Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Taste of Austin

* Oof, needing a few Tums for my tummy this morning! (I've never noticed the "Tum"s and "tum"my connection before.) On another food note, I bought a one-pound tub of organic spring mix salad, and the tub is made of corn! Corn! Who would have thought? If we can make a plastic-like container out of corn, of all things, we should be using it for other things, too!

Oh, man! I just came from Foodie Heaven! It was the Taste of Austin held at the Palmer Events Center. For $15, they offered samples from over 60 different Austin restaurants. They had everything from tuna steak to queso to raw oysters to shrimp cocktail to all kinds of chicken to barbecue to pasta to burritos to filet mignon to lobster bisque. Then, there was dessert - flan, creme brulee, brownies and cookies of every kind, little pies, cakes, even chocolate milk. Oh, and Doubletree Hotel cookies, can't forget those! (Doubletree cookies remind me of when I was a freshman in high school, and I was swimming in a state swim meet. A friend and I got in soooo much trouble for going in to some boys' hotel room! Gaw!)
My favorites were probably a dark chocolate brownie from Central Market and a steak, onion, and bell pepper kabob from Mesa Ranch.
Thank goodness Ellen forgot her camera - me biting in to a hunk of meat on a kabob stick is not something that should be documented for posterity! At least we parked at City Hall instead of at the Center - we got in a mile of walking going there and again on the way back so we were able to burn off of some of our culinary delights! Great fun, though. Totally worth it.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Cats Come in All Shapes and Personalities

Now, this is interesting. They have done a study showing that the shape of your cat can indicate its personality.

Long, lanky, athletic cats with triangular heads, such as Siamese cats, want to rule the roost. They are highly intelligent, constant talkers, problem solvers and trouble makers. Without enough stimulation, they may bite or suck on things.

Thicker, square-type silhouette cats, like the Maine Coon, are social butterflies who need quality time with their owners. Essentially doglike, they are very demonstrative, highly social and act like every day is a party. They also like to talk. If they don't get enough human contact, they can be destructive.

Round cats, such as Persians, like very calm households and are not very active. They are emotionally sensitive and affectionate but not as needy as squares. They are also less outgoing with strangers. Change makes them anxious, and they are the most likely to have litter box problems.

Mixed breed cats are tricky to categorize. Unless they obviously meet one of the body styles, they likely will be just what their name implies - a "mix."

Here are the two kinds living in my house: One is Meeko, an animal my roommate likes to consider a "cat," although we believe dog/horse/raccoon combo seems more likely. He definitely falls in to the "square" category. Then, there is Snickers, my cat, who is a mix of personality traits, very cuddly being the main one. Now, don't let these pictures fool you. Meeko is about twice the size of Snickers - literally!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Challenger Anniversary

It is the 20th anniversary of the Challenger explosion and the deaths of seven astronauts, including teacher Christa McAuliffe.
I remember this well: I was sitting in my fourth grade classroom when the principal came on the speakers and made an announcement to the whole school about what had happened. Because there was a teacher on board, we had been paying a lot of attention to the mission. We were very excited to see a teacher going in to space, and that had made it very personal for us.
I just remember all of us being shocked when we heard the news and also very sad. I remember watching the video footage with awe.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The News - Austin Under 40

Okay, here is the news. I had to wait until everything was complete and then recover from my shock.
I have been nominated for the Austin Under 40 Awards. The
AU40 Awards, hosted by the Young Men's Business League and the Young Women's Alliance, honor Austinites under 40 who have made substantial contributions in their professional fields and in community service.
It's a pretty big deal, so much so that I feel wildly underqualified. Past winners have been people like Michael Dell and Lance Armstrong and Mayor Will Wynn.
So, yes, I am deeply honored just to be nominated, really and truly honored that I would be even considered for such an award.

That is my news! :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Surprise is Coming

There is a reason behind my absence thus far this week. I am working on a very humbling surprise. I will let you know! :)

Monday, January 23, 2006

Red Cross Appreciation Reception

I was just going through the foot high stack of mail that was on my counter, and I found out I missed the Red Cross Volunteer Appreciation Reception. I would have liked to go to that. : (
For those of you who haven't read about my activities volunteering with the Hurricane Katrina evacuees, I have some of the content here on my blog, mostly on the bottom half of

Friday, January 20, 2006

Gun at Southwest Austin Middle School

Many of you have heard that there was a loaded gun found in the possession of one student and one adult on the campus of Clint Small Middle School in Austin, Texas. I was on campus when the gun was found, attended the press conference, and had an exclusive interview with the school's Principal, Sheila Anderson.

