Seagate FreeAgent(tm) Go – Portable Hard Drive

I have been looking for an external hard drive to use for my laptop. My laptop is my main computer and I really wanted to keep it clean. So I wanted this little portable hard drive mainly to store photos. It will also be used for music (itunes) and tv shows (my weeds series).

I decided on a Seagate FreeAgent (TM) Go because it was the best priced at the moment. I got it at Best Buy (actual store, not virtual). It was a black one with a capacity of 500 GB for $119. (April 30. 2009)

It comes with a short little adapter usb cable and plugs right into the back of my laptop. For another $25, I could have gotten the docking station, but as I won’t necessarily be taking this with me, I didn’t feel like it was something I’d need. The Go sits right next to my computer with cute little dotted lights (which can be turned off easily in the preferences of the seagate manager).

When you first plug it in, it installs the manager to your preferred location (I chose the default, simple enough). Only takes a couple minutes, if that long.

Then I went to my Pictures folder, right clicked and chose Send To.. I then “sent it” to the FreeAgent option. It imported all my folders and pictures directly to the device – keeping the organization intact. Clicking on Properties (on Pictures folder) I changed the “location” of the file, so it would direct to the Go device – this way, my pictures are stored only on the device (I hope I don’t have to get back up for my back up, ha! But realistically I probably should since it’s not really being used for back up).

Because I used the Windows Photo Gallery also, I needed to fix it too. When I opened it, it told me the folders for all my pictures couldn’t be found.. so I had to change the path that read found the photos. I did this in the program.

All that running smoothly, I decided to switch my music over. Did that and in the itunes program, I changed the location of the music simply by editing the preference of where it was located. Very simply and all my music (and shows) is there and playing just fine.

I wanted easy access to the Go, so I created a shortcut directly to the folders on it and put it in my systems tray next to the Start button. Works great.

I’m thinking about deleting a few programs and reinstalling them on the Go.. like itunes. This way, no matter what computer I’m on, I can access my music and my player.

In the end, it was a great purchase. Easy to use, very small (maybe the size of two cell phones, but thinner?), sleek and I mentioned easy to use.. yeah, it is.. really.

Human Cases of Swine Flu – H1N1

UPDATED: WHO, World Health Organization, April 29th, upgraded this issue to a Phase 5 outbreak… next level is pandemic. WHO Warns Flu Threatening to Become Pandemic. See below for more info on Momma Muse.

View H1N1 Swine Flu in a larger map

I’ve been sick lately. Don’t know if it’s “crohn’s” related or just a plain spring-time cold. It’s the worst and longest lasting cold I’ve had in a while. At least it’s not the flu. Just as I’m starting to feel a little better, I read about cases of swine flu. My sister in New York is going to work (nurse in the school system) wearing masks. We’ve even had one case in our state, Ohio (so far). I’m glad we enjoy our home and yard so much… I’ll stick close to home and keep antibacterial lotion handy whenever I go out.

The CDC has identified human cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection in people in the U.S. The CDC is working with local and state health agencies to investigate these cases. We have determined that this virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human. However, at this time, we have not determined how easily the virus spreads between people.

CDC is working very closely with officials in states where human cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) have been identified, as well as with health officials in Mexico, Canada and the World Health Organization. This includes deploying staff domestically and internationally to provide guidance and technical support.

CDC activated its Emergency Operations Center to coordinate the agency’s response to this emerging health threat and yesterday the Secretary of the Department Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, declared a public health emergency in the United States. This will allow funds to be released to support the public health response. CDC’s goals during this public health emergency are to reduce transmission and illness severity, and provide information to assist health care providers, public health officials and the public in addressing the challenges posed by this newly identified influenza virus. To this end, CDC has issued a number of interim guidance documents in the past 24 hours. In addition, CDC’s Division of the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) is releasing one-quarter of its antiviral drugs, personal protective equipment, and respiratory protection devices to help states respond to the outbreak. Laboratory testing has found the swine influenza A (H1N1) virus susceptible to the prescription antiviral drugs, oseltamivir and zanamivir. This is a rapidly evolving situation and CDC will provide updated guidance and new information as it becomes available.

