9.27.2007

Seven Ways to Commit Blog Suicide

I've been tagged by my friend, KathyC for a little assignment. I won't be able to complete it in nearly as clever a way as she did, but I'll give it a shot... because goodness knows I've done my fair shot at this particular topic.

  1. Jump around and have multiple blogs so that people are having to follow you from site to site at any given moment. Luckily, I've managed to stay with this little blogspot site since November of 2003 and for the most part, the three or four readers who have been with me since that start haven't had to do much jumping around. Prior to that, however, I had sites at Diaryland, a different site here, another spot that I can't remember which was similar to Diaryland, there have been a couple of joint efforts here within blogspot in the meantime which didn't last, and one or two other efforts on my own, as well. But at least there has been SOME consistency here. The title at the top has done some changing, but the address has stayed the same.
  2. Change commenting hosts so that comments get dropped completely and lost in the ether or even shut off and it appears you have nobody visiting your site. Well, yes. Comments from haloscan didn't get hooked up to the site again after the latest site refurbishment, but I know where they are. The problem is that I now have comments in blogger and comments in haloscan and never the twixt shall meet. *sigh*
  3. Speaking of changing the look of the site, make changes frequently and make them really major so that when people who don't visit often show up, they don't recognize that they've been to the blog before and always feel they are newbies and don't form a bond. Totally me. However, I think I've gotten much better about this of late, too. I suppose it has to do with having a new house and making changes in the home decorating arena instead. I have a new area to unleash my need for updates and modifications and Make! Pretty! Colors!
  4. When people do read and make comments, be sure and avoid commenting at their blogs if and when you stop by their place. Don't email them in return or even bother to reply to their comment on your own site. Okay, I will admit to being very haphazard in this department. I've jumped all over the place on this. When I learned that a popular blogger that I visit frequently always emails everyone who comments on his site, even if it is just a couple of words in return, I was determined that I would do the same. I started out doing this. That lasted a week. My heart was in the right place. I could probably get back to that because my inbox is now completely clear. After years of hundreds of messages in my stupid inbox I finally cleaned it out completely. What a breath of fresh air THAT was. And seriously? I get so few comments, how hard can it be to email everyone. Then I went through a spate of always commenting in my own comments. But who comes back and reads those? So that's just kind of silly. I visit everyone who is a regular (yes, all three) and MANY more through a feed reader (with over a hundred blogs) but only when they have updated.*
  5. Be very irregular about writing. Make sure nobody knows when you are going to update. Skip days and sometimes weeks at a time. Heck, take three months off! And then suddenly go through a spurt of extreme verbosity! Yep. I do this all of the time! There was a time when I actually had a lot of people stopping in to read. Then I just really needed a break and stopped writing and they fell away. So now I'm back to just three.
  6. Don't have a theme/topic that your blog is based on so you can draw a particular audience. I did have a theme at one time. I still do at some points in time. But for the most part? No. Not really. I just talk about a lot of different stuff. Which is why there are fifty different labels/tags and why I've never drawn a specific group of people.
  7. Post photos that only you would want to view. Oh sure. I know all about this one. Remember the cup of blackened noodles from the mac and cheese I tried to make in the microwave? Who else would want to look at that? *sigh* It's a good thing I'm not paying to keep this blog on the web. Or that it doesn't have to keep an audience to survive. It's just barely hanging on because I have a loyal three people who drop in from time to time.

I'm not tagging anyone, but if the three of you want to take this on, feel free and leave a comment so I can edit to add your link. Smooches!

*Some of you do not show up on my feed reader and it makes me very blue. Any suggestions of what I am supposed to do about you? *coughMichellecough* I have no idea when you have updated. :(

9.25.2007

RIP 2007

And now, because of the latest update over at Carl's place (he's having a contest which is sending participants of the RIP Autumn reading challenge off to everyone's sites) I thought I should do an update on how I'm doing toward the challenge. I've had my first drive-by visitor earlier today and they had to go back a month to see my last update on the challenge.

