Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Our Favorite Reads For March 2010-"The Help" & "Homer's Odyssey"

Karen's Favorite:
Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper was better than I expected! It’s about her life with her three cats, Scarlet, Vashti and Homer, the eyeless kitten no one wanted with a big heart and love for exploring, playing and adventure. I found her tales of flying to New York with her cats, being separated from them for days when the terrorist attack happened 9/11, chasing off the burglar and how people who didn’t even particularly like cats warmed up to Homer particularly interesting. She shares how she learned from Homer to be brave and take risks, to live life as an adventure. Her great love for her cats shines through the whole book and as a cat lover, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and closely identified with her.


Gerard liked this one a lot too and here's what he had to say about it:

This is a must read!  I loved Homer's Odyssey by Gwen Cooper!  It's just AWESOME!  Gwen Cooper has two cats and that's it until she gets a call from a vet friend regarding a blind kitten that nobody wants.  This book works in so many ways:  funny, touching, loving.  You will just love Homer and Gwen is fantastic!  I felt the love she has for her cats (she reminded me a lot of my wife that way)!  Please read this book, you will be so glad you did!  The best part is that Homer does not die!  Yea!  Thanks for sharing, Gwen!  Awesome job!!!  If you go on www.gwencooper.com you can actually see Homer in action--way cool! (5+++ stars) 


Gerard's Favorite:
The Help by Kathryn Stockett has been on the best sellers list for a long time so I just had to find out for myself if it was that good--it is! The writing is superb! This is a novel, but you would think that the characters were actually real. It is about the early 60s when white people in the south had black maids and a young girl decides to write a book from the maid's perspective.

I enjoyed this book very much! It went fast and I was into it from beginning to end. I'd love to see this book made into a movie--it would be outstanding! Read this one, you won't be disappointed! (5+++ stars)

To see all our book reviews, check out our Zemek's Updates at http://karen.pnn.com.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Look What's In My Purse


I came across a few posts about showing what people have in their purse. Unfortunately, I don't remember where they were or I would share the link with you, but one said you can tell a lot about a person by what they carry in their purse. Now, I use a big bag when I go to work because I bring my lunch every day, the newspaper and a book but also my purse. I keep my bus card and work ID card in the pocket on the side of my big bag for easy access. I numbered the items in the picture above and will explain why I carry them.

1) That's the purse itself. It contains more junk. My Sunday purse has completely different contents in it, but that I'll save for a separate post and only if you really want to know. If you'd like to know what I carry on Sundays in Spotty, include it in a comment on here.

2) This is my cell phone instruction booklet. I put it in to read when I first got the cell phone to learn all about it and just never removed it.

3) Advil for headaches. I don't get headaches very often, but now and then I do and Advil works very good for me. I can't take Aspirin because of interaction with my other meds.

4) Our checkbook. I keep the bills to be paid in there too. It's a small space so that way I pay them quickly.

5) My list of the books I sell directly to people so I can keep track to send in the State sales tax. Another thing to fuss with! I only have two on hand at the moment, one is mine and the other is to send to someone who requests it through www.paperbackswap.com. (It's available on amazon.com and bn.com.)

6) "My Funny Dad, Harry" bookmark which tells a little about the book on the back with the Outskirts Press website and on the front is the picture that is on the cover of the book. I have a bunch of these that I give to people.

7) Bag of Halls cough drops. Even though I don't currently have a cold or cough, I carry them in my purse to give to others on the bus who start coughing.

8) NIV New Testament with salvation verses marked in red to be ready to share with someone should the opportunity arise.

9) A pen that I've used to complete a complaint card on the bus or to have in case someone needs to borrow one.

10) Stamps for mailing personal letters or bills.

11) Tracts that I carry for the same reason as mentioned above for item 8. If I give money to the beggars downtown, which I will on occasion, I'll give them a tract with it.

12) Small change purse that I keep a little money in just in case I need it or want to go to lunch or participate in the football pool at work as well as my bus tickets for the month.

My ID and credit cards I keep in my pocket in case you are wondering. I love pockets! So there you have it. How many things do we match on? What strange things reside in your purse? Here's another post about purses you might enjoy: What Does Your Handbag Say About Your Personality? You can see Spotty here too!

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Monday, March 29, 2010

A Useful Gift--Thanks, Phyllis & Dale!

One of our wedding gifts that we used when we were first married is a breakfast tray with legs to use for breakfast in bed. Gerard used to get up before me on Saturdays and bring me breakfast in bed on this tray. I had cereal which was kind of hard to eat in bed. The tray was nice, but I had to be careful not to raise my knees so I wouldn’t bump the tray. Breakfast in bed isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I’d much rather eat at a table so we never got much use out of the tray with legs until we got our dog.

