...I discovered that "usch" believes I have the most boring blog in the world. So boring, in fact that it has to be seen to believe. The forum he choose to leave his remarks in afforded me the option of leaving a comment. So I did, asking what made for a "interesting blog, in [his] esteemed opinion." I'm still waiting for a response, other than that he has been busted. After all, his efforts haven't earned my respect either. But it did cause me to evaluate why I am blogging. A couple of reasons prompted me to start. One was the whole Google phenomenon. Somewhere I read that if you Google yourself and don't find yourself, do you exist? (I'm sure it was phrased better than that, but you're smart; you get what I mean.) The other was my desire to learn. I decided to tackle html. Now if you Google for my name, you'll find me, proving that I do exist. In fact, someone did that and did find me. (Gotta love referrer stats.) And I'm slowly learning more about customizing my page and how html works. I definitely know more than I did when I started. I don't make tons of changes, but I when I look through my template, I understand what most of it is saying. The final reason should be the first reason. I love to write. I don't post any of my creative writing here, but having the commitment to this site has shown me that I can write every day, I just need to put my mind to it. I'm close to finishing the first draft of my book. I was working on it this weekend and had a revelation. See, I'm at the point where all of the loose threads have to be pulled and tugged and sewn together. After the bright lights and multiple voices faded, I saw through the garbage and realized where the fatal flaw lies. Now I need a chunk of time to fix it, slid those threads through my magical needle and take off. It's so close to the end, I can taste it. After I give it a once over and let it stew through the month of November, I'll pull it out it December, edit again and send it out for critiques. I have an opening or two if anyone is interested. And I have copies reserved for a few of you already. Or I will once they are printed and finished. Finished is good. The other good thing to come of this blog is two of my good friends from college have started their own blogs. A Far Greener Country and One Day Further Than Yesterday give me the chance to see what is going on in there life. Like so many other friendships we all have experienced, the three of us have drifted apart, as good friends often do after college ends. But the world of blogging and the ease of Blogger has pulled us together again. None of us are as good about staying in touch as we'd like to be. But we can and we are. It's through the pages of the 'net rather than a 30 minute car ride and a $3 cup of coffee.
Saturday, October 30, 2004
Friday, October 29, 2004
Halloween is one of those days that are hotly contested in churches everywhere. Reformation Day is the preferred term, but even before Martin Luther decided to nail those theses on the wall, people were trying to make-over the real celebrations led on Halloween night. My kids just get to dress-up and get candy from everyone. I don't have a problem with it. Their focus is on the candy, not on the pagan trappings that go along with it.
Thanks, everybody, for the thoughts and well-wishes. It was a close shave, but I think I kept my sanity. Our daycare provider decided to get a job in a daycare center. And provided us with a three day notice. But, never fear, she had a plan. And when the plan fell through, I hit the panic button. My husband and I have spent the week watching the little guy, rather than working. I had vacation time, so it wasn't unpaid, but trying to find a good provider at a rate that we can afford is stressful. Do you know that around here centers charge anywhere from $160 to $190 a week to watch your kid? That's $640 to $760 a month. I really want a Mini Cooper. I could pay it off in two years for those kind of payments. Heck, I could do double mortgage payments for those kind of rates. My reaction when I found this out was hyperventalation. I found somebody in-home who is licensed, accredited, qualified to be a group home director, but doesn't want to open her own center. She has back-ups for her vacation days. She's been doing it for 16 years. When we went over to visit, one of her ex-daycare kids was over visiting. He was in the "13-14" age range. My four-year-old was with us, and while he won't be going there, he didn't want to leave. The little one who will be going there was grabbing the provider's hand and leading her around the house, just like he does to me. I probably should have asked for some additional references, but I trust my kids. And the person who recommended her. Now I just need to call the center we were going to go with and cancel, get my money back, fill-out the paper work and I have a place to take the little guy on Monday. Pre-natal classes should include stuff like finding daycare providers. Heck, marriage classes should include stuff like this. And someone should have slapped me along side the head when I said that I wanted six kids. I'm insane. I'm having problems coping with just two of them some days. But then they look at you and grin with pure joy. Just because you are sitting on the floor, playing trains with them. And your heart melts. And then my husband says, "Wouldn't one more be nice?"
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Ever wonder why we do this or how the whole thing got started? This site explains it all. I found that Ben Franklin can be blamed, er, credited with the idea. He did a study that showed how much would be saved a year in candles, wicks, and tallow, by making this change. To keep it current with the times, traffic studies have made it valid to continue the practice; the claim is a reduction in traffic fatalities and the likelihood of pedestrians being killed on the roads. Crime is also reduced since more people have the opportunity to arrive home before darkness sets in, a time when burglars prefer to operate. (This was a previously prepared post. Life is still in shambles, but tomorrow looks promising.)
Posted by Stacie Penney at 10/28/2004
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
...is slowly disintegrating into pieces. At least for today and tomorrow. Heck, it might even continue on into Friday. But next week is looking good for having the pieces back in some semblance of an order. I'll have a better post for sure on Monday, if not Friday. And if you don't hear from me between now and the next good post, have a great life. Hope it isn't in pieces.
Posted by Stacie Penney at 10/27/2004
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
The cover of this book intrigued me for two reasons: a beautiful dragon graced its cover; the display was at the front of the local Barnes & Noble (BN seldom displays kids books at the front entrance. Unless, of course, it's Harry Potter.) I was caught, intriqued. Eventually I broke down and bought it. And then I took my time reading it. The world Eragon inhabits is drawn with a good balance of detail and action. (This reviewer thought so too.) I spent a couple of long Sundays keeping my husband company while he fished. As conversation is not required on such a trip, I brought this opus with me instead of my pole. The story was fantastic, so I wanted to know more about the author. I checked out his website. Nicely done. Then I checked out facts about the author at others. Ho-ly cow. He's only 20. He graduated from high school when he was 15. His homeschool background contributes as does the family business. His accomplishments are great even with those marks in his favor. He has what it takes to survive. This review shows the personal side of Paolini. He is willing to do what it takes to get a copy sold. Now that you've been reading for a few days, here's what Amazon.com has to say about the book: Eragon, a young farm boy, finds a marvelous blue stone in a mystical mountain place. Before he can trade it for food to get his family through the hard winter, it hatches a beautiful sapphire-blue dragon, a race thought to be extinct. Eragon bonds with the dragon, and when his family is killed by the marauding Ra'zac, he discovers that he is the last of the Dragon Riders, fated to play a decisive part in the coming war between the human but hidden Varden, dwarves, elves, the diabolical Shades and their neanderthal Urgalls, all pitted against and allied with each other and the evil King Galbatorix. Eragon and his dragon Saphira set out to find their role, growing in magic power and understanding of the complex political situation as they endure perilous travels and sudden battles, dire wounds, capture and escape. If you aren't interested yet, check your pulse. This is going to be as big as HP. The second novel in the series is due for release in August 2005. I'll see you in line at the bookstore.
Monday, October 25, 2004
Friday, October 22, 2004
Reverse Scams are great! As I read through the letters, I was giggling like a school girl. Then I had to remind myself I was at work and I needed to at least pretend to be working. And work doesn't make me giggle like a school girl. Unless I'm doing something really great in Excel. Which I haven't lately.
Posted by Stacie Penney at 10/22/2004
Thursday, October 21, 2004
Electoral-vote.com has an interesting way of predicting the winner of the presidential election. The man behind the scenes documents the various polls he takes his numbers from. The results of the polls are thrown into an Excel Spreadsheet which he uses to project the winner. I've visited a few times and it's always changing. I'm interested in comparing what he calculates versus what happens as it gets closer to Nov 2.
