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Romance is Dead

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I want to believe, I really do, but after listening to non-satellite radio, I am convinced that romance is dead.

I want your ugly, I want your disease, I want your everything as long as it’s free.” – Lady Gaga

What the bleep? This is not romantic music.

I don’t blame the music industry.

I don’t blame lame TV shows that require you to get a rose in order to feel relevant.

I don’t blame movies for forgetting how to get it right.

I blame women.

Yes, you, Ms. Bring a movie and pick up some Chinese food for our date night. That is not a date; that is a booty call. When did we as women stop feeling as if our feelings mattered? Why is it that we no longer want him to be able to ignite our fires, but we are okay if he can just buy a match. However, this cannot just be one sided, my ladies, when was the last time you even got close to the oven to get him heated? He needs as much romance as we do. Enough of the puppy love and unadventurous dates, time to add some spark to your repertoire and some spark to your weekend. Date night is about to get grown up. According to Men’s Health Magazine online, there are lists, and lists and more lists on how to get it right. There is a list of what women believe makes the perfect date. If you can’t get it right, you can at least get close.

Now this is a good start.

Granted, not every date can be expensive or extensive; sometimes the best dates in the world can be at home. I have inserted a nice link here for you to find ways to get your romance on in your own home. What I am suggesting here is to use your imagination to exercise your romantic elbow. Flex that sucker and give the person in your life a chance to remember why you are together. We are not talking about putting on a pair of your best Victoria’s Secret gear, or showing your pole dance moves, this is about getting into your partner’s head and saying I appreciate having you in my life. I want you to take a minute to re-evaluate why you wake up next to this person, how you got here and remind them that your heart is still beating and romance in your mind is still alive.

I will leave you with this link that gives you 100 great date night ideas. While you are on your date, I challenge you to learn one new thing about your partner, date or mate. You cannot honestly know how to romance your partner if you do not fully understand with whom you are sharing your life. I want to believe that romance is alive. Come back and share with me why you also think that romance is not dead but alive in your life. I can’t wait to read your comments and just in case, here is your red rose to let you know you are a keeper.


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Are we all doing too much?

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Today I sat down. I grabbed a cup of ice tea, picked up the magazine I purchased last week, and I sat down. I took the pillows from the couch and made a makeshift ottoman on top of the pillows and put my feet up. I moved the magazine to my lap, turned my computer on just to hear some soft music in the background, and I began to read about flowers and using a marker to decorate.

    Before I knew it, my eyes had inadvertently closed and I soon realized that this phenomenon that was taking place was called resting. I think I like this trend because what happened next was even more amazing. I took a nap. In the middle of the afternoon, I sat down, read a magazine and took a nap. When I woke up two hours later, I discovered something else astounding; the world did not end.

    I was now rested and even felt relaxed. I did not feel the tension that had piled up between my shoulder blades and had been pressing down on my spine. I did not feel the pins that were usually boring into my temples trying to push my eyeballs out of their sockets. I was not overcome by the violent urge to sock someone in the face to end the incessant prattle. I felt calm and almost rejuvenated. I think I like this rest thing.

    For the first time in several months, I had a clear thought that started in my mind and went all the way through the thought process without my Alter Ego’s interruptions. You know when Alter Ego butts in and tells you to get up off your duff and go do this. Yelling at you with reminders of all the things you should be doing but are not. The irony of Alter Ego’s rudeness is for naught because when you get to the kitchen, and open the fridge to get your car keys, you are now thinking that you are hungry. Your car keys are not in the fridge, but in the bathroom because you ran out of toilet paper and were heading to the store anyway. Since you were going to the store you needed to know if there was any milk left and if you needed more OJ. This is was really the reason you went into the kitchen and opened the fridge. After you opened the fridge and saw the ice-tea you decided to pour a glass and instead of drinking it over the sink, you decided to sit down.

    I am glad you decided to sit down and spend some time with me because here, in this spot, in this moment, the voices in my head are quiet. You are laughing at me and at the many times that has also happened to you. The magazine just happened to be there taunting you to pick it up and use it like a dirty rag. No matter, my chores are not going anywhere. I still need toilet paper, and those dishes should not be in the freezer, but the kitchen sink……but when I actually find where I left my keys, maybe I will go and do something constructive. In the meantime, I am just going to sit here because today I realized that sometimes, I am just doing too much.

