Skeet Shares
stuff I find interesting
Sunday, December 31, 2006
Broke before payday?
Have you ever noticed that financial emergencies always seem to arrive just as you’ve finished using up your last paycheck? The boy breaks a tooth and the only dentist available wants you to pay the deductible up front. Your annual insurance premium comes due a month before you thought it was supposed to. Your brother is rescued from Katrina’s flood, but has only the clothes he is wearing (yes, this one is really my experience.) Some things can’t wait until next payday.

My little island of Oahu has numerous military facilities, and many of my friends are in service to their country. Their paychecks are reliable, but frequently don’t stretch from payday to payday. I’ve known for a while how they handle their financial emergencies, and now has sponsored this post so I can tell you their secret. When my friend’s step-daughter needed emergency medical care while hubby was out to sea, and when their roof leaked during monsoon-like rains, they were able to get payday cash advance loans to deal with the crises. A cash advance loan lets you borrow against your next paycheck. They’re easy to qualify for, and has a directory of services available in your area. You’ll also find other financial services available on their site, so you can bookmark them as your one-stop site for all of your financial needs.

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Hou'oli Makahiki Hou, my friends!
May the new year bring you great joy. May you swim in oceans of blessings.

********Skeet's recipe for a joyous life*********

Revel in beauty

Even if you have to pay for it

Celebrate new life

While honoring the memory of those who have enriched your own

When life gives you the wrong end of things

Bandage your hurts and move on

Build new things

And add color to your world

Don't turn you back on strangers, even if they're not like you

Embrace silliness

But not at the expense of another's dignity

Avoid the glitz

But seize life's rich bounty

Perhaps most of all in these troubled times, find serenity

May 2007 bring the best that life has to offer to your humble abode

From my heart to yours,


Addendum: I got a lot of emails & PMs asking various questions about the photos. I've posted explanations here.

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Saturday, December 30, 2006
Monitoring Internet Activity
I’m not a huge fan of censorship, but there are situations where I believe it’s entirely appropriate. Censoring what’s available in the public domain can stiffle an entire society, but in our homes and businesses can fulfill a valid need. Parents can and should control what their children are exposed to on the internet. Business owners and managers may need to monitor and control their employees use of the internet while at work. These needs can be met unobtrusively and with set parameters by using a keystroke logger.

Keystroke loggers allow you to monitor the ways that a computer is being used, and they will alert you when unauthorized activities are taking place. Employers can use this software to eliminate the use of their equipment and company time for online chatting or visits to other undesirable sites. There’s even software that can function remotely, so the technology can be applied to situations where the person doing the monitoring cannot routinely access the computer being monitored. I can see where this would be extremely useful for busy employers who don’t have the time to visit each computer station on a regular basis, or who need to conduct their monitoring activity covertly. The sophisticated software can even allow you to track, log and archive all internet activity. Sad to say, but sometimes inappropriate use of a computer results in a journey through the court system. Accurate records provide the proof that is needed to bring such cases to a successful outcome.

Parents can apply this same technology to the computers their children use. We’ve all heard terrible stories about adult predators using MySpace and other sites to find their victims. Keystroke loggers can record websites, email, chat room and message board activity. This gives parents the opportunity to intervene before a serious problem develops. Keystroke loggers are a small investment that can pay big dividends in protecting your children and giving yourself some peace of mind.

This post is brought to you by, who have twice won the PC Magazine Editor's Choice Award for Best Monitoring Software.

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More on Hawaiian Pidgin

Your response to my post about Hawaiian Pidgin has been very gratifying. So many of you posted comments, and I know from my stats that quite a few other people read but did not comment. Mahalo for the boost in confidence. As a new blogger I’m never quite sure that what I’m offering will be well-received. It’s a validating experience to know that I've captured someone's interest.

Writing that piece and seeing your reaction has given my own interest a shot in the arm. I’ve been re-reading some books by Lee Tonouchi, who has named himself Da Pidgin Guerrilla. He has probably done more single-handedly than anyone alive to promote Hawaiian pidgin and its acceptance as a part of the culture to be celebrated rather than derided. In Living Pidgin: Contemplations on Pidgin Culture, Lee relates an experience he had in the Fall of 2001 with a group of students in one of his classes. He asked the students to tell him what they cannot do with pidgin. How would it hold them back in life? The students had two minutes to brainstorm and a list of their collective thoughts was compiled. The list of answers includes the following:

Dey say if you talk pidgin you no can:

Be smart
Be successful
Be one teacher
Be one doctor
Be big businessman
Go to job interviews
Go opera or someplace elegant
Get one good education
Go mainland school
Join the military
Pray to God
Work at Neiman Marcus

Dey say if you talk pidgin
You no can

The total list includes fifty-nine items, all thought of within two minutes.

Keep in mind that most of these kids were not told specifically that they couldn’t be a doctor or work at a high-class department store. These things are the perceptions they’ve developed from the negative reactions they’ve experienced when they talk pidgin.

How tragic is it that kids are being raised to believe that they can’t measure up unless they give up an integral part of who they are?

You can find several books by Lee Tonouchi listed on Amazon if you’re interested in learning more. He is a brilliant man. He is not a second-class citizen. He knows that he can do and be whatever he wants in this life. He knows that he can do it without giving up his cultural inheritance. I hope that he and others with similar drive and imagination can communicate this to the pidgin-speaking population of Hawaii. It will be devastating to our beautiful paradise if they can’t.

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After-Christmas Money Blues?
Did you do it this year? I’m talking about overspending for Christmas. It’s so easy to do, and I think most of us have gotten ourselves in trouble with it at least once in our lives. I know my own parents always went into debt to give us a “good” Christmas. I did it a few times when my son was young, despite my determination to not let that happen.

The holidays, of course, are not the sole source of debt misery. It’s easy to fall into a buy now/pay later mindset, especially if you have a pocketful of credit cards. We all know that the balance due will never be reduced by making minimum monthly payments, but we get caught in the trap and many can’t see a way to get out.

Put away your pessimism and face your problems. Explore some common-sense options for solving your debt problems and you CAN DO IT!

