Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Lovely Christmas Season to You!

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and that your holiday season is going splendidly! I am back in town after an extremely brief trip home. But - responsibilities beckon and all that ...
I am working hard today, but, in honor of the Christmas season, I'm doing it in front of my Christmas tree in my holiday pajamas - all day!
A continued blessed and beautiful holiday season to you and yours!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Zilker Trail of Lights 2007

We had our annual pilgrimage to the Zilker Trail of Lights. It's always a lot of fun to walk around all the different displays and then spin yourself silly under the big tree!

I also should mention that I have been going loco - as expected - with adding music, etc. to my blog. The sidebars keep going down further and further and further ...

Oh, and we added an "audio preview" to our website, if you just can't seem to get enough of my voice. :P

Monday, December 17, 2007

Houston Rockets Game!

This past weekend, I went to the Houston Rockets versus Dallas Mavericks game in Houston with my family. It was a lot of fun and nice to do something as a family, especially since I've been so involved in my own work and social stuff lately.
This time of year - it's crazy how busy it is! I have not done any of my Christmas shopping! None!! I can hear the mall calling my name ... : )

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

My Appearance on San Antonio Living

I showed off gifts from the Texas Family Magazine Holiday Gift Guide yesterday on San Antonio Living. Here's a link where you can watch the television segment!

Monday, December 10, 2007

My First Issue of Texas Family Magazine

My first issue of Texas Family Magazine - as Editor in Chief - is out!

It was a lot of work, but it turned out great! I am very proud of the team that worked on it; we accomplished something great, and I look forward to even more fantastic issues to come! (Check out the awesome gift guide on our website!)

Now, go subscribe!! : )

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Let the Holidays Begin!

Let the Holidays begin! And, of course, that means holiday parties! It's amazing how many things we all try to fit into this month! Fun things, though!

Here are pictures from my friend Jennifer's annual "Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate Party," which was fabulous, as usual! And, then a later charitable event I attended.

I don't have my normal energy since I'm not quite well yet so I'm taking the events as easy as I can, but that's so hard to do this time of year. -- I am so ready to see myself back to normal and looking healthy and rested!

Oh, and a friend "elfed" me! I'm not sure how long the link will last, but it's fun for now!
I sure can get down, can't I? ; )

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Alivia's First Birthday Party!

My niece Alivia is a year old and is walking! She had a wonderful birthday party with lots and lots of relatives and presents. Adding to the excitement is that my sister-in-law and brother found out their next child is going to be a boy! It was a fun afternoon all the way around!

This is me and Alivia and my mom and Alivia.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Music on My Blog!

* I just added another one, one I can't believe I didn't think of right away!! ; )

One of the new things I'm playing around with on this updated version of Blogger is the music video feature. If you scroll down a bit, you'll see that in the sidebar I've added a few songs for you to enjoy while you peruse my written meanderings.
I will try not to go too crazy with this feature - I do love music after all - but I make no promises. : )

Monday, November 26, 2007

I Upgraded (Blogs, that is.)

I'm resisting the change no more. I held off and held off upgrading my blog because it involved re-doing my entire template, and that was a scary thought, considering all the customizing I've done. My final temptation, though, was the new slideshow feature that Blogger is offering. That was just too cool to miss out on.
Turns out, upgrading really was pretty simple. With the process, I didn't lose my links or anything, and now I can label better. Sure, I spent a couple of hours tinkering around, but it wasn't so much necessary as interesting.
Hopefully, you'll enjoy the changes; I'm sure I'll be tweaking things for a while.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Good Luck, Jennifer and Matthew!

Two of my very good friends are moving away from Austin. They will set off tomorrow morning on a 20-hour drive, three cats and a dog in their backseat, and all of us here wishing it wasn't quite this way. I'm really going to miss them. Whether it is a party or an event or just hanging out, if Jennifer and Matthew are there, it's always fun. They are that kind of couple.
When we last were all together, someone remarked on our conversation topics, and I realized how special it is to have friends who you literally can talk about anything with. Our conversations have been all over the place, about topics I'd never dream of engaging in during "polite" conversations. It's really valuable when you can find friends who you can be yourself with and who won't judge you. I am so going to miss having them as part of our group!!
Best of luck, Jennifer and Matthew! Hopefully, I will see you soon!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Quite a Long Time

