Wednesday, May 2, 2012


The end of the challenge is here! Well technically, it ended two days ago.  I started the challenge without a theme in mind and took each day as it came.  I thought I might see a pattern emerge, but I cannot say I have seen one.  I still am not sure where I will go with my blogging or even how often I will write.  The discipline of the challenge and the guidance of the letter each day was helpful.  I enjoyed making new friends and plan on continuing to visit the challenge bloggers to catch up on reading and commenting.  All I can say for now is "ZEE you later alligator!"

Yada Yada Yada

"Yada, Yada, Yada" is what people sometimes say when they want to skip over the details of a story.  However, "Yada, Yada" has a different meaning for me thanks to the book series "The Yada Yada Prayer Group" by Neta Jackson.  The first book came out in 2003 and it looks like there are six books now (although I've only read the first three).  The thing that I love most about these books is the "sisterhood" that is developed between the unlikeliest of characters.

For that same theme, I also love Rebecca Wells' books Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Ya-Yas in Bloom.  I can relate to Sidda...
“Sidda was tired of being vigilant, alert, sharp. She longed for porch friendship, for the sticky, hot sensation of familiar female legs thrown over hers in companionship. She pined for the girlness of it all, the unplanned, improvisational laziness. She wanted to soak the words "time management" out of her lexicon. She wanted to hand over, to yield, to let herself float down into the uncharted beautiful fertile musky swamp of life, where creativity and eroticism and deep intelligence dwell.”
And of course, I adore the movies "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants"!!  I have not got around to reading the books yet, maybe this summer...
“When life hands you lemons say 'hey I like lemons what else you got?”
“The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Got that?”
Girlfriends unite!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

X Marks the Spot

When I signed up for this A-to-Z Challenge, I neglected to think about there being days beginning with letters such as Q, X, or Z.  Those pesky letters are troublesome when I play Scrabble but even peskier trying to blog about them!

As you can tell, I have fallen behind schedule as the challenge ended yesterday and I still have the last three letters to go...

The only thing that came to mind for the letter X was the saying "X marks the spot" as we are all familiar with in conjunction with pirate maps.  I decided to dig around and do a little research.  Granted, I did not spend much time looking, but it seems that the phrase may have been first introduced by Robert Louis Stevenson in Treasure Island.  In my research, I also found a movie titled X Marks the Spot - it is a crime/drama from 1931 and the 1942 remake can be watched online here.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

W is for Work

Thursday was Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day -- my husband's work put on a big event where all of the employees and active duty military were invited to bring their kids.  The event showcased all kinds of military equipment.

I took our youngest son.  Of course, he wanted to hang out at his dad's table where all of the "cool" stuff was displayed.  At least, "cool" to a thirteen year old!  He was so excited and wanted to take lots of pictures to show his friends - he is sure they'll be jealous!


V is for Victory

April 27, 2012
Every year, our Boy Scout Troop performs the flag ceremony at our local Relay for Life event.  After the pledge and the National Anthem, the Scouts lead the "Victory" lap for the cancer survivors and their caregivers.

On this first lap, the survivors head out in one direction following our Scouts and the caregivers head out in the opposite direction until they meet in the middle.  All of the attendees gather around the track and cheer "victoriously" for these brave survivors.

Last night, the Relay for Life committee chose a "Prince" to honor.  This 12 1/2 year old boy has been in the fight for his life over the last year since his brain surgery.  After the surgery, he was unresponsive for over a week and withered away to 50 some pounds.  It was such a joy to see him there with a big smile and weighing in at over 60 lbs.  What a "Victory"!!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

U is for Unique

Every "you" is unique!  Every "you" is not like any other "you" - everyone of us is unique!  "You" have unique DNA, fingerprints, personality, and characteristics.  Be the "you" that "you" were meant to be.

There is just one life for each of us:  our own.  ~Euripides

If God had wanted me otherwise, He would have created me otherwise.  ~Johann von Goethe

At bottom, every man knows well enough that he is a unique being, only once on this earth; and by no extraordinary chance will such a marvelously picturesque piece of diversity in unity as he is, ever be put together a second time.  ~Friedrich Nietzche 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

T is for Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay is my home. I grew up around here, went to college here and moved back here six years ago after an eighteen-year hiatus.  Tampa Bay is not actually a "city" but an estuary and the Tampa Bay area encompasses three counties.

