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Friday, July 27, 2007

It's funny. . .more

It's funny how quickly life can change. Something has recently happened to me that I want to see where it goes before posting. But so far, it's wonderful.

I got home from Connecticut in record time, V2 came over and my mom and I had a wonderful BBQ with her - chicken and turkey tips marinated in sauces, roasted potatoes and grilled corn on the cob. V2 and I got silly and drank wine. We played Ninento Wii and my mom couldn't make heads or tails out of it, but it was a blast.

Got up on Monday morning with a headache. I am so glad I don't have too many nights like that. Took my mom to Robert's for lunch, then took her to my sister's to drop her off there. Got home and was exhausted from all the driving. Went to bed early.

Got up Tuesday, caught up with email, unpacked, did laundry and other things, then went to V2's for dinner. Rob was doing work on the house when I left. When I came back home at 8:30 pm, he was still here, so I sat on the stairs and we talked while he worked. He's got a lot going on in his life and I think he needed to talk with someone.

After he left, my new friend called and we chatted for about an hour.

Wednesday met my friend in Portland, where we hung out at some Irish pubs, ate sushi for lunch, then hit a local billiards parlor and played pool. It was a lot of fun.

Got home, Rob was here and we all sat on the deck and talked for a long time.

Yesterday was laid back, but got a call from a national TV talk show that was interested in doing segment about cyberbullies. Good! I was excited. Until I heard what they were planning to do:

They wanted to put spyware on a computer, with the parents permission, to log what their kids/teens are doing online, then actively pursue a cyberbully, ala the "To Catch a Predator" show on TV. I told the producer that my organization works hard to STOP the cyberbullies before things escalate and to actively engage a cyberbully was not something I would condone or approve of.

Sometimes I really wonder about the media.

Relaxed and caught up with some TV shows I taped on the DVR, got up this morning to run errands, reply to my agent that I would get him a new book proposal out by Monday. So I have my work cut out for me this weekend. V2 is going away for the weekend, so it will give me something to do. Today I spoke with a NJ newspaper reporter who was more reasonable, then with campus police at a Virginia university that needed help with some cyberstalking going on. So it's been a good day.

Rob is bringing the electrician back to finish putting some outlets and a dimmer switch in, then I'll probably take a bubble bath and watch Monk and Psych tonight - my two fave summer shows!!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Book panel, library talks, more

Wednesday picked up my mom to dogsit. By the time we got to my house, it was almost time for me to leave to be on an author panel at Lucius Beebe library. Kate Flora was on the panel with me, as well as Mary-Ann Tirone Smith, author of Girls of Tender Age.

We had a really good crowd, about 50 people, and new friend Jane (from the Hard Rock Cafe in Orlando in May) showed up. It was a blast, sold a few books.

Got home, crashed, then got up Thursday morning to take mom grocery shopping, packed and headed down to Norwich, CT. It was raining, but the drive went well. I listened to The Good Guy by Dean Koontz. A great book, BTW.

Checked into the Comfort Suites, checked email, then went to the Saxton B. Little Library. Rain was coming down in buckets. I didn't know until I got to the library that there had been a tornado warning in effect while I was driving.

About 10 people showed up, plus a reporter and photographer from The Chronicle, a local paper. Guess it was a slow news day, ha ha. It went well, sold more books. Went back to my room to watch some TV and crashed again.

Friday morning, it was off to the Cora Belden Library in Rocky Hill, CT to speak to the Connecticut Library Consortium. The room was full, my talk went very well and I sold all but three of my books. So I was a happy camper.

Got some lunch, went back to my room, changed and went down to the lobby for the shuttle to Mohegan Sun. I'm not much of a gambler, so I wandered around, found the shopping mall area and ended up buying some souvenirs, then some crop pants in size 8. I'm back into my high school size. Wow! I had a wonderful dinner at Todd English's Tuscany and glass of merlot. Then I decided to go ahead and try some poker. I lost only $40, but had a blast.

The shuttle driver was in his 70s and a very nice guy. I was his only passenger on the way back to the hotel. We had a nice talk.

Watched Monk and Psych on TV (two of my fave summer shows), talked on the phone with a friend for a couple of hours, then crashed.