Shortly after our dog, Abby, came to live with us, we used the tray with the legs on it for her water bowl and food. It gets used every day now!

Last year Gerard and I started a new routine for breakfast on Saturdays—Hometown Buffet! We both like this very much because there is a wide selection of food, we can have as much as we want, and no cleaning up needed. It gives Gerard a break from doing dishes at least one day which he looks forward to every week.

Do you have any wedding presents you use every day or any you have that aren't useful at all? Do you like to have breakfast in bed?

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Another Computer Mystery--Why Is That?

It seems as though almost every day something goofy happens with this computer of mine. Now, this morning the time is running off the screen in the bottom right corner. Why is that? Also sometimes, not always, when I open something the right side scroll bar is off the screen. I didn't adjust any sizes anywhere, maybe one of my cats did.

Oh well, minor things. Just another little puzzle to keep me from getting bored.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

8 Things I Learned This Week-#64


People & Their Pets


70% of people sign their pet's name on greeting and holiday cards. I learned this when playing my trivia game to feed cats and dogs. Gerard and I do this.

Homer's Odyssey by Gwen Cooper made me aware that even blind cats (Homer had no eyes at all) can function well and be great pets. Homer could jump 5 feet in the air and catch a fly! He could map his house and find his food, water and litter box with no trouble at all. Both Gerard and I read and enjoyed this book. Read our reviews at What We've Just Read.

Boys Town


Boys Town is actually a real village with their own school system, fire department and police department. They also encourage visits and actually give tours of their village. This is one charity we support monthly.

Computer Tools--Downloads


I should really check out all those menus at the top of the screen some day. I just found out there's actually a folder for downloads that I never knew about before and when I'm in my document directory, if I click on the icon folders, it shows me a whole list of all my folders including some I didn't even know I had! I've had this computer now for 3 1/2 years now and I'm still finding new things!

5th Grade Boys


While teaching my Sunday School class of 5th grade boys I learned the expression "hunky dory" was entirely new to them and they thought it was very funny. I also learned when I had them to my home for a party, they liked shooting pool and could actually play well. I'm thinking maybe we could have a pool tournament.

Death Threats over Health Care Votes


I was shocked to learn from a post titled Horrified by An Italian Mama Gone Crazy that congressman who voted for the Health Care bill are actually receiving death threats! Then I read about it in the paper too. What is America coming to? This is outrageous!

Sweet Life Cafe--Women's Retreat


There will be a women's retreat at Parma Heights Baptist Church where we are members for $20 on April 16 & 17. I liked the Sweet Saturdays they had four times a year last year but they discontinued them because this year they're having this retreat instead. I don't think I want to spend most of my weekend away from Gerard--it's really the only time we have to do things together.

Parma Community Hospital


In the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER this week I saw that Parma Community Hospital is named among the top 20 best community hospitals. That's where I had my lumpectomy done and now where I go for my mammograms. They were very nice and took good care of me. My brother-in-law had a stroke and was in very bad shape when we went to visit him in the hospital, but he recovered and is doing well. He even got his speech back. My grandma had a stroke and never did fully recover from it. I wrote a post about her on my other blog. Here's the link for you convenience: "Loving Memories Of My Grandma Arlettaz." This is a picture of my grandma and me riding the train at the Cleveland zoo a way long time ago.

Bravenet


I just discovered this week that I can actually see where my blog visitors are coming from in the Bravenet stats. (Not that I spend much time looking at these.)

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

What Did You Compromise When You Married? (Writer's Workshop)

I basically covered this in a post I did on our wedding anniversary in 2008 so am cheating a bit by using it today for this prompt from Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop. Here is the link to 13 Changes In Our Life Since Marriage. I hope you like it.

For more about us, you can click that "About Us" tab at the top where I list other posts about our courtship, relationship and marriage if you are interested to learning more. According to Kathy at the Junk Drawer, she said we have "one of the happiest marriages in the blogosphere!" in response to this comment I left on her "Confusing Terms Of Endearment" Post:
I usually call my husband “Honey Bunny.” He calls me “Silly Goose” and Mrs. Wonderful (to which I respond “because I’m married to Mr. Wonderful). I sometimes call him “Honey Bear” too. He especially likes when I call him “Super Duper Honey Bear.
I don't know about that, but it made me feel good! video


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Now What Did They Have To Go And Do That For?