Tampa Bay is home to many beautiful beaches, scenic drives, and lots of connecting bridges.  Tampa Bay has three professional sports teams - Tampa Bay Rays, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Tampa Bay Lightning.  Our family enjoys occasionally attending games at any of the three venues.

Tampa Bay has a port and a cruise ship terminal so you can see boats of all types.  Ybor City is a Latin historic district where we enjoy walking around and taking in the sights.  It is known for Cuban coffee and Cuban cigars.

There are lots of other things to do, so if you are ever in the area enjoy your time here!

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Hmmm....  Seems like the letter "S" has Several possibilities and Since it is Saturday and we do not have to write tomorrow, I will Splurge with two Subjects.

SCOUTS - Of course, Scouts would be one of my "S" words, but I already gave a Synopsis of our Scouting career back on the letter E.  I will just Say that if we could all learn to live by the Scout law we would live in a much different world.

A Scout is:

  • Trustworthy
  • Loyal
  • Helpful
  • Friendly
  • Courteous
  • Kind
  • Obedient
  • Cheerful
  • Thrifty
  • Brave
  • Clean
  • and Reverent

STATISTICS - When I Started this little venture of taking the blogging challenge, I wanted to See if any patterns emerged.  I named my blog "This and That" because I was not Sure what I would be writing about.  I Still have not come to a conclusion.  According to my Blogger Statistics, so far I have had 399 pageviews, have 4 followers and the most viewed posts have been:
  1. Bloom
  2. Eagle
Does this mean anything?  I have no idea!  Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, April 20, 2012

R is for Research

When performing research online, it is imperative to assess the quality of the information you find.  Anyone can have a website and there is no guarantee of the accuracy.

These are three things to help in judging the quality of the information found on the internet.

Reliability - is the website from a recognizable source?  Websites from well-known corporations, educational institutions, or official agencies typically produce quality information.  If the URL ends in .mil, .edu, .org or .gov it is customarily a good resource.  The screenshot below shows clearly the site is from the Better Business Bureau.

Accountability - If it is an article, is the author clearly identified? In the screenshot, the title of the article is "How to Research a Company" followed by the author's name.  Can you find the author's credentials?  In this particular article, they can be found at the end (see photo below).

Currency - How current is the information?  Is the article dated?  As you can see, this article was dated just over 6 months ago.  Is the website kept up-to-date?  One place to look is in the footer to see if the copyright date has been updated (see last photo).  From these three quick checks, it is pretty safe to say this article is going to be reliable and accurate.

About the author

Can you believe we are already on the letter "R"?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q is for Quandary

The letter "Q" has me in a quandary - I cannot think of anything clever or interesting to say and it is getting late.  That's all I got tonight - tomorrow should be better!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

P is for Programs

For those of you that are following along on the challenge, I think I have mentioned how much I like to learn new things, or at least have implied it.  Recently, I started teaching myself how to use the photo-editing "program" Photoshop.  I use it mostly for creating digital scrapbooking pages or the quotes that I use here on my blog.  I still have a lot to learn when it comes to editing photographs though.

Another type of "program" that I am in the midst of learning is actually a "programming" language.  I signed up for a seven-week computer science class to learn Python.  This definitely will be more challenging! What have you learned lately?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O is for Opportunity

Just a short note to say an "opportunity" came my way today to add some business analyst/research work to my resume - no pay for now, but could possibly be an "opportunity" down the road.  Here's hoping!

Monday, April 16, 2012

N is for Networking

Networking is a way to expand our relationships and possibly create new opportunities.  I need to learn how to get better at it!  Apparently, having a degree and sending out resumes is "so 90 seconds ago!"  The job-hunting advice that I have been reading talks about the importance of networking.

I have joined all of the networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and even started blogging (thanks to the AtoZ Challenge).  I am still navigating my around and trying to learn the ins-and-outs of networking.  Any advice is welcome!

