Archive for July, 2013


26 Tuesdays: Avielle Richman


They often run the program on a shoe-string budget, relying heavily on the public for donations of horses, feed, and equipment. Volunteer students often act as the “guides” for the horses and riders. Thus, this week I decided my favorite equine therapy program deserved a small infusion of cash from our household. Hope it helps provide therapy for someone like my son very soon.

This puts our 26 Tuesdays Acts of Kindness Count at 66! This week we honor Avielle Richman. I have to confess that I’ve never heard of the name Avielle and it may have to find its way into a novel of mine some day, since I like how it just rolls off the tongue! It sounds French and since I adore all things “Francais,” it just appeals to me. Here’s what CNN said about the young lady with the pretty name:

Avielle Richman, 6

Avielle was happiest when she was on a horse. Her trainer, Annette Sullivan, told the Connecticut Post that Avielle would “giggle when she trotted.” Like kids her age, her first wobbly tooth was a sign she was growing up. “She showed me her wiggly tooth, she was so excited,” Sullivan told the newspaper. “She was the most delightful little girl you ever met in your life.”

Hmmm….sounds like I might need to increase the aforementioned donation, hunh? What did you do to honor Jessica?

Thursday’s Post: Some excavations just shouldn’t take place…

You might also like: 26 Tuesdays: Jessica Rekos; 26 Tuesdays: Caroline Previdi; 26 Tuesdays: Noah Pozner; 26 Tuesdays: Jack Pinto; and 26 Tuesdays: Emilie Parker


Word of the Week: eurytopic

Picture picture

Picture picture

Did you miss me? My heart decided to give me some more fits for the past few days, so I have been taking meds and resting a lot. Sorry for the delay of this post! So, let’s not delay anymore and get to the Word of the Week!

Last week’s word was balneology. Merriam-Webster defines balneology as: the science of the therapeutic use of baths. I probably didn’t know it because I tend to be a shower gal. Does contemplating your navel in the shower count as balneology??? Hmmm….

This week’s word is eurytopic. Here are my guesses for it:

eurytopic: (yur-i-ˈtä-pik) 1. any topic pertaining to Europe 2. being excessively snobby for no apparent reason 3. only seeing Europe when you look at a map

What are your guesses for eurytopic? Submit a comment below!

Tomorrow’s Post:  What would you do to honor someone who loves horses?

You might also like: Word of the Week: balneology; Word of the Week: flehmen; Word of the Week: nascent; and Word of the Week: canorous


Why I’m Not a Blogger Blogger…

post it

Because of the recent new interest in my blog, I’m getting some questions from folks about how to access it and whether or not it’s okay to share my stuff with others, etc. A mentor of mine told me she has trouble finding my blog site because MIP is not a part of some massive blog site such as Blogger. Why?:

  1. I decided to create my own site at the recommendation of the DSL who suggested I take ownership of my writing. To take ownership means that I need “creative control” of how things are structured or said in my blog. I can’t completely do that when subjecting it to a format controlled by a mega-blog site.
  2. Another reason to do this is to keep any future ads (should I ever get this lucky!) from becoming annoying to my readers. I also want to guard my readers’ privacy and by having control of my site, I have the ability to do that (at least more than I would otherwise.).


So, how do you find me, since I’m not on such a site?

