cowgirl, Rockin Rita, cowboy, me


Proud 2 B Random!

Rockin Rita's LiveJournal

cowgirl, Rockin Rita, cowboy, me

Do you make the same New Year's resolution every year? Are you planning to make the same one for 2011? And come next December, what are the chances you will have actually lost ten pounds, remodeled your house, or quit smoking?

This New Year's, make a resolution that will not only stick but will make a difference for you and the world. We've listed some great green resolutions that we at HuffPost Green are pledging this year, from remembering our reusable shopping bags to swearing off plastic water bottles. These are all simple and small changes that we can each make as individuals. Plus, we've broken each resolution down into easy, manageable steps with one clear goal so you won't get hung up on any overwhelmingly broad suggestion.

Most importantly, we want to hear from you! What New Year's resolution are you going to pledge for 2011? Do you have your own commitment to saving the environment? To contribute your idea, submit a slide below, or tweet us using the hashtag #NextYearIWill.


What are some good resolutions that can easily be kept?
Are you going to resolve to do anything different in 2011 or will you just resolve to not make any resolutions?

It's the most CRAZIEST time of the year!
cowgirl, Rockin Rita, cowboy, me
When you spend every year with the same folks, you can forget the reasons you've been giving them gifts year after year. Relationships bloom in different fashions and as they grow, wilt and bloom all over again you are continually excited to be walking through life with them -- even if you disguise your excitement with anger at times. Taking the time to walk through anything with people is the greatest accomplishment you can give yourself and Christmas is the amazing day where a great majority of the world convenes in order to acknowledge the folks they are most blessed to know by showering them with gifts. It's a day where without thinking we instantly forgive the moments in life that are still unspoken and come up with an endless supply of stories as to why we love those around us.


What's your favorite thing(s) about the holidays? Got any fun family traditions?
Got any cool personal traditions you do by yourself?

I love to watch holiday movies by myself and I love the way that the holidays can bring out the absolute best in people and show how much people care. A tradition for my family is to celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas and to go out and drive around the neighborhoods looking at the decorations. This year was the first year I helped my mom make and decorate Christmas cookies- a family tradition for years!

OMG! Christmas is how far away?? Holy Gingerbread Man!
cowgirl, Rockin Rita, cowboy, me

There's lots of catching up to do! Please forgive me  as my schedule hasn't  allowed much time on facebook nonetheless my blogs. I've got new stuff 2 post  this weekend as well as tons of emails. I feel bad 4 not posting much  the last few months.
I'm dying to get back into things but please bear w/ me as the holidays pass by. I promise  it'll be worth while! :) In the mean time you can always read and comment on past entries or check out my other blogs.

Thanks for your continued support,
Rockin Rita

Facebook Fan Page: Rockin Rita's Blogs

eBay selling tips for the holiday season
cowgirl, Rockin Rita, cowboy, me
Holiday 2010 is here. Do your listings have maximum buyer visibility and appeal?

The November shopping rush is here, so now's the time to get your listings ready! When building your listings, consider doing the following to maximize holiday sales:

Price competitively!
Buyers will be comparison shopping across websites and retail stores. To get the sale, make sure you have the lowest price. Having the lowest price will get you a bump in Best Match search results, as well.

Offer the services holiday buyers want: free shipping, expedited shipping with 1-day handling, returns accepted past the holidays.
Starting in November, buyers will be able to search for listings that offer these services, and listings that offer expedited shipping will stand out in search results. Make sure any item you list after November 1 offers these gifter-friendly services -- you'll sell more as a result! Easily add these services to existing listings with the new bulk editing functionality.

Include as much detail as possible in your listings.
Use item specifics
when describing your item, and add your own item specifics if they're not available. Also, review and customize your automated answers
for the questions your buyers most often ask. Answers are automatically populated using your listing information.

List your multiple items correctly and efficiently. Follow best practices
like creating multi-quantity Fixed Price listings with variations
(when available) and using all 55 characters of your title to include differentiating information. This will help you both adhere to our Duplicate Listing policy
and maximize your position in Best Match.

Maximize sales and list FREE in hot holiday categories.
A new shopping experience powered by the eBay catalog for iPod/MP3 players, GPS and DVDs highlights great values. Watch a quick on-demand webinar
to learn how to maximize sales within this new experience. From now until December 31 you can list or relist these in these categories FREE -- pay no Insertion Fees -- when you list with the catalog.

Add Best Offer. Increase your chances of making the sale by adding Best Offer
to your Fixed Price listings -- It's FREE! You are totally in control of which offers you accept, so buyers feel like they're getting a deal and you still get the price you want.

Sell for a cause, get promoted in search. Support your choice of child-related nonprofits through the eBay Giving Works Holiday campaign
. The minimum donation per listing to participate
is just $1 or 10% of the selling price, whichever is greater. You'll get a tax-deductible receipt and pro-rated fee credits on your Insertion fee and Final Value fee equal to the percentage of the final selling price that you chose to donate. These listings will also be promoted in search results and on eBay Giving Works' Holiday
microsite. Good deeds are good for business!

