December 12, 2008

Christmas and the Mini-Light Phenomenon

I love Christmas! I finally finished getting what Christmas decorations I could up. Don't you just love mini-lights? It seems every year I pack away those little buggers as neatly as I can. Then at some time through the year some gremlin goes into the box, tangles them up, and ensures many of the strings won't work when you plug them in.

This year I threw away about 20 strings of lights. I am so tired of trying to go through them light by light to see if I can get them to work. It all began with the wreath I mentioned last post...

As you can see, it looked really shabby. The ribbon was faded, ornaments had fallen off or broke, and, of course, the mini-lights didn't work when I plugged it in. So, I stripped it and replaced everything.

Then we started working on the house. Every year we do pretty much the same thing. This year there's a lot less. I bought some new lights to make it look complete, but this is not near what we're used to.

When it came to the tree star, I had another incident with mini-lights. Actually, it all started a few years ago. We had this beautiful golden filigree star. We loved how this star looked and how it made our tree complete. Well, the little mini-lights quit working. We ended up replacing our beautiful star with this one.

We kept the golden star hoping one day we would be able to fix it or find a set of lights for it. Time went by and the golden star was forgotten. The other day I was helping my husband in the garage. He needed a tool so I rummaged through the tool box and found the golden star stored neatly in a zip-lock.

I had a brainstorm. Why not take the lights from the Christmas red mini-light star and put them in here? Brilliance!

I went into the house and pulled the working star down. I carefully disassembled the star and pulled the lights out. Then with utmost care, I reassembled the golden filigree star...

It didn't work! Thinking it had to be the outlet, I tried a different one. Nothing. I pulled out the fuses and put new ones in. It flashed and went out again. I thought one of the mini-lights had to be bad. Nope.

I worked on this for at least an hour. I changed the fuses and lights until, miraculously, it worked save one little mini-light. I got a new light to replace it. I pulled out the dead light and gently plugged in the new one.

I thought, "this is it! We are finally going to have our beautiful golden star back!"

It didn't work. I gave up.

Now we have two stars stored in the zip-lock.

I hate mini-lights.
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November 25, 2008

Making Thanksgiving Preparations

I've been getting the house together for Thanksgiving. Actually I'm doing a little preparation for Christmas too. I'm working on rebuilding an old wreath. I'll try to post some pictures as I make some progress.

For Thanksgiving dinner we'll be frying our turkey.

I've got the turkey thawing already. So, I won't be reporting any frying disasters afterward. Really, if you use a little common sense and follow certain safety precautions, all will be fine.

I'm making a lot of the usual sides: stuffing, mashed potatoes (sweet and white), cranberries, and gravy. Grandma's bringing green bean casserole and wild rice. I'll be making a pumpkin cheese cake and a ton of appetizers to boot. We always have enough leftovers to feed the family over and over again.

This weekend we'll get the house decorated and the Christmas tree up. I want to try doing some Christmas shopping too, but I doubt I'll get to it.

I need to make updates across the board online for the holidays...So much to do, so little time. My Me page is done. I bypassed doing Thanksgiving themes. I don't know if I can decorate the blog because of all the additions I've done this year. We'll see.
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November 6, 2008

Hello I'm still here...

I didn't fall off the face of the earth. My life has been super chaotic recently. First thing first, my daughter had this huge project due for English. The project was worth 3 test grades. The assignment was a choice between making a collage depicting the events of the play (Arther Miller, The Crucible), writing/drawing a cartoon about it, writing an essay, writing a journal, or writing a poem.

We chose the poem. Actually she chose the collage, but I convinced her the poem would be more fun. Here's what the final product looked like:

It looks a lot cooler in person. In the pictures the paper looks like I spilled my morning coffee on it. We stained the paper with tea to give it an old look. Then we burned the edges to make the pages look like they were saved from a fire.

The next big thing we had going on around here was Halloween. You know with a little one you gotta play those games. Here's this year's pumpkin:

It's Frankenstein, just in case you can't see it. Hubby did the carving from a stencil, but he kept saying no one would be able to tell what it was. Can you? (Here's last year's pumpkin)

I was also playing around a lot on Shared Reviews trying to win some contests. I got 3rd and 4th in two separate events to total $25. Not too bad for a little clicking.

The holidays are approaching quickly. I've been struggling with our Christmas decorations too (think Christmas Vacation!). We'll have a house full on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I can't wait!
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October 16, 2008

Build a Fire to Renew and Grow

It's a bit chilly outside. I'm hoping we have a cooler winter than we had last year. Given the cool air this morning, I'm thinking we may. I cannot wait to build a fire in the fireplace.

