Friday, April 29, 2011


Thank you, visitors from the A to Z Blogging Challenge!

Share something about YOU today. Something that's special and unique, something that sets you apart from everyone else.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

X isn't so eXact

"X" is a substitute letter.

In Xmas, it's the substitute for Christ. In a signature, it's the substitute for the name of a person who doesn't know how to write.

But what's its purpose in other words? Like:
  • X-acto Precision Instruments - You'd think if they were xacto, they'd be defined by a more precise and definitive appellation.
  • X-Files - I never got that show. I suppose the "X" could be anything you wanted it to be...
  • Xbox - I've heard of it but have no clue what it is.
If I made a product, I'd want it to be unique and different. Something that made the competition look paltry by comparison. I surely wouldn't use the letter "X" as part of its name, thereby diminishing its uniqueness. Shouldn't marketing and advertising have some creativity and pizzazz to it?

Then again, I'm the gal who used her name in each of the businesses she established. Not exactly creative and exciting.

But at least consumers knew my business wasn't the same-old-same-old.

What are your thoughts on the subject of X?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Who is WonderWoman?

WonderWoman is a person who has great abilities to overcome, to survive and thrive, and pave the way for a better world. Thousands of WonderWomen live in this country (and in the entire world).

My focus today is on the WonderWomen who have have triumphed in the face of adversity presented to them in the form of sexual assault.

On April 30, 2011, thousands of people will take a Two-Mile High Stand Against Sexual Assault®. At dozens of drop zones across the country, men and women of all ages will take to the sky and jump. Most for the first time ever. And it's all part of Operation Freefall®, the boldest, highest-altitude, and most daring event organized to put an end to sexual assault.

Operation Freefall is the only event of its kind to increase awareness of sexual violence. The event is held simultaneously across the country on the last Saturday of each April, and it benefits both Speaking Out About Rape, Inc.® (SOAR®) and community-based anti-sexual violence organizations nationwide.

My daughter is a WonderWoman. If you'd care to support this wonderful cause--and all the WonderWomen, WonderMen, and WonderChildren in this country--feel free to visit Laurie's fundraising page to learn more:  click here

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


My favorite doll of all time was Valerie. She had blonde hair (don't most dolls?) and a wonderful wardrobe of clothes, including my all-time favorite red plaid skirt.

I was a real girly-girly when I was a kid and absolutely adored my dolls. I can still remember all their names: Kissy, Chatty Cathy, Tiny Tears, Tammy (my parents never bought me a Barbie doll), Pepper, and the famous Valerie.

At night, I had to dress them in their PJs because, after all, if I didn't sleep in my clothes, why should they? I made them wear sweaters at night and, for those who didn't have sweaters, I made a nest of a big flannel blanket to keep them warm.

My two younger brothers were cruel in their lack of appreciation for my wondrous dolls. Unknown to anyone at the time, the nasty little SOBs buried Valerie in the back yard because I tattled on them. One summer night I put Valerie to bed in the closet and the next day she was ... gone.

I swore someone broke into the house and stole her and was the laughingstock of my brothers--and my parents--for weeks. Until thirty years later when one of my brothers broke the vow of silence and shared the true story.

Valerie's corpse was probably uncovered by an avid gardener years later when mulching the yard before planting some petunias.

What nasty tricks did YOUR rotten little (or big) brothers (or sisters) play on you?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Upside Down Dog Photos

Found this site several months ago and thought I'd share it. Hilarious!

Saturday, April 23, 2011


I am a tiger: dozing lazily in my cage, watching life march by.
I am a tiger: soft and cuddly, warm and furry, colorful and bold – catching your eye.
I am a tiger: lumbering and slow, yet fleet and fast when in danger.
I am a tiger: pacing back and forth, twitching my tail, impatient in anger.
I am a tiger: loud and fierce, roaring in pain, scaring you away.
I am a tiger: lying lazily in my cage, keeping life at bay.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Shepherd, German

Okay, so I continue to stretch the boundaries of appropriate topics for the letter of the day in the A to Z blogging challenge.

