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Archive for December, 2009

Quick entry

December 23rd, 2009 at 10:31 pm

I made it in to San Jose safe and sound - experienced my first deicing while in a plane.

We went out looking at lights tonight - I took a bunch of pics which I'll share later, but wanted to go ahead and share this video I took of one particularily spectacular display.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfV1TaCRwYE&feature=youtube_gdata

in the background you can hear my brother and dad talking and me chuckling. Smile

Will write more later.

Merry Christmas!!

First day of travel - so far

December 22nd, 2009 at 03:58 pm

I was supposed to be getting on a plane heading out to Denver at 1:59 p.m. today.

At 12 p.m. my mom and I entered the Dallas airport and headed towards the check in desk. We'd heard from my stepdad that there was no info available for my connecting flight, so we had a hint of problems ahead.

As I handed the agent my ticket information, I asked about the second flight and why it was canceled. She then told me that I had been bumped from my 2 pm flight and rescheduled to a 7:30 p.m. flight to Denver - with a new connecting flight arriving San Jose about 11 p.m. (instead of 7:37 pm). I of course was not happy at all.

After a number of phone calls, we found out that I had actually not been bumped, but that the 2 pm flight had been canceled two-weeks after the tickets had been purchased. We also found out that Orbitz which had been used to book the flight had dropped the ball by not informing us of the change.

So, here I am sitting at a free internet terminal charging my phone waiting to board my flight. I'll be arriving in Denver about the time I was originally supposed to arrive in San Jose.

Here's hoping that my flights go smoothly and this is the end of traveling hassles today!

---
On a brighter note ... Mom and I spent our extra time today doing some various errands, and shopping. She bought me a beautiful red (light) sweater and tank set and a pair of black pants from Steinmart (part of Christmas). We also spent some time browsing in Barnes and Nobles. Last night I showed her how to use fotoflexer to play with her photos, and reminded her how to change her profile picture.

Overall, it was a nice time.

Packing and Cleaning - Business Idea??

December 20th, 2009 at 05:07 pm

Yesterday I did go to church, and I did exchange the Terry's Oranges for the correct flavor, but I did not go to the animal shelter. I didn't go today either. I have however kept myself pretty busy.

I spent a great deal of time yesterday evening copying 5 audiobooks onto my computer, and then transferring them to my iPhone. I had to delete a few I already had on there (and had listened to already).

Today I got up kind of late (because I was up till past midnight loading the audiobooks!) I first went to the dollar theater for the early showing of Ice Age 3. It was really cute - well worth the dollar. Smile

Then I went to the library and dropped off the audiobooks from Saturday night, and picked up 4 more. I would've picked up 5, but several of the ones I was looking for were checked out.

When I got home, I started cleaning and sorting through everything, and then finally got my big suitcase out.

I had to empty that also - I'd stored most of my out of season clothing and some clothes which I'd not been able to fit into when I moved in here in September. But ... two pairs of jeans which were in that category, now fit again! Yahoo! (Thanks No-S!!)

While I was doing all this packing and cleaning and sorting, I was also working on loading up my next 4 audiobooks. I wonder if I'll really have time to listen to 7 books (8 if I get the one off the website). No matter how many I actually get to, it will make for a great head start for next semester! I just have to be sure to jot down notes about the various books.

My suitcase and laundry basket are both out in the car now. (I didn't think it would be much fun to try to drag them outside at 6 in the morning tomorrow!) So, I am pretty much all ready to go!

I've been keeping an eye on the weather in Denver, and am a tad bit nervous. My layover will be there on Tuesday afternoon. They are supposed to get hit with snow by Wednesday sometime.

---
Tomorrow I'm heading over to my mom's straight after work. I'm supposed to help her finish up her baking. She's making a bunch of cookies, etc. for my brother's Christmas present. She's already spent at least one full day on this ... I really hope she hasn't made a lot. There's only so much room in my bag!

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I have a business idea in my head. I don't know if it would work or not .. or if anyone would be willing to pay me as much as I'd need for it to work.

I'm also not sure what the best title would be ...

My idea is to offer my services from 2 p.m. until 9 p.m. Monday - Thursday; and from 2 - 5 p.m. on Friday's. (I may be willing to do an occasional Sunday as well, depending on schoolwork load.)

