Sunday, March 25, 2012

TTAM2 = Things That Annoy Me Part 2

Hi, my name is Lisa and it's been 17 days since I posted the first TTAM post. I'm not sure that bodes well for my patience. Obviously, this proves I am too easily annoyed. I blame it on pre-pre-menopause.

So here's the list:

Ten Things That Annoy Me since March 8 in no particular order of annoyance:

1. Trains. This train above in particular. On the one hand it's all cool and nostalgic to see and hear a train running through your very own tiny rural town. On the other hand, it's a pain in the keister when you are in a hurry. Those trains are long. And slow. And annoying.

2. Smoking. By anyone, anywhere, ever. Yeah, yeah it's your right to kill yourself slowly and painfully but don't take me with you. Also, it gives me a banging headache.

3. Returns. I hate having to return anything to any store. Even when I have the receipt and I know some uppity store clerk is not going to hassle me. I especially hate returning things that didn't work directly out of the package. Like the digital thermometer I bought at Wally World that has ONE button on it to push to turn the thing on. Did it work? No. It did not. Back to Customer Service I had to go.

4. Rude Car Drivers. Especially those who do not acknowledge my supremely magnanimous generosity when I let them into traffic in front of me even though they've been a douche and have not been paying attention to the obvious signs and traffic directions.

5. Companies I Have To Deal With. Mostly those who will not let ME access our accounts because the don't have BOTH of our names on them. Whatever. If they want my money, they'd best let me take care of things because Bryon has no idea what the passwords are or where to even find the websites. If I fall off the planet tomorrow, they are so screwed.

6. One Square. That Seinfeld episode was so great. The one where Elaine asked the lady in the stall beside her if she could spare a square when she realized her toilet paper dispenser was out of paper. Honestly, one square is not nearly enough, but when there are no is wonderful. If you use the last square, tell someone who can take care of it. Because if I don't have a square, someone will receive my wrath.

7. Pay At The Pump Receipts That Don't Print. Frankly, if I do not want to schlep the fifteen steps into your store for a receipt. Refill the dang printer paper on the pump. Don't ask if I want a freakin' receipt if you aren't prepared to deliver it.

8. The Chairs At Barnes & Noble.  I have a love/hate relationship with Barnes & Noble as it is. I feel like they basically crushed my true love, Borders, and ran them to bankruptcy. B&N is the only substantial bookstore/coffee shop in town so if I want to peruse new books with a cafe mocha in my hand, that's the place I have to go. They are not loiter friendly. The chairs are purposefully uncomfortable and few. If you aren't lucky enough to sit with the A Listers in the cafe, you're relegated to sitting with your back to the Glenstone Street window and facing a row of puzzle boxes. There isn't even anything to put your feet up on. AND they took the only two soft chairs out and replaced them with Sunday church pew-hard arm chairs.

I suppose we should be happy they have arms to balance our cafe mochas on. Honestly those soft chairs weren't the prize I thought they'd be anyway. One day I finally scored one. I immediately sank to the bottom of it and landed on a hard board and the chair smelled funky. NOT a good funky. A few times I've had to cruise the cafe and the row of Glenstone misfits like a vulture until someone finally bugs out. Friday I finally scored a Glenstone chair only to notice the not so subtle hint of dead mouse wafting from the wall behind me. Foiled again.

9. My Dog. Almost constantly.

10. Unreliable Bloggers. Especially those who wait 10 days between posts. Who can trust them?

Thursday, March 15, 2012


I give.

I am not Superwoman.

I've really struggled posting every day, and I've decided to quit. I'm not going to quit blogging, but I am going to stop posting everyday. It's just too hard to keep up with it and do anything else. Maybe I'll still get in 365 posts before the year is up. Maybe not. But I am relieved to let the burden of it go.

Don't worry, you'll still get the good stuff. Probably better stuff actually.

I've made it through the first hundred pages of edits on my book, so I'm a third of the way. I've also rewritten the first two chapters now for the third time. It may get still another makeover (probably several more). Hopefully, I'm making it better and not just replowing the same earth.

Monday night is the first of four writing workshops, and I'm excited to attend. They cover point of view and dialogue, characterization and conflict, plotting and show don't tell. I suspect I'll learn more in those four sessions than I did in four years of college. Of course, I'm differently motivated now. That helps.

