Thursday, July 31, 2008

Two More Favored Web Sites

Just have to do it. I love surfing the net and often sign up for too many newsletters and RSS feeds. Every once in a while I have to go through the list and start purging.

Today I received one of my favorites in my email box. has fresh and interesting articles, a calorie counter, and all kinds of diet information and reviews. Whenever the post shows up in my inbox, I always take time to check out the latest news.

Another website I enjoy is Just love the info on this site and I know I could spend all day checking out the various pages and articles.

Both are interesting sites that you might be interested in.

What are your favorite health-related sites? Share them in the comments and we'll give them a try.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Life at Warp Speed

It's difficult to believe I haven't posted since Sunday night! What have I been doing? Just living life.

Monday morning the Direct TV technician performed his magic and now I have all the channels I'm supposed to have. The local channels, and, of course, many of my favorites, disappeared Friday morning. Now I'm excited that I have access once again.

Just in time to not watch much TV because my writing and blogging assignments and learning curve have taken a sharp upward turn. That is good news, but keeps me from doing fun writing like this blog.

In fact, I spent this morning shuffling paper and trying to decide what to do next. Placed items in piles, rearranged the piles, reread how to articles, shut down the computer due to an electrical storm, rebooted an hour later and still haven't done anything I would call productive.

Sometimes there is just too much incoming into my brain, especially as I'm learning about setting up websites, widgets, SEO and internet marketing, twitter, digg it, social membership sites, and a whole lot more. Yikes!

I'm having a blast and learning tons, but after all, I am a senior citizen. Sometimes I think it would be easier just to turn on the TV and surf through the myriad channels for a while. Maybe I could find something mind-numbing and zone out for the day.

Naw, I'm enjoying my new career too much to settle in front of the boob-tube. Well, time to get back to work.

What has you going at warp-speed? Are you keeping up, catching up, or resting up?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The To-Do List That Didn't!

Why does it seem lately that the busier I am, the longer it takes to get anything accomplished?

1. I sent my family members an attachment of a link to my new writing website which is set up to sell my writing services. I asked for honest critque about how it looked and sounded.

Excited was I when I heard back from my brother a couple of hours later. Alas, it was to let me know the attachment wasn't there. So I replied to his email by sending him, and everyone else, the link posted within the body.

2. I wrote a blurb this afternoon because I submitted my new writing site to a list to advertise my writing services, where I hopefully will pick up some work. Several hours later, I got a well deserved email asking me to re-write the blurb in the 3rd person to bring it in line with the others on the site.

Oops! I forgot to check the wording protocol.

3. Last night I set out to write an article for publication on an article content site, but since I quickly thought of several other specific topics very close to that subject, I ended up drafting four articles, did the research for all four at once, including keywords.

Now tonight, instead of a completed article submitted as intended, I have four rough draft articles and who knows when they will get completed.

Oh, woe is me!

What is that saying? The hurrier I go the behinder I get. Or something to that effect.

What did I accomplish this weekend, you might ask? I made a wonderfully delicious white bean chili that will not last long in this household.

And this afternoon, in the midst of my busy writing and rewriting, I made a loaf of moist warm mouth-watering banana bread. Yum!

I take it all back - I accomplished more than I expected. But why were my accomplishments mostly in the area of food?

Hmmm! That's food for thought!

So, on this quiet Sunday night, how was your weekend? Did it meet or exceed your expectations, or would you like to add a short rant in the comments?

Maybe in the long run it turned out better than you think.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Do it Anyway

Martina McBride sings a beautiful anthem to those who dare to dream yet wonder if their dreams will ever come true. The name of the song is "Anyway".

The tune and words come to mind many times when I feel I'm stretching beyond what I am capable of doing. A phrase in the chorus says, "Do it anyway."

I'm in the midst of a writing course that includes putting myself further out onto the Web than I've ever been before. I'm setting up a website, or two, or three, and will offer my writing services and products.

