Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Impossible vs. Inconvenient and the element of Personal Choice

As you have read previously, I am attending a webinar this week entitled The Millionaire Affair (  Each day we are treated to an interactive presentation from a successful entrepreneur.  I will be writing a summary of yesterday's wonderful speaker, Wendy Moore, in my next post... but first there is something I just have to get out of my head. 

The first day of the series, everything went wrong and yet the experience was wonderful... so wonderful that I wrote a blog post about the unexpected lesson in failure ( ).  Later that night, I was talking to a friend about my wonderful, positive experience and something happened.  She got very negative and defensive.  Now, I'm not writing about this to bash her in any way... I understand completely where she was coming from (many people fall into the same pattern)... but it's been on my mind ever since and I wanted to get those thoughts out of my skull and into the world where they might be more useful.

What she said (not an exact quote, just the general idea) was, "I saw that webinar event on your Facebook page and wanted to go too, but they scheduled it at such an inconvient time that it's impossible for me to do it because I have to work.  You should tell them that next time they should schedule it at a more convenient time so more people can go."

Impossible... inconvient... and apparently not fair to everyone!   But what I said that night and will expand upon here, is that it was possible for her (and anyone else in the world) to attend and she had choosen not to.  You see, this webinar is an opportunity.  It could have been held on a weekend in a convention hall in Vegas at $1000+ per attendee based on the presenters and the worth of the information they are providing.  Instead, it is being broadcast to a global audience for FREE... online... one hour a day... for 2 weeks.  That's actually a lot more convenient for most people.  It is definately possible to make adjustments in a schedule to accomodate at least one or two of these presentations, even if you can't attend them all.  It is maybe even possible to convince your boss that it would be valuable to them as your employer to alter your schedule a little to let you gain the knowledge these individuals have to share... thus making you a more educated and valuable employee.  It is a personal choice not to even try.

Opportunities come into our lives every day, yet they are usually inconvenient or seem impossible to take advantage of, so we grumble and groan about the opportunity passing us by and how the good life is out of reach for us.  That does not have to be the case.  We each make the personal choice whether or not to make that opportunity a priority.  If it becomes a priority, then we will go to great lengths to rearrange our life to make it a possibility.  Once in opportunity becomes a possibility, we can turn it into the potential for growth and perhaps it will be what you look back on as the opportunity of your lifetime.  One of the biggest differences between those who are living their lives on their own terms and the people that grumble about how unfair things in life are, is the ability to prioritze and choose things based on those priorities.

You make thousands of choices every day on how to spend your time, money, thoughts, etc.  You make these choices based on what is important for you in your life.  Accepting that you have the control over these choices is the first step on the road to making your life what you want it to be.  When an opportunity comes along you need to put it to the test.  Will it benefit you?  Is it aligned with your long term goals?  Is it more important than another obligation you have at that same time?  If it is of equal importance, can you rearrange things to take advantage of both?  Is it perhaps a better opportunity for someone you know (if so... pass it along!!)?  There are many things to consider when an opportunity presents itself but is inconvenient, but the first thing to recognize is it would never come across your path if it was impossible... no matter how inconvenient it may be.  Sometimes you just need to get creative in order to get to the door to open it when opportunity knocks. 

If you didn't take advantage of an opportunity, maybe it just wasn't important enough to your life for you to make it a priority... not every opportunity is right for everyone.  Keep on the lookout for the next one.  In the mean time, get to know yourself and your goals well enough to be able to prioritize the things that are most important in your own life... then you won't be so quick to want to follow someone else's life choices and feel bad when you don't.  We all have to walk our own path in life, and though we may walk together at times, none of us are on the same path.  Find your path and make sure to take advantage of the opportunities that will help you along your way.. no matter how inconvenient or impossible they may seem.

If you found this discussion interesting, you will enjoy a blog post by Derek Sivers.  He will be our presenter on Thursday and posted a blog today about how there are always more than two options.  It follows along the lines of what I have been thinking for the past 2 days...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Invasion of privacy vs. good parenting

This issue is becoming more and more popular and I'm not entirely sure why.  People are arguing that it is an invasion of privacy to read texts on your kids' phones, check out their Facebook/MySpace pages, check out their call logs on the cells.  Since when?!?!  I am their parent; I provide these technological gizmos; and it's my job to help them use them in a somewhat responsible manner.  Now, I'm advocating helicopter parenting here, or sneaking around in secret reading your kids' diary, just common sense and a little parental monitoring to keep our kids safe. 

Here's how things work in my house, perhaps you'll find something that will help you decide how things will work in yours. 

CELL PHONES: I have 4 kids (ages 11-14).  These 4 kids share 2 cell phones.  When I gave them the cell phones they had unlimited texting and very limited minutes for calling.  They knew from the time I gave them the phones that at any minute I might ask to see those phones.  I do this maybe once every couple months... at completely random times.  I will simply say, "Text check time... give me your phone."  They hand over the phone and I read through the texts on there.  What I'm looking for are red flags to dangerous situations or major issues.  I'm not monitoring their language (which is usually worse than a sailor's), or making judgements on the humerous forwards they receive and send, or limiting their ability to be themselves in their texts.  If I see something that concerns me, we'll talk about it... for example, why it might not be a good idea for one of my daughters to send a majorly sexual themed forward to a bunch of boys.  I don't get mad... we just talk.  I also update their contact list for my records.  Yes, I keep a list of all their friends' numbers.  If they are ever missing, I will have a great database to look for them...  I don't use these numbers for any other reason.  My kids don't consider this an invasion of their privacy... it is simple one of the things that they have to do in order to use their phone.  I also require them to charge their phones in my room overnight and they are not allowed to take them to school without special permission.  They complain about it once in a while... "We're the only kids that don't get to have a phone in school!", or "But my friends don't start texting until after midnight!".  I can tell you, when I was in school (before cell phones) I was not allowed to use the phone after curfew or leave class to go make a phone call.  It's common sense.  They don't need 24/7 access to this technological tool.

