Monday, November 28, 2011

Text Messages and Emails

I text with sentences made of words that can be found in the dictionary. I email with paragraphs. I like the written word; the old fashioned way of writing. I like it better than the new, abbreviated language that uses idk instead of I don’t know, and k instead of okay or ok.

However, I’m open to it – this new written language. In the scheme of things, it’s hardly on my list of worries. I’ve even succumbed to dropping a word or two; like when I say, Glad you’re fine, instead of, I’m glad you’re fine. Also, LOL (laugh out loud) and :) (a smile) have become staples in my correspondence. Hmmm…

What I do mind, though, is the possible lack of clarity and emotion in a text message or email. Misunderstandings, mix-ups, and mouth-dropping reactions due to those few words transmitted from one techy device to another, have happened to me, and probably to you, too. Sometimes the true meaning and intent is not conveyed and that’s a problem.

Once, my husband and I missed an opportunity to have dinner with another couple because I didn’t check my email a lot during that particular day, and I didn’t get the invitation. In the past, I’d told my new friend that emailing was the best way to reach me and she took it literally. She probably thought I didn’t like being burdened with answering my phone, so she didn’t call. Oops.

Another time, I cancelled an appointment because I assumed my husband was too busy to go. He’d emailed earlier saying he had meetings all day. His second email, a half hour later, said he was available for the appointment. Too late. Oops.

A texting faux pas happened when I missed seeing an old friend while visiting the city she lives in. I hadn’t seen her in eighteen years. We did exchange phone calls, but because of the long distance from our hotel to her home, my family’s touring plans, and her schedule – the meeting did not happen. Sooo… she sent me a text that lasted three or four screens, basically telling me how selfish I am; at least that’s the way I took it. Because it was a text, I don’t know if her tone was supposed to be sad or mad or something else. It felt a little biting to me and as a result of that text - I’m done with her. Big oops – hers… or maybe not an oops. Maybe that was her message to tell me that she was done with me.

...which reminds me: opening a text or an email can be risky. You think you're getting a pleasant or informative note, only to read something that can ruin your day.

I’ve noticed that people use texting and emailing as a way to avoid direct confrontation. They don’t want to see each other or to hear each other’s voices. They use short, abrupt messages to correspond. Is this taking the easy way out? What are the consequences?

We’ve come a long way from the one black phone in the house and the 5 cent stamp we used to mail our five page letter. Computers, cell phones, and social media allow quick access to anyone in the world. Are our brains wired to keep up with it all? Have our social skills suffered as a result?

What are your feelings about emailing, texting, and other social media?

PS. I'm not giving up texting or emailing. :)

Image from Microsoft Word clipart.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


To give, or not to give: that is the question.

Okay… So I’ve borrowed some Shakespeare and changed a couple words.

What do you think when you see someone begging? Do your thoughts vary based on their physical appearance (clothing, race, gender, grooming, age, etc.), their location, and/or their method of begging?


Vacationing in Atlanta, my husband and I decide to ride the MARTA from our airport hotel to downtown. I want another “vacation experience;” to see what Atlanta’s public transportation is like while getting a look at other parts of the city.

Also, I think it’ll be good for our kids. Seeing life outside of the suburbs is always an opportunity to add another page to their sheltered little lives. They’ve been to a few other large cities and found each to be different. Now we’re going to take on Atlanta. After all, they may go to college in a large city or live in one as adults.

So what should happen while riding the train…

A young man appears from somewhere, walking the isles asking for money. I watch the face of a seasoned rider to see how she will handle him. She never looks up; and not in a nervous way, but with body language that says, “Just keep on walking.”

I say to myself, “If he comes over to me, that’s what I’ll do.”

Five seconds later, he is standing over me as I sit dressed in my tourist outfit, laced with a camera bag over my shoulder.

“Got any change?” he asks in a voice that is mild, yet frightening.

I want to ignore him, but can’t manage the attitude of the seasoned woman rider. Sooo… I look up into his eyes, quickly, and shake my head softly from side to side without saying a word. He moves on.

Fortunately, he does not approach my children who are sitting in another seat. I don’t know what my fifteen year old, “I love my cushy life,” daughter would have done. She probably would have broken out in tears and called for her mommy and daddy… or fainted.

There were lots of jokes about this experience later in the day.


For at least six months, a woman has been sitting at the entrance of a shopping center near my home; the strip mall type. Her chair looks like a turned over bucket, and there appears to be a purse or backpack alongside it. Her hair is pulled back. Her attire is sweat pants and a tee shirt. Her complexion is normal and she looks well fed. If I saw her in Walmart, she’d fit right in. I’d never know that she begs on the street.

The first time I see her, my mind tells me she’s a mother; maybe even a wife with an unemployed husband – though I really have no idea. As I pull up to the intersection, the traffic light is red. I give her a few dollars. I say, “God bless you.” She responds with a smile and a sincere (or well performed), “Thank you, God bless you.”

