Showing posts with label Blogging. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blogging. Show all posts

October 4, 2023

On the Occassion of My Favorite Poet Coming to Town

(If that isn't a pretentious title for you, I don't know what is).

Compromise. Disappointment.  It's all in that package called "parenthood."

I was aware that when one decides to become a breeder (oh, that snarky pre-kids word I loved using to label parents), one accepts that one's body, one's life, one's sleep will be forever changed.

The constant interruption---

N'other Bite of Yogurt! More!!

---is hard to accept, but you get used to it, mostly.  Just like you get used to most things, or so you think.

Believe it or not, I had a life, a pretty nice one before starting a family.  There's no regrets there, but sometimes it feels good to reconnect with that former self.  Once in a while, I'd like a quiet dinner out with my husband, or to take a walk with him around town without having to travel a certain way to avoid too many unsloped curbs where strollers are not welcome, or even dabble in something creative.

In my undergrad days, I considered myself a writer.  Well, more of someone who loved the idea of being a writer.  I did write, sometimes, and I think I was pretty good at it.  The work ethic and motivation wasn't always there (I struggle a lot with that aspect of myself in all areas), but I knew a good poem when I saw one.  This was one of those poems, that still sticks with me.

The One Girl at the Boys Party by Sharon Olds, (1983)

When I take my girl to the swimming party
I set her down among the boys. They tower and
bristle, she stands there smooth and sleek,
her math scores unfolding in the air around her.
They will strip to their suits, her body hard and
indivisible as a prime number,
they'll plunge in the deep end, she'll subtract
her height from ten feet, divide it into
hundreds of gallons of water, the numbers
bouncing in her mind like molecules of chlorine
in the bright blue pool. When they climb out,
her ponytail will hang its pencil lead
down her back, her narrow silk suit
with hamburgers and french fries printed on it
will glisten in the brilliant air, and they will
see her sweet face, solemn and
sealed, a factor of one, and she will
see their eyes, two each,
their legs, two each, and the curves of their sexes,
one each, and in her head she'll be doing her
sparkle and fall to the power of a thousand from her body. 
Now I don't consider myself much of a poet or writer (this blog is really just dabbling, nothing writer-ly) but every now and then I get the urge to visit that old self, just for kicks.  I blame Chris this time, for having his own, self-discovered love of poetry, for bothering that writer-on-holiday who doesn't want to be bothered with kids (but would have no problem using them as poem fodder!).

Just this morning, before Chris left for work, we talked about engaging in a collaborative writing activity, maybe a conversational poem or something that would make our former selves feel less comatose.  Then, about a half an hour later, he texted me saying Sharon Olds, author of above poem, was coming to the university.  Squeee! I had waited my entire 20s to hear her read her work, and here she was, coming to my little hick town.

I frantically checked the calendar.  And my enthusiasm sank.

Ding, dong. Trick-or-Treat night.  Certainly this was a trick.  But as with most things now, it's a disappointing compromise between kid-world and my own desires.  And of course in the name of all that is good and right, the kids' needs (usually) come first.  To be fair though, I do love Halloween, and am looking forward to making up for last year's disaster, so this decision won't be made lightly.

The ability to be two places at once, or namely, two people at once, just can't be.  It's a bitter pill to swallow sometimes, but as the years go on, it does get easier.  Please tell me it does.

September 16, 2023

Men, Fathers, Writing

Something I have been encouraging my husband to do for a long time has come into our conversation yet again this weekend: starting a blog.  Yes, it's easy to encourage everyone I know to start one (maybe I'm just curious about their inner lives and experiences) however I understand it's hard to get one's feet wet when attempting such a daunting project, at least in the minds of those who haven't even kept any sort of regular diary.
Chris is a good writer, despite his protests.  While it may take him 10 hours to write a paragraph, he has a lot to say.  I can't tell you how many times sitting at the kitchen table I have said "well, if you had a blog, you would totally write about this!"

There certainly seems to be an underserved niche in blogging honestly about fatherhood and what it means to be a man.  The dad blogs I've visited tend to lean to the humorous, wry side of things rather than delving into the meat of the matter (forgive me if I'm just plain wrong; I haven't read all that much of dad/man blogs lately).
Some of Chris' dilemma about starting a blog is feeling that he has too many random things to say (um, sounds a little like my blog?).  But he is frustrated at the lack of men's magazines that are not just advertisements for $400 watches and $1200 pink suits (seriously! He was just flipping through one).

