Saturday, November 29, 2008

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Christmas news from Maureen!!!


EXCITING NEWS READ ALL ABOUT OUR FIRST CHRISTMAS GIVE.


Children in South Africa are going on their Christmas break. The Nativity play had to be cancelled this weekend. The heartbreak theses little ones felt at this disappointment was very sad to see. I could not ignore their disappointment. A plan had to be made and quick.

Realizing that these children have never sat around a table and had a meal, as you can see in the pictures I have taken of them standing in line to be served there meal and how they sit on the benches and eat. They do not get meals at home. They have a six-week break, with no nourishing meals coming their way.

A Christmas Dinner served around a table, like a big happy family. Teachers & helpers included. Would that not be lovely?

Now the challenge is cooking for 80 children & 4 adults at minimal cost.

Must be healthy, filling and something different then their normal Soya and pap (maize meal).

Menu

Chicken a la king. Meat & rice is a luxury for them.
Desert: Ice Lollies

The cost of this should hopefully not be more than $15

Now the next problem is how do we create a Christmas atmosphere. Remember these children have never experience anything like this. This is going to be the first and hopefully not their last. I am hoping to get enough helpers that we can serve them at the table

Plan:

1. We are going to cut a branch off one of our Pine Trees and plant it in the ground at

the School near where they eat. This week the children are going to make decorations out of paper to decorate the tree. The Goodie bags that Tabitha and her family sent, we will hang on the tree as gifts.

I am sorry I can’t organize a Father Christmas suite at such short notice. We will make one for next year.



2.There are 3 Classes. Each class will be given a Teddy Bear to wrap up for their Teacher as a thank you gift for teaching them this year. The cook and helper will also get a present. Hopefully that way everyone will be happy.



3. We will end off with the Nativity play and Christmas Carols.



Will keep you posted on any further plans and news.

This is going to be a big challenge for me. With confidence I move forward to spread the smiles as I know you are with me in Spirit.

PS Any ideas to create a loving atmosphere are welcome

donate now, or learn more about Maureen and Operation Teddy Bear Care at: http://www.teddybearcare.org

My Creative Urge

I'm just too busy lately. I don't even know how to get to all the projects I've got going. And I get paid for a large number of the projects I work on, so skipping it isn't really an option. And the sad thing is, I actually only have 4 clients (1 pro bono, plus another major paying project for one of my regular clients) What scares me is that I've managed to find myself in a position that, at the first of the year, I'm likely to start getting new clients on a regular basis, and I just don't know how in the world I'm going to handle it. I'm beginning to wonder if my brain is actually programmed for this whole business plan!

Cami, for whom I work, has her own business helping women with awesome business ideas, bring those ideas to reality, and helps them create a successful business. She's a marketing executive gone good, and she's amazing at what she does. She hired me to help her out with her site, and with her book... but I think I need to hire her to teach me wtf I'm doing!

Actually, all joking aside, I have sort of set up a tentative appointment with her for January, and I hope I can survive till then!

The good news is she totally gave me a cheat sheet to start with and I'll spend the flight to LA filling it out. It's more of a... well, handbook, lol... with lots of questions and insights to what works, and how to start your owwn business. She's awesome though, because even though she's worked for the giants (ie: Microsoft and other such companies) and understands marketing like no other human being I've ever known, she also appreciates the human side, and the spiritual side too... she doesn't want to set up empty business, she wants to launch ideas that fulfill dreams...

Cuz she's fucking awesome like that. Seriously.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Poetry vs Reality

Pregnant moons, and the metallic backs of beetles -
making lace of lilies that once held hope
in the curve of their praying leaves...


I have too much to do to write,
creation requires
time. I haven't got
7 days to give birth
to contextual beauty.

I don't have
the beauty to lend
to my text.

Instead, there is work,
driving me well into the sunrise
fueled by insomnia, unpaid bills,
and a tepid McMocha
three hours old.

There will be no more pregnancy,
and hope has become
a mathmatical formula
within the lines of a spreadsheet invoice,
held for mailing next week.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

MiPO Poetry Magazine

I was once very involved in the online poetry world. Too involved probably, and yet not as involved as I'd liked to have been. Poets and writers, in my experience, tend to be cliquish, and those that have attained a certain degree of success tend to band together. Birds of a feather and what not...

I enjoyed having those talented and lucky poets easily accessible by via various websites and ezines. And I would visit them often. I would first read and experience the poetry for what it was - Beauty conveyed through a series of words sculpted somewhat magically into art. And then I'd read, again and again, trying to absorb a tiny bit of that magic, hoping to soak up the secret of the art, praying to catch that spark that had catapulted the author to the next level.

I once had a poetess I admired greatly, whose work I adored, tell me that I was "on my way" -that the success I wanted so desperately was just around the corner. Maybe I missed my turn, or maybe my success was broad-sided by a collision with real life (and death) and was thrown off course. But truth be told, I think I just reverted to my old habit of self-sabotage. As much as I wanted to become well published and respected by that higher level of artisans, I couldn't seem to get past my own need for catharticism. I never managed to learn to write what was "in demand" or "marketable" and kept right on writing for myself. Kept right on writing about full moons, and gardens, and grief. Who can blame them for noticing me, even I grow weary of my ever repeating imagery and theme.