Last year we did not use the fireplace once. I missed it. When we bought this house I could not wait to build a fire for the first time. We have since used up all the wood from the wood pile so it's time to re-stock.

Behind our home is the community park. It's surrounded by trees. There is a slope down to the pond. It's a beautiful walk down some trails to get there.

A few months ago a large old red oak fell to its demise and took down a few cedars in the fall. My husband and I want to clear and chop that tree, and the unfortunate bystanders, to restock our wood pile. I miss the old oak. At this time the leaves would be turning into a glorious spectacle of color, which is rare around here.

Is it wrong to take the wood for our personal use? The property is community owned, but part of the tree fell on our lot. No one ever visits the slope beyond our home. No one keeps the area up. It just grows. I think clearing the debris would make room for new trees to grow, allowing the earth to renew itself.

We've been going back and forth about this situation. I think we're just going to do it. If we had already done the deed, I would build a fire today...

I have some news. I posted about wanting to become a Giant Squid: Squidoo Talk Time. I finally made it! You can see my Giant badge on My Squidoo Cheat-Sheet.

Building my Squidoo presence has taken up a lot of my time. I only have so much computer time during the day with the kids, house, and otherwise. I have to prioritize in order to keep up with my goals. Thank goodness the Squidoo Giant goal has come to fruition. That fire is built, I just have to keep stoking it now.

Back to my original topic...I wonder if my husband would be up for working on the old oak this weekend? Another question popping in my head is if the oak has sat long enough to be useful cooking wood? He probably knows the answer but I'm going to look into it myself.

It would be nice if it is because we have a brisket in the freezer screaming to be smoked--yet another reason to build a fire.

I love to sit out and watch the smoke rise from our pit. On a still day the smoke rising from the fire seemingly doesn't move. It just vanishes and renews itself.

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October 10, 2008

Rounds of Debates: Are You Undecided?

I've been watching the rounds of debates. I was going to make detailed comments for each round, but I could not decipher what the heck they were talking about. Then, of course, I had some other things going on.

I don't know why there is so much double talk, avoiding/begging the question, and he said/she said in politics. Those who get elected never follow through anyway.

Apparently, there are a lot of citizens who are undecided...Okay. If you are undecided you need to check this out:

Even if you are not undecided, check it out.

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October 6, 2008

Change is Good!

I have great news about my computer. My husband did not murder it. As it turns out, our problems all rooted from IE (And modem).

I'm proud to say I convinced him to open his eyes and accept change, change is good. We did a modem speed test on Speakeasy. Our modem is not performing at its peak for our paying for DSL. We'll be getting a new modem from our provider.

Next, I had been researching slow computer issues on the net. I performed all the fixes and deletions I could. The computer itself performs without flaw and is very fast for picture editing, document work, and other little things we do outside the Internet.

I searched about our browser and found slow issues with IE. Not one of the suggested fixes worked for us. So I uploaded a few different browsers to try. My husband barked about this until he sat down and tried them. We ended up with Mozilla Firefox.

Actually we tried FF before but did not like it. It seemed slow. We didn't like the toolbar or customizations. So we updated our IE6 to 7 and stuck with it. There is an IE8 now (Beta), but it did not work for us.

The FF we tried before was an old version. We tried the latest (I think it's 3.0.3) over the weekend and it's lickety split! Pagination is almost instant, pictures load quickly, and downloads are so fast it almost made my head spin.

We also tried Opera. I was really impressed with Opera. It was faster than FF on every account, but we could not get it to load Adobe flash for our music and videos no matter what we did.

The others we tried are not even worth mentioning.

I cannot wait to get our new modem! We'll really be moving on the Internet then.

All I can say about this whole experience is: Change is good!
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October 4, 2008

Slow Computer Issues May Cause Untimely Murder of a Computer

Today my husband is planning to murder my computer due to slow computer issues. The plan has been in the works for quite some time. Over the past months the computer has become extremely slow and he can't stand it. Neither can I for that matter.

In addition to everything else I've been doing computer wise, I have taken some dear time to clean up and back up certian files. I did some research on cleaning up and speeding up a slow computer. I removed a ton of old programs and moved bookmarks from my favorites to my Stumble account. The computer is a bit faster but not like it should be.

I defragged, cleaned the registry with CCleaner, scanned for viruses, and tweaked some features on my Internet options. Really, I defrag whether it needs it or not once a month. I clean the disk and registry every other week, and the virus stuff does its thing regularly. It helped, but not enough.

I think he's spoiled by those fast machines at his work. Let's face it, our computer is getting old. I told him we may just need to tighten the belt and buy a better/bigger/faster machine, and get a new modem. The modem may be the biggest culprit in this scenario.

"No, no, no," he says. "I know wiping it out and starting anew will bring it back to life"...Whatever.