So my question is multi-layered and open-ended.  What do you think actual men you know would be interested in reading about (Duck Dynasty aside)?  Do the men you know read blogs?  Or write them?

November 9, 2023

Where Are You Coming From?

Every so often, usually at the request of a PR rep, I decide to look at my statistics via Site Meter.  This evening, expecting an embarrassingly disappointing number, I clicked on the stat link at the bottom of my blog, and was pleasantly surprised to find that the visitors just keep increasing.

Yay for you! Thanks so much!

But seriously, where are you coming from?  Why are you reading?  I'm not being accusative, just curious.  Posting has been pretty sparse around here as of late, new baby, preschooler, freak snowstorms with internet outages, yada yada yada.

If you're a new or shy or reluctant-to-comment visitor, go on and leave me a comment letting me know how you came across this humble little blog.  I'd love to hear from you (and promise not to pester you! Though also as of late, I've been terrible responding to comments, though I do try!).

January 3, 2024

New Beginnings

After what seems like weeks of being away from this blog, I finally feel ready to start writing again.  While breaks are wonderful, and mostly restful, it's nice to get back into routines.  Though the first day back is tough (ie. today), once the momentum starts, things usually fall into place.
That goes for the blog too.  I feel like I've been neglectful this past month or so, with the holidays and pregnancy fatigue, but am ready to start fresh this year.  On New Year's Eve, we did a majorly-needed cleaning of the house, including packing up all the Christmas decor, and it feels great.  Though I'm in desperate need of some wintry decor (thanks so much to my dear friend Shana who gifted me with paperwhites!).
I hope to do the same here, like tidying up the sidebars, finally setting up Google Analytics, Jill at Scary Mommy has a great post on sprucing up your blog for the new year, and I'd really like to use some of her tips, like downloading the Alexa toolbar and updating my "about" page.

Though I'm not one to make resolutions (I tend to make and break them all year long), here are a few things I'd like to work on this year:
  • practice yoga 3-5 evenings a week
  • eat more fish and seaweed (honestly!)
  • be less obsessive about keeping a tidy house
  • send more letters, especially to the kids in my life
  • get Soren and myself outside for at least a few minutes every day, even when it's freezing
  • be a better blog commenter and respond to comments in a timely fashion!

Happy New Year to you friends!  Hope it's a good one thus far.

July 10, 2023

blogging 101 series at parents' connect

If you're at all interested in making your blog better, nicer, more flashy, etc. etc., check out the Blogging 101 series running over at the Nickelodeon Parents' Connect site. It's coordinated by the funny and provocative Jill from Scary Mommy.
And check out my interview there regarding blog templates and techy stuff. You might just learn a thing or two. Oh, and there are daily prizes to be won too! You do need to register there, but it's a great site for all kinds of kid and parent related information.

April 26, 2023

radishes and rainy days

I've been in a funk lately and haven't felt like posting much, or at least much that is interesting to me or you. Have you had weeks like this? Some of it's the spring weather and wanting to be outside as much as possible, hence the lack of my online presence. Today it's rainy, so we're just hanging out at home, chewing on blankets.
In lieu of cruising blogs, I finished up my radish embroidery this morning, which I started yesterday at work using some found fabric and embroidery floss remnants.
I just free-handed it, like I was making a line drawing with pencils (don't hate me). I'm pleased with how it turned out, since often when I just wing it, I'm disappointed in the results.
For some reason I've been obsessed with radishes lately. I made a silhouette one to hang on the wall by the steps, though it more resembles a beet. See, the freehand thing doesn't always work out.
I just planted some radish seeds in the garden too! Their crunchy, spiciness is great in salads or just with a sprinkling of salt.

I love love love this sewn one at fawn+forest, despite the (intentional?) mis-matched seams.
And how cool is this Japanese radish fabric from Etsy.
Not typical radish colors, but still pretty. I could see it as a girls' pillow case dress. I think navy blue is such a fresh color for this season.

I ended up hanging my embroidery in the kitchen, next to my wall-mounted onion/potato bin.
Just a little something to make me happy when I'm picking out onions for dinner.

September 18, 2023

Clue Me In

I've noticed a lot of bloggers switching to Disqus for their commenting, and am wondering why? To be perfectly frank, I find the step of leaving comments with Disqus is so time consuming, especially that it doesn't save my info for some reason. It also slows down your blogs, at least on my end, even with a high speed connection. So what's the deal? Is it worth it using it? What are the benefits? Honestly, I've neglected leaving comments on some blogs because of this.