Posted by Stacie Penney at 10/21/2004
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
I love vocabulary. I used to read dictionaries so I could find new and interesting words. Now, however, I use "Word of the Day" services. Merriam Webster's is the one I like the best. Definition, origin, etymology and samples. Everything one would need to fill their head with bits of useless information. They also have a toolbar to add to your browser of choice. Instant access to their dictionary services. The bad part my Google toolbar prevents the pop-up and I have to remember to ctrl+click. Then I got to thinking. Maybe there are more WOTD sites out there. Maybe I'm missing something I shouldn't be. I googled "word of the day" and found a few worth mentioning. Wordsmith.org looks promising. I'm definitely going to be spending some time here. Dictionary.com is so-so. I get this one via email at work. The vocab level is low for me. Often, the mailing contains words I already use. OED is a favorite dictionary. My alma mater had an electronic version available that I loved using during a paper writing flurry. But the site contains frames. I hate frames. Superkids.com is geared to, well, kids. But I wish I had known about the SAT/ACT vocabulary section when I was dreading this testing. Or that I had kids that needed this. It is awesome. And they have stuff for younger kids too. I like the age-appropriate layout. Not too intimidating. VocabVitamins.com is cheesy. The color scheme is annoying. I couldn't get past the horrid aesthetics to get to the content. All sorts of statistics exist as far as vocabulary levels. Comparisons between men and women, children and their peers, people from yesterday to today. Whichever set is preferred, they all say the same thing - people need to learn new words. Another Google search reveals that dozes of sites exist for etymologies. I get so many ideas for names of people and places when I search through these. Required reading when writing fantasy. Reading is the best way to increase vocabulary. Read, read, read. And read some more. I'm a huge advocate of reading. My husband likes to say that I'll read anything if it's printed - even the ingredients list on the cereal box. And he is right. But, then, if you've checked out one of my Bookworm reports, you already know this.
Posted by Stacie Penney at 10/20/2004
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Some of the people I have found in the forums are wonderful. An amazing group of people, uniting for a purpose, for a cause. They seek like minded individuals, whose souls are in line with their goals. Individuals who will help them in their quest to reach 50,000 words by mignight, November 30th. What is magical about the word "midnight?" As I typed it, I got shivers down my spine. Silly really. It isn't even the darkest hour of the night. Anyone who has stayed up all night knows that it grows even darker until just before dawn. When those fingers of orange first reach over the horizon, renewal dawns. Midnight itself isn't as special as all that occurs between then and the darkest hour before dawn. Its magic lies in its beginning. Midnight signifies the start of another day, under the cover of the dark from the day before. For five or six hours, imagination runs free. Every delicious fear is indulged. Every naughty thought can be acted upon. Everyone is equal. Dark strips away color, race, rags and riches. Dark reveals who you truly are. Halloween celebrates these truths. Go forth, witches and wizards, on this night of dark. Tomorrow is soon enough to don the hat of mother, father, boss, student, teacher. Tonight, indulge in your other side. Boy, did this ever end on a tangent.
Posted by Stacie Penney at 10/19/2004
Every Packer says it. "The fans make it great. No where else do you find fans like you do in Green Bay." Not only are the fans die hard, standing in the tundra in temperatures that hover around zero or below, they stick by their team through thick and thin. Packers went into last weeks' game with a loosing streak as long as my hair. My husband's comment, when I asked about watching The Game, was, "Why bother?" Even with this attitude, he was faithful and turned the channel to watch the pregame and the kick-off. And when they led at the half, we continued to watch. It was exciting by then. (Marriage advise: Find a man that sticks by his team when the going gets tough. He'll stick by you when hormones and aging get tough too.) As I write this, I sit in Slugger's sports bar, listening to the Packer's radio show, eating BBQ wings and cursing that I need more wet naps. (Not the waitresses fault; totally my own.) I've done this a few times; the waitstaff recognizes me; I recognize other patrons. (In case you were there, I'm the geek with the laptop. Yep, that was me.) The gift the packers return to their fans is greater than a good game against the Lions, or a chance for some autographs. The Packers signify diversity. Not only on the sidelines, but in their fans. College students sit next to families with small children. They even remember to watch their language. Die hard rockers are checking out the country CDs that WPKR 99.5 is giving away. Bar rats are checking out the laptop. And giving me weird looks. I would too. In this time of politcal commercials filled with lies and accusations, bumper stickers proclaiming allegiance to this canidate or that, for one hour, the outside world is tossed aside and everyone focuses on what the celebrities in the front have to say. It may not be earth shattering. It won't matter next week. Heck, it probably won't even effect the game. But all of us are joined together in fan adoration.
