Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sounding Like a Broken Record!

Sorry to repeat myself, but really, Christmas? Already?

I FINALLY put the tree up yesterday, and FINALLY bought a few Christmas presents Friday. I don't think I have ever in my life gotten such a late start! And with the work week from hell that started with our biggest full moon a week or so ago, I have not found my "Christmas spirit".

I'm hoping to remedy that tonight. I'm hosting "Christmas Karaoke" for my meetup group. My good friend Steve Quinney is the KJ at Fat Daddy's and it looks like we will have a great turnout. We certainly won't sing just Christmas carols, but we will sing, and I bet we'll throw a few "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Holidays" greetings around.

Before then, I plan to wrap, wrap, wrap Christmas presents. The tree never looks right to me until it has packages scattered underneath. (Friends and family, don't get too excited - those packages are going to contain little stuff like socks and mittens!)

I guess I sound like I'm complaining, but I don't really feel that stressed. The trappings are not what's important, and I'm looking forward to the fellowship part of the season. We have enough plans in place that the get togethers will be fun and meaningful. I'm looking forward to seeing friends tonight that I haven't seen in ages, I'm looking forward to visiting with family at the various celebrations, and I'm looking forward to New Year's Eve with my other favorite KJs - TByrd & Teresa.

If we don't connect over the holidays - let's catch up in the new year. No guilt trips allowed :-)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Biggest Full Moon of 2008: No Wonder I’m Having a Bad Day!

Seriously, December 12, 2008 has been insane! Truthfully, the work load hasn’t been that heavy – in fact call volume is a little light today. But everything that has crossed my desk (or more accurately, computer screen) has been a pain in the royal pa-too-tey!

(I sounded that out…have no idea how to spell it, and haven’t used or heard that phrase in ages…but that’s for another blog.)

I know plenty of studies have “proven” that the full moon doesn’t really cause any increase in insanity, thought hospital employees and public servants continue to swear that it does. The researchers claim that it’s all in our heads – we believe the full moon will have a negative effect so our perception is that it does.

The problem is, in my experience, that I usually don’t even know it’s a full moon when things start going awry. I don’t watch the moon phases unless I’m planning a fishing trip. Speaking of which, if the moon can pull those big bodies of water that we call oceans back and forth, then why do we think it can’t have an effect on us human beings, made up of 55-60 percent water?

I had no idea there was a full moon today, until after I observed that things were just not going my way!

My mom first alerted me in an email that there was a full moon; she was hoping it explained the bad day she was having. I experience the “ah-ha” moment that has happened so many times for me in the past. Usually, once I realize there is an explanation for the insanity, I am actually able to cope better and things start going more smoothly.

But not today. It’s just been one thing after another.
I just logged into Yahoo and found this article: Year's Biggest Full Moon Friday Night. Maybe now things will settle down, now that I’ve given the Biggest Full Moon the attention it deserves. Seriously. It just can’t get any worse!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's that time again - to reflect and give thanks and stuff ourselves with turkey! I wonder how many blogs will be written today in sincere appreciation for the blessings in our lives? Many, I'm sure.

We typically have a tradition of going around the table(s) and everyone stating something they are thankful for. I usually feel pretty lame - saying the same thing year after year. "I'm thankful for my family and friends." I mean it. 100 percent. There's really nothing more imporant, but in some ways it seems like such an safe thing to say, to blurt out in that brief splash of semi-public speaking.

In the last few years, I've tried to focus more every day on the things in my life for which I am thankful. I have a gratitude journal, and when I'm particularly down, it is always a helpful exercise to read what I've written before and then to add to it.

You will have a hard time feeling anything but "Happy" if you genuinely focus on giving thanks.

So this year, I'm thankful for a new perspective on Thanksgiving, thankful for the act of thanks, itself. Celebration of what we have - and of even what we desire - is key to a positive existence. This celebration is worthwhile everyday, but an annual reminder in November is okay, too.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cool Gift

Look what my sister is giving my nephew for Christmas!

He's only 8 months old so I don't think I'll spoil his suprise by posting this.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Christmas Already, Seriously?

Good grief! The Raleigh Christmas parade is this Saturday. 101.5 is playing Christmas music already. It's too early, isn't it? Actually, I just realized today that I only have 2 more paychecks before Christmas - YIKES!

I like shopping online. In previous and more plentiful years (not too recent, actually), I completed all of my Christmas shopping online. Not only was it great to avoid the crowded malls, it sort of felt like my own little mini-Christmas morning every time the UPS man came to the door.

How about you? Are you shopping online? Is so, why not help me out and access Amazon through my blog. You can start your "search" for the perfect gifts in the upper right hand corner, or just click HERE. My commission won't increase your prices, and Amazon is a super-easy and trusted place to shop on the web.

I'm hoping to write some more Christmas shopping hubs soon. My Inexpensive Christmas Gift Ideas for Teen Girls published October 15 has nearly 1000 views! Help me out - leave a comment and tell me what would you really, really, really like for Christmas?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

TV Online

I'm hooked on I like it better than regular tv. The commercials are short - 30 secs. And I can organize my own "marathons" of various shows. Currently, I'm about half way through Season One of Perry Mason, and I'm loving it! It just kills me how everyone smokes, constantly!

I first stumbled across tv viewing at CBS when I wanted to see missed episodes of Big Brother. Now I usually catch Survivor the same way. But I'm having the most fun with the old stuff. I find it especially interesting to see the "length" of the shows. The old dramas are always 50-plus minutes - the new ones, barely over 40.

Maybe I'll check out other networks, eventually, but so far the ones I have tried want me to download their own video player. I don't recall doing that at CBS. I think I have a long way to go before running out of material, anyway. I do still have the regular tv, and DVR.