SOCIAL NETWORKS: Then there's online social networks... Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.  I have them all myself and don't think there is anything inherently wrong with them.  There are many people (adults and kids alike) who misuse them and put themselves in danger every day.  It's my opinion that kids need to be taught how to properly use this technology for fun without putting themselves at risk before they leave the safety net of living at home.  My kids are allowed a Facebook page age 14 and (if all goes well) a MySpace page at age 16.  The rules are that I must be added as a friend immediately and I must be given the password (they are allowed to change this without telling me when they turn 18).  I check their pages in the same way I check their cell phones.  I do this right in front of them and we discuss anything that might be of concern.  For example, photos of the girls and their friends that are completely innocent (and adorable), might not be appropriate for the internet.  I teach them to view the photos they post online through the eyes of a 40-year-old pedifile.  I don't care how private you set your profile, this is just plain common sense... and yet it's something they can't really be taught anywhere else.  I caught the kids trying to start MySpace pages early and made sure the grounding was enough to deter them from trying it again.  To them, it just isn't worth the risk... especially since they know I'm periodically monitoring these sites.  But I didn't just yell and ground them.  We discussed in detail why they shouldn't be doing this and in the end, they agreed (or al least... they said they did... lol!).

CREATIVE PUNISHMENTS: My favorite "punishment" is for them to prepare for a debate against me on the issue.  In this debate, I take the kid side and they take the parental side.  In effect, they are trying to convince me (and their siblings... our audience) of why the behavior is not appropriate.  They are grounded until they win the debate.  If they do enough research and convince themselves that something is "wrong", they are much more likely not to go sneaking around to do it and they are armed with arguements to defend themselves against peer pressure.  It's a pretty effective method when dealing with difficult issues.  I also give them option to change house rules in this same way.  They let me know ahead of time and we debate the issue.  If they can convince me the rule should be changed, I will consider it. 

My ultimate job as a parent is to prepare them for the world.  How can they function in the world if I control every aspect of their life and don't let them think for themselves?  It's just not possible.  My kids will fail... they will make mistakes (some that they regret more than others)... they will stumble through obstacles they don't fully understand... and all the while, I will support them and provide a life raft for them to hold on to when the water gets a bit too choppy.  In the end, hopefully they will succeed at becoming the best version of their own individuality and live the lives they were meant to live.

Watch my writing improve... I hope!

I enjoy writing.. always have... but now I want to learn to write better. I picked up two books of writing exercises (one for fiction writing and one for non-fiction) and will be working my way through both of them. My new blog ( ) is where I will be posting my assignments. I am hoping for constructive criticism and critique, so please comment often and help me get better. Post titles will be the name of the exercise from the book... you can read the assignment descriptions from the books... links provided below.

I've just posted my first assignment from the fiction book.  The exercise is called Wedding Pictures.  You are supposed to select a wedding photo and write a fictional story based on that photo.  Hope you enjoy my first stab at this.

Monday, January 25, 2010

An unexpected lesson in failure

As you may have read previously, for the next two weeks I am attending a daily webinar titled the millionaire affair.  The event was created and put together by Sue and Steve Soucy who are the event hosts.  Each day a different successful entrepreneur will be having a candid discussion with us about what they've learned along their personal road to success.  Today's presenter was Wendy Moore (from Melbourne, Australia), who was supposed to discuss how to use social media to attract media and build your list.  Yippee... right up my alley!  And then... everything went wrong and it became a lesson of an entirely different sort.

What happens when you plan a webinar, investigate hosting companies, line up busy speakers, perform weeks of testing and then your 400+ person audience crashes the server?  It was an abrupt and absolute meltdown!  A true example of grace under pressure, Sue and Steve did everything in their power to get things up and running again.  They had a chatroom open on Twitter for the event and directed our chat there to take some pressure off the server while they got on the phone with the webhosting company.  Throughout the rest of the hour, the webhosting guy, Sue, Steve, and our guest speaker Wendy all tried to get the system to work.  We were finally given our own dedicated server and 400+ people had to collectively log off and log back in.  In the midst of all this, we guests from all over the world began chatting... mainly about our collective technology issues.  Dispite the fact that we were all disappointed, the mood was positive.  I attribute this to the constant positive communication from our hosts that they were doing all they could and to the reason we were all there.  We all had a common purpose of learning how to improve our lives and therefore, we were all coming at this with a positive attitude.  You don't improve anything by complaining, giving up, or speaking hurtfully to the people trying their best to solve the problem... and AH-HA... that was the real lesson today.

After over an hour, they still hadn't worked out the bugs and rescheduled our most gracious speaker for tomorrow.  Many people left (having other obligations to attend to), but about a third of us hung on... for a total of over 3 hours!  I ended up doing other things as I was listening to them trying to figure out how to prevent this from happening again, but was amazed at their spirit.  They never gave up, they never got mad (not even at the webhosting company guy), they just focused on finding a solution to the problem.  It was wonderful.

