Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pish Posh Challenge - Week 4

We have entered into the fourth week of the Pish Posh 8 Week Challenge. Which means we are half way there. The other people participating are tackling a number of challenges. Some have weight loss goals. One is trying to quit smoking. Some are trying to reduce stress. My challenge was a writing challenge. I decided to try to improve my writing by doing it more often and since I publicly declared that I would post five times per week, I had to do it.

I never actually threw my computer.
This is the end of the fourth week and I have kept up the pace so far. However, it has been much more difficult this week than the first three. A frantically busy schedule and extra stress restricted both my time and creativity. I had several nights when I just didn't want to write and dreaded picking up my laptop, but this is why I entered the challenge. Having stated that I would do this and posting it on Pish Posh's blog gave me the extra incentive needed to get it done.

Here are my posts for the past week. Click the links to read the posts.  

I'm Ready To Move
I wrote about the kids in my neighborhood that want my attention so bad, they come into my house if I don't keep the doors locked.

I Am Now A Neighborhood Threat
I had a run in with the local police department.

Can I Trade This Month For Another One?
My pouty post for the week. I was having a bad day and had nothing else to write about. So I poured it out into my blog.

A New Day
After one day of feeling sorry for myself, I felt much better and the sun began to shine again.

I haven't put the care into my blog as some people have, but I am so grateful that I started doing this two years ago. I love my blog and kind of consider it my baby. I love crafting the words and deciding what I will be writing about next. I have also learned a lot since I started. Here are some of my tips for beginning bloggers.

  1. Find your own voice. You have a way you tell a story and that is the way it should be told. Don't try to copy someone else's style. It always comes out forced and doesn't sound genuine. Since your stories are your own, tell them your way.

  2. Visit other blogs. There is a variety of reasons for this. Other blogs can inspire your own writing. Plus, there are wonderful people out there who are sharing their lives and talents with the world.

  3. Leave comments on other blogs. This not only let's the person know you appreciate what they wrote, but it starts a dialogue. Ask the author a question. Offer an opposing viewpoint (politely). Expand on the idea being presented. Leaving these comments also leaves a trail on the internet back to your blog. My traffic increased greatly when I started making an appearance on other sites.

  4. Respond to comments left on your posts. This helps to keep the dialogue going, shows your readers that you appreciate their visit and is a step toward forming friendships. I have several people who I have never met that I consider to be friends. I regularly show up at their blog or they come to mine. Often, it's both. I have a few dozen people who I am determined to meet at some point.

  5. Turn off that stupid CAPTCHA.
    I hate that thing. It is so frustrating to have to punch in a code after leaving a comment. Some of them are almost impossible to read and I have lost my comment on many occasions when I typed in the wrong code. After a few failed attempts, I generally just move on. Leaving a comment should be easy. You shouldn't have to strain your eyes to make out warped letters.

  6. Participate in writing groups. This will introduce you to other writers and helps them to get to know you and your writing as well. Several good ones are Studio 30 Plus, Write on Edge and Dude Write. These groups along with many others sometimes offer writing prompts to challenge yourself.

  7. Be willing to get a little personal. I am not suggesting that there shouldn't be any discretion, but it's OK to be real. No one wants to read about someone who whines all the time, but it is acceptable to talk about some of your struggles. It is especially helpful once you've gained a loyal audience who is more than happy to leave encouraging comments. Plus, your readers will be happy to get to know you a little better as a real person.

  8. Proofread and edit before posting.
    Mistakes happen sometimes. Misspelled words and bad sentence structure will occasionally find their way in. (Note the dangling participle in the previous sentence.)  Occasional errors are fine and hardly even noticeable, but when there are several spelling mistakes in a single paragraph, it distracts from the writing. 
This is a not a definitive list by any means. No research has gone into coming to these conclusions. It is just a compilation of some of the things I have come to learn since I started this blog. I will surely put this list into practice as I tackle the last four weeks of the challenge.

Friday, September 28, 2012

A New Day

YAY!!!   I made it!!!
What a difference a day makes. If you read yesterday's post, then you know I was not in the best of moods. I had a really rough month and the pressure was building. Today brought an end to some of it. The problems are not solved, but knowing that part of it is behind me has lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. Thank you to everyone who offered encouragement.

Now that the weight is gone and I feel like I am floating. I have the ability to look around and see what good the world has to offer. I remember that the world isn't such a terrible place and it can even be enjoyed.

This is the temperament I usually have. I am an upbeat, happy person. I love to laugh and have fun. It is really rare when I get in one of those low, depressed moods. It is amazing how I can look at the world as if there is no hope when I was so happy a few days before. I snap back out of it just as quickly. I almost can't believe where I was yesterday. It really makes me feel for the people who deal with real depression. It's an awful feeling and I only get the occasional taste of it.

Despite the better mood, I don't feel that I really have anything to write about, but it did feel good to get these words out. This has been the first week since starting the Pish Posh Challenge that I've had trouble writing each day. Hopefully with the bad mood behind me, the creativity will start flowing again.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Can I Trade This Month For Another One?

Life sucks right now. It really does. I am not depressed or in a stupor, but things have just not been going my way for the last couple of months.

I'm done!
Before I get into this, I want to make it clear that not everything sucks. I'm caught up on my bills. I have a wonderful daughter. I have a fantastic girlfriend that I am very grateful to have met this year and I am doing well in school. Despite these positive things, life shouldn't have to be this hard. The perks of being a grown up are highly overrated.

First is my school. I was so happy with the school from which I got my Bachelor's degree. They offered immediate assistance with any issues that arose. My counselors were wonderful at staying on top of my classes to ensure that I was on schedule with graduation. They offered substitutions when changes arose and did their best to enable me to concentrate on my studies.

I am now working on my Master's at a new school and spend as much time fighting with the administration as I do studying. Last semester I almost didn't get my funding since the school policy does not allow a student to sign up for a class until they pass the one before it. My scholarship required a minimum number of hours to receive the money. The school policy made it appear that I wouldn't be taking enough hours to qualify. I had to drive over seventy miles to the campus to get a face to face meeting in order to fix this issue.

I also moved one hundred miles to a new town in order to be closer to one of the campuses offering the classes once I couldn't take any more online classes. This semester was the first time I would have to actually go to a classroom. They decided to cancel classes on that campus, so now I have to drive almost two hours.

They also keep cancelling classes and rescheduling them for other semesters. These changes have thrown off my graduation date and will continue to do so. I have no idea when I will graduate at this rate. I was only able to get five hours completed in the entire first year due to their incompetence. Since I need 87 hours to graduate, this is not acceptable. I will be searching for a new college at the end of this semester.