The first step is one you’ve heard before, and it’s really not as painful as most of us anticipate it to be. Get rid of your credit cards. Cut them up. OUCH! Sure it hurts, but the pain is brief. Take it from one who has done it. Keep one card for emergencies if you must, but only use it for true emergencies. Gift-giving and a new outfit for a special night out are not emergencies.

So, how do you buy what you want or need without credit cards? By being a practical spender. Buy your Christmas gifts in small increments throughout the year. Set a budget and don’t exceed it, even when the new toys come out in the fall to tempt you. Skip the expensive theme-park vacation and explore your own locale with your family. Check out museums and cultural attractions you’ve been meaning to explore with the kids, campgrounds where you can enjoy the wonders of nature or historic sites that you’ve been saving for “later.” Make a commitment to cut out luxury items for one full year. Most people get by with only a few restaurant meals and movie theatre visits a year. You can do that, too, because you’re serious about controlling your debt.

Now you’re spending less and saving more, but what are you going to do about paying off debt you’ve already accumulated? The most practical answer for most people is to make personal loans. The payments on the loan will be smaller than what you’re currently paying against accumulated balances, so you’ll have more money to live on as an added bonus to retiring your debt.

Most people who own homes can qualify for mortgages against the equity they’ve built up over their years of making payments. If the interest is lower than the total interest you’re paying on credit cards, and the payments for the secured loans are less than the total monthly balance due on existing debt, it doesn’t make sense to NOT do it.

Keep practicing the good spending habits you’ve learned and the budgeting techniques you’ve established while dealing with your debt crisis. You’ll avoid repeating the pattern and have better overall financial health because you faced your problems and brought a dose of common sense into the picture!

This post is sponsored by Loanwize, who can answer your questions about finding the loan that's right for you.

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Friday, December 29, 2006
Hey girlfriends!

Things in my life have changed a lot over the last twenty years or so. I've lost track of many people I had thought would be friends for life. I guess that happens to many of us, especially those of us who now reside thousands of miles away from the places we once called home. Today I have a small group of friends with whom I interact in real life, and a much larger group I have never met, but still visit with daily. That phenomenon called the internet has brought wonderful people into my world. While most of them are women, the group encompasses both genders, various lifestyles and religious persuasions, gay and straight, young and old and of many nationalities. A few weeks ago I joined in the fun on the PPP message boards and my list of friends has grown at a tremendous rate since then. Today I'd like to introduce you to a few of them. I hope you'll go visit their blogs and get to know them. They've all taken this newbie under their wings and helped me improve my bogging skills and my writings for PPP. Most of them have several blogs. You'll be missing a treat if you don't visit their sidebars and get to know them better.

First up is Ms. Kat. She shares stories about her life, her family, Florida and a few current events at My Single Mom Life. Check out the photos of her recent shopping day with her two adorable nieces, if you can tear yourself away from Mr. Sexy in her header. Oh, and do share the joy of her catty Christmas too!

Jules lives near Vegas. It’s the gambling capital to us (and backdrop for CSI,) but home to her. I’m glad that she doesn’t believe that what happens in Vegas stays there, because she tells interesting stories. She, hubby & baby were sick for the holidays, so go show her some love at Just Julies Journal.

Bulletproofsoul is a technical whiz who shares her knowledge generously and does not suffer fools gladly. I really enjoy Bucket O' Bulletz. She's a very spiritual gal who shares that and so much more. I especially like her daily sidebar feature "Motivations for Moms."

Aimee's Blog is about life, love and the pursuit of pink flamingos. That's just the kinda gal she is. She's recently announced that she'll be doing a monthly project-sharing carnival for all of you creative types. It starts soon, so go sign up now.

Cass describes herself as Mom of 8, knitter, and very, very proper. She’s always one of the first to answer when I have stupid newbie questions about blogging in general and PPP in particular. Several blogs, but the one I like best is Cass Knits, where she shares her love of family, knitting and eclectic oddities. She's another techie who generously shares her knowledge with the technically-challenged.

Last, but never, ever least is Chris. She's affectionately known as the queen, and keeps us laughing and interested on the PPP message boards. The same humor is evident on her blog Queen Chris's Xanga Site, where she explains why it isn’t easy being queen. Today she's also talking about blogging friends. Good stuff, even if she didn't have anything to say about me!

Give my friends a visit and tell them skeet sent you. If I'm asked very nicely I might introduce you to some of my menfriends in a future post.

The girlfriends picture is from Fotosearch Stock Photography. Lot's of lovely photos and clipart there, and a well-organized search system to make it easy.

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Skeet is not a dirty word
I grew up knowing a few folks named Skeet or Skeeter. It's a pretty common name in the South. The first Skeeter I knew was a boy a little younger than me. His family, mine and several others from church would gather every month or so at one of our homes. The parents would play dominoes or cards while munching the elaborate party snacks our mothers had found in the most recent edition of Good Housekeeping or Red Book. Us kids, usually ten to twenty of us, had our own snacks and drinks set up outside. About the third time someone ran inside to whine to a parent or to use the bathroom, the adults would lock us out. We all thought that terribly unjust, but we loved being out in the dark with friends, playing chase, telling ghost stories & doing the things kids do. Eventually someone would get a scraped knee or the mosquitoes (skeeters!) would get too bad and we'd be allowed back inside, consigned to a den or rec room or garage with board games and a record player.

When I was old enough to go to school I met other Skeets and Skeeters. The name is assigned to both boys and girls, and I also knew adults whom we addressed as Miss Skeeter or Mr. Skeet. We children of the South in the fifties and sixties were very polite and always attached an honorific to the front of adults' names. Actually, not so much because we were polite, but because we knew we would be severely punished for failure to do so.