This morning got up, went on the treadmill at the hotel, changed and am now killing time before going to a bridal shower for one of my volunteers, Amy Lawson, who was a victim I worked with years ago. She doesn't know I'm showing up, so this will be fun. The shower is at a local VFW and I'm still wondering what in the heck we're going to do for five hours (it's from 1-6 pm). Should be interesting.

Tomorrow I head back home and will be glad. I like traveling, but I always like going home. A BBQ at my place with V2 and mom. Nice, relaxing summer night.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Note to self. . .

Remember you are not at home and are in a hotel room when you have to get up to go pee in the middle of night.

Or you'll hit the coffee table next to the bed and get two lovely bruises on your knees.

No shorts for a while.

Ouch.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Strong Tea Needs You!

Was there a time in your life when you felt weak and you weren't sure how you could make it through a particular struggle? Help other women by sharing your story...

We are looking for stories in the following categories:

Divorce/Separation

Lost Love

Victimization

Abuse

Sickness

Death of Spouse/Child/Parent

Marriage Problems

Relationship Struggles

Financial Problems

Emotional

Career


The book and blog, Strong Tea is a resource for woman to find healing, strength, hope, and inspiration from other women. Based on the quote by Eleanor Roosevelt:

"A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water."

We are looking for stories 1-5 pages in length. Material may be edited for publishing purposes. By submitting your stories, you give us permission to use them for the Strong Tea book and blog. You do not need to disclose your full name. Please feel free to forward this on to all your inspirational women friends.

You can email your stories to: strongtea4u@gmail.com

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Black bag alert!

I ended up doing some grocery shopping and hanging out at home yesterday, then took the dogs for a ride by the beach to laugh at the tourists, then got some fried clams for dinner. I had an excellent wine called Lolonis Ladybug White. I highly recommend it. I am going to have to try their red next time.

Got up this morning, put on my workout clothes and since it was so nice out, got Guin ready to go for a walk. Chippy was chipping outside the front door, so I went to put some sunflower seeds in his dish. As I began to walk back inside, I saw something in my parking area out front.

I frowned. It was big and black. I walked towards it and realized it was a black duffel type bag, zipped up and sitting plop in my parking area. It was an expensive looking leather. Why would someone leave something that expensive in front of my house?

Wonderful.

I called the police, told the dispatcher a bag that didn't belong to me was in front of my house and could they send someone to come get it. She said someone would be right out.

So I sat outside waiting. The bag didn't move, so nothing alive was in it. The crows didn't try to attack it, so nothing dead or food-like was in it. I was kind of hoping it was a bunch of money or something a stupid tourist left. What I was not hoping for was a bomb. You just never know these days.

I waited some more.

Some cars slowed down to look at the bag. One SUV with NY plates actually stopped and two guys stared at it, saw me and took off.

I called the police again and politely asked when a cop was going to show up. She said they were "tied up" and someone would be there shortly.

Aargh.

So I waited some more.

Finally, a cop car pulls up and it's a cop I know. I walked up to the bag with him and what does he do?

He kicks the bag.

I kid you not.

I love York cops, LOL.

I jumped back when he did that and he laughed.

There was a luggage tag on the zipper with "World Poker Tour" embroidered on it. Definitely expensive leather. I'm still hoping it's a pile of money inside.

The cop unzips it.

It's filled with empty Coors beer cans.

Damn.

The cop pulls out the name card from the luggage tag and it hadn't been filled out.

He shrugged.

"You want the bag? It's an expensive one."

I kid you not.

I told him no thanks and asked what he'd do with it. He said he'd place it in front of the dumpster at the police station, sans the cans.

He asked how I was doing and if I needed anything. He's a nice guy. Too bad he's married.

He threw the black bag in his trunk, waved and took off.

I almost doubled over from laughing so hard.

Local cops rule.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Internet safety surveys

I got this in my email. Please pass it along and do take part in the surveys:

realname: PSU Capstone class
email: david.inmanjr@gmail.com
comments: To Whom It May Concern:

We are a Portland State University multimedia senior capstone class in Portland, Oregon. This class is the last class in a series of university required courses designed, in the form of a community based project, to broaden students minds and make them more critical thinkers. The class for this summer term, as a group, have decided to design online material in the form of a website and a blog dealing with the topic of online predators. We have decided to gear the material toward children (12 and under), teens, and their parents. We have put together a quick survey pertaining to each group and would ask that you use and forward these surveys on to those in your group to assist us in gathering data for our project.

