Friday, June 29, 2012

Joining "The Dark Side"

I have a confession.  I have gone over to The Dark Side.  I am now the co-owner of a Kindle.  I’m not sure which one.  A Kindle Touch, maybe?  My grandparents bought it for us yesterday.  My husband and I were the only ones who didn’t have one. 

I said yes when they asked if we would like one largely because I thought my husband would love it.  We bought my dad one about two years ago, and I’m pretty sure it would have to be surgically removed from his hand for him to be without it.  My dad and my husband are very similar in their love of gadgets.  (I guess it’s true what they say about girls marrying men like their fathers.)  So I was pretty sure he’d love it.

Nick definitely loves the Kindle.  He was playing with it last night and messing with all of the different features.  He also bought all of Arthur Conan Doyle’s work for 99 cents.  That’s it; 99 cents.  That was impressive. 

I was a little more resistant to the Kindle.  I’ve never tried to mess with my dad’s.  I don’t think I ever touched it other than to gift wrap it.  I never put one on my wish list.  I’m not very technologically savvy.  I have an old flip phone and I don’t text.  I’m addicted to Facebook, blogging, and email, but that’s about it.  I thought the Kindle would annoy me.

I also have a thing for books.  I like they how they feel and smell.  I enjoy the rustle of the pages turning.  I like the weight of the books in my hand.  I enjoy the knowledge that in order to read a book I just need my vision and a source of light.  I like to find a book that is well worn and has obviously been read by a lot of people.  I also love bookstores, especially independent bookstores.  I didn’t think I would enjoy a Kindle, since the experience just wouldn’t be the same.

Like I said, though, my husband was really, really excited about the Kindle.  He was like a little kid with a new toy.  He didn’t even want to put it down to eat dinner. Then he wanted to show me some of the features.  You’d have to be a wretched shrew (which most days I don’t think I am) to ignore his enthusiasm.  He showed me how easy some of the features are to use.  Then he pulled up a shopping list.  That’s what pulled me in.

We found ALL of Louisa May Alcott’s work for one dollar, which my husband immediately bought.  She is one of my favorite authors of all time.  She’s probably the reason (or at least Jo March is) why I ever wanted to write in the first place.  I love her.  And we found things I had never been able to find and things I had never heard of with the Kindle.

I haven’t started to read any of it yet.  I have to finish up some library books first.  But I’m sure I will be reading the Alcott books soon.  I’m not sure if the experience will be the same, but I know I’m very excited to have found the books.  So, I think I have officially joined what I considered “The Dark Side”.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Best and Worst Ages From Childhood

It recently came up in some blog conversation with Dana at The Daily Dose that we both like the number five a lot.  I just like the number; she likes it because she remembers five as being a really good age from childhood.  That made me think about the best and worst ages of childhood, so here they are:

Worst childhood age:  (Yes, I’m doing worst first.  I really like to end with the positive.)  For me it was definitely six.  My grandparents (my mom’s dad and step-mom) were killed in a car accident that year.  They were hit head-on and died pretty much instantly.  They were the grandparents we saw the most, so I really felt the loss.  My mom also kind of went off the deep end in the months following the accident, and that was a little scary to watch.  Today I think she’d have been encouraged to seek counseling, apparently not so much in the late 80s.

I remember what scared me the most, though, was that was the year I learned that there were things in the world my dad couldn’t fix; any time before that any problem or crises seemed to be resolved when my dad came home from work.  He was the fixer.  I remember waiting in the kitchen for him to come home after my mom got the call and called him at work, and being shocked and scared that we didn’t just magically stop crying when he walked in the door.  In retrospect, I think I was really lucky to have spent the first six years of my life believing there was nothing my dad couldn’t fix.  I know now that not all children have that kind of security at any point in their lives.  (And I still think he can fix almost anything.)

Best childhood age:  For me it was definitely four.  We lived in Texas that year.  As an adult I realize it was probably one of the years that my parents would consider the worst.  We moved from South Carolina to Texas for them to go to work for my grandmother and step-grandfather, and things didn’t go well for them.  I thought it was wonderful at the time though.

