January 30, 2012

Dear Blogger.....where is MY bling? (or....the one where I post a blatant cry for help in hopes that SOMEONE at Blogger is listening)

So first you throw this no more Google Friends thing at us (which I am NOT happy about; a fact which you have obviously  ignored) and now apparently, you have a nifty new feature.  It's called threaded commenting....or something like that.

I first noticed it on Sunday over at Jerry's blog, Gently Said, and I wanted it.  Immediately.  Never mind the fact that I often don't play with my new features once they are out of the box.  I wanted it.  I NEEDED it.

I figured THIS would be the solution to those that comment but don't have their email connected (OR their blog linked - seriously? HOW do you expect to gain traffic if you don't at least have your profile linked?  Am I right?  Some of you are WordPressinians and your system is different.  To you I give a pass (just barely), but to the Blogger users?  You better have a darn good reason, dammit *stamps foot* to NOT have your blog linked - I can *almost* understand the email thing, but the lack of blog-linkage is inexcusable) so I can't respond unless I coerce or bribe them into giving me their email so I can bypass the whole noreply-comment@blogger.com thing.

So I fired off an email to Jerry with a list of demands questions about it.  And waited.  When he replied, I was downcast, but not deterred.

He informed me that this was a new Blogger feature and that one day it was *just there.*  WHAT?!  It wasn't *just there* for me!  So I did a little digging.  Do this, change that and viola!  THERE should be your threaded comments.....except they weren't.

I got nothing.  I am not happy, Blogger.  I WANT the shiny, new features (whether I utilize them or not) to "bling" my blog.

I read something about how this shiny, new feature may not work with "custom" templates....but, but, I DON'T have a custom template (insert whiny voice)!  Ever since my custom template got hacked I've stayed true to YOU; I've only used your Blogger-blessed template....so where is my shiny, new feature, huh?  What's a girl got to do to get this feature?  I've been ALL OVER the web looking for a solution (okay, okay, not ALL OVER the web, but I HAVE looked) and I got nothing.  So come on, Blogger, help a girl out....fix my problem and I'll love you forever, I promise.

And friends?  If any of you have a solution, I'll love YOU even more....especially if it doesn't involve html....or you can explain it in Gigi-ese....which basically means do it for me, pretty please.

January 27, 2012

Things I've Never Done (or....The post that took three days to craft; oh my hell, these things are hard!)

I blatantly stole this idea from Julie....but to be fair, I told her I would probably steal it....so technically it ISN'T stealing....even though she stole it from someone else, who stole it from someone else and so on....so maybe it is stealing....kinda, sorta, in a way....but not in a way that makes me liable....I think.

I also could have stolen most of her list (since we are so much alike) but I figured that would be going too far.....so without further ado here is my list.

I'm *cough, cough* 29 years old (oh, be quiet.  And NO, I will NOT produce my birth certificate to prove it; you are just going to have to trust me!) and these are the things I've never done

1.  I've never worn my wedding dress (I bought it....I just never wore it.  What can I say?  Meddlesome mother, obstinate daughter.  That pretty much sums it up.)

2.  I've never been out of the country...ever.  Not even to Mexico - which was *right* there when I lived in Texas - but I do have this on my "bucket" list because there are so many places I want to go.  And my husband?  Well, he can suck it because I don't need him as a traveling companion.

3.  I have never been to Disney (I know!) but considering my husband I may never get there unless I arrange a "girls only" trip with my girlfriends (IF I ever have any extra money again and yes, you can all denigrate him now for being a stick in the mud).

4.  I have never been on a cruise (again, I know! And yes, once again this is all hubby's fault.  Hmmm, I'm sensing a theme emerging....)

5.  I have never read War and Peace.  And have no desire to - it looks extremely boring and heavy.

6.  I have never owned an animal.  Seems like a lot of work to me and believe me, the two animals I live with are more than enough work to keep me occupied (although....we did have that fish - the one that had apparently lived forever before it was given to Man-Child...wherein it promptly died after someone over-fed it.  Man-Child should be thanking his lucky stars that he is still alive).

7.  I have never not been a reader (except maybe before I could, you know, actually read).  I love reading.  I love to lose myself in a good story.  And I love the fact that my son loves to read.  I may actually be *that* person that will buy books for children as a gift to encourage reading (although to be truthful, I do usually buy them a "real" gift too - you know, so they don't think of me as *that* person.....)