The next time I see her, the light is green. “Good,” I think. I don’t have to make eye contact or purposely avoid her.

I travel this road often and see her a lot. I’m beginning to harden, and I don’t know why; not feeling as sympathetic. I don’t want to ride past her. When I have to be in the shopping center, I remedy the situation by leaving at another exit.

A friend and I briefly discussed this woman. We call her the Barnes and Noble Lady because the well-known book store is at the shopping center near her post. My friend’s husband thinks she should only give food to panhandlers; not money. B&N Lady has this covered though, because she leaves her food bag in a visible spot, as if to say, “I don’t need any more fast food.”

My husband, on the other hand, has a giving nature, and will hand over the occasional $5 bill. I’m more of a one or two bucks person.

I’ve heard so many opinions on this subject over the years; some strongly against giving. After reading a book in 2010, a true story titled, Same Kind of Different as Me (thank you Simone), I was fascinated to learn a few tricks of panhandlers to get people to give them money. The homeless man in the book, Denver, was a heavy drinker and used some of his money to buy alcohol. Reading his life story, though, it is no surprise that his journey was one struggle after another.

There are always going to be poor people; and just as there are among rich people, many will be addicts. Whether an addict or not, panhandling appears to be a hard and humiliating job. I don’t know if it’s right or wrong to hand over a dollar or not? Does it matter?

What do you think?

The sightings of the woman panhandler took place during the summer. I have not seen her since.
Thank you T. K.
image found here

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Embarrassing Incidents

My daughter and I are in Target at the register. There’s a problem with my item, so we move aside to wait for a Target Team Member to go and check the price.

Meanwhile, I hear a man behind us speaking with “a tone” to the woman at the register. Then I hear her use “a tone.” My ears perk up, and so do my daughter’s, as we try to figure out what the disagreement is about.

Apparently, the customer has placed his money on the conveyor belt - several crumpled bills - and the cashier is asking him to straighten it out and pass it to her.

“Why can’t you pick it up?” he asks.

“Because you need to count it,” she replies. “And, you’re being disrespectful.”

“No, you’re being disrespectful. The customer is always right.”

Blah, blah, blah… for almost a minute. His poor little daughter is embarrassed, saying, “Please Daddy, let’s go.”

Reluctantly, he picks up the money, straightens it out, and hands it to the cashier.

He loses. Target Team Member wins.

Mallory and I are looking at them from the corners of our eyes, feeling a bit awkward. I feel like I’m on that ABC show, What Would YOU Do? I want to tell him, “You’re wrong,” but he might attack me, too. Sooo… I mind my own business, i.e. wimp out. It’s a minor incident. Perhaps he’s just having a bad day.

I’ve had my own share of embarrassing incidents…like this one:

I’m at McDonald’s. “Mama Bear” is trying to buy and feed her “three hungry cubs” some chicken nuggets. The manager has to get involved in my transaction. She’s grouchy and I’m tired. She says something to me about the problem. I express disagreement, and then ask her to explain. She gives me a nasty look, we exchange a few stern, but quiet words, and she walks off.

Then I realize - customers are staring. I want to say, “I’m right…right?” Instead, I leave with my over-priced chicken nuggets.

Embarrassing. I go through this for what probably amounts to a dollar.

Embarrassing incident #2:

I’m in Bloomingdale’s at White Flint Mall in Rockville, Maryland. It’s 1980-something and I’m twenty-something years old. Dressed in my wide lapelled business suit of the decade, I approach a sales person; “Where’s the bathroom, please?”

“The restroom is over there,” as she smiled (or was it a smirk) and pointed.

“The toilet or whatever,” I respond with a smile; letting her know that I realize she is correcting me.

Embarrassing. Ever since then, I always ask where the restroom is, and remember my lesson in sophistication. Thank you sales person.

Embarrassing incident #3:

My family and I are at a hotel outdoor pool when nature summons me to the restroom. I dart off, get inside and realize that I’ve forgotten my flip-flops. (I know…you’re already saying, “Ugh.”) It’s an urgent, “gotta go” run because I decide to go in the stall barefooted. It’s a well maintained restroom, but still…ugh!

Midstream, I hear a woman telling her young daughter how gross it is to be barefooted in a public restroom; saying it as if it’s just some random conversation, and not about the tacky woman in the stall.

Lesson: never forget flip-flops.

Last embarrassing incident (in this post)

It’s the 1980s again and I’m young. (Notice how I blame everything on youth.) I’m new to the corporate world, sitting in a meeting of about eight people. A word is used by the team leader and I ask what it means.

All eyes turn to me.

The older male, patronizingly, gives the definition to the ditsy recent college grad.

Lesson: never ask the definition of a word you should know in the presence of people who are not your friends.

These incidents, and many more, made me ask myself, “What was I thinking?” Was it a PMS day? A sinus headache day? Or just a fallible human being day?

