Coming Home is the Best Part of the Day

familyThere’s nothing better than coming home after a tough day at work to be greeted by the dogs and Odin.

(Of course, now that we’re winding down, the horse fed, the dogs fed and all laying at my feet as I sit at the computer, they become ‘fragrant’ too. Who knows which one it was that just let loose a loud, obnoxious fart! I knew it, it was Jake. He has that guilty look on his face…)

I don’t know how Saki and Hiro, the two little dogs, can wag their tails so hard while jumping all over me and yapping away can be any more welcoming. Chloe the Shepherd and Jake the Aussie aren’t half as fast, so by the time they get up to me, still before I’ve even moved the truck through the gate, Saki and Hiro have run off to bug Odin. Odin will trot up to me as I get out of the truck at the house and insist on a few itches before he’ll let me go in the house to change.

I was a little later than usual, working late then stopping for groceries (Oh, there’s the fragrance now. One of the dogs had to have eaten something more than the dog food I gave them to reek like that. Yuck!), there wasn’t much daylight left to the day to ride. But, Odin wanted to play, and that’s what we did.


Unemployed? Some Things You Need to Know

thumperWhen I saw this man last night at a local festival, I thought to myself, “If he was looking for a job right now, he probably wouldn’t have much luck.” His choice of clothes and his body language spell L-O-S-E-R, loud and clear. Never mind that he has a new haircut and he’s cleanly shaven, or that he seems to have found himself a way to drum up some money, it’s not enough to outweigh the negatives in the picture he paints of himself.

Is he one of the millions that have lost their job in this latest economic mess? Are you?

There’s no doubt about it, if you lose your job, it can be the most stressful, depressing thing that can happen to you. Job loss runs right up there with divorce in the list of most stressful life events, and taking the psychological hit can knock you to your knees.

Think positively, come to terms with the major blow to your psyche, and get back up on your feet. Do this as quickly as you can. Sure, there’s a grieving process that goes along with job loss, so do whatever you can to separate out your emotional state. Be strong!

Faced with such a life-changing event in your life, what can be most helpful is learning everything you need to know about being unemployed.


How Much History Don’t We Know?


Launched by an article about the ancient (500 BC) Mayan culture’s possibly sudden exodus to the shores of Yucatan, my mind has been caught in the wonder of it all.

From what I recall (I didn’t bookmark the article, dangit), archeologists found an amazing, mile-long staircase up to a mountain-top compound that was never raided, possibly because of the very long trek to get there. The photo is of part of that mountain-top palace, still standing in its wondrous, architectural glory. Household tools were just left lying, as though just used and set down as the people made their getaway.

Though some of Mayan decent live today, no one knows what happened, what made an entire culture leave their palatial homes. Did everyone decide at once that they wanted ocean-front property? Did everyone make it?


S-u-n-s-e-t Spells Relief

septsundaysunsetHello. My name is Theresa and I'm addicted to... sunsets!

I gasped in wonder when I saw that sunset, feed bucket in hand and an impatient horse circling around me. It had been over a week since we’ve seen any sun here, and this gorgeous view was the perfect end to a beautiful day.

Yeah, that sunshine outside got me moving. I surprised myself by getting off this chair in front of my computer, grabbed the saddle off its stand and headed outside to ride Odin. I didn’t think, I just did it.

I love that horse! He always gets me laughing and finds more than a few ways to amaze me every time I’m around him. I brushed him out, sprayed him down and got him saddled. Since I drank close to a gallon of iced tea, I had to run inside for a minute and left Odin standing there. Nope, he wasn’t there when I got back, but the smart horse didn’t drag my rope through the gooey mud puddle, and he was only a few feet away from where I left him.


It’s All in The Hairline

napolitano_andrewSome things are just …”off.” Like this guy’s hairline. I nabbed it off of Google Images, and his name is Andrew Napolitano, if that means anything to anyone. It's the best photo I could find that illustrates my story.

Now, take that hair, cut it to about a half inch long all the way around, make his brow one that overhangs, add in a uni-brow, then dye all his hair black and you have the perfect image of this guy I met today.

It took me a long time to quit staring at this guy’s face. How in the world does a hairline grow so low onto a person’s forehead? Did he go overboard with the Rogaine? And, how can there possibly be a shadow over the bridge of his nose?

As if that wasn’t enough, this guy thought he was… Oh, I don’t want to say this but it’s true: He thought he was hot. Cocky as all get-out, especially since he thought he’d been wronged.