  1. I have a Facebook professional page, known as Maryann In Progress, which regularly updates “Likers” as to when a new post is up on this site.  If a reader is only “Friends” with me on my personal Facebook page, I may or may not reference new posts there, simply because a direct reference is against Facebook policy.
  2. Can’t remember the name of this site or my professional page? No worries! Just go to my personal page on Facebook and look on the left side of my page. There you will see (in the About section) that I’m a Writer/Blogger at Maryann In Progress.  And yes, clicking on it will take you to the professional page!
  3. You “follow” instead of “liking” on Twitter? Yep—I’m there, too. It’s listed under “MaryAnn R. Arnold.”
  4. Don’t do either of these? I am working on getting my posts to other social media sites, but this is a learning process for me, so bear with me. Right now my project is to learn Tumblr and by the end of today, I will have 3 posts on Tumblr. I probably will limit my posts there to the “Best of MIP”—fair warning! Some of these sites don’t support blogs very well (such as Pinterest) right now, so it may be a while before you see many of my posts on these sites.
  5. Prefer not to be involved with any social media site? Go directly to this web site and subscribe to the email list on the right side of the posts. New posts will get sent to your favorite email account directly.  This is how my husband knows about my latest posts and he even accesses it on his smartphone. I do not send you any junk mail through this service. In fact I seldom look at who is and is not on my email list on purpose! Thankfully, the DSL has constructed a way for this to happen that makes it really easy for me to ignore!
  6. Don’t want emails clogging your inbox? Just throw this search term in Google: “MaryAnn Arnold blog” Yep, that’s right. Google is finally figuring out that I write a blog. If you go to any of the first few links from this search, you’ll see the web address of my blog. And yes, this has been a goal of mine. So getting to it by searching on Google actually makes me happy, happy. (Duck Dynasty would be so proud.) Is it completely easy to get there from the search term? No, not yet. Still working on this and a lot of that is beyond my control!


Is it okay to ‘share” my posts on Facebook or Twitter or wherever? Absolutely. Fire away! Go for it. Again, this makes me happy, happy.  All I ask is that you remind folks “All rights reserved” by moi when you post. I do hope that what I write is something that resonates with others or is entertaining or helpful for others. So, please do share, like, and tweet whenever you want.

Who sees comments?  Comments are visible for all those who read the post where you commented.  Comments may start a dialogue with other readers, which would be awesome, particularly if it leads to even more “self-improvement” in the world.

Want only me to see what you write on the site? Go to the “Contact Me” tab at the top of the web site post page and fill out the “form” that is there. Then your comment, question, etc. goes directly to me (via email) and only me!  If I ever become successful enough for that to change (aka I need someone to help me answer emails) I will be sure to alert you first.

Clear as mud, right? Well, Rome wasn’t built in a day and I’m only 6 months into this blog. Pretty sure Rome wasn’t entirely built in 6 months, either and I don’t speak Latin or Italian.

Monday’s Post: What do you think balneology means?

You might also like: MaryAnn’s Hospital Survey, This I Just Can’t Resist, and How I Cope with a Heart That’s a Ticking Time Bomb


26 Tuesdays: Jessica Rekos…

wild horses

Happy belated birthday to Olivia Engel, who would have been 7 yesterday, had she not been a victim of the Sandy Hook shooting. As we welcome a royal baby, let us remember that some families this year will not be able to celebrate with the bundles of joy they brought home from the hospital 7 years ago. My dad passed away 5 years ago and his birthday was on Saturday and while my dad lived a long and happy life, I can tell you that his birthday each year still brings me to a few tears. I’m sure it’s even worse when losing a child. So, let’s all pray for Olivia’s family this week!

It’s a little tricky these days to do acts of kindness in memory of each of the Sandy Hook victims due to the restrictions of my recuperation from 2 heart attacks. Why? I’m not supposed to be outside in weather over 95 degrees and most Texans are asleep in July when it’s under 95 degrees, even my night owl self included.

Also, prior to the heart attacks I at least had 1 allergy shot each week to ward off my anaphylaxis tendencies. Sometimes I get 2. I’m now not allowed to get allergy shots for the time being, meaning that if I go outside, I risk anaphylaxis just by breathing the air, literally. While I take 1 allergy med every single day, often 2 or 3 meds are needed if I can’t keep the allergens from bothering me. I’ve been warned that if I go into anaphylaxis, that would be detrimental to my heart, because they would use the complete opposite meds they use for my heart. Joy. So, I am presently spending a lot of time indoors (with lots of air purifiers and allergy filters all around me) getting a really bad case of cabin fever. So, what’s a an act of kindness giver supposed to do with that?

