User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Like many, I spend time in social networking sites; namely Facebook and Linked In. Although friends have encouraged me to, I'm currently not "tweeting" in Twitter just yet. I've thought about it, but I don't want to become completely beholden to my phone, twitching every time someone sends a Twitter tweet. A few days ago, a Facebook friend posted a request that people replace their profile picture with a picture of their favorite childhood cartoon character; the goal being to have cartoon characters appear in as many profile pictures as possible in an effort to bring awareness to child abuse. I believe in this cause and thought the request was an easy way to help make an important statement, so I decided to participate. I pondered which cartoon character to choose as my profile picture: Betty or Veronica from the Archie comic strip came to mind. Velma or Daphne from Scooby Doo, perhaps? And then it hit me. I am Lucy from the Peanuts Comic Strip. A quick Google search later and images of the phenomenal Lucy were staring at me on my laptop. I smiled widely when I saw my long lost friend and altar ego.

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

As most of my true blue friends will attest, I am neurotic about my nails. Emery boards are as important to me as my cell phone. I don't leave home without either. I have a stash of emery boards in our cars, my purses, and in odd places around the house. Walking around with a jagged, chipped nail is as irritating to me as someone scratching their nails down a chalkboard; a torture that I haven't heard in a long time now that most classrooms are equipped with Smart boards or at least white boards.

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

I'm not a gambler. I've never been to Las Vegas, and years ago on a ski trip to Reno, I was only willing to risk twenty dollars in the casino. After I lost my twenty, I was ready to retire to the lodge and rest for the slopes. But even though I'm not a gambler, I find myself intrigued by the Texas Hold'em tournaments that air on television fairly regularly. Unlike people who play the lottery, the best poker players are often mathematicians skilled with an ability to gauge the statistical probability of certain cards being played based on the cards that have already played. The poker players don't look like the stereotypical math geniuses sporting plastic framed glasses, white short sleeve oxford shirts, wide ties and bad haircuts. Dressed in sweatsuits, baseball hats and dark glasses, many of them look like they just finished walking their dog and stumbled into the Texas Hold'em tournament by accident. While watching the game unfold on television, I have the benefit of knowing who has the best hand and who is bluffing. Typically, whether they are flush or bluffing, the player's demeanor doesn't change. Before wagering, the opponents will often stare at each for excruciatingly long moments. Their goal is to try and identify a twitch or a flutter, any sign that might indicate a bluff. But like the teenage girls in my series, the players have mastered the art of the poker face.

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Navigation systems have negated the long held truism that men will not pull over and ask for directions. And what are directions if not geographical advice? "Sugar Foot in the Fourth!" This is the phrase that my "wannabe witty" husband gives whenever someone asks him for advice. "Advice? Pick Sugar Foot in the Fourth," he'll chuckle as though giving the person a horse racing tip. Sometimes, he mixes it up and will say, "Don't eat yellow snow!" I usually react with a look that means, "Stop it. You're turning into that guy. Straighten up and fly right!" He knows what "that" look means, so he will usually get serious and put on his guy listening cap. Once the guy listening cap is nestled on his head, this means that he has allotted approximately ninety two seconds for the person to say something that will capture his attention. On the ninety third second, his attention diverts back to the sporting event that he pretends not to be watching or listening to while the person is sharing his tale of woe. If his attention is piqued within the ninety two second window, he is able to give his undivided attention and provide solid counsel and words of wisdom that are thought provoking, wise and usually quite eloquent. Adept at word smithing, he has an amazing ability to formulate advice that always manages to coincide with the commercial break or halftime. Don't get me wrong, my husband has an amazing attention span, professionally. In fact, I think that because his work requires such intense focus, and requires him to dole out counsel for hours on end, he's hesitant to share advice unless he can assign a billable hour to it. But after observing him and his species for many years, I've concluded that most men do not like to get or receive advice; advice is something that women seek and solicit.

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Have you ever noticed that sometimes people are hesitant to use the large, handicap accessible stalls in the restroom? Even when standing in a line that snakes out the door and down the hall, many women will not enter the handicap stall. It's as though they believe that the stall must be "reserved" for someone with a physical limitation or handicap. Not me. I prefer to use that stall. It's roomier and often has its own private sink to wash your hands. If it's available, I will often use that stall without fear of reprisal because I know the difference between available and accessible. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, public places are required by law to have toilet facilities that are accessible for those with physical limitations. They are not required to have stalls that are available at all times. See the difference? Basically, when the restroom or stall is available, anyone may access it, including someone who does not have a physical limitation.

