What Kind of Woman Are You?

Today, a girlfriend of mine and I were having a discussion about a couple of women we have known in our lives and how they have conducted relationships and romantic affairs.  I think we concluded that when it comes to relationships, there are quite often three types of women. Which type are you?

The Woman Who Should Have Left Her Relationship Long Ago

This is the woman in a relationship that is physically or emotionally abusive or borderline abusive.  Many times, if this woman is not being physically hurt, she doesn’t even realize that she is being or has been abused. 

This relationship fails to meet up with any iota of a decent relationship.  It is a situation where, for a long time, this woman has endured a man who is noncommittal, disloyal, or generally unsupportive in the relationship.

My girlfriend calls this woman “Cookie Johnson.”  Earleatha “Cookie” Johnson is the wife of retired Los Angeles Lakers basketball star, Magic Johnson.  Throughout their tumultuous relationship, Cookie stood by Magic through his unwillingness to commit, his infidelity, and ultimately in spite of his contracting HIV as a result of unprotected sex with other women.  In a 1992 interview, Magic indicated that he had unprotected sex with so many women, he could not pinpoint who infected him. 

In the same interview, Cookie stated that after they were married and Magic revealed to her that he was infected, she could not leave because she loved him and because she did not want to deal with matters on her own.

As of that interview, Magic was resolved that he was doing God’s work to spread his message and was finally settled enough to be married to Cookie.  Cookie was resolved in supporting this man that she had been building love with for 14 years despite all of his offenses on her. 

Here, there is the ever-present question of whether Magic would have continued to sleep around had he not been infected.  It is quite possible that if Magic has become a faithful man, Cookie had no control or direct influence over that decision.  He essentially doesn’t have much of a choice now.

If you asked me, I would say that it is a relationship that Cookie should have left a long time ago.

The Woman Who Left Only to Pursue the Same Man Over and Over Again

Some women may eventually be wise enough or fortunate enough to leave a relationship with a man that treats her poorly only to find and date the same kind of guy, over and over again.  Thus, even though she has technically left one particular relationship, she effectively repeats that same relationship.

But, she is different from Cookie Johnson.  Although she is fighting the same battle, it is with different men.  It is hard to say who is in the better situation.  Cookie Johnson got her man in the end, but paid such a high price that it could never be worth it.  She paid with her life, her self-esteem, and her emotional freedom. 

At the same time, the woman who dates repeat offenders may not get the man in the end.  To the extent that she continues the same pattern of dating, she is likely to end up embittered and alone.  She has the potential for emotional freedom, but she has to find it.  She can to grow from her mistakes but must first recognize her relationship patterns as mistakes.

The Woman Who Left, Learned from Her Mistakes, and Moved On to a Better Man

Then there is the woman who may have had tumultuous relationships in the past.  But, she has recognized the poor nature of previous relationships, and has chosen to learn from her own relationship choices and pursue a better man and a better relationship. 

This woman recognizes that she only has a finite period on this earth.  She realizes that she can be treated well by a man.  She recognizes that there are men out there that will never make her question her values or her worth.  She knows that she must look inside of herself to determine her own worth and the values she possesses.

It may take most of her life to get to this place, but she is here now.  She is happy and content because before she found any man that was good to her, she found herself.  And since she can be clear about who she is, her new choices in men will undoubtedly be clear. 

Most importantly, if she makes another mistake about the man she has chosen (his timing, his infidelity, his failure to be supportive in the relationship), she is not afraid to make a quick exit to stay on course to finding a better man, and ultimately the right man.

Have you encountered any of these women in your life?  Are you one of these women?

WEDDED BLISS WEDNESDAYS discusses marital and relationship issues.  Although this is likely to be biased toward my own experiences in marriage and with relationships, I hope that you will join the discussion, ask questions, and suggest topics that you are interested in discussing.  If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive my content updates by email or RSS reader.  

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Establishing a Home Office Series: Finding the Right High-Speed Internet for Your Home Office

In this post, I discuss the high-speed Internet services offered in my specific home-office location – Gulfport/Biloxi, Mississippi. – and the types of packages they offer.  But, in future posts to this series, I would like to keep this discussion open and plan to follow-up with considerations of whether to buy a residential or business Internet package – or both – and which speeds are appropriate for a home office.  The appropriate Internet speeds for your home office will depend on the purpose for which you will you use the Internet.  Stay tuned for these follow-up discussions. 