I Feel Cheated

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I was excited and ready to read my favorite author’s new book. Normally, I don’t really say anything negative about a book or a particular writer, but I feel cheated. I paid $20.00 for Julie Garwood’s latest book, “An Ideal Man” and was sorely disappointed. Of course, there was man meet woman, man rescues woman, burgeoning chemistry, they fight it, hot steamy sex scene, man rescues her again, they get married, have more sex, the end. All of the basic, formulaic elements to each of her stories are present in this one. I feel cheated because it is the same characters that were in the last four stories, the only difference is the location and the crime.

Ms. Garwood, I feel like you phoned this one in. I am a fan and have read everything you have ever written and I feel cheated. I want you to do better. I want you to stretch your writing ability and reinvent yourself and please your readers again. This stuff is fine for people who are just discovering your magnificent talent, but for those of us who have been with you since “The Lion’s Lady” want more. Well, at least I do.

Allow me to elaborate.

The main character in The Ideal Man, Max Daniels is an FBI agent, who falls in love with a gifted surgeon that he was protecting. There is a hitman that was hired to kill the surgeon. They go on the run and hide in South Carolina. There is also a crazed man after them who also wants pretty surgeon girl dead.

The main character Nick Buchanan in Heartbreaker was an FBI agent assigned to protect his best friend’s sister. Nick falls in love with Laurant who is being stalked by a crazy hitman that was sworn to kill her.

In Mercy, we meet Nick’s brother Theo, which works for the Justice Department and falls in love with a gifted pretty surgeon who is being stalked by the same hitman that was after Laurant.

We meet Theo’s pretty surgeon wife, and her brother John Paul.

John Paul, hates the FBI and law enforcement, but runs across a pretty damsel in distress and kills the hitman that has been drug through these three books. However, this damsel in distress is an analyst for the FBI. Another character drug through the three books is character named Noah Clayborne, FBI agent. Noah, falls for Nick & Theo’s computer genius sister. Jordan is stalked by a hitman and FBI agent Noah has to save her in Shadow Dance.

Their other sister Sydney has a friend who is in trouble and needs to be protected from a hitman, or mob guy or some dude who is trying to kill her ass too. Along comes the handsome FBI agent Sam Kinkaid in Sizzle.

Stop the madness.

If you really want to stretch yourself, why not write about the one African American sub character in Ideal Man, Simon Daniels?

He is a football player, who has an FBI agent brother, but at least we get a new angle. Something fresh, but of course, his father is an attorney, with FBI friends.

Ms. Garwood, if you are reading this, I love you and will always love you, but damn it woman, I need you to dig deeperI Get out of the FBI’s pants, walk away from law enforcement in the next book, and give us a man, who wants to be loved and is rich and famous, and have him be swept off his feet by a poor church mouse waitress.

Hell, have him pretend to be poor to get closer and win her over. Make it a happy ending and he buys her a diner, but please, for the love of Pete, Nick, Theo & Noah, give us something fresh.


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I was just thinking about our economy

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I am not an economist or even a financial guru, but I am a mom. I have survived the 70’s, the 80’s and Reaganomics, and even the boom of the Internet in the 90s while managing to never go hungry. However, after the aftermath of natural disasters, bailouts, a 10 year war along with more bad weather to come, I am wise enough to realize I have to make some smart changes.

The first thing I did was update my resume.

The second thing I did was started looking for ways to cut back on my spending.

Third, I started looking for items around the house that were taking up space and not making me any money.

Fourth, I purchased canning jars and pectin.

Last, I evaluated my assets.

Why you ask? Things are about to get really tough.

If you are watching the news very carefully, you will notice that each day, there is another company starting a round of layoffs. This means a saturation of more unemployed and a shrinkage in the number of jobs available to the “unspecialized.” Further, pay attention to the amount of damage that was done by Hurricane Irene up and down the East Coast. FEMA is out of money. Insurance is only going to cover as much, which is probably going to mean an increase in your insurance rates. But wait, there is more. The Northeast corridor is our beds for Blueberries, cranberries and other items we use to make non orange juice. Around the corner Hurricane Katina is off the shore of Africa. We are only half way through the alphabet, there is still L- Z.

In all honesty, I am scared. I am scared for our children who are about to experience and economic downturn they just will not understand. There will be many who will not understand. I am writing out my thoughts so that I may help you understand what I am thinking. I am going to take you step by step. My first step was to update my resume. My updated resume is necessary so that I can start acquiring from freelance work. I can freelance as a ghost blogger for higher education and many other sites. I started with the Chronicle of Higher Education, since that is my area. I obtained a free membership. I also looked at other organizations where I have memberships and updated my profile. I even updated my profile on Linked In. If there is someone out there looking for what I can do, I can easily score some part time work or projects to make a few bucks.

