Posts Tagged ‘facebook’


Log Rhythms: The Log-Raising!

Log Walls Up

Lakeside view of Solitude this morning…

As a blogger I do not spend inordinate amounts of time promoting my blog on social media. There are several reasons for this: A) I do have a life! If I actively worked all the major “avenues” of social media, I would never make any progress in the other “arenas” of my life. B) Some sites require a master’s in computer science in order to post links. C) Some claim they have major followings and then really don’t. D) Some are photo-based and as you have probably noticed, I’m not a great photographer. (I do have future plans for working around this, though!)

However, there would be no MaryAnn In Progress if it were not for Facebook. I began writing “Notes” on Facebook nearly 10 years ago “just for grins” and the response was surprising to me. Several faithful “followers” suggested that I needed to write a book and the DSL finally suggested that I “own” my writing. Hence, a blog was born!


Log Rhythms: Styrofoam for a Log Home?



You’re invited! We, along with Katahdin Cedar Log Homes, are hosting a Log-Raising at “Solitude” this coming Saturday, June 4th, 2016 from 10 am to 2 pm. This is a totally free event! Have lunch on us and watch the logs go up! Bring rain gear, sunscreen, bug repellent and your favorite lawn chair. 

Solitude is 6 Lakeside Drive of the Reserve, so follow the dirt road in the Reserve until you see a green gate for 6 Lakeside Drive. You will need a code to get into the electronic gate. Please email me for the code, along with your name and the number of people attending. RSVPs are extremely helpful so we plan for lunch properly. 

Directions from Dallas–click here

Directions from Houston: click here.


Lessons Learned from 7 Years on Facebook…

Warning: War and Peace was shorter. If you’re looking for the blog pic, now you know why it’s missing.

I can see where FB will come in handy for my Alzheimer’s years. Several times I have wondered how long I’ve been on FB…tomorrow it will have been 7 years. I originally wrote the first 38 “lessons” 2 years ago.  In only 2 short years I’ve “learned” nearly 20 new lessons. But you may want to read the first 38 again, because there are updates! For those of you who joined FB right after Zuckerberg, I’m sure 7 years seems like a very ho-hum fact.  But, for moms, it’s rather monumental. Because in 2006 I only knew one other mom who stalked her kids’ pages on FB. And she stalked long before we called it stalking.

I was getting concerned about what the daughter was spending so much time doing on this thing called Facebook.  And so I took my lunch hour to create an account to check privacy issues, etc.  My naive thinking was: “I’ll create the account, check on her and then delete the account.” WRONG!  Here’s why:

1. If you create your account right now, the daughter will post to your wall 5 seconds later.  And this was before smart phones.  And she was at school at the time.  Ahem.

2. Just when you think you’re irrelevant to the next generation, 8 teens will comment on your status statements and/or obnoxious note postings. Don’t know what a Facebook note is? It’s what we did to entertain ourselves on FB before games, apps and sharing.

3. You can write 536 pages of FB notes in 6 years while mothering, working, going to grad school, dealing with migraines, planning a wedding, planning graduation celebrations, dealing with your demented dad (literally), planning family funerals, going on date nights and vacations with the hubby, training for the 3 Day, fundraising for the 3 Day, walking the 3 Day and renovating your bathroom.

4.  If you insert the phrase, “and a partridge in a pear tree” into your next note on FB, it will instantly get a comment. I haven’t figured out why this is true yet.

5. Just when you thought you could get away with posting something truly devious on FB, your entire family (including your in-laws), your boss, your minister, your kids’ teachers and your dog will all join FB. I haven’t noticed much action on the dog’s page. What is she hiding? Dog bones, most likely.

6. The best way to know who my son is dating is to look for recent comments on his wall. Bwahahahaha. (Unfortunately, he’s now on to me.) But it was handy for his formative years.

