Monday, February 25, 2008

Closed Until Further Notice

Life is getting very complicated and I'm just not able to keep up. Over the last week and weekend, I've been evaluating the time it takes to run this blog versus two projects I really want to work on.

The blog lost.

I'm not ready to delete it, but I am going to postpone posting anything new for quite some time. Thanks for understanding.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Manager Tools

I've been listening to a podcast called Manager Tools. I really appreciate the advice that they give out (for free!) but sometimes it really irritates me too.

For instance, the most recent cast I listened to is from September 2005 (seriously, the cast is so good that I decided to go back to the beginning and start from there) titled "Got Email?"

Four actions are identified as necessary for managing your email.

  1. Check email three times a day.
  2. Schedule the time on your calendar to check.
  3. Don't answer email while someone is standing in front of you.
  4. Use filters to automatically sort email.

My company relies heavily on email. Way too heavily. I'm a culprit too, but I've found that if I don't email it, I later don't have "proof" that I did said action. The recommendation is to have face time or utilize voice mail. If I did that, I'd seldom accomplish anything since people are much more likely to check and respond to emails.

As much as I enjoy the podcast, I wonder, as a non-manager, how can I implement some of the ideas that I do like? It is frustrating.

My other problem with face-to-face meetings is the recommendation of some "chit-chat" about family and life outside of work. I used to be in a spot where one person did this, right before unloading his request. It felt more like buttering up -- Look at me, I'm the nice guy that cares about your family! -- instead of building a relationship.

Maybe it was me. Maybe my perception is screwy from my years of emailed messages.

But it is definitely food for thought. And some day, I just might find myself in a position to make some changes.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Five on Friday

Five on Friday

  1. Scott Adam's has a new invention I'd love to implement in my house -- Better Light Switches.
  2. Is there a graphically representation between the books you read and your SAT/ACT score? Jason Kottke found one.
  3. Grammarphobia explains the origin of "bigger than a breadbox."
  4. Like free books? Me too. TG for The Great American Book Giveaway.
  5. This guy's 1,000,000 truck makes my Ranger look young.

What was the best link you found this week?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Title: Love in the Time of Cholera

Author: Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Publisher: Vintage International

ISBN 978-0-307-38973-2, $19.95, 1988, 348 pages

Genre: Literary

Summary: Six hundred and twenty-two affairs ago, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza had a passionate love affair through letters and telegrams. Instead, Fermina married Dr. Juvenal Urbino. The death of Jeremiah de Saint-Amour, the famed photographer of children, brings Florentino and Fermina together again.

The Take-Away: I never would have read this book if it hadn't been for my book club. As I read, I continued to get lost in the poetry of the prose. I have the same problem when I read poetry. I forget that there's a story being told also. By the end, I understood what attracted people to it, but I've read better literary novels that didn't leave me so confused.

I didn't understand why Fermina married Florentino. What convinced the feisty girl to give up her love? And what's the significance of the first scene? I'm sure it was explained in there somewhere, but I lost track of the thread that carried the story.

Personally, I don't like to have to work this hard for a story.

Recommendation: Skip it, unless you like long, winding stories with obvious endings.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Writer's Strike is Over

About time. The results are mixed as to who won. All I know is, I'm going to have more episodes of House later this season. Need to know what's up with your favorite show? Hourly updates here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Things You Learn By Having Boys

I don't often blog about my kids, on purpose. I'm a little fearful, I guess, about what might happen either now or later. But I never would have learned the following if I didn't have boys.

  1. Lego guys don't need hands. In fact, it's better if they don't have hands because it gives you an excuse to dump out the whole bucket and find the hands at the very bottom.
  2. Football cards aren't just for learning stats about the players. They also can be used to play football with, just like action figures.
  3. It's very cool to jump from the top bunk of the bed to the floor. Never mind that your brother is standing there and you out weigh him by 15 pounds. He'll catch you.

Boys are so very different than girls. And I wasn't a girly-girl either. I love kids.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Thoughts on the Grammys

Usually, I don't watch award shows. However, I didn't have anything better to do with the arctic chill running rampant in my backyard. And I have a husband who does.

Chalk it up as quality time.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the modest dress that the stylists designed for the evening's theme. Almost every outfit was tasteful and complimentary, even with some big challenges (Aretha Franklin looked stunning in her pale yellow dress, but I did question the silver thing that Tina Turner was dressed in.)

I love the song Carrie Underwood sang, but have a hard time believing that any man in his right mind would cheat on her. She's stunning and sexy.

If I may, what is up with 50 and 60 year old women trying to look like they are in their 20s still? Everyone knows you were a star in the 70s or 80s. It's no big deal to age gracefully. I don't remember the name of the woman Kid Rock presented with, but what a feisty delight! She should be a role model for some of those fakers.

Oh, and Jason Bateman? You're not as funny as you think you are. It was gratuitous laughter. Or delight to be there. It definitely wasn't you.

What was your favorite part of the show?

Friday, February 08, 2008

Five on Friday

It's been a crazy week here in Wisconsin. Between the weather changes, the work changes and getting to back into writing, my week was a whirlwind of activity that left me looking forward to doing nothing over the weekend. Fortunately, that's what I have planned.

