December 31, 2005
September 29, 2005
September 21, 2005
MUST. LEARN. TO. BREATHE.
Got a phone call last night to do yet another project. This one from a high school.
Still. Have. To. Finish. Elementary. School.
Must. Work. On. Financial. Site.
Must. Email. Principal. For. Yet. Another. Project.
Must. Not. Get. Too. Stressed.
ARRGH..! TOO LATE!
When will I find time to actually WRITE anything?!?
If anyone knows how to squeeze more than 24 hours out of one day, PLEASE let me know! *sigh*
September 12, 2005
LibriVox is a blog devoted to podcasting public domain books. The first book they are showcasing is The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad. The e-text to The Secret Agent can be found here. These books can be found at Project Gutenberg. In a nutshell, LibriVox is asking for volunteers out there in cyber world to read a chapter (or two) from these books via Podcast.
Public domain books + volunteer readers + podcast = Librivox. Starting this
week, LibriVox will try to bring people together to record a chapter of a
well-known book, which will then be distributed over the internet. Or, in the
group’s words: “LibriVox is an open source audio-literary attempt to harness the
power of the many to record and disseminate, in podcast form, books from the
Considering I’m an audiobook junkie (ok, just a book junkie period) I’m totally diggin’ this idea. In fact, I’m seriously thinking about reading a chapter myself, if I can figure out this whole Podcasting thing (hey, I said I was a geek, I didn’t say I was a SMART geek).
Anyway, I just listened to an excerpt from chapter one - very cool. Regular Joes and Janes reading online, sweet! Don’t have time to listen to it at home? Load it on your iPod and take it with you.
I’m totally loving this idea. Check it out! And don’t give me crap about not having time, EVERYONE has down time at some point in their day. Here’s an idea, instead of turning on the boob tube, boot up your iPod and listen to some classic fiction.
Feed your brain! :D
September 09, 2005
Ahhhhh…the peace and quiet! I finally made it to my “office” today. This is the first time in two weeks I’ve been out of the house. If I’m forced to sit in at my corner desk one more day, with nothing but fake paneling to look at, I’ll go crazy. I know, I know, waah.
I want to scratch my eyes out. They are watering so bad today that my mascara is gelling with the salt in my tear ducts that it’s hardening and creasing in the cracks of my eyelids.
Sounds attractive, doesn’t it? Well, try dealing with that all day long. In addition, my nose is a virtual snot faucet today and I can’t go anywhere without an emergency Kleenex in my pocket. I don’t feel bad, just uncomfortable. I wish it would rain – wash some of this ragweed down the drains.
Okay, well I though it would be quiet. There’s a young girl with a small girl (not even two?) trying to find something about a water cycle. One of the librarians are helping her and they aren’t being quiet.
Pst…newsflash, this is a library! It amazes me how much people tend to forget that.
However, I’m out of the house so I can’t complain too loudly.
Last night was tough. Game Dude’s attitude has gone downhill. Not toward us (thank God) but toward school, he just hates it. It probably doesn’t help that we expect perfection from him. I know, we shouldn’t, he doesn’t need the pressure.
He had to make a map of his neighborhood. Being the control freak that I am, I showed him how to bring up a map of our neighborhood on Google. He pretty much copied that. The only problem is, he did a really sloppy job. His handwriting (which has never been the greatest to begin with) was really bad and to top it off, he misspelled neighborhood (neihborhood). And to make matters worse, he could care less. I think he’s lazy at heart and just didn’t want to take the time to look up the word and make sure he spelled it correctly.
Considering the project was due today and he didn’t have time to redo it (though technically, I should have made him and didn’t, but the reason I didn’t later), he found some white out and corrected it, in three different areas. So, it looked pretty bad. Then he colored in the field area but nothing else and his houses looked juvenile.
Normally, I would have helped him. Normally, I would have made him do it over regardless of the fact that it was due the next day and he would huff and puff the entire process. But I didn’t for two reasons:
What lesson am I teaching him if I help him make it better? He didn’t care to do a good job to begin with so why should I care for the both of us?
It’s the beginning of the school year so if he doesn’t get a good grade on this map (and I’m suspecting he won’t) then it’s not that big of a deal to make up the points.
I wanted to do this to teach him a lesson. He needs to learn that if he wants good grades he’ll have to work for it. And he does want good grades, it makes him feel good about himself and of course, he likes the praise we bestow on him when he does a good job. However, the problem is, he doesn’t want to work for it. He simply wants it handed to him on a silver platter.
I take the blame. This is my fault. I’ve babied him for far too many years. Especially when it came to written assignments. The writer in me simply WOULD NOT ALLOW him to turn in something shoddy. In essence, I “edited” his project; sometimes to the point it was unrecognizable.
I know, I wasn’t helping.
But I’m a control freak. I’ve always (well, maybe not always, but certainly later in my academic career) enjoyed doing big projects. It was fun to put something together from nothing, especially writing assignments. I approached it from the stand point that if I wanted to think of myself as a writer, then I needed to prove to everyone who read my work that indeed I was.
Why wouldn’t I want this for our children?
There were two aspects of the map that I was not sure how to approach. The scale and the grid. (I totally forgot what a map grid was). So, we asked Music Man. The first words out of Music Man’s mouth was, “That’s pretty sloppy.”
Needless to say, World War III broke out. But after I calmed down, he was absolutely right. I do have a tendency to sugar-coat the boys’ work. I guess it’s the mom in me but I can’t be overly critical of the boys – I don’t want them to give up before they ever really tried.
Music Man blurted that out before he thought. He was just so shocked to see the shape of the map. Game Dude usually does better work than that. I don’t blame him, I blame myself. It’s entirely my fault. If I want the boys to do good work, to take pride in their work, then I need to offer constructive criticism. They won’t learn if they don’t understand what they’ve done wrong.
I don’t seem to have this problem with Mushroom King. He’s a naturally curious boy and he is enthusiastic about his projects – in essence, he likes to learn. He has his moments, of course, but overall, he’s fun to do things with because he CARES. Game Dude does not.
How do you make a child care? Is that even possible? Sure, he gets upset when he sees he’s disappointed us, but if left to his own devices, he wouldn’t put forth much effort. Quite frankly, I’m tired of caring for both of us. He had such an attitude toward this assignment.
GD: “It’s only paper, mom.”
Me: “No, you can’t think of it like that. It’s worth 50 points. You’re doing this for the points. Don’t you want to get a good grade.”
Me: “Well then…”
But was that the right approach? Is he doing this for the points or he is doing this because he needs to understand how a map works and where he is in the overall scheme of things? Would he care if I told him that? Does all of this matter in the long run? After all, can you think back to your middle school years? Did any of that affect you as an adult?
Sure, high school grades are important for college and I’m prepping him to be a conscientious student for those years ahead, but overall, does it matter if he gets A’s? He’s pretty much a straight B student. Shouldn’t I be happy with that? Aren’t I causing more harm than good for asking him to strive to be better? Shouldn’t a person want to do better?
It’s hard to find the balance.
The mom in me wants him to do good, to be proud of himself, to be proud of him. The control freak in me just simply wants to do it for him (NOT GOOD).
Yet the independent part of me wants him to do it on his own, to learn to do things on his own, to think for himself, to come up with solutions by himself.
This is really hard for me. We’re come to the crossroad in his life where I need to let go. He needs to learn from his mistakes. I need to LET him learn these lessons on his own. Am I the reason he doesn’t care? Because he knows there’s no pleasing me so why try? I can understand that mentality and I suppose the only reason why I’m not like that is because I’m such a perfectionist.
He’s growing up so fast. I can tell he wants to get away from me. I want him to grow apart from me, but I’m having such a hard time with this. Does anyone have any advice?
There is light at the end of this bleak tunnel. He turned in quite a hefty science project today, worth 75 points, and when I went through it with him, checking things off the checklist (which he wasn’t too happy with, “Mom, I don’t NEED your help.” I need to listen!!) I have to say, I was impressed. I edited his conclusion, which he wrote at home and by himself. He checked it to the requirements he needed in order to get the full 25 points and wrote it.
I was beaming as I read it. It sounded very logical and articulate. He did a really good job writing down his thoughts. I can’t help but take a little credit for that – if I hadn’t pushed him so much in past writing assignments, would he have done such a good job?
Last night was emotional and really tough. But I learned something and I hope Game Dude learned something too. I’m human, I make mistakes, but I want what’s best for him. I just need to learn to back away and let him grow up.
