A Week of 2009: Favorites

Posted on December 30, 2009. Filed under: Extras! | Tags: , , , , , , |

Of course, some things remain constant over the years.  My favorite person will always be my son.  My favorite food will always be pasta.  But most things change as time goes by and I have new experiences and interests.  Today, I’m listing my favorites of 2009 – things that are new to me this year, and likely to change again in the future.

Place to be:  In my home.  I’m not a homebody (I don’t think) but I am just so happy to have this wonderful, cozy, beautiful new home that it is my favorite place to be – to relax, to hang with others, to play with Braden, to eat, drink and be merry!

New possession:  I guess I’m a bit of an indecisive person – that, or I just appreciate A LOT – because I’m having a hard time deciding between my iPhone, my Canon PowerShot camera, and my new Dell laptop (that I’ve only spent a total of an hour on thus far).  I’m going with the Dell.  My justification is this: the camera is a replacement for a broken Canon PowerShot, so not really new for 2009, and [spoiler] the iPhone will find itself a home elsewhere on this favorites list.

Quote:  “A parent should love their children more than they hate their ex.”

Wine:  Oak Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon.  There’s a story here.  At a restaurant I love, I always order the House Cabernet.  The first time I tried it, I was trying to choose the cheapest glass of wine because my friends were buying.  But one sip and I was in love.  IN LOVE.  It is so smooth with not a hint of sweet.  And it comes in monstrous glasses at this particular restaurant.  After about my third visit since my discovery of the House Cab, I decided to ask what it is, so I could enjoy it at home as well.  The waiter gave me the name and when I got home, I began my quest to find this wine.  I started at the usual places I pick up my wine: the grocery store, Target, the liquor store down the street.  No luck.  I searched online and found that the wine is carried at Binny’s.  Binny’s is about 20 minutes from my house, so Doug and I made a trip out there one Saturday.  I made a mental note of how much I would allow myself to spend on a bottle of this wine: $30.00.  I usually buy $10.00 bottles of wine, or Trader Joe’s’ infamous Charles Shaw for $2.99 — so this was going to be a treat.  I search the aisles, but to no avail.  I asked the guy at the wine counter if they carried Oak Vineyards.  He pointed us to the front of the store.  And there it was!!!  (Imagine clouds parting, sun shining down, and church music playing.)  Stacked by the case, I had trouble locating the price.  Once I found it on the back of the display I nearly dropped dead.  $3.99.  My entire world changed at that very moment.  I felt as though I had been very, very, very good and God was rewarding me.  I bought a case.  One for me, one for my friend, one for Doug’s sister-in-law. 

Restaurant:  Reality Bites. This great little place with a trendy atmosphere and amazing menu of tapas and regular meals.  They have great food, friendly wait staff, sexy ambiance and flights of beer and wine.

Pastime: Blogging

Bands:  Train, Zac Brown Band, Nickelback, Three Doors Down, Kings of Leon

Singers:  Rob Thomas, Jamey Johnson

Songs:  Need You Now by Lady Antebellum, Save the Day by Train, Her Diamonds by Rob Thomas, Closer to Love by Mat Kearney, Whatever It Is by Zac Brown Band, Dreamgirl by Dave Matthews Band

Indoor entertainment: ROCK BAND!

Two Things Braden Says: “I’mashowya” ~and~ “You’re the best mom in the whooooollllle world.  I love you sixty hundred.”

Thing I don’t have anymore:  Sirius Radio.  After a year and a half of being spoiled with a huge selection of commercial-free music at my fingertips (in my car, on my computer, on my iPhone), my subscription ran out and I’ve decided not to renew for now.  Damn practical decisions.

Beer:  Bud Light Harvest Wheat.  Yummmm.  So much flavor!  I used to drink Bud Light when I drank beer.  Then they introduced Bud Light Lime, which replaced Bud Light for me in the warm months.  Now this Bud Light Harvest Wheat is replacing Bud Light for me in the cooler months.  Bye Bye, Bud Light!

Fashion trend: Long baggy sweaters/shirts, leggings, chunky boots, leg warmers.  Yes, all worn together.  I was going to include brightly colored jelly bracelets, but I’m afraid you might come kick me back into the 80s, and I have no desire to re-live grade school what-so-ever.

Color: Teal.  Okay, come and get me.  I deserve it.

Book: Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella

Make-my-life-easier item:  Hands down, my iPhone.  Phone, camera, calculator, Internet, email, maps, directions, Google (voice activated search, translator, reader), weather, music,  alarm clock, voice recorder, photo album, video player, address book, calendar, handheld game, time-passer, babysitter… ALL IN ONE!

