Saturday, February 28, 2009

Coping Mechanism

As we all live our lives we are constantly asked to "cope with the situation". The next question that we ask ourselves is "how". I have been using the phrase "Coping Mechanism" for many years— but never pondered its meaning until recently. I will attempt to give you my perspective on the phrase so that you can draw your own conclusions about how coping mechanism works.

The human body is an amazing machine. I love the fact that it knows how to take care of itself when injured or under stress. For example— when walking in tight shoes your heel develops a blister. You may think that this blister is very painful— but consider the fact that your heel was being rubbed constantly by that tight shoe and your heel needed to create a barrier so that your skin wouldn't be rubbed off. You didn't have to tell your foot to do this— it did it on its own. Looking at the mind/body/spirit combination you find similar mechanisms occurring as well.

The senses are very selective when it comes to observing the world around us. When situations become stressful— the mind tends to sharpen and focus in order for us to decide the best course of action rather than being distracted by other things. These snap decisions are automatic and save our lives because we are focused on surviving.

When the body is under stress the mind tends to compensate. The term "mind over matter" describes this situation very well. This is probably why we tend to get sick after the holidays are over. Our minds no longer have to worry about keeping pace and our bodies are then allowed to recover… which results in us being sick because we drove ourselves too far.

When your mind is stressed the spirit tends to compensate. Much like the fluid that builds up in the blister— your spirit will try and protect you from painful thoughts. This is not to say that the spirit will cloud the mind with other thoughts— but rather will lessen the pain so that those thoughts have less effect on you. I find that some people tend to handle tragedy better than others. It is these people that seem to face difficult situations in stride and do not appear to be overwhelmed by the circumstances. This is not a learned behavior— but one that appears to be automatic.

Everyone handles the stresses and strains of their lives differently. Much like the difference between someone who has a "short fuse" and one who has "the patience of Job"— everyone has a different coping mechanism. Recognizing these differences and allowing people to use their own coping mechanism will let everyone handle their lives naturally without feeling ridiculed or incompetent.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Austrian Tuna

With inspirations from m2I

When I was a bachelor I strived to make simple meals with very few ingredients. This particular recipe makes for a great appetizer but is filling enough to be a main course.

Austrian Tuna:
1 loaf of Vienna Bread (hence, the Austrian part)
1 Can of Tuna (hence, the Tuna part)
½ Package of Cream Cheese (about 4 oz.)
Aluminum foil
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Cut the Vienna Bread into 1 inch pieces along its length.
    Do not cut all the way through, and do not cut on the bias.
  3. In between the slices spread some tuna on one side.
    Keep in mind that when you break the bread off— the tuna will stick to the cheese.
    This means that one end will not have any ingrediants— so pick an end you don't care about to start with
  4. Spread the Cream Cheese on the other side.
  5. Wrap entire loaf in Aluminum foil.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes or until the bread is crisp.
  7. Enjoy.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tuesday's Tribute: Followers-of-the-Blog-03

When Tuesday Tribute was created— I had an idea to do a spotlight on my followers. I thought… what a great way of promoting their blogs and give them credit for bearing with my narrative/technical-writer style of writing. I decided to write to those followers that I could and ask two questions so that their words could be a part of the post:

  1. What reason do you have for following my blog?
    I know this may seem selfish, but I am curious what motivated you to sign up.
  2. Why do you think that others follow your own blog?
    I know why I do and will let you know in my post along with my impressions on what your blog is to me.

I realized that posting on all of my followers would be a very long post— so I am breaking it up into smaller manageable pieces.

Note: the number of followers I have has increased from twenty-three to thirty since I started sending out the questionnaire… so I stopped sending it out after my 30th follower. Here is what the rest of the followers I sent the questions to have to say:

Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy @ The Wise (*Young*) Mommy

Petra is the other half of "He Blogs, She Blogs" feature. I think I may have started following after seeing some of the comments that she left on Heinous' posts and was thoroughly entertained by her posts as well. Petra has a lot of wit in her posts and can be quite raw in her humor which makes it fun to read. Here is what Petra has to say:

  1. I believe you commented on my blog and I followed to check yours out to find that I enjoyed your insights.
  2. I am pretty sure that people follow my blog because they are interested in what I am going to talk about next. My subject matter can be fairly shocking and/or outrageous, so that keeps people coming back for more. I like to think that I also make people laugh, and that moms and dads can relate to me as a real-life working mother and wife.
PreciseDisarray @ Why Yes, It is Precise Dissarray

This one I know I followed because they followed me. What was very interesting was that I found a blog that was just starting out. What I find interesting about this blog is that they have the same purpose for blogging as I do "emptying my head". They also have posted some interesting photos that may become a regular feature. Here is what PreciseDissarray has to say:

  1. I follow your blog because from what I have read, you seem real, more specifically, authentic. The voice that comes through in your writing is that of someone I could see spending an afternoon in a coffee shop conversing about everything. I sense laughter, compassion, intelligence and wisdom. There are so many people's blogs out there that I enjoy reading, but there are few writers that I would conclude wanting to be friends with, online and in person. In short, I feel fortunate to have stumbled upon your blog; a true diamond in the rough (rough being the bazillions of blogs out there!).
  2. It seems too early to tell as to why people will follow my blog. I have just a few entries and a few followers at this point, but I am honored that people have stopped in to read and decide to 'follow' me. I think that people across age, gender, background will be able to relate on some level over the topics I will write about. Particularly if there is a bias towards reading, photography, silliness and out side the box thinking. Nothing fancy or too dramatic will be found in my writing. Among the various places I write and network, I've never been a numbers person; ie, no need to collect thousands of 'friends' or 'followers' JUST for the sake of numbers. But it is nice to have people interested in my thoughts and I am looking forward to more exposure and subsequent exchanges. I seek connection and conversation across the world about anything. It is with my writing that I hope to draw people in, learn about them as well, but most importantly, a place to empty out and sort out the contents of my busy busy brain.
Erin @ If You Give Mom a Moment

I followed this blog because Erin's comments are very thoughtful and I really like the title of the blog. Even though Erin is not that computer savy she still takes the time to write helpful posts on how to do things with your blog. Here is what Erin has to say:

  1. I had seen you around the blogosphere a couple of times, and when you commented on someone's blog, I realized you were a man. I must admit that intrigued me a little because in my little blogging world I had hardly seen any men who blog. I clicked over and liked what I saw. You are honest and serious, and you respond thoughtfully to our (commenters') questions. Like giving us a recipe for kick-butt chili. I love thoughtful people, and that is one of the main reasons I follow you.
  2. I can only assume that others follow my blog because they like what I have to say. I sincerely want to be myself on my blog. I am genuine and kind in real life, and I love making friends. I think (hope?) people can sense that, and that is why they come back.
lagirl @ Sweet Tea

I followed this blog because they followed me— besides I like the title… who can't resist a bit of Sweet Tea from time to time. Here is what lagirl has to say:

  1. I follow you because it is an opportunity to actually learn something. I like your level-headed way of stating things clearly & consisely. Thanks!!
  2. I think they follow me because I am "typical"; they recognize themself in me. And, because I have such a lively cast of characters to do life with. I try to find humor in the "every day". I'm all about "being real".
M@WHO @ Me, Myself, and Internet

I was surprised to find a comment about our dog from M@who. I then checked out who this person was and was thrilled to find out that it was my Step-son. I know from experience that he is very artistic and probably will be posting some amazing photos that he takes. If anything he will probably offer a different perspective on my comings and goings if any of his posts include me. Here's what M@WHO has to say:

  1. Other than being my Step-Father? No, You are one of the more intelligent people I know. It's too bad the family and I can't make the trip over there to see you and Mom, so it's nice hearing from you. I get pretty excited when I receive a new post from you. I also get to copy your recipes you blog about!
  2. So far I only have you and Tiff following now. One of the reasons Tiff said she would follow me was if I wrote a nice blog about her, just kidding. She's my wife, I like to think she would enjoy hearing what I have to say. For you……it always seemed like we could have a pretty good conversation about the most off the wall thing and be entertained. I hope to give the reader some entertainment in there life whenever they may read it. I like teaching and making people laugh, if I can make someone laugh in their stressful day it makes me feel good.
smiles4u @ My Life Interrupted

I saw this person followed me so I followed— and am glad I did. Smiles4u has a very good way of telling a story and I find their posts to be a very good read. Here's what Smiles4u has to say:

  1. In answer to your first question as to why I follow your blog. I didn't find your blog until not too long ago and I think I found it after reading a comment you left on someones blog. I went back right away and read some of your past posts and I was hooked. I love that you write about a variety of things but most of all I love that you give me things to think about. Like when you wrote a series of posts on various ways of communicating…very interesting and thought provoking. I think you write really well and I love getting the male perspective on things.!
  2. As to why others follow my blog. My first instinct is to say, it's because I follow theirs and they are just being nice. I think it might be because I write about some things that others can relate to on this journey of life. I write about a wide variety of things from being a "mommy" once again to the grandchildren we are raising, letting go of my adult children, what it feels like to be in "mid-life", to deeper issues that have been a part of my life's journey. I just know I appreciate those that I have come to know through our blogs. I appreciate their supportive and insightful comments that they leave me.
The Panic Room @ Pacing The Panic Room

When I saw this person followed me I looked at their blog and was hooked. I particularly like their tag line in their header. The Panic Room is a writer and a photographer which makes for a lot of interesting and entertaining posts.

nonna @ nonnas nonsense

When I saw this person followed me I looked at their blog and found out that they recently moved— but the name has great alliteration to it so I followed. Nonna also has a picture blog so it appears that several photographers now follow me— go figure. Here is what nonna has to say:

  1. well, first i saw a few comments you have made on blogs i stalk, but what really did it was that you're in the HBSB competition. i think I've made a point of checking out all the competitors because i already followed a few of them. my blog roll has gotten quite large, so I'm trying to be pickier as i add, so kudos to you. ok, i also, just realized that i didn't really say anything about the fact that i think you're a good writer. i do. i think you are a major thinker and can express that better than most.
  2. i have a feeling that i get a lot of my followers because i comment most places i read and my comments are usually lengthy and hopefully funny. i hope, i keep my followers because they find me funny, flippant, quirky and very honest. sometimes, maybe, too honest but I'm not shy like that.
Sumituptwice @ Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

When I saw this person followed me I looked at their profile and I realized that it was my Daughter-in-law, so I followed. Sumituptwice does not currently have any posts— but I look forward to hearing their perspective on things.

Joanie @ Joanie's Random Rambling

When I looked at their profile I liked the name of their blog— so I followed. Here is what Joanie has to say:

  1. To answer question #1, as you know the reason I started to follow your blog is because of the "competition" to replace Heinous on He blogs, She Blogs. I was already following a few of the guys' blogs, so I thought I'd add the rest of you to my list and read what you have written and will write in the future. If I didn't find someone's blog interesting, I probably wouldn't have added it in the first place. I quickly read through a few of your posts and they are very interesting. I do need to go back and read them more carefully. Like Kevin at Irish Gumbo, some of your posts are more "deep" than a lot of the other bloggers and I like to take my time and read them slowly.
  2. As to question #2, I hope people follow my blog because they find it amusing and interesting. One person I know who follows my blog is my daughter, so I'm sometimes careful about what I write so I don't piss her off! And I personally know a few of my other followers as well. I do try to be as honest as I can be.

A huge thank you to all my followers. I am humbled by your responses and am thrilled to know you have chosen to connect to me by following my posts. In honor of your honor to me I have given you your own separate blog roll. I will be adding to this blog roll whenever someone new follows me. Even though I no longer send out the questionnaire— if you are a new follower and want to tell me your answers… feel free to do so.

