Friday, January 26, 2007

Photog Friday - Looking Toward the Sky

Yesterday my moods mirrored the sky. In the morning when I woke up it was raining and the day was covered with gray. My mood settled in as a negative cloud, covering me with a small, but disturbing bit of depression. I hate depression. If given the choice between real, physical pain and depression, I'll go with pain. But the clouds and rain moved through as did my mood. I finished the day feeling upbeat with a winter's clear blue sky overhead, my puppy's leash in one hand and a yummy cup of coffee in the other as I walked Marco the Wonder Pup through our neighborhood.

Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight. - Ben Franklin


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Docking Time

Let me start by saying that I drive an over-sized, semi-stupid vehicle, known as Big Red. Big Red is a Ford Excursion, which is one of the largest non-commercial vehicles made in the past 10 years. Believe it or not, this beastie of a vehicle handles great. When I drive it I treat it like a REALLY big sports car. After grocery shopping, I bebopped home. What makes this an unusual event is that I had an audience watching me. Right when I was ready to park, several pickup trucks full of construction workers happened by. They didn't really happen by; they actually paused and watched. Apparently a chick parallel parking a ridiculously large vehicle is a form of entertainment. Realize that I park Big Red this way at least twice a day and I've become quite the pro at this. It takes me less then a minute and two turns of the steering wheel to perform this maneuver. Once Big Red is docked, I mean parked, the construction workers continued driving. One of the older ones was nodding his head as he drove by, signalling his approval!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Press '1' for English

I stole this from a post at Lowcountry Blog Roll the other day:

Let me just say that I have no problems with immigrants coming to the USA. My own mom emigrated here in the 60s from England. I embrace their cultural diversity and believe they enhance our collective conscience. But in America we only have one de facto (notice I did not say 'official') national language, English. Then why am I being asked to wade through a selection of other languages? Isn't English the primary language taught by federally funded schools?

My other question is: Do Spanish-speaking people in the U.S. get directed to call centers in foreign countries like India and have to deal the speaker massacring their native tongues?

Side note: On May 18, 2006 the Senate voted on an amendment to an immigration reform bill that would declare English the national language of the United States. The immigration reform bill itself, S. 2611, was passed in the Senate on May 25, 2006, and now has to go back to the House. The side note material is presented for informational reasons only and does not denote my support for this bill.


Have you ever written a novel? I haven't. My friend Joe, the publisher, is trying to get me to write one. But there’s a tiny detail: I have no idea what to write. The strange thing is that I am a published author, but I write non-fiction. To be more exact, I write those big, scary computer books you see in the bookstore. (Bet you didn't know that about me, did you Ali?) Believe it or not, I have cranked out a 400+ book in 6 weeks before. I’ve written 4 books and have contributed to 7 others. I'm even published in multiple languages. But ask me to write fiction and I can't get past a page or two. It seems, as far as the world of fiction goes, I only have small ideas. I envy those people who can write fiction, particularly the ones that can come up with story after story. And then there's me, looking for just one story to make my own.

I'm fascinated by the process people use to write fiction. In school, I thought that people just sat down and wrote. And some people do. But the ones who I am endless captivated with are the ones that have a system. They research, build, create and generate. They have note cards, notebooks and bulletin boards full of information. Bill Diehl use to live down the street from me and I got a glimpse into his writing process. He did copious amounts of research and had an elaborate card system for keep the locations, scenarios and characters consistent. If I wrote a novel, this is the approach I would use. This is because to me the storytelling is in the details.

Hopefully, one day, a story idea will hit me over the head and I'll run with it. Until then I'll just plug along in my blog!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Photog Friday - Daybreak

"To him whose elastic and vigorous thought keeps pace with the sun, the day is a perpetual morning. It matters not what the clocks say or the attitudes and labors of men. Morning is when I am awake and there is a dawn in me." - Henry David Thoreau


Monday, January 15, 2007

I want to go to England!

