Tuesday, December 31, 2013


For the first time in a while, I can look back on a year and be very satisfied with how it turned out.

I have a job in the field I studied and it is what I expected. I look forward to going to work each day.

Money isn't plentiful, but things aren't horrible. When I get a flat tire, it limits what we do for a paycheck, rather than killing our budget for two months.

My family is healthy, the extended family is extending more, with a new baby and an engagement. While my health and Ed's aren't perfect, they aren't too bad.

We have trips out of state planned this year. Yes, multiple. Heck, Ed and I have a trip out of country, and there may be a second one before the year is over.

We've reconnected with old friends.

If 2014 just gives us more of the same as 2013, it will be fine with me.

Here's hoping that you all have good tidings in 2014.

Monday, December 30, 2013


I haven't uploaded the pictures, but I will do so in the morning.

Paprikash is a one pot meal that is so good, especially in the winter months.

Chicken Paprikash
4 pound chicken parts (I use chunked boneless breasts)
6 onions, slivered
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon pepper (yes, that much-it is supposed to be peppery)
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons paprika
8 ounces sour cream

In a large saute pan or pot, lightly brown the chicken in olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and spices and cook until the onions are translucent, stirring often. Then turn down heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes. There should be a lot of moisture cooked out of the onions, if there isn't, then add one cup of chicken broth. Stir in the sour cream and serve.

It's best served over egg noodles, but I've had it over mashed potatoes or rice, and that is still pretty good.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Swinging Santa

Yesterday, we enjoyed enough afternoon cocktails that we felt like this guy for a little while. There's something to be said for vegging on a lounge chair in December while tipsy.

I kind of looked at it as preparation for our upcoming trip. We realize that we will probably purchase a moderately expensive drink package before we board our cruise in the spring, and to make it worthwhile, I think we will be feeling tipsy more than once.

Saturday, December 28, 2013


I typically buy the textbooks I need from Amazon or eBay, especially the ones not for my specific program. For this semester, I'd found one of the books for one class on Amazon for 3.00, but it was a book on tape-not even CD! That must be the first edition of the book, published in 1999. There have been 2 editions since.

The other book, it was a tad cheaper to rent it from the bookstore than to purchase the current edition, so the day before semester break, I went and picked up both books, thinking it I wouldn't find better deals.

Of course, now that I rented these books, I found one on Amazon for 3.00-for the current edition, then found the other on Half.com for less than what I paid for the rental!

I suppose I knew this was going to happen, because if I hadn't opted to rent them, those other two never would have shown up!

Friday, December 27, 2013

A Lifetime Ago

IMing with a friend who is going through some friendship issues right now, and offering some advice that one gains from personal experience. We're talking about when it's time to cut your losses and move on. While my experience is different from hers in several ways, the core issue is pretty much the same, and we are discussing how bottling up your feelings doesn't change the situation and really isn't good for a person.

In talking, I realize that so much has changed in my life when I made the decision to walk away from a friendship. Back then, it really sucked, because I had very few friends in my circle, due to the situation with GameTeen (I really limited who was around him back then) and the thought of losing just one was difficult. Since then, though, other friends from that time have become much more peripheral and you know what? I'm okay with that.

The subsequent years have brought losses, many more gains and a very different outlook on life after dealing with the health bullshit and unemployment drama. I find myself in a much more zen place about friendships, that they come and go. Even the good ones go through phases of missed connections. And sometimes, we go through these experiences so that when another friend is dealing with the hurt, we can tell her that 'Yep, it hurts, but it won't hurt forever.'

It just changes your perspective.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Quiet Celebrations

Yesterday was a nice, low-key kind of day. After several years of chaotic holidays, and then a couple of years of family holiday dramas of hospitals, nursing homes, and the like, we're finally at the point that Christmas isn't a chore. Add to that being gainfully employed and having the ability to buy some of the requested gifts, and the day is more festive than it had been.

