October 14 2017

13 Lessons Learned on Friday the 13th at the Airport

1) Do NOT under any circumstances, show up less than 30 minutes before boarding time begins at the designated gate.
2) ‎Try to avoid making stops to your spouse’s work to pick up the jacket and headphones he forgot to bring home. This delay will cost you more than a new jacket and headphones in airport food prices alone, not to mention the time you can never have back. Plan ahead, make a list or do without.
3) ‎Bring some snacks in your carry on luggage. Preferably healthy ones.
4) ‎Wear comfortable and sensible clothes and shoes.
5) ‎Pack all chargers for cell phones, laptops, tablets etc. In your carry on luggage. Preferably in small zippered bags so they don’t get tangled and you can find them easily.
6) ‎Also, make sure you have all medications with you and not in your checked luggage. Luggage gets lost or sometimes it gets to the final destination 12 hours before you do.
7) ‎If you are traveling with children, especially those under five or six, bring an adult to be assigned to reach infant or toddler because babies require a lot of care, and once they have learned to walk, they tend to run off unexpectedly. Trust me this is a parent’s worst nightmare, so admit you need help and bring it with you.
8) ‎Know where the restrooms are, and wash your hands each time you visit them because anything less is just gross! Hand sanitizer is great AFTER you wash your hands, not instead of!
9) ‎Wear long pants because it may be chilly and you just don’t know what has been touching the seats in the waiting areas or plane. Better to ruin a pair of pants than developing a rash on your lower body.
10) ‎Wear or bring a jacket, preferably with zipping pockets because it may be cold or you may want to wad it up for a pillow and you wouldn’t want anything falling out of your pockets as you rush around the airport.
11) ‎Be patient, polite and thoughtful of your fellow passengers. Nobody enjoys a sourpuss who complains about everything.
12) ‎Get plenty of sleep and do whatever is needed to keep your children from getting fussy. No one wants to hear kids whining, crying or screaming. You, as a parent, don’t need the added stress either. Upset or badly behaved children just add tension to an already stressful situation.
13) ‎When you go through security or leave any seat or area, check carefully to be sure you didn’t leave ANYTHING behind. I can’t tell you how many announcements we heard about keys, Apple watches, or other belongings that were left behind.
We even heard one where a person was asked to call the rental car company because they needed their car key back!That’s it. Thirteen tips to help you as you travel in honor of the Friday the 13th I spent in the local airport waiting over 13 hours for a fight out to start our vacation. It all turned out well enough and it gave me the info to write this post to help others.

Best seatmates: 8-year-old Jake and his mother, Tammy. It was truly a pleasure sharing a flight with both of them.

Best line given by a flight attendant: Bottoms up or give it up!
October 5 2017

My New Helper is a Keeper

The image and title above may have already clued you in to what I am going to tell you about today. A few weeks ago, I was listening to one of Ann Kroeker’s Podcasts. She mentioned something I hadn’t yet heard of, Google Keep. Since I had no idea what it was, I asked Google, “Ok Google, What is Google Keep?” I got the following answer from Google:

Google Keep is a note-taking service developed by Google. Launched on March 20, 2013, Google Keep is available on the web, and has mobile apps for the Android and iOS mobile operating systems.”

Thank you, Google. I went to YouTube and typed in Google Keep and watched a couple of tutorials and was immediately blown away by how powerful a tool this could be. I had to have it! Now! How had I not known about this? Thank you, Ann Kroeker, writing coach for sharing this tidbit! My life is forever changed because I listened to your podcast!

You can listen to it here in about ten minutes start to finish. If you’d rather read than listen, you can find the blog post here: Ep 112: My Best Writing Tools to Get More Done (at Home and on the Go)

I was very excited about all the possibilities, so I went to the Google Play Store and downloaded the Android version right away. I played with it some on my phone and couldn’t wait to get home and see the desktop version of it. It is very easy to use. The only problem I had was accidentally archiving a post when I didn’t mean to, but even that is easily undone.

In the few weeks since I began using the app on my Android phone and the online version on both my desktop and my Surface Pro 2, I have found it to be the one app I would not give up on my phone. Yes, it is that awesome! Did I mention it is FREE?