Even the guy at our DSL provider says our modem is antiquated.

I'm hoping I can convince him today we need to exchange the modem, doing one of those modem speed tests. Honestly, I think removing all the stuff I had on the favorites and the hard drive really helped immensely.

We'll see what happens...
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September 25, 2008

Our Economy, The Economy, and Other Stuff

The economy is bad. From my point of view it's been bad. If people have been relying on "easy credit" to cover the essentials (a place to live, transportation, and basic needs), you can't get any worse.

Bush mentioned excesses. Around this house an excess purchase would be purchasing new brakes for the truck, which was a parts only purchase. Labor came from the sweat of our own brow.

We're not buying new Wii consoles, TVs, or even music CDs. We haven't rented a movie or ordered a pizza since I can't even remember when. In this house there is no excess.

Even so, our household economy is in state of instability. Everything is going up while our income stagnates.

About the construction boom...It's all over here. There are new developments tearing up the hillsides. Then the houses sit vacant for months, years in some cases. There's one house we drive by that's been sitting empty for 3 years (at least) since construction was completed. Sad.

I feel for all those who purchased homes with ARMs. I can kind of see why they went for it at the onset. But in the long run, you are going to pay. Always go fixed rate, always.

Is this our fault? If you ask me, it's the fault of the mortgage companies: faulty screening, faulty disclosure/education to the purchaser, and just plain bad business practices. So now they need to be bailed out...Is it just me or have they never heard of the big picture.

I know Bush went on about securities, blah. Those investors should have looked at the numbers themselves. Someone, somewhere, dropped the ball looking at the numbers. It's called the snowball effect and every thing got sucked in during the roll downhill.

It seems to me home/land ownership has been promoted since the beginning of time--"40 acres and a mule," even earlier. I think when Columbus docked the boat there was a mention of the land and owning it.

In all seriousness, taxes have to choke up the dough. Again. Then there's the promise the money "much, if not all" will be returned. Paid back. Okay. When taxes go up it's been the very rare occasion they ever go down again. Even if they do go down, it's marginal.

I guess we're just to trust the government has it all under control.

Sorry, but I have to move to something else. The Presidential debate was scheduled for Friday. McCain wants to suspend it, and the campaign, to take care of these financial issues pending at the House. Good show!

I agree McCain and Obama should be a party to these discussions. Perhaps Obama is not seeing the big picture here.

There was an issue with McCain canceling his Letterman appearance. Well, what is more important, TV air time or our Nation's financial status? I did not see the Letterman show--it comes on too late for me. However, I read some of the stories about it. In my opinion the media really needs to get a life.

Yesterday evening Katie Couric did an interview with Palin...Why, oh why, could Palin not come up with one example of McCain's Maverick-ness. I'll tell you why. Those off the cuff shooting matches of questions and answers are tough. We cannot expect Palin to know every single incident of example.

I'm giving Palin credit here, sometimes I can't remember what happened yesterday. I honestly think Palin is thinking about the here and now rather than regurgitating the past.

All in all, we really need take our blinders off. For the campaign, it's really no secret who's favored by whom. One can really be swayed unless they look beyond what sits before them.

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September 17, 2008

Are You Bored?

I subscribed to a magazine, Ode (For Intelligent optimists). Actually, I won the subscription by watching various ads on this site Adperk. If you like reading magazines and like getting stuff for free, you should give it a go.

I had heard of Ode but never read the magazine before. I have to tell you it's pretty darn good! One article particularly caught my attention. It's called "Childhood's End" written by John
Taylor Gatto, a retired educator and current author.

In the article, he discusses student complaints about being bored and turning that around to teach kids to be leaders and adventurers. Being the mother of two kids, I come across the "I'm bored" statement continually.

My response is usually to get them doing something, anything, to teach them something (trivial, moral, or otherwise). I've even told the teen to go move rocks out of the yard--we grow a lot of rocks here in Texas--if she was bored. Usually she will find something to do when that suggestion comes up.

Gatto said, in reference to being bored, "We all are. My grandfather taught me that. One afternoon when I was 7, I complained to him of boredom, and he batted me hard on the head. He told me I was never to use that term in his presence again, that if I was bored it was my fault and no one else's. The obligation to amuse and instruct myself was entirely my own, he said, and those who didn't know that were childish people, to be avoided if possible."

His grandfather sounds a lot like my grandparents did. I like him.

I read this to my teen daughter. Then I backed it up with my own boredom lessons I pressed upon her in the past. I think she gets it now.

I never get bored. I hope my kids are never bored for very long. I think I'm pretty happy-go-lucky and can turn a bored day into something productive and educational yet fun. I hope I'm teaching them what Gatto's grandfather taught him.