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

As we settle into our new digs and my children (specifically our son) tries to entertain himself outdoors as he waits for the only child on our cul de sac who is his age to return, I'm reminded of my childhood and the things that we did to entertain ourselves when we moved to a new community over the summer. Okay, technically, it's fall now, but our newly adopted town didn't get that memo, and the temperatures make it feel like it's July, so just go along with me. Growing up just outside of Chicago, our humble rental community was surrounded by wooded areas that my brothers and I explored with excitement and zeal when we moved there from Chicago's south side. The community was cocooned by mature trees and a creek that snaked through the woods. We were told that as long as we didn't leave the confines of our subdivision, we could roam freely. While residents of Chicago, our boundary was the block, so to us, our freedom had just been increased exponentially. We roamed those woods as though we were miles from home struggling to find our way back to civilization without benefit of a compass or a map. On one of our daily hikes, we found a small pond deep in the woods. It felt like we had walked for miles, but looking back, I'm sure it was probably only a half mile trek. The small pond was located next to a pile of wood. In the pile was a wooden door that

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

For my regular blog followers, Operation: "We've Moved to the Other Side of the Mason Dixon Line" is now almost complete. The troops and I are doing the Hot-Cold waltz. The Hot-Cold waltz goes something like this: when outdoors, you sweat and suffer in the sweltering heat and then once indoors, you get a chill and shiver as each building blasts air in the mid-60's. If you wear long pants you're comfortable while inside, but miserable while outdoors. Our solution thus far is to bring a light jacket to battle the indoor chill. The average temperatures have been in the low nineties, and the locals tell us that we're lucky to be experiencing this "cool" spell because the daily temperatures combined with heat index had been over one hundred for several weeks.

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

As a writer, I study people all of the time, especially teen/tween girls and their mothers. I try to study their speech patterns, mannerisms, quirks, dress codes and eating habits; all while appearing to not really be paying much attention to them at all. It's an exhausting process. Sometimes I feel like an undercover spy as I busy myself casually observing the female species around me. I do this so that I can obtain information for my novels. When I'm developing a character, I will often pause and think about an observation to see how I can incorporate real life drama into my fiction. I'm a people watcher by nature and enjoy sitting at my favorite writing coffee shop and watching the other customers. With my laptop serving as my distracting disguise, it's amazing the types of things one overhears all because people believe that you are not really paying attention to them. Sometimes to create inspiration, I will create stories about a stranger's background and family. Of course, they don't really know that I'm observing them so before I can put pen to paper, or finger to keypad, I put a spin on my observations so that my subject doesn't easily identify herself in my work. Sometimes, I incorporate several dramatic spins in order to protect the anonymity of my unknowing muse.

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

JC is in a matrix of change. My hair has changed, my schedule has changed, and my life is changing. Change is good, but I prefer paper personally. My stylist has cut out the last strands of my blonde highlights and the chemical relaxer (that I affectionately dubbed creamy crack) from my hair. My hair is officially all natural now. It's great most days until Mother Nature decides to transform my flat ironed straightened locks by spraying moisture or humidity into my personal space. And poof my hair changes as fast as a traffic light changes from yellow to red while you're in the middle of the intersection wondering how that little camera caught your exact expression and mailed it to your address with a violation attached. Change is good.

My writing time has been back burnered by two XX chromosomes and one XY chromosome who assault my personal space each summer like ants at a picnic. Their little schedules and needs superimposing themselves into my carefully scheduled day. Since texting while driving is ill advised, driving while typing on a laptop would probably land me a life sentence in a correctional institute called "Stupid" or a spa named "Rest in Peace."

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

I attended a church sermon recently where the pastor reminded us that "nothing puts life into focus like death." Adults are expected to know how to deal with death and its twin siblings "mourning" and "grief." But unless you've experienced the loss of a loved one, you don't know how to handle it when it happens to you. There's no script. Especially if you experience death as a teenager.

A few years ago, I attended a funeral where a teenage girl (who happened to be an only child) had lost her mother just one week shy of her high school graduation. At her mother's funeral, when she approached the podium to make remarks, we all expected the eighteen year old to be tearful and weeping, but instead she giggled her way through a poem that she'd written and ended her comments with this remark, "And Momma, Joey told me to tell you that you still owe him forty dollars!" she laughed before walking back to her seat. I was stunned by her behavior, as were most of the other guests at the funeral. The daughter and mother were extremely close so most of us expected a coffin gripping spectacle where the girl tried to climb into the casket and revive her lifeless mother. Her behavior was anything but, so naturally we concluded that she must have been in shock. Maybe she was in shock. Maybe she broke down later. Or maybe not. Maybe that was her way of dealing with her loss.

