Mar 30, 2010

Fun Mail Day + more art from my tablet (arent you lucky!!)

Some days I love to get the mail (especially when it is not bill week!)
Today when I opened the mailbox there were 3 fun surprises in there, along with the regular stuff.
First was my super fun gift from Kikkoman who is having a Chinese New Year Celebration and giving away fun prizes such as a silicone basting brush, stainless steel tongs, cookbooks, and this nifty ceramic spoon rest!

Also in the mailbox was a sample of Beneful's new Incredibites. I really love samples of things for my dogs. They are a bit picky sometimes and I hate buying them something new and finding out that they really don't like it so suddenly I have a not always small or cheap container of something be it treats or food or what have you that they will not eat. Not fun for my wallet for sure. However it seems that this new food is like doggy crack! Seriously!

Cocoa was first on the scene and actually finished up the bowl all by himself so I had to give a refill. (Please note, the "bowl" was not really that much the first go round as I wasn't sure if it would get the "sniff sniff ; nose in the air, walk away" treatment.) So I actually filled the bowl for round two and next came Annie.

She dove right in munching away. In fact, she stood in front of the bowl blocking which is very unusual for her. They usually take a mouthful then move to another part of the room to drop it and slowly nibble the kibble. (I'm a poet y'all!)

And in a surprising move.. there was another critter waiting in line for his turn ...

Here we have Dozer, the very large sometimes evil Siamese cat of doom. He thought it was pretty good stuff as well. I kept having to chase him off in fact since he outweighs the dogs and I am sometimes afraid that he will get tired of them and eat them for a snack!

The third mailbox item was a new magazine that I haven't gotten before. Spin Magazine in fact. Now I don't recall why I am getting this to add to my several lot and tons of magazines but YAY because it is a fun one!

Also, while looking up that last link for Spin, I just won myself 11 Swagbucks

What? I haven't mentioned Swagbucks before? Oh my goodness I have been remiss!! is the web's premier rewards site. Powered by Prodege LLC, allows web users to earn virtual currency by doing the things they do every day - search the web, shopping at their favorite retailers, and by engaging in other activities such as phone recycling, submitting polls, and completing special offers. is the only place on the web to get what you want without ever having to spend a dime.

and yes, those links ARE referral links *wink* click them anyhow!!

And, before I go - one more bit of artwork that I did last night! I am getting the hang of this tablet business I think!

Mar 29, 2010

Wacom Bamboo Tablet

Yesterday (holy cow was it only yesterday?!) I said I had wanted to get a tablet.
Well today I got a tablet! However, it was a step up from the one that I linked yesterday as it is the Pen and Touch version and I am having fun with it!
Since I love to take pictures I did the whole unboxing series:

Oh look! My new tablet! "A Touch Of Inspiration"

Inside the box on a nice black cover it told me that. It gave me a warm fuzzy feeling reading it. :)

Under the black cover with the note I found nicely packaged items. Nicely packaged items I couldn't wait to tear into.
Under the tablet was a little box with the install cd's and booklet. Nice packaging job, also nice was that it was all recyclable.items! No big chunks of plastic here, nice cardboard stuff that I can easily dance across and toss in the recycle bin!

Install was a breeze and the tutorial was very helpful however the lady's voice rather annoyed me. I did pretty good, until it came to using 2 fingers on the touch part. Seems I can't manage to put 2 fingers down spaced slightly apart at the same time. I will practice on that one..

Now, the pièce de résistance, my first awesome bit of artwork! Don't laugh at me, I have sensitive feelings! HA!

This is supposed to be our dog Cocoa - however it really isn't. I played around with some of the textures and things in Paintshop just because, which explains the beeeutiful grass and bubble cloud and orange peel sunshine.

Drawing with it is going to take some getting used to. It isn't quite the same as taking a pen or pencil and drawing on a piece of paper. There is not only getting used to drawing in one space while watching another (yay hand eye coordination - thank you Atari for teaching me that young!) but there is also pressure to take into consideration and a bit of a hesitation when I go to draw which can make my lines glitchy. That could also be on the Paintshop side of it as well. I am not sure since that is the only program I have used to draw in so far. 