I have taken notes at meetings, made lists of things to remember to talk over at my next Dr appointment, made to do lists, taken notes on books I was reading including a photo of the cover. I have taken screenshots of research I was doing on a DIY project then attached the screenshot to the note and had Keep grab the text from the image so that all of it is editable, savable and searchable. I have done research online and taken notes which included several source URL links. I decided I might want to refer to some snippets of info and wanted to create a note about them but was feeling too lazy to type them all in on my phone, so I used the microphone on the keyboard and spoke them into text that was typed before my eyes super accurately. At one point I was dictating a note about being a writer and Keep typed rider, but as I kept talking it figured out I meant writer and went back and changed it before I was finished dictating the note, right before my eyes. How cool is that? Google Keep understands what I am thinking, sometimes better than I do myself.

I have color-coded, labeled, pinned and even archived some of my notes. I can reorder the things on my to-do list so the most important ones are on top. I can add blog ideas to my ongoing list wherever I am because my phone is always with me. There is a Keep shortcut on the main screen because I use it that much. I even added shortcuts to my computer desktops for faster access too.

I love that I can use the checkboxes on my lists and check things off. The checked items go to the bottom of the list where they can be quickly referenced when someone wants to know what you have gotten done today. You can also uncheck all the boxes at once or just the individual ones you need. This is excellent for grocery lists. The list items can be sorted by the department they are in such as vegetables, dairy or meat. I could share the list with a collaborator (Hubby) and then Hubby would be able to access the list on his phone and shop in one department while I shop in another to finish the shopping much faster.

I just figured out another cool way to use this on my phone hands-free. I said, “Ok Google, add a note to Google Keep to finish blog article.” See the results below.

When I clicked Open Keep as shown above, it took me to the Keep app where I found the little gem shown below waiting for me. You can see it is super fast by the times shown in the screenshots.

Notice the little play button below the little, dotted line in the screenshot above? If I click on it, I hear my voice telling Google what I want the note to say. When I am finished with this task, I can either archive or just delete the note to keep the Keep notepad from getting cluttered.

So many uses! Did I mention you could dictate portions of your novel into this and save the notes in Keep and Google Docs or that from Google Docs you can pull up your Google Keep notepad and drag and drop parts of any of your Keep notes into an open Google Doc? Story notes, plot ideas, character details, bits of dialog, all able to be easily added to a Scrivener file when you get back to your computer, all searchable and editable.

See what I mean? This is exciting! There are so many possible uses for it. A boss using Google Keep could create and share daily to do lists with several employees, and any and all could make changes to the list throughout the day checking off the things that were finished. Each checkbox could begin with the name of the person being assigned to do the task.

Here are some of the excellent Tutorials I found that explain all the wonders of Google Keep much better than I could because seeing is believing. There are loads of videos to tell you how various people use Google Keep.

Google Keep Awesomeness:

Google Keep 2017 Tutorial – Online Notes:

How to use Google Keep – Full Tutorial:

Using Google Keep to Track Projects:

Google Keep – The Most Beautiful To Do List Ever!:

There are so many more uses I have yet to explore but I am using Google Keep on a daily basis for all the thoughts in my brain that might otherwise leak out through the cracks and be lost forever.

September 15 2017

Day of Birth

Have you ever thought about what day of the week you were born on? Most of us don’t even know what day of the week that monumental occasion occurred on. I came across something lately that led me to find the following info. It turns out, in case you are wondering, I was born on Thursday. Here is what the site had to say about me:

Day Of Birth
Your Day of Birth is Thursday
  • You are wise, optimistic and highly understanding; you are respected a lot and attract plenty of attention wherever you go. You have leadership qualities and are likely to end up in high positions wherever you work and in society as well.
  • You work hard and carve your own path towards success. You like to lead an independent life.
  • You are very stubborn and will have difficulty in having many true friends in life because of your inability to accept healthy criticism. Also, you are very straightforward and do not think much before speaking which may offend people.
  • You are easily bored and always require something or the other to keep you occupied. You also love to travel a lot and cannot sit at one place for long.
  • You are well behaved and treat people with respect, however, if someone annoys you or mistreats you, you hold grudges and also think of taking revenge.
  • Though you are intelligent and conscientious, you have a somewhat unusual character and an irritable temperament that makes you difficult for others to cope with.

Source: http://www.dayofbirth.net/

As I read through this, I was stunned just how accurate it was. Obviously, not every little detail applies to me, but for the most part, this was fairly accurate. Maybe, like me, you don’t really know what day you were born on. So, just for fun, go to the website above where you can enter your birthdate and see how accurately they describe you.

This reminds me of the poem we all learned as children. There were several versions, but this one is the most familiar from my childhood. The poem dates back to the 1700s if not earlier.

Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go,
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for a living,
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

Now not to take any of this too seriously, but having checked what the poem and website have to say about several people we know pretty well, these seem to be about seventy-five percent accurate, give or take.