Feel free to "follow" me on any of my sites (some of the links are in the sidebar) and I will return the favor.  I have already made some new friends on this journey and hope to expand my network even more.  Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

M is for Media

As I was going through all of the "m" words that came to mind - the word "media" started rolling around.  Do you realize in how many ways we use it?  These are just a few:

  • digital media
  • social media
  • media center (another name for library)
  • print media
  • mass media
  • multimedia
  • growth media (different types of growth medium used by scientists to grow cells)
The dictionary tells us that "media" is plural for "medium," derived from the Latin medius, but it doesn't give a very clear definition.  For a word that is hard to define, it is not hard to find it in everyday use.  

Friday, April 13, 2012

L is for Library

It's no surprise that I love libraries!  I told you about moving around a lot, but probably did not mention that along with those travels, I managed to accumulate four college degrees as well as homeschool our kids part of that time; therefore, I have been inside my share of libraries across the country. 

The worst library I ever been in was a law library in the basement of the local courthouse where I spent many hours while taking some paralegal courses.  This was before the internet and databases such as LexisNexis or Westlaw.  There were no windows and it was musky in there!  I would go at night after work and I would be the only one there - eerie!  I still shiver thinking about it.

The best library (at least aesthetically) I ever visited was the William T. Young Library at University of Kentucky in Lexington.  I was blessed enough to go along on one of my husband's business trips for a week stay in Lexington.  Since I had an assignment due the following week, I visited this library and spent time there as part of an assignment for my Technical Services class.

Looking up at the cupola
inside the library
Study room on the top floor
of the cupola
Looking up from the ground
Another study area
Heading into one of the computer labs
The pictures probably do not do justice, but hopefully you can get the idea.  Do you have a favorite library?

K is for Knowledge

Do you ever get confused in the usage of the words: data, information, knowledge and wisdom?  They are often used interchangeably although they do not have the same meanings.

There is much scholarly discourse written about the differences, the nuances, and the transitions between them.  Therefore, I will just give you a very brief definition as I understand them:

Data is the raw facts, it is unprocessed information.  Information is processed data, it "informs" us in our decision making.  This is simply illustrated by our friendly weather man every day, the meteorologists collect data in the form of the temperature, humidity, etc.  This data is processed into a weather report that "informs" the audience.  We use that information to decide if we should carry our umbrella or if we really want to go camping this weekend.

Knowledge is everything we "know" - it is individual, personal, and hard to transfer.  It is our collection of memories, beliefs, experiences, facts and information.  It is how we "know" how to do things or how to respond in situations.  We create knowledge by accumulating information.  Wisdom goes beyond knowledge and has a moral or philosophical component, wisdom requires discernment or judgement.

How do you define the differences?

"Information is not knowledge."
~Albert Einstein

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J is for Joe

I've mentioned him a few times already, but let me formally introduce you to my husband, my high school sweetheart, my friend, and my partner on this journey.  His name is Joe, not short for Joseph as many assume.

He has traveled extensively while serving just over 22 years in the U.S. Marine Corps - Japan, Korea, Africa, Germany, Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan, Cuba, Jerusalem - just to name a few.  One day, we plan on traveling together :-)

He works hard, is infinitely patient with me, loves to garden, and is an avid outdoorsman.  He is much more disciplined, way more friendlier, a better cook and in so much better shape than I am.  Sssshhh!! Just don't tell him I admitted any of that!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I is for Information
Information Overload
Do you suffer from Information Overload?

While the computer's processing power has increased exponentially since its invention, the capacity of the human brain to process Information has remained the same.  With the rapid-fire growth of the Internet and the use of Social Media it is no wonder that we are inundated with Information.  Not only are we trying to manage an Information explosion in the workplace, but also in our personal lives as well.  The Internet numbers are staggering; for example there are over 3 billion email accounts worldwide and over 555 million websites (you can see the rest here).

How are we supposed to sift through it all?  I suggested one way in my post for day 'F," by using filters (folders).  Filtering out the unnecessary Information and only focusing on what is important.  I also hinted at another way in my little ditty for day "D," by making sure the content comes from authoritative sources.