So there you are. Don't be bummed. I won't forget about you. Be sure and signup for post emails at the top right of the page if you want to get them in your inbox instead of just guessing when I might post next.  You have to respond to the first email you'll get after you sign up to confirm your address and begin receiving the posts.

Let me know if you have trouble, and I'll try to help you out.

Thanks for your support so far.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Belle Eats Bubbles

Here is your video entertainment for the day. Grace busted out the bubbles last night, and Belle joined in. That's some good clean entertainment right there.

Bryon and Gary were playing trackball in the yard off screen, and the chickens were in the peanut gallery.

First shorts and flip flops of spring.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Puss In Boots & Kitty Softpaws

Grace's art of the week. Guess what she watched last weekend.
That's a sword by the way...just in case you were wondering. 
We asked.

I Got The Music In Me

Every once in a while you come across an album (can we still say album?) that is just right for the place and time you are occupying. It's like a cosmic gift. It punches all the right buttons and speaks the words you need to hear.

In the mid 80's there were three for me: Van Halen's Diver Down, Aerosmith's Greatest Hits and AC/DC's Back In Black. I have two of those albums on my most frequent playlist still. They were resurrected thanks to seven seasons of Supernatural. (Best show EVER by the way, seriously you should watch it if you dig monsters and apocalyptic terror. And really, who doesn't?)

The classic rock bug bit me hard again. I have seven AC/DC albums on my phone right now ready to rock at a moment's notice. Listening to those songs is like chatting with a long lost friend. They still get me even though I'm thirtyish years older. As soon as those church bells start bonging in Hell's Bells or those drum beats start banging in Back In Black, I'm sixteen again and cruising the strip in Bolivar wondering where exactly Bryon is. But that's a different post. Maybe I'll tell you that story one day if you don't already know it.

Bryon has always been a much bigger music buff than I have. And our friend Damon trumps us both. They can remember stats, musical histories, which band member was in which band and where they went or when they flamed out and died. I just remember emotions linked to songs and albums. I can't be bothered with the details.

I can barely stand to listen to a Journey album without tearing up with seventh grade angst. I went to every dance in the United Methodist Church basement. Junior high dances are painful, gut wrenching affairs. I had a big crush on one boy in particular who regularly attended those dances with his herd of friends. I asked him to dance every time to Open Arms, probably the drippiest most obvious song a goofy self-conscious thirteen year old girl could pick. He always danced with me (probably reluctantly) but I reveled in it and I can still conjure his clean, Zest soap smell.

He turned out to be a great guy but not THE GUY. Bryon was THE GUY and our HS song was Ratt's Round And Round. We danced many a foot loose night before that movie every became famous.

When I went to college, Pink Floyd's The Wall became one of my obsessions. I wrote a paper on it. Twelve pages if I remember correctly. It was the longest paper I'd ever written. It may have been the longest I had to write for my entire degree come to think of it. Wow, does twelve pages seem paltry now. I could write twelve pages in my sleep.

I'll have to admit to an elementary crush on Barry Manilow, Neil Sedaka and Shaun Cassidy. Shaun was the Justin Bieber of my time.

There were lots of others, too many to list. Just a couple of weeks ago, I found a new favorite: Dr. Dog Be The Void. There was a great review of them on NPR, and I finally downloaded their album to check them out after I heard them one day at my favorite coffee house.

I usually have to listen through an album several times before it takes root and grows or dies on the vine. I don't like story songs anymore. I've been wearing this album out while I burn down the highways.

I like Dr. Dog because it has a Kings of Leon/Mighty Mighty Bosstones meets the Bottle Rockets feel to me. Not every song makes a lot of sense but there are snippets of lyrics that hit spot on for me. I especially like That Old Black Hole. I wish I could give you a listen here, but you can check them out and the NPR interview if you would like.

It may not be your thing. You might not dig it. Music, like books, finds us when and where we are and gives us what we need if we are willing to accept it. Sometimes it gives us a shoulder to cry on, a driving beat and a boost of confidence to muddle through. And sometimes it's like an encrypted message from God with an answer you've been needing. Or a command to just wake up and smell the damn roses in a few lines of lyrics that won't mean crap to anyone else.

Because it's your music. And it's your time for it.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Purse Pursuit

I have been on a quest for the perfect purse for many years now. Searching for the perfect purse is much like the search for your soul mate. You have to try out several before you know for sure that you have finally found the right one.

