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I Love Reading

Are you a person who enjoys reading? Our grandson Drew is a first grader who is becoming not only a good reader, but also one who enjoys reading. Our grandson Ryan who is not yet 3 years old is already learning to read! These boys definitely come from a long line of people who enjoy reading.

Below is a recent video clip of our grandson Ryan sounding out words as he learns to read. If you are reading the e-mail or blog post reader version of this, you will have to go to this post to view the flash video.

Amazing, huh?!

A Pew Research poll from two years ago reported the following reasons people gave for reading a book in the previous year:
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Yearbook Yourself

Do you ever look through old high school or college yearbooks and laugh at the hairstyles, glasss, or clothing? If you'd like to have a little fun with images, there's a website you need to explore — Jostens' Yearbook Yourself. You upload a picture of yourself, move it and resize it to fit in a little circle, choose male portrait or female portrait, and then select years across the bottom of the screen. You can see what you would have looked like in yearbooks every two years from 1950 to 2000. (WARNING: You may want to mute your computer since the site has loud, annoying music in the background.)

Here's what Becka would have looked like with the hairstyles and clothing of the various decades. (And yes, I am doing this with her blessing....) :-)



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Old Jokes

anti-aging cream

Do any of you jokesters ever hear the complaint that you tell the same old jokes all the time? Sometimes it may be because the jokester is getting a little older. Other times it may be because the joke perfectly fits the situation. And still other times, it may just be because the joke happens to be among the jokester's favorites.

Somehow it seems like the perfect time for today's blog post to be a compilation of some of my favorite jokes about old age. And yes, some of them are ones I have already posted on my blog ... although several were posted over 5 years ago. I guess if my readers remember the jokes from that long ago, they must be worth retelling.

On to some old jokes about old folks....

On their way to their vacation destination, an elderly couple stopped at a service station. The attendant came out and said, "Hi! Fill it up?" to which the old man replied, "Yes, please."

His wife asked, "What did he say?" and her husband yelled, "HE ASKED IF WE WANTED HIM TO FILL IT UP."

To pass the time during the fill up, the friendly attendant asked, "Where ya goin'?" to which the husband replied, "We're going to spend our vacation at Hilton Head, in our son's condo."

His wife asked, "What did he say?" and her husband yelled, "HE ASKED WHERE WE WERE GOING. I TOLD HIM TO HILTON HEAD."

The attendant then said, "You're in luck - the weather there is supposed to be perfect for the next two weeks.

His wife asked, "What did he say?" and her husband yelled, "HE SAID THE WEATHER WILL BE NICE."

The attendant then asked the man, "Where do you live when you're not on vacation?" to which the husband replied, "We live in Richmond, VA." The attendant said with surprise, "I know a woman from Richmond. She talks non-stop and drives her husband crazy!"

His wife asked, "What did he say?" and her husband yelled, "HE SAYS HE THINKS HE'S MET YOU BEFORE!"


Here are the top ten games at oldsters' birthday parties:

1. Sag - You're It!
2. Hide and Go Sleep
3. Hide and Go Seek Your Own Easter Eggs (a variation on the previous game)
4. 20 Questions Shouted into Your Good Ear
5. Kick the Bucket
6. Red Rover, Red Rover, the Nurse says Bend Over
7. Spin the Bottle of Liniment
8. Musical Recliners
9. Simon Says Something Incoherent
10. Pin the Toupee on the Bald Guy
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Tongue Twisters

Being a language teacher, I enjoy having fun with language. Recently in one of my classes, something came up about tongue twisters. I thought I'd post a few of my favorites today in English, and then for those who are interested in several fun ones in French and German.

(These are the most fun when you try to pronounce them out loud, saying the shorter ones several times.)

Mr. See owned a saw. And Mr. Soar owned a seesaw. Now, See's saw sawed Soar's seesaw before Soar saw See, which made Soar sore. Had Soar seen See's saw before See sawed Soar's seesaw, See's saw would not have sawed Soar's seesaw. So See's saw sawed Soar's seesaw. But it was sad to see Soar so sore just because See's saw sawed Soar's seesaw.

