Three Links to make you think

Fascinating theater project- the debates between Trump and Hillary re-enacted, only the genders are  reversed:

It’s not the entire debates, just some sample pieces.  The results were fascinating, and not what those involved expected at all.

Planned Parenthood has been lying and claiming abortion is only 3% of the services they provide. So Trump offered to find a way to let them keep federal funding if they’d stop performing abortions.  They refused. Cecile Richards now says abortion services PP is  ‘proud’ to provide are as important as cancer screenings.  Most of us know that she really means ‘more important than.’


I keep seeing The Shack at Amazon, and I keep passing it by.  Some of the reasons I am not interested happen to be explained here.



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Free Kindle books: A book may be compared to your neighbor:

A book may be compared to your neighbor: if it be good, it cannot last too long ; if bad, you cannot get rid of it too early. — Brooke.

colorful book border

  • Unless otherwise noted, books are free but this can change without notice. Doublecheck.
  • If you click a link and it doesn’t finish loading, just hit refresh. Sometimes the page just kind of hangs for some reason, I am not sure why.
  • If I don’t say, “I loved this book” or “I read this,” Or something along those lines, I haven’t read the book. I haven’t read most of these. I’m just your book bird-dog, sniffing up potential good reads.
  • I use various search methods to come up with titles. Then I read the blurbs, a couple of the best and worst of the reviews, and sometimes scan the free pages.
  • I screen out so many this way that I end up *not* posting more books I’ve looked over than I post. And yet, still some duds slip through.

vintage BOOK with owls lettering

FREE: Minimalist Living: Living Minimally-How to Reduce Your Stress and Improve Your Quality of Living Through Minimalism

vintage BOOK with owls lettering

FREE: Mary Roberts Rinehart, The Circulular Staircase, classic and first, I think, in the ‘gentle reader, if I had only known’ genre.

vintage BOOK with owls letteringFREE: The Midwife’s Tale- said to be one Mitford fans would also enjoy.


vintage BOOK with owls letteringNOT FREE:

WOW! 3.99 for How Should We Then Live? (L’Abri 50th Anniversary Edition) by Francis Schaeffer


Kindle Paperwhite, 99 dollars (savings of 20 dollars)

19.99 for Norton Deluxe- antivirus software for five devices.  What a bargain!


Subject to change without notice: Free Titles were free at the time I copied and pasted the links. But they don’t always stay free. The older, public domain books should, because they are all in the public domain, but sometimes….

Shameless money grubbing: I thought this was common knowledge, but it turns out it’s not- these are affiliate links. If you click on a free title and download it, I get….. nothing. If you click on a free title and while you are at Amazon also buy something else, I get….. something. Depending on what you buy, it will probably be somewhere between 4% and 7.5% of what you spend (I don’t get a percentage on penny sales) but I don’t pretend to understand how all of that side works. People have tried to explain, but they start with numbers and my ears buzz and I can’t hear.

Also, Swagbucks remains my favorite source for free Amazon gift cards. And if you haven’t joined, please click on the link and join so that I can keep getting free Amazon gift cards because I am still shameless. Of course, if you regularly shop on line, you can also sign up for ebates, and then always check ebates first, before you do your regular shopping. You can get quite a tidy sum back on the purchases you were going to make anyway, which is not a bad deal. And then you can use the money for books- or for other things.=)

Don’t have a Kindle? : You don’t have to have a Kindle to take advantage of these offers. You can read them on various free reading apps. I often read mine on my laptop if they are short enough books. Or I will start there to see if I want to finish it later or remove it from my Kindle already. If you’re curious, this is the Kindle I have, and I have used others and mine remains my favorite. Mine has Keyboard 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi and I don’t have commercial screensavers. Personally, I don’t like Kindle Fires because I am a crank like that.

If you like these free listings, you should also like my Facebook page, because I list other free titles there several times each week.

Yes, my Kindle gets slow because I stuff it too full since I have no sense of proportion when it comes to owning books, both real and virtual.

You can left click on a title on your Kindle and delete it from your device, while still keeping it in your list of titles at Amazon in case you want to add it back to your Kindle later without paying for the title all over again. Don’t delete it from folder at Amazon unless you want to rid yourself of it permanently. Now that I have my tricksy little new phone, I have added it to my list of devices to which I can download devices. Woot!

commentary sources: Most of the blurbs and book descriptions above are not mine, but come from reviews on Amazon’s page.

To organize the books on your kindle

Thanks for reading!

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Computers and Living in the Philippines (and maybe elsewhere)

If you are moving overseas, go ahead and download and install any new programs you think you’re going to need.  In my case, I had my cherished old laptop that finally had everything just the way I wanted it and where I could find it and was everything I wanted, except the old and breaking part.  The screen had been replaced once. The keyboard had been replaced once. The fan was dying. I was gifted a new laptop but it was different from my old one and I don’t like figuring out new stuff (except I do like moving to a new country, go figure), so I decided I would just bring them both here and work out the details slowly and comfortably once we got settled.

