29 December 2015

A Michael Kors and Hello Kitty Christmas

This Christmas has been one of those firsts, so it's not like I can NOT write about it. It's been my first Christmas without Tim. So without hesitating, I'll share with you my very different spin for this year. It's an odd one. Cameron and Kristina traveled to Roanoke and Chelsey and I stayed here in Tallahassee. The only photos I have to share are from our Christmas Eve together and the title of this post is very reflective of what happened.

No tree this year, but plenty of space in front of the fireplace.


I was sad about not putting up a tree or decorating the house with lights and lawn ornaments, which was something Tim did every year.  Instead, I had a Christmas wreath for my front door, thanks to Charles.

More about Charles another day! Don't ask. ;)

I purchased the normal cookie decorating paraphernalia. Looks the same, right?

The eyeballs are an added decor item.

Okay, so seems that Michael Kors was on both our minds this year. What, what?!

Chelsey's Michael Kors bracelet.

My Michael Kors watch.

Two things that didn't pan out this year were the gingerbread houses we've been decorating each year. Apparently, I shouldn't wait until the last minute when shopping for gingerbread houses. This seems to have become a trend for 2015. They were all sold out!

Left on the shelves, Hello Kitty Sugar cookie houses.

We were up for the challenge. Plus, I prefer Sugar cookies.

Nailed it!!

Chelsey perfected this cake! We skipped the cookies this year.

Beautiful! The cake, too. LOL

Close up of the cake, in case you couldn't see the snow.

Chelsey and I met Tenay at Geo's Pool and Pub.

A friendship so easy to explain with one picture!! lol

One photo we always have to take is a photo of the puppies in front of the fireplace and mantel. They're not puppies anymore, but they are to us!

Loving their Chelsey!

Trying to get Maggie to smile for the camera...not working!

A very Merry Christmas to you and yours! See you next year. :)

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14 December 2015

Tech Tip: Stop Following That Nuisance!

Remember that funny article you read eons ago and then decided, "Hey, why not follow that fun blog so I can get more articles from this blogger to show up in my Blogger feed when they post new content?"

Yeah, me too.

Suddenly, the blog disappears and a new blog shows up in your reader stream and you aren't familiar with the name, but ALL THESE DAMNED POSTS BY NEW BLOGGER ARE SHOWING UP IN YOUR FEED!!!!!!!

Am I upset? Yes I am.

Why? Because I can't find the answer (anywhere) on how the fuck I am supposed to stop following this annoying pest who keeps changing the name of their blog and importing in gazillions of posts at a time which now populate my feed, making it look like they were all posted within the last few minutes and drowning out all the other articles I wish to read instead. When I do find instructions written by some Google expert, they error out because of the many phases of integration and upgrades throughout the years and the evolution of growing widgets that compromise each other.

I don't want my blogger feed spammed with 50 articles asking for me to review movies. Get that shit the fuck off my blogger feed! But how the hell do you do it?

Remember the Google Follower widget from years ago called Google Friend Connect? Do you have one of these on your site?

If you do, you're in luck. Click the Options drop down and select Site Settings.

When your profile opens, click on Sites You've Joined. I'm going to make a suggestion to Google that they change this to Undo Stupid Choices I've Made.

In the graphic below, I've photoshopped out all the blogs I follow so that anyone who gets pissed off at me for showing folks how to unfollow them will not commence to harassing my favorite bloggers out here. Just saying, I look out for my people.

You're welcome.

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09 December 2015

Creative Writing Prompts with a Communications Theme

This came to me from Nancy at Creative Writing Now, but I didn't want to keep it to myself, so I thought you guys in the Blogosphere might want to participate. Pick one of the following prompts, write a short piece, and share it as a link back to your blog through the Simply Linked sign up below. Happy writing!

In case you're looking for writing ideas this week, here are five story prompts that you can use to write fiction of your own.  All of these ideas are related to the theme of communication.