This is a huge step for me and fear wants to hold me back. But all along the way, I keep telling myself, "Do it anyway."

I've listened to a couple of speakers via web videos yesterday and today, who have flourished in their field. They are at the top of their game and still have not hit the proverbial ceiling.

Both of them said the same thing - no matter what stumbling block came along, or what their head tried to tell them, they kept going and did what they needed to do to reach their goals.

Both have, in fact, gone way beyond what they ever thought they were capable of or expected to do in their life and with their blogs.

No matter what our head tells us, ultimately we must follow our heart, or our gut instincts. We must do whatever we need to do to accomplish our goals.

It's not always easy and it's not always fun, but I, for one, am determined to succeed in spite of the fear.

I'm going to become a success in this field (by my definition of success) and enjoy the fruit of my labor. I'm going to "do it anyway" whether I "feel" like it or not.

What prevents you from accomplishing your goals? Or, what caused you to succeed against all odds? What carried you through? We would love to hear your stories.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Family Well-Being

We have watched with great interest the movement of Hurricane Dolly from the time she was hovering over Cancun as a tropical storm, to her landing at Brownsville, TX today as a level 2 hurricane. At our home, the Weather Channel has stayed on continously since early this morning.

My daughter works in Corpus Christi and lives on a nearby island. Thankfully, the hurricane didn't hit her city directly, but it has caused quite a challenge. There seems to be, according to the Weather Channel, drenching rain, tornado warnings and sightings, high waves, and threats of flooding.

I have not yet talked to her, but I'm praying for her and her family as they "weather" this storm.

Ironically, my other daughter is flying into Corpus tomorrow. I wonder what will greet her when she gets there.

My prayers go to everyone caught in this unfortunate situation.

Monday, July 21, 2008

It's That Time of the Year - 2

In sports news, the Washington Redskins training camp started last Saturday. They will meet the New York Giants for their season opener in just forty-eight days.

In the what's-in-a-name department: our beloved Detroit Lions replaced running back Kevin Jones with the recently drafted Kevin Smith. Alias Smith and Jones, anyone?

I say "beloved" with tongue-in-cheek. My favorite team of recent years has been the Indianapolis Colts. When Tony Dungy took over as head coach of the Colts, I was living in his hometown of Jackson, Michigan. As a local idol, he received quite a bit of press and I have followed his career and the Colts ever since.

Speaking of idol, American Idol auditions began last week for the upcoming season. Over 7,000 hopefuls ascended on Daly City, California for the first of the tryouts. This season's Idols are currently on tour and sounds like they are doing great.

Time to dig out my football chics t-shirt. A gift from my non-football-watching sister. With football season just weeks away, let the games begin.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

It's That Time of the Year - 1

Last year in mid July, two we-still-talk-about-it-a-year-later events occurred. During a storm, a tree in our backyard split down to the ground and fell onto our chain link fence. Most of the tree ended up in our neighbor’s yard. Over the next couple of days we had the tree removed and the fence repaired.

Just two days later, my Dad did what he calls “a wheelie” on his riding lawn mower falling into the aforementioned chain link fence. As it turns out, that was his last time on the mower. His primary care physician told him it was time to retire his motor vehicles.

Well, it’s mid July once again and yesterday our hot water heater decided it was time to retire. After an emergency call to our local repairman, our hot water heater was shut down.

Because of the changing of the guard in taking care of Dad, I have no idea where the paperwork for the water heater is located. So, Monday we find out if the warranty is still good.

Looks like we will soon have a brand new water heater.

Hope that’s it for this year.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dog Days of Summer - Already?

Well, it's a hot one today in mid-Michigan.

But, the good news is - the summer TV shows are on.

My favorite is The Closer, the number one summer show since its inception. Kyra/Brenda and the whole cast are perfect in their roles. And guess what? You can even get a "The Closer Tote Bag" on Designer Gallery on Now, how cool is that?