Please keep in mind that just because companies have to lay off employees, they still have a company to run. They contract out the work. The company must go on if it can. I am willing to do my part to help American companies keep going, even if it is a project at a time. If companies are looking for ways to cut back on spending, then so should I.

I started with my stupid cell phone. I am either going to go prepaid or back to a standard dumb phone. I have a tablet with apps. Apps are over rated and I have other things to do that to sit around diddling with my phone. I started practicing on my buttercream frostings and baked goods at home. A few eggs, some butter, sugar, add flour and I have a dessert. Add some flavorings and it is whatever I want it to be. Adding Cocoa makes it chocolate, adding lemon extract makes it lemon flavored. Payday, I am headed to Big Lots and the Dollar Store to purchase whatever fillers, extras and additives I need to have on hand for whatever I can possibly think I would want to go out and eat. I am eating at home.

Of course, with this much new stuff coming in, I have to make some room. I started with the shed. We scored a cool $400 bucks for some truck tires that I listed on Craig’s list. I think you can buy a mother on Craig’s list. Hubby started to look at me suspiciously, yes, he is right; I was looking at more of HIS stuff to sell. Of course I’m not selling any of my stuff, what is wrong with you? Anyhoo, moving on….. I went to Wally World and purchased more canning jars. This weekend I am headed to the market to buy more fruit. I don’t know how to preserve anything other than my shoes. The formula is basic. Simmer, add sugar and pectin, bottle, drop bottle in hot water, remove bottles; wait to tops to suck in. Then you cool and store. If not, I am headed to 2nd and Charles to find a book on preserving. Hey, while I’m going that way, I am going to take some books to sell. See, Hubby, I can be fair.

Now, I am looking at my 401K, my stocks, the bonds, and even some stocks that I have certificates, I may cash in just to hold on the actual dollars. I am evaluating my net worth. I kind of feel like Carrie on Sex and City when she realized she spent $40k on shoes. I ain’t worth Jack Schitt. I think I may add some rims to my Ford to increase its value.

I am not an alarmist but a realist, but I am buying a 20lb bag of rice.

It is time to stock up the freezer and the pantry because it is going to be a bumpy hurricane season, a bad winter and poor Spring harvest.

I am telling you early. You will thank me later.

Getting Past Being a Snob

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August 27, 2011

Taken aback by the attack of the sales person in the store, I stood there aghast when she called me a snob.

Me, a snob? What did I do?

I am a deep complexioned woman and therefore there will never be an occasion for me to wear canary yellow shoes. My lack of enthusiasm in trying on something that I will never buy, let alone wear, does not make me a snob, it makes me a smart shopper. After quickly explaining this to Sales Lady from Hell, she told me it wasn’t just the shoes, it was my whole demeanor. She further went on to say that my “aura” from the moment I walked in the store was air of superiority. My eyebrows went up. I breathed deep and I assume she expected me to attack her with vicious words.

I merely asked, “When did you stop dreaming?”

She shut the heck up.

Her attack on me had nothing to do with my aura, my feelings, or even the canary yellow shoes. Her attack was on my confidence and the lack of her own. There was something in my ability to say no to a very aggressive sales person and not be intimidated, rubbed her all wrong. She felt she needed to cut me down to size. She needed to let me know how she felt. She had words that were burgeoning in her brain that needed to be unloaded on me.

Me, the Snob.

I will admit I am a bit of a snob for I am always seeking new opportunities to blossom. I also limit the amount of negative energy I allow to flow through my body by reducing the influence of processed trash to enter my system. This includes reality television. This includes bad wine, processed foods, drama queens, drama kings, individuals with poor judgment and those who always want you to listen to their problems. This makes me a snob? No this makes me smart.

I am a dreamer. I like to think of new ways that I can grow, evolve, and continue to learn.

I have read Beowulf in Olde English and I even laughed when I read the Canterbury Tales. Yet, my some of my favorite writers are Julie Garwood , Janet Evanovich and Dianne McKiney Whetstone. I like diversity. I love literature but I appreciate great characters and a good storyline. I also love Elmore Leonard, and local authors. I am not a snob, I am a reader.

I deserve the best in life and I also deserve and opportunity to try to better myself. I will not do so at the detriment of another. Although my dreams may seem to some, large, but I have a large imagination. I have traveled to four of the seven continents and plan to do the other 3. I want to enjoy the fruits of a life well lived and therefore I can not stop dreaming.

Did you stop dreaming?

