An Open Letter to Elon Musk

Dear Mr. Musk (may I call you Mr. Musk?)

I wanted to write you to say that I told myself I would never buy a “new” vehicle. The markup, depreciation and racket of modern automotive purchasing made me queasy. I’m a woman of modest means, but when I heard Tesla was releasing a vehicle in my financial reach I did not hesitate. Your dedication and labor towards a better future, beautiful design and effortless tech inspired me to change my thinking. So today I put down my 1k deposit. I want my money to support innovation, growth and responsibility to my fellow man. And I think purchasing a Model 3 is the best way for my dollars to say that. Thank you for giving us hope that things can change for the better.

-Dani Howell

How to Potty Train a Cat

My two cats, Cowboy and Mini are potty trained and folks are always amazed by it. “You don’t have a litter box?!” “Wow, how did you do that?!” So here’s my post on how I went about potty training my sweet boys.

Cowboy going potty

Cowboy going potty

Staring when they are young is ideal, but not required. You do need a few things to get started toilet training your kitty:

  1. Patience
  2. Dustpan and small wisk broom
  3. Citi Kitty cat toilet training kit (or similar product)
  4. Bio-degradable cat litter (I used Swheat Scoop)
  5. Cat treats that your cat loves
  6. Clorox/Lysol wipes

Start with designating a bathroom for kitty. If you only have one, you can share, but it can get a bit messy. Be sure it’s an area they will always have access to. Think about guests coming over, children etc. The designated training bathroom will be messy with cat litter on the floor for about 4-6 weeks. Accept that.

Using toilet safe, biodegradable litter (I used flushable wheat litter) put the kitty litter box in the bathroom. Right next to the toilet. It will be messy (kittens especially fling litter everywhere) so get a dustpan and broom and keep it in the bathroom. Also wise to keep Clorox/Lysol wipes for any accidents.

After a week, open your toilet training kit. Follow the directions. It will take 4-6 weeks for kitty to get used to it, so don’t rush anything. The idea is to create a surface for the kitty to use, then slowly remove the rings so there’s nothing but a big hole to go in. Cats naturally dig a hole, go, and cover…so these kits emulate their natural instincts.

The first few times, you have to watch kitty. Do the intro phase on a time where you will be home a lot. (For me it was the weekend). Just like potty training a human, they need positive reinforcement. Keep treats in the bathroom so when they jump up and go potty, they get a treat. My cat got to the point where if he wanted a treat he’d go pee. If kitty poops/pees elsewhere, don’t scold. Clean it up IMMEDIATELY and put something in that area to deter her. Once my kitty pooped in the tub. So I cleaned it up then put about an inch of water in the bathtub to deter him from jumping back in there. Needless to say the next time he tried it he wound up with wet paws. That was the last of that! Cat’s don’t like certain smells, aluminum foil or noises. So if you find kitty going in an inappropriate place put something there where they won’t go back. I’ve also used SSSCat! Training Aid. It works wonders.

The designated bathroom and toilet must always be available! Make sure the toilet lid is always up, seat is always down and the bathroom door is always open. Kitties unfortunately don’t understand the concept of ‘holding it’ so if they have to go and the door is closed they will just poop in the hallway. Hallway poop is no fun.

Once kitty is trained, use clorox/lysol wipes to clean the potty. But be careful to ventilate and keep area smelling neutral. Be sure not to leave any smelly chemicals either in the water or on the potty (like Pinesol or toilet bowl cleaner etc) because if they come to the potty and it smells chemical-ly they won’t go. Kitty will find another spot. I have a designated kitty bathroom, no one else uses it. I clean it about once a week (their bathroom is usually pretty clean but I clean it anyway) and I make sure to use pretty neutral smelling cleaners and I keep the vent fan on while I clean.

Bam! Now you have no icky litter box! But keep in mind…kitty poops and urine still smells, so you’ve gotta flush! I haven’t trained them to do that so far.  😉

Snark, Twitter & Beer

Sooo this just happened.

Yesterday evening whilst I was imbibing homemade Strawberry Basil Margaritas, I received a Twitter DM. I saw it and immediately thought it was an Auto DM with the purpose of trying to sell me something. “This is what I get for following a dude with 19K followers” I thought to myself. So this is what I wrote back this morning around 9am:

Image

My snark was intended to mean: don’t try to sell me something without engaging with me first. One of my biggest pet peeves is Auto DMs and people following folks and trying to peddle their wares before at least making small talk. I see Twitter as a giant cocktail party. How would you feel if someone shook your hand and said “Hey, buy my stuff“. Not cool. So, in my generally snarky, smartass way, I replied back “…buy me a drink first”.

YngProfessional asked for my mailing address. I figured he was going to send me the book or something, so I replied cautiously with my work address (just in case he was a psycho at least he’d have to get through the building and find me first). This afternoon at 2pm a big box wrapped in green wrapping paper shows up. Inside is a letter, 6er of Fat Tire beer (YUM) and my favorite snack, pistachios.

Y’all THIS is engagement.

fat tire

The note was handwritten from the YngProfessional. It was kind and professional (true to his name). And I have to say, I was impressed just as much as I was creeped out. Ok, maybe a little more. But you know what? Creepy factor aside, this meant something. It meant he WAS listening and he WAS seeking engagement and realism. You’d have to at least read my twitter bio to know how much I love pistachios. There’s a right and a wrong way to go about social media, and I feel that this made up for the earlier faux pas.

I was pleasantly surprised and I hope to bump into him one day and say thanks for reaching out. What say ye dear readers? Creepy or awesome?

Flight Math

Flight to Vegas from Nashville: 4 hours. 20 minutes. No stops.

Flight from Vegas to Nashville: 3 hours, 25 minutes. No Stops.

whut? O_0

Either a predictable crazy tailwind OR maybe newer plane? That’s a big ‘ol difference.

Conference

Just found out I’ll be speaking at the 16th Annual Greystone.Net Healthcare Internet Conference. Woot! Staying at the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Speaking Wednesday November the 14th. My partner in crime business will be speaking with me about how we manage over 100 websites for IASIS.

On the Fence? The Top 10 Reasons to Attend BarCamp Nashville

If you are still debating on whether or not to attend BarCamp Nashville this year, lend me your eyes and read on so I can convince you not to miss one of Nashville’s biggest tech events:

The Top 10 Reasons to Attend BarCamp Nashville (from my point of view)

10.  Beer – You know this event is at a bar, right? Nothing says “I want to learn” better than getting buzzed by 1pm. Seriously…this isn’t your average stuffy-know-it-all conference…this is a laid back learning experience and it’s amazing.

9.  Friends – I bet you know at least one other person going to this event. If you don’t, guess what? I can almost promise you will leave with a new contact that could turn into a great friendship/partnership.

8.  Me – Connecting IRL with folks you LOL with online is great. BarCamp is a real world platform to meet the folks you chat, twitter and FB with daily.

7.  Food – Even though you have to pay for lunch, the Barcamp crew provide coffee & snacks to get you ready to sieze the day.

6.  Ideas – If you enjoy surrounding yourself with people whose opinions and attitudes make you think critically about your own methods and practices…you’ll love this event.

5.  Rule – As in, the Rule of 2 Feet. Ever been to a conference only to get stuck in sessions that cover topics that don’t interest you? That is basically an impossible scenario at BarCamp. There are usually 3-4 sessions planned for each time slot, and if you feel you aren’t benefitting from the session you decided on you just get up and walk to a different one. It’s that simple, and no one has hurt feelings. You are in total control of your learning experience.

4.  FREE – Generally people love the word free. BarCamp is a truly impressive learning event and it will cost you nothing.

3.  Sharing – If you’re attending BarCamp, you’ve got something to share. Some nugget of info inside your head may just be the key to unlocking someone else’s mysteries. Share yourself! Because it feels great knowing you can help others…no matter what your level of expertise.

2.  Networking – Nashville seems a whole lot smaller when you have so many important folks in one bar. You never know who is going to be there and what opportunities this event could lead to. At the very least, you will come away with a few business cards and perhaps a few friends.

And the #1 reason is…..

1.  Learning – That’s right. At BarCamp, you’ll be surrounded by smarty pants. Attend sessions and engage in conversations to cram as much knowledge in your brain as you can. I’m definitely hoping some smart rubs off on me.

I’m Taken!

9/10/11

I picked an anniversary date he wouldn’t be able to forget. Jeff Howell and I got married at the Northpointe Red Barn in Jackson, MS on that date. The hustle and bustle of the day was amazing and it went by far too quickly. I spent the day getting ready with my best girlfriends at my hotel suite. Next thing you know…it’s 3pm…time for pictures. We drove to the Red Barn to finish getting ready. I slipped into my dress and we went outside for group photos. I didn’t want to see Jeff until the “moment” so he and his groomsmen took pics after we were finished and back inside. Then *bam* it was 5pm. Time to walk down the isle. My bridal march was an atypical song, “Nothing else Matters”….a Metallica song covered by Apocalyptica. I peeked around the corner to try to see Jeff for the first time. He was up at the front waiting on me. I was so nervous…just telling myself “don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry”. And I managed to stay tear free….until Erin Cubert read “To My Valentine” by Ogden Nash. I feel to pieces and stayed all weepy until the end. I had to strain to say my vows so my voice wouldn’t crack! We kissed then Woosh! It was over. Outside for more pics…then inside for drinking, dancing and food. There were so many great moments...twirling around on the dance floor…smearing icing on Jeff’s nose…seeing all our friends. The atmosphere was electric. Lindsey and her crew from dandyLion Events set everything up and designed the space so well, I could hardly believe I was in the same venue I booked. The lighting, decor and special touches were phenomenal. We ate cake, then tossed the bouquet & garter to giddy guests.  We left amidst sparks and sped away in a classic Mustang. All said and done, I was happy, exhausted and married to my best friend.

Change is Good

I’m officially changing jobs. I’ll now be working for IASIS Healthcare starting July 25th! I’m super excited to get over there because I know it’ll be great for my career growth.

The Gift of Skydiving

I took Jeff skydiving as a surprise this past weekend. He didn’t even know what he was going to do until we drove up to the airfield. A grin spread across his face a mile wide. I knew he had always wanted to go. I bought him one jump and myself one ride along. I have no desire to jump out of an aircraft. But the experience was amazing. The plane did a nose dive after all the jumpers were out….we actually beat them to the ground. Jeff said the jump was one of the best things he’s ever done.

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