The second major cause of my stress is my job (or lack of). Two months ago, I quit a job to accept work with a new business opening in town. The following week, the place was not ready to open yet. After two weeks of no pay I started working, but there was no business. Since the company made no money, there were no funds to even give me a paycheck.

The boss promised he would pay when business started picking up, but in the meantime he didn't want me to keep working for free. I left and started picking up odd jobs here and there to keep the bills paid. Without a steady income, this was not an easy task. I did not get another job, because I believed the business would get going and there is a substantial paycheck involved once it actually gets off the ground.

I just started working again this week and am supposed to get paid at the end of the week (including the money owed from last month). However, I no longer have a lot of faith that this company will be stable. I just got hired at another job which will pay significantly less, but will provide guaranteed money every week.

I haven't provided many of the additional details that make this such a difficult decision because I am trying not to slander anyone or give away the places I am talking about to any of my readers that are local. The stress of this decision has weighed heavily on my mind all week as the weekend approaches and I have to pick one or the other.

I hate to walk away from the amount of money that is being offered, but I am not sure that the money will actually be there. If I take the lower paying job, I will have the security of knowing I have a paycheck every week, but will be kicking myself a few months from now if the first company takes off.

I am ready to have all this behind me. I realize this is just part of life. It sucks. Then it gets better. Then it sucks again.

I understand that life may be wonderful a year from now. Hopefully, in just a couple of weeks. At this point in my post, I usually try to have a nice little wrap up, but I don't have one right now.

Thank you for joining me in my little pity party. I will offer something more positive tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I Am Now A Neighborhood Threat

I have a nightly ritual. Every night before going to bed, I make a phone call to Red. While on the phone, I take a walk around the neighborhood. The conversation may last anywhere from thirty to sixty minutes as I wander the streets. This occurrence is fascinating to many of my friends who know how much I usually despise talking on the phone.

Sunday night, we were reaching the end of our call and I was making my way back home. As I turned the last corner, I stepped to the side of the street to allow a slow moving police car to pass. The car slowed to a crawl as the officer looked me up and down. He stopped directly behind me and the officer got out of the car. I told Red, "I think I need to let you go. The cops are here." The officer was calling for my attention just as I was getting off the phone. Having worked with cops and knowing I hadn't done anything, I was not worried. However, I was suddenly aware of the large black hoodie that I was wearing.

Ever since Ted Kaczynski, hooded sweatshirts
bring this image to everyone's mind.

(removing my hood) "Yes, sir."

OFFICER: "Can you tell me where you were coming from?"

"Sure. I was coming from that end of the street headed to my house. It's right there."  

I pointed it out. I was about four houses away from mine.

OFFICER: "Were you over by the nursing home at any time tonight?"

"Yeah, about twenty minutes ago."

OFFICER: "One of the nurses said you were loitering in the parking lot looking in people's cars."

I started laughing as I shook my head and denied looking in cars. Although, I must admit that with my attire, I must look foreboding.

I spent a couple of years working dispatch at the sheriff's office and was familiar with these types of calls. Police get dozens of calls a night to check out suspicious persons that typically turn out to be nothing. This was one of those times.

I told him that for the last few months, I did this every night as I made my phone call. I talked on the phone and wandered around the neighborhood. At the end of my street is a dead end. It comes to an open field about the size of a city block. On the other side, is my church which shares a parking lot with a nursing home.

That night, the same as many other nights, I had walked across the field and paced in the parking lot while on the phone. Being a large open space, I walked the length of the lot back and forth several times as I talked. I guess it could be said that I had loitered there, but I was not looking in vehicles.

About the time I finished with my explanation, another officer pulled up and got out. Before I could stop myself, I blurted out, "I get two officers! COOL!" At this point, the first officer had already decided that I was not a threat, but the look the new one shot me abruptly reminded me that he did not know that yet.

Both officers were very professional and did a proper follow up by asking my name. I identified myself and followed it with mentioning that I worked at the sheriff's office for two years and even worked at the city police department (where these officers worked) for a month. At that point the first officer recognized me. I was free to go.

As I made my way back to the house, I was able to answer Red's text messages.

"Are you in trouble?"

"Why do the cops want to talk to you?"

I wasn't paying attention and missed the opportunity to have fun with that. Maybe next time.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I'm Ready to Move

I came home from church yesterday to find this on the street in front of my house.

I wanted to sneak a picture as he was riding around, but once he saw that I had my camera, he just rode up to me and wouldn't leave me alone. Since I wasn't mean enough to him and his sister, I became the center of everything they want to do while they were outside of their house.

Him and his older sister love me for some reason and I can't seem to get rid of them. These kids picnic in front of my house in the summertime. They knock on my door twenty times a day and occasionally even walk into my house without an invitation.

Despite everything I just said, they are not bad kids. They just seem to want all my attention at all times. However, tonight was different. When I got home from work, they ran up to my car and asked if I had anything 'interesting' to eat in my house.

"Don't you have anything interesting at your own house?"

"Nothing good."

"Not my problem. Go away!"

I hurried into my house to fix dinner before I ran out to pick up my daughter, but as soon as I shut the door they started knocking.

I chose to ignore them and hoped they would go away, but they opened my door and came in. After several minutes of me trying to get them to understand that it's rude to walk into people's homes and even ruder...(ruder? more rude? One of those) to not leave when told to, I finally got them out the door. If I knew their parents better I would have physically removed them.

Once I got them outside, I locked the door. They immediately started knocking and trying to turn the doorknob. I tried to ignore them, but they never stopped beating on the door and yelling for me to come out. These kids have been awful at taking hints in the past, but tonight was the worst I'd ever seen them. They didn't let up until I left thirty minutes later. I don't know what happened after that.

Tomorrow, I am going to the tractor supply store to purchase an electric fence. Have I ever said that I hate kids?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Pish Posh Challenge - Week 3

When I first started this blog, I didn't know where I was going to go with it. I didn't have in mind what it was going to be about or how often I was going to post. I simply intended to write.

I took me a little while to find my voice, but once I got comfortable with it the ideas started to flow much easier. I have really enjoyed this blog and intend to keep doing it for a long time. However, sometimes I get distracted by other things and the blog gets pushed to the side.

This not intentional. I just forget about it as I am doing other things. There were a few months last year when I only posted once the entire month. While I write more now than then, several times this year I have let a few weeks pass with getting back to the keyboard.