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September 12, 2008

My Week...

This has been a horrible week for us. Last weekend was busy. We decided to finish up the yard work. It was hot, dirty, work. The weed whacker decided to give us its usual trials. I think my husband finally killed it.

When the yard work was at a stopping point, we sat in the garage for a celebratory beer. Nothing beats an ice cold beer after a hot, sweaty job like that. Our cats came to praise us for a job well done. They hate it when the equipment comes out; but they love it when we're finished.

We have two cats. One, B.J., has been with me for 13 years. He's the most lovable, purr happy, cat. He likes to sit on our laps, be petted, and knead our legs with his claws.

Sunday morning I went about my usual routine. I made my coffee and proceeded out to feed the cats. B.J. didn't come for breakfast. I called and called but not a response came. He didn't come for lunch or dinner either.

Monday came and nothing. Now I'm worried. B.J. never has left for more than a day. Sometimes he goes to visit the neighbor on the corner. I went to see our neighbor and he hadn't seen him since Saturday night.

We canvased the entire area, walking the properties near us and the park. No sign of him.

Tuesday I made posters and called the pound. As of this time I've spoken with the rest of the surrounding neighbors.

Wednesday I got a call from a neighbor but it wasn't B.J. they found...

Thursday I posted to the neighborhood loop and contacted the newsletter editor to post a bulletin for a missing cat.

My husband had thoughts he may have gone off to die...I wouldn't think so as he has not been ill. Of course, I scolded my husband. Beside, if that was the case, we would have found him or seen evidence of buzzard activity to investigate.

So this morning I checked my emails. I received a few responses to my loop message. I'll be checking them out after the little one gets going and eats.

Remember my deer post? I've been having horrible thoughts my poor B.J. has been catnapped. The whole situation is driving me insane with worry. I won't go on and on, but the full moon is steadily approaching, Halloween is next month, and apparently we have some real sick tickets in the area.

Okay, if he did pass, I want to know. If he's found a new home, I want to know. If he's been catnapped, I'm going after those cretins...

B.J. is a solid black cat, like a witches cat, it's hard to tell from the picture. He's neutered and has never been a wanderer. He comes like a dog when he's called. He's friendly and not one bit stand offish when strangers come 'round.

I know some may scold me because we don't keep the cats indoors. Okay, we went that route and they HATE being inside. Our cats are not wild, roamers, or otherwise. They just lay on the deck and bask in the sun. We bring them in during extreme weather and they make it known they are infuriated to be inside.

I've heard of cats that go off for a time and come back. I've had some do it in the past myself. I know B.J. and I don't think he would go off like this on his own accord.

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September 5, 2008

About the Republican National Convention...

I wanted to talk about the Republican National Convention today since I posed my thoughts on the DNC last week. Remember I'm not big on politics and these are just my little blurbs. I watched the coverage on PBS, so I got to see a lot.

Wow, the crowds were not quite as enthusiastic as they were at the DNC. However, they were much more festive with their attire. I just loved the elephant hats with the business suits! That really shows spunk. And, what about the guy dressed just like Abraham Lincoln? Awesome!

Generally, it seemed the crowd took their time to warm up with each speaker--except for with Giuliani and Palin. I don't know if it's just the nature of the Republican party or what.

I have to say McCain made a good choice with Sarah Palin. I liked how she presented herself and what she said. I can tell you, I'm looking forward to the debates. She's a real firecracker. I laughed when she mentioned the Greek columns going back to some prop room on a movie set (referring to the DNC stage).

Cindy McCain's presentation was fantastic. Did you notice, no notes! I never knew about all she has done. I likened her to Princess Diana.

The video presentations really felt good for me. I am more impressed now than I was prior to the RNC. John McCain's video especially got me. I knew in my head what they showed us, but it wasn't until I saw the video did a whole new respect develop for me--pictures are truly worth a thousand words.

A thought kept popping in my head while I watched some of the crowd shots. Don't they screen or search the spectators prior to letting them in? During Palin's speech a woman was escorted out and a man during McCain's. First, why did the cameraman document the incidents and the display of certian banners? I know, it's propaganda but I had to mention it. Second, I think McCain handled it very well. I guess even politicians get hecklers.

The commentators changed their tune from the DNC. It was almost like they jumped on the other side of the fence and turned Democratic from their previous Republican demure. They're reporters so I guess they can flip the coin when they choose.

One issue they pointed out with Obama's speech was he distanced himself from the crowd with the stage choice. McCain opted to redirect the stage so he would be one with the floor. The main commentator kept talking about it almost as if it was a waste of time. Come on guys, damned if you do, damned if you don't was the impression I got. I personally liked McCain's stage better.

