Living proof that the Universe has a sense of humor.

My cat, the slavedriver

Posted March 25, 2014 | Cats, Having Your Own Business, Photos & Photo Galleries, Welcome to My Life, Working at Home | 3 Comments

The pretty part of the snow - without the buildings and parking lot.

When I woke up this morning, it was snowing, Documentation is required when a spring snow falls in Roanoke, so I had to get up so I could take pictures.

It’s mostly gone now, but at one point there was 5″ of the fluffy white stuff on the ground and cars.

Zippy in the Snow, March 25, 2014

“Zippy in the Snow”
He’s the second car from the left.

The pretty part of the snow - without the buildings and the parking lot.

The pretty part of the snow -
without the buildings and the parking lot.

If it had been a weekend, I’d have gone back to bed with a mug of coffee and my iPad, snuggling with Stripey and looking up at the snowfall between games of Words With Friends.

Stripey watches the snow from the comfort of the bed.

Stripey watches the snow from the comfort of the bed.
Note the front paw extended thusly.

However, as much as That Stripey Cat thought that bed was the best place for her today, she made me get to work after my second cup of coffee.

Okay, that was enough excitement.

“I’m ready for my after-breakfast nap.
You can get to work now.”

Stripey is such a slavedriver! I expect she wants to make sure I can continue to afford to keep her in cat food and kitty litter. We don’t talk about the veterinary bills.

I cheated, though. I left the shades open in the living room so I could look out the window once in a while. Stripey never knew; she stayed asleep on the bed for a good long while.

Cats are way smarter than people.

Guest blog post: Daisy up a tree
by Dan Smith

Posted March 24, 2014 | Cats, Guest Posts, What Someone Else Said | Leave a Comment

My hiking buddy Dan Smith sent me this essay because he knows I love cats and he, as he puts it, has “little use for sullen creatures of any kind, cat, bird, woman, child, aardvark, etc.” Because of his excellent insights into cat personalities and his willingness to admit that my Stripey girl is “a good cat,” I asked Dan if I could post this here, and he said yes. Thanks, Dan!  :-)


She rested at the intersection of the corkscrew willow’s trunk and lowest main branch, nestled in so snugly that it looked like she could pull the covers up and fluff the pillow at any minute.

But Daisy was up a tree again and we’d used up our good will with the fire department, failed with the basket-on-a-stick and the $215 extension ladder bought for this purpose alone and she all but laughed at the pitiful, pleading “Here, kitty, kitty.”

Daisy wanted to extract a slice of revenge for some real or imagined slight; perhaps a failure to have her meal prepared on time or a nearly-imperceptible movement in Christina’s midsection as Daisy slept on her lap.

Her most recent tree prank could have resulted in that playful attack by Moochie, her gregarious trickster of a housemate and a cat Daisy loathed in the way only a spoiled, rich-bitch, long-haired, manicured cat can loathe another being.

Or, most likely, Daisy was simply mortified by her latest trip to the vet; the one where she’d received her radical trim, a haircut made necessary by burrs and lumps of dried mud, leaves and stickers, hairballs the size and density of hockey pucks.

Daisy’s revenge for any and all of these indignities was to climb the corkscrew willow, a giant, elegant tree. It was impossible for a human to climb because of its brittleness, but easily accessible for a house cat, even one who’d spent her life like some desert-dwelling imperial potentate. Daisy had been there so often that when she went missing for an hour, Christina searched the tree first to save time. Daisy’d been there in the rain and snow, the heat and bitter cold. She’d been there for an hour and for four days on end, being given up for dead by both of us who saw no option but to wait her out and let nature take control.

Eventually, she’d shown up at the front door, hungry, scruffy, full of burrs and fleas, cold or hot, wet or dehydrated, but never, never, never regretful or remorseful. She’d die before giving even the slightest hint that she apologized and was rethinking her behavior. She was simply inconvenienced for the moment and needed sustenance and a soft bed for the night. Then she’d be back to her old self: sullen bitchiness.