Oui Do, in Venice

On a foreign holiday, your character meets an extremely attractive man or woman.  They don't speak the same language, but they somehow find a way to understand each other, and your character feels a powerful connection that s/he has never felt with anyone before.  Impulsively, your character marries this person after they've only known each other a very short time.  Your character's new husband/wife moves to your character's country and begins to take language classes there.  The better the spouse is able to communicate, the more your character realizes that s/he isn't the person your character had believed...

Break a Leg...Just Kidding

On a first date, your character makes a joke about wanting to kill his/her boss.  But when the boss ends up in the hospital following a brutal attack, your character begins to worry that his/her new boyfriend/girlfriend may have taken the joke too literally...

Hello From Below

Your character runs a small charity.  The charity's most important donor has just died, and the donor’s widow shows no interest in continuing to contribute to the charity.  Your character fears that the charity will not survive the loss of funding.  Then your character learns that the widow regularly visits a psychic -- which gives your character an idea.  Your character will convince the widow that s/he has the ability to speak with the dead, and will pretend to pass on messages from the dead husband urging her to continue with the charitable donations.  But something strange and unexpected begins to happen.  When your character pretends to summon the dead, s/he has a distinct feeling that someone, or something, is actually trying to communicate with him or her...

Calling For Caroline

Every evening, when she goes to the parking garage of her office building, your character finds a new love note tucked under the windshield wipers of her car.  These love notes are very beautiful and fill your character with powerful emotions.  But they are all addressed to "Caroline".  Your character's name is Melissa...

Above the Garden, We Pray

Your character has been kidnapped and locked in an attic.  The attic has a small window overlooking the garden of a neighbor's house, where your character sometimes sees children playing.  Your character doesn't dare shout out the window because the kidnapper might hear.  S/he needs to find a way to signal for help without the kidnapper's discovering what s/he's doing, and without endangering the children...

Sign up below:

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29 November 2015

Making Progress by Letting Go

Sorry to have been MIA lately. I've been dealing with so much at work, at school, and at home. I still don't know why I've not been here on my blog with you guys, despite my situation. This is the place I come when I need to get things off my chest, these days more like expunged from my heart.

I've been contemplating clearing out some items from my home to quell my OCD. There are things that are taking up room and I don't know how to remove them, or even if it's okay to remove them. Every book I pick up that Tim read and every piece of clothing I consider placing into the discard pile makes my throat constrict and I give up.

How do I get rid of books that he read, knowing that I could read those same books one day and by reading the same words he'd once read, I might feel connected to him once again? It starts this panic attack and I don't know what to do, so I put them back on the shelf or in a different pile labeled keep.

Other than books?

What if I delete the last voicemail he left on my phone without listening to it one more time?

Is it okay to delete 3 years worth of text messages, including the very last words he wrote?

Everything seems to have a memory, and to get rid of anything feels like a loss all over again. Even though I know it needs to be done, is there ever a right time?

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11 November 2015

Communicating with Truth and Transparency

Just some thoughts on my latest ideas on making progress in this world of communications. I'm dealing with topics of genuine concern and authentic desires within me to change the mindset out in the media world today. We need more communicators who care about the human spirit. I wish companies would stop with marketing gimmicks and give us what we truly want, not what they want us to have or the only thing they have to offer in order to make that buck.

The part of being real to your audience is sharing truth and you do that by being transparent and sharing parts of you that may not be considered desirable traits to others, but they make you who you are. Granted, not everyone needs to be out there sharing their truth. I get that. LORD! ...help me I've seen enough.

Part of my writing journey has been in finding ways to open up and share who I am: the good, the bad, and the ugly. I do this so that I can experience the freedom I need to be able to write uninhibited.

If you've ever heard people talk about reading something that rings true, it's because the author has no reservations about what they are writing. Some people attribute that truth as having come from an author who is "writing what they know" and that's not necessarily the case. They are writing, uninhibited, and therefore the genuine intent of what they write shines through. How else can a science fiction writer make something up, which doesn't exist, and sell it to their audience?