Bamboo comes with Adobe Photoshop, but I haven't explored that yet. I probably will after making dinner - speaking of which.. must run since I am sure I am burning the poor pork!!

Mar 28, 2010

Bamboo Pen

So I have decided that I really REALLY want to have a tablet. I like to draw and so what if my drawings are silly I love them! I am considering the Bamboo Pen from Wacom. They seem to have decent products for not a ton of cash and since it will be my fun new toy I can't see spending hundreds of dollars.

I have totally added it to my birthday wish list, so now I am just crossing my fingers!! (3 more shopping months by the way! HA)

New Look for the Blog & Babies - The Movie

I changed the settings around. Like this look much better than the other one. It seems less harsh on the ol' peepers! By the way I have a heck of a time thinking up titles for these things.. now you know!

There is a new movie coming out Mother's Day weekend that I would really like to see.
It's called Babies, and it follows the life of 4 babies from just born to first steps.
The babies are from Mongolia, Namibia, Tokyo and San Francisco.
I think seeing the differences in how the cultures raise the babies will be really interesting.
Follow this link for the USA Today's article on the movie!

I think it should be a very interesting and fun movie. And I love that the release date is Mother's Day!!

Mar 26, 2010

More about Ford and the Mustang

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Scott Monty, the head of social media for Ford Motor Company for contacting me today after I directed a tweet @Ford about the customer service issues we are having and sent them a link to the blog post.
Scott took the time to discuss with me in email the issues as well as ideas and explanations for the VIN problems and hopefully get some things straightened out so that other customers will not have these issues in the future.
He took the time to actually understand what was going on and what happened originally.
There are quite a few companies out there that could learn from this. (I am looking at YOU Best Buy - but that is another story for another day!)
and now this leads me to the opportunity to post the picture of the Mustang !!
(gee I love excuses don't you?!)

I really am going to have to get another picture of her. 
This one where she is waving isn't the best..

Before and After

We made the doggies appointments (finally!) for haircuts and baths at PetSmart!
Before taking them to PetSmart I had been taking them to another salon which cost quite a bit more and usually when I picked them up, there were things that were not done right.

For some reason I was afraid to take them to PetSmart for grooming. I think somewhere I had heard stories of the grooming there not being good, that the groomers weren't well trained, that "things happened" to so-and-so's dog.. But then when I used my brain and thought about it, bad things happening to dogs being groomed there would not be easy to do since most of the time they are in that room with ALL those windows! Yes, there is the back area, with the kennels and the bathing area, but most of the action is in a basic fishbowl setting.

Now when we dropped the babies off, Raziel (our groomer for the day) took Annie back first, after going over the cuts we wanted and all the usual things pre-grooming. As she was trying to get Annie in the kennel it seems my crazy squirmy don't want to go in there darling girl, who is also a drama queen, got her nail stuck in one of the mesh holes in the bottom of said kennel. And boy oh boy did she start screaming. A dog screaming is an amazing sound let me tell you. And I know Annie's scream, I have heard it several times - sometimes even just trying to brush her hair! So I can picture this - Annie screaming, twisting and pulling with her toe/nail stuck in this little hole. Pulling harder trying to get herself loose which is making it hurt more, which is making her pull and scream more. And the whole while Raziel trying to figure out how to hang onto the crazy dog and get her loose and trying to get someone to help her get the quickly going insane dog unhooked but being the only person in the back room. Now this didn't last that long. It didn't last long enough for me to make the decision to actually go back into that room myself. So Raziel comes back out to get Cocoa and let me know what was going on with Annie and the screamfest. I told her that I wanted to check on Annie and Raziel let me know that they couldn't let me back into the room but she could get Annie out of the kennel, bring her back to the front so I could check her, then put her back. I thought that would be a lot of extra stress on Annie that was unneeded which I pointed out to her. She checked with her manager and they let me go back and check on her. She was fine, I figured she would be but I had to know! I messed with her feet and she was not limping or pulling away from pressure so I was ok with it.