Over the next few weeks, I am preparing to transition from an office to a home office.  As part of my preparation, I have been thinking more and more about what I will have in my home office that will allow me to function with the same ease and efficiency that I have in my regular office now. 

One of the most important things for me to do is to find the right Internet service.  A typical day in my office now involves heavy use of the telephone, email, and Internet.  Once I transition to a home-office, my emails will most likely only be retrievable remotely via the Internet, as opposed to an internal network, the way I currently use email.  Therefore, it is imperative that I obtain the right Internet service for my home office.

An initial search of Internet service providers in the Gulfport/Biloxi, Mississippi area shows AT&T, Cable One, HughesNet (satellite Internet), and Wild Blue (satellite Internet).  Although Comcast offers service in Mississippi, it does not serve the Gulfport/Biloxi market. 

AT&T offers residential high-speed Internet with speeds up to 3.0 Mbps downstream and 384 Kbps upstream.

Cable One offers residential speeds of up to 3 Mbps downstream and 300 Kbps upstream. For business, Cable One offers a Small Office/Home Office package with much faster speeds of up to 8 Mbps downstream and up to 1 Mbps upstream. 

HughesNet offers home & office plans at speeds between 1 Mbps-3 Mbps downstream and between 128 Kbps-300 Kbps upstream. 

WildBlue has much slower speeds than HughesNet.  They offer speeds of between 512 Kbps-1.5 Mbps downstream and 138 Kbps-256 Kbps.

At first glance, it appears that Cable One will be the most promising provider as far as speed and packages appropriate for a home office.  They did not offer pricing online, however, so I will need to contact their offices to determine whether their service will be within budget for home office Internet service.

I will need to determine what is an appropriate speed for my home office.  I will use Internet for email, general online research, web-accessed seminars, and uploading large documents to our FTP site.  It may be that 1-3 Mbps downstream and 384 Kbps upstream will be sufficient.  

At any rate, once the appropriate Internet speed is determined for your home office, there may be other factors that make the Internet connection patchy or unreliable that can not be identified until the home office is in use.  Some of these issues may need to be dealt with on a per-occurrence basis are not always based on the particular Internet service.   

TECHY TUESDAYS is a forum to discuss various technologies and web applications.  I am currently hosting a series of posts called “Building a Blog.”  This series discusses all of the things that I am doing to build this website.  I will also discuss tips and suggestions for building your blog based on my own progress, as well as feed back from others.  If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive updates by email or RSS reader.   

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Update on Writing an eHow Article

Last week I wrote a post about Making Money with eHow.  I talked about what I did to set up my account and the things that needed to be done in order to begin making money.  During the week last week and this past weekend, I wrote and published my first article on eHow.  This is my follow-up to last week’s post.    

In case you are not already familiar with eHow, it is an article directory on which you publish ‘how to’ articles.  You may also have an opportunity to be paid for your work under certain conditions.  You must be a legal resident of the United States.  Your article must be viewed and favored among readers.  Your compensation, according to eHow depends on many different things, including popularity, usefulness and the topic of your article.  But eHow is pretty vague on how articles are rated in these categories. 

Writing an Article

Writing an eHow article is pretty easy because it is basically a bullet-point list of the steps you would take to accomplish a certain task. 

After you have set up your account and when you are ready to begin writing, find the prompt on the home page entitled “Write an Article.”  From there eHow will prompt you to enter the title of your article. Since the title of the article will always begin with ‘how to,’ which is already there, your title should complete that sentence. 

Once you have entered the title, you may upload an image that will provide visual stimulus for your audience.  For example, if you are writing an article called “How to Make Apple Pie,” you might want to upload a picture of an apple pie, or of someone preparing the ingredients for an apple pie.  Providing such an image gives your article immediate context once someone arrives on the page.  Readers will recognize your topic before they have read the title.  Be sure that you have the authority to publish the photo and always provide due credit.  eHow provides fields for you to fill in a caption and provide a photo credit.

