31st Dec2010

Day 30: My Hopes, Dreams and Plans for the Next 365 Days

by Daenel

Hopes and Dreams for 2011This is the time of year when people start writing resolutions and planning to make big changes for the new year and, I can’t lie, I tend to do the same thing.  So writing this post should come easy but it doesn’t.  Every year I make grand plans and, for the most part, I do a good job of following through.  Until March.  I don’t know why, but March is my “quitting month.”

So this year, rather than writing out a list of resolutions, I will share my hopes, dreams and plans for the next 365 days (with the knowledge that, ultimately, everything is in His hands and it is by His will and not my own that I will have tomorrow).

There’s so much I want to accomplish.  I’d like to become a better writer.  Rather than writing “fluff” or filler posts, I’d like to write posts that get people thinking and sharing with me.  When I started this blog, I thought it’d be an opportunity for me to give information but I’ve come to realize that I’m much more interested in sharing information and learning from my readers.  The only way I know how to do this is to make my blog more thought provoking and my Facebook page more interactive.  So I’m letting you know now, I’m going to be expecting more give and take in the next year.  Argue with me, challenge me, share with me because that’s what I plan to do with you.

In my professional life, I’d like to become more tech savvy.  I like to think of myself as a geek but I don’t think I have the skill necessary but I do have the heart.  And that’s half the battle right, huh?  I have no fear of jumping in and trying things, but I need to create more opportunities for myself. Fortunately, I work in an environment where my boss encourages exploration and innovation.  So, it’s up to me to figure out the needs of our students and what I can do to better provide those services to them.

Personally, I’d like for my relationships with my family to be stronger.  Miss 17 is preparing to graduate from high school, the younger three are getting older and starting to create lives for themselves away from my husband and me.  And my husband and I are finally at that stage where we can have couple time.  There are so many big changes ahead for us…  I pray that we have the strength to weather the storms ahead and come out stronger and better on the other side.

And, most importantly, I want my faith in Christ to be stronger.  For many years I’ve neglected my faith and failed to raise my children according to scripture.  Moving forward, my goal is to draw them closer to Him.  Although I know the choice to believe in Christ is ultimately theirs, I’d like for them to have a stronger foundation.

What are your hopes, dreams and plans for the next 365 days?

30th Dec2010

2010: The Best of Living Outside the Stacks

by Daenel

Ya know, I say this every year but I mean it this time, this year went by very quickly.  We’ve shared so much ~ you and I ~ you’ve been with me through job searches, college visits, temporary blindness and the other highs and lows that come with living.  So I want to take this time to tell you that I truly appreciate all of your love and support.   I pray continued blessings upon you and yours for a healthy and happy new year.

Here is a list of the best posts of 2010 from yours truly.  I look forward to sharing more with you in the new year.

January:  Sometimes a Fly is Just a Fly ~ Written after an American religious leader had stated that the devastation in Haiti was G_d’s judgement

February:  Family Ties ~ My younger sister called to tell me that she was being deployed to Iraq and it brought back memories of all the ways I used to torment her when we were kids

March:  I Have a Diagnosis ~ One of the scariest days of my life this year was when I woke up and realized that I’d completely lost my vision in one eye

April:  Women of Faith Wednesday ~  Sometimes being a mother is hard work and you really just want to run away, this is what happened when my “runaway day” came

May:  A Full Nest ~ A bird made a nest and laid some eggs right outside my front door, every week I took pictures and used them for my Wordless Wednesday posts

June:  6 Ways to Your Blog More Appealing to Companies ~ Every few months, some prominent “mommy blogger” will berate smaller bloggers for “giving away their services for free” but they weren’t offering tips on how to monetize their blogs so I offered a few suggestions which led to one of the bigger mom bloggers offering some helpful tips

July:  My Droid Hates Me and the Feeling May be Mutual ~ I upgrade my phone at every opportunity, so when I got the chance to get the Droid, I was so excited but I ended up HATING it

August:  Rolled Eyes, Broomsticks and Scenes from the Matrix ~ My mom had the uncanny ability to see around corners, behind her and through the back of my head

September:  If I Died, How Would You Know ~ Like many of you, I’ve made some wonderful connections online and I’ve often wondered how would I know if something happened to them or vice~versa

October:  The Banana Incident of 1978 ~ It’s no secret that I love monkeys but here’s the little known secret for why I hate bananas

November:  I Started Crying at the Reference Desk ~ While working at the library, Miss 17 called to tell me that she’d been accepted to Lock Haven University

December:  Things I Learn When My Kids Miss the Bus ~ One day my son missed the bus, so we ran some errands and grabbed a coffee and pumpkin muffin before I dropped him off

What are you most proud of this year?

