Join the Madness

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Brawl & Haul Finale -- BLACKJACK RULES

What a fun week it's been around here.  THANK YOU for making our celebration so much fun! 


If you don't know how to play black jack, here's the scoop:


Face cards (J, Q, K) are worth 10
Number cards (2-10) are face value
Aces are either 1 or 11


The GOAL is to hit 21 exactly.
If you exceed 21, you "BUST"
The tricky part is knowing when to "hit" (ask for another card) because you risk going over.



Hit 21, get TEN entries into the grand prize drawing.  That's the 10 page Sarah LaPolla critique or the fantabulous gift basket of assorted themed items INCLUDING a $40 Amazon gift card. 


Bust (anything over 21) we'll give you ONE entry into the drawing for the grand prize.


Everything in between, (less than 21) we'll give you FOUR entries in the grand prize drawing.


I'll also be giving away my left over prizes that weren't won earlier in the week.


Remember you must be a follower of both blogs.  My sign up is at the top of the blog, and Janet's is HERE.  And all winners will be announced on Monday April 4th.


Still confused? Here's more instructions:

1. In the gaming post I'll open at midnight, comment "I'm In" or "Deal 'Em" so I know you're ready to play.

2. I'll post your cards and email you when they're up (remember I have a day job, a lot of this will have to be before/after work or on Saturday)

3. Evaluate your cards and if you want another one, put "Hit Me" in the comments.  

4. When you want to stay, put "HOLD" in the comments so I will know you're done.

5. Hop over to Janet's blog, read the interview with Sarah LaPolla at Curtis Brown and let Janet know:
a. Prize #1 (critique) or Prize #2 (basket/gift card)
(it doesn't hurt to tell us one last time...and if we can't find your preference, we'll decide for you)

b. If you blogged/tweeted/facebooked/side barred the Brawl & Haul contest (5 pts)


Ready?  The game post will go up at midnight (Iowa time).

Laptops vs Pen & Paper

After yesterday's COMPLETE and UTTER butt-kicking, I'm extra motivated to beat Janet in today's brawl.  Our This vs. That battle topic today is laptop vs. pen & paper. 


Read my arguments and then hop over to her blog to see if she presented a more convincing case.


Be SURE you come back tomorrow because we're playing BLACKJACK! I've got lots of little prizes to give away and if you happen to get 21, you'll get a bunch of entries into the grand prize drawing of your choice.  Even if you bust, we'll give you another entry.  Also, Janet is posting Sarah LaPolla's interview tomorrow, so you'll want to check that out...she could be critiquing YOUR first ten pages soon!


Okay, without further ado...here's what I have to say about writing tools:


To be perfectly honest, I love pen and paper.  I didn't get a computer until I was in my late 20's, so I spent a lot of time with pen and paper. Lots of warm and fuzzy feelings there.  But you cannot deny the versatility and power of a laptop.  It holds thousands of pages of your writing without any additional weight.  It's search features help you find passages in seconds, and typing is so much faster than writing long hand.  But there are some lesser known advantages I'd like to share with you.


COOLNESS
The writer sitting at a laptop looks so much cooler and more professional than the one who is scribbling her ideas onto notebook paper.  And that, my friends, translates into confidence.  The confident writer is soooo much more likely to conquer the literary world. 


IRS
Once you publish, you can start writing off some of your expenses.  And it doesn't take a rocket scientist (or tax accountant) to figure out that a laptop is a MUCH better write off than notebook and pen.


SECURITY

Some writers get a little paranoid protective of their ideas.  I'm not saying it's not warranted.  Who wants to have the next billion dollar idea only to have some $#@& come along and steal the idea? Nobody, that's who.  So, if you keep your manuscript on a laptop, you can encrypt the computer AND password protect your files.  If you write with pen and paper the best you can do is hide your manuscript under your mattress...but after you get a couple hundred pages cranked out you'll have to come up with a better hiding place or learn to sleep on a lumpy bed.

VULNERABILITY
Your paper manuscript can rip, burn, blow away, or get reduced to pulp if you spill your Diet Coke on it.  Can you rip your laptop?  I don't think so.


INJURY
While carpal tunnel has been known to happen on some hard-core typists using poor form, injury is so much more likely if you're trying to write 80,000 words manually.  Your hand will cramp up before your done.  And then do you know what will happen?  Eventually the cramps won't go away and your hand will be permanently disfigured and so when you finally manage to scribble the last words (with your feet I might add cuz you certainly won't be able to write with your hands any more) and you go to a conference to wine and dine with those big wig agents and editors, you're not going to be able to shake hands with any of them.  And there goes that million dollar advance. I ask you, are you willing to risk it?


NIGHTLIGHT
A laptop makes a much better night light than a pad of paper ever will.  PLUS, you can write in the dark much more efficiently on a laptop than you can with paper.  You know you can't see where the lines are so your brilliant prose is gonna run together and the next morning when you try to read it, you won't be able to decipher it and all that work will be lost.


So...go to Janet's blog and tell her you vote for LAPTOPS.  It's okay, you know you want to. 