So, take a minute and have some fun with the day of the week you were born. Let us know in the comments how accurate these predictions were for you.

Let us know in the comments how accurate these predictions were for you.

August 3 2017

Back To School $ Savers

When the month of July comes to an end, it can only mean one thing. It is time to take advantage of all those great back to school sales. Now, some of you may be saying to yourself that you don’t have school age children. That’s fine. There are some really great deals to be had if you watch the ads. We used to buy the limit when we found ten cent spiral notebooks or fifty cent filler paper and composition notebooks.

Glue is another one of those things they like to put on ridiculously low sales. I thought we would never use those four bottles of Elmer’s Glue All that I had gotten super cheap, but then a project would come up where paper mache was called for and then it was the glue to the rescue. You’ll be happy to shop from your personal stash of supplies that you got for pennies on the dollar instead of full price at the grocery or drug store in the middle of the night when your child comes to you in a panic because the project is due tomorrow and they forgot all about it until they were almost asleep.

So my friend, even if you really don’t see yourself using these supplies, consider getting the super cheap ones and donate them to the local elementary school. There will always be students who don’t have the proper supplies and these often end up being purchased by the underpaid teacher. Often times an organization will put together themed baskets for a fundraiser silent auction. There is almost always a basket of school supplies. You can also make a coloring basket with twenty-five cent sale boxes of crayons and dollar store coloring books. The same idea can work with colored pencils and adult coloring books. Perhaps some erasable ink pens and crossword puzzle books would make another nice basket. A nursing home might have some residents who would love to have coloring books and crayons in the activities room for the residents to use. A homeless shelter would most likely be happy to take those unused school supplies off your hands. You may have to think outside the crayon box, but I’m quite sure you will be able to either put the supplies to use in your home or office and if not, then there are countless numbers of places that would be happy to have your few dollars worth of supplies.

Once school is in full swing, maybe September or October, keep your eyes open for clearance sales. We have gotten some wire shelves meant for inside school lockers, notebooks, binders, label makers and all sorts of great stuff that rarely goes on those super low sales at unheard of prices. Many of the things you might use to decorate a dorm room or send your college student off with will be on sale then too. Think about things like twin sized sheet sets, blankets, organizing bins, cork and dry erase boards and that sort of thing. Not typical school supplies, but very useful in many places that are not college dorm rooms or student apartments.

So, have I gotten you motivated to at least look at the sales flyers with a more careful eye to savings even if you don’t have students at your house?

Feel free to tell us about the best deals you have found on “school supplies” in the comments below.

July 27 2017

My Secrets to a Long Happy Marriage

Yesterday was mine and Hubby’s wedding anniversary. We celebrate being married for 31 years by going out to eat. Now some of you may wonder what it takes to stay married to the same person for so many years. I’m not sure IU am an expert or anything, but I will share some of my thoughts on what makes our marriage work or what makes it different from the relationships of many of the younger set I have met.

When we got married in 1986, we had known each other for almost four years and dated each other exclusively for the entire time. It might be of note that when we met, I was sixteen and hubby was nineteen. No, we weren’t high school sweethearts. I was still in high school, but hubby was in college. Back in those days, education was the top priority for both of us, so much of the time we spent together was spent doing our homework. Some of the time was spent in my family’s home and some was spent in hubby’s family’s home. On the days we didn’t see each other, we often talked on the phone. Now mind you, this was well before the cell phone and pager days, heck it was even before the cordless phone days. If you wanted privacy while you were on the phone, you better hope you were home alone.

Hubby used to be a bug man when I first met him. While I was at marching band practice during the summer or after school, he would often stop by and sit on the sidelines and watch us practice. Since he was supposed to be working and was really just on his way from one place to another, it was understood that he couldn’t stay long, but it meant a lot that he went out of his way to stop by and watch for a few minutes once in a while. He would also come to all of my performances and often pitched in to help move band equipment and his help was greatly appreciated by the other band supporters.

Because he was three years older than me, both our mothers were concerned about him being a bad influence on me. I was afraid one set of parents or the other would object and tell us we couldn’t see each other anymore, so I made sure that my grades were as high as possible. All the homework time paid off because My semester grades for the last two years of high school were straight A’s. Nobody was going to use my grades as a reason for us to stop dating. Apparently, hubby had not been one to do much homework before he met me, so the fact that we spent so much time doing homework must have improved his grades some too. Hubby and his parents came to my high school graduation. Because of hubby’s influence, I graduated 8th in my class from high school. Continue reading