Stock up on hot holiday items. If you're still sourcing product to sell, load up on items from this year's Holiday Hotlist

  • iPods and iPads
  • Nintendo Wii bundles
  • Star Wars Ultimate Box Set (DVD and Blu-ray)
  • LG 3D TV
  • Toy Story 3 Ultimate Buzz Lightyear
  • Fisher-Price iXL Learning System
See the complete Holiday Hotlist

For even more tips and to learn about what eBay is doing to bring buyers your way this season, check out our 2010 Holiday Selling Guide

Twas The Night of Thanksgiving
cowgirl, Rockin Rita, cowboy, me






Guess who's back, back again...
cowgirl, Rockin Rita, cowboy, me

ok fans i'm back....sorta. it's been a long journey to come back to my beloved blogs. I've missed all you guys so much! I've been so busy! I'm quickly running out of my unemployment benefits and still have no job :( Been job searching and applying to a virtual ton of places. Hopefully I'll get something soon! Also been taking time to finally go through most of the emails in my main account. Hope all is well with everyone. Here's to posting as regularly as I can!

Bad start to november
cowgirl, Rockin Rita, cowboy, me
oh geez no!Bad start 2 November- a couple hours ago the laptop adapter I bought not long ago w/ motherboard died! :( Trying 2 contact seller- "synaptic-systems" on ebay. Don't know if/when I'll get a replacement from them...gonna try blogging from the pc when I have the chance which will not be often. wish me luck!

 on Monday November 1 at 11:21pm

Free Music Friday: How FREE Is That Download?
cowgirl, Rockin Rita, cowboy, me

Minnesota Mom Hit With $1.5 Million Fine for Downloading 24 Songs

Posted Thu Nov 4, 2010 10:38am PDT by Daniel Kreps in Amplifier

What's the value of a song? Jammie Thomas-Rasset has spent the last few years in court debating that question. The Minnesota mother of four is being penalized for illegally downloading and sharing 24 songs on the peer-to-peer file-sharing network Kazaa in 2006, but how much she owes the record labels has been in question. The jury in her third trial has just ruled that Thomas-Rasset should pay Capitol Records $1.5 million, CNET reports, which breaks down to $62,500 per song. It's a heavy penalty considering the 24 tunes would only cost approximately $24 on iTunes, which was Thomas-Rasset' argument, too.

Thanks to Thomas-Rasset's colorful case, she has become the public face of the record industry's battle with illegal downloaders. In her first trial, in 2007, the jury demanded she pay $222,000 for violating the copyright on more than 1,700 songs by Green Day, Aerosmith and Richard Marx, to name a few. (Marx said he was "ashamed" to be associated with the "farcical" prosecution of an illegal downloader.) Thomas-Rasset maintained she wasn't the computer user who did the file sharing, and her legal team cited an error in jury instruction to secure a second trial in 2009 that ended with a much harsher result: an astronomical fine of $1.92 million. However, earlier this year a U.S. District Court judge found the $1.92 million penalty against Thomas-Rasset to be "monstrous and shocking" and "gross injustice" before lowering it to $54,000, or $2,250 a song. Thomas-Rasset and her legal team decided to appeal that decision, too.

[Millions to spare: Lottery winners give away their jackpot]

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the organization that represents the four major record labels, was pleased by the most recent decision, even if it has no intention to collect the $1.5 million from Thomas-Rasset. "Now with three jury decisions behind us along with a clear affirmation of Ms. Thomas-Rasset's willful liability, it is our hope that she finally accepts responsibility for her actions," the RIAA said in a statement. Earlier this year, the RIAA offered Thomas-Rasset the opportunity to end the legal battle for $25,000 and an admission of guilt; Thomas-Rasset declined.

[Rewind: Album becoming a thing of the past]

Burying a Midwestern mom in insurmountable debt isn't the best publicity move, so rather than argue the labels are entitled to the cash, the RIAA has sought to make this trial into a cautionary tale for anyone considering illegally downloading music -- a reminder that there are penalties. But as the constantly declining weekly Nielsen SoundScan sales figures demonstrate, nothing seems to have deterred music fans from stealing rather than purchasing songs and albums. And in a digital world now dominated by Bit Torrent and Rapidshare, a trial over a music-sharing dinosaur like Kazaa seems nothing but antiquated. (Last month, after a decade of illegal file sharing, peer-to-peer service LimeWire was shut down by the government, much to the surprise of the millions who thought LimeWire had faded years ago into the Internet ether.)

[Watch: Top 100 music videos]

Still, Thomas-Rasset and her legal team are already making plans to appeal, setting the stage for a fourth trial. "The fight continues," promised Thomas-Rasset's lawyer Kiwi Camara. Even if Thomas-Rasset were to win the next trial, the RIAA would likely appeal that decision to ensure that copyright infringement without penalization won't happen. This story has the potential to drag on well into the next decade -- when for $1.5 million, all of Thomas-Rasset's four kids could finish law school and take up the fight on her behalf.

[Photo: AP]

Tip Tuesday: What to do with leftover halloween candy
cowgirl, Rockin Rita, cowboy, me
Halloween is over and you've got so much candy. What to do, what to do... What do you do with all of those yummy leftovers so you don't pig out every night this week? Here's so tips I got after doing a google search.
What are some of your favorite things to do with extra candy?

Wilton is here to help with all your Halloween celebration needs. Turn to us for great decorating ideas for Halloween candy, cakes, cookies and cupcakes. Then make them happen with the best selection of Halloween party products anywhere. Wilton has it all - from pans, tips and candles for exciting Halloween cakes, to Halloween candy molds, cookie cutters, cupcake baking cups and other bewitching Halloween party treats.

Learn to bake Halloween desserts and cookies

shop wilton online

(MW 1206) Monday's Test
cowgirl, Rockin Rita, cowboy, me

MountainWings       A MountainWings Moment
#1206              Wings Over The Mountains of Life

A Test

I told you about Pink and Blue Cows.

If you wouldn't have fared any better than I did with the Pink
and Blue Cows, maybe you will do better with today's test.

Let's see if you have what it takes.

The following short quiz consists of 4 questions and tells
whether you are qualified to be a "professional".

Scroll down for each answer.

The questions are not that difficult.

1. How do you put a giraffe into a refrigerator?

The correct answer is:
Open the refrigerator, put in the giraffe and close the door.

This question tests whether you tend to do simple things in an
overly complicated way.

2. How do you put an elephant into a refrigerator?

Wrong Answer:
Open the refrigerator, put in the elephant
and close the refrigerator.

Correct Answer:
Open the refrigerator, take out the giraffe,
put in the elephant and close the door.

This tests your ability to think through the repercussions of
your actions.

3. The Lion King is hosting an animal conference. All the
animals attend except one. Which animal does not attend?

Correct Answer: The Elephant.
The Elephant is in the refrigerator.

This tests your memory.

OK, even if you did not answer the first three questions
correctly, you still have one more chance to show your

4. There is a river you must cross. But it is inhabited by
crocodiles. How do you manage it?

Correct Answer: You swim across. All the Crocodiles are
attending the Animal Meeting.

This tests whether you learn from your mistakes.

According to Andersen Consulting Worldwide, around 90% of the
professionals they tested got all questions wrong. But many
pre-schoolers got several correct answers.

Andersen Consulting says this conclusively disproves the theory
that most professionals have the brains of a four year old.

Thank you for inviting MountainWings in your mailbox.
See you tomorrow.

Forward this issue to a friend or send them the link below:

Betty Crocker: Create Your Best Halloween
cowgirl, Rockin Rita, cowboy, me

Scare up a spooktacular Halloween with yummy recipes and wicked fun party ideas.

Savor The Season with Pumpkins!

Andi Bidwell

"Rub the underside of your jack-o-lantern lid with cinammon, nutmeg, or pie spices, and push in a few cloves. Then put a lit votive inside the pumpkin and enjoy hours of warm, spicy fragrance."

Andi, Food Editor - Betty Crocker Kitchens






"Shop at your local farmer's market to find some of the more unusual apple varieties such as Black Twig or Northern Spy."

Kristen, Assistant Food Editor - Betty Crocker Kitchens


Kristen Olsen


"Liven up a winter weekend with a soup potluck. Plan on inviting 3 to 4 guests or couples so you'll have 3 to 4 different soups, plus the one you make."

Karen, Editor -



Halloween Recipes

Halloween Recipes/Finish the Sentence
cowgirl, Rockin Rita, cowboy, me

So Sweet, It's Spooky

Forgo the packaged stuff this Halloween in favor of these fun — and much healthier — alternatives. They're so good that even the pickiest kid can love them!/

Trick Your Kids With These Treats

Everyday Health Network

Copyright © 2010 Everyday Health, Inc.
About | About Everyday Health, Inc.


You know it's Halloween when...
ex: You know it's Halloween when... that's all I've been blogging about this week!
*Be creative! If I like your ideas/sentences I'll post them in a later entry!*

Freaky Friday: Halloween Stories
cowgirl, Rockin Rita, cowboy, me
What would Halloween a Good Scare! Scary stories for your Halloween pleasure. Below is one story but more can be found here.

William Meikle

   Yes, I know its getting dark, and I know its getting cold, but just come over here for a minute. It wont take much of your time. There's something I want to show you, someone I'd like you to meet.

    Come on. Humor an old man who needs to tell his secret.

    It's just there, behind the church. Yes, in the older graveyard. You're not afraid are you? I promise, there's nothing here that would ever hurt you.

    Not you.

    Watch out for the moss on the stones. Some of the slimier varieties can get embedded in your clothes, and it's murder trying to get it out.

    Just about there is usually the best spot. Stand quietly now - let your eyes get adjusted to the dark. You'll soon see why I brought you here.

    There she is.

    Do you see her? She's standing right there. Look - in front of the large grey angel, just to the left of the patch of moonlight, almost underneath the old elm. Yes, there, beside the largest headstone.

    My beautiful Sarah. Forever young, forever twenty.

    See how the red of her hair glows like a burning firebrand, a halo around the white perfection of her face. And look - she's wearing the dress. The one I bought her for the dance, the last dance of our youth.

    Three pounds two and sixpence that dress cost me - more than a week's wages in those days. Times have changed, haven't they? My mother told me that I was mad, spending all that money on a slip of a girl who was no better than she should be. But I knew that she was worth every penny.

    I was drunk with the delight that danced in her eyes when she tried it on, swaying her hips to get the full effect from the long flowing pleats. I can still remember even now, fifty odd years and many strangers' kisses later, the sweet honeyed taste of her lips as she thanked me, the pressure of her
hands on my back as we embraced.

