Friday, June 27, 2008

Military Families Latest Victims in Foreclosure Crisis

For my complete perspective of the treatment of men and women in the military your can visit my post today over on the All Things Girl Blog.

The video below highlights the skyrocketing rate of foreclosures in areas surrounding military bases. Many soldier who are actively serving in Iraq or Afghanistan are losing their American Dream even as they fight to protect the freedom of the country mates.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

An Opportunity for Redemption

I've participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the past two years. I failed to hit my goal both times. Not because it was impossible. Not because I didn't have the time. Not because I didn't have the inspiration. If I could point to the definitive reason I that I did not hit my goal, I would say it was because I told myself it was impossible and that I just didn't have the time, which seriously affected my inspiration. The inspiration to put my buns in the chair and JUST GET MY PROJECT DONE.

Each time I'd begin with mad inspiration, fingers flying on keyboards, words tumbling out of my brain. I'd hit or exceed my daily goals each day until.... Until the first day I couldn't write, for whatever reason. Then there'd be another day when I couldn't write, or I could only meet a fraction of my goal. Soon, I felt like I was in a collapsing hole of my own making. One I simply couldn't pull myself out of, so I'd give up.

Last year, at the last minute, I jumped back on the bandwagon during the last week of the month. I got so much done and I was quite proud of my work. Then I wanted to kick myself for not sticking with the challenge throughout the month. If I had done so, I surely would have easily met my goal. The guilt from my pitiful efforts the past two years has haunted me the seven months since then.

Over the past few months I've been focused on starting a new business and all of the ground work, marketing collateral, and product creation that accompanies such an project. I am nearly finished with the non-fiction book I am writing and had mentioned to my writing buddies at Endurance Writing that I wanted to commit to my writing project again beginning July 1st. How excited was I to read an email from a member of the group asking if we'd like to participate in July Novel Writing Month (JulNoWriMo) with her. It was my opportunity to redeem myself from those missed opportunities in previous NaNoWriMos. And the icing on the cake is that in this competition you can work on a book that is already in progress. So my poor, neglected, unfinished darlings can have their happy ending. And I can hold a finished novel in my hands. My first since my school days, many moons ago.


Friday, June 20, 2008

The Cure for Common Wordiness

Okay, maybe wordiness isn't common to everyone. Maybe it's just me. It's one of the things I've been working on this year. I am often surprised how much better a passage reads once I've killed my darlings - those phrases that I loved and wanted to keep, but didn't really serve the purpose.

This terrific post on gives some great, basic tips for cutting down on the unnecessary wordage. Hope you'll find it as helpful as I did.

Happy Writing!

Monday, June 16, 2008

And You Think You've Gone Green

The Dervaes Family in Pasadena, California were green way before it was "in." The urban farmers live off their land, a typical urban lot. They use the front yard, back yard, and driveway. They cook in an outdoor oven, recycle water, and their blender is powered by a bicycle.

Quite a few of us owe the Dervaes for taking on our carbon footprint, too. They say that in the past two years they've gone from being the "crazy family on the block" to being hip.

I'm not quite ready to hook my beloved blender up to the bicycle - though I could definitely use the exercise. But I admire this family's commitment to the environment, living healthy, and being true to what they believe is truly important in life, no matter what others think of it. And I am envious of their practically non-existent power, water, grocery, and gasoline cost. ;-)

What do you think?

Monday, June 9, 2008

Six Tips for Making Your Gas Go a Little Farther

My husband Skyped this article to me today (from the living room downstairs while I was up in my office). With the price of gas continuing to skyrocket, every little bit helps. Most of the tips are easy for anyone to begin using right away. Most of them contribute to a safer drive home for all of us.

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Saturday, June 7, 2008 - Who Knew?

Not me. But apparently PC World did because they ranked the free, ad-based video site as the top product of 2008.

There are lots of television shows and movies available for viewing absolutely free. I wanted to catch episodes of USA's new show, In Plain Sight, and they are on the site. There are also several episodes of Arrested Development, a show I've heard lots about but never watched. I plan to check out a couple of episodes of that as well.

In addition to popular TV shows and movies you'll find great sports moments. Check it out at

Mary Shannon of In Plain Sight
Mary McCormack, In Plain Sight

Arrested Development

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

What Will Hillary's Fate Be?

Whether you love or hate Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, there are some very interesting articles today about her and about what went wrong during her campaign.

Check out Hillary Clinton: a man in a woman's world on Spiked and How Clinton Lost on Yahoo! News.



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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Four-Day Work Week

A four-day work week. How awesome is that? Yahoo! News reported on a trend that is beginning here in Ohio, prompted by the outrageous price of gasoline. A few bright, progressive employers are giving their employees the option of working a four-day work week (4 ten-hour days) as a way to reduce their transportation cost by a whopping 20% while keeping the same pay. What prompted the move?

One employer was faced with the possibility of losing several employees who were considering quitting to find work closer to home. A considerable number of the employees accepted the offer. One employer hopes to completely close their office on that fifth day as a way to also reduce energy costs. Brilliant!

It is sad that it has taken a good gouging by the oil companies for Americans to get serious about living a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

Commuters are opting for motorcycles, scooters, public transportation, bicycling, and good old walking for their every day commutes. Local car dealerships can't keep enough hybrid cars on the lot.

Families are looking for ways to save money - like saving water and reducing gas and electricity use - which also just happen to be good for the environment.

We are recycling more and wasting less. Fashionistas and their families have discovered of beauty of consignment shops and vintage boutiques (i.e. the local thrift store).

I never wanted my husband to ride, much less buy a motorcycle. But, now I am open to it. I just insist that he take a course in defensive motorcycle driving. (Unfortunately, the number of motorcycle deaths has increased along with the number of inexperienced motorcyclists that have taken to the road to save fuel costs). And, as for me, I have actually been considering a scooter. I would NEVER have considered it before. But, now I can definitely see myself sporting a hot little stylish number like the scooter pictured here.

Would you work a four-day work week if your employer offered it? What have you and your family been doing to reduce costs and reserve energy?