Sunday, April 30, 2006


Success! And all I had to do was call Hughesnet. That's it. They didn't do anything and it started working. While waiting, I entertained myself by trying to follow the instructions on the Hughesnet website. I found the System Control Center and tried a Connectivity Test. It failed. I tried it again. It passed. By then, I had gotten through to a very nice technical person. But when I tried to duplicate the problems I was having, everything was working! The technician thought I had spoken with someone else before her and said maybe they sent a signal through that freed it up, but she was the first person I talked to. Could a connectivity test be a connectivity fix? Or is this little blinking box on my desk just playing with me?

Not High Speed

When we moved out here to Moriarty, we tried everything to get high speed internet access. We couldn't get DSL. We couldn't get cable. So we got Direcway, now Hughesnet, satellite internet access because they provide everywhere as long as you have a clear view of the southern sky. We have a great view. It took a few weeks to make the arrangements with the installer, because of some misunderstandings and because our cell phones weren't working out here either. Finally, we got it. At first, it was sometimes fast and sometimes slow but now it is always incredibly slow, probably slower than dial-up. And I can't get connected to half the sites I try to go to. I get a screen that says "The page cannot be displayed." This was on Barnes and Noble Affiliates, Amazon Associates, and even my website mail server. It won't give me internet access through the router either.

That's my story. I promise to go back to posting regularly as soon as I get this pesky thing figured out!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Toastmasters Meets Southwest Writers

One of the greatest things about the Toastmasters Spring Conference was manning a table sponsored by Southwest Writers. We had a beautiful display promoting Southwest Writers and there were eight Southwest Writers' books for sale:

David Corwell - Cloaked in Shadow, Dark Tales of Elves
Jerry Davis - Home on the Farm
Jerry Davis - Tales of the Road
Mesa Dean (Melody Groves) - The Quest
Mesa Dean (Melody Groves) - Sonoran Rage
Marianne Powers - Doing the Right Thing
Sandy Schairer - Extremely Short Stories for Busy People
Raquel Troyce - Seducción, Amor y Mentiras
Gerald Weinberg - Weinberg on Writing
Lela Belle Wolfert - Wishes in the Wind

which included fantasy/science fiction, memoir, western, self-help, flash fiction, Spanish-language self-help, writing on writing, and poetry!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Toastmasters Spring Conference

The Toastmasters District 23 Spring Conference in Albuquerque started with a special humor educational session open to the public at noon on Friday. Then we had registration, the Table Topics contest, dinner, and a comedy night show with several comedians and starring Darren LaCroix, all of which lasted until about 11:00 PM. Then we were up at 7:00 AM on Saturday for the first meeting of the day, breakfast, educational sessions, lunch, more educational sessions, the district business meeting, the International Speech Contest, dinner, and karaoke that was still going on when I left at 11:30 PM. Then we were up at 8:00 AM on Sunday for a breakfast skillbuilder and review of the conference. Whew!

About half way through I started wondering if I shouldn't miss some of this and get some sleep instead, but I quickly rejected that idea. I can sleep any old day. I wouldn't want to have missed any of it!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Toastmasters Educational Session for the Public Today

The Toastmasters District 23 Spring Conference in Albuquerque starts tonight. But today at noon, Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking Darren LaCroix is giving a FREE WORKSHOP OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!! Darren is a great and very funny speaker, so come and learn what it's all about.

Today, Friday, April 21, from 12:00 Noon to 1:30 PM

Albuquerque Marriott
2100 Louisiana Boulevard NE
(northwest corner of I-40 and Louisiana)

There is more information online at See you there!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Southwest Writers Tonight

I am off on my way to Southwest Writers tonight. I hope to get some writers to put their books on the Southwest Writer's table that I will be manning at the Toastmasters Spring Conference Friday and Saturday. My book will be there, too, of course! And lots of information about Southwest Writers for Toastmasters to read. I think Toastmasters and Southwest Writers will go together well. For more information about the Toastmasters District 23 Spring Conference, click here:

Toastmasters District 23

and for information about Southwest Writers, click here:

Southwest Writers

Sunday, April 16, 2006

By the Way

By the way, if you haven't read my book yet, it is online here:

Doing the Right Thing

Still Without

I am still without an internet connection at home but still hopeful. There was no DSL service and no cable internet service, so satellite is the only choice. Still waiting to be rescheduled after missing the installer last week. Right now, I am at work. I work every Sunday doing computer stuff that has to be done when everyone else is out of the system. Usually, I get to do that from home through an internet connection, but not today!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Another Nice Neighbor!

Back at my house in Rio Rancho tonight and the wireless is working pretty well off another neighbor's internet connection. This is interesting! I wonder how many places I could go around town and get a connection? I miss my mouse, though!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Hi Neighbor!

I brought my computer out to Moriarty today so that I could test the new high speed internet connection we are getting from Hughesnet. However, my intermittent cell phone service caused me to miss his call and then he would not answer when I tried to call him back 15 times. His boss says he is in a training class now. In the meantime, I hooked up my laptop and amazingly! there is a wireless internet connection out here somewhere. It comes and goes though. Hope to have my own soon!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Back in New Mexico

Washington DC is very nice in the spring. There was just one rainy day and the rest were beautiful. The cherry blossoms were out. It was wonderful.

It's nice to be home in New Mexico again. A different kind of beauty. Enchantment.