A gun on campus is a really, really bad thing, there is no denying that - but I know how media minds work, and they will try to make this as dramatic and dire a story as possible. And, as a media mind myself, I naturally will be doing a full write-up in next week's Oak Hill Gazette. However, from a personal standpoint:

Let me iterate that no student was in danger at any time and that the gun was on the far outskirts of campus in a wooded section. It was nowhere near any students, except the one who had it in his possession. I do know the student (although I will not reveal personal information) and believe that a series of bad mistakes likely led to the situation, rather than any attempt to harm another student. He is not a bad kid, and I hope that, eventually, he will be better for having made it through this situation.
Many of you trust me and believe in my perspective. Know this: I have never felt anything but safe on the campus of Small Middle School. The kids are well above par, the teachers are kind and caring, and it is a darn good place to be. My hope is that people will not lump this together with school gun incidents on other campuses and assume falsely things that just aren't true.

here to visit my main page.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Local Honey and Cedar Fever

I thought I would add on a bit to my previous "Cedar Fever" post.
I have been trying the honey thing that everyone is always buzzing about (didn’t really mean for the pun to come out, but it just did, darn it.) I have been buying local honey at Whole Foods and taking a tablespoon a day by mixing it in with my tea. The theory behind the honey treatment is that local honey contains pollen from local trees, the ones which cause the allergies, and then, supposedly, over time, this builds up an immunity in your system similar to what allergy shots will do. I’m apparently too sensitive/allergic to take allergy shots so honey really is my only chance. (Read about that in
"Health - Caroline Style" in "Cedar Fever" and "Allergy Tests Me.")
The results so far of my (oh, so scientific) test are inconclusive, but I certainly haven’t ruled out that it is helping. It seems like my allergies aren’t quite as bad as last year; I know that my eyes have not been itching as badly as before. I haven’t compared this year’s pollen counts to last year’s pollen counts, though, so it’s possible it could be just my imagination, but I’m still hopeful.

Whatever the case, I plan on continuing the treatment for now because it involves honey, which I like anyway. At any rate, it definitely beats hitting your head on the wall.

Boy, Oh Boy

Give Me Tummy Aches
(t-shirt I saw today.)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Real Estate Clients Look Here

While I was sliding off the top of my chair in a mandatory three-hour real estate Ethics Class, I realized there is something long overdue I should address:
Yes, I am a licensed real estate agent (for almost six years now,) and I even have a
I imagine many of my former Austin clients have found my blog inadvertently and wondered how in the heck I all of the sudden am a writer. Truth be told, it was a gradual progression as I looked for something "fulfilling."
That being said, I do still have my license and am keeping it active (therefore, the Ethics class.)
Generally, I have an agreement with another agent, and I refer my business to her as I trust her implicitly to handle my people appropriately.
So ... just so it is known, I
can offer people referrals for whatever city you are in, and certainly former clients should not hesitate to ask me any questions or contact me.

There. I've made my disclosure for the day. :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

American Idol Premiere

I never get to watch TV so the American Idol Premiere is my excuse, as I'll probably write about it in my column this week. First, commercials:
1.) They can make a Coke float look daaang good.
2.) I really like this "real beauty" campaign by Dove.
3.) "Deborah" Gibson will always be Debbie Gibson to me.
The premiere itself: (If you haven't figured it out, I'm following/posting along with the show.)
This girl - Crystal - is cracking me up! This is exactly the kind of girl who was never given any kind of grounding in "real life." Hello! Parents! Raise your daughters!! (Her mom definitely explains things.)
Traditional Assyrian (sp.?) folklore clothes?? They say they're the new black.
Word of Advice: Do not roll around the floor during your audition. Especially if it is the difference between getting kicked out of the country and not.
I'm loving the twin guys. Look at their smiles! :) Baby, baby, baby, baby, I love you. I really do.
Is this guy possessed?? I like that he can talk to animals, though. Always good to have a Plan B.
OH MY GOSH! Poor Lady Marmalade!
In conclusion, Simon: "Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Whatever."