I suppose an incident will come out of hiding and into my memory on occasion; however, I’ve learned to be over it; to add a little self-deprecating humor to it, and move on.

Care to share an embarrassing incident of yours?

image from

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How Big Is Your Purse?

Darling Husband gave me a purse as an anniversary present; though it can hardly be called a purse. It’s big!

(By the way, do you say handbag, bag, purse, pocketbook, or something else?)

It’s big for me, but probably not for most of you fashionistas out there. The current trend appears to be humongous, and many women are totin’ those babies.

I, on the other hand, have stuck with my 12”x 8” purse (if you’re measuring the surface of one side of it) with a 2 1/2" base, for two reasons:

1) Anything heavy on my shoulder too long, eventually becomes uncomfortable. I don’t think it’s bursitis. That’s what my mom complains about. Hmmm... Also, I hang it on my right shoulder; never the left. Am I going to end up lopsided, if not already?

2) The more space I have in my purse, the more everyone expects me to carry their stuff in it. Why is that? Why do my daughters have their own purses, but leave them home most of the time, then ask me to put their wallets, hair accessories, cameras, and small purchases in “my” purse? (Not the cell phones, of course.) Darling Husband has been known to ask, too. And by the way, why don’t men carry purses?

I digress.

Anyway, when I opened the present and saw the size of it, I hoped that it wouldn’t be heavy because I really need a new black bag. I was reminded of an infant car seat, with an ergonomically correct handle, that we bought for our first baby in 1995. “It’s not too heavy,” I’d said, forgetting that the seven pound baby would be added.

I picked up my new purse. It was heavy – empty and heavy. Then, I noticed the brand name – expensive. Darling Husband is very sweet and generous to a fault. Frugal Wife decided not to spoil the moment by asking the price and going into sticker shock.

After a few days, reality told me that my 2.6 pound (empty) Dooney & Bourke handbag will be going back to Macy’s, where it will be purchased and filled by someone else who will end up with shoulder bursitis.

I’ll still get my new black purse, though. Maybe, I’ll graduate to one that is 13” x 9" with a 3" base.

Thank you Darling Husband.

My third “by the way” – If I've mislead you... My spaghetti arms are deceiving to some; but the old girl can still flip a king size mattress.

What is the size of your purse and what do you carry in it?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Old Eggs Can Produce

"Your eggs are old."

This is what my mom told me in 1994 prior to leaving for my honeymoon; and again, during the first month of my marriage.

Mom and I have the kind of relationship where we can say things like this to each other. It's our attempt to add humor to subjects that are sometimes stressful.

Anyway, I won't go on and on about what happened to my eggs. Instead, I'll direct you to Cynthia's blog, "InSeason Mom." Click HERE to read my answers to a great set of questions composed by Cynthia. She and I, and many others had the so-called "old eggs" situation in common. She has also interviewed a few other women. It's the beginning of a sincere, informative, and thought provoking series.

While I've injected a little humor in this post, I am fully aware of the heartbreak that many women and men suffer in dealing with infertility. To you, I wish continued hope, success in any medical attention sought, and peace in making decisions about the future of your families.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Vacation: Let's Relax or Let's Go!

How do you spend your vacation, or as they say across the pond, your holiday? How do you handle everyone's wants and needs?

Example: My family - a mom, a dad, and three daughters (a tween and two teens). We're on a spring break, "tourist-type" vacation in Atlanta, Georgia.

It's 6:30 a.m. My bladder alarm is ringing. No need to get up, though. Everyone else is in their second round of REM. I decide to "hold it" and to go back to sleep. Besides, where can I go? We're staying in one room; not a three room suite, complete with kitchen, that we sometimes get. The only other "room" is the bathroom.

Okay... I "can" go to the fitness center, but...

Now 7:30, my hunger alarm is ringing. Lucky to be staying on the concierge level, complimentary breakfast is available in the lounge for guests on my floor. It ends at 9:00, sooo... I do a quick wash of the face, hands, and teeth; check out the hair to make sure it's not too scary, and off I go with Nook in hand.

At 8:45, two of the natives (my kids) are coming through the doors of the lounge. Having missed this treat on day 1 of the vacation, they realize the value of getting up for the free breakfast, because it will be much later before we can all be ready to leave the hotel.

After eating, the girls take a plate of goodies to their daddy and sister; this way we all have a bite to eat, which lessens the chance of grouchiness visiting our room.

For the next two hours, the girls and I shower and dress. The husband goes for his walk, reads the paper, has his coffee, reads his email, answers his email, and makes a few phone calls. "Why rush?" is his attitude. He's been known to say, "I'm on vacation, plus you all are not ready. It only takes me fifteen minutes to shower and dress."

The girls are thinking the same thing, "No one else is ready."

Except me.