Fortunately, I have “elves.” One elf works at two car washes, cleaning the bays, emptying trash, and making sure things there are working properly. The car washes are self-serve, so it requires the use of a lot of quarters in order to clean one’s car or truck. Yes, these would be the same car washes where I recounted counting so many of those quarters. (Yes, I deliberately used, “recounted counting.”)

Thus, to honor last week’s honoree, Caroline Previdi, I decided to gather up all of the quarters laying around the house and in my wallet and ask my elf to give them to some unsuspecting stranger and just say that a stranger wanted to help them out. The elf rightly questioned doing this, suggesting that he or she could get in trouble with the boss for giving someone “free quarters” as an employee there. So, I suggested that he or she text said boss and just let them know an “act of kindness was in progress” in advance. The quarters were given out and 1 car wash customer left very happy as I write this. 🙂

This brings our MIP acts of kindness total to 63! This week we honor Jessica Rekos. Here is what CNN had to say about her:

Jessica Rekos, 6

Jessica loved everything about horses — horse movies, horse books, drawing horses and writing stories about them. She asked Santa this year for new cowgirl boots and a cowgirl hat. Her family had promised she could get her own horse when she turned 10. “She was a creative, beautiful, little girl,” her family said in a statement, describing Jessica as their “rock.” “She had an answer for everything, she didn’t miss a trick, and she outsmarted us every time. We called her our little CEO for the way she carefully thought out and planned everything,” they said. “We can not imagine our life without her.” Jessica also loved orca whales and playing with her two little brothers. “We are mourning her loss, sharing our beautiful memories we have of her, and trying to help her brother Travis understand why he can’t play with his best friend,” her family said.

What did you do for Caroline? Please leave a comment in the box below at least letting me know you participated in an act of kindness. If you want to add details of what it was like to do your act of kindness, GREAT! That will probably inspire others to do likewise, but I also respect your right to keep these things to yourself. 🙂

Thursday’s Post: Why I’m Not a Blogger Blogger…

You might also like: 26 Tuesdays: Caroline Previdi; 26 Tuesdays: Noah Pozner; 26 Tuesdays: Jack Pinto; and 26 Tuesdays: Emilie Parker


Word of the Week: balneology

Picture picture

Picture picture

Good morning, dear readers! (Okay, so it’s morning for me…many of you don’t read this until nighttime.  Deal with it, night owls!) Yes, Word of the Week is back! Are you excited? If so, we really must get you better entertainment.

Way back in June the last word we tried to collectively conquer (I love alliteration!) was flehmen. Here’s the Merriam-Webster definition of flehmen: a mammalian behavior (as of horses or cats) in which the animal inhales with the mouth open and upper lip curled to facilitate exposure of the vomeronasal organ to a scent or pheromone. This would probably explain why I’m ridiculously allergic to horses and cats.

Today’s word is balneology. For the newer readers of MIP here are the “rules” for Word of the Week. I will attempt several definitions for the selected word and then you are free to submit definitions of your own in the comment box below. NO ONE, myself included, is allowed to consult a dictionary to get the proper definition–you must guess! “Points” for creativity and humor in your definition guesses! And even more points if you guess correctly or already know the definition. What do the points get you? Absolutely nothing other than my admiration. Hopefully we will all learn some new words and broaden our use of them.

After I have attempted my guesses, then I look up the word online and get you the pronunciation, so my definitions may be way off if I have been mispronouncing the word in my head as I guess! It seems to be nearly impossible to ignore the true definition when getting the pronunciation, so there’s your proof that I also avoid the dictionary when guessing.

balneology: (bal-nē-ˈä-lə-jē) 1. the study of new bowels 2. the study of new Ranger baseballs (That was just for you, DSL!) 3. the study of the ball joint of a knee (That was really reaching…wasn’t it?!)

What do you think balneology means?

Tomorrow’s Post: Have you done your act of kindness this week?

You might also like: Word of the Week: flehmen; Word of the Week: nascent; Word of the Week: canorous;  and Word of the Week: carminative


What the Results Mean for MIP…

typing on keyboard

For the last 2 days, I have relayed the results of the survey I asked my readers to answer. So, what does that mean for MIP going forward? First, let me say that changes right now will all be on a trial basis and as people give me feedback more informally, I will continue to tweak what I’m posting. Keep in mind that the changes are so that I can spend more energy on other projects, such as writing the novel and Lessons Learned book.

