Thursday, August 12, 2010

If you follow me, I will follow you: A new blog has been birthed!

Thankfully for you, only a brief note.

This is not actually a Genesis song. It could be, but it's not.

It's just a plug to follow my meanderings at 1WomanWordsmith, where I'm embarking on a blog to end all blogs. (Or maybe it's a blog to end my blogging career, you josh!)

I hope to take on topics not so much like the Titanic took on water, but rather as they come across my radar and pique my passions, so I'm sure to write about writing, writing contests, language and grammar, frugality, science, health, medicine, astronomy, ecology, politics, sports, and parenting (among others), and, I hope, offer a kaleidoscopic view of the world.

I hope you'll take a moment to spin the device and see what colors emerge as we journey together toward knowledge.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Microsoft Makes Me Feel Macro-Small

Hey, friends!

Most of you probably know I've been having problems with my Hotmail account. Granted it is free, but that doesn't mean I should have 0 technical support, should it?

I can't give you the exact details, because my account has been hijacked and now, apparently, shut down in a pre-emptive strike by Microsoft.

(I suppose they are taking a page from Dubya's book, but I digress.)

A friend suggested that I blog about it, in the hopes that Google Alerts or something will bring Microsoft to act to help us.

Yes, us. Because I don't kid myself that I'm the only one to whom this has happened.

Briefly: About May 6th, I noticed that I got two "returned as undeliverable" e-mails in my Hotmail account. I hadn't sent anything from Hotmail on May 6th or thereabouts. Upon investigating further, I discovered that some phantom person or other mechanical menace had sent out e-mails (spam, phishing, whatever) in my name to several colleagues and friends and family, in my name. It advised them to visit some likely squatter/sham site.

I wrote people to apologize. I contacted Live Support--still waiting for their response on that first trouble ticket from a couple weeks ago. I posted in their forum and read of others' similar, if not exactly the same, plights. In the Microsoft forums there were even--help me, for I lack the language to describe it correctly--spam bots out in all their full, foul force.

Not only have I never heard back from Microsoft, but after changing my password to one that Microsoft deemed strong; telling those in my address book to beware and that I apologized for any inconvenience to them; and contacting Microsoft for help, practically throwing myself on their mercy, noting that the false e-mails sent out in my name were also besmirching Microsoft's integrity as a business, for it had all the hallmarks of a normal Hotmail message (even advising people to use Hotmail, with a link at the bottom of the message), I get a message yesterday that I had violated Microsoft's such-and-such policy. My guess is that they think it is I who is spamming everyone, but it's really not. So, instead of helping me, what are they doing ... blocking me from my e-mail account.

An account I've had since December 2000, I might add. How's that for customer loyalty.

Well, no more. I'm sick of Microsoft.

Had I the power, as a little guy, I'd start my own company e-mail provider (purely as a joke and as a wake-up call to MS), and call it ... oh, one could call it so many funny permutations. Snotmail: E-mail for those with colds or runny noses. Notmail: Just when you think you have an e-mail provider, you really don't. Much like its sister Hotmail. Potmail: E-mail for when you be trippin (which I don't do, just for the record). Plotmail: Receive an e-mail from your favorite dead celebrity, straight out of the plot. ... Rotmail: E-mail for when you want to be a jerk (think "rotten") and, last but not least, Gotmail, for those times when you'd love to use your e-mail account to send and receive completely legitimate communiques but are barred from doing so. No, you've definitely NOT got mail, A-H-OL.{Got any suggestions for funny e-mail providers?}

Hmmm, I think I'll go switch to another provider--Gmail or Yahoo!, anyone?--while I wait for the response to my now 3 trouble tickets submitted to Live Support (Dead Support is more like it) in the last 2 weeks. E-mails that I know will never come.

Don't they say the postman always rings twice? Dang, if I could only get once, some kind of a response, even if only a "p155 off" from Microsoft, I might be happier.

Well, I'm going to pick up the pieces of my shattered Internet experience and go sulk on the couch with some cereal.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Greened Submarine

We all live in a green submarine, green submarine, green submarine.


But, seriously, did you know that Quizno's is greening their food packaging in an effort to reduce waste (not to mention that it helps their bottom line; I wish more restaurants & companies would catch onto that fact, then they'll be sold on green)? You would not believe how much of our landfills are stuffed to the brim with fast-food detritus.

That "dead zone" of plastic in the Pacific, too. So, anything toward reducing waste (part of the ever-important 3 "R's") is great in my green book.

As part of getting the word out about Quizno's efforts, they are awarding $5 gift cards to five readers in a "Choose 2" giveaway via the excellent blog called Melinda Joy here.

Melinda's blog also features everything from travel getaway/reviews to sandals (reviewed) to book, jewelry, and food giveaways.

And Quizno's? Mmmmm, mmmm, mmmm, mmmm, mmmm.