Rules Refresher: (ahem, the fine print)
1. You must be a follower of both blogs
2. When you comment, let us know if you want
    a.  Grand Prize #1 - 10-page critique by Sarah LaPolla (YA or Adult work) or
    b.  Grand Prize #2 - A Prize-filled Gift Basket including a $40 Amazon gift card
3. You can earn 5 bonus entries by spreading the word (twitter, blogs, facebook, sidebar)
4. This is open internationally! Woo hoo!
5. Contest Closes Saturday 2 April at midnight EST. All winners will be announced Monday, 4 April

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wacky Plate Wednesday

And here we are at day three of our epic Braul and Haul contest.  Today, Janet and I are facing off to come up with the best (in 8 digits or less) personalized plate for this car:


 My entry:
POLLTREE

Now hop on over to Janet's blog to see what she came up with. Don't forget to vote!

Oh, and because we wanted YOU to have some fun, too, we thought you should have a chance to exercise your mad license-plate-making skills. What plate would you give this tow truck? 
(I LOVE this picture. It TOEtally cracks me up)





Rules Refresher: (ahem, the fine print)
1. You must be a follower of both blogs
2. When you comment, let us know if you want
    a.  Grand Prize #1 - 10-page critique by Sarah LaPolla (YA or Adult work) or
    b.  Grand Prize #2 - A Prize-filled Gift Basket including a $40 Amazon gift card
3. You can earn 5 bonus entries by spreading the word (twitter, blogs, facebook, sidebar)
4. This is open internationally! Woo hoo!
5. Contest Closes Saturday 2 April at midnight EST. All winners will be announced Monday, 4 April



Tomorrow: This vs. That  -- Janet and I debate an age-old question.
Memory Lane Blogfest April 2 (Hey A to Z-ers...B is for Blogfest!)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Testing Tuesday - Brawl & Haul Day Two

Welcome back to Brawl & Haul Day Two!!  Thanks to everyone who stopped by yesterday and cast their vote for the most embarrassing moment.  You have until midnight (Eastern) Saturday to cast your vote on any of the "brawls" we're holding this week.  

How well do you know Janet?  A brief quiz is below...and not that I'm encouraging you to cheat, but all the answers can be found on her blog....which is also where you can find MY quiz.  It's multiple choice, so give it a go.

1. Which This vs. That debate has NOT been featured on Janet's blog?
a. Paris vs. Rome
b. Peanut Butter vs. Chocolate
c. Spring vs. Summer
d. Cake vs. Ice cream

2. Janet professes to speak another language. Which one?
a. French
b. Spanish
c. German
d. Chinese

3. What obsession (besides writing) does Janet constantly blog about?
a. chocolate
b. license plates
c. cats
d. movies

4. What celebrity does Janet pose with in her profile picture?
a. Kermit the Frog
b. Miss Piggy
c. Mickey Mouse
d. Oscar the Grouch

5. Janet did a 4-part series on what topic?
a. Character-building
b. Clich├ęs
c. Writing Humor
d. How to procrastinate without guilt

Rules Refresher: (ahem, the fine print)
1. You must be a follower of both blogs
2. When you comment, let us know if you want
    a.  Grand Prize #1 - 10-page critique by Sarah LaPolla (YA or Adult work) or
    b.  Grand Prize #2 - A Prize-filled Gift Basket including a $40 Amazon gift card
3. You can earn 5 bonus entries by spreading the word (twitter, blogs, facebook, sidebar)
4. This is open internationally! Woo hoo!
5. Contest Closes Saturday 2 April at midnight EST. All winners will be announced Monday, 4 April


Tomorrow: Wacky Car Wednesday -- Janet and I fight to come up with the best plate for a VERY unusual car.
Memory Lane Blogfest April 2 (Hey A to Z-ers...B is for Blogfest!)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Mock Me Monday - Brawl & Haul Style

Welcome to day one of the epic Brawl & Haul contest!  Today the awesome Janet Sumner Johnson and I are each posting an embarrassing story.  Cast your vote in the comments -- you may win a prize! (see rules at the end)


And now, without further ado, it's time to bare my soul:

***********************

Remember when you were 12 or 13?  Being cool was all that mattered, even though it was genetically impossible to actually be cool for several more years.

Enter adolescent Vicki aka The Queen of Awkward. I was in 6th grade and forever branded "the new girl" despite having been there for almost 2 years. 


One Spring, my oldest brother was in a play at the high school.  The whole family went to the high school to watch.

Everything was fine until the lights came back up and we got ready to leave.  That's when it hit me -- I'd gotten my period during the play and had bled through my pants. 


BAD.

Wait, make that BAD!


Like a giant eight inch stain across the back of my light blue pants.  I'd even left a spot on the folding chair I'd been sitting on. Ugh.


But you know how I KNEW beyond a shadow of a doubt it was horrendously awful?

I knew because the only thing my mother could say was, "Ohhhhh, honey."  She didn't even try to convince me it really wasn't that noticeable and I was overreacting.