(holy cow!  This list thing is harder than I thought!)

8.  I have never been able to see clearly.  Apparently, before it was discovered that I am blind as a bat, I walked around in a daze running into things.  I've worn glasses/contacts FOREVER and would consider Lasik except I looked the procedure up on the web (damn my insatiable need to read!) and scared myself silly.  So I figure I'll be wearing contacts forever.  In fact, I think I will put it in my will that the mortician put my contacts in when I "go" so that I can see what is what on the other side.

9.  I have never met a blog friend in real life.  This is also on my "bucket" list and totally do-able, I think (look out Julie, I'm figuring you will be my easiest "meet" since surely I'll be able to make it home for a visit before I die).

10.  I've never had surgery (thank God!  Oh wait!  Does oral surgery count?  I'm thinking "no" since they sent me home right after - which totally freaked Hubby out.  Apparently, they handed me over to him as I was still coming down from the anesthesia and he was afraid I'd keel over on his watch; what with the twitching and drooling and all).

11.  I've never had a (diagnosed) broken bone (although, I suspect that my brother broke my tail bone when we were kids - but it seemed to have fixed itself; except when I occasionally have odd twinges.  When that happens I TOTALLY curse my brother).

12.  I've never had anything waxed (sounds really painful!).

13.  I've never had to potty-train a girl.....

(yes, I'm reaching now)

14.  I've never had Cheerwine.  I don't care if it does have the word "wine" in the name - it's not something that appeals to me.  And no, I don't care if it IS a locally distributed soda - it still does not appeal.

15.  I've never had coleslaw on a barbecue sandwich or hamburger (we discovered this little gem after being here for about two days - ICK).  I'm sorry....coleslaw grosses me out.  Also, apologies to my Texas readers - I know that you consider barbecue to be beef.  But here it is pork, apparently with coleslaw ON it (I know! ICK!).  I can never remember which kind we have here - but I think it is the Lexington style and it is quite tasty.....if you don't put coleslaw on it (which I discovered after about 14 years of living here).

16.  I have never watched an episode of the Kardashians or the Real Housewives of Where-ever.  Nope, not once.

17.  I have never been arrested (again, thank God!  Although....there was that one time when a girlfriend and I snuck out to meet some guys and we were "detained" because we fit the description of two girls that were with some guys who robbed a convenience store....which, as it turns out, were the very same guys we were supposed to be meeting - hey, don't judge, I never said I made SMART choices when I was in high school.  I waited until I was older for that).

18.  I have never sent a child off to college (but it appears that I will be crossing this one off the list quite soon, as Man-Child has been accepted to every school he applied to....someone hold me as I sob uncontrollably and laugh with joy for him at the same time.)

19.  I have never gone to college (technically - sure I've taken a few classes, or I may have attended a Defensive Driving class at the local college [to get out of a ticket...*cough, cough*] - but that doesn't count).  But I'm thinking I may have to enroll....in the same school as Man-Child.....what?!  It could be classified as bonding, right?

20. I have never not finished a book I was reading...no matter how terrible (oh wait....there was that one, it was so bad I can't even remember the name or what it was about, so that one doesn't count).

21.  I have never been in a real photo-shoot....I'm thinking those family portrait-type things don't count....right?

22.  I have never been on television; although Man-Child and Hubby have appeared in a televised "snippet" once; while I stood off to the side and pretended I didn't know them, so I wouldn't accidentally get sucked in.

(can this get any harder?!  Holy cow, there is a MILLION things I've never done.  Why am I drawing a blank here?)

23.  I have never been good at math.  When confronted with any type of math problem, no matter how simplistic, I freeze up.  Literally.  Man-Child finds it quite humorous.  I can still recall, with much clarity, sitting at the table, sobbing, as my father tried his damnedest to patiently help me with my 3rd grade math homework.  Obviously, it never sunk in. Which begs the question, just who will be working on the finance-part of this going-to-college-deal?  Not me, obviously!  But after watching Hubby freak out over it last night, I'm thinking Man-Child might be the best choice for doing that....and our taxes.  What could go wrong with having a 17 year old as our "financial" adviser?