Still, I goofed. When we booked a vacation a few months ago, I remember Ed and I having a conversation that Christmas and Valentine's gifts were not needed, because we were spending about the same amount for this trip that we did for our week in California with the kids many years ago. Crap, that trip was SEVEN years ago, before everything seemed to go to shit. I remembered this lack of gifts, Ed did not. Oops.

Guess I need to remedy that for Valentine's day, or something like that.

I realize that the coming year brings some changes, though. We'll have some of my side of the family living a few miles away, and we'll want to spend some of the holiday with them. So then the questions become 'when' and 'where'. I'm of the mind that you don't uproot little ones from their own home on a holiday, if at all possible. Routines can be maintained, and it's easier to sleep and eat in familiar surroundings.

We shall see. Maybe we'll spend Christmas Eve with them, and then have Christmas day with just the four of us. After all, it won't be too long before Chef is off to college and we're not one little family unit...

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Doctor Who Regeneration

They totally sold Matt Smith short. I feel like Steven Moffatt put all his effort into the 50th Anniversary show and snoozed through writing this episode.

Looking forward to Peter Capaldi in the role, but feel he was robbed of a proper send off.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Egg Rolls

Yesterday, after my poking and electrocuting, Ed and I went for lunch at our favorite Barbeque joint over that way. A few doors down is probably one of the better Asian markets around, so I kind of had designs on popping in and getting sweet chili sauce.

What I didn't realize is that since we'd last visited this location of the Barbeque joint (review coming, all the pictures are on Ed's phone), they went and expanded from an average sized store to a supermarket. Before, you could walk in and three people would be working. Now, three registers were manned, as well as a hot food counter, several people stocking shelves and about 4 people behind the meat and seafood counters-it was hopping!

As a result, we looked a bit more than expected and there are plans to go back again soon, because they still have fantastic prices. For instance, I got ground pork for $1.99 a pound. Immediately, my thoughts went to what Asian treat I could make with it, and that's how I decided to make Egg Rolls.

The resulting rolls are a melding of two recipes, as I'd never had mushrooms or water chestnuts in an egg roll ever, and the recipe with the veggies I remember didn't include meat. Still, after the first roll, I got the wrapping down. After the third, they evolved into something less than a NY style egg roll, but bigger than a spring roll. Chef is on the fence about egg rolls, sometimes eating them, other times passing them up. He happily ate a bunch, as did Ed.

There's enough pork mixture left to make another whole batch. My plan is to pick up some more wrappers Thursday, blanch the rest of the Napa cabbage, assemble the rest and freeze them before cooking. It was a bit of work, but the end results made it worth it!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Taze Me, Bro

I had my Electromyogram (EMG) and Nerve Conduction studies today. These two tests are performed to see that my nerves work the way they are supposed to and are usually the means to rule out problems, rather than rule them in.

Thing is, they are freaking painful. I am very sore right now, because the EMG places an electrode on my hand, then the doctor pokes me with pins at certain nerve points up the arm. The neurologist records the reactions at rest and with flexion. Basically, at rest, you shouldn't hear very much, and with resistance, it should sound like a Geiger counter hovering over a piece of uranium. Mine did, but I don't know whether the actions were good or bad.

Thankfully, that was done on the left arm, the one that has been the bigger problem.

Afterwards, the nurse worked on the nerve conduction study. During that one, there were metal loops placed on various fingers, then a tazer was employed to shock at various points up either arm, then measured and the action potentials were rated. I don't know the scores on these, but I have sharpie marks all over my arms where the nurse tazed me.

Thankfully, I remembered that last time left me very sore and uncomfortable, and that was just one arm. I knew that at least one of those tests would be on both sides, so Ed went with me. This was a good thing, because about 10 minutes after they were done and I was on the way, I lifted my arm to rub Ed's shoulder as he drove. OWWWWW!

If you get either procedure, have an analgesic or stronger at the ready, and don't plan on doing much the rest of the day.

We'll see what the doctor's appointment in the new year has in store.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Advantages of Technology

I spent several hours with a friend yesterday, working on a memorial video for his ex, who recently died in an accident while living out of state. He lives with ex's family, and as a result, is heavily involved in the memorial service planning.