At the end of the first page, eHow asks you to rank the difficulty of accomplishing the task in your article, to provide an introduction and a list of items that someone would need to complete the task.  Once you have finished with this page, click the “save & continue” button to proceed to the next page.  This is where you will publish your article. 

You will write your article directly on the eHow website as opposed to uploading content from a file.  There are fields for each step in your process.  The eHow page gives you about 4 or 5 steps and after that, you click on the “add a step” button to continue.  I am not sure there is a limit to the number of steps.  My article had 8 steps.

Once you are finished writing in the content, eHow asks you to list any helpful tips or cautionary points to anyone following the instructions in your article.  So, for example, if you are writing about how to do a particular exercise, you might state a warning that anyone with a back injury should be cautious.

Lastly, eHow will prompt you to add tags to your article and choose a category for filing the article.  Article tags help to optimize your article for search engines.  Choose tags that are directly relevant to your subject-matter.  For example, if you are writing about how to groom a Yorkshire Terrier, your tags might be: dog grooming, pets, pet grooming, and Yorkshire Terrier. There are many other keywords that you can use as well. 

In categorizing your article, eHow lets you choose up to 5 categories.  It is a good idea to list your article in as many relevant categories as possible.  People searching for your topic might arrive at the subject in a number of different ways. 

After these final steps toward publishing your article, eHow lets you go one step further to publish your article to Facebook.  I liked this feature because it added another level of marketing the article I published. 

MAKE MONEY MONDAYS is a forum to discuss ways in which you can create additional sources of income.  I try to focus on particular ideas and steps you can take to create alternative income and passive income sources.  I have also begun a series of posts called “Rental Property Conversion.”  This series follows my husband and I as we turn our property into a rental property.  I will also research and post other useful information in this category. If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive my content updates by email or RSS reader.  

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Things They Share Are Cherishable

Today is my mom’s birthday and my stepdad is taking us to a baseball game this evening.  It will be a gorgeous night and I am looking forward to spending the evening with them. 

I will miss them both very much when I leave. We’ve been a close-knit bunch for a good part of my life. 

As a child growing up, my mom reared me as a single parent until I was in high school.  For the first part of my life, she was both mommy and daddy.  She taught me how to be an independent woman. Although a little later in my life, she has also shown me some cherishable things about married life. 

My stepdad entered my life when I was a teenager.  At that time, I wasn’t used to having a man around, but he soon became a fixture.  He married my mom and we became a family.  In hindsight I am thankful to have him and his extended family as part of our family.  But, I was a reluctant teen and slow to fully accept his presence in our lives.

Theirs would be the first marriage that I would live within.  Although my grandma is still alive, my grandpa died long before I was born.  So although I’d often hear my grandma speak about life when he was around, I would never experience my grandparents’ love or marriage in real time.

Once my mom got married I would witness for the first time what it meant to live inside of marriage.  It would be my first lesson in marital support and compromise.  It would be the first time I saw marital love. 

Through all of my teenage awkwardness and growth and maturity as a young woman, I now know that there are qualities about their relationship, in addition to love, that are rich and abundant and should be cherished. 

They have humor.

My mom has always had the gift of delivery and timing in humor.  Her sarcasm and dry humor are never dull and will always keep you on your toes.  She certainly keeps my stepdad on his toes.  Sometimes he is sharp enough to match wit and return fire.  Sometimes. 

They have support. 

Their support is mutual, complementary, and cherishable.

He contributes to maintaining my grandmother’s quality of life. He’ll bring fruit or get her trash or move her television.  He’ll also perform countless other tasks whenever requested by my mother.  His support for my grandmother is certainly support for my mother. 

She provides for his children and grandchildren as her own.  She’ll throw a party or babysit the grands or make personal gifts incorporating photos of our whole family.  She will also do countless other tasks whenever requested by my stepdad.  Her support for his family is certainly support for him.

He provides for me, her daughter.  He will secure a grill and chairs for a party at a moment’s notice.  He will provide extra tickets to a basketball or baseball game.  He will arrange complimentary rounds of golf for my husband and I.  He will also provide countless other things for me, at the request of my mom.  His support for me is certainly support for my mom.

