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Archive for August, 2010

August Blog Wrap-up

August 31st, 2010 4 comments

Another month draws to an end, bringing us even closer to year end. School has started, signaling the end of summer. I’ve found Sam Adams Oktoberfest on tap and in the stores, signifying Fall’s approach and it elicited squeals of delight from me. (It’s my favorite seasonal brew!) Pre-season football has already taken to the airwaves, and tailgaters are making lists of things needed for the best game day festivities.

Here at Musician’s Widow, August has brought the best blog stats yet, and I thank everyone for the support and reading. I can proudly say I successfully posted every day this month, and I plan to continue that trend forward. It feels good to tackle the challenge of a new post every day, and I think its become enough of a habit and need that it won’t be any trouble keeping it up.

I thought I’d take a moment to share some of my stats for August:

Just over 1,075 page views.

Other than my Home and About Me pages, specific blog posts with the most hits include:

Music business techniques that can be applied in other businesses
Show Stories – Groupie?

At-home pampering

The most common search terms that landed visitors to this blog include:

music business
nashville tennessee cma fest crowd downtown
i love school supplies

Weekly Winners will continue, as well as Show Stories. I already have a lot of blog posts in mind to come soon! Goal for September is to continue increasing my page views and blog popularity.

Thank you to everyone for any feedback you’ve given to me, and I welcome more to post comments. Feedback teaches me what people like and don’t like, but it is also like food for the writer’s soul. I welcome dialogue, and I am always open for suggestions on posts! Is there something you’d like for me to explain and discuss in here? Feel free to let me know! And, again, thanks!!

Categories: site-stats Tags: ,

Are you a cat or a dog person?

August 30th, 2010 2 comments

Dog vs Cat -- a scene from my house this weekend

This last weekend I had both a dog and a cat in my house. Growing up, I always considered myself a “dog person” with a dislike for cats. That dislike probably came more from others not liking cats than any real opinion of my own, because once I got my first cat… I began to discover a “cat person” in myself.

This weekend confirmed the transformation was complete. I am without a doubt a cat person.

A cat you can leave for a day without any concern. As long as they have food, water, a litter box and maybe a toy or two, they’re good to go. Self-sufficient, they are. A dog, though, you have to take out and walk. There’s no leaving them for more than a few hours! I also discovered a need for constant attention. This is just something I can’t do working from home. Working Friday ended up being a total bust, and I chalked it up to a life lesson kind of a day.

Anyone who knows me, though, knows those life lesson days usually end up with my doing research and learning about whatever phenomenon I’ve run into. So, I did a quick Google search for “dog or cat personalities” and stumbled upon an article summarizing research done by the (*gulp*) University of Texas in Austin into this exact idea — a difference in the personalities of dog and cat owners.

The article found:

  • Dog people were generally about 15 percent more extraverted, 13 percent more agreeable and 11 percent more conscientious than cat people.
  • Cat people were generally about 12 percent more neurotic and 11 percent more open than dog people.

So, based on those findings, I’m neurotic, disagreeable, not very conscientious and open. Makes perfect sense to me. Describes me to a T.

Or not.

For me, being a cat person is more about the fact that I want a pet companion, but my schedule is just not structured enough to have a dog. I need a pet that I can snuggle with now and then (especially when the husband is on the road), but that I can also not have to worry about being upended by a sudden change in plans. (Plus, if I am gone for a few days, I only have to worry about finding someone to check the cat every other day at most, versus a friend having to make a daily commitment to the task.) Yes, I want the protection that only a dog can provide, but ultimately the frustration I’ve felt having to care for a dog has made that want a little less important. I’ll stick with my checking the locks every night, keeping a head’s up about my surroundings, and just using my head in every situation in front of me.

So, hello world. I’m Denise. I am a cat person.

(I can hear my brother groaning now.)