So I signed up for Peril the First and the following four books:

  1. The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics) by H. P. Lovecraft and others (because of the movie my family members are involved with)
  2. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (because Jen told me I should). I thought this was a terrific first novel. And while it bills as a young adult novel, from what I'm getting from reviews from other bloggers around the net, I'm not the only adult who is enjoying the series. It is, as many (most?) other vampire stories, focused more on relationship than the whole vampire theme itself, and after having read through other series' of this nature (The Vampire Chronicles comes to mind by Anne Rice), I have to admit that perhaps I should have been reading those in the YA genre all along because I appreciate the theme to lean more heavily in the relationships than in the gore.
  3. Lisey's Story by Stephen King. Normally I do not fear anything by SK. But this novel was hefty in weight and I was worried about reviews I’d been seeing when I made the purchase. Every review talked about the cutesy secret language he used between the characters. This had me worried and when I picked up the book I piecked it up with serious doubts and did so very slowly. I was only 25 or so pages into it when I spent last Friday writing with Marge and told her that I didn’t know how I was going to slog my way through “the King novel.”

    Marge: Which book are you reading by him?
    Me: Lisey’s Story
    Marge: What is it that you don’t like about it?
    Me: I’m just having a really hard time getting into it. It is starting so slowly.
    Marge: I read it. I really liked it. It isn’t much like his other works…

    And she went on to tell me how she felt about it and that seemed to open me up and give me some sort of permission to let go of my pre-conceived notions (which I never have after reading reviews… seriously? Reviewers piss me off typically because I usually read bad movie reviews and then go storming into theaters ready to do battle and prove them all wrong so what was up?). I still despised the cutesy language, but by the end, I got it. Or rather, I swallowed it for the most part. The main character, Scott, had been through some serious shit as a youngster. And in my head? I heard his voice (young voice) as Caleb, the young boy from American Gothic (someone’s at the door…) and he totally deserved to have as many oogy boogy made up cutesy words going on in his world as he wanted. Whatever of those he wanted to, he could share with his wife, that’s cool. He was a survivor and she was his savior. And it’s SK. So you have to go with the flow. Here’s a man who has written over fifty novels. They aren’t all going to speak like they were educated and have the same flat dialect as I want them to. Very few people can pull off writing with an accent. By the end of the novel, I was grooving with it is what I’m saying. It took me several hundred pages to get there, and who wants to trip so much when there is such a story to be had while you are stumbling along??? Holy jeebus could I beotch about it a little longer?

  4. Coyote Blue by Christopher Moore. I knew I’d probably find this funny after having been read some excerpts of his stuff by a friend. But I had no idea what a crazy romp through Wild Mind I’d be on with him. Native American legend, spirituality, destiny seeking… absolutely out there. And I enjoyed every bit of it, enough to know that it left me hungry for more of his writing. I’ll be reading Lamb next. (Some time after the challenge, of course.)

As it stands now, I've finished all of them but the first one. And I'm slowly plugging my way through that one. In addition I also read New Moon and Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer and will be waiting for book four with Keli, probably sitting in line at the damn bookstore the day it comes out. For the first time ever. Because we are hooked. Or I am, at least. Over a ridiculous YA relationship/series.

I mention about number one that I chose it because of a movie my family is involved with. I actually ended up buying the wrong book. As a result I've ordered another book which has the write story in it, but it was out of print and will not arrive for potentially a couple more weeks. In the meantime I've decided to read The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories in addition to the other one. I'm not even certain the one on order will arrive in time to read it before I was rather hesitant to dig into the Lovecraft because I've never been that into science fiction, which is what I understood his genre to be for the most part. Since beginning the book and working my way through the first few stories, I'm realizing that it's far more than a bit of science fiction.

So I'm enjoying this challenge and am very glad that I've joined on. I've discovered a new/old writer, a new/new writer, and managed to get back to doing some serious reading over the past month. Now, as Mystical says, I just need to kick it into high gear on my writing, and seeing as how NaNoWriMo is opening up the gates of their website next week, I'm sure that is going to take off soon, too.

Who's up for writing a novella in the month of November? huh?