I'm OK with that. Stayed true to myself, you know. And even with one (lousy) chapbook to my publishing credits, I'm perfectly at peace now with that lack of success I once wanted so desperately.

Now, I can visit those websites and read those writings, and simply appreciate them for their beauty, sans the ulterior motive of finding my own first class ticket to success.

What exactly qualifies as success in the online poetry world anyway?

I'll tell you what: beauty. And you can find it in the latest issue of one of those magazines I once pined to be in. MiPO. It IS a beautiful issue. The layout is gorgeous, the writing in it is amazing as always, and the people, wow. It's like Poetry married Modeling.

I've been far and away from poetry for quite some time, completely unaware of the "in crowd" but Didi over at MiPO is always on top of her game. I discovered PF. Potvin in the December issue, and let me tell you, he's beautiful. Not in the physical sense, though don't get me wrong, he's DEFINITELY not hard to look at, check him out on pages 94 - 101. But it is his words that appeal most to me, and the story in his eyes, if you stop long enough to read it.

He's a new favorite, for sure. I'll be following him, and it's been a long long time since I've followed anyone's work.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Operation Teddy Bear Care Holiday Drive

DECEMBER 2008 GOAL: Provide 1,000 South African children who have been impacted by the AIDS epidemic with a personal gift. South African children are left vulnerable by the thousands due to the AIDS epidemic. These children live in abject poverty without any personal comforts. Many don't even get one meal a day. For them, it is just a matter of surviving from one day to the next. The aim of this project is to provide small personal comforts for these children. This holiday season, we hope to give 1,000 South African children a gift of a humble teddy bear and some food. We want to show these children people care about them, bring a smile to their faces, give them a toy of their own to cuddle and a little nourishment.

PROGRESS REPORT NOV 18, 2008: Donation packages for 355 children have been purchased. We need people to purchase 645 more donation packages to reach our initial goal. We strongly suggest purchasing Package 2, Package 4 or Package 6, each of which now include basic food packs in addition to teddy bears. Malnutrition and starvation are major problems for these children. To date Operation Teddy Bear Care has provided 21 food packs.

100% of the money raised through this project goes to help provide comfort for children whose lives have been impacted by the AIDS epidemic.
DONATE NOW! CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A DONATION PACKAGE. THERE ARE NO SHIPPING COSTS. We suggest purchasing one of the packages that include a basic food pack because many of these children don't get even one full meal a day.

Or, Give Up Your Holiday Gifts This Year! Instead, Ask Family & Friends To Give To These Wonderful South African Kids! We're encouraging ALL members Operation Teddy Bear Care to tell your family and friends NOT to buy you gifts for the holidays. Tell them to donate to Operation Teddy Bear Care instead and send some much-needed comfort to a child suffering in South Africa.

Here is an email you can forward to your family and friends like I did.


Find more photos like this on Operation Teddy Bear Care

The above picture slideshow is of various deliveries that the crew in South Africa has already made to children in several clinics so far. You'll see that in some of them, the kids have received hearts or other stuffed toys... these were actually shipped directly to Maureen (co-founder of OTBC) not donated through the site itself. You'll also see that in some cases, the teddy bears are handmade - those are handmade by Maureen, and were her original efforts towards providing gifts for these orphaned children, and you'll also see the teddy bear cookies she bakes at home on a wood burning stove! and delivers by the hundred.

I can't bake cookies in my modern electric oven, let alone in a wood burning stove!

Anyway, you'll see what a grass roots effort this movement started with, one woman whose only electricity is from a single solar panel she's installed. She doesn't enjoy a lot of the modern comforts we all take for granted, but she's commited to providing a gift to these kids this Holiday Season - and I think that's pretty damn awesome.

Friday, November 21, 2008

crap - so much for nablopomo!

I didn't post yesterday damnit!

I was too busy panicking and trying to recreate a spreadsheet I've been recording data on for the last 2 or 3 months. I accidentally pressed some magical combination of keys that deleted the last 6 weeks of data entry work I've done, and I damn near died on the spot. I was up all night, I'm exhausted today, mentally and physically, today.

Good news is, the spreadsheet was contibutor's information for the 29Gifts book I'm helping Cami with, and I'm flying to California next month to do the editing and selections! YAY!

I've never flown before, well, not since I was a toddler anyway, and I'm excited, but I'm also nervous as hell about flying alone. OK, I'm not nervous about the FLYING, I'm nervous about the airport experience. Here's to hoping I get on the right plane, don't miss my flight, or end up in Timbuktu, or get detained by security for having a friggin curling iron or something.

Any advice from you worldly types who actually have a life, and have flown as adults?

Gah, I'm such a loser.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

*whiney whimper*

~Woken up @ 6:20am by emotionally distraught friend who needs babysitter, due to medical emergency with oldest daughter.
~arrival @ 7:05 by not-so-happy 3yr old


~automotive/legal issues
~lost birth certificate, and incorrect title from previous owner, which magnify aforementioned automotive/legal issues.
~lack of funds, compounded by a visit from Union Electric today, to rectify aforementioned automotive/legal issues.

~grumpy husband home from work to attempt to solve previous 3 points
~migraine
~telephone keeps ringing
~email too
~several clients who had fires that needed putting out.
~all have required some action on my part.