Thank you.

July 24, 2023

Chicago and the BlogHer Insanity

Finally I'm posting about BlogHer in Chicago, quite late because the internet service has been spotty, and also my goodness, it's nuts here! So many people and so much to take in. I'm so shy in real life, hence the blogging rather than meeting face to face, so this has been quite a change. You think I'd be used to it since I was a teacher, but it's always a struggle. Especially when there are so many big time bloggers here.

So far there have been lots of parties, tons of free stuff (really, I'm not trying to rub it in to those of you not here), and a gorgeous city that I sadly won't be exploring, since the conference and after-party schedule is so packed. I have my el-crapo camera, not my Canon, since I was too afraid I'd break it in the luggage, so the photos are bad.

I did have to post a few photos of all the swag that companies dole out on bloggers. It's insane! And since it seems that social media is the advertising of the future, corporations are targeting bloggers, as we all know already from the number of giveaways on blogs. Here's a shot of just some of the stuff.
Notice the Kodak HD video camera in the top right. So insane.
Crocs sandals, reusable bags galore, free coupons...I'm quite overwhelmed by all this stuff. You could say that overwhelmed is the word of the day for me. But in a good way.
Even iVillage had flowers placed in each hotel room. Isn't that insane?
Oh, and a winery was giving out bottles of Chardonnay, but I'm sure that won't make it onto the plane. Naomi and I went to a lovely dinner last night hosted by Frito Lay, and had some awesome Cuban fusion food, and lots of mojitos, which explains the poor quality of sleep I got last night. I think I've made up for all the alcohol I didn't consume this past year all in one night. The funniest part about our dinner was leaving this fancy-schmantzy restaurant (Carnivale) carrying bags of Frito Lay chips. Classy.
Sampling of food from the Social Luxe Party

I've been enjoying the Geek Lab sessions, naturally--trying to gather some good tips for my Tech Tuesdays. And of course my favorite part by-far is meeting some of my blog friends in real life, like Naomi and CanCan. I'll let you know if someone actually recognizes me or my blog (highly doubt it). I hope to meet at least one reader! Oh, and for all of you East Coasters like me, they announced this morning that next year's conference will be in New York City! I'm sure you'll be happy Nicole, that you can just take the subway to the event.

Off to another session, so bye for now.
Love to you SoJo and Mr. Geek! I miss you boys...

July 21, 2023

Getting Ready for BlogHer

Though I'm still sniffling, sneezing and coughing through this cold, I'm still gearing up for my trip to Chicago and the BlogHer conference on Thursday. I hope I'm not sitting next to you on my flight from Philadelphia, cuz I'd hate to infect you with my germy sickness. My roomie is already sick, so hopefully this won't affect her. And my apologies to those of you not going to the conference, since you're probably so sick of seeing posts about it. Look away, at least until next week.

Someone recently asked me "what is this conference all about?" and my dear Mr. Geek (who's playing Mr. Mom this weekend) summed it up for him--"it's like when people go to the Elks club, it's a social thing." (do you know the Elks club? Kind of like Rotary or the Moose. My parents were memebers) I couldn't have said it better myself. Yeah, there's lots of talks on blogging, getting sponsors, and even having sponsors bring free stuff, but in the end, I just want to go for a girlfriend getaway of sorts. Not that I don't have a few real life girlfriends here that I could plan a getaway with (somehow that never comes to fruition), but meeting lots of people I've chatted with online is really exciting. And the alcohol and parties and kid-free weekend helps.

I've found myself skirting the issue about BlogHer with my real-life friends, because I'm not sure what to say. Some people (usually over 40) don't really get the whole social media thing, so I find myself just saying I'm going to Chicago to visit friends. Which is true, just not the entire truth. Do you ever feel awkward explaining your blog to non-bloggers? Especially when they ask things like "what is your website about anyway?".