Just read in TV Guide that Paul Michael Glaser of Starsky and Hutch fame goes toe-to-toe with Brenda this coming Monday night, July 21st. Should be another good show.

Another summer favorite premiers Tuesday, July 29th. Eureka returns to the SciFi channel. Again the lead, Colin Ferguson, sets the tone for the show. Just love his portrayal of Sheriff Jack Carter. If you haven't yet seen it, give it a try. However, I haven't seen any tote bags yet.

In the bad news department, William Peterson who plays Gil Grissom on CSI will leave the show mid-season. That's a huge loss.

I didn't mind Jorja leaving, she wasn't my favorite. Gary Dourdan was good and I will definitely miss him. But, the driving force behind this show is Grissom. I know they are bringing new characters on, but I don't think they can measure up to Gil.

It will be interesting to see how much longer the show continues.

Well, that's it for now. Time for another glass of ice tea.

What are your favorite summer shows? What are you looking forward to this next season? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, July 14, 2008

More Online Fun

The internet has opened up avenues of absurdity we would never have known pre-computers.

Today I discovered . This website utilizes Venn diagrams and pie charts created online by users. The site offers numerous templates for anyone to use.

Some charts relate to songs or pop culture sayings, while others are the pure invention of clever minds. All are just plain fun.

A graft today showed the “Duration of Turn Signal Activity after Execution of Turn” by seconds. The vehicle models used were Cadillac (pre-1980), Lincoln Continental, Mercedes 300SD, and the Buick Century.

Another was a colorful pie chart of “Time Spent at my Lifeguarding Job.” The titles of the various pieces of the pie were funny. Also, you can vote from one to five on each entry.

There were other tabs that led to political humor, funny cat pictures, and funny dog pictures. The site provides the pictures and the users add whatever comment they would like.

Check out this site for a great time...ur...waster, that is...

I mean...

Well, anyway. Check it out and have a great time. Maybe you will come up with an idea for a graph or pie to the amusement of the masses. We'll be watching.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Favorite Coffee-Table Books, Part 2

Continuing my list of favorite coffee-table books reminds me of the large number of art books I haven't looked at in years, setting on a shelf in a walk-in closet.

The eight books that I chose to share in the previous post and this, are special to me because of the topics, the beautiful pictures and words, or because of the reason they are in my possession.

Again, these are in no particular order, but this first book was a Christmas gift from my daughter. Quite surprised when I first opened the package, the greater surprise was the quality and wisdom contained inside.

Outhouses – Images and Contemplations. Brown Trout Publishers, Inc. 1998. Fascinating scenic views of all types, kinds, and sizes of outhouses accompanied by insightful quotes from such notables as Alexei Tolstoi, William Shakespeare, and Benjamin Disraeli. For such an odd topic, this surprising collection pulls one into the beautiful scenery and the profound insights offered lift this book to a surreal spiritual height.

The Encyclopedia of the Small Garden - Creating the Maximum Impact in a Limited Space. Compiled by Sue Phillips. Quadrillion Publishing, Ltd. 1999. This volume contains 348 pages of colorful pictures and detailed instructions and illustrations for anyone desiring to design a garden or landscape for a small space. At the time I purchased this book, I was living in an apartment and wanted to create a container garden.

Story of the Great American West. Reader’s Digest. 1977. This book begins with the coming of the Europeans to America and ends at the end of the 1800’s. With colorful pictures and detailed drawings, this large tome tells the fantastic story of the making of the West. When I was a child, I read every book and watched every TV show and movie that had anything to do with cowboys, Indians, and the wild Wild West. This book seems to find its way into various garage sales, but I always manage to pluck it back to safety.

There is a Season. Text by Joan Chittister. Art by John August Swanson. Orbis Books. 1995. There is a Season “provides a glorious meditation in art and words on the famous passage from the Bible.” That passage is Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. A fascinating phrase-by-phrase look at the well-known scripture that begins, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven....” I can spend hours just looking at the beautiful illustrations, but it’s the tenderness and depth of the phrasing that brings out the true beauty of this meditation.