Overall, the crowd for the Republican National Convention was just as diverse as it was for the DNC. I swear I saw Bill Clinton there crouching, speaking with one of the big guys in the box where the Palins, McCains and presenters were sitting. Perhaps I was seeing things the camera was shaking and moved away quickly.
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August 31, 2008

My Heart Hurts...

I have a very heavy heart. I saw something very disturbing and I just have to talk about it. I was out feeding my deer and saw something. I had to look twice because I couldn't believe it the first time I saw it.

There is a fawn that hangs around our house. In fact it was born in the woods down the hill. I've been watching this little thing grow pretty much from the day it was born.

Someone or something cut off it's tail! My heart broke when I saw this because I have a feeling it may have been done by some high angst teens we have living in the neighborhood. They've gone through and torn up the tennis courts, drove donuts in the neighborhood park, and even burned down the port-a-potty near the boat ramp.

The neighborhood has taken measures to reinstate our neighborhood watch. This is a good thing but the damage they may have done here is unrepairable.

My husband told me not to be too quick to judge, that it may have been a dog. Well, my thought is, wouldn't the fawn have other battle marks on it if it was a dog?

I took a picture to post here. I'm thinking about going to the next quarterly meeting to bring the subject up. The parents of these horrible kids really need to tighten the reigns or else we'll all be in trouble.

There is another deer I blogged about a few months ago, Notch. I caught her kissing on camera, so I wrote a little about it. Notch has notches cut out of her ears and scars down her back. I thought she had gotten hit by a car or got in a tangle with a barb-wire fence. Now I'm thinking otherwise about her too. Looking at her, the notches are too perfect, almost V like.

I know I shouldn't be accusative. But I can't help myself. If I ever catch these kids hurting any of these poor animals like that, they will be sorry.

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August 29, 2008

The Democratic National Convention: My Thoughts

I've been watching the Democratic National Convention. There's been full coverage on PBS--the Public Broadcast Station--and I liked seeing more than just the main speakers.

I don't usually pay close attention to politics. My brain just doesn't think that way. In fact, I try to avoid discussions of political, religious, or otherwise. However, my analytical side has reared it's ugly head.

Listening to the speakers was enlightening. Watching the reaction of the crowd was even more interesting. The cameras did a pretty good job capturing just the right image at just the right moment.

There were many pictorial moments, but I only want to mention two. The speech was enveloped in talk about education, child welfare, and family. The camera found the perfect subject. A little boy with a huge smile on his face. Now I don't know for sure but I felt the little one was being prompted off camera. His smile would get bigger when his eyes shifted to the side.

Another shot captured was a young man, different speech about the military, the war, and country. The young man had earrings in both his ears and he seemed distracted by something off to his right. But the camera kept going back to him.

The audience was full of a mix of races, age groups, and families. I thought that was awesome. It was a great idea to have the finale in the stadium and allow the public in. But as the commentators mentioned, it was not the first time it's been done. I couldn't imagine what the traffic was like afterward.

About the commentators, there was quite the mix there. I watched the convention on PBS, like I said, and I don't know if all the channels had their own commentators or not. However, the guys I saw in the studio were seemingly all Republican except for one poor guy. The Republicans would get in a discussion, then turn to the Democrat for his opinion and either brush him off or cut him off because a new speaker came to the podium.

I felt a lot of the general public, workers like you and me there to tell their story, speakers were fed their speeches. If they weren't, they were given a list of keyword phrases to use.

Is the Democratic slogan "More of the same with John McCain"? Boy that phrase came up umpteen times. Then there was placing all blame for everything bad on President Bush...Since when is all the power in the President's hands?

One big observation I made last night was the Clintons were not present. I knew Bill wasn't going to be there. Unless I missed seeing Hillary, I don't think she was there either. I tried to do some surfing to confirm my suspicions about her absence but all I found was she would be "on hand." What exactly does that mean? Was she there and I blinked when the cameras spied her?

Overall, I think the Democratic National Convention went well for the Democratic party. They had a lot of speakers I would have never thought of to include. The atmosphere was lively and the use of multimedia was extrodinary.
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August 27, 2008

Why is Woman's Suffrage Disregarded in History Textbooks?

Aside from my normal routine, today I must help my daughter with some research. She needs to write an essay about a significant historical event. She chose Woman's Suffrage.

I thought to myself, that is really a great topic. How timely, considering this is an election year. Plus, with Hillary Clinton making such a showing in the preliminaries, my daughter is pretty astute.

I helped her a bit last night gathering specific dates and Congressional information from some books we own. Interestingly, we were reading through her school history textbook and found it was pretty much useless as a reference. For a US history book, one would think there would be at least a chapter of discussion on such a poignant event in history. Woman's Suffrage was only mentioned in one paragraph, pretty much disregarded entirely.