So off Cocoa goes, I think he was more stressed than usual after hearing Annie scream - I like to believe I have super smart dogs that know everything and we are going to go with that! He knew they took her to that room and she started screaming and now they came for him to take him to the same room. He was shaking like a little leaf!

Ok Long Story huh.. a little TL;DR I am sure.
The point being, they did an awesome job with them (as usual) for a not crazy huge price (very nice!) and Raziel was so very apologetic when I came back to get them and I honestly felt she was, it wasn't just spouting words.
Now for before and after - Hairy Mutts to Svelte Posh Doggies.

I tried to get them to pose the same for the after picture but they are just so pig headed!

I also wanted to add that through May 23rd, PetSmart is offering their Nail Grinding for $5 when you get a groom or bath. It's usually priced at $11 and if you have never had your dog (or cat's) nails done this way instead of the usual clipping, now is a great time to try it! It makes them so nice! No more sharp edges that slice into you when your darling Fido or FeeFee jumps up on you. And PetSmart's policy on the grinding is that if they can not get all the nails done there is no charge. I don't plan to ever go back to clipping.. the grinding is just too good!

The Continuing Saga of The Mustang, Fog Lights and Ford's terrible customer service in online ordering!

So I did receive a reply from Ford Corporate on the same day:
Thank you for contacting the Ford Motor Company Customer Relationship Center regarding the fog light kit for your 1999 Ford Mustang.
Ford Motor Company is concerned with the satisfaction of all Ford and Lincoln-Mercury owners. We regret the circumstances that have prompted you to contact us. However, to help us ensure that your concerns are properly addressed, we recommend that you reply to us with the following additional information to allow us to proceed. 
Zip Code: 
Cellular Phone Number: 
Daytime Phone Number: 
Home Phone Number: 
Vehicle Identification Number: 
If you would prefer to provide this information over the phone, you may call us toll free at 1-800-392-3673 between the hours of 8am and 5pm, local time, Monday through Friday. Hearing impaired callers with access to a TDD may contact us by calling 1-800-232-5952.
Customer Relationship Center 
Ford Motor Company

To which I replied with our address, phone number and "I see no reason to supply the VIN number on the car as it has nothing to do with the issue at hand."
I feel that there really isn't a reason to supply them with the VIN on the Mustang seeing as how it wasn't something they needed when we ordered the part and it really has nothing to do with the problem we are having.

I received another reply yesterday:
The information requested enables us to investigate the possible options that will directly address your request. In addition, this enables us to efficiently process your inquiry and update our records. Please provide the following information to allow us to proceed.
Vehicle Identification Number:
If you would prefer to provide this information over the phone, you may call us toll free at 1-800-392-3673 between the hours of 8am and 5pm, local time, Monday through Friday. Hearing impaired callers with access to a TDD may contact us by calling 1-800-232-5952.
Customer Relationship Center 
Ford Motor Company

Now I am a little irked by this. What I am getting is that if I don't give them my VIN number then they aren't going to do anything about this situation.
I am still debating my reply to them on this subject.
I guess at this point however it really does not matter since we cancelled the order, however we are still waiting for the refund to show up in the account. I love how when you order something they get their money right away, however with a refund they can take their own sweet time. In Ford's case we were told that it could take up to 10 business days to show up.

I still may reply to Ford. Just to let them know I cancelled the order and that I really think their customer service needs some work. I should not have to give them my VIN number to get some sort of help from them. Honestly... Customer Service seems to be a thing of the past these days. Companies really need to rethink who keeps them in business. *shrugs* Guess we let them do it so we all only have ourselves to blame.

Mar 25, 2010

Hellmann's Real Food Project

Bobby Flay and Lori Loughlin have teamed up with Hellmann's® and Best Foods® Mayonnaise to unveil the Real Food Project on, a comprehensive online resource offering tips and ideas on how to create real meals made with Real Food.