28th Dec2010

Day 28: What’s in My Grab Bag?

by Daenel

What do you carry in your handbag or wallet?

28th Dec2010

The Angel on I~10

by Daenel

I~10When I was stationed at Fort Polk, Louisiana, I used to drive up to my parents’ house in Mississippi just about every weekend.  Just me and my then 6 month~old~daughter, in the car, cruising…  I loved those drives because I’d pump up the music real loud and sing to the top of my lungs.  Anyway, this particular weekend, I had driven up to Mississippi to pick up my new~to~me car (a custom painted 1985 Pontiac Fiero, thank you very much).  I loved that car and still have an affinity for Fieros.  For whatever reason, the car wasn’t ready for me to drive home, so I borrowed my sister’s car and began the drive home at about 10:30 or 11 PM (stupid to be driving by myself with an infant that late at night, I know ~ and remember this was 1993, before everyone had cell phones).

About half way onto one of the loneliest parts of the I~10 stretch between Mississippi and Louisiana, the car broke down.  Right there on the side of the road.  It just died.  Now let me set up the picture for you:  it was about 1 something in the morning, and on the right side there were nothing but trees, then a two~lane one~way road, a divisor with more trees, then another two~lane one~way road with trees on the other side.  Very few streetlights anywhere.

I sat in my car staring at my daughter for what felt like hours, but was really only half an hour.  I wasn’t sure what I should do:  should I get out of the car and walk along the side of the road until I reached a gas stop or sit in the car and wait for daylight?  The whole time I was sitting there, I never saw a car pass me and, quite honestly, I was scared.

I decided to risk it and walk.  So I gathered my daughter, her diaper bag, my wallet and a flashlight and started walking.  A few steps in, a trucker pulled up behind me and stopped (I kept right on walking, fully aware of the rig behind me, but I figured if he was gonna kill me, he was gonna have to catch me first).  I heard a male voice yell: “Excuse me!  Miss!  Excuse me!  Someone told me there was a lady walking with a baby on the side of the road who needed help!”  I stopped dead in my tracks.  I hadn’t seen a vehicle pass me while I was walking, how could this be?  And the other side of the road was blocked by trees…

I slowly turned around and saw a man standing a few steps in front of his rig, his arms raised up to the sky like he was being held up by someone with a gun.  “Please, get in the truck.  I don’t want anything to happen to you and the baby.  I’ll take you to the truck stop so you can call someone.”  I stood there staring, not sure if I should get in the rig, run or just stand there.

I decided to put my faith in Him and get in the rig, but as I did, I silently prayed:  “Please, God, if this man is dangerous or planning to kill me, let him leave my baby alone or take us both out at the same time.  Amen.”  I sat so tight up against that door, I felt like I had the imprint of the handle in my side for weeks.

Anyway, the trucker and I road in silence to the truck stop where I darn near broke the door trying to get out of the rig.  Inside, the trucker handed a waitress a wad of bills and said “Bring the baby some oatmeal and get her a soup and sandwich, keep the change for yourself.”  He looked at me, “Call someone to come and get you.”  What?  I had pretty much assumed this man was hanging bodies in the back of his rig and now he was buying me food and over tipping the waitress?

I called family members and a couple of long~time friends and they all said they couldn’t come and get me.  Yeah, seriously.  Let’s just say the friends and I no longer speak and it took me years to forgive the family members.  I ended up calling the man who would later become my husband to come and get me and he arrived in no time flat.

I have to break in the story to tell you that I’d had a date with the hubs~to~be scheduled for that very weekend and I stood him up.  I didn’t call to cancel, didn’t let him know I was going out of town or anything…  I was just flat out rude but oh~so~excited about getting my car.  So when I called him, I was fully expecting him to tell me to go pound sand, instead, he got clear directions as to my location, left his job and came to pick me up.  Not only did he come and get me but he gave me the keys to his truck so I could have transportation until my car was fixed.