(I got up 3 hours early, had an extra kid all day, and a grumpy husband too, plus a fucking migraine - I am incapable of thinking let alone acting!)

I'm going to bed. If you have a fire that needs to be put out... call 911 :)

ni-night.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

slung low

the dark side of the moon is on top tonight
bright half slung low and round like
the glowing belly of an expectant mother

looking to a bright future.

I had forgotten the promise that hovers
just over the next horizon, a beacon
beckoning.

it is a recollection I'm grateful for...

Monday, November 17, 2008

is it Friday yet?

Some days! A person shouldn't be this stressed out from her couch! seriously. And I've still got another conference call, 2 loads of laundry, dinner, three hours of work to do, plus 3 introductions to reply to. And I thought waitressing was tiring!?

HA!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I need your help!

I'm in charge of the 29Gifts poetry club, and the monthly poetry contests. For the month of December, we're going to do a Refrigerator Poetry Contest... I need you to help me pick 29 random words from which the members can write a poem. Give a girl a hand eh!?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Happy America Recycles Day

I always reuse, reduce and recycle, so I don't know if I "celebrated" it appropriately. *shrug* but check out this post... I found it interesting.

I worked too much today - I officially hate html and css. Seriously. Gah.


And there are some things that laptops just suck for. Paint Shop Prow/o a mouse sucks. Yeah, I know, there's a mouse port. But my mouse won't plug into it. Damn it.

Today I received a few things from Daryn Kagan... her book, "What's Possible" and a copy of "Breaking the Curse" which made me cry for an hour straight. I love what Daryn does, I love her site, I'm excited to be working with her and helping her launch her community, and I can't wait to read "What's Possible."

I have to type fast, lest I miss the midnight deadline for NaBloPoMo... gah, deadlines!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Too bad I can't afford a prize...

I survived - the conference call that is... BTW Zilla, I promise never to call you. Funny story actually, I have this friend, she was my very best friend who I adored for one summer when I was living in Coxsackie NY. I went over 20 years without her. Then a few months ago, out of the blue, I got an email from her. We emailed and we Myspaced and we caught up with each other's lives and marriages and jobs and kids... and being the phone-o-phobe I am, I never once suggested that we talk on the phone.

A few weeks ago she professed to me that she is just not a phone person, and thanked me for never suggesting a phone call. I guess we're not as weird as we thought - us women that hate the phone.

Anyway. What's up with me right now... Utter insanity. DarynKagan.com went live with their community, so there's been lots to do for Daryn the last couple of days. I love it, I just love the site, it's right up my alley.

Then there's 29Gifts, which always keeps me busy, with making sure all the new members get welcomed, all the projects going on through the site get organized, all the members' questions get answered, etc...

Operation Teddy Bear Care is at a sort of lull right now, all I'm really lined up to do with that this week is to create a graphic to be used as a certificate... Some folks want not only to give up their Christmas presents but want to donate to Teddy Bear Care in family members' names and give them certificates to let them know they've donated in their name. Cool idea :) I like it. But on my handy dandy new laptop, I have a new version of Paint Shop Pro that I have to learn... and no mouse. I'm definitely struggling with the certificate!

ParentDigest is the biggest list of duties for the next few days at least. Nothing too hard, just a bit time consuming, and definitely "mental work" which sometimes is harder than humping ass waiting tables.

And then there's the work I need to get done on the book, I'm a little behind and that's DEFINITELY the most mentally challenging of all my 'jobs' I think because it's actually in my field of "expertise" I think it's just the thing I care most about, which makes me worry more about that imaginary "perfect" I aim for with the things I do concerning the book. It's silly really, all I do is something like data entry lol, but I'm always afraid I'm going to mess something up somehow.

And really, another thing I need to do is to officially become a business, start working out my own "brand" and making my way in this new career line I seem to have had handed to me. First step (since I already have clients lol) is to come up with a business name. Then to get myself registered, set up business accounts to withhold my own taxes...then I get to do all my own advertising and "launch" my own business like I help my clients do.

So come on guys... my business is to serve clients who run online communities - I moderate their forums, I drive traffic to their sites, set up the appearance of their pages, do techie type stuff like adding links and pages, make graphics and logos if they need it. I do some minor technical writing as far as guidelines and codes of conduct, I welcome new members, I coordinate projects, groups, and some events, within the community, I answer questions for members and assist them with issues they might have.

WTF do I name my business?

Got Sympathy?

(Ioriginally made thispost on the 6th, but I'mma pop it back to the top again :)

DISCLAIMER

The purpose of this film blog post is to make you laugh (and maybe push a boundary or two in the process.) We just wanted to reassure potential supporters that this film is not about satanic worshiping, atheism, or even agnosticism. Nor is it anti-Christian, or anti-any-other-religion, for that matter. We have the utmost respect for your right to believe in whatever you choose.

Ohhh, it can't be good when it starts with a disclaimer, can it? hee hee! Just keep reading!


Now I'm a pretty damned sympathetic person - if you know me, you know that. But never once have I considered being sympathetic to poor ole Beelzebub. I mean really, he's everything that's wrong with this world, right? Well, apparently, that depends on your point of view... let me play Devil's Advocate here, bear with me.