I’ve been searching for a larger flash drive. I currently have a 128 stick but it’s increasingly becoming too small for all of the projects I’ve been doing. (I like to load everything on my stick, go to my office, dump everything onto my notebook and work from there).
Best Buy and Circuit City had some sales but they weren’t very good deals – buy a 256 for $40 with a $17 rebate.
Music Man hates rebates because they are a pain to put together and then it takes forever to get back (it’ll take 8 weeks to get the rebate back on this notebook). So, I skipped out on buying one.
We all went flash drive shopping after dinner last night. We ended up at Staples because it’s next door to Wendy’s and we ate dinner there because they were having a fund raiser for the Katrina victims (eat there between 5 – 8 and they would donate 10% of the proceeds).
We walked over to Staples. We stumbled onto a great deal – a 512 MB flash drive for $29.94. That is by far the best deal we’ve run across. The only problem is, they were out.
Disappointing, but not the end of the world.
I went in search of the boys (they tend to wander) and when I got back, Music Man was talking to one of the associates. Yes, they were sold out. A manager happened to walk by just then and said, “But we can substitute that if you wish.”
So, believe it or not, we bought a 512 MB Sony flash drive for $29.94!! C’mon, I dare you to beat that price! For a 512?? And what’s even cooler about this is that we can compress the information (the flash drive came with the compression program) and I’m actually capable of getting over 1 gig of information on this tiny (because it’s TINY) flash drive.
I LOVE IT!!
So now I have plenty of room to carry all of my projects around with me. I could put it on my keychain but the fastener is on the lid and I’m afraid it might come loose and I would lose my flash drive.
So, I’ll have to carry it around in my pocket or something. This shows up how much of a geek I am though – one of the reasons I love this thing is because it’s so cute! It’s so little!
I have a new pet. ;)
We plan on dragging our pop-up out this weekend and opening it up. I hope it’s held up for the past two years, no water damage, bug problems, etc. Other than that, we don’t have any big plans. I’ll probably end up working on the school project, I semi-promised the client I would have a couple of templates for her to look at in the next week. I have one ready to go and I’m working on the second one. I’d like to build a third. I want them to feel like they are getting their money’s worth.
It’s so cool I’m getting paid for this!
It’s tough to be creative though. It really tires me out. It’s hard to come up with something different, appealing, functional, etc. I just hope she likes what I’ve come up with and doesn’t turn her nose up at the three offerings.
Starting over from scratch would bite.
Everyone have a great weekend!
September 08, 2005
I love this time of year.
No wait, I hate it.
Well, actually, I love and hate it.
I love the weather. I love how the wind turns crisp, how the shadows lengthen, how the days take on a hazy, yellowish tint, how the air smells sweet with decaying leaves and of course, the changing trees.
I hate the weather. One word: Ragweed.
I don’t have allergies, except for this one month of the year. My eyes water ALL DAY LONG, I sneeze my head off and my body aches as if saying, “Hey! What’s going on up there in the head region? Whatever it is, stop it already! You’re making us miserable!”
And God help me, we’re going camping in a few weeks.
When we first started talking about digging our pop-up out of the back yard (it’s been a few years since we’ve been camping) and planned to go to Branson in September, I never even stopped to think, “Wait. This is a BAAAAD time of year for me.”
No, instead I enthusiastically agreed and we made the reservations. Now I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve lost my mind. I can already tell you it’s going to be terrible. Not the actual camping experience, but being outside virtually the whole weekend and being drugged out of my mind to try and stop the fountain of mucus that seems to endlessly flow out of nowhere (now there’s a pretty picture).
Game Dude is usually as miserable as I am. We’re so much alike (hence our fireworks). Mushroom King has a stuffy nose right now, but I really think it’s because of a cold. His allergies attack in the spring. Music Man is also suffering, but I don’t think his is because of ragweed.
We should buy stock in Kleenex.
So, it’s safe to say I’m not feeling 100%. I probably won’t be feeling back to “normal” until October.
Here’s a little word of advice: DON’T GET ON MY NERVES.
Unfortunately, this lady wasn’t paying attention.
I received this snarky little email this morning:
Our children do not attend [insert name of school] - Thank Goodness - and I do not care about activities at [insert name of school]. Please remove our names from all lists at your institution. Thank you.
What the? School has only been in session for two weeks. Do I detect a note of bitterness?
The reason I even received this email is because in one of my many insane moments, I volunteered to write a weekly email to parents at Mushroom King’s school. I send these emails every Thursday to remind parents of what’s coming up, etc. Last year’s PTA president suggested it because a lot of parents don’t bother to read the mountain of papers that come home with their child every day. *cough*
To be fair, most of the feedback has been very positive. I think most people appreciate the reminders.
However, apparently this woman did not. I don’t know what ticked her off, but apparently it was so bad that they decided to move out of the district.
If I’ve learned anything from my volunteer years it’s this:
There is no way, on God’s green earth, that you can please everyone. So stop trying and do the job to the best of your ability.
Man, I feel sorry for teachers for having to put with rude, snarky, hateful parents.
August 18, 2005
These stones were made while hubby and I were away on our tenth anniversary cruise. My mom came up with this idea and surprised me with them when we got back. I love these stones and will always treasure them. Those hands are so small! This is yet another reminder of how children grow up so FAST. Enjoy them while you can.
This week’s theme - Hands
I post twice a day here.
August 17, 2005
August 05, 2005
July 27, 2005
July 20, 2005
July 11, 2005
I simply laughed.
I’m not an abstract person; I think along concrete lines. I look at a tree, and I see a tree, I don’t see a world leader, a symbol, or even nature, I simply see an object and never think anything more. I would LIKE to train myself to see beyond that initial process but I’m afraid I just don’t have the patience to train myself. I have learned to read between the lines in prose, but poetry is still beyond my comprehension.
In my latest version of Writer’s Digest, Miriam Sagan offers advice for poets that are going through a creative slump. Here’s an excerpt:
Found in the Tabloids
Most of us like to scan the tabloids at the supermarket checkout line,
but few of us will admit to buying them. Here’s a great excuse. Buy a few and
look at the most outlandish stories for poetic inspiration. Are 4,000 pairs of
shoes found annually in the New York City subway system? Write a poem about it.
When my daughter was little, I used to enjoy taking her grocery shopping because
she could ride in the cart. I glanced at a tabloid and was intrigued by the
headline, “Baby Found Inside Watermelon.” The story claimed that a large
watermelon on a kibbutz in Israel had been sliced open, only to reveal an infant
inside. Babies and produce were on my mind that day. I wrote a poem that took
its title from the headline:
Tabloid headline on the checkout line
My basket full of cantaloupe
The night you were conceived, little one,I, your mother,
dreamed of a slit peach
With a tiny dark-haired baby inside
Like the old couple in the Japanese fairy tale
Who looked for peach boy, peach girl.
Without the tabloid, I probably never would have remembered the
dream and wanted to share its importance.
The poem then goes on to discuss the tabloid story and ends:
Promise me, little milk and honey girl
That you’ll sproutQuick as the wild gourd
Not hideMystery inside of fruit.
I should say that this poem is profound, insightful, deeply moving, but I can’t. I simply don’t understand it. I suppose that’s the whole point behind poetry - it’ s not meant to have a universal meaning, it means whatever the reader wants it to mean.
I’m too shallow for poetry, and I think that might be a bad thing.
Write From Karen
July 10, 2005
July 08, 2005
This bit by Eric Zorn’s guest blogger, Rex Huppke, really struck home.
What do we do now?
It seemed inevitable terrorists would strike again, would spill the
blood of innocent people, would find a way to show this “war” against them has
not been won. Sure enough, they did it, shook the city of London with four
coordinated explosions that tore the bodies of 40 people apart and injured
hundreds of others. It rattles any sane person. Tough or not, you’re forced stop
So how do we react?
Bastards. Let’s steel our resolve to root them out.
Cowards. How can they do this in the name of anybody’s god?
Devils. How can we ever stop an enemy like this.
Fools. No doubt they’re fools, but what do we do now?
We’ve gone after them. We’ve swept through a country in the name of
defending our homeland. But did any of us think for a minute something like this
wouldn’t happen again?
Honestly, for me, no. I hadn’t thought about terrorists attacking other parts of the world because for some reason, I had it in my head that Iraq hated us and us alone. I think now that’s an arrogant point of view. Why just us? Iraq is bent on forcing their religious beliefs on the world, not just us, why wouldn’t they attack other “sinful” (their opinion, not mine) nations?
