Category Archives: Writing

Here I Blog Again….


Good morning, everyone!

I want to lose weight.

Actually, that statement is not quite true.  What I really want is to go to bed one night and wake up the next morning about 95 pounds lighter and looking like Sophia Loren, or the actress that plays Ziva David on NCIS and stay that way while I eat as many chocolate donuts, candy and cake  as I want.

NCIS, Ziva, Cote De Pable
Cote De Pablo from NCIS

It has occurred to me, after a couple of years of studying it, that it ain’t going to happen that way.  It’s just not.  And unfortunately, I am one of those people who have to do everything “right” in order to start losing weight.  By “right” I really mean I have to follow the complete package – food, exercise, lots of water, you name it.

Armchair
Where I prefer to sit!

I also am singularly unmotivated to put in the effort and time required for the full lifestyle change that losing weight and then continuing to stay at a healthy weight and have good health habits permanently (translate that to “eat right and keep exercising”) takes.  I know what I should do, but I can’t seem to translate the “should” into “want to.”

I am, however, very motivated to write.  Signing onto my blog and sharing stuff with as many of you that care to read about it is something I really enjoy.

So, I have decided to combine the “want to” with the “have to” in a new blog, “Tales from the Mom-side:  Weight Loss Adventures” located at the cleverly named www. weightadventures.com.  (www.weightlossadventures.com was already taken.)  The hope is that the desire to write will outweigh the lack of “want to” with weight.

Pen, writing, blog

This new blog will be a little different from this blog.  It is going to be  more restricted in scope, really focusing on weight loss and health issues.  I probably will publish around one post a week, in which I will set forth my goal for the week, or share any useful information that I may have come up with during the week, or observations I have or whatever else about the “getting healthy” process that strikes my fancy.  It also will have a Twitter feed in the side bar, once I figure out how the heck to do that, where I will share “tweets” about temptations or observations or times when I have to make a choice related to my weekly goal.  That way, people interested in this new blog won’t get multiple posts on one day if I am having a particularly challenging day, but I still can share my thoughts with those who may be interested (and I freely admit that the pool of those interested may be a set of one – myself – but you never know).

I thought I’d start off with a really simple goal this week – eat breakfast at home every day.  By changing my customary driving breakfast of two-plain-biscuits-with-grape-jelly- and-three-chocolate-cookies-please at McDonald’s (the cookies are really for snack later) to the bagel/bread and peanut butter that I also like, I will save both money and calories.  Let’s see how I do!

All of which is very long way of saying “Here I blog again!”

Have a great day everyone!

Nancy

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A Rose By Any Other Name?


Good morning everyone!

They (ie., William Shakespeare) once said that “a rose by another name would smell as sweet.”  Due to an unfortunate encounter with perfume that was loved by another not wisely, but too well, I have been thinking about that quote, and I just don’t believe it.  If I offer you a rose, I am offering you not only the physical object in my hand, but the centuries of allure, legend and mystique that travel with the word “rose.”  If all I was offering you was a “rosa berberifolia,” I don’t think you would be nearly as impressed!  Even if you were, the name “rose” sounds better than “rosa berberifolia“.)

To further prove my point, I offer you edited versions of the following famous (ie., taught in most English classes nationwide) poems:

Daffodils

From William Wordsworth’s “Daffodils”:

I wandered lonely as a cumulus
That floats on high o’er depressions with predominant extent in one direction and natural land elevations, usually less than 1000 feet above its surroundings, with a rounded outline.
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden Narcissus pseudonarcissi;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the air in slight motion relative to the earth.

Tiger

From Robert Blake’s “The Tiger”:

Panthera Tigris! Panthera Tigris! Combusting bright
In the forest of the night
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

lark, flight

From Tennyson’s “Come Spring” ( Excerpt from the second stanza):

Up leaps the passerine, gone wild to welcome the season beginning with the March equinox and ending with the summer solstice,
About her glance the Paridaes, and shriek the Cyanocitta cristatas,
Before her skims the jubilant Melanerpes erythrocephalus ,
The  Carduelis cannabina’s bosom blushes at her gaze,
While round her brows a woodland Columba palumbus flits,
Watching her large light eyes and gracious looks,
And in her open palm a halcyon sits
Patient–the secret splendour of the brooks. …

Question Mark

They just don’t have the same ring to them, do they?