Of course, six weeks here, my old laptop died and I had yet to open the new one. Never mind my lost and lamented unsaved files on my old laptop.   That’s too big to even think about, and I have nobody to blame but myself.  I had not put Norton or Microsoft word or office on the new one.  What we didn’t know is that it’s not that easy to do once you are already overseas.  This may depend on what country you are in, and this is a country where it’s complicated (Philippines).  It cost more, and once downloaded, they told us, it might not even work, although there were workarounds which only sounded more complicated.  Furthermore, somebody else with more knowledge about it than us told us that if I brought my laptop home with me in two years, Microsoft would recognize the purchase was made in the Philippines and might disable it- or something.  Forget the details here, okay.  What you need to know is put that stuff on your computer before you go overseas.

I asked around and people recommended openoffice or libreoffice.  I did some googling, cynically reminding myself all along that likely whatever I found would be astroturfed helps by people with an agenda, but I had to figure something out.

I read three of four things, and then this one decided me on Libreoffice.

Now, I only just installed the thing, I haven’t used it yet, so this isn’t a review (although I might wait to publish until I have used it a few times).

I ran into a problem, though- the thing was installed as a .man file and I don’t know what that is and neither  did my laptop. So I googled ‘how do I open a .man file?’ and found this.  The instructions did the trick, although a couple of things were not precisely as worded, they were close enough that I could figure it out.

“1) Go Control Panel

2) Search for Folder Options and open it. (DHM: I searched for folder options, and the closest thing that came up on mine says ‘ File Explorer Options.’ This is the right one.)

3) Uncheck Hide file extensions (DHM:I couldn’t find that until I checked the view tab, and what I had to uncheck was ‘hide extensions for known file types.’)

4) Go back to where the file was saved (make a copy of it just in case)- DHM: making a copy is excellent advice that I do not follow as often as I should and I often regret it.  I didn’t follow it this time, either. So far that seems to be okay.

5) Change the ending to .msi or your file type of choice (DHMI went with .msi)

6} Window pops up asking if you wanted to change the file type and click ok.”

DHM: I did, and then I could open it and finish installing.  Then I was greeted with  window full of options so I shut it down again and googled ‘how do I use libreoffice.’   I was overwhelmed and also using up my daily limit of go-juice for the wifi by then, so I bookmarked most of them for another day and sent a couple of the likeliest looking pages to my kindle (push to kindle at


Another problem I’ve had is with my K-dramas.  Most of them are not allowed for here.  There is a Korean website where I can watch them as they air, but I can’t read the directions or show titles except incredibly painstakingly and I only get it sometimes (titles more frequently, directions never).  Also sometimes they have subtitles, sometimes they don’t.

Meanwhile I had a subscription to one of the K-drama sites, viki or Dramafever, and it no longer mattered, because my ‘region isn’t approved for this show.’  My husband had a paid subscription to Pandora and Spotify (gifts) and they would not play here.

Somebody told us about  Download this. It was created for this situation- people with a paid subscription moving.  It works.

Of course, our Wi-Fi connection is such that I am now limited to perhaps one drama episode every other week, two if I am persistent and sneaky enough to get up and watch one at 11 and the 2nd at midnight, when the refresh happens.  Watching one at midnight also gives me the added advantage of  watching my show before the Boy uses up the wifi juice watching his stuff.   Mostly, I am not either of those things.

Get a pocket Wi-Fi (also called a mobile hotspot) if you are moving anywhere that having wifi out to your house might be a problem.  If people already there tell you it will definitely not be a problem, ask them how they use their wifi- what do they do on the internet, and for how long?  Do they just check emails? Keep a blog? Help moderate or run any chats, group-rooms, forums, fb groups, etc?  Do they stream stuff? Do they do stuff like Khan Academy or any other online educational stuff?  Do they ever download stuff?  What kind of stuff, and how long does it take?  DO THEY HAVE A TEENAGER?

If you have family you want to communicate with at home, or think you might have times you need to call back to the states for business purposes- get a magicjack  Skype is okay, but it won’t always work and it uses your magic Wi-Fi juice.

Adjust your expectations, and plan ahead.


P.S.  Whenever possible at all, download books and docs to your computer and transfer them to your Kindle via your laptop.  You get extra charges for download books to your kindle from the Philippines.

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The Boy Rejects a Compliment

“Your writing has improved quite a bit in the last few weeks,” I said.

“No, it hasn’t,” he argued.

“Oh, yes it has,” I insisted.

And then he explained to me why I was so very, very wrong:

“No, Mom, it’s just that I’ve had to write a lot more for school and for homeschool and I got tired of using the same ten sentences over and over* so I started changing things around. That’s all.”