So today and tomorrow, I'm going to muster up the will to pack my stuff. I copied this checklist from Plus Size Mommy, and have added a few things of my own
Plus Size Mommy's BlogHer Checklist
  • Pack your clothes. Don’t forget your special outfits for cocktails, PJ parties (dont forget your bunny slippers), dancing, a 50’s outfit or creative outfit for BowlHer 09′, casual clothing, and comfy shoes. Make sure to pack your underwear, pantyhose, and bra’s.
  • Pack your laptop, cords, webcam, mouse, and if you can an extra extension cord/power strip (sometimes they run out). Make sure to mark everything, cause after all most of them are black and look alike. (I'm adding an ethernet cable, in case wireless isn't working and I need to plug in the laptop in the room)
  • pack your camera, digital camera, flip, camcorder, or anything else you have to take video/vlogs, and pics (I'm adding my battery chargers too, for camera, iPod and cell phone)
  • pack your cell phone, but make sure it is in a convenient pocket for easy access
  • pack your money, purse, extra change for homeless people (if you like, {I don't}) and money for cabs, trains, quick snacks
  • business cards and POKEN, these are EASILY forgotten so pack both or either but make sure to pack something with your name and info. on it. You will be meeting TONS of people who you will want to network with, this is very essential. (I'm bringing an extra case for cards that I collect. I've amassed quite a collection from blog reviews already, and it's become kind of a hobby, like my cousin's grocery store key chain cards collection)
  • tickets - make sure you print out all of your confirmation info. Plane tickets, BlogHer admission tickets, party tickets, etc.. just in case you need proof that you signed up and/or RSVP’ed to different events. (according to the BlogHer site, you should print out your email registration confirmation for checking in)
  • Gum, snacks, magazines, ipod, music to listen to and keep you busy on the plane, train, or automobile
  • glasses, contacts, medication, tylenol, cosmetics, toiletries, hair brush, tooth brush, vitamins (if your flying and never flown before, check airport guidelines on how to pack certain items. They WILL make you throw away things if they are over limit, and make sure prescriptions are in normal container from the pharmacy)
  • swag - if your taking swag to hand out, don’t forget to bring it. You wont want to come home to 500 bags that now your will have to wait until the next conf. to pass out!
  • invites - if you received mailed invites/drink tickets, dont forget to bring those
  • gifts/trinkets - some people will bring little notions to give to the select few people that they talk to the most over twitter or through their blog, that they never met before. This is just something thoughtful to do, if you're able
  • stamps, although we aren’t going to be gone a whole long time, my kids love to get mail. As soon as I get in I send post cards out to them from where ever I am, it makes it a lot easier if you already have stamps to mail them with, this makes them feel happy even when mom’s gone
  • YOURSELF !!! You wont get a ton of sleep at BlogHer because there is just so much going on, it will feel like your in a whirlwind, a happy little tornado, so get plenty of sleep when you can and you will want to “BRING IT” when it comes to meeting people, PR folks, companies, and just everyone, be yourself, but make sure you show them the best you that there is. First impressions can mean a lot! Be The RAWK STAR that you ARE !!! (remember this will be a lot of people’s first time at BlogHer (including mine) so don’t be nervous or shy, it will all be fine)
So that's it! I plan to do a Tech Tuesday post later, and keep to my regular blogging schedule all week. Hopefully I'll be posting and Twittering from Chicago too.

June 11, 2023

Beyond the Blogging Hobby

I'm always re-evaluating the direction I'd like my blog to take. What started out as a sporadic hobby has migrated into a happy (and sometimes obsessive) daily ritual--checking emails, thinking of something to post, organizing giveaways, etc.

You may have noticed that I've started to have blog sponsors, which has been something I've shied away from in the past. Nothing against paid advertisements (or selling out, as many people scoff), I just didn't want the responsibility of keeping up with business-type stuff and worrying about hits and page rank, since this blog began as a personal account of motherhood for me and didn't plan on being much more.

But since it does cost a bit of money to keep up with the business-type stuff that has creeped into the blog (how the heck did I land so many giveaways this week!), I'm taking on a few sponsors. They'll also help me with some BlogHer fees, as well as pay for those blog staples like an upgrade at Mr. Linky so I can get my linkies back on my Weekend Contest posts. I tried for a while to keep a mental policy about not spending any money on this hobby, save for a few shipping costs for giveaways, but since I'm always trying to grow my blog, I'm going to shell out a bit of money for online backup space and little things like that.

So have you spent much cash on your blog? If so, what do you spend it on? Advertising? Mr. Linky?

May 27, 2023

Where Am I?

Guess what? You have NOT walked into a Dr. Seuss blog. This is my blog's newest look. Mr. Geek presented me with a graphics tablet for my birthday/Mother's Day and it allows me to draw in Photoshop with the stylus/pen. It's so great!
I'm still honing my skills with it, so the new banner and buttons look a little choppy. So you might be seeing a few more tweaks here and there in the next week or so. I tend to change out my design every summer and winter, so I'm starting a little early this summer. I wanted something a little more lively and fun but also imperfect and handmade-looking, if that makes sense.

