"I want, I want, I want ... but that's crazy"

Monday, August 31, 2009

That awkward age

I discovered today that I am officially at "that awkward age." Ok, so there are lots of "awkward ages," I suppose. But anyway, I'm at one of them, no question. I am fast approaching my 37th birthday (ouch!), but I still look young enough that I've been ID'd twice in the past week. I was even told at my last job by one of the old lady volunteers that she thought I was one of the TEEN volunteers. So I look young. But my, um, outlook, I guess, is right on target or beyond. I've always been older than my age. I was correcting the grammar of my family members when I was 4. I was actively interested and involved in politics by the time I was 8 (and I was in a completely apolitical family, btw). I'd read most of the works of Shakespeare - just for fun - by the time I was 12. You get the idea, so enough with the preamble.

The thing is, when it comes to men, I still look at a 24 year old as a perfectly legitimate target and completely within my range. But I also look at older men and find myself thinking, "Oh yeah, I'd date him," granted while in the back of my mind I'm also saying, "By the way, I'm not as young as I look - trust me." So tonight I was at a meeting for work, and there was an older man there. Very handsome, very distinguished, amiable and good sense of humor (nice smile, too) - and I was sitting there the whole time watching him. I saw no wedding ring - yes, I checked - but he was just the type of guy who's either married or widowed. I found myself hoping it was the latter. I knew he had to be at least 60, but I still couldn't help finding him very appealing. So I looked him up online when I got home. No luck there. He is married. And 65. Stranger still, if he weren't married, I'd still want to go out with him.

Don't worry too much about me though. I've got an actual date coming up with someone - and he's exactly my age.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

My boys squeaked by

My Man United boys won over Arsenal today - thank goodness - and I think Ryan Giggs owes Diaby a drink after this one. I'll admit I was getting nervous after the first half. Rooney's PK made me feel a whole lot better, but that little blunder by Diaby had me ECSTATIC.

I managed to catch bits and pieces of the Inter win over AC Milan too. 4-0. Very nice (as The Special One would say). :)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Flashback Friday - Photograph

A little late, but it's still..... Flashback Friday - with Def Leppard's Photograph.


I'm feeling a little short-tempered today, and I couldn't really tell you why. I suspect that some of it's probably got to do with being cooped up again without much purpose. A good portion of it is probably that I am DAMN TIRED of being alone.

I was having a chat with my friend D yesterday and all was going along pretty happy schmappy until I suddenly snapped at him out of the blue. I thought about it more today and rather than feeling guilty, I just got more ticked off.

I woke up early this morning and did a little work that needed to be done - but not as much as I should have. I feel zero motivation right now.

I've just taken the girls off to spend the night at their dad's house. I came home and poured myself a glass of wine. I think maybe I'll drown myself in it tonight. Why not?

Check out these roughnecks!

TruTV used to be Court TV in the United States, but now it's got a whole lot more than just courtroom drama and crime shows. The channel's now about "caught on video" reality shows, or what TruTV calls "actuality television."

If you like shows like "Iceroad Truckers" and "Deadliest Catch," you should see the show truTV BLACK GOLD by the same creators. It's starting its second season on TruTV and can be seen Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. Eastern.

The show takes the cameras to the oilfields of West Texas where the some of the toughest (and might I add - HOTTEST) guys on the planet are working on one of the most dangerous jobs there is.

This year, the season focuses on Rig 28 and the quest for these roughnecks to drill four holes in 50 days to save the lease on a valuable piece of land before it expires.

truTV BLACK GOLD characters include:

Day Crew -
Jeremy "PeeWee" Smith - he's short and short-tempered, but he's earned the respect of his fellow roughnecks.
Gerald Williams - he's been working the fields for more than 30 years and says he gets Christmas cards from nine of the world's top 10 badasses. He's missing part of a finger from an oilfield accident.
Jeremy "Mack" Paulins - he's a smart guy, ladies' man and a convicted felon who's been PeeWee's best friend since grade school.
Cheston McElhaney - he's the new guy on the rig and the new guy to roughnecking
Chuck Mobley - another convicted felon, he's seemingly beaten a crystal meth addiction but still spends too much time headlong in the bottle, but he knows the job and does it well

Evening Crew -
Ron Payne - he's got 15 years experience in the oilfields and has never had an accident - neither has his crew
Brandon Watson - he's a hothead with an attitude who likes drinking beer and chasing women. He's gotten his front teeth knocked out and his fingers smashed on the job.
Josh Casteel - he's a ladies' man who likes wakeboarding, motocross and lifting weights. He also plays guitar. He's broken his arm and his collarbone on the job.

Overnight Crew -
Terry "Tank" Hannon - he's a second-generation roughneck who's been on and off in the oilfields for 12 years. He's had several injuries, including broken fingers and cracked ribs.
Travis Venerable - he's a laid-back guy with parents on the white-collar side of the oil business

Relief Crew -
Oscar Barerras - he's been doing the job for 13 years, and among other injuries, once almost lost his thumb when he was bitten by a rattlesnake
Aaron Taft - he's only been working the oilfields for three years, which he got into because life in a cubicle bored him. He's got a degree in finance.
Chris Bain - he's been in the fields for four years now, but he recently lost his job after being arrested. He's gotten a broken arm and a concussion on the job.
Ben Green - he's been on the job for three years, and he and his wife are expecting their first baby.