UPDATED 3/27/10:
More good news! Tim at Everyday Living was able to explain to me a way around my Flip Software and still upload video from the Flip camera. It's a bit of a round about way but it worked. Once the Flip was connected to the computer, then I went into "My Computer" and opened the Flip like a flash drive, opened my windows movie maker and imported the video clip into that from the my computer area. Although the editing is harder to do from here, it worked. I picked a clip that didn't need editing. It's the one I was going to post on Valentine's day but posted on my "What Did You Compromise When You Married" post. The sound of the song is a bit wobbly because I think it's time to change the batteries. Thanks again, Tim!


UPDATED 8:20 P.M. ON 3/24/10:
Good news! I got the kibble trivia badge--my fault, there was the code on their site for the banner but I didn't see the instructions to click on the badge to get the code until I went back later after Atty Catty sent it in an email. I went to the library during my afternoon break to do it on both my blogs.

More good news--I finally got the Java plug-in working on my Firefox browser and can play games once again on pogo.com using Firefox. Whew! What a rigamarole!

I noticed my cute "Feed Cats & Dogs" Trivia banner disappeared and when I went to play this morning, I found they redid their site and changed the badge to this. I liked the other one better but that's not the worst of it. There was no banner code to copy it so I couldn't include it here for you to click on it to go to play.

Anyhow, the link: www.freekibblekat.com still works so I hope you will still play and not forget about it just because I don't have the banner anymore. Seems like there's always something do fuss with to distract me. Does that happen to you too?

It seems I'm starting a whole list of little irritations that are on my mind and have got me bugged. Fortunately, the key word here is "little." None are of great importance--thank God! Here's my list in case you care and maybe you can help me knock off one or two items:

(1) My Flip Camera software no longer opens so I am currently unable to load my videos to my computer.

(2) My slide and picture scanner software doesn't work either so I just use it through my windows "cameras and scanners" wizard. It's frustrating, but at least in can still scan things in. My slide software never did work and I have to push one slide at a time through with the plastic negative holder apparatus which really isn't the way it is supposed to work. Both are from Brookstone.

(3) Tim over at Everyday Living actually did a whole post about my problem with my Firefox Java plug-in not working with Pogo.com: Java Plug-In Not Working With Pogo-com. I tried following the steps but got frustrated and quit when it looks like I don't even have the updated Java plug-in. I tried downloading the updated one but the windows in the instructions that were supposed to open, didn't. ARRGGH--I HATE UPDATES!!!! If it works, please don't "fix" it. (Come to think of it, my flip software got screwed up after I updated that too!)

(4) I'm seriously considering consolidating my blogs. Keeping three going and promoting all three is more time-consuming than if I just had one and my book blog about my dad. Maybe I should even consolidate that too. When I comment, I rotate signing in with my three URLs. Any advice for me on this?

I find it interesting that all these frustrating things that make my life more complicated are computer related. Maybe it's time to just chuck the whole thing and go back to life without a home computer. I know I'd miss it though so I don't think I'll actually do that. I wonder if maybe I need a new computer with more memory--I hate to even think about moving all my stuff to a new one though.

Sorry for the rant here. I don't usually do this but I had nothing else to post about today and this trivia badge set me off this morning. I'm going through a little blogging slump right now in case you haven't noticed.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Chess Always Reminds Me Of My First Crush


Do you remember your first crush? Mine was on Dale, the son of one of my mom’s best friends. Our families used to get together sometimes for holidays and picnics. He had a sister my age and an older brother. I thought he was very good looking and he was always nice to me. I was maybe three to five years younger than him. I liked him because he was the first person to show me how to throw a football and also taught me how to play Chess. When our families got together, we would play. I remember beating him with my rook a few times. I thought it was so great that he paid attention to me.

I remember going to his wedding thinking he was making a big mistake. His bride actually cried all through the ceremony! I thought, “poor Dale.” The only reason I think he married her was because he got into a car accident with her and she had to be hospitalized for some time. I think he just felt guilty. The marriage didn’t last very long and I felt bad for him all over again. I never saw him again after he got married.

I always liked the game of Chess and to this day think of Dale whenever I play it. It's a game of pure strategy and thinking ahead with some manipulating which helps. There is really no luck involved like in most other games. Do you play Chess? Do you remember who taught you?

Since I love the game of Chess, I just had to take this quiz from blogthings on "If you were on a chess board, would you be a queen or a pawn?"