She supports his business.  She will provide administrative assistance, such as typing a letter or sending an email or making a call.  She will also give her time to welcome participants in his charity golf tournament.  Her support for his organization is certainly support for him.

They are kind to each other.  He gives her flowers, sometimes just because.  She makes him coffee in the morning, to start his day.            

They have companionship.

While they each live very full individual lives, they always take the time to come together for family and for themselves.  They watch movies together, play golf together, and attend sporting events. Together.

Today, they will attend a Nationals game for my mom’s birthday and they have invited me to come along.  It will be a gorgeous night and I am looking forward to spending the evening with them. 

WEDDED BLISS WEDNESDAYS discusses marital and relationship issues.  Although this is likely to be biased toward my own experiences in marriage and with relationships, I hope that you will join the discussion, ask questions, and suggest topics that you are interested in discussing.  If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive my content updates by email or RSS reader.  

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Building A Blog: Is It Time For Paid Hosting? Pt. 2

Last week, I started this discussion by asking the question of when is it time for paid hosting and whether I am ready to make the switch. 

Today, I ask how moving my blog to a paid host might improve the business of my site, what I would have to do to move to a paid host, and whether now is the time to make the switch.

What will it mean to switch over to paid hosting?

A switch to paid hosting means instant autonomy.  One of the downsides to free-hosted web applications such as WordPress.com and Blogger is that the creator of the website – you – is not the owner of the website.  When you create a website with a free host such as WordPress.com or Blogger, you are subject to the terms and conditions of those providers. 

In addition, you do not own your domain. Owning a dedicated domain name for your site promotes credibility especially in business.  A domain name from subdomain providers such as WordPress.com and Blogger free-hosted sites look something like this: www.yourblogname.wordpress.com or www.yourblgname.blogspot.com, where your blog name is inextricably intertwined with the subdomain host’s name.  If you own a business, it is a lot more credible have a dedicated domain containing only the name of your business or related keywords.   

Subdomain accounts also dictate how much bandwidth your site can support.  Thus, if your site is attracting increasing amounts of traffic, the subdomain provider could choose to shut down the site once your bandwidth maximum is reached. 

Moving your website from a subsdomain to a paid host gives you autonomy, the ability to have a dedicated domain, and increased bandwidth capacity that you choose. 

What will I have to do to make the switch?

1. Choose a Host and Publishing Platform

iNetPublication lists its editor’s picks for the top three web hosting services as (1) midPhase; (2) Easy CGI; and (3) Start Logic.  Each of these services offer hosting for under $8.00 a month for 2-3 GB of storage space.  I haven’t yet gone as far as researching paid hosting services, but when I do, I will be sure to check up on these sites.  They seem to provide valuable services for the price. 

I think that I will stay with the WordPress’ blog publishing platform.  I am accustomed to WordPress’ platform through their free-hosted service.  In addition, WordPress’ platform is reputed to be very user-friendly and simple to use. 

2. Purchase a Domain Name

When you move a blog to a paid host, you will want to have a domain name, which will be the address for your site. 

A few months ago, I purchased the domain ‘aspiretograce.com.’  So, once I switch over to a paid host, I will be able to point my blog to my chosen host’s server at the address www.aspiretograce.com.  As of now, I am forwarding www.aspiretograce.com to my subdomain such that when you type that domain into your browser, it directs you to www.aspiretograce.wordpress.com.  Once I move to a paid host, I will need to redirect my aspiretograce.com to the paid host’s server. 

One of the downsides to pointing my domain name to the subdomain now is my inability to track referrals.  If someone follows a link directly to my subdomain, WordPress will tell me who referred the link.  So, in other words, I will be able to tell from which site the visitor is coming, whether it is from Twitter, Facebook, or another blog or website.  But, if the link is www.aspiretograce.com, the referral information will originate only from www.aspiretograce.com.  Thus, I am not able to tell where a visitor is coming from if they have clicked on the aspiretograce.com link.  Having accurate referral information is important because if you can tell where your traffic is coming from, it will help you target your marketing.