Well, okay, then.  You showed me. I am totally convinced, dude.   Nobody in their right mind could ever call that improvement, could they?



*not nearly as tired writing them as I was reading them, I promise.

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Mending Sheets

We bought the Cherub’s bed from a Korean family who were moving.  They brought their beds with them when they came here. The sheets were included. This is good, because as it turns out, most (not all, but most that we have seen) of the twin bed sheets here are not nearly so deep as the Korean mattress is, so the pockets of the fitted sheets you buy at the market probably do not fit.  I learned this because we also bought the Boy’s twin bed from the same family, and our Boy is 18 and considers himself a man, and their boy is 12 and still likes power rangers and transformers and that sort of thing.  So I went to buy the boy some plain sheets and didn’t think to check the actual depth of the pockets, and what I came home with really cannot even be used as an extra cover, for all that it said twin on the corner of the package.

There are variations, of course, but I managed to get a sheet that fits a twin mattress with approximately as much depth as a cracker to put on a mattress with as much depth as the pile the princess slept on over the pea.  I exaggerate, but only slightly.

IT took two trips and a lot of searching to find those sheets, too- the store I looked at had no order to the sheets on their shelves, and the colours and patterns were jarring to my western eyes.  I could overlook that for my sheets, but my Boy would not have been pleased with red, pink, yellow and blue stripes with blue silhouettes of birds against the pink  background of one of the broad stripes, and borders of what looks like stamps of jacks from the children’s game.


There is a reason for this background- The Cherub’s fitted sheet somehow suffered a long, jagged t shaped tear across the bottom starting  from the middle of one of the corners, where the short bar of the t stretched vertically, and stretching at least 20 inches from the middle of the pocket out toward the center of the long end of her mattress.  I do not know how or when this happened- I didn’t make her bed when we moved in, and so it was hidden from me  for some time.  It had to be hastily removed and dumped in the wash while the Cherub was hosed off in the bathroom one very ugly morning, and in my haste and the emergency, I didn’t see it (btw, did I mention my washing machine is actually outside, in my backyard?).  So by the time I did notice it, it wasn’t just torn, it was frayed, and there was no way to just reattach the two, no, four sides of the rip and still be able to get the sheet on the bed.  In order to make the two sides of the rip meet,  I needed a buffer.  There’s a metaphor in there.

I had to figure out whether to just leave it alone and let it grow until we had to go buy another sheet, to spend a few hours sewing it back together through some make-shift method, or whether to spend hours and more money (including probably four dollars or more in taxi fare to get where I was most likely to find a sheet for her bed) shopping and looking for a sheet that I hoped would fit her bed.

I decided to hang out at home and sew, and sew, and sew.  I listened to an audio book while I sewed, killing two birds with one stone.  It probably took me 8 hours total and the result isn’t pretty- because I am not a good seamstress, because I was making up what I was doing as I went along, and because once I stitched at least six inches of air to six inches of sheet because I didn’t notice that I hadn’t gone far enough past the fraying edge to reach the the sheet that was still there, so I had to go back and do it again.

But it is functional, and I was able to stay quietly and peacefully at home instead of trying to get the Cherub up and down stairs, in and out of taxis (she will *not* scoot over for me, but belligerently sits as stiffly as she can crossing her legs to establish the fact that she will not move), through stores and past kiosks of tempting food, up and down the escalator (honestly, a nightmare, and not all places of elevators and those that do, they are not necessarily nearest the store I need, so I end up walking to the opposite end of the mall, taking the elevator and then walking the length back).    The last time I took her shopping with me, we had to leave by an entrance with outside stairs and she was so annoyed, she kept trying to sit on the steps. Two young Filipinos came over and one put my groceries in the cab and one took the Cherub and got her down the stairs and in the cab for me, bless their hearts.

Anyway, I think my 8 hours of hand sewing was adequately spent, given the alternative.  This is the kind of things that is hard to explain when expats say that everything takes longer here.

What I did to make sure that repairing the tear wouldn’t make the sheet too small for the corner it has to fit is to take a cut strip from a sock.  I had the strips already, because, remember, I use loops of old socks to stuff my crocheted turtles and octopuses, so I had brought some along.  I also had brought along a small sewing kit from home- needles, a few small spools of cotton thread, scissors, and this is the result:

That’s just part of the straight end of the rip- I didn’t take a picture of the vertical slice.  I might later if I think of it.

So that’s the story of how and why I mended the Korean sheet for my American kid in my house in the Philippines.


*Now one other alternative I might have tried is to pay somebody to do it, but I needed the sheet that night, because we don’t have a spare for her bed, and I didn’t know where to find a sew lady that quickly.  If you’ve been here longer and are more established, you could do that.

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