Weekly Winners (Aug. 22 – 28)

August 29th, 2010 24 comments

Weekly Winners is a fun little thing bloggers do to showcase some of their favorite photos from the previous week. It is brought to you, me and everyone by the lovely Lotus, aka Sarcastic Mom. Visit her site and find all the participants. See some amazing photos brought to you by bloggers around the world. Leave a little love when you do — its like food for the soul!

Weekly Winners

Oktoberfest

It's Beer-thirty!

Retro Camera :: Out for a drive

Out on an evening drive.

Retro Camera :: Barn

Old Barn

Retro Camera :: Weeping willow

I stopped to see the weeping willow...

Retro Camera :: Full Moon

Full moon peeking through the trees.

Oktoberfest

Suds in my mug...

Sunset on I-24

Sunset over I-24.

Screen door reflections

Reflection in my backdoor.

Flip flops, pink toe nails

Flip flops and pink toenails.

♥ ♥ ♥

All photos taken using my HTC Droid Incredible. I used the Retro Camera Application on a few of them for an old look to the image.  View all of my photos available on my Flickr stream.

Only kind of a pack rat…

August 28th, 2010 4 comments

I’m sitting here watching one of the latest episodes of the show Hoarders. The show shines a light on an issue that I think more people deal with than any of us realize. I would have never have called myself a hoarder, exactly, but I think I could have been considered something of a “packrat” at times.

Five years ago this weekend, Hurricane Katrina made landfall and caused extensive damage in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. I worked at a newspaper at that time, so I went back into my archive of articles written while I worked there. Ironically, the way our schedule landed, my column for two days after Katrina hit was entitled, “Cleaning out the clutter.”

An excerpt from that column:

I’m a packrat, and I admit it. I have a lot of STUFF in boxes all over the place, and I’ve recently began a massive project of going through all the boxes with the hopes of throwing things out.

I’m not doing too bad, as bag count has now hit around seven in this on-going project. Five of those bags were thrown out this last weekend.

Is there really any reason to still have a dress code for the school district I attended from 1987? What about a coupon for a free pizza that expired in 1998?

I have no idea how all of this stuff has accumulated over the last 25 years, but it has. My need to save everything under the sun is quickly going out the door along with a receipt for CDs purchased back in 1995.

[Read the full article here]

I think my biggest problem is my need to save receipts and statements. I’ll end up saving them for years and then doing  a mass shred/clean-up like the one I wrote about in that column. The problem is that I don’t save them in files. I have a great filing system set up! I just don’t USE it properly. It all goes in a box that then ends up in a bigger box that then gets shoved in a closet or under a desk.

I do have a method to my madness… generally. My husband tolerates it, but I know he’d rather see more paper clutter get out of the house all together. I’m trying to consciously change here and there to make my collection of receipts, etc. diminish.

I have a lot of books collected. I still have most of my college text books that some days I think I should have tossed. But I’ve recently discovered a need for some of those books. I’ve wanted to go back and re-study things I learned in college, and I am glad to still have those around.

I don’t buy CDs much any more. I do if it benefits a friend, but otherwise I’ve moved away from that. I’m still proud, though, of my nice CD collection. They’re all pretty old by now. Several of them I am sure are scratched. But they are fun to have to show how my musical tastes have changed over the years.

Past that, I have a few boxes of random items that I don’t need, but I’ve just never been able to bring myself to throw away. It’s these random items that makes me feel compassion towards the people on the show Hoarders. Sometimes, you can’t explain it… you just want to save something.

I don’t think I could ever be a full fledged Hoarder. If anything, over the last few years I’ve grown to love keeping things neat. I like to clean out my closet every few months. I have found a peace over my home exists when things are kept in good shape.  I can’t imagine living in a state of constant clutter, in a state of constantly being dirty. I need to vacuum. I need to sweep and mop.

I am a paper-clutter-pack-rat. And I admit that. But I vow its never going to go anywhere past that.