I really love German Shepherd dogs and decided to toss up a few photos I've accumulated from a bunch of e-mails over the years. (I also love Labrador Retrievers, Huskies, Rottweilers, and many other large breeds. Any type of dog, with a sweet, lovable, disposition--especially a mixed breed like my very own favorite puppy, Delaney--is okay by me.)

I don't know any of these dogs but I think they're gorgeous.

My first dog was a family dog my parents adopted: Prissy, who was half German Shepherd and half Husky.

My second dog was Gypsy, a purebred, long-haired German Shepherd (another of my parents' adoptees) and the most recent dog my husband and I adopted (8 years ago) was Charlotte, a German Shepherd/Golden Retriever mix.

My husband has a customer who breeds German Shepherds and every once in a while I am required to visit the store to see a particularly gorgeous creature.

What breed of dog do you like ... and why?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What if the apple is Rotten?

Once again, I'm stretching the boundaries of the alphabet during the A to Z blogging challenge. My word for the day is ROTTEN.

Why? Because that's the first "R" word I thought of. Not because I'm negative, mind you, but because it brings to mind something I said to someone today when we were talking about salesmanship.

I've been in sales practically my entire life. And one of the things a lot of salespeople think is absolutely necessary in sales is to quote "apples for apples" when trying to win a customer from a competitor.

Personally, I hate the theory and think it's a bunch of crap. Someone (I think it's Jeffrey Gitomer) has this to say about the apples-to-apples mentality: "What if the other guy's apple is ROTTEN?"

HELLO! If someone is unhappy with his service provider, and he's shopping, something is clearly wrong with the relationship. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean the service provider must be the person with the "issue;" we've all had customers we'd like to give away... But it's a red flag.

I believe in giving my customers what they're looking for and it's seldom the exact same thing someone else has given them. Apples are okay; rotten apples are not.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Q is for Quit

I don't believe in quitting ... as a rule, that is.

I believe in finishing what I start, in seeing projects through to the end, and receive great satisfaction from completing a task.

Sometimes, however, quitting isn't quitting--it's saying to yourself, "I'm not going to continue bashing my head against this brick wall."

How do you know the difference between quitting and being smart?

Personally, I think knowing the difference has nothing to do with your own convenience and/or preference and everything to do with logic. As in, what would you advise someone else to do if they were in your shoes.

Typical example involves a relationship that's going nowhere. You like the guy, but not as much as you once did. Stuff is starting to bug you about him, or stuff is coming to light that you didn't realize before. If your best friend were dating this guy and going through what you're going through, what would you think is in her best interest to do?

The scenario changes, however, if you're married to the guy and not simply dating him. At least it does for me.

What's your take on quitting? And not just about relationships, but in general.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

P is for Poop

Aren't you glad I didn't Post a Picture with this Post?

Poop is on my mind these days because my dog and I are currently living in a Place where I need to walk him instead of simPly letting him out into the woods to do his business.

Which means I carry Plastic bags with me and ... well ... you know.

Delaney and I walk about half a mile to an area that abuts the condo association's Parkling lot. It's about 100 yards long and there's about six feet of grass between the Parking lot and the woods. I bring my Plastic bag, Delaney does his thing, and shortly thereafter I feed the dumPster. Other PeoPle think that the area beyond the Parking lot is fair game and aren't so fastidious. And that's okay.

What's bugging me is the lady who lives across the grassy common area. She's an end unit, as are we, and she walks her hyPer, little, barky dog on the grass where he ... you guessed it ... makes daily dePosits.

I'm just wondering:
  • Is small PooP different from medium, or large, PooP?
  • Is small PooP less stinky or disgusting than other kinds of PooP?
  • When you steP in it, does it small PooP make your shoes smell like roses, or ... PooP?
  • Does the neighbor-lady really think we can't see (or smell) the little turds her doggy hides in the ground cover?

Monday, April 18, 2011

O is for "Oops!"

Oops, I'm Overwhelmed!

Life is good, but it's throwing lots of stuff at me these days. I know how to be Organized, but I'm having a difficult time getting a grip on my time.

Funny how life (or is it God?) has a way of humbling us and sending us skidding down the paths we plan to follow and then forcing us through the underbush to pave a new path.

How do you get yourself back on track? How do you prevent yourself from burning the candle at both ends?

