Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I love the Grammar Girl! Why didn't I listen sooner?!

I have heard of the Grammar Girl podcast, but I never listened. While on Digg.com tonight, I stumbled upon it and listened to a few podcasts. Now I am actually fighting the melatonin I took.... This is such a cool, cool show that will really help me with grammar issues. There is a comma podcast I want to listen to. I've been writing for papers for so long and the rule there seems to be less commas; however, in my creative writing class some of my peers add commas everywhere when editing my work. I think those are comma splices though... I'll listen and she what gets ironed out.

The Grammar Girl episode I listened to first included a few questions from listeners that wouldn't make a full podcast. One thing I am EXTREMELY happy that she covered was nauseous v. nauseated. People say, "I feel so nauseous." And that's not correct. I've tried to win arguments on that in the past. Nauseous thing make us feel nauseated!

Another question was about the plural of octopus, hippopotamus and cactus. The proper American way is to end with an -es. How about that?! I guess we are not Cacti where I work, but Cactuses. (<--- and that was picked up as wrong by blogger's spell check program. This is why we cannot trust spell check.) Each podcast (which is audio only, no video) has room for comments. Also, the Grammar Girl invites you to submit questions and ideas for podcasts. I think I am going to write her about people in NEPA adding an "s" to everything and also saying "no more" instead of anymore, as in this example: "I don't like her no more." Ack!!!

She also has a FaceBook game.... Cool. Grammar Girl is produced by Quick & Dirty Podcasts, who also hosts Money Girl and several other quick tip type podcasts. And Grammar Girl, if you stumble upon this blog- don't be too hard on me for unnecessary uses of elipses and dashes and whatever gramar goofs I made.

Kudos to Blue Cross/Blue Shield Smoking Ban

Hurray! I was listening to The Morning News with Kevin & Nancy on WILK-FM this morning. I hadn't read the paper yet, so this was the first news I recieved. As I turned on the radio I heard them discussing the front page news in the Times Leader today: A smoking ban for the employees of the Blue Cross Blue Shield offices on North Main Street in Wilkes-Barre.

But unlike other smoking bans on public and private property, this workplace smoking ban is extreme. Employees cannot smoke within 200 feet of the offices between 7a and 7p and I think within 50 feet at all others hours. (It didn't say why, but I am guessing for safety reasons after dark...)

Ironically, employees who park in the closest city parkade are now not able to smoke in their cars because that garage sits within 200 feet. There is a doughnut shop beneath the garage too, where many employees would smoke. Yes- the ban includes other businesses.

On the radio, Nancy had a problem with someone telling someone what they can and cannot do and Kevin also sympathize with that-- however I think as the morning went on the show seemed to lean in favor of Blue Cross Blue Shield.

When I first heard this, it bothered me because I do believe strongly in civil liberties. But then I got over it and realized that I actually applaud Blue Cross Blue Sheild's smoking ban decision. Here's why:

1. It sets a good example. If other large employers follow suit, it could really help kick the dirty smoking habit.

2. They are providing assistance to employees who want to quit smoking. And if their employees quit smoking, they will be healthier and thus more productive at their jobs. Hell, in the long run maybe the BC/BS customers will see lower premiums!

3. Other workplaces who had similar bans reported less employers smoking- one place the newspaper interviewed said 10% of smokers quit.

4. MY MAIN REASON: Since BC/BS is involved in healthcare is just sets a great example that smoking is not healthy. I don't need to say here how many diseases are a direct result of smoking, do I? So allowing health insurance employees to smoke contradicts the message of staying in good health. Especially not when prevenative health is something that insurance companies promote.

The big Geisinger Group in Danville has also decided to go smoke-free on their campuses. This means people will have to drive off-site to smoke, since many are in out of the way areas, and simply couldn't take a quick walk on their lunch.

I think that more people need to take action against smoking in the workplace. Like Kevin Lynn said this morning, working is a privealge. Sometimes you have to give up certain things or dress a certain way or adhere to certain policies that you don't necessarily agree with- but you do anyway for a good salary, good benefits or a fun job. It just comes with the job. And if new policies, like this example, are instated during employment-- and you don't like it- just leave. If a great job is less important than the nicotine fix, leave. See how people react, too. What will your family, friends and neighbors think? My personal view is that you are a scum bag if you'd quit a job just because you can't smoke there.