Often, you think you have found the right one. He seems interesting. He is attractive to you in all the right ways. He surprises you with all of his useful qualities and handy pockets. (Uh, okay maybe not the pocket thing.) Then just when you have bought into his appeal and colorful exterior you realize that you really aren't a good fit after all.

He's dragging you down because he has too much baggage. In fact, he is the baggage. So you toss him away or in the case of the purse, relegate it to the back of the closet. Mr. Right wasn't Mr. Right at all. He was just Mr. Right-Now.

So like Don Quiote you once again tilt at windmills in search of the prize: the perfect purse.

I have quite a collection of almost purse soul mates. For a while, they were lovely. Then sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, I fell out of love with them. It wasn't them, it was me. My needs changed.

In the 80's I carried tiny purses. I didn't need to carry a lot of stuff around. Keys, driver's license, some cash were all I really needed. In the 90's, I carried medium sized purses until I realized the larger the purse I carried the more crap I had to haul around. My shoulders began to hurt.

I switched to backpack style purses. Those worked great for a while, but soon enough newer models caught my eye. I returned to the small minimalistic purses with long straps I could loop over my head and across my back and chest. Carried the bare essentials. I was hands free before it was cool.

Then I had a baby. I needed a wagon, not a purse to convey all the extraneous gear babies bring to the game. Now that baby is seven and she can carry her own things.

It turns out, it still takes a lot of stuff to be me. It wasn't all baby weight after all.

My carefully cultivated preparedness mentality demands I carry a lot of just-in-case items. The sort of things you don't use very often but as sure as you remove it from your bag you need it and have to buy another one. Immediately.

Things like: a pocket knife, a bottle of Tylenol and antacids, my netbook, reusable shopping bags, gloves, hand lotion, weird loyalty cards and Silver Dollar City passes, extra gel pens, three chapsticks, hand sanitizer, hair barrettes, beads and buttons, a notebook, compact, wallet, phone, a book, a flashlight, a tire gauge.

You can't carry all of that in a tiny purse.

I can't even carry it in the large purse I have now. The quest continues. 

Long live the hero.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

My365 Photo Challenge

Okay, this is a quickie. You like quickies right?

My friend Cara turned me on to this 365 day photo challenge. I have an iPhone so that makes it pretty easy. There's an app. My phone is also a camera. And this site Fatmumslim gives you photo topics everyday. The My365 app lets you post your pics to a calendar.

So far, here is what I have uploaded so far:

Something I wore


Here are the topics for March.

If you have an iPhone ... join in and follow me on My365. It's a neat way to be creative and take some cool pics as you go about your day.

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Medley of Certificates & Awards

This was a big week for the Medley children, furry and otherwise. 

Grace brought home three certificates of achievement and another 100% on her weekly spelling test. She's only missed words on two tests all year and those were the first couple of weeks before we all caught on to how things worked in the first grade.

And Belle graduated from Obedience School.

I'm pretty sure they gave Belle and I a pity pass but you know what, I'll take it. She is a terrible walker on a leash. Wednesday night she turned it on and did great for her test .She was also supposed to sit and stay for one minute. She did, but in 15 second increments. You can see she "needs work". Well, duh. That's why she's in obedience school

I would give her overall performance a C+. Ms. West was generous.

Now it's my turn. My writing workshops begin in two weeks. I'm just glad I won't get a grade or have to take any tests. 

I hope I get a certificate of achievement.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

TTAM1 = Things That Annoy Me–Part 1

I fear I’m growing crotchety in my middle age.

Things I may otherwise not have noticed, drive me to distraction and full on grumpiness now. Maybe it’s hormones. Maybe it’s stress. Or more likely, maybe it’s that people and businesses are out to perpetually annoy me. Yeah, most definitely it’s that last thing.

I conjured enough things just today thinking about it in my car on my way to and fro that I think this could become a regular blog feature. Hopefully it won’t be a weekly feature because that would mean either: A. the world really is conspiring against me or B. I’m becoming one of those bitchy people I can’t stand.

Either way, here are the Top Ten Things That Annoyed Me Today in no particular order of annoyance.

1. The complete lack of hooks, baby changing table or shelf to sit my purse on in 3 public ladies restrooms. This results in one of two things: purse on the floor (ick) or purse around my neck or other necessary body part. Either way = unhappy customer.