I was also impressed that Wendy Moore, our speaker for today (and now tomorrow) stayed on the entire time.  Not only that, but she offered free special online bonuses (items that normally cost money) to those of us who stuck around... as a thank you for our patience and perserverence.  She talked with us one on one and was wonderful and positive through the whole thing... despite the fact that it was her presentation that was affected (and some would say ruined, although I would disagree) by all of this.  I was more impressed by her handling of today's situation that I could possibly have been by any presentation she might have given.  She really cared.  I went to her website (Savvy Web Women Mentoring Program:, Free Bonuses From Savvy Web Women: ) and signed up immediately for their affiliate program.

Many people view successful individuals today as standoffish or even mean and uncaring.  I know many successful individuals personally and find them all to be extremely personable, friendly and accessible.  It's just that the corporate or social structure doesn't enable them to get out and be as accessible as they may want on a daily basis.  If you really want to learn from these people, you can... but you need to make the effort.  Don't be afraid to contact a particular author or corporate giant.  If you want information badly enough, you just need to be persistent and of course polite... and once you make that contact don't abuse it.  You will be surprised at how much you can learn from these people and how much they really are willing to teach.

Today was not at all what I expected, but by maintaining a positive attitude and hanging in there through it all, I gained lessons it might have taken a lifetime to grasp otherwise and I am so grateful for the experience.  I am looking forward to technologically-glitch-free presentations through the rest of the series, but I am certain I will learn important things every day of this series whether the technology behaves or not.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The little white truck goes round and round!

Tonight was the District Fine Arts Festival for our school district.  The high school, junior high, and elementary schools' choirs, bands and art departments put on a night of fun for all.  It began with a choral concert... all levels combined... that was beautiful.  Then there was the art exhibit in the commons, accompanied by the music teachers' jazz band... awesome.  Finally there was a band concert that was short, but sweet.  My 8th grade daughter is in choir, so we went to see her perform and see the artwork my other kids had contributed.

After the concert we went to Steak and Shake for dinner... me, the kids, and my oldest daughter's boyfriend (who is in HS choir).  It was a fun night at Steak and Shake.  While I was eating (facing the window) I noticed a white truck go through the drive-thru.  The thing that caught my attention was that I could swear that the driver had just been up near the counter area inside the restaurant.  "Well," I thought, "maybe it's just my imagination."  But it was not my imagination when the little white truck drove around the building and through the drive-thru a second time... then a third... then a fourth... then a fifth... until it had gone through the drive through about 15-20 times!!!!  Then, the driver parked and came in.  Turns out he worked there and was on break and messing with his fellow employees.  We had a brilliant idea though... when we left we would go through the drive through... order a drink... then go around again and ask for another straw... then a napkin... then another dirnk... and so on.  I'm sure you get the idea.  Unfortunately, it's a school night and it was getting late, so we decided to put it off for another night.  I'm beginning to think I might not be the best influence on my kids... lol!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Another Offer... The New Droid Phone

Well, I just recieved another offer in my emailbox from my advertisers.  Are any of you thinking of getting a Droid phone?  You've probably seen the commercials with the robot searching for all things human on this phone.  Well, if you have Verison (or want Version), one of my advertisers is offering a free Droid phone for 48 hours for new or existing Verison customers... now is the time to go for it!

Wirefly - Latest Offers

Help! There's a phone in my ear!

There's a new law in Illinois regarding driving and cell phones.  It is now illegal to text on your cell or talk on the phone without using an earpiece while you are driving.  Now, I am all for getting distracted idiots off the road, but I'm not liking this law at all.  First of all, the distracted drivers won't be driving any better because they will either be ignoring the law or distracted by something else.  They will be distracted by the radio, the fancy car on the other side of the road, the adorable kitten in the yard they just passed, etc.  The problem is not the phone... the problem is the person using the phone.  If you are a good driver, you pay attention to hundreds of details while driving... the phone is just one more.  If you are easily distracted while driving, you are an accident waiting to happen... phone or not.

For another thing, I hate cell phone ear pieces.  I see people walking around wearing them all day like they are some kind of new fashion accessory.  People... it is for talking on the phone!  If you aren't talking on the phone take it out of your ear!!!  And I really can't stand when you are in a room with someone and they are talking to someone else on the earpiece.  At least when someone is talking on a handset you can see them holding the phone to their ear and know that they aren't talking to you. 

Today I was driving and noticed a very interesting thing.  As I looked at the drivers around me, I noticed that about half of them were still talking or texting on their cell phone handsets.  The most obvious (and incredibly disturbing) case of this was a funeral procession that passed me going the other way.  All but 2 of the 20 drivers (including the guy driving the hearse!!) were on their cell phones... at a funeral... what the hell is that about!?!?!  

With all the driving I do, I want to be able to make effective use of my time and get some quick calls in.  I guess I'll have to give in and get an earpiece.  The problem is... I want to switch phones at some point and I hate having to buy new accessories every time I do this... new case, new car charger and now, new earpices...yuck!  I've been eyeing an iPhone for a couple years now with a few obstacles in my way.  There's the price...YIKES!  The fact that you have to have AT&T... although I could switch with their new unlimited promotion... it's a pretty good deal and it would make the phone a lot cheaper too.  The storage space is limited, but it's much better than it was. 