You can cut and paste the following links for the appropriate survey into your browser's naviation bar, into a forum discussion, or in an email to others who would be interested/willing to take these short surveys:


Internet Safety Survey for Ages 8-12

Internet Safety Survey for Kids Ages 12 & Over

Internet Safety Survey for Parents or Adults



Please, feel free to forward these surveys on to others you know who may be interested in taking them. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns you may contact us by replying to this email, emailing the group, or by contacting our instructor. We welcome any feedback and would really like to share the URL of our website once we have it up and running.Thank you for your time and for helping us gather data for this project!


Sincerely,

Multimedia Senior Capstone class
Portland State University

Friday, July 13, 2007

Was feeling blue, now I'm better

I had a wonderful Monday, then Tuesday was okay, but went downhill quickly and Wednesday and yesterday I was in a total funk. I couldn't eat, sleeping was bad and I just couldn't shake it. I did my treadmill, yoga, V2 came to get me yesterday for lunch and shopping and I was just feeling blue as heck. I admit I cried - I was very emotional. And no, it's not "that time of the month." I haven't had one of those since my hysterectomy over 10 years ago.

Then, for whatever reason, I woke up this morning with a smile on my face and feeling very, very happy, a complete 360 from the last few days. I don't know what happened. The only dream I remember having I am actually thinking about writing as a short story (my dreams tend to have a beginning, middle and end), but it was a horror story dream (does that make sense?). So it wasn't any dream I had last night.

And I have a happy, anticipatory feeling in my stomach. I get these feelings sometimes - good and bad, and they're never wrong. I just know something good is going to happen today and I can't wait!

On the work front, I'll be very busy next week with three engagements - one in Wakefield, Mass on a true crime panel with Kate Flora and another author; the other two in Connecticut for two libraries. I'll be driving down, but leaving the dogs with my mom here at the house. I need to get away by myself. The hotel I'm staying at is a Comfort Inn and has complimentary limo service to the Foxwoods Casino. I have some free time Friday night, so I just may do that and see what music acts are there. I'm not a gambler, but they're supposed to have good shows. I'll drive back on Sunday and take my mom home Monday.

Fox News called and was trying to find two parents - one that was "for" Webkinz.com (a web site kids are crazy about) and one against it to debate the safety of the web site. Since three of my sisters allow their kids to be on Webkinz.com and I've had my nieces and nephews show me how it works, I know it's a very safe web site. I told the producer this and said she was going to have a hard time finding a parent against the web site, but if she did, one of my sisters would be happy to go on TV to debate that parent. I was going to be interviewed as the expert. The producer got back to me and told me that the just couldn't find anyone against Webkinz.

Too bad they can't do a positive story about that site. But the media loves controversy, so what can you do?

Monday, July 09, 2007

V2 is a riot!

V2 called me yesterday after lunch to check in on me. I know she worries about me. She came over to pick up her cigs, which she left at my place the other night. She went through the events section of the Sunday paper, then said, "How about miniature golf?"

I figured, what the heck? I needed a break. I had been doing updates on my web sites and needed some fun. So off we went to a local miniature golf place. A lot of people were there, so it took us a while to get through the 18 holes. I thought for sure she'd kick my butt. Even though she won, it was 61-63, so I didn't do so bad after all!

We were thirsty, so she drove to Capn Simeon's, where they used to have an outside deck bar. No longer. She asked if I'd ever been to someplace called Muddy River. Nope. I guess they're noted for their pulled pork and beef brisket. Again, what they heck? She was driving!

We got there, walked in and wouldn't you know, V2 knew the bartender. This happened when we went to Lobster in the Rough the day before - she knew the manager there. So she hugged this guy named Sean and it was "old home" week. We sat down and I ordered chili and a beer. She got the beef brisket sandwich and a cocktail. A guy sitting next to her at the bar began talking to us. He looked like the leather/chains guy from the Village People, LOL.