She did walk behind me on our way out, to shield me from view, but there was no hiding a stain that big.  Might as well have had a neon sign pasted to my butt.

Now hop over to Janet's blog and read her entry.  If you think my story is the more embarrassing of the two vote for "Vicki" in the comments (here and there). If I get the most votes, I'll pick a commenter at random to receive today's prize. 



Rules Refresher:
1. You must be a follower of both blogs
2. When you comment, let us know 

    a. If you vote for Vicki or Janet and
    b. if you want Grand Prize #1 - 10-page critique by Sarah LaPolla (YA or Adult work)   
        or Grand Prize #2 - A Prize-filled Gift Basket including a $40 Amazon gift card
3. You can earn 5 bonus entries by spreading the word (twitter, blogs, facebook, sidebar)
4. This is open internationally! Woo hoo!
5. Contest Closes Saturday 2 April at midnight EST. All winners will be announced Monday, 4 April



Tomorrow: Testing Tuesday -- How well do you know us?
Memory Lane Blogfest April 2 (Hey A to Z-ers...B is for Blogfest!)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tomorrow - Brawl & Haul

You're all coming back tomorrow for the start of the Johnson v. Rocho Brawl & Haul, aren't you?  It's going to be a fun week!

If you haven't heard, see details below:

The FABULOUS Janet Sumner Johnson and I are putting the final touches on the Brawl & Haul contest for next week.  We brawl and you haul away the loot!


In case you haven't heard, there's a TEN PAGE CRITIQUE up for grabs from Sarah LaPolla at Curtis Brown if you happen to write YA or Adult fiction.  (go ahead and check her out!)


Like every good contest, there have to be SOME rules, so here are ours:


Rules:
1. You must be a follower of both blogs
2. When you comment, let us know if you prefer Grand Prize #1 - 10-page critique by Sarah LaPolla (Note: your ten pages must be for a YA or Adult work) or Grand Prize #2 - A Prize-filled Gift Basket
3. You can earn 5 bonus entries for the grand prize by spreading the word in any way shape or form (twitter, blogs, facebook, sidebar, etc.)
4. This is open internationally! Woo hoo!
5. Contest Closes Saturday 2 April at midnight EST. All winners will be announced Monday, 4 April


We may make some last minute alterations, but here is an overview of the festivities for next week:

Monday
Mock Me Monday - Janet and I will each post an embarrassing story.  You vote for the best (errr worst?) story and your comment enters you into a drawing for they daily prize.  If my story/blog gets the most votes, someone from my comments wins my prize.  If Janet's wins, she sends her prize.


Tuesday
Testing Tuesday - Janet and I will each post a short quiz to see how well you know us.  I'll post Janet's and she'll post mine.  Play along for your chance to win!


Wednesday
Wacky Car Wednesday - Janet and I vie to come up with the best personalized license plate for a MOST unusual car.  Vote for your favorite and offer up your own plates for your chance to win.


Thursday
This vs. That Janet and I debate the virtues of some yet-to-be-announced topic.  Your vote determines the winner...and gets you entered for another daily prize!


Friday
To cap of a fantastically fun week, we are gonna divide and conquer.  
I'll be playing BLACK JACK here.  
Get 21, you'll get a bunch of entries into the drawing for the grand prize.  
If you play and manage not to bust and not to get 21, you'll get a couple entries.   
If you bust (over 21) you'll still get an entry just for playing along.  


Then hop over to Janet's blog to read a great interview with Sarah LaPolla at Curtis Brown and  let her know whether you want to be entered for Grand Prize #1 The 10 Page Critique or Grand Prize #2 The themed gift basket.


Here's a pic of some of the loot I have to give away. 
(themed gift basket not pictured)



Saturday, March 26, 2011

Brawl & Haul Details

Just repeating yesterday's post...want to get y'all whipped up into a frenzy!


The FABULOUS Janet Sumner Johnson and I are putting the final touches on the Brawl & Haul contest for next week.  We brawl and you haul away the loot!


In case you haven't heard, there's a TEN PAGE CRITIQUE up for grabs from Sarah LaPolla at Curtis Brown if you happen to write YA or Adult fiction.  (go ahead and check her out!)


Like every good contest, there have to be SOME rules, so here are ours:


Rules:
1. You must be a follower of both blogs
2. When you comment, let us know if you prefer Grand Prize #1 - 10-page critique by Sarah LaPolla (Note: your ten pages must be for a YA or Adult work) or Grand Prize #2 - A Prize-filled Gift Basket
3. You can earn 5 bonus entries for the grand prize by spreading the word in any way shape or form (twitter, blogs, facebook, sidebar, etc.)
4. This is open internationally! Woo hoo!
5. Contest Closes Saturday 2 April at midnight EST. All winners will be announced Monday, 4 April


We may make some last minute alterations, but here is an overview of the festivities for next week:

Monday
Mock Me Monday - Janet and I will each post an embarrassing story.  You vote for the best (errr worst?) story and your comment enters you into a drawing for they daily prize.  If my story/blog gets the most votes, someone from my comments wins my prize.  If Janet's wins, she sends her prize.