Maybe if I wasn't watching so much I'd be writing - there's a thought!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Haven't Been a Very Good Blogger

I thought this would be easier - especially this sort of "personal" blog, but it seems I'm not writing as much as I used to. I still journal but not daily, and I still hesitate to put many personal reflections "out here" in Internet Land. But how hard would it really be to just throw a little update out here now and then?

We had a pretty decent weekend. We started Saturday morning upgrading cell phones for Ken & Lindsey, and adding a line for Carson (his first). It cost me more than I wanted, but isn't that always how it works? Today I went ahead and ordered upgrades for Camille and myself, too. Camille was going to wait for Christmas but agreed to remember this was her big gift if I went ahead and ordered it now, and I guess I just got jealous that everyone else was getting new phones!

Saturday afternoon I hosted a meetup event at Bedford Community in North Raleigh. We had a good turnout and the weather was beautiful! My friend Steve Quinney provided the entertainment with his buddy Jay on guitar.

Last night Ken & I sat in the garage & drank beer & listened to the radio. Nothing new there, huh? One of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday night :-)

Sundays are usually quiet, and today was no exception. I lazed around watching Lifetime movies, spent a while on the phone with my sister Deborah, and checked out lots of photo albums on myspace.

So how hard was that? Did I bore you to tears? Oh well, maybe something worth writing about just won't come to me every day.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I Really Need to Quit Smoking...

I type, as I sit here puffing.

I don't smoke in the house. I have a cool garage, complete with couch, 'frig, stereo and tv. I spend many evenings in my garage, in part so I can smoke, in part to watch tv independent of my repeat-sit-com fan husband. Tonight, I'm trying to focus on the debate. Even take a few notes.

I went to the 'frig for a beer during Obama's first response and before I made it back to my seat, I noticed something on the concrete floor next to the couch. What was that? A necklace? I started to lean was a snake! Look at the date of this blog, folks! October 15! Yes, it's hot. It got up to 88 today in NC. But come on. It's October!

It wasn't a big snake, maybe 6 or 7 inches long. I am not sure what kind it was.

I opened the garage door while grabbing the broom and yelled for my daughter to "Come Here! Quick!" She did - she's a good girl, she knows when I mean it. I swept him into the middle of the floor before he made it all the way under the couch - right where I had been sitting before I stood to get a beer - right where I was about to sit back down - right where I am sitting now - but cross-legged, with my feet on the couch instead of the floor!

I told Camille to grab the camera and tried to use the broom to keep the snake in the middle of the garage. Then I noticed an empty shoe box my husband had left in the garage. I decided to try to catch the snake so I could show it to Ken when he got home. Ha. When I tried to sweep the snake into the box, he dashed under the cabinet the stereo sits on. Thank goodness it has wheels. After unsuccessfully trying to use the broom to swish it back out, we rolled the cabinet out of the way, and the terrified (?) little snake was curled in a little ball. Camille grabbed the box and the broom and swept the snake into the box. "Gimme the lid, gimme the lid" and I obliged. As soon as she had the lid on the box - the snake came out of a hole in the bottom! We screached and sreamed and swept him out the door. He slithered away into the grass. "I hope we didn't hurt him," Camille said. "He seems to be moving kind of wierd."

Lord have mercy. Just keep moving wierdly AWAY from my garage!

I need another cigarette.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Camille's latest fundraising project

Here's what I did today:

Camille painted a very cool water color and is selling prints for a minimum contribution of $25 to her trip fund. Everyone who submits a prepaid order before 12/1/2008 (up to 100 contributors) will be entered into a drawing to win the original. Pretty cool idea, huh? I'll take part of the credit, but she gets all of the kudos for an awesome interpretation of DaVinci's works.

My kids is talented!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Get a Car Wash, Send a Kid to France!

Plans and fundraising are coming along! Camille's group will be washing cars at the Steak & Shake (near O'Charley's & Walmart) in Wake Forest from 10 to 2 Saturday. Come help 'em out!

more about the trip and Camille's fundraising efforts at her blog.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Camille is Going to France!

She's very excited about her French Departments upcoming trip to France and has started her fund raising efforts on her new blog. Please check it out and consider helping her out - this really is an opportunity of a life time, and I'm really proud of her for pursueing her dream, even after her dad and I both uttered the dreaded words..."we just can't afford it."

updated 9/8/08 - just published a Hub about Camille's pursuit of this trip.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Big Brother - Almost Final 4!

I just re-read my previous posts about BB10, and WOW, how things can change! My constant is that I still like Keesha. Camille can't stand her, and I don't really understand why. I am no longer a Jerry fan, and I just hate that Renny is going home this week. At least that's how it looks at the moment, and I would hate it even more if Keesha went home. So, who do I want for final two? Unlikely as it may be, I'm hoping for Keesha and Dan. Memphis just has not grown on me a bit. I don't hate him, but he's just kind of blah.

I actually haven't watched as much of BBAD as I predicted. We record it, but most shows get deleted before we watch. I am still addicted to bbdish. Carolyn is super-duper-wonderful to keep us devoted fans updated! Check out her site! If you are a tv-only fan, you don't know what you are missing!

My Name

When I was little, I really didn't like my name, because all of my teachers called me by my first name, Nora, on the first day of class, and when I corrected them, they could not pronounce my middle name, Dineane. In high school, I decided I would start over with "Nora" as the name I would be called when I started college. It didn't work. Meeting new roommates, friends, etc., I responded to "What's your name?" with the ingrained "Dineane."