You Can Take Precautionary Measures

* Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
* Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
* Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
* If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.

There is no vaccine available at this time, so it is important for people to take steps to prevent spreading the virus to others. If people are ill, they should attempt to stay at home and limit contact with others. Healthy residents living in these areas should take everyday preventive precautions:

1 Avoid close contact. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

2 Stay home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.

3 Cover your mouth and nose. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.

4 Clean your hands. Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.

5 Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

6 Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

People who develop an illness with fever and respiratory symptoms, such as cough and runny nose, and possibly other symptoms, such as body aches, nausea, or vomiting or diarrhea, should contact their health care provider. Their health care provider will determine whether influenza testing is needed.

This afternoon when I wrote this, I didn’t realize there were 11 states in the United States with cases of swine flu. A toddler in Texas was the first to die from this flu outside of Mexico. Mexico has had several deaths and hundreds of people have been affected by the swine flu.

I remember a few years ago being so stressed about all the Bird-Flu news. It was so scary.. and thinking it was coming our way. And this swine flu just smacks us all in the face.

Four Foods on Friday – #74 (my week 6)

Here are my Four Foods on Friday #74 answers:

Valmg says she’s going on a diet of pureed foods soon and needs some answers…

1. What’s your favorite flavor of yogurt?
I like lots of different yogurts but here’s my top favorites.
Just plain Vanilla – this is my top fav because it’s so easy to cut up whatever fruit is handy, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, bananas and toss in. I also like granola cereals or grape nuts on it too.
Aside from the vanilla, I’ll take boysenberry, strawberry, cherry, mixed fruits, blackberry. My boys like orange creme.

As for types of yogurt, I usually just eat the regular kind.. but I used to really like the thick custard style.. but I never see it any more. The whipped is ok, too.

2. Got a recipe for a smoothie?
I’m not much of a recipe follower when it comes to smoothies.. but here’s a site with over a hundred different recipes for making smoothies ~ Fruit Smoothie Recipes by RC.

Typically, I’m a throw whatever I have in the blender and mix it up.. usually a handful of ice, a bit of juice and whatever fruits I’m adding. Sometimes the fruits end up being on the tart side, so a bit of sugar will get mixed in too.

I love raspberries but in smoothies you’ll be sucking up a bazillion seeds.. I kid you not.

3. Got a recipe for split pea soup?
Really and truly I only like peas fresh from the garden.. or the crunchy kind (as in, still fresh) in the pod still that you might toss into a salad or oriental dish. Of all the veggies I like, I just can’t do peas any other way. No split pea soup recipes to share.

4. What’s your favorite kind of pudding?
Chocolate would be my favorite. But I like banana pudding with bananas and vanilla wafers. Cheesecake pudding is good (use graham crackers, melted butter and some sugar for a crust if you want a pie). Rice pudding and Tapioca pudding are both yummy too!

9 Things You can Do for Earth Day

Earth Day April 22, 2009

Celebrate Earth Day – But remember… everyday is a good day to do something for our Earth, so if you can’t do everything you want on Earth Day, that’s ok.. here’s a list of things to do, on Earth Day or any other day.

Greenhouse - 12' x 8' x 24'

1. Lowe’s Home Improvement offers a 10% off coupon good on purchases up to $5000.

This would be a good coupon to use for plants for your yard. This year, we purchases two fruit trees (a super sweet peach and a super sweet plum). I still want to get a pear, but will likely add that next year. We also got a couple of raspberry bushes. No need to get too many of those, as they send up shoots all over the place (yes, they can be invasive!).

I also purchases gravel, lumber and stepping stones for my greenhouse (well, the gravel came from the sand & gravel company). I’ll make use of another coupon for stones for our patio.