Really, I have an inquiring mind and need to know!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

N is for "No!"

When we were two years old, we didn't hesitate to say the "N" word. Why is it that as we age we hesitate or, even worse, become incapable of...saying "no?"

It's understandable that we want people to like us, approve of us, invites to their parties, speak kindly of us, etc. But refusing to say "no" for those reasons is a form of reverse blackmail. We allow other people and the opinions we expect them to have to control how we behave.

In the past, I've assumed too much responsibility or agreed to do things I didn't really have time for because I didn't want to disappoint someone else. In the end, I wound up shortchanging myself in the time department and, sometimes, in other ways.

Two years ago, I decided to (as my mother would say) turn over a new leaf. My New Year's resolution for 2010 was to "take care of myself." That goal turned out be a bit too vague. So, in 2011, my New Year's resolution is to "be selfish and put myself first." That doesn't mean I'm totally inconsiderate or rude. (says me) But when making decisions: I think of myself first and make decisions more based on what I want than what I think other people want or what they actually do want.

I'm finding myself assuming fewer responsibilities these days and the ones I do assume are much more enjoyable--and I'm not finding myself stretched for time to attend to them.

Can you say "no?" Can you say "no" easily? Care to share some tips?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Monday is the M Word

Unlike most working people, I like Mondays. Sure, I hate to see the weekend end but I'm pragmatic: all good things end. Instead of getting upset about the end of the weekend I'm thankful they repeate themselves every seven days.

Monday gives me a fresh start. I have 52 times a year (or 4.3 times per month) to begin again. I know I'm going to be crazy-busy, so I seldom create serious goals for completion on Monday. I figure if I make it through the day without major mishaps, it's been a good one. (Especially on those Mondays when there's a full moon!)

My father is 81 and he retired at age 55. He hardly remembers what Mondays are like, claiming the days all blend together because he doesn't have five weekdays and two weekend days--he has perpetual weekends. Nice if you can do it, I suppose. I choose to believe retirement's boring. Maybe that's because there isn't a snowball's chance in hell that I'll be retiring at age 55 (which is right around the corner).

What's your take on Mondays?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

L is for ... guess who?

How could I pass up this opportunity on the "L" day of the A to Z blogging challenge?

As a child, my Uncle Teddy used to sing this song to me every time he visited...

LINDA - Ray Noble with Buddy Clark

When I go to sleep
I never count sheep,
I count all the charms about Linda.

And lately it seems
In all of my dreams,
I walk with my arms about Linda.

But what good does it do me, for Linda
Doesn't know that I exist?
Can't help feeling gloomy,
Think of all the lovin' I have missed.

We pass on the street,
My heart skips a beat,
I say to myself, "Hello, Linda."

If only she'd smile,
I'd stop for a while
And then I would get to know Linda.

But miracles still happen
And when my lucky star begins to shine,
With one lucky break,
I'll make Linda mine.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

K is for Kleptomaniac

I'm one of those people who HATE it when someone swipes something from my desk. Normally, I'm generous and will share just about anything. But, if you value your hands, don't steal my pens, pencils, or stapler. You can take food off my plate but don't you dare touch my paperclips. (Especially the red ones--they're my favorite.)

Boundaries. That's what stealing is about. Or, rather, a lack of boundaries.

I would never dream of opening your desk drawer. Or swiping a pen from the cup on your desk. Of course, as a writer, I'm always carrying a dozen or so pens with me: in my handbag, in my car, in my briefcase, even in my checkbook...

Seriously, I can't remember stealing anything. I've never even been tempted. I don't understand the motivation.

Do you?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Jack and Jill

Today's theme on the A to Z blogging challenge is the letter "J" and I like the idea of exchanging nursery rhymes. One of the first books I owned was a compilation by Marguerite De Angeli. 

Mine is: Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water. Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after.

Now, here's the beginning of another. Someone finish it and then give us the first part of a different one that someone else can finish.

Diddle diddle dumpling, my son John...

Monday, April 11, 2011

I is for I (or me)

One of the things I often say when I present Insurance seminars or career development workships Is: Everyone's favorite person Is themself. (Being aware of this fact is a VERY important aspect of providing Incomparable customer attention--as detailed in my book Taking the Mystery Out of Business: 9 Fundamentals for Professional Success.)