Happy

I've been following along this week with LifeTwo's week long series on "How to be Happier" which focuses on the work of Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar and his book "Happier."

Today has brought forth all sorts of interesting reads...
First we learn the four archetypes of happiness and their descriptions. These days I'm afraid I fall more into the Hedonist type than any of the others, while HalfBrainBoy spends more time following the Rat Racer type (except on the weekends...;)) And of course, the Happiness archetype is the preferred type to be following. I could go into the descriptions and explanations, but why bother when you can head on over to the link and read all about it yourself? Besides, there are several posts which come prior to today's that you should read first if you are interested in this.

Also, if you are a younger reader, don't let the location of the information scare you away. It's not just for us old folks. Happiness is attainable for all ages! :)

There are exercises included in the posts and links and insightful comments from others. I wanted to include info here for others who may not already know about it.

Posted today in other areas of their site, they discussed today that becoming more organized can make a person happier because the more organized you are and more simplified your life is, the more time you have to do the things you really want to do. Well, being the little type-A organizational freak that I am, I was all over that one. When blogger Greg asks the question, Can You Organize Your Way to Happiness? I answer a hearty YES! And he provides fabulous links to sites that make me happy just knowing they exist. *sigh*

9.24.2007

Random Bullets of my evening...

  • It would appear that 5:54 is walking through the neighborhood of kinnicchick and halfbrainboy time. At least on Monday afternoons!
  • I have an appointment to get our biga$$car tuned up tomorrow morning at the crack of morning. The big 120,000 mile appointment. Do not ask me why I scheduled it so early in the morning. I guess I thought it would be a good call. You know, get it in early and they'll have it done so much more quickly. This means I'll be dealing with the rush hour traffic of people going to work in the cities. It will be great. And pricey. I ran the car through the car wash last week. Ever since then it has sounded like it hasn't had grease anywhere. Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeel. People look for us blocks away when we are coming down the street. I'm guessing they think there must be a runaway train cruising through town without benefit of tracks or something.
  • I'm tired of the ridiculously overblown Croc/escalator hype. Please. Escalators can catch shoes no matter what you are wearing. Flip-flops, sandals, etc. It has just come back into the media again because of the tot's incident. I'm always waiting to have my shoelaces caught in the escalator. Why do you think I wear Keen sandals? Why do you think I stay out of malls? Take the steps. They're safer. And you get exercise.
  • It is raining. Again. A really good storm. Hoping my daughter's roof doesn't leak. Again.
  • Had a great visit with KathyHowe, CindiRella, and CursingMama on Friday Night when we gathered for another Girls' Night Out at the Howe House. We even got to try out Cindi's hoop!
  • I removed the link to our local Relay For Life fundraiser because the site has been turned off. When the new site is activated and our team is registered, I'll get it linked up once again. In the meantime, I'd be happy to see you donate to the American Cancer Society here. For more personal giving, I happen to know several people who are currently battling cancer or have recently been fighting and could use your financial contributions. Email me and I will point you in their direction so your dollar can be used in the most direct and helpful way possible. Smooches to all of you.
  • I have acquired another chicken/rooster. Do ya'll think this may be turning into an obsession? This isn't just a chicken, however. This is a bobble chicken. I found it rather difficult to take a photo of the bird for it didn't want to stand still!

bobble chicken 1

9.17.2007

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month...

News from the battle lines.

Sahara had surgery this week. That nasty inoperable gbm with which she was first diagnosed, was a misdiagnosis. There is fabulous news in their world. You can visit her blog and learn more about it there. But things are looking much brighter than they did the last time I wrote about her here.

Grant is still lighting his family's world with his lovely life. He brings them joy and shows determination with every passing day. He asks questions which he loves to have answered in the guestbook of his CaringBridge site, if you care to answer. His parents read the answers to him, which he enjoys.

Connor and his family received wonderful news this week. No more brain tumor! Do you remember Connor's story? He was dianosed with Congenital Glioblastoma multiforme stage 4. His family was given no hope when this was found. Always search for hope. Always. Never give up.

