Tuesday, December 30, 2008

7 things about me that have nothing to do with podcasting or radio

Well dammit Debbie! This won't be easy. My life is pretty much an open book for anyone to Google. Here goes anyway...

1. I met my husband when I was 14, at an Orchestra/Choir Regionals weekend at Camelback High School in Phoenix. There was no place to sit on the bus, and he was alone in the seat. Without asking, I sat in the seat, leaned back against him and asked if the seat was taken. After that morning we were inseparable the entire weekend (other than rehearsals and the performance of course), and I *begged* my parents to let me take the bus home rather than going home with them so I could spend more time with him. By that Monday we were ditching class to see each other (we ditched a lot of classes). Minus about two years, we've been together ever since, getting married in 1993.

2. Speaking of orchestra, I play the viola. Well, played the viola. I chose the viola because the popular instruments were the violin and cello. Started the normal grade school time in 4th grade, and it was soon discovered I had a talent. In 6th grade I was in a state competition and won in my division. My sophomore year in HS I played in the Mesa Symphony, and received a paycheck. I earned a full music scholarship to ASU, majored in Music Therapy, which I pissed away the first year after realizing I didn't enjoy actually working and studying music. I just wanted to play!
Now, I play at my kids' school in their Peace Garden. When the kids are older and I have more freedom to be away I'd like to play in a group again. I miss it a lot.

3. I lived in an apartment when I was a sophomore in HS, and the complex burned down. We lost everything we owned. Tempe HS (where I went to school) learned about this and started a fund so me and my family could get new clothes, etc. Many donations, and there was also a fund to help me buy a new viola, which is the one I still have today. It was the first (but not the last) time I learned about the goodness in people.

4. My Junior year in HS, I became a Ward of the State, and lived in a shelter for a few months. A friend of mine at school heard about what I was going through and told her parents, who decided to take me in and become my foster family. Thus began the wackiest family tree ever. To this day they are all still in my life, and mean as much to me as if I had been with them since birth. There is also no need to keep my foster family separate from my "natural" family. Everyone seems to get along great! No, this did not happen overnight, but I feel very lucky to have the crazy family tree that I do.

5. I am not a geek, but I have a lot of geek friends. Sci-fi is just about the most boring genre on the planet. Well, unless there is a lot of horror involved. Blood and guts and losing limbs and what-have-you. The only sci-fi I really like is Firefly (yes just like you Debbie!). When all my friends are going to Baliticon or Dragoncon, I always want to go because they will be there, but I can't justify it because it's a geeky sci-fi Con.

6. Most of the time I feel like a social media outcast. See, all the people I like hanging out with are really into social media, and do some form of it for a living, and they go to these meetup and drink beer and have a good time. Or they get together at gangplank and have a great time. When I go, I always feel a little awkward. What do I like to talk about? Politics. Really, not much else. And everyone else I know? They don't want to talk politics. Or they don't like politics, which I truly do NOT understand at all! Therefore, most of the time I just sit there listening to all the other conversations feeling like I should just keep my mouth shut. No one will want to hear what I want to talk about anyway. This is really why I podcast, because if nothing else I can talk to myself. I always listen to what I have to say.

7. I hate the typical mom stuff. Now, do not translate this to mean I hate being a mom. I love being a mom, and I love my daughters more than anyone would know (and you other moms know how much that is!) But even as babies, I really was never into the whole mom thing. Playgroups were always weird because moms would rather talk poop than politics (I know- what's the diff?), I have zero patience so crafts in any form are out. I enjoy doing Girl Scouts, but that is because I'm incorporating the volunteer work that I've been wanting to do, and hopefully teaching a bit of that to the girls in the troop. School vacations frighten me because I value my alone time. I get tons of time with them, and 24/7 during a long weekend or two weeks at Christmas just makes me nuts. Then I feel guilty because I feel like I shouldn't be feeling that way, and that there is something wrong with me for not being more maternal and giving it all times 10 to my kids. Yeah, guilt is a big thing with me.