Sooo... I straighten the room, map out the plans for the day, go to the lobby to mail my postcards, watch the planes take off from the airport, etc. - anything to keep from just sitting and waiting.

When we "do" get out, we're hungry again, so we have to schedule a lunch within our touring time. With museums and attractions closing at 5 or 5:30, we get to see one per day, or we shorten each visit and see two.

Some of you may ask, "What's wrong with that? You're having family time, lounging in a hotel, and eating in restaurants. And, you get to do something fun during the day.


BUT, want to see as much as I can!

Okay, so I'm whining... just a little.

On many of our "touring" vacations, this has been the pattern; except for our visit to New York City, where I emerged victoriously. I made everyone get to breakfast early and had them out of the hotel soon after. Was it the excitement of New York that put a little pep in our step?

I think I'll always be antsy when I'm ready to go and no one else is; however, I'll always be appreciative and delighted, too, regardless of when I get "there" and of how much I see.

The beach trips are a story for another time.

Are you traveling out of town, having a staycation, or using your time off to relax at home? Have any stories to share?

Image found here.

Monday, June 27, 2011


How are we perceived when we display symbols of our accomplishments, interests, and opinions? What about the “labeling” words from our mouths?

Labels (literal and figurative) are descriptive and sources of information - nothing wrong with that; right?

I read a book titled, “The Year of Living Biblically,” by A. J. Jacobs, author of the bestseller, “The Know-It-All.” He is an avowed Jewish agnostic who tried to, literally, live according to the bible for a year - long beard and all.

A very humorous book, and also thought provoking, his attempt to obey the Ten Commandments made me think of the 18” x 24” framed print of the Ten Commandments that my darling husband brought home a few years ago. It took a while for him to find a home for it on one of our walls, and when he did, I was slightly taken aback.

I stepped into our 5’ x 6’ half bath (powder room) and there it was.

“Hmmm… I’m not quite feeling this. Am I not a ‘Good Christian’ because I don’t want it there? Am I being a bit heathenish?”

Sooo…I tell him. Plus, I mention that our non-Christian guests may feel that it’s a little “in your face” as they relieve themselves.

My husband’s display of Christian books, pictures, hats, and t-shirts get him the “religious” label, which is not his favorite because of its catch-all meaning. He just prefers, “Christian.”

Other Labels

* Athletes: Super athletes in particular. They have trophies and ribbons everywhere. My stepfather’s family room was filled with certificates, ribbons, and pictures of him running until my mom had enough of it.

* Personalized license tags

* Mommy vans and SUVs: Many have the little characters stuck on the rear windshields – one for every family member and every pet.

* Other vehicle stickers/emblems:
......College/University alumni
......Kids’ schools – especially private schools
......Sororities and Fraternities
......“My Child is on the Honor Roll”
......The ovals with an acronym of favorite vacations spots; ex. OBX for Outer Banks, CM for Cape May
......The Christian fish
......The Darwin fish
......The Democratic or Republican presidential candidate
......The Confederate flag

* Designer clothes and accessories: My girls like swimsuits and backpacks with “Roxy” visibly weaved into the fabric.

* Professional offices (away and at home): walls plastered with degrees, awards, recognitions, honors, framed newspaper and/or magazine appearances

And what about the labels used when we speak? Typically, our tangible labels correspond with verbal declarations.

Mine is, “I’m a reader and a writer – love to do both.” My “labels” are journals that are stashed throughout my home. Pencils, paper, stationery, and favorite pens are abundant. Shelves of books are in every room. Every time I finish a book, it feels like an accomplishment, the physical book representing the trophy.

A friend commented on one of my blog posts telling of a Seinfeld episode where he asked why people keep books. “Are they trophies to prove that you can read?”

Guilty…only the trophy part, though. I guess everyone knows I can read.

Still, I thought, “Yeah, why do I do that?” So I donated a few (okay, only 3) to the library for their fund raising sale. And guess what? I miss seeing those three books on my shelf.

I realized that I don’t keep my books for other people to see hoping they’ll be impressed. I keep them for “me.”

What label(s) have you attached to your life? Is it for you, or for others to notice? Showing off a little or sharing your interests? :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Whadduh Woman! Conquering Maggots

maggot – the legless, soft-bodied, wormlike larva of any of various flies of the order Diptera, often found in decaying matter (


Anyway, I’ve come in contact with these little creatures. My trash can is at the curb in front of my house after being emptied by the trash collectors. The lid is open; odd, but no big deal.

As I begin to pull it over to close it, my olfactory senses are punched with a hard blow. Simultaneously, my eyes are transmitting the disgusting sight of maggots to my brain, which instantly gives me the heebie jeebies.

The trash can has been smelling a few days, but the hectic pace of my life would always cause my thoughts to be elsewhere. For five seconds as I emptied trash into it, I just assumed the smell would leave when the contents left on trash day.


“Gosh! Umph! Great!” I utter as I hesitate, prolonging the inevitable.