Last year, we added walls to our back porch, turning it into a very useable indoor space. This summer, we bought sliding glass doors – one for each side of the new “diningroom”… this will bring in lots of light! Not to mention a nice indoor place to keep our houseplants through the cold months. We’ve made good use of Lowe’s this year!

2. Buy in Bulk. When purchasing mulch, gravel or other yard necessities, call your local Sand & Gravel company. If you have access to a truck, you will save a TON of money by picking up the materials yourself.

I picked up 1.5 tons of pea gravel for my greenhouse. It cost me $26 to pick it up myself. If I’d had them deliver 2 tons, it would have cost $115 – that’s a huge difference. But even having it delivered it would have been cheaper than buying by the bag.

I saw a neighbor with 4 skids full of bags of mulch (no kidding!)… Even at $3 a bag, she spent a small fortune. Way more than if she’d ordered in bulk and had it delivered.

We created a new driveway using chips and dust.. it’s a packing type of stone.. We started out needed about 18 tons.. so the initial cost was not too cheap (but much cheaper than blacktop or cement). Every couple of years, we order about 4-5 tons (delivered) and spend a few hours spreading it to the thin spots (and then a couple hours soaking in the hot tub! But it creates a nice new drive. Couldn’t have done it so cheaply had we not purchased in bulk.

Also, keep in mind when you buy mulch, a yard (bulk) of mulch is much different than a cubic foot. A conversation with an older woman years ago always sticks with me. I told her we used 3 yards of mulch for our yard. She said, well, we used 32 yards! I thought to myself 32 yards of mulch would have covered her whole yard! Not just her flower beds. She had to have bought bags and not noticed it was measured in cubic feet (usually something like 3 cubic feet in a bag). I wonder every spring if she ever realized the difference.

A yard of mulch would be equal to 27 cubic feet (3 x 3 x 3 = 27). 32 yards of mulch would be over 860 cubic feet. That’s a lot of mulch for a standard size yard.

Praying Mantis

3. Add insects to your yard. I’ve posted before about our fun with Praying Mantis egg cases – try it! The Praying Mantis are great for your yard. Very good “friends” to have around. They munch on lots of pesky bugs – like mosquitoes (I hate mosquitoes! and they just *love* me). Get some lady beetles (aka lady bugs). They usually come in a mesh bag and you just sprinkle them around your yard.

Get a Butterfly Pavilion and hatch a group of butterflies from caterpillars. Or purchase a Spiderweb Frame for the garden – while many might be icked out by spiders, they are, like Praying Mantis, eaters of the other nuisance pests.

4. Plant native to your area plants… whether it’s trees, shrubs or wild flowers… the native animals and birds will enjoy it.

5. Plant your own veggies. It might be hard to live off our home grown vegetables in this day and age, but every bit you grow is less you need to purchase. Not to mention, eating your own hard work is satisfying. Kids can easily help in the garden by planting, hoeing, watering and harvesting. Then, teach them to eat raw, or how to toss a salad or how to cook their home grown veggies. It’s healthy eating at it’s best!

6. Start a compost pile with old leaves and yard waste – like grass clippings and soft plant material.. don’t use the sticks and branches.. you don’t need those. Create an enclosure with a few wooden skids (think recycling) and zip-tie them together and stake it into the ground so it’s sturdy. Just three skids making an upside U shape would be a good start. If you have a large yard, try five but using two in the back, one other either end and one on one side in the front so you have one opening to move your stuff in and out.

It’s best not to put your compost pile near trees (so the roots don’t send a shoot up into that great compost material) but you also want some shade as the compost tends to get hot..

