Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mostly Wordless Wednesday - Fall!!

I was outside looking at my dead garden and grabbing some bell peppers and I saw this. The picture is a little blurry but as you can see, the leaves are turning!! WOOHOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Type-A-Mom Conference Recap ala Carolyn

Okay for my regular blog readers this will be a weird post that you are going to go: WTH is she talking about? But then again, I think you do that anyway. So I am warning you that you might want to come back later in the week when I get back to blogging about the usual nonsense of my life. But since this is something I did, I had to blog about it!

A little background for those willing to stick it out. When I started blogging in January I was clueless. I started blogging willy-nilly just like I do most of the stuff in my life. I put up a blog started writing and that's all I knew. Because I knew nothing about blogging, I had no idea what I was walking into. There is a whole world out there that revolves around blogging and I was sucked into it.

So when I read that Kelby Carr aka Type-A-Mom was going to have a conference in Asheville, I decided that I was going to go. It was close and affordable so I went for it. I was a little apprehensive because most of my blogger contacts are what people call "mom bloggers". And this was billed as a Mom Blogger conference. I remember contacting Kelby and asking if I could attend since as most of you know I am NOT a Mom and really have an aversion to children of any age under 18. But she said that any blogger could attend because this was going to benefit anyone who blogs. So I signed up.

The fantastic thing about blogging is that all of a sudden you are thrown in a community of people who are diverse as all get out. From blogging I found Twitter and that is a whole universe unto itself. For my regular readers who have no idea what Twitter is, I am not going to explain it here but it's a social media device. I know right now you guys are reading this scratching your head and saying, Carolyn has gone nuts, again. But that's nothing new. :0)

Anyway, in 9 months I have "met" tons of people online through their blogs or Twitter who I really like. Many are moms and some have different point of views than me but somehow we click. We chat, we tweet, we comment on each other's blogs. We are virtual friends.

So these past few days I actually got to meet some of these people in person and there was not one instance where I was let down. Everyone was as nice as pie. So these are highlights of my first blogger conference experience. I am sure I will leave off a lot of people because I am a freak and have the worst memory. I should have blogged from there but I am lazier than sin and didn't. I barely took any pictures because I am a slacker.

So here goes.

Type-A-Mom Conference Recap

When I first arrived at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, I went to check in and immediately saw Nicole from Pink & Posh. We recognized each other. I remember reading her blog a few days before and she had the cutest picture and was modeling some really cute clothes she had gotten for the conference. She recognized me from Facebook where I actually have a real picture of me instead of my Screaming girl avatar. We said hello, hugged and chatted. She is so cute and fun. I was lucky I got to see her a few times during the conference. I also met Jeri her blogmate at Pink & Posh.

After checking in, I settled in and was going to order some lunch when I saw a tweet from Aparna from Parentella asking who was here at the hotel. I had never tweeted with Aparna but decided to answer her tweet and she immediately responded saying if I was going to eat she would be happy to join me so I wouldn't be alone. How sweet was that? We tweeted again and agreed to meet downstairs. In the meantime, I got a tweet from Melanie from Modern Mami who I know from Twitter and she asked if she could join and we said sure. She and her friend Shari from The Crazed Mommy Reviews came down and we had a nice lunch. Aparna was one of the nicest people I met at the conference. And she was so interesting and just overall cool. At the bar I also got to meet Jennifer from Savor the Thyme. Savor the Thyme is a great foodie blog I often visit. We had tweeted before the conference and wanted to meet so it was cool we did. And if you like food, visit her site because she always has something yummy on it.

After lunch, I stopped by the HP Suite and ogled some great HP toys. I met Angela from HP and got to fondle her Vivianne Tam Mini. I was so jealous because it is beautiful. I also found out Vivianne Tam has another style coming out. Then Giovanni from HP let me play with all the cool toys. He was so patient because I was asking a million questions and I left there wanting a new printer and computer and one of those darling pink HP minis! The new HP printer was awesome. It does like 101 new cool things including scanning old photos. I really loved it because I need something to scan some old photos to use in my blog. They also have a cool touch screen computer that was in one word: amazing.