After making sure that someone was coming to get me, the trucker sat at the end of the counter and waited.  I walked over and asked him his name and he refused to give it to me.  I said “thank you” and he simply nodded.  When my ride arrived, my now husband asked to meet the trucker but he was gone.

To this day, I don’t know the trucker’s name or where he was from but I do know that from that point on I believed in guardian angels.  I know this man was an angel sent by God to protect me and my daughter from some unknown danger…

And, well, God was also playing the ultimate matchmaker.

Have you ever experienced a random act of kindness?

27th Dec2010

Day 27: Monday Mingle, My Worst Habit and Makeup~Free Monday

by Daenel

Monday MingleMonday Mingle is hosted by Jenn at Eighty MPH Mom. If you’d like to participate, simply create a short vlog in which you answer the questions and then hit up the linky. Don’t forget to grab the badge and leave some comment love for your fellow participants.  After all, isn’t that what mingling is all about?

This week’s questions were submitted by Paula from Thrifty Momma’s Tips and they are:

1. What first name would you have chosen for yourself?  Why?
2. What city or country have you visited that has the coolest name?
3. If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

My Makeup~Free Monday tip for this week is to donate clothing and/or makeup to a women’s shelter.  By doing something good for someone else, you do something good for yourself.  And what could be more beautiful than helping someone else out?

For more information about Makeup~Free Monday, checkout The Beauty Bean.

26th Dec2010

Day 26: My Week in Great Detail or What I Managed to Learn in 2010

by Daenel

Coffee and a BookI know you thought I forgot about the All About Me in 30 Days meme but I didn’t, it’s just that my week is pretty boring.  If you really want to know what my week is like, just read this post seven times in a row and there you go!  So, needless to say, I’m not writing a post about my week in detail, instead I’d rather break the rules and share what I learned in 2010.

10.  Treating your life as if it’s a musical and breaking out in random song and dance can make you feel better.

9.  The American press is way too preoccupied with the engagement of Prince William to Kate Middleton. According to CNN, their engagement announcement was one of the top news stories of 2010 (ahead of the TWO WARS that we are currently fighting). Last time I checked we are no longer a colony and so many more important things happened this year besides a guy giving a tainted ring to his long~time~on~again~off~again girlfriend.  Sorry, that whole I’m going to give you the ring from my parents’ failed marriage thing totally weirds me out.

8.  Supporting local businesses is good for you and your community.  This may sound like a given, but I’ve discovered over the last year that I really enjoy going into small locally owned stores and purchasing crafts made by local artisans or enjoying a cup of coffee and great conversation at the neighborhood coffee bar, and don’t get me started on the thrill that comes from purchasing produce from a farmer’s market.  Instead of waiting for the government to come in and save us, we need to start building our economies one mom and pop shop at a time.  Buy local and give handmade, there’s something ultra chic about one~of~a~kind and limited edition gifts.

7.  Everybody has a little crazy in them.

6.  Even when you’re not working, you should maintain your brand and remain active in your online communities. During my time as a Histolibrarianivist, I became part of an active online community of archivists, librarians and information professionals, and when I left my job, I removed myself from the community and am now struggling to find my place again.  I wrongly felt that I had nothing to contribute because I was no longer working as an archivist or reference librarian, I should have stayed involved to keep abreast of changes within the field and maintain connections.

5.  It’s OK to say “I don’t know.” I teach history and American government for a local university and every now and then a student will ask me a question about something and I’ll have absolutely no clue how to answer (usually it has something to do with Constitutional law or some obscure historical fact).  And I used to hate saying “I don’t know” but I realized something, when I followed that statement up with “But I’ll have the answer for you at our next class” and then followed through, my students respected me.  That’s when my classes became most productive ~ my students AND I both learned something.  Lifelong learning, it’s a wonderful thing.