One of the most important aspects of studying communications is gaining a deeper understanding of what it means to be truthful in your communications. Most people only want to deliver messages which make them look good. They don't want to communicate those things which might invite criticism. That's understandable, and communication full on isn't for everyone.

Not many people can freely express themselves, the good and the bad. Because not all people can face criticism without completely falling apart. The thing that communications majors learn about and study in great detail is how to deliver a message truthfully. Truth is good. If you have a moral compass, use it and you will be invincible! Or, you might be looking for another job, but sleep well at night.

While the rest of the world is out there building a persona and delivering great things about themselves, a communication major is learning how to make the face of organizations into human beings again, communicating on a level to deliver genuine brands which people can relate to and find attractive because truth is attractive. A marketing gimmick which turns out to be a big fat hoax is not attractive. Matter of fact, it pisses us off.

We are all human. We deal with positives and negatives in our lives. We communicate truthfully to the human spirit because we've shed our fears in order to do our jobs, and then we wonder, in that moment, why it is that we ever feared criticism for being human ourselves.

Are you an inhibited communicator, or do you deliver the truth?

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01 November 2015

Some WTF Moments Traveling to DC

I've been remiss in not posting the photos from last weekend where I spent my time with friends who participated in this year's Marine Corps Marathon. My trip started last Thursday when I bumped into my friend Yvette at the Tallahassee airport. I was like WTF are you doing here? And she was like, no wait...WTF are YOU doing here?

Turns out we were both traveling. She was going to Texas, and I was going to D.C. Funniest thing ever? We were both on the same flight to Tampa where Yvette had a 2 hour lay over, and I had a 4 hour lay over. Is there a better way to spend time with a friend than getting our buzz on before noon?

Drinking Mai Tais & Strawberry Martinis

Okay, so enough of that shit. Eventually, we said our goodbyes, Yvette took off to Texas, and I popped another Oxy in preparation for my flight into D.C. where I would eventually meet up with my other pals from Tallahassee, the ones who were all running as part of team Tim Carlisle, in honor of my late husband. Yes, you should visit the link and see how much his friends raised for their charity, Semper Fi Fund. Here's a video outside the Smithsonian's American History Museum.

Team Tim Carlisle and their families celebrate
after the run on Sunday.

My friends, Lisa and Robert Roddy

Tim's buddy, Garrick. Responsible
for creating the team and raising over
$11,000.00 of their $10,000.00 goal!

Despite the long trip, parts of which I can't even explain (like the 50 foot drop the plane took during a bout of turbulence), I had some "me" moments where I was able to reflect on the past and even ruminate on my future a bit. Where I'd once had fears of eating alone in a restaurant, I was forced to do so while experiencing my first encounter with Vietnamese cuisine. I ordered this stuff called Pho.

When this came, I was like, "Okay, I get it."
Pho fuck's sake! Where's the rest of my food!!

I soon discovered that wasn't all there was to my order. That's just the nasty stuff you're supposed to use to make your meal look more enticing. Wait for it....

Yeah, that's meat floating inside the
soup bowl. It's like some kind of beef
brisket, floating around in hot soup.
I'm not kidding. LOOK at it!

Did I eat it? Yes. I was hungry. Despite the fact that I'm only 5'3" weighing in at 115 pounds, I still do require some sustenance. No worries either, I did not skimp on my caloric intake.

Less calories than an entire bowl
of Fettuccine Alfredo

Nestle Dibs wasn't the only thing I consumed during my alone time. I walked to the local 7 Eleven (yes they still have those in D.C.) and picked up a sugar free Red Bull to drink on my way back to my room, though I did pass a crowd of Mexicans hovered over what looked to be a scratch off lottery ticket.

This is true. I experienced it, so don't call me a racist. I can't help it they were Mexican. I really wish they had been Asian so that I could say they were Asians. But, if they were Asian, they'd have been taking pictures of each other standing in front of the local 7 Eleven and maybe holding up a sugar free Red Bull.