Monday, August 24, 2009

'Night all

The sky was blue, the sun was shining, the birds were singing, I had plenty of work to do, and LIVERPOOL LOST. Sounds like a good day to me. :)

I drove an hour to get to a council meeting I had to cover - and I got there half an hour early. Then the meeting only lasted half an hour. Another hour's drive home to write the story. I still almost missed my deadline because Z popped up for a chat, I made food, then I got a phone call from a woman who writes for our paper too. At least it was a really easy story to write. Pretty much no-thought-required. I like thinking - I do - but I'll take an easy one over a tough one for the same money. Why not?

Tonight's the last night before the girls start school on Wednesday. Gin decided that she was going to go to bed at nine o'clock starting Sunday. Needless to say, that hasn't happened. Not even close. Surprise, surprise - they're still up now at....11:17.

I'm still up too, of course. I don't sleep this early - when I sleep, that is. It's been a little better lately. I've been able to sleep in and actually stay asleep. Of course, that's all about to end as the girls go back to school. Typical. Yes, I know. I could just go to bed earlier. Right. That's gonna happen.

Okay, okay - I'll go to bed. In a little while.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Enjoy the journey

I've decided to adopt that as my new motto: Enjoy the journey. Even if you don't know where you're going, enjoy the journey.

I'm trying to embrace life. Some interesting possibilities have arisen. Of course, each time, it seems that something falls through, and those possibilities fail to come to fruition. But it's not as if I've lost anything, really. You can't miss something that you never had.

I'd been thinking about a trip to Seattle to see G when he came around. But now he tells me the trip might not happen. So I'd been planning on it, but if it's not going to happen, it's not going to happen. I wasn't able to make the trip the last time he came over from England earlier this year. Of course, now I sort of wonder if it would have happened even if I had managed to work things out on my end. I guess, if it were meant to happen, it would.

I've still got a trip to Tampa to possibly look forward to - if that can happen. Ironically, I can probably only go if I DON'T get a job before then. My friend F, whom I went out to see when he came to the U.S. in February (Vegas), is coming back over and has offered to fly me down for a sort of mini-vacation. I'm due for another little getaway. Life at home is pretty uninspiring, so I need the occasional break from it to reinvigorate and revitalize - otherwise I just feel as though I'm slowly winding down....

Who knows? There might even be something else on the horizon that could make things more interesting... but it's really too soon to tell. These possibilities can sneak up on a person though, and one never knows where they might lead.

So I'm just going to enjoy the journey.

Wallowing in my addiction

I'm up and watching football again - of course, it's Sunday and it's in season. I started out watching the Burnley game. Ordinarily, I wouldn't be interested, but after Man United's loss to them midweek, I thought I should keep my eyes open to see what they were up to. (They're leading at the moment 1-0 over Everton). Of course the game I'm really interested in is the Chelsea match against Fulham. Chelsea's up 1-0 right now at the half.

I didn't get to watch the Man United game yesterday. I was able to watch the first half hour, but then I had to leave to go do my usual Saturday thing (pick up Book, lunch at my mom's, etc.) I sent out a plea on Facebook and Twitter for someone to keep me updated. Fortunately, D was online, so he sent me updates with every goal. 5-0 for Man United!!!!! Even though I didn't get to see it - and it would have been waaay more exciting if I had - it was still awesome to get updates every couple of minutes saying "1-0 Rooney!" then "2-0 Berba!!!" then "3-0 Rooney! Yeah!" and so on. I was heading up the interstate at the time and thought, "Are you kidding me?!?!" My boys are back!!!

I suppose I should be cheering for Fulham in this one, just to help secure my Man United boys in their position, but I've got much love for Chelsea. I'd happily take a 1-2 finish in the league for the two teams.... with United on top, of course. :)

There's an Inter game on this afternoon. I might watch it. I'm a wee bit ticked at G at the moment though, so I don't know. I probably will. I'm an addict, you know. :)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Spontaneous heart reaction

Can I be blamed for a spontaneous gut reaction? Or more accurately, I suppose, it should be called a spontaneous (and unwelcome) heart reaction.

My daughter Gin has been watching episodes of a certain TV show online on Netflix for a while now. She likes the show. I don't blame her. I like it a lot too. We both thoroughly enjoyed season one and watching the episodes again through the last couple of weeks. But she started in on season two tonight. Not all of the episodes are viewable online, but we were watching the ones we could.

And then it started.

(If you're familiar with my past as chronicled here, you know I used to be involved with an actor. I can't really think of an appropriate term. It lasted nearly three years - although it was really the last year of it that finally consumed my soul. It consumed every part of me. I was in love with him as I have never been before. And he loved me too. We spent little physical time together, but we spent nearly every moment connected to each other online when we were home - through the power of MSN and Skype - when we were home, and whenever we were out, we were constantly texting each other. We read each others' minds. We were a part of each other. And even though we were three thousand miles apart, we were inseparable - it seemed. When he left me, I was crushed. I was inconsolable. I was completely and utterly broken.)

The episode (or the first of a couple, actually) that HE was in came on. As soon as it started I got up and said, "I'm not going to watch this one." I've gotten over him. I know I wouldn't be better off with him. But it's still hard, sometimes, and those reactions just happen. After a few minutes, I decided, "No, I can do this. It's no big deal." After all, I've sat through other things he was on without a problem ... I just know that these particular episodes he's the most like the actual "him" of anything he's done (at least anything that I'm likely to be exposed to). Now my daughter acted compassionately, without prompting, and as soon as his scenes came on, she fast-forwarded past them. But for one moment, before she was able to jump on the mouse and move past him, I heard his voice again - his real voice - and it hit me like a truck. My chest got tight. I felt like I was having a hot flash. And almost immediately, I felt like I was going to break down and cry.