The video involved hundreds of pictures set to music. Years ago, that would have involved someone trying to make a slide show, and then tape recording the proper songs. For us, it was me converting audio files into the proper format, then sorting the pictures into early, teen, young adult, and adult years, then moving those folders into iMovie. Once there, pictures got tweaked, so that the focus wasn't on knees and feet, or they zoomed in on the right person. In one case, a requested song was 'Drink a Beer' and in the queue pretty soon afterwards was a picture of that person with the recently deceased, with both holding beers. It was a small matter of tweaking times of the preceding pictures to make it so that the first time the line "Drink a Beer" comes up, that picture comes up perfectly. There was a time when I'd do that with a splicing block and miles of tape. To do so now with one piece of software is pretty darn incredible.

Then to render it would take two hours, and we'd been at it for almost 8 already. I sent my friend home, and I planned to upload it to the flash drive that contained all the pictures. Instead, there are two quicker options, Dropbox and YouTube.

File has been uploaded to Dropbox and is being viewed. Once we get the word from a family member, it will also go on YouTube, because we need to see if she'd prefer unlisted or private on there. Unlisted means that the link can be shared freely, but you won't find it in a search. Private means you can only view if the owner of the video has emailed you an invitation.

It is kind of nice that in a time like this, when a family is grieving, a nice memento can be made-and shared, with minimal fuss.

Saturday, December 21, 2013


Today was my last nail appointment with Katie, my awesome nail tech. Lakeland's loss is Raleigh's gain, so if you live there and want an awesome tech, message me!

Friday, December 20, 2013

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Because I have the next 13 days off-paid-and they don't go against my annual leave accrual!

Maybe I can get some cleaning, baking, reading and writing done.

Oh, and sleeping. The best part of vacations is the fact that I can sleep later!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

I Wonder

Is it better to go through high school as something of a social outcast, having a life where you have a very small circle of friend and are as far from popular as possible, only to later find that people held you in pretty high regard? Or would it be better to experience high school knowing that people valued those positive traits you have?

I went through life as the former. It shaped who I am, and I think it made me a very empathetic person. However, the more people I reconnect with from my youth, the more I hear those positive comments that would have made a world of difference to me back then. Ones that would have removed a lot of that need to seek approval.

That said, it shaped who I am now, so maybe it's better that I didn't know that the peripheral connections back then actually liked what I had to say or what I did.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

All Clear

Unremarkable. So says the neurologist. Guess this means the Chiari isn't to blame for the fun stuff that's been happening.

Up next, an EMG on Monday. This time, instead of just having my right side done, I get both sides. Yay.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What The Heck Is This?

Subtropical, my ass!

Then during my commute to work, it dipped as low as 39, settling at 43 when I got to work.

Who ordered the cold? You can have it back.

Monday, December 16, 2013


A very real fact of life for me is that I need annual MRIs. Due to my neuro leaving the practice and starting with a new one, it's been almost 18 months between them. In that time, I managed to block out how nerve wracking the last one really was.

My first few MRIs were fine, I sucked it up and got through. Even though I don't consider myself claustrophobic, something about putting me into a tube where I can't move for 40 minutes is tougher to bear than a root canal. Those, I can handle no problem. However, the last MRI, my arms hit the sides of the tube on the way in, further proving the point that this thing is TINY, and I panicked. If not for a really good technician, I think I would have spent the whole time tachycardic.

Until last week, I'd blocked out what had happened afterwards. I'd forgotten that I was dizzy, nauseous and nursing a moderate headache when I went in and a severe one when I got out. I also forgot that I went to meet a friend in Ybor and tried to find parking and went down an alley, only to find the Ritz had a stage IN the alley when the alley made a 90 degree turn, and I had to back the van out of said alley while dizzy, nauseous and dealing with a pounding head. I think it's a testament to my driving skills that I was able to back up down a very long and narrow alley with nary a tap or a scratch on the van.

