Gardening is Not for Sissies


For years I have been trying to get my BFF Zelda to take a dive into the gardening universe. And this year it finally happened – she put up her green house, went on a shopping spree at the local nursery, and bought all the amendment, soil, chemicals, and plants I told her to (and then some).

Since the part of her property where she was planning to put her garden is very slope-ish there was some prep that would have to be done first. So we spent a day and mixed up soil, mulch, worming castings, lime, bone meal, and or stuff, potted all her nursery buys and planned to put the garden in within a few weeks.

Well then there was the tree that unexpectedly fell down on her back lot and required a chain saw to cut. It was a very big tree and her helper ‘forgot’ the day of the sawing and then there were the chain saws that kept dying. Somehow she managed to muddle through and put her focus back on the garden. Her helper was digging out an area for the strawberries when one of the walls collapsed because it was apparently built without rebar and other essential items. So then she had to go to the rock store and buy a lot of expensive rocks to build another.

Then there was the business trip that took her out of town for a week and the giant gopher snake that got trapped in her fencing and required the Fire Department to extract.

Anyway…today was planting day. I planted my garden two months ago and my plants are planning to take over the world judging by their size and are doing fine. So I volunteered to help Zelda plant.

Okay, so we met for breakfast to carbo load, then there was a trip to the dollar store, thrift store, and Home Depot for necessary items. And then we went out back. You have to picture the scene to fully appreciate the challenges we faced. The greenhouse frame was erected and given the weather there was no need to do any netting or walls so that was good. Until we had to do our magic mix of dirt, potting soil, chemicals, and amendment. You see Zelda’s property is pretty sandy and rocky so we knew that amending the soil was going to be needed.

Our first obstacle was getting the wheel barrel up the hill and through the greenhouse frame and then incidentally freeing Zelda who managed to get trapped under the wheel barrel. No, I have no explanation for how that happened but…then we realized we could not get the wheel barrel through the frame and had to back it up (while teetering on a cliff and trying not to slip in the five foot mound of dirt and again getting trapped under the wheel barrel. At one point masks and an electric drill were needed but we did manage to get the wheel barrel in position and then we had to lift the trashcan full of the magic soil mixture into the wheel barrel – did you know that trash cans with wheels on them are hard to get a grip on?
Then we had to put much of the five foot mound of dirt back into the greenhouse because after all what else was she going to do with it and we didn’t want a sunken green house floor. I tried to help but kept slipping and sliding in the shifting pile of quick sand.. Er…ah..dirt and so my job was to sift out rocks, while Zelda pulled in the dirt with a hoe.

Finally it was time to take the magic mixture for the top layer and again while teetering on the edge of the hill we made several attempts at tipping the now full wheel barrel into the floor of the greenhouse. Luckily no one was trapped this time and the Fire Department did not have to be called. We managed to get the top layer in, put on our painting masks because quite frankly it smelled like a cat box on crack and smoothed it out.

While the temperature was mild today, after tossing around 30 pound bags of amendment, worm castings and top soil our arms were dangling from the ends of our shoulders, we were lathered like race horses and choking on garden dust.

Zelda found ties and stakes and finally got the tomato plants in the ground. After fighting with the hose for a little while we got the plants watered and finished up the day five pounds heavier for all the dust and soil on our bodies, in our clothes and shoes and hair. Ah the great outdoors, you gotta love it.

As I was leaving Zelda said enthusiastically, “Okay we got the tomatoes in, now we just have to do the peppers, squash, strawberries, and eggplant. I muttered something about my glove likely being buried beneath the tomatoes and hobbled to my car.

It took about a half hour to wash off the grime and another hour for my hands to unclench (thanks to a half bottle of Advil). However, I’m still blowing ‘amendment’ out of my nose and my hair does look a couple of shades darker than usual.

So hopefully by August or September Zelda will have the rest of her garden in, her wall rebuilt and even some fresh veggies to eat. Though at this point I’m just hoping I’ll be able to feel my feet again by the end of the week. Oh and standing up straight would be nice too.

WC
Copyright 2012

Advertisements

Spam and Affiliate Marketing

In the last couple of months I’ve been researching affiliate marketing to see if it was a viable avenue to create some passive income. I’ve learned a lot and although I probably won’t participate in any serious affiliate marketing I discovered a few tips that would help any online business improve its traffic and hopefully the bottom line.

However, another thing that I realized – let’s call it a side benefit –  is where a lot of that pesky spam comes from that we all have to deal with.

Affiliate Marketing Basics

The general idea behind affiliate marketing is that you promote someone else’s product and if someone buys the product using your link you are paid a commission.  The amount of the commission varies, depending on the product, but if you do it right and find a product that is in high demand you can make some decent income. The affiliate marketing universe has thousands upon thousands of available products to promote from gout remedies to information products – but a couple of the highest paying affiliate programs are adult products and drugs.  I guess that makes sense since drugs and sex have been money generators since the beginning of time.  For me, these two categories cover just about all the spam that I get.