Have you accepted that there is nothing on television and instead of picking up your old favorite hobby, you sit there and veg out on the REAL Housewives of Spoiled Hell?

Stop it.

Get up, walk into your craft room, extra room, laundry room and find that hobby that you put down. Pick it up and think about the projects you want to work on and the projects you have not finished. Think about the things you told yourself five years ago that you wanted to do and write down how far off you are and what it would take to get you back on the road.

Today is your day to become a S.N.O.B. Today is the day for you to seek new opportunities to blossom.

You can get past being a snob by actually following your dream and making it blossom.

Shut up!

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August 25, 2011

By Cheryl Aaron Corbin

I am a thinker. I wake up thinking, I go to bed thinking. I think of the simple things in life and think of complex matters and possible, viable solutions. You know the problem with thinking so much? One feels compelled to provide these thoughts to people who didn’t ask you for your opinion. It is then easy to become a know-it-all. Yes, some people may ask you for your opinion, but really, if you know so dang gone much, why aren’t you rich?

In a time when there are 37 television channels of “experts” on everything from pest control to making sandwiches, why is your opinion needed in the conversation? On top of the television experts, there is the internet. The internet is loaded with people who blog on everything from cold sores to cold storage. Technology has advanced so much that experts are now selling their skills via applications that can be at your fingertips via a mobile “app”. Everyone is selling everything. Therefore I compelled to weigh in and sell something so original and so unique, that it is bound to catch and revolutionize the way we live. I am selling silence.

I have been told it is golden.

Yes, I am asking you to stop, breath, reflect and then politely ask you to shut up.

This summer, I hit the road and spent time with not only my family, but my husband’s family. I learned the value of shutting up. There were times when I was convinced that Satan was sitting on my shoulder trying to operate the lever that controlled my tongue. I was strong and I told him, “Get thee behind me Satan” and I shut up. I saw things that I found disturbing. I saw things that probably evolved from necessity but stayed in play out of habit. Knowing that a tweak here and an adjustment there could make all the difference, I politely made the suggestion. The suggestion was ignored. The younger version of me would have forced the issue, reiterated my point or maybe even argued that the current course of action was illogical and should be changed immediately. The mature version of me went and a made an ice cream cone and shut up. Was I right in my assessment, probably? Did it require me making an ass out of myself and wearing out my welcome; not even close. I enjoyed my visits and was invited back.

After returning home from my travels, I headed into the office to start my prep for the Fall quarter. In the faculty work room, there were clusters of professors going on from everything to the copier, students, and which instructors were teaching which classes. In my mind all I could think about was “shut up!” We are in a recession and we should all be grateful for the jobs we have, perfect or imperfect. If as much energy was spent in teaching your classes as is spent in complaining about your classes, then one would probably be a better educator.

Leaving the school I headed to lunch to use my buy one get on free coupon at Ruby Tuesday’s. Seated at a nice table by a window, our drinks come and so does a couple who were the unhappiest people in the world. They complained about the waiter. They complained about their table. They complained about the food. She started to complain about his mother; for Pete’s sake, shut up! Take a moment and meditate and think happy thoughts. You think happy thoughts your feel happier.

I started this thought with a simple statement, I am a thinker. I want you to become a thinker as well. The next time you see something that is just too good and you feel inclined to offer your opinion, tell yourself “shut up.” When your boss comes in with his tie twisted, lipstick on his collar, and a wry smile on his face, there is no need to share this with any of your coworkers because you have learned the fine art of shutting up. Your best friend’s spouse is still stupid and doing stupid things yet your friend is not packing to leave. This is your time to practice your newly acquired skill of the gift of silence. The lesson here is, if your best friend wants better, your best friend will do better. Your two cents aare only going to incite, exacerbate or make things worse, therefore shut up.

Now we move on to the portion of this thought that is going to revolutionize the way we live. We are going to learn the highly in demand skillset of silence. Dictionay.com defines silence as the absence of any sound or noise; stillness. In stillness we learn understanding. In understanding we learn to grow. In growing we become better. I want to become better. I am thinking of ways to be better. I am thinking. If I am thinking, then I am not talking. If I am not talking, no one needs to tell me to shut up.

I am thinking of ways to save money.

I am thinking of new recipes.

I am thinking about my vacation for next year.

I am thinking of my exercise plan.

Here is your test for your first step to being better. Later today you will be presented with an opportunity to inject your unsolicited opinion. I want you to stand your ground, take a deep breath and exercise your newly adopted regime. You are going to shut up. After you have completed this first task, you can go home, log into your computer and post me a note at the base of this blog. Your notes should resemble this:

  1. The world did not end because I didn’t add my $.25 worth of information.
  2. I feel just fine, actually I feel great because I exercised restraint.
  3. I don’t have to relive my dumbass comment over and over again on Facebook, on Twitter or via text message.
  4. I know have an extra 30 minutes to work on being a better me.