And if you don't want to leave, don't get pissy at someone who is helping your health. Deal with it.

Here are some articles and previous blog posts I wrote about smoking:

Sunday, October 28, 2007

IV Drugs are Bad... but Have You Heard of IV Shots? Halloween Party 07

Dave and I went to Andy and Colleen's annual Halloween party last night. Surprisingly, I am already awake. It must be a sign that I and the other party-goers are either getting old, or drinking too much too fast, as the party ended around middnight, however Andy and I and Cara stayed up until 3 a.m. and I have some video of Cara dancing. Very funny. I will post on YouTube I think. I need a better digital camera with video, as with mine you can't adjust the light. I have some video of everyone dancing from earlier in the night, but it turned out way too dark.


I had a lot of difficulty finding a costume this year. I waited until the last minute to get a costume which was mistake #1, but even with the small collection of costume, I had little luck because everything is made for short & skinny chicks. I wanted to be a viking chick, but I when I tried it on I thought the skirt was missing. Then I realized it was a one-piece. The shirt was really a dress. Cute, but I don't think the party wanted to see my ass. Seriously, everything else was a sexy costume. Where was the cute, the funny?

I ended up being Athena, the Greek goddess, which was cool since I love Athena- the goddess of creativity (I wrote about her once, here.) However, I could not find an ivy crown and the cheap gold necklace I bought broke as soon as I put it on. Dave's outfit worked out better. He wanted to be dead construction worker and since he works in the field, he already had some props. We just added a zombie flannel shirt which had flesh popping out, some blood and a knife.

The rest of the party looked great, especially our host and hostess, Andy and Colleen, who always have awesome costumes. John made a very sexy woman- I'd die for those legs and bouncy hair.

And, bet you were wondering what the headline meant-- Gary dressed up as a doctor and brought IVs that were filled with alcohol. We did IV funnels which was a lot fo fun and totally creative.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I'd Consider Sleeping in a Coffin

When I woke up this morning, I could not feel my left arm. Let me rephrase that. When I woke up this afternoon, I could not feel my left arm.

It kind of just flopped, and I couldn't even lift it up, so Dave shook it back to life for me. For anyone who has ever shared a bed or even a bedroom with me, they know that I sleep very oddly. So, I told Dave the perhaps I should sleep in a coffin so that I have no room to move around to pin my body parts beneath me.


My mom is a deep sleeper a well. One time she thought I ran away from home and had people looking for me when I did not get off the school bus one day. She, with her eyes open and seemingly awake, told me that morning that I could go to my friend's house after school. She had absolutely no recollection of it.

To this day, she requires two alarm clocks and a wake-up call from a neighboor to get up in the morning. One time, all three of those failed. Her next-door neighboor came into the house- the door opened, the dog barked and all- and she still did not wake up (she was on the couch). So, the neighbor proceeded to build a tower on the coffee table with all her canned veggies. My mom was still snoring. She had no idea. So, this explains why I don't hear the alarm clock and how I can sleep through a concert.

We are the only family in America that didn't rise early on Christmas morning- my brother and sister, who are 13 and 14 years younger than me never rose early on Christmas either. We just are deep, long sleepers. It's in our blood. So many, many times I've been late to school because me and my mom slept throught the alarm. The alarm could have been going off for an hour, and our bodies just don't process it.

I had a very difficult time with some past coworkers before things got under control. In the meantime, I read an article by a writer and professor who struggle with my same problem. I befriended him via e-mail and he said that the toughest part about this was that no one understood.

Several years ago before I lived with anyone, I had trouble getting up in the morning. So, I saw a sleep doctor and was actually diagnosed with narcolepsy. I had one of those cool sleep studies done. I spent the night and the whole next day in a sleep center. They determined that I had extremley abnormal sleep patterns during the day-- as in I was given 15 minutes to fall asleep for a nap at four points throughout the day. Then, they let me sleep for 20 minutes and woke me up. Each time this happened,I fell into dream sleep right away- they actually brought me in a tablet to record my dreams as well. So what this means is that I suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness- I can fall asleep and more specifically into a deep sleep with the blink of an eye. I was on Provigil for years- then when I went back to school I didn't have insurance, so I suffered without it. But in the meantime, I was living with Dave and he makes sure I am up. But if there is no alarm or no person, I simply won't wake up- especially if I am sick or under mental stress. Two weeks ago, I missed Sunday.