7. If the girlfriend requests you as a friend, it’s serious!

8. If the boyfriend requests you as a friend, it’s really serious!

9. If the boyfriend starts asking you questions about your daughter on FB, start recording “Say Yes to the Dress” on your DVR. I love you, DSL. 🙂

10.  If you write 536 pages of notes on FB in 6 years, you will start getting the following ads on your feed: self-publishing companies, writing workshops, and “How would you like to pilot the next web site by FB? We will feature writers prominently.”  Even I still don’t completely consider myself a writer. Writers have published books.

11. When you tell 50 college students that you have 400 friends and have been on FB for 7 years, they will laugh in your face. And yes, I know for you massively popular folks out there with over 1000+ friends, 400 is a drop in the bucket, but here’s a little factoid to ponder…I rarely, if ever, send a friend request.  If you get one from me, consider yourself at the top of my A List.

12. Just when you set your privacy settings to prevent weirdos from seeing your stuff, 5 strangers will request you. Supposedly to read your 536 pages of notes.  Yeah, okay. Right. Either they don’t have a life, or they are…friends of your kids. What?!? See # 2.

13. Want to have fun on FB sometime?  Write 536 pages of notes and then post one asking for suggestions on what to name your future book…oh, my.  Let’s just say that the next generation is far more literate than we give them credit for and they know me way too well.

14. Etsy is a site where people make a lot of things and then sell them. You name it…it’s sold there. The scary part is that I didn’t know I needed this stuff. I wouldn’t be surprised if they sell…partridges in a pear tree…and the bird seed to feed them. See # 4.

15. When you get bored with FB, start a Pinterest account.  The number of people following me on Pinterest scares me, quite frankly.  It’s the Like feature on FB with pictures…and it’s dangerous…to my wallet and my waistline. But oh, so handy, when helping the daughter plan a wedding.

16. Just when I get used to where everything is on my feed, profile and note-writing interface, FB will move it.  This will tick me off for about 2 weeks, until I find some feature I can’t live without. That Mark Zuckerberg is such a clever guy. Hmmm…

17. Everyone else will be ticked off for the same two weeks.

18.  For my middle-aged and more senior friends, I have somehow now become the “Supreme Overlord Potentate” of how to navigate FB successfully as a newbie.  And that leads me to # 19….

19.  The Tribe is not a group of Native Americans. And they have a language all their own.  If you hang with them long enough, they may translate for you, but don’t count on it.

20. You can say really interesting things about your husband because he is foolish enough to stay off FB….bwahahahaha. Unfortunately, all my FB friends will tell him about it.

21. Because you entered that you were married to your husband in 2007, FB assumes that you have only been married for 6 years. This is news to my grown-up children who all claim him as Dad. They even have the birth certificates to prove it.

22. When you announce to the FB world that you have attended your first grad school class, FB will start sending you ads about considering various online grad schools for your degree. Zuckerberg:  Timing is everything. You should understand that concept.

23. The most original, funny, thought-provoking status statements will come from people who no longer have an account on FB. Grr. Fortunately, peer pressure will usually intervene and they’ll be back on FB when they realize that Twitter isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

24. When you are deep in thought trying to write something pithy on FB, that’s when your teenage son will decide, for once, to tell you all the details of his life. Yes, youngest child, that one was for you.  But, that’s okay…that’s what Moms are for. I’m not complaining, just noting.

25. When you brag about how you really care about the correct spelling of all words on FB, that’s when you will post a note with 5 typos. Double Grr. I probably have 5 here already. And let’s not even talk about my creative use of grammar…as in this very sentence.

26. FB knows how to stab you right in the heart when it asks you to reconnect with someone you haven’t heard from in a while on FB. If FB figures out how to friend my “heavenly friends,” I’m theirs for life….even if they move my stuff around again. (Thankfully, Zuckerberg figured out that some profiles are kept “active” for memorial purposes and this “feature” has now been deleted. I like to think it’s because of this note. I enjoy living in Fantasyland.)

27. My friends are diverse on FB. Keeping up with that diversity is what has made me an insomniac for 7 years.  Prior to that I was just a sleep-deprived mother.