2. The piece of tasty Buffalo Chicken goodness that the dude ALWAYS leaves stuck to the paper tray when he dumps it onto my sandwich at Subway. Seriously, you don’t put enough chicken on that sandwich as it is. I want it all.

3. Random message lights appearing on my car dashboard and then going back off. Honestly, I think the car companies just have them set to go off at odd intervals so we have to go to the dealership and Scooby Doo that mystery each time.

4. People who call my cell phone and do not leave a message. I will not call your random number back and investigate. Leave me a dang message.

5. Automated answering systems for companies that disconnect me time and again when I am trying to follow their verbal labyrinth

6. Any '”man made material” in shoes or purses. Man made material just means it will fall apart, scuff up or peel off. You don’t see any cows walking around with holes worn through them, now do you?

7. Shoe Carnival Barkers. All of them. I hate that store.

8. Giant 18 wheelers in the rain.

9. Pavement on state highways that suddenly and inexplicably ends ten miles into my twenty mile trip to the next town. My car isn’t made for gravel roads. I had to turn around and backtrack.

10. How nice the dog acts when Bryon is home early and how bad she acts when he’s not.

Fear not, I’ll keep a list. There will be more.

What annoyed you today?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Trail Roving

 Today on our walk, Belle took a swim.
 Then she jumped on me with her wet, muddy paws and headed down the trail.
 I got this picture just before she trampled it.

I found this tiny flower in the field and looked it up in my Missouri Wildflowers book.
It's a Small Bluet.
Finally, a deer track as big as a moose.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Saturday was a good day for writing inspiration. I got to spend the day at The Library Station for the monthly ORA (Ozarks Romance Authors) meeting. Bryon stayed home and worked on his boat with Matt and, Grace entertained herself.

The great thing about ORA is it really helps keep me pumped for writing. Of course you couldn't tell that from the blog posts because I skipped a day. I did take my first thirty re-edited pages of my novel back and the group critiqued it. Two of the group had read the first draft when it was in first person and liked it better the old way. The rest of them didn't know any better. They all said they wanted to read more so that's a good sign I suppose.

It's staying in third person. I'm just not a first person fiction kind of girl. First person is so incredibly limiting. I like being able to read the minds of my characters.

I made it through all of my first paper and ink edits. Now I have to go back and fix them all in Word. I swear, editing is more difficult than the writing. I say I made it through all of my edits, but Saturday one of the authors in the club took a bit of time to give me some advice and pointed out how many times I was using the passive tense. It was like opening the Pandora's Box of passive voice and she only read two pages.

Here's the difference in passive and active voice straight from the one true source, Wikipedia: Caesar was stabbed by Brutus = passive voice. Brutus stabbed Caesar = active voice.

So now I have to go back and clean all of that up as well. It's going to be huge pain, but I'm doing it because I know she's right. She's published more than seventy novels. I even had one on my bookshelf that I haven't read yet. I took it, and she signed it for me. I want her to adopt me and be my mentor but it turns out prolific authors only get that way by ... well, ... writing. Not babysitting new would-be writers. I get that.

I got a lot of good advice Saturday, and I registered for four writing classes that are coming up on Monday nights the last two weeks of March and the first two weeks of April. I used to say I'm as smart as I plan to be, but I think I'm ready to learn something new. Since I decided not to try to go to the RT Book Lovers Convention in Chicago, this will be the next best thing.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Peace Food

Some people see Jesus in a grilled cheese sandwich. Yesterday, I found peace in a tomato.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Post Whine & Blogging Notes

I have wanted to quit posting daily about three times this week, and I've only made it two months. This makes the 64th post because I had a couple of bonus posts thrown in there for kicks when I was feeling flush. This week has been a struggle. I've been grumpy and nothing has seemed all that post worthy.

I don't like to be a quitter, but man, it's getting more difficult.

The only thing that's kept me going is that I am excited that more and more people have been finding my blog. I'm also a little disappointed because my bounce rate has been high. Until two weeks ago, I didn't even know what bounce rate was.

Bounce rate means something got someone to the blog, like a specific search term, and when they got here, they realized it was not what they expected. They bounced or left immediately and didn't stick around to check things out.

I think my catchy titles are the culprit. Also, I steal a lot of the images from Google Images, and I think that sometimes leads them here. I know it leads me to their pages so I suspect I am bouncing of other people's blogs the same way.

