Gearing Up for NaNoWriMo: Planners versus Pansters

Tomorrow starts NaNoWriMo 2017. (That’s National Novel Writing Month which starts November 1.) And after my weekend in Ellicott City, Maryland attending Hallowread and talking to many of the authors, I am rather stoked and motivated to write my 2017 NaNoWriMo novel.

Now if you’re familiar with NaNoWriMo, you know that traditionally NaNoWriMo divided writers into two groups—planners and pantsers. Continue reading


I’m About to Begin Whole30: Round 2

In July/August, I participated in a Whole30 challenge (read about it here and here). I had good success (numbers went down) and I definitely felt better. So when Composition ID announced Whole30 Round 2, I immediately signed up.

Round 2 will commence this Sunday, October 22 and go through Monday, November 20. 30 days of focused eating. Like last time, you get a before and after DEXA scan. So I went this past Saturday for my Round 2 “before” DEXA scan.

My before scan showed that since the end of Round 1, I have gained a few pounds. But . . . the pounds I gained were all lean muscle mass.

Let me back up a bit. Continue reading

PSA on ISPs for October 17, 2017

So here’s my lesson learned for the week. I share this with you all so you can learn from my mistakes.

In this modern age of technology, internet service providers (ISPs) are a must-have. Without a internet at home, I cannot stream binge Netflix, check my email or Facebook or any other social media, work on my blog, lose hours on Pinterest. And did I mention Netflix? Sure, I can use my phone and my data plan to do these things, but that becomes burdensome and potentially expensive (or at least slow when AT&T decides I’ve logged enough time). Plus, streaming TV on a small screen just isn’t the same.

Like many urban dwellers, I get my internet service from my cable provider. It’s a package deal because somehow it’s cheaper to do both cable and internet (or all 3 if you also get phone) than just one service. (It’s the kind of math I don’t understand, but there you go.)

So I had cable and internet through Cox Communications, the local service provider for my area. When I originally signed up for service, Cox talked me into a big package by promising me a gift card after 3 months of service.


No, you only got the gift card if you signed up for the triple-package (cable/internet/phone) and my account showed my service changed from the triple to the double-package. (That is not what they told me when I signed up, but apparently “[I] misunderstood.”)

My irritation revolves around cable. I had this big package with eleventy-billion stations and of course, a larger-than-I-wanted-to-pay bill. I actually watch about 6 stations because there is never anything on the other eleventy-billion-minus-six that interests me. (Honestly, I prefer to wait until the entire season of a show hits Netflix and binge the whole thing in commercial-free bliss.) So when they told me I “misunderstood” about the gift card option, I immediately said, well then I want to cancel cable. 

Now this is Cox Communications. And if you’re familiar with Cox, you know that unlike Comcast, Cox doesn’t give two cents whether you cancel or not. You try to cancel with Comcast and they will miraculously find you a new deal or a slightly different package that costs less. Not Cox. The Cox representative simply said “Okay, please hold while I cancel your cable.”

After putting me on hold several times for a total of ten minutes, the representative finally came back with a “I have cancelled your cable service.” And then she dropped the next bomb. “With no cable, the price of your internet service will be $110.”


That was not that much less than what I was paying for both cable + internet. When I expressed this, she told me the cheapest internet-only service she could offer me would still be $80.

Seriously? Um, no. $80 is like Comcast’s bestest internet option. I had paid around $40 for my run ‘o the mill internet with Comcast. (Of course, cable/internet prices, like gasoline, varies by zip code. A lesson I learned last year when I moved from one zip code to another even though I was still in the same city.)

So I immediately said, I want to cancel internet. Just cancel the whole thing.

Again, Cox doesn’t argue because clearly the customer is always right. The thing I didn’t consider was that Cox cancelled all my services right then because I didn’t provide an alternative shut-off date.

But at the time, I didn’t think about it. I was just irritated and wanted to be done with Cox and the ridiculously large bill. I already had priced Verizon’s Fios (which luckily is available in my area). And once I was off the phone with Cox, I turned around and called Verizon to set-up service.

The Verizon rep was fantastic. I explained what I wanted and he walked through the various packages with me. And Verizon offers this neat-o option where you can choose your TV stations (they have 6 different pre-set packages based on interests, so I’m not loaded down with those stations I never watch).

But here’s the hitch. This all happened last Tuesday. The earliest the Verizon tech could come out and set it all up today, a week later.

Seven (7) whole days without internet.


Okay, yes, I realize this is a total first world problem. And I clearly I overcame the lack of internet by going to my friend’s house and using her internet (because I posted on this blog yesterday) and by taking my Chromebook to the local Starbucks (thank goodness for coffeehouse wifi).

But learn from my mistake. If you’re going to change ISPs, schedule the install for your new one before cancelling your current one. Don’t be forced to live a week without Netflix.

You’re welcome.


Where is Home?

My colleagues and I have been debating the question where is home?

On the one hand, we have K who vehemently believes that home is where you live right now. For K, this is a very black and white issue with a wrong answer and a right answer.

On the other, we have nearly everyone else who considers that home is not necessarily where you live right now, but is different for each one of us with no correct answer.

This debate got me thinking about what home is and how my concept of home today has changed from what home meant to me 10, 15, or even 20 years ago. Continue reading

Perfect on Paper

When writing about yourself, your story is just that . . . your story. You script your life to meet whatever end you need. You can neglect the bad, highlight the awesome, and accentuate the funny.

In other words, you can be perfect . . . at least on paper.

Or you attempt to do the above but fail . . . sometimes spectacularly so (and sometimes crash and burn amidst the bad grammar).

This is especially true in dating profiles. Continue reading