Insurance

I was supposed to find us renter’s insurance last week. I’ve been procrastinating. Half of those California wild fires happen in our backyard (not literally, of course), and it’s dumb that we don’t have coverage. Plus, our pipes make crazy noise, and if this place floods and my computer gets ruined, I’m going to be so pissed at myself.

I also need life insurance, because for the first time in my life, I’m not covered. And probably, for the first time in my life, I really need it. I started the research, learned the difference between term, whole, and all the little special ones like mortgage life insurance.

I often have these little panic attacks that while I put the grocery cart in the cart return, I’m going to get hit by a car and my son will be trapped in the car, and no one will realize he’s there, and his dad won’t get home from work for hours and hours. These worst-case-scenarios really go on and on.

Basically, I need to just get this done. I don’t know why I put things like this off so much.

Pinehurst

So we’re officially going to Pinehurst. I made the tee times and spa reservations yesterday, and I have to admit I’m pretty excited. I could give a fig about golf – no matter how prestigious the course – but I’m getting a mud wrap! The reservation lady asked me if I had a gender preference for my spa attendant, and I said, “um, I guess I want a woman.” It will be weird. I don’t know how rich people do these things all the time. But I’m still excited.

And then, because we’re not rich people who do these things often, I asked about gratuities. “What’s a standard tip for the caddy, the spa attendant, etc.” Apparently it’s all included in our package! Everything from breakfast to dinner and even the golf cart parts.

I bet we should still tip. Any smart readers know about this? Should I still tip my spa lady after she rubs mud on my big booty? Should my husband still tip his caddy after schlepping his clubs all over a million miles of fancy-schmancy golf course? My guess is yes. But how much?

20% is included in our package…but I think it gets spread out between everyone, from the bellman to the waiter to the caddy. Which means that it’s probably not much. And if we do think they should have something extra, what amount is good? Is $5 lame? $10? What’s the baseline here?

Green Gossip

If this isn’t the best of both worlds…gossip about celebrities and their green efforts/abuses. Awesome reading. Better than US Weekly!

Check it out: Ecorazzi.com

When you’re done reading all the latest, scroll to the bottom and check out their “Gossip Sites We Love.”

Fall Schmall

cat pumpkinI love Fall. It’s getting cooler, my football team made an appearance on ESPN2 last weekend, and the deli always has fresh pumpkin pies. But sadly, when I start seeing bags of Halloween candy and pumpkins, my “it’s almost Christmas” panic starts to set in.

As you may recall, I went on quite the spending spree purchasing fabric in preparation for Christmas. Now, I have a million gifts to make, with the days just dropping off the calendar like fur off my cats (which falls off fast and often – in case that analogy was confusing.)

Oh, I have lots of christmas gift ideas, but do I have the time to execute those plans? We shall see. But regardless, I better get off this blog, and haul out the sewing machine. See ya later. Go Knights!

Zaproot

zaproot header

My friend Damien is creating these awesome webisodes at zaproot.com. They’re funny little news reels about environmental issues. He’s taking a whole new approach to living green – leaning away from the doom and gloom “we’ll all be underwater soon,” and toward witty observations of things happening in the world. It’s worth checking out, and they’re really short, so it will only take you a minute :)

If you love it (like I do) you can become a part of the Zaproot community (leave comments, participate in the forums). You can also subscribe to get the webisodes for free on iTunes.

I like the Zaproot jingle the best. “Be Keen, Think Green, Think Zaproot.” Very catchy…like “Co-stanza” Great job, Damien!

Hearing the written word

slow down, already!I usually have a book on CD going in my car, as well as a book or two on the nightstand. Right now on CD, it’s book two in Meg Cabot’s Mediator series. I just finished Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope. I just fininshed reading Susan Wiggs’ Dockside. On my iPod (my new gorgeous light blue nano), I’ve been listening to NPR Selected Shorts and New Yorker Fiction podcasts (free for downloading on iTunes). In the blogosphere, I’ve been catching up on Lin’s Breakdown in the Fastlane – a blog everyone should read.