Ted Koppel recognizes the necessity of a group of people with the skills that we develop while in Library and Information School - "Perhaps the greatest need we have is for a body of people who will sort of sift from that information, sort of winnow it down, so that we have something in a form of order that we can pass onto generations yet to come.  When you are dealing with a great library, that is precisely what a library does.  The largest library in the world can no longer accommodate all of the information that is available.  Someone has to select, the editing process is more important today than it has ever been in the history of the world."  You can see his take on the Information Overload here:

Monday, April 9, 2012

H is for Heritage

Since I have never known my father, I can relate to the quote by Dick Gregory - "A man without knowledge of himself and his heritage is like a tree without roots."  It is for this reason that I want to make sure to provide my children with a more firm foundation.

I have worked sporadically on our family's genealogical tree for over twenty years (mainly my husband's side) and have found out that my family tree is lopsided and full of holes.  The research is so much fun though and I love trying to recreate our Heritage.  I have even spent time at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., however, it is easier to perform research these days with the ability to do much of it online.

Not only have I been trying to find out our family's Heritage to pass down to the kids but I try to keep up with the family photographs through scrapbooking or at least by keeping the shoeboxes of photos labeled with year, location, etc.  Have you ever sat down with your parents or grandparents with a shoebox full of photos and they cannot remember any details?  Sadly, I have - so much history and Heritage lost!

Although with the demise of 35mm film and the speed of technological advancements, future generations may sit down with each other and have to figure out how to retrieve photos out of an ancient metal box they used to call a computer.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

G is for Geocaching

Geocaching is one of my favorite hobbies.  Although I had wanted to go Geocaching for a long time, it was not until last year that I finally started.  We were headed out on a week-long road trip when I suggested we try to figure out how it is done.  Lo and behold, I found out that there was an "app" that I could download on my phone.

Let me give a brief introduction to Geocaching in case someone does not know about it - it is basically a game of treasure hunting using a GPS device.  There are over 1.7 million "caches" hidden all over the world.  The GPS coordinates and a description of the "cache" can be found on a centralized website.  There are several varieties of Geocaches, from the micro-sized ones to those the size of an ammo box.  All caches contain a log book to be signed when located and typically some type of treasure so that you can "take something, leave something."  Geocachers follow the Geocachers' Creed.

Back to how we got started, our first stop on the trip was downtown Atlanta,  After we got checked into the hotel, I got online at to see if there were any nearby Geocaches hidden and sure enough, there was one located right outside our hotel.  We went out to search but to no avail, I was so disappointed.  We went back to the room and looked for another one nearby.  Off we went with high hopes only to be disappointed again!!  Since we had never seen a "cache" before and we weren't quite sure what we were looking for, we decided we must be doing something wrong.  On a whim, we thought it would help if we actually had a GPS unit rather than using the "app" on the phone.  The next day, we went shopping and at our next hotel stop we repeated the process and went off on the search again.  Our first find was so exciting and we all four caught the bug - although they all defer to me as being the official Geocacher in the family.

My GPS is pictured above and I now have a backpack dedicated to my Geocaching paraphernalia that I can just grab when heading out for a hunt.  Have you ever tried it?  If not, you should.  It is so much fun and I love the challenge!

P.S.  I prefer using the "app" on my phone over the GPS these days, but my husband and boys still prefer the GPS.

Friday, April 6, 2012

F is for Folders

I love Folders!  I love labels!  I love organizing!  I just don't always love filing :-)

Folders are great for making sense of all that paper that flows through here!  However, the amount of paperwork is overwhelming and if not tackled on a regular basis I can find myself drowning in it.  Mail, bills to pay, school work, report cards, etc., etc. - you all know what I am talking about.

To make things easier, I have managed to designate three broad categories that if I can at least sort it to that macro level, makes it easier to find later.  My big three are 1) bills, 2) school , and 3) Scouts.  Of course, the Scout "stuff" is more than can fit nicely into Folders and we have several bins that we use to hold it all.