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine the Earth in a perfectly peaceful state - no war, no drugs, no reality TV. No starvation, no murder. Sounds sublime, doesn't it? Unless you're one of the minions employed to tend the fiery gates; especially unfortunate if you're the most infamous of them all…

In an world free of sinners, Lucifer himself is laid off and deported to New England, stripped of his power and status, with no choice but to find a new life. Even with the best of intentions, his reputation inevitably precedes him. Experiencing life as an average Joe, he struggles to be accepted and hold down a job. Add booze and a broken heart to the mix and you have the ultimate underdog.

Will Satan resign himself to his fate or find a way to get back to his roots? One thing is for certain: with every attempt at a better life, he will quickly realize that there is no sympathy for the devil.


Funny how a tiny shift in perspective can change everything huh? Ever sold your soul? Ever thought about it? Anything you believe in so completely and wholly that you'd consider it? I honestly can't, I've tried for days and couldn't do it. Which is why I'm even more amazed that Bill did.

Bill: I've never met Bill, but Bill is a creative guy. An artist even. A dude who makes Erin happy, makes great LOST cakes, and makes movies. Well, one movie, a movie called No Sympathy For The Devil. A movie for which he's willing to sell his soul. Literally. And because I love Erin, and therefore, by proxy, Bill... I am asking you to support this short film.

Is it going to save any one's life? No, probably not. Will it feed the homeless or save the wretched? Um, nope. It won't end the AIDS epidemic, lead to victory in the war against drugs, and it won't bring our boys back from Iraq. It is not, supposedly, 'earth shattering.' Unless you're Bill and Erin.

You see, Erin thought I only supported stuff like saving babies from congenital heart defects, or helping to bury them when a mother lost one, or ending the AIDS epidemic in South Africa. Sometimes, like that clown-fish a couple posts down, sometimes I support the people I love and the things they do, because I love them. And oh how I love Erin, and therefore, the endeavor she' embarked upon with the man she loves.

To Bill and Erin, this is indeed Earth Shattering... and so, my lovely readers, I'm asking you to support it with me, by buying a sliver of Bill's soul and helping to raise the $6,000 they need to make this film happen. Go here: http://www.nosympathyforthedevil.com, donate a few dollars, and make 1 Bill and 2 Erins very happy.







How the hell else are you going to ever see your name in the final credits of a movie anyway? Or buy a soul for that matter? And check out these bad ass t shirts! Cuz you can totally get one of these too!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Conference Call...

So Cami, founder of 29gifts.org, is one of my clients. She runs her own business called Creative Urge. Through Creative Urge, Cami has a client, who needed services Cami doesn't provide, but I do, so Cami referred said client to me. Therefore, my client (Cami) and I share a client (Pam) and tonight, we have a conference call. I'm sort of a Phonophobe, seriously, I break out in a wet sweat when the phone rings, there are literally a handful of people I can talk to comfortably, everyone else inspires a bout of irrational anxiety and fear. And that's if they call me.

Forcing myself to initiate this call has had me on the verge of a panic attack all day. I get so mad at myself, I wish I at least fully understood what it is about the phone that gets me like this. For godssake, I'm afraid to talk on the phone. How dumb.

I guess it's another sign of my ungirliness LOL!

Anyway, off to get my ducks in a row. I need a XANAX!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Got Inspiration?

It seems so amazing to say, “Happy 2nd Anniversary!” to DarynKagan.com.

Yep, it was two years ago today, 6 weeks after leaving CNN, that I launched what I envisioned to be the web’s one-stop destination for inspiring news.

It’s been a wonderful two-year ride. I tell folks all the time that I feel like I won the media lottery with a job that has me meet and interview inspiring people every single day, then share their stories with the world.

While that’s been great, something these last few months was telling me it’s time to expand to something more.

I am so happy to say that I believe I have found it. It is my gift to you, the thousands of visitors who click into this website from over 100 countries around the world.

DarynKagan.com is no longer just about my creating content for you. No, I’m breaking down the walls and inviting all of you in.

As of today, DarynKagan.com becomes a social media destination and community, as well!

What’s that? Do you feel like you just opened a gift from you Aunt Mary and you have no idea what she just gave you?

Basically, you now have a place to create your own content. Join our community and comment on stories, post your own blog, photos and videos.

Does a certain DarynKagan.com story move your heart? Do you want the world to know about your own personal hero? Did you capture a photo of your child or pet that would make the world go, “Ahhhh!”? Want to review inspiring movies and books? Well, then let’s get started!

Our online community is waiting for you. This is also going to be a place for you to meet and connect with people all over the world who love experiencing inspiration and “Showing The World What’s Possible!”

As with every new site, there's an adjustment period as we all get used to the fun new stuff, so we've left you some cheat sheets - if you need some help getting started, just look on the right hand side of the screen. You’ll find tips for getting started. Please also take a look at our Code of Conduct, as we want
to keep this a place where everyone likes to come and hang out. And if you need any one-on-one help, send Erin a message, she'll be there to help you personally!

Oh, yeah…this is all totally free. My gift to you.

So, please sign up and tell your friends and family to come along, as well. I picture thousands of inspired-minded folks gathering each day under one tent.