But, for now, I will keep doing the Word of the Week posts on Mondays. Do I hear a bunch of you thesaurus junkies rejoicing out there?

I will probably reduce the number of Slow Reader posts, simply because I am a slow reader and need more time to actually digest some books. A significant number of you do like these posts, so I don’t think I want to abandon them entirely. Besides, a writer should read and this makes me accountable! So, expect to see 1 or 2 Slow Reader posts a month.

I will probably continue the 26 Tuesdays post until we are finished with all 26 Sandy Hook victims only because I think that my self-improvement journey should include acts of kindness and again, this keeps me accountable. And because I believe these victims, along with all other victims of senseless crime, should be honored and remembered with “goodness” instead of evil! (May I suggest this for the Trayvon Martin case?) However, don’t expect these posts to be replaced by some other series.

Each week you can expect either a Lessons Learned feature or a serious post or a humorous post. In truth, the Lessons Learned series are often both serious and humorous. Don’t expect a Lessons Learned post every single week. Likewise, don’t expect a serious post every week or a humorous post every week, particularly in the beginning.  You will get at least one of the above each week, though. It will be a surprise!

So, for now, here’s the new format:

Mondays – Word of the Week
Tuesdays – 26 Tuesdays
Wednesdays – No Post
Thursdays – Random, Surprise Post
Friday – No Post
Saturday & Sunday – No Post

Later on, the format will look like this:

Mondays – Word of the Week
Tuesdays – No Post
Wednesdays – Random, Surprise Post
Thursdays – No Post
Fridays – Either a Slow Reader Post or a Random, Surprise Post
Saturday & Sunday – No Post

And, I will probably send out links for the new posts around 11 am, which is a much more sane hour for me right now. I will make this more and more “like clockwork” as time goes on, but expect some variation short term because of my current health adventures. I am finding that recuperation from this latest adventure is taking more time than I thought it would.

Many, many thanks to my readers! You are blowing my mind…in a good way and I treasure each and every comment and email you have sent my way to encourage me while I continue to recuperate. You bless me in ways you don’t even fathom!

Next Post: The Return of….the Word of the Week!

You might also like: Word of the Week: flehmen, 26 Tuesdays: Caroline Previdi, Slow Reader Thursdays: Quitter, and Lessons Learned from Heart Attacks 3 & 4


Results of the Survey, Part II

answer choices

Yesterday I let my readers know the results of the first part of my little survey about MIP. Here’s the second part of what you told me from the survey:

  1. The least popular features are (in this order): Poetry Saturdays, the 26 Tuesdays features (which I admit are driving me crazy, even though I believe in doing this), and the Slow Reader Thursday features (The reading part of this is driving me crazy, given the length of some of the books on my reading list).
  2. If a survey respondent chose “other” on the above improvements, they usually said, “Write what you like to write when you want to write it.” I will take the “I want free books” statement “under advisement.”
  3. 55% of my readers think I communicate the message and purpose of my blog extremely well; the rest said it was communicated very well. WOW. I’ll definitely take that.
  4. 90% of you said you were either extremely likely or very likely to recommend MIP to someone else. WOW again! And please do…the more readers I have, the more likely it is that I can start offering those aforementioned free books. Jus’ sayin’.
  5. 85% of you are either extremely or very interested in the novel. I’m truly flattered, particularly because I’m not tellin’ what I’m writing until it’s finished! This means I might actually be “out of debt” for this blog site someday and not have to rely on the generosity of my sweet hubby.
  6. 80% of you are interested in a Lessons Learned book. That book is also started, but it has taken a back seat to the novel for the time being. It will probably be published on the heels of the novel, if at all possible.
  7. 50% of you read the blog 2-3 times a week; 25% of you read it 6 or more times per week; and 20 % of you read it 4-5 times a week. Guess what? Expect to see 2 to 3 blog post per week in the future. This gives me “space” to write the novel.
  8. 30% of you read the blog between 6 pm to midnight on weekdays; 25 % of you read it between 12 noon and 6 pm on weekdays and 20% of you read it between 6 am and noon on weekdays. You may see me tweeting and updating my Facebook professional page at about 11 am on the weekdays only when new blog posts come out. Again, this is all to make “more space” for writing the novel.