But now, I have to buy an earpiece for the phone I've already got... cutting into my savings for my next phone and putting it off that much longer.  I guess I'll head to AT&T and investigate.  Maybe I should just go for the iPhone now and save myself all the hassles.  Ugh.  I've only had my phone a few months... I finally got everything set the way I want it.  Stupid IL laws... first the smoking inside thing... now this... they should give us the elecronic cigarettes and the earpieces.  But the way things are going, pretty soon none of us will be able to leave the house without written permission from the governer.  Grrr!

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Strange things are afoot at the Circle K!

Can you name the movie that headline is from?  If not, don't worry... I'll get to it eventually, but first I need to vent a little.  I am a product of the 80's and therefore... 80's movies.  I've always loved going to the movies.  It's an escape, a treat, and one of my favorite things to do when I get a few rare hours to myself.  My favorite movie genre is usually comedy, but lately I've been really disappointed.  When did the shift in comedy writing take place?  When did comedy writers stop thinking?  It seems to me that comedy nowadays has turned into one of 3 categories... where is the most absurd place you can throw in a swear word (or other shocking term), what is the raunchiest thing we could possibly film without getting an X-rating (oh and add obnoxious body noises to make it funny... wth?!?!), and what is the most politically incorrect comment we can make that will offend as many people as possible. 

Now, I'm pretty easy going.  I don't mind swearing or references to sex in movies and I don't get offended easily, but c'mon people.  I miss intelligent humor!  It doesn't really take a lot of thought to shock the public and make them giggle uncomfortably in their seats.  This isn't real laughter and certainly not intelligent humor.  In fact, I can feel the brain cells being sucked out of my head when I am forced to watch shows like South Park, Family Guy, The Simpsons, etc.  Movies are now starting to follow suit.  I understand it's probably much cheaper to make these kinds of movies... scripts are probably a dime a dozen.  Afterall, how much thought goes into having a woman say the word "cock" a couple times to get the cheap laugh (movie: The Ugly Truth).  It's not that I don't ever enjoy a little dumbed-down humor, but I'd like my smart humor, physical comedy, and comedy with a plot back too.  Another example of how stupid society has gotten... a bunch of people will soon be rushing out to see a movie where an old has-been wrestling star dresses up as the tooth fairy... how is that funny?!?!?!  Is it just me?

So, I've been increasing my selection of humorous old movies.  The problem is I've already seen them all.  I still enjoy watching them... especially with my kids, who haven't seen them before, but I long for some new, funny material.  In the meantime, here's a toast to movie's like Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure ("Strange things are afoot at the Circle K!")... which actually, despite being the 80's version of a dumbed-down movie, had some brilliant comedy and taught me quite a few things about history.  Then there are other favorites... Coming to America, The Blues Brothers, Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead, Pure Luck, Romancing the Stone and too many more to list.  Try rewatching some of these classics with a big bowl of popcorn ... after all, today is National Popcorn Day!  I'm going to be breaking out the new DVD copy of Pure Luck for us tonight!  I can't wait!  If you want to bulk up your DVD comedy selections, check out my favorites at Amazon! 

Post your own favorite comedy movies in the comment section and be sure to check out my new rating buttons which will be appearing at the end of each blog post.  Take a minute to rate this post... you can choose more than one if you need to.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The job hunt vs. the stimulant package... and the winner is... not me!

So, if you've read my previous posts, you know I'm currently out of work and looking for a job.  It's amazing how flooded the applicant pool is right now!  I do administrative work.  It's a field that transcends company type... every company needs someone to handle their bookkeeping, manage their files, etc.  I choose this field because it is something I am very good at and it's usually pretty easy to find a job to pay the bills... single motherhood ain't cheap!  So when I got laid off from the civil engineering firm I was working at, I thought, "No problem!  I'll be back to work in a couple months at most."  That was 8 months ago and I'm still barely getting a hit on my resume. 

It's not that I'm not trying.  I send out over a hundred resumes a week for jobs I know I'm qualified or over-qualified for, and still, the most I usually receive is an automated email stating they might not get back to me because they have too many applicants to address each individual.

Enter that wonderful stimilus the government put out to increase jobs.  The money is earmarked for municipal improvements though.  You would think that would mean municipalities would be hiring more administrative professionals to handle all that paperwork, but no... they aren't.  What is happening is they are giving their already tired, cranky, overworked and underpaid employees a huge additional bunch of stuff to do and all these wonderful projects that are supposed to move our economy forward are backlogged and stuck behind a huge wall of red tape!  When a job finally does get out there... it's the people who are still left working that are raking in the money.  Comapnies are too scared of not getting another job afterwards to hire new employees or rehire those who are laid off.  So those who are working are complaining about their horrid workload and those of us not working are screaming, "I'll help you!" to the brick wall that is corporate America.  It's extremely frustrating!!!

I don't like being on unemployment.  I want a job, an income, something to do each day!  The stimulus package in my opinion didn't do a darn thing to help those of us out there looking for work.  Things are still as bleak as they were last year. 

But in having to get creative, my job search has lead me to find some pretty interesting things out there.  For example, there is actually someone willing to pay me $50 an hour to take photos of my feet (nothing sexual involved apparently)!  Now, I would guess this person has a fetish since the ad said the photos were for personal use, but do I care?  I walk around with exposed feet pretty often and never thought about who might be secretly photographing them.  Then there's the monthly party that apparently takes place in my own neighborhood that is looking for girls to walk around naked each time... at $200 an hour!  No thanks... but I am very curious as to which of my neighbors is doing this!!  Then there's the one-time job I took teaching a class on how to use Craigslist at the local library.  Could this turn into something or lead me to a new connection... we'll have to see.

