Friday, December 26, 2008

Somebody compromised my PayPal Account!

So, Wednesday I go to my online banking site, and see that there are three PayPal deductions, totaling about $700.  I didn't buy anything with PayPal, let alone spend $700.  As PayPal put it, somebody compromised my PayPal account.  What a mess.  PayPal says that the stuff won't be shipped to this guy in Colorado (he bought stuff for a Chevy and a Pontiac and a Walmart gift card -- I have a Saab and don't shop at Walmart).  I have to wait 10 days for an investigation to finish before I get my money back.  In the meantime, my PayPal account is locked, and I had to go to the bank to prevent any further withdrawals from PayPal for the time being.  In addition, I had to cancel my debit card.  All this takes time.  In the meantime, I have to write checks or use my Chase Visa, which has a limit on it.   I think I will just get some cash at the bank and pay for everything with cash for a couple weeks.   I had to ask for my maintenance check early to cover the debits, but I need to pay my rent on the first, and I don't know if the investigation will be done by then.  I really need that money!

I got a spyware program which I ran, and discovered two viruses my virus program hadn't caught.  I've only had this hard drive for a few days, so somebody acted fast.   I am glad I got the spyware program (called Stopzilla).  I've also been going to every site I can think of where I have a password and am changing it.

This has all been a big hassle, but luckily it was caught in time.  This guy, whomever he is, is going to have some explaining to do to somebody.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day & My New GPS

My kids gave me a GPS for Christmas, a Garmin.  I tried it out inside the building, but it doesn't work in there so I'll have to go out to the car with it.  It's pretty amazing.   If you select a few letters of a town, it fills in the rest for you.  I love it!

They all came over for Christmas Eve -- Camille, Mark, John and his partner Dan.  I made chicken soup with rice and t-bone steaks and mashed red potatoes.  I was going to make Viennese cookies but didn't have the time.  I'll probably make them today.  My house is still a mess with some of the dinner dishes still out and gift wrapping not completely picked up.  I have work to do before everyone comes over again today.  

Mark brought me a bouquet of white flowers and a bottle of wine.  I put the flowers in a red vase.  It's awfully nice to get flowers.  The wine was a Shiraz and it was very good.  

Mark, Camille and I watched It's a Wonderful Life before John and Dan got here from Wisconsin.  I recently bought a $29 DVD player and it works fine, and I got three Christmas movies to play on it.  Other than the Christmas movies I have Harvey and a Tai Chi DVD.  I need to get myself some more movies.  I was thinking City of Angels and Groundhog Day, two of my favorites.  I like movies that have some magic to them.  

Mark and his friend Sarah are moving into an apartment on the Upper East Side in a couple of weeks.  I bought Mark dishes and cuttlery for his new apartment and he loved them.  He said Sarah would also love them.  I also got him a framed poster of Van Gogh's painting of a cafe in Arles.  

John and Dan got a KitchenAid mixer.  John got this miniature video camera he'd asked for.  I forget what it is called.  It's smaller than an iPod.   

Camille got a stack of video games and guides, also clothes and books.  All the kids got books.  I gave Camille a photograph of Bob Dylan, and she'll hang that up in her bedroom at the other house.   Camille's birthday is the 27th and I have another large stash for her.  She really rakes it in around Christmas.  

So we had a good time.  And I got my GPS.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Sewing Dog Scarfs

I just got a sewing machine (paid $200 for it and the cabinet on craigslist) and the first thing I'm going to work on is a dog scarf.  My dog, Ace, has two scarfs.  One is your normal red bandana, and the other is tie-dyed.   I went to Jackman's and found some red Christmas fabric covered in little green bones (!) which I'm going to use for the scarf.  I am going to use the tie-dye scarf as a template because it is bigger, since the fabric I bought is thicker than the usual scarf fabric.  I am going to run a very narrow seam around the outside of the scarf to get rid of the selvages, and then I am going to tie it on Ace for the Christmas season!

My friend Carol (another anthropologist who has two border collies) was surprised Ace tolerated scarfs.  I love the look of dog scarfs.  They look great with his border-collie black and white fur.  I think he likes them.  He sits patiently while I tie them on.  He is such a good dog!

Michio Kaku and teleportation

I have discovered Michio Kaku, a Japanese-American physicist from New York.  Professor Kaku talks about such things as teleportation, parallel universes, and mind reading.  The only difference between Kaku's discussion of these things and mysticism or the paranormal is that his views are based upon physics.  For example, Kaku says we have already teleported small particles, and we will soon be teleporting to the space station and to the moon.  It will be centuries, he thinks, before we are able to teleport an entire human being (he uses Captain Kirk as an example).  We humans have just too many cells.  But he says Star Trek takes place in the 24th century, "so we have plenty of time."  He also thinks that if we were contacted by aliens, that it would be a matter of national security and the common folk should not know because it would be too disruptive.   He believes in SETI, that it should be expanded and supported, pointing out that lots of private funds matched by government funds are now pouring into SETI.  He says that our universe is like a membrane, a bubble, and that he thinks black holes have a white hole on the other side where energy and matter are spewed out into a parallel universe.  

