Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Grand plans gone awry

So I had my plans set for today - a to-do list, my little blogger's daily schedule sheet, and everything. And then ...

  • Yesterday a former co-worker called to say she finally had her baby (a girl after two boys) and I sort of promised to visit her in the hospital today on the way to work.
  • I've got to go to my mom's to pick up a check, cash it and get sodas for her.
  • I want to start going to work earlier on Tuesdays because I get out earlier.
  • I got about 3 to 3 1/2 hours of sleep because I. can't. breathe.

The whole not-breathing thing was quite the surprise. I've had this thing since high school where it feels like I can't get a full breath, like I can't expand my lungs. So I do a sort of gasping yawn and hold my mouth open, hoping that it will work this time. But it's very infrequent - years can pass before it's a problem.

Except lately. Especially last night, when I went to bed after midnight and was awake until after 3 a.m. And I went back to bed after waking Cayla at 5 and telling her she had to get herself up and my alarm was set for 7. Which came way too soon.

Now she's on the bus on the way to school and I'm going back to bed. My alarm will go off in 4 hours, 15 minutes, and even if I fall asleep the second my head hits the pillow, that still won't be enough time.

And those plans? My to-do list is out the window, I won't visit the co-worker in case what's wrong with me is catching in any way, but I will go to Mom's to get the check and cash it, and I'll get her sodas later. But my most important plan is to get some sleep, even if it's not enough.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Taking things seriously

I call myself a procrastinating perfectionist. I put things of until/unless they can be done "right" - which often means things don't get done at all.

And this is a characteristic of my entire life.

But today is the day I start tracking how I spend my time, in order to organize my time and get things done.

I woke up at 5 a.m. - it's not a school day, as spring break was last week and today is a teacher work day before the new semester starts. But Cayla has a doctor appointment today, and I've got to work on In Old Fort Dodge - the article I picked for today is extremely long. I started working on it last night and I'm not halfway through yet. But it's an interesting one about a newspaper editor in Fort Dodge in the late 1800s.

However, I'm also catching up on Facebook and found this - a preview of Season 7 of Doctor Who. I'm kind of excited and also sad because it's going to be a long wait until it starts in the fall. Also on Facebook, I entered for an Asus Transformer, I'm keeping up with the groups I'm in for giveaways and I find ebooks for Kindle for free through some blogs I'm following.

But, back to being serious about things. I have a binder full of printed sheets about goals, about blogs and WordPress (which I use for my other blogs), and to-do lists and schedules. By tracking how I spend my time, I plan to schedule times for certain things like updating blogs, doing research (family history, blog, etc.), doing family search indexing and other stuff, including games.

I'm hoping that by scheduling game time I can limit it better. Last year I quit playing Zynga games on Facebook because I was playing 2-3 hours a day. I don't take any new game requests - I block them all. The only game I still play is Hatchlings, and I don't play that often.

However, the game I went back to - Kingdom of Loathing - now can take nearly that much time. It's fun to play, but I'm trying to cut down the number of days it takes to run through an ascension and that means planning things out better. It's ironic that my planning skills are being used for this instead of my real life.

Things I'd like to do, in no particular order:
  • More family search indexing (the 1940 census is released next week and indexing begins)
  • More family history research
  • Get more sleep (this plan includes going to bed earlier on nights when I can)
  • Get ahead on In Old Fort Dodge posts
  • Start posting on my other blogs
  • Promote Carol's Random Babble and In Old Fort Dodge more
  • Learn German (which reminds me to get back to Memrise for vocabulary learning
  • Finish the article I'm typing right now for In Old Fort Dodge
  • Take a nap right now (seriously)
  • Do a FB timeline cover for my personal page and for Carol's Random Babble
So, here we are. I'll be keeping track of what I do for the next few days. I'll write things down on my planning sheets and check of my to-do lists. Then I'll start scheduling the tasks I really want to do on the planning sheets and maybe get some real things done.

Also, if you are reading this post, please head over to In Old Fort Dodge and enter to win $210 cash. The giveaway ends Tuesday night, so there's not a lot of time left. The Facebook "likes," Twitter "follows" and so on are grouped, so you have to like or follow each one on the page that is linked in order to get the points for that action.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

More giveaways

I've got a whole folder full of bookmarks of giveaways. Some have expired, so I was going to go through and delete those. But some I hadn't entered yet, as sometimes I bookmark a giveaway if I don't have time at that moment to enter.