So there it is. Maybe you knew these things, maybe you didn't. Here are the rules:

I’m supposed to post the rules, so here they are:

  1. Link your original tagger and list these rules in your post. (She's at the beginning)
  2. Share seven facts about yourself in the post.
  3. Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
  4. Let them know they’ve been tagged.

And I just can’t wait for these 7 individuals to tell all about themselves.

Um... most of the people I would tag have been tagged all ready.

-PC Haring

Ok 5 was all I could come up with. I don't care, I'm not one who believes in rules anyway.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

5 Things Whenever The Heck I Want! Pt. 3

It's a holiday edition, so there are 8. I have no idea if there are 8 because of the holiday edition or not...

1) What’s your favorite holiday tradition?
Every Christmas eve, or in some cases Eve-eve, the family gets together for chili. I first learned about this when I started going to Bret's house when we were dating. His dad always did it. When we had Allison chili night was passed to me. This will be our 12th Christmas doing chili night, and I absolutely love it. The family comes and we all exchange our gifts to open at our own homes Christmas morning. Some years I even open it up and invite friends. This year it is going to be family only.

2) A favorite cookie recipe? Don't really have one. I do love my sister's peppermint bark and peanut butter fudge.

3) Share a story behind a special ornament on your tree. Not any particular ornament, but we do have an ornament tradition (also passed on by Bret's dad) where we give each other a new ornament every year. We have always added to our Looney Tunes ornament collection, and since about 1992 we've accumulated quite a few. Also passing this one on to the kids, but we try and get something that reflects what they were really interested in a particular year. So we've got everything from Dumbo to Blue's Clues to Barbie and Hannah Montana on the tree now!

4) All you want from Santa is….? Hey Jen Tucker! I want a mixer too!

5) What’s your favorite Christmas movie and why? I have two. A Christmas Story is just timeless and I always laugh all the way through. My kids love it as well, which makes it even more fun to share. I also love Love Actually because it's just silly romantic and all-around well done. Oh, and Colin Firth- HELLOOOOO... nurse!

6) Are you dong anything special for the holidays this year? No, nothing in particular. It will be much quieter this year. Which will be nice, but at the same time sad because I miss so much of my family!

7) What’s the best toy you ever got when you were a kid? I honestly can't remember.

8 ) Why is Christmas special to you? To be honest, it's not my favorite holiday. It's nice to give gifts and acknowledge those you ignore for the other 11 months of the year, but I prefer Thanksgiving. Seems to be the only one of the bigger holidays that isn't hyped up so much you lose the meaning entirely.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Personal Year In Review

Of all places to find some retrospection, I find these questions in the Huffington Post feed. It's better than the same old New Year's resolutions!

* What was the best thing that happened to me this year? Traveling to England over the summer. Actually, the entire summer trip was the best!

* What did I do this year that I'm really proud of? There are two. I started leading a Girl Scout troop. Sure, I was pushed semi-willingly. Sure, I had plenty of help. But I still did it and I'm proud of my creation. The other was being nominated for a Podcast Award. I didn't win this particular one, but the nomination process is pretty strict, and to me meant more than winning.

* Who did I really help? Honestly, there was no one specific. I help my children all the time, but that's a given. I suppose I help other moms with the carpool. We're helping plenty of people by doing service projects in Girl Scouts.

* Who do I need to thank and acknowledge for having been there for me? You know who you are, because I've all ready thanked you endlessly.

* What are the top three lessons I learned? Never trust a Sicilian when death is on the line! Oh all right, I'll be serious.
1. We as humans choose to have short memories.
2. A lot of people want change, yet when asked to make a stand will choose the safer path.
3. The only person you have control over is you.

* What increased my happiness and joy this year? You know, nothing really increased it. I'm still just moving through life same as I always do. I was more social than I was in 2007, and that always makes me happy. Hey! Maybe that's it!

* What's something I got through that was really tough? Officiating my foster father's memorial in July (is "officiating" the right term? I don't know, it sounds too much like I'm a ref for a ball game). Also, flying over the Atlantic. Both were extremely difficult in different ways.