He got around to asking how old we were, guessed V2's age pretty well, then asked if I was her daughter. I shit you not. The look on V2's face made me feel bad. I personally think she looks wonderful, but men have this weird perspective on age. Rob thought I was 38. This guy said 39. I laughed and told V2 that's why all the younger guys have been hitting on me. It's flattering, but geez.

So V2 was a bit miffed and went out to have a smoke. The minute she left, the guy leaned over and asked if she really was my mother. I burst out laughing and said no, we were good friends.

Sean got off duty and came around to sit between V2 and me. That meant Village People guy decided to stroll over and sit on my other side. Lordy.

He was bragging about his six pack abs and I tried to ignore him. Then he asked if I was married. I told him bluntly that my husband died. I figured that would get rid of him. It usually does. Not so lucky this time. Sigh.

Sean and V2 had gone out to smoke and came back in and V2 saw I needed help, so she told Sean about my cyber crime work. So I began talking about that. Village People guy said to me, "You should have told me what you did for work" and practically ran out of the place.

We all laughed. I guess he's one we'll see on "To Catch A Predator" soon, ha ha.

My booking manager had sent me two CDs. V2 was really grooving Amy Winehouse, who I love, so when we left, she cranked up the volume and we boogied as she drove. It was starting to rain, so she said, "Let's stop by Deb's, get out of the car, crank up the stereo, dance and leave."

Giggle.

So we did. The look on Deb's face was priceless.

There V2 and I were dancing in the rain outside of her car, laughing and Deb finally laughed. Her son was dancing behind her and thought we were hilarious.

V2 dropped me off at home and I made some chai green tea and took some airborne. Heaven knows I can't get sick! I had to do my Fox news interview this morning, so I hit the sack early.

The interview went great, I had a ball with Ted and Ray, as always and can't wait to go back on again. They keep me for a half hour now and I answer phone call questions. It's worth the toll fare. You can't buy this kind of publicity.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

A lovely Saturday, Amy Boyer, dogs who pee, ship models, more

Yesterday morning I took a runner (rug) to the local laundromat to wash in one of those triple loader machines. The reason is that Guin's new meds means she has "accidents" and chooses this rug to pee on. Oy. It took me *three* washes to get the pee smell out of it. While it was washing, I ran errands and checked out the flea market next to the shopping plaza the laundromat is in. What a bunch of junk. And a lot of these people have tables there every week. I said hello to one woman at her table and asked how she was doing. She replied, "I'm poor" and glared at me.

Well, excuuuuuse me. I walked away from her table. If you're going to sell things at a flea market, don't snap at potential customers.

I got home and V2 called to see if I wanted to go out with her for a few hours. Sure. We went looking for a croquet set for her friend's kids to play with (no luck), then went to The Lobster Barn's Lobster in the Rough, which sits behind the main restaurant. I never knew this place existed and I've lived here since 1998.

A blues/jazz band was playing, so V2 and I got a beer and sat at a picnic table to enjoy the music. It was fantastic! We stayed for one set, then went to the The Meat House to pick up dinner. I got jumbo shrimp marinated in cilantro and lime for me and she picked up some marinated meat tips for her, Deb and Deb's kids. She dropped me off at my place and I discovered Bandit had peed on the floor. He does this sometimes when he's mad if I don't spend enough time with them. How can I tell it was him? The pattern of urine. Seriously. Males pee differently from female dogs. Hey, after 15 years, I know how my dog's pee looks (ha ha).

I cleaned that up, fired up the grill, then made Bandit and Guin their dinner. I grilled the shrimp, sat down to eat and enjoyed every minute of it. I then watched more of Farscape. I'm onto the third DVD, which is five shows in. I ended up going to bed very early. I don't know why I was so darned tired.

Got up this morning and took the dogs out to get the Sunday paper after I hit the treadmill. Worked on the web sites and decided to update here.

Someone emailed me that they found the Amy Boyer original web pages at a web archive site. So I saved them and have added them to my book's web site. Amy was a beautiful young woman who was murdered by a cyberstalker she never knew. He then killed himself. Her family was traumatized by it and I became friends with them when it happened. They allowed me to write her story for my chapter about cyberstalking. Now you can read the original web site created by her parents and the web site of her cyberstalker, Liam Youens. What a truly sick young man. To read the entire story of what happened, you have to buy my book. It's at a special price - I'm doing free shipping for anyone who purchases it.