My services would include: grocery shopping; folding laundry; picking up dry cleaning; picking up a max of two kids from school; tutoring/supervising homework/music practice, fixing after school snack/cleanup, maybe fixing supper or starting it, etc; chauffeuring kids to after school activities; etc. During the summer, I would offer enrichment activities and taking kids to the park, museums, playdates, etc. Other tasks could be negotiated.

Pricing would start at $25/hour for the first 20 hours per week. Hours 21 - 30 would be priced at $15/hour.

If I could get even 20 hours a week doing this, I would be able to quit the gym. I would still have the morning hours, plus most of Friday and Sunday to do schoolwork.

My mom charges (and gets) $50/hour for tutoring. Of course she already has her Master's ...

I'd have to up my car insurance for carrying kids. I'd also need to put together a contract spelling out everything parents and I agree to. Probably would also need some kind of medical release and accident waiver, etc.

What do you think of something like -- Mom's Assistant? or Mom's Third Hand???

Do you think my rate may be too much?

Anyway, just kind of mulling the idea in my head. I really would like to get out of the gym, and it would be nice to make more money than I am now (wouldn't take much!)

Oh yeah, my selling points: Texas state certified teacher with 8 years of experience, in grad school working on Master's; excellent driving record; love to play games (board games, catch, swings, etc.) believe strongly in interactive learning; may be able to save money on groceries (clipping coupons for items frequently on their list - maybe sign up for grocery game for their favorite store, and make suggestions as to what they might want to stock up on ...)

Slow day

December 18th, 2009 at 06:47 pm

Yesterday at the gym I only had 6 people come in the entire day. I was there from 7:30 until 7 p.m. Four of those people informed me that they wouldn't be back till after the holidays.

Today ... I was at the gym from 6:30 until 2. Two people came + 1 other person who paid their bill.

E and I were talking about the amount of people expected to actually be around during the next few weeks. He decided that he'd close G2 on Wednesday of each of the next two weeks, and just have G3 open till 3 pm those days. That makes a lot more sense, but kind of stinks for those who were planning on working those days.

K, the lady who takes over on Fridays at 2, told me she had a job interview and offer this morning. She is hesitating on accepting it for two reasons - one of the days she'd have to work is her church choir day; and the other is how far of a drive it would be. Otherwise, it'd be great - 24 hours a week with a certain and unchangeable schedule for $10/hour.

K is an older lady, recently divorced (ex-h was a cheating scoundrel), has two grown children, and has MS. We get along pretty well, and I'll miss talking with her if she takes the job, but I think it'll be better for her - much more stable than the gym. E keeps changing her schedule, and recently reduced her hours to 17/week. I'm just waiting for him to do that to me. Ugh.

--
My brother is finally on facebook! I tried to get him to get on it when I first did, but he obviously didn't.

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Tomorrow there is potluck after church, and then I might be going to a get together at the SS leader's house. He mentioned it last Sabbath, but was kind of vague on the details.

I bought an apple cheese danish dessert for potluck tomorrow. I had been planning on making my corn pudding again, but the kitchen was overrun by teenagers making cookies. Oh well.

Depending on if I go to the get together, I probably will spend a few hours at the animal shelter in the afternoon. If I don't do it Saturday afternoon, I want to be sure to do it on Sunday. Although I'm thinking about seeing another movie on Sunday at the dollar theater - either Ice Age 3 or Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs. Ice Age has been there for awhile now, so there's more chance that Meatballs would still be there when I get back from CA.

I need to download the audiobooks to my phone, return them to the library, and get a few more and download them. Oh yeah, I need to pack too. Big Grin Maybe I won't have time on Sunday to see a movie.

---
Deposited my paycheck today.

My groceries today included a couple of things I could have put off till next year, the cheese danish, and a food gift for my stepdad - so a bit more than I'd really planned on.

Walmart - $14.69

I need to go and exchange the food gift tomorrow though. I bought a Terry's Chocolate Orange ... only I bought the Toffee Crunch version instead of the milk chocolate one. Not paying enough attention I guess.

--
I've been checking the weather in San Jose and Loma Linda the past few days. It seems like San Jose is about the same as Dallas weather wise right now. I really don't want to take my big new coat (a number of reasons - one being how bulky it is) but am not sure if my purple coat will cut it.

