Dreams of the Future?

Horrified, absolutely astounded, I imagined my chin on my chest and my eyebrows lost in my hairline as I watched the 'designer' come toward me with a corset and girdle in hand. The night before, I sang my heart out on stage, and having dressed myself then, I'd enjoy my sudden success dressing myself again. Oh, but that was not to be. Yelling my distaste and disgust with words heard only in truckstops and roadhouses, I turned and ran out the nearest door. Don't they understand that a voice comes from uncompressed lungs and a diaphragm free and unrestricted? Calming down, I headed back, determined to explain, only to find myself blocked on all sides. I was pointed to a celebrity entrance that took riding a strange elevator made of an old truck on a mechanic's lift. They brushed my hair smooth, caked on makeup and stuffed my body into that torturous corset. Looking in the mirror, I saw bulges pouring out of the thing in every direction...

And that's when I woke up. Another dream that didn't fade fast as usual. It was the horror of why 'they' would insist that my voice be as restricted as possible when I finally reached the point in my singing career that could be called success. What does it mean?

I've been thinking about what it could mean since waking up. Well, 'thinking' is a relative term this morning; the startled wake-up of the nasty dream bringing on a good and mean headache. What ran through my mind was the memory of spinal surgery to remove a ruptured disk in my low back. Afterward, while still quite hunched over, they fitted me with a corset-like thing with three 2" flat metal trusses running up the back. Even if I wanted to straighten up, I couldn't while wearing that thing. I never wore it. Was this dream just a weird way of remembering all that?

Then, I thought maybe this dream has something to do with the future more than anything else. Maybe it's telling me not to become so restrictive with myself that I squeeze the creativity out of me. I have been taking off with writing, photography, web design and blogging and enjoying a moderate amount of success. Should I keep my eye out for approaching corsets? Or maybe it's a warning not to let others put the squeeze on me and not to submit to anyone who tries.

There may be something to this 'future' thing. Scanning this morning's headlines, I see that Wired has particularly prophetic topics such as "Truck Stops of the Future" and "Wall Street 2013" and "Products to Help Us Forget 2008." Yes, it's a tech magazine and usually forward looking, but not usually this much. Have they picked up on the same thought stream as I have with all these way-in-the-future articles?

Could it be time to rethink our beliefs? Is the future crashing down around us? Is it time to reexamine our priorities?

What have your dreams been lately?


Thanksgiving Dinner

Out and about today, visiting the three places around town offering a free Thanksgiving dinner, I met some really nice people. At my first stop, a church, I found this little girl, concentrating so hard on doing a good job dishing out macaroni and cheese. She's 7 years old.

My next stop was a volunteer fire department out in the country. The firefighters wanted only a photo of the Women's Auxiliary, though the women didn't take long to let me know that the firefighters themselves did most of the cooking. They fixed me a plate of "finger food" to go, wouldn't let me turn it down, and I had the best ham and turkey I've ever had driving to my third stop.

My last stop was a popular coffee house in the middle of downtown. I suppose many coffee houses are like this one, but I hadn't seen once since leaving NY. The place was huge and had rock climbing and miniature golf right inside. The owner made me up the best frappuccino I've ever had.

Rumor has it that the food pantries ran out of food days ago. Yet, even though there were no strings attached to any of these free Thanksgiving dinners offered today, none of the three places were busy. At the church, there were five tables of people eating. At the fire station, only a few people were there, and they were mostly family. The coffee house had no one at all while I was there.

I don't know why that would be. The only thing I could figure was that most people, needing a good meal or not, have this pride thing going on that stops them. I can relate - I suffer the same foolish pride.

I hope everyone enjoyed the day! 

Happy Thanksgiving!

I want to wish you and your family a happy, peaceful, joyous Thanksgiving!

I enjoy this particular holiday the most. It seems to be more about the day off of work to enjoy incredibly good food with friends and family nowadays than reenacting the day the pilgrims sat down with the Indians at the beginning of our country's history. That is a good thing, I think. Let the day evolve into one with meaning for today instead of doing it just because everyone else is.

And, there is meaning everywhere. The other day, my friend Karen told me that I always look for the positive in people, whereas she tends to look for the negatives in self defense. Discussing this, she learned that just because I dig for the positives doesn't mean that I don't see the negatives, and the reverse was true for her too. She may be on guard about the negatives, but she sees the positives.