This comment by a California resident really steamed my broccoli:
I am a U.S. citizen in California reading this blog (and Europhobia) and I
must say that even though I detest George Bush and consider him unfit as a
leader, I suspended all of that opinion just to listen to the man and what he
had to say today. I became aware that I finally understood where he might be
coming from in terms of his policies. Prior to today, I just couldn’t fathom his
For reasons unknown to me, I have been more affected by the terrorist
attacks today in London, than I was by 9/11 in my own country.
I feel so very badly for the Londoners, their families and the human
toll this has taken today.
I can’t believe it takes another country’s tragedy to wake this person up! What is WRONG with people?? Why would this person be more affected by neighboring countries’ tragedies than by what’s happening on our own native soil? Why are people so willing to empathize with other people and yet ignore/ridicule/reject the vicitms in their backyard?
Reading the accounts of people who were there, the timeline of the event and one individual’s account of surviving the terrorists’ attacks makes my heart ache. Why are people so cruel? Why are so many people weak-minded and willing to accept evil in their lives? The people who attacked London have cut their noses off to spite their faces - this will only make more of the world understand our (Americans) reasons of why we are in Iraq to begin with - why chase these people all over the world when we can squash their attempts on their native soil?
NOW DO YOU GET IT??
Here’s an anonymous comment I found on the M.A.W.B Squad blog -
I am not happy what happened in London today.
BUT! At the same time in Bagdad (Irak) were also killed 40 peoples in
bomb attack. Nobody is giving his condolences to the people of Irak an the
family of the killed peoples in that country.
When You look to these differences between the victims in Bagdad and London You will understand why these heappened to the peoples in London!
Let’s recap - WHO STARTED THE ATTACKS AGAIN?? I thought so.
I began this rant with a quote from Rex Huppke and I’ll end it with a quote from the man as well:
Our hearts have to go out to the British. We know too well the unfamiliar
emotions that will now creep into their minds, the naked feeling of having your
security stripped away.
And we must prepare for an onslaught of opinions and
questions about whether we’ve made the world better, or whether we’ve made it
So here we are, left, every one of us — the British, nations the world
over, us — to ask the same question we were asking the day U.S. jetliners became
missiles and changed the world:
What do we do now?
What in the hell do we do now?
July 07, 2005
Thanks for reading about our Sanibel vacation. If anyone missed the diary entries, please go the “Sanibel Vacation” category located in the right-hand column.
It’s good to be back. As I mentioned (in a sidenote) in one of my entries, my writers’ group has disbanded. I’m more relieved than sad, quite frankly. My Outlook hasn’t been dinging every five minutes!! Now that I have more time…wait….did I just say those words? “Have more time?” I think I’ll just step back and savor those words for a moment……
Ok, I’m back.
I’ve revamped my creative writing site if anyone is interested in hopping over there for a visit. In a nutshell, I’ve made a section for my ongoing stories based on writing prompts. I had started this “experiment” over at Scribes shortly before we pulled the plug. In essence, these ongoing stories are exercises that warm me up to work on my novel and short story. On my creative writing site, I’ve also included: past stories, author info, fun stuff for writers, and my portfolio which will list my current progress on my current writing projects as well as submission and rejection info. This site won’t change on a daily basis (well, the fun stuff for writers will) but it will change so please check back once in a while.
I went to the bookstore today and picked up A Little Change of Face by Lauren Baratz-Logsted. Baratz-Logsted (what a mouthful!) is the guest chick at www.literarychicks.com. I read this blog on a daily basis and this author caught my attention. I thought her blog entry comparing chick-lit to shoes was clever. Anyway, I’ll let you know what I thought about it. I’m beginning to like chick-lit more and more. It really appeals to my sense of humor and it also appeals to my writing style (whatever that may be at this point). Maybe I should seriously look into writing something in that genre.
Fouth of July was good. We went over to the in-laws Sunday night and shot off the crackers we bought (a burgeoning tradition) and then Monday night we parked at a dentist’s office (along with the other half of Springfield) and mooched off the country club’s fireworks display. We had a good time though. We didn’t have to fight the crowds and we were home within 15 minutes, as opposed to 2 hours.
The 4th of July holiday is the halfway point for the boys; summer is officially half over. I can’t believe they will be starting back to school in about six weeks! I’m sort of ready for them to go back…but not yet. Ask me again after we go shoe shopping.
We’re off to catch some rays!
July 03, 2005
July 01, 2005
I woke up laughing. Have you ever had a dream that made you laugh? Apparently I had one this morning. I remember waking up to the Oldie’s station with a smile on my face. Fragments of the dream lingered like the smell of garlic after an Italian meal.
I woke up at 5:15 a.m. It was too early, I could have slept, but I needed to get up and do some last minute Internet things (see how I love you all?)
Things went smoothly this morning. We threw our health and beauty aids into our luggage, cleaned up the kitchen and took out the trash. Hubby set the light timers and everyone scarfed down breakfast.
The weather is perfect today. Sunny and 70’s – good flying weather. We got to the airport an hour before our scheduled flight and checked in right away. Springfield is such a small city that it doesn’t take long to get through the whole security thing. And everyone is nice. Not like Dallas where everyone looks at you like you’re a bug they would love to squash.
Nine-twenty, our scheduled time to fly out comes and goes. I tense. I’m not a big fan of the Springfield airport because there are always delays. The last time we flew out of Springfield the plane had mechanical problems and since we live in a remote area (by American Airlines standards) they didn’t have another plane sitting around waiting on us. Needless to say, we missed our connecting flight in Dallas and ended up spending the night at a Dallas hotel, in our clothes. It wasn’t pleasant, but it did give us a horror story to tell people. Unfortunately, that was the kids’ first airplane trip and they were (still are) a little leery of flying.
“Attention, ladies and gentlemen. Our mechanics are working on the plane now and it will hopefully be a few minutes before we start boarding.”
Key word here is: hopefully
I glanced at hubby and mumbled under my breath, “This is the LAST time we fly out of Springfield.” I had visions of running our asses off at the Dallas airport again trying to beg someone to give us four seats to our destination and being ignored. I especially enjoy the disgust airline employees display while we try our hardest to remain calm and rational knowing that if we piss them off, even the slightest, our chances of leaving the airport within the next week are pretty slim.
I don’t DO the beg thing.
However, a few minutes later, we did indeed board and we heaved a sigh of relief. We overheard one of the staff speaking to some guy on the phone that they couldn’t find the oil cap and that’s what caused the delay.
This is important, right?
We sat on the plane for about 20 minutes trying to pretend that nothing was wrong. The captain finally came on and said we were waiting on paperwork. Shortly after this announcement, I noticed a tankard pull up beside the plane (we’re sitting in the very back of the plane and I can barely hear myself type over the jet engines. Good thing I brought some Tylenol). Hubby said he thought it was a sewer truck. Couldn’t they have thought of pumping out the poop earlier?
Finally, the flight attendant did her spiel and we’re in the air now.
We got separated from the kids. They are sitting two rows in front of us. Our oldest, who REALLY hates to fly, was pretty nervous and wanted to split up and sit with either me or hubby but I knew that once we were in the air, he’d have fun sitting with his brother so they could compare notes on their new Gameboy DS games they bought yesterday with their birthday/holiday money.
So, I have no idea what they are doing now, but I’m sure they’re too busy playing to be concerned with what’s going on. (I later learned that they didn't played their games because they were unsure it was safe to “operate electronic devices.” Poor guys, they sat, still as statues, until we arrived in Dallas. The people in front of us complimented us on the fact that we have such well-behaved boys. I resisted the urge to look behind me to see if maybe she was addressing someone behind us).
The plane is only about half full. Hubby and I are sitting in the very back and the single row across from us is empty. Technically, the kids could move back here with us but considering they weren’t not acting nervous, I kept my mouth shut.
Our seats were initially all scattered – hubby was going to sit in 3B, I was going to sit in 12A, and the boys would sit together in the 14th row. However, a man in a wheelchair wanted to sit up toward the front of the plane so our seats were reassigned. It actually worked out better because now hubby and I can sit together.
The flight attendant is serving beverages. I both love and hate this part. I love the fact that I can whet my whistle (I always get so thirsty on planes, I think it’s nerves) but I feel like a moocher by taking it. I know we paid for it, but I still feel like I need to leave a tip or something.
The flight attendant is asking the boys what they want to drink and BJ is giving her a hard time. I think he’s flirting with her! AB didn’t want anything, probably because he’s too nervous to drink and too shy to tell her what he wants. BJ made her laugh when she asked him what he normally drank. He probably said root beer and she heard just the beer part.