24.  I have never been happy about waking up to an alarm clock (but really?  Has any of us? Granted, these days I "automatically" get up early - but I place the blame squarely on the alarm clock for having "trained" my body to do that).

25.  I have never been a morning person.  Despite the fact that I tend to get up early now, I am NOT a person to talk to in the morning.  I need, at the bare minimum, at least a cup and a half of coffee before I am willing to deal with whatever you have to say to me; even if it is just "good morning".  Which explains why my alarm clock is set to go off so early.....so I can get caffeinated enough to deal with whatever the day has to throw at me; which lately?  Really?  I need more coffee.

26.  I have never loved dealing with laundry.  Any aspect of it (I know you are all nodding in agreement - because the truth of the matter is this - laundry sucks).  Laundry is one of those chores that has to be done but no matter how many times you do it, it is NEVER done!  Every single time you think, "THERE! It is DONE!"  That is when you will notice that it has started piling up in the basket....AGAIN.  It is a never ending cycle....literally.

27.  I have never seen a blue corn moon (just what in the hell is that anyway? I guess I need to Google it).

28.  And the last thing that I've never done - finished a list in its entirety.  Why?  Because, apparently these things are too damn hard....and pretty much endless....kinda like laundry.

January 19, 2012

Guess what today is?

My twenty-first wedding anniversary.

Guess who forgot - completely and totally?


Not hubby.

That would be me.  The VERY bad wife.

*sigh*  Apparently, this will be my MO for the year.  So far, I've forgotten, not one but TWO of my very good friend's birthdays.  And now this.  The shame, the shame.

This kind of behavior from a woman who, not so very long ago, could recite - in order - every birthday or event to be celebrated for the entire year.  I hang my head in shame.  I've GOT to pull it together.

I could say that my life is soooo hectic and chaotic that I simply can't remember EVERYTHING.  But, in truth?  It's not.  Lately, it's been rather quiet.

Maybe my mind is just in chaos?  Yeah, I think that is what I'll go with....I've had far too much on my mind to remember it all.

But just in case it doesn't cut it in the excuse department, someone PLEASE remind me that I have an important birthday of (another) dear friend to remember next month.....if I could only recall the day....

Dammit.  It IS going to be a year of missed events.


January 18, 2012

A "grown-up" post, of sorts, where I give you my point of view....which, as usual, has me riding the fence

My thoughts on SOPA/PIPA.....

Obviously, I haven’t read the legislation so I can’t comment on whether or not I believe the language is too broad or not (it should be noted, that on this topic - as on most others - I only know enough to be dangerous.  You've been warned).

But the purpose and intent behind this bill is a noble one.

To stop copyright infringement – mainly targeting illegal downloading of movies and music – which doesn’t seem like a big deal….if you are the recipient of the “free” (illegal) content.  But to the owner of that content, it IS a big deal.

Think about it this way; say you are cruising about on the Internet and come across a website where someone has taken your words – the very ones you slaved over – and is making money off your content…..and you, the author, are not only NOT receiving royalties; you are also not receiving credit….for YOUR work.  Or, you find a photograph that you have taken - posted elsewhere without your permission….again, you aren’t receiving credit or cash for YOUR work.  Now, I ask you, is that fair?  Of course, it isn’t.  

That, my friends, is piracy.  And that is wrong; very wrong.

Obviously, most bloggers have a problem with people taking our work; since most of us have some type of language on our blogs telling people not to steal our stuff.  I should note here, that most of us don't mind if we are linked to another blog, mainly because at least we are getting credit for the words we wrote (not to mention any possible traffic that comes our way), but we DO mind when someone just takes what we wrote as their own.

Am I against censorship?  Yes, of course, I am.  Is this bill headed toward censorship?  I don’t know.  Possibly.  I know that as it stands, if this were to pass, as is, theoretically a piece of mine could be blocked from the internet in the United States if I include a link to say, a YouTube video and that source contains copyrighted content.

Am I against piracy? Yes.  Without a doubt, I am.  And whether it’s an amended version of this bill, or a complete new one, something needs to be done about the rampant piracy on the internet.

Google and all the other tech companies that are complaining have a point – to a degree. There shouldn’t be a total lockdown, but at the same time website owners need to take responsibility for what is on their site.  If they receive a complaint, they need to take it seriously.