Tuesday
Testing Tuesday - Janet and I will each post a short quiz to see how well you know us.  I'll post Janet's and she'll post mine.  Play along for your chance to win!


Wednesday
Wacky Car Wednesday - Janet and I vie to come up with the best personalized license plate for a MOST unusual car.  Vote for your favorite and offer up your own plates for your chance to win.


Thursday
This vs. That Janet and I debate the virtues of some yet-to-be-announced topic.  Your vote determines the winner...and gets you entered for another daily prize!


Friday
To cap of a fantastically fun week, we are gonna divide and conquer.  
I'll be playing BLACK JACK here.  
Get 21, you'll get a bunch of entries into the drawing for the grand prize.  
If you play and manage not to bust and not to get 21, you'll get a couple entries.   
If you bust (over 21) you'll still get an entry just for playing along.  


Then hop over to Janet's blog to read a great interview with Sarah LaPolla at Curtis Brown and  let her know whether you want to be entered for Grand Prize #1 The 10 Page Critique or Grand Prize #2 The themed gift basket.


Here's a pic of some of the loot I have to give away. 
(themed gift basket not pictured)



Friday, March 25, 2011

Brawl & Haul Details -- LOOK!

The FABULOUS Janet Sumner Johnson and I are putting the final touches on the Brawl & Haul contest for next week.  We brawl and you haul away the loot!

In case you haven't heard, there's a TEN PAGE CRITIQUE up for grabs from Sarah LaPolla at Curtis Brown if you happen to write YA or Adult fiction.  (go ahead and check her out!)

Like every good contest, there have to be SOME rules, so here are ours:


Rules:
1. You must be a follower of both blogs
2. When you comment, let us know if you prefer Grand Prize #1 - 10-page critique by Sarah LaPolla (Note: your ten pages must be for a YA or Adult work) or Grand Prize #2 - A Prize-filled Gift Basket
3. You can earn 5 bonus entries for the grand prize by spreading the word in any way shape or form (twitter, blogs, facebook, sidebar, etc.)
4. This is open internationally! Woo hoo!
5. Contest Closes Saturday 2 April at midnight EST. All winners will be announced Monday, 4 April



We may make some last minute alterations, but here is an overview of the festivities for next week:

Monday
Mock Me Monday - Janet and I will each post an embarrassing story.  You vote for the best (errr worst?) story and your comment enters you into a drawing for they daily prize.  If my story/blog gets the most votes, someone from my comments wins my prize.  If Janet's wins, she sends her prize.


Tuesday
Testing Tuesday - Janet and I will each post a short quiz to see how well you know us.  I'll post Janet's and she'll post mine.  Play along for your chance to win!


Wednesday
Wacky Car Wednesday - Janet and I vie to come up with the best personalized license plate for a MOST unusual car.  Vote for your favorite and offer up your own plates for your chance to win.


Thursday
This vs. That Janet and I debate the virtues of some yet-to-be-announced topic.  Your vote determines the winner...and gets you entered for another daily prize!


Friday
To cap of a fantastically fun week, we are gonna divide and conquer.  
I'll be playing BLACK JACK here.  
Get 21, you'll get a bunch of entries into the drawing for the grand prize.  
If you play and manage not to bust and not to get 21, you'll get a couple entries.   
If you bust (over 21) you'll still get an entry just for playing along.  

Then hop over to Janet's blog to read a great interview with Sarah LaPolla at Curtis Brown and  let her know whether you want to be entered for Grand Prize #1 The 10 Page Critique or Grand Prize #2 The themed gift basket.


Here's a pic of some of the loot I have to give away. 
(themed gift basket not pictured)



Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cody Quotes

Okay, my friends, WHICH one of you has been searching for "Peter McKay, shirtless"??? These keywords turned up in analytics...and while it amused me no end, it makes me wonder about you...


******************************

Just clearing out my stash of Cody quotes...


I opened the fridge for something.  The door was open for all of 10 seconds.


Coders: I saw a bad word in the fridge!
Me: (genuinely puzzled) What was it?
Coders: A baaad word!
Me: What was the bad word, Cody?
(open fridge, and look for something offensive)
(spot the mayonnaise)
Me: Ohhhhhhh
Court: What was the bad word?
Me: Hellman's
Coders: We shouldn't buy those products.

*********************




Cody and Kiersten are chasing each other around the house.  Cody keeps shouting "Quee ahh tay!  QUEE AHH TAY!"
I couldn't figure it out until Court translated: He means 'quiet'

*********************




Cody has been watching Megamind, and has decided he is going to be evil, too and has been telling us all about the evil lair he's going to have.  A sample:


The swings at my lair are going to have spikes on them so nobody can swing on them. Muahahahaha  (he laughed while leaning way back)


The water is replaced by poison and nobody can drink it or else they will...
Court: What willyou drink?
Nothing.  And I won't eat anything because it'll be bad


My hand is going to turn gray and have spikes inside.



My evil lair will be located on top of Mount Spooky.
I'll have 5,000 scary dogs and they will bite someone who visits.
They will bite their leg and it will hurt a lot and they will be sent to the hospital.