Posted by Stacie Penney at 10/19/2004
Monday, October 18, 2004
Friday, October 15, 2004
I hate being sick. I'm hot for a few minutes, then my body temp lowers into the "I feel okay" range before it turns on me and hits me with the chills and shivers. Everything aches. Even my hair folicles. I don't even care if I spelled that right. I'm going back to bed.
Posted by Stacie Penney at 10/15/2004
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Oshkosh Truck loses out on big contract screams the headline from the Milwaukee Journal Senteniel. As stated, it does effect the company quite a bit. The piece that interested me the most was the bit by Kent Mortensen. "They had already declared Oshkosh the winner, subject to approval at the political level," said Kent Mortensen, an aerospace and defense industries analyst with Thrivent Investment Management in Appleton. "I suspect that things happened at the political level that hurt them. Six months ago, I would not even have brought up MAN as a serious competitor." I was hired at Truck to work in the Bid and Proposal department. Loosing something that I worked on so hard is really tough. I spent long hours on this thing. I hope that we hear more as to why soon.
Posted by Stacie Penney at 10/13/2004
With the assistance of a fellow wri-mo, a kick-off party and meet-n-greet has been organized. You are cordially invited! Where: New Moon Cafe, Oshkosh WI When: 5 pm or so, 10-26-04 No RSVP required. If you aren't sure if you are going to participate, but want to chat, you're welcome as well. It should be a rocking good time.
Posted by Stacie Penney at 10/13/2004
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Monday, October 11, 2004
One Day Further Than Yesterday! A college friend of mine who has joined the ranks of bloggers every where. Matthew was one of those people who could be called at anytime, for any reason and he would rise to the occasion. Whether you needed to vent, be cheered, share an exhilarating story, burn extra energy, run to the coffee house, study or have a smoke break, Matthew's the guy so many of my friends and I would turn to. I'm really looking forward to reading the posts he has. It's a recent start, but promising. And you are privy to some of the insights of his mind. Which is either good or bad, depending on what it is churning out today.
Posted by Stacie Penney at 10/11/2004
JK Rowling reveals Harry Potter loses another friend. It's sort of like being a virgin, I guess. It gets easier as you go. But the last line thrills me to pieces. Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince is due to be published next year. I figured it wouldn't be seen until 2006. As soon as they have a release date, I'll post a countdown.
Posted by Stacie Penney at 10/11/2004
Friday, October 08, 2004
I was an English Lit major in college. But I really wish I'd been a marketing major. I'd have written all my papers on Playhouse Disney. Have you seen this stuff? My morning routine consists of getting myself out of bed (a Herculean effort,) showering, brushing teeth, etc. Then I plop on the couch and struggle to stay awake. When my littlest guy wakes up, I get him a bottle and milk and he joins me on the couch. We then tune into "The Koala Brothers" or "The Wiggles," depending on what time he wakes up. During their commercials, they create interest in shows, products and movie releases. The next trip to the store is always great because my 15 month old baby is surcoming to needs they have created. And don't even think about what it does to a four year old. Heck, they even have me interested in seeing some of the new movie releases. I really have to get my hands on a copy of "Home on the Range." It's about cows. And if you had a 15 month old who moo'ed like mine does, well, you'd want to see it too. Just so he'd moo a little more. I don't like everything Disney does though. One show, Dave the Barbarian has a line just about every episode that isn't very kid friendly. A few weeks ago it was a talking sword and the evil socerer. Socerer: You're mine! I'm taking you home with me! Sword: What, don't I get dinner first? Now, most kids would probably think that the sword was hungry, and that's what mine would have gotten told if they had said anything about it. But really, we all know what they are implying. And what place does it have on a show meant for 6-10 year olds? The moral learned: watch TV with your kids, even if it is someone family friendly like Disney. (Under normal circumstances, I would have emailed/wrote the company and complained. But I have two kids and now we just don't watch the show. By the time I had time to formalize the complaint, I couldn't remember details -- time, date, episode name, etc. I should have just done it right away, I know.)