I think Kaku is fascinating.  I want to get his latest book (Physics of the Impossible), but I am going to wait until I have an Audible credit to get it for free.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Phyllis Dintenfass's Beading

I went to lunch with Phyllis Dintenfass and a number of her friends yesterday.  In case you don't know, Phyllis is a preeminant beader.  She has an article in a magazine this month showcasing her beadwork.  I am trying to find out which magazine it is so I can buy it.  While we were at lunch, I bought a pair of Christmas wreath earrings from her, and they are beautiful enough (an not specific enough -- except they are green) to wear all year round.   She also had an amazing necklace with matching earrings and I am determined to buy them.  Only problem is they are $375 for the set, and I didn't get enough from the furniture sale to cover the cost.  So I have written Phyllis and proposed that I pay for them over time.  I wish I had a picture to show you.  The set is amazing.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Craft Materials in Storage

I have a lot of crafting materials in my storage unit.  One of the reasons I came up here to Appleton, in addition to selling the furniture, was to dig out my craft materials and take them back to Saint Louis.  I really want to find the box containing my cross stitch patterns.  There should also be some beading materials in there.  I will have to dig around in the boxes to find this stuff, probably someplace past the books to the back of the unit.  Hopefully I will be able to get to these things.  

Selling the Furniture in Appleton, WI

I am currently in Appleton to sell the furniture in my storage unit.  It is snowing.  There is snow all over my car and on the ground.  I don't have a scraper for my car (I intended to get one but coulen't find one before leaving Saint Louis).  I am wondering if the sale is going to happen anyway.  I am wondering if the agent is going to cancel.  I am wondering if the buyers are going to come out despite the snow.  I really need this to happen.  The money I will get will go mostly to my boys.  I need $2000 after the agent's commission, some to help with John's MacBook and some for Mark to help him move to a new apartment in NY.   I am hoping for a little beyond that to make getting through the month a bit easier.

I paid off all my bills except and a credit card with a big debt on it.  The credit card is going down, and I can pay off Amazon as it comes due.  Everything else is paid off.  I sure hope we can get this done in the snow.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Singing "Woodstock" with my Daughter

We were on our way back from rehab.  My daughter is 16 and has a drug problem.  Her drugs of choice are LSD and pot.   We put her in rehab after she got kicked out of her third high school.  She is currently not in school -- she will take the GED and depend on her excellent exam scores to get into college.  So we were driving back, and I had my iPod connected to the tape deck, and she was fooling around with it.  "May I play some songs?" she asked.  "Sure," I said.  She put on Bob Dylan.  "Everyone Must Get Stoned."  I asked, "Isn't this a little contradictory, playing this Dylan song on the way back from rehab."  "Oh, it's not really about drugs," she said.  "It's political."  I hadn't listened to the words to this song in years, so I sat quietly for a while while the song played out.  "You're right.  How did you know that?"  "It's obvious.  How about some Neil Young?"  She played a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song.  It was "Woodstock."  "Joni Mitchell wrote this, did you know that?"  'No."  "Well she did."  We sat for a moment until the lyrics began, and then both of us started to sing at the top of our lungs.  We sang our hearts out.  "I came across a child of God, he was walking along the road..."  I couldn't believe we were sitting in the car singing to my favorite songs.  I never expected this from my daughter who is 39 years younger than I am.   I guess I did something right.

Monday, December 01, 2008

The Empty Best Buy

I went to Best Buy this evening, to get car chargers for my phone and iPod, and when I walked in I was shocked to see only one person there.  All the cashiers were milling around, and the greeters had nothing to do.  (I am surprised they didn't all converge on me.)  As I entered, I exclaimed, "This place is really empty!"  I guess I shouldn't be so shocked given the state of the economy, but one would think Best Buy would be really busy three weeks before Christmas.  It was a very strange experience.

I haven't been around for a while...

...but I'm going to start posting about crafts again.  There are still quite a few people visiting this website despite the fact that I haven't been posting.  I think it's very worthwhile to continue this blog.

I am currently getting ready for my cleaning crew to come.  My friend John Andrisan calls it "pre-cleaning."  I don't know anyone who doesn't pre-clean before their ladies come.  

I bought a sewing machine.  I went on craigslist and advertised that I was looking for one, preferably one with a cabinet.  For $200 I got the sewing machine (a Kenmore) complete with a cool real-wood cabinet that looks like a piece of furniture.

What am I going to sew?  Well, I got a wool sweater at Salvation Army and shrunk it down.  I am then going to make a stuffed animal (well, they say "plush").  I am using a book called Plushorama for the design.  (It's available on   I like the kitty-cat made out of felted wool with felt features.  I am even going to make use of the area with two stripes on the sweater, putting the stripes down across the lower body of the cat.  It is so cute!  The subtitle of the books says something about "immature adults"!  These stuffed animals are really crazy, and some of them are purposefully ugly or scary!  It's such a cool book, and I really like the idea of shrinking/felting the sweater for the fabric.