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Thursday, December 17, 2009

The truth about YoVille

I'm addicted to Facebook games. There, I said it. That's the first step to recovery right?

What I'm really trying to do is manage the time I spend on such applications. They are fun, and they are stress relieving. But like with any other electronic toy or activity you can spend too much time on it.

So "they" say.

Maybe I'm just bowing to the pressure from the pious folks who claim they've never ever succumbed to a Facebook request to send a drink or poke someone, much less play a game. On FB, they grouse about such folks as I. Some columnists in the paper even call the millions of people playing FB games "losers."


Hmmm. A recent study showed that playing games like Bejeweled, which apparently requires the use of both sides of your brain relieves stress. Considering our current economic state, two wars and the ever-growing concerns about climate change, I'd say relieving stress is a pretty darn good idea.

And, I have another theory on some of the games like Farmville and Yoville. Farmville and Farmtown allow us to escape to a simplier time. We plant, we grow, we harvest and all is well. Ever notice there are no droughts or hail storms to wipe out your crops in Farmville?

This past year when I was first kicking off the freelance gigs and was making only enough to pay the basic bills, it was a tough adjustment from the substantial salary from the year before. Savings were dwindling, so there was no "shopping" or money for Starbucks even. We went from a gorgeous pool house to house sitting other folks' gorgeous homes while our stuff sat in storage.

It was hard. Then, I discovered Yoville. In this virtual world, I could spend as much money as I wanted. I lived in a nice loft, so I spent time decorating. I learned to increase my fortunes. Then I bought a beach house, and then a nice house in the suburbs. It was only later in the year that I realized that this virtual game had helped me survive a year with little shopping and not having my own home.

I still occasionally play the game. I never let it consume me, but I think it was an important piece to my emotional well-being this past year.

The truth about Yoville and all games is that if it helps you cope, then play. The only "losers" in my book are the people who think they are superior to the rest of humanity.

For the rest of us humans, I'll see you in Yoville...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dear Santa

I realize my list is a bit early this year. I'm usually a procrastinator and wait until the last minute. But I need to get a head start on the gift requests this year because I don't know where I might be come Christmas. So you might have to plan for early delivery. Thank you.

This year I want:

To quit wasting my time growing virtual fruits and vegetables and more time growing the real thing.

A full-time job for my husband who desperately needs one for his own mental well-being.

A permanent abode filled with my furniture and stuff, preferably with a large workshop/studio area (see below.)

For 60 pounds to magically drop off my body and 10 years off my face -- you can do that right? You having that Christmas magic and all?

To spend more time on my writing. There's so many books in my head, now just need to get them to paper.

More time with friends.

More time alone with my hubby.

And now the greedy list:

Tickets to MLB GAMES

A Table Saw

A jig saw

A router

An easel

A great video camera.

Of course, if you could give me the winning numbers for the next maga-jackpot lottery, then I'd take care of the rest of the list.

Thanks Santa, I'm looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Every Sunday morning growing up, I would be in church. The Southern Baptist preacher would have a scary fire and brimstone message, but the hymns were always more gentle -- well all but that "washed in the blood" one -- a visual concept a little too real for most kids.

I've always found a great comfort in hymns. And, anytime we move and we have to find a new church home, I always listen to its music.

A lackluster performance by the congregation who mumbles instead of sings, usually indicates a church in need of spiritual renewal. That's not a fact -- just my opinion.

Whether at home or in church, I always feel closer to God, when I've sung a few hymns praising His glory. Hymns that remind me of those long ago Sundays. I guess it's just my concept of "worship."

So regardless of what your faith is -- sing on my brothers and sisters. Sing on.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sharks and Sunsets

Nothing is more relaxing than enjoying a beautiful Florida sunset.

My husband was also fishing fromt the beach -- one of his favorite things to do aside from drinking wine or beer while he watches the sunset. He was excited when he felt a bite and was struggling to get the fish on to the shore. It must be a big one!

