Precious Memory

PNY memory

I upgraded my mom’s 4 year old computer from 1 GB to 2 GB of memory yesterday evening. The operation was a success!

Mom’s computer had been sluggish. Sometimes everything would freeze for half a minute or more at a time. I suspected that the system was stopping to swap programs between RAM (i.e., memory chips) and virtual memory on the hard drive. The computer did all right when it and Windows Vista was new and program versions were 2008 or earlier. But 4 years of Windows updates and newer versions of programs increased the memory demands and response times.

After some online research, I headed to Best Buy equipped with the computer make and model, its’ Service Tag (a Dell identifier) and a printout showing compatible memory that Dell sold. One of Best Buy’s techie sales guys looked up the memory type needed and I left with 2 GB of memory from PNY. And a $55 charge on my credit card.

It took about 10 minutes to open Mom’s computer and switch the memory chips. The computer booted up without a hitch and seems to be much peppier. The performance improvement is much better than I expected. There have been no waits for the system to swap things into active memory and programs are loading much faster. Internet Explorer had always been slow to start. Now it starts up quickly and loads web pages in flash.

Adding or changing the memory chips is one of the easiest upgrades you can make to your computer. And with the ever-increasing amounts of memory that computer programs use, it can make a big difference in the usability of your computer, potentially allowing you to postpone the replacement of the computer and save lots of money. If you’ve never installed memory chips, I’m sure you can find online tutorials to show you how.

Posted in Miscellaneous, Saving Money, Useful Info | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Company’s Coming


Time to pick up clutter! My best friend has a business trip to Topeka, Kansas the first week of April and plans a brief extension to visit me. I predict a trip to several yarn shops.

Wanda last visited in 1996, just a couple of months after I moved into this house. In almost 16 years, I’ve made great progress on filling every nook and cranny and piling things to the rafters. Any horizontal surface is a potential filing or storage space. It’s been over a year and a half since anyone but me and an occasional repairman has been in this house.

My goal is to uncover enough horizontal surfaces, including the guest bed, that it looks like a normal person lives here. To make progress without getting overwhelmed, I’m setting my trusty timer for 10 to 15 minutes each day. I work on clearing off a spot, putting things in a permanent, out of sight storage location or in the trash until the timer starts beeping. Then I can quit for the day.

It’s always great to see Wanda. Hopefully, I’ll get enough picked up that the house is somewhat presentable. Anticipating a house guest is wonderful motivation for cleaning up!

Posted in Clutter, Lifestyle, Miscellaneous | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Goodbye Winter!

rhododendron buds

The calendar says Spring is 6 days away, but Mother Nature thinks differently. The rhododendron has lavender flower buds and the bare spirea branches are sprouting leaves.

vinca blooms

Further evidence that Spring is here: the vinca is blooming and sprouting new vines with tiny leaves. Unfortunately, it also means that it’s time to start weeding the planting beds.

winter coat and hat

With many unseasonably warm days alternating with cooler days this winter, you pretty much had to check the temperature daily to decide how warm a coat to wear. My new winter coat didn’t get worn much and now it’s time to put it away.

Goodbye, Winter.
Hello, Spring!

Posted in Weather, Yard Work | Tagged , , ,

Snow Fun

Seems like my phone always rings at lunch time! Usually it’s a telemarketer for one of several charities that call on a regular basis hoping I’ll change my mind and agree to donate. Monday’s lunch time caller was my neighbor.




“Is it OK if Bob blows the snow off your driveway?”

snow blower blowing snow

Seems Bob had a new toy. A brand new snow blower and he’d waited all winter to play with it. We finally got a couple of inches of wet snow on Monday and he was having fun moving snow.

In no time at all, Bob had cleared my driveway and most of the sidewalk between the driveway and the front steps. He certainly saved me a bit of shoveling, though Mother Nature melted much of the snow the next day.

snow cleared from driveway

The next best thing to no snow is a friendly, helpful neighbor with a new snow blower!

Posted in Miscellaneous, Weather | Tagged , ,

Volunteer Time Has Value

Do you spend time volunteering for a favorite charity? Do you wonder how much your time is worth?

The Independent Sector estimates the dollar value of volunteer time at $21.36 per hour for 2010. This is based on the average hourly earnings of production and non-management workers, not including farm workers. Twelve percent is added to wages to account for benefits.

$21.36 is the average value for the entire United States. Independent Sector’s Value of Volunteer Time lists the dollar value of a volunteer hour by state. In 2009, the value of a volunteer hour ranged from $11.31 in Puerto Rico to $32.79 in Washington, D.C.

In 2011, I knitted and crocheted 58 hats for a local homeless shelter, averaging over 3 hours per hat. I also finished 2 afghans (40 hours??), stitched 17 small quilt tops (about 3 hours each), and finished 33 blankets (at least 3 hours each) all for Project Linus. That’s approximately 364 hours of volunteering at $18.57 per hour (Missouri rate) for a total value of over $6,700.

What was the value of your volunteer efforts this year?

Posted in Charity, Money | Tagged , ,

Why Not Look Your Age?

50, 60, 90, 100, who cares

Browsing through the TV listings, I spotted “Why Look Your Age!,” an infomercial for Lifestyle Lift®. I dislike 2 things about this infomercial.

  1. The infomercial implies that Lifestyle Lift® is a revolutionary new medical procedure that is quick and simple. It’s plastic surgery!
  2. It propagates the notion that you need to look young and wrinkle free to be happy and feel good about yourself.

What is wrong with looking your age? I’m not ashamed of being 55. Every wrinkle and grey hair that I have came naturally and I earned them.

Why is it acceptable to let anyone tell us that a youthful appearance is good and anything other than youth and beauty is undesirable?

Grow up people! Be who you are and embrace the way you look. Leave the plastic surgery for disfiguring scars and abnormal growths. Reject the Botox® and the anti-aging serums with their unknown side effects.

Everyone gets older. Every 24 hours, one day older. It’s something to cherish, not something to be ashamed of. Dress nice and be well groomed. Get a flattering haircut. Surgery and expensive products are not required! Have respect for those that are willing to age gracefully and stop trying to look forever young.

Nobody’s perfect. Make the most of what you are and enjoy life on your terms.

Posted in Health, Lifestyle, Miscellaneous | Tagged , | 2 Comments