Category Archives: Personal

This Week, I Cut Back Some

About six weeks ago I wrote a post talking about when people disappear. I wondered at what point people miss you, and then at what point it’s done and over and we’ve moved on with life.


by Susan Fitzgerald

Not that this is necessarily an experiment to see who might miss me in some places but it’s more of an experiment to see what I will do with my extra time. For the next week I don’t plan on checking on Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn to see what’s going on. The only time I’ll be on any of those sites is to respond to something if someone uses my name. I’ll know when that happens because all of them send emails when someone has said something directly to me.

Most of you don’t know this but Mitchell Allen and I have been working our way through this plan from a book called Get Clients Now by C. J. Hayden. Its basic purpose is to help you get clients, obviously. But it’s secondary purpose is to help you get things completed that have been on your list that will help you in some fashion. It also helps to do it with someone else to help keep you accountable, which is what we try to do for each other.

I’ve had a couple of things on my list for the past couple of months that I haven’t even started. I’m not sure that if I have more time to dedicate to it that I’ll get to either of them. But what I do know is that the marketing part is definitely something I need to do more of. I actually have gotten at least one new client over the past 3 months, so my efforts haven’t gone in vain. But I need to do more. This isn’t a vacation or a rest, but a re-dedication of work priorities, not including my blogs.

So, until Saturday at least, I’ll have my blog posts and be responding to people that post a comment here, but I’m not doing anything beyond that and what I’ve mentioned above. As for the blog posts, y’all know I write these things in advance, so that means I won’t be taking any time out to have to write anything new this week either, as it’ll already be written. I’ll either be working or relaxing some; I could use a bit of each.

That is, unless something big happens; please don’t let anything big happen. 😉

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Getting A Little Bit Of Love; Interviewed Again

What a strange week this seems to have been. It started out with my buying my first couple of pairs of shorts ever, with my wife’s help, and finding out that I can actually wear a waist size of 42; I haven’t worn a size 42 waist in 20 years! Working out seems to be doing at least part of the job; glucose isn’t down though.

Then a consulting gig I’m supposed to be working hasn’t started yet; I haven’t even heard from the client in about a week. That’s how it goes sometimes when you’re an independent consultant, which is why I was so key on my earlier post this week about getting some money upfront; it’s not always the fault of the people trying to do work for you.

And now this; I’ve been interviewed again, this time by Christian of Smart Boy Designs. I was kind of surprised because I actually did the interview back in April, then forgot about it until I was going through old emails yesterday and started to wonder about it. And then there it was this morning; nice timing, eh?

Of course, it was also fun being a part of Ileane’s Basic Blog Tips this week with my post on 5 Ways Your Blog Might Be Irritating People. I really put out for that post because I always believe that you give as much to others as you’d give to yourself, and if you can you should give more since you’re reaching out to a new audience that you’re hoping you can drive to your site.

All that and tonight I’ll be staying in a hotel about 5 minutes from my house in a room with a jacuzzi… all by myself. My wife is holding a large garage sale with her friends and asked if I not be present; I can take a hint. 🙂 So I’ll be pampered tonight on my own, then heading to the casino in the morning. Yes, I do live a strange life; but it’s pretty fun as well. Is it any wonder why I smile so much?

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When Concepts Don’t Match Up

Some of you have probably noticed I’m not writing at the same pace that I normally do. Once again life has gotten in the way, this time with my grandmother falling and breaking her hip and my having to be out of town to support my mother.

It’s been interesting, frightening and frustrating over the last bunch of days. The interesting part was when I called 911 and they sent the fire chief and two firetrucks before the ambulance arrived; my grandmother would have loved watching that spectacle if she could have moved as she loves sitting in the window watching the day.

The scary part was first trying to figure out just how badly she was hurt, learning she had a broken hip and required surgery, and trying to determine what kind of surgery she needed. Turns out it was only the hip and a fracture, which only required 2 screws, and the surgery and initial recovery only took about 3 1/2 hours; whew.

Then the frustrating part, which leads to the title of this post. I went back home because they said all was going to be well, so to speak. Then the next day I get a call saying she’s nonresponsive and won’t eat. This is frightening because she’s 90 and hadn’t eaten in 3 days. I drive back to get Mom and go back to the hospital, worried that these might be the last days for her and wondering if anything could have changed things. Not that she’s been the physically strongest person over the last few months but this just seemed to come on really fast.

We get to the hospital and she’s sleeping. We let her sleep while trying to let a few people know what might be going on. Then the nurse finally shows up and says they tried to get her to eat but she wouldn’t respond to them and wasn’t talking. So I try and indeed she’s not talking, but she’s responding to yes and no answers with, well, yes and no sounds. I ask what we can try to give her and after hearing it all I suggest we run with the lemon ice, since I know she likes lemon.

I get it open, put a little bit onto a spoon, say “Miss Hazel, here comes something you might like” (yes, I call my grandmother Miss Hazel; she likes that), put the spoon on her lips, and she opens her mouth and takes it in.

