Sunday, June 30, 2013

Where is the truth?

This quote is the day's writing prompt from a blog I follow:
“Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.” ~ Wallace Stevens
First reading? I thought "huh?" But then I realized what it meant.

Have you ever had an argument where both parties are so passionately arguing and neither one can really hear and understand what the other person is saying? The words, phrases, and inflection gets in the way and we latch onto that, fighting back and acting defensively. We let past hurts affect today's argument, and read more into what we are hearing. Nothing is accomplished. Nothing is resolved. The only result is pain, anger, and exasperation.

But imagine if you took a walk to cool off. Around a lake would be wonderful, but around the neighborhood would suffice. Relax. Breathe deep. Lose the tension. Really think about the other person's point of view.  Open your mind to other possibilities.

Maybe then the truth will appear.

And the truth isn't necessarily that you are right, or that you are wrong, or even that there IS a right or wrong. Life isn't that simple, and there are more than fifty shades of grey between black and white.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Thursday randomness

My three year old wants to be a doctor when she grows up. She has a play doctor kit, and I've had three checkups today. When she has checkups at the pediatrician, she absorbs everything that is done and replicates it with us in our checkups at home.

Candy Crush is the devil.

Big Brother makes me feel old this season.

Sophie loves Polly Pockets right now. Luckily my teenager had kept all her Pollies and gave them to her little sister. I had forgotten how impossible it is to put silicone pants on a tiny plastic doll.

We had a thunderstorm this evening and lost power for a little while. Sophie ran around the house saying "Oh my! Oh my!" quietly under her breath, trying the light switches over and over again. When power finally came on, she would go into different rooms, turn on the light, and exclaim "It works!" so excitedly.

Since it was dinner time, I'm glad it wasn't a long power outage. We were hungry! It was nice to have unplugged time, though. We played card games and board games. It was fun.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


I've deceived my daughter, and I'm very proud of it. 
It's really what kind of truck??

Because of her allergy, she can't have snow cones or Icees. However, instead of an ice cream truck we have a snow cone truck that tours our neighborhood in the summer. Potential daily meltdown, right?

The first time we were outside and she heard the music, she asked me what it was. I told her it was the Happy Music Truck that drives around neighborhoods playing music to make kids happy.

Yes, I totally lied.

Now, when she hears the music, instead of throwing a fit begging for a dollar, or because he always comes through at dinner time, or because she just can't have one anyway, she is happy. She claps her hands and says "Mommy! The happy music truck is here!" and we go on with what we're doing. There is peace in the house.

I have no regrets about this lie.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

20 totally random things

1. I'm coughing a lot.
2. Candy Crush is the devil. Especially level 65.
3. Norwegian chocolate is much better than American chocolate.
4. My girls are growing up way too quickly.
5. Ghost Hunters is a pretty great show.
6. I wish Sophie would never learn to say "cut" properly. I love how she says it now! "Cuck"
7. I've actually styled my hair two days in a row.
8. Tomorrow, it's not going to happen.
9. Our dogs need baths desperately.
10. So does my car.
11. I made a delicious dinner, totally from scratch. I improvised but didn't measure anything so can't share the recipe.
12. I'm mostly taking everyone's word that it tasted good; with this cold I can't taste anything.
13. Now that the child can open the childproof latches, it's probably time to remove them.
14. I wrote a freelance article last night and I'm anxiously waiting for a response. Client has 3 days, though.
15. I'm not a patient person.
16. We watched Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets earlier.
17. Now I really want to play Lego Harry Potter.
18. Apparently, the dogs also need a walk.
19. I should be doing laundry right now.
20. I think I'll go to bed early instead.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Meanwhile, over at

I know, I know - I'm behind in my Blogathon posts! I have a plan for catching up, though, honest! We had a great visit with family from Norway, but then I caught a nasty cold. Sophie was sick early last week, and I guess all our running around weakened my immune system enough to catch it myself.

In the meantime, I have a new article published at - did you know Facebook introduced clickable, searchable hashtags today? It's true!

