August 25, 2011

Jack White's Divorce Party

I don’t normally do blogs about celebrities because, well... the news covers enough of it to keep us all overly informed but sometimes something happens that just makes me go, “What?”

First of all let me say that I enjoy Jack White’s music but like many artists he’s an eccentric individual.

He and his wife are throwing a party to celebrate their sixth wedding anniversary and amicable divorce. Yes, celebrate. They have two children. I don't know the reasons for divorce, the article I read didn't give any details.

While I’m glad they are leaving on good terms with an uncontested divorce and the kids won’t have to be caught in the middle, at least as it currently stands, I think this whole thing is really strange.

Filing for divorce is not a good thing or anything that should be celebrated. There was a time when we mourned the loss of a marital union and felt bad for the couple, we certainly didn’t throw a party and act like it was something great. Heck, where I come from folks walk quietly and act like there’s been a death and stew about which side of the field to root for now. Since Bob and Carol are no longer together, which one do we stay friends with?

I know I’m old fashioned but am I the only one who thinks this is weird?

August 23, 2011

Why Don't People Leave Comments On Blogs Anymore?

This was mentioned in a forum and I can give a few reasons why since I am just as guilty as the next person at not always giving feedback.

You can’t assume that because there are only a few or no reader responses that the blog isn’t getting any traffic. Mine gets hundreds of people reading every month but most don’t leave feedback.


If you have an “add comment blog,” meaning a blog with a box at the bottom for replies and you aren’t getting any comments it can be one or more of these reasons.

1) There are already dozens of comments and they feel theirs will just get lost in the rubble and probably won’t be read anyway.

2) They have to register or leave an email in order to comment and they don’t want to bother with all that. Wordpress has this feature, Wordpress does it to protect the author but it makes it difficult for the reader to reply. Blogger notifies us about new comments and we can always delete the inappropriate ones.

3) They are busy and just quickly reading before moving on to whatever task they have to do that day and don’t have time to leave a response. People are overwhelmed these days with so many blogs to read it’s hard to keep up.

4) Your reader agrees with everything that has been said and has nothing more to add. In fact, statistics show that if a person doesn’t disagree or feel strongly about your blog most won’t write anything.

5) And last but not least, it didn’t interest them. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t well written it just wasn’t something that particular reader was into. Not all blogging websites will appeal to every reader.

Everyone has their opinion of which ones are the best blog sites, I prefer Blogger for many reasons.

Back when I first started writing I used to worry about comments but after getting stat counter and a few other tools that show I am getting readers and the money started coming in I decided it wasn’t that big of a deal.

Check with your blog service and see what free options they have. Google Adsense, Amazon and other advertisers will give you a report of earnings.

August 20, 2011

Where College Fails

The first two years of college are called basics, it’s supposed to be knowledge you will need in everyday life and everyone should learn these things.

How many of you have ever had to use algebra in your everyday life? No? I didn’t think so, me neither. If you have a job as an engineer or other technical employment that has to do with math, then yes, you probably have used it but for the rest of us in the general public it never comes up… not once.

I’m all for teaching people basic skills the average person will need to function in society but I think a whole lot more would succeed if they didn’t have to learn things they will never use. Failing a class in college we don’t even use is devastating, expensive and time consuming.

Some of the smartest AND most successful people I know quit school because of failing college classes and some of the dumbest people I know have master’s degrees. I’m not saying people shouldn’t go to college, I’m simply saying that if people didn’t have to take worthless courses they might succeed.

Many students fail college due to having to take classes they are terrible at and will never need in the field of work they are training for. Engineers will never need to dissect a mouse and writers don’t need physics.

Knowing how to find information is the best skill anyone can be taught.

Once you know how to research and get an answer you can take on any problem.

Personally, I think it’s a way for colleges to get more money from students. Who would take those classes if not forced to? Granted, there are careers that need that knowledge but many of us can get through life without ever knowing much of it and in fact statistics show that people forget 70% of what they learned in college unless it’s something they use in their career on a day-to-day basis; most of it isn’t.

Here are a few things that need to be added to the curriculum. These are important skills most never pick up unless a parent helps them out.

Balancing a checkbook, budgeting and not getting into debt.

Many just look online to see how much money they have left in their account never disputing any calculations made by the clerks, who more than likely only has a high school diploma. Until recently there were no limits on bank service fees and with debit cards they can tack on more charges for overdrafts. It’s too easy to overspend these days.

Read the fine print and make sure you understand every fee and compare prices. There are banks with no banking fees and service charges, you usually have to keep a minimum amount in your account but it will save you lots of money.

The first thing college teaches students, is to acquire large amounts of debt in the form of student loans. Check around for rates and low interest student loans. Again, make sure you understand all the details.

Learn how to talk to people and socialize

This is another skill that is vital to human functioning. If you know how to approach others and ask for help or information you can go far in this world, further even then the most intelligent valedictorian. Being able to network is crucial in most careers.

In this texting world we live in, many don’t even know how to interact with their peers much less strangers.

Young people need to know how to deal with difficult people and improve conversation skills.

Common sense

Some people just seem to be born with this trait but I’m not so sure. I think somewhere in their history they learned it, maybe by being let down by other people they learn not to blindly trust.

Knowing that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Learning to check your surroundings and not assume you are always safe.

Relationship training

Learning how to get along with others whether it’s marriage or on the job. This could be lumped in with socializing but it goes a bit further. Once you’ve met a person or gotten that job you have to learn how to keep things running smoothly. Working closely with other people or living everyday with another individual takes a skill not everyone has.