Are bags still $15 for the first one you check-in?

I'll be taking a box of food goodies for my brother from our mom. Any precautions I should make? (will be in my checked suitcase) I know not to have anything wrapped ... but other than that?

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Almost forgot. I bought a Flashcards app from iTunes ($3.99). It'll come in handy next semester when I'm having to learn various terms for one particular class. But the reason I went ahead and bought it now is that I've started to get serious about memorizing Bible verses. I made up 18 flashcards this morning which I can study on the plane while in airplane mode, or of course during my 3 hour layover in Denver. My goal is to have all 18 memorized perfectly by January 1. Then I'll add more. I have two down pretty good already. I figure it's good brain work, and it's good for the soul too. Smile

(Also in the flashcards app they have a list of 300 GRE words/def/sample sentences you can download to study. I downloaded them as well - may as well work on my vocabulary too.) Big Grin

Various and Assundry: The Birthday Edition

December 16th, 2009 at 06:46 pm

*Today my mom took me to her hairdresser and had me get a cut and highlights. It looks very nice. It'd been several years since I last had highlights put in - last time I think was at Fantastic Sam's for around $60. This lady charged at lest 4x that amount. :OO: If I'd realized how much she charged, I probably would have chosen my mom's other idea - spa pedicure and manicure. But irregardless, I really do like my cut and color.

*My mom went on a trip to Nashville this past weekend with two of her tutoring students who she watches sometimes on the weekends. The mom of the younger girl had bought her two four-inch ceremonial daggers, and had given her permission to take it to school. :OO: My mom did not know this. One of the daggers was still in the girls backpack as they went through airport security.

Luckily they chose to not call the police or any of the many other things they could have done. That was one lucky 11 year old!

*My uncle D who lives in Ohio and has never been sick a day in his life, went into the hospital yesterday with heart attack symptoms. He had surgery today where they placed two shunts in his heart, and appears to be doing okay.

* When I got to my mom's place on Tuesday night she wasn't there yet (out tutoring). So my stepdad and I had a chance to talk for a couple hours. That was really nice - we don't talk all that much usually because my mom and I tend to chat to each other mainly. We also watched a movie my mom would not have liked, but I liked it.."State of Play" with Ben Affleck, etc. I'd equate it with Primal Fear (Richard Gere) and perhaps Michael Clayton (George Clooney). Good twists and turns and an unexpected ending.

*I took my practice exam for school librarian certification on Saturday night. Today I got my results. An 80% was passing ... I got a 79%. I am very extremely happy with that, seeing as how I've only taken one class dealing with the subject matter on the exam. A year from now, I bet I'll be able to ace it. Smile

*We have a new housemate. *He* moved in yesterday afternoon. Apparently he sleeps during the day, and works at night. This should be interesting.

*My mom didn't have a 4 candle for my brownie cake. So, instead of turning 34 yesterday, I turned 35. Big Grin She told me my other two choices were 32 or 37. I was okay with the 35. Smile

*Payday was Tuesday: $549.xx

While I did get paid for the 6 hours of cleaning, it was at the normal 7.25 rate. Pretty cheap cleaning labor if you ask me. Although, I probably wouldn't have thought anything of it if E hadn't said that he'd try to get us $10/hr for that time. Oh well.

So ..$55 - Giving; $55 - Savings; $55 - Tax Savings. That leaves $384 for other bills, etc.

My Dec. 30 check is going to only have 5 days on it, so will be quite small.

*I am probably going to have to up my texting plan for my phone. Before getting the iPhone, I very rarely used the texting function. Now though, I have a number of people who I text back and forth with regularly - including E (mostly about gym business - easier to make sure he has a written record of what I relay to him than just verbal).

My last bill I was 199 texts over my 200 limit - which equaled to about $20 extra dollars. So, I paid $25 for 399 texts. I have the feeling that this months is going to be similar, if not more.

So ... I think that I'll have to go to the $15/month plan for 1500 texts. I don't see myself ever using that many texts in a month ... but then again I never thought I'd actually use up the full 200. Ugh!

*Spending Dec. 15/16

Deli: $4.68 - Breakfast/lunch (treat)
Costco: $16 - 10 pk Rice Dream milk sub.