People still get it wrong all of the time. Probably my worst pet peeve is when someone replies to an email, from me, with my name right there, and writes "Diane." Oh well. Okay, not my worst pet peeve, just kind of irritating. My worst pet peeve is people who get in the turn lane too quickly at the street to my house, when I'm trying to get into the turn lane from the other direction and have to wait on them. I don't expect people to easily say or spell "Dineane." But even with the difficulty, I've come to like my name.

I think it's pretty cool to google my name and find so many hits, just for ME. And lest you be confused, I might as well give up all of my privacy and disclose that "Dineane Smith," "Dineane Buttram," and "Dineane Whitaker" are all me. I like having an unusual name much more now than I did as a child. But even as a child, I appreciated the story of how I got my name.

Well, I appreciated at least part of the story. Mama claims that "Nora" was one of Daddy's old girlfriends, and that's why they didn't actually call me by my first name. I've never really believed her. Why would anyone agree to name their first-born after hubby's old flame? And Daddy says it's not true, that he dated Nora's sister but just always liked the name Nora. Either way, I don't feel much like a "Nora". Too stuffy.

I was named after a man who worked with my dad, who everyone says had a long white beard like Santa Clause. His last name was DiNeen. My parents liked him, and liked the name, so they changed the spelling a bit and gave it to me. I'm named after Santa Clause. Isn't that cool?

A few years ago I met a step-cousin-in-law, or something like that. I can't remember the exact relation. She was considerably younger than I am, but I'm not going to give exact numbers. When we were introduced, we were delighted to have the same middle name, though we spelled it differently. Then she proceeded to tell me that she was named after the same man I was named after! I think my daddy believes that her daddy stole the idea from him, but either way, it's kind of cool. At least she doesn't spell it the same way.

Are you wondering how it is prounounced? It rhymes with Jeanine. That's what I tell everyone, "like Jeanine, but with a 'D'." And they usually get it after that. Here's another ex husband has a sister named Jeanine and a sister named Christine. Family get togethers could be confusing!

But now in my second husband's family, I'm unique again. I have to admit, I like it that way.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me...

It's not really my birthday until Friday, but I was born on Labor Day in 1966 so I still claim the holiday as my birthday. It usually works out pretty nicely having a weekend birthday :-) My sister, Deborah, treated me to a trip east and west. We headed east Wed hoping to get in a night of Outer Banks fishing, but tornado warnings followed us down Highway 64. We decided to just hang at my dad's in Jamesville for the night instead of fishing in bad weather. It was the first time all three of us sisters had been at my dad's in a long time, and we enjoyed it...until nearly 4 am! We played poker, Shut the Box (Buy it here: SHUT THE BOX Game - 12 Numbers - Casino Supplies > Accessories > Misc. Accessories), and music. Well, Daddy and Deborah played music, and I screeched along.

Friday I joined Deborah and Julia at the Bass Mountain Bluegrass Festival. I started going to Preddyfest every year with my husband 7 or 8 years ago, and in the last few years my dad and my sister, Julia, have gone as well. This year was Deborah's first Preddyfest, and now she is hooked on bluegrass festivals. Bass Mountain was different but a lot of fun. My husband says one festival a year is enough, so I think Bass Mountain might turn into the sister trip.

Ken and I had planned to go to the Outer Banks for my birthday next weekend, but it looks like Hanna is on her way. We've decided to stay home and spend less money. I usually treat myself to a pedicure for my birthday. I thought about going for it today, but decided I'll wait since we aren't going to the beach. I also have a little time capsule I put together last year, at the suggestion of my life coach, and I'm looking forward to pulling it out Friday for my "year in review". Maybe that will make a better hub than this one :-)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Working, Fishin' and Dreaming

This is a quick unplanned entry, just to capture the flash of a dream that just came back to me.

I was sitting in a folding beach chair, fishing on the Outer Banks surf, multi-tasking with my laptop. A huge wave crashed over me and soaked the computer. My fear of being fired was intense in the dream, and I scrambled to dry land and used a beach towel to mop up my computer. Within seconds, the computer was working fine and dandy.

What a wierd dream! I'm jotting this down and hope to come back and reflect on it more later, but I'm in the middle of finishing up a new hub!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Lovin' Hubbin'

I haven't earned my fortune (yet), but I have really enjoyed publishing and reading articles on HubPages. Truthfully, I probably spend way too much time reading and not enough time writing, but there's some really good stuff there!

Today ShadesBreath had me laughing hysterically with Top 5 Worst Species in Which to Be a Guy: an absolutely scientific (or not) look at sex in the animal world. And he's just the first one to catch my attention today--I have tons of favorite hubbers, and I'll be mentioning others as I blog.

While I haven't made a ton of money, I have made a little, and I am seeing a steady rise in my traffic. I'm over 1600 views now, and more than half are from the search engines. At first, most of my views were from other hubbers, which is really a great way to get started. Hubbers are encouraging, they leave comments on your articles, they become your fans. All of this moral support keeps you motivated until the money starts to trickle in. Hubbers also openly share their experience on the Hub Forums. I've learned that while that first $100 paycheck may take months to earn, they seem to start coming more quickly after that. I'm really encouraged by several Hubbers who say they are earning pretty steady pocket change with very little SEO (that's search engine optimization, which I have NOT learned much about...yet.) I think the best thing about earning money through hupages (and other online writing opporunities) is the passive nature of the earnings. Once you publish a really good article, and learn a little about keywords and SEO, the traffic will come, and keep coming.

Are you ready to sign up for hubpages and give it a try? Use this link and I'll get referral credit ;-0 That means when you start earning, I'll get a commission. Don't worry--the commission comes from HubPages share, not yours!

