Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Blogging Tip #2 - Non-bloggers - How to Comment

Are you a reader of this blog, and NOT a blogger? Are there times when you’d like to add your opinion, share your thoughts, or ask a question?

I know you’re out there because a few of you have asked me questions when we’ve seen each other.

The purpose of this post is to help you with commenting.

About twice a week, I write about something and “post” it to my blog. I title it, and the software dates it. My entry is called a “post.”

At the end of the post you’ll see "Post a comment" if you're the first to comment. If you're not the first to comment, you'll see “Posted by Anita…” and on the same line, you’ll see the word “comments” with a number in front of it.

Use your mouse to point to "Post a comment" or the word “comments” and click.

Another screen will come up with comments from other readers (if you’re not the first to comment).

In the box labeled, “Leave your comment,” type your comment. Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc. The appeal of the blog is “hearing” and “knowing” what you think. Read what others have to say, and consider it a conversation.

When you’re finished, use your mouse to click inside the “Word Verification” box, and type the letters you see above it. (If you type the letters incorrectly, at the end of the process, you are given more chances to do it again.)

Then, point and click on “Name/URL.” Click inside the box labeled “Name” and type your name. It can be ANY NAME. You can use your first name, first and last, a nickname, “dog,” “cat” - whatever. It’s just an identification you’d like to be known as on this post.

Click on “Publish Your Comment.” If all went well, you’ll see “Your comment has been saved” at the top of the screen.


If you would like to add an anonymous comment - instead of clicking on “Name/URL,” click on “Anonymous,” then on “Publish Your Comment.”

If you’re wondering: I do not know your email address when you comment. There is a meter on the blog that tells me how many people “stop by” and from what city, but that’s it. So, if you’re a little reserved, you don’t have to worry about your privacy.

Hope this was easy to understand. If not, comment on this post (if you can), or drop me an email at noteforanita@gmail.com.

Be bold...comment on any post...try it!

Bloggers: How’d I do? If I missed something in this basic set of instructions, let me know. Thanks!

When I wrote the facebook post, many of you (bloggers) said you kept your bloggy friends separate from your facebook “friends.” Do you have a following or readership of "non-bloggers" that are NOT your facebook friends?

Non-bloggers: How often do you read blogs and how much time do you spend doing so?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Snow Days and Home Schooling

All the days my kids were out of school because of the snow made me think of home schooling – not doing it – just thinking of others who do.

During one of the “snow days,” a friend, who doesn’t have children, asked if I’d “lost it” yet because the kids were home a lot.

“No, surprisingly,” I replied, “They’ve been home so much that it’s beginning to feel like summer vacation.

It prompted me to imagine what it would be like to have them home all the time; to home school them.

It was a fleeting thought...very.

But it did make me think of friends who “do” home school. I began to meet them when my second daughter started taking piano lessons at a studio. Because she was not in school yet, we went during the morning. Older children were there, too; they were the "home-schooled kids. "

I met several home schooling moms at the piano studio over the years; and even one of my girls’ piano teachers home schooled her three daughters.

Another place where I met home schooling moms was at my church. For a few years, while many of us were having babies, I was on the baby shower circuit, and discovered that a few of the new moms planned to home school, and they’re currently doing so.

Before I met these dedicated moms, I don’t know that I gave it much thought. Didn’t wonder why or how, just figured they had their reasons and “nerves of steel.”

Friends who were opponents of home schooling would always mention the “lack of socialization.”

As I began to spend time with home schooling families, I saw some of the most well-behaved, well mannered kids. Not that other kids aren’t, but proportionally, they seem to have more in the “good kids” ranking.

Academically, I’ve only known a few old enough to go to college. They seem to have fared like other kids - some went to the best colleges, some went to average local colleges, one got married, and one went to work.

It’ll be interesting to watch the path of the younger ones – the ones that are the peers of my kids – not that it’s a big deal. I think the home schooling hoopla is over – or is it?

What’s your opinion of home schooling? Do you home school? Do you know others who home school?
More thoughts on multi-level marketing? Page down to the previous post, "The Opportunity."

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Opportunity

When I was a little girl in the 1960s, “the opportunity” for women was selling Avon or Tupperware. I have memories of an adult cousin selling Avon products; her home always filled with boxes, and the scent of her body as evidence that she believed in what she was doing.

Tupperware was another biggie. I don’t recall my mom going to a Tupperware Party, but we had a few pieces of the plastic, no leak, wonder containers in our kitchen cabinets.

When I entered the full-time job world in the 1970s, “the opportunity” was Amway and Mary Kay, both of which had been around many years – long before my introduction to them. Co-workers and neighbors in my apartment complex began to ask if they could give me a facial and make up my face. With Amway, I was asked to visit their homes to listen to a business presentation; an opportunity to make money.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that I don’t have “the opportunity” personality.