It said I am a Bishop



You are limited in what kind of moves you make, but that only encourages you to be wilier. If you sit back and think carefully, you can be just as deadly as any of the other players on the board. It's all about using your head. While it does get annoying to be underestimated all the time, you can use that to your advantage. You can attack and retreat quickly, without anyone hardly noticing. As far as skills go, that's an excellent one to have!

I am happy to be a bishop. I like that piece even though it can only move diagonally. The only pieces I like better is my rook and of course, my queen.

and please share your result in the comments.

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

An Entertaining College Basketball Weekend


The March Madness NCAA Basketball tournament is off to a great start. Many close games and lots of upsets made the games fun to watch. Both of us enjoyed keeping track of how many we picked right for our brackets. I only entered one this year at my husband's work so don't know where I stand on that, other than I got 30 correct. Gerard threw his away when Kansas lost since he had them winning on that one. Fortunately for him, he also entered the one at my work and picked Duke on that one so he still has a slim chance. He's currently 38 out of about 80 but it goes by weighted points and there are only three people ahead of him that also picked Duke.

The highlight for us was Ohio State progressing to the sweet 16. I picked them to go all the way to the championship game against Duke so that was really big for them to win! Poor Pittsburgh lost but had two chances right at the end to tie it with a 3-pointer but couldn't do it. Their shots just weren't falling in for them and both Gerard and I had them winning in the second round.

My biggest let down was Cornell beating Temple and going on to win in the second round too because I was going to pick them but changed my mind after hearing the ESPN guys rattle on and on about how great Temple looked and that their team was named the Owls. So since I like owls, I listened to them and picked Temple instead of Cornell. Cornell was a 12 seed too so those who picked them got a lot of points for it.

The March Madness tournament is huge, but I must admit I didn't know anything about it until I married Gerard. That's when I became interested and found out about doing a bracket (predicting who will win throughout the tournament). I heard about the office pool so decided to join in on the fun. I did fairly well too the first few years I played, but last year I did awful. That's because I listened to all the sports talk shows about the bracketology and studied what the paper said about each team when I made my picks. I'm better off just picking the teams I like and forgoing the research.

What about you? Which team would you like to see win? Did you watch any of the games over the weekend? Do you fill out a bracket and if so, how are you doing? I am looking forward to watching more games next weekend since I sill have teams in each region left on my bracket. It makes it more interesting when you actually care who wins.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

8 Things I Learned This Week--#63


Highlighting


According to my one new attorney, a study was done that showed people remember what is highlighted in orange better than what is highlighted in yellow so she uses orange highlighters.

Cleveland Browns


Brady Quinn is now a Denver Bronco. I wish him success and am sorry to see him go. Another shock was hearing Wimbley is now with the Oakland Raiders. This was a surprise because he really did good playing for the Browns. We wish him success too!

Blog: For Love or Funny


I am excited to have found a new blog this week that I really enjoyed. Lynn at For Love or Funny has a great variety of posts about her family, her dog, and just plain creative posts. I love the way she works her dog into her posts about other things too. If you like this blog, you'll love hers--it's so much better but along the same lines. Definitely worth visiting. Oh, and she wrote a book too: "Right Next to My Heart."

Red Pine Mountain


My blogging friend, Mountain Woman, has taken the leap and moved to a new blogging platform. Here is the link to her new fancy blog that you should be sure to visit: www.redpinemountain.com.

Iditarod Race


I playing my trivia game, I learned that Lance Mackey and his dogs won the 1,150 mile sled dog race, The Iditarod. This is their 4th win in a row. It took them 9 days!

St. Patrick's Day Parade


Estimated attendance at the St. Patrick's Day parade in Cleveland was 400,000! I know there were lots of people out there (me being one of them for a short time), but 400,000 I think is exaggerating a bit. How would they even count all those people in just a couple hours anyway? It's not like there's a turn style and people are moving around all the time too with new ones coming and going like me. I wonder if they counted me.

Printing Problems


This morning when I went to print Gerard's updated March Madness bracket, I learned my printer was out of the Cyan blue ink and I didn't have any! I never ran out of a color before that I didn't have a replacement for. Not a good start to the day. I had planned a trip to OfficeMax tomorrow anyway. I have a $10 coupon and was going to go last week but forgot the coupon so just waited until this week to go. Oh well.

ESPN's March Madness Brackets


Gerard just told me this morning that 4.8 million people entered brackets on ESPN's website and only 56 had 100% of the picks right after Thursday. I'm surprised anyone got them all right with quite a few upsets. I got a little over half of mine right.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

What A Mess!