I’ve got to clean it.

I roll it up the driveway where a faucet and hose is near. I go into the house, get the Clorox, come back out, hose in some water, and pour in a little bleach.

I roll the can back to the curb, gently put it on its side, and then lift it from the bottom to form a tilt to empty the bleach maggot soup into the sewer drain.

The stench is still unbearable, exacerbated by the ninety-four degree weather.

Peeking in again, I notice a material stuck to the bottom, like thick wadded string. There’s also an orangey brown substance on the inside wall.


I’ve got to clean the whole can.


I’m not sticking my arm in there!

Think Anita.

A broom.

I see two in the garage, and we hardly use them. (preferring the vacuum)

Back out again with my broom and dishwashing liquid. Hose in water and add soap; then swish, brush, swish. Back to curb. Empty.

String and unidentifiable substance still there.

Repeat process.

Stench has lessened.

I leave the can in the driveway, hoping the sun will cure it.

A few hours later…

Still stinky. After the trash is collected again, I’ll spray more bleach at the “substance,” even though I’m not sure if it is the culprit.

And, my days of not securing the lid with a bungee cord are over. Gotta keep our animal friends that live in our back yard wetlands, out of my trash can.

What have you done that qualifies for “Whadduh Woman?” (Translation: What a Woman!)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mother's Day

Okay, so I'm a week behind on this post. Anyway...

On a day that's supposed to be exceptionally good, the Honored Mommy (me) gets only five hours of sleep the night before. Mother's Day starts out "in the red." She's tired.

Dutifully, she takes her children to church instead of pulling the covers back over her head. Husband/Daddy went an hour ago to teach his class of five year olds, otherwise, the Honored Mommy would have been tempted to send the children with him while she enjoyed the serenity of a book or dreamland.

After church, the Honored Mommy is taken to a 21st floor restaurant that has a view of a river below. Husband has lunch there occasionally during the weekdays and knows "everyone," therefore, he proudly introduces her and the three children to every server and cook on the premises, and to a couple groups of other diners that he just happens to know.

Sooo, the Honored Mommy has to shake a few hands, flash a few smiles, and say a few words between forkfuls of shrimp creole, smoked salmon, and other delicious items from the buffet. Still, she eats all she wants, including "the best" bread pudding for dessert.

Satisfied and full, the Honored Mommy wants to go home, but she looks out over the city with her family because they seem to be enjoying it. Then she takes a complimentary picture with them, shot by the Mother's Day photographer - even though her eyes are puffy from lack of sleep, and she hadn't bothered to cover her gray roots with her cover stick that morning.

Nice pic.

We're now homeward bound! The Honored Mommy snoozes a little during the drive.

A deviation: The husband has to go a little out of the way to drop off a card to a woman in a nursing home. The Honored Mommy can't argue with that (because it's a good deed) and continues her least she "tries" to continue her snooze.

Instead of taking the route that would get them home with five turns, the husband/daddy takes the route that requires twenty turns. The Honored Mommy's head jerks and bobs at every turn. She feels like she's on a ride at the amusement park.

Then, daughter #1 has to have something from CVS. Another delay.

Finally, they're home. The presents are opened and the Honored Mommy takes a breather. Then she puts on comfortable clothes, because of course...she's back to work.

This story was inspired by a Mother's Day episode of the ABC TV show, The Middle. The mother gets her wish of being alone on Mother's Day, then wastes her solitude by doing stressful chores. Her family comes home after an activity filled day and she's upset because they had fun without her.

A different story from mine, yet I was reminded of how much our loved ones do to give us a good day; and I appreciate it. I feel the love...even when it wears me out.

What do you do on Mother's Day?

5/16/11 - Thought I should add: This story reflects my personal sense of humor, but please tell me your stories, whether they are humorous or not.

Image from

(I'll work with blogger soon to solve the line spacing problem. One of my readers suggested that I may need to update to the latest software version.)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pushy ?Friends?

Who cuts your hair? ...You'll like my guy. He's blah, blah, blah, blah. Here's his name and the shop where he works. Call him.

2 weeks later...

You haven't called him yet! Umph!

I make good macaroni and cheese. I'll get you the recipe.

2 weeks later...

Did you make the mac and cheese yet? ... Why not? My recipe is gooood!

Don't get your new car from THEM! I ordered mine from XYZ. You'll get a much better deal.

a month later...

Oh, you couldn't talk your husband into XYZ. Too bad.

You help your kids with their homework. That's a no-no. Let'em do it by themselves. When mine were young, I told their teachers not to expect me to help. That's their job! (the teachers)


(When my kids were little) It's time for them to do their own hair. So what if it doesn't look good. They'll learn.

Those are a few of the numerous "suggestions" from Joan. Basically, I let most of it pass from one ear to the other, and out.

"Here she goes again," I'd think.