Do you notice what these stories have in common? These inspirations are young people. They are not the only inspirations I've had on my list who have been young. No, not at all. I'm sure you could add many more to the list, too. I'm writing of them tonight because I received a strong reminder when I went blog-walking today and visited another inspiration of mine, Deb. I'm sure if you've been reading here for any length of time, you will remember her. She's been walking her own journey for a while now. Well today she had a post that put all of these young people racing into my mind and all of the others who are fighting and have fought. She reminded me of why we are doing this. Yes, I got involved because of HalfBrainBoy's journey. But I stay involved for all of them. Thank you for your continued involvement, Deb. And thank you again for the reminder... Because sometimes I need a kick in the ass.

9.14.2007

What book?

Stolen from CursingMama Knit Motorcycle.

What book is KinnicChick?:




You're Cat's Cradle!

by Kurt Vonnegut

You believe quite firmly that free will deserted you long ago and far
away. As a result, it's hard to take responsibility for anything. Even though you show
great potential as a leader of a small 3rd world country, the choices are all made ahead
of time. You're rather fond of games involving string. Your fear of nuclear weaponry is
trumped only by your fear of ice.



Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.



Works for me... and now, what book will HalfBrainBoy turn out to be???




You're The Guns of August!

by Barbara Tuchman

Though you're interested in war, what you really want to know is what
causes war. You're out to expose imperialism, militarism, and nationalism for what they
really are. Nevertheless, you're always living in the past and have a hard time dealing
with what's going on today. You're also far more focused on Europe than anywhere else in
the world. A fitting motto for you might be "Guns do kill, but so can
diplomats. "



Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.



Works for him too...

Original Divas...

Because Katie is in Turkey and is not allowed to see things on wordpress, I present

Original Divas...

Back in the late 90’s I got my first computer at home. Because of my work as a quality control analyst who tested software in the world of Information Technology I had to be able to provide support at times and whined and whimpered when my rotation for on call would come about. I found it difficult to wake up in the middle of the night to those phone calls when I would have to figure out what the problem was based on a description over the phone by a voice of a (typically) crabby night operator who didn’t know some of the software systems any better than I did.

Getting a computer at home allowed me to be able to hook up to the computers downtown and do some actual research and visually see what was going on. This made life so. much. easier.

It also opened up my life to the world wide web. Internet for the masses. Magazines online. Research of any subject that I fancied on a whim. And I was off and running. How amazing was that?

Shortly after that, I found a website that was discussing Oprah and her weight loss and fitness guru at the time, Bob Greene. His book Make the Connection was the latest and greatest thing. A discussion group formed from that site, rather like a bulletin board or perhaps that is exactly what the first group was. I really can’t remember anymore. I bet my friends, do. It was on one of the women’s magazine sites.

Well, there was a lot of discussion going on there, and a lot of support and caring and friendships forming. And one day, the web had a hiccup and the site went down. And that one day stretched into two and three… I had an email address or two for some of them and we began to send emails in the background: “What’s going on? Have you heard from anyone else?” And it began to dawn on us that we needed a backup plan and contingencies. :)

So many more email addresses were exchanged when the site came back up (I think quite honestly they couldn’t handle the volume of interest and discussion that was going on in their little site!) and different ideas were discussed (like yahoo groups, for example). These people were becoming important to each other and didn’t want to lose contact again!

In the year 2000, one little gathering of those brought together through the power of the internet took place in the city of Chicago, Illinois. They are pictured here. The anniversary of that event was just over a week ago. Happy Anniversary of our Chicago Diva Fest, ladies. I’m so very proud of us for maintaining our connection for such a long time. I love you like my sisters and hope we are able to come together again very soon.

Divas in Chicago

Peter, Amanda and Jane

Katie and KathyC and their girls

News from this side of the river...

News from my world that's almost fit to print...