Blog Post (mine):  So hard to say, they’re all so good!  So I’ve “narrowed it down” to seven.  Obscure Injury, I don’t remember God., Old LaurenThe Perfect DateAn Awesome Little Team, In the Face of Fear and You Can Have the Blender, I’ll Keep the Friends

Blog Post (other):  Yesterday and today, as I mentally prepared this post, I was debating between a couple of favorite posts I’ve read on other blogs.  Which one will make the list?  And then today I read a post that trumps all other posts I’ve read this year.  Penelope at Single Mom Adventures wrapped up the month of December with this beautiful post of gratitude. 

These are the topics that come to mind now.  I think it will be fun to compare this list with the same list for 2010. 

What are your favorites this year?

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Blog, Blog, Blog

Posted on November 10, 2009. Filed under: Writing | Tags: , , , |

It started out with a dream to someday write for a magazine – as a columnist, I saw myself.  The dream goes far beyond that, but no point getting into that now.  Let’s just say it started with a dream to be a magazine columnist.  I didn’t know where to start.  I wasn’t sure how to go about getting freelance work or getting myself out there, so I turned to a few contacts that might know a thing or two about this.  “Start a blog,” was the resounding advice I received.  And so I did.

I was nervous to put up my first post.  I didn’t even have a name for the blog.  I called it, “Can’t Think of a Name”.  Though I had written plenty before – for school, for my job, and mostly for myself – I had never really put it out there for anyone to read.  I was without a plan – no idea what I was going to write about on this blog.  But I figured no one else was going to get started on this dream for me, so I had to jump in.  When trying to come up with something to write about one night, I remembered a handwritten page in a notebook I had scribbled about six months prior, and I pulled it out.  And there was the name for my blog.

From there, the posts just kept coming to me.  Faster than I had time to get them up, the posts were just streaming in, as if by some sort of supernatural source!  And that was when I realized I was hooked. Every day, I looked forward to the last hour of the day when I would get to open up my laptop and get the clog of streaming material up on the screen.  My mind was on fire!  So much so that I went through a bout of insomnia because I was reeling with ideas.

As much as I enjoy blogging, I do hope that one day this will propel me into a medium with a greater readership, so that I can reach many people in my attempt to make a contribution.  In the meantime, I’ve found that there are ways (well-known amongst bloggers) to reach the people who will be inspired by, and interested in, what I have to say.  I’ve found networking groups of writers, moms and divorcees.  I’ve found other blogs and websites that I am inspired by and interested in.  I’ve shared stories, learned and laughed.

I’m at a pivotal point in my incomplete life right now, and it is extraordinary!  The writing isn’t all of it, but it’s a big part of it.  Thanks to those of you who got me going (KL, SF, KH, CW), those of you who keep coming back to read my posts, those of you who I’ve talked with along the way, those of you whose blogs have touched me, those of you who have opened doors to me, and those of you in my personal life who have supported me on this journey of mine.

Stay tuned for more!

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Are you kidding me!?

Posted on October 30, 2009. Filed under: Are You Kidding Me!? | Tags: |

I dont consider myself to be much of a complainer. But sometimes these things all happen in one week and then I just can’t help it. Little annoyances all piled up until I can’t help but point it out.

Did you know that we cannot get by without an ATM card these days? I had no idea checks had become obsolete. (Mostly because I haven’t been using them.)  But I lost my debit card last week so checks have been my way of life for five annoying days. You know who doesn’t take checks? The Blockbuster in my area that is closing and has therefore become a retail outlet. You know who won’t let you write a check over the purchase amount if you haven’t written a few checks there in the last ten years (because you’ve been busy keeping up with the times and using a debit card) so that you can finish your transaction at the Blockbuster across the street? Jewel.

Have you been to an Apple store?  I ventured in last week because my iPhone has not been vibrating for about two months.  I walked up to the desk and was asked what time my appointment was.  My what?  I need an appointment for customer service?  Okay – I get it.  I guess we were there on a pretty dead day, which made this concept seem ridiculous.  I suppose if it had been packed, the purpose would have been more clear.  But don’t look at me like I’m an alien because I didn’t know I needed an appointment.  Truthfully, I think their Apple heads are a bit inflated.  Not everyone has been to the Apple store, people!  It’s not like a grocery store, where the customs are known.   Give an iPhone carrying tech-NO mama a break! 

Remember doctor’s notes?  You had to bring them to excuse yourself from school, gym class, science projects.  But Bally Total Fitness?  You must be kidding me.  In April I purchased 32 personal trainer appointments.  I had used just under half of them when my company (which I have been at for less than a year) announced that we would have summer hours.  This meant I would have to be at work an hour earlier all week long in order to enjoy a half day on Fridays.  There goes my standing Tuesday/Wednesday 5:30 a.m. PT appointment.  For the first few weeks I tried going in the evenings when I didn’t have Braden, but I just couldn’t keep it up.  I spent the whole day dreading 8:00 p.m.  If I don’t get it over with first thing, or at least on my way home from work, forget it.  I don’t want to spend my evening after work anticipating an ass-whoopin’.  So I told my trainer I’d be back in September.  When I returned, we had a few sessions before I was informed that my sessions had actually expired – mind you I paid $700 for these sessions and was not informed of expiration, unless in fine print.  I need a doctor’s note to get them back.  YES!  A doctor’s note!!  Who are you, Bally?  My parent?  My school teacher?  No!  You are a business I patronize and paid good money to see my PT.  I’d kick your ass if I were in better shape!