28. I do not like ads for sites where I have to give them email addresses in order to see the site.  Hear that, FB??? (Apparently, they are not listening, because Zuckerberg is now trying to make money off of FB. As if his fortune wasn’t already big enough.)

29. I do not like apps that ask me to fill out a ridiculous survey in order to tell me what my Star Trek name is, etc. (This does now seem fairly diminished in popularity, probably because all of them asked for your email address and Zuckerberg wasn’t making enough money off of them. See # 28.)

30.  Perhaps the best function of FB is to allow people to say they’re having a rough time.  When it’s your turn to express such thoughts, expect to instantly get at least a handful of comments from your friends telling you it’s going to be okay.  Many of us will be blessed to have even more. Some friends will even make a date with you to cheer you up.

31. Forgetful about birthdays? Be on FB! And for the record, I don’t supply my birthday upon request…it’s already on  the feed! And no, I don’t put down the year for my b-day. Deal with it.

32. Feeling like Molly Ringwald on your birthday? Join FB. What’s even more impressive is that each wish comes with a specific inside joke between you and that friend. And if you have no idea why I referred to Molly Ringwald, it’s an inside joke for those of us who appreciate John Hughes and Easy A.

33. In 2005 I thought the words friend and message were nouns. Today I think otherwise.  They are some of the most “active” words in my vocabulary now.

34. I am not a Tweeter. Watch. Tomorrow I will subscribe to Twitter. (I now have 143 Twitter followers. Tomorrow it will probably be 2 and then on Friday it will probably be 150. Conclusion? Twitter folks are really fickle.  #feelingfickleaboutTwitter.)

35. My FB notes were often longer than my grad school papers. This is because I was writing FB notes to avoid writing grad school papers.

36. Never friend your professors. Oops. Too late. Hi, Dr. A. Hi, Dr. L. Yes, the paper was turned in on time. No guarantees on typos or proper grammar, though.

37.  What is myspace?

38. The last person to comment on your wall, 7 years later, will be…your now married daughter..while she’s in school. There’s goes Mother of the Year again. Can I at least blame her smart phone now???

39. FB notes were very convenient for the thoughts racing through my head at 1 am until I decided to start this blog and move them to MIP. That only took two months of non-stop work.

40. After writing FB notes for 6 years, you will have enough fodder for your blog for the next 3 years.

41. When you don’t think keeping up with a Twitter following, your personal FB page and your blog is enough, start a professional page on FB. And the people who like my page are not fickle. See # 34.

42. Book agents will not look at your stuff until you have 1000 for both # 34 and # 41. Guess that means I’m self-publishing my books. That’s okay–I really don’t like query letters, book outlines and giving a random critic 15% of my income anyway.

43. Your best source for writing feedback? The hubby who’s still never been on FB.

44. If your writing is getting a little stagnant, go to Alaska for 12 days and then write about it afterwards. I think I should get a commission from for all the subsequent business I’ve now sent their way. They apparently listen just as well as Zuckerberg. See # 28.

45. Heart attacks are a great way to drive readership on FB, Twitter and your blog. Thus, I plan on scheduling 1 health crisis per year. This shouldn’t be too difficult since I only have about 5 conditions that are all potentially-life threatening. The tricky part will be to figure out how to have them without spending $ 139,000. Does that mean a book agent has to pay 15% of that cost? If so, then I retract # 42.

46. I can now tell FB how much I hate their ads. However, Zuckerberg still isn’t listening. See # 28.

47. I have learned to hate Candy Crush Saga and I’ve never played a single game of it. I learned not to play FB after watching perfectly sane people lose it over their cows in Farmville. The counselor in me is thinking of starting a support group for people addicted to FB games. I think I could make some money off of this. Of course the book agent and Zuckerberg will probably want 15% each. But, I think I’m okay with this. Move over, Warren Buffett…another gazillionaire is born.