I couldn't figure out why it mattered so much to her about the color of my bedroom walls. I'd tell myself that she's trying to be helpful, even though she's being pushy.

Occasionally, she introduced me to something I actually liked, and I was thankful, however, mostly, I laughed it all off, until...

...she started on politics.

Admittedly, not my strength, nor my favorite topic, however, I would discuss the hot button issues with her for a limited amount of time when we'd see each other. Gradually, she became annoyed and frustrated with me. Her manipulative personality couldn't understand why I didn't feel exactly as she did. My intuition told me to table it. That annoyed her even more, and she decided to force me to talk.

And I did.

I sorta lit into her. Macaroni and cheese is one thing. My "freedom" as a human being and an American Citizen is another. My advice to her: don't mess with it.

Her feelings were hurt. I apologized for my aggression, but reiterated my stance on deciding what subjects I cared to discuss; along with the when, where, and how.

There were no make-up hugs. Flushed and angry is how I last saw her. She changed her schedule to avoid seeing me again.

tisk tisk

There's a fine line between helpfulness and manipulation.

Where do you draw the line at maintaining your independence?

Sorry about the extra line spaces. Can't get them out. Help. :)



My posts are turning into one big paragraph. My line spacing is gone!

My method of posting is to write using Word, then copy and paste into blogger. It copies in correctly, but at some point it turns into one paragraph.

Can any of you tell me what's going on? Thank you.

I'm back. didn't happen this time. Is it because I typed everything directly into blogger?

Friday, March 25, 2011

To Advertise or Not To Advertise

I have always admired entrepreneurs. I have always admired writers. Can a person be both?

Barnes and Noble is filled with books by authors who earn money based on sales. Some churn out book after book to satisfy their need to write, and also the need to feed their ambition and competitiveness, and to support themselves.

How about bloggers? We write about every subject imaginable. We display our photography and post our recipes. We sell our creations in our Etsy shops. We showcase our home decorations, gardens, quilting, and scrapbooking talents. We journal our lives. Blogs contain such an array of creativity.

When I’m visiting blogs, I notice backgrounds, award buttons, prayer requests, blog rolls, Ads by Google, advertisement pictures, etc. I click, but rarely. I’m there to read the blog.

On one particular blog, I noticed a button that says "ad-free blog."

“Hmmm…” I thought. “I wonder would she (the blog owner) still visit my blog if I used Google Adsense?” Then I thought, “Do people with small followings actually make money? What’s wrong with a little income…capitalism…the American way?”

Anyway, I Googled the button and read, “advertising on blogs devalues the medium.”

Yes, some blogs are filled with stuff; things blink, things roll, things sing. Some are appealing, some are not. Bottom line for me is the personal content. I like it, or I don’t; or sometimes it’s so-so.

So what about the advertisement? Does it take away as says? How about the giveaways?

I love to read blogs and to actually remember who I’m communicating with. Will that become a thing of the past when I have my thousand hits per day, comments galore, and a major advertisement or two? (I can dream.) Will those of you who know me still visit and blend your comments into the rest?

Or will you say, “Oh, she’s big now and into making money.” (I’m still dreaming.)

What do you know about advertising and giveaways on blogs? What’s your opinion?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Conversation Starter Box

My Grandma Martha had a hard time talking to my brother and me. Grandma Mary did not; however, our time together was mainly spent directing and laughing at the characters on TV westerns. She also liked to play records on her stereo console and dance to the music as I watched with admiration; my brother laughed.

At eleven years old, I questioned the difference in the two grannies. My mom said, “the adult has to be the one to get the relationship going. Your Grandma Martha doesn’t know how to do that.”


My three carpool girls hardly talk during the twenty minute drive to school. I ask the usual questions:

“What did you do this past weekend?”
“What are going to do this coming weekend?”
“How was school?”
“How was soccer?”
“How was dance class?”
“Are you ready for spring break?”
“Are you ready for summer?”

I make comments like:

“I like your new hair style.”
“I like your boots.”

All responses from the girls are minimal. I turn on the radio. A good song comes on at some point, but mostly, I find the whole listening thing b-o-r-i-n-g.

One day, I try something new. “This is a totally random question girls.” (Random is one of the “in” words nowadays.) “I have a blog and I’ve written a post on tattoos. What do you think about tattoos?” I ask, along with a few other related questions.

And what happens?

I get a fluid conversation for the rest of the ride! They give their opinions and tell stories of people they know who have one or more tattoos.

I’m impressed.

Sooo…I’m on to something! What random question can I ask tomorrow? Will they participate? Will they think, “Oh no, here she goes again. I’m really not in the mood to talk.” But then I think of my mom and her statement, “the adult has to be the one to get the relationship going,” and I decide to try it again.

An Aha! Moment occurs. I have a box of questions from our family trip to American Girl Store. I’ll bring it along for the morning ride!

First I eat my breakfast bar, have my sip of water, get beyond merging into the interstate traffic, and then spring it on them!