Time for a New Speech Writer

I’m sure I've said some careless things before, as we all have, and it’s hard to be disdainful of someone of any political party making an off-the cuff statement that wasn’t as well put as it should have been ~ because I understand it's hard to be in the spotlight ALL the time, but …

What I don’t understand is how someone presumably with a good speech writer, someone like Hillary Clinton, could say during a planned speech that the White House “has been run like a plantation, and you know what I'm talking about,” to a mostly Black audience.

I don’t think I’m overdoing the politically correct thing by finding that offensive.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

If You Believe in Love ...

Here is a really sweet story I wrote recently for the Oak Hill Gazette. Aren't they just so cute?:

Newlyweds at 83
By Caroline A. Shearer

Love is ageless - just ask Vera Youngbloom and Larkin Miller, 83-year-old lovebirds and newlyweds who met while playing dominoes at a community center and, seven months later, were married.
“I asked him, ‘Why did you choose me? You had 20 other women you could have chosen,’and he said, ‘You were the only one walking without a cane.’”
The courtship began after Youngbloom took Miller out to lunch for fixing her edger. Miller then invited her to a second lunch, this time arriving
with a dozen long stem red roses. “I’m thinking, ‘Uh oh! Is he trying to go somewhere?’ I hadn’t been out with a man, around one. It was different, it was scary - it was harder than when I was young and went out with men.”
And it wasn’t all that easy for Miller, either. “Let’s face it - I have not been in the business of escorting an unmarried lady out in 58 years,” said Miller. “You know, things change. We just explained to each other that that was the category we were in and went from there.”
The way Youngbloom describes it from there is “we just kept going to lunch, and then we ended up getting married on November 13.” Of course, there was a little more to it.
Miller, whose wife of 58 years died a year ago, “was in deep depression, and I was having real problems working out of depression. One of the things is you have to keep busy and keep going and meet people, and that was why I was so involved with the senior activity center.”
Although he was the only man among many women spending time at the center, Miller picked Youngbloom out quickly as someone he felt was compatible with him. “As we became closer associated with each other, in our relationship and friendship and companionship, we discovered we had a lot of things in common. We appreciate the same type of music, the same type of activities and those sorts of things. We appreciated each other’s company and companionship, and that is what led us to marriage.”
Youngbloom, who also is widowed, took some convincing, however. “Through this courtship, I was having doubts, and I was undecided so one day I made up my mind - I’m either going to do it or I’m not. I decided I had been lonely and didn’t realize it. I had been involved in charity and volunteer things, but it’s not the same - it’s so nice to have a man around the house. He’s a fixer upper - he can fix pretty much anything.”
Because Youngbloom and Miller had been married most of their lives, they also had families to consider before taking the big leap. “We wanted to make sure that I was going to be accepted by her family and she was going to be accepted by mine,” said Miller. After some initial surprise, “Everybody knows everybody, and everybody is happy for us,” said Youngbloom.
Then, there was a $3,000 prenuptial agreement and a $41 marriage license. Youngbloom said the license “didn’t cost but maybe $2” the last time they married. “After we paid for our prenup, we joked, ‘Are we going to have enough money to pay for our marriage license?’ We’ve had a lot of laughs!”
The happy couple celebrated their marriage with a Western Caribbean honeymoon cruise. Word of the couple in young love spread quickly, and “They thought it was a fun thing,” said Miller. “Believe it or not, I introduced her as my wife and said we just got married, and a lot of people said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding!’ You have to emphasize that it’s really true.”
On the seven-day cruise, they attended shows and formal dinners and “enjoyed visiting with the people we met.” Plus, Miller said, “We had a balcony. We could sit out on the balcony and hold hands and watch the waves go by.
Now settling in to married life, Youngbloom said, “When you are married to someone else a long time it’s a hard step to change in to another life. I think it takes a lot of courage at that age to get married. I never thought I would get married again - I thought my life was just settled the way it was. It was such a drastic change, but I am very happy.”
Miller said, “We just enjoy each other every day and thank the good Lord every day for having us meet. It’s great.”
“We don’t know how long God is going to give us, but we are going to spend it together,” said Youngbloom. “We thank Him every day for our health, that we are able to do what we can do, that we are able to get married. We don’t have time to sit down and count our aches and pains - we just keep on going. At our age, we’ve got to hurry up. We’re not going to be around much longer so we’re in a hurry.”
She said, “We were old enough to know better so we are making it work well. I’m very happy. We are very happy. I wouldn’t change it for anything, and I am very much in love with my husband - and it’s very hard to say ‘my husband’ - but I’m learning.” Youngbloom admits, “I wasn’t looking for it. I’m very happy that I found love at my age. It’s wonderful to be with someone and not be alone. I have some friends who say, ‘Why don’t you find me one?’ And I say, ‘Don’t look. It just happens.’ I’m happy that it happened.”
As far as 83 years is concerned, “I don’t think that’s too old at all,” said Miller. “You’re never too old - go for it! If you feel good, and it feels right and you love each other, go for it.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

