Back on the air!

Okay, so it’s not really air, I get that. I was down for a while and have lost about two years worth of posts due to a snafu at another domain hosting company. I won’t name them except to say that they run really offensive Super Bowl commercials and have lax security.

So, bear with me while I get my bearings. I’ve imported all my old stuff from Blogger (again!) and will start unpacking and setting everything up. Welcome!


Three reasons to visit

I started following Guy Kawasaki on Twitter months ago, after I had visited his website Alltop, a website that aggregates blogs based on their topics. They call it an online magazine rack. Interested in scrapbooking? Visit How about personal finance? ( Maybe you’re a huge Carolina fan? is the site for you.

Three reasons to visit the site:

1. There are so many topics, with new ones created all the time. They are updated 24/7 so there’s always something interesting to read. I have found personal and professional inspiration here.

2. You can create your own personal Alltop. Find the blogs on the topics you’re interested in and create your own personal mix of news, chat and comments. Plus it’s really easy to share links and more with your social network. Mine is

3. Inkslinger is now on!

I’m sure there are many more reasons you’d visit Alltop. How are you using it to find the best conversations and topics?

Coveting Chic Technology

How I’ll be HP’s Cupid for an HP Vivienne Tam Special Edition Notebook

So Cupid only has a bow and arrows to make people fall in love, but I have a love of writing and the World Wide Web at my fingertips. My husband and I have long been HP users – we started with printers back in the 1990s, and then I bought the coolest HP scanjet (the vertical one that’s see through? Love it! I’ve seen it on CSI too.) and now we have an HP media center PC. I love it, but rarely get to use it.

Did I mention my husband was born on Valentine’s Day? And that he is a PC gamer? With a lot of games? Each year for his birthday, I get him the game he’s dying to play and he goes off to bond with the computer and his military strategy game. While Valentine’s Day is important to us, I like to celebrate it more as his birthday. It seems more fair that way. I don’t have to buy him a present on my birthday (which is the anniversary of an event that ended World War II, but that’s beside the point), but he feels obligated to buy me one on his.

So if I won the HP Mini Vivienne Tam Special Edition Digital Clutch, he would be so off the hook. He would be free to hog the PC downstairs, while I could take my beautiful peony-strewn digital clutch anywhere. I could surf the web from my daughter’s homework spot at the kitchen table to help her with her studies. I could take the HP Vivienne Tam Digital Clutch up to the baby’s room to download lullabies for my MP3 player to soothe her to sleep, or play soothing videos when she wakes up in the middle of the night. Both girls would learn that technology is beautiful as they admire the sleek lines and bold floral print.

I could take my darling digital clutch to my room and indulge in a little me time as I catch up with friends and family with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I’d tell all my fellow Twittermoms about my cool HP digital clutch, and maybe, finally, I’d be able to use the computer at night and attend tweetups and chats that are right now out of my reach because my darling husband’s left flank is sneaking up on a squadron of enemy fighters and that strategy he’d been putting together for days would fall apart if he stopped, or my tween has to attend to her Webkinz before they all become sick from unhappiness or whatever happens to those digital pets.

I could take it on business trips and impress my clients and strangers in the airport – especially those folks who are huddled around the one outlet at the gate, trying to get enough juice to keep their dwindling laptop batteries charged while I surf the web with plenty of battery power in this fashion-forward and technologically chic digital clutch. And since it fits right in my handbag, I would never have to pay those extra bag fees or juggle a laptop bag and purse again. If I were in New York very early in the morning, I would go stand behind the fence at the Today show and just hold my HP Mini Vivienne Tam Special Edition Digital Clutch up in the air instead of one of those signs about it being my birthday. You know all the camera operators would zoom right in on me for that.

I would tell EVERYONE that I am online and HOW I am online and finally my New Year’s resolution to stay in better touch would come true because I would be able to finally get the digital pictures off my camera and uploaded to the web via my HP Mini Vivienne Tam special edition notebook so my girlfriends and I could talk about everything that’s going on with our lives since we all scattered to the four winds. I would infect them with desire to have their own darling HP Vivienne Tam Digital Clutches, and their husbands would see the light – how adding one tiny little piece of technology could make a home run happier and healthier because let’s face it, the saying is true: If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t NOBODY happy.

In closing, a brief limerick:

There once was a girl from Carolina

Who thought that there’d be nothing finer,

Than an HP Vivi Tam Digi Clutch

She would use it so much,

As a Facebook Fashionista, Diva web surfer divine-er.

Happy Last Year of the Aughts, or Double O’s or Zeroes!

I’m feeling pretty optimistic about the New Year. I know all the media and the economic news shouldn’t make me feel this way, but I’m thinking a positive outlook is the way to go right now.

And there’s something to celebrate. This is the last year of the first decade of the new millennium. So we’re nine years in and we haven’t figured out what to call this decade. We called this decade the “early 1900s” the last time it happened. Should we dust it off with a smidgen of an update and refer to this long trek through terror, war and economic uncertainty as the “early 2000’s”?

It doesn’t have the same ring as the “nineteen hundreds” does it? The “two-thousands” just doesn’t have the same historical weight to the term to me.

Then there’s the Aughts, which is what people in the “early 1900’s” called zeros. Professor Harold Hill in “The Music Man” is supposedly a member of the Indiana Music conservatory’s gold-medal class of aught-five. (05) But he was lying about that. So should we trust the aughts?

I’ve heard some people propose the “double-o’s”. Like 007. Bond. James Bond. So last year would be double-o-eight? This year is double-o-nine. Licensed to chill.

And then there’s the Zeros. Which brings me to this:

There’s nothing like Schoolhouse Rock to put things in perspective. Where would we be without zero? My hero. How wonderful you are.