I love that there are how-to videos on the site! Being a failure in the kitchen makes creating new things difficult for me unless someone is showing me how! Bobby Flay shows how to make some great eats on here and it's not super fancy food that you wouldn't have the ingredients for, it's simple delicious things that the whole family can enjoy.
Today I watched the Ham Salad on Biscuits and can't wait to try them! I have made all sorts of ___ salad but never considered using ham for whatever reason.

Along with the how-to videos and great recipes on the site, there are also coupons and chances to win kitchen essentials, the Bobby FLay Grill It and other items by playing the "Wheel of Real" instant win game. Sign up and you get 3 opportunities to spin the wheel a day! 

"Disclosure: I was entered for a chance to win a Hellmann's® prize package in exchange for this post.  No monetary exchange took place."

Mar 24, 2010

The Saga of The Mustang, Fog Lights and Ford's terrible customer service in online ordering!

We contacted Titus-Will Ford after finding the OEM fog light kit on their website that the boyfriend wanted to add to the mustang. The guy in the internet department told us there wasn't any difference ordering online versus over the phone with him so we went ahead and just did the order online.
This was March 3, 2010. The bank card was charged the full amount this day. $205.38.
About a week later with no email or anything coming in regards to the order the boyfriend contacted the internet department again to see what was up. He was told that they were trying to "locate the part" and would ship it asap when they did.
Fast forward a couple more phone calls with being told they would call us back and never doing so and then calls back to them and more of the run around.
Now it is March 24th. Ford has had our money for 21 days. We call this morning to be rudely told "We don't open until 8am!" and hung up on. Wow. Nice. So I of course shoot off an email to Ford Corporate that says:
We contacted Titus Will Ford here in Washington State in regards to ordering an OEM fog light kit for our 1999 Mustang. They told us that there wasn't really a difference ordering online versus over the phone, so we placed our order. This was March 3 2010. Our card was charged the full amount that day. It is now March 24th and still no part and no help with numerous phone calls either. We were supposed to be called back several times with no call at all, which had us calling back yet again. When we do FINALLY get in contact with someone we are being told they are "trying to locate" the part to ship to us. This morning on another attempt to contact the internet department we were hung up on after being rudely told "We don't open until 8am!" I feel that the ball has been seriously dropped on this customer service issue and would really like this handled as soon as possible. I also believe that some sort of compensation is due us for the hassle that this has become.
And that is all I can say since their webform limits how many words I can put in the field.
Meanwhile, the boyfriend tries to call again and after a couple of the messages that everyone is busy try back later, he gets a hold of someone who informs him that the fog light kit "still hasn't cleared for shipping". Wow, seriously??
He tells them to just cancel the order and give him back his money, today. We shall see. And I am not sending another letter to Ford about the cancellation. I can't wait to see if they bother to get back to me or if I am just blown off.
I'll keep you informed....

Mar 21, 2010

iPod Touch

We now have a pretty shiny iPod Touch.
We being the boyfriend of course - me being the one that will show him how to use it.

The best part of the whole thing...
Slapping an Apple sticker on my laptop and demanding it now be called my MacBook!

Mar 19, 2010

Focus Group for Gardeners! More about Chrome.. Diamond Nexus now with more links!!

If anyone is interested I received this in my email box the other day. If I was a gardener that grew from seeds I would be all over it, however I am pretty sure they aren't interested in someone with a black thumb!

Dynamic Research is currently seeking participants for the following study.
1. Individuals 25 to 59 years of age who planted a vegetable or flower garden in 2009 via seed and will be planting a vegetable or flower garden in 2010 via seed. The study will take place the week of April 12, 2010 and last approximately 3 hours. You will be paid a $250.00 honorarium for your time.
If you or someone you know is interested in participating in any of these studies contact Dynamic Research at:

And now on to my further adventures with Google Chrome!
It is rendering some of the things I do (mostly Kindom Of Loathing) in blotchy segments. I don't know how else to explain it! However, I am seeing this mostly on sites that use tables. And scrolling in these tables is very entertaining. It brings up the left side slower than the right side (if you were to divide the table in half when it really isn't you understand) so that sometimes the words that end up lining up for a half a second are entirely LOL worthy!!
I did find a nice little extension for twitter, Chromed Bird for anyone interested. It is nice and organized and I actually like it much better than the Echofon I was using with Firefox.