After that I went back to the room to change for the Speed Dating session and reception. At Speed Dating we all sat a tables, talked and introduced ourselves. We did this a few times and I met sooooo many people who I knew from their blogs or from Twitter. I wish I could remember everyone I talked to but it was quick and fast and way too many people to remember. The funny thing is because I use the Screaming or Jumpy Girl as my avatar people didn't know me. Some knew my blogs but it wasn't until I whipped out my business card with her picture that people would say OMG I know you!

At the last table I ended up sitting with Christina from Cutest Kid Ever and Lucinda from Loving My Joes!. I remembered Christina because she and I were featured on Resourceful Mommy's website on a community site-warming party. I had never met her but glad I did. The three of us hit it off and then went on to the reception for a while. While there I met Tamara from Mom RN and Amber from Skin MD. We talked to more peeps and then we went to the Blue Drink Party at Mulligan's Bar in the hotel for a little while. Aparna was nice enough to buy pizza for the party so we went to grab a slice and a drink. Since I am old, I didn't hang out long.

The next day I got up early and went down to breakfast and to watch the Dress Barn fashion show. I have to say that I never shop at Dress Barn but after I saw what a great job they did dressing the models (who were all bloggers) I will have to go check them out. They had models of all shapes and sizes and everyone looked great. At breakfast I sat with Nicole, Elizabeth from A Nut in a Nutshell and Jyl from The Post-it Place and Blog Friendly PR. Jyl (right) was so sweet and helpful and we got to talk more the next day at the Mom's Market. Then the rest of the day I hung out with Elizabeth since we were attending the same sessions. What a fantastic lady and we found we had lots in common.

During the day I also got to meet Jen from and other sites and I was glad because when I first started blogging and tweeting she was always so nice. I also met Kim from Crafty Mama of 4 who I really like from twitter and her blog. And then I also got to meet Beth from The Plus Size Mommy. I love her tweets and blog as well. They were both super sweet. That day I also got to meet 1/3 of the Wii Mommies. I love that site because it has tons of info about the Wii and they have great twitter parties as well. While sitting in a session I got a tweet from Sarah from Real Life and she realized we were in the same session and then we realized I was 2 tables behind her. She is a sweetheart and has the BEST southern accent ever. Since I believe in a past life I HAD to be Southern Belle, I was jealous.

I had met Amy from Resourceful Mommy the night before and she joined us at one session along with Janine from The Buzz Cooperative. Other great people I met Stacie from The Divine Miss Mommy who was very sweet. I kept exchanging tweets with Renee from Cutie Booty Cakes and we kept missing each other until Saturday when I saw her out in the hall and was glad I got to meet her.

I went out on a speaker's dinner and was happy when I found out that Christina and Tamara were coming along on the dinner with Amy (that's Amy on the left) and Shannan from Crib to Car Keys and Momfluence. I was also glad to see that Sandy from Organize with Sandy was coming along as well. Also at the dinner were 2 great ladies from the Chester County Moms and Angela from Social Studies Group. We went to The Savoy Restaurant in Asheville. The dinner was great. We had fun and got to hear a lot of information from Amy and Shannan. I so admire Amy and what she has done with her blog and her consulting business. Plus, I love love love her Site Warming Twitter parties. Angela sat across from me and when the server brought us a starter before dinner we clicked. It was a shot glass with a soup made with white beans, a fried onion and truffle oil. It was seriously one of the best things I have ever eaten. Since she was sitting across from me we ended up talking food all night! She was very sweet and interesting. We took breaks and talked to the others but mainly we talked food and everyone knows I love food. We exchanged her cards and promised to exchange recipes. The whole evening was fabulous spent with new friends.

The bus ride was a lot of fun as well. Sometime during the bus ride the issue of "Bless Her Heart" came up and I explained to the group about how I was taught that you could say anything mean about anybody here in the south and as long as you say bless his heart and bless her heart, it was okay.