4.  The economic crisis has demonstrated that we are much more generous, open~minded and resilient than we realized.

3.  Social media can be used for good.  Over the past year I’ve had the opportunity to participate with different charities in ways that were purely driven by social media.  For example,  on 10 March, I participated in Rock the Red Pump by wearing red pumps and writing a blog post in honor of National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Day.   I also participated in several Twitter campaigns that supported Breast Cancer Awareness and the Isotoner smarTouch Gift of Touch campaign for Mathew 25:  Ministries. Charitable blogging and Twitter opportunities are great for stay~at~home~parents and other individuals who either don’t have the time or the money to give to charity but would still like the opportunity to give back to the community.

2.  Despite what people say, books will not die. It seemed like every time a new eReader was introduced, people started questioning the relevance of libraries and the viability of books.  Well, I can promise you that books will not die ~ there will always be people who prefer the feel, the smell and the sight of books (and as long as eReaders continue to cost well into the hundreds of dollars, there will be people who will go with the cheaper option) .  I’ve downloaded the Nook app to both my phone and my computer and as convenient as they are, I still like to cuddle up with a book when I can.  And, seriously, is there anything more pleasing than the sight of a dog~eared book sitting next to a steaming cup of coffee?

1.  Say “I love you” every day and mean it.

What was one of the most important lessons you learned this year?

25th Dec2010

Merry Christmas

by Daenel

Merry Christmas

From my home to yours ~ Merry Christmas!  And may every blessing of the season be with you.

23rd Dec2010

Book Review: Tandem: A Novel by Tracey Bateman

by Daenel

Tandem by Tracey BatemanBOOK DESCRIPTION

Six months ago, brutal murders shook the small Ozark town ~ murders that stopped after a house fire reportedly claimed the killer’s life.  Lauryn McBride’s family auction house has taken responsibility for the estate sale of one of the victims ~ the enigmatic Markus Chisom.  Submerging herself in Chisom’s beautiful but strange world.  Lauryn welcomes the reprieve from watching Alzheimer’s steal her father from her, piece by piece.  She soon realizes that centuries~old secrets tie Abbey Hills to the Chisom estate and a mysterious evil will do anything to make sure those secrets stay hidden.  Even the man who grew up loving her may not be able to protect Lauryn from the danger.

When Amede Dastillon recieves an unexpected package from Abbey Hills, she hopes it might be the key in tracking down her beloved long~estranged sister.  Visiting Abbey Hills seems the logical next step in her search, but Amede is unusually affected by the town.

Two women brought together by questions that seem to have no answers.  Can they overcome the loss and darkness threatening to devour them ~ or will their own demons condemn them to an emotional wasteland?

MY OPINION

This book was an average read, I think I was disappointed because it wasn’t what I expected it to be.  I thought it was a book about a serial killer who finds redemption through salvation, instead I received a vampire book. I found this to be incredibly surprising, given the book was provided to me by a Christian book publisher.  The novel is the continuation of a series of murders that began with Thirsty.  Fortunately, you don’t need to read the first book to follow the story line.

Lauryn, the main character, was likable (in fact, I sorta enjoyed her sardonic wit) and I found myself wishing things would work out for her in the end.  Her life just seemed to be full of loss and emptiness, which mirrored the loss and emptiness felt by Amede, the protagonist in the story.  Both women were leading tandem lives ~ searching for love, acceptance and a sense of belonging.  This novel is part romance, part mystery and a whole lot of vampire lore and if that’s your thing, this book is for you.  It’s not mine so

The one thing that I kept waiting for was the Christian aspect of the book (not anything preachy, but something that indicated that this book is geared towards those who practice the Christian faith), and when it finally came, it was rushed.  I think the overall message of the book is that even though we may feel alone, God is always with us.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tracey Bateman is an award~winning author of more than thirty books including Thirsty.  She lives in Missouri with her husband and four children.

Facebook:  Tracey Bateman

Website:  Tracey Bateman

Disclosure:  This book was provided to me free of charge through Waterbrook Mulnomah’s Blogging for Books program in exchange for a review.  This does not in any way influence my review.  To purchase the book, you may click on the picture which will take you to Barnes and Noble.  I do not benefit from your purchase.