So you see, my job search hasn't been boring... it's just been unproductive.  I guess I just needed to vent after yet another long day of searching without luck.  If any of you readers know of something I might be qualified for, please let me know... or I may be searching forever!

The art of doing nothing!

Have you ever had that feeling where you just want to do nothing?  I notice a lot of people posting that single desire as their status on Facebook, "So-and-so wants to do nothing."  So how come they don't?  Nowadays, doing nothing is really frowned upon... why?  Here's a little trick I learned from my grandpa... when you feel like doing nothing... do nothing!  I'm not talking about doing some insignificant time-wasting activity, sleeping, thinking about your to-do list, etc... I'm talking absolutely nothing!  Sit down, stare at the blank wall and do nothing!!! 

You will find that you get extremely bored very quickly and want to get up and get moving again.  It actually increases your motivation and productiviy level because instead of obsessing about just wanting to do nothing, you've already done it and your brain can move on to the next thing.  I usually tell my facebook friends to try it and those that do almost always comment back, "Wow!  I can't believe it, but that actually worked!"  Allowing yourself to do absolutely nothing has it's downfalls though... you will likely find yourself more creative, more excited about the things you have to do, and perhaps just generally enjoying your life more.  So, proceed with caution!

Special offer to my readers...

Do any of you need a new PC or are you thinking of upgrading?  If so, I am offering all of you a special promo code to get 40% off a PC from Microsoft.  This promotion is phenomenal, but like all good things will only last a short time... it expires next Monday, January 25.  Here are the specific items with their BEFORE promo prices...

  • ThinkPad T400S - $1084.30 (laptop) 
  • Toshiba T135-S1312 - $524.30 (laptop) 
  • Adamo 13 Pearl - $1124.25 (laptop) 
  • Satellite A505-S6989 - $899 (laptop) 
  • HP DM3 - $524.30 (laptop) 
  • ThinkPad X301 - $1119.30 (laptop) 
  • Adamo Pearl - $1124.25 (laptop)  
If you have been looking for a new PC, go check out these products.  Why pay more next week when you can get such a great deal this week?!?!  Click on the link below, click the shop button, then search for the specific product you are interested in in the search box in the top right corner of the page.  Enter promotion code MSStore-PC-40% at checkout.  This code was given to me directly from Microsoft to offer my readers, so I know it will work for you.

Microsoft Store

As I receive additional promotional offers from my advertisers, I will continue to pass them along.  Keep checking the blog!

Tormenting your kid... entertaining yourself!

I believe that we have to mess with our kids a bit.  I don't mean cruelty; I mean some harmless teasing and taunting.  You see unless they live under a rock for the rest of their lives, they will encounter teasing in the real world and having a child that cries when teased gets him/her a free pass to spend half of high school stuffed in a locker with a wedgie.  If a child develops a somewhat thick skin at home and learns how to accept mild teasing and how to tease back, they are much better prepared to go out and meet other children in this world.

With that said, here's my story of my latest teasing.  It was fun and entertaining for both me and my other kids while it lasted.  Try it at your own house... you just might have some fun!

One day, my 12-year-old son came to me very distressed.  It seemed he couldn't get the song "It's a Sunshine Day" by the Brady Bunch out of his head.  Now, even when the Brady Bunch was popular, this would have been coolness suicide in Jr. High... today it's even worse!  So what does a kind-hearted and concerned parent do?  Why, sneak into his room every night with the iPod and mini speakers and play that very song quietly on a loop next to his ear for a couple hours.  Of course, the torment wouldn't be complete without also telling his siblings about his dilema.  They responded by very kind-heartedly humming the song softly or breaking out singing it when he entered the room and of course by requesting it everytime we got in the car.  By the time a week and a half had passed he truly thought he was going nuts and was going to have this song running through his head forever.  When I noticed it really started to upset him on a deeper level, we all stopped the torment and ended our enjoyment.  But during that time we all enjoyed quite a good laugh.  I believe he is now plotting a terrible revenge on each of us, but it's all in good fun and we will of course then have to find revenge on him for whatever he comes up with.  Download this song for your iPod directly from iTunes to torment your own kids here... The Brady Bunch - It's a Sunshine Day: The Best of the Brady Bunch - It's a Sunshine Day or buy the whole CD for weeks of fun!!!

Who says pranks are just for April Fools Day?  Have fun with your kids and tease them a bit.  They will fit in with society better and one day they just might thank you for it! :)

Friday, January 15, 2010

New stuff popping up on the blog

Well, as you know (if you've been reading along), I am working on learning new methods of online marketing.  I am mostly using Facebook to do this.  One additional thing I've been doing is adding advertising on this blog.  You may have noticed links to products from Amazon in my blog.  If I refer to something in my blog that you can get from Amazon, I will usually provide a link.  This is mainly to make things easier for you the readers, but it may eventually also become a way to make some much needed added income.  You see, I have been an Amazon Affiliate for years. 

For those of you who aren't aware, affiliate programs pay you a small percentage from each sale when you advertise their products.  I won't ever push you to buy anything... that is not my goal in writing this blog, so please don't feel obligated.  If you do see something you want to purchase though, buying through my link will help support my efforts and will always be most appreciated.

Today, I added a new affiliate program.  It's called Linkshare and allows you to choose from hundreds of companies, all of whom pay a different commission.  You must apply to each company individually and then choose specific links.  This makes it a very personalized for of advertising.  You might have noticed that I now have links to iTunes, Microsoft and Linkshare on the side of this blog.  These links were choosen very deliberately. 