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
Did Peter Piper pick a peck of pickled peppers?
If Peter Piper Picked a peck of pickled peppers,
Where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

Which wristwatches are Swiss wristwatches?

Unique New York

Toy Boat


Now let's try a some in French where tongue twisters are called des virelangues = tongue turners. I will translate them into English.
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If You’re Ever Tempted … DON’T!

This is our story on recent changes in our cell phone plans that I hope will help others avoid the mistake we made. If you're ever tempted to go with Walmart Family Mobile, DON'T!

My wife and I each used Straight Talk's plan of $30 a month for 1,000 minutes and 1,000 texts. It worked very well for our needs until my mother became gravely ill in September and I had to spend lots of time on the phone concerning Mom's condition and care. Two months in a row I either had to ignore calls the last day or two of the month or pay for the next month early since I had run out of talk time. Previously that would not have been a problem for me since I don't usually talk for long on the phone.

In November we saw an ad on TV for Walmart Family Mobile. Since the first phone was $29.95 and the second phone was $24.95, it was going to cost us $5 less a month, and we would have unlimited talk and text. Sounded great! I read reviews and it seemed as if it would be a good move. It did not take long to find out that there were several places we go to frequently where we had no cell signal. I was telling a colleague about this, and he recommended that we switch to Republic Wireless. He and his wife and her parents had done so shortly before then and were extremely pleased with the service.

And so after having Family Mobile's spotty service for only 3 weeks, we made the switch. We had paid Walmart Family Mobile a $53 activation fee to begin with. What I had read on their site made me think our plan was pre-paid, like Straight Talk had been — especially since we had to pay $53 up front. Since there was no contract, I assumed that since we stopped the plan before one month was up, that would be it. A few weeks later I received a bill for $39.41. When I called Family Mobile's customer service number to ask why we were being billed, I was told that our plan was post-paid and the amount for which we were being billed was pro-rated. So I went to Walmart and paid the bill. I asked if that would finish up our commitment with Family Mobile and was told it would. I thought, "Well, OK." I had not understood the post-paid thing, and I considered that the $39.41 would be a fair pro-rated settlement for 3 weeks' service.

Not long after that I got another bill from Family Mobile for $40.79. I went back to Walmart and was told they could not do anything to help me. I would have to send all the information to the customer relations e-mail address. I did just that and received an e-mail back saying I would hear from them personally in 5 business days. Well, 11 business days later — over two real weeks later — I received an e-mail saying they could not locate my account information. I was to send additional information to the e-mail address I had first written to. When I did, the e-mail bounced. I tried it again, and it bounced again. After I tried it the next morning and it bounced a third time, I printed out all the correspondence and mailed it to the return address on the bill. I heard nothing more for another week, until I got a letter telling me that if I didn't pay the bill immediately, it would be turned over to a collection agency!

I spent 45 minutes on hold waiting to talk to customer service. The young man Sergio told me that the first amount ($39.41) was for November 26—December 13, but he was certain that the second amount ($40.79) for December 14—December 19 must have been a computer error. He told me he would enter that information into the my account history, but he did not have the authority to do anything about it. I would have to send an e-mail to "Credit Request" to ask that that amount be lowered or waived since it was for only 5 days' service. I e-mailed the address he gave me and heard back from them the next morning, saying that that amount was in fact correct.

I wrote back and told them we would pay them what they insisted we owed them and would consider this an expensive lesson — $80.00 for 3 weeks shoddy service, followed by a nightmare in trying to even plead our case. I told them also that I planned to do a blog post about my experience with myfamilymobile.com that might lose them more money than the $40.79 they were getting for those 5 days of service. I let them know that my blog had over 1,000,000 hits in 2013.

In less than an hour I received the following reply:
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