Reading body language and facial features is important to understanding those we have to get along with.

Maybe, just maybe if colleges let people learn what they want to learn they might be more successful. Perhaps we should rethink what is thought of as “basic knowledge.”

August 12, 2011

First Day of Kindergarten

I remember my oldest son’s first day of school like it was yesterday. Well, okay, maybe not so vividly since he’s grown now but still pretty well.

He was five and my younger son was two at the time. Nicholas didn’t want to go if he couldn’t take me with him. He was under the impression at enrollment it was a group excursion, you know, him, brother and mom. After explaining it didn’t work that way because I was too old and Matthew was too young we finally got him on the bus with lots of tears and hugs.

Matthew kept trying to get me to let him go; surely they don’t mind a kid in diapers tagging along… his brother needed him.

Oddly, my younger son was always the adventurer of the two. He had no fear, would have set out to explore a new world without any worries but not his older brother. Nicholas was fine just staying at home with mom. Always apprehensive to leave, just bring the world to him in the form of a video and he’d be just fine, no need to go outside. He had everything he needed right here, mom, cookies and Sesame Street.

He finally decided he didn’t mind kindergarten and after a while he even kind of liked it. The playground was cool; he enjoyed story time and Mrs. Ryan was nice.

His first friend was a little Kickapoo boy who didn’t speak English. We live near a reservation and get some kids from there. He latched on to Nicholas probably because he was the only other dark headed brown-eyed boy in the class. Eventually, he learned some English and he’d tell Nicholas to “come here.” They played with the cars he brought in his backpack and made roads with rocks.

My memories of elementary school are a little fuzzy. Smells of paste, tempera paint and listening to books on tapes are my most vivid memories. If I twisted the cord on the tape player it made a crinkly sound. My teacher was a lady with black hair, probably dyed and horn-rimmed glasses.

It’s not easy to let the fledglings leave the nest but they all have to at some point.

August 9, 2011


Yesterday my husband had a colonoscopy test done. He wasn’t having any issues but after you turn 50 they recommend you have one done to make sure you don’t have any polyps or other foreign growths in your lower intestine that could turn into tumors or cancer.

The day before, you have to do a colon cleansing by drinking a gallon jug of a salty mixture that gives you stomach cramps and diarrhea, not very pleasant.

I was the keeper of the jug and refilled his cup, making sure he drank the entire potion. I felt like Harry Potter in the Half Blood Prince when Professor Dumbledore had to drink the potion of despair. Those of you who have watched all of the Harry Potter movies or read the books will know what I’m talking about.

They disabled embedding of the video but if you want to see the scene just click on the link below.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

He was also allowed to have Jello, popsicles, broth and clear juice. Steak and potatoes were not on the menu.

You go to the out patient portion of the hospital and have an IV put in. They give you anesthesia that puts you almost under, but not all the way. Most people don’t remember what happens which is good because they run a long tube up your rectum into your colon to take a look around. If there are any growths they scrape them off and do a biopsy. Not something you want to remember or be awake for.

The test went well and he didn’t have any polyps or mushrooms growing in there, so all is well and he doesn’t have to do this again for another five years. His best friend passed away this summer with colon cancer so he was a bit concerned.

Modern medicine has come a long way in finding and curing ailments.

My husband thanks me for his healthy colon because of the healthy food I’ve fed him all these years, so be sure and eat your veggies, fiber and stay away from a high fat diet to keep your colon healthy.

August 3, 2011

Natural Pest Control

Many years a go I knew a Native American woman who lived out in the woods in a cute little cottage with a pond out back. She also had several great gardens and grew flowers, vegetables and various herbs.

One thing I remember most about her was that she had a pet lizard that ran freely through the house keeping her home insect free. It ate spiders, beetles and anything else that crept or flew around unwanted. A water bowl and tray of veggies and fruit was also laid out so her scaly friend had a well balanced diet. On occasion we’d see him peak around the furniture or skitter by but mostly he kept to himself.

Some of you might find this practice a bit odd but in some countries and Hawaii it’s quite common to keep a reptile in your home for pest control. In Thailand, hotels will release them in rooms to rid the units of unwanted creepy crawly guests.

If you have a cat or dog this might not be a good idea unless your furry pet is used to the lizard and you know they get along well. A frisky puppy or kitten could cause damage and even kill your gecko.

House lizards have suction cup feet and can climb walls and ceilings to reach spiders and even flying insects like flies or mosquitoes. They are mostly quiet but can make a chirping sound, usually when calling a mate so unless you have two or more you may never hear him.

Geckos are quite small and most people never see their tiny droppings. When you sweep or vacuum you will clean up any remains without knowing it.

There are larger lizards that will also eat mice so if you have a rodent problem you might consider one of these, only make sure they are omnivores. Some lizards are mostly vegetarians.

Be careful using cleaning products such as ammonia or bleach because they can kill your friend.

Lizards help get rid of bugs in our garden, but when we spray insecticides it poisons our friendly reptiles that help get rid of pests. Don’t release a pet store lizard into your yard unless it is one that is native to your area or it will die. Most of the ones we get at the store are from a tropical area and can’t survive in American yards unless you live in Hawaii, Florida or somewhere with that kind of climate.

You can make a toad abode for your garden by putting a flowerpot on its side partially buried in the dirt. The tray can be used for water. Every time you water you can refill their water dish.