Do Not Buy a Toshiba Laptop

If you want to save yourself time, headache and most importantly, a costly investment then please heed my warning: “Do not buy a Toshiba Laptop!”

They have a known issue with the internal charging unit breaking off within the laptop so that you can not charge the laptop. This is faulty manufacturing and we have been told by individuals in the computer repair industry that this is a known shortcoming for Toshiba.

We purchased our Toshiba laptop in the summer of 2008 for over 1K dollars. This is NOT a $200 dollar laptop. Our specific laptop is the Toshiba Satellite model # PSLE0U-00H00J. The first time this problem occurred our laptop had just fallen outside the 1 year warranty by a few weeks. We were frustrated but figured it must have been user error and paid for the laptop to be repaired locally. Less than a month later the same issue occurred again. We paid again out of pocket to have it repaired. We thought we’d be in the clear.

It happened again in January 2010. I was FED up! Our computer repairman encouraged us to call Toshiba since we obviously had a lemon and he also informed us that he sees this in Toshiba laptops regularly. It is a known fault of their equipment. So, I called Toshiba and was happy to find that they were willing to let me ship the laptop back to them and they repaired the laptop and sent it back to me. I was one happy customer and at that point was willing to overlook the obviously faulty design in favor of good customer service.

Scratch that. What used to be good customer service.

Yesterday, on October 4th, our laptop in a complete lack of originality stopped charging yet again. So we got 10 months worth of service from the repair that was supposed to forever solve the issue.  I now have on my hands a $1000 paperweight which is completely useless. Frustrated but confident that Toshiba would pull through again I called their customer service number at 1-800-457-7777. I talked to Roy, explained the situation and he warned me that since my laptop was out of warranty I might be charged a $35 fee just for talking to him. Nice.

I explained the situation, explained it was an ongoing issue and that our laptop had all ready been sent in for a “repair and return” for the same issue. He was polite, filled out his paperwork and offered to transfer me to Customer Relations. He gave me my case # and transferred me.

I was transferred to Matthew, a case manager. He looked up our previous issue and informed me that the program that they created to repair and return laptops for this known issue expired in June 2010. So, at this point there was nothing they were willing to do for me. He would not transfer me to a superior and in fact, wouldn’t even tell me his superior’s name. I was not belligerent or rude. I was mad and firm but polite. However, I was denied any solution other than have fun on that creek ride…too bad your paddle expired.

So Matthew, if you read this at some point. Shame on you. Shame on you for willingly working for a company who disrespects the little guy. We, the little guy, make your job possible. Shame on your for working for a company that serves only it’s best interest rather than admitting fault, correcting a mistake and praying for our forgiveness as the consumers that feed their families. Shame on all of us. Shame on all of us for being willing to accept this type of treatment from companies simply because, “they can get away with it.” Why? Why should they? What happened to being able to naturally expect that a company would stand behind their products without shame and without excuse.

It is a pure coward that can hide behind an expired warranty waving it as if it is some magical get out of jail free card. What happened to quality and honor and reputation? It is both sad and frightening that with today’s technological developments that we can not produce quality items that are made to last.

There is no reason that I can justify that a $1000+ laptop should not be operating 2 years later. Not to mention this is the 4th time within those two years that a consistent problem has occurred.

Please help me stand up to cowards like Toshiba and pass on this information to everyone you know. Maybe it will save them their hard earned money. For now, I am stuck with a $1000 paper weight and a years worth of family photographs and other important documents that I am going to have to pay someone to retrieve from my laptops hard drive.

Please help me with this. Our voice is the only thing that can make a difference. Pass it on and why you’re at it…pass on Toshiba.

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My First Album Cover

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This was fun. This was the result from a neat game? that I found on Emeth’s blog. I literally laughed out loud at the 3rd picture that came up because of the quote I all ready had. It was kind of creepy actually. I had fun using picnik to put it together. I had never used that program before. I love how you don’t have to register to use it.

Anyway, this was fun and a good distraction.

Here are the rules:

YOUR ALBUM COVER

1 – Go to “wikipedia.” Hit “random” or click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random. The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 – Go to “Random quotations” or click www.quotationspage.com/random.php3. The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album. (make sure you hit the new random quotations button at the bottom)

3 – Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days” or click www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days. Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 – Use photoshop or www.picnik.com to put it all together.