I don't think I've ever gone this long without posting before!! I'm still quite sick, but I just keep on going forward the best I can - I don't know what else to do at this point. I plan to work hard for a couple of days and then spend time with my family later this week and hopefully finally get well. I'm more of a natural health person, but I have taken the medications they prescribed, just to no avail. My mom actually called me this weekend to ask if I'd heard about that deadly virus the news people are talking about that puts young, healthy people in the hospital! I told her if I have that, then I guess I'm actually doing pretty well! :P

I plan to serve Thanksgiving dinner this evening to people who would otherwise not have one. I've done a lot of volunteer work, but I can't recall ever actually serving food so I'm really looking forward to it. It's always a learning experience for me when I get in there personally and do something like this. And, it always is rewarding - even when it's tough.
(Note: It's well established that I'm not contagious.)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Some Things I Like

I've been sick for over two weeks now and doing an awful job of resting - I'm too nervous and high-strung these days for that. I am trying to surround myself with good, positive things, and I came across some I liked:

"Sometimes you just have to take the leap and grow your wings on the way down."
(Otherwise known as "The Story of My Life" for the last few years.)

"She believed she could do it, so she did."

"Low-rise jeans are so impractical when you are flying by the seat of your pants." (OK, this one was just funny.)

I also came up with a great title for a new book - one I'm tempted to start before finishing the other. I'd love to print it, but I'm afraid it'd get stolen. I'll say this: it sounds like it could be a funny country music song, and it was inspired by someone.

I love "Big Girls Don't Cry" by Fergie (I can't not sing this song when I hear it.) Then I heard another song and was like, "Who is that? I have to hear that again!" I did this morning and, turns out, it's Fergie again with "Clumsy." I'm not big into celebrities, but I guess I identify with her music - probably stems back to afternoons watching Kids' Incorporated, one of the best. shows. ever. :P

Thursday, November 01, 2007

All Saints and Souls

I meant to wish everyone a Happy Halloween yesterday, but now I'll just wish you a Happy All Saints' Day and Happy All Souls' Day instead! (For Catholics, on All Saints' Day, we celebrate the lives of the saints, and on All Souls' Day, we remember those who have died.)

In that "spirit" (ha ha!) AP-Ipsos released results from a recent survey:

48 percent of people believe in extra-sensory perception. (ESP, the "sixth sense," includes such psychic abilities as precognition, clairvoyance, clairaudience, remote viewing, and telepathy.)
34 percent believe in ghosts.
30 percent have woken up from sleep with the sense of a strange presence in the room.
23 percent have seen or believed themselves to be in the presence of a ghost.

Very, very interesting ...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Give Me Daylight - or Give Me Sleep

Usually I'm a newsaholic, but with working so much lately, that's one of the things I haven't been following as closely. (And, I'm pretty sure not a lot will have changed in the world of politics by the time I catch up anyway.) I did happen to hear, though, that we are delaying the time change, and I, for one, believe that is a great idea! Since I was in high school and learned the initial reasons behind the change, I've never understood why it still continues. There are always technical reasons given, but, simply, I like the extra daylight. It allows more time for all sorts of the generic-type house and life things we all do, and it just feels too dark too early otherwise (and I'm a major night owl even!) ... Of course, I won't complain about the extra hour of sleep it brings! ;)

Btw, I've noticed that Blogger has a new feature to help people keep up with comment threads. Many times we get some great threads going here - so that might end up being a neat feature to have.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Busy Bee

I think it's safe to say I've been a bit busy lately, as I've been finishing up my first issue of Texas Family Magazine. I have to say I think it is going to be really great. We have put a lot of work into it, and it will show.

I went down to Houston again to film a couple more segments for that television show. I still don't have clips from any of my segments, but I will eventually. When I have them, you'll get them.

While I was down in Houston, I visited the Children's Cancer Hospital at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and interviewed kids who are being treated there. It definitely put my own problems in perspective when I sat down with these kids - kids who are dealing with things even adults would have difficulty handling. It was good, though, and I think when you read the story you will have a very good idea of what it is like for them. That was my goal, at least.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Great Beyond

I'm learning today that apparently everyone in the entire universe has a MySpace page -- that is, everyone in the entire universe other than me. I've always been kind of anti-MySpace, personally speaking, but now I'm feeling like there's this whole other world out there I didn't know existed ... and I'm being left out. :(

Anyway, I did come across a great picture of my handsome brother and my beautiful niece, and since I've never put my brother on here, there's no time like the present. :) I'm not sure if it will come through because of my bang-up job getting rid of red eye, but they both have gorgeous blue eyes!