Tomorrow’s Post: What the Survey Results Mean for the Future of MIP

New to MIP? May I suggest: Results of the Survey, Part I; So, Where Are My Posts?; Lessons Learned from Heart Attacks 3 & 4; and 2 Heart Attacks Too Soon, Part I



Results of the Survey, Part I…


Can you call a blog that hasn’t even reached its first anniversary “Ol”??? Hmmm….

When I started this blog, I had two “content” goals: A) To honestly write what was going on in my life (with maybe a few exaggerations thrown in just for “laughs”) and B) To make it something relevant, useful, or entertaining to my readers so that they would also work on being “a work in progress.” The last goal is more difficult to attain, since many of you simply read my blog and move on in your daily lives. That is perfectly fine with me, but it does sometimes make it difficult to gauge whether I’m getting to that last goal or not. Soooo….thanks to all of you who so graciously answered my little survey! There were no incentives for free, cool stuff from MIP because A) I have no free, cool stuff to offer yet and B) I have no budget for “promotion” right now! So, those who answered the survey were doing it just to be nice (or because they were tired of me bugging them about it).

Why a survey now? Readership of MIP has been way up since my latest health adventures, causing me to rethink how I approach my posts and the health adventures have inspired a novel! This novel is demanding considerable amounts of draft time, which will continue, most likely, for the foreseeable future. Thus, I can’t post 6 times a week and also work on it with any regularity. (And, contrary to popular opinion, I do have a life outside of writing.)

So, what’s a girl to do? Ask her readers what they like and don’t like. I was shooting for about a 10% response rate—the typical response rate for surveys sent out the way I sent out mine. I actually received a 13% response rate! Yay! Graduate statistics was not my favorite course in my master’s degree, however, I did learn enough to know that A) Surveys simply emailed or promoted on social media with no incentives rarely yield a high “return rate” and B) That surveys sent to my readers are likely to be skewed in my favor. So yes, I’m taking these results with a “grain of salt.”

Here’s the first part of what you told me:

  1. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest score, my blog posts are “liked”, on the average, at an 8.55! I’ll take that. Thank you, kind readers.
  2. 60% of you feel the blog site is very engaging. That means a lot to me, since I went through hundreds of designs before settling on the one I use. That probably means a lot to the DSL, too, since he suffered through that process with me and then “tailored” it for my readers. And as I realize something that’s not “working well,” he continues to tweak it for me.
  3. 80% of you felt the blog site was either extremely easy or very easy to navigate. I do feel we still have a little work to do in this area (and some of it I just can’t afford right now!), but I think this says that we’re getting there!
  4. As for improvements, 85 % of you said to keep the humorous posts coming. Guess I’d better have some more heart attacks or really polish my funny bone, hunh? 80% of you said to keep the Word of the Week feature. I can do the Word of the Week posts in my sleep, honestly (No jokes about my definition attempts looking like I’m writing them from my nightmares, please). 75% of you said to keep the Lessons Learned series going and to keep the serious posts, as well. Whew! That’s a relief because some days I’m just not feeling silly and I like doing the Lessons Learned stuff anyway.


Tomorrow’s Post: More results and…my thoughts about them…

New to MIP? May I suggest: So, Where Are My Posts?, Lessons Learned from Heart Attacks 3 & 4, 2 Heart Attacks Too Soon, Part I,  and 2 Heart Attacks Too Soon, Part II



Tell Me What to Write…

answer choices

Because of recent events in my life and because it has forced me to change how and what I write, would you please be a sweetheart and take a 10-question (largely multiple-choice) survey for me on what you think of The survey is produced by, so you can be assured the link below is safe for your computer. I tried to embed the survey here, but it’s not cooperating (Probably blogger issues–not the survey itself!). Thank you so much. Your feedback is tremendously important to me!