He’s being his charming self.
It’s nearly our turn and I think I’ll stick to water. Too much sugar gives me a headache (course I won’t mention that I’m carrying a bag of suckers and a bag of Starburst in my carry on. Shh)
We are scheduled to get into Dallas at 10:30 a.m. Since we got a late start, we will probably get in closer to 11:00. This will still work out as we’ll have time to grab some airport lunch (yum) before catching our 12:54 p.m. flight to Fort Myers. More at the airport.
It’s noon and we’re sitting in the Dallas/Fort Worth airport. We’re at gate C20 after eating a healthy lunch at McDonalds. Actually, we were going to eat at a Chinese restaurant but it was $6.00 a meal and we didn’t feel like paying $30 for lunch.
I hate the Dallas airport though I have to admit, it’s not very crowded. The last time we were here it was so crowded we could barely walk, let alone run, which is what we needed to do. This time around we have an hour to wait. It looks like our plane is already here and waiting for us – which means of course, that something will go wrong at the last minute and we’ll have to wait even longer.
Our gate is pretty crowded. Nearly every seat is taken. We are sitting facing the runway so we can watch the planes take off. The girl sitting on my left is very antsy and bored. She keeps pulling her cell phone out in the hopes that someone has called between the two minutes she used it last. She keeps glancing over at me and hubby (he’s trying to get his voice activation function to work) to see what we’re doing. She’s young, probably early 20’s, if that. She asked us where we were going to make sure she was in the right place.
Ever heard of looking at a monitor?
She’s thin. She has on a white sweat jacket, tight jeans and flip-flops. She has shoulder-length straight blonde hair and raspberry nail polish. She’s trying to look inconspicuous as she glances over her shoulder in my direction but I’m pretty sure she’s trying to read what I’m writing. I’ll be embarrassed if she actually reads any of this.
Looking around me, there is a hodge podge of people. If I had to put a percentage on it – 80% people aged 50 and over, two other families, one has a boy about BJ’s age and one has a little girl about two.
People at airports used to make me so nervous but there’s really no reason to feel that way. For a short period of time, you share breathing space with complete strangers and are forced to act civilized – smile politely, make small talk “where are you headed,” etc.
Forty-five minutes to go! Next stop, Fort Myers!
We’re on the home stretch. We’re on the last plane and we’re sitting in the VERY back. What’s up with that? One advantage though is we can’t hear anything or anybody because of the engines; they are a low roar and right in our ear. We’re also by the bathrooms which means every Tom, Dick and Harry have to stand right next to our seats to wait to use the bathroom. There’s a little boy and his mother waiting and the little boy is dancing up and down because he has to go so bad. It’s weird being stared at while I’m typing this. I hope they can’t read upside down. My question is – why don’t they go BEFORE they leave the airport? It’s funny to watch them from the corner of my eye as they pretend they aren’t watching me or are trying to look everywhere but at me.
I just had a lady ask me what I was using. I knew that was going to happen. I suppose when you have all the coolest toys people are going to wonder what they are. How did I explain this contraption?
“It’s a word processor without the bells and whistles.”
Not a very technical way of explaining it, but it works.
I really hate sitting back here with the bathrooms. I don’t think we’ve ever had to sit in the back before and yet here we are, twice in one day. Yeah.
Another disadvantage to sitting way back here is that we don’t have a window. So we’re flying blind, literally. AB gets really nervous during take off and landings and when we can’t see what’s going on, it’s doubly disconcerting. We’re back here with the kitchen so it’s kind of interesting to see where they store all the drinks and how they work the carts. Of course, I have to endure the stares as the flight attendant’s seat is right behind me, but I suppose that’s the price one pays when we get a “deal” through the airlines. At least we are all sitting together this time. Hubby is one row up and by himself, but I’m sitting here with the boys. They seem more relaxed this time around – probably because I’m here.
Having the engines in my ear does have an advantage though – I don’t have to listen to the kid screaming toward the front of the plane. I can see that her mouth is open, eyes squinted, but no sound. It’s sort of like watching a silent film in color.
We should be hitting Fort Myers in about 2 ½ hours, which will be about 4;30 p.m. After we pick up our car, we’ll probably drive around a bit, get our bearings (where is the nearest grocery store, Wal-Mart, McDonalds, etc.) and then head out to our hotel. We’ll take some pictures of the area when we get settled.
Why is it so hard to stay awake on a plane? And you know something else? Planes put me in a trance. It’s weird. But once we get going and there’s the constant lull of the plane, I go mental. I just sit there, frozen, staring off into space. If I MAKE myself do something, like pull out my Neo and do a little writing, the trance is broken and I no longer feel airsick. Why is that? Is it because my attention has been diverted?
Yes, I get motion sickness, BAD. I can’t go across town without feeling sick to my stomach. I’m ok if I’m driving, but being a passenger, forgetaboutit.
Did I ever tell you about the time I was invited to go to Silver Dollar City with my sister-in-law (and I hadn’t been her sister-in-law for very long so I wanted to make a good impression) and had to have her pull over so I could vomit by the roadside? Talk about embarrassing.
I’d offer some observations about the people around me, but being in the very back row, I can’t see much other than the backs of their heads. I’m afraid that would be boring to describe as well as read. So I’ll sign off for now – zone out to my iPod and write later.
We made it into Fort Myers right on schedule – 4:30 p.m. After retrieving our luggage we rented a car at Alamo rental. We had to wait in line for quite a while because the first man demanded a Cadillac and the upgrade required more money and more paperwork. The next couple didn’t speak English very well so it took a while for the lady to figure out what they wanted.
Finally, it was our turn. We rode the Alamo shuttle to their lot and was told, “The keys are in the car, pick one (they were divided up into categories, we had the intermediate category) and drive it away.”
That’s the first time we were able to choose our car. In the past, we were simply assigned a car. It was really cool to be able to pick. We settled on a silver Grand Am and took off. It took us about 45 minutes from the car rental place to find our hotel. We drove out of Fort Myers airport, drove down Daniels road to Summerlin, crossed the toll bridge (which costs $6.00 every time you drive onto the island. This means we will be sticking to the island and not driving back and forth to Fort Myers), down Periwinkle, down Lingren and finally, followed the winding East Gulf Road to Middle Gulf Road to the Sundial Hotel.
They sustained some damage from the hurricane last year so there is quite a bit of construction. We had to check in at the gift shop because they are still working on their lobby.
We’re staying in the D building, room 406.
I can honestly say, this is the BEST room we’ve EVER had. It’s more like a condominium than a hotel room. It has a small living area, an adjoining dining room, a FULL kitchen with a bar, one full-sized bath and one bedroom. We fell in love with it immediately. This is saying a lot for me because a hotel room is a hotel room, or so I thought. Not so here. It’s GORGEOUS! And I can understand how people can stick around the beach their entire vacation with rooms like this. It’s very cozy.
After the shock of our great room wore off, we left in search of someplace to eat. We ended up eating at a pizza place just down the road from the hotel. Each of us had our own HUGE slice of pizza and their thin crust was really good (I’m not usually a fan of thin crust but this was soft and chewy, not hard). They served their full pizzas on a silver platter with a stand so people could eat under the pizza and save table space. We thought that was clever.
After pizza, we drove around and explored the island. One half of the island is undeveloped and a big chunk of it is reserved for wildlife. They have a seashell museum and there are bike trails everywhere; we’ll probably rent bikes sometime in the next four days and go exploring.
The other side of the island is more residential and the houses are expensive and attractive. There’s an old lighthouse on the very tip of the island. We came across the lighthouse during twilight so the lights were on and it gave the whole island a very charming feel.
There are raccoons EVERYWHERE. And they don’t appear to be very afraid of us, at all. There were three of the critters scavenging in the dumpster behind the restaurant and we’ve seen several just running around. How in the world did raccoons get on the island?! Hubby thinks they might have come by pirates, but who knows.
There are several swampy areas on the island and we’ve learned they have had about six inches more rain than normal this season. I can’t imagine living here during a really bad storm, there’s absolutely nowhere to go – people would have no choice but to evacuate.
After our impromptu sight-seeing tour, we headed back over the bridge to Fort Myers and bought a bunch of groceries at Publix. We ended up spending $75 on food but we figure we’re saving a bundle by not eating out. There are a TON of quaint eating places on the island, but we aren’t willing to spend $30 each time we go out. So…we plan on using our kitchen and cooking in. This will be a very relaxing vacation, as we don’t really plan on leaving our room or the beach.