After One Week of BB 10

Funny how quickly things can change in the Big Brother house, and how quickly our impressions change! I still like Jerry, but not as much. And now that Brian got the boot, I kinda feel bad about my earlier distaste for him. The puppet show was hysterical--easily one of my favorite all-time Big Brother moments. Dan...well, he's growing on me a little but I still have a problem with this extreme conservative statements about women. He seems to be genuinely opening up to Steven though and maybe learning a thing or two about tolerance.

Libra and April really rub me the wrong way, but for some reason I'm really liking Keesha, the Hooter's girl.

I'm very proud of myself! I've made it to bed everynight instead of falling asleep on the couch watchin BBAD. Honestly with the excellent work Carolyn does at BBDish, I don't usually watch much of BBAD. I have debated getting the live feeds this year. I'd like to support Carolyn but I'm afraid I would either be so obsessed the rest of my life would be too neglected, or the opposite, I wouldn't have time to really enjoy the feeds.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Here We Go - Big Brother 10

So, I just finished watching the premier with Camille. She says it's too early to pick a fave, and she's probably right. You don't get to see much of everyone on the first episode. But thanks to BBDish, I've seen lots of interviews and clips so far, and I have a couple of strong likes and dislikes.

I really like Jerry and would love to see someone with a little age win this thing, but I'm not happy about his alliance with Brian. I wanted to like Brian, since we work in the same industry, but his interview didn't impress me, and I seriously dislike school teacher Dan. What a jerk. Darn, darn, darn. I just don't like this early alliance and I'm afraid Jerry will stick to it.

Renny, poor Renny. I wanted to like her, too. Am I getting old? I keep picking the older house guests as faves. Remember Chicken George? I so rooted for him. And who was the old guy on Survivor? Big Tom? loved him too. But Renny is making everyone crazy, so I don't think she'll last long. I'm not too disappointed in the nominations. Renny was predictable, Jessie isn't impressing me much. Camille thinks the body-builder stuff is gross :-)

Ah, the addiction has returned. I'll probably be falling asleep on the couch for the next 2 months--Big Brother After Dark airs on Showtime midnight until 3 am.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Small Town Fourth of July

We decided in last minute fashion to check out the Rolesville fireworks yesterday. I haven't been to a 4th of July celebration in a while. Fuddy-duddy that I am, I usually think it's not worth the hassle of traffic and crowds. We carpooled with friends and parked far enough away that by the time we got back to the car, getting onto the road was no problem. I just wish I'd had a little warning about the walking part. I wore a new pair of sandles and by the time we reached the festivities, I had a nice blister on my foot.

I asked at the gate if there was a first aid station where I could find a bandaid and was directed to the firetrucks. The firemen had sweet little plastic helmets for the kids and real suits and hats to try, and of course kids and grownups alike were crawling in and out of the fire trucks. They searched bag after bag, diligently tryinng to find a bandaid. They assured me that if I cut my foot off they would be equipped to handle it, but finding a small bandaid for a small blister was a bit of a challenge. Eventually they fixed me up with a bandage and some tape that worked even better than a bandaid would have.

Mother Nature had her own plans for fireworks, and the live music ended early so Rolesville could get the man-made show going before the storm arrived. The cool breeze made us all comfortable physically while we got crinks in our neck staring at the colorful sky, but it also had me wondering where all these people were going to go if the thunder and lightening caught up with us!

I felt like a kid again watching the fireworks. "I love that smell," I was thinking to myself, just as a young man walking by said "I love that smell," outloud. And one really neat oval shaped burst inspired me to share a "That was cool!" with my stepson. Jinx!

We made it back the car, and in fact back to the house for some smaller backyard fireworks, before the storm hit. All in all it was a pretty cool evening.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Almost Time for Big Brother!

Yes, summer is here! And my favorite reality show! What's better than the show? BBDish!

I found Caroyln's blog 3 seasons ago, and I'm positively addicted. Last season (yes, the wierd winter season) I broke down and ordered Showtime so I could see the after hours shows, but honestly, they pale in comparison to Carolyn's blog.

I'm not making apologies for my addiction to Big Brother. It's one of (several) shows that my daughter and I really enjoy watching together, and it is definitely the only reality show I'd consider making an appearance myself. Well, maybe not the only one...I've always wanted to be on Wheel of Fortune :-)

I guess it helps that summer is so dull on tv. I mean, I like some of the cable stuff--Army Wives is kind of cool. It was last year anyway. I keep thinking it will get better this year. And that new one, In Plain Sight (hope I spelled all that correctly) seems good so far. But mostly I can skip summer tv, and by the time Big Brother airs, I'm ready!

The only problem so far had been that Camille is the only other person I know who pays attention to BB. This year my best friend, Jackie, promises to watch. It will be interesting to have another member of the audience to discuss things with in real life...but I'm sure it won't keep me away from the dish!

Friday, June 27, 2008

My Latest Hubs

I had a blast writing hubs yesterday. First, I woke up with an idea in my mind, and I woke up early enough to actually write and publish it before my work day started. I've read that some of the best money-making hubs are product reviews, but other than books, I just wasn't finding much inspiration....until yesterday. Find out why I love my headset!

After work, I was browsing HubPages's "requests" and noticed one asking what happens when someone got struck by lightening. I grabbed the phone and called my sister Julia to interview her. She told me to call my other sister, Deborah, who was an eye-witness. Between the two of them, a fun story emerged. Find out what happened when Julia got struck by lightening.

Today I'm anixously waiting for the next inspiration! Let me know if you have any ideas for me :-)

Monday, June 23, 2008

My Baby is Away from Home

My baby has left home for a whole week. Okay, my "baby" is sixteen, but she's out-of-state with a bunch of strangers! Okay, the "strangers" are all from her Dad's church. One of the by-products of divorce and co-parenting is that I have to trust his and her judgement more than I might if we shared all of the same activities and acquaintances.