7 Secrets About Me

Thanks to my co-worker, Mark Tosczak, I’ve been tagged in a meme. Which is different than being tagged by a mime, I’m sure. So now I have to come up with seven things you don’t know about me.

1. I have ridden an elephant. I got to be honorary ringmaster of the Clyde Beatty-Cole Brothers Circus when I was a TV news anchor. I was thrilled and terrified at the same time. That elephant was so tall that I had to duck to get into the tent. And they are very scratchy. I loved it!

2. I’ve met Vanilla Ice. I interviewed the Ice-ster during his 21st birthday party, 2 weeks after Ice, Ice Baby was released and was racing up the charts. He was in Wilmington for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2. He was “celebrating” and rapped all his answers. Between the slurring and the rapping, I couldn’t understand anything he was saying to me, so turning that video into a story later was a big challenge. On a cooler note, I also got to interview Melissa Etheridge a few years later. I understood everything she said, thought she was amazingly cool and the story was very easy to put together.

3. I have sat out a Category 3 hurricane on the porch of a motel in Carolina Beach. It was Hurricane Bertha, and three news crews from my station were stuck at that hotel when the bridge back to the mainland was closed due to winds. I knew something they didn’t. Carolina Beach flooded during an afternoon rainstorm in those days. Luckily none of us were seriously hurt, but a photographer was injured when he was struck in the forehead by flying shingles. Hurricane Fran, a couple of weeks later, was worse. But that’s another story.

4. My hubby and I were born in the same hospital six months apart, but grew up on opposite coasts due to military deployments. We’re both Marine Corps brats. It’s an official term, and one we’re both proud to hold. We came within a day of never meeting when he was offered a job at my TV station, which I pressed the news director to extend. He took it. The next day he was offered a job at a much, much bigger TV station, but he’s honorable and stuck with my small market station.

5. I have seen ball lightning. I know it exists. It happened during 1989’s Hurricane Hugo, when I was foolishly standing on Carolina beach at midnight, holding a cell phone antenna in the air so I could broadcast back to my radio station, which had nonstop coverage. It was at the exact moment when Hugo made landfall to my south, I believe. The wind all of a sudden became a wall, sea spray blew into the power transformers on the pole and they started exploding. I saw ball lightning (different from the transformers exploding) and immediately whipped that antenna down and simultaneously crouched. I crouched over so fast I actually strained my back. Then I cautiously made my way back to the radio station’s Isuzu Rodeo, which was parked on the OTHER side of the exploding transformers, which continued to blow and shower sparks down on me and the DJ who was escorting me. My breathless report once we got back to the truck earned me a spot on the CBS Early Show the next morning, where I was interviewed by Harry Smith.

6. I collect flamingos. Not in a scary weirdo way. They are delightfully tacky, but I am picky about which ones I collect. Basically, I have some coffee mugs, a few stuffed animals, a pin or two, Christmas lights/ornaments, a bath mat (present from my hubby) and a sweater. My criteria: they have to be both cute and tacky. Mostly cute.

7. I read voraciously. All the time. Like when I’m blow drying my hair. (Which may explain why I look the way I do. I don’t mean to brag, but I also did this as a TV news anchor, when good hair is a must.) I have some books autographed by the authors, which I treasure. I don’t usually lend my books. I’m starting to get better about this though. I like mysteries the best.

8. Bonus secret. I’m hooked on Animal Crossing for the Wii. I find fishing at night strangely soothing. Plus I have new areas to chat about with my tween. We talk about the people who live in our town, gifts we’ve been given, milestones we’ve achieved. We’ve been sending each other messages through the town’s mail system too, which is always fun.

So now I have to tag other bloggers I know. This is the tough part, because most of the bloggers I know have already been tagged. I’m gonna have to think more about this part and do some tagging later. If I don’t post this soon, I never will.

Christmas near and far

The mad dash to the holidays are here already. Anyone else ready to ask Congress for one more week in December? I sure could use one!

I don’t have any earth-shattering thoughts right now about humanity and the world, but I did want to share some fun stuff from the last few days. I got to take a trip to New York City on business, and there I got the answer to a question I had been pondering. I know NYC is famous for its Christmas store windows and overall decorations and festivity, but I wondered — how the heck do you buy a Christmas tree there?
Here in NC we have lots of Christmas tree lots that spring up all over town, plus some of the big box stores have stacks of them. But I’m talking Manhattan. Where do you put up a Christmas tree lot?

Why right here, in front of the Starbucks at 66th and Columbus Avenue, of course. Best of all, you can’t see the sign from here but:

They even bring it home for you. Free. I didn’t check out any price tags, so I’m not sure how prices compare, to be honest. I was just tickled that you could pick up a peppermint hot chocolate AND your Christmas tree, right here.

So that was last Friday, and after an adventurous trip home that included missing my flight, flying to Raleigh instead, renting a car (all the computers were down NATIONWIDE and they were renting by HAND), and driving home late at night, I made it. My presence was really important because we had big doin’s Saturday.

The Christmas parade! That’s my tween in the pink coat, holding the banner for her dad’s news station (where I used to work too.) And behind her, the big Nutcracker balloon the News2 crew was guiding down the street.

That’s my hubby at the extreme left. They had to help the Nutcracker recline to make it under the light poles and street signs at the corner, before letting him rise back to vertical. I didn’t get to see this, but they also ran around in circles under him so the Nutcracker twirled down the street! Tween says that’s when the crowd really cheered — even louder than they did when they threw candy.

And then later this night, Disney on Ice! I’ll spare you the pictures, but we had a great time. As expected the toddler was enthralled until intermission and then she was DONE.