Everything I read tells me that one of the key practices to becoming a better writer is to write, write, write. This is why I knew exactly what I wanted to do when I saw that Pish Posh was doing her 8 WEEK CHALLENGE again. I challenged myself to post to my blog at least 5 times per week including the weekly link up back to her blog. So far, I have kept up the goal I set for myself.

Despite having made it, this week was a bit more difficult than last week. The neighborhood kids have been gathering sticks to place in front of my door. There are literally hundreds of sticks and twigs stacked two to three feet high every morning. Actually, I only assume it's the neighborhood kids and not some black magic curse from the witch down the street who hates me for calling her little demon child a little demon child. Earlier in the summer, after she shook her spatula wand at me, I started finding dead birds in my yard.

My week in review (click titles to go to post):

9-17  My First Love
I told the painful story of my first girlfriend and how she dumped me as soon as another guy showed her some attention...eight years later.

9-18  Irregardless, Let Me Acks You a Question
I begged the users of social media to make an attempt to use the written language in such a way that we can decipher it on the first attempt. I also had some words for people that have been exposed to one language their entire lives, but still don't know how to pronounce common words.

9-19  Happy Birthday to ME!!!
It was my birthday and I gave special acknowledgements to the bloggers that made it a little more special. I also shamelessly plugged my book. In, fact, I'll do it again. Click book cover (on right) to purchase ALL CRACKED UP.

9-20  Sign, Pole...MAILBOX!!!
My son used to drive me crazy in the car. This is the game I came up with to keep him from whining. He still whines today, but he's moved out and I can't hear it anymore.

Photo by Red
I've enjoyed the challenge these last few weeks. Knowing that I have to write keeps me more alert to search out topics to write about. I am always thinking about my next post and how to word it.

It drives my daughter nuts.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Sign, Pole ... MAILBOX!!!

What to do? What to do?
School has been in session for a month and I have been broke for that entire time. The money issue has recently been resolved, but I still have this cloud floating over my head. Since summer is over, it's time to settle in and get serious about life for a while. I haven't really had much of a choice. Between both my daughter's school schedule and my own, plus not having any money, we haven't done much. This isn't truly a bad thing, but I think the awesome summer I just had and the abrupt halt to all the fun is bringing the winter doldrums on early. I'm getting a little stir crazy.

I've been reflecting on past trips and remembering several taken when the kids were younger. It used to be our tradition to take a small trip every Saturday. We usually kept it under a hundred mile radius, but it was something fun to do on a weekend. However, having small children was often a challenge on car trips. They traveled well, but sometimes I had to come up with something to busy their minds.

One car game that lasted for several years was born out of madness one morning. I married Christian's mother when he was three years old and it took him and I a little while to hit it off. You can read about our rocky relationship here and here. One day, I was driving into town and he was doing what he usually did when we were alone in the car. He crawled out of his car seat and was curled up in a ball on the passenger side floor.

He cried about being hungry.

He cried that we weren't going to see Grandpa.

He cried about forgetting his favorite toy at home.

He cried because his shoe fell off.

This was one of those days that I was trying not to pull out my hair and chuck him through the window. I was stressed and could feel the tension mounting more and more as he found new things to whine about. I was biting through my lip as his most recent wail reached a pitch that caused the dogs we passed to start howling. Suddenly, I had an epiphany. Small children are stupid.

It couldn't be too hard to distract him despite his thinking his life was in shambles. I looked around in desperation for an idea. Then, I saw it on the road ahead and started pointing. "Look, Christian, a mailbox."

Christian paused mid-sob as he raised his snot encrusted face. "What?"

"Right there, on the side of the road. There's a mailbox. We have one of those."

He popped up into the seat to see what had me so excited. Once he saw it, he forgot what he was upset about and smiled.

"Oh, Christian, look. There's another one"

He pointed at it and laughed. I innocently asked, "I wonder if there's more."

Who knew they were so much fun?
For the next twenty minutes, we pointed out all the mailboxes we saw. I made sure to let him find several of them first since it wasn't his fault I was smarter and more observant than him. Later, when his mom was in the car, he kept pointing out the mailboxes to us. She didn't question it.

This became our regular routine when in the car together. It kept him busy and more importantly kept him in a much better mood. However, mailboxes aren't always as plentiful as I would have liked them to be. If we hit a stretch of highway with no houses, he would revert back to his whiny ways, so I added telephone poles and eventually signs.

Any type of sign would work. Billboards, stop signs and mile markers were all fair game. So, trips in our car sounded like this: SIGN, SIGN, POLE, SIGN, MAILBOX, POLE, MAILBOX, SIGN, SIGN, SIGN, POLE, MAILBOX, POLE, SIGN!

As time went on, we began to apply rules to the game.
  1. You could not identify a sign, pole or mailbox that someone had already pointed out.
  2. Every 10 miles, someone was allowed to add something to the list (i.e. swimming pool, satellite dish, dog, etc.)
  3. In the event of a disagreement, the loudest person would get the point
  4. Kirsten was the only person allowed to identify water towers.
Once Kirsten was born and started playing this game that had been evolving for years, we gave water tower sightings to her. However, Christian loved to point them out as soon as he saw them (even when we weren't playing) and send Kirsten into crying fits. "Bubby took my tower. Those are mine!"

ME: "Christian, you know those belong to your sister. Give her back the tower."

CHRISTIAN: (pouting) "But I saw it first."

ME: "The mailboxes are yours. Her seat is not high enough to be able to see them. Give it back."

KIRSTEN: (throwing a toy at his face) "Yeah, Poopy Head. It's mine."

CHRISTIAN: "You can have it, Sissy."

KIRSTEN: (looking around) "Now I can't see it." (starts crying again)

Once getting that taken care of the game sounded like this:


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Happy Birthday to ME!!!

Today is my birthday and the deluge of  happy birthday wishes has been in full force since I got out of bed. Facebook really makes you feel loved.

At my age, not much hoopla is made about my birthday. I'm at that age in the middle of my life where surviving another year has no real significance. In a few more decades, people may start to make it a big deal again. Probably because they will be surprised I made it to the next one.

All my ice cubes are deadly now.
Thank you, Bexstar.
My first Facebook birthday greeting came from the other side of the world. Becky Delport of I'm Just a Girl, the same woman who recently sent me brass knuckles and ice cube trays to make bullet shaped ice, wished me a happy birthday at 5 last night. I felt extra special until I realized that New Zealand is 17 hours ahead of us. Becky got the Facebook notification already, but it doesn't matter. Becky is awesome and I might just add meeting her to my Bucket List. Kirsten and I have wanted to go to New Zealand for a long time (Kirsten wants to move there) and having a local to show us around is always the way to go. Plus, her last blog post was about wanting people to come see her. I think she meant women to hang out with, but I'll ignore that part.