21st Dec2010

Monday Mingle on Tuesday: I’m Convincing

by Daenel

Monday Mingle is hosted by Eighty MPH Mom. If you’d like to participate, simply create a short vlog in which you answer the questions and then hit up the linky. Don’t forget to grab the badge and leave some comment love for your fellow participants. Afterall, isn’t that what mingling is all about?

Monday MingleThis week’s questions were submitted by Alexes from One Cluttered Brainand they are:

1.  What is the weather like right now, where you are?
2.  Who wears the pants in your marriage?
3.  Are you bossy?

Next week’s questions were submitted by Paula from Thrifty Momma’s Tips and they are:

1.  What first name would you have chosen for yourself?  Why?
2. What city or country have you visited that has the coolest name?
3. If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

21st Dec2010

Website Review: 6PM.com

by Daenel

6PM.comI’ve lived in Northeast Pennsylvania for 13 years and every year I promise myself that I’ll buy a decent pair of winter boots and this year I finally did it ~ I bought myself a decent pair of winter boots. But I’m not going to review the boots (not yet, anyway), I’m gonna review the website.

This is the second time I’ve purchased a pair of shoes from 6PM.com and this is the second time I’ve been impressed with the company.  The first time I ordered from them was a couple of years ago, I bought a pair of Clark’s Indigo shoes (which I love, by the way).  Shopping online for shoes can be hit or miss:

  • Are the shoes comfortable?
  • Do they run small or large?
  • Are they as cute in real life?

The questions about the product are endless but my concern is about the customer service ~ what happens if I have a problem with the shoes?

Well, I got the chance to find out.  When I first ordered the boots, I decided to go up a size because the interior of the shoes are lined with wool, after I placed the order I changed my mind.  I logged back into the site to change my order (or cancel and reorder) but I couldn’t because the order was already in process.  Seriously, it was only 15 minutes between the time I placed the order and when I changed my mind.  So I called customer service and explained to the CS rep what I wanted to do and she helped me out.

The order was placed on 15 December and the boots arrived on 20 December.  That’s a pretty good turnaround time.  Unfortunately, the boots have to be returned.  I wore them to work today and one of the grommets broke.  I work in a library, so I don’t do heavy physical labor…  Anyway, I called customer service again and was told that they normally don’t accept returns on shoes that have been worn but they’d make an exception for me.  I’ll be returning the shoes tomorrow and reordering another pair (that should tell you how much I adore the boots).

Would I recommend 6PM.com to my friends?  Absolutely.  Would I order from them again?  You bet I would.  The shoe selection is incredible (wide variety of styles, colors and sizes). I also thought the prices were fairly reasonable (anywhere from 25% to 80% off MSRP).  And they don’t just sell shoes, they also sell clothes, jewelry and other accessories.

20th Dec2010

Makeup~Free Mondays: Week 3

by Daenel

Makeup~Free Monday Week 3Yay!  I’ve made it to the third week in the Makeup~Free Mondays Challenge.  If you don’t know about the challenge, please check out The Beauty Bean. Today was our Christmas Party at work and I was totally and completely makeup~free and it didn’t bother me a bit, nor did it detract from my festive mood.

Today’s Makeup~Free Monday tip is to smile!  My husband often says that when I’m walking down the street or working on something, I have on “The Face.”  I used to think he was just blowing smoke until one day I saw “The Face in the reflection of a window.  Talk about scary.  No wonder people think I’m mean until they get to know me.  Hahaha  Smiling brightens your face, makes you look younger and draws people to you.  So go ahead, straighten those shoulders and smile.

Have you ever caught your reflection in the mirror and almost scared yourself with your expression?

16th Dec2010

Fantasy Christmas Wish List

by Daenel

We all have them, a list of things we wish we could have or do if money, time or restraining orders weren’t an issue (I have a serious clothes crush on Nicole Richie, which is why she is number 5 on my list)…

5.   I would totally love to go on a shopping spree with Nicole Richie.  I love the way she dresses.  I just think in the fashion department, she can do no wrong.

Nicole Richie

Nicole Richie Photo Credit: Confessions of a Drama Queen

4.  Pay off the bills of my family and friends.  I’d like for all of us to go into 2011 with zero debt so that we know what it’s like to breathe from day~to~day without feeling like we’re gasping for air.