Soooo many people do, though.

Let’s see…some of the parties I’ve been invited to in the last thirty years are: Avon, Tupperware, Mary Kay, Stampin’ Up!, Arbonne, Southern Living at Home, Pampered Chef, USANA, Silpada, Premier Designs, Beach Body, Melaleuca, Pre-Paid Legal Services, Longaberger, Creative Memories, and Usborne. I’m sure I’m missed a few.

While I know I will never be a “consultant,” I have been known to attend a party once a year. Most of the time, I’m supporting the friend hosting the party, and expecting a “girls get-together.” Another party I attended because the consultant was recently separated and working very hard to earn money. A few times I’ve been because I actually had something in mind I wanted to purchase – a kitchen item or something for my kids, like books or crafts.

But now, the kids are older, time is limited, and everything’s at the mall.

I’ve known many people who have tried to succeed with “the opportunity,” i.e., invested in the start-up kit, bought a few of the products, booked a party, and quit...sorta like...a gym membership.

I know others who are rockin’ and rollin’ - and have been for years! They are the ones who believe in their product, have the gift of selling, and the winning personalities. I applaud them for their business sense and entrepreneurial spirit.

What’s your experience with multi-level marketing?
Are you a consultant? What’s your product?
Do you host or attend the parties?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Yes Ma'am, Yes Sir Etiquette

(After you read the post, be sure to read the opinions of my other visitors in the comments section at the end.)

I’m running through a quaint town, training for a 10k with several other people. Another slow-poke and I have fallen behind and decide to run together and talk. Fifteen minutes into the run, I tell her to run ahead if she needs to, and jokingly, I say, “I’m over fifty - I won’t be running much faster.”

We continue our conversation, but now when I ask her a question, she answers, “yes ma’am.” We’ve gone from being peers to mother figure/daughter figure, or teacher/student, or old woman/young woman, or queen bee/worker bee. It takes me a minute or two to get her back to talking about her job, kids, and friends, and to get her tone of voice back to the relaxed tone she started with; and then there are no more “yes ma’ams.” Eventually I find out she’s thirty, which “is” young enough be my daughter.

When I was growing up on the east coast of Virginia, some of my friends were taught to answer adults with “yes ma’am,” “yes sir,” “no ma’am,” or “no sir.” I was not. I was only required to say something behind the “yes” or “no,” like, “Yes Mrs. Jones,” or “No thank you.” Just saying “yes” or “no” was too abrupt, according to my parents. And now that I’m a parent, I have adopted the same thoughts they had. We are not a “ma’am” and “sir” household, but we appreciate those who are.

Kids saying “yes ma’am” tells me that their parents have succeeded in teaching them to respect adults, although, I don’t think less of them if they don’t add the “ma’am.” The respect is what’s important.

I can’t remember exactly when I was first called “Ma’am”, but I’m sure it was a shocker because I was still in my thirties. It was probably from a twenty-two year old, which made me wonder, “Do I look old enough to be your mama!”

Recently, a few couples were at our home, when the thirty-seven year old man guest said “yes ma’am” to the fifty-four year old woman guest. “Oh, don’t call me ma’am,” she said with a little annoyance. He responded quickly, “Oh, I’m sorry. I grew up in Alabama; it’s a habit!”

I’ve seen others react the same way. Is it because it makes them feel old?

I’m used to it now - I notice when I'm answered with "yes ma'am," but it doesn’t bother me. I’ve accepted my “mature” status.

We’ll never all agree on this topic and other matters of semantics and etiquette. My post expressing my thoughts on being called “Mrs. Michael Jones” received varied opinions. Soooo…I guess we’ll continue to form and conduct our own rules of etiquette.

Do you say “yes ma’am” and “yes sir?”

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Loud Music

The kids have been home for DAYS because of the snow. My routine…what’s a routine?

The bloodmobile is close by at a local church. I’m going. I’ll honor my decision to donate as often as possible.

It’s four o’clock. I hope I’m ahead of all the people who plan to donate after work.

I’m here. The parking lot is not too full; good. I have my book and I’m ready to step into the trailer, shut off my brain, ignore all of what’s going on around me, and read in between all the administration I have to go through. The actual donation should take ten minutes or so, and I’ll have a snack afterwards. I should be able to rest, read, and enjoy my respite from the house and children. Right?


I step into the trailer and I hear music - loud music! For a split second, I wonder if I’ve stepped into the wrong trailer; this must be the place to complete the sign in. The comfy chair in the quiet, serene atmosphere must be inside the church.