Monday, I got a card from Misty's Laws. Not an e-card, but an actual greeting card in the mail. Once I got past the initial "how did she get my address" moment, I opened it to discover this.

Kinda makes you wish I hadn't opened it in the store, huh?
Happy Birthday
Misty found my Awards Fairy! I think this picture must be from earlier in his career. When I met him, he was much heavier and had less hair. Plus, I've never seen him smile.

Dude WriteRight before going to bed last night, I got an awesome gift. I dropped by Dude Write to check out the latest post and found that I was the recipient of the Diamond Man Card this week. This card is awarded to the post which gets the most votes from the readers. I got this for my September 13 post Call Me Maybe.

Also last night, since my daughter is working now, she took me out for dinner to Cracker Barrel. She told me as soon as she got out of school that she wanted to go to Cracker Barrel. I mumbled something about being poor and having homework and she said, "You're birthday is tomorrow and I'm buying." Well, that changes everything. We had a great time.

Shameless self-promotion
It is still morning and I don't know what the rest of the day holds, but it's looking good. If any of you are feeling guilty and now feel like you need to get a gift, I know exactly what I want. Click this link to head over to Amazon and purchase ALL CRACKED UP for your Kindle or Kindle Cloud Reader. It's only $2.99 and is filled with funny stories from various bloggers around the blogosphere. I am one of them.

I knew I could work that plug in somehow.

Irregardless, Let Me Acks You A Question

I was just checking my Facebook wall and weeping for the education system in America. It is amazing to me the number of people, including adults who have graduated high school, that have no grasp of the basics of their native tongue. I am not a spelling or grammar Nazi. I do usually notice, but don't feel the need to correct someone when they make a mistake. However, there has to be a limit.

I understand that misspellings will happen occasionally. I've been called out on errors in this blog on more than one occasion. I am not claiming to be a perfect speller and most people cannot make that claim.

I am also not referring to the way youth type today. UR for your, U for you, PLZ for please, etc. I get it. The kids typing that way know it's not correct. It's similar to the way each generation has their own lingo. While I don't like to read it, I have no problem with it.

I am also not addressing the people with learning disorders (i.e. dyslexia) or the common misspelling of words like friend (i before e). It's the normal every day words that are covered in the third grade that should not be confusing people. I have a few Facebook friends that never use punctuation or capitalization. I have to read their status several times to figure out which words to group together into sentences. Reading their statuses gives me a headache.

I have to wonder if it has always been this way. It is very possible that it's no worse than it was before, but we didn't have Facebook and Twitter around showcasing everyone's poor grammar and spelling. Now that it's out in the open, it is easier to see.

However, it's not really fair to judge people on their inability to spell when there are so many people that don't even know how to pronounce common words.

When a six year old asks to go to the liberry, it is understandable. He is still learning to speak, but when a thirty year old still hasn't learned about the extra 'R' in the word library, it's hard not to question his intelligence.

Mispronounced words I have heard this week:
CHIMLEE (chimney) - The apparatus that dispels smoke from a fireplace.
NUCULAR (nuclear) - The type of energy released by splitting atoms. Our last president was guilty of this one.
ILLINOIZ (Illinois) - The state Chicago is in. This is most unnerving when said by someone who actually lives here. The 'S' is silent, genius.
RECUHNIZE (recognize) Identifying someone you have encountered before.
EXCAPE (escape) - To get away from something

These mispronunciations are so common, I don't even catch it sometimes when someone says them, but it always grates on my brain stem when someone says supposibly. I can feel the tension throb at the base of my skull. There is no 'B' in the word supposedly!

Years ago, I dated a girl whose mother pronounced the word oil as oral.  "The car is a quart low on oral. Could you put some in?"  I still don't know where that one came from.

I know I will get several people defending their butchering use of the English language. I am not writing this to try to offend, although some will be offended. It is not my intention, but I am not apologizing for it. When it is pointed out to someone that they speak like a child, they have the opportunity to correct it. They are not obligated to. They can speak however they want. I would never demand that someone change. However, if they want to continue in their practice, they cannot be offended when others snicker at them.

I had a college professor that used to always tell us, "It's your native tongue. You've heard it your entire life. By now, you should know how to use it."

My rant is over. I feel better. What words drive you nuts when said or used incorrectly?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My First Love

I mentioned in one of my posts last week that I would try to find time to write over the weekend while Red was here. We hadn't seen each other in over 6 weeks, but I have committed to posting five times per week. We had a great weekend and she left yesterday, but the weekend posts just didn't happen. We each mentioned sitting down to blog, but we never got it done. I do not feel guilty about this, but thought I would point it out.

It was an easygoing weekend. We didn't do much. We watched a few movies and went out to eat a few times. We accomplished exactly what we meant to and that was simply getting to spend some time together. One of the things we did was driving around to the places I grew up. Since I live close to my childhood home, I was able to show it to her. I showed her my elementary and high school and the sites where many of the adventures from this blog took place.

While driving through the old neighborhood, we passed the home of my first girlfriend. Since I was trying to give her a look into my past, I felt obliged to tell her the story.

I hadn't discovered redheads yet,
but isn't she cute.
Christa's father was friends with my father and our families spent a considerable amount of time together. Before we had even entered kindergarten, Christa and I spent more time with each other than other kids our age. Our parents joked that we were boyfriend and girlfriend. Despite not knowing what that meant, it had been said enough times that we began to identify ourselves by those labels. We even went on a date to see Star Wars at the local drive-in.

I was a year older than Christa, so I started school first. Because of life changes, our parents didn't hang out as much and being in different grades we didn't see each other very often at school. Time passed and we forgot about each other.

Several years later, I was in the 8th grade and my mother calls me to the phone.

ME: Who is it?
MOM: It's Christa.
ME: Who?

Once Mom told me who Christa was, I wondered why she was calling me. I hadn't actually talked to her in years. Plus, I was now an awkward pre-teen that had no idea how to talk to girls. I reluctantly took the phone.

ME: (quietly) Hello?
CHRISTA: Brett, I have some bad news. Please don't be mad at me.
ME: Mad about what?
CHRISTA: Well, Bobby asked me out.
ME: (confused) OK. What did you say?
CHRISTA: I said I had to talk to you first.....Can we break up?