(That's me munching on their green foods--the lettuce in my toasty sub, that is!)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What Easter Means to Me

Ah, Easter. In the case of this year, April.

Poet T.S. Eliot (disclosure: subject of my master's thesis, which I finished almost 10 years ago now! Oops, I meant "100 years ago." hee-hee) wrote that "April is the cruellest month/breeding lilacs out of the dead land." Or something along those lines.

While I dig Eliot's meaning in my more pessimistic moments (my husband would say that that's every moment for me, ha-ha!), today, as a mom, I would prefer to spin the top in a positive direction: April is a good month. Life gets a chance to take its chance anew. We all get to be reborn, regardless of our spirituality or lack thereof (in my case). If we allow ourselves to embrace peace, we can be reinvigorated by the myriad beauties of Nature.

And, in our case, we get to go out and garden. Hence the picture of DD using her brand-spankin' new watering can (I told her it looks like it belongs to the Tin Man, but she couldn't relate because she hasn't seen that movie yet). I am humbly submitting my photo to the April photo contest at An Island Life here, which talks about what the Easter (season) means to me. An Island Life, if you haven't visited it lately (or ever before now), is the well-put-together (wish I knew how to do en dashes in Blogger!) site of Kailani, a lovely lady with three equally lovely little girls. I enjoy reading her posts about life as a flight attendant--how brave is that!?!--and her darling "K"-named girls. You can find the rules of the contest at the link above--voting starts April 9th, etc.

To paraphrase another Eliot line originally about music but ostensibly much larger, "while the season lasts, we are the season," so get out there and smell the roses with your noses (with apologies to Dr. Seuss); plant the flowers, veggies, and the like; hike the hills and dales; take nothing but photos; and leave nothing but footprints, my friends!


Monday, April 5, 2010

Chocolate, Food of the Gods

Everywhere I go (and look), it seems to me that women are more fond of chocolate than men are.

{The editor in me just snickered at a permutation of the above sentence. ... If I had written "women are more fond of chocolate than men" it could be true but also very funny. That is, that women like chocolate more than they like men. Now you know the weird way that my once-new steel trap works!}

My favorite 3 C's: children (namely mine! but others can be wonderful, too, of course), chocolate, and coffee. Distant fourth: cheese. I was trying to figure out a way to get hubby in there, but I just couldn't. Maybe confidant? ...

In any case, back on subject, my parents--bless their hearts--send us WAY too much "junk" food. It's not that I don't like junk food, mind you. It's just that I'm trying to get away from the junk food. (Though a crunchety chocolate bar every now and then never hurt anyone--I'm still desperately trying to convince my husband of that!)

That's where yet another giveaway comes in. Stacie, on her blog Simply Stacie, is giving away an Organically Hatched gift card. For those who don't know, Organically Hatched is a "green" company that has committed itself to providing the gamut of organic baby products, from music toys (gotta love their wooden "Tatiri" whistle on a keychain!) to bottles to slings to awe-dorable
Under the Nile Organic Cotton Fruit Toys (I know my little guy would love these, as he's all about putting things in his mouth right now). (To be fair, I have not tried their products yet, but their green stance and the look and description of the products are very attractive.)

OH is also proudly Canadian. O Canada!

So, when you've a moment, do check out both the OH site and Simply Stacie. Stacie does a lot of book reviews (I love books; just don't get to read many of them except for work and in little time blocks throughout the day), jewelry, and really all kinds of things. From beautiful Nova Scotia.

(Long live Scotland! hee-hee. That one's for Mom & Dad.)

Peace out,

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Milk, Shmilk!

When I was a kid (in the Dark Ages), we didn't talk about milk or what was in it. Loose lips sink milks, I guess.

Now, many glasses later, I have a family, and I think more deeply about things in general. (I've become quite the worry-wart, haven't I?)

So, the topic du jour spins around to milk. Some companies use steroids or antibiotics or some other chemical concoctions and others don't--we know that now in our era of product/brand transparency. Unfortunately, I cannot often afford organic or BSH-free, antibiotic-free milk.

Thus, it's up to my husband and I to do what's right, when we can. I truly believe the body is a temple and that food is a HUGE part of who we are as a society and as an individual. There was an old saying--garbage in, garbage out. If only that were true, because, unfortunately, it's garbage in, garbage stays in.

That's where freedom of choice comes in. You can choose the good stuff--it's just there for the taking. The Horizon milk, for example. Forgo the Starbucks once in awhile. Brown-bag your lunches a few days a week. Skip that ice cream cone this weekend.

It all adds up, if you're being frugal (as we are). And it just might add up to good health if you play your cards right. Plant a garden. Sow some herbs--oregano, chives, parsley, and basil are so easy to grow (take it from my black thumb!).

To that end, visit Melinda Joy's blog and take a chance on winning some Horizon milk coupons here.

As for me, make mine organic milk, naturally!