Me: Could Mom see you at spooky mountain?
Coders: It's MOUNT SPOOKY!  You could try but the soil would pull you down



*********************
Kbear had been playing with Barbies in the living room, but per usual, didn't pick them up right away because she "wasn't done playing with them yet."


Cody picked up a Bratz boy.  He showed me the doll didn't have a shirt on.  
(I provided my best scandalized face.)
Soon, his jeans were gone too.

(NOTE: my kids must all be closet nudists because they have always stripped their dolls down to nothing)

One of his sisters makes a wise crack about the doll's lack of clothing.  I jump to Coder's defense with the following zinger:


"He's playing with a naked boy--it's okay."


That sooo didn't come out the way I meant it to.






 **************************

Memory Lane Blogfest 
In celebration of a whole year of blogging, April 2nd post your answers to any or all of these questions: 

* When did you start your blog? 
* What is first denomination (price) of postage stamp you remember? 
* How old were you when you learned to ride a bike? 
* What was the 1st concert you attended without parental supervision? 
* How old were you when you got your first kiss? 
* What is your earliest memory?


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

If You Have Kids...

If you have kids, you have GOT to find yourself a copy of American Girl's Tiny Treats book.  I found my copy at a thrift store and couldn't resist it. It's a whole booklet of miniature snacks for kids.  Very creative and fun stuff.  

 
 Here are a couple of my favorites:



Mini donuts:
These are CHEERIOS!  How clever is that?




















These mini cakes are frosted Oreos (two stacked):
















Breakfast:
These are tiny pieces of toast, Tootsie Roll, and white chocolate melted with a yellow M&M























Watermelon:
I LOVE these.  Use the rind from a lime as a mold and pour in red Jello



















There are so many other really cool ideas.  Like I said, if you have kids, you totally need to get a copy of this book.



 **************************

Memory Lane Blogfest 
In celebration of a whole year of blogging, April 2nd post your answers to any o all of these questions: 

* When did you start your blog? 
* What is first denomination (price) of postage stamp you remember? 
* How old were you when you learned to ride a bike? 
* What was the 1st concert you attended without parental supervision? 
* How old were you when you got your first kiss? 
* What is your earliest memory?


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Words to the Wise

First, Angela Felsted has posted another poem of Court's.  Go have a peek.

**************************


While cleaning out my email, I found this note I sent to my sister back in 2009.  Since everything else I have in the works takes a good deal more time/thought/energy to whip into posting shape, I thought I'd  share this fun little nugget:




I just finished a very tasty salad with Asian Sesame dressing. 



Yum!



But.......



A word of caution.




If you are eating something with Asian Sesame dressing



it is highly unappetizing 


(and really, not recommended) 



to notice the sesame seeds floating around in your dish 



are the same size

shape 

& color 


as the lice you've been plucking off your daughter's head.



just sayin'


**************************

Memory Lane Blogfest 
In celebration of a whole year of blogging, April 2nd post your answers to any o all of these questions: 

* When did you start your blog? 
* What is first denomination (price) of postage stamp you remember? 
* How old were you when you learned to ride a bike? 
* What was the 1st concert you attended without parental supervision? 
* How old were you when you got your first kiss? 
* What is your earliest memory?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mock Me Monday - Routine

We're creatures of habit, aren't we?  Or at least I am.  I get into a rhythm of doing things (good or bad) and once a pattern is established, it's really hard to change. To make matters worse, I often float through life on auto-pilot, letting the current of my routine carry me from place to place without stopping to think about what I'm doing much less why.

As a result, I often miss my exit on the expressway or walk into a room without any idea why I went in there. I wish I could blame this on getting older, but I'm only 40 and I've been like this for decades.

So ten or eleven years ago -- before the youngest two kidlings joined the family -- our routine had me dropping daughterling off at daycare then driving c-l-e-a-r across town to work.  Sometimes hubby would pick her up, but more often I would get her on my way home.

We used an in-home daycare back then. Most parents would just walk into the house, but I have a problem doing that.  I always knocked first and then opened the door.  This one particular occasion, though, the door was locked.  Not a big deal.  She would often lock it if she had to run upstairs for something.  So I knocked, and when she answered the door, she was clearly surprised to see me.

Hmmm.  Had I caught her in the middle of something?

"I'm just here to get Court." I tried. 

Again, that weird look. Maybe hubs had stopped by to pick her up?

"You left her at home today with your mom, remember?"

Ohhh.  Yeah.

I'd like to take a moment apologize to all of you blondes out there.  It's moments like these that perpetuate the ditzy blonde stereotype. I'm so sorry I keep adding fuel to the fire.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Too impressionable

I was going to title this Itchy & Scratchy, but didn't want to attract a bunch of Simpson's fans to the blog.  No offense against them, I enjoy the show as much as anyone else, but I'm really not targeting my blog to the gore fans that might search for "Itchy & Scratchy"...but now that I've mentioned it twice in the body of the post, I might as well go back and change the title because I'm sure the damage is done.