In our own library we found some pretty good information to get her going. I suppose she will have to depend on the Internet for a lot of it. She is going to the school library today to check out some books on the subject. Considering what we saw in her textbook yesterday, my fear is she won't find much.

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August 26, 2008

Moving up the Associated Content Ladder!

I got a raise at Associated Content! My clout has been sitting on 6 all summer long and today I logged in to check on an article I submitted and I'm a 7 now! Finally.

The raise in clout means I get .05 more PPM/1000 pay! In the long run, long tail, it works for me. Actually, it almost makes me want to do more promotion to move to clout 8.

I wanted to thank everyone for clicking my Associated Content articles when I post them here and through my widget. Without those clicks I would have never made the move up.

It's funny, I've been doing AC and this blog for one year now. I built the blog right after I joined AC. I make money writing articles for AC but I post more on the blog. I guess I like expressing myself more than conforming to the SEO faction.

Now that school has started up again I'll be back to writing articles again. As you know I put a few things on the back burner during the summer. I submitted one the other day and I'm planning on doing at least one a week.

So, I'll lay out my new goals:
  • 1 AC article per week
  • 2-3 blog posts per blog per week
  • 2 lenses per week (after I meet my 50 goal)

I know I can accomplish this if I spread myself out evenly.

Join Associated Content!

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Pepperjam Network: The Best Affiliate Program!

Did you know Pepperjam Network made Inc 5000? PJN is in the top 100 of the fastest growing businesses in the United States! I recieved a newsletter telling me all about it.

PJN is also:
  • The 2nd fastest growing company in Pennsylvania
  • The fastest growing affiliate marketing network
  • The fastest growing full-service Internet marketing agency
  • The fastest growing interactive marketing agency
  • The fastest growing search-engine marketing firm
  • The fastest growing advertising/marketing in Pennsylvania
  • PJN ranks #5 in the United States in advertising/marketing

I'm really happy I signed up with Pepperjam Network. Doing the affiliate ad work has given me a whole new perspective on what to do with my Squidoo lenses. I've gained a lot of new ideas using the banners and links Pepperjam provides.

You know what else? PJN is very helpful. They have a great support system. Plus, all of your banners link back to your PJN account, they track everything for you, and all of your information is laid out so you know exactly what's what!

The more affiliate work I do using Pepperjam, the better I get at building the ad content. I'm almost thinking I'm better at writing ads than any of the other writing I've been doing. Which is baffling to me. I'm building the Squidoo lenses faster and better than I ever had before.

I think everyone should sign up with PJN! If you haven't done it yet, do it now!

PJN July Promo

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August 25, 2008

I'm Building another Blog...And Yippee for Back to School!

Insanity has taken over. Actually, I want to bring more focus to Inspired Day by Day. I also want to highlight my Squidoo lenses and provide them backlinks without taking away from either site. I figured the best way to do this is to build a blog that focuses exclusively on my Squidoo efforts: Squidoo to Do for Me and You

This is not to say I won't try to slip in a lens here and there on Inspired. You know what they say, the more links the better. I'm just trying to get a little more organized web wise...

Speaking of organization, my oldest daughter went back to school today! Yippee for me and the little one! Now I'll be able to use the computer at will, and hopefully, get back to better posting, reading, writing, and working. All without sleep deprivation!

We did last minute school shopping yesterday. You know when I was in school we never needed all the stuff they need today. I swear manufacturers and schools have joined together and created a monopoly on school supplies (or would that be a conspiracy?).

Gotta have this, gotta have that...Just wait, I'll probably be harping about the special teacher's list she'll bring home tonight--all stuff she must have by tomorrow.
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August 22, 2008

The 2008 Olympics: My Favorite Game and Some General Observations

We've been tuning into the Olympic games almost every evening. My favorite game used to be Gymnastics but I've evolved to Beach Volley Ball. I can't exactly pin down why except that I used to play some myself.

It seems some of the rules have changed. Maybe it's just my memory is failing me. But some of the plays I saw seemed borderline fouls. Oh well, I'm sure they know what they're doing as they are the experts. I'm glad about the end results.

Last night I was anxiously awaiting the Men's Beach Volley Ball finals. I watched the Track events sporadically as I cleaned up after dinner. First, I could not believe the US Men dropped the baton during the relays. Then, I couldn't believe the gals followed suit.

As I picked my jaw up off the floor, I thought, that's a shame and they really should have practiced more.

Then there's the Men's 400. Why was Jeremy Wariner so upset? Of all the competitors, trials, and eliminations, he took the Silver Medal! To me, it was an awesome showing.