And finally, whether you join our new DarynKagan.com online community
or not, let me just say, “Thank you!” for what has been an amazing
two years. I look forward to bringing you inspiring stories for a
long time to come!

helllllllp meeeeeeeeeeeee

I love my handy dandy new washer and dryer, I'm incredibly grateful that we were able to get them. But we've been without laundry facilities for nearly a month. We did the few necessities we couldn't live without at the laundromat, but basically, all the normal laundry (roughly 2 loads a day) have been piling up. We got the washer and dryer yesterday, and I swear I haven't done anything but laundry for a full 24 hours now. I'm buried under mounds of folded clothes, and I'm roughly halfway there. I woke up screaming in the middle of the night, from a night mare that I was drowning, in a bucket full of unfolded socks! Helllllppppp!!!

OK I didn't really dream I was drowning in socks. But I *am* sick of laundry now. And even the allure of the sexy new front load washer isn't going to overcome it! The smell of warm Gain-scented linens are the only thing keeping me going now.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

1+1+1=bliss

today my washer and dryer were delivered. I've never been so thrilled to do laundry! They also brought my replacement laptop, which is way better than the first one. One problem: I didn't know Nikki's password, so I couldn't use it. Yeah, it hadn't been reformatted. So back it went again. Thankfully, the delivery guys live in my neighborhood, and they took the laptop back, had the techie guy reformat it, and dropped itoffat my house when they were on their way home. Awesomeness, seriously. And in the meantime, I did 10 loads of laundry, literally.

I haven't really had a computer that I could use for several days now, so I'm WAY behind on my work. And man am I glad to have a computer again! But right now I have to get all my files and programs loaded onto here, and get all my emails set up in my Outlook express again, so I'm off!

an explanation

This morning I called my best-friend-since-forever (Scary, seriously, we've been friends for a quarter of a century!) and she kind of blew me off with an excuse that didn't really fly, but she's been going through lots of crap lately, trying to get herself out of an 18 year long relationship (5 years of it married) with a man who has been verbally and emotionally abusive. He's worn her self-esteem down to nothing, and she's also lost a child and had another that's special needs. She's been unhappy, but somehow she loved the guy. I didn't so much, especially since they actually got married, because that's when things started to go bad.

But I'm not the type to stick my nose where it isn't invited. I'm more the type to try to support her, you know, be there for her as she makes her own decisions in her own life. She does the same thing for me - hold my hand even when I'm jumping off a bridge. We love each other so much, but we're very different people, looking for different things, so we don't try to make decisions for each other, or try to color each other's choices.

I never tried to convince her to leave him, but I'll admit to a huge sigh of relief when she kicked him out. Even when I found out that she'd blown me off this morning to finish her packing, and was gone before I even knew she was leaving. Even when I found out that what finally convinced her to do it, and MEAN it, was that she'd met another man. Who the hell am I to talk? I kicked my first husband out for another man who left his first wife for me.

Sometimes your circumstances are such that even the craziest decisions feel rational. And lord knows Scott and I have worked out.

So anyway, after weeks and weeks of trying to get it through his head, and going through absolute hell, he put her in a position where she was forced to let him come back. And then today, after he left for work, she packed her bags and headed for another state with her two kids, and hope.

Hope is a commodity that's been short in her life for a long time. And as crazy as it is to run off with two kids, out of one fire and into the arms of a man she's only "met" online and on the phone... well, yeah, maybe it is crazy. And maybe she'll hold on to that hope, and maybe that hope will lead to happiness. And just maybe, maybe she and her kids will live happily ever after.

And even if all she gets out of it is a road trip and a fling - a crazy adventure to tell her grandkids when they're teens... well, at least something has clicked, and she realizes she deserves to be happy, to be respected and appreciated. That she doesn't have to go on being belittled, disrespected, taken for granted, and controlled.

She was afraid that when she kicked him out, that he'd gone over the edge, that it was all too much for him to handle. Unfortunately, I think she was wrong... I think THIS is what's going to put him over the edge, and I sincerely hope he doesn't find out exactly where she is. If she was afraid of him before, I think she should be far more afraid of him now.

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results." ~Albert Einstien

At least she's finally trying something different.

Monday, November 10, 2008

christ

It's been an exceptionally bad day. It's very likely to be just about to get a lot worse. All the good vibes you can muster will be greatly appreciated.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

what a weekend

and thank goodness it's over. I went from one functional desktop computer, to 1 desktop and 1 laptop - both of which are not working, well, not reliably anyway.

I also went from a house with 3 boys and 2 girls, down to 2 girls one boy. Tommy moved out Friday as planned, Kory made a surprise move this afternoon, complete with an engagement announcement.

No, I don't want to talk about it.

Anyway. I have to fix one or both of my computers. I've got work to do.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

All Inspiring, All the Time

DarynKagan.com - Show the World What's Possible



Meet Daryn Kagan, one of my clients. (although, darynkagan.com is not the project I work on for her) She was on CNN news for 12 years, then they told her they weren't renewing her contract. Rather than be crushed by the concept of losing her career, she said to herself, "Cool, now I can do what I want to do!"

And she does. She built her own media company and produces her own news - Inspirational news. She's covered some pretty amazing stuff, on every imaginable topics. Click the banner, check it out :)

(and no, inspirational does not equal churchy)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Operation Teddy Bear Care

There is a massive problem in South Africa with the growing number of children who are orphaned due to the AIDS epidemic. These children live in abject poverty without any personal comforts. For them, it is just a matter of surviving from one day to the next.