Have a great day everyone, a good holiday weekend!

Nancy

A Funny Short Short – The Ultimate Consumer Complaint of the Future!


Good morning Everyone!

Today, I am sharing with you a short, short story that I wrote last year.  Enjoy!
 
 
 
Robot from Print Shop Professional 2.0
 
Customer Service
Interspace Robotic Corporation
800 New England Way
Venusian Colony #5 
 
Dear Sirs: 
 
Thank you for accepting the return of your Model 3300 Robotic Clone. I am writing to provide you, as you requested, a more specific description of the problems we encountered with the robot.
 
 As promised, the Model 3300, whom we named Gertrude, was a hard worker with detailed knowledge of nutrition, household chores, home repair, and yard work, looked human, and contained an additional logic booster chip which allowed her to make decisions in the best interest of our family without constantly being given specific orders. The problem was that Gertrude was incapable of understanding that, on occasion, the less logical choice was better.
 
 
For example, while Gertrude was correct that vacuuming at non-peak hours was good for the environment, placing less strain on the electrical grid, no-one in our family got any sleep on Tuesday and Friday nights during her 2:00 a.m. house-cleaning sessions. And while shaving the dogs certainly cut down on the amount of dog hair floating around various rooms, I am not sure the dogs have yet gotten over the trauma of being shaved bald in 2.0 seconds flat.
 
In addition, although I have often fantasized about placing my children under house arrest when they fail to clean their rooms and do their homework, and the electronic monitoring bracelets Gertrude designed were quite clever, we found that the Department of Human Resources, Child Welfare Division, had problems both with house arrest and the electric shock the bracelets delivered when one of the children would violate the terms of her confinement. 
 
As another example, the research on nutrition Gertrude performed, and her presentation to the family, was flawless, but after seven days of tofu, fruit and berries for meals, the entire family began to sneak out to stuff ourselves with cheese fries and chocolate sundaes, at least until the location bracelets were placed on the children.
 
My husband has been threatening for years to place Astroturf instead of grass on our yard, but the Covenant Enforcement Committee objected strongly both to it, and the plastic flowers and bushes in front of the house. The members also were singularly unimpressed with Gertrude’s dissertation on individual liberties under the United States Constitution when they came to discuss the issue. 
 
The final straw came the day we returned home from a week’s vacation to find that the wooden floors and carpet throughout the house had been replaced with industrial strength concrete and drains strategically located throughout the house so that the floors could simply be hosed down instead of vacuumed or mopped. The floor and carpet installers both admit that Gertrude did an excellent job, as did the locksmith we called in to bypass the lockout system she placed on our air conditioning system to prevent the thermostat from being set below 82 degrees, but we are not looking forward to the payments on the second mortgage we now need to fix everything back the way it should be. 
 
 
Accordingly, we returned Gertrude to you. 
 
 
Sincerely,
 
Jane Smith
 
P.S. The Covenant Enforcement Committee has asked me to remind you that the restraining order will stay in effect for 10 years.
 
 
 
 
 
Have a great day, everyone!
 
Nancy

High School Career Day Left A Lot To Be Desired


Good morning Everyone!

I find it is easier sometimes to access WordPress through Google Chrome, and as I was getting ready to sign in this morning, I looked at the latest product from the Google Doodlers, and realized that “Google Doodler” was not on the list of possible careers when I attended career day during high school.

Of course, neither Google, nor personal computers were invented when I graduated from high school, which might explain the absence.  However, other exciting career choices didn’t make the list, either.

Sunset over Key West

One example is travel show host.  If they had told me in high school that I could travel to lots of exotic and exciting places, take cruises, make regular trips to Disney World, tell people about it on TV and get paid for it, my career choices might have been very different.

I would have liked to know more about jobs like “Alaskan State Trooper.”  I probably wouldn’t have taken that route, but the show is pretty fascinating.  My husband wishes that he had known about jobs such as Alaskan bush pilot (I think that’s the right phrase).  He probably would have taken any job that allowed him to fly for a living in a sea plane between small towns, even if it meant living in the Arctic.  (And given the way Mark hates cold, that’s saying something!)   If he had known you could do it in tropical islands and make a living, we would be living somewhere like Tahiti now.