Life's too short not to enjoy one of these.
I bought the sunglasses at the 7 Eleven, too.
Classy? Maybe more like classic.

So anyway, my trip to D.C. was just another journey on my path to making progress. I'm doing me, and me says it's time to celebrate the meaning of life, try new things, experience the freedom of being you, and take an Oxy 45 minutes before you get on an airplane.


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20 October 2015

Scary Story in 5 Words

The newest trending hashtag on Twitter is #ScaryStoryIn5Words and here are my top 10 favorites!

Scary Story #10

Scary Story #9

Scary Story #8

Scary Story #7

Scary Story #6

Scary Story #5

Scary Story #4

Scary Story #3

Scary Story #2

Scary Story #1

Share your favorite #ScaryStoryIn5Words in the comments below and Happy Halloween, Blogosphere!

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06 October 2015

A Funny Thing Happened When - A Writing Prompt

For the first time in several years I have the flu. While at home feeling miserable as all fuck, I decided to take my mind off my misery by finding a creative writing prompt. I chose the grade level twelve, because what the hell, I think I qualify. In an attempt to lighten my mood I chose "A Funny Thing Happened When..."

Do you know how difficult it is to remember funny things when you have the flu? It's really hard, but I found one. This happened when two sisters discovered they are just too close in age. Everything my sister and I learned in our social circles: the good, the bad, the ugly, we learned at the same time and practiced on each other. Like the middle finger snap to the forehead. That was the ugly.

This kind of ugly, for real.

It was I who had practiced on my sister. Who knew I'd be successful in landing the perfect blow on the first try? She certainly didn't. I think I actually felt the surprise on my own face, even as I looked at the anger which crept onto hers.

I took off and she took off after me. I knew I had to get away, because though she was smaller than me, she would beat the shit out of you if she were mad enough, and boy was she mad!

Kind of like this

I felt I got away because we were yards apart when I reached the door in the hallway. All I had to do was get through that door and shut it right in the demon's face. I pulled on the knob and my knees buckled. My physical self got ahead of my practical self and I forgot to turn the handle. My entire body slammed into the wooden obstacle and all I could think was, "I'm going down." I may have even silently thought about Will Robinson.

I think I may have been 15 or 16 years old at the time, but if you can imagine a grown me screaming, "Ma! Ma! Dad!" at the top of my lungs before busting out into laughter, that's the image I want you to keep, because I don't recall what happened from that point forward. Each time we get together, we talk about this incident, but we never get past the laughter to finish the story.

Me and my sister, St. Marks 2012

I hope you will enjoy your own writing prompt. Please share them in the comments or link to your blog post. I'll especially enjoy it if you choose the same topic. I need the cheer and entertainment.

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23 September 2015

Writers Seeking Investors

I read a post by one of my blogger friends a couple days ago and while composing my thoughts about it, my comment grew beyond a suitable length, so I decided to post the response on my blog instead. Thank you, Randi, for such a stimulating topic. I can't believe I had more than a few sentences in me about "requesting financial support for writing and publishing a book." Apparently, these have become common projects on sites like GoFundMe.com and Kickstarter.com. However, the general public seems to be in a sort of debate about this, whether it is ethical or not. Many feel that these young writers should earn their way via some secret writ of passage. Let me put this in perspective a bit.

First off, GoFundMe and KickStarter are great programs and I think most people can peruse the projects on those sites and decide for themselves if a project is worthy of funding. Sure, the Internet wasn't always available, and these sites suddenly pop up and now there are more options for young writers today than ever before. So, you missed out? No! Go start your own project rather than scolding the young for having dreams and exploring new ideas. Who says you have to write, edit, submit, be rejected, and start the process all over again while you slave miserably 5 days per week, 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., at a job that pays you a wage? Today you have options, obviously.