They owned an RV park and we ended up living on site, in several different RVs over the course of the year.  I can’t imagine doing that now, and definitely not with a two and four year old and a cat and a dog, but at the time it seemed like a grand adventure.  I had great fun checking out the different features of the different RVs.   And I had free run of the park for biking, swimming, and being fed obscene amounts of candy by retirees who didn’t get to see their own grandchildren as much as they wanted.  It was a great time and place to be four years old. 

So what about you?  What age do you remember as being the worst from your childhood?  What age was the best?  Do you like that number now?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Driving Gino

Gino - such a great little passenger.

Saturday was another transport day for me.  I have a special place in my heart for the dogs classified as “bully breeds”, so I was very happy to be able to participate in Gino’s transport.  He was pulled from a shelter in the lower part of South Carolina, where his prospects were very dismal, by a rescue group and is now in a foster home in Wisconsin.

A lot of people worked extremely hard to make Gino’s transport come together successfully.  There was a lot of networking going on to get all of the legs filled, and someone kind enough to let him stay at their house overnight.  This was one of those transports that really restored my faith in humanity; dozens of people, most of whom will never meet, working together to save a dog who’d been dealt a very bad hand.    It was a great feeling to be a very small part of that, even if only for an hour “leg”. 

Gino was an excellent passenger and one of the most loving dogs I’ve driven.  He isn’t in the best shape physically, but he has a wonderful personality, and seems to crave human affection.  He just wanted to constantly be petted and touched, and by all reports was always happy to meet his next chauffer.

This was also the first time my mom has ever come with me on a transport.  She came along for the transport, and then we had an afternoon together at the local tearoom and did some shopping.  It was nice for us to have a mother and daughter afternoon, and I think it was a good experience for my mom to see how the volunteer transports work.  I think now she understands why it’s something that is so important to me.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Her Sister's Favorite Flowers (Photo Prompt)

Somehow I have managed to let the past few weeks get away from me and I have not participated in the Photo Prompt hosted by Delores at The Feathered Nest.  I’m trying to get back into it, so here is this week’s attempt at flash fiction:

Her Sister’s Favorite Flowers
Flowers!  Of all the nerve!  After what Jack did he thought he could placate her with flowers?!?  Well, he’d be coming home to find those flowers in the trash pile and her long gone.  The “other woman” might appreciate them; in fact she was sure they were her sister’s favorite flowers.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pedal Boating

This is a slow week at work for me, so I took a vacation day yesterday, since it was one of my husband’s days off.  We usually only have about four days off together every month, so we grabbed the chance for an extra day. 

We have been talking about going pedal (or paddle; it seems to depend on which park or website you’re looking at as to which they call it) boating for years.  I had never been, and my husband hadn’t been in over ten years.  We had tried a few times when we were at parks or other places that had them, but we always seemed to be too early or late in the season, or we arrived just minutes after they stopped renting out boats.
So we decided that yesterday would be the day that we went pedal boating together.  We went online and found out when the boats were rented and picked the place that seemed the most promising, which was Lake Susan, in Montreat, NC.  It’s an easy day trip to go there, so we set out in plenty of time for pedal boating.  It was a wonderful day.  It was warm and sunny, so I was happy, and there was a breeze and some shady spots, so my husband was happy. 

We actually arrived about an hour and a half before they started renting boats, so we had time to walk around the lake and browse in the shops.  We arrived at the dock just as they were opening up to rent the boats out, and ended up being the first boat out.  We also ended up in the only pink boat, which made me happy.

I enjoyed it a lot.  It was actually quite a bit easier than I thought it would be.  We had to dodge a swan with a bad attitude, but other than that it was very peaceful and relaxing.  I’m happy pretty much anytime I’m in or near water, so I had a great time.  My husband is always happy going to the mountains, so he had a great time. 