From Print Shop Professional 2.o

RV park inspector is another job that didn’t make the list.  As near as I can fathom the requirements of this job, an RV park inspector rides from RV park to RV park in some type of recreational vehicle, either a motor home or a trailer, and rates the park on given specifications either for the campground chain’s purposes or for publication in a campground guide.  We would be quite good at that.

Working at a local marina might be fun (I have to confess I didn’t know what a marina was until after high school; I knew what a port was, but didn’t have a conception of a marina – the casualty of a Navy family life geared to the ocean).

I did flirt with the idea of marine biologist, available on career day, but let the idea slide due to the fact that I didn’t think I could pay for graduate school (but then Mark and I ended up paying for me to go to law school at night!  Go figure.)

Writing has always been high on my list, and “writer” was a possible career discussed on career day, but the descriptions always included terms equivalent to “starving artist” which placed the job at a decided disadvantage.  It took me seven years after graduating law school to realize that I was writing for a living – granted, I was writing briefs for judges and lawyers to read, but I was writing.  “Starving artist” is not a term associated with what I do.  I also get to write this blog, which helps to stave off, even if it doesn’t completely satisfy, the creative writing urge in me.  I couldn’t make a living with the blog, but I certainly do enjoy writing it.

“Artist” wasn’t even a remote possibility, as I had no idea until two years ago that I had any modicum of artistic talent whatever.

There is always a bright side, of course, even to notable gaps in career day in high school and career choices by adults.  In my case, it is all the possibilities left for me as I decide what I want to be when I grow up!  At this rate, I expect I will be fully grown up when I reach the age of, oh, 90 or so.

Have a great day everyone!

Nancy

P.S.  Thank all of you for your kind words and prayers regarding the death of my grandfather.  I appreciate them.

Celebration! Drawing!


Good morning Everyone!

A big celebration should be accompanied by lots of big balloons, hence the featured image for today and the picture above.  What are we celebrating?  This blog yesterday crossed the threshold of 25000 total views!

Now, whether this is normal for blogs or not, I do not know.  I do know that there are a lot of excellent bloggers who have been writing for a shorter time than I have with many more than 25,000 views; I also know there are many excellent bloggers that have been writing longer than I have that have fewer views.  But, for me, the idea that people have looked at my blog more than 25,000 times in less than a year is pretty mind-boggling.

For those of you not familiar with WordPress statistics, a view is the number of times someone somewhere has clicked on a link and looked at the blog, not the number of separate individuals who have looked at it, so my regular subscribers are a large component of that 25,000, and I am very grateful to all of you.

So what are we going to do to celebrate?  Well, today through Monday, I am giving everyone a chance to enroll in a giveaway drawing, if you wish.  I had the sooty tern picture that I painted with pastels made into notecards that are blank inside.  The notecards are on good quality card stock, with a slightly glossy finish on the outside, and a paper finish on the inside to make writing easy.  They come with envelopes that self-seal.  I am going to give away one set each of 8 notecards to two people in a random drawing between all entries.  If you want to enter, please send an e-mail to workmomad@gmail.com with the subject listed as “Drawing” and with your name, or nickname if you prefer and your e-mail address in the body of the e-mail.  I promise not to use the e-mail addresses for any reason other than the drawing, and will delete them once the drawing is finished.

I will draw two names randomly from the entries on Tuesday, March 12, and ask those people for their addresses to send the cards.  The notecards really are very nice, even if I say so myself.

Have a great day everyone, and again, thank you!

Nancy

P.S.  I wish I could give them away to everyone, but the cost of getting them printed was too high for me to do that.  However, if any of you have a burning desire to have said notecards even if you don’t win the drawing, let me know that in your entry too, or e-mail me after the drawing and tell me how many and I will let you know the price for purchase (shipping and tax is extra) so you can decide if you want to buy them or not.

Say What???


Good morning everyone!

I love WordPress.  I really do; in fact, I love it so much that when I started my second blog, The Football Novice, I didn’t consider using any other software, but immediately went to its sister site, WordPress.org. 