I have two dollars cash + some change left of my spending money. I don't think there's anything I'll need to get before Friday when I'll take out my next cash infusion (and deposit my paycheck).

Groceries this week should be extremely minimal, since it'll basically just be for the weekend. I'll be going back to my mom's Monday after work, and then Tuesday fly away to San Jose! Big Grin Big Grin

Early Gift :) YNAB 3

December 14th, 2009 at 07:26 pm

My invitation to purchase the beta version of YNAB 3 came around 5 p.m. today. Big Grin

I purchased it quickly. $34.95

I don't remember exactly when I first started using YNAB, but it was before I bought my current computer, and this is at least three years old. When I first started with it, it was a very effective spreadsheet program. I'd been getting so frustrated trying to find a program that would do virtual envelopes like I wanted to do them. Then I saw the link in a SA poster's signature (Jesse) - someone who was pretty active in the forums and seemed pretty intelligent.

I checked out his program, and instantly was jazzed! Live life on last month's income! What a concept! Plus it did perfectly what I'd been looking for with virtual envelopes, without paying the monthly fee (Mevelopes - I'm looking at you!)

One thing that has amazed me from the beginning is how customer service oriented Jesse has been. A number of times I had questions, emailed him, and received a personal response in less than 24 hours. A few years ago he started a forum for YNAB users. There are many long time users who are more than happy to help out new users with questions. Some of them have become employees of Jesse in growing the YNAB business and product (because they love it so much!) Customer service is still top notch.

One thing many Ynaber's have been asking for is the program to work on a Mac. With the YNAB 3 version, it will now do just that!

Right now with paying tuition and buying textbooks, etc., I'm not really able to use it as well as I'd like -- but even so, it is helping me to assign my actual incoming dollars jobs until they're gone, and I have to go to savings.

YNAB is what helped me be able to not panic (too much) when I was laid off in February, and to not worry (too much)when it took *forever* to get unemployment checks to start, and not to worry overly much when paychecks from the gym bounced or were late.

I'm really looking forward now to the upcoming iPhone app - but that'll probably not be till they get most of the bugs worked out of the beta desktop version.

---
I received my last textbook today. So now I have all the textbooks I'll need for next semester. That's just one less bit of pressure.

--
I tried a new strength training routine today. Used a bunch of combination moves -- *attempted* an elbow plank w/donkey kick -- will be sore tomorrow I think. Smile

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I better get going - need to pack to go to my mom's tomorrow. Mmmm brownie cake! Big Grin

Third Time *was* the Charm! :) -- YNAB 3!!!

December 13th, 2009 at 04:40 pm

This morning I made my Oatmeal/Quiona/Chocolate pancakes. I hadn't made them in awhile, and since I'd made the recipe up myself in the first place ... I wasn't thinking too clearly. I put *all* the dry ingredients in the blender, and then added the rice milk and water. Ooops. Let's just say that it was pretty thick. I ended up pouring half of it out into a measuring cup, and then adding more liquid to the other part.

In the end, I didn't put a banana in - it still turned out pretty tasty, and I made enough for probably 4 more breakfasts in the future.

---
As I was making the pancakes this morning, I was wondering if they make pancake molds. Something you can put down on the pan/griddle and pour the batter into so that it holds a certain shape - make a uniform size. Mine turn out to be many shapes and sizes - especially after trying to flip them. Smile

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As the title states, the third time happened to be the charm today. I found the dollar theater! (with a little extra help from my step dad)

I saw "Invention of Lying". It was *SO* good! Seriously, I loved this movie. I walked out of it just feeling happy. I probably wouldn't recommend it for kids under 15 because there are some scenes with pretty frank sexual talk (not explicit - just frank). This is one I might look into obtaining a copy for my limited collection.

---

When I got home I found out that Jesse (he used to be very active on the SA forums - jrmsg (something like that) ) has started releasing the beta version of YNAB 3. I might just get it for my birthday. Big Grin Big Grin

For those of you with iPhones or iTouch's ... he also is going to be releasing an app based on the YNAB principles soon. Big Grin
I am very much looking forward to that!!

