Almost Perfect Birthday

Sunday was my birthday. I won’t say here how many years I have on me… it’s shocking to think about it really, especially when I listened to some of the items on Beloit University’s Mindset List, a compilation of the cultural view of the freshmen entering college this Fall. Yikes. I’m old! Number 6, “There has always been only one Germany,” strikes me because my roommate grew up in East Germany, and actually escaped just before the wall came down. The whole Iron Curtain thing always fascinated me. Susann, my roommate, learned Russian in school. I don’t think for her life was horrible, but she definitely grew up knowing they didn’t have freedoms and they did not have a lot of choices like we have. Her mother’s family lived in West Germany and only occassionally could her mother get a travel visa, and then it was only for her. No family vacations to the West…

I digress. Back to my birthday. I started the day with my coffee, the newspaper, and the CBS Sunday Morning show I love. It was a repeat, but I enjoyed it anyway. Susan Sarandon, one of my favorite actors, was featured.

Next I lounged some more, and then got ready for my massage at Sante Day Spa, conveniently located very nearby. ummmm. The afternoon was full of more lounging, some reading, some channel flipping, and then off to see Little Miss Sunshine for the 5 o clock show. I had seen the movie last weekend, and enjoyed it so much. No, “enjoyed” is too passive a verb. I don’t think there is a verb for this in English, maybe not in any other language in the world. This movie made me cry, made me chuckle, and most of all made me laugh so hard that tears streamed down my face and I could barely breath. It is poignant, quirky, and a little sad, but mostly it is funny in a heart-warming kind of way.

After the movie we went to The Beach House, a local restaurant which is located, suprisingly, overlooking the beach. I wanted to catch the last glimpse of sunset, have a drink, and eat some ceviche. This is where it got not-quite perfect… they were out of ceviche. I had been tasting that tangy, spicy lime infused fish all day. The good part was I was with my sister Debby, my roomie and my good friend Ralph. And the waitress redeemed herself by bringing a chocolate mousse with a candle. So all in all, an almmost perfect birthday.

The Post is Posted!

They are pretty quick on the draw over there at! not only did someone (Jody) comment the instant yesterday’s post went up… they already loaded up my mini-essay on Buying a VW Beetle.

Please do cruise on over there (like the automotive reference?) and check it out if you haven’t already. And feel free to post a comment. Maybe tell the folks at AskPatty how much you loved my essay, what a great writer I am, and how you’d love to read more from me 🙂 maybe they’ll want to hire me to do freelance work!

Seriously, do check it out. I had a lot of fun writing it.

The Secret is Out…

Considering that (a) only three people read my blog and (b) publishers are not taking numbers to see who gets to offer me a book deal, the fact that I am good writer is pretty much a well-kept secret.

Now before you (all three of you) get too excited, no I wasn’t offered a book deal. I was, however, asked to contribute a post over at about my experience buying a car. I’ll update you when it goes live.

If you haven’t heard about this site, check it out. “The Ask, Inc. web site is a safe place for women to get advice on car purchases, maintenance and other automotive related topics.” The panel of automotive experts are all women too. I am absolutely enamored with the site, not because I’m a car afficionado, but because the business model is genius. Heck, the fact that they have a business model and not just a buy out strategy is genius!

yahootiniI met Jody DeVere sipping Yahootinis at Blogher 2006 last month. We had some great discussions around the table about women, and given the nature of the AskPatty website (which started as a blog to test the market) the talk turned to car buying. Everyone had a story.

The team over at AskPatty is not only creating great online content to educate women, they are harnessing the buying power of those women to make changes in the auto industry. Specifically, they are offering a sort of Good-Housekeeping-Like Seal of Approval for dealers that tow the line.

Car dealerships can subscribe to the online service by completing the Ask Patty ‘female friendly’ certified dealer training program. Women consumers can search for certified dealerships in the newly launched version of Ask Patty.

Dealers that become ‘female friendly’ certified can expect an increase in car sales to women and an improvement in their retention and loyalty ratings from women consumers. Certified Dealers will display the Ask Patty logo on co-branded marketing and advertising campaigns. Additionally, dealers will be able to link their websites to which will provide a new source of qualified women consumers who consider Ask Patty a trusted brand.

So next time you buy a car, and are looking for a dealer, look for the AskPatty sign. And stop first at the AskPatty website, do a little research, read my post, and maybe ask a question or two from their team of experts.

Call for San Diego Bloggers

ATTENTION all 3 people who read my blog:

Dan Gillmor, a blogger (also author of the book “We the Media”) and head of a small nonprofit working to enhance citizen media, contacted me for help in getting the word out about this project, Strong Angel.

Basically Dan is part of a team of people coming together to experiment in how to better respond to disasters. Dan’s part of the team is looking for efficient ways to communicate and get services to folks who may really be in need in the event of a disaster.

This sounds like a fascinating project, especially given some of the relief efforts spearheaded via blogs post Hurricaine Katrina.

Why I Hate Condos Reason #187

My sister is Back East dealing with my Dad’s estate. Specifically trying to clean out the Condo. So we can sell it. So we can pay the IRS. Fun, I know. And it’s her birthday today. Fortunately my Uncle Bill aka Tio Willy is there helping her.