It was nice to take a day in the middle of the week, and get away from phone calls and responsibility and just spend some time with each other.  It was even better that it was outside, on the water.  I think we’ll definitely be exploring the pedal boating opportunities at other places now. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Fabulous Surprise

Dana, at The Daily Dose, has passed the Fabulous Blog Ribbon on to me.  Thank you so much!  I enjoy your blog, so it’s nice to hear that you seem to enjoy mine enough to award it a ribbon.  Even better, a virtual ribbon, so I don’t have to worry about a cat eating it

Here are rule for the Fabulous Blog Ribbon:
1.       Post the rules on your blog.
2.       Name five of your most fabulous moments, either in real life or in the blogosphere.
3.       Name five things you love.
4.       Name five things you hate.
5.       Pass the ribbon on the five other bloggers.  (Leave them a comment to notify them of their win.)

I have to say, I really like that everything with this award is in fives; five is my favorite number.  Okay, so here are my groups of five things:

Five of my most fabulous moments:
1.       My wedding day; it was a beautiful day, and I got to marry the person who has become my everything.
2.       The day I convinced my parents to let me adopt my dog Emma.
3.       The first time we came to our house after the closing.  It was a great feeling to walk through the door that was now ours.
4.       When the title and contract marked “paid in full” for my car came in the mail last summer.  It was the first time I’d ever paid off a car, so it was one of those really great, responsible “grown-up” moments. 
5.       The look on my grandfather’s face at my wedding when he had his special dance with all three granddaughters and my aunt.

Now for five things I hate (I know I’m skipping around, but I want to end my five things on a positive note):
1.       Animal abusers. 
2.       Snow, ice, and really cold weather. 
3.       People who are mean or cruel to anyone weaker than themselves, whether it’s a child, an elderly person, an animal, or just someone less able than they are.
4.       Condescending people.
5.       Anything hazelnut: coffee, candles, anything at all.

Five things I love:
1.       My family and friends, and especially my husband.  Without them I am nothing.
2.       My pets, a.k.a. the fur kids.
3.       The (near) daily reminder in the comments on my blog and in reading other people’s posts that the world is full of interesting, decent, kind, wonderful human beings.
4.       Cooking, especially if it’s for a big crowd of people I care about.
5.       The beach.

Now for the really hard part, passing the ribbon on to five other bloggers:
1.       Carrie at The Slow-Dripped Life
2.       Cat at Cat’s Stuff
3.       Martha at Seaside Simplicity
4.       Mare at Adventures In The Ballpark
5.       Julie at Empty Nest Insider

Friday, June 15, 2012

Happy Friday

Happy Friday everyone!  This seems like a great day to share an article that made me very happy.  I hope it will brighten your day too.  PetSmart Charities has adopted their 5 millionth pet! 

Because millions of adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized every year PetSmart chooses not to sell cats and dogs in their stores.  Instead they allow local rescue groups to use the space for adoptable pets.  This is personal for me, not only because I support adopting rather than buying, but because our Milo came from a PetSmart.  It’s a nice feeling to read that 4,999,999 other pets like Milo (okay maybe not quite like Milo, he’s definitely an original) have been saved through the program. 

I hope this brightens your day, and gets your weekend off to a happy start like it has mine.  And I’d love to hear about it if any of you have a fur kid adopted through PetSmart.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Pumpkin Pie In June

Pumpkin pie is one of my favorite desserts.  It probably is my favorite dessert to have at home.  I don’t think it’s just for Thanksgiving; apparently most people disagree.

Yesterday was one of those days where you just really want comfort food.  I don’t eat chocolate, I don’t like it.  So that leaves me with a slightly different definition of comfort food.  Pumpkin pie is one of my go to comfort foods. 

I went to the grocery store after work for some other things and decided I would pick up a pumpkin pie from the frozen section rather than taking the time to make a home-made one.  There wasn’t a single pumpkin pie to be found in the frozen section!  Not one!  I couldn’t believe it.  I realized I wouldn’t find a pumpkin pie in the fresh bakery section.  I do understand that this isn’t the time of year when most people are thinking pumpkin pie.  But I thought surely I would find one in the frozen section.  That’s kind of the point to frozen foods isn’t it?  So you can have what you want, when you want it?