It wasn't until the fish jumped as he reeled it in that he saw the reason behind the exhilarating fun in pulling it in. He had landed a black tip shark. Small - a baby- about 18 inches long. Long enough and strong enough that we had a hard time getting it off the hook. Even small sharks bite.

We finally got it off and carefully put it back in the water.

No one wanted to wade into the water after that, so we finished off the evening by sitting in the beach chairs and drinking our beer.

Fun, yes. Relaxing...not so much.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Yesterday, I did something spontaneous. We've always wanted to go and had never been to see a launch in person. So, we loaded up and made it just in time. It was a cloudy day, so the shuttle soon disappeared. It was still cool.

Sometimes, it's nice to make "someday" today.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

One month to live

What would you do if you found out you had one month to live? I'm reading a book right now that challenges people to examine their lives and live life to the fullest.

On Day 5, it's got me thinking.

So, what five things would you change if you knew you only had one month to live.

I'll share more next time.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

New blog -- like I don't have enough to do

Just thought I'd share this other project. I'm getting emails from folks submitting their stories, so it should be fun.

In the meantime, this will continue to be my writing palette.

But check this out, share your own story:

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Can someone hit pause, already

Someone started talking to me about April Fool's Day, this past week. What? "You plan early," I said.

Nope, it's next week.

This year is going too fast, so can someone please hit pause?!

Monday, February 09, 2009

and a half....

Did you ever ask a child their age? If so, you probably got a "Five (anywhere from here to age 18) and a half," or "Almost six" as a response.

Ask an adult. You're not going to get the "...and a half" add on unless it's a 99 year-old waiting for a milestone birthday.

Definitely not from me. Because in a few days, I'll BE another year older. I don't want to add halves or any other number to that. Yes, I know the alternative is worse, but the shine has worn off the old AARP card and the discounts just aren't that great.

So, I'll stick to a slight nod and acknowledgement of the day and the jump in numbers and move on. No sense in dwelling on it.

Of course, I still want presents.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Taking the path of opportunity

A fellow co-worker and I are both going to lose -- or rather I should say -- our jobs are going to end next week.

Panic is setting in a bit, but we've also been discussing the options - the possibilities - of being able to decide where to go next.

If the traditional job is not open, I'll probably go work whereever, save some money and then finally take the hubby up on the plan to buy or rent an RV and head out across the country. See things we haven't seen before.

I've never seen the Grand Canyon. My husband has never seen the Colorado Rockies. We both want to go to Boston. I've never been to L.A. (the airport doesn't count.) I want to show him where I lived in Montana years before we met.

We've also toyed with the idea of getting some work visas and living in Europe for a while. I'd like to see the place he lived before we met. I'd like to see the Eifel Tower and eat Italian food in Italy, kiss the Blarney stone. The list goes on.

Maybe it takes us back to the bucket list, but there's a lot of things we haven't seen. A lot of things we haven't experienced.

I'll likely start with Mardi Gras next month. I've never been and I've always wanted to go. So I'm going.

In Florida, I've been lucky to have worked a job for the past 18 months that allowed me to travel all over the state. But there's still a lot of things on the list.

So, not getting a full-time job might just be a blessing in disguise. I'll keep you posted on our next adventure.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I've thought long and hard today amid the festivities of the inauguration about change and history.

It's hard to put into words. I think, I, as a person of color, never realized just how much the election of President Obama meant to the Black community until I attended the Florida Classic in November. It was there, I realized the enormity of the outcome of the election.

I'm Hispanic and I was thrilled that someone other than a gray haired white man was going to be leading the nation -- I'll admit that. Though, I generally base my vote on whom I think will actually make a good difference.

I was a late bloomer as it were to the Obama camp. I think it wasn't actually until he had sewn up the nomination and I heard him speak in Tampa that he actually convinced me that he was the man for the job. By that point, really, it was a matter of McCain convincing me that the maverick I once knew no longer existed.

But I digress. I realized how much Obama meant when I started thinking of the history of black America. I share part of that history because Jim Crow laws often affected me and my parents too. To be told that you are not good enough to stay at the same hotel, eat at the same cafe, go to the same school and overcome that to become President of the United States of America -- that's monumental.