  • I adore my iPod... in fact, I never leave the house without it and probably couldn't make it to and from Michigan without it, so iTunes is a logical choice. 
  • I am currently typing on a PC (currently running Vista) that I hope to upgrade to Windows 7 soon.  I have always been a PC girl, so another logical choice.  Plus, I know a lot of people who want to buy the new Halo game and you can get it directly from Microsoft.
  • Finally, since I think Linkshare is such a great opportunity, I'm providing a link directly to it so each of you can have the opportunity to do the same thing I'm doing. 
All that said, I have just added a website that may soon become my favorite ever website!  In fact, it will likely be the favorite website of every female who finds it...  If you want to visit it and see for yourself, click on the banner below.  Again, no obligation... only click if you are interested in Chocolate!  BTW... I like mine dark (so feel free to send me some weekly... lol), but they have all kinds.

Dark Chocolate and More Chocolate Gifts at

And finally, I have AdSense.  This falls at the bottom of my sidebar because I dont get to select the links.  The ads are generated by Google based on my blog topics.  They select opportunities that might appeal to the people reading my posts.  These are based on click-throughs, which means I get a couple cents every time you click on one of them.  Again, no obligation... I'm certainly not asking you to go through and click on them for no reason, but if you see something that interests you, click away!

So that's what I've been up to.  I've also been working with my online reading/discussion group (we now have a whopping 50 members!!) to select our first book for the month of February and adding new books (and working out minor kinks) for my Send Brain Cells application.  It's coming along nicely and you will find a link to it on my sidebar as well.  For those of you with Amazon Affiliate programs, feel free to sign up for my app and add some books to it.  Users can add gifts and there is a section to include a link.  I include a direct affiliate link to each book I create with a button that says "Buy this book at Amazon".  I can't possibly add all the books Amazon offers and I'm happy to help any of you get your affiliate marketing off the ground. 

After what I feel was probably the most productive week I've had in a while, I'm getting ready to leave for relaxation, romance and some computer-free time with my honey.  Hope you all enjoy your weekend and I'll chat with you (well, write to you, if you want to get technical about it) next week!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Learning how to do more with Facebook!

Well, in my effort to become more marketable in the current job market and add content for my online book discussion group, I have created a Facebook gifting app.  Yep... you read it right... I created it!  It wasn't as hard as you might think and it's actually pretty cool (in my humble opinion).  It's called "Send Brain Cells" and it lets people send books to their friends.  As you collect books, you receive brain cells... one for each book.  People can also buy the book directly from the application, so it might make a little extra money... although that was not my main purpose in creating it.  I thought it might be convient for people to just click on a link and not have to copy and paste book info if they were given a book they actually wanted to read.  I've got 11 books up there so far and plan to add a couple more each day so people always have new selections to choose from... you can't keep getting the same book over and over... that would be so boring!  So... if you're interested, here's a link for you Facebook users to try it out...  I'm hoping to get lots of feedback so I can continually improve my skills in this arena.

Next step will be to create a poll application for my book discussion group to use.  This will originally be used for book selection, but at some point I will use it to create other polls during the course of our reading to make the site more fun and interactive.  It frustrates me when you join a group and then no one participates and the group originator just lets it lie dormant.  Why would people want to join a group like that?

By the time all this is said and done, I will have created quite an online experience section for my resume.  I've also added this blog to my resume in this section.  In there I indicate the number of followers/users for each.  If you're reading this regularly, please become a follower and help me boost my numbers.  This is all so new for me, but I'm trying to navigate it the best I can.  If you've got experience in this arena, advice, suggestions, etc, please comment and give me ideas.  I value your input and appreciate constructive criticism!

BTW... for those who are curious... last night's Monday Movie Night movie ended up being Pirates of The Carribean 3:  At World's End.  This is an old favorite that we haven't watched for a while becuase the disk was lost in the house.  It was finally found, so that's what the kids chose.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Another long wintery week ahead

So it's back from a relaxing weekend with my honey and back to another week of work around the house.  At least the winter weather keeps me from wanting to venture outside much and I should be able to focus on what needs to be done. 

I worked out this morning to Richard Simmons.  It has been a while since I've worked out and it felt really good to get back to it.  I am usually so active during the warmer months that I don't think about it much.  When the weather gets colder I find myself getting lazier and lazier when it comes to physical activity.  Then all of a sudden I find myself moody and uninspired.  Often this can be fixed by getting up and getting moving... those endorphins are pretty darn powerful.  I almost always start with Richard Simmons because I know I can get through it and it gives me a sense of accomplishment and keeps me going.  If I tried to start with something more challenging, I likely wouldn't be able to get through it the first time and it would leave me feeling frustrated. and I'd be less likely to get up and do it again the next day.  I suppose I could join a gym, but who's got the money right now?  Plus, that means having to get dressed, go to the gym, stink up my car with my sweaty self before I get home to take a shower, and takes far too much time.  I can get up and do a dvd in my pjs, take a quick shower, and be off to my next task at home in less time than it would probably take me to get to the gym.

Subject change... despite my lack of job, my schedule seems to be filling up.  This is great because I love connecting with friends, but at the same time, takes away from the time I'd hoped to use to get the house ready to go on the market.  Well, people are definately more important, so I'll stick with the glass-half-full interpretation and say it's a good thing.  Besides, I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone again.  But now, I'm off to finish some chores around the house and get ready for Monday Movie Night with the kids.  I still have to decide on a movie and what to order for dinner... I'm thinking pizza?!?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Driving through snow...

