Have I been banned by England?  

The Local Government Association in England has published a "non-word" list of cliches and jargon. One of those words is "synergies". So would that mean Progressive Synergy banned? Hmmm... I hope not. I do have international customers, but none in England (yet)!


Sav-Mor food yard sale  

I had my first experience with the Sav-Mor food yard sale today. Wow! What an experience! They line up tons of banana boxes full of food in their parking lot. When I arrived there were swarms of people around the perimeter. You grab an empty banana box and wait for the signal to go. Then it's a free for all! You pay $6 for whatever you can fit in your box. (level with the top of the box) I ran into a friend from church as I was leaving and she said she calculated it out once and it's about an average of 14 cents per item!

I got a couple boxes of cereal, a cake mix, 2 cheesecake mixes, 2 jars of natural peanut butter, several cans of Main Street Cafe iced coffee, 2 bags of Nestle peanut butter/chocolate chips, several bottles of dressing, tortilla mix, graham cracker crust, organic Kraft Mac & Cheese, organic spaghetti saurce, BBQ sauce and a bunch of other miscellaneous items. Some of the things I probably never would have bought in the store, but the items that I do buy were worth over $6. The rest of the stuff was just to fill the box! :-) I could have squeezed a few more things in, but there was nothing left that I would eat or want to give away!


Finding wifi  

I found Nemo when I was on Guam. Now I'm finding wifi.

I had lunch with a friend yesterday who recently acquired a laptop with a wireless card. She has been doing a lot of traveling lately and was trying to find free internet access at coffee shops, etc. This post will hopefully help her and others!

Wi-Fi Free Spot you can view by city/state or by type (companies, hotels, airports. RV parks, etc.)
Jiwire (free and paid)

Many public libraries offer wireless.

Downtown Greenville, SC
has free wireless as well.

If you have AT&T as your internet service provider, you can use basic AT&T Wi-Fi hotspot locations for free. Many Barnes & Noble Bookstores, McDonald's and Starbucks are included. Hint - use the drop down menu below the map to filter for Basic (only). I haven't tested this yet. Last time I tried was right after the Bell South/AT&T merger and it wasn't available for SC subscribers. It appears that it should be now.

If you register a Starbucks card you will have access to 2 free hours of internet access per day. Not only that, but free beverage customization, brewed coffee refills, and a beverage with a whole bean purchase!


Flooding in my hometown / Drought where I am now  

The Waterloo/Cedar Falls (Iowa) area has been hit with some major flooding in the last few days. Downtown has been evacuated. All but one bridge has been closed. A railroad bridge has washed away as well.

My family lives far enough away from the river so they have not been directly affected by the flooding. Mom did say it is difficult to get around town though because so many roads are closed. They are supposed to get about 6 more inches or rain this week.

Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier
KWWL Channel 7 News

Here in Greenville, we are still in a drought. We pretty much skipped right over the pleasant early summer weather and went directly to the record-breaking 95-100 degrees. It's been hot! Tonight we had a pretty good thunderstorm though. It was short, but I did go out on the porch and watch it. I love the smell of rain! That was one thing I missed while I lived on Guam. It didn't smell the same as it does in the States when it rained. They started replacing the roof on my apartment today. Hopefully it was covered well enough to keep the water out! :-) I don't see any leaks yet!

Oh, and I saw yesterday that somewhere in Washington State got about a foot of snow!


My "new" wheels!  

On May 30th, I finally got my Xtracycle FreeRadical hitchless trailer installed! Now I have an S.U.B. (Sport Utility Bike) Here are some before and after pictures. Sorry they're not quite the same angle. In both pictures the front tire is all the way to the wall. That will give you an idea of how LONG my bike is now!

Because it is a very unusual bike, I've met lots of people on the few rides I've taken with it! It is definitely a conversation starter! Today a kid I passed told his mom I had a cool bike! :-)

I've only taken about 4 rides with it so far, but I already like it! It really doesn't seem to handle much different than a regular bike as long as I remember it is longer and wider. (The optional wideloaders are currently installed to give me more package hauling ability).

Since my apartment is on 2nd floor, I thought it would be a lot harder to get the bike up the stairs. Nope. It's actually easier, believe it or not! In the picture above, look below the fire extinguisher. You will see a slightly curved silver bar near the bottom of the bike frame. I grab that and haul it up the stairs. Before the Xtracycle, I had to hoist the whole thing over my shoulder and carry it up. Not fun after a long, tiring ride! The folks at Xtracycle call it GravityAdvantage JuJu. I even carried it down the stairs with a 15lb box strapped on it. (Down is easier. Later I had a different 15 lb load. I took it off before going up!)