* What did I avoid that I must pay more attention to in 2009? Getting an audio/radio resume' together and seeing if I can start getting a little in return for doing what I love to do! I'm not sure why I have been avoiding it, but I know it is avoiding because I've been talking about doing this for nearly two years now.

* What character trait did I develop most this year? taking initiative and becoming more of a leader.

* What new people did I meet that are now in my life? It's weird. With podcasting and being so active online, there are a lot of people who are in my life before I meet them. Then there are several people who I started getting to know better this year, though I've met them over a year ago. However one person who stands out I did meet this year, and that is my Girl Scout co-leader. I met her briefly back in May, when we found out someone needed to take over a Brownie troop. Then after summer vacation I needed to crack down and find someone to help me out. She and I met, and it was an instant friendship. So much in common, socially as well as politically! Things happen for a reason, and she and I were meant to meet and become friends.

So that's it. I won't pick anyone to carry this meme on. But if you decide you want to answer the questions, trackback to this post so I can see!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Can't Stop The Signal... Patterns.

Oh yes, another personality test. Kinda neat though, I'm always curious when it comes to these things.

There is also one that compiles a profile based on music clips. I didn't feel it was quite as accurate, but still interesting all the same.


Friday, December 12, 2008

5 Things Whenever The Heck I Want! Pt. 2

Yeah, today is just happens to be on Friday! Younger daughter has been a little sick this week, so she's still chilling in her PJ's while I do some laundry and browse around the series of tubes. This is how I noticed Jen Tucker posted her Friday 5!

1. What did you last replace batteries for?
The digital camera, because my older child takes it and records video. LOTS of video. To which I'm glad she does it on MY camera, so I can see what she's recording. Which is usually a lot of nothing. Once she had video of weird-shaped ice. ICE!

2. What have you thrown away that you probably could have had repaired?
You know, I've really thought about this, and nothing is coming to mind. I know there are many things I *want* to throw away vs. repairing, but I have a husband who will either repair said item, or throw it in our VERY BIG yard sale pile.

3. Among items in your line of sight right now, what should probably be put in the trash?
Loaded question, since I'm facing our kitchen island, which is always loaded with junk and papers and whatnot. I have fantasies of just opening the trash can on one side of the island, and just shoving everything over and into it. However, what I want to put in the trash even more than everything there, is the basket filled with coupons on the other countertop. I can't even tell you what's in that basket, because it's my husbands. Yes friends- he saves the coupons, not me!

Oh, I really should at least put these chocolate covered pretzels away. Don't have to throw them out, but they are in my line of sight (and within my finger's grasp), and really they should go.

4. When did you last use disposable cutlery while dining in your house?
Early in November when we had friends and family over to see the slide shows from our summer trip. That was really a fun evening. I love having a house full of people!

5. Whose actions cause you to waste time you otherwise wouldn’t waste?
I have no one to blame but myself really. But if I were going to blame anyone, it would be a thing, and it would be Google Reader. Ever since breaking up with Bloglines and transferring my feeds to Reader, I have been hooked. The Google has got me in it's clutches and I succumb to it happily! Gmail, Calendar, Reader... and I even put the new Twittergadget in so I can tweet from my Gmail!

But back to Reader. I can sit there for hours just going through all the news. If you are on my contact list and use reader, then you know this to be true, because I share PLENTY. If you get more emails from me now, it's because I just have to click in reader and email things out. If you don't have me as a contact on Google yet, well, I'm tsdiva so I'm easy enough to find. If you want to see the sort of things I'm sharing on reader, just click on the photo, which is a shot of my reader page!

Google Reader, I wish I knew how to quit you!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I'm so gay!

For today, as the slogan goes I'm "batting for the other team". But you know, that saying doesn't really work. We shouldn't be known as teams. Teams divide. Us vs. them.

It shouldn't be a battle to have equality. Things should just be equal.

Yeah, I know... it looks so damn easy on digital paper.

I've said my piece about the right for everyone to choose if they want to marry or not. Actually, I've written about it twice.

It will happen. In a way, Prop 8 in California and Prop 102 here in AZ passing were a blessing. It's having a backlash. A backlash that has no choice but to end up in the top court some day.