“Oh, sorry,” he says looking down at his cell phone. “My wife texted me, wants to know if she can come back here because some man is talking to her in the waiting room and he’s making her nervous.”


What’s Been Working For Me

facebook_logoSince I started my third blog this summer, I’ve found it more and more difficult to keep up with what it takes to make Entrecard work for me. I find it virtually impossible to set aside the time and energy needed to drop, whether it be reciprocal, or visiting all my favorite blogs. All the changes in the last year, leading to the sale of the service, played a major part in my disenchantment, with the possibly fatal “final straw” being an increase in make-money blogs (the all-time low quality crap) requesting to advertise. For the first time since joining Entrecard, I’ve denied more ad requests than I have approved.

What I want – and need – is a place to keep track of all my favorite people and their blogs all in one place. To my surprise, Facebook does just that.

networkedblogs The Networked Blogs application within Facebook makes it extremely easy to follow my favorite blogs, with links all on one tab in my profile. I’ve added A Bumpy Path, eyebald and Out in the Back Yard to this application, and when I create a new post, a summary shows up on my profile and wall with a link to the blog. My friends can keep up with my blogs as easily as I can now keep up with theirs.

What I’ve found to be the greatest part of networking through Facebook with other bloggers is that I’ve come to know them more, which adds to the enjoyment of reading their blog posts. Status updates and more photos and the interaction with other friends means more is shared, and appreciated.

cmf-125x125 For an advertising network, I joined CMF Ads. Created by a few of the personalities from the original Entrecard, the CMF blog network is an ad exchange service that works. You pay to advertise on blogs, and others pay to advertise on your blogs. What could be simpler?

The biggest positive about CMF is that the network consists of only quality blogs created by serious bloggers, not just your get-rich-quick-blogging crap that I refuse to allow on my blogs, let alone visit. You can click from one CMF blog to the next and never find anything but a good read.

Since I haven’t had the time to spend dropping cards from one blog to the next, I’ve found that the traffic from Entrecard has become nil. That is a glaring indication of the drop –n- run, blow-your-bounce-rate-to-hell, less-than-desirable traffic you get from the sort of reward system that Entrecard is built on. What good does it do to pour your heart and soul into your blog if no one bothers to stop long enough to read what you wrote? Now, the majority of my traffic comes from search engines, CMF and Facebook. And, my bounce rate is cut in half.

So, folks. Send me a friend request on Facebook. Get your blog on Networked Blogs and join CMF Ads. For me, Entrecard’s days are numbered; I’m just waiting for you all to join me on Facebook.


The Power of One Among Many

If there was any before, there can be no doubt now: Housework sucks, especially when you use ammonia to clean. When a woman tells a man that she loves housework, it’s not the actual act of cleaning that she loves, it is that she shows her love by taking care of him. Think about that before you leave your smelly socks and skidded up underwear on the bedroom floor.

“The average American household has two and a half children.” The first time I heard that, I thought, “What? The S.O.B.’s went around and chopped kids in two?” Today, I read that the average person has six and a half close friends; that’s all we’re able to wrap our minds around. Six and a half? It’s no wonder I suck at math – these statements just don’t make sense. I’ll have nightmares until I figure out just which one of my friends is walking around with only one arm and one leg.

Yesterday, I read about a blogger who was a successful and published novelist. With a three-book contract cancelled after his second book, he sank into despair. He said it was blogging that resurrected his writing “mojo” and incidentally, launched him into a far more successful – and stable – writing career. The key, he said, is to always deliver value.


Coming Out from Behind


It’s been gnawing at my craw a bit lately, this thing that people seem to be doing more and more often. It’s judging. I see the painful results of harsh judgments, and it’s not a pretty sight to see someone ripped up and spit out like that.

The last person I saw on Friday was a woman that I’ll call Jan. She’s about as real a person as they come, and quite bubbly for someone in her late 30’s. She’s a single mom, fighting one hell of an uphill battle. You see, Jan is severely dyslexic, which has meant a lifetime of misdiagnoses and misunderstanding.

Instead of learning coping skills, she learned to be anxious and nervous. She fears the parts she doesn’t understand and becomes so flustered when she thinks she doesn’t understand that her mind takes off in a whirlwind. Then, she’ll call herself stupid and idiotic and dumb and apologizes profusely for her anxiety. She is far from stupid, something I remind her of every time I see her.