I even use the Folder concept to help me filter through the excessive amount of information to read or look over; it helps me focus my energies.  I decide broadly what my interests are (i.e. Education, Social Media, or Americana) and that way I can easily identify whether something is worth my time.  Doing this virtually on my iPad has become a breeze!  My favorites are Pinterest, Flipboard, and Zite.

What are some of your favorite ways to organize paperwork or information?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

E is for Eagle

Our three sons are Boy Scouts, one is an Eagle Scout, one wears the Life rank and one the Star rank.  The younger two are well on their way to becoming Eagle Scouts.  Scouting is a family affair around here,  My husband and I have been involved in leadership since 1998, when our oldest son joined Cub Scouts as a Tiger Cub.  It all began innocently enough when all of the parents of the boys who signed up that night sat around the table and had to figure out who would lead those boys.  To my surprise, my husband volunteered his services.  Of course, it sounded like it would be a lot of fun, but wait a minute...  I was 7 months pregnant and had an 18 month old running around the house.

Remember the other day when I told you my husband was in the military and he wasn't always around?  Guess who became his back-up, his assistant, his everything?  Eventually, we figured out a way that worked best for us, I would do all of the "planning" and he would "execute" the plan (if he was in town, otherwise I would fill in) - and 14 years later we are still working that plan!  He is the Scoutmaster and I am the Committee Chairman to a Troop of over 20 boys.  We have been right alongside each of our boys as they have progressed in rank and as we progressed as leaders.  I have been a Committee Chairman since 2003 and it can be a full-time job sometimes;  I have been trying to find a replacement for awhile now, but to no avail.

Obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout is no small feat and of the 100 million boys who have joined Boy Scouts over the last 102 years only 2 million have attained the rank of Eagle.  With the leadership skills they develop and the expectation that Eagle Scouts will become leaders in life, it is no wonder that you will easily recognize some of the recipients of the Eagle rank (i.e. Gerald Ford, Neil Armstrong, Bill Gates, Sam Walton).

Not only have we watched our boys grow up in Scouting, but their friends as well.  Our oldest son became an Eagle Scout in 2010, but so far this year we have had the privilege to assist, in some capacity, three young men pin on the rank of Eagle Scout.  Our Troop will have two more by the beginning of the Summer plus one of our sons by the end of the year, and if a certain young man (who shall remain nameless) can pull it all together we will have produced seven Eagle Scouts this year.   It is an incredible feeling of pride to have watched these boys work through the requirements of no less than 21 merit badges, learn leadership skills, and execute their Eagle service project.  We are dubbing this year, the "Year of the Eagle"!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D is for Digital

I consider myself a "Digital Native" being born about the same time that digital technology was introduced and having grown up interacting with a variety of technological devices.  Electric typewriters, word processors, Atari, Commodore, and Tandy just to mention a few.  I am fluent on a PC, as well as a MAC; I own an Android device (Galaxy Nexus) as well as one with the iOS interface (iPad); and have owned three different generations of Kindle.  I typically hover somewhere between being an "early adopter" and the "early majority."

Even though I am Digitally adept, I still find that I have to occasionally get help from my teenage boys!!  However, I love it when I can share something with them that they did not know (rare as that is)!

I mentioned in an earlier post that I recently graduated with a degree in library and information science with an emphasis in courses related to the "Digital World" we live in - courses included Digital Libraries, Digital Video for Library and Information Science, Information Architecture, Visualization of Knowledge, as well as Web Design and Management.  So therefore, I decided to rewrite Madonna's "Material Girl" lyrics:

Some sites educate me, some sites inform me
I think they're O.K.
If they don't give the proper credit
I’ll just walk away

They can beg and they can plead
But if they can't prove it’s true, they’ll be blue
'Cause the site with the right source
Is always Mister Right

'Cause we are  living in a digital world
And I am a library girl
You know that we are living in a digital world
And I am a library girl

Some sites teach, some sites preach
That's all right with me
But if they can't raise my interest
Then I have to let them be

Some sites try and some sites lie
But I don't let them have their way
Only sites who know their stuff
Make my rainy day
Sites may come and sites may go
And that's all right, you see
Experience has made me smart
And one day maybe they’ll hire me