Monday, October 15, 2007

A Whole Lot of Recipes

I think this is a neat little aside - I just sold a bunch of my recipes to the Tri-County Electrical Coop publication in Hooker, Oklahoma.
You all know I love to cook and bake, and part of that love is being able to share it with others. All my recipes have been published before, but selling them in one batch is neat because it means for the next year and a half or so, all those Oklahomans will get a regular dose of me! My first recipe, or, rather, trio of recipes, are in the October issue - cinnamon sugar, salted, and plain roasted pumpkin seeds.

Friday, October 12, 2007

How the Other Half Lives

While I slave 12 hours a day to put food in her bowl, Snickers just chills.

I guess that's how we roll around here ... :)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Truth or ...

Is it truth or the inside of a bologna sandwich? That's for people to decide for themselves, but it's hard to deny this stuff is interesting.
I went to a Mind, Body, Spirit Expo this weekend, and one of the things I tried was a computer sensor chakra reading. Some of it was personal, but one thing of interest is I have a great deal of purple/lavender and through that section a big white swath. Purple represents a strong connection to the spiritual. The white, I was told, is my ancestors, who are communicating with me, guiding me to make the right decisions. It also is a result of being prayed for a lot. Both of these I know very well to be true, but it was neat to see it in front of me - on a computer screen - instead of just in "my world."

The second thing I did was have a picture of my aura taken. This is something I have always thought would be cool to do! I came out an Indigo. (Interestingly, my favorite color since childhood has been blue-violet - like the Crayola color - and my office is lavender.) I had no idea what "Indigo" meant until I searched. Again, whether you believe this kind of stuff or not, it’s hard to deny it’s interesting:

Indigo is the most recent aura color to arrive on the planet. Indigos are ushering in a new energy, a new consciousness, and a new age of peace and harmony. Indigos are here to live as examples of a new higher awareness. Honest, aware, highly intuitive, psychic, independent, fearless, strong-willed, and sensitive. Indigos are old souls who know who they are and where they've come from. These assertive individuals are born with their spiritual memories intact.

They are highly evolved, extraordinary individuals, who may hold a genius-level IQ. These individuals are bizarre, sensitive, honest, strong-willed, and aware of themselves as well as those around them (almost to a fault.) On the negative side, they can be stubborn, refuse to admit their faults, occasionally reclusive, and overly sensitive. Indigo is dominant in the auras of people who act as catalysts, who accelerate the spiritual and psychic development of everyone they encounter.

You feel like no one "gets" or understands who you are. You are "tuned in." Are highly creative in the arts, music and/or literature. Always need to know WHY, especially when being asked to do something. Are willing to step outside the box and challenge the system. You are a great BS detector and do not like people who lie and who do not come from integrity. You are easily zapped of energy, due to the fact that you are a bright Light and others want to take yours. You are easily susceptible to lower energies attaching themselves to you. Have deep empathy for others, yet an intolerance of stupidity. You are empathic and it's challenging for you to block it out. They feel a burning desire to do something to change and improve the world. May have trouble identifying their path. You have a innate ability to manifest whatever you desire. Have had psychic experiences, such as premonitions, seeing angels or ghosts, out of body experiences, hearing voices. May be electrically sensitive, such as watches not working and street lights going out as you move under them, electrical equipment malfunctioning, and lights blowing out.

Full of energy, high self-esteem, an almost regal sense of entitlement. They react to unfairness and have little patience for rules, discipline, authority (authority without explanation or choice), or "old" structures. They are easily bored with assigned tasks, and see a better way to do things. They can read you like a book, and can spot hidden agendas or attempts to manipulate them. Many Indigos feel the strong need to help and be of service to others, even putting their own well being at risk. They can come across as fearless and ready to tackle things head on. They truly exemplify the next stage in human potential and are opening doors to the unlimited possibilities, which yet exist to be experienced. They are masters incarnate. They love and need the freedom to express themselves in whatever way they see fit.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Cooper's BBQ in Llano

The other day, I went to an awesome barbecue joint over in Llano - Cooper's BBQ. It was the kind of down home place you tend to find out about through word of mouth, and then only if you're very lucky. From the crowds there, though, I'm guessing word has gotten out pretty well.