We headed to the bar after the speaker's dinner and although I didn't stay long I got to say hello and give a hug to another 1/3 of the Wii Mommies, Julie from Momspective. I love Julie because she is super funny! I enjoy her blog and tweets. So I was so glad she drove down and I got to say hello! I didn't stay long and went back to the room to shower and relax and get ready for the next day.

The next day I slept in then visited the Mom's Market (Nicole and Stacie on the right - Nicole doing the Twitter pose) and bought the cutest little handmade Monster (see below). I can't be left alone with money and stuffed toys because I will buy one. Then I attended more sessions along with Christina. Luckily, we found Elizabeth and we all hung out together. The sessions were great. Lunch from Chick-fil-A wasn't bad either. I was so good though and although I ate the bag of chips, I left the brownie! I am hating the thought of getting on the evil Wii because the last few days were Nutrisystem be damned. But I so need to get back on the program now that I am home!!

I had checked out earlier in the day and packed the car and just kept my computer with me the rest of the day. I left the conference early because I was meeting Tom at the Grove Park Inn to spend the night there. I was sad to leave and that sounds weird but I saw a lot of bloggers whose blogs I read and visit. It's a weird experience putting a person to a Twitter Id and/or blog to a real person. But, in the end, I was glad I was going to see Tom and have a relaxing evening at a cool hotel. I will blog about the Grove Park Inn later this week because I didn't want to make this a freaking novel.

I also want to add that these are some speakers I was so glad I got to hear. Joanne at Pundit Mom. I love her site and if you love politics you need to check it out. I have been visiting her site even before I knew anything about blogging. Cecily from Uppercase Woman was a "find". Why I have never followed her or read her blog is beyond me but I am all over her blog now.

Katja from Skimbaco Lifestyle and Kelby from Type-A-Mom did a fantastic session on Blogging and Social Media Karma. Since I think it's important to have good karma, I was glad to hear a lot of bloggers are always "paying it forward." The Blogger Outreach and Public Relations session was fantastic and I learned a lot. The two General Panels: Social and Collaborative Blogging and the Blogger Town Meeting were good as well.

I had a great time. I learned that in the short time I have been blogging I think I am doing pretty well. I am sure I am also doing some willy-nilly things I shouldn't but in the end, you have to do what's good for you. I also learned that I have a long way to go if I ever want to make money from my blog. And, I am not even sure if I want to. When I started blogging, I did it for totally different reasons and never even thought that people can actually make a living doing it but they do. Like I said it's a whole different world I knew nothing about until this year.

Overall, it was well worth going and who knows where my blogs will take me. The good thing is that I had no expectations when I began blogging and, for the moment, am happy with the progress I made.

Kelby and her crew did a fantastic job organizing the event. And for all those who know me from my professional life know that I am super critical of events I go to so when I say it was a good event, it probably was.

For my regular readers who stuck it out. I will be back to writing the usual nonsense this week.

P.S. I want to add that I also met Felicia from Go Graham Go and she was so sweet and it was so nice meeting her. See I knew I would forget someone! Boo Carolyn.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I will be MIA for a few days

She's In so that means I'm Out!

I am going to be away at the TypeAMom Blogger's Conference in Asheville for a few days. I won't be around but you can still come visit and re-read all my old posts!! LOL I will probably be back on Monday with stories from the conference and hopefully some cool pics.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mostly Wordless Wednesday - I am a Wise Latina too!

Here is my favorite new coffee cup. I had an Obama cup I used all the time and then I bought this one a few weeks ago and love it. The saying fits me to a T. :0)

I also bought a matching t-shirt. I bought them from Cristina Mella. I met Cristina through the Latism (Latinos in Social Media) group I belong to and we also Tweet. Cristina is like the Latina version of Martha Stewart. Her website: Latino Living is filled with great tips on decorating, party planning, food and so much more. She writes columns, has a radio show and appears on Univision. When I saw these I knew I had to have one. It is just too cute!