Some day soon, I believe. Because taking away someone's freedom to make a personal choice simply because they have a lifestyle you don't agree with isn't cool. Not at all.

I'd never try and take away your right to worship something I think is a made up entity. Because I am not affected by your personal choice and right to do so.

Well, until silly props like this are passed.... THEN it affects me and others.

So for today, I kiss girls on the mouth and I like it!

Stay informed- here are two neato blogs to subscribe to:



Tuesday, December 09, 2008

5 Things Whenever The Heck I Want!

I guess it is some old LiveJournal meme thingy called Friday 5... well I am not one who likes to conform TOO much (I don't conform, but I am a copycat!), so here's my Tuesday 5:

1. Would you consider yourself an organized person? Why or why not?

Absolutely not. It's always a last-minute, thrown-together thing. No matter what. Girl Scout meetings, packing for a trip, supplies for a party, arranging the next episode of my podcast... it's always pretty much the day or even the hour before, or AS I'm doing it. And please, don't clean anything and organize it because I know where it is all ready. Yet, on the other hand.. see #2.

2. Do you keep some type of planner, organizer, calendar, etc. with you, and do you use it regularly?

I've been forced to. See, I used to be very VERY organized. In a previous chapter of the Life of Danielle, I was a legal assistant to a bankruptcy attorney. Talk about needing to be organized!

Then... I had children. Really, I can't blame it on that either, because I worked full time until I was pregnant with Samantha. But THEN... I became a stay-at-home mum. That's when my organizational skills went kaput. I had moments where it would return, like when I was PTO president for two years, and when I would hastily scribble things on the calendar hanging on the wall, but it wasn't until the last couple of years that I really was forced to crack down and PLAN. The kids are older now, and have 8,000 separate functions, most of these at the same times. This year becoming a Girl Scout leader really did me in and forced me to behave like a semi-competent adult.

My savior? Google calendar. It's just so DAMN EASY. I can even fool all the parents in the troop about how organized I am with the link to their own calendar!

Wow, that was a long answer to a simple question.

3. Would you say that your desk is organized right now?

No. I mean, if you add up #1 and #2... you should be able to answer #3 for me all on your own!

4. Do you alphabetize CDs, books, and DVDs, or does it not matter?

Nope, and it doesn't matter in the slightest. Yet at least in the DVD department, they are all very neat an tidy. If you know my husband, then I do not need to say anything more.

5. What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to organize?

My life. Work in progress.

Your turn.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Getting in touch with an old friend. Me.

I have been wanting to write more over here, where I can be on a more personal level. I was looking through the archives of the past few years, and I introduced myself to ME again. Then as I was putting together the previous entry on friendship it got me thinking. What made me stop?

The best I can come up with is how everything sort of crash-landed around my (foster) Dad's illness. He was diagnosed in the fall of '06. It was over before we knew it, unfortunately, and the universe decided to throw a bunch of shit in the fan at the same time. That Christmas was also when one of my aunts and I had a falling out, and also when the friendship previously mentioned in the last post fell apart. From October '06 through about April '07, I was in a funk. That summer of '07 was when I personally started feeling the negative affects of podcasting, in the form of a jerk who didn't agree with my positions. So he decided to start flaming me publicly, and in a personal way. Needless to say, I crawled into a shell, shied away from my blogging and being so open. Kept it strictly about politics. Which meant this place suffered.

One thing is true though, time heals. It also toughens your skin. It took awhile to make my own peace with the tragedies in my life, but I feel I have. It's not easy when you really just want someone to take care of you for a change. What I know now is I need to take care of myself, and wanting or expecting someone else to do it for me only delays the healing. And you can never move forward.

The universe responds in kind. It began with the flickr meme posted below. There was really no better place to put it than here. After that, I saw all the friendship discussion on Twitter, and then at the same time, my friend Julie finds me in chat, and we end up on the phone for over an hour catching up. It was wonderful- I was so happy after talking to her again!

Everything happens for a reason, although sometimes the reasons aren't what you expect or even want, but I really believe it to be true.