How does that feel. I feel better. I hope you do too. Congrats, you are now a part of the revolution!

Now shut up!


Whose Reality Is It Anyway?

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I was so excited! I had three days off with no papers to grade and a moment of respite. I was also home alone for the evening. You know what this meant. I stripped down to my favorite t-shirt. I snuck into the kitchen and opened a can of Coke after 7 pm, stuck in a bag of Lime & Sea Salt popcorn in the ole microwave and headed for my bed. It was going to be a night of television accompanied by a bag of popcorn, a Snickers bar and yeah, that full strength Coke. I was going to be up all night watching the boob tube.

I felt like the boob.

There wasn’t a darn thing on but reality television.

I found a show on people who bid on storage lockers.

I found a show on truckers who drive in Alaska or some frozen tundra.

Games shows, game hoes and people who competed for affection adorned the screen. I flipped more channels. There were people forced into rehab, celebrities in rehab and houses that needed rahab. There were skinny people who ate too little who trade lives with people who ate too much. Families with dogs that ran the house and houses with cats that over ran the house. Pregnant teens, bad parents, strict parents, organ donations, animal collectors, bone collectors, and hoarders.There were pawn stars, repo men, tattoo artists, barn divers, con artist, pest control, people who eat weird stuff, people who collect weird stuff, and people who are just plain weird.

Yes, I saw an episode of Swamp People. I found these people just simply disturbing as I continued watching and eating my popcorn. I don’t think anyone on the show had a full set of teeth. It is evidently their second season and no one has paid their dental bill. But then, I saw it.

A hair growing contest called Whisker Wars.

I turned into a sixteen year old and started to text all of my friends with something similar to, “Dude, WTF?”

I am fed up with reality television and I want to know, whose reality is this anyway?

Television is supposed to be a form of escapism. Tuning in to a bunch of foul mouthed women who were lucky enough to snag the most unattractive professional athletes on the team, does not really make for good television. It only proves you are a gold digger. I also cannot see the entertainment value of dismemberments, crime scene investigations, understanding the criminal mind or understanding criminal intent for that matter. If they are criminals their mind set is to commit crimes and their intent is to commit more crimes until they are caught. I don’t need corporate sponsors to support this idea, you could go over and find this out from my neighbor’s son.

I am fed up with talent shows that seem to wake up the most talentless people who wish to be seen. We are all promised 15 minutes of fame, but the case of Jersey Shore has turned it into three years. Three years of bad behavior, misogynist, and drunk women looking to score is not television programming. Really, is this what we have come too? Is this your reality because it sure as heck is not mine?

I don’t care if you think you can dance, or if you feel you’ve got talent, or you want to be an idol. I want to see someone on Good Morning America that has earned a SAG card for actually working on a situation comedy, a drama, or documentary. I long for the days when actors honed their skills and studied their crafts. I want to see movie stars who played a fantastic role that did not require spandex tights and comic book. I don’t want to see rappers turned actors turned moguls. I don’t want to see moguls turn actors fire has beens. I don’t want to see singers who want to be cool, who have dated their way up the acting couch, and can’t act their way out of a friendship, who now have starring movie roles. I want Joan Crawford. I want Dorothy Dandridge, I want a young Clint Eastwood although the current one is still pretty super awesome.

I miss Seinfeld. I miss Frasier, Cosby, Martin and heck Three’s Company for that matter. Mr. Furley was destined to say something to make you chuckle.

Before you say turn it off if you feel that way, I want to add, but why should I? In order for me to enjoy any television I must have cable. Therefore I am paying for television and this means I am going to watch it. As the consumer, I deserve better. I have been banned from watching HGTV because I did not understand they could redo a room in an hour, but in reality, that project takes a lot longer.

I am angry with Chopped because your mystery basket is no different than every third pantry and in almost any home across the world. How can I stretch these few random items and make it into a three course meal? That was year two of our marriage, and I am not impressed. I am angry with Who Wants to Be a Millionaire because we all want to be one. I don’t have to phone a friend for confirmation. And if you have $X million dollars to give to the winner of the XFactor, why can’t you put that same money into social security so Nana doesn’t have to worry about how she is going to eat in 2012.

I give up.

I must go because there are only 30 of those Tignanello bags left in this round and I have to call QVC.