My cat, Manny, is such a messy eater! He likes to pick out the food first and place it on my mat or the table before he eats it which isn't such a bad thing, but he never eats it ALL. He always leaves a bunch spread all over the place and I keep putting it back into his bowl. Spunky doesn't do this. Do your cats?

The upstairs bowl is plastic so moves around quite easily. It's usually right near the edge of the desk every morning when I go to refill it. On Monday he finally knocked it off. When I went up in the morning, I found it flipped over upside down on top of the covered litter box next to the desk with food spilled all over the lid and some on the floor! Since then, I've been sure I put it right up near the wall and over farther. It is on a place mat that has a raised edge, but that doesn't seem to be enough to keep the bowl on the mat what the cat is pushing it.

Manny would like you to see his perspective on this episode. Check out his post at "Messy, Who Me?" on my other blog at http://karen.pnn.com.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

One Adventurous Woman—Katie Spotz!

I was so glad to see that Katie Spotz arrived safely at the end of her solo row boat trip across the Atlantic Ocean. According to the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, it took her 70 days. She is 22 years old, making her the youngest to do this. She raised $70,060 for the Blue Planet Run Foundation. $30,000 covers the cost of providing a lifetime of clean water for 1,000 people.

I think she is one brave lady! She is so adventurous! Among her other amazing accomplishments are biking across the country, running 150 miles through the desert, and swimming the length of the Allegheny River. I can’t even imagine doing any of those things!

I think the most daring thing I ever did was to swing on a vine over a creek and riding on a roller coaster. It definitely pales in comparison, I know. What’s the most adventurous thing you ever did?

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Where's The Bill?

I am so tired of fussing with stupid things all the time. Saturday when I opened my AT&T phone bill, I was shocked to see the amount due was double my usual! Then I noticed they were charging me for two months with a $5.00 late fee. I looked through my current bills that I paid, and sure enough, the last one for AT&T was in January. I have no other AT&T bill waiting to be paid so apparently, I didn't get one last month. It's over sized so I always pay that one right away because it bugs me that it takes up so much room in my purse.

The kicker is that they are charging a $5.00 late fee yet. It's not my fault they didn't send me a bill. I don't know what's up with that. I paid the whole amount, but called on Monday to find out what's going on with this and get them to credit my next bill for $5.00.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

We Went To The Great Lakes Science Center

I got two free tickets from work for the Great Lakes Science Center so went on Saturday. It was something different for us and we enjoyed it. I tested my GPS cushion holder that sits right on the dashboard for the first time and it worked well. We were paid the $6 for parking to park in the underground garage, and remembered where we parked.

At first we wandered around looking for the place to get our parking ticket validated. Then we went straight to the gift shop where they had lots of unique things. All kinds of science kits, trinkets, t-shirts and even astronaut ice cream packets. They did not look too goo to me. I don't think there was anything under $10.

We wandered around in the space exhibit until 1:00 when it was time for he movie on the big screen. We got to the movie entrance and were told we had to get a movie ticket at some other place. We had combo tickets so then we get our movie ticket and by the time we got back to the theater, the door was shut and a sign said we should to to the information desk for assistance. So off we went back to the information desk. This was not a very friendly welcoming! I felt like I was in a maze. Anyhow, we got an escort from there and enjoyed the movie about the "Mystery of the Great Lakes."

The picture was huge and it make us feel like we were right there flying with the eagle and swimming with the fish. Most of the movie told about the sturgeon fish and showed how biologists track them. The one was 100 years old! There are lines on the fishes fin that show how old the fish is, similar to rings in a tree trunk.

After the movie, we walked around a lot of various hands-on exhibits that showed how different things work, such as pendulums, electricity, sound vibrations, converting energy, light, lasers and more. It reminded me of my high school physics class! Gerard and I tried building an arch with plastic blocks but we goofed because I didn't notice the platform we were supposed to start it on. Another couple got it built though. I thought how my dad would have loved to have seen this. He had a very scientific mind and I'm sure would have found these things very interesting and would have loved watching the children explore the different exhibits.

They also had an interesting section on biotechnology showing advances made in the field of medicine and also how addictions affect the brain. Somehow there's a way to send a signal to the limb of someone paralyzed so that they can move that muscle! I didn't stop at the addiction exhibit because by then I could tell Gerard wasn't interested and we were both getting hungry so it was time to go.

I liked the exhibits best and Gerard liked the movie best. We were both hungry though by the time we left because we had such a big breakfast that we didn't eat lunch before we went. We got home around 3:45 and ate lunch then.