My husband was nice enough to stop at a different grocery store on his way from work, and ran into the same thing.  There was no pumpkin pie to be found anywhere.

Fortunately I tend to stock up on canned pumpkin around Thanksgiving when it’s on sale, so I was able to make a pumpkin pie last night.  I used my grandmother’s recipe and it was delicious.  A pumpkin pie in June did greatly improve my day.

Here’s the recipe, just in case you’d like your own pumpkin pie:

¾ cup sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cloves
2 eggs
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
1 can (12 oz) Evaporated Milk
1 unbaked 9 inch deep dish pie shell

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a small bowl.  Beat eggs in a large bowl, stir in pumpkin, sugar/spice mixture.  Gradually stir in evaporated milk.  Sprinkle bottom of pie shell generously with cinnamon.  Pour mixture into pie shell; sprinkle generously with cinnamon.  Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Perks of Being Married to an EMT

As I’ve mentioned before, my husband is a volunteer firefighter; part of that involves being an EMT.  I’m not sure of all of the differences between EMTs and other first responders, but it appears that EMTs are able to handle many minor medical emergencies and injuries.  This works out very well for me.

I’m a total klutz; I get hurt in ways no one should, in ways most people can’t begin to imagine.  If it can be tripped over, fallen into or off of, or used in any way to cut, scrape, bump, or burn, I will find a way to make it happen.  I’m a constant collection of cuts, bruises, burns, and scrapes.   This week, though, I have outdone even myself.

I cut the top of my hand in the shower on Monday morning.  No, I wasn’t changing out a razor blade (I learned a long time ago that the disposable ones are much safer for people like me), I was turning off the water.  That’s all, just turning the water off.

I’m not even entirely sure what happened.  One second I was turning the water off and the next my hand was bleeding all over the shower.  It was very weird. 

I don’t like blood.  Not at all.  I don’t like to see blood.  I don’t like to think about blood.  I become quite the contortionist whenever I give blood or have blood drawn.  I twist my whole upper body as far as I can in the opposite direction so I don’t accidentally see anything.  I really don’t like blood. 

Having serious issues with the sight (or thought) of blood presents a problem when you cut yourself and are bleeding all over the place.  My husband had already left for work, so I was on my own.  I sloshed some soap and water over my hand, without really looking at it, and then put a band-aid on it.  It was pretty much out of sight out of mind for me.  I changed the band-aid that night and the next morning and everything seemed fine.  I didn’t even bother mentioning it to my husband.

This morning, however, it looked really awful.  I won’t go into the gross details.  Let’s just say it was gross, and a little scary looking.  I decided it might be time to mention it to my husband.  After getting past his initial question of how in the world I managed to cut myself on the shower faucet (since that is a new one even for me) he check out the cut.  

It’s not that bad.  Apparently I should have used some sort of ointment or done something other than slosh some soap and water on it while not looking at it.  He doctored it all up and put a new band-aid on it and declared me good to go this afternoon.  He says it shouldn’t look so gross tomorrow, which makes me very happy. 

It was very convenient to have him check it out and fix it, which made me think of all of the other times he has been able to patch me up. There have been quite a few over the years.  I like to tell him I’m helping him keep his skills up. 

You hear a lot about perks to being married, not that perks are a reason to get married, but they’re a nice bonus.  For me, being married to an EMT is definitely a very nice perk.  So what about you, does your significant other’s job or hobby provide any unexpected perks in your life?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Movies Turning 30 This Summer

Apparently (at least according to Yahoo) 1982 was one of the best summers for movie releases.  That’s kind of sad for my parents since I’m pretty sure they didn’t make it to very many (maybe any?) movies that summer since I arrived that spring. 

I actually haven’t seen most of the movies on the list, but I was a little surprised to learn that some of them came out the same year I was born. 