Tuesday's Tribute
Yet Another Jay and Deb Production.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Long words bore me

When I was in college the word antidisestablishmentarianism was being touted around as being a very long word that showed just how smart you were. Pulling out my handy-dandy dictionary I attempted looking up the word but couldn't find it. I did find antidisesablishment and establishmentarism— so I took their combined meanings and proceeded adding prefixes and suffixes to the word to show off. Fortunately/unfortunately I lost my type-written paper so I had to start over. I now realize that the word did exist (just not in my dictionary) and proceeded to build up the word again. I never realized that what I was doing was building an entomology of the word until I looked up the word recently to get my baseline of the definition. Here is what I came up with:

The movement or ideology of advocates opposed to the separation of a religious group and a government.
pro- + antidisestablishmentarianism
Being for the movement or ideology of advocates opposed to the separation of a religious group and a government.
neo- + proantidisestablishmentarianism
Recently being for the movement or ideology of advocates opposed to the separation of a religious group and a government.
pre- + neoproantidisestablishmentarianism
Just before recently being for the movement or ideology of advocates opposed to the separation of a religious group and a government.
semi- + preneoproantidisestablishmentarianism
The moment somewhat just before recently being for the movement or ideology of advocates opposed to the separation of a religious group and a government.
quasi- + semipreneoproantidisestablishmentarianism
Something that partly resembles the moment somewhat just before recently being for the movement or ideology of advocates opposed to the separation of a religious group and a government.
multi- + quasisemipreneoproantidisestablishmentarianism
Multiple instances of that something that partly resembles the moment somewhat just before recently being for the movement or ideology of advocates opposed to the separation of a religious group and a government.
anthro- + multiquasisemipreneoproantidisestablishmentarianism
The human quality to have multiple instances of that something that partly resembles the moment somewhat just before recently being for the movement or ideology of advocates opposed to the separation of a religious group and a government.
anthromultiquasisemipreneoproantidisestablishmentarianism + -ology
The study of the human quality to have multiple instances of that something that partly resembles the moment somewhat just before recently being for the movement or ideology of advocates opposed to the separation of a religious group and a government.
anthromultiquasisemipreneoproantidisestablishmentarianismology + -sosis
The disease relating to the study of the human quality to have multiple instances of that something that partly resembles the moment somewhat just before recently being for the movement or ideology of advocates opposed to the separation of a religious group and a government.
anthromultiquasisemipreneoproantidisestablishmentarianismologysosis + -ystic
The symptoms of the disease relating to the study of the human quality to have multiple instances of that something that partly resembles the moment somewhat just before recently being for the movement or ideology of advocates opposed to the separation of a religious group and a government.


anthromultiquasisemipreneoproantidisestablishmentarianismologysosisysticly speaking… it's all a bunch of bull.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Writers Workshop: C is for Cookie

In honor of Mamma Kat's Writer's Workshop I am taking on Prompt #5: "Write about something mean you did to a sibling growing up". Being the youngest of two, it was my older sister who did things to me— so I turned it around a bit. Now— if only I could recall my far distant childhood enough to come up with a good one…

Being that my sister is five years older than I there really wasn't that "sibling rivalry" that you often see— but I hear that it is a given that older siblings will always do something to the younger one. Granted, my sister used to pin me down and tickle me until I nearly passed out once— but I think that there is one story that is particularly amusing.

Author's Note: This is my recollection of my sisters re-telling of this story— I don't exactly remember the events portrayed… not that they were traumatic— I just don't remember them (perhaps the Aliens took that memory from me for entertainment purposes).

Once when I was little I saw my sister eating a cookie. Not wanting to be left out I begged her to give me a cookie. I can just hear me… "give me a cookie, give me a cookie, give me a cookie…". Being the older sibling, she couldn't just give me a cookie— she had to make it extra special. So… she laced a cookie with Tabasco sauce and gave me the cookie.

I must have grabbed the cookie and shoved the whole thing in my mouth. I'm sure my look of satisfaction for getting the cookie quickly turned to horror as I felt my mouth burning up. I then proceeded to run around screaming "hot, hot, hot…" who knows how long that went on… or if she offered me something to drink and I refused… or if I went around wiping my tongue with my hands… or something else.

Interestingly I now love hot foods and can't get enough of them— so I guess I should thank my sister for exposing me to Tabasco so early in my childhood to prepare me for more spicy food ahead.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesday's Tribute: Followers-of-the-Blog-02

When Tuesday Tribute was created— I had an idea to do a spotlight on my followers. I thought… what a great way of promoting their blogs and give them credit for bearing with my narrative/technical-writer style of writing. I decided to write to those followers that I could and ask two questions so that their words could be a part of the post:

  1. What reason do you have for following my blog?
    I know this may seem selfish, but I am curious what motivated you to sign up.
  2. Why do you think that others follow your own blog?
    I know why I do and will let you know in my post along with my impressions on what your blog is to me.

I decided I would list my followers in the order in which they signed up. I realized that posting on all of my followers would be a very long post— so I am breaking it up into smaller manageable pieces.

Here is what my next ten followers have to say:

Heinous @ Irregularly Periodic Ruminations

I was drawn to this blog when I was reading someones post about the birth of a blog. After reading some of their posts… I was hooked. I truly love the "off-the-cuff" style of writing that is employed. Heinous is one of the creators of a new feature called "He Blogs, She Blogs" where people submit questions and both Heinous and Petra give their take on the questions. Unfortunately Heinous is currently on sabbatical and the torch has been passed on to someone else to be the "He" portion. Even so… be sure to check out his blog.

kel @ Girl in the Glasses
Author's Note: This blog no longer exists.

I forget how I came across this one, but I was drawn by the cool header of the blog. It looks like a Wii game person or something like that. Kel indicated that her dad says it looks like her— so it must be pretty accurate. Kel is a book person who loves reading and will give an occasional book review. Here is what Kel has to say:

  1. I follow your blog because it's not often that men are as open as you are. It's nice to hear a guys take on things once in awhile (as long as it agrees with mine… lol)
  2. I don't know…lately I have been in a blog funk…can't seem to come up with much to blog about!
CK Lunchbox @ Clark Kent's Lunchbox

This was a blog that was recommended by someone in their post. I was drawn to the fact that it was very well written and interspersed daily life with Superman. I also noticed CK appeared to be from Chicago (cool), but has recently moved onto another metropolis (sigh). Here is what CK Lunchbox has to say:

  1. There are so many good blogs to read, but as my time continued to become more and more constrained it was difficult to dedicate time to search out new sites to follow. That being the case, the two major ways for me to discovering people started coming from either blog comments or recommendations from other bloggers. In the case of Ca-Joh, it was a double whammy, you left me a comment and I think Petra (The Wise Young Mommy) mentioned you to me. After checking your blog out it had intelligent content, it has humor, and most importantly, it's honest. You're not trying to be anyone else on the blogosphere other than yourself. Readers aren't stupid and can sniff out fakes pretty quick. The fact you aren't afraid to publish your poetry is a good example. Doing so takes a great deal of courage. As a Lit Major in college, I can attest to the fact poetry is difficult literary genre to take on, and it requires you to open yourself up in order for others to want to read it. The other thing I would add is that I always want to promote community through blogging so connecting with you makes a bridge for others who follow me to experience Ca-Joh for themselves. Plus, you're from Chicago and I would sell a kidney to get back there - I'm kidding, that's not a criteria for me, just a bonus.
  2. Why do others follow Clark's Lunchbox? That is a question I ask almost anytime I get a comment, new follower or stat counter report. On one hand it's validating, but at the same time, it's even more humbling to think someone actually get's some ounce of value from my musings. Certainly, every blogger gets those sporadic few who comment selfishly hoping it will be reciprocated, with no real interest in building a community. Again, it goes back to the honesty issue, which I think shows through on the Lunchbox. I gained a big boost in readership after being candid about my struggles with depression. That's not an easy subject for me to admit to, but one that many can relate to. Reading about from someone else, however, might provide some level of comfort to them - at least I hope so anyway. I'm certainly not looking for attention or validation for my opinions. Also, I love humor. It's very complex, but something almost everyone can relate to. I try to make my humor somewhat intelligent - no potty humor, unless it involves something the kids did, and it will spark a bit of dialogue. Finally, I think readers see the Lunchbox as accessible, meaning I interact with followers as much as possible. Allot of big timers don't respond to comments, which is fine. I don't know how they could? I saw one blogger who had over 1,110 comments on just one post last week. People understand the practicality associated with the author addressing every comment, but still I think those readers leave comments because a part of them want their input to matter. Interacting on the Lunchbox has retained readers, but I have to admit with the increasing demands on my time that is becoming more and more difficult which makes me feel as if I'm snubbing people. I've started posting only two or three times a week to mitigate this somewhat, but I still worry about a tipping point. A huge readership is both a blessing and a curse to some extent. As a blog gets bigger it also starts becoming less personal which, in my opinion, means ensuring the content is of such a high caliber of quality and interest it continues to bring in readership. I'm rambling; forgive me.
Threeboys1mommy @ Three Boys One Mommy
Authors Note: This author is no longer publishing. When I spoke to the author about having a private blog, they indicated that they were planning on redesigning the site, but never finished.

I do not know how I stumbled across this blog… but I was immediately hooked. I love the "off-the-cuff" style of writing and especially how it is integrated with cartoons created by the author who nicknames herself Supermommy. I had to chuckle a bit when I saw that Supermommy followed right after Clark Kent— I now am being watched over by two super heroes. Here is what Threeboys1mommy (AKA: Supermommy) has to say:

  1. I really don't like getting caught up in these I'll read your blog if you'll read mine relationships, but I do make a point of visiting everyone that took the time to leave me a comment. That said, not everyone I visit gets a comment back because I don't believe in paying lip service to someone just to be nice. It takes the fun out of the experience for me.

    I think this is what most people expect with this Follow widget. I followed her so she'll follow me. The blogs I follow, are blogs that I read not blogs that I followed back just to be nice. Why follow CJ? I wont lie I like that your a male, there are only a handful of male writers in my reader. Your content is different than the mommy stuff I'm used to which I find refreshing.

  2. The answer to this one is easy CJ, my followers follow me because I dangled a prize in their face ;-)
Ryan @

If you like pictures, this blog has at least one every day. This is one of those blogs that I know I had not seen before and am curious as to why they chose to follow. Ryan, if you can comment and let me know I'll be sure to edit this post.

blueviolet @ A Nut in a Nutshell

This is one of those blogs where I like the name of the blog… so I followed. I have found that whenever I get a comment my dyslexia kicks in and I think… "blue velvet" instead of blue violet and I have to shake it off— (especially since her avatar and favicon are violets). Blueviolet participates in many blog activities which makes her posts have a lot of variety which is fun to read. Here is what Blueviolet has to say:

  1. When someone signs up to follow me, I will visit their blog and comment and I like to follow them back because I like knowing when they've updated and it's a symbol that there's an on-line friendship there.

    That being said, I've recently discovered that Blogger only allows you to follow 200 blogs (which is ridiculous and we all need to band together to get them to change that.)

  2. I hope that people are following my blog because they enjoy reading what I have to say. I'd like to think that I bring the occasional smile to someones face. My readers become my friends so when they stop by to visit me, it makes me happy.
Jess to the Lo @ Jessie to the Lo
Author's Note: This blog has turned private.

I followed this blog because they followed me. I like the honesty of Jess' posts— it's always refreshing to find some seriousness mixed in with the daily musings of life. Many posts are very thought provoking— which I always like to read. Here is what Jess has to say:

  1. I found a link to your site on blogstalkers with the headline of Tuesday will be your Lucky Day. I just had to check that one out, I thought it might have to do with a funny Chinese restaurant story and a fortune from a cookie or something kooky like that. I was intrigued by the conversation/superstition between your sister and you. So I kept reading.

    I read about Moving without Moving, and found your wife's humor and insight was close to my own. I read about the Kitchen Sink-Gate and was hooked, you have a gift for telling tales. Your writing style was approachable to me, I felt that I could talk to you in person and feel comfortable and really enjoy our conversation.

    I decided to follow your blog to keep up to date on your happenings, I have a terrible memory and I know I would not remember to come back and check your blog if I did not add it to my googlereader! Then I read about your dog: Wordful Wednesday-Spikester Diddly Dog and I just lost it! Too funny and too close to my heart; pound mutts!

    It seems like many people out here in blog world care only for have a number on their follower's list, you do not seem to strike me as one of those bloggers. You comment on my blog as much as I do on yours. You seem to be interested in what I have to say and do not pass judgement; something that I am finding is pretty common in my blog adventures.