Some currently do take it seriously when they are contacted and informed that there is illegal content on their site and remove the offending content immediately.  Others?  Not so much.  Their attitude is, “Well, I can’t control what users do” and some even go so far as to put language to that effect in their Terms of Service.  And that is where the problem really lies. 

If it is your website, you really do need to take responsibility.  Period. 

Piracy is a problem….a big problem – and not just for Hollywood, it is also a problem for companies large and small, it is a problem for photographers, writers (that includes bloggers) and anyone else who works hard to craft their “product.” 

So far, this article at the Huffington Post seems to offer the clearest answer to what this means to the blogger (that is you and me).

The creation of the internet has enabled us to freely share information and communicate with people worldwide.  That shouldn't stop.  But the piracy does.

So somehow, we have to find that middle ground.

Since I've written this, I've read accounts that say these most likely will not pass as our lawmakers have heard us loud and clear....but, dammit, I've slaved over these words - so I'm posting them anyway.

Back to the regularly scheduled and discombobulated posts tomorrow....or maybe the next day.....or maybe next week.....or....oh hell, who knows when (we all know how sporadic I've been lately).

And if the formatting is off kilter - it's all Blogger's fault.  Every time I preview it, the formatting is different.  So Blogger?  Get your stuff together....because seriously?  I like my formatting to work properly....thank you.

January 12, 2012

How to make yourself look like a blithering idiot to the IT department....and your bosses.

Let me explain....

Technically, I work for three and one half lawyers (the half one is a lawyer - but he's at the very bottom of the totem pole and rarely asks for anything).  As I work for three and one half people, I have access to all their calendars to keep them on track....theoretically....especially since one particular lawyer sometimes doesn't share the information in his head with me OR his calendar; but that's a story for another day.

My company has recently upgraded all of our systems and as a result, our calendaring system is quite different from the way it had been for YEARS.....as in the last ten....give or take a decade or so.

It has been taking some getting used to while looking at them.

Today, I was asked by Lawyer #1 to schedule a meeting.  So I looked at his calendar and saw that the whole day he was asking about was completely free.  So I booked the meeting.  Good.  All is right with the world.

Now, generally, I book all meetings through MY calendar so that I can get alarms about the meetings so I can  gently remind the one or two lawyers that might "forget" where they are supposed to go.  For whatever reason, I booked this particular appointment through his calendar.

A few minutes later, I went into my calendar and noticed that there was already a meeting scheduled for that particular time on MY calendar FOR him at the same time as the meeting I'd just scheduled.  So I clicked over to his calendar to see where I'd missed it.  That meeting wasn't on the calendar - only the one I'd just booked was.

In the back of my head, I vaguely remembered this particular lawyer complaining that his computer and his Blackberry weren't synching and that appointments weren't showing up on one or the other.  The reason I say vaguely is because, for once, he didn't get me involved and dealt with it himself.

So my first thought was that something was up with his computer again (as a result of clicking on those virus-laden links maybe?!).  So I did what any rational, sane human being would do - I called the Help Desk.

In a panic.....because ESPECIALLY with this lawyer, I need to be on top of that calendar.

I informed them that something was very, very, VERY wrong and that some of this lawyer's appointments weren't showing up on my screen.  This needed to be fixed ASAP!

She asked exactly what I was looking for and told me she'd get one of the techs to look into it and call me back.  Meanwhile, I began frantically re-scheduling the less important meeting.

Eventually she called me back.

Only to inform me that the reason I couldn't see the appointment was because I'd scheduled it for the following Friday......and that I was looking at THIS Friday's calendar.

And THAT is how I have now become the laughingstock of the IT department....and made one of my bosses think I'd completely lost my mind for randomly re-scheduling meetings for no good reason.

I'm thinking I need a vacation already.

January 10, 2012

The Help (oh my, is this was a hard one to read/see/review)

My newest addition to Books I Love Enough to Tell You About is The Help by Katheryn Stockett.