So here's one I entered today: Hello Spring $800 giveaway. First prize is $800. The consolation prize is $50 cash. You have to like a bunch (three bunches, actually) of Facebook pages and a bunch (just one bunch) of Twitter accounts. There are some other entries, as well. You can do as many or as few as you like, but remember if you say you liked all the Facebook pages in a group, you have to actually have liked them. If you win and your winning entry is based on liking a group, when you didn't like every single one, you won't win.

 I also signed two of my giveaways on In Old Fort Dodge up for the Win it Wednesday linky here. My problem is the linkies is that I get sidetracked entering things and before I know it, hours have passed.

And my giveaways on In Old Fort Dodge:

One copy of “Fort Dodge: 1850 to 1970 (Images of America)” by Roger Natte. Ends March 30. I should be able to get the book autographed - I haven't talked to Roger about it, but I think he'll be willing.

Happy Spring $$$ ($210 cash giveaway) ends 3/27. I'm teamed up with a group of bloggers for this one.

I will have a giveaway coming up beginning April 1, as well. That one will have several winners of $50 each and from those winners one person will be chosen to receive an Aspire Netbook.

So, there are a few little giveaways. I'm thinking I'll look into having a linky for giveaways so people can find more here.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Goodies and giveaways

$200 Amazon gift card

I've entered the AppSumo contest for $200 Amazon gift card. The contest of open to age 21 or older (except residents of places listed in the official rules). The contest ends at 11:59 CDT on March 23.

My link (if you enter using this link, I get extra entries): http://www.appsumo.com/~i3Exa/

Book giveaway

In honor of one year of In Old Fort Dodge, I'm offering a book giveaway. The prize is a copy of “Fort Dodge: 1850 to 1970 (Images of America)” by Roger Natte. I haven't talked to Roger about it yet, but I'm going to ask him to autograph it for the winner. Since I'm hosting this completely and will have to mail it to the winner, I'm restricting it to residents of the United States.

Giveaway link: http://inoldfortdodge.com/2012/03/book-giveaway/

Assorted giveaways on other blogs

This page has giveaways on the blog listed, as well as a linky list of other giveaways.

KitchenAid Mixer

$100 PayPal cash

Dell Inspiron 15r laptop (ends March 26)

The Grand Event $500 cash (ends March 31)

iPad 3 (ends March 31, must sign up for or be a member of BeeSavy)


I bought myself a Kindle Fire for my birthday in January. Even before I bought it, I was ordering free books from Amazon.com - which I can access from my Kindle. Some of the books are classics, in the public domain, so there are no copyright issues and they are free. Other books
 are free for a short time and some are very discounted.

I follow Pixel of Ink to get daily updates on free books. And here are a few ebooks I've ordered:

The Myths, Legends and Lore of Ireland
Death of a Lovable Geek (Dotsy Lamb Travel Mysteries) (I haven't read this one yet)
Never Buried (Leigh Koslow Mystery Series) (I have read this one - it's "safe")
Write Good or Die - survivor tips for 21st century authors

When I say "safe" I mean no detailed sex or graphic violence scenes.My life is not enriched by this type of detail and so I avoid books with such content. If I can't skip over it or if it's too frequent, I'll just delete the book. So if I mention a book I haven't read, I don't know if it contains anything I would find objectionable and wouldn't normally recommend.

If you go to the Kindle store on Amazon.com and click on a genre, you will see two columns of best-sellers - the left column is books that cost and the right column is the free books. The first 100 of each category (and sub-category) are listed there. So on the Kindle eBooks you will see the top 100 paid and free books. But if you click on nonfiction, you will see the top 100 free and paid nonfiction books and if you click on reference you will see the top 100 free and paid reference books. Nonfiction and fiction each have many subcategories.

There's a certain amount of spillover and mis-categorization. When an author or submitter puts a book in the Kindle store, they have to choose up to 3 categories. An author would choose as many categories as they think would fit, in order to get more people to see the book. But sometimes this means books are in the wrong category.