When I whined about not seeing her for a week and hugged her goodbye, she laughed at me and reminded me she had been away for a week at church camp once. "But you were still in NC and I could come get you if I needed to," I told her. She is all the way in Alabama, and when she called me at almost 11 last night, the distance really sank in when she told me they are in a different time zone!

The group is on a mission trip, helping with home repairs. She wasn't sure of the details but said she knew they would be building a handicap ramp and doing some deck work. Her packing list required a hammer, screw drivers and a toolbelt, and suggested they wear long pants to work. My baby, doing hard labor?

I'm excited for her, really, but this is just another milestone reminding me how fast the years have gone, how fast the next few will fly.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Bananas are Unlucky?

How did I not know this? Apparently bananas bring bad luck to fisherman. A quick google search will give you all the theories, so I won't try to recap, but how did I not know this? I've fished all my life and I don't remember anyone ever telling me that bananas were bad luck.

I also discovered in today's surfing that chicken bones are good luck. DauDau always brought fried chicken on our fishing trips, so maybe that explains her fishing success.

We are headed to the Outer Banks in a few weeks and meanwhile, I think I'll do a little fishing superstition research. It can't hurt!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I Feel Good: The Secret

I'm sitting in my garage, in the relative cool, chillin', enjoying my Sunday night.

We have had a nice weekend--low-key but nice. Friday night with friends and a good d.j. at O'Dwyers, Saturday night visiting friends (Ginger & Louie), and today while Ken watched the race, I ventured to the book store with my dear friend Jackie. I limited myself to one book....more on that later. We had a late lunch at Champs after our browsing at Barnes & Noble, and I have to admit (apologies to Jackie) I didn't "feel" so good while at lunch. I've had a cold. Not the worst cold I've ever had but aggrevating nonetheless, and that's probably all that was holding me back. I did enjoy visiting and the food was pretty good :-)

Bookstores have traditionally gotten me in trouble. It is so hard resist everything that catches my eye, and as an avid reader, everything catches my eye! I started with the New Release section, intending to select a title that would prompt me to write a Book Review for my HubPages. But I can grab a good novel at the library. While I used to collect novels, especially signed copies written by Southern writers, I now prefer to check things out at the library first, and then buy them if I'm sure I'll read them again. So I browsed back and forth between the novels, the self-help section, the New Age titles, and the bargain books. Eventually I stumbled across a copy, 30% off, of The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. I've had a copy of the DVD for over a year, and while I love the movie, I cannot always hog the living room tv where the DVD player resides. I've wanted a copy of the book for a while. I got back home today and devoured every word, finishing the book in about 4 hours, with a few breaks to check in on the race, eat some dinner, and put a few dishes in the dish washer.

The Secret has had a lot of hype and accommpanying criticism since it's release. Too bad. It never ceases to inspire me. I know the impact it has had in my life in the last year, and the impact of similar works and focus on the Law of Attraction for longer than that. I know the signicance of how good I feel--right now--this second--and how good I came to realize I felt as I was reading.

Feeling Good is a good thing! It leads to feeling EVEN BETTER. Everyone should find a tool that works for them. If you don't have one of your own already, I highly recommend The Secret.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


It was HOT! So funny, really. They moved it to June, hoping for cooler weather, and my family was so excited. I told 'em, don't jinx it! June in NC can be just as hot....maybe I jinxed it because sure enough we had 100 degree temps almost the entire time.

So, time for pics...thanks, Penny--I stole them from your myspace!

Samantha Casey - young star! One of the things I love most about Preddyfest is seeing all of the talented youth. She can play the heck out of that fiddle, and sing, too!

Ken & me in the golf cart....

Penny copying me! James signed my shirt a couple of years ago. Actually, I don't think I've ever been to Preddyfest without getting a James King autograph. Love the new gospel cd!

James King performing. Love it!

The campsite.

Daddy & Julie's sweet Shitzu family :-) and below, Daddy & Julie with the golf cart.

Daddy getting a little practice in.

And my favorite pic of all--me and my sistas!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Rambling: Dreams, Busy, Preddyfest!

I had the most unsettling dreams last night! You know the ones where you are trying to wake up and get out of the dream and you just can't? And these just kept going on and on and on. I dreamed about waking up and telling Ken about the dream, and in the dream about the dream I dreamed I was touching myself and asking am I really awake, is this really happening now? and then something else horrible would start dreaming. I've never experienced a real life panic attack, but I have to imagine it is similar to these dreams. I feel like I can't breath, like I simply must wake up in order to breath, and I just can't. I talked to a friend of mine today and she said she had bad dreams last night, too. Wonder if our dreams are affected by something in the atmosphere...was it a full moon?

Luckily I've been way too busy at work today to dwell too much on my dreams. Of course now that I've been awake so long I don't remember many of the gory details, just the feeling of it all. I've hardly had a break today, which is good of course--we want to be busy! But I have lots to do before Thursday....

And Thursday is PREDDYFEST! I can't wait! My sister Julia and some of her friends have set up a camper and roped off an area for the rest of us. I think my dad, his wife and my step sister are coming in tomorrow; my sister Deborah is coming up from SC Wed. I have Wed off to pack and start cooking, but I know I'm going to be anxious to drive on up. Ken says 3 days is enough and he doesn't want to go until Thursday, but I'm ready now!

Preddyfest is a three day bluegrass festival held just outside of Franklinton. That makes is only 20 minutes away for us. We camp on the property, but Ken and I cheat. We wake up every morning and come home for a shower and a nap. The bands are awesome, but the real fun starts after the stage closes around 11 and the "amatuer" picking starts in the campground. We've been going since about year 2 or 3...8 years? Wow! My dad and Julia have been the last 3 or 4 years, and this will be Deborah's first trip. Did I say I'm excited?