My Chart Reading

I promised I'd update my 2006 forecast when a friend of mine "read my charts." Things went way over my head - with planets and degrees and things rising and such, but it's still interesting. Btw, did you know yesterday was Friday the 13th AND a full moon?
The first thing she said is the hellious year I had last year is almost over. I have a little bit of residual stuff this month and then that influence will end. (About freaking time!)
Two times during 2006 and then going in to 2007 I have very positive things in three areas - new technology, communications, and career. It just so happens those are all related in my life so maybe this could mean extra good things? For two periods during the year, I can expect fortunate events, with some kind of honor or recognition and just plain good luck. These periods overlap with the above influence. Then, again, late Spring and early Fall are good times for my career and for travel.
Later in the year is a positive period for romance, as is the first week of February and the end of May.
I guess now we can see how accurate it is when we get to 2007! :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Cedar Fever Claims Its First Victims

Cedar Fever has claimed its first victims - approximately one million of my brain cells.
Because of Cedar Fever - the scourge of Austin - I head-butted my own wall.
Seriously, folks, I couldn't make this stuff up.
Here's what happened: I was going through the usual itchy eyes, stuffy nose, sneezing symptoms when I felt a really strong sneeze coming on. I reached over really fast to try to grab some tissue, but I didn't quite make it. I ended up getting caught right at the corner of two walls, and BAM! I sneezed super, super hard and head-butted the corner of the wall.
Hoover Dam did it hurt! I actually stood there for a second, dazed, like the cartoon characters who have little stars going around in circles over their heads.
Immediately, I developed a headache and wanted to go to sleep (which, of course, is not good.) Then, my head swelled up and turned red. I actually had a two-inch solid red line going straight down my head. Luckily, it was just inside my hair line so it wasn't quite as visible as it could have been - thank goodness for small favors.
It still hurts really bad to wash my hair, but it appears I, myself, will survive. I doubt I'll ever get those brain cells back, though. ;)
See my other cedar fever posts
- "Local Honey and Cedar Fever" and
"Cedar Fever" and "Allergy Tests Me" in "Health - Caroline Style."

Sunday, January 08, 2006

From an Aggie to the Longhorns

Bandage Varsity's Horns Up,
Bandage Varsity's Horns Up,
Bandage Varsity's Horns Up,




Gig' Em, Longhorns!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Crazy Caroline

Sometimes I think the people who read my column in the Oak Hill Gazette must think I'm ready for the Looney Bin, but so far no men in white coats have shown up at my door. Here's something I am going to say in my upcoming column:
"I’ve already established that I am going through something akin to a quarter life crisis. Quarter life crises, by the way, are not quite as exciting and fun as midlife crises, when you get to do something inanely stupid, like buy a fancy sports car or date someone entirely inappropriate for you. The mere fact that you are having a quarter life crisis means you are incapable of acting out stupidly because all of your focus is on getting to the point where you feasibly could be established enough in life for it to be uncharacteristic to do something stupid.
Who wouldn't want a dose of this every week? ;)
By the way, have you subscribed yet? 512-301-0123. Just tell them Crazy Caroline sent ya'.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Candidly Caroline Fantasy Blogshares

* OH MY GOSH! Now, they have a PRESS RELEASE on me!!
Have you heard of
"Blogshares"? It is like fantasy football, but with blogs!
Apparently, "Candidly Caroline" is one of the players. My net worth has jumped to close to $40,000, and someone has even "bought" my stock. Funny!