I did want to also point out that Diamond Nexus Labs also have Facebook, Twitter and a blog! I have been having a great time reading their wall over at Facebook! Lots of fun information as well as fan photo's of some really cute rings!!
My daughter has fallen in "Love Love Loooove" with their Princess Cut Stud Earrings with Glacial Ice guess I should start saving up for someone's 15th birthday huh!?

Mar 18, 2010

OK I am now trying out Google's Chrome and I am not sure how much I love it yet.
It is different than Firefox, which I have been using for years now... however for whatever reason I have had nothing but issues with the Fox (version 3.6) on the new laptop. It could however not be Firefox's issue, it may possibly be a Windows 7 issue - not that I would ever think Windows/Microsoft would have issues!! (oh god, that made me laugh so hard I almost had coffee out the nose!!)

I am a PC and I had NOTHING to do with this Windows 7 stuff! However, I wish I would have!! Lots and tons of things would be different.

Which also reminds me that for whatever reason, my LG Touch will not work on my new Windows 7 computer. When I plug the USB in I receive a notice that states basically - "Hey! We have no firmwear updates for this so No Way Jose - no connecting the two for you lady!" or something like that... I need to go work on this for a while!

Free Kindle For PC

This excites me!

I LOVE to read, and I do not mind reading on my laptop, so this is perfect!
Kindle books are usually a much lower price than other books, especially on new releases!
Off to Amazon I go!

Mar 15, 2010

Diamond Nexus Lab - Crowns

I posted before about Diamond Nexus Labs being named the Official Jewelry of the Miss Universe Organization, well reading on the Diamond Nexus Labs site (instead of instantly looking at gorgeous things I would love to have) I found this:

Congratulations to Stefania Fernandez of Venezuela, now Miss Universe 2009! Her radiant beauty and majestic grace are a spectacular testament to the natural splendor of her country and its people.
Stefania is wearing the Peace Crown, designed and created by Diamond Nexus Labs. The deep, flawless rubies that accent this masterpiece represent Miss Universe's tireless worldwide campaign of HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention. We look forward to seeing Stefania wear it proudly as she performs her duties throughout the coming year.

You can not only view the Miss Universe Crown, but also the Miss Teen USA and Miss USA crowns as well as a video on the making of the Miss Universe Crown!

Mar 11, 2010

Elected Officials and Email

Everyone knows how much I love to write to our wonderful government officials about just about anything and everything!
So I sent a quick email off to Governor Gregoire about the tax proposals that are going on. The raise in taxes on cigarettes, the proposed sales tax increase, etc.
My quick thoughts for her were an easy way to not only raise money for the state but to also save some for it.
The idea for raising money was to have the bicyclists of the state have to have a special endorsement. Now, by bicyclists, I mean those people that ride their bikes on the streets, in traffic and "behave" as a vehicle. The endorsement would be just like the motorcycle endorsement that is required in this state. There would be classes that cyclists would have to take. They would be required to also license and tab their bikes, especially since most of the roads around here have a bike lane just for them (thank god since not very many of them follow any rules of the road!).
But my most splendid idea was the saving money part I sent. I pointed out that if she, and the House and Senate members, would take a cut in their pay, even just a third off the top, that the savings would be substantial!
( source - Washington Citizen's Commision )

I received a reply email this morning from the Governor's Office which states:

Dear Joann:

Thank you for writing Governor Gregoire with your ideas to save taxpayer dollars during these difficult economic times. She appreciates the time you took to share your views.

The budget gap that we will need to plug during this legislative session provides us a challenge to rethink how we deliver state services. Your ideas for how we can grow the state's economy, create or save jobs, deliver state services more efficiently, and protect our most vulnerable citizens are truly appreciated.