And, finally, if you don't own a Kindle, don't despair. If you own a PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad or Android device, you can use the Kindle for (whatever you own) app. And the advantage there is that the Kindle Fire does not have the ability to categorize books. I can access the downloads on my Kindle by author, by recent or by title. I can't just call up all the mysteries or cookbooks, for example.

Well, here's what happened when I started this post. I intended to list a couple of giveaways and some Kindle books. That was about 4 hours ago. I started entering giveaways (some require posting on specific blogs or entering other giveaways), and then I started looking at Kindle eBooks.

I downloaded fiction, books about writing, cooking, personal finance, health, time management (there's something I need!), emergency preparedness, children's books, classics, books in Spanish and German, history, organization, gardening, and high school textbooks.

I downloaded 93 free books today.

I think that's a record for me.

One more giveaway I just found - win a Kindle Fire. I haven't entered yet, but I will. If I win one, it goes to my sister Donna, who doesn't have one yet. Our family pooled our resources to buy one for Mom, and I bought mine for my birthday, but Donna is Fire-less. So I'm still trying to win one, but for her this time.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Here's a YouTube time-lapse video of the Chicago River being dyed green for the occasion:

I lived in Chicago for several years. I have seen the river green for St. Patrick's Day, but never actually watched the process.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A winner is you!

Well, if you are Rochelle J., that is. She is the winner of the My Memories digital scrapbooking software giveaway.

I have emailed her with instructions and the code for her prize.

I will have another My Memories giveaway in a couple of months. I'll have another giveaway starting in April, as well.

So, stay tuned. If you aren't Rochelle J., you could still be a winner.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

An interest in history

One year ago I started a history blog, In Old Fort Dodge. My goal was to have daily updates with transcribed newspaper articles from the early days of Fort Dodge, Iowa.

I've done pretty good ... I slacked off last fall, but still plan to go back and make it up - eventually.

But here's the thing: I signed up on Amazon.com to publish that blog for the Kindle. (Not available for Kindle Fire, however, due to Amazon.com's policy.) You can get a 14-day free subscription - just remember to cancel by the end if you don't want to be charged for it. And if you like it, keep reading.

This whole Kindle publishing thing was an experiment - if people sign up, I get some money. If they don't, I don't have to pay anything, so no worries.

And if you are interested in the blog, feel free to read it at the original site. There is a whole range of material: funny, sad, unusual, tragic - in other words, human life.

My Memories speed scrap

I participated in a speed scrap Sunday evening. The My Memories host on Facebook gives step-by-step directions and at the end people post their creations. I mostly used Vintage Rose from A Saxon Creation, which was a free download at MyMemories.com.

My speed scrap submission on Sunday:

Tonight I got to playing around with the page to see how it would look if I use some other embellishments. (The designer has a challenge using her stuff, so I wanted to enter that competition.)

Second version:

I changed the color scheme from green and orange to green and pink, and used more embellishments from Vintage Rose. I think everything except the green textured paper behind the group shot (and the photos, of course) are from that kit.

and third version:

I took the darker background paper and brought it forward (use a square shape and fill it with paper, then rotate), which provides nice contrast for the "I love" word art.  But there isn't enough contrast with the medium green behind the group photo.I'll have to do something about that.

One thing I really like about doing digital scrapbooking is being able to play with stuff and make all these changes, even make duplicate pages, without using up my supplies. You can't do that with physical scrapbooking. And if something gets placed in the wrong place, I don't have to worry about ruining a layout - I just move it.

One thing I did learn while doing this layout - get the photo and embellished frame situated first, then arrange and group, and then rotate. It's much trickier to get them sized and aligned if you rotate the two items separately.

I think these turned out okay, but you know I'm still going to mess around with them.

And don't forget - there is a giveaway. My Memories digital scrapbooking software can be yours. Enter here. The giveaway ends at 12:01 a.m. EDT March 15 (11:01 p.m. CDT March 14), so only a few hours left!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Weird dreams

They are my specialty.

I just woke up from a nap that lasted 1/2 longer than it should have because the old cell phone I use for an alarm clock had apparently turned itself off. But here's what I was dreaming before I woke up:

Remember the TV show "My Two Dads"? And the movies "Three Men and a Baby" and "Three Men and a Little Lady"? (Apparently there's talk of a sequel, which I didn't know until just now.)