What's neat about this restaurant is that, before even entering, you walk up to a big pit filled with all different kinds of meat, and you simply point out which one you want. "Sauce?" they ask. If yes, they dunk it in a bucket of sauce (literally) and then toss it on a tray. You take your now-dripping-with-sauce tray inside where they cut it up for you and you pick out sides, etc. Instead of individual tables, Cooper's has long picnic tables where everyone eats on butcher paper and shares loaves of bread and various foodstuffs. It was way cool eating like this because people just start talking to you. And these are great, down to earth, real Texas people, the kind that make me feel at home.
It's a beautiful drive, too, through the Highland Lakes.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Kentucky Story in Birmingham Magazine

I have a story out this month in Birmingham Magazine. It's my first time to be in this publication, which is a lengthy, really well-done monthly. My story is on Lake Cumberland in Southeast Kentucky.

Here is my two-page spread. The pictures are all mine, too - I was happy they were able to use so many of them. It was really quite pretty there.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

TV Filming & Editor's Note Pictures

I spent the day down in H-Town yesterday, filming segments for a television show down there that I'm going to be doing every month. It was a pretty interesting experience. What's really interesting, though, is how much work goes in to it! So much, and then you get there, and boom! the segment is over!

I think it went pretty well, although I'm definitely curious to see what it looks like. Once we get videos, I'll post a link so you can check them out.
After I wrapped up the segments, we worked on getting my picture for the Editor's Note page. I had them snap some shots with my camera, too. Here are a couple of my favorites.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Texas Family - September/October 2007

The September/October issue of Texas Family Magazine is out. In this one, I have several pieces:
First, the main feature story is on Family Fun - how to bring fun in to the everyday. There really are some great ideas from my sources, especially one on how to make Saturday morning chores fun for the family!
For Deep in the Art of Texas, I wrote about the Creative Kids non-profit in El Paso. They do an amazing job of bringing art to the youth community, even going so far as to have art rooms for young cancer patients and for kids living in the projects.
In Talking Points, we address how to handle when parents have different parenting ideas, fighting between siblings, choosing a babysitter, and picking out kids' shoes.
Next time I post about a Texas Family issue, it will be my first as Editor in Chief! : )

Saturday, September 15, 2007

My Deepest Condolences

My good friend's mom has just passed away. My deepest condolences and prayers go to her and her family.
Today, instead of just asking of God, I am thanking him for all I have, especially my family.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


Do you ever have those times where you find yourself stepping away from everything and just letting all the goings-on in your head go round and round?
I think all the time, and I mean ALL the time, but sometimes it seems like I need only to think, for a while. I go in to a hibernation of sorts, and then in hours, days, or weeks ... I emerge, with either some kind of answer or conclusion, or a sense of order, or at least a better feeling inside as to my path within all the chaos. I seem to need to do it to center or balance myself, like it's something essential for me to continue to press forward. I know I'm somewhat more sensitive than many (I am a Crab, after all,) but it seems like it moves beyond that, too. More spiritual, perhaps?
It reminds me of about ten years ago when I read the "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" book. It talked about how men need to hibernate on occasion and how women should let them be when they do. It said men will come out of the cave on their own when they are ready, and all will be right again. We should let them come back to us, instead of pursuing them when they retreat, it said. I'm pretty obviously not a man, but perhaps it is similar:
All will be righted when my head peeks out of my shell, and I begin to walk toward the sand ...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Low Key Labor Day

It was a pretty low key Labor Day for me, which I guess is a good thing. No big news to report - I didn't win the lottery or finish my book or run off to Vegas and get married. I did steam clean my tile floors, and well, that is pretty exciting.
I did catch a significant portion of the "Murder, She Wrote" marathon on Hallmark Channel. Apparently, so did an awful lot of other people because I had a ton of hits on my blog for people searching for "Cabot Cove, Maine."
But, do they aspire in life to be a hybrid of Jessica Fletcher and Nancy Drew, like I do? That is the real question. :P

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Texas Coast Escape

I took a nice, little day trip down to the Texas coast this weekend. So much is happening down there as far as development goes. I guess that is both good and bad - I just hope there's at least one private spot left for me when I get to the place in life where I'm ready for it.
I got to stick my feet in the sand for a couple of hours, though.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Texas Family Developments