I really am over him. I know I am. But I can't forget how much I loved him. And I forget how much it hurt when I lost him. It's cruel when these things come back.

Some small bit of satisfaction

I finally got word from the office of unemployment today about my eligibility for benefits. The official determination is that I was "discharged without just cause." Damn right I was. So I'll be getting paid, at least, and I'll be able to stay in my house. I was really figuring if I didn't hear something soon, I wouldn't have any choice but to move back in with my mother. Nobody wants that. Of course, she might have NOT wanted it enough that she'd dig into her secret stash of cash to pay my rent for a while for me. Fortunately, it looks like it won't be coming to that now. (Not that my mom wouldn't want to have me really - more than anything, she doesn't want the kids to have to be around my stepdad's loser, drunken friends all the time.)

I had a bit of a downer earlier today (you might have noticed), but that bit of news perked me up again. It's not so hopeless now, anyway. Besides, why should I let some stupid BOY spoil my mood? Ok, my mood was kind of morose at that point anyway, but I'm not letting some stupid BOY make matters worse. Stupid boys. (Yes, at 32, still just boys.... with the RARE exception.)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Flashback Friday - Invisible Sun

Bringing together two true icons of the era for Flashback Friday - it's The Police and Bono performing Invisible Sun

Another wrench .... yeah, I figured

I am going to stop thinking that I've got anything figured out. It seems even the smallest or simplest thing never goes the way I thought it would, so why on earth should I ever believe that something big is going to work the way I expected? I should forget the single-minded focus. Something's always going to come along to throw a wrench in the works. And expectations? Forget it. Fantasy? Just foolish. How about some realism? Even that's going to go haywire. Expect the unexpected. But then it's no big surprise. Expect disappointment? Yeah, probably most of the time. That's a little closer to the mark I think.

I got my hopes up. Always a mistake - even in the short term. So now there's something new on the horizon. Any real potential in it? Who knows? What's real anyway?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

From the eyes of my computer

From the eyes of my computer:

I was thinking this was an easy gig when I got here. The boss (she's the one who pays the bills, so I guess she's the boss) spends most of her time on her work laptop, then there's a couple of kids, too young to need a computer for much of anything. So I figured I'd just be hanging out most of the time. The kids would play a few cutesy kiddie games, and we'd all be cool.

Fast forward a couple of months: the boss switches jobs, so her old laptop computer's gone, and I'm up for the big show. Then when she's not working on me, the kids are right there - and I mean RIGHT THERE! "Mom, can I get on the computer? Mom can I get on the computer?" The boss pounds out what work she can and turns me over to the wee ones. Then it's all these crazy games with crazy graphics, and videos, and pictures .... and you know they're even building and running FOUR separate worlds. It's a lot to ask of a computer, you know.

Finally, it's time for the kiddies to go to bed, and I'm thinking, "Whew! A rest!"


The boss is back with 15 blog windows open, catching up on her Facebook games with a dozen more tabs open, and I can't keep up!

Now it's football season (that's European football, she's quick to remind). Oh boy, we're looking at nonstop streaming games ... for how many months?

Maybe I should retire, and the boss should get herself one of those sleek, high-powered new HP computers.

There's a good deal on now. Get $500 off instantly when you purchase an HP HDX 16t with $300 coupon code NBN3248 + $200 Instant Rebate.
Valid through 8/23 or while supplies last. Restrictions and exclusions apply.

Sweet. She can give me to her mom. Her mom hasn't even figured out e-mail yet. Ah, a life of leisure for me!


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Earlier-than-necessary morning

I got up earlier than I needed to, thanks to my state of extreme sleepiness last night leading to my miscalculation of how much time I would need to get ready this morning, write a post and drive in to Sidney. At least it took the pressure off the morning, and I was able to swig down a cup of coffee before starting out.

Of course, then I arrived for the county commissioners' meeting scheduled for 9:30 this morning only to be told that it would be held in executive session, so I couldn't attend. I left my number to be called later, so I could talk to them about the thing I was there for in the first place. I drove over to my daughters' friends house to pick them up after spending the night last night and came out to find a message saying I could go back to the commissioners office. Great. I dropped the girls off at home, then drove another 30 minutes back in. When I got there, they realized, "Well, you don't really need us for this. You can talk to the auditor." Well, hell, I could have just gone up and talked to the auditor the first time I was there.

But anyway, I got the story, had a nice chat with the auditor (who lives in my little town, so we had the usual catching up to do - "how are the kids?" etc, etc.) and I'm back home to write the story. I think I might put it off for a couple of hours. I'll take a little nap and then watch the game (one of the games anyway - I've got three to choose from and I'm not sure yet which one I'll pick: Chelsea/Sunderland, Celtic/Arsenal or Sporting Lisbon/Fiorentina - I'll probably go with Chelsea.) Right now, I'm just sleepy again.

Sign up to win a new laptop computer


Hey moms, students, business people .... everybody! Want a chance to win a free laptop computer? Yes, of course you do. Charter Communications is at it again, following up on their hugely successful HDTV-a-day sweepstakes with a massive Laptop-a-Day Sweepstakes running from July 15 to Sept. 15. Don't miss out on this opportunity to sign up and win a new laptop!