3.  I’d like to buy a home for a family in need.  The house would be mortgage free but I’d want to make sure they could afford the taxes, maintenance and other upkeep because once I hand them the keys….

2.  Get a Mercedes Brabus for my husband, Tony.  He asks for one every year and every year I check under the mattress for the money and I come up $2.15 short.

Mercedes Brabus

To see my husband's other toys, click the picture

1.  Go on a trip to Italy with my family and both of my sisters’ families so that we can show our children and husbands where we grew up.  Over the years I’ve told my children different things about Italy but I would love for them to experience it.

So there you have it, my Fantasy Christmas List for 2010.  If I get anything off my list, I’ll be sure to let you know.

What’s on your Fantasy Christmas Wish List?

15th Dec2010

Day 25: My Day in Great Detail

by Daenel
Multi~tasking at the Reference Desk

Multi~tasking at the Reference Desk....

Be prepared to be incredibly bored….

06:15  Wake up

06:30  Drive the kids to the bus stop

06:35~07:00  Watch a variety of news programs; I start with Fox News, flip to CNN then land on The Daily Buzz (Fox bothers me because of the political and familial nepotism, CNN rocks it out with their music snippets but I get bored with the small talk)

07:00~08:00  Watch The Early Show; during an Estee Lauder commercial I’m reminded again of the wonder and whimsy that is Regina Specktor’s voice.

08:00~08:30  Watch All in the Family ~ that show is classic, the humor dead on and the topics still applicable today.

08:30~10:30  Go back to sleep.  I have to work tonight.

10:30~11:00  Watch How I Met Your Mother ~ one of the funniest shows on TV, if you’re not watching it, you need to be.

11:15  Make coffee ~ love Luzianne coffee, reminds me of my days in New Orleans

11:30~12:00  Read Tandem, my latest book for review

12:00~12:20  Hop in the shower and begin the process of getting ready for work

12:30~1:30  Get ready for work while listening to The Five Heartbeats ~ that movie has the best soundtrack ever!!

1:30~1:45  Drink my last cup of coffee and head out the door for my commute

1:50~2:50  Drive to work, talk to my sister (Thing I love about my Droid?  Being able to plug that baby into my speakers and talk to my heart’s content ~ safety first)

2:55  Walk into the library, deposit my belongings in the staff room and catch up with co~workers (for information about the daily lives of librarians, check out Library Day in the Life)

3:00  Turn on the fabulousness that is me and begin my shift at the Reference Desk at Keystone College.  As an evening librarian, most of my duties concern making sure that equipment runs smoothly, checking out materials to students and generally making sure that everything goes off without a hitch.  It’s Finals Week, so most of the research questions have been answered, so students are either stressing and studying or stressing and relaxing.

3:45  Check Facebook, this is how I keep up with my kids now.  I leave a couple of messages for my son who’s on his way to a basketball game ~ gotta cheer for my boy.

3:45~3:50  Check out some movies to a student.  Yes, we check out movies, books, laptops, cameras and video cameras.  I beg her to take them home, grab a bowl of soup, huddle under some blankets and not return until she feels better.

4:00~4:30  Grab a cheeseburger, fries and coffee from The Grill.  Usually I just grab a cup of coffee but I haven’t eaten anything since midnight so I’m pretty hungry right about now.  I also talk to my mom while I’m eating, she’s used to me munching in her ear.

4:30~10:45  Back to the Reference Desk.

10:45~10:50  Make the rounds ~ let the students know the library is closing, refill the copiers and printers, push in the chairs and make sure everything is set up for the day shift.

10:50~11:00  Wait for security to clear the building and lock up.

11:00~11:45  Listen to Michael Smerconish as I drive home.

12:00~12:45  Eat dinner, watch a little TV and then head to bed.  Good night.

And how was your day?

14th Dec2010

Day 24: Where I Live

by Daenel

The Back MountainSometimes I tend to take for granted the beauty that surrounds me. I guess that’s what happens when you live in a place like the Back Mountain, you forget, and then something forces you to step back and remember. This post is making me remember the things that I love most about this small community in Northeast Pennsylvania.