This has come more obvious as I continue to write as a reporter for the local newspaper. I report what I see. What it takes for me to do this is a conscious effort to quiet my emotions. Quiet them, but not ignore them or let my emotions taint what I am seeing. When I write it all out is when I see the ramifications of what was said or what happened - not only for the people directly involved, but everyone. It's quite the experience to see such a vast amount of potential, every day and every time I am sent out on assignment.

I've watched politicians behave and say one thing while in a formal meeting, only to behave and say the very opposite once the formal meeting was adjourned. I've seen politicians blatantly brown their noses to promote their own interests, and others so selflessly concerned with their community that nothing could be more important to them. I watched one mother and her four children receive a brand new home because her rental had sewage problems, and another mother with four children and a husband in Iraq struggle to get a home back together after a fire burned everything that family had. I watched as WWII veterans came alive from their wheelchairs as other tireless veterans came to celebrate their service to their country.

I'm heading out today to visit three places in this small Arkansas town that are serving Thanksgiving dinner for free. One is a church, one a fire station, and one is a popular coffee house. Armed with my camera and notepad, I'll hear people's stories from both the giving and receiving side of things. I'll watch it all unfold and capture a few moments with my camera.

I'll celebrate with them, thankful that the day provides the reason to give, the greatest gift by far.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Black Friday Without the Blues

I've never been one for shopping, and it seems wise to avoid gift cards this year. So, what I'll be doing instead is doing all my shopping online. The problem with this is knowing where the good deals and sales are. Luckily for me, my favorite place to shop is Amazon, and they've set up some good sales.

Amazon has set up a Black Friday page with all of their deals, including the Gold Box hourly deals. Thousands of products will be on sale, but for only a limited time.

There's an end of year promotion going on too called Amazon Customers Vote. It's a year-end promotion that allows you to vote on the product you'd like to buy at an amazing discount. It begins Thursday, Nov. 27 and ends on Dec. 4.

A lot of bloggers have been sharing their great deals and bargains, and this is my contribution. I hope it helps!

Happy Shopping!


Meme: 6 of 6

Pamibe found a meme called 6 of 6. What you do is open up My Computer, click on the 6th folder of pictures, and then on the 6th picture, post what you get. When I did, I couldn't resist. I took this photo on March 28, right after I bought my camera and not long after Hiro and Saki arrived. They are almost a year old now and adult sized, but they are still just as cute and lovable as they were when babies.


Duality Will Blindside You

Ah, the pretty plastic horse for females, the pretty naked girl for the males. Throw in a mystical background, a fan to blow the girl's fake extended hair, add in fancy lettering and the effect is complete. The eye is drawn in by the Bacardi Rum ad feel only to be smacked upside the head with the actual message: horse-drawn carriages are cruel. Good ol' PETA, with plans to release this ad on Nov. 20, is up to its old tricks once again. It seems like it's more important to shock people than it is to tell the truth. Their arguments are as fake as their advertising campaigns.

The truth is, hooking a horse up to a carriage and giving rides in any downtown metro area is far from cruel. NY City has so many rules, regulations and constant inspections of horse-drawn carriage services that it would be impossible for any cruelty to happen. A horse is sent back to the stable if it breaks a sweat. A horse will sweat while grazing out in pasture!

Any argument for or against anything that is based only on emotion instead of facts is faulty, misleading, irrelevant and imposing at best, but is most likely extremism in all its glory. The duality, the totally misleading imagery, the exclusion of actual facts, the hypocrisy and the very obvious shove-it-down-your-throat tactics are just plain sickening.

If PETA was the only one using this insulting and demeaning method of operating, it wouldn't work. Advertising psychology discovered long ago that the best way to influence people is to play on emotions. That's where people are weakest and most vulnerable to persuasion. The last year has been filled with emotional arguments minus facts with the presidential campaign and that's exactly the way the majority  elected the next head honcho. It was too easy to do -- the majority had no clue about any of the facts, and therefore couldn't decide on anything beyond the emotional rants and raves. Split the objective away from the subjective and the battle is won with divide and conquer. It works every time.

Duality will blindside you in thousands of less obvious ways. Look at the man pleasant and agreeable, and not a minute later changing his tone and tune when talking with a different person. Look at the teenager trusting her boyfriend only to be date raped. Look at the x-rays of the ribs of a wife constantly beaten by the man she married. The used car salesmen, the big box chain stores, the company that steals hard earned pensions by firing a month before retirement, the government that goes to war to protect business interests under the guise of humanitarian efforts...