We got back to the hotel around 10:00 p.m. and we all sat around, sort of zoning out until 11:00. The boys wanted to stay up longer, but I insisted they go to bed and they were asleep within minutes. They are sleeping on the fold out sofa bed.
I can barely keep my eyes open a moment longer. It was a long day of traveling, but we’re here and we’re VERY happy with what we’ve seen so far.
Tomorrow, we’ll explore the hotel further, sit on the beach and hopefully soak up some sun (if it doesn’t rain). I vote we stick around the hotel tomorrow and just veg. We have four days to explore at our leisure.
Want to see pictures? Go here.
June 07, 2005
June 05, 2005
A lot of good-looking faces are wasted on ugly people.
Daytime t.v. is incentive to get a job.
Altruism is when our selfishness benefits someone else.
All bad things must come to an end, too.
The real world is a figment of our lack of imagination.
It’s a thin line between genius and moron.
Only one diet has ever worked: exercise.
I chose the pass less traveled, but only because I was lost.
Paper is pretty cheap. Unless you’re a tree.
Some people don’t have the discipline to take a break.
We are what we meant to be.
A story is rewritten every time it’s read.
Never trade gibes with a comedian — they can remember faster than you
The only thing certain about our To Do list is that it will never be To
Life would be exhausting if it were a musical.
God speaks to us in hunches.
I post pictures everyday here.
June 02, 2005
The kids and I spent some really good quality time together today.
First, we dumped the fish bowl full of change, sorted it, then counted it. We ended up with $80! That will be enough to buy a couple of small dinners on vacation.
I feel kind of bad though. I walked into our bank with a chip on my shoulder. I used to HATE it when people brought me rolled up coin. I think mainly because I was forced to trust the person bringing in the money. When you’re a teller at a bank and are expected to balance to the penny every night, you can’t afford to make any questionable transactions. I really hated it when people came in with coin and didn’t have an account with us, at least with an account; there was some sort of recourse action.
So when I walked in, I sort of plopped the money down, started taking the rolls out of the fish bowl (I felt like a loser, carrying a fish bowl full of rolled coin in to begin with) and before the teller could open her mouth I said, “Yes, I have an account with you.”
The teller flinched as if I had pulled a sucker punch in front of her face. I felt bad then, so I softened the harsh-sounding words with a smile. She smiled back. She was actually very nice about it. I relaxed when she smiled and told her we were cashing in our coin to take on vacation with us.
“Oh? Where are you going on vacation?”
“Sanibel (pronounced San-I-bell) Island, Florida.”
“Oh…that sounds wonderful!”
Yes, yes it does, doesn’t it. Just saying the word “island” and I get all jittery. There’s something exotic, remote and exciting about visiting an island. Of course, when BJ learned we were staying on an island he looked momentarily panicked.
“But…how are you going to get back and forth?”
I had to laugh and I’m sure I turned a few shades of red while waiting for the teller to count out my $80. (I still can’t believe we had that much change!)
So, that was the first highlight of my day. After the bank, we went to Wally World and shopped for suntan lotion. Now, I don’t know about you all, but I have a real problem dishing out $8 dollars for a tube of suntan lotion. So, being the cheap frugal person that I am, I selected the generic brands, $3.50 for both bottles. I just hope it works well enough. I would hate to imagine being stuck in a stuffy, cramped airplane on the ride home with a second-degree burn.
After the suntan lotion, we headed toward the board games. But not before passing the monster squirt guns.
“Oh, mom! Can we get some squirt guns?”
I glanced at the price tag and nearly swallowed my tongue.
“For $15 dollars?! I think not.”
After much whining and pouting I compromised.
“I tell you what, I’ll buy them,” I see a visible perk in both boys, “if you pay me back when we get home.”
The shoulders slumped again.
“Nah,” AB said. BJ was slower to respond but when he weighed either losing the money and gaining a cheap plastic toy that would probably break after the first couple of times of playing with it (he’s had first-hand experience with that before), he shook his head.
Uh huh, I thought so.
We stopped in front of the board games. I was disappointed, they didn’t have much of a choice. But then again, I suppose this isn’t the most ideal time of year to shop for board games.
I actually got this idea from my sister-in-law. Her family is really big into board games and they are always sharing a laugh or telling a story about one of their games and I think that is the coolest thing, to share that experience with your family. So, I started thinking.
“Hey, boys, have you ever played Yahtzee?” I don’t know why I asked that when I knew the answer.
“Or Clue?” I held up the game. “What about Life?”
They looked at me like I was crazy.
What kind of mother am I? My boys haven’t played the classics?? I aim to rectify that problem this summer.
We bought Clue (I wanted to buy the Simpson’s version, but didn’t want to pay the extra five bucks. I know, I’m like the epitome of cheap). I also wanted to buy Life, but figured we better space this out a bit or hubby might get a little cranky.
We came home and opened the game. I was actually shaking I was so excited. I LOVE this game and remember playing it for hours when I was a kid. I got to be quite good at it, too.
I explained the rules to the boys and laughed at their totally blank looks. I know they were probably thinking, “But where are the controls for this thing? How do move the characters around? Does this thing take batteries?”
We started playing and they quickly caught on. However, just when I thought I had it figured out, BJ shows me the very card that shot my theory out the window. Then I started to become suspicious. Wait a minute, all of the characters were accounted for?? That can’t be!
So, with a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, I cracked open the “Confidential File” envelope and groaned.
I had inadvertently placed two weapons and a room inside. There was no “Who” done it.
To top it off, after we had our laugh about how stupid mom is, I found the revolver card on the floor – it hadn’t even been in the game!
Hey, what can I say? I love games but I stink at setting them up.
I have a feeling this will become one of those stories the boys tell people at family gatherings to embarrass me.
“Did I tell you about the time my ditzy mom messed up my first time playing Clue? It was hilarious!”
Oh yeah, a riot. :roll:
I post everyday here.
June 01, 2005
Though if I left it up to them, they would play them 24/7. To prevent them from turning into total geeks (like the people you see at a game exchange store…..*shudder* ) I have to set limits on how much time they play. They can play in the mornings (and get up at 7:00 a.m. each morning so they won’t miss a minute of play time – talk about die hards!) until lunch time when they have to physically leave their computers, eat lunch and then find something else to do. They usually end up going outside, tossing the baseball back and forth to each other, ride their bikes, draw, read or just goof off like kids need to do nowadays.
Then, at about 4:00 p.m., they are allowed to go back to their computers and play until bedtime.
That’s one thing I can say for our boys, when they get something in their heads, they WILL NOT LET IT GO! I suppose that’s a good trait, unless they are obsessing about something bad and then it could become a problem.
So today, I yanked them off the computer, fixed them chicken fried rice for lunch (don’t be too impressed, it was one of those frozen jobbers), and we headed out to KOLR 10 to pick up a tape. I convert these VHS bits into a Windows Media File and then post them on the Wendy’s of Missouri website. Wendy’s helps the community by showcasing Missouri children who need a home. I’m quite honored to be a part of their program. If anyone is interested in learning more about adoption, foster care or would like to adopt a child, please visit their site. There’s nothing more rewarding than giving a lonely child a good home.
After that, we went to Sears to try and find AB some new swim trunks. I can’t believe how fast that kid is growing! He will definitely be taller than me (and I’m 5’10!) by the time he hits senior year.
On the way to Sears, we saw the most interesting thing: a guy and a girl in a red pickup truck, signing to each other. In fact, the guy, who was also driving, was being quite animated with his signing and his facial expressions were earnest and pointed. I purposefully stayed behind and to the right of him because after all, it’s hard enough to talk on the cell phone and drive at the same time, let alone trying to talk with your hands. He made me really nervous. But it was interesting to watch him as he swerved precariously back and forth the two miles to Sears.
I couldn’t find a single swim trunk at Sears. Talk about annoying. I had gone there to begin with because I had a 15% off coupon that I was planning on using. Now I see why they issue those coupons, because when you receive them, you leave Sears with a warm fuzzy feeling thinking you’ll save money the next time you’re there. But when you visit the next time, they don’t have anything you need so the coupon is worthless. Talk about a sham.
So, we headed to my all-time trusty, never-lets-me-down store, Kohls. Sure enough, they had tons of swim trunks to choose from. AB selected a fiery red and orange pair. It was hard to find a pair that didn’t showcase skull and crossbones. What’s up with all of these dragons/monsters/skull looking stuff for young boys nowadays?