I'm going to reach out to myself again, use this space and continue well, trying to find my way. Want to join me?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Levels Of Friendship

I've been thinking about the friends in my life, prompted by an interesting Twitter discussion between a couple people I follow, and one I do not. Which is funny because the one I do not follow used to be a close friend of mine. Well, he was a close friend to me, at least. I've realized over the course of the now nearly two years since our friendship ended that I invested way more in the relationship than he did. So as I watched this discussion on Twitter continue (which I could try and ignore, but when the name keeps popping up with my other followers, curiosity gets the best of me), I was intrigued by the thoughts on friendship, and his take especially since he seemed to think online friendships weren't nearly as viable as real life ones (which I suppose in the instance of our failed friendship his argument could be true, at least in his mind). However, I have my own thoughts on friendship. So consider this opening my disclosure statement...

I have a friend, Dave. I've known Dave since 2004, and we've been through a lot together. He's one of the most non-judgmental people I know, at least when it comes to his friends. I could tell him anything, and pretty much have, and he in return. Dave lives in Minnesota, and I've spoken to him by phone (or skype) many times, and finally met him in person (albeit briefly) on a stop while traveling a couple of years ago.

I have a friend, Julie. I've known Julie since 2004, and we've been through a lot together. She's one of the most non-judgmental people I know, at least when it comes to her friends. I could tell her anything, and pretty much have, and she in return. Julie lives in California, and we took a "Thelma and Louise" weekend up to Sedona a few years ago. Which incidentally was the first time I met her in person. I call her my Other (I Heart Huckabees movie reference). We don't speak nearly as often as we'd like, but we both know the depth of our friendship, and that lack of speaking doesn't mean any less that what we know our relationship is.

I have a friend, Kimber. I've known Kimber since 1999, and we've been through a lot together. I could tell her anything, and pretty much have, and she in return. Kimber lives right next door, and although we met as neighbors, she is one of my closest friends.

Those are just three examples. Two friends I met online, and one in real life. But you know, I don't like separating the two. Dave and Julie are not fantasy friends- they are part of my real life too. That's the thing about the internet today and socializing online- it's not part of fantasy play alone anymore. Sure, many still use it that way, but I think that's mostly used to troll around, escape their own reality, or even to hurt people. If you're going into using the internet socially for the right reasons, then it's pretty easy (if you have half a brain) to weed out those who are just there to mess around. So to distinguish, I'll say "online" and "offline".

There are levels to friendship too. There are many I call "friend", and there are many I just leave as "acquaintance". There are even those who I enjoy connecting with because you never know who ELSE might be interested in a relationship with them! Just like offline relationships, you weed out your connections, and stick with those you click with. Twitter has been an amazing source for just that. When you travel, whether around your town, or around the country, you can tweet where you'll be and perhaps there will be an opportunity to connect. Hell, even in England I had the opportunity to attend a tweet-up, it just didn't work out time-wise. I often joke that Twitter gave me a social life, and it's really not a joke. These sorts of things just cannot be done without wi-fi!

As to the obvious argument about the internet breeding anti-social behavior, as you can see I really disagree. I do concede that it's all in how you use it. However, even when I'm just sitting at home chatting away online, it's a social outlet for me. My husband is rather on the anti-social side, and so I'm not always able to head out and be social offline. I'm definitely a more social person than he is, so being online has helped with that.

Speaking of my husband and being less social. He's not an online person when it comes to networking and friends. He doesn't chat online. He doesn't post on forums. He only goes to Twitter to stalk me. :-) I nearly had a heart attack when he made a Facebook account, because it's the last thing I ever thought he would do. Some people are just that way. It isn't a bad thing, and it certainly doesn't mean something is wrong with him. It just happens to be the way he is.

To take the internet one step further, we have family in other states that we have set up skype with in order to keep in touch and chat with. Does this suddenly make these family members less real? Is it less of a relationship because it's mostly online now? Hehe, I think not. Hell, several of my offline friends right here in the Phoenix area began as online friends (Debbie, Dan & CJ, Aaron, LaDawn, oh so many others- you know who you are)!