Here's the history of how I became skeet. It didn't come from my parents. It's the abbreviated version of the name my big brother gave me when we were quite young. He drug it out whenever he wanted to torture his little sis. Eddie and I were quite close and I loved him dearly, but he was a terrible tease. My parents named me Anita Bess. My mother, her mother and my great-grandmother were all named Bessie. Mom wanted the tradition to continue but hated the name. The adult relatives must have approved of her choice, because they always addressed me by the double-barreled version, and those who are still around do it to this day. It's a Southern thing. Our across-the-street neighbor, Mom's best friend, also did it. She was a New Orleans gal (we're originally from Texas) and she pronounced me in that dialect found only there and in Brooklyn, New York, so to her I was Neeter Bess. What a perfect opportunity she created for Eddie! The segue from Neeter Bess to Skeeter Bess originally came in a fit of anger, and fit nicely into a chanting phrase he created when he wanted to make me miserable. "Skeeter Bess, she's a mess ..." It followed me everywhere and was eventually picked up by neighborhood kids who liked torturing animals and small girls. By the time I entered junior high it had been forgotten by the masses, but Skeeter Bess had developed into a pet name at home. Eddie was the one who used it most often, partly as a reminder of his own cleverness in creating it, but mostly as an expression of affection.

I first got online about eight years ago. I tried on various screen names for size, but none of them seemed to feel right. Eddie had died a few years earlier, and I still frequently thought of myself as Skeeter Bess when I remembered our childhood antics. As I began to develop online friendships, it occurred to me that my screen name had been waiting for me in the wings all along. I became skeeterbess once again as a tribute to his memory. It is shortened to skeet or skeeter by many of my friends, but in my mind it's always the full moniker, and frequently chanted in Eddie's voice: "Skeeter Bess, she's a mess ..."

A month or so ago I discovered that skeet is now a dirty word. The definition bothered me enough that I thought about changing my name and the name of my blog. That was before I understood the wonderful world of page rank. I found something interesting when I installed a stat tracker. I get "hits" daily from folks looking for the street slang usuage, so many that google will eventually take notice and quit calling me a zero. I don't know of any adults who use the word that way and my blog is not addressed to those children, so I've decided to keep it. It has a long and mostly honorable history, and it's been mine longer than it's been theirs. If you get a little squeamish like me when you hear it used that other way, think instead of the affectionate teasing of a small boy for his baby sister. Think of skeet and come on by for a visit with a proud holder of the name. My google rank will thank you!

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Thursday, December 28, 2006
Postie Patrol 3
PayPerPost is at it again with their whacky videos. This time we get to view the insane antics they cooked up for postie Genki Girl on a cold Chicago day. She had to accost a stranger for his autograph, find someone wearing shorts on that cold, cold day, attempt to make a snow angel on iced-over snow that wouldn’t budge, and write “I LOVE PPP” on her forehead. It’s fun to watch, and suspenseful as we watch the minutes ticking down. This post was brought to you by HP, who supplied the prizes for the bizarre scavenger hunt. Did Genki Girl win a whole boatload of prizes, including an HP digital camera and Digital Photo Printing equipment and a bundle of cash? You’ll have to watch to find out!

Now wasn't that fun? Don't you think HP and PayPerPost should come to Hawaii to thaw out for their next Postie Patrol? Shouldn't I have the next shot at winning a boatload of HP gear and cash? Yeah, I think so, too!

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Local kine talk
Because our population is such a mixture of cultures I sometimes hear snatches of a half-dozen different languages in a single day. My next-door neighbors on one side speak Samoan at home. On the other side is a Japanese family. They are an older couple and at least second-generation here in Hawaii. They speak English to each other and their kids & grandkids, but I sometimes hear them switch smoothly to Japanese with guests. I have Filipino, Portugese and Tahitian neighbors here on my block. The family directly across the street from me is Hawaiian. They all speak English when out and about, though many speak their national languages at home. English is the language of business and school and strangers who cross ones path. It is the thread that binds our polyglot society into a cohesive whole, but it is the local pidgin that defines “local.” I love its lyrical expressiveness. It soars and surges and captures the imagination. It is the language of complete candor and familiarity. It finds it’s most magical completeness in the children, those young enough to have not yet been told by some authoritarian figure that they should abandon pidgin and speak “correct English.” I contend, along with many others, that pidgin is a vital part of their cultural heritage and it is shameful to try to quash it. Like the “old school” teachers who used to punish left-handedness, there are those who would try to humiliate children into giving up this important part of who they are.

What follows is the closest I can come to sharing an overheard conversation. I’ve probably got spellings wrong and may have selected the wrong words in a few place.

A young boy passes an older woman who is raking up leaves in her yard.

“Auntie, can have one mango?
“Come, boy. Help rake da leaves, I give you five mango.”
“I help, yeah.”
“Whose boy you? I know your mama?”
“Don’t know, auntie. She Lani.”
“Lani works at Tamura?’
“No, not dat one. She work da Rec Centa.”
“Ah, dat Lani. Kauka your Dad.”
“Yeah, yeah, auntie.”
“He still *da kine?
“Yeah, fo evah, I tink.”
“Got two big buddahs?”
“Tree, auntie.”
“Tree? Kimo, Lino … oh, oh, oh … Keo dat oddah one!”
“Him, yeah. Got him one hapa girl, she hapai. Make me uncle.”
“Fo real?”
“Fo real, auntie.”
“Heah, boy. One bag fo you carry mango.”
“Got five Auntie. Das good?”
“Going going. Tree big buddahs, one hapai wahine. Need plenny.”
“Ho! Tanks, auntie.”
“Tell your mama come see Auntie Laika.”
“Can auntie.”
“Boy, what dey call you?”
“I Ekeka.”
“You one good boy Ekeka. Akamai”
“Tanks auntie. I go. Get lickens come home late.”
“Go, boy. Come back bumbye.”

*Da kine can mean almost anything that all parties in a conversation know and understand. In this case it might mean that he’s still singing in nightclubs, or driving a truck or teaching at the high school. Ekeka and Laika both know what it means, so da kine is effective conversational shorthand.

hapai = pregnant
hapa = mixed race
akamai = clever, smart
bumbye = by and by, some later time

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Time for my new kitchen!
I added a screened-in lanai to my house last year and had it fully wired and plumbed so I could move my washer and dryer out of the kitchen. The plan was to create additional space inside before starting a kitchen remodel. I hired local contractors and used cash I had saved for the new room, a new lanai on two sides of the house and a new roof for my old fixer upper. I thought I was being smart by using cash instead of taking on additional debt, but it turns out I was wrong. Since I’m now ready to do my kitchen remodel, I’ve been researching the best way to finance the work. I wish I had understood better about home equity loans before I used up all of my savings. Since the equity in my house has built to about four times what I still owe I can borrow what I need for the work, and maybe a little to pay the few bills that I carry a balance on from month to month. My payments will be low enough that I can begin rebuiliding my savings (I used their mortgage calculators to figure out how to structure the best deal for myself.) I wish I’d known that before I had the previous work done, but it’s never too late to educate yourself about your own finances, is it?

This post is sponsored by PersonalHomeLoanMortgages.Com. I've been visiting their site for about a month, learning what I need to know. It's embarrassing to admit how ignorant I was when I started, but their Mortgages 101 and other educational features have made it painless for me to bring myself up to speed.

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I'm so bad!
There are things I should be doing, but I've gotten on a game-playing kick again. I've been playing Bubbles all afternoon instead of writing reports and doing laundry. Yesterday I played my favorite Cow Game for a while, but I already know all of the boards, so it didn't eat up quite as much time.

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After-Christmas shopping deals
Christmas has come and gone again, but we’re not going to quit shopping, are we? Seems like there’s always one item we’ve hinted for that we didn’t’ get, doesn’t it? But that’s okay, because we’ve been so generous with our giving that we ought to treat ourselves to something special. That’s my stance, anyway! I can never have enough books, and there are a few on my wish list that Santa didn’t deliver, so I’ll be grabbing a coupon for to get them at a good price. There are a lot of other merchant coupons on this site, so take a look around and find your own wish-fulfillment. This post is sponsored by but the enthusiasm is my own. I love a good deal!

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Christmas Day in Hawaii
I went to Yokohama Bay Beach yesterday afternoon. That's on the western end of the island, right before the place where the old highway was closed when it became unsafe. At one time you could go from our Leeward Coast to the North Shore via that route, but now you have to drive towards town and traverse the island through the mountains to get there. Yokohama Bay is the "end of the world" from this side, unless you're on foot. I've taken the hike a few times from Yokohama Bay to Kaena Point, which is the extreme western tip of Oahu. I need to do that again sometime, to see the albatross that nest there. But that's for another day. Yeterday I stopped short so I could meet friends for their annual Christmas visit to Yokohama Bay.

It was a beautiful, sunshiny day with stiff breezes coming in off of the ocean. Quite a few people had come out to play.

The ocean is very changeable this time of year. In the hour or so we were there it went from flat ...

... to frilly ...

... to booming!

That didn't bother the sun worshippers ...

... or keep the kids from trying out their new boogie boards ...

I took some photos of my friend and her son, because they don't often have the opportunity to have their picture taken together. I also took pictures of the mountains, and more pictures of the scenes at the beach. A total of eighty-three pictures were on my camera card when I got home. I could look at each in the viewer of my camera. I wanted to select a nice mother and son photo to frame for my friends and, of course, to share the best with you. Alas, something is wrong with my camera, or maybe the card or my software. Each time I've tried to correct it I've lost photos. I've ended up with no mountain pictures & no photos of my friends. I did manage to save the last photo of the day, one I took impulsively as I was coming home. Here's a little local color for you.

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Monday, December 25, 2006
Attack of the Christmas Spam Bots
Wow, I'm just glowing from all of the attention. Sorry folks, but comments will now appear after I approve them, and you're going to have to do those nasty little word verifications before you can post.

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Saturday, December 23, 2006
RockStartup, Episode 3
You’ve been watching, right? It’s PayPerPost’s new reallity show which chronicles the establishment and daily activities of the group of whackos who pay bloggers to advertise. Episode # 3 is out now. Ted, head honcho of PPP, is ready to move his fledgling company out of its cramped quarters into a new, spacious office. The new office space is spattered with paint and has no windows for the nuts & bolts folks who keep the operation running. Thoughtful guy that he is, Ted leaves town for the critical period and allows his hard-working staff to do all the heavy labor. PayPerPost sponsored this post so you can watch right here & see what happens.

You can watch all of the episodes at

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Bits and pieces of stuff
I think the stuff I put out for United Cerebral Palsey this week was stolen once again before the truck got here.

This week I'm actually kind of glad my old poi dog, Buddy, is deaf. There have been fireworks going off intermittently for the last three days. Poor old Buddy has had nervous conniptions when a single firecracker exploded in past years. Last year he only reacted to the really big boomers, and I'm thinking he'll sleep through New Year's Eve this time around. I certainy hope so. I hate the after-effects of giving him doggie downers.

I'm watching The Sound of Music as I type this. I've probably seen it fifteen or twenty times, but it's been a few years. It still charms. I'll still cry.

I need to do a bio and some termite education stuff for homeowners, per request of a client who will promote me to her realty network on her website. I'm going to hate doing the bio. There's a fine line between promoting oneself and bragging.

I really miss my son this time of year, and feel the miles between us more.

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Unique and inexpensive advertising for your website

Quick! What was the first ad spot that came on last night during your favorite prime-time show? What about the premier, top-of-the-page banner ad on the last web site you visited? The full page ad on the back of the first section of this morning’s newspaper? You can’t tell me? Someone spent megabucks to show you their product, you saw their presentation, and you’ve forgotten it already? What’s wrong with you? Well, actually … nothing! The majority of us don’t remember advertising within a few minutes of being exposed to it. The fault is not ours. It’s with the advertisers. If they aren’t giving us something unique to ping our memory with, they’ve wasted their money.

Now suppose the shoe is on the other foot. What if you’re the advertiser. You don’t have mega-bucks to spend and you definitely want people to remember you. What to do, what to do?

Your answer is the neverending link, an unique marketing website that is ridiculously inexpensive and will bring traffic to your site. As readers scroll across the screen they will see a story woven from phrases posted by individual advertisers. Each phrase is an embedded link and they are all cleverly woven into the story. It’s silly and compelling and I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to NOT interact and respond to the links. I'll be going back to to see where our intrepid travelers go next. And yes, the neverending link sponsored this post.

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More Christmas Humor
Because all of us need a little nuttiness this time of year ...

Make sure Santa can easily access your chimney.