What can I say?  I LOVED this book - in fact there is a neck and neck tie between it and 11/22/63 (which seriously?  You NEED to read!  Man-Child is currently reading it and loving every single minute of it - so I am getting to enjoy it all over again by discussing it with him) going on right now since I honestly can't say which I loved more; although I love each for different reasons.  So maybe it's like having more than one kid?  You love them equally but differently?  Since I only have the one child I can't attest that that is actually how it works; but that's what I've heard.....at least that's what my mom used to tell me when pressed as to which kid she loved more (it was me, I KNOW it).

I saw the movie awhile back (remember?) and mentioned that I REALLY needed to see it again.  Well, I never really got around to it.  Or to reading the book, for that matter.

So when Christmas rolled around and Hubby started hounding asking me what I wanted, I mentioned the only thing that I could think of which was the book (and the movie).  And bless his little heart, he came through (and then some).

I am now the proud owner of both the book and the movie.  I made him sit and watch the movie with me the other day and he actually enjoyed the movie (and was as repulsed and offended as I was about parts of it.  In fact, he kept mentioning it the next day - it really disturbed him) so much I even tweeted/facebooked it....

See what kind of action you are missing out if you don't tweet or Facebook with me?
Exciting, I KNOW!

This is a hard book/movie to watch/read/review.  It is not just a "regular chick flick/lit" - when I say it rips your heart out - it really does.

Besides showing what bitches some women can be - it tears back a veil and shows you how EVIL some people are at their core.  It is a heartbreaking - yet uplifting - story.  It shows you that although people may come from different backgrounds - different races even - that in the grand scheme of things we are women (or men) and as the author mentioned "Wasn't that the point of the book?  For women to realize, We are just two people.  Not that much separates us.  Not nearly as much as I'd thought." (the author's quote of her favorite line in the book).

This story - told mainly from the perspective of the maids of white women in the 60's - shows you the true strength of friendship and what can happen when you take that bold step.  It reminds you that we can accomplish so much more when we band together.  It reminds you that despite the claim, women really ARE the stronger sex....despite a few evil bitches that are trying to spoil the batch (you know...rotten apple spoils the barrel analogy?  Am I making any sense here?)

I just finished this book last night and told my husband, with tears in my eyes, that it was the BEST Christmas present EVER.  Too which, he responded with......

"Good.  It cost enough."

Damn him!

It WAS worth it.  And just for that - I'm going to make him watch the movie again!

January 3, 2012

Pity Party? Party of one? Now seating, Pity Party?

Yup, that might be me.

Today was my first day back at work....after being off for 19 days.

Oh, don't get me wrong.  I was ready to go back.  I mean.....really?  Nineteen whole days home....with both Hubby and Man-Child.....(well, technically, it was only about 13 1/2 days with Man-Child .... but still!).

But I'm thinking the "Powers That Be" should have eased us back in.  You know, had us come in around 10:00 am and leave around 3:00 pm; with a two hour lunch in between.

But no.  We were thrown back into our old routines (and to the wolves, some of us were); without any preparation.

And this is (probably) what had me awake at 3:30 am.  I think I was afraid I'd miss the alarm clock.

Or it was Hubby creeping into bed so very, very late (I don't blame him.  He's been extremely stressed and he doesn't sleep well on a good day, never mind when he's stressed).

I tried and tried - in vain, I might add - to go back to sleep...to no avail.  Finally around 4:30 am I gave up and got up.

I felt fine - for a while.  And then "it" began to hit.

The tiredness; despite the copious amounts of coffee that had been consumed.

Despite the fact that it wasn't even light out yet or that I hadn't even got dressed.  From that point on, I knew it would be a long day.

But.... OY VEY!  I had no idea what I was in for (although past lengthy vacations should have clued me in - except, apparently, vacations are like childbirth in that you supposedly forget)?

When I finally got to work this morning; by desk was COVERED in paper and random boxes.  And by COVERED  I mean COVERED.  There wasn't an inch of desktop to be seen.

Then I booted up the old computer.....OH MY HELL!  My email had EXPLODED!  And?  Apparently, each and every one was URGENT!!!

Including the virus-loaded one that my Big Boss forwarded to me - the one he couldn't open or respond to.....(has he learned NOTHING from me in the past year that I've been working for him?!); which was immediately followed by one from our friendly IT folks warning us NOT to open any emails from xyz.com.


Happy New Year.  I don't care that it's not even 8:00 pm; I'm going to bed.