    I wish she would touch me now. Just one touch, to bring us together at the end. If only she could see me. I have so much that I've never told her.

    How still she is, how composed. The wind refuses to ruffle her, the rain refuses to dampen her, the earth refuses to cling to her. Yet there's something more.

    Look closer. She breathes; she blinks; her lips part and then connect, but there's no steam. Not like you and I, standing here puffing at each other. It may be almost winter here, but for her it's late summer, always summer.

    Those lips. How deep and red and enticing they were that night, glistening moistly as she looked up at me. Smiling, dancing, laughing, we moved across the dance floor. We were young; the war had barely touched us, and I was in love for the very first time. The night held the prospect of many new pleasures.

    And then he arrived.

    I knew he was going to be trouble. Right from the start I could see what he was. American, charming, arrogant and different. Hello excitement, goodbye dependability. In the space of a minute I'd lost her forever.

    Shall I tell you how it happened?

    He butted in on our dance. Just barged right in, excused himself, and then off they went, whirling round the floor in a flurry of legs and feet and arms. I tried to stop him as they came round again, but he had all the advantages - height, weight, diet, composure and training - while I merely had my rage.

    Afterwards, as I lay there on the floor, my tongue counting teeth as my handkerchief vainly tried to soak up blood, I heard a laugh. Looking up through eyes which had already begun to puff up, I saw her. Only six feet away, but already distant, clinging to the conqueror. Her hair made a red
scar where it fell on her shoulder, and in that moment I knew what I would have to do.

    Can you see? She's moving. But watch. Do her legs bend? Does she walk like you or me? Or does she glide, smooth and silent like a great white owl? Listen. Can you hear any gravel being trodden underfoot? Or is there only you and me and silence?

    You can't tell, can you? She deceives the brain, but doesn't brook too much attention. Try not to look too closely - set your mind on other matters.

    Ah yes. The chiming. It must be eight o'clock again. Do you think she's able to hear? She'll be heading for the wall. When she reaches it she'll rest her elbows and look over there, to the field on the left, where the airfield used to be.

    I remember the women, silent, waiting, listening for the sounds which would tell them that their men were coming back. They used to peel off one at a time as the planes returned, until only a few were left, watching and waiting and wondering.

    See how the moonbeams dance around her, making her glow. So white, so brilliant, so pure. And no shadow to taint the vision.

    He was corrupting her. I could see that, even from the few glimpses I had of them together. There they were, laughing and giggling like a pair of kids fresh out of school. And kissing! In public! Right there on the main street for all too see, and again, later, in the pub, flaunting themselves
in front of me.

    Of course she had stockings. And lipstick. And chocolate. And cigarettes. The price of her innocence, the wages of sin.

    I hoped that I wouldn't be too late, that she was still capable of being saved. I watched. I waited. I planned. He continued with her destruction, but soon I'd have my turn.

    See how she moves between the stones, not attempting to pass through them. Does she look solid to you? You can't see through her, not like in the books or the films. Do you think that if I went over there and put out my hand she'd be able to take it, be able to feel? Would she notice that I was there?

    I have often, over the years, thought about why she returns. It is only now, when I'm near my own end, that I'm able to look at it dispassionately. Maybe, when I go to join her, we'll both understand.

    Did you know that I used to be a mechanic? Well I was, and a good one at that. It was easy. I already had the run of the airfield, so it was simple to wangle myself in on the servicing of his plane. Once I had spent five minutes aboard, it was only a matter of waiting for the next flight.

    I was subtle though. I didn't want the plane blowing up over land; not over England anyway. My work might have been noticed. No, the explosion would occur only when the plane climbed to more than one thousand feet. That should do it. By the time it reached that height it would be well out
over the channel.

    He took it out the very night day.

    Look. She's reached the wall. See how her elbows stay white, despite the damp and moss and stone? Her eyes will be moist. Will those tears be real? Could I perhaps touch them? Touch them and somehow feel her pain?

    The next day I saw the flight take off, twelve planes slowly gathering in formation before beginning their long climb into the sky. I watched them until they rose into the clouds, then listened as they droned away. Was there an explosion? Did the droning lessen? I never did find out.

    Whether I'm a murderer or not, he never came back, and I never lost the guilt.

    Later that day, when the sky was once more filled with sound, the women left the wall, one by one, until she was the only one remaining, trying to pierce the clouds as she peered avidly eastwards, willing him to return.

    I stood, just about here, and watched, cursing her for her devotion, cursing him for his hold on her, as darkness fell and the skies grew silent.

    It was late summer, and the temperature was dropping rapidly. A light drizzle began to fall, chilling me to the bone.

    And still she waited, and still I watched.

    See it. There's the cigarette. How ungainly it looks in those pearl white fingers. It burns - there's a good quarter of an inch of ash on the end - but there's no smoke, no smell.

    He started her off on that habit. She'd told me that morning that she did it because it made her look like a real lady. As if she'd not been a lady before that. It made me angry, so angry that I could watch no longer.

    See how she turns, surprised. Now she'll look confused for a second. Then she'll see that it's only me; only the young, fresh faced, solid, dependable me.

    Watch closely now. You may just catch the disappointment as it flits across her face. Look, she turns her back again, returns to her vigil.