Maureen Forbes, from the bush of South Africa, with a laptop recharged by solar power, mobilized people countries away to help her change that. She wanted to collect 100 teddy bears for 100 children in an orphanage in her area. Since her original idea, with the help of many who were moved to support her, Operation Teddy Bear Care was born.

The aim of this project is to provide small personal comforts for AIDS orphans, many of whom do not have a single item that they can call their own.This holiday season, Operation Teddy Bear Care hopes to give 1,000 South African children a gift of a humble teddy bear. They want to show these children that people care about them, bring a smile to their faces, and give them a toy to cuddle and call their own.


But it doesn't end there. As the group of supporters has grown, they dared to dream bigger, and set new loftier goals. Operation Teddy Bear Care now hopes to also raise enough funds to "adopt" an orphanage in South Africa and provide the essential life needs for the children living in the facility. They aim to sponsor AIDS education for women 13-20, and they dream to one day build an orphanage in an area that is presently unserved. All from a single woman, with a handmade teddy bear, and a big heart.

If you'd like to join Operation Teddy Bear Care, please visit Teddy Bear Care.org and find out how!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Nov 5th

Obama did it. Although I knew he would, part of me is shocked that he did it. He did it. I'm also astounded to see that my state of NC went the way it did. 50% - 49% in favor of Obama. This is the bible belt, I just never thought it would be so close, or that somehow, even by a 1% margin, Obama had any hope of taking my state.

It's weird. I've never cared about politics before. This year I have. I watched speaches and debates. I took part in debates. I got informed by looking over stances and voting records... I watched the results last night and I got choked up.

I went to sleep just as Obama's victory speach ended, and woke up feeling like it was a whole new world. I have hope for the future, hope for my children's future, faith in a country that would elect Obama despite the smears and scare tactics, despite his skin color, the insinuations about his citizenship and his supposed Muslim faith. A country that could see past the lies and maipulations, ignorances, accusations and fears.

Today, for the first time I can remember, I am truly proud to be an American.

I can't help but wonder though, how much of his elation is dampened by the weight of the challenges he has to face. I for one didn't feel celebratory. It wasn't a WOO-HOO screaming happy frenzy I felt - it was a more emotional sense of victory. More than just YAY! HE'S GOT THE TITLE" and more of a deeper "Thank goodness, we have a chance."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

For E (II)

This post is for Erin, who thought that the film she and Bill are making wasn't "earth shattering" enough. THIS is the clownfish whose adoption I helped sponsor. Nope, you didn't sleep through the earthquake, or the aftershocks ;)

He's a cute lil guy isn't he? However, in light of his fame via "Finding Nemo" and his condition in this picture, I can't help but think that he's gone a little... um... wild. Looks like a 'morning after' picture doesn't it? I hope my donation didn't go to fund a drug habit... I've heard he drinks like a, well, like a fish.

I do NOT normally have violent tendencies, however...

A week (not even) in review:

Halloween: One 19yr old who invited people to my house without asking or informing me, one 14 yr old who really believed that dressing vaguely like a Playboy Bunny and running the streets with 2 boys was an option, an 11 yr old and a 5 yr old who are still totally in the Halloween stage, but who tire quickly, are prone to complaining, and who have exceptionally small bladders.

Trick or treating went fairly smoothly, the rest, not so much.

Nov 1st: Several teens hanging out in my yard, carving jack-o-lanterns, with my permission. Several teens smashing said pumpkins, the coming in and watching Spongebob - only to be interupted by the police at my door because my neighbors are assholes who feel that all kids are bad kids, even when they're just being kids, having some fun, and NOT doing anything to anyone or their property.

Nov 2nd: Trying to be a kind person to one of my other neighbors... there was a wreck in which a car ran into their house. We took pics with my camera in case they needed them for the lawyers and insurance companies. They asked a few days ago if we still had them because they did in fact need them for the lawyers. I uploaded them to Walmart and ordered prints and sent my daughter (who has been there many times and is very familiar with them) over to give them the info about picking them up. The man of the house, in the absence of his wife, asked my 14 yr old daughter when she was going to "sneak out her window and visit him so he could tap that." She freaked out and ran home to tell us. Needless to say, there was much ugliness that ensued. Unfortunately, there's no law to cover him asking the question, and since he didn't touch her (thank god) there wasn't a lot we could do legally.

Nov 3rd: Adult daughter of nextdoor (nosey-ass kid-hating) neighbors gets a flat tire, assumes that my kids or their friends flattened it, and calls police. (note: her father just spent a month shingling the roof, and has stated plainly that his yard is full of roofing nails) then proceeded to come to my house and accuse my kids and their friends of flattening her tire. She also felt that somehow threatening me with how crazy her father is (and he really is) would intimidate me or something. I very nearly punched her in the face. I don't say that to brag or impress anyone, I say it because it was more work to stop myself than I like to admit. However, I am not afraid of her father. He's laughable. I told her, not very politely, to get her ass out of my fucking yard and stay out. Oh, and welcome back to the neighborhood, since she, just 3 days ago, moved back in with her parents.