Now, I’m the last person in the world who would discourage any budding entrepreneur from spreading her wings and building her empire but…if you are going to participate in affiliate marketing you should do it right. Spamming forums, blogs and other websites that are irrelevant to your market is only going to end up sending you to the spam box. Especially if you use bot programs and other methods to do massive hits to sites.

If I understand the concept correctly, you are supposed to build your site and backlinks by finding relevant forums, etc. in which to disseminate your product promotion. Spamming inappropriate sites will only piss people off and get you nowhere. I understand that those hefty commissions are very attractive and that you figure that throwing your net out in every possible direction will result in big money. But the truth is that all you are doing is counter-productive and not earning you any brownie points or commissions I would imagine.

I think the thing that stymies me is that the folks pulling this type of stunt must know that their ‘comments’ end up in the spam box and therefore they have exerted energy that will cause anyone to profit.  So why do they do it? Even in the case of abandoned blogs where spam does manage to get into the comments section aren’t likely to be read much less clicked on.  And I’m pretty sure Google isn’t giving you better rankings for spamming people so…

Please stop

I know, I know, I’m wasting my breath – I guess I just needed to vent and share my little realization. Perhaps it will make other bloggers feel better to know that spam isn’t personal – it’s just a random act of annoyance.  Still, you’d think with all the information floating around these yahoo’s would figure it out. But unfortunately any idiot with a computer and an internet connection can annoy people with impunity these days.

How about you guys – any elucidating thoughts on the source and cause of spam? LOL.

Writer Chick

copyright 2011

Ten Christmas Gift Ideas You May Not Have Thought Of…

Well by the end of the week we’ll be stuffed with turkey and pie and trudging off to kickoff the annual Christmas aerobics event of bargain shopping.  Most of us probably have less than usual to spend so getting just the right gift may be more important this year than in years past.  And all of us have that one friend or relative who is really tough to buy for because they either have everything or they are so picky no matter what you get they won’t like it.

So in the interest of helping my fellow shoppers I offer the following as some possible unusual and delightful gift suggestions:

  1. A TSA grope-free pass. Quite expensive and only good for one free pass through security but especially useful for the handicapped, religious workers, children and cancer victims. A gift that truly shows you care.
  2. An Obamacare waiver.  Again it’s got a hefty pricetag and you might have to vote Democrat for a full election cycle but consider your savings as a good tradeoff.
  3. A cell phone jammer jammer.  If you, like me, love to talk on your cell while driving than this little item will keep big brother on his toes when trying to get between you and your cell phone friends.
  4. A don’t touch my junk tee-shirt, mug or screen saver.  A real winner for the political activist on your list.
  5. Mistletoe to go.  This snazzy item is for the friend or relative who just can’t get any action on their own.  I mean who can refuse mistletoe at Christmas-time?
  6. A smoker’s umbrella.  For those poor social pariahs still smoking, standing out in the rain to get their nicotene fix is just cruel and unusual.  This handy dandy item even comes with it’s own ashtray.  So good for you and the environment.  A win-win as far as I can tell.
  7. A stuffed toy version of yourself. For the narscisist on your list having a custom stuffed toy replica of themselves is bound to bring smiles and reinforce their inflated opinion of themselves.
  8. Obama t.p. For the staunch conservative on your list, this harmless method of retaliation of our fearless leader may be the gift that keeps on giving.
  9. A slanket. Nothing the couch potato on your list wants more than something warm and snuggly to log in all those endless hours of useless viewing with. I mean, what a great idea – a binky for adults!
  10. A Jedi Mind Control Game.  For the truly spiritual yet loopy person on your list – this can provide hours of harmless fun in practicing how to influence public opinion.

Well, I’m sure there are plenty more weird, strange and outrageous gifts out there but these seemed like good possibilities.  Feel free to add to the list.

WC

copyright 2010

Random Thoughts #124

  • Shouldn’t toilet paper really be called butt paper?
  • Does anyone else think that mail is a sexist term?
  • I blame baggy gansta pants for childhood obesity (I mean who could tell?)
  • Would anyone object to a group called the White Panthers? How about the National Association for the Advancement of White People?
  • How come a loaf of bread costs the same as a gallon of gas?
  • If our objective is to reduce unemployment, why do we keep paying the unemployed?
  • If our government can deficit spend as a matter of course, why don’t my credit card companies let me do it?
  • Do you think the people who want to build a mosque at Ground Zero will let us erect a Catholic church in Mecca?
  • How stimulating are these? Or this?
  • If time waits for no man, does it give women a break?
  • If the corrupt congressional swamp is drained why are there still so many people in it?
  • If you have low self-esteem would anybody want to steal your identity?
  • Does anybody besides the media really care that Chelsea Clinton got married?
  • How come we the People can’t get a job but the government has zero unemployment?
  • Why did it take so long to send Lindsay Lohan to jail?
  • American Idol is still on the air?
  • If the boy scouts are racist and exclusionary why isn’t the Black Caucus?
  • Is everything in the known universe still George Bush’s fault?
  • Is Robert Gibbs the unknown BeeGee?