Here’s what I’ve been noticing.

I love dialogue. I love how good dialogue advances the story and reveals so much. I tend to skip over lengthy detail in a novel and dialogue serves as the speed bumps to counteract my haste. If I ever fulfill my dream of becoming a writer, I think it will be when I learn to master the art of dialogue. It’s probably going to be a while.

I’ve been thinking about this for a few days, and reading Diane’s post about studying other artists for aspects you admire really brought it home. It’s easy for me to speed read/listen my way through 100 books a year, but to grow, I should slow down and pay attention. It’s one thing to say anyone can write a book (which I often hear about the romance genre, although I don’t think it’s true in the least), it’s another to really appreciate the skill involved in making short-attention span readers like myself NOT skip the detail.

So I’m going to take time to read about the smell of roses. Or something like that.

One reason I’ve been noticing dialogue so much is that in my current audiobook, The Ninth Key by Meg Cabot, there’s a lot of rehashing the first book to catch readers up in between the dialogue. I keep wanting to fast forward, but I can’t because it will just jump to the next track. So actually, the unabridged audiobook format is quite effective at making me pay attention.

If you’re a fan of podcasts, download some of the NPR Selected Shorts – they’re short stories written by well known classic and current writers, read by theater and film greats. My new favorite thing to take to the gym.

Inn Love

chateau la rueI really want to go and stay at Tori and Dean’s Chateau La Rue. I know there are ton’s of California bed and breakfast options, but I’d love to have that experience. I appreciate them trying to have a normal life, working hard, building a business, etc. But I wonder how many people are going there just so they can say, “Tori Spelling cooked me breakfast.” I bet Tori and Dean don’t really care as long as the rooms are filled.

I drove by it the other day, and it’s hard to see from the road, but I was too shy to get closer. I hate to infringe on people. But isn’t that silly? If it was any other B&B, I’d drive right up. It’s hard to get past the fact that I watched Tori as Donna for years, and have always enjoyed her terrible Lifetime movies.

They were on Ellen the other day, and I thought they were so cute. Tori looked awesome – none of the baby fat she’s had all through Inn Love. I wish Ellen had had more time with them. The interview was super short.

Did she not inherit anything from her mega-rich dad? I didn’t follow the story at all, but I know on Inn Love they talk about money worries. Seems crazy.

PayU2Blog

Thanks to my friend Allison, I’m now a proud PayU2Blog blogger. I’ve been doing PayPerPost for a while, but there’s a HUGE difference between the two.

With PayPerPost, I have limited opportunities – right now my choices are promoting stomach-stapling, promoting tutoring services or promoting a coupon site. Well, these are all fine, but I don’t know the first thing about the first two, and I’ve already written about the third one. Plus, those entries require a review of the product, service or site – some of them are minimum 300 words. Also not bad, I just don’t have 300 words to say about stomach-stapling surgery. Now, if my Google page rank was higher, I’d have MUCH more opportunities, paying more than the usual $5.

So with PayU2Blog, I get a keyword and a link that I have to include, but I can write about whatever I want – as long as I don’t include any other links. This is great! I can write about the product or service, but I don’t have to. Each assignment pays $5, and I get paid every two weeks. I’ve already gotten five assignments! Basically, this equates to way more opportunities to make a few dollars than PayPerPost. Until my page rank is a little higher, anyway.

Even better, the random keywords are like a creative writing exercise. I figure out how to use “golf cart parts” or “bedroom furniture shopping” using a story I wanted to blog about anyway. AND, my sweet three readers don’t have to read an ad. Just a boring personal story :) Ah, the beauty of blogging.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to do PayPerPost. I like the challenge, and the random $5. I’m not going to get rich with either program, but it keeps me in Starbucks and domain names :)

Thanks for reading!