Our neighbor rocks!

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This weeks theme is Music

Chris and Sofie guitar lesson

I know my wife has talked about our elderly neighbor, Sofie, on a few of her sites. She calls Sofie her stalker because she follows my wife around whenever she’s outside and even stares at her from her windows.

She’s a cool lady though. She’s Macedonian and likes to pretend she doesn’t understand English very well, but she does … oh she does.

Anyway … one day I was in my backyard playing guitar and I got an idea for a photo. I ran back in the house and got one of my other guitars and coaxed Sofie into holding it. It does look like we are playing music, doesn’t it?

Her kids and grandkids just love this photo.






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Time to trade in our Ford Contour

Well it looks like it’s time for my wife and I to look for a new car. It’s not like our car’s broken down or anything like that, it’s just that our Ford Contour is 11 years old and we think it’s time to trade it in while it’s still in good shape and running well.

We haven’t had our Ford since ’96, no, we bought it used in the year 2000 I believe. Prior to that we’d had two hand me down cars that my parents had been kind enough to give to us when we needed a car so our Contour was the first car that either of us had ever owned.

Our Used Ford is a four cylinder. We’re mostly city drivers – occasionally driving a few hours out of town here and there, but the majority of our driving is short trips within the city so we didn’t need to purchase a car with a powerful engine. Believe me, 4 cylinders is enough and we get great gas millage too.

My wife really didn’t like the other two cars we had. The first car was an old Buick and it had very loose power steering among a number of other problems so she didn’t drive it much. The second car was a Prelude and while we both enjoyed that car ours was a standard and she had never drove a standard before and uh I was pretty lazy about getting around to teaching her so she never did drive that car. Believe me, she never let me forget that!

So our Contour, which we’d purchased at one of the local Ford Dealers from a friend who works there as one of the top salesmen, is an automatic. The wife was adamant that we had to buy a car that she felt comfortable driving. The car actually handles really well. The steering is tight, but smooth.

We’ve never had any major problems with this car either. No engine trouble, no electrical problems – nothing big. Just a few small problems.

For example, we just had part of the manifold replaced. We had a hole in the manifold for oh about a year. Man we had a noisy muffler as a result. Unfortunately we were originally told that to repair the hole in the manifold that they’d have to replace the whole thing and it was going to cost about $1200 – money we didn’t have at the time. Finally, about a month ago when our muffler was making a deafening sound we folded and I took it in to be repaired and the mechanic discovered that the hole could be replaced with a small replacement part. It was still expensive to have the work done, but only about a third of the price we’d originally been quoted.

Other minor problems we’ve had with Ford Contour were a problem with the ball bearings in the wheel freezing up on us when we were on a road trip, and the mechanism inside the door that holds the passenger side window in place broke a couple of years ago resulting in a window that wouldn’t go up anymore. We had both problems fixed quickly and easily.

Considering we’ve had our 11 year old car for seven years we’ve had very few problems. I’ve been really happy with the car. Did I mention that it doesn’t even have any rust on it even though it’s a 100% outdoor car even during our cold winter months? Both of our other Used Cars had quite a bit of rust so I’m really surprised that this one doesn’t have any.

We’ll start looking for a replacement car soon. I think we’ll try to get through the winter with the Ford and then start looking for a new or another used car in the Spring. Since we’ve had a good experience with the Contour we might end up getting another Ford. I guess it will depend on pricing and whichever car we like best when we are shopping for another car.

Anyone else drive a Ford Contour? If you do have you had a good experience with yours?

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Black bear in back yard

A woman living in a small community west of New York City was startled when she looked out her kitchen window and saw a black bear looking back in at her.

“I was making a pot of coffee, and I turned around and there he was in the window looking at me,” said Lorraine Grossman.

The womans scream spooked the 211 pound bear who ran and climbed a nearby tree. He reached a height of 40 feet and wouldn’t budge. The woman found herself entertaining more than 50 neighbors who gathered in her Maplewood home to watch the bear in the tree for five hours. The bear didn’t do much more than yawn though.

“He’s really kind of cute,” said Joanne Penaluna.

State wildlife officers eventually shot the animal with a tranquilizer dart. After hanging on for about 10 minutes, the bear dropped into a net. It was taken away, tagged, then released at a state wildlife management area.

“It’s not something you get to see every day — bears falling out of trees,” said Pete Samek, whose 5-year-old daughter, Lucy Rose, watched from his shoulders.

Bears usually hibernate from December to March, though they can be easily roused, said Larry Katz, chairman of the animal sciences department at Rutgers University.

“It’s a little early for them to be waking up,” he said. “Someone or something probably walked over the area where it was hibernating.”

Authorities said the bear, a male estimated to be 2 or 3 years old, might have been snacking on birdseed and likely wandered in from the nearby South Mountain Reservation.

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Sleeping on the job

What would you think if you were working in one of the buildings across from the one where an unidentified man was washing window while tethered to security ropes at the 20th floor and appeared motionless for 30 minutes?

You’d think something happened to him, I know you would.

Well so did some of the observers who really did see him.

Luckily as it turns out he just happened to have a nap.

Fire rescue vehicles arriving on the scene woke him up. He lowered himself to the street unharmed.

I wonder if his boss docked him a half hours pay for sleeping on the job?

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What happens in a limo isn’t always private

I thought all limo’s had tinted windows. I guess not …

A 33-year-old woman was detained by police in September after complaints by residents at a mobile home park in Michigan City, Ind., that she had been having sex in an untinted-windowed limousine on one of the park’s streets, in front of what grew to be a large crowd, mostly yelling at her for her indecency. If the people were so offended why did they stand around and crowd the car? Seems like they were voyeurs too. Don’t ya think?

At one point, according to police, the otherwise-occupied woman yelled back at the crowd defiantly that she was “doing adult business” and “I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do.” Business? This wasn’t a social exhibit?

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