    One look and I was consigned to despair. I grabbed her by the shoulder and pulled her around to face me, demanding that she explain herself. She struggled in my arms but I held on as we moved around in a parody of a waltz; held her as she screamed, her once-beautiful lips contorted in rage.

    She pulled away once more, and this time she was too strong for me to hold on to her. Surprised to be free so easily, she lost her balance.

    I reached out desperately for her as she fell, slowly, slowly, towards the unyielding gravestones. And then came the sound, the one I hear late at night in my dreams, the sound of her neck as it broke.

    So now we wait, she for a sweetheart who will never return, me for an end to the guilt and the hope of forgiveness. Which of us is more dead?

    And the time passes and I watch, every night, as she dances, just for me.

© William Meikle

Willie Meikle is a Scottish author of supernatural stories. Visit his web site:

Tip Thursday: Halloween candy stains
cowgirl, Rockin Rita, cowboy, me

Candy. We all love it. But your kids probably love it even more! And with Halloween just around the corner, they're going to be in candy heaven after they come home with their trick-or-treating treasures. With all that candy around, chances are high your little ghosts and goblins are going to come across a candy stain or two, or three, or…. But don't get frightened just yet! Let us here at Tide treat you to some tricks and tips on how to deal with some common Halloween stains.


(Always be sure to read garment care and fiber content labels before treating stains. Not all costumes are machine washable.).

Chocolate and caramel candy stains

Probably the most common of all Halloween stains. Simply soak the garment in cold water and treat with a prewash stain remover like 2X Ultra Tide® with Dawn StainScrubbers™. Then launder in warm water. Rinse and inspect the garment to make sure the stain is fully removed. If the stain remains, re-soak in cold water for about 30 minutes and repeat laundering.

Chewing gum

Too bad gum stains aren’t as much fun as actually chewing gum. But they’re not a lost cause either. If the stain is fresh and the gum is still stuck and hard, apply some ice to harden the gum residue. Next, remove gum by cracking or scraping with a dull knife. Rub the stain with a heavy duty liquid detergent like 2X Ultra Tide® with Bleach Alterative. Rinse in hot water. Repeat if necessary, then launder and inspect the stain. You might have to repeat the process if the gum is not fully removed after the first run.

Fruit-based stains (pumpkin, apple cider, fruit punch)

These stains should be treated immediately. Remove any fruit and run cold water over the stain. Rub the stain with laundry detergent and rinse. Launder the item as soon as possible using the warmest water that is safe for the fabric. 2X Ultra Tide® with Bleach Alterative is always a safe bet, as it keeps colors safe, whitens whites, and provides a powerful clean.

Face paint/makeup

These stains should be treated immediately. Remove any fruit and run cold water over the stain. Rub the stain with laundry detergent and rinse. Launder the item as soon as possible using the warmest water that is safe for the fabric. 2X Ultra Tide® with Bleach Alterative is always a safe bet, as it keeps colors safe, whitens whites, and provides a powerful clean.

© 2010 Procter & Gamble. All rights reserved. All copy and claims valid only in the US.

Tip Tuesday: Halloween Safety
cowgirl, Rockin Rita, cowboy, me


Shop Online
• Halloween Costumes
• Halloween Boootique

Related Articles

For More Information
• Halloween Safety
• Twin Halloween Costumes

• Halloween
• Safety
• Autumn Safety
• Halloween Safety
• Face Painting
• Halloween Candy
• Baby Halloween Costume
• Pumpkin Carving
• Halloween Crafts
• Halloween Costume Ideas
• Halloween Costumes
• Halloween Decorations
• Halloween Recipes
• Halloween Party Ideas
Halloween is a fun time for kids, but it is also an important time to be extra vigilant for possible safety hazards so that your children have a fun and safe Halloween. Some tips to make Halloween safe include:

Costume safety

  • choose a costume made of flame retardant material
  • costumes should be short enough so that they don't cause your child to trip and fall,
  • for good visibility, add some reflective tape to the costume or bag he is using to carry candy or make/choose a costume made of bright material that is visible in the dark
  • masks should fit securely and allow your child to see well and not hinder visibility
  • if using face paint, make sure it is nontoxic and hypoallergenic
  • knives, swords and other props should be made of a flexible material, so that they don't pose a hazard if fallen on

Trick-or-Treating safety

  • children should be well supervised by an adult when trick-or-treating. Older children should trick-or-treat in large groups in well known neighborhoods.
  • carry a flashlight
  • stick to well lit houses in familiar neighborhoods only
  • follow traffic signals and rules of the road
  • drive slowly
  • avoid taking shortcuts across backyards or alleys. Stick to the sidewalks of well lit streets

Candy safety

  • instruct your children to bring all candy home before eating it so that you can carefully inspect it for tampering. Children shouldn't snack while they're out trick-or-treating, before parents have a chance to inspect the goodies. To help prevent children from munching, give them a snack or light meal before they go -- don't send them out on an empty stomach.
  • Tell children not to accept -- and, especially, not to eat--anything that isn't commercially wrapped.
  • Throw out candy or treats that are homemade, unwrapped or if they appear to have been tampered with (pinholes in wrappers, torn wrappers, etc.)
  • Parents of young children should remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies or small toys.
  • Wash all fresh fruit thoroughly, inspect it for holes, including small punctures, and cut it open before allowing children to eat it.