Nov 4th: Her (seriously mentally imbalanced, no joke, no sarcasm) father waltzes his ass into my yard and rings my doorbell, again to raise hell about my kids and their friends, because they're the hoodlems who flattened his daughter's tire. Again, I not-so-politely threw him (chased, actually) out of my yard and told him not to bring his crazy alcoholic ass across that property line again - to never speak to anyone in my family again, and to stay the fuck away from my dogs too. He tried to give me 'the look' and scare me, and told me I better not ever come into his yard either. No problem, I've never been in his yard.

And the look still didn't scare me. However, the depth and breadth of my anger does frighten me. I really did chase him out of my yard, screaming. But inside my head, I was tackling him, throwing him to the ground, and kicking him in the face. Have I mentioned that I'm really NOT a violent person? I was just so angry, angry that he and his daughter had the audacity to try to intimidate me and my kids based on some weird "I've lived in this neighborhood longer than you have" basis. I don't give a god damn if your great grampa built that house out of twigs and horse shit during the Civil-fucking-War you bastard, you aren't any better than we are, and my kids are allowed to have friends over without being accused of flattening your tire and being harrassed!

She (this guy's daughter) actually said to me (and she's been back in the neighborhood for THREE FUCKING DAYS) "there never used to be any trouble before, and I'm not putting up with a bunch of kids and their bullshit!"

Have I mentioned that before we moved in, this house was the neighborhood crack/meth house, complete with constant police visits, fights, arrests, etc...? Yeah, never trouble here before...

And that's not even everything. I'm stressed out till I'm nauseaus and shaking inside. I can't take any more. I'm actually concerned that the next time my BRAIN goes through the motions of pummeling someone, my body is going to become an active participant.

We are fairly certain that come February, when the terms of our lease have been fulfilled, we will be moving. Hopefully to a place with no neighbors.

In better news, I have spent much of my morning learning to build a power point presentation, and creating one about Operation Teddy Bear Care, for one of our members to use in order to pitch our project to her church in hopes that they'll support us. WHAT.FUN! I think I have a new addiction. Perhaps I'll go make one surrounding the insanity of my neighbors.

Monday, November 3, 2008

woo hoo!

So tonight is my big conference call re: Operation Teddy Bear Care and the mission trip to S. Africa, I'm both excited and nervous, but mostly, I'm really looking forward to getting some more "concrete" info about where we go from here. I can't wait to add something more informative and productive to my new spot over there

The trick for tonight is going to be to get everyone out of the room and NOT creating the usual chaos and havoc that normally surround me in this living room.
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In other news... I've been a crappy ass friend lately to my mostest favorite other Erin by totally not paying attention to the very cool, very BIG, short film project called NoSympathyForTheDevil that she and her man Bill are trying to bring into reality. Filming starts in March 2009, and here's a little somrthing about it from their website:
Close your eyes for a moment and imagine the Earth in a perfectly peaceful state - no war, no drugs, no reality TV. No starvation, no murder. Sounds sublime, doesn't it? Unless you're one of the minions employed to tend the fiery gates; especially unfortunate if you're the most infamous of them all…

In an world free of sinners, Lucifer himself is laid off and deported to New England, stripped of his power and status, with no choice but to find a new life. Even with the best of intentions, his reputation inevitably precedes him. Experiencing life as an average Joe, he struggles to be accepted and hold down a job. Add booze and a broken heart to the mix and you have the ultimate underdog.

Will Satan resign himself to his fate or find a way to get back to his roots? One thing is for certain: with every attempt at a better life, he will quickly realize that there is no sympathy for the devil.


So today, I donated a small bit, just $10, which entitles me to the deed to a tiny bit of Bill's soul. I promptly donated the bill of sale back to the Erin, because you know, I'm the wrong Erin to own Bill's soul ;)

ANYWAY.

I plan to donate a little something once a month between now and March. And I'm also going to spread the word to everyone I can reach out to :)

Consider yourself reached. Now go send Bill $10. Because this movie is gonna kick ass. And because we're talking about Erin, whom I adore and want very much to help make this happen!

BTW they also sell stuff here: No Sympathy Merch (I'm eyeing up that coffee mug hee hee!)
And if you doubt how much this means to Bill and Erin, take a peek at his license plate!:

LOL Minus One halo! *snickers* Good one guys!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Venison Stew and Dinner Guests

I haven't cooked with venison in a lot of years, but a couple of weeks ago my sister and brother in law filled my freezer with deer meat. I used to, when I was with my first husband, make quite a bit of venison, but not in something like 17 years! I'm experimenting with it again, it's like cooking with a foreign ingredient! When they filled my freezer we agreed that I'd have to cook some up for them one night and have them over for dinner. Today is the day! My house smells soooo good! There's just nothing like a house filled with the aroma of venison stew... it totally says, "Autumn."

Today the Halloween decorations are coming down - the pumpkins... ha, well there's a story all of it's own. We never carved the pumpkins. We had 5 wannabe jack-o-lanterns that never came to be. But yesterday some of Kassi's friends came over and somehow I ended up in the front yard with a group of 7 kids from 5 - 17, sitting in the sunny spot, carving pumpkins, the day AFTER Halloween. Goofy? Yes. But a load of fun. Later, the teenagers wanted to know if they could smash the pumpkins. After a moment of interior parental dialogue, I threw caution to the wind, let kids be kids, and stood out there laughing while they smashed them, and went into a teenage frenzy of carefree silliness and had a pumpkin-chunk fight. When they got done, I called them in to warm up for a while, and there was a knock on the door. It was the damned police! My next door neighbors called the police because the kids smashed the pumpkins in the road. (Now let me interject, it wasn't even on our road, had nothing to do with these neighbors, didn't affect anywhere that they would walk or drive, and certainly wasn't anywhere near their damn house or yard.) So the cops came and said the neighbor had called the cops to say that they'd received a call saying there were teenagers in the neighborhood starting trouble and that they were hiding in my house.