I also made the hard decision to part with some of the ship models that Chris' dad made that I have absolutely no personal attachment to. I am keeping many of them, but a few can go and I can use the money to pay off some things. If anyone is interested, email me and I'll send you more info. I also posted this on the Hitchcock Models web site, so please pass the info on if you feel anyone may be interested.

I'm going to be back on Fox 23 in Portland, Maine tomorrow morning at 8 am. It should be very interesting.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Hard day so far

Rob came early to work on the new office, so I "did my time" on the treadmill and told him if I was laughing, it wasn't at him. I've got NPRs Wait wait. . .don't tell me! on my iPod (they're free downloads on iTunes) and it sometimes is truly hilarious.

Afterwards, finished cleaning up in Chris' old office to get the desk ready to move downstairs later. Rob and I went to the old Home Depot to see what was left - everything there was at 70% and I found some new tile for the bathroom floor which ended up costing me just $7/box (9 square feet per box) because it wouldn't come up on the computer. The guy checking us out offered it at $7 and I jumped at it. Got some recessed lights and flourescent light tubes for my new office. We then went to the new Home Depot, which is pretty much around the corner from the old one. Got the trim wood Rob needs to finish off the doors and such, some electrical stuff and other odds and ends he needed.

When we got back, he began staining the wood and I came up here to unhook Chris' computer and put it aside. Then Rob came up and took apart the desk and moved part of it downstairs. He had to wait for Chris' friend, Eric, to come to move the main part - it was just too big for him to do alone.

Eric popped in around 3 pm, bought the Cycle Shell from me and helped Rob move the rest of the desk downstairs. We grilled some burgers (actually Rob did) and sat and talked and ate. It felt like old times when Eric would come over to hang out. Except Chris wasn't here this time.

The three of us went downstairs to chat in the driveway while Eric smoke a nasty old cigar (ha ha), then they were off on their way.

I came back upstairs to put dishes away, then went into Chris' old office. It looks so empty without his desk there. It kind of hit me hard. I didn't think it would. I thought I'd be okay. I started to cry. And I got mad at him again for leaving me like he did.

It was fun having Rob and Eric eat with me and talk and just be there. Now the house feels so empty. Guess I'll have to watch Farscape or LOST tonight to fill the place with sound. I need my fix of one of them, ha ha.

I'm a little better now. Crying is good for one's soul and lord knows I probably needed it.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Mom's Birthday

V2 and I left with the dogs on Sunday at around noon. We raced to the store to get some shrimp to marinade on our drive up. We stopped off at a Dunkin' Donuts so that I could walk the dogs and V2 got us some coffees. Some cute guys on motorcycles were in the parking lot and waved at us when they left.

We got to my sister's after a trek to a store for cigs for V2 and my sister. My brother, his wife and one of my nieces were there, along with my sister, her husband and kids. The margaritas started flowing the minute we walked in, but surprisingly, I just wasn't in the mood for too much and couldn't figure out how to work the margarita blender right - I kept getting foam.

We had a blast. V2 read everyone's tarot cards, my mom loved all the attention and when it came to present time:




Then she got a cell phone from my sister and my brother did an impersonation of mom trying to use it and yelling "Can you hear me now?"


More presents for the mom! She loved the tickets to the Full Monty V2 and I gave her. The show is in September at the Ogunquit Playhouse and Sally Struthers plays the piano player. Nancy is going to come down to my place with mom so the four of us can have a girls day out!



Mom is an official "bag" lady with her fancy new Italian Via Spiga sunglasses (I gave her), her cell phone and her goodies.


Bandit doesn't do good on the road anymore. He kept me up pretty much all night, so I was more than ready to go home the next day. Even though I was set to take a nap, when I checked my email, Rob (the construction guy) emailed me that he was coming by that afternoon. So I stayed up and pretty much collapsed after he left.

This morning got my hair done, took Bandit and Guin to the vet for nail clipping and Guin for a cortisone shot and ear cleaning. I'm off to do some food shopping and get my nails done, then back so that Rob can do more work. He's been working his butt off lately!