Take a look around inside, too. Remove any offensive decor items,

Otherwise Santa may be short a few reindeer next year.

It might be best if parents supervise the provision of goodies for Santa.

Make sure you gas up your SUV for Christmas Eve, just in case it's needed.

I hope you're all finished with the shopping and wrapping and baking and madness. Now is the time to relax and enjoy your holiday.

Mele Kalikimaka, my friends, and Hau'oli Makahiki Hou to you all. May 2007 be a year of great thigs!

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Friday, December 22, 2006
Life is not fair!
The first HP 6 mega-pixel digital camera and printer have been given away. The lucky winner is Anna-Marie, whose surreal fantasy charmed the payperpost and HP judges. Now, I’ll have to agree with them that her contest post is classy. The girl knows how to use a camera. She’s pretty persuasive, too, what with her hard-luck stories about carpal tunnel syndrome and being robbed. But, well, would you just look at her? If you were one of the judges, would you have voted for her? Of course you would. You wouldn’t even have needed to read a word she wrote! I’m quite certain that the judges were drooling the entire time that they were reading her post (if they were able to tear their eyes away from the photos long enough to actually read it.) She’s probably the reason that the contest was delayed; they wanted an excuse to review the entries again and again just so that they could gaze upon her loveliness . Even women are beguiled by her. Tune in to the PayPerPost YouTube Channel and behold the groveling PPP staffer kissing Anna-Marie’s camera so that the imprint of her lips can someday caress Anna-Marie’s hand:

Now I ask you, is this contest fair? What do you think my chances are of winning one of the nine remaining HP 6 mega-pixel camera and printer sets? How can an over-the-hill, grandmotherly type compete with that? Nothing I can say or do is going to make an impression on judges so focused on youth and beauty. The only way they will ever be able to convince the world of their impartiality is to do an abrupt about face. I happen to love PayPerPost and care deeply about their reputation. I’m sitting in my office next to my HP Officejet 7410 All-In-One while using my Compaq (HP) computer to compose this PPP post. I just finished downloading photos from my HP320 digital camera(which, sadly, only has 2.1 mega-pixels,) so it should be clear to everyone that I also love HP. My loving devotion and customer loyalty are surely worth rewarding. PayPerPost was kind enough to sponsor this post, but I don't think that's adequate recompense. I think HP, PayPerPost and I can come to a mutually beneficial agreement here that will salvage their reputations and put a nice new camera and printer in my possession, don’t you? Yes, I'm volunteering to be their token old broad. Selecting me will remove the taint of their past prejudicial practices and allow their reputation to shine once more.

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It's not easy being snow
Your time is short. With a lifespan about equal to that of a fly, how much can you accomplish? There's only so much you can do to express your individuality.

There's little you can do to shield yourself from vulnerability.

You're robbed of enjoying even the simple peasures.

You're so exposed.

Sharing the joy of the season with you all, my friends, with just a bit of irreverence thrown in. Mele Kalikimaka to you, and Hau'oli Makahiki Hou! May the new year bring you peace and happiness, or some reasonable facsimile thereof.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006
My camera is getting old
My camera is an HP320. I like it. It was given to me by dear friends two years ago for Christmas. Two years is a long time for electronic equipment to stay in service in today's fast-changing technological world, but still, it takes nice pictures and it’s easy to use. It has 2.1 mega-pixels. Now, I should tell you right here that I’m not sure what mega-pixels are. I know they have something to do with photo quality, and I know that Ted has more of them than I do. Who is Ted? He’s the PayPerPost guru who wants to give away some HP 6 mega-pixel digital cameras and photo printers. This post is sponsored by HP, who wants Ted to give me a camera and photo printer. Ted has more of almost everything than I do. Since Ted is in a sharing mood, I think he should give me a 6 mega-pixel camera. I live in Hawaii. I take scenic digital photos and share them with the folks who read my blog. My blog works for him when I do PPP posts. It makes sense that Ted should want me to take the best pictures possible. So Ted? Could I please have one? The entire blogsphere will thank you for the quality photos I feed into its stream, and so will I. I'll even give my old HP320, which is a perfectly good camera, to the nearest women's shelter if you give me a new one. Deal?

This post was sponsored by HP.

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Houseless in Hawaii: Part One - The Problem

I attended a Neighborhood Board meeting on Tuesday night. Neighborhood Board meetings are the equivalent of Town Hall Meetings that some communities have. Various officials share information with the community and then open up the floor for feedback. There were three items on Tuesday’s agenda. I’ve already forgotten what the first two were. They were dealt with in less than five minutes. The third item was what brought out a crowd. It was a discussion about the transitional housing community that is to be built abutting my own neighborhood, and the affordable housing that will be the next phase of the same development. The topic was guaranteed to bring out the NIMBYs, and it did.

I’m proud of my neighborhood and of most of the people who took advantage of this forum to educate themselves and to discuss their concerns. The NIMBYs were given little notice as we discussed the very real problems that this development will present. The main street leading to the development is in poor repair, too narrow and unsafe. The utilities (especially water and sewage) are in need of major upgrades. The elementary school is already overcrowded and its old buildings are deteriorating.

My neighbors want the city, county and state to complete corrections on all of the above before construction begins. That’s not an unreasonable stance to take, but it is not my view. Completion will take a lot of time. Meanwhile, we have hundreds of people living on the beaches, waiting for the slow wheels of government to grind. I believe that the various agencies involved can all work together to just get the job done. They can open up another entrance on the back side of the development for the heavy construction traffic, while detouring us to other available roads so that the main entry road can be repaired. Road maintenance can work with the utility departments to coordinate their upgrades. There are unused temporary buildings all over the island that can be brought in for the school to use until permanent new buildings can be built. I think they can do all of this, if they will. The gentleman who spoke to us at the meeting is the head of a special task force formed by the governor. The agencies who will be involved in the work have been ordered to coordinate with him, to give this task top priority. He is competent, and he is passionate about making this happen. Call me naïve, but I believe it can be done, if they all want it to. I don't think getting the work done is the biggest part of the problem. I think community aceptance is. We have it in our power to throw up roadblocks, or to help this dream become a reality.