Who's YOUR favorite person? And don't BS me either. Sure, you love your kids and your spouse. But really, when you're thinking your own private thoughts, who's uppermost in your mind? RIGHT: You!

Sometimes, I find myself extremely frustrated at the selfishness and Inconsideration of other people, don't you? Of course you do. That's because you (and I) are more focused on ourselves than we are focused others. We're just like everyone else. We get ticked off when people think about themsevles Instead of about us.

Last week, I told a client I'd be in the office all day except for the hour from 12:30 p.m to 1:30 p.m., which was my lunch hour. He passed that Info along to his daughter, who called me at 11:55 a.m. to tell me she was on her way. When, I asked, did she expect to arrive? "Oh, no later than 12:20. I know you leave for lunch at 12:30." How nice of her (Not!) to provide me with ten minutes to handle a transaction that takes thirty minutes. And she didn't even thank me for delaying my lunch hour to accommodate her Inconsideration!

Because I'm familiar with, and practice, behaviors and skills that show I care about my clients, I still get Irritated when other people aren't considerate. I'd never tell someone off. I don't hesitate to write blog posts about them, however. I guess that's because, like everyone else, I'm only thinking about myself.

What do YOU like best about YOURSELF?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Rant about "Hello"

Why is it that some people just can't be sociable?

You know, like when you're walking your dog on a beautiful, sunny, April morning and you pass someone on his way to the dumpster with a broken chair in his hands. You smile, say "hi," and he breaks eye contact with you, frowning. Would it have killed him to say hello? Would his face have fallen off if he smiled?

Yes, maybe the broken chair once belonged to his beloved grandmother and he's heartbroken that his overweight wife sat on it, despite fifteen years of warnings, and broke it when she fell to the floor. Of course, we're not sure if he's more heartbroken about the chair breaking or his wife's disobedience. Still... none of that's my fault! Maybe a hello and shared smile with a stranger and her dog would have brightened the otherwise sunny day for everyone involved.

Or how about when you're in the grocery store at 10:00 a.m. on said beautiful, sunny, April morning to pick up bagels for you, half 'n' half for your sister's coffee, and some American cheese? The guy behind the deli counter hollers out, "Number 40!" and when you smile and say, "That's me!" he just gives you a vacant stare. Would it have killed him to say hello? Or hi there? Or even crack the corners of his lips into a teenie, weenie, glimpse of a smile?

Obviously it would. Either that or he has the personality of a door knob. Or his wife broke his chair earlier this morning when he was dressing for work.

I truly believe this world would be a better place if, when we encounter other people, we made a little effort to be pleasant. Maybe even a little friendly. And I'm going to continue to do my part, despite all the grumps in the world. Don't they know yesterday was "G" day and today is "H" day? They should be Happy today.


Friday, April 8, 2011

G is for George

I'm really stretched for time this week and don't want to be considered a slacker by not posting anything. So here's a link to my "G" post on Author Exchange Blog, where I talk about my favorite Georges.

F is for Funny and Furry

Although today is not Friday, it's the "F" day in the A to Z blogging challenge. (I'm talking about a different "F" subject over on Author Exchange Blog today.)

Remember Sesame Street, with all its funny, furry humor?

My mother loved Oscar the Grouch, whose perspective of life paralleled her own. Dry, sarcastic humor was their style.

I don't even want to talk about Big Bird, whose voice was incredibly irritating, although he could, on occasion (like once or twice a year), say something that made me laugh. (Mostly because it was stupid.)

Then there was Grover, the funny, furry, puppet on speed.

One of my daughters adored the Amazing Mumford, which goes to show that everyone, even caricatures of magicians, must have their good points.

My favorite Sesame Street character was Ernie because I loved that sneaky laugh of his. I also really loved Statler and Waldorf, the two nasty old guys who sat in the balcony and made snide comments. Talk about funny...

Who was your favorite Sesame Street or muppet character, and why?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Elizabeth, the E word of the day

I've always loved the name Elizabeth. It conjures visions of a tall, slim, Elegant woman who is the Epitome of poise and sophistication.