Background: The lady next door is a total bitch, a nosey ass bitch. And her husband is a psychotic drunk who gets totally shit-faced and walks around with a beer in one hand, a gun in the other (it has no firing pin, but still) shouting and cussing till all hours of the night, and we've NEVER called the cops on him! As a matter of fact, every time someone else calls the cops, he complains to me about nosey neighbors who need to mind their own business.

So I decided to be a total ass. We turned on the music, really loudly, on the kids' favorite station (and these weren't the love ballad or country music type of kids ;) ) in my front yard, complete with fog machine, glow sticks, and strobe light. Then the kids commenced to start the crazy teen dancing, laughing and general boisterousness. We told the whole group of kids that (within reason) it was a free for all until 9:59pm, when the noise ordinance kicked in.

The neighbors went out for the evening :)

So anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, taking down Halloween decorations. We dismantled out scarecrow, undecorated out graveyard coffee table, took the spiderwebs off the porch and the scary eyeballs out of the bush out front... and now that all the crazy spookiness is over with, and my house smells like stew, I feel like I can just sigh and settle into Fall. There's something really "homey" about Autumn. There's not enough of it though, between Halloween and Christmas. So I'm planning to really enjoy it.

Time to peel potatoes! Y'all have a great day!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I said the C word. Out loud. To my kids!

Yes, I've done it. I said the C word out loud. Not THAT C word, you perverts! CHRISTMAS. Uh huh. There it is. Less than 2 months away.

I had the kids make out Christmas lists today. It's scares the shit out of me how fast this year has gone by! So, I'm going to hit Kmart for the layaway department. Ever wonder if Walmart regrets doing away with Layaway? I bet they do.

So, I have to buy a nice bible for my mom. She's a total church person. And I know a lady who makes handmade leather book covers that are just gorgeous, and I think it'd mean a lot to mom to get her one to go on a nice new bible.

I feel obligated to buy something for my half-sister Maureen too. You may or may not remember the story about her... I don't exactly have a close sister bond with this chick, but recently my mother and Maureen have reconnected and gotten very close - Maureen lives with Mom now (my half sister, no relation to my mother...) and I can't buy my mother a present and take it to her house on Christmas, and not have anything for Maureen. How rude, ya know?

But I don't know her, haven't see her in 25+ years, have no idea what she likes or doesn't... Not a clue what to get her.

So I need your advice. What do you buy someone very religious that you barely know and aren't even sure you like?

What do you think?

Ever know anyone who is perpetually unhappy? OK, let's just put it out there this way. I've got plenty of reason to be unhappy in life. 2 dead kids isn't exactly a cause for celebration ok? And yeah, I'm not exactly the bubbly perky chick I once was, sometimes I'm downright depressed. But damn it, overall, I'm happy! I choose to be happy. And I really believe that some people... well, they don't neccessarily choose to be unhappy, they just don't choose to be happy. They just always have something to complain about. I know you know the type.

Well fer Chrissake, they need to get over it. No one's life is perfect, and you sure as hell aren't going to make it any better by wallowing in self pity. Have a problem? Fix it! Do what you have to do to improve your situation. And in the mean time, remember what you DO have instead of whining to everyone else about the things you think you lack!

Halloween is OVERRRRR

and as always, there was lots of fun, scads of candy (eventually, too much for a mere 5 yr old to carry, and we were forced to assist her LOL) sore feet (Terra's) chattered teeth (mine) an exploding bladder (Bren's - relieved (shhh don't tell) on a bush in the yard of an unoccupied house) and one huge collective sigh upon returning home. And we've survived another! Only, oh... I dunno... 10 to go?

By then, I'll be a grandmother, I'll get to sit home and give out candy.

Note to my children: No, I won't take your kids trick-or-treating for you while you and your spouse have "alone time." Sorry.
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I have lots to do. I never did make out my schedule. I should have. I got a lot done today, and yet, somehow, I have so.much.left.to.do!

Website Moderation- 29Gifts: 1 hr daily (lol, yeah, more like 5 or 6)
Website Moderation - ParentsDigest: 2 hrs daily
Website Moderation - Daryn Kagan: 2 hrs daily
Editorial Assistant - 29Gifts book: 1 hr daily (approx.)

Wouldn't seem like 6 hours is a lot.

Until you add in 3 loads of laundry, vacuuming, 1 gabby 5 yr old, 3 meals, Ourmommiesgroup.com, a new website that'll be open in a few days, planning a trip to South Africa, fulfilling the 29Day Giving Challenge, BLOGGING on the 29Day Giving Challenge, family stuff, friends stuff, homework, school projects, boyfriend trouble, girlfriend trouble, basketball tryouts, visitors, phone calls, grocery shopping, doctor's appointments, and an occasional hour of sleep...

Speaking of sleep - Goodnight folks! Happy November!