Just wanted to let you know of a few developments with Texas Family Magazine.
First of all, we are revamping our website. One part of that is we are looking for moms who would like to blog for us so if you're a mom ... and you have something to say ... you know who to contact!! Also, it turns out we have a My Space page, if you're in to that kind of thing and want to be "friends." ... Keep in mind they both are works in progress.
Also, we have issued a press release announcing my new role as Editor in Chief. For your reading pleasure, here is my quote: “I am thrilled to be in this role with Texas Family Magazine, a role where I can be instrumental in providing a positive and relevant influence on the Texas parents who work so hard to educate, support, and love their children,” says Shearer.
“As our magazine continues to move forward and become more dominant statewide, I hope to improve continually the quality of our information and the ways in which we present it. I am grateful, particularly as a native Texan, to be part of such a wonderfully independent and proud statewide community that respects its unity and its diversity. I will strive to match that Texas spirit and find ways to enhance it with each and every issue of Texas Family.”

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

O'Reilly Factor Tonight

* Ellen did great. I served as her make-up, hair, and moral support specialist! : ) Here is the link.

My good friend Ellen is going to be on "The O'Reilly Factor" tonight on FOX News. The show will air at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. Central Time. Ellen is the author of "Diary of a Dysfunctional Flight Attendant: The Queen of Sky Blog."

I'll be going with her this afternoon to the local Fox station for filming! Should be interesting!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Amelia Island Plantation, Florida

A couple of weekends ago, I visited Amelia Island Plantation, on the Northeast side of Florida, close to the Georgia border. It was beautiful, and while the resort itself is huge, the beaches are relatively quiet and not at all crowded.
The resort offers single family homes, condos, and hotel rooms. They also have shops, many restaurants, an awesome spa that takes a holistic, natural approach, a nature center, a fitness center, and lots and lots of activities, like horseback riding on the beach.
It was a nice research trip. Seems like a long time ago now, with all these new work responsibilities ...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Texas Family Magazine Editor in Chief

I have some big news! Really big news!!

I have been named the new Editor in Chief for Texas Family Magazine! I have been writing for TFM since the premiere issue and have been an Associate Editor there for about a year. Being Editor in Chief will bring many new responsibilities and will be both an opportunity and a challenge for me. The first issue I will handle in this position will be the November/December issue -- so look for it! I am very excited and am so looking forward to bringing my ideas to the publication. Expect great things!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Austin Sunshine Camps

The summer, it seems, already is drawing to a close, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention an organization I have worked with quite a bit this year. It is the Austin Sunshine Camps, which are funded and run by the Young Men's Business League. Every year, they put close to a thousand at-risk and disadvantaged kids through a week-long, overnight summer camp. Filled with lots of fun activities, this really is these kids' only opportunity to have this kind of experience.

Each week a new batch of kids would come to the camps, all excited, some a little scared to be away from home. I volunteered twice with each group, helping with Carnival Nights and Canoe Nights. For Carnival Nights, I somewhat commandeered the face painting booth (first, out of a fear of being put near the dunking booth, then just because I liked it so much.) We painted rainbows, hearts, butterflies, and many, many other designs and had a lot of fun doing it. Canoe nights were fun, too. And dirty. Especially when the water guns, paddle splashing, and seaweed fights took place. It was like a little bit of kid fun for all us adults!

I really admire all the efforts of the so many people who choose to make a difference in children's lives through this organization. It has been a great experience for me, and from seeing the older kids who have been through the program, a great experience and learning tool for thousands and thousands of kids. I hope they continue to be able to impact so many children. While volunteering is strong, they are greatly in need of a new building to house the campers and to host their year-round Leadership Program, and I hope they soon find a way to make that happen.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

More Stories

Some new stories of mine are out this August - A Coastal Maine family travel story is in Connecticut Parent, an article about instilling Work Ethic in kids is in Baltimore's Child, and a "Back to School Stress Busters" story is in Sonoma Family Life.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Best in Texas - Candy Coburn

For this month's Best in Texas Music Magazine, I profiled Candy Coburn. Candy is who I appropriated the term "31derful" from. It was quite timely that I interviewed her the week before my 31st birthday!