The other day I borrowed my friends kids to see how it handled with people/heavier loads. Two of the kids got on. It was slightly wobbly as we started because we were going slow out the driveway because of the way their curb is. Didn't want anyone to fall off! The four year old wanted off. The six year old got on. I warned him it would be just a little wobbly until we got going. He decided he didn't want to go down the hill. (He walks his bike down all hills because he hates them.) OK, so it's down to just me and the 9 year old. He loved it and said his mom should get one! He did think we were going a little fast down the hill, so I slowed down & lost my momentum to make it up the next one. I warned him I was going to stand up to pedal the rest of the way up the hill and it might wobble just a little. Surprisingly, there was only a slight wobble. I had worse wobble with my old setup carrying a 25 lb box. He weighs a little over 60 lbs. Barely noticed him there except the big hills. But it didn't feel like I was pulling that much weight. Never thought I'd say that about a load that size!

I also went to the grocery store this week. I took my cooler since it's been so hot this week and I need to pick up some ice and other refrigerated stuff. The cooler & contents weighed at least 15 lbs. Balancing the load on both sides is better, but didn't really have an option in this case. Didn't make a difference. Handled beautifully! Here's a picture:

Today on the way home from running some errands, a cyclist going the other direction gave me a thumbs up and hollered, "Nice Xtracycle!" Wow! Not that many people actually know what it is! He turned around and caught up to me. Turns out he's the only other guy I know of in town that has one! His bike is actually in the shop right now for some work and he was riding one without the "X". I had actually seen his when I was at the shop! It's taken some abuse. He rode cross country on it with his dogs. He's planning an "around the US" tour now.

Yep, I'm glad I bought my Xtracycle. Now I can't wait for the Stokemonkey to be released!


Happy Birthday to me!  

My birthday was June 3rd. It was a busy day! I got some work done in the morning then my friend, Kristin picked me up for lunch at Panera. We got there and her sister & 4 kids were there to help me celebrate! They had a balloon and cupcakes for me! The manager noticed the party going on and gave me a free lunch! After lunch and festivities (including making paper airplanes for the kids) they headed home and Kristin and I stayed. I worked and she read. She is reading 140 books this summer for her classes! Then we headed next door to get my free ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery. I tried "All Lovin' No Oven" - Cake Batter ice cream (my favorite!), cookie dough, fudge and whipped cream. It was very good! To get free ice cream on your birthday, click here.

I was home for a couple hours then Barb picked me up for Women for Missions salad picnic. On the way home we stopped at Moo's for more ice cream! And since it was Tuesday, cones are $1.50!

It was a good birthday!


Catching up  

I have been so busy lately, I haven't had much time to blog. Let me back up and catch up on my life! On Wednesday, April 30th, I flew up to Wisconsin to spend a couple days with one of my best friends, Heather. Friday, we drove down to Chicago to meet up with my family to see Mei, my cousin's new baby and celebrate my brother's birthday. We went to Woodfield Mall to eat & do a little shopping. The whole group (cousins, Aunt & Uncle, Mom & Dad, kids, babies, etc.) went to a little zoo near my cousin's house. Then we went to Geneva to do a little shopping/wandering downtown. It was a nice area with some neat shops, but I didn't buy anything. Side note- Mike & I went to GameWorks and got carded! I don't think that's ever happened to me before! I had been to Gameworks several times on Guam, in Chicago and Indianapolis, but apparently after a certain time of night they don't let minors in! Mike had heard me talk about it before and wanted to see it so we ran in for a quick look around. They had changed several things since I had been there a few years ago.

On Sunday I drove back to Iowa with my family and spent a little over a week there. It was busy! Mike & Kris sold their house, but hadn't found one to buy, so we did some house hunting. Would you believe I was busy enough that I never went to the mall!? (except in Chicago) I went to Target once (out of town). Kris & I hit CVS a few times to take advantage of some good deals there. I'm a bad aunt. I never got my camera out to take pictures of Aayla!

Here is a picture of some burp cloths I made for Mei. I wanted to post them a long time ago after I finished them, but didn't want to spoil the surprise! :-)

I surprised Mom and was home for Mother's Day! She thought I was leaving on Saturday. We kept it a secret until Thursday and finally told her. She was so surprised! I headed back to South Carolina on Monday.

Since then I've been very busy with work! One exciting thing happened a couple weeks ago: We found out late Monday afternoon that a container leaving on Thursday was going to be about 20% empty. (various items we thought would make it in time got back ordered, delayed, etc.) I called my contact overseas to see what he wanted me to do. We did some brainstorming and after several phone calls & emails decided I'd rent a moving truck and do some shopping for things they needed that were going on another container a few months later. That filled the space and we even had a few things I picked up that didn't make it on and are waiting for the one that will ship in a couple weeks. Never a dull moment here!