dog hair, I flip out. It's almost become an OCD thing for me, because I've tried every mop, Swiffer, etc on the market almost, and NONE of them leave me feeling "satisfied" with the cleanliness of my floor. I routinely perform the "white paper towel" know, after you mop and the floor dries, take a white paper towel, dampen it ever-so-slightly, and wipe a spot on the floor. NO OTHER MOP has passed the towel test until NOW. After one use with my Hoover Floormate, my floor passed the paper towel test with flying colors!!

As stated, the assembly was quick & painless. This model comes with 2 sets of brushes..the grout/ceramic tile set, and the regular set for laminate, hardwood, vinyl, etc. Switching the brushes out is painless and takes less than 20 seconds. The cord is super long, which I like because my house is old and is outlet challenged. The appliance has 3 modes--dry vacuum, wash, and wet vacuum. You change modes by turning a large dial--easy schmeasy! There are 2 tanks--a dirty tank and clean water tank. First you can dry vacuum the floor, which did a great job removing pet hair and crumbs--the typical gunk on my floor. You empty the bottom tank into the trash can & you're ready to start "mopping." You add the recommended (and included) solvent to the clean tank with hot water, and flip the switch to wash. You press the trigger on the bottom of the handle to apply the hot water & cleaning solution, then release the trigger when you pass it back. (Brings back fond memories of using my Hoover steam cleaner/carpet cleaner..I'm such a cleaning nerd!)If the floor is still too wet for your liking, you can flip the switch to "wet vacuum" and suck it dry. SWEET! It's also handy for cleaning up wet spills...most of mine seem to be dog water spills.

I had to dump the dirty tank once and fill the clean tank just one extra time to do both my kitchen & bathroom floors. Some people would find this annoying, but if you own a shampooer, or a Rainbow vacuum, as I do, then you're already accustomed to the frequent fill/dump method of cleaning. I just realized that all 3 of my major cleaning applicances require water and tanks. I really AM a nerd.

The handle folds down for storage, making the entire unit much smaller. My cleaning closet contains a Rainbow SE vacuum, a Hoover steam cleaner, and now a Hoover Floormate, so I appreciate the fold-down handle.

The cleaning solution appears to run about $7 for a 1/2 gallon bottle at Walmart, and the filters seem to run about $10. I did see that Hoover says you can use plain vinegar and hot water if you're opposed to using cleaning chemicals on your floor, and since we're making a serious effort to be more GREEN at my house, I love that idea. The cleaning solution itself has a pleasant smell though, and it isn't overpowering. It smells a LOT like the Hoover cleaning solution that I use in my shampooer, but it plainly states in the manual that you cannot use ANY type of cleaner with solvents in it.

So there's my poorly-written review of the Hoover Floormate, and guys didn't guess it, but one of you came close!!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Guessing Game..

I am out of time for today, but I bought myself a little cleaning gadget from the Home Shopping Network today. Your clue--it has free shipping & handling right now.

First person to guess what it is gets a small your guesses in comments or email them...(I know some of you are shy...pbbbbt) See? I didn't forget! And no, those of you who know already can't play. Sheesh!

And for those of you who were asking, I do have a new scrapbooking RAK coming up. I missed last month, and I'm sorry! (insert pouty face here) Hold onto your hats, girls...(and guys)and I promise to have a bigger & better scrappin' RAK soon!

Marley Gets Attacked

Last Sunday I had to go get a pool about an hour & a half from home, and since it was a straight there, straight back trip, I thought I'd take the dogs. On the way back we stopped at a state park that we're fond of. There's a cave, a great river, rock climbing, etc..the dogs LOVE it. The kids love it, too..especially seeing the frogs and walking barefoot in the lake. The dogs love being able to romp and run in the water, then roll their wet furry bodies in the sand (much to my dismay.) It takes a LONG, LONG time to get wet sand out of the fur of an F1b labradoodle..just take my word for that. HOLY SMOKES!

Anyway, after a long afternoon, we came back home and I thought we'd come inside and have a little nap before the kids came home. I got out, shut my door, went around and opened the side door to the van. The dogs know what "go inside" means, so Sadie got out first and ran to the steps, and Marley was last to jump out. Just as I was shutting the door, I saw a BLUR of fur and heard mean-ass barking out of the corner of my eyes & ears..and the neighbor's pit bull dog ATTACKED Marley from out of nowhere. Marley never saw it coming, and neither did I. He lunged and attacked, and Marley let out the most awful noise that I think I've ever heard in my life. For those of you who know me and for those of you who have been reading since the old blog, you know that we've had repeated attacks from this same dog. Marley managed to get up and scramble away..he ran as fast as his puppy legs could take him into Reta's yard, and the dog managed to catch him and attack again. It was the most sickening thing that I have ever seen..I felt nauseous & terrified at the same time. About this time the neighbor comes running around my van..I was screaming, and he hollered, and I ran up to his dog (not the smartest thing, looking back now)and the dog let go and ran from me..Marley was still screaming and crying and yelping.

So by this time I'm no longer at the terrified phase, and I'm into the "OMG, MY POOR BABY" phase. Reta and I spent a long time going over him entirely. The problem is that you just can't SEE through all of that fur--it's unreal! Reta then tells Mr Dull that if his psycho pit bull ever comes into HER yard, he won't have to worry about it anymore. GO RETA!! She really gives him what-for, and he sulks off to his own house. No apology, no nothing. These people are not the sharpest tacks in the box, if you catch my drift, so I guess it shouldn't surprise me.

Marley is doing better, and has a big day tomorrow. He's still afraid to go out, but we're working on it. ..he has a visit to a school and a visit to a nursing home. He has a few stories to share since his last visits. Marley is a trooper, and I'm so glad he came to our family!


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