General safety tips

  • homeowners should prepare their home for trick-or-treaters by removing obstacles from the front yard, restraining dogs and other animals, and lighting the house well
  • provide treats that are individually wrapped candy or offer kids nonfood treats, such as stickers and erasers.
  • artificial lights and candles are a safer alternative to real candles with a flame that can pose a fire hazard
  • if going to an adult Halloween party, make sure that you don't drink and drive. Use a designated driver if alcohol is being consumed.

Magnificent Monday: Mom Of The Year
cowgirl, Rockin Rita, cowboy, me
A giant farm dog and a tiny piglet cuddle up as if they were family after the baby runt was dismissed by its own mother. Surrogate mum Katjinga, an eight-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback, took on motherly duties for grunter Paulinchen - a tiny pot-bellied pig - and seems to be taking the adoption in her stride. Lonely Paulinchen was luckily discovered moments from death and placed in the care of the dog who gladly accepted it as one of her own. Thankfully for the two-week old mini porker, Katjinga fell in love with him at first sight and saved his bacon.

And the unlikely relationship has made the wrinkly piggy a genuine sausage dog. In these adorable images Paulinchen can even be seen trying to suckle from his gigantic new mum.
The two animals live together on a huge 20-acre farm in Hoerstel , Germany , where Katjinga's owners Roland Adam, 54, and his wife Edit, 44, a bank worker, keep a pair of breeding Vietnamese pigs.
Nose place like home: The baby piglet nuzzles up to its new mum
Property developer Roland found the weak and struggling piglet after he was abandoned by the rest of his family one evening after he was born.
He said: "The pigs run wild on our land and the sow had given birth to a litter of five in our forest.
"I found Paulinchen all alone and when I lifted him up he was really cold
"I felt sure some local foxes would have taken the little pig that very night so I took it into my house and gave him to Katjinga..
"She had just finished with a litter of her own, who are now 10 months, so I thought there was a chance she might take on the duties of looking after him.
"Katjinga is the best mother you can imagine. She immediately fell in love with the piggy. Straight away she started to clean it like it was one of her own puppies.
"Days later she started lactating again and giving milk for the piggy. She obviously regards it now as her own baby."
Mum of the year? Quite possibly.
Have a Good Day!
Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

Free Music Friday!!!
cowgirl, Rockin Rita, cowboy, me
Free music/mp3's can be found at the following sites:

Top 26 Tuesday: Fave TV Shows of All Time
cowgirl, Rockin Rita, cowboy, me
So I love TV and I can easily become obsessed with a really good show. As my birthday approached I was thinking about all sorts of things including how much tv I have watched over the years and what I watch today. Out of that came a list of some of my all-time favorite shows. of Grace
  1. SNL (NBC- Saturday Night Live)/ All That (Nickelodeon- children's sketch comedy show)
  2. The Rachael Ray Show
  3. Leave It To Beaver
  4. The Andy Griffith Show
  5. Wishbone
  6. House
  7. TRL (Total Request Live)
  8. Gilmore Girls
  9. Fringe
  10. Amazing Race
  11. The Apprentice
  12. State of Grace (aired on FoxFamily now ABC Family)
  13. Sid, The Science Kid/ Bill Nye The Science Guy/ Mr. Wizard
  14. Zoom (PBS Kids early 2000's)
  15. 7th Heaven
  16. One Tree Hill
  17. Life UneXpected
  18. Parenthood (NBC)
  19. Big Bang Theory
  20. Dr. Oz Show
  21. The Doctors
  22. Undercover Boss
  23. Survivor
  24. The Ellen Degeneres Show
  25. The Nate Berkus Show
  26. The View
Hope you enjoyed the list.
Please write back and comment on whether any of these shows are or have been your favorites and/or inspire(d) you and list any you think deserve to be on the list. Who knows the ones you list may just make it onto a future list!
Today's my birthday!
I turned 26 and I have one simple wish...
Help out my cause:

Motivation Monday: I've Been Thinking...
cowgirl, Rockin Rita, cowboy, me
I've been thinking...

about what people and things are around me that help to motivate me. There is definitely a very long list, but in the list, poetry is one of those things. I have written a few and will post some tomorrow in honor of my 26th birthday!

They say it's my birthday tomorrow.
That's right I will turn 26! Scary thought there haha. Please help me out by joining my cause. All the info can be found here on my fan page. It means more to me than life itself! Thank you!

SAVINGS SATURDAY: Scary Investments...That Work
cowgirl, Rockin Rita, cowboy, me
by Daren Fonda
Thursday, October 14, 2010

Robert Hort is 64, an age when many investors start to slow down a bit -- at least when it comes to where they put their money. Bonds begin to look more appealing than stocks, and cash looks like a safer bet than bonds. So where is Hort, a business owner from suburban New York City, putting a chunk of his savings? Into some of the spookiest stuff on the market, from junk bonds to commercial real estate. "They help me sleep at night," says Hort.

For many investors, only a dose of sleeping pills would provide rest with a portfolio like that. But at a time when Hort should be thinking about safeguarding assets for retirement, he seems to be amping up his risk. Indeed, he's one of a growing number of investors thumbing their noses at the conventional wisdom, turning much of what they learned about investing upside down.