Why do Twitter and Facebook hate me?

Puleeze can someone tell me? Am I the only one who can rarely if ever get onto FB or Twitter –  much less do something once I get there? It’s a wonder to me. Apparently social networking is the thing of the 21st Century. I mean for cripes sakes where would we be without it?  Probably like me – continuously frustrated and probably somewhat inept at all the many apps.

I have lots of friends and family just wild about this stuff. Downloading tweetdecks and twitter apps for their blogs and all sorts of stuff. Me? Like I said just waiting for the endless loop of trying to download the page.

I even get notifications from both sites – saying I’m being followed by so and so or so and so wants me to join a cause or see their new pics. Hey, I’d love to follow you back or at least find out who the heck you are and why you are so bored you would follow me but… And I guess I wouldn’t mind tweeting from time to time but…

Forget about the FB apps. Farmville, MafiaWars, Family chains, circle of friends, virtual roses, pizzas, children, awards, automobiles, produce, etc..

Frankly folks, for the most part it’s all beyond me. The fact that I can barely get onto either site is a drawback I’ll admit but really how do so many people have so much time on their hands? Maybe they have secret plugins that allow them to actually get something done on either of these apps but I just can’t seem to spare an hour to simply find out who is following me and why much less tweet about something.  And growing virtual produce seems rather silly to me – why not just play a video game?

I definitely like the concept of staying in touch and having an easy platform to do so…but I guess that’s my point. Neither facebook or twitter make it easy – at least for me.  Mostly they just make me curse under my breath. I suppose I should just pull the plug on both of these sites – I mean I’m not really contributing anything to speak of and the whole virtual aspect makes me a little dizzy – but then I think to myself, at least somewhere somehow, long lost friends or family can find me. Still, it’s hard to network on sites that hate you. That taunt you and just won’t let you play.

Anybody else out there have this problem or should I start taking it personally?

WC

Random political thoughts #10

Random political thoughts

1. If the Constitution is a ‘living breathing document’ because it has to ‘adapt’ to changing times as society progresses – then why is there an amendment process built right into it?
2. Now that we know Algore is a cheater too, will his stock go up (like Clinton) or go down (like Edwards)? Also, global warming kind of takes on a whole new meaning, doesn’t it?
3. Since the planet is actually cooling, once the greenies catch up will global cooling become the new global warming. And will the cold shoulder and icy behavior fall under EPA regulation jurisdiction for which the IRS can collect fines?
4. If Obama is a black man why does he sound like a whiney white guy?
5. If our government is by, for and of the people, why do none of our leaders seem like actual people?
6. Will Nancy Pelosi survive further cosmetic (and I use the term loosely) surgery?
7. Why is Hilary still running for president—don’t they get election results in outer Slobovia?
8. Since the government can’t even run a decent DMV, balance a budget, or speak without teleprompters, how can anyone believe 9/11 is an inside job?
9. If a person who thinks banning books, dictating what the public can eat, thinks that dumb laws make sense and can’t answer a direct question, how can anyone think he or she is a moderate?
10. Once we get rid of industry, private companies, cigarettes, cars, alcohol, junk food, churches, and the internet and we’re all getting everything from the government – who is going to pay for everything?
11. Why do Democrats speak of the evil of corporations and corporate campaign funds when they are openly supported by:

United Airlines
Google
Coors Brewing Company
Anheuser-Busch
Xcel Energy
Motorola
Qwest
Goldman Sachs
Ben and Jerry’s
Apple
Microsoft
BP Oil
AT&T
And pretty much every news organization in America – among others

12. Why isn’t Obama’s free healthcare, free or even affordable?
13. How much longer is everything that happens on Obama’s watch going to be George W. Bush’s fault?
14. When was Nasa’s job description changed to improving relations with Muslims? And why is the head of Nasa having interviews with Al Jazeerah? Do they own outer space or something?
15. If Obama thinks America has been arrogant by making demands of other countries, why is it okay for him to make demands of Israel?
16. Why does Planned Parenthood offer services that prevent parenthood?
17. Why does an unborn American child have no rights until it takes its first breath but an illegal immigrant has rights because they broke the law?
18. Since the Democrats have had control of Congress since 2004 how everything is always the Republican’s fault?
19. Why do public servants (e.g. government workers) have the strongest union in America?
20. Why are the Dems against corporate welfare but for social welfare? Corporations pay taxes and provide jobs – individual welfare recipients do neither.
21. If diplomacy and intelligent dialogue are the solutions, why are foreign despots still pulling the same crap, if not more?
22. If we honor and respect our veterans why are we slashing their benefits?