Not So Subtle

Some dude put my column on "Here's What You Have Been Waiting For," which corresponds with my "How to Lose a Guy" entry, on his MySpace profile. Methinks that since he lists himself as "in a relationship," he is trying to make a point to his girlfriend. ;)

Monday, January 02, 2006

Back to Work!

Anyway ... back to work now!

(not that I ever really stopped!)

Happy 2006!

Both of those have me finding the love of my life at the end of the year. We'll see ... And, it sounds like I will be too distracted by relationships to accomplish an awful lot. I'll have to work on that - After all, I only have six more months until the big twenty-ten!
Happy 2006 everyone! Did you eat your black-eyed peas?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Dragon Profile and 2006 Forecast

2006: The Dragon will find this year rather lovely. They will continue to win successes, especially where creativity is the key factor. But victory, however brilliant, won't be enough and won't prevent them from asking deeper questions from time to time. The Dragon will have to acquire more wisdom to fight boredom.
Romance: First quarter - Many single natives will seriously consider getting married. Second quarter - The stars promise you a great romantic change. They'll satisfy your sentimental needs, facilitate your contacts and fulfill your wishes. Third quarter - If you go to a faraway place, you'll probably meet someone to whom you'll feel irresistibly attracted. However, it's almost certain that you'll only live a short, frivolous romance -- but a romance that will enchant you and leave you with an ineffable memory. Fourth quarter - Single natives, you can hope to live soon in sheer bliss. You're indeed going to meet the ideal mate -- the person who will correspond exactly to your most secret wishes. It's not impossible that you'll marry them very shortly.
Profile: The Dragon is one of the most powerful and lucky Signs of the Chinese Zodiac. Its warm heart makes its brash, fiery energy far more palatable. This is a giving, intelligent and tenacious Sign that knows exactly what it wants and is determined to get it. Dragons possess a natural, charming charisma that ensures they can influence their peers and often find themselves the center of attention in social situations.
When it comes to dispensing advice, the Dragon has the floor. Its ego can get in the way, but even so, this larger-than-life creature has a knack for initiating projects and keeping the troops motivated. According to Dragons, it's their natural born right to lead the way -- because who else could do it so surely and so well? As lucky as they are, Dragons have a good chance of achieving considerable material wealth, although it isn't mere money that's this Sign's main motivation. Power is what the Dragon wants and truly believes it deserves. Dragons are quite the opportunists, forever searching for ways to consolidate their considerable power. The role of leader is the only one the Dragon wants. They make solid leaders, too, knowing instinctively what needs to be done to stay on top. Crossing the Dragon is never a good idea -- this beast can singe!

Cancer Profile and 2006 Forecast

2006: Relationships, relationships, relationships. That's your focus during the first half of 2006, particularly January and February. Prepare to be approached by someone you've been seeing on an extremely casual basis -- someone who's ready to commit, and who hopes you're willing to do the same. Throughout 2006, keep an extra careful eye on your finances. You should also put a bit of cash aside. You may need it for professional reasons around the end of March or the beginning of April. At some point in the fall, you might pick up a new part-time freelance gig that will take you in a wildly new direction if you let it. The universe may be trying to nudge you into a whole new profession, and this could be just the beginning. By early winter, if someone from out of town comes to you with an offer (and this someone happens to be quite interesting, exotic and influential), think hard before you automatically refuse it. This could be the one you've been waiting for. Above all else -- and in all departments -- trust your instinct. When has it ever let you down?
Profile: Cancer takes great pleasure in the comforts of home and family. Cancers are maternal, domestic and love to nurture others. More than likely, their family will be large. Cancers will be merry if their home life is serene and harmonious. Traditions are upheld with great zest. They also tend to be patriotic.
Cancerians are quick to retreat into their shells if it suits their mood. The flip side of this hiding is that Crabs are often quite moody. In keeping with their difficulty sharing their innermost feelings, it can become a Herculean task to pry a Crab out of its secret hiding place. Give the Crab time -- eventually these folks come out to play again.
That shell isn't the only tough thing about Crabs. These folks are tenacious and strong-willed and like to get their way. If their well-documented kindness and gentleness doesn't do the trick, however, they're not above emotional manipulation. If that still doesn't work, they'll just go back to their shell and sulk. That said, any self-respecting Crab would tell you that they are ultimately motivated by protecting their home and loved ones, a most noble goal.