Friday night lights

August 27th, 2010 5 comments

High School FootballI live a few blocks away from a high school, and in the fall we can listen to football games being played from our backyard. Tonight, I have my windows open and I’m listening to a combination of the football announcer, the band playing and crickets chirping. Guy Fieri and Diners, Drive-ins and Dives flashes across my almost-muted TV.

This is a fairly typical Friday night for me these days, but back in high school Fridays made for long days.

I was in the marching band, first as a flute player then later as a member of the colorguard. Friday nights meant game time. There’s a reason why all the high school football movies are set in Texas. There’s a rabid love for the game at the high school level that I just truly don’t think anywhere else can duplicate. There’s a passion and a love for football across the country, but its definitely amped up a notch or two down there.

In my hometown, I think we lived for football season. It’s when the town came to life. It’s when there was a little extra pride to be found in everyone’s eyes.

As I said, Fridays were long days for me during football season. I lived in the country, which meant when school let out, I almost never went home between school and game-time. There just wasn’t enough time to make it a worthwhile trip. Many times I would leave home around 7:30 am, and I’d not return home until well after midnight (if it was an away game). But that didn’t matter. I ran on an adrenaline that no cup of coffee could ever recreate.

It was all about the lights and the field. It was about the war that was going to be waged goal line to goal line. It was the sound of the band and the smell of the popcorn. It was the little kids watching with glowing eyes; some day they’d play the game or be the cheerleader. It’s the socializing side of the night, when friends would get together and gossip about their week. It was the parents watching with pride (and the mothers watching with a little big of fear). It was the sound of the announcer’s voice booming over the speakers.

“TOUCHDOWN!!”

Eventually, though, we all graduate. We play our last game. March our last half-time show. Cheer our last cheer. Sing our school song with arms around our classmates for the last time. We close that chapter of our lives and we all move on…

…until we hear that announcer across a quiet late-summer/early-fall night. We hear the horns and the drums and the clash of helmets. And if only for three or hour hours we go back to those high school glory-days and let today’s worries and stresses get washed away.

It’s the magic of the Friday night lights, and I, for one, am glad they are back.

Bucket List Forward

August 26th, 2010 12 comments

I have a confession to make. I’m tapped out of ideas for today’s blog post. So I admit, I am totally cheating here. I got one of those “bucket list” forwards today, where its a list of random things and you put and X in front of the things you’ve done, then forward it on to others.

So, I though perhaps I would take that forward apart tonight and analyze it from my point of view…

( ) Shot a shot gun — I used to shoot my brother’s BB Gun! But, I do hope to some day get my concealed handgun permit and have one.

( ) Gone on a blind date — Nope! Didn’t date much before hubby, to be honest.

( ) Skipped school — Not on purpose. I missed a couple classes in college due to weather and/or over sleeping. But as for skipping school just to skip? Never did.

( ) Watched someone die — I am sure my time will come, and hopefully it’ll be a peaceful moment. But for now, having watched my cat die last month was enough.

127: Flying home( ) Visited Canada — Not yet, but perhaps some day! I know a lot of Canadians that I really like!

( ) Visited Alaska — The only state my husband has not yet visited. I would love to possibly some day do one of those Alaskan cruises. My aunt has taken one. So has my father-in-law.

( ) Visited Cuba — Not even on my radar.

( ) Visited Europe — YES YES YES I want to do this. This is literally on my bucket list.

( ) Visited South America — Not on my radar either.

(X) Visited Las Vegas — Can’t wait to go back! We have dear friends that live there that we’ve not seen in far too long. Hopefully sooner rather than later for us to get out that way again.

( ) Visited Mexico — Born and raised in Texas; never been to Mexico. I could be persuaded to go to certain areas of it, though.

(X) Visited Florida — I feel weird checking this because I was so young when I went that I don’t remember it at all. But, I suppose it counts. We have dear friends in Florida as well, so I suspect a road trip that direction will happen soon.

(X) Seen the Grand Canyon — I’ve seen it from an airplane. It counts, dang it! But, I would actually love to see it up close and really take it in.