January 1, 2012

What happened on Wednesday

Yes, I realize that Wednesday was four days ago but I've been....erm....."busy."

I've been reading (A LOT) and working on a 1,000 piece puzzle, which I must admit I tend to get a teensy bit obsessed with finishing one once I've started (and I just finished the damn thing yesterday and wouldn't you know it; a piece is missing!) and since I haven't exactly had any time to myself or privacy since both guys have been under my feet Every. Single. Minute. I haven't found the time to blog.  I've written several in my mind (and immediately forgot about them) - does that count?

But, finally I have a few minutes AND an exciting story to share.  Well, I guess exciting is not the right word....more like...harrowing.  Yes, that's a more apt description.

On Wednesday, I'd had enough.  I needed to get out of the house and the guys needed to get out of the house.  We were all kind of bored and I determined that we needed a family activity.  So I decided we should go bowling.

Hubby and I were having fun - Man-Child?  Well, let's just say he was being "moody" and because he wasn't "winning" he was getting "moodier" by the minute.  I was seriously considering lobbing a bowling ball at his head to show him that things could be worse.  Funny, how his mood changed instantly upon receiving a phone call.  A phone call that was an invitation to go play soccer at an indoor field - thus relieving him of spending any more time with his loving parents.  We decided to let him go; after we finished up the game.  He was practically giddy as he hurled the ball down the lane on his last turns.  It's also funny, how much his game improved as his mood did....

It was determined that we would meet his friend at the school parking lot - since MC obviously takes after me and has the inability to tell you where to go if he hasn't actually driven there himself - and that his friend would drive him home after the game.  With that task accomplished, Hubby and I prepared to head home.

Hubby had asked me to drive us home in his behemoth truck.  Let me be clear - I don't like driving the behemoth truck.  My car is a little Toyota.  Me and that Toyota are perfectly sized for each other.  That truck and I?  Not so much.

At any rate, I climbed into the driver's seat (seriously, I have to climb) and pulled the seat up as far as it would go and with me looking like a little old lady peering through the steering wheel, we took off.  With me afraid that I was going to clip every car we passed (on both sides) with the side mirrors.  Seriously, this truck takes up the whole lane it resides in.

As we merged onto the interstate and picked up speed, I observed a police car sitting on the shoulder - so I checked my speed and was assured that I hadn't been speeding; but as we passed the police car, I automatically checked my rearview mirror (as those of us who may have been guilty of speeding tend to do) to make sure he wasn't coming after me anyway.

When I looked, I didn't see that particular police car - but I saw a whole cadre of them in the distance and closing in - I briefly wondered if it was some sort of procession - but before I could begin to articulate this occurrence to Hubby I noticed a white car shoot past me on the right (on the SHOULDER of the road) and FLY down the road; weaving in and out of traffic.  At that point, Hubby realized what was going on and told me to pull over.

As I did, I noticed that the shoulder was made up of "rumble strips" and had a hard time keeping the truck under control - which makes me wonder how that little car had been able to keep it under control going at speeds that surely exceeded 90 miles per hour.

About the time I pulled over and came to a stop, five or six police cars whooshed by us in hot pursuit.

We just sat there with our jaws on the floor.  Had that little car lost control - as it careened over the rumble strips doing well over 90 while it was passing us by mere inches we would have been toast - as would they.  We also took a moment to be grateful that MC and his friends weren't on the highway - the indoor field they were headed to was just down the street from the school.

Upon arriving home, we checked the news stations and the internet to see what had happened.  Because surely, we figured, there had been a major collision - because just a few miles ahead - the bypass and the interstate merge becoming six lanes of traffic.  We found nothing.  We checked and checked all evening and never heard a word.

Late that night, Hubby found an article that referenced it.  Apparently, there was a pair of armed robbers in that car and they were fleeing.

It wasn't until yesterday that we finally got the whole story.  The police called the chase off, right around where the merge is because of concerns about the high speed of the chase and the thickening traffic.

They did find the individuals later in the day and they have all been arrested, thank God.  It constantly amazes me how some people have absolutely no regard for others and their safety.  But then these particular people obviously have no regard for anything other than themselves.

On another note - Happy New Year to you all.  I appreciate each and every one of you - you have all made my life richer in so many ways.  I wish nothing but the best for you in the coming days.