The story can be read through August here.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Personality ... For Fun

Results from a personality test ...
You have a tender heart, but you know how to establish and keep personal boundaries. You are empathetic and compassionate, but you also believe that it's best if people solve their own problems and learn to take care of themselves, if they are able.You are deeply moved by the needs of others, but you know that if you don't take good care of yourself, you'll wind up being of no use to anyone. So yours is a thoughtful compassion. You strive to be fair and sensible, taking care of others while also taking care of yourself.When someone really is in trouble, you like to collaborate with them toward a solution; they do their part, you do yours. You consider carefully, and respond in a sensible way; they do their part, and together you move through the difficulty. You seldom act impulsively; rather, when a problem arises, you take your time to think through the situation. This contemplative quality usually means that you'll arrive at a diplomatic solution, one that's fair for the other person and also fair to you. It's frequently a win/win situation.

Everybody knows they can count on you to do what you promise to do, be where you say you'll be "on time" and finish what you start. If you say you'll chair the committee, you'll come with an agenda and a clear outline of the tasks to be accomplished, give everyone a chance to speak their minds, and then call for a vote on each issue, schedule the next meeting, hand out assignments and adjourn at the appointed time. You like order and discipline, and use these to methodically accomplish whatever goals you have set for yourself and for others. And you have a strong sense of obligation if you accept responsibility, you are proactive; you take it on with a single-minded commitment, as if you've pledged your allegiance to the assigned task. People know that they can depend on you. Your personal life is also one of order and discipline. You are likely to have a pretty firm schedule, and to stick to it. You make time for your friends, but not at the expense of your work duties. You can be talkative and funny in social situations, but seldom out of control. In fact, you are pretty careful; you seldom, if ever, cross the line into impulsive behavior, and you are even careful to control how much of your inner world you disclose, even to your close friends. You keep yourself in check because you don't want whatever mess might be inside you to leak out into conversation or make a mess of a relationship. There are things to accomplish in life, both at work and in your social world, and you don't want to let unnecessary clutter hamper your drive to get all of it done, and done well.

You think like an artist. Or better, you SEE like an artist. While most people look at life's straight lines, its height and depth and width, you're bending the lines with your imagination and turning black and white into shades of blue and yellow. You can, if you must, think in conventional ways. But left on your own, you'll usually opt for the eccentric or avant-garde; in fact you're usually bored with what everyone else is comfortable with. You learn from reading, talking, watching people and other fauna and flora, and simply sitting in the soft chair of your mind. You are out in front of conventional ideas, bravely originally defining true and false, right and wrong, the good, the bad and the ugly.

You are an emotional person. Your emotions are closer to the surface, and your feelings more obvious to you than is the case with most people. You've got your life in a good place, your dominant mood is upbeat, and unless life has been particularly trying for you, you greatly enjoy the richness and intensity of life that being so open with your emotions brings you. Sure there are times when your feelings come very close to the surface, and life becomes more complicated. At these times you may grow self-conscious, or feel a bit anxious. But all in all, you much prefer being open with your emotions, breathing in all that life offers, than shutting down any part of your emotional experience. Granted, there may be times when these emotions are hard but you realize that is part of life. And more often than not you feel enriched by your emotions, by your ability to be open to all that life brings you. You know that even when you have those times that get you down, there will be even more times when you see life in ways that others just can't.

Lucky you! You enjoy your own company as much as you enjoy the company of others. You are a great conversationalist and thrive in the wonderful kinds of connections you know how to have with your family and friends. You also equally enjoy your own company, whether sitting in a favorite chair with your book and soft music playing or meandering in the woods by yourself. You like coming home to your family or your roommate; but if no one is home, you find quiet, solitary time to be just as pleasurable. Because you are so amiable and relaxed, you are comfortable with almost any group of family or friends. Whether they are pumped up and lively or calm and subdued, you remain at ease. If someone needs to take over the conversation, you are comfortable taking the lead; you can also lay back and let someone else be in charge. If the conversation gets rowdy, your moderate demeanor will often draw it down to a more temperate level. If someone in the group loses their cool, you will most likely maintain your poise, and if they get nasty you know how to keep a civil tongue. You may find yourself out of balance on occasion. If you're alone too much, you may need to get in touch with someone. If you spend too much time with your family and friends, you may need to sneak off for a day by yourself, to putter and read and clear your head of the noise of too much conversation. When you're at your best, you live with a rhythm of time with others, time alone, time with others, time alone It's a satisfying, comfortable balance.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Oscar the Nursing Home Cat

* And then sometimes it's the other way around. I just picked up "Tiger," an adorable gray and white boy cat with the most beautiful, clear green eyes, off of the street in front of my house. I laid him down in the grass in a sleeping pose for his owners to hopefully find him.
I really could have done without that tonight.