In case you missed them, here are some other articles from earlier in the month:
Current Twitter trends in Knoxville
Using Twitter to save money
Area Twitter accounts to follow for summer fun

Also, if you're not already, be sure to subscribe to my updates on! It's easy to do, and you'll get an email whenever I publish a new article. And if you think you'd like to write for for your area, use this link to apply. What could be better than getting paid to write about what you already know and love?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Privacy and responsibility

Since I have participated in several of their petitions, I get regular emails from about petitions they think I would be interested in signing. Usually, the topic is something I agree with. However, today's email seemed to be a little much, to me. There is a petition open for signatures against Instagram, wanting the default settings changed for minors opening an account.  The originators of the petition want the settings to be private accounts and geotagging turned off by default for users ages 13-17.

On the surface, it seems reasonable. Why not protect the children?

But, is it Instagram's responsibility? Shouldn't the parents of the minors be monitoring their kids' accounts or at the very least warn the kids of the dangers of publishing their home addresses for the world to see?

This petition also relies on the underage users to be honest about their ages when signing up. If you think that happens in general, take a look at Facebook. Their terms of service explicitly forbid anyone under age 13 from creating an account. How many kids younger than 13 have Facebook accounts, though? In 2012, it was approximately five million. Guess what? Kids lie about their age to get what they want.

In the end, I don't think Instagram should change anything, except possibly make it easier to turn off geotagging. If the parents are concerned, they should take the opportunity to BE a parent and deal with the issue, not pass the responsibility off onto the company.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, June 6, 2013

My five favorite apps for preschoolers

Earlier, I listed my favorite apps for myself. However, my three year old has two folders of her own apps on my phone. Some are rarely used, and some are terrific. Here are her top five favorites:

1. Disney Junior Sophie loves to watch episodes of her favorite shows (Little Einsteins, Jake and the Neverland Pirates) on this app. With certain television providers, you can watch more episodes and current episodes. However, DirecTV is not a participating provider. She's happy with the app as it is, though. Preschoolers like the familiar, and after a few viewings the episodes are definitely familiar. They do update every few days thank goodness.

2. My First Puzzles: Dinosaurs (also available for Android) Sophie loves dinosaurs. This puzzle is one of her favorite game apps. There are three levels, each one progressively harder. The puzzles are modeled after a traditional wooden child's puzzle, and the pieces are placed by touching and dragging to the correct spot. On harder levels, the pieces are lettered and can only be placed in alphabetical order.

3. PBS Kids Video Video clips and episodes of all the shows on PBS Kids! There are several to choose from for each show.

4. iTube List With this app, the parent creates or finds playlists of YouTube videos and adds them to the app. I like that there is a preview option, to ensure there is nothing I wouldn't want my three year old to see hidden inside someone's playlist. You can also import your own saved lists from your YouTube account. It's very easy to navigate within the app; Sophie is quite adept at moving between lists.

5. ABC Flashcards This app is a standard flash card app, with letters and pictures to illustrate the letter, but has a little more. The child can hear the letter by name, the sound it makes, and the word depicted on the card (apple for A, dog for D, etc). There is one more feature that I love, though. If you tap the magic marker icon at the bottom of the screen, the child can trace each letter and learn to write the alphabet. Last night Sophie was playing with the app before her bath, and brought me my phone so excited. "Mommy, I made a K!" And she really did!

My five favorite apps

Since I missed posting yesterday for the Blogathon, I'll post twice today. Yesterday was a theme day, my five favorite apps. I actually had to think about this! I, like most smartphone users, have way more than five that I use regulgarly. Here are my top five.

1. BlogPress This app is great for blogging on the go. It works for both Blogge and WordPress (free WP accounts only, though, not paid versions). You can add photos and video, and share posts automatically to Twitter and Facebook from the app when publishing. It's also easy to start a post, save as online draft, then finish it on a computer to add links or edit photo sizes or positions.

2. Kindle reader I have an actual Kindle that I love, but the reader on my phone is handy for times it's not convenient to use my Kindle, when I want to read a new purchase but don't have access to a wifi connection, or even at night when I can't sleep and turning on the bedside lamp will disturb my husband. Also, I use the app to read stories I've downloaded for Sophie, since my phone is in color and my Kindle is not.

3. 30/30 This is a free task manager app. I confess, I am very easily distracted. I have a few other task manager apps, but this one works best with my small attention span. You create line items with your things to do (I also include short break times to keep focus, and lunch) and how much time to allot to each item. Tap on start, and a timer will count down remaining time and a sound will alert you when it's time to change tasks. It is also simple to pause the timer, and to extend or shorten the alloted time as needed.

