Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"Happy Birthday to You" . . . And Me!

Attention, schmoopy post to follow!!

Yes, if you know me, you know that I've been a smitten little kitten for some months now, and I'm going to talk about The Boy in this post. 'Twas his birthday today (don't worry, I only say "was" because he's already turned in for the night!) and it was so fun to have somebody I love to celebrate. In case you didn't know, I love birthdays with great passion and celebrate them with abandon.

Today wasn't all that eventful, I suppose, unless you're like me and consider yourself lucky and blessed to have a wonderful person in your life whom you are excited to fete. And, even better, one who thinks it's top-notch and most important to celebrate his day with you. I am just that kind of lucky and blessed, it seems. It's been a long time coming, finding The Boy, so I'm grateful most of all.

He loved his present, which was actually a "mini" gift - these cute little spreaders with footballs as the handles and a cool bowl made for yummy dips; we love to cook and since his set of "chef" spreaders include one little guy missing an arm, they seemed like the perfect initial gift. His *real* present is one of the more brilliant ones I've come up with, maybe ever (and I'm a damn fine gift-giver, y'all) but, alas, wasn't ready for the big day itself. That just means the birthday fun gets extended, I told him . . .

I actually got a big present today, too - I give him the credit for this being a "good luck kind of day" - since I got a job! I've been looking for something else to do to - what's that expression? oh, that's right, "supplement my income"! - and start tomorrow, bringing service, coffee, eats and adult beverages to the masses at [Cute Neighborhood Spot]. Yay!

Oh, I love birthdays, whether mine or someone else's. Happy Birthday, indeed, to The Boy - and to me!

As Always,
Carrie Neal

Thursday, August 19, 2010

48 Days

That's it. Just 48 days. Basically, what, a month and a half? In the grand scheme of things, the big picture, or heck, even in the immediate term given how fast time flies (whether you're having fun or not!) . . . the blink of an eye.

According to Dan Miller, that's all it takes to get to the work you love, provided you're willing to be 1) introspective, 2) diligent and 3) proactive. That's my "translation" of the central message of this amazing book I just started reading and doing (how does one do a book, you ask? Read on, and get yourself a copy of this one if you are up for the reading-and-doing approach to right-tracking yourself . . .) - 48 Days to The Work You Love.

I'm on Day 3 and, three being my favorite number, decided that one perfect way to "announce" the work I'm doing with and on myself, and in the so-very-serious intention of finding that work I love (making your intentions public is something Miller strongly advises and encourages in the book), was to share it with everyone here. If you've read books like First, Break All the Rules or Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham, or are familiar with the StrengthsFinder concept and test by Tom Rath, you'll immediately get the gist of what Miller's saying in his book: to find your real work calling and to be your best self as a person and a working contributor to society, you have to be willing to look inward, assess some key things and figure out what makes you tick, sing, hum, etc., and do the work to implement those things in your life. Then, you'll be on the right track to fulfilling your work-life - and all of your life.

If you or someone you know could benefit from rolling up your sleeves and doing the work to get to the Work You Love  - like I can! - this is the book to get.

Off to do my start-to-the-day assignment for Day 3.

As Always,
Carrie Neal

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Magis Moment

It breaks my heart, the things that people do when they get divorced. Sparing unnecessary details about my own travails, I will share this . . . It's been five years since I lost my first "own" dog, my sweet Magis, and I just found out that cancer had ravaged her body and she had to be put down. I'm a wreck; yes, all these years after being called an "unfit dog parent" and ceding "custody," I still have missed that dog (who many of you probably had no idea ever existed, because I never mentioned her!) and am distraught at knowing what she must have suffered through.

Magis was one of the key parts of my early "grown up life" and, along with the first car I bought for myself (including all negotiations!), and my precious little condo in the Highlands, she was integral to what I'll call CN's Adult Life, the Early Years. I had to compartmentalize her, so to speak, when she was taken from me, and relinquish her to a bygone era of my life, but this news - coming unexpectedly and abruptly - has thrown me a gut-wrenching curveball.

Our pets are family; I'll be beyond the pale when something happens to Big one day. Coincidentally, today's "Dr. Phil" is about dog fighting and, by extension, animal abuse. If you have a dog you love, or you just think such insane cruelty is abhorrent like I do, watch the show. If you want to do more, contribute time or money to your local Humane Society - Magis was an Atlanta Humane Society adoptee and like other dogs in my family over the years, just a wonderful animal - and know that you are helping dogs like my sweet first child get to loving homes. Visit for info on the American Humane Society or to find locations near you.

With sadness, I share this Magis moment with you. My consolation is that even though it wasn't by me in her last days, I am sure this great dog was loved. If you have pets, hug them a little tighter today, just for Magis and me.

As Always,
Carrie Neal

Thursday, August 12, 2010

"On Censorship"

Censorship. Doesn't happen HERE, you say, in these United States! We have Freedom Of Speech! We can say what we want, when we want to, wherever we want to - virtual or real-time, online or off! C'mon, CN, what in the world are you doing bringing up such an antiquated concept? Puh-lease.

I'll tell you where censorship exists. On sites like Yelp. That's right, you read that correctly. My beloved Yelp is at times the verbal - or proverbial - word Gestapo. Go too far, say too much and you, too, could find yourself kicked off the island, just like my buddy Kit.

Sure, Kit could pen a madly outrageous and oftentimes offensive-to-some review or post on a talk thread. He was also madly entertaining, hilarious and (drumroll please) . . . almost always spot-on in his assessment of the subject matter at hand. Does his vulgarity outweigh his right to self-expression, to - here's that phrase again - freedom of speech? Apparently according to The Powers That Be at Yelp, it did, and his account was deleted.

I think that's a big ol' barrel of hooey.

"Real People. Real Reviews." As another buddy and fellow Yelper would say, "Hmm." I'm throwing out the censorship card on Kit's eviction and proclaiming something to be rotten in the state of Denmark, er, Yelp-land.

What do you think? Have you been subject to, or have you witnessed, recent clamp-downs on personal expression in forums that are meant for just that? If so, have any of them had the element of pay-for-play, where a business or ad-buyer, for example, might have some influence in such censure being applied?

Food for thought, indeed, methinks.

As Always,
Carrie Neal

P.S. If you want to check out the musings of one ex-communicated Yelper, visit Kit's blog at Fried Chicken Lips . . .

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!!

Greetings and Salutations!

It has been nearly a year since I "launched" this new site and, shamwow, is there a lot to update and relate!

First, it is one of the best days of the year in "Carrie Neal Land," my birthday! In some ways, it is a difficult day but it has been made much sweeter by the onslaught of wishes and thoughts I've received in every form . . . modern technology is a blessing and to all of you who've called, texted, FB'ed, etc. I thank you from the very bottom of my heart!

Today would also be the start of year five of my very first website, I decided that project had run its course and have archived it, and am on to new and different things and pennings, including this site! Now, it is where you will find the adventures and developments in not just "Carrie Neal Land," but related to the other ventures and endeavors, literary and *real world*, that make up my world. Stay tuned for all manner of exciting stuff!

I am still proudly representing Stella & Dot as a Stylist, and if you haven't already, you need to check out all of our gorgeous pieces for the girls in your life, at my e-boutique . . .

I've also just gotten on board with a local "foodie" publication, Atlanta Cuisine (soon to be known as "Food & Beer Atlanta") and you will be able to find my musings there soon.

This update is to let you know that many fun things are in store, in Carrie Neal Land and for you, as friends, followers and "patrons." Look forward to talking to and with you all regularly from all of my new posts!

As Always,
Carrie Neal