While compiling this list, I realized I haven’t spent much time of late with these treasured possessions of mine. I’ve enjoyed renewing old acquaintances. Time for another cup of hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows, me thinks.

What treasures do you have in your home that have found their way into your heart? Share them with us, if you please.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Favorite Coffee-Table Books, Part 1

When I was a child, I remember sitting on the sofa looking at large hardcover books with many fascinating pictures. In the mid-fifties, one well-known book was about World War II. Not understanding the harsh side of war, the book kept me captivated for hours.

Over the years, I’ve collected a number of coffee-table books. The topics vary in the four books I list here, as does their size and depth, but they are all treasured. These books are favorites on cold winter nights when I fix a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows, huddle under a warm afghan, and spend a few hours lost in the glorious photos and words contained in these special treasures.

Listed in no particular order, all have traveled with me over the years no matter where I’ve lived.

Simpler Times by Thomas Kinkade. Harvest House Publishers, 1996. With his stunning paintings, quotes, and down to earth prose, Mr. Kinkade takes us to a way of life that lives on only in our memory – a life of simpler times. He talks about peace, nature, balance, and choosing simplicity in a complex age. One could spend hours looking at just the paintings, but his words, spoken in a soft voice, are soothing to the spirit in troubled times.

Haiku-Vision by Ann Atwood. Charles Scribner’s Sons, NY, 1977. In October 2006, my sister and I were on a road trip heading north from St. Louis on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River. We drove through a quaint town that was advertising a used book sale at the local library. On our return, we decided to stop at the sale. This is the only book I purchased, but since I was writing Haiku at the time I felt very lucky to have found it. I don’t believe in coincidence. It was there for a reason.

The Last Two Million Years. A Reader’s Digest History of Man. 1973. This huge book starts from the beginning of our planet and is a history of the world. Fascinating book and every time I pick it up I find something new. I love to read about history, especially from creation to our present time. To see the continuity of time in the illustrations takes me out of my small world view into the immense concept of time and creation.

The Illustrated Rumi – a Treasury of Wisdom from the Poet of the Soul. The Book Laboratory, Inc. 2000. A book by a thirteenth-century Sufi mystic. Fascinating pictures, poems, and stories will keep you enthralled for hours. Deep spiritual meaning applicable to life today will keep any reader thinking about lessons gleaned long after closing the book.

Next time I will share four more books. They are an eclectic lot, I realize, but that’s what makes them so fascinating.

Do you have any coffee-table books? What are your favorites? Share them if you like in the comments.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Morning Pages and To-Do Lists

Recently I’ve gotten into the habit of incorporating to-do lists into my morning pages. As I’m writing, the lists just seem to appear of their own accord.

This morning, following a couple of frustrating days of not writing as much as I would have liked, missing blog entries, and a computer snafu that took hours to correct, I started out with quite a negative list of six items I was upset about.

Then I decided I was tired of the negativity and needed to enter a more positive stream of thinking. I then commented I had a to-do list a mile long and no time for the many other things I wanted to read, write, and learn about.

I wrote “Need/want/just get it down and off my mind list:” and started in. Lo and behold, six college ruled 10 ½" x 8" pages later I had 112 items. No wonder I couldn’t accomplish anything. What a brain clog!

Some of the entries have notations included and several times I thought I was done only to start up again or remember something else I needed to do. After that list was complete, all of a sudden I had numerous ideas for blogs and articles, more ideas for lists that I think would be fun to blog, and a much lighter attitude.

Morning pages are important to me. I certainly credit Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, for getting me started many years ago on the path of unloading my thoughts, dreams, plans, and whatever else I'm thinking about, first thing every morning. What a great way to start the day.

I plan to write more on lists in the days to come, but now I need to get to the to-do part.