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Spending:

Movies: $1
Walgreen's: $6.42
Gas: $19.01 (saw $2.29/gallon and grabbed it!)

Bed Being Taken Over! ; No More Schoolwork - Bored!; No-S update

December 12th, 2009 at 05:51 pm

Earlier this afternoon I wanted to take a nap. In order to do so, I had to carefully manipulate Max who was sprawled completely across the middle, and find enough space on the edge. Later, Nikki came and jumped up - she found space behind my back.

I eventually had to get up (to take my practice exam) and both animals left as well.

While I was taking my exam, both animals returned and were trying to get my attention. I told them I couldn't pay attention to them right then, because I was taking a timed test. They both eventually ended up on the bed again. Max on top, and Nikki wrapped up under the covers - peeking out her head once in a while.



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The practice exam, my very last assignment for the semester, had a time limit of 3 hours. So, I figured if I started it around 6, and finished by 9, I'd have time to mess around on the internet for a bit and then head off to bed.

Well... it was 80 multiple choice questions. Even with the animal interruptions and taking my time on each question, I was finished in roughly 50 minutes.

No more schoolwork (assigned at least) until January 19!

-----

So now I'm trying to figure out what to do the rest of the evening.

I think I've used up my allotment of Netflix streaming for December (I'm on the $4.99/mo plan - two DVD's at home a month + 4 or 5 hours streaming). So, until I figure out how to get the DVD program working again, I can't watch movies on my computer.

Really don't feel like watching t.v.

Eh.. I'll figure out something I'm sure.

Tomorrow I'm thinking that I'll make my Oatmeal/Banana/Quinoa/Chocolate pancakes for breakfast, plus some to freeze for later. Then will try to find the dollar theater to see "Invention of Lying."
Then I suppose I could put some time into organizing my room better. Maybe I'll go over to the animal shelter too and volunteer some ..

-----

Recently I've gotten a hankering for The Cheesecake Factory's Eggplant sandwich. I've had it twice, and it was *so* good, yet definitely not cheap. I wonder how difficult it would be to make that myself? I've bought eggplants before with the intention of making something with them ... but they completely deteriorated before I got to them. Maybe because I was just too intimidated to figure out how to actually cook one - so I procrastinated??

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So far no spending today .. but it's only 7:42 and I'm bored.. hopefully I can figure out something to do for the next few hours that won't cost anything.

--
Oh yes, the No-S update - or "Why I Love the Weekends!" I started the No-S eating plan on July 23rd. It went well for the first month or so, and then had a few bumps and bruises for a few weeks. Since then though, I've done well on it.

As of today, I have lost 12.8 lbs since starting! Which is 17.2 lbs less than my highest weight (reached in June).

I just can't express fully how happy and content I am with this way of eating and living.

I'd Like Your Opinions Please; groceries, etc.

December 11th, 2009 at 03:03 pm

So ... this morning as I was getting ready to leave to head off to work, I managed to crack the toilet seat. (go ahead and laugh manically here - I did, silently.)

I left a note saying what happened and asking if landlady would like me to get a new one, or if she wanted me to just give her whatever an equivalent one would cost. (I didn't use the word equivalent ... I guess I kind of thought that would be understood.)

I got home today and asked if she'd seen my note. She told me that she had, and that she'd gone ahead and bought one at Wal-Mart for $20.

As she said this, I was thinking that sounded like a lot of money for a toilet seat. Then she told me, "They had toilet seats from $5 all the way up to $70. So I decided to get one near the middle in quality." She also told me that if I couldn't afford the $20, to not worry about it.

I was the one who broke it, so I feel like I should pay for at least part of it. I'm not so sure that I should have to pay for an upgraded version though. Am I being cheap? Is $10 a fair amount, or should I just bite the bullet and give her the full $20?
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I stopped by the bank today and got out my $40 for groceries/misc. + I decided to take out an extra $20 to treat myself to something(s) special for my birthday (15th).

I'm not sure exactly what I want to do yet - maybe go to a first run movie and eat out at IHOP? Or go to a movie at the Studio Movie Grill and get a grilled cheese + dessert? Get a pedicure before heading out to CA (although with the weather they're having, not so sure I'll be baring my feet all that much)? Get a new pair of jeans? Or maybe just use part of it now, and save the rest for spending money on my trip... (Can you tell what are some of the things I'm really missing being able to do?? Not that I did any of them often, but it sure was nice to be able to do it once in a while without having to think about it *too* hard.)