While you're at the site, check out the great online deals they've got going for cable, phone and internet service, including high-speed internet for just $19.99 a month. And if you sign up for service, you can get a $100, $75 or $25 gift card for free!

The laptop they're giving away every day is an HP 550 Notebook PC with a 2 gig Intel Celeron processor, 160 GB hard drive, 15.4-inch display, DVD +/- RW drive, three USB ports, wireless broadband connectivity, high-definition audio, and Windows Vista Home Basic. And a NeoTec Computer Backpack. The prize pack has an approximate retail value of $415. In all, 63 laptops will be given away in the 63 days, with a total prize value of $26,145!

The drawing begins Sept. 22 and continues for 63 days, so you haven't missed out on any opportunities by not getting in from the first day of the contest. But you've only got until Sept. 15 to get signed up, so don't delay and don't forget about this one!

The promotion is only available to residential customers within the areas served by Charter, legal residents withing the contiguous U.S. (excluding New York), but you won't waste a lot of time trying to find out if you qualify. Just enter your address, and you'll find out immediately! (Don't let that slow you down! I'm in the middle of nowhere here, and it turns out I'm in the service area! Odds are, you could be too!)

To keep up on great offers from Charter, add Charter on Facebook and/or follow Charter on Twitter.

Go ahead and sign up for this great opportunity from Charter Communications. It couldn't be easier, and you could win a new laptop!


Monday, August 17, 2009

Not a bad day, really

I'm exhausted. Who could have known that two and a half hours in a dull school board meeting in a cafeteria that's about 95 degrees with no moving air could make a person so tired? Oh wait, that makes sense now.

I woke up at 6:30 this morning for some unknown reason, but I actually managed to roll over and fall asleep again. I slept until 11! That hasn't happened in a looong time. I think my recent lack of sleep is catching up with me.

I got my little boon this morning that just might make a cheap little trip (but a long awaited and much needed one) possible, so that started off the day well. Then I got to watch some football - AC Milan vs. Juventus (1-1). Not my favorite Italian teams, but they'll do in a pinch. G says I need to forget about Man United. No way! But I do support Inter for him. They're my second favorites, but I don't think I'll be entirely shifting my loyalties any time soon. :) I'm just glad another season's begun, and I get to indulge myself again.

I'd better make it an early night tonight. I've got a new book to curl up with (in lieu of anything else good to curl up with), and I've got another busy week ahead of me, it seems. Four more assignments to do, including one I put off from last week because I had too many to keep up with it all.

Natural solutions

I hate taking medications. Whenever possible, I'd rather go for a natural solution. Probiotics are fantastic!

More often than not it seems that problems with your body are just caused by things being out of balance. Anyone who's ever been on a course of antibiotics and then found all sorts of problems cropping up afterward knows what I mean. Those prescriptions can kill off the bad bacteria that's causing a problem, but they also kill off the good bacteria that we need. Usually, as long as the good bacteria is being allowed to do its job, the bad stuff doesn't stand a chance.

For a good probiotic dietary supplement that will help keep your body's natural system of bacteria in balance, try threelac.

It helps improve the body's immune system so it can fight for itself, as it's meant to. It also improves digestion and increases the body's absorption of vitamins and minerals, as well as prevents overgrowth of harmful bacteria.

Ladies, if you've ever been on antibiotics, you probably already know what the big result is: yeast infections. Probiotics are a natural solution, so don't reach for another medication that's just going to throw things off balance even more.

That lack of balance can cause a whole lot of other problems as well, including migraines, depression or anxiety, acne and other skin problems, lethargy and all sorts of digestion problems.

Following the yellow brick road

If you want something badly enough, you find a way to make it happen. I want this badly enough, I have decided that I will make it happen.

My dear friend G is coming back to the United States soon. Yet again, the timing is really lousy, but this time, I'm not letting that stand in my way. We keep trying to get together (he's living in London and I am here in the none-too-appealing Midwestern U.S., so you can imagine that it's a bit of a challenge), but circumstances always seem to get in the way. This time, I'd set my mind that I would find a way to visit when he made it to my side of that accursed pond. This morning I received a bit of a boon that would set me close enough to my goal that I can almost say it's a done deal. I still need to find out the details of the visit. I'm hoping the exact timing doesn't create too much difficulty in working it out. But I almost have to find a way around any roadblock that might be set before me now. This is an important thing.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Most bizarre..... but curiously intriguing

I had the best possible start to my day today - at least in my sad, pathetic little world. :) I woke up early to watch the Man United game, and my boys won! Naturally they won; it was just against Birmingham, after all. Of course, I missed the ONE goal (yay Rooney!) while I was down making myself a cup of coffee. Ah well, they won. Three points to start off the season. I'll take it.

I followed that up with the Liverpool/Tottenham game, because, of course, I can never get enough footie! That was a good one as well, seeing as Liverpool lost and all. Go Spurs! I'll support anyone who's playing against Liverpool, you know. :D

After the games, it was time to take Book home.....that's when things got bizarre.

My ex-husband No. 1 (we were married for about five minutes.... it was a spontaneous sort of youthful adventure thing) calls me from the door, "Wait a sec!" What's this? We never TALK - I just drop off the boy and go on my way. He's standing there with some papers in his hand acting all nervous and weird. I figured it had to do something with child support. After all, I've just lost my job and have just missed my first payment while I'm waiting for SOME kind of resolution with all the paperwork I've done.