“I enjoyed hearing your opinions yesterday girls. People are beginning to comment on the blog post to tell me what they think.

Then, "Girrrls, I have another random question for you today,” as I pass the box back and tell them to pick out one.

The question is, “What is the most beautiful animal in the world?”


They pull out a few more questions as we continue our ride, which makes me nervous because I want that box to last until the school year is over! Anyway, we have more conversation…all the way to the drop off in the carpool line.


The girls are thought to be quiet, shy, or reserved with adults when out of their comfort zone (their peers), but I discovered that though they were not really gelling in the carpool ride, for whatever reason, they have shown me that they can be excited about expressing thoughts and talking to “an old mom” who is helping to get our relationship going.

It’s so much better than three middle school girls listening to the diet commercials on the radio.

Do you try to talk to kids or let them “talk amongst themselves?”

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Do You Have a Tattoo?

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


Well why not? Everyone else seems to have one.

Oh…except me.

Will I ever want one? No. Aside from the fact that I’m afraid to do anything permanent, I’m too old. Although, even if I were twenty-five, I still don’t think I would want one.

My imagination can’t even take me there. I’m trying to see a cute little rose on my backside; nothing fancy – just a red blossom with a couple green leaves and a short stem.

I’m trying this mental exercise in an attempt to relate to those who have chosen to go under the “pen.” Or is it a “needle?”

I know a few people who have one, but I never hear them say “why” they got it. They just say because it’s cool.

I wonder if it is like trying a new hair cut. You see a picture in a magazine or on someone else, admire it and decide to imitate. Or, if it has a deeper meaning, like a loved one’s name, a religious symbol, rebellion, or just plain ol’ art…like wearing a new shade of lipstick or growing a beard.

What's the motivation; the inspiration?

Does it make you feel sexy? I’m just askin’.

My first awareness of tattoos was seeing it on the arms of sailors in the military town of my childhood. The next wave was during the seventies: peace signs, flower power, and marijuana leaves. Now I’m noticing names, phrases, and abstract shapes.

For those of you who have one, do you feel the urge to get another? I’ve seen men and women with tattoos covering their entire legs and/or arms. I still come back to, “it’s permanent.”

Isn’t it? Or does the laser removal process work?

Could henna be an option?

Does anyone care to enlighten me?

I decide to ask a couple people about their tattoos; a woman and a man, both in their early twenties.

Proudly, Tanya shows me the tattoo on her forearm, and tells me about the other three she has. One is her mother’s name. The others are depictions of her personality.

Michael has a small initial of his name, and a bolder tattoo called a “collar rocker” – a phrase tattooed on his chest just below the collar bone. In my conversation with him, I learn the terms “covered tattoo” and “uncovered tattoo,” the former meaning that it can be easily covered with clothing; the latter, not. People with “tats” all over their legs and arms, obviously, enjoy the visibility.

Both speak passionately and consider the tattoos a form of self expression.

“It’s something that our generation is doing,” says Michael, implying that it belongs to them. Reading between the lines, I hear, “You all had your long hair and afros; we have our tattoos.”

Tanya is a poet, and seems to be searching deeply for the meaning of her life. She says her friends, jokingly, call her bi-polar.

I detect a little rebellion from both, as if they are saying that so many factors control their lives, but this is one thing that only they control.

On the flip side of the coin, a “baby boomer generation” male gives me his opinion. “It’s mutilation,” he says; “How are they going to get hired for jobs?”

I say, “They’re probably not interested in sitting behind a desk;” which is stereotyping. Does a tattoo affect a person’s potential for certain types of employment? Even though Michael says it's mostly his generation getting them, people of all ages and occupations are visiting the parlors.

I’m glad I asked Tanya and Michael about their tattoos. Regardless of my opinion, I got real feelings from real people.

Next topic: Ear Gauging…NOT!

The large pierced ears still give me the heebie jeebies, but I’m s-l-o-w-l-y desensitizing.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Stay at Home Mom Saves the Day!

I’ve been a stay-at-home mom fifteen years, which is more than enough time to get beyond the need to defend my role…and I have. This is not a post seeking validation.

However, there are people who genuinely can’t imagine what goes on during a day in the life of a woman who is not employed, especially when her kids are at school.

Here’s an example of an hour.

The phone rings. It’s Betty at the neighborhood clubhouse.

Hmmm… I don’t usually hear from her. Have we paid our dues?”
"Hi Anita." (We exchange niceties.) "Someone called the clubhouse and said that the Smiths' irrigation pipes are springing a really big leak. No one's answering at their house. Do you know their cell numbers?"

Unlike all the cool people, I don’t have all my “contacts” on my cell phone, so I have to go to my personal, hard copy “phone book” that I keep in my kitchen drawer to get the cell numbers of Mary and John.

Seven minutes later, Betty calls back. “I left messages on their voice mail.”