48. I now know the latest info on every ball team in the nation, the latest in the news, and what twerking is without ever having to visit other web sites. I think I could have lived without knowing the latter.

49. Never, ever begin a discussion on politics on FB.

50. The only caveat to # 49 is saying that you’re ready to throw every last member of Congress out of office in 2013. That’s good for about 15,000 likes.

51. Where is the “Dislike” button? When trying to comfort someone, “liking” their statement just seems flat wrong. How about a “I care about you” button??? Oh, my bad. Zuckerberg isn’t listening. See # 28.

52. The amount of “stuff” on my feed has exponentially increased since 2006. I’m thinking of creating a “Where’s Waldo?” app for FB. Yessss…another gazillionaire idea. Of course, you can only play it if you request that all of your friends play it and you ask for their email addresses. See # 28 and # 47.

53. Never, ever ask FB to give you updates on your phone unless you enjoy plugging in your phone.

54. I used to read my church’s newsletter to know what’s going on at my church. Now, I just go to my church’s page. Madalyn Murray O’Hair just rolled over in her grave and 5 blog readers just googled her.

55. Sharing used to involve giving something to another person that originally belonged to you. Now it means taking someone’s else’s stuff and claiming it as your own brilliance. Guilty as charged.

56. I rarely leave my home thanks to the 5 life-threatening health conditions and yet I know more about my neighbors than I did when I actually walked my entire neighborhood daily. This. Is. Scary. And the last sentence is also an FB innovation. Period. Exclamation. Point.

57. In 2006 I was too scared to write publicly. And writing a book was even more scary. Now, I’m writing 2 books and a blog. That is all due to Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg and my faithful family and friends who interact with me there daily. You have my profound thanks for turning me into a raving lunatic writer.

Maybe in 7 more years I’ll understand Twitter. #hopeless

Friday’s Post: The very first MIP Book Club Day! Be there!

You might also like: Lessons Learned from the 2009 Dallas Breast Cancer 3 Day, Lessons Learned from Facebook Page Insights, & Lessons Learned from Heart Attacks 3 & 4


Lessons Learned from the Breast Cancer 3 Day Garage Sale…

yard sale

In 2009 I made the really faulty decision to walk the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Awareness 3 Day Walk. One walks 60 miles in 3 days and pledges to raise $ 2300 for breast cancer research. Many people walk in teams and I was no exception. I walked with 3 women who all wanted to support my dear friend, Kim, who was battling Stage IV breast cancer valiantly. While the walk was in early November, we were still approximately $ 2300 shy of the $ 9200 we needed to raise in order for all of us to walk.

We then made another faulty decision: to have a garage sale at my home in hot August. Did I mention that my garages are not air-conditioned??? I put up a Facebook event page and regularly let folks know the interesting items that were also regularly being deposited in our driveway each day.  We had so many clothing items that we eventually just made signs that said, “All clothing items $ 1.” We’d probably still be pricing items individually, if we hadn’t.

Tomorrow our little church is also endeavoring to raise money for good causes in our area by throwing a garage sale inside our church (where it IS air-conditioned). If you live in “my neck of the woods, ” do me a favor and drop by from 8 am to noon either today or Saturday, grab a few items you can’t live without, and help out some great children and people. Thanks! For those of us who have waged battle with “all things Garage Sale,” here’s what I penned in August of 2009:

  1. Start a year sooner. 
  2. Get another garage. Two double car garages aren’t enough.
  3. Sell all cars, Sea-doos, lawn mowers and lawn sweepers prior to garage sale.
  4. No matter how many times you sweep the floor of your spare garage, there will be grass clippings inside.
  5. You can make a merchandise display out of bricks, a skateboard ramp, sawhorses, a trailer, shoe bags, a dehumidifier, a microwave cart, a TV stand, and a TV.
  6. One rented round rack will hold 218 shirts.
  7. Unfortunately, you will need 3 round racks, 3 t-racks and 2 straight racks.
  8. Bags of clothes will multiply like rabbits and mysteriously show up on your doorstep before you leave for work at 8 am.
  9. To hang said bags of clothes, you will need 1 retired teacher hanging clothes for about 8 hours a day for 5 days.
  10. When she poops out, you will need 1 bank teller/teacher, 2 college students and 2 high school students to take over.
  11. Don’t show the retired teacher a newly discovered bag of clothes the night before a garage sale…she might pronounce it, well, you know, something I can’t say online.
  12. If the retired teacher won’t call it welllll….you know….something I can’t say online, the hubby will say worse.
  13. Someone other than Imelda Marcos can have over a 1000 pairs of shoes.
  14. To pick up a dryer, a mattress and box spring, a computer table and chair, an overstuffed chair, a dinette set, a desk, and a love seat, you will need the retired teacher, her husband, your husband’s colleague’s trailer, an aging Explorer, a Mercury sedan, a Ford Escape, your daughter, your son, the daughter’s boyfriend, a full tank of gas, a tarp, some tangled rope, some Boy Scout knots, 3 dollies, a peanut butter sandwich, a glass of milk and a trip to McDonald’s.
  15. You can completely outfit an apartment or dorm room from the “junk” in people’s homes in our little town…and nicely!
  16. Even if you say “No Early Sales”, there will be early sales. Just deal with it.
  17. Countrytime Pink Lemonade is not only festive…it’s downright tasty on a hot, Texas day.
  18. Don’t have a mega garage sale in Texas in August….let’s just say major farmer’s tan and the need for a lot of cool showers. (I think I physically wrung out my hair and shirt about 3 times per day.)
  19. Those new sneakers and fancy socks you bought for the 3 Day do not lessen your Aleve consumption at the end of the day.
  20. You can fit 2 mattress sets, 3 sofas, 4 tables, 15 chairs, 7 clothes racks, a TV stand, 2 desks, a laundry cart, and a lot of assorted miscellaneous all in our driveway. That is, unfortunately, only about 1/3 of what you have to sell.
  21. Hangers get thrown out a lot…but to those with 218 shirts on a round rack, they are more valuable than gold.
  22. There is a lot of humorous fodder for Sunday morning’s sermon to be found at a garage sale. See our pastor for more details.
  23. What you think will sell immediately will be what you have left at the end of the day. As a counselor, this may be a great topic for a dissertation some day.
  24. The surest way to get more shoppers is to consolidate all of your “remains” and make it impossible for your shoppers to get to all the leftovers in your garage.
  25. The only way to survive a hot August garage sale in Texas is to have a meal out, preferably not at McDonald’s.
  26. The Susan G. Komen organization is gravely mistaken about what is possible for fundraising purposes from 1 garage sale (They told us the max would be $ 1800… there!)
  27. Our little town takes care of its own.
  28. Our little town never fails to help those who aren’t their own.
  29. Facebook, a church newsletter, a church bulletin, an announcement at church, Craigslist and word-of-mouth are the cheapest, easiest and best ways to promote fundraising endeavors.
  30. The memories I have of this garage sale I took with me as I walked 60 miles in 3 days with 3 of the best ladies I know and then, forever after that. I was, and am, blessed.


The final amount raised? Drum roll, please….$ 2300 +!

Monday’s Post: Word of the Week time!

You might also like: Lessons Learned from Attending Women of Faith and Lessons Learned from Being the Rookie Parent


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


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


Changes Since the Maize Arrived…


The FB faithful will tell you that a large number of my FB notes featured yet another member of my family. No, she’s not the DD. She’s Maizie, our beloved and spoiled rotten golden Labrador retriever. Maizie actually belongs to the youngest DS. He “earned” her by meeting reading goals in 7th grade, when reading wasn’t exactly his favorite activity. Heck, it’s still not his favorite activity. She was just a pup when she came to us at the end of that school year, although she was a very chunky pup and 12 weeks old already.