Back to work now...I'll try to post a detailed recap when we get back!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

An Early Father's Day Blog

I'm terrible about taking my dad for granted. It just occurred to me--today--as I was thinking about all of the essays I've written about my grandparents, and all the mother-daughter themes I've explored in my various essays and journals, that I've never really written about my dad. And make no mistake--I love my dad! I love spending time with my dad! He is smart, witty, and entertaining. And then it hit me--I probably owe him as much as anyone for my writing interest!

Daddy is a storyteller. I can't even begin to compete with his storytelling capabilities, so I'm not trying to recap any of the tall tales he shares with us. But he definitely has a way with words, and while I don't share the same oral capabilites, certainly his cleverness has helped influence my writing, at least my desire to share stories!

Here's to you, Daddy, a big THANK YOU and early Happy Father's Day!


Monday, May 26, 2008

What a MOP!

I'm really not trying to turn this into a house-cleaning blog, but I'm excited about this mop!

When Mr. Clean Magic Erasers first came out, I told everyone who would listen, "I wish they'd make a mop out of this." Well, everyone except the manufacturer :-) My kitchen floor has really stubborn scuff marks, and the only way I could get rid of them was on my hands and knees with Magic Erasers. And it's not a small kitchen floor! Needless to say, I've neglected those marks for months. Okay, years. Until today!

I spent my Memorial Day cleaning like crazy, FlyLady crisis cleaning style. So my floor had already been quick-mopped before I went to the grocery store, but when my eye caught the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Mop, I knew I'd be mopping again. It worked even better than I'd hoped! No hard scrubbing, just normal mopping and those scuff marks are gone!

If you hate cleaning as much as I do, try this mop!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I've Been BUSY!

I'm never really sure how much to write about my job online. In part I worry about accidently divulging proprietary information, and in part I worry about saying something that might offend my employer. So, in very generic terms, I've been getting busy and enjoying my job lately!

I'm currently involved in documenting some new processes for my team. I was asked to train for a new position as a back-up person, but it is beginning to look like the new position will be busy enough to justify two bodies. I hope it isn't too long before it is a full transition to the new job.

The downside of having an improvement in "working for the man" is that I have neglected my own ventures. Today I recycled several old artices for HubPages.. I also learned I've actually earned a few pennies! I really haven't worked very hard on the backlinking part of this process. I need to update my "social networking" accounts and start spending more time on forums where people might be interested in my articles. It is nice to see that even without such effort, my articles are generating a little money.

I'm almost as blurry-eyed after today's writing flurry as I have been every night this week. I had the late shift, and with the new job stuff, I've really had pretty concentrated work in front of the computer. I think I'll call it a day now and spend a little time in front of that other screen...watching the race :-)

Saturday, May 17, 2008


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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Spiffy Garage!

Thanks to my sister, Julia, my fishing rods are nice and neat instead of piled hap-hazardly in a milk crate. She didn't have to work today, and almost as soon as she finished the first cup of coffee, she said, "I need something productive to do today. I think I'm going to make Ken a fishing rod holder."

And she did!

She had a bit of scrap wood left from a job, and she pulled out her tools and started sawing and drilling and pounding, and I have a very clever organizer in the corner of my garage.

I told her after I saw the finished product, I wish we had taken before and after photos--maybe I could have written a how-to article for hubpages.

Let's see if I can describe it...As I said, it's in the corner. Ahhhh...nevermind. I can't explain it right now, without her help. Suffice it to say, Ken just got home and gave a nod of approval!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Wierd Dreams!

We had a great weekend--out late every night, lots of company, good food, plenty of beer :-) Sunday was our recovery day. We slept in and then napped, so we expected to have a hard time sleeping Sunday night.

At 4 am, the smoke detector woke us up...well, the adults anyway. Ken and I jumped out of bed and headed down the stairs. My sister had been on the couch, unable to sleep, and she called up to reassure us, "I don't know why it's going off, there's nothing wrong." By the time we made it to the first floor, the alarm shut itself off. We did a quick inspection of all of the downstairs rooms and headed back to bed. I remembered a recent news report about smoke detectors being ineffective with children and teens and decided to check on my sleeping daughter...sure enough, she was still out cold. The noise did not wake her up.

No surprise that I couldn't get back to sleep, huh? Disturbing enough that we seem to have a malfunctioning smoke detector, even worse that the report was true--I can't depend on the alarm to wake my daughter and step kids.

I seem to remember my dreams more often when I sleep fitfully, and this was no exception. First I dreamed about my darling kitten, Lucy...well, her and a bunch of look alikes! We were living in the basement of some sort of dorm. Lucy got outside, somehow, and when I caught her, there was another kitten that looked just like her--white with a tiny grey thumbprint on her head. I scooped up both kittens and brought them inside, and considered that Ken was going to be upset we now had two kittens.

Next there was some kind of registration for a drama class happening in our dorm basement living space, and there were FOUR look alike kittens, only one was dead, and had it's tail chopped off. There was lots of confusion with all of the people registering for the class. I was frantically trying to dust and clean, and was worried because we were not supposed to have pets in the dorm. We were all trying to figure out which kitten was Lucy, and I was beginning to worry that it was the dead cat.