I have a better handle on my sleeping situation now, but I am considering going back on Provigil now that I have a far drive to and from work. That's one of the other signs of my narcolepsy. If I am a passaenger in any type of moving vehicle, I will fall asleep right away. I have to fight that feeling when I am the driver and it makes driving very, very hard for me.

Ah- that was really a tanget. Didn't expect to go off on my sleep disorder!! But yeah- I sleep funny, and sleep deep and wake up everyday with parts of my body still aslseep.

Friday, October 26, 2007

I like new things. (and a call for comments)

Since this blog is named Daily Dose o Donna, I figured I needed to get more daily.

B&N Gets a Make Over
This morning I noticed that Barnes and Noble's website has a brand new look. Oh boy does it look good. Looks a lot more clean and slick, and is more user friendly. Of course, I am on Amazon nearly every day spending my bill money on books, but I really do like the new Barnes & Noble site.

Donna Launches Bookstores
Speaking of bookstores- I created four new stores-- if you are looking for gifts for people, help a sister out:

The Dream Drawer- sells sleep aids, dream books and lots of cool stuff
The Reporter's Store- for the reporter and freelance writer- DVRs, style guides, pens
MA in Creative Writing Store- books for all genres of creative writing
80s Music & Movies Store

Leave Your Mark!
I have Google Analytics on this blog. I know I have visitors. In fact, I can drill down to where you are from. Ha! Big Brother is watching! But my point is- and my pal Andee will agree- it's nice to have comments. So, leave me comment. Let me know what you think!

XS Blast Energy
I admit-- I have an energy drink addiction. I try every last one I can get my hands on. I really want to try 5-Hour Energy. But, a client of ours sent a few cases of XS Energy - there are some cool flavors. They are a selection of colas and teas in the same size can as the smaller Red Bull. My favorite flavor so far is the Root Beer. Yummy!

So- that's my post for the day!! Back to work. Lunch is over.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Storage Issues: Clutter and More

I have a lot of stuff. And I don't want to part with it. Until we can build an addition and until I get a bigger desk, I must deal with piles of papers. As a writer, you can imagine the accumulation of clips from the last seven years. I only have one filing cabinet and that's been full for years. Since I have a laptop, I now just have a writing desk- so I need something bigger. We only have a two-bedroom house, so right now we share the spare bedroom as an office/gym/closet- so you can see why I don't have me dream writing nook.

I think it is going to be my new year's resolution this year to become organized. I have been asking Dave for years to build my dream wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling bookshelf and storage unit. That's my dream. Plenty of room for all my books and cool memorobilia from my radio & music days-- then cabinets below to store (hide) pictures, files, junk, etc. I've been spending a lot of time looking online for temporary fixes for all my stuff-- but I haven't bought anything yet. In fact, one of my clients I was speaking with is the catalog manager of an organizing site and she is sending me a catalog! But-- Dave tells me where to put it.... haha. But he has an organized garage. But, I was looking at some storage solutionsthat could even work for him at a place called Car Guys Garage. He actually just bought TWO old '67 Chevy's- one for parts and one to rebuild. So-- he has his space and I need my dream office.

One day....

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Children of Illegal Immigrants Deserve a Chance- Dream Act 2007

I heard a story on NPR this afternoon relating to a immigration bill. I heard this America Dream Act 2007 (H.R.1275) discussed before on NPR and I guess today congress voted on it-- and it failed by eight votes. This upsets me. Mostly because I think all kids should have a chance for a quality life and future, no matter what wrong their parents have done.

To bring anyone up to speed, this Dream Act would put children of immigrants on the path to citizenship. I guess this would have the potential to help 1.1 million young people become citizens. But before you holler and scream, this act has some measures that give some motivation to not just make these kids American citizens, but BETTER citizens and there are guidelines.

-They must have arrived in America when they were 15 years or younger,
-They must have lived here at least five years
-They must complete at least two years of college or two years in the military (my goodness- that's more than millions of true Americans do!)