I agreed to the break up and hung up the phone. Apparently, while I was under the impression that we had just grown apart and I hadn't even thought about her in several years, she still considered us to be a couple. I wonder if she was feeling neglected.

I have gotten a variety of responses from people when I have recalled this story, but I always look at it the same way. This part of my history should be proof to Red that I am a very low maintenance boyfriend.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Pish Posh Challenge - Week 2

On Thursday last week, I joined up with the Pish Posh 8 Week Challenge. Pish Posh challenged her readers to get rid of a bad habit, replace it with a good one and write about it so the journey could be linked up with her blog. Most of the participants are pursuing some sort of fitness goal, but I chose to focus on my writing.

I vowed to write more often during this challenge. Specifically, I stated that I would post to my blog at least four times a week in addition to addressing the challenge and linking back to it. Here is a recap of my first week. Click the titles to be taken to that story.

In case you missed it,
I'm in a book now.
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Friday, September 7 -- With Friends Like These
I relayed the story of my brothers' friends passing the time in a local bar by stabbing each other. One of them almost bled to death.

Sunday, September 9 -- I Will Not Be Spammed
A spammer tries to use my blog as a method for peddling his pornography.

Monday, September 10 -- Morgan Freeman, We Will Miss You, But Not Yet
I discover via Facebook that Morgan Freeman is dead for the fourth time this year.

Wednesday, September 12 -- SPOILER ALERT!!!
I discuss my hatred for people who give away the endings or plot lines to movies and TV shows.

Thursday, September 13 -- Call Me Maybe
I tell the story of a time I helped someone out of an embarrassing situation.

For the first week, I have maintained my goal and it really wasn't that difficult. The last few months I have only posted about once a week. I did have a lot going on, but I let it fall to the side. Going into this week knowing that I had to write almost everyday made it much easier. I sat at my desk each morning with the intention of writing, rather than waiting until I thought I had something to write about. I only had one day of struggle to decide what to say.

There is always something to write about.

This week may be more of a challenge to meet my goals. Red and I have not seen each other in over six weeks, but she will be here this weekend. I don't know that I will want to take the time to blog.

Call Me Maybe

I haven't written about it on here, but for the last two months, I've been broke. I mean broke, broke. As in I don't have two pennies to rub together broke. That's actually an exaggeration. I do have two pennies and a dime, but what can you do with twelve cents and what would rubbing them together do for me? I have had to call all my accounts (cell phone, internet, power, etc.) to make payment arrangements or deferments just to keep my services on.

Due to not having any money, Kirsten and I have not been out to eat since early August. It's much cheaper to eat at home, but Kirsten is convinced that a prolonged diet of frozen pizza and burritos is somehow unhealthy. I retorted with the fact that not drinking the sugary sodas for six weeks should outweigh her concerns. She still doesn't agree.

I pulled out my wallet to show her how empty it was. When I held it upside down to prove my point, a slip of paper drifted out. Kirsten had already walked out of the room, so she didn't get to see this fortune cookie fortune:

An embarrassing situation? I wonder what it will be. Plus, I have to wonder if I am the best person to call in the event of something embarrassing happening. I like to think that I'm a decent guy. I try to be helpful when I can. I would even be helpful in an embarrassing situation, but would someone really want to call me. I spend a considerable amount of time making fun of people and will laugh at an embarrassed person faster than Oprah can grab the last doughnut. If you are caught in an embarrassing situation, I will probably remind you about it for the rest of your life or until you cut me out of your circle of friends. Whichever comes first.

When my buddy Adam was bleeding out of his groin or was inflicted with a male yeast infection, I wasn't exactly sensitive to how embarrassing this might be for him. In fact, the whole experience ended up in my blog (be sure to click the links; they are well worth the read). However, I guess it could be said that I was helpful. Not sympathetic (or even nice), but helpful.

I can remember one time when I didn't take advantage of someone's embarrassing situation. I was about 20 years old and at a party out in the middle of nowhere. It was one of those country parties where a keg is consumed in the middle of a field by a few dozen people not old enough to drink in bars. As I am talking with a group of friends, I feel a tap on the shoulder. I turn around to find the younger sister of one of my friends.

Names are changed to prove that I can be discreet.
KELLY: I need you to come with me.
ME: Where we going?
KELLY: I can't tell you.
ME: Why not?
KELLY: Just follow me.

Always up for an adventure, I followed. We walked out into the field away from the party. I asked where we were going and she advised me to just keep walking. After a few minutes, we had gone far enough that we couldn't even see the party.

ME: Hey, where are we going?
KELLY: Remember that girl that came here with me tonight?
ME: I think. Mary, right?
KELLY: Marion. She needs your help.
ME: Help with what?
KELLY: She's stuck.

Kelly explained that they had wandered away from the party to empty their bladders. Being a party in a field, there were surprisingly few bathrooms. This is not an issue for guys or immodest girls, but most girls of the female persuasion tend to get away from the crowd before squatting on the ground. Marion and Kelly had gone for the overkill in making sure no one saw them by walking almost a quarter mile.

When they found a suitable place away from the eyes of anyone at the party, they dropped their pants to do what they came to do. Kelly said she was mid-stream when she heard Marion fall over and scream. Marion had lost her balance and fallen back into a briar patch. Kelly said she tried to help her out, but the vines were so thick, she couldn't get her out by herself.

About this time, I hear a timid voice call out, "Kelly, is that you?" She answers and we move toward the voice, but Marion yells out from the darkness, "STOP! Kelly, who did you bring?"

KELLY: I brought Brett.
MARION: What? You brought a guy? I wanted a girl.
KELLY: You said to get someone you didn't know.
MARION: I meant a girl I didn't know.
KELLY: You didn't say that.
ME: Why does it matter?
MARION: (crying) Because I don't have any pants on!

I hadn't really thought about it, but it made sense. She had pulled down her pants before falling in and getting stuck.

Kelly offered to go back and get someone else, but she had been gone over 20 minutes to get me. Marion said she couldn't wait that long again. She reluctantly agreed to accept my help. As I start moving toward her voice she yells, "Don't look!"

Ever the gentleman (believe it or not), I kept my eyes to the ground as I approached. When I reached her, she made me promise to keep my eyes closed. I agreed and slowly leaned in to see feel what we working with. I had trouble even getting close to her because of the thickness of the briars. Every direction I turned caused them to stick in my arms, clothes and face. I quickly realized the 'closed eye thing' wasn't going to work.

I leaned in real close and opened my eyes to look right into her face and explained that if she actually wanted out of here, she would have to let me use my sight to both keep myself untangled and find where she was stuck. She hung her head, but agreed. I placed my jacket over her lap so she wouldn't feel as exposed.