The best defense - observation, objectivity and intelligence. Use the same tactics to your benefit by splitting the objective from the subjective; set aside the feeling and use the thinking.


New Blog: English Conversation Online

As you could probably tell from my post, How to Put it There Too, I'm a stickler for good writing. I view putting what I write online on my blogs to be the same as publishing my articles in the newspaper. With the newspaper articles, I have my editor's eyes to catch errors that might slip by me, and I cringe when I see an error that snuck past us both. As much of a stickler as I am, there are more than a few people in America that can't read or write English at all, and even more than can't read or write well.

Yes, English is a very difficult language to learn. There are many people who visit my blogs that use English as a second language, and many of the blogs I visit are written in English by people in the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan and more. I am honored that you choose to learn to communicate with me using my language, and I commend you for taking on such a daunting task. I am grateful for the opportunity you give me to learn more about you and your cultures.

And now there is a blog dedicated to helping you overcome some of the struggles in learning English as a second language. Mike has a lot more insight into the things that an American might not understand due more to cultural differences than language since he is an 'expat' living in Thailand. His recent project is a blog called "English Conversation Online" and it is off to a good start. He talks about everything you need to ease your efforts to learn English from having a high-speed Internet connection to choosing the right English teacher.

For those of us wishing to learn more about how it is for a Westerner to live in another country, I recommend Mike's "My Thai Friend." Mike writes about day-to-day life living in Thailand and shares his revelations, trials and tribulations as he runs into things that would have never crossed his mind living in England. His photography is stunning, the scenery is breathtaking, and he illustrates the Thai culture beautifully.

Both of Mike's blogs are thoughtful, thought-provoking and insightful. His approach to living in Thailand and learning the culture there is open and honest. I recommend that you add these blogs to your daily reading list. Mike will take you along with him as he learns, stumbles, falls and succeeds to live happily in Thailand.


Irksome Aging

Obeying all the rules, I'll drive through town at the speed limit, seatbelt on, use my turn signals and all the other things you're supposed to do, including paying attention. Ain't it inevitable that at least one driver will decide to turn into a side street right in front of me. Slam on the brakes, bury the nose of the truck into the ground, watch my camera and notepad slide off the passenger seat and onto the floor along with my travel cup that was in the cup holder, hoping that the lid will choose to stay on. More than a few choice words go along with the rearrangement of the inside of my truck that is now soggy. Age has not tempered my tongue a bit.

How about the ones going about 30 mph down the ramp to merge into traffic going at least 70 mph on the freeway? There are times when I wonder how much longer I can go without having to buy Depends just to drive down to the city! First chance I get, I'll zoom on by thinking I won't beep or flash a finger since that would only give some old fart a heart attack, and I'm well past and far ahead by the time it registers in my mind that it was some young fart that I could've stuck my tongue out at anyway.

I once said that the worst irksome thing was "the public expulsion of gastrointestinal bubbles." I try not to mention that often nowadays, especially since I'm as guilty as the next person of said malady when walking through the aisles at Wal-Mart. It's worse if someone pulled out in front of me on the way there too. There are just some graceless things that come along with the aging process. A-hem.

I met an interesting character today. A fellow newspaper man, much older than me, and twice as 'out there' without a doubt. I call him a 'character' because that's all I could think while listening to him talk about having 6 different papers that all go to press on Thursdays and how he has three guitars over in his van right now do I want to see and how he used to play with some band that I was supposed to know the name of. My way of thinking is that you just don't walk up to any man's van. Uh, no, not today. I have a headache. At least that part of things haven't changed much. It's just particularly gross at my age.

I won't mention the memory thing that goes along with all this. I also won't mention that the reason I won't mention it is because I can't remember what I was going to say about this memory thing. Can't help you there. I can forget what I was going to say right in the middle of a sentence nowadays. It makes for interesting conversations. That saved the character I met today from my usual "oh, that's bull" response that he would've gotten a few years ago. I forgot to say it.

That's what happens sometimes when it comes to writing, especially when it comes to blogging. For the last four days, I had this great idea for my next post. It was gnawing at me to get it down and out there. Today, when I finally have the time to write it, I can't remember what it was that I wanted to write!

So, sorry folks. You're stuck reading about how irksome it is for me to grow old. Er. Old-er. Older.

Oh, I almost forgot. I chose an eye chart today because I remembered having my eyes examined for new glasses one year. The doc told me that in Florida, if you can identify a two foot high letter "E" from 7 feet away, you see well enough to drive there. Remind me when I forget not to drive in Florida, ok?