Elizabeth doesn't speak too loudly. She doesn't swear, fart, or burp. And her clothes never wrinkle--not even when they're linen.

I know she sounds boring but, really, she isn't. She's intelligent, admired by both men and women, and has a perfect complexion.

I can't tell you why Elizabeth creates this mental picture for me any more than I can Explain why I equate the name Sally with a little girl or the name Oscar with a short, bald guy.

I've studied names and their meanings and learned that kids who are given common or popular names tend to be more well-adjusted than children with unusual or antiquated names. If you visit the Social Security Administration's website, you can find out what the most common names were in any given year after 1879. For example, in 1900, the most common names were John and Mary. In 2000, they were Jacob and Emily. Since 1943, the name Michael has been in the top 10 every single year. Between 1923 and 1933, however, it hovered in the 50s.

Personally, I don't care for very odd names or unusual spellings. I also tend to favor Irish or Celtic names.

What's your take on names?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Donald is the D of the Day

Deadbeat is the "D" feature on Author Exchange Blog today as I continue my work in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Donald is the feature here, being the name of my father, brother, nephew, and a famous Duck.

Speaking of Donald Duck, here's a true story that involves him and my Dad:

My mother's professional area of expertise, both before and after she listed mother and housewife on her resume, involved the banking industry. Mom and I were having a discussion about my newly acquired checking account when she explained the correct way to date a check, write out the amount payable in both words and numbers, and how to sign it. She stressed that if I didn't sign my full legal name, the bank wouldn't cash the check.

My father, who hadn't been a party to the conversation until this point, claimed her assertion was hogwash. Needless to say, one of those bickery married-people arguments ensued. Dad bet he could sign someone else's name to a check and it would clear the bank without anyone even noticing it. Mom swore the people in the proof department examined each and every check to be sure the signature was correct. I got the heck out of there before the shouting started.

The following month, upon receiving his bank statement in the mail, Dad produced a cancelled check at the dinner table. (Yes, in the dark ages, banks actually returned your cancelled checks with your bank statements ... via the U.S. Postal Service, no less!) Guess how it was signed?

Yep ... Donald Duck.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Canine - Today's Blog Feature

I'm really getting into this A to Z blogging Challenge. At first, I thought I was nuts to agree to do it on two different blogs (this one and my Author Exchange Blog). Now, however, I'm getting into the groove. And just saying that dates me but, if you got a glimpse of my PR photo, I wouldn't need to say silly things from the 70s to provide you with a clue  about my age!

Canine is today's blog topic. Canines belong to the biological family "canidae," which refers to a group of animals that includes wolves, coyotes, foxes, jackals, and domestic dogs.


When I was little, my fear of dogs paralyzed me. I'm still scared stiff of dogs under certain conditions: Seeing a dog running at me when I'm walking outside--and don't know the dog; two dogs meeting each other for the first time--all that sniffing, growling, and potential for disaster has me hiding behind the nearest person (even, I'm embarrassed to admit, my own kids); and a bunch of dogs playing together--as they do at the park or in doggy day care.


I've owned a number of dogs in my lifetime, starting with the two dogs my parents adopted when I was a kid (Prissy and Gypsy). My ex-husband gave me a Siberian Husky puppy (Eska) as a Christmas gift when I was pregnant with Beth (yesterday's blog feature) and, before the kids grew up and moved away, we shared our home with another Husky (Kia) and a pound puppy named Rosie.

After divorcing and shooing the kids off to college I got lonely, so I decided adopting a dog would be more mentally healthy than dating and adopted a greyhound named Quaker. That didn't work out when Quaker become overly protective and growled at anyone who entered the room. I returned him to the Greyhound rescue agency and adopted my current puppy, Delaney, an 11 1/2 year-old lab/pointer pound puppy.

When I remarried, my husband Stephen came equipped with two Rottweilers--5 year-old Tyson and the puppy, Patience. Tyson was the sweetest dog and, after my initial wariness of his 113-pound body, never experienced a moment's fear. Not of him or of Patience (even I can't be afraid of any dog who came into my home as a puppy). Stephen and I adopted Charlotte, a German Shepherd/Golden Retriever puppy found wandering the streets in Missoula, MT when she was about 4 weeks old. She's a good dog--if you don't consider all her neuroses.