However, every once in a while, usually after I insert a picture, it gets temperamental.  Not a full-grown fit, mind you, just pouting, doing things like not letting me post two pictures in a row without a line of text in between , or changing the font of my post without warning, then reverting to the original font after one paragraph. 

I have discovered through trial and error that the best way to try to fix those little irritating changes is to switch over to the HTML tab and see if anything looks unusual.  Well, actually, since all of the HTML code looks unusual to me, I look to see if anything looks more out-of-place than the rest of the HTML code listed there.  So last week, when my font changed for one paragraph after inserting a picture, and nothing I could do on my regular screen (the tab marked “visual” where my writing usually lives) worked, I bravely ventured forth into the world of code. 

There are a couple of basics to HTML code that I have figured out on my own.  Any HTML code will be written inside the greater and less than signs.  (“<>”).  Sometimes, inside the bracket there will be some kind of letters, or the “/” symbol and some kind of letters.  This is turning something on or off.  The one I recognize the most easily is <ul>, which turns underlining on, and </ul>, which turns underlining off.

The culprit last week appeared to be a code called <div>.  Not having a clue what that meant, I did what any reasonable person would do, and googled it.  The first site I found said the following:

The command encloses, defines and contains an HTML document division. In the Netscape browser it functions essentially the same as the <P> (paragraph) command. In the Internet Explorer browser it is designed to be used in conjunction with Style Sheets.

Of course!  Why didn’t I think of that?  Needless to say, that didn’t help me a lot.  However, I did find a web site that took pity on less technologically advanced folks (I am a wife, mother, dog owner, lawyer, writer and lots of other things, but NOT a software engineer!), and explained things in a much simpler manner.

If you need it, go to http://om4.com.au/client/html-for-bloggers/. OM4, according to its web page, is an Australian web site design and development company for small business.    Basically <div> on WordPress tells your blog page that you are changing to a different type of page/formatting.  Now that, I understood!  OM4 explains many other commands in that article as well. 

After getting rid of some <div> codes, my text was finally correct, and I could breathe easier, and publish my post.

Of course, there was always the option of posting it with the unintentional font change, which would have saved me a great deal of time, but the perfectionist in me just couldn’t handle it!

Have a great day everyone!

Nancy

A Trip to the Corner Drugstore, Pens and Copyright


Good morning Everyone!

Here are some odds and ends from the weekend.

    • A Trip to the Corner Drugstore

Yesterday I had to go to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription.  I had to wait just a few minutes, so I walked over to a revolving rack that sold little paperback books.  I started laughing out loud when I read the title of one of them – How to Live Successfully with Screwed Up People.  I thought about buying the book just to see how the author carried through with such a unique title, but the thought of someone close to me wondering why I would need such a book decided me against it. 

 However, once my prescription was ready, I told the lady behind the counter about the book.  To my surprise, she smiled and nodded and answered “Yes, my mother bought it.”  She added, “She has marked sections in it and put the names beside it of each of her children she thinks the section applies to.”  That’s a real confidence builder, isn’t it?

  • Pens

Some time ago, I told you about the mysterious disappearance of pens from my junk drawer.  (See, Of Waves and Pens).  Recently, I found where some of them were hiding – I have a little pouch I carry in my purse for writing utensils, and about 10 of them had fled there, I can only assume for protection from the evil pencil conspiracy.

    • Copyright

I learned something about copyright in the United States this weekend while reading the 2011 Writer’s Market by Writer’s Digest.  Did you know that everything you write is immediately protected by copyright as soon as it is written?  You do not have to have a registered copyright in order to be able to use the copyright symbol!  (There are advantages to having a registered copyright, but we won’t go into that.)  I thought that was way cool, and have immediately availed myself of this new piece of knowledge to proudly display my own copyright symbol at the bottom of my blog, just because I can!

Have a great day everyone!

Nancy

The Blank Page: Analogy and Reflection


Good morning Everyone!

Have you ever thought about the possibilities inherent in a blank page?  Every single book ever written began with one, even the Bible.  A page is anything that is written upon, physically or electronically, which includes all medium from leather hides, cuneiform clay tablets, papyrus, paper, computer screens and napkins and paper towels (for those of us like me who are organizationally challenged and can’t find paper all the time when they need it.)