Just last week I discovered Google Analytics which is totally cool and awesome and depressing all at the same time. It's free. You register your blog and they analyze your blog traffic six ways to Sunday. I am not naturally analytic but I sure do like to see where, how and what people are doing when they come to my blog. Don't worry, there's no specific information. I can't tell who you are.

I've learned a lot about blogs and blog traffic this past week. More than you'll probably ever want to know. My post last week, The Helpful Gene, is really getting lots of page views. My all time most viewed though is still A Penny Saved... I think folks find it and think it's a way to get through these hard economic times. Not so much really, it's actually about my first car and Grace's efforts to save for one of her own.

One thing I would like to start doing is taking more of my own pics for the posts. I think that might cut down on the random bouncing. Honestly, I don't know if I'll make it an entire year. I'm getting squishy. Right now, another entire month seems pretty impossible.

Feel free to offer up topics if you are so inclined, because frankly, I could use the help.

These would be your rock days my friend.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Spring? Here's A Sign.

The girls were busy this past weekend. I'm optimistic that this means they have made it through the winter again. I hope this also means they are ready to get to making me some more honey for this year.

I haven't opened up the hive to inspect things yet, but this was a goodly bunch of bees hanging out on the front porch, so that's usually a good sign. Either they are ready to go or these girls are robbing my hive.

We'll see in a few weeks when I break into it and check them out. I don't like to break their waxy weather proofing until it has warmed up for good and true outside.

My honey from last year has already sugared up but that's okay. I think it was just too cool in the bottom of the pantry for it. I just warmed up a jar, stirred it and we are enjoying the first jar of last year's harvest.

Good things come from small packages.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Mad About March

Dear Television Executives:

I have some March madness, but it's not what you would likely expect.

I could care less about basketball. What I do care about are my weekly shows. You know, the ones I'm addicted to. The ones that YOU hooked me on. The ones that now produce less and less episodes each year, take a month long break over Christmas and then the entire month of March off for BASKETBALL.

Seriously, who doesn't have a DVR now? Practically everyone. Okay, maybe not my friends Leslie and Ron or the Amish, but otherwise, EVERYONE. And if not a DVR then they probably still have a VHS recorder. The point is, bring my shows back. We can watch both if we are so inclined. Your viewing audience will not be diminished.

Probably it's just that you don't want us fast forwarding through your precious commercials. Well guess what, I do that each week anyway and instead of instilling loyalty in me, you are only instilling anger. Deep. Seated. Anger. Trust me, you won't like me when I'm angry.

You have perfected the season finale cliffhanger. This year you sprang the mid-season finale cliffhanger on me. What the heck? Seriously? How long did you sit around the mahogany board room table brainstorming up that idea? I have enough stress in my life. I do not need multiple or mid-season cliffhangers. I need consecutive, well written weekly episodes. I would like twenty six of them. A full six months.

I also do not care for the filler episodes. Just develop the characters and their relationships, expand the plot and lay out the story each week. Do not flash forward, back or sideways. If you do flash forward, back or sideways, do not do more than one of them in the same episode. It makes my brain hurt. I also do not care for it when you drop my characters into some bizarre time warp and suddenly they are all 1940's gangsters or some other ridiculous indulgence.

I know you have more money than God. Use it wisely. Create cooler effects. Shoot your entire show in HD or 3D or some other mind blowing D. Just don't travel there. It's too confusing. 

Once you have actually produced and aired twenty six fabulous episodes, then you can break out the new stuff on me. I'll see if you measure up. I'll decide if you are 'Record Series' worthy. My DVR space and free time are limited. You had better bring it.

Since you already have basketball on the brain, think of your work as the playoffs of television. Each series is a team. Each episode is a game. The season finale is the playoff.

Right now, you are playing disabled and you are way, way behind. You had better use this time of rehabilitation to the utmost, my friend. Otherwise, when you do come back, you might find you have lost some of your fan base. If you give us a chance to realize we might actually be able to find more productive things to do than watch hours of television, we might fall out of love with you.

That would be very, very sad for you.

Next year, I hope you reconsider.

Yours truly,

A fan.

Belle Eats Bubbles

Here is your video entertainment for the day. Grace busted out the bubbles last night and Belle joined in. That's some good clean entertainment right there. Bryon and Gary were playing trackball off screen and the chickens were in the peanut gallery.

First shorts and flip flops of spring.