How to Put it There Too

Last month, I wrote about How to Make Your Content Attractive and Effective. That covered everything from font choice, text alignment, white space and the all-important Content is King. The bottom line is to present your writing in the best possible way for easy online reading, the opposite of which drives your visitors away from your blog or web site.

The point has been made several times and several different ways that the most important thing is to watch your English!  No, it's no fun, I know; but if you want to be taken seriously in your writing, then take your writing seriously. The harsh reality is that many readers are like me, and once I see three mistakes in one post, it's not likely I'll ever read another post on your blog again.

Common mistakes I see are Internets and informations. This one is easy - there are no such things! There is one Internet. It is a proper name and therefore capitalized, and by its very own nature - a vast web of connected computers that cover the world - there can be only one. It is always, just the Internet. You can have bits and pieces of information, information being the global term meaning you have a lot of bits and pieces that all constitute information. Both words are singular and can only be singular because they encompass a large grouping or class of something.

The two mistakes I see most often have to do with the misuse of there/their/they're and to/too/two. These are best explained by using them in sentences:
I want you to put that over there. It fits best there. There is a place.

Their hands were cold. If it wasn't for their breathing, they wouldn't be heard. Their is more than one person's thing, meaning it is plural and possessive.

They're going away tomorrow. They're thinking about holding their breath. They're is a contraction of two words - "they are." Again, "they" is plural, more than one.

I am going to work. In order to do it the right way, you have to learn English. The word "to" is best thought of as a direction.

You're going to work too? Add that one with them too. In this usage, "too" means the same thing as "also."

There are too many of them. You've gone too far. Used this way, "too" means many or more than is necessary or expected.

There are two of them. This is the number 2.
A trick to tricking yourself into checking what you've written is to read out loud, starting with the last sentence, then work your way backwards through your piece. This dupes your eye into seeing, truly seeing what you've written instead of what your eye expects to see. Keep in mind, when it comes to spell checks, they will not catch the words spelled correctly but used wrongly.

Happy blogging!


A Big Presentation

All the years that I taught college courses, I never once had an audience this size. There were 800 people there, all seats were taken, and everyone enjoyed the extensive desert bar the presenters had set up. The cheesecake wasn't bad! Looking at all those people, the only thing I could think was that I was glad the building was metal with no chance of fire. And, I'm glad it wasn't raining. Why were all these people here, you ask? Well, money. That's pretty much it.


To Our Soldiers, Thank You

I had a conversation with a mother who's only son was stationed in Iraq. She told me her son's story and experiences with a great deal of fear, but even more pride. As a Mobilization Deployment Assistant with the US Army Reserve, I learned of courage, will, strength, commitment and dedication that I had never imagined existed.

Basic training for all ground forces is the same, whether it be for regular Army, the Army Reserve or the National Guard. Once given their weapon, it never leaves their side, and they are combat ready when basic training is complete. No matter what their role is, they are soldiers first.

For that part of the story, for this mother's son, it was nothing out of the ordinary. Her son's unit deployed, checked in and geared up in Kuwait, then went into Iraq to relieve a unit that was coming home. At his permanent station, this solider was ordered to be the gunner on a high ranking officer's jeep. On his second mission, he was ordered to shoot and he killed three Iraqis. This 19 year old soldier immediately began to suffer severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, yet fought orders to be sent home so that he could stay with his unit for the duration of his assigned deployment. He was treated, stabilized and rejoined his unit as he requested.

Another mother told me her son's story. Her son was assigned to a transport unit, and while on one of his last missions, though he had learned quickly how to drive to avoid them, the truck he was driving ran over a land mine he didn't see. He sustained several shrapnel wounds to an arm and his torso, and one piece of shrapnel went into an eye. He refused to be taken to a hospital and was treated in the field, and only agreed to medical treatment when his unit completed the mission. He said that he would not allow anyone else in his unit to put themselves at risk to drive his truck to the destination point.

A soldier's wife with two small children told me that her husband signed on for another tour, to remain in Iraq for another year. Though she wanted her husband home, missed him very much, she knew he wouldn't be able to live with himself if he came home. He had told her that the kind, gentle, giving Iraqi people needed so much more that he couldn't bring himself to leave with so much work to be done yet.