Click here for the survey.


Lessons Learned from Facebook Page Insights…

thumbs up

For those who don’t know already, my Facebook blog page gives me “Page Insights.” This is Facebook-speak for statistics. I have now endured 5 semesters of statistics and it’s 5 semesters of my life I will never get back. To add to my nightmare, “Google Analytics” is also available to me. Understanding Google Analytics is sort of like trying to understand how God can be 3 Persons and yet, one Being. In other words, I need a Ph.D. in Mathematics to understand it. Page Insights is a little easier to understand. Emphasis on the word “little.”

  1. I feel honored that Zuckerberg has elected to have me give feedback about the new version of Page Insights. Dang. His marketing worked again.
  2. Since many of the graphs are in layered shades of blue, it’s a little like trying to explain the difference between ecru and ivory to your husband.
  3. I used to think “Reach” was how long my arm extended from my body. I was wrong. It has to do with how many people see my blog page posts…I think.
  4. Engagement has nothing to do with the “adopteds” getting married. That’s good, because I don’t have enough bucks in my bank account to buy that many wedding presents.
  5. Heart attacks are good for my “reach” and “engagement.”
  6. Based on # 5, y’all are really sick and twisted. Fortunately, I know a counselor who can help you with that. Oh. Wait. She’s sick and twisted, too. Never mind.
  7. My recent status statements amuse you. Conclusion? The drugs are working.
  8. My readers are more engaged when they misunderstand my status statements. It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with me being unclear.
  9. There are a lot of really big peaks and really big valleys on my graphs. We’re talking Himalaya-sized here.
  10. Based on # 9, I’m very unpredictable. It couldn’t possibly mean my writing is inconsistent.
  11. Red arrows and numbers are bad. I used to like red.
  12. The number of “likes” for my blog page goes dramatically upward after 6/14/2013. See # 5.
  13. The “likes” can come from API stories and ads on Facebook.
  14. I don’t have any “likes” from # 13.
  15. I am okay with # 13. API stories generally make me nervous. Ditto for Facebook ads.
  16. There is an “unlike” button on Facebook. Unfortunately, only those of us who have professional pages can see it…when someone hates us. Thanks, Facebook.
  17. My self-esteem just plummeted. Thanks, Facebook.
  18. All of my “reach” is organic. I guess that would be when I extend my arm to add to my compost pile and when Maizie “fertilizes” our grass??? So glad I don’t use pesticides on my blog. I really don’t need cancer-causing agents on top of heart attacks.
  19. Nobody shares my stuff. That’s okay–I didn’t want other people’s germs anyway.
  20. My readers are not morning people. I knew y’all were “my people.”
  21. I can stop putting up posts at 7 am. See # 20.
  22. Some of you actually work at 8 am in the morning. You’re also rather productive at 9 am, 2 pm, 4 pm and 8 pm. Now you’re spooked, right???
  23. I promise I won’t tell your boss about #22.
  24. Teens aged 13-17 don’t read my stuff. This makes me officially irrelevant to the next generation. Thanks, Facebook.
  25. 75% of my readers are female. I guess I need to do more posts on sports, beer, and sex?
  26. My stuff appeals to women my own age. Because women my age run the world.
  27. I’m okay with # 26.
  28. My next biggest group of readers? Young moms…probably because they’re tired of listening to Barney all day.
  29. I have 4 fans from the UK. I prefer to think of them as Liz, Will, Kate and Harry.
  30. I appeal to people from 13 different states….of mind.
  31. Based on # 30, I can run for President and win, right?
  32. I am okay with not doing # 31.
  33. I have one fan from Hungary. Thank you, exchange student programs and thank you, Sophie. I am now “global.”
  34. I could die from a heart attack waiting for some of Zuckerberg’s graphs to load. See # 5.


You might also like: Lessons Learned from Counting Quarters, Lessons Learned from Completing a Hospital Survey, and Lessons Learned from Recuperating