ANYHOW, I am way too impressionable for my own good.  I wouldn't say gullible necessarily, because I have a healthy amount of skepticism, but I am easily touched and perhaps even manipulated.  My husband will ask me if I'm hungry.  I'll tell him no.  But 20 minutes later I'm STARVING.  When the kids get sick, I exhibit phantom symptoms and never know for sure if I'm catching it too or just feeling really bad for them.

So, yes.  I'm highly impressionable and this is not always a desirable thing.

My son reads nonfiction almost exclusively.  He adds the rhythm and silliness of poetry on occasion, but mostly he reads fact-based stuff like the Wii manual, the car manual, and the driver's ed handbook. Lately he's been seen wandering around with a kids dictionary and Volume "H" of the New World Book of Knowledge.  The encyclopedia he's left in the living room open to pages 262 and 263 for days now.

What's wrong with that?  It's the article on household pests, so I've been seeing THESE buggers out of the corner of my eye for days now....which makes me very itchy and very scratchy...and now you can be too!


Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Adjustment Bureau

My daughterling had plans that fell through last night so I took her to see the Adjustment Bureau.  I didn't know much about the movie going in, which is really the way I like to see movies.  I don't want to know too much about it before I see it because most of the time I can figure out everything that's going to happen.  

Anyhow, it's rather ironic that we saw this movie because the entire premise of the movie is something I've been whining about the last few weeks.  It is my personal belief that when things start going awry in my life there is a reason - and usually it's a sign that I need to make a change errrrr...an 'adjustment'. And without getting into anything that might lead to spoilers let me just say it ties in with the premise of the movie.


It is also ironic that I should see this on the heels of my Beyond Rubies conference.  I always leave there feeling inspired and empowered.  My *little voice* usually comes through louder and clearer afterward, which is a good thing except this year it is urging me to do something WAY out of my comfort zone.  Like from here to Pluto out of the zone.  

But seeing a movie about life adjustments seems to underscore, highlight, italicize, and bold-face everything the voice has been suggesting.  ...and who am I to argue with the universe?  


But ohhhhhh man, if you only knew what it wants me to do! (gulp) Stay tuned.

If you've seen the movie, what did you think?


 



Friday, March 18, 2011

Conferences, Blogfests, and Contests -- Oh My!

Thursday and Friday this week I'm attending Beyond Rubies, a local women's conference.  It is something I look forward to attending each year.  Two days of workshops and fantastic keynotes.  You can learn how to belly dance, make gyros, find tips on getting organized and so much more.  At the end of the conference I feel empowered, enriched, and energized.  Best of all: it's affordable!


This is my fourth or fifth year attending and I've discovered a theme seems to emerge each year. It's nothing anyone plans, just a thread I find running through the sessions I've chosen for myself.  Sometimes it's fitness, sometimes it's trusting the inner voice, or embracing your creativity. This year it appears to be people / networking.  The same people are being thrown into my path over and over.  Not sure what to make of it yet, but it's interesting.  



I'll leave you with this reminder about the Memory Lane Blogfest and a teaser about the fabulously fun contest coming up March 28th through April 1st. My partner in crime has secured a FABULOUS grand prize...that's all I'm gonna say today....stay tuned.



Thursday, March 17, 2011

You've gotta be kidding me


Since some of you won't click on the link, here's the gist:  A woman is suing a preschool for ruining her 4 year old's chance at an Ivy League education.....after only THREE WEEKS.

Seriously.

Words escape me.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Blogfest Sign Up

I wanted to put the blogfest sign-up in my header, but couldn't get the fonts and colors to work for me, so I'm going to yank it down and put it in the main area so you can actually READ it.

Memory Lane Blogfest
In celebration of a whole year of blogging,
April 2nd post your answers to these questions:

  • When did you start your blog?
  • What is first denomination (price) of postage stamp you remember?
  • How old were you  when you learned to ride a bike?
  • What was the first concert you attended without parental supervision?
  • How old were you when you got your first kiss?
  • What is your earliest memory?

SOAPBOX: Debating Success

I was listening to an interview on the radio recently talking about entrepreneurs in the State of Iowa.  Apparently we are ranked ahead of the national curve for residents starting up their own businesses, but are lagging way behind on these businesses "taking off" to the Fortune 500 level.  Granted I didn't hear the whole interview and may have misunderstood the intent behind the statement but it kinda torked me off.

What is it with people in this country assuming bigger is better?  Why is it presumed that everyone should climb the corporate ladder and every business owner should want their business to expand to monolithic proportions?  Aren't small, stable businesses just as valuable an asset to our economy as those corporate giants who employ thousands?  Aren't those smaller businesses more likely to retain their employees during recessions like the one we've been experiencing?

It's not just the business world either.  Writers are just as guilty of this mind game.  We dream of agents and publishing contracts and the NYT list and having sales like JK Rowling or Stephanie Meyer or (insert any blockbuster author here).  That's great, and I'm not telling you not to dream about those things, but rather to ask yourself if that's what YOU want?  We've been programmed to believe those are the measures of success for a writer, and so we decide that's what we must achieve.  But are they the appropriate measure of success? 