  • The one trial I've almost been involved with wrapped up this week with the defendant being found guilty of 2nd degree intentional homicide. I know I've said it too often already, but I'm very grateful I didn't end up on this jury. They never would have picked me, though. I was far too biased walking into it. The day I read about the police call in the local paper I said (not just to myself but out loud, for crying out loud) "Oh this guy is so guilty, and stupid!"
  • It's Friday, which means HalfBrainBoy heads this direction from his weekday place across the river. What will we be doing this weekend? Maybe spending a little time with extended family if we're lucky. Maybe doing a little shopping for the next big thing on our finishing the new home list. Probably watching a little Mystery Science Theater 3000 (to satisfy the geek in us).
  • Had an email from my niece this week informing me that she and her cousin are interested in joining the Relay Committee. What was that I said about the younger generation stepping up to the plate? She lost her grandpa to this insidious disease less than a couple of weeks ago, so it's deep in their hearts to find the cure, too. Still, I'm proud of the girls. There aren't many 16-year-olds who step up and get this involved.
  • Considering the whole ridiculousness of the man vs. women outlook of the list, I thought Busymom's list was quite apropos. You? In fact, we could make the list MUCH longer given that outlook...

I guess that's about enough news for me this morning before I've even finished my first cup of coffee. I've already broken a piece of my bracelet off and haven't even struggled through the first short story of this final book in the challenge. I'm determined to sit here until I do. One story. They're actually pretty short. I can do this. And then I'm going to do some writing. Because Friday is writing day, even if Marge isn't here.

Have a great weekend. What's on your list of fun things to do this weekend?

9.13.2007

Here I sit...

Sitting here listening to the little red roomba dash around the wood floors cleaning up after us and doing some cleaning up of my own on a document for Truffles by BC.

Also trying to work up the desire to begin the fourth and final book of the R.I.P. Autumn Challenge, which for me is The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories It's the one for which I most wanted to get involved in the challenge, and yet the most challenging book of all.

But now, I have to finish up my document tasks, print them off and head to the coffee shop. Work calls.

9.12.2007

Decorating... it just keeps on creeping along...

Not much has happened since our last report on decorating from the home front. We are, for the most part, living with the decisions made so far and letting them settle. We are getting the feel for living in this space and seeing how we utilize the various rooms and what we think we still need.

Last week we drove in to our development and the guy who has a blinds company was just loading up his car after meeting with one of the new town home owners. We stopped to chat with him about coming over and delivering his pitch to us some day and he said he actually had some time right then if we were open. Perfect. So he stopped in and we chatted for forty-five minutes giving him our feel for what we wanted in window coverings and he showed us what he was doing in the development here and in Blaine. He wrote up a bid and said they could be installing in just a couple of weeks, which is really good news as we are very tired of sneaking around in the dark at night.

I'm thinking that installation should happen about the same time as the delivery of our bedroom furniture, which feels like it has taken forever.

The living room furniture is being lived in. We like it just fine, but it is not enough. Still looking for the perfect recliner to finish it off. And wishing we'd gone with one more chair or perhaps the loveseat in addition to the sofa/chair combo. And we're still looking for the pieces to put beside the fireplace. Because the perfect things just haven't come along yet. If only that sideboard to match our dining room had been two inches smaller. *sigh*

And the perfect rug will be found in New Mexico as soon as we next travel there. I can feel it.

The southwest feeling is just exactly what the doctor ordered, though. And the girls are totally enjoying hanging out here. When we have it all together, we'll have a party and invite you all to come.

9.04.2007

For Phil...

My SIL Diane lost her father this weekend. I do not even remember when she told me that he was waging his own war on cancer, but I know that she puts forth her own quiet efforts whenever Relay comes around. She has so many other things going on all of the time with two very busy high school aged kids who are active in more activities than I could even name. And she and my brother work full time as well. They are the ultimate fast-paced family of today. I'm not sure how they keep it all straight. (Probably less time on the computer, heh.)

In fact, I have two brothers who's families live lives that are much faster paced than my own. They accomplish more in one day than I manage to get done in a week. I envy how many checkmarks they must have on their to-do lists in comparison to mine.

This took an interesting turn.

What I really wanted to say...

We hope that at some point soon, everyone in Phil's family can breathe a little easier knowing that his pain and struggle has passed. But until then, our deepest heart felt condolences and sympathies are with each of them.