Since I am, admittedly, a dog lover (According to my mom, I was a dog lover at birth.), Maizie definitely captured my heart upon her arrival in our family. And thus, FB fell victim to the infamous “Dog Diary” notes from moi. When I announced on FB that I was “taking down” my notes, these were the very notes everyone wanted to read before they permanently left FB. Apparently, our sweet lady has captured more hearts than just mine.

Yesterday Maizie celebrated turning 5. (Her way of celebrating? A new rawhide bone and two rounds of frisbee-catching.) Yes, she is now 5 years old and while she has grown and mellowed, she still exhibits a lot of the personality quirks that we came to love in the Dog Diary Days. As I type this, she is sprawled out in my office, rawhide bone nearby, taking one of her many naps. We are already dreading the day when she won’t be out-catching Texas Ranger outfielders anymore. Here’s a look back at her very first birthday, as I penned it back in March of 2009, along with an update of how she’s doing today:

Maizie celebrated her first doggie b-day by quickly chewing up yet another supposedly indestructible toy, chewing off the end of one major rawhide bone and keeping us up all night…oh, and spilling red melting liquid on my lovely blue carpeting…sigh. As a result of her over-exuberance at being 1, she was relegated to her dog crate for the night…she protested with barking and whining…and this from the dog who never barks at strangers…sigh again. Update: The crate is permanently in the garage…no more bad behavior to warrant it!

So, here are the changes since June 1st, when the little puppy girl (as the youngest DS calls her) arrived in our home, in our hearts and on our clothes (no one escapes Maizie’s blonde puppy fur):

1. We have fewer intact sox. Update: Now we have too many sox. Maybe I need to pour some beef juice on a few old ones???

2. We have fewer intact shoelaces. Update: Loafers and boots work fine.

3. We no longer leave any clothing item whatsoever on the floor for longer than 10 seconds. Update: The PH and I still don’t leave our clothes on the floor. The youngest DS? That’s another story. Fortunately, Maizie just sleeps on them now. I think she thinks of them as a really smelly nest.

4. The broom is wearing out from sweeping up shed blonde hair. Update: I have a broom? Since we no longer have 3 people in the family working on college degrees at the same time, there is now enough in the family budget for a grooming appointment for Maizie every 2 weeks in the wintertime. In the summertime she has fallen victim to the PH‘s tendency to shave anything with 4 legs.

5. The vacuum had to be replaced…too much stress from picking up Maizie fur and the remnants of chewed up toys. Update: I finally quit buying cheap vacuums and bought a Dyson…let’s just say that we could probably provide fur for another dog by the time I finish vacuuming with my trusty new vacuum, which just happens to be called The Animal….Dyson’s choice…not mine, but apropos.

6. The funniest sight in the world is watching a puppy try to upend a Frisbee on a tile floor. Update: Maizie figured out that if you push it to the edge of the carpet, it will flip up just enough to get a big paw on it and allow it to be put in a mouth. So, now she merely “kills” those mean bubbles that the DD and the youngest DS blow at her. Yes, she will actually jump up to bite them.

7. We now vacuum the trampoline. Update: The trampoline was getting dangerous from a sizable dog and a teenage boy jumping on it simultaneously all the time and had to be torn down. But, that’s okay with her. She has more of a vantage point now to be able to spot pesky birds, squirrels and skunks when they invade her yard.

8. We no longer have to pull out dead flowers or shrubs…we have a four-legged extraction machine, fueled by dog chow. Update: The PH just commented this weekend that we may have to call someone to trim the trees this year. Maybe I should give her less dog chow??? That would be cheaper than paying for someone to trim trees, right?

9. The national debt is smaller than our dog chow and rawhide bone bill. Update: Even with a growing national debt, this is still true. I’m off to the store today to buy more rawhide bones…no kidding.

10. We have a rather large bag of puppy food that will never get used…may I never, ever, see Maizie sick again. Update: She can maim a tree just fine, but if you give her one too many bones or treats, we revisit “sick Maizie” days. And I still would rather have a root canal.