Next I found myself on a "field trip" with the drama students (adults, by the way). We traveled through an area I knew, but ended in a strange destination where people's homes were situated on a series of canals. Boardwalks took the place of side walks, and residents had decorated the walkways with vairous potted plants. Some were so cluttered you could barely get down the walk, and we came to a point where you could hardly get by in the "public" section of the walkway because the plants were very closely placed cacti. My legs were full of needles and I was damaging the plants just trying to make my way through the cactus maze. A resident instructued us to use the "private" decks rather than the walkways and we came to a more open area where the canals interesected. Some of us were waiting for others to catch up when we noticed a giant snake swimming through the water. Other smaller snakes were here and there, in the water and on the boardwalks. Eventually the large snake swam up to the audience and stretched up out of the water to reveal that it was a man in costume! He gave us his sales pitch, encouraging us to hire him by the hour to freak out our friends by swimming in nearby bodies of water.

WIERD. My sister had just found out about the death of her dog (he had been living with her former roommate) before we went to bed, so I sort of understand the part about Lucy and suspecting she was dead, but I have no idea where the rest of the craziness came from!

Friday, May 2, 2008

I just posted a new Hub about one of my first award winning articles for my high school newspaper. It has me thinking about people who inspired me to write, particularly those who inspired me to write well. I'm sure I'll forget to name a few, but here's a little tribute to the first that come to mind.

I know I started early, though I don't remember the whys. I have a large manilla envelope full of early childhood crayon drawings, and a "book", that I gave to my grandfather, Don Campbell. DauDau, our grandmother, graciously accepted our artwork and taped it to her kitchen door, but Don saved these little gems from me in his own private collection. I received the momentos back after his death, and I don't remember anything about the specific experiences of drawing and writing those particular items for him. The fact he saved these things all those years is testament to me that he had an early influence on encouraging my creativity.

In later years, DauDau collected every article I ever had published by my our hometown weekly paper, The Roanoke Beacon. I started in junior high school as reporter for my 4H Horse Club. Our high school newspaper was actually a page in the regular newspaper, and in my senior year I landed a job as feature writer for the the Beacon. Today, handed down to me after my grandmother's death, that scrap book is my most comprehensive "portfolio" of my early writing.

Much later, several high school teachers had a huge impact on me.

Our freshman English teacher, Ginny Garrett, made us diagram sentences EVERY SINGLE DAY. We also journaled every day, sometimes writing about whatever we wanted, sometimes responding to prompts. Surely the daily journaling influenced by adult habits, but it is the diagraming that I appreciate more than I could ever have imagined. Often when I cannot decide for sure if something I've written is grammatically correct, I mentally visualize the diagram, the perpendicular line separating subject and verb, angled lines beneath for modifiers, etc. (I should probably sketch that last long sentence out right now and see if I need to edit!)

My beloved journalism teacher, Susan Wellborn, got me used to red pens :-) I am sure I never turned in an article that didn't come back thoroughly--and expertly--scratched with copy-editing marks. I would then re-write (or type) the article using her suggestions for improvement. This practice was not only invaluable, it got me used to criticism. At least when it comes to my writing anyway ;-) And of course having weekly writing assignments also helped firm up my regular writing habits.

Mr. William Morgan, my advanced placement history teacher, taught us the art of the essay. Bing, Bang, and Bongo (was that it? my memory isn't so good!). My best grades in college were always earned with written assignments, and I know I owe it to Morgan's formula-driven assignments.

If I had put this blog together before I re-read my article about visiting Poet Ellen Johnston, I probably would not have thought of her as an inspiration. I don't recall actually being in one of the classes she visited. But reading the article, I realized how familiar her motives seem to me. She had a drive to inspire. Deep down, I think I feel the same way. As a child, I wanted to be a writer simply because I wanted to offer others the same inspiration, the same escape into magical worlds, that other writers had given me.

I wish I could thank everyone who has inspired me, but I suppose the truth is that everyone has inspired me! Maybe everyone hasn't encouraged equally, but I'm grateful nonetheless.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Running Out of Time Again!

Ahhh....I'm really having to stretch to meet my goal of blogging once a day, and I think today I'm going to miss my other goal of posting a Hub each day. I've been busier than usual at work, and we are going out tonight for Karaoke.

I'll just have to double up this weekend when I have more time.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Productive Day

After 11 and I haven't blogged! Oh my, the day got away from me. So here I am with more dribble :-)

I washed clothes, cleaned our bedroom and bath, kitchen, WORKED!, participated in a conference call for a meetup group where I'm an assistant organizer.

I feel great on productive days.

And then there are my lazy days. They come in two flavors. Sometimes I love nothing better than sitting around watching tv, reading, browsing the internet...napping, even if I didn't get out of bed until noon.

But other times a slow day just drains me. Depresses me.

I've started many slow, depressing days that I have turned around with the most mundane tasks--laundry, dusting ceiling fans, mopping floors.

Activity really works, folks. And positive thinking. You have the power to change your day.

Remind me of this tomorrow when I wake up late. It's about time to head to bed, but I have a feeling I'm going to be up a while!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I've procrastinated today. My goal, at least for my first week, is to blog everyday, but today I haven't been inspired. I did post a new Hub (well, the article is recycled from one of my previous productive periods, but I plan to do a lot of that!), and I've continued to research online writing opportunities.

I also did what I always do when this writing bug kicks in full force...I re-read stuff I wrote long ago. I went even further back today than usual, however. I pulled a file of clips from high school. Yep. High School. And in the midst of the photocopies and yellowed newspaper clippings, I found a handful of letters--some I wrote and never mailed and a few to me from my best friend in high school and my first cousin. All were from about the same time period--probably within the same week. I referred to two major events in my life in all of the letters I wrote. One was a significant family event (I might post more details about this after I talk to my sister and have her permission). The boyfriend dumped me. I was so sad. I wrote the same thing over and over to several friends:

Why? I didn't even like him that much. Well, I liked him, but I didn't "love" him. So why does it hurt so much? Etc., etc.