Bits and pieces of her life come out now and then. Jan was thought to be so mentally retarded that her mother was strongly advised to commit her to a mental institution for life. They said she would never learn anything and become very difficult to handle as she grew older. Her mother didn’t believe them, but attending public school wasn’t much of a success.


Update on Hiro and Thanks to You All

I stopped to see Hiro on the way home from work tonight. I have to say, the people at the vet are wonderful and everyone stops to speak to Hiro when they walk by his cage. They’re keeping a close eye on him..

When I got there, Hiro was coming out of anesthesia, and doing a lot of whining. That broke my heart to hear, but I was assured that it was mostly the drugs talking, not that he was in pain so much.

But he sounds like he's hurting, that's for sure. Not only did he lose his leg, he lost his cajones too. I had the vet neuter him at the same time he was removing the leg. I figured with only three legs, he's going to need to lose some of his ...confidence... to survive now. In other words, he needs to stay close to home instead of agitating the big dogs in the neighborhood that he'll no longer be able to run away from.


Hiro is in a Tight Spot and So am I

hurthiroHiro and I are going through a boat-load of firsts together.

It’s the first time I’ve ever had one of my dogs shot, and it really hits home just how much my critters mean to me.

When I walked out the door to leave for work this morning, there was Hiro, lying under the truck on his side. He’s usually the one I have to yell at to quit jumping on me, so I knew something was wrong. One of his forelegs was three times the size of the other, so that made diagnosis easy enough. A wag of his tail, a quick lick to my face as I picked him up to carry him inside, and I knew the leg was all that was hurt.

A mad dash out the door to make it to work on time and my mind is reeling. I figured he probably tangled with one of the four-wheelers he’s so fond of chasing, or, the horse finally managed to kick him. Then, there was the dilemma of getting him to the vet, something quite difficult to do when working all day.


Those Danged Expectations


Is it a learned thing, a conditioning of sorts? How do we set ourselves up so well to be so …disappointed? Here I am with all the psychology education I could get my hands on and I’m still asking the same questions! Am I expecting a different answer from the textbooks and journals than what I usually find there? What a bother! Truth is, there are just some important things you’ll never find in a book.

Like, you turn the key in the ignition and the car starts. It’s not too much to expect, right? But when the car doesn’t start, the Plan B that was never expected to be needed and thus unthought of has to be created and put into action ASAP. That’s a major “un-oh” moment if there ever was one.

You can be careful to choose the gallon of milk with the longest code date of all the jugs on the shelf, and when you pour out a glass to enjoy with those fresh Oreos, you expect that milk to be drinkable. Don’t look now, but you need to get that soured, spit-out milk and cookie combo off your monitor and keyboard fast!


Generally? There’s No Such Thing


Generally, there’s no such thing as ‘generally.’

Did you know that public education funding comes directly out of the defense fund? Yep, it is. From the get-go, the average, everyday Joe is carefully molded to become the perfect soldier that does what he’s told; nothing more, nothing less.

Public education goes out of its way to “generally” produce externally motivated personalities with independent, critical thinking all but non existent. With across-the-board prescribed content and reinforced peer pressure, what results is generation after generation of passive sheep, ready and willing to do what they are told, nothing more, nothing less.

The affluent send their kids to private schools where the emphasis is on leadership of the masses – generally. Any school’s biggest threat is the students who fall outside the general norm, such as gifted or challenged learners.


A Dilemma of Normalcy

A temperature of 98.6 is normal. That the clock keeps ticking away the seconds is normal. A person wearing clothes is normal, and a dog scratching fleas is normal. When things go kaflooey, when a temp isn’t normal, a trip to the doctor’s office throws a wrench in the day. If the clock wildly jumps around seconds, minutes and hours, a trip to Wal-Mart for a new one is in order. A person wearing clothes out in public is normal, but I bet those clothes aren’t on when that person is taking a shower like they normally do. And, the dog could’ve run into something he’s allergic to, so there you go again, this time to the vet.

Lately, I’ve been noticing quite a few more things that aren’t quite what I’d call normal. Imagine my surprise when I transferred the photos from my camera to my computer yesterday, and found this photo. It was windy, so whatever it was I was trying to take a photo of is missing, and I got this anomaly instead. What is this? Is it the birth of a pod person?

But, that’s beside the point. Or, normally, it would be beside the point. The point is…

Normalcy is a dilemma for me.