If you don’t already, consider starting each morning with a blank sheet of paper and pen or pencil in hand. Don’t think, don’t plan, just write. Stream of consciousness writing can clear your mind of all negative clutter you may have, and prepare you to start your day with an open mind.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Summer Fun on the Network, Son

It's unbelievable what one can find on the web. For lack of anything better to do this morning - hey, I'll try anything to get out of housework - I checked out the following websites.

1. This site will certainly become a favorite of mine. I started cooking when I was about nine-years-old and I remember a lot of the old recipes found on the back of a box.

The site contains many of the recipes you wish you had copied or cut out of the box when it was still available. There are thousands of recipes, all originally from food companies like Kraft, Bisquick and Kellogg. What fun to go back in time and see recipes such as Velveeta salsa dip and cheeseburger pizza. And who could forget "impossibly easy bacon pie?" No fair counting calories!

2. This site will attract fiction writers and parents-to-be with its rich selection of first and middle names. allows people to choose the number of names they want (a first name and up to three middle names), specify a gender and select "generate a name."

Maybe you'll find a great name for your next child, pet, or fictional character. Each selection shows the origin and meaning of the name.

3. This morning I had fun sending e-cards to my sister using and I'm sure she appreciated the welcome she received when she opened her email. The cards were, in my humble opinion, hilarious, and I had trouble choosing just one (actually, I couldn't).

Many of the cards are free and there are others you can purchase. This is another site that will tempt you to spend time looking everything over.

So, on the next rainy day you now have several options that I'm sure will call you away from any housework, writing assignments, or blogging you might need to do and give you a valid reason to while away the time - if you need one.

Have fun with the above URL's and if you find any others, please leave them in the comments so we can check them out. Have a great weekend and we'll see you Monday!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Greatest Gift

Yesterday my daughter called with a great gift. David, my grandson, told me he loved me.

Actually he didn't quite get the grandma part, but we sure could hear the "I love you" loud and clear.


I live in Michigan and he lives in southeast Texas. We spent a wonderful ten days together over New Year's, but that's the only time I have seen him. To hear him say those magical words was the greatest gift I've received in a long time.

Those three powerful words can make one's day. Have you told your favorite person you love them? Why not do so today!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

When Words Don't Mean What You Think

The book wallah was an itinerant peddler - George Orwell

As I was writing the previous post, I checked the spelling of a word I have heard used for years, usually when someone has done something they are excited about.

The word? Wallah.

For example, “Wallah, I finally finished the post.”

To my utter amazement, wallah means something entirely different. According to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, wallah means “a person who is associated with a particular work or who performs a specific duty or service – usu. used in combination....” The example used was the quote at the top of this post.

Who knew?
Have you ever found out a word you like to use actually means something else? Did you stop using it?

Perspective to the Rescue

If you keep on doing what you are doing
you will keep getting what you are getting.

Monday’s post provided a strong lesson in frustration and perspective. Using a quote to start the post, I then wrote the body text. Somewhere along the way, I realized the whole piece would stay left aligned or centered, but I could not in the middle as intended.

I went back to the settings are to see what caused the problem. After all, other posts were okay. In frustration, I finally shut everything down.

Instead of glaring at my computer as if it had become my enemy, I settled in to read a magazine. After a few minutes, the proverbial light bulb came on.

Early in the morning, I had changed some of the settings not realizing how the changes would affect the alignment of the post.

When I began this post, I tested the reset settings and, wallah, my first line stayed centered as intended.

And what did I learn from this, you may ask. Well, when frustrated:

1. Step back from the situation
2. Relax
3. Focus on something else, i.e. reading, TV, taking a walk
4. Allow the solution to come to mind

When I stepped back and allowed my mind to think of other things, the answer arrived. All is well once again in potpourri land.

What situation are you facing where a change of perspective might bring you the answer? Do you have a technique that helps in times of frustration? Feel free to share a comment.