Did you guys see this story on Oscar, the cat? It's an interesting little aside.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Texas Family Magazine - July/August 2007

The July/August issue of Texas Family Magazine is on newsstands. This is the first issue in which I've taken over and revamped the "Talking Points" section. It's designed to be smaller blocks of information that answer parents' potential questions. In this issue, experts talk about same sex schooling, kids and sleep, how to handle parents' closed-door private time, and dealing with the inevitable, "But my friend gets to do it!"
I also write an extensive article on back to school and offer suggestions for prepping for this busy time of year.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Maine Story - Western New York Family

My "Exploring Coastal Maine" story is out in Western New York Family. I have a lot of posts from my trip there so for a reminder, it's probably easiest to check October 2006 and November 2006.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Birthday Party

My birthday party was lovely! And so much fun! I was very happy that so many of my friends were able to attend. They surprised me with a cake Ellen had brought by earlier in the day, and the band that was playing wished me a happy birthday as it came out! It was just a great, great time. I really appreciate every one of my friends!
Thirty one is an awful lot of candles to blow out, though!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Turning 31derful

Today is my birthday. I'll be 31derful for the whole next year, and I plan to make it a good one! ... And a lucky one! And a happy one! And a fruitful one!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Dan Crump - Best in Texas

A new story I wrote for Best in Texas Music Magazine is out - this one featuring singer and songwriter Dan Crump. Through the end of July, the story can be read here.

In addition to our interview, I was lucky enough to see Dan perform, along with band member Stacy Bridges, at Austin's Hill's Cafe.

Not surprisingly, we found our way to some shenanigans. Why are we standing behind a Radio Cow, you ask? Because what else would you do with a Radio Cow, silly!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Touring Albuquerque on a Segway

Albuquerque was the main destination I visited recently, doing research for future articles. And, while I take my work very seriously, I guess it also could be said that I like to have a good time, in the theme of "whistle while you work" and all that. I definitely had a good time when I rode a Segway around downtown Albuquerque. It was a great way to get to know the area and to check out the famed Route 66.

If you've never ridden a Segway, chances are you would find it to be a lot of fun, although riding one is a little more physically involved than it looks. You use your core to balance back and forth, and you bend at the knees a lot to take on bumps. That being said, it's not hard to get the hang of it and feel confident. Before we knew it, we were feeling (over) confident enough to perform our version of Swan Lake for a set of onlookers. In retrospect, however, it perhaps was a little more like The Ugly Duckling ... ;)

Sunday, July 01, 2007

I'd Love to Be a Horrible Warning

I updated my "Hot Time in Acoma Pueblo - New Mexico" and "Up Bright and Early! My Hot Air Balloon Ride" posts within themselves to keep everything in one place. Please read more at each one.

And to leave you with an additional thought, I came across an awesome quote. It's another one of those I wish I had thought of first. I believe it belongs to writer Catherine Aird, whose work I don't know ... yet. "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning."

Of course, I'd shorten it to "If you can't be a good example, be a horrible warning." Gives it more punch. Regardless, this definitely falls in line with my "When I grow up, I want to be ornery" theme. ; ) ... I'm thinking exasperating would be good, too.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Convince Me I Don't Have Ghosts