The Invisible Mother

I read this today and it must have hit a nerve because I wept. I will admit that things have been pretty rough for me lately. As a mom, I have felt extremely challenged, overwhelmed, burnt out and exhausted by the magnitude of it all. Since this helped to put things back in perspective for me, I’d like to share it with you.

P.S.

Thank you mom…

The Invisible Mother

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the
way my child will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and ask me a question.

Inside I’m thinking, ‘Can’t you see I’m on the phone?’

Obviously, not.

No one can see if I’m on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor,
or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at
all.

I’m invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands,
nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being. I’m a
clock to ask, ‘What time is it?’ I’m a satellite guide to answer,
‘What number is the Disney Channel?’ I’m a car to order, ‘Right around
5:30, please.’

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the
eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated sum a cum laude –
but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen
again. She’s going; she’s going; she is gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of
a friend from England ..

Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on
and on about the hotel she stayed in.

I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so
well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself.

I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a
beautifully wrapped package, and said, ‘I brought you this.’

It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe .

I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it to me until I read her
inscription:

‘To My Friend, with admiration for the greatness of what you are
building when no one sees.’

In the days ahead I would read – no, devour – the book. And I would
discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after
which I could pattern my work:

No one can say who built the great cathedrals – we have no record of
their names.

These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see
finished.

They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.

The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes
of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the
cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny
bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, ‘Why
are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will
be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.’ And the workman
replied, ‘Because God sees.’

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place.

It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, ‘I see you. I see
the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.
No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake
you’ve baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are
building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will
become.’

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not
a disease that is erasing my life.
It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is
the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As
one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see
finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.

The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could
ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing
to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don’t want my son to tell the friend
he’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, ‘My Mom gets up at 4
in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a
turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.’ That
would mean I’d built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him
to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to
his friend, to add, ‘you’re gonna love it there.’

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if
we’re doing it right.

And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only
at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the
world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Are You Feeding Your Children Mercury?

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Thank you Emeth for sharing this article with me.

Original article from HERE.

Study: High-fructose corn syrup contains mercury

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay

Almost half of tested samples of commercial high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contained mercury, which was also found in nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first- or second-highest labeled ingredient, according to two new U.S. studies.

HFCS has replaced sugar as the sweetener in many beverages and foods such as breads, cereals, breakfast bars, lunch meats, yogurts, soups and condiments. On average, Americans consume about 12 teaspoons per day of HFCS, but teens and other high consumers can take in 80% more HFCS than average.

“Mercury is toxic in all its forms. Given how much high-fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered. We are calling for immediate changes by industry and the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply,” the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy’s Dr. David Wallinga, a co-author of both studies, said in a prepared statement.

In the first study, published in current issue of Environmental Health, researchers found detectable levels of mercury in nine of 20 samples of commercial HFCS.

And in the second study, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), a non-profit watchdog group, found that nearly one in three of 55 brand-name foods contained mercury. The chemical was found most commonly in HFCS-containing dairy products, dressings and condiments.

But an organization representing the refiners is disputing the results published in Environmental Health.

“This study appears to be based on outdated information of dubious significance,” said Audrae Erickson, president of the Corn Refiners Association, in a statement. “Our industry has used mercury-free versions of the two re-agents mentioned in the study, hydrochloric acid and caustic soda, for several years. These mercury-free re-agents perform important functions, including adjusting pH balances.”

However, the IATP told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that four plants in Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio and West Virginia still use “mercury-cell” technology that can lead to contamination.

IATP’s Ben Lilliston also told HealthDay that the Environmental Health findings were based on information gathered by the FDA in 2005.

And the group’s own study, while not peer-reviewed, was based on products “bought off the shelf in the autumn of 2008,” Lilliston added.

The use of mercury-contaminated caustic soda in the production of HFCS is common. The contamination occurs when mercury cells are used to produce caustic soda.

“The bad news is that nobody knows whether or not their soda or snack food contains HFCS made from ingredients like caustic soda contaminated with mercury. The good news is that mercury-free HFCS ingredients exist. Food companies just need a good push to only use those ingredients,” Wallinga said in his prepared statement.

Where did I go?