After the meeting I spoke with Alice, one of the audience members who had spoken quite eloquently to the problems we are facing. Alice has lived on this coast for many years, and she's raised her family here. She’s still doing that, but can’t afford a house anymore. She and her family live in tents on the beach. She has graciously agreed to sit down and talk with me soon, and to introduce me to some of her neighbors on the beach. Alice does not describe herself as homeless. She has a place to stay, and family and friends around her. She describes herself as houseless. It’s a fine distinction, but it tells me that her current circumstances have not beaten her down or warped her priorities.

This is the introduction to what I hope will be a series of posts about the houseless people who are my neighbors. I think it’s important for folks to meet them and get to know them. I hope that by introducing them to others I can help win support for the changes that my community needs to face. We can live with a little inconvenience while this project is being developed. We must, for the good of our community. I don’t have a production schedule. I will continue to do other posts about other things. I still deal with depression and social anxiety disorder, so bear with me when I have bad days and can’t work on this project. But do come back. I want you to meet my neighbors.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006
I got paid!
This may seem a little silly to some folks, but I’ve been grinning all day over a little $10.00 paycheck from PayPerPost. No, it’s not much, but it represents a great deal. You see, when you blog for PayPerPost, you get paid after your post has been up for thirty days. I’ve been blogging for PPP for … thirty days! So that little payment that appeared today is only the first of many, a symbol of things to come. I’ll be paid about $250 if I never make another post. But since I like what I’m doing and am taking more posting opportunities than I did for the first week or so, future monthly earnings will be even better. PPP is sponsoring this post, too, and has become a steady source of income for me. 2007 is looking rosy and prosperous in the skeet household!

A big mahalo (thank you!) to my friend Denise for telling me all about this wonderful opportunity. My Christmas will be a little brighter and I have a little more financial security thanks to her and to PayPerPost!

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I've been tagged!
Lisa thinks I should tell you five things that you don't know about me. That's going to be hard, because I've pretty much blabbed and blogged all of my secrets. I even admitted down below that my guts leak (this was a deep dark secret that I didn't share for many years, but since you don't have to share my RL personal space, what the heck?!) I'm digging around in the old memory chest, so let's see what skeletons I can rattle.

1. I tore the passenger door off of my first car by forgetting to close it and backing up beside a tree. The tree survived.

2. I was once a media darling. A former employer pushed me out front every time he hosted a media event. I've been on all of the major networks, quite a few cable networks, and have been interviewed and/or photographed for countless newspaper, magazine and radio stories. I don't want the ex-boss scumbag to know I have a blog so I won't name the company, but here's a hint: I was doing what I do now, but had a four-legged, wet-nosed assistant. My best front-page stuff occurred when I performed a service for a famous lady who holds a torch.

3. My siblings and I rescued guinea pigs that my grandmother was raising "for table" when we were kids. Their names were Hoss, Little Joe, Adam and Pollyanna.

4. I sang with the local Up With People group in my teens.

5. My true moment of fame came when I was the local Hula Hoop champion the first year they came out.

Now I have to go read a gazillion blogs to see who I can find who hasn't already played. I'll update once I have my list.

Alrighty now! I've tagged brettbum, scorpy, justin, osman and dragonden!

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Sing your heart out!
Karaoke is hugely popular in Hawaii. The karaoke bars are always rocking with crowds, usually groups of friends cheering each other on. Malls and local TV stations have karaoke contests and, of course, fans have parties at home and have their own karaoke machines so they can practice whenever they want. My next door neighbor’s grandson drove me crazy a while back when he set up his machine on their carport and belted out endless repetitions of The Impossible Dream. He wasn’t very good, but he was having so much fun I don’t think anyone minded much. You can liven up your own parties or surprise your favorite fan with their own machine after you do your research at Home Karaoke Machine Guide, which sponsors this post and provides you with all the info you’ll need to make a smart buying decision.

Earplugs for your neighbors are available at the corner drug store.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Support a good cause
**********This in NOT a sponsored post.**********

See that Crohn's Forum Book Store notation in my sidebar? It's not a paid ad. I put it there because it supports a cause I believe in. A portion of every purchase from the book store goes to support research through the Crohns's and Colitis Foundation of Canada. Any profit remaining supports the Crohn's Forum. It's a safe and friendly gathering place for folks with bowel disease to talk to others who share similar conditions.

Bowel diseases impact every area of ones life. The diseases themselves can be incredibly painful, and many sufferers have to endure multiple surgeries to find any comfort at all. The medications that help the most also carry serious side effects, both physical and emotional. Many people with bowel diseases suffer from depression, brought on or exacerbated by the steroids and other drugs they need to take to combat inflamed bowels. The diseases can interfere with business, school and social life, leading to stress and further depression. We spend our days trying to find the right balance of safe foods and physical activity to avoid pain, flares and embarrassing accidents. We pass by the tempting party platters at holiday gatherings or just don't go at all. We scope out each new establishment to see if they are appropriately set up to accomodate the mad dash we sometimes have to make towards the restroom. Most of us carry spare clothes and a clean-up kit with us everywhere we go because, well, accidents happen. On top of feeling sick most of the time, we have a condition that is socially embarrassing and eats away at ones self-esteem. Family and friends can be great support, but if they aren't fellow-sufferers they most often have no understanding of just how huge the impact of bowel desease is on our lives. That's why the Crohn's Disease Forum and other support groups are so important in our lives. We know that we can go there and vent about all of the stuff that most of you don't want to hear and wouldn't understand if you did.

The Crohn's Forum Book Store is an Amazon Affiliate. There's a wonderful selection of books especially for folks with Crohn's and other bowel diseases, but you'll also find a variety of computer and video games, DVDs, music, toys and games available. I hope you'll consider doing a little of your last-minute shopping there.

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Monday, December 18, 2006
I found a puzzle piece!
How cool is this? I just found a puzzle piece for the rockstartup puzzle piece scavanger hunt! If I find all thirty pieces, I can win one thousand dollars. Not too shabby for playing around on the web, especially since I’m doing that already.