There was a pitching machine that showed how fast you could throw that Gerard did but I didn't do it because I didn't want to show him up. Another fun thing they had was a big train that you could run around a high track that had part of the track in a bridge that you could raise and lower. The one kid liked playing with it so much the mother had a hard time getting him to move on!

It wasn't crowded at all when we first arrived around 12:15 but it was crowded by the time we left. If you are in Cleveland, this would definitely be a worthwhile place to visit, especially if you have children.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Spring Has Sprung--Hurray! Hurray!

I love to see spring arrive!!! I know, it’s not quite here yet, but wow, it sure seemed like it yesterday! Technically there is still 8 days to go until Spring officially arrives but I just couldn’t wait to write this any longer. On my walk to the bus stop in the morning, I actually heard birds chirping again! It was light and all the snow was off the sidewalks. I saw some Crocuses peaking out of the ground on my way to the bus too.

Another sure sign of spring is baseball season getting underway. Spring training has begun and April 5, opening day for the Indians in Chicago, is fast approaching. I can hardly wait! No one is giving the Indians any respect but so far they are off to a good start in Spring training and I can hope, can’t I? They made quite a few changes in the off season so I am trying to be optimistic. I wore my Indians jacket for the first time this year to work yesterday and walked at lunch time because it was so nice to have a warm day again. It reached 72 degrees in downtown Cleveland so I didn’t even wear my jacket when I walked outside on my afternoon break! Loved walking in the warm sunshine!

I let my hair grow long for the winter but already it’s getting on my nerves so I think I’ll be getting it cut short pretty soon for the summer. Also, I think it’s time to remove our polar bedspread and replace it with the Cleveland Indians one. I know Gerard will be washing our windows soon and cutting the grass again.

Abby is looking forward to longer walks and going to the park on the weekends again, and Manny and Spunky Doodle are looking forward to sitting in front of open windows! It’s hard to believe we had 3-5 inches of snow just last Sunday! I am hoping March will go out like a lamb like the saying says.

Here is my favorite little spring poem that I made up a very long, long time ago but still remember:

Spring

Spring is here!
It brings us cheer!
Spring is here!

What are signs of spring for you?

Sharing what you love about Spring so happens to be a Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop prompt this week so I linked up this post too.

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5 Things I Learned This Week-#62


Driving & Cell Phones


In our auto insurance bill came a news flier that said driving while talking on a cell phone makes it four times as likely that you will have an accident! According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, it's as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol, even if you switch to a hands-free model. It's just too distracting!

Cleveland Browns


I am so happy to see that the Browns and Josh Cribbs have reached an agreement and renegotiated his contract through 2012. I also am happy to see they just acquired a new quarterback (Seneca Wallace from the Seahawks) who is familiar with Holgrem's offense that he likes to use. Seneca Wallace was the backup quarterback for Matt Hasselback. I wish success for Derek Anderson--the Cleveland fans treated him very badly.

Taxes


So glad I got my taxes done! I found out this week we get a nice juicy refund--yippee!

Rebecca Read and Reviewed "My Funny Dad, Harry"


I was so excited to find out after a very hard day of work that one of my blogging friends bought my book. Yesterday, I saw she reviewed it on her blog at Freaky Frugalite and liked it! I'm so glad to hear you liked it and thanks so much for the nice review!

Haiku


One of Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop prompts for this week was to write a Haiku about an ordinary day. Since I had no idea what a "Haiku" was, I quickly skipped this prompt but then when reading some other blogs that used this prompt I discovered it's a short, 3-line poem. Still, I was curious because it they didn't rhyme so I looked up "Haiku" on Wikipedia and it said it's Japanese poetry but some of the more common practices in English include:

* Use of three lines of up to 17 syllables;
* Use of a season word (kigo);
* Use of a cut or kire (sometimes indicated by a punctuation mark) to implicitly compare two images.

For a sample, check out one at Life As We Know It.

Check out more Friday Fragments and Half-Past Kissin' Time.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Gerard's Five Top Passions (Writer's Workshop)

Gerard is passionate about all Boston sports teams. He follows the Celtics, Red Sox, Bruins and the Patriots. For all those teams, he has shirts, hats, pennants, books and even videos (most of which he got when he was still a bachelor). We also have two stuffed Red Sox bears, a Bruins bear on skates, and a Patriots cheerleader bear. In our living room hangs a big picture of four jersey’s of the Patriots hanging in their locker room, one of which has “Zemek” on the back. I got that for him for Christmas one year. We also have lots of Ohio State stuff in addition to shirts and caps like a bean bag chair and a light plate switch.