What do you think?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

C is for Change

Yesterday, I espoused the advice to "bloom where you are planted" so why do I feel like the deflated, dried up bloom like the one in the photo taken this morning on my back porch?  Because I thrive on CHANGE and I have been in the same place for too long.  Some people avoid CHANGE at all costs but I love the challenges of CHANGE.  Doing something new, learning something new, always tweaking and improving.  Maybe I have developed adult-onset ADHD?  While my husband is very routine-oriented, I am more spontaneous; he has to weigh every decision (to the point of indecision sometimes), while I make a quick assessment and move full-speed ahead.  The differences are striking but I suppose we balance each other out.

Anyway, I am itching for a CHANGE.  We have lived in the same house longer than I have lived anywhere in my entire life.  I moved around a lot growing up too - gosh, if I was to include those moves in the number I gave yesterday it would make your head spin.  However, given the state of the economy and housing market, we won't be moving anytime soon.

Now that my role as a full-time stay-at-home mom is nearing the end, I am eagerly looking for a CHANGE.  Having two adult siblings around has fast-tracked my youngest two into self-sufficiency quicker than I would have liked.  This maturity, along with their both being 6-foot tall nearly makes me forget half the time that they are only thirteen and fifteen.  Of course, they aren't fully independent, they just don't need me in the same way as when they were younger.

I know that CHANGE is on the horizon, I just don't know yet where it is going to take me...

Monday, April 2, 2012

B is for Bloom

B is for BLOOM - One of the best pieces of wisdom that I ever received was "Bloom where you are planted."  It served me well through the years as I found myself in new places every few years (or even months).  My husband and I were "high school sweethearts" but didn't get married until we were 21 - that year was crazy!  He joined the Marine Corps and left for boot camp in February, he "graduated" on May 23 in South Carolina, we got married on May 25 in Florida, we whisked away for a weekend in Orlando, and about a week later he flew off to attend training in California leaving me behind to pack up our belongings and move to California a few weeks later.  I had absolutely no idea what was in store for us but hey, we were in this adventure together.  Come December of the same year, we were moving to Georgia where we would live for 9 months.

Long story short, we moved 12 more times before ending up in the home we are in now - a grand total of 14 different houses over the last 26 years - that is an average of 22 months per house but some houses were for just a few months at a time and we have actually lived in this one for six years.  Oh, and did I mention we have four children?  All of that moving and we never did figure out how to downsize, let's just say we managed to accumulate a lot of stuff over the years and moving lugging it all over creation was always challenging.  We are pretty good at packing and unpacking though and thank God my husband is a logistics guy!

Well, how does one Bloom when waking up in a new location on a regular basis?  Not to mention, that I found myself alone a LOT (including during several of those moves I mentioned).  How does one fluctuate between being part of a team and long stretches of being a single mom?  By taking the advice of "Bloom where you are planted" - that's how!  Although we found ourselves in a whirlwind of continuous changes, the one thing that remained the same was our faith and determination.  As long as we remained in our foundation, we could handle whatever life and the Marine Corps threw our way.  I even have the word BLOOM emblazoned across my wall to remind me!  (thus the photo above)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A is for Alpha

Here we go!  I have been anticipating this day for the last two weeks.  When I learned about the A-to-Z challenge I thought "what a perfect way to draw a line in the sand" and declare "this is the beginning of a new day." A is for alpha - the first letter of the Greek alphabet - synonymous with "beginning."

One thing I have learned along the way is that life is seasonal and I sense a new season on the horizon.  I have been a stay-at-home mom for the last twenty years and even though we still have two children at home (13 and 15), I am looking for a new beginning.  Recently, I finished a master's degree in Library and Information Science with the intention of working in information management for a business/corporation or possibly working in an academic library.  I am hopeful that something will materialize soon!

While I do not have a theme for this blog, my purpose for beginning this blog is to see what emerges by the end of the month - I expect this blog to be a little of this and a little of that and will reflect my varied interests (thus the title).  I am new to blogging so I hope to learn a lot along the way and with this challenge hope to make some new friends.