My second mission was to try and find BJ some shorts. No easy task considering he’s right smack dab in the middle of the stage where he’s too big for 7X’s and too small for 8’s. So I ended up buying him nothing because I couldn’t find him something that wasn’t either cutting off his circulation or literally falling off his hips. BJ is going into the 5th grade and he still doesn’t fit into an eight. He needs to grow!
That’s about it for today. Nothing too exciting, just your run-of-the-mill sort of everyday ho-hum.
Stay tuned for another exciting episode tomorrow when I wrack my brain for something else to keep them occupied the four hours between computer games. *sigh*
I post pictures everyday here.
May 31, 2005
Yes, ladies, I cringed too.
However, I was curious and began to read it. I got all the way to chapter five and realized that it was basically saying the same things over and over again: stop nagging, respect your husband, treat him nice, don't expect him to make you happy, stop being selfish, make him your number one priority and accept the fact that a healthy intimate relationship is both required and desired.
Nothing new, right?
But I worry that he'll start comparing me with Dr. Laura's "requirements" for a good wife. Do I do this? Should I do this? And why don't I do this? It's a daunting ideal to live up to. I'm not perfect, far from it, but I would like to think that I do a pretty good job feeding my husband (by the way, could Dr. Laura make a man sound anymore like an animal by choosing the title she did for her book? I wonder if that was intentional and I wonder if any men have taken offense to that).
I have to give the woman credit, she's right in a lot of ways. For instance, she blames the fact that there are so many unhappy relationships on the feminist movement or what hubby calls, "The Roseanne Barr" syndrome. For some reason, women think that men exist to make us happy and if they fall short of our preconceived notions of romantic, which of course they are ultimately doomed to do so from the beginning, then women are unhappy and their world is no longer perfect.
We are all responsible for our own happiness. Just because two people are married does not mean that our spouses' job is to forsake everything and anything just to bring a smile to our faces. And yet, a lot of women think exactly that. It's sad, watching this never-ending circle of misery that people get trapped into.
So yes, she has a lot of good points and I think women SHOULD read this book. It's a bitter pill to swallow, but one we must endure if we want healthy relationships. Dr. Laura doesn't bash women, but she certainly doesn't mince words when it comes to putting women in their place. Which in my opinion, needs to be done because too many women have become too big for their britches as it is.
One of Dr. Laura's listeners sent her a "joke" about the "Perfect Husband."
A new Perfect Husband Shopping Center opened where a woman could go to choose
from among many men to find a perfect husband. It was laid out on five floors,
with the men increasing in positive attributes as you ascended the floors. The
only rule was that once you open the door to any floor, you must choose a man
from that floor, and if you go up a floor, you can't go back down except to
leave the store. So, a couple of girlfriends go to the store to find a man to
The first-floor sign reads: 'These men have high-paying jobs
and love kids.' The women read the sign and say, 'Well, that's wonderful ...
but,' and wonder what's on the next floor.
The second-floor sign
reads: 'These men have high-paying jobs, love kids, and are extremely good
looking.' 'Hmmm,' say the girls. 'Wonder what's further up?'
third-floor sign reads: 'These men have high-paying jobs, love kids, are
extremely good looking, and will help with the housework.' 'Wow!' say the women.
'Very tempting ... but there's more further up!'
sign reads: 'These men have high-paying jobs, love kids, are extremely good
looking, will help with the housework and are great in bed.' 'Oh, mercy me. But
just think! What must be awaiting us further up?!' say the women.
So, up to the fifth floor they go.
sign reads: 'This floor is just to prove that women are impossible to
And that, ladies and gentlemen, sums it up.
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May 17, 2005
He’d been summoned for jury duty.
He was actually summoned back in January. But that was the absolute worse time for him to be absent from work, so he postponed it.
He shouldn’t have. Come to find out, the group he had been originally scheduled in had been excused.
The time had come for him to call about his group. He was group one, which usually means, yep, he was still expected to report.
He wasn’t really nervous about it, but when he popped in the movie “The Juror” Sunday night, I knew it was on his mind. Of course, this movie did not set my mind at ease. I immediately started imagining hubby being thrust into an awkward situation: it was a child-molestation case and even though the guy was guilty, he gets off on a technicality, it’s a murder case and the jurors find the guy guilty, verdict – death penalty.
Would you want to be in a position where you had to decide whether or not a person lives or dies? I wouldn’t.
So, I was a little worried.
Hubby gets up early Monday morning and heads out. He appears calm, but I sense he’s a little nervous. I suspect mainly because he’s never actually had to go to the courthouse before, he’s always been excused in the past.
Though a little apprehensive, I also sensed he was curious. It’s one thing to hear about trials, to watch them on TV or in movies, but to actually participate in one, to actually witness, first-hand, our judicial system, flaws and all? It was sort of exciting.
It was hard to go about my business as usual knowing he was at the courthouse doing only God knows what.
Finally, about 1:45 p.m., I get the phone call.
May 12, 2005
Thursday – Put on my headphones and turned on my iPod. I closed my eyes and allowed the music to deaden the world around me, to transport me to another surreal dimension. I can see the reality around me but strangely, I’m not part of it. I’m merely a life observer. My brain has softened and my senses have dulled. My imagination peeks it’s head around the corner to see if the coast is clear. Then the entity begins a slow gyration with the music, the rhythm frees it’s inhibitions and the ideas gush forth.
The music that teleports me to this other dimension is called trance music. The music is just that; it’s a repetition of beats and palpitations; it’s a relentless, throbbing energy that I can simply immerse myself in. Why trance? Because it’s energetic, vibrant and instantaneous, like juice that flows through jumper cables and sparks an engine to life.
The music, coupled with a tall White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks on an empty stomach, makes my whole body tingle, my heart race and my breath feel constricted and narrow, like I’m breathing through a straw.
I wrote an entire outline in under an hour.
Friday – Settled on a primary plot: Discovery
Flirted with my muse but she wasn’t playing. Little imp.
(My muse looks like tinkerbell with an attitude)
Hence, I got nothing done. However, I did open my spiral-bound index card thingie and looked through it. Wow. Did I write those ideas? I don’t recall. Is that a sign of getting older or is my muse playing with me again. Hhmm…
Saturday – Day before Mother’s Day.
Are you kidding?! I thought about writing, does that count?
Sunday – Mother’s Day - Was spoiled rotten and spent waaaay too much time goofing off and doing nothing productive.
I live for days like today. :)
Monday – Completed a project that has been a thorn in my side for quite some time. I felt good about this because now it paves the way for more thorns.
Caught up on the chores I usually do on Sunday.
Tuesday – Got serious and realized I only have two more days to get something written before having to present myself to the world again on Thursday with egg on my face.
May 11, 2005
Every time I go to the library, ok, not every time, but pretty much every dang time, I have an elderly and/or extremely ugly woman stop by my table, smile politely and say in soft, but firm tones,
“You’re not supposed to have drinks in this area. Only in the meeting rooms.”
“You’re not supposed to have drinks in this area, only in the main area (gestures with bony fingers toward the area I normally sit in) over there.”
“This area is for our young adults. When they get out of school (it’s 11:00 a.m. at this time and the kids ARE in school and obviously the area is NOT being used) it will become pretty noisy and I would hate for them to disturb you.”
Read between the lines: “Get out of my area.”
May 10, 2005
Hubby finds the beach therapeutic. There’s something soothing about the gently lapping waves, the desperate calls of the seagulls, the sugar-white sands, and the kaleidoscope of umbrellas lining the beach for miles in either direction.
Not to mention, the sea air clears up any complexion problems a person might have. *ahem*
The first time we visited Florida was about four years ago. We went to Pensacola, Florida. We stayed at a Hampton Inn RIGHT off the beach. We could literally walk out the door and be on the beach. We really enjoyed ourselves but discovered that Pensacola is really a party town and not geared toward children. There weren’t many kid-friendly eating places and the restaurants that were available were outrageously expensive. We learned a lot from that trip.
The next time we went to Florida, we stayed at Madeira Beach. We stayed at a Holiday Inn and though our room overlooked the parking lot, we were still within easy reach of the beach. We had a better time in Madeira, but the hotel room was cramped and once again, we had a problem with spending so much on food. We did purchase a Styrofoam cooler and keep sandwich foods in it, which saved on lunches out, but it was still outrageously expensive. We also made the mistake of trying to visit too many nearby attractions and didn’t spend as much time on the beach as we had wanted to.