An Officer And A Gentleman – My parents had a very strict rule about my sister and I not watching R rated movies.  We begged for years to see this movie!  All of our begging, pleading, and whining finally paid off the year I was 17 and she was 15.  It was worth the wait.  I love this movie!  I have to say, though, it’s a little odd learning that it came out when I was a few months old. 

The Secret of N-I-M-H – I loved this movie as a little kid.  It has been a long time since I’ve seen it, so I’m not very clear on a lot of the details, but I remember really liking it.  I didn’t realize quite how old it was either.

E.T.  – I have a confession; I NEVER liked this movie.  I realize I’m probably the only person who doesn’t like it.  E.T. scared me to death as a little kid.  There was just something about his long neck and odd-shaped head that really, really bothered me.  I still don’t like him.  He no longer terrifies me, which is definitely a good thing for me with all of the articles online featuring him right now, but he’s still somewhat unsettling.  I haven’t seen this movie in years, and I have absolutely no desire to see it again. 

So what about you?  Have you seen many, or any, of the summer of 1982 movies?  Are there “great” movies that you don’t like?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

An Interesting Quote

I came across this quote on goodreads today:

“People who claim that they're evil are usually no worse than the rest of us... It's people who claim that they're good, or any way better than the rest of us, that you have to be wary of.” 
Gregory Maguire, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

I haven’t read the book, but now I think I really, really want to.  I thought the quote was very thought provoking and very true. 

Some of the best people I know seem to have the worst opinions of themselves.  It seems that often the truly amazing, special people in the world don’t realize they are.  How many heroes think they are?  How many times on the news do you hear a person who stepped up to help another person brushing off praise, or simply saying it needed to be done?  

History is full of people who thought they were somehow better than, or superior to, everyone else.  Isn’t that what so many problems stem from?  Racism, ethnic cleansing, hate crimes, religious persecution all seem to happen because someone has the idea that they are superior to people who don’t believe the same as them, or aren’t the same color, or speak a different language, or somehow don’t conform to their ideal. 

I guess it’s much the same as “too good to be true” and the people who present themselves as better than, or superior to, others just aren’t.  So what about you, what are your thoughts on the quote, or on someone or something being too good to be true?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Best Friend Day

Today is Best Friend Day, so I am going to write about my best friend.  Crystal is my best friend, other than my husband.  As I mentioned yesterday, Crystal doesn’t go online much, so she doesn’t know about this post.  I take full responsibility.  She’s not someone seeking recognition for being a truly wonderful friend, though I think she definitely deserves a little recognition.

Crystal and I have been friends for almost twelve years, and she has been my best friend for about eleven of those years.  I first met Crystal through my younger sister, and we didn’t get along especially well.  She was afraid of me; it was during my unhappy, Goth, write lots of bad poetry, be angry at the world teenage phase.  I didn’t especially care for her because she seemed too loud, hyper, and cheerful.  Then we met up again a few years later and started to actually speak to one another.  Somewhere along the way she became my very best friend.

Neither one of us can really say how or when it happened.  By all appearances we shouldn’t be friends at all, let alone best friends.  We are so opposite in so many ways; Crystal is never late, I am always late, Crystal can strike up a conversation with a total stranger and enjoy it, the very thought leaves me shaking, Crystal will almost always walk away from confrontation, I almost never will, and the list goes on and on. Yet somehow we work.  I think maybe we both see things we’d like to be in the other person.  And having someone who is your total opposite give you opinions and advice can turn out to be a very good thing sometimes. 

I know I can count on Crystal for anything at anytime.  She has been there for me when no one else has.  She has seen me at my worst and helped me get through it.  She has seen me at my best and has shared my happiness.  She has helped me move, which I believe is the ultimate test of a true friend, many, many times.  We have had some crazy times together, we’ve had a lot of fun together, and we’ve gotten through some tough times together. 

Crystal also gets along extremely well with my husband and with the rest of my family.  I think that’s important in a friendship.  It certainly makes life easier when the people you love get along well with each other.  