I think he showed poor sportsmanship in the interview after the race. The Olympics are supposed to exhibit Unity, Fellowship, and Honor. I understand he was upset about the result. However, sometimes you just have to suck it up and put on a happy face.

Finally, about China's Gymnasts...I was really suspicious about the ages of some of their girls. They just look so young. Then the investigations and reports started. It will be interesting to see what happens with this.

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August 14, 2008

Do it Right, Or Don't Do it at All

It's just about lunch time so I'm going to make this quick, or so I say.

Last weekend I helped my husband change the rear brake shoes and drums on the Ranger. It was not the cleanest job in the world. The guy at Auto Zone said, "You're going to need some brake cleaner to do the job." My husband looked a the cost of the stuff and bypassed it--he's cheap like me--he figured we could use the compressor to spray the brake dust off. Plus, we already spent a small fortune on the parts and the spring tools to do them right.
After we got into the job he realized we needed the $8 spray. We live about 40 miles from Auto Zone so we did without...

The job took just about all afternoon to accomplish. The mess on the garage floor was extensive. The spring puzzle those Rangers have connecting everything together gave me a headache and a broken nail. I think part of the headache might have come from inhaling brake dust too. However, in the end (and two aspirin later), the brakes work great.

I learned a lesson doing the brakes. You must have the proper tools to get the job done right.

Speaking of proper tools, I've been building a lot of lenses. I decided to build a lens about the tools, information, and references I use to build my lenses. I actually have a lot of other tools bookmarked here and there but this is what I have gathered so far:

I'm learning so much building these lenses. All of the marketing and promotion stuff I talked about here months ago applies to the lenses too...I have to go back and change some things on the lenses after revisiting some of my old posts. I'll get it right in the end.
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August 7, 2008

Stuck Nowhere

Yesterday my little one said, "Mommy, where's nowhere?" I was driving at the time and abruptly answered, "Nowhere is nowhere. It's no place anywhere." Of course she persisted, "But Mommy, nowhere is somewhere, so where is it"? This went on for the entire trip...

I was beginning to feel as if I were stuck in some Abbot and Costello flick.

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July 30, 2008

Affiliate Marketing: Getting My Toes Wet

I've been busy, too busy. I had to put the blog on the back burner for a bit. I hope to get back to my 3/week posts by the end of summer. I am still visiting blogs. I just haven't had too much time for posts.

I signed up to be an affiliate marketer. You can see some of the ads on the top of the blog. Adsense just isn't cutting it for me. I signed up for their "image" ads and still only got text. So I took the plunge to be an affiliate. Guess what, it's free. You should check them out because Pepperjam Network is Now Offering a $10 Affiliate Sign On Bonus. Join Today.

Here's how I'm using the Pepperjam affiliate ads on Squidoo:

Here's another affiliate program: ClickBank. Their ads are in text link ads to digital products. I just signed onto this one. I created Bass Fishing Guide for Fishing Largemouth like a Pro. I don't know how many clickbank lenses I'll do, but that lens was a fun one to throw together.

You probably won't have to hear me ramble on too much about affiliate marketing until I get to know the ropes a little better. So far I'm doing alright with it. Every day another advertiser accepts me as an affiliate at pepperjam. As long as they do, I'll keep building the lenses.

If you are looking to run ads on your blogs or make more money on Squidoo, I think you should give Pepperjam a go.

PJN July Promo

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July 21, 2008

The Diaries of Dogs and Cats (from an email)

I received this in an email. I don't know who wrote it but it's one of the funniest things I've read of this nature. Too good not to pass along. Kudos to the writer...

(ETA: I found the Siamese Rescue site has more excerpts from the cat diary. Apparently it was written by Diane R. Karius, Ph.D. I think it's hilarious and if I come across any more entries I'll post them.)

This is our dog and the diary represents her perfectly.


8:00 am - Oh Boy! Dog food! My favorite!
9:30 am - Oh Boy! A car ride! My favorite!
9:40 am - Oh Boy! A walk! My favorite!
10:30 am - Oh Boy! A car ride! My favorite!
11:30 am - Oh Boy! Dog food! My favorite!
12:00 pm - Oh Boy! The kids! My favorite!
1:00 pm - Oh Boy! The yard! My favorite!
4:00 pm - Oh Boy! The kids! My favorite!
5:00 pm - Oh Boy! Dog food! My favorite!
5:30 pm - Oh Boy! Dad! My favorite!
6:00 pm - Oh Boy! Playing ball! My favorite!
8:30 pm - Oh Boy! Sleeping in master's bed! My favorite!

Here's our cat...Spooky similarities here too.


Day 183 of my captivity.

My captors continue to taunt and torment me with bizarre little dangling objects.

They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while I, on the other hand, am forced to consume dry cereal only.