3.  Find a Good Step-by-Step Guide to Moving to a Paid Host

Gemma Baltazar of The Lady Programmer (on JaypeeOnline) provides pretty comprehensive step-by-step instructions on moving a blog from Blogger to a new host using the WordPress.org blog publishing platform.

Some of her suggestions include:

  • Backing up your existing blog
  • Choosing a publishing platform and upgrading to the latest version
  • Purchasing domain name 
  • Choosing a theme
  •  Announcing the move to your readers 

What Have I decided to do?

As you may already know, I will be moving in about two months.  If you’ve been keeping up with other post topics on Aspire to Grace, then you know that I am in the process of converting our primary residence to a rental property, preparing for the transition to telecommuting, and looking for a place in Mississippi.  So, I will be pretty busy for at least the next month.

Do I have time to move Aspire to Grace to a paid host now?   The short answer is ‘no.’

One of the reasons for writing this post was so that I could go through the motions of determining what value and effort would go into moving over to a paid host.  I have learned a lot about this topic and have answered many of my own questions.  

As excited as I am about making the move, however, I have decided to wait.  Since purchasing a paid hosting service would mean a sharp increase in responsibility for maintaining my site, I think it wise to wait until I have more time to take full advantage the service.  Once I make the move, it will be time to take Aspire to Grace to the next level in terms of design and functionality.  I simply do not have the time right now to jump all the way in to get my money’s worth. 

Once I have moved to Mississippi, I will reopen this topic for consideration.  I anticipate being ready at that time since I will have a lot more time on my hands during the month before my husband returns from Kuwait.

What are your thoughts? Have you tried paid hosting?

TECHY TUESDAYS is a forum to discuss various technologies and web applications.  I am currently hosting a series of posts called “Building a Blog.”  This series discusses all of the things that I am doing to build this website.  I will also discuss tips and suggestions for building your blog based on my own progress, as well as feed back from others.  If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive updates by email or RSS reader.  

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Making Money with eHow

This week, I am preparing to try my hand at writing an article for eHow.  I planned to write my first article this past weekend but got tied up with completing the painting of a room in my house.  I will work on writing my first article this week and let you know when I get it posted. 

So, instead, I only managed to set up my eHow account.  Here are the things I observed while setting up my profile.

Setting Up a Profile

I had created an eHow account a while ago but had never set up my profile.  I completed the setup this past Saturday. 

I started with the avatar for my profile.  An avatar is the image that you will use to identify yourself.  I am using this animated avatar, which I got from my account with Yahoo! Answers. 

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I did a brief search online for an interesting avatar, but soon grew bored.  I didn’t want to use an actual photo, so I cheated and took the avatar that I made for my Yahoo account and pulled it over to eHow.  I simply saved the avatar as a file in my iPhoto library on my Mac and uploaded it to eHow.  Fast and simple. 

There was a time where I didn’t place much stock in animated avatars, but they have grown on me.  I think it is important to have an image that identifies you and provides a consistent visual reference for your audience.  I’m not sure at this stage whether a photo is better for building creditability on a site such as eHow.  I wouldn’t have a problem with using a real photo, I just don’t have one suitable for this forum at this time.  I may change my avatar later. 

I also enabled Twitter in my profile.  eHow will notify Twitter whenever I publish or comment on an article.  I will set this up initially.  Once I publish a few articles and/or comment on other articles, I will be able to gauge what, if any, value there is in having Twitter enabled on eHow.  If it looks too spammy then I will disable the Twitter notifier.  Although I am very interested in marketing my works eHow and on here, I am very sensitive to things that might be perceived as spam.  So, I will play this by ear. 

Lastly, I completed the remaining fields in the profile builder, which include inputting Interests, Expertise, Education, and Favorites.

Earning Compensation for Writing

In order to earn compensation for writing articles on eHow, you must enroll in the Writer Compensation Program.  Only legal residents of the United States are permitted to enroll or the opportunity to earn money for articles.  When setting up a payment account with eHow, the site asks for your taxpayer name and ID.  So, if you are like me and write under a pen name, you will be required to enter your real name and social security number or employer ID number under which you pay your taxes.  eHow indicates that all such information is kept confidential.   