That MRI ultimately led to my spinal fusion. Between that and the Chiari, I need to have these done annually.

Tomorrow, I have another MRI. Thanks to all the issues going on, instead of just getting an image of the spinal column, the neurologist wants to see the frontal lobes to determine why I'm getting dizzy and see whether there's something causing the hand problems. Oh, and to see if the cerebullar tonsils are pushing further down the spinal column. I guess it's not surprising that this one is scheduled for 90 minutes.

However, once I remembered that last year's was a rough experience, I called the neurologist's office to ask for medication. ONE Valium. One Valium only, Vasily. (name the movie I just mangled). The receptionist took my information and the nurse called me back a few hours later to tell me 'you have meclizine, take the Meclizine.' Yeah, I have Meclizine for dizziness, last I heard, it isn't a sedative. If I get dizzy after the MRI, I'm supposed to take another Meclizine, the medication that doesn't really work for my dizziness.

At least I can walk back to work if I'm too dizzy to drive anywhere.

I'm thinking the follow up appointment with the neurologist is going to be rather interesting, with me saying, I was worried about anxiety while in the MRI, not the dizziness.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Something Different

It has been a while since we've had family nearby, and at that, we'd spent a lot of time towards the end of their lives doing more care taking than the simple hanging out thing.

My niece up in New Jersey, however, started dating an old friend-who happens to live two miles away from us. She'd been down here several times in the past year and recently decided that she's going to make the permanent move here. There are quite a few factors, boyfriend owns his home here, renting in the NYC area is insane and while he could transfer back up with his job-it makes more sense to stay here.

So she's here now, and we got together with them for dinner last night. Today, I had errands to run, boyfriend went to a football game and I messaged her to see if she wanted to hang out for a little while. Which is how we ended up walking through Sam's Club together, niece, me, and boyfriend's son (absolutely adorable little guy!).

It was nice to spend time shooting the breeze and catching up, as the last time I really saw her on a regular basis was when Chef was a toddler. It's kind of nice to get to know the kids when they grow up, and she's turned into a savvy businesswoman and funny person.

I could get used to this!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas Light Fails

A long time ago, in a blog far, far away. Oh wait, no, it was this blog, back in the age when I didn't post pictures. I ranted about the things you don't do with your Christmas light display. This time, I give you pictures. Suzanne's first pet peeve of Christmas lights: people who just slap them on the bushes.

People, if you're going to break out the lights, please take the time to make them look like they're magically twinkling randomly from within the bushes. Don't just snake them through like your 5 year old was given the task.

Pet peeve number 2: Don't just dump the whole strand on the top of the bush because your other half wants the outside decorated. This looks just as sloppy as the first group of pictures.

If you have a lot of bushes and a big yard, and not enough lights, maybe doing one column in front of your house and the adjacent bush isn't a good idea. Perhaps just use that one strand of lights to frame the door?

On the other end of the spectrum, if you've got lights left over, you can skip bunching them up on a column so that you have all the lights out. Less would be fine.

And the final pet peeve: check your lights before you string them up!

What say you?

Friday, December 13, 2013


Ever since the first performance of Handel's Halleluiah Chorus, it has been customary for the audience to stand during the performance. This is because King George rose to his feet at the premiere of this oratorio-and the tradition has stuck with us ever since.

After years of listening to the Messiah, performing many choruses from it, and being in the audience countless times, it is something I pretty much do automatically.

I attended a live performance today. No one stood. It was weird.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Quality Over Quantity

Lately, I've noted that I'm getting a ton of Twitter follows.

If I haven't interacted with the person, I check the profile and see if there are common interests or follows. It seems that the majority are 'follow trolling' or driving up the number of Twitter followers they have. Maybe I just don't get the 'like me and I'll like you back' phenomenon, but I really don't want to add to my feed with somebody whose purpose is to appear popular.