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Tech-NOpa

Posted on October 2, 2009. Filed under: Frank | Tags: |

In the post Tech-NO Mama, I alluded to the fact that my dad is not only technologically challenged, but also PC user illiterate. I thought you might enjoy a little elaboration on the topic. Frank (a.k.a. Opa, Dad, Daddy, Pool Boy, Lawn Guy) is a not unlike other retirees who spent their working years in labor-intensive union jobs — he doesn’t know the first thing about using a computer.

Two examples:

1. A phone conversation with my dad:

Lauren: Hey Dad.

Frank: Hiya.

Lauren: Whatcha doin’?

Frank: Oh, nothin’.

Lauren: Well, what’s new? What’s going on? [I failed to warn you that phone conversations with my dad often resemble an unpleasant visit to an oral surgeon.]

Frank: Nothing. Some woman just called here asking if I wouldn’t mind answering some of her questions. I asked her what kind of questions. I figured I don’t have anything else to do. So she started asking me this and that about the computer. I said, “You got the wrong guy. My wife handles the computer. She’s not here. Why don’t you call back later?” And the woman! She just kept asking questions. I’m wondering what’s with this lady. What doesn’t she understand about “you got the wrong guy”? She asked me if we have windows. I said, “lady, I’m looking out the windows at the trees right now. That’s all I know.”

2. A story my mom told me about a phone conversation she had with my dad.

I don’t remember the backstory on this one, but it’s neither here nor there. The gist is: My mom was not at home and she needed some information from a document she had saved on the desktop of the computer. My dad was at home. Mom called dad to get the information.

Mom: Frank, I need some information off the computer.

Frank: Oh geez. Alright. How do I turn this thing on?

Mom: Okay, now that you have the main screen up, do you see the document called xyz?

Frank: Document? I’m looking at a computer screen.

Mom: Oh Frank! Okay, look for a little thing that looks like a tiny piece of paper and says xyz under it. Do you see it?

Frank: Yeah, okay. I see it.

Sally: Alright, just right click on that icon and…

Frank: It’s not working.

Sally: It has to be working. What are you doing wrong? You have the mouse, right?

Frank: Yeah, I have the mouse!

Sally: Okay, well move it until the arrow is over the picture and then right click on it.

Frank: Sally! I am! Nothing is happening! It’s not working.

Sally: Ugh. Frank. Forget it.

My mom gave up and when she got home later that day, she dragged my dad over to the computer to find out what he was doing wrong. And what I’m about to say you won’t believe.

He took the mouse in his hand

Moved the arrow over xyz document

Put his fingers on the keyboard and typed the word click

—-I’ll pause for you to process that—-

YES! I SAID IT.

He was following her instructions. “Write ‘click’ on the icon.”

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Tech-NO Mama

Posted on September 29, 2009. Filed under: Extras! | Tags: , |

I mentioned in my first post that I started this blog at the advice of a couple of people in the publishing industry as a way to get my stuff out there.  But as the people who know me know – I can’t just ease into anything.  I’m in full on I’ve-started-a-blog-and-nothing-else-matters mode.  So I’m one week in and I’ve already: posted almost daily, started thinking about my “angle”, got my own domain name, created a mental image of my website in my head, talked to a friend about a logo, started reading other blogs in a similar genre, read up on blogging tips, researched how to get some traffic and blabbed about my blog to everyone I come in contact with (except my boss, because it’s likely something may show up on here that she’d rather not read).  I’m going at this thing with serious intent.

 

One little problem.  I am not tech savvy.  Better put: I have NO tech knowledge what-so-ever.  I’m a pretty capable user (unlike my dad – whom I’ll share some stories about in the future), but Webmaster??  Are you kidding?  I don’t even know what HTML is!  Not just what it stands for – but what it is.  NO clue.

 

So I think I have my own website.  It’s http://www.mylifeincomplete.com/.  I even have an email address: lauren@mylifeincomplete.com.  Only I have NO idea how to use these things!  No longer a blogger.com site, does that mean that it is my own site?  Then why does it still look the same?  How do I make it how I want it and add an “email me” button and links to other pages within my site?  I’m sure there is a way to do this.  I’m sure the other bloggers with their own sites know how to do this.  But me?  NO!

 

I’m not unrealistic.  I know my limitations.  I am by no means expecting to become Tech-YES Mama, but if anyone can point me in the direction of a “Turning Your Blog Into A Website That You May or May Not Already Have For Dummies” tutorial, please do.  In return, I’ll plug you.  Nothing says thank you like getting your name, product, whatever out there to five people you probably already know.

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