If you want one just visit Cristina's store and snag one. These would make great Christmas gifts for your favorite Latinas. In the meantime, remember I am a Wise Latina but you guys already know that, right?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Update on Flooding

Last night it got a little hairy because they released water from the dam. We had tons of emergency vehicles around for hours. I guess they were trying to monitor the river to make sure it didn't flood. There were places where the water breached including down the road from us. The street was flooded and they had to close it. But by that time it was pretty late so there was no traffic.

It also rained some last night but by the time I got up, the river was down and everything was back to normal. Now the river is a lot higher than usual but at least it has gone down. I went out and took some pictures.

This is from the front yard.
You can see how close we live to the river.

Last night the water was up to the top of the deck.

The famous stick. It is a lot lower today.

Monday, September 21, 2009

We might have to build an ark!

So it's been raining the last few days. It wasn't a big deal until last night when it rained all night. I get up this morning and it is still raining. No big deal as I start the day. But around 8:30 I notice that the rain is getting worse and worse. So I look out our glass doors and actually see the water in river. It's rare for us to see the water since it's usually so low.

As the day goes on and the rain continues I start getting worried because the water is rising at an alarming rate. I decided I needed to take pictures. I went to our front porch and found this stick that had been left there from the road widening experiment. I started taking pictures almost every hour and look at the difference.

In the first picture the water isn't even above the stick. But then it starts changing and really fast. Tom heard at work that they might have to release water from the dam upstream so that just means more water for us. When Tom got home we went out to the bank to check it out. We determined that it has about 3-4 feet before it reaches the top of the bank. Then it has to cross the 2 lane road. We have a ditch on the side of the road and then we have a 2-3 foot hill up to our property. Then we have about 40 feet to the house and the house is up about 2-3 feet.

The problem would be our cars especially my mini car. At that point, we would have to drive the cars up the street. Luckily, a faculty member lives up the road and he would probably let us park our cars up there.

There is more rain in the forecast so we have to just keep an eye out especially since they keep releasing water. Keep your fingers crossed we don't get flooded out.

UPDATE 9:00PM - We went outside to look around since there were all sorts of emergency vechicles. THe river is almost up to the bank. The water reached the deck and down the road part of the road on our side of the river is flooded and they closed the roadway. We are hoping that's it since they released water and it should hold where it is. We'll have to see in the morning.

Around 9:00 am

Around 11:00 am

Around 2:00 PM

Around 4:00pm

Someone built this deck a few weeks ago. And now the water is almost up to the top. It was at least 5-6 ft from the water when it was built.

Well I almost made it!

So close but no cigar. I wanted to lose 2 pounds this week on the Nutrisystem program to get to 10 but I am a little short. It's hard to tell from my scale because I can barely read the numbers. I so need a digital scale. But I will round down and say I lost another pound this week. Not the two I wanted but as long as the scale keeps going down, I am fine with that. The Wii has me at losing 1.5 pounds but I can't trust the evil Wii because it goes up and down and I can't get a good read until a few days out.

The good thing is that the Evil Wii has not been able to be that mean to me lately because I am losing weight. Now because of its own issues, I might lose 2 pounds one day and then gain a pound and a half the next day and so on. So it tries to ask me why I have gained weight but it has to eat its words a few days later when I am down overall.

I am still doing pretty well on Nutrisystem. I am not bored of the food yet. Now there are a few things I get sent that I don't want to eat at all but I try to doctor them up with spices and/or condiments. A salad always helps as well. I am finding if you make a good salad, it's like a full meal.

This week is going to be tricky. I am meeting an old friend from Florida on Wednesday. She and her hubby are in Franklin and we are doing lunch or dinner. I am very excited because I really like her and miss her. She is one of the sweetest ladies ever. Plus, she was always tolerant at my shenanigans when we worked together.

This coming weekend I am going to a conference in Asheville and that means temptations and non-Nutrisystem food. Well, I am taking some of my Nutrisystem snacks just to have on hand. Luckily, one of the items that Nutrisystem gives are snack bars for breakfast and lunch. If I have one of these and a salad I will be good to go. So I am stuffing those in my luggage for sure!This is also where the portion control and better food choices will make or break this week. Wish me luck!!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

In My Next Life. . .