A blank page can be intimidating, especially when a deadline is looming.  It stares back at you, unblinking, demanding that something be written on it.  At my work, it usually is demanding that something be written on it quickly, with accurate legal citations, and adequate evidence to prove my point.  When I am just writing, as I am now, sometimes it gives me a softer, gentler stare, reminding me that I can write about anything that I want, and sometimes the stare challenges me, telling me I can do better and it’s time to start writing.  

One typewriter Ernest Hemingway used to fill blank pages

A blank page can be comforting.  Each one is a new start, a new opportunity, a chance to write something that no one has every written before.  With each one, the possibility exists that the magic inherent in the written word will strike, and that elusive combination of words that goes straight to the hearts of others and makes them laugh or cry or think, that makes those particular words matter and live on past the immediate moment of their writing will be formed.

Kayla at what can only be called the "heirloom typewriter" for our family.

A blank page is both malleable, and inflexible.  A blank page, once I write on it, will let me erase the words I have previously written and start over again, if I need to, (with the exception of leather hides and cuneiform clay tablets; that’s more complicated) but I always reach a point where I am locked in to what I have written, and the story or brief acquires a life of its own.

Kayla, during her first Christmas ever with us.

I think that’s one reason that children are fascinating.  At the very beginning, they seem to be a blank page as well, but a blank page that, as it grows, like any good story, takes on a life of its own.  I have noticed that with Kayla.  While I see her growing into being her own wonderful person, I can see traits that mirror traits that Mark or I have, both good and bad.   She can be very flexible, at times, and absolutely intransigent (I can’t imagine where that stubbornness comes from!  Family members, no laughing please) at others.  She has been participating in writing her own story from the blank page that she started as, and as both a writer and a watcher of it, I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

Kayla driving the Southern Star, our dolphin cruise boat, this summer

Have a great day everyone!

Nancy

And the Envelope Please…


Good morning everyone!

As you may recall from yesterday, I am working through the responsibilities I agreed to in accepting the Versatile Blogger Award.  (Did I mention that I won an award?  I did!)  Today, I get to give out awards!

The Envelope Please! (From PrintShop Professional 2.0)

Here are the blogs to which I have awarded the Versatile Blogger Award. However, because some of my nominees have won this before, most of them blog in their “spare” time and have other full time jobs as well, and most of them are parents or pet owners, I am changing the terms of the award. You don’t have to do anything to accept this award. Period.

If you have not won the award before, you might consider doing one or all of the following three things: 1) Link back in your blog to my blog; 2) Nominate other blogs, as many or as few as you like, for the award and let them know about it, or 3) in a post of your choosing, list seven interesting facts about yourself. If you are winning this award from me, but don’t recall checking out my blog, please feel free to do so. If you don’t feel like doing any of this, that’s okay too; you still deserve the award.

So, here are my nominees for the Versatile Blogger Award in alphabetical order:

1) Bassa’s Blog – Bassa is a Caucasian Shepherd dog exploring the world in Tbilisi Georgia with the help of her tall man, De, the little person and has an uneasy truce with Mr. Parrot. Her unique perspective on things always makes me laugh.

2) Belle of the Carnival – Belle’s blog (and Belle may not be her real name but is short than continually writing “Belle of the Carnival” over and over) is about different things that happen to her throughout her life. Her recent post, about an important lesson her grandmother taught her, was so funny that I couldn’t read it out loud to my Mom through the second paragraph without both of us laughing so hard I almost didn’t finish. You may find it interesting to know that she is a “domesticated clown.”

3) The Big Sheep Blog – Yes, Lisa, I know you’ve won this before, but as hard as I tried, I just couldn’t leave you off of this list. Lisa’s blog is extraordinarily funny, and she has a unique perspective on the world that, perhaps frighteningly, I relate to. She has her own business doing free-lance writing as well as her blog.  Her newest venture is a new web site, www.ripe.com, meant to celebrate the vision and vivacity of women over 50.  I can’t wait to subscribe!

4) Born Again Brazilian – Born Again Brazilian is a blog written by an expatriate mother who relocated from New York City with her Brazilian husband and her young daughter to Sao Paolo, Brazil. Her blog is about her experiences in adjusting to, and loving, Brazil.