* I'll add that Snickers has been acting really, really weird lately. She has her ears perked back, and she doesn't relax, which is quite unusual for my "Fiddle Dee Dee, Let Me Lounge in the Most Relaxed Position Possible" cat. A friend even found her whimpering on top of the kitchen cabinets, and she hasn't gone up there since we first moved in. It would have to be something unusual for her to act this way - she didn't freak out when she, me, and Meeko saw Snowball's spirit.
Honestly, I don't really think this instance is ghosts, or (what I really mean,) spirits. With spirits, there's no doubting what you've just encountered. I'm just using this convenient excuse because I'm not happy to have everything break at once, especially when I don't have time to deal with it.
I thoroughly intend to update you all on my most recent trip, but first I must tend to a more immediate need - trying to keep everything I own from breaking.
Convince me I don't have ghosts. Within the past two weeks I have developed these electrical problems: my kitchen light halfway or halfway and a half or not at all turns on and new bulbs don't fix it, my weedeater battery charger "died," a new weedeater battery charger I bought to replace it doesn't work either - even on a new battery - and at different outlets - numerous light bulbs burned out (this one certainly could be coincidence,) and now my television is turning itself off. My television! And just when I discovered "Murder, She Wrote" is now on at night!
Spirits have gotten me messages much simpler ways ... and I won't freak you out by telling you how, but I wish they wouldn't try to rock the boat so much. In the meantime, I guess I'll be reading up on electricity. Ugh. Like, 98 percent of the time, I'm happy I'm still single - but this is one of those times I'd prefer a guy around, especially a handy one. Seriously. I'm not so good at playing the damsel in distress so maybe this is a way of forcing my hand. Yippee.

Friday, June 22, 2007

"Up" Bright & Early! My Hot Air Balloon Ride

* Yes, I am in a hot air balloon! It was GREAT!! It’s really like floating. We just started drifting upward as smooth as can be, and then before I knew it, I was 3,000 feet in the air!
I was a little worried I’d get a.) scared or b.) motion sick, but neither materialized. It is a little scary, though, to recognize you are standing in a basket – a wicker basket – and that only wicker is standing between you and an awful lot of freefalling. The basket maybe came up to the bottom of my rib cage, and with no safety net, you can bet I was holding tight on to my camera!
When we arrived – at 5:30 a.m. – we were treated to seeing them inflate the balloon. I’m happy to report we had the prettiest one of all that morning! : ) This last picture is a view looking up in to the balloon.

Definitely a different way to greet the 6 a.m. hour!
Any idea what I'm "up" to?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Hot Time in Acoma Pueblo - New Mexico

* This is indeed Acoma Pueblo, also called Sky City, just west of Albuquerque, New Mexico. And it indeed was very, very hot. I think I had almost melted by the time this picture was taken. The views, however, are beautiful!
The Pueblo was a remarkable mix of old and new – brand new, shiny pickup trucks stood next to dingy, wooden outhouses (there is no running water.) Only 10 to 15 families live there year round, but most of the 3,500 tribal members stay there on occasion. The houses are adobe, with some dating back to the 1400’s! Something very different from what we are accustomed to is that a house is never sold. It is passed down from family members or else abandoned. They are a matrilineal people, but only men serve on their council so they seem to have a balance that works for them. I was told that if a couple splits up, tradition holds that the woman puts the man’s clothes and the man’s saddle outside the door, and that is all he gets!

Hmmm ... wonder where I've been?

Here are some hints:
I spent a very hot but very illuminating afternoon here, where I learned about a Native American tribe. These pictures are from their settlement, which is the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in North America. It is perched on a 70-acre sandstone mesa rising 367 feet above the valley floor.

The pottery is just a small portion of the beautiful pieces crafted by tribal members.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Thinking Blogger

I've been meaning to announce that I have been named a "Thinking Blogger" by one of my loyal readers, El Jefe Maximo, who, when he first found me, scored major points simply by his name choice. Of course, his wit and love for his subject matters have brought me to his site, Kingdom of Chaos, ever since.

Here's what he had to say about me: "If you want to get away for awhile from the rantings of political gasbags, airplanes and things that go boom, have a look at Candidly Caroline. Caroline writes from Austin, a town I’m rather attached to, possibly because of my days there in connection with a certain Large Orange institution. Well, Caroline went to the Other Place, but writes thoughtfully on Austin, music, kiddos, romance, food and other things without which life would be dull indeed." Thanks so much to Jefe for including me!

I've thought about how much thinking really goes on here at Candidly Caroline. In my real life, I'm nothing but a thinker. I think, think, think all the time. When I'm done thinking, I move on to analyzing and juxtaposing and imagining. Then, I think again. Then, I sleep and dream, and there is even more thinking. But - most of that doesn't ever make it public. I'm glad that apparently at least some of that comes through in my posts, though, so you all can get a peek at who I am.

If that makes you curious, just wait until you read the book I'm working on - then you'll all really know how my mind works!