Just about every weekend I drive 2 states away to spend the weekend with the love of my life.  It's always worth the trip, but the approx. 2 1/2 hour drive can sometimes be frustrating and downright scary.  Today eproves to be no exception.  There is a band of lake effect snow falling between me and my honey that has not stopped for over 10 days now.  I hate driving in snow and ice most of all.  I'm a safe driver, but there are some real idiots out there and the SUV surprisingly doesn't handle very well in this weather.  But if don't brave the snow, I don't get the prize at the end... a couple days with my honey. 

I've been in a long distance relationship for 4 1/2 years now and it's never easy.  When I'm here, I want to be there and when I'm there I usually feel guilty for not being here.  See, the kids don't always come with me and there are household chores that just aren't getting done because I am on the run constantly.  I finally get the suitcase unpacked and the laundry done from one weekend, when it's time to pack up and head out again.  It's exhausting and I'm always missing someone.  Most people who have tried the long-distance relationship thing will tell you it can't last longer than perhaps a year, maybe two.  So how have we made it so long without moving... I really have no idea.  For my part, I try to make our relationship a priority.  It is important to me and so I treat it that way.  I won't accept invitations to anything that might take away time from my relationship.  I've cancelled my extras here at home to make sure I'm spending lots of quality time with my kids during the week.  I sometimes wonder though if this seemingly endless holding pattern is leading anywhere... how do you plan for the unknown... how do you keep your mood positive when you feel so torn apart... how do you accomplish anything when you are stretched so thin that you barely have the energy to function on a normal daily basis?  I'm not 20 years old anymore and my energy reserves have been stretched to the ultimate limits for quite a while now.  I don't know how much longer I can keep at this pace.  I'm exhausted all the time, waking up with nightmares of car accidents almost every night, and crying a lot (which is very unlike me) for no apparent reason.  How do I fix me without giving up on one of the most important things in my life (something I just can't do)?!?!  Not really looking for an answer... just needed to vent a bit and relieve some stress.  I guess I'll just have make it work somehow.  I always have before.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

What's for dinner?

Ok... this is a common question in most households.  With all the snow, the answer in our house tonight was whatever can be delivered.  No one was in the mood for pizza though, so we opted for Chinese.  I used to have a binder with all the local restaurant menus for just this occasion, but it is nowhere to be found at the moment.  So I resorted to hitting the internet.  I actually order online when we get Pizza Hut or Dominos Pizza, but Chinese food is apparently a lot more difficult to order.  I am really good at internet searches, and yet I still could not even come up with the phone number for the restaurant I wanted to order from... perhaps they've closed recently.  I did find my backup restaurant, but they dont have a website and there is no menu online.  I was told when I called the restaurant that the menu was available in the yellow pages.  I don't keep my yellow pages anymore.  They take up way too much room and I hardly ever use them.  Why wasn't the menu available online?   It was frustrating.  I think I need to create somewhere that people can post local menus so this doesn't happen again!  And so the lightbulb begins to glow... ah ha... a new project!  Don't know how it would be profitable, but it's a service that people like me and my family would definately use.  So now I've just got to figure out how to create it and make it work the way I want it to.... hmmm.... sounds like a few more late nights are coming up.  Wish me luck, and comment with any advice you may have for me on my new project.  Hopefully this one will prove to be easier than anticipated like creating the Facebook group was.  Well, for now I'm going to distract my brain with a movie... I tend to formulate ideas better that way and The Ugly Truth seems like it won't require too much brain usage and should leave plenty of cells left ot focus on my project. :)

Easier than I thought :)

It turns out it is not at all difficult to start a group on Facebook, so my online book discussion group is up and running.  You can find it here...  It is an open group, but you do have to have a Facebook account to join.  We will begin reading and discussing our first book in February.  I'm planning one book a month, since I'm pretty sure most people out there are not as insane readers as I am.  I personally read at least one book a week.  I guess that just means I get to start groups for different genres to enable me to discuss most of the books I'm reading... yippee! 

So now with that's accomplished, I'm offine for a while to tackle a bunch more of my to do list.  Perhaps I'll post again later tonight.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What to do with Facebook?!?!

I've had Facebook and MySapce pages for several years for the sole purpose of reconnecting with people who have drifted out of my life for one reason or another.  During the last few months while laid off, I've found myself checking my Facebook page more frequently than I used to.  MySpace has kind of gone by the wayside.  I usually keep the Facebook window open in the background as I'm doing other things on the computer and periodically check in on what's going on in my virtual community of friends.  I've added all kinds of apps... initially to help friends out who needed additional team members... but now I've got one heck of a Farmville farm, a really high score in Treasure Madness, and a really high bankroll on Texas Hold'em Poker, just to name a few.  I don't spend hours on these games (mostly time management games... although they are more like time wasters), but if I add up all the times I pop in to play a quick hand or plant crops I'd probably be horrified!  I enjoy quick chats with old friends and sharing photos and stories, but again... the time really does add up.

So now what?  Since I'm on Facebook so often, I figured I should get more out of the experience and add some content of real value to the site.  I'm working on a new idea... a sort of online reading club and app to go with it.  At least this gets me into the game creation side of things instead of the player side.  I'm hoping this will be a somewhat better use of my time.  I read all the time anyway, so it makes sense that I seek out and bring together fellow readers in an online forum.  What was the famous quote?  I think it goes something like, "You've only really learned something when you've shared it with someone else."  Now is my time to share some of the things I've learned with the Facebook world and learn some new things myself.  It will take a little while to fully flesh out my idea, but I'm hoping people will enjoy it when it's finished. I'll provide a link here when it's done so my blog followers (yes, there are actually some of you out there reading this... wow!)can check it out too.