  2. If I was forced to give you a direct answer to this question, which I am guessing is what you want, I would have to say that I am a real person sharing real things that are happening to my family and to myself. (this was my second attempt at this answer, but I am also including my first attempt because it is very true to me.)

    To be honest I am not sure. I have friends that I have known for years that are some of my followers, I love that they take the time to read my little spot in the cyber web of crazy stuff. People that I do not know personally that have decided to follow my blog are kind of a mystery to me. I love that they take the time to read what I have sent out to the world and comment at times. But, I am not sure what drew them to my blog in the first place, most of my newer followers have come from blogstalkers. What I try to do is keep my real personality in the blog, I do not try to make myself appear to be anything else than what I am. I try to share the down and the ups.

The Crash Test Dummy @ Crash Test Dummy Diaries

I forget which six degrees of separation I found this blog, but who can't resist a blog with Crash Test Dummy in the name— (why I always think of the band of the same name escapes me). Crash lives in Hawaii so it is always nice to see some warm weather when things are cold here in Chi-town. Crash also has a very good wit that makes her posts very entertaining to read. Here is what Crash has to say:

  1. I follow you because remind me of Yoda, you do. You're wise and insightful and I love that combination.

    Another reason I was drawn to you was because of how respectful you are of your wife. I like to hear a man talk about his wife with so much consideration and kindness.

  2. I don't know why my peeps follow me? I think it's because they're crazy (or bored). Actually I think the people who like my humor are either super smart or super dumb. People who are sort of smart or sort of dumb don't get me at all.

    For the more real answer, (in case you need more and you want to get more serious) I think some people follow my blog simply because they need a good laugh, and some follow because they like to think and laugh at the same time. I always like to mix truth in with my crazy antics to make a point. My goal is to prick the soul and touch the heart while tickling the funny bone. I also want everyone to feel included, like it's a bunch of friends hanging out sharing some love and laughs, so I try to find at least one blog a day to send my peeps to for hugs or high fives.

Debbie @ Suburb Sanity
Author's Note: This blog no longer exists.

When I saw the name of this blog, I liked it and followed. Debbie has a great way of highlighting the ordinary in a humorous way— and has a lot of insite when it comes to keeping sane when everything around you appears to be insane. Here's what Debbie has to say:

  1. I like your blog because you are sincere and positive. I also like the fact that you take the time to read my blog and comment on my posts. Your comments always reflect that you have actually read the post and you always leave excellent comments. We seem to follow quite a few of the same blogs and I think when that happens, we are likely to have some of the same interests and experiences.
  2. And as far as why others follow me? Misery loves company.
The Wife O Riley @ Living the Life with the Wife of Riley

I believe I started following this blog because of the funny avatar of Mama behind bars. I have seen a few posts with Johnny Depp as the theme which I suspect is a regular feature. Here is what The Wife O Riley has to say:

  1. The first time I read your blog, you were talking about the heat wave of '95. Having lived through that as well, I really liked your "take" on it. I am a huge fan of what I like to call "Stories in the City" different people in the same city doing different things on the same day. I really have no idea if it's an actual genre or what it's called, or if I make any sense at all. But that is one of the reasons I follow you. I also like how you talk about your wife and I like learning new things that I can do in the city.
  2. I have absolutely no idea why anyone follows me. I started writing this blog a year ago and no one ever read it, all of a sudden this summer people started reading it and liking it. I try to be honest, entertaining, and I also try to talk about things that people might be interested in.

Interestingly the number of followers I have has increased from twenty-three to thirty since I started sending out the questionnaire… so I stopped sending it out after my 30th follower. Stay tuned— the next ten will be featured next week.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Looking for Love in all the wrong places

I still haven't found what I'm looking for

I have seen several posts recently where people list all the crazy search terms that people use to find their blog. Unfortunately I don't have any of those— but I can admit that I have seen some other interesting things.

One interesting thing that I have seen is that many of my post titles exactly match the search term. Who in their right mind would think of searching for something as precise as "traditional letter writing". However, this is not where the interest ends. I have noticed that ever since I posted my poem ascii love, the term "ascii love" has been searched for at least 18 times:

But wait— it gets weirder…

If you look closer at the country of origin for all these searches it is clear that they are not from my country of origin. It makes me wonder… who are these people— and why are they all looking for ascii love?? I can understand England— but some of the other countries just don't make sense.

My guess is that they are actually looking for Muskrat Love— but their keyboard translation doesn't work and it winds up being ascii love instead. I just don't believe that my Sphere of Influence is that strong in that my work is secretly being passed around the globe— (hey, have you seen Ca-Joh's poem of the word love spelled at an angle…).

Someone mentioned to me that perhaps it is the Google Police checking up on me (oh how thoughtful) and it's their global agents at work keeping me in "check"— Nah… but then again….

Saturday, February 14, 2009

How I met my wife

Being that it is Valentine's day I thought I would tell the story of how I met my wife:

I met my wife on a Sunday. That day I did not actually meet her until coffee hour when I brought some spinach dip… and may have been explaining to someone how I made it when she was in line for coffee. Being the recruiter that I am I always sit with new visitors who come to church— she was no exception. Interestingly we wound up talking about a lot of things. It seems that she went to a wedding the night before and was talking about how she liked to dance. I also found out that she sang in her church choir— and was visiting because of a former member who recently joined our choir asked her to come.

We talked and talked and eventually felt like we should go because everybody else left— but felt that we shouldn't end the discussion so abruptly. So we went over to Zephers and had breakfast together and finished our conversation.

After breakfast I walked her back to her car. We exchanged phone numbers and said we would try and get together some time.

I never quite remember if I called her that week— but we obviously did get together. At the time I felt that she was a very interesting person and at least I could have a dancing partner.