11. The window sills now need replacing…baby Maizie thought they were teething rings. Update: The window sills were replaced last year…thanks to a kitchen remodel. And Maizie now has no interest in the new ones whatsoever. However, she does like to “nose slime” our windows so she can see what’s going on outside. At least Windex and thick rubber gloves fixes that issue. For a day. Two, if I’m lucky.

12. We’ll be getting a new kitchen table soon…Maizie mistook the feet for her rawhide bone…well, they are the same color. Update: The table with the chewed legs now resides in the DD’s and DSL’s home where…they have a new puppy. At least the new puppy will know where to start…Maizie left him a “road map.”

13. New door locks will be going on a lot of doors…Maizie has figured out the current ones. Update: To be fair to Maizie, the door locks needed to be replaced and thanks to the youngest DS and the PH, they are all replaced now and she hasn’t figured out the new ones. Yet.

14. A running treadmill and a tennis ball will entertain a dog for hours. Update: We figured out that she tears up tennis balls too easily. I found teeth resistant frisbees on and she seems content to catch these any day it’s not raining. (And they are the slimiest, ugliest frisbees you have ever seen. The next time I have to clean them, I’m donning a hazmat suit.) She is completely bored by the treadmill these days.

15. Maizie will offer to be your companion while you’re trying to do the yoga standing tree position on Wii Fit. Apparently, she thinks that is more torture than I should endure. I tend to agree. Update: Both she and I have given up on Wii Fit, but she does still offer to be my yoga buddy for the Sun Salutation whenever I feel the need to stretch. She seems to think I can pet her while in Downward Dog. I’m lucky if I can just do the position.

16. We buy batteries in bulk now…to replace in Maizie’s fence collar. Update: Now, we just have a regular shipment mailed to us and these last longer than the original variety. Note to self: Give UPS delivery personnel a really good Christmas bonus next December.

17. We have 2 collars and 4 broken leashes. Update: Thanks to our “Dog Whisperer,” we haven’t bought a leash or a collar in years. That’s a relief to the basket that holds all things related to Maizie.

18. We like the jingle of dog tags. “Stealth puppies” should not be trusted. Update: She occasionally gets to be the “stealth puppy” after a bath for a few hours, but if we don’t hear the jingle of dog tags when we call her name, we start to worry…not about the mischief she’s in, but about her well-being.

19. We buy cheap hot dogs in bulk. Update: We had to quit this practice because Maizie started putting on too many pounds. She’s now on the “Healthy Weight” Beneful diet and she only gets treats on the weekend…when the PH is home. Hmmm….I’d stop him, but he gives me treats on the weekend, too.

20. We no longer have to go in search of meat or cheese….Maizie’s nose will find it for you. Update: Heck, if we open one part of our refrigerator, she’s right there. (She could have been in Siberia prior to this event and somehow she is still right by the refrigerator. We don’t call her “Stealth Puppy” for nothing.) The nose is obsolete.

21. We no longer roll down the windows when Maizie is in the car…’nuf said. Update: We don’t roll down windows too far, but we do open the sun roof and yes, her head will be out of the top of the car, except when we brake. She learned that one the hard way.

22. We think $ 500 and 45 minute commutes to weekly dog lessons are a bargain. Update: She is now such a “good girl” that she has taught herself new commands, so doggie lessons are no longer necessary. (As the Dog Whisperer said, “Maizie has read the Dog Training Manual.”) She even plays “Hide and Seek” with ridiculous accuracy and doesn’t mind being “it” every single time.

23. We have company when we visit the restroom, whether we like it or not. Update: Still true, but she will sadly, dejectedly, mournfully, go lie down elsewhere when ordered. I think she got this look from my 3 offspring. Why? Cuz it worked for them, too.

24. The only difference between a puppy and a child is the amount of hair they shed. Update: Maizie and I are having a contest to see who can shed the most hair now. At least hers doesn’t clog up the shower drain every 3 months.