On a completely unrelated subject, one of my childhood friends is one of the featured guests in a webinar series later this month called The Millionaire Affair (January 25 - February 6).  It should be a very interesting 2 weeks with lots of knowledge exchanged and it's free to sign up.  If it sounds like something you are interested in, you can find out more information here... 

I'm also heading out this month (January 28) to see Dr. Wayne Dyer (in the theater, not live).  The event is called Wishes Fulfilled!  To find out more and find a theater in your area click here...
  If you'd rather listen to Dr. Wayne Dyer on your own time, you can check out his PBS psecials and get his books or CDs at Amazon.  His new book is entitled Excuses Begone! and I'm currently waiting for my copy to arrive. :)

Both of these events fall in line with what I'm trying to accomplish in 2010 and are therefore worth the time for me to attend.  I'm trying to be judicious in how I spend my time and trying to focus on those activities which further my life goals instead of just wasting valuable time.  The Facebook group could lead me into opportunities I'm not aware exist yet... therefore also indirectly accomplishing my goals.  It is said that the true road to success and happiness can be found by following your passion... here's hoping it works!!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Monday Movie Night

I have a weekly tradition with my kids called Monday Movie Night.  Every Monday we order pizza, pick out a movie (usually rented from one of the local Redboxes) and just hang out together.  We miss a few during the warmer months when the kids want to be out at the park with their friends soaking up all the daylight fun, but during the winter months Monday Movie Night is a much looked forward to staple.  I've talked to a lot of people with kids and found that most families don't do this kind of thing.  What happened to parents hanging out with their kids?

I can tell you as a mom that you accomplish the most with your kids during these "hang out" times.  If the only interaction you have with your kids is to tell them to do stuff and yell at them, you will find that you have no relationship left with your kids when they get to their teenage years and gain some freedom.  We've also done Thursday Game Night and the kids have recently suggested Tuesday Cleaning Night (you did not misread... my kids actually made that suggestion!).  We also turn on music and dance together while cleaning, cooking, etc.  All of these activities bond us as a family and keep us connected.  There are so many times when kids make you want to pull your hair out... shouldn't you spend as much time enjoying them?  After the house is cleaned, we're hoping to change Tuesday Cleaning Night into Tuesday Craft Night and work on lots of different, fun craft and household projects.  This way I get to teach them how to do things around the house without all the pressure that normally accompanies these lessons.  I also have each of the kids fix dinner for the family at least once a month.  It doesn't matter if they make something as easy as grilled cheese and soup, they learn how to plan a meal and make it and when they get into the real world at least I know they won't starve.  No guarantees that they won't turn in to a giant bowl of Mac 'n cheese though. :)

Our job as parents is to teach our kids how to function in the big, bad world once they leave home... that's it... that's all we have to do... YIKES!  There are many life skills to teach your kids, but one of the most undertaught (in my opinion) is how to kick back, relax, and have a good time. 

So, what was our Monday Movie Night movie last night?  We watched an old favorite... The Master of Disguise.  For my fellow 80's survivors, this movie highlights Dana Carvey doing a lot of his old SNL characters.  It's made for kids around age 10 (plus or minus a few years), but is a cute movie for a family to watch together.  It's rated PG and probably one of the only ways to let your younger kids enjoy Dana

Carvey's work... and then, once the kids are in bed, continue your Dana Carvey marathon with my personal favorite... Squatting Monkeys Tell No Lies.  BTW... I am sooo NOT the lemon!!! ;)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year!

Well... I rung in the New Year in much the same way as most of you... surrounded by friends and family.  It was a fun, relaxing evening.  However, now the new year has officially begun.  I've started 2010... a new year and new decade with no job, burning through a lot of my savings during my period of unemployment, living in an area I don't want to be in anymore, and somewhat frustrated by life in general.  So where do I focus my energy in 2010 and what do I save for the remainder of the decade?  Life tends to be focused mostly around the people, places, and work involved in it, so this will be my main focus.  I will be looking for a job, but not just any job.  This year I will be focusing on a job that can be done from home or that I can take with me when I move.  The next step will be moving.  I will be working on getting the house ready to be put on the market this spring and hopefully a sale by summer.  I know that may seem ambitious in this slowly recovering economy, but that is the goal... to be out of here before the end of the year.  And finally, the finances have got to get back in order... time to plug u the leaks, get things paid off, and start fresh.  Those are the main not-so-personal goals for 2010.  These aren't new year's resolutions like many people make... they are small mini-goals that fit into the puzzle of larger goals I have begun working on for the next decade.  It makes it much easier to accomplish these when they are part of a larger life plan and not just stand-alone things that I could easily give up on.  In order to be where I want to be in life in 2020, I need to make sure these things happen in 2010... then built upon by more in 2011, and so on.

For those of you who do make resolutions for the new year... keep strong, and try to incorporate them into a larger life plan.  I wish you the best of luck with everything you hope to accomplish.  The top 3 resolutions are said to be losing weight, quitting smoking and making more money.  Here are a couple really good tools to help with that for those who could use a little assistance... Paul McKenna is a well respected hypnotherapist who has had a positive effect on millions of people's lives.  Hopefully he can help you with your resolutions in 2010!