Now, I just wonder how many days it will take to catch up on all the things I have to do. Our house sold while I was in DC and now we have a week to get out. A million things to do at work. It will be a prioritizing challenge. And I may not post for a few more days, because the computer comes down tomorrow, hopefully to be hooked up at the new place right away, but you never know!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Sightseeing in Washington DC

After taking care of logistical things like moving to the conference hotel next to the Capitol, my brother and I finally got around to some sightseeing. We decided to go to the zoo. For my education, we decided to get there via the Metro. They built the Metro while I was still living here, but I never rode it. I had seen too many movies featuring the New York subway as the setting for murder and mayhem. I have still never been in a New York subway, but I have now been in the Washington Metro. It is the greatest thing. You can get all over Washington in a snap. It is easy to understand, there are people to help you, and it is not scary at all. In fact, it's a marvel. I highly recommend it because it is really hard to drive here -- way too much traffic and one-way streets going off at odd angles and no place to park.

The zoo was great. There is a new panda cub, very cute. Although we didn't get to see her, her pictures were everywhere.

Saturday, April 08, 2006


My brother and I spent my first day here going to visit Rixeyville, Virginia, where our grandparents lived. We stopped at the cemetery to see them. I knew the dates were right, but it still surprised me to see how long they have been gone. It has been 20 years since we lost our grandma and 40 years since our grandpa died. It seems like it was just yesterday that we were going down to the farm to play and explore and bask in the unconditional love that grandparents give their grandchildren. I am glad we took every opportunity to be with them when they were here. I think really they're with us still.

The old farmhouse looked much the same, although they have done something to the windows that give it a different look. There is still a lot of land surrounding it, the old fishing pond and the woods are still there. But there were lots of new (newer?) houses around the old property and even housing developments here and there. Not farmers. Could people really be moving so far out and still be working in Washington, 60 miles away? I don't blame them, though, it is beautiful there.

My Bags Take a Different Flight

I was late getting to the airport. My bags couldn't be checked on the flight I had tickets for. I had to buy alternate tickets for my bags and let them wait for the next flight. But it was no problem getting up to the counter and getting on the plane I was originally scheduled for, so I did that, made my connection on time, and got to DC as scheduled. My bags should have been a few hours behind me, but they weren't. I know you're not surprised. As it turned out, my bags made it on the next flight, but that flight was delayed. The flight after that was delayed also, but not as long as the flight my bags were on. So, I got to watch several flights from Dallas (American's hub) unload until mine finally got there at 12:30 AM. As things turned out, I was glad I didn't take that next flight with my bags! I would have been 7 hours later getting into DC and not had the fine dinner with my brother that I had.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Off to Washington DC

Tomorrow, I'm flying off to Washington, DC, for a HIPAA conference. Besides being a writer, I do computer work in healthcare. But I'm going a few days early because Washington DC is where I was born and raised and my brother still lives there, or I should say, lives there again. We'll do some sightseeing. Even for natives, it's a good place for that.

Computers and Taxes

Today was my day to do the taxes. I spent the first three hours saying bad things to my computer. The software I use, Turbotax, is great but it is always wanting to download something from the internet and I could not get it to work. Checked on the online help and finally went to the online tech chat, where they offered to e-mail me the instructions, but I wasn't falling for that old line. I knew they were just going to send me the same information I had already found online. I turned off firewalls and allowed cookies in all the places I could find. But that didn't help a bit. Finally, the tech asked, "Do you have a router?" Yes, I do. And yes, that was the same thing that kept it from working last year, if only I had remembered! After that, it was smooth sailing. I hope I remember this next year.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

This Old House

It is nice to spend these last days in this old house. Most of our stuff is gone and it is all spiffed up and clean. It has been a sturdy little house. We have been here 16 years. Three generations of dogs have lived here with us and run and played in the yard. We bought it for the mulberry tree that spreads its canopy over the patio. It seems like it has grown twice as big since we got here and is more beautiful than ever. We have planted trees and hedges and bamboo ourselves. I hope the new owner takes good care of it and loves it. I think he will.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

House Sold

I cannot seem to think of anything tonight except that we have sold our house! Well, almost. We had 3 offers over the last two weeks, all too low. Then today, in one day, we got 4! They were all good and we chose the best one. We signed all the papers and faxed them over, accepted the offer. Now they will put a sold sticker on our "for sale" sign. But there is still the termite inspection and the septic system inspection and the appraisal, the survey, and the title search to get through on time. And maybe other things that we haven't even thought of yet. "But, of course, you'll have to do that", they'll say, as if we should have known. We've bought and sold two other houses and it never went exactly like we thought. This is a nerve-wracking business! But it's great to know that someone likes our house, (more likely the yard and the big mulberry tree by the back patio, which is why we love it!).

Monday, April 03, 2006

How to Find and Keep the Best People 3

What he did was simple, something any of us could do, but it worked like magic on me.

Because of the way he was, I was different. His expectations of me were high. I exceeded them. He heard every word I said. I considered every word. I brought all of my training, experience, and intelligence to bear on everything I did. I was quick -- in understanding, in thought, in action. And I knew that he knew exactly how valuable it all was, just because he listened so well.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Ted's Blogging for Business 6

Ted Demopoulos' posts on blogging for business over at CEO Read.

Blogs -- there are no rules!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Ted's Blogging for Business 5

Ted Demopoulos' posts on blogging for business over at CEO Read.

Post titles are critical!