That’s about all I have for now. Feel free to add to the list or answer any of the questions.

WC

Sick Day – Theme Friday

Back in the day of being a 9 to 5 working stiff, I found that frequently my job made me feel sick. Or perhaps it inspired me to feel sick. Thank gawd for sick days, without them there would have been no relief. Even unpaid sicks days were better than paid work days that made you sick.

On the other hand, having frequently worked in HR in my corporate (so to speak) career I sure heard some interesting sick day excuses. Real whoppers. Some of them even knee slappers.

But let’s face it, in this economy most of us grit our teeth and tell ourselves that any job is better than no job. And too, some of us are lucky to have sick days. In case you are short on possible sick day excuses I offer the following:

I’m calling in sick because…

  1. My stigmata is acting up
  2. I think I have food poisening (always a good one because it’s practically impossible to disprove)
  3. I think I have that 24 hour bug (I’m convinced that there really is no such thing as the 24 hour bug but rather it’s an urban legend developed by savvy sick day caller inners)
  4. I cracked a tooth (dicy because you’ll have to go to a dentist and they may want to know details)
  5. My dog, kid, spouse is sick
  6. My allergies are kicking up (workable only in spring and fall)
  7. I think I’ve been exposed to chemical warfare, toxic waste, mold (careful with this one, since employers are wary of worker comp claims)
  8. I have a migraine (again, good one because they come and go and nobody knows how to fix them and they aren’t seasonal)
  9. I injured …pick your body part (again a little risky because you’ll have to return to work in a sling, cast or brace, however, if you’re a good actor go for it)
  10. I’m having car trouble (this one is pretty workable, although it can backfire if someone offers to come pick you up)
  11. Weather (flooded streets, earthquakes, blizzards may all help in this excuse, however, if you are the only one who couldn’t get to work because it was raining, your boss probably won’t buy it)

Conversely, following are some excuses that probably aren’t recommended or believable:

I’m calling in sick because…

  1. I need a break from the back-stabbing blood suckers I work with.
  2. You people make me want to scream
  3. My boyfriend/girlfriend is in crisis
  4. My hard drive crashed
  5. I’m hungover
  6. I’m interviewing at another company
  7. I don’t have that project done that’s due today
  8. I’m going to the beach to get a headstart on my tan
  9. I broke a nail and need an emergency wrap
  10. My mother-in-law is coming for a visit and I have to clean the house
  11. If I take one more customer service call I’m going to puke
  12. I didn’t get any sleep because I was clubbing all night
  13. The voices told me that I should stay home
  14. My horoscope warns against travel today
  15. It’s my birthday and I’d rather have fun
  16. I need to go to a political rally
  17. I need to catch up on my tee-voe’d shows
  18. I’m meeting with my lawyer

While there are probably countless excuses both acceptable and unacceptable these are the ones that come to mind. Feel free to add to the list.  WC

copyright 2010

What kind of sick day is Christine having?

Be my Fucking Valentine – Theme Friday

My daddy was a steeler
broke his back for every dime
Racin’ with the devil
‘fore he ran outta time

On fourteen February
he cleaned himself up good
And went lookin’ for my mama
in her new neighborhood

She run off with a salesman
who sold her that new car
And left my poor, dear daddy
a-cryin’ in the bar

He stood beneath
her window
and felt the tears
that stung
And in that dark
and gloomy night
this is what he sung…

Be my fucking Valentine
before it is too late
I took a vow
and I’ll tell you now
You’re tempting with sweet fate

Be my fucking Valentine
and we’ll be right as rain
my heart is broke
this ain’t no joke
And I can cause you pain

Well mama slammed the window
jacked her music way up high
And sent her new paramour
to punch daddy in the eye

The salesman looked at daddy
and proved himself a whore
it only took
just one look
and he was out the door

So mama grabbed her rifle
and pointed it at Pa
but the moonlight made her stifle
for the wonderous thing she saw

A man who loved his woman
so much he was a fool
She melted right on the spot
And become a loving pool
Her heart wrung out
and she sung out…

I’ll be your fucking Valentine
no need to ask me twice
Truth be told
I’m getting old
And salesman was too nice.

(Repeat chorus)

copyright 2010

Who is Christine’s fucking valentine?

(ah…yeah, when in doubt go country.  😉  WC)

You Think You’re Having a Bad Day?

Ah, Monday morning – don’t you love it? The freeway is jammed, your coffee machine decided to go on the fritz and Starbuck’s has a line out the door. What could be worse?

There…now don’t you feel better? 😉 If you’re bored and want to be entertained check this out. Hehe.

WC