Don't whine that these folks aren't worthy to be published because they didn't get raked through the coals like you did. Let site donors decide if these projects are worthy of funding. If you don't think the project is worthy, then don't donate your money. Simple as that.

What if I want to fund some writer's dream? Should it matter to you? I'd much rather fund an honest person's dream than to let the government take it from me and give it to some person who sits on their ass all day long doing not a damned thing.

At least these kids are wanting to do something productive and creative. And, it doesn't matter how the funds are utilized, whether for a laptop with word processing software, an income to pay the bills while they write, or a fancy desk where they can spend their days working on their product. Isn't that how the government utilizes our tax revenue?

If a donor wants to fund a creative writing project, then that's what those platforms are for, giving creators a voice in requesting funds for their project ideas. The creation of a product is the creation of a product, no matter what it is. It could be a cool new game, a fancy cooler, or *gasp* a novel. Why should writing the next Great American novel be considered any different than any other creative endeavor?

To the writers out there who are requesting funding, you can't be too modest while in pursuit of a dream and you can't worry about what other people are saying about the way you are pursuing said dream. Just do it and have no regrets. Because when you are a success, it will be the only indicator that you did what was right for you! If you make it though, do give credit to those who donated to your project. It's the considerate thing to do.

And for this message of encouragement, I only charge a 10% fee on your first royalty check, so when you write that epic series comparable to Harry Potter, you can donate to my personal fund.

Go ahead, click it, seriously...

Your donations are greatly appreciated!

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18 September 2015

The Ethical Hacker - Oxymoron

Someone in my class used this term earlier this week and I had to respond to it. I'm tired of people using these two words together as if anyone at a professional level wouldn't be completely offended by it. There is no such thing as an ethical hacker. Please stop using these two words together. They make up the truest oxymoron in existence today. DON'T DO IT!


1. a person or thing that hacks.
2. Slang. a person who engages in an activity without talent or skill:

a. a person who has a high level of skill in computer technology or programming; a computer expert or enthusiast.

b. a person who circumvents security and breaks into a network, computer, file, etc., usually with malicious intent.

[eth-i-kuh l]

1. pertaining to or dealing with morals or the principles of morality; pertaining to right and wrong in conduct.

2. being in accordance with the rules or standards for right conduct or practice, especially the standards of a profession.

Seriously, I don't like the term ethical hacker. Professional experts who access systems using skills other than ones known to the average user are not hackers, a term connoting persons hacking away at something until they gain access to what is needed. An expert who legally utilizes skills in order to access systems does so in a methodical approach.

What makes it legal is the owner of the system requests their expertise to assist in accessing areas where they've lost capabilities in doing so. There's no reason to tie the word "ethical" to a negative term in order to indicate the opposite of that term which refers to IT professionals who already carry titles such as Systems Engineers, Network Analysts, Security Analysts, etc.

Hackers are criminals. There is nothing "ethical" about hacking. You are gaining access to a system in which you do not have permission to access. Would you ever refer to a locksmith as an ethical burglar?

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14 September 2015

Future Book Promotions on my Blog

Beginning this month, book promotions will make up a small portion of my content, but I will only be promoting one book per month. Don't forget the theme of this blog is writing and making progress. I can't think of a better way to contribute to the blogosphere, can you?

Once I'm finished with my studies and have time to read for pleasure again, I may switch over to book reviews again. But, for now, here's the first promotion and it's for my dear blogofriend, Randi. Did I just make up a word? I think I did.

I know I will love these because Randi is a hell of a writer and I can't wait to read both books.

Author Randi Lee is running a buy one, get one promotion for two of her books: purchase a copy of Randi Lee’s “Affected” between September 14—22, 2015 and receive a free eBook version of “Snap! A Quite Quick Collection.” To receive your free eBook, e-mail a copy of your receipt for the purchase of “Affected” to: randi.lee@mail.com.

“Affected” by Randi Lee is available on major online bookselling sites, such as: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, kobo and Powell’s. Visit emotionalnovel.blogspot.com for more details.

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