One person who I share an interest with seems to be of another type that I don't understand: like every single artist she likes who happens to be on Twitter, then hound them endlessly with tweets, about half of which are of the 'please follow back' nature. While many artists enjoy the ability to interact with fans, I'm sure they don't want half of their feed flooded with those types of messages!

Now that I'm back tweeting fairly regularly, reading more than tweeting actually, I've been pruning who I follow, but I'm looking forward to taking a bit of time during the semester break to really look at my list and dump the ones that never tweet, the ones I followed for a contest entry and don't really tweet anything that is relevant to me and probably half the celebrity follows I did when I first joined Twitter back in 2007.

Of course, this means my spam inbox is going to be flooded with 'We can give you 5,000 followers for $5!' emails!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


I needed to finish a project by midnight.

One of my dearest friends is stressed out because his former companion of eight years died the other night. He's stressed, he needs to talk and wanted to know what I was doing tonight.

Friend wins.

It will be another very late night, but friends come first on stuff like this.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cupcake Delivery!

In a case of 'it's a small world', my niece began dating a guy last year who lives a couple of miles from me and Ed. They went all through school together up north, and he moved here three years ago when his job promoted him. She's planning on moving down in the new year.

She is visiting him right now and while he was at work today, she decided to make cupcakes, then quickly realized that 24 cupcakes is not a good idea to have all of them in the house-so she IMed me and offered to deliver some!

I can get used to having her nearby, and well, the treats? A nice bonus!

Monday, December 09, 2013

Fresh Produce Delivered to My Door

A friend shared a link to a local farm that delivers produce every week. Yep, you place an order from the fresh items they have in stock, pay, and they have delivery days to various places in my county. (If you're in Polk County Florida, check out Red Tractor Produce.

Last week, I ordered their $20 box, picked what I wanted, and had a box full of bok choy, potatoes, oranges, carrots, peppers, organic bananas, a pair of mangoes and a pair of avocados. Everything looked great, and so far, I've been pleased with the quality of the produce. This is definitely something that will become a regular habit, as I like to shop the local farm stands, but it's hard to get to them after work. This solves that problem, and unlike a cooperative, I get to choose what I get.

The bok choy was planned to be in a stir fry and I finally got to do that tonight. A couple the peppers and three heads of the bok choy, two onions, two cloves of garlic, three pork chops sliced thin, some sesame oil, five spice blend, and sweet chili sauce and dinner was ready in a jiffy.

I don't think I'm waiting to use the rest of the bok choy, it will be part of dinner tomorrow.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Crunch Time

Pulling together this Flash project is rather interesting-I think I have a lot more gray hair than I did when I started this semester!

This is probably the easiest component I've done so far:
(It is coming through as a slide show right now, I'll export it as an .avi later to share.)

I have some parts of it I'm not happy with, but I nitpick too much.

As it's .swf, .fla, and HTML files, I can only do a screen cap of the embedded video viewer.

Back to figuring out why my sound files aren't activating, but the buttons they're embedded in are-and the coding should activate my SoundChannels.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Two Weeks, Two Pairs of Shoes

On Black Friday, I bought another pair of the Alegria shoes, the Coral Owls I posted pictures of in a previous post. While the first pair purchased were size 39, the Amazon website stated that my 8.5 feet should really wear the 38 shoe.

Okay, I'll buy that, the Kyra Flora Blue probably could have been a size smaller and still be very comfortable, so I went ahead with the smaller size. What I didn't know is that the Paloma is a tiny bit smaller than the Kyra. (Alegria appears to have set styles, and they just change the patterns on them, similar to what Vera Bradley does with bags). The Coral Owls arrived and while they fit and the average person would love them, my Stupid Leg would definitely protest the fit.

Unfortunately, Amazon wouldn't just do an exchange, and while they're a good price, I repurchased the Coral Owls one size bigger and had Amazon overnight them for just $3.99 (Prime is awesome!). The 39 in the Paloma is definitely a touch narrower and a bit shorter in the toe box than the Kyra, but they fit.

Kyra Blue Floral

Paloma Coral Owls

Yes, the strap on the Paloma is much wider and could present a problem, but I'm able to adjust that strap to prevent it from digging into the bad foot.