More than a few of the demobilized soldiers I talked with said the same thing. They wanted to go back, so much more had to be done. It's the insurgents that are the bad guys, not the Iraqi people, and all those people would be at a great risk if the US soldiers left. The insurgents would retaliate and kill anyone known to have associated with American soldiers.

A few months ago, I had a conversation with a US Army Reserve Colonel that is scheduled to deploy to Iraq in February, 2009. I asked him what he felt were the reasons why people joined the military, knowing they would be deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. He said that most soldiers want to do what is right. They want to serve their country and stand up for what our country represents.  Very close to retirement, he himself was thankful for the opportunity to deploy again, to do what is right, to serve his country.

I wish to say to every soldier, for all you do for our country and for me, thank you.

Taking Nominations Now!

We are having so much fun over at the All Arkie Army! You've got to see some of the stuff my fellow Arkansans have come up with lately. Ooo boy, I love heated discussions, and the Arkie Army has them. Lots of them.

One of the things we do on a regular basis is nominate our favorite blogs to award them a grand token of our appreciation for the insightfulness, insights, insighted humor and foresights. We throw them into the hat, and then vote, and out goes the awards to our favorite blogs.

The time is close to stick our hand in that hat, so get your nominations in so we can send out our appreciation and thanks to these fantastic blogs. Just do it!

UPDATE: The Arkie Army's award of Honorary Captain goes to pamibe and Dad - the Dude! Congratulations!


Book Tag - Imagination in a Colt's First Ride

Deanna Castro of Improving Communication Between Horse and Rider book tagged me!

Here's the rules:
  1. Grab the nearest HORSE book.
  2. Open the book to page 56.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the text of the next two to five sentences.
  5. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the cool book or the intellectual one. Pick the Closest.
  6. Tag five people to do the same.

I have to admit, in the mountain of books by my bed, which is the closest, there are all sorts of books on the Ancient Wisdom, a few Carl Jung books, other psychology books, all of the Harry Potter books, more than a few Stephen King books, Piers Anthony, Anne Rice, Douglas Adams, and the user manuals to my camera and cell phone. So, I had to dig for a horse book, of which there are three in the pile.

The first one I got my hands on without knocking over a tall stack was Curt Pate's "Ranch Horsemanship," but on page 56 was a full page photo.  Nice photo.  Same thing on page 156, thinking I could bend the rules just a little, but there was another full page photo. Dangnabbit.

The second book I laid my hands on was Pat Parelli's "Natural Horsemanship" (1993) and I still have to bend the rules just a little for the passage to make sense. I'm starting with the 4th sentence instead of the 5th.
Children, on the other hand, use their imaginations vividly in most everything they do. Usually, humans are regarded as children until they are about 12. After that, they turn into teenagers, at which time they succumb more and more to peer pressure.  That is where I believe imagination ends and rules, regulations, and doing what everybody else does begins.

Out of all the key ingredients in Natural Horse-Man-Ship -- attitude, knowledge, tools, techniques, time and imagination -- the two most complex to grasp are attitude and imagination.
I've read this book more than a few times. Parelli has, I think, a Bachelor Degree in psychology, and describes basic behavior modification techniques to use with horses, and rudimentary rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) concepts to use to come around to a workable mindset when learning about horses. This book is logical, realistic and safe in what he suggests. The most important point of the entire book is that it is about training the human to communicate with the horse, and it is not a horse training book. It is also the only Pat Parelli I would consider recommending to anyone.

The photo is my friend's daughter, Cody, and it was taken not long after she got up on Tick, the first time he's ever had anyone on his back. The horse's head and ears never budged. Neither did the rest of his body. With absolutely no reaction at all, there's no way to tell for sure whether the horse is accepting or so freaked out that he's ready to explode.

What Cody had to do was get some sort of sign which way that horse's mind was going, and that took imagination. Notice that her left hand has a pretty good grip on the front of the saddle. That hand stayed put the entire time she was on Tick. Usually, meaning not when she's leaning off the side like this, if a horse starts acting up, she'll reach behind her with her right hand and grab the back of the saddle too. Not many horses have been able to launch her off with that kind of hanging on. She had flapped her arms prior to this photo, flapped her legs, wiggled all around, and leaning off Tick's side was the last thing she did. The horse never moved. He never moved either when she tried to get him to walk. He was stuck.

There was still no way to tell whether Tick was going to buck, and if he did buck, just how hard. Cody doesn't weigh 100 pounds soaking wet, but on a horse his size, it's still enough weight to challenge his sense of balance and security. That he was stuck was a pretty good indication that he did not know how to move with weight on his back. Though Cody was leaning off one side, notice that the saddle is still straight, and that's a good indicator that she is actually still balanced and not pulling the horse off balance. She moved into that position slowly, and that gave Tick the time to lean slightly away so that both of them remained balanced.

I don't think it ever occurred to this horse that, even though all the other horses on the farm were often ridden, he would be also.  The first time I was ever on my horse when he turned two years old, it was like he knew it would happen, his head went down and he relaxed to the point where he just walked right off. Tick was stuck, and Cody's clucks and smooches and then nudges meant nothing to him. Finally, Cody pulled his head to one side until he had no choice but to move a front leg, which he finally did.

If the horse was going to blow, right then would've been the golden moment for it to happen. Instead, he stopped again. Another pull to the side, another front leg step and Cody built on that until he was walking a few steps before stopping again. Cody then taught him that if he moves when she squeezes her legs, she won't slap his rump, which she found startled him to walk off. Once he was moving off her leg easily, she asked for a trot in the same way. If he trotted when she squeezed, she wouldn't slap his rump.

The whole session was about 25 to 30 minutes. Tick didn't break a sweat, he was calm throughout and not confused at all. It was a good learning session. She'll ride him a few more times, then give him the winter off. Next spring is when more time will be spent with him, when he's closer to three and more physically able to handle riding.


Several people have landed here searching for information about "a colt's first ride," and this should help some. Keep in mind that the basic ground work and sacking out were pretty solid with this horse before Cody got up on him. There's a lot of info out there with all the steps included; just be sure that you are comfortable with that info and feel safe at all times. Many of these "TV cowboys" play to the camera and forget that others may not be physically able to do the same things that they can.  Showoffs.

For the book tag, the only two horse blogs I know of on Entrecard have already been hit by this book tag! I won't ask them to rinse and repeat. So, what I'd like to do is change it from HORSE book to any ANIMAL book you might have.

I know of two people that just might have a book on dogs or cats hanging around:  Pam of pamibe and Grandy of Functional Shmunctional. Tag, you're it!

If anyone else would like to pick up this tag, feel free to grab it and run!  Leave a comment here with a link to your post so we can all enjoy it.


Where's That Fat Lady When You Need Her?

That's what I keep asking myself. I'm waiting for the fat lady to sing! It ain't over until then, right? I really don't think my nerves could handle watching the election coverage on TV. I think, within an hour, I'd be screaming obscenities at the screen.

A strange thing happened today. This morning when I woke up and checked this blog, the embedded comment form wasn't working. It wouldn't show the options to choose which way you want to sign the comment. The frustrating thing is that you could spend the time typing in your comment, press submit and not a thing would happen. Has anyone else had that problem?

I visited a 4th grade class today. It had been a long time since I walked through the doors of an elementary school, and it surprised me again how low the drinking fountains were hung on the wall. But, kids grow fast. There were 6th graders taller than I am. What a jump in two years! What in the world is in the drinking water?

I asked the 4th graders, "Why do we vote?" One boy said, "We vote when we get sick of our leader."

Ah-yup, that works for me. I wonder if we can vote again tomorrow.


Where to Look


Stop thinking.

Look out the window.

Feel what you see.

That is where to look for calm, comfort, solace, peace and balance.

Repeat as necessary.


Fall Back to November

Today's fiery sunset was a perfect adios to daylight saving time. That's a big hint for me to get back on a more normal sleep schedule so that I can be awake for the fewer hours of sunshine. I'd say the month of October was another big hint to make some changes too. Sigh.

With no further ado, let me thank October's top droppers:
I've found that Blogger's "Follow This Blog" comes in pretty handy when I want to quickly see if any of my favorite blogs have posted since I last visited. I've also added the option to Follow This Blog in the middle sidebar.

Speaking of sidebars... I've rearranged my sidebars a bit. Now, the center column is all "social" stuff like EC, the latest droppers, my list of favorite blogs and links. The far right column is all the stuff related to finding what you're looking for on A Bumpy Path. I hope these changes make it easier for you.

In an effort to keep the download time of this blog as low as possible, I have been using the article snippit with a link to the full post. Some people seem to dislike that and won't bother to click to read. (I have to work on writing better headlines!) What I've started to do is show the full latest post, only changing it to a snippit and link when I put up the next new post. That seems to be working very well for both you and I, so I will continue posting in this way.

Happy November!