Another passion of Gerard’s is cleaning. He cleans something every day! He handles all the cleaning supplies and just tells me what he wants me to order from Alice.com. I don’t even know where he keeps them all, nor do I care to. He is a “neat freak.” If I have a book laying out on a table, it bother him. If the remote is crooked, he has to straighten it. He takes out the garbage at least twice a day.

Reading is another passion of Gerard’s. He always looks in the paper to see what books are best sellers and then if any appeal to him, he’ll go online and order them from the library. He usually gets three to five library books a week. He is a fast reader and tries to read 50 pages a day, whether he is at the end of a chapter or not does not matter. Not only does he read books but also newspapers and anything else he sees along his way that has words on it such as brochures and posters.

Yard work is another passion Gerard has. He absolutely loves a perfect, leaf free, weed free, spot free, green lawn. He even gets down on all fours to trim the edge by hand, no electric trimmer for him. He enjoys having pretty flowers in the yard and in flower pots on the porch and likes watering them and the lawn all summer long. Our grass never gets very long because he likes to mow it.

He is very passionate about us and our pets, especially our dog, Abby. He loves spending time with me and taking Abby to the park and on long walks. He doesn’t mind at all when Abby comes up on the bed. Maybe because she doesn’t walk by his head like the cats sometimes do. He enjoys giving Abby treats and likes it when she lays nearby while he watches TV.

UPDATED 3/13/10: Gerard says he will work for food--homemade bakery! Any offers?

I may (or may not share some about my passions in another post. What are you passionate about?

This post was written in response to Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop prompt: What lights your fire? Describe five things you are passionate about.
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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

If I Knew Then What I Know Now--How To Get A Book Published

Rebecca at Freaky Frugalite suggested I do a post about how to get published. Well, I'm no expert but can share about my experience.

Carol Denbow was one of the first people to review My Funny Dad, Harry, a book I wrote in memory of my dad. She writes a very helpful blog about being an author, getting published, marketing your book. I wish I had known about her blog before I went ahead and did self-publishing through Outskirts Press.

In her post, How Do I Get My Book Published For Free she gives several self-publishing venues that are cheaper than Outskirts Press. I must admit, I was thrilled when I saw my author copies arrive and had a great sense of accomplishment. My biggest mistake, however, was not to spend money to get it professionally edited. I purposely wrote simply because I wanted it to be a quick and easy read for people. I just wrote from my heart and was not trying to create a literary masterpiece. However, editing is not the place to skimp. I spent $1,000 on my Outskirts package and was disappointed that my pictures couldn't be in color and I think it's over priced. I took their advice on this because I believed they knew better than I since this is their business.

Outskirts Press also helped some with marketing which was good. They gave me lots of different avenues to use and I did get several outside sources offering to review the book if I gave them a free copy. I made a big mistake though when I spent $2,000 for a little bitty ad in The New York Times. This I wish I could redo. You can read all about this at "Happy Birthday Dad Contest."

If I had it to do over again, I would certainly spend more money on the editing and much less on the advertising.

Here is Carol Denbow's Amazon review of "My Funny Dad, Harry" titled "A Charming Little Journal" (it's the fourth one).

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What A Fun Party With My Sunday School Class!


Sunday I had seven fifth grade boys from my Sunday School come over and I hope they had as much fun as I did. We started things off by going up to the soccer field at the end of my street and playing some tackle football in the snow. It's been so long since I've done that but it's so much fun. The snow was about 4" deep but the temperature was in the upper 30s. I made one tackle and scored one TD (but that's because they were nice and didn't think they were allowed to tackle me.) I did say I'd just be the center but when they kicked it to me for the second time, I forgot about not wanting to get tackled and just ran with it. Kyle, Jacob M., Tim and Ian won football 36-18. Gerard went for the pizza after he and Abby took a few pictures of us playing.

Then we had lunch: pizza (of course), V8 Fusion juice and chocolate chip cookies. We all fit around the table in the basement and then I had clues hidden all around the house (blue ones and purple ones). The clues were different for both teams except for the last clue to the treasure which was the game of Clue. I had planned to play that with them but since we had seven boys and only six can play that game, we skipped it. Teams were made by random draw, but two of them switched on me which I noticed when I saw the pictures my husband took for me throughout the party. Even Abby watched as we chose the teams. The winners of the treasure hunt were Matt, Ian and Tim.