On Best Friend Day I realize that I am truly privileged to have Crystal, the only other person with a key to our house, the person who did my wedding makeup, the person who has listened to me at 2:00 in the morning, the person who has helped me with some very odd projects, the person who helped us re-arrange all of the chairs before our wedding, the person who can always smooth out a difficult situation, and so much more as my best friend.    

So what about you; who is your best friend?  What makes them the best?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Is Your Blog An Open Book?

Yesterday I posted about home parties, actually the post was more about me being sick of home parties, and lamenting the fact that I seem to be invited to them so often.  One commenter had this to say,Thanks for being so open, Danielle. I think most of us feel this way but won't express it.”  That really made me think about how open I am on my blog.

I think I’m fairly open and honest.  I try very hard not to spout off my personal beliefs regarding touchy subjects like politics and religion, but other than that, I will say what’s on my mind (usually with some minor editing, of course).  I don’t know that it’s so much because I’m such an open person, or if it’s because of the anonymity that my blog allows me.  Yes, I do use my real name, and that is me in the profile picture.  Hardly anonymous I know.

The anonymity comes from the fact that for the most part my friends and family don’t know about my blog.  My husband, who is very supportive of my desire to write, knows about it and reads it most days.  My best friend knows about it but, to my knowledge, has never read it.  (Largely, I think, because she rarely goes online.)  That’s it.  I haven’t told anyone else I know personally about it. 

It’s not that I want to hide my blog from my friends and family; I realize it’s possible that one of them will stumble across it one day, and I’m fine with that.  I really am.  I’m not ashamed of anything I’ve posted, and I don’t think anyone would feel hurt, embarrassed, or betrayed by anything I’ve posted.  If they happen to find it online, they will be able it to judge it for what they read, hopefully before they realize I wrote it.  I wanted to see what I could do with a blog on my own, before I subjected myself to the scrutiny and expectations of people who know me.

I tried blogging once before, and it didn’t last or go so well.  I told my family and friends all about it.  My mom and sister seemed to find it amusing and somewhat pathetic.  I think my dad was disappointed that I didn’t go further.  One of my friends posted links all over Facebook to try to get her friends to follow me, which I thought was very kind, but probably somewhat annoying to her friends.  I also felt like I was a little limited in what I could post.  I knew there were things certain people wouldn’t like to read, or that certain things would disappoint people.  Then when I abandoned that blog they all knew about it; that I had tried and failed.

So when I started this blog I only told my husband.  I didn’t tell my best friend until I was half-way through the A to Z Challenge, and pretty sure I would continue blogging when it was over.  Beyond that, I haven’t shared, even though I plan to continue blogging.  I feel like this has been the right decision for me.  I’ve read posts on other blogs where people have said they’d like to write a book, or would like to say more on a given topic, but don’t for fear of hurting someone’s feelings or changing someone’s opinion of them.  I don’t have that worry.  I don’t have to question whether a post is going to upset a certain person or alter someone’s perception of me.  I have the freedom to write and post what I want. 

Another perk has been that I know I haven’t crossed the line between sharing my blog with people I know and pestering them to read it.  I know my blog hasn’t turned me into the person whose Facebook status updates make everyone cringe because they really don’t want to hear about it, again

So what about you; did you tell your family and friends about your blog?  Why or why not?  Do you personally know many (or any) of your followers?  Do you edit your posts based on friends and family who may be reading?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Staying Home From Home Parties

Lately there seems to be an epidemic of home parties, you know the kind, where someone invites all of her friends over for snacks and a demonstration of some sort of product; anything from cookware to candles, to handbags to, um, “adult-themed goodies”.    Then you’re supposed to order products and possibly have your own home party, and maybe even quit your day job and join the company where you can set your own schedule and make more money than you’ve ever dreamed.  Those home parties.