Looking at the situation, I could see that she had really struggled to get out. Her pants were almost completely removed. Her shirt had caught as she fell and was pulled up around her shoulders. She had managed to pull the front down, but the back was behind her head.

I had Kelly hold some of the briars back while I tried to pull her shirt free of the thorns. She was deep enough into the bush that it was a hopeless task. It would immediately catch on others and it could not be slid down her back due to the thorns stuck in her. The same was true for the pants.

Both the girls thought that if Kelly pulled back some of the briars branches I might be able to just pull her out. I doubted it would work, but we gave it a try. Marion yelled after moving only a few inches. She was hooked by those briars all down her back, her legs, and part of her arms.

I started on her arms first. I slowly pulled the branches and when we discovered resistance, I would take care of that thorn before moving to the next one. I eventually freed both of her arms and had broken off the offending branches so they could not grab her again.

Once I got her legs free, I tried to lift her out again. The resulting pain was the same as before. She was still stuck all along her backside. Once again, I started on her legs, but this time I had to feel around to find where she was stuck. As I got past her knees, she blurted out, "Watch your hands!"

"SERIOUSLY! I understand your yearning for modesty, but I don't see any other solution here. Do you want the thorns out of your flesh or not?"

She lowered her eyes and said, "Get it over with."

She quietly endured the displeasure of a stranger running his hands over her skin. Once we freed her legs, she was able to lift herself enough for me to pull the thorns out of her butt. Of course, due to the restricted space we were in, I had to feel around to find them. This is not a joke. It's what I had to do.

They were huge and some of them broke off.
She had been sitting on them for almost an hour at this point and they were dug in pretty deep. Plus, like the other thorns, they couldn't just be pulled out. They were dug in at a variety of angles and had to be pulled out in the right direction. So, after thirty minutes of me running my hands all over her body (including unmentionable places; the thorns did not discriminate), she was finally free.

After clearing the loose thorns out of her clothes, she was dressed again. Handing me my jacket, she looked at me and opened her mouth to say something. She then stopped, dropped her eyes and walked back to the party. I hung back for several minutes to allow the gap between us she so obviously wanted. Kelly later told me that Marion was very grateful for what I had done and said that I did well to try and make her feel comfortable, but she was too embarrassed to talk to me.

Twenty years later, I still occasionally run into her and she always reacts the same way when she sees me. She drops her eyes to the ground and slowly walks away.

So, while I may not be the guy to call in an embarrassing situation today, I used to be the guy to call. I was gentle, discreet and respectful. The perfect response for dealing with someone in such a compromising position, but it's not nearly as fun.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Last night was the event I have been waiting on for months. Let me rephrase that. I would love to see Red since it's been 6 weeks since we have even been in the same time zone, but last night was the next best thing. The new season of Sons of Anarchy started last night. I love this show.

My nightly phone call to Red had to take place a little earlier than most nights since the show would be on during our usual talking time. Red decided she would watch it also, so we could text during the commercials (we can't help it, we're in love). I mentioned that she would be completely lost. There is four years of backstory, but she didn't mind.

I can't do that. Any show I'm watching, I have seen from the beginning. From the very first episode. I cannot jump into a show in the middle. It bothers me. I mean really bothers me. I feel like I'm missing something and it keeps me from enjoying it. For example, the show Friends lasted 10 years. For seven of those years, Ross would occasionally scream, "We were on a break!" Only people who had been watching since season three got the full appreciation of that statement. Sure, they could have it explained to them, but it's just not the same. Red insists that I am being ridiculous, but I think this is one area where she just doesn't understand me. Luckily, she loves my quirks.

I love the show Big Bang Theory, but haven't seen it in almost two years. There was a period during one of our moves when we didn't have cable, so I got behind. I watched it up to the season four finale when Penny wakes up in bed with Raj, but haven't seen an episode since. I just can't watch them out of sequence. I can watch the reruns on TBS, but I won't watch season five or six until I get them on DVD.

I think this stems from my hatred for spoilers. I cannot stand to know anything that is going to happen later in a movie or TV show. The writer's and directors put a lot of thought into creating a mood and deciding how to reveal something to the audience. Learning it early takes the pleasure out of it.

This is why I am very reluctant to watch a movie with someone that has already seen it. Most people aren't very good at keeping their mouths shut. There aren't many people that are rude enough to just tell you the ending (although, I have met those people), but most seem to have to give some sort of commentary.

Years ago I was watching a movie when a friend came over to borrow something.

Seeing what I was watching:
BOB: Ooh! I love this movie.
ME: Don't say anything. I don't want you to give anything away.
BOB: Don't worry. I hate when people do that, but watch this part right here. What just happened is very important for later.
ME: (clicking TV off) Seriously?
BOB: (confused) What? What'd I say?

In that short phrase, he had just given away the end of the movie. He had pointed out the little clue that was meant to be referred back to later in the movie. I didn't have to wonder at that point because he pointed it out. The entire mystery of the movie was gone.

My mother is one of the worst. ( I love you, Mom.) I will not watch a movie with her that she has seen, especially if she really liked the movie. Every few minutes she exclaims, "Watch this part right here. This is good!" or "Pay attention here. You really don't want to miss this part." Not only am I already looking at the screen when she says this, but I am tuned into the movie. I don't need to be told to watch it, I am watching it. Plus, she blurts out the surprises seconds before they are revealed. She doesn't do it on purpose. She just gets excited.

As the camera begins to pan the room, you can see the feet of the killer. The music begins to pound as the camera slowly moves it way up his body. After 90 minutes of trying to figure out who the killer is my mom, unable to contain herself any longer, blurts out, "IT WAS JEREMY!!!"

Now they were about to show us the killer in a few seconds anyway, but the pleasure of watching a movie is not in knowing the identity of the bad guy, but in the way the story is told. There was a reason they were slowly panning across the room. It was to build anticipation.

Seconds after this scene,
she was eating Tarantino's face
I go to great extremes to know as little as possible about shows or movies I will be watching. If I see a movie trailer that looks interesting, I put it in my phone to add to my Netflix queue and then avoid seeing any other trailers for it. I don't want to learn any additional details. The less you know, the better the movie is. I don't even read the movie descriptions on the Netflix DVD's that I don't remember. If it showed up, then I apparently wanted to see it. Do you have any idea how great it was to watch From Dusk 'til Dawn not knowing that it was a vampire movie? There was no warning. It blew me away. Had I known that ahead of time, I would not have enjoyed it as much. I would still have enjoyed Selma Hayek in her little outfit, but the surprise at the end of the runway was awesome.