Next, after they had been all through the house, we had a scavenger hunt. I gave each pair a list of 33 items with point values next to each to find and bring back to the dining room table where highlighted them on their lists (one boy worked alone but could carry two items while the others could only carry one at a time). They all seemed to like this and the team with the most items and the most points won. It turned out the Ryan and Matt won both categories with 13 items and 405 points until later when I re-added the points, actually Jacob H. and Tim had the most points (450!). I'll bring them a brownie on Sunday because I gave brownies to the winners of our events.

The last 20 minutes, I had planned to have them do some snow sculptures in my yard, but our snow was really deep and some didn't have boots so I just let them play table hockey and pool instead which they enjoyed. I'm thinking that they really liked pool so much and could actually play pretty well, that I may have a pool tournament for them. I'll see what they think about that.

I loved having them over and Abby seemed to like the company and excitement too. The cats went into hiding because of all the noise but came out as soon as it got quiet and back to normal again. Most of all I think they got to know one another a bit better and that's what it was all about. It's always good to mix up teams and I find random draw seems to work best.

(I have some more pictures but hesitate posting them without parent consent.)

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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Beware Of Spending Too Much Time On Matters Of Little Importance

It’s nice to know God is in control and nothing happens in my life that He hasn’t allowed. Let’s just say that I have gone through some major changes in my life this week, both at work and at home. Blogging has become kind of an addiction with me. It’s hard to cut back but being on the computer all day is making it easier for me to do. I also found a saying in the March-April-May 2010 “Our Daily Bread” that really hit home with me: “Beware of spending too much time on matters of too little importance.” Although blogging is something I enjoy, it really isn’t important, is it? God, my husband, my pets, my friends (although I do have some very dear blogging buddies who I consider friends as well), my health, my work is all more important. I was putting a lot of extra pressure on me to rush through supper so I could get to reading and commenting on the blogs I follow in my reader. I’m just not going to make that a daily task anymore. I’ll get to it if and when I feel like it for my own sanity.

After many years of having a very cushy job that I felt I wasn’t really earning my pay, I moved to a new floor with new lawyers and a lot of new responsibilities. Way back when I first started, I was very busy most of the time and I really liked it! Now that is how it is again. I am looking at this as a challenge and already have seen how God is using this to do a new work in me. My first couple days were horrible. I’m used to being on top of things and I felt like I was struggling to “keep my head above water.” I had lots of filing to get caught up on and no printer for labels or envelopes so had to rely on other secretaries for assistance (who were very nice because they have been swamped for a long time and are thrilled to have another secretary on their floor to take up some of their load). By Friday, I finally got pretty much all the filing done and a temporary printer too! I’ve learned many new procedures related to my job this week and finally see some light at the end of the tunnel and a better attitude.

For some time now I’ve been lax in having a quiet time every morning, just praying at the bus stop. Well, now with this job change it has made me rely on God more and seek His help to learn new things quickly and adjust to my new bosses. It has been a very stressful week so I knew I needed to put blogging aside and get some exercise in first thing in the morning just to allow me to relieve some that stress. Wednesday, though I came across a message on a blog that I really needed to hear. Unfortunately, I can’t remember which one it was. I know I found a video on Beth Moore’s LPM blog that reminded me to stay in the word. I posted the following verses and prayer in my cubicle so I would be reminded through the day: Philippians 4:13--
I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.
and Proverbs 17:22--
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine; but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

Father, in Heaven, I choose to rejoice (sing, shout, clap, dance, spin around) in you.
I set my heart, mind and emotions on you today knowing that you are faithful. I will
Sing of your mercies and goodness all the days of my life.
In Jesus’ name, Amen


At the end of the day, my brain needs a rest so I have been relaxing more in the evenings with my husband watching TV or just enjoying playing with my pets. I look forward to the warmer weather too when I will join him on dog walks and work in the yard or play some tennis again. All this means that I must let go of the pressure I put on myself to visit the blogs I follow regularly. There just isn’t enough time in the day to comment on all the blogs that I’d like, but I did enjoy it while it lasted. Now, I’m actually on the computer pretty constantly at work so by evening, I’ve had enough. Gerard is happy about this! He’s been wanting to get on it more and also likes me spending more time with him.

I think these are both positive changes that have come about from this job change. I try to look for what God wants to teach me through my life experiences that he allows in my life and so far I’ve come up with these two big changes in my routine. I have noticed that I actually have more energy when I’m busy all day than when I wasn’t. I definitely feel more needed at work again and feel better about accepting the paycheck.

Are you addicted to blogging? What are you spending too much time on that really isn’t important? Is God trying to tell you something? How is He working in your life?