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The old rules, of course, told investors to stick with a mix of stocks, high-quality bonds and cash, and to stay away from hard-to-fathom stuff like junk bonds, options and emerging markets. And for a long time, that strategy seemed to work. But after a decade of watching the stock market go nowhere -- and after the stomach-churning ups and downs of the past few years -- more investors are willing to try something new, even if it means stepping out of their comfort zone. A growing number of market experts and financial advisers are telling them that some of the same assets they were supposed to be afraid of can actually be good for them -- as long as they don't take it too far. Commercial real estate, for instance, tracks the stock market only about 57 percent of the time, and some types of real estate investing can offer yields of more than 8 percent, well above what most stocks and bonds provide. Options like puts and calls can act as insurance policies for stock holdings or generate income on the side, limiting losses in down or flat markets, says Hans Olsen, chief investment officer for J.P. Morgan's private-wealth-management business.

Some people are listening. While billions of dollars have flowed out of domestic stocks and into bonds this year, investors have also poured $12.2 billion into emerging-market stock funds that invest not just in China and India, but farther afield, like in the Middle East and Africa. Another $2.1 billion has flowed into real estate funds. At the same time, options trading volume is on the rise at some discount brokers. While some investors are just chasing the latest trend, others have come to the conclusion that financial moves that seemed superscary not that long ago might actually provide balance to their portfolios -- and boost returns over the long run. "You can justify the risks," says Brian Kazanchy, a financial adviser in New Jersey.

Of course, no one is telling investors to abandon U.S. stocks and investment-grade bonds; advisers say they remain bedrocks of any sound portfolio. (Hort, for example, keeps less than 30 percent of his portfolio in the risky stuff.) And even as individual investors are catching on, the idea of building a basket of higher-risk investments isn't exactly a state secret. Many hedge funds have followed similar strategies for decades, and mutual funds are starting to employ them too. Investment managers at the endowments of Harvard and Yale have used them for years, with long periods of success interrupted by big setbacks in the financial crisis.

Still, stepping up the risk even in part of a portfolio goes against the instincts of many investors, like telling your mother she was wrong about drinking milk and getting enough sleep. For investors who want to reevaluate what they consider scary, here are four ways to start.

Rethink Ratios

Is it all in your head? For many investors, the biggest hurdle to remaking a portfolio may be psychological. Losses have been so painful lately that we may have a distorted view of anything risky, says Hersh Shefrin, a behavioral-finance expert at Santa Clara University. What's more, our brains are hardwired to think of investments in isolation, attaching labels like "danger" to a whole class of assets. The upshot: We hone in on the risks of things like junk bonds instead of "how the dots connect" in a portfolio, says Shefrin. For example, emerging-market stocks and U.S. junk bonds rarely move in sync -- when one zigs, the other may zag. Owning both can boost the odds of making money over time, since one asset class often has periods when it outshines the other, says Michael Sheldon, chief market strategist with RDM Financial Group in Westport, Conn.

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With U.S. stocks in the doldrums, more financial advisers are urging their clients to consider alternatives. According to investment-management firm Russell Investments, 59 percent of advisers plan to boost their clients' exposure to emerging-market stocks, and 33 percent plan to increase exposure to real estate. Exactly how much should go into such nontraditional assets is a matter of debate, with some advisers urging clients to make them as much as 40 percent of their portfolio.

Thomas Meyer has steadily ramped up his clients' exposure to things like foreign debt, junk bonds and emerging markets. Such investments now account for 30 percent of his clients' portfolios, with the rest in stocks and bonds. Are they scared? Sure. But the Marlton, N.J., adviser says clients often come around after he pulls out charts and shows how their returns are likely to be higher over time -- with less risk along the way. "Volatility is killing investors," he says, "and this stuff can help."

One way to think of these assets is as "satellites" orbiting a core portfolio of high-quality stocks and investment-grade bonds. Sheldon, the market strategist, points out that the satellites can't eliminate volatility or the potential for big losses, and it's best to ease into them over time. Still, many investors who have tweaked their portfolios say they're comfortable with their new mix. Lawrance Fineburg, a sales executive in Exeter, N.H., had a traditional portfolio of stocks and bonds before the crash but has since branched out to include things like junk bonds and emerging-market stocks. "My instinct was to avoid this stuff," he says. "But overall I think my portfolio is safer."

Embrace Risk

George Middleton knows his clients can turn ashen when he recommends junk bonds or debt issued by foreign governments. After all, these bonds look far dicier than old-fashioned Treasurys, and this year's debt debacles in Greece and Portugal have only made folks more leery of anything that lacks an investment-grade credit rating. Investors' fear extends well beyond foreign bonds: According to a recent survey by insurance giant MetLife, 72 percent of advisers say their clients' approach to retirement savings has become more conservative as a result of the financial crisis.

Yet Middleton, an adviser in Vancouver, Wash., urges his clients to put their fears aside and take on a little more risk. Junk bonds, which have yields of around 8 percent, have beaten the stock market this year. And to the surprise of many investors, they've also outperformed stocks over the past five and 10 years. Analysts say some emerging-market debt looks even more attractive. Countries like Brazil recently paid upwards of 11 percent on their local-currency debt, even though government finances in many emerging markets are looking a lot healthier than those of European countries or the U.S. "When you have significantly better balance sheets than the developed world, it's not that risky," says David Robbins, a foreign-bond manager with investment firm TCW.