I live in Northeast PA and am a supporter of Hazleton mayor's Lou Barletta's stance on illegal immigration. I do not think anyone should be here illegally. But the bottom line is- the children who come with these folks are only doing what their parents tell them to do. A four-year-old does not know well enough to say, "It's illegal to go to America. I am not going." These children are not here on their own accord and should not be punished for it as they grow up.

Senator Harry Reid, who sponsored the Dream Act said these children should not be penalized for the fault of their parents and that most of these children don't even remember their home countries. To me, that makes perfect sense.
I don't think, like some opposers say, that this act would put "illegals" ahead of US citizens, nor is it an amnesty bill. This is not giving amnesty to just anyone.

Another Dream Act sponsor, Senator Dick Durbin said to look into the eyes of these children. The soundbyte from Durbin on NPR today, when he said, "Give these kids a chance..." you could hear his voice crack. To me, this shows that he has some real heart into this matter. Some people care deeply for the future of our children, and others-- like those who oppose the Dream Act- do not.

SIGN THE PETITION & Support the Dream Act!

I just signed a petition to show my support for this. You should too.

My Mustache - Whoda Thunk?

How embarrassing. Yet I can laugh at myself, hence the blog post.

I was in dire need of an eyebrow wax. I usually just get this procedure done at any ol' nail salon. This time, I tried a new place. I love the job the woman did. However-- as she was dousing my eyebrows with hot wax, she asks ever so politely, "Would you like your lip done too?"

I did not know that I had a hairy lip. I did not know that my face featured a mustache! Did she just want more money, or did I really have hair there and if I did why didn't anyone tell me? I told her to go ahead. Ouch.

Then,I realized that I hadn't worn sandals in a while but I was on this day because it was quite warm for October and wanted to get more mileage from the Sketchers. She asks ever so politely, "Color change?" (Only she had to repeat herself several times because I didn't understand her.) I realized that my pink polish was quite worn off. No! Stop trying to upsell me. Just get rid of my facial hair and let me go. I told her, "I am not wearing sandals again so, no thank you."

Then, she grabbed my hand and looked at my short, unpolished nails. "Manicure?" For crying out loud, just do my brows! I won't go back there again. But at least I found out that I have excess facial hair.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A HOT weekend: Wings and Fire in Downtown Wilkes-Barre

Dave and I had a hot weekend. It started Saturday. Our friends Rob & Craig had a Wing Night party, which was a total blast and a killer party. We played CLR- a new die game and ate a lot of great food... and somehow the night ended with those left at the party at GClub 10. At any rate, given the amount Dave and I had to drink, there was no way we could drive home. So we crashed.

We headed home around 10am on Sunday and as we went over the South Street bridge, coming down from the Heights section, I spotted this enormous cloud of smoke. The investigative reporter in my blood told Dave to follow the cloud. Turns out we really didn't need to because the fire was on our way home. When we reached River Street, we saw that the old warehouse behind Antonio's pizza was engulfed in flames. I was never this close to such a large fire before and was in awe. I rolled the window down to take some pictures and the burst of heat poured into the truck. We could feel the heat. I can't believe what it must be like to be a fire fighter. Below are some pics of the smoke cloud. I also took a video, but since I had so many pics on my camera, I only had a few seconds left. I posted the video on YouTube. Here are my pics as I followed the cloud of smoke to the big fire in Wilkes-Barre.

Also- I had intentions of posting this yesterday when I got home to be the first with the news on the web (haha), but I passed out again. I was hungover. So, I am not first with the story, as I am sure it was all over the news and in the papers today.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Upsetting Things in the Side of the Road

A week or so ago, I was saddened by something I saw on the side of the road. As I got off Exit 2 of the Cross Valley en route to work, I saw a dead cat on the side of the road. It looked like Morris the cat- an orange sherbet color cat- orange and white. I am a cat lover and being that this exit was close to some backyards of a neighborhood, I was sure that some pet owner was devastated.

Each day, as I drove to work I saw the cat. But thanks to scavengers, like crows this poor cat was being picked at. It had rained as well, so the whole cat I saw the first day was now a dwindling pile of fur. After a week, I didn't look to my left because I didn't want to start crying. I get too sentimental sometimes.