And so why do we tolerate behavior in a cat that would get a kid whacked? We don’t. Christina does. Left to me, Daisy would have revisited the pound on a permanent basis months ago. I’m not much of a cat guy, though I have a great appreciation for Mooch’s playfulness, her athleticism and her sunny outlook. When I think of cats in general, the neurotic, petulant personality profile of Daisy most often comes to mind.

We brought home these cats from the pound a little over a year ago, shortly after the death of Pork Chop, our legendary Himalayan and the coolest cat of all. Pork had been whacked by a car, and, frankly, I missed him, so I was looking for a replacement. I was first attracted to Daisy because she was long-haired like the Porker, big-eyed and, frankly, with all that black hair, pretty. Mooch was an afterthought, a playmate for the elegant one. Boy, did I get that wrong.

Daisy with her "radical trim"

Daisy: Seussian Phase

Daisy was a grouch from the beginning. In fact, I wanted to name the cats “Grumpy” and “Dopey,” but Christina liked what we’d already chosen and we stayed with it.

Daisy showed evidence of sulky petulance from the beginning and Christina began speculating about the Dear One’s fractured childhood, one obviously in which she had been the center of attention of a mighty kingdom, but had it cruelly snatched from her for some inexplicable reason. I speculated that she was just a snot and that I didn’t like her.

Then came the tree gig. The first time up, Christina called the fire department as any sane person who’s watched TV all her life would. The fireguys reluctantly got Daisy down, but said, essentially, “Lady, this is not part of our job description. Don’t call again.” Afterwards, the challenge grew and even I got involved, buying the ladder, inventing tree removal gadgets and finally, both of us giving up.

She sits there now, thumbing her nose at me, looking at me as if I were a servant, smirking and silently swearing. And I’m thinking, “Dog catcher. Yeh, that’s one we haven’t tried. I can tell them she’s somebody else’s cat….” 

. . .

Dan Smith

Dan Smith
Man of Many Talents

Dan Smith is a long-time, award-winning journalist living in Roanoke, Virginia. A member of the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame, he is an author, radio essayist, community activist, liberal voice, father of two, and grandfather of two. He’s the co-founder and former co-owner/editor of Valley Business FRONT magazine.

You can read about Dan and what he thinks about everything else on his blog at fromtheeditr.blogspot.com and buy his books (which I highly recommend) by clicking on the links below.

CLOG! in Paperback

Dan Smith
CreateSpace - An Amazon Company


Hike at Alta Mons: The rest of the story

Posted March 23, 2014 | Cool Stuff, Photos & Photo Galleries, Random Observations, Today I'm Grateful for... | 2 Comments

My hiking buddy Dan Smith already said all there is to say about the wonderful hike we took yesterday at Camp Alta Mons in Montgomery County in his blog post: First Hike of Spring: Camp Alta Mons.

Dan posted his “best of” photos, but since he’s now just slightly envious of my new iPhone’s camera – as opposed to when he used to ask me when I was going to get a “real” camera – here are some of the ones I took. It’s nice to have a “real” camera that fits in my back pocket!

Note: I don’t have a fisheye lens, so I don’t have the cool effects that some of Dan’s photos have. On the other hand, no one will accuse me of having fish eyes, either ;-)

The mighty editr stalking his prey.

The mighty editr stalking his prey.

The mighty editr tinkering with his camera. Really.

The mighty editr tinkering with his camera. Really.

The mighty editr pays homage to the Moss Mound.

The mighty editr pays homage to the Moss Mound.

A profound lack of vegetation, but a very cool row of sticks.

A profound lack of vegetation, but a very cool row of sticks.

I take the high road; the mighty editr takes the low road.

I take the high road; the mighty editr takes the low road.

"I'm supposed to cross this?"

“I’m supposed to cross this?”

My favorite photo from the trip. I can almost hear the water rushing.

My favorite photo from the hike. I can almost hear the water rushing.

Downstream a bit.

Downstream a bit.

The rocks are a good thing. We'd have gotten mighty wet if these stepping stones hadn't been there.

The rocks are a good thing. We’d have gotten mighty wet if these stepping stones hadn’t been there.

The mighty editr navigates the rocks to arrive safely at the other side.

The mighty editr navigates the rocks to arrive safely at the other side.

A bit of sun and blue sky through the leafless trees.

A bit of sun and blue sky through the leafless trees.

Smooth trail, for a little while.

Smooth trail, for a little while.

The base of the falls. Hoping to go back for a swim in the summer.

The base of the falls. Hoping to go back for a swim in the summer.

Two and a half miles after we started, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Two and a half miles after we started, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

The mighty editr (and hiker) rests before the trek back.

The mighty editr (and hiker) rests before the trek back.

"I have to put the camera up to my eye? How strange."

“I have to put the camera up to my eye? How strange.”

My first selfie

My first selfie, with “singing skies and dancing waters” in the background.

Selfie for two.

Selfie for two.

What a cool place for a flag!

What a cool place for a flag.

I’m very grateful to have the mighty editr as a “hiking buddy” and trail guide, and I’m very grateful to the Universe for providing such a lovely day and such glorious scenery between snows.

What a place sounds like

I couldn’t look through these pictures without a smile on my face and a song in my heart. The song? “Singing Skies and Dancing Waters” by John Denver. The lyrics are here.


Working for yourself puts the “social” in social media

Posted March 9, 2014 | Having Your Own Business, Lessons I've Learned, Random Observations, Welcome to My Life, Working at Home, Writing | Leave a Comment

Daily Routines of People Who Work for ThemselvesLast week I posted a request on Facebook for people who work for themselves to tell me about their daily routines:

“I’d like to write a blog post about the daily routines of people who work for themselves. You can do it in any format you like, whether general or specific, by day or type of day. I’d like to see what they have in common.”

I did this in large part because although I have had my own business for over 13 years, I have never developed a routine that I stuck with for any length of time. I was curious about whether other people had done so more successfully than I have.

The Respondents

I got more and lengthier replies than I had expected. Of course, many of my friends are freelance writers, so I shouldn’t have been surprised. Other replies came from the owner of an advertising firm/magazine, a couple of real estate agents, a computer technician, and another website developer.

Given the volume and detail of response, I could write a whole series on this, but for now I’ll stick to what I started with:

What do the daily routines of people who
work for themselves have in common?

The use of computers for both work and socializing

Social Media Use by the Self-EmployedAcross all of the different careers, the one thing in common is regular use of the computer for communication for both job duties and socialization.

Obviously, the people who responded to my query use Facebook. I think that’s pretty common among people who work for themselves. If we don’t have the literal water cooler and co-workers at hand, working for yourself – even when you have a lot of contact with clients – can be an isolating experience. Social media seems to act as the “virtual” water cooler for people who don’t have co-workers.

Not wanting to have a “real” job


Cow graphic courtesty of www.clipartsfree.net.

It seems that once a person has control of his own (work) life, the idea of going back to a “regular” job become increasingly unappealing.

Some of us don’t have bosses or “cow-orkers” because we prefer not to get involved with dysfunctional people and/or organizations. The term cow-orker. which originated on Usenet and was popularized by Scott Adams the Dilbert comic strip, comes to mind because when I had a “real” job, I felt orked. A lot.


Routine vs. fire-fighting:
"Have you gotten my email yet?"

Is Your Computer on Fire?
Freelance writers tended to have more of a routine – a regular rhythm to their days – than those in occupations that require responding to clients’ urgent (and not so urgent) needs.

Working at home vs. being at home

Working at Home vs. Being Home

Again, writers, including the owner of the ad agency, tended to separate their work time and lives from their “non-work” time. Realtors, computer technicians, and website developers – those prone to have to talk people off cliffs – had a more difficult time doing this. [ Waving hand in air wildly. ] The writers, people with separate offices, people with children, and people who until recently worked in the “real world” placed more importance on spending time with their families, hobbies, and fitness activities.

Taking on the caregiving role:
"Since you don’t have a ‘real’ job”….

Work vs. CaretakingPeople of all occupations who had children, spouses, or friends who needed assistance were more likely to take on the responsibility of caregiving than people – specifically their siblings or spouses – who had “real” jobs. Sometimes this caused resentment, but most people in that situation found some satisfaction it.


I got so many fascinating (and well-written!) responses that I could write a book based only on one week’s worth of responses, but to summarize:

  • Self-employed people use the computer for socialization to prevent the feeling of isolation that can occur from working alone.
  • Self-employed people tend to want to remain self-employed.
  • The amount of routine and their a self-employed person has seems to vary with the extend of the job requirements related to immediate responsiveness. The greater that need – whether in personal matters or in client interactions – the less routine a person is able to maintain and the less he is able to separate work and the rest of his life.


There’s something about building a greenway trail near a sewage treatment plant

Posted March 2, 2014 | Lessons I've Learned, Products Mentions & Reviews, Today I'm Grateful for... | One Comment

Tinker Creek Greenway Scenery

Tinker Creek Greenway Scenery.
Photo credit: Anniston Star

Today my walking buddy Dan took me to a part of the Roanoke Greenway I’d never visited before. He called it “the Vinton trail.” It’s not a long hike, but there are lots of hills, so we got a good workout.

What Dan failed to mention – perhaps because his sense of smell isn’t quite as keen as mine – is that this section of the Roanoke Greenways, officially called the Tinker Creek Greenway (click here for a map of the Greenway trails), passes very close to the Roanoke sewage treatment plant and the “pond” thereby.

No, we did not take pictures, but I did manage to find the one above that I think adequately conveys visually what one experiences olfactorily when walking past.

What I Learned Today

Vicks VapoRub

This photo of Vicks VapoRub comes from diapers.com, which seems insanely appropriate.

I am very grateful to Dan for giving me an excuse to get out of my apartment and into the Big Blue Room. However, the next time he mentions the “Vinton trail,” I’m going to get him to stop at a drug store on the way over so I can get myself a big ol’ jar of Vicks VapoRub.

Hey, I’ve watched CSI enough to know that’s what coroners rub under their noses when they have to work with decomposing bodies. If it can cover up that smell, I’m betting it can deal with the odiferous accompaniment to what was otherwise a very pleasant walk.

As an aside

Roanoke Valley Resource Authority

“Like” the RVAR on Facebook. Or not.

On the way home, we got to drive by the Tinker Creek Transfer Station – the prettiest dump I’ve ever seen anywhere. However, it is apparently illegal to post a photo of a public waste disposal station on the Internet.  I was unable to find even one picture – not even on Google Maps – that showed the lovely brick building to its full advantage. In my search, however, I  discovered that the Roanoke Regional Resource Authority has a Facebook page. I’m still debating about whether to “like” it or not. I definitely would if that had a picture of its nice building.

Tinker Creek Transfer Station Interior

The interior of the Tinker Creek Transfer station as featured in Public Works magazine

I’ve been inside, and if you plan it right, you can stay in your vehicle and just fling your trash out the window without having to touch the floor. On my trip, I did not plan that well. Ewww.

But while I could find no photos of the outside of the station, I found several  of the inside. (This just seems wrong, but maybe that’s just me.)

Apparently the machinery that’s used to maneuver the trash from the floor to the ditch at the back of the building and into the rail cars is A Very Big Deal. There’s a whole article about it in Public Works magazine.

No shit. (Sorry; I couldn’t resist.)

Throwback Thursday: 
My father and his second family

Posted February 27, 2014 | My Family - Past & Present, My Kentucky Family, Photos & Photo Galleries, Random Observations, Welcome to My Life | 5 Comments

I don’t usually do “Throwback Thursday” posts, but the Universe – by way of Facebook – sent me a couple of signs that it was time for me to do one.

Yesterday my third cousin Amy posted a high school yearbook photo of my father, and today Facebook reminded me that this would have been my half-brother’s 30th birthday.

My father is #77

Sulphur High School Reserve Basketball Team, 1948.
My father is #77.

I didn’t find out until I was an adult that my father had played basketball in high school. When we moved to Roanoke, he put a basketball goal up in our driveway and taught me how to shoot layups. I was pretty good, too, but I couldn’t dribble or guard worth a darn, so no competitive basketball for me.

His father, my grandfather, played basketball at Sulphur, too, and flunked out because he played more than he studied. But he went on to business school after that and was a store manager at an A&P in Cincinnati, Ohio, when my father was born.

My half-sibs in 2008

My half-sibs, Allen & Adair in 2008

My parents divorced in 1977, and my father remarried on September 11th, 1980. He and his second wife had two children: my half-brother Allen, who was born when I was 24, and my half-sister Adair (who went by her first name, Ashley, until she went to college) when I was 26.

Their mother, only three years older than me, divorced my father when Allen was about 10. This sent Allen into a tailspin, since he and Dad were always very close.

When my father was dying, after me and my brother Charlie had done all the caretaking we could, it was Allen and Adair who went to visit him in the nursing home. When Dad died in July of 2005, it was Allen who took it the hardest.

Soon after Dad died, Allen started having gran mal seizures. He never went to a neurologist, and he wouldn’t take the anti-seizure medication his GP gave him because the seizures didn’t happen but three or four times a year.

Allen Hamilton Duvall, 1984-2010

Allen Hamilton Duvall, 1984-2010

However, in January, 2010, Allen had a seizure, came home, saw his mother who had just come back from a trip, and then took a nap. He got up in the night to take a shower, and apparently had another seizure. His girlfriend found him early the next morning, dead on the bathroom floor with the water in the shower running, less than a month before his 26th birthday.

Happy birthday, Allen. It makes me feel better knowing that you’re with Dad.

Out in the Big Blue Room

Posted February 23, 2014 | Cool Stuff, Photos & Photo Galleries, Random Observations, Today I'm Grateful for..., Welcome to My Life | 2 Comments

Carvins Cove through February rrees

Carvins Cove through February trees

This morning my hiking buddy Dan and I went on a trek up the backside of Tinker Mountain, under the high tension wires, and down the other side far enough to get a good view of Carvins Cove.

It was a lovely morning with comfortable temperatures and blue skies – a great day to escape from behind the computer and visit the Big Blue Room.

Dramatic tree

Dramatic tree.

It looked like the trees were upside down.

It looked like the trees were upside down.

They weren't upside down after all.

But they were right side up after all.

The meandering editr.

The meandering editr.

Having been a photojournalist for over 40 years, Dan is notorious for going somewhere, taking photos, and getting a post up on his blog almost immediately. I was going to try to scoop him today – after all, he did drop me off at my house first – but he beat me to it.

You can see his photos of our hike at:
Photos: Two Sunrises, One Mountain, a Lake….”

Dan taking a photo of me while I was taking a photo of something else.

Dan took this photo of me while I was taking a photo of something else. Notice the attractive purple cap and boots, courtesy of my beloved spouse.

I expect that upon arriving home, Dan started writing as soon as he got in the door. Me? I washed the mud off my boots, petted Stripey, had lunch, called my beloved spouse to tell him about the hike, and sat on the couch with every intention of writing this post. However, the road to writing is paved with good intentions, and my sitting became lying which became resting. Eventually I sat up and got on the computer and, of course, Dan’s post was already up.

I hope when I’m 66 I have as much energy as he does, because at the age of 54, I have to fer pete’s sake rest after hiking four and a half miles.

Dan's Selfie of Us

I didn’t take a selfie, but Dan was kind enough to include me in his.

Serving my highest purpose as a kitten nap rest.

Serving my higher purpose as a kitten nap rest.

After a while I was sufficiently rested and caught up on my kitten petting and feeding duties that I could arrange myself in the proper position to serve as a kitten nap rest and write this post.

This evening my beloved spouse will come over, we’ll get Frosty Floats with Diet Coke, and mentally prepare for our respective Mondays.

What a wonderful day :-)

P.S. No, Dan, I can’t write a blog post without mentioning my cat. It’s an affliction, but a very cute and stripey affliction.

Sorrowful loss, awesome love: A tribute to generous souls

Posted February 18, 2014 | Cats, Lessons I've Learned, Today I'm Grateful for..., Welcome to My Life, What Someone Else Said | 14 Comments

Honeybell & Stripey's Wedding Magnet

Honeybell & Stripey’s commemorative wedding magnet

When Stripey and Honeybell got married on Twitter@NoCrybabyDoGs‘ mom Ingrid, who had an etsy shop, made magnets to commemorate the occasion. She sent them to me and Honeybell’s mom and other members of the wedding “pawty.” It was a completely unexpected, very generous, very loving gesture — one of many we received during the wedding planning and the wedding itself.

In the three and a half years since then, Ingrid became sick and was unable to provide for herself or to pay for the medical care Daffy needed.

Another Twitter friend, Dana Moody (@danapixie) created a page to collect money to help Ingrid and Daffy. Dana lives in Oregon, Ingrid and Daffy in Kansas.

You Caring

As Ingrid’s illness progressed, Dana faithfully updated those following the fundraiser about how Ingrid was doing. We prayed for Ingrid, and for Daffy who staying with Dr. Matt. Over the course of the fundraiser, which had a goal of $5,000, 91 people contributed $7,160.

Several weeks ago, Ingrid had surgery. She needed additional care after the surgery, but she was “well” enough to be sent home because her health insurance wouldn’t cover additional residential care. Dana updated us on who was caring for Ingrid and Daffy as the circumstances changed from one stage to another.

This was Ingrid’s last tweet, sent two days ago.

Help was dispatched. Ingrid was taken to the hospital. She passed away peacefully at the hospital today.

Here is an excerpt from Dana’s last update:

@danapixieIt is with great sadness that I tell you that Ingrid has passed away. She was comfortable and at peace. Thank you everyone for all your love and support of her and Daffy over the years. Ingrid was so very appreciative of you all. She loved her twitter pals, they became her family. You all have helped her so much, with your generosity, your love and friendship, your support of her etsy shop, with so much…. Daffy is safe and doing well at Lori’s house. I will be making arrangements to go get her in the next few days…. Thank you everyone. Click here for more.

The anipal community on Twitter is paying tribute to Ingrid and is grateful that Daffy will have a loving “fur-ever” home.

From @ChatteMuse:

“All OTR* A gathering of lights shining peace for Ingrid @NoCrybabyDoGs with grace xx~*CM @danapixie gentle down”

“Draw down the southern cross, Pepi @pepismartdog for the once upon a time @danapixie The Keeper of the Circle”

So many feelings…

I’m sad about Ingrid’s passing. I’m angry that she was sent home from the hospital because she didn’t have the insurance or the money to pay for the additional care that she needed. I’m grateful that Daffy was cared for by a loving vet during Ingrid’s illness and that as she was dying, Ingrid knew that Daffy would have a loving home – in Oregon.

And I am in awe of Dana. She wasn’t related to Ingrid. She didn’t live nearby. She got to know her on Twitter, and when Ingrid needed help Dana not only sent loving words – as so many did – but she went the extra mile and she provided practical help on an on-going basis.

I messaged Dana today before we knew that Ingrid had died to thank her for posting the updates.

She replied:
“thank you for the kind words….but if it wasn’t me I know any of her pals would have done the same thing. x”

I replied, “I’m sure they would have, but you’ve been great about giving updates, and that makes a huge difference. {{{ hugs }}}”

#cammiesstarThere’s a new star in the sky with #cammiesstar today. Ingrid is watching over Daffy and Dana and the Twitter friends she loved so much.

And, with all my heart, I believe that Dana’s generosity has made not just Ingrid’s life, but all the world, a better place.


5 steps to writing a bio an editor or agent will actually read

Posted February 13, 2014 | Lessons I've Learned, Today I'm Grateful for..., Welcome to My Life, What Someone Else Said, Writing | Leave a Comment

Stand out from the crowd Make your resume stand out from the crowd.

I recently attended the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference and was reminded, very pointedly, that if you want to get a job writing, you’re going to have to be more than a good writer who writes about what people want to read. You’re going to have to be able to get the attention of someone who will pay you to do so.

The Conundrum

I am so confused!I love to write, but I develop websites for a living. It occurred to me that if I ever want to get paid to write again (I was a magazine columnist for two years) that I’d need a different resume than the one I have for my “real” job. Because I wasn’t at all sure how to write a resume that didn’t emphasize my ability to code websites, I asked my favorite former editor, occasional walking partner, and supplier of home-cooked food, Dan Smith, to help me out.

He did, I ended up with a bio that we both liked, and he suggested I write a blog post about how to do it. Here ’tis:

Step 1: Start with the basics.

Dan sent me a list of questions, so I started with those:

Date of birth:
Residence and birthplace:
Marital status:
Company: name of company and type of business
Position: and what you actually do all day
Background: education, business history, associations, awards, etc.


  1. What is the purpose of this blog and what are you trying to say? What do you believe its value is?
  2. Talk a little about your philosophy — personal, political, spiritual, whatever applies.
  3. What do you like to do with your time? Why?

Step 2: Edit it down to something reasonable.

ScissorsI sent my answers to Dan: a 5,000 word, 10 page single-spaced brain dump.

“No one would read this,” Dan replied. “Not even you.”

He was right, of course. I had written the first half of an e-book, not something a prospective editor would be willing to read to evaluate my work. But doing the brain dump turned out to be a good way to start. I went back over what I had written and pulled out the important stuff.

Step 3: Write it again…in your voice.

After I had whittled down my first “draft” into something reasonable, it occurred to me if I wanted someone to see how unique I am, that I’d have to find a way to convey that.

You’re unique — just like everybody else is.

Since I’ve always loved answering strange personality quiz questions, I decided that including answers from some of those might help my resume stand out from those containing only the usual resume fodder.

I started with this list:

  1. What is your superpower?
  2. What is your kryptonite?
  3. If you and your best friend were arrested, what’s the first thing you’d say to him/her?
  4. What’s the worst job you ever had and why?
  5. What occupation are you least suited for and why?
  6. What story do you tell everybody about yourself over and over?
  7. What cartoon character would you most like to meet?
  8. Ping Pong Ball LauncherComplete this sentence, entering your own special topic. “I can describe the sex life of a [insert bizarre noun, e.g., ping pong ball, here] in 20 words.”
  9. What root vegetable do you think is funniest?
  10. When I said something strange, people look at me like I have [root vegetable from above] growing out of my head.
  11. What’s one unusual thing about yourself do most people not know?
  12. List three fun facts about yourself.

I combined some of my more interesting answers with the essentials I had culled from my brain dump and stirred it up until it made sense. I sent it back to Dan, hoping that 774 words would be short enough that he’d actually read it this time.

He did.

Step 4: Make it easy to read.

GlassesDan sent my revision back, sans typos, with my content organized with headings and labels to make it easier for an editor to scan.

He added this comment:

“What you have here is a thoroughly entertaining and precise resume that I’d like to see you teach other people to write. HR people would love reading this. And it’s a good blog intro, too. And it’s not 5,000 words….”

:: grin ::

Step 5: Add links and photos to make it interesting.

Then I took my bio and created a blog page for it. I broke up the text with the headings and labels Dan suggested and then added a few photos for visual interest.

After I did that, I sent Dan the link: http://janeson59.com/media-bio-for-janeson-keeley-janeson59-blog/Media Bio in my menu bar.

Does this formula work?

Smiling Ping Pong Ball
:: smile ::

I think so. Not that I’ve had my door beaten down since I posted it two days ago, but after he saw the post, Dan – whose bio includes the phrases “long-time, award-winning journalist” and “member of the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame” – replied:

“Excellent. At the very least.”


And the winner of The Petter giveway is….

Posted February 11, 2014 | Cats, Giveaways, Products Mentions & Reviews | Leave a Comment

Amy Conner Campbell at

Her copy of The Petter will be delivered directly to her door very soon.
The Petter
Thanks to all who entered! I wish I could send a copy of The Petter to each of you, but maybe you can give the URL – http://www.thepetter.com/ – to someone the next time a present-giving holiday comes around :-)

Special thanks to the friendly folks at The Petter for sponsoring the giveway.

You rock!

P.S. Stripey says thanks for adding a cat to the cover!

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