The third time we went to Florida, we stayed in the St. Petersburg/Clearwater area. Oh my goodness! I fell in LOVE with this area. It felt less touristy and more authentic beach lifestyle. People in this area were laid back and very friendly. We stayed at the Sirata. We ended up with a suite directly overlooking the ocean. It was breathtaking. We had plenty of room and it had a small kitchenette. We purchased groceries and saved a ton of money on food. We did eat out a few times, but we didn’t feel lost or rushed when we selected the restaurants. We ate at a seafood place one time and it was a blast. The atmosphere was fun and geared toward tourists. They even had a traveling photographer who took our picture.
We actually stumbled onto the deal through the American Airlines website. We carry one of those AA Advantage cards and rack up points whenever we use it. We can then cash in the points and save on airfare. We had enough saved up by the St. Petersburg trip to purchase two airline tickets. American Airline had a deal with Sirata and we were able to get an incredible deal, suite and all, for a low 1200 dollars. That included hotel, car rental and air fare. We were ecstatic. And we had an absolute ball. That was our best year in Florida, by far. The only fly in the ointment was the church revival that happened to be scheduled for that same time and those people were incredibly loud and rude. They completely disregarded the fact that people might actually choose to SLEEP while there, but we still didn’t let that spoil our time. We most definitely will be going back to stay at the Sirata again.
May 05, 2005
Thursday – Realized I had made a commitment to write in front of the whole world. Hyperventilated and broke out in a cold sweat. Can I keep my commitment? Went to the book sale to ease my nerves. Became overwhelmed by the sheer number of “discarded” books. Overheard scathing remarks about books and even the authors. Do people assume they know the author through their work? It’s true, writers do pour a bit of their personalities into their work. Should people assume they know the writer by their fiction? How does this realization reflect on my own writing?
Friday - Came up with an idea for the story. Actually got the idea from reading one of the many blogs that I keep up with. Think it’s a good idea but wonder if I can manipulate it and write it so that the message will affect people the same way it affected me when I first read it. The challenge lies in evoking that kind of emotional response from the reader.
Saturday – Dissected the idea while I cleaned house. Is it good enough for the publication that I’ve selected? Does the idea “fit” with their publication expectations? Can I see my story in this publication? Yes. Can I write it on the same level as past stories that have appeared in the publication? I’m not sure. My writing style tends to lean more direct interaction between characters: dialogue, events. Am I capable of writing descriptive prose? I’m certainly willing to give it a shot.
Sunday – Convinced myself that my idea stank. Who would want to read about it? Has it been done before? I’m convinced that it has been. Will the publication get past the first line? What will they think? “Been there, done that. Who does this woman think she is, Elizabeth Berg?” I imagine cruel laughing and a slow-motion toss of my manuscript on a pile labeled REJECT in big, bold, red letters.
Monday – Too busy to think about my story. I spent the day updating the eight websites I’m responsible for while answering emails and plotting summer activities for the kids. Made the mistake of visiting my deadline web page - 173 days to go. Instantly felt guilty for not having made any progress.
May 03, 2005
Um, you type in the URL – http://www.scribesatwork.com/blog
Then she couldn’t figure out how to comment on the blog.
Um, you type in your name and email address.
Apparently, all of this was too much for her to handle and she utterly went off on me.
Here’s my take on this: I’m volunteering to do this writer’s group. Why? I honestly don’t know. I suppose I’m into self-torture. So why would I spend my precious time arguing back and forth with a woman I’ve never seen, have no intentions of ever meeting, and over something as trivial as joining an online writers’ group?
April 29, 2005
Christmas in April
Every spring, our county library hosts a book sale. To me, it’s like Christmas in April. I LOVE THE BOOK SALE.
I love walking in and seeing tables filled with books for as far as the eye can see. I love the musty smell…
of the paperbacks…
and the dusty book covers..
and the type of people who haunt these book sales…
*sniffsniff - blow*
not to mention the cheap prices - fifty cents for paperbacks, a $1.00 on hardback books and slightly more for newer books. I love the whole book atmosphere.
When I went yesterday (did I mention that was my second trip?) I was amazed to see the amount of shopping carts roaming the aisles. Most of them belonged to little old women with long skirts and protruding bellies. But bless their hearts they were my people!
April 21, 2005
Nothing really happened today. I went to get a cup of coffee from Starbucks - a Grande white chocolate mocha. As I was driving, I noticed a green haze all over parked cars. It was like someone had grated thousands of cucumbers all over the vehicles. When I drove up to the drive-in window (talk about lazy, I can’t even get out of my car t get a coffee. No wait, that’s not entirely true. We have a Starbucks inside the Price Cutter’s less than a mile from our house. But the girl who always waits on me is incredibly rude and considering I’m hormonal right now, I didn’t think it would be a very good idea to piss me off right now), there was a thin coat of green dust on the window ledge. It was really noticeable because the ledge is silver. It was clearly marked by where the Starbuck’s associate and the customer conducted their transactions because there was a section of the ledge that was wiped clean. There’s no telling how many people are driving around Springfield right now with green dust on their forearms.
Green dust blankets our fair city this time every year. In fact, I hate spring. My youngest has seasonal allergies and they are always bad in April. It starts with a runny nose. And then the nose blowing and the “snert” sound he makes every time he breathes in abruptly. And then the coughing starts.
April 14, 2005
It happened on Battlefield road. I was coming home from my lunch with my husband on Battlefield and heading west. I was stuck in a LONG line of cars just before the big hill. Suddenly, I caught a flash of movement in the corner of my eye. Looking over, I noticed a speeding car (and when I say speeding, I mean he was going FAST) in the lane next to me. Remember, I’m at a standstill. This car is going close to 100 mph, ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD!
Talk about freaked out. Cars coming east had to swerve to miss the guy. Horns were blaring, tires were screeching. Not two seconds after the car going the wrong way on a one-way street passed, a cop car zoomed by with his sirens blaring.
What happened next was straight out of movie. I swear, five cop cars came out of nowhere. As if on cue, they followed the initial cop car up the hill after the speeding car. I have no idea where all of these cars came from; they suddenly materialized. It was weird.
I held my breath as the speeding car, and the police officer close on his bumper, sped over the top of the hill. The people coming down that hill wouldn’t have seen them coming at them until the last possible moment and indeed, a red van turned sharply to the right and ran over the curb to get out of their way.
April 12, 2005
This is an excerpt from the Grumpy Old Bookman, one of the blogs I regularly keep up with. I like this guy because his thoughts are concise and usually articulate. Here's what he says:
Well now, let's differentiate between the two variations on the theme. Using characters from real life in a novel is one thing; using fictional characters is quite another. But in either case, caution, I would suggest, is strongly advised.
The plain fact is that, if you want to make use of a fictional character, you had better make damn sure that the book(s) in which that character appears are out of copyright. It's no good saying airily, Oh that book was published in the nineteenth century -- it's bound to be out of copyright. Tain't that simple. Would that it were.
If you discover that a poem (or whatever) is in copyright, then you have to find out who owns the copyright. In my experience, letters of enquiry about copyright, which are sent to publishers or agents, can take up to six months, and several promptings, to elicit a reply. And, to continue using Swinburne as an example, it can turn out that no one knows the answer to your query.
I've always been fascinated by historical fiction - taking characters from the past and placing them in another situation just to see how they react. I think most fiction writers have an innate desire to ask, "But what if this happened instead?"
April 08, 2005
The recent writing entry that came up was an article about what constitutes good writing. Anyone care to define it? It’s a gray area. There is no cut and dried definition of good writing, it either is, or isn’t – to the reader, that is.
Read on ....
April 06, 2005
My muse paid me a visit today.
She actually startled me; it had been quite some time since I had seen her. There I was, sitting in my car, in a strange parking lot, zoning listening to Nickelback and waiting for 11:45 a.m. to come so I could meet my husband for lunch (I really do have a life. I had been running errands up until that moment and had gotten done earlier than I had expected). I started thinking about my characters for the novel that I haven’t started yet. Wait, that’s not entirely true. I have a pretty good rough draft of the prologue done. Suddenly, it hit me. I calmly wiped the gooey mess from my eyes, reached into my purse and pulled out my notepad that I always carry around with me. (what, you don’t??)
I licked my lips in anticipation and promptly grimaced. Ew. Carmax. Well hey, my lips are chapped. I suddenly lost my train of thought. I could hear my muse (cute lil thing, looks sort of like this, only take off the antennae, make her hair blue and her eyes purple and you get the general idea. She likes to dress like a rebel. Would I keep her around if she were boring?) sigh impatiently in my ear. I know, I’m not the easiest person to communicate with.
“Start with the graduation scene.”
Read more at my REAL blog!
April 05, 2005
If your insurance man asks if you have a trampoline, “here’s your sign.”
Bill Envall cracks me up. He’s one of four of the Blue Comedy tour guys. We got hooked on these guys while surfing through the Comedy channel one night. They are all just a bunch of good, down-home, country boys who make fun of their simple lives. We can all appreciate their humor because we can all relate to it.
Anyway. Our insurance guy called up yesterday to update our car and home policies because our insurance company was split into “divisions” and another division would be taking over our account.
One of his questions was, “do you have a swimming pool, spa, or a trampoline?” Now if your insurance guy asks if you have a trampoline, isn’t that a good indication that those things are dangerous?
Our oldest son has been asking for one. I don’t even have to stop to think about it.
Wanna read more? Check out my "real" blog.
March 30, 2005
I probably won't post much on this blog. I've started a new blog at www.take2max.com/creative/blog I actually downloaded, customized and uploaded this blog and I'm pretty proud of myself. :-D
This blog will be geared more toward writers i.e. helpful links and tips along with my own journey toward publication.
I know, I know. Sounds boring. But anyone who knows me knows better. ;-)
Pop on over and have a looksie.
Also, anyone interested in joining a book club? Hop on over to Another Story World and look around. We read literary novels. That sounds boring but I'm using the books off the Ballantine Reader's Circle and I have yet to be disappointed. C'mon! Join in the fun!
March 29, 2005
I ran across this article in our local newspaper .It was listed in the opinion section and I thought it was interesting, though vague. After the article, I'll offer my two cents worth.
Early voting convenient, not a remedy.
There's a problem with voting in this country. Not enough people do it. This is particularly abhorrent when we have just watched Iraqi citizens risk their lives to participate in the first free and fair elections in memory. That freedom was given to the Iraqi citizens thanks to the sacrifices and the deaths of more than 1,000 American soldiers. We should remember this as our elected leaders talk about changing the system we use for absentee and early voting. At it's heart, the discussion boils down to convenience.
How convenient is it for citizens to cast their ballots? Both Gov. Matt Blunt and Secretary of State Robin Carnahan agree in principle that early voting is a good thing. Carnahan said she has talked with many county clerks who support the concept. The question appears to be not if early voting will be approved in Missouri, but when and how.
Greene County Clerk Richard Struckhoff is supportive of the idea but doesn't think it's something the state needs to rush to implement. "It's a convenience I'd like to see for Greene County voters, but Greene County voters need to know what the cost is going to be," he said. That's important for all parties to focus on.
State law says the government cannot pass an unfunded mandate on to local officials. Spence Jackson, a spokesman for Blunt, said the governor's proposal to relax the rules for absentee voting will increase voter turnout without costing taxpayers money. The governor wants to eliminate the need for a voter to have an excuse for voting absentee and eliminate the requirement that a notary public sign the absentee ballot.
"I don't know that that would greatly increase the amount of money that the clerk would normally expend to conduct an election," Jackson said. But consider this: Greene County spent around $14,000 in postage on absentee ballots in the November election. If the rules are relaxed, the costs could multiply by as much as five times, Struckhoff said.
In some states that have early voting, almost half the voters cast ballots early. That's an extreme, but it's something we have to prepare for. Early voting won't be the cure for voter apathy and low voter turnout. Making something more convenient for people never makes it more valuable. Our last two elections set records for turnout because voters felt the stakes were high. They were informed, passionate and active.
Early voting will be nice when it happens. But let's not kid ourselves about how wonderful it will be. We also hope our elected officials will work together across party lines in crafting the legislation. After all, the Iraqi citizens showed us that the ability to have confidence in voting is the foundation of a free society.
"Making something more convenient for people never makes it more valuable." Then why spend the money to make it more convenient. I can appreciate this person's viewpoint. But I think this person was being too diplomatic and not really spelling out the problem.
Why make it convenient to vote at all?
Voting is a privilege. Something Americans are entitled to do because we are a free nation. And we're free because why? Let me hear it, all together now - BECAUSE WE HAD TO FIGHT FOR IT.
Yes, it's sad when Americans are too lazy or too apathetic to exercise their right as Americans but why should the rest of us spend money to make it more convenient for people who, given the excuse, wouldn't come vote when it was time anyway?
I've never really understood absentee voting - Election Day is marked on the calendars years in advance. It's like Christmas, everyone knows it's coming yet never prepares for it. I suppose if you were a business man and traveled a lot, knew you were going to be out of town that week, ok. But what about the rest? Are they voting absentee simply because they don't want to deal with the crowds? I realize there are legitimate excuses for absentee voting, but I'm willing to bet, half of those "excuses" are weak, at best.
Everything has to be "convenient" nowadays. If it's too much trouble, no one wants to deal with it. No one has time. (I hate that excuse most of all).
It's too much trouble to voice your opinion about the person who will manipulate laws and ultimately affect your pocketbook?
Here's the thing - if people want to stay in bed with the covers pulled over their head because it's too inconvenient to get up each morning, that's certainly their choice. But let me forewarn you, I don't want to hear any whining when things don't go the way you want them to.
Forfeit your right to vote, forfeit your right to an opinion.
March 28, 2005
It's the toughest, and yet most important job, in the world. People don't get paid to do it and there's no one likely to thank you for it. There are days you just want to throw in the towel and other days there's no place you would rather be in the world.
The job is called parenting and nobody has a clue how to do it.
Why doesn't parenting come with a manual? The hospitals should hand out free copies of "Parenting - Your Job for the Next 18 Years."
Hey, don't look at me, I don't have all the answers. Kevin and I were totally clueless when our sons were born. Our parenting skills have been purely trial and error. We've made mistakes and we've done some things right, but overall, I think we've done an ok job with our boys. They are both sweet, intelligent, kind and loving. What more could a parent ask for?
If you've never seen "Supernanny," you should. When it first came on, I just rolled my eyes. Good grief, not ANOTHER reality TV show!? But I have to admit, after watching it a few times, it has potential.
In a nutshell, SuperNanny is about disciplining children without getting physical. The show starts with the nanny watching a tape of the household that needs help and it's usually pretty bad. The kids run the household and are little monsters. The parents have had it up to their eyeballs and don't know what to do to regain control of their household. I have to admit, these kids are BRATS, with a capital B.
So this is the part where you sit back and scoff and ridicule the parents of these impossible children. How could they have let their kids get this way? To give you an idea how bad these kids are: they backtalk, they slap their parents, they disappear and often show up at the end of their street, they are truly unruly. You just want to take the parents by their shirtfronts and give them a shake or two. Hello!? Who's the adult here?
Ah....that's the problem. There is no adult present. Most times, the parents bicker back and forth with the kids, thereby stooping to their level. It's disheartening to watch. And the first couple of times I watched it, I was thoroughly disgusted with these so-called parents.
But then, I started to feel sorry for them. After all, nobody is really prepared for parenting, you're just sort of thrust into the thick of things. Oh sure, there are TONS of books out there, but who has the time or energy to read them? And then if you do read them, they contradict themselves. Who do you believe?
It's frustrating. In a society where you can't physically harm your child without getting reported to the Division of Family Services, how do you discipline your child?
We never had that problem. When the boys were growing up, I used a wooden spoon on them. I smacked them once on the back of the legs and that got their attention, immediately. They were issued one warning and if they didn't comply, SMACK. It sounds cruel, but it was effective. Our boys are well-rounded citizens today.
I believe in spanking, and let's define that while we're on the subject. Spanking means smacking the child ONCE to get their attention. Not to lose control and beat the child. That's something else parents tend to lose, control over themselves. Children need discipline. If they don't have it, if they don't know where their boundaries are, then you end up with children who backtalk you and slap you around. It's important.
But I have to admit, watching SuperNanny and her techniques, they make sense. It would be wonderful if the non-violent tactics worked, but let's be honest, they won't on more "stubborn" children. The show is great, it's a great lesson in patience, endurance, and consistency. But I have to wonder what the time period is between the time SuperNanny enters the scene and the time when the child actually succumbs. The show makes it look like it works on the first try, or at least, in a short time, and maybe it does. But I'm skeptical.
I guess my point is: parenting is not easy. It's hard and there's no references to consult. It's often times a trial and error learning experience. But this much I know - nobody's an expert.