I'm not here to get into a debate with anyone.  In fact, I've deleted two whole paragraphs of my rant and am stepping off my soapbox now leaving it free for someone else.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Seven Little Nuggets

I recently received the Stylish Blogger Award from Al at Publish or Perish  AND Tamara Narayan at Get Your Giggle On 


According to the rules, I'm supposed to post 7 things about me.  Let's see what I come up with:


1. I have a bad habit of only getting into a fashion trend after it's peaked and (in some cases) past. Makes me wonder if I should even accept this Stylish Blogger Award.


2. I love jewelry, but I rarely wear it.  I have my wedding band on all the time and occasionally earrings or maybe necklace...never both at the same time.


3. I don't wear much makeup.  Maybe mascara and a touch of a neutral eyeshadow.  I only do the works if I'm going out to a party or other formal function.


4. I hate spending money on things I know I can make myself for less...I just don't have the time to make these things...and truthfully, I often lack the talent too!


5. Unlike Al who takes stunning photos, I drag my camera all kinds of places and then never take it out of my purse.


6. I have odd dreams on a regular basis (ask my family!). I sometimes dream I'm other people.  Once I was a bald-headed, pot-bellied, chain-smoking man. Very weird.


7. I have been stock piling little prizes for my anniversary contest celebration (March 28-April 1st) since about Christmas time.  There are some things I think are so cool I'm tempted to keep them for myself!




Now I'm supposed to pass this on, but I hate excluding people so I'm gonna offer it up to anyone reading this who happens to be wearing pants (cuz I don't want to encourage anyone to not wear pants around here.)


Monday, March 14, 2011

Mock Me Monday - Hurdles

Life is full of hurdles.  I'm sure we're all in agreement on this, right?  


Generally speaking, my hurdles are fairly low to the ground and well-spaced.  I can totally handle any of life's metaphorical hurdles.  Real ones, though, are another story.

Every spring, my school would have a "field day" for students in first through sixth grade.  I'm not a particularly athletic person, but participation was mandatory and it was a day out of the classroom filled with track-and-field type events.


In fifth or sixth grade, I took first place for the long jump.  Not only did I take first place, but I set a new school record.  For a girl who specialized in being invisible, this was a pretty big deal.


So in 7th grade, my friends and I went out for track.  Bear in mind this was such a little school that there weren't any 'try outs', you signed up, you were on the team. All the sports were like that.  One of the nice things about going to a small school.


Have I mentioned I hate to run?  My friends weren't runners either. We went out for track more for something to do than to work on our athletic abilities. To whip us into shape, we were to run laps around the residential neighborhood by the school.  I'm not sure who started it, but someone started cutting through yards to shorten the run.  I thought it was brilliant--until the lady called the school and asked us to stop.


Another day, the coach had us try all events so he could schedule us in events we excelled at. I was okay with this until he asked us to try to jump over the hurdles.


I told the coach I couldn't jump.  He wouldn't listen.  We all had to jump over these things. It was as high as my waist, yet I was supposed to leap over this sucker while running.  I'm not sure why he failed to recognize this as a recipe for disaster.  Sure, some of the girls were able to do it, but they were considerably taller than I was.


Eventually it was my turn...and I tried.  I did.  I took a good running start, and jumped -- and fell.  I knocked the hurdle over.  It actually looked more like I tackled it than anything else.


Oh, and did I mention it was raining?


And that the genius coach set up this particular hurdle right by a mud puddle?  Are you connecting the dots here or do I need to do it for you?  Not only did I crash into the barrier I'd been expected to leap over gracefully, but I wound up in a mud puddle.  


That pretty much sums up my time in track.



Sunday, March 13, 2011

Man of My Dreams

Hahaha! Made you look!

I have a feeling that subject line is going to come back to haunt me...but since you're here, we might as well get on with the post, right?

It occurred to me that I hadn't talked about Craig Niedermaier in a looooooong time. I'm treading a very fine line here, though.  If I talk about him more often, he's more likely to stumble across this blog --  but if I do it too often, I'm gonna look crazed and obsessed.

I've never had a restraining order issued against me, and I'd kinda like to keep it that way.


So, Mr. Craig Niedermaier of Chicago...where are you? Don't you ever Google your name to see what's out there?  Aren't you curious why a complete stranger in a neighboring state keeps bringing your name up?  

I have a twisted sense of humor, but other than that I am completely normal, I swear!  Ask anyone.  



Just email MissVSpeaks(at)gmail(dot)com I'll tell you the whole sordid story.  It might even make you laugh!


The rest of you:  Hope you're having a great weekend!



Saturday, March 12, 2011

Bloggy Announcements

WOO HOO! I DID IT!  My blog turns 1 in just a few weeks and I'm planning lots of things to celebrate the anniversary and the end of my blogging hiatus.


ANNOUNCEMENT  #1: March 28th through April 1st fun contests and prizes DAILY.  I'm in cohoots with another blogger so you can have TWICE the fun.  Guaranteed easy entry and it may or may not involve BLACKJACK.  Stay tuned!