I love that we have four distinct seasons (even though I cry every winter and threaten to leave my family and move down south). Each season is marked by a distinct change in color, temperature and mood. I love that this is my husband’s home town and my children are friends with the children of his childhood friends (even though it still weirds me out to hear someone say “Hey, I knew your husband when he was a little boy”). I love that I can walk into a locally owned establishment and get personalized service (having a shop owner say they held a piece of jewelry because they knew you’d like it is priceless). But, most of all, I love the beauty that surrounds me on a daily basis.
What do you love about your neighborhood?

13th Dec2010

Make~Up Free Monday Mingle: Week 2

by Daenel

Monday MingleMonday Mingle is hosted by Jennifer at Eighty MPH Mom.  Participation is easy: simply record yourself answering the questions, post it on your blog and then hit the link.

This week’s questions:

  1. Where is your favorite romantic place to to with your spouse/partner?
  2. Freestyle!  Talk about whatever.
Mylynka

To read Mylynka's blog, click here

Makeup Free Mondays is hosted by The Beauty Bean.  My tip for this week is to frame your face, either with glasses, your hair or some beautiful accessories.  Whichever you choose, make sure that it reflects you and shows off your personality.  Going makeup free is about appreciating your beauty in all of its forms.  For last week’s Makeup~Free Mondays tip, go here.

    Where do you and your significant other go for a romantic getaway?  Would you go there makeup free?

    13th Dec2010

    Is Facebook Really Creepy Now?

    by Daenel

    Facebook Status

    This question was posed by Miss 17 while we were sitting at the bus stop this morning.  “Um, yeah, it is,” I said with Misses 13 and 15 chiming in their agreement.  Miss 17 continued, “I mean it used to just say ‘…. has commented on so~and~so’s post’, now it says exactly what I’ve written.  Seriously, if I wanted everyone to know I’d just post my comments as a status update.”  I won’t give you a play~by~play of the ensuing conversation, but suffice it to say Miss 17 had thought about this a lot.  Miss 15 said she was seriously thinking about giving up on Facebook because she doesn’t like the encroachment on her privacy. They’re children of a librarian, privacy issues are a big deal for them.  Miss 13 agreed with Misses 15 and 17, but she also went a step further and said that she sometimes goes back and deletes things off her profile page ~ her one person protest against “the man.”

    As I listened to my children rage against Facebook and its “flagrant violation of [their] privacy”, I started to consider why Facebook would do something that they had to have known would irritate people.  And I think the answer is that they thought this change would make the social networking site more, um, social.  Initially, I liked the new profile and I’m notorious amongst my friends for absolutely hating any and all changes to Facebook.  But when I saw the new postings on my profile page, I have to admit, I got a little irritated.  Note the status update above.

    I know this is supposed to be a social networking site and the point is to share everything with your friends but I think Facebook users should be able to control what, how much and when things are posted on their profiles.  However, Facebook is probably certain that even with all of the grumblings there won’t be a mass exodus from the site ~ too many people value the connections that they have on the site and, good, bad or indifferent, it’s an excellent way to keep up with friends and family.

    That being said, FACEBOOK, I STILL DON’T LIKE THE WAY YOU CONTINUE TO VIOLATE MY PRIVACY!

    Do you use Facebook?  Are you concerned about the latest changes or do you think it’s one of the challenges that comes with using a free service?

    11th Dec2010

    Day 23: Party in the Library (A YouTube Video)

    by Daenel

    Nerds, G33ks and other Info Peeps, here ya go…


    Do you have a favorite video on YouTube?

    11th Dec2010

    That’s Where You Left Me at the Top of the Escalator

    by Daenel

    Woman with Shopping Bags on EscalatorI hear that sentence every time the kids and I pass the Wyoming Valley Mall.  And every time I hear it, I say “The statute of limitations has run out, let it go already.”  It’s been eleven years since that fateful day but she remembers it like it was yesterday….

    For some reason I decided to take my four children ~ ages 2, 4, 4 and 6 years ~ to the mall with me while I did a little bit of shopping.  My children, like most kids their ages, were totally fascinated by the escalators.  Every time we went to the mall, they would beg to ride them but I’d put them off by promising them a pretzel or distracting them with anything bright and shiny.  However, this particular day, nothing would take their minds off the escalators, so I agreed that we’d take the escalators up and down.