This week, the Lake-Lehman School District teacher strike is in full-swing. Each day on the way to work, I pass this rural high school school. Once again, I was saddened by something on the side of the road. I refuse to make eye contact at these people that are holding expensive coffees in one had and a protest sign in another. I think of how much I loved high school and how I would have hated to see the teachers I looked up to doing something like this. How can they not think of their students and the things that made them want to be a teacher in the first place?

Gosh- if they want better benefits the should just quit working and go on public assistance. I guess either way, the taxpayers lose.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hello. Today's post will be about some random website things. First of all, the Wilkes University book I wrote does not seem to be on Amazon right now, however, it IS available at College Prowler- and they made a cool page and added some additional content re: Sex in the City. I think this is great copy! I also found out that if you go to Wilkes and you register with the site, you have access to the online version of the Wilkes book for free- but I'd love it if you bought the print version... here is the link:


Also- I've been a member of Amazon Associates forever now- however I learned a little while ago that they have this cool Web Store option, so I decided to play around with it. I created two online stores- check 'em out and let me know what you think:

The Dream Drawer- a sleep and dreams store
I had this up previously as an old astore, which was just a big widget pasted to a Yahoo geocities page- check this one out-- looks a little better now. At any rate, it has dream dictionaries, dream journals, sleep aids and things like that.

80s Music & Movies- self-explanitory, however I also have some TV shows and pop culture stuff thrown in. I also bought the domains 60smusicandmovies and 70smusicandmovies, so look for some sister decade sites, soon.

Wow- how is all that for shameless promotion?! Have a nice day and thanks for reading!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sweet Nostalgia. Literally.

**updated 10/24/07- I had the link to the site wrong- if you are revisiting this post, please try the candy link again!

As I am writing this, I am chewing on something that I haven't chewed on in FOREVER.

Teaberry gum.

And it is yummy. And, I think it still sells for .25 a pack.

I have to thank Candy Pam from the Blair Candy Company in Altoona, PA for this nostaligic taste trek I am on right now. Check out her site at: http://www.blaircandy.com/ as she sells lots of classic candies- including of course Clark's Teabrry gum.

I had the chance to meet Pam at our Boot Camp last week when our clients camp to town to learn all about ecommerce. She was one of those who made the trek- and she came bearing gifts. I just tore into my candy baggie today and am glad I did. Mmmmm. Teaberry rocks.
What is teaberry? Well, it is actually an endangered plant in some parts, like Illinois. But the Eastern Teaberry plant (or, Gaultheria procumbens) is an American Wintergreen plant, which produces berries. According to http://www.wildflower.org/:
"This leathery semi-woody aromatic perennial has creeping underground stems thus forming small colonies of plants. Showy red fruits may persist through the winter. The genus was named for Dr. Gaultier a Canadian physician of the mid-18th century. Teaberry extract is used to flavor teas candies medicines and chewing gum. "
And according to the very reliable soure, Wikipedia the D.L. Clark Company based in Buffalo, New York began making the teaberry gum in the 60s. The gum is still made in Mexico.

If I run out of gas now, it's totally my fault

Well, if you've been following along, my GMC Yukon was part of a recall-- apparently the gas gauge sticks.

I know first hand. I ran out of gas twice, nearly a third time. I knew I had gas. Yet, I endured the poking fun at me.

HA! Valley Chevrolet last week said yes indeed my particular truck was one of the rejects. So today was the day I dropped it off to get fixed. Thank goodness it was free.

So now, if I am close to 'E' and try to push it, well-- the gas gauge is correct now.

Thanks for the fast service, Valley Chevrolet and thanks to GMC for being honest about this goof. If only they can do something about all the walking I had to do.....

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A Day Full of God... or Not (Norman Mailer, Freedom from Religion, Etc.)