ANNOUNCEMENT #2: BLOGFEST!  I can't believe it's been almost a year since my first blog post.  Anniversaries are a great time to look back, so I'm holding the Memory Lane Blogfest April 2nd and 3rd.  See details below.


ANNOUNCEMENT #3: I made it a whole year posting 7 days a week. (was I crazy?) Now that I've proven to myself  I can do it, I'm gonna do something a little more manageable.  Starting Monday, April 4th, I will post on Mondays - Wednesdays - Fridays....and maybe occasionally odd bits in between.


BLOGFEST DETAILS:
To participate, all you have to do is post your answers to one or all of the questions below on Saturday, April 2nd.  Don't post on weekends?  Type up your answers now and schedule them to post while you're sleeping or off gallivanting in the Springtime air.



Q's:
When did you start your blog?
What is first denomination (price) of postage stamp you remember?
How old were you  when you learned to ride a bike?
What was the first concert you attended without parental supervision?
How old were you when you got your first kiss?
What is your earliest memory?


Here is your sign up:



Thursday, March 10, 2011

Friday Fun

I've read a lot of articles about how tricky Google interviews are.  It's Friday, so I'm just gonna point you to this little slide show of Google Interview Questions....don't worry, I'll give you the link to the answers too.


QUESTIONS



AND




ANSWERS




Toughest interview question you've had?

Death of a Snowman

If you've been around here any length of time, you've figured out that I have a twisted sense of humor.  So, without further ado, I present to you, the harrowing end of my snowman masterpiece.

Here's what he looked like in the beginning:



And then the weather got a little warm, and he started to look a little gaunt:



Here he looks positively ghoulish:



Off with his head!



Uh oh...









Poor Guiddo.  The hat, scarf, eyes, mouth and carrot were part of a snowman kit one of my son's teachers sent home LAST winter.  I'm totally going to be making some of these and giving them away next fall and winter!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Making of a Snowman

Snow sucks.  Sorry to come right out and burst your bubble like that, but it's true.  It's cold, it's a pain in the butt to shovel,  and don't get me started on driving in it.


It can be kinda pretty.  When it's falling.  After that it gets brown and slushy and blech.


So let's just say I'm not a fan, okay?  I've tried making a few snowmen in my day, and they have always turned out to be the most pitiful looking things you've ever seen.  So, I thought I'd build one, document the procedure and you'd all get a good laugh out of it.  The perfect Mock Me Monday post, only it's not Monday so we'll call this the Wacky Wednesday or something.






We had a warm streak right after I had my brilliant idea, and the snow melted away.  We got another snow storm, but it was then so cold the snow wouldn't stick together.  Finally, the weather cooperated so I dragged my daughter outside to snap the pictures for me.






And wouldn't you know, I made the best snowman of my LIFE!  Now, before I upload the picture, I want you to know that's not to say it was the best snowman EVER, just my personal best.






Without further ado, here is little Guiddo in all his naked glory:




































Come back tomorrow, I'll show his demise... (insert evil laughter)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Proud Mama

We interrupt these regularly scheduled posts to bring you a newsflash...

One of my daughterling's poems is posted over at Angela Felsted's Blog

I  know all mothers think their kids are the most talented children on the planet, but I really do think she's got loads of talent.  Go take a peek and come back to agree with me (wink wink).


Tomorrow:  The Making of a Snowman
Wednesday:  The Melting of a Snowman

Monday, March 7, 2011

Mock Me Monday - The Mail



Every day after work, I take the day's mail to the post office.  This particular day had been rather hectic, so I had a stack of regular mail and two Fed Ex envelopes -- with a drop box conveniently located right outside the Post Office entrance.


Without thinking, I deposited the Fed Ex envelopes into the mail slot instead of the actual mail.


Some not-so-nice words were uttered.  The Post Office was closed, and the Fed Ex guy would arrive for pick up in ten minutes. What to do?


To complicate matters, I knew that according to Federal Law, once you deposit an envelope into a mail box, it becomes Federal property, and you lose all rights to it. Even if I managed to rouse someone from the back room, they didn't HAVE to give it back.




I called through the mail slot, "HELLO? I need some help out here" I heard voices in the back, but they either ignored me or didn't hear me. I tried again.  Nothing.




I knocked on the door employees use.  Still nothing.




I saw a button that said "press for help".  I pressed it quickly.




It was loud. Air-raid-siren loud.  Now the whole flipping crew would know about my mistake.


Eventually a very nice lady, who had waited on me many times at the front counter, opened the door.  I told her what I did -- mixing up deposits. She kindly took the stack of letters I had meant to mail and returned ten seconds later with my Fed Ex envelopes.


Whew.


That'll be the last time I make THAT mistake.


I hope.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

new harem member

I heard an interview with Jonathan Kos Read recently and turned to Google to get a better look at him.  I'm soo very glad I did.  Here's just a sample:










 I'm feeling very inspired all of a sudden, how about you?  
(Sorry guys...)