The one thing that keeps me going is the blessed hope of escape, and the mild satisfaction I get from ruining the occasional piece of furniture. Tomorrow I may eat another houseplant.

Today my attempt to kill my captors by weaving around their feet while they were walking almost succeeded. Must try this at the top of the stairs next time.

In an attempt to disgust and repulse these vile oppressors, I once again induced myself to vomit on their favorite chair. Must try this on their bed.

Decapitated a mouse and brought them the body in an attempt to make them aware of what I am truly capable of, and to instill dread and terror in their hearts. They only cooed and repeated "what a good little kitty" I was. Hmmm, not working according to plan.

There was some sort of gathering of their accomplices. I was placed in solitary throughout the event. However, I could hear the noise and smell the food. More importantly, I overheard that my confinement was due to my "ability to induce allergies." Must learn what this ability is and how to turn it to my advantage.

I am convinced the other captives are flunkies and possibly snitches as well. The dog is routinely released outdoors and seems more than happy to return. He is obviously a complete idiot.

The bird, on the other hand, has got to be an informant, as he speaks with them regularly. I am certain he reports my every move. Due to his current placement in the small metal room, his safety is assured. For now.

But I can wait. Oh, yes, I can wait....

July 18, 2008

A Preface to a Dream...Continues ©


I belted out an uncontrollable scream and demanded to see him.

My father was in his bed. His complexion was gray. His eyes were shut. He looked peaceful, almost happy.

The pungent scent of rubbing alcohol filled the room. Pristine white sheets lay crisp and smooth upon him. His arms were at his side. He did not move a muscle or crack a joke. I touched his hand. It was cold.

I wanted to cry. I could feel it in my throat but the tears would not fall. He was gone all right.
My sister walked in. Tears streamed down her cheeks. I was jealous. She said mom did not want to come in. I knew she had to.

I sat on my father’s bed. His body shifted. My heart jumped inside of my chest. For a moment I thought he came back but I was wrong.

My sister and I sat silently with our father until there was a knock on the door. I knew who it was. I could not bring myself to open it.

I grabbed my dad’s hand. I asked him to come back. For the first time in my life he did not respond to me.

The door opened and a nurse entered silently. I did not look at her. She whispered something but I ignored her. My sister stood up and left me alone with my daddy.

I pulled my father’s hand and poked his arm. I shook the bed again. He moved but didn’t say a word. I wanted him to tell me, "cut it out!"

My sister returned, “They’re here.” She held her hand out to me. I stood up and shook the bed again. I told him I was sorry I didn’t take him home last night and walked out.

The corridor was silent. The normal hustle and bustle of nurses and staff did not exist that evening. Down the hall, a gurney sat draped in midnight blue. A tall man in a dark suit and tie stood beside it.

The wing doors were still shut. In fact, every door down the hall was closed. I passed the vacant nurses station feeling just as empty.

The drive home was silent except for Nana blowing her nose. I dropped her off and returned home. My sister and mother were sitting on the couch. I went to my room.

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July 11, 2008

A Preface to a Dream ©

In reference to a recent comment from fellow blogger Kathy of Well Placed Words, I wanted to post a short series about a dream I will never forget.

A little history:

My father passed away several years ago. I was rather young and his passing devastated me. He had survived open-heart surgery--a triple bypass and mechanical valve replacement.

There were several complications following the surgery including a catastrophic staph infection in his sternum. They had to re-open him to remove a great portion of his sternum and build a makeshift replacement.

He survived all of this and lived quite well for another six months.
He went to the dentist for an abscessed molar. As it turned out he needed root canals on four molars. The dentist opted to do all at once. A problem occurred and he was transported to emergency and admitted to the hospital that afternoon.

After one week in the hospital, he was scheduled to go home on Saturday. Friday night he asked me to just take him home because he hated it there and couldn't stand one more night. I told him I couldn't but he would be going home tomorrow. One more night, just one more night.

The next morning my mom called and told me pick up my Nana and hurry to the hospital. I walked out the front door and vomited. I had not been ill so I was quite surprised. Afterward, I felt an urgent need to be with my dad so I got there as fast as I could.

When we arrived, my father's wing was locked down. We were directed to a private waiting room. The room was dank and dimly lit by small sconces on the wall.

My mother was sitting in the room alone. Tears were streaming down her face. Unaware of what was going on we sat with her. My sister arrived shortly after us with my grandfather.

Dad's doctor entered the room and shut the door. He had sweat on his brow and his eyes were blood shot as if he had been crying. He knelt before us and took my mother's hand. "He’s gone.”
Apparently there was some medication problem. His mechanical valve burst and there was nothing that could be done to save him.
To be continued...

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