Looking back on the day— I never realized that our conversation would eventually lead to what it has become today.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ca-Joh the Vote

Vote early— though you cannot vote often

As some of you may already know, I was featured on Monday in a "blogdown" for being the temporary "He" portion of "He Blogs, She Blogs" featured post. In order to be fair I am including the lineup for all the contestants from these past few days so that you can read what they have to say:

  1. Ca-Joh and Irish Gumbo
  2. Idiot's Stew and Old Man Yells at Cars
  3. Us and Them and DC Urban Dad
  4. Clark Kent's Lunchbox and Pacing the Panic Room

If after reading all of the other contestants submissions you still want to vote for me— you may vote by e-mailing Petra at the and let her know you want CaJoh to be the next He for "He Blogs, She Blogs". Unfortunately there is only one vote per person… (I'm sure she has ways of knowing if you cheat— she is *Wise* by the way). Polling will close Sunday night, February 15th, so get out there and Ca-Joh the vote.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Writer's Workshop: Artichoke Quesadillas

In honor of Mamma Kat's Writer's Workshop I am taking on Prompt #4: "I'm hungry. Share your very favorite recipe!!" I don't know how "favorite" this is since I only made it once, but here you go:

With inspirations from Lester

A few weeks back when my sister-in-law came to visit— my nephew and I decided to improvise and made lunch for everybody. Since my sister-in-law was allergic to dairy I opted to make some quesadillas sans the cheese. Here is what I came up with:

Artichoke Quesadillas:
1 16oz Can or jar of Artichoke hearts
1 Clove Garlic
1 Sprig Rosemary
2T Olive Oil
1 large frying pan
Peanut Oil
1 Package of medium tortilla shells
  1. Add the Artichoke, Rosemary, and Garlic to a food processor.
  2. Mix on low— adding the Olive Oil until it looks like a pesto
    you can store this for later if you choose
  3. On high heat— add enough peanut oil to glaze the pan.
  4. Add two tortilla shells to the pan and cook on one side.
  5. Flip one over and add some of the artichoke mixture.
  6. Take the other and lay it on top of the first
    heated side down.
  7. Flip the sandwiched quesadilla over and cook the other side.
  8. Remove from the heat
    repeat as necessary.
  9. Cut into halves or quarters if you choose.
  10. Enjoy.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesday's Tribute: Followers-of-the-Blog-01

When Tuesday Tribute was created— I had an idea to do a spotlight on my followers. I thought… what a great way of promoting their blogs and give them credit for bearing with my narrative/technical-writer style of writing. I decided to write to those followers that I could and ask two questions so that their words could be a part of the post:

  1. What reason do you have for following my blog?
    I know this may seem selfish, but I am curious what motivated you to sign up.
  2. Why do you think that others follow your own blog?
    I know why I do and will let you know in my post along with my impressions on what your blog is to me.

Interestingly the number of followers I have has increased from twenty-three to thirty since I started sending out the questionnaire… so I stopped sending it out after my 30th follower. Also… I know that some followers I could either not send the message to— or have not received their reply. If you are one of these followers, please feel free to answer as a comment, or send me your answers so I can update the remaining posts.

I decided I would list my followers in the order in which they signed up. I realized that posting on all of my followers would be a very long post— so I am breaking it up into smaller manageable pieces. Here is what my first ten followers have to say:

Mina @ The World According to the Little Fish

When I was first aware of followers I never knew how to tell if I had any. I kept adding the widget and previewing my page— until that faithful day that my control panel said 1 Follower. Thank you first follower. I find the name of the blog very interesting— almost a hearkening to some cartoon out there… I couldn't resist. I especially find Mina's insight into life very enriching to hear. She recently had posts on the twelve days of Christmas that I found very clever and entertaining. Here are Mina's answers:

  1. Well, I think you followed me first. And I tend to follow my followers as a you're scratching my back kind of thing. That said, yours is one of my favorite stalks. You are a little different than a lot of what I read. You are thought provoking, insightful, and I can never predict what your topic will be. I like different and I LOVE to think. I also like that we've emailed beyond the comments occasionally. Makes you feel like a friend and not just black and maroon block that I follow.
  2. I hope that folks follow me because they like what they read. I guess I can't know that for sure, but that's the goal, right? I can be introspective, and I think that appeals to people. It took some work, though, to get a following going. A lot of it was reading and commenting and following myself. People become interested in those who are interested in them. I gained a silly amount of followers when I held a give-away during a week when I was nominated for a spotlight on Mormon Mommy Blogs. Some of them are reading and commenting, and a lot of them never returned. And that's fine. I'd rather make connections than have a ton of readers who don't appreciate what I do.
Deb @ Dirty Socks & Pizza

I know that I followed Deb because she was one of the organizers of Mission: Monday which was a great way that I could find out about other people's blogs. Three featured bloggers each ask a question about one of their posts. You leave a comment (but not the answer) and Deb and Jay pull a name out of a hat (or something like that) and post a winner. When I saw that she was following me I thought "Cool!! I may just be one of those featured bloggers… I better not forget what I just posted". Unfortunately, Mission: Monday has been retired— perhaps Deb and Jay got tired of looking for the hat, or forgetting to pass the hat to the other each week… all the same they are now hosting Tuesday Tribute which I am participating in today. Here are Deb's answers to my questions:

  1. I follow your blog because it is thought provoking and fun. I find your blog to be extremely varied, with poems, recipes (darn that warm milk!), and vignettes from your life. You lay it out simply, yet profoundly, and leave the reader (me, anyway) thinking. You also obviously pay attention to life, and I like that. You notice and question the little things. I feel like by following your blog, I may avoid getting Alzheimer's. But, backing up, I first noticed your blog through your presence on mine (talk about seeming selfish!). That weird pink and black avatar is hard to miss, and your comments struck me as thoughtful and kind... not just fluff.
  2. I think people follow me for a variety of reasons. Hopefully, most follow me because they feel welcome and accepted. Life is messy and no body's perfect and i want people to see the humanity and beauty in imperfection. I am sure some started following me back when we were giving away stuff on the Mission: Monday. Others probably just feel better about their lives, knowing mine is such a disaster.
Wendyburd1 @ Pessimistically Optimistic Wendy

I don't quite remember if I followed first or not— sorry. I am impressed with the fact that many posts are quite detailed— but what impresses me the most is the fact that Wendy confesses to be a hunt-and-peck typer (and I'll never break the 65 wpm barrier). If you like reviews she will usually post a review about a movie she recently rented or saw in the theater (Siskel & Ebert— eat your heart out). Here is what Wendy has to say:

  1. Well I think you made a comment on a post of mine, and as I appreciate anyone who takes the time to read what I have to say AND leave a comment, I HAD to check your blog out. And I LIKED it! You jump from one subject to the next ( I do it too, can't help it!), so it is never boring, I like not knowing what to expect. And you have so many opinions and speak how you honestly feel, and I appreciate that in a person and a blog.
  2. I hope people follow me, well because they like me and what I have to say. I hope they appreciate that I try to be completely honest, even when things are rocky. Blogs where it always seems to be happy all the time have no interest to me, I want to SEE the human-ness. And that is what I try to give back. I hope they see my blog as a "arms wide open" to all, LOL. And I know some started following me because I found some great friends as soon as I began my blog, and I think they know who they are. *Hugs*
Denise @ Sunflowers, Chocolate and little boys

I believe I followed because she followed me (it was so long ago I can't remember). Denise is currently participating in 365 Days of Grace where she lists five things that she is grateful for each day of the year. It is always nice to be able to know that the little things in life make living life worth living. I currently don't have anything from you Denise— so you can just comment and leave your answers… I'll adjust the post accordingly.

Tony @ That One Particular Harbor

I know I followed Tony because of some "six degrees of separation" to someone else I was following at the time. I'm not sure if it was OldBoatGuy… through Crash, or CK Lunchbox— I'm not about to call the Internet Police and have them run a Trace on my following habits either. I really like the depth of Tony's writing and find many posts very well written and thought provoking. Here is what Tony has to say:

  1. I signed up and follow your blog for your perspective on the world. You are one of the few guys I have come across that blog and do it well. I think we can all gain a little something from our colleagues/ blogleagues perspectives.
  2. Honest ? Hell if I know. Boredom, maybe they have had too much to drink and stumble across that on particular harbor, looking for a shelter from the storm? Maybe some find me interesting, humorous, a fresh perspective on the world form a deranged mind and insightful?

    Seriously, I have a few loyal followers whom I consider to be bloggy friends. I appreciate their support a great deal and try to reciprocate the best I can. I blog as a way to share with my family who lives far away. I blog to vent and rant about things that I just plain feel I need to sound off about for my own sanity. I am not an everyday blogger. I have a 60-65hr week job and 2 kids and a wife . So I guess that is 3 kids. I do it because I like to write. I always have ever since college. My football teammates used to joke me about my endless writing contest entries. I would joke them about their grades.

Kristen @ Something about nothin

I may have followed Kristen because she commented on my blog and I found her page quite interesting. I like the running theme that she uses— especially the avatar of herself running in place. There is a wide variety of interesting topics here ranging from the many awards she gives to deserving bloggers to everyday happenings around the house. Here is what Kristen has to say:

  1. I saw your comments on other blogs. The name Ca-joh looked interesting so I clicked over to you to see what it meant. I also read one of your poems and liked how they rhyme. It's also interesting to see the male side of blogville.
  2. Good question. I try to make people laugh so maybe I do and that's why they follow.
angi_b72 @ Making memories

I probably followed this blog because they followed me. This blog has a variety of things that change every day. There are many blog activities that Angi participates in including Tuesday Tributes. It is interesting to find her take on those things she gets tagged on. Even those posts that are strictly her own are very entertaining and fun to read. Here is what Angi has to say:

  1. Originally the reason I signed up was to keep in contact with my sister at mommys take on things…who lives in California. To keep up with her and my niece and nephew and to share pics etc. Then it became an addiction…comments. followers, i love writing my feelings and thoughts, love getting input and ideas, advice…love reading about other peoples lives and families. It is like an outlet and i don't know what i would do without it some days!!
  2. Sometimes I think people follow me because of the pretty blog layout my sister made for me for Christmas!! lol I would like to think that people like what i write and like my style of writing. I am a sarcastic person and i know that it is hard to type sarcasm without people taking offense…but i hope people just enjoy it and get a laugh out of it!!
Mama Wheaton @ The Unperfect Mom

Mama Wheaton has started a series of Sunday Suppers whereby she posts recipes that are quick and inexpensive. It's always nice to be able to get some new dishes to try. Here is what Mama Wheaton has to say:

  1. I tried to remember how I came to your blog and I can't remember, I have to admit that I seem to have very little memory capacity, just ask my kids. I think it all started with the Polar Bear plunge back in December. Wait it was the friends with my friends, that was the first one. I like your honesty and the way you write that seems personal. I mean like you write as if you are only sending your words to one person.
  2. I feel like I haven't found my voice yet for the blog. I haven't yet really ventured in the writing (like you do). All of my blogs (most) are skimming on the surface of what I want to say. Maybe some people can read below the surface.
The Blog Stalker @ Blog Stalkers Unite
Author's Note: This blog ended in 2009 and is no longer posting.

This one I opted not to contact because it seems obvious— The Blog Stalker must stalk blogs. This is a blog that lists other blogs so that you can visit them. If you are ever at a loss for new blogs to read, this is the place to go. Also, if you want more exposure to your own blog you can sign up to be listed. Just be aware that some people will comment and say "just stopping by from BSU". This makes me think that it is Ball State, or Boise State or some other BS University— but then I remember that it stands for Blog Stalkers Unite. If the Blog Stalker wants to comment and say if there is any other reason for following other than the obvious, feel free to do so. I will edit this post and show your answers.

Vodka Mom @ I Need a Martini Mom

I think I started following this blog because I liked the names used. Who can't resist reading about someone who has such a sarcastic name for their blog. I love the fact that she's a teacher and I find the stories she tells about her days at school quite entertaining. Here is what Vodka Mom has to say:

  1. Yikes-let's see. I follow you because you are in Education!! (somewhat) That's a big plus for me, Also, I think that you write very well. Your words flow together nicely, and your posts are always interesting, delightful and insightful. I also love the loving way you speak about your wife (That's another bonus.) (I also find your comments on other blogs great.)
  2. As to why people follow me?? I have no fucking idea. I think, perhaps, that people like to laugh. But I could be wrong.

Stay tuned— more to follow next week… or is that more followers to follow (now I'm getting confused).