(X) Flown on a plane — I’m a pro at it at this point.

( ) Served on a Jury — I had a jury summons, but a stomach virus that day sidelined me.

(X) Been lost — Seriously, if you’ve never been lost, you’ve not yet started to live.

(X) Traveled to the opposite side of the country — My husband is from Oregon. Love going up there!!

( ) Visited Washington, DC — Some day.

(X ) Swam in the Ocean — I’ve swam in the Gulf of Mexico, but that soooo doesn’t count. But I have gotten my feet wet in the Pacific Ocean in Oregon, which was incredible, but what was REALLY cool was swimming in the Pacific in Hawaii!

(X) Cried yourself to sleep — This is another one in which I think you haven’t lived if you’ve never done this. It happens in the hardest of times, which are the times in which we grow the most.

(X) Played Cops and Robbers — What do you think massive slumber parties are about?!

( ) Played Cowboys and Indians

081: Doodles(X) Recently colored with crayons — Great stress relief!

( ) Sang Karaoke — NOT ENOUGH ALCOHOL IN THE WORLD

(X) Paid for a meal with coins only — I’ve in the same breath written a check for less than a dollar.

( ) Made a prank phone call — Nope. I don’t like making normal phone calls!

(X) Laughed until some beverage came out of your nose — Best medicine in the world is a great laugh.

(X) Caught a snowflake on your tongue — Magic.

( ) Have children — Hopefully soon!! We can’t wait.

(X) Had a pet — Dogs, cats and hampsters are my history of pets.

(X) Been fishing — You don’t live in the country and not go fishing!

(X) Been boating — Not enough, though.

( ) Been Water Skiing — I don’t think my shoulders could handle it, to be honest. I’m a wimp.

( ) Been Hiking

( ) Been camping in a trailer/RV

( ) Been camping in a tent — All of the above are things my husband and I have talked about doing at some point, though.

( ) Flown in a small 4-seater airplane — In no hurry to do so, either.

( ) Flown in a glider — I could be convinced!

( ) Flown in a helicopter — I’d love to try this one!

( ) Flown in a hot air balloon — I’d most definitely love to do this one, too!! Consider it also on  my official bucket list.

( ) Driven a Motorcycle — Much to my husband’s dismay, its not happened.

( ) Been bungee-jumping — Pass!

(X) Gone to a drive-in movie — I LOVE THE DRIVE IN MOVIE!!!

(X) Done something that should have killed you — I think simply the way I drove back in the day was pushing it. heh. I’ve slowed down. A lot.

(X) Done something that you will regret (feel sad about) for the rest of your life. — I’ve always tried to live my life with no regrets. Simply learn from your mistakes and never regret them. But, face it, sometimes we all handle things badly that we wish we could go back and change.

( ) Visited Africa – Not even on my radar.

( ) Ridden an elephant — No, but I have had my picture taken with one.

(X) Eaten just cookies for dinner — I’ve eaten cupcakes before dinner too. *gasp*

(X) Been on T.V. — I’m in a music video!

( ) Steal any traffic signs — I don’t know why you’d want to do that.

(X) Been in a car accident — A couple of them. *sigh* Luckily, none of them too serious, and I wasn’t hurt in any of them.

( ) Bailed out of Helicopter/Plane — No, but I do think Skydiving would be fun.

( ) Went Curling — And why, pray tell, would I even want to do this one?

Other things on my personal bucket list: Visit LA, New York City, Italy (specifically), and I’d love to see some of the most interesting sites of our country, Mount Rushmore and Old Faithful to name a couple. I want to have a book published and be hired out to speak at events. Even if i don’t really like public speaking all that much. LOL! Go figure. Things I HAVE done: be in a music video, witness the Grand Ole Opry from backstage, and graduated from Texas A&M University.

What are some of your “must dos” in life? What do you think of these generic lists that go around in email?