If you’re clueless, listen up. is an online reality show. It chronicles the travails and triumphs of Ted and his intrepid crew as they establish PayPerPost, a website that pays bloggers to post product and service reviews, or even to blatantly advertise, on their blogs. Several episodes have already been released. Viewers can play voyeurs as they watch Ted secure millions in financing and put together the successful phenomenon which is now PayPerPost. The contest is their way of announcing a new episode, RockStartup Vegas.

For the puzzle contest, posties (that’s us – the folks who blog on PayPerPost) search advertisers, other postie’s blogs and pretty much everywhere on the web looking for the elusive thirty pieces. The finished puzzle will reveal a future opportunity for us to blog about. The first person to post the completed puzzle will win a $1000 posting opportunity.

I’m so excited that I found a piece!

This post is sponsored by PayPerPost, the folks who combine fun and profit for bloggers. It’s not too late for you to join in. Click the PPP icon over there at the top right of my sidebar and you can become a postie, too!

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Monday in paradise
I don't have any work on my schedule today. You'd think I'd be working on all the clutter around here, right? WRONG!

I've been clicking all around the internet today looking for puzzle pieces. How sad is that, when I'm so far behind everyone else that I'll never find all thirty pieces, lol!


Fun last minute gifts

I’ve been doing termite inspections for almost twenty-seven years. I’m very good at what I do. One thing that I learned early on is that good tools make good work. As an amateur gardener, it doesn’t matter that I use inexpensive tools from the discount store. As a professional providing a service, I look for the very best tools available to assist me in my work. The picture above is my proof. It’s over a decade old. The Streamlight Rechargable Flashlight is clearly visible on my hip. I still rely on Streamlight after all these years, because their flashlights have proven themselves reliable, sturdy and very long-lasting.

While you’re checking out the flashlights, take a look around at some of the other optical instruments at (they’re the nice folks who are sponsoring this post.) If you still have last-minute Christmas shopping to do and you’re looking for bargains, you can certainly find them there. I spend a lot of money on my work tools, but want a discount price for my nephew's first telescope. The hunters in your life would love to find leupold rifle scopes under the Christmas tree this year. Paintballers and others who play in the dark might appreciate an improvement in their night vision. You still have time to order, and will get free UPS shipping on orders over $29.95. Prowl around the site while your there. There are thousands of optical products and accessories and the discounted prices are very appealing.

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Saturday, December 16, 2006
Have you met Colleen?
I first ran across her on BlogHer, where the women bloggers are. Shortly after that I noticed that she's always among the top posters for PayPerPost. We exchanged a few emails and I discovered that she has no less than four very active blogs. I'm impressed! It's all I can do to keep up with one blog. I've been wanting to start a book blog for a while now & haven't even found the time to set it up. Maybe I need to ask Colleen for her secret to high energy?

Simple Kind of Life is where she talks about her life. She's suffering from a traumatic brain injury right now, so she may be a little incoherent for a few days. Nah! I'm pretty sure it won't slow her down at all.

Over at 3DayMom she's walking for a purpose. You're invited to support her walk to raise money to help find a cure for breast cancer.

Her other blogs are GeekySpeaky, where she converts geeky talk into language that is understandable even to a technophobe like me, and Buy MeBlog which is all about shopping.

Check her out. And if you find out the secret to her success, clue me in, would you?

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Have you been watching the latest thing in business reality tv? I posted about it here a couple of weeks ago. It’s and it documents the birth of PayPerPost. In Episode 1 we see Ted, our intrepid leader, sweet talk investors into three million dollars worth of funding. Britt was his able assistant on the trip, and he left her alone to set up a trade show. As a trade show veteran, I have to say that that was cruel on behalf of Ted. Brett did a fine job, but could have used a hand setting up the display panels. They’re really a two-person job, Ted, so why not help out next time?

I liked Episode 2 better. Ted and Britt passed out signboards and tee shirts to the crowd waiting outside the Today Show. You know the signboards folks hold up saying hello to their kids back home as they stand shivering in the crowd? It was a clever bit of marketing that all of the signs that day advertised for PayPerPost. Name recognition is everything, and can be hard to come by for a new player, so that move was sheer genius. Moving on to the trade show, Ted was nervous about his booth placement and a slow start to the day. Things picked up as soon as he left Britt alone to tend the booth, though. The scene where Ted and Britt play mindball is hilarious. Some more un-asked for advice from a trade show veteran: 1. Always bring at least twice as many business cards as you think you’ll need, and 2. Never, ever leave your booth unattended. You might just miss the opportunity to meet the most important contact in attendance.

The volume on the videos is poorly modulated, but they’re still a fun watch. Check them out! Episode 1 is above and you’ll find Episode 2 here.

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I'm so bummed.
Today was what I lovingly call BookBrunch day. Once a month the Table of Contents meets. Our meetings move around to different restaurants on Oahu, and we enjoy good food, catching up with each other's lives and swapping books. The Table of Contents is a group of local members of and has been meeting for several years. Our gatherings are one of the few things that can get me out of the house other than work and necessary errands, and it's the highlight of my month. Today was to be extra-special, because it was our Christmas gathering.

I left the house about ten this morning for our eleven o'clock restaurant reservation. It takes about forty minutes to get from my place, way out in the country, to downtown Honolulu. I allowed extra time today because the restaurant we had chosen is in a busy shopping complex and I knew I'd need extra time to find parking among all of the Christmas shoppers.

At 10:30 I was ten minutes away from my destination when IT happened. My belly cramped up. I had a ruptured gut twelve years ago and it left me with a condition called Short Bowel Syndrome. You don't want the details, but my son and I euphemistically refer to it as my faulty containment system. The little bit of food that I do retain does not absorb into my body very well, so I have numerous symptoms resulting from over a decade of malabsorption. My bones ache, my joints are failing, I've lost a lot of teeth and my muscle tone is lousy. I battle dehydration all day every day, my diet is very limited and I have frequent undesired weight loss. When my belly cramps up, I know that my day is over. There is nothing I can do but go home and wait it out.

I took my medication last night and this morning. It's supposed to slow things down in my digestive tract. The amount and scheduling of dosages is as much art as science, and varies depending on dietary intake, level of physical activity and a few other variables. I can't take the maximum dosage because the side effects can be as bad as the original symptoms. So I got it wrong this time and I missed the Christmas gathering of the Table of Contents.