Monday, February 9, 2009

HBSB-Vote for CaJoh

No, don't vote for Pedro— vote for me…

OK… for those who are unfamiliar with what I just wrote as a title for this post— a little background is in order:

There is a blog feature called "He Blogs, She Blogs" that was started by Heinous @ Irregularly Periodic Ruminations, and Petra @ The Wise (*Young*) Mommy where people submit questions and they both give their unique take on the questions independently. Well it appears that Heinous is on sabbatical for a while and Petra asked for volunteers to fill in until he returns. Since I like a challenge I figured I would toss my hat into the ring and submit my take on some questions. Since I am the first to finish my questions (that's what I get for being prompt) I am one of the first to be featured… papa I'm scared.

All the same… I am one of the guests being "He" today— so stop by The Wise (*Young*) Mommy and check it out. And… if you like what you read and want me to be the "He" in the He Blogs, She Blogs feature— be sure to vote. Voting will commence on Thursday to give the other participants a chance to have their say. Enjoy,

Friday, February 6, 2009

Spiritual Communcation

When emotions and feelings are shared between individuals, it is considered to be a part of spiritual communication. There is a sense of empathy that exists between individuals that we experience through the other forms of communication. You do not even have to have that person present in order for that sense to occur.

You hear phrases like "the spirit of the law"— which seem to say that it is the meaning behind the words… not the words themselves that matter. I believe that the spirit of the author is embedded in those words— even if the author has passed. How often do we find ourselves laughing or crying while watching an old movie, or reading a great book. It is this experience that proves spiritual communication exists.

Given that you can't point at an emotion or feeling and say "there, that's what I'm talking about"— it is very difficult to quantify spiritual communication. This lack of quantification is what makes spiritual communication so intangible in nature. I believe that spiritual communication is the glue that binds all forms of communication together. If we begin to understand this connection we will be able to better communicate what we "truly" mean in what ever form we choose to communicate with.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Touch Communication

Anything that you perceive through physical contact is considered touch communication. Even sound can be perceived through touch because the sound waves move the air as they pass by your body. Touch communication is typically considered to be the most intimate of the types. We must understand that we are invading people's personal space when we do make physical contact— which is why touch communication is so intimate. Because of this intimacy— it is also the most avoided and misunderstood type of communication.

I must admit that I am not very fluent in touch communication. I admire those people who can do so without being labeled as one of those "touchy" people. I think that people tend to view touch as only sexual in nature and not used in a supportive role like visual is with verbal communication. A simple touch can be so grand— yet we tend to shy away from it for fear of being too forward.

Like any form of communication, touch communication has its own vocabulary. What does it mean when you place your hand on someones shoulder— is it being supportive… or something else. I believe that the meaning of a physical action depends upon what context you are in as well as the recipient's understanding of that action. How then can we have a dialog that uses touch?

I think that most people can be more aware of how others react to touch and be able to communicate without having the other overreact. Reaching an understanding through the other forms of communication helps to assure the other what you actually "mean" and leads towards better dialog overall.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Verbal Communication

Anything that makes a sound falls within the realm of aural communication. Rather than mention all the things that people use to make sounds to communicate— I will concentrate on the spoken word which I call verbal communication.

With the invention of the telephone, verbal communication was divorced from visual communication which made it less personal and thus more misunderstood. Because we may not employ visual communication when speaking to someone, we may misinterpret what they are saying because we no longer have the visual queues to back it up. We then base our interpretation on our experiences which may not be accurate. Much of what we interpret when engaged in verbal communication is tone. I also find that pace, cadence, and content don't fall too far behind.

I tend to think that we speak in catch phrases that don't always mean what we want them to mean. We are creatures who like to mimic things. When we hear a given phrase we tend to mimic it— even though the phrase itself may be said many different ways. Because of this, people will tend to misinterpret what we are saying because we do not employ the appropriate variation to the phrase. However, there is one advantage to engaging in verbal communication— the ability to clarify.

When engaged in verbal communication and feel that we are misunderstood— we will rephrase what we say in order to be understood. It is this ability to know when we are misunderstood— or even know when we are misunderstanding someone that makes a great conversationalist.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Visual Communication

Anything that you see with your eyes can be considered a part of visual communication. The eyes are typically known as the weakest of the senses. They tend to mislead you into seeing something that is not there because your mind tries to fill in the blanks. Visual communication is typically used in a supportive role with other forms of communication such as verbal communication— but can also be independent.

One form of visual communication is the written word. The idea that we can scribble shapes and lines together into patterns and actually understand what they mean is incredible. However, there is a lot more to what is actually written than the words themselves. Most of the inflections and subtleties that can be understood through the spoken word are lost in the written word. The mind will try and fill in the blanks to add your own interpretation— which may not be what the author really meant. I admire people who can write well. These are the people who are very clear in what they say and will guide the reader into seeing what they want you to see.

Another form of visual communication is body language. A lot has been written about how to interpret body language, and I feel that it is very important when communicating with someone in person. However, the visual weaknesses are also present here as well. We may misinterpret the body language that we see, as well as project a false sense of attitude if our body language is not clear.

Understanding the weaknesses of visual communication gives us the opportunity to be more clear in what we say. We also become aware of how we project our meaning through what others see. Through this understanding and awareness we can become more effective in our visual communication with others.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Communication Styles

Whenever we communicate, we do so on different levels. What I have found is there are four different types of communication styles that people use. Many times these styles are used together— while other times they are used independently. I am going to give a brief description of each, then use separate postings to describe them in more detail.

Anything you see is a part of visual communication. This includes things like body language, as well as the written word.
Anything that makes a sound is a part of verbal communication— but mostly this is whatever is spoken through language that comes out of your mouth.
Anything that comes in contact with you is a part of physical communication. I also refer to this as "touch" communication because we do so through our sense of touch.
Emotions and feelings about someone is a part of spiritual communication. Even though this is completely intangible, we are still able to communicate and somehow recognize it as such.

All of these communication styles can, and have been used by all of us to communicate with others. Some are easier to use, and some styles are even preferred over others. Think about which styles you prefer to use, and which you are the strongest at— then ponder how you can hold a dialog using each.

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