I want to be Damien, I mean Shawn. Oh Shawn has such a great life. She always has. Where Scout came from a traumatic kittenhood, Shawn was oblivious to any trauma except being left by her mom on the sidewalk. But then along came Tom and rescued her. My god, that was the worst decision he could have made because as the years went by I started to understand why Shawn's mom left her there in the street. I think she knew Shawn was a devil dog from hell and wanted to end it just like Gregory Peck in The Omen. I never tried taking Shawn into a church but I fear she would run screaming out of the building. But then again so would I, so let's forget that.

Anyhow, after we found Shawn she has lived La Vida Loca. She wasn't Top Kitty at first but when she got bigger than Scout, it was all over. When she took over, she really took over. Poor Scout has to fight for her food and her territory and sometimes her life. Let's face it. Shawn is a BULLY! Tom says she gets it from me but he is so wrong.

She sleeps about 22 hours per day. We used to feed them only dry food until Shawn got Diabetes (all cured now) and we had to begin feeding her wet food. Well, we are still feeding them wet food. Her life consists of waking up in the morning sitting on the kitchen rug or my GelPro Mat waiting until Daddy comes in to feed her. Then she waits until Tom leaves and eats the rest of Scout's food and then plops on the sofa or on her perch by the kitchen window. She then sleeps for hours until around 4pm where she realizes that it might be dinnertime. Then she gets up usually while I am starting dinner and gets underfoot. The thing about Shawn is that she is fearless. Until you accidentally step on her does she realize maybe that wasn't a good place to be. Luckily, she is not the brightest bulb in the pack so she quickly forgets the trauma and then comes back to get underfoot again. Like I said, not the brightest.

She gets fed, then goes to sleep in the sun room, the guest room or on the other side of my sofa. Sometimes she wakes up when Tom is around to get brushed and rubbed. But mainly she plops wherever she wants and sleeps. If she wants love, she demands it and gets it. She has people doing everything for her including cleaning up her poop even when she decides that it is too far to go out to the litterbox and poops wherever she wants. She doesn't do it often but I know she does it out of spite because it only happens when she doesn't get fed right away or she is mad for some reason or another. Stupid cat.

She has no stress except when she thinks she might not get wet food. The other trauma is when the dry food has run out and she can't gorge herself. Every once in a while she does get yelled at when she is trying to eat Scout's food. The only other stress might come from her hatred of Scout. But because she is a little dopey she only rages when she actually sees poor Scout. I don't think she holds a grudge. She just starts new grudges.

So in my next life, I want her life. Eating, sleeping and doing nothing. She lives in a nice house, gets fed, gets a first class catsitter when we are gone, gets love on demand and does what she wants. She is a devil but who couldn't love a face like that?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Holy Flying Projectiles Batman!

So I was sitting in the living room reading the Huffington Post online and watching MSNBC. The cats were here with me waiting to be fed. Of course, I was ignoring them because it was too early for them to be fed. So all is quiet and peaceful. Then all of a sudden we hear a huge KAPOW!

Scout immediately jumped up and started skulking toward the dining room to see what was up. I sat there for a second and then got up to look out the living room window that looks out to the front porch. And Shawn, well Shawn she raised her head and then went back to sleep. God, I want her life.
When I looked out I saw a bird by the porch door. Now birds hitting our porch door is a common occurrence. They also slam into the kitchen windows as well. This happens at least once a week. I figure that they are flying over the river and think it's a straight shot but, alas, it is not. Usually they hit the door or windows, fall and then fly away. This poor guy was just lying there. He hit the glass door pretty hard.

I tried to see if it was breathing but I didn't want to go out and poke at it. So I did something that is becoming second nature to me. I grabbed the camera. Yeah it's morbid taking pictures of a dead bird for my blog but it's all to entertain the masses. I then emailed Tom to tell him what happened like he could do anything. But I wasn't going to anything. I figured when Tom came home he would do something.