We will need many of these ideas and much, much more to address the $2.6 billion - and growing - budget shortfall we now face. This follows the $9 billion shortfall we addressed in last year's legislative session. We cut spending by $3.2 billion, including making painful cuts in K-12 and higher education and the state's Basic Health Plan for low-income individuals. We used $3 billion in funds from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, too, but this is a short-term solution. And we made use of the Rainy Day Fund and other savings measures to make up the balance of the shortfall.

While consumer spending continues to lag and the unemployment rate has yet to flatten out, Washington's recovery, while on the horizon, isn't here yet. We need to solve the new shortfall and position our state to come out of the recession better and healthier than ever.

That is why all options for balancing the budget will be on the table. The Governor appreciates your good ideas, and encourages you to keep your eyes open for other suggestions. While we made some difficult choices in the budget signed last spring, even more difficult choices are before us. To the extent that we can save money by operating state services more economically, we may not need to cut as deeply.

Governor Gregoire thanks you again for sharing your thoughts. While we have much hard work and many tough choices ahead of us, she knows that we will emerge a stronger and more robust state from this recession.


Melody Younglove
Constituent/Management Services Manager
Christine O. Gregoire

I love how this is a basic form type letter that really makes me think that no one actually read my letter at all.
Thank you Governor. . . I am so glad you listen to the people of the state that elected you.

(However, this brings up another question.. who DID vote for her? I have yet to find anyone that says they did - perhaps they are just so ashamed of it they are scared to admit!)

Mar 10, 2010

March 8th we went to our local Best Buy to look at some stereo equipment for the Mustang. We stood in the car audio department for about 10 minutes with no one around to help. There was another lady there looking for help as well. I finally spotted one of the blue shirted workers and asked him if anyone worked in the department (after debating trying to figure out how to use the phone system, how to use the dumb 2-way radios they always wear since there was one laying over by the cash register as well as debating if I started playing with the cash register if anyone would pay attention). He called someone who came over and we told him that the lady had been there first so he attempted to help her, which he couldn't do and ended up "going to find someone".

After he wandered off we finally just gave up and walked out. I was tweeting about the bad experience and did get 2 tweets back from employee type people of Best Buy asking if they could help, to which I replied; "@coral_bestbuy @applexpert50 the best buy thing could only have been helped with someone being in the car audio dept to help me" and then after looking at their profiles I followed up with; "@Coral_BestBuy since you are corporate, you may want to let your Bellevue WA store know they have lost 2 customers. cant ever get help there" and of course have heard NOTHING else.

That's fine Best Buy - the guys over at Bellevue Car Toys were more than happy to help out and let us spend the money there instead! Thanks Duane, Drew and David. You guys are great!

Mar 6, 2010

Diamond Nexus...

OK I admit I have become a bit obsessed with the Diamond Nexus Lab site, but how could I not! Beautiful things there! SHINY!

I did find a great review from someone that actually has something from Diamond Nexus Here and in 2009 Diamond Nexus Labs was announced as the official jewelry of the Miss Universe Organization.

I have fallen in LOVE LOVE LOVE with this ring
You should all go go go look and drool for yourselves of course!

Mar 4, 2010

Recycle Bank

RecycleBank is a program that gives points for recycling that can be exchanged for prizes. They’re still expanding and chances are they don’t have a program set up in your area yet. However, they still allow anybody to join up and start earning points immediately! When you sign up you get your first 100 points.
If you use code RECYCLEYOURMAGS, you’ll get 15 points.
Then if you click the “My Account” tab and look at the right side of the page, you should see a banner to join the eBay Green Team.
Click it and you’ll get an additional 50 points.

Mar 3, 2010

Diamond Nexus Labs

Lab created Gem Stones.
Ever thought about those?
Good for the earth, GREAT for the wallet!
Diamond Nexus has to die for and really affordable lab created gem stone "art"!
I am making my birthday list early this year!