The Supplemental Terms of Use applicable to your Writer Compensation Program include the considerations used to determine whether and how much the author will be paid for an article.  The criterion is rather subjective and is in the sole discretion of eHow.  They are:

  • Popularity of the article;
  • Number and quality of inbound links to the article;
  • Topicality and newsworthiness of the article content;
  • Usefulness and applicability of the article content;
  • User response to your articles, such as positive reviews and comments;
  • Degree of specialization of the article content; and
  • Quality of the writing.

I would imagine that things like ‘quality of inbound links’ and ‘usefulness and applicability’ could be pretty nebulous as applied to your work.  In addition, eHow also does not disclose the percentage of your earnings that they are taking, which is a negative in my opinion.  That being said, there is some earning potential here.  Since eHow articles tend to be basic how-to references on subjects in which the author may be an expert or at least very knowledgeable, there may not need to be a lot of research and other preparatory work that goes into writing articles for eHow.  In that case, the somewhat small effort that may go into writing an eHow article may offset the negatives of nebulous criterion and vague percentage breakdowns. 

Arbitrary Termination Provisions

Although this may not be a deal-breaker, every author publishing an article on eHow should be aware of the biting arbitrariness of eHow’s discretion to terminate your account “for any reason or no reason.” 

So, technically, eHow could just decide one day, for example, that it does not like that you spell your username, Marianne, with an ‘i’ and not a ‘y’ and terminate your account while blocking your access to the site.  Once your account is closed, eHow may continue to publish the article(s) that you have written, subject to its own terms for the removal or modification of content by you. 

It is not clear from the terms whether eHow will continue to compensate you for content you have published on the site once your account is terminated or whether you are able to get a distribution of monies already accumulated to your eHow account. 

It is important to have at least a marginal understanding of eHow’s terms and conditions before using the site to avoid surprises later on and to better leverage your awareness of the existing terms against your participation on the site. 

I may write a follow up post once I publish an article to eHow if I make any additional interesting observations.  Have you published any articles on eHow?  What have you observed about using the site?

MAKE MONEY MONDAYS is a forum to discuss ways in which you can create additional sources of income.  I try to focus on particular ideas and steps you can take to create alternative income and passive income sources.  I have also begun a series of posts called “Rental Property Conversion.”  This series follows my husband and I as we turn our property into a rental property.  I will also research and post other useful information in this category. If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive my content updates by email or RSS reader.  

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Lite Fare: Glimpse and Modified Schedule for Aspire to Grace

GLIMPSE

Make Money Monday:  TBD

Techy Tuesday: Building a Blog Series: Is it Time for Paid Hosting, pt. 2: I will continue my discussion of whether now is the time for me to switch over to paid hosting. 

Wedded Bliss Wednesday: TBD

Tough Life Thursday: Discontinued Until Further Notice

MODIFIED SCHEDULE FOR ASPIRE TO GRACE

You may already know that I will be moving to Mississippi in July.  I can feel the crunch on time and have many things to do to get ready for the move. Those things include preparing our house for the rental market and finding a home in Mississippi.  In the meantime, I will continue working full time and am party- planning for at least one and maybe two parties at my house.  I am also continuing to provide updates to Aspire to Grace.  I am going stir crazy right now as you can imagine. 

In the interest of sparing additional time to accommodate my schedule, I have decided to discontinue Tough Life Thursdays until further notice.  This will give me an extra day to concentrate on my other obligations.  After looking at my stats and considering the subject matter for Thursdays, which is pretty random at the moment, I realized that removing this day will have the least impact on Aspire to Grace. 

So, until further notice, you will still find my regular updates for Make Money Mondays, Techy Tuesdays, Wedded Bliss Wednesdays and Lite Fare Fridays. But, on Thursdays, you will not see an update.  On Thursdays, you will continue to see the post from Wednesday.  On Friday, you will get the usual Glimpse and Roundups.

Please bear with me for these next couple of months.  When I emerge from this schedule, hopefully sometime in July, I plan to rethink the entire schedule and may make additional modifications.  But, at any rate, I hope, at that time, to get back to posting everyday. 

LITE FARE FRIDAYS is anything thing that I feel like discussing on that day.  I will try to keep it light just in time for the weekend! .  If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive updates by email or RSS reader.  

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