Sometimes my life really sucks. Like I said, I'm bummed.

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PayPerPost adopts new full disclosure policy
The very first post I did for PayPerPost was my Disclosure Policy. I had already decided that having full disclosure was the only way I would be comfortable doing posts for them on my blog. Every PPP post I’ve done since then has had a keyword that identified it as paid advertising for PayPerPost, and a link to my Dislcosure Policy is always on my front page. I’m 100% behind the newly announced PPP policy that now ALL posties will have the same full disclosure on their blogs, too. It’s been optional in the past, but I think it’s good for all of us, and for the blogsphere, to have total transparency.

I’m also tipping my hat today to Michael Arrington at Techcrunch. He’s had some unkind things to say in the past about PayPerPost, and many of us have had unkind things to say about him. So thanks, Mr. Arrington, for acknowledging that PayPerPost is doing something right.

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Your Twelve Days of Christmas
For the twelve days of Christmas, your true love will send you:

Twelve punk rockers drumming
Eleven christmas trees a-twinkling
Ten midgets a-leaping
Nine ladies waltzing
Eight alpacas a-milking
Seven eggnogs a-intoxicating
Six Santas a-hohohoing
Five Golden Girls
Four calling telemarketers
Three French fries
Two bottles of whiskey
And a chimp in a peach tree

LOL! My true love obviously either doesn't know me very well or is looking to drive me away. I'm allergic to peaches, I don't drink and punk rockers have no place in my life. As to the telemarketers ... well, that's just cruel! I think it's time for me to find a new true love!


Friday, December 15, 2006
Is it Christmas yet?
I’m starting to feel the joy. I’ve tried to be the grumpy old curmudgeon this year, but the fun stuff of the Christmas season is starting to suck me in. That’s a good thing, right?

BlueMountain is the first ecard site I ever used, and it’s still one of the best. So it was a natural thing for me to start clicking links when I found a blog today that reviews some of BlueMountain’s Christmas online games. I just played the Gingerbread Boy Hangman’s Word Game and sure hope I’ll get better at it as time goes by. Each wrong letter guess causes the Gingerbread Boy to get bitten, and I’m afraid I let him get devoured several times. I didn’t do so well on the Elf Toss Game either. If you toss too soon, the elves end up in a tangled heap. If you toss too late, the elves doing the tossing slide onto the ice and can’t get any distance with their toss. I think I probably need a child to help me with these games, because they always seem to catch on much more quickly than us grown-up, don’t they?

The games are on ecards that you can send for free to your friends and family and old grumps like me. You can also purchase a year’s membership at BlueMountain for only $13.99 and send unlimited ecards throughout the year. That’s a lot cheaper than sending paper cards, and you can schedule them in advance so they always arrive right on time. There’s even a trial membership so you can check that out for free also. I’m glad I found this site, because I had forgotten how much fun BlueMountain ecards can be!

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Speaking of Christmas Stockings ...
Your Christmas Stocking Will Be Filled With a Puppy

Well - one cute, soft, cuddly puppy...
And a very soiled Christmas stocking.

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The best stocking stuffer ever?
My son is a sports nut. He’s working two jobs right now. He’s single, has an apartment with a reasonable rent and no major expenses. So why is he working two jobs? It would be nice if it was because he’s a forward-thinking guy who is feathering his nest for the future (grandkids?!) but that’s not the case. He pretty much spends it as fast as he makes it, and what he spends it on is sports. He lives in San Francisco and goes to all of the Giants, Sharks and A's games, and he’s been in the same rotisserie league for almost fifteen years. This makes it easy to shop for him at Christmas, since anything sports related makes him happy. We’ve been talking about doing some traveling together this spring. So I’m thinking that Chicago Cubs Spring Training Tickets might be the right thing to go with the Leroy Neiman print that’s already on its way to him. What do you think? Has Mom scored a hit this year?

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Thursday, December 14, 2006
Swimming companions

Honu - the green sea turtle

Puhi - the moray eel

These are older photos, made with one of those throw-away cameras, so they're not terrific.

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Feeling safe at home
I had a recent scare when an intruder walked into my home one evening. My dogs chased him away, so I was very fortunate that time. I’ve become more conscientious about locking my deadbolts since then, and I started shopping for outdoor security lighting the next day. I still feel vulnerable, but didn’t want to install an expensive Security System in a home that I’ll probably be selling in the next year or so. Now I’ve found out that there’s a more effective approach. LaserShield is a portable system that’s easy to set up and will provide the 24/7 monitoring that I want. The keychain remote alarm and activator will allow me to arm and disarm the system as I come and go, and it can be configured so that the dogs won’t be triggering false alarms. I can take it with me when I move, and the system is expandable, so I can add to it if my new place is bigger. LaserShield is available at CompUSA, Kmart, Home Depot and other national retailers as well as online.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Oh, baby!

The last time I took a road trip around Texas to visit relatives, I collected old family photos from several of them. My mother had created photo albums for all four of us sibs many years ago, but mine had gotten lost somewhere along the line. I asked all of the aunties to come across and they obliged. Funny thing was, every one of them had pictures of me as a toddler eating dirt, usually dressed in nothing but a diaper or a pair of training pants. Apparently it was something of a family joke that I was the best mud pie maker ever, and that no one was fast enough to keep me from eating them. Judging by the number of such pictures that exist, I think it's safe to assume that this was because they always had cameras glued to their faces. So I was amused when I came across the picture above. My mother made the dress. Can you see the little flowers hand embroidered above the hem of the skirt? There's a big satin bow peeking out from behind my elbow, and the gathers and lace are clearly visible. A careful study also shows that everything except the collar is lined, probably with cotton to protect tender baby skin. It would have been hand washed and ironed with lots of starch on the collar in preparation for the big picture day. The hair styling probably wasn't very time-consuming, but still, Mom must have spent hours getting me ready to look picture perfect. I was a pretty baby and it's a pretty picture. But all I can think of when I look at it is that, cheerful as I look, that little hand was already reaching to rip the fluffy dress off so I could get comfortable enough for the next mud hole.

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