That doesn't make it easy to step up to the plate, especially after the meltdown of 2008. Behavioral economists say that's partly because losses are often experienced more intensely than gains. One way to ease the fears is to buy a basket of these bonds. The Artio Global High Income fund, for instance, holds 233 debt securities, spread out over different credit qualities and industries. Manager Greg Hopper says he likes the "boring middle class" of the junk universe and holds debt issued by solid companies, such as United Airlines and oil-and-gas firm Plains Exploration & Production.

In emerging markets, Robbins has been buying things like Indonesian government debt and bonds issued by companies such as Pan American Energy, an Argentine firm. The indexes that track emerging-market debt were recently upgraded to investment grade, he notes. And even rising interest rates in these countries may not be so bad; such moves often make a country's currency more attractive to foreign investors, boosting its value. "There are a lot of tailwinds," says Robbins.

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Of course, a sudden headwind can knock these investments off stride. While default rates for junk bonds have been falling, they can tick up if the economy weakens. And emerging markets could tumble if there's another flight to safety. Yet the greater risk may be avoiding such investments, at least for a small chunk of one's portfolio. Middleton, for example, sees junk bonds as a long-term play, with "great potential over the next five years."

Buy What Others Are Avoiding

For many investors, the idea of buying the things no one else wants sounds about as appealing as stepping into a haunted house alone. Most of us want to get out when the markets are going down and join the party when they're on the way up. At the same time, part of us knows that Warren Buffett is right when he urges us to be "greedy when others are fearful."

Case in point: real estate. Many people see real estate as a giant money pit these days -- even the ones who don't own a condo in Miami. The commercial market is littered with half-empty properties and unfinished buildings. And there's an estimated $1.4 trillion in commercial debt coming due in the next few years -- in many cases for buildings worth a fraction of their value before the crash. Still, while it can be risky, real estate doesn't always track the same path as stocks or bonds. That can help make real estate a winner when other asset classes are flat.

Though real estate overall still looks pretty dismal, "there are some positive signals," says Stuart Gabriel, director of the Ziman Center for Real Estate at UCLA. The number of properties entering the foreclosure process has slowed. Even if real estate prices stay flat for years, rental income can be a steady source of cash, buffering riskier investments in a portfolio, says Erik Miller, a financial planner in Portland, Ore. Some real estate investment trusts, which hold commercial properties, yield over 4 percent, almost double the recent yield of the average stock in the S&P 500.

Want to be even more contrarian? It requires a good bit of homework, but some investors are turning into commercial landlords, investing in so-called net-lease properties. The tenants agree to pay the taxes, insurance and maintenance, and often sign leases for a decade or more. It's possible to find properties with tenants such as Walgreens or Capital One bank, whose risk of default is low, says Judson Kauffman, a broker with Marcus & Millichap. These properties tend to be more stable than other types of commercial real estate, he adds. And yields rose in the second quarter for the first time in a year; they recently averaged 8 percent for retail space and 8.4 percent for offices. "It's like buying a corporate bond," says Randy Blankstein, president of the Boulder Group, an industry advisory firm.

These properties aren't for everyone. With tenants locked in for years, landlords can't hike the rent in a hot market, and the properties tend to gain value much more slowly than more flexible types of real estate. Prices for a store leased to a high-quality company can start at $800,000, requiring a down payment of $200,000. Still, Daniel Scotti, a retired physician in Vacaville, Calif., says his net-lease properties pay reliable income and are practically hassle-free. "I just cash the checks," he says.

Watch Your Back

Stocks, bonds, real estate -- no matter what you own, it could take a hit if there's another financial crisis. Just about every kind of asset fell in the 2008 crash. And it's why many pros are telling clients to be more vigilant about their portfolios and take steps in case there's another downdraft. "If you just sit back and wait for things to happen, you're going to get burned," says Betsy Billard, an adviser with Ameriprise Financial.

One of the most effective tools to protect yourself sometimes looks like the scariest: options. To many folks, the world of puts and calls conjures images of Wall Street traders wreaking havoc with arcane financial instruments. But sophisticated investors also use those products to hedge their stock holdings. And brokerage firms like TD Ameritrade and E-Trade are making a push to educate investors, with TD Ameritrade alone hosting 2,100 webcasts and workshops a year addressing options. No wonder: Options are one of the firm's fastest-growing trading segments, with a 14 percent jump in volume over the past year.

Of course, it takes a bit of studying to understand the basic concepts. But one way to dip in is with a hedging strategy of buying puts, says Lee Munson, a money manager in Albuquerque, N.M. A put gives the owner the right to sell a stock at a specific price by a certain date. A put on Coca-Cola would gain value, for instance, if Coke's stock price falls. Investors could then sell the put for a profit. Another strategy is to sell a call option on a stock you own and pocket the income from the sale. The buyer of the option gets the right to buy the stock at a specific price by a certain date. If the stock doesn't go above that price, the option expires worthless and the seller can keep the stock.

Some investors who have studied up on options say it's paying off. Richard Forno, a cybersecurity expert in Arlington, Va., says he's made money on General Electric options over the past few years and he now owns puts against the broad market to profit if it falls. "I'm doing it for protection more than anything," says Forno, 37. "You need to look out for yourself now."

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