---
I didn't really have much I had to get for groceries today. I just needed enough to get through for the next 8 days (really 7 - I'm going to be at my mom's Tuesday for supper - she's making a brownie cake for me! Yum!- and also Wednesday for breakfast and lunch).

I was really wanting some marshmallows for my hot cocoa last weekend, but I'd already done my shopping for the week. So today I was looking at the marshmallows and saw the store brand for $.92 (minis). But then I saw a new product which intrigued me. A bag of chocolate coated marshmallows for $1.00. I *almost* bought those instead. But then the frugalite in me said that there was only enough for two cups of cocoa, while the other bag had enough for at least 10, and for less money.

So, anyway, my groceries today totaled: $17.38.

I also put some change in the bell ringer's thing - not sure how much, maybe $1.xx.

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I am now completely finished with two of my classes. On Sunday I'll be taking a 3-hour practice exam, and be finished with the third class.

Today I picked up from the library 5 books on CD which are on the book list for my Children's Lit class next semester, plus another book on the list. I can only check out 5 audiobooks at a time, so I'm planning on getting them loaded onto my iPhone this weekend, and then getting 5 more. (I found a total of 15 audiobooks from the list.)

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I've been really trying to work on certain ... words ... in my vocabulary. 99% of the people who know me probably have never ever heard me mutter them out loud. But *I* hear myself mutter them, not to mention think them. I feel for me, especially as I'm getting older, those words are an immature response to situations or descriptions. (Not passing judgment on anyone else - this is *just* for me.)

So, I've been doing a lot of thinking. There's a particular forum on Delphi which I have slightly participated in, but read very regularly since 2004. It mostly consists of women. The frequent posters can be very funny - and I find myself frequently laughing out loud at some of the things they post. They also can be very caring, rallying behind posters who are in some trouble or another (whom they're able to verify as a real situation). However, they have a tendency to use certain words a lot. And, they can be quite biting and critical and sarcastic.

I'm debating on whether I should continue to read there. If I fill my mind with some of the topics (and words they use) there, how am I going to be able to stop myself from thinking/muttering some of those same words/sarcastic attitudes?

However, I need to find something else to fill my time that I've spent there. Part of it maybe I can use to work on memorizing scripture. I'm not sure though where I can find a good, *clean* source of humor though. Any suggestions?
--
Oh, for any of you who are fans of Goldie Hawn or Chevy Chase. Last night I watched (from Netflix Instant) the movie "Foul Play." If I read correctly, it was the first big part Chevy Chase had in a movie.
It's a comedy/murder mystery somewhat similar to Alfred Hitchcock style. It was really funny - Goldie plays a librarian. Smile Chevy plays the detective who protects her from ... the Albino; the Dwarf; and Scarface. Big Grin Oh, and I *loved* the Johnny Tidbits character - comedic gold!

It's set in the 70's. I think Goldie is sporting a Farrah Fawcett (sp?) do.

In the Mail; DVD program

December 10th, 2009 at 05:59 pm

Tonight when I got home I found that I had another textbook arrive. 3 down, 2 to go. Smile

I also had a package from a dentist's office. They sent a brochure, a letter worth $50 off my first appointment, and ... a toothbrush! I can always use a free toothbrush. Smile

---

A few days ago I downloaded the newest version of AVG. As it was downloading, it told me that I needed to update a DVD playing program called Roxio something or other. I looked everywhere in my computer, but didn't see anything by that name. So ... thinking that Windows Media Player plays DVD's, I made the oh so smart decesion to just delete any programs with DVD in the title. :bigeyes:

AVG finished installing perfectly at that point.

Last night I decided I wanted to watch a movie. I put my movie in, and hit "play DVD" in WMP. I got the error message saying it couldn't play DVD's - that I needed to change my screen resolution and colors. So ... I tried that. I tried all possible combination. Still didn't work.

In the end, I watched a movie off of the Netflix streaming.

I'm hoping there's an easy and inexpensive solution to my dumb mistake. Anyone? Pretty please?

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Spending:
Deli - breakfast: $3.01