When it comes to TV shows I have to be especially careful. I don't watch commercials and even have to be careful what magazines I pick up. Since I watch very few shows when they are actually on, I am typically a few seasons behind. I didn't start watching Dexter until it was three seasons in. I was catching up on DVD and opened a magazine in a doctor's office where I was met with a picture of Dexter standing over the casket of his girlfriend in season four. Great! Rita dies! I did NOT want to know that.

Sons of Anarchy is one of the few shows that I watch as it is on. I'm watching the current season and have watched from the first night it was on, so there is not much chance of spoilers. However, I occasionally miss an episode and have to wait a few days for it to come to OnDemand. When that happens with a popular show, it gets difficult to stay in the dark about the contents of the episode.

Last year, one of the deputies walked into dispatch and asked me if I watched Sons of Anarchy. I told him I loved that show and he got all excited and said, "Can you believe they killed Piney last night?!" I tried to not show the seething hatred for him on my face as I told him I had not seen last night's episode yet. He quickly apologized and then proceeded to tell me the rest of the plot line.

I once read that watching TV burns less calories than sleeping. If that is true, then why is it so much work?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Morgan Freeman, We'll Miss You, But Not Yet

This morning started like any other. I got up, took a shower, ran Kirsten to school and took care of a few errands before I came back home. When I sat down to my computer and pulled up my Facebook page, I quickly saw this.

This sucks. I love Morgan Freeman. I suddenly felt the need to watch The Shawshank Redemption, but before I dug it out, I remembered news of him dying earlier this year.

I did what I always do when I see "news" on Facebook; I flipped over to Google and did a quick search. I do this for two reasons.

  1. To satisfy my sick curiosity and find out what happened.
  2. To validate the story.
It's a very simple process. I typed in the information I was curious about.

Doesn't that look simple

I was then met with several stories on the subject.

I got my answer without even clicking on any of these results.

This process took me approximately three seconds. Three seconds after seeing the story that Morgan Freeman was dead, I found out that it was a hoax. 3 seconds!!! However, the R.I.P Morgan Freeman page on Facebook has over 800,000 likes. That tells me that, with a few exceptions, almost one million people bought into this based upon what they saw on Facebook. This page is filled with people offering their condolences and talking about favorite movies of his. Plus, this is just one of over 20 other pages I found claiming the same thing.

Facebook is not a news source, people! It is true that I have learned of things on Facebook that were true, but I did not believe them until I verified them someplace else. Since people are so gullible, I think I may try to capitalize on the Facebook trusting public.

I am going to start a Facebook page about an invasion of hybrid earthworm-humans. Top secret government labs produced these hybrids with the intention of creating a thinking worm that could be directed to aerate the soil of farm land more efficiently to produce better crops. However, the worm men got too smart, escaped, and became aware of the rapidly deteriorating condition of the planet due to our mining of the earth's minerals. Being part worm, they care about stuff like that. The hybrids believe they have a solution to the problem and are demanding humans cooperate or they will excavate all the soil under the oceans causing them to collapse into the center of the earth to cave in on itself. This will cause death to everyone on earth except the most disciplined of survivalists. Their theory is that if the earth is going to die anyway, they might as well hurry it along. Of course, this could all be prevented with the cooperation of the guilty human race.

Send your gold to him now or suffer global destruction.
The solution is simple. They require massive amounts of precious minerals to create the chemical compound necessary to save the planet. They demand all people to send all their gold, silver, diamonds and other gems to one location so they can start the process of saving the planet. At the bottom of the page, I will list my address for all the people to send their riches.

Even if only 1% of the people who see the page buy into it, I should make a lot of money.

I Will Not Be Spammed

Next month it will be two years since I started this blog. It has been challenging and fun to grow my audience and I have enjoyed meeting other bloggers. I have met lots of other people as well.

A variety of people leave comments on my blog posts. In the beginning, it was mainly my friends and family. As the months went by, I started seeing comments from other bloggers. While I love the comments and really enjoy responding and interacting with my readers, many of whom I am a fan of as well, not all comments are left by people with pure intentions.

Shortly after starting my blog, I received a comment from someone wanting me to plug his bicycle repair website. He explained that he thought his product would be a great fit with my blog. At that time, I had not written the post (click here) about my brother destroying his bike and body on a crazy jump, so I could not fathom how he thought his product would be a good fit for my blog. Being the first time my blog had been hit by a spammer, it didn't not immediately occur to me that he hadn't actually read my writing. He was just throwing out a net and hoping to get a few bites.

Since then, I have been propositioned by a medical supply company, dating sites, prescription drug distributors and a variety of others I couldn't figure out due to the atrocious spelling and grammar who seem to believe that I would be an excellent venue for hocking their products. I have gotten so many of these, it leaves me asking the question,

Do these tactics actually work on anyone?

Are there bloggers out there so desperate for content that they are willing to plug products that have nothing to do with their site? I might consider it if there was some sort of monetary compensation being offered. However, even under those circumstances, it takes away from what my site is and I would surely begin to lose readers who do not want to read an advertisement.

I know that I will never take up the sad cause of these spammers, but I am curious how many people actually respond the way the spammer intends. It seems that it would be a huge waste of time and resources, but they must trick some idiots or they would not continue to use these methods.

While I have seen dozens of these requests, every once in a while, one really catches my eye. Yesterday, this one dropped in my SPAM comment folder. It was intended for my Saturday post, With Friends Like These.

I was going to click 'NOT SPAM' so everyone could see this,
but then his link would be visible and I am NOT advertising for this moron.

Does this imbecile honestly believe the way to win me over is by insulting the intelligence of my readers? Plus, once again, I can tell that he has not really looked at my site since my Facebook and Twitter info are both listed on the left sidebar of this blog. I advertise my social pages so I don't have to make a list. I even have my Goodreads link up. I am also not so stupid that I don't realize the only reason he wants this info is to capitalize on using my audience to send out more spam to attempt to annoy  tick off  prey upon  hook more people.

If you want to prey upon my audience, then do the work yourself. It isn't even that much work. My links are on the sidebars. Why would I send you the list? You have got to be the laziest spammer ever.

Do any of you choose to respond to spammers? If so, what do you do? Rodney at Mental Poo had posted some of the hilarious conversations he has had with them. Please share if you have any good spam stories.

Apparently, some people like SPAM.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

With Friends Like These...