Posted by Stacie Penney at 10/08/2004
Thursday, October 07, 2004
I've been thinking about what to post for the last 36 minutes. I can't think of a thing...except that I really hate the word "can not." When did this become two words? Then I started reading MSN articles to find examples to link to. Of course, the day that I want to make a point of the misuse of this word by a "quality" news source, I cannot find it. Heighten your awareness and destory all usages of the word "can not" in your writing. You'll be glad you did.
Posted by Stacie Penney at 10/07/2004
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
Here's a few of the Houses available to visit in the Oshkosh area during the Halloween season. I haven't been to any of them, but there are on my list "to-see" before they shut down. I'd like to make it to at least two this year. A Theatre of Lost Souls appeals to me as it is inside the Grand Opera House. The combination makes me very curious. Dominion of Terror by the Sheboygan Jaycees might make the cut if we can make it over there. I've heard good things about them from the locals. Burial Chamber is close by also. And it looks good too.
Posted by Stacie Penney at 10/06/2004
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
Excellent book when needing a kick for writing block. The author is open and honest about every aspect of writing. I found myself reading bits and pieces of it aloud to family, friends, anyone nearby when I was reading. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life is a book for everyone, as the subtitle states.
Posted by Stacie Penney at 10/05/2004
This article shouldn't even be about Martha except this is the prison in which she will serve time. It really is about budget cuts and shortages. Phil Glover, the union's national president, said inmates at the prison are sometimes left unattended and workers sometimes perform duties normally done by guards, such as screening telephone calls. I'd be more worried about this then where or not Martha is getting extra protection.
Posted by Stacie Penney at 10/05/2004
Monday, October 04, 2004
I did it. I signed up to participate in NaNoWriMo. I don't know why I did it except that I am insane. Actually I have two reasons for doing it. 1) I need to finish my YA novel so that it has a whole month to stew and bubble. Then it will have ripened and reached maturity so I can attack it with my red pen and trim the parts that are dead or taste bad (Yes, I'm mixing metaphors here. I realized this.) 2) I've always wanted to reek havoc with certain people throughout my life. Here's the place to do it. I'm not taking anything that comes out of this seriously -- other than the word count I come up with. I'll probably end-up abandoning my blog for most of the month of November, but will put links up later that will assist in the tracking of my NaNoWriMo progress.
Posted by Stacie Penney at 10/04/2004
The shower was a sucess. The bride enjoyed her gifts; people had a good time sharing stories; nobody got drunk and embarassed themselves; nobody told storied about getting drunk and embarassing themselves (we've all been there; do we need to recount it too?) The trip wasn't even awful. The drive went fast on the way out and slow on the way back, but traffic was thicker on the way back. And slower. What's up with driving under the speed limit on a clear night with excellent visibility? I don't get it.
Posted by Stacie Penney at 10/04/2004
Friday, October 01, 2004
I know you are just dying to know what books I stuck my nose in this month. I'll oblige. For the month of September, I read 4,146 pages or eleven books. In 2001, I read 1,507pages/4 books; 2002, 3,228 pages/8 books; 2003 0 pages/0 books (hey, I just returned to work after 6 weeks of maternity leave. Adjusting was brutal.) Sam's Letter to Jennifer by James Patterson A Certain Smile by Judith Michael 3rd Degree by James Patterson Key of Light by Nora Roberts Tough Cookie by Diane Mott Davidson Ten Big Ones by Janet Evanovich A Little Night Magic by Nora Roberts Eragon by Christopher Paolini Guilty as Sin by Tami Hoag Half Moon Bay by Meryl Sawyer Nights Landing by Carla Neggers For the year, I’ve read 64 books, or 23,600 pages, which averages to 7 books a month, or 1,967 pages per month, and an average book length of 369 pages. The best book was Eragon. I'm doing some research to post more about this amazing author and his trilogy, so I won't say much now. His story is fascinating and I want to do a good job of it.
Posted by Stacie Penney at 10/01/2004