So today, I shed a few tears alongside those in the Capitol Mall. I shed a few tears of joy.

It's been a long time coming. That does not mean Barack gets a pass. I expect him to keep campaign promises. In fact, maybe I expect a bit more. Because the pride, the expectations, the honor of many Americans are riding on his shoulders.

Don't let us down.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Be all that you can be...

I'm sitting in my car, behind a long line of other cars waiting my turn to pay the toll and whoosh...speedy fellow flies by under the SunPass sign. Wow, I've always wanted to be one of those people who have a Sun Pass (insert any other toll pass name here). But I don't use the toll roads enough to warrant the hassle.

Maybe it doesn't matter. Don't you ever just want to do things, well just because you always wanted to try it.

Things ilke being the people dressed in glitz and black for a swanky night out who show up and use the valet at a restaurant or event?

I've always wanted to be person who leaves the comfort of home behind and lives in a Europe just for the experience.

How about being the adventurous type and taking up scuba diving or skydiving?

Sometimes all it takes is a little courage.

Not too long ago, I convinced my hubby to get dressed up in his suit and I donned a beautiful dress that I had snatched off the clearance rack at a very expensive store. We looked fabulous. We went to one of the most expensive restaurants around, fell in line in our dusty PT Cruiser behind the Mercedes and BMWs and handed the valet our keys -- "never mind that book bag, just move it aside. Sorry about the sticky stuff on the gear shift -- it's just gummy bears."

We sipped our water and read the menu -- then we ordered appetizers and a glass of wine each. It was fun and delicious. We sat on the patio and watched the moon rising over the gulf, listening to the conversations around us. We laughed and had a great time.

I often hear people say, "oh, I've heard that's a great restaurant, but it's way to expensive." Don't let it be. You don't break the bank and feel guilty afterward. Have an appetizer; or coffee and desert if you don't want to carelessly blow a huge amount of money on one dinner.

Use, the good china. Dance under the stars in your back yard. Take risks. That's my motto this week.

I've been letting stress paralyze me for a couple of weeks, but the past few days I began to remember that you can only let it paralyze you -- it doesn't happen on its own.

So, now, we're seriously plotting a possible jaunt for three months to "live and work" in Europe later this year -- hey, what better time than when you don't have jobs to tie you down?!

And, I'm buying that Sun Pass today.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Calgon take me away

Did you ever have one of those days? Well, the first week of 2009 has been one of those days.

I'm stressed to the max because my job is ending on Jan. 31 -- I did get a reprieve it was scheduled to end the last week in December. Hubby's job with the campaign ended the end of November. We've both been job hunting nonstop. Nothing. Nada.

Scary stuff folks. Here we are two people, each with two college degrees and we will have no job. Can we survive? Sure. But we'll have to cut back -- way back. That also means we might have to move to a cheaper house.

This wasn't supposed to happen to us.

And, I know that things will look up. We'll probably both find jobs soon and I'll be worried that the sky is falling unnecessarily. But for now, those fears seem very real.

Coupled with that some other family stress stuff that I can't talk about, only to say it's those we love the most who often break our hearts.

This too shall pass.

Thanks for listening guys. Thanks.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

How many days til Spring Training?

Feb. 12. Yep. That soon. Kiss the Christmas tree and cookies goodbye and start thinking spring training.

This will be the first year St. Petersburg won't have a team here for Spring Training, but fortunately, Sarasota, Vero Beach, Charlotte etc aren't too far. I'm thankful that Florida has managed to keep a few teams despite the mass exodus of baseball clubs to Arizona.

I've been to Arizona in February -- not fun. They get dust storms and temps range from cold to hot -- so I don't understand it.

But money talks I guess. As it is now, the Orioles are still shopping and negotiating with cities to come up with bucks for renovations and such at ball parks. In this tight economic environment, municipalities are digging deep to compete and keep some of the revenue generated by crazy people like me who count day the days til Spring Training.

Should be a fun year in Tampa Bay since we managed to have a team in the Series this year!

Come on down Yankees -- opening day -- should be fun.