This morning as soon as I logged into WebCT-which is the platform for which Wilkes uses for its low-residency creative writing program, I found a message from a classmate, Rick which said one our program's co-founders and faculty members had a story in this week's New York Magazine. Way cool. Dr. J. Michael Lennon befriended Norman Mailer 35 years ago and has since become his historian and biographer. Mailer is on the advisory board of the Wilkes University MA in Creative Writing program, actually. And together they wrote a new book, On God: An Uncommon Conversation. (RandomHouse)

New York Magazine published an expcerpt of the book in an article called "The Rise of Mailerism." Mailer is neither an athesist or a traditional practictioner of any religion-- he has a very unique take on god that makes much sense, at least from the excerpt that I read. I am very fascinated by peoples' beliefs and I think that this book will do quite well. People seem to be much more open these days to looking at different interpretations of religion.

I encourage you to read the article: http://nymag.com/news/features/38961/ and maybe even preorder the book.

I have always had my doubts about there being a god, and even more than that, had major issues with organized religion. I could go on and on about that. However, as I got older and attended a liberal school and met more liberal friends, I have realized that how I feel is okay. I know people just like me, who respect the bible as literature and live by ethics instilled by those bible stories-- however again, have major issues with things revolving around organized religion. I am also extremely fascinated by creation stories-- every culture has one. In an Art, Music, Literature and Culture class I took at Wilkes with Dr. Steven Thomas, we read many of these stories. Some said the world was created by nature, and so on and so forth. To me, humans all question where we came from and why we're here. That's why there are so many stories that have been pondered-- and who is to say which is right? Again- I could go on. But... let me get to the point....

I did not get to the newspaper until this evening. In the Faith section of the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, which runs every Saturday was an article about a convention for atheists and agnostics. First of all, kudos to the Times Leader for printing this article in this section. That is just very cool that they also consider atheists and agnostics to have valid beliefs and I think they were brave by printing this article in this particular section of the paper, rather than move it to say, the news or features section.

So anyway, the article was about Freedom From Religion Foundation. Each year they have a convention in their home city of Madison, WI. I was intrigued by this group and agree with their mission. So today, I became a student member of the group for $25.

The Purpose of The Freedom From Religion Foundation is: (from its website)

The history of Western civilization shows us that most social and moral progress has been brought about by persons free from religion.

In modern times the first to speak out for prison reform, for humane treatment of the mentally ill, for abolition of capital punishment, for women's right to vote, for death with dignity for the terminally ill, and for the right to choose contraception, sterilization and abortion have been freethinkers, just as they were the first to call for an end to slavery.

The Foundation works as an umbrella for those who are free from religion and are committed to the cherished principle of separation of state and church.

So, today has been a day of discovery for me.... God as an artist, God not existing, etc. Some things to think about for sure... thoughts anyone?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Sweet Dreams Tea & a GMC Yukon Recall

This blog is about two things I love: getting a good night's sleep and proving that I am right!

I always loved tea, and more specifically green tea, but I always forget about it and just drown myself into caffeinated oblivion with coffee or Red Bull or Monster Energy. So last week, I had the plague. I was so congested from my head to my nose to my chest. I tried everything: Benadryl, Mucinex, Sudafed, Coldeez and Therflu. Nothing seemed to work. So I pushed through work during the week and over the weekend, I decided to just drink hot green tea with honey and sleep. By Monday- I felt like a brand new person!! I guess the Eastern Way knew all along.

So, Monday night when I went grocery shopping I decided that I would buy a bunch of tea. Yes. I would become a tea drinker instead of a coffee drinker. Then I stumbled upon Bigelow Tea brand's Sweet Dreams tea with chamomille and peppermint. Since it's for bedtime, it's noncaffienated. So, I made myself a glass and went to bed. The tea tasted wonderful, and smelled so calming. I read for a little while then shut off the light. I could smell the relaxing scent of the chamomille and as I inhaled and exhaled, I could feel it calming me. Next thing I knew, it was 6am and time to get up. The tea knocked me out. I've had the best sleeping week of my life I think with Bigelow Tea - and the Sweet Dreams flavor. Even better than with my melatonin!

So- if you read my blog post from a few days ago, you read about my running out of gas. Truth be told, I honestly thought I could make it. Last June, I had a similar even happen to me on my lunch break at work during a travel. And my coworkers busted me. I swore to Dave that I didn't run out of gas. So- Monday in the mail we get a RECALL letter from GMC.


See. I knew it. I knew that by what the gauge said, that I had gas. I didn't let it get down to E from what I could see! In a twisted way, I am happy that this recall letter came. I can salvage my reputation.... ; )