4. MapQuest (iTunes link, also available for Android) I don't have a seperate GPS system, so I sometimes rely on this app to help me find where I'm going. It's saved me from being lost in Atlanta after a wrong turn, gotten me to other people's houses when we've misunderstood given directions or when the desktop version of MapQuest had out of date information, and helped guide me to familiar roads when I've been on unfamiliar streets. It has spoken turn-by-turn direction, and if you are a short distance from your destination there is an option for waking directions instead of driving.

5. Amazon (also available for Android) I use this app a lot, and not just for shopping. I compare pricing in stores with the Amazon price to get the best price. I also use it to access my husband or daughter's wish list when I'm shopping for them. If I'm making an in-store purchase of an item I'm unsure about, I will look up each item on the app and read user reviews to help make up my mind.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

What are my goals?

Anjali Enjeti, journalist, novelist, blogger, and all-around wonderful lady, puts out a series of summer writing prompts for kids. I love this idea; my mother used to give me writing prompts as a child, techniques that I now see on professional sites. Writing prompts unleash creativity and imagination, and the finished product gives the child such pride.

 This prompt, the first one for the summer, made ME want to write.
"What are your summer goals?"

A very good question.

Not gain back any of the weight I've lost so far.
Lose a little more (I realize this doesn't meet the S.M.A.R.T. requirements for goals, deal with it.)
Fly to Colorado and back without losing any belongings.
Rake our entire front yard.
Get ahead of our housework.
Read more "serious" books along with the brain candy.
Publish more articles on (Don't forget to subscribe to my posts!)

I think that's a good start, don't you?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Sunday, June 2, 2013

You can also find me at

After a two and a half year hiatus, I'm again writing articles at as the Knoxville Twitter examiner. My newest article lists some accounts to follow to find fun activities and entertainment this summer. Check it out here!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

My own personal feminsim (Weekend Repeat)

I first posted this blog in December of 2008.

When I was a young girl, I had a single dream. I’d pour over the Sears catalog dreaming of my future home, furniture, and wardrobe.  My dream was to go to college, have a successful career, and maybe when I was in my mid-30s settle down and get married.  But really I just wanted to adopt a child.  Well, two children. I never thought I needed a man, a husband to be fulfilled.

Instead, I got married my sophomore year of college.  The total time my husband and I knew each other from meeting to wedding was 4 months.  He was older, already a few years out of college and working in his degree field.  I was 18 when we met, 19 when we married.  The next spring Emma was born.

I kept up with college.  I finished my associate degree in marketing when Emma was a year old.  Then we moved, bought a house, had a  car payment and daycare bills.  I worked part-time while going to school full-time.  Then a promotion came, and I switched to full-time work and part-time school.  Now, nine years later, I am still trying to finish my degree and have completely changed careers.

I still felt like I had the whole feminist idea down – I could do it all!  Work, go to school, be a good wife and good mother, daughter, and granddaughter.  Instead, I got stressed.  Everything was suffering.  One of the hardest things I ever did was to admit I couldn’t do it all, after all.  Not well, anyway.  And average just wouldn’t cut it for me. 

So now I go to school a little less, have a job with regular hours.  I still try to do it all.  I can’t help thinking lately, though, that if I had the opportunity, as much as I enjoy my job I’d give it up to stay at home.  And when I realized that, I felt like a traitor.  To myself, to my dreams, to women everywhere.

Then I realized, feminism means we can make our own choices.  We can be an at-home mom, home when our kids get home from school.  We can work our butts off in a wonderful career.

 We can do whatever we wish with our lives.

If we could manage on one income, I think I would like to be at home for a while.  I could pick up Emma from school every day.  I could help her with her homework.  I would be more prepared for Girl Scouts.  My house would be clean, laundry would stay put away, and neighborhood teenagers wouldn’t be stopping by my house offering to rake the yard; it would be done.  But the nagging thought is still there – would I be happy?

I admit, the few times I have been at home for a few months I was slightly embarrassed when asked what I did.  I cringed inwardly every time I said “I’m not working.”  I am ashamed of myself for that.  Women before me have worked too hard for that.