Boy, was I wrong.

No, he's got a picture in his hand of some fellow playing poker. I'm baffled at this point. Then he tells me that he's been talking to this fellow online.... and he's interested in me.

Excuse me? "How does this guy even know who I am?" I ask.

"Well, I told him about you."

Now I am REALLY baffled. So anyway, he hands me this letter of introduction of sorts, asks me not to be mad, and suggests that I just contact this fellow to see if I might, perhaps, be at all interested. Erm, okay...

I've sent off an e-mail. We'll see.....

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Finding Rapidshare files just got easy

Rapidshare has made it easy to share files online. It's just a matter of click - upload - share. There ya go. You might have even used it before.

What isn't so easy is finding what you need on it. Unless you've been sent a link directly, it's a challenge to find the file you're looking for on Rapidshare.

It needs some sort of search function, right?

Well, guess what? Now with Rapid4Me you can do a Rapidshare Search and actually find the files you're looking for.

It's a simple enough process. There's a box at the top, and you just fill in what you're looking for. If you want to browse what other people have been doing lately (I mean, who doesn't go in completely blank and just want to browse some ideas, right?), the whole rest of the page is filled with recent Rapidshare searches.

Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page, and you'll see a link you might have overlooked. It'll bring up the last one thousand searches on Rapidshare.

What's ahead next week so far

This was a busy week for my freelance work. I had five assignments to do for newspaper S, but no assignments for newspaper P. I have no idea why I haven't heard a single word from newspaper T yet, particularly since the editor there would hire me outright in a heartbeat if he had a position available. Well, I suppose it's possible that all of his stringer positions are filled, or he doesn't have enough of a stringer budget to use for me. I'll be checking with him again since this coming week looks pretty slim.

So far for this coming week I have one assignment for newspaper S and two for newspaper P. I received an offer for another from P, but unfortunately, it conflicted with the assignment for S, which I'd already accepted. The editor at S did say he might have more for me later.

I have an appointment on Thursday to sign up for a job search through the child support office. I haven't yet received any word on my benefits to be received yet. It's funny, they're right on top of me for my obligations but aren't racing forward to get me any of the benefits I'm entitled to yet. I've been working and paying into the system all this time, and it's supposed to be there to protect me in cases like this. Yeah, that's why I don't often try to count on anyone but myself. You just can't.

I think I might look into a waitressing position at a decent sit-down restaurant soon. The hours could be a challenge with the girls not in school yet, but I know tips are good. Boy, after "managing editor" it doesn't seem like much. But "managing editor" really wasn't much of a job - well, it was a hell of a job, just not really much of an income. I've got to get something.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Flashback Friday - '65 Love Affair

Hey, I almost forgot about Flashback Friday! Here's one of my FAVORITES from back then! It's Paul Davis singing '65 Love Affair!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Entrecarders: how do you drop?

I've got a question for all you Entrecarders out there. How do you drop? Do you strictly hit the blogs on your drop inbox? Do you have a drop list (if so, is it a page you have published, or a bookmark list, or some other method?) Do you drop-and-hop using the widgets? Do you do it some other way?

I'm one who almost never hits the 300-card limit or even close, but I tend to "drop and hop." What I mean by this is, I start at my drop inbox for today with my latest dropper. At that page, I drop, then I hop to the blog in the Entrecard widget, drop and hop to the next, until I reach one that I've already dropped on. Then I go back to my inbox, hit refresh, and start at the next one I haven't dropped on. Generally, I've got seven or eight open tabs as I go along, and after I drop them, I check out each blog to see if I'm interested in reading the post or if I want to comment on something as I'm closing tabs to go back to the inbox.

Granted, this is a slow method, but I'm usually more interested in seeing what the latest posts are than getting in my maximum drops for the day. I find that this method reciprocates those who have dropped on my blog (since I'm clearing my inbox as I go), and it lets me see a wide variety of blogs every day because I'm hitting the blogs shown on other people sites, so it's a different group of bloggers every day. It also rewards those who are using the service to advertise on other people's blogs.

So, how do you drop and why?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Beautiful art in L.A. - and online

Some truly amazing and beautiful work by some of today's most talented artists can be found at Paragon Fine Art Gallery in the Los Angeles area. A partner with Hamilton Selway Fine Art, Paragon's mission is to offer beautiful contemporary, traditional and commercial art to the public at dealer prices.

If you're a fan of surrealism by artists like Salvador Dali, be sure to check out the "Modern Alegorist"Glen Tarnowski paintings in Paragon's Gallery. As Tarnowski told The Artist's Magazine in October 1999, "Painting that simply reproduces likeness of a subject isn't enough - I create paintings that express my emotional response to the beauty of subject." He has said, "I create what I am."

Tarnowski's work is whimsical and paradoxical. Unlike much surrealism, his work does not dwell on darkness, pain and suffering. Instead his "Modern Alegorism" is rich yet airy, fantastical, multi-dimensional, and eternally lighthearted and optimistic. One of his works shows two apples wearing sunglasses, listening to iPods while playing poker. He frequently features a variety of animals in his works, breathtakingly rendered in fantastical atmospheres.