I tend to favor dogs with gentle, affectionate, and friendly dispositions. That's one of the things I love about Huskies and Labs--along with the fact that they're terrific with children (and grandchildren). On the other hand, I fell in love with all the German Shepherds and Stephen's Rotties. In spite of my fear of dogs, I don't hesitate to walk up to these breeds when I come upon them in public. Probably because I understand their temperaments, quirks, and body language.

Beth and Eska

The best thing about Canines is the unconditional love they offer. No one--not my kids, husband, parents, or best friend--has EVER met me at the front door, wiggling with barely contained excitement simply because I arrived home. Ditto when I get up in the morning. Delaney and Charlotte sleep 5 feet away from the bed, yet each morning they nearly wiggle themselves out of their fur saying good morning.

What do you like best about Canines?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

B is for Beth

On day 2 of the A to Z Blogging Challenge, I'm faced with writing two blog posts based on the letter "B." I never run out of topics when it comes to writing and wrote the B Blogpost for my Author Exchange Blog first. As I thought about this blogpost, I couldn't get my mind off Beth. No other "B" words jumped out at me. So, here goes...

Beth is my oldest daughter. If I'd had my way, she'd have been called Elizabeth and we'd be talking about her next week. Unfortunately, I haven't always gotten my way. But I did with Beth.

Throughout my pregnancy, I heard a multitude of stories about how you could predict the gender of the unborn child. (This was 34 years ago, folks.) From the size and shape of my Bulging stomach to my food cravings. My mother and I were the only people who believed Beth would be a girl.

She was Born in March after a very long laBor, most of which I don't recall because what I really remember about that day is how happy I was. Beth was perfect. From her tiny little toes to her perfect disposition.

And today, 33 years later, although I should be describing her with "B" words, I still think she's perfect. She possess a quirky sense of humor: dry, sarcastic, and just a Bit off. She zips off one-liners that have me rolling on the floor, howling. Bone--there's a "B" word. She doesn't have a nasty Bone in her body and she's incredibly generous.

She's the mother of two little girls, one of whom has a name that begins with "B" and Both of whom are as perfect as their mother--in different ways. (Although my oldest granddaughter's personality has me calling her Beth because it's so similar to her mother's at that age.)  You know how each of your kids touches you in a special way? How, whenever you hear their names, something distinctive and unique, pops into your mind or elicits a particular response?

Well, whenever I think of Beth, I smile. Simply put, she makes me happy.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A to Z Challenge

April, my favorite month, has been chosen for the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Nearly 1,000 bloggers have joined the challenge to blog every day in April (except for Sundays) and to use a different alphabet letter as their themes for the blog posts. (For more info, click here or click on the image at the top of the left sidebar.)

I've accepted the challenge on my Author Exchange Blog and will be focusing on themes pertaining to writers and authors over there. Here, however, I've decided to simply free associate and blog about whatever strikes my fancy ... based on the letter of the day, that is.

A is for April, which really is my favorite month. I'll have to tell you why some other time, however, because none of the reasons have to do with the letter "A." Sorry. (Not.)

A is also the shortest word in the English language, along with the word I which is a lovely subject but one that must also be discussed on another day.

Personally, the letter A has never been one of my favorites. First of all, it's a vowel and I prefer consonants. Secondly, it's not real exciting. How many riveting words can you think of that begin with A? I can't think of any.

What about A foods? Apples, apple brown betty, anise, anisette... That's it, I can't think of any more.

And the only A profession that springs to mind is Accountant. Not that accountants aren't necessary and even extremely helpful at times. But they don't inspire excitement in me ... unless it's April 14th and I'm in desperate need. Not exactly my favorite kind of excitement.

I guess And is a pretty good A word. It joins people and things and sentences. Although you're not supposed to begin sentences with and, I do it all the time. Probably because it's a good A word.

Oh ... wait! There IS a really good A word. An excellent A word, in fact. Unfortunately, it and its derivatives can't be used in polite company. But it's great to sit on.