So see, it's not about which types of friendships are better or more "real" than others. It's about what people want in their lives, or what they don't want. It's not to be criticized, because one way of connecting and starting friendships is no better than another. I would say that those who are critical of online relationships should probably take a closer look at all of their relationships, whether online or off.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Buyer Be(A)ware: The Linens-n-Things Price Sticker Scam

Cross-posting from over on my AZ Central blog:

Linens-n-Things, as most people know by now, is going out of business. The one closest to me is on Power Rd and Ray, just off the 202. It's close enough so I have been able to check in periodically and watch the prices drop on certain things I have my eye on. I would like to get them at the most "reasonable" price before they close their doors for good. It's been great for stocking up on certain things I usually splurge on, like Yankee Candles.

However, I noticed today as I was rummaging around, checking the price change on some storage items, that the prices weren't really dropping all that much, even though the percentage went from 10% off to now 40% off. Recently Good Morning America did an investigation on how Linens-n-Things has been raising their prices and putting more expensive price stickers over their cheaper ones. Sure enough, when I pulled back the label, I noticed that one of the wall organizers I have been eyeing was $20 more than it was 2 weeks ago.

I took some video clips, because the camera took fuzzy still photos:




Now, I know this isn't a new thing. This is what stores do no matter the sale. What cracks me up is how sloppy they are about it, because most people won't think twice about it. They see the 40-60% off sticker and think they are getting a deal. There are no anti-price gouging laws in Arizona, and I am not looking to have anyone stopped. What's the point? They will be gone in a month.

What I hope to do is make sure people are aware, and if you're looking around at Linens-n-Things, LOOK AT THE TAG CLOSELY. I know for me, I'd rather get my 40% off the cheapest price tag I see. Wouldn't you?

Check those tags, and demand your discount be applied to the cheapest price. Pass the word on to others you know who are always looking for a good deal. Sometimes it really is too good to be true.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Flickr Photo Meme

Usually I feel dread when I'm tagged for these meme's, but this one is actually pretty neat. Andy from the Andycast tagged me, and the meme is you have to go to your 6th page of flickr photos, and blog about the 6th picture. Here's Andy's post.

Like Andy, I have already blogged about the 6th picture on the page, so I figured I could just pick whatever photo I wanted. I've blogged plenty about our summer travels too. I thought about a post on my beautiful daughters and how quickly they are growing up, but figured it would turn into a whine about how old I'm getting. So I chose this photo, which is of myself with author Chris Lester, both of us sporting the T-shirts of his podcast, Metamor City.

Now a lot of people who read this blog are family and non-internet/twitter friends, so they don't know very much about my other hobby. Sure, they know about the political podcast, and they also know about KWSS. But I don't talk too much about the voice acting I do. I was bit with the voice acting bug back when I met Jon Russell of Dream Realm, and I haven't been able to stop since.

Metamor City is nothing short of amazing, and I'm not just saying that because I have a role in it. If you love fantasy stories, with amazing detail that sends you right into another world, then this is a story for you. Oh, and it has vampires! And empaths! And magic! And sex! Oh my!

My role is Sasha, who is my opposite in nearly every way. Nearly. She's blonde, warrior strong, can read minds, and deeply in love with another female. What I can relate to is her fierce devotion to her family, and the drive to protect them at all costs. I absolutely love playing Sasha. I had no idea at first it would be such a pivitol role, and when I saw what it would entail I was a little nervous. When you're bringing someone's vision to life, you want to make sure you treat the character the way the author envisioned. So far I think I've done pretty well. Chris is a wonderful director, and has really given great- well, direction!- in how best to bring Sasha to life. If you are looking for a good book to listen to, head over the Metamor City's website and subscribe to the feed.

Chris recently made the move across the country to California. When he stopped in Phoenix briefly along the way, we had a small group get together at Tempe Marketplace. It was wonderful to finally meet him in person, and it was a great evening of food and laughs and all kinds of conversation.

See, sometimes it's not so bad meeting guys on the internet! ;-)

I hereby taggeth Debbie, Dawn, Paul Fischer, Temple Stark, and Marla. Don't groan when you get this- it was fun to go back in the flickr photos and blog about what I found!