25. The best therapy in the world is a wagging golden tail when you walk through the door after a tough day. Update: This is still so true that we get worried if she isn’t right at the door waiting with her wagging tail and hyper-ness. She even knows the distinct sounds of all of our cars and may actually whimper until we get through the door. That is, if she’ll let us through the door. Greetings must come first in her mind. Forget that you’re carrying groceries or luggage.

Point to Ponder Challenge: Do you have an animal friend, too? Is the animal up to date on all health checks, vaccinations, and grooming tasks? If not, celebrate Maizie’s birthday by taking a little extra care of that pet. And if you’ve been a diligent pet owner, then hug that pet and spend some time having fun with him or her today. It’s a little bit like taking time to smell the roses. 🙂


Slow Reader Thursday: Quitter



In case you had not noticed, I’m gradually working towards writing certain things on certain days of the week. Today I introduce you to “Slow Reader Thursdays.”

From the time I learned to read and up to the present day, I have been a slow reader. No, I do not have some sort of learning disability that causes me to read slowly. It’s that I choose to read Every Single Word on the written page. If an author took the time to write a book, it is most likely something very important to them. And as a fledgling writer, I try to respect that.

Yes, there are times in my life when I scan. How do you live in the 21st century without scanning?? But, when I receive or buy an actual book to read, I chew on every word deliberately. There’s only one problem.

It takes me forever to finish a book. This means I may be reading books published decades ago as opposed to the “latest best seller.” This seems lost on a world that can read fast. And it used to bother me and my elementary school reading teachers, but not anymore. I enjoy taking my time with a book and digesting the poignant nuggets of truth and fiction written just for me to discover. Okay, so it was written for others to discover, too. But, that’s the way it seems to me.

So, today I am happy to discuss my first “Slow Reader” book. I first learned of Jon Acuff while taking Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University last fall at my church. Dave introduced him as, “the author of Quitter” and since unusual book titles have always fascinated me, I was instantly intrigued. And then I heard Jon speak. Jon is all about people pursuing their dream jobs. And so, it felt like Jon was talking right to my heart, since writing full-time is my dream job.

Jon (I talk about him as if he’s my buddy or something and that just is not true!) quit a pile of jobs because he always felt like he was not in the job he was meant to be doing. Gee, that sounds familiar. My resume looks like the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, minus the numerical codes.  And that was because he was trying to figure out what he was supposed to be doing. Same for me. Jon just figured it out much sooner than I did.

But, even if you’re not into writing and your dream job is something far different, I recommend reading Quitter. Because Jon has taken the time to chock the book full of useful questionnaires, inspirational thoughts and checklists that will help the reader discover what their passion or dream job is, when to leave the day job to pursue it, and how to know when you have “arrived.” The latter is something we seldom see tackled in a book on pursuing your passion and achieving it…to actually define what is “enough” now, before one is forced to make some very enticing choices when success starts to appear on the horizon. For instance, Jon recognized that he needed to ensure that he spent time with his family on a regular basis, despite many offers to speak publicly. And because he defined his “enough” early on, he scaled back his speaking schedule to make more time for his family.  If more successful people did this, perhaps we would not be reading about their devastating declines in the press.

So, if you’re ready to identify your passion, if you’re ready to figure out when it’s time to take a “leap of faith” and jump into that passion full-time, or if you’re wondering what you need to work on as you pursue that passion full-time, read Quitter. Even a slow reader like me can read it very quickly and it’s worth that amount of time for the tips and quotes alone. In fact, get ready for Jon’s quotes to appear on my Quotes page very, very soon.

There’s only one thing errantly stated in Quitter. He says I will forget all the advice he gave in the book. I plan on surrounding myself with his wisdom (literally—I have his quotes and thoughts on my office bulletin board.) until I reach my definition of “enough.” That may make Jon Acuff and his book a little difficult to forget.

Tomorrow’s Post: Love Letter to Myself…Yes, Myself