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Like many, I spend time in social networking sites; namely Facebook and Linked In. Although friends have encouraged me to, I'm currently not "tweeting" in Twitter just yet. I've thought about it, but I don't want to become completely beholden to my phone, twitching every time someone sends a Twitter tweet. A few days ago, a Facebook friend posted a request that people replace their profile picture with a picture of their favorite childhood cartoon character; the goal being to have cartoon characters appear in as many profile pictures as possible in an effort to bring awareness to child abuse. I believe in this cause and thought the request was an easy way to help make an important statement, so I decided to participate. I pondered which cartoon character to choose as my profile picture: Betty or Veronica from the Archie comic strip came to mind. Velma or Daphne from Scooby Doo, perhaps? And then it hit me. I am Lucy from the Peanuts Comic Strip. A quick Google search later and images of the phenomenal Lucy were staring at me on my laptop. I smiled widely when I saw my long lost friend and altar ego.

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

As most of my true blue friends will attest, I am neurotic about my nails. Emery boards are as important to me as my cell phone. I don't leave home without either. I have a stash of emery boards in our cars, my purses, and in odd places around the house. Walking around with a jagged, chipped nail is as irritating to me as someone scratching their nails down a chalkboard; a torture that I haven't heard in a long time now that most classrooms are equipped with Smart boards or at least white boards.

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

I'm not a gambler. I've never been to Las Vegas, and years ago on a ski trip to Reno, I was only willing to risk twenty dollars in the casino. After I lost my twenty, I was ready to retire to the lodge and rest for the slopes. But even though I'm not a gambler, I find myself intrigued by the Texas Hold'em tournaments that air on television fairly regularly. Unlike people who play the lottery, the best poker players are often mathematicians skilled with an ability to gauge the statistical probability of certain cards being played based on the cards that have already played. The poker players don't look like the stereotypical math geniuses sporting plastic framed glasses, white short sleeve oxford shirts, wide ties and bad haircuts. Dressed in sweatsuits, baseball hats and dark glasses, many of them look like they just finished walking their dog and stumbled into the Texas Hold'em tournament by accident. While watching the game unfold on television, I have the benefit of knowing who has the best hand and who is bluffing. Typically, whether they are flush or bluffing, the player's demeanor doesn't change. Before wagering, the opponents will often stare at each for excruciatingly long moments. Their goal is to try and identify a twitch or a flutter, any sign that might indicate a bluff. But like the teenage girls in my series, the players have mastered the art of the poker face.

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Navigation systems have negated the long held truism that men will not pull over and ask for directions. And what are directions if not geographical advice? "Sugar Foot in the Fourth!" This is the phrase that my "wannabe witty" husband gives whenever someone asks him for advice. "Advice? Pick Sugar Foot in the Fourth," he'll chuckle as though giving the person a horse racing tip. Sometimes, he mixes it up and will say, "Don't eat yellow snow!" I usually react with a look that means, "Stop it. You're turning into that guy. Straighten up and fly right!" He knows what "that" look means, so he will usually get serious and put on his guy listening cap. Once the guy listening cap is nestled on his head, this means that he has allotted approximately ninety two seconds for the person to say something that will capture his attention. On the ninety third second, his attention diverts back to the sporting event that he pretends not to be watching or listening to while the person is sharing his tale of woe. If his attention is piqued within the ninety two second window, he is able to give his undivided attention and provide solid counsel and words of wisdom that are thought provoking, wise and usually quite eloquent. Adept at word smithing, he has an amazing ability to formulate advice that always manages to coincide with the commercial break or halftime. Don't get me wrong, my husband has an amazing attention span, professionally. In fact, I think that because his work requires such intense focus, and requires him to dole out counsel for hours on end, he's hesitant to share advice unless he can assign a billable hour to it. But after observing him and his species for many years, I've concluded that most men do not like to get or receive advice; advice is something that women seek and solicit.

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Have you ever noticed that sometimes people are hesitant to use the large, handicap accessible stalls in the restroom? Even when standing in a line that snakes out the door and down the hall, many women will not enter the handicap stall. It's as though they believe that the stall must be "reserved" for someone with a physical limitation or handicap. Not me. I prefer to use that stall. It's roomier and often has its own private sink to wash your hands. If it's available, I will often use that stall without fear of reprisal because I know the difference between available and accessible. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, public places are required by law to have toilet facilities that are accessible for those with physical limitations. They are not required to have stalls that are available at all times. See the difference? Basically, when the restroom or stall is available, anyone may access it, including someone who does not have a physical limitation.