Paragon Fine Art also features other varied contemporary artists such as Hessam Abrishami, Isaac Maimon, Peter Max, Carrie Graber and Vladimir Kush. In addition to their main web site, they also have an eBay store where you can peruse fine works of art at your leisure.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Puppy love

Awww, I'm so proud! A little while ago EJ from At Home In The Ozarks asked fellow bloggers and visitors to help her pick out a name for her unbelievably ADORABLE new puppy. I took one look at the pic and "Toby" immediately popped into my head. Imagine my surprise when I was surfing blogs again and found this post saying she'd picked my name! Pop by and see her new little cutie!

Monkey muffins! Yum!

I got up this morning and I had a taste for something yummy and cinnamony (is that a word? No matter. You get the idea.)

I didn't want to put too terribly much effort into it, so I thought about the ever-popular staple: monkey bread. The only problem with that is that it takes a little too long to cook (I wanted it pretty much NOW), and it makes too much for just me and the kids to snack on. Monkey bread is best when it's fresh from the oven.

So I improvised. I made monkey muffins instead. I didn't measure a thing, but the beauty of it is that it's pretty much foolproof. Here's the gist if you want to try it out:

Spray eight cups of a muffin pan with cooking spray, and preheat the oven to 350 (the tube says 400, but keep it at 350 - the texture's better and the sugar won't scorch).

Pop open one tube of regular (country-style or homestyle NOT flaky layer) biscuits. Cut each of the 10 biscuits into quarters. Put about a half cup of sugar and a generous amount of cinnamon into a plastic bag and mix well. Coat each biscuit quarter with the mixture. Put five pieces into each muffin cup.

Melt about a quarter of a stick of butter in a small saucepan and stir in brown sugar (I think I used about a half cup or three-quarters or so - adjust to make a thick syrup). Heat it thoroughly to boil while stirring constantly. Don't scorch the sugar, but you want it to melt thoroughly to make a nice, sticky syrup instead of a grainy one. Pour over the biscuit pieces.

Bake for about 15 minutes then turn the muffins out onto a plate or platter.

It's super easy, quick and great for that spur-of-the-moment sweet tooth!

I wish I'd thought to take a picture, but we ate them all too quickly! Oh well, maybe next time....

Looking for a webhosting service? Check here first

If you're looking for webhostingservices, the first place you'll want to check out is Web Hosting Geeks. I used this site when I was working at my old job writing my Internet column, and I found it to be a great convenient resource to find the best webhosting providers, without having to actually buy every one to try them out first.

The folks at Web Hosting Geeks have done all the work for you, and they've itemized all the features so you can find just what you're looking for in a webhosting service. The services are ranked by best price-to-value ratio, and they also award webhosting services for the best features, including best budget webhosting, best blog webhosting, best forum webhosting, best email webhosting, best e-commerce webhosting, best multiple domain webhosting and more. Everyone's got their own individual website needs, so why settle for less than exactly what YOU need?

The site features independent reviews from webmasters and customers, so you can see exactly what people who really use these services think of them. And when you try them out, you can add your own review to the mix. This is what the Internet is all about - sharing information with others. It's a great resource that's well-organized, and it's been around since 2004 to help both new users and old pros find the best webhosting service for their hard-earned money.

Another great resource on the site is the blog. It covers a range of relevant topics for webmasters including security, online sales, SEO and domain names. It offers great advice for beginners and Internet veterans alike, including lots of tips on scams and tricks you'll want to look out for. It can save you a lot of time, money and headaches, and it's all in one place.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Great Chelsea vs. Manchester United match

I can't ever seem to sleep in anymore. :( No matter how late I stay up, I still wake up at the same time every day. Even on those blessed days when I don't have to wake up to an alarm clock. Ok - so that's most days now, but still, my body's on my old work clock, apparently.

Getting up early this morning though wasn't so bad. I had time to make myself a pot of coffee before settling in to watch Chelsea and Man United battle it out for the Community Shield. I'm a Man United fan, so I was of course disappointed to see them lose this one, especially since Wayne Rooney made such an excellent effort to tie up the score with time almost gone and send it into a penalty shootout. It should have been a lock for Man United at that point, but sadly, they couldn't pull it out. Giggs (of whom I am a big fan) and Evra were major disappointments with their PK efforts (you cannot send a piddling little PK up against Cech like that - he's just too good), and personally, I just don't think Foster's up to this level of play yet. I'd of course always rather see Van Der Sar playing, but he's out with an injury. All week long I've been hoping that Sir Alex would have picked Kuszczak to go up against Chelsea, but it didn't happen.

Still, it was a FANTASTIC match, and I always love watching these two go up against each other. These two teams are so evenly matched, you really never know who's going to come out on top. A final score of 2-2 (PK 4-1 Chelsea) says it all.

Dump your cable provider

I dumped my cable service a long time ago because I got tired of the poor service, constant outages, lack of channel options and the ridiculous price they were charging me. I'm in a small town, and the cable company has a monopoly on service around here, so they think they can charge whatever they want and get away with it.

Fortunately, cable's not my only option. I can go to a satellite dish TV service like DIRECT TV or Dish Network and get better quality and more programming choices at a lower price. You can too.

To find service providers for Oregon, click here --> Oregon Directtv.

Kaptain Satellite lets you compare Satellite TV providers to find the best option for you.

What are you waiting for? Dump your cable service and get the TV programming you want at the price you want to pay.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Finally, time is taking its time again

The time seems to have slowed down a bit for me. It's nice, actually. I was so busy all the time before that I'd be on Monday, then the next thing I knew it was Thursday, then suddenly it's two weeks later - and I'm exhausted.