7. Create Animal Friendly Habitats by providing plenty of living supplies or areas – like for nesting birds, in the spring, fill your suet feeder with bits of yarn, raveled rope or burlap, pieces of hair or soft materials, even paint brush bristles. Make sure to clean out the nest boxes from their last use. And keep water in the bird baths. Birds need the water during the summer months more than they need us to feed them (feeding them through the winter is most helpful!). Birds like to play in the water mist too, so creating a water dripper or installing a water mist makes watching the birds fun.

You can even get Backyard Habitat Certified – a great project for homeschooling kids too.

Dads Pond

8. Create a pond which is wildlife friendly. Ponds can be made from pre-formed liners, or you dig your own design and lay pond liner – this is what I would like to do… to create a “zero-entry” area so small birds can play in a shallow area. Ponds grow plants, sustain goldfish and/or koi and also provide a habitat for frogs which you might not otherwise have in your backyard. It’s fun to see frogs, tadpoles and fry all swimming around the bigger fish. My dad has a wonderful garden we even enjoy visiting in the cold Ohio winter – he covers it with a small greenhouse during the cold month and it usually stays warm and humid. But the water doesn’t freeze and some plants even stay happily growing, oblivious to the harsh reality outside the thin walls.

9. Clean your Hummingbird Feeders It’s that time of year that the hummers (at least here in Ohio) will start seeing hummingbirds visiting as they migrate to our Northern area. So make sure to have fresh nectar available for them… they’ll need it. Here’s my simple Homemade Hummingbird Nectar Recipe – two ingredients you always have on hand.. so simple!

Summers Coming – Hummingbird Time
Celebrate Earth Day Every Day
Toad Abode and Bath
Recycling Nature Landscaping
Bird Bath Water Dripper – Home made

Posting Multiple Blogs to your Facebook

For several hours now, I’ve been searching for a way to import multiple blogs into my facebook account. Unfortunately, Facebook only allows for one RSS feed to post. So those with more than one blog need to get creative if you want to share all your posts.

After searching for an application on Facebook to suit my needs ~~ and not finding one – I did not want one for another tab.. I wanted it to seamlessly post into my “notes”… I moved on to WordPress plugins (because, if you read Momma Muse with any regularity, you know I use wordpress and *love* plugins).. and finding nothing there to suit my needs… I just started googling my keywords.. multiple blogs facebook and came across my fix.


Chris Osborne of Juggle Chainsaws, shares the frustration I was feeling with only being able to import one blog. Chris even rotated importing each blog… I’m not nearly so dedicated to that sort of maintenance so was glad to see the offer of a better solution.

Using an RSS aggregator, Chris uses ChimpFeedr, which I used and seems to work great, you add your feeds one at a time and them Chomp Chomp to mix them together… the output is one RSS feed which combines all the blogs. Add that to your facebook and you are good to go.

ChimpFeedr was so super easy.. no sign-up, nothing to do but go there and immediately start adding your blog feeds. Way simple.

As Chris notes and I will too, keep the ChimpFeedr RSS feed it gives you in a safe place, as there is no way to go back and find it – only way is to add all your blogs and Chomp/Mix it up again. Not a big deal, but keeping it handy may be just as easy.

Hummingbird Time – Summers Coming

If I can’t tell Spring is in the air by the weather ~ this week happens to be a typical spring day in Ohio.. rainy, chilly (April Showers bring May flowers) ~ I can certainly tell by the stats to my pages on Momma Muse.

Every spring, towards the end of March through September, I have a couple of pages which never fail to bring lots of visitors.

One of my top pages throughout these months is Homemade Hummingbird Nectar Recipe. There is also the recipes for feeding and attracting Orioles and Butterflies.

Make sure to see the baby hummingbird in a nest – it’s amazing how tiny they are!

Fun Spring Activity to do with the kids (or just yourself).

Last year, we purchased a few praying mantis egg cases. We’ve done this in the past, but this year instead of putting them right out into the yard, we decided to hatch them in an aquarium. Very simple to do, you’ll need an aquarium or other enclosure (maybe a mesh one, similar to a butterfly house). Our aquarium has a screen lid. We put a few branches inside and attached the egg cases to the branches, either just sliding them onto one or bracing it gently.