ANYWAY, as I mentioned it is a condo. We were hoping to have an estate sale. Not that we thought we’d get a bunch of money from the stuff, but rather it seemed an easier way to move things out than just hauling it away. And a couple hundred bucks would be nice to have to pay for the airline flights, the rental cars, the hotel rooms, the meals out, the extra cell phone minutes…

So back to the CONDO. They have stupid rules. You can’t put up signs advertising an estate sale. You can have an estate sale, you just can’t tell everyone where it is. You can put up a little 3×5 card, I guess on the bulletin board, but that is only on Mondays. You can’t put up a sign on a Wednesday. Only Mondays. Mondays is the index card sign day. And don’t get me started on when you can use the elevator for hauling stuff… that’s a whole nother issue.

PS it’s my sister’s birthday today. She’s not having fun on her birthday… any ideas on what I can do for her when she comes back??

Being versus Blogging

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, especially since returning from BlogHer. So many people there with their laptops blogging away during the welcome speech, tap tap tap. During the panel discussions, tap tap tap. During breakfast, lunch…. tap tap tap… well most of them stopped for drinks poolside in the evening… but you get my drift.

How easy it is to get obsessive about this whole blog thing like Sheila. I find its a bit like when I got my first “real” camera (an SLR Pentax) and all of the sudden instead of being in the moment of things, I was picturing how the scene would look through the lens of a camera. In one way I was seeing things in a different way, maybe more artistic. In another way, I was too busy setting up the shot that I wasn’t enjoying the scene at the moment.

When I started working on my creative non-fiction piece, Reconstructing My Mother, the same thing happened. Every conversation I had with anyone about my mother was potential fodder for an essay soon to be submitted to my Read and Critique group. This still happens by the way, so watch what you say about my mother!

So, is everything we do a blogable event? Do we pass up activities so we can blog? Do we stay up too late writing posts, cruising other blogs, posting comments, tracking back?

How obsessive are you about your blog?

Let’s Fly Naked!

Shoes, no shoes, liquids, no liquids, gels, no gels. Carry on luggage? Yes. No.
Nail clippers? No. Yes. Pocket knife? No. Yes, if its teeny tiny. Knitting needles? no. Baby food? Yes. The list of TSA restricted/approved items is not only ridiculously long but just plain ridiculous. In these times of airline cutbacks (no more free peanuts, and only “food for purchase” being offered) Now airline passengers are not allowed to bring beverages on board. Not even beverages bought at the airport, which I’m assuming have already been screened if they are being sold on the “secure” side of the checkpoint. Perhaps I’m just naive.

Why is it ok to have baby food but not adult food (or rather drink)? Have you ever had to hang out with me if I’d dehydrated? Let me tell you, I can get downright cranky. I feel really bad for those flight attendants, who in order to line the pockets of the company execs have taken some serious pay cuts and more than likely they can not count on the pension plan they were promised now have to put up with cranky unfed dehydrated passengers dinging the damn bell everytime they want a water refill. Flying just can’t be fun anymore.

Of course I’m also a bit of a conspiracy theorists. It seems a little convenient that as W’s approval ratings have tanked, we all of the sudden have a new threat, and gee isn’t it a good thing we’re out there fighting the war on terrorism. HEY, how ’bout we conduct ourselves in a manner that doesn’t piss everyone off?? Why do we expect every other country to be concerned about “world opinion” but we don’t give a hooey?

So my plan for the future…. let’s be nice to everyone and Let’s Fly Naked!

Something insightful

Not. Nothing. I have a serious case of writers block. Bloggers block even. I’m pretty sure it’s because I’m sad. Feeling rather alone here these days. My roommate’s out of town, my sister’s out of town, my best friend lives in LA, my other best friend is on a business trip. You’d think with all this extra time, ’cause I have no socializing to do, I’d be able to write, but nothing’s coming. And I miss my Dad. I had a good cry tonight. Sundays are the hardest. I used to talk to my Dad on Sunday mornings. After the CBS morning show, after my coffee and my newspaper. So now my Sundays feel off.

Today I spent most of the day filling out paperwork for the Probate Court. The initial inventory of assets is due August 24, four months after we (my sister and I) qualified as executors. Those four months went fast. And now I’m stressed about the money, especially since I just sent a check, from my personal funds, to the funeral home to pay for the funeral. ouch. It’s expensive to die. Actually, I guess for the dead, it’s not, it’s expensive for those left living. Not to mention emotionally draining. And in my Dad’s case, he didn’t leave things in good order. As an example, one insurance policy still had my mom as the beneficiary– my mom who died in 1978. So I had to get a copy of her death certificate, which finally came in the mail, so we can make a claim for the insurance funds. But that’s just one tiny example.

Bottom line is this is so overwhelming.

Hey LeahPeah!

Hey Leahpeah (I had to say it again so I could link) Did you know your blog sent 187 people to my blog this month so far? That means that WAY more than 187 people actually read your blog, and that I have WAY too much time on my hands if I’m worried about tracking stats on my little blog!

But seriously. That is a bit intimidating. Like maybe I should write something incredibly insightful and meaningful to entice these 187 people to come back and play. Instead, I’m using up my creative brain cells at work. The brain cells that work on automatic pilot for things like breathing and eating and sleeping are working just fine. But the creative ones are tired by the time I get home. I’ve spent the day (with the exception of an email here or there) writing about welding. This week its been about helmets, welding helmets, auto-darkening welding helmets to be specific. Oh, and I also wrote about nozzles (front end parts for TIG Torches), but you can’t read that until the article comes out in Practical Welding Today.

So maybe I’ll write something inspirational tomorrow.