Mom was stunned; the nurse was stunned. I wasn’t stunned. What I was is frustrated and irritated because of the scare I’d had with the phone call. See, something that working in hospitals teaches you is the patterns of people with certain responsibilities. My mind had been thinking that something nurses really don’t fully understand is that sometimes a person just can’t feed themselves for whatever reason. The talking is one thing, but as I said, she’s 90 and hadn’t eaten in 3 days, has had surgery and anesthesia and was kind of weak to begin with; what were they expecting, miracles?

Actually, yes. See, hospitals aren’t equipped to be nursing homes; it’s not in the make up of the people that work there, nurses or anyone else. They don’t think about trying to feed people; they don’t have the time. But I knew I had to give that a shot because it would tell me whether she was alert or whether she had decided it was her time. She consumed the entire cup of lemon ice; I had my answer.

So here we are at the dilemma stage, although it’s kind of a foregone conclusion. She has to be moved to either a skilled nursing facility or a nursing home. She needs rehab, but right now she also needs someone to feed her. Mom can’t handle either of these at this stage, and hospitals aren’t equipped to do it either.

Everyone at the hospital has been nice and everyone has played their role the way it’s supposed to be played. But I need to now make them step up and make themselves seen, as the only doctor I’ve seen in the time I’ve been there was the surgeon; that’s not going to get it done. But I know how to do it; funny, but there’s a swagger one can have when they work in certain types of places, and I noticed I had that swagger yesterday, as if I was still at a level to demand and request certain things without question. What a feeling!

So, I’m hoping I’m close to not being as sporadic with so many things as has been the case over the past week. I’m so far behind on work and blogging, but family always takes precedence. And I hope through this little story I’ve given you a little more education on how hospital people think.

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Ding Dong Osama’s Gone

I don’t often write two posts in one day but I figured today is an exception, since my other post was planned ahead of time and this one is, well, more timely to what’s going on in the world.

Of course by now everyone in the world older than 12 years old knows that Osama bin Laden was taken out last night. He wasn’t even hiding really; he was “holed up” in a mansion in a little city in Pakistan living pretty well. Had cable, internet access, and both one of his wives and children with him. He was only minutes away from a Pakistani military base and less than 30 minutes from the capital of Pakistan. It seems all those proclamations made by the Pakistan government that there was no way he could be in their country have been made to seem kind of ridiculous.

However, this isn’t a post on beating up on Pakistan. It’s basically a post about what this means, doesn’t mean, and other such stuff. In essence, I’m going to kind of give my opinion on this event because, well, I figure I have something to say. And in case anyone is keeping score, yes I am using this same picture on two different blogs today.

First thought; happy he’s finally been caught, killed, and disposed of. Short and sweet, and not a single American lost his life. I’m happy with the whole thing, and can move on from here.

Second, moving on doesn’t mean not still worry about stupid terrorists. I think Al Qaeda and the Taliban will try to use this as a rallying cry but that will fail. But it fails only because the nutcases that are ready to give up their lives to support the idiotic beliefs of the “rich” radical fake Muslims to get those virgins after they’re gone are already lined up and in place to do whatever it is they’re going to do. From what I’ve been understanding, these morons are more interested in trying to hurt the United States (which then makes no sense for them to bomb their own country but I digress) than in doing it for bin Laden. Many of them have no real idea who he is other than a name someone threw out. If you were Muslim, would you be doing something for Allah or bin Laden? See what I mean?

Third, I have to admit that the only real emotion I had last night was shock. I didn’t see this announcement coming, and once John King of CNN announced it and then everyone seemed to know about it and started telling us how it all went down, which was before President Obama spoke, it became more of a research project for me than anything else. I had no emotion; I wasn’t happy or sad or reflective; I just wanted to know more. This part was just like it was on 9/11/01, only back then I was truly emotionally invested in everything; this time around I turned the TV off at 1:30 and went to bed.

You know what’s funny? Within minutes after the President’s speech the clamor began from some circles that they wouldn’t believe it until they saw pictures of the body. How horrid is that? We have become a world that’s overall immune to seeing sick images of things, one of those things being death. If I have my way I never want to see it again except in the movies. Even there, I’m not into the realism thing; I couldn’t watch Saving Private Ryan for more than 2 minutes, but give me Independence Day, where we really only see an alien get killed, and I’m enthralled. Besides, we all know that the picture will be seen as a fake anyway; look at how many people in this country felt that President Obama’s birth certificate was fake last week after saying they wanted to see it for all these years. More idiocy.

Overall, I don’t think I’m satisfied, which is probably why I didn’t fully rejoice upon this news, even though I’m really glad he’s been taken out of the picture. I’m waiting until I hear they’ve totally crushed the Taliban and have found Mullar Omar. I’m waiting until I hear they’ve captured Al-Zawahiri, the #2 man that now moves up to #1, and the guy we’ve actually seen on TV more often that bin Laden in the last few years. I’m waiting until the day the President says “that’s it; we’re leaving Iraq and Afghanistan because the job is done.”