Just wanted to pop in and say that I am still out of town on an unexpected stay with limited internet access and an uncooperative baby. I’ll be back home late Sunday night so I’m hoping to get caught up by early next week. I also hope to post the winner of the Hudson Hat then too!

The Simple White Envelope

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I did not write this true story but it has touched me deeply and it even brought me to tears. I am going to print it out and ask our families if they’d like to start participating in this beautiful tradition.

“For the Man Who Hated Christmas”

by Nancy W. Gavin

It’s just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past ten years or so.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas–oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it–overspending… the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma—the gifts given in desperation because you couldn’t think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.

Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended; and shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes. As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler’s ears.

It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford. Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn’t acknowledge defeat.

Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, “I wish just one of them could have won,” he said. “They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them.” Mike loved kids – all kids – and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That’s when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition–one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.

The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.

As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn’t end there.

You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three more.

Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing to take down the envelope.

Mike’s spirit, like the Christmas spirit will always be with us.

Powerful, isn’t it? Having been duped many times before I was curious if it was a true story and it is. The story first appeared in 1982 in Women’s Day Magazine for a contest on The Most Moving Holiday Tradition. In fact, an organization known as, “The White Envelope Project” was created in honor of the story and exists to help organize those who want to give with those who are in need.Here is a link to that organization:

The White Envelope Project

No matter how someone chooses to actually go about giving in their community I really love this idea. When I was growing up I went to Sehome High School in Bellingham, Washington and the school had a wonderful tradition of hosting a program called, “Bring Joy to a Child”. Local teachers would identify children and families in need and each classroom would sponsor a few children. We would all raise money or find gently used items that fit the children/families needs and gather them before the Holidays. For the money that we raised the school had a field trip to the local Fred Meyer where we bought the children items from their wish list. Their lists were more often than not simple and heart wrenching. A coat, some gloves, a blanket … simple things. I remember one year we had a little girl that, along with wanting the typical coat and gloves, was hoping for a bike and her siblings wanted some other items that were also costly, budget wise. Nonetheless we were able to put our heads together and get everything on their lists by using ingenuity and cooperation. We found a bike that was a bit ugly but painted it to look new and added a bike bell to it and tied it off with a huge ribbon. We were able to get one of her brothers a gaming system by each of us hunting around and donating pieces of our own until we had a full video game system. Finally with the money we came up with we were able to buy all of the children new coats, gloves, boots and things for their stockings. What Bring Joy To A Child also did was provide the family with Christmas dinner. Each family received a turkey along with all of the ingredients to complete the meal. To end the program our school would have an assembly where we celebrated the event with music and even a local elementary class would come to sing Christmas songs with us. The highlight was listening to the speakers. Often a child who was helped in the past or the  mother of one of the children would speak about how much the program had meant to them. I am writing about this because of everything I ever did in High School this program sticks out to me the most. It is definitely the  most memorable and I can still tangibly feel how wonderful it felt to help those families. Also, I couldn’t tell you any other presents I gave to anyone else that year or even any presents I had received but I fondly remember shopping and collecting items for the families I helped durin those 4 years. Sadly,  for a few years after I graduated Bring Joy To A Child stopped because of the whole political correctness of celebrating “Christmas.” Luckily, by googling I was able to discover that Sehome is again conducting this wonderful program.

The Simple White Envelope really touched me because several times with various family members we have discussed what we could do instead of exchanging presents among the adults, since none of us really need anything. Sure there are always things we want, but we seldom actually need anything. This seems like such a simple and fun alternative to giving gifts for the adults. Personally, I’d still like to prefer to do a mini Bring Joy to a Child program and adopt a family for the Christmas but this envelope idea allows everyone to find their own unique way to give in a way that resonates with them.

If any of you have Holiday traditions of giving I’d love to hear your stories.

Merry Christmas!

A Dye Free Halloween

Since Halloween is fast approaching and I know there are a lot of parents out there who are wanting to avoid food dye and other chemical additives in their children’s candy I wanted to link to a post that I wrote last year entitled Halloween in Crunchville – Dye Free Candy. Within the post I link to many websites that sell dye free candy and other treats.

Today we bought Camden’s Halloween candy from Squirrels Nest (which we adore!). They have a really nice Halloween sampler pack for $13.95. You can find all of their Halloween products HERE but hurry, they go fast! They also sell a sampler pack that is gluten free and casein free.