My dear and wonderful friend, Joe, visited me today. Joe is one of those people who lives a charmed life. Currently he and his partner are starting a publishing company in London. Yes, Joe just decided one day to move from New York to London and start a business. He's like that. I love that about him. Anyway, he was here visiting his mom and he stopped by my house before jetting back to England. We had a wonderful time talking about where our lives were going and I am now dying to go to England. You may or may not know that my mom is from England (Yorkshire, to be more exact) so I have visited Britain several times. After hearing about Joe's life in England and hearing him use British terms like 'pinch' instead of 'steal,' I am dying to go there. I may have to make a trip over there this summer. I can stay in London for a few days with Joe and then take the train to Yorkshire and stay with my aunt. You wouldn't mind, would you Aunt Pip? (she reads this blog!) I'll let you know what I decide.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Who's a lucky girl?

Me! This morning I got to walk to church in 70 degree weather in January, hear a sermon that included a testimony that would touch any heart and walk back to my house on the beach, all before 11:00am! Lucky, lucky girl!

I was here this morning!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Photog Friday - Winter in the Coastal South

Winter in the Coastal South. Its marked by cooler temps, less humidity, fewer bugs and amazing sunsets. Enjoy this bit of my Southern winter:
One kind word can warm three winter months.
- Japanese proverb


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Book Mooch

Graphic from BookMooch Website.

This is the coolest idea. Thanks to Knit 'n' NASCAR, I found a site called BookMooch. BookMooch has set up a vehicle for swapping books! BookMooch lets you give away books you no longer need in exchange for books you really want.

Every time you give someone a book, you earn a point and can get any book you want from anyone else at BookMooch. And its free to use. You are basically just covering shipping the book to someone in exchange for getting a free book later. How cool is this?! I have tons of beautiful books that I don't need anymore and this would allow me to get new books to enjoy!

Techie Love

Have you given much thought to the technology that you truly love? Excluding the really obvious stuff like cars, electricity, medical advances, what are the techie things that give you a warm fuzzy feeling when you think of them? Here are mine, in no particular order:
  1. My iPod: I love my iPod. It rides in the car with me. It comes in the house with me. It travels with me. It lulls me to sleep. Its my friend. I love being able to download music instead of buying a whole CD that only has 2 or 3 songs on it that I like. I love being able to access my music in multiple ways through playlists, albums, by artist, etc. It has really expanded my love of music.
  2. PodCasts: I know that I play podcasts on my iPod but I would argue that they are a separate entity from the iPod (and since its my blog, I win the argument!). I get so much enjoyment from the wonderful group of podcasters who share their knowledge, humor and wit with the world through their podcasts.
  3. Blogs: I like these coming and going, meaning that I love to read them and I love to write in mine.
  4. The Internet: Duh! It has expanded, enhanced and enriched my life by opening avenues of discovery that simply were not possible before.
  5. High-speed Internet connections: Life on dial-up sucks!
  6. Digital camera: If you haven't figured it out, I love my digital camera. With film, I would worry about the cost associated with using my camera and didn't fell comfortable experimenting with it. My film camera was mainly a documentation tool used to capture birthdays, holidays, vacations, etc. My digital camera is more like a playground where I take pictures just to see what they look like.
  7. Digital Video Recorder: I didn't expect to like this. I tried it because it came with my cable box. I am so hooked on this. Its so easy to use! I can record things because I'm not going to be home or I'm just not in the mood to watch a show I like. Later, I can watch it and zoom through the commercials. Life is good.
What kind of techie stuff do you have in your world that you love?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


I have been so inspired lately. Usually after Christmas I have the 'blahs.' Not this year. I've been trying new recipes, checking out new blogs, devouring books, knitting, and watching way too much HGTV. It seems like many people are feeling the same way, judging from the blogs I've read. I know a lot of my feelings stem from the soon-to-be ending of my 20+ years marriage. I have to admit I've found marriage to be stifling. My soon-to-be ex is a tad bit controlling. The decorating in the house has been stagnant because he didn't want any major decisions to be made without him, but he would never make a decision. My own personality was subdued because of the comments made when we went out with other people or entertained at home. After the evening I was told what 'I did wrong' like saying things wrong or bringing up a topic he didn't approve of. My clothes were critiqued and my makeup discussed. I found the whole thing exhausting. Now I feel like I can have fun. I can't wait to make things 'me.' I am so excited about decorating without waiting for someone else's opinion. I have it all played out in my mind.