  • Wisebread reports that UK banks are blocking their worst customers credit cards for their customers good. Is this a smart move or Big Brother? Will US banks follow suit?
  • Heather Armstrong has a great picture of San Franciso up. The description she penned is just as yummy.
  • Daily Dose of Excel report and excellent quote re: Excel files received "IT guys should tell end users right off the bat that if they see an unrecognizable Excel document in their inbox, they should treat it like porn — it’s not something you should be opening up at work.” I should adopt this motto for most of the things in my inbox.
  • Melanie Lynne Hauser of the Super Mom fame has a great post about why women are intolerable. Frankly, I agree with her.
  • Defective Yeti has a review of games that might ruin your friendships, but improve your negotiating skills.

What was your favorite link this week?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

News Blues by Marianne Mancusi

Title: News Blues

Author: Marianne Mancusi

Publisher: Dorchester Publishing

ISBN 978-0-505-52749-3, $6.99, February 26, 2008, 336 pages

Genre: Chick Lit

Summary: Maddy's stumbled on the story of a lifetime only her news program is more interested in keeping advertisers happy than breaking-up a drug cartel.

The Take-Away: Mancusi's two-time Emmy award winning background really lent authenticity to the behind the scenes of the evening news. On the one hand, I knew things liked comped products and biased reporting happens. On the other hand, would a station really ignore a story as important as Maddy's?

Maddy is a very lovable character who is someone I'd like to be friends with. I loved her spunk and desire to do the right thing, even when she knows it will get her fired. The romance in this novel is low-key, but has a couple of nice twists (and if I share, it would ruin the storyline, so you'll need to read it for yourself :) )

Thank you, Marianne, for providing the ARC, and such a great story. Novels like this convince me that Chick Lit still has a place in the publishing world.

Recommendation: Want to read it? Leave a comment and I'll draw one lucky winner to pass my copy to.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Why Blog

Days like today, when I have no creativity to think of a good post, make me wonder why I continue to blog. I had valid reasons for starting, but continuing? It's been going on four years now. Like most blogs, I'm in obscurity and I'm okay with it. But when something stops being fun to do, I think I should stop too. As soon as I start thinking that way, my brain wakes up the creative cell that is left and says, "Give her some ideas. We need to keep this thing going." And suddenly I'm flooded with ideas.

Maybe I need to threaten to quit more often. But I'm really excited about the book review I have for tomorrow -- News Blues by Marianne Mancusi. And today is necessary to get through if only for the fact tomorrow is better.

Isn't much of life like that?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Love in my House

Posted as part of Scribbit's February Write-Away Contest.

Love is simple, and oh so very complicated. I love my dogs. I walk in the door and man, are they excited to see me. They jump, they yip, they slather me with attention.

My kids do the same, except for the yipping.

That's the simple part. The complicated part comes later when my four year old asks me to find a toy that's been missed placed. Are you the GPS locator for every missing toy and device in your home also? When I can't immediately stop what I'm doing and assist, it's "Mom, I don't love you any more. You don't ever help me." Never mind the fact that as soon as I walk into the room, the lost toy is instantly found by one of us.

The complicated part for my other son, a seven year old that has two moms and a dad is the two moms part. He loves his birth mother and me, the stepmom. Yet I'm not mom, I'm Stacie and she's Mom. Yet I'm his brother's mom and Dad is Dad no matter who says it. See how it work in his head? See why he gets confused if he doesn't completely jive?

Love should be easy. I believe that all love should be like my dogs - glad, happy, yipping. The complications come from the rest of the world's influences on what "they" believe the relationship should be like.

For Valentine's Day, I'm going to keep it simple. No gifts, no boxes of chocolates, no flowers. Instead, I'm going to write each of my guys a letter and make it snazzy with some clipart. "Fourteen reasons I love you" should help them, and me, to keep it simple and not let the rest of the world influence our relationship.

How do you tell your loved ones what makes them special? Leave a comment and I'll post a link. If you don't blog, I'll feature you as a guest blogger.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Willow Bends

I've updated my hand-crafted items at WillowBends. One of my favorite things - a Purple Stars and Leaves bracelet - is on display there. I was really pleased with how this pattern looked with some beads other than what the pattern called for. has hundreds (thousands?) of patterns with some very talented designers distributing for free. Jann M. Christiansen is one such designer. I made Jann's Flower Bud pattern as designed with tear-drop beads. As I was looking over my stash of beads, however, I decided that the stars and leaves that I had from a mix would look lovely in this pattern. Don't you agree?

Unfortunately, Bead-Patterns prevents me from linking directly to Jann's pattern. However, if you search on their site for "Flower Bud" you will find it. Of course, if you are in a rush, each style is available on my Etsy shop as well.

Do you have an Etsy shop? Let me know! I'd love to see what your creativity has spun off.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Five on Friday

My youngest has discovered PowerRangers. I detest them. To the point where I leave the room and let him watch them on his own. Anyone else for getting rid of these guys?

I picked my five favorite links for the week to share with you.

  1. Finslippy had a bad parenting day and asked for our stories. She has a few selections that were laugh out loud funny. And the Award goes to...
  2. Trent at Simple Dollar has a One Month Coupon Strategy that was awesome.
  3. Scott Adams proposed that a hit song could be written by individuals submitting cliches. It went further.
  4. According to Clive Thompson, flattery begins at four. Since I live with a four year old, I believe it.
  5. Writers everywhere joined together to promote the paperback release of The Liar's Diary by Patry Francis. I love it when a good movement sweeps the web.

What was your favorite link of the week?