We kept watch over it until it finally had several hundred (yes, hundreds!) of tiny mantis babies… at which time we set the aquarium in the grass on it’s side, and took the lid mostly off. Enough so the young praying mantis could easily escape, but not so much a bird would be interested too quickly in jumping in for a snack.

Periodically through the summer we’d see a mantis here or there… but towards the end of summer we did see a couple of nicely sized ones.

Praying Mantis are good for your garden and flowers. They like to eat the icky buggies who like chomping on your pretty flowers. They also eat mosquitoes… and goodness knows we’ve had our fair share of them around here. Last year wasn’t so bad… wonder if I should get some more egg cases…

Places to get Praying Mantis Egg Cases:
Insect Lore – here, you can get just one case, along with many other types of insects. Great place to get stuff for homeschooling, or just to supplement those young, sponge-like minds!

We just received caterpillars from them for our Butterfly house. They are growing so big! I also want to get one of the Spiderweb frames for the garden.

Planet Natural is where I ordered Praying Mantis egg cases from last year.

Note to add: Gardening Zone has great prices on Mantis Egg Cases ~ But be sure to check shipping costs before you submit your order.

Labor for Anna

Note: if you read this as it was happening, or later that first day, there is probably more to read, so please be sure to skim through towards the end to catch up on the end of labor and birth.

Cas - labor

Well, for whatever ready (yes, I’m tired.. I meant reason), MV Hospital will not allow me to access Anna Riley’s website… however, mine is ok. So, I’ll be posting here our labor progress. And we’ve done a LOT the past two days.

Contractions started around 3 a.m. Friday April 3rd (after days and weeks of braxton hicks). Cas thought maybe her water had broke… she finally texted me to ask what to do. Decided to wait and see what happened. Contractions continued throughout the day and evening. We went to the hospital around 6ish to see if she had indeed broke her water… turned out not to be.. and even more discouraging, she was still only a cm dilated. No fun.

Home we went.

Cas sent me a text around 2:30 Saturday morning …. contractions were hurting, coming 7-10 minutes apart. She took a bath and I started preparing to go hang out with her.

I headed over there around 5:00 a.m. and we started counting contractions. They were painful but not really too close together – around 7 to 10 minutes apart. Then they got to 4 to 6 minutes apart. Very hard for her to deal through, but she was truly doing a terrific job handling them.

We went to breakfast at Golden Nugget and she managed through a few contractions while we were there ( She said, “Do you have any idea how hard it is to act normal? – I had to laugh) and also ate a pancake and piece of sausage. Doctor said to wait until contractions were 5 minutes apart regularly… so she trudged through the day with me following. From breakfast to the mall… then home to try to nap.. shower after shower (she did a lot of wishing for a bigger water heater).

About 3 she said it was just too painful to deal through. Regardless of the contractions not being 5 minutes and less regularly, we headed to the hospital. Alice, the first nurse checked her and she was 4 cm. Can’t tell you how excited I was to hear that!

Cas was then admitted because her blood pressure was up too high and she had protein in her urine. We weren’t arguing. After so many hours, she was in dire need of some intervention so she could get some much needed sleep.

Daniel was with his uncle most of the day helping him move. As soon as we knew she was being admitted, we got a hold of him and he got here quicker than quick.

They gave her a shot of nubain soon after getting her into a labor/delivery room.. she didn’t care much for it.. it made her feel loopy without doing much for relieving the contractions.

Epidural in place about 8:30 p.m. Saturday night. Had to take it out and replace it because the first one was leaking – unusual, but all is ok. Fifteen minutes later and Cas is still feeling pain, but Daniel is very attentive.