Image stolen from the Dude Write site.
I don't know where they stole it from.
The dudes over at Dude Write have a slasher theme happening this week (since it is the 13th week) and it immediately reminded me of this story. However, I feel that I have to offer a disclaimer and a warning with this post. First, the disclaimer: I was not present for the following events. It is a story that my brother Trevor has told many times. I have heard it so many times, I am sure I can piece it together. Next, the warning: This post might get a bit graphic and since I haven't searched for the images to use with it yet, I don't know how bloody it might get. After the post about playing chicken, reader Marianne requested a heads up before subjecting viewers to such violent images. Even though this post is being written to be linked to the tough guys at Dude Write, there will be women reading as well, so I want to be polite. Be forewarned.

Guys have certain rituals that may not be understood by the fairer species. Everyone has seen a guy punch a friend, casual acquaintance or even a stranger in the arm. The female equivalent would be to hug or jump up and down while screaming. This is just part of the bonding process that allows men to show affection towards each other without losing any appearance of masculinity.

In some contexts, this practice evolves into other forms. Back in the days when I frequented bars, it was not uncommon for a male to talk to another male while discreetly holding the flame of a lighter to the butt of the man he was talking to. Within a few seconds, the heat would raise the temperature of the denim to a degree that caused the victim to jump. Then, rubbing his seared rear, he would laugh with his friends as he joked that he had been gotten.

Not all men use the lighter to the butt prank, but they are practitioners of some similar practice that is common among their group of friends. This story is about one of these practices that had evolved into something ridiculously stupid a bit less subtle.

Several years ago, the bar that my brother hung out in was filled with men who had developed the practice of poking each other in the back of the knees. The purpose was quite simple. It was supposed to startle the victim and make him jump so everyone could laugh at him. Ladies, please don't judge. Most men are pretty easily entertained. Drunk men even more so.

The practice was fairly simple. Approach a man standing and talking with other men. Place object to poke him with directly behind one of his knees and then wait for him to step back. When he hits the object, the unexpected sensation causes him to jump and laughter ensues.

It didn't take long for the practitioners of this prank to discover that not just any object would deliver the intended result. For instance, a finger would simply cause the victim to turn around and ask, "What are you doing?" It might even get you punched. Using a pool cue wouldn't get you much more than a smirk. However, something sharp generally got the desired effect. A well-secured toothpick could supply hours of entertainment.

Eventually, someone ingeniously used his pocketknife to get the same result. Since most of these guys always had one on them, it quickly became the tool of choice for this favorite prank. That was how the practice of mixing alcohol and sharp objects came to be commonplace at this particular tavern.

One evening, John whips out his knife to steady it behind the knee of Brad to start the festivities. As he approaches the intended area, Brad jumps back in the midst of the story he is telling. The unexpected action causes the freshly sharpened blade to sink over two inches into Brad's flesh immediately severing an artery.

The blood is spraying out of the new wound and the people standing around are stunned silent as Brad is trying to figure out what just happened. John snaps out of his stupor and grabs some napkins. He and Trevor begin trying to stop the bleeding.

The two of them usher Brad into the bathroom to patch him up because everyone knows that the restroom is the most sterile place in a bar. Actually, they needed some privacy since they needed to remove Brad's pants to better access the wound.

Once in the privacy of the restroom and Brad's pants were removed, there was nothing to stop the trajectory of the still-spraying blood. Trevor and John had blood on their faces, shirts and all over their arms and hands. It was flowing freely down Brad's legs and they quickly realized they would not be able to fix this.

When you stab your friends, you should be better prepared.

As Brad is attempting to replace his pants, John and Trevor are using entire rolls of paper towels to clean the excess blood off the floor. The mess is everywhere and there are dozens of blood-soaked rags littering the floor. John slips in the blood, knocking Trevor and Brad both to the floor covering them in even more sticky mess.

They hear a scream and look up to discover a horrified man clawing to get back out of the bathroom. He had walked in to find what appeared to be three blood covered men (one with his pants around his ankles) fighting on the floor of the bathroom. He thought he was witnessing a murder.

As they help Brad out of the bathroom, John admits that Brad really needs to get to the hospital and tells Trevor to take him. Trevor exclaims, "I'm not taking him to the hospital. YOU stabbed him! You take him."

John was really concerned about getting in legal trouble for stabbing his friend in a bar, so they concocted a story about Brad cutting himself on some sheet metal. Due to loss of blood, Brad was losing consciousness, so they threw water in his face so he could wake up long enough to learn the story. Trevor still insisted that John take Brad himself, but did allow John to use his truck since it was older.

John drove off with his pale friend and Trevor returned to the bar for a much-needed drink. However, the bartender handed him a garden hose and sponge while silently pointing toward the bathroom.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Pish Posh Challenge - Week 1

Back in March, a great blogger named Pish Posh started the Get Fit Challenge. In a nutshell, she challenged people to work on improving something in their lives and check in each week so we could see each other's progress, encourage one another and hold each other accountable. Plus, once you publicly put it out there and know people are watching, there is a little more incentive to succeed. Most people chose weight loss or exercise regimens as their topic, but people jumped in with a variety of issues to tackle for the duration of the challenge.

$2.99 at Amazon for Kindle
It was a great idea and I met several new bloggers through this challenge. Plus, it was through that challenge that the idea for a book of bloggers was born. This book was released September 1st and I am one of the 17 bloggers featured. You can buy it here.

I believe that challenge in March was a huge success and when I saw that Pish Posh was doing a similar challenge again I had to jump on.

This time around I will not be tackling issues with my weight or fitness. I have been going to a gym regularly for the last six months and I am getting in better shape all the time. It's a slow process, but it is happening.

My goal is to be a better writer. I would like to eventually publish a book that I wrote. I would love to make money writing. Not just books, but as a featured writer on paying sites or in publications. I am not looking to get rich from it or even support myself in that way, but to make a few extra bucks would be great. Although, if I could make a living at it, that would be even better. I would never have to wear pants.

I have no way of measuring this over the course of the 8 week challenge (not the wearing pants part, that can easily be measured), but I can set some goals for myself. One of the best ways to improve one's skill as a writer is to watch tv write. So that is my first goal. For the duration of this challenge, I will post four times a week in addition to my Monday posts which I will be linking back to the challenge. That means five posts per week. Last spring, I posted every other day for two months and I could feel the creativity just start flowing. I want to get to that again and then take it further.

The winners get a free copy of ALL CRACKED UP. Since I am in the book there is no way I will wait 8 weeks to read it, so I will already own a copy. However, being competitive and wanting to win anyway, I need to think of someone to pass it on to in case I do win.