I might be greedy, but so be it. I’m still happy bin Laden is gone, and I’m happy everyone else is happy. And in my mind the song from The Wizard of Oz is still playing: “Ding dong Osama’s gone…”

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How Far Would I Go?

Every once in awhile there crops up an issue that gets you thinking “if it were me how far would I go?” Sometimes it’s something that you do have to confront in some fashion and you have to ask yourself the same question.

What is it most of us want? We want to be happy; almost everything else you can mention ends up with you being happy. I want the same thing; I really want to be happy. Not that I’m in a bad mood right now, but I want to be happier.

What brings us happiness? Money is a good start. Yeah, I know the “lie” that money can’t buy you happiness. Money buys you peace of mind, or at least it does if you’re not one of those people who just can’t be satisfied with anything.

Love brings us happiness. Okay, the cynical part of me is going to say this; money helps in the love and happiness area. Don’t believe me? See how many couples that say they’re in love and get married when they don’t have money will stay happy when they realize that they need that money to sustain themselves. Add children and it’s even more overwhelming.

One more thing that brings us happiness is “stuff.” Ah, now there’s a good one. Truth be told, you don’t need a lot of money to buy stuff, as long as you’re not trying to buy too much stuff or stuff that’s too expensive for you. In my mind, a new Hyundai Santa Fe would make me as happy as a new Bentley, even though they’re thousands of dollars apart. A chocolate cake makes me as happy as having a meal at Ruth Chris Steakhouse but the difference in price is dramatic.

What’s even better than buying stuff? Getting free stuff! That costs no money at all, and often it’s unexpected. Sure, you might expect to get gifts for your birthday or for a holiday, but you don’t always know what gift you’re getting, and thus it’s a happy experience.

It’s also great when you know what you have a chance to get. Many of us play the lottery when we know how much money we have a shot at winning. In New York, we say “a dollar and a dream”. I don’t do it often, but when the money gets really high, I’m there with my “2 dollars” hoping for my dream.

How do you view contests? Well now, here’s a dilemma I’m facing at the moment. We all love winning contests if we get into them; after all, if you don’t want to win why get into it in the first place? If the thing you can win is nice enough, it’s always worth giving it a shot.

I’m in a short story contest at the moment. The story had to be 750 words or less, and I’m competing against 9 other stories. The rules were that we could ask people to vote for us if we’d like, but we all had to decide how fair it was or not.

Well, I thought about how I could ask some people without being all that overt about it. I wrote a few friends and asked them to check out the site, which story was mine, and to compare it to the other stories and if they liked my story to please vote for it. But I did say they could vote for other stories if they wanted to; after all, I wanted to be fair. Truthfully, though I like my story and think I should win, there’s another story there that I think is wonderful, and since you can vote “yes” or “no” on every story, I would always vote for that story as well as mine for the winner.

What else have I done? Well, I did mention it to a few other people, including my blogger group on Facebook. But I didn’t come right out and tell them which story was mine, though I alluded to it, and I also told them they could vote for other stories as well if they chose to do so.

A few days ago I got an email from the person running the contest; actually, all of us in the contest received the email. She was giving us a heads up as to where we might stand after half the money, since the contest runs through the end of the month. She listed the top 3 stories, and it seems I’m not in the top 3. What the hey? One of the stories in the top 3 didn’t even stay within the rules of the contest, as it’s not a complete story but only the beginning of one that’s more than 2,000 words.

So my quandary; how far would I go to try to win a gift, in this case a Kindle, which would be really cool even though I’ve never seen one in person? How much do I really want to win? How far would I go? Would I finally cross the line to selfishness and ask outright for you to go to the site and vote for my story, and tell you which story it is?

Actually, no, but not for the reason you might think. I had a post all set to, through my own version of subterfuge, ask people to go vote for me and help me win this bad boy. I wanted to take a shot; after all, if I wasn’t even in the top 3 I needed help. However, later that evening, I first got an email refunding my $3 entry fee; that was weird. Then I got an email saying that the contest was changing because one of the entrants had cheated. I knew it wasn’t me since I was really far behind so I asked the person running the contest on Twitter what was going on. She said one person was oddly so far ahead of everyone else that she knew it had to be technology that was pumping up the votes. Thus, she decided to cancel the contest as it was and ask 5 judges to make the selections instead. All votes were being thrown out, which meant I now had a legitimate shot once more; yay!!!

Whew; there you go. I didn’t have to think about crossing the boundaries, although it wouldn’t have been crossing them anyway since the rules stated we could do it. My mind is clear; I can go eat cookies now in peace, and hope the judges see my work of “art” in a different light Ah Kindle, you know you want to be here with me. 😉

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