Her blood pressure dropped after the epidural, so the anesthesiologist came back and gave her something to help… blood pressure up got her admitted, now it’s dropping. Oh boy! Between a dose of nubain, some magnesium sulfate, the epidural.. her body is just wondering what’s up!

Nurse broke her water about 9:15p.m and said she was about 6 cm dilated. A little bit closer…

Cas wasn’t feeling well… she kept complaining her face and hands and arms felt weird. Not knowing why we called the nurse to come talk to her. It’s the magnesium sulfate. It works on all the soft or fine muscles. Weird.

She’s trying to get some rest, but having a hard time getting comfy while she’s half numb.

About 12:00 a.m. (Sun 4/5) the anesthesiologist (Scott, we learned) came back to give her a new epidural. He took out the first one (or rather, the second one, since the first leaked) and put a new one in. It seems to be working much better now. She had reached a point that the epidural was wearing off, or just not working where it was located and the contractions didn’t bother her so much as the contracting around the catheter. Now the new epidural in working, she doesn’t seem to notice the catheter at all. She is finally dozing off.

Luke, Danny and Sharon (Daniel’s parents & brother) are in the waiting room… just too excited to wait at home. 🙂 Luke came back to visit his brother. So sweet. Kristin came by earlier (Daniel’s sister, one of them).. and she rubbed Cassie’s feet… Cas was a real sport about having a few siblings stop by.. but they didn’t stay long. Oh, but Cas did say even though Kristin rubbed her feet and she had the epidural, she could tell it was awesome and plans to get her to do it again. Kristin says she naturally exudes reiki and I think I believe her..

At the time of the new epidural, Cas was still at 6 cm… a pitocin drip was started too. Let’s get this ball.. er.. baby rollin’!

Well, we sure got things going, but poor Cas was never relieved of her pain. The nurse seemed to get a slight attitude and after a few times of noticing it, I asked to talk to her… she admitted she was upset.. but not at us… instead she was upset because she felt like the anesthesiologists let Cas down. After replacing the epidural 3 times and she was still in pain, she felt like the head honcho should have stepped up to the plate and redone it himself. Instead, he said that some people just didn’t know the difference between pressure and sharp pain.

Cas was sure feeling pain, regardless of whether it was pressure or sharp pain, I agree with nurse Sherrie.. should not have been like this for her. She was getting absolutely no relief and should she have required an emergency c-sec, they’d have had to knock her out completely as what was going on was completely insufficient. At least I wasn’t alone in my thoughts on this.

It took a few hours for Cas to get from 7 to 9cm and seemed to be a little stuck at 9 for about an hour at 3:30.. with a cervical lip all the way round the babies head. By 4:30, the nurse said yes, let’s get you pushing…

Cas was utterly, completely exhausted. She’d look at me with the most tired, pleading eyes, just trying to find some strength (or maybe an out)… between me and the nurse, and herself, Cas remembered to breath through contractions, slow in, slow out. And when she’d say she was too tired to do it, I’d coax her through again (got to do, can’t leave the baby in there). Other times, she’d say I can’t, I can’t, I just don’t have the strength and then she’d take a deep breath and get back down to business.

The nurse suggested getting the doctor to use a suction.. Cas only caught part of what was being said and ask what, are you going to cut me? And the nurse quickly reassured her that wasn’t what was being talked about at all…. Cas looked at her and said “Are you lying!?” We all thought that was funny.

In the end, with the help of the suction, and an episiotomy (she’d have torn, not to mention taken hours longer had she not had this help… which I am convinced would have let to a c-section because of her waning strength and conviction and no breaks) she managed to work with the doctor and out came the most beautiful little baby girl I’ve seen since May 21, 93 (which happened to be her aunt Em… I’m not included Jordan as that situation was completely different)…

**** Will post updates later… but a quickie.. Anna Riley was born at 5:39a.m Sunday April 5th tipping the scales at 8 pounds 3 ounces.

See some pictures. Anna Riley flickr set.