I guess I was just happy the door didn't break or that the bird actually got into the house. Since I was little I heard if a bird gets into your house and does not go out the same way it comes in, there will be a death. Sure, that sounds silly now but I had many a family member in Costa Rica tell me when aunts, cousins, uncles, friends etc. died a bird had come into the house. It's one of those weird urban legend I heard as a child. I have a lot of them and I am sure at one time or another, I will blog about them.

Anyway, Tom got home and I thought great he will pick up the bird and go bury it or something. What did he do? He grabbed the broom and swept the poor bird off the porch onto the lawn. WTF? If the bird was a sign of some impending doom, I think Tom just sealed his fate by being so heartless. His actions deflected any tragedy off of me. So I guess that's a good thing, for me, not the bird.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mostly Wordless Wednesday - This is the end, beautiful friend

This is the end
Beautiful friend

This is the end
My only friend, the end

~ The Doors

Yes, it's The End. The times are a changing and there is no more.

My garden is officially dead. Sure there might be 3 or 4 more tomatoes I can pick in the coming days but who knows. I do have a few green peppers coming in and some Cubanale peppers. My jalapenos are still doing good but I haven't seen a new one in a while.

This is probably the last recipe I make with my tomatoes. I had a regular small beefsteak tomato, a yellow tomato and 3 roma/plum tomatoes so I made some salsa. I also got to use some fresh jalapenos in the recipe. I had some red onion, cilantro and lemon and the salsa was complete. It was delish.

Overall, I think I kicked some gardening ass this year. I had mutant squash and tons of tomatoes. I also had some random corn, lettuce, radishes, carrots and green onions. I learned a lot and know that the garden will be different next year. I am trying to convince Tom to make it bigger. And not because I want more stuff, I just need to space out the plants. Plus, I want to do more corn. I loved doing squash and cucumbers. I am also going to do more herbs but still haven't figured out where and how many.

But now Fall is coming and it's time to stay indoors, drink hot chocolate and keep warm with a fire. I can't tell you how excited I am for Fall!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Western North Carolina State Fair

On Sunday we willy-nilly decided to go to Asheville and attended the WNC State Fair. We aren't State Fair kind of people but we went crazy. It was actually quite fun. Now the one thing I love about Fairs is the food but I was so so so good and didn't have one thing except a bottle of water.

But they had funnel cakes. The had corn dogs, hot dogs, gyros, sub sandwiches. They had like 20 different versions of fries. Blooming onions, ice cream, deep fried candy bars and my favorite thing in the world cotton candy. I love cotton candy and I was hoping that some little kid would walk by me with cotton candy so I could rip a piece off and stuff it in my mouth. It didn't happen.

We saw the usual things: Cows, bulls, chickens, horses, lambs, alpacas, goats, llamas, camels, a giant shark and Smokey the Bear. We saw crafts, preserves, quilts and farm equipment. We saw a huge pumpkin that was like 434 pounds. Holy guacamole. The interesting things we saw were a lot of booths telling me how Jesus can save me. And there were a lot of Confederate flags around. We saw a booth for the Brothers of the Confederacy. Confederate hats, bandannas, t-shirts and a crocheted flag on a stall of a horse. There was also bear skin rug that I know Sarah Palin would have loved.

The other thing I love about fairs are the midway games. I only played one and on my first try won a stuffed bear. I love stuffed animals. I wasn't sure what to name him but Tom suggested Two Buck Chuck since he cost $2 to win. So now Two Buck Chuck is now a member of the family.
Here are some random shots for your viewing pleasure.

Piggies!! I love Pigs!!

Yep, the crocheted Confederate Flag on the horse stall. Holy moley baby we are in the South.

Big Bull. You can't tell but this thing was ginormous!!

Me and Two Buck Chuck in the Exhibit Hall.
Chuck is a North Carolina Tar Heel.

434 pounds!

Sarah would love this in her office. Oh wait, she has no office anymore. hee

Only in the South, folks. Yikers.

"Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires." That is if you aren't an arsonist.

Camels in North Carolina. That is SO wrong.

"I think we're gonna need a bigger boat."


Deliciousness again!