I've worn the Flora Blues pretty much constantly since I got them and find them very comfortable. One of the things I find I have to do with all of my shoes is take them off if I'm sitting for any length of time, because the tops of my toes are as hypersensitive as the instep. I notice I don't do this as often with that pair, as they aren't touching the tops of the toes. I need more than one day in the Palomas, but I'm thinking the toe box is similar to my other shoes.

Another funky thing that is unique to me: I gained almost an inch and a half in height as a result of the spinal fusion, and both of these have a 1.5" lift, and I've worn no heels in years-so I feel really tall wearing these. It will feel normal soon, but to be able to reach the higher shelf in my cabinets is a nice bonus.

Finally, I can wear something other than my Crocs!

Friday, December 06, 2013

Tis the Season For Christmas Nails

Two Gelish Shades, and they're rather festive, Wanna Share a Lift and Dark Side!

Bonus photobomb by the lovely and funny Katie, who in two years, has me figured out and just does my nail colors without me saying what I want.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

It Is Assured

That if your teenager is going on a field trip to the mall, and all you have is $2 or a $20, you give him the $20.

It is further guaranteed that if he is told 'you MUST bring back change', that he will not bring a single cent.

But if it is my kid, he'll spend the $20 on a video game and have no money to buy the lunch that was the purpose for going to the mall in the first place.

Also a given with my kid, he'll buy it from the vintage gaming store for double what it would have cost if dear old mom looked for it on eBay.

Lesson learned. And next month's trip-he only gets a gift card for the restaurant they'll be visiting!

Addendum: It is also a safe bet that the teenager will come to you the next day to ask to buy a $10 app, which you later explain if he hadn't spent $20 on a game found on eBay for $6.00, you might be more inclined to buy it. Message received.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Selling Oneself Short

Today, I was a bystander to a conversation that made me rather sad. A young woman was talking about her husband and from the gist of the discussion between the participants, it sounds like husband: doesn't want to vacation anywhere she's suggested for their upcoming trip, says derogatory things about the activities she suggests they do, doesn't like the food she enjoys, wants to move them cross country to a climate she's never experienced (and isn't sure she'll like), but won't consider that her career has less opportunities for her in that locale, and generally, makes the man sound like a selfish, spoiled prig.

I could have contributed to this discussion, as I know all the parties involved, but I knew that whatever I said would be met with a lot of the exact same rationalizations I gave twenty years ago.

That was my situation in a previous life. Sure, I made lemons out of it, and I derived a lot of enjoyment from my days, but 20 years on, I look at this person, the same age I was when my ex walked out and realize that damn, that's what my life was like. I didn't see it back then, but now, I want to just say 'You deserve what YOU want, too, for Pete's sake!'.

Yes, marriage is about compromise. There's a ying and yang and sometimes there are some really rough experiences that suck. Ed and I have been through a lot of crap, but we definitely have a balancing act going on. Sometimes it's 70/30, sometimes its 90/10, sometimes its 20/80, and hopefully, there's more 50/50 than less. But I came to him a little battle scarred, and less willing to put up with giving 90 and getting 10 for more than a short term situation.

There are some things I don't compromise on. He gets a lot of things his way, even if I don't agree, because they're just things that really don't matter in the long run. (TV? Have whatever show you want). Then again, he knows that if it's something I'm standing firm on the way it will be, it means a lot to me. For that, I am very fortunate.

Sad to say, what I heard today (and have heard quite a bit from this woman), is that she's doing all the compromising. It's okay if it is stuff that doesn't really mean much in the big picture, like where you're going to go for dinner that night. But it seems like these are pretty big, life-altering things that are coming up and she's the one who always has to give in.

It's just sad and a little frustrating to hear it and know that there's going to be a lot of tears and heartache if her life's partner is this way now. Or to mention how I admired a pair of shoes and Ed insisted I buy them, or last month, that we were at an outlet and he suggested I buy a piece of luggage I liked (but don't need) and the wistful responses she made.