This week, though, I covered a council meeting on Monday, then had other assignments on Thursday and Friday, and I was certainly keeping busy throughout .... but the council meeting already feels like it was weeks ago. It's such a relief, really. Maybe it feels like more time has passed because I've actually seen my kids so much and done so much at home and what I'm working at doesn't seem fruitless, so I see actual progression and the time is meaningful. Hmmm... it's an interesting notion

Friday, August 7, 2009

Flashback Friday - Ferris Bueller

It's a very special Flashback Friday episode: in honor of iconic director John Hughes, I give you Requiem for a Day Off, with clips from my all-time favorite Hughes film, Ferris Bueller's Day Off (which happens to star one of my favorite actors from the period, Matthew Broderick.)

My own public service announcement because I'm sick of the stupid e-mail forwards

I'm not going to name names, point fingers or post links, but I will say that perpetuating misinformation does nothing more than make you appear a fool and by extension makes fools of those who then agree with you, trusting that you have taken the time to find out what is true.

You are all welcome to your righteous indignation. You are free to believe or disbelieve whatever you choose. You are no less right or wrong to have your own opinions about the rightness or wrongness of any decisions or actions of your government, regardless of your affiliation or lack thereof. No opinion is wrong. My problem is with factual errors and misinterpretation - intentional or not.

Just, please - check your facts.

I am so tired of receiving e-mails (from supporters or opponents of both sides of any given issue) that pass along opinion and misinterpretation and pure spin as "fact."

Please, stop wasting my time and insulting my intelligence.

Kmart one-day only sale this Saturday!

This post was sponsored by Kmart. All the opinions are mine.

Those Kmart Bluelight specials you remember from childhood are back! It was always such a silly thrill for me as a kid when my family was shopping at Kmart, and we saw that blue light go off across the store. We always had to run right over to see what the great deal was!

Kmart is having a special one-day sale this weekend, Saturday only. There will be special offers available throughout the day on all kinds of items, including patio furniture, grills, jewelry, clothing items, summer specials and even some school supplies. In fact, there will be more than 40 great Bluelight Specials throughout the day at those great can't-get-'em-anywhere-else Bluelight prices! Even more special deals will be available exclusively online at kmart.com this Saturday only, and free shipping is available on orders of $60 or more.

See off the summer in style by decking out your patio with patio furniture at an amazing 70 percent off regular prices. While you're at it, you can stock up on high quality Joe Boxer women's flip flops for just $4 a pair. I know in my house, we can never get enough of those for summertime wear. Get the guys ready by picking up men's Athletec basketball shorts for - get this - just $3 a pair!! In fact, take him along with you and point out the extra 10% off diamonds that are ALREADY 70 percent off. How can he refuse? ;)

If you must thing about back-to-school (and it's unavoidable now, isn't it?) don't forget to take advantage of the 2 for $1 special on filler paper. Get plenty. You always need more than you thought you would.

Don't miss out on the deals! Summer's closing fast and school is on its way!

To always keep up with the great specials, click here to follow Kmart on Twitter.

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Freelancing's not so bad

You know I think I could dig this freelance gig. :)

I went to the Chamber of Commerce Business Expo this afternoon, and after strolling around the booths, picking up all kinds of freebie promos and sampling some truly AWESOME food from the restaurants represented there, I sat down with the chamber president for a few minutes then went back to the office (my old-old office) to write up the story. It was a piece of cake, and I get 40 bucks for it.

Tomorrow night I'll be heading to the Relay for Life. I'll spend a couple of hours wandering the booths and talking to people, stay around for the opening ceremonies and the survivor's lap, then back home to write up the story and e-mail it in. Another piece of cake - another 40 bucks.

Next week is even easier: it's meetings. Meetings are nothing. I can sit there and take notes, don't even have to talk to anyone, then consult my agenda while writing up a dry recount of what they talked about. Plug in a few quotes if anyone said anything remotely interesting (which is rare), and I'm all done. 40 bucks a pop.

Yeah, not a bad gig, and if he keeps giving me all these assignments - and I get a few more from the other paper too - it'll almost be like a full-time job.

Sleep well

Rest Assured has been making beautiful, luxurious beds for more than 100 years, and their only goal is to make sure you get the perfect night's sleep.

Rest Assured Mattresses contain hundreds of springs, held under tension for support that responds to your body's needs and independently wrapped in cloth sleeves to conform to your body shape for maximum comfort. The springs move with you when you move in your sleep, ensuring that regardless of your sleep position, you're always supported perfectly. It's like having a mattress that automatically customizes itself just for you. And the independent movement of the springs ensures that when your partner moves, you won't be shifted all over bed. (Take it from experience, this is the ONLY way to go if your partner is much heavier, because you won't find yourself rolling downhill into his back!)

Rest Assured products can be found at Bensons for Beds, Dreams, Paul Simon, Argos, Grattan, Littlewoods, Tesco, Costco Wholesale and Makro Cash and Carry UK, or go to the Web site and enter your UK post code to find the retailer nearest you.

UK residents can order their Rest Assured bed at mattressonline.co.uk for free delivery of their new bed the very next day - or any day you choose - and at prices you just can't beat.

Don't you owe it to yourself to get a good night's sleep?

Back to work

It's not a full-time job, but freelancing is going to keep me busy for a while and at least bring in some extra (what's "extra"?) money, while I'm looking for something more permanent.

I completed my first assignment for one paper on Monday, and it was a piece of cake. Naturally, I've done this kind of thing a thousand and more times before. I just had to cover a city council meeting. No sweat.

Today's assignment is a little more involved. I'll be going to a Chamber of Commerce Business Expo and reporting on the exhibits, talking to the organizers and attendees, that kind of thing... Tomorrow, I get to cover another Relay for Life. That one's going to take me a little more time as well, but I guess as this paper pays more for it's freelance work, I have to expect that it's going to mean working a little harder for it too. Still, no big deal, nothing's going to have me working as hard - or as long hours - as I was at my last job.

I got an email yesterday with five more assignments for next week - three meetings to attend and two more to get reports on by phone. The phone-in ones don't pay as much, but still, five assignments in a week is pretty darn good for freelancing. And I haven't yet heard from the other paper (the one I did the assignment for Monday), so I might be getting even more than that. Of course, I don't know if I'd be able to squeeze in more assignments for the other paper. I certainly don't want to have to start turning down assignments, because then I probably won't be getting as many. For now, though, it's working into my schedule okay, so I'm just grateful for the work.

Stouffer's giving away $30,000... and more!

Have a great lunch and win $10,000!

Stouffers-panini is holding a great new contest to promote the launch of four new varieties of its awesome paninis: the Bistro Meatballs and Pepper Panini (Italian meatballs and marinara sauce with grilled peppers and onions, and mozzerella cheese - yummy Italian delight!), Bistro Chicken Souvlaki Panini (grilled chicken breast pieces with Tzatziki, feta cheese, tomato and sauteed onions - gotta love the Greek), Lean Cuisine Grilled Vegetables and Goat Cheese Panini (with eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms and spinach - mmmmm! I love goat cheese!), and the Lean Cuisine Mango Chicken Tikka Panini (chicken breast pieces in an Indian spiced sauce with grated cheese and mango - that sounds FABULOUS!)! To make it even better, there's not one but THREE grand prizes to be given away!

The Stouffer's Panini "Where Does Your Taste Take You?" contest will be giving away THREE $10,000 grand prizes, plus weekly prizes of Sony Digital video camcorders and daily instant win prizes of free Stouffer's products.

To enter the contest, register here and fill out the simple form. It couldn't be easier! After you've gotten registered and your one free entry, you can come back and enter up to one more time each day by entering the UPC code from any box of Stouffer's Paninis (one unique UPC code entry per day). This offer is available to Canadian residents only.

With the addition of their four new varieties, Stouffer's now offers a total of ten great panini flavors: Bistro Barbecue Chicken and Bacon, Bistro Smoked Turkey Club, Bistro Philly-Style Steak and Cheese, Lean Cuisine Grilled Chicken Club, Lean Cuisine Steak and Mushroom, Lean Cuisine Chicken and Mushrooms, and the four great new flavors. And these paninis are microwavable, so you can get that delicious grilled flavor even from the microwave at the office. Choose a different flavor for every day of the week! Then the next week, you've still got five more to go! Does it get any better? Oh yeah, it does! Because after each fantastic lunch (that's going to save you a fortune, by the way, by not eating out) you can enter for more chances to win the $10,000, a new Sony digital camcorder or more delicious Stouffer's products!


Monday, August 3, 2009

Getting it all sorted

I got some small bit of comfort yesterday when I got a call from a former coworker of mine. He told me that he had been informed, by an inside source,that the primary reason for my dismissal from my job was that they simply could not afford me. After we filled the reporter's position - finally - two weeks before I was ousted, apparently the editorial payroll was too high. They did not offer me a reduced salary. Thing is, I would have accepted the job at a lower pay rate than they offered me in the first place. Of course, no one asked that. I've already been replaced, and my replacement is someone whom I know for a fact despises the publisher. In fact, his wife used to work there as an ad rep and quit just a few weeks ago because she could not stand working for the publisher either. He is, to put it shortly, a complete nightmare. Although I know the person who replaced me was also putting in ridiculous hours at his former job, I'm still amazed/stunned/baffled that he would actually go to work for the paper there. He's well aware of what the conditions are like. However, he might not have to put up with for long. His timing is better than mine was. The publisher might be sent to Chicago shortly for another assignment. Oh well, I hated the job anyway. Well, not the job, just the conditions.

I've been doing all the paperwork required for unemployment, but because of the irregularities of my job shift from one paper to another, it appears there could be some question of my eligibility. Wouldn't that just take the cake? I spend seven years working for those people with no benefits and no wage increases, despite constantly moving "up" into positions with more and more responsibilities - then I end up getting screwed out of my unemployment payments. Well, I completed my paperwork for government benefits today too. I've never had to do that before. I'd probably be disgusted with myself if it were any fault of my own, but I don't have any choice at the moment.

I've got an assignment tonight covering a city commission meeting. The agenda and associated paperwork is 78 pages! But at least it will make easy reference material for writing the story when I get back. It's an easy gig, really. I've done this kind of thing a thousand times before and usually with far less reference material to go on. Really, all I'll have to do is sit through the meeting and write down a few quotes - everything else is already in the agenda packet. I still don't know what my pay rate is for that paper, but I guess anything's better than nothing, right?

My organizational skills are getting a workout as I sort everything for the necessary paperwork - keeping track of invoices and the like. But I certainly can't possibly put in more time and effort than I did for my last job, so I can push through it. Paperwork's a pain in the ass, but it's a necessary evil.