We ask that you please bear with us.

November 10, 2023

BlogHer 09 in Chicago

Kind of sucks for us East Coasters, especially after I was all psyched that it might actually be in Philly, which is pretty close to me. But after narrowing it down to 3 finalists--Portland, Philadelphia, and St. Louis--they picked Chicago, which is where the 2007 conference was {insert sad face here}. You can read about why they chose Chicago here. Honestly though, an East Coast conference is WAY overdue.

Fortunately my longtime friend Amy Purple lives there so maybe it'll just be a good reason to get my butt out there for a visit. Hope that bathroom is finished by then Amy!

October 24, 2023

50 Fabulous Blog Designs

I'm always thinking about redesigning my blog, in the same way that I'm always thinking of redecorating or rearranging my home. It's kind of a compulsion for me, and I really wish I had gone to school for interior design rather than art education. Even when I was a kid, my main Barbie play involved setting up their elaborate pad rather than getting gussied up for a date with Ken (but of course I did cut lots of their hair, despite my mom's warnings).

Since I don't have the time to redesign this blog again (and I don't want to confuse my readers by doing it so soon after the July rehab) and I don't have the money to pay someone more creative to do it, I thought I'd just drool over this list of 50 Beautiful Blog Designs from Smashing Magazine.

These are my favorites:
Suddenly I feel pretty embarrassed about my digs here.

Thanks to my hubby for bringing this to my attention: see you DO care about my blogging skills!

What's your favorite blog design?

October 21, 2023

The Cloth Diaper Whisperer

Check out this new blog on cloth diapering called The Cloth Diaper Whisperer. It was started by Kelly from Kelly's Closet cloth diapering shop, and it has some nice posts on figuring out the difference between all kinds of cloth diapers and which kinds work best in day care settings. Check it out!

August 2, 2023

A Little Housekeeping and Furniture Rearranging

Yes, I'm up quite late tonight (for a new mom). As you can see, I've been tooling around with Blogger, well, actually, dear husband has been helping with the code for adding another column to the left. I've also created a new header, a cute little button that I hope you'll humbly display on your blog (see right hand column), and even a Favicon (see that little "K" up in the address bar). I was hoping to win a blog redesign during the Bloggy Carnival, but no word yet. Maybe next time.

So what do you think? Is there anything that is immediately annoying, or something that I missed in my late-night typing? I do need to make the subheading on the button more readable, but alas, this is all I can handle tonight. This update is a start at least, and I am learning a lot, even though it's a little at a time. Katydid and Kid will be so tricked-out in a few months that I'll have to rename it Blingy-did and Kid.

July 30, 2023

What's on Your Nightstand?

I love this idea that Jennifer at 5 Minutes for Books has come up with...a What's on your Nightstand "tag" (is that what you call it? Or meme? Forgive me, I'm pretty new to blogging). I love finding out what people are truly reading rather than following the NY Times list or hoity-toity reviews by professionals.

So here's what I currently have on my nightstand.
1. Lady of the Roses: A Novel of the War of the Roses by Sandra Worth
I love historical novels, and especially those set in the royal court of England in Medieval and Renaissance times (my husband groans...I seem to always have one of these books around). I'm about halfway through this and it's pretty good. I didn't know too much about the war of the roses, York vs. Lancaster. I always wondered who and what the nearby towns of York and Lancaster in Pennsylvania were named after. It's an easy read and romantic, if that's your thing.

2. It's a Boy! Women Writers on Raising Sons by Andrea Buchanan
If you have read even one post on this blog, you'll know I just had a son in March (my first), and he is the center of my world. I saw this book on Amazon when I found out I was having a boy, and was a tad bummed because like many women, I was hoping for a girl (I have 4 brothers, no sisters, so I thought I'd escape from Matchbox cars and competitive farting for a while). In my attempt to imagine how it would be to be a mom to a boy, I found this book. I read one essay a night out of this and it's really fantastic! I love the funny stories and the very touching ones too. There is also a companion book, It's a Girl for those of you who have daughters.

I'd love to know what you're reading, so drop me a comment or head on over to 5 Minutes for Books! To see some more of my faves, look for the Good Reads widget on my sidebar.
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