    We rode up the escalator without any problems.  The three older children stepped on the moving steps ahead of me ~ the twins were holding hands and giggling uncontrollably, the older one was in front of them and the baby was in my arms.  While we were on the top floor, which housed the men’s and the housewares  departments, I decided to do a little bit of looking around.  I made a small purchase and told the kids it was time to go.

    We ended up in the same position on the down escalator as we did going up ~ oldest, twins then me EXCEPT I didn’t have the baby in my arms.  I turned around just in time to hear “Mommmmmeeeeeeeee!”  How in the world had I managed to leave my 2~year~old at the top of the escalator?  After what felt like the longest escalator ride ever, I tried to figure out how to get back up the escalator to grab my baby.

    I tried to get the two~year~old to focus on the three older kids so I could run around to the other escalator and ride up to grab her but then the other kids started crying.  By this time, people were gathering around and watching.  Yes, they were watching instead of trying to help me.  Teenagers rode down the escalator past my daughter and snickered and laughed.  Finally, when I was at the point of tears, two elderly women yelled down to me not to worry they would bring her to me.

    These two women ~ with canes ~ placed my daughter between them, held her hands, and brought her down the escalator.  I was so happy.  I hugged them both and thanked them profusely.  My two~year~old looked up at me with watery eyes, quivering lips and said “You left me at the top of the escawator.”  Heart break.

    It’s been eleven years now and she still reminds me and anyone else within hearing distance that it took two elderly women with canes to return her to the fold. Sigh.

    Do your children ever remind you of a bad mommy moment?

    10th Dec2010

    Day 22: Websites I Enjoy When I Need to Revisit My Youth

    by Daenel

    Retro TVI’m such a retro chick.  I love TV Land and Nick at Nite, especially when they go old school and air shows like All in the Family, Maude, The Jeffersons, Good Times.  In fact, I try to find ways to work retro TV shows and music into just about every class I teach.  Those shows dealt with topics such as abortion, rape, death, homosexuality, aging, racism and economic woes with more depth, humor and intelligence than many of the shows on air today.  Anyway, two websites that help to feed my flashback needs are Hulu and YTTM.

    Hulu allows you to watch television shows (both old and new), I use it to watch old Twilight Zone episodes.

    YTTM lets you revisit a decade ~ you know listen to music, view commercials, listen to the theme songs of your favorite television shows, etc.

    What’s your favorite retro TV show?

    09th Dec2010

    If You’re Stressing Over Christmas, You’re Doing It Wrong

    by Daenel

    The NativityThe other day I was watching CNN and they were talking about how to soothe the guilt over not being able to give the number and types of gifts one would like to give this Christmas season and I was kind of thrown for a loop. I always thought Christmas was about celebrating the birth of the savior with the gifts being secondary (possibly even tertiary) on the list of importance.  Then I read an interesting post by Stefany on her blog To. Be. Thode. about how she and her husband want to refocus the meaning of Christmas from the secular to the religious by encouraging their children to choose 3 meaningful gifts rather than providing them with a list of “stuff” that they want.

    What a brilliant idea!

    Christmas has become so commercialized that the meaning (even if you don’t celebrate the Christian aspect of the holiday) has been lost.  I’m not sure I even understand why people feel the need to go into debt to celebrate this ONE DAY out of the year.  If you share your love with your family throughout the year shouldn’t that be enough?  And if your children are counting gifts, then it’s probably fair to say they may be a little ungrateful and you need to cut back until they can show a little appreciation.  Christmas is not supposed to be a time of angst and debt accumulation, it should be a time of celebration, joy and, dare I say, relaxation.  Seriously, if you’re stressing over Christmas, you’re doing it wrong.

    Call us grinches if you like, but my husband and I don’t buy each other gifts nor do we buy for people over the age of 18.  Furthermore, we only buy what we can afford and we can only afford to pay for things with cash.  So you know what that means?  Our kids and grandchildren get meaningful gifts from us and we get the gift of appreciation from them.  For us, Christmas isn’t about how much money we spend or how much stuff we collect but about the joy we get from sharing the love that we have for each other and the knowledge that this holiday is about the greatest gift of all ~ God’s love.

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