No, I’m in the right place.

“Okay Anita, you can do this. You can tune out the thump, thump, thump. Read a page. Get into the story. It’s a good book. Or maybe, just try to enjoy the music. Pretend you’re dancing around the house with the kids.”

Not happening. I’m annoyed. I’m wondering why CLUB MUSIC is playing at a place where people need to be relaxed. Do I tell them to turn it down? Will my blood pressure rise after they all look at me incredulously; this “uppity $#&!%” or “old lady” trying to tell us what to do?

I try reading again.

It’s my turn to be seated for the donation. I’m directed to one of the four lounging chairs and as I sit back, the blaring of the music is louder. I turn slightly to see that the embedded wall speaker is right next to my head!

I’m just on the verge of saying something when I’m moved to another seat because my right arm is not cooperating.

“Just take it Anita. Put down your book. Listen to the technicians talk to the each other, and to the jovial man on the other chair. You need to relax so the process will end quickly.”

Okay, I’ll admit it - I’ve gotten old…I guess. The women and the one man in the trailer appear to be in their thirties through forty. I wonder if this is uncomfortable for me because of my age. But, on the other hand, I hear loud music occasionally and it doesn't bother me; just not in the confines of a trailer.

As I think more, I’m back to it being more bothersome than not. Weddings can be challenging. Seems it’s okay when you’re dancing, but when you’re trying to talk to your dinner partner who is sitting right beside you and you still have to scream at each other…

Do I write a letter to complain? Do I risk taking away the pleasure they may be feeling as they endure their monotonous eight hour day? Hmmm… Probably not. So I didn’t get my half hour of vegging. I’ll get it later.

Does loud music bother you?

After you leave your thoughts on this post, page down to the previous post and tell us about your present and/or past jobs. And read some of the comments too. Good stuff!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I used to be a computer programmer

Every once in a while, I find myself saying to someone, “I used to be a computer programmer.” And when I say it, the memories of my fifteen year career download and play in my mind for a few minutes.

It was 1994 when I left the job, but the memories linger. There were good times and bad times; and as I raise my girls, I try to categorize each experience to pass on to them - preparation for “Corporate America” - a place where they might start their careers, too.

I went in blindly - the child of blue collar workers - with not a clue of what to expect. Yes, I’d been “taught” what to expect, and did an internship, but, well…

It took some time to get used to the “team” concept. An independent spirit, I had to learn to trust people, but not get trampled on. My easy-to-read, error free programming code was a definite asset, but not enough. I needed to love the company and learn the business; love the meetings and care about what the company stood for and how it made its money. Did that happen? Well…not really, or not enough. I loved the technical, but struggled here and there with the rest.

My introduction to computers started when I was a high school senior in need of electives. A friend told me she was taking Data Processing at the vocational center and that it would be three credits. “Hmmm…one class, three credits…a bus ride off campus.”

She tried to explain what it was, and I blindly (I do a lot of things blindly) signed up too. Turned out I had a knack for it, and when the teacher said I could make $7,000 right out of high school or go to college and make $12,000, I thought, “Sounds good.” It was 1975 and most teachers hardly made $12,000.

There was no question about going to college; my parents, especially mom, had planted the “college seed” when I was still in diapers. It grew, I did my four years, and in 1979 was employed at an annual salary of $13,500. Woo hoo! Fifteen years later, in 1994, it had more than quadrupled.

Good money for a single lady. Had the house, the car, mutual funds, savings, a few nice suits, a great eating-out allowance and enough to hop on a plane for a vacation.

Do I appreciate those years?
Was I fulfilled with my skill and knowledge?
Do I miss the career, the pay check, and the nice suits?
If I had it to do all over again, would I be a computer programmer?
I don’t know.

It’s hard to erase part of a life that has landed me in a comfortable place.

There are people who are passionate about their jobs and always have been. How fortunate they are to wake up most days with anticipation; to get paid for doing something they love.

I felt that way when I was in control of a project that was going well, yet at other times, I wondered how I could continue with the same career until I was sixty-something and retired.

My occupation afforded me a financially sound life, but is money enough? Does every surgeon crave the next patient to mend? Does every lawyer get excited as more and more business comes in? Is every best selling author thrilled to promote his or her book on the TV talk show circuit? Are the average John and Mary Doe happy with their average jobs and average salaries, and their good middle class lifestyle?

Hmmm….if it was only that easy.

Many people are currently unemployed or desperately holding on to jobs. They (you) may see this post as moot. Keep in mind…things change.

Have you changed careers/occupations during your adult years? What did you “used to be?”
Would you like to do something else now?

If you haven’t read my post titled, “Passion,” click over if you'd like.