No, I’m not opposed to home parties.  I’ve been to several and had a good time.  I like a lot of the products.  I’ve hosted some of my own, and I am a (very, very, very) part-time consultant (though I will probably phase out by the end of the year) for one company.  The idea sort of makes sense too; friends all buy a little to help each other get a little more for free.  Who can’t use free things in this economy? 

I’m just getting a little tired of being invited (or pressured) to attend home parties.  I’ve been invited to close to two dozen in the past six months.  It’s not that I know so many people; it’s that the same people are having them over and over again.  They have another one because they didn’t get everything they want on the first go-round, or they sell the line and need to have so many parties, or they have a friend who sells the line and needs money for some reason or another. 

I get it.  I get that sometimes you really, really want those host benefits, or you really need to make your numbers, or you’re in a tight spot financially and need some extra money.  I just don’t understand how or when it became acceptable to push those needs or wants of yours off on other people.   I think there are definitely limits to how many times you can invite the same person to a home party in a given time frame.

I realize there’s the standard fall back of “oh you don’t have to buy anything, just come hang out and have some snacks”.  I don’t understand this one.  My mother raised me that it’s bad manners to go to one of these and not buy something.  She also raised me that it’s bad manners to have too many.  (More on that later.)  You’re being invited with the goal of getting you to purchase something, that’s pretty much the point.  Telling you that you don’t have to buy anything (of course you don’t HAVE to buy something, it’s not like you’re going to be held hostage until you whip out the checkbook) seems to be a means of getting you to show up in hopes that you’ll see something you want, or feel like you need to buy something. 

All of that being said, I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have home parties, as I said, some of them can be a lot of fun.  I think there’s just a limit to how many times you can invite the same people to come to your home to spend money.  For me, I think that limit is about two to three times per year, at the most.  My mom’s rule has always been not to only invite people for home parties.  I think that makes a lot of sense.  If you only invite someone over when you’d like them to buy something that can easily make a person feel used. 

So what about you?  What’s your take on home parties?  How many is one (or more) too many for you?  How do you gracefully decline? 

Monday, June 4, 2012

To Prompt Or Not To Prompt?

I fell off of the blogging and writing wagon a little bit this weekend.  I just didn’t have anything to offer, and needed to retreat within myself for a little while, but I am back now.  In the process of coming back I have been catching up on reading the posts on the blogs I usually read regularly.

One of the posts, from Delores at the feathered nest, was about writing prompts.  She has been providing a weekly photo for anyone who’d like to participate to use as a prompt ever since the A to Z Challenge ended.  I have participated every week except last week.  (It just wasn’t a good week, and I didn’t have it in me.)  I enjoy it.  The prompts are usually enough to get the creative juices flowing, or at least enough to force me to write somethingThat has been a good thing for me.

Apparently not everyone is in agreement that writing prompts are a good thing.  Personally, I don’t understand how it can bother someone for someone else to use a prompt.  I would love it if I was able to find enough in life to inspire me to write something every day without relying on prompts.  I would also love to win the lottery.  I don’t think it’s going to happen.

Most of us have to work, not always in a job we find inspiring.  Our time is limited.  We get caught up in going to work, doing laundry, going to the grocery store, and doing what must be done.  Sometimes we may simply not be inspired by what’s around us.  That’s where the prompt comes in, at least for me. 

I have come to view writing prompts much like take-out food.  Is it better to have a wonderful home-cooked meal, or linger over a nice meal in a nice restaurant than to have take-out from a Styrofoam box?  Of course it is!  Is it always practical?  No.  Sometimes the take-out food fills a need, and it’s the only way to fill that need.  I think writing prompts are very much the same.  Would I write something better if I were able to spend my day on a quiet beach, soaking up the sun, with the wonderful salt smell in my nostrils?  Most likely.  Can I do that every day?  Not until I win the lottery.  So the writing prompt meets a need for me in the best, most practical way possible.  It gives me something to work with, a place to start from.

What are your thoughts on writing prompts?  Do you use them?  What do you use, words, photos, places?  Do you find prompts helpful, or find that you work better without them?