5) Brown Road Chronicles – Steve over at Brown Road Chronicles is another person whose posts are always very funny. He lives in one of the “M” states up north; Michigan or Minnesota or somewhere like that where the winters are ridiculously cold. His posts about his conversations with Julie at WordPress and the 911 operator in his city have been “laugh out loud” funny.

6) Conversations with Mary Ann Kempher – Mary Ann is a writer I met over at Twitter. She has completed a full length novel (I’m envious) and is in the throes of editing it and getting it ready to submit for publication. Her blog is about writing, and the writing life.

7) Just Ramblin’ – “Just Ramblin'” writes about her life as a working mom (although her human children are grown now) with two dogs in her house, including an 8 month Newfoundland “puppy” named Miss Stella. I relate to Just Ramblin’; our lives, except for the ages and numbers of children and animals involved sound a lot alike. She is an excellent writer and photographer, and her posts are visual and just plain fun. If you even love dogs just a little bit, you can’t help but fall in love with Miss Stella and Miss Sadie.

8  ) The Kitchen Garden – Cecilia is a New Zealander who married an American, lived in Britain for many years, and now lives in Illinois where she cooks and runs a self-sustaining farm. Her blog is about her life there and the recipes she cooks and memories from her time in New Zealand. She is an excellent writer.

9) Life With Briana – My cousin, Briana, is about three years younger than Kayla. Her parents, also my cousins, adopted her from China and she is absolutely adorable. The blog, written by her mother, Lisa, is a celebration of their life together.

10) Molly Greene: Worth Becoming – Molly Greene’s blog is about writing and her new adventure in life to make a living writing. Her posts are gentle, reminiscent and full of life. She often is able to tie in a unique and personal story about her past with advice about writing in a way that is marvelous to behold.

11) The Musings of a New Englander – Sharon is a writer also. She is a bird lover extraordinaire, and her life is dominated by at least five parrots of some kind as well as a finch.

12) The Roaming Naturalist – Nicole is a passionate conservationist with a knack for photography in an extremely photogenic state.

13)  Servant’s Life – Stacy’s blog consists of thoughtful and heartfelt discussions of various Scriptures. I never fail to learn something from one of her posts.

14) The Simple Life of a Country Man’s Wife – Country Wife’s blog is about her life on a farm in South Dakota. She is another young woman who has a knack for photography in a highly photogenic state and since she also helps her husband with their working form, she has a lot to write about. Her posts fascinate me and never disappoint.

15) St. Monica’s Bridge – Kristen is a Catholic mother raising 3 young children, one of whom has been diagnosed with an autism disorder. I am not sure where on the autism spectrum her daughter falls. Her blog posts are about her family, about the things she is grateful for, and she taught me about a word I didn’t know – “meme.”

16) Words by Stella DeLeuze – Stella DeLeuze is a writer, and has published a fun romantic novel entitled No Wings Attached, which I have read and enjoyed. Her blog discusses writing, as well as her pet iguana, Zorro. I don’t have a pet iguana, and don’t intend to ever have one, but I enjoy reading about Zorro. If you have even had the stray thought cross your mind that it might be fun to own an iguana, I highly recommend that you read this blog first!

17) WordSmith’s Desk – LeRoy Dean posts beautiful religious poems and observations supported by appropriate photographs on his well-read blog. He is unfailingly gracious to the new bloggers he meets on-line and is kind enough to read my posts and let me know what he thinks about them and also helped me to spread the word about one of my posts as well.

So there you have it, folks. These are blogs that I read and follow, and I am giving this award to them because I enjoy reading these writers and want them to know I appreciate their hard work. I hope you find at least one new blog on this list that you can enjoy too.

Happy Reading!

Have a great day everyone!

Nancy

Poem posted on Yahoo – Need your help


Hi Everyone!

I posted a poem on Yahoo at the following link last night:

Winter Winds:  The Cycle Continues

I really don’t know what to think of it.  I was using a very rigid form called a villanelle, which requires certain lines and rhymes to be repeated.  I would appreciate it if you could read it and then let me know what you think.  I can’t decide if I like this or not.

Thank you very much for your help!

Nancy