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

As we settle into our new digs and my children (specifically our son) tries to entertain himself outdoors as he waits for the only child on our cul de sac who is his age to return, I'm reminded of my childhood and the things that we did to entertain ourselves when we moved to a new community over the summer. Okay, technically, it's fall now, but our newly adopted town didn't get that memo, and the temperatures make it feel like it's July, so just go along with me. Growing up just outside of Chicago, our humble rental community was surrounded by wooded areas that my brothers and I explored with excitement and zeal when we moved there from Chicago's south side. The community was cocooned by mature trees and a creek that snaked through the woods. We were told that as long as we didn't leave the confines of our subdivision, we could roam freely. While residents of Chicago, our boundary was the block, so to us, our freedom had just been increased exponentially. We roamed those woods as though we were miles from home struggling to find our way back to civilization without benefit of a compass or a map. On one of our daily hikes, we found a small pond deep in the woods. It felt like we had walked for miles, but looking back, I'm sure it was probably only a half mile trek. The small pond was located next to a pile of wood. In the pile was a wooden door that

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

For my regular blog followers, Operation: "We've Moved to the Other Side of the Mason Dixon Line" is now almost complete. The troops and I are doing the Hot-Cold waltz. The Hot-Cold waltz goes something like this: when outdoors, you sweat and suffer in the sweltering heat and then once indoors, you get a chill and shiver as each building blasts air in the mid-60's. If you wear long pants you're comfortable while inside, but miserable while outdoors. Our solution thus far is to bring a light jacket to battle the indoor chill. The average temperatures have been in the low nineties, and the locals tell us that we're lucky to be experiencing this "cool" spell because the daily temperatures combined with heat index had been over one hundred for several weeks.

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

As a writer, I study people all of the time, especially teen/tween girls and their mothers. I try to study their speech patterns, mannerisms, quirks, dress codes and eating habits; all while appearing to not really be paying much attention to them at all. It's an exhausting process. Sometimes I feel like an undercover spy as I busy myself casually observing the female species around me. I do this so that I can obtain information for my novels. When I'm developing a character, I will often pause and think about an observation to see how I can incorporate real life drama into my fiction. I'm a people watcher by nature and enjoy sitting at my favorite writing coffee shop and watching the other customers. With my laptop serving as my distracting disguise, it's amazing the types of things one overhears all because people believe that you are not really paying attention to them. Sometimes to create inspiration, I will create stories about a stranger's background and family. Of course, they don't really know that I'm observing them so before I can put pen to paper, or finger to keypad, I put a spin on my observations so that my subject doesn't easily identify herself in my work. Sometimes, I incorporate several dramatic spins in order to protect the anonymity of my unknowing muse.

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

JC is in a matrix of change. My hair has changed, my schedule has changed, and my life is changing. Change is good, but I prefer paper personally. My stylist has cut out the last strands of my blonde highlights and the chemical relaxer (that I affectionately dubbed creamy crack) from my hair. My hair is officially all natural now. It's great most days until Mother Nature decides to transform my flat ironed straightened locks by spraying moisture or humidity into my personal space. And poof my hair changes as fast as a traffic light changes from yellow to red while you're in the middle of the intersection wondering how that little camera caught your exact expression and mailed it to your address with a violation attached. Change is good.

My writing time has been back burnered by two XX chromosomes and one XY chromosome who assault my personal space each summer like ants at a picnic. Their little schedules and needs superimposing themselves into my carefully scheduled day. Since texting while driving is ill advised, driving while typing on a laptop would probably land me a life sentence in a correctional institute called "Stupid" or a spa named "Rest in Peace."

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

I attended a church sermon recently where the pastor reminded us that "nothing puts life into focus like death." Adults are expected to know how to deal with death and its twin siblings "mourning" and "grief." But unless you've experienced the loss of a loved one, you don't know how to handle it when it happens to you. There's no script. Especially if you experience death as a teenager.

A few years ago, I attended a funeral where a teenage girl (who happened to be an only child) had lost her mother just one week shy of her high school graduation. At her mother's funeral, when she approached the podium to make remarks, we all expected the eighteen year old to be tearful and weeping, but instead she giggled her way through a poem that she'd written and ended her comments with this remark, "And Momma, Joey told me to tell you that you still owe him forty dollars!" she laughed before walking back to her seat. I was stunned by her behavior, as were most of the other guests at the funeral. The daughter and mother were extremely close so most of us expected a coffin gripping spectacle where the girl tried to climb into the casket and revive her lifeless mother. Her behavior was anything but, so naturally we concluded that she must have been in shock. Maybe she was in shock. Maybe she broke down later. Or maybe not. Maybe that was her way of dealing with her loss.