“Okay, thanks.”

I’m feeling the search for them should continue.

I call 411 and get the company number where Mary works. Of course it’s an 800 number. I dial it, and of course, I get a recording. After pressing several response numbers, I'm told the "wait time." Then I’m asked if I’d like to leave my info to receive a return call. I press 2 or 3 more numbers in response to 2 or 3 more questions, and then record my name. It’s played back and I’m asked to press another number if I want to send it. I press it and hang up. Before I can take 3 steps, of course, I receive the return call. Of course, I could have just stayed “on hold.”

I ask the guy if there is a personnel office that he can connect me to because I need to talk to my neighbor about an issue at her house. “No, I can’t do that.” Of course, he can’t.

But…lucky me. He is kind enough to look up Mary’s email address and sends her a message to call me.

One minute later, she calls. (When you get a strange email from your neighbor, you respond right away and hope that it’s not “thaaat bad,” because you know it’s bad.)

I tell her what’s going on and I ask if I can do anything.

“Can you turn the water off?”

I’m thinking, “What? Huh?” Then I tell myself, “Get a grip.”

“Sure, I can try.”

Once at their house, standing in the yard, I talk to Mary, John, Mary again, John again…about the location of the water controls and how to shut it off. Eventually, I see a plate that covers the valves, under a miniature geyser coming from the cracked above-ground pipes. My attempt at removing the plate, with my bare hand in freezing cold water, fails.

Back to my house to get a screw driver, rain boots, and Playtex rubber gloves, then back to the job. Temporary success! The plate cover is off, but the bucket-like hole is filled with icy, murky water; no valves in sight. I feel around, but it’s too deep.

More instructions and conversation with Mary, and then John, as they decide which of them will get home faster. The utility guy drives up. He uses a tool to sink into the “bucket” of water, feels around, and turns off the valve. We chitchat for two minutes, and then I’m off to my house where I let my hand thaw.

John and Mary are very thankful. The water could have been pouring out all day, taking their water bill higher and higher.

I’m glad I answered the phone call from Betty. Although the incident took me totally off the path of what I had planned for the day, this is what I was destined to do…at least for an hour. I’ll return those overdue books to the library tomorrow…hopefully.

Stay at home mom, retiree, 9 to 5er, white collar, blue collar, entrepreneur, farmer, professional, service, sales… We’re all in this together.

Monday, January 10, 2011

My Friend Debbie Had Cancer

I was a young child in the 1960s, yet I remember how the adults whispered when someone was diagnosed with cancer, the dreaded C Word.

Now spoken of openly because of increasing survival rates and media attention, it is still feared.

My friend Debbie passed away in January, 2009; one year after entering the emergency room with abdominal pain, and subsequently hearing, “You have stage three ovarian cancer.”

How can we stop this horrible disease that attempts to take our lives, often succeeding. It is a beast, mean and ugly. It also has friends, two of which are named diabetes and heart disease. Where did they come from and why don’t they go away?

Many of you have been attacked by the cancer beast. The rest of us, too, for our family members and friends have experienced this major challenge. Even our favorite celebrities have caused us sadness; recently, Elizabeth Edwards.

As tough a battle it is, let’s continue our fight against the beast and its friends. The human body is strong and amazing. Let’s take care of it as best we can so that the beast and friends will back off! And if they do get their hands on us, let’s keep the fight going.

Continue your prayers, your hope, your learning, your doctor visits, your financial contributions to research, your improving diet and exercise, your support to those who need it, and your desire to live.

How has cancer touched your life?

In memory of
Deborah Renee Gilliam Goodman
11/17/59 – 1/21/09
Image is a symbol for the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Another One Bites the Dust - Addictions

What’s your addiction?

Running, exercise, TV, food, reading, writing, blogging, men, women, volunteering, politics, scrapbooking, sports, gardening, Twitter, Facebook, FarmVille, decorating, cleaning, collecting...?

Another bloggy friend has called it quits…bitten the dust…blogger burnout. In her case, it was a matter of wanting to spend her free time doing other things. She wrote a gracious letter as her last post, thanking us and wishing us well. I will miss her blog.

In other cases, one blogger wrote a quick three liner, basically leaving us hanging. Another left a video post that was critical of the process and of a few bloggers – indicative of the stress she incurred doing this “hobby.”

And a fourth, who was very popular, still blogs, but has changed her format to promoting products with giveaways. I miss her mischievous sense of humor and her dedication to good causes, which was very encouraging. But, she did what she wanted or needed to do.

Some have taken sabbaticals – a summer or another period of time away from blogging - while others admit their addiction in a blog post, perhaps as a way to get control over it.

Regardless of what it is that you’re spending a LOT of time doing, I assume that it is wise to assess your motives, rewards, and costs periodically; and when necessary, make some tweaks and changes along the way.

Have a good year!

Are you enjoying your "addiction" or is it causing a problem in your life?