In my dream, I started watching a TV sitcom, called "Three Men and Rudy" (which is wrong, as the girl in the movies was named Mary). In the dream show, however, it was the three men and the girl was a teenager. Tom Selleck was in it, but the other two were replaced by other actors.

So, in my dream, I was telling Amanda about it. Then there was some weird thing about her room (we were living in an entirely different place and she had her own room with entirely different furniture). It was like we both saw a flashover fire happen, but there was nothing when we looked at her room.

Then the cleaning lady and her kids showed up (I told you this was a weird dream) and I was reading something connected with Amanda and was confused about it. There was some text that didn't make sense - some was in Spanish. The cleaning lady looked at it (I'm not being racist, honest, but she was Hispanic) and seemed kind of insulted that I was trying to puzzle it out.

So, there you have it. Weird dream of the day. I woke up, discovered the time, actually told Amanda about my dream, and started blogging. Now I have to get ready for work, even though I feel like crap. I think I caught something from someone at work. I can't call in sick because there's no backup for me on Mondays.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Win $120 cash

Win $120 and if you win, I win, too!

Fill out the entries in the Rafflecopter form below. You will have to join Contest Chest in order to be eligible, but then you will have access to thousands of giveaways and sweepstakes to enter.

Good luck!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Catching up

First, I'd like to point out that I am grateful. Yes, I hated giving up my brand-new Toshiba Satellite laptop, but it was not going to be able to transport me to work.

My car, however, has been fixed, and is doing just fine. It was the CV joint and ball joint, which doesn't mean a whole lot to me (other than $365 to fix) but will mean something to the mechanically minded out there.

But since Thursday afternoon, I've been mobile again, not having to rely on (nag or otherwise inconvenience) my family. (Other than my children, but that's a whole other story.)

I will be able to go grocery shopping tonight and bring stuff home in my own car. Yay!

Second, I'm participating in a blog hop of giveaways. It's called Lucky Leprechaun giveaway, but each blog is hosting its own giveaway and its own Rafflecopter. The idea is to get people to move from blog to blog to enter.

I had already started the My Memories giveaway and had some entries, so I can't make a mandatory entry at this time. But I added an entry where people can like on Facebook each of the participating blogs, and that entry is worth 25 points. There is a list here where you can like the pages. One is a group, so you have to go to Facebook and ask to join the group.

I will be checking to make sure my winner successfully completes the winning entry.

Third, we have an early (way early!) press deadline today, because they are doing some sort of  upgrade to the presses, and the news pages have to go by 7 p.m. So I had planned to go in around noon, but I'm not going to make it. I still have to take a shower and get dressed.

So I am out of here for a few hours, going to work and all. I suggest checking out my giveaway and the rest of the blogs in the Lucky Leprechaun blog hop.

Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway

Welcome to the Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway! We've teamed up with several of our fellow bloggers to offer you several different gifts!

A HUGE Thank you goes out to the sponsor for this event, Pampered Chef Representative, Maribeth Priest!  She has generously donated a Pampered Chef Vegetable Grilling Rack for this event! 
Please visit her website, HERE!  She has a big sale going on and lots of NEW items!! There's also a ton of stuff under $20! 

This giveaway will begin March 3rd, 2012 and end on March 15th, 2012. 

Visit each blog to enter for a chance to win!

Some of the prizes are:

A Vegetable Grilling Rack from Pampered Chef

$25 Gift Basket Sponsored by Kristine's Shower

A Sock Monkey Hat

An Owl Hat

My Memories Suite 2 Digital Scrapbooking Software

$50 Gift Code to "Just Eyewear"

Signed Book, "Dawn of Saudi" 

"My Hare Line" book series (4 children's books)

A Cody Simpson Doll

A Full Bag of Books!

***Enter at each of the blogs listed here for your chance to win!***

Woman of Many Roles

SJB_My Photo Page

Giveaway Promote

Carol's Random Babble

The Ordinary Aunt

Freebies Galore & a Whole Lot More!

Beck Valley Books

The ABC Kidz