New topic: went to a seminar for people who want to become teachers but don't have an education degree. I'm so pumped. I only have to take one test and I can start interviewing. After I get a job, I'm going to teach for about 6 months and then start working on my Masters part-time. I found out yesterday that I can get a special loan as a teacher to get my degree. The loan is a service as repayment loan, which means that I get $2500 of my loan forgiven for each year I teach. And to top it all off, I will be fully vested in the teacher's retirement after just 10 years. Party!

Another new topic: Mom is doing well. We don't have the test results back yet but her voice sounded pretty darn good. Thanks for the prayers! I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

One Less Tooth

Monkey Boy lost a tooth today. We were at a local place having the breakfast buffet after church when Monkey Boy takes one bite of his food and announces that his tooth needs to come out now! The family we were with immediately became squeamish at this notion and felt he should wait until after he ate to yank the tooth. After explaining to them that Monkey Boy has a history of swallowing teeth (2 so far) we excused ourselves and went to the bathroom. The tooth popped right out and we were back at the table in less than 5 minutes, much to everyone's surprise. So I have spent the day with a baby tooth wrapped up in tissue in my pocket all day. The life of a mom!

P.S. One of the comments asked how you handle the Tooth Fairy when there isn't a tooth to put under the pillow because Monkey Boy swallowed it. You write a note to the Tooth Fairy explaining what happened and put that under the pillow. We've actually done this 3 times, twice because he swallowed his tooth and once because his tooth came out when he was brushing his teeth and went down the sink.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Photog Friday - Your Moment of Zen

Each time you walk on my beach, you'll see something different. We have extreme tides that shape and reshape the water's edge. This area was active with volcanic eruptions millions of years ago and because of this and the work of the tides, rocks show up in the middle of the sand here. Rocks that are exposed through the action of wind and water feel very zen to me. So today I'm sharing one of my rock photos with you.
"When we gaze at nature, at a loved one, at a work of art, our soul immediately recognizes and is drawn to the face of God."
- Margaret Brownly


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Strangest Race Ever

I found this awesome photo at Say No to Crack and had to share:

I even love the name of this photo, "Run Sheep, Run!" This was the kind of thing we would do for entertainment in the olden days before cable and the Internet. Don't you just love it!?

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy and Warm New Year's

What does being warm have to do with New Year's? Normally, nothing. But this year is different. Today it got up to 73 degrees! Even for the Coastal South, that's warm in January. I actually ran around wearing sandals or no shoes.

Here in the South, we have a tradition of eating black eye peas and greens for good luck on New Year's Day. So to honor this tradition, I made what I call 'Lucky Soup.' It is actually a French bean soup that I add greens to. The typical greens eaten today are collard greens, but I knew Monkey Boy wouldn't go near them so I used spinach. I was going to keep the soup vegetarian, but then my BIL reminded me that ham is also part of the tradition and because of my concern of offending the Southern gods (these include but are not limited to: Vince Dooley, Robert E. Lee, Tennessee Williams, and Lynyrd Skynyrd) I threw some ham into the soup. This stuff is good, real good. Monkey Boy loved it and skipped the biscuits so he could eat more soup, though I think he was really saving room for ice cream!

Here is the promised photo of the baby hats I made while I was in Alabama. One sports a cute bow and the other is decorated with flower buttons.

Got about 75% of my Christmas decorations down today. The tree is only half decorated now and looks like one of those sad trees after the ornaments go on sale at Macy's.

Hope your New Year's Day was reflective, restful and fun!