My words won't make a difference, but I wish they could, because while she sounds like me 20 years ago, I wouldn't want her to repeat the experience the me 19 years ago went through...

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Touch It Once

Due to the various health issues this semester, I opted to sleep when I really should have toughed it out and worked, but I've learned all too well the repercussions of a lack of sleep. The semester of naps means that it is crunch time on my Flash project.

Unlike some of my other classes in the past, this is a real product that will be used by a real client, so the instructor's insistence to just do enough to show you know how to add this element, use this bit of Action script isn't cutting it with me. I drafted a project proposal of a complete website, and if I'm going to make a video, then it will be the entire video. If I'm going to create an animation, it will be the whole 12 frame animation.

I am using the guide we'd use in retail when processing freight-touch it once. Open the box, put it in a proper home. In this case, create the whole element, put it in its ready to go live state.

For now, it means that I'm going a little crazy to get it done in time, but in the long run, it means that I won't have to go back to finish these elements in order to make a web page go live.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Cyber Monday Observations

This is an example of what my email looked like today.

Actually, this is thinned out, and is only one of my four regular email accounts, but three of them (despite two having minimal 'commerce' type correspondence on them) were innundated today with email. The sad part is that I had inadvertently deleted a couple of the duplicates straight out of my trash. FIVE emails from MAC Cosmetics to tell me I would get free overnight shipping.

They don't realize that I am not such a cosmetics diva that I have an overnight emergency need for those shades I've got on my wish list. Their standard free shipping gets here in two days, a day won't make much of a difference to me.

Beall's, Lucky Jeans, Old Navy, and Living Social/Groupon seem to not understand that multiple emails stating the same thing is annoying.

In fact, I don't think any of these retailers learned the golden rule that parents often give their kids: Once is a request, twice is a reminder, the third time is annoying-and pests do not get what they are bugging me for. In this case, my business.

Next up: Free shipping. Does it really entice you to shop? If I'm spending $100, I'd rather get 15% off than the free $6.50 shipping that will take a week to get to me anyway.

How about the merchants you don't hear from all year, then all of a sudden, Black Friday hits, and they're flooding your inbox with mail? For me, gone is often forgotten. Yes, I got two Think Geek ads today, but I get one or two every week, year round. I expect them and because I expect the, I open them. If Rosetta Stone thinks a full on blitz of four emails today is going to induce me to spend $250 on learning to speak Italian, they need to pop in every once in a while and say 'Buongiorno, cara.'

Retailers really need to hire social media experts to help them navigate these types of events, to do some focus groups to find out what shoppers like and dislike. I'm pretty sure that most are like me, hating an inbox with multiple messages from the same retailers that aren't even offering something special.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Burning Up The Texts

Lately, I seem to be sleeping a lot more. The vertigo is wearing me out, and I need naps to bring myself back to a normal energy level.

Normally, this isn't a big deal. Yesterday, though, there was a motorcycle fatality on the other side of town and one of my good friends got caught about a dozen cars behind it. She knew Ed had a Harley, and the only info she'd gleaned was that it was a couple in their 40's on a Harley. They hit a garbage truck, the driver took evasive measures that ended up throwing his rider under the truck, and she was run over. Neither was wearing helmets, and they both died instantly.

While she was stuck in the traffic jam, my phone went nuts-but I didn't hear it.

As I got the particulars later, I told her that Ed doesn't like to travel in that part of town, because there are a lot of traffic accidents over there. Second, I haven't been on the back of his motorcycle yet, and until I get this vertigo under control, there is NO WAY I am going on the back of the bike because it is too dangerous for either one of us, and three-there is NO WAY either one of us would ride a bike without a helmet.

No, a helmet is not a guarantee that you'll survive a crash, but riding without one is a guarantee you won't survive a crash. The sad part is that too many riders go around thinking that it won't happen to them, rather than preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.

So, for the time being, Ed will continue to be a solo rider- WITH a helmet.