The first couple of times I read my young words, it was interesting. I reminisced. I laughed at my teenage self, and even toyed with the idea of sharing the letters with my 16 year old daughter. But by the third or fourth rendition of the exact same words (or at least very nearly), I was bored.

The same thing has happened to me as I've reviewed my adult journals now and then. I get very frustrated with myself for saying the same things over and over, for making the same mistakes over and over.

I hinted at my fears of writing online in my first blog. I don't want to put my "dribble" out there for the world to see. And here I am, doing it anyway. But on the flip side of the boredom that repetition threatens, practice makes perfect, right?

The truth is, in that file folder full of words, I also found a few pieces to be proud of...a couple of award winning articles, in fact...I put that file away before I started blogging tonight, but maybe tomorrow I'll reprint them. Or maybe I'll actually come up with something new!

Monday, April 28, 2008

The "Network Marketing" method of Writing?

My friends all know I'm an Arbonne consultant. I signed up a couple of years ago, enthusiastically dreaming of the white Mercedes. Alas, the business just doesn't really seem to be for me, although I love the products, I love the people, and I've learned A LOT about myself. I'm also not automatically opposed to the MLM/network marketing method of distribution. I've read all of the pyramid scam accusations, and I do think that many MLM companies fail to recruit honestly, but overall, the pyramid in network marketing is no different than the typical corporate America organizational chart.

Again, I love Arbonne's products, and I have continued to use many of them. But for the most part, my "network" perceives the products to be too expensive. And I never became completely "Arbonnized" myself, primarily due to cost. I never consistently used the supplements, though I'm sure I could benefit from them. I loved the results of the anti-aging products, but I'm lazy and inconsistent. It's pretty tough to sell something that you haven't 100% bought yourself.

Since I started facing the reality that I wasn't suceeding with Arbonne, I've been through a variety of self-help exercises in search of my calling. Every career test I've ever taken in my life suggests I should be a writer. So a time or two I've tried to imagine how providing a writing service could work in a network marketing model.

I think I (sort of) found it! HubPages! I've been reading and researching all weekend, and I'm really sort of excited that this seems to be a viable way for me to earn extra money, and more importantly, to build a source of residual income. From the websites "About Us" page, "HubPages is the leading online publishing ecosystem with easy-to-use publishing tools, a vibrant author community and underlying revenue-maximizing infrastructure." The reason I'm comparing it to an MLM is because you can earn commissions from the writings of people whom you refer to the site.

If you are a writer and would like to experiment with HubPages yourself, get started at HubPages and sign up with me! Before you start posting your own "hubs", I strongly recommend you read all of the terms and conditions, not only at HubPages but also at Google. Basically, the money-making part of this comes from Google ads that are included in your articles. I'm also looking into getting the ads on my blog, too. I hestitate to post too much detail here...first because I'm still learning, and second I want to make absolutely sure I'm not breaking any toc rules!

I'll blog again about this subject I'm sure. I have lots to learn, but so far I'm enjoying my experiment in the world of online writing!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Getting Started

I'm finally entering the blog world! I don't know why I've waited so long. Blogging seems like the logical endeavor for a writer, but I've resisted. I think I finally realized the cause of my's fear, the same source of all of the procrastination in my life.

I first realized that I'm a perfectionist thanks to I stumbled across Flylady many years ago while searching for cheap Christmas gift ideas. Somehow I landed on her crisis-cleaning article, and I was hooked. For those that don't know, the flylady website and email subscription (free, by the way) provides a managment system focused on keeping your home in working order...primarily house cleaning, meal planning, and organization. She provides encouragement and a common sense approach that worked for me, at least for a while. Part of her philosophy is that we end up with messy and cluttered homes because we are perfectionists. We feel we can't possibly get the job done "right" so we never get started.

Over the last few years, I've noticed this perfectionism rearing it's ugly head in so many different areas of my life, and specifically in the last year regarding my writing. I participate on several message boards but I've only posted freely and frequently in the forums where I use an anonymous handle. Even in those safe environments, I read and re-read my preview posts, second-guessing almost every word and phrase, before I press "submit". Then I read again--quickly in some cases because you can't edit after someone posts a reply on some forums--and I typically still find a typo or grammatical error that leaves me anxious and embarrassed.

I've called myself a writer since junior high school when I was first elected as "Reporter" of my 4H club. I was already an avid reader and felt certain as I was growing up that I would be a writer, on the best-sellers list shortly out of college, making big bucks. "Starving artist" was not part of the vision. I excelled on my high school newspaper staff and started UNC-CH as a journalism student in 1984. I quickly realized that entry-level newspaper reporters earned peanuts and the dream was shattered....almost. After my daughter was born, I started my own business, publishing a monthly community magazine. Like most first-time business owners, I had a great idea but lacked the business skills to make it work. After a year and half of earning an impressive loss, I folded. Since the early 90s I've journaled, written an occassional press release, started the great American novel at least 100 times, and cranked out a ton of academic and technical pieces for my various employers. I've also edited for my mother, Donna Campbell Smith, who has an impressive portfolio of magazine articles, four books and another book coming out this year.

Until now, however, I've done little to get serious about writing. Understanding this could be a pretty boring blog, I'm about to push "Publish Post" anyway. I'm about to take the plunge into the world of online writing. Maybe no one will read my work. Maybe I'll never earn a penny. Maybe I'll have lots of negative comments and reactions. Or maybe not. Either way, who cares? I'm 41 years old. I've neglected my dream too long. I've read some pretty awful stuff on the internet....I've read some pretty awful stuff that made it to the best sellers list! I'm ready to face the fear and expose myself--typos and all!