Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My Dog Pippa

I have to tell you what my dog Pippa did the other day. I started to walk her on our usual route but she kept stepping in front of me to make me stop. Every few steps she did this until finally I said, "What's wrong - do you want to go home?" At that, she ran back toward our house.

When I got inside, she ran to my husband and jumped up on him. She clearly wanted HIM to walk her! That really hurt my feelings! I handed John the leash and said, "Obviously she wants you to walk her - go ahead." Then HE said, "Well, she is a little overly attached to me." Man - kick 'em when they're down!! Granted, he does walk her more than I do but I always thought she loved us equally - apparently I was wrong.

So, I stayed home, sulking, and John and Pippa went for a walk. After a few minutes, I looked out the front window and saw Pippa doing the same thing to John. I heard him say to her, "Do you want your mama?" and Pippa ran toward the house. I couldn't believe it - she wanted both of us to walk her! Needless to say, this made me very happy and I stopped pouting.

I joined them outside and we went on our usual walk, with Pippa turning to look at us every once in a while, just to make sure we were both still there.

Isn't that the cutest, smartest thing you've ever heard? What a great dog!!!

Below are two pictures of Pippa. The first is of Pippa and her sister Bailey (who, sadly, died 1 1/2 years ago from a fungal infection) and the second is at their third birthday party (two months before Bailey died). John is the guy on the left with Pippa (left) and Bailey in front of him.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Amazing Music Video

I found this music video on Greg Pincus' website, The Happy Accident. You have to watch it - it's amazing! Check out Greg's site too - it's all about how to use social media to promote yourself.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

ALA in Chicago July 9 - July 15

The annual ALA Conference runs from today through July 15th. I'm going there on Monday with a couple of my writing friends, one of whom, Suzanne Slade, will be signing books at the Sylvan Dell booth on July 12th & 13th. She'll also be signing at the Children's Museum on Navy Pier on the 12th from 11:00 - 12:30. Her new book, WHAT'S NEW AT THE ZOO comes out tomorrow, July 10th! Congrats Suzanne!

Monday, July 6, 2009

TMTOMH Disorder

Once again, I've come down with a case of TMTOMH (Too Much Time On My Hands) Disorder. It happens every summer and I still don't know how to cure it. Sometimes the symptoms are mild and I'm able to get things crossed off my massive to-do list. At other times, however, the symptoms are debilitating and all I can manage to do is watch old movies on TV, surf the web and putter ineffectively around the house. One of the worst side effects of this disorder is a massive case of writer's block. It took everything I have to get this short post written. What's a writer with TMTOMH (with secondary writer's block) to do?

Well, I took advantage of my need to web-surf and I checked the ultimate source - no, not - Verla Kay's Blueboard! In no time at all, I found a thread addressing the writer's block issue and it led me to an excellent site that I think will help me and my fellow sufferers. The site is called and on the site is an application called Write or Die.

Here's how Dr. Wicked describes the application:

Write or Die is a web application that encourages writing by punishing the tendency to avoid writing. Start typing in the box. As long as you keep typing, you're fine, but once you stop typing, you have a grace period of a certain number of seconds and then there are consequences.

The idea is to instill in the would-be writer with a fear of not writing. We do this by employing principles taught in Introduction to Psychology. Anyone remember Operant Conditioning and Negative Reinforcement?Negative Reinforcement "strengthens a behavior because a negative condition is stopped or avoided as a consequence of the behavior."

  • Gentle Mode: A certain amount of time after you stop writing, a box will pop up, gently reminding you to continue writing.
  • Normal Mode: If you persistently avoid writing, you will be played a most unpleasant sound. The sound will stop if and only if you continue to write.
  • Kamikaze Mode: Keep Writing or Your Work Will Unwrite Itself

These consequences will persist until your preset conditions have been met (that is, your time is up or you've written your wordcount goal or both).

Sound intriguing? Give Write or Die a try and let me know what you think. Here's the link: