Throwback Thursday: Using OneNote Like It Was 1987

I’d have given a lot for a tablet and a Smartphone “back in the day.” And a Livescribe pen. And OneNote, the note-taking nirvana from Microsoft. My friends at Microsoft invited me to take a look at OneNote and share my favorite features with you.

I am completely jealous of the gadgetry enjoyed by today’s students.

Just for the record, OneNote did not exist when I was going to college. Nor did iPads (or anything “i”) or Smartphones or most of the cool tech I see on college campuses. I’d have probably given up hairspray for OneNote, which is saying a lot for the time period. We were packing hair spray like today’s students pack cell phones.

This was the late-Eighties, when girls’ bangs were shellacked to their highest height with extra-hold spray. (As in, five-foot-six-with-the-hair-five-ten.)

The late-Eighties, when Michael Jackson topped the charts with BAD and The Simpsons first aired on TV.

The late-Eighties, when most of us were still using typewriters. (Yes, I’m serious.)

We had to do it the old-fashioned way, with pen and paper, and the dreaded microfiche. (I bookmarked “microfiche,” for all of you who have never heard of it.) We used Post-Its for our reference points, so we could find that perfect quote for later.

I’m telling you, college was primitive “back in the day.”

Here are the five things I’d have loved to do with OneNote during my time at the University of Missouri.

1. Searchability

I know this isn’t a real live word, but I’m telling you, OneNote’s search feature is the biggest time saver in the world.

You just tap the search box in the upper right or use the Ctrl+F (Command + F on a Mac) shortcut key and you can search through everything. That’s text, OCR images… EVERYTHING. And the results list includes your notebook and section names.

One thing to note: if you’re using OneNote Online, your search only extends to the open Notebook and section. However, once you open the full app, you can search across all notebooks.

2. Microsoft Office Interaction

Whether it’s a “Send To OneNote” from Outlook or the ability to link Powerpoint slides to any notebook, the push and pull between the Office Suite programs is amazing. And a huge time saver.

Note: Here’s a link for how to import Powerpoint into OneNote, using the 2010 version (in case you don’t yet have Office 2013.

Tags Summary.pngOffice 2013 offers new fun with the ability to embed Microsoft Excel tables or edit OneNote’s native tables with Excel.

Also, flagging any line in OneNote allows you to turn that line into an Outlook task with a right-click. You can also email any page in your notebook and the formatting will hold in the Outlook message.

3. Tagging (and Tag Summaries)

OneNote’s ability to do Tag Summaries is rocking my world. I’m not what you’d call a neat note-taker (and I never was). I might star, arrow or tag anything on any page.

And then forget where I put it.

In OneNote, I can go to the “Find Tags” button on the Home Ribbon and search for tags. In the search results in the right sidebar, there is a button that says “Tags Summary.” (see example to the right)

If I click into the body of a notebook page, clicking this button will give me a summary of all the tags I’ve flung around everywhere.

Like I said: Rocking my world. I’d have genuflected over this feature in college.

4. Templates

There are all sorts of templates in OneNote, but the student-based ones are fantastic. Here’s a sample:

Just go to the Insert tab and explore the Templates section in the right sidebar (this is in OneNote 2013). The Academic section has groovy templates for students.

There’s also Business and Planners, or you can make anything your heart desires from a Blank template. I can think of a million uses.

5. One-stop Shopping

I love the idea of being able to make a binder for each book, or each class. Not only do I adore that the Hubs and I can share our shopping lists in OneNote, I can embed any file into my notebooks as either an attachment or a printed page.

But my favorite part, especially now that I’m doing more article writing? When OneNote is installed on a computer, Internet Explorer gets two buttons – Send to OneNote and Link to OneNote.

When I use those clippers to send to OneNote, I get the source URL, a date and time stamp, and the formatting of the original webpage. It’s been invaluable for holding my research until I’m ready to write the article.

Note: For my non-IE friends, the Send to OneNote option will show up in the Print menu of your browser after you’ve opened OneNote the first time.

For those of you like me who are long-graduated, what do you wish you’d had back in your college days? If you’re currently in school, what is your best tech tool? Do you use OneNote? Enquiring minds love to know these things here at More Cowbell!

~ Jenny

P.S. If you want to hear about five MORE of my favorite features, head on over to the Microsoft blog – I’m hanging out there today too. :-)

Posted in More Cowbell, OneNote | Tagged , , , | 25 Comments

Humongous Dreams and the Wilds of Colorado

If y’all see me hanging out chatting ANYWHERE online for the next five days, I give you leave to shake your finger at me. I will be “immersing” with Margie Lawson, which is like getting the Keanu Reeves “Matrix upload” of shiny information and skills.

I don’t know that it will be MORE fun than hanging out with the posse here…

Handerpants with Me and GloriaHanderpants with Me and Jess

But it’s going to be pretty darned mind-bending and exciting.

Note: That’s Gloria Richard and Jess Witkins above in a Handerpants moment. 

For me, learning with Margie is a dream I’ve had for many years. More importantly, it is a commitment I made before:

  • The hip surgery
  • The vertigo
  • The contest finals
  • The Hubster’s heart scare
  • And Babykin’s current wicked case of croup

All those things are fine, I promise you. Even my daughter, who is barking like a seal whenever she coughs, will be fine. But the journey has felt outrageously hard.

I need to remember that. I hope you will too. Stuff works out, if you just keep at it.

What big dreams are you realizing this Fall? My very inquiring mind will want to come find this out…in about five days. :-) In the meantime, feel free to spread out a little, have a party and ring those cowbells!


Posted in Amazing Writers, Inspiration | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Undie Chronicles, Vol 25: Are Girdles for Men Called Mirdles?

Those of you who are new to More Cowbell might have missed The Undie Chronicles. The regular posse here knows: When the Undie-verse speaks, we will always listen

I had no idea when this began that there were so many hilarious undie-based topics to discuss. Plus it’s Monday, and I like a good Monday belly laugh. Our pal, Kitt Crescendo, put this gem on my Facebook page yesterday and I’ve been having fits over it ever since.

Man girdle (mirdle)? And why do his undies look like a pouch/pocket or maybe a downward facing rocket?

Here is the photo in question so y’all can see that downward-facing rocket for yourselves.

Mirdle by Kitt Crescendo
Is that a hunk of burning love, or what? (Don’t answer that.)

If that’s not a contraption to inspire lust, I don’t know what is. (Okay, you please do answer that one.)

But seriously, this is right up here with butt implants for me. It’s false advertising.

If I’m going to make the effort to rip off them clothes to get to your goods, they ought to at least be the goods I saw from the outside. And this guy’s chest is hot. With a chest like that, who gives a rip if he’s got a belly?

I know this is a bit hypocritical coming from a blonde gal who darkens her eyelashes with mascara, but at least in that case, the lashes are clearly visible.

Not so with this Mirdle.

And $3.49 was a ton of money back then, considering you could get a piece of candy for a penny. This guy is trying to sell some candy he doesn’t even have, if you know what I mean.

But do you know what had me rolling in the aisles over this ad? That little box at the bottom that says “Try 10 Days Free.”

What, like a man is going to just slip on into this, sweat it up and jiggle his junk…and then give it back? Who would want it back? There could be re-conditioned, “not-so-gently used” mirdles running around all over the place.


Y’all know I had to go look up Man Girdles to see what the latest and greatest apparatus (apparati?) are. I found the Underworks Zip-N-Trim Support Brief Girdle for Men with 8-inch Powerband for $36.99.

Pictures of this thing-a-ma-jiggy assure me that it gives Spanx a serious run for the money. Not only that but it’s MUCH easier to get in and out of. Hmmmm…if only I needed the pouch, I be throwing out those Spanx I use every three years.

Zip-N-Trim customers also spent scads of money on these other gut-sucking items:

Amazon Mirdles

I had no idea there was such a market for this!

Here was how the gals weighed in on Facebook:

Kitt: A man so lacking in confidence that he’d feel he needed a mirdle is probably not my ideal… However, if this is some sort of support for a back injury, maybe.

Patricia: Kitt I was thinking the same thing. That looks like it would really help with folks who slouch. I could use that back brace to help me sit up straight.

Kitt: Corsets are actually great for that and can be quite fun to wear.

I tell you, these ladies entertained me all afternoon, between the original mirdle ad and the chatting. Alas, I was out on a boat with other people, and therefore unchattable. (I’m plenty available to chat today!)

Have you ever tried on a girdle, male or female? What was your experience? Enquiring minds always want to know these things here at More Cowbell!

~ Jenny

Posted in Humor, Undie Chronicles | Tagged , , , , | 30 Comments

Hopped Up for National Coffee Day + Coffee DEALS!

Mondays are traditionally my favorite day here at More Cowbell, but today is truly special because America is celebrating my favorite beverage today: Glorious COFFEE.

I’ve got my t-shirt ready.

Coffee Shirt

My favorite coffee mug.


Here’s where you can get your free (or at least cheap) java jolt today!

Note: Some of you have caught on to this before now, because many of these places have been offering coffee specials for the last several days. This is for everyone hopping on the National Coffee Day training today.

Caribou Coffee is donating 10% of all Amy’s Blend coffee proceeds to CancerCare through October 31.

Dunkin’ Donuts: Free medium cup of Dark Roast Coffee today. This same size and brand will be $0.99 from September 30 to October 5.

Kangaroo Express Convenience Stores are offering 12 oz. cups of Bean Street Coffee for $0.01 today from 6-10 am.

Krispy Kreme is giving away free 12 oz. cups of coffee and offering $1 off all mochas, lattes and ice coffee – today only.

If you live in Colorado, Lamar’s Donuts is giving away free 12 oz. coffees today.

McDonald’s ends it’s two-week giveaway of one complimentary small coffee during breakfast hours.

Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. customers can get free hot or iced coffee today, with the purchase of any other menu item.

Peet’s Coffee is giving free samples of coffee and espresso away today. Additionally, they’re doing a buy-one-get-one-free promo and offering a $2 discount off bags of coffee.

Starbucks offered all kinds of deals and freebies last year, but the only thing I’ve discovered this year is a free shipping offer for any purchase $30 or more on their website.

And finally, for our Canadian friends, Tim Horton’s is selling any size for $1 through today. They gave donuts away on National Donut Day, but the coffee is just coming to you a bit cheaper.

So whether you drink regular, decaf or Bulletproof Coffee, today is the day to celebrate your hot cup o’ love. And if you don’t remember how important that beverage is, please refer to Clair’s story of how a “Cup o’ Joe made her man a Ho.”

If you’re feeling creative, here are 34 Unexpected Ways Coffee Grounds Can Make Your Life Better. After I drink the stuff, I put the grounds on my roses, tomatoes and blueberries, but I’m intrigued by several of the ideas on the list. Face masque, anyone?

Happy Monday, y’all…have a great day, whatever your beverage!

Photo from

Photo from

What role does coffee play in your life? If you don’t drink it, what do you drink? Do you plan to celebrate National Coffee Day? Enquiring minds always want to know these things here at More Cowbell!

~ Jenny

p.s. For those of you following my vertigo story, I am now three days without it, which is almost a record for the month. Keep crossing your fingers that the VRT (vestibular rehab therapy) is working! Thanks!!

Posted in Food & Wine, More Cowbell | Tagged , , , | 30 Comments

Sabotaged by the New WordPress Dashboard

Apparently you have to turn comments and pingbacks on in the new WordPress dashboard, which is about the silliest thing I’ve ever heard. Blogging is all about the conversation for me, and I was kind of bummed out that everyone was so quiet for yesterday’s post on vertigo. As it turns out, the comments default to “unchecked” in the new dashboard.

Now I’m heaping blessings on Kathy Owen (aka K.B. Owen – here’s her blog) because she was the one who told me the comments were closed. Thank you!! The posse here at More Cowbell is the BEST.

And just so you know…comments will never be closed here, unless I’ve died or been eaten by zombies. Even if the zombies got me, I’ll bet they’d still keep the comments on. Y’all are just that entertaining.

~ Jenny

Posted in More Cowbell | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

Vertigo Has Been Spinning Me Right-Round (and Upside Down)

In the 3+ year history of this blog, there has never been a three-week hiatus. I didn’t plan on this last one. I simply couldn’t look at the screen. Those of you who hang with me on Facebook know I’ve been fighting vertigo, and it turns out it’s a lot more common than I thought.

What do I mean by “vertigo?”

Vertigo is when you feel like you’re rotating, rolling and spinning, even when you’re still. Combine this with some walking and wicked motion sickness and you have one wildly unhappy Jenny.

vertigo, BPPV

Yeah…imagine being whipped around in this Epley chair.

Or having the floors and walls move in the Hippie Balance Booth

Or having the floors and walls move in the Hippie Balance Booth

What the heck causes it?

The inner ear can become inflamed because of illness, or in my case, a bad allergy attack.

Also, for those of us over 40, the small crystals or stones found normally within the inner ear tend to become more easily displaced and cause irritation to the cilia of the inner ear’s semicircular canals, leading to vertigo.

Note: When your mom says “you have rocks in your head,” you really DO. Who knew, right?

Also, according to the auditory people? 50 percent of people are at risk to develop vertigo in their lifetime. My doc handed me a six-page leaflet on “benign paroxysmal positional vertigo” (BPPV) and said he sees it several times a year.

How do you get rid of it?

The first few days I had it, I’d have said the only way to calm it down was to remain perfectly still. I spent those days looking at my phone for short periods with my head tilted and one eye closed.

But then I went to an auditory and balance center for testing and they put me in contraptions like the ones you see above. The great thing is, I found out my hearing is normal. The downside is all that jostling made everything worse.

Does anything help?

The night of the testing, my husband and I decided to take my sister-in-law’s advice (she’s a PT) and try the “Foster Half-Somersault Maneuver.” (Stop laughing.)

The problem for me was getting from my bed to the living room where I had room for the Hubs to help me do it. Every time I walked from the bed to the bathroom and back, I hurled. Every time I walked to the kitchen to eat was the same story. Finally, the Hubs let me close my eyes and hang onto his belt to slowly get to the living room.

It took five tries for the Foster maneuver to work for me that first time, and I lost my stomach in between everyone one of them. But that kept the vertigo away for a day or so, which was AWESOME.

Below is a video of THE MOVE. Without it, I promise you I would still be hurling every time I walked.

Cute, eh? I’ve done this thing in most of the rooms at my house, my backseat and the conference room at work. Everyone in my circle now knows what I mean when I say, “I had to do the move.” Really, it’s kind of sad.

You see, this stupid vertigo comes back. I actually fear it more than blood clots since I KNOW what causes those. As far as what causes the spins? I’ve got nothing.

But at least I know if I’m patient, and roll around on the floor long enough, it will eventually go away. For a while.

Have you, or anyone close to you, ever experienced vertigo? How long did it last, and what made it go away? Enquiring minds are dying to know these things here at More Cowbell!

~ Jenny

Posted in Health, Life's Challenges | Tagged , , , | 19 Comments

The Pet of a Lifetime: I’ve Had One…Have You?

Since it was National Dog Day this week, I’m celebrating the pet who rocked my lifetime. Have you had one of those? The kind of pet who’s a member of the family, and who is mourned long after they’re gone?

Hoshi was everything a dog should be: loyal, loving, sweet-tempered, funny. She totally laughed at my jokes and she was around for all my big “life milestones.”

And then one day, 17 days after my daughter was born, Hoshi let me know it was time to go. There are so many up sides to pet ownership, but the biggest downside in my opinion is their short life span.

They will always go before we do. Dammit.

Hoshi lived a stupendously long life for a 90 pound dog; she was fourteen-and-a-half years old when she left to frolic in that Puppy Lake in the Sky.

It’s never easy to say goodbye to a loved one, animal or human. The memories, and the lessons you learned from them, are what help you get through it.

Here’s the Top 10 lessons my Hoshi-Moshi taught me.

(Now everyone go hug your pets!)

1)      50 New Smells A Day

It’s said that dogs need to get fifty new smells a day to stay psychologically alert and happy.  Those daily walks are your dog’s version of reading the paper. I KNOW they’re sniffing every bush, light pole and dog bootie on the block but in reality what they’re doing is “filling the well.” You need to do it too (the well-filling, not the sniffing).

2)      Pay Attention

Take notice of the people, places and things in your life that fill your writing well. With the plethora of daily tasks on all our to-do lists, especially this time of year, it’s easy to let the small simple gifts in our world pass through unnoticed.

3)      Treats Help Everything

One of my dearest friends has tons of pets and, according to her, “any one of her dogs would step over her bloody carcass for one bite of kibble.” (If you have dogs like hers, you might want to skip to #4.)

I’m not suggesting that you allow either you or your pet to get too fluffy in the backside but the world is better with steady rewards of coffee, chocolate, wine, cake or whatever treat that says, “Well done!” to you.

4)      Smile and Wag

What happens when your dog bounds across the room with a smile and a wag of his or her tail and slides under your hand? You pet them, and coo over them, AND YOU SMILE. It’s hard to resist your pet when they’re sweet.

Try to remember this concept. You’ll know when you need it by the way your family rolls their eyes.

5)      Find the best professionals (and trust them)

When Hoshi turned eight, she began to get creaky with arthritis. Akita lifespans average about 10 years so I started getting mentally prepared (though, let’s face it, you never are).

My girlfriend, Mary, who’s a dog trainer, heard my concerns and sent me to Dr. Voll. A few visits with this wonderful vet and Hoshi was a whole new girl. Certainly, we did our part, but Dr. Voll took care of Hoshi for almost seven years and went well above the call of duty. Whenever the inevitable ups and downs of a senior dog would occur, I’d worry that it might be time to let my sweet baby dog go.  On one of those bad days, Dr. Voll looked me in the eye and said, “Stop crying! I’ll tell you when it’s time.”

And she did.

6)      Love Without Conditions

I don’t have to explain this one to any pet owners. Dogs don’t see disabilities, disfigurement, neuroses or any of the other things that tend to squeeze the human brain down the narrow path of judgment. Animals manage to see inside your heart and make their decisions from there.

You’ve heard the saying, “I want to be the person my dog thinks I am,” right? Enough said.

7)      Bring Your “A” Game

It’s not in a dog’s nature to give 50%, at least it wasn’t in Hoshi’s. She traveled the entire West Coast, San Diego to Seattle, and explored every dog beach and mountain range with the same focused zeal.

I’m a software trainer by day and, after September 11th the training projects in Southern California dried up. In 2002, if I wanted work, the dog and I had to hit the road.  We traveled throughout the state, stopping at every available doggie day care along the way. Whether it was Elaine’s Pet Resorts in Fresno or Fog City Doggie Day Care in San Francisco, that dog brought her A-Game. In turn, these places delighted in her visits and always made room for her even when they were full.

8)      Invest In Training

One of my ex-boyfriends owned Hoshi’s parents – she and her four litter mates were literally born into my hands.

Unfortunately, this guy went to the “Well, they mind ME” school of training. This wasn’t so bad with Hoshi’s sire, who had an even temperament, but her mother was a really bad dog and it became a dicey business to have anyone in our house. I began training all five puppies, almost before their eyes opened, in an attempt to counteract the unruly bitchiness of their mother. This kind of rigorous training opened a lot of doors for Hoshi.

The money and time you put into learning will always be worth it.

9)      Service Makes You Feel Good

One of the happiest dogs I know is a Corgi named Boris. His owner, Monique is extremely disabled and gets around mostly by scooter. Mary (the dog trainer from #5 above) has taught Boris to fetch Monique’s keys, her shoes, the paper, and a myriad of other items. Like every pet, Boris thinks his owner is a rock star – he lives to serve Monique and nothing makes him happier than making her happy.

I’m not suggesting that you throw yourself on the altar of someone else’s happiness but I am recommending that you give back. You’ll know your service opportunity when you see it if you’re on the lookout.

10)   Leave People Smiling

Like I said, during my second week home after having my daughter, Hoshi let me know it was her time to go. She’d limped along health-wise through my high-risk pregnancy. I really thought she’d miss the birth but she rallied.

Dr. Voll came when I called her and agreed that it was “time,” though she said I could take a few days.

I contacted all of Hoshi’s friends and opened the house for anyone who wanted to visit. We gave her every treat we had, plus people brought her scads of contraband food. Things like McDonald’s cheeseburgers that give a dog pancreatitis were on the menu that week (though I definitely got the “where has this been all my life” look).

On the big day, Dr. Voll came to the door and we sent our daughter out with a friend for a long walk so we could focus on Hoshi. She polished off the rest of a cheeseburger and moved on to the Honeybaked ham, smiling and wagging all the way.

When the medicine was administered, she never knew it.  I’ve repeatedly thought ‘we should all be so lucky.’

Hoshi was my first “baby girl” and I feel blessed to have learned from her.

Now it’s your turn to celebrate your fur babies in the comments.

International Business Times shows their picks for “the Top 5 Dog Stories of the Year.”

Do you have pets? What lessons have they taught you? Enquiring minds LOVE to know these things here at More Cowbell!

~ Jenny

Posted in Inspiration, More Cowbell | Tagged , , , , , | 29 Comments